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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

Hugh Talks To Alan Dershowitz

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The audio:


The transcript:

HH: Pleased to welcome to the program this morning Alan Dershowitz. Professor Dershowitz is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law Emeritus at Harvard Law School, and of course one of the great Constitutional Law luminaries in America. Professor Dershowitz, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

AD: Well, thanks. You’re lucky to be in beautiful Aspen, almost as nice as Martha’s Vineyard, where I am today.

HH: Well, we are among the pampered right now, both you and I. Professor, let’s get right to it. Article III, Section 3, for the benefit of the Steelers fans out there, let me read it to them. “Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them or adhering to their enemies giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act or on confession in open court. The Congress shall have the power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood or forfeiture except during the life of the person attainted.” Professor Dershowitz, it has been accused by including John Brennan and others that the President has committed treason. What do you think of that charge?

AD: It’s wrong. The Constitution defines only one crime, and that crime is treason. And it says it shall consist only, and basically it means that it has to be during wartime, levying war against a war, or during wartime giving aid and comfort. What President Trump is alleged to have done, you know, making the image of Putin stronger and helping him gain international credibility around the world doesn’t even come close to treason under the Constitution. Now to his credit, Brennan, who I like very much and is a very, very decent man, I think said his conduct was treasonous. I call that kind of treason lite, using treason as a kind of metaphor the way people say oh, that’s criminal when it’s not prohibited by any statute. And you know, the books I have been writing have been to try to draw that distinction between sin and crime. Nothing is a crime unless it’s specifically prohibited by the statute or the Constitution. The difference between us and the former Soviet Union is the Soviet Union, anything that was not specifically made legal was illegal. In the United States, only things that are specifically made illegal are illegal. Everything else is non-criminal and legal. You might not like what Trump did. I didn’t like what he did. But to call it treason is just wrong as a matter of Constitutional Law.

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Life In The Administrative State – Part 2 of an Occasional Series

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A couple of weeks ago I started sharing stories of my life dealing with the “administrative state.”  I would like to continue that today by looking at what I call “the petty power play.”  Now, everybody has experienced the petty power play at some point in their lives.  That worker at the DMV that simply does not move faster than molasses in January, despite people lined up out the door and down the block – that’s a petty power play.  They are more interested in showing you it’s their world and you are just visiting than they are in serving you.  The petty power play is abundant in dealings with the TSA.  Like I say, everybody has experienced it to some extent.

But when you enter the world of regulation it gets much worse.  Sometimes what seems like a petty power play is just a function of confusion.  Yes, even the regulators are confused by their regulations. Sometimes what seems like a petty power play is a lack of training – the person you are dealing with does not sufficiently understand what it is they are supposed to be doing.  But sometimes it just is a naked power play.  I want to look at three examples

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Dr. Kori Schake, Deputy Director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, On Helsinki

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Dr. Kori Schake, deputy director-general of the Institute for Strategic Studies in London, joined me from the U.K. this morning to discuss the aftermath of the Helsinki Summit:




HH: I am so pleased to welcome back Dr. Kori Schake, deputy director of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, one of our go to experts on the world. Dr. Schake, thank you for joining me. Do we find you in London or D.C. today?

KS: You find me in London, Hugh.

HH: I appreciate you taking the time. Let’s start with an open-ended, your assessment of how disastrous yesterday’s summit was.

KS: (laughing) I love it that that’s the framing, that we are measuring degree of disastrous rather than…

HH: Well, we are, right? We are.

KS: I do, I, to be honest, I’m actually still really internalizing it. It was so genuinely shocking to see a president of the United States equivocate between the conclusion of 17 American intelligence agencies and the promise by the murderous leader of an enemy country, that he had nothing to do with it, I really, I really think the President went beyond disgraceful. What he did yesterday was dangerous to our country.

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“Prime Day” Thoughts: “Time for “Prime Platform” To Replace Twitter

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Happy Prime Day.  Very few companies have the power to create “a day.”  Amazon does.  It also has the power to save us from Twitter, where some MSM figures spent the weekend taking vows to distance themselves from the platform that has both addicted and disfigured many, though not all, in the Manhattan-Beltway media elite. Twitter is bad for the soul, they seem to be saying, or at least for the national “conversation.”  They are right.

So my message on Prime Day is pretty simple: Save social media, Mr. Bezos.

The fact is that Amazon has more than 100 million Amazon Prime subscribers around the world. Jeff Bezos revealed the number in a letter to shareholders in April. Despite a price hike on the basic membership, I expect the number to keel growing. That’s why I own some Amazon stock. Amazon is the Kudzu of retail. It’s not stopping growing anywhere soon. So Amazon Prime is going to keep growing too.

To join Prime is to become a credentialed member of an Internet ecosystem. You can’t be anonymous —not easily at least— and it costs real money to join, but benefits are real as is the steady accumulation of tens of millions of members.

Prime would serve the public and Amazon’s shareholders if it was to launch a Twitter-like platform but only for Prime Members. Call it for the purpose of this column “Prime Platform.”

You don’t pay, you don’t play. But once in the door (and 100 million plus people —not bots— are already through the opening as members of Prime) “Prime Platform” could become the “always good Twitter” instead of the often dark and frequently disgusting Twitter of trolls, fanatics and extremists.

Twitter is diseased and there isn’t a single user who doesn’t know that. It is also indispensable for news and sports junkies. There isn’t an alternative. Or at least there hasn’t been one to date.

Prime Platform could change that. Prime Platform could exile the worst of the Twitter behaviors in the “terms of service.” The Eden of social media could be opened, all because it costs money to get in, but the cost is ancillary to the real benefit which is the shopping service. The community already exists. It would just change its chatter land from Twitter to Prime Platform.

Prime Platform would evolve to destroy not just Twitter but probably Facebook and Snapchat, Instagram and pretty much every other social media platform out there because, again, it kills off the creep factor but keeps the fun and the news feed functions of good Twitter.

Give it some thought Mr. Bezos. A “Prime Platform” is a meeting place online whose time has come.


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