Leadership Matters

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about what is currently happening on our southern border.

The article reports:

The Mexican government announced Friday that the number of migrants coming to its border with the U.S. had dropped by 56 percent over the past three months as the country tries to avert President Trump’s threatened tariffs on Mexico’s exports to its northern neighbor.

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard, citing data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the number of migrants apprehended at the frontier in August was 63,989 in August, down from 146,266 in May. Those numbers included people who presented themselves at U.S. ports of entry and were deemed inadmissible.

This is the policy that created the change:

The U.S. and Mexico agreed in June to a 90-day window to allow Mexico to reduce the flow of migrants from Central America to the U.S. The agreement averted plans by Trump to impose a five percent tariff on Mexican goods in the U.S. that would have increased every month until it hit 25 percent.

Ebrard, is scheduled to meet with U.S. officials at the White House Tuesday to review the Mexican government’s progress.

“We’re showing that the strategy that Mexico put forward has been successful,” Ebrard told reporters. “I don’t expect a tariff threat Tuesday because it wouldn’t make sense.”

While drops in migration are typical during the summer months, officials denied any link between the drops in migration and seasonal trends.

The article notes:

Despite the apparent progress in stopping illegal migration, Ebrard repeated his government’s refusal to become a so-called “third country,’ as Trump has proposed. That would require migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. to apply for such protections in Mexico instead.

“The Mexican strategy is working,” said Ebrard, according to Agence-France Press. “We will not agree to be a safe third country … because it goes against our interests. It is unfair to our country.”

How would being a safe third country be unfair to Mexico and not be unfair to America? That is the question.

The article concludes:

Trump has not yet responded to the latest figures, but on Wednesday he seemed very pleased by Mexican efforts. “I want to thank Mexico, the Mexican government, their great President of Mexico, for helping us,” he told reporters. “They’re helping us in a very big way. Far bigger than anybody thought even possible.”

In addition to stopping U.S.-bound migrants, Mexico said it has been targetting smuggling networks, which it blames for instigating large migrant caravans bound for the U.S. which popped up earlier this year. Authorities have raided freight trains that migrants ride north, and pulled thousands off buses and out of the freight compartments of trucks. The government has warned bus and taxi drivers they could lose their permits if they transport migrants.

Progress. However, we need to remember that the porous border not only allows illegal immigration, it allows illegal drugs to be smuggled in. Too many families have been adversely impacted by fentanyl for us to let the smuggling continue.

Common Sense Versus Profit

Yesterday Fox News reported that of the film “The Hunt” about liberals hunting conservative “Deplorables” who fit the description of supporters of President Trump.

I can’t help but wonder why the movie was made in the first place. Did the producers think this was a good idea?

The article reports:

In a statement, a Universal Pictures spokesperson said “the studio has decided to cancel our plans to release the film … we understand that now is not the right time to release this film.”

Someone needs to sit down with the head of Universal Pictures and explain that there is never a good time to release a film about killing people whose politics you disagree with!

The article further states:

Understandably, initial reaction to the trailer centered on the horrific callousness and immorality of hunting and killing people for their ideologically conservative beliefs. It’s quite jarring to see.

The trailer seemed to be tapping into the same sort of anger and sense of disenfranchisement that many believe led to Trump’s populist rise.

Imagine the protests if the film had taken a different tack and portrayed Trump supporters hunting down supporters of one of the Democratic presidential candidates. The protests would have been justified.

The article concludes:

In the end, those of us with a religious, conservative worldview welcome a civil, respectful and spirited debate with those on the other side, believing that our principles and values will lead to a flourishing and more prosperous world.

The cancelation of the release of “The Hunt” is a step in the right direction. We must all live and work with those we disagree with and try to understand their point of view. Letting our disagreements escalate into violent attacks on one another is neither acceptable nor entertaining.

We have a problem in America with people deciding it is their right to harm people who disagree with them. It is not safe to wear a Make America Great Again hat in some parts of the country. We recently saw journalist Andy Gno severely beaten at a rally in Portland, Oregon. As I have said, I don’t understand why those in charge at Universal decided to make this movie in the first place. I am glad they finally came to their sense and chose not to release it.

Behind The Scenes–The Search For Roots

While Robert Mueller was making the headlines with his appearance on Capitol Hill, the internal investigation at the Justice Department was continuing as to the source of the charges of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign.

Fox News posted an article today about that investigation. Before I go into the details, I think we need to consider why the internal investigation is important. Despite what the Democrats are trying to spin, Mueller, in the afternoon session and his opening remarks, made it clear that there was no evidence of collusion. His task was to look for collusion. The second part of his report, based on speculation by news sources, tried to imply that there was obstruction. That charge was based on conversations and thoughts–not actions. The President talked about firing Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller was not fired. Was talking about it a crime? Using that standard, you can pretty much find anyone guilty of anything. If I decide that I need money and say that I want to rob a bank, is that a crime? Not unless I follow through on it.

The internal investigation is important to determine the source of the charges against candidate Trump. If the source is questionable or political, then the same technique can be used against any future President. That does not bode well for our republic.

The Fox News article points out a few basic things the internal investigation has uncovered:

The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.

The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.

The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

The story continues:

A source told Fox News that the “exculpatory evidence” included in the transcripts is Papadopoulos denying having any contact with the Russians to obtain the supposed “dirt” on Clinton.

But Papadopoulos did not only meet with Mifsud and Downer while overseas. He met with Cambridge professor and longtime FBI informant Stefan Halper and his female associate, who went under the alias Azra Turk. Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, once over dinner and once with Halper. He also told Fox News back in May that he always suspected he was being recorded. Further, he tweeted during the Mueller testimony about “recordings” of his meeting with Downer.

…Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., now a Fox News contributor, first signaled the existence of transcripts of secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and Papadopoulos earlier this year.

“If the bureau’s going to send in an informant, the informant’s going to be wired, and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls, there’s going to be a transcript of that,” Gowdy said in May on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” acknowledging he was aware of the files and suggesting they included exculpatory information.

