Benjamin Wittes and witless logic about Trump

The Benjamin Wittes “I believe” tweetstorm about Trump, intended to expose conservative “Doublethink,” instead exposed Leftist irrationality and ignorance.

The anti-Trump blogosphere, both Leftists and #NeverTrumpers, is excited about an endless series of tweets from Benjamin Wittes all intended, in a sarcastic way, to challenge Trump and his supporters. Before I go further, some background on Wittes: He is a Brookings Institution Senior Fellow who graduated from Oberlin and is currently co-director of Harvard Law School’s Brookings Project on Law and Security. In other words, he’s been marinated in Leftism since he hit college (and, given that he went to a non-Orthodox Jewish school in New York City, probably for his entire life).

Okay. Now back to those tweets. It’s apparent from reviewing the tweets that what Wittes is trying to do is show that conservatives have entered the Orwellian world of “doublethink”:

Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.

In fact, what Wittes has managed to do is show that Leftists are incapable of even “singlethink” — that is, the ability to look at two related pieces of information and recognize that they can easily and logically exist simultaneously in the same universe. For example, I can simultaneously believe that cows produce milk to feed their young and that humans consume and benefit from milk. As you can see, these two apparently disparate thoughts — cows milk is cow food but it’s also human food — manage to exist in the same universe without creating a logical black hole that destroys all rational thought.

With that in mind, how about we take a look at the Wittes tweet thread (which I’ve rendered in plain text):

I believe the president. I have always believed him.
‘I believe the president’: GOP stands by Trump on sexual assault allegation
Republicans are dismissing E. Jean Carroll’s accusation and still sticking with Trump.
https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/25/trump-accuse-gop-1382385

Yeah, I stand by President Trump too on this one. I’m not going to analyze it here, though, because Wittes raises the subject again, below, and that’s where I address more fully the sordid sexual allegations Lefties like to raise against Trump.

I believed him when he said he wanted to ban Muslims from entering the United States. And I believe him now when he says his travel ban has nothing to do with religious discrimination.

In other words, Wittes is saying it’s impossible simultaneously to believe that Trump wants to keep Muslims out of America while not discriminating against Muslims; i.e., it’s doublethink! Except that to anyone who pays attention to facts, there’s nothing “doublethinky” at all about the fact that there is a segment of Islam that is cheerfully dedicated to Western destruction.

As it is, Wittes seems to have sat out the last few decades, when extremist members of the Islamic faith:

  • took over Iran in 1970 and declared war on America;
  • bombed a U.S. Marines barracks in Beirut in 1983, killing 241 Americans;
  • bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, killing 6 Americans;
  • bombed American embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, killing 224 people;
  • bombed the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 Americans;
  • attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in 2001, killing 2,996 people, the vast majority of whom were Americans;
  • attacked Fort Hood in 2009, killing 13 Americans;
  • attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi in 2012, killing 4 people, among whom was an American ambassador; bombed the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a recruiting station in Chattanooga in 2015, killing 5 Americans;
  • attacked a Christmas party in San Bernardino in 2015, killing 14 Americans;
  • attacked a gay nightclub in Orlando in 2016, killing 49 Americans; and
  • ran over bicyclists in New York in 2017, killing 8 people.

And all of the above are just the bigger attacks aimed directly at Americans since the Iranian Revolution.

In the same time period, some of the better known Islamist attacks around the world targeted London, Manchester, Nice, Mumbai, Nairobi, Paris, Berlin, Madrid…. And of course there was ISIS, which decimated the Christian Yazidis by slaughtering the men and sexually enslaving the women, before turning Islamic wrath on any of the “wrong” types of Muslims unluckily enough to be caught in its path. Those beheadings, crucifixions, and tortures were all internecine Islamic brutality.

Really, when you come right down to it, there’s a pretty long list of Islamist attacks around the world. Religion of Peace, a website dedicated to tracking Islam-inspired murder, notes that, since 9/11, there have been 35,222 Islamic attacks around the world. That’s not the number of dead; that’s the number of attacks. In May 2019 alone, Islamists killed over 800 people in 169 different attacks over 27 countries.

With that in mind, it’s perfectly reasonable to say that, when Muslims seek leave to come to America, a wise government will scrutinize them carefully to make sure that they the particular Muslims at issue don’t belong to that subset of Muslims (roughly 10% of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims) who believe it is your religious responsibility to slaughter as many “unbelievers” as possible — and to say that without hating Muslims en masse. Indeed, word just broke today that the U.S. warned Mexico that ISIS members were heading to our southern border, hoping to slip in with all the other illegal aliens Democrats so adore, in order to launch mass murder attacks in America. (Thankfully, they seem to have been caught.)

Moreover, it’s perfectly reasonable, when trying to figure out how best to protect Americans from terrorism to rely upon Obama administration data identifying countries that generate the greatest number of terrorist attacks around the world. It’s not Trump’s fault, nor is it “anti-Muslim” sentiment, that the countries the Obama administration identified as the greatest terrorist supporters were Muslim countries. That’s just reality.

In other words, there’s nothing illogical about seeking to protect Americans from murderous Islamic extremists — a subset of Islam that manifestly exists — without hating all Muslims.

I believed him when he said Mexico is sending us its rapists and criminals, and I believed him when he said he loves Hispanics. [Linking to this post of his.]

Is it possible to respect and admire the Hispanic people and culture without respecting and admiring rapists and criminals? Wittes doesn’t think so. He’s trying to say that Trump was maligning Hispanics as a whole when he said that a disproportionate number of Mexican criminals were heading north to America. Of course, if Trump was not maligning Hispanics as a whole, but was merely noting accurately that too many hardcore criminals are using a porous border to their advantage, then the two statements can simultaneously exist perfectly well in a logical universe.

First, let’s acknowledge that there are rapists and other criminals in Mexico. In January 2018, the Mexican government admitted to its highest murder rate in history, driven by vast criminal activity:

Soaring levels of drug-related violence made 2017 Mexico’s most murderous year on record, according to government statistics released Sunday.

There were 25,339 homicides in Mexico last year, a 23% jump from 2016 and the highest number since at least 1997, the year the government began tracking the data. Overall, murders in Mexico had been declining in recent years, reaching a low of 15,520 in 2014. But officials say a surge in drug-related crime reversed that trend.

Mexican rape statistics are pretty stinky too:

Officials estimate that each year there are 120,000 rapes, one every 4 minutes, making Mexico number one in the world for sexual violence incidents. (México es el primer lugar en violencia sexual: ONU) (Over 14,000 Women Are Raped in Mexico Every Year: Report)

Most of these rapes go unreported.  Of those that are reported, very few are brought to justice.  For example, in 2009, 14,829 rape cases were filed.  Of those, only 3,462 were prosecuted, which led to only 2,795 sentences. (Amnistía Internacional (AI) en 2012)(LA VIOLENCIA SEXUAL EN MÉXICO INICIA EN CASA Y EN SU MAYORÍA QUEDA IMPUNE)

Do you want those rapists and murderers to invite themselves into America? I don’t. I want a border policy that requires people to prove, as best as possible, that they’re non-criminal, well-intentioned human beings before heading into my country.

We also know that the rapists that make Mexico the most dangerous country in the world for sexual violence have been taking advantage of women and children who enter America illegally. Already in 2014, before Trump lambasted the rapists coming to America, HuffPo (!) reported on the scope of the problem:

According to a stunning Fusion investigation, 80 percent of women and girls crossing into the U.S. by way of Mexico are raped during their journey. That’s up from a previous estimate of 60 percent, according to an Amnesty International report.

What this means is that, when Trump announced that he wanted to stop the flow of criminal illegal aliens, he was also protecting those Hispanic women and girls who are being raped along the way. That sounds like someone who likes Hispanics and wishes them well, rather than the opposite.

By the way, Mexico may not have been deliberately sending us the baddies, but it certainly wasn’t trying to stop them. Already in 2005, the Mexican government was provided instruction manuals for those entering the U.S. illegally. Mexico claimed it was to save lives, but Mexico could have saved lives by (a) stopping people at its border and (b) cleaning up its utterly corrupt government rather than letting the U.S. serve as a source of revenue and a way to lessen population pressure within Mexico.

And there’s one more thing to keep in mind about hating Mexican criminals while loving Hispanics: Those illegal alien rapists and murderers don’t go to Beverly Hills, Marin County, the Hamptons, or D.C.’s Kalorama neighborhood (where Obama lives) to find prey. They prey on people in their own communities; namely, fellow Hispanics. If you love Hispanics, you can show that love by protecting them from the drug dealers, rapists, robbers, and murderers who see in America a new source victims for their crimes. There’s no doublethink involved in holding both those thoughts simultaneously.

I believe that Trump Tower makes the best taco bowls.

I don’t like taco bowls, so this one is entirely subjective. If Wittes likes Trump Tower’s taco bowls, that’s very nice.

I believe that Donald Trump will drain the swamp and that his election has delivered us from the corruption of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

I believe that too. With William Barr and his Inspector Generals examining the administrative state’s efforts to subvert the 2016 election, I think there’s a chance that we will return to an era of honest, or at least less partisan, government in D.C. This healthy trend will be helped by the fact that Trump is cutting regulations, shrinking administrative agencies, and attempting to move agency operations from the D.C. swamp out into those regions of America that the agencies are actually supposed to serve.

As for the corruption of Bill and Hillary, all I can say is that, if you want to see collusion with Russia and just look at the Clintons. Look at the Steele dossier, look at the sale of America’s uranium to Russia, and look at the vast amounts of money that flowed from Russia to Hillary via Bill’s speaking engagements. While I don’t think Trump will ever seriously prosecute either of those grifters, I have to believe America is safer without the Clintons willingly selling off American interests to hostile foreign countries in order to enrich themselves and advance their grip on political power.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason for him to disclose his tax returns.

No one should ever have to disclose his or her tax returns. If politicians want to do it voluntarily, fine. If not, fine. Trump’s tax returns are irrelevant to his promises as a candidate and his practices as a president. See? I can hold that logical thought just fine.

I believe him when he says there’s no reason to divest himself of any of his financial holdings.

