Priorities, People

Breitbart posted an article today about the passing of the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement.

The article reports:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said during a press conference Thursday that she remains skeptical about the House passing the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement this year, as Congress’s lower chamber continues to focus on the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Speaker Pelosi cast doubt during the presser that Congress has enough time to pass the USMCA in 2019.

“I’m not even sure if we came to an agreement today that it would be enough time to finish [this year], but just depends on how much agreement we come to,” Pelosi said.

Last week, she said that a deal on USMCA was “imminent.”

“I’m eager to get this done,” the California Democrat said.

The USMCA’s delayed passage through the House arises as Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) have launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Speaker Pelosi and House Ways and Means chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) will meet with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer to discuss the Democrats’ remaining concerns surrounding the USMCA.

The article notes:

Pelosi’s comments follow the bipartisan House Problem Solvers Caucus’s call for the speaker to hold a “timely vote” on the USMCA. The caucus represents 48 House Republicans and Democrats.

I am one of many people who believe that this delay is political–the trade agreement is a good thing for American workers, and Democrats are reluctant to give President Trump any sort of victory. It is a shame that the Democrats have chosen to put politics over the welfare of American workers.

 

The Positive Impact Of President Trump’s Foreign Policy

The Gatestone Institute posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s foreign policy on Iran. The article reminds us that because of the Trump administration’s decision not to extend its waiver for Iran’s eight biggest oil buyers; China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey and South Korea, the economy of Iran is shrinking rapidly. Because of this, Iran is not able to fund terrorist groups at previous levels.

The article reports:

Before the US Department of Treasury leveled secondary sanctions against Iran’s oil and gas sectors, Tehran was exporting over two million barrel a day of oil. Currently, Tehran’s oil export has gone down to less than 200,000 barrel a day, which represents a decline of roughly 90% in Iran’s oil exports.

Iran has the second-largest natural gas reserves and the fourth-largest proven crude oil reserves in the world, and the sale of these resources account for more than 80 percent of its export revenues. The Islamic Republic therefore historically depends heavily on oil revenues to fund its military adventurism in the region and sponsor militias and terror groups. Iran’s presented budget in 2019 was nearly $41 billion, while the regime was expecting to generate approximately $21 billion of it from oil revenues. This means that approximately half of Iran’s government revenue comes from exporting oil to other nations.

Even though Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, boasts about the country’s self-sufficient economy, several of Iran’s leaders recently admitted the dire economic situation that the government is facing. Speaking in the city of Kerman on November 12, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged for the first time that “Iran is experiencing one of its hardest years since the 1979 Islamic revolution” and that “the country’s situation is not normal.”

The result of this is protests and demonstrations against the government.

The article reports:

Iran’s national currency, the rial, also continues to lose value: it dropped to historic lows. One US dollar, which equaled approximately 35,000 rials in November 2017, now buys you nearly 110,000 rials.

In addition, the Islamic Republic appears to be scrambling to compensate for the loss of revenues it is encountering. A few days ago, for example, Iran’s leaders tripled the price of gasoline. It appears a sign of desperation to generate revenues in order to fund their military adventurism in the region and support their proxies and terror groups.

This increase immediately led people to rise up against the government. In the last few days, several Iranian cities have become the scenes of widespread protests and demonstrations. The protests first erupted in Ahvaz and then spread to many other cities in the Khuzestan province as well as in the capital Tehran, and Kermanshah, Isfahan, Tabriz, Karadj, Shiraz, Yazd, Boushehr, Sari, Khorramshahr, Andimeshk, Dezful, Behbahan and Mahshahr.

Tehran’s diminishing resources have also caused Iranian leaders to cut funds to the Palestinian terror group Hamas and the Lebanese militant group, Hezbollah. Hamas was forced to introduce “austerity plans” while Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Iran’s proxy, Hezbollah, has also called on his group’s fundraising arm “to provide the opportunity for jihad with money and also to help with this ongoing battle.”

The economic weapon being wielded by President Trump appears to be the safest way to deal with Iran. War would not be a good option, but economic war has at least a possibility of being successful.

We Have Our “Perry Mason Moment”

If you were watching closely yesterday, you saw a total disconnect between what the press was told (and reported) and the actual testimony given. The Gateway Pundit posted the story yesterday.

The article reports:

Ambassador Gordon Sondland was the guest of honor before the Schiff Show Trial on Wednesday morning.

During his opening statement Ambassador Sondland switched his testimony and implicated President Trump, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney under the bus.

During a break House Intel Chairman and impeachment ringleader Adam Schiff ran to reporters and declared President Trump guilty of quid-pro-quo, bribery and withholding documents from House investigators.

CNN blasted headlines trashing Trump as guilty of an impeachable offense based on Sondland’s testimony.

Sondland later clarified that he “presumed” there was quid pro quo, then crumbled under questioning from Congressman Mike Turner (R-OH).

“Mr. Sondland, let’s be clear: no one on this planet—not Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo—no one told you aid was tied to political investigations, is that correct?” Rep. Turner asked Sondland.

Gordon Sondland: “That’s correct.”

“Ballgame. This, here, is the real bombshell,” Congressman Mark Meadows said.

The article also includes video of Ambassador Sondland’s testimony.

Maybe I am missing something, but it seems to me that the Ambassador would be the definitive source on whether or not there was quid pro quo. He stated that there was not. He explained that his other testimony was based on assumptions and presumptions. That testimony would not hold up in court (most of the testimony we have heard would not hold up in court because it is second or third hand or hearsay). You cannot impeach a President on assumptions and presumptions.

