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The report that special prosecutor John Durham was, at long last, going to indict someone in the Russiagate investigation was confirmed Thursday when a grand jury indicted attorney Michael Sussman of the powerful Democratic-linked law firm Perkins Coie. The charge is providing false information to the FBI to smear Donald Trump and then lying by denying that he represented the Hillary Clinton campaign.

The New York Times now admits that Sussman was the source of their fake story about the Trump Organization having a secret web server to communicate privately with Alfa Bank, a Russian bank connected to Vladimir Putin. That story was trumpeted by Hillary Clinton, and naturally, picked up and flogged like crazy by other liberal news outlets that demanded an FBI investigation.

The Conservative Treehouse has a good untangling of this web of lies…

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/blog/2021/09/16/clinton-lawyer-michael-sussmann-indicted-for-lying-to-fbi-while-spreading-the-false-alfa-bank-trump-russia-collusion-conspiracy-on-behalf-of-clinton-campaign/

For an even more succinct recap, read Glenn Greenwald’s blunt Twitter thread:

https://twitchy.com/brettt-3136/2021/09/16/russiagate-in-a-nutshell-glenn-greenwald-sums-up-the-latest-on-john-durhams-investigation-pulls-hillary-clintons-old-tweet-about-trumps-covert-server/

Greenwald calls this “Russiagate in a nutshell”:

“A DNC-linked lawyer, partners with Clinton lawyer Marc Elias, fabricated a Trump/Russia leak, fed it to DNC operatives masquerading as journalists, had Hillary trumpet it, then lied to (the) FBI about who he worked for.” He adds, “Along with the FBI lawyer who previously pled guilty for lying to the FISA court to spy on ex-Trump campaign official Carter Page, it's clear that much of the criminality of Russiagate was not from any Trump/Russia collusion but by those who fabricated this conspiracy theory."

I’ll have more about this story as it develops, but for now, let me just make one observation: for four years, a duly-elected President was relentlessly slandered as a Russian agent by the media until millions of Americans believed it, undermining trust in their own government and in the electoral process. His agenda was hamstrung; innocent people who worked for him were hounded, harassed and bankrupted; and qualified people who might have made great contributions to America were frightened away from public service for fear of being targeted by the FBI.

And all over a story that was a complete lie. A fabrication designed purely for the purposes of ensuring that Hillary Clinton achieved her lifelong dream that she had a divine right to be President, whether the voters agreed or not.

How much expense, damage, division, turmoil, and distrust in government has been inflicted on this nation by one woman’s insatiable ambition and the utter lack of scruples of those around her in achieving her goal? And who do the Democrats blame for “lowering the tone of political discourse” and undermining faith in the electoral system? Why, Trump, of course.

Wednesday, four female Olympic gymnasts – Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman – came out from behind official anonymity to testify to the Senate about the horrific sexual abuse they suffered from former USA Gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar (now serving a sentence of up to 360 years in prison - yes, you read that correctly.) Much of that was already known, but what also was revealed was the shocking way in which the FBI, then under our self-appointed national conscience James Comey, turned a blind eye to their accusations against Nassar and attempted to cover it all up so the public would never learn about it.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stephen-kruiser/2021/09/15/lock-em-up-same-fbi-that-chased-russia-collusion-hoax-for-years-covered-up-sexual-abuse-of-usa-gymnasts-n1479070

As Stephen Kruiser reminds us at the link, this was the same FBI leadership that busied itself with trying to manufacture accusations of Russian collusion against innocent political opponents while at the same time refusing to investigate “a serial predator who was attacking the most vulnerable among us.” He quite rightly calls for us to “start casting a wide net for people within the Bureau who need to be locked up.”

There’s a lot more at the link, including a video of Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s statement (sample quote: “Every single person in authority who turned a blind eye to these young athletes’ allegations is complicit in Nassar’s crime, and each one of them should be considered a predator.”) There’s also video of Ms Maroney’s testimony, which I warn you is disturbing and graphic.

