“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, May 19, 2017

Victor David Hanson on The US Media - Democratic - Progressive - Dirty Cop Comey - Lie about Trump and the Russians

Severed Heads

President Trump’s firing of James Comey revealed strange timing, herky-jerky methods, and bad political optics.

Certainly, in the existential political war that Trump finds himself in, it would have been wiser, first, to have rallied his entire White House team and congressional leaders around the decision and established a shared narrative, to have been magnanimous to the departing James Comey, and to have had obtained private guarantees from a preselected successor that he or she would serve and be appointed within a day or two.

But otherwise the firing was overdue.

The head of the FBI (quite outside his purview as an investigatory official) announced in summer 2016 to the nation that he had decided not to seek an indictment of Hillary Clinton. Then, again in the role of a presumed federal attorney, he seemed to reverse that judgment by reopening his investigation. Then heappeared to re-reverse that decision — all at the height of a heated presidential campaign.

Throughout such a bizarre sequence, Comey stuck to a (flawed) exegesis about the nature of federal statutes in question (intent is not a mitigating circumstance in the felonious insecure transmission of classified federal documents).
Comey de facto had assumed yet another new role in addition to his newfound claims to be both an investigator and a prosecuting federal attorney — that of legislator and judge.

Last summer, the many-headed Comey apparently believed that he would face no consequences for his moth-to-the flame desire for public showmanship — given the widely shared belief that Hillary Clinton was going to be president and that Loretta Lynch would probably continue on as attorney general. (Lynch met privately with Bill Clinton on the tarmac five days before Hillary Clinton’s FBI interview, and, around the same time, Clinton allies said that Hillary was considering retaining Lynch as the attorney general.)

In Comey’s case, in his public and congressional statements, he repeatedly emphasized that he was conducting an ongoing investigation of possible “collusion” between Putin and those who surrounded Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Yet at the same time, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had casually exonerated Trump from just those charges of collaborating with the Russians. Comey may have confirmed that in private to some senators.

In contrast, in the past, Comey had foolishly put some currency in an unsourced and unverified but tawdry and soon-leaked Fusion GPS dossier of supposed Trump sexual antics in Moscow — fake news stories generated, as Comey should have known, by opposition researchers funded first by Republican Never Trump operatives and then by the hit teams of the Clinton campaign.

Yet Comey was uncharacteristically quiet about ongoing disclosures that members of the Obama administration had unmasked names of people surveilled by intelligence agencies. At best, if true, the administration unduly revealed identities and then leaked them to the press; and at worst, it deliberately reverse-targeted political opponents, on the pretext that normal monitoring of Russian officials had, mirabile dictu, caught up Trump associates. Either way, it illegally leaked classified material.

Comey probably understood that keeping silent about FBI inquiries into alleged collusion with the Russians could earn bad enough press to endanger his career. And in the opposite fashion, he seemed to think it was wiser to remain mute about FBI investigations into why and how the administration had surveilled American citizens and then leaked their names to pet reporters.

In the end, Comey’s gymnastics were too clever by half, and he strategized himself out of a job. One of his legacies will be that Hillary Clinton broke the law in using an unsecured server, illegally passed on classified materials, destroyed a great deal of evidence, and participated in Clinton Foundation payola through the cheapening of her position as secretary of state — and got off not just scot-free but outraged that anyone would suggest she should face any consequences whatsoever.

Janet Napolitano’s Slush Fund
The larger problem with modern government is not that high federal and state officials like the megalomaniac James Comey are sometimes fired (they rarely willingly resign in the fashion of the British or Japanese), but they are almost never let go.

We live in a private-guilt rather than a public-shame culture. The now stereotypical “I take full responsibility” fillip of the state apparatchik, by its mere utterance, is supposed to exonerate culpable officials, regardless of the turmoil that their substandard performance has spawned or the absence of real sacrifice that follows such loud penance.

Currently, a University of California internal audit has revealed some rather shocking behavior on the part of Janet Napolitano, president of the UC system.
Her office has requested tuition increases. Student debt is reaching all-time highs in California. At a time that the over-taxed state is facing billion-dollar budget deficits, some retired UC professors are reported to have been earning more than $300,000 in pensions while returning as emeriti instructors; this maxes out their total state compensation at more than a half-million dollars a year. And yet Napolitano apparently failed to disclose that she had accumulated a slush fund of some $175 million in reserve cash.

Her stash reportedly was the result of a long and deliberate practice of requesting far more money that she actually planned to spend. That way, she freed up capital for her own agendas — one of which seems to have been to fund lavish retirement parties. Over four years, Napolitano inter alia also billed the university more than $200,000 a year for her personal apartment. UC, like many contemporary progressive institutions, has a paradoxical view of capitalism and its fruits: Progressive social-justice warriors must be well accommodated first, if, second, they are to advance social justice.
Even as Napolitano championed social-justice agendas, from global warming to safe and sanctuary spaces, she seemed to adopt an imperial lifestyle at public expense.

Even as Napolitano (infamous as Homeland Security secretary for authorizing a memo suggesting that returning military veterans and right-wingers rather than radical Islamists posed the greatest terrorist threat to national security) championed social-justice agendas, from global warming to safe and sanctuary spaces, she seemed to adopt an imperial lifestyle at public expense.

Will she be fired for gross negligence? Malfeasance?

Probably not — and for a variety of well-known reasons.

Savvy public officials purchase de facto indemnity insurance by professing progressive solidarity. Napolitano learned long ago — during her various missteps in the Obama administration — that “noble” aims can more than justify unsavory means to obtain them. In contrast, had she entered UC from the corporate world, had she supported issues such as guaranteeing free speech on campus, or had she opposed the spread of segregated safe spaces and campus attacks on invited speakers, then she probably would have been fired over this latest scandal.

Susan Rice’s Many Dissimulations

Susan Rice managed to be at the center of almost every major Obama-administration scandal involving national security. She lied repeatedly on national television about the cause and nature of the Benghazi killings. She misled the U.N. about the nature of humanitarian and no-fly-zone resolutions in Libya, in order to facilitate bombing Qaddafi out of power. She fantasized about the Bowe Bergdahl swap and in Orwellian fashion assured the nation that the AWOL soldier had “served with honor and distinction” before being captured on the field of battle as a POW; “Sergeant Bergdahl wasn’t simply a hostage; he was an American prisoner of war captured on the battlefield,” she said.

She was a party to the dissimulations about the Iran Deal side agreements (whose sordid details are slowly trickling out), falsely assuring the nation that there was no connection between cash payments to the Iranians and the release of American hostages.
By any fair measure, Rice at some point deserved to be fired. Instead, after the Benghazi debacle, she was promoted from U.N. ambassador to national-security adviser.

She had insisted to the nation that the Assad regime had destroyed all its Sarin gas weaponry: “We were able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical-weapons stockpile.” And she uttered this just months before Assad once again gassed his own people.

Plus, in all likelihood, she was central to the unmasking of American citizens surveilled by intelligence agencies during the last election cycle and then leaking their identities to pet reporters.

By any fair measure, Rice at some point deserved to be fired. Instead, after the Benghazi debacle, she was promoted from U.N. ambassador to national-security adviser, a post in which she served a full term.

Lois Lerner’s Corruption: More Than a Smidgeon

Lois Lerner, a high-ranking executive at the IRS, resigned under conservative pressure after staging a sort of fake question-and-answer confessional during a panel discussion that disclosed she had targeted conservative groups for undue IRS scrutiny. Like Napolitano and Rice, Lerner understood that she had purchased indemnity with her political partisanship. Barack Obama ultimately characterized her behavior as evincing “not even a smidgeon” of corruption. And why not, given that many conservative groups were defanged by the IRS during the critical months of the 2012 election campaign?

The list could be expanded, but the message is clear. Rarely do presidents or governors fire miscreant government officials — unless they judge that they have become political liabilities, a status that is largely determined by politicized media coverage. Of course, that reality is known in advance by bureaucrats who make the necessary careerist political adjustments.