It’s time to stop spending taxpayer money on this circus.

 

I Guess There Just Isn’t Any Truth In Advertising These Days

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a recent lawsuit against ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s owners are liberals who very openly support liberal causes. Their advertising claims that in harmony with their ideas about the humane treatment of animals ans the environment, their ice cream is made from milk from happy cows. I never really considered the emotional well being of the cows that supplied the milk for my ice cream, but I suppose it is a somewhat valid concern. Well, evidently all of the milk does not come from happy cows.

The article reports:

Since most of this week in Washington is already shaping up to be a festival of the ridiculous, we may as well toss a few more logs on the bonfire. Up in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s, the famously liberal ice cream company, is being taken to court over fraudulent advertising, along with its parent company, Unilever. But this suit has nothing to do with the quality or safety of their product. An environmentalist is suing them because of their advertisements claiming that their creamy products are made from milk from “happy cows.” Not so, says the plaintiff! Apparently, many of the cows are simply miserable.

Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever are being sued for false advertising by an environmental advocate who claims the milk and cream used to make flavors like Phish Food are deceptively marketed as coming from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers who buy the ice cream because of its pastoral and progessive image.

“During the past several years, Unilever has breached consumer trust by representing the Ben & Jerry’s Products as being made with milk and cream sourced exclusively from “happy cows” on Vermont dairies that participate in a special, humane “Caring Dairy” program,” the lawsuit claims.

The complaint alleges that less than half of the milk used is from the “Caring Dairy” program.

The article explains the program (and the problem):

USA Today looked into the question and found that the Caring Dairy program is indeed real. In order to qualify, farms have to follow certain regulations for how the cows are raised and what sort of environmental “carbon footprint” the operation has. But it’s not all that large, with only 65 farms in the Netherlands and the United States qualifying.

Even if Ben & Jerry’s had cornered the market on all of them, they probably wouldn’t produce enough milk to meet their needs. The company claims they “hope” to work with more farms like these going forward, but it certainly sounds as if they’re not using 100% “happy cow” milk. So maybe the plaintiff is correct.

I am strongly in favor of treating animals humanely. However, I also believe that animals are not people. What we need here is a sense of balance.

Another Lie Exposed

One of the recent rafts the media is clinging to in the impeachment circus is the idea that the transcript was doctored or incomplete. Well, that raft got blown out of the water yesterday. For those who have tuned out the hearings because they are extremely boring, The Federalist posted an article yesterday noting an interesting fact that was revealed in yesterday’s testimony.

The article reports:

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, both Jennifer Williams, an adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman stated that the transcript of the July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zolodymyr Zelensky was substantively accurate.

In direct response to a question as to whether the transcript was complete and accurate, neither suggested that it was not, except for minor details they found in their notes of the call.

This testimony blows up a month-long lie pushed by Democrats and their media allies that the transcript was partial, or redacted, suggesting that the White House was potentially hiding important details. For weeks the baseless claim that the transcript was so doctored that we don’t really know what happened on the call has been floated all over mainstream media coverage.

The article concludes:

Will CNN anchors stop referring to the “partial transcript” now that two of the Democrats’ star witnesses, who were on the actual call, have stated that the transcript is accurate? Don’t count on it. Will the news media apologize for or even acknowledge that they have been pushing this nonsense for over a month? Even in the unlikely case that they have the honor to do so, as the old saw goes, a lie can make it halfway around the world while the truth is getting its shoes on.

Tuesday’s confirmation that the transcript of the July 25 phone call was substantively accurate takes away a major talking point for those seeking the impeachment of President Trump. The whole reason this duplicitous talking point existed was that the president’s critics found the call wasn’t as damning as they hoped it would be. Perfect or not, nothing impeachable occurred on the call, so it was necessary to pretend that maybe we were missing some key information.

That is over now. The transcript is the transcript, the call is the call. Yet another ace in this crumbling house of impeachment cards has tumbled to the floor. And Democrats and media know it.

What we need now is a “Perry Mason moment” when the accusers realize they have no case, the charges are dismissed, and everyone goes home and stops wasting taxpayer money. Unfortunately that is highly unlikely.

This Would Be Funny If It Wasn’t True

The National Review posted an article today about a recent comment by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Before I share the comment, I would like to point out that Speaker Pelosi took an oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;

The article reports:

In her Dear Colleague letter pushing back against Republican anti-impeachment talking points, Nancy Pelosi wrote this: “The weak response to these hearings has been, ‘Let the election decide.’ That dangerous position only adds to the urgency of our action, because the President is jeopardizing the integrity of the 2020 elections.”

‘Let the election decide’ is not a dangerous idea–it is how our representative republic works. Exactly what is President Trump doing that jeopardizes the integrity of the 2020 elections? Does the idea of national voter ID jeopardize elections? What Speaker Pelosi fears is that the voters will see through the sham that is going on now and ‘throw the bums out’ that are responsible for the sham.

I also would like to note that the continued charge that President Trump has ‘abused his power’ is never followed by specifics. Meanwhile, the reason that DACA is before the Supreme Court is that President Obama abused his power. In his own words, President Obama admitted that.

The Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following in September 2017:

Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”

There was no outcry when he changed his mind and did it anyway. When has President Trump done anything similar?

Stop The World, I Want To Get Off

Have you ever been on a roller coaster and as it climbs to the top for its descent, you wonder if this is really where you want to be. I suspect that is how Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is feeling right now.

