Monday, February 19, 2018



I wrote here about Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies. The indictment is an odd one, as I pointed out:

Its very first paragraph recites that it is against the law for foreign nationals to spend money to influence US elections, or for agents of foreign countries to engage in political activities without registering. But no one is charged with these crimes. Instead, the indictment is devoted mostly to charging a “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” Normally, that would refer to defrauding the U.S. out of, say, $10,000 in Medicare benefits. Its application to the 2016 election seems dubious. Beyond that, the indictment charges relatively minor offenses: bank fraud (opening accounts in false names) and identity theft.

I have continued to puzzle over why Mueller chose not to indict the Russians for their most obvious offenses. I think the answer lies in this column by Robert Barnes, titled “Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?”

Barnes’s column is off the mark, I think, because it is written as though Mueller did indict the Russians for improper meddling in a U.S. election:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted foreign citizens for trying to influence the American public about an election because those citizens did not register as a foreign agent nor record their financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commission. By that theory, when will Mueller indict Christopher Steele, FusionGPS, PerkinsCoie, the DNC and the Clinton Campaign?

Actually, Mueller indicted the Russians only for violating 18 U.S.C. §371 (conspiracy to defraud the United States), §§ 1343 and 1344 (wire fraud and bank fraud), and §1082(A) (identity theft). He did not indict them for violating 52 U.S.C. §30121 (contributions and donations by foreign nationals). The question is, why not? Here, I think Barnes supplies the answer, although again I do not think his explanation is technically accurate.

This is the relevant language of 52 U.S.C. §30121, which covers “meddling” in U.S. elections by foreign nationals:

(a) Prohibition: It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

The Russians obviously violated this statute; they spent millions of dollars to promote the candidacies of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and to oppose the candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. So why weren’t they charged with the most pertinent crime they committed? Because Christopher Steele arguably violated the same law. He is a foreign national, and he contributed a “thing of value” to the Hillary Clinton campaign, namely the fake dossier.

Note, too, Section (2): it is a crime to “solicit, accept, or receive” such a contribution from a foreign national. Isn’t that what the Perkins, Coie law firm, the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and probably Hillary herself, did?

The FEC guidance on contributions by foreign nationals is interesting. There is a “volunteer exception”; i.e., foreign nationals can volunteer their services to a political campaign. But Steele wasn’t a volunteer.

I don’t doubt that election lawyers could come up with defenses for Christopher Steele, were he to be charged with violating §30121. But that is a can of worms that Mueller didn’t want to open. 

Too many people know the facts behind the Steele dossier, and if he had charged the Russians with meddling in the presidential election under §30121, he soon would have faced questions about why he didn’t indict Steele–and Glenn Simpson, Perkins, Coie, Clinton campaign officials, and perhaps Clinton–for the same offense.

It was in order to avoid that pitfall, I suspect, that Mueller overlooked the most relevant federal offense that the Russians committed, and instead charged them with a vague “conspiracy to defraud,” along with wire fraud, bank fraud and identity theft. The first charge is entirely discretionary on Mueller’s part, and Steele didn’t commit wire fraud, bank fraud or identity theft.

I think that is why Mueller chose not to indict the Russians for meddling in a U.S. presidential election.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump acknowledged Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election

 Despite the media saying otherwise, President Trump has consistently acknowledged Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election. For instance, he did so in:

·         January 2017 – Trump: “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.”

·         June 2017 – Trump: “The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?”

·         November 2017  - “Trump says he agrees with US intelligence community that Russia meddled in election”

 Special Council Mueller’s recent indictment proves Russia’s attempt to create chaos and disrupt democracy spanned beyond efforts to criticize Hillary Clinton. The indictment explained how:

 ·         Russians worked to bolster the candidacies o Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders

·         The Russians were behind the organization of anti-Trump rallies.

·         Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz’s campaigns were also the target of the Russians.

 The indictment shows the Russians began their efforts to interfere with U.S. elections in 2014. Flashback:

 ·         “Obama team was warned in 2014 about Russian interference”

·         2012: President Obama: "I'm glad that you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaeda. You said Russia. In the 1980s, they're now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years."

