Let Me Call You …

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Andrew McCarthy is on my short list of pundits who will Tell It To Me Straight on legal matters. Here he tackles a recent courtroom explosion: Hunter Biden’s Sweetheart Plea Deal Blows Up. (Boom!)

‘Does this mean he goes to trial now?”

This was one of the questions I was naturally asked while doing some legal analysis of the Delaware Demolition in which Hunter Biden’s sweetheart plea deal went up in smoke on Wednesday.

My reply: “Go to trial . . . on what?

That should be a dumb question to which the usual answer is, “The indictment, of course.” But see, here’s the thing: President Biden’s Justice Department has never filed an indictment against President Biden’s son. Why? Well, for the same reason the sweetheart deal blew up. The fatal flaw of the agreement written by Biden prosecutors is that it failed to describe in detail the criminal charges for which Hunter Biden was receiving immunity.

I think this observation is key:

This corrupt episode happened because this case is not a legitimate case — it’s a sham. In legitimate prosecutions, the defendant and the Justice Department are adversaries, with defense lawyers looking out for the defendant’s interest and the prosecutors vindicating the public interest in seeing that lawbreakers are held to account. The Hunter Biden case, to the contrary, is a travesty, in which the defense and the prosecution are on the same side.

That is why the prosecutors have never filed an indictment that lays out the case against Hunter in exacting, painful detail — the way the Justice Department typically does. To do that would be politically devastating for the president, who is implicated in his son’s conduct. Plus, if prosecutors fully describe the serious charges that appear to be supported by evidence already known, it would become politically impossible to settle the case on two trivial tax misdemeanors with no jail time, in addition to disappearing a gun felony carrying a potential ten-year prison sentence.

Our state's governor predicted yesterday that neither Trump nor Biden would be on our November 2024 ballots. That would be nice.

Also of note:

  • Language Violence. Noah Rothman scolds Sorry, Associated Press, There’s No Such Thing as ‘Policy Violence’. At issue is this tweet:

    Ackshually, (following the link) the beef is with with …

    “DeSantis has perfected the art of using policy violence that we must stop,” said Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP. His organization issued a travel advisory for Florida in May warning African Americans against DeSantis’ “aggressive attempts to erase Black history and to restrict diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in Florida schools.”

    So the AP is just quoting Johnson's assault on logic and truth.

    Which is bad enough, but it's pretty clear where the AP comes down:

    Ambitious Republican leaders have long seized on white grievance to animate the party’s most passionate voters, who are almost exclusively white. But DeSantis, a combative conservative who leads one of the nation’s largest states, has embraced far-right positions on race perhaps more aggressively than anyone in the 2024 presidential contest as he tries to position himself to the right of Trump.

    Readers, I invite you to just try to find an AP news story that contains similar loaded language about "ambitious" Democrats who "seized" on "grievance" and "embraced" far-left positions "aggressively".

    I will not hold my breath.

  • It was nice while it lasted… Liz Wolfe writes a premature obit: Elizabeth Warren and Lindsey Graham Will Break the Internet

    Anytime there's a bipartisan consensus and a preachy New York Times op-ed, you can assume something you enjoy is about to get regulated out of existence or made worse in quality.

    "Giant digital platforms have provided new avenues of proliferation for the sexual abuse and exploitation of children, human trafficking, drug trafficking and bullying and have promoted eating disorders, addictive behaviors and teen suicide," write Sens. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) and Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.) in today's New York Times. "Nobody elected Big Tech executives to govern anything, let alone the entire digital world," so the senators are introducing a bill to create a new regulatory agency that will fix the problem.

    What follows is a litany of untrue statements and gross exaggerations about the way Big Tech operates and the purported harm done by the cluster of websites that millions of Americans willingly use on a daily basis.

    I've found a useful fill-in-the-blank template for commentary: "There's nothing wrong with        that government regulation can't make much, much worse." Congratulations to Senators Graham and Warren for filling in that blank this week.

  • Shut up, Joe explained. Jordan Boyd reports what should be an impeachable offense: Biden Asked Censors To Nuke Memes, Tucker Carlson Videos

    Shortly after President Joe Biden was inaugurated, his White House began pressuring censors at Facebook and Instagram to remove Americans’ First Amendment-protected posts if they contradicted the regime’s messaging on Covid, according to emails uncovered by the House Judiciary Committee.

    The documents detailing the censorship collusion were only handed over by Facebook after the committee threatened to “hold Mark Zuckerberg in contempt,” Chairman Jim Jordan said, “which PROVE that government pressure was directly responsible for censorship on Facebook.”

    The AP will not headline this as "Constitution-shredding violence".

  • Something dies in darkness. Not sure what it is. But AstralCodexTen has a useful warning: Bad Definitions Of "Democracy" And "Accountability" Shade Into Totalitarianism

    Suppose there’s freedom of religion: everyone can choose what religion to practice. Is there some sense in which this is “undemocratic”? Would it be more “democratic” if the democratically-elected government declared a state religion, and everyone had to follow it?

    You could, in theory, define “democratic” this way, so that the more areas of life are subjected to the control of a (democratically elected) government, the more democratic your society is. But in that case, the most democratic possible society is totalitarianism - a society where the government controls every facet of life, including what religion you practice, who you marry, and what job you work at. In this society there would be no room for human freedom.

    So either you should avoid defining “democratic” this way, or you should stop assuming that more democratic = better. Otherwise it’s easy to prove that any step towards totalitarianism is good.

    The blogger goes on to do a similar number of the feelgood term "accountability".

Recently on the book blog:

Last Modified 2024-01-12 6:06 AM EST

The Twist of a Knife

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I'm a fan of this Anthony Horowitz series, where a semi-fictionalized narrator named "Anthony Horowitz" teams up with an enigmatic ex-cop private eye, Hawthorne, to solve baffling murders. And there is a publishing deal involved: Horowitz is to write about their exploits in … for example, the very book you're reading now.

But in this one, that relationship is in danger. Horowitz is tired of Hawthorne's foibles, and he's resentful about having to split the royalty payments. He'd rather concentrate on producing other works, for example, a play he wrote about grisly deeds in a lunatic asylum, about to make its London premiere. But that goes off the rails rather quickly, when a very nasty reviewer savages the play, and is quickly stabbed to death the following morning. With a knife that Horowitz was gifted by the play's producer! A knife with Horowitz's fingerprints!

That's enough for the cops. Horowitz is arrested for the murder. He knows he didn't do it. And we, the readers, know he didn't do it. But the evidence against him is pretty damning. Maybe Hawthorne can save him?

What follows is an amusing, very classic, whodunit. Hawthorne uses a very illegal, but non-violent, method to get Horowitz temporarily released from custody, and they proceed to interview suspects, track down leads, reveal secrets and histories, … and it all winds up with a Hawthorne-orchestrated I'm-sure-you're-all wondering-why-I-gathered-you-here conclusion.

It's a lot of fun, and would make a great BBC miniseries. Horowitz characterizes himself as a clueless fussbudget, something I'm pretty sure is far from the truth. At the end—this isn't really a spoiler—he is nudged into writing more books in the series, including this one. And the next one, coming out in March, I see.

Last Modified 2024-01-12 6:05 AM EST