Telling The Truth

Rick Grenell definitely left his mark as acting Director of National Intelligence. Things that should never have been classified were unclassified so that the American people could see for themselves what their government had been up to. Hopefully, John Ratcliffe, who replaced Ambassador Grenell, will be as equally concerned about unnecessary government secrecy.

Ambassador Grenell was interviewed on Tucker Carlson Tonight last night. Fox News posted an article about the interview late last night. The article includes a video of the interview. Please follow the link to view the interview. It is telling.

The article reports:

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday that his time in the Trump administration has shown him that the great political struggle is no longer between Republicans and Democrats, but between the District of Columbia and the rest of the U.S.

The article includes a screenshot of something Ambassador Grenell tweeted:

The article continues:

“The fact of the matter is,” Grenell said, “we have a real problem in Washington, D.C., because it’s a system that it no longer is Republicans and Democrats pushing against each other to create good policy. It’s a fight between Washington and the rest of America.”

“What we have [is] a system in Washington where people get jobs if you’re there, if you know someone and you work your way up, and it’s like musical chairs from one agency to another,” Grenell added. “There is no outside thought, there’s no outside perspective.”

Grenell, who also spent two years as U.S. ambassador to Germany, characterized Trump as a great disruptor of this insular system.

“He’s breaking their system,” he said. “He doesn’t play by the rules.

The article concludes:

“I saw that at ODNI,” Grenell added. “I saw that by entering the intelligence world, and senators from the Democratic Party saying, ‘You have no experience, what are you doing — why should you be there?””

Grenell specifically called out Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, by noting that Grenell had received his first intelligence briefing back in 2001, before Warner was elected to public office.

“He said that I wasn’t qualified,” Grennell said of Warner. “I actually am a receiver of intelligence, and [I’m] an expert on the consumer part of the intelligence and how to utilize it, but that perspective is never brought to Washington.”

Change is hard–particularly if that change means you are losing control of something you have controlled for a very long time. That is the current battle in Washington. Does the bureaucracy want to represent the American people or do they want to represent only their own interests?

 

Under The Radar

Fox News is reporting today that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has asked the Trump administration to provide Mexico with all the information available regarding the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation. As you may remember, Fast and Furious was a government program under President Obama that allowed guns to be sold in America to Mexican cartels with the supposed goal of tracking the guns and finding the cartels. A more cynical idea of the goal is that the program would increase gun violence to the point where Americans would accept the Obama administration’s plans for severe restrictions on gun ownership.

The article reports:

The sting allowed people to illegally buy arms in the United States and take them to Mexico, so the firearms could be tracked to drug cartel bosses and lead law enforcement there. It hoped to limit gun smuggling across the border.

review of the program found that only 710 out of roughly 2,000 firearms were recovered as of February 2012, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In 2011, Holder had requested the OIG to conduct a review of operation “Fast and Furious.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had said last week his government would send a diplomatic note to Washington for information on the operation, as his current regime digs for more information on the cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as possible corruption under previous administrations.

“How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

Holder was the U.S. Attorney General under Obama between 2009 and 2015. Ebrard said he previously issued a statement by way of the U.S. embassy in Mexico asserting that “Mexican authorities” knew about the program, the news organization reported.

In 2012, the Justice Department report had found “no evidence” that Holder was informed about the operation or learned about the tactics employed by the ATF, according to the USA Today.

Lopez Obrador first talked of the scheme last Monday when discussing Genaro Garcia Luna, the former Mexican security minister from 2006-2012, who was arrested in the U.S. last December on drug trafficking offenses, Reuters reported.

Stay tuned.

This Would Be Funny If It Weren’t So Sad

Fox News posted an article about some recently declassified documents today that really makes me wonder about the wisdom of choosing Joe Biden as the Democrat nominee for President.

The article reports:

Usama bin Laden wanted to assassinate then-President Barack Obama so that the “totally unprepared” Joe Biden would take over as president and plunge the United States “into a crisis,” according to documents seized from bin Laden’s Pakistan compound when he was killed in May 2011.

The secretive documents, first reported in 2012 by The Washington Post, outlined a plan to take out Obama and top U.S. military commander David Petraeus as they traveled by plane.

“The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency,” bin Laden wrote to a top deputy. “Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour … and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden specifically wanted fellow terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri to shoot down Obama.

“Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken into that work,” bin Laden wrote to the top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. Kashmiri wouldn’t get too far along in the plot, however; he was killed in 2011 in a U.S. drone strike shortly after bin Laden himself was shot to death by Navy SEALs.

