SIX DEGREES FROM JEFFREY EPSTEIN: WASHINGTON GRAPPLES WITH A WEB OF EMBARRASSING ASSOCIATIONS

Below is my column on the charging of Jeffrey Epstein and the complex connections raised by his prosecution. Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta gave a press conference where he attempted to show that 2007 was a different century where victims rights did not exist and transparency was just a word used in window glazing. It was a ridiculous performance as Acosta sought to justify a sweetheart deal that has been universally condemned. Acosta attempted to shift the blame to state prosecutors who came out after the press conference to angrily contest his account. Previously, in 2011, Acosta insisted he yielded in the case because of  “a year-long assault on the prosecution and the prosecutors” by “an army of legal superstars” like Dershowitz and Starr.  He also wrote “The defense strategy was not limited to legal issues. Defense counsel investigated individual prosecutors and their families, looking for personal peccadilloes that may provide a basis for disqualification.”  That is bizarre. Most prosecutors would have the backbone to double their efforts in the face of such pressure. Instead, Acosta’s defense came off as a whining or whimpering excuse for letting these big bad lawyers scare him off.

Here is the column:

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Chinese Billionaire Fined $200,000 For Not Living In $20 Million Mansion

Flag_of_Vancouver_(Canada).svgThere is a bizarre case in English Bar Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia where the wife of a Chinese multimillionaire is suing the government over a $200,000 tax bill for leaving her $20.4 million mansion empty. There were a couple of notable facts in the story that attracted my attention. First, this is a uniquely stupid law that fines you for not living in your own home.  Second, this home is owned by He Yiju and her husband Zheng Jianjiang, a top politician in China’s National People’s Congress. That’s right.  This is a humble dwelling of a dedicated Communist public official.

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Fourth Circuit Dismisses Emoluments Cases Against Trump

US-CourtOfAppeals-4thCircuit-SealThe 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday dismissed the emoluments cases filed by Maryland and the District of Columbia against President Donald Trump.  I have long been critical of the filings as advancing largely undefined and unwieldy interpretations of emoluments.  The Fourth Circuit made fast work of the filings and reversed the lower court for embracing attenuated and unsupported theories of standing. Other judges correctly dismissed these claims in the past. Continue reading “Fourth Circuit Dismisses Emoluments Cases Against Trump”

Ocasio-Cortez Accuses Pelosi Of “Persistent Singling Out . . . Women of Color”

440px-Alexandria_Ocasio-Cortez,_official_portrait,_116th_Congress220px-nancy_pelosiThe growing tension between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has suddenly exploded into open warfare over race. Ocasio-Cortez has accused Pelosi of attacking her because of her race. Race has been regularly raised by Democrats against President Donald Trump and the Republicans, including Pelosi’s recent attack that Trump wants to “make American white again.” I considered that attack to be inciteful and reckless and beneath the office of the Speaker.  Now she is the subject of the same type of attack. I have often been critical of Pelosi but I do not consider her to be a racist. Yet, this is an example of how it is difficult to confine race-based attacks once you use them for political ends.

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Illinois Woman Arrested After Driving With Two Children In An Inflatable Pool On Car Roof

 

(Dixon PD)

Jennifer A. Janus Yeager, 49, may have the distinction of the most reckless driving incident in recent memory.  She was pulled over in her Audi Q5 at Dixon, Illinois with an inflatable pool having two children inside.  When asked to explain herself, Yeager said that the two children were helping hold the pool to the top of the car.

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Tweet Misfires: Democrats Use Obama Pictures To Illustrate Unacceptable Trump Policies

Democrats have hit hard on the narrative that President Donald Trump is taking children from parents and holding people in cages. That narrative has largely gone unchallenged in the media despite that fact that the Obama Administration had the same facilities and also separated families. Now, the Democrats on the House Oversight Committee had the ultimate tweet disaster by posting pictures of the objectionable conditions. The pictures turned out to be from the Obama Administration. They deleted the first picture after people noted the problem, but then reportedly posted an additional Obama-era picture.

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Flynn Takes Sudden Turn Against Government In Pending Case

440px-Michael_T_FlynnWhile the headlines have been occupied with the Epstein matter and the other news, there is something curious happening in federal court with Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.  Flynn was just listed as an unindicted co-conspirator by the Justice Department. That itself is odd since Flynn is a cooperating witness facing sentencing before a fairly hostile federal judge.  Nevertheless, Flynn now says that the government was trying to get him to give false evidence in the the trial of a former business partner, Bijan Kian, who is accused of violating foreign lobbying disclosure laws.  The move by Flynn (following his replacement of counsel) could indicate an “all in” position for a pardon.

