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C. DOUGLAS GOLDEN

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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

The 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution has an interesting history. Originally proposed in 1789, it wasn’t until a determined University of Texas student took on its cause did it get ratified — in 1992.

The text goes as follows: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”

There’s an election in 2020. I’m just saying, since the Democrats in the House of Representatives think they’re doing such a bang-up job they deserve a hefty raise.

“House spending leaders want to break a decade-long pay freeze and give members of Congress a cost-of-living bump that could pad their salaries with an extra $4,500 next year,” Politico reported Tuesday.

“Congressional salaries have been frozen at about $174,000 since 2009, when Democrats controlled Congress and decided to suspend automatic cost-of-living increases while heading into the 2010 election year.”

That didn’t work and they lost the House. Now they have it back — so, uh, party time?

“There is strong bipartisan support for these modest inflation adjustments,” Evan Hollander, spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said.

According to Politico, he also “not[ed] that the panel does not have to take action to allow the automatic increases and will simply be forgoing language that would block the raises.”

“If members want to alter or eliminate the [cost-of-living adjustment], they should do so through the authorizing process — not appropriations bills,” Hollander said.

In other words, Hollander is well on his way to being a professional liar. Good work, kid.

So, what exactly has the Democrat-led House done to deserve a $4,500 taxpayer-funded pay increase?

Oh, in fairness, the Green New Deal did give us “cow farts” as a meme, so there is indeed that. What else, pray tell?

Well, there’s … geez, something will come to me. They want to conduct a lot of investigations with predetermined outcomes, but I don’t think my money should be used for that. And then there’s the … well, pretty much all they’ve done is block Trump bills.

Money well spent, right?

The man who helped get the 27th Amendment passed, Gregory Watson, “was assigned to write a paper about a government process. He came across a chapter in a book on the Constitution, listing proposed constitutional amendments that had not been ratified,” according to the American Constitution Center.

“He wrote his paper on the congressional pay amendment, arguing that there was no time limit on when it could be ratified, and that it could be ratified now. He got a C on the paper. Maybe if he had received a better grade on his paper, the story would have ended there, but Watson was sure it was a better paper, so he appealed his grade, first to his T.A., then to his professor; and when he was unsuccessful, he decided to take the issue to the country.

“In an NPR report in May 2017, he said that after his teacher affirmed the C, ‘I thought right then and there, ‘I’m going to get that thing ratified.’”

And he did. A reminder to those of you who might agree with Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican: “I think the American people would think that Congress ought to earn it first,” he said.

A good reminder that you can vote those who think they deserve a pay raise on top of hefty speaking fees out of office, particularly if they’ve just been voted in.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Western Journal: House Democrats Think They Deserve a ‘Modest’ $4,500 Raise

It’s called MPP, and it drives liberals crazy. And thanks to a judge in the 9th Circuit, it’s going to be in practice for a little while longer.

MPP stands for Migrant Protection Protocols, although if you’ve heard of it, it’s likely under its popular nickname, “remain in Mexico.” Roughly speaking, the program forces asylum seekers who present themselves at certain points of entry to stay south of the border until their asylum claims work their way through the U.S. court system.

The purpose of MPP was to ensure that asylum seekers weren’t beneficiaries of the “catch and release” policy, where they would be allowed to remain in the United States — likely not in custody and with minimal federal oversight — as their cases were processed.

The administration has claimed that the influx of family units at the southern border is specifically because these individuals know that the system is overburdened.

Even though their asylum claims may be specious at best, as soon as they’re in the United States, the government almost certainly has to release them, particularly given the short length of time the government can hold minors under the Flores settlement.

Earlier this week, District Judge Richard Seeborg ordered the program to shut down.

In his ruling, according to The Washington Post, Seeborg didn’t address “whether the MPP is a wise, intelligent, or humane policy, or whether it is the best approach for addressing the circumstances the executive branch contends constitute a crisis.”

Instead, he said that the agreement was likely in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act and other laws which afford protections so that individuals “are not returned to unduly dangerous circumstances.”

