The Senate Actually Passed A Bill

One America News is reporting today that the Senate has passed a bill sanctioning Chinese officials over the country’s actions against Hong Kong. The bipartisan Hong Kong Autonomy Act passed with unanimous consent Thursday.

This is good news. China needs to pay a price for what it has done to Hong Kong. Otherwise Taiwan is next. Taiwan is probably next anyway, but at least we can try to slow things down a little.

The article reports:

The bill would place sanctions on businesses, individuals and police that interfere with Hong Kong’s freedoms. This came after China announced a national security law that is expected pass on June 30, which is threatening Hong Kong’s autonomy.

A resolution introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (r-Mo.) was also approved, formally condemning China’s’ actions.

“The Senate needs to act now, Mr. President, to send a clear signal now that we will stand up to this aggression,” he stated. “…to rally free peoples now in defense of the rights and liberties of Hong Kong.”

Hitting China in the pocketbook is probably the only was to deal with them successfully.

This Could Be Very Interesting

This week will be the beginning of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the Russia and Ukraine investigations. The first witness will be former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It’s a pretty safe bet that he will not remember things or claim that he cannot answer a lot of questions because of classified information involved. We shall see.

Just the News posted an article yesterday that details nine items to look for. I am posting the list. Please follow the link to the article to read the details.

Here is the list:

1.) Will Rosenstein admit to failures and talk about the 25th Amendment fiasco?

2.) Will the ODNI declassify more documents, including former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’ secret report to the CIA Inspector General highlighting flaws in the Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian interference in the 2016 elections? 

3.) What will the DC Circuit Court of Appeals do in the Flynn dismissal case?

4.) Who else will Graham’s committee interview or subpoena?

5.) Will any congressional committees zero in on former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s conduct in the Russia case?

6.) Will Attorney General William Barr and the special prosecutors he named, like U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut, to investigate the Russia case investigators bring any criminal charges?

7.) Will the Democratic strategy firm Blue Star Strategies comply with a subpoena in the Senate investigation into Hunter Biden’s Ukrainian business dealings?

8.) Who else might Johnson subpoena in the Ukraine probe?

9.) Will Johnson’s committee issue an interim report this summer on the evidence it has already uncovered about Hunter Biden, Joe Biden and Burisma?

This does have the potential of being a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing, but there is always the possibility that Congress might actually do its job and investigate the corruption that is Washington.

Another Broken Promise By China

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about what is about to happen in Hong Kong. As you may remember, the agreement between China and Britain in 1997 stated that China would respect Hong Kong’s independence for the next 50 years. Well, fifty years sure went by fast.

The article reports:

You may recall that the months of protests in Hong Kong were prompted by an attempt to introduce a new law which might have made it possible for China to extradite people to the mainland for trial. That proposal was eventually withdrawn because of the protests. This time China is simply holding the vote in a place where protests won’t matter. And China is using the authoritarian’s favorite gimmick, claiming opposition to the Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong isn’t home-grown but based on collusion with “external forces.”

In a clear effort to head off international concerns, China’s Foreign Ministry sent a letter on Thursday night to ambassadors posted to Beijing, urging them to support the legislation and laying out the government’s position.

“The opposition in Hong Kong have long colluded with external forces to carry out acts of secession, subversion, infiltration and destruction against the Chinese mainland,” the letter stated.

American Senators are aware of what is going on. The article notes:

Senators Rubio, Risch, and Gardner also released a joint statement:

“Reports that the CCP will introduce legislation implementing Article 23 of the Hong Kong Basic Law at this week’s National People’s Congress indicate Beijing will begin an unprecedented assault against Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Basic Law states clearly that the authority to advance Article 23 legislation rests with the executive and legislative branches of the Hong Kong government, and not with Beijing. The Chinese government is once again breaking its promises to the people of Hong Kong and the international community.

“This comes on the heels of a series of other serious blows to Hong Kong’s self-rule in recent weeks, including the advocacy of a law criminalizing disrespect of the national anthem of the People’s Republic of China and pressure on Hong Kong’s legislature that led to the sidelining of pro-democracy legislators.

“The United States will stand resolute in its support of the Hong Kong people. These developments are of grave concern to the United States, and could lead to a significant reassessment on U.S. policy towards Hong Kong.”

China is looking for a way to distract the global community from the Chinese responsibility for the coronavirus. If they can end freedom in Hong Kong at the same time, that’s a side benefit for them. This action should lead to a strong response from western countries. I am not sure it will–but it should. China needs to keep its promise.

 

 

A Step In The Right Direction

By now most Americans have realized that China is not our friend–they have stolen intellectual property for years, the have manipulated their currency to gain trade advantages, and they have gifted the world with the coronavirus. Well, someone in Washington is attempting to take action to prevent further bad behavior.

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that Republican Senator John Kennedy and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen sponsored a bill in the Senate that could prevent some Chinese companies from listing their shares on U.S. exchanges unless they follow standards for U.S. audits and regulations. The bill passed by unanimous consent. It still has to pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Trump.

The article reports:

“The Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act” bars securities of any company from being listed on any U.S. securities exchange if it has failed to comply with the U.S. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s audits for three years in a row.

The measure also would require public companies disclose whether they are owned or controlled by a foreign government.

The bill is written to apply to all foreign companies, but it is targeted at China, and follows intense criticism of Beijing by Republican President Donald Trump that has been echoed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

Trump and other officials in his administration insist that China mishandled the novel coronavirus during the early weeks of an outbreak that has spread into a global pandemic that has killed more than 320,000 people and cratered global economies.