If you were good with the Clinton Foundation that existed to sell America’s interests to enrich the Clinton clan (and I’m betting Wittes didn’t complain too much or at all), I don’t ever want to hear another word from you about a politician’s financial holdings. In any event, it’s a modern concern. It’s worth remembering that past presidents, men of true greatness such as Washington, would have laughed themselves silly over this idea.

By the way, please remind me how Harry Reid, after decades in government service, became hugely wealthy. And Biden. How’d Biden get so rich? And how did his unsavory son get so rich? In other words, if you’re really worried about financial corruption, clean your own house before casting stones at a man who has been a happy and unabashed billionaire for decades with money made in the real world, rather than through politics.

I believed him when he protested that he wasn’t trying to get a security clearance for his daughter and son-in-law. And I believe him now when says he needs his family installed by his side in the West Wing.

I believe that Jared Kushner’s deserves a security clearance.

If you were okay with Ben Rhodes’ security clearance, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you were okay about Michelle’s mother moving into the White House, you’ve got nothing to complain about. If you didn’t mind Hillary’s recently deceased brother economically raping Haiti, I don’t want to hear from you. If you sat silently while Biden used the VP’s office to enrich his son, you need to stop talking.

So far, aside from snarky complaints about his buttoned down look, the Left doesn’t have much to hang on Jared Kushner. Although I have to say that I’m worried that, before Trump became the great conservative hope, both Kushner and Ivanka were garden-variety elitist Democrats. I hope seeing the bared fangs of the Democrats attacking them has educated Kushner and Ivanka about who their real enemies are.

I believe that only rank partisanship and media bias explain the skepticism about Trump’s finances running rampant in the press.

I’m glad Wittes believes that. I believe it too.

I believe E. Jean Carroll is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I also believe she is not Trump’s type.

I believe Temple Taggart McDowell is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Rachel Crooks is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Natasha Stoynoff is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe Mindy McGillivray is a cheap tramp who was asking for it.

I believe that all of the other women who have accused the President of sexual assault are also cheap tramps who were asking for it.
In any event, I also believe that the President was merely engaged in “locker room talk” when he boasted of grabbing women by the pussy.

I believe that when you’re a star, they let you do it.

Wittes is clearly incredulous that people could believe that Trump did not rape someone. He believes this despite the fact that Republicans have seen false rape allegations leveled against multiple conservatives who are deemed terrible dangerous to the Leftist cause, conservatives such as Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. These allegations always crumbled in the face of objective facts and credible testimony.

Contrariwise, Democrats never seemed particularly bothered by more substantive claims against prominent Democrats such as Teddy Kennedy or Bill Clinton. Indeed, they’re also remarkably unconcerned about Joe Biden’s disturbing habit of pawing little girls. Democrats will talk about — and usually excuse — his handsiness with adult women (“That’s just Joe being Joe”), but they’re remarkably silent about his weird, creepy behavior around children.

As for me, I’m disgusted that, even in jest, Wittes would say that E. Jean Carroll is a “tramp who was asking for it.” Trump hasn’t said that nor have his supporters. What they have said is that Carroll’s affect is so peculiar it appears she has substance abuse or mental illness problems.

There are a few other reasons to question Carroll’s assertions: She’s a Democrat donor. She has a book to sell. She bizarrely refuses to press charges against Trump because it would insult real rape victims on our borders. Her narrative is hard to believe, for Bergdorf was a busy store with locked fitting rooms that sales clerks had to open for customers, which is hardly the setting for a sexual assault. She thinks rape is sexy. Oh, and she seems to have lifted her narrative right out of an old Law & Order plot.

I’ll add that I suspect that Carroll was promiscuous as a young woman and that her current hostility to men may be a way of distancing herself from the bad feelings she gets looking back upon her own actions. “It wasn’t me; it was them, the men, the rapists, the bullies….” Indeed, if one assumes solely for the sake of argument that Trump did actually have a brief hook-up with her (something I strongly doubt), I wouldn’t put it past Carroll to reframe it as rape so that she wouldn’t see herself as being cheap or for her to reframe it as rape to sell a book and tarnish a Republican.

So yes, in the logical world, one can absolutely believe that a mentally fragile woman has copied a narrative she saw on a TV show in order to sell a book to Leftists, all of whom will believe anything about President Trump, no matter how hackneyed the playbook or surreal the allegations.

As for Carroll’s not being Trump’s type, I’m sure that’s true. I’m going to bet that Trump likes his women willing. If she wasn’t willing, she wasn’t his type.

How about those other allegations?

Other sexual assault charges against Trump came from women who were hardcore Hillary supporters and whose allegations were not only insubstantial, but also vanished quickly. For example, those close to the aptly named Rachel Crooks say that her interaction with Trump more than a decade ago was brief and that her current accusations bear no relationship to her story at the time. In other words, she was either lying then or she’s lying now. Common sense tells us that the latter is more likely.

Interestingly, Wittes doesn’t even mention Jessica Leeds, who asserted that Trump was all over her “like an octopus.” Her statement is either a quotation from a Velvet Underground song (widely known when Leeds was young) or, possibly, a quotation from a well-publicized sexual harassment lawsuit in England. One more thing: Leeds has the same phone number as the Clinton Foundation. Really. What are the odds of that? Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised that Wittes left her off his list.

And that tired old “grab ’em by the pussy” shtick? Some of us actually watched the entire video giving rise to the claim that Trump grabbed women inappropriately. Watching the video instead of taking the media’s word for the video’s contents reveals that Trump was engaging in hypothetical locker room talk. It was crude, but the only thing he actually admitted to doing was making a move on a woman and immediately backing off when she rejected him. When it came to his grabbing women statement, he did not frame it in the first person but put it out as a hypothetical. I’ve always suspect that, had he said more, he would have added, “At least, that’s what Bill Clinton (or Bill Cosby) told me….”

Finally, I’ll bring up Stormy Daniels here, although Wittes doesn’t. What’s seldom mentioned is that Daniels later admitted she never actually had sex with Trump — meaning Trump paid her off just to make her go away, not because he had anything to hide. Keep in mind that Daniels’ lawyer during the interval when the media couldn’t get enough of her was Michael Avenatti, who’s proven to be a psychopathic criminal who defrauded handicapped people and tried to blackmail Nike.

Mostly, Daniels strikes me as a simultaneously pathetic and sinister figure — a woman who used her body to make a living and, when her body stopped being appealing, a woman who turned to extortion to make money. Creepy and sad.

I believed the President when he said he was going to repeal and replace Obamacare and I believed him when he said it was the Democrats’ fault that he didn’t repeal or replace Obamacare.

President Trump would have repealed Obamacare but for two types of legislators: Democrats and John McCain. So yeah, I believe the President about both his intention and the reason he failed. There is nothing inherently contradictory in those two statements.

I believe the President that he’s a great deal maker, and I look forward to his negotiating new trade deals on my behalf.

I believe that tariffs will bring China to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Mexico to its knees.

I believe tariffs will bring the European Union to knees.

I believe tariffs will bring Canada to its knees.

I believe that China is trying to protect its businesses from the tariffs by subsidizing them, something that it can only do for so long. After all, behind the hype is the fact that China needs us more than we need China. As CNBC reported:

“So far, the U.S. has slapped duties on $250 billion in Chinese products, while Beijing has put tariffs on $110 billion in American goods. Trump has threatened to impose separate tariffs on more than $300 billion in currently untaxed Chinese goods, and reiterated that threat in the interview Monday morning.”

That tells you in which direction trade is flowing and who holds the cards — and it ain’t China.

I believe that, in order to prevent Trump’s threatened tariffs, Mexico sent 15,000 troops to its border to help control what even Democrats are now calling a crisis. Pence nailed it when he said, “The truth is, in the last 10 days, Mexico has done more to secure our southern border than Democrats in Congress have done in the last 10 years….”

I believe that past administrations sold out the American worker especially to China, as well as to other countries or economic groups (Canada, Mexico, the EU, etc.) that imposed heavy tariffs on American goods and, worse, used government subsidies to make their goods more attractive to consumers. Arguably, this kind of unfair trade will even out in the long run, since the countries and economic unions engaging in this activity cannot maintain subsidies forever. But the long run can be one or two generations and millions of American lives destroyed.

I therefore believe that Trump’s tough negotiating tactics are forcing the long run to happen now. He’s telling them, “I see your unfair trade practices and I’ll raise you so much more in unfair trade practices that you’ll break soon, not in decades. Then we’ll go back to free trade and everyone will be happy.”

I believe both that separating children from their parents is good policy that will deter desperate people from fleeing Central America and coming to the United States and that the policy of separating children from their parents is President Obama’s fault.

I believe in a big, beautiful. transparent wall.

I believe in steel slats.

I believe that around 30 percent of these allegedly “desperate people” aren’t that worried about the children they drag along with them because those poor, misused, trafficked children aren’t theirs.

I believe that the policy of separating children is indeed Obama’s fault, although to be fair to Obama, it was a prior administration that made it impossible for the government to deal expediently with families:

President Barack Obama separated parents from their children at the border.

Obama prosecuted mothers for coming to the United States illegally. He fast tracked deportations. And yes, he housed unaccompanied children in tent cities.

For much of the country — and President Donald Trump — the prevailing belief is that Obama was the president who went easier on immigrants.

Neither Obama nor Democrats created Trump’s zero-tolerance policy, which calls for every illegal border crosser to be prosecuted and leads to their children being detained in separate facilities before being shipped to a shelter and eventually a sponsor family.

But Obama’s policy helped create the road map of enforcement that Trump has been following — and building on.

[snip]

No numbers on children separated from their parents under Obama is available because the Obama administration didn’t keep them, according to Trump DHS officials.

Leon Fresco, a deputy assistant attorney general under Obama, who defended that administration’s use of family detention in court, acknowledged that some fathers were separated from children.

Most fathers and children were released together, often times with an ankle bracelet. Fresco said there were cases where the administration held fathers who were carrying drugs or caught with other contraband who had to be separated from their children.

“ICE could not devise a safe way where men and children could be in detention together in one facility,” Fresco said. “It was deemed too much of a security risk.”

One of the most controversial measures that Obama took was to resurrect the almost-abandoned practice of detaining mothers and children to deter future illegal immigration.

