“Separating families”

Investor’s Business Daily has two pieces of interest:

Lost Children? Detention Cages? Baby Prison Bus? Trump’s Critics Will Believe Anything

CNN’s Hadas Gold described the pictures as “First Photos of separated migrant children at holding facility.”

Outrage quickly followed.

“This is happening right now,” said former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau. “Speechless. This is not who we are as a nation,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for California governor. Actress Rosanna Arquette called it a “sick crime against Humanity”

Turns out the photos were taken in 2014 — when, ahem, President Obama was in the White House, a fact that nobody bothered to check before blowing a gasket. Once word of that fact got out, many of these same people deleted their tweets, rather than admit that the “sick crime” happened under their beloved Obama.

CNN’s Hadas Gold described the pictures as “First Photos of separated migrant children at holding facility.”

Outrage quickly followed.

“This is happening right now,” said former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau. “Speechless. This is not who we are as a nation,” said Antonio Villaraigosa, who is running for California governor. Actress Rosanna Arquette called it a “sick crime against Humanity”

Turns out the photos were taken in 2014 — when, ahem, President Obama was in the White House, a fact that nobody bothered to check before blowing a gasket. Once word of that fact got out, many of these same people deleted their tweets, rather than admit that the “sick crime” happened under their beloved Obama.

Separating Families At The Border: The Hysteria Overlooks Some Key Facts

First, it’s important to note that many of the “separations” don’t last long at all.
….
Lowry notes that “The criminal proceedings are exceptionally short, assuming there is no aggravating factor such as a prior illegal entry or another crime. Migrants generally plead guilty, and then are sentenced to time served, typically all in the same day.”
….
The administration is right to point out, however, that there is a legal process for seeking asylum that won’t involve facing such a choice — just show up at a port of entry to make the asylum claim.

“As I have said many times before, if you are seeking asylum for your family, there is no reason to break the law and illegally cross between ports of entry,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen tweeted over the weekend.

Critics complain that the legal process just takes too long, as a way to justify illegal border crossings. But illegal border crossers are not only jumping the line. Under the old system they could vastly increase their chances of staying in the country — with or without gaining asylum status.

Is it wrong for Trump to try to close this unfair and potentially dangerous loophole?

Another fact conveniently overlooked amid all the hysteria is that just because a group claims to be a family, doesn’t mean it’s true. The Department of Homeland Security says that from October 2017 to February 2018 it saw “a 315% increase in the number of cases with minors fraudulently posing as ‘family units’ to gain entry.”

 

Yes, Hillary Should Have Been Prosecuted | National Review

Source: Yes, Hillary Should Have Been Prosecuted | National Review

I know this is ancient history, but — I’m sorry — I just can’t let it go. When historians write the definitive, sordid histories of the 2016 election, the FBI, Hillary, emails, Russia, and Trump, there has to be a collection of chapters making the case that Hillary should have faced a jury of her peers.

The IG report on the Hillary email investigation contains the most thoughtful and thorough explanation of the FBI’s decision to recommend against prosecuting Hillary. At the risk of oversimplifying a long and complex discussion, the IG time and again noted that (among other things) the FBI focused on the apparent lack of intent to violate the law and the lack of a clear precedent for initiating a prosecution under similar facts. It also describes how the FBI wrestled with the definition of “gross negligence” — concluding that the term encompassed conduct “so gross as to almost suggest deliberate intention” or “something that falls just short of being willful.”

After reading the analysis, I just flat-out don’t buy that Hillary’s conduct — and her senior team’s conduct — didn’t meet that standard. The key reason for my skepticism is the nature of the classified information sent and received. Remember, as Comey outlined in his infamous July 5, 2016 statement, Hillary sent and received information that was classified at extraordinarily high levels…

The IG Report may be Half-Baked

If that annoys you, try wading through 568 pages of this stuff, particularly on the central issue of the investigators’ anti-Trump bias. The report acknowledges that contempt for Trump was pervasive among several of the top FBI and DOJ officials making decisions about the investigation. So this deep-seated bias must have affected the decision-making, right? Well, the report concludes, who really knows?

Not in so many words, of course. The trick here is the premise the IG establishes from the start: It’s not my job to draw firm conclusions about why things happened the way they did. In fact, it’s not even my job to determine whether investigative decisions were right or wrong. The cop-out is that we are dealing here with “discretionary” calls; therefore, the IG rationalizes, the investigators must be given very broad latitude. Consequently, the IG says his job is not to determine whether any particular decision was correct; just whether, on some otherworldly scale of reasonableness, the decision was defensible. And he makes that determination by looking at every decision in isolation.

