1. Without the decency to say, “Well, we didn’t find anything.” From CNN: “After two years and 200 interviews, the Senate Intelligence Committee is approaching the end of its investigation into the 2016 election, having uncovered no direct evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, according to both Democrats and Republicans on the committee.”
The honorable, fair and honest thing for Senate Democrats (and Democrats generally) would be to state clearly and unequivocally that they found no evidence of “collusion,” and therefore were going to stop insinuating that collusion took place. But these are not honorable, fair and honest people, but people who are determined to undermine public trust in the President, elections, the government and democracy, because they would rather have power in a ruined, crippled government than not have power at all. Thus Committee co-chair, Sen. Mark Warner, D.-Va., told reporters, “I’m not going to get into any conclusions I have, [but] “there’s never been a campaign in American history … that people affiliated with the campaign had as many ties with Russia as the Trump campaign did.” This ranks among the most weaselly statements in recent memory. “Ties” is a deceitful term wielded by the news media—by its definition I have ties to Russia. People “affiliated with the campaign” having business dealings with Russia or Russians, or communications with Russia, are not the same as the campaign having “ties” to Russia. Warner’s statement is, at its most trivial, sour grapes, and at its worst, a deliberate smear.
One Democratic Senate investigator told CNN (anonymously of course),”Donald Trump Jr. made clear in his messages that he was willing to accept help from the Russians. Trump publicly urged the Russians to find Clinton’s missing emails.” After all this, that’s the smoking gun? An obvious, off the cuff joke Trump made on the stump? “We were never going to find a contract signed in blood saying, ‘Hey Vlad, we’re going to collude,'” another Democratic aide sniffed. This is, of course, a dishonest version of Hillary’s “It wasn’t the best decision” (referring to her illegal decision to hijack official emails into a private server) rationalization. No, Hillary, not only wasn’t it the best decision, it was a terrible, suspicious, indefensible decision, and no, anonymous partisan hack, you were not only not going to find a contract signed in blood, you weren’t going to find any evidence of illicit, illegal, impeachable contacts at all.
The Democratic Party has allowed its defeat in 2016 to rot the party and its supporters to the core.
2. Baseball and lawyers! As I discussed here, Baseball’s Today’s Game Committee (formerly known as the Veterans Committee) elected OF/DH Harold Baines to the Hall of Fame in a decision that was not only logically indefensible, but obviously tainted by conflicts of interest and the appearance of impropriety, since associates and friends of Baines dominated the voting process. Now one of the pro-Baines voters, Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa (full disclosure: he works for the Red Sox now) has written an article defending the decision. What is interesting about the article is that LaRussa, though few remember this, is trained as a lawyer, and his defense of picking Baines uses one legal advocacy device after another. Bill Baer, at NBC Sports, isn’t a lawyer, but he does an excellent job with his reply brief to LaRussa’s tortured and statistically deceitful arguments.
3. Let’s start a pool! Which of the gazillion Democrats running for President will commit the most verbal gaffes and require the rationalized defense, “Well he/she still doesn’t lie as much as Trump does!”? Obviously Joe Biden will be a popular choice for the title, as his foot is more or less positioned in his mouth up to the knee, but I think it will be a very competitive contest. For example (from Reason):
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, is a latter-day convert to legalizing pot. As a prosecutor and California attorney general, she was opposed to legalization. Indeed, as Scott Shackford noted yesterday, in her 2014 race to become Golden State AG, her Republican opponent favored legalization, a position she literally laughed at. In an interview yesterday with the radio show The Breakfast Club, Harris admitted to smoking weed in college (“I did inhale,” she said, laughing, “I just broke news!”) and that she listened to Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur while getting high. Here’s the problem: Harris graduated from Howard in 1986 and law school in 1989. Snoop Dogg, then known as Snoop Doggy Dogg, didn’t get started until 1992 and Tupac’s “career did not take off until the early 1990s when he debuted in Digital Underground’s ‘Same Song’ from the soundtrack to the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble.“
This is reminiscent of Bill Clinton recalling black church burnings when he was growing up in Arkansas, and Hillary announcing that she was a life-long Yankee fan. These slips are not as trivial as they seem. They are signature significance for pandering liars. Voters beware.
4. And speaking of Harris…This kind of thing drives me crazy. The category is smart and educated politicians deliberately making an idiotic argument because they think the public is too stupid to see through it. Senator Harris, among others, is arguing that the Trump tax cuts hurts the middle class because people are getting smaller tax refunds. “The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year,” she tweeted this week. “Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.”
ARRGH!! The tax refund has been a staple on government flim-flam from the beginning. If you get money back, it means you were over-withheld, and Uncle Sam got free use of your money for months, while you lost the interest you could have made if you had it in the bank. Tax payers who rejoice over big refunds are the same saps who signed up for Christmas Clubs before they became illegal. And, apparently, they are also the citizens Kamala Harris is counting on to make her President. You know…morons.
5. Believe all celebrity victims who say they were attacked by men in MAGA hats! Watch this case. Do you know who Jussie Smollette is? [CORRECTION NOTE: I have benn calling him “Jessie.” My mistake. All fixed, I think] I did, and do: he’s an African-American actor best known for his portrayal of musician Jamal Lyon in Fox TV series “Empire.” On January 29, 2019, Smollett claimed that he was attacked in Chicago outside his apartment building by two men in ski masks who made racial and homophobic slurs. Smollett gave a follow-up interview to police saying that the attackers had shouted “MAGA country” during the assault, a detail he had not mentioned in the initial interview. Performers, political activists and Democrats (like…Kamala Harris!) rushed to support Smollett on social media. Harris and Cory Booker both described the attack as a modern-day lynching, with Booker urging Congress to pass a federal Anti-Lynching Bill he and Harris have co-sponsored.
Here’s the problem: so far, police can’t find any evidence that the attack took place. John Ziegler writes in Mediaite:
Among other things, the police have made it very clear they have not yet found any proof of an attack, despite having almost all of Smollett’s movements on surveillance video. They have disclosed that Smollett would not give over his cell phone to verify his timeline of events. They even published photos of “persons of interest” that they had to know were going to be universally mocked for being obviously irrelevant. In my view, none of those important revelations would have been made public in the way that they were, unless there was extreme suspicion within the police force that Smollett’s story was not fully accurate.
By extension, media figures would not be being told by their police sources, as I have been told is currently happening both routinely and with vigor, that the authorities are acting on the assumption that they will never find any evidence to fully substantiate Smollett’s story. This isn’t just happening via idle speculation either, the police are doing so with great specificity, even including an alternative theory for what really happened (current attempts to find the origin of the rope found around Smollett’s neck long after the event was over are believed to be the most likely game-changer, if there ever is one in this case).
Now the question being asked is whether the Chicago police and the news media will have the guts and integrity to state that Smollett’s story may be a hoax. Writes Rick Moran,
“The cops have subpoenaed Smollett’s phone records. It will be awkward for him if he fights the action. But it won’t matter now. If the police drop the matter without finding the perpetrators, the outcry in the black community will be just as loud. And if they charge Smollett, violence will be likely. Maybe the cell phone records will buttress the actor’s case. But there are upwards of 30,000 surveillance cameras in the city and not one of them has apparently caught Smollett’s attackers.”
6. Wikipedia ethics. The first line in Jussie Smollett’s wiki entry was, as of this minute, “Jussie Smollett (born June 21, 1982) is an American actor, singer, director, hate crime faker and photographer.”