Five Quick Things: Rod Rosenstein’s CYA Circus | The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Five Quick Things: Rod Rosenstein’s CYA Circus
Scott McKay
by
Rod Rosenstein testifying, June 3, 2020 (YouTube screenshot)

OK, people, we have a lot to get to here and not much time before the rioters arrive in the suburbs looking to get pummeled. So let’s just get started.

1. Rod Rosenstein puts everybody under the bus

I didn’t watch all of former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, but I saw enough to be entertained.

The eight minutes and change Rosenstein spent with Ted Cruz were really all you needed to hear. It captured the essence of what Rosenstein had to say, which was, “Hey guys, my position is that I got rolled by my subordinates because I never dreamed they would have cooked all this Mike Flynn and Russia stuff up out of thin air; I’m just as surprised as you are about that.”

Cruz is, of course, not surprised, as he’s known the Russia–Flynn business for the outright capital abuse it is for a very long time. And he delivered a sharp left hook to Rosenstein during the exchange.

“Either that you were complicit in the wrongdoing, which I don’t believe was the case,” he said, “or that your performance of your duties was grossly negligent.”

There was more:

“Are you aware of other instances the Department of Justice employees fraudulently creating evidence to submit to court?” Cruz asked.

“Every instance that I am aware of, senator, would be appropriately investigated and — and hopefully appropriate action would be taken,” Rosenstein responded.…

“On May 17, you appointed Bob Mueller the special counsel. On June 29, you signed the third [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] application. On Aug. 2, you signed the second scope application,” Cruz said.

He continued, “Was there any more important case the Department of Justice had that an investigation into whether the president of the United States is a Russian asset, colluding against the United States?”

Rosenstein replied: “Well, that’s the way you’re characterizing the investigation, senator. There was certainly lots of important investigations, but I view this as one of the most important.”

Mostly, Rosenstein let the Republican senators beat on him a little. Josh Hawley lit him up over the statement that he’d been misled by the FBI on the FISA warrant issue, sarcastically remarking that Rosenstein isn’t responsible because the FBI lied, and the FBI isn’t responsible, so everybody gets off scot free. Rosenstein’s response to that was he’d subjected himself to accountability just for showing up.

“I’m here being chastised by you … yelling at me is not going to solve the problem,” he said.

There were lots of fireworks. Nothing much new was learned. But Rosenstein’s message that the folks below him on the food chain are the real culprits keeps the march moving forward.

Of course, this was just the drum corps keeping time for the march. The army is being led by John Durham, whose parade of indictments is reportedly days away.

Yes, yes, we’ve heard that before.

But this time, I might actually believe it. Call it a conspiratorial suspicion if you want, but if you don’t smell something in the air with all these riots and then with Mad Dog Mattis popping off about what a terrible guy Trump is, filling the front page when, as Cruz said, we have a governmental scandal that dwarfs Watergate on our doorstep, it seems to me you aren’t quite suspicious enough. All of this smacks of distraction.

Which means it will get worse before it gets better.

2. Drew Brees is a better man than his online tormentors

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, a former NFL Man of the Year and a sure-fire Hall of Famer, is suddenly in bad odor with Twitter and the sports world, and is being called every name in the book. Why? Because when asked about the George Floyd imbroglio and what NFL players should do about it in the context of the past controversy over players kneeling at the national anthem, Brees said he could never support disrespecting the flag. He went further, explaining that he had two grandfathers who fought in World War II, and what that flag means to him is their sacrifice for freedom and country, and he gets emotional thinking about what that sacrifice has given him.

It was a moving statement, and one which should have been unifying and inspirational as a tribute by a prominent sports figure to the country that has given him so much. What’s more, it had nothing whatsoever to do with detracting from whatever it is The Right People are all protesting for. Brees never said George Floyd had it coming, nor did he even say it was a bad idea for people upset about Floyd’s death to protest. He just said he wasn’t for kneeling at the national anthem. Brees even did kneel to show solidarity with his teammates during a game in London in 2018, though once the anthem began he stood up.

There was nothing objectionable in what he said. Certainly nothing racist. Did that matter? Hardly.

