A Very Easy ‘Follow The Money’

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

The article notes:

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

Presenting A Deceptive Brief

Yesterday Byron York posted an editorial at The Washington Examiner about the impeachment brief Democratic House managers have compiled. The title of the article at The Washington Examiner is, “Two deceptions at the heart of Democrats’ impeachment brief.”

The editorial notes:

Democrats insist on Trump’s immediate removal because, they argue, he was the knowing beneficiary of Russian help in the 2016 election, and if he is not thrown out of office right now, he will do it again. But in making their argument, Democrats make two critical mischaracterizations about Trump, Republicans, and 2016. One is flat-out wrong, while the other is misleading.

The one that is flat wrong is the Democrats’ assertion that Trump wanted Ukraine to investigate “a debunked conspiracy theory that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 presidential election to aid President Trump, but instead that Ukraine interfered in that election to aid President Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.”

The problem is, the theory does not hold that Russia “did not interfere” in the 2016 election. There is a mountain of evidence that Russia interfered, and that has been the conclusion of every investigation into the matter, beginning with the first congressional probe, by the House Intelligence Committee under then-chairman Devin Nunes. The theory is that in addition to Russian interference, some people in Ukraine, including some government officials, also tried to influence the U.S. election. It was not a government-run effort, and it was on a far smaller scale than the Russian project, but it happened.

I don’t know if any of the available information about Ukrainian interference will ever make it out to the mainstream media, but there have been criminal trials in Ukraine that confirm that the government was involved in 2016 in support of Hillary Clinton. The information is out there, but most of the mainstream media has successfully avoided reporting it.

The editorial reports the second deception:

The other mischaracterization in the Democratic brief is the assertion that, in 2016, Trump “welcomed Russia’s election interference.” The brief quotes special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that the Trump campaign welcomed Russian help because it “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.”

That’s not wrong — Trump did, in fact, welcome Russia-based leaks — but grossly out of context. The context is this: Trump welcomed Russia-based leaks about the Clinton campaign because the media were enthusiastically embracing and repeating Russian-based leaks about the Clinton campaign. Print, internet, TV, everyone, was accepting, repeating, and amplifying the material released by WikiLeaks from the Russian hack of top Clinton campaign official John Podesta.

Perhaps people have forgotten how prominently media organizations featured the Russia-based material.

The editorial then lists a number of examples of media hysteria about Russian during the 2016 election.

The article concludes:

Of course, the Times was not the only media organization to trumpet the Russia-based leaks. They all trumpeted the Russia-based leaks. Everyone was complicit. And that is what makes the Democratic charge against Trump so misleading. He wasn’t welcoming something that everyone else was condemning. He was welcoming something that everyone else was welcoming, too. And now, in retrospect, that is a terrible offense, part of the foundation for removing the president from office?

Neither mischaracterization in the Democratic brief is a mistake; Democratic prosecutors know full well what actually happened. But the mischaracterizations are necessary to build the case against the president, to show that he had corrupt motives in the Ukraine matter. They are, of course, not the entire case, but they are important. And they are wrong.

Any Congressman who enables this farce of an impeachment to continue needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible.

How Soon We Forget

Most Americans are rejoicing at the killing of Qassim Soleimani, an Iranian terrorist with immense amounts of American blood on his hands. The political left and its media allies are anything but joyful–they want to know the justification for killing a man responsible for the killing and maiming of many American soldiers. Where were these outcries when President Obama was using drone strikes to kill American citizens without honoring their constitutional rights?

On May 30, 2012, The New Yorker posted an article that included the following:

The Obama Administration has sought and killed American citizens, notably Anwar al-Awlaki. As the Times noted, “The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel prepared a lengthy memo justifying that extraordinary step, asserting that while the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process applied, it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch.” In other words, it’s due process if the President thinks about it. One wonders how low the standard for “internal deliberations” are—if it might be enough if Obama mulled it over while walking his dog. And if an American whom the President decides is a threat can be assassinated in Yemen, where Awlaki was hit, why not in London, or Toronto, or Los Angeles? (Awlaki’s teen-age son, an American citizen who had not been accused of anything, died in a separate strike.)

The New Yorker was one of the few publications questioning what was going on.

The conservative media has a much more realistic view of the killing of Soleimani.

Frank Gaffney, Jr.,  posted the following at the Center for Security Policy today:

President Trump’s liquidation of Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian terrorist with immense amounts of American blood on his hands, has not only exacted a measure of revenge for Iran’s murderous jihadism. He has struck a direct blow at the regime in Tehran that brutally oppresses its own people and increasingly threatens ours. 

Soleimani’s assassination must now be followed up with an intensified campaign aimed at empowering Iranians to bring about, at last, the removal from power of the rest of the thugs who have, for forty years, called for “Death to America.”

As we take necessary steps to deter the mullahs’ retaliation in-theater, we must also act immediately to roll up Soleimani’s foreign legion, the terrorist group known as Hezbollah. It has units inside the United States who inevitably will be ordered, later if not sooner, to attack targets in this country.

The Washington Examiner reported yesterday:

The U.S. killing of Qassim Soleimani In Baghdad on Thursday ends an enduring threat. At least in the short term, however, it will unleash Iranian retaliation. The leader of the external action arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Soleimani long led that regime’s efforts to destroy its enemies and expand its revolution.

From an explosive campaign that killed hundreds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, to supporting Bashar Assad’s regime with legions of Shiite fighters and IRGC operatives, to conducting a campaign of bombings and assassinations and intimidation across the world, Soleimani was a master of his very dark arts. He was a serious and continuing threat to U.S. lives and interests. Indeed, Soleimani masterminded a failed 2011 plot to blow up the then-Saudi ambassador and dozens of diners in a Washington, D.C., restaurant.

Still, Soleimani’s killing, apparently alongside Abu Mahdi al Muhandis, the Kataib Hezbollah leader responsible for recent rocket attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, is striking. Trump might call it justice for this week’s attack on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, or the recent killing of a U.S. contractor in Iraq, or an act to disrupt Soleimani’s plotting against America. Regardless, it illustrates a major strategic escalation in President Trump’s Iran policy. Soleimani’s standing in Iran and the IRGC in particular makes President George W. Bush’s 2008 killing of top Lebanese Hezbollah leader Imad Mughniyeh seem irrelevant in comparison. This is a very big deal.

