Why pass a COVID-19 recovery bill in the House that has no chance of passing the Senate?

That question was not infrequently asked this week on Capitol Hill as the House Democrats approved a $3 trillion recovery bill that has absolutely no chance making it any further along in the legislative process.

This is partially because the lack of any bipartisan input led to a bill that read more like a Democratic wish list than something designed to keep Americans safe while getting them back to work.

How much so?

Consider the fact that there are more references to cannabis in the bill (68 of them, according to the New York Post) than there are to jobs (52). It includes generous bailouts to state governments whose problems are of their own making. It’ll restore a federal deduction for property taxes aimed mostly at blue states.

There was no language restricting spending on abortion.

It’s the most expensive spending bill ever passed in the history of the House of Representatives. It features a whole lot of pork, yet only a $1,200 check to American taxpayers by way of direct, immediate monetary relief — although this being a Democratic bill, that money would also go to certain illegal immigrants, too.

It’s yet more debt added onto the pile in the year when we’ve already added an obscene amount of it to the federal budget.

It is, in a word, unacceptable.

But don’t think that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi doesn’t know what she’s doing.

In an opinion piece for Fox News published Saturday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said that you shouldn’t “underestimate” Pelosi, who may be signaling to the base in advance of the November elections.

Mind you, Gingrich had some of the same thoughts about the outrageous nature of the bill. In his Op-Ed, which pointed out in the headline that “Pelosi’s crazy $3T coronavirus spending bill may have [a] secret purpose,” he even brought up this tweet he wrote in the wake of the legislation’s proposal:

“The bill is the most expensive spending bill ever passed in the history of the House of Representatives, but Pelosi took no public comment, no Republican input, and didn’t consult with the Republican-controlled Senate or the White House on the bill,” he wrote in the Saturday opinion piece.

“As we learned about the nuttier parts of the bill after it was introduced, it struck me almost as a joke.”

However, Gingrich had a three-word warning for those engaging in that kind of thinking: “Don’t underestimate her.”

“Pelosi is a survivor. She is tough. She is hardworking, and she has been through a lot of campaigns — and seen and executed a lot of maneuvers,” Gingrich wrote.

“Therefore, you must assume there is a sound strategic reason for Pelosi to bring forward a bill that is this radical, expensive, and controversial.”

Gingrich cited several reasons why he believes Pelosi’s bill might actually help her party in the long run.

“First, Pelosi probably believes this is going to be a base turnout election, and she knows from all the polls that Republicans are more excited about the election than Democrats,” Gingrich wrote.

He pointed to the Democrats’ recent losses in congressional special elections in California and Wisconsin this past Tuesday.

In swing state Wisconsin, the GOP easily kept a district, with Tom Tiffany winning a 57 percent to 43 percent victory over Tricia Zunker. California should be more worrying for Pelosi, however; for the first time in 22 years in the state, a Republican managed to flip a seat back from Democratic control.

“The GOP win was clearly a function of a much more energized Republican base,” Gingrich wrote.

“From Pelosi’s perspective, mobilizing the cannabis users and liberal investors is a useful move, too. They are as much part of the Democratic base as traditional small business owners are part of the Republican base.

“Arousing the hardcore, pro-abortion activists helps Pelosi with turnout and donations. Disciplined repetition of the word ‘diversity’ appeals to her ideological activists and – to a lesser extent — minority communities.

“Appealing to the illegal immigrant community is a useful thing for Pelosi. And Democrats are working to make it possible for illegal immigrants to vote in a number of states.”

Then there’s the property tax deduction which helps out the wealthiest in the bluest of blue states. The money to states that have been mismanaged is clearly a sop to public sector unions, who would likely have to see changes to their benefits otherwise given the massive pensions debt those states have racked up.

Adding to this is the fact that Gingrich thinks no one on the right is going to remember any of this.

“Pelosi has likely calculated that — as usual — the Republican candidates will forget to focus. She also must be betting that in a few weeks the Republican and independent voters will have forgotten this monstrosity of a leftwing wish list,” he wrote.

If Republicans hold strong, Gingrich thinks, the feint will fail.

“It is a major gamble on Pelosi’s part. If the Republicans have enough discipline and endurance, she will pay a substantial price for it,” he said in closing.

The question is whether they do. It’s often difficult for either party to seize outrages and hold on tight to the narrative, especially when distressing news whirls by with an unsettling quickness.

Nevertheless, Gingrich is right: If Republicans remember what Pelosi did by shepherding this bill through the lower chamber of Congress, they can hold it over congressional Democrats’ heads in the autumn. They’re the one who passed this silly affront, after all.

This did nothing but waste Congress’ time at a point where time is of the essence. If that doesn’t say everything about her leadership, I don’t know what will.

There’s a very good chance Republicans don’t remember it, however — and therein lies the problem.

If the GOP fails to hammer home areas where the Democrats are profoundly out of touch, that forgetfulness could allow the Democrats to reposition themselves within the mainstream of American thought, just as they did back in 2018.

Let voters know what the Democrats’ priorities are. They’ll take it from there.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Newt Gingrich Warns About Intentions Behind Pelosi’s $3 Trillion Bill: ‘Don’t Underestimate Her’

There is something distinctly, wonderfully American about the drive-thru window.

We were the first country to have a love affair with our cars. In the 1950s, the French were sweating their derrieres off fixing their Citroën 2CVs — a diminutive rattletrap that was easy to fix because it had an engine that was little changed from the first internal combustion motors from the 1800s. Meanwhile, we were at drive-ins across this fruited plain with our Chevrolet Bel-Airs and Ford Galaxie 500s, enjoying hamburgers from the comfort of our automobiles.

