We Need To Find These People A Hobby

On August 9th, The New York Times posted an article with the following headline, “The Great American Lawn: How the Dream Was Manufactured.”

The article states:

America’s manicured front lawns represent the pride of homeownership, and the cultivation of community. But the ways we maintain them risk hurting the environment and contributing to climate change.

What? The article then goes on to provide a list of sources you can consult to show how evil your lawn is. Good grief.

The article concludes:

More Lawn Coverage from the Times

    • The Times’ “Climate Fwd:” newsletter published some tips on how to lessen your lawn care’s environmental impact.

    • Our Real Estate columnist Ronda Kaysen explained why she’s done mowing her lawn.

    • If you do mow your lawn, here’s a way to practice meditation as you go.

    • Finally, as mentioned in the video, here’s The Times’ coverage of former President Theodore Roosevelt mowing his lawn in 1914.

The implication here is that mowing your lawn is the problem. I suspect that the article also cites some of the lawn products people use to control weeds that are considered a problem.

Let’s talk about the good things a lawn provides–a place for the family to play. A well-maintained lawn is less likely to be a home for animals that are harmful to people. In the 1970’s there was a lot of concern about the ‘greenhouse effect.’ The basic theory was that because we have paved so many areas of the world, we were overheating the planet. The suggested cure for that was planting more grass and trees.

I wish these people would make up their minds.

I Guess They Did Take Him Seriously

In June 2015, real estate mogul Donald Trump announced that he was running for President. I must admit I wasn’t impressed. There was nothing in his record to indicate he believed in anything I believed in, and he was a totally inexperienced candidate. What I didn’t realize was that experience comes in many different forms–successfully doing business in a city known for corruption, creating a television show that ordinary people enjoyed, and navigating the social waters of the elite–attending Chelsea Clinton’s wedding, etc. (I guess the political left didn’t hate him until he was a Republican and ran for President.) I really didn’t take him seriously. I suspect a lot of other people shared that opinion. The White House was supposed to go to Hillary Clinton–that was her reward for stepping out of the 2008 Democrat primary election, so it really didn’t matter who the Republicans ran. However, the economy was stuttering, unemployment was high, and Americans didn’t seem to have a lot of spending money in their pockets.

Well, around the summer of 2016 the Democrats began to take Donald Trump seriously as a candidate. So seriously in fact that they decided to use the power of government (on an international scale) to keep him from being elected and to prevent him from doing anything if he was elected.

The Guardian posted an article on July 30 about those efforts.

The article reports:

Two of the most senior intelligence officials in the US and UK privately shared concerns about “our strange situation” as the FBI launched its 2016 investigation into whether Donald Trump’s campaign was colluding with Russia, the Guardian has learned.

Text messages between Andrew McCabe, the deputy director of the FBI at the time, and Jeremy Fleming, his then counterpart at MI5, now the head of GCHQ, also reveal their mutual surprise at the result of the EU referendum, which some US officials regarded as a “wake-up call”, according to a person familiar with the matter.

While Russia had previously been viewed as a country that would seek to interfere in western elections, the Brexit vote was viewed by some within the FBI as a sign that Russian activities had possibly been successful, the person said.

Their exchanges offer new insights into the start of the FBI’s Russia investigation, and how British intelligence appears to have played a key role in the early stages.

In one exchange in August 2016, Fleming noted that members of the FBI and MI5 had “met on our strange situation”, a veiled reference to discussions about Russian activities, according to the source.

…The exchanges underscore a sensitive issue in the US – namely the role foreign intelligence services played in the FBI’s decision to initiate an investigation into the Trump campaign.

On 31 July 2016, the FBI opened a covert counterintelligence investigation codenamed “Crossfire Hurricane” into the then presidential candidate’s possible collusion with Russia.

The investigation was eventually taken over by the special counsel Robert Mueller, who has said there were “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” by Russia.

Mueller’s 448-page report did not establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, but it did identify incidents in which Trump attempted to obstruct justice in the investigation, and did not clear the president of wrongdoing.

US and UK intelligence agencies frequently share information, but the exchanges between McCabe and Fleming appear to reflect a desire for a direct line of communication given what was seen as a developing problem on both sides of the Atlantic.

This is the key paragraph:

In his text message about the August 2016 meeting, Fleming appeared to be making a reference to Peter Strzok, a senior FBI official who travelled to London that month to meet the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer. Downer had agreed to speak with the FBI about a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, who had told him that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee in the race. The meeting was first reported by the New York Times.

This is the context of these activities–the British ‘deep state’ wanted Brexit to fail, and the American ‘deep state’ wanted Donald Trump not to be elected. The FBI was using overseas sources to do spying on political candidates that would have been illegal if it had been done domestically. The Russians did not interfere in the 2016 election other than placing ads and fake comments on Facebook. The real interference came from the American intelligence community–something that is totally illegal. Those involved need to be held accountable.

Five Obvious Problems

On August 1, Real Clear Investigations posted an article listing five major problems with the Mueller Report. Please follow the link to read the entire article, but I will post the five problems here:

  1. Who Is Joseph Mifsud, and Was He the Actual Predicate for the Russia Investigation?
  2. What Was the Role of the Steele Dossier?
  3. Why Did the Mueller Team Invent the Polling Data Theory About Konstantin Kilimnik, and Omit His U.S. Ties?
  4. Why Did the Mueller Team Falsely Suggest That Trump Tower Moscow Was a Viable Project – and What Was the Role of FBI Informant Felix Sater?
  5. Was Specious Info Leaked to Justify the Absence of Trump-Kremlin Links?

Please read the entire article. I think it is interesting that we haven’t heard very much about Joseph Mifsud or Felix Sater.

The article concludes:

Less than two weeks after the dossier’s publication, someone from U.S. intelligence leaked classified details of an intercepted phone call between Michael Flynn and then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The leak fueled baseless speculation that Flynn and Kislyak had discussed sanctions relief in exchange for Russia’s help in the 2016 election, and ultimately led to Flynn’s resignation. Weeks later, the New York Times reported that the U.S. investigators had obtained “phone records and intercepted calls” showing that members of Trump’s campaign and other associates “had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.” Four months later, Comey testified that the story was “not true.” The Times has never retracted it.

