“Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it be obtained, or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.” —James Madison (1788)
IN TODAY’S EDITION
- Actor Jussie Smollett likely orchestrated the “hate crime” he allegedly suffered.
- Did the DOJ seriously consider removing Trump? McCabe now says, “Not really.”
- Vatican defrocks Cardinal Theodore McCarrick for sex abuse.
- Daily Features: More Analysis, Columnists, Headlines, Opinion in Brief, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
Based on statements from Chicago police about evidence in the case, the supposed “hate crime” attack against actor Jussie Smollett was likely staged. The black and homosexual “Empire” actor claimed assailants in MAGA hats beat him, tied a noose around his neck, and doused him with bleach, allegedly while yelling, “This is MAGA country, nigger!” and calling him “Empire faggot!” But, as it turns out, it seems Smollett hired two Nigerians to play the part of Donald Trump-loving rednecks. Time to get someone from Central Casting on the line.
Through a statement from his attorneys, Smollett doubled down: “As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.” He had previously complained that people wouldn’t doubt his story if he “had said it was a Muslim or a Mexican.”
His protests notwithstanding, one would think the Leftmedia might learn some skepticism in the wake of incidents like the Covington Catholic phony narrative. But no.
The New York Times, ABC News, MSNBC, PBS, Los Angeles Times, and others all “reported” on the attack as if it were verified fact with nothing more than Smollett’s claims to back it up. GQ magazine even declared, “The racist, homophobic attack on Jussie Smollett is far-right America’s endgame.” So now all conservatives are to blame.
It wasn’t just irresponsible news outlets with a “progressive” ax to grind, either. Multiple Democrat politicians — including members of the 2020 presidential field — unquestioningly took Smollett’s story as gospel truth. Cory Booker insisted, “The vicious attack on Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching.” Kamala Harris likewise chimed in, “This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or color of their skin. We must confront this hate.” Nancy Pelosi lectured, “The racist, homophobic attack on [Jussie Smollett] is an affront to our humanity.” And Joe Biden wasn’t to be left out: “What happened … to Jussie Smollett must never be tolerated in this country.”
A day later, Booker decided, “I’m gonna withhold until all the information actually comes out from on-the-record sources.” Now he tells us.
Smollett’s desperate plea for attention fit neatly within the Left’s hate narrative about the Right. It confirmed preexisting bias, which stems from a history of misinformation from the media. Bottom line: There are hateful people of every color out there. But hate-crime hoaxes undermine real victims.
So, about that 25th Amendment coup talk… Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claimed in a highly anticipated “60 Minutes” interview that such discussions occurred following President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Well, it turns out it was more clickbait than real meat.
On Friday, a media frenzy erupted over released excerpts from CBS’s interview with McCabe, in which he implied that serious talk was raised within the Justice Department about removing President Donald Trump by invoking the 25th Amendment. However, McCabe’s spokeswoman, Melissa Schwartz, pushed back, stating, “Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented. To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.” Schwartz added that McCabe “was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment.”
What the “60 Minutes” interview made crystal clear is that McCabe’s perspectives are entirely influenced by Swamp and Beltway-bubble think. Every conclusion he reached was predicated on anti-Trump bias. At no point did McCabe even consider the possibility of an alternate view regarding Trump’s motivation for firing Comey. For McCabe, Trump is the bad guy, and he’s out to prove it. In fact, what is illuminating is McCabe’s assertion that Rosenstein was serious about invoking the 25th Amendment, and that no one — including McCabe himself — considered it a ridiculous and laughable suggestion on its face. At the very least, does that not expose the degree of bias against Trump that existed within the leadership of the DOJ and FBI at that time?
However, as Mark Alexander noted last week, McCabe is “teeing up his book tour. And his "now declaring in a CBS interview that those discussions were serious” is an easy way to promote that book. In other words, it’s all about his bottom line.
Like Comey with his book tour last year, McCabe is spinning his own anti-Trump, self-aggrandizing yarn. While McCabe may have given articulate and measured responses during his CBS interview, the fact remains that he was fired from the FBI for lying to the inspector general. Can we seriously take him at his word?
On a final note, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is now floating the idea of subpoenaing both McCabe and Rosenstein to determine if “an administrative coup” was seriously discussed by members of the DOJ and FBI. “We’re going to find out what happened here,” Graham said. “The only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out through questioning who’s telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning.”
The Catholic Church has reeled from the fallout of a sexual-abuse scandal in recent months. In August, news broke that there were more than 300 “predator priests” in Pennsylvania. Then came revelations of a more secret element: The vast majority of the crime was perpetrated by homosexuals. Next came a fight in the form of a letter written by the Vatican’s former ambassador to the U.S., Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, in which he demanded the resignation of Pope Francis over allegations that the latter knew of the sexual abuse perpetrated by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, DC, and Newark, New Jersey.