A little while later, we took it a step further: You didn’t have to get out of the car at all. You rev your Ford Mustang through the drive-thru at Burger King and, in a minute or two, you had a Whopper and fries. And the French were still repairing their 2CVs.

In the 21st century, the drive-thru has evolved. Not only did The Associated Press adopt the truncated “drive-thru” spelling as its official style a decade ago, but consumers can now get just about anything without getting out of their cars — a latte, Thai food, vegan ketogenic meals … even a gun.

Yes, a gun. Thanks to the novel coronavirus, you can now exercise your Second Amendment rights without getting out of your car.

Of course, you can also get a weapon at curbside, or even at a table outside the gun shop. In fact, one imagines that in the absence of widespread dedicated drive-thru windows for gun shops, those two options will be more common — at least for now. But the drive-thru gun window has an official federal stamp of approval.

And even though drive-thru and curbside gun service was necessitated by the coronavirus, I wholeheartedly approve. This is American ingenuity and our constitutional values taken to their logical apex.

Some media outlets didn’t agree with me. Take CNN (surprisingly enough). See if you can notice the subtle bias in the headline: “U.S. gun retailers can operate in their parking lots during pandemic, ATF says.”

This is accurate, although the anti-Trump network sounds a bit soured on the phenomenon. It was reacting to a Friday letter from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that allows drive-thru gun sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

The letter involved guidance from the ATF regarding the Department of Homeland Security’s classification of gun shops as essential businesses and whether Federal Firearms Licensees can operate through “(1) a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway on the FFL’s property; (2) a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot on the FFL’s property; and (3) a nearby space that is not located on the FFL’s property.”

So the answers: “yes” on one; “yes” on two; and “no” on three unless it’s at a gun show. (Remember those? Remember meeting en masse pretty much anywhere?)

“An FFL may carry out the requested activities through a drive-up or walk-up window or doorway where the customer is on the licensee’s property on the exterior of the brick-and-mortar structure at the address listed on the license,” the ATF stated in the letter.

“An FFL may also carry out the requested activities from a temporary table or booth located in a parking lot or other exterior location on the licensee’s property at the address listed on the license, but any such activities must occur in a location where the licensee has the authority to permit ATF’s entry for inspection purposes.”

However, the FFL needed to obviously check whether a location was indeed its property and whether it could permit the entry of ATF agents onto it. Records still needed to be kept inside the store.

As for that nearby space, no can do. The guns still need to be sold at the address listed on the license.

While this probably wasn’t received with unalloyed joy among liberals, Second Amendment-loving Americans were pretty happy.

“We have been working closely with the ATF to gain clarity on this front for firearm retailers,” the National Shooting Sports Foundation said in a statement Friday, according to

“Today we thank the ATF for issuing guidance for FFLs regarding sidewalk/curbside transactions.”

The group had previously asked the ATF for guidance on how gun retailers could operate given the coronavirus outbreak.

The guidance also comes as lawsuits involving whether gun shops can legally be closed by state governments wind their way through the court systems. Given that many states that have closed nonessential businesses haven’t specifically mentioned gun shops, gun shops have been shuttered in a lot of places — which is problematic when you consider that gun sales are proceeding at a record (pun unintended) clip.

According to TheBlaze, the FBI conducted more background checks during the month of March than any month in its history. Second place was December of 2015, and it wasn’t particularly close. March 2020: 3.7 million checks. December 2015: 3.3 million.

In March of 2019, the FBI did 2.64 million background checks, according to TheBlaze. More than a million fewer than this year.

While some media complaints are going to be in sotto voce, the kind of tacit tsk-tsking in the CNN headline, left-wing gun control groups like the Brady Campaign are going to be more vocal.

Calling the new rules “unsafe and indulgent,” the Brady Campaign complained in a news release that the new rules upended “long-standing protocols.” (Because clearly the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t upended “long-standing protocols” or anything.)

“At a time when we need our federal government to put the interests and safety of its people first, the Trump Administration has once again put profits over people,” Brady President Kris Brown said in the release.

“The Administration has used broad interpretations of the federal Gun Control Act to suggest that FFLs conduct business at a drive-by or walk-up window, as if they were a McDonald’s, or at a temporary table or booth, as if they were a lemonade stand, removing the protective influence that responsible gun dealers can have on stopping the proliferation of crime guns and on educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them.”

First, they say getting guns at a drive-thru window “as if they were a McDonalds” as if it were a bad thing. As for “educating gun owners about the risks of guns and how to mitigate them,” there’s nothing to prevent gun dealers from doing so at drive-thrus or tables, which makes this objection silly and extraneous.

But that’s pretty much what a lot of the objections to this are. The right to bear arms is constitutionally protected, which makes states excluding them as essential businesses a purely bogus COVID gun grab. Now, that gun grab is turning into a nightmare for leftists.

Of course, it’s not going to be as easy as picking up a meal in a McDonald’s of Burger King drive-thru from coast to coast. Liberal lawmakers in liberal states are going to continue to do everything they can to limit the Second Amendment no matter what the ATF says. But the principle is at least established.

Have a problem with gun stores being conduits for infection? Fine. Liberals don’t have to worry about that now — and that just made them more angry.

At least we can socially distance from them.

After this is over, I propose we should still be able to buy guns from drive-thru windows. Now, granted, the majority of the service here will be curbside, at least for the moment, since there aren’t a lot of drive-up windows at gun shops.

Time marches on, however. We live in an era where even those recalcitrant French have scrapped their 2CVs and gotten real cars. We can order guns online, although we have to have them shipped to a licensed FFL dealer.