Nunes also tried to question Mueller about U.S. government leaks, asking if he agreed that the leak of a phone call involving Flynn, the then-national security adviser, was a “major scandal.” Mueller responded: “I can’t adopt that hypothesis.”

Mueller could very well have a plausible explanation for his inability to account for the investigation’s core flaws. Or, as his awkward testimony suggested, perhaps he was not the hard-nosed investigator that the media portrayed him to be, but instead a figurehead who did not make the key decisions in the office of the Special Counsel.

What is clear is that neither his report nor testimony provide the answer. After determining that there never was a Trump-Russia conspiracy, Mueller showed no interest in investigating why so many high-placed officials said they believed there had been. His report told us what didn’t happen during the 2016 election, but shed little light on what did happen, and why.

It is becoming more an more obvious that there were those in the government working against the interests of an elected President. Those people need to be held accountable. If they are not, we can expect it to become routine for those in power to use government agencies for political purposes.

When The Circus Comes To Town

Yesterday Tom Fitton, President of Judicial Watch, posted an article at The Daily Caller. The title of the article says it all, “FITTON: Congress Should Stop Wasting Time On Mueller — And Investigate Hillary Clinton’s Role In Steel Dossier.”

Here are some highlights from the article:

This hearing will give Mueller and the Democrats an opportunity to once again push the “destroy Trump” narrative and jump-start the impeachment process. Mueller’s testimony will be geared to that end. Democratic questions will seek to fill in the blanks to preserve Mueller’s manufactured reputation for probity. And the mainstream media will be primed — and probably pre-briefed — to drive the point home.

However, unlike at his press statement where he allowed no questions, Mueller will now have to face hard scrutiny from Republicans and honest Democrats about the origins of his investigation, misconduct during the process, and his questionable, sometimes completely erroneous conclusions.

For example, why did Mueller sit on the fact that his team had early-on discovered that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, which was the central question of the entire Russiagate hoax? Were the midterm elections a factor in his delay for exonerating President Trump of Russia collusion?

Why did Mueller continue as special counsel after learning that former FBI Director James Comey broke the law to get him appointed by leaking information from President Trump’s FBI files to the New York Times, using a Columbia professor friend of his as a cut-out?

It is truly sad that Congress continues to waste time on attempting to remove a duly-elected President instead of actually investigating some of the facts that have come to light about the 2016 campaign which they have totally ignored.

The article continues:

Why did Mueller hide from the American people for four months Peter Strzok and Lisa Page’s outrageous conduct and flagrant anti-Trump bias, which necessitated they be fired from the investigation? And why did his office quietly delete all the text messages they passed while on his team, going so far as to reformat their government-issued phones?

Did Mueller’s office have any contacts with the media, such as leaking information regarding the massive pre-dawn raid on Roger Stone’s home, or the inexplicable guns-drawn action at the home of Paul Manafort?

Why didn’t Mueller investigate the Steele dossier that was the basis for the Russian collusion hoax? Why didn’t Mueller examine contacts between Steele, Fusion GPS employees like Nellie Ohr, and/or members of the Clinton campaign with the sketchy Russian sources who fed the rumors that were the basis of the dossier

The article concludes:

This is rooted in a Clinton campaign operation seeking to create a false narrative that the Russians were conspiring with Donald Trump to rig the 2016 election. But she was the one subverting the American electoral process, with the unprecedented and illicit cooperation of corrupt swamp dwellers in the upper reaches of the Obama administration. And it is important that the sedition be exposed, and Hillary Clinton and the rest be held accountable.

To this end the president should start releasing all the key documents that detail the depth and breadth of the scandal, who was involved in it, and how it unfolded. Attorney General William Barr needs to investigate how the Mueller investigation came about and, in particular, the matter of the manufactured predicate for the unprecedented and troubling mobilization of government resources to spy on the Trump presidential campaign.

Meanwhile, Judicial Watch has over 50 lawsuits to uncover more information, of which over a dozen relate to Mueller himself.  The Democrat circus hearing may boomerang as the “investigation of the investigators” accelerates.

The activities of those in government who have tried to remove this President need to be exposed. This should never happen again.

I Suspect That This Is Not The First Time This Has Been Done

On Thursday The Federalist posted an article about The New York Times best seller list. It seems that the list is not as straight forward as it should be.

The article reports:

The New York Times fudged book sales data in order to deny top-five billing to the best-selling “Justice on Trial,” the definitive and deeply reported account of the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, which was written by Carrie Severino and Mollie Hemingway, a Senior Editor for The Federalist. Industry sales figures show that the New York Times ignored actual data on nationwide sales in order to depress the rankings not just for the Hemingway/Severino book, but also Mark Levin’s latest book on the corruption of modern journalism.

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the only public source of point-of-sale data on book sales, “Justice on Trial,” was the top-selling non-fiction book published over the last week. Tara Westover’s blockbuster memoir “Educated” was the top-selling non-fiction overall according to data from NPD Bookscan, but is excluded from Publisher’s Weekly’s list since it was first published over a year ago.

Mark Levin’s “Unfreedom of the Press” came in at #2 on the best-selling list, followed by David McCullough’s “The Pioneers” at #3, “Three Women” by Lisa Taddeo at #4, and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” at #5. Hemingway’s and Severino’s book outsold each of those books placed ahead of it on the New York Times list, according to nationwide sales data.

Amazon.com, the online retail giant, reported that “Justice on Trial” was also the top-selling non-fiction book on its site last week. It was Amazon’s top-selling book overall, non-fiction or otherwise, from Monday through Friday of last week.

The New York Times, however, reported a very different ranking at complete odds with the Publisher’s Weekly/NPD Bookscan sales figures. Instead of accurately reporting that “Justice on Trial” was the second best-selling hardcover non-fiction book in America last week according to widely accepted industry sales data, the New York Times put the book at #6 on its list, behind Mark Levin’s book at #5. Neither ranking can be justified by actual sales figures.

The article concludes:

Rather than collecting nationwide data on book sales across all platforms and locations, the New York Times reportedly surveys only select retailers, the identities of which the paper refuses to disclose.

In a 2007 column, former public editor Clark Hoyt all but admitted that the New York Times Best Seller list was fake news.

The list “is not a completely accurate barometer of what the reading public is buying,” Hoyt wrote. “For my money, if the main list is a best sellers list, it ought to reflect what’s selling best.”