Beijing denies such allegations.

“There are plenty of markets all over the world open to cheaters, but America can’t afford to be one of them. China is on a glidepath to dominance and is cheating at every turn,” Kennedy said in a statement.

“For too long, Chinese companies have disregarded U.S. reporting standards, misleading our investors,” Van Hollen said.

Let’s hope this bill becomes law.

We Have Seen This Happening Locally

The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Eight Democrats and Independents in Mississippi Switch Parties to Republican — Leaders Express Concern Over Socialist Bernie Sanders.” This is the result of a group of extremists taking over the Democrat party. This ultra-left group appeals to the younger generation by promising them free things. Unfortunately, this segment of the younger generation, in addition to wanting free things instead of working, does not always have the ambition to get out and vote.

The article quotes WLOX, a local news station:

The Mississippi Republican Party is welcoming some new members and all of them were elected public offices as Democrats or Independents in this most recent election cycle.

The Mississippi Republican Party Chairman says he doesn’t expect this will be the last time they are welcoming new members to the GOP.

“We have had a relentless focus on switching conservative Democrats over to the Republican party,” explained MSGOP Chairman Lucien Smith. “They recognize increasingly that there is only one party that represents the conservative values of our state and that is the Republican party.”

All eight of the latest party switchers were from Smith and Covington Counties and one District Attorney whose district covers those areas. But the conservation didn’t take long to expand to the national party ties.

“We are in a scenario in this country where you can choose to be a member of the party led by Donald J. Trump or you can choose to be a member of the socialist Democratic party led by Bernie Sanders,” noted Governor Tate Reeves.

There is genuine concern in the establishment Democrat party that if Bernie Sanders wins the nomination the Democrats will lose their majority in the House of Representatives and will lose seats in the Senate. The Democrat party may be taking a sharp left turn, but a vast section of American has chosen not to follow.

 

A Very Easy ‘Follow The Money’

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the House is planning to vote next week on a law that would override right-to-work laws in the 27 states that have those laws.

The article reports:

House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott, a Virginia Democrat, argued that such “right-to-work” laws are unfair to unions and the workers that back collective bargaining, necessitating his bill, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act.

“Under current law, unions are required to negotiate on behalf of all employees, regardless if they belong to the union or not,” Scott told the Washington Examiner. “The PRO Act simply allows workers to decide that all workers represented by the union should contribute to the costs associated with negotiating on their behalf.”

Scrapping the state laws would force potentially millions of individual workers to give away part of their salaries, whether they wanted to or not, said Greg Mourad, vice president of the National Right to Work Committee, which represents workers in cases against unions. “The term ‘right to work’ means the right to not have to pay for union so-called representation that workers don’t want, didn’t ask for, and believe actually goes against their interests,” he told the Washington Examiner.

The article notes:

Right-to-work laws say that employees cannot be forced to join or otherwise financially support a union as a condition of their job. Specifically, the laws prohibit union-management contracts from including so-called fair share fee provisions that require all workers to support the union financially.

When you consider that unions donate large amounts of money to Democrat campaign coffers, this bill is not a surprise. However, it seems to me that it is a violation of the Tenth Amendment–the federal government does not have the authority to determine right-to-work laws in individual states.

The article concludes:

The resurgence in right-to-work laws may now be ebbing. No other state appears poised to adopt one. Missouri would have been the 28th state, but voters last year approved a referendum stopping the measure before it went into effect.

The PRO Act would rewrite the NLRA to undo the 1947 amendment. “This bill, and others we’ve seen in various states, tries to subtly redefine ‘right to work’ to mean only the right to not have to formally be a member of the union, which is already guaranteed by the Supreme Court,” Mourad said. Nonmembers would still be obligated to support unions financially.

There has long been support for scrapping right to work on the Left, but the PRO Act enjoys unprecedented support among Democrats. The Senate version of the PRO Act was introduced with 39 original co-sponsors, comprising almost the entire Democratic caucus. The legislation is certain to pass the Democrat-majority House but is unlikely to be taken up in the Republican-led Senate.

“They’re testing the waters for the next time they are in the majority,” Vernuccio said.

In this instance, the Democrats are standing for the unions–not for the working man. This is simply a scheme to take more money our of workers’ pockets, give it to unions, and have unions give it to Democrat candidates. Democrat majorities in Congress are not helpful to the average American.

The Other Side Of The Story

Impeachment continues. We all know that President Trump’s constitutional rights were violated during the initial hearings in the House of Representatives–he was not allowed to face his accusers, his lawyers were not allowed to call witnesses, and much of the cross examination of the Democrats’ witnesses was disallowed or limited. All of those things are in violation of the constitutional rights supposedly allowed ALL American citizens. Now the President’s defense team is making their case to the Senate.

Townhall posted an article today that lists six facts that were either misrepresented or omitted in the House Managers’ presentation to the Senate.

The article reports:

According to Purpura (White House Deputy Counsel Mike Purpura), there are six key facts that “have not and will not change.”

1. The transcript proves President Trump didn’t condition military aid or a meeting on anything.

“The paused security assistance funds aren’t even mentioned on the call,” Purpura said.

2. Ukrainian officials said they never felt pressured into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden or his son, Hunter, for corruption. They also said quid pro quo never took place.

3. President Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials were unaware of the paused military aide.

“The security assistance was paused until the end of August, over a month after the July 25th call,” Purpura said.

