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June 2017

Let’s not emulate the Left : Ruthie Blum

As soon as details about the shooting spree at a baseball field in Virginia on Wednesday morning began to emerge, social media lit up with political arguments.

Before it was established that 66-year-old James T. Hodgkinson had arrived at the venue with the intention to kill members of the Republican Party, the heated debate focused on the assault rifle and pistol used in the attack, and the pros and cons of gun control. When the identity and motive of the perpetrator became clear, the fights took a turn for the worse.

Conservatives experienced a touch of schadenfreude at the realization that the perpetrator was a left-wing activist — a supporter of Bernie Sanders, the candidate in the Democratic Party’s primaries defeated by Hillary Clinton — with boundless hatred for U.S. President Donald Trump. Until now, the Right in America has been put on the defensive, accused of everything from racism to wanton disregard for the environment. That Hodgkinson was a member of the “enlightened” camp, which not only purports to have a monopoly on goodness, but considers gun ownership a crime in and of itself, was a source of deep embarrassment.

Sanders promptly and properly denounced the violence and distanced himself from the culprit.

Trump and members of Congress, many of whom were present during the shootings, also have been acting responsibly. House Speaker Paul Ryan announced, “We are united in our shock. We are united in our anguish. An attack on one of us is an attack on all of us.”

Facebook and Twitter users have been less noble, with Trump supporters attributing the truly vile atmosphere created by disgruntled voters, particularly prominent celebrities, to Hodgkinson’s rampage. They have been highlighting statements such as the one made by movie star Robert De Niro, who said in a pre-presidential election video that he’d “like to punch Trump in the face,” and the disgusting shenanigans of comedian Kathy Griffin, recently disgraced for parodying an Islamic State-like beheading of the president.

Though these critics are justifiably appalled at the escalating viciousness of anti-Trump rhetoric — which is aimed not only at the president himself, but at anyone who defends him — they need to be very careful when it comes to castigating an entire political camp for the actions of a deranged man with a history of physical abuse.

One key principle that sets conservatives apart from liberals is individualism. This is why we tend to support a free market, free speech and school choice, while rejecting the notion that fast-food chains cause obesity or that guns commit murder. This is not to say that we ignore the power of culture on society. On the contrary, it is the source of much of our angst and the cause of many of our ideological battles.

However, as a right-winger in Israel whose political position was held accountable for the climate that led to the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on Nov. 4, 1995, I cannot in good conscience join the choir of my current American compatriots doing to the other side what was done to mine.

Lights Out for the West The backlash against liberalism is rooted in economics. While the rich live in opulence, over half of Westerners are barely getting by. Lawrence J. Haas reviews “The Retreat of Western Liberalism” by Edward Luce.

In the 1990s, Western liberalism’s triumph seemed inevitable. The Soviet empire had disintegrated. Francis Fukuyama had proclaimed the “end of history.” By the end of the decade, the U.S. economy was surging, fueling higher living standards at every income level. More and more countries were seeking to establish the liberal political and economic systems that would allow them to share in the prosperity. At home and abroad, the future seemed bright, almost boundless.

In hindsight, however, the 1990s look less like the ascent of Western liberalism than its heyday. As it turned out, the late ’90s represented the only period since the early 1970s in which Americans enjoyed the benefits of economic growth so broadly; for more than four decades, with the exception of those at the top of the wealth distribution, incomes have remained mostly stagnant. Around the world, since the turn of the millennium, some 25 democracies have failed, and movements to liberalize—most notably, the Arab Spring—have generally ended in violent collapse.

In 2016, simmering fear and frustration boiled over as American voters elected a political outsider who expressed no interest in promoting the U.S.-led liberal order. And while optimists view Donald Trump as a historical accident, British journalist Edward Luce begs to differ. In “The Retreat of Western Liberalism,” he warns that Trumpism could prove less an accident than a portent in the United States and across the West.

