The Discreet Charm of the First Amendment

My Facebook friend Lynn Chu, commenting on the remaindering of iconographies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as the nonstop and self-defeating promotion of James Comey's book:

It's ironic that the more Comey talks the more everyone realizes what a political sleazeball animal he was and how much he tipped the scales whenever he felt his own personal self-interest rising. The Discreet Charm of the First Amendment. Smarmy unwarranted book deals with zero writerly integrity can backfire, you know. Let's just hope the publisher doesn't take a bath that will then have to be taken out of all the real writers. It very well might. Because it's costly to do these stupid book tours. Of course they're probably not paying for it. I'm sure Soros or somebody like that has it all covered.

She incidentally refers to something I've long questioned. Who is paying for these overly-generous advances to Democratic politicians and their operatives for books that are unlikely to repay the publishers what they've advanced? How will Bertelsmann ever sell enough copies of the sure to be unedifying books by the Obamas to recoup the $60 million reportedly advanced them? It's a foreign publisher in Germany where privacy laws are strict, so it may be difficult to find out who, if not Bertelsmann, is kicking in this much to two people who on their own can barely parse a literate sentence. Nevertheless, we can't dismiss the suspicion that it is bribery, pay back or money laundering. Are there any investigative reporters out there who've even asked the publisher about this?

Comey's book tour, in any event, after fluffball questioning by Democrat operative and former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos and comedian of sorts Stephen Colbert, hit a snag when he appeared on "The View" expecting a similar tongue bath. In fact, he was pelted by the yentas there on both sides, a reflection of public opinion, which increasingly finds him a distasteful, self-aggrandizing twit.  As he was doing the show, the five James Comey memos, which reportedly were the basis for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, were released, and it was a showstopper. The book launch is in shambles and Comey's appearances on the road to promote the ironically titled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership may be cut back or halted.

Nothing in the memos (which contain classified information and some of which he'd leaked to a friend for publication), provide any basis for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal and Mueller's appointment. Nothing. Comey wrote these self-aggrandizing memos, which he leaked for publication through a cutout to assure he would be invulnerable to dismissal and to have a hold over the President. Period.

Powerline blog summarized why:

"Former Director Comey's memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated. [snip] The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. [snip] The memos also make certain what has become increasingly clear of late: former Director Comey has at least two different standards in his interactions with others. He chose not to memorialize conversations with President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, Secretary Clinton, Andrew McCabe or others, but he immediately began to memorialize conversations with President Trump. It is significant former Director Comey made no effort to memorialize conversations with former Attorney General Lynch despite concerns apparently significant enough to warrant his unprecedented appropriation of the charging decision away from her and the Department of Justice in July of 2016. [snip] The memos show Comey was blind to biases within the FBI and had terrible judgment with respect to his deputy Andrew McCabe [snip] As we have consistently said, rather than making a criminal case for obstruction or interference with an ongoing investigation, these memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge be made.

Conrad Black argues persuasively that the President has gotten the better of both James Comey and Robert Mueller.

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause – and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and his former boss James Comey have now begun the public reciprocal allegation that they are liars. In this, for once, both are probably telling the truth. As that report, which will be followed by more, was released, it was announced that extensive missile strikes had been conducted by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France on the Syrian chlorine-gas facilities that had been used to kill and intimidate large numbers of Syrian civilians recently. Contrary to accumulated criticism, the president had not tipped his hand over what retaliation would occur, did not panic and respond wildly and excessively (as Russia appeaser Stephen Cohen had been gloomily forecasting as he predicted a descent to war with Russia), and the allies' action was retroactively supported at the United Nations. It was a precise, limited, professional military operation that incurred no allied casualties. Russian and Syrian claims of many incoming missiles shot down, and of imminent reprisals by Moscow, were exposed as piffle. 

Black praises the long overdue pardon of Lewis Libby. "In doing this now, Mr. Trump has served justice and put the spotlight more closely on the whole Mueller-Comey-Fitzgerald school of fascistic prosecution."

There's so much more to this that I urge you to read the whole article. I certainly cannot dispute the wisdom of his fact recitation, nor his conclusion:

The entrenched Clinton-Obama power structure set out to repeal the verdict of the election and they coopted key sections of the Justice Department. There has never been anything remotely as sleazy as this in the presidential history of the United States. The perpetrators are being relentlessly torn down, one by one, and only Robert Mueller tenuously remains, handing off this desperately absurd wild-goose chase to local New York prosecutors. In the reign of the Committee of Public Safety in Paris in 1794, the ascetic and fanatical (almost Muelleresque) Robespierre set out to destroy the rich and cunning (perhaps slightly Trumpian) scoundrel Fouché. But Fouché destroyed Robespierre instead. There are some parallels, but the Reign of Terror did not turn into a raunchy Stormy Daniels nightclub act. Americans should ask themselves whether their country has gone mad, and not wait too long for the answer.