Donald ‘You’re Fired’ Trump

Into this matrix barged politically incorrect and often mercurial Donald Trump, whose past televised celebrity was largely a result of hosting a reality show in which he ostentatiously fired poor performers.

Trump’s misdemeanor was not that he fired someone who deserved to be fired, but that he did so as if he were still the host of The Apprentice rather than the president of the United States.
The real felony remains the exemptions given to high officials such as Lerner, Napolitano, and Rice who have wreaked havoc because they assume they will never be fired.

Yet the real felony remains the exemptions given to high officials such as Lerner, Napolitano, and Rice who have wreaked havoc because they assume they will never be fired. Even a badly conducted severing of a culpable government head is always preferable to an adroit exemption from any consequences. The one is rare and salutary, the other is commonplace and insidious.

Cry not for the firing of James Comey, but for the thousands of Americans who suffer from these incompetent and haughty officials who are never held accountable.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author of The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won, to appear in October from Basic Books.


  1. Former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich warned on Wednesday’s Hannity program on Fox News that “our country itself is under attack from within” — specifically, from a “deep state” that is currently targeting President Donald Trump.

    You have politicization of the agencies that is resulting in leaks…and the intention is to take down a president,” Kucinich said.

    “Now, this is very dangerous to America. It’s a threat to our republic. It constitutes a clear and present danger to our way of life.”

    The left-of-center politician underlined, “We have to be asking: what is the motive of these people? Who’s putting these leaks out? Why doesn’t somebody come forward and make a charge, and put their name and their reputation behind it, instead of attacking through the media and not substantiating their position?”

    Huckabee contended that “the constitutional crisis is not what the President has said or done. The constitutional crisis is unelected, career bureaucrats who are trying to subvert the person that the voters chose.”

    Earlier in 2017, Kucinich came to President Trump’s defense over his charge that Trump Tower might have been wiretapped during the 2016 presidential race.

    You can watch former Rep. Kucinich’s remarks in the video above, via Fox News.

  2. Alan Dershowitz let it be known that he doesn’t think Mueller has any jurisdiction when it comes to investigating potential collusion between Trump and the Russians over election interference. Why? Because Dershowitz doesn’t think that is a criminal act.

    “Let’s assume that’s true,” he exclaimed. “Show me the criminal statute. I still sit here as a civil libertarian. I don’t want us ever to become what Stalinist Russia became when Stalin was saying, show me the man I’ll find you the crime. What is the crime?!

    When anchor Anderson Cooper brought up there is a difference when it comes to illegal collusion, Dershowitz agreed but said that is all in the purview of politics.

    “That’s a political issue,” the lawyer said. “That doesn’t give Mueller jurisdiction. Mueller has no jurisdiction to explore whether he made political mistakes, did terrible things, engaged in wrongdoing. Only criminal conduct!”

    After Carl Bernstein jumped in, stating that this was “an extraordinary situation that we need to know about,” Dershowitz shot back.

    We will never find it out,” he noted. “It will always be done in secret. It should be a special investigative committee in which everything is done in the open.”

    You can watch the exchange above, via CNN.

    1. Dershowitz: Special Counsel Is Wrong Choice, Except to Investigate Leaks

      The only legitimate targets of a special counsel, Dershowitz says, would be “those current and former intelligence officials who willfully leaked classified and highly secret information to the media” over the past several months.

    2. A special counsel is the wrong way to uncover the truth

  3. Meanwhile Trump is making his first trip abroad. Abroad to Saudi Arabia of all places. Deuce must be proud as he stands by his man!

    1. The issue is not "our man Trump:"

      The issue is an out of control deep state.

      ...but some want a Stalinist Deep State as long it it THEIR Deep State.

    2. .

      Well, at least you have the self-awareness enough to recognize that, Doug. Progress.


  4. I added your video to the middle of the post.

    Good for ALAN M. DERSHOWITZ! Never thought I would post that.

  5. Where would you have him go, Ash? And, who is your man?

    1. Trudeau

      Ash would go to the USA for extraordinary health care, if he needed it. all other Canadians that can afford to do so.

  6. I like the CNN Video better:

    "We will have leaks, selective leaks, the truth will never get out."

  7. Replies
    1. The entire "Intelligence" establishment.

      Plus however the FBI would properly be defined today.

    2. ...then there's the Dems, establishment Pubs, and the MSM.

    3. .

      I judge a man by his enemies.

      Some people take the radical view that you should judge a man by his actions.


  8. Triangulation

    Anyone interested in stability in the Middle East would have to deal with the loathsome Saudis.

    You don't have to negotiate with friends, you save that for your enemies. If your long term interests include peace in the ME, you will have to deal with Iran. The best way to get Iran's attention is to deal with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Trump is already triangulating Russia and China and with Mexico and Latin America.

  9. DERSHOWITZ is something of a lefty but he's smart as hell, reasonable, and really knows the law.

    He's admirable, and what he says above certainly seems right on the mark.

    1. He's may be the only lefty lawyer around that would have the courage to say such things.

  10. Canadians that come here for health care should be forced into the ObamaCare/VA system.

    Ash would soon join my friend Dale in the other world.

    They would not get along.

  11. Charges dropped against Julian Assange
    POSTED AT 8:01 AM ON MAY 19, 2017 BY JAZZ SHAW

    Could Wikileaks founder and wanted fugitive Julian Assange finally be on his way out of the Ecuadorian embassy after half a decade? Let’s just say it right up front… probably not. Or at least not yet. But for now, the man may have 99 problems, but the rape charges against him in Sweden ain’t one. The Swedes have dropped their investigation, meaning that they (specifically Sweden) won’t be waiting to arrest him if he leaves his hideout. (CNN)

    Sweden is dropping its investigation into WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on rape allegations, according to a prosecution statement released Friday.

    Assange has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since 2012, seeking to avoid an arrest warrant on the allegations in Sweden. He has always denied wrongdoing.

    Assange, an Australian national, has previously said that he’s afraid that if he leaves the embassy, he could end up being extradited and facing the death penalty in the United States over allegations of revealing government secrets through his site, WikiLeaks.

    Following the statement, Assange tweeted an old image of himself smiling, but has not yet made any other comment.
    The Swedish rape charges may have been the original driving factor which sent him to the embassy, but other charges have stacked up in the meantime. The Brits still have a warrant to arrest him on charges of jumping bail. And, of course, the United States is ready with a list of charges and we have an extradition agreement with the Brits, so if he steps out the door he might well be quickly on his way here. Assange is probably being a bit overly dramatic when he says he could face the death penalty here, but considering the original sentence that Chelsea Manning (then Bradley) received from the incident which kicked all of this off it could be a rough road for him. Plus, the person who was more inclined to hand out pardons or commutations to those who endangered our national security is no longer in office. I somehow doubt he’d get such an offer from President Trump.

    So what does this mean for the immediate future? Perhaps I’m overly skeptical, but I don’t see the situation changing much, if at all. Assange was always more worried about getting dragged to the United States than he was the sexual assault charges in Sweden. The Brits are saying that they will back off their surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy to “a level of resourcing which is proportionate to [a much less serious] offence.” (Meaning the Failure to Appear charge rather than a sexual assault rap.) But that doesn’t mean that nobody is watching. And it would be shocking indeed if we don’t have some of our own people keeping tabs on the situation, particularly after this development. If Assange can make it out of the embassy (and the country) unnoticed he might be able to flee to a different country where we have no extradition agreement, assuming there’s anyone who would take him.

    Perhaps he can go join Snowden in Russia? That sounds like a real party in the making. But just think what could happen if we manage to put the bag on this guy, haul him back to Quantico and have some agents seriously put the screws to him. Imagine what we might learn about any number of ongoing (or even closed) investigations if Assange decided to cut a deal. Sadly, at least for now, that all remains in the realm of speculation.

    If I understand it correctly, and I may not, those 'rape' charges in Sweden had something to do with not wearing a condom.

    In Sweden you better really really trust your partner.