Yesterday The New York Sun posted an editorial about a recent remark by Speaker Pelosi.

The editorial notes:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s suggestion that President Trump emulate President Nixon and resign is, in our opinion, a shocking démarche unworthy of her office. And a glimpse into the predicament of the Democrats, who, though they began beating the drums for impeachment more than three years ago, still don’t seem to know what charges to lay against the president.

Mrs. Pelosi hauled out Nixon in her interview on the Columbia Broadcasting System, where Margaret Brennan asked the speaker whether the President would get, “as he says,” to “confront his accuser.” The question was met with a slippery evasion that began with Mrs. Pelosi snapping, “What do you mean confront his accuser? Confront the whistleblower?”

“Presumably, that’s what he means,” Ms. Brennan said.

“Well,” Mrs. Pelosi huffed, “I will make sure he does not intimidate the whistleblower.”

Then again, too, Mr. Trump wasn’t asking to intimidate the whistleblower. He has been pointing out that he’s being brought up for impeachment on a complaint by a person he has been, in the resulting proceedings, unable to confront. That, it seems to the President and to millions of other Americans, ourselves included, to be crosswise with the spirit of the Rights Bill.

The editorial concludes:

In the case of President Trump, though, no committee of the House, let alone the House itself, has voted out a single charge. When Ms. Brennan asked the Speaker whether “bribery” would be one of the charges, Mrs. Pelosi retorted, “I have no idea.” Then she said: “Well, there’s not even a decision made to impeach the president. This is a finding of fact, unfolding of the truth. And then a decision will be made.”

So the Speaker of the House goes on national television to suggest that President Trump resign without disclosing whether the President is likely to be impeached or what the charges would be. It’s just Democratic Party demagoguery pure and simple, and soon people are going to start asking why Mrs. Pelosi is such an all-fired hurry to run the president out of office without a trial in the Senate at all.

Speaker Pelosi wants President Trump to resign so that she and her cohorts don’t have to prove that the President did anything wrong. This statement is totally inappropriate in a representative republic. It also goes totally against the rights guaranteed to American citizens in the Bill of Rights. This kind of political railroading by politicians in power is probably part of the reason the Bill of Rights was added to the U.S. Constitution. After reading her comments, I truly believe that Speaker Pelosi is in the position of a person on a roller coaster climbing to the top and wondering if she has made the right decision. Like that person, she knows that it is too late to get off now!

Is There Anyone Honest In This Farce?

Breitbart posted an article today about Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s testimony. The article cites an obvious lie in the official summary of President Trump’s phone call to Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The article reports:

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman admitted he made up elements of President Donald Trump’s call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky in an official summary.

Prior to the call, Vindman included a discussion about corruption in the talking points provided to the president but Trump did not use them in the call.

The summary Vindman wrote after the call read:

President Trump underscored the unwavering support of the United States for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity – within its internationally recognized borders – and expressed his commitment to work together with President-elect Zelenskyy and the Ukrainian people to implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity, and root out corruption.

However, when he testified, Lt. Col. Vindman admitted that the part about rooting out corruption was not actually in the call–they were in his talking points provided to the President.

This is consistent with the actions of Lt. Col Vindman–sources have revealed that the reason he was concerned about the call was that his talking points were not followed. It is becoming apparent that the man is behaving like a spoiled child who is unhappy because someone didn’t listen to him.

Do we have to remind the entire State Department that the President is the person who sets foreign policy? I realize that a President only serves for four or eight years, but during those years, he is in charge. If State Department employees cannot grasp that concept, they need to find another employer.

Some Common Sense From The State Department

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent statement of policy by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The article reports:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that the U.S. does not regard Israeli settlements on the West Bank as illegal. He thus reversed the position taken by former Secretary of State John Kerry in the dying days of the Obama administration.

Pompeo explained that, after carefully studying the issue, he concluded that President Reagan got it right when he found that the settlements are not illegal. Reagan had reversed the position taken by the Carter administration.

Prime Minister Netanyahu and Benny Gantz both support this move.

The article also notes:

Caroline Glick views Pompeo’s statement as a diplomatic turning point. She writes:

Pompeo’s statement is first and foremost an extraordinary gesture of support for Israel and the rights of the Jewish people on the part of President Donald Trump and his administration. But from a U.S. perspective, it also represents a key advance in Trump’s realist foreign policy.

Since taking office, Trump has worked consistently to align U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond to the world as it is, rather than to the world as “experts” imagine it to be. In the Middle East, this realignment of U.S. policy has provided the nations of the region – including Israel and the Palestinians – with the first chance of reaching genuine peace they have ever had.

I doubt that the Palestinians have any desire for genuine peace, and therefore doubt that Pompeo’s statement will move the parties closer to such a peace. However, I agree with Glick that Pompeo’s realism (and President Trump’s) about West Bank settlements is a prerequisite for real progress in any meaningful peace process.

Another thing that needs to be considered is that the ‘settlements’ are not really settlements–they are thriving communities that include hospitals, schools, and infrastructure. We have learned from experience that when the so-called Palestinians are given territory they do not built infrastructure–they use whatever financial aid they are given to build terrorist tunnels and buy rockets and ammunition. Until that changes, I see no point in negotiating to give any territory to them.

 

Is Leaking A Problem?

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday about a very interesting television interview of Jim Jordan by Margaret Brennan.