So I guess The New York Times best seller list is about as accurate as the rest of their reporting.

 

First They Came For Our Hairspray…

I wish environmentalists would simply focus on the things we know–keeping water clean, recycling, proper trash disposal, picking up after our pets, putting out campfires, etc. They always seem to get into trouble when they wander into areas where the science is still being debated. Now they want to take away our air conditioning. I am willing to bet that the person who made that suggestion does not live below the Mason-Dixon Line.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about the war on air conditioning.

The article reports:

Shortly before the Fourth of July, The New York Times published an op-ed attacking air conditioning as unnecessary, contributing to global warming, and oppressive. Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer at The Atlantic took up the call, calling air conditioning itself “unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist.” She called for a ban on air conditioning in general, and the internet rushed to defend the technology.

“Air-conditioning is unhealthy, bad, miserable, and sexist. I can’t explain how many times I’ve gotten sick over the summer b/c of overzealous AC in offices,” Lorenz tweeted, adding “ban A/C.”

The article includes many interesting defenses of air conditioning:

The New York Times‘s Penelope Green begins her article recounting the invention of air conditioning, lamenting, “And in that moment (well, within a few decades), entire industries and geographies were transformed, and new technologies made possible, including, terribly, the internet: Without cooling, there would be no server farms.”

She also connects the need for air conditioning to climate change. “On an overheated planet, air-conditioning becomes more and more desirable, solving in the short term the problem it helped create.”

As for the sexism claim, Green cites a Nature.com study finding that building temperatures were set to the comfort preferences of 1960s-era men in suits and disregards the “thermal comfort” of female staffers. Ironically, she also predicted Lorenz’s tweet. “Come summer, Twitter invariably lights up with charges that air-conditioning is sexist, an engine of the patriarchy, in threads that in turn fire up conservative commentators eager to prove the daftness of the opposition.”

It is true that offices keep air conditioning too strong for the comfort level of many women. Many men also complain that air conditioning is not strong enough. As Green notes, women often wear blankets or even use space heaters to counterbalance excessive air conditioning.

The article also notes that air conditioning saves lives:

National Review‘s Charles C.W. Cooke tweeted about the “Ban A/C” hashtag. “[Ban A/C]? I spent the summer of 2003 in France. There was a heatwave. I saw some of the consequences with my own eyes. Nearly 15,000 people died. per the NIH,” he tweeted.

Part of the problem was that the high temperatures were so unusual that people did not exercise the proper caution in dealing with the heat–staying hydrated, restricting physical activity, etc.

The article concludes:

Air conditioning is one of the great blessings of modern life, making extremely hot locations bearable for living and working. Many buildings may need to turn down the A/C, but opposing air conditioning in general as sexist and calling for “banning” it is little more than a demand to return to a Stone Age standard of living. Thankfully, it seems most of the people tweeting about this absurd idea already know that.

If air conditioning is sexist, is heat sexist?

Sometimes It’s Hard To Figure Out Who Your Friends Actually Are

There has been a civil war going on in Libya since 2014. When Muammar Gaddafi was killed in 2011, there was a revolution for less than a year, and a government was established. A new government was elected in 2014, but there were controversies surrounding that election. There has been a civil war in Libya ever since.

On June 28th, The New York Times reported the following:

Libyan government fighters discovered a cache of powerful American missiles, usually sold only to close American allies, at a captured rebel base in the mountains south of Tripoli this week.

The article notes that America supports the current government of Libya. Gen. Khalifa Hifter and his forces are waging a military campaign to overthrow the current government and take over Libya. So where did the American weapons, to be used against a government America supports, come from?

The article notes:

Markings on the missiles’ shipping containers indicate that they were originally sold to the United Arab Emirates, an important American partner, in 2008.

If the Emirates transferred the weapons to General Hifter, it would likely violate the sales agreement with the United States as well as a United Nations arms embargo.

Both the State Department and Defense Department are investigating how the weapons wound up in Libya.

The article continues:

“We take all allegations of misuse of U.S. origin defense articles very seriously,” a State Department official said in a statement. “We are aware of these reports and are seeking additional information. We expect all recipients of U.S. origin defense equipment to abide by their end-use obligations.”

The United States supports United Nations-led efforts to broker a peaceful solution to the Libyan crisis, the official added.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Defense declined to comment further on the matter.

The United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington, Yousef al-Otaiba, declined to answer questions about the provenance of the missiles.

Finally, the article notes some interesting contradictions in those who support of the current regime and the rebels:

When General Hifter started his assault on Tripoli on April 4, in the face of much international opposition, the Emiratis continued to support him. They supplied a Russian-made surface-to-air missile system, Chinese-made Wing Loong combat drones and Emirati drones, said a senior Western official with knowledge of the arms trade.

Jordan, another American ally to side with General Hifter, sent a Jordanian-made anti-tank system known as Nashshab, the official said.

Turkey, a regional rival of the United Arab Emirates, intervened on the other side of the fight, sending combat drones and armored vehicles to help the United Nations-backed government in Tripoli.

The United States supports the Tripoli government, which it helped install. However, President Trump appeared to endorse General Hifter and his military drive after the two men spoke by telephone in April, hailing his “significant role in fighting terrorism.”

Other American officials later rowed back that position by stressing American support for the United Nations-led political process.

The foreign interventions, which flout a United Nations embargo on all arms sales to Libya, highlight how the conflict set off by the ouster of Libya’s longtime dictator, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, in 2011 has partly devolved into a proxy conflict between rival regional powers.

I would just like to note that civil wars are nasty, and it is foolish for outsiders to get involved in them. It really doesn’t sound as if the current government in Libya is the one we should be supporting.

How Should We Deal With Iran?

On Friday, Bret Stephens posted a column in The New York Times about the recent aggressive actions taken by Iran against international shipping. Bret Stephens is not a supporter of President Trump, but in this instance, his views seem to be in line with the policies of the Trump administration.

The column notes:

On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.

Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.

Or so it seems, based on a detailed timeline of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including a surveillance video of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.

The column notes that the evidence points to Iran as behind the recent attacks:

In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.

So what do we do now?

The column concludes:

It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.

What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.

If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.

Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.

