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☕️ GOOD DEALS ☙ Wednesday, October 25, 2023 ☙ C&C NEWS 🦠
Sullen NYT pivots on hospital apology; Georgia Trump trial plea deals; pro cyclists crashing right and left; Cat 5 hurricane comes out of nowhere; war mini-roundup; D.C. re-funds police; more.
Good morning, C&C, it’s Wednesday! Your morning roundup today includes: sullen New York Times revives the Hamas General Hospital story with giant info-graphic-laden explainer; four defendants take a plea in the Georgia election interference case and I explain; Pro cyclists falling like flies for heart issues; massive Cat 5 hurricane suddenly and unexpectedly hits Mexico; Middle East war mini-roundup; and Muriel Bowser strategically pivots on defunding the police.
🗞💬 WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY 💬🗞
🔥 Twist! Like a sullen teenager, the New York Times is not letting go of the “Hamas General Hospital” story. On Monday, following a week of blistering criticism, the chagrined Times was forced to retract their original fake news story blaming Israel for intentionally targeting a Palestinian hospital, in a humiliating, 300-word “Editor’s Note,” in which the paper grudgingly admitted it may have said certain things in the story that might have been slightly inaccurate — based on what other people told it! — but did not apologize.
The mistake wasn’t just another random blooper and the Times knew it. At least in part, the Times’ false article led to violent worldwide protests, significant property damage, many injuries, and a handful of deaths. Please don’t forget: for at least two years now the Times has been advocating for “misinformation spreaders” to be deplatformed or even jailed. Now the Times is the one spreading dangerous misinformation. So what standard should the Times now be held to? Should it be held to its own standard?
It’s a bit of a sticky wicket. So you can imagine the paper was not exactly enthusiastic about admitting it was wrong. The closest its Editor’s Note got to actually admitting the paper was wrong was this meager, passive-voice piffle:
The report left readers with an incorrect impression about what was known and how credible the account was.
Haha, the report misinformed readers! Not the Times. So, nobody misinformed anybody. And, they didn’t even say, “regretfully.” As in, the report REGRETFULLY left readers with an incorrect impression. What’s to regret?
No harm done! Fog of war and all that rot!
But wait! It’s not over yet. The New York Times’ chagrined reporters were up all night, guzzling gallons of coffee, smoking stinky, unfiltered and slightly radioactive but still-virtuous Ukrainian cigarettes, and happily munching kid-friendly cannabis gummies like they were sunflower seeds. The result: blatantly pilfering The Washington Post’s gag, the New York Times announced this morning that it may have been wrong — but it was still right!
In a full-featured, live-action video backgrounded, long-form story, the New York Times defensively re-analyzed its earlier re-analysis and discovered that, even though it was wrong, so was Israel, American intelligence, the BBC, and even Hamas, for that matter.
In other words, everybody got it wrong!
I’m going to jump to the end of this ridiculous story, and spare you the ten painful pages of excuse-making and nitpicking, focused mostly on one widely-circulated cell phone video that appears to show a malfunctioning Hamas rocket falling into the hospital’s parking lot. After all that, the Times still carefully said it’s not saying that anybody lied. It’s not saying the Israelis blew up the parking lot. It’s not even saying it wasn’t Hamas. It’s just saying, and it sure was using a lot of words to just say it:
The Times’s finding does not answer what actually did cause the Al-Ahli Arab hospital blast, or who is responsible. The contention by Israeli and American intelligence agencies that a failed Palestinian rocket launch is to blame remains plausible. But the Times analysis does cast doubt on one of the most-publicized pieces of evidence that Israeli officials have used to make their case and complicates the straightforward narrative they have put forth.
The poor Times was horribly confused. The paper doesn’t know what to believe. It needs help. Wait … I think I got it! Eureka. If it wasn’t Hamas, it was probably the same people who blew up the Nordstream pipeline!
🔥 I promised to weigh in on the mounting plea deals in the Fani “Fanny” Willis Georgia state elections interference case. Is this something good? It is bad? Are lawyers starting to “flip” on Trump? Is it The End?
Answer: Sort of, no, no, and no.
Two months ago, Fulton County DA Fani Willis indicted President Trump and 18 other co-defendants (mainly conservative lawyers) of about a billion state law process crimes not requiring proof of any harm to any real person, and adding up to over 1,000 years in jail each if the defendants are convicted on all charges. It’s all related to interfering with the election, lying about election fraud, and hilariously, racketeering. This week, four defendants (so far) have signed plea deals, and social media has been a hot mess ever since debating what it all means.
The first to sign a plea agreement was Sidney Powell, and she seems to be the trailblazer, or maybe “ringleader,” of the plea group of defendants, since the agreements are similar. Let’s talk about Sidney.