The article reports:

Representative Jim Jordan appears on CBS Face The Nation to discuss the ongoing impeachment fiasco. Ms. Brennan struggles to define a new journalistic concept for “first-hand” information as she claims David Holmes, who claims to have overheard half of a phone conversation that two other people were having, is a “first-hand” witness.

Jordan points out that Ms. Brennan is quoting from a seal(ed) transcript given to her by Adam Schiff that has not been released.

Whoops!

The video and the transcript are posted in the article. You can follow the link above to see them both.

It’s also interesting to see exactly how the interview ended:

REP. JORDAN: Well, I don’t think that’s what took place here, because there was never an investigation undertaken. There was never an announcement from President Zelensky–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But the request for one that was overheard and testified to.

REP. JORDAN: But it didn’t happen. There’s- there’s all kinds of talk about things, but they- it didn’t happen. And well, remember when this all broke? What the Democrats tell us?

MARGARET BRENNAN: And the attempt itself doesn’t bother you?

REP. JORDAN: What the Democrats tell us? There was a quid pro quo. The scary thing is the Democrats have been out to get this president. I was struck by listening to Speaker Pelosi’s comments, her answer to your second question. She used the word impostor. I’m talking about the president of the United States, who 63 million people voted for, who won an Electoral College–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Right.

REP. JORDAN: –landslide. And yet these Democrats have been trying to get him- the start of this Congress, Congresswoman Tlaib said–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah.

REP. JORDAN: –she wants to impeach him before any evidence. Five members, think about this–

MARGARET BRENNAN: I understand.

REP. JORDAN: –five members of the Dem- of the Democrat- five Democrat members on the Intelligence Committee have voted to move forward with impeachment even before the whistleblower complaint was filed.

MARGARET BRENNAN: I’ve got to go to a commercial break. Thank you very much, Congressman.

REP. JORDAN: Thank you

I suspect that Ms. Brennan was very glad to see that interview end. Life is hard when you have to deal with smart people who tend to be at least one step ahead of you.

A Bad Decision May Eventually Have Good Results

The Federalist posted an article today about the recent California jury decision that found undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates guilty of trespass, breach of contract and of non-disclosure agreements, and fraud, as well as state and federal laws prohibiting the unconsented recordings of third parties. The California-based jury also found that Daleiden and the other defendants had violated the federal Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) law—a federal statute that triples any damage award. The defendants were also hit with punitive damages exceeding $800,000.

The article reports:

On Friday, a jury awarded Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and multiple Planned Parenthood affiliates, damages set to exceed $2.3 million in their civil case against undercover journalists David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt and several of their associates. The country’s largest cohort of abortion providers sued Daleiden and his colleagues after the 2015 release of a series of investigative videos that exposed Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in fetal parts.

The article explains why the case will probably eventually make its way to the Supreme Court:

Daleiden’s lead attorney, Peter Breen, of the public policy legal firm Thomas More Society, promised an appeal. “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal,” Breen said in a press release. “This lawsuit is payback for David Daleiden exposing Planned Parenthood’s dirty business of buying and selling fetal parts and organs,” Breen added, noting, “We intend to seek vindication for David on appeal. His investigation into criminal activity by America’s largest abortion provider utilized standard investigative journalism techniques, those applied regularly by news outlets across the country.”

Breen has several solid grounds for appeal, and initially will likely challenge presiding judge William Orrick III’s refusal to recuse from the case. While appellate courts are hesitant to second-guess a trial court’s decision on whether recusal is required, in this case the facts strongly suggest recusal was required.

Specifically, Judge Orrick was a founder and a longtime officer and director of the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center, an organization which, according to Daleiden, houses and participates in a joint venture with one of the named Planned Parenthood affiliates. Further, during the pendency of this case, as Breen pointed out in briefing, Orrick was “held out to the public as serving as an Emeritus Board Member of [the Good Samaritan Family Resource Center].”

Judge Orrick’s refusal to allow Daleiden and the other defendants to testify concerning their reasonable beliefs about abuses in the fetal tissue business, from harvesting of organs from born-alive babies to selling tissue and body parts for profit, as well as the judge’s decision barring the admission of the video evidence, will also be areas ripe for reversal.

What David Daleiden did used to be called investigative journalism. What he uncovered needed to be uncovered. The only redeeming thing about this case having to go to the Supreme Court is that it will further expose the selling of aborted baby body parts and the callousness of the people in Planned Parenthood who are engaged in these activities. Callousness is not illegal, but selling aborted baby body parts should be.

Why Are We Always Hearing The Same Names?

I’m not real fond of conspiracy theories. I don’t know the details of the John Kennedy assassination, and I have no idea if a cure for cancer is being suppressed. But the electronic age makes it possible to trace connections between people and groups through email records. I suspect there are more than a few people walking around now that don’t appreciate that fact. One person that might not have wanted his emails exposed would be Eric Ciaramella, the person most like to be the unnamed whistleblower.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article with the following headline, “Emails: Open Society Kept Alleged ‘Whistleblower’ Eric Ciaramella Updated on George Soros’s Personal Ukraine Activities.” Eric Ciaramella is a CIA Analyst who worked for the Obama and Trump administrations. Why would he be receiving Open Society (a George Soros organization) emails (along with then-Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who played a central role in the anti-Trump dossier affair)?

The article reports:

The emails spotlight Soros’s access to national security officials under the Obama administration on the matter of Ukraine.

In one instance, Jeff Goldstein, senior policy analyst for Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations, sent a June 9, 2016 email to Nuland and Ciaramella, who were the missive’s primary recipients.