The government had one lightly used 100-bed facility in central Pennsylvania and added three larger facilities in Texas and New Mexico holding thousands.

The New Mexico facility would later close and Obama would face legal challenges that stopped him from detaining mothers and children indefinitely.

[snip]

Obama took other controversial steps as well, including fighting to block efforts to require unaccompanied children to have legal representation and barring detained mothers with their children from being released on bond.

I believe that if you didn’t care when Obama did it but suddenly care now that your new position is phony. You don’t care about immigrants. You care only about is scoring political points.

Finally, I believe that you’ve come down firmly on the side of rejiggering America’s population balance through illegal means in order to create a permanent Democrat Party power base. Kamala Harris, who’s not the brightest bulb on the block, gave the game away in this tweet:

(By the way, is it just me, or does Kamala’s voice remind you of Fran Drescher’s voice, if Drescher were the ex-wife who made your life a living hell with her nagging, prevaricating, and hectoring?)

One more thing . . . about that wall? I believe that you’re either really stupid or pretending to be stupid when you fail to understand that Trump’s reference to slats or invisibility means that he imagines a wall through which light can be seen, as opposed to a solid wall that impairs all visibility. Those are not inconsistent statements; they’re just typical Trump puffery, akin to a manufacturer boasting that it makes “the best facial tissues” or “the lightest weight face cream.”

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Vladimir Putin.

Yeah, about that solicitude to Putin:

President Obama was running for re-election in March 2012, when a live microphone picked up his whispered conversation with then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama told Medvedev it was important for incoming President Vladimir Putin to “give me space” on missile defense and other difficult issues and that after the 2012 presidential election he would have “more flexibility.” Medvedev said he would “transmit” the message to Putin.

“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space,” Obama told Medvedev at a gathering in Seoul, South Korea.

“Yeah, I understand,” said Medvedev, who was about to replaced by Putin as Russian president. “I understand your message about space. Space for you–”

“This is my last election,” Obama said. “After my election I have more flexibility.”

“I understand,” Medvedev said. “I will transmit this information to Vladimir.”

Did Witness complain about Obama then? Or did he complain when Obama said this?

Gov. Romney, I’m glad you recognize al-Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what is the biggest geopolitical group facing America, you said Russia, not al-Qaida. You said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back. Because the Cold War has been over for 20 years. But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policy of the 1950s, and the economic policies of the 1920s.

And speaking of al Qaeda, did Wittes say anything bad about Obama when Obama essentially handed Syria over to Putin? That certainly made Putin a happy camper.

As for Trump’s solicitude for Putin. While Trump is careful not to alienate a man with whom he has to do business, whether he likes doing so or not, this is the type of solicitude Trump had displayed as of last year:

  • The Trump Administration has implemented a wide array of sanctions and other punitive actions against Russia for their destabilizing actions and provocations against the U.S. and its allies.
    • In response to Russian interference in the 2016 election and other malfeasance, the Trump Administration has sanctioned Russian oligarchs and intelligence entities.
    • Throughout 2017 and 2018, the U.S. sanctioned numerous Russian actors for violating non-proliferation laws by supporting weapons programs in Iran and Syria, and supporting North Korea’s development of weapons of mass destruction.
    • The Trump Administration has issued sanctions against more than one hundred Russian actors and firms for Russia’s destabilizing actions in Ukraine and its ongoing occupation of Crimea.
    • In March 2017, in response to Russia’s use of a military-grade chemical weapon in the United Kingdom, the Trump Administration ordered multiple Russian consulates in the United States closed and expelled 60 Russian intelligence officers.
  • Due to sanctions imposed by the Trump Administration, the Russian economy and Russian geo-economic projects have been severely constrained.
    • In 2018, as Russian investors reacted to new sanctions, the Russian Ruble made its biggest fall in over three years, and, as of July 2018, is down nearly nine percent against the dollar.
    • As a part of its sanctions against Russia, the United States has prevented numerous companies from partnering with Russian offshore oil projects, denying these projects access to capital and key resources.
    • The Trump Administration has also opposed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s largest geo-economic project, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Russia.
  • In the wake of Russian provocations, President Trump has exercised U.S. military power and worked to bolster U.S. allies in Europe.
    • In 2017, President Trump approved the sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine addressing the country’s vulnerability to Russian-backed separatists in its eastern provinces.
    • Under the Trump Administration, Russian mercenaries and other pro-Syrian regime forces attacking U.S. troops in Syria were killed.
    • The U.S. has increased troops and its military capability in Eastern Europe and dramatically increased training and drills with its NATO partners.
    • In 2018, the U.S. Department of Defense increased its spending as part of the European Deterrence Initiative by $1.4 billion dollars.
    • Due to pressure from President Trump, U.S.’ NATO allies have increased defense expenditures by five percent.

Moreover, none of the above even mentions the fact that America’s increased oil production has been disastrous for the Russian economy.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Kim Jong Un.

Trump is being incredibly canny about his relationship with Kim Jong-un. He looked back at decades of America’s dealing with North Korea and saw a pattern: America told North Korea “be careful or we’ll destroy you.” North Korea responded by amping up its nuclear power. America, instead of responding with the promised military force, instead said, “We’ll pay you to stop being naughty.” North Korea took the money to help prop up its regime and lay dormant until the next time it needed money.

This was a dreadful, completely dead-end pattern that saw North Korea creep ever closer to being a full nuclear power, using American protection money to meet that goal.

Trump tried a different tactic: Trump told Kim Jong-un that North Korea had two choices: Develop nuclear power and be an outcast nation that America would inevitably destroy, with Kim being the first person to be killed, or give up nuclear power and tyranny to become as free and prosperous a nation as South Korea. The verdict is still out on how far Kim Jong-un will go, but he hasn’t done anything naughty of late, there are no more nuclear tests, we haven’t paid them millions in protection money, and Trump gave Kim an ultimatum with that offered a good, face-saving way out. Just as we see with the Clintons, corrupt, evil people don’t always get the punishment they deserve. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is simply to remove them from power.

To summarize, the old America/North Korea paradigm was, “We’ll destroy you. No, wait. We won’t. We’ll pay you off.” The new paradigm is “We’ll destroy you, Kim Jong-un personally, or welcome you and your nation into the fold if you repent and change your ways.”

The old paradigm consistently failed. I’ve never forgotten that it was Hillary Clinton who liked to go around repeating a quotation attributed variously to Einstein, Mark Twain, and Chinese sages: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” That’s what we were doing. The new paradigm, on the other hand, might well work.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Regep Tayip Erdogan.

Was Wittes also complaining back when Obama buddied up to Erdogan (emphasis mine):

[Fareed Zakaria] But have you been able to forge similar [good] relationships with foreign leaders? Because one of the criticisms people make about your style of diplomacy is that it’s very cool, it’s aloof, that you don’t pal around with these guys.

[Obama]I wasn’t in other Administrations, so I didn’t see the interactions between U.S. Presidents and various world leaders. But the friendships and the bonds of trust that I’ve been able to forge with a whole range of leaders is precisely, or is a big part of, what has allowed us to execute effective diplomacy.

I think that if you ask them, Angela Merkel or Prime Minister Singh or President Lee or Prime Minister Erdogan or David Cameron would say, We have a lot of trust and confidence in the President. We believe what he says. We believe that he’ll follow through on his commitments. We think he’s paying attention to our concerns and our interests. And that’s part of the reason we’ve been able to forge these close working relationships and gotten a whole bunch of stuff done.

Incidentally, it’s been on Trump’s watch that Erdogan’s party just suffered a stunning election defeat in Istanbul. Coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe people around the world are seeing that they can vote to change the paradigm.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Trump’s solicitude for Mohammed Bin Salman.

I believe that too. The Muslim world has a huge schism: Shiite versus Sunni Islam. Iran, which has been in a constant state of deadly war against us for 40 years represents the Shiite influence around the world. Saudi Arabia is the center of Sunni Islam, especially because it controls Mecca. Both are nasty places. Both subordinate women, kill gays, kill Christians, and kill Jews.

Sometimes, though, in the world of geopolitics, you end up making common cause with nations that aren’t very nice. As the old saying goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.” That’s why Israel, which Iran has threatened to destroy, has good working relationships with Saudi Arabia. And that’s why we have to have a good working relationship with Saudi Arabia.

More than that, Mohammed bin Salman is a reformer. He’s still a Saudi, which helps explain why he may have been behind the bungled assassination of the completely awful, anti-American, pro-radical Islami Kashoggi dude. I’m not giving him a pass for the killing, but it was a very Middle Eastern way of dealing with someone viewed as an existential threat.

But again, MBS is a reformer. I wrote about him a year and a half ago:

If Prince Mohammed bin Salman can avoid assassination (and I devoutly hope he can), he is a true reformer. He is trying to upgrade women’s status, he is purging the most corrupt members of the royal family and, most importantly, he is behind the outreach to Israel. There have been rumors that a member of the House of Saud made a secret trip to Israel and, assuming that rumor is true, Prince Salman is the best bet.

If you’re interested in more details about Salman’s reforms, you can read more of what I wrote here.

Also, for a little perspective, don’t forget that Obama gave nasty Iran pallets of cash and permission to go nuclear, even though Iran never backed off from its cruel practices within its borders or its avowed war on America (a war that has played out through terrorist attacks as well as the deaths of hundreds of American troops in Iraq).

I believe that it makes a great deal of sense to tweet belligerently about Iran and also tweet one’s doubts and hestitancy about military action.

Once again, Wittes and I find ourselves in agreement. Trump’s strategy is brilliant. I did a short version in a tweet:

I wrote about Trump’s smart strategy at greater length here:

Trump cultivates a different, albeit equally unpredictable and dangerous, image: He’s the attack dog, constantly barking ferociously, anxious to charge his enemies and rip out their jugulars. The only thing holding him back is the leash that his more mature advisers are able to tug on, just barely, in order to restrain his killer, otherwise-unmanageable instincts.

