Right Wing Granny

News behind the news. This picture is me (white spot) standing on the bridge connecting European and North American tectonic plates. It is located in the Reykjanes area of Iceland. By-the-way, this is a color picture.

Right Wing Granny

The Antisemitism Of The Biden Administration

On May 11, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article about another move by the Biden administration to hinder Israel’s efforts to defeat Hamas.

The article reports:

In February President Biden promulgated National Security Memorandum 20. NSM-20 directs the State Department to “obtain certain credible and reliable written assurances from foreign governments receiving [U.S.] defense articles and, as appropriate, defense services” that they will abide by U.S. and international law. NSM-20 also requires the Departments of State and Defense to report to Congress within 90 days on the extent to which these governments and services are abiding by their assurances.

NSM-20 purports to impose a generally applicable requirement. However, it is obviously aimed, Biden style, at Israel’s heart — as Senator James Risch accurately pointed out in a brief statement posted yesterday.

This is that statement:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today released the following statement on the Biden Administration’s National Security Memorandum 20 (NSM-20) report on Israel:

“In keeping with nearly four years of failed foreign policy, the Biden Administration is trying to have it both ways. Today, the administration has given Israel a politically damaging assessment while publicly announcing it is withholding a select set of precision weapons. The administration is attempting to placate voters on the far left at the expense of a close ally in the midst of its justified war with Hamas terrorists.

“NSM-20 is aimed squarely at Israel in the near-term, but the additional highly-politicized reporting requirements will eventually be aimed at other American allies and partners across the globe, further impeding the delivery of security assistance and undermining our ability to deter China and Russia.”

Background:

On February 8, the Biden Administration issued NSM-20, which undermines Israeli operations against Hamas in Gaza by affording Israel’s critics the opportunity to falsely claim Israel is committing war crimes.

NSM-20 threatens to cut off aid unless Israel meets arbitrary deadlines for providing “assurances” regarding international humanitarian law as well as vague facilitation of humanitarian assistance.

On April 30, Risch sent a letter with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul to the Biden Administration urging for the repeal of NSM-20.

The article concludes:

Speaking of assessments, I assess that the report constitutes another friendly Biden stab in Israel’s back by the Biden administration. I would juxtapose the report with the judgment of John Spencer, the West Point modern urban warfare expert:

In their criticism, Israel’s opponents are erasing a remarkable, historic new standard Israel has set. In my long career studying and advising on urban warfare for the U.S. military, I’ve never known an army to take such measures [as the IDF has] to attend to the enemy’s civilian population, especially while simultaneously combating the enemy in the very same buildings. In fact, by my analysis, Israel has implemented more precautions to prevent civilian harm than any military in history—above and beyond what international law requires and more than the U.S. did in its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The international community, and increasingly the United States, barely acknowledges these measures while repeatedly excoriating the IDF for not doing enough to protect civilians—even as it confronts a ruthless terror organization holding its citizens hostage. Instead, the U.S. and its allies should be studying how they can apply the IDF’s tactics for protecting civilians, despite the fact that these militaries would almost certainly be extremely reluctant to employ these techniques because of how it would disadvantage them in any fight with an urban terrorist army like Hamas.

Spencer is the voice of sanity. Interested readers can hear him at length in Sam Harris’s May 7 podcast with him.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. We are treating the people who have sworn to destroy us (Iran and Hamas) better than the people who would defend us (Israel).

Being Kind To Our Enemies While Dissing Our Friends

It is no secret that the Biden administration would like to reach a nuclear deal with Iran some time in the next year. The administration sees that deal as a potential ‘feather in its cap.’ The fact that the deal would not be worth the paper it would be printed on is purely incidental. The fact that it would not only give Iran a green light to create a nuclear bomb, but also require American taxpayers to fund that bomb is also not to be mentioned. After all, a feather in a cap is a feather in a cap.

On Wednesday, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article a recent U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) symposium on deterrence.

The article quotes a Washington Free Beacon Newsletter:

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING: Making plans for a symposium on deterrence, U.S. Strategic Command (STRATCOM) decided that a top Iranian official cum Princeton professor, Hussein Mousavian, would make a good keynote speaker. Mousavian last made headlines when he was captured on Iranian television smirking about the regime’s threats to assassinate U.S. officials. He showed up in Nebraska to lavish praise on the defunct nuclear agreement and urge mutual nuclear disarmament. Our Adam Kredo has the story.

This is the video of the speech:

The article concludes:

…The idea that military personnel sat there and listened to it at their invitation is…disturbing.

Quotable quote (former State Department Special Advisor for the Iran Action Group Gabriel Noronha): “The decision to invite former Iranian ambassador Mousavian to speak to STRATCOM is unimaginably foolish. He is a pawn and propaganda agent of the Iranian regime, which explains why he is allowed to travel back to Iran.”

We are giving the people who hate us the weapons to destroy us.

Symbolism Over Substance

“Symbolism over substance” was one of Rush Limbaugh’s favorite phrases. I sorely miss his wisdom. Currently we have a situation in our Department of Justice that totally illustrates that concept.

Today, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article reminding us of some of the background of United States Attorney David Weiss, the attorney chosen to be special counsel in the investigation of Hunter Biden.

