This Really Isn’t What I Wanted To Hear

On Sunday, Fox News posted an article about a statement made by Chinese leader Xi Jinping during his year-end address on Sunday.

The article reports:

Chinese leader Xi Jinping promised the reunification of Taiwan with mainland China during his year-end address on Sunday.

Tensions between China and Taiwan remain high, and Taiwanese voters are set to participate in the island’s elections on Jan. 13. Xi has repeatedly affirmed China’s stance that Taiwan is a part of China and that it must be reunified, by force if necessary.

“All Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait should be bound by a common sense of purpose and share in the glory of the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” Xi said in Sunday’s address.

“The motherland will surely be reunified,” he added.

The speech was the second time in a matter of days that Xi addressed the Taiwan issue. Xi also vowed to reunify Taiwan on Tuesday during a symposium in Beijing commemorating the 130th anniversary of the birth of Mao Zedong, the founding father of Communist China.

…Taiwan split from mainland China in 1949, when democratic forces fled there after losing a civil war against the Chinese Communist Party.

Knowing all of the money that has flowed from Communist China to the Biden family, I seriously doubt that President Biden would interfere in a communist takeover of Taiwan. However, if President Trump is elected next year, I don’t think China would move on Taiwan. That would make it in China’s interest to prevent another Trump Presidency. Because China is a major financial player in America’s mainstream media, I expect to see a lot of hit pieces on President Trump in the coming months. Those stories will be proven false after they have done their damage.

 

 

How Is The Plan Actually Working?

On Monday, Fox News posted an article about California Governor Gavin Newsome’s plan to end homelessness in California.

The article reports:

As Newsom took over following the 2003 San Francisco mayoral election, the then-mayor-elect said that December he intended to “aggressively” make ending homelessness in his city his administration’s top priority.

The plan involved a 10-year strategy to end chronic homelessness with “tens of millions” of federal dollars in funding to create 550 “supportive housing” units for the troubled homeless, SFGate reported at the time.

Fast-forward to December of this year and the announcement of that strategy is now two decades old. San Francisco, along with the rest of California, is far from solving the problem.

In fact, the growing homeless population has become a central issue in California’s political debate.

“Twenty years ago, then-Mayor Newsom laid out his 10-year plan to end homelessness in San Francisco,” California GOP chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson told Fox News Digital. “Not only does the problem remain unsolved today, but in the time since, he has taken his failures statewide, where communities across California are grappling with the devastating homeless crisis.”

The article notes:

Newsom was elected governor in 2018 and re-elected in 2022, with 2023 marking his fifth year in office.

Newsom took some heat earlier this year after San Francisco cleared out its homeless encampments ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s summit with President Biden in the city.

“I know folks are saying, ‘Oh they’re just cleaning up this place because all those fancy leaders are coming to town,'” Newsom said at that time. “That’s true, because it’s true – but it’s also true for months and months and months before APEC [Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit], we’ve been having conversations.”

I don’t claim to have a solution to homelessness, but it is interesting that the streets of San Francisco could be cleaned up for a state visit.

Veterans Take Note!

If you are a veteran, the Biden administration is not your friend. At least the Trump administration made some attempt to clean up the problems in the Veterans’ Administration (VA) health system. The Biden administration is working hard to make it worse.

On Friday, Fox News reported:

A long-standing arrangement between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to process claims for migrant medical care is drawing scrutiny from veterans’ advocates — who are concerned that it could affect the agency’s mission of caring for veterans — amid an ongoing border crisis and existing complaints about the care delivered to veterans.

“I’d like to understand why the VA is involved,” Russ Duerstine, executive director of Concerned Veterans for America and a veteran of the United States Air Force, told Fox News Digital.

When an illegal immigrant under ICE detention requires healthcare, they are typically treated on-site by medical professionals. However, if specialist or emergency care is required, they may be transported to an independent private provider.

In such cases, ICE contracts with the VA’s Financial Service Center (VA-FSC) to process reimbursements to those providers. According to a report from July, ICE has hundreds of letters of understanding in which ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) will reimburse providers at Medicare rates. That uses the VA-FSC’s Healthcare Claims Processing System — a portal that allows providers to submit and view claims and access other resources.

The article notes that although the VA plays a role, it does not provide or fund any health care services to individuals detained in [ICE] custody. At no time are any VA health care professionals or VA funds used for this purpose. So why then is the VA even involved?

The article also notes:

Darin Selnick, who served as veterans’ affairs adviser on the Domestic Policy Council during the Trump administration and also as a senior adviser to the VA secretary, said the arrangement was also a surprise to him and others he knew who served during the administration. He believes it would have been stopped if it was more widely known among officials.

“In my position, we would have stopped this, because if the VA had the extra ability to do this, then they should have been doing it for the veterans and not for another agency,” he said.

Duerstine, of Concerned Veterans for America, said he would like to see Veterans’ Affairs committees in Congress take a deeper look into the VA’s role.

 

 

 

The Cover Story Never Made Sense

In September 2022, the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines were blown up. The mainstream media claimed that the Russians had blown them up. This never made any sense–it was a source of income for Russia. There was speculation in some media outlets that in fact the United States was responsible (the claim was that the United States was the only country with the technology to blow up the pipeline). Well, it looks as if the truth might have stumbled out.

On Saturday, Fox News reported:

A former senior Ukrainian official was the coordinator of the explosions that ruptured the Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipelines, the Washington Post reported, citing Ukrainian officials and European sources, and in conjunction with German periodical Der Spiegel.

Roman Chervinsky, a former commander of one of the Ukrainian special forces units, was the “coordinator of the Nord Stream operation” and managed a six-person team that carried out the devastating multibillion-dollar infrastructure attack in September 2022, according to the report.

The outlet said Chervinsky and the group of six people rented a sailboat under false identities and used deep-sea diving equipment to place explosive charges on the gas pipelines. 