The article concludes:

The Barr-Durham review is likely to draw more attention following Mueller’s highly anticipated testimony on Capitol Hill. Republicans sought to focus their questioning on the origins of the Russia investigation under then-Director James Comey’s FBI—a topic Mueller repeatedly said was “out of his purview” due to the ongoing investigation being led by the Justice Department. Another review is being conducted by the DOJ inspector general.

“Maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Wednesday. “Here’s the good news—that’s exactly what Bill Barr is doing and thank goodness for that.”

The fact that an investigation which began with the misuse of government agencies to spy on a political opponent has taken two years is a miscarriage of justice. Those responsible need to be severely penalized so that the country never has to go through this again.

The Reason It Is Taking So Long

Yesterday Catherine Herridge posted an article at Fox News about the investigation into the FISA abuses that occurred during the final months of the Obama administration.

The article reports:

Key witnesses sought for questioning by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz early in his investigation into alleged government surveillance abuse have come forward at the 11th hour, Fox News has learned.  

Sources familiar with the matter said at least one witness outside the Justice Department and FBI started cooperating — a breakthrough that came after Attorney General William Barr ordered U.S. Attorney John Durham to lead a separate investigation into the origins of the bureau’s 2016 Russia case that laid the foundation for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.

While the investigative phase of the inspector general’s long-running probe is said to be complete, the sources said recent developments required some witnesses to be reinterviewed. And while Barr testified that he expected the report into alleged Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuse to be ready in May or last month, multiple sources said the timeline has slipped.

I can’t help but wonder if the delay is a stall tactic. I think the Democrats are still hoping for a presidential victory in 2020 that will allow them to sweep the FISA abuse investigation under to rug never to return. That may be wishful thinking on their part, but if enough illegal immigrants somehow manage to vote, I suspect they can do it.

The article concludes:

A spokesman for Horowitz would not comment on the report’s status. But during largely unrelated testimony in November, Horowitz offered some guidance for the timeline of the FISA abuse probe in response to questions from GOP Rep. Jim Jordan.

“What I can say is given the volume of documents we’ve had and the number of witnesses it looks like we’ll need to interview, we are likely to be in the same sort of general range of documents and witnesses as the last report,” Horowitz said, referring to his team’s review of the Clinton email case. “It wouldn’t surprise me if we are in that million or so plus range of documents and a hundred-ish or so interviews. The last review, as you know, took us about … 16 months or so.”

If that same guidance holds, the window for completion would begin this month, though it remains unclear how much the DOJ/FBI review and the additional interviews could delay the process.

It would be nice to see all investigations end. The testimony of Robert Mueller on July 17th should be an indication of whether or not an end is in sight.

Whatever Happened To Transparency?

Yesterday Hot Air reported that all of the cable networks except MSNBC will be banned from live coverage of the South Carolina state Democrat convention. Who made this deal, and why did they make it? C-Span is included in that ban.

The article reports:

Every political junkie in America knows that C-Span is the place to go when looking for coverage of anything political. This is particularly true during political conventions and other large partisan events. The cable channel’s live coverage is unsurpassed. Viewers don’t have to worry about partisan journalists or talking heads from standard cable news networks chiming in or interrupting coverage for commercial breaks. South Carolina Democrats have decided to give MSNBC, the most partisan liberal-leaning cable network, exclusive rights to live coverage. All the other networks, including C-Span, CNN, and Fox News Channel, are required to wait three hours after the convention ends to show their live footage.

The article explains how the coverage is supposed to be handled:

South Carolina is an early primary state. The Democrat state convention is a required stop for the presidential candidates. The cattle call, er, showcase of candidates give the state’s voters a leg up in hearing from all the candidates in person. MSNBC was chosen to “enhance the proceedings”, according to a party spokesman. Two MSNBC show hosts, Joy-Ann Reid, and the Rev. Al Sharpton will interview all of the candidates in attendance using a set specifically built for them to do so inside the convention hall. I doubt it is a coincidence that two black show hosts were chosen to do the interviews. The majority of South Carolina Democrat primary voters are African-American. This is important because South Carolina follows Iowa and New Hampshire as the third state to hold its primary vote. It is known as the First in the South. What better choice could MSNBC have made than to pick their two loudest race-baiters to interview the Democrat candidates? It’s all about putting on a good show, you see.

I suspect the MSNBC coverage will be a new dimension of slanted news. That is a serious disservice to the voters of South Carolina.

Maybe Extreme Vetting Was A Good Idea

Yesterday Fox News reported that the FBI arrested a Syrian refugee on Wednesday who allegedly planned to bomb a church in Pittsburgh in the name of the Islamic State.

The article reports:

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, a 21-year-old Pittsburgh resident who was born in Daraa, Syria, and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016, met with an undercover FBI agent and an FBI source posing as ISIS sympathizers several times between April and June, according to the criminal complaint.

…During these meetings, he allegedly provided details to bomb an unidentified Christian church on the north side of Pittsburgh, producing plot details and bomb materials he purchased along with copies of Google satellite maps that showed the details about the church including its location and various routes for arriving and escaping the premise.

He planned to carry out the attacks in July by setting off the explosives around 3 or 4 a.m., according to the complaint.

Alowemer has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive device or weapon of mass destruction, activities that the Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers called “beyond the pale.”

This is Alowemar’s high school yearbook picture:

We let this person into the country and sent him to high school and treated him well. Obviously he was not willing to return the favor.

There is one thing to remember if you are ever in a situation where a terrorist has planted a bomb. There is probably a second bomb timed to go off when the police arrive or when people are fleeing after the first bomb has exploded. The best thing to do in that situation is to stay low. The second bomb is usually aimed at waist level and generally contains large amounts of shrapnel. From the reports I have seen, this was going to be a two-bomb attack.

 

Much Needed Mercy

On June 5, I posted an article about the expected transfer of Paul Manafort to Rikers Island prison. Paul Manafort is 70 years old and not in good health. Rikers Island is known as one of the roughest prisons in America.

Today Fox News reported that Paul Manafort was transferred to a federal prison in New York City late Monday ahead of his pending state court trial — but only after the Justice Department rejected a local district attorney’s widely criticized bid to move him to the notorious Rikers Island prison complex. There was never any reason to put him in Rikers Island other than to further mistreat him.