Speed up the process a bit and let us stay in our cars while we get them. I can think no more American product of the pandemic that ought to survive than this one.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: COVID Gun Grab Turns into Nightmare for Leftists as Gun Stores Open Drive-Thru Windows

I’m not one for cancel culture, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it applied to Chuck Todd at this point.

Not that he’d do anything that would get the millennial Twitterati to give him the ol’ #ChuckToddIsOverParty treatment. If anything, Todd has probably become a popular figure among the #Resistance crowd, given the fact that he’s emerged as one of the most consistent Trump-baiters out there.

Consider, for instance, when Todd — host of “Meet the Press” on NBC — made news by comparing the impeachment investigation into former NBC employee Donald Trump to the trial of another rather infamous former NBC employee, O.J. Simpson.

“I’m having a quick flashback to the O.J. trial, frankly, where the facts were damning, but it didn’t matter,” Todd said in November of last year.

That’s pretty much par for the course when it comes to Todd and President Trump — and now, thanks to coronavirus, we have him giving disclaimers before Trump coronavirus news conferences.

Todd, who was on desk duty on MSNBC Tuesday afternoon when the president’s COVID-19 update was about to come on (he’s also the host of “MTP Daily” on MSNBC), decided to add his own viewer discretion warning.

“And the White House coronavirus briefing is about to begin. But before we go to it, we want to note a few things,” Todd began. “First of all, we know these briefings have a tendency to veer in a lot of different directions, not all of them are informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis.

“So we will listen as the president talks and we will make sure we’re giving you a fact check and putting what he says in context on the other side,” he added. “If it veers too much off, we will break in — we will break off and come back here. But for the most part, we want to listen in to the information, we hope, he is bringing to all of us. Let’s take a listen.”

It’s curious to hear someone from MSNBC — Todd in particular — discoursing about how the president’s briefings regarding COVID-19 had “a tendency to veer in a lot of different directions, not all of them are informative or relevant in the midst of this crisis.”

What do the viewers at home suppose they’ve been watching?

This isn’t particularly uncommon talk from the media, either. After lamenting for the first three years of his presidency that Donald Trump didn’t hold enough news briefings, the media is now livid that he’s holding too many of them during the biggest crisis of his presidency.

No network has lamented the monkey’s-paw nature of coronavirus quite as much as MSNBC, however. Just the day before, Chris Hayes called the decision to continue to air the news conferences “crazy” and “dangerous.”

“I think that regular information in times of crisis from the government on sort of the science and facts and policy are essential. But I personally can’t help but feel these daily sessions are bad for the country, even dangerous from a public health perspective,” Hayes said Monday night.

“It’s obviously above my pay grade. I don’t make the call about [whether] we take them or not, but it seems crazy to me that everyone is still taking them when you got the My Pillow guy getting up there talking about reading the Bible.”

Mike Lindell, “the My Pillow guy,” was up on the dais because he’s making N95 masks in his factory while Hayes is making … a mostly forgettable hour of opinion broadcasting.

This sentiment from MSNBC hosts isn’t a new thing, either.

On March 20, nigh on two weeks ago, Rachel Maddow said that “there may be other people in the federal government who are saying things that are true, but these daily briefings from the White House are a litany of things from the president that would be awesome if they were true, if they were happening. But they’re not, and so the sooner we come to terms with that, I think the better for all of us.

“If it were up to me and it’s not, I would stop putting those briefings on live TV,” she continued.

“Not out of spite but because it’s misinformation. If the president does end up saying anything true, you can run it as tape, but if he keeps lying like he has been every day on stuff this important, we should — all of us should stop broadcasting it. Honestly, it’s going to cost lives.”

Well, I guess he really is on par with O.J. Simpson, then.

Todd, Hayes and Maddow all sound like pornographers who unabashedly detest their own product but can’t stop selling it because it sells too well. And, be not mistaken, it sells exceptionally well.

As The New York Times pointed out, the TV ratings for Trump’s daily briefings have “rivaled the audiences for hit reality shows and prime-time football.”

“Since reviving the daily White House briefing — a practice abandoned last year by an administration that bristles at outside scrutiny — Mr. Trump and his coronavirus updates have attracted an average audience of 8.5 million on cable news, roughly the viewership of the season finale of ‘The Bachelor,’” The Times reported March 25.

“And the numbers are continuing to rise, driven by intense concern about the virus and the housebound status of millions of Americans who are practicing social distancing. On Monday, nearly 12.2 million people watched Mr. Trump’s briefing on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, according to Nielsen — ‘Monday Night Football’ numbers.”

If MSNBC’s hosts really think these media conferences are so vile, they certainly get a lot of mileage talking about them. It’s like the old “Mondo Cane” documentaries from the 1960s, where the narrator would pretend to be genuinely scandalized at shock footage of “rituals” from around the world that were presented, at arm’s length, as “education.”

All three of these people are some of the most powerful in media. If they didn’t want to show up to work to protest airing the media conferences, they could. If they didn’t want to talk about them, they could do that, too.

All of these options are open to them — and yet, they continue to talk about them because they want ratings, too. No one begrudges them the fruit of their labor, but they probably shouldn’t call the vine they’re picking it from so poisoned to be extirpated and burned on a pyre.

There’s no need for condescending warnings before the president’s media conference, no need for a hyperventilation about the media briefings costing lives, no need to talk about how dangerous they are.

The assumption from these hosts is that we’re all so dumb the president would just be pouring information straight into our poor little brains without their intervention.