Chervinsky did not act alone and did not plan the operation, but was obeying the orders of high-ranking officers who ultimately answered to Ukraine’s highest-ranking military officer, Valery Zaluzhny, the Post said, citing people familiar with his role.

That makes sense. Blowing up the pipelines was one way to limit Russia’s income from fossil fuel revenue.

The article also notes:

In February, Seymour Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, alleged that U.S. Navy divers laid bombs that destroyed the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under a direct order from President Joe Biden. 

The Seymour Hersh article reminds us that even Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists don’t always get the story right. The article makes no comment on who might have encouraged Ukraine to blow up the pipelines, so it is possible that the United States bears part of the responsibility.

Actions Have Consequences

Fox News posted an article today about a statement made by the co-owner of JKC Trucking, Mike Kucharski.

The article reports:

A trucking company owner told Fox News on Wednesday that in order to keep drivers safe, he will not direct services to cities that are pushing to defund the police.

“Our first priority is to support our drivers and their safety when they are on the road,” co-owner of JKC Trucking Mike Kucharski told “Fox & Friends First.”

Kucharski said that defunding the police is a bad idea because drivers carry valuable cargo on the road for weeks.

“Everybody wants to steal this,” Kucharski said.

A soon-to-be-released survey of 258 police departments nationwide shows almost half have had their budgets cut amid calls for police to be defunded despite increases in gun violence and otherwise violent crime in some parts of the country, according to USA Today.

The outlet was first to report that the Police Executive Research Forum publication, which is expected to be released in the coming days, shows cuts in the police budgets are largely being made to training and equipment.

The article also notes:

Kucharski said that his company is also avoiding states pushing to defund the police because his insurance coverage is prone to dissolve.

“Another issue that I am seeing in the future is I have cargo insurance, liability insurance, fiscal damage insurance, and I am very curious how when I renew my contracts at the end of the year, if there is going to be language — if I am going to even have coverage going into these places,” Kucharski said.

“Right now I have coverage going all over domestically. You have to get special coverage for Canada or Mexico or you might have to buy special riders for this on top of everything.”

If you were planning a family trip right now, would you be willing to drive through some of the cities where the police are letting rioters run wild or would you avoid those cities? Why should truck drivers be any different? This will result in shortages of products in cities that defund their police departments. It will be interesting to see how the leaders of those cities attempt to deflect the blame for the consequences of their actions.

Sunlight Is The Best Disinfectant

Yesterday I posted an article about a chart on The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) website. The chart was essentially an accusation that the things that form the foundation of American culture are racist. Things such as a work ethic, the family unit, manners, respect for authority, self-reliance, delayed gratification, etc. Denigrating those values is not helpful to our social framework, nor is it a good thing to put in front of our children as fact. I wasn’t the only person upset that this chart was totally inaccurate and paid for with taxpayer money. Evidently someone was upset who knew how to get results.

Last night, Fox News reported that the chart had been removed from the website.

The article reports:

The National Museum for African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) has removed its controversial chart on whiteness from one of its webpages, telling people on Thursday that it didn’t contribute to a “productive conversation” about racial issues.

“Since yesterday, certain content in the ‘Talking About Race’ portal has been the subject of questions that we have taken seriously. We have listened to public sentiment and have removed a chart that does not contribute to the productive discussion we had intended,” the museum said in a statement.

Fox News reported yesterday that some described the chart as racist since it categorized things like “decision-making” and “delayed gratification” as part of whiteness.

The museum’s graphic broke the “aspects and assumptions of whiteness” into categories such as “rugged individualism” and “history.” For example, under “future orientation,” the graphic listed “delayed gratification” and planning for the future as ideas spread by white culture.

The article continues:

For instance, that information includes potential microagressions that could be committed by White people. “Acts of microaggressions include verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs or insults toward nonwhites. Whether intentional or not, these attitudes communicate hostile, derogatory, or harmful messages,” the site reads.

It also tells readers that “if you are white in America, you have benefited from the color of your skin.” The website also maintained a video from “White Fragility” author, Robin DiAngelo — whose book has been touted as a go-to in the wake of protests against racism ignited in part by the death of George Floyd.

According to DiAngelo, white people have a hard time admitting their privilege. The portal reads: “Dr. Robin DiAngelo coined the term white fragility to describe these feelings as ‘a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves.’ Since white people ‘live in a social environment that insulates them from race-based stress,’ whites are rarely challenged and have less of a tolerance to race-based stress.”

So according to this, if I encourage a child of another race to do better in school, that is a microagression, but if I encourage a white child to do better in school, that’s okay. Can you see where this is going? This was a probe. Had the chart not been exposed, the museum would have pushed its racist (yes, this is racist) agenda even further. The message in this chart (dismissing the value of the family unit, dismissing the value of a good work ethic, dismissing the idea of self-reliance, and delayed gratification) if followed will lead to a life of poverty and dependence. Consider the fact that the key to Democrat political victories is a permanent underclass that will continue to vote for the promises made be Democrats.

I am glad that the chart was taken down. I am saddened that there are people in leadership positions that believe the ideas expressed in the chart. The chart is a recipe for failure–not for success. It is not a message we want to teach any of our children.

Losing Our Constitutional Rights

Fox News posted an article today about the Missouri couple seen defending their home from rioters on June 28th.. Although Missouri’s Castle Doctrine allows you to use deadly force to defend property, authorities acquired a warrant to search the McCloskey’s home and seized the rifle that Mark McCloskey was shown holding during the June 28 incident.

The article reports:

There was no immediate indication the McCloskeys were arrested or charged with a crime. The warrant applied only to a search for the guns, KSDK reported.

On Monday, the McCloskeys appeared on Fox News’ “Hannity” and disclosed that protesters had returned to their neighborhood July 3 – but the couple was alerted in advance and hired a private security company to protect their residence.