    1. The condom business may have been an enhancement to the original rape charge.

    2. I doubt the muzzies in Sweden who are terrorizing the women there are worried about such sensibilities.

  12. YES ! Put Comey in the dock !

    May 19, 2017
    Should Comey Be Prosecuted?
    By Daniel John Sobieski

    If, as the liberal lynch mob insists, President Trump tried to intimidate former FBI Director James Comey into ending his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, it is arguably worthy of the charge of obstruction of justice. But if it is true and Comey failed to report it, James Comey could be prosecuted as well. As Fox News analyst Greg Jarrett reported Tuesday:

    Three months ago, the then-FBI Director met with President Trump. Following their private conversation, Comey did what he always does –he wrote a memorandum to himself memorializing the conversation. Good lawyers do that routinely.

    Now, only after Comey was fired, the memo magically surfaces in an inflammatory New York Times report which alleges that Mr. Trump asked Comey to end the Michael Flynn investigation…

    Under the law, Comey is required to immediately inform the Department of Justice of any attempt to obstruct justice by any person, even the President of the United States. Failure to do so would result in criminal charges against Comey. (18 USC 4 and 28 USC 1361) He would also, upon sufficient proof, lose his license to practice law.

    So, if Comey believed Trump attempted to obstruct justice, did he comply with the law by reporting it to the DOJ? If not, it calls into question whether the events occurred as the Times reported it.

    Certainly, Comey had ample opportunity to report Trump’s alleged obstruction. He recently testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his Hamlet-like angst over holding the election in his hands. He could have but did not bring up the obstruction claim then. Comey met with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and ranking member Mark Warner and apparently disclosed no obstruction claim. One would suggest the reason Comey has not raised the obstruction claim publicly is because it didn’t happen. If it did, again, Comey should be prosecuted for not reporting it. Is it possible that out of spite Comey let others read the unseen memo knowing that the media would embellish and speculate, all just to get back at Trump for his firing?

    1. The usual suspects in the liberal media have branded the timing of President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey as suspicious, accusing Trump of trying to block an investigation into alleged collusion with Russia. Never mind that even the likes of California Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein admit there is no evidence of any such thing or the Congressional testimony of acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that Trump has not interfered or could not interfere, with an investigation that, contrary to rumors, is adequately funded.

      George Washington University Law Professor Jonathan Turley said on Wednesday’s “Morning Joe” Show on MSNBC that he sees no proof of obstruction of justice either in the firing of Comey or the firing of Acting Atty. Gen. Sally Yates:

      Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” George Washington University professor Jonathan Turley commented on recent reports surrounding President Donald Trump’s firing of both former FBI Director James Comey and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates and memos Comey has about his interactions with Trump.

      Turley called those instances “pretty thin soup for either a criminal or impeachment proceeding.”

      When asked if Trump’s actions reached a level of obstruction of justice charge, Turley said, “This isn’t going to be real popular, but I don’t think so. My family has been pressing me on this. It’s sort of like going cross-country with them and saying, are we there yet? Are we there yet? Everyone wants to reach that point. You say, I can still see our house. It’s only been 150 days or so since the inauguration. The fact is, I don’t think this makes out an obstruction case.”

      One wonders if Comey wrote a memo about the meeting between AG Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton on the tarmac while Hillary was under investigation for real crimes? Do the liberals want to see it, or does it only depend on whose ox is being gored?

      Multiple sources, and not anonymous ones, have said that Comey’s firing did not and could not have impeded the investigation and that in fact President Trump never tried to. Trump had the right to fire Comey if Trump didn’t like the color of Comey’s tie.

      If Trump in fact did try to obstruct justice, Comey’s failure to report it is itself a crime. Maybe it is James Comey who should lawyer up.

  13. Trump to repeal the Big Refinery tax?
    May 19, 2017
    Good news: If President Donald Trump is true to his word, the price of gas at the pump is about to get significantly cheaper. More

    He should do it.

    It would endear him to probably 50 million motorists....more folks than voted for him for President.

    What do folks really care about - La A'ffair Russe, or filling up the SUV and not going bankrupt at the same time ?

    1. The Donald is putting his pal Pooty in a bind with all his re-opening drilling and fracking all around.

      The only thing the Russians really have to sell is oil and natural gas.

      They are going to be in a world of hurt.

    2. Same goes for the Saudis, who are already asking us pretty please don't drill so much, don't export so much....

      Whatever happened to 'peak oil' ?

      Rufus, would you know ?

    3. .


      More likely, any money the oil companies (like most other companies) get in tax savings will go to increased executive pay and bonuses and stock buybacks.

      We've seen this happen before with Bush's reduced taxes for repatriated foreign profits.

      Don't spend all those savings before you have them old timer.


    4. Thanks for the advice, green horn.


    5. Wait, I don't know how to spend money I don't have.

      Let's ask Quirk how that is done.

      He would know.

    6. I think what most likely would happen is the states would jump on the opportunity to raise their gas taxes.

      Every time the price of gas goes down the state governments out this way are always talking about raising the gas tax.

      Not that any roads or bridges actually get fixed when they do. The only new road construction I've seen out my way is some 4 lanes on Highway 95, but that's a federal road.

      Here's a map of traffic cameras on US 95, Quirk, so you'll know where to be cautious when going to or coming from Sun Meadow Nudist Resort


    7. WARNING: Out this way, always drive clothed, Quirk.

      I know you don't like to but it will save you money and jail time.

    8. .

      Ah, sorry, I forgot in Idaho you folks haven't progressed past the barter stage.

      The idea of revolving credit must be strange and wondrous to the yokel mind.

      Let me re-phrase my warning. Don't count your chickens before they hatch.


  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Trump is going to try to create a common front to resist Iran, so I've read.

  16. .

    Meanwhile Trump is making his first trip abroad. Abroad to Saudi Arabia of all places.



    Saudi Arabia, first stop on Trump's Worldwide Children of the Book Unity Tour.

    Trump, that great friend of Islam, travels to the cradle of Wahhabism to carry a message of religious tolerance, cooperation, and love.

    No doubt the Saudi mullahs and imams are waiting expectantly for Trump's words of enlightenment and instruction.

    No doubt his speech with be the first of its kind ever by any president, historical, and great.

    God is great and Trump's a little better.


    1. God is great and Trump's a little better.

      Now that is great.

      Did you read that somewhere, or actually make it up yourself ?

    2. .

      Oh, that's mine but it's hardly original. Trump seems to imply it all the time.


    3. .

      What do you think the odds are Trump will make it through Saudi Arabia, much less, Israel or the Vatican without putting his foot in his mouth?


    4. Unlike his milquetoast predecessor, I doubt he'll be making any apologies.

    5. .

      Trump lacks the self-confidence to admit to screwing up or the integrity to apologize when he does.


    6. No self-confidence and no integrity. OK.

  17. .

    Weiner reportedly will be in court today and plead guilty to a charge of passing obscene photos to a minor.


  18. If Melania wears a burka in Saudi I think I'll shoot myself.

  19. .

    Don't always agree with Krauthammer but he can make sense at times.

    Using 25th Amendment to Dump Trump is a Bad Idea

    Charles Krauthammer May 18, 2017 8:00 PM

    The pleasant surprise of the first 100 days is over. The action was hectic, heated, often confused, but well within the bounds of normalcy. Policy (e.g., health care) was being hashed out, a Supreme Court nominee confirmed, foreign-policy challenges (e.g., North Korea) addressed.

    Donald Trump’s character — volatile, impulsive, often self-destructive — had not changed since the campaign. But it seemed as if the guardrails of our democracy — Congress, the courts, the states, the media, the cabinet — were keeping things within bounds.

    Then came the last ten days. The country is now caught in the internal maelstrom that is the mind of Donald Trump. We are in the realm of the id. Chaos reigns. No guardrails can hold.

    Normal activity disappears. North Korea’s launch of an alarming new missile and a problematic visit from the president of Turkey (locus of our most complicated and tortured allied relationship) barely evoke notice. Nothing can escape the black hole of a three-part presidential meltdown.

