North Korea Returned to List of State Sponsors of Terrorism

President Donald Trump announces that the United States will designate North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism during a cabinet meeting at the White House, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


In 1988, Ronald Reagan placed North Korea on the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism. North Korea had done all manner of things to justify the listing but the final straw was the bombing of KAL Flight 858 that killed all 115 passengers and 11 crew members. In 2008, George Bush removed North Korea from the list in return for North Korea allowing international verification of its nuclear program.

That worked out well.

On his recent trip to Asia, President Trump hinted that North Korea would be returned to the terrorism list. Today he did.

President Trump on Monday officially designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, returning the rogue nation to a list from which it had been removed during the George W. Bush administration.

North Korea had been removed from the list under the George W. Bush administration in an attempt to salvage negotiations for a nuclear deal.

The president made the announcement at the White House on Monday morning. North Korea will join Sudan, Syria and Iran as countries that the State Department identifies as ones that have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”

Practically, this will have little effect. North Korea is already sanctioned out the wazoo and there seems to be nothing in the state sponsor of terrorism designation that will really change the existing sanctions regime. The real impact is symbolic. And it is a symbolism that will not go down well in Pyongyang.

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The Search Is On for Argentina’s Lost Submarine

This undated photo provided by the Argentina Navy shows an ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric vessel, near Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina’s Navy said Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, it has lost contact with its ARA San Juan submarine off the country’s southern coast. (Argentina Navy via AP )


On Wednesday, the Argentine Navy lost contact with one of its submarines.

The ARA San Juan is a diesel-electric attack built in Emden, Germany in 1982. It had been on a routine patrol from the Ushuaia naval base to the Mar del Plata base. Several nations are now involved in search operations. The US contribution, a P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft remained the best hope of finding that ship and its 44 crew members, and seven short satellite phone pulses from the ARA San Juan on Saturday give hope that a rescue may be effected.

[<a href=”//” target=”_blank”>View the story “ARA San Juan” on Storify</a>]

If the San Juan can be found and some or all of the crew are still alive, there is a very good chance that a rescue can be made. Both UK and US submarine rescue assets have been put on alert.

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USAF General Says He Will Obey Trump’s Order to Launch Nukes and the Internet Goes Wild

Little more than a week ago I posted on the effort by Tennessee Senator Bob Corker to troll Donald Trump by holding a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Trump’s authority to order a nuclear strike. Never mind that there is no nuclear war looming. Never mind that any changes to how US nuclear weapons are controlled would have to come from the Senate Armed Services Committee. Indeed, in anti-Trump circles it has become something of a sport to question Trump’s mental fitness and root for a military coup d’état that will take the republic out of the hand of its Constitutional leaders and put it in the hands of the military.

During that hearing the subject, naturally came up of how a commander would react to an order to use nuclear weapons that he regarded to be illegal:

Procedures are in place for ensuring U.S. nuclear weapons are ready for a presidential launch order in response to — or in anticipation of — a nuclear attack by North Korea or anyone else. There are backup procedures and backups for the backups.

And yet fundamental aspects of this nightmare sequence remain a mystery.

For example, what would happen if an American president ordered a nuclear strike, for whatever reason, and the four-star general at Strategic Command balked or refused, believing it to be illegal?

Robert Kehler, a retired general who once led that command, was asked this at a congressional hearing last week. His response: “You’d be in a very interesting constitutional situation.”

Yesterday, US Strategic Command (STRATCOM) commander Air Force General John Hyten was at something called the “Halifax International Security Forum.” As CBS reports the same question was posed to Hyten.

Hyten was responding to a question about testimony by former STRATCOM commander retired Gen. Robert Kehler before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier this week. Kehler said that nuclear operators would refuse to implement an unlawful order. Hyten agreed, and argued that the process in place to launch a nuclear strike would prevent such a situation from arising in the first place. As head of STRATCOM, Hyten is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal.