Trump’s shift here is hard to overestimate. Until now, Trump had been keen to keep avenues of diplomatic intercourse open toward Iran. Trump had avoided direct military retaliation against Iran even after it downed a U.S. drone last summer. But this killing slams the door on diplomacy in a most public way. Soleimani was a hero of the revolution and will now be regarded as an heir to Husayn ibn Ali, the martyr of Shiite martyrs. Revenge will now rise to the very top of Iran’s agenda. A global terrorist campaign of uncertain duration is likely. In the context of Iranian domestic political instability and deep economic pressures on the regime, Iran might also use this killing as an excuse to destabilize oil flows through the Strait of Hormuz. Each of those developments would require immediate American deterrent response.

We have killed an important terrorist. There will be a response. However, the response will no longer be under the leadership and direction of that terrorist. I am not sure how much we have impacted the worldwide terrorist network that Soleimani led, but we have impacted it. The killing of Soleimani is important for the future of Iran and the future of terrorism worldwide. Hopefully it is a step toward freedom in Iran.

The Battle For The Second Amendment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline, “Sheriffs may go to jail to protect ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries,’ congressman says.”

Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam recently told WTKR that any law enforcement officer that did not carry out gun control laws enacted by the state would face “consequences,” but he did not give any specifics.

The Second Amendment states:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The article notes:

Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie thinks some local law enforcement leaders will be willing to go to jail rather than comply with state gun control laws they deem unconstitutional.

“Attended my first 2A sanctuary meeting today in Lewis County (where I live). Standing room only. Friends and neighbors spoke passionately and articulately. County officials unanimously passed a resolution,” Massie tweeted on Dec. 30. “This grassroots movement feels even stronger than the Tea Party in 2010.”

“Second Amendment sanctuary” municipalities last year sprouted up in Illinois, a state with some of the strictest gun control laws. They then spread to Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia, Washington state, and other states.

Massie cited Weld County, Colorado Sheriff Steve Reams, a critic of the state’s “red flag” law, who has offered to put himself in his own jail rather than enforce the state law.

“His county government has already voted to fund his legal fees should he end up in a protracted legal battle that might go all the way” to the Supreme Court, Massie told the Washington Examiner.

“And so that’s one of the things that when you boil it all down and say, ‘What does the sanctuary county movement mean?’” Massie said. “So, what it could mean is that county governments decide to use taxpayer dollars, with the blessing of the taxpayers in those counties, to support the sheriffs in their court battles.”

Red flag laws are unconstitutional–they violate the principle of innocent until proven guilty, and they take property from citizens without the necessary legal procedures. Those laws seem like a good idea on the surface until you realize that people could use those laws to take guns away from people they simply don’t like. Unfortunately, red flag laws in action could very easily mirror what happened during the Salem Witch Trials where a person was accused of being a witch because someone wanted their farm. This is a glaring example of what happens when the legal rights of the accused are not respected.

This Is Truly Sad

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent comment by former Vice-President Joe Biden.

The article reports:

2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said miners need to find “jobs of the future” when talking about transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels.

“Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well,” Biden said Monday during a campaign event in New Hampshire. “Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for god’s sake!”

On Sunday, Biden also said he wanted to throw fossil fuel executives in prison for damaging the environment.

“Put them in jail,” he said. “I’m not joking about this.”

The comment came after the former vice president said that there would not be a single new coal plant made in the U.S. earlier this month. During the December Democratic debate, Biden said he was willing to end hundreds of thousands of jobs in the fossil fuel industry.

I can’t believe that anyone who listens to what he says would vote for this man.

The New Standard–Expect A January Surprise

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

The article reports:

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

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

The article continues:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Tough On Fake News

The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Representative Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, has filed a $435 million defamation suit against CNN over a story that alleged Nunes met with a fired Ukrainian prosecutor in an effort to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Representative Nunes was traveling overseas at the time referenced in the allegation and can prove that he did not meet with the fired prosecutor. However, that did not stop CNN from airing the story. It would have been nice if they had checked their facts. Unfortunately there are now a number of Americans who accept this lie as fact. That is a problem for a representative republic–when the news is not reporting the truth, the voters do not have the correct information to vote intelligently.

The article reports:

“Giuliani associate willing to tell Congress Nunes met with ex-Ukrainian official to get dirt on Biden” — was published Nov. 22. It was based on the words of Joseph Bondy, the attorney for Ukrainian-born Lev Parnas, who worked closely with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani in pursuing allegations of Ukrainian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election as well as allegations of corruption in Ukraine involving Biden’s son Hunter. Parnas is currently under indictment on campaign finance charges.

CNN reported that Bondy said Parnas was “willing to tell Congress” that in December 2018, Nunes traveled to Vienna to meet with Viktor Shokin, the top Ukrainian prosecutor who was famously fired in 2016 under pressure from the United States, represented by Biden, who said Shokin did not do enough to prosecute corruption in Ukraine. CNN cited congressional travel records showing Nunes and a few aides traveled to Europe between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3, 2018.

Quoting Bondy, the CNN report said, “Mr. Parnas learned from former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Victor Shokin that Nunes had met with Shokin in Vienna last December.”

The article includes pictures showing where Representative Nunes was on those dates. The article also includes the following:

Nunes did travel between Nov. 30 and Dec. 3. The lawsuit says that on those dates, Nunes was in Libya and Malta. Nunes traveled to Libya to “discuss security issues with General Khalifa Haftar,” the suit says. In Malta, Nunes “met with U.S. and Maltese officials, including Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, and participated in a repatriation ceremony for the remains of an American World War II soldier missing in action,” according to the suit.

It is unlikely that Representative Nunes will win the lawsuit because the libel laws covering public figures are very strict, but the lawsuit is important because it illustrates the carelessness (and bias) of some of our news networks.

Somehow I Can’t Find This In The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an editorial about a recent action by the Trump administration.

The editorial notes:

We’ve been told by supposed left-wing gay and transgender rights advocates, such as the oddly-named Human Rights Campaign, that President Trump is the “most anti-LGBTQ president ever.” The same activists also recently said that Mike Pence is the most “anti-LGBTQ” vice president in American history — yes, seriously. Apparently, we’re actually supposed to believe that the men who occupied the Oval Office during the 19th century were much more woke than Trump and Pence.

But anyway, deranged critics who overlook the positive parts of Trump’s gay rights record are going to have a hard time criticizing the latest move from the Trump administration’s Department of Health and Human Services — although something tells me they will rise to the challenge.

According to Bloomberg Law, HHS began free distribution of the HIV prevention drug Truvada on Monday in honor of World AIDS Day. This health initiative is possible because the Trump administration secured a donation from Truvada manufacturer Gilead for enough medication to cover 200,000 people. This all comes as a part of Trump’s pledge to make HIV prevention medication available for half of the at-risk population by 2025, Bloomberg Law reports.

