This Is Long Overdue

Yesterday Fox News reported that President Trump has awarded the posthumous Presidential Citizens Medal to Rick Rescorla. Rick Rescorla was one of the heroes of September 11, 2001. This medal is long overdue.

The article reports:

The U.K.- born Rescorla worked as the director of security for Morgan Stanley, which had its headquarters in the South Tower of the World Trade Center. Following the 1993 bomb attack on the Trade Center, Rescorla designed and implemented evacuation drills to prepare employees for another attack.

Rescorla was born in Cornwall and served in the British army in Cyprus. He also worked as a policeman in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) before coming to America at the age of 24. He enlisted in the Army and fought in Vietnam before leaving active duty in 1967. He then studied at the University of Oklahoma, earning a bachelor’s degree in creative writing and a master’s degree in English. He also earned a law degree from Oklahoma City University and taught at the University of South Carolina. He retired from the Army in 1990.

The article continues:

After the first plane hit the towers on 9/11, Rescorla ordered Morgan Stanley employees to get out of the South Tower and ignore building announcements telling people to stay at their desks. As he directed workers in the stairwells, Rescorla went right on singing his hymns. One of Rescorla’s last phone calls was to his close friend, Dan Hill, who he had known since his days in Rhodesia. Rescorla told Hill to get to New York to help with the aftermath of the attack.

The article concludes:

Rescorla was last seen climbing up the stairs on the 10th floor of the South Tower. He is credited with saving nearly 2,700 people that day. He was 62 when he died.

Rescorla’s wife Susan, who has spent the last 18 years preserving her late husband’s memory, accepted the honor from Trump.

“Of all the accolades… and all the people along the journey who have touched my life, each is so memorable because I was able to learn more about this incredible man than I had during our short time while he was here on earth,” she said. Susan and Rick had been married for fewer than three years at the time of his death.

In his remarks, the president recalled Rescorla’s last words to his wife, spoken in a phone call from the South Tower: “I’ve never felt better in my life. I love you so.”

For more of Rick Rescorla’s story, see the article posted here on September 10, 2008.

Is Lying Under Oath A Problem?

A name that seems to be in the news a lot lately is Marie Yovanovitch, who was appointed to be the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine by former President Barack Obama. She was fired by President Trump. Just for the record, ambassadors serve at the discretion of the President and can be fired for any reason. Marie Yovanovitch, however, had a reputation for saying negative things about President Trump and not supporting his policies. That is why she was fired.

Marie Yovanovitch was called before Congress as a witness in the faux impeachment hearings. She testified on October 11 in a closed-door session.

The Daily Wire posted an article today citing some problems with her testimony.

The article reports information obtained by the Tucker Carlson show:

“This show has obtained exclusively an email for that Democratic staffer for the House Foreign Affairs Committee sent by private email to the former American ambassador Marie Yovanovitch,” Carlson continued. “Yovanovitch, you know, is a key player in the Democrats’ impeachment probe and was recalled from her post in Ukraine by President Trump in May 2019 following allegations of serious partisanship and political bias.”

This is the content of the email:

I’m writing to see if you would have time to meet up for a chat — in particular, I’m hoping to discuss some Ukraine-related oversight questions we are exploring. I’d appreciate the change to ground-truth a few pieces of information with you, some of which are quite delicate/time-sensitive and, thus, we want to make sure we get them right.

The article continues:

Carlson noted that Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) asked Marie Yovanovitch about the email during her testimony and she allegedly stated that she never responded to the email.

“In fact, it turns out that she did respond,” Carlson revealed. “She said she ‘looked forward to chatting with [the Democratic staffer].”

“As Congressmen Zeldin pointed out, the ambassador’s original answer, which was dishonest, was given under oath,” Carlson concluded.

Zeldin confirmed Carlson’s segment on Twitter, writing: “It appears Ambassador Yovanovitch did not accurately answer this question I asked her during her ‘impeachment inquiry’ deposition under oath.”

The article concludes:

“I would highly suspect that this Democratic staffer’s work was connected in some way to the whistleblower’s effort, which has evolved into this impeachment charade,” Zeldin told Fox News on Thursday night. “We do know that the whistleblower was in contact with [House Intelligence Committee Chairman] Adam Schiff’s team before the whistleblower had even hired an attorney or filed a whistleblower complaint even though Schiff had lied to the public originally claiming that there was no contact. Additionally, while the contents of the email from this staffer to Ambassador Yovanovitch clearly state what the conversation would be regarding, Yovanovitch, when I asked her specifically what the staffer was looking to speak about, did not provide these details.”