Before dealing with the question and Hyten’s answer, let’s clear away some underbrush. The president is the commander-in-chief. Period. If he gives an order, and is determined to carry it out, no number of generals can stop him. A general officer holds a commission signed by the president. If he voices his objections and is still told to do it he has two options. Resign or do it. If he resigns, the president has the ability appoint another officer in his place and he can do that until he gets tired or until he finds someone who will carry out the order. The whole legal/illegal order, in my view, is bullsh** when it comes to the president ordering a nuclear strike. The only way the order is illegal is if we lose the war and he ends up on trial someplace. The fire-bombing of Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, and any number of other cities would have been considered war crimes if we had lost the war. We didn’t, so they aren’t.

So the question has nothing to do with Trump–in fact Hyten doesn’t even mention Trump–and everything to do with the process for using nukes.

Hyten, who is responsible for overseeing the U.S. nuclear arsenal, explained the process that would follow such a command.

As head of STRATCOM “I provide advice to the president, he will tell me what to do,” he said in his remarks, retransmitted in a video posted on the forum’s Facebook page.

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I‘m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

Hyten said running through scenarios of how to react in the event of an illegal order was standard practice, and added: “If you execute an unlawful order, you will go to jail. You could go to jail for the rest of your life.”

Hyten is correct. An unlawful order isn’t one that you don’t like, it is one that violates the principles of the Law of Armed Conflict. If you watch the video clip. Hyten does a great jog of laying out those principles. (Ironically, the Trump administration took a lot of grief over a convoy of ISIS fighters being allowed to escape. The convoy was know to contain the families of the fighters and striking it would have been a classic violation of the law of land warfare, but that unlawful order was considered fine by a lot of the same people having multiple orgasms over Hyten’s answer.) The underlying premise is every order you receive is presumed to be legal. Your boss never has to prove to you the order is legal, you have to show it why it is illegal. Not that the order is unwise or even stupid, you have to show that it violates US law or US treaty obligations. And you have to do this to your boss, his boss…and maybe to a court-martial panel.

If you receive what you think is an illegal order, first you ask for clarification to make sure you understand what you are being told to do. Maybe “take care of the prisoners” doesn’t mean to line them up and machinegun them. If the clarification doesn’t change your perception, then you kick it up to your boss’s boss. If you are still told to do it, you have two choices. You can entertain the possibility they might know what they are doing and you don’t and go ahead and carry out the order…or you can martyr yourself. As Hyten says, “it’s not that complicated.”

Let’s look at Hyten’s example

“And if it’s illegal, guess what’s going to happen? I‘m going to say, ‘Mr. President, that’s illegal.’ And guess what he’s going to do? He’s going to say, ‘What would be legal?’ And we’ll come up with options, of a mix of capabilities to respond to whatever the situation is, and that’s the way it works. It’s not that complicated.”

See the process? It doesn’t involve saying “no,” it is a process of carrying out the president’s intent within the context of law. In fact, beginning at 1:07, Hyten is given the opportunity to say that he’d say “no,” and he refuses to do so.

Noonan, by the way, is a former staffer on the House Armed Services Committee, he now works for Tom Cotton, and he’s a former USAF Minuteman missile launch officer.

And, for the record, a nuclear strike against North Korea’s nuclear arsenal would be a clearly and unambiguously legal act if a very messy one. Even so, there is a bit of shorthand at work in Hyten’s example. An order to launch nukes, in other than a retaliatory strike after we’d been hit by a nuclear weapon, would come via the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. That order would be issued in response to orders received from the Secretary of Defense.

In Hyten’s scenario, if the president disagrees, Hyten’s objection may or may not be meaningful. Let’s go back to Corker’s hearing:

Brian McKeon, a senior policy adviser in the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said a president’s first recourse would be to tell the defense secretary to order the reluctant commander to execute the launch order.

“And then, if the commander still resisted,” McKeon said as rubbed his chin, “you either get a new secretary of defense or get a new commander.” The implication is that one way or another, the commander in chief would not be thwarted.

Bingo. Because the president is the commander in chief, he gets the last vote.

Take this discussion from some arms control guys:

The only headline here was that Hyten said that he’d follow established procedure. Sad that that rated a headline.