The editorial concludes:

These aren’t exactly the actions of an anti-gay bigot. Of course, anyone can get HIV, and anyone can benefit from this health initiative, but there’s no doubt that this issue disproportionately affects gay and transgender people. Yet actually, for any level-headed observer, it really shouldn’t be much of a surprise to see the Trump administration actively focused on and working to address issues facing the gay community.

As far as Republicans go, Trump has been arguably the most pro-gay president in history. He openly supports same-sex marriage, and unlike Obama, he supported it when he entered office. His administration has launched an international initiative seeking to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide, and he has appointed gay and lesbian people to high-ranking positions and judicial nominations.

Of course, no one is really saying the Trump administration’s record on issues of gay and transgender rights is perfect. It’s not. But the president’s left-wing critics need to rein in their obnoxious hyperbole and constant catastrophizing on gay rights issues. Until they do, no one should take them seriously.

What those accusing President Trump of being an anti-gay bigot don’t understand is that he seems to hold an almost libertarian view on homosexuality. He supports the rights of Christians to practice their faith, but also supports the rights of gays to their lifestyle. Because of that, he gets criticized from both sides.

Wouldn’t You?

If you had a person in your life that was constantly spreading gossip about you that was not true, would you allow that person to remain in your life? That is roughly the situation between President Trump and Bloomberg News.

In 2017, The Washington Examiner reporting the following:

How negative was press coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office? Far more than that of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, according to a new report from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

The Harvard scholars analyzed the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the main newscasts (not talk shows) of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during Trump’s initial time in office. They found, to no one’s surprise, that Trump absolutely dominated news coverage in the first 100 days. And then they found that news coverage was solidly negative — 80 percent negative among those outlets studied, versus 20 percent positive.

The numbers for previous presidents: Barack Obama, 41 percent negative, 59 percent positive; George W. Bush, 57 percent negative, 43 percent positive; and Bill Clinton, 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive.

Things have not changed–on November 13, 2019, CNS News reported the following:

On Tuesday, nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin demonstrated how corrupt and bias network news has become, by quoting extensively from a new Media Research Center (MRC) study documenting the overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Donald Trump.

Levin used the opening segment of his show to explore the findings of a study by NewBusters, a division of MRC (as is CNSNews.com):

“Media Research Center: now, that’s a solid organization, come hell or high water. Pressure or no pressure. Because, (MRC President) Brent Bozell is a patriot, as are the people who work with him and for him. And, they stay on it. They will not be deterred.

“And, in a fantastic piece today: ‘Impeachment Frenzy: TV Networks Blast Trump with 96% Negative News’ – That should be the headline right there.”

How can a President be expected to run a country with that kind of news coverage?

At any rate, yesterday Hot Air reported the following:

Bloomberg News decided that it would grant Bloomy’s primary opponents an exemption from investigative coverage but couldn’t grant that sort of exemption to a sitting president, setting up a double standard in which Democratic candidates get a free pass while the Republican nominee is scrutinized. That’s the sort of unworkable ethical nightmare Mike Bloomberg created for his own news agency by choosing to run despite having no realistic path to the nomination. Today the Trump campaign struck back, saying that if Bloomberg News can’t investigate — or won’t investigate — all candidates equally then they’ll no longer be credentialed for Trump campaign events.

The only difference between Bloomberg and the rest of the mainstream media is that Bloomberg is at least being honest about what they are doing. Wouldn’t you kick them off the bus?

The Real Story

I came across this information last week but didn’t have a source I trusted, so I didn’t post it. Today I have a source, so here goes.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the release of aid to Ukraine. We heard the Democrats in the impeachment hearings claim that the money was released because President Trump knew he had been found out. Like most of what was said in those hearings, that was garbage. The Washington Examiner staff did some investigating and discovered the real story.

The article reports:

On the day he OK’d the aid, Trump learned that Congress was going to force his hand and spend the money anyway. He could either go along or get run over.

On Sept. 11, the White House received a draft of a continuing resolution, produced by House Democrats, that would extend funding for the federal government. Among other provisions, the bill would push the Ukraine money out the door, whether in the final days of fiscal year 2019 or in 2020, regardless of what the president did.

“The draft continuing resolution … would on September 30 immediately free up the remainder of the $250 million appropriated for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative in the fiscal 2019 Defense spending law and extend its availability for another year,” Roll Call reported a little after noon on Sept. 11.

According to knowledgeable sources, the Office of Management and Budget received the draft on the morning of Sept. 11. OMB Director Russell Vought informed the president around mid-day. There was no doubt the Democratic-controlled House would pass the measure, which was needed to avoid a government shutdown. Later that afternoon, Trump — who must have already known that the Republican-controlled Senate would also support the bill — had the point emphasized to him when he received a call from Republican Sen. Rob Portman.

Portman, and Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin co-chairs the Senate Ukraine Caucus. Along with several other senators, Portman wrote to the White House on Sept. 3, imploring the president to release the aid. On Spet. 11, Portman felt the need to talk again, with the same message — only this time with the backdrop of the House preparing to pass a bill that would force Trump’s hand.

At that point, the president knew he could not maintain the hold on aid in the face of bipartisan congressional action. So he gave in. By early evening on Sept. 11, the hold was lifted.

It was an entirely unremarkable end to the story: President tries to do something. Congress opposes. President sees he has no support and backs down. It has happened many, many times with many, many presidents.

Lied to again by those who have political motives.

An Interesting Perspective From Someone Who Would Know

James A. Gagliano (@JamesAGagliano) worked in the FBI for 25 years. He is a law enforcement analyst for CNN and an adjunct assistant professor in homeland security and criminal justice at St. John’s University. Yesterday he posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the charges against General Michael Flynn.

Mr. Gagliano begins the article by explaining the he was skeptical about an intelligence community effort to remove President Trump:

As a self-proclaimed adherent to Hanlon’s Razor, I once cynically viewed the frenzied focus on FBI actions during the 2016 Russian election-meddling investigation as partisan and overwrought. Hanlon’s Razor suggests that we never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity or incompetence. Having proudly served in the FBI for 25 years, I bristled at insulting accusations of an onerous deep state conspiracy. Some obvious mistakes made during the investigation of the Trump campaign were quite possibly the result of two ham-handedly overzealous FBI headquarters denizens, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, clumsily seeking to impress each other with ever-increasing levels of loathing for then-candidate Donald Trump.

FBI employees are entitled to their own political views. But senior-level decision-makers who express them on government devices, while overseeing a supremely consequential investigation into a political campaign, simply do not possess the requisite judgment and temperament for the job.