4. None of the Democrats’ witnesses say President Trump tied an investigation into the Bidens to the military aid or a meeting.

5. “The security assistance flowed on September 11th and a presidential meeting took place on September 25, without the Ukrainian government announcing any investigation,” Purpura said.

6. President Trump has been a strong supporter of Ukraine.

“The Democrats’ blind eye to impeach the president does not and cannot change the fact, as attested to by the Democrats’ own witnesses, that President Trump has been a better friend and supporter of Ukraine than his predecessor,” Purpura explained. “Those are the facts.”

What a colossal waste of taxpayers’ money this trial has been when everyone could have simply read the transcript of the telephone call in question. We need to vote anyone out of office who has promoted the idea that President Trump has committed an impeachable offense. I truly believe that the rush to impeach has more to do with the crimes of some Congressmen that may be revealed in the Durham report than anything President Trump has or has not done.

Will The Other Side Of The Story Get Equal Coverage?

The mainstream media has praised Representative Adam Schiff for his ‘masterful’ performance this week. The major networks have highlighted various charges Representative Schiff has made (even when those charges have already been proven false). The mainstream media has obviously taken sides. There have been many instances where that was obvious, but The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about one particular instance.

The article reports:

A good reminder of what we can expect when President Trump’s defense team has their first opportunity in five months to defend him. During a broadcast segment on ABC news reporters in the Capitol were interviewing President Trump defense attorney Jay Sekulow.

Back in the ABC studio, Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos did not want to see ABC broadcasting statements from the defense and he is caught on camera using hand signals to tell the producers to cut-off the broadcast. Stephanopoulos realized he was caught:

The article contains video clips of the incident.

There are a few things to consider here other than the obvious. First of all, this ‘trial’ started five months ago. Saturday will be the first opportunity the defendant will have for his representatives to defend him. Would you be willing to go into court in that situation? Secondly, because of the rules of the Senate, the Senators were not able to spotlight the lies told in the presentations made this week–and there were many lies told.

I don’t know how many people will actually watch the President’s defense team on Saturday. I do know that anyone who watched the House Impeachment Managers this week and then watches tomorrow will be very surprised at how much of what they heard this week was not true. It is unfortunate that the mainstream media will probably carry very little of the defense after fawning over those making the charges all week.

An Insurance Policy Against Shenanigans

Breitbart posted an article today about one of the rules that will apply in the impeachment trial of President Trump in the Senate.

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is as of now including in the U.S. Senate impeachment trial rules a “kill switch” that effectively allows for the president’s legal team to seek an immediate verdict or dismissal of the case should Democrats engage in any shenanigans like they did in the House process.

The revelation comes after the House finally late last week formally sent the Articles of Impeachment it adopted before Christmas—after holding them for more than a month without transmission—to the U.S. Senate, thereby triggering the start of a Senate trial. The Senate will formally commence its trial procedures in votes this coming week, and while some Republicans want to outright dismiss the charges altogether from the outset, others believe a trial should take place.

The article explains:

In other words, the big picture here is that it seems as though the Senate will move forward with an actual trial—details on a number of fronts on that as of yet to be determined—but that there will be one thing that is clear: If Schiff or the Democrats try anything untoward like they did in the House, the president and the Senate have the option to shut the whole thing down and blow it all up on them. That means Republicans hold the upper hand, and should things get crazy—while there are not currently enough votes to dismiss the trial or outright off the bat acquit Trump—after Democrat partisan gamesmanship there likely would be enough votes to dismiss the whole thing. Bad behavior, in a partisan way, from people such as Schiff and Nadler and other Democrats could drive more Republicans toward the motion to dismiss—the kill switch—if that ever becomes necessary.

The article concludes:

A former White House official added that including this “kill switch” in the resolution gives Senate Republicans the tools they need to help McConnell keep the trial on the straight and narrow.

“McConnell has proven time and time again he is a more effective Leader than Pelosi is Speaker,” the former Trump White House official told Breitbart News. “This resolution ensures the President and his team has every tool at their disposal.”

The even bigger picture here is that when it comes to the Senate trial, GOP senators—in particular McConnell—are taking an active role in ensuring it will be fair. They are leading the way in framing this.

Vice President Mike Pence, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News late last week, made it clear that “when it comes to the Senate trial, it’ll be for the senators to decide [on witnesses and process], but I think the fact that you hear people talking about witnesses in the Senate just proves how weak the case underpinning the Articles of Impeachment really is.”

“The fact that we’ve heard they had an open-and-shut case, that despite the fact the American people can read the transcript, see the fact the president did nothing wrong, no quid pro quo, the military aid was released,” Pence added. “The American people have the facts. We heard that Congress did what the facts demanded, and now suddenly we hear Democrats saying they need more facts and they need more witnesses. My view on this is the American people see through all of this—the sham investigation followed by a partisan impeachment. They’re saying ‘enough is enough.’”

Hopefully the Senators will act with more decorum than the members of the House of Representatives.

Interesting Take

On Friday, The Daily Wire posted an article about Trey Gowdy’s recent comments concerning the purpose of impeaching President Trump. The article points out that there is very little hope that President Trump will be impeached in the Senate and that there is very little chance that President Trump will not be re-elected. So what is the goal?

The article notes:

Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) told Fox News’s Sean Hannity on Thursday that Democrats are not trying to remove President Donald Trump with impeachment, but instead are focused on kneecapping his second term by flipping the Senate so he can’t get anything done.