This says a lot more about how they regard their viewers, however, than it does about anything that goes on at these news briefings.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Chuck Todd’s Outrageous Disclaimer Before Trump’s COVID Briefing Flushes Media’s Last Shred of Credibility

Picture this headline being written about a Democrat: “GOP woman gets outsized role at impeachment hearing.”

That’s not from, say, Vox or Daily Kos. It’s from The Associated Press.

And it’s not just about any random woman.

If you’d have watched the November hearing to which it referred, you’d have realized you were watching the arrival of Rep. Elise Stefanik, a 35-year-old Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, as a major force in Washington.

Stefanik asked pointed questions of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — the star witness for the Democrats that day, given that she’d been dismissed by the president — and consistently protested being interrupted by committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff’s gavel.

“We know clearly you’re going to interrupt us throughout this hearing,” Stefanik said.

That may not have stopped Schiff, but it clearly gave Stefanik a national profile.

That national profile only increased in the coming days thanks to America’s favorite desperate househusband, George Conway:

According to a curiously married man whose only wider cultural fame has come from attempting to humiliate his wife, Stefanik “is lying trash” and you should donate to her opponent, Tedra Cobb.

Barbra Streisand and the effect named after her probably should have alerted Conway to what happened next: According to the Washington Examiner, Stefanik out-raised Cobb by more than 50 percent.

Stefanik raised $3.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, meaning she now has $3.4 million cash on hand.

Those are rookie numbers for presidential candidates, but that’s pretty big stuff for a House race, particularly when her opponent got George Conway to sic the flying monkeys of the coastal ActBlue battalion on her.

Cobb, by the way, only raised about $2 million despite the ups from Conway. According to WWNY-TV, she only has $2.2 million cash on hand.

“Stefanik’s fundraising haul is the largest on record for any candidate in this congressional seat,” a statement from the Stefanik campaign read.

“Failed 2018 candidate and current 2020 Democrat Tedra Cobb starts off the on-year with a serious financial disadvantage to Stefanik’s war chest. In 2018, Stefanik beat Taxin’ Tedra Cobb by a larger margin than any Republican Congressional candidate in the entire Northeast.”

“I am overwhelmed by this historic level of support from my constituents and donors across the country for my reelection in 2020,” Stefanik said in the statement.

“Every day of the week, I choose the North Country and America over the Far-Left Hollywood liberals like Rosie O’Donnell and Chelsea Handler who are funding my opponent.

“This record-breaking support is indicative of the countless bipartisan results I’ve delivered for the hardworking families in my district. Our campaign looks forward to running against failed candidate Taxin’ Tedra Cobb, the Toast of Tinseltown.”

That’s some impressive alliteration. What’s even more impressive are the numbers.

No, this wasn’t a campaign driven by big money. According to Stefanik’s statement, the average donation was $50.

No, this wasn’t a case where old donors decided to double down on Stefanik. There were almost 50,000 first-time donors to the campaign.

Yes, this was a huge bump. Stefanik had only raised $450,000 from July to September.

George Conway, for whatever reason, isn’t commenting on this one.

Stefanik, meanwhile, has stayed active in the impeachment arena even after the vote got taken in the House, telling Fox News on Wednesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should stop trying to interfere with the Senate’s handling of the impeachment trial.

“The impeachment dam is breaking,” Stefanik told Sean Hannity, referring to several Democratic senators who were urging the speaker to turn over the articles of impeachment to the upper chamber regardless of whether Pelosi gets the trial that the Democrats want.

“We need to continue to keep up the pressure,” Stefanik said, adding: “She has no authority over the Senate.”

The thing is, people are listening to Stefanik now. She’s become one of the point people for the Republican Party on impeachment — and one of its most effective ones, at that.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Stefanik Becomes Anti-Impeachment Star, Outraises Dem Opponent by More Than 50%

The joke goes thusly: If Barack Obama were running in the 2020 Democrat primaries, he’d be too far to the right for most of the activist base to consider him a viable candidate.

I mean, three years ago, we were all busy grumbling about the onerous provisions of the Affordable Care Act. If things go south in 2020, we won’t have to worry about private health insurance at all since it’ll be abolished in favor of “Medicare for All,” a program that will cost untold trillions of dollars and leave all of our health care in the capable hands of the people who couldn’t even get the website for Obamacare right.

You know who agrees with that joke now? Barack Obama.

On Friday, The Washington Post reported, the former president was in Washington attending a meeting of the Democracy Alliance. That’s a donor network that’s about as establishmenty as three minor Kennedys meeting with four minor Kennedys, so take what came next as you will.

However, Obama said in his remarks — delivered in conversation with everyone’s favorite failed gubernatorial candidate, Stacey Abrams — that 2020 Democrats should pay attention “to where voters actually are.”

Translation: They’re not where the 2020 candidates are.

“This is still a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in improvement,” Obama said, according to CBS News.

“They like seeing things improved, but the average American doesn’t think we have to completely tear down the system and remake it. And I think it’s important for us not to lose sight of that.”

Before we continue with Obama’s remarks, I want to remind you that this is the man who said, on Oct. 30, 2008, “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” He’s the dude telling 2020 Democrats to slow their roll. You don’t even need to let that sink in. It should sink in for you.

Instead of the kind of ultra-transformational change that the 2020 field seems to be promoting, Obama said candidates should be pursuing “modest” results.

“I want proposals that are bolder with respect to reducing inequality and giving people more opportunity and allowing us to make more investments in our infrastructure and our education systems and others,” he said.

“Even as we push the envelope and we are bold in our vision, we also have to be rooted in reality and the fact that voters, including the Democratic voters and certainly persuadable independents or even moderate Republicans, are not driven by the same views that are reflected on certain, you know, left-leaning Twitter feeds. Or the activist wing of our party,” Obama continued.