The article explains what changed his mind:

It is unheard of for someone not actually on the interview itself to materially alter an FD-302. As an FBI agent, no one in my chain of command ever directed me to alter consequential wording. And as a longtime FBI supervisor, I never ever directed an agent to recollect something different from what they discerned during an interview. Returning a 302 for errors in grammar, punctuation, or syntax is appropriate. This occurs before the document is ultimately uploaded to a particular file, conjoined with the original interview notes which are safely secured inside a 1-A envelope, and secured as part of evidence at trial.

With this in mind, this related text message exchange from Strzok to Page dated Feb. 10, 2017, nauseated me:

“I made your edits and sent them to Joe. I also emailed you an updated 302. I’m not asking you to edit it this weekend, I just wanted to send it to you.”

Powell charges that Page directed Strzok to alter his Flynn interview 302. As in most instances in life, words matter. The change in wording was instrumental in moving Flynn from a target to a subject. One recalls how critical wording was in the FBI’s decision not to argue that DOJ charge Hillary Clinton with a crime in the private email server investigation. Comey elected not to use “gross negligence” to characterize Clinton’s actions — which would have been the required language in the mishandling of classified information statute — and instead settled upon the more benign and non-indictable “extreme carelessness.”

Later, it was determined that none other than Strzok was the impetus behind the recrafting of Comey’s words.

The article concludes:

Here’s me, acknowledging my mistake. I was dead wrong. It now seems there was a concerted effort, though isolated, within the upper-echelons of the FBI to influence the outcome of the Flynn investigation. By “dirtying up” Flynn, Comey’s FBI headquarters team of callow sycophants shortcut the investigative process. Arm-twisting Flynn through the “tweaked” version of his interview afforded him criminal exposure. The cocksure Comey team felt supremely confident that would inspire him “flipping” and give them the desperately sought-after evidence of Trump-Russia collusion that the wholly unverified Steele dossier was never remotely capable of providing.

I am physically nauseous as I type these words. I have long maintained that innocent mistakes were made and that the investigators at the center of this maelstrom were entitled to the benefit of the doubt.

No more.

They have tarnished the badge and forever stained an agency that deserved so much better from them. I am ashamed. The irreparable damage Comey’s team has done to the FBI will take a generation to reverse.

I ashamedly join Hanlon’s Razor in getting this one wrong.

All Americans need to pay attention to what this man is saying.

The Charade Continues

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today titled, “The Adam Schiff Empowerment Act.” So what is he talking about? The bill before the House of Representatives today takes the impeachment inquiry out of the hands of the Judicial Committee (where it has traditionally been) and places it in the hands of the Intelligence Committee headed by Adam Schiff.

The article reports:

The resolution gives Rep. Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, far-reaching power over the Trump impeachment proceedings. Speaker Nancy Pelosi remains the ultimate authority, of course, but, like a chairman of the board choosing a chief executive officer, she has picked Schiff to run the show. And in the resolution, Democrats will give him near-total control.

The first thing the resolution will do is give the impeachment investigation to the Intelligence Committee. Until now, three committees — Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs — have been conducting impeachment interviews. Going forward, Oversight and Foreign Affairs will be out of the interview picture in favor of Intelligence.

Among other things, that would mean that some Republicans who have been persistent critics of the process but who have been allowed into depositions by virtue of their membership in other participating committees — two examples are Oversight Committee members Rep. Jim Jordan and Rep. Mark Meadows — will no longer be allowed in the interview room.

“It’s totally one-sided,” Meadows told me Wednesday evening. “They can continue to do secret depositions. They have noticed depositions for John Bolton and others next week in anticipation of a positive vote Thursday. All it does is limit the committees that will be involved in the depositions.”

Any Congressman who votes for this travesty needs to be voted out of office in 2020.

The article continues:

The resolution would also give Schiff the authority to call and conduct public hearings on impeachment. Schiff will control the witnesses. Although there has been some discussion about whether Republicans will have the right to call witnesses, the resolution only gives the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Community, Rep. Devin Nunes, the right to ask Schiff to call a witness.

“To allow for full evaluation of minority witness requests, the ranking minority member may submit to the chair, in writing, any requests for witness testimony relevant to the investigation,” the resolution says. “Any such request shall be accompanied by a detailed written justification of the relevance of the testimony of each requested witnesses to the investigation.” Republicans will get nothing that Schiff does not approve.

“There’s no guarantee we can call any witnesses,” said Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a member of the Intelligence Committee, in an interview Wednesday.

“The rules the Democrats rammed through simply confirm the absolute control Schiff has been exercising this entire time,” Nunes said. “He shouldn’t be involved in impeachment at all since none of this has any intelligence component, but Pelosi obviously thinks Nadler is incompetent.”

This process totally ignores the rights of a defendant guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. It is really sad that the political hotheads in the Democrat party have brought us to this place.

Hasn’t He Read The U.S. Constitution?

The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about some recent remarks by presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke.

The article reports:

Beto O’Rourke said he would use the criminal code to back up his proposal to confiscate AR-15s and other “weapons of war” from Americans.

“If we’re able to pass mandatory buybacks and I’m able to sign that into law, then I fully expect our fellow Americans to turn in their AR-15s and their AK-47s,” the former Texas congressman said in a Thursday CBS News interview when asked if his policy was “too retroactive.”

O’Rourke continued his answer by saying there would be criminal consequences if people were to “persist” in holding onto their weapons.

“For anyone who does not and is caught in possession or seen in possession of one of these weapons of war — one of these instruments of terror, that weapon will be taken from them, and they will be fined. And if they should persist in continuing to use and to buy these weapons, then there will be other consequences in the criminal code.”

The Democratic presidential contender said earlier this month that under his administration, police would “visit” AR-15 owners who did not cooperate in turning their guns in voluntarily.

“I think there would be a visit by law enforcement to recover that firearm and to make sure that it is purchased, bought back so that it cannot potentially be used against somebody else,” O’Rourke said about the possibility that gun owners might not submit to voluntary buybacks.

It’s interesting that the candidates seem to be focused on AR-15’s. An AR-15 is a semi-automatic weapon that fires one bullet at a time. The AR stands for ArmaLite, the original manufacturer of the weapon. It is a scary looking gun, but even if you support taking guns away from Americans, there is no reason to focus on that particular gun. It is legal to own an AK-47 as long as it was manufactured before 1986. There are also paperwork requirements involved with owning this particular gun.

However, all of the above is simply irrelevant. The Second Amendment states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms was to protect the people from a tyrannical government–like one that wanted to forcefully take away their guns. What Beto O’Roarke is proposing is exactly what the Second Amendment was written to prevent.

Does This Lady Not Know History?

Elizabeth Warren wants to revive ‘land for peace’ (because it has worked so well in the past). Let’s back up a little and see previous results.