    - First, the firing of James Comey. Trump, consumed by the perceived threat of the Russia probe to his legitimacy, executes a mindlessly impulsive dismissal of the FBI director. He then surrounds it with a bodyguard of lies — attributing the dismissal to a Justice Department recommendation — which his staff goes out and parrots. Only to be undermined and humiliated when the boss contradicts them within 48 hours.

    Result? Layers of falsehoods giving the impression of an elaborate cover-up — in the absence of a crime. At least Nixon was trying to quash a third-rate burglary and associated felonies. Here we don’t even have a body, let alone a smoking gun. Trump insists there’s no “there” there, but acts as if the “there” is everywhere.

    — Second, Trump’s divulging classified information to the Russians. A stupid, needless mistake. But despite the media hysteria, hardly an irreparable national-security calamity.

    The Israelis, whose asset might have been jeopardized, are no doubt upset, but the notion that this will cause a great rupture to their (and others’) intelligence relationship with the U.S. is nonsense. These kinds of things happen all the time. When the Obama administration spilled secrets of the anti-Iranian Stuxnet virus or blew the cover of a double agent in Yemen, there was none of the garment-rending that followed Trump’s disclosure.

    The country is now caught in the internal maelstrom that is the mind of Donald Trump. We are in the realm of the id. Chaos reigns.



    1. {...}

      Once again, however, the cover-up far exceeded the crime. Trump had three top officials come out and declare the disclosure story false. The next morning, Trump tweeted he was entirely within his rights to reveal what he revealed, thereby verifying the truth of the story. His national-security adviser, H. R. McMaster, floundered his way through a news conference, trying to reconcile his initial denial with Trump’s subsequent contradiction. It was a sorry sight.

      — Is it any wonder, therefore, that when the third crisis hit on Tuesday night — the Comey memo claiming that Trump tried to get him to call off the FBI investigation of Michael Flynn — Republicans hid under their beds rather than come out to defend the president? The White House hurriedly issued a statement denying the story. The statement was unsigned. You want your name on a statement that your boss could peremptorily contradict in a Twitter-second?

      Republicans are beginning to panic. One sign is the notion now circulating that, perhaps to fend off ultimate impeachment, Trump be dumped by way of the 25th Amendment.

      That’s the post-Kennedy assassination measure that provides for removing an incapacitated president on the decision of the vice president and a majority of the cabinet.

      This is the worst idea since Leno at 10 p.m. It perverts the very intent of the amendment. It was meant for a stroke, not stupidity; for Alzheimer’s, not narcissism. Otherwise, what it authorizes is a coup — willful overthrow by the leader’s own closest associates.

      I thought we had progressed beyond the Tudors and the Stuarts. Moreover, this would be seen by millions as an establishment usurpation to get rid of a disruptive outsider. It would be the most destabilizing event in American political history — the gratuitous overthrow of an essential constant in American politics, namely the fixedness of the presidential term (save for high crimes and misdemeanors).

      Trump’s behavior is deeply disturbing but hardly surprising. His mercurial nature is not the product of a post-inaugural adder sting at Mar-a-Lago. It’s been there all along. And the American electorate chose him nonetheless.

      What to do? Strengthen the guardrails. Redouble oversight of this errant president. Follow the facts, especially the Comey memos. And let the chips fall where they may.


    2. Krauthammer wrote:

      "Result? Layers of falsehoods giving the impression of an elaborate cover-up — in the absence of a crime. At least Nixon was trying to quash a third-rate burglary and associated felonies. Here we don’t even have a body, let alone a smoking gun. Trump insists there’s no “there” there, but acts as if the “there” is everywhere."

      Is the hacking of, and release of, someone else's email a crime in the US?

    3. Bing found:

      "Criminal Penalties for Email Hacking
      Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

      Law Dictionary: Criminal Penalties for Email Hacking

      Email hacking is one of the most common instances of cybercrime these days, and it is one of the most severely penalized. Depending on the circumstances of the offense, the nature of the charges in some jurisdictions and the intent of the prosecution, the unauthorized access of email accounts can be handled as a misdemeanor or a felony with additional civil liabilities. In other words, the penalties for hacking email accounts can be severe.


    4. That makes sense.

      It's like stealing someone's US Mail, which is a big no-no.

  20. Variety: Fox News fires Bob Beckel for “making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee”

    That run didn't last long.

  21. Hey Doug, was it the 'deep state' that took down Nixon?

  22. Weiner cops plea, may get two years.

    They best keep his asshole in an isolated cell.

    1. Huma files for divorce.

      Weiner weeps in court.

      Says he has a sickness but no excuse.

      Prosecutors asking two years in slammer.

  23. Fox News is the favorite target of the grievance lawyers these days, who are working in tandem with the Dems to bring it down.

    Fox News fires Bob Beckel for “making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee”; Update: Fox issues statement

    No word yet on what he said but I wonder if it would have been handled differently a year ago. Amid all the lawsuits and bad press related to sexual harassment allegedly committed by Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, Fox is also battling a racial discrimination suit filed by a dozen black employees, one of whom is anchor Kelly Wright. (A 13th employee has filed a complaint with the EEOC.) If they’d let Beckel slide, it would have damaged their defense. The policy had to be zero tolerance.

    In accordance with network protocol for accused wrongdoers, Beckel will receive a $70 million severance package. Kidding, kidding.

    “Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” the network said in a statement.

    The dismissal opens – or perhaps closes – another chapter in an off-and-on relationship Beckel has had with the 21st Century Fox-owned cable-news outlet over the years. Beckel, a longtime political consultant as well as a former campaign manager for Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale, joined Fox News in 2000, and had a years-long tenure on “The Five” when it aired in the late afternoon. Indeed, he was one of the program’s original co-hosts.

    He departed in 2015 while recuperating from back surgery in a split that was seen as less an amicable. “We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” said Bill Shine, who was then the network’s executive vice president of programming, in a statement at the time. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”
    He came back to “The Five” in January of this year where his niche, as always, was the “liberal Archie Bunker,” the brusque curmudgeon who didn’t care if you thought he was obnoxious and whom you sort of liked because of that. Turns out the comparison was truer than we knew!

    Evidently Fox News HR received a report of what he said on Tuesday evening, investigated for 48 hours, and was sufficiently satisfied that the claim was true to cut Beckel loose this morning. They’re not saying anything right now — what Beckel said, to whom he said it, who might replace him on “The Five,” and so on. I sure hope Juan Williams wasn’t the target of his abuse. Bad enough that the poor guy’s having guns pulled on him in the workplace. Now this.

    1. Williams is already in rotation on the show so presumably he’ll be more of a regular host going forward. Maybe they’ll also add Julie Roginsky, who filed suit against the network last month because, she claims, Roger Ailes told her she’d need to have sex with him to land a co-host spot on “The Five.” Making Roginsky a co-host now would right another alleged wrong after Beckel’s departure. In the meantime, exit question: Which Fox host will be the first to cite Beckel as proof that liberals are racist?

      Update: Yeesh.

      David Folkenflik ✔ @davidfolkenflik
      Beckel stormed out of his office because client, a black Fox IT staffer entered - citing the man's race - per staffer's atty Doug Wigdor
      9:09 AM - 19 May 2017
      14 14 Retweets 16 16 likes
      Twitter Ads info & Privacy
      David Folkenflik ✔ @davidfolkenflik
      2/ Wigdor is now representing 23 clients who have made accusations against Fox - the majority of them centering on racial bias.
      David Folkenflik ✔ @davidfolkenflik
      3/ Wigdor also alleges Beckel tried to intimidate IT staffer to withdraw complaint - right in front of chief HR exec Kevin Lord.
      9:12 AM - 19 May 2017
      5 5 Retweets 15 15 likes
      Twitter Ads info & Privacy
      Update: Fox says no one tried to pressure the employee to withdraw his complaint.