In fact, it is my supposition that Mueller is now ready to throw in the towel and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the president's legal staff to draft the terms of the Mueller surrender.

As if it, too, smells the denouement of the Mueller witch-hunt, the DNC responded with another futile gesture to keep alive in the minds of the easily fooled the now dead "Russian collusion" nonsense. 

It has sued the Russian government, the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and a host of others, accusing them of trying to interfere with the election in order to defeat Hillary Clinton.

From a legal point of view, the suit should be deemed dead on arrival. (I suppose they'd have added to the list of defendants the millions of people who voted for Trump but feared the Court might find that too unwieldy.)

Here's the complaint, should you care to read it. 

Charles Ortel (correction:Glasser), who has a great deal of success as a lawyer in such matters, explains: 

WORST. LAWSUIT. EVER. As David Bernstein pointed out here, the DNC filed a lawsuit against, well, everybody they don't like. I've read the papers and the legal term for this Complaint is "batsh*t crazy." Leaving out the fact that they'll never be able to properly serve most of the defendants, the key thing is if they get a judge inclined to stick to Second Circuit law, this complaint has to be dismissed. The days when you could file a thin Complaint just in the hopes of getting discovery are long over.

The Court has adopted widely a doctrine called "Iqbal/Twombly" which means that mere allegations of facts don't cut it: there has to be enough factual foundation in the Complaint to make a plausible claim. Every "factual" allegation of consequence in this Complaint is unproven speculation. The Iqbal doctrine requires a complaint to allege facts that, if proven, would support the relief requested and to show that the alleged facts are "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)."

This case is more than a publicity stunt. It's become clear even to the most ardent Trump haters that there's simply no evidence of Russian "collusion" and the focus moved to Stormy Daniels. This is an effort to reanimate the "Russian collusion" narrative.

Of course, because it's in a judicial pleading, any re-reporting on it is absolutely immune in libel, and its being filed at all is a news peg, so it's pretty much Tom Perez' gift to MSNBC and others, allowing them and others to re-tell the "Russia collusion" story as if it had more credibility.

If they succeeded in overcoming that significant barrier, the defense discovery operations are hilarious to contemplate. An examination of all the Hillary and DNC and Wasserman servers, for a start. Depositions of Crowd Serve Strike which first floated the Russian hacker story and now retreats from it. The Trump campaign's response sets it out nicely

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Democratic National Committee filed a wide-ranging, partisan civil lawsuit in federal court against the Trump Campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian Government. In response, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. notes that this frivolous lawsuit is a last-ditch effort to substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations by a nearly-bankrupt Democratic Party still trying to counter the will of the people in the 2016 presidential election. This civil lawsuit is completely without merit and will be dismissed in due time.

"This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party," said Brad Parscale, Campaign Manager of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. "With the Democrats' conspiracy theories against the President's campaign evaporating as quickly as the failing DNC's fundraising, they've sunk to a new low to raise money, especially among small donors who have abandoned them. There is a great deal the American public wants to know about the corruption of the Democrats, their collusion to influence the 2016 presidential election, and their role in prompting a scam investigation of the Trump Campaign. While this lawsuit is frivolous and will be dismissed, if the case goes forward, the DNC has created an opportunity for us to take aggressive discovery into their claims of 'damages' and uncover their acts of corruption for the American people," he concluded.

If this lawsuit proceeds, the Trump Campaign will be prepared to leverage the discovery process and explore the DNC's now-secret records about the actual corruption they perpetrated to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Everything will be on the table, including:

  • How the DNC contributed to the fake dossier, using Fusion GPS along with the Clinton Campaign as the basis for the launch of a phony investigation.
  • Why the FBI was never allowed access to the DNC servers in the course of their investigation into the Clinton e-mail scandal.
  • How the DNC conspired to hand Hillary Clinton the nomination over Bernie Sanders.
  • How officials at the highest levels of the DNC colluded with the news media to influence the outcome of the DNC nomination.
  • Management decisions by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile, Tom Perez, and John Podesta; their e-mails, personnel decisions, budgets, opposition research, and more.