“Let’s skip over the process,” Gowdy said. “The process, the three month long inquiry investigation was laughable. But they voted. That’s the House’s prerogative. They voted, not a single Republican went along with them. In fact, they didn’t even keep all the Democrats. But the House exercised its prerogative and they impeached the president.”

“There is no mathematical way he is ever going to be convicted and they know that,” Gowdy continued. “So their goal cannot be to remove Donald Trump from office, it is to neuter his second term. I think he is going to win in November. It’s to neuter that second term by targeting the Cory Gardners and the Martha McSallys and the Thom Tillises and the Susan Collins and Joni Ernst because if Trump wins and doesn’t have the Senate then he is not going to get any judicial vacancies filled and he’s not going to replace a Supreme Court Justice if he or she retires.”

One of the major accomplishments of the Trump administration is the reshaping of the judiciary. President Trump has appointed a record number of judges to serve in the federal appeal courts.

On December 19th, The National Review reported:

Let’s first put the confirmation results in some statistical perspective. From 1981 through last year, the Senate confirmed an average of 45 judges, or 5.5 percent of the judiciary, per year. This year’s total is more than twice the annual average and constitutes 11.9 percent of the judiciary. It’s the second-highest confirmation total in a single year in American history.

Those 102 confirmations include 20 to the U.S. Court of Appeals, the third-highest annual total in history. President Donald Trump has appointed 50 appeals court judges in his first three years, compared to 55 appointed by President Barack Obama — in eight years. And this is only the second time in American history that the Senate has confirmed double-digit appeals court nominations three years in a row. The only downside is that only one current appeals court vacancy exists anywhere in the country right now, the fewest in more than four decades.

The Democrats understand that the legacy of judges will be a lasting legacy. They desperately need to take the Senate in order to stop the continuing confirmations of judges. That strategy is much more logical than a futile effort to unseat a President who is popular with most Americans (although hated by the Washington establishment).

An Interesting Take On Impeachment

The American Thinker posted an article today about the next step in the impeachment process.

The article notes:

The latest reporting I’ve seen is that the Senate will take up President Trump’s impeachment trial this week.  What’s wrong with that, you ask?  I’ve already said what’s wrong: the Schiff-Nadler Star Chamber violated President Trump’s Fifth Amendment rights to procedural due process, rendering the resulting impeachment articles null and void as “poisoned fruit.”  The GOP leadership should do what the Founders would have done: challenge the legal legitimacy of the impeachment articles.  The logic blueprint I will present below — Mr. Jefferson knew logic — will help make the case in court.

As we know, protecting the rights of the accused is of fundamental importance in a just legal system and is a key motivation behind the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution, which asserts that “[no person shall] be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.”  The Supreme Court has interpreted due process broadly to include:

    • procedural due process rights,
    • substantive due process rights, and
    • prohibition against vague laws
    • as the vehicle for the incorporation of the Bill of Rights.

Of concern here are only procedural due process rights (PDPRs), which include:

    1. An unbiased tribunal.
    2. Notice of the proposed action and the grounds asserted for it.
    3. The opportunity to present reasons for the proposed action not to be taken.
    4. The right to present evidence, including the right to call witnesses.
    5. The right to know the opposing evidence.
    6. The right to cross-examine adverse witnesses.
    7. A decision based only on the evidence presented.
    8. Opportunity to be represented by counsel.
    9. A requirement that the tribunal prepare a record of the evidence presented.
    10. A requirement that the tribunal prepare written findings of fact and the reasons for its decision.

I can sum this up with one question, “If you were on trial would you be happy to have the same rights as a defendant that President Trump was given by the House of Representatives?”

If the God-given rights that are supposed to be guaranteed by our Constitution matter, the impeachment case put together by the House of Representatives needs to be thrown out for not respecting those rights.

A Proposed Resolution By Senator Josh Hawley

The Gateway Pundit reported yesterday that Senator Josh Hawley has introduced a Resolution in the Senate regarding the delay of the House of Representative’s delay in forwarding the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

The Resolution states:

Title: Amending the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.

Resolved, That rule I of the Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials is amended to read as follows:

“I. Whensoever the Senate shall receive notice from the House of Representatives that managers are appointed on their part to conduct an impeachment against any person and are directed to carry articles of impeachment to the Senate, the Secretary of the Senate shall immediately inform the House of Representatives that the Senate is ready to receive the managers for the purpose of exhibiting such articles of impeachment, agreeably to such notice.

If, following adoption of such articles, the House of Representatives does not so notify the Senate or otherwise provide for such articles to be exhibited to the Senate within 25 calendar days from the date of adoption of such articles, as recorded in the Journal of the House of Representatives, such articles shall be deemed exhibited before the Senate and it shall be in order for any Senator to offer a motion to dismiss such articles with prejudice for failure by the House of Representatives to prosecute such articles. Such motion shall be adopted by an affirmative vote of a majority of the Senators, duly chosen and sworn, without debate by the yeas and nays, which shall be entered on the record.”.

The article provides background for the Resolution:

The Senate has adopted a set of 26 rules that govern all impeachment proceedings, known as the “Rules of Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials.” Those Rules presume prompt delivery of the articles of impeachment to the Senate following their adoption by the House. Historically, the House delivered articles of impeachment to the Senate for action almost simultaneously with the vote to impeach. During the Clinton impeachment, for example, the articles were transmitted to the Senate the same day they were approved. Consequently, the current Senate rules have no mechanism to address Speaker Pelosi’s unprecedented attempt to prevent a Senate trial by withholding the articles after the President has been impeached.

