Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Mark Judge: I Never Saw Brett [Kavanaugh] Act in the Manner Dr. Ford Describes

Mark Judge, who Christine Blasey Ford described as the other man in the room during an alleged assault upon her by judge Brett Kavanaugh in the 1980s, has denied anything like that happened. Ford's letter to the Senate is reproduced below:

As things stand, Kavanaugh and Judge deny Ford's claims. Whether Ford is willing to make her accusation under oath to the Senate Committee is in question, as she has still not responded to an invitation to tell her story.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein continues to shock all parties involved. Her latest statement questions the validity of Ford's charge:

Feinstein is laying the groundwork to back away and distance herself from Ford if she backs out of the charade and won't testify.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has offered Ford either an open or closed hearing to state her claim under oath, but she still has not responded.

Kavanaugh, as many have come forward to proclaim, is a good man who deserves a position on the Supreme Court, yet Feinstein and the Democrats have besmirched his good name with no supporting evidence. At present, nothing stands in the way of his ultimate confirmation.

Feinstein's Delay Damages the Nation, Helps Democrats

It's all about votes and elections.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein's actions go beyond rank partisanship and have damaged the nation.

She withheld any mention of the letter she received months ago from Christine Blasey Ford alleging Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her back in high school in the 1980s. As nothing more than raw political calculation, she chose the moment just before the Senate would confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court to decide to release the information. Her stated reason for waiting rings hollow and dishonest:
“I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
No individual can expect confidentiality when accusing a potential Supreme Court justice of sexual assault! And no Senator worthy of the office would remain silent for a moment. Yet Feinstein did.

The dishonesty and calculation behind the timing of the letter is clear: Feinstein knew the letter and Ford's charges had no substance to them. She would see how the Kavanaugh hearings proceeded, if he encountered any roadblocks, and if not, she would at the last moment reveal the letter as a "Hail Mary" to derail the nomination. And it was clear Kavanaugh would be nominated before she finally decided the political circumstances dictated that she needed to announce the existence of the letter and hope it would result in the withdrawal of the Kavanaugh nomination.

This is the second time in a few months that Feinstein's name has emerged as a villain intent on damaging her country. In August, we learned that Feinstein, who was Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, had a Chinese spy working on her staff for 20 years. A Chinese spy! He reported to China's Ministry of State Security through the China's Consulate in San Francisco. No congressional hearings have been scheduled. Did she know? Did she care? What security procedures did she have in place? No one cares, least of all the news media.

Feinstein's political tactics betray a disregard for the integrity of the nomination process and call into question the validity of the charges of the accuser, who has already been revealed as a far-left activist.

Left-wing groups have been fighting the Kavanaugh nomination in the hopes a conservative won't replace outgoing Justice Anthony Kennedy. President Trump, however, has more conservatives names on his list after Kavanaugh.
Feinstein hopes that the questions that have now been raised about Kavanaugh as a result of this accusation will persuade skittish, politically vulnerable Democrats to oppose him and not need to worry about any consequences at election time in November, and possibly win control of the House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings of Trump, for nothing more than brazen political partisanship, will commence immediately.

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley scheduled a hearing next Monday with both Kavanaugh and Ford to "give these recent allegations a full hearing."

But Ford has not yet accepted the invitation, and Grassley said the hearing could be canceled as a result:
“We have reached out to her in the last 36 hours three or four times by email and we have not heard from them, and it kind of raises the question, do they want to come to the public hearing or not? What would be the purpose of the hearing if Dr. Ford doesn’t want to respond?”

Monday, September 17, 2018

Trump Slashes Number of Refugees Down to 30,000 for 2019, Pompeo Cites Backlog and National Security

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that the United States will cap the number of refugees allowed into the country at 30,000 for 2019. This represents a one-third cut from the 45,000 granted entry in 2018. 280,000 asylum seekers will be processed as well, and they will join the 800,000 asylum seekers already in the country.

Pompeo said the new refugee policy will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection of those already in the country. He cited an "urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system," and prioritize the safety and security of American citizens:

Mike Pompeo: 
The United States anticipates processing up to 310,000 refugees and asylum seekers in fiscal year 2019. We propose resettling up to 30,000 refugees under the new refugee ceiling, as well as processing more than 280,000 asylum seekers. They will join the over 800,000 asylum seekers who are already inside the United States and who are awaiting adjudication of their claims. 
The United States longstanding record as the most generous nation in the world when it comes to protection-based immigration and assistance. Since 2010, over 1.5 million people have been admitted as refugees or granted asylum in the United States. Hundreds of thousands of others who have received temporary and permanent protection under other immigration categories. 
The total humanitarian assistance of the United States was more than $8 Billion worldwide in FY2017--more than any other country. 
Some will characterize the refugee ceiling as the sole barometer of the United States' commitment to vulnerable people around the world. This would be wrong. 
In consideration of both U.S. national security interests and the urgent need to restore integrity to our overwhelmed asylum system, the United States will focus on addressing the humanitarian protection cases of those already in the country. 
This year's refugee ceiling also reflects our commitment to protect the most vulnerable around the world while prioritizing the safety and well-being of the American people, as President Trump has directed. 
We must responsibly vet the applications to prevent the entry of those who might do harm to our country. Already this year, we have sen evidence that the system previously in place was defective. It allowed a foreign national to slip through who was later discovered to be a member of ISIS, as well as other individuals with criminal backgrounds. 
The American people must have complete confidence that everyone granted resettlement in our country is thoroughly vetted. 
The improved refugee policy serves the national interests of the United States and expands our ability to help those in need all around the world.

Questions Abound Over Delay Of Sexual Misconduct Accusation Against Judge Kavanaugh

Judge Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court nomination is likely to be held up a little longer, as President Donald Trump said he is willing to accept "a little delay," to go through the process of hearing everyone out.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, recently made the committee aware of a letter she received months ago from Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges Kavanaugh forced himself on her sexually at a high school party in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh denies her was at the party and believes Ford is mistaking him for someone else.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell questioned why Feinstein withheld this allegation until the last moment before the vote on Kavanaugh's nomination:

President Trump is defending Kavanaugh, calling him one of the finest people he has known. Trump also questioned why the allegation was hidden away until now if it was considered an honest charge:
Democrats are under intense pressure from radicals on the far left to derail the Kavanaugh nomination. He is a conservative and would replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered more of a moderate, thereby shifting the high court to the political right.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

How Many People Died As a Result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017?

Anti-Trump critics disputed President Trump's assertion that 3,000 people didn't die as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico:
Many are citing a George Washington University study alleging 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

FEMA Administrator Brock Long defended Trump's statement on the number of deaths, and questioned the study's methodology as well.
A study written by Alexis Santos-Lozada of Penn State published in JAMA concluded that the
"estimated hurricane-related mortality burden of 1,139 excess deaths through December 2017 was higher than the official death toll of 64."
Santos-Lozada took issue with another study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that alleged that the number of excess deaths "is more than 70 times the official estimate," or 4,645 deaths. He said that study "indicated a high level of uncertainty."

As Brock Long said, "the numbers are all over the place," but those who allege deaths anywhere around 3,000 or above haven't proven their case to the satisfaction of peer scholars.

Conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh recently pointed out, "Nobody has counted the bodies. Nobody has seen the caskets."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan Wants A Second Brexit Vote, Unhappy with the Result of the First

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, unhappy with the first Brexit vote in which UK voters decided to leave the European Union, is demanding a second vote, hoping that enough voters have changed their minds by now and will want to stay in the EU. Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan (photo courtesy Wikipedia)

Khan calls a potential second referendum a "people's vote," as if somehow the first vote wasn't.

The excuse for another vote is Khan's belief that the government of Prime Minister Theresa May has bungled Brexit negotiations with the EU, somehow meaning that a new vote is the proper response.

Meanwhile, crime is skyrocketing in Khan's London. Scotland Yard has just announced the addition of 122 officers to the London Violent Crime Taskforce. Knife crime has hit its highest level since 2010.

From Breitbart News:
British courts dealt with more than 21,100 knife crime cases in the year to June, according to Ministry of Justice figures. The 36 percent of offences which resulted in a custodial sentence was the highest proportion on record.
London's Air Ambulance has revealed that gun and knife casualties make up the largest percentage of emergency calls.

Khan's plea for a second Brexit vote undermines the democratic process in the UK. Theresa May is against another vote, and has called for respecting the will of the people.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bill Kristol's Pathetic Search for a 2020 GOP Challenger to Trump

Political pundit Bill Kristol is in the news again for the same reason he has been in the news before: he and his nonprofit organization "Defending Democracy Together" are "seeking" a GOP candidate to challenge President Trump in the 2020 primaries.

It's unclear to me what it means that Kristol is "seeking" a candidate, as if any potential challenger to Trump needs his approval and can't run without first kissing his ring. It sounds like something a megalomaniac would say, or someone upset that an outsider like Trump, who never needed his endorsement or anything at all from him, is now the leader of the Republican Party.