Here’s more on this story from Matt Vespa at Townhall.com.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2021/09/15/its-not-hard-to-see-why-the-fbi-didnt-care-about-larry-nassar-raping-scores-of-young-women-n2595948

The Democrats' Tax Hike Plan

September 16, 2021

Congressional Democrats have put forward a massive tax hike plan that they claim will only soak the very wealthy. That may sound popular to people who think that refers to someone else, but as Grover Norquist explains at the link, it will affect everyone negatively.

https://justthenews.com/government/congress/norquist-bidens-tax-increases-reconciliation-bill-will-lead-gop-led-house-maybe

It not only raises taxes on people making less than $400,000, in violation of Biden’s campaign promise, but it will raise business taxes higher than those in Europe and even communist China. That will impact hiring and expansion, and encourage the return of businesses moving overseas and taking their jobs with them. It will impact 401K retirement plans, inheritances, capital gains and the prices we pay for most products, especially our electric and gas bills. The only upside Norquist sees is that it will probably lead to a GOP Congress that will put the brakes on more socialist insanity.

He also makes a great observation that voters in swing states and districts should take to heart: there are no “moderate Democrats” in the House or Senate. There are Democrats from moderate districts and swing states. They might say they oppose runaway taxing and spending. But every last one of them voted over and over to keep advancing the $3.5 trillion spending orgy through Congress.

Here’s another analysis of the Democrats’ tax plan showing that wealthy residents of blue states like California, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii could end up paying a combined tax rate of nearly 60%.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/politics/democrats-tax-plan-combined-tax-rates-new-york-california

Not that they actually would, of course. They’d probably move to Texas or Florida, and then start giving a lot of money to leftist politicians so they could ruin those states, too. But as bad as this tax plan is, thinking of all those wealthy liberals having to fork over 60% of their income to the wasteful, oppressive politicians they did so much to help elect would be heartwarming if the rest of us weren’t also having to pay for their dumb political decisions.

One reason why it’s so hard to get Americans to “trust the experts” on COVID-19 is because the “experts” and “authorities” have given us so many conflicting stories. I’ve always cut them slack for getting things wrong: I get that it was a new disease, and new data can require changing our assumptions. However, we seem to have settled on some official assumptions that are almost impervious to new data. And public trust is eroded further when the “experts” keep dodging basic questions.

One question people have been asking for over a year is whether the hospitalization rates used to justify mass lockdowns, school closures and mask and vaccine mandates are accurate. Are they counting only people who are actually hospitalized or killed due to COVID, or inflating the numbers by including people who tested positive regardless of the actual reason they were in the hospital? The answer may finally be at hand.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/scottmorefield/2021/09/13/the-atlantic-scoop-almost-half-of-covid-hospitalizations-are-exactly-what-you-suspected-they-were-n2595832

David Zweig at the Atlantic magazine (hardly a rightwing or anti-vaxxer outlet) reports that the VA office of Research and Development backed a study of nearly 48,000 admissions to over 100 VA hospitals nationwide. It found that from March 2020 to early January 2021, before the Delta variant or widespread vaccination, 36% of recorded COVID patients had mild or asymptomatic cases, which makes it questionable whether they were or needed to be hospitalized due to COVID. From mid-January to June, that number rose to 48%. That suggests that nearly half the recorded COVID hospitalizations were mild or asymptomatic cases or else people who tested positive but were hospitalized for something unrelated.

None of this is to downplay the dangers of the disease (that’s still a lot of people hospitalized due to severe COVID.) But the good news is that this suggests vaccination has created more mild or asymptomatic cases. The bad news is that it suggests authorities are relying on misleading data to impose draconian measures on the entire population. And when people know “the experts” are being misleading about the reasons for their policies, it makes it all the more likely that they will reject those policies.

In short, once you lose the public’s trust, it’s hard to get it back. Particularly if you do nothing to earn it back except to say, “I order you to trust me!”