Speaker Pelosi’s gambit raises grave constitutional concerns. Article 1, Section 3 gives the Senate the “sole” power to try impeachment cases. But if the Speaker refuses to transmit the articles after the President has been impeached, she could prevent the Senate from exercising its constitutional prerogative, perhaps indefinitely.

Senator Hawley’s resolution would amend the Senate’s impeachment rules to prevent this abuse of the Constitution and protect the Senate’s sole power to try impeachment. The resolution would allow the Senate to dismiss for lack of prosecution any articles of impeachment that the House of Representatives has delayed transmitting for 25 calendar days or more. Under this new rule, any Senator would be entitled to move to dismiss once the allotted time period had elapsed. Any motion to dismiss would be voted upon by the full Senate.

This should provide the impetus for Speaker Pelosi to forward the articles of impeachment and stop this endless delay.

Still Fishing…

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?).

The New Standard–Expect A January Surprise

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner that previews what will happen when the impeachment trial moves to the Senate. It’s not a particularly optimistic article in terms of antics by the Democrats, although I think the eventual outcome will be the acquittal of President Trump.

The article reports:

With a House impeachment vote a foregone conclusion, the battle to remove President Trump from office has moved to the Senate. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer grabbed control of the debate Monday with demands for what he called “fairness” in the president’s trial.

I think Senator Schumer’s definition of fairness is, “Heads I win; tails you lose.”

The article continues:

Schumer wants the Senate to allow testimony from four witnesses the House did not interview: former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, key Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey. House Democratic impeachers wanted the men to testify, but after the White House, claiming privilege, refused, House leaders chose not to try to force them to appear. Going to court to compel their testimony, Democrats said, would take too much time.

Now, Schumer wants the witnesses simply to forget about privilege questions and testify in the Senate trial.

“How, on such a weighty matter, could we avoid hearing this, could we go forward without hearing it?” Schumer asked at a news conference Monday. “I haven’t seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn’t testify — unless the president has something to hide and his supporters want that information hidden.”

Republicans will respond that the Senate is not the place for fact-finding — that is, for senators to become investigators and do what the House declined to do. Some will also note that the House chose not to seek the appointment of an outside investigator, a special counsel, to establish what happened in the Trump-Ukraine matter, and the Senate is ill-equipped to play that role. Many will also argue that the facts of the case do not align with the Democratic accusation of bribery and more testimony will not change that. Others will argue that they don’t believe what the president did rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

The technique the Democrats will use is the one we saw in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. The Democrats needs four Republicans to sign on to the idea of calling new witnesses (a simple majority vote is needed). Then they can dig up all the imaginary dirt on the President they can manufacture and totally taint the hearing. The idea is to damage President Trump to the point where the Democrats win the Presidency in 2020 and none of their misdeeds like government abuses of surveillance or violations of citizen’s civil rights will ever be dealt with. I am not sure Americans are stupid enough to buy what they are selling.

On a final note, I would like to share my prediction that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat’s candidate for President in 2020.

A New Level Of Chutzpah

Breitbart posted an article today about some recent comments by Senator Schumer.

The article states:

Democrats have a new talking point in their attack on Senate Republicans, ahead of a House vote on the impeachment of President Donald Trump later this week: the Senate is denying Trump a “fair trial.”

That is the line taken by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Monday, as he insisted that Republicans allow Democrats to call four witnesses who did not appear during the House inquiry.

Three of those witnesses were subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee, and declined to appear. Rather than wait for the courts to decide, Democrats passed an article of impeachment on “obstruction of Congress.”

One of the witnesses — former National Security Advisor John Bolton — was never even subpoenaed by the Intelligence Committee, for the same reason: Democrats decided that impeachment simply could not wait.

It would be odd to grant Democrats their requests for witnesses after they themselves decided to impeach Trump before the witnesses could be made available — or, in Bolton’s case, without having even called him in the House.

And Senate Republicans are unlikely to grant Schumer’s request — not after Democrats flouted precedent, due process, and basic fairness in the House, launching a closed-door inquiry in which Republicans were often silenced and were never permitted to call any public witnesses that had not already been called by the Democratic majority.

After the kangaroo court in the House of Representatives, Senator Schumer has reached a new level of chutzpah in complaining the the Senate rules may be unfair. What this dialog illustrates is that this impeachment is a totally partisan affair and because different political parties control each branch of Congress, the process is only going to get worse.

Accidental Honesty?

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today that included a very telling quote from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

The article notes:

Pelosi admitted that the Mueller investigation was also about impeachment.

“The biggest criticism in this process has been the speed at which the House Democrats are moving,” a moderator from Politico’s “Women Rule” summit said to the Speaker this week.

Speed?” Pelosi said. “It’s been going on for 22 months, okay? Two and a half years actually.”

Pelosi continued, “But we’re not moving with speed. It was two and a half years ago that they initiated the Mueller investigation.”

When you consider the problems with the way the Mueller investigation was initiated, this is a very troubling statement. If you read the Inspector General’s Report and listen to the comments of Attorney General William Barr, you realize that the Mueller investigation did not start on solid ground. The entire Russian fiasco was based on illegal surveillance and baseless accusations. What Speaker Pelosi admitted is that the Democrats had planned to impeach President Trump as soon as he got elected. The text messages between Lisa Page and Peter Strzok were further proof of that. That behavior is more appropriate in a banana republic than a representative republic.