[snip]

With the events of the past 24 hours, Trump just sent a clear message to the Mullahs: “If it were entirely up to me, the mad dog, any time you cross me in any way, you will die. This time, you got lucky because my advisers were just barely able to hold on to my leash; next time, I guarantee you, you won’t be so lucky.” If that is indeed the message Trump sent and the Mullahs received, it’s a good disincentive for calculating killers who, like so many of the men on death row, are happy meting out death to others but are incredible cowards when they are called to face the Grim Reaper.

[snip]

Meanwhile, Scott Adams saw an even more brilliant spin to Trump’s conduct over the last 24 hours. (You can hear what he has to say here.) My potted summary is that (a) the U.S. was probing Iran’s defenses and a single drone, no matter how expensive, was a small price to pay for that information; (b) Trump forced the Mullahs to imagine their own deaths (which is kind of the same point I was making); and (c) by saying that the deaths of 150 civilians was what dissuaded Trump from acting this time, Trump sent the message to ordinary Iranians that he cares more about their lives than their own rulers do. Combine that with the crushing economic pressure Trump has placed on Iran since he jettisoned Obama’s awful agreement, and you’ve got the Mullahs thinking very carefully about what to do next.

You can read more of what I wrote here.

Wittes wrapped up his tweet storm by sarcastically stating the opposite of everything he believes about Russiagate. It’s hard even to know where to begin addressing his statements, because so much of what he says is inane, disproven, irrelevant, or (I believe) about to be disproven big time. I’ll just throw out a few Russiagate points to emphasize how Wittes fails to prove that Republicans and conservatives live in a world of Orwellian Doublethink. Instead, it is Wittes who lives in a world in which Leftism has deprived him of even the ability to engage in the most basic, functional “singlethink.”

I believe that the whole Russia connection story is “fake news” designed to cover up an embarrassing electoral loss on the part of the Democrats.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Michael Flynn’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Carter Page’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Paul Manafort’s dealings with the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about George Papadopoulos’s dealings with a cutout for the Russian government.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Russia’s setting up a secret line of communication to the Trump administration through Erik Prince, founder of Blackwater and brother of a cabinet secretary.

I believe there is nothing unusual about Jared Kushner’s meeting with a sanctioned Russian bank while working for his father-in-law’s transition. I believe that kind of thing happens all the time in all transitions.

I also believe there was nothing unusual about having a member of a Hungarian extremist party working in your White House while he was resolving a pending gun charge for trying to bring a handgun onto an airplane. I think his wife should be press secretary for a federal agency.

I believe there was no collusion.

I believe there was no obstruction.

I believe Robert Mueller has conflicts of interests because he used to be a member of the president’s golf club.

I also believe he absolutely cleared the president of any whiff of a suggestion of wrongdoing.

I also believe you can’t trust a word of his report because he ran a WITCH HUNT!

I believe Jim Comey is a treasonous liar.

I believe John Brennan is a treasonous liar.

I believe Jim Clapper is a treasonous liar.

I also believe Don McGahn is a liar—and a bad lawyer.

I believe real lawyers don’t take notes.

I believe Jeff Sessions left the president on an island.

I believe in insurance policies.

And yes, I believe that Barack Hussein Obama wire tapped Trump Tower.

I believe Devin Nunes was merely conducting an impartial investigation when he came across information the President needed to know about and that he therefore raced over to the White House to inform him of his discovery.

I believe any patriot would have done the same.

And I believe that stopping briefly before going in and before coming out of the White House to tell the press all about it is perfectly consistent with complaining about leaks.

I believe it makes all the sense in the world to rush over to the White House to inform the President of material you learned from the White House.

I believe that leaks are the real story.

I believe the president has fully cooperated with investigators.

I also believe in investigating the investigators.

Regarding the Mueller report, there’s no doubt that he staffed his team with hardcore Democrats. They worked for Dems, donated to Dems, partied with Dems, and wept when Hillary lost. I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as indicative of bias.

There’s also no doubt that, try as they might, that Dem affiliated team was unable to find any evidence tying Trump or his family to Russian efforts to affect the outcome. There’s also no doubt that the report missed a few Russia-relevant points. Thus, (a) the report did not challenge then-President Obama’s peculiar disinclination to block known Russian interference in the 2016 election and (b) the report sidestepped entirely that Hillary commissioned and paid for the Steele Dossier, which was predicated almost entirely information that Hillary’s agent avidly sought out from . . . Russia!

And of course, we know that, although Mueller couldn’t find evidence that Trump or his team colluded with Russia, there was good evidence that Hillary and the Dems colluded, and that people in the FBI, DOJ, CIA, and NSA violated protocol and laws to spy on Trump. It was this failure to bring down Trump on collusion that led Mueller to try to imply that Trump was guilty of criminal obstruction. (I’ve detailed here how Mueller perverted the statutory language to try to weasel his way into this one.)

Moreover, at a very basic level, it’s ethically improper and morally wrong for a prosecutor to smear someone for wrongdoing when the prosecutor admits he doesn’t even know if there’s enough evidence for a basic wrongdoing case. In America, people are not required to prove their innocence to the public. Instead, if the prosecutor believes he has the goods on someone, the prosecutor is required, using due process, to prove that person’s guilt.

On a more interesting level, remember that Trump knew all along that he was innocent of colluding with Russian and understood that he was being investigated and harassed by the same people who engaged in illegal spying. Seen in this light, it’s pretty hard to accuse Trump of obstruction of justice when he fired a corrupt FBI head (who lied to Trump’s face) and fulminated about the abuse he’s receiving, even as he produced millions of documents and hundreds of witnesses.

Regarding the Trump Tower eavesdropping, there’s no longer any question that, through mass unmasking and FISA applications that were predicated upon the Steele dossier (a document even the FBI admitted was not credible and was entirely unsourced), the Obama administration was listening in on Trump Tower.

There’s no question that Manafort, who worked for the Trump campaign for only a few months, was a sleazy lobbyist who, like his fellow sleazy lobbyists, the Democrat-supporting Podesta brothers, didn’t properly registered his dealings with Ukraine. He also cheated on his taxes. He also didn’t do anything with Russia.

Jim Clapper is indeed a liar. He’s been caught in several blatant lies. These are documented here and here, for example. Brennan lied too, both during the Obama administration and during Russiagate.

In any event, the known facts about Russiagate are what they are. What I’m looking forward to is hearing from Barr and the Inspector Generals. I happen to believe that we’ll have more than enough evidence to show that the Obama administration spied on an opposing political party’s presidential campaign. What’s going to come out in the future is the dirty details about what people did, what they knew, and when they knew it. For me, the next year is going to be all popcorn all the time.

Finallyl, when it comes to Witess’s last two tweets, I agree with him wholeheartedly:

I believe that no president has ever been treated more unfairly than Trump has.

And yet, I still believe that Donald J. Trump will Make America Great Again.
Don’t you?

President Trump is the “dayenu” president

No matter how imperfect Trump is, looking at his record of accomplishments, as to each one I say the Passover word “dayenu” — it would have been enough.

During the Passover dinner, one of the songs Jewish families sing is Dayenu. It is in the nature of a “count your blessings song,” with the song reciting each of God’s miracles during the Exodus and, after every verse reciting “dayenu,” which means “it would have been enough” or “it would have sufficed.” Growing up,  I considered this song one of the best parts of the proceedings. I was in good company, for Jews have been singing Dayenu for around one thousand years.

The song consists of three groups of praise for God’s miracles. The first group recites the miracles that challenged Pharaoh, the second recites the miracles that were the Exodus itself, and the third recites the miracles of being with God and getting the Ten Commandants during the forty years in the wilderness. Chabad provides a nice version of the lyrics in  both English and Hebrew:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרַיִם וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָהֶם שְׁפָטִים וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה וְלֹא שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ שִׁקַּע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the ShabbatDayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל דַּיֵּנוּ
If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash) Dayenu, it would have sufficed us! אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה דַּיֵּנוּ

So you can get a sense of the melody, here is the Maccabeats’ charming version of the song (although when we were kids we perked up rather than collapsing during the song):

The point of the song, obviously, is not to get greedy, but to be grateful for whatever gifts or miracles come your way. God doesn’t need cumulative miracles to prove His greatness and the debt Jews owe Him. Each little thing He did, standing alone, would have been enough.

So what’s this got to do with Trump? Well, let me first assure you that I am not likening Trump to God. He is no God. He is, instead, a very imperfect man, but one who nevertheless has taken a series of steps that, even if each stands alone, is a reminder why a Trump presidency is so much better than the Hillary alternative.

The genesis for this thought came about because I got an email from a very dear friend, one whom I respect more than you can imagine, who is baffled by my fondness for Trump. Before the Mueller report, he saw Trump as a crude buffoon. Since the Mueller report, he sees him as a dangerously corrupt individual. Worse, he sees Trump as way less successful than a good Republican president should be. As readers of this blog know, I’ve come to hold Trump in quite high esteem. Thinking about how to explain my esteem to my friend, I came up with the “dayenu” meter.

To begin with, remember that America’s choice in November 2016 was completely binary: Hillary or Trump. So we’re not measuring Trump against some perfect Republican candidate; we’re measuring Trump against Hillary, who was committed to continuing the Obama administration, although with the addition of the Clintons’ unique brand of financial corruption. It is in that context that I look at what Trump has done. (As an aside, I would argue, as Wolf Howling already has, that Trump is proving to be an extraordinary conservative president who, only halfway through his first term, can measure up even to Ronaldus Magnus.)

Also, regarding what Trump has not done, or not yet done, I never lose track of the fact that, for two-and-a-half years, Trump has been contending with the weight of an entirely false accusation that he entered into a conspiracy with Russia to keep Hillary from the White House. (Incidentally, that’s why Trump said he was “f**ked* when he realized the immensity of this whole Russia collusion hoax. He wasn’t saying, “Oh, my God, the jig is up! I’m going to jail.” He was saying, “Oh, my God, this will paralyze my effectiveness as a president.”)