The article reminds us:

Weiss is special. On that we can agree:

• Weiss is the “prosecutor” whose plea deal with Hunter Biden failed to pass muster with Judge Maryellen Noreika, the federal judge presiding over the case.

• “These agreements are not straightforward and they contain some atypical provisions,” Judge Noreika observed.

• Weiss is the “prosecutor” whom IRS whistleblowers have just called out for abetting the suppression of of the investigation and lying about his authority to Congress, among other things.

• Weiss is the “prosecutor” who has spent five years on the investigation and never gotten around to seeking an indictment of Hunter Biden as the clock has ticked to bar the most serious tax felonies Biden’s has committed.

• Weiss is a United States Attorney and therefore ineligible for special counsel appointment under the applicable regulations.

• Given his disqualifications, one might reasonably infer that Weiss’s appointment is a pretext to assure that the cover-up continues — that minimal harm befalls Hunter Biden and that no roads lead to Joe Biden.

• It’s good to know we have a law-abiding administration to restore regular order.

The article concludes:

The first thought that occurred to me upon learning of Weiss’s appointment was what a farce. That is also the label that Andrew McCarthy affixes to it. However, it isn’t funny and it does not promise a happy ending.

There are two reasons a political justice department appoints a special counsel. The first is to remove someone from office (as in Richard Nixon). The second is to provide the appearance of doing something while allowing the clock to run out on the statute of limitations. Don’t expect anyone ever to be held responsible for the money the Bidens made by selling influence. Also, don’t ever expect anyone to investigate any links between the money and Vice-President or President Biden’s policies.

Expect the most-used phrase in any upcoming Congressional investigations to be, “I can’t answer that–it’s part of an ongoing investigation.”

Preventing A Celebration Of Antisemitism

On Wednesday, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog reported the following:

We are obviously crushed by the voluminous bad news. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy provides what must count as today’s good news. He has foiled Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s attempt to host an event at the Capitol Building with anti-Israel groups decrying the founding of Israel as a “catastrophe.”

“This event in the US Capitol is canceled,” McCarthy announced in a tweet on Tuesday (below). “Instead, I will host a bipartisan discussion to honor the 75th anniversary of the US-Israel relationship.”

The Washington Free Beacon first reported on Tlaib’s event in Adam Kredo’s story yesterday. McCarthy linked to Kredo’s story in the tweet canceling the event.

Kredo followed up on the cancelation in the Free Beacon last night. McCarthty told Kredo, “It’s wrong for members of Congress to traffic in anti-Semitic tropes about Israel. As long as I’m Speaker, we are going to support Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defense, unequivocally and in a bipartisan fashion.” The New York Post also covers it here.

Speaking for myself, I would like to thank Speaker McCarthy for this good deed.

Antisemitism has no place in America or in the world.

A Few Notes On The State Of The Union Speech

The Punching Bag Post posted an article late last night detailing twenty-seven lies President Biden told during the State of the Union speech.

Here are only a few of them:

“Greatest speaker in the history of the house, Nancy Pelosi.”

“Created 12 million new jobs in two years.”

“Created 800,000 manufacturing jobs”

“Inflation is a global problem, blame Putin.”

“Inflation is coming down.”

“Gasoline price down $1.50.”

‘Chip factory salaries average $130,000 per year some of them requiring no college degree.”

“Reduce the deficit by $114 Billion by catching tax cheats”

Follow the link to see the entire list. I think the lie that bothered me the most was, “Let’s stop Fentanyl from coming across the border.”  Securing the border would solve that problem, yet that is one thing the President is not interested in doing.

The Conservative Review posted an article this morning titled, “9 Most Ridiculous Claims Biden Made During State of the Union Address.” Their list is generally different from the list above. It includes that claim that Paul Pelosi was attacked because of election deniers. Anyone who actually reads the news knows that is not true.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the speech that included the following:

I thought the flight of the Chinese spy balloon across the United States was a national embarrassment, but it was nothing compared to President Biden’s State of the Union performance last night. I thought he hit the high point with his congratulation of Kevin McCarthy for ascending to the Speakership in the first few seconds of his speech. The speed of the descent varied, but it was downhill all the way from there. That means it was a long, long way downhill.

The Washington Post has a useful set of corrections on subjects other than those I mention below (the link is to the accessible version published by Jewish World Review). David Harsanyi adds a stylish touch in his Federalist column “Don’t Fall For Joe Biden’s Economic Fairy Tale.”

Biden wants to “finish the job” he has started. The phrase appears in the text of his speech 12 times. I think that has an ominous ring. Finishing the job will finish us off.

I wonder if even the President believed what he was saying.

It’s All A Matter Of Perspective

Inflation impacts every American. We see it mainly at the grocery store and the gas pump, but it also shows up in movie prices, concert prices, the cost of dining out, etc. In terms of the impact on food prices, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog reports on one of the most amazing comments by the White House on the price of food.

The article reports:

White House Economic Council Director joined White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for the July 26 press briefing last week. The White House has posted the transcript here. Talking up the strength of our economy by comparison with others, Deese (White House economic adviser Brian Deese) actually said this:

Well, look, I think that our — our economy is more resilient to the — to the types of challenges that we’ve faced. For example, you know, with respect to food, we’re a net exporter of agricultural commodities. And, obviously, the high prices are hitting Americans very hard, but they’re — that — in a way that is different from some places that are facing famine, for example.