 Finally, yesterday’s indictment goes out of its way to point out there is no evidence any of the Russians charged colluded with any members of the Trump campaign.  The “collusion” argument is one the left and media have been making for the past year, and it just fell on its face.

 Compiled by the Republican National Committee

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Do We Do about the Biased and Incompetent FBI?


It's bad enough for a law enforcement agency to be biased. It's even worse for it to be biased and incompetent.

But the latter seems to be an apt characterization of our Federal Bureau of Investigation in the wake of the killings in Parkland, Florida, where, by their own admission, the organization overlooked warnings about the killer that could have saved seventeen students and teachers from mass murder. 

This is no mere bureaucratic slip-up and the demand by Governor Scott for the resignation of FBI Director Wray is understandable considering the number of dead children in his state.

The incompetence, moreover, is not just restricted to Parkland. It pervades an institution that—frequently blinded by the most rote political correctness—interviewed and then released terrorists who ultimately perpetrated horrific attacks from the Boston Marathon to the Orlando nightclub massacre. (There are several more.)

Those, to be kind, oversights demonstrate aspects of bias mixed with incompetence, but that lethal combination became yet more apparent throughout the Russian collusion investigation. 

For the last few weeks we have been digesting the nauseating probability that the FBI used a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and ginned up by an assembly of creepy political hatchet men and women (Blumenthal, Shearer, Steele, two Ohrs, etc.) with input from various "friends of the Kremlin" in order to spy on an American citizen and, undoubtedly, Donald Trump, before and after he became president.

In other words, the FBI displayed the behavior of a Banana Republic in its bias (well, it's a lot more than that, sadly ) at the same time it demonstrated its incompetence by doing so in a manner that would so easily—despite their myriad redactions—finally be uncovered. 

Many have stated they felt they could do this—play fast and loose—because Clinton's victory was assured, but even that was no guarantee. Documents exist. Did they think Tom Fitton and Judicial Watch would stop their FOIA requests? Eventually, the truth gets known. Whether anyone does anything about it is another matter.

This  "biased incompetence" has not gone away. 

It showed up again Friday in the supposedly momentous announcement by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been indicted for monkeying with our 2016 election via social media. Two of them even came to the U.S. to do it.  

Aiming to wreak havoc with our system, they are alleged to have done everything from exploiting minority groups (in the grand Soviet tradition)  to instigating pro and con Donald Trump demonstrations on the same day.

Disinformation, as most intelligence officials know, or should, has been a hallmark of Russian intelligence since the czars. (Remember The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?) These particular Russkies began their disinformation campaign back in 2014, two years before the election.

Wait... 2014?

Where was the FBI? Why did it take them so long to unmask a fairly paltry one million dollar Internet campaign using the most old-style Soviet front groups, although throwing them up online this time? 

Could it be because this all got started under Obama and he was the one who famously excoriated Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential debates for daring to point out that Russia was still a serious threat? 

Obama (busy cozying up to and ultimately enriching Iran) accused Mitt of being back in the eighties. The Cold War had been over for twenty years. No wonder the FBI wasn't paying much attention to Putin & Co.

Evidently it took the Trump-Russia gambit to get them off their duffs to discover this giant espionage ring—this even though Rosenstein admitted during his press conference it had no impact on the election and did not involve a single willing U.S. citizen. 

At certain levels, it seemed almost like a practical joke.

Incompetence, indeed. 

It's worth remembering that the FBI has a history of missing out on Russian threats.

 Back in 1940, Whittaker Chambers also famously came forward to warn them about the Ware Group of Soviet spies, including Alger Hiss, that had infiltrated the highest levels of the U.S. government—something far more serious than we have today—but his warnings were dismissed by the feds. Chambers was right, of course. 

At least the excuse at that point was that the FBI was more worried about the Nazis than the communists. 

Nowadays, the excuse seems to be Donald Trump.

No, our FBI is not the stuff of legend, if it ever was, although, obviously, good, hard-working people work there. 

But it doesn't seem to be doing its job. 

