Category: Bizarre

The Eight Degrees of Ignorance and Stupidity

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Our host on numerous occasions makes a strong case in labeling today’s zeitgeist as “The Age of Rage”. It would certainly seem to be so if one focuses on what stereotypically comes out of the news media and political figures we lend our ears to. Yet I would go a step further and suggest the root cause of some of this rage is composed of two elements: power-lust and simple human stupidity.

I believe many people fail to recognize how intertwined is the lust for power and the enabling forces of stupidity. Stupidity can be manipulated to achieve that power. It is said that money is the blood of the powerful. Yet, why spend money when too many can be so easily controlled or recruited for free simply by instead appealing to ignorant or stupid individuals.

Both sadly and obviously however, ignorance and stupidity is not limited to the news or politics, it is manifest in human society generally. The trick is to recognize and extricate it from our lives whenever possible. So in a mostly cynical and possibly comical study of the problem, I propose there are levels and flavors of both ignorance and stupidity and to apply such a study is a first step toward minimizing its damaging potential.

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Could the Maxwell Conviction Be Thrown Out Over Juror Misconduct?

Ghislaine Maxwell’s conviction has been widely celebrated as bringing some justice to the victims of Jeffrey Epstein. However, that moment may prove fleeting in light of a startling disclosure made by one of the jurors to Reuters this week. A juror identified only by his first two names (“Scotty David”) admitted that he was able to sway fellow jurors by discussing his own experience with abuse. It is not clear if he disclosed that prior abuse on the juror questionnaire as part of the voir dire process. The disclosure could give Maxwell a strong argument for reversal if the prior abuse was not revealed and was then used in the jury room to pursue the jury after it deadlocked in its proceedings. Update: Both defense counsel and the government are now calling for a formal inquiry into the allegations on this juror.

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Former Boston College Student Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter After Encouraging Her Former Boyfriend to Commit Suicide

A smiling couple sit on a bench, posing for a photo

Over the years, we have discussed the prosecution of people who encourage friends or strangers to commit suicide. I have raised free speech concerns over prior prosecutions in the ambiguous line often drawn by prosecutors. The most recent case of Inyoung You, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter last week after repeatedly telling her boyfriend, Alexander Urtula, to kill himself. Both were students at Boston College and had a tumultuous 18 month relationship. Continue reading “Former Boston College Student Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter After Encouraging Her Former Boyfriend to Commit Suicide”

When Experience Works Against You: DUI Defendant Allegedly Tells Police She “Does This All The Time”

Perla Aguilar reportedly told officers that she "does this all the time."

The bane of the existence of defense lawyers are clients who use arrests to make incriminating statements but few get to the level of Perla Aguilar, 27. Aguilar was arrested for DUI in Oklahoma and reportedly told police, repeatedly, that it is all right because she “does this all the time.” She was arrested around 4:30 a.m. on Sunday for drunk driving and child neglect. Continue reading “When Experience Works Against You: DUI Defendant Allegedly Tells Police She “Does This All The Time””

“We Can Never Believe Police”: Cal State Professor Denounces Smollett Verdict as a “White Supremacist Charade”

After the conviction of Jussie Smollett, many in politics and the media admitted that the evidence against the actor was overwhelming despite the early coverage lionizing Smollett. Indeed, while Smollett garnered overwhelming coverage as a courageous victim, some have now objected to the coverage of the verdict as excessive. Some cable hosts simply ignored the conviction while CNN and MSNBC downplayed the verdictBlack Lives Matters stood with Smollett even though he accused two black witnesses of lying and hurt legitimate victims of racism. However, Cal State Pan-African Studies Department professor Melina Abdullah has gone further and declared that it does not matter what the evidence is: you must stand with Smollett and refuse to believe anything the police has to say on the matter.

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Smollett Lawyer Reportedly Demands Mistrial After Accusing Judge of Lunging At Her

If you thought that Smollett case could not get more bizarre, think again. CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller is reporting that defense attorney Tamara Walker had a sidebar conversation with attorneys from both sides and Cook County Judge James Linn. She reportedly accused Judge Linn of some improper comment and then said that he lunged at her in the courtroom.  She was crying during the sidebar.  Another Smollett attorney accused Linn of snarling and making faces during the trial. In thirty years of practice as a criminal defense attorney, I have never heard of such allegations in a criminal trial.

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The Gun Did It? Baldwin Denies Pulling The Trigger in Fatal “Rust” Shooting

Recently, I noted the curious scene of actor Alec Baldwin insisting with reporters that he has been given clear legal instructions not to discuss the shooting of Halyna Hutchins at the set of the movie “Rust” . . . and then making detailed statements about the shooting. Now, with an ongoing criminal investigation and various civil lawsuits expected to be filed, Baldwin has given a detailed statement to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, including a surprising claim that he never pointed the gun or pulled the trigger.  That interview may be one of his most watched scenes, particularly if he is charged criminally or sued civilly.[Update: Santa Fe’s Democrat D.A. Mary Carmack-Altwies has stated that it is possible that Baldwin didn’t pull the trigger on the gun].

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Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back

 

We have been discussing the continued incarceration of many individuals for their participation in the Jan. 6th riot.  Despite claims that the riot was an insurrection, the vast majority of defendants have been given relatively minor charges. Nevertheless, the Justice Department has insisted on holding many without bail and some have received longer sentences, like Jacob Chansley (aka “QAnon Shaman”) who was given a 41-month sentence for “obstructing a federal proceeding.”