“That’s not a criticism to the activist wing. Their job is to poke and prod and test and inspire and motivate. But the candidate’s job, whoever it ends up being, is to get elected.”

I’m not willing to give the guy responsible for eight years of Obamaness laudatory mic-drop status, but that at least deserves to be deemed a solid clapback.

All right, so ignore the whole part about being “bolder with respect to reducing inequality.”

This is Barack Obama. In the period between Jan. 20, 2017, and now, I’m just going to assume he hasn’t become an acolyte of Thomas Sowell. What he basically said is that the vast majority of 2020 candidates are at a place where their electoral chances aren’t exactly stellar.

Among the individuals who still have a chance for the nomination, Obama’s vice president is the only one who shares this vision. That’s another takeaway from Obama’s comments as well, if you want to read into them — he’s essentially giving you his assessment of Joe Biden’s chances and how much he thinks of the man who was, at a point in time, one blockage of the left anterior descending artery away from being the most powerful man on earth.

When talking to “60 Minutes,” Biden said he told Obama not to endorse him in the primary. I’ve asked the former president not to endorse me in the primaries either, and both queries were about as necessary.

As for whom Obama meant, well, The Washington Post had roughly the same ideas we all had — although the newspaper provided a bit of analysis that was actually perceptive for the Democracy Dies in Darkness™ folks.

“Obama did not name any candidates. But some Democrats associate the characteristics he described with Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), staunch liberal candidates advocating sweeping change who are running near the top of the polls,” Sean Sullivan wrote in the Saturday piece.

“Beyond those two candidates, the contest has often been dominated by a discussion of ideas that were long seen as untenable, even in Democratic circles. Candidates have called for mandatory buybacks of certain firearms, decriminalizing border crossings and forgiving most or all student debt. In some cases, the proposals have come at a cost of tens of trillions of dollars, vast sums of money that would dwarf what Obama’s administration spent and require historically steep tax increases on wealthy Americans. While some voters and activists have cheered this trend, President Trump and his allies have been eager to highlight these themes.”

Yes, Trump and his allies certainly have been — in the same way Johnny Cochran was eager to highlight that, if the glove didn’t fit, you must acquit.

For an activist base that’s unusually riled up in the age of Trump — and is also young and urban-centric enough that canceling student debt and hell yes, taking your AR-15s seem like good ideas — Sanders, Warren and whoever else isn’t, say, Steve Bullock, seem perfectly reasonable. Have fun trying to make this work in swing states.

The marvelous thing about Obama’s warning is that absolutely nobody’s going to listen to the only electorally successful progressive president since FDR. At the same time that Barack Obama was telling the party to hold its free-range horses, Sen. Warren was telling voters she would “fight to pass legislation that would complete the transition to full Medicare for All” in three years.

Can’t get that through a filibuster? Don’t worry about that sort of balderdash — Warren says she’s going to push to do away with the filibuster for all legislation, meaning all her administration would need is a simple majority in both houses to do away with the entire private insurance industry and eliminate 2 million jobs.

That whole thing about Barack Obama being too conservative in 2020 — not just for the liberal base but for the candidates — isn’t just a joke anymore. If you take away one thought from this piece, I want it to be this:

At this point in 2015, Democrats thought Donald Trump was a joke. They’re not laughing now. We shouldn’t be either.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Even Obama Says 2020 Dems Have Gone Too Far to the Left

The closed-door testimony of U.S. diplomat William Taylor, considered to be one of the bombshell witnesses to appear in Rep. Adam Schiff’s kangaroo court thus far, is now out.

The New York Times’ headline was a pretty good synopsis of what the media takeaway from it was: “Top Ukraine Diplomat Testified Giuliani Spearheaded Pressure for Investigations.”

In the testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Taylor “identified Rudolph W. Giuliani, President Trump’s personal lawyer, as the instigator behind the drive to get Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Mr. Trump’s political rivals, telling impeachment investigators last month that Mr. Giuliani was acting on behalf of the president,” The Times’ Nicholas Fandos reported.

Taylor’s testimony, along with that of others, “portrayed a president determined to enlist Ukraine in publicly undermining his political rivals, including former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.”

And where did Taylor get the idea that the Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani wanted dirt from the Ukrainians on former Vice President Joe Biden and on a theory (admittedly questionable) that hacking during the 2016 election originated from Ukraine and not from Russia?

According to Taylor’s testimony, it came from The New York Times.

That part, for reasons unbeknownst to me, didn’t make it into The Times’ story.

The revelation came during a line of questioning from New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin, according to an excerpt of Taylor’s testimony Zeldin published in a Twitter post Wednesday.

Zeldin focused on interest in Burisma Holdings, the Ukraine energy company that paid Biden’s son, Hunter, $50,000 a month to serve on its board.

“Would you like to tell us what your position is on it?” Zeldin asked Taylor. “What was the goal of requesting investigations into 2016 election and Burisma?”

“As I understand it from one of the — maybe the article in The New York Times about Mr. Giuliani’s interest in Burisma, in that article, he describes, and I think he quotes Giuliani at some length, that article indicates that Giuliani was interested in getting some information on Vice President Biden that would be useful to Mr. Giuliani’s client,” Taylor responded.

“I think that’s what he says. He says he’s got one client, and he’s useful to the client.”

“And then it’s your inference that Mr. Guliani’s goal would be the president’s goal?” Zeldin said.

“Yes,” Taylor responded.

“And your source is The New York Times?” Zeldin asked, to which Taylor answered affirmatively.