On September 14, 2005, Boston.com reported:

NEVE DEKALIM, Gaza Strip — Palestinians looted dozens of greenhouses yesterday, walking off with irrigation hoses, water pumps, and plastic sheeting in a blow to fledgling efforts to reconstruct the Gaza Strip.

American Jewish donors had bought more than 3,000 greenhouses from Israeli settlers in Gaza for $14 million last month and transferred them to the Palestinian Authority. Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn, who brokered the deal, put up $500,000 of his own money.

Palestinian police watched yesterday as looters carried materials from greenhouses in several settlements, and commanders complained they did not have enough manpower to protect the buildings. In some instances, there was no security and in others, police joined the looters, witnesses said.

”We need at least another 70 soldiers. This is just a joke,” said Taysir Haddad, one of 22 security guards assigned to Neve Dekalim, formerly the largest Jewish settlement in Gaza. ”We’ve tried to stop as many people as we can, but they’re like locusts.”

The failure of the security forces to prevent scavenging and looting in the settlements after Israel’s withdrawal Monday raised new concerns about Gaza’s future.

Israel gave up the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians in the name of peace. They left the greenhouses there so that the Palestinians would have a source of income. Evidently the Palestinians would rather destroy their only hope of economic prosperity than accept that gift. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip has become prime real estate for launching rockets into civilian populations in Israel. That is how successful ‘land for peace’ has been in the past. There is no reason to believe it will be any more successful in the future.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported:

Elizabeth Warren issued a warning to Israel if it continues building settlements in the West Bank.

The Massachusetts senator was asked after a town hall in Iowa whether she was open to making U.S. aid conditional on an agreement with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to halt construction in a territory Israel won in a defensive war in 1967, which is home to about 3 million Palestinians and roughly 400,000 Jews.

“Right now, Netanyahu says that he is going to take Israel in a direction of increasing settlements. That does not move us toward a two-state solution. It is the official policy of the United States of America to support a two-state solution. And if Israel is moving in the opposite direction, everything’s on the table,” she told reporters at Simpson College in Indianola on Sunday.

That is not a recipe for peace, that is a recipe for war and the killing of innocent civilians. Ms. Warren evidently does not know her history.

Good News For Impatient People Who Like Clean Dishes

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about dishwashers–the kind that are installed in with your kitchen cabinets and take forever to clean the dishes about as well as your average cat. I realize that does not apply to all dishwashers, but since the environmentalists got involved, it applies to a lot of them. Well, that is about to change.

The article reports:

Consumers outraged about slow dishwashers are staunchly backing an Energy Department move, over industry objections, to create a new category of products that feature a one-hour washing cycle.

Individual consumers have flooded the public comment docket in support of the Energy Department proposal, which grants a petition made by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank. The agency proposal would establish a separate product class for dishwashers that clean and dry dishes within one hour, an action that would exclude those appliances from current energy and water conservation standards until separate rules are crafted.

The Energy Department could finalize the proposal as soon as next year.

“A First World country deserves a dishwasher that can actually clean soiled dishes in an hour – as it used to have before this regulation was enacted to ‘save’ us energy and money. It doesn’t,” one individual consumer, Chad Anderson, wrote in a comment submitted this week.

The article concludes:

The Energy Department, though, in its proposal said data and customer complaints show many consumers would value “shorter cycle times to clean a normally-soiled load of dishes.” Watkins argued that no dishwasher models currently exist on the market that have a normal one-hour cycle for washing and drying.

Mauer said a number of factors, including consumer preferences for more efficient and quieter dishwashers, have impacted the cycle times.

And she said the lack of standards for the new product class also means the Energy Department’s move likely violates a provision in the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, which prohibits the agency from loosening the efficiency standards.

Appliance makers also say the product class isn’t necessary, and they say the Energy Department action creates new regulatory burdens that will cost manufacturers.

Creating a new product class would lead to stranded investments for companies, “as manufacturers would essentially be required to abandon” innovations in efficiency they’d made to comply with the previous standards, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers wrote in comments.

The group, which represents more than 150 companies, wrote it has raised concerns about dishwasher cycle times previously but stressed this wasn’t the venue to address them.

Watkins of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, however, argued appliance makers don’t want the Energy Department to change the current limits because it would open up the market to new companies that haven’t spent the money to comply with conservation limits.

“They now view the regulations in some way as a barrier to entry” into the market, Watkins said. He also suggested that creating a new product class could relieve some of the pressure manufacturers face from ever-tightening standards due to the law’s “one-way ratchet.”

Plus, it’s hard to argue with the overwhelming consumer support, Watkins said, pointing to a recent survey the group conducted of more than 1,000 customers showing a majority prefer dishwasher cycles of one hour or less.

“Where can I get a MDGA* hat? (*Make Dishwashers Great Again),” one consumer wrote in the comments.

What has happened to dishwashers in recent years is another example of the government deciding what is good for the consumer without giving the consumer a voice in the decision. The idea of a dishwasher that effectively cleans dishes in an hour is a winner. Government regulation and interference kept it from being a reality.

Who Runs This Agency?

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Supreme Court has agreed to take up a dispute over the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in a case that could dramatically scale back the agency’s authority to police financial markets or eliminate it altogether. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), considered to be the brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, was created in 2010. It was one of a few misdirected responses to the housing bubble that burst in 2008.

Just for the record, I want to review a few facts about the financial collapse of 2008 that the mainstream media somehow missed.

The following video was posted at YouTube in September 2008. The video was essentially a campaign ad, but the information in it is important. The CFPB never addressed the actual problem. (For that matter, neither did Dodd-Frank). The video below tells a story you might not be familiar with:

 

The article reports:

The court said Friday it will hear a challenge from a California-based law firm that argues the CFPB, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, is unconstitutionally structured.

Opponents of the CFPB, created in 2010, argue that its structure violates the separation of powers, as Congress gave it broad authority to regulate mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer products, and is helmed by a single director who can’t be removed by the president except for cause.

The court said it will also address whether the entirety of the law that created the CFPB, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that re-ordered the financial regulatory system, should be struck down.

The Trump administration said in a filing with the Supreme Court it concluded the “statutory restriction on the president’s authority to remove the director violates” the Constitution, and “the director of the bureau has since reached the same conclusion.”

Trump tapped Kathy Kraninger to replace Mick Mulvaney, the acting CFPB director, last year.

Congress set up the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform package, and its director is appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate. The director serves a term of five years.

Cases challenging the constitutionality of the agency have been weaving their way through the lower courts. In 2016, Justice Brett Kavanaugh, then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, said in a ruling in a similar case the CFPB is a “gross departure from settled historical practice.”

Stay tuned. A decision is expected by the end of June.