In no time flat, he was set upon by practically every leftist in the sports world. His own teammates, including his wide receivers Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and defensive captain Cameron Jordan, blasted him. New Orleans native and Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu chewed him out for his lack of wokeness. Even LeBron James, who might as well just move to China given that you’d practically have to be Xi Jinping to police other people’s thoughts and statements as much as James seems to do these days, delivered an emotionalist diatribe reflective of somebody whose education began and ended on a basketball court:

WOW MAN!! Is it still surprising at this point. Sure isn’t! You literally still don’t understand why Kap was kneeling on one knee?? Has absolute nothing to do with the disrespect of and our soldiers (men and women) who keep our land free. My father-in-law was one of those men who fought as well for this country. I asked him question about it and thank him all the time for his commitement. He never found Kap peaceful protest offensive because he and I both know what’s right is right and what’s wrong is wrong! God bless you.

Then there was 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman, who said that Brees was “beyond lost.” And retired Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, who lectured, “the reason my children have to live in a world that won’t empathize with their pain is because people like you are raising your children to perpetuate the cycle. Drew, you are the problem.”

To hell with every one of these clowns, none of whom have done as much for their communities as Brees has done for his, across racial lines. Because he doesn’t agree with a tactic that by now virtually everyone with any honesty or sense of reality has to recognize was an abject failure and a financial disaster for the NFL, and that was far more of a distraction from whatever positive message was intended by those kneelers, he’s irredeemable?

The criticism of Brees fails on every possible logical line. Most notably, it opens his critics up to the most brutal denunciations possible of anything they might say in the future — because after all, if they’re not willing to respect Drew Brees’ point of view because it might differ from theirs, then why should anyone give the time of day to LeBron James, Richard Sherman, or Tyrann Mathieu? None of those men have lived perfect lives either, by the way.

Hopefully Brees will stand his ground and not apologize for speaking from his heart. Something will be lost if he does. Speaking out for his defense is something all Americans of good faith should do.

3. What’s to be done about the fact our legacy media won’t stop telling brazen lies?

There’s a pretty good piece at the Federalist by John Daniel Davidson noting that on virtually every major current event topic it’s impossible to get a straight story from the American corporate news media:

It seems no great event or upheaval in our national life can pass now without the media lying to our faces about it.

They lied about the Trump campaign colluding with Russia in 2016. They lied about the Mueller probe and Brett Kavanaugh and former national security adviser Mike Flynn. They lied about Trump’s phone call with the Ukrainian president and the impeachment farce that ensued. They lied about the coronavirus and the lockdowns and the White House response. And now they’re lying about the riots.

In recent days we’ve heard a steady drumbeat of lies, distortions, and disingenuousness from the mainstream media about almost every aspect of the unrest now gripping American cities. The deceit is almost too pervasive and amorphous to describe, but I’m going to try anyway.

Over the weekend we were told, for example, that the looting and violence was being instigated not by left-wing anarchists and antifa groups but by the media’s favorite villains: white supremacists. CNN, whose Atlanta offices were vandalized Friday, went on and on — without a shred of evidence to back it up — about how white supremacists might be infiltrating the protests and stirring up trouble. The New York Times, in a report that even quoted a senior police official in New York City saying outside anarchist groups were coordinating mayhem before the protests began, nevertheless veered into a long aside about how far-right “accelerationists” were hoping the unrest would bring about a long-sought second civil war.

By Monday, no one was talking about the white supremacist agitators anymore. The media had moved on to better, more plausible lies.

Davidson goes on to detail obvious lie after obvious lie being told by mainstream media personages just in the past couple of days.

Of course, also at the Federalist Mollie Hemingway outlined the biggest, latest lie spread by virtually every legacy media outlet — the calumny that President Trump had the Park Police tear-gas peaceful protesters in Lafayette Park to clear them out so he could have a photo op across the street from the White House at St. John’s Church. I’ll admit that I swallowed that one for a while and referenced it in my last entry in this space, largely because my reaction to it was “so what?” The way I saw it, in less than 72 hours the president and his family had been moved to the White House bunker because of rioting on that spot, some 50 Secret Service agents had been injured, and the church had been burned, and after all that had been done there were still people who thought it was a good idea to continue protesting? Even if it had been true it wouldn’t bother me if the protesters, who by the way weren’t all that peaceful, seeing as though they were throwing frozen water bottles and “caustic liquids” at police, had been forcibly removed from the park.

Instead, the Park Police used smoke cannisters and pepper balls on unruly protesters. So yeah — a lie.