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Ambassador Calls Trump “Insecure” . . . Trump Responds By Calling Him “Very Stupid” And Refuses To Ever Speak With Him [Updated]

donald_trump_president-elect_portrait_croppedWhen an Ambassador calls you “inept,” “insecure,” and “incompetent,” one would think that you would take efforts to respond in a way that showed you are professional, controlled, and dispassionate.  Yet, after the secret communications of Britain’s ambassador to the US, Kim Darroch, were leaked, Trump went on the attack and declared that Darroch is a “a very stupid guy” and a “pompous fool.”  Moreover, he declared that, because he insulted Trump, no one in the Administration would deal with the representative of one of our oldest and closest allies.  It is important to note that Darroch is not only widely respected throughout the world as a diplomat but never intended for these comments to be made public. He was sharing his unvarnished views with his government — something that all ambassadors are expected to do. Update: Darroch has now resigned.

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Law Professor: MAGA Hat “Undeniable Symbol Of White Supremacy”

download-3Gonzaga University School of Law Visiting Law Professor Jeffrey Omari has written a column in the ABA Journal that demonstrates the increasingly shrill environment faced by conservative students.  Omari took to the pages of the Journal to recount his almost breathless encounter with a student wearing a “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hat. Most of us are used to students wearing political hats and teeshirts.  I am always happy to see students with such clothing because it shows that they are engaged and passionate regardless of their views. For Omari, the incident was chilling since he declares the MAGA hats worn by many conservatives to be per se racist symbols. Continue reading “Law Professor: MAGA Hat “Undeniable Symbol Of White Supremacy””

Clinton Challenged On Denial Of Epstein Flights and Knowledge Of Crimes

225px-Bill_ClintonMany people were surprised yesterday when former President Bill Clinton finally made a public statement after over a decade on his relationship with convicted felon and billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.  Epstein was charged this week with sex trafficking and conspiracy.  Clinton has long been connected with over two dozen flights on Epstein’s place, often called the “Lolita Express” for its reputation for underaged girls and orgies.  Clinton also reportedly told the Secret Service not to accompany him on some flights with Epstein.  Clinton now denies ever traveling without the Secret Service and claims that he only flew with Epstein four times on routine flights. Various people are challenging that account including the journalist, Conchita Sarnoff, who previously wrote on the flight logs and records showing Clinton’s trip. Continue reading “Clinton Challenged On Denial Of Epstein Flights and Knowledge Of Crimes”

Alabama Woman Mistakenly Shoots Husband In Head During Road Rage Incident

190708140002-erica-cole-alabama-road-rage-exlarge-169Erica Cole just may have the worst criminal defense other than a confession.  She shot her husband Nicholas Cole in the head but insisted that she was really trying to shoot someone else in a road rage incident. It is not much an improvement.  She is charged with attempted murder, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment.

The road rage incident reportedly occurred on the highway near Dodge City, Alabama.  The cars then continued the confrontation at a home on a local road. 
The “I meant to shoot the other guy in the head” claim will not take you very far at trial. Nicholas Cole is still recovering in the hospital.

France Emerges As One Of The World’s Greatest Threats To Free Speech

libertyBelow is my column on the vote scheduled for this week by France to impose a new regulation on Internet speech — essentially forcing companies to scrub their sites of any hate speech as defined under sweeping French laws.  What is astonishing is how many Americans are prepared to follow the European model in limiting free speech on the basis for loosely defined terms of threatening or intimidating or harassing anyone on the basis for race or religion or sexual orientation or other protected groups. The implications for free speech is sweeping and chilling. The West has fallen out of love with free speech.  What is most concerning however is that countries like France and Germany are likely to strip away free speech protections for the rest of the World, even in countries like the United States where free speech is still given broad protection.

Here is the column: Continue reading “France Emerges As One Of The World’s Greatest Threats To Free Speech”

Detroit Festival Imposes Racist Entry Fee On Fans

250px-Flag_of_Detroit,_Michigan.svgWe have previously discussed concerns events were organizers have increased charges or even banned people due to the gender or race  Now a music and arts festival in Detroit is charging fans different prices depending on their skin color.  AfroFuture Fest, to be held on August 3-4 3-4, are charging lower rates for tickets bought by “people of color” than for “non-people of color”.  While one artist has stood against the racist policy and refused to appear, there is a notable muted response from many local politicians and the other musicians who are willing to appear at such an event. Continue reading “Detroit Festival Imposes Racist Entry Fee On Fans”

Updated: British Government Stands Behind Ambassador Who Called Trump “Inept,” “Insecure,” and “Incompetent”

Sir_Kim_Darroch
UK Government

Trump may have just polled his best numbers with citizens, but one opposing view is clearly Britain’s Ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch.  Leaked secret memos shows Darroch describing Trump as “inept,” “insecure” and “incompetent.”  The disclosure could present serious problems for not just Darroch but U.S./U.K. relations. Trump is notoriously sensitive to such criticism and Great Britain will now have to consider whether Darroch should be recalled in the interests of diplomacy. Update: The British government has supported their ambassador for offering his good-faith and honest opinions. Trump later responded and said “We are not big fans of that man and he has not served the UK well … I can say things about him but I won’t bother.”

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