If You Haven’t Become Somewhat Skeptical About News Photos, You’re Not Paying Attention

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about some recent film aired by ABC News that was described as ‘slaughter in Syria.’ There was only one problem. It seems that the film footage was actually from a nighttime machine gun demonstration at the Knob Creek Gun Range in West Point, Kentucky. We’ve seen this sort of propaganda before, but it usually comes from middle eastern news sources (as in this instance).

The article in The Washington Examiner reports:

After seeing a comment from Wojciech Pawelczyk, I began making some calls. As of this writing, it appears ABC indeed aired footage recorded in the Kentucky and claimed it was from Syria. The network has since pulled the video.

“We’ve taken down video that aired on World News Tonight Sunday and Good Morning America this morning that appeared to be from the Syrian border immediately after questions were raised about its accuracy,” a network representative told the Washington Examiner. “ABC News regrets the error.”

A representative for the gun range also told the Washington Examiner that they are still investigating ABC’s reporting, adding further that the images aired by the network “look to be” from their Kentucky property.

“As of right now,” the representative added, “it seems to be our footage.”

Note that the sequence and shape of explosions is identical in the following ABC and Kentucky videos, as are some of the features of the terrain amid the explosions. But we might actually be dealing with two different videos of the same Kentucky live-fire event from slightly different angles. In the independent film of the live-fire event in Kentucky, you can clearly see taller objects in the foreground that seem to appear as silhouettes in the ABC footage:

The article concludes:

Earlier, on Sunday, ABC News anchor Tom Llamas also aired the allegedly shocking footage, claiming it showed a fierce Turkish attack on Kurd civilians.

“The situation rapidly spiraling out of control in northern Syria. One week since President Trump ordered U.S. forces out of that region, effectively abandoning America’s allies in the fight against [the Islamic State],” he said.

Llamas then described the video as it aired on-screen.

“This video right here appearing to show Turkey’s military bombing Kurd civilians in a Syrian border town. The Kurds, who fought alongside the U.S. against ISIS. Now, horrific reports of atrocities committed by Turkish-backed fighters on those very allies,” he added.

The intro to the show he anchored,ABC World News Tonight, also claimed of the footage: “A border town, bombarded by Turkey’s military!”

The footage would indeed be stunning were if actually from northern Syria. It would be horrific were it actually to show a Turkish assault on Kurd civilians. But it does not show that. The footage, which appears to be from 2017, shows American gun enthusiasts putting on a terrific pyrotechnic show for an audience in Kentucky. In fact, the Machine Gun Shoot and Military Gun Show, which involves the very popular night shoot, is a bi-annual event at the Kentucky gun range. People love the show. They love it so much, in fact, that they record it and post footage of it to social media. …

It is astonishing that ABC appears to have aired Kentucky gun range footage during prime-time news segments on the clashes in Syria and that no one at the network — not a producer, not a fact-checker, and certainly not an on-air personality — caught the errors before they aired.

When the mainstream media has a narrative, they will use whatever resources they can to promote that narrative. Don’t believe anything you currently see in the mainstream media. They are not interested in reporting accurate news–they are interested in remaking America into something that would negatively impact the lives of everyday Americans.

 

This Latest Attempt To Smear The President May Not End Well For Those Promoting It

The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday about the latest scandal the media has concocted to damage President Trump. The scandal is related to something a whistle-blower heard President Trump discuss with a foreign leader. Of course all of the details are being leaked out strategically by the media in a fashion to hurt the President, but there are a few details we already know that are more damaging to the media.

The article reports:

After leaving office in 2017, Vice President Joe Biden Bragged about strong-arming the government of Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor.

Joe Biden made the remarks during a meeting of foreign policy specialists. Biden said he, “Threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.” Biden suggested during his talk that Barack Obama was in on the threat.

In April John Solomon revealed what Biden did not tell his audience. Joe Biden had Poroshenko fired because he was investigating Joe Biden’s son Hunter.

 Poroshenko was investigating $3 million in funds that were being transferred out of Ukraine and into accounts in the United States at that time.
Joe Biden had him fired.

In May President Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani said in an interview that he plans to travel to Ukraine to push the country’s leadership on several probes that may prove “very, very helpful” to President Trump, as Republicans continue looking to turn the tables on Democrats and prove that they — not the GOP — were the party that improperly conspired with foreign actors.

This is a very awkward situation. It is appropriate for President Trump to tell Ukraine to clean up their corruption. The difficulty occurs when that corruption involves the son of someone currently leading in the Democrat presidential primary elections. At that point the appearance of a political motive becomes a problem. However, political motive or not, Joe Biden’s statement creates a problem for the Democrats. If Joe Biden’s son was involved in illegal international transactions during the time that Joe Biden was Vice-President, does that end the candidacy of Joe Biden for President? It’s the Democrat party, so it might not.

However, it is time that we dealt with politicians or their families getting rich because of their offices.

In August 2019, The Washington Examiner reported:

John Kerry’s stepson rushed to play damage control at the State Department after his business partner Hunter Biden cut a deal with an oligarch-owned Ukrainian gas company in 2014, according to internal State Department correspondence obtained by the Washington Examiner.

The correspondence adds to the questions about Biden’s business activities, which have dogged the 2020 Democratic primary campaign of his father Joe. Hunter Biden’s long history of drug and alcohol abuse, which contributed to his divorce and his dismissal from the Navy Reserve, has also attracted unwelcome publicity for the Democratic front-runner.

An email released to the Washington Examiner shows that Biden’s decision to join the board of Ukraine’s Burisma Holdings sparked immediate concern within his inner circle about the political optics. Biden’s father Joe — now vying for the 2020 Democratic Party nomination — was then vice president and overseeing the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

At the time, Hunter Biden, now 49, and Christopher Heinz, the stepson of then-Secretary of State John Kerry, co-owned Rosemont Seneca Partners, a $2.4 billion private equity firm. Heinz’s college roommate, Devon Archer, was managing partner in the firm. In the spring of 2014, Biden and Archer joined the board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian gas company that was at the center of a U.K. money laundering probe. Over the next year, Burisma reportedly paid Biden and Archer’s companies over $3 million.

Joe Biden is not responsible for his son’s misdeeds, but he is responsible for blocking an investigation into those misdeeds.

This scandal may turn out to be one the Democrats wish they hadn’t mentioned.

When You Are Totally Out Of Step With The Voters

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the current Democrat primary campaign for President. The writer refers to a New York Times article noting that the ideas the candidates are espousing are not popular with voters.

The article reports:

Here’s a hot new tip for Democrats wanting to win the presidency next year: Lie about what you believe!

