From my friends at Power Line Blog:
Many of my liberal friends and relatives (yes, I do have some of those) on Facebook have been posting claims that the reason we are having problems with the coronavirus is because President Trump dissolved the office at the White House responsible for disaster preparedness. It’s an odd claim, and I wondered when I heard it what it was based on–all fake news is based on part of a story–just not always the part that is true.
Today Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article explaining exactly what was done.
The article explains:
But according to Tim Morrison, the former aide to whom direction of this office was assigned, the office was not “dissolved.” It remains in operation under Morrison’s successor.
Writing in the Washington Post, Morrison states:
When I joined the National Security Council staff in 2018, I inherited a strong and skilled staff in the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate. This team of national experts together drafted the National Biodefense Strategy of 2018 and an accompanying national security presidential memorandum to implement it; an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines; and coordinated the United States’ response to the Ebola epidemic in Congo, which was ultimately defeated in 2020.
It is true that the Trump administration has seen fit to shrink the NSC staff. But the bloat that occurred under the previous administration clearly needed a correction. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, congressional oversight committees and members of the Obama administration itself all agreed the NSC was too large and too operationally focused. . . .
The reduction of force in the NSC has continued since I departed the White House. But it has left the biodefense staff unaffected — perhaps a recognition of the importance of that mission to the president, who, after all, in 2018 issued a presidential memorandum to finally create real accountability in the federal government’s expansive biodefense system.
(emphasis (underline) added in Power Line article)
The article at Power Line Blog continues:
As part of the effort to make the NSC more effective, the Trump administration created the counterproliferation and biodefense directorate, a consolidation of three directorates into one (the three were arms control and nonproliferation, weapons of mass destruction terrorism, and global health and biodefense, which obviously overlap). Morrison says “it is this reorganization that critics have misconstrued or intentionally misrepresented.” (Emphasis added) But, “if anything, the combined directorate was stronger because related expertise could be commingled.”
The article concludes:
Morrison, then, is not an apologist for Trump. He’s an ally of Bolton, his boss at the NSC whom Trump has attacked. Reportedly Morrison has been called “Bolton without a mustache.”
Morrison concedes that some of the criticism of the president’s response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is “warranted,” though “much [is] not.” (The odds are strongly against any leader not making mistakes in responding to something as unprecedented as this pandemic.) But the claim that Trump dissolved the pandemic response office isn’t just unwarranted. It is fake news.
As you can see, the claims being made by the political left and their allies are simply not true. They are simply another attempt to turn the country over in November to one of two grumpy old men who will undo what progress has been made in shrinking government and bringing manufacturing back to America.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about a recent article in The Washington Post. The article totally misrepresented what President Trump said at the recent press conference held at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The article reports:
In this article (the article in The Washinton Post),David Nakamura of the Washington Post ridicules Trump’s presser. That’s okay with me. Aspects of Trump’s performance invited ridicule.
Unfortunately, Nakamura also provides a false account of the substance of Trump’s remarks. The headline of his story asserts that “Trump second-guess[ed] the [medical] professions.” In the body of the story Nakamura goes further, claiming that the president “repeatedly second-guessed. . .the actual medical professionals standing next to him.” (Emphasis added)
Trump did no such thing. In fact, he did the opposite. He deferred to the medical professionals.
Nakamura cites no example of second-guessing. I watched the full presser and heard none.
The article concludes:
Nakamura also fails to note that Trump lavishly praised the U.S. medical experts dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. He called them the best experts in the world, and said that public health officials in other countries are relying heavily on them.
Trump made this statement repeatedly, so Nakamura couldn’t have missed it. He chose, however, to exclude it from his story. Why? Almost certainly because it didn’t fit Nakamura’s claim that Trump is “second-guessing the professionals.”
Nakamura is serving up fake news, and not for the first time.
The American news media gave up the illusion of fairness a long time ago. I believe that false reporting such as in The Washington Post is one of the main reasons the country is so divided. Americans who read The New York Times and The Washington Post have not seen a fair representation of President Trump. They are not acquainted with either the economic numbers or the efforts to deal with the coronavirus that began in January. They are reacting to second-hand gossip that they are reading in the newspaper. People who don’t read those newspapers have a much better grasp of the Trump administration and its accomplishments that those who do. The conflict between fact and bias is one source of the current division in our country. We got along much better when we had a more neutral news media.
Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about lawsuits brought by Carter Page. It seems to be common knowledge that before being targeted by the Obama administration as a back door to spy on the Trump campaign, Carter Page had done a lot of work for three-letter government agencies and was regarded as a reliable source of information.
The article reports:
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page filed a lawsuit Thursday in federal court against the Democratic National Committee, law firm Perkins Coie and its partners tied to the funding of the unverified dossier that served as the basis for highly controversial surveillance warrants against him.
…“This is a first step to ensure that the full extent of the FISA abuse that has occurred during the last few years is exposed and remedied,” attorney John Pierce said Thursday. “Defendants and those they worked with inside the federal government did not and will not succeed in making America a surveillance state.”
He added: “This is only the first salvo. We will follow the evidence wherever it leads, no matter how high. … The rule of law will prevail.”
The lawsuit will be heard in the Federal District Court in Northern Illinois.
The article concludes:
Page could sue Steele, except that Steele is in England and has made it clear that he doesn’t plan to visit the U.S., ever again. Nearly all potential defendants other than Steele–Comey, Clapper, McCabe and the like–would try to erect a firewall by denying any knowledge that the Steele dossier was a fraud.
Whether such guilty knowledge could be proved is doubtful. At a minimum, Page will have to get far enough to conduct meaningful discovery against the existing defendants. Do the DNC’s or Perkins Coie’s emails contain evidence of a conspiracy to lie about Carter Page, for the purpose of damaging Donald Trump? Who knows? If the participants were careful, they don’t; then again, those who were talking to each other in 2016 and 2017 probably didn’t foresee that their actions might one day be exposed in court. So perhaps they were careless. Maybe, too, any such communications were deleted or destroyed long ago.
There is at least one obvious exception to the above analysis–the DOJ lawyer who misrepresented a CIA email to the FISA court. The email said that Carter Page was a CIA asset. The lawyer changed it to say that Page was not a CIA asset. That guy, who has been fired and I assume will be criminally prosecuted, has no defense other than causation. He likely would argue that he was just a cog in a giant wheel of lies, and that Page would have been equally defamed, surveilled and harassed even if he hadn’t lied about the CIA email. Which undoubtedly is true, although it is questionable as a defense.
What Carter Page is doing is noble. Let’s hope he succeeds in shedding light on the biggest political scandal, by far, in American history.
Finally, a fun fact: Page is represented by the same lawyers who are representing Tulsi Gabbard in her defamation case against Hillary Clinton, who called Gabbard a Russian asset. Which, of course, is what she and her minions also called Carter Page, an equally absurd lie.
John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog today about a lie told by Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. She has made a number of anti-Semitic statements during her short term in Congress.
The article reports:
Yesterday Tlaib retweeted the claim that a “herd of violent Israeli settlers” had “kidnapped and murdered” a seven-year-old Palestinian boy. The original tweet was accompanied by a video that showed an Israeli rescue team recovering the body of the boy from a cistern.
The article concludes:
The whole thing was a hoax, made up out of whole cloth. (Not the death of the boy, which was real, but the assertion that he was murdered by Israeli “settlers.”) The tweet by the Palestinian politician, Hanan Ashrawi, has now been deleted, as has Tlaib’s retweet. But Tlaib’s deletion was silent, with no explanation or apology, or any attempt to correct the misinformation that she had spread to tens of thousands on Twitter.
What happened is obvious. Like many people, Tlaib believes anything that tends to confirm her pre-existing bigotry. There is no need to investigate or verify the facts when an opportunity to smear Jews is at hand.
Anyone can make a mistake and believe something that isn’t true. However, Congresswoman Tlaib owed the people who follow her on Twitter and explanation of why her tweet was deleted and a correction to the story. Kidnapping and murder is generally not something that Israelis do to children. Unfortunately the Palestinians who Tlaib supports have a history of killing innocent people–both Israeli and American–citizens of Israel and tourists. The Representative needs to check her facts more carefully.