I guess Joe Biden’s reputation internationally is not too wonderful.

Shady Statistics

Fox News is reporting that the federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.

The article reports:

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.

“The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

Asked whether the numbers could skew data the government is trying to collect, Birx said that would mostly apply more to rural areas where testing isn’t being implemented on a wide scale.

“I’m pretty confident that in New York City and New Jersey and places that have these large outbreaks and COVID-only hospitals. … I can tell you they are testing,” she said.

Dr. Michael Baden, a Fox News contributor, said it’s reasonable to include the death of someone infected with the virus, who also had other health issues, in the COVID-19 body count.

Follow the link to read the entire article. This seriously causes me to wonder about the validity of any of the numbers we are seeing regarding deaths due to the coronavirus. People die of heart attacks, cancer, and strokes every day. If they have the coronavirus, those deaths are reported to be the result of the virus. It would be interesting when this is over to compare the number of deaths from heart attacks, cancer, and stokes from this time period to another time period. If the number is significantly lower during this time, it would be easy to conclude that the coronavirus deaths were being exaggerated.

Just Because It May Be Legal Doesn’t Mean It’s Moral

Fox News posted an article today about four Congressmen who are taking advantage of the coronavirus epidemic for personal gain. What they are doing gives us insight into how Congressmen can enter Congress as middle-class Americans and be millionaires four years later.

The article reports:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and three of her Senate colleagues reported selling off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, according to reports.

The data is listed on a U.S. Senate website containing financial disclosures from Senate members.

Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.

Feinstein defended herself in a series of tweets on Friday, saying she has “no control” over her assets and the stocks in question were her husband’s transactions.

“During my Senate career I’ve held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control. Reports that I sold any assets are incorrect, as are reports that I was at a January 24 briefing on coronavirus, which I was unable to attend,” she tweeted.

“Under Senate rules I report my husband’s financial transactions. I have no input into his decisions. My husband in January and February sold shares of a cancer therapy company. This company is unrelated to any work on the coronavirus and the sale was unrelated to the situation.”

When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco also said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale.

“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

The article names the other Congressmen who took similar actions:

Reports identified the three other senators as Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all Republicans.

Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, used more than 30 transactions to dump between $628,000 and $1.72 million on Feb. 13, according to ProPublica.

The report said the transactions involved a significant percentage of the senator’s holdings and took place about a week before the impact of the virus outbreak sent stock prices plunging to the point where gains made during President Trump’s term in office were largely erased.

All of the Congressmen have the same story–I was not directly involved in the transactions, yet these transactions are suspiciously timed. I wonder if Congressmen should be banned from altering their stock portfolios in any way while they are serving in Congress. They might not like doing that, but it would be one way to end this sort of suspicious activity. Foregoing trading stocks while in office would be a small price to pay to insure the honesty of those who serve in Congress.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

When Principles Depend On Who Is In Power

Yesterday Fox News posted an article detailing the Democrat’s reaction to President Trump’s suggested payroll tax cut. The tax cut is designed to counter some of the economic losses caused by fears over the coronavirus.

The article notes:

Democrats are lining up to condemn President Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes amid the coronavirus outbreak, even though many of them were lock-step in supporting former President Obama’s two-percent payroll tax cut in 2010.

The apparent flip-flop came as stocks rebounded on Tuesday on news of the president’s coronavirus initiatives, with the Dow posting its third-biggest point gain in history. Trump has called for a “dramatic” payroll tax cut, and Fox News is told there has been consideration of suspending the payroll tax for three months, through the fall, or even through the end of the year.

The article notes the Democrats’ previous stand on this issue:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is working with Democratic leaders on their own stimulus package, and has suggested that a payroll cut likely won’t be included because it amounts to “tax cuts for major corporations.”

However, in a 2011 press release, Pelosi called a brief extension of Obama’s payroll tax cut a “victory for all Americans” and said it would put “nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family.”

“Today is a victory for all Americans – for the security of our middle class, for the health of our seniors, and for economic growth and job creation,” Pelosi said at the time. “The American people spoke out clearly and, thanks to President Obama’s leadership, 160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut – nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family. I salute the work of the unified House Democratic caucus on behalf of the American people.”

The article concludes:

“According to those knowledgeable about the events that played out over less than a week, the agreement was the product of a fast-paced series of telephone contacts, conference calls and consultations with Congressional leaders,” the Times wrote. “A critical negotiation on Sunday led to a surprise cut in employee payroll taxes as the men sought to wrap up the deal.”