That piece of advice comes from liberal New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, who on Sunday warned Democrats that they have lately been professing policy views that “alienate most American voters.”

It turns out that eliminating private health insurance and opening up the southern border to all of the world’s poor aren’t home runs with the electorate. But these are precise examples of what the 2020 Democratic field has been pushing.

In each of the Democratic debates and in media interviews, the leading candidates have said they support decriminalizing illegal immigration and replacing all private insurance with one government-run plan.

Observing that public opinion on those proposals isn’t rocking through the stratosphere, Leonhardt wrote that Democrats need to stop talking about what they truly believe and do the opposite: “The best strategy for Democrats,” he said, “is a populist one that speaks to voters of all races.”

That is actually really good advice for the candidates. I am hoping that they won’t take it.

The article concludes:

That sounds nice, but it would require that Democrats shut up about reparations, abandon their immigration fetish, and discontinue their climate change fearmongering.

There’s absolutely no chance any of them will do that. Democrats may routinely lie about the chaos at the border and about the cost of their healthcare plans but they’re being completely honest when they say they want open borders. They’re telling the truth when they call for government-run healthcare.

Those may not be winning positions in the general election but at least they’re honest ones.

In this case, I am not sure honesty will win the nomination or the election.

Do These Candidates Really Want Your Votes?

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about one of the environmental policies recently espoused by one of the leading Democrat candidates for President.

The article quotes Bernie Sanders:

Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator running for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, took anti-human environmentalism a step further on Wednesday night. A schoolteacher rose at CNN’s climate town hall and brought up population control. Would Sanders have the “courage,” the teacher asked, to “make it a key feature of a plan to address climate catastrophe.”

Sanders said yes, and then he went straight to abortion — “especially in poor countries around the world.” He cursed America’s Mexico City policy, which prohibits international family planning funds from funding abortions. Again, all in the name of saving the planet.

Here, Sanders is dancing dangerously close to federally funded eugenics. To say that overpopulation is a problem, and then to immediately call for more funding of abortion in, say, Africa, is a rather startling position to take — maybe even “courageous,” in the sense that it is risky to appear so callous an cruel.

Sanders may have meant something else. He seemed to believe the Mexico City policy curtailed access to contraceptives. (It does not.) He spoke the language of autonomy. So maybe Sanders sees himself as just wanting to empower poor women to control their fertility. Even so, Western enthusiasm for reducing the number of African babies has always had racist and colonialist undertones.

The article notes:

“The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” Paul Ehrlich wrote just one generation ago. “In the 1970’s and 1980’s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.”

Ehrlich was dead wrong. Just as Martha and Bernie, Ehrlich saw humans as only hungry mouths and stomachs, not as useful, innovative hands and brains.

Human life is better today than it was 100 years ago, by far, and it had improved from 1000 years before that, and so on. What has improved mankind’s state? It wasn’t climate change. It wasn’t aliens. It was human ingenuity.

In other words, humans are a net positive. At least, that is so, if what you care about is human health and happiness. Too many environmentalists think people are a net drain. Or at least they think some people are.

Let’s back up a minute and note that Bernie Sanders is a socialist running to be the Democrat party candidate. I must admit that I never thought I would see a socialist as a serious candidate for President in America. That is a scary thought. America as a republic has been one of the most successful countries in the world–generally speaking we have fed our people and treated the environment kindly. There are some exceptions, but on the whole Americans are more prosperous than people in any other country in the world. Why would we consider moving from a successful business model (freedom and capitalism) to a failed business model (socialism)?

This Might Be A Problem For The Obama Legacy

On Wednesday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about Call Sign Chaos: Learning to Lead, a book written by General James Mattis about his time as leader of U.S. Central Command from 2010 to 2013, overseeing military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. Some parts of the book do not portray President Obama in a positive light.

The article reports:

“From my first day at CENTCOM, I knew we faced two principal adversaries: stateless Sunni Islamist terrorists and the revolutionary Shiite regime of Iran, the most destabilizing country in the region,” he writes. “Iran was by far the more deadly of the two threats.”

That’s not how the president under whom Mattis served saw it, though, and Barack Obama eventually fired the storied Marine general for what Mattis believes were his insistent warnings about the Iranian threat.

Mattis says Washington didn’t even inform him when Iran committed an “act of war” on American soil.

The duty officer at his Tampa, Florida, headquarters on Oct. 11, 2011 told him that the attorney general and FBI director had held a press conference to announce the arrest of two Iranians who had planned a bomb attack on Cafe Milano, a high-end restaurant in Washington that was a favorite of the rich and famous, including Saudi Arabia’s ambassador, Adel al-Jubeir.

As Mattis writes, “Attorney General Eric Holder said the bombing plot was ‘directed and approved by elements of the Iranian government and, specifically, senior members of the Qods Force.’ The Qods were the Special Operations Force of the Revolutionary Guards, reporting to the top of the Iranian government.”

The article concludes:

Mattis says his reaction to the Cafe Milano bomb plot contributed towards Obama’s decision to fire him abruptly.

“While I fully endorse civilian control of the military, I would not surrender my independent judgment. In 2010, I argued strongly against pulling all our troops out of Iraq,” Mattis writes. (Earlier in the book, he recounts a discussion he had on the subject in Baghdad with Vice President Joe Biden, who was in charge of Iraq policy but “ignoring reality” and uninterested in the considered opinion of the general in charge of operations there.) “In 2011, I urged retaliation against Iran for plotting to blow up a restaurant in our nation’s capital. In 2012, I argued for retaining a small but capable contingent of troops in Afghanistan. Each step along the way, I argued for political clarity and offered options that gave the Commander in Chief a rheostat he could dial up or down to protect our nation.”

The commander in chief chose another option: fire the CENTCOM leader.

“In December 2012, I received an unauthorized phone call telling me that in an hour, the Pentagon would be announcing my relief,” Mattis writes. “I was leaving a region aflame and in disarray.”

And the biggest threat in the region, Mattis says, then as now, was Iran. He predicted the Obama administration’s reluctance to punish Tehran for its bad behavior while the two sides negotiated a nuclear deal would come back to haunt the U.S. He concludes that “the Iranians had not been held to account, and I anticipated that they would feel emboldened to challenge us more in the future.”

Unfortunately I think that in the future we will see more situations where President Obama put his own search for a diplomatic victory ahead of the safety of Americans.

Going To The Courts

Those of us who have followed the Russian collusion story closely are waiting for someone to actually be held accountable for the violations of civil liberties of Americans that went on during the Obama administration. It seems as if it is nearly impossible to get information on what went on and even when we have the information that things were not done properly, there is no accountability. The Russia hoax is actually following the pattern of many of the Clinton scandals–delay, delay, delay, and when damaging information finally surfaces, you say ‘that’s old news.’ Well, some of the people who actually know the truth are not willing to settle for delay, delay, delay.

