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Republican Men, Women & Children Were Stalked, Robbed & In Some Cases, Beaten After The MAGA Rally.

In the evening hours after the “Million MAGA March” to support President Trump in Washington, DC Saturday, leftist Antifa and Black Lives Matter-marked groups assaulted Trump supporters in the streets.

Early in the day, a large crowd of BLM-Antifa counter-protesters prepped in riot gear marched on the streets of DC carrying a banner with the anarchy symbol that also said: “punch MAGA in the face.”

Once BLM and Antifa got to the Trump supporters, tensions rose. A line formed between the two groups as MAGA marchers chanted “check your privilege.” There were several confrontations during the MAGA March between BLM-Antifa and the Trump supporters.

Most of the violence occurred in the evening, when the MAGA March died down and the Trump supporters began heading home. 

Here you can see BLM and Antifa steal an American flag from a woman trying to leave the march. After stealing the flag, BLM-Antifa rioters broke it and sharpened the stick to make a spear.

One MAGA march woman was punched in the head from behind. In another instance, BLM and Antifa attacked a family with three children as they tried to leave downtown DC.

In this video, a young couple was followed by a massive BLM-Antifa crowd who hit them and threw liquid on them as they tried getting away.

A man leaving the march was knocked to the ground by BLM-Antifa rioters. He was later carried away by Trump supporters while blood poured from his nose. The BLM-Antifa agitators reportedly tried stealing the man’s phone as well. 

Things escalated further once night fell. President Trump wrote on Twitter: “Radical Left ANTIFA SCUM was easily rebuffed today by the big D.C. MAGA Rally crowd, only to return at night, after 99% of the crowd had left, to assault elderly people and families. Police got there, but late. Mayor is not doing her job!”

After dark, BLM-Antifa assaulted an elderly Trump supporter, knocking him off his bike and pouring liquid on him. As the man got up to leave, the BLM-Antifa rioters continued harassing him, pouring the liquid on him, swearing at him, and chanting “black lives matter.” “You better run, mother f—ker” one rioter yelled as he left.

BLM-Antifa rioters also attacked people eating near Black Lives Matter Plaza in DC, hurtling explosives at restaurant-goers. 

There is some footage of MAGA marchers in DC fighting back against BLM and Antifa. Trump said of his supporters fighting back: “ANTIFA SCUM ran for the hills today when they tried attacking the people at the Trump Rally, because those people aggressively fought back. Antifa waited until tonight, when 99% were gone, to attack innocent #MAGA People. DC Police, get going — do your job and don’t hold back!!!”

Antifa and BLM also destroyed several pop-up MAGA merchandise shops. In another video, many rioters can be seen torching a pile of stolen Trump hats. 

Toward the end of the night, a group of Trump supporters sang the national anthem in front of the Willard Hotel in DC. Later, a few MAGA marchers waved their Trump “law and order” flag along Pennsylvania Avenue outside the Trump Hotel.

Massive Turnout For ‘Million MAGA March’ In Washington, DC Saturday

Tens of thousands took to the streets for the “Million MAGA March” surrounding the Supreme Court in Washington D.C. Saturday to support President Trump and demand that election fraud be investigated. Protesters traveled from across the country and even the world

Signs at the march exemplified the diversity among the marchers. There were LGBTQ for TrumpFarmers for TrumpTaiwanese for TrumpRomanians for Trump, Slavs for Trump, black voices for Trump, and women for Trump. Across their different backgrounds, MAGA marchers were united in their unwavering support for the president. They decked out in red, white, and blue attire, waved American and Trump flags, and carried homemade signs.

Corporate media did their best to belittle the march, falsely claiming only “hundreds” were in attendance and hypocritically complaining about the event increasing COVID cases after celebrating marches that broke out in leftist cities after media decided to insist Joe Biden was instead elected. Of course, last weekend, there was little to no concern for the massive Biden celebrations at Black Lives Matter Plaza in Washington, DC.   

One man, anticipating the media’s reaction, wrote on his homemade sign “the media is the virus.” 

President Donald Trump made an appearance at the march, waving as his motorcade drove past marchers in Freedom Plaza. 

Trump supporters expressed their deep distrust in the election results, given the evidence of significant fraud via mail-in ballots and other anomalies. The MAGA protesters came to show support for the president, who they believe fought for them for four years against the Washington elites. 

Perhaps most importantly, the thousands who showed up to support the president not only in DC, but across the country, are proving that the Republican Party will not be turning back to the pre-Trump era.

Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Doses Expected In December

The White House’s Operation Warp Speed chief, Dr. Moncef Slaaoui, who is leading the Trump administration’s efforts to expedite vaccine development for the novel Wuhan coronavirus, said Friday that 20 million doses would be distributed in December.

On Monday, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its leading candidate for a COVID vaccine proved 90 percent effective in late-stage large-scale clinical trials getting ready for public distribution.

on (FDA) by year’s end.

“I think it’s a remarkable achievement within a period of six to seven months,” Slaoui said in remarks delivered next to the president in the White House Rose Garden.

President Donald Trump celebrated the vaccine’s progress under the administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative that Democrats charged as dangerous on the campaign trail. Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris said she would refuse to take a vaccine offered to her by President Trump. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who leads the state hardest hit by the Chinese virus, called the vaccine’s development under Trump “bad news,” and vowed he would block the vaccine’s rollout under a Biden administration next year.

In response, Trump, noting that the vaccine will be ready for the general population “free-of-charge” after prioritizing at-risk individuals, said Friday he would refrain from sending any doses to the Empire State until Cuomo gave the green light.

“He doesn’t trust where the vaccine’s coming from. These are coming to form the greatest companies from anywhere in the world, greatest labs in the world,” Trump said. “But he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration. So we won’t be delivering it to New York until we have the authorization to do so, and that pains me to do that … We can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people.”

The president also took a shot at Pfizer’s denial that it received funding from Operation Warp Speed.

“Pfizer said it wasn’t part of Operation Warp Speed, but that turned out to be an unfortunate misrepresentation,” Trump said. “It was an unfortunate mistake they made when they did that.”

Pfizer had in fact signed a $2 billion dollar contract with Health and Human Services (HHS). News surfaced this week that the company informed the Biden campaign of its vaccine effectiveness before federal government health officials, who only discovered the medical breakthrough by media reports.

The president concluded his remarks with a pledge that the administration would refrain “under any circumstances,” from implementing a nationwide lockdown, whether Trump remains in office another two months or another four years pending recounts and legal challenges in several tipping-point states. As of this writing, media outlets have called last week’s contest for Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden, though Trump has not conceded the election.

“I will not go, this administration will not be going to a lockdown,” Trump said. “Hopefully, whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration it will be. I guess time will tell, but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown … The cure cannot be, you’ve got to remember, cannot be worse than the problem itself.”

Pennsylvania Mail-In Ballot Is A Perfect Case For The U.S. Supreme Court To Intervene

The Supreme Court will likely weigh in on Pennsylvania’s handling of mail-in ballots, and despite the pundits’ claims to the contrary, serious constitutional issues are at stake.

An exclusive interview establishes the Pennsylvania vote has major constitutional problems. Joe Kantz, the chairman of the Snyder County Commission and the chairman of the Board of Elections for more than 10 years, spoke with me yesterday about the last-minute changes the Pennsylvania secretary for elections and commissions issued. As detailed below, those changes strongly suggest that the electorally rich state the media has called for Joe Biden might have violated the Equal Protection Clause and Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution.

On election morning, as his team began pre-canvass activities, an out-of-state Democratic poll watcher pressured Kantz to provide him identification numbers for voters who had failed to include their ballots in the internal secrecy sleeve required by Pennsylvania law. These so-called naked ballots are invalid under Pennsylvania law.

This gentleman pushed Kantz several times for this information, referencing an email from Jonathan Marks, the deputy secretary for elections and commissions. “He showed me the email, which I had not yet seen,” Kantz told me. Kantz’s election director then checked her email and discovered the 8:38 p.m. Monday email from Marks.

Marks’ last-minute email noted that county boards of elections had asked whether they could provide representatives of candidates or political parties information about voters whose absentee and mail-in ballots had been rejected. Marks advised that the county board of elections should provide this information to party and candidate representatives during the pre-canvass.

“I consulted with our solicitor concerning the directive,” Kantz told me. He apparently spoke with attorneys for other counties before advising that he did not believe the Pennsylvania election code provided for the sharing of voter identification information with third parties.

Snyder County, which is nestled in the middle of Pennsylvania under the shadow of the Appalachian Mountain range, leans heavily Republican, with the unofficial results showing the Donald Trump-Mike Pence ticket received 13,816 votes to Biden-Harris’s 4,848. “About 60 ballots failed to include the inner sleeve as required by Pennsylvania law, rendering the votes invalid,” Kantz told me. “Approximately 25 additional voters had failed to sign the outer envelope,” another mandate of Pennsylvania law.

With more than 47,000 votes separating Biden and Trump in the statewide tallies, those 80-plus ballots in the small Snyder County won’t change the outcome in Pennsylvania. What might change the outcome, however, is the different treatment voters with invalid ballots received in larger, heavily Democratic areas, such as Philadelphia County, which recorded a whopping 575,975 votes for Biden-Harris compared to Trump’s 128,308, with more than 56 percent of Biden voters using mail-in voting.

According to a complaint filed on Monday on behalf of Trump, Philadelphia County allowed voters it had determined had submitted naked ballots to remedy the defect, and further alleged that to figure out which voters should be notified of their error, Philadelphia County inspected mail-in ballots before Election Day in plain violation of state law.

Specifically, Section 13808(g)(1.1) of the election code provides that “no earlier than seven o’clock A.M. on election day,” the county board of elections shall meet to conduct a pre-canvass of all absentee and mail-in ballots received to that meeting.” At that meeting, “the election officials shall inspect and open the envelopes of all absentee and mail-in ballots, remove such ballots from such envelopes, and count, compute and tally the votes reflected on such ballots,” 25 P.S. §3146.8(1.1).

Details of the Trump Complaint

Trump’s complaint charged that Philadelphia County officials inspected the ballots in a variety of ways to determine if they were missing an inner-secrecy envelope, for example, by feeling the envelope, holding it up to a light, or weighing it through sorting machines.

Trump’s allegations find support in an election update published by Election Protection. Election Protection, also known as 866-Our-Vote, “was founded in 2004 by a coalition of major left-leaning advocacy organizations,” and now partners with an array of leftist groups, including the National Education AssociationService Employees International Union, American Federation of TeachersSierra Club, Southern Poverty Law Center, Common Cause, People for the American Way, and the Al Sharpton group, National Action Network.https://26718603198b565b094cba6b087ce23f.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html

In the days before the 2020 election, Election Protection issued various updates, including one on Oct. 30, 2020, which noted that voters in Pennsylvania might start getting emails that their ballots were rejected because voters had failed to sign the outside envelope or that it was weighed and determined to be a naked ballot. The Election Protection update continued:

Counties have had varying ability to identify and set aside returned absentee and mail-in ballots lacking the secrecy envelope and/or a signature on the declaration envelope. Larger counties with more sophisticated equipment could automate this process, but smaller county offices would have to do this by hand. While the absence of a signature is plainly knowable, determining whether a ballot is properly enclosed in the secrecy envelope may not be straightforward. The Bluecrest sorting equipment used in Philadelphia and several other large [areas] can detect naked ballots by the thickness and/or weight of the returned ballot.

In bolded language, highlighted in yellow, Election Protection then advised that the best option for citizens under these circumstances was to visit a polling place on Election Day to re-vote, adding that the Department of State had recently clarified that such votes would be counted so long as the voter was eligible to vote.

Trump’s complaint alleged that this approach is exactly what happened in the defendant counties, which included Allegheny, Centre, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Northampton, and Philadelphia counties. Those counties’ boards of election, according to the complaint, allowed voters to fix their defective mail-in ballots, while other counties, such as the Republican-heavy counties of Lancaster, York, Westmoreland, and Berks counties, did not contact voters who had submitted naked ballots, nor allow them a chance to re-vote.

Discrepancies Between Red and Blue Counties

When asked whether his election workers had attempted to determine if there were naked ballots inside the mail-in ballots before election day, Kantz told me, “No. State law prohibits pre-canvassing of ballots until Election Day,” so his staff could not attempt to decipher whether the ballots inside lacked the inner security sleeve.

“We did not know if a ballot was naked until we opened the outer envelope on Election Day,” Kantz explained. As noted above, Kantz also refused to provide third-party poll watchers with identification numbers for voters whose ballots lacked a signature or an interior secrecy sleeve.

While Pennsylvania’s Department of State had provided guidance that such voter information should be shared with candidates or party representatives, that guidance conflicts with the election code provisions governing canvassing of absentee and mail-in ballots. “No person observing, attending or participating in a pre-canvass meeting may disclose the results of any portion of any pre-canvass meeting prior to the close of the polls,” 25 P.S. § 3146.8(g)(1.1) provides.

Yet the Democratic strongholds were doing just that, according to Trump’s complaint. Further, as this social media post reveals, Democrats appeared prepared for the Department of State’s last-minute announcement, seeking workers to contact voters on Election Day.

Significantly, the post noted that training would occur on Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m. and foresaw that on Election Day, the campaign would receive “information about rejected ballots.” (The Department of State’s email to county election officials directing them to provide information concerning voters with rejected ballots to party and candidate representatives was not dispatched until after 8:00 p.m. on Nov. 2.) Workers would then be dispatched to the voters’ homes and tell them they needed to re-vote.

This solicitation directed interested applicants to contact Sisneros Strategies, which promotes itself as helping “campaigns, progressive and pro-labor candidates and organizations, ballot initiatives, state caucuses, state parties, and nonprofit organizations achieve their voter contact goals.”

A Look Back at Bush v. Gore

These facts, when read in light of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Bush v. Gore, provide strong support for aspects of Trump’s lawsuit. As Andrew McCarthy concisely summarized:

In that famous 2000 election case, the Supreme Court called a halt to the state supreme court’s recount process in Florida. The 5–4 majority found that the state court’s rulings, as the counties in question were executing them, had resulted in widely disparate treatment of voters during the canvassing of ballots across counties — and sometimes within the same county. The Court reasoned that disparate treatment that has the effect of canceling or diluting some voters’ votes, or that privileges some voters but not others, is unconstitutional.

Here, revisiting the Court’s reasoning in Bush v. Gore is helpful to consider how that precedent applies to the Pennsylvania situation. The majority in Bush v. Gore held that the varying standards violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution, reasoning: “The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise. Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise. Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.”

Yet that is exactly what happened to Pennsylvania voters in at least two ways. First, only voters in larger counties with access to “Bluecrest sorting equipment” could benefit from the pre-canvass sorting of ballots to determine which votes would be canceled because of a missing secrecy sleeve. Second, there was disparate treatment between residents in counties that inspected the ballots pre-canvass and then provided third parties the voters’ information, and those that did not. Under Bush v. Gore, this seems a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause.

The situation in Pennsylvania brings up another constitutional concern, one raised in the three-justice concurrence authored by then-Justice William Rehnquist and joined by former Justice Antonin Scalia and current Justice Clarence Thomas. In his concurrence, Rehnquist focused not on the Equal Protection Clause but on Article II, Section 1, Clause 2, of the U.S. Constitution, which provides, “Each state shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

The Bush v. Gore concurrence then explained that Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution “convey[s] the broadest power of determination” and “leaves it to the legislature exclusively to define the method” of appointment of electors. And “a significant departure from the legislative scheme for appointing Presidential electors presents a federal constitutional question.” The three-justice concurrence then explained how the Florida Supreme Court’s decision conflicted with the legislative mandate in violation of Article II.

In Pennsylvania, it was the Department of State, not the state courts, that significantly departed from the legislative scheme by, among other things, allowing the inspection of ballots before the day of the election and by permitting voter-information to be shared before the close of the polls on Election Day. The Trump team presents several other examples of violations of the election code, for instance, related to the curing of mail-in ballots and the failure to verify signatures.

How these arguments will play out is anyone’s guess, given the new makeup of the Supreme Court, but as the concurrence stressed: “We deal here not with an ordinary election, but with an election for the President of the United States. The importance of his election and the vital character of its relationship to and effect upon the welfare and safety of the whole people cannot be too strongly stated.”

This reality will likely force the Supreme Court to weigh in on Pennsylvania’s handling of the mail-in ballots under both the Equal Protection Clause and Article II. Notwithstanding pundits’ claims to the contrary, serious constitutional issues are at stake.

Trump Supporters Under Attack By The Totalitarian Left

By trying to name and shame Trump supporters, the ‘Trump Accountability Project’ betrays a preference for Soviet-style retribution over a commitment to basic decency.

If 2020 didn’t already feel enough of a Kafkaesque nightmare, the latest bit of depravity from the “hate has no home here” totalitarian left is a ghoulish scheme announced by three former Barack Obama and Pete Buttigieg staffers on Twitter last week called “The Trump Accountability Project.” Aspiring apparatchiks Emily Abrams, Michael Simon, and Hari Sevugan lauded the website whose stated mission is to “never forget those who furthered the Trump agenda.”

According to the now privatized site, whose internet archives were captured, anyone associated with the Trump administration, including those who elected him, staffed his government, funded him, endorsed him, worked in law firms for him, and who supported him in general, should be “held accountable.”

The site includes a comprehensive list of “known collaborators,” including U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, White House Chief of Staff Mike Meadows, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, campaign advisors Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon, and the 56 federal judges, including U.S. Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by President Trump. No one is spared: assistants, receptionists, stenographers, calligraphers—our diligent Comrades know how to name names.

The idea of punishing people who have supported Trump also surfaced among media types, including Jake Tapper of CNN and Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. All of them have called for at least social recriminations, such as keeping the “guilty” from supporting themselves and their families through paid employment.

So what exactly are these Trump deplorable going to be “held accountable” for? The reasons cited are the administration’s purported assault on democracy, separation of children from their families, encouragement of racism, and “the country’s failed response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Is this reasonable? Has the Trump administration, aided and abetted by its staff, supporters, donors, endorsers, and even independent judges, produced so horrific an environment that, even as we enter our glorious post-Trump One Party era, we should implement a program of purges and punishment?

The allegations regarding democracy are preposterous. The Democratic Party’s various policies and tactics since 2016 overwhelmingly surpass the most exaggerated allegations of Trump’s “authoritarianism,” and the left knows it.

Also questionable are factually selective cries about children being separated from their parents. A border policy of removing children from their rightful parents is wrong and should never have been implemented. But the complicated and grim reality is that some parents are doing the separating, paying human smugglers to traffic their children over the border. Some don’t want their children brought back to their countries of origin.

Furthermore, this issue’s moral outrage is particularly disingenuous considering the left’s support for obscene abortion laws that butcher close to 1 million babies, give or take, each year. And these policies are racially targeted. Almost 80 percent of Planned Parenthood’s surgical abortion facilities are located within walking distance of black neighborhoods. Roughly a third of all babies aborted each year are black, even though black women represent approximately 7 percent of the U.S. population.

The claim of “antisemitism” is similarly ludicrous. Under Trump, the U.S. embassy was moved to Jerusalem, a promise made under previous presidencies but never delivered. A historic diplomatic accord was recently signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and, subsequently, Bahrain. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the agreement heralded a “new dawn of peace.” It’s no wonder that President Trump is the overwhelmingly preferred presidential candidate for the Israeli Jewish public.

As for the administration’s COVID response, the pandemic took everyone by surprise. Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi were still accusing Trump of fear-mongering and xenophobia weeks after closing the borders to China. Since then, and despite rapid mobilization efforts under Operation Warp Speed, Democrats and their media allies have consistently slammed Trump for not controlling a new virus magically.

Yet Biden has not yet been able to articulate what he would do differently, other than imposing a national lockdown. Considering that the most devastating economic impact has been felt in blue states where governors have stubbornly kept their economies shut down, this sort of strategy would be a calamity.

But none of this can get in the way of some good old-fashioned witch-hunting. How will these Trump deplorables be held accountable? A consideration of Soviet communist tactics offers some interesting possibilities. Farcical show trials were held to liquidate perceived national traitors and thereby eliminate political opposition.

In Czechoslovakia, the children of shopkeepers, professionals, and intellectuals were barred from higher education. As for the judiciary, Communists resolved the problem of ideologically suspect pre-war appointed judges by issuing decrees that subordinated the judiciary to state ministries of “justice.”

Proponents of Trump purges have proposed their own ideas. Comrade Sevugan tweeted on Friday that CNN’s Kaitlan Collins “reported WH staff are starting to look for jobs” and warned that “employers considering them should know there are consequences for hiring anyone who helped Trump attack American values.” So-called “pro-democracy” commentator Rubin tweeted that those questioning the election results and making claims of voter fraud should “never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position or be accepted into ‘polite society.’”

As if that perversity wasn’t enough, she appeared on MSNBC’s AM Joy over the weekend and argued that “it’s not only that Trump has to lose, but that all his enablers have to lose.” She added, shockingly, that “we have to collectively, in essence, burn down the Republican Party” because “if there are survivors… they will do it again.”

Evan McMullin, a budding Stalinist dressed up as a defender of the republic, proposed that “we should keep and publish a list of everyone who assists Trump’s frivolous and dangerous attacks on the election.” For the good of the country, we should “name and shame forever,” he said.

Not surprisingly, socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is totally on board with implementing this “accountability” agenda. She tweeted concern that “Trump sycophants” might “downplay or deny their complicity” by deleting tweets, writings, and photos. Fortunately for her, the lists are already being tabulated.

Had we not just spent the better part of a year battling a host of assaults on individual, religious, and political freedoms, we would not have believed such an outrage possible. Indeed, once upon a time in 2019, sane people on both sides of the political spectrum would have regarded this sort of garbage as a blatant right and basic decency violation.

Once presumably, normal people are salivating over the prospect of purges and punishment, a tactic rooted in communist propaganda: the enemy narrative. According to this pernicious lie, our very existence is under such threat by an evil adversary that the erosion of human rights and undemocratic seizure of power is justified.

For the Soviets, the villain was capitalism and the parasitical Western imperialists; for today’s Totalitarian Left, the enemy is the Orange Man in the White House and his racist supporters. Comrades Sevugan, Rubin, and McMullin are spewing the same bile that communists have used to poison millions: the evil must be stamped out and its enablers humiliated and exiled to protect our very existence.

We must pray that this roadkill of an election is cleaned up and truth and freedom preserved, so the circling vultures find some other carrion to gnaw. Resorting to Soviet-style tactics to intimidate their 70 million fellow Americans who support President Trump is despicable. And it only reinforces the widespread belief that the totalitarian left has officially abandoned any pretense of a commitment to democratic freedoms and the rule of law.

NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo Vows To Block COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution, Says It’s Bad That Vaccine Came During Trump Admin

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo publicly rejected the Trump Administration’s efforts to move forward implementing a COVID-19 vaccine, vowing to work with other governors to stop its distribution “before it does damage.”

“The Trump administration is rolling out the vaccination plan and I believe it’s flawed,” Cuomo said. “I believe that it learns nothing from the past.”

“You have two months and we can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it because Biden can’t undo it and two months later will be in the midst of it,” Cuomo continued.

Cuomo’s reaction comes shortly after early data from Pfizer, a private drug-making company in conjunction with BioNTech, shows that its COVID-19 vaccine appears to be more than 90 percent effective in preventing the virus.

Instead of relying on the Trump Administration who oversaw the development of this vaccine to distribute it properly, Cuomo, who received help from the federal government early on in the pandemic, believes that former vice president Joe Biden will do a better job.

“When you deny a problem the way Trump did. You can never solve it. And that’s true in life,” he said. “The Trump Administration denied COVID so they were never ready for it. There was no mobilization of the government, and they’re still doing the same thing.”

“I’m sure the Biden administration is going to address that,” Cuomo added. “I think his first step is saying ‘let’s focus on the science. Let’s depoliticize testing data.’ Listen to the science is the exact opposite of Trump.”

The news of a vaccine, Cuomo said, is “good and bad,” because, while he claims that a vaccine will be helpful, he also says that the implementation of a vaccine will be similar to the United States’ testing efforts where people were just “scrambling.”

Cuomo also expressed concern about the vaccine being developed by “private providers,” excluding certain communities from obtaining it.

“They’re basically going to have the private providers do it and that’s going to leave out all sorts of communities that were left out the first time when COVID ravaged them,” he warned, ignoring the fact that the development of the potential preventative was expedited due to private partnerships spurred on by the government.

