Here’s yet another reason to love Dolly Parton: she requested that her name be removed from this year’s nominees for the “Rock and Roll” Hall of Fame. Dolly was at #4 out of five open slots on the fan vote board and feared she might beat out someone who actually belongs there. She’s one of the greatest country singer/songwriters of all time, but she’s not a rock musician and she and everyone else (except the Rock Hall of Fame board, apparently) knows it.

Her request was humble and generous toward other artists, as is typical of Dolly, but it could also be read as subtly chiding the Hall of Fame for its notorious habit of nominating people who don’t belong there while snubbing those who obviously do (I’ve previously noted the long list of those who’ve been inexplicably snubbed, including Jethro Tull, the Guess Who, the Monkees, Blue Oyster Cult, the Jam and Meat Loaf, while the Sugar Hill Gang, Tupac Shakur, Laura Nyro, Janet Jackson, Madonna and Jay-Z are all in.) Dolly nicely wrote that her husband has always wanted her to cut a rock album, and she hopes they’ll consider her again if she ever does that.

Not-nice subtext: “I’ve NEVER made a rock album, Einsteins!”

Now, let’s hope Lionel Richie, Dionne Warwick and Eminem follow suit. Nothing against any of these artists, but like Dolly, they don’t make rock music and they know it.

I’m also sad to have to report that Willie Nelson’s sister, Bobbie Nelson, has died at 91.

She was his first band member and the pianist for his iconic band for decades. She could play whatever style Willie’s songs required, from old time gospel to rollicking honky-tonk to Great American Songbook. Willie recently wrote of how she always looked after her little brother, and that she was a “genuine piano prodigy,” far more of a musical prodigy than he was. Check out that story from the Dallas public TV station KERA to learn more about this remarkable lady who contributed so much to Willie’s musical legacy from just outside the spotlight, and to see a rare sample of her performing all on her own.

There’s an old saying that a conservative is a liberal who got mugged. With virtually everyone in San Francisco now having become a crime victim thanks to “progressive” district attorney Chesa Boudin’s policy of ignoring crime and releasing criminals back into the streets, is it possible that even San Francisco liberals are capable of having some sense literally knocked into their heads?

A new poll by EMC Research found that 68% of likely primary voters plan to vote to throw Boudin out of office. That includes 64% of registered Democrats. Nearly three-quarters of respondents have an unfavorable opinion of Boudin, and 61% believe he’s responsible for the rising crime rate. Really? What was their first clue?

Between this and the recent surprise ousting of three ultra-left school board members, there are hopeful signs that even in San Francisco, the “woke” can wake up when things get bad enough. It remains to be seen, however, whether they will replace these blights on the public good with anyone better, or, as New Yorkers have done, “meet the new boss, same as the old boss.”

This is, after all, the city so tolerant and devoted to diversity that its elected officials now refuse to do business or travel to more than half of America. A recent memo from the City Administrator pointed out that due to their disapproval of other places’ insufficiently woke policies on such leftist shibboleths as abortion, LGBTQ+++ issues and election integrity laws (i.e., “voter suppression”), San Francisco is now boycotting 28 of the 50 states.

This is making it difficult and expensive for the city to conduct basic public business, since they have to source every necessity from building contractors to bus parts from the dwindling handful of options that are still pure enough in their wokeness. And I’d be willing to bet there aren’t too many good contractors or bus part factories still in those places, since they’ve probably already moved to red states.

You’d think that when a city is overrun with crime, homelessness, drug needles and human feces, the people would be so furious that they’d throw out every last public official who thinks none of that is as important as virtue signaling about other places not showing enough deference to trans people. But in San Francisco, the jury is still out. I’m hopeful for the next elections, but I’ll believe they’re recovered their sanity when I see it.

During one of her press briefings a few days ago, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki brought up that old accusation about Russia “hacking” the 2016 election. There is no evidence that Russia changed any vote tallies or did anything else to change the outcome, and Psaki never really made clear what she meant by “hacking the election,” so we find it ironic that she said this in the same briefing in which she spoke about “misinformation.”

It’s also pretty hilarious that anyone questioning the electronic security of the 2020 vote is roundly scorned, even censored and canceled, while questioning the electronic security of the 2016 vote is just fine, even patriotic at a time when Russia has shown itself to be such an enemy.

