Joel B. Pollak


The Atlantic‘s Jeffrey Goldberg scored the first post-impeachment interview with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Monday and asked what he described as the “key question”: “Does he believe that Trump is an asset of Russian intelligence?”

Vindman’s answer largely regurgitates left-wing conspiracy theories about Russian influence (original emphasis):

“President Trump should be considered to be a useful idiot and a fellow traveler, which makes him an unwitting agent of Putin,” he says. Useful idiot is a term commonly used to describe dupes of authoritarian regimes; fellow traveler, in Vindman’s description, is a person who shares Putin’s loathing for democratic norms.

But do you think Russia is blackmailing Trump? “They may or may not have dirt on him, but they don’t have to use it,” he says. “They have more effective and less risky ways to employ him. He has aspirations to be the kind of leader that Putin is, and so he admires him. He likes authoritarian strongmen who act with impunity, without checks and balances. So he’ll try to please Putin.”

Vindman continues, “In the Army we call this ‘free chicken,’ something you don’t have to work for—it just comes to you. This is what the Russians have in Trump: free chicken.”

Goldberg, who described Vindman as an “idealist,” also took him on a tour of the Watergate building in Washington, DC, to drive home the apparent parallels.

Goldberg did not appear to ask Vindman about his role in informing the so-called “whistleblower” in the impeachment trial (“A whistleblower shared details of the call,” he wrote).

Washington Examiner columnist Byron York told Fox News last week that Vindman had to be the “original source” for the “whistleblower” complaint: he was the only person who listened to President Donald Trump’s phone call with the president of Ukraine who thought there was anything wrong with it, and admitted telling a member of the “intelligence community.”

NBC News will also air an interview of Vindman on Monday evening, conducted by Lester Holt.

Goldberg, the Atlantic‘s editor-in-chief, was also responsible for a story earlier this month claiming that Trump had referred to dead World War I soldiers as “suckers” and “losers.” He cited four anonymous sources. The story has been disputed by more than twenty people on the record.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg Asks Alexander Vindman If Trump is Russian ‘Asset’

CLAIM: President Donald Trump does not deserve credit for USMCA because the final version is different than the original.

VERDICT: FALSE. The USMCA is Trump’s idea and would not have happened at all without his constant push for the deal.

Last week, former Vice President Joe Biden sat for a rare interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper in Macomb County, Michigan. Tapper asked Biden about the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), one of the signature foreign policy achievements of the Trump administration. Biden tried to claim that Trump did not deserve the credit for it, because it was modified by Congress. Tapper aired this part of the interview again on Sunday morning on CNN’s State of the Union:

Tapper: Now when you ran for president, and Barack Obama ran for president, you both said you would renegotiate NAFTA. You didn’t; he did. Nancy Pelosi said that the USMCA, which President Trump signed into law, is a, quote, victory for America’s workers. Does he deserve credit for that?

Biden: No. I think — remember, he didn’t, he wasn’t the one that pushed that particular one that passed. The House amended the bill, amended the bill so he couldn’t —

Tapper: He signed it.

Biden: By the way, it was a big deal though. Here’s what they amended. He was giving pharma a way out, giving them a gigantic break, just like he’s doing now with pharma. If you — hey’re building plants overseas and getting tax breaks for it. That’s what it was about with him. And they said, no, no, we’re not going to do that.

Tapper: But he renegotiated NAFTA and you didn’t, is the point.

Biden: Because we had a Republican Congress that wouldn’t go along with us renegotiating it.

Tapper: But doesn’t he deserve some credit for that? The USMCA is better than NAFTA.

Biden: It is better than NAFTA. But look what the overall trade policy has done even with NAFTA. We now have this gigantic deficit in trade with Mexico, not because NAFTA wasn’t made better, because his overall trade policy, and how he deals with it, made everything worse.

Even Tapper didn’t quite buy Biden’s propaganda — though the idea that Trump deserves “some” credit is an absurd understatement.

The USMCA is Trump’s project, start to finish. The deal was signed in 2018, but Democrats delayed approving it, ostensibly because they wanted better protections for American labor, and to reduce some intellectual property protections for American pharmaceutical companies. The Trump administration agreed; the final changes were so minor that Mexico and Canada readily agreed to them and Trump immediately signed the USMCA into effect.

The real reason Democrats delayed the USMCA was to deny Trump credit; they only passed the trade deal through the House after impeaching him the day before.