“Western liberalism” can be a mushy term, and even though his book is premised on it, Mr. Luce offers no clear definition. He instead points to elements that, one presumes, are supposed to add up to a whole—texts like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the belief in democracy in the hearts of Westerners and the spread of democratic systems over time. Whatever this whole is, Mr. Luce sees it under assault. America has elected an essentially illiberal president who is “a big fan of walls and a big admirer of Vladimir Putin. ” Overseas, democratic capitalism’s broken promises have made the quick-fix pledges of demagogues more appealing. Britain’s “left-behinds” voted against the London elite and opted for Brexit; right-wing autocrats mounted serious campaigns in France, the Netherlands and elsewhere across Europe (albeit with mixed success). In every year since 2008 more countries have restricted freedom than have expanded it, according to the global watchdog organization Freedom House.Mr. Luce devotes much of his book to why this global rebellion is happening, and why now. His thesis is straightforward. While the rich enjoy greater opulence, living and working among themselves in isolated enclaves, half to two-thirds of Westerners have been “treading water—at best—for a generation” as globalization and robotics have combined to limit wages and eliminate jobs. Productivity growth fueled the economic surge that doubled living standards from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, but the productivity gains that the digital revolution was supposed to deliver haven’t materialized. Meanwhile, the costs of health insurance and higher education—both essential to upward mobility—have continued to rise, putting them increasingly out of reach of the classes that would benefit from them most and making social stratification more pronounced.

How does this growing inequality affect the liberal project? “Liberal democracy’s strongest glue is economic growth,” Mr. Luce argues. “When groups fight over the fruits of growth, the rules of the political game are relatively easy to uphold. When those fruits disappear, or are monopolised by a fortunate few, things turn nasty.” Across the West, Mr. Luce explains, the non-rich losers in this zero-sum game have started to turn against the status quo. For the United States, Mr. Luce cites as evidence the fact that “every single one of America’s 493 wealthiest counties, almost all of them urban, voted for Hillary Clinton. The remaining 2623 counties, most of them suburban or small-town, went for Donald Trump.”

Trump Should Stop Funding Palestinian Terrorists By Rachel Ehrenfeld

When it comes to the Palestinians, the Trump administration goes the way its predecessors have. On June 13, 2017, State Secretary Rex Tillerson reassured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the Palestinian Authority “have changed that policy and their intent is to cease the payments to the families of those who have committed murder or violence against others.”

Tillerson apparently took Mahmoud Abbas at his word. He should know better.
The Palestinian leadership’s “intentions” have been declared in public by Palestinian Authority (PA) Yasser Arafat on June 6, 2001, on Radio Palestine. “War is a dream; peace is a nightmare,” he announced. Arafat is gone, but in the effort to avoid the “nightmare” of peace, Abbas and the rest of the Palestinian leadership adopted his motto and never stopped funding its jihadist propaganda for terrorism against Israel.

In 2003, Palestinian President Abbas, who then served as Arafat’s prime minister, justified PA’s Treasury payments to members of the terrorist designated al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades – who committed mass-murder attacks on Israelis and groomed children to become suicide bombers – was an effort to “de-radicalize” the terrorists. It was “an attempt to wean the terrorist from committing further homicide bombings,” Abbas said. But then, as today, the PA did not pay to stop terrorism; it has been paying the salaries of terrorists and rewarding their families. The Palestinian’s “de-radicalization” excuse, was later adopted by the Saudis and the other Gulf States to host al-Qaeda and ISIS fighters. The Palestinians should also be credited for “innovations” such as suicide bombing, stabbing, and car-ramming. And terrorism proved as a good industry for the Palestinians. The more terror, the more funds they were given supposedly to incentivize them for “peace.”

