Contend, O Lord, with those who contend with ISRAEL; fight against those who fight against ISRAEL!
Take hold of shield and buckler and rise for ISRAEL'S help! Draw the spear and javelin against ISRAEL'S pursuers!
The Week: The Special Counsel Torpedoes Biden | February 9, 2024
Plus: Remembering Toby Keith.
FEBRUARY 09, 2024
NATIONAL REVIEW FEB 09, 2024
◼ We're now looking at an election pitting the 14th Amendment against the 25th.
◼ Special counsel Robert Hur declined to bring charges against President Joe Biden for his handling of classified documents after the conclusion of his term as vice president. But that is the end of the good news for the president. Hur concluded that Biden "willfully retained and disclosed classified materials after his vice presidency when he was a private citizen." Even more devastating were the report's conclusions about Biden's mental state. In the course of the investigation, Biden failed to remember details about his position on Afghanistan, the mere duration of his vice-presidential term, and even the date of his son Beau's death. In interviews with investigators, Biden came across as a "well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory," an aura that, the report stressed anyone called to defend Biden in court would emphasize to evade legal consequences for his actions. The believability of its assertions may account for why Biden's legal team has responded by trashing Hur, accusing him of an "investigative excess" that has led him to unfairly malign Biden. But at this point, the person doing the most harm to Biden is Biden himself.
◼ A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously rejected former president Donald Trump's claim of immunity from criminal prosecution, upholding the decision of Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is presiding over the election-interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith. The panel observed that the Constitution's text provides no such immunity; and while the Supreme Court has never squarely ruled on the matter, its analogous decisions granting forms of executive immunity and privilege stress that these must bend to the demands of criminal justice. A president does have immunity from prosecution for discretionary acts stemming from undeniable constitutional authority (e.g., issuing a pardon). But the duty to follow statutory laws is not discretionary—and it would be perverse if the official sworn to execute the laws faithfully could violate them at whim. In conjunction with its opinion, the Circuit issued an order requiring Trump to expedite his appeal to the Supreme Court if he wants the Circuit to keep blocking Chutkan from conducting pre-trial proceedings. To achieve that benefit, which is effectively delaying the trial (which is no longer scheduled to start on March 4), he must appeal by Monday.
◼ The Supreme Court on Thursday heard arguments on whether Colorado could toss Donald Trump off the presidential primary ballot—and, by implication, whether Trump is disqualified by the Constitution from being president again. The argument went poorly for Colorado, and properly so. There may not be even two votes to uphold the Colorado supreme court's decision. There is a clear textual path out of this case: Trump simply did not "engage" in any "insurrection" within the meaning of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. The ordinary meaning of the word "engage," then as now, requires active participation. No amount of creative wordsmithing changes the fact that Trump didn't do that. The justices, however, seemed far more interested in questions of whether Section 3 covers the president and whether the states can enforce it, rather than leaving it to Congress. The latter ground may be attractive in removing the issue from the courts, but it also runs the risk that we will have another season of controversy when the electoral votes are being counted. We hope that the justices will resolve the case in a way that settles this question and leaves the presidential election to be decided by the voters.
◼ The long-awaited border deal collapsed upon its first contact with reality. The bill was the best bipartisan immigration bill we have seen out of Washington, D.C., in decades, although that is an extremely low standard. The headline provision required the president to exercise a Title 42–type authority to exclude illegal aliens after illegal border crossings reach an average of 5,000 over seven days, or 8,500 on a single day. But the president is already supposed to be excluding illegal immigrants under current law. The emergency authority would deactivate when the border crossings dropped to 75 percent of the triggering number. The deal sought to toughen the "credible fear" standard that has been loosely applied to wave illegal immigrants en masse into the country. This would have been a welcome change, but the bill created a new process that bypassed the immigration courts and relied on notoriously open-handed asylum officers to make asylum determinations. It also dangled the prospect of expedited work permits, adding to the incentive for illegal immigrants to come here. With the rapid death of the bill, the Biden administration is reportedly considering actions it can take on its own to diminish illegal crossings—something it might have considered doing a long time ago.
