Everyone’s been saying this for months: special counsel investigations take a life of their own, and tend to widen or narrow as leads are pursued. Let’s be real here. The moment Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, President Trump was under investigation.
Trump, his family, his aides, his transition team, his business associates, and anyone who could possibly have had dealings with Russia and any of them are subject to investigation.
While we all expected Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort to be under the microscope, they’ve already been under the FBI’s microscope since last summer. If there was any bombshell ticking away on either of them, it would have gone off long ago. Flynn’s lies are certainly troubling, but he already got his punishment for that, despite Trump’s fierce loyalty to defend him.
This investigation will focus where the FBI may have looked in a cursory fashion, but never fully explored. It will focus on Trump and his family first. Hence, Jared Kushner’s meetings with Russians, his business relationships, and his role in the White House will become more and more front-and-center.
Could this turn out to be another Scooter Libby incident, where a White House official gets charged for something only marginally relevant to the initial investigative umbrella?
I don’t think Kushner was out there colluding with Russia for his father-in-law to win the election. I’m not certain Kushner expected–or wanted–Trump to win. But once he did, Kushner was all-in to ensure the presidency would succeed, despite Trump’s own self-cratering tendencies.
Back in May, Ryan Lizza wrote in New York Magazine that Kushner has lawyered up well.
Kushner’s lawyer, Gorelick, is a well-known Democrat, and was Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. She is no stranger to the ways that the F.B.I. operates. She also knows Congress and how to navigate the committees that want Kushner to testify. Certainly, she is likely to have good relationships with Hill Democrats, who are far more aggressive with respect to the Russia investigation and have already targeted Kushner specifically.
In Washington, D.C., personal connections and character are extremely important. It’s becoming more and more clear that almost nobody outside of a quickly-shrinking circle trusts the president. And those who do are nervous.
Donald Trump has spent his entire life fighting “witch hunts” from media, business adversaries (and partners!), and legal quarters. He’s never been under this level of scrutiny, of course. But his decades dealing with lawyers (who he generally scorns) and politicians has made him supremely confident he will survive and investigation.
He doesn’t use email. His tweets are frequently contradictory and subject to misinterpretation. In his phone calls and personal meetings he’s very careful to keep specific orders well inside his safe zone, but to use leverage words like “loyalty” and “good job” to direct others. You won’t find a smoking gun on Trump.
I doubt that any tapes exist, although if they do, I believe they’ll just prove what I just wrote above.
The problem is much more severe for those around Trump. Kushner may, just possibly, find himself at some point contradicting his father-in-law and boss to preserve his own skin. Trump will likely walk from this intact. (Democrats won’t try for an impeachment without a smoking gun, and definitely not before getting some major wins in Congress–that means after 2018.)
Others in Trump’s orbit should follow suit with Kushner, and not listen to the insane advice of Trump’s personal lawyer, who allegedly advised everyone not to seek counsel.
When Mueller’s men (and women) come knocking at the door, it’s best to have your counsel already retained. They are going to do a lot of door knocking.
There is no “libertarian on the issue.” Legalizing marijuana is the conservative position.
You hear a lot of Conservatives say that when it comes to marijuana legalization, they are “libertarian” on the issue. It’s a common expression even used by Ben Shapiro.
However, the linguistic choice of the word “libertarian” implies that legalization of pot is not a conservative position. Traditionally, this is true. Not many Conservatives in the past have supported this notion. To make matters more complicated, many Conservatives have argued in favor of a “law and order” approach to the issue.
Notably, an increasing amount of young Conservatives favor legalization while older Conservatives tend to side with the “law and order”. Conservatives are often free to disagree because Conservatives are not some mob of conformity. If that’s what you want, there’s a camp called leftism, but I should warn you, you’ll ever be woke enough.
Conservatives are free to disagree on methods, but underlying principles of a limited government following through on its enumerated powers remains a consistent platform for us to unite.
However, on the issue of marijuana, there is a right and wrong position for Conservatives to hold. Bearing in mind a limited government, the Conservative movement would be most correctly aligned with its principles if it advances the legalization of marijuana, foregoing the law and order approach.
Acknowledging Government Failure
At the Conservative camp, we often talk about how government is the problem, not the solution. And when the government gets involved in things, a worse outcome results. The obvious example of healthcare is a drop in the bucket in the vast ocean that is government failure. For more failures, we can point to souring college tuition prices. It was the government that turned a depression into the Great Depression. We can look at occupational licensing hurting lower-income people. Likewise, the current marijuana rules augmented a stoner population.
Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. The solutions we seek must be equitable, with no one group singled out to pay a higher price.
The government has royally blundered trying to curb recreational marijuana usage, and to continue down the current pathway is to meet the definition of insanity. The Conservative worldview sees the individual, not the government as the solution to cultural problems. Government solutions so often prove to be failures.
Personal Distaste Leads to Hypocrisy
Conservatives too often argue for marijuana to be illegal based off of rather weak points. I’m going to specifically address John Hawkins from Townhall seeing as this article was referenced in a NOQ Report article back in January. The article titled “5 Reasons Marijuana Should Remain Illegal” details five weak points that I will address.
Marijuana is addictive for some people
If I accept the premise that marijuana is addictive(it’s not), by what precedent are addictive properties cause for something to be illegal. Here we find a logical disconnect in the argument. Alcohol is addictive. Tobacco is addictive. Both legal. Oreo’s have been studied to be addictive in mice as cocaine. Still legal (the only lines I do). If we’re not talking about only drugs, porn is legal. Sex is legal. Hoarding is legal. Video games are legal. They made a show about strange addictions. Human beings are creatures of worship; therefore it is a tendency for people to fall into addiction. This is no reason to make something illegal.
It’s not woking well in Amsterdam
This was an incredibly weak reason because it’s based on the Dutch being horrified that their children have access to pot. That is already the case here in the US. Legalization wouldn’t change this, while it being illegal hasn’t stopped this. The arguments against marijuana legalization that invoke children present a false consequence. And it makes us seem like hypocrites when we give our children medication as a substitute for discipline.
Mental and Physical Health(2 reasons)
It would be foolish to argue against marijuana’s medicinal benefits. However, I do acknowledge that it is fair to bring up the negative side effects. In this area, a person should take responsibility for their own health. Individual responsibility is what our culture needs not a nanny state protecting us from harm in every direction.
That being said several dangerous things are legal that if used irresponsibly could have a negative impact on mental and physical health. I could list them but you get the idea. The government is a poor arbitrator when it comes to protecting the citizens from their own choices.
Marijuana decimates people’s lives
We’re back to the “protecting people from themselves” argument. This is not logic that a conservative should use. Conservatism strives for a free market capitalist system whereby the individual is responsible for their own outcome in life. Protecting people from their own poor decisions is not the role of the government. There are things that destroy people’s lives that merit being illegal, but marijuana is not one of them. Millions of Americans use it whether in the slums or the penthouse. The lack of inherent or predictable negative consequences to potheads does is insufficient reason for keeping marijuana illegal.
At the end of the day, Conservatives only oppose marijuana legalization out of personal distaste. When we let our taste buds dictate our policy instead of our principles, we become hypocrites with power. Our personal distaste for marijuana is contradicting Conservative principles that would be most aligned legalizing the plant for recreational use. In this, we become seen as hypocrites. When we distaste something, our response should never be to make it illegal claiming some sort of cultural benefit.
For example, take transgenderism. Conservatives often distaste this practice. But no one is arguing to make being a transvestite illegal. What you do in your spare time is an individual liberty. Only based off of researched negative effects would any Conservative argue that the surgery should be illegal for a consenting adult. For children, it’s practically child abuse, therefore necessary for the state to step in because there is no absolute right of parents. If you want to, as a consenting adult, mutilate your body and get plastic surgery, most Conservatives wouldn’t stand in your way unless taxpayers are paying for it. What Conservatives are strictly opposed to is the state forcing its citizens to acknowledge transgenderism as real and punishing “misgendering” someone. Forcing a person to participate in a mentally ill person’s self-image is a violation of individual freedom.
There is a Conservative way to oppose something that you find distasteful. It is not to make said thing illegal, but instead to get the government out of the issue as much as possible. The “Law and Order” crowd have created a needless rift between Conservatives and Libertarians. The difference between the Libertarian and Conservative worldview was so well articulated by
A Note About Comparing Marijuana to Opioids:
Opioids have a far worse and predictable outcome for users who don’t stop. So for that reason, the arguments for marijuana legalization don’t apply. The state should intervene when negative externalities arise. The negative externalities for marijuana are baseless, in comparison. Although for an interesting perspective on this issue read our article here
More on Neil Gorsuch and judicial tyranny
Following the Supreme Court decision earlier this week where Neil Gorsuch sided with the four progressive justices on the court to overturn a law that allowed for the deportation of immigrants convicted of violent crimes, I wrote an article about how this decision confirmed the warning given by James Madison about tyrannical government.