CC’d were three other State Department officials involved in European affairs, including Alexander Kasanof who worked at the U.S. embassy in Kiev.

The message read:

I wanted to let you know that Mr. Soros met with Johannes Hahn in Brussels earlier today. One of the issues he raised was concern over the decision to delay the visa liberalization for Georgia and the implications for Ukraine.

The email revealed that “GS” – meaning Soros – “is also meeting [Georgian] President [Giorgi] Margvelashvili today and speaking with PM Groyman,” referring to Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman.

The email stated that Soros told Hahn “that Ukrainian civil society is concerned that without reciprocity from the EU for steps Ukraine has taken to put in place sensitive anti-corruption and anti-discrimination legislation and institutions it will not be possible to continue to use the leverage of EU instruments and policies to maintain pressure for reforms in the future.”

Is it possible that the current hearings focused on the actions of President Trump and the Ukrainian President trying to deal with the corruption in Ukraine are being staged to distract us from the extreme corruption that was going with the cooperation of the Obama administration?

Don’t Look For This Name On The Witness List

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko.

The article reports:

Badly undermining Democrats’ impeachment narrative, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the press in Kiev on Thursday, “I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance.”

That is, between the investigations President Trump wanted into 1) Ukrainian interference in the 2016 campaign and 2) Joe and Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian firm Burisma, on the one hand, and US aid that Trump put on hold this summer, on the other.

He specified that he didn’t hear that message from Trump’s top envoy, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who “did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the assistance and the investigations.”

In summary: “Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also made it plain he never felt undue pressure to investigate the Bidens. And he never did, yet the aid went through anyway.

If you were paying close attention to the circus in Washington, you probably noticed that the charges against President Trump have suddenly changed from quid pro quo to bribery. That is the result of focus groups engaged by the Democrats that showed that the concept of bribery carried more impact that the idea of quid pro quo. When bribery doesn’t resonate the way they want it to, they will move on to something else. Meanwhile we have trade deals that need to be approved and infrastructure that is crumbling. Hopefully, the voters will replace the ‘resistance’ leaders in the House of Representatives in the next election.

The Mainstream Media vs. The Truth

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article highlighting more dishonest reporting from The New York Times.

The article reports:

Seven weeks ago, after the White House released its official summary of a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President, the New York Times noted that the two had previously spoken on April 21 and wrote the following about that conversation:

When Ukraine elected its new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 21, Mr. Trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case….He urged Mr. Zelensky to coordinate with Mr. Giuliani and to pursue investigations of “corruption,” according to people familiar with the call, the details of which have not previously been reported.

On Friday morning, the White House released its official summary of that earlier call, and it completely debunked the Times reporting that appeared in a front-page September 26 article. The official summary shows a light-hearted conversation about Zelensky’s election victory, Trump’s promise that a “very, very high level” delegation would attend his inauguration, and an invitation for Zelensky to visit the White House.

There’s not the slightest indication that he “seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case,” nor any reference to Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani, or anything else suggested in the Times story.

The Times account of the today’s White House release is silent on the Times earlier, apparently false reporting. But it does complain about how “a White House readout of the call in April provides a different account.”

Reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eileen Sullivan point out: “In that summary, provided to reporters shortly after the call took place, the administration said that Mr. Trump promised to work with Zelensky to ‘implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.’”

Indeed, today’s White House release does contradict the White House report released at the time of the call, but the erroneous September 26 Times’ story does not rely on the “readout” as the basis for its wrong claims, but rather “people familiar with the call.”

In other words, the Times can’t blame the White House for its mistake in September. That’s all on them, and their anonymous source. (Maybe secret sources aren’t the best sources after all.)

There is agreement that there was corruption in Ukraine. There is also agreement that the corruption needed to be cleaned up.

A friend of mine who is a lawyer who follows these events very closely recently wrote:

Then I discovered that the day after VP Joe Biden bribed the Ukraine government into firing the Prosecutor who was investigating his son’s company, the Ukraine court released $23 million the government had seized as part of the investigation. Nobody knows what happened to the $23 million.

What we do know is the $23 million was part of the $50 Million in USAid that 26 Democrats shepherded through the United States Congress in 2014. All 26 received campaign contributions from Ukraine’s new lobbyist: Secretary of State John Kerry’s former chief of staff. How dare the President look into changing the USA’s foreign Policy!

Do you really wonder where the missing money ended up?

Maybe it’s time to take a really good look at where our foreign aid actually goes.

How Rude!

Liberals are always complaining about the lack of civility in politics (as they attack Trump supporters and call for the intimidation of Trump supporters), but they claim to support civility. There was a certain lack of civility on display yesterday in the way Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi treated veteran journalist James Rosen of Sinclair.

Yesterday BizPacReview posted the story.

The article reports:

Take Your Highness Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. She’s used to being celebrated as a “badass” by CNN, a network whose own analysts recently fantasized about the president’s impeachment leading to her being installed as America’s next president.

And so when veteran journalist James Rosen of Sinclair chose on Wednesday to treat Pelosi exactly how the mainstream media treat the president, she cried foul.

“We hear it said routinely — and of course it’s true — that impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. And yet as we can all observe, many of the accoutrements surrounding the legal process are inherent in this political process: We have counsels, depositions, subpoenas, threats of perjury, so forth,” he said.

“This was made starkly clear yesterday by Chairman Schiff, who, it seemed to me, when he reminded the minority that he would do everything necessary to ensure the legal rights of the whistleblower to preserve anonymity in this political setting.”