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This Just In: Mike Pence’s Rule Against Having Private Dinners With Random Women Is Not Christian

Caricature by DonkeyHotey

Not long after Mike Pence was sworn in the Washington Post did a profile of him and included this factoid:

“In 2002, Mike Pence told The Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either.”

I’m in complete agreement. I follow the same rule. I think any man, particularly any married man, who doesn’t follow that rule is an idiot that deserves whatever that comes their way. At the time there was an outcry about how this penalized women (not entirely unfair) and a lot of laughing at Pence. Today, not so much laughing but the outcry is still there. In fact, the New York Times claims Pence’s rule is un-Christian: A Christian Case Against the Pence Rule. I’ll give you the high points and then look at it critically.

In light of Mr. Weinstein and other members of the Hollywood elite now being exposed for sexual assault, some Christian leaders have advocated that we recover the Pence rule: Vice President Pence has said he doesn’t meet alone with a woman who isn’t his wife. People may accuse him of being prudish and misogynist, but at least he will never be accused of Mr. Weinstein’s sins.

Today, many ministry leaders follow Mr. Graham’s example to avoid “the appearance of evil,” as the New Testament puts it. Indeed, the Bible says a lot about humans’ proclivity to sin. Many Christian men believe it’s better to limit interacting with women altogether than open the door to temptation. As Mr. Graham’s own grandson and other pastors prey on women in Christian circles, there’s a comforting clarity about the rule.

I know many Christians who keep some version of the rule. These men have good motives. Their stated intent — marital fidelity — is noble, and one that I respect. But the Pence rule is inadequate to stop Weinstein-ian behavior. In fact, it might be its sanctified cousin. It’s time for men in power to believe their female peers when they say that the rule hurts more than helps.

The Pence rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. Offering the Pence rule as a solution to male predation is like saying, “I can’t meet with you one on one, otherwise I might eventually assault you.” If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.

Most female Christian leaders I know find the Pence rule frustrating. (All the people I know who keep the rule are men.) Imagine a male boss keeps some variation of the rule but is happy to meet with a male peer over lunch or travel with him for business. The informal and strategic conversations they can have is the stuff of workplace advancement. Unless there are women in senior leadership positions — and in many Christian organizations, there are not — women will never benefit from the kind of advancement available to men.

The answer is not to ask women to leave the room. It’s to hold all men in the room accountable, and kick out those who long ago lost their right to be there.

Up front, I’d like to get an agreement that women are people much like men. I’ve been in women-run organizations for several years and I’ve found women just as capable of lying, cheating, stealing, and backstabbing as any man. Maybe more so because while boys in elementary and middle school are settling their grievances with fists, girls learn to use rumors about other girls. If you think women, as a rule, are ignorant about sexual harassment rules or will hesitate for a nano-second to use the “that makes me feel uncomfortable” statement as a brush-back pitch, I think you need to get out more. The only point here is that if you say “believe women” you are an idiot because women are no more truthful than men.

I was an executive officer of a basic training company the very first year that the Army went to co-ed basic training. The rule we established for drill sergeants was that at no time was a male drill allowed to be in a closed room alone with a female trainee. We also required that all performance counseling of female trainees was required to have one of the female drill sergeants as a witness. The reason here was to protect vulnerable trainees from predators and to protect cadre from baseless allegations that could end a career. There is no doubt this destroyed the dynamic of basic training, where the drill is often father confessor to troubled trainees, and it probably increased the attrition rate among female trainees as they might tell a personal problem to one person but they were not going to tell it to two.

So I agree with the argument that if you, as a supervisor, have lunches, alone, with male subordinates then your female subordinates are at a disadvantage. I don’t think palling around with subordinates is ever a great strategy, but YMMV.

But the idea that this is built on the idea that males are rapists is ridiculous. The moron who wrote the NYT op-ed says that and you don’t have to look all that far to see that it is a common critique by progressives of common sense.

The policy is based upon respect for yourself and respect for your spouse. Your reputation is your most valuable possession

Who steals my purse steals trash; ’tis something, nothing;
’twas mine, ’tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.”

