The Florida Congressman has not been charged with any crimes. But the reaction to this case raises important questions of political, legal and cultural judgments.
I was heavily chewed out by some colleagues and friends this week for arguing this position (i.e., defense of civil liberties should be a solid liberal / left-wing principle) during an informal, after-work conversation. It was a harrowing and depressing experience, especially given that the ire was coming directly from the portion of my + my partner's social circle that are registered Democrats, and vocal about it. I've generally either strategically avoided or been consciously quiet about these political discussions (since when did due process become political?!?!), but I was stupid and spoke up this time. Of course, all the standard horrible, ill-thought out accusations were thrown at me (How dare you defend a pedophile and rapist? Why is he spending so much on a lawyer if he is innocent? [insert a bunch of other idiotic, reactionary arguments]). This weekend is probably one of the first times when I seriously felt alienated enough to probably stop going to certain social events in that milieu.
Or, maybe, I won't be invited anymore anyway since there are enough who can't seem to tell the difference between defending a rapist and defending an alleged rapist's right to defend himself; and I've likely been marked as the former. Just hope they don't think badly of my partner because of it – they're mostly his friends. Oh, well, time to get out the drinks!
The trust I have for legacy media is so far in the negative at this point, my bias just jumped to the conclusion that Gaetz is probably just a threat they are neutralizing. It's so bad at this point I literally believe the opposite of what the narrative is. I probably need therapy due to trust issues and all the gaslighting from the media at this point.
From my own Substack, article entitled Ready, Shoot, Aim: "The Representative Matt Gaetz affair is troubling on every level. I am what Arabs call Abu Binat, Father of Daughters. Sexual predators have no place in society. If Matt Gaetz is a sexual predator, he needs to be removed from society. Following investigation, trial and conviction. Under the Doctrine of Ready, Shoot, Aim, he is presumed guilty based on rumors. That flies in the face of two centuries of US jurisprudence. Even Jeffrey Dahmer had to be afforded due process.
The New York Times cited anonymous sources in proclaiming that Gaetz was under Department of Justice investigation for possible violation of sex trafficking laws. It includes breath-taking statements, such as “It was not clear how Mr. Gaetz met the girl, believed to be 17 at the time of encounters about two years ago that investigators are scrutinizing, according to two of the people.” Bravo. The Times assumes that Gaetz met the girl; I don’t know why one wouldn’t lead that bit of rumor with “It was not clear whether Mr. Gaetz met the girl, whose identity is unknown, nor how he met her.” That narrative is more complete, which might be the problem. It doesn’t meet the standards for Ready, Shoot, Aim.
The Times goes on to cast guilt-by-association accusations of inviting a Holocaust denier to a State of the Union Speech, attending an event where security was provided by the Proud Boys, and “barging past Capitol Police into the secure rooms of the House Intelligence Committee to briefly break up the (impeachment) investigation of the President.” I’d like to address each of these in order.
Fifty-five years ago, in college, I invited a KKK member to an integrated social event. One attendee was even an admitted homosexual. I know no better way to deal with bigots than to force them to confront their bigotry. Is that what happened with the Holocaust denier? I don’t know. Neither does the Times.
In 2008, the New Black Panther Party (it and the Proud Boys are both led by African-Americans) provided polling place armed security in Philadelphia. That does not justify disapproval of Philadelphia voters. As for the hearings into impeachment of a President, those have always been conducted in public by the House Judiciary Committee. Secret hearings are the stuff of tyrants, and impeaching a president based on the accusation of someone not called to testify is simply unacceptable in a non-authoritarian regime. As distasteful as I found President Trump personally, I find it far more distasteful to compromise a solemn constitutional duty for partisan advantage. I’m only sorry I wasn’t there “barging by” with them.
The most bothersome accusation from the Times was 'Given Mr. Gaetz’s national profile, senior Justice Department officials in Washington — including some appointed by Mr. Trump — were notified of the investigation, the people said.' Imagine my horror at the idea of the Department of Justice investigator notifying an Assistant Attorney General - appointed by Trump!!!!! – that he was investigating a Member of Congress.
Later, the Times applied the coup de grace: “The Times has reviewed receipts from Cash App, a mobile payments app, and Apple Pay that show payments from Mr. Gaetz and Mr. Greenberg to one of the women, and a payment from Mr. Greenberg to a second woman. The women told their friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two people familiar with the conversations.”