Let’s back up a  minute and look at where we are. The House Judiciary Committee has approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump. Next week the full House will vote on impeachment. At that point, it goes to the Senate for trial. There are a few options–it can be dismissed because of the civil rights violations in the House investigation, it can be voted on immediately and defeated (it is unlikely any Republicans will vote for impeachment, and it needs a two-thirds majority to pass), or the Senate can hold a full trial with witnesses. The third option is where the swamp comes into play. There are very few politicians in Washington with clean hands. If you pull the loose yarn on a sweater, are you in danger of unraveling the entire sweater? Joe Biden is not the only Congressman with family ties to Ukraine and other foreign nations. The full trial with witnesses is what needs to happen, but my guess is that much of the corruption in Washington will continue to be protected by those in charge, and a quick vote will be the choice of those in power.

Following The Spirit Of The Law As Well As The Letter Of The Law

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday about an aspect of the Trump presidency that I think has been largely ignored.

The article notes:

Ronald Reagan made nearly 250 recess appointments during his time in office. Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush made dozens each. George W. Bush made 171, and Barack Obama notched 32.

President Trump, meanwhile, stands at a big zero.

No other president has gone this deep into an administration without making a recess appointment. In fact, he is poised to become the first president never to get one — save William Henry Harrison, who died just one month into office.

The article also reports:

The Constitution places the recess power in Article II, which lays out the role of the executive branch, assigning the president “power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions which shall expire at the end of their next session.”

That was the key trade-off: The president could fill vacancies, but the appointees’ terms were limited unless the Senate voted to approve them.

In the early years of the republic, when Congress was frequently out of session for a majority of each year, it was standard for a president to begin his tenure with a slew of recess appointments for posts that opened during the transition.

Each new president would notify the Senate of his actions and ask the upper chamber to confirm the person once it was back in session. In nearly every case, the Senate did so.

In recent years, the political rancor between the parties has changed that and recess appointments are not always confirmed–John Bolton is one example of this and I am sure there are others. President Trump thinks like a businessman. The article notes that he has used the Federal Vacancies Reform Act to make ‘acting’ appointments that allow him to remove people or move them when he sees fit.

The article concludes:

Analysts debate whether the recess appointment has become a constitutional anachronism. But some are wondering whether Mr. Trump might try to use that power heading into the last year of his term.

Even if Congress never goes into a full recess anymore, it still divides each year into a separate session — and on Jan. 3, both chambers will gavel out the first session of the 116th Congress and gavel in the second session.

The Supreme Court was silent on that type of recess in its Noel Canning ruling.

There is precedent for using the intersession period to make recess appointments. Roosevelt used the tactic in his 1903 power play.

One of the biggest mistakes America ever made was to air condition Congress so that they could stay in session during the summer.

Playing Politics With Drug Prices

On Wednesday, The Epoch Times reported on a bill in the Senate that was designed to lower drug prices.

The article reports:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) blocked a bill that would lower prescription drug costs, arguing that a measure that addresses other health care issues would be better.

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) wanted a bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) to be passed unanimously on Nov. 13, but Schumer blocked the measure by objecting to Cornyn’s request for a unanimous vote.

Schumer said he didn’t oppose the bill’s substance, but accused Cornyn of playing a “little game” to try to get his bill passed when action on additional issues in health care was being blocked by Republicans, according to The Hill.

“We have a whole lot of legislative ideas, not just his,” Schumer said on the floor. “His party blocks everything that would have far larger consequence.”

Schumer said there were better legislative options than Cornyn’s bill, including one introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

Cornyn responded by saying Schumer’s blocking of the measure was “what people hate about Washington.”

“My bill is not going to sink the prospects of that larger package of legislation,” Cornyn said.

“I’m not going to agree to price-fixing by the U.S. government,” he added about another measure Schumer cited, which would let Medicare negotiate drug prices.

The bill is noncontroversial and bipartisan. There is no reason to block it other than politics.

Crooks Thrive In Darkness

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Democrats are refusing to allow Republican lawmakers to view the transcripts from the impeachment proceedings. What manner of justice is this?

The article reports:

Democrats refuse to allow Republicans ANY CONSIDERATION in the entire process. They will not allow Republicans to call ANY witnesses. Democrats are only leaking tidbits that help them to the media.  And Democrats are NOT EVEN CALLING on their main witness — a partisan anti-Trump CIA officer who was spying on President Trump in the White House and who has NO DIRECT KNOWLEDGE of the president’s specific phone call to the Ukrainian leader. The leaker’s only evidence is hearsay that has already been debunked by the released transcript of the phone call.

And now this…
Democrats are already losing their battle with the truth and with the public.
Americans know they are hiding and lying.
Every top swing vote state, by wide margins, do not approve of this sham impeachment process of President Trump.

The article concludes:

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ): The reality is when you close the doors, you’re saying we don’t trust anybody but us to get to the truth. And they’re actually, the word came out tonight, they’re not even going to let these guys, members of the committee, get access to the transcripts anymore.

Laura Ingraham: What? What? Whoa-woah-woah… What is the, what are they doing that for? Why are they doing that?

Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY): they want to be able to prepare their report. And they don’t want to let us to get the rest of the information out. So this is not a level playing field…

THESE PEOPLE ARE LAWLESS!

The Republicans in the Senate can call witnesses. Why haven’t they?