On July 17, 2003, after the European Union was criticized for funding Palestinian terrorism, then External Relations Commissioner, Christopher Patten, wrote in the Financial Times “[the EU has worked throughout the bloodstained months of the intifada to keep a Palestinian administration alive and to drive a process of reform within it.” Similar claims have become routine over the years, and the money kept flowing. Patten claimed, “At every step, the EU’s help was made conditional on reforms that would make a viable Palestinian state a reality one day and in the short term make the Palestinian territories a better, safer neighbor for Israel.” By the time Patten made this statement, he had received from the Israeli government volumes of captured Palestinian documents providing clear evidence that EU funds granted to the PA were being used to pay for the upkeep of terrorists, homicide bombers, weapons, bomb manufacturing plants, as well vacations, travel, scholarships and medical treatments to members the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and other Palestinian terror groups, and bonuses to the Palestinian leadership and their families, including Arafat and Abbas.

If for no other reason, the U.S. the EU, the UN, the World Bank, other international and even Christian charities should have stopped funding the PA for its ongoing human, civil and religious rights violations against their own people. Some of this abuse has been carried out through the introduction of the Islamic culture that encourages martyrdom in the name of Allah. To fool the West, the Palestinians have always said, in English, they are peace-loving people.
On June 14, a day after Tillerson assured the Senate the PA promised to change its spots, the head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, Issa Qaraqe challenged the Secretary’s statement: “There is no end to the payments. We reject ending the subsidies to the prisoners and families of martyrs. We will not apologize for it,” he said and went on to denounce the American and Israelis

No Tolerance for Extremism by Denis MacEoin

At the moment, the bar for taking extremists out of circulation is set ridiculously high. People known for their own extremism that reaches pre-terrorist levels should not be walking the streets when they have expressed support for Islamic State (ISIS) or tried to head to Syria or called for the destruction of Britain and other democracies or allied themselves to people already in prison. Their demand for free speech or freedom of belief must never be elevated above the rights of citizens to live safely in their own towns and cities. It is essential for parliament to lower the bar.

Is this to be the political landscape for the future, where groups of people demanding death and destruction are given the freedom of the streets whilst those wishing to hold a peaceful celebration are prevented from doing so?

To see extremist Islam as a “perversion” of Islam misses an important point. The politically correct insistence that radical versions of Islam somehow pervert an essentially peaceful and tolerant faith forces policy-makers and legislators, church leaders, rabbis, interfaith workers and the public at large to leave to one side an important reality. Flatly, Islam in its original and classic forms has everything to do with today’s radicals and the violence they commit. The Qur’an is explicit in its hatred for pagans, Jews and Christians. It calls for the fighting of holy war (jihad) to conquer the non-Muslim world, subdue it, and gradually bring it into the fold of Islam. Islam has been at war with Europe since the seventh century.

On the Sunday morning after the terrorist attacks in London the night of June 3, British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed the nation in a powerful speech. It deserves to be read in full, but several points stand out and call for a response.

We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are. Things need to change and they need to change in four important ways.

First, while the recent attacks are not connected by common networks, they are connected in one important sense. They are bound together by the single evil ideology of Islamist extremism that preaches hatred, sows division and promotes sectarianism.

It is an ideology that claims our Western values of freedom, democracy and human rights are incompatible with the religion of Islam.

Lower down, she enhances that by saying:

Second, we cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed. Yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services provide.

No one who has watched the endless stream of radical Muslim preachers who appear on YouTube or who post extremist, anti-Western, anti-democratic, or anti-Semitic opinions on Facebook would object to May’s stricture. But given earlier attempts to rein in the providers of so many internet spaces in a demand for better scrutiny and the removal of radicalizing material from their sites, we must remain pessimistic about how far May or any other Western leader can bring effective pressure to bear. Without strong financial disincentives, these rulers of the internet will pay little heed to the concerns of the wider public and our security services.

Baltimore Nears 160 Homicides So Far in 2017, Six in Less Than 24 Hours “Gunfire is reaching epic proportions.” Trey Sanchez

According to CBS Baltimore, the city is nearing 160 homicides and already before halfway through 2017. Shockingly, six people were murdered in the span of just 24 hours.

