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It’s Monday, July 24th, 2017…and here’s The Gouge!

First up, NRO‘s Andrew McCarthy accurately details, at least in our opinion, why…

Trump Has Himself, Not Sessions, to Blame for the Limitless Mueller Investigation

His misstatements and accusations made it difficult to limit the special counsel’s scope.

 

“President Donald Trump’s rant against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in an interview with the New York Times, is a foolish bit of revisionist history. Sessions erred in the rashness and overbreadth of his recusal from the Russia investigation, but the president has himself to blame for the appointment of a special counsel.

Trump is the one who hired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It is Rosenstein whose order appointing Robert Mueller fails to set limits on Mueller’s investigative jurisdiction, thereby authorizing the fishing expedition that has Trump so ballistic. Moreover, it was Trump’s own botching of the firing of FBI director James Comey that spooked Rosenstein, inducing him to appease furious Democrats by giving Mueller free rein.

I believe that Rosenstein, having been bitterly criticized by people whose opinions he cares deeply about, decided to make amends by giving Mueller free rein to take the investigation in any direction he chose to take it. Rosenstein wanted Mueller to be effectively independent of Justice Department control.

Sure, the regs instruct the Justice Department to set limits on a special counsel’s jurisdiction. Rosenstein, however, figured that if he followed the regs, Democrats would again inveigh against him for supposedly shielding Trump from an investigation. Under the regs, the special counsel is to be overseen by Justice Department superiors, reflecting the Constitution’s vesting of all executive power (including prosecutorial power) in the presidentthat’s why there is no such thing as an “independent” prosecutor. But Rosenstein determined that Mueller would be independent — as if he were a separate branch of government, outside executive control.

President Trump accomplished only one thing by railing at Attorney General Sessions: He added to the growing disinclination of quality people to work in his administration. No one with self-respect wants to work in a place where the boss not only won’t back you up when the going gets tough, but will turn on you with a vengeanceespecially when there’s a need to divert attention from his own shortcomings.

Whether we’re talking about the shoddy behavior that intensified calls for a special counsel or about the selection of the officials who made the key decisions that have armed the special counsel with limitless jurisdiction, the president has only himself to blame.

To borrow a phrase from a classic Budweiser commercial:

“True” is…

As Derek Hunter notes at Townhall.com:

“…It’s one thing to criticize the press for its biases; the criticism certainly is deserving. It’s something else to stomp all over your own message because, well, who knows why Trump does it.

Wednesday, for reasons known only to the president, he granted an interview to the New York Times where, rather than speak about the meeting he’d had with Republican Senators on health care, he stuck a shiv in the side of his oldest ally.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was Trump’s first and most vocal elected supporter. Then-Sen. Sessions embraced Trump, became his top advisor and served as his defender on television. That reality, coupled with the president’s repeated professions of loyalty for his friends, made his all-but-declaration of no faith in Sessions all the more destructive.

It’s understandable Trump is angry about Mueller’s investigation, but he’d be better served to direct that animus toward those whose actions created the problem, and whose lies and omissions worsened it, not the man following ethics rules.

This coming after Sessions already had offered his resignation and Trump already had rejected it – which makes it even more bizarre. Stranger still, the aforementioned curious decision to grant an interview to the New York Times. Why open yourself up to those you’ve painted as your enemy?

There are countless conservative outlets that’d love to have the opportunity to interview the president, yet Trump gives his limited available time to one of the main repositories of administration leaks. I suspect this stems from the fact that Donald Trump is a creature of New York City; it’s all he knows. Manhattan has been his life, and the Times is the Bible of that borough…”

Things just get curiouser and curiouser…from a man who’s already well beyond bizarre.

In a related item also courtesy of NRO, David French suggests Trumpeteers…

Stop Talking about Hillary Clinton and Start Thinking about Jimmy Carter

If the present trajectory doesn’t change, Republicans will learn what Democrats learned after their 1980 landslide defeat.

 

“A few days ago, I was at a conservative gathering talking to a friend about my dismay at the latest turns in the ongoing Russia controversy. A “collusion narrative” that once seemed far-fetched was back — front-and-center — in the investigation. (As “collusion narrative”which still, to the best of our knowledge, still doesn’t represent a crime.) Indeed, the argument for attempted collusion seemed airtight. Donald Trump Jr. was asked to meet with purported Russian officials as part of a purported Russian plan to help his father. His response? “I love it.”