The best explanation for the left's bouncing back and forth from the "Russian collusion" fancy to Stormy Daniels is to be found in an analysis by former Princeton professor Sheldon S. Wolin:

Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed "civic demobilization," conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy. The intense pace of work and the extended working day, combined with job insecurity, is a formula for political demobilization, for privatizing the citizenry. It works indirectly. Citizens are encouraged to distrust their government and politicians; to concentrate upon their own interests; to begrudge their taxes; and to exchange active involvement for symbolic gratifications of patriotism, collective self-righteousness, and military prowess. Above all, depoliticization is promoted through society's being enveloped in an atmosphere of collective fear and of individual powerlessness: fear of terrorists, loss of jobs, the uncertainties of pension plans, soaring health costs, and rising educational expenses.

And so the Democrats are trying to delegitimize a most consequential president and his administration by stoking irrational fears of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and the like, along with perfervid and baseless claims of Russian interference. And like cats, the mainstream media keep following the red laser beams they point in one direction and another.

Will it work? I don't think so. Comey and Hillary's approval ratings are dropping faster than the New Year's ball on Times Square. Like Don Surber, I consider the DNC lawsuit an act of desperation – it may even result in a net gain for the Republicans in both the House and Senate, a rare occurrence in a midterm election. We're figuring out that liars are manipulating the red dot. There's nothing there, really except some dumb crooks who, if given the chance, will force through reparations, lunatic administrative fiats on everything, high taxes, inane foreign policies, open borders, waste of our tax dollars to pay their allies and diminish our strength here and abroad, moronic gun control laws  just as they rammed the failing ObamaCare legislation down our throats the last time they controlled the White House and Congress. They cannot come up with a winning platform and so they must keep trying these really futile gestures and damned lies.

 

 

My Facebook friend Lynn Chu, commenting on the remaindering of iconographies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as the nonstop and self-defeating promotion of James Comey's book:

It's ironic that the more Comey talks the more everyone realizes what a political sleazeball animal he was and how much he tipped the scales whenever he felt his own personal self-interest rising. The Discreet Charm of the First Amendment. Smarmy unwarranted book deals with zero writerly integrity can backfire, you know. Let's just hope the publisher doesn't take a bath that will then have to be taken out of all the real writers. It very well might. Because it's costly to do these stupid book tours. Of course they're probably not paying for it. I'm sure Soros or somebody like that has it all covered.

She incidentally refers to something I've long questioned. Who is paying for these overly-generous advances to Democratic politicians and their operatives for books that are unlikely to repay the publishers what they've advanced? How will Bertelsmann ever sell enough copies of the sure to be unedifying books by the Obamas to recoup the $60 million reportedly advanced them? It's a foreign publisher in Germany where privacy laws are strict, so it may be difficult to find out who, if not Bertelsmann, is kicking in this much to two people who on their own can barely parse a literate sentence. Nevertheless, we can't dismiss the suspicion that it is bribery, pay back or money laundering. Are there any investigative reporters out there who've even asked the publisher about this?

Comey's book tour, in any event, after fluffball questioning by Democrat operative and former Clinton staffer George Stephanopoulos and comedian of sorts Stephen Colbert, hit a snag when he appeared on "The View" expecting a similar tongue bath. In fact, he was pelted by the yentas there on both sides, a reflection of public opinion, which increasingly finds him a distasteful, self-aggrandizing twit.  As he was doing the show, the five James Comey memos, which reportedly were the basis for the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, were released, and it was a showstopper. The book launch is in shambles and Comey's appearances on the road to promote the ironically titled A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership may be cut back or halted.

Nothing in the memos (which contain classified information and some of which he'd leaked to a friend for publication), provide any basis for Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal and Mueller's appointment. Nothing. Comey wrote these self-aggrandizing memos, which he leaked for publication through a cutout to assure he would be invulnerable to dismissal and to have a hold over the President. Period.

Powerline blog summarized why:

"Former Director Comey's memos show the President made clear he wanted allegations of collusion, coordination, and conspiracy between his campaign and Russia fully investigated. [snip] The memos also show former Director Comey never wrote that he felt obstructed or threatened. [snip] The memos also make certain what has become increasingly clear of late: former Director Comey has at least two different standards in his interactions with others. He chose not to memorialize conversations with President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, Secretary Clinton, Andrew McCabe or others, but he immediately began to memorialize conversations with President Trump. It is significant former Director Comey made no effort to memorialize conversations with former Attorney General Lynch despite concerns apparently significant enough to warrant his unprecedented appropriation of the charging decision away from her and the Department of Justice in July of 2016. [snip] The memos show Comey was blind to biases within the FBI and had terrible judgment with respect to his deputy Andrew McCabe [snip] As we have consistently said, rather than making a criminal case for obstruction or interference with an ongoing investigation, these memos would be Defense Exhibit A should such a charge be made.