Sometimes you simply have to stand up to a bully in order to correct his behavior.

News That Goes Against The Political Grain

Fox News posted an article today about the impact of marijuana on the adolescent brain.

The article reports:

Two health professionals penned an op-ed in The New York Times on Sunday that despite society’s shift on marijuana use, it does not change the fact that the drug is not safe for high school and college students.

Kenneth L. Davis, the president and chief executive of the Mount Sinai Health System, and Mary Jeanne Kreek, the head of Laboratory of the Biology of Addictive Diseases at Rockefeller University, cited studies that show a “deleterious impact on cognitive development in adolescents.”

The column said marijuana use can impair “executive function, processing speed, memory, attention span and concentration.” They said the explanation is simple: the adolescent brain is still vulnerable “especially the prefrontal cortex.”

“The chemical in marijuana responsible for producing mood elevation and relaxation, THC, interferes with the exchange of information between neurons,” they wrote in, “Marijuana Damages Young Brains.”

Davis and Kreek penned the column in response to New York and New Jersey considering legalizing marijuana for those over 21.

Marijuana is not as harmless as it is being made out to be. In October 2018, I posted an article about a man who had begun using marijuana is his 20’s and became addicted to the drug.

The article reported:

There’s a reason that Alcoholics Anonymous started in 1935, two years after the end of Prohibition. Alcohol abuse became rampant, and the country almost drank itself off the rails. Will the same thing happen with marijuana?

Marijuana isn’t alcohol or an opioid. You can’t die from an overdose. It doesn’t really evince physical cravings. So is it better to call my problem marijuana “dependence”? Does it matter?

Cannabis should be legal, just as alcohol should be legal. But marijuana addiction exists, and it almost wrecked my life. If you have a problem, you are not alone.

I am not convinced marijuana should be legal. I think we have more Americans addicted to marijuana than we realize.

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.

Ruining The College Board

David Coleman has been the President of the College Board since 2012. David Coleman was one of the people responsible for developing the Common Core standards. He has now brought his total misconceptions of what works in education to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), long used as an indication of a student’s ability and possible clue to how well they would do in college.

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article that reported the following:

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam taken by about two million students a year, will for the first time assess students not just on their math and verbal skills, but also on their educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, entering a fraught battle over the fairness of high-stakes testing.

The company announced on Thursday that it will include a new rating, which is widely being referred to as an “adversity score,” of between 1 and 100 on students’ test results. An average score is 50, and higher numbers mean more disadvantage. The score will be calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s neighborhood.

The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker.

The new measurement brings the College Board squarely into the raging national debate over fairness and merit in college admissions, one fueled by enduring court clashes on affirmative action, a federal investigation into a sprawling admissions cheating ring and a booming college preparatory industry that promises results to those who can pay.

Below is a picture of what constitutes the adversity score:

The American Thinker quoted Tucker Carlson, who noted the following about the idea:

It’s kept a secret. “Trust us,” in effect, they say. There is no appeal possible. And as a black box whose inner workings are secret, it becomes an ideal vehicle for engineering the racial results admissions offices desire.

It is easily gamed – fake addresses, even possible income manipulation (by claiming a lot of depreciation, for instance, the way that Donald Trump reported negative income in the 1980s)

And it provides perverse incentives, rewarding victim status, not achievement. Parents who start out with no advantages and work hard to provide a better life for their kids will now be handicapping them if they have high incomes and live in nice neighborhoods with good schools.

Obviously if you are a middle class parent living with the father of your children in a respectable neighborhood, the answer would be to divorce your spouse and move to Detroit. That is obscene.

It might also be a good idea to consider the consequences of this new program–how will children who do not have good SAT scores but have great adversity scores do in college? What will be the drop out rate? Will they understand the classes they are taking? The way to achieve diversity in colleges is to change the culture in communities where the work ethic has been lost. There are many first-generation Chinese children living in New York City in poverty that are gaining admission to the top schools in the city because their parents have taught them to work hard in school. Rather than risk putting students in college that are academically unprepared for what they are going to face, shouldn’t we simply encourage a cultural change in poor communities that rewards hard work in school. It can make a difference–Ben Carson is a shining example of a child growing up poor with a single parent who lacked education that taught her children the value of education. Let’s lift people up instead of making excuses for them because of where they grew up.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

The Trump Tax Cuts

The following is a graph from a New York Times article of April 14th:

The article notes:

To a large degree, the gap between perception and reality on the tax cuts appears to flow from a sustained — and misleading — effort by liberal opponents of the law to brand it as a broad middle-class tax increase.

That effort began in the fall of 2017, when Republicans prepared to introduce legislation that models by the independent Tax Policy Center predicted could raise taxes on nearly a third of middle-class taxpayers. It continued through Mr. Trump’s signing of the law, even though the group’s models showed that the revised bill would raise taxes on relatively few in the middle class in the 2018 tax year.

The only thing missing from the article is The New York Times taking some responsibility for what is illustrated by the chart.

It gets even more interesting. The article also includes this chart:

This might be a reflection of the news sources the Democrats choose versus the news sources the Republicans choose. It illustrates the fact that much of what is being reported in major news sources is simply not true. Much of the mainstream media is doing a disservice to the people who choose to watch it.

Politics And The New York Times’ Best Sellers List

The Daily Caller posted an article today noting that although Valerie Jarrett’s book, “Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward,” appears as number fourteen on The New York Times’ Best Sellers List, it is number 1,030 on Amazon’s list of top sellers and number 1,244 on Barnes and Noble.

The article notes:

“Given the organic sales of that book and the fact that during the entire week of rollout it barely cracked the top 100 on Amazon, there’s no way the book should have a place on the NYT Best Seller list. Inconceivable,” one prominent book industry insider, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “There’s likely an effort to game the system, it’s the only explanation.“

Jarrett’s book outsold all but the top four books on the NYT list, according to BookScan, which tracks sales figures. But instead of putting it at number five, the Times placed it lower, including behind one book billed as “a behind-the-scenes look at the daytime talk show ‘The View,’” which is seventh.

Have Valerie Jarrett and her cronies ever been involved in anything where they didn’t try to ‘game the system.?

 

The Strange Case of Julian Assange

Yesterday NewsbustersNewsbusters posted an article reminding us that the media once loved Julian Assange. Now, not so much.

