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.

A Guest Post From H.C. “Sparky” Bollinger, USMC (Ret)

I spent 22 ½ years in the Marine Corps. I have operated in around 30 countries, sat off shore of many more. Waiting for an order that often never came. When waiting off shore for an operation, or moving to a new Area of Operations, or even over time and different tours in Iraq, we would be given a Rules of Engagement brief (ROE) by a Lawyer from the Judge Advocate General’s office (JAG). This would spell out legally when we could and could not engage hostiles, or perceived hostiles. However, ever Marine Corps ROE brief ended the same way and on the same note. On the typed copy is was in bold, usually underlined print, often all capital letters, but always said the same thing, “THE RIGHT TO SELF DEFENSE IS NEVER DENIED!”

A week ago a landmark court decision in Florida decided on December 12th, vindicates all arguments for the right to self defense and your right to bear arms. This court decision by a Federal Judge sets or affirms legal precedence that the Police have no constitutional duty to protect individuals from harm, even when they know harm will occur and that harm will most likely result in death. This legal precedence is not just for the state of Florida where the case was tried. This is a Federal court and has establish or affirmed legal precedence in all 50 states and US territories.

What does this mean for Joe Citizen? If this case is not overturned on appeal. It firmly establishes that the individual and only the individual is responsible for his or her safety. With this one court decision, that is likely if not surely to be upheld by higher courts up through the Supreme Court, the individual is firmly within his or her Constitutional right to defend themselves, and as stated in the 2nd Amendment of the United States Constitution, the right to bear arms shall not be infringed. This ruling gives substantial legal weight to the argument for Constitutional carry and the individuals inalienable right to save and preserve one’s own life.

What does this mean to gun control lobbyist, groups, and politicians? This ruling in Federal court obliterates all barriers imposed by “May Issue” concealed carry states and cities. States and cities will still have wiggle room to impose some sort of firearms safety course in the same legal spirit as a driver’s license, however legal bars outside criminal records, drug abuse, or mental health will loose all just standing under the law unless it is shot down on appeal. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, Senator Feinstein, Michael Bloomberg’s arguments that individuals do not need firearms for self defense and that the police are responsible for public safety just had the rug yanked completely out from under them. Their argument was always on tentative ground at best, since when seconds count, the police are minutes away. The Department of Justice determined that the average police response time to a 911 call is over 4 minutes, the average interaction time between a criminal and his victim is 90 seconds. This is a not a dig at police officers, as a retired Marine who is currently employed as a tactical firearms and martial arts instructor, I am a staunch supporter of law enforcement, and many of my friends and coworkers are law enforcement or retired law enforcement. This is simply a matter of time, space, and logistics. Now, it is firmly established that even if the police respond to, or are in observance of a crime, they are not required to intervene, they can even refuse to intervene, and not be held accountable to the department, city, county, state, federal government, or even the Constitution of the United States.

Just as Smokey the Bear says, “only you can prevent forest fire,” you, and only you, are 100% responsible for your safety, only you are responsible to save your life. The 2nd Amendment was just reaffirmed as your legal means to do so.

Just my two cents,

H.C. “Sparky” Bollinger, USMC (Ret)

Thank you, Sparky. Below are my comments.

 

There are actually two decisions reported in The New York Times on December 18th:

The school district and sheriff’s office in the Florida county that is home to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had no constitutional duty to protect the students there during the deadly February massacre, a federal judge has said in a ruling.

The decision was made in a lawsuit filed by 15 students who said they suffered trauma during the Feb. 14 attack in Parkland, Fla. A total of 17 students and staff members lost their lives; 17 others were injured.

Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Nikolas Cruz, 20, the former Stoneman Douglas student who is accused of opening fire at the school on Valentine’s Day. He has pleaded not guilty, but his lawyers have said he would plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence.

The Dec. 12 ruling, by Judge Beth Bloom, came on the same day that a county judge, Patti Englander Henning, came to the opposite conclusion. Judge Henning found that Scot Peterson, the armed sheriff’s deputy who heard the gunfire but did not run in and try to stop the attack, did have an obligation to confront Mr. Cruz.