“They’re going to take this vaccine and they’re going to go through the private mechanism through hospitals through drug market chains, etc,” he added. “That’s going to be slow and that’s going to bypass the communities that we call healthcare deserts. If you don’t have a Rite Aid or CVS, then you’re in trouble.”

Cuomo previously expressed doubt about a vaccine manufactured under Trump’s leadership saying that Americans should remain “skeptical” about it. A poll released in October showed that Cuomo and other Democrats distrust in the Trump Admin’s ability to handle and implement a vaccine is undermining the American willingness to get the vaccine, including in minority communities hit harder by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yes, There Was Election Fraud. The Question Is How Much?

A placard reading "Stop the steal" is seen during a protest after media announced that Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has won the 2020 U.S. presidential election, in Salem, Oregon, U.S., November 7, 2020. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic

Was the fraud just at the fringes? Or was there fraud on the rampant scale former Illinois governor and convicted corruption connoisseur Rod Blagojevich suggested on Friday?

“My fellow Americans, the people of this nation have spoken. They have delivered us a clear victory. A convincing victory,” Joe Biden proclaimed late Saturday night after news outlets declared him the winner of the 2020 election. Biden’s speech came while several battleground states remain mired in too-close-to-call tallying and litigation, and while recounts promise to delay the official outcome in the additional states Democrats claim as securing Biden 279 electoral votes.

If history is a guide, the certified winner will match the press’ preordained victor, but all Americans should nonetheless want the process to proceed because we know there was a fraud and we know there were illegal votes tallied (see below). The only question is how much and who was complicit.

Was the fraud just at the fringes? Or was there fraud on the scale former Illinois governor and corruption-connoisseur felon Rod Blagojevich suggested on Friday?

“If the question is are the Democrats stealing votes in Philadelphia, my answer is, ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ It’s a time-honored tradition,” Blagojevich said. “Big Democrat-controlled cities like Chicago, my hometown, Philadelphia, to do precisely what they’re doing now I’ve never seen such a magnitude because this I think is an indication of just how widespread it is, how deep it is.”

“And I don’t think it’s just confined to Philadelphia. My instincts, again coming out of Chicago Democratic politics, my instincts tell me it’s going on in Atlanta, it’s going on in Detroit, it’s going on in Milwaukee, it’s going on in Las Vegas,” Blagojevich continued. “It’s like what Justice Powell said about pornography: ‘You can’t define it, but you know when you see it.’”

“And coming out of the Democratic Chicago political establishment, I know how they operate. They control polling places, they stop votes when their candidate’s behind, and then in the wee hours of the morning, in the dark of night, the stealing starts. And we’ve seen that in big numbers, unprecedented numbers in this election in Michigan and Philadelphia. It’s outrageous, and the fact that they’re doing it with impunity . . .”

Again, we know there was a fraud, for instance, with the dead rising from the grave to vote and Pennsylvania election officials tossing military votes for Donald Trump. The problem with fraud, though, is proving it, and that’s what Trump’s legal team is attempting to do with recounts and litigation throughout the country.

“There have been disturbing reports of fraud and procedural irregularities in key states, and on top of that, election officials in Democrat-controlled jurisdictions have put illegal roadblocks in the path of Republican election observers,” Michael Thielen, executive director of the Republican National Lawyers Association, told The Federalist. Thielen added that while “election observers from both parties are authorized under state laws to view the voting and counting process to provide sunshine and ensure the rules are being followed, the Trump campaign has repeatedly had to go to court to allow Republican observers to see the processing of ballots.”

One of the main focal points for Republicans in Wisconsin and its 10 electoral votes, which Trump won in 2016, but with the uncertified count for 2020 putting Biden ahead by about 20,000 votes currently. While much of the focus in Wisconsin is in the Milwaukee area and the capitol, Madison, another area of concern is Green Bay.

Green Bay, Wisconsin, rests in Brown County, where Biden reportedly accumulated a 10,000-plus surplus over Trump. Andrew Kloster, a long-time attorney volunteering with the Republicans, has been on the ground in the Green Bay area for nearly a week.

“It’s bad,” Kloster told The Federalist, detailing multiple voting irregularities. “We had two [George] Soros-connected guys handling ballot boxes and instructing poll workers,” Kloster noted until one of the activists was removed. “We had a chain of custody issues. We had workers curing Biden ballots,” the D.C.-based attorney noted.

While addressing voter irregularities there may be unlikely to change the outcome, as former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wrote last week on the need for a recount, both mistakes and fraud may be at issue. In one earlier election, about 7,500 votes “from the City of Brookfield were found to have never been submitted to the Waukesha County Clerk.”

And then there was the 2000 election that pitted George W. Bush against Al Gore. While that fight ended up playing out in Florida, Republicans had considered Wisconsin for a recount. “We had, on video, images of a Park Avenue socialites going to Milwaukee area homeless shelters and offering packs of cigarettes for people who voted early for Al Gore,” Walker detailed.

Yesterday, John Solomon’s new venture, Just the News, reported in more depth on the illegal “curing” of ballots in Wisconsin. “Curing” is when officials count a ballot that is legally disqualified or difficult to read.

“Wisconsin Statute 6.87(6d) stipulates that any ballot ‘may not be counted’ if it is missing the address of the voter’s witness,” and in August, the Wisconsin Elections Commission “issued a directive to voters that reaffirmed that statute: ‘If [the witness signature and address] is missing, your ballot will not be counted.’” But then, according to Just the News, “in mid-October, the Wisconsin Elections Commission issued a directive to the state’s county clerks appearing to give them the authority, in contravention of state law, to fix incomplete (or ‘spoiled’) ballots that are missing witness signatures.”

Trump is seeking a recount in Wisconsin and will likely push to have ballots that failed to comply with the requirements established by the legislative body tossed as illegal votes.

The illegal “curing” of ballots in Pennsylvania appears to have gone a step further, with the secretary of state instructing election officials in Democratic-run areas to “cure” votes in violation of state law, while not providing election officials in Republican areas the same directive.

Those Democratic counties then contacted voters to fix mistakes that would have rendered the ballots invalid, while voters in Republican areas lacked this same opportunity, a local Republican election official told The Federalist. The Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore held that using different standards within the same state violated the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, suggesting possible recourse in Pennsylvania, which is also facing a court challenge to the state’s extension of its voting deadline beyond Nov. 3.

These challenges may be unlikely to change the outcome in Pennsylvania, but they prove up the problem of changing the rules mid-course. And while the media (and some courts) may view curing ballots as protecting voters, absent a clear, pre-defined set of standards by the state legislature, the franchise (or disenfranchisement) of voters will rest in the hands of partisan officials.

Georgia, Arizona, and Michigan are also in the mix, with a recount in Georgia permitted if a margin of 0.5 percent or less separates the candidates. Michigan allows a recount either if winner and losers are separated by 2,000 total votes or less, or if there is a “good-faith belief that but fraud or mistake, the candidate would have had a reasonable chance of winning the election.”

Arizona, however, seems unlikely to qualify for a recount, as under state law, “an election has to be decided by 200 votes or less, or one-tenth of one percent of the votes cast, whichever is the smaller number,” and the margin between Trump and Biden is currently too large to merit a recount.

Notwithstanding these legal challenges and rights to recounts, calls are being made for Trump to concede. Americans are understandably wary of relitigating the election, especially after Democrats subjected the country to four years of resistance to his win in 2016.

But just as Trump exposed “Fake News” and “the Swamp” and began to peel back the shroud of the D.C.-establishment, such as the Biden and Kerry families enriching themselves by selling access, if these prove to be the waning of the Trump administration, the president’s last hurrah should be to spotlight the crumbling legitimacy of our voting system.

Of course, the usual suspects will chastise Trump if he continues to question the outcome of the election. And some of Trump’s more vocal supporters may well join in the calls for him to accept defeat, casting his comments challenging the election as unpatriotic or dangerous.

However, it is not unpatriotic or dangerous to question the integrity of an election; it is unpatriotic and dangerous to not protect the integrity of elections because your team won. Well, that, and faking a Russia conspiracy theory to oust a duly elected president, and then when those efforts failed, impeaching him on trumped-up “whistleblower” charges.

CNN, Media Lavish Praise On Fox News’s Neil Cavuto For Cutting Off White House Press Secretary

Journalists at CNN and other mainstream media outlets praised Fox News’s Neil Cavuto for cutting off White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany during her press conference on alleged voter fraud in certain states.

“Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. I just think we have to be very clear what she’s charging: The other side is welcoming fraud and welcoming illegal voting.” Cavuto said Monday afternoon. “Unless she has more details to back that up, I can’t in good countenance continue showing you this.”

“I want to make sure that maybe they do get something to back that up. But that’s an explosive charge to make: ‘The other side is effectively rigging and cheating.’ If she does bring proof of that, of course, we’ll take it back,” Cavuto added. “So far she has started saying right at the outset, ‘Welcoming fraud, welcoming illegal voting.’”

Cavuto’s decision to cut off the presser was commended by many including Oliver Darcy, a senior media reporter for CNN.

“This from Cavuto, who has been more outspoken than his colleagues on Trump’s lies, is good,” Darcy said. “But it’s also him clearing the lowest of low bars — and yet it will spawn a bunch of “Fox turning on Trump” chatter when network is still carrying his water.”

CNN’s Brian Stelter also noted the abrupt programming change. “Another sign of the Murdoch media world tug-of-war I’ve been describing: Neil Cavuto cut off Kayleigh McEnany on his show while OTHER Fox shows are promoting the same kind of B.S. she was pushing.”

Other journalists from CNN, NPR, Washington Post, MSNBC, Financial Times, and others retweeted and echoed Darcy’s praise of Cavuto’s decision to cut away from the press secretary.

Some countered, noting that the Fox News anchor preventing people from hearing McEnany’s words is not the proper way to fact-check information.

Despite the media navel-gazing surrounding his decision, Cavuto has a history of expressing his criticism of the Trump Administration. In July, Cavuto pivoted his coverage in the middle of the president’s speech to fact-check his comments on the economy. Weeks later, Cavuto reprimanded Trump for attacking Fox News.

Detroit Poll Challenger Witnessed Election Workers Counting Ballots For ‘Non-eligible’ Voters, Then Kicked Out For Noticing

An affidavit from a Republican poll challenger in Detroit, Michigan confirms there may be voter fraud in the state.

Former Michigan Assistant Attorney General Zachary Larsen testified that at the convention center in downtown Detroit, election officials appeared to be processing a “majority” of mail-in ballots from ineligible voters that were not listed in the poll book of eligible voters, nor Larsen’s scanned list. Larsen confirmed in the affidavit that he had heard similar reports from other concerned poll challengers as well.

When Larsen tried to shift positions to get a better visual on the poll book on the computer screen and the mail-in envelopes to confirm his suspicions, he was “loudly and aggressively” scolded for not social distancing by standing at least six feet away from the election official.

Larsen protested the election official’s reprimands saying that he couldn’t see to verify the eligibility of the voters’ ballots which were being counted, but the worker told him he had to stand with the computer screen out of his view.

Despite being allowed to observe from an “equivalent distance from poll books” on Election Day in other precincts such as both Lansing and East Lansing, Larsen was asked to leave the premises after the official summoned their supervisor who demanded he stand six feet away.

The documents also notes that, despite their insistence about social distancing, the supervisor was sitting approximately three feet away from the other officials, thus breaking their own social distancing rule.

Larsen left to fill out a challenge and talk with an another attorney. Shortly after he left, the document states that no new poll challengers were allowed in the counting room and he was also prohibited from re-entering.

“Election officials never allowed Mr. Larsen to re-enter the counting room to fulfill his duties as a poll challenger after he had discovered the fraud which was taking place,” the affidavit said.

Detroit has had other allegations of election violations brewing since Election Day. On Monday, the Trump Campaign filed a lawsuit alleging that election workers were “told to backdate ballots received after election day.”

Last Wednesday, the Trump administration announced it was filing a lawsuit in Michigan saying Republicans were denied access to observe and oversee the opening and counting of ballots in the state. State law requires participation by both major parties in vote counts as a fraud prevention measure.

Another election observer in Detroit, Trisha Nesbitt, confirmed the Trump Campaign’s allegations to The Federalist on Friday.

“The election workers were not letting anyone in at the time,” Nesbitt explained, saying that she along with other Republican volunteers were told by officials that “the election hall was full.”

After Crying About Trump For Four Years, Russia Hoaxer Jake Tapper Says Republicans Must Concede Defeat…Or Else

CNN’s Jake Tapper has some thoughts on accepting the results of a presidential election.

“I truly sympathize with those dealing with losing — it’s not easy — but at a certain point one has to think not only about what’s best for the nation (peaceful transfer of power) but how any future employers might see your character defined during adversity,” Tapper wrote on Twitter.

It’s a bizarre statement.

It’s particularly bizarre given that Tapper, CNN’s 4 p.m. EST anchor, spent the last four years leading the media crusade to delegitimize the Trump presidency by perpetuating conspiracy after conspiracy for Trump’s crime of winning the 2016 election. Yet Tapper, with seemingly no self-awareness, has the audacity to characterize conservatives as conspiracy-ridden rivals of democracy for raising concerns over voter fraud in key states.

From alleging Trump is an agent of the Russian government operating to subvert American interests, to hyping claims that Justice Brett Kavanaugh was a “serial gang-rapist,” Tapper has some self-reflection to do before demonizing how others might conduct themselves during “adversity.”

Meanwhile, it is far from an assault on the democratic process to acknowledge the probability of widespread voter fraud in an election year with historic turnout in the form of mail-in ballots, the ripest method of fraud, even according to the New York Times. There’s a reason most nations today ban mail-in voting.

While the courts will ultimately determine the validity of Republican claims alleging fraud, the Trump campaign deserves the space to make its case using institutions built for this exact moment, just as former Vice President Al Gore had 37 days in 2000 before he officially conceded.

Recounts and litigation are getting underway in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

In Michigan, Republican election observers were reportedly kicked out of polling locations, and a software glitch in one county reportedly tallied 6,000 Republican votes for Democrats. Complicating things further, the same software was used across 47 different counties. Outlets have currently called the state’s 16 electoral votes for Democratic candidate Joe Biden by fewer than 150,000 votes.

Biden And Harris Declare Victory In Race For The Presidency

Despite pending litigation and election results in states around the nation, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) addressed a crowd on Saturday night, declaring their presidential victory and thanking the American people for their votes.

“I’m humbled by the trust and confidence you placed in me. I pledge to be a president who seeks not to divide but unify, who doesn’t see red states or blue states, sees the United States,” Biden said.

Harris took the stage first, proclaiming the Biden-Harris administration would be productive and act on its agenda.

“For four years, you marched and organized for equality and justice for our lives and our planet, and then you voted,” she told a cheering crowd. “And you delivered a clear message. You chose hope and unity. Decency, science, and, yes, truth.”

Harris also congratulated her running mate, expressing hope that he would bring the country together with his “big heart.”

“Joe is a healer. An uniter. A tested and steady hand. A person whose own experience of loss gives him a sense of purpose that will help us as a nation reclaim our own sense of purpose,” she said. “And a man with a big heart who loves with abandon.”

Harris, who would be the first female vice president, continued to praise Biden for his leadership and “audacity to break one of the most substantial barriers that exist in our country and select a woman as his vice president.”

“While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last,” she said.

Before Harris exited the stage, she reaffirmed her promise to move forward with Biden’s agenda, specifically addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, racism, and climate change.

“Now is when the real work begins. The hard work. The necessary work. The good work. The essential work to save lives and beat this epidemic,” she said. “To rebuild our economy, so it works for working people, to root out systemic racism in our justice system and society. To combat the climate crisis. To unite our country and heal the soul of our nation.”

“The road ahead will not be easy. But America is ready. And so are Joe and me,” she added.

Biden echoed his running mate’s words, saying that he is committed to furthering an agenda based on “the forces of decency, the forces of fairness, the forces of science, and the forces of hope.”

“Folks, I am a proud Democrat. But I will govern as an American president,” he said. “I will work as hard for those who didn’t vote for me as those who did. Let this demonization in America begin to end here and now.”

Biden also claimed with confidence that he was the definite winner of the presidential race, despite the pending litigation and recounts in certain key states, promising to restore the soul of America” through his time in the White House.

“I sought this office to restore the soul of America,” Biden explained, thanking his family, including his son Hunter Biden for supporting him on the campaign trail. “To rebuild the backbone of this nation, the middle class, and to make America respected around the world again. To unite us here at home.”

The Democrat, who once told people that “you ain’t black” if you cast a vote for Trump, also expressed gratitude for his campaign and the people who supported him.

“I’m proud of the coalition we put together—the broadest and most diverse coalition in history,” he said. “Democrats, Republicans, progressives, moderates, conservatives, suburban, rural, gay, straight, transgender, white, Asian, Native Americans. Especially those moments when this campaign was at its lowest ebb, the African-American community stood up. You always had my back, and I will have yours.”

While votes in key states such as Georgia are still being counted, CNN, NBC News, CBS, and the Associated Press announced earlier on Saturday that Biden’s growing lead of at least 35,000 votes in Pennsylvania secured his spot in the White House.

Shortly after the media projected a Biden victory, people took to the streets of the nation’s capital in Black Lives Matter Plaza to celebrate, crowding around each other despite the pandemic and social distancing guidelines to pop champagne bottles.

Saturday’s Media Declaration Is A Naked Attempt To Silence Republicans, And Nothing Has Changed

Nothing has changed since Friday night.

You might find that strange, given the media stampede to certify the election results for their man, but it’s crucial. The calls made Saturday morning are as arbitrary as they were last Tuesday, could just as easily have waited for Monday, and fly in the face of massive evidence of voter irregularities that, at minimum, should be heard in court before anyone considers calling the election.

Add pending lawsuits and official recounts in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and the conclusion is an attempt by the American media to pick our president and decide our election. The danger comes now when in concert with Silicon Valley censors they use their own decree to dismiss and silence anyone who says otherwise.

For large swaths of the corporate media, the work to elect a Democratic president never ended. From before he even took office, attempts to delegitimize President Donald Trump’s administration employed tools ranging from innuendo to foreign disinformation, and from partisan conspiracies to laughably labeled “anonymous senior officials.” They did not stop Tuesday, holding calls on Republican wins like Florida for hours, and North Carolina for days, while recklessly rushing calls on states like Arizona for Team Blue.

Since Election Day itself, the irregularities have piled up. There were quick and continuing examples of Democratic Pennsylvanian cities illegally barring Republican poll watchers from watching polls from even as far as six feet away. There are multiple allegations of the long-dead voting in 2020. And on Friday, evidence was released that vote-counting software Dominion Voting Systems switched thousands of votes from Trump to former Vice President Joe Biden in just one county. While this software was rejected three times by the Texas election board for noticeable security vulnerabilities, it was used across Georgia and Michigan—two of the states subject to Republican lawsuits and, in Georgia, a recount.

None of this is proof the Democrats didn’t win the election, even if it strongly suggests illegal and undemocratic activity in states across the union. But it is a naked corporate attempt to exert control over what is happening in the United States. If just one thing, remember this: Corporations don’t get to pick our president—and they don’t decide our elections.

Donald Trump’s entire presidency is an affront to the media. His victory was an assertion that they are not in charge, we are. That’s why they hate him; that’s why they have to destroy him, and that’s what this power grab is about. It isn’t an election result, it is media elites reminding the people who is really in charge, and who gets to make the rules.

Nothing has changed since America went to bed Friday evening. There is a fight coming: After over a century of rule, the corruption of the big city Democratic machines will finally be examined in court. Every day, the media is going to call you crazy for demanding it.

Buckle up.

First-Hand Account Of Election Fraud In Detroit: ‘They Did Not Want Us To See What Was Happening’

Earlier this week, Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson denounced the lawsuit filed by President Trump’s campaign as “frivolous,” designed to spread “misinformation” and “sow seeds of doubt among our voters about the integrity of our elections process.”

The lawsuit alleges that Republican election observers, known as “poll challengers,” had been denied access to counting stations to observe the opening of absentee ballots, as required under state law.

Benson denied the allegation. Poll workers, she said, had been “following every rule meticulously” as they counted the vote “transparently with people from both sides of the aisle—both looking on.”

But that’s not what one Republican observer says she saw at the Detroit convention center on Wednesday, where she volunteered to be an official GOP poll challenger. Instead, she saw—and experienced—exactly what the Trump campaign says has been happening in Michigan and elsewhere: GOP observers are being kept away from counting tables, expelled, harassed, and prevented from doing the job of ensuring ballots are counted fairly.

Trisha Nesbitt, 31, is the Van Buren County Treasurer in southwest Michigan and has volunteered as an observer in past elections. When she heard the local GOP needed volunteers in Detroit, she drove to the city after work, went to the Republican meeting room at the convention center, and got her credentials as a poll challenger. That’s when things started to get shady.

“The election workers were not letting anyone in at the time,” Nesbitt told The Federalist on Friday. The workers told her and the other GOP volunteers that “the election hall was full.” So they waited. Eventually, they managed to get in by tagging along with a large group of union members who were being admitted to the hall where ballots were being counted—despite previous claims the hall had been “full.” Nesbitt and the others signed in, giving their names and Republican Party affiliation, and indicating the time they arrived. Then things got tense.

“When I was in the room it was very clear that we were outnumbered, I would say three to one,” Nesbitt said. Republican and Democrat poll challengers have different types of credentials, making it easy to tell how many Democratic challengers there were compared to Republican. Nesbitt estimates there were about 1,200 people in the hall but only about fifty or sixty GOP poll challengers—not enough to cover all of the tables where ballots were being counted.

Even so, when these Republican poll challengers came into the hall, the ballot-counting stopped. “It wasn’t too long after I got into the room that it became very apparent that there was no rush to be counting anything,” Nesbitt said. “For about four hours, over ninety percent of the counting boards had no activity.”

Asked why they stopped, Nesbitt replied, “I believe that they were trying to wait for us to leave because we had an influx of volunteers who came into the room following the union members.”

The waiting seemed to work—if only because city election workers would not allow credentialed Republican poll challengers back into the hall if they left for any reason. “Once we left we were not allowed to return. So if you left for a water break or to go get a meal you were not allowed, Republicans were not allowed to be replaced.”

Not only did the city election workers refuse to replace GOP observers who left, they also began expelling them on trumped-up infractions. “The first person I became aware of that was removed, was an attorney who was observing and he adjusted his face mask,” Nesbitt said. “And the election workers cited that as grounds for removal.”

That wasn’t all. When election workers expelled a Republican poll challenger, the ballot counters erupted in cheers. “That was the first one that I had heard very large cheers for,” Nesbitt said. “I’ll admit, at first I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t know why the election workers would be so boisterous over something. But he was escorted out by the police.”

Other GOP observers were kicked out for doing their job and challenging ballots, which election workers claimed was “hindering the process,” according to Nesbitt. She went on:

So what many poll challengers were actually seeing was that when the ballots were scanned and it did not match a voter in the electronic poll book, and it did not match a voter in the supplemental paper poll book, which was provided due to Michigan’s law that allows for same-day registration, they were still allowing those ballots to go through and be counted. And that is when the GOP poll challengers were issuing those challenges. So they were either being ignored or kicked out when they were doing that.

The ballot-counters were also not allowing Republican poll challengers to observe the ballot supplication process. If an absentee ballot can’t be read by the machine for whatever reason, the counters get out a blank ballot and fill it out with the information from the damaged ballot. This is supposed to be observed by poll challengers from both parties to make sure the counters aren’t changing anything from the original ballot.

But whenever Republican observers were present, said Nesbitt, “They would position their bodies in the way, and other election, workers at that counting board would position their bodies in the way, to prohibit us from being able to witness what was happening. Some would complain. And, you know, require the pole challenger to move farther away, you know, move six feet away because of COVID. It was very clear that they did not want us to see what was happening.”

If a GOP observer raised a concern about this, they were kicked out.

During this time, explained Nesbitt, it wasn’t entirely clear who was in charge or who was calling the shots. “It was very hard to see the hierarchy in the room.”

As Republican poll challengers kept getting kicked out for trying to do their jobs, Nesbitt took out her phone to record it. She sent a short video clip to her husband, state Sen. Aric Nesbitt, who posted it on Twitter.

Nesbitt says she never saw a Democratic poll challenger be removed the entire time she was there, only Republicans, even though Democrats were doing the same kinds of things—leaving to get food or water, adjusting their masks, observing the process, and challenging ballots. Some of the Democratic poll challengers, adds Nesbitt, were wearing Joe Biden campaign shirts and “Medicare for All” masks

Every time the Republican poll challengers tried to meet up to discuss what was going on, they were harassed by the city workers, the ballot-counters, and the Democratic poll challengers, “because of social distancing.”

