The Sad and Strange Colorado Case of Dylan Redwine Does Not Make Sense.

Something doesn’t make sense about the reporting on authorities’ decision to file charges against Mark Redwine in connection with the death of his son Dylan nearly five years ago.
 
Denver news sources reported last Saturday that Redwine had been arrested in Washington State and faced charges of 2nd degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. On Sunday, Denver’s Fox affiliate KDVR featured the comments of former FBI criminal profiler Pete Klismet. The La Plata County Sheriff’s office reportedly asked Klismet to review their case file to see where the evidence pointed. It was an extensive undertaking.
 
“I said don’t give me any hints on who I am supposed to be looking for. I want to look at this in an unbiased manner,” Klismet said.
He spent months combing through evidence and reports.
“You name it, I looked at it,” Klismet said.
The behavioral scientist also studied Mark Redwine’s behavior, including his appearance on the “Dr. Phil Show” in which Mark Redwine refused to take a lie detector test.
“In looking at the reports, the things Mark was saying didn’t seem to mix well with everything else,” Klismet said.
Klismet said he explored different options, but continued to come back to the same answer.
“I came to an inescapable conclusion. It had to be Mark,” Klismet said.
 
But this is puzzling. Profilers are commonly understood to help police try to identify the type of suspect they might be looking for. In this instance, Mark Redwine had long been declared “a person of interest” and police had ample reason to suspect Rewine. What could a profiler add to their files of evidence? Dylan had been with his father on a court-ordered visit. He disappeared. Redwine claimed he had been out running errands and a stranger snatched his son. But, Denver’s KMGH channel 7 reported the physical evidence against Redwine appeared daunting:
 
As they searched for evidence into the disappearance and death of the teenage boy, investigators found his blood in multiple locations inside his father’s home, including a couch, the corner of a coffee table, on the floor beneath a rug and on a love seat.
During another search, on Aug. 5, 2013, a K9 was introduced into the suspect’s home to find more clues into the boy’s death. The dog was able to sniff out the scent of a cadaver in various locations of Mark’s home, including the living room and the washing machine, as well as on the clothes Mark wore the night Dylan disappeared, the indictment shows.
On Feb. 13, 2014, another search with the K9 was conducted at Mark’s home, which pointed to the scent of a cadaver on Mark Redwine’s Dodge pick-up truck, including the bed of the truck.
 
Whether or not a trained dog’s indications are reliable or admissible, the investigators found Dylan’s blood throughout the house! A child is missing. He was in the custody of his father. His blood is found in multiple places throughout his father’s house.
 
What could have caused authorities not to file charges based on that evidence? What can a profiler tell them now that buttresses the ample evidence they already possessed? What evidence and arguments do they think they can present to a jury that they did not already have four years ago?
 
Something doesn’t make sense. This tragic case will be interesting to follow.

The Judiciary’s Coup Attempt Against American Voters Continues

 
 
Millions of Americans hoped the 2016 election would bring major changes to the federal government. Hundreds of judges have a different idea. Earlier this month, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a lawless ruling attempting to deny Donald Trump the powers of the office America elected him to. Specifically, the court ruled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt may not issue a 90-day pause to evaluate a controversial and costly new environmental regulation adopted in the waning days of the Obama Administration. Pruitt had announced EPA would pause to reconsider a new rule that greatly restricts methane gas emissions from well sites.
 
The decision involves complex regulatory issues that are not easy to summarize for public discussion. But, the position the court staked out, the power to intervene it claimed, and the executive authority it denied, are audacious and abusive. They send troubling signals about courts’ willingness to block other efforts of the Trump administration to reconsider policies adopted by the Obama administration.
 
It happened like this. In August of 2016, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy adopted a sweeping new rule sharply reducing allowable methane gas emissions from well sites and imposing enormous upfront compliance costs on energy producers. The final rule was different from the preliminary version that had been released for public comment, containing new, unvetted terms and restrictions. A coalition of industry groups challenged the final rule, arguing among other things that the Clean Air Act requires the Administrator to reconsider issuing a rule if challengers raise objections and show that it would have been impractical to raise those objections during the allowed comment period.
 