In fact, it seems to be doing the wrong job

The bias and incompetence have infected each other to a degree that is indeed lethal. 

They are a bureaucratic organization gone rotten.

The solution isn't that complicated but it's painful.  

Since the fish rots from the top, cut it off.  All of it.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already.

Friday, February 16, 2018

BREAKING: Russian Nationals Charged With Conspiracy Against US

By Cortney O'Brien | FOX News

Special counsel Robert Mueller has charged 13 Russian nationals for conspiring against the U.S. 

They are accused of interfering with our elections.

"The nationals had a strategic goal to sow discord in the U.S. political system, including the 2016 U.S. presidential election," the 37-page document reads.

The nationals spent about $1.2 mil for its interference operation, the document continues, reportedly to "support" the Trump campaign and "disparage" the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Some of the defendants spoke with “unwitting” Trump campaign aides.

Despite President Trump dismissing talks of Russian collusion as a "hoax," CNN's chief national security correspondent Jim Sciutto said "there has to be read hard proof" in order to pursue indictments like these.

"Do you believe it now?" Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) asked Trump following the news.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein officially announced the indictment from the DOJ headquarters Friday. 

The 13 defendants, he explained, worked with false identification and posed as politically active Americans advocating for and against specific candidates.

They purchased political advertisements on social media, staged political rallies, organized protests both for and against president-elect Donald Trump, and pretended to be grassroots activists, while recruiting Americans.

“These Americans did not know they were communicating with Russians,” Rosenstein said.

No allegation suggests that the nationals altered the outcome of the election.

"They want to undermine public confidence in democracy," Rosenstein explained. "We must not allow them to succeed."



Lillian DeVore
Russia tried to spread misinformation to sow chaos and division. The democrats spread misinformation to sow chaos and division. The media spreads misinformation to sow chaos and division. What is the difference?

Trump’s Style Is His Substance

By Bobby Jindal I The Wall Street Journal

Primary voters chose him because he promised to fight. Party leaders need to learn to be less timid.

You hear it all the time from Trump supporters: “I like a lot of what he’s done, especially the judges and tax cuts. But I wish he’d stop tweeting and picking fights. I wish he acted more presidential and stopped insulting reporters, entertainers, senators, foreign leaders and Gold Star families.”

Sounds right, seems smart. Yet for millions of Trump voters it misses the point entirely. Mr. Trump’s style is part of his substance. His most loyal supporters back him because of, not despite, his brash behavior. 

He would not be in the Oval Office today had he followed a conventional path or listened to the advisers telling him to tone down his rhetoric and discipline his behavior. 

If Republican primary voters had wanted a border wall, tax cuts and sound judges without the drama, they could have picked Ted Cruz. Instead they elected Mr. Trump for exactly the reasons that the mainstream media, late-night comics, and party elites cannot stand him.

GOP voters have traditionally demanded their leaders demonstrate fealty to conservative principles through life experience: by offering a spiritual conversion story, standing with a supportive spouse and children, talking about the deer bagged during last year’s hunting season. 

The apparent authenticity mattered, given that many competing politicians converged around the same policies. Hence the damage when a candidate came across as inauthentic, as in 2007 when Mitt Romney said he had hunted “a number of times,” mostly “small varmints.”

The reality was that voters trusted candidates who were like them in beliefs, habits and appearance. Knowing this, candidates tried to find common ground with regular people. 

That’s why Democrats in red states cut ads showing them shooting guns and professing their faith. 

It’s why Marco Rubio repeatedly told the story of his father, the immigrant bartender, and why John Kasich offered paeans to his father, the mailman.

But what was really achieved by all those years of supporting politicians with perfect church attendance and lifetime memberships in the National Rifle Association? Relatively little in enacted legislation. 

That’s why in 2016, after years of broken promises about repealing ObamaCare, balancing the budget and imposing term limits, conservative voters decided they’d had enough. They decided to support someone whose primary virtue was that he would not back down from fighting for them.

Mr. Trump may not have grown up in a log cabin, and he has at best a mixed record on conservative social issues. But he delights in taking on the Washington elites, the mainstream journalists and the Hollywood sophisticates who mock his voters and their cherished beliefs. 