      “As Mr. Wigdor knows, Fox News made the decision to terminate Mr. Beckel after a prompt and thorough investigation. His client raised the complaint to Kevin Lord, EVP Human Resources, on Tuesday evening via email and within 7 minutes Mr. Lord responded and began the investigation. Today, Fox News delivered that message to Mr. Beckel and facilitated an apology from Mr. Beckel to the employee minutes after he was terminated. No one tried to persuade Mr. Wigdor’s client to withdraw his complaint.”

    2. Grievance case goes down -

      Daily Mail: Judge dismisses ‘clock boy’ lawsuit saying the school didn’t discriminate against Ahmed Mohamed

      EXCLUSIVE: Judge dismisses 'clock boy' lawsuit saying the school didn't discriminate against Ahmed Mohamed when the Muslim teen's teacher called the police because she thought he made a bomb

      A federal judge ruled both the city of Irving, Texas and the school district do not owe damages to Ahmed Mohamed's family

      In 2015 his teacher at MacArthur High School called the police because she thought a clock Ahmed made was a ticking bomb

      Ahmed's father, Mohamed Mohamed, filed a lawsuit claiming his son's Fifth Amendment rights were violated by the arrest

      Court documents obtained by reveal the case was dismissed because the judge said there was no proof of 'racial or religious' discrimination

      Read more:

      Ahmed's father, Papa Mohamed Mohamed, had only been asking $15 million in damages.

      Looks like Mo-Mo will have to keep working, if he is working.

      Mo-Mo is no relation to Me-Me.

    3. Clock boy and his family should be terminated.

      ...along with Basketball Shoe Dad.

    4. Don't forget Bezos, either.

    5. "people familiar with the case say"

  24. Trump needs to fire any al all in the White House that were hired by Obama.

  25. "Trump or Congress can still block Robert Mueller. I know. I wrote the rules."

  26. Mueller can't be fair, he's an old pal of Comey.

    One FBI Director isn't going to find fault with another.

    Whole thing is a farce.

  27. U.S. Shale Roars Back at OPEC
    by Christopher Sell
    May 19, 2017, 4:30 AM PDT

  28. Reading up on the Beckel firing. So who ever Bob insulted went and told on him, being the thin skinned super sensitive wuss they are. Any normal person would have smacked him and gone on about their day. Grow some skin.


  29. Roger Stone: Trump will be 'signing his own death warrant' if he picks Lieberman

    1. Stone told NewsmaxTV Friday that Trump will have "lost leave of his senses" if he taps Lieberman, 75, for the post. Stone believes Ray Kelly, the former NYPD commissioner, is the man for the job.

      "If the president nominates John McCain's best friend Joe Lieberman [as] FBI director, he's lost leave of his senses," Stone said. "Now, Joe Lieberman's a friend of mine. I like him. He's a neo-con, and he is not right for this job. We need someone who's not part of the Washington establishment. We need someone the president knows and knows well. That's why I believe former New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would be the best man for this job."

      "If the president appoints Lieberman, he will be signing his own death warrant," Stone said.

  30. Anyone not betting it's Kushner?

  31. How weird would it be to be Melania Trump?

  32. Why not get rid of the 25th Amendment and bring back John F. Kennedy?

    1. Republicans are beginning to panic. One sign is the notion now circulating that, perhaps to fend off ultimate impeachment, Trump be dumped by way of the 25th Amendment. That’s the post-Kennedy assassination measure that provides for removing an incapacitated president on the decision of the vice president and a majority of the cabinet.

      This is the worst idea since Leno at 10 p.m. It perverts the very intent of the amendment. It was meant for a stroke, not stupidity; for Alzheimer’s, not narcissism. Otherwise, what it authorizes is a coup — willful overthrow by the leader’s own closest associates. I thought we had progressed beyond the Tudors and the Stuarts.

      Moreover, this would be seen by millions as an establishment usurpation to get rid of a disruptive outsider. It would be the most destabilizing event in American political history — the gratuitous overthrow of an essential constant in American politics, namely the fixedness of the presidential term (save for high crimes and misdemeanors).

      Trump’s behavior is deeply disturbing but hardly surprising. His mercurial nature is not the product of a post-inaugural adder sting at Mar-a-Lago. It’s been there all along. And the American electorate chose him nonetheless.

    2. Although relatively harmless to man, the snakes are efficient pest controllers, living mainly on small rodents. Their life cycle is a source of fascination, too.

      After surviving the winter lying dormant beneath ground, adders often spend their waking weeks communally, mating and warming up by basking in the morning sun.

  33. IMO (q), the FBI is a police force. There should be a policeman, with excellent managerial skills, running the FBI, not a career politician.

  34. Replies
    1. Who MoMe?

      Kelly and Trump know each other.

  35. Passengers aboard an American Airlines flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Friday afternoon duct-taped a man to his seat after he attempted to ambush the cockpit.

  36. The roots go pretty deep, all entangled -

    POLITICS | Fri May 19, 2017 | 6:01pm EDT
    White House looking at ethics rule to weaken special investigation: sources

    Within hours of Mueller's appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said.

    An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.

    Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.

    Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.

    If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.

    The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller's background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

    Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller's ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.

    Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.

    Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.

    I think we shouldn't have an FBI guy investigating a matter where another FBI guy is involved.

    Though one might think this:

    Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.

    might work in The Donald's favor.

    Heh, there isn't anyone back there in D.C. that's not in the game one way or other.

    1. .

      Five months in and already desperately searching for any means to protect their asses from the law.

      Only in America.


    2. Four months in, and what's amazing is how much and whining the Dems are doing.

  37. F-22 - Who Knew?

    The U.S. military on Friday scrambled two Air Force fighter jets to escort an American Airlines flight into Honolulu International Airport after a disturbance was reported on board, a Pacific Command spokesman said.

    Neither the military nor American Airlines immediately disclosed the nature of the disturbance, but local news media reported that a passenger had tried to force his way into the cockpit of the Honolulu-bound flight from Los Angeles.

    HawaiiNewsNow, a consortium of three television network affiliates, said an airline crew member and an off-duty Honolulu police officer subdued the unruly passenger.

    Citing unnamed sources, the news outlet also reported that the male passenger was Turkish and had earlier breached security at Los Angeles International Airport but "was assessed and allowed to board" the flight anyway.

    Details of those media reports could not be immediately confirmed by Reuters.

    American Airlines confirmed that the crew of Flight 31 from Los Angeles to Honolulu had requested that law enforcement meet the aircraft, an Airbus A321, upon landing due to an unspecified "disturbance during the flight."

    The airline said its plane, carrying 181 passengers and six crew members, landed safely at 11:35 a.m. Hawaii time. No injuries were reported.

    Mobile phone video footage taken by a passenger after the plane was on the ground and posted on social media showed a man being led down the aisle of the aircraft in handcuffs by Federal Bureau of Investigation personnel.

    One passenger who spoke to HawaiiNewsNow said a first-class flight attendant deserved much of the credit for preventing the suspect from reaching the cockpit.

    The incident also prompted Pacific Command to dispatch a pair of F-22 fighter jets to intercept the passenger plane.

    "The F-22s escorted the airliner to the airport in accordance with homeland defense procedures. Local law enforcement responded once the civilian airliner was on the ground," said Commander Dave Benham.

    1. Instagram user bplus.noisefloor.dnb wrote, “Crazy! Someone tried to break into the cockpit on my flight from LA to Honolulu. We were greeted by the FBI. They are now taking us off the plane a few rows at a time for dog-sniffing and interviews. I’ve never seen anything like this.”

      A passenger named Veronica, who declined to give her last name, said she saw the man at the gate at LAX before passengers boarded Flight 31.

      “I just thought he was a weird character,” she said noting he was carrying a laptop and pacing while smoking an e-cigarette. She said airport personnel told him to stop smoking.

      “He just continued to pace back and forth, play with his hair,” said Veronica, who is from Sacramento.

      About three hours into the flight, she and her husband, Damien, were seated in the middle of the plane when they observed the man walk through the aisle “with purpose” toward the first-class section with a blanket over his head.