Will Massachusetts Have A New Senator Kennedy?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Joe Kennedy of Massachusetts. Representative Kennedy has confirmed reports that he is considering running for the Senate to replace current Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey.  It will be interesting to see if he actually runs. Senator Markey is well liked among Massachusetts Democrats, and Joe Kennedy running against him might not be well received by the Massachusetts Democrat party.

The article concludes:

Earlier this month, when a Markey spokesperson was asked about the possibility of Kennedy primarying the senator, Giselle Barry, said, “Senator Markey is running for reelection no matter who enters the race. He is crisscrossing the state and will run his campaign hard every day.”

The other senator from Massachusetts is 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren. In the event she wins the 2020 general election, she would be forced to vacate her seat in the Senate. She stuck by her previous endorsement of Markey a couple weeks ago, while also calling Kennedy “an amazing reports” amid reports that the congressman could enter the race.

Elizabeth Warren is not up for re-election until 2024. This could get interesting.

This Is How Sleight Of Hand Works

We have all heard that the border crisis is continuing because Congress and President Trump are not capable of working together to solve any problems. We have also heard that Republicans and Democrats are not capable of working together. Well, while the media was hyping Russia, Russia, Russia, those in Congress did pass a bill relating to immigration. It is bill that will hurt America’s high-skilled workers. The Democrats and the Chamber-of-Commerce Republicans (aka swamp dwellers) worked together to suspend the rules and pass the bill. Isn’t that special?

The Congressional website has the details (there is no direct link because the links expire):

H.R.1044 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

Passed House (07/10/2019)

Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2019

This bill increases the per-country cap on family-based immigrant visas from 7% of the total number of such visas available that year to 15%, and eliminates the 7% cap for employment-based immigrant visas. It also removes an offset that reduced the number of visas for individuals from China.

The bill also establishes transition rules for employment-based visas from FY2020-FY2022, by reserving a percentage of EB-2 (workers with advanced degrees or exceptional ability), EB-3 (skilled and other workers), and EB-5 (investors) visas for individuals not from the two countries with the largest number of recipients of such visas. Of the unreserved visas, not more than 85% shall be allotted to immigrants from any single country.

This is the timeline on the bill:

Date Chamber All Actions
07/11/2019 Senate Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
07/10/2019-4:58pm House Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
07/10/2019-4:58pm House On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 365 – 65 (Roll no. 437). (text: CR H5323-5324)
07/10/2019-4:48pm House Considered as unfinished business. (consideration: CR H5336)
07/10/2019-3:24pm House At the conclusion of debate, the Yeas and Nays were demanded and ordered. Pursuant to the provisions of clause 8, rule XX, the Chair announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed.
07/10/2019-2:51pm House DEBATE – The House proceeded with forty minutes of debate on H.R. 1044.
07/10/2019-2:51pm House Considered under suspension of the rules. (consideration: CR H5323-5328)
07/10/2019-2:51pm House Ms. Lofgren moved to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended.
06/18/2019 House Motion to place bill on Consensus Calendar filed by Ms. Lofgren.
03/22/2019 House Referred to the Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship.
Action By: Committee on the Judiciary
02/07/2019 House Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.
02/07/2019 House Introduced in House

This is the vote:

Understand that the Chamber of Commerce supports many Republican candidates. Their members support lower wages because it keeps corporate expenses down. The Democrats like the bill because it increases chain migration and theoretically provides future Democrat voters. Republicans and Democrats can agree when it is to their benefit. Unfortunately this agreement works against working Americans.

All t his was going on while the media was screaming “Russia, Russia, Russia.”

 

Progress?

Yesterday Hot Air reported that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has agreed to pass the Senate border funding bill after the House bill was defeated in the Senate. The bill has now passed the House by a vote of 305-102. Some Democrats want to be re-elected in 2020.

The article reports:

“Behind the scenes,” noted CNN, “moderates were encouraging members of the Blue Dog and Problem Solvers caucuses to vote against a procedural vote that governed floor debate and force Pelosi to pass the bipartisan Senate bill, as the White House and Hill Republicans have been demanding.” Per Politico, 18 centrist Dems were prepared to tank her revised bill on the floor if she didn’t hurry up and pass the Senate bill instead. The reason Democrats hold the House majority right now is because a bunch of centrists knocked off a bunch of Republican incumbents last year in purple districts. Those centrists are frightened of perceptions back home that Democrats don’t want to do much of anything to ease the crisis at the border except complain about how immigrants are being treated, and they know how potent Trump’s messaging on this topic can be. In the end, if Pelosi wants to keep her majority, those members need to be protected even if it makes AOC cry. So Pelosi made a hard choice: Hand the centrists a win, even at the price of being steamrolled by Mitch McConnell, even knowing how lefties will caterwaul, and get immigration off the table for now.

That choice was made slightly easier for her by the fact that McConnell’s Senate bill wasn’t a party-line matter.

The Senate border bill passed the Senate by a vote of 84-8. It has bipartisan support.

According to UPI:

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, setting aside nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid and increasing security measures at the border. The Democratic-controlled House passed its version of the bill earlier this week with a stronger focus on protecting migrant children.

At some point we need to understand that the more liberal Democrats are not interested in increasing security  measures at the border.

Good News From France

The Daily Wire reported yesterday that over the weekend, the French Senate approved a bill paving the way forward for restoring Notre Dame cathedral, which nearly burned to the ground back in April in a construction fire. There’s one caveat, however: the cathedral must be returned to its “last known visual state.”