The article further states:

“Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”

The message is clear–every American has to take responsibility for their own safety. If you are not comfortable with guns and want to feel safe at home, keep a can of wasp spray on your night stand. It won’t kill an intruder, but it might slow him down and give you a chance to escape. There are also other personal safety devices available. The right to bear arms should not be infringed. Our Founding Fathers placed it there so that we could defend ourselves in all situations–from criminals and from government tyranny. Giving up the right to bear arms would result in the end of America as we know it.

This Is Really Sad

The Daily Signal is reporting today that the United Nations Human Rights Committee drafted a memo saying that abortion and physician-assisted suicide should be universal human rights.

The article reports:

The United Nations Human Rights Committee drafted a memo saying that abortion and physician-assisted suicide should be universal human rights.

The memo, or “general comment” on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, calls for abortion to be decriminalized everywhere. Nations and states should “not introduce new barriers and should remove existing barriers [to abortion] … including barriers caused as a result of the exercise of conscientious objection by individual medical providers,” it said, Crux Now reported Thursday.

To see where this is headed, we need only to look at a New York Times article from October 2016. The headline reads, “Dutch Law Would Allow Assisted Suicide for Healthy Older People.”

The New York Times reports:

In the Netherlands, a country vaunted for its liberalism, a proposal to legalize assisted suicide for older people who are generally healthy but feel they have led a full life has stirred up an ethical storm in some quarters.

In 2001, the Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize euthanasia for patients who were suffering unbearable pain and had no prospects of a cure.

Now, some critics say the country has gone too far with a proposed law that would allow people who are not suffering from a medical condition to seek assisted suicide if they feel they have “completed life.” Proponents of the law counter that limiting assisted death to patients with terminal illnesses is no longer enough, and that older people have the right to end their lives with dignity, and when they so choose.

Edith Schippers, the health minister, read a letter to the Dutch Parliament on Tuesday defending the measure. It is needed, she said, to address the needs of “older people who do not have the possibility to continue life in a meaningful way, who are struggling with the loss of independence and reduced mobility, and who have a sense of loneliness, partly because of the loss of loved ones, and who are burdened by general fatigue, deterioration and loss of personal dignity.”

We are in danger of creating a world where life has no value in itself–it only has value in how useful or convenient it is to the people around it.

To add to the picture of what is happening, The Daily Signal also reported today:

Get ready to watch one of the most heart-wrenching pro-life ad campaigns you’ve ever seen.

It’s called “Endangered Syndrome,” and in it, children with Down syndrome dress up as endangered species—pandas, polar bears, and lions.

Why?

Because like endangered animals, in many parts of the world, children with Down syndrome are becoming critically endangered, if not extinct. The point is simple—if we care so much about endangered animals, shouldn’t we also care about endangered humans, too?

This is the video:

Are you comfortable with where we are headed?

A Story That Needs To Be Told

On October 6, Neal Pollack posted an opinion piece in The New York Times. The title of the opinion piece is, “I’m Just a Middle-Aged House Dad Addicted to Pot.”

The opinion piece details the author’s journey from using marijuana regularly in his 20’s to the realization that he was hooked on the drug.

Some observations from the author:

I started smoking regularly in the ’90s, when I was in my mid-20s. Pot made everything better — food, music, sex, cleaning — and it made nothing worse. I got depressed less often. I laughed all the time.

But I also lost my temper for no reason. Did I yell at strangers in public? Probably. I barely remember, because I was stoned. But I do remember that once, high as a promotional blimp, I got into a bar fight with a former friend and broke his tooth with a beer bottle.

Back when my writing career was booming, I got invited a couple of times to do readings in Amsterdam, a bad gig for a pot addict. Once, after ingesting a couple of THC pills, I dumped a pitcher of water over my head and insulted the Iraqi representative to National Poetry Day Amsterdam. Another time, I pulled down my pants and flashed a crowd of several hundred. If I had any boundaries, weed erased them thoroughly. The boom ended fast.

…In early November (2017), I had the chance to fulfill my lifelong dream of attending a Dodgers World Series game. I spent way too much money on a ticket that turned out to be fake. So high that I couldn’t remember where I’d parked, I started screaming outside the stadium. If I’d been sober, I would have just called the vendor and gotten a refund. That’s what I ended up doing, eventually. But not before security guards surrounded me.

I looked into a car mirror and saw an old man, sobbing over a baseball game. That was the moment I accepted that I had a problem. Three weeks later, I quit.