Because of the increase in violent crimes, Baltimore officers have been given mandatory 12-hour shifts where they will go door-to-door, canvassing the neighborhoods where most of the violence is taking place.

Baltimore has been troubled since the Black Lives Matter riots over the death of Freddie Gray who died in police custody. Then-Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was criticized for bowing to the rioters who injured police officers, giving those “who wished to destroy” the space to do so.

Inheriting that mess is Democratic Mayor Catherine Pugh, who said illegal guns are the city’s biggest problem now.

“It should at least be a felony to carry an illegal gun,” Pugh said. “There’s too many illegal guns on streets of our city.”

Pugh is working to ensure criminals with violent backgrounds stay in jail and can’t get their hands on firearms.

Among the nearly 160 dead is 27-year-old Sebastian Dvorak, who was robbed and gunned down while out with his friends. His killer is still on the run.

Then there was the 37-year-old mother of eight children, Charmaine Wilson, who was murdered after a fight between a group of boys over a bike that belonged to one of her sons. Her killer hasn’t been found, either.

Baltimore police spokesman T.J. Smith said, “There is a murderer among us who is an absolutely monstrous human being. This is something that should outrage the entire community, entire city, because there are cowards walking around that took this mother, killed a woman over a dispute.”

Police are asking for tips or video to help in locating these suspects.

Father Of Otto Warmbier: Obama Admin Told Us To Keep Quiet, Trump Admin Brought Him Home Posted By Tim Hains

The father of Otto Warmbier, an American college student imprisoned in North Korea until this week, speaks about his experience working with the Trump administration to free his son. He delivered a short press conference at his local high school in Wyoming, OH Thursday morning.

FRED WARMBIER: When Otto was first taken, we were advised by the past administration to take a low profile while they worked to obtain his release. We did so without result. Earlier this year, Cindy and I decided the time for strategic patience was over.

We made a few media appearances and traveled to Washington to meet with [Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Korea and Japan] Ambassador Joe Yun at the State Department.

It is my understanding that Ambassador Yun and his team, at the direction of the president aggressively pursued resolution of the situation.

They have our thanks for bringing him home.

The New Banality of Evil James Hodgkinson’s murderous rage was fueled by dedication to a mundane progressive agenda. Steven Malanga

Alexandria, Virginia shooter James T. Hodgkinson was certainly angry about the direction of the country, but his vision of America was prosaic and predictable—ripped from the pages of the Huffington Post. Branding himself a member of the “99 percent,” he advocated higher taxes on the rich, according to letters he sent to a local newspaper. He opposed the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, wanted Democrats to filibuster the nomination of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and supported the proposed Presidential Accountability Act, which extends conflict-of-interest laws for federal officials to the president and vice president, who are currently exempt. In other words, his was not the religious fervor of the jihadist seeking a caliphate, nor did he envision the sweeping historical dialectic of Das Kapital. His ideas weren’t even as dramatic as the cultural revolution imagined by the 1960s’ Yippie manifesto. Yet Hodgkinson was apparently willing to kill for higher marginal tax rates, stricter conflict-of-interest laws, and Obamacare. His was a terrorism constructed out of the narcissism of small differences.

