We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our Recent Essays Behind the Front Page
Tuesday, December 5. 2017
Photo via Theo
Tyler Cowen (the readiest person I know - about 2 books/week) offers his Best Non-fiction Books of 2017
Civilization (Bongo, Bongo, Bongo) - Steyn's Song of the Week
Ethereum miners are renting Boeing 747s to ship graphics cards and AMD shares are soaring
This is over my head
Is Hollywood getting into pedophile movies?
At Huffpo, Problems Of The Super Rich
Eat the rich! Gimme some of their money!
Health spending negatively correlated with health outcomes
Cape Wind offshore power project is dead in the water
It's true that violence can be fun, and it's better if you have an emotional justification. Smash the glass of the ruling class - cuz you want to rule
Delingpole: Donald Trump Trolls Londonistan Like a Boss…
The Tax Reform Bill is Killing and Raping Americans
The Quality Of Political Debate Reaches A New Low With The Tax Bill
Simplifying the Tax Code Has Big Payoffs
If it's about obstruction, perhaps the FBI ought to investigate itself
Would anybody in the FBI change my felony to "carelessness"?
A case (not rare) in which an investigation creates a process crime
FLYNN’S CASE PROVES IT’S TIME TO FIRE MUELLER - When an investigation generates crimes, it’s a crime.
Dershowitz: Come On, You Can’t Charge Trump With Obstruction
McCarthy: It Is Now an Obstruction Investigation
If Michael Flynn's 'crime' is all Robert Mueller has, it is time to move on - Transitions include the president-elect talking to foreign officials. That's not treason; that's the job description.
Puerto Rico's governor hands out almost $100 million in bonuses while asking American taxpayers for $94 billion
How can the US unload this 3rd world island? Does Spain want it back? Likely not.
On the Ground in Salzgitter, Germany
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Am all for Advent but it amuses me when he suggests minimalism in gift giving. The people I know who are into minimalism are all rich and their families already have everything they want or need.
IMHO, choosing (for one’s own spiritual health) NOT to give gifts can be misinterpreted by friends and family as virtue signaling of the most mean spirited and stingy kind. The creepiest people I know make donations in one’s name to charities of their choosing. So THEY feel virtuous.
I remember years when we were very poor and my kids were dressed and had only toys from the thrift shop all year. But at Christmas their relatives and I gave them new things (I wd have saved up, literally eaten homemade beans and rice for work lunches to put aside the money) to get them the same things their spoiled rich classmates had. At least one or two. After a year of scraping by. The people who prate about minimalism in my town were able to afford the North Face jacket for the kid at back to school. My kids had to wait til Christmas for it.
I also remember a Christmas (after our house was half destroyed by a flood ) when a woman we barely knew from church dropped off a dozen beautifully wrapped and extravagant Christmas presents for my little girls as I was going into labor w my third kid and distraught, not about spiritual issues, but disappointed children. Flood pulped presents.
In my view it is Gnostic to focus too much on solitary prayer and non-materialism this Advent. Better to help someone w crazy loving generosity as that dear stranger blessed my children years ago. I try to still.
Jesus gave people real bread and real fish. He healed real wounds. He was not an abstract spiritual presence. The Early Church helped each other materially.
Which is why I try to overcome my natural solitary inclinations to help out at busy, crowded holiday events for lonely old people and cheesy events handing out stuff. Despite my cynicism about who really “deserves” it. WE don’t deserve the grace of God but Jesus came to us as a baby, love Incarnate... So I give gifts anyway and immerse myself in some of the hubbub. Not because I am virtuous, but because I am a sinner, and need God to soften my selfish heart by forcing me to love real people not withdraw into my study and feel more spiritual..
Steyn should have referenced this:
Puerto Rico is a 3rd world country. They have nothing except what has been given to them by the American taxpayers. It is no surprise that they give away tax revenues to their elite. Their entire cultural is one of free stuff and gaming the system. Their less than 4 million population requires more federal tax money to support than than any other city/state in the U.S. per capita. If you want to fix it stop giving them free stuff.