But is that the way we evaluate decisions in the real world?

In every criminal trial, the defense lawyer tries to sow reasonable doubt by depicting every allegation, every factual transaction, as if it stood alone. In a drug case, if the defendant was photographed delivering a brown paper bag on Wednesday, the lawyer argues, “Well, we don’t have X-ray vision, how do we really know there was heroin in the bag?” The jurors are urged that when they consider what happened Wednesday, there is only Wednesday; they must put out of their minds that text from Tuesday, when the defendant told his girlfriend, “I always deliver the ‘product’ in paper bags.”

Fortunately, the judge ends up explaining to the jury that, down here on Planet Earth, common sense applies. In our everyday lives, we don’t look at related events in isolation; we view them in conjunction because they read on each other. Let’s say on Monday I confide to my friend that I can’t stand Bob, and on Tuesday I tell Bob I can’t join him for dinner because I have other plans. It may or may not be true that I have other plans, but common sense tells you my disdain for Bob has factored into the decision — even if I don’t announce that fact to Bob.

The IG Hall of Mirrors

The professionally written and admirably researched IG report is in some sense a hall of mirrors, with all sorts of reflections that are contorted and warped, and into which all parties claim to see reality.

Often the euphemistic conclusions are not supported by the data produced. The only constant to Obama-era FBI and DOJ behavior is the universal assumption that Hillary Clinton would be president, and what might be assumed as improper or illegal conduct in the present, would likely in the future be excused or rewarded.

On the question of “bias,” the report exhaustively catalogues communications in which government investigators and attorneys systematically deprecate Trump, and the Trump voter, and in explicit terms boast about stopping him.

Apparently the IG can conclude that there is not actionable bias (although at times admitting he could not rule it out), because he did not find something such as “documentary” memos or texts outlining explicit behaviors, or some fantasy such as an admission that “the Trump voter is a POS who smells and therefore that fact is going to unprofessionally guide my investigations” — as if bias and prejudice are ever in professional life so clumsily documented in a formal, self-incriminating manner.
-{snip}-
Comey’s FBI is the mirror image of Mueller’s special-counsel investigation: Both have the same objective to subvert Trump, but the means to achieve such a shared end are flipped, given the different circumstances.

On the one hand, Comey and his FBI ignore likely perjury and the misleading testimonies of Clinton staffers. For purposes of exoneration, they struggle to invent new linguistic interpretations of existing statutes. They ignore what is likely obstruction of justice of the attorney general modulating her investigations of the email scandal after meeting stealthily with Bill Clinton, the spouse of the suspect currently under investigation. They deliberately mask the fact that the president of the United States has communicated with his secretary of state over an illegal server and then has likely lied about his ignorance of such a fact. Comey himself admits that political considerations warp the course of his investigation of the email scandal.

In dire contrast, for Mueller, even perceived incomplete or inaccurate testimony is immediately leveraged as possible perjury for dirt on superiors. Supposed bribes and influence peddling are never reduced to mere “gifts.” When there is no evidence of collusion, every imaginable personal sin of the past is dredged up, again to flip a witness with threats of exorbitant legal costs and exposure to jail. The Andrew McCabe standard of conflict of interest (there is supposedly no technical law against one’s spouse receiving $700,000 in campaign help from a political machine allied to a candidate that one has just been investigating) does not apply to Flynn et al. but is redefined as “collusion.”

And in the final analysis, the FBI may have accidentally helped to defeat Hillary Clinton.

The IG report is complicated, telling a convoluted story of bad-faith bias, good-faith mistakes, and cascading challenges as each new error creates ever-larger dilemmas. But while the story is complex, the lesson is simple. There are reasons why agents and attorneys should go “by the book.” Apply the law to the facts, follow policies and procedures, and let the chips fall where they may. If you put your thumb on the scales, you’ll often unleash forces you can’t control. Just ask Strzok and Page. They aimed at Trump, but they hit Clinton.

Reporters Must Ask Clooney One Key Question About the SPLC

Source: Reporters Must Ask Clooney One Key Question About the SPLC

“Have they lost their way?”

 

Politico Magazine is asking the same question.

“I do think there is a desperate need for more objective research on hate crimes and domestic extremism—especially now,” says J.M. Berger, a researcher on extremism and a fellow with the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism at The Hague. But like many observers, he worries that the SPLC has gone too far in some of its hate group characterizations. “The problem partly stems from the fact that the organization wears two hats, as both an activist group and a source of information,” he says.

