“A fondness for power is implanted, in most men, and it is natural to abuse it, when acquired.” —Alexander Hamilton (1775)
IN TODAY’S DIGEST
- Rosenstein Squirms and Deflects in Senate Hearing
- Keith Ellison’s Gamble on Charging Police
- Shock Jock Wants the Wrong Fundamental Transformation
- Trading Liberty for Security?
- Just How Many Places Has China Infiltrated?
- Daily Features: News Executive Summary, Videos, Best of Right Opinion, Short Cuts, Memes, and Cartoons.
In a scene reminiscent of Adam’s response to God in the Garden of Eden, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sat before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and sought to shift the blame for his bad oversight decisions that allowed for the partisan Russia-collusion hoax to continue unabated. Tellingly, Rosenstein essentially agreed that the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump’s presidential campaign should not have happened, even as he did nothing to stop it. In fact, Rosenstein did much to further the charade with the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Notably, one of the biggest issues that Republican senators hammered Rosenstein for was his reauthorization of the FISA warrant application to continue surveillance against Trump’s former campaign adviser, Carter Page. Republicans wanted to know why Rosenstein would have signed off on the FISA warrant application given the fact that it relied solely upon what the FBI knew was a bogus Christopher Steele dossier.
Rosenstein squirmed, complaining about having so many FISA applications he had to sign. He even admitted, “I’m not sure I read every page, but I was familiar with what was in it.” He then added that the application “was actually fairly persuasive, and it had already been approved three times. This was just a reauthorization.”
A clearly unimpressed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) challenged Rosenstein, asking, “Was there any more important case the Department of Justice had than an investigation into whether the president of the United States is a Russian asset, colluding against the United States?” Cruz further blasted Rosenstein as being either “complicit in the wrongdoing, which I don’t believe was the case, or … your performance of your duties was grossly negligent.”
As we’ve previously observed, that complicity involved Rosenstein’s 2017 memo in which he used conspiracy theories taken from the bogus Steele dossier to establish and broaden the scope of Mueller’s investigation. Far from being a law man concerned with following hard evidence, Rosenstein seemingly allowed the popular narrative — or allegiance to the deep state — to dictate his actions, rather than question it. He had plenty of opportunities to stop the partisan charade, as John Solomon astutely observes, but instead Rosenstein ensured that the witch hunt would continue.
Some day next year, when, after a long and agonizing trial, a Minneapolis jury fails to convict Officer Derek Chauvin of second-degree murder, we may witness rioting anew.
We certainly hope we’re wrong, but does Keith Ellison secretly hope we’re right? Does Minnesota’s attorney general sense that even his failure to secure a conviction would result in a long-game “win” via a second wave of rioting, a more pronounced case of white guilt, and an ever-louder chorus for tearing down our nation’s “white supremacy” power structure?
Ellison, the Louis Farrakhan fan, announced yesterday that he’d upgraded charges against Chauvin from third-degree murder and manslaughter to second-degree murder without intent, in addition to charging the three other officers at the scene of George Floyd’s death with aiding and abetting. In a moment of honesty, Ellison also announced, “Trying this case will not be an easy thing. Winning a conviction will be hard.” And this is what has us worried. If there were ever a case where a slam-dunk was needed, it’s this one. But the upgraded charges make an easy conviction less likely — and future rioting more so.
No one has yet weighed in with a vigorous defense of Chauvin, a 19-year veteran of the force, and his fellow cops. But, rest assured, one is coming. Indeed, our system of due process demands it. Anything can happen in a jury trial, and only a single juror must be plagued with reasonable doubt. How many times during Chauvin’s career had he neutralized a suspect with a knee to the neck? And how many times had it resulted in death? Those who think a conviction is a fait accompli would do well to remember the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore.
