PowerLine -> CNN: When It Rains, It Pours

PowerLine -> CNN: When It Rains, It Pours

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  • Some Pictures Just Can’t Wait Till Saturday Morning
  • CNN: When It Rains, It Pours
  • The new meaning of treason
  • Let’s call the whole thing kollusion [with comment by Paul]
  • Thoughts from the ammo line
Some Pictures Just Can’t Wait Till Saturday Morning

Posted: 14 Jul 2017 01:15 PM PDT

(Steven Hayward)

I’m traveling today, but not to worry: I’ve got the Week in Pictures in hand for tomorrow morning, going up at 6 am (central time) sharp as usual. But sometimes a picture comes along that is so extraordinary that it deserves to be separated from the crowd:

I mean seriously: what the hell? Clinton between two Bushes? Does Slick Willie not know how symbolically accurate this photo is, displaying his stature and character relative to the two men he came between in office?

This is ideal for a caption contest for the comment thread. I’d try some myself, but I have a connecting flight to catch in 15 minutes.

  

CNN: When It Rains, It Pours

Posted: 14 Jul 2017 12:18 PM PDT

(John Hinderaker)

CNN is having a hard time these days. So it doesn’t help when anchor Poppy Harlow doesn’t recognize the National Anthem:

Trivial mistake? Perhaps so. But if President Trump made it, the Democrats would be indicting him for treason.

Via Daily Caller.

  

The new meaning of treason

Posted: 14 Jul 2017 07:42 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Rebecca West wrote a once well-known book about British supporters of the Nazis during World War II that she called The Meaning of Treason (1947). Harry Kalven’s review is posted here. West famously revisited the subject to take account of the British Communists who spied for the Soviet Union in The New Meaning of Treason (1964). Sidney Hook’s review is here.

When I wrote “The new meaning of collusion” earlier this week, I had West’s 1964 book in mind. In my post, I briefly commented on the June 2016 meeting of Donald Trump, Jr. et al. with the Russian attorney who had been held out as offering incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton that would be of use to Donald Trump’s campaign. Within hours Democrats and their media adjunct were raising the charge of “treason.” Politico reported, for example (with much more at the link):

“Nothing is proven yet. But, we’re now beyond obstruction of justice in terms of what’s being investigated,” Kaine told CNN, when asked if Trump Jr.’s actions were treasonous. “This is moving into perjury, false statements and even into potentially treason.”

While Kaine stressed that nothing is proven, a Kaine spokesperson said the senator “acknowledged the grave impropriety, if proven, of any effort to cooperate with a foreign nation — especially one deemed by our military leaders to be a primary state adversary — to influence an American election.”

Echoes of that sentiment have started to take shape in other corners of Congress. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted out a New York Times report on the eldest Trump son’s emails on Tuesday, noting “if this isn’t treasonous, I’m not sure what is.”

The Democrats and their media friends continue to seek new lows in the degradation of our democratic discourse. At NRO, Dan McLauglin sketches the legal (constitutional) meaning of “treason” and demonstrates its inapplicability to anything involved in this story.

How strange it is for the slavish followers of Barack Obama and loyal supporters of Hillary Clinton to be “normalizing” the slinging of such a charge in this context. For eight years, four of which included Clinton’s inane service as Secretary of State, Obama implemented policies to placate Putin and Russia. Consider the ludicrous “reset” of relations with Russia, or the betrayal of George Bush’s promise of missile defense to Poland and the Czech Republic, or the refusal to provide Ukraine arms to fight Russian-backed separatists.

Let us not forget Obama’s promise of greater “flexibility” to his friend Vlad in Obama’s second term. Vlad appreciated it in his own way. Putin also appreciated Obama’s disparagement of Mitt Romney’s characterization of Russia as our foremost geopolitical adversary. To Obama, Romney was a throwback to another era, lost on the wrong side of history. Suppressing his laughter in public, Putin could work with a guy like Obama.

Even Obama administration policies not expressly designed to placate Putin — policies such as Obama’s hampering the commercial exploration and exploitation of our energy resources, or starving the armed services of resources, or turning Syria over to Putin — served critical Russian interests.