Biden’s claim that “overall trade policy” is worse is also doubtful, and overlooks the role of the trade war with China.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Fact Check: Joe Biden Claims Trump Does Not Deserve Credit for USMCA

Note from management: The fact that Jacob Blake’s father appears to have a long history of bigoted social media posts has no bearing on questions surrounding his son’s shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Nevertheless, since former Vice President Joe Biden has decided to meet with him on Thursday during a visit to the town, his extremist views are newsworthy.

Jacob Blake Sr., the father of the man shot Aug. 23 by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, appears to have a long history of racist, antisemitic, and anti-Christian posts on Facebook. He is set to meet with Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden on Thursday.

Blake Sr. has been a ubiquitous presence on television and at Black Lives Matter protests since his son, Jacob Blake Jr., 29, was shot seven times while allegedly resisting arrest. The younger Blake is currently hospitalized, paralyzed from the waist down. Riots erupted in Kenosha in the aftermath of the event, destroying many businesses and leading to a deadly shooting.

Blake Sr.’s social media posts, particularly on Facebook, reveal radical political views and extreme racist rhetoric. On Instagram, where Blake Sr. appears to have had a much more limited presence, he posted a video about the Sep. 11, 2001 terror attacks: “Man, I give a fuck about 9/11.” He went on to cite the killing of 12-year-old Tamir Rice by police in Cleveland in 2014.

On August 23, a post appeared on the Facebook page of Jacob Blake Sr.: “My son is alive and stable.”

A search through the other posts on that Facebook account reveals a timeline replete with bigoted statements, such as:

– “A jew can’t tell me shit period”

– “The same pink toe Jewish people that control the interest rate control the media the control Minds and money”

– “The Jewish media picks and chooses who is a terrorists and is not”

– “A cracker jew can do whatever to a white woman for years but let a jig try it”

In one post, Blake Sr. speculates that Jews at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh were warned in advance about the mass shooting there in October 2018.

Jacob Blake Sr. Facebook (Screenshot / Facebook)

Eleven were murdered in the attack, the largest mass murder of Jews in U.S. history.

One post refers to attendees at the Young Black Leadership Summit at the White House as “Young black coons”:

Other posts frequently use racist terms against white people, such as “crackers” and others. There are also posts promoting Louis Farrakhan, the racist, antisemitic leader of the Nation of Islam, and denigrating Christianity as a way to fool black people.

In one post Blake Sr. shared, a photo of a white Jesus is shown in a toilet.

Blake Sr. also posted about Biden’s running mate: “Kamala Harris may have you Goofy’s fooled not me.”

Blake has spoken at protests in Kenosha and at a commemoration of the March on Washington last week in the nation’s capital.

The Blake family has an otherwise distinguished civil rights history.

According to the Charlotte Post: “Blake’s grandfather, the Rev. Jacob Blake Sr., was the pastor of Ebenzer African Methodist Episcopal Church and is credited with leading a fair housing march in Evanston [Illinios] in 1968.” Blake Sr.’s Facebook profile indicates that he went to school in Evanston.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Jacob Blake Sr. Has Long History of Racist, Antisemitic, Anti-Christian Posts; Set to Meet Joe Biden

Rioters marched on the home of Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler overnight Monday into Tuesday, looting nearby stores and setting furniture on fire in the street. At one point, they reportedly set fires inside the condominium building itself.

The Oregonian reported:

More than 200 people on Monday night marched to the Pearl District condominium tower where Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler lives to demand his resignation.

The demonstration quickly turned destructive as some in the crowd lit a fire in the street, then placed a picnic table from a nearby business on top of the fire to feed the blaze. People shattered windows and broke into a ground-floor dental office took items including a chair, also added to the fire, and office supplies.

Shortly after 11 p.m., a bundle of newspapers was set ablaze and thrown into a ground-floor storefront in the residential building.

The Portland Police Bureau released photographs of the riot, including graffiti reading, “This is the voice of the unheard,” a reference to a quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. that left-wing activists have taken out of context to justify violence.

MLK misquoted (Portland Police Bureau)

Wheeler has feuded publicly with President Donald Trump, proudly refusing his offer of federal assistance and blaming him for violence that erupted in the city last weekend, when a Trump supporter, Aaron “Jay” Danielson, was shot and killed by an alleged Antifa activist.

Yet despite his opposition to Trump and his support for the protests — which included joining a violent riot outside the local federal courthouse in solidarity in June — Wheeler has also faced demands from the far-left that he resign from his position.