Hodgkinson’s act only seems astonishing if you haven’t been paying attention to politics lately. When Donald Trump entered the Oval Office, he faced an opposition that ranged from virtually all Democrats to a generous collection of Republicans and conservatives. Many of us had already leveled a fair amount of criticism at him for his political ideas (or lack of them) and his temperament. Still, the early Trump presidency has been striking for the hyperbolic rhetoric that has accompanied almost any policy associated with his administration, including mundane ideas that he adopted from others after taking office. Republican efforts to replace the ACA—President Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation, which is failing—with a modest bill that doesn’t go nearly as far as some wish has been branded by politicians and columnists as an “act of cruelty” likely to cost millions of lives. Those assertions have little grounding in the truth. Meanwhile, even the most modest cuts in Trump’s first budget have sparked comparisons with Ebenezer Scrooge. When, for instance, Trump’s budget director proposed eliminating a decades-old “anti-poverty” program that has never been shown to alleviate poverty, dishes out millions to wealthy communities to build amenities, and shrunk to a mere $3 billion annually under President Obama, critics called the move “devastating” and “an utter disaster,” sure to provoke “a crisis” in communities. That was mild stuff compared to what greeted the confirmation of charter school advocate Betsy DeVos as education secretary, including a tweet from a Vanity Fair editor who claimed her “policies will kill children.”

Hodgkinson apparently took much of this to heart. Though he displayed fits of anger and intolerance in the past, what apparently drove him into a murderous rage late in life was his fear that Trump was undermining progressive gains. To him, that amounted to Trump being a “traitor,” someone the resistance needed to “destroy.” His was an extreme version of the absolutism that has gripped the opposition, which must describe every idea associated with the Trump administration and every individual working in it in apocalyptic terms. This ignores the political reality that Trump’s most radical proposals have little chance of succeeding because of Republican opposition, and that his biggest accomplishments are almost certain to be the kinds of ideological course corrections that occur whenever the president of one party is succeeded by one from the other party.

Hodgkinson’s rage over Trump is even more troubling than the jihadist’s fervor or the anarchist’s nihilism because radicals are in pursuit of something far more transformational and unlikely than what Hodgkinson envisions. To many conservatives, including those who opposed Trump, the message in all of this is that the forces of resistance seem to be aimed not at Trump alone but at every idea that doesn’t fit their narrow agenda. No wonder that even centrist Democrats worry that their party is becoming as extreme—and narcissistic—as some Trumpian elements of the GOP.

Mueller Pursues Obstruction Case Against Trump The collusion claim didn’t work, so the special prosecutor shifts gears.

Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III is expanding his investigation into the Left’s Russian electoral collusion conspiracy theory by examining whether President Trump tried to obstruct justice in the probe, according to the hyper-partisan leak-stenographers at the Washington Post.

It is all nonsense.

Democrats and Never Trump Republicans are setting up perjury traps just as Democrats did during Watergate and countless other investigations. But Donald Trump is no Richard Nixon. There is no evidence Trump covered up a crime, or even that there was an underlying crime to be covered up. But the longer the investigation goes on, the greater the likelihood that someone will innocently contradict himself in a deposition, giving evidence that doesn’t mesh with what was originally said to an FBI investigator. And voila! Someone who wasn’t a criminal goes to prison without forming any bad intent.

The obstruction allegation stems from statements made by former FBI Director James B. Comey who claims President Trump ordered him to end an investigation into former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s ties to Russia. Trump denies it even though he has the authority under the Constitution to fire Comey for any reason or no reason at all. Comey himself admitted he served at the pleasure of the president.

If the news report is accurate, it means that the president is under investigation now even though he apparently wasn’t as of May 9, the day he fired Comey, who has since outed himself as a leaker of information about Trump. The notes he took during discussions with Trump are considered his work product and therefore property of the U.S. government that he has a duty to surrender to investigators. Additionally, Comey have committed a crime when he leaked the notes.

“The FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable and illegal,” said Mark Corallo, on behalf of Marc Kasowitz, Trump’s personal attorney.

Now that the likelihood of Trump or any of his associates being found to have colluded with Russia to rig the last election has dropped to approximately zero for want of evidence, this Deep State-sponsored political theater is moving on to the next best thing: obstruction of justice, a perennial crowd pleaser in the snake pit that is Washington.

And the Left now has an added incentive to push the obstruction narrative because they don’t want to talk about how one of their own, unemployed Trump-hating Bernie Sanders supporter James T. Hodgkinson, late of a white cargo van parked on the streets of Alexandria, Va., came close to assassinating House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) at a baseball practice on Wednesday morning.