We’d like to focus on one part of Jerry Dunleavy’s report, the paragraph that has to do with the supposed Russian “hacking” of the DNC’s emails. He wrote that “U.S. intelligence officials did conclude Russian operatives were behind the hacking of Democratic emails in 2016. Russian military intelligence interfered in the 2016 presidential election, in part by spearphishing Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email systems, then providing them to WikiLeaks, for dissemination, Robert Mueller’s special counsel report concluded. Russia has denied involvement, and WikiLeaks has denied receiving emails from Russia.”

Of course, we can’t believe anything that comes from the Kremlin –- or, sadly, from U.S. intelligence officials –- but I do have considerably more confidence in what comes from WikiLeaks. The story about Russia “hacking” the DNC still belongs in the category of misinformation. It’s a talking point. I say this even though Robert Mueller concluded in his special counsel report that this had happened. We know now that this conclusion was reached without any actual evidence, because the cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike never allowed the FBI to do a forensic examination of the DNC server. The FBI never demanded that they turn it over and, incredibly, took CrowdStrike at its word. We scratch our heads at how the U.S. intel community could legitimately have had “high confidence” –- their words –- that the Russians did this. For what it’s worth, here’s what Mueller said at the time, as reported by Dunleavy in 2019...

But fast-forward to 2022, and Margot Cleveland is reporting that Special Counsel John Durham is investigating the 2016 DNC server hack. If anyone is serious about getting down to the truth about this, you know he is. Until now, there was no known link between the Alfa Bank hoax being investigated by Durham and the DNC “hack,” but now there is. As it happens, the Defense Department tasked the same Georgia Tech researcher involved in the Alfa Bank hoax –- “Researcher – 1” in Durham’s court filings pertaining to the Michael Sussmann case but known to be Mano Antonakakis –- with investigating the “origins” of the DNC hacker.

And here is Cleveland's update on that story:

According to an email obtained by The Federalist on March 9 in response to a “Right-to-Know” request, the special counsel’s office is indeed investigating the so-called “hack,” and “prosecutors harbor concerns” about the Defense Department’s choice of this particular researcher to investigate it.

Cleveland’s report provides a good refresher on Durham’s investigation, but it boils down to this: According to Durham’s indictment of Sussmann (Perkins Coie attorney for the Hillary campaign and DNC), a cyber executive named Rodney Joffe (“Tech Executive- 1”) asked Antonakakis and another Georgia Tech researcher, David Dagon (“Researcher – 2”) to find some way to use internet data to connect then-candidate Donald Trump and Russia. Antonakakis –- whom I would add has shown himself in emails to be strongly anti-Trump –- apparently couldn’t find anything useful, because he told Joffe that the results “do not make sense with the storyline you have.” Even so, Joffe came up with a draft “white paper” containing the fake story of a connection between Trump and Alfa Bank, which he gave to these two men and another researcher involved, April Lorenzen, to review. Then Sussmann passed this “white paper” to then-FBI general counsel James Baker, purportedly out of his sense of duty but secretly in service to Joffe and the Hillary campaign, which Durham found was being billed for Sussmann's services.

Until The Federalist got hold of this particular email from Antonakakis, nothing was known of any connection between the Alfa Bank story and the DNC “hack,” but he's the link. Antonakakis had written it to general counsel and other higher-ups at Georgia Tech about a week after his testimony before Durham’s DC grand jury, highlighting “areas of concern” that he wanted to discuss “after the dust settles.” In Cleveland’s words, he “launched a soliloquy that perfectly described the Russia-collusion and the plot by anti-Trump politicians and the deep state intelligence and law enforcement communities to take down the President of the United States.”

It was also a rant in which he painted himself as the victim of the special counsel. He said he’d been asked “point-blank” if “DARPA [the central R&D organization of the Defense Department] should be instructing you to investigate the origins of a hacker (Guccifer2.0) that hacked a political entity (DNC)?” How DARE the special counsel’s office ask that question, he steamed. It’s easily determined from the email that he had indeed been asked to investigate this.