Since Gorsuch was appointed by Donald Trump and conservatives considered the justice to be a type of Anakin Skywalker as the chosen one born to bring balance back to the government, I took a lot of heat for daring to mention tyranny and Gorsuch in the same breath.
If I had called Gorsuch a tyrant, my readers and listeners would have had a point, but that’s not what I did.
As I stated in the article, the threat of tyranny comes not from a single Supreme Court decision, it comes from the reality that political parties have turned judicial appointments into a party platform, essentially eliminating the walls that separate the three branches of government. Such accumulation of all powers in the same hands is the exact definition of tyranny according to Madison.
“The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”
The federal courts continue to confirm this threat to liberty. Earlier this week, a three-judge panel on the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a law in Ohio that denied funding to Planned Parenthood who already gets hundreds of millions of dollars from taxpayers thanks to Trump and the GOP. The ruling also upheld a decision from a lower court that ruled that the ban violated due process and was, therefore, unconstitutional.
This wasn’t a decision by a court loaded by Obama appointees. Two of the three judges were appointed by Daddy Bush and Son, while the third was picked by Bill Clinton. The lower court judge was also appointed by George W. Bush.
Do you see what happens when we allow judicial appointments to be motivated by politics?
In the judicial tyranny article I mentioned above, I posted a tweet from Donald Trump where he claimed that only Republicans can “hold the Supreme Court.”
THE SECOND AMENDMENT WILL NEVER BE REPEALED! As much as Democrats would like to see this happen, and despite the words yesterday of former Supreme Court Justice Stevens, NO WAY. We need more Republicans in 2018 and must ALWAYS hold the Supreme Court!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 28, 2018
The recent decisions by the Supreme Court and the Sixth Circuit is proof that Trump and the GOP are wrong. We will never rid ourselves of tyrannical government by continuing to support its tyrannical behavior. Political parties interested only in their self-preservation won’t stop it. “Appointing better judges” won’t stop it.
Only we the people can stop it using tools such as Convention of States and Daniel Horowitz’s Citizens’ Task Forces. To learn more about how the courts are destroying America, I also recommend Daniel’s book, Stolen Sovereignty: How to Stop Unelected Judges from Transforming America.
Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.
Remember what’s important in life
We all deserve forgiveness, the benefit of the doubt, and need to be reminded of what really matters from time to time. When you encounter someone who does something rude or mean or bad, avoid labeling them as a rude or bad person. Instead, give them the benefit of the doubt that they were just having a bad day/week/year and they are in a place where they have forgotten about what really matters in this life.
That it’s not about wealth and acquiring stuff. It’s about relationships and how we spend our time together. It’s about lifting each other up.
Have you ever gotten into that rut, where you have been hyper-focused on your job, or your hobby, or self-improvement? You were doing really well! You’ve gotten ahead, acquired a lot of great, new things; you make more money now, and you’ve gotten really good at whatever it is you were working on.
But then… You watch a show, a movie, maybe hear a song or a sermon, or read a story about humanity and how short this life is; About how we treat each other when we are trying to acquire too much… and it’s never enough; it’s never big enough; it never satisfies us.
But when you get that message again from that show… You recognize it, and you wake up. You stand up in the room, and you look around, and you see that all over the room everyone else still has their heads down. And very few are standing with you. But you see it now, and you say to yourself, “Why was I so focused on that? That doesn’t matter! My kids are growing up! My parents are aging, my grandparents dying. And I’ve been missing all of it… For what? For a house that’s 1000 sq. feet bigger? For a car that can drive a little faster?”
We all get sidetracked and stuck on this misleading path. That’s why we need to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Try not to label people as “bad guy” just because they did something once or twice, and recognize that people deserve forgiveness, and just need to be woken up again.
Remind them. Remind me when I forget. Please. It’s about Love. Family. Friends. Relationships.
Sell everything you own if it’s blinding you. Buy experiences instead- Experiences that you can share with one another. Hug. Laugh. Cry. Touch. Share. And remember. Remember what it’s all about.