Mr. Pollack has a few thoughts on how to handle the legalization of marijuana:

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 personally think marijuana should be limited to medicinal purposes and be a controlled substance. In places where it is legal, children have gotten into mom and dad’s stash and had severe medical issues. There is also an increase in auto accidents due to driving while under the influence of marijuana. I understand that the concept of medical marijuana has been abused in the past, and I have no solution for that. I just think most people function better when they are not under the influence of drugs (or alcohol).

When Lawyers Are Willing To Disregard The Law

On Saturday, Townhall posted an article about a recent New York Times editorial. The editorial was written by former Obama White House lawyer Kate Shaw. Ms. Shaw argues that traditional due process protections such as “the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; [and] the right to confront and respond to an accuser” are not necessary for the purposes of determining if Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted Christine Blasely Ford more than 35 years ago or whether he should serve on the Supreme Court. Seems as if she went to the same law school as Barack Obama–the law is whatever she decides it is.

The article at Townhall includes the following from the New York Times:

“It’s natural to place this sort of accusation within a criminal-justice framework: the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt; the presumption of innocence; the right to confront and respond to an accuser. If Judge Kavanaugh stood criminally accused of attempted rape, all of that would apply with full force. But those concepts are a poor fit for Supreme Court confirmation hearings, where there’s no presumption of confirmation, and there’s certainly no burden that facts be established beyond a reasonable doubt.” emphasis added

…“What matters here isn’t law as much as politics — though not (or not just) partisan politics. Confirmation hearings are also about constitutional politics — the debate, involving both institutions of government and the polity, about what the Constitution means and requires.

“So what standard should the Senate use in evaluating the claims made by Dr. Blasey and in deciding how they bear on Judge Kavanaugh’s fitness for a seat on the Supreme Court? The Senate’s approach to its constitutional “advice and consent” obligation has always depended on context.A number of factors matter: the timing of the vacancy; the justice being replaced; the nominee’s likely impact on the ideological makeup of the court; even the popularity of the president (very popular presidents have always had more leeway when it comes to picking justices).” emphasis added

So what is this really about? The Democrats have used to courts for years to pass laws that Congress could not pass. Abortion never made it though Congress–it was decided by the courts. Gay marriage never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. Teenage boys in teenage girls’ locker rooms never made it through Congress–it was decided by the courts. So Judge Kavanaugh is a threat to that status quo. He would probably be the fifth vote on the Supreme Court who would bring common sense back into the picture. The fact that he believes in the Constitution is a major threat to the hold the liberal wing of the Democrat Party (is there any other wing?) has on the Supreme Court. That is what this is really about.

Is anyone taking odds as to whether Professor Ford is going to be present at her hearing on Thursday?

How Would This Be Handled In The Business World?

During my working years I was hardly at the executive level–although at various times I was involved in hiring decisions, I was rarely involved in firing decisions. However, I did see a number of those decisions going on around me. Insubordination or working against the basic aims of the company were often the reasons given for someone being fired. With that in mind, I wonder what the appropriate response is to the actions of Rod Rosenstein as reported by The New York Times today.

The Independent Journal Review posted an article today about a recent disclosure by The New York Times.

The article reports:

The U.S. official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election last year suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein made the suggestions in the spring of 2017 after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the newspaper said.

…Rosenstein told McCabe, who was also later fired by Trump, that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John Kelly, the former homeland security secretary and current White House chief of staff, to invoke the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which deals with presidential succession and disability.

The Times said none of those proposals came to fruition.

Rosenstein assumed oversight of the investigation into Russian interference and possible coordination between Trump campaign members and Moscow because Sessions in March 2017 recused himself from the matter, citing his service on the campaign. In May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to lead the investigation.

How long would this person have a job in your corporation? I strongly suggest following the link to The Independent Journal Review to read the entire article. President Trump needs people in his administration who will work with him–not against him. It is truly time to clean house.

The Leaking Echo Chamber

Real Clear Investigations posted an article today about the targeted anti-Trump leaks to the press coming from the Justice Department.

The article reports:

A trail of evidence appearing in major news outlets suggests a campaign to undermine President Trump from within the government through illegal leaks of classified information, and then to thwart congressional investigators probing the disclosures.

On Monday the Justice Department released a handful of texts and other documents that included two former officials known for their anti-Trump bias – Peter Strzok and Lisa Page of the FBI – discussing the DOJ’s “media leak strategy.” Strzok now says, through his lawyer, that that strategy was aimed at preventing leaks. Nevertheless, days later he and Page approvingly mention forthcoming news articles critical of Trump associates.