…In the June incident, Patricia McCloskey said, the couple was startled just before dinnertime when “300 to 500 people” entered the gated community where they live.

“[They said] that they were going to kill us,” Patricia McCloskey told Hannity on Monday night. “They were going to come in there. They were going to burn down the house. They were going to be living in our house after I was dead, and they were pointing to different rooms and said, ‘That’s going to be my bedroom and that’s going to be the living room and I’m going to be taking a shower in that room’.””

The article notes:

The couple’s attorney at the time, Albert Watkins, said in a statement that the couple did not arm themselves until after they began feeling threatened.

“My clients didn’t sit on their front stoop with guns. … No firearms were on them at the time that they, were, as property owners standing in front of their home,” Watkins said at the time. “It was not until they basically were in a position of seeing and observing violence, recklessness, lawbreaking, and knowing that the police were not going to be doing anything.”

Were they supposed to just sit there and be attacked? The police were not in sight. Until the police deal with people who are not protesting peacefully but looting and rioting, Americans need to be armed to defend themselves. There was absolutely no reason to take the rifle away. Since the house has been targeted more than once by rioters, how are the McCloskeys supposed to defend themselves? Thank God they were able to hire a security group to protect their home and themselves. The seizing of the rifle not only violates their Second Amendment rights, it puts them in danger. They are lawyers, and I would love to see them sue the person responsible for the search warrant and the seizing of the rifle.

Telling The Truth

Rick Grenell definitely left his mark as acting Director of National Intelligence. Things that should never have been classified were unclassified so that the American people could see for themselves what their government had been up to. Hopefully, John Ratcliffe, who replaced Ambassador Grenell, will be as equally concerned about unnecessary government secrecy.

Ambassador Grenell was interviewed on Tucker Carlson Tonight last night. Fox News posted an article about the interview late last night. The article includes a video of the interview. Please follow the link to view the interview. It is telling.

The article reports:

Former acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” Monday that his time in the Trump administration has shown him that the great political struggle is no longer between Republicans and Democrats, but between the District of Columbia and the rest of the U.S.

The article includes a screenshot of something Ambassador Grenell tweeted:

The article continues:

“The fact of the matter is,” Grenell said, “we have a real problem in Washington, D.C., because it’s a system that it no longer is Republicans and Democrats pushing against each other to create good policy. It’s a fight between Washington and the rest of America.”

“What we have [is] a system in Washington where people get jobs if you’re there, if you know someone and you work your way up, and it’s like musical chairs from one agency to another,” Grenell added. “There is no outside thought, there’s no outside perspective.”

Grenell, who also spent two years as U.S. ambassador to Germany, characterized Trump as a great disruptor of this insular system.

“He’s breaking their system,” he said. “He doesn’t play by the rules.

The article concludes:

“I saw that at ODNI,” Grenell added. “I saw that by entering the intelligence world, and senators from the Democratic Party saying, ‘You have no experience, what are you doing — why should you be there?””

Grenell specifically called out Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, by noting that Grenell had received his first intelligence briefing back in 2001, before Warner was elected to public office.

“He said that I wasn’t qualified,” Grennell said of Warner. “I actually am a receiver of intelligence, and [I’m] an expert on the consumer part of the intelligence and how to utilize it, but that perspective is never brought to Washington.”

Change is hard–particularly if that change means you are losing control of something you have controlled for a very long time. That is the current battle in Washington. Does the bureaucracy want to represent the American people or do they want to represent only their own interests?

 

Under The Radar

Fox News is reporting today that Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard has asked the Trump administration to provide Mexico with all the information available regarding the ‘Fast and Furious’ operation. As you may remember, Fast and Furious was a government program under President Obama that allowed guns to be sold in America to Mexican cartels with the supposed goal of tracking the guns and finding the cartels. A more cynical idea of the goal is that the program would increase gun violence to the point where Americans would accept the Obama administration’s plans for severe restrictions on gun ownership.

The article reports:

The sting allowed people to illegally buy arms in the United States and take them to Mexico, so the firearms could be tracked to drug cartel bosses and lead law enforcement there. It hoped to limit gun smuggling across the border.

review of the program found that only 710 out of roughly 2,000 firearms were recovered as of February 2012, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In 2011, Holder had requested the OIG to conduct a review of operation “Fast and Furious.”

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had said last week his government would send a diplomatic note to Washington for information on the operation, as his current regime digs for more information on the cooperation between the U.S. and Mexico, as well as possible corruption under previous administrations.

“How could this be? A government that invades in this way, that flagrantly violates sovereignty, international laws,” Lopez Obrador said at a news conference, according to Reuters.

Holder was the U.S. Attorney General under Obama between 2009 and 2015. Ebrard said he previously issued a statement by way of the U.S. embassy in Mexico asserting that “Mexican authorities” knew about the program, the news organization reported.

In 2012, the Justice Department report had found “no evidence” that Holder was informed about the operation or learned about the tactics employed by the ATF, according to the USA Today.

Lopez Obrador first talked of the scheme last Monday when discussing Genaro Garcia Luna, the former Mexican security minister from 2006-2012, who was arrested in the U.S. last December on drug trafficking offenses, Reuters reported.

Stay tuned.

This Would Be Funny If It Weren’t So Sad

Fox News posted an article about some recently declassified documents today that really makes me wonder about the wisdom of choosing Joe Biden as the Democrat nominee for President.

The article reports:

Usama bin Laden wanted to assassinate then-President Barack Obama so that the “totally unprepared” Joe Biden would take over as president and plunge the United States “into a crisis,” according to documents seized from bin Laden’s Pakistan compound when he was killed in May 2011.

The secretive documents, first reported in 2012 by The Washington Post, outlined a plan to take out Obama and top U.S. military commander David Petraeus as they traveled by plane.

