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?

Ruining The Environment Because You Want To Win

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Iowa Caucuses and the role that ethanol plays in them. In theory ethanol is a great idea. In practice it has not had the positive impact on the environment that was hoped for.

The article reports:

The summer before the Iowa caucuses is when politicians abandon whatever it is they believe in and instead pay homage to King Corn.

When Republicans are running, any belief in free enterprise is scuttled in favor the big government ethanol mandate.

Among Democrats, concern about smog and pollution evaporates in the heat of an Iowa summer.

The politicians who pledge to take on the special interests instead bow obediently before the ethanol lobby.

Al Gore, who admits federal support for ethanol was a mistake, explains his own advocacy of such policies thus: “I had a certain fondness for the farmers in the state of Iowa because I was about to run for president.”

It’s a dispiriting sight, but it’s as much a part of the Iowa caucus tradition as butter cows and fried Oreos.

The article explains some of the problems with ethanol:

Also, federally mandated use of ethanol wreaks havoc on the environment.

“Making corn into ethanol threatens surface and sub-surface waters in several ways,” the Freshwater Society states.

For starters, there are the spills, which occur every two days on average. Ethanol can’t be transported by pipeline, and so it rides trains and trucks from the heartland where it’s made to the coasts, where Uncle Sam forces refiners to buy it.

The added use of fertilizers in the extra corn-growing creates lots of runoff, which down the line deprives rivers of oxygen. Distilling ethanol requires four times as much water as does refining real gasoline — so the ethanol mandate depletes water supplies.

Ranchers pay the price as corn is shifted from feed to fuel. Drivers pay the price as they have to refuel more (ethanol has less energy per gallon than gasoline does). Bikers and boaters suffer more, as ethanol gunks up those smaller engines. Ethanol is also destroying your lawnmower this summer.

The article concludes:

Refiners, corn growers, and ethanol distillers all suffer from uncertainty and inconsistency. So, we’ve got a proposal for any 2020 Democrat who cares about taking on the special interests, protecting the air and the water, and moving beyond the inconstancy of the Trump administration.

Abolish the ethanol mandate altogether.

Maybe Cory Booker or Joe Biden can pick up the bill Ted Cruz pushed in 2015, which would wind the mandate down to zero gallons in five years. Cruz even won Iowa, in part because enough voters liked a man who stood on principle.

Do the Democrats have a man or a woman like that?

Stay tuned.

Rewriting History For Political Purposes

The Washington Examiner posted an article today a news report posted on the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America website.

The Washington Examiner reports:

By pure chance I stumbled recently on a news report posted on the U.S. taxpayer-funded Voice of America website. It was a news feature story about the personality cult of Argentine Communist Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

He is described as a “Marxist revolutionary” in a complimentary narrative that would make any antifa sympathizer proud. Americans who know something about the history of communist atrocities of the last century might find it shocking and wonder how their tax money is being spent. What VOA failed to mention is that Che was a ruthless communist, directly and indirectly responsible for brutal murders of tens of thousands of innocent human beings in Cuba and elsewhere.

I discovered through further research that this news feature report was originally prepared by Reuters, but VOA posted it on its main desktop website without giving credit to the news agency. VOA staff even put VOA letters on a Reuters photo showing the famous image of the communist hero. Whether or not it gives proper credit to Reuters, VOA is still responsible for everything it offers for public view under its name. The feature glorifying a Communist mass murderer was presented by the U.S. government as VOA’s own work.

The article details the changes in the VOA in recent years:

Much of the blame for the return of journalistic bias and chaos to the Voice of America in recent years rests with the recent and current leadership of the agency, which seems have a distorted view of VOA’s past and its mission, in addition to being managerially challenged.

But the biggest problem is the political bias, partisanship, and the ineffectiveness of many VOA programs. VOA still has a few excellent and unbiased journalists, but they are deeply unhappy being unable to practice their craft the way they think most Americans would want to support with their tax money. “Professionalism at VOA is dead, because [VOA Director] Amanda Bennett and [USAGM CEO] John Lensing killed it,” a VOA employee was reported to have said.

…An ahistorical Voice of America can be a dangerous anti-democratic, anti-liberal, anti-conservative and anti-humanist propaganda tool both abroad and in the United States, regardless of which party controls the White House. VOA needs much better oversight from Congress and American taxpayers than it has now.

Please read the entire article. It is time for new leadership at the VOA. President Trump is moving in that direction.