“The leaks that have been coming out of the FBI and DOJ since 2016 are unconscionable,” said retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano. “There’s a difference between whistleblowing and leaking for self-serving or partisan purposes.”

Past and present U.S. officials say the template for the leak campaign can be traced back to the Obama administration’s efforts to sell the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which made the press reliant on background conversations and favorable leaks from government officials. Obama adviser Ben Rhodes told the New York Times in 2016 that “we created an echo chamber” that “helped retail the administration’s narrative.”

“That same configuration,” said Michael Doran, a senior official in the George W. Bush White House, “the press, political operatives, newly minted experts, social media validators—was repurposed to target Trump, his campaign, transition team, then presidency.” The echo chamber’s primary instrument in attacking the current White House, said Doran, “is the Russia collusion narrative.”

This is the quote from the New York Times article about the echo chamber:

As Malley (Rob Malley, a favored troubleshooter who ran negotiations that could keep the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad in power during the Obama administration) and representatives of the State Department, including Wendy Sherman and Secretary of State John Kerry, engaged in formal negotiations with the Iranians, to ratify details of a framework that had already been agreed upon, Rhodes’s war room did its work on Capitol Hill and with reporters. In the spring of last year, legions of arms-control experts began popping up at think tanks and on social media, and then became key sources for hundreds of often-clueless reporters. “We created an echo chamber,” he admitted, when I asked him to explain the onslaught of freshly minted experts cheerleading for the deal. “They were saying things that validated what we had given them to say.”

This is how it works. Find a cooperative person who wants to be on television as an expert. Feed him the conclusion you want him to draw. Then find another one.

The press is not currently our friend. Maybe that will change someday, but right now that is the situation. If we want to keep our representative republic, we need to vote against the political party that has consistently used government agencies and anyone in the press who was willing to cooperate for partisan purposes.

The Warning

First of all, I would like to say that I believe that The New York Times opinion piece came out this week for two reasons–the deep state fears that the information surrounding the FISA warrants for surveillance on President Trump will be de-classified and released, and the opinion piece might bolster up the very questionable allegations in Bob Woodward’s book.

But there was a memo written in May 2017 the predicted everything we are seeing now regarding attacks on the Trump administration. The memo was written by Richard Higgins, and the political left worked very hard to discredit the memo when its contents became known. Rich Higgins was in the strategic planning office at the NSC and was eventually forced out of the Trump administration.

Here are some highlights from that memo:

BACKGROUND.  The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then de legitimize and ultimately remove the President. Possibly confusing these attacks with an elevated interplay of otherwise normal D.C. partisan infighting and adversarial media relations, the White House response to these campaigns reflects a political advocacy mindset that it is intensely reactive, severely under-inclusive and dangerously inadequate to the threat. If action is not taken to re-scope and respond to these hostile campaigns very soon, the administration risks implosion and subsequent early departure from the White House.

This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle. It must be recognized on its own terms so that immediate action can be taken. At its core, these campaigns run on multiple lines of effort, serve as the non-violent line of effort of a wider movement, and execute political warfare agendas that reflect cultural Marxist outcomes. The campaigns operate through narratives. Because the hard left is aligned with lslamist organizations at local (ANTI FA working with Muslim Brotherhood doing business as MSA and CAIR), national (ACLU and BLM working with CAIR and MPAC) and international levels (OIC working with OSCEand the UN), recognition must given to the fact that they seamlessly interoperate at the narrative level as well. In candidate Trump, the opposition saw a threat to the “politically correct” enforcement narratives they’ve meticulously laid in over the past few decades. In President Trump, they see a latent threat to continue that effort to ruinous effect and their retaliatory response reflects this fear.

The memo goes on to describe the narratives the deep state and political left are using to try to discredit President Trump.

Some examples:

  • “Russia hacked the election”- illegitimate
  • “Obstruction of Justice”- corrupt
  • “Hiding Collusion”- dishonest
  • “Putin Puppet”- treasonous

The memo concludes:

Adversaries utilize these interlocking narratives as a defensive political and information warfare screen that silences critics and smears supporters of President Trump. When people in the media question the behavior, actions and decisions of the Trump Administration’s opponents, they are immediately said to be “working for the Russians” or “supporting Russian propaganda.” Individual Americans who support the President are deemed “deplorable” and “racist.”