“The reason for concentrating on them is that Obama is the head of infidelity and killing him automatically will make [Vice President] Biden take over the presidency,” bin Laden wrote to a top deputy. “Biden is totally unprepared for that post, which will lead the U.S. into a crisis. As for Petraeus, he is the man of the hour … and killing him would alter the war’s path” in Afghanistan.

Bin Laden specifically wanted fellow terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri to shoot down Obama.

“Please ask brother Ilyas to send me the steps he has taken into that work,” bin Laden wrote to the top lieutenant, Atiyah Abd al-Rahman. Kashmiri wouldn’t get too far along in the plot, however; he was killed in 2011 in a U.S. drone strike shortly after bin Laden himself was shot to death by Navy SEALs.

I guess Joe Biden’s reputation internationally is not too wonderful.

Shady Statistics

Fox News is reporting that the federal government is classifying the deaths of patients infected with the coronavirus as COVID-19 deaths, regardless of any underlying health issues that could have contributed to the loss of someone’s life.

The article reports:

Dr. Deborah Birx, the response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force, said the federal government is continuing to count the suspected COVID-19 deaths, despite other nations doing the opposite.

“There are other countries that if you had a pre-existing condition, and let’s say the virus caused you to go to the ICU [intensive care unit] and then have a heart or kidney problem,” she said during a Tuesday news briefing at the White House. “Some countries are recording that as a heart issue or a kidney issue and not a COVID-19 death.

“The intent is … if someone dies with COVID-19 we are counting that,” she added.

Asked whether the numbers could skew data the government is trying to collect, Birx said that would mostly apply more to rural areas where testing isn’t being implemented on a wide scale.

“I’m pretty confident that in New York City and New Jersey and places that have these large outbreaks and COVID-only hospitals. … I can tell you they are testing,” she said.

Dr. Michael Baden, a Fox News contributor, said it’s reasonable to include the death of someone infected with the virus, who also had other health issues, in the COVID-19 body count.

Follow the link to read the entire article. This seriously causes me to wonder about the validity of any of the numbers we are seeing regarding deaths due to the coronavirus. People die of heart attacks, cancer, and strokes every day. If they have the coronavirus, those deaths are reported to be the result of the virus. It would be interesting when this is over to compare the number of deaths from heart attacks, cancer, and stokes from this time period to another time period. If the number is significantly lower during this time, it would be easy to conclude that the coronavirus deaths were being exaggerated.

Just Because It May Be Legal Doesn’t Mean It’s Moral

Fox News posted an article today about four Congressmen who are taking advantage of the coronavirus epidemic for personal gain. What they are doing gives us insight into how Congressmen can enter Congress as middle-class Americans and be millionaires four years later.

The article reports:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and three of her Senate colleagues reported selling off stocks worth millions of dollars in the days before the coronavirus outbreak crashed the market, according to reports.

The data is listed on a U.S. Senate website containing financial disclosures from Senate members.

Feinstein, who serves as ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and her husband sold between $1.5 million and $6 million in stock in California biotech company Allogene Therapeutics, between Jan. 31 and Feb. 18, The New York Times reported.

Feinstein defended herself in a series of tweets on Friday, saying she has “no control” over her assets and the stocks in question were her husband’s transactions.

“During my Senate career I’ve held all assets in a blind trust of which I have no control. Reports that I sold any assets are incorrect, as are reports that I was at a January 24 briefing on coronavirus, which I was unable to attend,” she tweeted.

“Under Senate rules I report my husband’s financial transactions. I have no input into his decisions. My husband in January and February sold shares of a cancer therapy company. This company is unrelated to any work on the coronavirus and the sale was unrelated to the situation.”

When questioned by the newspaper, a spokesman for the Democrat from San Francisco also said Feinstein wasn’t directly involved in the sale.

“All of Senator Feinstein’s assets are in a blind trust,” the spokesman, Tom Mentzer, told the Times. “She has no involvement in her husband’s financial decisions.”

The article names the other Congressmen who took similar actions:

Reports identified the three other senators as Richard Burr of North Carolina, Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, all Republicans.

Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, used more than 30 transactions to dump between $628,000 and $1.72 million on Feb. 13, according to ProPublica.

The report said the transactions involved a significant percentage of the senator’s holdings and took place about a week before the impact of the virus outbreak sent stock prices plunging to the point where gains made during President Trump’s term in office were largely erased.

All of the Congressmen have the same story–I was not directly involved in the transactions, yet these transactions are suspiciously timed. I wonder if Congressmen should be banned from altering their stock portfolios in any way while they are serving in Congress. They might not like doing that, but it would be one way to end this sort of suspicious activity. Foregoing trading stocks while in office would be a small price to pay to insure the honesty of those who serve in Congress.

I Suppose This Is Good News

Fox News reported yesterday that ISIS is advising terrorists not to travel to Europe for jihad. It’s a little ironic to me that ISIS is protecting its members from the flu while instructing them to engage in suicide missions.

The article reports:

ISIS’ al-Naba newsletter contains “sharia directives” urging its healthy members not to enter “the land of the epidemic” to avoid becoming infected, the New York Post reported Sunday.

But any sick jihadists already in Europe should stay there — presumably, to sicken infidels, the paper reported. The Sunday Times of London first reported on the newsletter, according to the paper.

The “healthy should not enter the land of the epidemic and the afflicted should not exit from it,” the ISIS newsletter advises, according to the Post.

…Ten people have died from the coronavirus in Iraq, where 110 cases have been reported, according to John Hopkins University which is tracking the endemic. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Europe is now the virus’ epicenter.

Iran has also become an epicenter for the coronavirus.