“So do you have any other source that the president’s goal in making this request was anything other than The New York Times?” Zeldin asked.

“I have not talked to the president. I have no other information from what the president was thinking.”

Well, that’s comforting.

This wasn’t the only issue Zeldin highlighted from Taylor’s testimony, mind you. He also tweeted that he got Taylor to admit “that his ONLY substantive claim from his opening statement referencing Biden not only isn’t first hand…it’s not even second hand.”

The issue had to do with a phone conversation between U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and President Donald Trump.

“This is the only reference in your opening statement to Biden other than your one reference to the July 25th call,” Zeldin said.

“And this isn’t firsthand. It’s not secondhand. It’s not thirdhand. But if I understand this correctly, you’re telling us that Tim Morrison told you that Ambassador Sondland told him that the president told Ambassador Sondland that [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky would have to open an investigation into Biden?”

“That’s correct,” Taylor answered.

Taylor’s testimony has to be considered in toto. But it’s not particularly promising for Trump opponents that Taylor’s most substantive bit of testimony was apparently hearsay and his information about Giuliani’s attempts to investigate Burisma simply to get dirt on Joe Biden were derived from an article in The New York Times.

On the last count, it certainly doesn’t get a whole lot more incestuous than that.

There’s a whole world of difference between the president investigating Ukrainian corruption because his administration was concerned about Ukrainian corruption and investigating it because he wanted to inflict damage on Joe Biden’s campaign.

Taylor’s testimony was supposed to show this by laying out the mephitic influence Rudy Giuliani had when it came to dealing with Kiev and a potential Burisma investigation. What it proved instead was that he got a lot of information in the matter from The New York Times.

Taylor, who served as ambassador to Ukraine from 2006-2009 and is now the acting ambassador for the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, is one of the witnesses scheduled to testify publicly when hearings begin next week.

One might assume this snippet of testimony gets a bit more attention from Republicans than it did from the media when the Taylor transcripts were released. Maybe, between now and then, The New York Times can churn out another story Taylor can use to counter this line of questioning.

After all, if this is where he gets significant chunks of his views on Ukraine from, surely they can do him a public service and save him from embarrassment twice.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Bombshell: Star Schiff Witness Amb. Taylor Admits NYT Was His Source

Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul’s claim that he’ll “probably” reveal the name of the whistleblower who got the whole impeachment inquiry rolling hasn’t gone over too well with a whole host of people.

Perhaps “The View” co-host Meghan McCain best summed up the general media take when she told the audience during Tuesday’s edition of her show: “I hate him.”

Well, that’s rather blunt. According to Paul, however, this is about nobody being below the law — and the fact that everyone, even the president, has Sixth Amendment rights.

So, a quick brief if you’re not familiar with exactly what’s been happening with the whistleblower: As of right now, congressional investigators are negotiating with the whistleblower as to whether or not they’ll testify.

The whistleblower has offered written testimony, though it doesn’t look like that’s going to fly with Republicans.

Paul has been one of the loudest voices demanding that the whistleblower testify, and has publicly said he might even reveal their identity.

On Monday, appearing at a rally with President Donald Trump in Kentucky, he called on the media to release their name, citing several reports which have stated the individual in question worked with former Vice President Joe Biden at the White House.

“We also now know the name of the whistleblower. The whistleblower needs to come forward as a material witness because he worked for Joe Biden at the same time Hunter Biden was getting money from corrupt oligarchs,” Paul said, according to The Hill.

“I say tonight to the media, do your job and print his name.”

“I’m more than willing to, and I probably will at some point,” Paul added to reporters on Tuesday. “There is no law preventing anybody from saying the name.”

“There’s nothing that prevents me from saying it now,” Paul said during an appearance on Fox News that night.

When asked whether he would say the name on the Senate floor as a part of a speech, Paul responded, “I can, and I may, but I can do it right now if I want. Nothing stops me.”

Paul has said he thinks he knows who the whistleblower is. This isn’t an uncommon sentiment in Washington — everyone seems to have a pretty good idea as to the background of who wrote the original report, with some like Paul saying they know their name — but so far the Kentucky senator says he doesn’t want this to be about who blew the whistle.

“I want it to be more about the process and less about the person,” Paul said.

“Nothing stops me. There’s no law that stops me from doing it other than that I don’t want to make it about the one individual.”

But isn’t the whistleblower protected? After all, there’s a federal law that protects them from retribution, right?

Well, as Paul pointed out when a reporter asked him about it, the whistleblower is not protected at the expense of the president’s constitutional rights.

The exchange happened earlier Tuesday during one of those Sorkin-esque walk-and-talks that we see our legislators engaged in so often as of late.

“Your colleagues, Republicans, say that it’s irresponsible and dangerous for you to call out the whistleblower,” the reporter told Paul.

Paul then asked the reporter is she’d heard of the Constitution.

“You’ve heard of the Constitution, right? The Constitution has the Sixth Amendment,” Paul shot back.

“And the Sixth Amendment says very clearly that, if you’re accused of a crime, you have the right to confront your accuser. So I think the Constitution’s very clear on this and we shouldn’t completely just throw away the Constitution, particularly because certain networks just don’t like the president.”

The Sixth Amendment, for those of you without your pocket Constitutions handy, states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina also made note of what the whistleblower law is actually supposed to do.

“The whistleblower statute was never meant to give you anonymity. It was meant to allow you to come forward without being fired,” Graham told reporters Tuesday.

There are still plenty of questions the whistleblower should answer in a closed-door session.

They’re still protected under whistleblower law, but that doesn’t recuse them from answering questions from congressional investigators.