“And so I wonder,” Rosen continued, “if you could explain to the American people why the legal rights of the whistleblower should prevail in this political setting over those of President Trump, who should ordinarily enjoy a right to confront his accuser.”

Despite this being a valid point that’s also been broached by legal experts, Your Highness immediately snapped.

“I will say this to you, Mr. Republican Talking Points, when you talk about the whistleblower, we’re coming into my wheelhouse,” she angrily declared.

“I have more experience in intelligence than anybody in Congress, than anybody who has ever served, 25 years on the committee as top Democrat. I was there when we wrote the whistleblower laws. The whistleblower is there to speak truth to power and have protection for doing that. Any retribution or harm coming to a whistleblower undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”

What an arrogant response to a valid question.

Playing Politics With Drug Prices

On Wednesday, The Epoch Times reported on a bill in the Senate that was designed to lower drug prices.

The article reports:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blocked a bill that would lower prescription drug costs, arguing that a measure that addresses other health care issues would be better.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wanted a bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to be passed unanimously on Nov. 13, but Schumer blocked the measure by objecting to Cornyn’s request for a unanimous vote.

Schumer said he didn’t oppose the bill’s substance, but accused Cornyn of playing a “little game” to try to get his bill passed when action on additional issues in health care was being blocked by Republicans, according to The Hill.

“We have a whole lot of legislative ideas, not just his,” Schumer said on the floor. “His party blocks everything that would have far larger consequence.”

Schumer said there were better legislative options than Cornyn’s bill, including one introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Cornyn responded by saying Schumer’s blocking of the measure was “what people hate about Washington.”

“My bill is not going to sink the prospects of that larger package of legislation,” Cornyn said.

“I’m not going to agree to price-fixing by the U.S. government,” he added about another measure Schumer cited, which would let Medicare negotiate drug prices.

The bill is noncontroversial and bipartisan. There is no reason to block it other than politics.

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

Mediaite posted an article this morning about the ongoing impeachment hearings. Before I continue, I need to share the following from a website called Media Bias/Fact Check:

True to form, this is the Mediaite headline, “Fox’s Bret Baier: Trump Gave Schiff a New ‘Article of Impeachment in Real Time’ With Twitter Attack on Yovanovitch.” I guess Harry Truman would not be able to be President in today’s politically correct world.

The article reports:

The dramatic moment during Friday’s House Impeachment hearing in which Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) read out President Donald Trump’s tweet blasting former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in real time — with Yovanovitch saying she finds the tweet “very intimidating” — may have amounted to an on-the-spot article of impeachment, according to one Fox News anchor.

Weighing in immediately after the hearing went to recess, Fox anchor Bret Baier said that the president gave Schiff ammunition in real time on Friday morning with the attack.

“That enabled Schiff to then characterize that tweet as intimidating the witness, or tampering with the witness, which is a crime, adding essentially an article of impeachment in real-time as this hearing is going on,” Baier said.

If a tweet is grounds for impeachment, no elected official who disagrees with the ‘powers that be’ is safe. This is scary.

These are the tweets:

Draw your own opinion.

This Might Be A Problem For The Democrats

CNS News is reporting today on a national voter survey, conducted November 12-13.

The article reports:

…53% of all voters said most reporters are trying to help impeach Trump:

“When they write or talk about the impeachment effort, are most reporters trying to help impeach President Trump or block his impeachment? Or are most reporters simply interested in reporting the news in an unbiased manner?”:

    • “Help impeach President Trump”: 53%
    • “Block his impeachment”: 8%
    • Report “news in an unbiased an unbiased manner”: 32%

But, 53% of black voters and 60% of other minorities, compared to 51% of whites, said reporters are trying to get Trump rather than report the news fairly.

What’s more, 58% of voters who say they are watching impeachment news “very closely” believe that most journalists are trying to help impeach the president, while only 34% say they’re just trying to report unbiased news.

The survey of 1,000 likely voters has a margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

The mainstream media is digging its own grave. It is driving concerned citizens to alternative news sources that are seen as more objective or sources that at least state that they hold a certain point of view. As this happens, there will be stronger moves to censor the internet. We are all responsible for finding reliable news sources in order to be informed voters. Right now the mainstream media is making being an informed voter very difficult.

This Is A Form Of Antisemitism

The Federalist posted an article today about a recent decision by the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the EU. The court ruled that Jewish products made in contested areas of Israel must bear consumer warning labels.

The article notes:

Prior to the ruling, U.S. lawmakers in Congress fired warning shots, cautioning the EU that such a move would prompt the enforcement of American anti-boycott laws, thus endangering the EU’s trade with the United States.

Now, according to reporting by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, the Trump administration is ready to go to battle over the ruling. Currently, the United States is the EU’s largest trading partner.

The origins of the legal dispute stretch back several years to when the EU issued a mandate in 2015 declaring that products produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights be labeled as coming from an Israeli settlement, facially for the purpose of promoting “consumer protection,” although it’s unclear if that is actually achieved here. In late 2016, France became the first EU member state to attempt to enforce the mandate, resulting in the Israeli winery Psagot filing a lawsuit claiming that such a mandate violated the EU’s anti-discrimination laws.

Under the new rule, goods produced by Jews will be labeled as having been produced in an Israeli settlement, while goods produced by Muslims may be labeled as made in “Palestine,” indicating blatant discriminatory treatment. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s presence in the West Bank and the Golan Heights are the only contested areas in the world to be the focus of the labeling ire of the EU.