So what I hear in that statement is that the Biden administration really doesn’t care that the high price of food is seriously impacting Americans, we should be glad we are not facing famine.

We can’t get the Biden administration’s hands off of any public policy power they have soon enough.

Welcome To The Biden Economy

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog reported on Wednesday that in June prices rose 9.1 percent above last year. That is a forty-year high.

The article reports:

Inflation hit a new four-decade high in June as prices rose 9.1 percent from last year — 1.3 percent from the prior month — according to the data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning. The BLS’s “all items index increased 9.1 percent for the 12 months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981.”

I put it this way: We see it everywhere and every day. The BLS puts it this way: “The increase was broad-based, with the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food being the largest contributors.”

If anyone tries to tell you it’s not as bad as it seems, note that the more plausible case belies it: “The energy index rose 41.6 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1980. The food index increased 10.4 percent for the 12-months ending June, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 1981.”

Every American is paying more to eat, travel, and have a place to live. This is the direct result of policies put in place by the Biden administration. There has been no move by the Biden administration to change any of the policies that caused this–if fact they are considering using the reconciliation process to pass a bill that will make things even worse–the increased taxes and increased spending in that bill will definitely move us from inflation to a recession.

If you want things to change, your only hope will be to change Congress so that the Biden administration cannot pass its economic policies. The economic policies of the Biden administration will bankrupt all of us.

 

The Harassment Continues

On Tuesday, Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article about Attorney John Eastman. Attorney Eastman has an impressive record as an attorney. He is the founding director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the conservative think tank Claremont Institute. He is a former professor and dean at the Chapman University School of Law. He is also a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

His phone was recently seized by the FBI as he was leaving a restaurant. He was not shown a warrant for the seizure until after his phone was taken.

On Monday, The Washington Times reported:

Eastman said the agents who approached him identified themselves as from the FBI but appeared to be serving a warrant on behalf of the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General, which he contends has no jurisdiction to investigate him since he has never worked for the department. He said the cell phone that was seized contains emails that have been the subject of a months-long dispute between him and the House panel.

“That litigation has received extensive media attention, so it is hard to imagine that the Department of Justice, which apparently submitted the application for the warrant at issue here, was not aware of it,” wrote his lawyers, Charles Burnham and Joseph Gribble. 

There is little doubt that Attorney Eastman’s phone was seized because of his work on behalf of President Trump to investigate election fraud.

The article at Power Line Blog concludes:

The AP covers the story here. Orin Kerr takes up the legality of the search and seizure in a Twitter thread here. We remain to be illuminated on the criminal law for which the FBI claims it has probable cause against Eastman. Late in the thread he notes that the warrant does not extend beyond the seizure of John’s phone (i.e., it covers seizure only).

Eastman’s close encounter with the FBI last week was obviously coordinated with the close encounters of Trump Department of Justice official Jeffrey Clark and Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald. The FBI appears to have taken up the role of the ruling party’s enforcement arm.

We are rapidly approaching banana-republic status if we have not reached it already.

 

 

To Mask Or Not To Mask

On Tuesday, Just the News reported that the Biden administration intends to appeal the court decision that mask mandates were unconstitutional. The statement is shrouded in ‘wiggle words,’ but that is the general direction the administration is going.

The article reports:

The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced that if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines masks to be necessary, it will appeal the Florida judge’s decision striking down the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mask mandate on transportation.

So the administration will blame the CDC if it decides to appeal.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog also posted an article about mask mandates on Thursday.

The article at Power Line Blog notes:

Speaking of maskaholism, former New York Times science writer John Tierney reviews the record in the outstanding City Journal column “Maskaholics.” Tierney includes the graph below with his column. It was created by data analyst Ian Miller. Tierney comments that the graph should be required viewing for everyone still wearing a mask and every public official or journalist who still insists that mask mandates “control the spread[,]” such as Mr. Playbook above.

Tierney explains:

The graph tracks the results of a natural experiment that occurred nationwide during the pandemic. Eleven states never mandated masks, while the other 39 states enforced mandates. The mandates typically began early in the pandemic in 2020 and remained until at least the summer of 2021, with some extending into 2022. The black line on the graph shows the weekly rate of Covid cases in all the states with mask mandates that week, while the orange line shows the rate in all the states without mandates.

As you can see from the lines’ similar trajectories, the mask mandates hardly controlled the virus. By the time the mandates were introduced in New York and other states in the spring of 2020 (at the left side of the graph), infections had already been declining in those states, and the mandates didn’t prevent a surge later that year, when cases rose and fell in nearly identical trajectories regardless of states’ mask policies. The pandemic’s second year saw slight deviations in both directions, but those reflected the seasonality of the virus and the geography of mask mandates, which remained more common in northern states. Cases were higher in the non-mandate states last summer, when the seasonal surge in the South disproportionately hit Republican states without mandates, but those states went on to have fewer cases during the winter, when the seasonal surge in the North hit more Democratic states with mandates.

If you add up all the numbers on those two lines, you find that the mask mandates made zero difference. The cumulative rate of infection over the course of the pandemic was about 24 percent in the mandate states as well as in the non-mandate states. Their cumulative rates of Covid mortality were virtually identical, too (in fact, there were slightly more deaths per capita in the states with mask mandates).