Because the challengers focused on the new provisions that weren’t submitted for comment, their argument was, to use a legal term, a slam dunk. Pruitt agreed the Clean Air Act required him to take a second look. Last June, Pruitt announced EPA would reconsider the new methane rule and stay enforcement for 90 days so well operators would not have to sink compliance costs pending a final decision.
 
Promptly, a coalition of environmental groups sued the EPA, arguing the Clean Air Act did not require reconsideration, and therefore, Pruitt lacked flexibility to pause enforcement for 90 days.
 
The government and the challenging energy producers responded to the lawsuit with a range of decisive arguments that should have, but did not, persuade a 2-1 majority of the DC panel. Judges David Tatel and Robert Wilkins–Clinton and Obama appointees, respectively, with Wilkins seated by virtue of Harry Reid’s nuclear maneuver–found against the EPA, ruling it lacked power to delay enforcement. The EPA made the following arguments, which were lost on the DC Circuit:
 
First, courts have no jurisdiction to hear or act on preliminary actions. They can review only final agency actions. This is a firmly established principle for the common sense reason that litigants and courts can’t intervene speculatively into what an agency might do, what it could do, what it is thinking of doing, but only what it actually decides to do. Proposals, deliberations, suggested drafts, none of these things decide or bind anyone’s rights or duties. Only final adopted policy can be challenged. The court has no jurisdiction here. It’s essentially the same obvious principle citizens can’t sue Congress for a law that it hasn’t yet passed. Only after the final vote is the matter teed up for action.
 
Second, EPA doesn’t need a statutory mandate to set internal enforcement priorities. This kind of review and pause is inherent in executive authority to choose to pursue some policies ahead of others. Pruitt didn’t have to wait to be challenged, and act only by virtue of a statute that compelled him to reconsider the rule. He could, simply as a matter of exercising agency power, announce he was going to eyeball this new regulation and hold off imposing a new mandate until he finished the review.
Third, if Pruitt did in fact need a statutory basis for his action, the Clean Air Act plainly provides it. The energy producers sought reconsideration and pause because they had been denied the chance to comment on the newly inserted provisions. If citizens weren’t allowed to weigh in on material terms, the law requires reconsideration.
Or, it is supposed to. In 22 pages of judicial cartwheels and somersaults that have to be slogged through to be appreciated, the majority threw law and reason out the window. First the panel admitted that a decision to reconsider was tentative rather than final, because it might not produce any changes to the rule. So, the panel then narrowed its focus to the related 90-day pause in enforcement. Perhaps just talking about the rule might not cause any changes, but, the pause was, in its own small way a final action. This is so, the court said, because it amounted to a change of the rule’s effective date and when compliance obligations were triggered. And that was final.
Dissenting Bush appointee Janice Rogers Brown demolished this sophistry in one line: “Hitting the pause button,” she noted “is the antithesis of ending the matter.”
 
Having pulled a “final action” out of their robes which they claimed granted them jurisdiction, the panel pressed on to review the pause. Surely, the government argued, the delay was part of its inherent authority, or even stronger than that, it was mandated by the Clean Air Act because it was to consider the impact of late-added provisions to the rule.
 
No, the panel concluded, reconsideration was not actually mandatory under the statute. The final provisions weren’t so different from the preliminary terms that were released for public comment. In fact, the first draft kind of hinted at some of the surprises. The parties could and should have anticipated what changes EPA would make, and address them in their initial comments.
 
So, the unhappy energy companies dropped the ball by not raising the new issues and EPA was therefore not required to reconsider. The panel further unreasoned that, even if reconsideration is an inherent power of an agency, the brief delay in enforcement is not. Presto, Pruitt was powerless not to press full speed with enforcement.
 
This lawless ruling is a rotten result for consumers, the affected energy producers, and an ominous omen for Constitutional peace in the nation. As far as the affected parties, energy companies are now in the limbo of knowing the EPA can “reconsider” the new rule, but they face deadlines to purchase and install costly monitoring and capture equipment. The upfront costs substantially moot reconsideration by EPA.
 