On February 28, The New Yorker reported:

Iran, a country of eighty-three million people, has now become one of the global epicenters of the coronavirus—with the highest mortality rate in the world. Based on official numbers, the mortality rate in Iran has fluctuated daily, between eight and eighteen per cent, compared to three per cent in China and less everywhere else. Iran is also unique, because a disproportionate number of confirmed cases are senior government officials. On Thursday, the Vice-President, Masoumeh Ebtekar—who gained fame in 1979 as Sister Mary, the spokeswoman for the students who seized the U.S. Embassy and took fifty-two Americans hostage—announced that she, too, had contracted the coronavirus. The day before, she had attended a meeting with President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet. Two members of parliament, including the chairman of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, have also been infected, as has the mayor of a district in Tehran and a senior cleric who had served as Iran’s Ambassador to the Vatican. One of the lawmakers, Mahmoud Sadeghi, tweeted on Tuesday, “I send this message in a situation where I have little hope of surviving in this world.” The former Vatican Ambassador, who was eighty-one, died on Thursday.

The article in The New Yorker notes:

The first mention of the disease by the government was a report of two deaths in the city on February 19th. Initial reports indicate that the carrier of the virus may have been a merchant who travelled between Qom and Wuhan, in China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated. The outbreak is estimated to have begun between three and six weeks ago, which would mean that the two Iranians who died could have been sick and infecting others for weeks.

The fact that the virus has impacted many high-level officials in Iran might be the result of the close relations between the Chinese government and the Iranian government. It seems that China’s failure to tell the truth about the virus has impacted both their friends and their enemies.

When Principles Depend On Who Is In Power

Yesterday Fox News posted an article detailing the Democrat’s reaction to President Trump’s suggested payroll tax cut. The tax cut is designed to counter some of the economic losses caused by fears over the coronavirus.

The article notes:

Democrats are lining up to condemn President Trump’s proposal to eliminate payroll taxes amid the coronavirus outbreak, even though many of them were lock-step in supporting former President Obama’s two-percent payroll tax cut in 2010.

The apparent flip-flop came as stocks rebounded on Tuesday on news of the president’s coronavirus initiatives, with the Dow posting its third-biggest point gain in history. Trump has called for a “dramatic” payroll tax cut, and Fox News is told there has been consideration of suspending the payroll tax for three months, through the fall, or even through the end of the year.

The article notes the Democrats’ previous stand on this issue:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., is working with Democratic leaders on their own stimulus package, and has suggested that a payroll cut likely won’t be included because it amounts to “tax cuts for major corporations.”

However, in a 2011 press release, Pelosi called a brief extension of Obama’s payroll tax cut a “victory for all Americans” and said it would put “nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family.”

“Today is a victory for all Americans – for the security of our middle class, for the health of our seniors, and for economic growth and job creation,” Pelosi said at the time. “The American people spoke out clearly and, thanks to President Obama’s leadership, 160 million Americans will continue to receive their payroll tax cut – nearly $40 per paycheck in the pockets of the average family. I salute the work of the unified House Democratic caucus on behalf of the American people.”

The article concludes:

“According to those knowledgeable about the events that played out over less than a week, the agreement was the product of a fast-paced series of telephone contacts, conference calls and consultations with Congressional leaders,” the Times wrote. “A critical negotiation on Sunday led to a surprise cut in employee payroll taxes as the men sought to wrap up the deal.”

For Republicans, the sudden change in tone on payroll taxes as a means of economic stimulus was evidence of election-year opportunism.

“Like clockwork, Democrats never miss an opportunity to oppose President Trump,” Republican National Committee spokesperson Steve Guest told Fox News.

As for the new proposal on Capitol Hill, a source familiar with the proposal tells Fox News that addressing the Trump administration’s payroll tax proposal is “the fastest possible way” to address economic concerns. The source said that crafting proposals such as “unemployment insurance and dropping money out of helicopters” takes months to engineer. But the payroll tax could hit immediately – especially if they include both employers and employees.

The reluctance among some Republicans is a payroll tax cut could explode the deficit. However, Fox News is told that there are concerns that if Congress waits to act amid the declining economy, an even bigger hit to the deficit might result — as large as “a $1 trillion direct score on the deficit.”

Unfortunately the game is played on both sides. I believe there may be a handful of people in Congress who actually put the welfare of the country ahead of the welfare of their political party. I just wish there were more of them. As a country, we need to learn to work together in times of crisis–not simply use the crisis for political gain.

When You Understand The Connections, This Makes Sense

There are a lot of Republicans walking around wondering how they ever supported Mitt Romney. He has made some very strange comments and votes since Donald Trump was elected. Now we are beginning to see the reason behind some of his actions. Keep in mind that President Trump has consistently attempted to drain the Washington, D.C., swamp. There are investigations currently going on into various aspects of that swamp. Whether anyone will actually pay a price for their corruption I don’t know, but I suspect there are some seriously uncomfortable people walking around Washington right now.

Today Fox News posted an article about some of Romney’s recent comments.

The article notes:

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who faced the scorn of President Trump and fellow Republicans over his vote last month to convict at the Senate impeachment trial, questioned the motivation behind a Republican effort to issue a subpoena related to Hunter Biden and his dealing with Ukraine.

“I would prefer that investigations are done by an independent, non-political body,” Romney told the Washington Post. “There’s no question the appearance is not good.”

Oddly enough, he has not been equally concerned about all of the investigations into President Trump. The article notes that Romney’s vote in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is pivotal. That is the Committee that would approve a subpoena to gather information on the Ukrainian scandal involving Hunter Biden. Republicans maintain an 8-to-6 majority in the committee, and if Romney sides with Democrats the result would be a 7-7 tie.

PJ Media posted an article in February that reminded us of the following:

Romney’s vote to convict on the charge of abuse of power might very well be connected to his own links to the company via one of his top advisers. The Federalist reported back in September that “top Mitt Romney adviser Joseph Cofer Black, who publicly goes by ‘Cofer Black,’ joined Burisma’s board of directors while Hunter Biden was also serving on the board.”