Yet again anonymously sourced. I’ll assume the receipts exist, I’ll assume that the unidentified women told their unidentified friends that the payments were for sex with the two men, according to two other unidentified sources. The idea that this evidence would be adjudicated admissible in a court, without the receipts themselves bearing the notation “Payment for sex with a minor” or something equivalent, is bizarre. The idea that a first-day prosecutor who barely passed the bar exam would consider prosecuting based on that evidence is delusional.
Yes, Mr. Gaetz is under investigation. If it is concluded that he violated any federal laws, or at any time engaged in predatory behavior with minors, then try him, convict him and jail him. Assuming his guilt from the accusation is a witch trial. Note that there is no input from anyone familiar with how investigations are begun and conducted. Let me provide the missing part:
The federal investigation was opened of a corrupt politician in Florida, an associate of Gaetz. Please spare me the pearl-clutching about associating with a corrupt politician. If you are in politics it is impossible to avoid. Any crime carrying a potential felony conviction, especially of a public official, triggers a look at the target’s close associates because they are first potential witnesses, and second potential accomplices. Thus, an investigation was opened into Gaetz. That is standard investigative procedure.
I've personally been the subject of two federal investigations, both for alleged felonies, both closed due to lack of evidence. I didn't mind. I trusted that due process would apply. Since November 2016 due process has been optional, based on the political affiliation of the accused.
Censorship is only one horror of authoritarianism. We have at least four years to go, more likely eight. With the filibuster gone and the Supreme Court packed with the "right" justices, I fear we are seeing the death of our country.
The media misspelled “Hunter Biden”
I am so grateful that we have one journalist to defend true liberality. Glenn, I followed you on Twitter until I canceled my account. Now I subscribe directly. Worth every penny.
At the moment the Gaetz thing smells like a Democrat hit job...we'll see what happens. That said, no one has investigated Democrat Swalwell who was keeping company with a Chinese spy AND who sits on the Intelligence Committee in Congress.
Thank you Glenn. But why talk about Matt Gaetz having inappropriate sex while Hunter Biden has documented inappropriate sex COULD WE PLEASE talk instead about the impending Biden (Soros dictated) financial crisis ahead of us and the Border crisis not to mention the Constitution being destroyed? This is just bullshit crap deflecting us from the real problems being created every day with Biden's Ex Orders. Why are you playing into this, Glenn?
How did our right to consensually fuck with impunity lose ground to the prune lipped arbiters of morality?
And can someone please explain why Hunter Biden is getting away with lying on his gun application form abut his use of drugs (for which he was booted from the Navy), his drug use, his inability to pay federal taxes for long periods of time, etc, etc.....this dude has gotten a major pass because his dad is (trying to be) President.
Thank you very much. The astonishing and criminal behavior of Kamala Harris, detailed in below link, hugely increased risks to sex workers in the US:
Kamala Harris' office accused him of pimping, including some counts involving minors. The Texas state attorney general said he was "making money off...modern-day slavery."
Lacey and Larkin were also arrested and charged with "conspiracy to commit pimping." They spent four days jailed in Sacramento, California. Harris, who at the time was running for the U.S. Senate, called them "despicable" and labeled Backpage "the world's top online brothel."
News of the arrest was covered extensively in major media outlets, with Harris quoted prominently. Her complaint was that bad actors and teenagers sometimes used the site—and her evidence that Backpage "knew" this to be true was that it reported suspected underage ads to NCMEC and cooperated with police. Harris was using Backpage's history of working with law enforcement against it.
"Make no mistake," said Lacey and Larkin in statement that month. "Harris has won all that she was looking to win when she had us arrested. Like Sheriff Arpaio, she issued her sanctimonious public statement, controlled her media cycle and got her 'perp walk' on the evening news." While such targeting was not new to them, this was the first time a state had decided it was "okay to consider the First Amendment implications after, not before, hauling people off to jail."
In early December, a Sacramento Superior Court judge dismissed the case. On December 23, with just a few days left in office, Harris tried again, filing new conspiracy-to-commit-pimping charges against Lacey, Larkin, and Ferrer, along with allegations of money laundering. Ferrer also faced 12 counts of pimping. Again, all pimping and conspiracy charges were dismissed, though the judge allowed a money-laundering case to proceed.
"We've never, ever broken the law," Larkin says. "Never have, never wanted to. This isn't really—I know this is probably heresy—this isn't about sex work to me. This is about speech."