Conrad Black argues persuasively that the President has gotten the better of both James Comey and Robert Mueller.

It has been a good week for President Trump. Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz provided indisputable evidence that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lied at least four key times and was fired by the attorney general for cause – and that Mr. Trump had nothing to do with it. McCabe and his former boss James Comey have now begun the public reciprocal allegation that they are liars. In this, for once, both are probably telling the truth. As that report, which will be followed by more, was released, it was announced that extensive missile strikes had been conducted by the United States, the United Kingdom, and France on the Syrian chlorine-gas facilities that had been used to kill and intimidate large numbers of Syrian civilians recently. Contrary to accumulated criticism, the president had not tipped his hand over what retaliation would occur, did not panic and respond wildly and excessively (as Russia appeaser Stephen Cohen had been gloomily forecasting as he predicted a descent to war with Russia), and the allies' action was retroactively supported at the United Nations. It was a precise, limited, professional military operation that incurred no allied casualties. Russian and Syrian claims of many incoming missiles shot down, and of imminent reprisals by Moscow, were exposed as piffle. 

Black praises the long overdue pardon of Lewis Libby. "In doing this now, Mr. Trump has served justice and put the spotlight more closely on the whole Mueller-Comey-Fitzgerald school of fascistic prosecution."

There's so much more to this that I urge you to read the whole article. I certainly cannot dispute the wisdom of his fact recitation, nor his conclusion:

The entrenched Clinton-Obama power structure set out to repeal the verdict of the election and they coopted key sections of the Justice Department. There has never been anything remotely as sleazy as this in the presidential history of the United States. The perpetrators are being relentlessly torn down, one by one, and only Robert Mueller tenuously remains, handing off this desperately absurd wild-goose chase to local New York prosecutors. In the reign of the Committee of Public Safety in Paris in 1794, the ascetic and fanatical (almost Muelleresque) Robespierre set out to destroy the rich and cunning (perhaps slightly Trumpian) scoundrel Fouché. But Fouché destroyed Robespierre instead. There are some parallels, but the Reign of Terror did not turn into a raunchy Stormy Daniels nightclub act. Americans should ask themselves whether their country has gone mad, and not wait too long for the answer.

In fact, it is my supposition that Mueller is now ready to throw in the towel and former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani joined the president's legal staff to draft the terms of the Mueller surrender.

As if it, too, smells the denouement of the Mueller witch-hunt, the DNC responded with another futile gesture to keep alive in the minds of the easily fooled the now dead "Russian collusion" nonsense. 

It has sued the Russian government, the Trump campaign, Wikileaks, and a host of others, accusing them of trying to interfere with the election in order to defeat Hillary Clinton.

From a legal point of view, the suit should be deemed dead on arrival. (I suppose they'd have added to the list of defendants the millions of people who voted for Trump but feared the Court might find that too unwieldy.)

Here's the complaint, should you care to read it. 

Charles Ortel (correction:Glasser), who has a great deal of success as a lawyer in such matters, explains: 

WORST. LAWSUIT. EVER. As David Bernstein pointed out here, the DNC filed a lawsuit against, well, everybody they don't like. I've read the papers and the legal term for this Complaint is "batsh*t crazy." Leaving out the fact that they'll never be able to properly serve most of the defendants, the key thing is if they get a judge inclined to stick to Second Circuit law, this complaint has to be dismissed. The days when you could file a thin Complaint just in the hopes of getting discovery are long over.

The Court has adopted widely a doctrine called "Iqbal/Twombly" which means that mere allegations of facts don't cut it: there has to be enough factual foundation in the Complaint to make a plausible claim. Every "factual" allegation of consequence in this Complaint is unproven speculation. The Iqbal doctrine requires a complaint to allege facts that, if proven, would support the relief requested and to show that the alleged facts are "enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)."

This case is more than a publicity stunt. It's become clear even to the most ardent Trump haters that there's simply no evidence of Russian "collusion" and the focus moved to Stormy Daniels. This is an effort to reanimate the "Russian collusion" narrative.