I would be very surprised if Romney votes to investigate Ukrainian corruption since he has close ties to someone who may be caught up in the investigation. This might also explain some of Romney’s problem with President Trump–it is becoming obvious that Romney may well be part of the swamp. That may be the reason he worked so hard to be elected to the Senate–self preservation.

Why Border Security Matters

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a recent drug seizure at the Arizona border.

The article reports:

A drug bust last year was hailed as the largest fentanyl bust in U.S. history—254 pounds seized at an Arizona border crossing.

The seizure came as the scourge of fentanyl continues to fuel the opioid epidemic, ravaging communities across the U.S. while killing tens of thousands of people.

“Fentanyl also continues to be a tremendous problem, contributing to 68,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2018,” Mark Morgan, acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Congress in November. He said CBP’s seizures of fentanyl rose by 30 percent in fiscal year 2019, totaling 2,770 pounds.

Fentanyl comes from China. Often it is smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico by drug cartels involved in a violent war with Mexican police and military forces.

The historic 254-pound bust was just one of a half-dozen big fentanyl busts recorded by law enforcement in recent years, a tally shows.

These six busts have led to the seizure of some 818 pounds of fentanyl–enough to kill 229 million people, according to authorities.

The article lists the six major drug busts. Please follow the link above to the article to see the details.

On March 22, 2019, I Heart Radio reported:

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows how the opioid epidemic has ballooned over the past six years. The report found that from 2011 to 2016, the number of overdose deaths from the synthetic opiate fentanyl has risen by over 1000 percent.

The CDC says that in 2011 and 2012, around 1,600 people died each year from a fentanyl overdose. The number of deaths rose to 1,900 in 2013, but in 2014 officials saw the number of fatalities jump to 4,223. In 2015 the number of deaths nearly doubled to 8,251, and in 2016 there were another 10,000 deadly overdoses, bringing the total to 18,335 for the year.

The massive spike in fentanyl-related deaths was seen mainly in men. Up until 2013, the number of men and women who overdosed on fentanyl was about the same, but in 2014 the numbers began to diverge, and in 2016 there were three times as many men killed from an overdose as women.

Fentanyl is now considered the deadliest drug in America and is responsible for 29% of all overdose deaths in the nation.

Border security matters.

Someone Needs To Turn This Story Into A Movie

Fox News reported yesterday that Dave Ayres, a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, saved the day for the North Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were playing the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The article reports:

Ayres, who works as a Zamboni driver for the Toronto Marlies of the American Hockey League, was forced into action midway through the second period after Carolina’s James Reimer and Petr Mrazek were injured. The Hurricanes were leading 3-1 when the 42-year-old Ayres took over.

The article details how the game went:

Carolina trailed 1-0 after the first, but tied it at 5:46 of the second when Wallmark scored off a scramble in front of Andersen. Niederrieter then blasted a one-timer on a power play at 9:43 before Foegele made it 3-1 at 10:49.

Mrazek made 14 saves in relief of Reimer, but left the game 30 seconds after Foegele’s first goal. The Czech netminder lay on the ice for a few minutes before leaving.

And after a delay, Ayres emerged from the Hurricanes locker room sporting No. 90. He got a some warmup shots from his new teammates before getting thrown into the fray.

Aho made it 4-1 with Clifford in the penalty box for charging at 13:17, but Tavares scored on the first shot against Ayres through the pads 19 seconds later.

Engvall scored off a loose puck on Toronto’s next shot against Ayres at 15:10.

The Leafs got a power play after that — fans at Scotiabank Arena screamed “Shoot!” almost every time a Toronto player had the puck anywhere near the Carolina goal — but the Hurricanes didn’t allow anything through.

Ayres made his first save late in the second on Auston Matthews as Carolina led 4-3 through a wild 40 minutes.

What a wild story!

Nature Is Amazing

On February 6th, Fox News reported the following:

A type of black fungus that eats radiation was discovered inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

In 1991, the strange fungus was found growing up the walls of the reactor, which baffled scientists due to the extreme, radiation-heavy environment.

Researchers eventually realized that not only was the fungi impervious to the deadly radiation, it seemed to be attracted to it.

A decade later, researchers tested some of the fungi and determined that it had a large amount of the pigment melanin — which is also found, among other places, in the skin of humans.

The article concludes:

In a 2008 paper, Ekaterina Dadachova, then of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, noted that the fungi attracted to radiation are unlikely to be the first examples of their kind.

“Large quantities of highly melanized fungal spores have been found in early Cretaceous period deposits when many species of animals and plants died out. This period coincides with Earth’s crossing the “magnetic zero” resulting in the loss of its “shield” against cosmic radiation,” the paper’s introduction states.

The fungi indicate that there could be places in the cosmos — which we are unaware of — where organisms could live in radiation-filled environments.

Just amazing.

Here We Go Again

Fox News is reporting today the following:

Not A Good Look

The Iowa Democrat Caucuses have not gone well. As usually happens in the modern world of social media, the memes have begun.

This is one of the better memes that showed up on my Facebook feed:

However, on a more serious note…

One America News reported today:

Officials in Iowa reportedly knew there were problems with the mobile app used to tally the results in Monday’s caucus. The state’s Democrat Party released a statement late Monday to announce its decision to delay the release of the official results. They cited “inconsistencies” in the results as the reason for the postponement.

The Democrats went on to specify the delay was not because of a hack in an apparent effort to quell possible theories of election interference. On top of the supposed “inconsistencies,” however, many county chairs in Iowa have said they reported problems with the new app in the week before the caucus date. One chair from Polk County said not only were there unresolved problems with the app, but local Democrat officials weren’t provided any training on how to use it.