"This is the biggest speech battle in America right now," Lacey adds. "The First Amendment isn't about protecting the rights of the McLaughlin Group to speak their mind on television. This is specifically what the fuck it's about. Unpopular speech. Dangerous speech. Speech that threatens the norm. Not only do we have that right, our readers have that right. The [Backpage] posters have that right.
"We spent 40 years doing journalism, groundbreaking journalism, and they want to take all that away," he says—because "they don't like who exercised their constitutional rights to use our advertising platform. And that has no goddamn bearing. The law doesn't say, 'You get to pick and choose who exercises their constitutional rights by whether or not you like their lifestyle.' It's just incredible."
I pretty much cant stand Matt Gaetz but this entire "story" seems like a witch hunt that showed up oddly right after he dared to challenge the same Liz Cheney.
Unfortunately the tiny, lizard-brains of blue anon cultists will, once again, take Glenn's defense of reason and the presumption of innocence as a defense of the politics of Matt Gaetz. They are mentally and psychologically incapable of understanding what acting on (and in defense of) principle is all about, because they have no principles of their own. To them, everything is about tribalism, all the time - that is the beginning and end of their capacity for "reason". Its what allows someone to completely dismiss the rape allegations against Joe Biden or the numerous credible sexual assault allegations against Cuomo while at the same time condemning the behavior of Matt Gaetz, who has not been publicly accused by any women (or by authorities) of wrongdoing. Objective reality and adherence to principle has absolutely no place in the "reasoning" process of Blue Anon cultists, who are much more likely to view these concepts as tenets of white supremacy. It is what allows someone to shed tears of joy while sitting on their couch wearing their pink pussy hat and watching Bill Clinton lead a forum about empowering women (with the lingering waft of vanilla from a Saint Mueller candle burning in the background). It is mental rot, from top to bottom.
Just someone with an agenda dripping poison into a reporter's ear. That's all it took for this to snowball. Reporters are such easy marks.
It should be clear to anyone with active brain cells that this is nothing more than (yet another example of) character assassination, for purely partisan purposes. Any entrenched Democrat or Rino who refuses to admit or acknowledge this has become an accomplice to libel and fraud. As far as NYT goes, I refer you to a judge's recent ruling concerning investigative journalist outlet Project Veritas vs. NYT: the evidence being so overwhelming that NYT deliberately published false information in a front page expose, then attempted to backtrack their editorial infraction as "opinion" - as if to say a reporter can make egregious statements, so long as they are presented as commentary.
Project Veritas now has a legal greenlight to sue NYT for their libelous reportage, and I will be watching that trial very closely. Meanwhile, part of the problem is that we live in an age where one is "accused" until judicially exonerated: case-in-point, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings; a political smear campaign presented without a scintilla of credible, verifiable intel -just the word of a political operative with an agenda, abusing the power of the press to pile on the stench of scandal to a man who did nothing wrong. To (correctly) paraphrase Michelle Obama, the mission statement of the Democratic party has become, "when they go high, we stoop to unfathomable lows!"
While the prurient part of the Gaetz story has been garnering all the headlines and fierce debates, the deeper and more troubling details of this saga are being ignored/missed- including by Greenwald.
And it is this: that whatever the truth of Gaetz’s alleged crimes, it appears that Israeli connected officials
a) were aware of the case within the DOJ (how?);
b) attempted to exploit this by trying to essentially extort money from Gaetz to make it all go away (the extortion that Gaetz alleged is denied and instead it is claimed that it was a simple request. In any case, this part of Gaetz’s story has been confirmed)
c) desired the money was for an off-the-book scheme to allegedly free a CIA agent from within Iran using private mercenaries (the astonishing alleged reason for the request for the money was also confirmed);
d) offered that were Gaetz to cooperate, he’d be treated well by the DOJ up to and including a potential pardon by the POTUS (however credible this offer);
All this begs the question(s): how many politicians/elites - including judges/media etc - within the US establishment are being blackmailed in a similar manner with their alleged crimes as bargaining chips for their acquiescence to further covert plans of quasi-governmental orgs? At the least why is there not more coverage of this part of the Gaetz saga?
Contrast the narrative if it turned out that Russians were trying to blackmail Gaetz. The story would then be about how Russia had infiltrated the DOJ, and was trying to manipulate politicians.
All pood points Glenn. Please continue standing for sanity and decency in this insane and no longer decent world. The only defense against baseless smear campaigns is to make everyone understand why they should be ignored and the why the questions should be directed to the authors of such campaign rather than their targets.