The article reports:

Manafort was instead transferred to the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC), a federal detention facility located in Manhattan.

MCC houses many inmates awaiting trial or sentencing. Among the current inmates are terror suspect Sayfullo Saipov, who allegedly ran down pedestrians with a truck in New York on Oct. 31, 2017, and Cesar Sayoc, the man who allegedly sent package bombs to prominent Democrats. Joaquin Guzman, the notorious drug lord known as “El Chapo,” is reportedly being held at the facility.

Manafort’s transfer came after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen rejected Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr.’s attempt to re-locate Manafort to Rikers Island.

A senior Justice Department official told Fox News that Manafort’s attorneys contacted the Bureau of Prisons and “raised concerns about his transfer to state custody related to his health and personal safety.”

It is nice to see that someone in the Justice Department prevented the further miscarriage of justice regarding Mr. Manafort.

News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

Turning Jurisprudence On Its Head

Robert Mueller made a statement at the Department of Justice today. He officially ended his investigation and resigned. However, he did it in a way that was totally in conflict with American jurisprudence.

Townhall reported on Mueller’s statement. Here is one quote:

“I’m speaking out today because our investigation is complete,” Mueller said. “We are formally closing the Special Counsel’s office and I am resigning from the Department of Justice to return private life.”

Fox News reported some other quotes from today:

Mueller, speaking from the Justice Department Wednesday morning, announced the closing of his office and detailed the findings of the Russia investigation, underscoring that there “was not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy” with regard to whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

…But Mueller did not mince words on his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.”

Mueller’s job was to determine if the President committed a crime–if there was no evidence of a crime, then it was not up to Mueller to determine whether or not a crime was committed–his job was to follow the evidence. The President, just like any other citizen, is innocent until proven guilty.

The statement was a farce for a number of reasons.

Mueller would not take questions. President Trump was never given an opportunity to fact his accusers. No one was allowed to cross examine Mueller. Mueller was not going to let the Republicans question him on the basis for the investigation, the role of the Steele Dossier in the FISA warrants, the role of the Clinton campaign in the Steele Dossier, or when during the investigation he realized that there was no there there. It’s interesting that Peter Strzok realized as Mueller was putting his team together that there was no there there (see emails between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page). If Peter Strzok could figure that out, couldn’t Mueller? There will always be a question as to whether or not Mueller prolonged the investigation until after the mid-term elections in order to help the Democrats.

Unfortunately the Democrats seem to have forgotten the concept of innocent until proven guilty. After thirty-plus million dollars, President Trump has not been proven guilty. It’s over. From now on, this is simply harassment of the President and his family. If you support the House of Representatives continuing on this path, understand that in the future the power of government could be turned on anyone who is upsetting the establishment. Is that a country you want to live in?

 

 

The Problem Was The Trial

John Walker Lindh was released from prison today. He served 17 years of his 20 year sentence and was released early for good behavior.

On March 22nd, Fox News posted an article reminding us of some of the circumstances of John Walker Lindh’s arrest:

In November 2001, U.S forces learned that an American – Lindh – was among the cluster of Taliban fighters left in limbo after their leader surrendered to the Northern Alliance in the northern Afghanistan province of Mazar-i-Sharif. Spann was first into the compound, serving as a prison, to interview Lindh, peppering him with questions about where he was from and what he was doing. But Lindh refused to respond.

“In those moments, when he chose to stay silent, he sealed his fate as a traitor to the United States,” Spann said. “At any point, he could have warned him that something was being planned.”

…According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Lindh – who is currently behind bars in Terra Haute, Indiana – will be discharged on May 23, several years in advance of his initial 20-year jail sentence. The initial charges leveled against the then 20-year-old Lindh in 2002 included one for murder conspiracy for the part he played in the killing of Americans, including Spann, in the prison rebellion.

However, nine of the ten counts in the indictment were dropped and he ended up pleading guilty to disobeying an executive order outlawing support to the Taliban and for possessing a weapon in Afghanistan.

Evidently the prosecution at his trial feared that Mr. Lindh’s confession would be tossed out as evidence because it was obtained under questionable circumstances, so Mr. Lindh was charged with with only one crime–he was never charged with fighting with the Taliban. He should have been shipped to Guantanamo as an enemy combatant and left there, but as an American citizen, he had other options.

Now he has been released from jail with a lot of restrictions–the software on his internet devices will be monitored, he will be required to conduct his online communications in English, he will be required to undergo mental health counseling. He will also be forbidden from possessing or viewing extremist material, holding a passport, or leaving the United States.

I have very mixed emotions about his release. He served his time and exhibited good behavior, so I believe that he has to be released. However, I wonder what his future actions will be. Hopefully he will decide to live peacefully along with his fellow Americans. I am grateful that he will be carefully watched.

 

 

Checking On Big Brother

Yesterday Breitbart reported that Attorney General William Barr is checking on intelligence records prior to July 2016 to make sure that American citizens were not illegally spied upon. This is guaranteed to get very interesting.

In September 2017, Fox News reported:

Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.

Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.

…During congressional testimony since the unmasking controversy began, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers has explained that unmasking is handled by the intelligence community in an independent review.

“We [the NSA] apply two criteria in response to their request: number one, you must make the request in writing. Number two, the request must be made on the basis of your official duties, not the fact that you just find this report really interesting and you’re just curious,” he said in June. “It has to tie to your job and finally, I said two but there’s a third criteria, and is the basis of the request must be that you need this identity to understand the intelligence you’re reading.”

Previous U.N. ambassadors have made unmasking requests, but Fox News was told they number in the low double digits.

This is old news, but the unmasking was probably illegal. Look for relentless attacks by the political left on Attorney General Barr as he begins to reveal the misuse of government agencies that went on during the Obama administration.

The Tweet That Vanished

Never take a poll (or put one on Twitter) when you are not relatively sure of the results ahead of time (just like lawyers who never ask a  witness a question unless they already know the answer). There are times when surprises are not a good thing.