    2. A blanket over the head is always a dead give-a-way that something's out of place.

      That's when I always take action to protect my fellow passengers. Or might, if I were ever on a plane, those cattle cars.

  38. Greg Gutfeld reports from his sources that he can confirm The Donald isn't really in Saudi Arabia, but on a sound stage in Russia, being directed by Pooty.

  39. I didn't have the courage to read this:

    Man charged after removing transgender woman's testicles....DRUDGE

    1. All in the Family: Archie, the Hero

      Original Airdate:
      Archie flaunts the fact he has saved the life of an unconscious woman in his cab, but he hopes to keep the story hushed after discovering the woman is really a man in drag.

  40. Lady Gaga joins Team Assange -


    Ecuador govt asks UK to give safe passage...


    Pamela Anderson, Lady Gaga rally to cause....DRUDGE

  41. Nothing new here. Plants are conscious, just highly veiled -

    ROMAINE CALM Plants can HEAR and use their ‘sense’ to seek out flowing water, scientists discover

    Biologists found that pea roots could sense water even if it was hidden behind plastic

    By Margi Murphy
    19th May 2017, 1:40 pm Updated: 19th May 2017, 1:59 pm

    PLANTS listen out for the sound of dripping water when they’re thirsty, scientists have discovered.

    They can sense water in a flowing pipe – or even a buzzing insect – by detecting the vibrations the water makes, experts claim.

    Biologists found that pea roots could sense water even if it was hidden behind plastic
    Biologists found that pea roots could sense water even if it was hidden behind plastic
    There has long been a question mark over how plants tend to toward water sources.

    Evolutionary biologist Monica Gagliano and her colleagues decided to get the bottom of it.

    They placed pea seedlings into Y-shaped pots to test their hypothesis that plants might be able to sense liquid.

    Leafy green vegetables are a good source of iron and vitamin C
    Beware, those leafy green vegetables might be listening in.. sort of
    One arm of each pot was placed in either a tray of water or a coiled plastic tube through which water flowed.

    The other arm was placed in a tray of soil.

    All roots grew toward the arm which had fluid – regardless of whether it was hidden by the plastic or free-flowing.

    “They just knew the water was there, even if the only thing to detect was the sound of it flowing inside the pipe,” Gagliano said.

    “Because water is essential to life, organisms have evolved a wide range of strategies to cope with water limitations, including actively searching for their preferred moisture levels to avoid dehydration.

    “Plants use moisture gradients to direct their roots through the soil once a water source is detected, but how they first detect the source is unknown.

    How did scientists discover plants could 'hear'?
    A group of biologists tested the hypothesis that plants could hear by placing pea seedlings into Y-shaped pots.
    One arm of each pot was placed in either a tray of water or a coiled plastic tube through which water flowed.
    The other arm was placed in a tray of soil.
    They found that roots grew toward the arm which had fluid – regardless of whether it was hidden by the plastic or not.
    “We found that roots were able to locate a water source by sensing the vibrations generated by water moving inside pipes, even in the absence of substrate moisture.”

    Vegetarians often turn to plant-based diets because they fear killing sentient beings.

    But another recent plant study might make them think twice.


    It turns out that they can tell when you’re eating them.

  42. STUDY: Journalist Brains Show Low Level of Executive Functioning....DRUDGE

    Journalists drink too much, are bad at managing emotions, and operate at a lower level than average, according to a new study

    Lindsay Dodgson

    Journalists also are apparently good at managing the stresses that come with their jobs. UNClimateChange / Flickr

    Journalists' brains show a lower-than-average level of executive functioning, according to a new study, which means they have a below-average ability to regulate their emotions, suppress biases, solve complex problems, switch between tasks, and show creative and flexible thinking.

    The study, led by Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and leadership coach, analysed 40 journalists from newspapers, magazines, broadcast, and online platforms over seven months. The participants took part in tests related to their lifestyle, health, and behaviour.

    It was launched in association with the London Press Club, and the objective was to determine how journalists can thrive under stress.

    Each subject completed a blood test, wore a heart-rate monitor for three days, kept a food and drink diary for a week, and completed a brain profile questionnaire.

    The results showed that journalists' brains were operating at a lower level than the average population, particularly because of dehydration and the tendency of journalists to self-medicate with alcohol, caffeine, and high-sugar foods.

    J stands for (News) Junkie

  43. .

    From NYT,

    Trump, who demonized Muslims on the campaign trail, plans to preach tolerance in a speech in Saudi Arabia

    Trump plans to do a rhetorical pirouette with a speech Sunday in the birthplace of Islam preaching religious tolerance and inviting Muslims to join the United States in the fight against global terrorism...

    "Well, when I say 'join us' I mean, you know, kinda join us in spirit, not like really 'join us' literally. But in sprit. A spirit of peace and things like that there. You are a great people, one of the best, one of my favorite peoples. And Islam, one of the best. I don't know if you know this or not but I don't drink either. Let's face it, if you are willing to just look long enough you see how much we are all pretty much the same.

    And...where is he? Oh, there he is. Sodi, come on over here. Come on, give me that paw. Look at this hand, folks. The man has huge hands, folks. I'm telling you, huge. you could palm a basketball with those hands. I want to thank my very good friend, a great man, a really, really great man, chief Sodi Ben Fossel Ben Abdulassi Al Sod. What a guy. And a real jokester. I could tell you some of the stories. Well, maybe not..."


    1. Don't blow a fuse, Quirk.

      Of course The Donald is going to practice Taqiyya when among the enemy....

      If he drapes Melania in a burka though, I'm done....

    2. Sodi Ben Fossel Ben Abdulassi Al Sod


    3. .

      He may have been thinking of Saud bin Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud the EX-foreign minister who died in 2015. The guy with the huge hands was probably Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir the current foreign minister.

      Simple mistake by his staff.

      We're probably lucky he didn't start the name off...

      Sodomy Bin Fossil

      It does raise the question though of how he was able to write that name (and others?) on the palm of his hand.


    4. Sodi Ben Fossel Ben Fuel Ben Abdulassi Al Sod

      yuck yuck yuck

  44. NUTJOB
    Trump Officials: ‘He Looks More and More Like a Complete Moron’

    1. Not an 'official' identified and, unless I missed it, the quote is not to be seen in the article.

  45. ...AND, don't forget: He's Fucked.

  46. Demonize. Wow. No he did not. He demonized radical Islamic nut jobs. And they ARE demonic. If you don't see the difference you are demonically stupid.

    1. Quirk is not stupid.

      He is DEMONIC.

    2. .

      Not my word boys. The bolded text was the headline from the newspapers.

      However, if you are talking about being unable to tell the difference, I think yo'veu got the wrong target.

      "Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine," Trump said in a statement. "Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life."

      Trump's campaign added in the release that such a ban should remain in effect "until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

      The release pointed to an online poll from the controversial Center for Security Policy, which claimed that a quarter of Muslims living in the U.S. believe violence against Americans is justified as part of a global jihadist campaign. Critics have questioned the reliability of the organization's information. It also pointed to a Pew Research poll,which the campaign declined to identify, which the campaign claimed points to "great hatred towards Americans by large segments of the Muslim population."

      Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN on Monday that the ban would apply not just to Muslim foreigners looking to immigrate to the U.S., but also to Muslims looking to visit the U.S. as tourists.

      "Everyone," Lewandowski said when asked if the ban would also apply to Muslim tourists...


    3. Lewandowski is OK but he doesn't go far enough.

  47. Ok, so the MSM AND Quirk think Trump has demonized Musllims.

  48. Enjoyed watching the Trump Saudi stuff this morning. Lots of respect shown to both sides. Hand shakes and salutes. No cowardly bowing.