Mr. Trump may not actually succeed in Washington, but how could he do any worse than the Republicans who paid lip service to conservative goals only long enough to get elected?

Many Trump voters are unapologetic social conservatives who reject secularism and multiculturalism while embracing patriotism.

At the same time, they are economic populists. They want to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, but don’t share Paul Ryan’s eagerness to limit the growth of their Social Security and Medicare benefits. 

They don’t view Mr. Trump’s break from Republican orthodoxy on legal immigration and free trade as problematic. 

They cheer his denunciation of kneeling football players.

These voters suspect, with not inconsiderable evidence, that the GOP’s leaders have less in common with them than with the cultural elite. In their lifetimes, they have watched both parties, all three branches of government, and the popular culture move from embracing many of their core values to, at best, tolerating them.

In the same way that feminists like Gloria Steinem were desperate enough for victories to give Bill Clinton’s boorish behavior a pass, many conservatives are now willing to overlook each new revelation about Mr. Trump.

After all, he is delivering wins: withdrawing the U.S. from the Paris climate deal and the Trans-Pacific Partnership; moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.

Yet this conservative coalition, built on a potent combination of anger, frustration and resentment of its previous leaders and the cultural elites, may not be sustainable. These voters will not abandon Mr. Trump as long as they believe he will not abandon them, but they also won’t attract many new adherents.

There must be a path forward that restores conservatism’s natural optimism, confidence and universalism.

Republican leaders can start by being honest with voters. 

They pretended for eight years they were going to repeal ObamaCare, even when they had no realistic plan to do so. 

For years they promised simple solutions and blamed others for America’s problems. 

The Chinese are indeed exploiting trade and intellectual property to their advantage, but China isn’t to blame for the appalling state of many urban schools.

The GOP needs to spend political capital accomplishing the priorities not merely of its donors but also its voters—for instance, by protecting religious freedom. 

Finally, Republican leaders have to lead. 

They have to persuade instead of pander, to expand the conservative coalition by building bridges where possible and evangelizing where not. 

Simply making another Trump joke may help party bigwigs feel good about themselves, but it only enhances the resentment that put him into office.

Mr. Jindal was governor of Louisiana, 2008-16, and a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.


The 'crumbs' pile up: Feds rake in record tax haul

File photo shows image of IRS Form 1040 tax return (Photo: Getty Images)

The stock market has been heaving out of fear of higher deficits as a result of the vast tax cut law signed by President Trump and of course the left is angry about tax cuts just on principle, and both have forecast lower federal revenues as a result of the change.

It goes to show that in the first readings in the contest of whether tax cuts mean more federal revenue or more federal deficits, those who say the latter are losing, squarely.

According to IJR:

The Treasury brought in approximately $361 billion in total tax revenue for the month of January and managed to only spend roughly $311.8 billion.  This means it ran a surplus of over $49.2 billion.

Turns out tax cuts bring more money to the federal government, not less, going completely against the conventional wisdom about tax cuts creating deficits.  

And to follow on from that, if we have a responsible government, it means we can close the deficit in spending and can retire more of the national debt from the enhanced revenues – and pay for social services for the truly needy.  That's a beautiful thing.

It also goes to show that a whole lot of "crumbs," as Nancy Pelosi sniffingly called the tax cut gains, are piling up.

Nancy Pelosi's sour face during Trump's SOTU speech goes VIRAL!

Let's look at some of those "crumbs" as they now stand: we have workers left and right taking home bonuses.  

We have businesses once again forming, which is something that extends the tax base.  We have consumers spending, which fills state and city coffers some more.  

We have individual jobs forming at companies of all sorts, which lards up the federal and state coffers even more.  

We have more people entering the workforce, with some dumping welfare and SSI, to get into the arena again, also contributing to the tax base.

Don Trump, Jr., on his Twitter account, sums it up best:

Those crumbs are really starting to add up...
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) February 14, 2018

Here's the best thing: the crumbs aren't done piling up.  The knock-on effects from the long overdue tax cuts are only just beginning.