Please follow the links to both articles for further information and insight into the significance of masks.

Slowly The Light Dawns

I am not a scientist or a doctor, but occasionally I have a grasp of the obvious. There are two very interesting articles about the coronavirus on the internet right now concerning the beginnings of the virus.

Scott Johnson posted the following at Power Line Blog today:

It will not come as a great shock to Power Line readers to learn, as the Wall Street Journal reports from previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence: “Intelligence on Sick Staff at Wuhan Lab Fuels Debate on Covid-19 Origin.” Subhead: “Report says researchers went to hospital in November 2019, shortly before confirmed outbreak; adds to calls for probe of whether virus escaped lab.”

With a New York Times-style byline listing three reporters, the story relates from previously undisclosed intelligence that the reporters themselves have not seen: “Three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care[.]”

Alright, it may shock you that U.S. intelligence has the information, but the substance of it will shock only the willfully blind, whose numbers should not be underestimated.

The Power Line Blog article continues:

The Journal story is laughable with its gingerly handling of the sensitivities involved. We don’t want to be too rash. However, we do have this from happier days:

David Asher, a former U.S. official who led a State Department task force on the origins of the virus for then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told a Hudson Institute seminar in March that he doubted that the lab researchers became sick because of the ordinary flu.

“I’m very doubtful that three people in highly protected circumstances in a level three laboratory working on coronaviruses would all get sick with influenza that put them in the hospital or in severe conditions all in the same week, and it didn’t have anything to do with the coronavirus,” he said, adding that the researchers’ illness may represent “the first known cluster” of Covid-19 cases.

Long characterized by skeptics as a conspiracy theory, the hypothesis that the pandemic could have begun with a lab accident has attracted more interest from scientists who have complained about the lack of transparency by Chinese authorities or conclusive proof for the alternate hypothesis: that the virus was contracted by humans from a bat or other infected animal outside a lab.

Meanwhile The New York Post reported yesterday:

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top adviser to President Biden on the coronavirus pandemic, said he’s “not convinced” the deadly virus developed naturally and has called for further investigations into where it emerged.

Fauci was asked during a Poynter event, “United Facts of America: A Festival of Fact-Checking,” earlier this month about whether he was confident that COVID-19 developed naturally.

“No actually. I am not convinced about that. I think we should continue to investigate what went on in China until we continue to find out to the best of our ability what happened,” Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said, according to Fox News.

“Certainly, the people who investigated it say it likely was the emergence from an animal reservoir that then infected individuals, but it could have been something else, and we need to find that out. So, you know, that’s the reason why I said I’m perfectly in favor of any investigation that looks into the origin of the virus,” he added.

I guess the facts change (even about diseases) when you get a new President.

Exactly What Is Our History?

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line Blog today refuting the often made claim by the left that America is a systematically racist nation. Among other things, the article notes that the United States is alone in the history of the world in its foundation on the principle of equal rights.

The article quotes “Original intent and the American soul.” by Harry Jaffa (paragraphs added for clarity by Scott Johnson):

In 1987 Justice Thurgood Marshall refused to celebrate the bicentennial of the Constitution because, he said, it was a racist document that enshrined slavery. Quoting Chief Justice Taney in Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857), he said that the original Constitution regarded black people “as so far inferior that they had no rights that white people were bound to respect.” It is this view of the Constitution that has justified liberals, in their own minds, in rewriting the Constitution to conform to their own opinions of what it ought to be….

The original Constitution, and hence original intent jurisprudence, can only be defended if one distinguishes the principles of the Constitution from the compromises of the Constitution. The framers made concessions to slavery because they believed that the Constitution would not be ratified without them.

Had the Constitution not been ratified, slavery would have been in a far stronger position. Instead, the new Constitution created a government strong enough to deal with slavery when the crisis finally came. Moreover, the future of the Union as a guardian of the cause of human freedom throughout the world depended upon this distinction between the Constitution’s principles and its compromises.

But the Constitution itself does not make this distinction. Although it guarantees to every state of the Union a republican form of government, it does not say what the principles of this form are. These principles are spelled out in the Declaration of Independence, which the United States Code lists as the first of the Organic Laws of the United States.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. We are not a racist nation, and there is no valid reason to ac

In Case You Missed It

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about last night’s Tucker Carlson show on Fox News. Tucker Carlson interviewed Tony Bobulinski, a former business partner of Hunter Biden.

The article cites a number of articles that have been written about the interview and includes a partial and full video of the interview. Please follow the link above to see those.

The article notes a few key points about the interview:

  • Hunter and James Biden brought nothing to the deal other than the Biden family name,
  •  What China wanted was the Biden family name,
  •  Joe Biden was involved in the business deal, so much so that he had veto power over negotiations,
  •  In 2017, Bobulinski met Joe Biden twice when the Biden side of SinoHawk was courting him to step in and act as CEO,
  •  Bobulinski also spoke at length with James Biden, Joe’s brother,
  •  When Bobulinski asked James how they could get away with this kind of deal, which seemed to be falling into dangerous territory given that Joe could run again for president, James announced, “plausible deniability,” and
  • The Biden group stiffed Bobulinski, leaving him out of pocket for all his expenses while channeling CEFC’s money into another entity that did not involve Bobulinski.