So here’s my dayenu recital for Trump:

If Trump had merely presided over a booming economy, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that it wasn’t his policies that made the change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely lowered taxes, even if one accepts Leftists talking points that lower taxes didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely massively cut regulations, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that lessening the government’s stranglehold over businesses didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over minorities seeing the best economic years of their lives, even if one accepts Leftist talking points that Trump didn’t help the economic boom — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely appointed two conservative Supreme Court justices, even though the remaining Leftists Supreme Court justices show no sign of vacating their seats — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely put dozens of strict constructionists in federal appellate and district courts, even though enough Leftist judges remain to thwart many of his policies — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely taken seriously and worked hard to address American’s concerns about illegal aliens flooding our southern border security, even though the Democrats’ have successfully hamstrung Trump through Leftists activist judges — Dayenu. (Don’t get me started on Congress’s failure to act on the southern border when Republicans controlled both houses. Just don’t get me started.)

If Trump had merely shifted the long-standing, failed paradigm that saw the US sending no-strings (or almost no-strings) money to North Korea and, instead, offered Kim Jong-un a carrot and stick approach to abandoning North Korea’s nuclear program, even though Kim recently conducted a rocket test and talked to Putin — Dayenu. (I’m not worried about Kim allying with Putin, because he’s always been allied with communist regimes; I think his recent posturing, including that rocket test, is just that — posturing intended to keep his own worst enemies, the ones inside his regime, at bay.)

If Trump had merely defeated ISIS on the battlefield, even though radical Islamism remains a worldwide scourge — Dayenu. (You have to start defeating radical Islamists somewhere, especially because it’s the nature of Islam to respect a strong horse and want to gut and devour a weak one.)

If Trump had merely walked out of the illegal Kyoto Accord, which was set to deplete the American economy while propping up the hyper-polluting Chinese economy, even though his administration is still paying some lip service to the cult of climate change — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely supported a reinvigorated American oil, gas, and coal sector, which will bring employment to vast numbers of people and lower product prices for everyone, even though the climatistas are up in arms — Dayenu. (I have long believed that “renewables” cannot provide First World energy needs. Forcing America onto renewables will return us to a pre-industrial time which, while pastoral, was deadly and uncomfortable. The answer is to use our technology to make cleaner-burning fossil fuels and, if Scott Adams is correct, to turn to Generation IV nuclear reactors, which are completely safe and will burn up existing nuclear waste.)

If Trump had merely withdrawn from the illegal Iran Deal — which propped up the mullahs and funded world-wide terrorism — and instead reimposed economic sanctions on Iran, even though the mullahs are still rattling sabers and making trouble — Dayenu. (Nobody expected the mullahs to collapse the instant Trump undid that vile deal; it’s enough that he undid it and is starting to reapply pressure on a very shaky regime.)

If Trump had merely reinvigorated the American military by pouring more funds into it and by ending the habit of treating it as a social justice experiment, even though doing so hurts the feelings of transgender people — Dayenu. (The military exists to protect our nation, not to make people feel good about themselves.)

If Trump had merely put the screws to China’s predatory trade practices, which have been depleting the American economy for decades, in such a way that China appears to be backing down, even though people on the Left and the Right are now saying all tariffs are bad — Dayenu. (I believe in free trade, but free trade works only if there isn’t cheating. Moreover, while many claim that things will eventually right themselves if left alone, that’s a fine thing to say to one or two generations of Americans who are economically destroyed by China’s unfair trade practices, which include intellectual piracy, slave labor, and government underwriting in the marketplace. This “dayenu,” incidentally, also goes to the new trade deals Trump negotiated with other nations.)

If Trump had merely managed to de-fang most of Obamacare, which was a drag on the economy and which destroyed people’s relationships with their physicians while doing nothing to improve the delivery of medical care in America, even thought the vicious, unprincipled John McCain did everything he could to block Trump’s efforts — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely proved to be the staunchest friend Israel has ever had in the White House, or certainly the staunchest friend since Reagan, and implemented policies that are putting a stop to the Palestinians’ non-stop, bad faith demands, even as the whole Democrat Party is turning increasingly anti-Semitic — Dayenu.

If Trump had merely presided over a Department of Education that withdrew the “Dear Colleague” letter that turned already Leftist campus administrations into fanatically man-hating entities that destroyed young men without due process and on the merest threads of accusations, even though . . . I don’t know what “even though” clause could be used here — DAYENU!

If Trump had merely threatened to withdraw federal funds from institutions of (ostensibly) higher education that squash free speech, even though . . . heck! There is no “even though” here either.  DAYENU!

If Trump had merely shown fearlessness in the face of stifling, Leftist political correctness, thereby freeing other Americans to speak honestly, even though . . . what’s the downside here? None. DAYENU!

I could go on all day with this. Trump is rude, crude, bumptious, impulsive, cold-blooded, combative, etc. I see that. I also see that he’s incredibly funny, that he has a wonderful knack for making Leftists reveal their true colors, and that his initiatives, even if imperfect or ultimately ineffective, nevertheless have shifted paradigms at home and abroad in ways that are important to and beneficial for America.

As far as I can tell, the worst thing that Trump has left completely unfixed and unaddressed — and something that is a dangerous time bomb that could destroy America — is the $21 trillion national debt, which skyrocketed under Obama and has continued to rise under Trump. This is unsustainable and we need to work hard and fast to bring government spending down even as we hope that the soaring economy will help increase tax revenues to pay off that debt.

Also, while I’m on the subject, I want to address the Mueller report’s statement that Trump refused to let Mueller interview him and the allegation that Trump played with the idea of dismissing Mueller and, while he eventually did not do so, asked White House counsel to lie about the fact that he even contemplated that dismissal.

First, the undoubted fact that Trump refused to allow Mueller to interview him: No sane attorney would have allowed Mueller anywhere near his client. We saw with General Flynn that the Mueller approach was to trip people up on small, inconsequential details, and then use those trip-ups to prosecute them for perjury in the hope of squeezing more out of them. It was Mueller’s version of the torture Torquemada used during the Spanish inquisition.T

Just think for a moment about the fact that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he was trying to tell the truth, but that he didn’t remember something they knew only because of their spying. Despite Flynn’s manifestly honest intentions, and the fact that he did not committed any of the crimes for which he was being investigated, Mueller destroyed Flynn professionally and financially, and finally brought Flynn to heel by threatening Flynn’s family.

Imagine what would have happened if Mueller, with all the information available to him through Obama-era spying, had gotten his talons into Trump. The only way to protect Trump was (a) to demand that Trump respond only to written interrogatories that could be carefully reviewed with an attorney and (b) to have Trump in those interrogatory responses denying remembering anything as to which he did not have absolutely perfect recall. To do otherwise would have thrown Trump into the maw of the new American Stasi.

I’m equally unimpressed with the allegation that, according to White House counsel Don McGahn, Trump wanted to fire Mueller, backed down on that desire, and then instructed his attorney to lie. It’s meant to show that Trump had evil in his heart, even though he didn’t fire Mueller, and then he tried to make his attorney complicit in that evil. Let’s unpack this, shall we?

First, we only have Don McGahn’s word for this. Trump was never asked about his side. The due process protections of examination and cross-examination are missing, making this pure hearsay from an attorney who had witnessed how Mueller destroyed the lives of those who didn’t cooperate with him. In that way, his testimony was probably as honest as any testimony coming from one of Torquemada’s victims.

Second, I can tell you as an attorney with decades under my belt that clients, when talking to their attorneys, often ask, “Can we do X?” or “Can we do Y?” with X and Y being either stupid or against the law. By the way, please remember that things can be against the law even if they’re not morally wrong. One of the scary things about today’s over-legislated and over-regulated world is that it’s impossible for us to know what the law is, making us sitting ducks for zealous or biased prosecutors. The fact that Trump didn’t know his suggestion couldn’t fly means nothing.

Once client asks such a question (“can we do X?”), the attorney’s role is to be extra cautious to protect the client. This may mean drawing lines that the attorney recommends the client not cross. When you have a bulldog client such as Trump, you, as the attorney, may have to take a strong stand to show that you’re not joking about the fact that something that seems logical and moral is still illegal: “No, you can’t do that, and if you insist on doing it, I’ll have to quit as your counsel.”

If that thread is indeed what McGahn had to make, Trump then did what 99% of clients do: He backed down and McGahn remained as his attorney. But Trump is in a unique class. Rather than this back-and-forth staying confidential, so that no one knows what ideas a client had before behaving perfectly legally, his attorney spilled the beans, making Trump look uniquely evil rather than completely ordinary.

One more thing about Trump’s query about firing Mueller, if he indeed did make that query: To the extent Trump knew he was being framed, it was quite reasonable for him to wonder if he could stop a baseless witch hunt intended to invalidate an American election.

Third, keep in mind that we’re dealing with exceptionally humorless people here. I sure you remember how, on the campaign trail, Trump said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Sane people immediately recognized that Trump was making a humorous riff about the fact that Hillary’s blatant, grossly illegal security violations meant that the Russians had almost certainly been in possession of her emails for years.

Insane people — and that means the entire Left — insisted that Trump had the brazen effrontery to demand in public that Putin collude with him to hack Hillary’s already hacked emails. When you remember that Mueller’s attack dogs were all die-hard Democrat establishment members, you start to wonder, as I do, it’s entirely possible that Trump made an obvious joke to McGahn (“Hey, remember not to tell Mueller I wanted to fire his humorless little ass”).

So, yeah, I’m totally unimpressed by Mueller’s obstruction drama. And if you’d like more reasons to be unimpressed, I recommend watching this Mark Levin video on the subject:

Finally, if you’re interested in a stellar analysis of Trump — warts and all — as well as an explanation for why every American should find appalling the behavior of the bureaucratic caste arrayed against him, I highly recommend this Victor Davis Hanson interview, every minute of which is entertaining and informative (hat tip: Maggie’s Farm):

North Korea negotiations reveal media’s ignorance

The pause in North Korea negotiations reveals that the media is locked in a dangerous imaginary world where negotiations play out like bad old-time movies.

To date, the stupid Leftists in the media have been trained like Pavlov’s dog to expect “a win” whenever there’s a summit with a foreign leader. Past presidents have always emerged from the meetings with “a deal,” even if that deal was either illusory or, worse, gave away the store.