There were also reports of the phone lines being backed up for counties to report their results, with some reports suggesting county officials were on-hold for over an hour. Many counties were forced to switch to recording the votes on paper. Despite all this, the state’s Democrat Party has assured voters the underlying reporting was sound, but it would take time to tally the votes.

Fox News reported today:

The app that was supposed to help the Iowa Democratic Party quickly report Monday’s caucus results – but contributed to confusion and a muddled result as campaigns were in an uproar – is linked to Hillary Clinton campaign veterans.

Shadow, a tech firm that describes itself as a group that creates “a permanent advantage for progressive campaigns and causes through technology,” is the company that created the Iowa Democratic Party’s app, according to The New York Times. At least the COO, CEO, CTO and a senior product manager at Shadow all worked for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, according to LinkedIn profiles.

Shadow is associated with ACRONYM, a nonprofit dedicated to “advancing progressive causes through innovative communications, advertising and organizing programs.” Early last year, ACRONYM announced that it was acquiring an SMS tool called Groundbase and, out of Groundbase, “launching Shadow, a company focused on building the technology infrastructure needed to enable Democrats to run better, more efficient campaigns.”

The article at Fox News continues:

Groundbase co-founders Krista Davis, who is the current Shadow CTO, and Gerard Niemira, who is the current Shadow CEO, both held senior positions with the Clinton campaign.

Tara McGowan, the founder and CEO of ACRONYM, posted a statement from an ACRONYM spokesman early Tuesday morning distancing the nonprofit from Shadow, which is a for-profit company.

“ACRONYM is a nonprofit organization and not a technology company. As such, we have not provided any technology to the Iowa Democratic Party, Presidential campaigns, or the Democratic National Committee,” spokesman Kyle Tharp said in the statement. “ACRONYM is an investor in several for-profit companies across the progressive media and technology sectors. One of those independent, for-profit companies is Shadow, Inc, which also has other private investors. We are reading confirmed reports of Shadow’s word with the Iowa Democratic Party on Twitter, and we, like everyone else, are eagerly awaiting more information from the Iowa Democratic Party with respect to what happened.”

McGowan is an alumna of Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign and previously worked as a digital director for NexGen America, a progressive organization founded by presidential candidate Tom Steyer.

Remember in 2016 when the DNC took the nomination away from Bernie Sanders? Is there any reason not to believe that those in the smoke-filled rooms are doing a repeat performance? I am willing to go on the record to say that somehow, I don’t know how, Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat Presidential Candidate in 2020. Stay tuned.

Michael Flynn and FBI Misconduct

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about the case of Michael Flynn.

The article reports:

“I did not lie to them.”

With those words in a declaration and supplemental motion filed Wednesday, former national security adviser Michael Flynn formally asked a federal judge for permission to withdraw his guilty plea for making false statements to two FBI agents in the White House back on Jan. 24, 2017.

In a sweeping argument that took aim at the bureau’s “outrageous” conduct, Flynn’s legal team highlighted a slew of information that has come to light since Flynn’s plea — including that no precise record of Flynn’s statements to the agents exists and that the original handwritten FD-302 witness report from the interview is “missing,” with subsequent versions later “edited” in some undisclosed manner by anti-Trump FBI officials.

Moreover, Flynn’s team maintained he had no reason to lie about his communications with the Russian ambassador concerning how the country should respond to sanctions imposed by the Obama administration, or a then-pending vote on Israel in the United Nations. After all, Flynn said, he knew federal officials “routinely monitor, record, and transcribe” conversations like the ones he had with Russian diplomats.

The article continues:

Horowitz further revealed that Pientka (FBI Agent Joe Pietnka) was part of an apparent undercover operation to essentially spy on the Trump campaign and Flynn during a routine intelligence briefing in August 2016.

Pientka’s “participation in that presidential briefing was a calculated subterfuge to record and report … anything Mr. Flynn and Mr. Trump said in that meeting,” Flynn’s lawyers wrote. Morever, the FISA court itself has rebuked the FBI as a whole, the filing noted.

Pientka “bore ultimate responsibility for four falsified applications to the FISA court and oversaw virtually every abuse inherent in Crossfire Hurricane — including suppression of exculpatory evidence,” Flynn’s team added.

The FBI has repeatedly refused to respond to Fox News’ request for clarification on Pientka’s status, even as Republicans in Congress have sought to question him.

The article concludes:

In December, U.S. District Judge Emmitt Sullivan had seemingly crushed Flynn’s hopes for ditching his guilty plea, saying that Flynn had waived his constitutional rights to obtain exculpatory information by pleading guilty.

Then, earlier this month, Flynn moved to withdraw his guilty plea for this first time —  just days after the Justice Department reversed course to recommend up to six months of prison time in his case, alleging he was not fully cooperating or accepting responsibility for his actions.

On Wednesday, the govenrment kept its recommendation of between zero and six months in prison, but specifically stated it would not “oppose” a sentence of probation. That walkback was notable, and signaled that Flynn likely will not serve time in prison.

Flynn’s lawyers, earlier this month, argued that “because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement,” Flynn’s plea should be withdrawn. That led to Wednesday’s supplemental filing — and, perhaps, new life for Flynn’s defense team.

Please follow the link to read the entire article–it includes a lot of significant details. I hope that Michael Flynn is not only exonerated, but reimbursed for the legal expenses he has incurred defending himself from a smear campaign.

Policies Have Consequences

Fox News is reporting today that Mayor Douglas Nicholls of Yuma, Arizona, has withdrawn his city’s state of emergency that was declared in response to this year’s migrant crisis at the southern border — saying that the crisis has diminished in recent months.

The article reports:

“I am grateful to be able to withdraw the Proclamation of Emergency due to the Trump Administration’s policy changes that diminish the flow of the migrant family units to the Yuma area and prevent releases into the Yuma community,” Mayor Douglas Nicholls said in a statement earlier this month.

