Posted by my friends at Power Line Blog:
Yesterday Townhall posted an article about the continuing saga of Michael Flynn. This story should have been over years ago, but there are enough deep state operatives running around Washington to keep it alive. The real root of the case is that Michael Flynn is a very smart man who would have figured out the corruption in the Department of Justice in his first week on the job.
Townhall focused on the missing 302, the form that the agents interviewing General Flynn would have filled out at the time. The original 302 has somehow gone missing. The article includes a timeline of the case.
The article cites the latest developments in the case:
Sidney Powell is part of Flynn’s new and aggressive legal team, who said in October that new documents would show an FBI entrapment plot. Well, that day arrived for sure. Flynn has fought to withdraw his guilty plea since the beginning of this year. Right now, his legal team has filed a new writ of mandamus to get this case tossed, the judge removed, and the amicus brief motion dismissed as well. Yeah, I forgot to mention that Sullivan decided he was going to allow every anti-Trump legal team in the world to file amicus briefs. The good news is that the DC Court of Appeals had every right to dismiss the writ outright, no questions asked. Instead, they’ve ordered Sullivan to respond to Powell’s writ personally and defend his actions regarding this case. Legal observers noted this is a huge development and a sign that Flynn’s legal team already passed a huge hurdle. Not only that, but the DC Court gave this judge the most serious method regarding a response. It’s quite clear that the DC Court of Appeals is disturbed by Sullivan’s actions. We’ll circle back to that in a few days. It seems that at least part of the writ might be granted and bring Flynn closer to putting this nightmare behind him.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported the following:
Judge Emmet Sullivan has hired Beth Wilkinson to represent him as he defends his unusual actions in the Michael Flynn case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Sullivan already asked for assistance from outside counsel when he appointed John Gleeson to argue against the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the Flynn prosecution. That extraordinary move helped land Sullivan in the dock, so to speak, thus causing him to enlist Wilkinson as his lawyer.
A highly regarded litigator, Wilkinson represented top aides to Hillary Clinton in her email controversy. She also assisted Brett Kavanaugh when Christine Blasey Ford made her unsubstantiated allegations against him.
Sullivan’s retention of a hired gun litigator is the latest in a long line of bizarre developments in the Flynn case. The likelihood that, in the face of the D.C. Circuit’s order that he file a brief explaining himself, Sullivan would finally bring an end to the farce by granting the DOJ’s motion was never great. With Sullivan now lawyering up, it seems clear that the farce will drag on, with yet another bizarre twist, for a while longer.
It would be really interesting to know who is paying Judge Sullivan’s legal fees.
John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about some of the things we have learned as information about spying on the Trump campaign and transition team is declassified. One thing that I don’t think has been widely reported is that Obama Treasury Department officials were on the list of those making unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn.
The article reports:
When Acting DNI Richard Grenell released the list of individuals who made unmasking requests relating to General Michael Flynn, one of the curious facts that stood out was the presence of a number of Obama Treasury Department officials on the list. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and no fewer than five of his subordinates–Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary, Acting Assistant Secretary, and so on, all political appointees in the Obama administration–all made unmasking requests with regard to conversations that turned out to involve General Flynn, on the same day: December 14, 2016. Lew made a second request on January 12, 2017.
The mystery of why President Obama’s Treasury Department was interested in electronic surveillance carried out for national security purposes may have been solved by this scoop in the Ohio Star: “The Treasury Department Spied on Flynn, Manafort, and the Trump Family, Says Whistleblower.”
President Barack Obama’s Treasury Department regularly surveilled retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn’s financial records and transactions beginning in December 2015 and well into 2017, before, during and after when he served at the White House as President Donald Trump’s National Security Director, a former senior Treasury Department official, and veteran of the intelligence community, told the Star Newspapers.
“I started seeing things that were not correct, so I did my own little investigation, because I wanted to make sure what I was seeing was correct” she said. “You never want to draw attention to something if there is not anything there.”
The whistleblower said she only saw metadata, that is names and dates when the general’s financial records were accessed. “I never saw what they saw.”
By March 2016, the whistleblower said she and a colleague, who was detailed to Treasury from the intelligence community, became convinced that the surveillance of Flynn was not tied to legitimate criminal or national security concerns, but was straight-up political surveillance among other illegal activity occurring at Treasury.
“When I showed it to her, what she said, ‘Oh, sh%t!’ and I knew right then and there that I was right – this was some shady stuff,” the whistleblower said.