Dershowitz: Come On, You Can’t Charge Trump With Obstruction
President Clinton was compelled to testify, then found in civil contempt of court while a sitting president. President Nixon was charged with obstruction, forcing him to resign, and he would have been criminally charged if he hadn't been pardoned. That a President has a power doesn't mean that power can't be used illegally.
The Declaration of Independence charged that King George III did “obstruct the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to the laws for establishing judiciary powers.” And he was the King. No one is above the law.
McCarthy: It Is Now an Obstruction Investigation
Deutsche Bank gets subpoena from Mueller on Trump accounts: source
When he's demonstrably wrong, yes. Or are you saying that Clinton could not actually be found in contempt by the courts for lying under oath?
"In January, Deutsche Bank agreed to pay $630 million in fines for organizing $10 billion in sham trades that could have been used to launder money out of Russia."
No one is above the law? You honestly don’t believe that, do you? The rich and powerful get away with more crimes than could possibly be documented with all the reams of paper in the world. I believe Justice will be dispensed, just not in this world.
And an odd argument too. It started OK with the references to Clinton and Nixon but quickly went off the rails with mention of the Declaration of Independence.
That declaration was hardly a legal charge of obstruction against the Crown; it was an outright act of treason. Your founding fathers were only saved from the hangman by the success of their insurrection.
Dershowitz is wrong on the law and the kiddiez are right.
Please, y'all still haven't demonstrated where he's wrong...
Key words: could have
Another fishing expedition by Mueller
B. Hammer: No one is above the law?
Poor and minorities certainly are disadvantaged at law, but that doesn't mean the rich are above the law. And in this case, the question is whether the President is beholden to the law. The answer is clearly yes.
JJM: That declaration was hardly a legal charge of obstruction against the Crown;
Actually, it was a legal argument justifying separation. Furthermore, it indicates that the Founders didn't think the executive was above the law. Not even the King was above the law.
JJM: it was an outright act of treason.
Outright acts of treason don't require they justify being "absolved from all allegiance to the British crown".
absolved, set free from blame, guilt, or responsibility.
I don't think Dershowitz is 'wrong'. But it's hard to say you can charge a president with obstruction. While he may indeed BE obstructing, he gets to make the decisions about law enforcement, and therefore 'isn't' obstructing.
In most cases, any involvement by the president isn't going to be obstructionist in nature. When the case involves him personally, it would be nearly impossible to charge him with obstruction until he was impeached. Nixon's case is different from Trump's insofar as he refused to turn over tapes which were subject to subpoena and claimed 'Executive Privilege' - which he had every right to claim. The SCOTUS, however, disagreed. The SCOTUS, in this case, is a higher legal authority than the president.
At the current time, there is not, and has not been, anything remotely obstructionist in any of Trump's actions. So Dershowitz is correct, since his response was in relation to Trump's removal of Comey. I sincerely doubt Dershowitz would ever say that it's impossible to indict or convict a president of obstruction. And exercising his Constitutional rights, as he did, CERTAINLY DOES NOT represent obstruction - that's merely wishful thinking.
Still waiting for you kiddiez to point out where Trump has committed "obstruction".
Y'all don't seem to be able to do that.
Bulldog: And exercising his Constitutional rights, as he did, CERTAINLY DOES NOT represent obstruction
You mean Constitutional powers, and powers certainly can be abused to obstruct justice (see George III, Nixon). Proving obstruction is another matter as the charge entails corrupt intent. But if the President were to, oh, fire the FBI Director then explicitly stating he did it to stop an investigation surrounding alleged collusion by the President's close advisors with a foreign adversary, then that would constitute strong evidence of obstruction.
But it's preposterous to think that a U.S. President would overlook such serious allegations, much less openly admit to obstruction. He'd have to have a nut loose. And, no doubt, members of his own party would hold him to account.
I know you're just an asshole with nothing to do all day. But you just love proving it, don't you?
You’re right, technically. However, they get away with crimes all of the time. For example: Friends in high places, change the wording on official documents from, “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
See Lerner, Lois http://taxprof.typepad.com/taxprof_blog/2017/12/the-irs-scandal-day-1671-lois-lerners-secrets.html
Zzzz:But if the President were to, oh, fire the FBI Director then explicitly stating he did it to stop an investigation surrounding alleged collusion by the President's close advisors with a foreign adversary, then that would constitute strong evidence of obstruction.
Except it didn't happen.
B. Hammer: For example: Friends in high places, change the wording on official documents from, “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless.”
That wouldn't have changed the decision not to prosecute in the Clinton case. In Gorin v. United States the Supreme Court held that the law requires "the elements of scienter and bad faith", which was demonstrated in the Clinton case.
Kinda like they knew the decision before the interview.
Please tell me what is the 'crime' Trump obstructed against? Aren't we in the middle of a 'Russia' investigation that did not stop, in fact it intensified, once Comey was fired. You can't obstruct justice when NO crime has been committed.
So here we are. All they have is some thought that there is 'obstruction of justice' which did not occur by firing someone who should've been fired.
Honestly, I believe Mueller is the good guy here. So far we have had these things come out since he started his invesitgation:
1) More info and scrutiny of the dodgy dossier.
2) Indictment of Manafort for NOTHING related to Trump/Russia and appears to be exposing shady world of money laundering and lobbying in D.C.
3) Strzok partisanship & connection to every bad thing that Hillary was ever accused of...which she magically got out of with no damage.
4) Last night I also heard about Weissman, another Dem on the Mueller team.
So, instead of finding out bad things about Trump, we are uncovering a whole lot of dirt about OTHER people in D.C. If that's what Mueller is all about, I say, MORE PLEASE.
Apparently Andrew Wiessmann is a real piece of work.
The two obstruction of justice articles prepared for Nixon referred to alleged crimes Nixon committed: influencing a District Court Judge, perjury, destroying evidence, etc. Firing Comey is well within the rights of the President. Comey conducted a partisan investigation (to her benefit) of Clinton and should have been fired. That was plain at the time and that reasoning is even more justified with information that has come out subsequently.
Dershowitz is clearly correct in his assessment.
A friend of mine, former DC lawyer, told me today that a shadowy figure behind these allegations is none other than Gary Sick.
You may remember Sick as the person who put forth the "October Surprise" concept when Reagan was elected. Never proved it, never got close to proving it. But still pushes it today (still without evidence). So the idea of Democrats saying elections were 'unfairly taken' is not new.
Even Bush 'stole' his elections with Florida in 2000 and 'rigged machines in Ohio in 2004.
Democrats believe, for some odd reason, that only stupid and conned people vote for Republicans and the Republicans can ONLY win if something is rigged. Which, of course, is outlandish and untrue. But hey - Democrats are smarter than everyone (at least that's what they love telling us).
zach, its good to see you are an expert on "obstruction of justice" Did Peter Strzok and other Obama FBI-justice department leadership obstruct justice when it was determined not to prosecute Clinton staffers for false statements to the FBI?
"Gross negligence" is adequate for criminal liability for mishandling of classified information. Is it obstruction of justice to protect clinton from prosecution? Is it obstruction of justice to clear horndog billclinton for taking money from Mark rich for a pardon? Is it obstruction of justice for Attorney General lynch to instruct head of the FBI comey to treat the hillary investigation as a "matter" rather than an investigation? To not prosecute hillary for taking $150 million for approving sale of uranium to russia? To not prosecute hillary for knowingly falsely claiming that the death of Ambassador Stevens was due to a movie?
Is it obstruction of justice to fire FBI personnel for very bad work quality, and "fixing" criminality of friends and political allies?
Trump has not commanded the justice department and FBI to immediately comply with foia requests for hillary emails, and congressional subpoenas. Is it obstruction of justice for Trump to tolerate stonewalling congressional subpoenas?
No matter what Trump does or doesn't do in the next three years, he drove a stake through the heart of that deceitful bitch and her genuine solid-gold rapist husband, once and for all.
She will never be President of The United States of America, and for that alone he deserves the praise of everyone on this site with the exception of the italics highlighting asshat.
jaybird: its good to see you are an expert on "obstruction of justice"
We don't argue based on expertise, but on the evidence.
jaybird: Did Peter Strzok and other Obama FBI-justice department leadership obstruct justice when it was determined not to prosecute Clinton staffers for false statements to the FBI?
If you referring to Mills and Abedin, it's doubtful a charge of lying could have been supported.
jaybird: "Gross negligence" is adequate for criminal liability for mishandling of classified information.
In Gorin v. United States the Supreme Court held that the law requires "the elements of scienter and bad faith", which was not demonstrated in the Clinton case.
jaybird: Is it obstruction of justice for Trump to tolerate stonewalling congressional subpoenas?
It depends on intent.
"Obstruction"??? Paraphrasing Gertrude Stein, "there's no there there."
MissT: Please tell me what is the 'crime' Trump obstructed against?
There is strong evidence that the Russians criminally hacked into the DNC, then released stolen emails in order to interfere with the U.S. election, a serious violation of national sovereignty. That is the underlying crime. There is also evidence that the Trump campaign was subject to Russian attempts at infiltration and manipulation.
Trump: "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."
MissT: All they have is some thought that there is 'obstruction of justice' which did not occur by firing someone who should've been fired.
Obstruction depends on intent.
Trump: “When I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story.”
MissT: Indictment of Manafort for NOTHING related to Trump/Russia and appears to be exposing shady world of money laundering and lobbying in D.C.
Among the charges against Manafort is money laundering related to Russian involvement in Ukraine. This is the exactly the sort of leverage the Russia use when trying to infiltrate an organization. Manafort was just caught working with a Russian agent on a op-ed piece violating his court order.
MissT: Strzok partisanship & connection to every bad thing that Hillary was ever accused of...which she magically got out of with no damage.
Most FBI agents have political opinions. That is not disqualifying.
So the kiddiez don't have answers, just talking points.
mudbug: ... destroying evidence, etc. Firing Comey is well within the rights of the President.
So is destroying documents — unless the destruction is intended to obstruct justice.
mudbug: Dershowitz is clearly correct in his assessment.
Dershowitz is arguing that a President can't obstruct justice by exercising a constitutional power. If a presidential candidate openly asked Russia to interfere illegally in an election, then upon winning office, fired the FBI Director saying that it was because of the "Russia thing", then that would be evidence of obstruction. Of course, it would be preposterous to think a U.S. President would do such a thing.
There is strong evidence that the Russians criminally hacked into the DNC.
Uh, no. There is real evidence which has been proven by the meta-data that the DNC "hacking" was an inside job ergo the Russian part is made up.
If a presidential candidate openly asked Russia to interfere illegally in an election, then upon winning office, fired the FBI Director saying that it was because of the "Russia thing", then that would be evidence of obstruction.
Pretty big IF there, kiddiez.
Y'all are making it up.
Wow, now your lack of anything to do has caused you to make stuff up. Yes, the ORIGINAL story was the DNC was "hacked" by the Russians. We're now finding out there was much, much more going on. It seems highly questionable, but EVEN IF TRUE - the Russian "hacking" exposed criminal behavior at the DNC, which has gone completely overlooked. All anyone cares about is the 'hacking' not the crimes the DNC was engaged in.
FBI agents may have political leanings, true - but they keep them to themselves or remove themselves from a case where their POV may impact their ability to address the issues fairly. If that were not true, Strzok would still be with the case - and Mueller wouldn't be scrambling now. He knows his goose is cooked. You know it, but you're too delusional to spend time thinking about reality because you've made up lots of BS scenarios living in your mommy's basement, avoiding social contact and spending your time on porn sites.
You really need to find a day job, because you can't be making a decent living commenting all day long.
Z: So is destroying documents — unless the destruction is intended to obstruct justice.
Trump is not accused of this, but Hillary (or at least her minions) did. It didn't redound negatively to her (them).
Z: If a presidential candidate openly asked Russia to interfere illegally in an election...
A presidential candidate is not the president so your example has nothing to do with a president obstructing justice. On the other hand, it more closely resembles Hillary's involvement with the Russian Dossier.
The Marxists of America have been happy with their Zinn history tearing down the history of the South and any mention of the US before the Civil War but I think that, unbeknownst to them, they are creating space for all the Donald monuments that will go up heralding the hollowness of the sickly globalist doctrines of Marxism and Islamism.
Nixon did indeed do some rash things. Perhaps none of them impeachable (most of what is claimed he did is pure BS). But the more important message from the Democrats coup over Nixon is that it was all a conspiracy to get Ted Kennedy elected as president. That never happened of course but only because Ted's baggage greatly exceeded his girth. But the palace coup was engineered by the left in an attempt to over throw the duly elected government.
Zach, the "evidence" is that hillary had large numbers of classified records (not yoga emails) on her insecure bathroom server, which were "hacked" by a variety of entities. If you have had a security clearance (which I doubt) as I have, you know the training and contracts/oaths that hillary undertook and signed, in order to make sure she had knowlege of requirements for safeguarding classified material. Her disregard shows clear, arrogant bad faith. Lots of this material also ended up on that unsecured perv anthony weiner's unsecured laptop. I think that email destroyed on hillary's bathroom server also likely evidenced clinton crime foundation pay-for-play bribes such as the uranium 1 scheme (150 $million plus $500K "speaking fees" and more, for uranium sale to russians), the $700K graft to FBI agent McCage's wife, job placement and other special favors to donors at the state department, etc. Don't you agree this is likely, rather than 30,000 yoga emails?
The criminal statute specifically requires only "gross negligence", specifically eliminating a "knowing" requirement. In the Gorin v US case you cite, the perp was found guilty by the jury, the federal Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. No "knowing" requirement was imposed on the "gross negligence" standard for criminal guilt.
You apparently do agree that at a minimum, hillary ( and her aides/accomplices) were at least "grossly negligent".
42 comments and--yes!--mostly Z-indulgence. Safe to skip this one.
jaybird: the "evidence" is that hillary had large numbers of classified records (not yoga emails) on her insecure bathroom server
There are two systems used by State, a secure system not connected to the Internet, and standard email. All classified information is supposed to be kept on the secure system, but it is not atypical, albeit against policy, for classified information to also be discussed by email. For instance, some information is classified that is also found in newspapers (e.g. if the government has never acknowledged the particular facts).
Yes, there was classified information being sent by email through Clinton's server, but not marked classified. However, there was no evidence that there was intent to expose classified information.
jaybird: which were "hacked" by a variety of entities.
There is no evidence Clinton's server was hacked.
jaybird: The criminal statute specifically requires only "gross negligence",
The courts require "elements of scienter and bad faith".
jaybird: In the Gorin v US case you cite, the perp was found guilty by the jury, the federal Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court.
That's right. The case included "elements of scienter and bad faith", the court noting this was required for the law to be held constitutional.
When I notice that comments have gone ape$hit on this site, it's always because Zachie-Baby has entered the discussion. Adults learn early on not to reward bad behavior in children. Same goes for adults who exhibit childlike behavior.
Bulldog: Yes, the ORIGINAL story was the DNC was "hacked" by the Russians.
That's what the U.S. Intelligence Community, and numerous independent cyber-security firms, have determined. Notably, this is consistent with Russia cyber-warfare against other countries, including nascent democracies in eastern Europe.
Bulldog: It seems highly questionable, but EVEN IF TRUE - the Russian "hacking" exposed criminal behavior at the DNC, which has gone completely overlooked.
What criminal behavior is that?
Bulldog: Mueller wouldn't be scrambling now. He knows his goose is cooked.
Reportedly, Mueller just subpoenaed Trump records from Deutsche Bank, which required presenting a judge with probable cause.
mudbug: Trump is not accused of this
Didn't say he did. It was an example of a power that can be criminal if exercised to obstruct justice.
mudbug: A presidential candidate is not the president so your example has nothing to do with a president obstructing justice.
It's the tat in the alleged tit-for-tat.
"For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out with peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."
— Isaiah 55:12
Texan99: 42 comments and--yes!--mostly Z-indulgence.
At that point 12 out of 42 comments were by Zachriel.
We started only one thread, and our further comments were in response to others who joined the discussion.
You have nowhere near enough interesting things to say to constitute 12 of our 42 comments in any multi-person public thread. Just give it a rest occasionally. You're boring people.