“It was very clear that they were targeting us and finding any reason to get us removed.”

Nesbitt finally decided to leave after ballot-counters flatly refused to process military ballots in her presence. There were approximately 5,000 military ballots that all had to be transposed onto a blank form because the vice president had been omitted from them, Nesbitt explained. “When they started to distribute those ballots I was at a table to observe, and they would not begin the processing while I was standing there, despite all of the workers being at the table.”

“I’ll admit I felt very defeated and like our efforts were almost futile. At that point, that is when I decided to leave.”

Software Glitch In Michigan County Tallied 6,000 Republican Votes As Democrat

A glitch in software used to tabulate ballots in Antrim County, Michigan caused at least 6,000 Republican votes to be counted as Democrat, according to Michigan GOP Chairwoman Laura Cox.

The miscalculation, Cox said in a press conference, was first reported by a county clerk. A short investigation revealed that 47 counties in Michigan may have also suffered from a similar glitch with the same software, which could have caused some red counties to rake in a higher number of Democrat votes than usual.

“Antrim County had to hand count all of the ballots, and these counties that use the software need to closely examine their results for similar discrepancies,” Cox said. “The people of Michigan deserve a transparent and open process.”

Michigan, a battleground state worth 16 electoral points, was called for Biden on Wednesday by many news outlets. This win surprised some because President Donald J. Trump won the state in 2016.

National GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel also spoke at the press conference shedding light on election issues in the key state, saying that 2,000 Republican ballots were marked as Democrat in Oakland County due to a “clerical error” which wrongly gave the race to the Democrat candidate.

“The American people need to have confidence in our elections, right now we don’t have that because, across the country, Democrat officials are shutting down the transparency, especially here in the state of Michigan,” she said. “Democrats are damaging the country in the process of a smooth transition of power by not allowing a transparent process.”

McDaniel also said that Republican poll watchers in various locations were denied their ability to monitor the counting of ballots, that Wayne County alone has over “100 incident reports of irregularities,” and that a whistleblower came forward to confirm that some election workers were asked to illegally date certain ballots as received on or before election day.

“We need to pursue these irregularities and we need people to be patient and give us the time to investigate,” McDaniel said. “These are serious allegations of changing the date on balance and refusing to let people observe in a meaningful way an election of this magnitude.”

These newly surfaced reports of potential election fraud and violations merely add to the credibility of other reports of suspicious activity in Michigan surrounding the 2020 election such as election officials expelling Republican poll challengers from counting rooms, illegally filling out ballots, and in Detroit, and covering up windows into counting rooms to prevent legal peering and observation.

“We have confirmed evidence that Democratic election officials have violated state law,” Phill Kline, former Kansas attorney general and now an attorney for the nonprofit Amistad Project, previously told The Federalist, explaining that his organization filed a lawsuit over reported voter fraud in Detroit.

The Trump campaign also filed a lawsuit in Michigan on Wednesday, making similar claims that Republican election observers were stopped from overseeing ballot-counting despite state laws ensuring otherwise.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2

Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, several Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress:  but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Each State shall appoint . . . a Number of Electors . . . .

On November 4, 2008, Americans went to the polls and expressed their preferences among Barack Obama, John McCain, or other candidates. Many Americans probably thought that they were actually casting ballots for one of these men: We have gotten used to thinking of presidential elections as ones in which we vote directly for the candidates. Yet that is not really how American elections work. In reality, the only people elected on Election Day are representatives, called electors, whose sole duty is to represent their states in a subsequent election among states. This latter election—the real presidential election—determines the President of the United States’ identity.

Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 provides the boundaries for the appointment of these electors.

The Constitution provides that each state is to decide, for itself, how its electors will be chosen. During the first presidential election, states relied upon a wide range of methods. Several state legislatures appointed electors directly, on behalf of their citizens. No presidential election, as we think of it, was ever held in those states. Other states relied upon popular votes, but in different ways. For instance, Maryland directed that certain numbers of electors were to be elected from designated parts of the state. Virginia created 12 districts specifically for the election of electors; these districts were separate from the ten districts created for the election of Congressmen.

Today, every state relies upon a popular election among its own citizens. Most states then allocate their electors in a winner-take-all fashion based upon the outcome of these elections. For instance, when most Californians expressed their preference for Obama in 2008, these votes were translated into votes for a slate of 55 Democratic electors. If McCain had won the election, an alternate slate of 55 Republican electors, committed to McCain, would have been appointed to represent California instead.

The state’s authority to choose its own method for appointing electors is not in doubt. However, a few other issues remain unresolved:

First, may Congress step in if there is controversy regarding which of two slates of electors rightfully represents a state? Congress has taken such action in the past, and it claimed authority to act in the Electoral Count Act of 1887 and subsequent measures. However, some scholars argue that such federal laws impinge on the states’ authority, as outlined in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2.

Second, is a state’s discretion truly unlimited? An anti-Electoral College movement (National Popular Vote) hopes so. This group asks states to change their manner of elector allocation: Instead of allocating electors to the winner of state popular votes, participating states would allocate their electors to the national popular vote winner. These states would sign an interstate compact (a contract) to this effect. If enough states sign, the Electoral College would be effectively eliminated. NPV supporters reject the claim that their compact is an end-run around the Constitution. Still, the question will ultimately be tested in court. NPV could be enacted with as few as 11 states, whereas 38 states are required for a constitutional amendment. Such a process seems questionable, to say the least. Justice Thomas once observed, “States may establish qualifications for their delegates to the electoral college, as long as those qualifications pass muster under other constitutional provisions.” NPV may not satisfy this test.

In such Manner as the Legislature, thereof may direct. . . .

Another open legal question exists regarding the meaning of the word “Legislature” in Article II, Section 1, Clause 2. Does this use of “Legislature” refer specifically to the lawmaking body, or does it refer to a state’s entire lawmaking process? In the latter case, the legislature and governor must act together to determine the manner for appointing electors. Also, voter referendums would be able to trump the legislature in some circumstances. The Supreme Court has not directly addressed the question, but it has come down on both sides of the issue in other contexts.

The question may seem purely academic, but it has particular importance today because of NPV. In three states, the legislature has approved NPV’s legislation, only to be vetoed by the state’s governor. Will these vetoes stand, or will they be deemed irrelevant?

Equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress . . . .

States are allocated one elector for each of their representatives in Congress—both Senators and Congressmen. Therefore, each state automatically receives a minimum of three votes, as it is entitled to at least two Senators and one Congressman in Congress, regardless of population. Puerto Rico and the Island Areas are not given electors, as they are not states. The District of Columbia did not initially receive votes because it is not a state; however, the adoption of the 23rd Amendment in 1961 provided it with at least three electoral votes.

This method of allocation is consistent with the rest of the Constitution and echoes the states’ representation in Congress. A portion of a state’s congressional representation is based on population (the House of Representatives; one person, one vote). A portion is based on one state, one vote philosophy (the Senate).

But no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

Some scholars believe that electors were meant to independently deliberate: The Founders wanted a body of wise men, entrusted with the power to select the President at a time when communication was slow and unreliable. Other scholars maintain that the role of elector was created only because the delegates to the Constitutional Convention left it to states to determine how their electors were to be chosen. Either way, the creation of an independent electoral body was thought to provide special benefits in the presidential selection process.

In Federalist No. 68, Alexander Hamilton wrote that the election process should minimize the opportunity for “cabal, intrigue, and corruption” in the selection of the President. Article II, he believed, accomplished this. Electors could not be bribed or corrupted because their identities would not be known in advance. Presidents would not be indebted to (potentially biased) legislators for their elections, thus reinforcing the separation among government branches. Separating the meetings of the electors (one in each state) would make these individuals less susceptible to a mob mentality. Finally, the selection of electors was tied to the people of a state, reminding the President that he owed his office and his duty to the people themselves.

Some of Hamilton’s logic has perhaps become less applicable, given the advent of mass communication and decreasing expectations that electors are to deliberate independently. But the state-by-state presidential election system created by Article II continues to provide many benefits for a country as large and diverse as America. The White House can only be won by a candidate who wins simultaneous victories across many states; thus, candidates must appeal to a broad range of voters in order to succeed. Successful candidates bring a diverse citizenry together, building national coalitions that span regional and state lines. Such a system is as healthy now as it was in 1787.

Explosive New Flynn Documents Show FBI Goal Was To ‘Get Him Fired’

Handwritten notes from the FBI that had been withheld from Michael Flynn and his defense team show that the FBI’s goal in investigating and ambushing Flynn was ‘to get him fired.’

New documents filed under seal last week by the Department of Justice provide the clearest evidence yet that the investigation and subsequent prosecution of former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was a set-up from the beginning. Handwritten notes from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that had been inappropriately withheld from Flynn’s defense team for years show that a key goal of the agents investigating Flynn was “to get him to lie so we can prosecute him or get him fired.”

In early 2017, FBI agents planned to question Flynn under false pretenses and without his attorneys present regarding his conversations with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. At the time of those conversations, Flynn was the top foreign policy adviser of the president-elect of the United States. By the time of the ambush FBI interview, Flynn had already been appointed as the White House national security adviser.

In the handwritten FBI notes, the note-taker, whose identity was not made clear in the document production, wrote that an alternate goal is to “get [Flynn] to admit breaking the Logan Act,” a reference to a 1799 law restricting communications between private citizens and foreign governments. The law is widely viewed as unconstitutional and has never been used to successfully prosecute a single American citizen. The previously secret notes do not explain that Flynn was not a private citizen, but rather the incoming national security adviser at the time of his conversations with world leaders.

Handwritten FBI Notes on M… by Gustavo-May Frias on Scribd

Accusations that Flynn was a traitor to his country who violated the 1799 law gained steam following the criminal leak of top-secret information to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius. Ignatius’ sources suggested the routine conversation between a top incoming White House adviser and his foreign counterparts might be a Logan Act violation. As absurd as the suggestion was, Ignatius dutifully parroted it.

News reports indicate U.S. Attorney John Durham is currently investigating the sources of those criminal leaks of top-secret national security information to Ignatius. Although the agents who interviewed Flynn initially stated they believed Flynn told them the truth during the Jan. 24 interviews, Special Counsel Robert Mueller nonetheless charged Flynn in late 2017 with making false statements to FBI investigators in the interview.

Flynn pleaded guilty to the charge at the time but is currently trying to withdraw that plea, citing ineffective counsel and government corruption in the conduct of his case.

The explosive new documents support Flynn’s latest claims that the Obama-era Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials had conspired to set him up from the beginning and that they never had any legitimate basis for investigating him.

The author of the handwritten notes filed under seal last week also wrote, “We have a case on Flynn and Russians,” and “our goal is to resolve the case.” Despite those claims of treasonous Russian collusion, Mueller found, after a sprawling, multi-year, multimillion-dollar investigation, that there was zero evidence of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government to steal the 2016 election from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

In reality, the only Russian collusion that happened during the 2016 campaign was between the Clinton campaign and a subcontractor it funded, who was at the time working on behalf of a sanctioned Russian oligarch. That agent, former British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, created for the Clinton campaign the entire basis for charges of illegal collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. That document, known as the Steele dossier, has been thoroughly debunked since it was first released in early January 2017. The Clinton campaign, in cooperation with the Democratic National Committee, secretly funded the creation of that document and its distribution throughout the media. To date, none of its key collusion claims has been corroborated.

Steele’s operation became a primary basis for the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation of the Trump campaign. The false allegations contained in the dossier were also used by FBI and DOJ officials to justify four separate spy warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign affiliate. The FBI also investigated Flynn as part of this operation.

The FBI notes also show that the author of the document had misgivings about the FBI’s conduct in interviewing Flynn.

“I agreed yesterday that we shouldn’t show Flynn [REDACTED] if he didn’t admit,” the FBI author wrote. “I thought [about] it last night, [and] I believe we should rethink this.”

“We regularly show subjects evidence, with the goal of getting them to admit wrongdoing,” the notes said. “I don’t see how getting someone to admit their wrongdoing is going easy on him.”

The redaction portion of the notes is believed to reference transcripts of phone calls between Flynn and other foreign officials. Those transcripts have never been publicly released, making it impossible to independently assess whether Flynn lied about those conversations.

The handwritten FBI notes end with a prophetic line, given the voluminous evidence of misconduct by FBI and DOJ officials in their investigation of Trump and their attempt to oust him from office.

“If we’re seen as playing games, [the White House] will be furious,” the author wrote. “Protect our institution by not playing games.”

Flynn is awaiting a ruling on his motion to have the entire case dismissed. You can read the documents unsealed and made available on the public court docket earlier this evening here.

Who Wrote This Pro-Communist China Article? CNN Or Xi Jinping?

This kind of false information from CNN demonstrates the U.S. mainstream media cannot be trusted so long as it continues to do the bidding of the Communist Party of China.

While the world runs damage control on a global pandemic that originated in communist China, CNN is praising China’s “model of control” and parroting Chinese propaganda in a story that reads as though it were written by none other than dictator Xi Jinping himself.

In an article Wednesday titled “China’s model of control has been blamed for the coronavirus crisis, but for some, it’s looking increasingly attractive,” CNN’s James Griffiths props up the Chinese Communist Party’s coronavirus response, parroting Chinese media’s duplicitous claims that the country sufficiently control of the virus while downplaying the CCP’s role in spreading COVID-19 to the rest of the world. The article’s inaccuracy is underscored by its internal contradictions, such as acknowledging state-run media as propaganda but then regurgitating its claims.

CNN Acknowledges Chinese Propaganda, Repeats It Anyway

After guilting “numerous Western politicians, particularly on the right” for blaming the CCP for the pandemic, CNN notes that the virus did indeed originate in China, but couches it in laudatory language. “[F]or some, the Beijing model is not necessarily looking so bad,” Griffiths says. “China … has coped with the ensuing pandemic far better than many other countries.”h

“Regardless of the many valid criticisms of how Beijing initially handled the crisis,” the article reads, “it appears to have been able to get its domestic epidemic under control and the economy back on track better than many other countries.”

Sure, China is handling the virus marvelously — according to phony data drummed up by the hegemonic bully which will stop at nothing to preserve its image as a world leader. All available evidence cuts against China’s honesty, from its lie that the virus originated with the U.S. military, to its silencing of Chinese whistleblowers and ousting of American journalists, to its bullying the World Health Organization into spreading misinformation about human-to-human transmission, to its suppression of the Wuhan virus’s existence until it was far too late to contain.

Of course, Griffiths knows this. He just buries the lede:

Certainly, China’s leaders, and their vast propaganda apparatus, have not been blind to the opportunity this [pandemic] presents. For weeks state media has been playing up the disorder around the world as it praises Beijing’s own handling of the crisis, shoring up power and support at home — but it has also taken aim at those already sympathetic to China who could be pulled further into the fold.

It appears CNN itself, sympathetic to China, is being pulled further into the fold, for Griffiths deftly ignores his own note about the propaganda machine and continues to praise Beijing, claiming it’s “debatable how communist modern China actually is,” and saying the pandemic has “highlighted the benefits of a strong government and centralized planning, while … exposing the limitations of private industry to respond quickly.”

Communists Good, Orange Man Bad

Of course, the media establishment can’t pass up an opportunity to hurl insults at Western democracy and capitalism and bash President Donald Trump. In this case, Griffiths concludes that in contrast to the “Chinese model,” the U.S., “which is often held up — for better or worse — as the example par excellence of a Western democracy … appears to be somewhat chaotic.” As evidence, he cites, among other things, federalism and Trump’s “spreading disinformation and encouraging protests.”

He then quotes German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who said, “China has taken some very authoritarian measures, while in the US, the virus was played down for a long time.”

It’s true China took authoritarian measures, as it always does, but when it comes to downplaying the virus and sowing chaos, that also falls on China, along with complicit media elites obsessed with fake racism, and Democrats — more so than Trump.

About two months passed between the first known cases of COVID-19 in China in November and Beijing’s lockdown in January, during which time authorities lied about the number of cases and about 5 million people fled Wuhan, enabling the virus to spread. If the Chinese government had taken appropriate measures one, two, or three weeks sooner, rather than downplaying the virus, one study shows “cases could have been reduced by 66 percent, 86 percent and 95 percent respectively — significantly limiting the geographical spread of the disease.” Bottom line: China lied. People died. The media complied — as they continue to do.

Meanwhile in the U.S., although the Centers for Disease Control insisted the COVID-19 risk to Americans was low, and the China-hijacked WHO continued praising the CCP, Trump issued a life-saving travel ban between the U.S. and China Jan. 31, declaring the Wuhan virus a public health emergency. The same day, the corporate media and Democrats in the Senate were tied up with a sham impeachment trial, and former Vice President Joe Biden was slamming Trump’s travel ban during an Iowa campaign stop as “hysteria and xenophobia.”

The article aligns perfectly with CNN’s standard Trump coverage.

While Trump maintains his “America First” mentality, Griffiths scolds, “China has been playing up the importance of ‘multilateralism,’ calling for the shoring up of global institutions and offering assistance to anyone that needs it.”

Anyone who has been paying attention to the facts knows that not only did China kick off the crisis and try to cover it up, it also hoarded medical equipment and sold it to other countries for profit. As it turned out, much of the supplies, such as test kits, were defective — a far cry from “offering assistance.”

Griffiths characterizes China as “a strong argument that an empowered state is what is needed to respond to the pandemic.” But as the pandemic continues, this kind of false information from CNN is a pretty strong counter-argument that the U.S. mainstream media cannot be trusted so long as it continues to do the bidding of the Communist Party of China.

Christopher Steele Testifies Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice Knew About Anti-Trump Research

On March 17 and 18, Christopher Steele testified in a British court where he revealed both 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former National Security Adviser Susan Rice knew about his anti-Trump dossier research.

According to a transcript obtained by Just the News, Steele told a British court he was hired by Fusion GPS through the Democratic National Committee (DNC) linked law firm Perkins Coie to work for the Clinton campaign. Steele said Fusion GPS owner Glenn Simpson tipped him to the DNC’s role in the anti-Trump dossier.

“I presumed it was the Clinton campaign, and Glenn Simpson had indicated that,” Steele said. “But I was not aware of the technicality of it being the DNC that was actually the client of Perkins Coie.”

When pressured to address exactly who knew what about the anti-Trump research, Steele conceded Hillary Clinton herself knew about the dossier research.

“I believed it was the campaign, yes,” Steele said.

“The leadership of the Clinton campaign?” a lawyer asked Steele.

“Fine, the leadership of the campaign,” Steele said.

“You also understood that Hillary Clinton herself was aware of what you were doing?” the lawyer asked.

“I think Glenn had mentioned it, but I wasn’t clear,” Steele said.

During his second day of testimony, Steele connected Rice to the dossier research. State official Jonathan Winer and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland set up a meeting with Steele alongside longtime Clinton adviser and Steele’s friend Strobe Talbott.

Steele confirmed Nuland, Winer, and Talbott invited him for a meeting to discuss the dossier research when lawyers asked whether Talbott helped open the doors for a meeting with State officials.

“I think Strobe Talbott had gotten in touch with us much earlier than [October],” Steele said. “I remember taking a phone call from him, your lordship, earlier in the summer in which he said that he was aware that I had. He spoke in fairly cryptic terms, but he was aware that we had material of relevance to the U.S. election.”

“Both National Security Advisor at the time Susan Rice and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who were the key policymakers on Russia, had been colleagues of Mr. Talbott,” Steele said. “And I had, although he didn’t state it explicitly, one or either or both of them had briefed him on the work we had been doing.”

This testimony provides a direct link between the DNC, the Clinton campaign, the Obama White House and Steele’s Russian collusion hoax dossier.

Steele’s British court testimony also linked the lawyers representing the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. According to a report from the Daily Caller, Steele said DNC-linked lawyer Michael Sussmann provided information to him regarding the alleged secret communications between the Trump Organization and Russian Alfa Bank.

Steele admitted to an undisclosed meeting with Sussmann and his colleague Marc Elias. Sussmann is credited with accusing the founders of Alfa Bank to having “illicit” ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, a since-debunked tip Sussmann gave Steele which created the September 14, 2016, memo publicizing the alleged ties.

The Justice Department released an Inspector General report concluding the Steele dossier was an unverified document, yet was used to obtain FISA warrants against Trump campaign affiliates anyway.

Steele’s court testimony clearly links the DNC, the Clinton campaign, the Obama White House, and other bad faith political actors to the dossier used to launch an FBI investigation into the Trump campaign in 2016.

Although Never Officially Shut Down, South Dakota Governor Unveils ‘Back To Normal’ Plan

South Dakota Republican Gov. Kristi Noem unveiled her state’s “Back to Normal” plan Tuesday, outlining steps she is encouraging her citizens to take without implementing draconian orders forcing South Dakotans into compliance.

“I am not announcing new government programs, more red tape, proscriptive phases, tight controls, or anything like that,” Noem made clear in a Tuesday press conference. “The plan I am unveiling today continues to put the power of decision-making into the hands of the people – where it belongs.”

Noem’s reopening strategy offers guidance to residents to maintain proper social distancing measures and includes a continuation of remote learning for students with a limited return to in-person education by the end of the school year for students to “check-in.” Noem is also encouraging employers to begin transitioning previously teleworking employees back to the workplace with enhanced sanitation practices while pleading with individuals who feel sick to stay home. State health care facilities are also being told to keep restricting outside visitors and reserve beds and supplies for coronavirus patients.

The South Dakota governor emphasized that these directives, as have previous guidelines issued by the governor’s office, are nonbinding, leaving it up to the state’s citizens to act responsibly.

“Ultimately it is the people themselves that are primarily responsible for their safety,” Noem said. “They are the ones who are entrusted expansive freedoms. They are free to exercise their rights to work, worship, and play or to stay at home and to conduct social distancing.”

South Dakota was one of few states that never saw a statewide shelter-in-place order implemented as the rest of the country was locked down to curb the spread of the novel Wuhan coronavirus. Other states that refrained from shutting down include North Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Arkansas, all of which are primarily rural. Only Iowa ranks with the top half of states in the number of confirmed cases where the Hawkeye State comes 24th with more than 6,800 people known to be infected. South Dakota, on the other hand, places 41st in the nation with just more than 2,300 confirmed cases and 11 deaths as of Wednesday afternoon.

South Dakota saw its first case of the virus on March 10th with projections at the time warning of a surging caseload that would allegedly overwhelm the state’s health care system. Today, however, through steps taken voluntarily under the guidance of state and federal health officials, Noem reports that South Dakota was able to delay the peak of infections and cut it down by more than 75 percent, leaving ample room in the state’s hospitals to deal with a second outbreak.

“As governor, I did not dictate to the people of South Dakota,” Noem said. “I didn’t tell you what activities you could do, which ones were officially approved of or not approved of. I didn’t begin arresting or ticketing or fining individuals who are exercising their rights, nor am I going to do that today.”

State residents were encouraged to follow federal rules regarding social distancing and clean hygiene but were never coerced into doing so.

Noem’s resistance to follow a one-size-fits-all policy implementing a shelter-in-place order prompted backlash from national media blaming the governor for an outbreak at the world’s largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods in Sioux Falls where hundreds of employees fell sick. The Washington Post, featuring a crazy eyes photo reminiscent of Newsweek’s infamous cover of former Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachman, branded South Dakota as a coronavirus hot-spot in mid-April. The article attributed the surge in new cases to the governor’s refusal to threaten citizens with fines or arrests for not adhering to government-sponsored social distancing guidelines.

“South Dakota’s governor resisted ordering people to stay home. Now it has one of the nation’s largest coronavirus hot spots,” the Post headlined its piece.

With fewer than 1,000 cases and six deaths at the time however, South Dakota was no “hot spot” and never became one. Even if Noem had shut down the state, Smithfield Foods where at least a third of the state’s coronavirus cases came from still would have been operating under the order as it is considered an essential business necessary to keep the nation’s supply chains resilient through the crisis.

Some Governors Are Getting Serious About The Cost Of Coronavirus Lockdowns. Some Aren’t

As the spread of COVID-19 begins to slow nationwide, some governors are proving to be more serious than others about what comes next.

As the coronavirus spread slows, governors are responding in different, sometimes wildly divergent ways. Many of them, recognizing their states are not likely to see an outbreak on the scale of New York or New Jersey, have in recent days announced plans to loosen lockdown orders and get their residents back to work. Others have taken the opposite tack, extending lockdown orders and keeping businesses shuttered even as jobless claims mount.