Treason Update

September 16, 2021

The Pentagon seemed to confirm Bob Woodward’s claim that Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley attempted to usurp President Trump’s powers by calling his Chinese counterpart and assuring him he would give China advance warning if Trump launched an attack.

https://www.westernjournal.com/pentagon-appears-confirm-bombshell-gen-milley-report/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=huckabee

I’m not going to quote their statement verbatim (you can read it at the link), since it went on at length in the kind of gaseous government-speak that’s meant to make outrageous acts sound not merely defensible and reasonable but downright laudable. Indeed, a lot of liberal news outlets (those that aren’t ignoring this story entirely) are trying to present it that way and hail Milley as a heroic figure for protecting America from the “unhinged” duly-elected Commander-in-Chief that they hated. Biden spokeswoman Jen Psaki called Milley a “patriot.” So chalk up “insurrection” and “undermining our democracy” as yet another area in which the Democrats’ sacred principles are highly situational.

Even Biden himself reportedly said he has “great confidence” in Milley.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-great-confidence-in-milley-china-calls

Really? So Joe Biden wants to keep a guy around him who has a history of trying to overthrow Presidents whom he thinks are showing mental decline? REALLY?!

If Milley thought it was his duty to step in and take control away from a cognitively-challenged President who was about to commit a dangerous foreign policy blunder, then why didn’t he do that two months ago?

Finally, the line of the day is about this story, and it’s courtesy of former Rep. Trey Gowdy, who said you know who would have appreciated an advance call to warn him of an attack? The Afghan aid worker who was blown up by a drone while loading water cans into his car.

In breaking news Wednesday night, THE NEW YORK TIMES reports that Special Counsel John Durham has informed the Department of Justice that he will seek a grand jury indictment against Michael Sussmann of the law firm Perkins Coie for making a false statement to the FBI.

John Durham, remember him? Even President Trump has wondered from time to time what happened to him. Apparently, he’s just had his head down working, ever since he was assigned to the case by Bill Barr...in 2019. His status was raised to Special Counsel in December of 2020.

The NYT is subscription-only, but Rebecca Downs at TOWNHALL has details.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/rebeccadowns/2021/09/15/durham-indictment-n2595973?utm_campaign=rightrailsticky1

No discussion of the “Russia Russia Russia!” hoax would complete without bringing in the huge role played by Perkins Coie, the Clinton-affiliated law firm that in 2016 paid opposition research company Fusion GPS to hire former MI-6 spy Christopher Steele to dig up dirt and provide a report on then-candidate Donald Trump. That scheme produced the infamous “dossier” that contained outrageously fake stories like the one we all know involving Trump and some prostitutes in a Moscow hotel. We’ve covered the story of the phony “dossier” from the start and had always hoped the story of how it came to be would be completely exposed. Now, perhaps this is the first shoe dropping.

Incidentally, Perkins Coie was involved in shady activities in 2020 as well. For the year preceding the Trump/Biden race, it was Marc Elias, a partner at Perkins Coie, who coordinated the state-by-state effort to change election laws and procedures in ways that made it much easier to cheat almost undetectably. And never mind that these changes were supposed to be made by the state legislators, not judges and bureaucrats. All those millions of ballots being mailed out to every name on out-of-date voter rolls and stuffed into unmanned dropboxes? For destroying all trust in our election system, we have Marc Elias of Perkins Coie largely to thank.

Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor, is a partner at the firm as well. As reported by the NYT, he represented the Democratic National Committee “on issues related to Russia’s 2016 hacking of its servers.” As you can see, I’m quoting the TIMES there, as we do not actually have evidence that this “hacking” of the DNC servers was carried out by Russia. It’s part of their narrative that the mainstream media take as a given and keep repeating. We don’t.

But the fact that Sussmann was representing the DNC on this matter should tell you he is the Mother Lode of information on what really happened with that and where all the bodies are buried, so to speak. Not that we can pry it all out of him. There’s this little inconvenience called “attorney-client privilege” that limits what investigators can ask.

Anyway, the Special Counsel has been investigating Sussmann’s activities conveying “certain suspicions” about Trump and Russia –- related to what we have come to know as “the Russia Hoax” –- to James Baker at the FBI in September of 2016. Specifically, investigators want to know who his client was at the time. Investigators have been looking into whether he was secretly working for Hillary’s campaign. He denies that.