Fox News posted an article today about a recent Twitter poll taken by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). One might assume that the people following the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on Twitter might have liberal leanings (or they could have been totally trolled). At any rate, things did not go as planned.

The DSCC tweet looked like this:

The article reports:

The poll, which is not scientific and open to anyone with a Twitter account, was posted on May 3 and stated it had two more days before it closed.

However, by Sunday afternoon, the tweet had vanished.

I would really like to know exactly who actually voted in the poll.

Why We Need Total Transparency Of The Mueller Report

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at Fox News that brings up a very interesting (and largely unreported) aspect of the Mueller Report. The article asks the question, “How long has Mueller known there was no Trump-Russia collusion?” That questions is important because it is obvious that the two-year long investigation had an impact on the 2018 mid-term elections–it suppressed the Republican vote. It also cast a cloud over the Trump presidency which I am sure had an impact on the President’s ability to govern. Was that intentional? We will probably never know, but the article states some interesting facts.

The article reminds us:

Now that Special Counsel Robert Mueller has concluded that there was no criminal collusion, the question arises: When during their exhaustive 22-month investigation did prosecutors realize they had no case?

I put it at no later than the end of 2017. I suspect it was in the early autumn.

By the time Mueller was appointed on May 17, 2017, the FBI had been trying unsuccessfully for nearly a year to corroborate the dossier’s allegations. Top bureau officials have conceded to congressional investigators that they were never able to do so – notwithstanding that, by the time of Mueller’s appointment, the Justice Department and FBI had relied on the dossier three times, in what they labeled “VERIFIED” applications, to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And make no mistake about what this means. In each and every application, after describing the hacking operations carried out by Russian operatives, the Justice Department asserted:

The FBI believes that the Russian Government’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election were being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with [Donald Trump’s] campaign.

Yes, the Justice Department continued to make that allegation to the secret federal court for months after Trump was sworn in as president.

Notably, in June 2017, about a month after Mueller took over the investigation, while he was still getting his bearings, the Justice Department and the FBI went on to obtain a fourth FISA warrant. Yet again, they used the same unverified information. Yet again, they withheld from the court the fact that this information was generated by the Clinton campaign; that the Clinton campaign was peddling it to the media at the same time the FBI was providing it to the court; and that Christopher Steele, the informant on whom they were so heavily relying, had misled the bureau about his media contacts.

You know what’s most telling about this fourth FISA warrant? The fact that it was never renewed. The 90-day authorization lapsed in September 2017. When it did, Mueller did not seek to extend it with a new warrant.

This is the key:

This means that by autumn 2017 when it would have been time to go back to the court and reaffirm the dossier’s allegations of a Trump-Russia espionage conspiracy, the major FBI officials involved in placing those unverified allegations before the court had been sidelined. Clearly up to speed after four months of running the investigation, Mueller decided not to renew these allegations.

Once the fourth warrant lapsed in September, investigators made no new claims of a Trump-Russia conspiracy to the court. The collusion case was the Clinton campaign’s Steele dossier, and by autumn 2017, the investigators now in charge of the Trump-Russia investigation were unwilling to stand behind it.

The article concludes:

When Special Counsel Mueller closed his investigation last week, he almost certainly knew for about a year and a half that there was no collusion case. Indeed, the indictments that he did bring appeared to preclude the possibility that the Trump campaign conspired with the Kremlin.

Yet the investigation continued. The Justice Department and the special counsel made no announcement, no interim finding of no collusion, as Trump detractors continued to claim that a sitting American president might be a tool of the Putin regime. For month after month, the president was forced to govern under a cloud of suspicion.

Why?

What impact will releasing the entire bundle of background and other information that went into this investigation have? Would it do anything to heal the divide the media has caused by claiming this investigation would result in impeachment (impeachment will probably still happen, but that has nothing to do with this investigation)? Would it undo an election that was influenced by a lie? I think all information that can be released without harming innocent people or compromising national security should be released. However, I don’t think it will change anything. Any member of the government who is still employed by the government who was involved in the creating of the collusion narrative should be fired. The public will judge the media.

Good News

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

The caliphate has crumbled, and the final offensive is over. While the official announcement hasn’t yet been made – Fox News has been told that this village, the last ISIS stronghold, is liberated.

It’s the first time since we’ve been here in Syria for five days that the bombs have stopped dropping and the gunfire has disappeared. We have witnessed the end of the caliphate – the brutal empire that once ruled over 8 million people – is gone.

Troops here are now bringing down the black flags of ISIS. The flags no longer fly over the town, instilling fear.

…None of the main surviving ISIS leaders have been caught inside Baghouz. Instead, they left their men to fight alone. It’s thought they prepared ahead for the insurgency.

The scale of the devastation here is incredible. And everyone acknowledges that without U.S. support, it would have taken far longer.

For four-and-a-half years, ISIS held this territory, ruling over it with an iron fist. It was the terrorist group’s heartland – and they were so dug in that the only way to push them back was to flatten whole villages. The devastation here goes on for miles – and craters like this are a reminder of the critical role played by U.S. airpower. Military jets still fly overhead.

SDF fighters are all so grateful to the U.S., not just for their help in the battle, but now for its decision to leave troops here when it’s done. Reports now suggest the figure may be around 1,000 staying.

We need to leave enough of a force to prevent ISIS from reassembling. As the article stated, the leaders fled and left the lower ranking members to fight. That means the leaders are still somewhere, possibly plotting how to take power again. I don’t want to fight the battles for all of the people in the Middle East, but if our assistance means that the bad guys will lose power,  I think we need to be ready to assist.

Even A Blind Squirrel Occasionally Finds An Acorn

Bill Maher is a very smart man. I totally disagree with his politics, but he is a very smart man. Townhall posted an article today about his comments on the Democrat Party’s decision not to allow Fox News to host any of their primary debates.

Mr. Maher made some very good points:

“Last week, the Democrats made a terrible decision when they announced that they had turned down Fox News’s offer to host one of their 2020 primary debates, saying that Fox was nothing more than propaganda. OK, so why not go on Fox News and tell them that?” Maher asked rhetorically.