For Republicans, the sudden change in tone on payroll taxes as a means of economic stimulus was evidence of election-year opportunism.

“Like clockwork, Democrats never miss an opportunity to oppose President Trump,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Steve Guest told Fox News.

As for the new proposal on Capitol Hill, a source familiar with the proposal tells Fox News that addressing the Trump administration’s payroll tax proposal is “the fastest possible way” to address economic concerns. The source said that crafting proposals such as “unemployment insurance and dropping money out of helicopters” takes months to engineer. But the payroll tax could hit immediately – especially if they include both employers and employees.

The reluctance among some Republicans is a payroll tax cut could explode the deficit. However, Fox News is told that there are concerns that if Congress waits to act amid the declining economy, an even bigger hit to the deficit might result — as large as “a $1 trillion direct score on the deficit.”

Unfortunately the game is played on both sides. I believe there may be a handful of people in Congress who actually put the welfare of the country ahead of the welfare of their political party. I just wish there were more of them. As a country, we need to learn to work together in times of crisis–not simply use the crisis for political gain.

When You Understand The Connections, This Makes Sense

There are a lot of Republicans walking around wondering how they ever supported Mitt Romney. He has made some very strange comments and votes since Donald Trump was elected. Now we are beginning to see the reason behind some of his actions. Keep in mind that President Trump has consistently attempted to drain the Washington, D.C., swamp. There are investigations currently going on into various aspects of that swamp. Whether anyone will actually pay a price for their corruption I don’t know, but I suspect there are some seriously uncomfortable people walking around Washington right now.

Today Fox News posted an article about some of Romney’s recent comments.

The article notes:

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who faced the scorn of President Trump and fellow Republicans over his vote last month to convict at the Senate impeachment trial, questioned the motivation behind a Republican effort to issue a subpoena related to Hunter Biden and his dealing with Ukraine.

“I would prefer that investigations are done by an independent, non-political body,” Romney told the Washington Post. “There’s no question the appearance is not good.”

Oddly enough, he has not been equally concerned about all of the investigations into President Trump. The article notes that Romney’s vote in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is pivotal. That is the Committee that would approve a subpoena to gather information on the Ukrainian scandal involving Hunter Biden. Republicans maintain an 8-to-6 majority in the committee, and if Romney sides with Democrats the result would be a 7-7 tie.

PJ Media posted an article in February that reminded us of the following:

Romney’s vote to convict on the charge of abuse of power might very well be connected to his own links to the company via one of his top advisers. The Federalist reported back in September that “top Mitt Romney adviser Joseph Cofer Black, who publicly goes by ‘Cofer Black,’ joined Burisma’s board of directors while Hunter Biden was also serving on the board.”

I would be very surprised if Romney votes to investigate Ukrainian corruption since he has close ties to someone who may be caught up in the investigation. This might also explain some of Romney’s problem with President Trump–it is becoming obvious that Romney may well be part of the swamp. That may be the reason he worked so hard to be elected to the Senate–self preservation.

Why Border Security Matters

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a recent drug seizure at the Arizona border.

The article reports:

A drug bust last year was hailed as the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history—254 pounds seized at an Arizona border crossing.

The seizure came as the scourge of fentanyl continues to fuel the opioid epidemic, ravaging communities across the U.S. while killing tens of thousands of people.

“Fentanyl also continues to be a tremendous problem, contributing to 68,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2018,” Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Congress in November. He said CBP’s seizures of fentanyl rose by 30 percent in fiscal year 2019, totaling 2,770 pounds.

Fentanyl comes from China. Often it is smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico by drug cartels involved in a violent war with Mexican police and military forces.

The historic 254-pound bust was just one of a half-dozen big fentanyl busts recorded by law enforcement in recent years, a tally shows.

These six busts have led to the seizure of some 818 pounds of fentanyl–enough to kill 229 million people, according to authorities.

The article lists the six major drug busts. Please follow the link above to the article to see the details.

On March 22, 2019, I Heart Radio reported:

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how the opioid epidemic has ballooned over the past six years. The report found that from 2011 to 2016, the number of overdose deaths from the synthetic opiate fentanyl has risen by over 1000 percent.

