I hope you’re not working the whole time, like I am. However, the Red Sox have their first Spring Training game, they are playing the Yankees, and all is serene.
1. Another one of Trump’s “best people” bites the dust, or should soon. Judge Kenneth A. Marra of Federal District Court in West Palm Beach ruled that accused serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s secret sweetheart plea deal agreed to by Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta when he was a federal prosecutor violated federal law.
The corrupt arrangement protected the billionaire from serious jail time and also protected his politically-connected friends including, notably Bill Clinton, from accountability despite their visits to Epstein’s infamous island resort via the so-called “Lolita Express,” the private plane where young girls allegedly provided sexual services to the passengers. Ick.
I wrote a post about this unfolding scandal here. At that time, last November, I wrote,
“I do not see how Acosta can remain as Secretary of Labor following these revelation, incomplete as they are. I don’t see how we can trust his judgment, and even if, somehow, he could justify the deal with Epstein on legal, technical or pragmatic grounds, I doubt that the general public would be reassured. He should resign.”
Hey, I beat Jonathan Turley by almost three months!
2. Is the media assault on Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) for being an abusive boss legitimate? I have to say, it sure looks like it. The moderate Democratic Presidential hopeful might also be the target of a leftist news media that favors her more extreme competitors, but most Americans don’t know much about Klobuchar and can’t pronounce her name. The news media needs to introduce her, but it also shouldn’t poison the well. Conservatives, who don’t like her but like her a lot better than the likes of Senators Warren, Harris or Booker, are defending Klobuchar by arguing that she is being subjected to a double standard, since so many male officials past and present have been equally unpleasant. That’s just an “everybody does it” rationalization. There are good reasons to worry about the judgment and temperament of leaders who treat subordinates disrespectfully and cruelly, as in yesterday’s Times story about Klobuchar demanding that an aide clean her comb.
The problem is that the mainstream news media is not applying similar scrutiny, at least not yet, to similarly dubious candidates like Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.
3. Great. Just what we need. “If Mueller is done, states could file their own charges — even against Trump,” says the Washington Post. So this is really the way it is: “the resistance” and its Democratic allies will continue to harass and obstruct the elected President forever, as their endless tantrum over losing the 2016 election. I have written that nothing could make me vote for someone with Donald Trump’s non-ethical approach to life as President, but I am beginning to think that only a Trump victory in 2020 will save the country from an endless cycle of partisan sabotage of Presidents, regardless of party, going forward. This unethical strategy has to fail, and fail hard.
4. Today’s Jussie Smollett note: “Empire” is dropping the actor from the rest of its season, pending a resolution of the charges against him. Of course it is: the producers were in a lose-lose situation. If he was allowed to keep appearing, the show would have been accused of exploiting his false hate crime reports for ratings, which was apparently Smollett’s motive. If he is removed, then the show will be accused of judging him guilty until proven innocent. I assume that Smollett continues to be paid, which is appropriate. I wonder if Colin Kaepertnick will start kneeling about this, since one of his justifications for his NFL grandstanding was that police in cop-involved shootings of unarmed blacks weren’t suspended without pay.
Somehow, I doubt it.
5. Yes, this is what “hoist by his own petard” means. From the New York Times:
After a scandal erupted around Gov. Ralph Northam of Virginia this month over a racist photograph in his 1984 medical school yearbook, reporters at USA Today set out on an ambitious review of hundreds of college yearbooks from that time. That search of yearbooks from 120 colleges in the 1970s and ’80s found that racist imagery like the black-and-white photograph on Mr. Northam’s yearbook page — one student dressed as a Ku Klux Klan member and another in blackface — appeared on full, blatant display in dozens of the glossy publications. White students dressed up like black celebrities, smearing on shoe polish to resemble Michael Jackson, or wore Nazi uniforms to parties. In an article published on Wednesday, USA Today identified at least 200 instances of racist and derogatory images and material in yearbooks across the United States.
One example was in the 1988-89 yearbook at Arizona State University. The yearbook was edited by a 21-year-old named Nicole Carroll, who is now USA Today’s own editor in chief.
Call me cynical, but I am sure the thin national paper was searching for a Republican official to bring down, and it found—itself.
(Okay, I don’t hate this story as much as the rest…)
It looks like Northam is going to keep his job despite the photo and his horrible, obfuscating, embarrassing efforts to explain it. This is an example of the ethical thing being done for unethical reasons. Of course the Governor shouldn’t be forced to resign because of First Amendment protected conduct 35 years ago, but the only reason he isn’t is because his successor is a twice-accused rapist, and that scandal would be worse than this one. And anyone who thinks that Virginia Democrats and the Washington Post wouldn’t be demanding that Northam be removed if he were a Republican needs a brain transplant.
6. The Big Lies continue. “I think we have to be honest about what the MAGA hat has come to represent, what the MAGA symbol has come to represent — I don’t know that I would conflate these two. This is an actor, you know, allegedly feigning this whole attack, trying to get more money for his salary, that’s a separate conversation from what’s happening in society at large and the divide that’s happening in this country.” The speaker was CNN guest Tiffany Cross, somehow trying to blame Donald Trump for the Jussie Smollett hoax.
The MAGA cap hasn’t “come to represent” hate and racism. Democrats and the news media have insisted that it does represent those things as a political smear against the President and everyone who voted for him or supported him, without benefit of evidence, logic, or reality. “Make America Great Again” is no more a racist slogan than “Hope and Change.” This is The Big Lie, with Hitler’s sinister logic: make your adversaries deny the lie, and you’ve won.
The other Big Lie is that “everyone’ is on edge and in a state of constant anxiety because of President Trump. This one is literally repeated every day, in every possible media platform. Here’s the first review in the 2/11 Times Book Review section:
“Our current presidency is more like fiction than ever seemed possible — a postmodern black comedy with a crazed protagonist hellbent on blurring all lines between fantasy and reality.”
No, the current unethical and unprecedented attacks on the current Presidency are like a postmodern black comedy with crazed anti-democratic fanatics hellbent on blurring all lines between fantasy and reality.
Here’s one-time conservative pundit, now Times Stockholm Syndrome victim, David Brooks this week:
“A crucial question of the Trump years has always been: Will our institutions hold? Will the legal, political and social institutions of American life be able to withstand the norm-destroying corruption of King Chaos? The U.S. Congress has not fared well. Many Republicans have been supine while Donald Trump has shriveled congressional authority and shredded the rules of basic democratic behavior.”
Trump is destroying norms? Democrats lectured Trump about how the opposition accepting the verdict of national elections was a core American norm, and then immediately “shredded” that norm as soon as Trump won. The Obama Justice Department, we now know, set out to find a way to remove Trump from office based on pure political animus, breached conflict of interest rules and the law, and seeded the endless Mueller investigation based on false Democratic opposition research. Trump is responsible for that “chaos”? Democratic Senators attacked a Trump judicial nominee based on her religion. They savaged a Supreme Court nominee based on a decades old recovered memory of alleged schoolboy conduct, and argued that the presumption of innocence no longer applied.
This Big Lie is that Trump is responsible for the Left’s hate-driven attacks on our core values and institutions. He made them do it, apparently by existing.