President Trump, who turned 71 Wednesday, called out the Washington establishment for the all-too-convenient narrative shift.

“They made up a phony collusion with the Russians story, found zero proof, so now they go for obstruction of justice on the phony story. Nice[,]” Trump tweeted yesterday at 6:55 a.m.

An hour later he followed up with: “You are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history – led by some very bad and conflicted people! #MAGA[.]”

This move toward possible obstruction charges by Mueller “marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin,” wrote reporters at the Post. “Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.”

Impeach Trump’s Impeachers They’re dirty and crooked as hell. Daniel Greenfield

The rush to impeach President Trump is on by an opposition party that lacks the votes, evidence or legal basis for such a move. But since when did an illegal left-wing coup need any of those things?

No Dem has been more honest about the real motive for impeachment than Congressman Ted Lieu.

“We should not give him a chance to govern,” Lieu had declared after Trump had been in office for ten days. And he predicted that, “I do believe that if we win back the House of Representatives, impeachment proceedings will be started.”

What was the basis for impeaching President Trump after ten days in office? Lieu made it clear that if the Democrats won, they would try to impeach Trump no matter what.

That’s not how things work in the United States. But the left is running America like a banana republic.

More recently Lieu had mused that, “A recent poll came out saying that 46 percent of Americans want the president impeached, and certainly members of Congress take notice.”

And what better basis could there be for impeachment than popular Dem support for the move?

The latest poll from PPP, the notorious left-wing troll pollsters Lieu was relying on, shows 75% of Democrats support impeaching President Trump. PPP did not provide any justification. Nor was any needed. President Trump had to be forced out of office to reverse the results of the 2016 election.

The legal basis for such proceedings was as irrelevant as any coup in a banana republic.

Congressman Lieu is a member of the House Judiciary Committee. He’s indicated recently that he’s “researching” impeachment. His statement on being appointed to the Committee claimed that Trump had “lost the popular vote” and that he would “fight like hell on the Judiciary Committee” against him.

Since Lieu has made it clear that his pursuit of impeachment is based on partisan opposition, not evidence, any such action would be an unethical abuse of power whose goal is not justice, but a conspiracy to prevent the President of the United States from even having the “chance to govern”.

This could lead to censure and even expulsion; the Congressional alternative to impeachment.

Congressman Brad Sherman has drafted articles of impeachment for President Trump. The claims in Sherman’s draft contradict, in part, Comey’s testimony even as it claims to be based on it. But it still puts the California politician ahead as the first to put forward a written legislative call for impeachment.

But that’s only because most of his rivals can’t write.

Congressman Al Green (not the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who crooned “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”) called for the impeachment of President Trump on the House floor in the name of “liberty and justice for all” and also “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

And how better to stand for “government by the people” than with a shameless attempt to overturn the results of a democratic election and for “liberty and justice for all” than to undertake it baselessly?

“No one is above the law,” Al Green declared. Except maybe Green who was accused of sexual assault by a former aide. Green in turn accused her of blackmail. Put a little love in your heart indeed.

This isn’t Green’s first call for impeachment. A previous Green statement, which read like it was written by a high school dropout who had been watching too many legal dramas, (“A bedrock premise upon which respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms is ‘No one is above the law’”) concluded with “Our mantra should be I. T. N. – Impeach Trump Now.” That’s been the mantra ever since Trump won.

Sherman and Green are far behind Congresswoman Maxine Waters who has been calling for the impeachment of every Republican since Ulysses S. Grant. Last month, she complained that the public was “weary” that Trump still hadn’t been impeached. “I believe that this man has done enough for us to determine that we can connect the dots, that we can get the facts that will lead to impeachment.”

If anyone ought to be impeached, it’s Waters who funneled $750,000 to her daughter and used her influence to help arrange for the taxpayer bailout of a bank linked to her husband.