End State. Attacks on President Trump are not just about destroying him, but also about destroying the vision of America that lead to his election. Those individuals and groups seeking the destruction of President Trump actually seek to suffocate the vision of America that made him president. Hence, the end state is not just a delegitimized, destabilized, immobilized and possibly destroyed presidency; but also a demoralized movement composed of a large enough bloc to elect a president that subsequently become self-aware of its own disenfranchisement.

CONCLUSION.

The recent turn of events give rise to the observation that the defense of President Trump is the defense of America. In the same way President Lincoln was surrounded by political opposition both inside and outside of his wire, in both overt and covert forms, so too is President Trump. Had Lincoln failed, so too would have the Republic. The administration has been maneuvered into a constant backpedal by relentless political warfare attacks structured to force him to assume a reactive posture that assures inadequate responses. The president can either drive or be driven by events; it’s time for him to drive them.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the charges against President Trump in the opinion piece in The New York Times:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.

That echoes the corrupt charge planned by the deep state.

Next The New York Times repeats the Putin puppet charge:

Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations.

There is a new twist on hacking the election–it has changed to let’s just remove him claiming that he is unstable:

Given the instability many witnessed, there were early whispers within the cabinet of invoking the 25th Amendment, which would start a complex process for removing the president. But no one wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis. So we will do what we can to steer the administration in the right direction until — one way or another — it’s over.

The bigger concern is not what Mr. Trump has done to the presidency but rather what we as a nation have allowed him to do to us. We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility.

The opinion piece in The New York Times is an example of how a functioning representative republic can be turned into a banana republic. If enough people believe this garbage, we could lose our republic. We need to remember that the Higgins memo was written more than a year ago and cost Richard Higgins his job. He spoke out against the deep state and became unemployed because of it. That alone shows how powerful the deep state is. Hopefully as more information becomes available to the public about how the government has worked against President Trump, the power of the deep state will decrease. If the FISA warrants against President Trump are declassified soon, Americans will see that the Obama administration used the power of the government for political purposes. That should scare Americans from both political parties.

Consequences Of Not Following The Rules

On May 21, 2017, the Business Insider reported the following:

China killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012, hobbling U.S. spying operations in a massive intelligence breach whose origin has not been identified, the New York Times reported on Saturday.

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

  • A Chinese-owned company penetrated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private server, according to sources briefed on the matter.
  • The company inserted code that forwarded copies of Clinton’s emails to the Chinese company in real time.
  • The Intelligence Community Inspector General warned of the problem, but the FBI subsequently failed to act, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert said during a July hearing.

The article at Business Insider stated:

By 2013, U.S. intelligence concluded China’s ability to identify its agents had been curtailed, the newspaper said, and the CIA has been trying to rebuild its spy network there.

Hillary Clinton set up her private server when she took office as Secretary of State in January 2009; she left that position on February 1, 2013.

The Business Insider further reported:

The Chinese killed at least a dozen people providing information to the CIA from 2010 through 2012, dismantling a network that was years in the making, the newspaper reported.

One was shot and killed in front of a government building in China, three officials told the Times, saying that was designed as a message to others about working with Washington.

The breach was considered particularly damaging, with the number of assets lost rivaling those in the Soviet Union and Russia who perished after information passed to Moscow by spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen, the report said. Ames was active as a spy in the 1980s and Hanssen from 1979 to 2001.

The CIA declined to comment when asked about the Times report on Saturday.

The Chinese activities began to emerge in 2010, when the American spy agency had been getting high quality information about the Chinese government from sources deep inside the bureaucracy, including Chinese upset by the Beijing government’s corruption, four former officials told the Times.

I think we need some accountability here.