In public relations you learn, very early, that P = R, that is, Perception = Reality. What you actually do is less important that what you are perceived to be doing.

In this point, both Catholic theology and Federal ethics regulations come into sync. Catholics are told it isn’t sufficient to avoid sin, you must avoid the occasion, i.e. exposure to the possibility, of sin. So if you are an alcoholic it is not sufficient to avoid drink, you need to avoid places where alcohol is served. As “scandal,” that is behavior that could cause other to do evil, a person in a leadership position has the obligation to avoid situations that could lead to rumors being spread. Federal ethics regs say it isn’t enough to avoid impropriety, you must avoid the appearance of impropriety. Let me give you an example. I was leading a four-man IG investigation team. We arrive at our destination airport with a reservation for a mid-size car. All the mid-size cars are gone but Mister Nice-Clerk says we can get a free upgrade to a Lincoln Town Car. I am not making this story up. Nothing legally wrong with that. We had an approved car reservation and we were offered an upgrade at no cost to Uncle Sugar. But… What do you think would happen the moment we pulled up in front of the target of our investigation and piled out of a Town Car? Appearance of impropriety out the wazoo I’d spend more time defending my car choice than I would on the investigation–and get a letter of reprimand in the process. So we got a compact car.

By having dinner, alone, with a female, not your wife, who is also a subordinate–assuming arguendo that you are not a predator or inclined to an extra marital affair–you create a decision tree with a lot of poisonous branches:
–A jealous or spiteful person starts a rumor you are boffing your dinner partner and this damages your reputation and hers and creates the illusion that the woman is where she is based on merit in places other than the office and neither of you have a way to defend yourself.
–The woman is an amoral climber-over-dead-bodies (yes, they exist in surprising numbers) and says you are sleeping together for perceived advantage.
–The woman has romantic designs, is rebuffed, and complains of being the subject of sexual harassment and you have no way to defend yourself.
–The professional relationship sours and at some point the male is accused of having made sexual advances and you have no way of defending yourself.
–In all of these scenarios your marriage is jeopardized and could become collateral damage or roadkill.

The only benign branch–that is, “nothing bad happens”–is actually the least likely outcome.

Mike Pence’s decision is not un-Christian. It is a wise decision. It is a decision that he will never have reason to regret. His obligation to someone else’s career does not extend to potentially bring disrepute to himself and grief to his wife. To the women who feel their career depends upon one-on-one alone time with a male boss (think about that for second you SJW feminists), pick another strategy. Everyone will be better off in the long run.

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Ohio Democrat Candidate for Governor Says He Did a Lot of Boinking in His Day

Image by Andrei Ianofskii via Flickr Creative Commons

Welp, this is one way to get out in front of a potential scandal:

An Ohio Supreme Court justice who recently declared his intention to run for governor defended “heterosexual males” Friday amid mounting accusations of sexual misconduct.

I’m looking at this guy, and as a fellow male I’m calling bullsh** on the quantity and quality he’s claiming. I think there should be a judicial inquiry and we should get a subjective evaluation of the bodycount, so to speak. Let’s start with the “gorgeous blonde.” Because a man who can’t be trusted to tell the truth about his sexual history can’t be trusted. (BTW, this guy is apparently single, never married, and that doesn’t exactly reek of “heterosexual male.” NTTAWWT.)

His follow up is particularly telling:

Now take a quick look at my post earlier today.

What O’Neill is saying is exactly what Kate Harding is saying. That Democrats can’t be drawn into tossing people to the curb for personal misconduct so long as their votes are correct. This is not hard to comprehend and why Republicans can’t understand what is happening–and happily cooperate in their own destruction–just boggles the mind.

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BREAKING. Palestine Liberation Organization Reportedly Told to Start Packing Its Bags UPDATED

Since 1994, the quasi-terrorist group called the Palestine Liberation Organization has been allowed to have what amounts to an embassy in Washington, DC. This is because the State Department, including eight years under George Bush, fancied the PLO thugs to be a “partner for peace.” The PLO is barred from the US as a terrorist organization but administration after administration has issued a waiver to the law. Under existing law, State was required to close the PLO offices if they take part in any action against Israel in the UN. They’ve cavalierly violated this requirement on several occasions.