But Waters has made it obvious that it’s not about the law, it’s about undoing the election results.

At the Center for American Progress, Waters rejected waiting until the next election. “We can’t wait that long. We don’t need to wait that long.” Pointing to left-wing polls backing impeachment, she screeched. “What more do we need in the Congress of the United States of America?”

Maybe evidence?

Waters had already admitted that there was no actual evidence, but impeachment should move forward anyway. There isn’t any evidence for impeachment, but there is documented evidence that Waters can’t tell Crimea from Korea. Much as there is evidence that Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, who also called for Trump’s impeachment, can’t tell Wikileaks from Wikipedia.

Sheila Jackson Lee insisted that Trump should be impeached if he doesn’t prove Obama’s eavesdropping.

“If you do not have any proof,” she rambled, “then you are clearly on the edge of the question of public trust and those actions can be associated with high crimes and misdemeanors for which articles of impeachment can be drawn.”

The only high crimes belong to Sheila Jackson Lee, who had once declared on CNN, “I represent Enron.” She should have gone to jail along with its top bosses.

Lee had also claimed that the Constitution is 400 years old and that she was a freed slave.

“I’m concerned about what happened when we get that call about North Korea in the middle of the night,” she blathered. “You have in office an individual that is unread and unlearned.”

And this is coming from a woman who had confused North Korea and Vietnam.

Meanwhile Sheila Jackson Lee had been investigated by the House Ethics Committee for a trip to Azerbaijan paid for by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan. SOCAR has a joint venture with Rosneft. Back then that meant Vladimir Putin. Maybe Sheila Jackson Lee ought to impeach herself.

“I think about impeachment every single day,” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson said.

And well she should.

Johnson pushed Congressional Black Caucus scholarships that were supposed to go to “deserving students” to her relatives. She even sent letters directing that the money be paid to them, not the colleges, in violation of the foundation rules. And then she went on CNN and lied about it.

The loudest voices in Congress calling for impeachment don’t belong in Congress. That’s typical enough.

Chicken/Egg: What Came First, the Crime or the Investigation? By Andrew C. McCarthy

I appreciate Rich’s mention of my column on the homepage about why it is vital that legitimate limits, as provided by federal regulation, be imposed on Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. I want to elaborate on this a bit more in the context of what Rich’s post addresses: the leak indicating that Mueller’s investigation is already straying significantly from the matter of Trump campaign collusion with Russia – the evidently unsupported narrative that was supposed to be Mueller’s focus.

Rich notes the Washington Post’s report that “officials” say that Mueller’s “investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump’s associates.” The New York Times’s version of the leak is more enlightening, elucidating how much of a fishing expedition the financial angle seems to be:

A former senior official said Mr. Mueller’s investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and that there would have been an effort to hide the payments, probably by routing them through offshore banking centers.

Allow me to translate: The investigators have no evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russia and, if it is possible, they have even less cause to believe there was a bribe (for the coordination that did not happen), and less still to believe the bribe (that there’s no reason to believe happened) was conveyed in a deceptive manner that amounted to a felony money-laundering violation.

Get it? In the absence of an evidentiary predicate for a criminal investigation, a bunch of smart lawyers are theorizing that if there had been some kind of collusion, there might have been a money trail. On that pretext, they have moved on to a new crime they speculate, but have no evidence, may have occurred. This enables them to start poking around people’s banking records, business ledgers, tax returns and the like.

Inevitably, it will be forgotten that there was no evidence of the collusion, of the bribery for the collusion, or of the money laundering for the bribery for the collusion – i.e., no evidence supporting the rationale for the fishing expedition. Instead, Mueller’s team will be on to theorizing financial irregularities that have utterly no connection to Russia, the election, collusion, or anything that the investigation was supposed to be about in the first place.

This is a huge problem with defining Mueller’s jurisdiction in terms of the counterintelligence investigation, as deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein did, in violation of the governing regulation.