    The inevitable “OMG the First Lady isn’t wearing a head scarf” flap
    POSTED AT 8:31 AM ON MAY 20, 2017 BY JAZZ SHAW

    As advertised, the President embarked on the first trip abroad of his presidency this week, with the initial stop being in Saudi Arabia. He was joined by both the First Lady and his daughter Ivanka. Seen exiting Air Force One, Melania Trump, as always, looked completely stunning. (Click on image for full size picture)

    Since they were landing in Saudi Arabia, you may have noticed something conspicuously missing from the First Lady’s ensemble. She’s not wearing a head scarf as is the custom in that country and some other Muslim majority nations. (Ivanka was spotted not wearing one either.) Lest you think that Hot Air has suddenly turned into a fashion blog, fear not. I am assured by some reliable sources in the mainstream media that is a Big Freaking Deal. (Hat tip to Joe Biden.) In fact, so important was the question that the Washington Post was running a lengthy article yesterday, nervously wondering… would she or wouldn’t she?

    They begin by discussing the last First Lady trip to this location when Michele Obama showed up there, also with her hair uncovered.

    Before long, her lack of headscarf was triggering discussion back in the United States, as well. Many supported the first lady, arguing that gender equality shouldn’t take a back seat to religious sensitivities. However, one prominent Twitter user disagreed: “Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted,” Donald Trump wrote. “We have enuf enemies.”

    Two years later, the shoe is on the other foot. This weekend President Trump will arrive in Riyadh for his first trip as leader of the United States. Accompanying him will not only be his wife, Melania, but daughter Ivanka. It is unclear if the president will insist that they wear headscarves in Saudi Arabia, though it seems unlikely.
    Clearly this article had less to do with whether or not the FLOUTS would don a scarf than exploiting the opportunity to accuse the President of hypocrisy or flip flopping or what have you, all based on a tweet from years ago.

    Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
    Many people are saying it was wonderful that Mrs. Obama refused to wear a scarf in Saudi Arabia, but they were insulted.We have enuf enemies
    8:40 AM - 29 Jan 2015
    3,233 3,233 Retweets 1,596 1,596 likes

    So if Michele Obama did the same thing and the world didn’t end, is the story still really a big deal? Apparently so. Across the pond, the Telegraph was all over this news as soon as the doors on the plane opened. And back home, ABC was going live with it before most of the country was even awake.

    1. First lady Melania Trump stepped off Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport Saturday morning without a head scarf — following the example of her predecessor, Michelle Obama — and potentially creating a stir in this conservative Islamic country.

      Women here, including visitors and foreign dignitaries, are expected to be fully covered in public, including their head and hair, per religious and legal code.

      Senior adviser Ivanka Trump, traveling as part of the presidential entourage, was also seen not wearing an abaya.
      Everyone is looking for an angle and ABC seems to be no exception, working the phrase, “potentially creating a stir” into their very first sentence. But while there may have been some more conservative Saudis sitting at home and taking offense, nobody in the royal family or their entourage seemed to bat an eye. After the arrival ceremony the First Family was seen sitting inside of an opulent hall, with both Melania and Ivanka chatting away with men from the royal family and it looked like all smiles and cordial conversation.

      This wasn’t a surprise because the Saudis have really backed off on that rule when it comes to foreign dignitaries. Not only did Michele Obama go there sans scarf, but she was imitated by other high ranking women including Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, Marine Le Pen and Theresa May. Even if some of the most conservative Saudis don’t care for it, it seems that the ruling family has finally dragged themselves out of the fifteenth century and accepted the fact that not everyone is going to go along with those rules. They could either change with the times or stop hosting a lot of western leaders.

      And really, how would it have looked if the First Lady had come off the plane wearing an abaya? Given the President’s tough talk on radical Islam and his take on American exceptionalism it would have conveyed the appearance of bending a knee to the Saudi royal family. That’s just not his style. So all in all, it looks as if the media is far more “concerned” over this than anyone in either of the governments involved.

    2. Ha ha ha too bad for your wishes Quirk haha

  50. GREAT AGAIN: Unlike Obama, Trump doesn't bow....DRUDGE

  51. The Melania shouldn't have been walking the five steps behind The Donald on the tarmac however.

    Other than that things seem to be going well enough from my point of view.

    The Quirk will criticize the big arms deal in the works.

  52. What Quirk won't notice -

    May 20, 2017
    Saudi Royals signal the real magnitude of the deal they made with Trump
    By Thomas Lifson

    President Trump’s spectacular reception in Riyadh is a signal to the world (and to Saudi subjects, in particular) that big changes are coming. Elderly and frail King Salman ventured out onto the apron in 110 degree heat and actually shook Melania Trump’s hand as she deplaned Air Force One, thereby touching a female infidel.


    Perhaps even more important in terms of Saudi daily life, the women in attendance at functions did not wear head coverings and abayas. The entire nation saw this on television and understands that the fracking-created global oil glut changes everything, that the infidels no longer cower in fear of a cutoff of the oil that Allah granted to the protectors of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The old arguments of the fanatics hold less water. Change is coming. The King signaled that the restrictions declared by the Wahhabi clergy are no longer the ultimate arbiter of personal behavior, and that Saudis are going to have to start respecting the customs of the infidels. Something like his handshake gesture can seem trivial, quaint, or even humorous to Americans, but it is very serious business. The role modeling of the women at the highest and most formal level reaches deep into the culture.

    It is now clear that the King and his two designated successors (Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nyef and Mohammad bin Salman) have made a deal to liberalize Saudi Arabia. The deal-maker president has told them that there is a price of continued American support.

    This would be against the wishes of powerful factions of the Saudi Royal Family (about 5,000 strong), some of whom are closely aligned with (and fund) the radical Wahhabi clergy. For decades, the (principally) Saudi-funded Wahhabis have poisoned the Ummah (the global Muslim community) with their feudal views. Saudi Arabia only became mega-wealthy in the 1950s, and the world’s Muslims were not violently engaged in much jihad. The Wahhabi clergy and the Saudi-funded mosques they brought with them prepared the soil for Al Qaeda at home and abroad.

    Make no mistake: there is every possibility that a violent reaction or a coup within the Royal Family if sufficiently provoked. The clergy are important because they preach to the Saudi masses, and could whip them up into an attempt at an overthrow of the corrupt Royals who siphon off so much of Allah’s bounty for their own decadent pleasures, many of them haram. That is why Saudi Arabia has such a large investment in its security forces. The plan is for them to remain loyal in the event of an uprising, but man plans and Allah laughs.

    The Royals are in a very delicate position. The dominant faction, the King and his two designated successors, have to loosen things up gradually, step by step, so as to not put their opponents over the edge into a revolt that would brutally slaughter untold numbers, quite possibly including themselves. Like the mythological frog in a pot of water on the stove, they have to increase the heat very slowly.

    1. They have already agreed to a deal to reward President Trump with a massive arms purchase worth $109.7 billion. That’s jobs and profits. But this aspect of the deal, from the New York Times, is important:

      On the afternoon of May 1, President Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, welcomed a high-level delegation of Saudis to a gilded reception room next door to the White House and delivered a brisk pep talk: “Let’s get this done today.”

      Mr. Kushner was referring to a $100 billion-plus arms deal that the administration hoped to seal with Saudi Arabia in time to announce it during Mr. Trump’s visit to the kingdom this weekend. The two sides discussed a shopping list that included planes, ships and precision-guided bombs. Then an American official raised the idea of the Saudis’ buying a sophisticated radar system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles.

      Sensing that the cost might be a problem, several administration officials said, Mr. Kushner picked up the phone and called Marillyn A. Hewson — the chief executive of Lockheed Martin, which makes the radar system — and asked her whether she could cut the price. As his guests watched slack-jawed, Ms. Hewson told him she would look into it, officials said.

      Mr. Kushner’s personal intervention in the arms sale is further evidence of the Trump White House’s readiness to dispense with custom in favor of informal, hands-on deal making. It also offers a window into how the administration hopes to change America’s position in the Middle East, emphasizing hard power and haggling over traditional diplomacy.