“You wanna be in the big leagues, but you refuse to ever play an away game? You don’t like the questions that Fox News might ask, so you’re deciding not to take any questions at all? How very Trump of you,” Maher explained. Republicans never shy away from coming on this show, and they come with a smile on their face despite knowing that the only people in the crowd cheering them on are the three campaign aides they brought with them … The audience is against them and they don’t care — it’s an opportunity to expose people to your side of the story.”

Telling you side of the story to people who disagree with you helps you refine your side of the story.

The article concludes:

“It’s not just on [Maher’s] show that Republicans are willing to go on,” Co-host Rachel Campos-Duffy explained. “Most of the media is very liberal, and conservative Republican members of Congress are very accustomed to going on to CNN and MSNBC and ABC and taking tough questions, and yet the Democrats are afraid to do that.”

Maher is right. If the Democrats claim to be the “resistance” then they should be fearless. If they truly believe in what they’re saying then they should have absolutely no problem answering the tough questions Fox News has for them.

Conservatives have to continually talk to liberal news anchors and reporters because the majority of news outlets are liberal. If conservatives refused to talk to liberal outlets then they’d be construed as “cowards” who are hiding from the tough questions.

It’s 2019. Get it together, Dems. If your candidates are too afraid to answer questions they don’t like while they’re running for president, then they won’t be able to handle the weight of answering tough questions while president.

Get out the popcorn. Its going to be a very interesting year and a half.

This Is Actually According To Sharia Law

ABC News is reporting today that Fox News host Jeanine Pirro was taken off the air for remarks made about Democratic Representative Ilhan Omar.

These are the remarks:

“Think about it: Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran, 33:59, tells women to cover so they won’t get molested,” Pirro said on her show last week. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”

Sharia Law is antithetical to the United States Constitution. Sharia Law does not support Freedom of Speech, equality for women, equal rights for all religions, and believes in the killing of homosexuals. Those ideas are not in tune with the U. S. Constitution. The fact that Jeanine Pirro was taken off the air for telling the truth is much more in line with Sharia Law than American Law. Under Sharia Law, slander is anything that offends the hearer–it doesn’t matter if it is true or not–if the hearer is offended, it is slander.

We need to put the speech police out of business or we will totally lose our freedom. The question Jeanine Pirro asked was a perfectly logical question. I am sure pressure was put on Fox News by CAIR and other Muslim groups (threatening lawsuits, etc.) to take her off the air to make an example of her. It is sad that Fox News did not have the backbone to stand and fight for free speech in America.

Are The Shenanigans Ever Going To Be Dealt With?

In the past two years or so, we have learned that a sitting Presidential administration spied on an opposition candidate. We have learned that the apparatus of government was used in an attempt to elect a president from the same party as the sitting President. We have seen lying before Congress go unchallenged, opposition research used as an excuse for violating the civil rights of Americans, and people targeted by a Special Counsel simply because they were friends or worked with a person the Special Counsel was targeting. In plain English, we have seen the Soviet concept of ‘show me the person, and I will show you the crime’ put into practice in America. When does America wake up and realize that while we are looking at an investigation of a shiny object over there, major civil rights violations are being ignored?

Fox News reported the following this morning:

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told House investigators this week that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony, according to two sources familiar with the matter — as Republicans question whether the meetings amounted to coaching a witness.

…During last month’s seven-hour public hearing before the House Oversight Committee, Cohen hesitantly acknowledged, under questioning from Ohio GOP Rep. Jim Jordan, that he had spoken with Schiff “about topics that were going to be raised at the upcoming hearing.”

But, he did not elaborate on the discussions, which Fox News is told extended significantly longer than the seven hours that the public hearing itself lasted.

One by one, during the dramatic hearing, Cohen fielded questions on precisely the same topics that the sources told Fox News he discussed with Schiff’s staff during the sit-downs in New York.

This is a level of corruption in Congress that we have not seen in a long time.

It’s Hard To Figure Out Who To Believe

The mainstream media lies. We could debate whether they lie or are simply misinformed, but the fact remains that they do not do a good job of informing the public on current events. Today Fox News posted an article that illustrates the problem with discerning the truth.

The article reports:

The Washington Post was among many news organizations to denounce President Trump’s claim of tape being used to silence women during illegal border crossings — but a subsequent New York Times article revealed the president wasn’t making things up after all.

Back on Jan. 25, the Post published an update to a piece headlined, “Trump again mentioned taped-up women at the border. Experts don’t know what he is talking about.” It claimed the president’s “new favorite anecdote” was about tape covering the mouths of migrant women.

Post reporter Katie Mettler wrote that Trump, in pushing for a border wall, was claiming “without evidence that traffickers tie up and silence women with tape” before illegally crossing the border. The Post called Trump’s claims “salacious and graphic,” even providing a timeline of Trump’s taped-women rhetoric.

“Yet human-trafficking experts and advocates for immigrant women have said they are perplexed by this increasingly repeated story in Trump’s repertoire — and are at a loss for where he got his information. It was not from them, they say; in fact, they have no idea what he is talking about,” Mettler wrote.

Not so fast. Last week, The New York Times published a piece headlined, “Yes, there was duct tape: The harrowing journeys of migrants across the border.” The piece – part of a limited-run series on border crossing – reveals that tape is used during border crossings.

The Times report said that women are “tied up” and “bound,” featuring first-hand accounts from several women who experienced the brutality themselves.

“For weeks, President Trump has been criticized for exaggerating the brutality experienced by migrant women on the border as he makes his case for a wall,” the Times wrote. “But there is some truth to the president’s descriptions of the threat of sexual assault and of women who have been duct-taped and bound.”

Building a border wall will not put an end to all of the evil that is happening at the border. However, we do need to acknowledge that there is a lot of evil happening at the border. The situation at our border is a national emergency with caravans of people breaking into our country. It is time Congress stopped ignoring the safety of Americans and of those in the caravans and got behind President Trump to build the wall.

