This Is The Key Takeaway From Special Counsel Mueller’s Testimony Before the House Judiciary Committee

It all comes down to the last ten seconds of this 34 second clip:

The questioner is Congressman Ken Buck (R-CO District 4). He’s a former prosecutor, so he should have known not to ask a question he didn’t already know the answer to. There is, of course, argument over whether the Special Counsel was speaking specifically about the President or hypothetically and generally about any president once they are out of office and the Office of Legal Counsel guidance that a sitting president cannot be indicted would no longer apply. Regardless, this should be the focus of Democratic information operations going forward. Just the last ten to twenty seconds of this clip, hammered over and over and over again. In TV advertisements, in radio advertisements, on social media and in Internet based advertisements, and every time a Democratic candidate for president or Federal office, or a Democratic elected official, or their surrogates are asked about the outcome of Mueller’s investigation.

And it should be paired with this 20 second clip of Congressman Lieu (D-CA District 33):

We can wait and see what this afternoon’s House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearings with Special Counsel may bring.

Also, here’s bonus footage of Congressman Gaetz (R-FL District 1/Overstimulated) preparing for this morning’s hearing:

Open thread!

Taking Heed of What Ben Ferencz, the Last Surviving Nuremberg Prosecutor, Wants Us To Know

Yesterday marked the 77th anniversary of the beginning of the NAZI’s clearing of the Warsaw Ghetto known as the Great Deportation. This summer is also the 100th anniversary of the Red Summer of 1919 that saw over 200 African Americans killed in what are still incorrectly referred to as race riots instead of targeted acts of terrorism by white Americans against African Americans. The Great Deportation lasted all summer. Between July 22 and September 21, 1942 more than 250,000 Jews were removed from the Warsaw Ghetto, sent to Treblinka, and exterminated.

The acts of terrorism, as well as the acts of self defense by African Americans, during the Red Summer of 1919, didn’t all start on the same day or in the same place during the summer of 1919. For instance, the riots in Chicago started on July 29th and were precipitated by the raft of 17 year old, let me repeat that 17 YEAR OLD, Eugene Williams drifting past the color line separating the white from the African American areas of Lake Michigan and its shore. The raft drifted across the line because Eugene Williams had drowned. The violence in Chicago lasted for about a week leaving 38 people dead, 23 African Americans and 15 whites, and over 500 were injured and/or left homeless due to fires set to specifically drive African Americans out of their homes. Washington, DC’s Red Summer began about two weeks after the 4th of July celebrations. On July 18th two African American men were accused of bumping into a 19 year old white woman and trying to steal her umbrella as she walked home. Despite a quick arrest, the story was told and retold, embellished at every retelling, until DC also boiled over in racist violence. Similar incidents and similar responses occurred in other cities across the United States.

The geographically and temporally distinct events of The Great Deportation and the Red Summer, driven by different forms of racism, during the summers of 1919 and 1942, are just two examples of why it is important to pay attention when someone like Ben Ferencz has something to tell all of us. Ferencz, who is 99, is the last surviving Nuremberg prosecutor alive as he was also the youngest one. 60 Minutes interviewed him in June and he has some hard won wisdom he wishes to pass on to us.

Lesley Stahl: Did you meet a lot of people who perpetrated war crimes who would otherwise in your opinion have been just a normal, upstanding citizen?

Benjamin Ferencz: Of course, is my answer. These men would never have been murderers had it not been for the war. These were people who could quote Goethe, who loved Wagner, who were polite–

Lesley Stahl: What turns a man into a savage beast like that?

Benjamin Ferencz: He’s not a savage. He’s an intelligent, patriotic human being.

Lesley Stahl: He’s a savage when he does the murder though.

Benjamin Ferencz: No. He’s a patriotic human being acting in the interest of his country, in his mind.

Lesley Stahl: You don’t think they turn into savages even for the act?

Benjamin Ferencz: Do you think the man who dropped the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima was a savage? Now I will tell you something very profound, which I have learned after many years. War makes murderers out of otherwise decent people. All wars, and all decent people.