Media hacks therefore have no template within which to fit an actual negotiation, such as the one Trump is conducting with North Korea. That’s why we end up with these headlines (to which I will not hyperlink):

Trump-Kim Summit’s Collapse Exposes the Risks of One-to-One Diplomacy (New York Times)

Trump Kim talks: What to make of the Hanoi summit collapse? (BBC News)

Trump Cuts North Korea Summit Short After Talks Collapse (iHeart News)

Will nothing go right on this trip? Officials have to manually push stairway from Air Force One after they broke down in Vietnam – just like Trump’s disastrous summit with Kim Jong Un (Daily Mail)

Hanoi summit collapse could be ‘big blow’ to North Korean leader’s pride, experts say (ABC News)

Summit Collapse: How Trump’s Hanoi Talks With Kim Unraveled (Bloomberg)

Aside from the Borg-like repetition of the word “collapse” (those “journalists” must all drink coffee around the same cooler), the collective media is displaying its inability to see beyond a Hollywood moment. You know what Hollywood moment I mean.

To the media, every negotiation is one of those old black-and-white films in which the leaders of two nations on the brink of war are sitting around a conference table, exhausted, their ties loose, their shirt sleeves rolled up, five o’clock shadow on their faces, ash trays stacked with cigarette stubs. If they walk away, the negotiation is over and the world explodes into war. Then, suddenly, our hero rushes in with a brilliant idea or a piece of breaking news. Instantly, the stalemate is broken, the joyous negotiators dance around the room, and the hero and his girl fall into each other’s arms, the world once again saved.

That’s certainly the stereotype past presidents played into with their announcements about “successful” summits — even if it meant spelling success “caving in to foul dictators.” You’d think we would have learned back in 1938, after the Munich (“Peace in our time”) Agreement between Hitler and Chamberlain that this is not how the real world works. But, egged on by an ever credulous media, we’ve learned nothing.

Thankfully, Donald Trump does not live in a Hollywood movie nor is he moved by the brigade of media stupid Leftists. Instead, Trump lives in the real world of real deals — and one of the absolute necessities of pounding out real deals that benefit all parties (especially yourself) is a willingness to walk away from the table. As he explained in a press conference, “Sometimes you have to walk.”

Kim tried to offer Trump this deal: North Korea promises to de-nuclearize in return for the U.S. actually getting money into the broken North Korean economy. This is, of course, the same deal every past president has made with North Korea, and the outcome has always been the same: North Korea broke its promises even as the Americans fulfilled theirs to enrich North Korea’s coffers. Incidentally, it is also the same deal that Obama made with Iran, with exactly the same result. It’s a fool’s deal, intended to keep the media happy. It’s also the classic definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, but expecting different results.

Indeed, in the CBS story about the pause in negotiations, the reporter makes this telling admission: “The summit was truncated, to the surprise of the press, with the elimination of a lunch and a signing ceremony previously on the schedule.” (Emphasis mine.) I’ll bet the press was surprised. That’s not part of the usual Hollywood script.

Thomas Lifson, not only one of the best political thinkers out there, but also a former Harvard Business School professor back in the day when that still meant something, explains what Trump was really doing:

President Trump wisely sent North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, back to Pyongyang from Hanoi, where he can tell the generals and security police commanders, on whose support he depends, that they are not going to get sanctions relief without giving up their nuclear arsenal.

There is every sign that this outcome in Hanoi is a predictable stage in the process of obtaining consensus among the North Korean ruling class that they must give up on the strategy of confrontation and isolation, with their survival guaranteed solely by nukes, and instead open up to the outside world and the prosperity market economies can generate.

[snip]

President Trump abundantly signaled that he is not in a hurry for a deal — any deal — at the expense of getting a suboptimal result. He set the expectation that, while optimistic about eventually getting to his goal of denuclearization, it might be a longer process than the short attention span media would prefer.

Aside from the practical realities behind Trump’s willingness to pace the deal to get what he wants, Lifson hones in on the idiocy of the word “collapse,” which implies that the negotiating parties parted ways with recriminations and threats in the wake of complete failure. To the contrary:

It is clear from Kim’s language that the talks didn’t “collapse” into bitterness and a refusal to proceed. Both leaders remained cordial and continue to affirm their mutual goal of getting to a deal. So far as I have been able to discover, this was the first time a North Korean leader has ever faced a press conference with Western media asking questions. That in itself is a significant factor in opening up North Korea to the process of getting toward acting as a normal country does. It is a long process, to be sure, but this is a step in the right direction.

Lifson explains as well that, while Kim has the appearance of a total dictator, that’s not true. Even the worst dictator in the world needs a cadre of people loyal to him who will be his attack dogs to protect their own turf. Before he can do anything, he needs to assure his loyalists that they will benefit from the deal. Otherwise, the sword of Damocles that hangs over every dictator’s head (“Sic semper tyrannis“) has a habit of falling, even if only to make way for the next generation’s brutal tyrant.

Trump has patiently been prepping for this moment for a long time. He knows what he wants — North Korea must give up its nuclear weapons in fact, not just in theory. He also knows what he can offer in return — North Korea’s return to the community of nations, along with Trump’s willingness to hold off on using his even bigger nuclear arsenal.

Returning to the community of nations is a huge carrot for an isolated, impoverished country in which even the supreme dictator lives in chronic fear. Holding the talks in Hanoi was a brilliant idea because it is the living embodiment of a way station on the road to true prosperity. Two years ago, I blogged about the thrumming economy in Vietnam and that’s nation of shopkeepers idea is going to seem more accessible to the North Koreans than suddenly promising they’ll be Switzerland. Kim knows Switzerland, for he went to school there, but he’s not a fool and knows that his country needs a slower trajectory.

Having laid the groundwork, Trump, the most experienced practical negotiator ever to sit in the Oval Office, is going to be patient and do it right: Kind words for his negotiating partner, strong positions on core issues with flexibility on ancillary issues and, always, the manifest willingness to walk away from a bad deal.

Some people, including NeverTrumpers have launched a different attack on Trump. They are saying that it’s an absolute disgrace for Trump to treat Kim respectfully because Kim has so much blood on his hands. Yes, it’s absolutely true Kim has blood on his hands, but he’s also got functional nuclear weapons in his arsenal. Given that latter reality, we have two choices: negotiations or war. At this stage, negotiations are still a lot better than war.

If we agree that negotiations are the way to go, we again have two choices: a good outcome for the U.S. or a bad outcome. Trump wants a good outcome and he’s smart enough to know that he will get this, not by insulting and demeaning Kim, but by appealing to Kim’s ego. It’s not clear if stupid Leftists, in or out of the media, or NeverTrumpers understand this, but people who live in the real world do understand that you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

If you’ve ever read Dale Carnegie’s brilliant How to Win Friends & Influence People, which was originally published in the mid-1930s, you may remember that he opened the book by talking about “Two Gun” Crowley, a murderous gangster who was captured in New York in 1931 after a two-hour shootout with police. Crowley was an incredibly dangerous man who thought nothing of killing people, especially police.

Carnegie, however, added an interesting coda to the story of Two Gun’s capture:

But how did “Two Gun” Crowley regard himself? We know, because while the police were firing into his apartment, he wrote a letter addressed “To whom it may concern.” And, as he wrote, the blood flowing from his wounds left a crimson trail on the paper. In his letter Crowley said: “Under my coat is a weary heart, but a kind one—one that would do nobody any harm.” (Carnegie, Dale. How To Win Friends and Influence People, p. 4. Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.)

Two Gun wrote those words just hours after gunning down a police officer in cold blood. Even as he was being led to the electric chair, Two Gun denied being a murderer and insisted that he was acting in self-defense. Carnegie points out that Al Capone saw himself in the same light — not as a cold-blooded murderer and bootlegger, but as someone just doing good for his fellow man. The infamous Dutch Schultz also explained in an interview that he was doing good.

According to Carnegie, a letter he received from Lewis Lawes, who had been Sing Sing’s warden, these famous criminals were just like their criminal brethren:

[Lawes] declared that “few of the criminals in Sing Sing regard themselves as bad men. They are just as human as you and I. so they rationalize, they explain. They can tell you why they had to crack a safe or be quick on the trigger finger. Most of them attempt by a form of reasoning, fallacious or logical, to justify their antisocial acts even to themselves, consequently stoutly maintaining that they should never have been imprisoned at all.” (How To Win Friends and Influence People, pp. 4-5.)

That is human nature and Carnegie fully understood that, human nature being what it is, you get nothing by interfering with people’s best view of themselves:

If Al Capone, “Two Gun” Crowley, Dutch Schultz, and the desperate men and women behind prison walls don’t blame themselves for anything—what about the people with whom you and I come in contact?

John Wanamaker, founder of the stores that bear his name, once confessed: “I learned thirty years ago that it is foolish to scold. I have enough trouble overcoming my own limitations without fretting over the fact that God has not seen fit to distribute evenly the gift of intelligence.”

Wanamaker learned this lesson early, but I personally had to blunder through this old world for a third of a century before it even began to dawn upon me that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, people don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be.

Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.  (How To Win Friends and Influence People, pp. 5-6.)

I would not be at all surprised to learn that, just as Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking (the substance of which Trump heard every Sunday while sitting in the pews at Peale’s church) strongly influenced Trump’s thinking, so too did Dale Carnegie’s seminal book. You can use verbal abuse to try to force people to bend to your will but, if you want people voluntarily to give you something, you have to be nice. And that’s what Trump is doing with Kim — he’s being nice, not just to pander to Kim’s tyrannical ego, but to allow Kim to save face, and be the big man, even as he gives up his only ace in the hole.

Bookworm Beat 9/9/2018 — the disgusting Democrats edition

The disgusting Democrats are waging a despicable battle. They are defaming a good man, and destroying decency and due process, all to preserve abortion. 

Disgusting Democrats will blow our republic apart to kill babies. Without any credible evidence and without any credible corroboration, the disgusting Democrats are smearing as a rapist a man who has led an irreproachable life. In today’s climate, people will more readily forgive murder than they will rape, and yet that’s the label they are appending to him in an effort to block a Supreme Court nomination.

This is what happens when you have a “living Constitution.” If the Constitution as written is your guide, it doesn’t much matter what the justices’ personal feelings are. Once you use the Supreme Court as a non-elected Leftist legislature, though, suddenly Supreme Court nominations have the same weight and viciousness as a gladiatorial death match. And if you cannot actually kill someone who owes fealty to the Constitution, you kill his reputation.