Francis addressed that over the weekend, defrocking the retired cardinal after an investigation concluded that accusations against him were credible. Over the course of many years, McCarrick is alleged to have sexually abused minors and coerced adult seminarians into sex. A Vatican tribunal found McCarrick guilty of “solicitation in the Sacrament of Confession and sins against the Sixth Commandment with minors and with adults, with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power.” (Catholics number the commandments differently from Protestants. Adultery is the seventh commandment in the reckoning of the latter.)
McCarrick had been placed under disciplinary sanctions by Pope Benedict, and yet Francis acted to repeal them, freeing McCarrick to continue his predatory ways. McCarrick resigned from the College of Cardinals last July, and Francis ordered him to observe a life of prayer and penance in seclusion. This latest move is what Crux editor in chief John L. Allen calls “the Catholic equivalent of the death penalty.”
So why defrock McCarrick now? Francis is scheduled this week to meet with the heads of national Catholic bishops conferences to address the global problem of sexual abuse by priests. “The church will never seek to hush up or not take seriously any case,” Francis said. We hope that’s true because it would mark a serious change from past practice by the church as a whole and by Francis in particular, who has at times appeared rather tone-deaf to the problem.
ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY
- Washington’s Birthday vs. Presidents’ Day — To call the day “Presidents’ Day” diminishes George Washington.
- Featured Analysis: Bipartisan Debt Is Reckless — As U.S. national debt surpasses $22 trillion, it’s time yet again to consider the reasons we’re here.
- Challenging Disparate Impact — The Trump administration is pushing back against one of Obama’s favorite racial tools.
- Doctor Blames Trump for Causing ‘Sex Disorder’ — Self-described “sex-therapist” asserts that Trump is ruining people’s sex lives.
- Video: Green New Deal Is a Bizarre Grab-Bag of Terrible Ideas — Veronique de Rugy explains why even socialist countries in Europe don’t try to do this much.
BEST OF RIGHT OPINION
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
TOP HEADLINE SUMMARY
- Tone deaf: “Speaking on German soil 75 years after the U.S. and its allies prepared for D-Day, Joe Biden described America as ‘an embarrassment’ and its trade policies ‘self-defeating.’ … The former vice president was speaking exactly three-quarters of a century after American troops were fighting against Germans at the Battle of Anzio and Allied military staffs were deep into planning for the D-Day invasion of Normandy less than 4 months later.” (Washington Examiner)
- Democrats were expeditious in instigating border-barrier lawsuits. According to USA Today, “At least two lawsuits have been filed in response to President Donald Trump on Friday declaring a national emergency to secure funding for a wall along the southern border with Mexico. The filings are expected to be part of a flurry of legal challenges to the constitutionality of Trump’s decision.” Legal challenges are also anticipated to come from citizens themselves. As Bloomberg reports, “Some landowners along the U.S.-Mexico line say they see a government land grab in their future.” But Trump senior adviser Stephen Miller this weekend pointed out, “This is a threat in our country, not overseas. And if the president can’t defend this country, then he cannot fulfill his constitutional oath of office.”
- “President Trump’s pick to be the next United Nations ambassador withdrew from consideration Saturday, the State Department said. The department’s spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, had been tapped to succeed Nikki Haley at the United Nations, but her name was never formally sent to the Senate for confirmation. … The withdrawal is related to the employment of a nanny who was in the country illegally. … But according to a person familiar with Nauert’s situation, the nanny was in the country legally. She was a Jamaican national employed by Nauert and her husband 10 years ago.” (The Washington Post)
- According to Fox News, “More men and boys from a Somali American community in Minneapolis have joined — or attempted to join — a foreign terrorist organization over the last 12 years than any other jurisdiction in the country. … So what has made the area such a hotbed for such activity? And what has been Rep. Ilhan Omar’s record in addressing the issue — either before she was elected, or since? The answers matter because federal authorities say they remain ‘highly concerned’ about the terrorist connection with the Minneapolis Somalis.” Omar’s anti-Semitism could be emblematic of an even bigger problem.
- A majority of Californians are inclined to put down roots elsewhere, new polling reveals. The catalyst is cost of living, which is particularly pronounced in San Fransisco. Perhaps voters should revisit partitioning the state.