The article reminds us:

Before the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 Campaign, WikiLeaks was responsible for many document dumps that harmed American national security, the most infamous case involving a U.S. Army private then known as Bradley Manning. WikiLeaks also put at risk the lives of informants working for U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during that time, when WikiLeaks endangered lives and undermined U.S. war efforts, that the press sang its praises as a truth-telling and information-gathering organization.

The article lists a number of examples of news stories praising Assange for revealing ‘behind the scenes’ information on military matters. They chose to ignore the fact that American lives were put at risk by what he did. Then came the hacking of the DNC. Somehow the story changed–then Assange became a villain in the eyes of the media.

The article concludes:

Even if it wasn’t known in 2010 that WikiLeaks was an arm of Russian intelligence, Jullian Assange was enemy of the United States before, during, and after the 2016 hack into the e-mails of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, but the media only uniformaly came out against Assange when it appeared that his work would hurt Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, not when he was endangering lives by undermining U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a few things I want to remind people of as this story unfolds. Jullian Assange has repeatedly stated that the DNC leaks did not come from Russia. There is speculation that they may have come from a lost cell phone of John Podesta (with the password ‘password’) or from a leaker inside the DNC who was concerned that the primary election was being rigged for Hillary Clinton (Seth Rich?). I would also add that if you supported the leaking of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, then you should probably support Jullian Assange. Just for the record, Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for stealing and holding secret documents, but the judge in the case declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges.

I don’t support leaking military information, but when there are shenanigans going on in a political campaign, I am grateful when it is revealed.

 

Trying To Keep The Drip Going

Someone once told me that the Grand Canyon was the result of water dripping on a rock. I’m not sure if that is true, but it is an interesting thought. The Congressional Democrats are actually setting out to prove or disprove that theory.

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill titled, “Note to Team Mueller: If you don’t indict, you can’t incite.” Those are wise words that could actually do a lot of good in healing the divide in America if they were heeded.

The article states:

I’ve covered the Justice Department for three decades, and seldom have I seen a story like the one published in The New York Times this week under the headline, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed.”

What concerned me most is that the story’s anonymous allegations reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the role prosecutors play, including special counsels such as Robert Mueller.

The job of prosecutors is not, as the Times headline suggested, to pen “damaging” narratives about people they couldn’t indict. And it’s not their job to air those people’s dirty laundry, or that of suspects outside of a grand jury room or a courtroom.

Mueller concluded there wasn’t evidence President Trump colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, and therefore no indictment was warranted. And he punted on the question of obstruction, leaving his bosses — Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — to determine that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict the president on that charge.

And, most significantly, there were no other people charged. That means Trump legally could not be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an obstruction plot.

Many of the Democrat Congressmen (and Congresswomen) who are calling for the full, unredacted release of the Mueller Report are lawyers. They know that the full Mueller Report includes both Grand Jury testimony and classified information. They know that Grand Jury testimony is not public information and often contains things that may be misleading or have a negative impact on an innocent person’s life. Theoretically they are also aware of the rules regarding the handling of classified information. So if they understand the law, why are they requesting that the Attorney General break the law? Actually, the subpoena for the Mueller Report is simply part of a larger strategy.

The Attorney General is compelled by law to deny the subpoena. This sends the case to the courts where it will be tied up for at least two years–through the 2020 presidential election. I am sure some of the actions of whatever court is involved will keep the story in the news through the election.

Recently someone familiar with the report noted that the summaries in the report, written by highly partisan investigators contain classified information or Grand Jury testimony. If Congress has the full report (or even the redacted version), they can selectively leak things (that might be misleading) to keep the collusion-delusion in the headlines. Victor Davis Hanson noted in a recent article that the Russian investigation was a soft coup attempted by the deep state. I have no reason to believe that the attempt is over.

Following The Money

The Daily Caller has some of the best investigative reporting on the internet. Yesterday they posted an article detailing the source of some of the money that paid for the Fusion GPS Christopher Steele document that formed the basis for the investigation of President Trump. I know that people who actually follow the news instead of the mainstream media will not be surprised that the trail eventually leads to George Soros. Before we go into the details of the money, let’s look at some George Soros’ past actions. George Soros made a great deal of money by shorting the British pound.

In February 2019, Investopedia reported:

In Britain, Black Wednesday (Sept.16, 1992) is known as the day that speculators broke the pound. They didn’t actually break it, but they forced the British government to pull it from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Joining the ERM was part of Britain’s effort to help the unification of the European economies.

Compounding the underlying problems inherent in the pound’s inclusion into the ERM was the economic strain of reunification that Germany found itself under, which put pressure on the mark as the core currency for the ERM. The drive for European unification also hit bumps during the passage of the Maastricht Treaty, which was meant to bring about the euro. Speculators began to eye the ERM and wondered how long fixed exchange rates could fight natural market forces.

Spotting the writing on the wall, Britain upped its interest rates to the teens to attract people to the pound, but speculators, George Soros among them, began heavy shorting of the currency.

The British government gave in and withdrew from the ERM as it became clear that it was losing billions trying to buoy its currency artificially. Although it was a bitter pill to swallow, the pound came back stronger because the excess interest and high inflation were forced out of the British economy following the beating. Soros pocketed $1 billion on the deal and cemented his reputation as the premier currency speculator in the world.

The Daily Caller reports on some of his more recent activities during the 2016 campaign:

A dark money group with links to several high-profile liberal activists contributed $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, an organization founded by a former Dianne Feinstein staffer that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to investigate President Donald Trump.

Fund for a Better Future (FBF) donated $2,065,000 to The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) in 2017, according to IRS filings reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

TDIP was founded on Jan. 31, 2017, by Daniel Jones, a consultant who worked for Feinstein, a California Democrat, when she controlled the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jones has disclosed to the FBI that he hired Fusion GPS and Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, to continue an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

He also told an associate that TDIP operated as a “shadow media organization helping the government.” Jones suggested to the associate, Adam Waldman, that his TDIP team planted several anti-Trump articles.

Little is known about the donors behind both TDIP and FBF. Both of the organizations are 501(c)(4)s, the type of public advocacy group most closely associated with “dark money” contributions. FBF has contributed to a mix of environmental organizations and politically active groups, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Priorities USA — the political group that backs Democrats — and the League of Conservation Voters, a progressive dark money group.