The CDC says that in 2011 and 2012, around 1,600 people died each year from a fentanyl overdose. The number of deaths rose to 1,900 in 2013, but in 2014 officials saw the number of fatalities jump to 4,223. In 2015 the number of deaths nearly doubled to 8,251, and in 2016 there were another 10,000 deadly overdoses, bringing the total to 18,335 for the year.

The massive spike in fentanyl-related deaths was seen mainly in men. Up until 2013, the number of men and women who overdosed on fentanyl was about the same, but in 2014 the numbers began to diverge, and in 2016 there were three times as many men killed from an overdose as women.

Fentanyl is now considered the deadliest drug in America and is responsible for 29% of all overdose deaths in the nation.

Border security matters.

Someone Needs To Turn This Story Into A Movie

Fox News reported yesterday that Dave Ayres, a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, saved the day for the North Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were playing the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The article reports:

Ayres, who works as a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, was forced into action midway through the second period after Carolina’s James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured. The Hurricanes were leading 3-1 when the 42-year-old Ayres took over.

The article details how the game went:

Carolina trailed 1-0 after the first, but tied it at 5:46 of the second when Wallmark scored off a scramble in front of Andersen. Niederrieter then blasted a one-timer on a power play at 9:43 before Foegele made it 3-1 at 10:49.

Mrazek made 14 saves in relief of Reimer, but left the game 30 seconds after Foegele’s first goal. The Czech netminder lay on the ice for a few minutes before leaving.

And after a delay, Ayres emerged from the Hurricanes locker room sporting No. 90. He got a some warmup shots from his new teammates before getting thrown into the fray.

Aho made it 4-1 with Clifford in the penalty box for charging at 13:17, but Tavares scored on the first shot against Ayres through the pads 19 seconds later.

Engvall scored off a loose puck on Toronto’s next shot against Ayres at 15:10.

The Leafs got a power play after that — fans at Scotiabank Arena screamed “Shoot!” almost every time a Toronto player had the puck anywhere near the Carolina goal — but the Hurricanes didn’t allow anything through.

Ayres made his first save late in the second on Auston Matthews as Carolina led 4-3 through a wild 40 minutes.

What a wild story!

Nature Is Amazing

On February 6th, Fox News reported the following:

A type of black fungus that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In 1991, the strange fungus was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.

Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it.

A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin — which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.

The article concludes:

In a 2008 paper, Ekaterina Dadachova, then of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, noted that the fungi attracted to radiation are unlikely to be the first examples of their kind.

“Large quantities of highly melanized fungal spores have been found in early Cretaceous period deposits when many species of animals and plants died out. This period coincides with Earth’s crossing the “magnetic zero” resulting in the loss of its “shield” against cosmic radiation,” the paper’s introduction states.

The fungi indicate that there could be places in the cosmos — which we are unaware of — where organisms could live in radiation-filled environments.

Just amazing.

Here We Go Again

Fox News is reporting today the following:

Not A Good Look

The Iowa Democrat Caucuses have not gone well. As usually happens in the modern world of social media, the memes have begun.

This is one of the better memes that showed up on my Facebook feed:

However, on a more serious note…

One America News reported today:

Officials in Iowa reportedly knew there were problems with the mobile app used to tally the results in Monday’s caucus. The state’s Democrat Party released a statement late Monday to announce its decision to delay the release of the official results. They cited “inconsistencies” in the results as the reason for the postponement.

The Democrats went on to specify the delay was not because of a hack in an apparent effort to quell possible theories of election interference. On top of the supposed “inconsistencies,” however, many county chairs in Iowa have said they reported problems with the new app in the week before the caucus date. One chair from Polk County said not only were there unresolved problems with the app, but local Democrat officials weren’t provided any training on how to use it.

There were also reports of the phone lines being backed up for counties to report their results, with some reports suggesting county officials were on-hold for over an hour. Many counties were forced to switch to recording the votes on paper. Despite all this, the state’s Democrat Party has assured voters the underlying reporting was sound, but it would take time to tally the votes.

Fox News reported today:

The app that was supposed to help the Iowa Democratic Party quickly report Monday’s caucus results – but contributed to confusion and a muddled result as campaigns were in an uproar – is linked to Hillary Clinton campaign veterans.

Shadow, a tech firm that describes itself as a group that creates “a permanent advantage for progressive campaigns and causes through technology,” is the company that created the Iowa Democratic Party’s app, according to The New York Times. At least the COO, CEO, CTO and a senior product manager at Shadow all worked for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, according to LinkedIn profiles.