- Civics testing in the U.S. is less than mediocre. According to the Washington Examiner, “A majority in every state except Vermont has failed the U.S. Citizenship test, the latest sign that Americans aren’t very good history students. … More than half of those in every other state failed, and in Washington, D.C., 58 percent failed, said the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, which does the survey. Only one-in-four nationally passed the 20-questions.” This shouldn’t surprise us, though. Schools are more interested in “diversifying” restrooms and locker rooms than they are in fostering education.
- A tragic mass shooting occurred Friday in Aurora, Illinois, where five innocent lives were taken and police officers were injured. But like many mass shootings, it could have been prevented via existing laws. Townhall reports that the shooter “purchased a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber handgun in 2014 but was later discovered to have been convicted of an aggravated assault charge back in 1995 when he tried to apply for a concealed carry permit. As a result, he should have turned his firearm over to authorities. He didn’t.”
- Having your cake and eating it too: “The NFL and lawyers for players Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid jointly announced Friday that they had settled a complaint of collusion by the players, who claimed football team owners blackballed them,” CNBC reports. According to The Daily Wire, “All parties are prevented from revealing details of the settlement, by the settlement’s terms, but various news reports put the settlement between $60 million and $80 million split between the two players.” Furthermore, “Kaepernick’s attorney … told ESPN that he predicts Kaepernick will now be welcomed into the league with open arms.” On the contrary, why would any team want such a toxic charlatan?
- Humor: In pushing Amazon out of New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez declares victory over the modern-day equivalent of slavery: jobs. (The Babylon Bee)
- Policy: Read why “Amazon’s NYC Pullout Shows Economy Is Rigged, Just Not the Way Most People Think” at the Foundation for Economic Education.
- Policy: “Outsiders should regard purported hate crimes that sound like crafted narratives with skepticism until they’re proven true,” Kyle Smith suggests in National Review. “No matter what the era or who is in charge, disaster always looms, and any weird anecdote that supports the larger doom narrative is eagerly, even devoutly, believed.”
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
OPINION IN BRIEF
Arthur Milikh: “What we today call ‘Presidents Day’ is in fact [George] Washington’s birthday. Just like a republican people must on occasion be reminded of the need for manly assertiveness and modest gratitude, so too must they be reminded of examples of human greatness. First instituted as a federal holiday in 1879, this day ought to celebrate Washington, not an abstraction called ‘presidents.’ There is no meaning in celebrating ‘presidents’ generally, and for this reason, the holiday today has no real content, being viewed as merely another day off work. To confuse James Buchanan for Washington is to conflate copper and gold.”
The Gipper: “You and I are told we must choose between a left or right, but I suggest there is no such thing as a left or right. There is only an up or down.” —Ronald Reagan
For the record: “Contrary to many of the myths of American economic life, the best measures now indicate that American wages have grown, that compensation has increased with productivity, and that Americans’ most basic standard of living has increased. We have more stuff, we have easier lives, and we live in bigger houses. When it comes to the most basic things an economy can provide, America’s free-enterprise system has worked very, very well, and continues to work well.” —David French
Leadership: “We are going to confront the national-security crisis on our southern border [and stop the] invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.” —Donald Trump on justification for his national-emergency declaration
Friendly fire: “The Green New Deal concentrates power in the hands of the Washington elite in a way nothing has done since World War II. … It used to be Democrats wanted to shift the tax code, shift the regulations in order to steer the market in a more humane direction, and I get that. And that — being that kind of Democrat, you would be for a carbon tax in order to address global warming. This is not that. This is simply the government taking control of large swaths of the American economy, something I don’t think the government is capable of doing.” —New York Times columnist David Brooks
Braying Jackass: “The America I see values basic human decency, not snatching children from their parents or turning our back on refugees at our border. Americans know that’s not right. The American people understand plainly that this makes us an embarrassment. The American people know, overwhelmingly, that it is not right. That it is not who we are.” —Joe Biden while in Germany, of all places
Perpetually unsatisfied: “We’re going to have to do our own investigation, and we are.” —Rep. Adam Schiff when queried, “If [Robert Mueller] finds that there was no direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, will you accept that?”
Non Compos Mentis: “Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a 2020 candidate, endorsed federal implementation of a third gender listing for Americans who identify as non-binary. Speaking at an LGBTQ-focused meet and greet in New Hampshire on Friday, Gillibrand emphatically said ‘yes’ about recognizing ‘X’ as a third gender marker.” —CBS News
And last… “[Jussie] Smollett may just be the dumbest race hoaxer in history. I mean, if you’re going to invent a hate crime, just invent it. Don’t hire two Nigerian guys to play the part of violent rednecks. And don’t go to the police about it. And for God’s sake maybe drop the sandwich.” —Matt Walsh
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
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Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Nate Jackson, Managing Editor
Mark Alexander, Publisher