For the nation, it signals further willingness by Democrat-appointed judges to join The Resistance and fight to tie Trump’s hands by any means possible. The new administration is studying several disputed actions by the Obama administration including an FCC power grab over the internet, new education regulations, labor regulations and more. There will be legal challenges to any such reconsideration. But, what Obama can impose by a pen and a phone, logically, Trump has authority to reverse by a pen and a phone.
 
The last time this happened, two Circuit Courts blocked Trump’s immigration order, saying even though it was facially valid, statements by candidate Trump cast a pall on its real intent. The Supreme Court summarily smacked their obstruction down. This latest power grab raises different legal issues but signals the same thing: Unless slapped by the High Court, lower federal courts will contort any way possible to protect Obama’s initiatives and to block Trump’s.
 
 

Giving Due Process to Accused Men Perpetuates Campus Rape Culture, Say Betsy DeVos’s Feminist Critics.

Lost behind recent, louder political headlines, the controversial buzz this week has been about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos peeking behind the curtains of higher education. She’s scrutinizing the kangaroo courts known as university disciplinary proceedings, and the role of pressure from her own department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in driving the problem. Indications are, she has concerns about what she’s seeing.
 
Regarding issues like alleged hate speech, civil rights violations, or sexual misconduct, universities have gained a bad and well-deserved reputation for trampling the rights of the accused while pressing for politically correct results in support of leftist oppression narratives. University administrators certainly can be overbearing wardens, but a lot of the pressure they are bending to comes from the OCR. DeVos’s willingness to take the issue seriously and consider corrective measures is driving fury and apoplexy on the Left.
 
Enabling rape deniers,” “legitimizing rape,” “embracing misogynists,” “bizarre Christian tilt,” “enemy of victims” are a few of the howls from the liberal blogosphere. These criticism are bogus reactionary leftism. Ms. DeVos is looking into a flawed system that is bad at what it does, cannot adequately supervise hormonal college students of both sexes or protect real victims, often stomps on the accused in an effort to compensate, and sows injustice and broken lives along its relentless path.
 
The New York Times was more evenhanded in its treatment, and reported DeVos is grappling with important dilemmas. “[A] system without due process ultimately serves no one in the end,” the Times quoted her as saying. Still, DeVos is not looking to return to any bad old days of injustice and sexist dismissal: “We can’t go back to the days when allegations were swept under the rug and I acknowledge there was a time when women were essentially dismissed. That is not acceptable.”
 
How things came to this pass follows a convoluted story. In brief overview, universities are operating under a law that is not designed to police college sex. Federal regulators have pressed the law and universities into applications neither it nor they were designed to address. College hook up culture is, arguably, an untamed frontier of a setting to try to enforce modern feminist theories challenging commonly held understandings of consent, and expanding concepts of assault or misconduct. Universities are institutionally incapable of justly adjudicating the tensions and fissures that result.
 
The legal story starts with Title IX of the U.S. Code. Passed by Congress in 1972, that law establishes a simple and reasonable standard: educational institutions that receive federal money may not discriminate on the basis of sex. If they are found to discriminate, they risk losing federal funds. Essentially, it is an education sector supplement to laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment and public accommodations.
 
In barring sex discrimination, Title IX has been pressed into service of theories that might seem to stretch its original concept, such as creating a de facto quota system in high school and college sports, to ensure that the number of athletic participants accurately reflects the sexual composition of schools. While it has done much good in expanding opportunities, critics assert it has caused harm in forcing to schools to eliminate some sports traditionally pursued by men, and to add new women’s teams to make sure the percentages balance.
 
More recently, it has sparked some scrutiny of the rather male slant of faculties in the hard sciences at major universities.
 
One area federal officials pushed Title IX in recent decades is addressing increased reports of sexual misconduct on college campuses. Since at least the 1990s, often under pressure from federal regulators, colleges have more actively policed allegations of assault or misconduct.This apparently healthful development, though, poses important questions. Certainly, schools should not tolerate known sexual assault or abuse within their spheres of authority. But, does that necessarily mean schools should be the arbiter of when violations occur?
 