Sussmann’s reason for meeting with Baker was to further a long-since-debunked story about covert communication through suspicious “pings” between computer servers associated with the Trump Organization and Alfa Bank, a Russian financial institution linked to the Kremlin. That story has been so thoroughly discredited that Special Counsel Robert Mueller didn’t even mention it in his final report. But there was Sussmann, apparently trying to hand the FBI a fake story. I would add that this was the James Comey FBI, which was eager to run with all the anti-Trump stories it could find.

Baker, now out of the FBI, reportedly told investigators he recalled Sussmann saying he was not meeting him on behalf of any client. Likewise, according to Sussmann’s lawyers, Sussmann simply wanted to give the FBI a “heads-up” because he thought the NEW YORK TIMES was about to publish a story about the Alfa Bank allegations. Wasn’t that nice of him? (The NYT didn’t mention Alfa Bank at all until six weeks later.)

One problem, though: in a 2017 deposition before Congress, Sussmann testified that he had sought the meeting on behalf of an unnamed client, a cybersecurity expert whom he said had helped analyze the Alfa Bank data.

Second, even bigger problem: Durham has obtained billing records from Perkins Coie that show some of Sussmann’s time working on the Alfa Bank matter was billed to...(drum roll, please)...the 2016 Hillary Clinton campaign.

By the way, just a month ago, Marc Elias left Perkins Coie to form a separate law firm, Elias Law Group LLP. The press release says this new spinoff firm “will represent candidates, party committees, political committees, nonprofit organizations, entities and voters. Elias Law Group will be mission-driven, focusing on electing Democrats, supporting voting rights, and helping progressives make change.” More details here.

https://www.perkinscoie.com/en/news-insights/perkins-coie-and-its-political-law-group-announce-the-formation-of-the-independent-firm-elias-law-group-llp.html

This new separation “will provide Elias Law Group with the independence to broaden its advocacy and types of matters on which it works, including by engaging more directly in the political and electoral process.”

As if Elias and Perkins Coie haven’t been engaged enough in that already. Elias will have offices in both DC and Seattle, where they’ll be “focused on helping Democrats win, citizens vote, and progressives make change.” And anyone who thought Perkins Coie was some little boutique law firm should think again: Perkins Coie is a huge international operation with 1,200 lawyers in offices “across the United States and Asia.” Watch out –- they’ve made this move as part of their gearing-up for the 2022 elections and are looking ahead to 2024, and judging from their past behavior, I don’t think they’ll waste much time debating the ethics of what they’re doing.

For now, though, Michael Sussmann is a major player who finally appears to have been caught in Durham’s net. Colton Salaz at JUST THE NEWS also has a write-up, and we look forward to investigative reporter John Solomon’s take as well, as he’s been all over this story for years.

https://justthenews.com/government/courts-law/special-counsel-seeks-indictment-against-lawyer-center-steel-dossier

“Mr. Sussmann has committed no crime,” his attorneys told the NYT. “Any prosecution here would be baseless, unprecedented and an unwarranted deviation from the apolitical and principled way in which the Department of Justice is supposed to do its work.”

Are these really Sussmann’s attorneys or a comedy writing team? Because that line about the DOJ is pretty darn funny.

RIP Norm MacDonald

September 16, 2021

As the person who covers the entertainment world, it falls to me to write show biz obituaries. While it’s always a sad duty, this one hits especially hard for me and my wife/co-writer, Laura Ainsworth. Comedian Norm MacDonald has died at 61 of cancer, which he had reportedly been fighting for nine years. His producing partner Lori Jo Hoekstra said he kept it a secret because comedy came first and he never wanted that to color how people saw him.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/norm-macdonald-snl-comedian-dies-age-61/

For a comic who never became a major star, Norm’s death was met with a massive outpouring of grief and accolades from fellow comedians and hardcore fans like us. Seth Meyers called him the “gold standard” of comedy and admitted the hardest part of doing “Saturday Night Live’s” Weekend Update was not reading jokes the way Norm would say them.