Whatever else she might be, Sidney is a highly-experienced federal criminal defense attorney. She has battled the government for clients many times, including in high-profile, politically radioactive prosecutions like Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and most recently General Michael Flynn.
Sidney even wrote a book about battling the federal criminal justice machine. She’s an expert. Sidney has forgotten more about criminal law than anyone in Fanny Willis’s office knows.
Sidney understands exactly how the process works. She knows everything that is going to happen. She knows how expensive and time-consuming it will be. She knows exactly where the DA’s weak spots are. And she struck at their weak spot.
The first thing Sidney did was demand a speedy trial. That was a bold, high-risk move that 99.9% of all criminal defendants voluntarily waive. The Sixth Amendment of the Constitution requires a speedy trial, and most state criminal procedure sets that time within what looks to modern lawyers to be impossibly-short: Georgia’s Speedy Trial Act requires a trial within 90 days from arraignment.
Sidney was one of the first defendants to voluntarily turn herself in, starting the clock on her speedy trial as soon as possible.
We don’t get to see a lot of what is happening “behind the scenes,” so I will make some confident assumptions. Sidney also probably demanded all the DA’s evidence for trial as well as all its exculpatory evidence. Based on her book and her good results in other cases, Sidney is an expert at pushing the government on evidence and poking holes in their case.
I’d bet a week’s salary that Fanny Willis was not anywhere close to ready to start producing documents when Sidney Powell ambushed her office by demanding a speedy trial. Fanny probably did not see that move coming. She probably expected that the Trump defendants would do what nearly every other criminal defendant does and waive their right to a speedy trial.
In that context, Sidney (and the other defendants following her example) began negotiating a plea deal with the DA’s office. This is very common. It included lots of phone calls, emails, and probably one or more face-to-face meetings at the DA’s office. Fanny Willis and her team have lots of incentive to negotiate plea deals with the defendants. They do not want to try nineteen different high-profile defendants. They really only want Trump. It’s way too much work for the under-qualified but highly diverse Fulton County DA’s office to try 19 VIP defendants on a grab-bag of novel theories of law.
Sidney negotiated a great deal which closed the day before jury trial selection was scheduled to start, putting enormous pressure on the DA’s office to be ready for trial. The DA’s office caved.
First of all, Sidney pleaded guilty only to six misdemeanors — instead of seven felonies that were charged. She must pay a $6,000 fine, testify honestly at trial, and complete six years of probation (one year per count). But most important, her plea was entered as “deferred adjudication,” an option for first offenders, which avoids a judgment of guilty (it gets “deferred” indefinitely), and automatically results in an expunged record when the person successfully completes probation.
So Sidney is done and out. She must still testify if the case goes to trial, but she must testify honestly, and since all the charges are bogus, she will almost certainly testify honestly that nobody, including Trump, did anything meriting a felony conviction.
The “significance” of the Powell plea is that it never should have happened at all. The deal was a slap on the wrist — an easy decision for Sidney to make — but it ripped the mask off the DA’s horrible political prosecution. The DA’s office obviously didn’t think it could prove any of the serious felonies it had charged — because no crimes were committed.
However good was Sidney’s deal, she never should have had to make it. Although I would have advised her to take the deal — a no-brainer — to avoid the rest of the circus, I also would’ve understood if she wanted to force the DA to prove what it had indicted her for.
Three other defendants followed Sidney with similar plea deals, but some didn’t negotiate as well as Sidney did. For example yesterday, attorney Jenna Ellis, looking uncharacteristically disheveled and discombobulated, read a tearful, humiliating apology in open court, confessing she was duped into interfering with Joe Biden’s election in what looked remarkably like a Maoist ‘struggle session.’ It was gross, but at least now she’s out of the crosshairs. Tragic, but understandable.
💉 Dutch rider Mark Groeneveld, 20, died in his sleep Monday right after racing in the Hong Kong Cyclothon. Never made it to the hospital. Never even called the front desk.
The team announced Mark’s death on social media, reporting the twenty-year-old athlete probably died from a heart attack:
"While the circumstances of Mark's passing are currently under investigation, we have received preliminary information that suggests it may have been due to a heart attack. We are working closely with the relevant authorities to gather all the facts and provide the necessary support to Mark's family during this painful period.”
