They won’t like The New Rules

From Powerline: She should have asked them to bake a cake

But yesterday’s peak outrage is one you probably already know about: the manager of a Red Hen restaurant kicked Sarah Sanders and her family out of her establishment last night. Sanders tweeted about it:

Sarah Sanders
@PressSec
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so

And the manager boasted of her intolerably rude (and economically irrational) treatment of Sanders’ family on social media.

Remember when Republican restaurant owners wouldn’t let Obama administration employees eat in their restaurants? No, I don’t recall that either. I only have two observations about the Red Hen outrage: 1) We don’t have Red Hen restaurants in our part of the country, or I would boycott them. 2) I hope Republicans are taking notes. One of these days, we will have a Democratic administration. And when that happens, every single outrage that the Democrats have perpetrated beginning in January 2017 should be visited upon them.

Well, fine. We have New Rules.

Harassment policies for science fiction conventions are all the rage. Many big name authors and others are threatening to boycott conventions that don’t have policies regarding harassment. Here’s how I propose modifying these policies, given The New Rules:

Harassment Policy for SyfyCon

1: The Convention’s response to any reports of harassment will be contingent on whether the committee head believes harassment is deserved. If the committee head believes the alleged victim is unworthy, then she’s on her own.
2: …

 

Hillary, I don’t think you want to bring up your emails now. Or ever.

From American Enterprise Institute

Yes, Madam Secretary, your emails.

In fact, the overlooked bombshell of the report is the inspector general’s confirmation that classified information contained in Clinton’s emails was in fact compromised by foreign intelligence services, and that Clinton had recklessly emailed President Barack Obama using her unsecured personal email from the territory of a hostile foreign adversary.

Before the report was released, we knew from Comey’s July 2016 statement that Clinton’s private emails included “seven e-mail chains [which] concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received.” We also knew that the FBI “also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail.” Comey further declared, “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private commercial e-mail accounts of people with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her personal account.” And he speculated that, given how “extremely careless” Clinton had been, it was “possible that hostile actors gained access to Secretary Clinton’s personal e-mail account.”

Well, it turns out, the FBI knew with certainty at the time that hostile actors had in fact gained access to classified information via Clinton’s emails. According to the inspector general, a special review of the Clinton email investigation in 2017 by the Office to the FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) found that, before Comey’s 2016 statement, “the FBI . . . successfully determined classified information was improperly stored and transmitted on Clinton’s email server, and classified information was compromised by unauthorized individuals, to include foreign governments or intelligence services, via cyber intrusion or other means”

The initial draft of Comey’s 2016 statement said it was “reasonably likely” that hostile actors had gained access to Clinton’s private email account. Moreover, the inspector general quotes FBI agent Peter Strzok as commenting on that “It is more accurate to say we know foreign actors obtained access to some of her emails (including at least one Secret one) via compromises of the private email accounts of some of her staffers”. These facts were inexplicably left out of the final statement.

Reason enough not to let her anywhere near the levers of power.

“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.