“I specifically asked her whether the Democratic staffer was responded to by Yovanovitch or the State Department,” Zeldin concluded. “It is greatly concerning that Ambassador Yovanovitch didn’t answer my question as honestly as she should have, especially while under oath.”

Those attempting this faux impeachment need to remember that there are electronic records everywhere and Youtube videos of previous statements. They are in danger of being hoisted on their own petard!

Really Bad Advice

I don’t watch The View. I watched a few minutes once and realized instantly that it was simply not something I wanted to spend time watching. However, occasionally the ignorance of our Constitution illustrated on that television show is simply astounding.

Fox News posted an article today that illustrates that ignorance.

The article reports:

Politicians seeking to confiscate guns from Americans shouldn’t share their plans with the public beforehand and should seek to maintain an element of surprise, Joy Behar said on “The View” Monday.

Behar was discussing former 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from Texas, and said it was foolish of him to announce his plans for gun confiscation before he was elected. She advised all politicians to go after the country’s guns after they’ve assumed office.

Co-host Meghan McCain also weighed in on the issue and said O’Rourke has poisoned the well and scared off independent voters from the Democratic party.

“They should not tell everything they’re going to do. If you’re going to take people’s guns away, wait until you get elected — then take the guns away,” she said. “Don’t tell them ahead of time.”

“I will also say that his stance on gun buybacks — Mayor Pete said it was a shiny object that distracts from achievable gun reform,” she said earlier in the interview. “That clip will be played for years… with organizations that try and scare people by saying that Democrats are coming for your guns.

“[Beto] also made some statements about religious institutions getting their tax-exempt status removed from them because they didn’t support same-sex marriage,” McCain continued. “He did a lot of, like, battleground culture war, and he ran as the most left, most woke candidate and look where he ended.”

The Second Amendment is not a cultural issue–it is an integral part of the Bill of Rights, a document written to limit the power of government–not the power of citizens. The ladies on The View need to take a basic civics course.

It’s Working

President Trump’s policy on immigration has been mocked, blocked, and generally fought by Democrats and Chamber of Commerce Republicans. The President has continued to push ahead and get things done. Now we have the numbers to show that he has been successful.

Yesterday Fox News posted an article with the following headline, “Thousands of migrants sent back to Mexico under Trump policy have given up their asylum claims: DHS.”

The article reports:

Thousands of migrants returned to Mexico under the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy have given up their asylum claims, with many of them returning home, according to statistics included in a new assessment of the policy released this week by the Department of Homeland Security.

The policy, known formally as the Migrant Protection Protocols, sends migrants seeking asylum at the southern border back to Mexico for the duration of immigration proceedings. It is a cornerstone of the administration’s efforts to end “catch and release,” by which migrants are released into the U.S. while their cases are heard.

The article notes the following:

So far, the administration has returned more than 55,000 migrants to Mexico. The assessment describes the policy as an “indispensable tool in addressing the ongoing crisis at the southern border and restoring integrity to the immigration system.” It says that it has completed almost 13,000 cases as of Oct. 21.

The article concludes:

The new assessment, significantly, cites estimates from Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that approximately 20,000 migrants are currently being sheltered in Mexico near the U.S. border as they still seek entry to the U.S. The assessment says that number, though, suggests “a significant proportion of the 55,000+ MPP (Migrant Protection Protocols) returnees have chosen to abandon their claims.”

The report notes that the work of the International Organization of Migration, supported in part by the U.S. government, is helping migrants return home for free if they choose to do so. It says that as of October, almost 900 migrants have participated in that program.

The statistics put some meat on the bones of what officials have been saying for months, specifically that many of those in MPP — particularly those who do not have a legitimate asylum claim — realize that they will not be released into the interior and then just return home. Those returning migrants may then dissuade others from making the journey, reducing one of the “pull factors” bringing people north illegally.

“We’re now sending the message that, if you’re coming here as an economic migrant, you’re not going to be allowed into the United States,” Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan, who has called MPP a “game-changer,” told reporters this month. “That’s driving a lot of people to return.”

The MPP policy has been one of the most effective parts of the administration’s crackdown on asylum seekers and illegal immigration, but also one of the most controversial. Critics claim that migrants are being sent into camps with squalid conditions, and are also at risk of violence from cartels.

A country without a border cannot defend itself. We have not stopped the drugs and illegal immigrants coming into American, but we have decreased the numbers. It’s a good start.

Ever Wonder About Polls?