This is a difficult problem to handle, because you can’t just shut down these news organizations without doing damage to the First Amendment. Trump has talked about changing the libel laws to reflect something more like what’s on order in the UK, but there are pitfalls to that — because, for instance, if you make it easier for Trump to sue for libel when the media lies about him, you also make it easier for somebody like CAIR to sue for libel if someone reports on jihadist infiltration or terrorist planning. That isn’t a good result.

The market is, of course, the best corrective to the lies, and it is working. The CNNs of the world are hard hit every time someone cuts the cord on their cable, the broadcast networks are pulling fewer and fewer sets of eyeballs and their advertising revenues have fallen for years, the newspapers are literally begging their readers for money, and the online sites have been hemorrhaging staff for years. Some of these liars — major outlets, I’m saying — are going to be out of business soon.

But others won’t, and there is no reason to believe the lies will taper off. Worse, the public is accustomed to the lying and also accustomed to not knowing what’s true anymore.

That isn’t a good thing. It’s frightening, frankly.

4. Can we go and loot Nikole Hannah-Jones’ Pulitzer Prize?

If you want to know just how terrible the mainstream media is now, consider New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was the spearhead of that paper’s idiotic “1619 Project,” which portrayed America as founded purely on racism and slavery. That seditious calumny was given a Pulitzer Prize despite multiple elements of it failing even the most basic examination of its scholarship and factual basis, and you don’t hear quite as much about it anymore thanks to the mounting discredit it earned itself.

But Hannah-Jones is still around, and this week she spewed forth some of the stupidest drivel of this whole crisis in a CNN interview Monday:

“And so when we think about someone taking an act to take something from some big box name store, it is symbolic,” she said. “That one pair of shoes that you’ve stolen from Foot Locker is not going to change your life. But it is a symbolic taking.”

Hannah-Jones claimed that, since black Americans are not included “in the social contract,” there isn’t any reason “to expect that people who have been regularly left out will comply with this right now.”

She’s right. Stealing shoes from Foot Locker is merely symbolic.

Maybe if we all got together and showed up at Nikole Hannah-Jones’ place, rifled through all of her stuff and took the things we want from her, she would be OK with that — because they would be “symbolic takings,” after all. If she thinks the “big box name store” somehow doesn’t own the merchandise being looted from it and that makes it OK to steal, then those of us who don’t believe she’s worth her rewards from the New York Times ought to have the right to deprive her of those in like manner.

Someone else probably deserves that Pulitzer more than she does. It’s just social justice.

5. A quick plug

Changing gears before we depart from this installment, I’ve got some news — which is that the audiobook of my first novel Animus: A Tale of Ardenia went live at the end of May, and it’s available at Audiobooks.com and at Audible. Kevin Gallagher, a long-time radio personage down here in Baton Rouge whose voice is one of the all-time greats, does the narration, and I’m a huge, huge fan of the work product. So if you’re an audiobook connoisseur, this might be up your alley.

It’s been a fun activity, this fiction-writing foray I’ve been making over the past year or so. The sequel to Animus, which carries the title Perdition and is a bigger, grander, better book, is also pretty long; it’ll check in at nearly 1,000 pages. So what I decided to do was to cut it up into four segments and publish them serially as e-books. The first of those went live in mid-April, and the second part was published three weeks ago. Somewhere around the Fourth of July I’m expecting to pop out the third part, and then some time in August the plan is to publish Part Four, plus the entire novel in e-book, paperback, and audiobook format. The interesting thing is that so far, the serializing idea has made for a bit of a jump in sales, which seem to be building.

I got the idea from seeing other authors publishing novels in serial form, and with the advent of Kindle and the e-book format there is less reason not to do that. It made sense to publish novels for the same reason it made sense for musical acts to release albums; to do that saved on printing and distribution costs and ran up the sale price. But with everything going digital, a steady stream of content actually might create and grow an audience faster than the more traditional method.

And this has me thinking what I might do is produce an app for the Tales of Ardenia series, to make the whole thing an interactive experience for the reader with reference materials, side stories, illustrations, audio, maps, and other content available at your fingertips as you read. Nobody’s really doing this in the book world, so I might have to blaze a trail of sorts. Stay tuned for developments on that score.

Scott McKay
Scott McKay
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Scott McKay is publisher of the Hayride, which offers news and commentary on Louisiana and national politics. He’s also a novelist — check out his first book “Animus: A Tale of Ardenia,” available in Kindle and paperback.
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