There was a Second Amendment rally in Richmond, Virginia, yesterday. 22,000 Second Amendment supporters showed up on Martin Luther King Day to support the Second Amendment. The media was predicting riots. On Sunday I posted an article based on a Canada Free Press story that predicted a ‘false flag’ operation by Antifa. That did not materialize.
Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted a few observations about the rally. The headline on his article was, “Pro-Gun Rally In Richmond Is Peaceful; Liberals Hardest Hit.”
The article notes:
Today an estimated (by police) 22,000 people demonstrated at the Virginia capitol in Richmond in favor of Second Amendment rights, which are being threatened by the newly-elected Democratic majority in that state’s legislature. Liberal news outlets were hoping the rally would turn violent, and their disappointment when it didn’t was palpable.
The article includes this picture and comment from The Washington Post:
The Babylon Bee probably had the best headline and article:
The Babylon Bee headlines: “Media Offers Thoughts And Prayers That Someone Would Start Some Violence At Gun Rights Rally.”
Somber members of the press offered their thoughts and prayers that someone would start some violence at the gun rights rally in Virginia today.
Reporters expressed their grief and condolences as the violence they hyped has so far failed to materialize.
“Nobody has so much as fired a shot. This is an unbelievable tragedy,” said one teary-eyed MSNBC reporter, clearly caught up in the anguish of the moment.
The article cited one possible reason Antifa decided to stay home:
Antifa threatened to show up at the rally, and likely would have created violence if it had done so. But for some reason, the group’s leaders changed their minds. Maybe they focused on the fact that the 2x4s, pipes and baseball bats with which they are used to beating up innocent bystanders might not fare so well in this crowd. One young guy who looked suspiciously like a leftist advocated jumping the fence and killing people. The genuine demonstrators denounced him as an “infiltrator”–which I suspect he was–and told him to “get the f*** out.”
The article concludes:
Virginia’s Democrats are unabashedly in favor of gun confiscation. Why is it that when Democrats take control of a legislative body, they instinctively move to confiscate legally-owned firearms from law-abiding citizens, in violation of the Second Amendment? It would take a psychiatrist to answer that question. Certainly a student of crime statistics wouldn’t be able to explain it. Whatever the cause, the Democrats’ move against the citizens’ constitutional rights is manna from Heaven for Republicans, many of whom mingled with the demonstrators and endorsed their cause.
I would also like to note that those who attended the rally cleaned up after themselves before they left. It is also interesting to me that when so many ‘good people with guns” are in one place, there is no violence.
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog titled, “Landmark Trade Deal With China; New York Times Hardest Hit.” The article details some of the actual facts of the trade deal and contrasts those details with the reporting of The New York Times.
Reaction was predictably partisan. On CNBC, Steve Bannon said that President Trump “broke the Chinese Communist Party,” and the U.S. “gave up very little in the end.” On the same program, hedge fund manager Kyle Bass said that he sees the agreement as a “‘temporary truce’ in which the U.S. got the better of China.”
At the New York Times, on the other hand, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth:
President Trump signed an initial trade deal with China on Wednesday, bringing the first chapter of a protracted and economically damaging fight with one of the world’s largest economies to a close.
Has the trade conflict with China damaged the U.S. economy? To some degree it has, although it has certainly hurt China’s economy more. This is the kind of short-term pain that Barack Obama, for example, was unwilling to accept. And yet economic growth under President Trump has been considerably better than under Obama.
The deal caps more than two years of tense negotiations and escalating threats that at times seemed destined to plunge the United States and China into a permanent economic war.
No one thought “permanent economic war” was a realistic possibility, except, perhaps, readers of the always-hysterical New York Times.
The agreement is a significant turning point in American trade policy and the types of free-trade agreements that the United States has typically supported. Rather than lowering tariffs and other economic barriers to allow for the flow of goods and services to meet market demand, this deal leaves a record level of tariffs in place and forces China to buy $200 billion worth of specific products within two years.
Phase One reduces or eliminates some tariffs and leaves others in place for Phase Two. This isn’t really all that complicated, but the Times wants its readers to think that Trump’s approach represents a departure from an imagined, purist practice of the past.
Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is a beautiful example of how the mainstream media takes good news and attempts to make it bad news because it involves an accomplishment by President Trump.
Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the escape of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn from house arrest in Japan. It’s an amazing story. Mr. Ghosn, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall escaped in a box used to transport musical instruments.
The article quotes The New York Post:
In a bizarre scheme allegedly orchestrated by his wife in the US, a group of ex-special forces soldiers posing as musicians specializing in a Gregorian band and toting music equipment strolled past Japanese security guards and entered the pad, according to the Lebanese news channel MTV.
Ghosn, who stands at just under 5-foot-6, climbed into “one of the boxes intended for the transfer of musical instruments,’’ the news station said — possibly a roughly 6-foot-tall double-base case.
He was then carted out in the case when the group left, after a “logical time for a concert had passed,” MTV said.
Japanese authorities had the door to his home under 24-hour video surveillance — but, per an April court agreement, Ghosn’s camp didn’t have to turn over each month’s recordings until the 15th of the following month, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Ghosn is believed to have been spirited out of the country on a chartered Bombardier jet from Kansai International Airport in Osaka — a six-hour drive from Toyko — around 11:10 p.m. Sunday, the Journal said.
The plane landed at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul early Monday, reports said. Ghosn then boarded a smaller plane belonging to the Turkish company MNG Jet Havacilik AS that departed about 30 minutes later for Rafic Hariri Airport in Beirut, Lebanon.
Japanese authorities apparently had no idea that their most high-profile detainee had fled until hours later — and only then, from an MTV reporter.
The station worker approached Matahiro Yamaguchi, the Japanese ambassador to Lebanon, at a party in Beirut around 6 p.m. Monday and asked about Ghosn’s fleeing, The Guardian reported.
The stunned ambassador said his administration knew nothing about it — and spent the next few minutes furiously texting before abruptly leaving the event.
The article in The New York Post continues:
Lebanon authorities claimed Ghosn entered the country legally via the use of a French passport — although it’s unclear how.
Lawyer Hironaka said he still has Ghosn’s three passports, for Lebanon, France and Brazil, that his client had to turn over as a condition of bail.
“It would have been difficult for him to do this without the assistance of some large organization,” Hironaka told reporters.
The article at Power Line Blog reminds us that nothing happens in Lebanon without the approval of Hezbollah. Interesting.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog about some recent comments by Senator Schumer.
The article notes:
Chuck Schumer’s moan that “the facts” need to “com[e] out” before a full impeachment trial can occur is an invitation to a motion to dismiss the House’s articles of impeachment, once they arrive. The House had its opportunity to develop the facts. If it didn’t develop facts sufficient to support removing the president, the Senate shouldn’t waste its time on the matter.
Mitch McConnell reportedly is considering a motion to dismiss. According to this report, he hinted that the Senate will move to dismiss the articles of impeachment after opening argument.
McConnell noted that in the 1999 trial of Bill Clinton, Schumer supported a motion to dismiss the case. He also recalled that Schumer opposed calling live witnesses. This time around, Schumer wants to call at least four witnesses who did not appear before the House.
Some Republicans, including President Trump apparently, also want to call witnesses during the impeachment trial. Joe and Hunter Biden have been mentioned, along with the whistleblower and even Adam Schiff. However, I agree with those who want to end the impeachment trial early. If Republicans want to hear from certain players, they can try to bring them in as part of the ordinary oversight process.
Why is Chuck Schumer still looking for the facts? It is the job of the House of Representatives to present the facts to the Senate for trial. If there are no facts, there is no reason for a trial. The Democrats have been looking for a crime for almost three years now. They have done little else. It is time for them to put their toys away and get to work. There will be an election in less than a year. Let the American people decide (or is that what they are afraid of?).
Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about what we now know about conflicting memos by Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff regarding FISA warrants.
The article reports:
When then House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes released his memo asserting that the FBI had improperly taken out FISA warrants on Carter Page, Ranking Member Adam Schiff responded with a memo of his own disputing it. The Nunes memo is accessible here and elsewhere; the Schiff memo is accessible here and elsewhere.
Both Nunes and Schiff had access to the same classified information for their memos, but Nunes was interested in disseminating the truth while Schiff sought to lie about it in the service of the Russia hoax. As has become all too clear, Schiff lies with the sangfroid of a pathological liar.