As for Ellison’s upgrade, we could see it coming ever since he took control of the case earlier this week from Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. We can also sense a bit of anti-cop bias in Ellison, at least during his dinner-table conversations. Earlier this week, the attorney general’s own son pledged his allegiance to antifa and declared his commitment to “keep focusing on stopping the white power terrorist [sic] THE [sic] ARE ACTUALLY ATTACKING US!”
Regardless of whom Ellison’s son believes is attacking him, and regardless of the righteousness he sees in these riots, one thing is certain: Minorities are being hit hardest. As Brad Polumbo points out in the Washington Examiner, “We do know that these riots are occurring in heavily urban areas, which are disproportionately populated with minorities compared to the rest of the country.” Thus, “It’s reasonable to conclude that the long-term economic costs of this vandalism, rioting, and looting will disproportionately burden minorities — the group this radical activism ostensibly purports to support.”
Setting aside the economic devastation being meted out by both black looters and white anarchists, every ounce of energy spent on this mayhem is one less ounce spent on the legitimate cause of justice for George Floyd.
Let’s hope — all of us — that Keith Ellison doesn’t blow it.
“I can’t breathe.” “I can’t breathe.” That’s how Joe Biden’s campaign began a long email this week that ended with a big button to “donate to elect Joe Biden.” And why not fundraise on racial strife? The protests and riots over George Floyd’s death have turned into a giant Democrat rally. That’s ironic, of course, given the Democrat Party’s sordid racial history and current race-baiting, but it’s also as predictable as the sun coming up each day. After all, if you don’t vote Biden, he says, “You ain’t black.”
Which brings us to the radio shock jock to whom Biden made that remark. Lenard Larry McKelvey is a Jehovah’s Witness-turned-Muslim who hosts “The Breakfast Club” and goes by the bizarre moniker Charlamagne tha God — “tha God” because it “sounded cool” and “Charlamagne” as a riff on his former pseudonym as a drug dealer.
Charlamagne criticized Biden this week, saying, “Biden’s record in the Senate actually reflects very racist legislation, but he has a chance to correct that by doing right by black people.” Despite Biden’s record on various crime bills that Charlamagne and many blacks blame for “mass incarceration” of blacks (including Charlamagne), the radio host wants Biden to be more like LBJ. “Lyndon B. Johnson may have been labeled a racist but his record doesn’t reflect that,” Charlamagne asserted. “LBJ’s record showed that he had, like, the most effective progressive record on race and class of any Democratic president of the past 80 years.”
Let’s pause here for station identification. LBJ is the guy who said that his “Great Society” programs — aimed at keeping blacks dependent on the federal government — would “have those n—ers voting Democratic for the next 200 years.”
Biden’s “you ain’t black” comments are in exactly the same racist vein. Treating blacks like they can’t help themselves and need government to intervene is every bit as racist as anything spewed by a white supremacist. Yet the paternalistic system Democrats built to transition from slavery to Jim Crow to welfare has indeed yielded a black population that votes Democrat upwards of 90% of the time. This frustrating groupthink is something our own Patrick Hampton and Willie Richardson endeavor to break. Democrats run the very cities and neighborhoods now being destroyed and looted by the same people who receive lavish federal benefits that they apparently find insufficient because many blacks want $14 trillion in “reparations.”
Charlamagne let the cat out of the bag, however, when he revealed the Left’s real agenda: “The whole system needs to be dismantled and rebuilt.” Black Lives Matter, as an organization, is a collection of Marxist-inspired radicals who want to, as one great “racial healer” put it, “fundamentally transform the United States of America.”
Even though Charlamagne admitted that Biden has been “a very intricate part of that system,” he added, “I need him to really lean into blackness now.”
President Donald Trump responded with a hilarious jab: “In 3 ½ years, I’ve done much more for our Black population than Joe Biden has done in 43 years. Actually, he set them back big time with his Crime Bill, which he doesn’t even remember.”