Shadow is associated with ACRONYM, a nonprofit dedicated to “advancing progressive causes through innovative communications, advertising and organizing programs.” Early last year, ACRONYM announced that it was acquiring an SMS tool called Groundbase and, out of Groundbase, “launching Shadow, a company focused on building the technology infrastructure needed to enable Democrats to run better, more efficient campaigns.”

The article at Fox News continues:

Groundbase co-founders Krista Davis, who is the current Shadow CTO, and Gerard Niemira, who is the current Shadow CEO, both held senior positions with the Clinton campaign.

Tara McGowan, the founder and CEO of ACRONYM, posted a statement from an ACRONYM spokesman early Tuesday morning distancing the nonprofit from Shadow, which is a for-profit company.

“ACRONYM is a nonprofit organization and not a technology company. As such, we have not provided any technology to the Iowa Democratic Party, Presidential campaigns, or the Democratic National Committee,” spokesman Kyle Tharp said in the statement. “ACRONYM is an investor in several for-profit companies across the progressive media and technology sectors. One of those independent, for-profit companies is Shadow, Inc, which also has other private investors. We are reading confirmed reports of Shadow’s word with the Iowa Democratic Party on Twitter, and we, like everyone else, are eagerly awaiting more information from the Iowa Democratic Party with respect to what happened.”

McGowan is an alumna of Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and previously worked as a digital director for NexGen America, a progressive organization founded by presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

Remember in 2016 when the DNC took the nomination away from Bernie Sanders? Is there any reason not to believe that those in the smoke-filled rooms are doing a repeat performance? I am willing to go on the record to say that somehow, I don’t know how, Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat Presidential Candidate in 2020. Stay tuned.

Michael Flynn and FBI Misconduct

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about the case of Michael Flynn.

The article reports:

“I did not lie to them.”

With those words in a declaration and supplemental motion filed Wednesday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn formally asked a federal judge for permission to withdraw his guilty plea for making false statements to two FBI agents in the White House back on Jan. 24, 2017.

In a sweeping argument that took aim at the bureau’s “outrageous” conduct, Flynn’s legal team highlighted a slew of information that has come to light since Flynn’s plea — including that no precise record of Flynn’s statements to the agents exists and that the original handwritten FD-302 witness report from the interview is “missing,” with subsequent versions later “edited” in some undisclosed manner by anti-Trump FBI officials.

Moreover, Flynn’s team maintained he had no reason to lie about his communications with the Russian ambassador concerning how the country should respond to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, or a then-pending vote on Israel in the United Nations. After all, Flynn said, he knew federal officials “routinely monitor, record, and transcribe” conversations like the ones he had with Russian diplomats.

The article continues:

Horowitz further revealed that Pientka (FBI Agent Joe Pietnka) was part of an apparent undercover operation to essentially spy on the Trump campaign and Flynn during a routine intelligence briefing in August 2016.

Pientka’s “participation in that presidential briefing was a calculated subterfuge to record and report … anything Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump said in that meeting,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote. Morever, the FISA court itself has rebuked the FBI as a whole, the filing noted.

Pientka “bore ultimate responsibility for four falsified applications to the FISA court and oversaw virtually every abuse inherent in Crossfire Hurricane — including suppression of exculpatory evidence,” Flynn’s team added.

The FBI has repeatedly refused to respond to Fox News’ request for clarification on Pientka’s status, even as Republicans in Congress have sought to question him.

The article concludes:

In December, U.S. District Judge Emmitt Sullivan had seemingly crushed Flynn’s hopes for ditching his guilty plea, saying that Flynn had waived his constitutional rights to obtain exculpatory information by pleading guilty.

Then, earlier this month, Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea for this first time —  just days after the Justice Department reversed course to recommend up to six months of prison time in his case, alleging he was not fully cooperating or accepting responsibility for his actions.

On Wednesday, the govenrment kept its recommendation of between zero and six months in prison, but specifically stated it would not “oppose” a sentence of probation. That walkback was notable, and signaled that Flynn likely will not serve time in prison.

Flynn’s lawyers, earlier this month, argued that “because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement,” Flynn’s plea should be withdrawn. That led to Wednesday’s supplemental filing — and, perhaps, new life for Flynn’s defense team.

Please follow the link to read the entire article–it includes a lot of significant details. I hope that Michael Flynn is not only exonerated, but reimbursed for the legal expenses he has incurred defending himself from a smear campaign.

Policies Have Consequences

Fox News is reporting today that Mayor Douglas Nicholls of Yuma, Arizona, has withdrawn his city’s state of emergency that was declared in response to this year’s migrant crisis at the southern border — saying that the crisis has diminished in recent months.