But a day of reckoning may be here.

The best thing the Trump administration can do for Mideast Peace is to force the Palestinian Authority to choose between peace and war. And the best way of doing that is by stopping the fiction that the PLO and Hamas are anything but what they are: vicious terrorist groups that should be eradicated.

My guess about the cause was correct:

The Trump administration put the Palestinians on notice Friday that it will shutter their office in Washington unless they’ve entered serious peace talks with Israel, U.S. officials said, potentially giving President Donald Trump more leverage as he seeks an elusive Mideast peace deal.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has determined that the Palestinians ran afoul of an obscure provision in a U.S. law that says the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission must close if the Palestinians try to get the International Criminal Court to prosecute Israelis for crimes against Palestinians. A State Department official said that in September, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas crossed that line by calling on the ICC to investigate and prosecute Israelis.

But the law leaves the president a way out, so Tillerson’s declaration doesn’t necessarily mean the office will close.

Trump now has 90 days to consider whether the Palestinians are in “direct and meaningful negotiations with Israel.” If Trump determines they are, the Palestinians can keep the office. The official said it was unclear whether the U.S. might close the office before the 90-day period expires, but said the mission remains open at least for now.

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Al Franken Bad Behavior Causes Him a Lot of Embarrassment Back Home

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. gestures as he leave the stage after speaking during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia , Monday, July 25, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)


There has been some low-level fallout for Senator Al Franken over the revelations that he sexually assaulted another celebrity guest on a USO Tour in 2006.

This morning, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Franken had canceled a scheduled appearance at a major book festival in Atlanta:

Sen. Al Franken canceled plans to appear at an Atlanta book festival hours after becoming embroiled in controversy following allegations of sexual misconduct.

He had been scheduled to appear at the Book Festival of the MJCCA. The event, promoting his book “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate,” was scheduled well before anyone could have imagined he’d be trending on Twitter for all the wrong reasons. The event had sold out.

Another blow was struck closer to home just a short while ago. Franken had been championing the cause of a young woman named Abby Honold to enact a law to better equip law enforcement officers to work with rape victims:

No more.

Fallout for Franken continued on Friday, when a Minnesota woman who was raped by a fellow University of Minnesota student in 2014, said she no longer wants Franken to sponsor legislation she has championed to aid sexual assault survivors…

“Many of us spent years working for Senator Franken in Minnesota and Washington,” their statement read. “In our time working for the senator, he treated us with the utmost respect. He valued our work and our opinions and was a champion for women both in the legislation he supported and in promoting women to leadership roles in our office.”

Abby Honold, a rape survivor whose struggle to get justice after being raped in November 2014 drew national attention, said she no longer wants to work with Franken on legislation to aid other survivors.

The bill, which was set to be introduced soon to the Senate, would provide funding to better train law enforcement on how to work with trauma victims. Daniel Drill-Mellum, the man who raped Honold, had worked as an intern in Franken’s office.

“It’s so difficult to see that from someone you know and someone you trust,” Honold said. She said she’s contacted the office of Sen. Amy Klobuchar to see if she’ll pick up the legislation instead.

This is all minor stuff and will blow over. So far none of his Democrat colleagues have called for Franken to resign and the odds of the Ethics Committee recommending expulsion approach √-1. If he runs for re-election he’s probably a hands-down favorite. Having said that, perhaps some level of opprobrium will convince men and women in positions of power that the people who work for and with them are not some kind of a sexual party favor to be taken at a whim.

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A Navy Pilot Does the Most Awesome and Heartwarming Skywriting Exhibition And It Was Not Appreciated

I’m not a pilot or even a regular flyer but I can’t imagine the sheer joy of strapping on a couple of 50,000 bhp engines, going a loft and simply wringing them dry. Just for the hell of it. Apparently, the fun meter pegged way over in the red zone yesterday when the joy of flying just got the best of a Navy fighter pilot flying out of NAS Whidbey Island (WA).

