It appears that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has found relief from the pesky protesters of Western democracies. He gave an almost breathless account of how he didn’t spot nary one protester in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, just tranquil silence of the Saudis. It could be that the Trump Administration found a country unanimously and enthusiastically supportive of its policies. It could also be that protests are generally unlawful in the Kingdom. The Saudis however are famous for public demonstrations of a different kind from beheadings to the image above of festive hangings.
In Oryol, Russia, Orthodox Bishop Nektary (Nikolai Seleznev) has declared that he is entitled to a new form of manna from heaven in the form of a new top of the line, fully loaded luxury Land Cruiser. When confronted by the ethical questions over the gift from a local agribusiness, Seleznev insisted that Jesus would have definitely taken such a sweet ride if it were offered.
There has been a chorus of commentators saying that the invocation of the Fifth Amendment by former national security advisor Michael Flynn leaves only immunity as the unlikely option for Congress. This was stated repeatedly on CNN last night. (I was supposed to go on Anderson Cooper and I was going to correct that view but the terrible massacre in England obviously took priority in coverage). The fact is that there is an obvious option: move to hold Flynn in contempt. The case law is not a clear cut as commentators have suggested on the “act of production doctrine.” Moreover, Congress has an institutional interest in pushing back on such invocations if it does not view the production as testimonial.
This morning’s news is again filled with a new and troubling disclosure out of the Trump White House. Various news organizations are reporting that President Donald Trump spoke to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers about the Russian investigation and asked them to publicly deny evidence of cooperation between his campaign and Russia. I was on Morning Joe today and once again cautioned about declaring a prima facie case of obstruction (as many have done on CNN and other networks) in the absence of facts satisfying the elements for that crime. While it is obviously something of a buzz kill, there still is not sufficient evidence (even if these accounts are true) to support an indictment.
We have often discussed how controversial views or positions are often expressed in terms of discrimination as opposed to good-faith disagreements. A case in point is found in a debate over the consumption of alcohol by pregnant women. The view of the medical profession has certainly changed where some doctors are suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption might not be harmful to a baby. However, when Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, stated that the rule against any alcohol consumption was still advised, she was denounced as “sexist” and “alarmist.”
For those of us who have long wondered where ISIS and other terrorist groups find people willing to commit atrocities of unspeakable brutality, one answer appears to be white supremacists willing to trade one extremist lifestyle for another. That is what Devon Arthurs, 18, is accused of doing when he gave up a life as a neo-Nazi and became a radical Muslim. He then proceeded to kill two of his roommates, 22-year-old Jeremy Himmelman and 18-year-old Andrew Oneschuk, for blasphemy after they mocked Islam.
President Donald Trump is finding friends in all the wrong places this week. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov seemingly came to his defense by outright denying that he and Trump ever discussed the Comey firing in their controversial visit to the Oval Office. After all, who are you going to trust if you are not going to take the word of dictator-loving, soulless apparatchik serving Vladimir Putin?