The article reports:

“I am grateful to be able to withdraw the Proclamation of Emergency due to the Trump Administration’s policy changes that diminish the flow of the migrant family units to the Yuma area and prevent releases into the Yuma community,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls said in a statement earlier this month.

Nicholls declared a state of emergency in April near the peaks of the border crisis, when the number of migrants apprehended or turned away at the border soared to over 109,000. That number would hit 144,000 in May, but then decline sharply in the months since then, down to about 42,000 in November. At the time, Nicholls said the state of emergency was “due to the migrant family releases overwhelming the local shelter system.”

The administration has credited a slew of measures for bringing down the numbers of migrants approaching the border. Most significantly is the ramping up of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) over the summer — which sees migrants returned to Mexico as they await their hearings. So far more than 53,000 migrants have been returned to Mexico under MPP. That has been coupled with asylum agreements with countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador that sees migrants sent there to claim asylum instead

While those policies have drawn significant criticism from pro-migrant and humanitarian groups, who warn that they could send migrants into dangerous areas and place them at risk of violence, the administration claims it is those policies that have helped slow the crisis and end the pull factors that brought migrants north. They also mean that apprehended migrants can be processed quicker and, in many cases, be sent to Mexico or a Central American country rather than released into the U.S. interior. In a press release, Nicholls also credited those initiatives for alleviating the crisis in Yuma.

The constant flow of illegal immigrants flowing into America from our southern border does not help anyone–it puts those immigrants at risk and puts American citizens at risk. It puts downward pressure on the wages of working Americans. It poses a security risk. The wall is not the entire answer–the policies that the Trump administration is putting in place are also very helpful.

In Britain, The People Are Winning

Fox News is reporting today that British lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal Friday. The deal means that Britain will leave the European Union by January 31st.

The article reports:

Before Friday’s vote, Johnson painted it as a moment of closure for Britons, saying, “Brexit will be done, it will be over.”

“This is a time when we move on and discard the old labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’,’ he added. “Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation.”

He said passing the bill would end the “acrimony and anguish” that has consumed the country for the last three years.

…The bill commits Britain to leaving the EU on Jan. 31 and to concluding trade talks with the bloc by the end of 2020. Trade experts and EU officials say striking a free trade deal within 11 months will be a struggle, but Johnson insists he won’t agree to any more delays, The Brexit bill has been amended to bar ministers from agreeing to extend the transition period with the EU.

The new divorce bill needs to be ratified by the European Parliament, whose vice president, Pedro Silva Pereira said officials expect to happen by Jan. 29.

It took a referendum and another election, but the wishes of the people in Britain are finally being honored. The political elites who fought Brexit have now been defeated–at least temporarily.

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.

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.

Unfortunately This Is Going To Require A Response

Fox News is reporting today that two tankers flying British flags have been seized by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz.

The article reports:

Fox News has learned that a second Liberian tanker operated by a British company was also seized by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and was seen on maritime tracking services making a turn, headed towards Iran.

President Trump said Friday that Iran is “nothing but trouble” and that “we heard one, we heard two,” tankers were seized.

Iran seized a British-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz earlier Friday amid growing tensions in the region.

The Stena Impero, which has a crew of 23 onboard, “was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters,” Stena Bulk, the shipping company that owns the vessel, said in a statement. “We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard forces, in a statement on their website, say the ship was seized for “non-compliance with international maritime laws and regulations” and is being brought to an unnamed Iranian port, according to the Associated Press.

Websites tracking the ship’s path show it turning sharply in the direction of Iran’s Qeshm Island, instead of its intended destination of Saudi Arabia.

“We are urgently seeking further information and assessing the situation following reports of an incident in the Gulf,” a U.K. government spokesperson told Fox News.

In July 2018 Reuters posted the following:

With a third of the world’s sea-borne oil passing through it every day, the Strait of Hormuz is a strategic artery linking Middle East crude producers to key markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond.

That dynamic has changed slightly due to the fact that America now exports more crude oil than they import. The countries that will be hurt by problems in the Strait of Hormuz will be Europe, India, and China. I am sure that America will be willing to help Europe, Russia will also increase her oil production. The price of oil will rise sharply, but it is doubtful that the Strait will remain closed.

The latest report that I have heard is that there are actually three tankers that have been seized. This is an international problem and should be handled by the international community in unison.