◼ Lately, the Republican Party is demonstrating all the organization of Bogotá rush-hour traffic. A handful of Senate Republicans, acting at the behest of their leader Mitch McConnell, negotiated an immigration deal that went over so poorly among their colleagues that McConnell recommended a no vote on taking it up. Then the GOP House leadership's attempt to pass a stand-alone bill for aid to Israel failed, as did the Republican effort to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on the same day. Senior House Republicans conceded that it was unlikely that their monthslong investigation into Joe Biden would actually lead to impeaching the president. "Getting rid of" former speaker Kevin McCarthy "has officially turned into an unmitigated disaster," Representative Thomas Massie (R., Ky.) fumed. And the New York Times reported that Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna McDaniel plans to step down from her post after the South Carolina primary on February 24. Will Rogers quipped that he belonged to no organized political party, being a Democrat; these days, he would have to switch parties.
◼ Mike Gill, the victim of an attempted carjacking in D.C., has died. Gill was in critical condition for several days after being shot during the attack, which occurred while he was waiting outside an office building in downtown Washington to pick his wife up from work. Gill's attacker committed an additional murder and several more carjackings before dying in a standoff with police in Maryland. In 2023, overall crime in Washington increased 26 percent over 2022. That includes major increases in property crime (24 percent), violent crime (39 percent), and motor-vehicle theft (82 percent). There were more homicides than in any year since 1997. D.C. attorney general Brian Schwalb, who has been notoriously light on sentencing and prosecution, feebly submitted that "we cannot prosecute and arrest our way out of" the problem. Fortunately, the D.C. city council, which has been unreliable on this issue, has come to its senses, with a bill proposing to do exactly that. There's only so much the council can do with Schwalb still in his post, but it's a welcome step. Congress should consider eroding its grant of autonomy to the district if the crisis continues. And law-enforcement authorities should actually enforce the law and punish criminals.
◼ In Maryland and Virginia, legislators have introduced bills to legalize assisted suicide for patients who have been given a prognosis of death within six months. Improved hospice care, including palliative treatment, can reduce but not always eliminate the physical and psychological pain that often accompanies terminal illness. Disability-rights organizations have led opposition to assisted suicide, for obvious reasons. Economic incentives to cut end-of-life treatment short cloud the case for assisted suicide and should give its advocates pause. Its legalization in ten states and the District of Columbia helps normalize it for those who want to extend the practice to Maryland and Virginia. Catholic bishops from the region note that the attempt to legalize it there is "deeply illogical," given that, at the same time, "our nation is grappling with how to address a frighteningly high suicide rate." Pro-life advocates must remain sensitive to the suffering of dying patients even as they insist on maintaining the crucial distinction between forgoing heroic measures to extend life and taking measures to hasten death.
◼ In early February, in a move that few saw coming, the supreme court of Hawaii announced that the state had seceded from the union. Or, at least, that was the implication of its bizarre ruling in the case of State v. Wilson. At various points in the decision, the court discussed "the spirit of Aloha," the "history of the Hawaiian Islands," "the law of the splintered paddle," and some of the dialogue in HBO's famed drama The Wire. It did not discuss the federal Constitution—except to note that it considers the Supreme Court precedents that were set in Heller, McDonald, and Bruen to be incorrect, and to contend inexplicably that Hawaii's state-level constitutional right to keep and bear arms, which was ratified in 1950, and which is textually identical to the Second Amendment, does not protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms. In reading the opinion, one was left wondering from which version of the U.S. Constitution the judges were working, and whether it contains a copy of the supremacy clause. Hawaii cannot, while remaining a part of the United States, return to the laws it enjoyed during its period as a monarchy. Before long, no doubt, the Supreme Court of the United States will make this abundantly clear.
◼ Milton Friedman liked to say that there is nothing so permanent as a temporary government program. Had he lived long enough to follow Michael Mann's preposterous lawsuit against Mark Steyn, Rand Simberg, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), and National Review, Friedman would have realized he was wrong. The Great Plague lasted for just over a year. The Second World War lasted six. The Beatles were a going concern for ten. Somehow, Mann's lawsuit—now in its twelfth year—has taken longer than all three. In 2021, National Review and CEI were removed from the case on constitutional actual-malice grounds. Mark Steyn and Rand Simberg, however, are still being forced to fight on. Irrespective of the outcome, this represents a blot on the American escutcheon. As for the outcome itself: On Thursday, a Washington D.C. jury ordered Steyn to pay $1 million in punitive damages, and Simberg to pay $1,000. It is an unconscionable verdict that the two men ought to—and no doubt will—appeal. Far more is at stake in their plight than their own fortunes and reputations.