The first set of governors, generally speaking, is serious about the trade-offs and tensions between protecting public health and preventing an economic collapse. They know they have to be careful about reopening their states, that they don’t yet have enough testing or contact tracing in place, and that we don’t have an effective treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. They also know that their residents and businesses cannot go on like this for months or years and that allowing people to get back to work and feed their families is also an urgent need—and at some point becomes a question of public health.

Hence, governors in Texas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, Montana, Tennessee, Utah, and South Carolina have all announced substantive plans to allow some businesses to reopen this week, with varying restrictions remaining in place. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Monday announced perhaps the most ambitious plan, allowing retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and malls to open Friday, so long as they operate at 25 percent capacity. Abbott’s order will supersede all local orders, unlike Missouri Gov. Mike Parson’s announcement on Monday that Missouri businesses can reopen next week but local governments can impose stricter rules if they so choose.

Texas and Missouri’s changes follow more limited loosening of lockdown orders by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt last week, which were roundly criticized by the media. Defending his decision in an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace on Sunday, Stitt noted that Oklahoma has had only 300 hospitalizations from COVID-19 with the statewide capacity for 4,600. “We think it’s a reasonable time to reopen,” he said.

It’s Time Get Real About How Long Lockdowns Can Last

The second set of governors, those who are extending their lockdown orders, are coming off as… not so reasonable. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he was still weeks away from making “measurable and meaningful changes” to his statewide stay-at-home order.

Newsom’s decision about reopening the country’s most populous state, he said, would be driven by data and “behavior”—and the behavior he saw over the weekend, with crowds of people gathering at Ventura and Orange County beaches, is just the sort of thing that will delay reopening. “We can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere, in the state of California.”

But is it data or behavior that Newsom is relying on? Because the data show that California, a state of some 40 million people, has had fewer than 1,800 COVID-19 fatalities and currently has fewer than 3,400 hospitalizations, with Los Angeles alone accounting for about half of all fatalities and hospitalizations. Meanwhile, millions have filed jobless claims in California but the state’s overwhelmed labor agency has only been able to pay one out of every eight claims, one of the lowest rates in the country.

Other governors have even less reason to extend lockdowns. Over the weekend, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers extended his stay-at-home order until May 26 despite the relatively few numbers of coronavirus deaths in his state (less than 300 as of Tuesday) and a recent decline in the number of positive COVID-19 tests.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis and Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak said Monday they would join California, Oregon, and Washington in a Western States Pact that puts “science ahead of politics.” But politics, like science, can’t be easily ignored. Nevada has fewer than 5,000 cases and just 219 deaths, yet Sisolak has announced no plans to loosen his stay-at-home order despite protests across the state over the weekend calling on him to reopen.

Colorado has about three times as many coronavirus cases as Nevada, but Polis is allowing hair salons, dog groomers, and personal trainers to begin opening this week in some areas. Retail stores will be able to open to customers on Friday with strict social distancing rules in place, and on May 4, commercial businesses can open with up to 50 percent of employees working in-person.

In other words, the governors who are opening up their states aren’t calling for some kind of a free-for-all. If anything, they’re drawing criticism for being too cautious. Abbott, for example, has provoked the ire of conservatives in Texas for moving too slowly. In Ohio, where about 1 million residents are unemployed because of the pandemic, Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has faced protests over what critics say is a reopening plan that moves too slowly, with retail stores not set to open for another two weeks and restaurant, bars, and many other businesses still closed indefinitely.

In the coming days and weeks, expect to see a growing divide between governors willing to risk reopening and those who think their residents can remain jobless and out of work for weeks or months longer. That divide will expose leaders who are serious about the economic and social costs being borne by the vast majority of Americans, and those who are not.

Dear Nancy Pelosi, You Don’t Need To Pay $13 A Pint For Good Ice Cream

Bad optics and lacking leadership during this time of crisis aside, someone needs to tell the House speaker there are better, cheaper options to stock her freezer with.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slammed by lawmakers and media alike this week after she simultaneously blocked funds for America’s suffering small businesses, and showed off her gourmet ice cream stockpile.

House Republicans have attempted for over a week to pass a clean funding bill to replenish funds for the Paycheck Protection Program, of which all $349 billion available was officially depleted on Thursday. Democrats blocked the assistance, offering a counter-proposal with a wish-list of progressive propositions. As Republicans and even some Democrats begged for Congress to bail out more small businesses, Pelosi called it a “stunt” and claimed there’s “no data as to why we need it.”

Meanwhile, in an undeniably tone-deaf move, the millionaire congresswoman from California appeared on CBS’ “Late Late Show” Monday, standing in front of a refrigerator that costs more than many Americans earn in a year, and opened her freezer to reveal it was full to the brim with ice cream and gelato.

Clearly, the staffer that thought this was a cute idea has yet to lose their own paycheck like 22 million other Americans, or at least they hadn’t until this video aired. Not to mention, any experienced communications staffer would also know the last time a politician indulged in ice cream gluttony, it made blaring headlines. “PRESIDENT GETS 2 SCOOPS OF ICE CREAM, EVERYONE ELSE 1,” as CNN’s chyron once read.

Of course, Pelosi should be shamed for her bad politics and lacking leadership during this time of crisis, but I’m here to talk about ice cream. Any ice cream connoisseur took one look at Pelosi’s freezer and saw stacks of cash. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, the colorful pints you see on the right, cost $13 per pint in the grocery store, or $68 for 6 pints if you mail order like the Speaker suggests in the interview. Talenti gelato, which she points out as her two chocolate favorites on the left, are $5 a pint, but still on the higher end of grocery store options.

I will concede, Jeni’s is a very good ice cream. It’s a premium, Philadelphia-style ice cream, which means it doesn’t contain any eggs or yolks. It has a creamy and smooth texture — some even complain too creamy. Jeni herself describes it as a “buttercream body.” Their flavors are top-notch and are often perfect balances of salty and sweet, like the popular Brown Butter Almond Brittle. So I do not blame Pelosi for her obsession one bit, but there are other amazing, less expensive options.

Blue Bell

As a resident Texan, my first recommendation has to be Blue Bell. The little creamery in small-town Brenham, Texas, only delivers to 13 southern states to which it can drive within a day, and California is not included, but Pelosi has already established she’s happy to mail order. A pint of Blue Bell will cost you $2.57, a half-gallon $6, and you will not be sacrificing an ounce of flavor or texture.

When Blue Bell had to halt production in 2015 after a deadly listeria outbreak, some Texans hoarded their dwindling supplies, while others auctioned off their half-eaten cartons on eBay to the deprived. It was devastating, and Texans collectively fought for the company to make a comeback. When freezer aisles were finally restocked, one Kroger public relations rep said customers had vocal reactions, exclaiming “God is Good!” or “Amen!” So yes, it’s that good for costing $2.57 a pint.


Despite churning out cheese and other dairy products for over 100 years, Tillamook recently relaunched and rebranded itself into the ice cream competition, and quite successfully. It has a soft, fluffy texture, almost as if it’s been whipped, but doesn’t lose its creaminess. And a whole quart costs $4.99.


Häagen-Dazs will do in a pinch, and let’s be honest, it just sounds like something Nancy Pelosi would like. It’s also Ina Garten-approved. Being so creamy and thick, it just tastes expensive, and it’s usually $4 to $5 a pint. Pricey, but not Jeni’s pricey.

Snicker Ice Cream Bar

This winner may be surprising, but the Snickers ice cream bar, specifically the Snickers Dark ice cream bar, takes first place in the novelty frozen treat category. They’re only $4.19 for six at Walmart, and you can often find them for an even better price at Sam’s Club or Costco. This dark chocolate bar, filled with peanut butter-chocolate ice cream, peanuts, and caramel, is everything you want in flavor and texture. Plus, you can eat it right out of the wrapper. No need to even get a scoop involved, Nancy.

Make Your Own Ice Cream

I would hope that if Pelosi has a $24,000 refrigerator, she also has an ice cream maker somewhere in that chef’s kitchen. Homemade ice cream is undoubtedly the most delicious and cheapest ice cream. At a time when we are all baking our own bread and cutting our own hair, making our own ice cream is on the horizon with warming months of social distancing approaching. There are countless easy recipes, and you can make as much as you want for pennies on the dollar. If all else fails and you’re still missing the $13/pint confection, try making Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at home.

Support Small Ice Cream Businesses

Obviously Pelosi is in no real need of ice cream recommendations as we’ve just seen some of her most extravagant assets. But perhaps she can finally get around to doing what she’s stalled on for over a week and support American small businesses like her local ice cream shop. If she won’t give them a loan so they can make payroll, she could at least buy a scoop. Maybe even leave a tip. I’m sure they will even sell it to her by the pint to put in her safe of sorbet.

Pentagon Preparing Navy Hospital Ships Mercy, Comfort for Coronavirus Response

This post has been updated with statements from Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

The Pentagon is starting the process of activating Navy hospital ships USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) as part of the Defense Department’s domestic response to the spreading COVID-19 virus, USNI News has learned.

“We’ve already given orders to the Navy… to lean forward in terms of getting them ready to deploy,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told reporters on Tuesday.

The ships will now begin the several days-long processes of bringing aboard medical staff and equipment ahead of deploying along the East and West coasts, a defense official confirmed to USNI News on Tuesday afternoon.

Two sources told USNI News that the idea was for the ships to provide relief for coastal hospital systems, with the ships taking on non-COVID-19 cases and allowing the hospitals to focus on the most critical patients suffering from the virus. The Pentagon also has extensive equipment for erecting field hospitals in addition to the hospital ships, but those facilities are optimized for trauma cases, with several beds close together, and not for infectious patients.

“So one of the ways you could use field hospitals, hospital ships or things in between is to take the pressure off of civilian hospitals when it comes to trauma cases, to open up civilian hospital rooms for infectious diseases,” Esper said.

On Monday, Joint Staff surgeon Air Force Brig. Gen. Paul Friedrichs gave more details on how the ships could support civilian hospitals.

“If, for example, a community has a large outbreak and there’s a need for emergency room support or trauma support, a hospital ship is perfectly designed to do that,” Friedrichs told Politico on Monday.
“It’s hard to get the hospital ship to St. Louis, but along the coasts, it is an option to use.”

Each ship has a 1,000-bed capacity and is manned by military medical personnel, requiring about a week or more to mobilize that personnel from across the active duty and reserve forces. Pentagon officials have stressed that many of the reserve medical personnel that would be called up to staff mobile hospitals or Mercy and Comfort would be partially pulled from civilian medical facilities.

“The big challenge isn’t the availability of these inventories, it’s the medical professionals. All of those doctors and nurses either come from our medical treatment facilities or they come from the reserves, which means civilians,” Esper said.
“What I don’t want to do is take reservists from a hospital where they are needed just to put them on a ship to take them somewhere else where they’re needed.”

Esper said he’s been in consultation with several state governors on how the military can best support civilian medical efforts.

“The Department of Defense is ready, willing and able to support civilian authorities to the greatest extent possible with the direction of the president,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters on Monday. “We just want to make sure that the conversation that is being had is informed by the facts of what is possible, what is not, and what those trade-offs are.”

Mercy is homeported at Naval Station San Diego, Calif., while Comfort is at Naval Station Norfolk, Va.

Trump Defends Calling Wuhan Virus ‘Chinese Virus’

“I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term.”

On Wednesday, President Donald Trump defended calling the Wuhan virus a “Chinese Virus” during a White House press briefing on the outbreak.

Trump tweeted about the “Chinese Virus” Tuesday night.

“China and others have criticized you for using the phrase ‘Chinese Virus.’ How do you feel about that?” one reporter asked.

“China was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them, that was false,” Trump said. “And rather than having an argument, I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China, so I think it’s a very accurate term.”

Trump also rejected the idea perpetuated by the Chinese government and woke media elites that using the phrase was “stigmatizing” to the Chinese people.

“I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma,” Trump responded.

Last week, China began promoting a conspiracy theory that members of the U.S. military who visited the Chinese city of Wuhan in October, where the first outbreak occurred, was cause for the virus spreading in the East Asian superpower.

The Chinese tale comes as a response to American leaders and media outlets calling the virus the “Wuhan Virus” to reference where the novel infection spreading across the globe first originated.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang accused Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of racism by using the phrase earlier this month, prompting the woke corporate media empire to enthusiastically embrace Chinese messaging to condemn those who call the virus by its name.

Never mind that it is common practice for new diseases to be named after places or people such as German Measles or the West Nile Virus. Others include Guinea Worm, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Ross River Fever, Omsk Hemorrhagic Fever, Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), Valley Fever, Marburg Virus Disease, Norovirus, Zika Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, Spanish Flu, Lassa Fever, and Legionnaire’s Disease, to name a few.

In the case of the Wuhan coronavirus however, it has become even more important to attach China to the virus given China’s role in downplaying the threat of the virus and silencing whistleblowers who raised concerns. Now the world is faced with a global economic recession where entire nations and regions go on lockdown to prevent the spread of the deadly virus overwhelming hospitals.

The Latest On COVID-19 Suggests Most Of Us Will Be Fine

Mounting evidence suggests that if you don’t smoke or aren’t 70 or older or have underlying health conditions, you’ll be fine—although you can spread it to other, more vulnerable people.

The latest information on Coronavirus COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan Flu, from Johns Hopkins University shows widely varying numbers of confirmed cases and apparent mortality rates by nation.

The People’s Republic of China, the virus’ epicenter, was reporting 81,058 cases as of March 17 with 3,230 deaths, with 4.0 percent of those diagnosed subsequently dying. Italy is similarly hard hit, with 31,506 cases and 2,503 deaths for a mortality rate of 7.9 percent of those diagnosed.

Yet South Korea, a nation with frequent, direct contact with people from China, is only showing 8,320 cases of COVID-19 with 81 deaths, a rate of 1.0 percent—likely not too different than can be expected every year from common influenza if one considers the many mild cases who didn’t present to medical personnel.

Different Countries, Different Results

So, why the huge differences in diagnosed cases and mortality, and what does that mean for America? Important factors to consider are government (both competence and transparency), the state of the health-care system (the number of people tested and its critical care system), and the affected population (its age and health).

A stark example of this can be seen in the two Koreas, one free and prosperous, the other enslaved and poor. South Korea’s 8,320 confirmed cases of the Wuhan Flu contrast with none in North Korea.

This is a pathogenic impossibility. The COVID-19 numbers out of North Korea are not to be believed for the same reason the survival rate for any North Korean who criticizes paramount leader Kim Jong-un approaches zero: the government controls all information on penalty of death.

Similarly, the People’s Republic of China has a casual association with the truth related to a virus that was first diagnosed in and around the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. In December, Li Wenliang, a Chinese ophthalmologist at Wuhan Central Hospital, used the WeChat app to warn the medical community about what he thought was an outbreak of a SARS-like (severe acute respiratory syndrome) illness.

SARS is a coronavirus. Li was quickly contacted by police, who admonished him to “stop making false comments.” He was subsequently investigated for “spreading rumors.” Within four days he was ordered to appear at the Public Security Bureau, where he had to sign a false confession that he “severely disturbed the social order.” Local officials later apologized to Li, just before he died from the virus.

At the same time, some 100 miles across the Taiwan Strait, the freely elected Taiwanese government has reported 77 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with one death. Had Taiwan suffered a similar infection level and reported death rate as on mainland China, it would be reporting about 1,400 cases and 56 deaths.

The reporting out of China suggests the Chinese Communist Party is artificially pushing the new infections rate down, reporting fewer than 1,000 new cases in the past two weeks while the number of cases reported worldwide exceeded that in China on March 15 at 81,700 and is now rising rapidly. It is highly likely that the total infections numbers out of China cannot be trusted. In fact, Chinese authorities have been highly effective in preventing independent reporting out of Wuhan, forcing the outside world to rely solely on Beijing’s word.

So, should Americans be worried? Mounting evidence suggests that if you don’t smoke or aren’t 70 or older or have underlying health conditions, you’ll be fine—although you can spread it to other, more vulnerable people.

Risk Factors Vary by Person and Country

Some 319 million people in China smoke, about 23 percent of the population. In Italy, 19 percent of the population smokes. In South Korea, 40.7 percent of the male population smokes compared to 6.4 percent of the females. By comparison, about 37.8 million Americans smoke—18 percent of men and 14 percent of women.

Italy’s mortality numbers are further burdened by agedness. Italy has one of the oldest populations in the world, with almost 60 percent of Italians aged 40 and up and a national average age of 46. The median age in the United States is 38.2 years.

Even so, conflicting reports out of Italy suggest there may only be two people who died from the coronavirus who did not also present other pathologies. This, as Silvio Brusaferro, the president of the Higher Institute of Health in Rome, noted that, “Positive deceased patients have an average of over 80 years—80.3 to be exact—and are essentially predominantly male.” Only 25.8 percent of deaths attributed to the virus were women.

Lastly, when the virus makes Americans sick enough to seek medical attention, there’s one more advantage we have: the U.S. has almost three times the critical care beds per capita as does Italy, more than triple what South Korea has (where the death rate may be close to that of the flu, depending the number of mild, undiagnosed cases), and almost 10 times that in China.

Even as the Trump administration and state and local officials enact prudent measures and provide guidance to mitigate the rapid spread of the virus, coronavirus-induced panic may be overwrought. America will emerge just fine after the epidemic passes, and with some lasting benefits: a greater acceptance of telecommuting and distance learning.

Don’t Believe the Hype or Misinformation

Even so, there are troubling developments from unexpected quarters: both rumors and official misinformation seeking to blame America for the virus. When the virus was still largely confined to Wuhan, China, Islamists said it showed the “power of God” striking communists because “China declared war on Islam and Muslims and persecuted our brothers Uyghurs.”

In the Islamic Republic of Iran, the nation with the third-highest number of reported cases, 16,169, an Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps general said the coronavirus might be a U.S. biological weapon aimed at Iran and China.

More worrisome, this theme has been picked up by Chinese government officials. Last week, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, tweeted that the U.S. Army could be responsible for starting the epidemic in Wuhan during the Military World Games held from Oct. 18 through27.

This propaganda outburst led to a rare dressing down by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who warned China against promoting “outlandish rumors.” A State Department spokeswomen noted Pompeo “conveyed strong U.S. objection to [China’s] efforts to shift blame for COVID-19 to the United States” with his counterpart in Beijing. Last week the State Department summoned China’s ambassador to the United States to its headquarters to admonish him for his government spreading conspiracy theories.

Since then, word has leaked of Chinese state-run news (there is no other kind) showing the video of a man purported to be a U.S. soldier removing his facemask, sticking his finger in his mouth, then stroking a handhold. The Communist regime shows no sign of turning away from the contention that the United States purposefully infected China. This is why President Trump pointedly called the coronavirus the “Chinese virus.”

The People’s Republic of China’s burgeoning line of disinformation accusing the United States of being the origin of the deadly virus could be a casus belli. Lies often create a terrible logic of their own. Beijing’s lies have amplified the virus’ suffering and death and may, in their own right, prove far deadlier than the virus that emerged out of Wuhan.

Biden Calls Trump Racist For Stating The Fact That Wuhan Virus Began In China

Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden complained Thursday about President Donald Trump calling the Wuhan coronavirus “a foreign virus” in Wednesday’s Oval Office address.

“Labeling COVID-19 a foreign virus does not displace the accountability for the misjudgments that have taken place so far by the Trump administration,” Biden said. “The [Wuhan] coronavirus does not discriminate based on national origin, race, gender, or zip code.”

In Wednesday night’s primetime White House address announcing new travel restrictions to Europe, Trump pointed out that the novel coronavirus wreaking havoc on global public health and stock markets around the world began in China, accurately referring to it as a “foreign virus.” Many on the left, however, have been quick to decry the label as “racist” and “xenophobic,” although it’s common practice to identify a new disease with the site of its first outbreak, such as the West Nile virus and Spanish Flu.

In this case, however, it is even more important to identify the new coronavirus with where it originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, as the Chinese government attempted to cover up warnings and brushed off the threat of its severity, giving rise to what the World Health Organization has now declared a global pandemic.

On Thursday, Biden also criticized the administration’s decision to implement a near-total European travel ban recommended by White House public health advisors, with an exception for the United Kingdom.

“Banning all travel from Europe or any other part of the world may slow it, but…it will not stop it,” Biden warned.

In January, Biden also criticized as xenophobic the administration’s travel ban to China as the outbreak began to worsen, although it was instrumental in preventing an outbreak in the United States much sooner.

“This is no time for Donald Trump’s record of hysteria and xenophobia,” Biden said during an Iowa campaign event.

In response to Biden’s Thursday press conference, the Trump campaign put out a statement reminding the public of Biden’s opposition to the China travel ban.

“Just weeks ago, he was openly critical of President Trump’s early move to restrict travel from China to the United States in response to the coronavirus – a decision which medical experts agree helped impede the spread of the virus to this country,” Trump Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said. “President Trump acted early and decisively and has put the United States on stronger footing than other nations.”

Why CNN’s Normalizing Of A White Nationalist Matters

It’s transparent partisan attempt to smear Republican voters.

In 2016, a bunch of real-life white supremacists—not just Republicans who happen to disagree with the Democrats’ preferred immigration policy—put together a conferencein Washington, D.C., to attract attention. All kinds of major news networks dutifully showed up, because legacy media has something of a symbiotic relationship with the alt-right. White supremacists get to feed off of the preposterously outsized coverage they are given by histrionic journalists while journalists get to use white nationalists to smear Republicans.

In its report on the conference, NPR—which made sure to note what was implicit in most coverage: the Republican victory had given this once-fringe movement a “jolt”— noted that maybe 300 people, “split nearly evenly between conference attendees and protesters of the conference outside” had been on hand for the event. So maybe 150 people. To put this in perspective, there was—by far—more coverage of this idiotic get-together than there has ever been given to the March for Life, which pulls hundreds of thousands of people every year, or even this week’s progressive Netroots Nation, which, inconveniently, featured elected both elected Democrats and anti-Semites—sometimes simultaneously.

This kind of journalistic malpractice is just an upcycled version of one of those pieces lamenting the imaginary racist backlashagainst Disney remakes that, in actuality, amounts to nothing more than some random Twitter users acting like jackasses.

All of it caters to historical illiterates and partisans who act like every tax cut is another Reichstag fire.

Which brings me to the purpose of CNN featuring white supremacist Richard Spencer on as a pundit yesterday. These are kinds of people, you see, who say “love it or leave it.” These are the kinds of people who support the president. Literally, the chyron read, “White Nationalist who once backed Trump calls Trump’s racist tweets ‘red meat.’”

Spencer was there to reiterate a point. CNN and other networks have decided that Trump’s tweets are objectively racist and they will repeat that his tweets are racist hundreds of times a day just in case anyone disagrees. They won’t make the same kind of journalistic judgments about the anti-Semitism that infects a sizable faction of the progressive left. They won’t do the same for Ilhan Omar’s tweets.

Well, white nationalists get a “jolt” from Republicans winning elections in the same way terrorist Hamas or Antifa goons get a “jolt” from Democrats winning elections. CNN would never ask an Islamic radical or masked leftist arsonist to talk about Ilhan Omar’s anti-American sentiments in an effort to tacitly tie her to those groups.

There are plenty of articulate conservatives out there who don’t meltdown every time the president tweets something stupid. Whether you agree with them or not, they could easily have provided a pro-Trump perspective (which is what I imagine CNN was looking for but didn’t get, from Spencer).

Because there are basically two varieties of right-center guests that dominate these news shows. One is a centrist who is perpetually dismayed by what’s happened to the modern Republican Party. When it was Reagan, he pined for Eisenhower. When it was W., he pined for H.W. Now that it’s Trump, he pines for Reagan. The second is a cartoon avatar of what liberals imagine most Republicans are like. Basically, “Let’s go down to CPAC and find the biggest nut we can.” Guess what? It’s not hard to find a nut.

“Does a figure like Spencer disappear into the darkness when news outlets pretend he’s not there?” asked CNN’s Brian Stelter (hat tip (not that) Stephen Miller). Couldn’t the same be said about Alex Jones or any of the ugly conspiracy theorists that he and the other media pundit over at CNN were crusading to de-platform? CNN has taken the same kinds of demagogue, and put him on their news network—a network that doesn’t even pretend to be an open platform for millions of users, but one that chooses only a handful of guests every day to feature.