An older gentleman, a donor to the event, was eavesdropping and obviously irritated. He jumped into the conversation with the mic-dropping comment that’s always and everywhere the last refuge of the Trump apologist. What? Are you saying that you wish Hillary had won?”

My response? It’s too soon to tell.” Before he could voice the fury that covered his face, I followed up with a question.With the benefit of hindsight, how many Democrats are glad that Jimmy Carter beat Gerald Ford in 1976?”…”

We certainly get French’s point.  But as an old friend who treated TLJ and us to a weekend in St. Michaels, MD on his boat observed, he voted not for The Donald, but against Hillary.  And if all Trump delivered was Neil Gorsuch, he’d consider his vote well spent…though he personally considers The Donald a bombastic bag of douche…a position with which we personally agree.

It’s also worth noting while Carter never made a SCOTUS appointment, he still holds the record for the highest number of single-term appointments to the federal judiciary, including 56 judges to the U.S. Courts of Appeals and 203 judges to the District Courts level.  More importantly, two of his Court of Appeals appointees – Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg – were later named to the Supreme Court by Bill Clinton.

These appointments have impacted the course of this country far beyond the ineptitude of James Earl Carter.

So here’s to you, Trumpeteers: as Kevin Williamson observed in May, 2016 of those who put Trump in position to win the GOP nomination, versus those who voted for him as the lesser of two evils:

Americans and Republicans, remember: You asked for this.  Given the choice between a dozen solid conservatives and one Clinton-supporting con artist and game-show host, you chose the con artist. You chose him freely. Nobody made you do it.

Again, to borrow a phrase from the classic Budweiser commercial:

Next up, courtesy of FOX News, John Stossel reports on the effects of another counterproductive Progressive policy, as Environazis are literally…

Loving endangered animals to death

 

We need to sell more rhino horns, quickly. That may be the only way to save rhinos from extinction. Today, rhinos vanish because poachers kill them for their horns. Businesses turn their horns into ornaments or quack health potions. Some horns sell for $300,000. No wonder poachers risk their lives for one. How do you fight an incentive that strong?

Flood the market!

That’s a solution suggested by Matthew Markus. Markus’s biotech company can make artificial rhino horn in a laboratory that’s virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. Put enough of that lab-grown horn on the market and supply and demand will bring the price way down. Then poachers won’t risk getting killed trying to steal real rhino horn. “One way to devalue something is to create a lot of it,” said Markus. (Welcome to Capitalism 101!) “When things are abundant, people don’t kill.”

South Africa tried a mild version of this solution once. For 20 years, they made it legal to own rhinos and sell their horns. Poaching dropped because legal rhino farming took away the poachers’ incentive. Rhino farmers bred rhinos and protected them. Once in a while, they’d put rhinos to sleep with tranquilizer darts and saw off their horns. The horns grow back. The rhino population quadrupled. Win-win.

But animal welfare activists are never happy with any solution that (They perceive!) involves profiting from nature. South Africa banned sales of rhino horn again. Poaching rose 9,000 percent from 2007 to 2014, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

Now South Africa is considering legalization again, but they will have to fight the NGOs. Some, like Humane Society International, even oppose sale of that artificial horn. They asked the U.S. government to block a shipment of a sample of rhino DNA that might have created better artificial horn.

I confronted the Humane Society’s spokeswoman about that. Our interview will be one of the first videos for my new project: “Stossel on Reason.” I will post videos weekly on Facebook, Twitter and Reason TV. We start this week.

In this first story, the Humane Society’s Masha Kalinina passionately argues against re-legalizing rhino farming and the sale of artificial horn. “This is dangerous! Absolutely dangerous for rhinos and their survival,” she says. “This is greenwashing an illegal activity…the problem is that people still see animals as commodities, natural resources for their use!” (We’d politely suggest the problem lies elsewhere; perhaps because…

Yes. And why is that a problem? I eat eggs and chicken, and I drink milk. More chickens and cows are alive because people like me pay for them or what they produce. Kalinina replied: “Are we really going to farm every single animal on this planet so we can continue endlessly supplying this bloodlust and thirst of people to consume wildlife products?”

Give me a break. Farming isn’t “bloodlust.” South African farmer John Hume says each of his 1,500 rhinos has 12 acres of land in which to run around. Every two years he trims their horns. That procedure is painless enough that even environmental groups perform it on wild rhinos to discourage poachers.