Lesley Stahl: Now, you’ve been at this for 50 years, if not more. We’ve had genocide since then.

Benjamin Ferencz: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: In Cambodia—

Benjamin Ferencz: Going on right this minute, yes.

Lesley Stahl: Going on right this minute in Sudan.

Benjamin Ferencz: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: We’ve had Rwanda, we’ve had Bosnia. You’re not getting very far.

Benjamin Ferencz: Well, don’t say that. People get discouraged. They should remember, from me, it takes courage not to be discouraged.

Lesley Stahl: Did anybody ever say that you’re naive?

Benjamin Ferencz: Of course. Some people say I’m crazy.

Lesley Stahl: Are you naive here?

Benjamin Ferencz: Well, if it’s naive to want peace instead of war, let ’em make sure they say I’m naive. Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don’t say they’re naive, I say they’re stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don’t even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That’s insane.

Ferencz is legendary in the world of international law, and he’s still at it. He never stops pushing his message and he’s donating his life savings to a Genocide Prevention Initiative at the Holocaust Museum. He says he’s grateful for the life he’s lived in this country, and it’s his turn to give back.

Lesley Stahl: You are such an idealist.

Benjamin Ferencz: I don’t think I’m an idealist.  I’m a realist. And I see the progress.  The progress has been remarkable. Look at the emancipation of woman in my lifetime. You’re sitting here as a female. Look what’s happened to the same-sex marriages. To tell somebody a man can become a woman, a woman can become a man, and a man can marry a man, they would have said, “You’re crazy.” But it’s a reality today. So the world is changing. And you shouldn’t– you know– be despairing because it’s never happened before. Nothing new ever happened before.

Lesley Stahl: Ben—

Benjamin Ferencz: We’re on a roll.

Lesley Stahl: I can’t—

Benjamin Ferencz: We’re marching forward.

Lesley Stahl: Ben? I’m sitting here listening to you. And you’re very wise. And you’re full of energy and passion.  And I can’t believe you’re 97 years old.

Benjamin Ferencz: Well, I’m still a young man.

Lesley Stahl: Clearly, clearly.

Benjamin Ferencz: And I’m still in there fighting.  And you know what keeps me going? I know I’m right.

It is important to pay attention to the men and women like Ben Ferencz while we still have them with us. As they pass away we lose our living memory of the NAZIs, as well as other fascists and authoritarians and their crimes against humanity. Those living memories, the recollections of the men and women like Ferencz who fought the NAZIs or the Italian fascists or the Spanish fascists or other authoritarians and totalitarians, as well as those who have worked diligently and tirelessly to hold them to account and get justice for their victims are societal and political antibodies. They help us fight off attempts to revive these noxious, dangerous, and illiberal ideologies and their deadly effects. Ben Ferencz and those like him, by their very existence as living testimonies and testaments to remind us of what happens when fascism in general and racist fascism like NAZIism in specific is allowed to grow and spread unchecked. It is important that we pay attention to what Ben Ferenzc is trying to still teach us so that we do not have to relearn the terrible lessons he is trying to impart to us the hard way.

Here are some videos of Ben Ferencz still trying to teach us the lessons that he and his colleagues had to learn the hard way during World War II.

Open thread!

Pew’s News About American Jews Or 42% of American Jews Agree With Congresswoman Omar About Israel

Pew is out with new survey data regarding American attitudes towards Israel and the President’s positions and actions towards Israel.

While U.S. Jews have a strong attachment to Israel, they are divided in their assessment of Trump’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. Roughly four-in-ten (42%) say they think Trump is favoring the Israelis too much, while a similar share (47%) say he is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians. The rest either say he is favoring the Palestinians too much (6%) or they don’t know (4%).

As I’ve written about here many times, American Jews are far less supportive of the President’s actions towards Israel than American Christians, especially white Evangelical Christians (Evangelicals, Charismatics, and Fundamentalists).

By comparison, Christians in the United States are more likely to say Trump is striking the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians (59%) than to say Trump favors the Israelis too much (26%). Among evangelical Protestants, 72% say they think Trump strikes the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, and just 15% say Trump favors the Israelis too much.