Moreover, Stelter’s argument is risible because Spencer wasn’t on CNN to respond to an investigation into the Nazi movement or some king of journalistic venture meant to remind us he is “there.” The interview was about Trump.

But to answer to Stelter’s question: yes. White nationalists have no genuine political power or support in this country. They are a fringe movement that sometimes resorts to violence and harassment, not a political entity with any legitimate power in American life. We should be thankful that very few people know who Spencer is—no thanks to CNN. Then again, no one does more to normalize these people than the media. And the reasons are transparently partisan.

New York Times Admits Obama Admin Deployed Multiple Spies Against Trump Campaign In 2016

The New York Times admitted on Thursday that the Obama administration deployed multiple spies against the Trump campaign in 2016, confirming recent comments by Attorney General William Barr that ‘spying did occur’ during the campaign.

Following months of angry claims by journalists and Democratic operatives that the Obama administration never spied on Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, The New York Times admitted Thursday that multiple overseas intelligence assets were deployed against associates of the Republican nominee. It is not the first time the Times has revealed widespread spying operations against the campaign.

In addition to noting that long-time informant Stefan Halper was tasked with collecting intelligence on the Trump campaign, the Times story details how a woman was sent overseas under a fake name and occupation to oversee the spy operation. The woman’s real name is not mentioned in the article, though the Times says she went by “Azra Turk” and has a relationship with an unidentified federal intelligence agency.

Halper was handpicked by a seasoned FBI counterintelligence agent out of the New York office, according to the article. While the Times does not identify the agent by name, the paper says the FBI agent spoke at a conference organized by Halper about a 2010 case involving Russians posing as Americans. The public schedule for a 2011 conference hosted by Halper about the exact same case shows that three FBI counterintelligence agents were invited to speak on the topic.

The three agents publicly identified as speaking at that conference on the topic are George J. Ennis, Jr., Alan E. Kohler, Jr., and Stephen M. Somma. Ennis currently serves as the special agent in charge in the FBI’s New York office, according to his LinkedIn profile, and worked closely with Preet Bharara, former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, a virulent anti-Trump activist whom the president fired in 2017.

The public schedule for a 2014 conference led by Halper shows that Kohler also spoke to the same group about the same Russian case on May 9, 2014.

“Alan Kohler the FBI representative at the United States Embassy in London will talk about the challenges of modern counter espionage: including the case of Anna Chapman and other Russian illegals,” the schedule noted.

A representative for the FBI’s office in Norfolk, where Kohler worked as of March 2017, said he is no longer with that office. The representative, who refused to provide her name, did not say when or why Kohler left that office or whether he was still employed by the FBI. The FBI’s New York office did not respond to queries about the current employment status of Kohler, Ennis, or Somma.

“Turk,” the U.S. intelligence operative who claimed to work as Halper’s assistant, had previously been identified to George Papadopoulos, whom she targeted, as a spy who rather blatantly tried to plumb him for information about Russia and other topics. After the Times published its article on “Turk,” Papadopolous wrote on Twitter that she “clearly was not FBI” and instead “was CIA and affiliated with Turkish intel.”

“She could hardly speak English and was tasked to meet me about my work in the energy sector offshore Israel/Cyprus which Turkey was competing with,” Papadopoulos wrote.

The NYT also admits in its article that the aggressive and unprecedented action of deploying spies and luring American targets overseas to collect intelligence on a rival political campaign “yielded no fruitful information.” It is not clear whether information collected by Halper and “Turk” was used to justify formal spy warrants against any U.S. citizens.

Why Leak This News Now?

The New York Times has repeatedly been used by FBI officials who ran the anti-Trump spy operation to launder damaging information that reflects poorly on the agency. Nearly a year ago, the Times confirmed that the U.S. intelligence apparatus was used to spy on Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

While that article included explosive revelations, it downplayed their significance and later curiously denied that any spying had ever occurred:

The F.B.I. investigated four unidentified Trump campaign aides in those early months, congressional investigators revealed in February. The four men were Michael T. Flynn, Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said …

The F.B.I. obtained phone records and other documents using national security letters — a secret type of subpoena — officials said. And at least one government informant met several times with Mr. Page and Mr. Papadopoulos, current and former officials said.

In that case, the ostensible purpose of the leak was to get ahead of what congressional investigators had figured out: the Obama administration targeted the Trump campaign with secret informants.

The leak that fueled the Thursday NYT bombshell was likely placed in anticipation of the formal release of even more damaging information about how U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies potentially abused their authority to punish the government’s political enemies. The article specifically references the forthcoming release of an extensive inspector general review of potential improprieties at the Department of Justice (DOJ).

By leaking the information to the friendliest of friendly reporters, including Michael Schmidt at the Times, the individuals who ran the anti-Trump operation are likely hoping to spin the news in their favor.

This Explains the Anti-Barr Freakout

So long as anti-Trump operatives controlled the FBI and DOJ, this type of leaking and concealing of information worked well. Most major media outlets have chosen to ignore the spying scandal in favor of non-stop anti-Trump advocacy. That left actual fact-finding and truth-seeking to a small group of media outlets and a handful of elected lawmakers tasked with oversight of the nation’s spy agencies.

When William Barr took over as attorney general, it was the first time in years the agency had any real political accountability. Trump’s first attorney general recused himself from overseeing anything related to the 2016 campaign, and his deputy who took over is alleged to have been involved in a conspiracy to oust the president.

While Barr was adamant that Mueller’s special counsel probe be unimpeded and his report fully published, he scared the anti-Trump forces in and out of government when he said spying on opposing political campaigns is inappropriate. His public vow to examine whether the widespread spying operation against Trump and his affiliates was lawful and appropriate sent shockwaves through an organized anti-Trump political operation that had completely controlled the narrative until recently.

Reason Democrats Hate Bill Barr

The day of Attorney General Bill Barr’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week, there was, as always, a selective leak dropped into the fray. With bated breath, we learned Special Counsel Robert Mueller had sent the attorney general a sternly worded letter grousing that Barr’s four-page March 24 explanation of the core conclusions of the Mueller report “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of the Mueller’s “work and conclusions.”

The customary histrionics followed. Posturing Democrats on the judicial committee gave long soliloquies on Barr’s treacherous behavior. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D–HI) accusedthe attorney general of abusing his office and lying to Congress, and many others demanded his resignation. The usual suspects called for impeachment.

Barr had apparently masterminded the most inept cover-up in history, first by accurately laying out the outcome of the special counsel’s investigation. Then, after some light redactions (none instigated by the president), by releasing the report to the public so everyone in the entire world could read it for themselves.

Now, if a fresh observer to the Russia collusion circus only heard from Democrats, he might not know that the Mueller report had been public for weeks—sifted through and debated extensively. He certainly wouldn’t know that no criminality was uncovered. But most people heard something else. And Barr’s greatest sin had been preempting the collusion spin for the first time.

In his initial letter, the attorney general informed the public, before media was able to manipulate and confuse the core findings, that, despite its best efforts, the special counsel—an open-ended, unimpeded investigation with virtually no oversight—couldn’t find evidence to corroborate the prevailing myth that had been perpetuated for more than two years by Democrats and the political media.

By accurately conveying that the investigation had exonerated Trump and his administration of criminal conspiracy or coordination with the Russians, two years of ostensibly serious reporting was exposed as little more than Resistance fan fiction. Rather than take a moment’s self-reflection about how their actions had caused unprecedented political chaos, undermined trust in the electoral system, and crowded out legitimate coverage of the presidency, the entire collusion industry just moved its frenzied focus onto an obstruction.

Well, under oath, the attorney general confirmed that he had spoken to Mueller on the phone and that the special counsel had been “very clear” that the AG’s letter laying out the conclusions was not inaccurate. There’s been no evidence to contradict his claim.

The AG’s letter had also accurately conveyed that Mueller, who it seems spent a lot of his efforts ferreting out unseemly Trumpian outbursts rather than finding nefarious Russians, punted on charges of obstruction. Volume II of the Mueller report, on the issue of obstruction, reads like a political document meant to incite Democrats into doing what the investigation did not. And that is Barr’s other sin: refusing to play Mueller’s game.

As National Review’s Rich Lowry noted, Mueller’s letter “shows how the special counsel—or people around him—was deeply concerned about the political spin around the report, especially if it wasn’t damaging enough to Trump.” It’s quite telling that for more than two years, the Mueller team only once thought it important enough to debunk the media’s misleading coverage of collusion (and this, probably when the investigation was functionally over) when there were dozens of instances that could have warranted a similar reaction.

According to the law, Mueller’s job ended when he handed in his report to the attorney general. Yet Barr, who was under no legal obligation to release any of the findings, offered Mueller a chance to review his letter before sending it to Congress. Mueller reportedly declined, only offering his own summary after the Barr letter had been released.

For Democrats and their allies, an investigation “not clearing” someone makes that someone as good as guilty if he happens to be a Republican. Sen. Kamala Harris (D–CA) actually accused Barr of failing to revisitthe underlying evidence in Mueller’s report before making a decision on obstruction. The same Democrats who acted apoplectic when Barr took a couple of weeks to go through redactions in the 400-page report want Trump’s AG to sift through the underlying evidence of a two-year, $35 million investigation and make his own recommendations … when, a year from now? What was the point of the Mueller report, then?

Barr accepted the finding of the special counsel and made his legal judgment based on the evidence and arguments as outlined by Mueller. If Democrats disagree with his legal reasoning, they have a constitutional remedy called impeachment. Are all the liberal pundits and news outlets pretending that Harris’s line of inquiry is shrewd, really arguing that Barr should act as if there might be a smoking gun buried in the evidence that Mueller himself didn’t deem worthy to bring forward in his report? What would the reaction be if Barr investigated and found the evidence less compelling than the Mueller report’s framing? Would Democrats accept Barr’s findings? It’s absurd, and another sign of how this is all just partisan bluster.

Another thing Mueller didn’t seem at all concerned about was whether the Trump-Russian collusion conspiracy had been initiated or stoked by Russians. Those clamoring for transparency when useful—now acting as if investigating how the entire country was thrown into a panic over non-existent Russian infiltration of the White House is absurd—are the true conspiracy theorists.

Yet Barr, who dropped some interesting tidbits in yesterday’s hearings, seems willing to investigate the impetus of the Russia “collusion” investigation, the role of the infamous dossier, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants used by the previous administration for “spying.” Now that Trump has been cleared of criminal conspiracy, it seems reasonable for the American people to have an understanding of how the Obama administration rationalized spying on its political rivals during a presidential election.

Perhaps it will be vindicated, or perhaps someone will find evidence of abuse of power. Either way, in a healthy media environment, such a story would launch a massive investigatory effort. Today, it seems, the political media would rather engage in a concerted effort with Democrats to preemptively smear Barr.

DOJ Reviewing Whether Steele Dossier Was Russian Disinformation

At a Wednesday hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General William Barr said his department is reviewing whether the discredited Steele dossier is evidence of a Russian disinformation campaign. Asked about that possibility by Sen. John Cornyn (R–TX) Barr noted he was “concerned about it.”

Cornyn prefaced his inquiry to Barr by noting Christopher Steele’s links to the Clinton campaign in 2016, describing him as “a former British intelligence officer hired to do opposition research by the Hillary Clinton campaign on her political adversaries including President Trump, or candidate Trump at that time.” The Steele dossier was used in 2016 by the FBI to obtain the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants on Carter Page, who had worked previously for the Trump campaign.

“How do we know that the Steele dossier is not itself evidence of Russian disinformation campaign, knowing what we know now, that basically, the allegations made therein were secondhand, hearsay, or unverified?” Cornyn asked Barr. “Can we state with confidence that the Steele dossier was not part of the Russian disinformation campaign?”

In his response to Cornyn, Barr said the Justice Department is reviewing that possibility.

“No, I can’t state that with confidence,” Barr told the committee. “And that is one of the areas that I’m reviewing. I’m concerned about it, and I don’t think it’s entirely speculative.”

5 Times The Mueller Probe Broke Prosecutorial Rules That Ensure Justice

There are rules against using the power and authority of a prosecutor to smear a defendant without giving him his day in court.

CNN recently published an article arguing that Special Counsel Robert Mueller should not have issued a report suggesting the president may have committed obstruction of justice without actually reaching this conclusion. CNN is obviously disappointed because inside the leftist echo chamber the obstruction case seems indisputable.

For example, the Mueller report suggests that the president committed some kind of sin for wanting to fire former FBI director James Comey for being a party to the plot to blackmail or frame the president. Some believe presidents should fire FBI chiefs who participate in hoaxes against their boss.

Mueller did no favor to CNN’s client Democrats, who now face three terrible choices: (1) Impeach President Trump using their majority in the House, which will lead to a self-destructive trial in the Senate; (2) Drop it and move on in defiance of a rabid get-Trump base; or (3) use their majority in the House to drag the country through a Mueller 2.0 investigation, which runs the risk of distracting from Democratic messaging in the upcoming 2020 election.

Like Aesop’s scorpion on the frog’s back, the partisans on Mueller’s team just couldn’t help themselves. The Mueller report poisons public opinion without bringing charges. It should have been written on a postcard because the outcome of a criminal proceeding is binary: Guilty or not guilty. There’s no middle ground under constitutional principles. President Trump is not guilty until the Senate convicts him otherwise.

Do you remember why Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote that Comey should be fired? If Rosenstein is still capable of embarrassment, it must have been hard to stand behind the lectern as he did what he has told us prosecutors and cops should never do.

Let’s review his words about Comey: “the [FBI]Director ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation. Derogatory information sometimes is disclosed in the course of criminal investigations and prosecutions, but we never release it gratuitously. The Director laid out his version of the facts for the news media as if it were a closing argument, but without a trial. It is a textbook example of what federal prosecutors and agents are taught not to do.”

Yet here we are, at the end of another highly political investigation with another public trashing of a target without indictment. People accused of “obstruction” or “collusion” (whatever that is) or any other crime are supposed to get their day in court. Prosecutors aren’t supposed to use the newspaper as a courtroom.

There are rules against using the power and authority of a prosecutor to smear a defendant without giving him his day in court. If Democrats impeach the president, he will receive a long-overdue opportunity to defend himself in the Senate. That is exactly why it will never happen.

Americans should be concerned about the conduct of the Mueller probe and its supervisor, Rosenstein. Let’s take a look at some of the basic law-and-order rules Mueller and Rosenstein broke during the probe of the Russia collusion hoax.

1. Using Leaks And Press Conferences to Trash Un-charged Targets

Rule 3.8 of the American Bar Association’s rules of professional responsibility for prosecutors provides,

A prosecutor shall, except for statements that are necessary to inform the public of the nature and extent of the prosecutor’s action and that serve a legitimate law enforcement purpose, refrain from making extrajudicial comments that have a substantial likelihood of heightening public condemnation of the accused and exercise reasonable care to prevent investigators, law enforcement personnel, employees or other persons assisting or associated with the prosecutor in a criminal case from making an extrajudicial statement that the prosecutor would be prohibited from making under Rule 3.6 or this Rule.

Mueller’s team violated this rule from virtually day one, and their final report makes no effort to hide this fact. Footnotes 561-563 cite news accounts that the president was being investigated for obstruction of justice. The sources for those news accounts? Likely Mueller’s team.

Much of the “obstruction” evidence comes from the statements of White House counsel John McGahn. We’ve known since at least January of 2018 about McGahn’s statement from “four people told of the matter.” Who would four people be who would confirm what McGahn said? Again, likely the leaks came from Mueller’s team.

For a longer list of Mueller leaks, read here. In fact, the entire report relies heavily on news accounts and indictments, neither of which constitute evidence but do remain effective for public reputation smearing.

Rosenstein, always an excellent source of legal guidance he liberally violates, spectacularly failed to direct Mueller to adhere to this principle, ““The guidance I always gave my prosecutors and the agents I worked with during my tenure on the front lines of law enforcement were if we aren’t prepared to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt in court, then we have no business making allegations against American citizens.”

So why didn’t he order Mueller to edit out the report’s innuendo and accusation that the team did not have the gumption to prosecute? Rosenstein understands the unfairness of what he did. And he did it anyway.

2. Using Their Power to Crush Client-Attorney Privilege

Rule 3.8 also provides,

A prosecutor shall not subpoena a lawyer in a grand jury or other criminal proceedings to present evidence about a past or present client unless the prosecutor reasonably believes:

(1) the information sought is not protected from disclosure by any applicable privilege;

(2) the evidence sought is essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation or prosecution; and

(3) there is no other feasible alternative to obtain the information;

When one considers the fact that Mueller knew early on, if not from day one, that there was no Russia collusion, it’s pretty hard to argue that the special counsel’s many invasions of attorney-client privilege were “essential to the successful completion of an ongoing investigation.”

Mueller has inflicted incalculable damage to the sacred principle of attorney-client privilege. We now know that prosecutors had search warrants collecting electronic files of the president’s private attorney within weeks of the special counsel appointment. Mueller’s team went on to coordinate a raid of Michael Cohen’s office, leading to shocking and public invasions of the attorney-client privilege.

One of Mueller’s first acts was the warrantless seizure of all of the president-elect’s emails for the entire team without regard to privilege. Add to that the now-public disclosure of Trump’s communication with McGahn, which resulted in no illegal presidential action.

We want our president, and all Americans, to be able to have a confidential conversation with his legal advisor, possibly blowing off steam or even contemplating unwise acts, without those conversations ending up in a special counsel report. It is the essence of an attorney-client relationship that the attorney is given the opportunity to confidentially guide his client away from rash action.

Because of the damage, Mueller has done, future presidents may now avoid their White House counsel for fear that a special counsel will publicize the conversation. Instead, the president may act without counsel. That’s bad.

3. Prosecuting Despite Knowing They Can’t Prove Their Case

Rule 3.8 also provides “The prosecutor in a criminal case shall: refrain from prosecuting a charge that the prosecutor knows is not supported by probable cause.”

Notwithstanding that the key collusion allegation had already been disproven before Mueller first turned on the lights in the special counsel’s office, for nearly two years Mueller has been trying President Trump in the court of public opinion. This is more than a mere expression. The venue for trying the president is in the Senate under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, and the constitutional framers always intended that senators make their decisions based in part on the opinions of the electorate they represent.

There’s no apparent legitimate explanation for the Mueller probe to have continued the “hunt” for Russia collusion after both the House and Senate concluded their investigations finding the same thing Mueller eventually admitted. Yet another election in 2018 proceeded under that cloud and the Democrats made significant gains from motivated voters looking forward to the impeachment of a Russia-colluding president. Was the investigation left open just to gin up process crimes and tempt the president to “obstruct” an otherwise stationary investigation?

Imagine responding to a subpoena from Mueller and having to cough up voluminous financial and personal records. Now consider the fact that Mueller issued approximately 2,800 subpoenas—almost six per business day while the probe remained open. How on earth did they even review that much information?

Imagine yourself sitting through an interview with an FBI agent that might last hours. Imagine trying hard to answer the same question over and over again without contradicting yourself. Imagine searching your memory for what you said in an email or text message years ago, praying your memory remains true lest you be charged with a felony.

Now consider that 500 Americans were interrogated by federal agents during the probe—one per business day. Finally, imagine federal agents looking through your private email, pictures, and other electronic data. Imagine FBI agents swarming your house with guns drawn. Mueller executed approximately 500 search warrants against our fellow Americans, all to no end.

4. Special Counsels Aren’t Supposed to Be a Partisan Hit Squad

Federal law regarding the “Independence of the Special Counsel” says: “An individual named as Special Counsel shall be a lawyer with a reputation for integrity and impartial decisionmaking, …. The Special Counsel shall be selected from outside the United States Government.”

Mueller should not have been selected as the special counsel, due to his close personal relationship with Comey. Further, his entire staff was clearly not impartial.

As one example, the prominent attorney Jeannie Rhee worked for the Clintons to keep Hillary’s emails out of public view only months before joining the Mueller team to investigate Hillary’s political opponent. Clinton might face legal consequences for secretly starting the Russia collusion hoax using campaign funds.

Is it a surprise that Clinton’s role in hiring Fusion GPS appears nowhere in the report? Instead, on the very first page of the report, Mueller’s team repeats the myth that the investigation began with Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos bragging to an Australian diplomat. This is the desperate cover story the media pushes to hide Clinton’s obvious effort to use campaign money to frame her political opponent.

Prosecuting Papadopoulos was key to advancing this myth because it distorted an early but innocuous “Russia has dirt” conversation into a sinister predicate for the entire hoax. Who worked on the Papadopoulos prosecutions? Jeannie Rhee.

Many of the other investigators involved in the investigation were “not from outside the United States Government,” and were already heavily involved in the hoax. You can read an in-depth analysis of the partisanship of the Mueller team here and here. This is not only a terrible look but actually contradicts federal law governing special counsels. Does anyone care?

5. Rosenstein Used His Government Position to Protect Himself

Federal conflict of interest law (28 C.F.R. § 45.2 (a)) says:

Unless authorized under paragraph (b) of this section, no employee shall participate in a criminal investigation or prosecution if he has a personal or political relationship with: (1) Any person or organization substantially involved in the conduct that is the subject of the investigation or prosecution; or (2) Any person or organization which he knows has a specific and substantial interest that would be directly affected by the outcome of the investigation or prosecution.

The Mueller report repeatedly references the indispensable role Rosenstein played as a witness (when he was supposedly supervising the investigation). As I predicted, the special counsel found no fault with Rosenstein’s participation in the Comey firing. Would Rosenstein have approved a report that said otherwise?

Of course not. This created a powerful motive for Rosenstein to hang around until the report was submitted. And that’s exactly what he did. Consider this line from the report: “Sessions and Rosenstein criticized Corney and did not raise concerns about replacing him. McGahn and Dhillon said the fact that neither Sessions nor Rosenstein objected to replacing Corney gave them peace of mind that the President’s decision to fire Corney was not an attempt to obstruct justice.”

What’s missing? Oh, how about a little post-Comey firing incident in which Rosenstein discussed recording his conversation with the president in order to recruit cabinet members to oust Trump under the 25th Amendment. One can imagine the awkward conversation in which Mueller asked Rosenstein for permission to interview Rosenstein.

Footnote 426 specifically cites Rosenstein’s May 23, 2017 statement to the special counsel as evidence. May 23, 2017? That’s less than a week after Rosenstein appointed Mueller to investigate the president for firing Comey. The conflict of interest was known immediately and should have been addressed.

The explanation justifying Rosenstein’s continued participation is nonsensical. In any case, Rosenstein should not have overseen the investigation into the president’s motives because, guess what, the investigator ended up taking a view of the facts that helped Rosenstein.

The get-Trump crowd has been carrying the scorpion of the Mueller investigation on their backs for nearly two years. The damage this has done to America may never be undone. The zealots claiming Trump to be a threat to the rule of law have proven themselves right by using their outrage to trample important constitutional principles such as the presumption of innocence, the right to defend oneself from criminal accusations, attorney-client privilege, and the right to be free from unreasonable searches.

None of that seemed important if we truly had a Russian agent occupying the White House. But we don’t. The anti-Trump zealots, not Trump, threatened these cherished principles that ensure equal treatment under the law for all Americans, even the president, regardless of the political party.

Show Of Hands If The U.S. Media Are The Clowns In The Russian Collusion

The mainstream media convinced a large portion of the American public that their elected president was illegitimate, playing straight into Vladimir Putin’s hands.

For the past two years, the mainstream media has reported hysterically on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. To listen to their apoplectic rants, one would believe it was the first time the Russians had ever interfered in U.S. domestic affairs.

Although this falsehood played embarrassingly well with cable news audiences, one doesn’t have to consult a CIA historian to realize that Russia has actively engaged in meddling and disinformation operations for decades to sow discord among Americans and undermine their confidence in U.S. institutions.

The 2016 Russian disinformation campaign was indisputably Russia’s most successful anti-USA propaganda operation to date. It divided families, ruptured friendships, and caused millions of Americans to question the legitimacy of their country’s leader and the system that elected him.

However, Vladimir Putin’s golden arrow was not the half-million dollars of social media advertisements and posts that seeded this turmoil, it was Russian intelligence’s minor contribution to Christopher Steele’s dossier, solicited by the Hillary Clinton campaign. What’s painfully ironic is that it did not cost Putin a dime. In fact, he likely pocketed a few Rubles from it.

The Steele Dossier

This Steele dossier was the predication of the investigation into President Donald Trump, which has been at the epicenter of the country’s deep divide. The dossier was a weapon, but like all weapons, Putin needed hands to wield it: He needed accomplices. Who would put the weapon into action? Who would spread the deception to the American people and convince them that their lives and their country lay in the hands of a deranged lunatic who answered to a foreign power?