The article concludes:

The current Obama administration officials in charge of VOA have demonstrated their partisanship and remarkable managerial incompetence. Haroon Ullah, a top aide recruited and frequently feted by USAGM CEO John Lansing as a strategic planner, recently pleaded guilty to federal charges of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from the agency.

Award-winning PBS film documentarian and former federal government official Michael Pack is President Trump’s nominee to become the next agency head. He is conservative, but from what I can tell from his documentaries, he possesses a good grasp of history and seems ideologically less dogmatic than some of the current agency leaders and editors. He appears to have much more public service experience to run a government media program than any of the holdover officials currently in charge of USAGM. However, he and any other future VOA officials also need to be constantly watched and scrutinized to make sure that they fully obey the VOA Charter, which is U.S. law.

Hopefully the change in leadership will happen soon.

Senator, Please Read The Second Amendment

There were two horrific shootings in America yesterday. Actually there were probably a few more than that if you count Chicago and Baltimore, but there were two that made the headlines. There were two that were instantly politicized. There were two that reminded us that politicians don’t always think before they speak.

The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday about Senator Kamala Harris’ response to the shooting in Texas:

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris gave details about her gun control proposals in the wake of the deadly El Paso, Texas shooting after she addressed union members at the AFSCME forum at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Saturday.

When asked by the Washington Examiner if her plan would include legal gun owner databases or gun confiscation via law enforcement visits to residents who own banned firearms, she replied, “I’m actually prepared to take executive action to put in place rules that improve this situation.”

She continued, “I also have as part of my background and experience working on this issue, when I was attorney general [of California], and we put resources into allowing law enforcement to actually knock on the doors of people who were on two lists — a list where they had been found by a court to be a danger to themselves and others.

“They were on a list where they were precluded and prohibited from owning a gun because of a conviction that prohibited that ownership. Those lists were combined and then we sent law enforcement out to take those guns, because, listen, we have to deal with this on all levels, but we have to do this with a sense of urgency,” Harris added.

First of all, what firearms is she going to ban?

In June 2016, The Federalist reported:

But before we dive into whether the assault weapons ban was merely dumb, or if it was monumentally stupid and counterproductive, it’s important to define what the previous federal ban covered and how it defined an “assault weapon.” The 1994 assault weapons law banned semi-automatic rifles only if they had any two of the following five features in addition to a detachable magazine: a collapsible stock, a pistol grip, a bayonet mount, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher.

That’s it. Not one of those cosmetic features has anything whatsoever to do with how or what a gun fires. Note that under the 1994 law, the mere existence of a bayonet lug, not even the bayonet itself, somehow turned a garden-variety rifle into a bloodthirsty killing machine. Guns with fixed stocks? Very safe. But guns where a stock has more than one position? Obviously they’re murder factories. A rifle with both a bayonet lug and a collapsible stock? Perish the thought.

A collapsible stock does not make a rifle more deadly. Nor does a pistol grip. Nor does a bayonet mount. Nor does a flash suppressor. And for heaven’s sake, good luck finding, let alone purchasing, 40mm explosive grenades for your rifle-mounted grenade launcher (and remember: the grenade launcher itself is fine, just as long as you don’t put the ultra-deadly bayonet lug anywhere near it).

The complete unfamiliarity with guns and how they work that led to the inept definitions in the 1994 law was on full display in a now-infamous television interview with Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, a New York congresswoman who backed the so-called assault weapons ban. In the interview, Tucker Carlson asked McCarthy to define “barrel shroud,” a firearm feature regulated by the law. Here’s how she answered:

CARLSON: I read the legislation and it said that it would regulate “barrel shrouds.” What’s a barrel shroud and why should we regulate that?

MCCARTHY:The guns that were chosen back in those days were basically the guns that most gangs and criminals were using to kill our police officers. I’m not saying it was the best bill, but that was they could get out at that particular time.

CARLSON: Ok. Do you know what a barrel shroud is?

MCCARTHY: I actually don’t know what a barrel shroud is. I think it’s the shoulder thing that goes up.”

Senator Harris, you can confiscate all the guns and rifles you want and criminals will still manage to get them. At that point you have created an unarmed general population that is more vulnerable to gun crimes. Is that what you really want?

 

Desperation Can Be Expensive

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline, “Democratic megadonor George Soros launches new super PAC.” Keep in mind that George Soros is not a friend of America. He is a supporter of one-world government and fully intends to be part of the ruling class in that government. There are some very questionable items in his past regarding collapsing currencies and his relationship with the Hitler regime as a teenager.