The difference between evangelicals and Jews on this question partly reflects partisan divisions. Most evangelical Protestants describe themselves as Republican or say they lean toward the Republican Party, while most Jews identify with or lean toward the Democratic Party. Overall, Republicans mostly think Trump has struck the right balance between the Israelis and Palestinians, while 53% of Democrats think Trump favors the Israelis too much.

The none affiliated and those with no religion are closer in their views with American Jews than American Christians.

Partisanship also may be a factor when it comes to the views of religiously unaffiliated Americans (sometimes referred to as “nones”), who, like Jews, largely lean Democratic. Nearly half (47%) of the unaffiliated – those who describe themselves as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” when asked about their religion –  say they think Trump favors the Israelis too much.

Finally, and as one would expect, there are significant partisan and intra-religious divides in attitudes towards the President’s positions and actions regarding Israel.

The survey also shows that roughly eight-in-ten evangelical Protestants (79%) have a favorable view of the Israeli people, as do seven-in-ten mainline Protestants and about two-thirds of Catholics. People in all three groups are far more likely to say they have a favorable view of the Israeli people than they are to say the same of the Palestinian people.

By contrast, religiously unaffiliated people and those in the historically black Protestant tradition are more ambivalent toward Israelis. Those in both of these groups feel about as warmly toward the Palestinian people as they do toward the Israeli people. (The survey did not include enough interviews with Jews to analyze their views on these questions, because the questions were only asked of half the sample.)

I’ll close by once again belaboring the point that being opposed to Israel, its current government and governing coalition, and/or specific Israeli actions IS NOT THE SAME thing as being anti-Semitic! And that making claims of anti-Semitism by white Christian elected and appointed Republican officials, as well as elite and noted conservatives, for political purposes that equate Israel with Judaism are bullshit. The current Republican and conservative racism in defense of Judaism equated with Israel and Jewishness equated with Israeli is actually anti-Semitism. It defines American Jews as less American and more Israelis in waiting. It is a classic example of othering American Jews, of defining them outside of their nationality as Americans by equating Judaism, which is a religion, with Israel, which is a nation-state. It makes American Jews a fifth column that is not fully American because their allegiance is somehow to Israel. You can’t get more anti-Semitic than that.

Open thread!

Watching the Disinformation Being Made and Transmitted: Jeffrey Epstein Edition

Shortly after it was announced on Saturday that Jeffrey Epstein had been arrested and was facing indictment for the sex trafficking of minors, the disinformation machine kicked into gear in order to protect the President. I want to make it very clear right now that there is no evidence that the President is implicated in Epstein’s crimes. The DOJ is not alleging that in its indictment of Epstein, and neither am I. All we know at this time is that the President had a long standing personal relationship with Epstein and, at one point, commented that Epstein likes women who are on the younger side

That stipulated to, here’s what was quickly put up by a poster with ID: NKrYzbHL at 10:35 PM on 4Chan’s /pol/ board:


Can Anons add smth & help backing up with sauce, please?

– Trump kicked Jeffrey Epstein out of his Golf Club and banned him for life, when he found out, Epstein was hooking up with the 14 Year old daughter of an employer

-Trump is NOT in the flight log to Lolita Island, not even once. He “hitched a ride” back from Daytona Beach TO NYC with Epstein’s son one time…and I have little doubt they tried like holy hell to get Trump to Lolita Island. Epstein assaulted a young girl at Mara Largo and Trump had him banned for life.

-At Epstein’s first arrest Trump went voluntarily to the police to give a statement and at the time the Police commented “He could not have been MORE forthcoming”.

-Trump knew what Epstein was up to “he’s a fun guy, likes his girls young, really really young”. People held that against him as if it were some form of agreement when in fact, in typical Trump fashion he slapped Epstein publicly..iron fist in velvet glove. He was NOT a politician and he had to do business with these people and he still managed to say something about what he knew was going on.