He had a distinctive voice and delivery, a unique and unpredictable perspective, and most importantly of all in this cancel culture age, he was utterly fearless. If he thought a joke was funny (and to those of us who “got” his sense of humor, he was gutbustingly funny), no matter how bizarre the premise, he would pursue and expand on it, even if the audience greeted it with silence (you could usually hear a few fellow comedians in the back, howling with laughter.) One of the funniest things you’ll ever see on TV is Norm on Conan O’Brien’s show, using up his entire segment to tell an ancient, rambling, deadpan shaggy dog story with a groaner of a punchline that somehow was hilarious all the way through.

When Laura and I used to write our syndicated topical radio service, the Comedy Wire, nothing made me prouder than to write a joke that I could describe as “a Norm MacDonald line.”

These days, what passes for a “joke” on “SNL” is a smug two-minute political lecture. Norm could pack more laughs into two short sentences (“College radio reports that the #1 band this summer was Better Than Ezra. At #2: Ezra!”) He defied orders to stop doing O.J. Simpson jokes even when it got him fired. He didn’t care if he bombed, got fired, the audience didn’t get it or Twitter mobs cried about being offended: if he thought it was funny, he went with it. And to me, he was always right. He ruthlessly mocked leftist icons like Bill and Hillary Clinton at a time when other comics were giving them a free ride. He even dared to joke about COVID (“None of us know how we’re going to die… Well, we know NOW.”)

He was also surprisingly intelligent, once taking home $500,000 on a charity celebrity edition of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (he also knew the answer to the million dollar question, but Regis talked him out of trying for it.) I still remember him lecturing a comic on a talent show for performing a lazy Christian-bashing bit that the other judges loved.

Norm was a “comedian’s comedian,” but to his cult fan base like us, he was one of the funniest men of all time. You never knew what might come out of his mouth, but you knew it would be hilarious and like nothing that anyone else would think of. And if someone didn’t like it and took offense, he couldn’t care less. Let’s hope more comedians take inspiration from him and reclaim comedy from the humorless woke mobs.

Here are a few of Norm’s more mainstream funny moments, courtesy of Fox News. You’ll find many, many more on YouTube.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/norm-macdonald-snl-late-night-funniest-moments

Thanks to all who responded to my story about the government’s latest very successful fear campaign --- the one against the unvaccinated.

By the way, since then it’s become obvious that the same motivation was just used in California to help a failing governor survive a recall election. To keep his office when California is a disaster on so many fronts, Gov. Newsom needed people to be AFRAID of the alternative, Republican opponent Larry Elder. And how was that going to happen, given that Elder is a genial, self-made black man who wants to fix problems and make life better for everybody in California? That’s easy: liken him to the biggest object of fear to the left, former President Trump.

An aggressive fear campaign had already been waged against Trump for years, and so progressives are TERRIFIED of him. To them, he’s the COVID-19 of political leaders. If you know the George Orwell novel “1984,” Trump is Emmanuel Goldstein in the daily government-mandated “Two Minutes Hate.” I’m talking abject, screaming-at-the-sky fear and loathing, as satirized in this masterpiece must-see video that I wish I could take credit for...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6fNtODWUwY

You understand, of course, that these people aren’t terrified of the actual Trump, about whom they typically know little, but of the imaginary Trump that has been created out of the thin air in their heads. You know, the evil white supremacist who thinks the KKK are “fine people” and collaborated with Putin to become President. THAT Donald Trump. I’d be scared of him, too, if he existed. The real Trump, I like.

But the Democrats’ anti-Trump fear campaign wasn’t aimed at me.

And it laid the foundation for Newsom’s recall election. This time, it was pounded into California voters’ heads that Elder was, in effect, Trump. Newsom then ran against Trump. He'd say, “A vote for Elder is a vote for Trump.” Or even, “Larry Elder is a clone of Donald Trump.” (They wanted voters to forget Elder is black.)

So, in the end, Newsom beat Trump---I mean, Elder.

But back to my story. I received some great comments on my real-life tale of being leper-ized by someone out of his mind with irrational fear...