Sexual assault is against the law. It is a civil and criminal violation. There are civil and criminal authorities and courts that police and administer justice in these things. Under pressure from activists and regulators, and perhaps a bit of mission creep from turf-building administrators, colleges have moved to occupy this space as well.
 
The record of such intervention has been problematic. It accelerated under a controversial move by the Obama OCR in 2008. College disciplinary proceedings are not courts of law or bound by the codes of criminal or civil procedure. Media attention and federal pressure have generally pushed far more toward protecting victims and punishing predators than to ensuring due process, fair proceedings, and just results. Academic KC Johnson and journalist Stuart Taylor have documented a litany of abuses of accused sexual aggressors: Limited or no access to relevant accusations or evidence; limited access to help by or participation from legal counsel, no right to confront or cross examine the accuser, withholding or exclusion of exculpatory information, such as evidence that suggested sexual contact was voluntary, and, harsh consequences and sanctions, often even before any official hearings or determinations occurred, and so on.
 
 
In 2008, Obama’s DOE kicked the already slanted deck with what is referred to as a Dear Colleague Letter. The letter essentially ordered universities to lower the evidentiary bar for accusers from “clear and convincing evidence” (which was already below the criminal standard of “beyond a reasonable doubt”) to the ordinary civil standard of “preponderance of the evidence” which effectively means even a 1% stronger belief in the accuser’s charges than the denials of the accused requires universities to find for the accuser and deliver punishment to the accused.
 
This intervention by correspondence worked two kinds of injustice. First, it was a change in federal policy without any of the niceties of passing a real regulation, such as chance for public comment and opposition to the change. But, the letter left it sharply clear that schools would comply, or they would risk federal enforcement and loss of funds.
 
Second, an ordinary preponderance standard is grossly inadequate for the ruinous consequences that universities can inflict. A negative finding will result in expulsion, loss of educational opportunities, including enrolling in other schools, loss of employment prospects, humiliation before peers, friends, family, and community. This is not the stuff of a civil damages law suit. It is life scarring.
 
Activists, administrators, and regulators argue that the consequences of sexual assault are worse, and cut and scar more deeply. They are probably right. But that is exactly why there are public institutions whose role it is to apply the law and seek just results. Even in a civil sexual harassment case with lesser potential for ruin than a university “judgment,” an accused has greater rights and standing to defend, answer charges, and seek a just outcome.
 
This is the context that Betsy DeVos is wading into. How did universities become the presumed sexual parents and guardians of student behavior on campus? Is that even authorized by existing law? Are universities equipped for the task? Have the scales tipped too far in pressing for a “conviction”? Would it make more sense to rely on civil and criminal authorities and return the academic focus to education?
 
These are important questions. The Department of Education is appropriately considering them.

Times that Try Comrades’ Souls, But, No Smoking Gun Nyet.

In the meeting of Trump campaign officials and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Left appears to believe it finally has an impeachment bullet. “Smoking gun” gloats syndicated columnist Doyal McManus. “Criminal implications,” sniffs CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin.
 
UCLA Law Professor Eugene Volokh douses such fevered diagnoses in this thoughtful analysis. Essentially, the alleged crime is seeking to receive “something of value” from a foreign national. But, no case has ever interpreted a piece of gossip as an item of commercial value. Rather, the law has applied the common sense understanding that a gift of value refers to cash, in kind services, or a marketable political asset like polling data or an advertising plan. “Hey, do you know what I heard about your opponent?” has never been commoditized. Volokh argues any such interpretation would unduly restrict speech and information, and violate the First Amendment.
 
But, it’s not just liberal legal beagles who are picking at the meat and bones of the story. Conservative Trump critics and some occasional defenders of Trump are also finding cause for angst and condemnation. “Disgraceful,” opines John Podhoretz. “Outrageous misconduct,” pronounces conservative super lawyer Andrew McCarthy. “This is terrible” agrees libertarian Sensei David Harsanyi. “Wrong and stupid” piles on Keith, my blogging partner here at Insurgent Tribe.
 