 

A Gun in the Home is more Likely…: A Blast from the Past

A claim always in need of rebuttal…

The Writer in Black

People keep making the claim that a gun in the home is more likely to be used to kill a friend or family member than it is to be used in self defense.

This all derives by a “study” by Arthur Kellerman which has long since been debunked but its fake statistics nevertheless continue to be cited by anti-gun propagandists.

Here are a few of the debunkings:
http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2011/01/william-c-montgomery/editorial-deconstructing-kellermann/
http://www.guns.com/2015/08/24/kellermanns-gun-ownership-studies-after-two-decades/
http://guncite.com/gun-control-kellermann-3times.html
http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/doctors-epidemic.htm
http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/rkba-43.html

Some of its flaws:
On the one side: He only counts as “defenses” dead criminals when in truth in most cases where a gun is used in self defense merely presenting a gun is sufficient to end the threat. When the gun is fired, most of the times the person shot survives. This is even more the case in defensive shootings because when a person means harm, they are more likely to keep shooting until the target is…

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The core flaw in the IG Report is its pretense that bias is meaningless — Bookworm Room

The IG Report ignores that the Clinton investigation was completely and irreparably compromised by agents whose biases went to the heart of the case. The IG Report is a strange beast. To begin with, it’s a rather ironic companion piece to Comey’s July 5, 2016 press conference. Back then, Comey laid out facts that ought…

via The core flaw in the IG Report is its pretense that bias is meaningless — Bookworm Room

Burdens of Proof

Brad R. Torgersen writes on the disinviting of convention guests of honor, based on what they might do.

I won’t devote too much time to rehashing this past week’s slanderous sabotaging of Larry Correia (at Origins) which bore an eerie similarity to the slanderous sabotaging of John Ringo (at ConCarolinas.) In each instance, it was a political hit job. And in each instance, there was no proof offered to substantiate the lies which preceded both Larry’s and John’s disinviting.

What’s concerning is that conventions — indeed, almost all institutions of various descriptions — are being placed in the position of either bending to the will of what are essentially mobs, or facing threats of both bad PR and, potentially, painful legal annoyance. In each case, the institutions almost always take the path of least resistance. It’s far easier to eject a guest who has attracted the mob’s attention, than stand your ground and endure the mob’s ire; as a “defender” of the alleged wrong-doer.

None of this — in 2018 — happens without social media, of course. One might argue that Social Justice Zealotry could not exist without the anonymity and virility that social media provides. Pick your target from behind the safety of your keyboard, light the digital torch, rally your friends to the cause, and off you go to pillory whichever offending party suits your fancy this week. Proof? A preponderance of evidence? P’shaw! Mere legal trickery by the hated cishet white male misogynist transphobic patriarchy! Everybody knows that villains use proof and evidence to hide from justice. It’s time for more direct and drastic steps to be taken, so as to ensure that the evil-doers are brought to heel!

I think by now the professional consensus is that Origins committed a huge blunder, by disinviting Larry Correia. The plaintiffs didn’t have to like Larry, nor did they have to like his politics. But Larry had done absolutely nothing to warrant disinvitation. There were no provable violations of any code of conduct Origins might have put forth. Larry was simply . . . kicked out, because a pack of SJZs wanted him kicked out.

That’s a rotten precedent for any institution — regardless of its mission — to set. Letting an unaccountable gaggle of shit-slingers decide who can and cannot be a guest at your convention?

During a separation board’s deliberations, the question must be asked: did the institution itself obey its own rules, regarding the gathering and presentation of evidence, and is this evidence in fact qualified such that it can be taken as legal fact — versus merely the say-so of specific individuals who may or may not have been under oath, when they said what they said?

I hope that conventions (going forward) might begin to ask themselves similar questions, with similar emphasis on the disqualification of rumor, speculation, political hatchetry, slander, character assassination, and other forms of dishonesty. Any institution which expects to enjoy the participation of guests and consumers alike, needs to be able to forge an atmosphere of trust.

At a recent LASFS board meeting, the topic of conventions responding very badly to complaints came up. I suggested the first rule of dealing with any complaint of this sort is, “Don’t Panic”. Perhaps the decision makers should be issued towels?

Progressives hysterically protest article telling them to be less hysterical

Enjoy the lack of self-awareness found in the most popular Progressive comments to a Times op-ed warning against the dangers of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Source: Progressives hysterically protest article telling them to be less hysterical

They hate you. They really, really hate you.