Apparently, Putin understood all too well the misplaced loyalties of the leadership Barack Obama placed in America’s judicial and intelligence institutions. He also understood the American media’s disdain for Republican presidents. He observed the escalation of the media’s attacks on Republican presidents since Ronald Reagan, and the media’s willingness to engage in lies and deception.

Although Putin is an intelligent and calculating villain, never in his wildest dreams could he have imagined such success from so little effort. It is likely he underestimated how hellbent the corrupt government officials and an unscrupulous media were to overturn the will of the American people.

Obama’s Deep State actors ran with Putin’s disinformation to initiate an unprecedented investigation on a sitting president—an investigation that lacked a shred of credible evidence to justify any level of investigation. Nonetheless, anything as illegal as an attempted soft coup predicated on knowingly false, malicious, unsubstantiated reports requires accomplices.

The perpetrators needed to convince the American people that their seditious activities had merit, so messaging to the American people needed to be consistent and repetitive. It required constant bombardment, day and night, of accusations bolstered by convincing charlatans to erode any doubt in the minds of the media audience that their outlandish accusations were true.

The Media’s Role

Working together and coordinating their false pretenses, the mainstream media were successful. They convinced a large portion of the American public that their elected president was illegitimate. They convinced many that their election system and their governing documents were flawed. In doing so, they fomented discord and pitted American against American. In short, the American media accomplished Putin’s goals.

We now know that neither President Trump nor anyone in his campaign or administration coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 elections. We know that the Steele dossier, developed in collaboration with Russian intelligence operatives, was the basis for the investigation into President Trump. We are all aware of the damage this investigation and the false allegations made daily in the mainstream media did to the country in terms of financial costs, diverting attention and resources from real issues, while dividing the country.

In light of what has been learned, who should Americans blame for the fraud perpetrated on the country? Who should be the focus of the country’s ire? Putin? That would be like sticking your hand in the lions’ cage and being angry at the lion for biting you. The finger should be pointed inward.

Those who serve in government positions should be trusted to do what is right and in the country’s best interests. The mainstream media should be trusted to inform the American people objectively and honestly. Both failed. However, the actions of a few bad apples in government, fueled by the accusations of a global foe, would not have been successful without the efforts of an army of journalists who worked tirelessly to convince the American people of a lie.

The sensible response of Americans would be to accept the phony Russian collusion story as a fraud and move on as a united country. Yet the mainstream media will not let this happen. They continue to hold the country hostage by continuing their baseless attacks. They continue to sow discord among Americans and undermine Americans’ faith in their government, all to Putin’s delight.

Putin will never change. He will continue to meddle in America’s domestic affairs and elections. He will continue to sow discord and undermine the U.S. government. Putin hardly needs to plant spies and engage in social media disinformation campaigns anymore. He’ll still do that, but that’s not where he’ll get the most bang for his buck.

Putin has found a loyal ally in America’s mainstream media. As he learned in 2016, he needs to do very little, as his collaborators will do his heavy lifting. As long as Putin and the American mainstream media share the same goals, America will remain divided. Unless Americans learn to change the channel.

7 Glaring Omissions In The Mueller Report That Kill Its Credibility

Robert Mueller’s special counsel was presented to the American public as unimpeachable. From its beginning, a distinct minority in politics and media, including several Federalist writers, were skeptical, citing the special counsel’s past prosecutorial abuses, the past alleged misconduct of its pivotal investigators, and the team’s peculiar partisan makeup.

Once in action, its seemingly limitless powers, heavy-handed usage of such powers, and more questionable if not dubious indictmentsfar removed from “collusion,” seemed to confirm our worst fears. While there is much within the Mueller report that further suggests this skepticism was well-founded, what is perhaps most probative is what the report omitted.

The following are seven of the most glaring omissions from the collusion section of the redacted Mueller report—since collusion, not obstruction, was the theory from which the investigation stemmed.

1. No Attempt to Grapple with the Investigation’s Troubling Underpinnings

Russiagate in many ways appears to be the fruit of a poisonous tree of epic proportions. Allegations of a treasonous Russian conspiracy led to beyond novel legal theories, including the ludicrous invocation of the Logan Act, pervasive unmasking, spying on a presidential campaign by a political adversary based in part on a salacious and unverified dossier gleaned from sketchy Russian sources by a foreign agent and paid for by an opposition campaign, chicanerous circularity in the warrants backing the spying, the use of informants to perhaps entrap campaign members, a deluge of leaks (some of which were illegal), and much else.

We can layer on top of these malevolent acts the biases, ethical infractions, outright criminality, and clear double standards applied by law enforcement figures common to the Trump-Russia and Hillary Clinton emails investigations.

The collusion section of the Mueller special counsel report barely addresses any of the foregoing. How could such an investigation have any credibility without dealing with any, if not all of these issues?

2. No Discussion of Whether the Special Counsel’s Appointment Was Legitimate

From the special counsel’s inception, former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy and others have harped on a single fundamental question: Was the special counsel appointed in accordance with Department of Justice (DOJ) regulations?

A special counsel must be appointed based on a criminal investigation. The Mueller special counsel stemmed from a counterintelligence investigation. A special counsel’s scope must be tailored to “a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” The Mueller special counsel order did not seem to adhere to this standard, and in practice, its scope was virtually unlimited.

The Mueller report does not even attempt to address this basic challenge to its legitimacy. Nor does it deal with the arguable conflicts of interest and improper actions taken by those associated with its creation, including former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, former FBI director James Comey, and the man overseeing the special counsel, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who, as Sean Davis points out, was a participant, witness, and perhaps target of the investigation himself.

3. No Discussion of Special Counsel’s Perceived Bias

The appearance of conflict based upon the composition of the special counsel team is striking. To highlight the affiliations of just a few members: Andrew Weissmann attended Hillary Clinton’s election night 2016 party and cheered on Obama DOJ holdover and former acting attorney general Sally Yates’ defying of a directive from President Trump.

Jeannie Rhee represented Hillary Clinton in a lawsuit regarding her private emails, as well as the Clinton Foundation, and previously served as a deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration. Aaron Zebley defended former Hillary Clinton staffer Justin Cooper, who installed her infamous private email server.

Democrats with deep ties to the administration under which the Russia investigations commenced, as well as Donald Trump’s presidential opponent, predominated in the special counsel’s office. Meanwhile, Mueller, as former FBI director, was a creature of the political establishment, and the institutions from which the investigations sprung. That his report does not grapple with any of the misconduct of the high-ranking individuals behind those investigations in and of itself raises questions.

One would think Mueller would have at least sought to create the appearance of neutrality among the investigators, especially given the anti-Trump biases exposed in the investigations preceding it. Yet Mueller did not, nor did he apparently feel it necessary to address this issue in his report. In fact, he fails even to discuss the circumstances surrounding the removal from his team of its most outspoken Trump hater known to the public, fired FBI agent Peter Strzok.

4. Skating Over the Papadopoulos Predicate for the Collusion Investigations

The Mueller report asserts that the investigation into collusion began when a foreign official (presumably unnamed former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer) told the FBI that Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos conveyed to him that the Russians had “dirt” on Hillary Clinton that could help the Trump campaign. There is not even an attempt to grapple with the theory that Papadopoulos was set up, based on sketchy approaches from U.S. government informants and foreign counterparts who seemed to be fishing for validation from Papadopoulos that he had knowledge about this Russian “dirt.”

The focus of Papadopoulos’ contacts is Joseph Mifsud, who is described as “a London-based professor who had connections to Russia…” The Mueller report omits that Mifsud, who made the original claim to Papadopoulos about Russian dirt that Papadopoulos then regurgitated, also had extensive ties to Western intelligence agencies.

Was Mifsud planting this information on Papadopoulos? On whose behalf? Meanwhile, such contacts seem an awfully thin starting point for such a critical investigation. Yet the Mueller report fails to give a thorough explanation for why Papadopoulos’ contacts justified the start of the Trump-Russia investigation.

5. Never Mentions Steele or His Dossier in the ‘Collusion’ Section

Amazingly, in spite of the centrality of former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele’s so-called dossier to former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page’s Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant applications, and the dossier’s dissemination across the highest levels of the intelligence community and law enforcement, neither Steele nor his dossier are mentioned once in the collusion section of the Mueller report. Steele and his “reporting” solely appear in the obstruction section of the report, largely in passing.

The paucity of attention to Steele’s work—and its origin, how and to whom it was disseminated, and what role it played in the “collusion” investigation—smacks of an attempt to downplay its significance.

6. Excluding Relevant Information About Numerous Actors

It is simply stunning the level of exculpatory evidence or at least needed context the Mueller report omits. While Steele and his dossier merit their own section, there are several other significant examples:

  • Steele’s benefactor and Fusion GPS colleague, its founder Glenn Simpson, are never mentioned by name.
  • Relatedly, critical information about Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya is missing. In relevant passages about Veselnitskaya and the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower “bombshell” turned dud meeting she led, the Mueller special counsel fails to mention that Veselnitskaya (i) worked with Fusion GPS on behalf of Russian clients, and (ii) met with Simpson the morning of the Trump Tower meeting, as well as the night before and after it. Was the Trump Tower meeting, as journalist Lee Smith has hypothesized, a setup? The Mueller report omits the critical details that would underpin such a theory. Also unclear, and undisclosed is why the Justice Department granted Veselnitskaya special entry to the United States multiple times in 2015 and 2016.
  • In discussing Page’s background, the Mueller report notes his contacts with Russian agents, who supposedly tried to recruit him as an asset, beginning in 2013. The report notes that those agents were charged by U.S. authorities in 2015. What the Mueller report omits is that Page effectively served as an FBI asset in helping the bureau make the case against at least one of the agents. Further, one of the agents charged described Page in a secret recording as an “idiot.” Are not these facts relevant when Page was put under FISA surveillance and treated as a traitor?
  • The Mueller report describes Felix Sater as a “New York-based real estate advisor” who worked with and lobbied disgraced former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen extensively in an effort to execute the Trump Tower Moscow project, touting its political benefits and the ability to garner support from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Not mentioned is Sater’s colorful background: The Soviet Union-born Sater spun a stock swindling conviction into a lengthy career as a major CIA, DIA, and FBI asset, participating in numerous critical operations. Was Sater planted in the Trump organization? While he disputes it, should not the special counsel have included this full background, and sought to remove all doubt?
  • The Mueller report ties former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to Russia by way of his prior work for Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. Not mentioned: Deripaska had served as an asset to Mueller’s FBI dating back to 2009; he was sought out by senior DOJ official Bruce Ohr and FBI in 2015 to help on organized crime investigations; FBI agents reportedly floated the theory of Trump-Russia collusion to Deripaska two months before the 2016 election, which Deripaska dismissed out of hand. None of this was mentioned in the Mueller report. Why?
  • The Mueller report references Roger Stone and Trump campaign advisor Michael Caputo’s contacts with a Russian citizen named Henry Oknyansky. Oknyansky and an associate supposedly came to Stone by way of Caputo seeking to sell “derogatory information” on Hillary Clinton. Stone rebuffed them. Left unstated: Oknyansky, according to federal court filings and 14 visa waivers, has been an FBI informant for nearly two decades. Did he approach the Trump campaign in such a capacity?
  • Last but not least, intelligence informant on the Trump campaign Stefan Halper, who made contact with both Papadopoulos and Page, is never mentioned in the Mueller report.

7. Raising Potential Russia Violations about Trump Not Applied to Clinton

The Mueller report explores the novel theory that the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between senior campaign officials and Veselnitskya could have had campaign finance law implications. While it ultimately declines to assert any such violations, it notes:

[C]andidate-related opposition research given to a campaign for the purpose of influencing an election could constitute a contribution to which the foreign-source ban could apply. A campaign can be assisted not only by the provision of funds but also by the provision of derogatory information about an opponent. Political campaigns frequently conduct and pay for opposition research. A foreign entity that engaged in such research and provided resulting information to a campaign could exert a greater effect on an election, and a greater tendency to ingratiate the donor to the candidate, than a gift of money or tangible things of value.

The above well describes the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funding of the Steele dossier. On this basis, and considering Rosenstein’s desire to “ensure a full and thorough investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election,” should not the special counsel’s office have investigated the Clinton campaign for campaign finance violations associated with the Steele dossier?

The special counsel appears to have purposely sought to exclude any details pointing to an attempt to frame the Trump campaign by doctoring a Trump-Russia collusion narrative and entrapping campaign members, in spite of the fact there was no collusion, and ample evidence backing such a theory.

It simply ignored the real or perceived deficiencies of the special counsel’s investigation. It also refused to call into question any of the defects associated with the investigations that preceded it.

These takeaways challenge the idea that the special counsel engaged in anything resembling an intellectually honest, objective, and good faith investigation. Rather, it would seem to indicate that wittingly or unwittingly, this was more politicized smear job and de facto coverup.

Then, although “collusion” was the starting point for the special counsel’s investigation, when the Mueller team found none it nevertheless proceeded to obstruction. But there was nothing to obstruct. The Mueller special counsel could have ended its report at Volume I because absent Volume I there could be no Volume 2.

By presenting the collusion section as it did, similarly to the obstruction section, the counsel damaged the Trump administration to the greatest extent possible without affirming its criminality. It seems that Mueller pulled a Comey.

We must have a thorough investigation of the investigators. The growing cacophony of attacks on Attorney General William Barr is a testament to it.

Democratic Presidential Primary Is An Arms Race In Crazy

When asked at a CNN town hall this week if he believed that incarcerated felons should be allowed to vote, socialist presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders responded: “This is a democracy and we have got to expand that democracy, and I believe every single person does have the right to vote.”

What about someone like Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bomber? “Yes,” Sanders went on, “even for terrible people, because once you start chipping away and you say, ‘Well, that guy committed a terrible crime, not going to let him vote. Well, that person did that. Not going to let that person vote,’ you’re running down a slippery slope.”

Slippery slope, indeed.

After spending decades incessantly repeating the “America is a democracy” lie—liberals, of course, tend to scoff when you point out this jejune detail —the only logical conclusion, ideologically speaking, is terrorist suffrage, I guess. “Every vote” means every vote.

Now, there’s a rational argument to be made for allowing Americans who have served their time and paid their debt to society to fully participate in American political life. Certainly those who’ve never committed violent crimes shouldn’t have to surrender their civic rights forever. The notion that incarcerated murderers should be weighing in on gun laws or that child molesters should have a say on local school bond issues or that a terrorist’s vote should have an effect on American foreign policy, however, undercuts the liberal contention that casting a ballot is a sacred act.

Most of the cynical anti-republican ideas that Democrats are willing to entertain these days—getting rid of Electoral College, giving children the right to vote, etc.— are popular because gullible activist types believe they would create more Democrats. There’s probably a better way to rally support for the Green New Deal than enlisting the Unabomber’s support. (Then again, when we consider the specifics, maybe not.)

There’s no denying that Sanders’ collectivist ideas have gained traction on the contemporary left. Sanders—a Marxist who spent time in the Soviet Union praising a system that offered no genuine voting rights to anyone; not even to the political prisoners being held in the still functioning-Gulag—could have been the nominee of the Democratic Party in 2016 had the primaries been run “democratically.” He’s certainly not alone.

In this crowded primary field, even allegedly moderate Democrats can’t say “no” to every extreme idea for fear of being cast from the group. The same night as Sanders’ CNN town hall, another presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, was asked the same question: “People who are convicted, in prison, like the Boston Marathon bomber, on death row, people who are convicted of sexual assault, they should be able to vote?” asked Don Lemon.

“I think we should have that conversation,” Harris responded.

CNN helpfully notes that this was a “noncommittal answer.” Technically, it’s true. I’ve already seen reporters laying the groundwork to rationalize her comments. In fact, I look forward to the 2,000 “fact check” articles next year explaining why the GOP is wrong to tie Harris to this idea. But try, if you can, to imagine a Republican candidate acquiescing to a discussion about the prospects of giving mass-murdering white supremacists a vote, and I’m sure you can understand why no one should regard Harris’ answer as noncommittal.

“Having a conversation” is euphemism for “Sure, I back every puerile and sophomoric idea you socialist crackpots come up with, although I don’t know if I can explicitly do so during the general election, so here’s an unscrupulous political answer that telegraphs my moral support, but also gives me a measure of plausible deniability should I actually win the nomination.”

Saying you’re willing to “have a conversation” about an issue is implicit support for the underlying idea. The only question is whether you believe it’s politically feasible. Would Harris have a conversation about legalizing fully automatic firearms? Of course not. Would she be open to having a conversation about banning post-20-week abortions? No. Harris won’t even have a conversation about banning post-abortion abortions. Any deviation from wild-eyed progressivism has the potential to brand you a heretic in this environment. And candidates keep ratcheting up the ridiculous.

Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been the leading instigators of this dynamic, but they’re not alone. It’s a group effort. Every time a candidacy lags, the contender will offer a new attention-grabbing plan to confiscate wealth for some socialistic policy proposal. Want to form a commission to develop slavery reparations proposals? Let’s have a conversation. “Free college?” Let’s talk. Nationalize the entire health care industry? Let’s start a dialogue. You want to pass a law that guarantees every American a job? Yep, let’s huddle on it.

How about a plan that eliminates all fossil fuel energy production, the lifeblood of American industry and life, and replace them with windmills, bicycles, and choo choo trains? Nearly every Democratic Party presidential hopeful—including Harris, Sanders, Warren, Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Julián Castro, and Beto O’Rourke—says we need to get a conversation going.

Democrats who keep promising groups of people free stuff are just thinking “outside the box,” after all. It should be noted that some candidates have avoided the perfunctory habit of injecting legitimacy into every crazy idea. Pete Buttigieg, for example, deserves some credit. When asked about allowing terrorists to vote, he simply said “no.” Maybe others will follow his lead as the party goes off an ideological cliff.

At this point, Republicans should figure out ways to pose questions to Democrats in public and stimulate extremist contagion: Do you support allowing non-citizens voting rights? Do you believe all abortions should be paid for by taxpayers? Do you believe that border walls should be torn down? Do you think it would be okay for presidents to unilaterally institute bans on fossil fuels to save the earth if Republicans had “refused to act“?

Let’s have a conversation!

Will Trump’s Finest Speech Save His Presidency?

A chastened president gave a great speech last night. But will it be enough? 

Donald Trump had promised a State of the Union address that could bring the country together. Did he deliver one? It’s hard to say. His address was the most mellow hour of commentary he has ever delivered. The PR pros who urged him to be himself will be happy tonight. He spoke to all Americans, and did so effectively.

Against Trump, at least according to the narrative, stood an army of women, elected to Congress all wearing white to spite him. It didn’t quite work out the way it was supposed to. In fact, Trump challenged and trumped them on several occasions, compelling applause and even the some standing ovations.

President Trump gave a speech about America, about America’s virtues. He challenged us all to live up to the promise of our nation. He even scolded us, warning against the “politics of revenge, resistance, and retribution.” This might seem like a big lift for a presidential candidate who excelled at name-calling, but it is welcome nonetheless. Trump’s tone seemed to be new.

Maybe he was mellowed by his defeat in the recent government shutdown, but whatever it was, this is a Trump who works. More charming than usual, he even seemed to disarm the women in white at times. Celebrating the record number of women both in Congress and on the nation’s employment rolls was wise.

But as is usual, the main thrust of his message was restoring the nation to greatness. This has always been the trickiest, but most essential message Trump offers. It’s tricky because it assumes that at some point America stopped being great.

Last night, the president said, “I am asking you to choose greatness. No matter the trials we face, no matter the challenges to come, we must go forward together. We must keep America first in our hearts.” That’s a lot of “we’ from a guy who tends to prefer “I.” It’s welcome. It opens his playing field, and with that running room he was able to advance an agenda.

Trump did not budge much on illegal immigration, but also did not call for a national emergency on the border, at least not yet. In a somewhat shocking moment, Trump said he would like to see the largest legal immigration ever, which, should it turn into policy, would be quite a switch from his usual position.

Now he may be offering a different sort of deal. Instead of money for the wall, he may take the loss on that and instead offer an open government for the end of investigations. “If there is going to be peace and legislation,” said Trump, “there cannot be war and investigation. It just doesn’t work that way.” And ofcourse that’s right. For two years the Trump administration has been marred and defined by investigations that have found tangential crimes but haven’t laid a finger on Trump.

The general tone of conciliation from Trump makes a lot of sense in this context. If the Robert Mueller special counsel investigation does end soon, with no serious findings that harm the president, then the next two years will be very different from the last two. It’s not just that Trump will be vindicated, but that he will be freed from playing that kind of defense. He will be able to offer an agenda to Democrats who are no longer able to pretend they are waiting for evidence of collusion, or whatever they were hoping for.

Charles Bukowski once wrote, “In the morning it was morning and I was still alive. Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought, and then I did.” After last night’s speech, the best of his presidency, and maybe his life, Trump has a right to feel this way. Some kind of dawn may have broken for him. The gleaming white dresses of his adversaries did not so much hurt him as give him an opportunity for grace that he took.

This was a State of the Union that almost didn’t happen — or that almost happened at a rally, or in the Oval Office, or a gas station on the southern border. In the end, it was good that he waited for the invitation and the chance to come to Nancy Pelosi’s House with an offer of peace.

Will she take the offer? Maybe, maybe not, but there is a lot of room in between. If this is the Donald Trump we see for the next two years, two important things might happen. First, he might get some things done. Second, he just might get re-elected.

Why Democrats Can’t Talk Honestly About Abortion

Democrats will protect American children from the evils of trans fats and gay conversion therapy, but not from doctors who will kill them through negligent homicide in the first few hours of their lives. This is the ugly reality of the contemporary abortion debate. It’s why most advocates will do about anything to avoid describing the unpleasant realities and consequences of their increasingly radical position.

On Tuesday, Senate Democrats blocked Republican Ben Sasse’s effort for unanimous consent on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act. It must be stressed that this bill wasn’t technically about abortion, but about protecting babies who survived the procedure. It seems the already risible argument of “my body, my choice” has morphed into “not my body anymore, still my choice.”

Sasse’s bill, which exempted mothers from prosecution, would have required “any health care practitioner present” to help ensure “that the child born alive is immediately transported and admitted to a hospital” and to “exercise the same degree of professional skill, care, and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child as a reasonably diligent and conscientious health care practitioner would render to any other child born alive at the same gestational age.”

Now, it would have been one thing if Sen. Patty Murray objected on grounds of states’ rights or the broad nature of the bill, but she did not. “We have laws against infanticide in this country,” she claimed. “This is a gross misinterpretation of the actual language of the bill that is being asked to be considered and therefore, I object.”

She is wrong. There are laws that allow for infanticide. We have one of those laws in New York. The failed Virginia bill that precipitated this debate would also have allowed the killing of unborn babies until birth for virtually any reason—and, if those babies happen to survive an attempt on their lives, after birth, as well.

When asked if her bill would allow abortions for woman dilating in the “40th week,” Virginia Del. Kathy Tran said, “My bill would allow that, yes.” Her mistake was being honest. When Gov. Ralph Northam tried to make Tran’s infanticide bill sound humane, explaining that the “infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and mother,” his mistake was also honesty.

Northam, as his defenders pointed out, was merely talking about euthanasia—although they would never call it by its appropriate name—as if terminating the lives of infants with fetal abnormalities like Down syndrome for the convenience of the parents is more morally palatable. The Virginia bill, however, also allowed for the abortion, or post-birth termination, of viable, once-healthy infants for nearly any reason.

The reality of the bill hasn’t stopped people from continuing to act as if every abortion is a life or death decision for the mother. This, it seems, is rarely the case. The pro-life Charlotte Lozier Institute found that both medical literature and late-term abortion providers show the majority of late-term procedures are not performed for “maternal health complications or lethal fetal anomalies discovered late in pregnancy.” The pro-choice Guttmacher Institute also found that a majority of women who seek these abortions “do not do so for reasons of fetal anomaly or life endangerment,” either.

In any event, every bill limiting post-20 week abortions makes exceptions for the life of the mother. Sasse’s bill does not stop parents and doctors from making tough decision about critically ill infants. This is a myth.

When late-term abortion defenders are honest, as feminist writer Jessica Valenti was recently, they sound like old-school eugenicists. Reacting to National Review writer Alexandra DeSanctis’s excellent article in The Atlantic, Valenti first tries to distract from the law itself by complaining that “the author writes about ‘third trimester abortions’ while linking to research about abortion post-20 weeks (which is about when you get an ultrasound for fetal abnormalities.)”