George Soros contributed $1 million to TDIP, a spokesman for the billionaire financier told The New York Times in October. That disclosure came only after TheDCNF reported that Jones told his associate, Waldman, that Soros was one of TDIP’s funders.

…According to a report released by the House Intelligence Committee in April 2018, Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that his group would receive $50 million in funding from seven to 10 wealthy donors from New York and California. TDIP’s tax filings in 2017 show that the group received far less: $9,036,836.

Jones also said that TDIP “planned to share the information he obtained with policymakers … and with the press” and that his group “had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cabal Of Wealthy Donors Funding $50 Million Anti-Trump Project)

Fusion GPS, which was founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, hired Steele in June 2016. Fusion was working at the time for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee to investigate Trump’s links to Russia.

Few details are known about the work Fusion and Steele, a former MI6 officer, have done since the 2016 election. Both have been ensnared in legal fights over publication of the dossier, which remains unverified and has been heavily disputed. But there is some evidence they have continued their efforts to bolster the dossier and to plant negative stories in the press about Trump.

In a March 17, 2017, exchange obtained by TheDCNF, Jones sent Waldman, a lawyer with ties to Steele, a text message with a link to a Reuters article about Russian investments in Trump Organization properties in Florida.

“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote Waldman.

This is a major part of the swamp that needs to be drained. George Soros is an American citizen, but he has been working against the best interests of America for a long time. He is in favor of open borders and one-world government. His money has paid for a lot of the negative reporting you have heard about President Trump.

It’s Hard To Figure Out Who To Believe

The mainstream media lies. We could debate whether they lie or are simply misinformed, but the fact remains that they do not do a good job of informing the public on current events. Today Fox News posted an article that illustrates the problem with discerning the truth.

The article reports:

The Washington Post was among many news organizations to denounce President Trump’s claim of tape being used to silence women during illegal border crossings — but a subsequent New York Times article revealed the president wasn’t making things up after all.

Back on Jan. 25, the Post published an update to a piece headlined, “Trump again mentioned taped-up women at the border. Experts don’t know what he is talking about.” It claimed the president’s “new favorite anecdote” was about tape covering the mouths of migrant women.

Post reporter Katie Mettler wrote that Trump, in pushing for a border wall, was claiming “without evidence that traffickers tie up and silence women with tape” before illegally crossing the border. The Post called Trump’s claims “salacious and graphic,” even providing a timeline of Trump’s taped-women rhetoric.

“Yet human-trafficking experts and advocates for immigrant women have said they are perplexed by this increasingly repeated story in Trump’s repertoire — and are at a loss for where he got his information. It was not from them, they say; in fact, they have no idea what he is talking about,” Mettler wrote.

Not so fast. Last week, The New York Times published a piece headlined, “Yes, there was duct tape: The harrowing journeys of migrants across the border.” The piece – part of a limited-run series on border crossing – reveals that tape is used during border crossings.

The Times report said that women are “tied up” and “bound,” featuring first-hand accounts from several women who experienced the brutality themselves.

“For weeks, President Trump has been criticized for exaggerating the brutality experienced by migrant women on the border as he makes his case for a wall,” the Times wrote. “But there is some truth to the president’s descriptions of the threat of sexual assault and of women who have been duct-taped and bound.”

Building a border wall will not put an end to all of the evil that is happening at the border. However, we do need to acknowledge that there is a lot of evil happening at the border. The situation at our border is a national emergency with caravans of people breaking into our country. It is time Congress stopped ignoring the safety of Americans and of those in the caravans and got behind President Trump to build the wall.

This Is Not Legislation Without Consequences

In October I posted an article based on an opinion piece from The New York Times. The New York Times article was posted October 6th and told the story of a man who was addicted to marijuana. Yes, despite what you have been told, addiction to marijuana is a real thing. The people pushing for the legalization of marijuana are very similar to the people who for years tried to tell us that smoking tobacco had no negative impact on the smokers’ health. This month Imprimis (the monthly magazine of Hillsdale College) posted a more disturbing article about the effects of marijuana. I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article. I will try to summarize parts of it here.

The article reports:

Over the last 30 years, psychiatrists and epidemiologists have turned speculation about marijuana’s dangers into science. Yet over the same period, a shrewd and expensive lobbying campaign has pushed public attitudes about marijuana the other way. And the effects are now becoming apparent.

Almost everything you think you know about the health effects of cannabis, almost everything advocates and the media have told you for a generation, is wrong.

They’ve told you marijuana has many different medical uses. In reality marijuana and THC, its active ingredient, have been shown to work only in a few narrow conditions. They are most commonly prescribed for pain relief. But they are rarely tested against other pain relief drugs like ibuprofen—and in July, a large four-year study of patients with chronic pain in Australia showed cannabis use was associated with greater pain over time.

They’ve told you cannabis can stem opioid use—“Two new studies show how marijuana can help fight the opioid epidemic,” according to Wonkblog, a Washington Post website, in April 2018— and that marijuana’s effects as a painkiller make it a potential substitute for opiates. In reality, like alcohol, marijuana is too weak as a painkiller to work for most people who truly need opiates, such as terminal cancer patients. Even cannabis advocates, like Rob Kampia, the co-founder of the Marijuana Policy Project, acknowledge that they have always viewed medical marijuana laws primarily as a way to protect recreational users.

As for the marijuana-reduces-opiate-use theory, it is based largely on a single paper comparing overdose deaths by state before 2010 to the spread of medical marijuana laws— and the paper’s finding is probably a result of simple geographic coincidence. The opiate epidemic began in Appalachia, while the first states to legalize medical marijuana were in the West. Since 2010, as both the epidemic and medical marijuana laws have spread nationally, the finding has vanished. And the United States, the Western country with the most cannabis use, also has by far the worst problem with opioids.

The article also notes:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

According to this latter study, 7.5 percent of adults age 18-25 met the criteria for serious mental illness in 2017, double the rate in 2008. What’s especially striking is that adolescents age 12-17 don’t show these increases in cannabis use and severe mental illness.

A caveat: this federal survey doesn’t count individual cases, and it lumps psychosis with other severe mental illness. So it isn’t as accurate as the Finnish or Danish studies. Nor do any of these studies prove that rising cannabis use has caused population-wide increases in psychosis or other mental illness. The most that can be said is that they offer intriguing evidence of a link.