The kill joys in the Navy were having no part of it:

“The Navy holds its aircrew to the highest standards and we find this absolutely unacceptable, of zero training value and we are holding the crew accountable,” Navy officials told KREM.

The Federal Aviation Administration told KREM that the graphic drawings did not pose a safety risk and there was nothing it “could do about it.”

The FAA official told KREM they “cannot police morality.”

Unfortunately, this guy is going to be found and he’s probably going to see his career ended.

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Congressional Hispanic Caucus Decides Republican Is Not Sufficiently Hispanic

Carlos Curbelo speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr Creative Commons


At first blush, Carlos Curbelo, who represents Florida’s 26th District, would look like a prime catch for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. He’s young (38), he has two solid wins under his belt in a majority Hispanic district. His parents are both immigrants. So it should have been a surprise when the CHC blackballed him for membership. Unfortunately, Curbelo is Republican, his parents are Cuban, he’s actually had a job outside of politics, he opposes open borders, and, though not a Trump supporter, is insufficiently imbued with Trump-hate.

This simply underlines the fact that the CHC and CBC are not dedicated to the interests of Hispanics or blacks but to the interests of the Democrat party and machine politicians of the correct complexion. They have shown they aren’t in favor of American values like hard work and entrepreneurship but prefer quotas and handouts as a way of locking in a captive voting bloc and securing their own future. In the meantime, Curbelo should take comfort in the immortal wisdom of Groucho Marx: “I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”

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Don’t Believe Them, They Really Don’t Think Bill Clinton Should Have Resigned

DonkeyHotey via Flickr Creative Commons image 24317917355_e3e0a585ab_h

If you take the media seriously, then you’d conclude that one good thing that has happened from the Roy Moore fiasco has been that Democrats have finally discovered that powerful men taking advantage of young women (or in the case of George Takei and Kevin Spacey, young men) is not acceptable behavior. Personally, I find this charming. If you were alive during the 1992 election you heard, day in and day out, that one had to separate a politician’s private morality from their public acts. when Lynn Martin announced at the 1992 GOP convention that, “You can’t be one kind of man and another kind of President,” (this, by the way, was aimed as much at Bill Clinton’s physical cowardice in fleeing the US for the UK during the draft as it was at his well established reputation, pre-Lewinsky, as sexual predator) she was ridiculed.

This is how it started:

Keep in mind, that this includes actual substantiated, at least by the Roy Moore standard of substantiation, allegations of forcible rape–‘You better put some ice on that’. And just last year this was the way ABC News reported it:

Now we’ve reached peak-Pat-on-the-Back (many conservatives achieved this level late last week, so the progressives are a little slow to the party)

The New York Times’s Michelle Goldberg chimed in with “I Believe Juanita.”

Of the Clinton accusers, the one who haunts me is Broaddrick. The story she tells about Clinton recalls those we’ve heard about Weinstein. She claimed they had plans to meet in a hotel coffee shop, but at the last minute he asked to come up to her hotel room instead, where he raped her. Five witnesses said she confided in them about the assault right after it happened. It’s true that she denied the rape in an affidavit to Paula Jones’s lawyers, before changing her story when talking to federal investigators. But her explanation, that she didn’t want to go public but couldn’t lie to the F.B.I., makes sense. Put simply, I believe her.

This is the kicker:

And now they’re being trotted out again. It’s fair to conclude that because of Broaddrick’s allegations, Bill Clinton no longer has a place in decent society. But we should remember that it’s not simply partisan tribalism that led liberals to doubt her. Discerning what might be true in a blizzard of lies isn’t easy, and the people who spread those lies don’t get to claim the moral high ground. We should err on the side of believing women, but sometimes, that belief will be used against us.

Another entry is Bill Clinton: A Reckoning. Daniel Payne writing in The Federalist notes:

“A great example of this evasive genre can be found at The Atlantic, where Caitlin Flanagan has written an article titled, simply, “Bill Clinton: A Reckoning.” The article itself is actually not a reckoning of Bill Clinton or even an overture toward a reckoning.