After the Department of Justice Inspector General report on FISA abuse that was released last week, we now know to a certainty that Nunes was right and Schiff was wrong. We know that Schiff was lying.
Schiff is lying now about about his lying then. It’s a postmodern world after all. In an interview with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday (beginning at about 5:30 below), Schiff allowed that there were indeed “serious abuses of FISA” — “serious abuses that I was unaware of.” He explained: “Had I known of them, Chris, yes, I would’ve called out the FBI at the same time,” Schiff said. “But I think it’s only fair to judge what we knew at the time.”
The article includes the memos. Scott Johnson reminds us that both men had the same access to the same information. Adam Schiff’s claim that he was unaware of the abuses is simply false. He is lying. And he continues to lie.
Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is discouraging to see a Representative who lies so easily and so frequently.
Yesterday John HInderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the latest reason given to impeach President Trump.
The article quotes the wisdom of Congressman Al Green:
Rep. Al Green (D-TX) said on Saturday during an interview on MSNBC that President Donald Trump needed to be impeached “to deal with slavery.”
Green, who has previously stated that Trump must be impeached or else “he will get reelected,” said this week that there is “no limit” to the number of times that Democrats can try to impeach the president.
…I do believe, ma’am, that we have to deal with the original sin. We have to deal with slavery. Slavery was the thing that put all of what President Trump has done lately into motion.
…So, I appreciate whatever we will do, but until we deal with the issue of invidious discrimination as a relates to [the] LGBTQ community, the anti-Semitism, the racism, the Islamophobia, the transphobia, and also the misogyny that he has exemplified, I don’t think our work is done.
I’m sorry–this seems like a bit of a stretch to me. Also, keep in mind that President Trump has Jewish grandchildren that he evidently has a beautiful relationship with. That might be a problem to a thinking person who wants to accuse him of anti-Semitism. The racist charge runs into a problem when you consider that President Trump as a private citizen literally fought city hall to allow Mar-a-Lago to admit African-Americans and Jews. The misogyny accusation runs into a problem when you consider that President Trump as a private citizen hired to first woman contractor to build a New York City skyscraper.
As you can see, most of the often repeated charges against President Trump contradict actual facts. Joseph Goebbels is often credited with saying, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” Unfortunately we are seeing that principle in action regarding reporting on President Trump.
Yesterday John HInderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article with the following headline, “Schiff Obtained Phone Records of Nunes, Journalist, Others.”
How in the world did Adam Schiff get access to those phone records?
The article notes:
The mainstream media is abuzz with stories about Nunes communication with “Rudy Giuliani during key aspects of his Ukraine pressure campaign.” Nunes was in touch with John Solomon around the times he published major articles. And on and on. The telephone records don’t include the actual conversations. They identify who was calling whom and how long they spoke.
Schiff has crossed the line of decency with this move. Once again, he has abused his power. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton tweeted that obtaining these records is a remarkable abuse of President Trump’s constitutional rights. I would argue that it’s an abuse of the constitutional rights of all of the above. These are KGB tactics.
Well, fair is fair. Republicans should obtain Schiff’s phone records, those of the so-called whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, and the colleague with whom he had a “bro-like” relationship, you know, Sean Misko, the one Schiff hired as an aide the day after the whistleblower’s complaint was submitted.
The repellent Adam Schiff has managed to reach a new level of depravity.
This is not something that should be happening in America. It is a total disregard for the constitutional rights of the people involved. However, this is not a new tactic by the political left.
In October 2014, I posted an article about Sharyl Attkisson. She was fired from CBS for her reporting on Operation Fast and Furious. As you remember, that was President Obama’s gun-running operation that was supposed to bring Americans to the point where they overturned the Second Amendment.
The article from rightwinggranny noted:
Attkisson says the source, who’s “connected to government three-letter agencies,” told her the computer was hacked into by “a sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency or the National Security Agency.”
The breach was accomplished through an “otherwise innocuous e-mail” that Attkisson says she got in February 2012, then twice “redone” and “refreshed” through a satellite hookup and a Wi-Fi connection at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
The spyware included programs that Attkisson says monitored her every keystroke and gave the snoops access to all her e-mails and the passwords to her financial accounts.