Reykjavik Revisited

All Americans were hoping something good would come out of the meetings between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It was understood that China was holding a leash on Kim Jong Un and that he was very limited in what he could agree to, but we hoped. Holding the summit in North Vietnam was a stoke of genius–the message it sent was ‘your country can have this kind of prosperity if you behave well.’ Unfortunately the talks ended without an end to North Korea’s nuclear policy and with no relief in sight for the starving, abused people of North Korea.

Fox News posted an article about the talks.

The article reports:

President Trump abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea in Vietnam and headed back to Washington on Thursday afternoon, saying the U.S. is unwilling to meet Kim Jong Un’s demand of lifting all sanctions on the rogue regime without first securing its meaningful commitment to denuclearization.

Trump, speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, told reporters he had asked Kim to do more regarding his intentions to denuclearize, and “he was unprepared to do that.”

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a solo press conference following the summit.

Trump specifically said negotiations fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn’t willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon, as well as its missile and warheads program.

Removing sanctions without denuclearization would have been reminiscent of the Iran deal, which did not go well. Walking away was reminiscent of Reykjavik, which actually went very well (although it did not appear to go well at the time).

Let’s take a look at Reykjavik for a moment. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and American President Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavik on October 11 and 12, 1986. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of limiting each country’s strategic nuclear weapons to create momentum in ongoing arms-control negotiations. The two leaders failed to come to an agreement because President Reagan insisted on America having the freedom to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, mockingly known as ‘Star Wars’). SDI was still in the infant stages of its development at that point, but President Reagan wanted the freedom to develop it (and was willing to share the technology with Russia in order to create a situation where nuclear weapons owned by rogue nation states would be useless). Gorbachev refused to allow America to develop SDI, and President Reagan left the summit. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 26, 1991. The strong stand taken by President Reagan against the Soviet Union played a part in the end of the Soviet Union.

Hopefully the strong stand taken regarding North Korea’s nuclear program will also result in the dissolution of the tyrannical government currently in control of that country.

When Hearings Don’t Really Want To Hear Anyone Who Doesn’t Fit Their Narrative

Yesterday House Republican Whip Steve Scalise wrote an op-ed piece for Fox News. The statement is included on his website.

This is the op-ed piece:

Statement for the Record

Republican Whip Steve Scalise

House Committee on the Judiciary

February 6, 2019

My name is Steve Scalise. I am the Congressman for Louisiana’s 1st District. I am the Republican Whip. I am also a target of gun violence.

Many of you may be familiar with the events of June 14, 2017. Around 7:00 AM, at the last morning practice before the annual Congressional Baseball Game for Charity, an Illinois man named James Hodgkinson opened fire on myself and a group of Republican legislators and volunteers on an Alexandria, Va. baseball field.

Fortunately, as a member of House leadership, I was accompanied by my Capitol Police security detail who were able to return fire and engage the shooter until additional law enforcement officers arrived and ultimately took down the shooter. I was shot and nearly fatally wounded, and both of my detail agents were shot as well. I am alive today thanks to the bravery of U.S. Capitol Police and the Alexandria Police, heroes like Congressman Brad Wenstrup and the first responders who rushed to the scene, the incredible medical team at Washington MedStar Hospital Center, and most importantly the grace of God.

I applaud the intentions behind this hearing and believe we are all pursuing the same goal of reducing gun violence. As someone who experienced gun violence, I do not want anyone else to go through that trauma. However, it is also important to me that we be honest with ourselves and the American people about what will — or won’t — actually prevent these tragedies. The shooter who targeted me that morning was armed with an SKS rifle and a 9mm Smith & Wesson handgun, both of which were purchased in compliance with Illinois gun laws.

The new gun control restrictions currently being considered by the Democratic majority in H.R. 8 would not have prevented my shooting.

In fact, these new gun control measures being proposed in H.R. 8 would not have prevented any number of recent mass violence events. Several perpetrators of recent multi-victim shootings also purchased their guns legally. In some instances, the background check system failed, and lack of intervention from law enforcement failed to intercept potential threats.

I want to stress that the man who shot me was issued a permit to purchase firearms by the state of Illinois, and had acquired them legally. At Virginia Tech, Charleston, and Sutherland Springs failures in the background check system allowed individuals to illegally obtain the firearms they used to commit their crimes. The alleged loopholes that H.R. 8 claims to fix would not have prevented these tragedies either.

Instead, whether intentionally or not, the gun control proposals in H.R. 8 could turn law abiding citizens into criminals while also failing to achieve the stated purpose of reducing gun violence.

A recent study by the Violence Prevention Research Program at UC Davis and Johns Hopkins University into California’s effort to implement “comprehensive background checks” found that, “The simultaneous implementation of [the Comprehensive Background Check policy] and [prohibitions on firearm purchase and possession for persons convicted within the past 10 years of certain violent crimes classified as misdemeanors] was not associated with a net change in the firearm homicide rate over the ensuing 10 years in California.” Even though California implemented more stringent background checks, this study shows that these measures did not reduce gun violence.

In fact, most criminals obtain firearms through unlawful means — whether through theft, straw purchases, or lying on the required paperwork. A DOJ study of federal inmates found that only seven percent who possessed a firearm while committing the crime they were serving time for purchased it legally from a firearms dealer under their own name. Based on similar gun control measures in states like California, H.R. 8 would not deter a criminal from engaging in criminal activity, and it won’t decrease gun crime. Instead, it only succeeds in limiting the ways that law-abiding citizens could exercise their Second Amendment rights.

Every single month in America, law-abiding citizens with concealed carry permits defend themselves and others against criminals who have guns. For example, on January 8th, a man approached a 25-year-old woman in Chicago, displayed a weapon, and attempted to rob her at a bus stop. The woman had a concealed carry permit. She drew her own weapon and fired a shot, killing the armed robber. The owner of a nearby pharmacy said such violence happens “all over” Chicago. However, in this case, the intended victim was able to defend herself with her own gun.

On January 2nd, a Good Samaritan in California with a concealed carry permit used his firearm to stop an attempted stabbing of a security guard and held the perpetrator until law enforcement could arrive at the scene.

On January 17th, a man at an IHOP in Alabama opened fire on employees, killing one before another employee pulled his handgun and killed the shooter in self-defense.