The Washington Examiner reported the following yesterday:

Congressman Devin Nunes filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday against opposition research firm Fusion GPS, its founder Glenn Simpson, and left-leaning watchdog group Campaign for Accountability, accusing them of “racketeering” and interfering with his congressional Trump-Russia investigation.

Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee until Democrats won the majority in 2018, claimed that Simpson, Fusion GPS, and the Campaign for Accountability illegally conspired to “harass” him in an attempt to “hinder, delay, prevent, or dissuade” him from looking into issues surrounding the federal investigation into the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and to scare him off from investigating possible wrongdoing by Simpson and Fusion GPS.

The California Republican is asking the judge to award him $9.9 million in damages.

The 35-page complaint Nunes filed in the Eastern District of Virginia today pointed to a Daily Caller article from early August that revealed the Campaign for Accountability hired Fusion GPS as an “independent contractor” in 2018 and paid the firm close to $140,000 for research. And the Nunes lawsuit alleged the watchdog group and the opposition research firm then colluded to target him and stymie his efforts, pointing to three ethics complaints filed by the Campaign for Accountability allegedly “in concert with” Fusion GPS in an effort to “chill reporting of Fusion GPS and Simpson’s wrongdoing” and to dissuade Nunes from making criminal referrals to the Justice Department.

Nunes described Fusion GPS as “a political war room for hire that specializes in dirty tricks and smears” and the Campaign for Accountability as a “dark money, partisan, left-wing” nonprofit that he said targets mainly conservatives.

The article continues:

Nunes said Simpson and Fusion GPS “shared a common goal” with the Clinton campaign of “using the false and defamatory statements in the Steele dossier to poison the minds of voters.”

“Fusion GPS and Simpson harbored spite and ill-will towards [Nunes] and decided to smear [him] as a result of his tenacious efforts in 2017 to expose Fusion GPS’ nefarious activities,” the lawsuit alleges.

Nunes said Fusion GPS retaliated through the Campaign for Accountability because of subpoenas he issued in 2017 to the FBI and DOJ for information on their relationship with Steele, to Simpson and other Fusion GPS partners to compel their testimony, and to the bank Fusion GPS used, which “revealed that the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Perkins Coie paid for Fusion GPS’ anti-Trump research.”

Nunes claimed that “corrupt acts of racketeering are part of [Fusion GPS’] regular way of doing business” and said “that way of doing business must end here and now.”

Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz’s report on the use of Steele’s dossier and alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which started more than a year ago, is expected in September or early October. The DOJ watchdog’s report harshly criticizing former FBI Director James Comey over the mishandling of his memos was released last week.

The deep state is somewhat like an octopus–it has many tentacles. The entire ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ operation was illegal from the start and should be tried under RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act). There are now stories that James Comey placed spies in the White House in the early days of the Trump administration until Comey was fired in May 2017. More on that when I can confirm it.

Will Massachusetts Have A New Senator Kennedy?

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

Irony At Its Best

One of the arguments used by those who want to end the Second Amendment is that anyone can buy a gun anytime. While that is unfortunately true for criminals, it is not true for law-abiding citizens, and that is the problem. A reporter attempting to prove how easy it was to buy a gun recently found out it wasn’t.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about Hayley Peterson, a senior correspondent for Business Insider. Ms. Peterson was investigating the availability of guns at Walmart and went to Walmart to buy a gun.

The article reports:

“I went to Walmart with the intention of buying a gun last week as part of an investigation into the placement, selection, marketing, and security of firearms in Walmart’s stores, and to learn more about the retailer’s processes governing gun sales,” Hayley Peterson said in article should wrote for Business Insider. “My journey to bring a gun home from Walmart turned out to be far more complicated than I expected.”

Walmart’s lack of advertising and the fact they only sell guns in certain stores frustrated Peterson’s attempt to buy one. After failing a background check, she decided that buying a gun at Walmart was not worth it.

…Peterson failed the background check after her home address did not match the one on her license. The clerk told her that she would have to bring in another document with the correct address to pass.

“She apologized, told me the rules were strict around background checks, and asked me to come back another time to finish the purchase,” Peterson recounted. “At this point, I decided to give up on buying a gun at Walmart.”

Peterson’s investigation came amid claims that background checks do not adequately prevent gun violence. Some have called for Walmart to stop selling firearms altogether, including half-a-dozen Democratic presidential candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Maybe Walmart is not the problem. If Ms. Peterson had been a criminal, she would have easily been able to buy a gun on the street. Taking guns away from people who follow the law only creates a vulnerable population to be exploited by those who do not follow the law.

The Cost Of Congressional Inaction

America has needed a reasonable approach to immigration for years. Congress has chosen not to meet this need. So what is the cost of their inaction? Today’s Washington Examiner has some of the numbers.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Federal arrests of noncitizens have jumped over 200% in the last 20 years and now account for 64% of those arrested, according to the Justice Department.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics said that federal arrests of non-Americans rose 234% from 1998-2018. For U.S. citizens, the percentage rose just 10% over those 20 years.

The newly released statistics feed the Trump administration’s narrative that an increase in immigration, especially illegal immigration, has fed a spike in crime.

The article concludes:

Also over that period, illegal immigration has surged off and on and the bureau said that immigration crimes account for the bulk of arrests. In the past, Department of Homeland Security authorities have accounted for a majority of the arrests.

“20 years, 95% of the increase in federal arrests was due to immigration crimes. From 1998 to 2018, federal immigration arrests increased 5-fold (from 20,942 to 108,667), rising more than 50,000 in one year from 2017 to 2018,” said the Justice Department.

Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, said that the statistics and types of crimes disprove claims by pro-immigration advocates that illegal immigrants aren’t involved in crimes.

“Opponents of immigration enforcement are obsessed with trying to establish that illegal aliens and legal immigrants commit fewer crimes than Americans, and so, as their narrative goes, local law enforcement agencies should not cooperate with ICE and should adopt sanctuary policies. This is first of all not true, but is off-point and a dangerous conclusion. What these numbers show is that there are certain types of crime that are disproportionately associated with illegal aliens: drug trafficking, certain gang crimes, and identity theft and document fraud,” she told Secrets.

I can’t even imagine how much this is costing our federal government. It would seem that with budget deficits as far as the eye can see, Congress might be willing to look at fixing the immigration problem as one positive step toward reducing government spending, Nope–the political issue is worth more than the solution. Also, is Congress willing to take responsibility for the Americans who have been harmed by illegal immigration?