“The intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool,” she wrote in “Stonewalled: My Fight for Truth Against the Forces of Obstruction, Intimidation, and Harassment in Obama’s Washington.”
But the most shocking finding, she says, was the discovery of three classified documents that Number One told her were “buried deep in your operating system. In a place that, unless you’re a some kind of computer whiz specialist, you wouldn’t even know exists.”
“They probably planted them to be able to accuse you of having classified documents if they ever needed to do that at some point,” Number One added.
It’s time to charge people with a crime when they violate the civil rights of an American citizen. I hope this will happen (but I am not optimistic).
Hong Kong protests have been in the news for a while, but there is not a lot being written about what is currently happening in Iran. The protests in Iran are the largest since the protests nine years ago. This time the protesters know that America is cheering for them.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the protests in Iran.
The article reports:
The New York Times reports on the protests against Iran’s repressive regime. It calls them the most intense since 1979. The 1979 protests, of course, led to the overthrow of the Shah.
The mullahs were the target of strong protests in 2009. But the Times supplies evidence that the current wave is even more intense.
The 2009 protests are believed to have resulted in 72 deaths over a period of many months. The current protests have led to 180 to 450 deaths in just four days.
More significantly, the nature of the protesters appears to be different. Students led the 2009 protests. Reportedly, the current protesters are mainly unemployed or low-income men between the ages of 19 and 26, and the protests are centered not at universities but in working class neighborhoods.
This makes sense because the current protests were triggered by economic grievances, especially an increase in gasoline prices. The Times acknowledges that the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran are “a big reason” for the economic squeeze.
The difference in the nature of the protests is significant because unemployed and low-income youths have less to lose than university students. They are less likely to cowed for long.
The article states that it is doubtful that this protest will lead to an overthrow of the mullahs, but it may be a step toward that end.
It is not really in the interest of anyone (other than Iran) for Iran to successfully build an atomic bomb. Iran is a major supporter of terrorism around the world, and no person on earth will be safe if Iran successfully builds a nuclear weapon capable of reaching Europe or North America. The Iran nuclear deal did not stop Iran’s nuclear program–it simply postponed it until President Obama was out of office.
John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s Iran policy on the economy of Iran.
The article reports:
Iran has been roiled by demonstrations against the dramatic increase in the price of gasoline that was dictated by the government earlier this month. The demonstrations have been brutally suppressed, with somewhere between 100 and several hundred protesters killed by police. For several days, the mullahs pulled the plug on internet service to prevent videos of the protests and police brutality to be seen by the outside world.
So why is Iran in turmoil?
The article explains:
In other words, the Trump administration’s sanctions are working. Iran’s government, short of cash, was forced to dramatically raise the price of fuel, even though it knew what the reaction would be. And the resulting explosion–the analogy to the Yellow Vest protests in France is obvious–has shaken the regime.
Trump’s policy of using sanctions to starve the mullahs of cash contrasts favorably with Barack Obama’s inexplicable policy of sending $100 billion dollars to the regime in exchange for empty promises.
President Trump’s policy toward Iran is working.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article about a recent statement of policy by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The article reports:
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared today that the U.S. does not regard Israeli settlements on the West Bank as illegal. He thus reversed the position taken by former Secretary of State John Kerry in the dying days of the Obama administration.
Pompeo explained that, after carefully studying the issue, he concluded that President Reagan got it right when he found that the settlements are not illegal. Reagan had reversed the position taken by the Carter administration.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and Benny Gantz both support this move.
The article also notes:
Caroline Glick views Pompeo’s statement as a diplomatic turning point. She writes:
Pompeo’s statement is first and foremost an extraordinary gesture of support for Israel and the rights of the Jewish people on the part of President Donald Trump and his administration. But from a U.S. perspective, it also represents a key advance in Trump’s realist foreign policy.
Since taking office, Trump has worked consistently to align U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and beyond to the world as it is, rather than to the world as “experts” imagine it to be. In the Middle East, this realignment of U.S. policy has provided the nations of the region – including Israel and the Palestinians – with the first chance of reaching genuine peace they have ever had.