“Indeed, Flanagan only comes to the sexual assault allegations leveled at Clinton only about two-thirds of the way through, after bringing up Clarence Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita Hill. She places most of the blame for Clinton on “machine feminism” rather than Democratic opportunism, then lamely asserts Democrats need to “come to terms” with how they “abandoned some of [their] central principles” in their unthinking defense of Clinton.”

And we reached the depths of stupid today when, the intellectual journal for the unintelligent, proclaims Bill Clinton should have resigned. The article is by Matt Yglesias (this is a nice stab at a compendium of his wit and wisdom). Not all that long ago, Yglesias had this to say about the same issue:

Perhaps alone on the left in honesty is Brian Beutler: BREITBART’S COMING EXPLOITATION OF THE BELIEVE WOMEN MOVEMENT.

Breitbart is notorious for amplifying hyperbolic and fabricated stories meant to undermine Democrats, pluralism, the entire liberal project, but they tend to specialize in fostering conspiratorial paranoia and racial panic (think Benghazi, and Shirley Sherrod). Their situational obsession with sexual misconduct isn’t typically built on fabrication, but deployed in the midst of real scandals to portray liberals as hypocrites and to damage Democrats (think Anthony Weiner, and Weinstein) or to portray minorities and immigrants as degenerates.

There is more than a kernel of truth at the bottom of the idea that Bill Clinton was a sexual deviant, or that he deserved more social and legal censure than he endured, but it is also farcical to imagine that Bannon and Breitbart were first and foremost interested in seeking justice. They ran factually questionable counter-ops in bad faith, to neutralize Trump’s liability, suggesting Hillary Clinton was, through her loyalty to Bill, similarly tainted. The psychological sabotage at the debate was an ancillary benefit. Now, Bannon has dispatched two minions to Alabama, to better smear Moore’s accusers. In Bannon’s world, conservatives in good standing are incapable of degeneracy, but white liberals and people of color are defined by it.

By extension, if future allegations appear in the right-wing agitprop press, they will be tainted by their unreliable narrators. The question of whether or not Breitbart or Sean Hannity actually had the goods on anyone would become subsumed into factional fighting and epistemological crises. The believe-women effort would be undermined, potentially twice over. First, because many people will understandably distrust allegations of misconduct if they’re ginned up by the bottom-feeders of Breitbart. Second, because if the accusations unravel, the believe-women movement will have sustained a terrible blow by failing on its own terms. (If you think Breitbart would be above framing a debunked sex abuse scandal they themselves fabricated as a reprising of the UVA or Duke lacrosse controversies, you are blissfully unacquainted Breitbart.)

The broader media, by contrast, would be as fixated upon the factual question as on the superficial similarity between knee-jerk conservative defenses of Roy Moore and liberal misapprehensions about the trustworthiness of right wing propaganda. Both sides aren’t the same, but the false parallel will be too delicious for many journalists to ignore.

Shorter: only allegations brought forth for the most noble of reasons–like clicks for the Washington Post–should be believed. He even appears to dismiss Andrew Breitbart’s exposure (hahaha) of Anthony Weiner as illegitimate.

Don’t believe this moralize claptrap for a second. The sole purpose of this newfound belief in the dignity of women is due to the fact that Roy Moore may lose a Senate seat. The moment a Democrat politician comes under scrutiny we’ll be back to Gloria Steinem defense of Bill Clinton on the allegations by Kathleen Wiley:

“Even if the allegations are true, the President is not guilty of sexual harassment. He is accused of having made a gross, dumb, and reckless pass at a supporter during a low point in her life. She pushed him away, she said, and it never happened again. In other words, President Clinton took ‘no’ for an answer.”

(This is a standard, by the way, that would completely exonerate Roy Moore.)

And Jim Carville will again be proclaiming, “Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find.”

The post Don’t Believe Them, They Really Don’t Think Bill Clinton Should Have Resigned appeared first on RedState.

Source: Red State