Seeborg added that “there is no real question that it includes the possibility of irreparable injury.” (Apparently, “catch and release” doesn’t carry that same possibility.)

The ruling came as Seeborg said the Trump administration was about to expand the program from the three ports of entry that it was being used at: San Ysidro and Calexico in California and El Paso in Texas.

It was looking like a major loss for the Trump administration. And then, things turned around.

“The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of President Trump Friday when it determined that the government can at least temporarily continue to send asylum seekers back to Mexico,” The Hill reported.

“The asylum program was scheduled to be shut down at midnight under an order from District Court Judge Richard Seeborg, but the White House had requested the appeals court to intervene.”

“The 9th Circuit temporarily stayed the lower court’s ruling as the parties get ready to submit their arguments next week on the government’s request for a longer stay that would likely last months.”

It didn’t take the president long to celebrate the legal victory.

So, what does this mean in the long term? This is the 9th Circuit Court, after all, which hasn’t gotten a reputation as being amenable to Trump’s policies.

However, the fact that they were willing to stay the ruling is at least a sign that MPP will still be around for some time. No, it’s hardly perfect. It’s not going to solve the crisis at our southern border. It is a start, though, and one could certainly argue it’s legal given the broad powers vested in the president by the Immigration and Nationality Act. (Apparently, some people don’t remember how Trump v. Hawaii ended.)

If Trump can keep MPP, it would also be a huge win heading into the 2020 election. Immigration is going to be a major issue, then as it was in 2016.

While the president won’t have the wall, he’ll hopefully have some major victories on that front. Stopping asylum catch and release would definitely be one of them.

This is likely headed to the Supreme Court, but at least for now, the policy remains in place and the Trump administration can claim a minor victory — one which they can hopefully build upon.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Westernjournal: Asylum Seekers Beware: Trump’s Latest Court Victory Is Going To Infuriate Leftists

One could argue it was only a matter of time before former Vice President Joe Biden’s strange, handsy behavior around women became an issue for him. That moment of reckoning, as we’re so fond of calling it these days, came Friday.

In a piece for New York Magazine, Lucy Flores — the 2014 candidate for lieutenant governor in Nevada — alleged that the vice president acted inappropriately toward her during a rally that year.

“Just before the speeches, we were ushered to the side of the stage where we were lined up by order of introduction. As I was taking deep breaths and preparing myself to make my case to the crowd, I felt two hands on my shoulders. I froze. ‘Why is the vice-president of the United States touching me?’” she wrote.

“I felt him get closer to me from behind. He leaned further in and inhaled my hair. I was mortified. I thought to myself, ‘I didn’t wash my hair today and the vice-president of the United States is smelling it. And also, what in the actual f***? Why is the vice-president of the United States smelling my hair?’ He proceeded to plant a big slow kiss on the back of my head. My brain couldn’t process what was happening,” she continued.

“I was embarrassed. I was shocked. I was confused. There is a Spanish saying, ‘tragame tierra,” it means, ‘earth, swallow me whole.’ I couldn’t move and I couldn’t say anything. I wanted nothing more than to get Biden away from me. My name was called and I was never happier to get on stage in front of an audience.”

“Even if his behavior wasn’t violent or sexual, it was demeaning and disrespectful,” she added later in the piece. “I wasn’t attending the rally as his mentee or even his friend; I was there as the most qualified person for the job.”

So, the #MeToo wheel finally landed on Joseph Robinette Biden — and after years of this stuff floating around, too. There are a number of takeaways from this, one of which is that his remarks about now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh haven’t aged so much as spoiled.

In the days before Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden was interviewed by NBC’s “Today” show. The reasons were obvious: Biden was likely to run for the 2020 election and the last time something like this happened was during the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings when Biden was the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Biden’s treatment of Anita Hill, the woman who accused Thomas of sexual harassment, was coming under much stricter scrutiny in the wake of Ford’s accusation, which influenced his answers more than a little bit.