Nicholls declared a state of emergency in April near the peaks of the border crisis, when the number of migrants apprehended or turned away at the border soared to over 109,000. That number would hit 144,000 in May, but then decline sharply in the months since then, down to about 42,000 in November. At the time, Nicholls said the state of emergency was “due to the migrant family releases overwhelming the local shelter system.”

The administration has credited a slew of measures for bringing down the numbers of migrants approaching the border. Most significantly is the ramping up of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) over the summer — which sees migrants returned to Mexico as they await their hearings. So far more than 53,000 migrants have been returned to Mexico under MPP. That has been coupled with asylum agreements with countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador that sees migrants sent there to claim asylum instead

While those policies have drawn significant criticism from pro-migrant and humanitarian groups, who warn that they could send migrants into dangerous areas and place them at risk of violence, the administration claims it is those policies that have helped slow the crisis and end the pull factors that brought migrants north. They also mean that apprehended migrants can be processed quicker and, in many cases, be sent to Mexico or a Central American country rather than released into the U.S. interior. In a press release, Nicholls also credited those initiatives for alleviating the crisis in Yuma.

The constant flow of illegal immigrants flowing into America from our southern border does not help anyone–it puts those immigrants at risk and puts American citizens at risk. It puts downward pressure on the wages of working Americans. It poses a security risk. The wall is not the entire answer–the policies that the Trump administration is putting in place are also very helpful.

In Britain, The People Are Winning

Fox News is reporting today that British lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to approve Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s new Brexit deal Friday. The deal means that Britain will leave the European Union by January 31st.

The article reports:

Before Friday’s vote, Johnson painted it as a moment of closure for Britons, saying, “Brexit will be done, it will be over.”

“This is a time when we move on and discard the old labels of ‘leave’ and ‘remain’,’ he added. “Now is the time to act together as one reinvigorated nation.”

He said passing the bill would end the “acrimony and anguish” that has consumed the country for the last three years.

…The bill commits Britain to leaving the EU on Jan. 31 and to concluding trade talks with the bloc by the end of 2020. Trade experts and EU officials say striking a free trade deal within 11 months will be a struggle, but Johnson insists he won’t agree to any more delays, The Brexit bill has been amended to bar ministers from agreeing to extend the transition period with the EU.

The new divorce bill needs to be ratified by the European Parliament, whose vice president, Pedro Silva Pereira said officials expect to happen by Jan. 29.

It took a referendum and another election, but the wishes of the people in Britain are finally being honored. The political elites who fought Brexit have now been defeated–at least temporarily.

Really Bad Advice

I don’t watch The View. I watched a few minutes once and realized instantly that it was simply not something I wanted to spend time watching. However, occasionally the ignorance of our Constitution illustrated on that television show is simply astounding.

Fox News posted an article today that illustrates that ignorance.

The article reports:

Politicians seeking to confiscate guns from Americans shouldn’t share their plans with the public beforehand and should seek to maintain an element of surprise, Joy Behar said on “The View” Monday.

Behar was discussing former 2020 presidential hopeful Beto O’Rourke, a Democrat from Texas, and said it was foolish of him to announce his plans for gun confiscation before he was elected. She advised all politicians to go after the country’s guns after they’ve assumed office.

Co-host Meghan McCain also weighed in on the issue and said O’Rourke has poisoned the well and scared off independent voters from the Democratic party.

“They should not tell everything they’re going to do. If you’re going to take people’s guns away, wait until you get elected — then take the guns away,” she said. “Don’t tell them ahead of time.”

“I will also say that his stance on gun buybacks — Mayor Pete said it was a shiny object that distracts from achievable gun reform,” she said earlier in the interview. “That clip will be played for years… with organizations that try and scare people by saying that Democrats are coming for your guns.

“[Beto] also made some statements about religious institutions getting their tax-exempt status removed from them because they didn’t support same-sex marriage,” McCain continued. “He did a lot of, like, battleground culture war, and he ran as the most left, most woke candidate and look where he ended.”

The Second Amendment is not a cultural issue–it is an integral part of the Bill of Rights, a document written to limit the power of government–not the power of citizens. The ladies on The View need to take a basic civics course.

Suspended For Following The Law

The lack of respect for basic legal principles on the part of some of our elected officials is getting totally out of control. It used to be understood that if you broke the law, you got arrested, and possibly spent some time in jail. Now it depends on which law, which police department, and whether or not you are here illegally. There is no consistent rule of law anymore.

Yesterday Fox News posted an article about a Virginia police officer who has been suspended from his job.

The article reports:

A Virginia police officer was suspended after allegedly turning over a suspected undocumented immigrant to federal authorities following a traffic accident last month.

The Fairfax County Police Department didn’t identify the officer in a statement released Tuesday but said the incident occurred on Sept. 21 when an officer was dispatched to a car accident.

The officer discovered one of the drivers didn’t have a Virginia driver’s license and ran a check with the state Department of Motor Vehicles, police said. The check revealed the driver had a violation for failing to appear for a deportation hearing.

The officer verified the warrant and alerted officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

An ICE agent was close by and arrived at the scene. The officer cited the driver for not having a driver’s license and turned them over to the federal agent.

The Fairfax County Police Department enacted a 2007 policy that prohibits officers from confirming a person’s immigration status and detaining them solely based on civil violations of immigration law.

“This is an unfortunate issue where the officer was confused,” Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. said. “We have trained on this issue a lot. This is the first time we’ve had a lapse in judgment, and the officer is being punished.”

The article concludes:

The officer involved has been on the job for a few years, Roessler told The Washington Post. He added that the officer did not willfully violate the department’s policy with respect to cooperating with immigration officials.

He said the officer will undergo remedial training.

I think the people in charge need to undergo remedial training.