I doubt that the Palestinians have any desire for genuine peace, and therefore doubt that Pompeo’s statement will move the parties closer to such a peace. However, I agree with Glick that Pompeo’s realism (and President Trump’s) about West Bank settlements is a prerequisite for real progress in any meaningful peace process.
Another thing that needs to be considered is that the ‘settlements’ are not really settlements–they are thriving communities that include hospitals, schools, and infrastructure. We have learned from experience that when the so-called Palestinians are given territory they do not built infrastructure–they use whatever financial aid they are given to build terrorist tunnels and buy rockets and ammunition. Until that changes, I see no point in negotiating to give any territory to them.
Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It is interesting that the case has taken so long to get to the Supreme Court.
In September 2017, the Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following statement by former President Obama:
Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”
I guess he changed his mind. Also, just for the record, former President Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional Law Professor. We are not a democracy–we are a representative republic. Did he know that?
At any rate, DACA is now at the Supreme Court. Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the coming hearings.
The article notes:
The long-running battle over the Trump administration’s bid to end the Obama-era program for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” will land before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.
“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”
It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue — which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor.
The article concludes:
I haven’t studied the briefs so as to be up to speed on the technical arguments that will be presented to the Court tomorrow. But at the end of the day, it is hard to see how the courts can hold that the president is legally barred from carrying out his constitutional duty to see that the laws–including the immigration laws–are faithfully executed.
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the oppressive nature of mathematics. Barbie said that math class was hard, but I don’t remember her using the word oppressive.
The article reports:
The Seattle public schools have developed a new “ethnic studies” curriculum that tells students that mathematics is a tool of oppression. Sure, some of us thought that back in junior high school, especially when we didn’t get around to doing our homework. But to have this view endorsed by the schools is remarkable. Robby Soave reports at Reason:
The [Seattle public school] district has proposed a new social justice-infused curriculum that would focus on “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” within the field of mathematics. The curriculum isn’t mandatory, but provides a resource for teachers who want to introduce ethnic studies into the classroom vis a vis math.
Why, exactly, would you introduce “ethnic studies” into mathematics? This is from Education Week:
If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum.
Again: why would a school district do this, unless it is deliberately trying to foment ethnic division? The rot, sadly, is not confined to Seattle:
“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”
Why is it the mission of the public schools to “deepen students’ connection with identity and agency”? If “identity” means ethnic identity, which I understand it does, I would think the public schools should be trying to do the opposite.
For whatever reason, our education system and our political leaders are more focused on emphasizing the things that divide us rather than the things that unite us. Why not encourage all students to identify as Americans?
There is a bit of a dust up going on right now between China and the National Basketball Association. It seems that Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet showing support for Hong King’s freedom movement. Obviously, the Chinese are not a big fan of free speech. Mr. Morey has deleted his tweets and apologized, but that does not seem to be enough for the Chinese.
In an article posted today, CNBC reports:
- Searches for “Houston Rockets” and “Rockets” in Chinese on Alibaba-owned Taobao and Tmall and another site JD.com, yielded no results.
- It comes after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. The tweet was quickly deleted.
- Chinese broadcast partners Tencent and state-owned CCTV said they would no longer show Rockets games.
We need to remember that China is NOT a free country.
Meanwhile, enter Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame.
Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about their response to the dust up.
The article quotes an article in The Guardian:
South Park’s creators have responded with a mock apology to reports that China has censored the programme, ridiculing the country and comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.
The “apology” from Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes after reports on Monday that China had scrubbed all episodes, clips and content related to the long-running comedy cartoon from Chinese streaming and social media platforms in response to a recent episode that was critical of the country.
The episode, called Band in China, took aim at what it portrayed as a tendency in US culture to adjust content to accommodate Chinese censorship laws. “It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” says one character in the episode.
The episode also includes a plot line in which a character is caught selling drugs in China and as punishment is sent to a work camp, similar to the mass internment camps in Xinjiang where an estimated one million people, including Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.
The article also includes the non-apology apology from Trey Parker and Matt Stone:
Politico posted an article today about the latest events in Hong Kong. The article is taken from the South China Morning Post. Please consider the source when reading the excerpts.