Under The Radar, But Part Of The Swamp

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about James Wolfe, former Director of Security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

There are some very curious aspects of this investigation. The article provides some background information:

First, we know from overwhelming circumstantial evidence, conveniently overlooked by media, that one of Wolfe’s specific leaks involved sending his concubine Ali Watkins a copy of the 82-page FISA application used to gain a Title-1 surveillance warrant against U.S. person Carter Page.   {Full Backstory Here}  Some key things about this leak:

  1. It is highly likely there were no redactions in the copy Wolfe leaked to the media.
  2. It is highly likely Wolfe was caught in a leak hunt, and the copy given to him included a specific, and intentionally wrong, internal date using October 19th as the origination date for FISA application approval.  (The actual date was Oct 21st).
  3. The October 19th date then shows up in subsequent media reports which were based on the leak.  The New York Times and Washington Post used the wrong date; the concentric reporting of the NYT and WaPo spread the wrong date like a virus.
  4. However, despite overwhelming and easy to prove evidence against him, Wolfe was never charged with the Carter Page FISA leak.  The DOJ/FBI have him dead-to-rights on that leak, but he was charged with the more disingenuous crime of lying to the FBI.

The article continues:

After losing the gag order request, lawyers for Mr. Wolfe have sent letters to every Senator who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.  [As we have shared for years, the SSCI is the deepest and most corrupt part of the Deep State swamp.]

…Two things jump out to me immediately; things that could be considered heavily corrupt based on how the reader views the current DOJ institution; if ‘corrupt’:

#1) perhaps that’s why the DOJ didn’t charge Wolfe with the specific leak(s). If the DOJ had charged him with specific leaks to the media there could be Senators at risk of criminal conspiracy.

#2) perhaps these notification letters are Wolfe saying he will burn everyone if he is taken down, therefore his defense is to hide behind the Senators and make them pressure the DOJ to drop/lessen charges against him.

The article shares the timeline:

  • March 16th, 2017, SSCI requests copy of FISA application from Court
  • March 17th, 2017, a copy of the application with an intentionally adjusted date (Oct 19th) was delivered to James Wolfe, Director of Security for the SSCI.
  • March 17th, 2017, Wolfe sends reporter Ali Watkins a copy of the original FISA application via 82 picture text messages (one per page) thereby distributing the wrong date.  He may have also shared with other reporters.
  • Numerous media reports surface using the October 19th false date.
  • October 31st, 2017, FBI notifies Security Director James Wolfe of a leak investigation (hunt for leakers) looking at the Senate Intelligence Committee.
  • December 14th, 2017, Ali Watkins announces she will no longer be covering the SSCI.
  • December 15th, 2017, FBI confronts James Wolfe with evidence that he is one of the people leaking classified intelligence to journalists.
  • Before the end of December 2017, Wolfe resigns.
  • FBI gains national security search warrant against reporter Ali Watkins and all of her electronic communications.  Watkins is notified by her network provider on February 13th, 2018.
  • May 3rd, 2018, grand jury proceedings against Wolfe.  Indictment remains under seal.
  • June 7th, 2018, indictment is unsealed – James Wolfe is arrested.

Stay tuned.

Strange People In Stranger Places

Yesterday LifeZette posted an article about alleged Russian spy Maria Butina.

The article reports:

Butina has been accused of working with a top Russian official and two unidentified U.S. citizens to infiltrate a pro-gun rights organization in the U.S., along with attempting to influence America’s foreign policy toward Russia, as CNBC.com and others reported.

This is all part of the efforts to accuse President Trump of colluding with the Russians. However, there is a problem with those who are attempting to use this accusation against President Trump.

The article reports:

Alleged Russian spy Maria Butina was involved in high-level meetings with two senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration and a Russian official before the 2016 election, according to multiple sources and a Washington, D.C., think tank, as The Daily Wire and other outlets reported.

The meetings — “disclosed by several people familiar” with them, noted Reuters, and also by a report prepared by the think tank that arranged the meetings — involved Stanley Fischer, then Federal Reserve vice chairman, and Nathan Sheets, who was then the Treasury undersecretary for international affairs.

Butina reportedly came into the U.S. in April 2015 with then-Russian Central Bank Deputy Governor Alexander Torshin to participate in “separate meetings with Fischer and Sheets, to discuss U.S.- Russian economic relations during Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration.”

The think tank involved in the meetings is the Central for the National Interest (CNI), a group that advocates for improved U.S.- Russia relations, as CBS reported.

Whoops.