Of course, because it's in a judicial pleading, any re-reporting on it is absolutely immune in libel, and its being filed at all is a news peg, so it's pretty much Tom Perez' gift to MSNBC and others, allowing them and others to re-tell the "Russia collusion" story as if it had more credibility.

If they succeeded in overcoming that significant barrier, the defense discovery operations are hilarious to contemplate. An examination of all the Hillary and DNC and Wasserman servers, for a start. Depositions of Crowd Serve Strike which first floated the Russian hacker story and now retreats from it. The Trump campaign's response sets it out nicely

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Democratic National Committee filed a wide-ranging, partisan civil lawsuit in federal court against the Trump Campaign, WikiLeaks, and the Russian Government. In response, Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. notes that this frivolous lawsuit is a last-ditch effort to substantiate the baseless Russian collusion allegations by a nearly-bankrupt Democratic Party still trying to counter the will of the people in the 2016 presidential election. This civil lawsuit is completely without merit and will be dismissed in due time.

"This is a sham lawsuit about a bogus Russian collusion claim filed by a desperate, dysfunctional, and nearly insolvent Democratic Party," said Brad Parscale, Campaign Manager of Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. "With the Democrats' conspiracy theories against the President's campaign evaporating as quickly as the failing DNC's fundraising, they've sunk to a new low to raise money, especially among small donors who have abandoned them. There is a great deal the American public wants to know about the corruption of the Democrats, their collusion to influence the 2016 presidential election, and their role in prompting a scam investigation of the Trump Campaign. While this lawsuit is frivolous and will be dismissed, if the case goes forward, the DNC has created an opportunity for us to take aggressive discovery into their claims of 'damages' and uncover their acts of corruption for the American people," he concluded.

If this lawsuit proceeds, the Trump Campaign will be prepared to leverage the discovery process and explore the DNC's now-secret records about the actual corruption they perpetrated to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Everything will be on the table, including:

  • How the DNC contributed to the fake dossier, using Fusion GPS along with the Clinton Campaign as the basis for the launch of a phony investigation.
  • Why the FBI was never allowed access to the DNC servers in the course of their investigation into the Clinton e-mail scandal.
  • How the DNC conspired to hand Hillary Clinton the nomination over Bernie Sanders.
  • How officials at the highest levels of the DNC colluded with the news media to influence the outcome of the DNC nomination.
  • Management decisions by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Donna Brazile, Tom Perez, and John Podesta; their e-mails, personnel decisions, budgets, opposition research, and more.

The best explanation for the left's bouncing back and forth from the "Russian collusion" fancy to Stormy Daniels is to be found in an analysis by former Princeton professor Sheldon S. Wolin:

Antidemocracy, executive predominance, and elite rule are basic elements of inverted totalitarianism. Antidemocracy does not take the form of overt attacks upon the idea of government by the people. Instead, politically it means encouraging what I have earlier dubbed "civic demobilization," conditioning an electorate to being aroused for a brief spell, controlling its attention span, and then encouraging distraction or apathy. The intense pace of work and the extended working day, combined with job insecurity, is a formula for political demobilization, for privatizing the citizenry. It works indirectly. Citizens are encouraged to distrust their government and politicians; to concentrate upon their own interests; to begrudge their taxes; and to exchange active involvement for symbolic gratifications of patriotism, collective self-righteousness, and military prowess. Above all, depoliticization is promoted through society's being enveloped in an atmosphere of collective fear and of individual powerlessness: fear of terrorists, loss of jobs, the uncertainties of pension plans, soaring health costs, and rising educational expenses.

And so the Democrats are trying to delegitimize a most consequential president and his administration by stoking irrational fears of racism, anti-Semitism, misogyny, and the like, along with perfervid and baseless claims of Russian interference. And like cats, the mainstream media keep following the red laser beams they point in one direction and another.

Will it work? I don't think so. Comey and Hillary's approval ratings are dropping faster than the New Year's ball on Times Square. Like Don Surber, I consider the DNC lawsuit an act of desperation – it may even result in a net gain for the Republicans in both the House and Senate, a rare occurrence in a midterm election. We're figuring out that liars are manipulating the red dot. There's nothing there, really except some dumb crooks who, if given the chance, will force through reparations, lunatic administrative fiats on everything, high taxes, inane foreign policies, open borders, waste of our tax dollars to pay their allies and diminish our strength here and abroad, moronic gun control laws  just as they rammed the failing ObamaCare legislation down our throats the last time they controlled the White House and Congress. They cannot come up with a winning platform and so they must keep trying these really futile gestures and damned lies.