Earlier this week, Fox News released a poll that stated that 51 percent of voters favored the impeachment of President Trump. That seemed odd for a number of reasons. Fair-minded Americans haven’t really been given a reason that President Trump deserves impeachment–all the the (expensive) Democrat schemes have come up empty. Most Americans view impeachment as a rather drastic step. Also, there is very little indication that the people who voted for President Trump regret their vote, and there seem to be indications that as his policies succeed, the President is gaining more support. The poll was suspicious at best. Well, Yesterday The New York Post posted an analysis of the poll.

Here is some of what they found:

Princeton, New Jersey, pollster Braun Research, which conducted the survey, noted 48% of its respondents were Democrats. But the actual breakdown of party-affiliation is 31% Democrat, 29% Republican and 38% independent, according to Gallup.

A poll weighted for party affiliation would have concluded that 44.9% favored impeachment and 44.4% opposed it, a Post analysis has concluded.

I truly doubt that the support for impeachment is actually that high. Knowing that the pollster messed with the demographics, I wonder how he phrased the questions. Never believe anything you see in a poll. Remember, according to various polls, we would have had a President John Kerry and a President Hillary Clinton. I guess the polls have been inaccurate for a while.

How Is This Compatible With The First Amendment?

Fox News posted an article today reporting some recent comments by Beto O’Rourke.

The article reports:

Democratic presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke says he’d strip churches of tax-exempt status if they don’t support same-sex marriage.

When the former Texas congressman was asked if religious institutions — “colleges, churches, charities” — should be stripped of tax-exempt status Thursday night by CNN anchor Don Lemon during the LGBTQ town hall, he immediately responded, “Yes.”

The article continued:

“There can be no reward, no benefit, no tax break for anyone or any institution, any organization in America, that denies the full human rights and the full civil rights of every single one of us,” he said. “So as president, we’re going to make that a priority, and we are going to stop those who are infringing upon the human rights of our fellow Americans.”

First of all, the churches who hold a Biblical view of marriage are not restricting your human rights–they are simply saying that they do not support something that is against the teaching of the Bible. These are churches who believe in the Bible. The Bill of Rights gives them the right to those beliefs. You are perfectly free to get married in any church that has a different view of marriage, you are just not allowed to coerce a church to go against its basic tenets.

The article concludes:

And Hiram Sasser, general counsel for First Liberty Institute, told Fox News their faith-based organization has taken on the government before.

“When the Obama IRS came after pastors gathering together in conferences with Rick Perry support traditional marriage, we had to defend the pastors,” Sasser said. “We beat the IRS then and we would do it again if O’Rourke attacks churches with the IRS in the future.”

President Trump has championed religious liberty, largely winning the evangelical vote in 2016, and earlier this year, his administration launched a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality.

Be very careful here. Regardless of how you feel about this particular issue, please understand that this is an attempt to chip away at the rights guaranteed to Americans in the Bill of Rights.

Suspended For Following The Law

The lack of respect for basic legal principles on the part of some of our elected officials is getting totally out of control. It used to be understood that if you broke the law, you got arrested, and possibly spent some time in jail. Now it depends on which law, which police department, and whether or not you are here illegally. There is no consistent rule of law anymore.

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a Virginia police officer who has been suspended from his job.

The article reports:

A Virginia police officer was suspended after allegedly turning over a suspected undocumented immigrant to federal authorities following a traffic accident last month.

The Fairfax County Police Department didn’t identify the officer in a statement released Tuesday but said the incident occurred on Sept. 21 when an officer was dispatched to a car accident.

The officer discovered one of the drivers didn’t have a Virginia driver’s license and ran a check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, police said. The check revealed the driver had a violation for failing to appear for a deportation hearing.

The officer verified the warrant and alerted officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

An ICE agent was close by and arrived at the scene. The officer cited the driver for not having a driver’s license and turned them over to the federal agent.

The Fairfax County Police Department enacted a 2007 policy that prohibits officers from confirming a person’s immigration status and detaining them solely based on civil violations of immigration law.

“This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused,” Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said. “We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”

The article concludes:

The officer involved has been on the job for a few years, Roessler told The Washington Post. He added that the officer did not willfully violate the department’s policy with respect to cooperating with immigration officials.

He said the officer will undergo remedial training.

I think the people in charge need to undergo remedial training.

Can I Help You Pack?

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that his country’s delegation would vote for the United Nations headquarters to be moved out of New York if given the chance, in the latest sign of escalating tensions with the United States on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

“If we’re ever asked, we will, of course, vote for it, for the United Nations headquarters to be transferred to a more secure and better country that does not have the narrow viewpoints that we have been witnessing,” he said in response to a question at a press conference. There appears to be no significant movement to move the U.N.

This is probably the first and last time I will agree with President Rouhani.

The article continues:

He mentioned a number of instances of Iranians being barred from entering the U.S. The Trump administration this week restricted senior Iranian government officials and their family members from entering the U.S.