The article reports:

In other words, despite French president Emmanuel Macron’s desire to see parts of the cathedral rebuilt with an eye to more “contemporary architecture,” the French government wants to see Notre Dame returned to its former glory, according to The Local.

“French Senators have stipulated that Notre-Dame cathedral must be restored exactly how it was before the devastating fire that tore through the Paris landmark,” the Parisian news outlet reported Tuesday.

The stipulation came in the form of an addendum to a bill authorizing French authorities to begin work on Notre Dame so that the cathedral is completely rebuilt in time for the Paris Olympics in 2024 — just five years from now. The French Parliament approved the measure earlier this month but did not comment on how the cathedral should look once restoration work was finished.

The bill is controversial already: it’s written so that the French government can bypass the traditional requirements of public and legislative approval before it can shuttle money from national coffers into the project. It’s also tied to what experts consider a “rush job,” allowing only five years for a refurbishment that could — or should — take decades.

The article cites some examples of suggested changes:

Part of the problem, the historians said, was that Macron and others wanted to incorporate contemporary modifications into the cathedral restoration. Proposed ideas included a new glass spire, a glass observation roof, and even a roof addition with a public swimming pool and community garden. Integrating those ideas into a centuries-old monument could prove almost impossible.

Sorry, I just can’t see a public swimming pool in the middle of Notre Dame. Notre Dame was a beautiful cathedral and needs to be restored to its former beauty. If you need a community garden and public swimming pool, please put them elsewhere.

J. Edgar Brennan

For those of you too young to remember some of the antics of J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the FBI. Some of the actions of the FBI and intelligence community under President Obama are reminiscent of those actions.

The website biography includes the following about J. Edgar Hoover:

During the Cold War, Hoover intensified his personal anti-Communist, anti-subversive stance and increased the FBI’s surveillance activities. Frustrated over limitations placed on the Justice Department’s investigative capabilities, he created the Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. The group conducted a series of covert, and oftentimes illegal, investigations designed to discredit or disrupt radical political organizations. Initially, Hoover ordered background checks on government employees to prevent foreign agents from infiltrating the government. Later, COINTELPRO went after any organization Hoover considered subversive, including the Black Panthers, the Socialist Workers Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

Hoover also used COINTELPRO’s operations to conduct his own personal vendettas against political adversaries in the name of national security. Labeling Martin Luther King “the most dangerous Negro in the future of this nation,” Hoover ordered around-the-clock surveillance on King, hoping to find evidence of Communist influence or sexual deviance. Using illegal wiretaps and warrantless searches, Hoover gathered a large file of what he considered damning evidence against King. 

In 1971, COINTELPRO’s tactics were revealed to the public, showing that the agency’s methods included infiltration, burglaries, illegal wiretaps, planted evidence and false rumors leaked on suspected groups and individuals. Despite the harsh criticism Hoover and the Bureau received, he remained its director until his death on May 2, 1972, at the age of 77.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In December 2014, The Atlantic posted an article titled, “A Brief History of the CIA’s Unpunished Spying on the Senate.” Under that title is written, “President Obama’s choice to lead the intelligence agency has undermined core checks and balances with impunity.” Those are not encouraging words.

Below are some excerpts from The Atlantic article:

Late last week, that internal “accountability board” announced the results of its review. If you’ve followed the impunity with which the CIA has broken U.S. laws throughout its history, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that no one is going to be “dealt with very harshly” after all. “A panel investigating the Central Intelligence Agency’s search of a computer network used by staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were looking into the C.I.A.’s use of torture will recommend against punishing anyone involved in the episode,” The New York Times reports. “The panel will make that recommendation after the five C.I.A. officials who were singled out by the agency’s inspector general this year for improperly ordering and carrying out the computer searches staunchly defended their actions, saying that they were lawful and in some cases done at the behest of John O. Brennan.”

…Brennan and the CIA have behaved indefensibly. But substantial blame belongs to the overseers who’ve permitted them to do so with impunity, including figures in the Obama administration right up to the president and Senate intelligence committee members who, for all their bluster, have yet to react to CIA misbehavior in a way that actually disincentivizes similar malfeasance in the future. President Obama should fire John Brennan, as has previously been suggested by Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan. And the Senate intelligence committee should act toward the CIA like their predecessors on the Church Committee. Instead, the CIA is asked to investigate its own malfeasance and issue reports suggesting what, if anything, should be done.

The article includes a quote from The New York Times:

Mr. Brennan has enraged senators by refusing to answer questions posed by the Intelligence Committee about who at the C.I.A. authorized the computer intrusion. Doing so, he said, could compromise the accountability board’s investigation.

“What did he know? When did he know it? What did he order?” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, said in an interview last week. “They haven’t answered those basic questions.”

The article concludes:

Senator Levin, you’re a member of a coequal branch. You’ve flagged outrageous behavior among those you’re charged with overseeing. What are you going to do about it?

Obviously nothing was done about it. John Brennan remained the head of the CIA until January 2017. He was not retained as the CIA Director when President Trump took power.

We are at a crossroads. This article indicates that the misuse of government spy agencies has been going on for a long time. The people responsible have never been held accountable. We have a choice–we can hold the people responsible for the misuse of spy agencies accountable or we can see the illegal spying on political enemies continue. What has been done to President Trump and some of the people around him could be done to any American if the people responsible are not held accountable. Was it really necessary to roust an unarmed senior citizen and his deaf wife out of bed with a S.W.A.T. team in the middle of the night when he was charged with lying? Unfortunately this could be the future of America.