So far this year, at least eight professional cyclists have died or retired:
Mark Groeneveld — RIP
Niklas Eg, 28 - October — heart “issues”
Wesley Kreder, 28 — September — heart attack, myocarditis
Nathan Van Hooydonck, 27 — September — “heart muscle anomoly,” ICD
Sep Vanmarcke, 25 — July — cardiac scar tissue
Jan Polanc, 32 — May — heart “irregularities”
Heinrich Haussler, 39 — April — arrhythmia “irregularity”
Sonny Colbrelli, 32 — last October — heart problems, ICD
Weird! Baffling. Science is stumped.
💉 So many emotions! Seen online:
First, if the feds aren’t forcing insurance companies to cover their newfangled boosters, then it is officially over. But of course they also have to lie about it being over, because as someone important — it’s on the tip of my tongue — as someone important once said, the truth is not in them.
Second, at least some the 2% of hardcore medical fetishists still taking the damned things are paying $180 for the privilege. That is commitment. (I assume some insurance systems are covering all or part of the cost.)
Finally, marvel at the logic that, while the jabs are lifesaving miracles, they aren’t worth $180 out of pocket. I wonder how much Mandy Mae would be willing to pay for the government’s snake oil? She didn’t say.
🔥 Disaster Watch: As I woke this morning, Acapulco had just been hit by a multiple record-breaking, once-in-a-generation hurricane that forecasters completely missed. Hurricane Otis was still only a tropical storm late last evening, before it began suddenly and unexpectedly intensifying into a Category Five monster — all over the span of a few hours.
They’re using words like, “it came out of nowhere” and “out of the blue.” In other words, Mexicans had very little time to prepare.
Although last night it first appeared Otis would strike Acapulco head on, the storm veered at the last minute toward less inhabited areas. But initial reports and early photos show significant property damage in the city of nearly 1 million folks. It’s going to be rough.
Otis is strange and record-breaking not just for its blistering intensification. Another strange fact is this part of Mexico almost never gets hurricanes at all. In fact, it’s never happened before. “There are no hurricanes on record even close to this intensity for this part of Mexico," the National Hurricane Center said in last night’s briefing.
It’s hard to oversell how fast the storm assembled. The Weather Channel explained “rapid intensification” is what they call it when wind speed increases at least +35 mph during a 24-hour period. Otis sprinted past that benchmark without breaking a sweat, with an explosive wind increase of +95 mph in just 13 hours (+110 mph over the previous 24 hours).
The way things are going, they’re going to have to come up with another term, one after “rapid intensification.” I suggest “turbo intensification,” which seems consistent with the times.
Pray for Mexico this morning.
💣 The Jews are returning to Israel. The Times of Israel reported this morning that more than 200,000 Israelis have returned to Israel since the start of the war.
The government’s report did not explain why the Israelis returned or whether they subsequently joined the war effort, although that is the working assumption.
💣 Israeli influencer Amir Tsarfati, who I greatly admire, asked this week for folks to please stop spreading conspiracy theories about what caused or allowed the October 7th Hamas attack. Amir believes that the government’s inexplicable failure to detect the attack and the tardy response was simply a horrible intelligence failure, and he says the various theories only help Israel’s enemies.
I will do my best.
💣 The Gazan ground invasion remains delayed, and U.S. military forces continue assembling in the region. From the Hill, this morning: “US shifts tone on Israel-Hamas war as potential ground invasion looms.” Ukraine was hardest hit.
🚀 Speaking of spreading conspiracy theories, here we go again! This week, excited media filled with reports that an anonymous insider claimed Russian President Putin had a massive heart attack and collapsed at home. Subsequent reports from the Kremlin denied this news, and Putin has been seen looking just fine. He either has nine lives or they keep making things up.
🔥 Reality strikes! National Review ran a very encouraging story yesterday headlined, “D.C. Mayor Introduces ‘Commonsense’ Legislation to Tackle Rising Crime.” Get this: they are re-funding the police.
Yesterday, Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced new proposals to roll back progressive police reforms that Bowser said make it more difficult for police to ensure public safety. “We have to reverse the policy environment in the city that, quite frankly, went haywire in the last three years,” Bowser explained.
Note the passive voice. The policy environment went haywire. Not anybody in particular.
The article explained that Bowser’s anti-crime package, called the “Addressing Crime Trends (ACT) Now” Act, or the ACT Act, will: curb organized retail theft, address loitering around open-air drug markets, and get this, allow an additional charge to be brought against perpetrators who wear masks when committing crimes.
If only someone would have told them masks were a bad idea.
“You should be proud in your city that we give people one chance, two chances, three chances. But your chances can’t affect my safety. And that’s what we’re here to talk about,” Bowser explained, to wild applause.
I won’t suggest you listen to the whole thing. But it is another win in the counter-revolution. We’ll take it.
Have a wonderful Wednesday! Meet me back here tomorrow morning for another breaking C&C news roundup.
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