On January 29th, an armed robber held up a Family Dollar Store in Georgia. A customer was able to use a personal firearm to shoot and kill the robber before the criminal could hurt any of the many employees or customers in the store.

These are just some examples from the last month alone. There are hundreds of stories like these every single year from law-abiding Americans all over the country.

I am alive due to the effective and immediate response of my Capitol Police detail, and the Alexandria Police Department. Most victims of gun violence do not have law enforcement already on the scene to respond to a violent gunman. Instead of making it harder for citizens to defend themselves until law enforcement arrives, Congress should consider legislation like H.R. 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act, a bill that would help law-abiding citizens have the same tools to defend themselves as a criminal has of trying to inflict harm, regardless of where they travel.

I firmly believe we must never forget, nor minimize, the importance of the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

H.R. 8, as well as other new gun control legislation currently being considered by the House Democrat majority do not accomplish the goal of reducing gun violence.

If our goal is to reduce gun violence, then we should focus on penalizing criminals, not law-abiding citizens.

Thank you.

Taking guns away from law-abiding citizens does not make us safer. It is also unconstitutional. It will not reduce gun violence. The only thing that reduces gun violence is a good guy with a gun.

This Could Take Some Very Interesting Turns

This article is based on two articles posted yesterday–one in The New York Post and one at Fox News.

The New York Post reports:

The Justice Department has opened an investigation into its own possible misconduct in the wrist-slap prosecution of multimillionaire serial pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

The investigation is being conducted by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, according to MSNBC.

“OPR has now opened an investigation into allegations that Department attorneys may have committed professional misconduct in the manner in which the Epstein criminal matter was resolved,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd said in a Feb. 6 letter to Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

“OPR will thoroughly investigate the allegations of misconduct that have been raised and, consistent with its practice, will share its results with you at the conclusion of its investigation as appropriate,” he wrote.

Sasse, a member of the Judiciary Committee, had asked last month for an investigation into Justice’s treatment of Epstein, citing a Miami Herald series on the pervy hedge fund manager’s crimes and the sweetheart deal that let him off the hook.

Senator Sasse has a reputation as someone who opposes President Trump.

Fox News reports:

The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) has opened an investigation into a generous plea bargain awarded in 2007 by a top Florida prosecutor — who now serves as President Trump’s secretary of labor — to a wealthy, Clinton-connected financier and sex offender accused of abusing underage sex slaves.

…Alexander Acosta negotiated what critics are calling a sweetheart, potentially corrupt plea deal with Jeffrey Epstein when he was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. The arrangement required Epstein to pay restitution to dozens of victims, but offered a variety of unusual concessions as part of a non-prosecution agreement.

So let’s back up and look at this for a minute. Jeffrey Epstein was (and is) very well connected politically. Bill Clinton is directly involved in this scandal–there are records of him flying to Epstein’s island on Epstein’s plane. However, the Clintons have lost a lot of their political sway in the past two years. It is quite possible that this investigation will snare Bill Clinton, but it will also make President Trump look bad because he appointed Alexander Acosta as Secretary of Labor. For a never-Trumper like Senator Sasse, it’s a win-win situation–the Republicans get Bill Clinton and he gets President Trump.

The matter did come up during Alexander Acosta’s confirmation hearing.

Fox News reports:

In 2017, Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine asked Acosta about the plea deal during his confirmation hearings.

“Why cut a non-prosecution deal despite your staff saying you shouldn’t?” Kaine asked.

“That is not accurate,” Acosta, who at the time was dean of Florida International University’s law school, responded. ““It was a broadly-held decision. … The grand jury recommended a single count of solicitation not involving minors. That would have resulted in zero jail time, zero registration as a sexual offender and zero restitution for the victims in this case.”

Instead, Acosta said, he pushed to escalate Epstein’s case to the federal level, even as he recognized that proving all of the allegations against him would be difficult.

“It was highly unusual where a U.S. attorney becomes involved in a matter that has already gone to the grand jury at the state level,” Acosta told senators. “We decided that Mr. Epstein should plead guilty to two years, register as a sexual offender, and concede liability so the victims should get restitution in this matter.”

Asked about keeping the deal confidential, Acosta suggested that he was following common practice.

Jeffrey Epstein’s sentence was a joke. The Department of Justice should investigate it. However, considering some of the bias shown in the recent actions of the Department of Justice, I have no idea what to expect.

Religious Freedom In America?

Fox News posted an article today about the confirmation hearings for Omaha-based lawyer Brian Buescher who is nominated for the U.S. District Court in Nebraska.

The article reports:

Two Democratic senators are scrutinizing a federal judicial nominee over his membership in the Knights of Columbus, drawing a stern rebuke from the Catholic organization.

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, raised concerns about Omaha-based lawyer Brian Buescher’s membership as part of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s review of his nomination by President Trump to sit on the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, as first reported by the Catholic News Agency.

In a series of questions sent to Buescher, Hirono asked whether his membership in the Knights of Columbus would prevent him from hearing cases “fairly and impartially” and, if confirmed, whether he would end his membership in the Roman Catholic charitable organization.

“The Knights of Columbus has taken a number of extreme positions,” Hirono said in the questionnaire. “For example, it was reportedly one of the top contributors to California’s Proposition 8 campaign to ban same-sex marriage.”

Have we reached the point where taking a Biblical stand on marriage is considered extreme? I guess so.

The article continues:

Harris, in her questions to the nominee, called the Knights of Columbus “an all-male society” and asked the Nebraska lawyer if he was aware that the group was anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage when he joined. The California senator also referenced Supreme Knight Carl A. Anderson’s statement that abortion amounted to “the killing of the innocent on a massive scale” and asked Buescher if he agreed with the statement.

Buescher responded that his involvement in the group consisted mostly of charitable work and community events at his local Catholic parish. He indicated he would abide by judicial precedent regarding abortion.

The Knights of Columbus maintained that its positions reflect Catholic teachings, and suggested that the senators’ scrutiny amounts to criticism of the Catholic faith.