The collective opinion of these critics is that whether or not meeting with the Russian temptress crossed any legal lines, it was stupid, it was compromising, it was scandalous, it looks and smells bad. It was a capital political offense.
 
With much respect for these commenters, I just don’t see it. Donald Trump Jr. heard from a shadowy operative that she had dirt on Hillary Clinton. Campaigns live to find dirt on their opponents. No political aide, staffer, or official in their sane mind would refuse to hear what the information might be, how damaging it was, how credible it was, how it was obtained (for example, if the info was the fruit of a crime, then any rational politico runs from the fire alarm). But just to sit down and say: “What have ya got,” seems to me to be the only earthly response imaginable.
 
Now, there is, of course, a whole world of objectionable and compromising real estate that might snare a candidate or campaign. Was there some quid pro quo proposed, a request for a favor in the Russian interest? The slope is slippery and the chasm deep, but, “show me what you got” seems an unimaginable card to refuse to play.
 

As it turns out, Ms. Veselnitskaya, had nothing and delivered nothing, and says Trump Jr. may have been misled about her role and intent. But, what, if she had had information, say, that Hillary Clinton demanded contributions to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for her approval as Secretary of State, of the sale of uranium rights to Russian interests? A shocking and implausible claim, I know. Still, a serious query to the critics of the meeting: Would it not be in the national interest for Americans to know their Secretary of State was selling access to her office and decisions? Would there be anything nefarious or harmful to the US interest for the Trump campaign to receive and disclose that information? Of course not!

Context and actual policy are critical here, too. The Trump administration is not doing Russia any favors. Trump’s plan to increase energy production is putting the screws to Russia’s major hard export. The US military’s tougher stance in the Middle East is undermining Putin’s client Assad. Nikki Haley regularly blasts Russian policy at the UN. Trump’s acclaimed speech in Poland not only cast a dim eye on Russian thuggery, but promised Poland strategic energy if Putin again tries to cut off the pipelines.

 
Too, the double standards of liberal critics of the current administration are hard to stomach. The Trump team was offered, and tried to eyeball, dirt on the Clinton organization. Let’s compare that to a brief review of Democrat plotting and entanglement with foreign enemies. This short and incomplete survey is not offered as a tu quoque get out of jail free card, but rather as a substantive measuring stick. What kind of entanglements have not been generally regarded by Democrats and their media allies as scandalous betrayals of the American trust, and how do they compare by trying to peak into a hinted dossier?
 
Well, in advance of the 1984 election and at the height of the Cold War, Senator Edward Kennedy contacted the Soviet Union and solicited foreign policy moves by Mikhael Gorbachev that would undermine President Reagan on the global stage, and embolden leftist nuclear protestors.
 
John Kerry traveled to Nicaragua and gave aid and comfort to Daniel Ortega at a time the Reagan administration’s policy was to try to dislodge the dictator’s communist grip on Central America.
 
Barack Obama and John Kerry negotiated secret side deals with Iran to bribe it into the nuclear accords. They altered their rules of engagement and strategies in combat missions in the Middle East, to avoid offending Iran. They spirited $400 million in laundered cash to Iran on pallets.
Hillary Clinton actually did approve, as Secretary of State, the sale of uranium assets to Russian interests, and Russian interests actually did contribute millions to the Clinton family enterprise. Bill Clinton, future First Man in waiting, gave a half million dollar speech to Russian interests.
No liberal batted an eye. The Gray Lady never got her knickers in a twist about any of this. It wasn’t deemed “treason” or “impeachable,” or “aid and comfort to the enemy.”
 
But, somehow, a 20 minute meeting with a mysterious Russian caller to see what the caller might have to offer shakes our Republic to its foundations, corrupts our democracy, and betrays the Constitution.
Oh, poppycock. These people are not serious and should not be taken seriously.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Some Trump Winning: The U.S. Coalition is Beating ISIS

Don’t wait for this news to be trumpeted on CNN or the other networks, but the U.S. led coalition in Iraq and Syria is on the verge of decisively defeating ISIS. So says Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, perhaps the leading dispenser of elite Washington conventional wisdom on foreign policy.