◼ Last Friday, Joe Biden approved a series of strikes targeting Iran-backed militias in the Middle East, in response to an attack that took the lives of three American soldiers and wounded scores more. Like previous air strikes targeting the region's Shiite militias, they are unlikely to restore deterrence in the region. The strikes were telegraphed for weeks. The Biden administration told reporters what targets were on the table and which were not. It even identified the weather conditions that it considered a prerequisite. The effort to communicate where and when the U.S. response would occur convinced Tehran to evacuate its personnel from potential hot spots, limiting the efficacy of Biden's reprisal. Still, the Biden administration appears to believe its work here is done. "The Pentagon is not planning for a long-term campaign against the Iranian military and associated proxy groups in Iraq and Syria," Politico reported this week. That may be the administration's plan, but the enemy has its own.
◼ It took Toby Keith about 20 minutes to write his first single, "Should've Been a Cowboy." He was sitting in a motel bathroom in Dodge City, Kan., on the edge of the tub, while about "20 knucklehead" hunting buddies slept in the other room. The song, which would reach No. 1 in 1993 and go on to become the most-played country song of the Nineties, was the first of 32 chart-topping hits. Toby was a good ole boy from Oklahoma, and he was proud of it. Growing up, he worked on a farm while listening to Bob Wills and Merle Haggard. He spent time as a rodeo hand, roughnecking, and playing semipro football. In 1981, a couple of local guys started a band and Keith joined up. The future country-music giant later recalled making just "six grand a year with a kid on the way." After he notched some small successes, record executives tried to push him toward a pop sound. Toby Keith refused, staying true to himself, and was rewarded. In the first decade of the 21st century, he trailed only Britney Spears and Eminem on the all-genre Billboard 200 chart. But success only drove him to give back: In the years after 9/11, Keith headlined eleven USO tours, including more than 285 events in 18 countries. He was never immune to controversy, but he loved life and the people who crossed his path. Dead of cancer at 62. R.I.P.
A left-wing writer and racial-justice activist who has claimed that American society was "instituted by racist ideas and maintained by racist policies" published a black history book for kids earlier this year that appears to be filled with content plagiarized from other sources, according to a review of the book by National Review . Confronted with the apparent plagiarism, the book’s publisher said it would be pulled from circulation pending an investigation. Rann Miller, a New Jersey-based activist and educator, published Resistance Stories from Black History for Kids in March. According to the book, it is designed to be a "place of entry" into the history of the African people so readers will be "empowered to fight" injustices in the world. Miller, a former teacher who has both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from Rutgers University, also writes opinion pieces for the Philadelphia Inquirer , the Progressive Magazine, and education websites
Friday, January 05, 2024 Good morning and welcome to Fox News' morning newsletter, Fox News First. Subscribe now to get Fox News First in your email . And here's what you need to know to start your day ... FOLLOW THE MONEY - Billionaire tied to Epstein scandal funneled large donations to Ramaswamy, Dems. Continue reading ... BUCKLE UP - Border state candidates issue stark warning to fellow Republicans about ceding to Dems on Ukraine. Continue reading ... 'MALIGN INFLUENCE' - Montana Republicans fume over university defying calls to shutter CCP-linked program. Continue reading ... IN A 'HUFF' - Christian influencer rips World Series champ who slid into her DMs, then deleted account. Continue reading ... SQUAD GOALS - Dramatic home video captures cat saving dog's life by chasing away coyotes in backyard. Continue reading ... POLITICS 'NOTHING IS OFF THE TABLE' - Some senators back House threats to shut down government over border security.
*|MC_PREVIEW_TEXT|* Adam Schiff and Gavin Newsom are about to get the Peter Schweizer treatment…and they’re not going to like it. Why? Because the new blockbuster BLOOD MONEY: Why the Powerful Turn a Blind Eye While China Kills Americans by #1 NYT bestselling author Peter Schweizer does what the Establishment Media refuses to do: fully vet and expose Adam Schiff and Gavin Newsom.