Unfortunately, he managed to set a trap for himself — which isn’t particularly difficult for Biden to do, but it’s still pretty relevant given his recent troubles.

Asked if there should be a vote if Ford didn’t testify, Biden said no.

“She should not have to go through what Anita Hill went through,” Biden said in the interview.

“And some of the questions (Hill) got asked and the way the right went after her on national television and questioned her integrity and questioned her, not just her honesty, questioned her behavior. I mean, that’s just not appropriate. You shouldn’t have to be twice put through the same exact thing.”

And then there was the pro forma “believe all women” quote:

“What should happen is the woman should be given the benefit of the doubt and not be, you know, abused again by the system,” Biden said.

“I hope that they understand what courage it takes for someone to come forward and relive what they believe happened to them and let them state it, but treat her with respect.”

For whatever it’s worth, Biden has said that his accuser “has every right to share her own recollection and reflections.”

“Vice President Biden was pleased to support Lucy Flores’s candidacy for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada in 2014 and to speak on her behalf at a well-attended public event,” Biden spokesman Bill Russo said, according to The Hill.

“Neither then, nor in the years since, did he or the staff with him at the time have an inkling that Ms. Flores had been at any time uncomfortable, nor do they recall what she describes,” Russo continued.

“But Vice President Biden believes that Ms. Flores has every right to share her own recollection and reflections, and that it is a change for better in our society that she has the opportunity to do so. He respects Ms. Flores as a strong and independent voice in our politics and wishes her only the best.”

Of course, things are even more complicated for Biden now, as it looks like a pile of accusations is starting to form — and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had some usable advice for the former vice president.

At a breakfast event in Washington on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, Pelosi said Biden “has to understand that in the world we are in now people’s space is important to them and what’s important is how they receive it, not necessarily how you intended it.”

“Join the straight-arm club,” Pelosi said. “Just pretend you have a cold and I have a cold.”

The talk about Biden’s behavior with women goes back years.

Now, a second accuser has come forward who claimed Biden acted inappropriately at an event in Connecticut in 2009, according to the Washington Examiner.

The accuser, who was a congressional aide to Connecticut Democratic Rep. Jim Hines at the time of the alleged incident, told the Examiner that Biden put his hands around her neck and pulled her toward him to rub noses. She said she thought he was going to kiss her on the mouth.

She told the Examiner she did not think Biden should run for president, and that she planned to support a female candidate instead.

Given the wide variety of videos and images out there showing Biden acting similarly with other women, it’s not like we even needed more accusations to have this discussion, but the fact that there are two of them certainly doesn’t help his cause.

However, when it comes to specific charges without video, we ought to go through cultural due process in evaluating the accusations.

That may not be something the left gave Brett Kavanaugh, but that’s the whole point.

Author: C. Douglas Golden

Source: Westernjournal: Biden’s Words About Kavanaugh Come Back To Haunt Him as Accusations Mount

The one person who seemed to sum up the Democrats’ reaction to Michael Cohen’s guilty plea — and subsequent allegations against President Donald Trump — was Rep. Jerry Nadler.

There’s long been speculation that the New York Democrat is considering impeachment hearings against Trump and anyone around him regardless of what the evidence might entail. A report from the day after the midterms had the powerful ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee ranting on a train about impeaching Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. He also talked about going “all in” on Russia.

Well, Russia might not work out, but how about Cohen? On TV this weekend, Nadler talked in grave terms about Cohen’s claim that Trump directed him to pay Stormy Daniels as part of a non-disclosure agreement and paid him back. This would, according to Nadler, be a sufficient reason to remove Trump from office.

“They would be impeachable offenses. Whether they’re important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question,” Nadler said in an appearance on CNN.

“Certainly, they’re impeachable offenses, because, even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office.”

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This is hardly a surprise; from Day One, Nadler has called Trump “not legitimate” as a president. But the media is lapping it up.

They seem to forget two things. One, campaign finance issues — and it’s questionable as to whether this falls under the aegis of campaign finance — are generally settled without impeachment proceedings, mostly because they aren’t important enough to justify an impeachment.

The second is, well, how does Congress have any room to talk?

The second is, well, how does Congress have any room to talk?

Is Congress going to release the names of everyone in Congress who has been implicated in a sexual harassment claim which was kept silent by a taxpayer funded shush fund–before or after they try to impeach President Trump for using his own money for something perfectly legal?

— thebradfordfile™ (@thebradfordfile) December 10, 2018

Yes, $17 million of taxpayer money has been spent on settling, among other things, sexual harassment claims in Congress, and we pretty much don’t know anything about the cases. As CNN noted, the names of those involved are withheld not only from the public but also from party leadership.

“A source in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s office told CNN that Ryan is not made aware of the details of harassment settlements. That source also said that the top Democrat and Republican on the House administration committee review proposed settlements and both must approve the payments,” the network reported in November 2017.

“Similarly, a source in Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s office told CNN that Pelosi also is not made aware of those details, and that they are confined to the parties of the settlement and the leaders of the administration committee.”

This is essentially the cozy system that the establishment has set up so that it doesn’t have to face repercussions from sexual harassment lawsuits, discrimination suits and the like. There are also other rebarbative elements of how the system is set up, too long to detail here but enraging in their own right.

This is essentially the cozy system that the establishment has set up so that it doesn’t have to face repercussions from sexual harassment lawsuits, discrimination suits and the like. There are also other rebarbative elements of how the system is set up, too long to detail here but enraging in their own right.

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But this is perfectly legal.

Trump, meanwhile, paid a much smaller sum to women who allege he had consensual sex with him in order to obtain an NDA. Because of the methodology of obtaining it and the question of whether or not it should have been included in campaign finance reports, we’re now talking impeachment.

Apparently, Nadler isn’t going all-in on Russia, he’s going all-in on Stormy. I guess it’s easier.

So, yes, Nadler can continue to claim that “the president was at the center of a massive fraud — several massive frauds against the American people.” That doesn’t actually mean anything. If we scrutinized the campaign ledgers of everyone in high office for any sort of problem, we’d probably have to extirpate at least half of them from their position.

Now, here’s the thing: I haven’t seen the Mueller report. Neither has Nadler. For all I know, Trump is implicated in a panoply of heinous crimes and his ties with Russia were way more extensive than we thought. Or it could be a very big nothingburger, albeit a nothingburger dressed up like a very appetizing somethingburger and advertised incessantly in the media like it was the Arch Deluxe circa 1992.

I still have my money on the latter, and I think Nadler does too. He heavily qualified whether the alleged campaign finance violations rose to the level of impeachability.

“You don’t necessarily launch an impeachment against the president because he committed an impeachable offense,” he said. “There are several things you have to look at.”

“One, were impeachable offenses committed, how many, et cetera. Secondly, how important were they? Do they rise to the gravity where you should undertake an impeachment? An impeachment is an attempt to effect or overturn the result of the last election and should do it only for very serious situations. That’s the question.”

My guess is that Nadler finds they were very important, committed with great frequency and rise to the gravity where one should undertake an impeachment — an impeachment which would overturn the result of the last election, which elected a president Nadler has already declared as “not legitimate.”

The rest of us might look at the report and realize this has nothing on what Congress has been doing for years. Whether that makes it right is an entirely different question, but the contrast will still make a huge difference in terms of how Americans view any attempts at impeachment.

After all, Trump used his own money to pay for an NDA through a liaison, which would generally garner a minor fine at most if you even concede it was a campaign-related expense. Congress used $17 million of your money to pay for its mistakes, some of which involved sexual harassment. They took every possible step to make sure you didn’t know about it.

And they made it all perfectly legal.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Author: C. DOUGLAS GOLDEN

Source: Westernjournal: Trump Paid Stormy Himself. Congress Paid Its Victims $17 Million out of Treasury. Who’re the Real Criminals?

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