“It wasn’t just him,” the whistleblower said. “They were targeting other U.S. citizens, as well.”
Only two names are listed in the whistleblower’s official paperwork, so the others must remain sealed, she said. The second name is Paul J. Manafort Jr., the one-time chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
The Star’s source says that she filed a formal complaint with the Treasury Department’s Inspector General in March 2017, but nothing was done. There is much more at the link.
Please follow the link to read the entire article–it is fascinating.
The article concludes:
We don’t know what Flynn communication these Obama officials were poring over, but we do know that the Treasury Department was never able to make any kind of a case against Flynn for financial misdeeds of any kind. It bears remembering that Jacob Lew was an unusually political Secretary of the Treasury. He was Obama’s Chief of Staff before taking over the Treasury Department. We have written about him several times, e.g. here.
Evidence continues to grow that the corruption of the executive branch of the U.S. government by Barack Obama was comprehensive and perhaps unprecedented.
Consequences are justified and needed.
Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about Taiwan. As you know, Taiwan has been shunned by the World Heath Organization (WHO) and other international bodies because of the influence exerted by China.
The article reports:
China’s behavior during the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak has been disgraceful — marked by deceit and an unwillingness to cooperate with the rest of the world until it was too late. In addition, there’s reason to believe that the virus originated in a Chinese lab that did not meet safety standards.
By contrast, Taiwan’s behavior has been exemplary. According to the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the U.S., Taiwan has donated more than two million Taiwan-made masks to the U.S. and more than five million to the EU. It plans to donate another five million globally.
Moreover, according to our friend Michael Auslin, Taipei tried early on to warn the World Health Organization that the coronavirus might be transmitted between humans. That body, which is heavily influenced by China, refused to act on these warnings. (To appease China, the WHO refuses membership to Taiwan.) “If the WHO and Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus had acted responsibly, the COVID crisis could have been significantly contained, even in the face of Beijing’s misleading the world about the nature of the virus and the numbers of infections and deaths in China,” says Auslin.
Indeed, Taiwan’s understanding of the virus, along with its experience with the SARS outbreak, enabled Taipei to respond to the outbreak in a highly effective manner and without a lockdown.
…The numbers (from Worldometer) demonstrate the effectiveness of the response. Taiwan has had 427 total cases (184 of them now active) and 6 total deaths.
The article concludes:
Moreover, Taiwan will be a key player if the U.S. diminishes, as we must, our reliance on China for supplies:
For decades, Taiwan has been a leader in the high-tech economy, and will become increasingly important as global supply chains shift away from China, due to China’s maturing economy, President Trump’s trade war and now the coronavirus. It has long been one of the world’s leading producers of advanced semiconductor chips, while Foxconn, one of the major suppliers to the iPhone, has already urged Apple to move its production out of China. As the competition between China and the United States heats up over semiconductors, 5G and artificial intelligence, a closer tech relationship between American and Taiwanese firms should be a priority.
I agree with Auslin that the U.S. should use its budgetary power to get Taiwan full membership in international groups such as Interpol and the International Civil Aviation Organization. We should also the leverage our $400 million contribution to the WHO, the world’s largest, to force WHO’s member states to invite Taiwan into the organization.
Taiwan never should have been exiled from the world. As Auslin concludes, “it’s long past time to bring Taiwan in from the cold.”
Taiwan is a successful democracy. The only reason they are blocked from joining various international organizations is the influence of China. China does not acknowledge their existence as a separate country and at some point in the not-to-distant future will attempt to take them over. China wants to take freedom away from Taiwan just as it took freedom away from Hong Kong (after promising not to). It is time to show Taiwan the respect and acceptance into the world body of nations that it deserves.
The media has become something of a joke during the past three years as they have been overtaken by Trump Derangement Syndrome. We have reached the point that whatever President Trump does is wrong and even when it turns out to be right, it is still wrong. On Friday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog posted an article that illustrates that point.
The article reports:
Yesterday, President Trump released federal guidelines regarding the reopening of the economy. Trump did not suggest a date by which the economy of the U.S. or of any state should be reopened. The guidelines call on state and local officials to make these decisions.
Trump was wise to say these decisions should be made locally. First, he lacks the power to make them. ( The Washington Post says that Trump’s “plan effectively reverses [his] claim that he had ‘total authority’ to declare the nation reopened.” But Trump hasn’t agreed that he lacks this power. He’s merely declining to attempt to exercise it.)