On Friday, hours after he sent a letter to Trump rejecting his help, activists marched on his condo. Among them was the man suspected to be the shooter, Michael Forest Reinoehl, who was photographed there by the Oregonian.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Rioters Loot Stores, Set Fires at Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler’s Condo

California Governor Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state could not afford to pay its share of President Donald Trump’s new expansion of unemployment benefits because it did not have the money.

The new expansion, created by President Trump in an executive order on Saturday, would provide $400 per week in additional assistance, $300 of which would come from the federal government. The remaining $100 would come from the states.

Newsom said that providing $100 per week would cost the state $700 million per week, rising to nearly $3 billion if the federal portion of the benefits were to run out of money. He said that the coronavirus aid that had already been given to the state had already been allocated to other spending priorities, and that the state did not have the money to make up the difference.

The state “cannot shoulder this burden without cutting important services,” he said.

Moreover, he said, paying an additional $100 weekly benefit through the state’s beleaguered unemployment system would also result in “time delays” and “enormous consternation” for people applying for benefits.

It was not clear whether Newsom had shut the door entirely on the expanded unemployment benefits. President Trump said on Sunday that the federal government might be able to fund the entire program.

Additionally, Newsom also said that existing state moratoria on evictions had been extended, and that the state had extended the authority of local governments to enact their own moratoria.

He also announced philanthropic contributions to the state’s efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.

California had seen coronavirus hospitalizations fall 19% in the previous 14 days, Newsom said.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Gavin Newsom: California Can’t Afford to Pay for Extra Unemployment Benefits

A new poll commissioned by the libertarian Cato Institute and released on Wednesday suggests that nearly two-thirds of Americans are afraid to share their political views.

According to the poll, 62% of Americans — and 77% of Republicans — are afraid to share their views. Even a majority of Democrats (52%) report that they are afraid to share their views.

The only group that feels they are free to share their views are “staunch liberals,” 58% of whom say they can do so.

Cato’s Emily Ekins writes:

A new Cato national survey finds that self‐​censorship is on the rise in the United States. Nearly two-thirds—62%—of Americans say the political climate these days prevents them from saying things they believe because others might find them offensive. The share of Americans who self‐​censor has risen several points since 2017 when 58% of Americans agreed with this statement.

Strong liberals stand out, however, as the only political group who feel they can express themselves. Nearly 6 in 10 (58%) of staunch liberals feel they can say what they believe. However, centrist liberals feel differently. A slim majority (52%) of liberals feel they have to self‐​censor, as do 64% of moderates, and 77% of conservatives. This demonstrates that political expression is an issue that divides the Democratic coalition between centrist Democrats and their left flank.

What’s changed? In 2017 most centrist liberals felt confident (54%) they could express their views. However today, slightly less than half (48%) feel the same. The share who feel they cannot be open increased 7 points from 45% in 2017 to 52% today. In fact, there have been shifts across the board, where more people among all political groups feel they are walking on eggshells.

Nearly a third (32%) of employed Americans say they personally are worried about missing out on career opportunities or losing their job if their political opinions became known.

The poll was conducted July 1-6 among 2,000 American adults, with a 2.36% margin of error at a 95% confidence level.

President Donald Trump addressed fears of the “cancel culture” in his July 3 speech at Mount Rushmore.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Poll: Nearly Two-thirds of Americans Fear Sharing Their Political Views

The mainstream media journalists assembled in Wilmington, Delaware, for Joe Biden’s first press conference in nearly three months failed to ask him about new evidence that he played a greater role in the investigation of Michael Flynn than he has admitted.

Last week, notes from FBI agent Peter Strzok were released that suggested it was Biden who proposed investigating Flynn under the Logan Act, which led to his prosecution, which is now widely regarded as unjust.

Last week, the D.C. Circuit issued a writ of mandamus directing a lower court to drop the case against Flynn, after a Department of Justice investigation revealed that the prosecutors had withheld exculpatory evidence from Flynn’s defense lawyers.

In 2017, the outgoing Obama administration sought to investigate Flynn to establish a basis for the claim that President-elect Donald Trump had colluded with Russia. But the FBI did not find that he had done anything wrong.

So the Department of Justice investigated him for violating the Logan Act, an archaic law that prevents private citizens from conducting diplomacy, and which has never been successfully prosecuted.

Under that pretext, FBI agents visited Flynn — then the new National Security Adviser — in the White House, without letting Flynn himself know that he was being investigated.

He was later charged with lying to them about his conversations with the Russian ambassador prior to assuming his duties — even though the FBI agents who interviewed him said at the time they did not thing he had lied.

Biden was known to be present at an Oval Office meeting on Jan. 5, 2017, at which the Flynn investigation was discussed. The Strzok notes document a meeting on Jan. 4, 2017, at which Biden mentioned the Logan Act.

Jan. 4 was also the day that Strzok reversed a decision by the FBI to drop its investigation of Flynn, telling colleagues that senior FBI leadership wanted it to continue.

In May, Biden told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that he did not know about the investigation, other than that “they” had asked to it.

The Strzok notes suggest otherwise.

But none of the journalists asked Biden about his role in potentially undermining the administration of the man he is now running against for the presidency.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Media Fail to Ask Joe Biden About Role in Michael Flynn Investigation, Logan Act

Nearly everything Democrats have done at the national level has made the job losses from coronavirus worse.

You would not know that from the mainstream media, which have under-reported Democrats’ malfeasance and have failed to report President Donald Trump’s successes, which are gaining attention abroad.

Indeed, the media are often complicit in helping Democrats block good ideas, and introduce destructive ones. Here are 5 examples:

1. Delay. Democrats have delayed every single coronavirus relief bill. In March, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stopped a bipartisan CARES Act from going forward, then introduced her own version of the legislation with pork for left-wing interests and purely partisan provisions like voting by mail. In April, Pelosi delayed the extension of the Payment Protection Program (PPP) by 16 days. The media let her get away with it, both times.

2. Using state unemployment systems rather than direct payments. When the administration proposed sending money directly to Americans, Democrats insisted on using the state unemployment systems. The CARES Act ultimately included both kinds of payments. But as Trump later observed, some states struggled to handle the unemployment caseload, resulting in delays in payments many who had just lost their jobs.

3. Making unemployment more lucrative than work. Democrats tacked on $600 per week in additional unemployment benefits under the CARES Act. A few Republicans protested: that would make layoffs more attractive, and hiring more difficult, for employers. They were attacked in the media. But that they were right. “Workers on unemployment benefits are reluctant to give them up,” the Wall Street Journal reported last week.

4. Shaming public companies who apply for PPP funds. Nearly 40% of the money under the second tranche of the PPP has been unclaimed because Democrats and the media protested against public companies being able to apply. (Joe Biden built on that criticism Friday, accusing Trump of helping “big corporations.”) But those companies employ a lot of people. (Or, at least, they used to do so.) Under pressure, Treasury changed the rules.

5. Proposing more relief until the crisis “ends.” Democrats are now proposing that higher unemployment benefits continue until the unemployment rate falls to a certain level, or giving families monthly checks of $2,000 or more until the pandemic is over. In addition to expanding the national debt, doing so will maintain unemployment at a higher level (see #3 above), and will discourage the entrepreneurship that creates jobs.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Pollak: 5 Ways Democrats Are Making Job Losses Worse

First-term Democrat Rep. Harley Rouda of California was spotted on a private beach in Orange County — even as he supported Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D) criticism of communities that kept their beaches open to the public.

Last Thursday, Gov. Newsom ordered a “hard close” of beaches in Orange County, having scolded communities in the county for keeping beaches open to large numbers of people during a heat wave the previous weekend. Local communities argued that most beachgoers had maintained “social distancing,” and resolved to add more law enforcement to beaches while keeping beaches open. That was not good enough for Newsom — or Rouda.

In a statement last Thursday, Rep. Rouda criticized communities that had kept their beaches open: “Opening beaches to thousands of Southern Californians during a weekend heat-wave without adequate social-distancing protocols was a reckless action that put the families of California’s 48th district in harm’s way.”

However, Rouda himself was seen on a private beach with his family in Orange County last weekend.

CBS News 2020 campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar broke the story (original emphasis):

Photos obtained first by CBS News show Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda spending time at a private beach in Southern California despite orders from Governor Gavin Newsom to close some public beaches in the area, CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar reports. Rouda, a first-term Congressman who beat Dana Rohrabacher, represents the 48th district, which encompasses Orange County. Last week Newsom specifically ordered a “hard close” on Orange County beaches after photos showing people not respecting social distancing went viral on social media. Rouda’s campaign manager said in a statement that Rouda and his family “were actively moving and adequately socially distancing on a residential beach, which has explicitly outlined beach access requirements in accordance with Governor Newsom’s beach order.”

Rouda defeated veteran Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in the 48th congressional district in 2018, basing his campaign in part on accusations that the incumbent was too favorable toward U.S.-Russia relations.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller reported in 2019 that there was no evidence of “collusion” between the Russian government and any American citizen.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: Democrat Harley Rouda Spotted on Private Beach; Backed Public Beach Closures in Orange County

The White House Press Corps challenged President Donald Trump’s contention Monday that he has the “total” authority to reopen the U.S. economy after the coronavirus abates — after pestering him for weeks to impose a national shutdown.

In every previous case, Trump said that the Constitution’s federalist structure gave governors primary authority, but stated that he could also overrule them.

The media pushed him to assert his executive power — which they are now questioning:

  • On March 30, Trump was asked to respond to Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) imposing a 70-day stay-at-home order. He responded: “Well, we’re letting the governors do in their states pretty much what they want with our supervision, and they consult with us in all cases.”
  • On April 1, a reporter asked Trump to contradict Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who had refused to issue stay-at-home orders at that point. The president responded that he had the power to do so, but “unless we see something obviously wrong, we’re going to let the governors do it.”
  • On April 3, a reporter asked Trump: “Should every state in this country have the kind of stay-at-home orders that we now see in places like Washington and New York?” He replied: “I leave it up to the governors. The governors know what they’re doing. … I like that from the standpoint of governing, and I like that from the standpoint of even our Constitution.”
  • On April 5, reporters urged the president to challenge “eight governors, all Republicans, who have refused to issue … statewide stay-at-home orders.” Trump answered: “We have a thing called the Constitution, which I cherish, number one. Number two, those governors — I know every one of them — they’re doing a great job.” He added that he had the power to “supersede” them, but did not want to use it.
  • On April 7, Trump was asked to contradict “a number of governors who are close allies of yours … who have refrained thus far to have these stay-at-home orders.” Trump said that while he had the power to do so, he wanted to respect the federalist structure of the Constitution: “I can do it, but it is a constitutional — you can say federalist, you can say there’s lots of different reasons, where I would rather have the governors do it, make their own determination.”
  • On April 10, the president was asked whether he would allow DeSantis to re-open schools in May. He answered: “I like to allow governors to make decisions without overruling them, because from a constitutional standpoint, that’s the way it should be done. If I disagreed, I would overrule a governor, and I have that right to do it. But I’d rather have them — you can call it ‘federalist,’ you can call it ‘the Constitution,’ but I call it ‘the Constitution.’”

The president’s stance was the same throughout. He argued that he had the constitutional authority to “supersede” governors and to shut down the economy in their states, but that he preferred to defer to the governors, according to the federalist structure of the Constitution.

Now, the media are challenging the very power they pressured Trump to assert just days ago.

There is a legitimate constitutional question as to whether the president can “close” or “re-open” the economy. As liberal scholar Jonathan Turley — who sided with the White House during impeachment — the president does not have “absolute” power:

The Associated Press presented a more detailed argument against the constitutional position the president asserted Monday.

The point is that Trump has maintained the same view throughout, while the media have flip-flopped completely, perhaps changing their view based on whatever they believe is politically most inconvenient for the president.

On Monday, Trump did not cite the text of the Constitution he believes grants him authority over closing or re-opening the national economy, but promised to provide a legal justification for his stance.

One possible constitutional argument would be as follows:

  • The Interstate Commerce Clause in Article I gives Congress the power to regulate commerce “among the several States”;
  • a related clause, the No Preference Clause, restricts how states may insulate their economies from those of other states;
  • the Faithful Execution Clauses in Article II give the President the duty to carry out the laws Congress passes; and
  • the Supremacy Clause in Article VI makes the Constitution and federal law the “supreme law of the land.”

That supremacy is balanced by the Tenth Amendment, which reserves powers for the states that are not already granted to the federal government. As the AP notes, state powers cover public order and safety.

Vice President Mike Pence, who was put on the spot by a reporter who invited him to contradict the president, argued that the president’s authority during a national emergency is “unquestionably plenary.”

It is possible that these powers are not entirely congruent — that is, the president may have authority to restrict commerce due to a public health emergency, but not to override all lingering state and local restrictions once an emergency has passed. (No one in the White House Briefing Room has yet drawn such subtle distinctions.)

The entire question may be moot, as the president suggested, because most of the governors do not want to keep their states closed; they share an interest in re-opening their economies as soon as possible.

Author: Joel B. Pollak

Source: Breitbart: White House Press Corps Demanded Trump Shut Down Economy; Now Question His Authority to Reopen It

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