Thomas “Tas” Alexander Starks, 31, of Lisbon, N.D., faced a strikingly different approach by the Justice Department. The self-avowed Antifa member took an axe to the office of Sen. John Hoeven’s in Fargo on Dec. 21, 2020. Federal sentencing guidelines suggested 10–16 months in prison but he was only sentenced to probation and fined $2,784 for restitution . . . he then reportedly mocked the FBI for returning his axe.  Others declared him a hero and Democratic politicians pitched in for his legal defense. Continue reading “Antifa Member Who Took Axe to Senate Office Given Probation and his Axe Back”

Pittsburgh Lawyer Charged After Dropping Pants In Protest in Courthouse

There are times when it is a good thing justice is blind.  Attorney Jeffrey Pollock, 59, was reportedly put out when a metal detector repeatedly set off an alarm at a Pittsburgh courthouse. After being told to remove garments, Pollock eventually dropped his pants in protest. He was then arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. However, there is an interesting question on the key terms underlying such a charge against Pollock. Continue reading “Pittsburgh Lawyer Charged After Dropping Pants In Protest in Courthouse”

Facebook Under Fire For Role in Covering Up Vietnamese Communist Figure Eating Gold-Encrusted Steak

We have often discussed the hypocrisy of leaders and social media companies proclaiming their faith in free speech while promoting unprecedented levels of censorship. However, the layers of hypocrisy in a story out of London is breathtaking. Gen. To Lam was shown recently on a trip to visit the grave of Karl Marx. That is hardly surprising for a Communist leader. What followed was a tad surprising. To Lam is shown eating a steak covered in 24-karat gold flakes at a restaurant owned by the social media star and restaurateur known as Salt Bae. It costs $1,150 per steak.  Facebook later suspended Salt Bae’s hashtag as the scandal exploded in Vietnam. It is not the first time social media has intervened to assist foreign authoritarian or government interests.  This story may prove Marx’s prediction that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Continue reading “Facebook Under Fire For Role in Covering Up Vietnamese Communist Figure Eating Gold-Encrusted Steak”

Schiff Calls For Prosecutions of Those Who Lied on Steele Dossier . . . After Attacking The Durham Investigation

In a bizarre exchange this week with former State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) was confronted with his relentless promoting of the now debunked Steele dossier in prior years. Schiff surprisingly declared “First of all, whoever lied to the FBI or Christopher Steele should be prosecuted, and they are.” (It is actually not a crime to lie to Christopher Steele under 18 U.S.C. 1001. It is a crime to lie to federal investigators). It was a curious statement from someone who attacked the appointment of the Special Counsel and, with other leading Democrats, did his level best to kill the investigation. If it had been left to Schiff, there would have been no John Durham and no Durham indictments. Continue reading “Schiff Calls For Prosecutions of Those Who Lied on Steele Dossier . . . After Attacking The Durham Investigation”

Six Degrees From Brookings: How a Liberal Think Tank Keeps Coming Up in the Russian Collusion Investigation

The latest indictment by Special Counsel John Durham has created a stir in Washington as the investigation into the Russian collusion scandal exposed new connections to the Clinton campaign.  The indictment of  Igor Danchenko exposes additional close advisers to Hillary Clinton who allegedly pushed discredited and salacious allegations in the Steele dossier. However, one of the most interesting new elements was the role of a liberal think tank, the Brookings Institution, in the alleged effort to create a false scandal of collusion. Indeed, Brookings appears so often in accounts related to the Russian collusion scandal that it could be Washington’s alternative to the Kevin Bacon parlor game. It appears that many of these figures are within six degrees of Brookings.

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Strzok in Denial: Fired FBI Agent Denounces Durham Indictments For “Dog Whistles”

The indictments of John Durham has shaken up Washington recently as he laid out the critical role played by Clinton campaign associates in the creation of the Russian collusion scandal, including the inclusion of debunked but widely reported allegations. It is clear from the latest indictment why leading Democrats like Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tried to kill the Durham investigation. None of that however prepared some of us for the response of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who called upon fired FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok to question the indictments. Strzok was fired at the recommendation of career investigators and has been cited as an example of the raw bias of key players in the Russian investigation. Yet, he was the choice of MSNBC to review the recent indictments and he did not disappoint in belittling the crimes alleged by the Special Counsel. Continue reading “Strzok in Denial: Fired FBI Agent Denounces Durham Indictments For “Dog Whistles””

FBI Raids Project Veritas Writers . . . Over A Missing Biden Diary?

There is a curious story out this weekend on reported FBI raids of writers or associates of Project Veritas, the conservative investigative journalism outfit. Project Veritas has been described variously as “Gonzo” or “guerilla” journalism and some insist it is more of a political than a press organization. However, it fits the definition of journalism, in my view, and that makes the raids troubling. All the more troubling is the cause: the missing diary of President Biden’s daughter Ashley. [Update: The FBI reportedly also raided O’Keefe’s home]

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Canadian Professor Under Fire For Allegedly False Claim of Indigenous Ancestry

University of Saskatchewan is embroiled in a controversy over “self-identification” of ethnic or cultural status. According to news reports, Carrie Bourassa of the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology has claimed Indigenous/Native American heritage, but is “entirely [of] European descent.”  Self-identification has long been accepted in many universities and recently The Hill ran a story that over one-third of white students may have lied about their race on college applications. Continue reading “Canadian Professor Under Fire For Allegedly False Claim of Indigenous Ancestry”