And, while revealing their name may not be the best look for Paul — Meghan McCain isn’t going to be Rand’s BFF, obviously — simply protecting someone’s name from the public isn’t necessarily what whistleblower law is designed to do.

Of course, if the whistleblower would go on the record, I don’t think this would even be an issue.

Yes, the amorphous nature of an impeachment proceeding makes it unclear what constitutional rights apply where and to whom. That said, for the sake of precedent, one would hope Congress would err on the side of caution.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Reporter Asks About Whistleblower, So Rand Paul Asks if She’s Heard of the Constitution

So, did you realize you can’t recognize one historical crime against humanity unless you recognize all of them?

I didn’t know this, either.

I thought that genocide, slavery and horrors of recent and not-so-recent vintage were discrete from one another. They may share certain aspects in common, sure, but it wasn’t like chewing gum in class: You couldn’t just bring recognition for one crime against humanity, you had to bring recognition for every single one.

That’s not just common sense, it’s pretty much tautological. Don’t tell that to Rep. Ilhan Omar.

Omar, the first term Minnesota Democrat and human controversy magnet, is catching flak (again) for her decision to vote “present” on a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide because, according to her, it doesn’t recognize other atrocities throughout history.

The bill, which passed the House on Wednesday, stated that American policy should “(1) commemorate the Armenian Genocide through official recognition and remembrance; (2) reject efforts to enlist, engage, or otherwise associate the United States Government with denial of the Armenian Genocide or any other genocide; and (3) encourage education and public understanding of the facts of the Armenian Genocide, including the United States role in the humanitarian relief effort, and the relevance of the Armenian Genocide to modern-day crimes against humanity.”

If you think this was just a pro forma bill, the answer is no.

Turkey, a putative ally and member of NATO, has long lobbied against American recognition of the Armenian genocide — a period between 1915 and 1923 in which the Ottoman Turks killed 1.5 Armenians, as the Washington Examiner notes — because it remains a politically touchy subject in that part of the world.

If you think this made it controversial in the House of Representatives, no again. The resolution passed by a 405-11 vote. It was introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat with whom the Republican caucus can’t agree with on almost anything — other than this, of course.

“Many American politicians, diplomats and institutions have rightly recognized these atrocities as a genocide, including America’s ambassador to the Ottoman Empire at the time, Henry Morgenthau, and Ronald Reagan,” Rep. Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat and chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said before the vote,” according to The Hill.

“Only by shining a light on the darkest parts of our history can we learn not to repeat them and properly acknowledging what occurred is a necessary step in achieving some measure of justice for the victims.”

“Genocides, whenever and wherever they occur, cannot be ignored, whether they took place in the 20th century by the Ottoman Turks or mid-20th century by the Third Reich and in Darfur,” Rep. Gus Bilirakis, a Florida Republican who led the GOP caucus’ efforts to get the resolution passed, said in a vote.

Omar apparently didn’t agree with that part, deciding to vote “present.” No, she wasn’t the only one who voted against the resolution or decided not to vote on it at all, and yes, none of the reasons given — when they were given at all — for those votes were particularly fantastic.

Omar’s was clearly the worst, and not by an insignificant margin.

“I believe accountability for human rights violations — especially ethnic cleansing and genocide — is paramount,” Omar said in a statement to CNN. “But accountability and recognition of genocide should not be used as a cudgel in a political fight.

“It should be done based on academic consensus outside the push and pull of geopolitics,” she continued. “A true acknowledgment of historical crimes against humanity must include both the heinous genocides of the 20th century, along with earlier mass slaughters like the transatlantic slave trade and Native American genocide, which took the lives of hundreds of millions of indigenous people in this country.

“For this reason, I voted ‘present’ on final passage of H.Res. 296, the resolution Affirming the United States record on the Armenian Genocide.”

There are several curious parts of this, including where she says that recognition of the Armenian genocide “should be done based on academic consensus;” I don’t want to accuse Ilhan Omar of anything in particular but this sounds like the preface to a line of thought Democrats are infinitely grateful CNN didn’t pursue.

That part was vague, though. What wasn’t vague was the excuse that Armenian genocide can’t be acknowledged unless every genocide gets mentioned, too — and particularly those genocides and crimes against humanity that might involve the United States. Those have to be mentioned especially prominently.

Nobody is saying we shouldn’t condemn those atrocities, mind you. None of that is mutually exclusive from the resolution the House passed on Tuesday.

And even if it was, it turns out we’ve already done that.

“There’s nothing wrong with asking that the [U.S. government acknowledge human rights abuses here before we acknowledge them overseas,” political analyst Zaid Jilani wrote. “The issue is, the [U.S. government] already did acknowledge the ones Omar is asking it to acknowledge. Didn’t acknowledge the Armenian genocide at behest of Turkey.”

“Congress has passed many resolutions condemning abuses against Native Americans and slavery. It has never passed a resolution condemning the Armenian genocide. That’s why Ilhan [Omar’s] explanation here rings hollow.”

He also posted links to news of the resolutions condemning atrocities committed against Native Americans and the slave trade, presumably because Rep. Omar doesn’t know how to find them.

To foist this claim upon the American public as an excuse for a controversial vote would be laughable in any other context. It’s laughable here, but the media seems to have mostly given it a big shrug emoji. Perhaps because bringing it up takes the focus off impeachmentfest. Perhaps it’s because our standards for Ilhan Omar are already profoundly low.

Whatever the case, this is a statement that would be silly if it weren’t so serious.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Omar Won’t Vote for Armenian Genocide Resolution Because It Doesn’t Recognize Slavery Too

If there is some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy out there, let me give them a protip: Put out a cheat sheet on which draconian immigration policies are President Donald Trump’s and which were President Barack Obama’s.