Please read the entire article. Remember how hard the tobacco lobby worked to keep pushing smoking cigarettes as cool, glamorous, and not hazardous to your health. The marijuana lobby is following the same pattern. You have been warned.

Today Is A Holiday

Today is a holiday because we are celebrating the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He was not a perfect person, but he was a visionary who did some things that needed to be done–and he did them peacefully.

LiveLeak has posted a transcript of the speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., gave in Memphis, Tennessee, the day before he was assassinated. My husband and I were in Memphis at that time, and it was a very tense place before and after Dr. King’s assassination.

Here are a few highlights from that speech:

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

You know, several years ago, I was in New York City autographing the first book that I had written. And while sitting there autographing books, a demented black woman came up. The only question I heard from her was, “Are you Martin Luther King?”

And I was looking down writing, and I said yes. And the next minute I felt something beating on my chest. Before I knew it I had been stabbed by this demented woman. I was rushed to Harlem Hospital. It was a dark Saturday afternoon. And that blade had gone through, and the X-rays revealed that the tip of the blade was on the edge of my aorta, the main artery. And once that’s punctured, you drown in your own blood?that’s the end of you.

It came out in the New York Times the next morning, that if I had sneezed, I would have died. Well, about four days later, they allowed me, after the operation, after my chest had been opened, and the blade had been taken out, to move around in the wheel chair in the hospital. They allowed me to read some of the mail that came in, and from all over the states, and the world, kind letters came in. I read a few, but one of them I will never forget. I had received one from the President and the Vice-President. I’ve forgotten what those telegrams said. I’d received a visit and a letter from the Governor of New York, but I’ve forgotten what the letter said. But there was another letter that came from a little girl, a young girl who was a student at the White Plains High School. And I looked at that letter, and I’ll never forget it. It said simply, “Dear Dr. King: I am a ninth-grade student at the White Plains High School.” She said, “While it should not matter, I would like to mention that I am a white girl. I read in the paper of your misfortune, and of your suffering. And I read that if you had sneezed, you would have died. And I’m simply writing you to say that I’m so happy that you didn’t sneeze.”

And I want to say tonight, I want to say that I am happy that I didn’t sneeze. Because if I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters. And I knew that as they were sitting in, they were really standing up for the best in the American dream. And taking the whole nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been around in 1962, when Negroes in Albany, Georgia, decided to straighten their backs up. And whenever men and women straighten their backs up, they are going somewhere, because a man can’t ride your back unless it is bent. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Alabama, aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had had. If I had sneezed, I wouldn’t have been down in Selma, Alabama, been in Memphis to see the community rally around those brothers and sisters who are suffering. I’m so happy that I didn’t sneeze.

And they were telling me, now it doesn’t matter now. It really doesn’t matter what happens now. I left Atlanta this morning, and as we got started on the plane, there were six of us, the pilot said over the public address system, “We are sorry for the delay, but we have Dr. Martin Luther King on the plane. And to be sure that all of the bags were checked, and to be sure that nothing would be wrong with the plane, we had to check out everything carefully. And we’ve had the plane protected and guarded all night.”

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land. And I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.

This is the man that we are celebrating today.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

Yes, The Drug Companies Do Not Always Act In The Best Interest Of The Consumer

On Wednesday Reuters reported that Michael Babich, former chief executive of Insys Therapeutics Inc (INSY.O), pleaded guilty on Wednesday to participating in a nationwide scheme to bribe doctors to prescribe an addictive opioid medication and has agreed to become a government witness.

The article reports:

Prosecutors allege that from 2012 to 2015, Kapoor, Babich and others conspired to pay doctors bribes in exchange for prescribing Subsys, an under-the-tongue fentanyl spray for managing severe pain in cancer patients.

Fentanyl is an opioid 100 times stronger than morphine.

Prosecutors said Insys paid doctors kickbacks in the form of fees to participate in speaker programs ostensibly meant to educate medical professionals about Subsys that were actually sham events.

Prior to working at Insys, Babich had worked at Kapoor’s venture capital firm.

Insys in August said it had agreed to pay at least $150 million as part of a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The company has said it has taken steps to ensure it operates legally going forward.

On November 29, 2018, The New York Times reported:

A class of synthetic drugs has replaced heroin in many major American drug markets, ushering in a more deadly phase of the opioid epidemic.

New numbers Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that drug overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans in 2017, a record. Overdose deaths are higher than deaths from H.I.V., car crashes or gun violence at their peaks. The data also show that the increased deaths correspond strongly with the use of synthetic opioids known as fentanyls.

Since 2013, the number of overdose deaths associated with fentanyls and similar drugs has grown to more than 28,000, from 3,000. Deaths involving fentanyls increased more than 45 percent in 2017 alone.

The article includes a number of graphs showing the increase in drug overdoses in recent years and the role that fentanyl  has played in that increase.

This is only one aspect of the opioid epidemic, but at least some action has been taken on this aspect.

 

The Numbers–Do They Actually Matter?

On January 6th, The Conservative Tribune posted an article about illegal immigration.

The article reported:

According to an Economist/YouGov survey, a jaw-dropping 93 percent of Americans believe that illegal immigration is a problem.

“A wide-ranging Economist/YouGov survey gauged the level of concern Americans have on the issue to find that only 7 percent of the overall public say illegal immigration is ‘not a problem’; 2 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and even 12 percent of Democrats agree with the statement,” The Washington Times reported.

There are differences in how serious people believe the immigration problem is, but those who shrug off illegal immigration are few and far between.

“40 percent of Americans overall say illegal immigration in the U.S. is a ‘very serious problem’; 73 percent of Republicans, 38 percent of independents and 15 percent of Democrats agree,” The Times explained.

“22 percent overall say illegal immigration is a ‘somewhat serious problem’; 19 percent of Republicans, 21 percent of independents and 26 percent of Democrats agree,” the paper summarized. Another 24 percent of Americans said that it was a “minor problem.”

At the same time, the Economist/YouGov survey revealed some inconvenient results for liberals.

When respondents were asked if they trusted Republicans or Democrats to deal with border security, a higher percentage — 31 percent — said “Republicans.” Meanwhile, 62 percent thought Congress should compromise with the president to end the government shutdown.