The article reports:
Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, confirming the Post’s exclusive report earlier on Wednesday.
She will also set up an investigative platform to look into the fundamental causes of the social unrest and suggest solutions for the way forward, stopping short of turning it into a full-fledged commission of inquiry, as demanded by protesters.
The decision to withdraw the bill will mean that the government is finally acceding to at least one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent.
Apart from the formal withdrawal of the legislation, the protesters have asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterizing the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process.
Whether they will view the investigative committee as adequate in meeting the call for a commission remains to be seen. On the bill withdrawal, a government source said that Lam will emphasize that the move was a technical procedure to streamline the legislative agenda, with the Legislative Council set to reopen in October after its summer break.
Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog today about Hong Kong. In the article he quotes a Claudia Rosette article at The Wall Street Journal:
[T]he millions of protesters. . .have been doing the world a heroic service. Like their predecessors at Tiananmen, they are exposing on a world stage the brutality of the Beijing regime. From the only place under China’s flag where there is any chance to speak out, they are shouting the truth, day and night, in the streets and from the windows—while they still can.
During more than 13 straight weeks of protest, Hong Kong’s people have demanded the rights and freedoms—including free elections—that China, in a treaty with Britain, guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years after the 1997 handover. At a press conference last week held by Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized some of the biggest peaceful protests, spokeswoman Bonnie Leung observed that if the authorities would simply keep those promises, “the whole movement will end immediately.”
Instead, President Xi Jinping and his puppet, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, have defaulted to threats, propaganda and force. Ms. Lam’s administration has deployed riot police, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Officers have made more than 1,000 arrests.
China has been pressuring Hong Kong companies, including Cathay Pacific Airways, to fire employees who join the protests. Chanting “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight for freedom!” the protesters have refused to back down. Some told me they are ready to die for their cause. Many of their predecessors did in Tiananmen.
Hong Kong police have begun firing warning shots with live ammunition. This weekend, police were caught on video beating unarmed civilians bloody on the subway. China has been conspicuously drilling troops of its People’s Armed Police across the border, and last week it sent fresh army troops to its garrison in Hong Kong, labeling this a routine rotation to ensure “prosperity and stability.”
The article at Power Line Blog concludes with an UPDATE:
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has finally agreed to withdraw the extradition bill discussed above. She takes her order from Beijing, so it looks like China wants to avoid a Tiananmen Square style massacre and the worldwide condemnation it would bring.
Will this concession, absent the freedoms China promised Hong Kong in 1997, be sufficient to take the steam out of the protests? Perhaps.
Another possibility is that the protesters, if anything, will be emboldened by the concession and that China, having made it, will believe it can defend a crack down by claiming that the protesters couldn’t take “yes” for an answer.
As the climate change hysterics from the Democrat presidential candidates continue, some of the actual facts seem to have gotten lost in the discussion.
John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday with the following headline, “No U.S. Warming Since 2005.”
The article reports:
Even when measured, temperature records are not very reliable. The U.S. is generally considered to have the best records, but surveys show that over half of our weather stations do not comply with written standards. Some are located in places that obviously will be warmer than surrounding air, e.g., next to airport runways. Many are in cities, where temperatures are artificially inflated by concentrations of people, motor vehicles, buildings, etc. And on top of all of that, the alarmists who curate weather records have systematically fiddled with them, lowering temperatures that were recorded decades ago and raising recent ones, to exaggerate the supposed phenomenon of global warming.
The article continues:
In order to address some of these problems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implemented, beginning in 2005, a new surface temperature measurement system in the U.S.
[The U.S. Climate Reference Network] includes 114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced relatively uniformly across the lower 48 states. NOAA selected locations that were far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.
Prior to the USCRN going online, alarmists and skeptics sparred over the accuracy of reported temperature data. With most preexisting temperature stations located in or near urban settings that are subject to false temperature signals and create their own microclimates that change over time, government officials performed many often-controversial adjustments to the raw temperature data. Skeptics of an asserted climate crisis pointed out that most of the reported warming in the United States was non-existent in the raw temperature data, but was added to the record by government officials.
The USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations.
So–not to keep you in suspense–what does the USCRN show so far? No warming: