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C. DOUGLAS GOLDEN

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There was plenty of sturm und drang about who ended up getting what in the massive $2 trillion relief package Congress passed before it was finally signed by President Donald Trump on Saturday.

There’ll still be plenty of debate over whether or not the money is going to the right place. There’s one thing I think we all should agree on, though: The relief package should only include checks to American citizens.

We should. We don’t. And while it’s some of our politicians that are saying this, there are also a lot of non-governmental organizations that are saying it, as well.

If you think it’s fringe voices putting this forth, it’s also probably worth noting that fringe voices are taking more and more oxygen when it comes to politics on the left.

Take New York Democrat Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a member of the House Financial Services Committee and star of the freshman class of 2019 — if more in terms of media coverage than in actual achievement — who protested that immigrants both legally and illegally in this country don’t get a $1,200 check from the plan.

“To clarify, $1200 checks are ONLY going to some w/social sec numbers, NOT immigrants w/ tax IDs (ITINs),” she tweeted Thursday, referring to individual taxpayer identification numbers, a program that allows immigrants — including those here illegally — to pay their federal income taxes.

“Thanks to GOP, these checks will be cut off the backs of *taxpaying immigrants,* who get nothing. Many are essential workers who pay more taxes than Amazon. Wall St gets $4T.”

At least she kept her protest to immigrants paying federal taxes, however. Fellow “squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan came up with her own plan that would give $2,000 on a debit card, with $1,000 added for every month until a year after the crisis ends, to individuals “including undocumented people, permanent residents, and temporary visitors whose stay exceeds three months.”

That wasn’t the most insane part of the plan, though: She wanted to pay for it with two $1 trillion coins.

You would think, given those tweets, that she was hiding how she planned to pay for the bill. On the contrary, she practically invented (or, your dad might say, coined) the hashtag #MintTheCoin to promote it:

These were two of the voices in Congress who were promoting relief checks to illegal immigrants. There were plenty of extra-governmental organizations promoting the idea, as well. Breitbart managed to collect a few of these gems, including one from Marielena Hincapié of the George Soros-backed United We Dream:

Some of these individuals thought the money should go to illegal immigrants who had individual taxpayer identification numbers. Some of them didn’t. The general tenor of everything was, however, that it was time to put more non-Americans on the dole, regardless of whether they were in the country legally.

The Democratic mainstream understood, at a basic level, that this would be unacceptable to the average voter. Even in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s wish list plan, this was never an option. That ought to have told everyone just how toxic this idea is — which is why all but the fringes of the Democratic Party avoided it.

The new left is free to say this, however. AOC and Tlaib are likely to be re-elected in their districts in perpetuity, unappetizing as that prospect might be. Nobody votes for groups like the National Immigrant Justice Center and United We Dream. They’re able to say the quiet part as loud as they like.

Whether or not you agree with the sprawling aid package passed by Congress last weeek, one thing should be clear: This package ought to be for American citizens. We’ll be the ones who end up paying for it, after all. We also have a legal right to be in the country.

This isn’t xenophobia, merely facts.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Congress Can’t Even Hand Cash to Americans Without Leftists Demanding Illegals Get Some, Too

Are you an Elizabeth Warren fan who missed the post-debate coverage of her on Friday? Don’t worry. You probably saw all of her best lines before.

If you think I’m just a conservative pulling some ruse, some cunning trick upon you, I’m merely extrapolating from two separate interviews she gave after Friday’s debate in New Hampshire.

Warren is nothing if not an energetic, spry septuagenarian and she managed to make time for both MSNBC and CBS News during the backstage press free-for-all.

Time for different answers for different networks? That wasn’t really in the (peace) pipe, however.

Take a look at this side-by-side assemblage, posted to Twitter by the fine folks from Townhall, which showed her interviews with the two outlets.

It might sound like this would produce some discordant melange of sound, the kind of squawking cross-talk you’re used to hearing on a contentious political chat show. For reasons you’ll quickly grok, it didn’t:

It started with a word-for-word recitation of the “Nevertheless, she persisted” story, totally unrehearsed.

Then a talk about how she’s been “fighting unwinnable fights all my life” — like getting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a massively interventionist consumer financial “watchdog” that acts as a pit bull for the left’s agenda while being almost entirely (and arguably unconstitutionally) unaccountable to elected officials.

Another unwinnable fight: Her battle to “take back a Senate seat from a popular incumbent Republican.”

Just so we’re clear on what this entails: In the wake of Ted Kennedy’s death, a special election for his seat was held in 2010, shortly after his 2009 passing.

In the most aberrational Senate election result of the 21st century, Brown scored a win in America’s most arguably liberal state over uninspiring Democrat candidate Martha Coakley because of a poor campaign, Democrat voter apathy and anger over Obamacare. Two years later, no one in the Democratic Party made those same mistakes again and Warren became an incredibly unsurprising winner.

But the best commentary is this: It almost feels like you’re listening to this in stereo at times. The words are almost exact — and you get the feeling she’s used them before. This isn’t someone hitting the same points, she’s hitting the same syllables. I understand the use of talking points — every candidate does it, even Donald Trump — but at some level your reactions can’t be mental cut-and-pasting of material that probably didn’t originate from you.

Some of the reactions:

Ironically, the comparisons with Hillary-esque disingenuousness aren’t new. In a slightly different faux pas, Warren seems to have lifted one of her jokes from the next-to-last debate from the 2016 standard-bearer.

I have to admit even I was brought to, if not laughter, a chuckle over that one. It turns out, however, she might have been pulling a Joe Biden and lifting the line from someone else:

“I will be the youngest woman president in the history of the United States,” Hillary said as she kicked off her 2016 campaign in 2015. “You won’t see my hair turn white in the White House. I’ve been coloring my hair for years.”

When it comes to disingenuousness, all I can say is this: Warren learned from the master.

At least Warren didn’t do it word-for-word then. As for Friday, eh. It’s not like anyone was going to notice, right?

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Side-by-Side Video Proves Warren Is Least Genuine Candidate Since Hillary

I think we can officially call a moratorium on the use of the three-word construction “rare bipartisan moment” in discussing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement that’ll almost certainly be passing the House and moving on to the Senate for ratification.

President Donald Trump declared victory on the proposal, which will replace what he has called the “worst trade deal ever made.”

So has House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This deal is much better than the original NAFTA — and infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration,” the California Democrat said.

In fact, if there was going to be any organized resistance, you’d probably predict it would come from Republican quarters. GOP Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey said the current deal was a “complete capitulation to Pelosi.”

However, Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, while saying that the deal was “imperfect, and some people are concerned about the more recent negotiations,” said the “vast majority” of Republicans would support it in the upper house.

So, Trump happy, Republicans grumbling but content, Pelosi happy. It’s a win for American businesses and American workers. That sounds like something that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could get behind, right?

Nope. The New York Democrat told a community town hall in New York on Saturday she was probably going to vote against the historic agreement.

“I am leaning and intending to vote no,” she said, according to the New York Post.

“Folks who, because of our shameful health care system in the United States, cross the border into Canada to try to purchase insulin to bring back” would be threatened by the deal, Ocasio-Cortez told the audience.

This isn’t the first time that Ocasio-Cortez has spoken out against the deal. Back in June, she was one of nine House Democrats who voiced their opposition to the USMCA, writing in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer that it “is essentially NAFTA 2.0: while it includes some important improvements from the original NAFTA, critical unfinished business would perpetuate NAFTA’s damage.

“The new text also includes new terms that we oppose, including some that would lock in high U.S. drug prices,” the lawmakers said.

It’s worth noting that only the opinions of eight of the signatories actually matter anymore; former Rep. Katie Hill has returned to California after resigning due to an inappropriate relationship with a young campaign employee, where she’ll presumedly continue railing against revenge porn to anyone who will still listen.

However, the other hard-left Dem who signed the letter along with AOC — fellow “squad” member Ilhan Omar of Minnesota — has also expressed reservations about the plan.

“We have engaged our stakeholders in Minnesota and still have concerns,” Omar said in an email to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. If those stakeholder concerns were enumerated in that email, they remained unshared in the article.

It’s worth noting that the current version of the USMCA, however, omits intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies, something that prompted no small amount of querulousness from pharma groups.

I’m not entirely sure what AOC wanted aside from the wholesale importation of Canada’s health care system.

Whatever it is, it’s clear she wasn’t going to get it.

This is essentially the Ocasio-Cortez way — she’s not in Washington to actually vote on things that might be beneficial for people in her district; she wants every high-profile bill to be the Platonic ideal of the perfect piece of legislation from the progressive perspective.

If it isn’t, well, it’s threatening those people who drive to Canada to get insulin. Or something.

The great irony is that when Pelosi did bring a bill to the floor that Democrats said would have lowered insulin prices — H.R. 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act — Ocasio-Cortez told members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus that they shouldn’t vote for it until her demands were met.

“I think we need to flex our muscle,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters about the bill.

They ended up increasing the number of drugs covered under the plan from 35 to 50, according to Stat, reducing the chances of it clearing the Senate from 0 percent to 0 percent. Good work, I guess.

That won’t be replicated here, since everyone else in her caucus is more or less basking in that rare bipartisan glow.

In neither case is she pursuing something that will end in any sort of victory for her constituents. This is all about positioning.

It’s worth noting that the major worry from Democrats thus far seems to be that passing the plan might give Trump an election-year advantage. That’s probably why you see Democrats like Pelosi talking about how “[w]e ate their lunch” in terms of the deal.

That’s not where Ocasio-Cortez is, though. She’s flexing her muscle — and, much like when she flexed her muscle on Amazon, she basically wants to cost American workers jobs.

Thankfully, she probably won’t get anywhere fast.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: AOC ‘Intending To Vote No’ on Trump’s Historic USMCA Trade Deal

Normally, the Democratic presidential frontrunner would be celebrating like mad if the incumbent president was potentially facing impeachment.

In Joe Biden’s case, I’d imagine the whole matter has brought him to ordering Pepto-Bismol by the case and sucking it down as if it were Diet Coke.

Almost the whole investigation — as you’re no doubt aware — revolves around whether the Trump administration acted improperly when it asked the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens.

The reason the Trump administration did this, of course, was the fact that Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, was paid tens of thousands of dollars per month to sit on the board of a company called Burisma Holdings — and then his father played a part in pressuring the Ukrainians to fire the prosecutor who once investigated the firm.

This may have been coincidental, but it’s also a massive conflict of interest. It’s also the least of Hunter Biden’s issues, at least as a public relations disaster. The ensuing attention brought up his fondness for illicit powders, gentlemen’s clubs, romantic relations with women he probably should have done best to avoid and other faux pas.

This isn’t to say that it’ll necessarily sink Joe Biden’s campaign. In terms of ne’er-do-well political relatives, however, it makes one yearn for the days of Billy Carter or Neil Bush.

Hunter’s latest imprecation involves allegedly fathering a child out of wedlock with a former college basketball player named Lunden Roberts who worked at a strip club in Washington, D.C.

The Western Journal confirmed that a DNA test taken by Biden showed he was almost certainly the father of the 1-year-old.

Now, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, Biden will have to turn over his financial records for the last five years, and Roberts will have to turn over records of the tips she received at the Mpire strip club in D.C., which is the place where the two of them met.

The Arkansas judge had originally ruled that only three years of records needed to be turned over. He also said that Hunter, 49, and Roberts, 28, needed to come up with the records within 10 days.

“I have viewed Ms Roberts affidavit of financial means online and saw that she is employed at a family business probably for a salary of less than minimum wage,” Judge Don McSpadden said in a letter to the attorneys in the case.

“I do not want to have this [drag] out nor do I want to have to drag out the monies these individuals may have received in any form or fashion.”

“I anticipate paternity as well as custody, support and visitation being established at our next hearing,” he added. The next hearing will be Jan. 7.

“I will do what I believe is in the best interest of the child,” he added.

“This matter has been filed in this court. Again, my major and main if not only concern is this child,” McSpadden added. “Issues are no longer up to the parties.”

“I am going to treat this case like any other paternity case that comes before the court. Hopefully the parties will see fit to look out for the interest of this child.”

The Arkansas Times and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette confirmed the substance of the Daily Mail’s reporting.

In short, the court will learn quite a bit more about Hunter Biden’s Burisma money in a short while, given the window in which the documents are meant to be filed. You won’t, however, given that McSpadden has filed a motion requesting that the documents remain sealed.

“The likelihood that [Biden’s] private records will be used in an inappropriate or malicious manner for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with these proceedings is exceedingly high and should not be tolerated by the court,” he said in the filing.

In terms of the Burisma financial records, I don’t think I particularly need to tell you what that means, even if we don’t see them. In terms of Roberts’ strip club tips, this could also reignite speculation about Hunter Biden’s spending in certain gentlemen’s establishments.

It came out late last month that Biden was suspected of smoking crack at a strip club in D.C. where he had dropped “thousands of dollars” in the VIP room, according to the New York Post’s Page Six.

It was also claimed he settled up using “credit cards that didn’t have his name on it” — generally a no-no in strip clubs, but a partner in the establishment said that “Hunter was a bit of an exception.”

So clearly, America’s father of the year is in a bit of a bother. He did, after all, sit on Burisma’s board between 2014 and 2019 and earned a lot of money while he was at it — up to $50,000 a month, even though he had no experience when it came to Ukraine or the energy sector.

There are plenty of travails of being a new father, although this one is, well, unusual. But at least he’s got some people handing him some well-deserved congratulations.

It’s a long way to next November, and one feels this won’t be the end of the Hunter Biden-related issues.

Of course, if he’d just taken responsibility for his child in the first place, financial and otherwise, none of this would have happened.

Is this the last time we see this kind of irresponsibility on display by Hunter? Is Kamala Harris still a threat to Joe Biden capturing the nomination?

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Father of the Year Hunter Biden Must Now Give Burisma Financials to Court

The joy of Kim Jong Un is you never know which North Korean dictator you’re going to get. Is it going to be conciliatory Kim? Is it going to be the bellicose little dictator, threatening to fire missiles off of the shores of Guam? You never quite know.

At least for the moment, we’re dealing with bad Kim.

The North Koreans aren’t particularly happy that they’re not getting what they want in terms of nuclear disarmament talks. According to the U.K. Guardian, since the failure of the second summit between President Donald Trump and Kim in Hanoi, Vietnam, back in February 2018, the North Koreans have wanted either more concessions from the United States or fewer denuclearization demands.

The Trump administration, meanwhile, has held fast to the demand they made back in Vietnam in February of last year: North Korea needs to completely dismantle its atomic program.

Since nothing’s changed, Kim decided he’s going to do a bit of holiday-themed saber-rattling.

Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Thae Song said in a statement that “it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”

That kind of language, experts say, has been used before when North Korea is about to resume or cross a boundary in terms of missile testing — in this case, almost certainly the resumption of long-distance missile testing.

Ri also warned that the “year-end time limit” set for concessions from the United States is “drawing nearer.”

“The dialogue touted by the U.S. is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK [North Korea] bound to dialogue and use it in favour of the political situation and election in the U.S.,” Ri said.

At the NATO summit outside of London on Tuesday, several reporters asked Trump questions about Kim, including one who said “you’ve met with Kim Jong Un three times now, and yet he continues to build his nuclear program and test his missiles. So what more will it take?”

While Trump said that he didn’t necessarily know that Kim was building his nuclear program or testing missiles and that “we’d be in a World War Three right now” if we’d followed President Barack Obama’s strategy, he made an appeal that Kim will likely understand: an appeal to military strength.

“Hey, look — we are more powerful, militarily, than we ever have been,” Trump said.

”And I will tell you, when I took over the United States military, when I became commander-in-chief, our military was depleted, our military was in trouble. You know that better than anybody.

“We had old planes; we had old everything. We didn’t have ammunition. Now we have the most powerful military we’ve ever had and we’re by far the most powerful country in the world. And, hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it. If we have to, we’ll do it.

“But, you know, my relationship with Kim Jong Un is really good, but that doesn’t mean he won’t abide by the agreement we signed. You have to understand. You have to go and look at the first agreement that we signed. It said he will denuclearize. That’s what it said. I hope he lives up to the agreement, but we’re going to find out.”

Now, of course, a bit of this is the old Trump hyperbole; the military, although depleted, did have ammunition. However, the basic premise of it remains solid: The United States is a lot more powerful than North Korea is.

Yes, North Korea has the ability to engage in asymmetrical fear-mongering. The question is whether or not it works. Any sort of actual engagement will end in the destruction of North Korea. Missile testing will bring nothing but more sanctions and more encirclement.

North Korea might believe it has a “gift” for the United States if they don’t play ball. I would make a joke that Pyongyang will end up with coal in its stocking, but that’s the thing: Coal might be the one thing it ends up needing. If things go south, North Korea is going to be looking for any sort of fuel.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: As Kim Jong Un Begins Acting Up, Trump Reminds Him of US Military Might

I have an uncle who, civic-minded man that he is, had a foolproof way to get out of jury duty. What he would do was slip in, somewhere during voir dire, that he believed anyone the police dragged in was probably guilty.

He’d reliably be driving home before lunchtime.

Believing someone to be somehow guilty before any formal legal process has begun — or, indeed, even considered — seems to have worked in the opposite fashion on the House Judiciary Committee.

In announcing he wouldn’t be attending Donald Trump’s inauguration, New York Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler basically implied the then-president elect was the Muscovite Candidate: “He was legally elected, but the Russian weighing-in on the election, the Russian attempt to hack the election and, frankly, the FBI’s weighing-in on the election, I think, makes his election illegitimate, puts an asterisk next to his name,” Nadler said in January 2017.

So Trump was legally elected, but kinda sorta not really. Any theory the media drags in about Trump’s illegitimacy is probably true. So clearly, Nadler had disqualified himself for the position on the House Judiciary Committee that he so covete– oh no, J/K, the Democrats actually made him chairman when they took over the House after the 2018 midterms.

And now, a man who banged the impeachment drums like Keith Moon long before a single MSNBC viewer knew who Gordon Sondland was is about to take over the impeachment inquiry from Adam Schiff. So if you think things were bad before, hoo doggy.

“The House Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing next week in the swift-moving impeachment investigation into President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, the panel announced Tuesday,” The Hill reported.

“Behind Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the committee will hear from legal scholars as Democrats weigh whether the evidence turned up in their weeks-long impeachment inquiry warrants the drafting of articles aimed at removing the president from office.”

Gee, and I wonder what position they’ll take?

I haven’t been on the edge of my seat this much since I watched “Miracle” and couldn’t stand the suspense over whether the U.S. was going to hold onto that 4-3 lead in that hockey game against the Soviets during the 1980 Winter Olympics. Did you know that movie was based on real events? Wild stuff.

Neither Nadler nor his aides will reveal which constitutional scholars are going to be testifying, but at last check the betting odds that any of them will be members of the Federalist Society remain low.

The House Judiciary Committee chairman has written to the White House and requested that they participate in the hearings, promising “a fair and informative process.”

“I am hopeful that you and your counsel will opt to participate,” he added.

Yeah. The hearing is being called “The Impeachment Inquiry into President Donald J. Trump: Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment.” I wouldn’t be waiting for that RSVP.

“We expect to discuss the constitutional framework through which the House may analyze the evidence gathered in the present inquiry,” Nadler wrote. “We will also discuss whether your alleged actions warrant the House’s exercising its authority to adopt articles of impeachment.”

“The Committee intends this hearing to serve as an opportunity to discuss the historical and constitutional basis of impeachment, as well as the Framers’ intent and understanding of terms like ‘high crimes and misdemeanors,’” the letter added.

This is the panel that’s supposed to decide whether or not Trump’s dealings with Ukraine were impeachable. It’s being run on a vulgarized fast track by a guy who thought Trump was “illegitimate” from the start. Yet, if Trump’s doesn’t participate, Nadler says, there’s no room to complain about fairness.

“At base, the president has a choice to make: he can take this opportunity to be represented in the impeachment hearings, or he can stop complaining about the process,” Nadler said in a statement.

Participate in our rigged process or don’t complain how the process is rigged. Sounds about right.

If this is the kind of logic we used in other proceedings, my uncle would have made a fine jury foreman.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: If You Thought Schiff’s Inquiry Was Bad, Nadler’s Set To Take Over in a Week

I know I’m not supposed to say the name of suspected whistleblower Eric Ciaramella’s name or else I’m putting him and his family in grave personal danger, so let’s get this one right out of the way: Eric Ciaramella, Eric Ciaramella, Eric Ciaramella, Eric Ciaramella.

Is he in any more danger? Have I debased political debate in the United States any further? Have I engaged in fake news? No, no and no? All right, so I feel safe continuing here.

It’d be impossible to even bullet-point all of the curious links Ciaramella and the whistleblower — assuming they are one and the same — have to Democrats and powerful liberals.

Ciaramella, a CIA analyst who was stationed in the White House at one point, also worked closely with then-Vice President Joe Biden on issues related to Ukraine.

He met with the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff before he filed his whistleblower complaint.

He was purportedly the author of an email that showed what Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Horowitz might have called an “indicia” of an inarguable conspiratorial bias, since it all but accused President Donald Trump of coordinating former FBI Director James Comey’s firing with the Russians.

And now, in case you didn’t have enough to make you suspicious, the dramatis personæ in the Ciaramella saga includes none other than liberal billionaire George Soros.

In addition to his role as a Santa Claus for liberal campaigns, Soros also funds and/or runs many prominent organizations linked to his political goals. The most prominent of these is the Open Society Foundations, which serves as an umbrella group for many of Soros’ other efforts.

It also served as a source of information and policy tip-offs for none other than Eric Ciaramella.

According to a report from investigative reporter Aaron Klein published by Breitbart on Sunday, Ciaramella received emails on Ukraine — his area of expertise — from one of OSF’s top directors.

“The emails informed Ciaramella and a handful of other Obama administration foreign policy officials about Soros’s whereabouts, the contents of Soros’s private meetings about Ukraine and a future meeting the billionaire activist was holding with the prime minister of Ukraine,” Klein reported.

“A primary recipient of the Open Society emails along with Ciaramella was then-Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Victoria Nuland, who played a central role in the anti-Trump dossier affair. Nuland, with whom Ciaramella worked closely, received updates on Ukraine issues from dossier author Christopher Steele in addition to her direct role in facilitating the dossier within the Obama administration.”

Take one from June 9, 2019 from senior policy analyst for Eurasia at the OSF, Jeff Goldstein. It described a meeting between Soros and Johannes Hahn, whom Klein identified as a member of the European Union’s Commission for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

“I wanted to let you know that Mr. Soros met with Johannes Hahn in Brussels earlier today. One of the issues he raised was concern over the decision to delay the visa liberalization for Georgia and the implications for Ukraine,” the message read.

Ciaramella and Nuland had the email addressed to them, but other State Department officials were copied on the document.

Soros, the email said, “is also meeting [Georgian] President [Giorgi] Margvelashvili today and speaking with [then-Ukranian Prime Minister Volodymyr] Groyman.” (It’s actually Groysman, but what’s a little misspelling if our current president doesn’t make it?)

Soros told Hahn “that Ukrainian civil society is concerned that without reciprocity from the EU for steps Ukraine has taken to put in place sensitive anti-corruption and anti-discrimination legislation and institutions it will not be possible to continue to use the leverage of EU instruments and policies to maintain pressure for reforms in the future” and “urged Hahn to advocate with member states to move ahead with visa liberalization for Ukraine.”

The email concluded, according to Klein, with the sentence: “I’m sure you’ve been working this issue hard; if you have any thoughts on how this is likely to play out or where particular problems lie I’d appreciate if you could let us know.”

“Goldstein’s email text sent to Nuland and Ciaramella was not addressed to any one individual,” Klein reported.

“Nuland replied that she would be happy to discuss the issues by phone. Goldstein set up a phone call and wrote that Soros specifically asked that an employee from the billionaire’s ‘personal office’ join the call with Nuland.”

The emails were obtained as part of a Freedom of Information Act request unrelated to the Ukraine investigation — pretty much by accident, in other words.

The Soros links continue in the whistleblower report, which Breitbart originally reported mirrored concerns in a July 22 piece from the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, a foundation funded in large part by Soros and tech giant Google.

In the report, the whistleblower claimed that that “multiple U.S. officials told me that Mr. Giuliani had reportedly privately reached out to a variety of other Zelensky advisers, including Chief of Staff Andriy Bohdan and Acting Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine Ivan Bakanov.”

This, the whistleblower implied, was to follow up on potential investigations into the Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings and potential corruption involving the Bidens. (As most of the world knows by now, Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a board member of Burisma, receiving a salary of $50,000 a month.)

Irrespective of what you think about how true this was or whether it was called for, there was something curious about the claim. While it was phrased as if this were information passed along to the whistleblower — i.e., “multiple U.S. officials told me” — a footnote about the allegations refers to the OCCRP report.

“In a report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) on 22 July, two associates of Mr. Giuliani reportedly traveled to Kyiv in May 2019 and met with Mr. Bakanov and another close Zelensky adviser, Mr. Serhiy Shefir,” the footnote states.

Furthermore, three more allegations in the whistleblower complaint are footnoted with the OCCRP report as a reference. Significant portions of the whistleblower report, in other words, were (at best) buttressed by or (at worst) merely echoing a piece from a Soros-funded organization that was — no matter how you feel about the information contained therein — a hit piece slanted against the Trump administration’s efforts in Ukraine.

(The report was also done in concert with BuzzFeed, the journalistic outfit responsible for publishing the mostly discredited Steele dossier, just in case this didn’t look bad enough)

This link had previously been reported by former federal prosecutor Joe di Genova during an appearance on Fox News:

None of this, taken in isolation, is damning. None of these things alone would invalidate the whistleblower report. However, taken in concert — along with the whistleblower’s demand that he offer testimony only in writing — the facts present a picture of someone with more than a mere “indicia” of bias.

If the whistleblower is Eric Ciaramella (it’s also worth noting that nowhere in the torrent of condemnation that lies in wait for anyone who mentions his name has there ever been a specific denial that Ciaramella was the whistleblower), this is important stuff.

It’s indicative of a man who had an agenda. It’s indicative of a man who is very much — I know it’s an overused phrase, but none other will suffice — of The Swamp.

Did his agenda or his swampiness substantively affect the whistleblower complaint or what we know about President Trump’s decisions in re: military funding for Ukraine? We don’t know — and that’s why testimony that goes beyond written answers is necessary. It can (and probably should) be behind closed doors. We didn’t even need to know the whistleblower’s name, although it appears we certainly do now.

What we need to know why they seem to be connected to so many liberal organizations and tentacles of Democrat officialdom — and what kind of influence that had on his decision-making in this matter.

When this is a complaint that’s allegedly coming from a man being appraised of George Soros’ movements, there are questions that need to be answered, and not just on paper.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Eric Ciaramella Linked to Soros Foundation – Informed of Soros’ Movements, Asked To Anticipate ‘Particular Problems’

On Tuesday, former South Carolina governor and representative Mark Sanford ended his primary challenge against Donald Trump. If your immediate response is, “Who?” you weren’t alone. If your immediate response was “Oh wait, that ‘hiking the Appalachian Trail’ guy? He was running for president?” you also weren’t alone.

The only thing remotely interesting about Sanford’s exit was the timing. Trump is in the midst of an impeachment inquiry we’ve been assured is an existential threat to his presidency. If he survives that, how is he supposed to win next November?

The time would seem ripe for Republicans — establishment and rank-and-file alike — to abandon the president for greener (or any other) pastures.

But that’s why Sanford was doomed — and why his hopes that the impeachment inquiry would inflict a mortal wound on the Trump presidency may be doomed too.

Yes, some Republicans may be alienated by the proceedings on Capitol Hill. Others are energized — and they’re displaying that energy with their money and their time.

According to the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign has picked up 100,000 new donors and 75,000 new volunteers through an anti-impeachment website the RNC has set up.

That’s a tweet from Trump’s director of strategic communications, Mark Lotter. Others in the GOP structure seem to back it up.

“It didn’t seem possible to get President Trump’s supporters more fired up than they already were,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump campaign’s spokesman, told The Associated Press.

“Democrats have done it with their sham impeachment proceedings.”

“The effort reflects the Trump campaign’s confidence that the impeachment fight will not only energize his diehard supporters, but also turn off voters weary of the fighting in Washington and willing to blame Democrats for the latest battle,” the AP reported in a Sunday article.

“Trump’s campaign isn’t just waiting for voters to bring up impeachment — it’s ‘owning it,’ raising it on phone calls and door-knocks across the country, said Rick Gorka, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee. The campaign and the RNC have spent more than $10 million in impeachment-related TV ads already, with more expected in the coming weeks as Democrats begin their open hearings.”

How these numbers translate into real-world polling data regarding Trump’s impeachment is still anyone’s guess. RealClearPolitics’ polling average on the president’s impeachment and removal has held mostly steady over the past month, with 48.3 percent in favor to 45.7 opposed. While those numbers have closed somewhat, they haven’t closed substantially.

That could be taken two ways, though: Even with closed-door hearings and plenty of selective leaks, Americans are actually less convinced, albeit slightly so, that impeachment is the way forward.

And that’s just an average. A Morning Consult poll taken between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3 found that 47 percent of respondents were in favor of impeaching Trump. That was down from 51 percent in the same poll taken less than a month earlier.

This isn’t a recent phenomenon, either. In the 24 hours after Nancy Pelosi announced her impeachment inquiry, the Trump campaign took in a whopping $5 million. As of Sept. 30, the campaign had raised $165 million and the RNC had taken in $168 million — a record haul for any sitting president at this point in the campaign. He’s also adding to an impressive grassroots campaign with a groundswell of new donors.

Of course, Trump faces significant headwinds in 2020 and will no doubt need that kind of money and then some. Impeachment seems a fait accompli at this point and the Democrats are no doubt going to use that to generate windfalls of their own.

For his part, Gorka seems unafraid.

“We’re turning this into a real rallying cry for the president’s supporters,” the Trump spokesman told the AP. He also sees this as a window to reach out to another demographic: those who may not be Trump fans “but see this process for what it is, a political hit job.”

Judging by the first day of public impeachment inquiry hearings — particularly Adam Schiff’s opening remarks, which all but assumed the president’s guilt — that’s likely to be a growing cohort.

Either way, the fact that the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry seems to have coalesced support around the president should be a disheartening prospect for the left side of the aisle. And, as for any other potential Mark Sanfords looking to hike the electoral Appalachian Trail of challenging a sitting president, it looks like their opportunity has been all but foreclosed upon — no matter how impeachment goes.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Trump Fundraising and Volunteer Rolls Swelling Thanks to Dems’ Impeachment Sham, According to RNC

Elizabeth Warren loves public schools so much that she wants to keep your kids in failing ones.

When it comes to her kid, perhaps not so much.

See, Warren isn’t a big fan of school choice. That’s why her education plan, released last week, calls for banning for-profit charter schools. Non-profit charter schools are also mostly verboten, as the plan calls for a pause on federal funding for the expansion of all charter schools.

The reasons she gave were predictable: Spending money on potentially innovative private options outside of the public school system deprives public schools of taxpayer money and private options are potentially corrupt. Also, racism!

“To keep our traditional public school systems strong, we must resist efforts to divert public funds out of traditional public schools,” Warren’s plan reads. “Efforts to expand the footprint of charter schools, often without even ensuring that charters are subject to the same transparency requirements and safeguards as traditional public schools, strain the resources of school districts and leave students behind, primarily students of color.”

“Further, inadequate funding and a growing education technology industry have opened the door to the privatization and corruption of our traditional public schools. More than half of the states allow public schools to be run by for-profit companies, and corporations are leveraging their market power and schools’ desire to keep pace with rapidly changing technology to extract profits at the expense of vulnerable students.”

“We should stop the diversion of public dollars from traditional public schools through vouchers or tuition tax credits – which are vouchers by another name. We should fight back against the privatization, corporatization, and profiteering in our nation’s schools,” the plan adds, just in case you didn’t get the message that she’s against school choice.

As The Washington Post pointed out, for-profit charter schools make up about 15 percent of all charter schools, which means an immediate loss of options for parents whose children are stuck in failing public schools. The Post called it a “union-pleasing plan;” just in case you didn’t get that message from looking at it, Warren spent the next day marching with Chicago teachers.

“The attack on charter schools is particularly disappointing given Ms. Warren’s past support for charters in her home state, which has some of the nation’s best charters,” The Post wrote in an editorial on Monday.

“She once touted the ‘extraordinary results’ of many Massachusetts charters and spoke of the need to ‘celebrate the hard work of those teachers and spread what’s working to other schools.’ The federal program she wants to end helped start some charters in Boston that have shown good results in educating low-income and minority students.”

I suppose now she’s seen the light, a light which has nothing to do with union support. It may not surprise you to know that she believed in school choice when she had her own child, too. She believed in the only kind of school choice that will be available to a lot more parents if she gets her way: putting one’s child into private school with one’s own money.

According to The Daily Caller, for at least one year back in 1987, Warren sent her son to an elite private school outside of Austin, Texas — a school which now boasts a yearly tuition of $14,995.

A 1987 yearbook from Kirby Hall shows the Massachusetts’ senator’s son, Alexander Warren, then an 11-year-old fifth-grader, among the students at the tony private school.

The year would correspond with the last time that his mother taught at the nearby University of Texas at Austin.

My guess is this anecdote isn’t going to pop up on the campaign trail.

The yearbook photo was first reported by Corey A. DeAngelis, director of school choice at the Reason Foundation.

“I do not blame Alex one bit for attending a private school in 5th grade. Good for him,” DeAngelis tweeted.

“This is about Warren exercising school choice for her own kids while fighting hard to prevent other families from having that option.”

But this is the kind of school choice that Elizabeth Warren can get behind — the kind that you get if you can afford it.

“The losers in these political calculations are the children whom charters help,” The Post’s editorial noted.