      This is a tangible and personal signal to the factions of the Saudi family represented in the high-level delegation. An Orthodox Jew, married to the favored child of the President (who became a Jew herself) saved them money using his personal connections. Call me suspicious but I think this was carefully planned theatre. You have to see this against the background of the sudden new confluence of interests between Israel and Saudi Arabia, united in opposition to Iran and Arab Radical Islamic terrorists. The two nations already covertly cooperate, a ruse that cannot last forever. Slowly and surely the Saudis have to turn away from the Palestinians and toward an embrace of Israel. And it turns out that there can be a considerable upside to making peace with Israel and the Jews.

      So, where do the Saudis go from here? How do they demonstrate to Trump, the world, and their own subjects that things are changing, and that it is acceptable.

      My guess is that a symbolic measure that does not affect anyone in Saudi Arabia would be the next step. An easy one would be to end the prohibition against Israeli civilian airliners flying over Saudi airspace when flying eastward toward India, Thailand, and beyond. Israel’s economic and tourism ties with Asia are large and growing, so this restriction, which adds hours and costs, is an irritant to Israelis, as well as a political statement to the world that Israel is illegitimate.

      The fact is that President Trump’s planned nonstop Air Force One flight from Riyadh to Ben Gurion Airport in Israel will be the first publicly-known flight between the two nations. (There is a decent chance that secret flights have taken place because the governments do talk to each other covertly.) So Trump is already liberalizing their aviation restrictions.

      Allowing Israeli airliners to fly over Saudi territory would be a good first step toward eventual direct flights, a sign of complete acceptance of Israel as a legitimate nation, which is the only long term solution to peace between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East. It is a long path, but there is no alternative to a step at a time, given the delicate political situation of the Saudi Royals.

      It is clear to me that President Trump has made a transformational deal, and that the West has stake in helping it come to fruition.

  53. Feinstein Says There’s Still No Evidence of Collusion Between Trump Camp and Russia

    BY: Sam Dorman
    May 18, 2017 9:27 pm

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said she had seen no evidence of collusion between President Donald Trump's associates and Russia during the 2016 campaign.

    CNN host Wolf Blitzer recalled Feinstein previously saying she hadn't seen any evidence of collusion and asked her on Thursday: "Has anything changed since we spoke last?"

    "No it hasn't," Feinstein responded on Blitzer's show "Situation Room."

    Feinstein touted newly-named special counsel Robert Mueller as "sophisticated." Blitzer responded by continuing to press her on whether she saw any evidence of collusion.

    "I just want to be precise Senator… All the access you've had to very sensitive information. So far, you've not seen any evidence of collusion. Is that right?" he asked.

    "Well, evidence that would establish that there's collusion," Feinstein said before citing "rumors" and "newspaper stories" apparently suggesting collusion.

    The Senate Intelligence Committee requested on Wednesday that the FBI hand over any documents that detailed conversations former FBI Director James Comey had with the administration regarding the agency's Russia investigation, Politico reported.

  54. Third Raters Clamor for the Camera
    May 20, 2017
    The appointment of old FBI hand Robert Mueller to the post of Special Counsel is just the sort of asinine behavior H. L. Mencken thrived on during his heyday as a columnist covering US politics beginning in the early 1900s. More

    What Mencken would call the "apex of moronia"


      Why the latest line of attack doesn't hold water.
      May 19, 2017 Joseph Klein

      Ironically, Comey’s own actions and testimony would bolster President Trump’s defense against a charge of obstruction of justice. If Comey thought that the president was committing obstruction of justice by trying to pressure him into dropping the Flynn investigation for improper reasons, Comey had a legal duty to immediately report his suspicion to the Department of Justice. There is no evidence that Comey did so. Moreover, Comey testified under oath on May 3rd, before the Senate Judiciary Committee on FBI oversight, that he had not experienced political interference with the FBI’s ongoing investigation activities. He said in response to a question from Hawaii Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, regarding possible interference with the FBI’s work by the Trump Justice Department, that “where we were told to stop something for a political reason, that would be a very big deal. It's not happened in my experience.”

    2. Comey is, eh, unseemly, the slum bucket.

    3. Just the book for Ash and Quirk -

      Ibn Warraq’s new book unveils what really motivates Islamic terrorists today.
      May 19, 2017 Hugh Fitzgerald

      Ibn Warraq, the celebrated apostate, author of Why I Am Not A Muslim and of scholarly works on the Koran, Muhammad, and early Islam, as well as polemical works in defense of the West, has now written The Islam in Islamic Terrorism, showing, in the words of the Islamic fundamentalists (or, more exactly, revivalists) themselves, what really motivates Islamic terrorists today, and what has motivated them since the time of the Kharijites in the first century of Islam: the belief in the need to recover the pristine Islam of the time of Muhammad, by removing all innovations (bid’a), the further belief that it is the duty of Muslims to wage Jihad against all Unbelievers until Islam everywhere dominates, and to bring about the resurrection of the caliphate, and the imposition of Islamic Law, or Sharia, all over the globe.

      Ibn Warraq’s The Islam In Islamic Terrorism is a brilliant series of reported echoes down the corridors of Islam, where the same complaints about bid’a, the same insistence on regulating every area of a Believer’s life, the same refusal to allow freedom of religion or thought, the same duties of violent Jihad and Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong, the same demands for a return to the same pristine Islam of Muhammad, the same virulent antisemitism, the same quotes from the Koran and Hadith, the same hatred of Infidels, the same insistence that “we love death more than you love life,” the same call for bloodshed and Muslim martyrdom, the same dreary fanaticism, are thoroughly described and dissected, and above all the various violent manifestations of this revivalism over the centuries are linked to one another, as Ibn Warraq brings to bear the massive research he has been conducting over many years, in primary and secondary sources, and here deploys to splendid effect.

      Ibn Warraq has performed a service for all those who are at last ready to look beyond the present platitudes about socioeconomic and other putative “root causes” of Islamic terrorism — Israel, the Crusades, European colonialism, American foreign policy, all held up for dissection and dismissal one after the other. He cites the studies that reveal Muslim terrorists to be both better off economically, and better educated, than the average Muslim. Most of the terrorist leaders have received solid educations in Islam, giving the lie to those apologists who claim that only those “ignorant of the true Islam” become terrorists.

      He notes that Jihad against the Infidels started more than 1300 years before Israel came into existence, that the Muslims paid little attention to the Crusades until very recently, and that American foreign policy has often favored the Muslim side, rescuing Arafat from Beirut when he was besieged by the Israelis, supporting Pakistan despite its collusion with terrorists, looking away when Turkey invaded Cyprus, putting troops in Saudi Arabia to protect that kleptocracy from Saddam Hussein, and lavishing hundreds of billions in foreign aid on Muslim countries, and more than four trillion dollars on military interventions and “reconstruction” in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the hope, likely forlorn, that those countries could be made less barbarous than before.

      Having dispatched these factitious “root causes,” Ibn Warraq returns us to the o’erweening fact of Islam, and begins commonsensically with the Koran, hadith, sunna, and sira, showing how violent Jihad, including the weapon of terrorism, is deeply rooted in the texts of Islam and the example of the Prophet. Muhammad was the first Islamic terrorist....

      Hugh is back !

  55. Preakness coming up, Ladies and Gentlemen.

  56. Artificial intelligence can put words right into your mouth. A new system takes a still image of a person and an audio clip, and uses them to create a doctored video of the person speaking the audio. The results are still a little rough around the edges, but the software could soon make realistically fake videos only a single click away.

    It works by first identifying facial features using face-recognition algorithms. As the audio clip plays, the system then manipulates the mouth of the person in the still image so that it looks as if they are speaking. Very little pre-processing is required, so all of this can be done in real time.

    1. Soon we can have video of Quirk mouthing the words of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr.

    2. Quirk mouths off too much already.

      It would push me over the edge.

  57. I'm the guy on the left with the big biceps beating on the garbage can on the sawhorse.

    1. (you have to see it through the end to view my bicep)

    2. That can't be.

      Quirk says you're a racist white ass.

    3. You are just culturally expropriating some other guy's biceps.

  58. Kid will be the first guy in the NFL that got there via Firedancing.

  59. Did you know that you can shorten your links with AdFly and earn dollars for every visit to your short urls.