Senator Harris wants to run for President. I am sure that in challenging the right of a member of the Knights of Columbus to sit on a U.S. District Court will win her votes on the extreme left. However, I am not sure it will win her votes in mainstream America. This is the equivalent of a religious litmus test of a nominee, which is unconstitutional and illegal. Being a member of a recognized church group should not disqualify a person nominated for a U.S. District Court.

The Church Used To Be Part Of The Foundation Of America

Today The Daily Caller posted an article that includes an amazing quote by Tom Perez, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The article reports:

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez on Wednesday complained that voters are influenced by what they hear in church on Sundays.

Perez claimed that Republicans have an advantage because “people buy” what they hear at church.

…“I’ve learned this from the outreach we’ve done at the DNC. Why aren’t we penetrating, I ask? And I had someone in northwest Wisconsin tell me: ‘You know what? For most of the people I know, their principle sources of information are Fox News, the NRA newsletter and the pulpit on Sunday.’ And it should come as a surprise to no-one that our message doesn’t penetrate,” Perez continued.

“It should come as a surprise to no-one that that person has elevated the issue of courts to the top because that person on the pulpit is saying ‘ignore everything else that this person has done and is doing, we have to focus on one issue of Roe vs. Wade.’ And people buy it. Because that’s their only source,” Perez asserted.

It’s interesting to me that the Democrats love to criticize Fox News. It never occurs to them to criticize the bias of CNN, MSNBC, or any of the major outlets. I think the problem with Fox News (according to liberal thinking) is that it was the first network to present a narrative different from all of the other networks. The lead stories on the news at CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC are quite likely to be the same. They may not be actually coordinated, but they will be the same. If you want a different perspective, you have to go to Fox News or alternative news sites on the media.

It is also interesting to me that a politician would be so bold as to criticize what people hear in church. This should be a wake up call to Americans that their votes matter–if people who think like Tom Perez gain full control of our government, what you hear in church may be severely censored.

I Guess It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

I have watched “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” at Christmastime for years. I thought it was a wonderful story about how someone who was different finally found his usefulness and gained friends and a place in society. Evidently I just didn’t understand the movie.

Fox News is reporting today on the HuffPost’s reaction to the movie.

These are some of the HuffPost’s comments on the movie:

“Yearly reminder that #Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is a parable on racism & homophobia w/Santa as a bigoted exploitative prick,” read one comment shared by HuffPost. “Santa’s operation is an HR nightmare and in serious need of diversity and inclusion training. #Rudolph,” read another.

The video also suggests it was problematic that Rudolph’s father verbally abused him by forcing him to wear a fake nose to be accepted by others.

Some eagle-eyed social media critics also said the cartoon is sexist because Rudolph’s mom was snubbed after she wanted to help reindeer husband Donner to search for their son after he goes missing. “No, this is man’s work,” Donner says.

But HuffPost’s effort to highlight the perceived bigotry of the beloved movie attracted tens of thousands of negative comments, most of them mocking the video.

“Oh look! Something people like and enjoy; let’s go ruin it!” tweeted Rebeccah Heinrichs.“If you try hard enough you can find offence in almost anything,” Chloe Westley seconded.

Others pointed out that HuffPost misunderstood the cartoon as the troubling characters learn their lesson in the end. “But… but… the bigoted characters learn they were wrong. It teaches a lesson. It doesn’t endorse the problematic stuff,” tweeted Robby Soave.

Even President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. weighed in on the topic, tweeting “Liberalism is a disease.”

Does anyone really believe that children don’t sometimes treat other children badly? Does this movie not show the error of that? Do parents sometimes make mistakes? Isn’t it nice to see a parent’s mistake corrected? Do liberals have a problem with happy endings? Has anyone ever educated liberals to the fact that a good story needs a conflict at some point to make it interesting? Have we reached the point where we are afraid to let our children see a conflict–even when it is beautifully resolved?

Things Are Changing In The World Of Retail

For many years, Lord & Taylor sat at the corner of Fifth Ave and 38th Street in New York City. You would think that in the world of high-income earners in the City, the store would continue to prosper as it has for so many years. Unfortunately that has not been the case.

Fox News is reporting today that Lord & Taylor is planning to close its Fifth Avenue location. The windows at Lord & Taylor were one of the highlights of a trip to New York City during the Christmas season. I attended school in New York City and always looked forward to seeing the windows at Christmastime.

The article reports:

Lord & Taylor plans to close its longtime flagship in January after one last blowout sale. Next year, the 11-story, Italian Renaissance-style building covering a whole city block will be taken over by WeWork, the workspace leasing company.

About 40 Lord & Taylor branches will continue on elsewhere. Holiday window gazers will have to turn to competitors like Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman, which competed with Lord & Taylor every year for the most eye-popping display.

The article explains changes in retail sales:

The demise of the Fifth Avenue store fits into the bigger picture of a shifting economy in which brick-and-mortar retail has taken a hit from online sales.

In June, Hudson’s Bay Co., the Canadian behemoth that has owned Lord & Taylor since 2012, announced it was closing various stores due to the company’s “increasing focus on its digital opportunity and commitment to improving profitability.”

WeWork and several investors aim to close the $850 million deal to buy the Fifth Avenue building by the end of January.

Founded in 1826 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Lord & Taylor became one of the nation’s first big department stores, run by two English-born cousins, Samuel Lord and George Washington Taylor. The store occupied several locations before opening at Fifth Ave and 38th Street in 1914 in a regal home that included a concert hall with a pipe organ, elaborate dining rooms, a gymnasium, and a doctor’s and dentist’s office.

Lord & Taylor established itself as a pioneer of holiday windows by adding motion to what had been static displays. During an unseasonably warm November in 1938, Lord & Taylor created a snow “blizzard” behind glass using cornflakes, with signs announcing “It’s coming! Sooner or later!”

Saks Fifth Avenue soon emulated Lord & Taylor with its own crowd-pleasing display. Other department stores followed. Over the years, the displays became a creative arms race, featuring the most lavish, fantastical holiday scene designers could imagine.

Theoretically this is progress, but Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue was a beautiful store, and it will be missed.