“Charters at their best offer options to parents whose children would have been consigned to failing traditional schools. They spur reform in public school systems in such places as the District [of Columbia] and Chicago. And high-quality charters lift the achievement of students of color, children from low-income families and English language learners.”

Again, this speaks to the insularity of Warren’s appeal to buttress public schools. For many of her supporters, even if they don’t send their children to private schools, they live in places where the public schools aren’t failing. They don’t have to make these sorts of choices.

I’m not going to pretend that Warren’s plan is anything short of electoral cupidity. Teachers’ unions are against charter schools, and she wants to be the candidate for public sector unions, ergo, she’s against charter schools.

At one point, she had a bit more sense.

At one point in her life, too, she decided to opt out for her own children, at least for one year. She had the money and she had the right to make that choice. For parents who don’t have the money, charter schools can be the only choice that they have. Warren wants to sacrifice that on the pyre of organized labor.

The children — the ones who don’t have parents who can pay like Alexander Warren did — will be the ones who end up suffering if she ever gets a chance to go through with this.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Warren Sent Son to School That Now Costs $15K/Year but Pushes To Keep Poor Kids in Failing Public Schools

It’s always an entertaining time on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when Joe Scarborough has to pull a guest back from the abyss that is the anti-Trump conspiracy theory.

If you want to see this kind of thing in action, let me refer you to a bit of witty banter last month during which Scarborough’s other half, co-host Mika Brzezinski, questioned Barron Trump’s paternity in a quasi-jocund fashion.

I suppose you can’t eject your wife and co-anchor from the set lest you want to sleep on the couch until Barron Trump reaches the age of majority (or you find another co-host to wed), but Scarborough tried to back away from the topic like a man endeavoring to discover how fast his car can go in reverse.

If you’re a connoisseur of these sorts of things, Thursday’s edition of “Morning Joe” was for you. That’s because one of the guests was Donny Deutsch, an ad executive and weekend host on Scarborough’s network.

I never found Deutsch to be that securely moored to reality’s harbor from back in his days at CNBC, but I really never paid much attention to him then, since watching the network for more than 15 minutes in those days meant running at least a 50/50 chance of seeing some footage of Jim Cramer. Being averse as I am to over-caffeinated men over-enthusiastically whacking oversized buttons while delivering stock advice, I didn’t get to watch Donny much in those days.

It turns out my suspicions about Deutsch’s sanity were correct. Now that he’s moved over to MSNBC, Deutsch’s takes have alternated between comic relief and outrageousness. He thinks Trump voters should be told they’re Nazis. He’s said Trump supporters “own the blood” over mass shootings. And now, he’s saying that Trump’s been laundering money from the Russians for the last 30 years.

“This is all about failed casinos,” Deutsch said during his appearance, according to Fox News.

“[Trump] is owned by Putin because he’s been laundering money, Russian money, for the last 20, 30 years. He’s owned by them.”

“You talk to any banker in New York, any business person in New York, any real estate person … we have a president that’s selling out our military, that’s costing lives, because he is owned by our geopolitical enemy,” Deutsch continued.

“Because he’s been laundering money for him as a criminal organization for the last 30 years.”

Oh, well, talk to any banker or real-estate person or what-have-you. Well, that settles it, I believe him.

Scarborough, understandably, tried to put the brakes on this like Fred Flintstone digging in his heels.

“That, that, that, that is, that is speculation and only speculation right now,” he said.

“I will say that it is speculation among New York bankers who have loaned Donald Trump money in the past, and who have been following his business career.”

However, Joe Scarborough is still Joe Scarborough and he was perfectly willing to take the ball and run with it, substituting his own brand of more media-friendly baseless speculation.

“We all will be absolutely fascinated when we finally figure out what Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump and why Donald Trump has surrendered the Middle East, helped ISIS, helped Iran, helped Russia, helped Turkey, helped all of our enemies and betrayed all of our allies,” Scarborough said.

“A lot of people think… [Putin] has compromising pictures or something happened in a hotel in Russia years ago. No. It goes back to money. It’s always about money.”

Just not that Trump was laundering money for the Russians since the last days of the Soviet Union. Please, let’s not engage in evidence-free conjecture here.

I suppose MSNBC might want to relive the heady days back when Robert Mueller had yet to deliver his report and this kind of speculation about what kind of claws the Russians might have in Donald Trump was actually respectable. Now, it’s just conspiracy theorizing — and not checking your facts on this kind of thing can get you in trouble, as MSNBC host another Lawrence O’Donnell found out this summer.

I almost wonder why Deutsch hasn’t fully moved onto Ukraine yet. All sorts of reckless speculation will pass muster as far as that’s concerned.

Meanwhile, any serious belief that the Russians were secretly manipulating Trump via investments ended, more or less, with the Mueller report.

Anyone who wants to keep it alive deserves nothing but our derision. I’d almost rather watch Jim Cramer.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: MSNBC Airs Wild Accusation Trump’s Been Laundering Money for Russia for Last 30 Years

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