From Tyna:

My daughter works FROM HOME and is an HR generalist. She sees NO patients or co-workers. She was given an ultimatum to get vaccinated or she will be terminated. She already has had Covid, and she has a health condition that was supposed to kill her by age 14. She wants to see her kids and grands grow up and get married. What happened to FREEDOM?

From Laura:

Someone who works from home can’t transmit anything to patients or co-workers but a computer virus! This makes no sense. And your daughter likely has better immunity than someone who hasn’t had COVID but took the vaccine. The decision should be hers, with advice from her doctor. Good luck to her with her employer. Time is on her side if she can stall; I think personal choice in this matter will win in the courts.

From Kathleen:

I was helping a neighbor with her yard sale a few weeks ago. A young man drove up in a Tesla; I had never been close to one and asked if I could sit in it. He had a “VACCINATED” button on his shirt, and I said, “By the way, I am not vaccinated.” Upon hearing that, he said I could not sit in the car. Then he went on a ten-minute rant on why everyone should get vaccinated. All the friends at the sale were friends and were not vaccinated, and we all felt sorry for the fool.”

From Laura:

I can picture this guy finishing his rant; hearing the rest of you weren’t vaccinated, either; speeding off in a panic and driving his Tesla smack into a tree.

If he’s vaccinated, he must not have much confidence that it will protect him. Why would your vaccination keep him safe if his own is that iffy? Again, none of this is rational.

From Prudence (excerpt):

Hello, Laura -- Thank you for your spot-on article. You are not alone. I experienced a similar incident two weeks ago. My regular doctor is out with cancer and so I had to see her colleague to get a prescription refilled...This doctor's visit was almost surreal! He wanted to know why I wasn't vaccinated, and I explained that I've had adverse reactions to vaccines in the past, including the flu shot. He began to berate me, telling me I believed all the rot on the internet and bought into all the foolishness, continuing to give me his "expert" advice on why he felt I needed to just take the vaccine. I'd never seen this idiot doctor before and will never seen him again.

My doctor knows my circumstances and respects my wishes on why I won't take the shot. Unfortunately, not only are people divided on the vaccines, so is the medical community! I didn't mention to him about my conversations with my doctor for fear of her receiving retribution from her colleague if and when she returns.

From Laura:

Your concern for your own doctor was well-founded. Doctors are also running into problems within their profession for prescribing treatments such as ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. I hope your independent-minded regular doctor is soon able to return to her practice.

From Mike:

Very disappointed you have decided not to be vaccinated, I had Covid in February 2020 when doctors didn’t really know what it was. I was diagnosed with severe bronchitis. Haven’t smoked in 36 years, [am] a jogger, and I developed COPD and my antibodies were gone in 60 days. Please rethink you position.

From Laura:

I’m grateful for your concern, Mike, but am hesitant because of some vascular issues in my family that might be hereditary. If I hadn’t had the virus, I definitely would have gone ahead and been vaccinated, but my personal risk analysis is telling me to stick with natural immunity. Also, my understanding is that the antibody test after one is recovered is not necessarily an accurate measure of one’s immune response once the virus is re-introduced. Thanks and be well!

Finally, a reader with a wicked sense of fun left me this gem…

From Doug:

I was just reading your latest article, "The Latest Government Fear Campaign," when I got to the part where you said that YOU HAVEN'T BEEN VACCINATED!!! Needless to say, I IMMEDIATELY stopped reading your unvaccinated words, erased the article from my tablet, wiped down the tablet with an anti-bacterial wipe, then bleach, then ran an antivirus program on said tablet. Fortunately, it came up clean, so I am hopeful that I avoided exposure to the Delta Variant that you are most assuredly carrying and exposing everyone to, YOU HEARTLESS, SELFISH, EVIL, TRUMP-LOVING, PLAGUE-CARRYING RADICAL RIGHT FASCIST!!!!

By the way, I went to the public library to write this comment to you because I didn't want to expose my device to your plague. Pretty smart, huh?

From Laura:

You can’t be too careful! Uh-oh, you’re reading my unvaccinated words again.