I say this because there seems to be a deficiency of knowledge regarding who enacted the very things that bring out the outrage among the left.

The most obvious example is the infamous “children in cages” photograph. That was circulated around Twitter for days — weeks, even — last year until it became evident that it was from 2014 when the president was very much not Donald Trump.

If there was a memo that circulated around the halls of the vast left-wing conspiracy — no doubt mimeographed because Xeroxes and PDFs take jobs away from hardworking Americans — it didn’t reach the office of Joaquin Castro, a representative from Texas and one of the most prominent members of the Democrat caucus.

Or, at least, it didn’t reach his office before he embarrassed himself in front of the American people in the form of a story from The Associated Press.

The AP’s story focuses on the case of Alexa Ramos, who was separated from her mother Araceli for 15 months after they were arrested by Customs and Border Protection for trying to illegally enter the country.

See if you can spot the bias in this paragraph: “It took 28 minutes for a judge in a rural courthouse near Lake Michigan to grant Alexa’s foster parents, Sherri and Kory Barr, temporary guardianship. Alexa’s mother and the little girl’s immigration attorney were not even notified about the proceedings.”

I’m halfway surprised they didn’t make any “My Cousin Vinny” references or suggest that Sherri and Kory’s relative, Uncle Jethro, had also gone hunting for wild nutria in the field just over that there hill with the judge, and bagged him some record catches for Yoknapatawpha County.

But I digress because nobody seemed to pay attention to the paragraph just before that.

“Alexa’s case began in November 2015 under the Obama administration, years before Trump’s family-separation policy rolled out. Her 15-month separation from her mother exposes the fragile legal standing of children under the care of the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement and a flawed, piecemeal system that can change the course of a child’s life.”

So let’s look at Joaquin Castro’s take on this:

“The Trump Administration intentionally separated kids from their parents and then put the kids up for adoption — permanently separating them,” Castro tweeted.

“This is a human rights violation committed by the United States government.”

Horrible! Terrible! Awful! And, um, committed to nothing resembling truth, considering this all began during the Obama administration.

So, what’s the reason the migrant decided to come to the United States? Asylum based on credible fear?

“In El Salvador, Ramos might earn $5 a day selling clothes or waitressing. In the U.S., she could earn more than that in an hour. Ramos yearned for a new beginning,” the AP reported.

“It took less than an hour for her hopes to shatter. The border agent screening her records spotted a red flag: She was a criminal, he said, charged in El Salvador. Alexa, crying, was pulled from her mother’s arms.”

So, let’s get this straight. Ramos’ hopes were in that asylum law, crafted so that individuals who needed to settle in a new country because of a credible fear of persecution could settle in that country.

But that isn’t what people are concerned with.

Take, for instance, this statement from U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw during a lawsuit about family separations.

“And the reality is that for every parent who is not located, there will be a permanent orphaned child, and that is 100 percent the responsibility of the administration,” she said.

But the issue is that there’s a permanent problem created by every parent who thinks that bringing their child to the U.S. border is a good idea. And why do people think it’s a good idea? Because, obviously, people succeed at getting themselves across; people succeed through methods like hiring human smugglers or something similar.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: Castro Blasts Trump for Adopting Out Migrant Kids, but It Was Actually Obama

The GOP has a message for Joe Biden: We’ve shown you Trump’s Ukraine transcripts, now you show us yours.

In a statement released Tuesday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel called on the former vice president to release communications he had with leaders in Ukraine. In 2018, Biden bragged that he had threatened to withhold federal funds from Ukraine in 2014 unless the government of then-President Petro Poroshenko fired a prosecutor, according to The Epoch Times.

That prosecutor, while unquestionably corrupt and unpopular with Western powers, had been investigating Burisma, an energy company that had put Biden’s son Hunter on the board — with almost no pertinent experience — to the tune of $50,000 a month. Whether or not the investigation was still ongoing at the time of the firing was a matter of some debate.

Furthermore, McDaniel wanted him to release transcripts of his communications with leaders in China; Hunter Biden has gotten several jobs there, as well.

The statement from McDaniel was a rejoinder “to Joe Biden’s baseless call for impeachment.”

“First it was the Russia hoax,” she said. “Now it’s the Ukraine hoax.”

“Once again, Joe Biden has shown he is just as extreme as the rest of the 2020 Democrats who are desperate to bring President Trump down,” the statement continued.

“Instead of backing a baseless impeachment effort, Biden should be answering for the only scandal that exists: Why a corrupt Ukrainian company paid his son $50,000 a month to lobby the Obama-Biden administration, and why Biden threatened the Ukrainians if they failed to fire a prosecutor investigating the company.”

“Now that the President has authorized the release of the transcript of his call with President Zelensky, we call on Biden to release the transcripts of his calls as Vice President with Ukrainian and Chinese leaders while his son was conducting shady business deals in those countries.”

Well, what’s good for the goose is indeed good for the gander — except the gander isn’t going to do anything that draws more attention to the fact that Hunter Biden, a man not known for expertise in the energy sector, the Ukrainian business environment or passing drug tests was getting paid $600,000 a year by a company there to be on its board.

Nor is the gander going to direct our gaze toward his demand that the Ukraine government fire a prosecutor who was, at one time, looking into the company.

While Trump’s Ukraine transcript may cause a bit of agita around the White House for a few weeks, there wasn’t any evidence of a quid pro quo involving aid.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: GOP Flips Script, Demands Release of Biden’s Own Ukraine Call Transcripts

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