The article reports:

George Soros is launching a super PAC ahead of the 2020 election and has already written the single biggest check of any megadonor so far this election season.

Soros contributed $5.1 million to the new group, Democracy PAC, according to paperwork filed with the Federal Election Commission. He was one of the Democratic Party’s biggest donors in the last presidential election, giving more than $20 million to the party’s candidates and causes, and has already doubled the amount he had donated at this point in the 2016 cycle.

A person familiar with the group told Politico that Soros’ family members may also donate to the PAC. His son, Alexander Soros, has become somewhat of a Democratic megadonor in recent years.

The article continues:

“He has, unlike Tom Steyer or [Michael] Bloomberg, funded things like Senate Majority PAC and Priorities USA and EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood and expects to continue to do so,” a person familiar with the PAC said.

Soros has yet to endorse a presidential candidate.

There are some things to consider here. It is very difficult to unseat an incumbent President during good economic times. I suspect some effort will be made in the coming year to make sure those good economic times do not continue. I have no idea what form that effort might take–it could be raising interest rates sometime next year, it could be more civil unrest from domestic terrorist organizations like Antifa, or it could be as simple as telling Americans not to spend money in order to slow down the consumer-driven economic growth. At any rate, in the past four years we have seen a number of efforts to buy election victories fail. If money were the only thing in winning elections, we would currently have either President Hillary Clinton or President Jeb Bush. In local politics if money were the only key to victory, Joan Perry would be running for Congress in the Third U.S. House District in North Carolina. I am hoping that the only thing George Soros’ political PAC is successful at doing is relieving Mr. Soros of some of his wealth.

Wondering If This Will Actually Happen

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the negotiations surrounding the trial of Jeffrey Epstein.

The article reports:

Jet-setting financier and convicted sex offender Jeffery Epstein’s trial on child sex trafficking charges won’t start until next June, at the earliest.

Federal prosecutors clashed with lawyers representing the jet-setting financier Wednesday over when the trial should begin, with the government arguing it should kick off next June, while the defense advocated for a post-Labor Day 2020 start date.

The judge didn’t make a definitive ruling, though he said June 2020 is the earliest the high-profile trial, expected to last four to six weeks, would commence.

Martin Weinberg, one of Epstein’s attorneys, claimed that the defense had one million pages of discovery to wade through and argued that a September 2020 trial date would be preferable because “thirteen months sounds like the appropriate amount of time it takes to prepare a case of this magnitude.”

A federal prosecutor countered that the trial should start sooner than that, telling the judge that a delay is not in the public interest and arguing that Epstein should be tried as “swiftly as possible.”

Judge Richard Berman, who finds himself in the national and international spotlight while presiding over this case, hinted the trial might begin around June 8, 2020, but said he’d revisit the exact timing of the Epstein trial in the future.

There are a lot of people who do not want to see this trial take place. Many of them are in very powerful positions in our government. In my mind there is a real question as to whether Jeffrey Epstein will survive in prison long enough to be tried. Prisoners are not known for their compassionate treatment of men who sexually assault underage girls. There are also a lot of famous people who visited his island–some on a fairly regular basis.

Stay tuned.

Trivial Pursuit By The Press Corps

We have a quickly changing international situation brewing with the seizure of ships by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Decisions made in the White House could have major consequences in the lives of all Americans. Hopefully the right decisions will be made, but the situation is worth everyone’s attention. But I guess the Press Corps has other things on its mind.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that shortly after receiving news that two tankers had been seized by the Iranians, the President was talking to the Press Corps.

The article reports:

President Trump was asked if he was “in favor of banning plastic straws” by a reporter on Friday afternoon, just a short time after an Iranian provocation in the Strait of Hormuz.

“Are you in favor of banning plastic straws?” a reporter asked the president outside the White House.

“I do think we have bigger problems than plastic straws. You know, it’s interesting about plastic straws. So you have a little straw, but what about the plates, the wrappers, and everything else that are much bigger and they’re made of the same material? So the straws are interesting, everybody focuses on the straws, there’s a lot of other things to focus on. It’s an interesting question.”

Evidently there was some context for the question:

“Trump Straws” went on sale on the Trump campaign website on Thursday. The 10-pack of reusable red straws are laser engraved with “Trump” on them, and the description reads, “Liberal paper straws don’t work. STAND WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP and buy your pack of recyclable straws today.”

I don’t know whether I would have been so gracious as to answer the question. It seems as if the Press Corps is playing Trivial Pursuit and ignoring the major news around them.