Regardless of how you feel about the relationship between China and the Biden family, I think after watching the interview, you might hesitate to do business with the Bidens just on the basis of their concept of ‘plausible deniability’ and the ethical perspective that statement reveals.

How Long Can The Media Ignore The Obvious?

Fox News posted an article yesterday about one of the most ironic statements made during this presidential campaign.

The article notes:

“They think- 54 percent of the American people believe they’re better off economically today than they were under our administration? Well, their memory is not very good, quite frankly,” Biden told Inskeep (Cincinnati’s WKRC Local 12 reporter Kyle Inskeep). “And in addition to that, we have a president who doesn’t share the values of most Americans. He’s not very honest with people. He’s flouting the conventions relative to public safety in terms of even now- not wearing a mask, a guy who has been a super spreader. But look, whatever they believe they should go out and vote. People should vote. Period.”

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog noted today:

Yesterday Biden declared yet again that he is a proud Democrat running for the Senate. Joseph Wulfsohn adds that Biden “also appeared to have forgotten Mitt Romney’s name while speaking with reporters about whether Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s faith should be questioned during her SCOTUS confirmation.” Biden observed: “You may remember, I got in trouble when we were running against the senator who was a Mormon, the governor, OK? And I took him on,” Biden said. “No one’s faith should be questioned.”

Remember the Mormon? Much as we would like to forget him, we remember Mitt Romney. Indeed, we do. He joined Senate Democrats to vote for the removal of President Trump from office over a congratulatory phone call to the new president of Ukraine.

Joe Biden seems to be having a problem with mental acuity. This is becoming very obvious and should be addressed by the Democrat party. Keeping him on the campaign trail with the mental difficulties he is obviously having is elder abuse. His family needs to step in and put a stop to it.

When You Realize That What You Said Is Ridiculous

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about a recent directive from the City of Minneapolis that has since been modified. When I first saw the directive posted on Facebook, I wasn’t sure if it was real. Evidently it was.

Here is the original directive:

Yesterday the message was updated (per alphanewsmn)

Wow. Just wow.

Isn’t That Special?

Yesterday Just the News posted an article about the people who attended the funeral of Representative John Lewis.

The article reports:

Washington, D.C. attendees to the Atlanta funeral of the late Rep. John Lewis are exempt from following the District of Columbia’s strict quarantine rules after returning home from Georgia, the D.C. mayor’s office says.

Lewis, a longtime member of Congress and one of the major figures of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, died on July 17 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. After lying in state at the United States Capitol, his body was returned to Atlanta for a funeral at that city’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.

…The extraordinary exemption from Bowser’s quarantine orders is just one example of congressional members being released from strict coronavirus mitigation rules in the District of Columbia. 

Earlier in July, Bowser declared that D.C. residents must wear masks while in public indoor spaces, as well as outdoors when likely to be around other people for “more than a fleeting time.”

Yet exempt from that order were “persons in the judicial or legislative branches of the District government while those persons are on duty,” as well as “any employees of the federal government while they are on duty.”

Though the mayor’s office is not requiring members of Congress to wear face coverings, this week Pelosi instituted a mask mandate for the House of Representatives, shortly after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for COVID-19.

Pelosi threatened to have congressional members and staff removed from the House if they don’t comply with the mandate, calling the failure to wear a mask “a serious breach of decorum.”

Who says there is not a ‘ruling class’ in America?

It gets worse. Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted the following today:

The double standards in public health guidelines, left-wing protest, and all the rest might be enough to make a reasonable observer wonder if the plague is all it’s cracked up to be. Has anyone other than Amber Athey gone in for a close-up and asked the obvious questions in connection with the funeral of civil rights hero Rep. John Lewis? Athey asks the pointed question: “Who deserves a funeral?” Answer: Not you or me or our loved ones, that much I can tell you. (Thanks to Spectator USA for making Athey’s column freely accessible at our request.)

Maybe we need to take a closer look at some of the decisions being made ‘to protect our health.’

How To Navigate The Media Spin

The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday about the report of the Justice Department Inspector General. The report found that the FBI failed to document facts correctly in 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications that were reviewed. A rational person would take that as an indication that all was not well at the FBI and that Americans were being unlawfully surveilled. However, the mainstream media did not necessarily see it that way.

Eli Lake posted the following comments at Bloomberg News:

In the twisted politics of the Trump Era, some of bureau’s defenders might actually view this report as good news: It shows that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not necessarily politically motivated. The bureau made the same kinds of mistakes with suspects who were not connected to the Trump campaign.

That’s hardly reassuring — and the malpractice that the report uncovers is a much larger problem than the FBI and its defenders may wish to admit. So far, the response to Horowitz’s December report has been a series of administrative reforms, such as a requirement that FBI field offices preserve their “Woods files” and a mandate for new FISA training for FBI lawyers and agents. That’s all well and good. But one need not go back to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover to see that the bureau has been careless in its monitoring of U.S. citizens.

The Woods procedures were issued in 2001 after Congress obtained a memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism division detailing surveillance abuse in the late 1990s. One target’s cell phone remained tapped after he gave it up and the number was reassigned to a different person. Another FBI field office videotaped a meeting, despite a clear prohibition on that technique in its FISA warrant. In 2003, an interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that the 2001 memo showed “the FBI was experiencing more systemic problems related to the implementation of FISA orders” than a problem with the surveillance law itself.