The article notes that Israel is the only country singled out for this treatment:

“No other territory, occupied, disputed, or otherwise is subject to such requirements,” noted Eugene Kontorovich, director of the Center for International Law in the Middle East at George Mason University. Kontorovich emphasized the peculiarity of the ruling. “In no other case does any ‘origin labeling’ require any kind of statement about the political circumstances in the area. This is a special Yellow Star for Jewish products only.”

Indeed, there are a multitude of contested areas throughout the world that produce goods for which the EU has deemed politicized labeling requirements unnecessary. Despite Russia’s occupation of parts of Georgia or Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, nothing in EU law or greater international law requires labeling goods produced by Russia in occupied parts of Georgia as “Made in Georgia” or goods produced by Morocco in Western Sahara as “Made in Western Sahara.”

Just a side note about the concept of contested territories. If you look at a map of the land originally given to form a Jewish state, it not only includes the ‘contested territories,’ it includes Jordan. The country of Jordan was originally intended to be the Palestinian state (as there had never been a Palestinian state), but was turned over to the Hashemites. For pictures illustrating the history of Israeli territory, go here.

Why Government Policies Matter

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article detailing some of what is happening on our southern border.

The article reports:

More than 600 children were “recycled” through the border over the last year, including some who were carried across eight times, by a different person each time, looking to exploit lax policies to gain a foothold in the U.S., a top ICE official told Congress on Wednesday.

And those are only cases that were detected, officials said.

The recycled children are one of the more disturbing aspects of illegal border flow over the last 12 months, which set records for the number of children and families who snuck into the U.S.

The families were drawn by a lax policy, imposed by a federal court, that gives adults a quick release into communities as long as they brought a son or daughter with them.

The result was massive levels of fraud, with adults renting or outright buying unrelated children in order to present themselves as a family, authorities said. In some cases it was a one-off, but in other instances children were “recycled” across the border multiple times, said Derek N. Benner, acting deputy director at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Note that the policy in effect was imposed by a federal court–it was not legislated and it was not instituted by the President. The Founding Fathers did not envision a country where a federal court could overrule a President. They envisioned a country where Congress would take up the responsibility given to it to make laws that protect our borders and secure our country.

The article concludes:

Also Wednesday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced a new policy that would block asylum-seekers from being granted work permits until after they win their asylum cases.

The goal is to remove one of the incentives for bogus family claims. Under current policy migrants who demand asylum and clear the first hurdle can get work permits after a waiting period, giving them a chance to deepen ties even though the majority end up being deemed ineligible for asylum.

“Illegal aliens are gaming our asylum system for economic opportunity, which undermines the integrity of our immigration system and delays relief for legitimate asylum seekers in need of humanitarian protection,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director at USCIS.

All Of These People Have Histories

I haven’t watched the impeachment hearings today. It annoys me that they are even happening. I am sure I will hear about them later from various news sources. I am also sure that what I hear will depend on the news source I choose. That is one of the reasons America is so divided right now–we can’t even agree on basic facts and the mainstream media is reporting opinion–not facts. Just for the record, rightwinggranny is an opinion blog that deals in facts.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about one of the witnesses in the hearing. It seems that George Kent has an interesting history.

The article reports:

Adam Schiff and the media will likely not touch on his controversial past in Ukraine.
According to Rudy Giuliani Kent was the official behind the dismissal of the Ukrainian government investigation of George Soros’s AntAC organization.

Rudy Giuliani tore into the Schiff show trials and their empty case against President Trump.

Rudy Giuliani: Also George Kent has a problem of his own. George Kent wrote a letter in which he asked that a case be dismissed by Lutsenko. And it was a case against Soros’s NGO AntAC and that company AntAC was right in the middle of gathering the dirty material on Trump, on Donald Trump Jr. It worked with Fusion GPS. The dismissal of that case has cost the government a lot of evidence that could be very, very damning in regard to collusion. But there’s enough left. There’s enough evidence left of collusion so that you got a very, very strong case that the DNC and Hillary Clinton were paying for and gathering information for Ukraine. In fact some of it is even documentary evidence… I would like to cross-examine George Kent. George Kent was her deputy, Marie Yovanovitch’s deputy. He was also the guy who set up the two so-called anti-corruption bureaus in the Ukraine that turned out to be Soros protection bureaus.

The article continues:

Kent is not a first-hand witness and much of his testimony is based off of second-hand knowledge. [Page 206-207]

Kevin Bacon has fewer degrees of separation to the Trump Zelensky call than George Kent.

That being said, his closed-door testimony revealed far more devastating pushback on the Democrat narrative than anything else.

Kent testified that it is appropriate for the State Department to look at the level of corruption in a country when evaluating foreign aid. [Page 103]

(Reminder: The Trump administration sent Ukraine lethal aid.)

Kent also testified that Hunter Biden being on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma while Joe Biden was VP was a conflict of interest. [Page 226-227]

And according to his testimony, when he raised corruption concerns with the Obama White House, he was rebuffed and was told “There was no further bandwidth to deal” with Hunter. [Page 226-227]

It really does look like we are investigating the wrong people.

Interesting Bit Of History

I just got an email from a friend that reported the following:

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jack Prosobic interview with Brad Johnson on OAN

Brad Johnson, a former CIA employee who is currently working via the IntelReform.org website, was asked about the so-called “whistleblower,” Eric Ciamarella, and he revealed some interesting information including…

Eric Ciamarella protested in favor of a Muslim professor when he was in college.