The above are representative of the top “reader picks” articles, each claiming that Alexander is out of his ever-loving mind because Trump supporters are so utterly vile and so entirely outside the pale that it is impossible (or, as Biden would say, “literally impossible”) to speak to them in any but the most demeaning, insulting, offensive terms. Only in such a way can these self-defined “liberals” preserve the space between their own dignified, respectful, open-minded, intelligent, and truly decent selves, on the one hand, and the utter evil that walks the land in Trump’s America, on the other hand.

If you want a video microcosm of the type of thinking New York Times Progressives are displaying here, I urge you to check out this video. Also I urge you to read Paul Mirengoff’s two articles pointing out that, for all the rhetoric about Trump’s alleged hatred and fascism, he’s been a completely controlled, constitutional president. What the Progressives mean when they speak of hate and fascism are policies that were normative just ten or twelve years ago, before Obama took his pen and phone and unilaterally tried to rewrite the Constitution.

Mirengoff’s articles are especially sweet because, back in 2016 and early 2017, he did not support and was very worried about Trump. Mirengoff represents what happens when a president keeps his promises, acts in a manner consistent with America’s Constitution and laws, and loves his country and its values. Moreover, Mirengoff is not alone. Ordinary Americans are noticing that the racial obsession, lawlessness, and hate are emanating, not from the White House, but from the mean streets of America’s Leftist cities and political enclaves.

Why Masterpiece Cakeshop Is Huge First Amendment Win

By Kristen Waggoner, senior vice president for the U.S. legal division of the Alliance Defending Freedom

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a decisive 7-2 majority of the justices called out the double standard that Colorado had applied against my client, Jack Phillips. The Supreme Court reversed the decision to bully Jack for his faith and further clarified that the “government has no role in expressing or even suggesting whether the religious ground for [Jack’s] conscience-based objection is legitimate or illegitimate.”

Commentators will offer their various interpretations of this important case. Specifically, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claims that this case simply addresses Jack’s situation and offers no relief for other creative professionals. But the ACLU’s reading of the decision misses the mark.

My team and I presented two First Amendment issues to the court for review—artistic freedom and free exercise of religion. The court decided to tackle only the religious freedom issue because the evidence of anti-religious hostility against Jack was so profound that the court didn’t need to reach the speech question.

….

By now, many people know the facts of Jack’s case. As the court described him, Jack is “an expert baker and devout Christian.” The logo for Masterpiece Cakeshop features a paintbrush, and Jack puts his creative genius into each custom design that he creates.

Jack has never refused to serve any person based on who they are. Everyone is welcome in his shop — even the two men who sued him. But Jack cares deeply about the messages he communicates through his artwork. So over the years, he has declined to create many custom cakes because of the messages on them or the events that they celebrate.

In 2012, Phillips declined a request to create a wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage. But he was quick to tell the couple that he would design a cake for them for another occasion or sell them anything else in his store.

Instead of respecting Phillips’ belief about marriage, the state labeled his beliefs discriminatory. One state official even said that using religious freedom “to justify discrimination” is “a despicable piece of rhetoric,” comparing Phillips’ efforts to protect his freedom to arguments raised by slaveholders and Nazis. And the government ordered Phillips to re-educate his employees, which even included his mother, and teach them that he was wrong to operate his own business consistently with his beliefs.

To make matters worse, the same commission that sidelined Jack’s convictions elevated the convictions of other Colorado cake artists, who were faced with requests for messages that they did not want to create, specifically messages that opposed same-sex marriage.

By so doing, the commissioners showed their bias and demonstrated a nearly poetic double standard concerning the cake artists’ expressive freedom and their willingness to sell other products to the same customers.

It is true that the court’s decision did not directly resolve all the claims of our other creative professional clients — filmmakers, calligraphers and printers, to name a few — who wish to live out their convictions within the public square. It did, however, reiterate these vital principles:

  • “[R]eligious and philosophical objections to gay marriage are protected views and, in some instances, protected forms of expression.”
  • The government (at local, state and federal levels) is obligated to consider these kinds of cases “with the religious neutrality that the Constitution requires.”
  • The government is not allowed to pass “judgment upon or [presuppose] the illegitimacy of religious beliefs and practices,” as it did in Jack’s case.

These principles matter for our other clients because government officials throughout the country routinely target people of faith for adverse treatment. This means that other artists who share Jack’s religious beliefs about marriage will also benefit from the court’s decision.