Second, in theory state and local officials are better able than the feds to decide when and how to reopen things in their jurisdiction. I say “in theory,” because some state and local officials, despite their closeness to the situation, have made highly questionable decisions.
However, Trump deals with governors on something like a daily basis. He has said that the vast majority of governors, whether Democrat or Republican, are doing a good job. If Trump is sincere, and he probably is, then it makes sense for him to defer to governors.
Finally, Trump’s deference makes political sense. If things go horribly wrong in a state, whether in terms of public health or the economy, its governor will have to take the blame. Trump can always say the governor made the wrong call.
After insisting that governors should be making these calls, and accusing Trump of playing “king” for denying their power to make them, the president’s critics are now accusing him of passing the buck. The Post asserts that “Trump’s the-buck-stops-with-the-states posture is largely designed to shield himself from blame should there be new outbreaks or for other problems. . .”
So when President Trump is taking charge, he is acting like a king. When President Trump appropriately delegates authority, he is passing the buck. So is there anything he could do that the press would approve of? Probably not, so he is better off simply following his instincts as a businessman and doing what he thinks is right.
The article concludes:
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has matched Trump’s media critics in this regard. He says Trump is “passing the buck without passing the bucks.” “Don’t ask the states to do this without the funding,” Cuomo moaned.
Cuomo, though, led the charge to brand Trump a king for claiming the power to make reopening decisions for states. Is Cuomo now saying that, absent the funding he desires, he doesn’t want to make such decisions?
Trump’s power (or lack thereof) to make reopening decisions isn’t contingent on federal funding decisions. If Cuomo doesn’t get the funding he wants, it’s still his call on when to reopen. If things go badly, he can blame the feds for not giving New York money. Voters can decide whether he made the right call under the circumstances.
As for Trump, I think he made the right call by deferring to state and local officials. As for his guidelines, they seem sensible, but I haven’t analyzed them carefully.
We are about to find out who the competent governors are in America!
Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog that included some good news about the coronavirus. Generally speaking it seems that a lot more people have had the virus without knowing it, and thus the death rate is much lower than originally thought. Americans are also in the early process of creating ‘herd immunity,’ which should prevent the overwhelming numbers of serious cases originally predicted.
The article includes the following graph:
As you can see, we are on the downside of the bell curve. It should be noted that the number of deaths from the coronavirus is a lagging indicator and may increase in the coming two weeks before going down.
The article reports:
…there is growing evidence that many more Americans have had COVID-19 than has generally been thought. Reuters reports that of the sailors on board the COVID-stricken aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, 60% of those who tested positive for the virus were asymptomatic. This is a higher percentage than was previously estimated by Dr. Fauci, 25%-50%. The Reuters reporter doesn’t seem to understand that this is good news, for two reasons.
First, it means that the fatality rate for COVID-19 is lower than most have believed. I think the balance of evidence so far is that the Wuhan virus is somewhat more lethal than the usual seasonal flu, but of the same order of magnitude. It is possible, however, that it may prove to be no worse, statistically, than the average flu.
Second, it means that the U.S. is closer to achieving herd immunity than previously believed. This ABC News story is to the same effect:
The first large-scale community test of 3,300 people in Santa Clara County found that 2.5 to 4.2% of those tested were positive for antibodies — a number suggesting a far higher past infection rate than the official count.
That’s the good news. The bad news is that we are still a long way from the levels that confer herd immunity.
The article concludes:
Currently, global COVID deaths are just under 30% of the average for a seasonal flu bug, per the WHO. Those numbers are likely wrong, because China and Iran have almost certainly underreported their fatalities. If we assume that China’s true fatality number is ten times what it tells the WHO, and Iran’s is three times, then total global fatalities from COVID-19 would be 41% of an average flu season, so far.
For the U.S., according to CDC, the COVID-19 deaths to date equal 53% of the deaths from seasonal flu two yeas ago.
COVID-19 is a disease, and there nothing good to be said about diseases. But today’s news is generally positive.
One of the reasons I don’t trust the Chinese numbers of people who died from the coronavirus is an article in The Epoch Times on March 22, 2020, that reported the following:
The number of Chinese cellphone users dropped by 21 million in the past three months, Beijing authorities announced on March 19. Deaths due to the CCP virus may have contributed to the high number of account closings.
That’s an awful lot of people who suddenly decided they didn’t need their cell phones.
From my friends at Power Line Blog (you might have to be a certain age to get this):
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.