We could expand the treatment of the subject to consider the Obama administration’s deference to, and empowerment of, the Iranian regime. The Iranian regime is of course an avowed enemy of the United States. It seeks death to America. Yet no one in the world did more to preserve it and prop it up than Obama. We will be trying to live with the consequences of Obama’s assistance to Iran for a long time to come.

President Trump has begun to turn many of Obama’s misguided policies around. His policies are already doing damage to Putins’s interests. What is the intelligent observer to make of that? Democrats should think twice before turning “treason” into just another term of abuse. Everything about it is wrong.

  

Let’s call the whole thing kollusion [with comment by Paul]

Posted: 14 Jul 2017 06:32 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

I wrote about the New York Times stories here and here reporting on Donald Trump, Jr.’s June 2016 meeting with the Russian lawyer in “The new meaning of collusion.” I focused on the latter story in a post early on Tuesday morning, before Trump Jr. released the email chain that the story described at second hand. Whatever the faults of the story, in retrospect I wrongly made light of it.

As everyone now knows, the British music publicist Rob Goldstone offered to set up the meeting with a Russian government attorney “to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary Clinton and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father.” Goldstone held out the offer as part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump[.]” For deep knowledge of the motives the Russian government, the British music publicist would obviously be a go-to guy — maybe in an Austin Powers movie.

Goldstone’s come-on reads like a set-up. Responding to the invitation with anything other than a call to the FBI was exceedingly foolish.

In his statement to the Times about the meeting, Trump Jr. “described the meeting as primarily about an adoption program.” While literally true, it is also extremely misleading. The statement, moreover, was reportedly crafted in the White House. One could reverse engineer a good book on best practices in scandal management from this scenario.

Did President Trump know about the meeting? Yesterday President Trump seems to have conceded that “in fact maybe it was mentioned at some point.” I’m taking that as an acknowledgment, or as the preface to an acknowledgment.

The email and the meeting belie the fundamental position that the Trump team has taken in the “collusion” controversy — i.e., that no such contact occurred. In the event, however, the inducement for the meeting proved a pretext. The meeting indicates that the Trump team might have taken advantage of information provided if such information had been provided. The spirit was willing.

Even so, there is no evidence that the Russian lawyer had damaging information to deliver. There is no evidence that the Russian lawyer delivered damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. asked the Russian lawyer to come back with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. would have promised the Russian lawyer anything if she had agreed to return with damaging information. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. came away from the meeting with anything but disappointed expectations.

Paul argues further that nothing in the story makes out “collusion.” Paul also argues that the Trump team properly accepted the invitation and should have taken advantage of the bona fide information it might have obtained at the meeting. I don’t know.

We have nothing remotely approaching “collusion,” whatever that means. We have Keystone Kops. At this point, let’s call the whole thing kollusion.

PAUL ADDS: I don’t think that receiving information from someone constitutes collusion with that person. As I see it, for collusion to occur, the person who receives the information must do (or offer to do) something in return, beyond just using the information for his own purposes.

The real question, though, isn’t the definitional one. The real question is whether there was anything wrong with Trump, Jr. trying to obtain useful information about a political opponent from a Russian source with probable ties to the government.

A lot of people I respect assert (usually with little or no analysis) that this was wrong. I don’t agree.

I think people working for a political campaign have the right to obtain useful information wherever they can find it, as long as they don’t break the law. Putin is an adversary, but we are not at war with Russia. Every U.S. administration since Putin took power has cooperated with him to some degree.

As for using the information, I think that if the Russian source had provided solid evidence of real collusion between Hillary Clinton and the Russian government, Trump, Jr. would have been obligated to use that information. He would, in effect, be reporting a crime or at least a serious misdeed.

So, if Trump, Jr. thought the meeting might yield information showing such collusion — which he did, probably foolishly — it’s hard for me to see what’s wrong with attending the meeting.

  

Thoughts from the ammo line

Posted: 14 Jul 2017 04:50 AM PDT

(Scott Johnson)

Ammo Grrrll is not coming out with the declaration: I’M A MAN! She is quoting Mr. AG. She writes:

Mr. AG and I take a multi-vitamin every day. Never one to miss a marketing opportunity, Centrum makes more or less-identical vitamins labeled “Women,” “Men,” and the one I take for Geezer-Americans labeled Adults Fifty-Plus called Centrum Silver. As I was shaking my vitamin out of the bottle, offering one to Mr. AG, he said something both hilarious and with a kernel of truth: “No, not that one. I’m not an ‘Adult’; I’m a ‘Man’!”

I learned that it IS possible to pass Cheerios through your nose! Even with blueberries.

Now, beloved gentlemen fans of my writing, I defy you to find a single anti-male sentence in any of my columns. There are over 160 of them in the Archives. We’ll wait…

I love and adore men, specifically the ones in my life – husband, son, step-grandson, nephews, brother, dear friends, my Papa – but even generally, I think the male sex is one of two equally splendid and complementary ones. But, as Larry, the Cable Guy would say, “Come ON, THAT’S funny, I don’t care who you are!”

And I think that there is something wonderfully “non-adult” about a lot of men’s activities. In fact, I think one of the reasons that women are sometimes critical of these activities is that they are jealous of the irrationally exuberant fun men have.

So what men’s activities do I think are less than an adult? Well, very few women will go topless in groups to sporting events in freezing weather with their faces painted in team colors and supportive messages spelled out collectively on their chests. Though this would not be unwelcome in many circles. And it would certainly bring beloved Cubs sports announcer Harry Carey back from the dead to comment appreciatively. Harry and his cameraman could find scantily clad female fans in the bleachers like heat-seeking missiles. Harry loved summer.

You will find very few women making up pretend sports teams and obsessively checking their cell phones during a nice Golden Anniversary dinner to see if their Pretend Pitcher blew a Save or their Pretend Second Baseman has an oblique injury and is on the DL.

In the Fantasy League that Mr. AG and our son have belonged to for a couple of decades, there is one owner team made up of two women, one of whom is actually a sitting judge in the state of Minnesota, which should give you pause. But these highly intelligent women choose their players based strictly on who has – dare I say it in a family blog? – cute butts! Oh, for “sexist”! If they run for office, weepy traumatized men will have to knit pink “butt hats” to protest. Their Fantasy League record is not wonderful, but they really have fun screening and assessing prospective players for their team.

Not to brag, but we actually do count as a friend a REAL owner of an ACTUAL major league baseball team! Mike, should you decide to emphasize guys with cute butts in assembling your roster next year in order to attract more lady fans, possibly including your wife, I would selflessly offer to help select them. Haha. I kid, of course. Kidding is what I do. (But, seriously, call me.)

I also love the fiercely competitive streak in almost all men. An orthopedic surgeon told a friend of mine that he could make a living solely on cutthroat family picnic volleyball games. For forty years now the people who would lose every fair competition have tried to drive that streak into oblivion: the participation trophies, the failure to keep score in Little League or soccer, the emphasis on “group” projects and “cooperation” rather than individual effort and competition, banning valedictorians, colleges with no grades. The dreary list goes on and on.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Cooperation in many circumstances is a great and necessary thing. (CNN news crawl: “H8TR Ammo Grrrll Against Cooperation!”): bucket brigades, quilting bees, research projects, surgery theaters. But in almost every group project I have been involved in, there have been the doers and the slackers. When I had a partner in Biology, I was definitely the slacker, gagging at the smell of formaldehyde and none too thrilled with the innards of a frog either. Thank you, Judy, for getting me through! We were “partners” and she did all the work. We both got an “A.”

Anyway, one of my most vivid experiences with men’s competitive nature involved lawyers. (There’s a surprise!) Many years ago, in a galaxy far far away, Mr. AG was an associate in a very big deal law firm in the Twin Cities. This law firm organized a Retreat to try to get their guys and gals to relax for a weekend. In order to drag them away from their offices – this was so long ago that everyone wasn’t yet permanently connected to a virtual office via electronics – they had to shanghai them to a resort hundreds of miles north of the Twin Cities lest they sneak back down overnight and work.

But in order that they do not implode from toxic testosterone build up (even the women) or pent-up adrenaline, they organized a whole series of athletic competitions – volleyball, golf, of course, and softball. And what happened? It rained, Noah-style, for two solid days. The water in the parking lot was up to my knees, although that isn’t saying a lot. And – on their own – the fellas organized a killer afternoon of what I called MMA Full-Contact Charades. It’s a miracle no one died. I’ve never had more fun in my life. Lacking entirely in the normal fear of looking like an idiot, I happen to be a whiz at Charades.

  

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