Yes, it’s true that most 20-week bans are opposed by Democrats because the abortions in question are used to weed out imperfect children. But the reason it’s easy to conflate the two is that viability keeps expanding and going well beyond the third trimester. Let’s start using the phrase “viable babies,” then.

One of those kids, Lyla Stensrud, was bornafter 21 weeks and four days, weighing just 14.4 ounces. It is almost certain that technology will advance to a place where there will be many more children like Lyla. Does anyone really argue that a single week makes that fetus a mere clump of cells? According to the Guttmacher Institute, around 15,000 Lylas are aborted every year.

Valenti, though, goes on to tweet, “the GOP is bankrupting parents with kids in the NICU – stays that cost literally millions of dollars.” Not only can you abort a completely healthy baby for reasons of emotional stress, but you can also choose not to care for viable infants because it puts unfair fiscal pressure on parents and hospitals. Do you know how much an autistic child costs? Why not them, as well?

If this is really an argument for post-birth termination, can someone explain the moral distinction between going to a NICU unit and injecting poison into a premature baby that is either causing the mother emotional fiscal stress or injecting poison into another baby–same exact age, same exact reasons–that’s in the womb? If you’re honest, like Valenti, there is none.

Most people circumvent the reality of late-term abortion (and post-abortion killings) for convenience by claiming it never happens. This is a highly dubious contention. But if it’s true, why pass state laws protecting doctors who might engage in the practice? Seems like a good way to incentivize it. And if there is no market for infanticide, why do people like Kermit Gosnell exist? What is the difference between what Gosnell did and what they want to legalize—other than cleaner facilities?

For many years, Democrats have been allowed to get away without any serious questions regarding their opposition to post-20-week abortion restrictions. Despite interference from fact checkers and other Democratic Party surrogates, for example, their 2016 presidential nominee Hillary Clinton supported, from conception to crowning, not a single restriction on the procedure. This fact becomes obvious in the rare times they’re honest about what abortion means.

Amid Blackface KKK Photo And Infanticide Scandals, 50 Percent Of Democrats Still Support Ralph Northam

Amid two major national controversies, Ralph Northam has retained most of his support among Virginia’s Democratic voters, according to a new poll. 

Amid two major national controversies, Gov. Ralph Northam, D-Va., has retained most of his support among the state’s Democratic voters, according to a new poll. Fifty percent of Virginia Democrats approved of Northam in a Morning Consult survey conducted Saturday and Sunday, down only 20 percentage points from a poll the firm conducted in January that found him with 70 percent Democratic approval in the state.

The new survey was taken as Northam fought back against a racially-charged yearbook picture released Friday and days of backlash over his defense of late-term abortion. In a widely-circulated interview, Northam went so far as to support cases where babies born in certain circumstances would be left to die after birth. On Friday, Big League Politics published a picture from Northam’s 1984 medical school yearbook showing two men, one in blackface and the other in KKK robes. The governor admitted to being in the picture on Friday, then reversed course in a bizarre mid-day news conference on Saturday.View image on Twitter

Even after the photo prompted calls for his resignation from nearly every high-profile national and state-level Democrat, Morning Consult’s weekend poll of registered voters found Northam maintaining support from half of his party in Virginia. Among all Virginia voters, Northam went from enjoying 48 percent support pre-controversy to 29 percent post-controversy, according to the report. Forty-eight percent of all registered voters now disapprove of Northam, with 23 percent replying “Don’t know/No opinion.”

His support among Independents was halved after the controversy, dropping from 42 percent to 20 percent, though 49 percent still say they approve. Among Republicans, Northam went from 31 percent approval to 15 percent.

As Northam mulls a potential resignation, refusing so far to cede his post, this poll could boost his optimism about weathering the scandals. Though Morning Consult’s headline read “Virginia Voters Quickly Sour on Northam Amid Blackface Scandal,” managing to keep half his party’s support in light of both controversies, and a chorus of calls for his resignation, might just put a spring back in the governor’s step.

It’s worth noting that Northam’s strange press conference, in which he admitted to dressing in blackface as Michael Jackson but changed his story on the yearbook photo, occurred halfway through  Saturday and could have changed the minds of some voters polled earlier in the day or those who had not seen the news.

Morning Consult’s Feb. 2-3 poll surveyed 291 Virginia voters and has six point margin of error. The firm’s January poll was conducted throughout the month and surveyed 4,326 Virginia voters with a one point margin of error.

The Washington Post Displays Glaring Double Standard When Reporting Sexual Assault Claims

The Post’s standards seem to change based on whether or not the alleged perpetrator is a Democrat or a Republican. This is bad for us all. 

It is now apparent that The Washington Post’s standard for reporting on cases of sexual assault is dependent upon whether the accused is a political target of their choosing.

Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement Monday morning denying accusations of sexual assault from 2004. Fairfax said the allegations were investigated by The Washington Post last year, who found, “significant red flags and inconsistencies within the allegation.” Now, The Washington Post is pushing back with a story of their own, revealing more details of the alleged incident and on their decision not to report the story when the victim first came forward.

“The Washington Post, in phone calls to people who knew Fairfax from college, law school and through political circles, found no similar complaints of sexual misconduct against him. Without that, or the ability to corroborate the woman’s account — in part because she had not told anyone what happened — The Washington Post did not run a story,” the newspaper reported on Monday.

This is quite the opposite of the standard the Post applied when reporting on allegations of sexual misconduct against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last year. The Washington Post reported Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations against Kavanaugh despite no evidence and no corroboration of Ford’s account. The Post claims the fact that Fairfax’s accuser, “had not told anyone what happened,” is a reason for not running the story — something that Ford did not do either until Kavanaugh was listed as a potential Supreme Court pick.

Fairfax’s accuser provided specific details to the Post, including a date, time, location, and details of a “sexual encounter that began with consensual kissing and ended with a forced act that left her crying and shaken.” In the Post’s reporting on Kavanaugh, Ford was unable to recall or provide any similar details of her encounter with Kavanaugh, but that did not prevent them from publishing her accusations. Additionally, details of Ford’s testimony changed several times throughout the reports and hearings.

After interviewing contacts of both Fairfax’s and his accuser, The Washington Post was unable to corroborate either accounts of their sexual encounter. Through his lawyers, Fairfax admitted the encounter did happen but was consensual. In contrast, multiple friends and supposed witnesses of the Kavanaugh-Ford story, were indeed able to corroborate Kavanaugh’s version of events, but not not Ford’s.

As for Fairfax, he is fervently relying on The Washington Post’s decision not to run the story as evidence that the allegations are false. “The fact that they’d run a story on an uncorroborated allegation from 15 years ago tells you exactly what the smear is all about,” he said this morning. “This person, a year ago, came to the Washington Post with this very same allegation. They investigated it for several months, and they made the decision not to publish the story because it was not credible.”

Throughout the lengthy Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, and in the time since, media figures and celebrities alike have embraced the mantra, “Believe All Women.” The Post’s handling of the Fairfax allegations now reveals that it is in fact not about believing all women, just the women whose stories are politically expedient.

Ilhan Omar Deletes Tweet Smearing Covington High Schoolers, But Her Anti-Semitic Tweets Remain Online

That Minnesota Democrat Rep. Ilhan Omar has left her anti-Semitic comments online while feigning remorse and deleting others is telling.

Since entering Congress this month, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has found herself indamage control mode over her record of anti-Semitism. Yesterday, she managed to bring more heat on herself by smearing the Covington Catholic High School students who were harassed by the racist Black Hebrew Israelites and Native American activist Nathan Phillips at the March For Life. Omar is now running away from the latter, but sticking by the former.

Here, preserved for posterity, is Omar’s tweet regarding the Covington controversy:View image on Twitter

The record will show that Omar’s tweet was false in every material respect. There is a video in which a teenager is heard shouting, “It’s not rape if you enjoy it,” but the person who promoted the video on Twitter admitted she did not know whether the boy attended Covington; it is a pure case of guilt by association:


The “accuser even posted a longer version of the video where one of the boys says “he doesn’t go to Covington.” In addition, AG Conservative, who offers a service researching media bias, reports the incident involved a student from a different school.

The Covington students did not taunt any black men. As Reason magazine’s Robby Soave noted: “Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby.”

Indeed, a review of the entire video shows that “Phillips enters the picture around the 1:12 mark, but if you skip to that part, you miss an hour of the Black Hebrew Israelites hurling obscenities at the students. They call them crackers, f****ts, and pedophiles. At the 1:20 mark (which comes after the Phillips incident) they call one of the few black students the n-word and tell him that his friends are going to murder him and steal his organs. At the 1:25 mark, they complain that ‘you give f*****s rights,’ which prompted booing from the students. Throughout the video they threaten the kids with violence, and attempt to goad them into attacking first. The students resisted these taunts admirably: They laughed at the hecklers, and they perform a few of their school’s sports cheers.”

It may be true that Nick Sandmann, the student thrust into the center of the left’s dishonest social media frenzy, is receiving help from a public relations firm (it appears he and other students are receiving pro bono legal aid, something the left usually favors). But here, Omar is essentially Capt. Renalt from “Casablanca” professing shock that gambling is going on at Rick’s Café Americain.

Omar does not appear to have expressed similar shock over the capture of the Women’s March by the usual left-wing suspects. To the contrary, Omar made it one of her first acts as a congresswoman to meet with one of the march’s anti-Semitic co-chairs, Linda Sarsour.

Omar’s continued support for the likes of Sarsour is no surprise. While Omar has deleted her attack on the Covington students, this tweet remains posted to her feed:


Omar’s statement remains online despite the fact that she know acknowledges it is an “anti-semitic trope,” which she claims she used “unknowingly.” Omar further claims: “In all sincerity, it was after my CNN interview that I heard from Jewish orgs. that my use of the word ‘Hypnotize’ and the ugly sentiment it holds was offensive.”

In reality, the opinion editor and deputy news editor at the Forward, among others, sought comment from Omar on many occasions regarding her apparent anti-Semitism, and never got one. Indeed, Omar has yet to directly apologize for her comment and it is entirely possible that she only wants to disavow having used language that left little doubt as to her instinctive anti-Semitism.

Omar’s dissembling regarding anti-Semitism is not new, either. During her campaign she claimed the anti-Israel boycott, divest and sanctions [BDS] movement was “not helpful”and “counteractive.” After she won, however, she stated she “believes in and supports the BDS movement.”

The rationalization BDS supporters advance is to compare Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. Omar herself has referred to Israel as an “apartheid regime,” even though claiming the existence of a state of Israel is a racist endeavor falls within the “working definition” of anti-Semitism adopted by the United States and 30 other member states of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.

That Omar has left her anti-Semitic comments online while feigning remorse is telling. She deleted her attack on the Covington students even though it was merely an exaggerated form of the shameful distortions of the establishment media. But like Louis Farrakhan-loving Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory, Omar cannot bring herself to fully renounce other forms of bigotry.

The Bigotry At The Heart Of The Covington Affair Belongs To The Left

After days of outrage and condemnations, the Covington affair has revealed disturbing bigotry among far too many media figures and outlets on the left. 

At a few days’ remove from the Covington Catholic High School incident at the Lincoln Memorial, we can be reasonably sure there will be no apologies or corrections forthcoming from the major media outlets that rushed to vilify the students involved. The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, and dozens of lesser news organizations that condemned the high schoolers from Kentucky have not retracted or walked back their initial, warped narrative: that racist white teens harassed an elderly Native American man.

Nor will there be any public contrition from many individual members of the media who were in the vanguard of the online mob. CNN’s Reza Aslan tweeted an image of one of the boys and asked, “Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” Filmmaker Michael Green tweeted the same image with the comment, “A face like that never changes. This image will define his life. No one need ever forgive him.”

Despite additional video footage that largely exonerated the students, neither of those public figures have deleted their tweets or apologized. Same for James Fallows at The Atlantic, who initially compared the high schoolers to Arkansas segregationists in the 1950s then doubled down, noting that because the kids were white and wearing “Make America Great Again” hats, they must be guilty.

Although some journalists have recanted at length, and others have apologized and deleted their early, emotionally charged reactions, plenty of others have not and will not. They believe that whatever the video footage actually reveals about the incident— specifically, that the elderly Native American man, Nathan Phillips, approached the kids and initiated a confrontation after they had been harassed by a bizarre racist group called the Black Hebrew Israelites—is irrelevant to what they say is the larger point: that “privileged” white teenage boys who wear MAGA hats are racist bigots and deserve no mercy.

The Covington kids are certainly getting none. They and their families have been doxxed, harassed, and threatened for days on end. On Tuesday, Covington Catholic High School was closed over security concerns.

Why the Covington Kids Were Deemed Guilty

It’s hard not to see the parallels here to the Brett Kavanaugh affair, the Rolling Stone-UVA rape hoax, and the Duke Lacrosse scandal. In all these cases, the rush to judgement hinged on the race and perceived privilege of the accused. They were guilty not based on the facts of what happened, they were guilty because of who they were: supposedly privileged white males.

The Covington high schoolers were in this sense the perfect villain for the social justice outrage mob. Not only were they mostly white, male, and Catholic, the entire reason they were in Washington was to attend the annual March for Life. As noted cultural commentator Alyssa Milano put it, “Let’s not forget—this entire event happened because a group of boys went on a school-sanctioned trip to protest against a woman’s right to her own body and reproductive healthcare. It is not debatable that bigotry was at play from the start.”

Milano is right that bigotry was at play from the start, but not quite in the way she means. The manifest, unquestionable bigotry at play is that of media figures and celebrities whose unfiltered contempt and rage bubbled up and spewed forth the instant they saw a smirking white kid in a MAGA hat face-to-face with an old Native American man.

Bigotry is what now animates the unrepentant members of the media like Deadspin’s Laura Wagner, who describes the “visibly aggressive teens” as “draped in racist, misogynist paraphernalia.” Bigotry is what’s behind comments like those of Mollie O’Reilly of Commonweal magazine, who declared, “You don’t let your kid wear a MAGA hat and then act offended when they get taken for a racist.”

These are not the thoughts and feelings of people who want to share a republic and live in peace with their political opponents. If opposing abortion or supporting the president marks you out as a bigot and a racist, then civic comity is impossible, there is nothing left to say, no way to compromise or live and let live. The only thing that’s possible is a zero-sum contest of brute strength. The only thing left to do is silence or destroy your enemy.

The Left Is Not Interested In Sharing a Country

This is the meaning behind another recent social justice pile-on that has received much less news coverage. Karen Pence, wife of Vice President Mike Pence, was denounced last week as the embodiment of hate and intolerance for having the temerity to teach art part-time at a small Christian academy in Northern Virginia called Immanuel Christian School. Pence’s crime is that the K-8 academy’s employment contract contains a provision asserting that marriage is between one man and one woman, “a single, exclusive covenant union as delineated in Scripture.”

The existence of an unremarkable contract that affirms what all orthodox Christians believe was first reported as news by HuffPo. It quickly had the desired effect. CNN’s John King wondered aloud whether the second lady should continue to receive Secret Service protection. Lady Gaga interrupted a set in Las Vegas to aver that the Pences are the “worst representation of what it means to be a Christian.” The Washington Post found a professor to tut-tut about how Immanuel Christian School embraces creationism and therefore can’t lay claim to orthodox beliefs about marriage: “They cannot have their orthodoxy and eat it, too.”

Here we get to the heart of the Covington affair. For the social justice left, including many mainstream media figures, holding conservative views on abortion or marriage automatically makes you a bigot. Even apart from any views you espouse, simply wearing a MAGA hat makes you a bigot. And being a white male, together with any of the above, makes you the worst of bigots.

And you don’t apologize to bigots. You destroy them.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Setting Women Back Light Years In Politics

She doesn’t deserve to be lauded as millennials’ feminist icon. Her incompetence with numbers and jumbled facts validate every negative stereotype women have been trying to erase for years. 

Vox dubbed her “the most buzzed-about first-term member of the House of Representatives,” and The Atlantic credited her with an “unusually transparent approach to public relations.” She’s a former Bernie Sanders campaign volunteer and a self-styled democratic socialist. Despite all the fanfare, her recent “60 Minutes” interview with Anderson Cooper shined a bright spotlight on a painful fact: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will make it harder for young women in politics to be taken seriously in the future.

In mere minutes, Ocasio-Cortez managed to affirm nearly every negative stereotype about the female sex, from the trope that we’re no good at math to the notion that you shouldn’t trust us with a credit card. If all you saw was her example, you’d think we’re all just emotional dreamers who need to be reined in by reality.

Ocasio-Cortez is not the feminist hero most media coverage has made her out to be. If anything, her time in the spotlight has set women in politics back.

Ocasio-Cortez Is Not a Feminist Hero

“I think that there’s a lot of people more concerned about being precisely, factually, and semantically correct than about being morally right,” Ocasio-Cortez told Cooper after he asked about her careless and incorrect analysis of the defense budget. In one sentence, Ocasio-Cortez portrayed herself as a woman who is ready to subordinate facts to her moral convictions, confirming achingly anti-female stereotypes. She may as well have driven erratically down the highway or failed to catch a gently thrown ball. Of course, she later admitted that being factually correct is “absolutely important.” She just doesn’t seem to care much about facts and numbers when she’s tweeting.

Or, for that matter, when she’s speaking. In discussing with Cooper her proposal for a “Green New Deal,” which would use the full force of the government in an attempt to convert the United States to 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, she could not offer an actual answer for how such an enormous transformation would be possible. “It’s going to require a lot of rapid change that we don’t even conceive as possible right now,” was all she could say.

Shockingly, the reason we “don’t conceive of it as possible” is because it is not possible. Renewable sources generated just 17 percent of U.S. electricity in 2017, so it would be a herculean task to more than quintuple that share in just 12 years. As for the cost, Stanford researchers estimated in 2015 that the machinery and infrastructure investments required to make our energy system wholly dependent on wind, water, and solar by 2050 would cost $13.4 trillion, a sum a bit larger than the entire U.S. gross domestic product was in 2005. And Ocasio-Cortez wants to do it even earlier than that, with little to no concern about the mind-numbing cost.

But her Green New Deal is more than just an energy policy proposal. Because fighting climate change apparently requires implementing every expansive progressive policy, Ocasio-Cortez’s proposal includes a universal jobs guarantee and a commitment, seemingly unrelated to the environment, to “mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth.”

It also features a mandate to create “additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate.” Proponents of a federal job guarantee estimate that the program would cost $543 billion annually, and a national single-payer health-care system would cost $32.6 trillion in just the first 10 years of implementation.

Talk about Pushing Granny Over a Cliff

Combining these figures, a conservative estimate of the total costs of the Green New Deal over its first 10 years would be a little over $51 trillion. Even without single-payer health care, a key part of the platform, the Green New Deal would cost $18.8 trillion over 10 years, or $1.88 trillion annually. For reference, the federal government only collected $1.884 trillion in total income and corporate taxes in 2017. All the assets combined of the nation’s top 1 percent totals approximately $23 trillion, to use a midrange estimate, so even confiscating every penny from the richest Americans would only fund five years of Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. Then what?

Ocasio-Cortez has refrained from discussing the potential costs of her proposal and therefore has never tried to walk through the numbers on how to pay for it. Funding such expensive government programs requires increased deficit spending, raising taxes—or both. That seems to be Ocasio-Cortez’s approach, as she has suggested 70 percent marginal tax rates for the “tippy tops” of high-income households, and insists that simply increasing the national debt could pay for her proposal.

To say this unrealistic analysis is fiscally irresponsible would be a massive understatement. But Ocasio-Cortez’s refusal to engage in a difficult conversation about the numbers involved and her disregard for the truth hurts the cause of women’s equality. Like it or not, Ocasio-Cortez has become one of the most visible women in politics—and she’s making youll look dumb.

Conservative pundit Ann Coulter once made a controversial claim that “single women look at the government as their husbands,” expecting the government to provide for their every need. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal naivete provides unfair validation for that statement. Instead of using her massive platform to make nuanced, well-reasoned arguments for taxing the rich and expanding the national debt, her current track record indicates that she’s interested in neither.

All of the cringeworthy media interviews and high-profile errors she’s been so flippant about making will only cause more difficulty for young women to get elected to high office in the future. Her incompetence only cements the idea that a pretty, likable woman is one who, unfortunately, lacks a brain.

Pelosi Just Cancelled The State Of The Union Over The Border Wall She Refuses To Build

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has cancelled the president’s state of the union address until the government is re-opened. After rejecting invitations earlier in the week from the White House to negotiate on funding for border security, Pelosi sent a letter to the president implying he would not be welcome to address the American people.

In her letter sent on Wednesday, Pelosi cited security concerns as the reason for the delay. She lamented that Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security “have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs.”View image on Twitter

Senior law enforcement officials are responding to Pelosi’s letter by debunking her false reasoning. Secret Service is fully funded and began planning security for the joint address months ago.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) said there is nothing the president can do to change the speaker’s mind.

“Yep! The speaker is the one who invites the president to speak at a joint session, and she has said as long as government is shut down we’re not going to be doing business as usual,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said to CNN. “The state of the union is off.”

If things happen as Pelosi says now, it would mark the first time that an annual address will not be sent to Congress from the president since 1790.

Why Businesses Should Support The Trump Administration’s Pushback Against China

When Chinese President Xi Jinping’s autocracy asks Western companies to jump, the response is usually, ‘How high?’

What should Western companies do when threatened by the People’s Republic of China (PRC)? Should businesses promote appeasement of the PRC, or pushback? More broadly, is there a conflict between economic interest and the national interest regarding the PRC?

These are just a few of the questions indirectly highlighted in New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson’s new book, “Merchants of Truth.” She reveals the Times’ sensitivity to upsetting the Chinese over a story Beijing deemed damaging.

The offending Times article detailed how leaders in the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their family members amassed vast fortunes through their control over strategically important and highly lucrative sectors of the economy via a spoils system rife with bribery and other forms of corruption.

By Abramson’s account, facing pressure from Chinese officials outraged when asked for comment in advance of the story’s publication, the Times rightly published it. China pulled the story, blocked the Times’ China website, stopped issuing visas to Times reporters, and detained several staffers.

Times executives contemplated shutting the China site altogether, and later unsuccessfully pleaded with Chinese officials to reopen their site. Per a review of Abramson’s book:

[New York Times publisher Arthur] Sulzberger…traveled to China to urge government officials to reopen the site, but to no avail. And Abramson claims that Times vice chairman Michael Golden ‘wanted to close the Chinese site altogether.” When she objected, arguing that it would look like “we were bowing to the censors,’ she was ordered to cut in half the losses incurred by keeping the Chinese journalists employed while the sites were blocked…she claims she…decided to find the savings elsewhere.

Then Abramson claims that, ‘without her knowledge,’ the publisher drafted a letter with input from the Chinese embassy ‘all but apologizing’ for the original story. She brought the draft to a tense meeting with Sulzberger…When she showed him the letter, he ‘seemed startled that I had it and he kept saying, ‘I didn’t do anything wrong.’ He tried to slip the letter into his folder, but I snatched it back,’ she writes.

Of the letter, Abramson further claims Sulzberger “eventually agreed to reword it with input from her and then managing editor Dean Baquet. But for Abramson, the letter was ‘still objectionable,’ since it included language about being sorry for the ‘perception’ the story created…” According to Abramson, Sulzberger was eager to appease the Chinese government because its operation in China was at stake.

China’s efforts to stifle Western reportage are extensive, so such appeasement would not be surprising. Propagating the CCP message while suppressing anything or anyone that contradicts it and pulls the veil back on the ruling regime’s repression is a clear national effort.

This Is a Common Reaction from China

The Times disputes Abramson’s version of events, although only generally. But her account rings familiar. The Times’ alleged China browbeating is consistent with not only what its peers have experienced, but what Western companies in other industries have faced. China appears to have made a concerted effort to threaten corporations to get them to tow the CCP line, at least on matters that challenge the Chinese government narrative. Recall just a few examples from the last year.

In January 2018, Marriott International, the world’s largest hotel company, cowered at verbal attacks by Chinese government officials for having set a survey listing Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, and Macau as distinct from China, and for an employee’s “like” of a tweet endorsing Tibetan independence using a corporate Twitter account.

Later, in November 2018, Marriott disclosed it was the victim of a massive hack of its Starwood reservation databasecompromising the sensitive information of up to 383 million guests, including passport numbers, email addresses, and credit card data. According to reports, U.S. investigators believe the hackers were affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of State Security, its sprawling intelligence apparatus. This is not to suggest there is necessarily linkage between these events. The breach allegedly began in 2014. Marriott acquired Starwood in 2016.