Kristol's potential hires seem unenthusiastic about wanting or needing his support as well. Among the names Kristol likes to bandy about are Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Kasich and Flake are unwilling to talk, and Sasse's communications director James Wegmann dissed Kristol:
Ben isn’t paying any attention to the 2020 Washington rumors. Bill is a nice guy but he’s freelancing his own show here. We’re not involved.
Kristol, one of the leaders of the Never Trump movement, doesn't have a reason for opposing Trump that makes any sense to the vast majority of Republicans who support the president. Kristol has said that Trump "demeans" conservatism. It's a nonsensical charge aimed at the man who installed conservative Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, soon to be joined by Brett Kavanaugh. The economy is roaring under Trump and he has reinvigorated traditional American patriotism like no other modern president.

Thriller author Brad Thor, who made several wildly bizarre statements about Trump during the 2016 primaries, has indicated he wants to challenge Trump, yet even Kristol is ignoring him.

None of the possible names--including Mitt Romney and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan--stand a prayer of unseating Trump, whose popularity among Republicans continues to grow, and is now somewhere near 90% approval.

Meanwhile, Kristol says nice things about Democrats such as Oprah Winfrey, and not always tongue-in-cheek: "Wouldn't she be a better president than Trump?" he asked wistfully. And he is still on the Russia collusion bandwagon:
"Their [Trump supporters] last line of defense is 'it's not Russia.' but how do we know it is not Russia?
Well, the entire world knows it isn't Russia. Kristol and his sycophants become more irrelevant with each passing interview published in the anti-Trump news media.

Friday, September 14, 2018

New York Times Attack on Nikki Haley Over Obama's UN Drapes Typical of Biased Media

(Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to the United Nations)

Yet again, the New York Times was caught publishing fake news about the Trump administration.

This time, it was the drapes.

The curtains for the residence of the US Envoy to the United Nations, currently occupied by Nikki Haley. They cost $52,701. The Times accused Haley and the Trump administration of spending lavishly in a time of "deep budget cuts."
Haley pointed out that the drapes had been ordered by the Obama administration, and neither she nor the Trump administration had any input into the purchase.

The Times was forced to issue a major correction, admitting that the decision to purchase the expensive curtains was made by the Obama administration:
An earlier version of this article and headline created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question. While Nikki R. Haley is the current ambassador to the United Nations, the decision on leasing the ambassador’s residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials. The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used. The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed.
The original article wasn't a clumsy stab at journalism but a vulgar attempt at character assassination. Charles Payne of Fox Business calls it an example of "Assassination News":

And this is why the public distrusts the news media. Articles written and published for no reason but to push a biased agenda on the political left. As Payne said:
The media lurches from one invented crisis to another, one character assassination to another. Meanwhile, anything resembling honest journalism is a long way from the biggest names in the news business, names and reputations that were earned long ago, not anytime lately.

Violent Islamist Extremism Caused 84,023 Deaths in 2017: Report

A new report from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change determined that at least 84,023 people in 66 countries across the globe died as a result of violent Islamist Extremism in 2017.

Among the key findings:
  • Violent Islamist extremism is a global problem
  • Intentional attacks on civilians killed over 6,000 people
  • Countries most affected: Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Mali, Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan
  • Executions and suicide attacks are common tactics
  • Many women orchestrate deadly attacks against civilians
  • Syria remains the epicenter for violent Islamist extremism
The solution, the report said, is to fight the underlying ideology behind the attacks:
Ideology is the greatest tool for the global jihadi movement. The long-term fight against it will need a comprehensive, multifaceted strategy.
Tony Blair said:
Security measures will be vital. But security alone will never be enough. It will only slow the violence. Unless there is a global will to meet the depth of the challenges, the ideology of Islamism will grow—and with it, the violence. It is time to act.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Facebook's Video 'Fact-Checking' Means More Political Censorship

Facebook today announced that it will begin "fact-checking" videos and photographs in an effort to reduce "misinformation in these new visual formats."

Antonia Woodford, Facebook Product Manager, said:
Today, we’re expanding fact-checking for photos and videos to all of our 27 partners in 17 countries around the world (and are regularly on-boarding new fact-checking partners). This will help us identify and take action against more types of misinformation, faster.
The timing comes shortly before midterm elections in November. Facebook has already been accused of censoring right-of-center political figures in an effort to derail their election prospects.

Under cover of fighting "misinformation," Facebook will continue their highly partisan censorship in an effort to swing public opinion and elections to the side of political leftists.

Howls of complaints are already filling the internet from conservatives complaining of Facebook's bias and silencing of opinions with which they disagree. Those howls will turn even louder once videos and photographs are censored for no reason but partisan politics.

YouTube recently announced that it is "fact-checking" videos that question climate change, as if there is no dispute about it, and as if "the science is settled," a nonsensical phrase if ever there was one.

Climate change is one of the most politically-charged topics under the sun, and "fact-checking" those videos has nothing to do with science and everything to do with silencing one side of the political spectrum.