Eric Ciamarella was recruited to join the CIA, was placed on the National Security Council, and then was hand-picked by former CIA Director, John Brennan, to work in the White House.

When Joe Biden was Vice-President and was President Obama’s point person for Ukraine, Eric Ciamarella traveled with Biden to Ukraine.

Brad Johnson said that it appears that Eric Ciamarella may have helped set up payment to Joe Biden through his son, Hunter Biden’s being employed by Barisma at a very large salary when Hunter had no background or aptitude for the work. So it appears that Eric Ciamarella may have been active in a quid pro quo arrangement Joe Biden set up for personal gain (not for the good of the USA), and this same Eric Ciamarella is the so-called “whistleblower???”

It’s also clear that Adam Schiff coordinated with Eric Ciamarella behind the scenes and at first denied it.

No wonder the Republicans want to interview Eric Ciamarella during the impeachment hearing Witch Hunt !!!

I replied to my friend with some information on John Brennan:

This gets even more interesting when you consider that John Brennan, as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, in October 2011, agreed to a request by Farhana Khera, President and Executive Director of Muslim Advocates (an element of the Muslim Brotherhood), to immediately create an interagency task force to address the problem of information and materials relating to Islamic-based terrorism used by those training our military, diplomats and security forces. The FBI then proceeded to purge the documents that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted purged. At that point the individuals doing the briefings that detailed Islamic terrorism were fired, among them Stephen Coughlin and Clare Lopez.

Many of Stephen Coughlin’s videos are posted on YouTube. Stephen Coughlin’s book Catastrophic Failure details the events described in my reply to my friend posted above. I have met Clare Lopez; she was also fired during the Obama administration for telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

 

When Our Legal System Abandons Common Sense

NJ.com posted an article recently about a seven-year legal case involving a junior varsity baseball coach.

The article explains:

John Suk sits with shoulders slouched and his head down at the defendant’s table in Courtroom 301, a stuffy wood-paneled space inside the Somerset County judicial complex. The 31-year-old middle school teacher scribbles in a notebook as his reputation is shredded.

The plaintiff’s attorneys in Civil Docket No. L-000629-15 have spent two full days portraying the co-defendant as an inattentive and unqualified lout. He is, they argue, a villain who destroyed the future of a teenager he was supposed to protect.

So what horrible crime is this man charged with?

The article continues:

“He must be held accountable for what he did,” one of the plaintiff’s two attorneys tells jurors during opening arguments.

The attacks intensify when Suk takes the witness stand to defend himself on a split-second decision he made seven years earlier. He is accused of taking a reckless course of action that showed a callous disregard for another person’s safety.

He sounds like an awful person. Then you remember what Suk did to end up here.

He instructed a player he was coaching during a junior varsity baseball game to slide.

Not into an active volcano.

Not into a shark tank.

Into third base.

This is the crux of the story:

The visiting team was leading, 6-0, in the top of the second inning when Mesar, batting for the second time, laced a line drive over the left fielder’s head.

Two runs scored. Mesar rounded second and headed for third. And next, a sickening sound echoed across the diamond as he hit the ground.

“POP!”

As Mesar wailed in agony, Suk (pronounced SOOK) rushed to his side. So did the player’s father, Rob Mesar, who was keeping the scorebook in the dugout. An ambulance arrived. No one knew it then, but that promising freshman — two innings into his high school career — would never play another baseball game.

“I felt bad for my parents,” Jake Mesar, now 22 and attending Rutgers, testifies on the second day of the trial. “They would never be able to see me play.”

Baseball was the least of his worries. Even after three surgeries, the ankle was not improving — one doctor even presented amputation as a possible outcome. A specialist from the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Robert Rozbruch, found post-traumatic arthritis and signs of necrosis — evidence the bone was dying.

Mesar needed two more surgeries, including one to inject stem cells into the ankle tissue, and he was fit with an external fixator, a stabilizing frame to keep the bones properly positioned. The injury improved, but Rozbruch told the once-active teenager to avoid high-impact activities. Even jogging.

When it comes time for Rozbruch to testify, he abandons the clinical language of his profession and makes it clear that Mesar’s baseball dreams died on third base that day.

“He will never recover fully,” the doctor says.

It is more than a physical injury. Mesar has endured frequent bouts of depression and a pair of panic attacks, including one that sent him from a family party on Christmas Eve to the emergency room. The injury is, as his lawyer tells the jury, “something he has to live with every minute, every hour, every day of his life.”

All of this, to use a decidedly non-legal word, sucks. How can anyone sit here, listen to his story and not have your heart break?

Still, injuries happen. That is at the cold reality of sports. Did the coach sitting with his head down at the defense table really ruin this kid’s life?

The coach won the case, but the article asks an interesting question at the end:

I ask him (John Suk) to consider the other scenario: What would have happened if he lost?

“It’s the end of high school sports,” he says. “The coaching profession would be under heavy scrutiny for everything that happens. Coaches are going to have to have insurance like doctors have for malpractice. School districts are not going to want to take the risk of having sports.”

He takes a long pull from his bottle of water.

The clouds that had covered the sky for most of the day are clearing, giving hope that North Brunswick’s summer team might not lose another day off the calendar to bad weather.

The case is closed. The weight is lifted. He checks his watch, shakes my hand, then heads off to find his car. He has to hurry.

He has a baseball game to coach.

People get injured in sports. Coaches do what they can to prevent injuries, but injuries happen. This lawsuit should have been dropped the moment it showed up in court.