We long for our fellow Americans of a different melanin level to aim for real change. It’s true; there is real racism out there, and inner-city blacks face hurdles suburban whites can’t understand. Even so, many of the solutions begin in their own homes. Government checks are no substitute for fathers married to mothers. Yet ever since LBJ enacted his black-vote agenda, blacks have gone from having a 25% out-of-wedlock birth rate to one that is roughly 75%. Whites and Hispanics have significant increases over that same span, as well, meaning this is a government problem, not a race problem.
We’ve spent trillions of dollars on inner cities, yet the vast majority of crime happens in those neighborhoods — which is the reason for the heavy presence of police. Until the black community can reclaim the structure of family units and restore fathers to homes, this will continue. No amount of government will change it. In fact, that is the system that needs dismantling.
Last Sunday night, in response to the apparently organized violence tearing up American cities, President Donald Trump announced that he will designate antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. Despite the enormous level of emotional satisfaction that announcement undoubtedly engenders in millions of Americans, it’s a bad idea.
We begin with the Constitution. “Thanks to the First Amendment, the US government has historically avoided designating domestic groups on both the left and right as terrorist,” explains columnist Peter Bergen. “Belonging to such groups is consistent with the legitimate exercise of your First Amendment right to freedom of speech and belief.”
That is not to say one is exempt from being prosecuted if one breaks the law. In the current environment, every decent American should support prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law thugs who have burned down police stations, looted and destroyed businesses, and attacked innocent people. In fact, there have undoubtedly been incidents that should have precipitated the use of lethal force, were it not for the widespread fecklessness of the overwhelmingly Democrat public officials who have allowed their own cities to burn.
Cities they have controlled for decades.
That the same officials who cracked down on “nonessential” law-abiding citizens for defying coronavirus lockdowns — even as they freed prisoners for the same reason — meekly abide rioters? That those who boasted loudly and often about their abilities to shut down a business owner trying to feed his or her family are the ones allowing thugs to burn those same businesses down, absent any consequences whatsoever?
That’s where the public’s rage should be focused: On ideologically bankrupt politicians who have abandoned the most basic tenet of governance: keeping the public safe by maintaining law and order.
Yet at the same time, Americans should remember that it was literally less than two weeks ago when we weren’t enraged by the consummate levels of cowardice evinced by mayors, governors, and other elected officials in response to widespread violence, but by the unseemly and unconstitutional level of rank authoritarianism demonstrated by those very same officials. We should remember that some of the same law-enforcement officers who are currently standing down in the face of mayhem were the ones harassing Americans for defying lockdowns.
“If Trump succeeds in designating Antifa,” Bergen warns, “it potentially opens the door for American citizens to be charged for merely holding their beliefs — even if they are extreme and at times, militant.”
Americans should ponder where that designation could lead. If Democrats prevail in November, it isn’t hard to imagine how quickly the list of domestic terrorist groups would expand. And from whom would they likely draw their “inspiration”? Here’s a hate map published by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that once successfully took on the KKK but has morphed into a far-left hate-hustling organization whose definition of hate consists of any person or entity who fails to toe the progressive line.
One need look no further than Colorado baker Jack Phillips to get an idea how far the Left is willing to go. Despite a 7-2 Supreme Court ruling that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission acted with hostility toward religion for attempting to force Phillips to bake cakes for same-sex weddings, he was sued again for refusing to bake a “gender transition” cake.
Now imagine such zealots being able to array the government — including our 17 intelligence agencies — against American citizens. Imagine the same prison sentence of up to 20 years for joining ISIS being imposed for joining a group that eschews the “LGBTQ” agenda in favor of a Christian viewpoint on gender and marriage.
“Federal counterterrorism law provides for the designation only of foreign terrorist organizations,” explains Andrew McCarthy. “It criminalizes material support to designated foreign terrorist organizations. The distinction between foreign and domestic terrorism has an important history. There is no need to designate a domestic insurrectionist group as a terrorist organization, because there is an extensive panoply of laws, at the state and federal level, by which such groups can be investigated, prosecuted, and otherwise thwarted.”