Like Marriott, automaker Audi, fashion retailer Zara, and more than two-dozen other corporations faced a backlash from the Chinese government for individually listing sovereign territories that China considers its own in website dropdown menus or public presentations.

Also in 2018, Mercedes-Benz posted an anodyne quote from the Dalai Lama on Instagram: “Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open.” The Dalai Lama is a Tibetan leader. So, facing strong criticism from Chinese state media, Mercedes apologized, promising: “no support, assistance, aid or help to anyone who intentionally subverts or attempts to subvert China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

China Is Not Just Censoring, It’s Controlling

To its credit, the Times acted in a more principled fashion, at least in running its story, than can be said for many of these other firms. Regardless, what is clear is that when Chinese President Xi Jinping’s autocracy asks Western companies to jump, the response is usually “How high?”

Increasingly, China’s demands on foreign businesses are going beyond conforming to CCP political narratives, to demanding the CCP be empowered within businesses, through mandating CCP cells be embedded within foreign businesses, and potentially granting them control over operational decisions. None of this is to mention other “costs of doing business” with the ChiComs, such as forced technology transfer and intellectual property theft to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars per year.

When the Trump administration highlighted in its National Security Strategy that China’s story over the past half-century disproved the theory that economic liberalization would lead to political liberalization, it was right. Ironically, it appears that firms from liberal nations are acting less liberally under threat from illiberal China.

Stated differently: The Chinese are changing us more than we changed them. Meanwhile, in return for the United States giving China entrée to the global trade and financial architecture largely built and defended by us, we have turned China into a hostile, expansionist, muscular world military and economic power—one that seeks to advance its interests and exert influence while acting with wide impunity, including on our own shores.

Don’t Just Act Scared, Act Smart

Firms understand that the risk to business is acute in angering Chinese authorities. At its most benign, China might fire off a tersely worded letter from a government official, or float a critical story in the media. But given that China has been willing to orchestrate catastrophic cyberattacks, and turn foreign citizens traveling in mainland China into effective hostages through so-called “exit bans”—with the potential for even more serious threats to life and limb—one can understand the fear.

Businesses want stability. It is natural that they would support a status quo that has seen the opening of massive Chinese markets to American enterprise, with all the attendant economic benefits. Fear and greed both dictate a desire not to upset the apple cart.

This view might explain both the unwillingness of non-media companies to stand against Chinese aggression, and the intense lobbying across a variety of industriesagainst the Trump administration’s China tariffs. It is likely not just the immediate economic impact of the limited tariffs that businesses disapprove of, but their belief that escalation could hurt their bottom lines in the medium-term.

But what of the long-term? And what of the national interest?

China Is a Grave Threat to America’s Interests

Through any of a number of core policy documents—see the National Security Strategyand National Defense Strategy), reports (see the U.S. Trade Representative’s 301 report on China and the Defense Departments Manufacturing and Industrial Base report) and public proclamations (see Vice President Mike Pence’s Hudson Institute address, Director of the White House Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro’s CSIS address on “Economic Security as National Security,” former Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the Department of Justice’s “China Economic Espionage Initiative,” National Security Advisor John Bolton’s Heritage address on the Trump administration’s “New Africa Policy,” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s address on “Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order” and elsewhere)—the Trump administration has made it clear that America’s main competitor in the world is China, and that China increasingly poses a grave threat to America’s national interest requiring a comprehensive response.

This has been perhaps the most far-reaching and revolutionary policy shift under the Trump administration, although often overshadowed by the media’s narrower focus on “trade wars,” or the clash of personalities between Trump and Xi. That even the political establishment has started to come around to the Trump view that the U.S. must reorient its posture and policy towards China tells us something major has changed. But with few exceptions, the business establishment remains recalcitrant. Have American executives really gamed out the consequences of inaction and appeasement towards China?

Businesses are often more focused on the next quarter than the next decade, and most executives likely concern themselves with the rise and fall of nations only insofar as it immediately impacts their fortunes. They should read the tea leaves and recognize that the China status quo is already starting to prove untenable.

It provides a false sense of security. Continue on this path, and Western firms may one day wake up to a world in which China has disproportionate sway over the rules of international trade, controls global ports and waterwaysdominates in telecommunications, and backs these strengths with a large military equipped with nuclear and asymmetric weapons, robust information warfare capabilities, and a pervasive intelligence apparatus. Have American executives really gamed out the consequences of inaction and appeasement towards China? What evidence do they have that dovishness will bear fruit, given its history on both tradeand beyond?

Businesses’ interests need not conflict with the national interest. Strong, dynamic, innovative businesses are in the national interest. The Trump administration’s policies have been geared towards juicing the U.S. economy while using tariffs as a form of leverage towards free, fair, and reciprocal trade, which would be vastly better for American businesses. But tariffs are merely one tactic in one dimension of what appears to be a multi-dimensional Trump administration effort to compete with the PRC.

The response to Chinese hostility should not be to cower, but to upend the Chinese status quo. In the face of a hostile, ascendant China that increasingly threatens America’s position in the world, businesses should get on board, or propose superior solutions. Ultimately, their interests—and the national interest—will demand it.

New York Times Reveals FBI Retaliated Against Trump For Comey Firing

A Friday expose from the New York Times reveals that the FBI investigation of Trump for alleged treason was little more than retaliation against the president for lawfully firing an incompetent and ethically challenged FBI director.

In a Friday night news dump, the New York Times revealed the FBI’s surprisingly flimsy justification for launching a retaliatory investigation into President Donald Trump, their chief adversary during their recent troubled era.

Admitting there is no actual evidence for their probe into whether Trump “worked for the Russians,” FBI officials instead cited their foreign policy differences with him, his lawful firing of bungling FBI Director James Comey, and alarm that he accurately revealed to the American public that he was told he wasn’t under investigation by the FBI, when they preferred to hide that fact.

The news was treated as a bombshell, and it was, but not for the reasons many thought. It wasn’t news that the FBI had launched the investigation. Just last month, CNN reported that top FBI officials opened an investigation into Trump after the lawful firing of Comey because Trump “needed to be reined in,” a shocking admission of abuse of power by our nation’s top law enforcement agency.

The Washington Post reported Mueller was looking into whether Trump obstructed the Russia investigation by insisting he was innocent of the outlandish charges selectively leaked by government officials to compliant media. Perhaps because such an obstruction investigation was immediately condemned as scandalous political overreach, that aspect was downplayed while Mueller engaged in a limitless “Russia” probe that has rung up countless Trump affiliates for process crimes unrelated to treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election, and spun off various investigations having nothing to do with Russia in any way.

The latest Times report does provide more detail than these earlier reports, however, and none of it makes the FBI look good. In fact, it provides evidence of a usurpation of constitutional authority to determine foreign policy that belongs not with a politically unaccountable FBI but with the citizens’ elected president. More on that in a bit.

Criminalizing Foreign Policy Differences

Using leaked information and testimony from various former governmental officials, we learn that the FBI opened its aggressive, norm-breaking, and unconstitutionalinvestigation, supposedly into whether Trump “worked for the Russians,” after he fired Comey and revealed how the agency was playing games with their spurious “Russia” probe.

The Saturday New York Times article appeared on page one, above the fold, with the almost laughable headline “F.B.I. Investigated if Trump Worked for the Russians.” The online version of the story was headlined “F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.” Nine paragraphs into the story, the reporters admit that there is and was literally “no evidence” to support the idea Trump worked for Russia.

The top of the article, however, immediately presented the FBI-friendly interpretation of the agency’s motivations as fact — without evidence and despite strong evidence to the contrary — saying the FBI began its investigation because they were “so concerned by the president’s behavior” rather than saying it was because they were “so concerned he’d continue to expose their behavior” or “so concerned he’d hold them accountable for their political investigations.”

The article accepts FBI spin that arguing for better relations with the nuclear-armed Russia “constituted a possible threat to national security” that could only be explained if Trump was “knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.” Because FBI officials personally opposed Trump’s foreign policy, and that of the tens of millions of Americans who voted for him, the FBI was “suspicious” of him, we’re told. The reporters admit the reckless decision by FBI officials was “an aggressive move” that disturbs many former law enforcement officials.

The FBI never had a good reason to investigate Trump, according to information in the article, but even the justifications they use are erroneous. For example, all three items mentioned here are inaccurately framed and presented:

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

First, Trump never called on Russia to hack Clinton, despite repeated media claims to the contrary. Clinton had already destroyed her server, along with 30,000 emails she claimed were about yoga, while she was under investigation for mishandling classified information. Trump was highlighting that tons of hackers could have already accessed her insecure server when it still existed and, if they had, those emails should be released so that Americans would know what foreign governments undoubtedly already did. It was a way to highlight her reckless handling of classified information and the global security concerns of that.

Second, having a foreign policy different from those who seek conflict with Russia is neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. In fact, it’s a big part of why the American people voted for Trump. The American people get to determine who sets foreign policy, and they do so through elections. The FBI does not get to set foreign policy by running criminal and counterintelligence investigations to punish those who step outside their preferred approach. They have no constitutional authority to do that.

Third, even if the Republican Party had changed its convention platform regarding Ukraine, which it had not, that is also neither a problem nor any of the FBI’s business. It’s shocking and scandalous that the FBI thinks it should criminalize foreign policy disputes.

The FBI argues, without evidence, that the president needed to be investigated as a threat to national security. Keep in mind that the FBI did not act this way during the previous administration, when many of Barack Obama’s detractors argued his foreign policy was a threat to national security. They didn’t investigate collusion with Iran, or the transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars in cash to the regime. Neither did they do such things with any previous president.

It’s good that they didn’t, because Article II of the U.S. Constitution gives the authority to determine foreign policy to the president, not the director or acting director of the FBI. Harvard law professor and former Comey deputy Jack Goldsmith expands on this:

One danger in the what the FBI apparently did is that it implies that the unelected domestic intelligence bureaucracy holds itself as the ultimate arbiter—over and above the elected president who is the constitutional face of U.S. intelligence and national security authority—about what actions do and don’t serve the national security interests of the United States.

Criminalizing Lawful Hiring And Firing Decisions

The article says that the FBI was, unbelievably, discussing whether they could go after Trump because he asked if Comey was loyal. It does not mention that Comey promised his loyalty or the context of Trump’s question, which was rampant leaking by the FBI, Comey’s blackmail attempt before Trump was inaugurated, and obvious game-playing against him and his administration with the Russia probe.

The FBI ultimately decided to act when Trump told the truth and revealed some of their game-playing with the Russia probe. He wanted to send a letter to Comey in which he thanked Comey for telling him he was not a subject of the Russia investigation. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wanted him to hide that fact.

Rosenstein, it’s worth remembering, wrote the memo explaining why Comey was so bad at his job, a view that was completely confirmed by the inspector general’s report on the Clinton email probe. When Trump fired Comey, in part for his incompetent handling of political investigations such as those mentioned in Rosenstein’s memo, Rosenstein used that as the predicate to launch what became the special counsel investigation against Trump.

In any case, Trump told Rosenstein to tell the truth even if he wanted to keep it hidden. Rosenstein refused, irritating Trump, according to the New York Times. Trump told the truth to the American public — which Comey was later forced to admit under oath — that Comey had told him three times he was not under investigation.

According to the New York Times, by not going along with the FBI’s game — privately admitting to Trump that he wasn’t under investigation while publicly suggesting otherwise or leaking numerous snippets of information, selectively curated and framed to suggest he was — the FBI grew concerned that he was a Russian agent. Readers would be forgiven for thinking that makes no sense whatsoever and that it’s more plausible they were concerned their behavior against Trump would be exposed.

Their other justification for targeting their political foe was that Trump publicly flat-out said he didn’t like the game Comey was playing with the Russia investigation. They decided, we’re told, to interpret, or pretend to interpret, this as obstruction.

‘I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it,’ he said. ‘And in fact, when I decided to just do it, I said to myself — I said, you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made-up story. It’s an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should’ve won.’

Mr. Trump’s aides have said that a fuller examination of his comments demonstrates that he did not fire Mr. Comey to end the Russia inquiry. ‘I might even lengthen out the investigation, but I have to do the right thing for the American people,’ Mr. Trump added. ‘He’s the wrong man for that position.’

Angered by Trump’s critique of Comey’s double-dealing regarding the Russia probe, the FBI retaliated with an investigation.

While it’s not mentioned in the article, hours after Comey was fired, top FBI officials and paramours Lisa Page and Peter Strzok texted about the need to open a “case” against Trump they’d already been discussing in a “formal, chargeable way” and that it had to be done “while Andy is acting.” The texts also mention “Bill”–believed to be FBI counterintelligence head Bill Priestap–being in on the plot.

“Andy” is then-deputy director Andrew McCabe, who took over the bureau until Christopher Wray was confirmed as director in August 2017. McCabe was later fired for repeatedly lying under oath about just one of many of his rampant leaks to friendly reporters and is reportedly under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury. Strzok was also fired for his behavior, Page resigned, and Priestap announced his retirement last month. It is unclear which officials in the Department of Justice authorized the unconstitutional investigation into the president as a national security threat because he didn’t share their foreign policy views.

It was important for this group to launch the official investigation into Trump while McCabe was acting director because they reasonably understood it wouldn’t happen if an FBI director outside their control took over the agency. The opening of an investigation followed a pattern of shocking behavior by the FBI, including Comey telling Trump that there was information floating around about an alleged videotape showing prostitutes urinating on a bed while he watched (there is zero evidence that such a videotape exists or that the alleged event it memorialized ever took place).

Government officials leaked the fact of that briefing to CNN almost immediately, one of the key moments that got the outlandish Russia conspiracy story started. Even Comey admitted that his behavior looked a lot like a blackmail or extortion attempt, which he strenuously denied it was. The move backfired because Trump immediately realized the FBI was playing games. McCabe also launched an investigation of former attorney general Jeff Sessions, before Sessions recused himself from holding the FBI accountable for their handling of the Russia probe.

In sum, the framing of this New York Times article is either poorly conceived or outright disingenuous at every turn. Using the completely lawful and constitutional firing of the bumbling Comey as pretext for opening a criminal investigation into the president is a grand abuse of power by the FBI. Attempting to overtake the authority to determine U.S. foreign policy from the lawfully determined president of the United States is a violation of the U.S. Constitution.

For one of the nation’s largest newspapers to suggest that this makes the president — and not the FBI — look bad actually validates two of Trump’s biggest complaints: the media are hopelessly biased, and there really is a “deep state” out to to overturn the 2016 election.

Disputes Over Taiwan, Trade, And Space Will Define U.S. Relationship With China

In 2019, Sino-U.S. relations will be defined by the trade war, potential reunification with Taiwan, and the escalation of the new space race.

Which country is more dangerous to travel to for Americans: Myanmar or Communist China? If you picked Myanmar, a country that has been in civil war since its independence in 1948, you would be wrong.

The U.S. State Department issued a level II travel advisory to China last week, which means Americans should exercise increased caution when travelling in China. That is the same warning level the State Department issued in a travel advisory for Myanmar. Don’t forget that the last time the State Department issued a travel advisory to China was in 1989, right after Chinese government brutally suppressed student protesters in Tiananmen Square.

What prompted the travel advisory this time? China has arrested 13 Canadian citizens recently, on trumped up charges, in retaliation for Canadian authorities’ December arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of China’s telecom giant Huawei. The U.S. Justice Department requested Meng’s arrest on allegations that she had violated sanctions against Iran by committing financial fraud. Now, the American government is working on extraditing Meng to the United States.

Since Meng’s arrest has ignited nationalist fever in China, with the Chinese government no doubt in a revenge mood, U.S. authorities are concerned that Chinese authorities may “prohibit U.S. citizens from leaving China by using ‘exit bans’” and “U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime.” Given the enormous economic ties of the two countries, it’s extraordinary for the United States to warn against its citizens travelling to the second largest economy in the world.

China, of course, dismissed such warning as unjustified. But this represents a new low in the Sino-U.S. relationship. How much worse can the Sino-U.S. relationship get before it gets better? It depends on how the two nations address three top thorny issues: trade disputes, technology competition, and Taiwan.

On the Trade Dispute

As of January 10, there are only 49 days left until March 1, the deadline President Trump set at the last G20 summit when he would raise tariffs from 10 to 25 percent on about $250 billion worth of Chinese imports if the two countries fail to reach a trade agreement. Since December 1, China has made a few concessions, including announcing new punishments for intellectual property (IP) theftlowering auto tariffsresuming the purchase of U.S. soybeans, and stopping from publicly mentioning the ambitious “Made in China 2025” industrial and technology policy.

But if we examine more closely, few of these initiatives represent real progress. The new punishments for IP theft sound nice on paper, but we have been down this road many times. Since the 1990s, when President George H.W. Bush was in office, each time the United States complained about IP theft, China agreed to put some new laws on books.

Predictably, every new law was hailed as a major step forward. Yet IP theft has only gotten worse over the last three decades due to lack of enforcement. In 1992, the IP Commission estimated U.S. losses from such theft were about $225 million. In 2015, the estimated losses from such theft were in the range of between $180 and $540 billion.

Lowering auto tariffs doesn’t benefit U.S. automakers much because “the vast majority of vehicles in the world’s largest auto market are made there. China imports about 1 million cars a year – less than 5 percent of a market that totals an annual 27 million vehicles.” And ending mention of the “Made in China 2025” policy doesn’t mean China will stop making efforts toward the same goal.

Among all these initiatives, only purchasing U.S. soybeans has real and direct benefit to the United States. Even that, China did out of necessity. China is the largest soybean importer and there is no country other than the United States that can meet China’s demand.

All economic data out of China shows that the trade war with the United States has hit China hard: according to the Wall Street Journal, “factory activity [is] hitting its lowest level in nearly three years. Profits from big Chinese industrial firms also declined in November for the first time in three years.” Not to mention, “Chinese consumers have cut back, resulting in a slump in sales of cars and other goods.”

The United States isn’t immune to the negative impact of the trade war with China either. The American stock market saw its worst performance since 2008 and the worst December since 1931. Apple stock lost 10 percent of its value in one trading day after its CEO Tim Cooked blamed a sales shortfall as the result of slowing Chinese economy.

Jeffrey Gerrish, U.S. deputy trade representative, kicked off trade talks with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing this Monday. If the talks fail to make any progress, the Sino-U.S. relationship isn’t going to get any better.

On Technology Competition

The truth is that the trade talks aren’t only about trade––the real elephant in the room is the technology competition between the countries. Even if the United States eventually gets a Chinese concession to import more stuff from the United States, the United States won’t be able to either halt China’s technology advancement or contain China’s ambition to become a global tech leader.

Despite China’s economy slowing down, China continues to advance in technology development.

Only three days into 2019, China became the first country to successfully land a rover on the far side of the moon. The success of this mission has been a big boost to President Xi Jinping. It also symbolizes a new space race between the United States and China. Both nations compete to lead the new age space exploration, reminiscent of the race to the moon competition between the United States and Soviets during the cold war. The United States won the last space race against the Soviets, but can it win a new space race against China?

Compared to the Soviets, China has a much bigger and stronger economy. Chinese leaders took lessons from the Soviet’s downfall to heart. They plan China’s space ambitions in a meticulous manner. The lunar landing success is the result of years of planning, investment, and incremental successes. China already “launches more rockets into space than any other country — 39 last year, compared to 31 by the U.S., 20 by Russia and eight by Europe” and China spends “more on its civil and military space programs than Russia and Japan,” according to the Japan Times.

Even more impressive––but downplayed by western media––is that China launched a communications-relay satellite in June 2018, which was positioned 50,000 miles beyond the moon. Space Expert Deng Cheng of the Heritage Foundation said this kind of satellite is “expanding the volume of space” China can access, giving China greater ability to monitor other nations’ space assets. Whomever controls space will have control of what’s happening on earth, whether GPS technology, weather forecasts, military targets, and commercial pipelines.

Thus, even after China and the United States eventually settle their trade dispute, the technology competition between the two nations will continue to heat up.

On Taiwan

The future of Taiwan has become a heated topic since the beginning of 2019. Beijing has been alternating between a stick and carrot approach towards its goal of engulfing Taiwan. Last year, Taiwan’s pro-independence President Tsai Ing-wen and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered great defeat in local elections and Tsai resigned as the head of DPP. DPP’s defeat was seen by some Taiwanese as a victory in Beijing’s “deliberate campaign to undermine and subvert our democratic process and create division in our society.”

Just when Beijing thought it was one step closer to peacefully reuniting with Taiwan, on New Year’s Eve, President Trump signed into law the Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, which, to Beijing’s annoyance, includes increasing official exchanges between the United States and Taiwan and arm sales to Taiwan. Beijing sees this latest move as the United States throwing a lifeline to Tsai and the DPP.

In his New Year’s speech, President Xi proposed that a “one country, two systems” model––an approach Beijing used for Hong Kong––was the way for assimilating Taiwan, even though Hong Kong’s experience offers Taiwan no comfort. At the same time, Xi reiterated that he “makes no promise to renounce the use of force and reserves the option of taking all necessary means” to reunite with Taiwan.

He also said the military would target those seeking Taiwan independence and “foreign interference is intolerable.” Everyone understands that “foreign interference” is a code warning to the United States. Tsai responded that she would be open to talk only if Beijing would promote democracy and renounce the use of force against Taiwan.

It’s fair to say Beijing, Taiwan, and Washington are very far apart about Taiwan’s future. The issue of Taiwan remains the most likely issue that the United States and China may go to war over.

A new year brings new opportunities as well new challenges. Unless the two nations find a non-confrontational way to address these three thorny issues, the Sino-U.S. relationship may have to get worse before it has any hope of getting better.

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo Denies Science Again: “None Of What He Said Is True”

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently denied Trump’s comments about the newly developed COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer — claimed to be 90 percent effective — once again affirming his denial in the science surrounding COVID-19.

During an Operation Warp Speed update on Friday, President Donald J. Trump announced America will have millions of COVID-19 vaccinations distributed throughout the states. According to Trump, however, New York would not be receiving the vaccine until Cuomo approved it.

“As soon as April, the vaccine will be available to the entire general population, except for places like New York state where for political reasons, the governor decided to say … he wants to take his time with the vaccine. He doesn’t trust where the vaccines are coming from,” Trump said. “These are coming from the greatest companies anywhere in the world’s greatest labs in the world, but he doesn’t trust the fact that it’s this White House, this administration.”

“Governor Cuomo will have to let us know when he’s ready for it. Otherwise, we can’t be delivering it to a state that won’t be giving it to its people immediately,” Trump continued. “And I know many I know the people in New York very well. I know they want it.”

Just weeks before, the governor publicly rejected the Trump Administration’s efforts to move forward implementing a COVID-19 vaccine, vowing to work with other governors to stop its distribution “before it does damage.”

“You have two months and we can’t let this vaccination plan go forward the way the Trump administration is designing it because Biden can’t undo it and two months later will be in the midst of it,” Cuomo said.

Journalists and the mainstream media, however, ignored Trump’s reasoning for keeping a vaccine from New York and took his comments out of context to make it look like Trump was settling a personal vengeance against the governor.

Shortly after the president’s address in the Rose Garden, Cuomo joined multiple broadcast networks to deny Trump’s comments.

“None of what he said is true. Surprise, surprise,” Cuomo said. “We’re all excited about the possibilities of a vaccine.”

Instead of acknowledging that he wouldn’t be implementing vaccine distribution until after his state’s review, Cuomo blamed Trump’s unwillingness to give New York a vaccine on the fears of potential “political interference,” citing polls that show Americans are losing trust in a vaccine, completely ignoring the fact that he helped promote this skepticism.

“He has issues with New York, and he likes to point in New York but this is his issue. It’s his credibility issue. It’s the fear that he politicized the health process of this nation, which is a well-founded fear,” Cuomo said. 

“An overwhelming percentage of Americans are worried about political interference in the vaccination process in the approval process by the President,” he added. “The American people trust the drug company more than they trust the President.”

On Saturday, Trump noted Cuomo’s opinion about him has shifted since the beginning of the pandemic, posting a supercut of the governor’s praises of him on his Twitter page.

In March, Cuomo issued a mandate requiring COIVD-19-positive patients to return from hospitals to their nursing homes. His policy has been strongly condemned by many and is thought to have caused the deaths of multiple New Yorkers in long-term care facilities.

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