So let’s back up a bit and see what we actually know. Russia was a major player in getting the Iran deal put together and approved by European countries. Russia had the ability to make or break that deal. President Obama desperately wanted that deal (for reasons that will be debated for a long time–see Ben Rhodes statements in The New York Times here). Because of his desire to keep Russia on his side regarding the Iran deal (and because he was sure Hillary Clinton would be elected) President Obama ordered a stand down on the investigation into Russian cyberattacks on the 2016 election (story here). We also know that the Russian cyberattacks did not impact the 2016 election. Logically, Clinton would have been the Russian’s preferred candidate–they had enough information from her private server to control her totally–I am sure they have all the dirt on the Clinton Foundation and the money that flowed in and out of the Foundation. So why was President Obama meeting with this supposed Russian spy? It could be totally innocent–he might have had no idea who she really was or what she was up to. However, the efforts to connect her to the Trump campaign after President Obama met with her are sort of ridiculous to anyone who is paying attention.

America Is Reducing Its CO2 Emissions

bp Global posted an article recently detailing CO2 emissions for 2017.

The article reports:

Global CO2 emissions from energy in 2017 grew by 1.6%, rebounding from the stagnant volumes during 2014-2016, and faster than the 10-year average of 1.3%.

This is not really a surprise since the worldwide economy improved during 2017. However, the article reports which countries increased emissions and which countries decreased emissions.

The article reports:

Carbon emissions from energy use from the US are the lowest since 1992, the year that the UNFCCC came into existence. The next largest decline was in Ukraine (-10.1%).

The largest increase in carbon emissions in 2017 came from China (1.6%), a reversal from the past three years when the largest increases in emissions came from India. China’s emissions in 2017 were 0.3% higher than the previous peak in 2014. China has had the world’s largest increments in carbon emission every year this century except in four years – 2000 and between 2014-16.

The next highest increment came from India where emissions rose by 4.4%, though lower than its 10-year average (6% p.a.).

Together, China and India accounted for nearly half of the increase in global carbon emissions.EU emissions were also up (1.5%) with just Spain accounting for 44% of the increase in EU emissions. Among other EU members, UK and Denmark reported the lowest carbon emissions in their history.

President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Accord. It is important to look at the above information in view of that agreement.

According to The New York Times on May 31, 2017:

Under the deal (The Paris Climate Accord), the Obama administration pledged to cut domestic greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025 as well as to commit up to $3 billion in aid for poorer countries by 2020. (The United States has delivered $1 billion to date.) China vowed that its emissions would peak around 2030 and that it would get about 20 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by then. India would continue to reduce its carbon intensity, or CO2 output per unit of economic activity, in line with historical levels.

So under the Paris Climate Accord, the U.S. would cripple its economy and pay money to other countries. China would not really do much before 2030, while America would have to be below 2005 emission levels before 2025. President Trump again withdrew America from an unfair deal, while actually accomplishing the aim of the agreement without crippling the American economy. Meanwhile, China and India, who signed the deal, are increasing their carbon emissions. This is typical of how those who want to weaken America to achieve their goal of one-world government operate. Americans need to understand that America is the biggest obstacle to one-world government, particularly with President Trump in charge.

 

 

Surprising Sanity From The New York Times

The insanity of the political left has reached new heights in recent days, so it was a bit of a surprise when The New York Times posted a very rational article last night praising President Trump for the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. Contrast this attitude with comments made by ABC’s Nightline before the nominee was named (from Newsbusters):

I suppose we should all be grateful that they at least corrected their initial statement.

At any rate, The New York Times article has a very rational suggestion about the hearings on Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment:

Fair questions would include inquiries not just about Judge Kavanaugh’s past writings and activities but also about how he believes various past notable judicial cases (such as Roe v. Wade) should have been decided — and even about what his current legal views are on any issue, general or specific.

Everyone would have to understand that in honestly answering, Judge Kavanaugh would not be making a pledge — a pledge would be a violation of judicial independence. In the future, he would of course be free to change his mind if confronted with new arguments or new facts, or even if he merely comes to see a matter differently with the weight of judgment on his shoulders. But honest discussions of one’s current legal views are entirely proper, and without them confirmation hearings are largely pointless.

The compromise I’m proposing would depart from recent confirmation practice. But the current confirmation process is badly broken, alternating between rubber stamps and witch hunts. My proposal would enable each constitutional actor to once again play its proper constitutional role: The Senate could become a venue for serious constitutional conversation, and the nominee could demonstrate his or her consummate legal skill. And equally important: Judge Kavanaugh could be confirmed with the ninetysomething Senate votes he deserves, rather than the fiftysomething votes he is likely to get.

A praiseworthy statement from The New York Times.