Anyone who would use this tactic is disgusting. Dianne Feinstein is disgusting for sitting on these hazy, almost fact-free charges for two months instead of passing them on to investigators or arranging for Ford to testify in private session. The only explanation was that she knew this was a lie, a set-up, a delusional fantasy, or something other than the truth, and held it in reserve in case polling hinted that Democrats might retake the Senate. Disgusting.

Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii is disgusting because she will do anything to prevent Ford from having to back up her vague, contradictory, antique, unprovable allegations:

You know, for any of us to have dealt at all with the experience of sexual trauma knows that this is a very particularly damaging kind of experience. And you do not treat a person who has gone through this like, ‘Oh, well, hey, how about this?’ You know, I think it’s appalling.

Not only is Hirono disgusting, she’s stupid. She gave the game away when she said that the seat should be vacant for another two years:

Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono (D.) said Democrats could keep the open seat on the Supreme Court vacant until after the 2020 election if Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination collapses and Democrats regain control of the Senate in November.

Hirono pointed to the long vacancy of Antonin Scalia’s former seat as a justification for holding off on confirming any nominee from President Donald Trump. When Barack Obama was president and Republicans held the Senate, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not hold a vote on Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland, and Hirono said Democrats could do the same if they had the Senate.

“I think we’ve had those kinds of vacancies before, and we certainly had over a one-year vacancy with Merrick Garland,” Hirono told Politico Magazine. “So the world does not come to an end because we don’t fill all of the nominees.”

This is not the Biden Rule, which holds that a lame duck president doesn’t get to nominate a Supreme Court justice when he’s already got one foot out the door of the White House during an election year. This is an entirely new Disgusting Democrat Rule: Only Democrat presidents may nominate candidates for the Supreme Court, provided that they have a majority Democrat Congress. Under this rule, the Constitutional structure of our American democracy is dead.

Completing her democracy-destroying role, Hirono also jettisoned the idea that all people are created equal and are entitled to equal protection under the law. Instead, she tells men they’re second class citizens:

I expect the men in this country and the men in this committee because we all signed on to this letter to demand an FBI investigation. But really guess who is perpetuating all of these kinds of actions? It’s the men in this country. And I just want to say to the men in this country: just shut up and step up, do the right thing for a change.

Feinstein’s shenanigans still earn her first place as a disgusting Democrat, but Hirono is running a very close second. Both of course, are also horrible human beings, bereft of decency.

These two women are scarcely alone. The entire Democrat body, whether in Congress or in the Democrat-owned media, is throwing itself into this intentional mockery and destruction of our democratic process. I already wrote yesterday about the ridiculous things they’re saying about due process, about integrity, and about equality under the law.

There is little difference between the way Democrats are treating Kavanaugh and the Supreme Court from the way Democrats treated blacks and the Supreme Court in the 1850s — and we know how that disgusting Democrat travesty ended.

On the infinitesimally small chance that Ford isn’t delusional or an out-and-out hard Left liar, her allegations should still be dismissed. As Chad Felix Greene movingly writes, rape can only be proven within a short time of its happening. After that, if you, the victim, choose to remain quiet, you the victim, have to live with the consequences of that decision. (I highly recommend his article.)

What makes this all truly horrible is that, when you think about it, this whole disgraceful kabuki theater is happening for one reason and one reason alone: To ensure that abortion continues to be legal in America up until the end of the third trimester. That’s what this is all about — dead babies. Think of that.

Okay. I’ve finished on that subject. Now to a few other interesting things, and then I’m retiring for the evening to watch something light and silly.

James O’Keefe continues to expose the Deep State. Remember as you watch these arrogant, smug young people that they are mere unelected flunkies who have arrogated to themselves the power to destroy our constitutional republic. They should be fired, their pensions pulled, and maybe they should showered with a solid sprinkling of tar and feathers on their way out the door:

Thankfully, the DOJ is looking into its employee’s confessions about using department resources for political ends.

Hillary’s hypocrisy continues to amaze. Hillary professes herself appalled by the fact that Trump can exercise constitutional power to fire people in administrative agencies for cause:

… the president is close to being uncontrollable. There are people still in there [administrative agencies] who by their own admission are trying to hold on to prevent even worse things from happening, and at some point, the American public has to say, number one, I may disagree with Democrats, I may disagree with the direction of this administration, but one thing I believe in is we have to have checks and balances. That`s why we have to vote for Democrats in November.

Hillary’s dementia seems to have worsened so much that she’s forgotten a little thing called Travelgate, when she fired people in the non-partisan White House travel office without cause to benefit her friends.

Imagine if Gov. Brown had said this about Obama. On September 17, 2018, California Governor Jerry Brown stated “Trump — well, somethings got to happen to this guy, because if we don’t get rid of him, he’s going to undermine American and even the world.”

If that isn’t an incitement to violence and assassination, I don’t know what is. I hope the Secret Service conducts such a detailed examination of Governor Brown that every one of his orifices gets completely reamed . . . I mean checked out.

On the Norks, trust but verify — but it’s still exciting. President Trump, having frightened and cajoled Kim Jong-un, is now sitting back and letting the two Korean leaders end the longest running war in modern history. Even the HuffPo has had to acknowledge this:

Or as Trump proudly says:

Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize just for being elected, and then proceeded to drop bombs everywhere, and preside over unimaginable violence across the Middle East, all of which flowed directly from his benighted policies. And yes, Bush started the war in Iraq, but he’d also finished it when Obama abruptly withdrew the troops, creating a cataclysmic vacuum that Iran and ISIS hastily filled. Drone killings in Pakistan, Libya turned into a rogue state, the bloody red line in Syria…. All Obama failures.

But now Trump may have ended the Korean War. I’m also willing to bet that, because his ego is partly for show, he won’t demand a Nobel Peace Prize but will somewhat gracefully smile upon the two Korean leaders sharing one if offered.

There’s something about seeing men run to do battle…. I don’t know if it’s my lizard brain or what, but I find very powerful the imagery of men running to do battle. In this case, the men running our Marines who are stationed near an old age home that went up in flames in Washington. Fortunately, thanks to the Marines’ help, all the residents survived:

Don’t worry — Bert and Ernie are just good friends. If you’re a fan of Singin’ in the Rain, you know that, whenever Gene Kelly’s character, Don Lockwood, is asked about his relationship with Jean Hagen’s character, Lina Lamont, he assures the gossip columnists that they’re “just good friends.”

The same applies to Bert and Ernie of Sesame Street, even if one gay writer for the show did have a rich fantasy about their relationship: They’re just good friends.

Okay. I’m done now.

Bookworm Beat 9/18/2018 — the Kavanaugh fraud edition and open thread

Leftist responses to Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh indicate pretty strongly that they know they’re fraudulent, plus much more on current topics.

On the Kavanaugh accusations, the Left’s line is “don’t ask so we won’t have to tell.” Actually, that’s not quite what Clown News Network reporter Chris Cillizza said. When reminded that Republicans would like to investigate the huge holes and inconsistencies in Christine Ford’s narrative, this is what he said:

Remember, in the Left’s America, the standard is the due process rights do not extend to Republicans. This is because they know that, in the face of fraudulent accusations, due process would expose the fraud. The only way to prevail on stale, uncorroborated, vague accusations is to use a new standard, one that applies only to conservatives, never Leftists:

Ford has nothing to gain? Really? Except for the fact that, as a hard Left person, she may effectively knock out a conservative Supreme Court nominee. Or even if he gets appointed, she will have tainted him in the eyes of half of America, not to mention his own children’s eyes.

And she has everything to lose? Really? When we know she’ll be endless feted on the Left, with invitations to A-List Leftie parties, huge book deals, etc.? I mean, look at the traction a sleazy porn star gained from smearing Trump.

And women never lie? Really?

Apparently a simulacrum of due process is passé for our media solons when they can profit off smears against conservatives.

Debra Katz, Ford’s lawyer, adds a new wrinkle to how due process plays out in Leftist America (emphasis added):

During the interview, Katz revealed that there was another girl present at the party, which allegedly took place in 1982 while Kavanaugh was attending Georgetown Prep. Ford previously told the Washington Post that there were four boys at the party but never indicated if there were other girls beside herself.

“While we have you, perhaps you can help us fill in the blanks on some of her story. She says that she was at a party in probably 1982 in Montgomery County, Maryland. She says that there were four guys there, these are high school students, as was she. There were four guys there. Were there any girls there that day?” anchor Alisyn Camerota asked.

“Yes, there was another girl at this party, yes,” Katz said.

Camerota asked if Ford has tried to talk to any of the other partygoers to see if they will corroborate her story, but Katz declined to place the burden of proof on her client.

“That’s not her job to do that. If this is going to be investigated, it should be done by investigators,” Katz asserted.

Having put out a vague, uncorroborated, confusing narrative, Ford’s job here is done. It’s up to Kavanaugh to prove a negative attached to a gossamer allegation that can be rejiggered to fit any time line and location in the early 1980s.

But in the race to the bottom, Ana Marie Cox may still beat out both Katz and Dowd:

We need to judge Brett Kavanaugh, not just by what he may or may not have done, but how he treats a woman’s pain. And that is something I’m going to be paying attention to on Monday. How does he respond to what’s happening. Whether or not he agrees that this happened with her, does he take her pain seriously? Do the people interrogating her pain take her pain seriously? Now, I’ll give you a spoiler alert, I don’t think Brett Kavanaugh takes women’s pain very seriously, and I know that because of the decisions he’s made as a judge.

Ben Shapiro has the correct take on that outrageous statement:

This is a morally abhorrent statement. So if a woman falsely accuses a man of rape, we don’t judge him based on whether he actually raped her – we judge him based on whether he feels the pain of a person falsely accusing him of rape. The real question of the Duke lacrosse case, by this standard, wasn’t whether a stripper was actually raped – the question is whether the members of the Duke lacrosse team were sensitive to her feelings while she was falsely accusing them of rape.