Multiple immigration plans blocked in Senate, after Trump calls one proposal a 'total catastrophe'

By Alex Pappas| Fox News


Senators on Thursday blocked all four plans dealing with immigration as President Trump torpedoed one proposal as “a total catastrophe” and his Department of Homeland Security lambasted it as the “end of immigration enforcement in America.”

During a series of afternoon procedural votes, no immigration amendments crossed the 60 vote threshold that would have cut off debate and paved the way for final votes.

The effort to pass immigration legislation comes as Democrats insist on protecting young illegal immigrants brought to the country as children and Trump demands funding for a border wall.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Black History Month

By Walter E. Williams |Townhall

Carter G. Woodson, noted scholar, historian and educator, created "Negro History Week" in 1926, which became Black History Month in 1976. Woodson chose February because it coincided with the birthdays of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. 

Americans should be proud of the tremendous gains made since emancipation. 

Black Americans, as a group, have made the greatest gains, over some of the highest hurdles, in a shorter span of time than any other racial group in mankind's history.

What's the evidence? 

If one totaled black income and thought of us as a separate nation with our own gross domestic product, black Americans would rank among the world's 20 richest nations. 

It was a black American, Colin Powell, who, as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, headed the world's mightiest military. There are a few black Americans who are among the world's richest and most famous personalities. 

The significance of these achievements is that in 1865, neither a former slave nor a former slave owner would have believed that such gains would be possible in a little over a century. 

As such, it speaks well of the intestinal fortitude of a people. 

Just as importantly, it speaks well of a nation in which such gains were possible. 

Those gains would have been impossible anywhere other than the U.S.

Putting greater emphasis on black successes in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds is far superior to focusing on grievances and victimhood.

Doing so might teach us some things that could help us today. Black education today is a major problem. Let's look at some islands of success from yesteryear, when there was far greater racial discrimination and blacks were much poorer.

From the late 1800s to 1950, some black schools were models of academic achievement. 

Black students at Washington's racially segregated Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, as early as 1899, outscored white students in the District of Columbia schools on citywide tests. 

Dr. Thomas Sowell's research in "Education: Assumptions Versus History" documents similar excellence at Baltimore's Frederick Douglass High School, Atlanta's Booker T. Washington High School, Brooklyn's Albany Avenue School, New Orleans' McDonogh 35 High School and others. 

These excelling students weren't solely members of the black elite; most had parents who were manual laborers, domestic servants, porters and maintenance men. Academic excellence was obtained with skimpy school budgets, run-down buildings, hand-me-down textbooks and often 40 or 50 students in a class.

Alumni of these schools include Thurgood Marshall, the first black Supreme Court justice (Frederick Douglass), Gen. Benjamin Davis, Dr. Charles Drew, a blood plasma innovator, Robert C. Weaver, the first black Cabinet member, Sen. Edward Brooke, William Hastie, the first black federal judge (Dunbar), and Nobel laureate Martin Luther King Jr. (Booker T. Washington). 

These examples of pioneering success raise questions about today's arguments about what's needed for black academic success. 

Education experts and civil rights advocates argue that for black academic excellence to occur, there must be racial integration, small classes, big budgets and modern facilities. 

But earlier black academic successes put a lie to that argument.

In contrast with yesteryear, at today's Frederick Douglass High School, only 9 percent of students test proficient in English, and only 3 percent do in math. 

At Paul Laurence Dunbar, 12 percent of pupils are proficient in reading, and 5 percent are proficient in math. 

At Booker T. Washington, the percentages are 20 in English and 18 in math. 

In addition to low academic achievement, there's a level of violence and disrespect to teachers and staff that could not have been imagined, much less tolerated, at these schools during the late 1800s and the first half of the 20th century.

Many black political leaders are around my age, 81, such as Rep. Maxine Waters, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Jesse Jackson. 

Their parents and other authorities would have never accepted the grossly disrespectful, violent behavior that has become the norm at many black schools. 

Their silence and support of the status quo makes a mockery of black history celebrations and represents a betrayal of epic proportions to the blood, sweat and tears of our ancestors in their struggle to make today's educational opportunities available.