The fact that he was being questioned because his team had allowed itself to be exploited by Sussmann and Joffe for political reasons seems to have been lost on him.

Antonakakis reveals himself to be a sanctimonious and hypocritical piece of work who actually believes he was involved in this fake-narrative project to “preserve our democracy.” Yes, that's the phrase he used, one we've heard all too often from Democrats.

So, why did the special counsel’s office “dare” to ask him about this? Something had to lead Durham to find out, or at least suspect, that Antonakakis had been tasked by DARPA with investigating the DNC "hack." And something had to lead Durham to be concerned about this. What did this arm of the Defense Department have to do with it, and who there was involved? Did they gain access to the DNC server? If so, was it Sussmann, as attorney for the DNC and Hillary’s campaign, who granted it?

This opens up a whole new area for Durham, but one that continues to tie together the same group of folks. Sussmann ties them to Hillary, where (as we’ve said many times) all roads lead. Too much remains a mystery about the DNC “hack” --- note that we always put "hack" in quotes, as there is no proof it even WAS a hack, let alone by Russia. Julian Assange has said flat-out that neither Russia nor any other state government was his source. Yet it seems to have been the event that spawned the whole long “Russia Russia Russia” hoax that, in some circles, still refuses to die. Other than Assange, who else knows the identity of whoever obtained the Podesta/DNC emails and gave them to him?

I hope you’re able to escape from what the great Irish-American humorist P.J. O’Rourke called “All the trouble in the world” and enjoy St. Patrick’s Day today.

We took a brief pause from breaking news so that my staffers could spend some spring break time with their families, so I thought we should catch up on all the trouble in the world that we missed. But it turned out that there was very little “new” in the news for the first part of this week.

Vladimir Putin continued his horrific attack on Ukraine, ratcheting up the unconscionable attacks on civilians, including bombing a theater in Mariupol that was being used as a shelter for hundreds of civilians and plainly labeled on the outside with the Ukrainian word for “children.” At this writing, the death toll is still unknown, but there are hopeful signs, with reports of survivors emerging safely.

We’d also like to extend our sympathies and prayers to the families of Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski and his colleague, Ukrainian journalist Oleksandra “Sasha” Kuvshynova, who were both killed when they were struck by incoming fire outside Kyiv. Fox News correspondent Benjamin Hall was also injured in the attack, but he’s been safely evacuated and will recover. Our prayers for him as well.

The Biden Administration seems conflicted about whether this invasion makes Putin a “war criminal” (a rather toothless term, if the alleged criminal recognizes no authority to enforce the law against him.) Russia fired back, citing the many people killed by American bombs around the world. They conveniently overlook the difference that America bombed states and terrorist organizations that attacked us first, and while there have tragically been instances of innocent people who were killed, we’ve never invaded any nation that hadn’t attacked us first or harbored people who did.

Despite what you might have heard from Kamala Harris, Ukrainian President Zelensky said Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and he conceded that it is unlikely Ukraine will join NATO, which was one of the pretexts that Putin used for his invasion. That could signal a potential break in a ceasefire agreement, but only if you believe Putin is honest about his motives.

However, Ukraine has joined the EU’s Energy Union, uniting its power grid with Europe’s. Zelensky also warned that World War III may have already started in his country.

I miss the good old days, when the media were telling us that if Trump got elected, he’d start World War III, and I could rest easy knowing that was just partisan nonsense.

Another Biden Word Salad

March 17, 2022

President Biden continued making public statements that had people again calling for him to take a cognitive test. They weren’t just word salad, they were a whole word salad bar.

The weirdest might have been when he started talking about how people try to blackmail their exes with naked photos. There’s a Presidential quote for the ages! But Nick Arama at thinks he knows how that image found its way into Joe’s brain and thus fell out of his mouth: it’s exactly the kind of thing that might happen to his son, Hunter.

Other bizarre Bidenisms ranged from tongue fumbles like referring to Kamala Harris as the First Lady to transparent whoppers such as saying that his “green energy” push that’s helped gas skyrocket to upwards of $7 a gallon will save Americans $500 a year in energy costs. This stuff might be funny if it weren’t coming from the alleged leader of the free world during a time when we need someone who’s capable of dealing with countless domestic problems while also avoiding World War III.