Very little has changed in the intervening 17 years. That’s why it’s foolish to expect new and better procedures will work this time. A better approach would be an aggressive policy to prosecute FBI agents and lawyers who submit falsehoods to the surveillance court. The best way to prevent future violations is to severely punish those who commit them in the present.

Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog that included the following quote (follow the link to the article for the audio of the answer to the question):

The New York Times is illustrative of “the twisted politics of the Trump era.” Daniel Chaitin covers the Times angle in his Examiner article “‘Biased and out of control’: Devin Nunes rips New York Times reporting on FISA memo.” Chaitin reports on Rep. Devin Nunes’s interview with Larry O’Connor:

Radio host Larry O’Connor read a passage from the [Times’s] report [on the Horowitz memo] to Nunes during the Examining Politics podcast on Tuesday. It said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report “helps the FBI politically because it undercuts the narrative among President Trump and his supporters that the bureau cut corners to surveil the adviser, Carter Page, as part of a politically motivated conspiracy.”

“So, the good news for the FBI is that they trampled on people’s rights all over the place, not just people who worked with Donald Trump’s campaign,” O’Connor said. “Is that the takeaway we should have here congressman?”

I agree with Eli Lake–severe punishment for those guilty of illegal spying on American citizens is the only way to prevent future abuse by the FBI.

 

This Is Getting Ridiculous

No, this isn’t a post about impeachment (although that, too, is getting ridiculous). Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog about a lawsuit brought by Representative Tulsi Gabbard against Hillary Clinton. This is interesting–a few years ago, no one would have dared bring a lawsuit against the ‘powerful’ Clinton family.

The article reports:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has sued Madam Hillary Clinton for defamation in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Gabbard’s press release is posted online here; Gabbard’s Complaint is posted online here.

Clinton defamed Gabbard as a “Russian asset” in a statement that did not call her out by name, though I don’t think there can be any doubt that Clinton’s statement was “of and concerning” Gabbard. Identification of the plaintiff in the defamatory statement is of course an essential element of the cause of action for slander or libel. Gabbard’s Complaint addresses the issue in paragraph 28 et seq.

Is the statement that Gabbard is a “Russian asset” protected as a statement of opinion (rather than one of fact)? I hope not. See generally Complaint paragraphs 26-46.

The Complaint recites Gabbard’s request for a retraction from Clinton. Madam Hillary has declined to retract. See Complaint paragraphs 23-25.

The article concludes:

In the second sentence of her Complaint Gabbard asserts: “Tulsi Gabbard is running
for President of the United States, a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain.” I look forward to checking out Clinton’s response on this point when she files her Answer.

Let the good times roll.

This is interesting because it puts Hillary Clinton in the spotlight (not in a positive way) at a time when some of the Democrats running for President are sidelined by the impeachment. There is still some conventional wisdom that sees a brokered Democrat convention with Hillary Clinton emerging as the candidate. The next six months are going to be very interesting.

A Serious Mistake

U.S. officials are stating that they are confident that the Iranian airline that crashed in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday night was hit by an Iranian missile.

Scott Johnson posted the following at Power Line Blog today:

Taking into account the Iranian regime’s obvious lying about the cause of the downing of the Ukrainian jetliner leaving Tehran this past Tuesday combined with the regime’s subsequent refusal to turn over the aircraft’s black boxes, and a reasonable person — say, the American Spectator’s Scott McKay — would infer that the regime shot it down one way or another.

Now comes word that “U.S. officials said Thursday it was ‘highly likely’ that an Iranian anti-aircraft missile downed a Ukrainian jetliner late Tuesday, killing all 176 people on board….The crash came just a few hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack against Iraqi military bases housing U.S. troops amid a confrontation with Washington over the U.S. drone strike that killed an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general last week. Two U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said they had no certain knowledge of Iranian intent. But they said the airliner could have been mistaken for a threat.”

The Gateway Pundit reported the following today:

Al Hadath Dubai News reported a missile took down the Ukrainian flight after the crash on Wednesday.

(Tweets were translated)

Al Hadath: Preliminary images of the Ukrainian plane suspected of being hit by an Iranian missile

The majority of the passengers on the plane were Canadians and Iranians. It will be interesting to see if Canada responds to this at all.

James Bond, Eat Your Heart Out!

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the escape of former Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn from house arrest in Japan. It’s an amazing story. Mr. Ghosn, who is 5 feet 6 inches tall escaped in a box used to transport musical instruments.

The article quotes The New York Post:

In a bizarre scheme allegedly orchestrated by his wife in the US, a group of ex-special forces soldiers posing as musicians specializing in a Gregorian band and toting music equipment strolled past Japanese security guards and entered the pad, according to the Lebanese news channel MTV.

Ghosn, who stands at just under 5-foot-6, climbed into “one of the boxes intended for the transfer of musical instruments,’’ the news station said — possibly a roughly 6-foot-tall double-base case.

He was then carted out in the case when the group left, after a “logical time for a concert had passed,” MTV said.