McCarthy reminds us why the distinction is important. “There were major spying scandals in the United States, beginning in the late 1960s, that involved the use against American citizens of national-security surveillance powers that are supposed to target agents of foreign powers,” he adds. And currently, if the federal government wants to target Americans, “it must show not only that they are being directed by a foreign power but also that their activity appears to involve violations of federal criminal statutes.”
If those parameters are changed? The establishment of a domestic terror group designation would “permit the surveillance of Americans in the absence of probable cause that they have committed crimes,” McCarthy warns.
Is that what Americans really want? Again, the capricious tendencies already demonstrated by a number of power-besotted political hacks during the coronavirus lockdowns can be reasserted just as quickly as they were abandoned. Moreover, Trump should realize it was government power wielded by thoroughly corrupt officials in the DOJ and FBI, and sanctioned by an equally suspect FISA Court (itself the antithesis of Fourth Amendment protections), that precipitated one of the greatest abuses of power in the nation’s history — against the president himself.
If Trump can be targeted, what recourse can ordinary Americans expect?
In a series of tweets, columnist Kurt Schlichter rightly notes that the federal government can already review arrest records and the FBI can determine who among the rioters can be subjected to federal prosecution. “When the first of these little trust fund sissies figures out he’s not walking out of his cell after 20 minutes with a $50 fine but looking at five years in Leavenworth on a Fed rap, he’ll squeal on his comrades,” he concludes. “This is an opportunity to destroy Antifa root and branch, and to eliminate the armed wing of the Democrat party. Forever.”
Whether antifa is wholly owned by Democrats is debatable. But a number of elected Democrats are sympathetic to the organization, and others have looked the other way or stood down while antifa ran roughshod in the streets.
And there is no doubt whatsoever that Democrat politicians have allowed them and other equally criminal actors to perpetrate anarchic activity with complete impunity.
Yet the bigger picture is far more important. “We can investigate Antifa as terrorists, prosecute them as terrorists, sentence them as terrorists, and give them harsh prison sentences befitting terrorists,” McCarthy declares. “But there is neither a need nor a legal basis to ‘designate’ them as terrorists.”
Decent Americans are facing a dilemma, but the desire to see security restored cannot justify the elimination of probable cause. The Rule of Law is often the antithesis of emotional satisfaction, and to embrace its “by any means necessary” alternative is to become exactly like those determined to destroy the nation.
We must be better than that. The future of the nation depends on it.
College students are often involved in protests. Sometimes there are arrests, but all too often, not much happens, and they go on with their academic lives. For Drew Pavlou, a student at the University of Queensland, it was a different story.
Pavlou’s “crime” was to protest the People’s Republic of China, for which he was physically attacked. In response, the University of Queensland essentially put him, the victim of an assault, on trial through a Star Chamber process and he was expelled. His school, you see, had a Confucius Institute, which is how Communist China infiltrates universities around the world. But universities aren’t the only places China is infiltrating — and gaining control.
The ChiComs also have their hooks in the United Nations. According to The Washington Free Beacon, China has been trying to gain control of key organizations within the UN (like the World Health Organization), either directly or through stooges.
Why? Because if you control the UN, you wield a lot of political influence, especially in poorer “developing” countries. It becomes easy, for example, to use various UN agencies to influence a country to go along with China’s desires regarding the isolation of Taiwan. In fact, that isolation is enforced by China. But it will cover plenty of other matters.
China’s push for global influence is something former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley saw during her time at the United Nations. The Chinese are always maneuvering, she says, “whether it’s distracting from their own human-rights abuses, manipulating to gain control of UN agencies, or bullying smaller countries to vote their way.” Haley went on to note, “For them perception is everything, and it’s why we can never stop being loud, calling them out, and bringing attention to their behavior.” Trump’s decision to pull out of the WHO is part of the answer, but the UN retains a lot of perceived legitimacy.
