Sunday, December 10, 2017

Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

For John, BLUFThese are serious times.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.  But beware of men. For they will deliver you up in councils, and they will scourge you…

Matthew 10:16-17

I am concerned for our Republic at this juncture in history.  I believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller will be a key player in the outcome.  The key will be his approach to the problem he faces.  He must be as wise as a serpent and as simple as a dove.

Mr Mueller has a political as well as a legal task.  Whatever his findings he must not appear to have been partisan in his actions nor must he appear to have strayed from his remit.  Tens of millions of Americans will be watching to see how this goes.

At this point there is skepticism about his investigation and about the legitimacy of the accusations of a Trump Campaign collusion with the Russians.  While many Democrats are convinced as to the wrongs of President Trump and those around him, it is the rest of the nation that would have to be convinced.  If not convinced they would be out in droves in 2020, and vicious.

This is more a political moment than a legal one.  What we don't want is for half the electorate to come away thinking that if defeated at the polls they can and should reverse the decision by a Special Counsel.  And, we don't want the other half to think like Conan the Barbarian with regard to "what is best in life", that is "To crush your enemies.  See them driven before you.  And to hear the lamentations of their women."  If you think this kind of thing doesn't happen, look at Brazil, Argentina and South Korea, today.  Such rejections of the outcomes of elections will move us toward being a third rate banana republic.

We need to choose wisely and Special Counsel Robert Mueller could earn his place in the Pantheon of Great Americans if he helps us choose wisely at this point.

As for us, "Deciding not to choose is choosing, so choose wisely."

Onuh Justus Izuchukwu

Regards  —  Cliff

"Associate Democrats"

For John, BLUFYou may not like political parties, but that is what you get when people band together to follow an ideology.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From The [:Lowell] Sun and Columnist Peter Lucas, 8 December 2017.

Here is the key paragraph:

While all her fellow Democrats in the Senate were running for cover -- or quietly plotting to succeed Rosenberg as Senate president -- L'Italien, 56, publicly insisted that Rosenberg step aside.
But, this is also an interesting paragraph:
The minority Republicans, who are like associate Democrats, hardly objected to Rosenberg staying on as Senate leader.
"…who are like associate Democrats."  That is a terrible indictment of the Republicans in the Massachusetts State Senate, all seven of them.  On the other hand, there are forty senators over all and there are not enough Republicans to sustain a Governor's Veto.  Even with the recent election of Republican Senator Dean Tran, from Fitchburg.  It would take about twice as many.

While it will be an uphill fight, here in the 1st Middlesex District we do have Candidate John McDonald opposing incumbent Eileen Donoghue.

But, back to the State Senate, Ms Harriette L. Chandler, PhD, is currently acting as the President.

Regards  —  Cliff

John Doe Exposed

For John, BLUFThis was a cynical attempt by Democrats in Wisconsin to use the force of secret investigations to beat back Republicans in State Government.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The author of this purloined Blog Post is Emeritus Law Professor All Althouse, on 8 December 2017.  If she sounds angry it may be because she is.

Here is how the blog post lays out, with a link to the original article:

The Wisconsin State Journal covers the Wisconsin Department of Justice report on the leaking of records from the John Doe investigation into Gov. Scott Walker’s 2012 recall campaign.
In an 88-page report, Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel lays bare the actions of staff at the former Government Accountability Board as they dug into what is described as a previously unknown, secret “John Doe III” investigation into several GOP officials and staffers who were [absolved of the suspicion that they] campaign[ed] out of taxpayer-funded offices….

[T]he report criticizes the “breathtaking” sweep of the three John Doe investigations, which included 218 warrants and subpoenas.  DOJ found the John Doe investigators obtained and categorized several private emails unrelated to campaigns, including 150 personal emails between Sen. Leah Vukmir and her daughter that included health information, and placed them in a folder labeled “Opposition Research” — a term that refers to political dirt collected on opponents….

Schimel concluded the GAB staff didn’t act in “a detached and professional manner” and that it was reasonable to infer “they were on a mission to bring down the Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”  He pointed to a November 2013 email in which [former GAB lawyer Shane] Falk encouraged Schmitz, who was having doubts about the GAB’s legal theory, to “stay strong.”

“Remember, in brief, this was a bastardization of politics and our state is being run by corporations and billionaires,” Falk wrote.  “This isn’t democracy to say the least, but due to how they do this dark money, the populace never gets to know.  The cynic in me says the sheeple would still follow the propaganda even if they knew, but at least it would all be out there so that the influences on our politicians is clearly known.”

I wonder how the cynic in Shane Falk feels about us sheeple getting all of this out here where it can be clearly known.
For those interested in the document, "REPORT OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONCERNING VIOLATIONS OF THE JOHN DOE SECRECY ORDERS," it can be found here.

Herre is a key paragraph:

As this report describes in detail, the systemic and pervasive mishandling of John Doe evidence likely resulted in circumstances allowing the Guardian leak in the first place, and now prevents prosecutors from proving criminal liability beyond a reasonable doubt.  Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB [Government Accountability Board] by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information.
In case you are missing it, Democrats embedded deep in the Wisconsin State Government used their John Doe powers to conduct a broad and secret investigation of Republicans, who they saw, not as an opposition political party, but as enemies of the People.

When one party or another feels it can and should engage all the levers of Government to beat back the political successes of its opposition we have slipped into being a third rate Banana Republic.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse.

Regards  —  Cliff

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Evangelicals Move Republicans on US Israeli Embassy Location

For John, BLUFThis issue shows how there have been realignments in the political firmament.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

From the Five Thirty Eight Blog and reporter Rebecca Shimoni Stoil, 8 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

A host of Israeli leaders and pro-Israel voters had long been advocating for the decision that President Trump announced on Wednesday, which recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and began the process of relocating the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv.  The fact that the controversial decision was carried out by a Republican president is indicative of the dramatic change in the GOP’s position on Israel since Israel was founded.

The Republican party has moved from not supporting Israel enough, in the eyes of many Jewish Americans, to backing policies that now go further than the positions espoused by many Jewish voters — but are in keeping with the views of evangelical voters.  As bipartisan support for Israel erodes, the controversial move risks further accelerating a growing party split.

Of course some of the resistance to the move is based upon the fact that some believe whatever President Trump does is the wrong thing.  If the President declared ice cream good there are those who would mourn for the lactose intolerant.

Hat tip to the FiveThirtyEight Blog.

Regards  —  Cliff

Others Moving Also

For John, BLUFI back the President on moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, but I think I already said that.  Nothing to see here; just move along.


Here is the lede:

According to reports in the Israeli press, several other countries will follow President Trump's lead and move their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem.  Who is doing this and why speaks volumes about the moral condition of the world.
Here is the thing.  Peace was not making progress since 1993.  Too long and Israel still not recognized by the Palestinians.  Maybe President Trump's action will break the logjam.  The actions of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama didn't move the needle.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff

Moving to Jerusalem

For John, BLUFI am with Mr Lake.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

The sub-headline:

Straight talk from the U.S. shouldn't be the end of peace talks, but the beginning.

From Bloomberg, by Reporter Eli Lake, 6 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus one:

A year ago, when Donald Trump's transition team first said they intended to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, I was skeptical.  Like most of the foreign policy establishment, not to mention America's Arab and European allies, I thought such a move was too risky.

You will see that argument a lot today. Israel needs U.S. help in strengthening its blossoming relationships with Arab states that were once its foes.  Why risk straining those ties with a largely symbolic move?

I have since changed my mind.  There are a few reasons. To start, that column came out right before the outgoing administration broke precedent and abstained from a U.N. Security Council resolution that said all of East Jerusalem was effectively occupied territory.  This would mean any Israeli construction within the disputed territory was a violation of international law.  Barack Obama's parting gift to the Palestinians made U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital more urgent.

But what really changed my mind was this summer's metal detector uprising.  Here's what happened: Israeli Arabs began a rampage near the mosque that sits atop the Temple Mount, an area that contains the remains of the outer wall of the Second Jewish Temple at its base and al-Aqsa Mosque on top.  The gunmen then fled into the esplanade around the mosque and began firing back at Israeli police officers from within the holy compound.

What happened next was both tragic and cynical.  While Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas condemned the terrorists, his political party, Fatah, also called for "days of rage." Was this in response to the gunmen at al-Aqsa?  No, it was because Israeli authorities sought to place metal detectors at al-Aqsa compound following a horrific shooting.  This was after Israeli police found weapons stored in the mosque compound.

An alternative view.  And given our apparent lock step approach from the establishment foreign policy crowd, we need alternative views.

Regards  —  Cliff

Friday, December 8, 2017

Maybe Catching A Break

For John, BLUFThis who "Trump" investigation is far from finished.  Nothing to see here; just move along.

This is from Zero Hedge, by MrTyler Durden, 8 December 2017.

I got here from the InstaPundit, a blog post by Mr Stephen Green, 8 December 2017.

Here is the lede plus two:

U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras abruptly recused himself Thursday night with no explanation. Contreras is an Obama appointee who also sat on the FISA court while the Trump team was under surveillance by the Obama administration.  Judge Emmet Sullivan, an Bill Clinton appointee, was randomly assigned to take over the case after Contreras’ recusal.

Of note, Contreras was appointed to the FISA court on May 19, 2016 – before the warrant to surveil one-time Trump advisor Carter Page was issued “in the summer” of 2016.  It is unknown whether or not Contreras was involved in the decision, or whether he was involved in surveillance on Michael Flynn.

The replacement, Judge Emmet G Sullivan, is the judge who presided at the trial of Senator Ted Stevens, who was railroaded.  He is the judge who eventually appointed a Special Counsel to go after the corruption in the Department of Justice.  If there is the need for a fair trial, Judge Sullivan is LTG Mike Flynn's best shot.

Hat tip to the InstaPundit.

Regards  —  Cliff