That would be an insane statement enough. But Cox goes even further: she already knows that Kavanaugh won’t meet her standard of sympathy because he hasn’t decided cases how she likes on key “feminist” issues, presumably like abortion. Now, never mind that Kavanaugh hasn’t actually signaled that he’d be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. Think about the underlying contention: we can tell whether you are a bad person by your level of sympathy for a rape accuser whom you believe is lying about you, and we can judge your level of sympathy by looking at your political decisions. The logic is simple: if you’re a person who disagrees with Ana Marie Cox, you can be slandered as a rapist, and any attempt to rebut such accusations will amount to a lack of sympathy.

And do remember that, despite all the shrieks of outrage from the left about a hazy 35(ish) year old uncorroborated story with holes large enough to drive a freight train through, the Left has been utterly silent about recent, credible, corroborated claims against DNC apparatchik (and AG candidate in Minnesota) Keith Ellison:

Moreover, not only haven’t they believed the woman, they’ve set out to destroy her.

Don’t trust claims that Ford’s friends are corroborating her story. Two friends of Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Kavanaugh of attempted rape, are now claiming that she told them the story before it went live last week. The implication for headline readers is that they’ve known about it for years. But that’s wrong. They’re not contemporaneous witnesses who heard the story back in 1980-whatever, when Ford claims it happened. Instead, the stories date to . . . July 2018. That’s not corroboration; that’s Ford practicing for live testimony.

Ignore claims that 200 women from Ford’s school support her claim. The way the report is framed, it sounds as if 200 women who were at school with Ford back in the early 1980s know what happened and can stand as witness:

More than 200 women who attended the same all-girls school as Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser have signed an open letter supporting her allegations of sexual assault when they were both high school students.

The letter says the women — who graduated from the private Holton-Arms School in Bethesda, Md., between 1967 and 2018 — believe California psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford “and are grateful that she came forward to tell her story.”

“Dr. Blasey Ford’s experience is all too consistent with stories we heard and lived while attending Holton,” the letter says.

“Many of us are survivors ourselves.”

Drilling down into the letter though (which you can’t do now because it’s been pulled), it turns out that some of the signatories graduated decades after Ford. They’re just generic Lefties putting their names on anything that involves hating men and hating conservatives.

Lefties aren’t Spartacus; they’re Nero. Lawyer and Rabbi Dov Fischer took a break from preparing for the High Holidays to write a scathing indictment of the Lefties and their corruption, as seen through the prism of the Kavanaugh hearings, while contrasting it to the true sacrifice of Spartacus and his followers. It’s long, but I guarantee that you won’t regret the time spent reading it.

The Deep State is real, but it’s not spectacular. It’s sleazy, arrogant, smug, and unconstitutional. It shows itself in ugly smear tactics against Republicans, in its effort to destroy a Republican presidential candidate (and president), and in this marvelous video, the first of many, from Project Veritas:

And yes, I know that this smug little communist is a mere pimple on the Deep State’s butt, but we all know how Project Veritas works: Get everyone’s attention, elicit the obvious rebuttals — e.g., small potato — and then keep escalating.

By the way, you do know that Lisa Page has testified that the FBI hadn’t seen any evidence of collusion when Mueller got appointed?

FBI officials had not seen strong evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government by the time Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel, former FBI lawyer Lisa Page told Congress in July.

Congressional sources say that Page made the admission during a line of questioning about a text message that she exchanged with Peter Strzok, the former FBI agent who led the Trump-Russia probe.

“You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I’d be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there’s no big there there,” Strzok wrote to Page on May 18, 2017, a day after Mueller was appointed special counsel.

In the text, Strzok was contemplating whether or not to join the Mueller team. He eventually did so, but was removed from the investigation in July 2017 after his anti-Trump text messages with Page were discovered.

Page testified that Strzok’s text message reflected his uncertainty with the outcome of the investigation.

This is true Soviet politics: It’s not “see a crime; nail the culprit.” It’s “find the political opponent; destroy him.”

Trump’s efforts on the Korean peninsula continue to pay dividends. I’m sure Obama will claim that he did it, but this didn’t happen on Obama’s watch. It happened a year-and-a-half into the Trump presidency, after he embarked on initiatives that every Democrat castigated:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greeted South Korean President Moon Jae-in with a lavish welcome ceremony Tuesday at Sunan International Airport in Pyongyang, North Korea, as the two leaders kicked off their third summit this year.

Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, hugged the first couple from the South at the red-carpeted airfield as a crowd of thousands lined up to cheer for them — some holding national flags, some holding unified-peninsula flags and some holding colorful plastic bouquets.

Trump applied both stick and carrot, and now, because he knows when to check his ego, he’s leaving those two leaders to work it out and get the glory on their own.

Bert and Ernie, closet gay lovers. Okay, let me start by saying that Sesame Street had the decency to disavow the gay lover claim:

However, that hasn’t stopped one of the show’s writers from saying that the puppets were the physical manifestation of his own gay love life:

A former writer for Sesame Street is revealing that the characters of Bert and Ernie were gay – at least for the two decades he was writing for the children’s program – but Sesame Street has shot down his claims.

In an interview with Queerty, Mark Saltzman was asked the question that many have wondered for years, and in a touching response shared for the very first time that Bert and Ernie were an analog for his own relationship with his late partner, Arnold Glassman.

He also said in the interview that Mr. Snuffleupagus was written like a ‘closeted’ homosexual, and expressed his remorse about never being able to write the iconic show’s first gay storyline.

‘I can remember pitching to the education department, the gatekeepers of the curriculum, gay content, just to get it off my conscience. And I can remember being stonewalled in a way that it made me think it was a lost cause,’ said Saltzman.

One lunatic wanted to take over the asylum, but apparently there were a few sane people who understood that not everything needs to be sexualized, especially in the world of small children.

A reminder that it may be time for a Travis Allen write-in. Because California has open primaries, conservatives have a very limited choice when it comes to electing a Senator: Democrat or Democrat? With that choice in mind, which I think is unconstitutional, I suggested a couple of months ago that Californians sick of one party rule write in Travis Allen’s name on their ballot.

I think conditions are even better now than when I floated the idea in July. First, John Cox is running neck and neck with Gavin Newsom, which ought to inspire conservatives to go to the polls. Vote for Cox!!

Second, although a Dem, up until recently, Feinstein seemed kind of, sort of, slightly sane. However, with the revelations that she had a Chinese spy on her staff for 20 years and her utterly disgraceful, disgusting conduct regarding the Kavanaugh hearing, she is not the lesser of two evils. She is just as bad as hard Left, race-faker Kevin de Leon (who changed his name to enhance his ethnic creds).

The ballot is what it is, but a write-in campaign is a meaningful, loud noise. Moreover, Travis Allen fully deserves to bring his intelligence, strong conservative credentials, and happy warrior persona to the service of, not just Californians, but all Americans.

Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy and incredibly dangerous. This excellent Prager U video is a short, informative primer about Hezbollah — where it comes from, its animus to America, its existential threat to Israel, and the crimes it commits around the world:

Honoring Ari Fuld. On this, the eve of Yom Kippur, I’d like to take a minute to honor Ari Fuld, an American citizen, resident in Israel, who, despite being fatally stabbed four times in the back, had the strength (and the gun) to chase and shoot his attacker, saving other people from death and injury:

Heartbreaking.

During life, Ari was a fighter for liberty. No wonder thousands attended his funeral. Ari was a lion, and the world is less for his loss. I would say “may your memory be a blessing,” but that goes with saying. Hashem brought a warrior home.

Don’t spend money on organics. Organic foods are big business, especially here in Marin. Sometimes they do taste better because, if they’re local, they’re allowed to ripen longer in the fields. However, if you think you’re being spared pesticides when you eat them, think again.

Also, keep in mind that modern farming techniques, including pesticides, are the primary reason our lives are no longer short, ugly, and brutish. Just as wind and solar won’t successfully power America, it’s almost certain that organic food won’t successfully feed it.

When Google said “don’t be evil,” it lied. Google is partnering with the totalitarian Chinese government to increase its capacity to spy on its citizens. Vijay Boyapati knows all about that:

It’s reasonable to believe that Google already has that technology and is using it here.

I love Google products. I don’t want to change my email address; Google maps have saved me more times than I can count; the Google calendar is wonderful; and Google flights is the best way to search for flights. These are marvelous innovations, but the evil company that creates them needs to be a busted trust.  It’s too powerful and threatens democracy, not just at home, but everywhere.

San Francisco perfectly demonstrates why you cannot trust socialists with money. Maggie Thatcher famously spoke about socialists and other people’s money: “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.” San Francisco is now exhibit A in grotesque Leftist “money management”:

Officials at San Francisco Unified School District may have acted prematurely in raising wages for around 3,600 teachers before the revenue stream to pay for them — generated by a parcel tax voters approved in June — actually kicks in.

In a letter sent to SFUSD Superintendent Vincent Matthews on Friday, Mayor London Breed called the timing of the wage increase an issue of “great concern,” given unresolved questions about when the money generated by Proposition G will be available, or if it’ll be available at all.

That could mean that the school district is spending money to raise teacher wages while anticipating revenue that might never materialize.

Death has its way. Do you know the Mesopotamia story “Appointment in Samarra”? It’s short and the best retelling is from W. Somerset Maugham, writing in 1933:

There was a merchant in Bagdad who sent his servant to market to buy provisions and in a little while the servant came back, white and trembling, and said, Master, just now when I was in the marketplace I was jostled by a woman in the crowd and when I turned I saw it was Death that jostled me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture, now, lend me your horse, and I will ride away from this city and avoid my fate. I will go to Samarra and there Death will not find me. The merchant lent him his horse, and the servant mounted it, and he dug his spurs in its flanks and as fast as the horse could gallop he went. Then the merchant went down to the marketplace and he saw me standing in the crowd and he came to me and said, why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant when you saw him this morning? That was not a threatening gesture, I said, it was only a start of surprise. I was astonished to see him in Bagdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.

I thought of that, when I read this sad news report:

A Texas man who said he was given a second chance of life after surviving a mass shooting at a video game tournament last month in Florida has died in a car crash.

Ryen Aleman, 25, was killed Sunday in a single-vehicle wreck near Corpus Christi, according to The Texas Department of Public Safety.

Death was looking for Ryen and finally caught up with him. RIP, Ryen.