You will not be surprised to find out that the link to the Page Six article does not mention Epstein, the President’s relationship to Epstein, the President kicking Epstein out of and rescinding his membership to Mar-a-Lago! It is solely about the book written by Studio 54’s former owner and the only references to the President in it outside of his name in the title of the write up and listing in the categories and tags are:

The former owner of infamous Manhattan club Studio 54 is releasing a tell-all book dishing on the wild cocaine parties and the antics of stars including John Belushi, Robin Williams — and even a “boring” Donald Trump.

Trump was another club regular, but “he never touched drink or drugs. He liked looking at beautiful women, even though he was married to Ivana.

Trump wasn’t a lot of fun — when you’re in a crowd drinking and drugging and one person isn’t, that person seems boring.”

In fact I have been unable to find any references to the President kicking Epstein out of and rescinding his membership to Mar-a-Lago, nor that he gave evidence to the Palm Beach Police. There is a December 2018 YouTube video interview of one of the victim’s attorneys where he states that in 2009, the President was helpful when he was trying to serve subpoenas in his civil suit. Not that he went down and gave testimony to the Palm Beach Police, not that he assisted prosecutors in Florida in their case, but that he was helpful in regard to getting subpoenas served. That’s it. We can all agree that was important help the President provided, but it is not giving testimony or assisting prosecutors, which is what is being alleged.

It is unclear if this was the first or even original post as screengrabs have been tweeted with a 1900 hours time stamp from what appears to be a different board, most likely either 8Chan or one of the subreddits. These are in response to other’s tweets about Epstein and, in some cases, his relationship with the President.

Here’s one from a Twitter thread by Ellen Barkin:

It was also posted, as an explainer about centralized talking points being organized for pushback, in this Brian Stelter thread.

And here is another 4Channer, ID OBJzFf63, posting a copy of the screenshot at /pol/ with the statement that “THEY’RE CATCHING ON TO US”.

These responses are now being tweeted, with no reference to the original point at 4Chan, to push back on allegations being made about the President’s involvement and relationship with Epstein. The tweets below are responses to a tweet responding to Maggie Haberman’s tweet about some of the incriminating information in the Epstein indictment, specifically that he maintained a safe full of incriminating pictures and CDs and he labeled both.

From here it will continue to be pushed through the alt-right, QAnnon, Pizzagate conspiracy theory portions of social media, then get picked up by Russian trolls and bots and amplified. From there it will move into the fringe right/conservative digital news platforms, where it will once again be amplified by the Russian trolls and bots, and from there it will get picked up by first conservative news like Fox and conservative talk radio and then more mainstream news outlets like CNN because its news, so it should be reported. This is the usual trajectory for these disinformation influence operations. One of the Tyler Durdens has been pushing variants of some of this stuff since early this morning at Zero Hedge, including barbering a quote from the video interview posted above and presenting it out of context from the question that was asked and suggesting that the President aided prosecutors, which, again, is not substantiated by the interview.

And that is how the disinformation is made and transmitted.

Open thread!

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us,

and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

New Hampshire:
Josiah BartlettWilliam WhippleMatthew Thornton

John HancockSamuel AdamsJohn AdamsRobert Treat PaineElbridge Gerry

Rhode Island:
Stephen HopkinsWilliam Ellery

Roger ShermanSamuel HuntingtonWilliam WilliamsOliver Wolcott

New York:
William FloydPhilip LivingstonFrancis LewisLewis Morris

New Jersey:
Richard StocktonJohn WitherspoonFrancis HopkinsonJohn HartAbraham Clark

Robert MorrisBenjamin RushBenjamin FranklinJohn MortonGeorge ClymerJames SmithGeorge TaylorJames WilsonGeorge Ross

Caesar RodneyGeorge ReadThomas McKean

Samuel ChaseWilliam PacaThomas StoneCharles Carroll of Carrollton

George WytheRichard Henry LeeThomas JeffersonBenjamin HarrisonThomas Nelson, Jr.Francis Lightfoot LeeCarter Braxton

North Carolina:
William HooperJoseph HewesJohn Penn

South Carolina:
Edward RutledgeThomas Heyward, Jr.Thomas Lynch, Jr.Arthur Middleton

Button GwinnettLyman HallGeorge Walton