The Humane Society claims legalization won’t stop poaching. Kalinina points out that elephant ivory trading was once made partly legal, and it “started up a new carving industry in China.” Demand increased when supply increased, she said. But that was hardly real legalization. Just a few one-off sales were allowed. To really bring down the price, you’d need a consistent supply of cheap horns. Artificial horn could provide that.

The Humane Society rejects that solution. Instead, they run ads that say rhino horn is not good medicine.

It’s fine to try to educate people, but legal rhino farming and artificial horn are much better ideas. People respond faster to price signals than lectures from the Humane Society or regulations that impoverished African nations barely enforce.

The NGOs’ solution has failed. Hunting bans don’t stop poaching. In fact, bans create more crime, just as government’s attempts to prohibit alcohol sales did. Poachers have killed a thousand park rangers.

If we stick to the Humane Society and other NGOs’ ways of doing things, the rhino and other endangered animals will disappear. Market-hating environmentalists will love endangered animals to death.

Speaking of completely counterproductive Progressive policies, the Editorial Board of the WSJ remarks on…

Randi Weingarten’s ‘Racism’ Rant

Betsy DeVos is inside the head of the teachers union chief.

 

Betsy DeVos must be doing something right. Why else would Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, devote a speech late last week to blasting the Education Secretary for using the word “choice”—and then tying it to racism?

Sounding like Hillary Clinton in full deplorable mode, Ms. Weingarten says the movement to give parents more say over where their kids go to school has its roots in “racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia and homophobia.” Adapting the theology of the climate-change censors who seek to shut down debate, she goes on to call Mrs. DeVos a “public-school denier.”

What really frosts the AFT president is that she recognizes that the public-school monopoly her union backs is now under siege, morally and politically, for its failure to educate children, especially minority children.

It’s not that there are no excellent public schools. It’s that citizens are beginning to see that the public money the unions increasingly demand is more likely to go into pensions than the classroom.

And access to excellent schools increasingly depends on a good zip code.

Ms. Weingarten tries to taint the push for choice by tracing it to attempts in some parts of the country to evade the integration demanded by Brown v. Board of Education. There’s a reason Ms. Weingarten spends most of her time on the bad old days. This is because it’s much harder to defend the academic resegregation of today…”

Not to mention per capita public education spending has never been higher…nor student performance ever lower!

And seriously, if the promotion of school choice can be attributed to “racism, sexism, classism, xenophobia and homophobia”, what on earth CAN’T be?!?

All of which is further proof Liberals are out of airspeed, altitude…

…and ideas.  They…quite literally…have no cards left to play…outside of that old Dimocratic standby pioneered by LBJ:

Which brings us, appropriately enough, to The Lighter Side

Finally, we’ll call it a wrap with yet another titillating tale torn from the pages of The Crime Blotter, courtesy today of Bill Meisen and a pretty talkative parrot:

Wife convicted of husband’s murder after parrot’s chilling statements

 

A jury found a woman guilty of murdering her husband in 2015 after a pet parrot broke the case wide open.

In 2015, police found 45-year-old Martin Duram dead in his home and his wife, Glenna, was found suffering from a gunshot wound to her head. Court documents claim that police suspected Glenna Duram of shooting her husband five times before turning the gun on herself. However, she told police that she didn’t kill her husband and doesn’t remember anything from that night.

For a year, the case went unsolved until an unsuspecting witness to the crime came forward. Family members say after the murder, the couple’s African grey parrot began talking about the shooting. (See video above.) Relatives recorded the bird mimicking an argument between a man and a woman.Don’t f****** shoot!” it said.

Although the parrot’s testimony could not be used in court, circumstances around the couple’s marriage only increased suspicion of Glenna Duram. Duram was arrested for the crime after investigators learned that the couple had been arguing a lot in the months leading up to Martin’s death about gambling debts. In fact, the couple’s home had gone into foreclosure in the weeks before the murder.

“I feel hurt that both families had to go through this, ‘cause we both used to be close and go camping together,” said Lillian Duram, Marty’s mother.

Pure Michigan, baby!  Any question why our country’s going downhill faster than…

…Franz Klammer?!?  By the way, Klammer’s run for the gold was perhaps the most impressive display of pure gut and determination we’ve ever personally witnessed in our life.

Magoo