Censorship of conservatives has reached a fever pitch with midterm elections on the horizon. The current situation is unsustainable for the political right for much longer. Is the answer regulation from Congress, or monopoly-busting, or a mass exodus to friendly and fairer social media outlets? That question will need to be answered soon.

Google Tape Proves Conservatives Will Never Get a Fair Shake

Breitbart News posted a leaked video recorded by Google shortly after Donald Trump was elected president. The contents aren't all that surprising. It shows an all-hands meeting in which co-founder Sergey Brin and other top executives express profound shock, dismay, and sorrow at Trump's election. The leaders vowed to thwart Trump and defeat him and his populist agenda.

Brad Parscale, campaign manager for Trump 2020, tweeted that Google needs to explain why the words of their leaders aren't "a threat to the Republic":
If we had video of a hypothetical all-hands meeting at any of the other social media companies, such as Twitter, Youtube, or Facebook, their executives would say exactly the same things, express the same remorse at Trump's victory, and vow to stop him and his agenda. The same could be said of the top traditional news media--New York Times, Washington Post, AP, Reuters, and so on.

We always knew what Google's executives thought behind closed doors--the video merely corroborates the obvious. And we know what the other big tech companies think of Trump and his conservative agenda without needing videos to prove it.

Meanwhile, censorship on social media continues and is currently revved up into high gear. Alex Jones has been banned for life from twitter. Brandon Straka, founder of the #WalkAway movement, has been banned from Facebook. Author Phyllis Chesler wrote an article on "feminism" on Facebook, and it was promptly blocked.

Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-mass migration political party "For Britain," has not been banned:
But these are merely the latest examples of hundreds or thousands which could be found--censorship of varying degrees on the social media platforms aimed at conservatives.

What to do? Congress can haul to the leaders in for questioning, and talk is growing of breaking up these monopolies. Donald Trump Jr. said this issue isn't going away "because I don;t think it's changing." He would prefer conservatives in Silicon Valley create an alternative, "and then I'd help promote the platform and I'd be all over that."

Many rank-and-file conservatives hope that President Trump will move away from Twitter to an alternative. And if he did, Twitter would lose 50+ plus users overnight. But such a big exodus is unlikely to happen. Which alternative to go to? The others that could be mentioned are struggling, and Trump would clearly prefer that the major players clean up their act rather than go elsewhere.

But they won't clean up their act. They are what they are. The Google tape is from one company--the same sort of video could have been made at any of the other major players with the same sentiments expressed.

Conservatives aren't getting a fair shake and can't expect one in the future. These companies have a passion for censorship and will force millions on the political right to go elsewhere, as a necessity. A conservative suite of social media platforms will be needed as things are only getting worse.

Tech executives and their staffs are great at information technology but horrendous at free speech, fairness, ethics, journalism, and the values of mass media and communication. Sadly, they are in charge of both.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Doomed Pontificate of Pope Francis: All Bishops Summoned to Rome

Pope Francis has summoned all bishops to Rome in February in an attempt to find a solution and plot some sort of endgame to the sex abuse scandal that has raged like a wildfire during his tenure as pontiff.

The stated topic of the meeting is the "prevention of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults." No further details have yet been forthcoming.

The gathering was apparently prompted after former Vatican ambassador Archbishop Carlo Vigano released a document alleging a cover-up of sexual abuse allegations against former cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

(Photo courtesy whitehouse.gov)

The announcement comes on the heels of yet another shocking report commissioned by the German Catholic bishops' conference. The report concluded that German priests had abused no less than 3,677 victims since WWII and that almost 5% of German priests had been accused of sexual abuse.

And recently in the United States, a grand jury found that 301 priests in the state of Pennsylvania sexually abused minors over decades as well.

This week, a delegation of US cardinals and bishops will travel to the Vatican to interface with Pope Francis over the sex abuse and cover-up scandal that has outraged Catholics in the US.

Attendant with the sexual abuse scandal is the problematic Christian faith of those who have abused minors. No one who sexually assaults a minor, surely, can claim with any degree of believability, that he is a believing Christian. Every priest who has sexually abused minors has lost faith and no one who has lost faith has any business celebrating mass.

The sentiment of church-going Catholics is clear: throw out all the bad priests. As things stands, catholics in the pews on Sunday have no idea if the celebrant is guilty or innocent, and the suspicion that perhaps he isn't a pious man is understandable.

Pope Francis needs to unequivocally remove all abusing priests from the priesthood and return the church to a moral and ethical entity. Under his lack of leadership, it lurches from crisis to crisis while he seems obsessed with his strange role as a social justice warrior who has torn the church in half along political lines.

Pope Francis is the wrong man at the wrong time, an earthly politician filling Peter's seat that needs a heavenly guiding hand.