Japanese authorities had the door to his home under 24-hour video surveillance — but, per an April court agreement, Ghosn’s camp didn’t have to turn over each month’s recordings until the 15th of the following month, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Ghosn is believed to have been spirited out of the country on a chartered Bombardier jet from Kansai International Airport in Osaka — a six-hour drive from Toyko — around 11:10 p.m. Sunday, the Journal said.

The plane landed at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul early Monday, reports said. Ghosn then boarded a smaller plane belonging to the Turkish company MNG Jet Havacilik AS that departed about 30 minutes later for Rafic Hariri Airport in Beirut, Lebanon.

Japanese authorities apparently had no idea that their most high-profile detainee had fled until hours later — and only then, from an MTV reporter.

The station worker approached Matahiro Yamaguchi, the Japanese ambassador to Lebanon, at a party in Beirut around 6 p.m. Monday and asked about Ghosn’s fleeing, The Guardian reported.

The stunned ambassador said his administration knew nothing about it — and spent the next few minutes furiously texting before abruptly leaving the event.

The article in The New York Post continues:

Lebanon authorities claimed Ghosn entered the country legally via the use of a French passport — although it’s unclear how.

Lawyer Hironaka said he still has Ghosn’s three passports, for Lebanon, France and Brazil, that his client had to turn over as a condition of bail.

“It would have been difficult for him to do this without the assistance of some large organization,” Hironaka told reporters.

The article at Power Line Blog reminds us that nothing happens in Lebanon without the approval of Hezbollah. Interesting.

 

 

Do Liars Ever Apologize?

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about what we now know about conflicting memos by Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff regarding FISA warrants.

The article reports:

When then House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes released his memo asserting that the FBI had improperly taken out FISA warrants on Carter Page, Ranking Member Adam Schiff responded with a memo of his own disputing it. The Nunes memo is accessible here and elsewhere; the Schiff memo is accessible here and elsewhere.

Both Nunes and Schiff had access to the same classified information for their memos, but Nunes was interested in disseminating the truth while Schiff sought to lie about it in the service of the Russia hoax. As has become all too clear, Schiff lies with the sangfroid of a pathological liar.

After the Department of Justice Inspector General report on FISA abuse that was released last week, we now know to a certainty that Nunes was right and Schiff was wrong. We know that Schiff was lying.

Schiff is lying now about about his lying then. It’s a postmodern world after all. In an interview with Chris Wallace on FOX News Sunday (beginning at about 5:30 below), Schiff allowed that there were indeed “serious abuses of FISA” — “serious abuses that I was unaware of.” He explained: “Had I known of them, Chris, yes, I would’ve called out the FBI at the same time,” Schiff said. “But I think it’s only fair to judge what we knew at the time.”

The article includes the memos. Scott Johnson reminds us that both men had the same access to the same information. Adam Schiff’s claim that he was unaware of the abuses is simply false. He is lying. And he continues to lie.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is discouraging to see a Representative who lies so easily and so frequently.

The Search For Significance

This article has two sources–a New York Sun editorial posted today and an article by Scott Johnson posted at Power Line Blog today. Both articles deal with the ‘surprise’ overwhelming victory of Boris Johnson in the British election yesterday.

The New York Sun notes:

It’s hard to overstate how wonderful is the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a mandate to, after all these years of struggle, lead a restoration of British sovereignty and independence. We may have been in that fight from the early days, but we don’t mind saying that we’ve had moments of doubt, particularly during the past year, that Britain would prevail. All the sweeter the results being tallied this evening.

This is only partly in respect of Brexit. It was, certainly, the overriding issue in the election. It is the very reason why the election was called when it was. Once again, the polls got it wrong. On the eve of the vote, the gods of polling were predicting that the race had become too close to call. A hung parliament couldn’t be ruled out. Some hazarded that Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn might end up at 10 Downing Street.

In the event, the British people delivered a resounding “no” to all that Mr. Corbyn stood for — the resentment of Jews and Israel, the embrace of socialism, and another Brexit referendum. The result is that Labor’s drubbing stands as its worst since 1935. No less than Jonathan Chait rushed out a column to mark that American leftists thought Corbyn’s inevitable victory would be their model against Trumpism.

Which is one way to mark a phenomenon that has been glimpsed throughout this battle since 2016. The phenomenon can be put this way: “As goes Brexit, so goes Trump.” In a way, the Brexit referendum turned out to be a predictor, or even a precursor, of Mr. Trump’s triumph in the election. The victory by Mr. Johnson and the Conservative Party today could well be a precursor of Mr. Trump in 2020. On verra.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog notes:

The election has already produced a ruling cliche to describe the results: Labour’s “red wall” crumbled. (In the UK, the colors are reversed: blue represents the Tories, red Labour.) Among the many seats in its “red wall” that has now crumbled, for example, is Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency. The Tories picked up a shocking number of seats that historically belonged to Labour in the industrial and rural north. It overstates the results to observe that Labour is contracting to a metropolitan party, but the tendency seems to be implicit in the outcome.

From a distance, at least, Boris proved himself an ebullient and optimistic campaigner, and not just by contrast with the dour and deceitful Corbyn. Boris staked the election campaign on the theme of getting Brexit done. His performance made me think of Steve Hayward’s observation in Churchill on Leadership: “[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness.” Boris seems to me to have met the moment with some part of this quality in leading his party to its remarkable victory yesterday.