“For years, Iranian officials and their family members have quietly taken advantage of America’s freedom and prosperity, including excellent educational, employment, entertainment, and cultural opportunities in the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Thursday.

“Under this proclamation, designated senior regime officials and their families will no longer be allowed entry into the United States. No longer will elites reap the benefits of a free society while the Iranian people suffer under the regime’s corruption and mismanagement.”

Rouhani accused the U.S. of capitalizing on its position as host nation for the U.N.

“This is the house of peace and house of communications with one another and America must not take advantage of its position as a host and only grant visas to whom America likes,” he said.

Rouhani spoke at a lengthy press conference in which he blamed the U.S. for the collapse of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and called on the U.S. to remove sanctions before talks can occur between the two countries. President Trump had opened the door to talks with the Iranian regime, but has also kept up his “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran.

“If these preconditions are taken off the table and then of course the possibility exists to talk with America,” Rouhani said.

Would the UN just leave if all the delegates were asked to pay their parking tickets?

Election Fraud Is An Issue

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about Sherikia Hawkins, city clerk for the city of Southfield, Michigan.

The article reports:

A Michigan official who earlier this year received an award from the state’s Democratic Party is now facing six felony charges for allegedly forging records and falsely marking absentee ballots as invalid during the 2018 election.

Sherikia Hawkins, 38, city clerk for the city of Southfield, was arrested Monday after the Oakland County Clerk’s office noticed discrepancies in voter counts while certifying absentee ballots from Southfield. State police investigated and found that records had been altered so that nearly 200 voter files were improperly listed as invalid.

…According to court documents, Michigan police found that 193 absentee voter files were changed in the city’s computer system to say they either had no signature or no return date, when they had both valid signatures and return dates. Police stated that after Oakland County Election Director Joseph Rozell found that Hawkins had submitted altered reports, his staff found the original ones in a trash can at the election division office.

The article notes that the ballots were found and tallied, so the actions of Ms. Hawkins did not have an impact on the outcome of the election.

The article concludes:

Hawkins was charged with falsifying records in violation of state election law, forgery of a public record, misconduct in office and three counts of using a computer to commit a crime. The top count carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

She was arraigned on Monday and released on $15,000 bond, according to a state press release. Hawkins has a probable cause conference set for Sept. 30, and another hearing scheduled for Oct. 15.

Unfortunately this is a problem that voter identification will not solve, but the situation here reminds us that there are people willing to cheat to win elections. Any procedures we can put in place to limit opportunities for election fraud need to be put in place.

We’ve Heard This Song Before

Fox News posted an article today that details some of the dire predictions we have heard in the past regarding the future of the earth. The article is in response to some of the recent claims made by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other pseudo-scientists.

The article reports:

An Associated Press headline from 1989 read “Rising seas could obliterate nations: U.N. officials.” The article detailed a U.N. environmental official warning that entire nations would be eliminated if the world failed to reverse warming by 2000.

Then there were the fears that the world would experience a never-ending “cooling trend in the Northern Hemisphere.” That claim came from an “international team of specialists” cited by The New York Times in 1978.

.Just years prior, Time magazine echoed other media outlets in suggesting that “another ice age” was imminent. “Telltale signs are everywhere — from the unexpected persistence and thickness of pack ice in the waters around Iceland to the southward migration of a warmth-loving creature like the armadillo from the Midwest,” the magazine warned in 1974. The Guardian similarly warned in 1974 that “Space satellites show new Ice Age coming fast.”

In 1970, The Boston Globe ran the headline, “Scientist predicts a new ice age by 21st century.” The Washington Post, for its part, published a Columbia University scientist’s claim that the world could be “as little as 50 or 60 years away from a disastrous new ice age.”

Some of the more dire predictions came from Paul Ehrlich, a biologist who famously urged population control to mitigate the impacts of humans on the environment. Ehrlich, in 1969, warned that “everybody” would “disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years,” The New York Times reported.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune, Ehrlich, warning of a “disastrous” famine,” urged placing “sterilizing agents into staple foods and drinking water.”

About the prediction of oceans rising and obliterating major cities–a science-oriented friend of mine pointed out that when ice melts in a glass of water, the water level stays the same–it doesn’t overflow the glass.

At any rate, the earth is in a warming stage. The earth periodically goes through warming stages. Warming stages have to do with sun spots, the earth’s orbit, and other natural occurrences. The earth went through warming stages before man even thought of burning carbon-based fuel. And last of all, man is simply not important enough to control the climate. However, the climate is important enough to be used by men to control a population that power-hungry politicians seek to control.

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.