In an upbeat article titled The Crumbling ISIS Caliphate, Ignatius describes a battle not yet won, but nevertheless, a landscape in transformation, hope breaking out, and evil in retreat:

The Islamic State’s headquarters in this city at the western gateway to Raqqah has been crushed like a sand castle by American bombs. At a dam complex on the Euphrates River where ISIS was torturing prisoners and hurling alleged homosexuals from a giant concrete tower, all that’s left of the extremists are militant slogans scrawled on the wall and a pile of trash.
It’s far too soon to say that life is returning to normal here after liberation, but much of the horror is over. Mines and improvised explosive devices were cleared here last week. Young children flash “V” for victory signs. Islamic beards have nearly disappeared. The most visible people sporting full beards on Thursday were American special operations soldiers who accompanied visiting U.S. special envoy Brett McGurk.[snip] Young boys who were indoctrinated at ISIS training camps are trying to find their balance in a new world where beheadings and the chanting of Islamic slogans are over. To look at people’s wary faces, uncertain but with a trace of hope in their eyes, it’s like they’re waking up from a nightmare.

 

Ignatius describes a society striving to rediscover and rebuild normality. On the rubble of stones and nightmarish memories, neighborhoods are repairing, town councils are forming, and people are daring to look toward a future with peace and hope. Ignatius surveys the region and reports that Syria, too, is showing the fruits of a successful military campaign.

The black balloon of the ISIS caliphate is deflating quickly in Syria, as in Iraq. There may be up to a year of hard fighting left, but the surprise for U.S. officials is that the battle in eastern Syria is going faster and better than expected.[snip] The Kurdish-led militia known as the Syrian Democratic Forces has shown it can defeat ISIS, so long as it’s backed by U.S. air power. The Tabqa battle in May was perhaps the most ambitious and daring operation of the war so far. Five hundred SDF soldiers were airlifted across Lake Assad in V-22 Osprey helicopters in a raid that caught ISIS by surprise. The SDF suffered about 100 killed and more than 300 wounded in the bloody operation, but it worked, and in this part of the world, success breeds success. Arab refugees are now streaming toward the Kurdish-led SDF, rather than away, and 8,200 U.S.-trained Arab forces are joining the front lines.

Tellingly, but not surprisingly, Ignatius reports positive events in a focused, localized way, without much context or development. US forces are making surprising progress. They are using the basic strategy established by the Obama administration of providing expertise, firepower, and air cover,  but relying on local residents, their military and militias, for the boots on the ground fighting.

Ignatius omits some key elements of the story. There is no mention of the change in leadership from a president who imposed constrictive rules of engagement, to a president who declared his plan was to eliminate the threat from ISIS. He delegated authority and decision making to his military commanders. Neither is there any acknowledgement of Defense Secretary James Mattis’s declaration that policy in fighting ISIS had changed. The US does not mean to contain and push ISIS around, from place to place. It means to pursue “merciless annihilation.” The Military Times quoted Mattis’s thinking:  “The foreign fighters are the strategic threat should they return home to Tunis, to Kuala Lumpur, to Paris, to Detroit. Wherever,” Mattis said. “By taking the time to deconflict, to surround and then attack, we carry out the annihilation campaign so we don’t simply transplant this problem from one location to another.”

This is a man who intends to kill the enemy, not drop leaflets on them warning of impending attacks.

There is another leading commentator on foreign policy and conflict Ignatius might have consulted. He writes for the Washington Post and his name is David Ignatius. Just last February, that Ignatius wrote an article about the Danger of an ISIS Breakout. Ignatius warned that defeating ISIS in its strongholds might simply push its hardened Jihadis on to other nations and other hot spots. Thus metastasized, they would spread terror more broadly in the region and around the globe. The options seemed few and poor. Ignatius cautioned that the Trump administration was misplaying its hand.

Well, that was then. Today, Ignatius is happy to report good news. He’s just a bit stingy in crediting the change in management and policy that made the good news possible. But, that history will be hard to suppress.

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