The British people voted for Brexit years ago. The ruling elite chose to ignore that vote. The people removed the blockage. I suspect we are going to see similar things in America next year–those who have blocked the immigration and economic policies of President Trump might find themselves on the unemployment line.

Truth In Comedy

There is a bit of a dust up going on right now between China and the National Basketball Association. It seems that Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet showing support for Hong King’s freedom movement. Obviously, the Chinese are not a big fan of free speech. Mr. Morey has deleted his tweets and apologized, but that does not seem to be enough for the Chinese.

In an article posted today, CNBC reports:

  • Searches for “Houston Rockets” and “Rockets” in Chinese on Alibaba-owned Taobao and Tmall and another site JD.com, yielded no results.
  • It comes after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. The tweet was quickly deleted.
  • Chinese broadcast partners Tencent and state-owned CCTV said they would no longer show Rockets games.

We need to remember that China is NOT a free country.

Meanwhile, enter Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about their response to the dust up.

The article quotes an article in The Guardian:

South Park’s creators have responded with a mock apology to reports that China has censored the programme, ridiculing the country and comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.

The “apology” from Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes after reports on Monday that China had scrubbed all episodes, clips and content related to the long-running comedy cartoon from Chinese streaming and social media platforms in response to a recent episode that was critical of the country.

The episode, called Band in China, took aim at what it portrayed as a tendency in US culture to adjust content to accommodate Chinese censorship laws. “It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” says one character in the episode.

The episode also includes a plot line in which a character is caught selling drugs in China and as punishment is sent to a work camp, similar to the mass internment camps in Xinjiang where an estimated one million people, including Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.

The article also includes the non-apology apology from Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

I think that is called ‘speaking truth to power.’

What The News Doesn’t Report

Scott Johnson posted an article on Power Line Blog today about an incident at the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

The article quotes Alpha News:

A mob of eight to 10 males wielding hammers descended upon bystanders at the East Bank Light Rail station on Friday night injuring several, according to recorded police dispatch audio.

The incident was apparently reported to 911 just before 10 p.m. on Friday according to the audio and other social media police scanner reports. A 9:48 p.m. Facebook post on 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch page said that University of Minnesota (U of M) police were requesting assistance from Minneapolis police (MPD) and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and that some people were injured. A Facebook post a minute later on Minneapolis Scanner page said that the three police departments were responding to “multiple [911] calls” about “10-12 Somali teen males armed with hammers chasing people,” also with “several injuries reported.” Both Facebook pages regularly post summaries of police scanner audio.

A person who claimed on social media to have been at the station when the incident occurred said that the group of males had “hammers and bars,” and that they seemed to be “attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white.” The witness, who said he isn’t white, said he didn’t want to “[take] on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects,” and that he “hurried an older white lady away” and they walked a few blocks to catch a bus.

On Wednesday there was an attempted robbery at the same location during which two U of M students were injured, according to a media report. It’s unknown whether these incidents are related.

The East Bank LRT station is part of the Green Line operated by Metro Transit and is located on the 500 block of Washington Avenue Southeast in the center of the University of Minnesota campus and across the street from the U of M police department. The stop is popular with students and people attending U of M sporting events.

We reached out to the U of M Police Department, the MPD and to Metro Transit police for comment on this incident and did not receive a response prior to publication.

Somehow the Minneapolis Star Tribune has failed to report this incident.

The article at Power Line Blog further comments:

According to the Pioneer Press, police stopped seven teenage boys: “Two males who were carrying metal pipes were identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions….Police issued them citations….Police cited two males for disorderly conduct and fleeing police on foot; one was also cited for giving police a fictitious name. A police report didn’t specify their exact ages, but indicated that one is 12 or 13 and the other is 14 or 15.”

The lack of descriptive information is troubling. The juvenile status of the perpetrators protects their identities from disclosure, but if the hammer-wielding teenagers remain at large, the rest of us would like to be on guard. I would advise avoidance of the University of Minnesota’s East Bank light rail station after dark.

I think I would like a better description of the teenagers.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Letter

Below is a copy of Attorney General Barr’s summary letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Doug Collins. You can view the letter on Scribd by clicking on the link.

Barr’s Letter by on Scribd

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article about the letter today.

He notes a few basic facts about the letter:

This investigation is the product of a Clinton campaign fabrication. That’s why the investigation was a witch hunt. It is also why the finding of no collusion is unsurprising to anyone who has paid attention with a modicum of impartiality and critical intelligence. The finding of no obstruction is made by Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. If there was no collusion, they suggest, there was highly likely no obstruction and in fact they find that Mueller did not identify any actions that in the judgment of Barr and Rosenstein constituted obstructive conduct. See page 3, paragraph 3.

While investigations and prosecutions will continue for the foreseeable future, we can turn out the lights on the Mueller investigation; the party’s over. Mainstream media hardest hit.

One thing to keep in mind is that a team of totally partisan Democrats looking under every rock they could find for two plus years not only could not find evidence of Russian collusion by President Trump, they somehow failed to notice the entanglement of the Clinton campaign in providing a dossier that paved the way for surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. As the Democrats continue to investigate in the hope of turning public opinion against President Trump before the 2020 election, I hope the American voters begin to realize where the scandal was in this investigation–it wasn’t in the Trump campaign.