It seems as if most Americans are aware of the problems associated with illegal immigration regardless of what the media is trying to tell us. A border wall is a good idea. However, we also need to do something about America’s very broken immigration system. Our current immigration laws have been exploited by major corporations to replace American workers with cheaper workers. This has been done not only on the low end of the pay scale, but also on the higher end.

On June 3, 2015, The New York Times reported:

Instead, about 250 Disney employees were told in late October that they would be laid off. Many of their jobs were transferred to immigrants on temporary visas for highly skilled technical workers, who were brought in by an outsourcing firm based in India. Over the next three months, some Disney employees were required to train their replacements to do the jobs they had lost.

Of course that was legal immigration, but it was a typical case of a corporation using a bad law to its advantage.

I don’t know if the wall will actually be built. It should be. The wall is opposed by Democrats (present and future voters–many illegals are currently voting in our elections) and Republicans (U.S. Chamber of Commerce members who support illegal immigration because it depresses wages in the lower sectors of the economy and increases their profits). We have reached a point where our representatives not only do not represent us–they have forgotten to represent the best interests of America.

Hasn’t Anyone Read The U.S. Constitution?

Yesterday The New York Times posted an op-ed piece titled, “The Inevitability of Impeachment” by Elizabeth Drew. It is an opinion piece, so I guess facts don’t really matter, but it is still an amazing work of fiction.

The piece states:

An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.

Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short.

I can see the talking point already–if the House begins impeachment proceedings and the Mueller investigation is ended because of that, the cry will be that he would have found something if he had had more time. The man has been supposedly looking for Russian collusion for two years at taxpayers’ expense and so far all he has come up with is a legal contract asking someone to remain silent.

The piece continues:

The word “impeachment” has been thrown around with abandon. The frivolous impeachment of President Bill Clinton helped to define it as a form of political revenge. But it is far more important and serious than that: It has a critical role in the functioning of our democracy.

Impeachment was the founders’ method of holding a president accountable between elections. Determined to avoid setting up a king in all but name, they put the decision about whether a president should be allowed to continue to serve in the hands of the representatives of the people who elected him.

So the impeachment of Bill Clinton was frivolous even when he lied to a Grand Jury and tried to influence others to do the same, but the impeachment of Donald Trump would not be frivolous. Wow. Please explain the logic here.

It always seemed to me that Mr. Trump’s turbulent presidency was unsustainable and that key Republicans would eventually decide that he had become too great a burden to the party or too great a danger to the country. That time may have arrived. In the end the Republicans will opt for their own political survival. Almost from the outset some Senate Republicans have speculated on how long his presidency would last. Some surely noticed that his base didn’t prevail in the midterms.

But it may well not come to a vote in the Senate. Facing an assortment of unpalatable possibilities, including being indicted after he leaves office, Mr. Trump will be looking for a way out. It’s to be recalled that Mr. Nixon resigned without having been impeached or convicted. The House was clearly going to approve articles of impeachment against him, and he’d been warned by senior Republicans that his support in the Senate had collapsed. Mr. Trump could well exhibit a similar instinct for self-preservation. But like Mr. Nixon, Mr. Trump will want future legal protection.

Mr. Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford, and despite suspicions, no evidence has ever surfaced that the fix was in. While Mr. Trump’s case is more complex than Mr. Nixon’s, the evident dangers of keeping an out-of-control president in office might well impel politicians in both parties, not without controversy, to want to make a deal to get him out of there.

Just for the record, Article II Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution reads:

The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.

As far as anyone knows, that standard has not been met. You can’t impeach a President just because you don’t like him or you are mad because your candidate did not win the election.

A Workplace Culture That Discourages Pregnancy

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the way Planned Parenthood treats its pregnant employees. I suppose it is no surprise to anyone that Planned Parenthood does not really support the idea of pregnancy.

The article reports:

The New York Times revealed in a bombshell report that Planned Parenthood treats their pregnant employees unfairly to the point of discrimination. This isn’t surprising, given Planned Parenthood’s clear dislike of pregnancy. However, it is still disturbing. It’s also still more proof that while Congress and the White House enjoyed a GOP majority, they should have defunded the behemoth organization that has been receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies despite illegally profiting from the sale of aborted baby parts and now discriminating against its own pregnant employees.

On Thursday, the New York Times published a piece describing complaints anyone paying attention to Planned Parenthood’s company “values” could have predicted. Via interviews with “more than a dozen current and former employees,” the New York Times revealed, despite projecting an image of healthcare and respect for all women, the abortion business has been subject to a dozen lawsuits since 2013. The complaints range from denying pregnant employees rest periods, lunch breaks, and overtime pay to other forms of mistreatment. Even though Planned Parenthood regularly advocates for government-mandated healthcare, they themselves don’t offer paid maternity leave.

The major source of revenue for Planned Parenthood is abortion. A pregnant employee is someone who chose not to get an abortion. Why wouldn’t Planned Parenthood treat them badly?

The article concludes:

The report reveals two important things at odds in society right now: First, the reality of how difficult it is for women to follow through with a progressive, feminist agenda which says women can work, have babies, and resume life like neither are in conflict. Both are still hard, and no matter how many waves of feminism American society observes, it may always be hard because these two ideas are simply difficult to achieve seamlessly. Second, it reveals that even the most progressive of feminist, flag-waving companies like Planned Parenthood, are often hypocrites.

While it was disturbing to see just how many pro-woman companies mistreat their own female employees as a result of being pregnant, the only organization in this story taxpayers fund — and quite robustly — is Planned Parenthood. It offers still more proof, as if we needed any, that the GOP should have defunded the organization when it had the chance. Unfortunately, it simply was not a priority. That is a grievous mistake for the women who work there, as well as the thousands of babies aborted every year.

At some point society is going to have to admit that men and women are different. Generally speaking (there are exceptions), they have different roles in society. Women have babies. It is difficult to manage a high-pressure job and a family. I know it seems unfair, but women in many cases have to choose between the two. If a women is in a financial position to hire a nanny, she will have a much easier time balancing home and career, but few women have the financial means to hire a nanny. It is unfortunate, however, that some companies do not make basic allowances for pregnant workers and mothers.