When China is working overtime to keep its dirty laundry from being aired in public, and getting help from some American media outlets that want access to China’s market — albeit help obtained through a fair bit of coercion — we face real problems. Why? Because China’s bullying extends beyond countries to the UN itself.
The fact is, dealing with China’s infiltration won’t be easy. The depraved indifference to human life that helped create a pandemic — you could even call it geopolitical psychopathy — also makes pulling off further cover-ups very easy. Exposing China’s infiltration of the UN, though, is one tough task that must be completed for the security of the United States.
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Above the Fold
“Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison (D) has upgraded the charge against Derek Chauvin … to second-degree murder,” The Hill reports. “Ellison also charged Tou Thao, J. Alexander Kueng and Thomas Lane — the other officers who were at the scene of [George] Floyd’s death — with aiding and abetting second-degree murder.” Clearly, the officers should be prosecuted. But as Ben Shapiro points out, “Elevation of the Floyd killing to second-degree is quite risky. It requires proving intent to kill, rather than depraved indifference to human life. That’s a heavy legal burden.” And perhaps a radically heavy scheme by Ellison to upend the justice system.
In a virtual town hall yesterday, Barack Obama pontificated: “To bring about real change, we both have to highlight a problem and make people in power uncomfortable. But we also have to translate that into practical solutions and laws that can be implemented.” He added, “I know enough about that history to say there is something different here. … There is a change in mindset that’s taking place, a greater recognition that we can do better.” Keep in mind, these remarks are coming from the guy who spewed a lot of race-bait rhetoric.
Government & Politics
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies he would not have signed FISA warrant for Trump aide if he knew of problems (Fox News)
Senate passes legislation making it easier for small businesses to use pandemic relief program (Washington Examiner)
Former Defense Secretary James Mattis denounces President Trump, describes him as a threat to the Constitution (The Atlantic)
Joe Biden fundraises off George Floyd’s death (The Daily Wire)
Antifa planned anti-government insurgency for months, law-enforcement official says (The Washington Times)
Administration slaps sanctions on shipping companies moving Venezuelan oil (The Hill)
China militarizing stolen U.S. tech, State Department says (The Washington Free Beacon)
State Department to label several Chinese media outlets as government propaganda (Washington Examiner)
The Latest on COVID-19
Coronavirus is not mutating to become more dangerous, WHO says (New York Post)
Doubt looms over hydroxychloroquine study that halted global trials; researchers are skeptical of a data analytics company that has not shared data (Ars Technica)
Swedish COVID response architect says policies were too lax, resulted in too many deaths (National Review)
For the record: Liberty University, once accused of being reckless for reopening during pandemic, finishes semester with zero coronavirus cases (The Blaze)
Business & Economy
Weekly jobless claims totaled 1.877 million last week (CNBC)
Trump administration to ban Chinese passenger airlines from flying to U.S. (The Daily Caller)
Companies issue shares at fastest rate ever (Reuters)
Markets clawing back much of pandemic losses (Washington Examiner)
South Korea unveils $62 billion “New Deal” to reshape post-virus economy (Bloomberg News)
Paris bans protest over black Frenchman and George Floyd deaths, citing potential social unrest and virus spread (The Daily Caller)
Hong Kong passes controversial bill to make disrespecting China’s national anthem a crime (Business Insider)
Space Wars: China outlines ambitious plan to build space station in orbit (Axios)
Quarterback Drew Brees receives intense backlash from star athletes after remarks about protesting during national anthem (Fox News)
Autopsy report shows George Floyd had tested positive for COVID-19 (AP)
Two NYPD cops shot, one stabbed during cowardly attack in Brooklyn (New York Post)
Virginia Gov. Ralph “Blackface” Northam to order removal of Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond (Fox News)
Policy: As cities burn, will Trump invoke the Insurrection Act? And should he? (The Federalist)
Policy: The enduring example of the Tiananmen Square massacre (The Heritage Foundation)
Satire: People who demanded more government for months appalled when they actually get (Genesius Times)
Related satire: Government jealous of rioters’ speed, efficiency in destroying local businesses (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.
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Tucker Carlson Video: Our Leaders Dither as Our Cities Burn — People will not forgive weakness. That’s not a partisan point; it’s human nature.
Video: Can George Floyd Murder Protests Pull Us Together in Time? — Bill Whittle and Scott Ott explore how can we channel despair and anger.
Video: The Phantom of White Privilege — “When the grievance is unclear, so too is the solution,” says Matt Christiansen.
For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.
Insight: “It has been the great tragedy of our time that people were taught to read and not taught to reason.” —G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936)
Upright: “Respect for the law and every human being comes only with humility, and that humility comes only when we see that law rooted in God and every person created in His image. But too much of our nation’s reality has been controlled arrogance, not humility: arrogance that we don’t need the God of our fathers and founders. Those on the left have convinced too many that our answers lie in politics, their secular humanism and moral relativism. The result is the destruction of life and property that true law, adhered to by true believers, protects. Only return to eternal truths will save us.” —Star Parker
For the record: “I assume there is less racism in America than there once was, but there’s no way to prove that. Even if there were, Malcolm X wrote, ‘If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there’s no progress.’ But I think that’s the wrong way to think about it. George Floyd’s killer was arrested and other cops who abused their power were fired. In the past, police officers were never prosecuted. For years in America, the percentage of interracial marriage has steadily increased. That suggests progress. Burning police stations and looting stores won’t speed that progress. It sets us back.” —John Stossel
Nailed it: “Racism is not dead. But it is on life-support, kept alive mainly by the people who use it for an excuse or to keep minority communities fearful or resentful enough to turn out as a voting bloc on election day.” —Thomas Sowell
D'oh! “Steve King lost the Iowa GOP primary. That’s what we do. We vote racists out of office.” —Alyssa Milano (“King was beaten by… another Republican.” —The Hill’s Joe Concha)
Non compos mentis, Part I: “Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body. Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.” —New York Times’s Nikole Hannah-Jones of 1619 Project infamy
Non compos mentis, Part II: “Yes, America is burning. But that’s how forests grow.” —Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
Non compos mentis, Part III: “Experts who have studied antifa say there is no evidence that the fringe, amorphous group is driving nationwide protests. Some experts worry Trump is conflating antifa with peaceful protesters in a dangerous way.” —The Washington Post
Non compos mentis, Part IV: “Let’s be clear about something: if there is a spike in coronavirus cases in the next two weeks, don’t blame the protesters. Blame racism.” —New York City councilman Mark D. Levine
Off the mark: “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.” —former Defense Secretary James Mattis
Bingo: “I love and respect my teammates, and I stand right there with them in regard to fighting for racial equality and justice. I also stand with my grandfathers, who risked their lives for this country, and countless other military men and women who do it on a daily basis. … I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” —New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees
Friendly fire: “Our communities are under siege, and we need help. And what you’re telling us is don’t ask for help that way. Ask for it a different way. I can’t listen to it when you ask that way. We’re done asking, Drew. And people who share your sentiments, who express those and push them throughout the world, the airwaves, are the problem. And it’s unfortunate because I considered you a friend. I looked up to you. You’re somebody who I had a great deal of respect for. But sometimes you should shut the f— up.” —teammate Malcolm Jenkins
And last… “Democrats were literally arresting Americans for opening their businesses, but now are silent as protesters burn them down. You were fined for worshipping in your church, but now cheered for marching in screaming crowds.” —James Woods
For more of today’s memes, visit the Memesters Union.
For more of today’s cartoons, visit the Cartoons archive.
Join us in prayer for our Patriots in uniform and their families — Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen — standing in harm’s way, and for our nation’s First Responders. We also ask prayer for your Patriot team, that our mission would seed and encourage the Spirit of Liberty in the hearts and minds of our countrymen.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis