14 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-22-18

  1. Here’s a novel idea.


    “Ted Cruz Is Right: Make El Chapo Pay for the Wall”

    “It would be poetic justice, is deliciously named, and wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a dime. It doesn’t make Mexico pay for the wall, just one particular Mexican who has done great injury to the people of the United States and who is responsible for a major part of drugs flooding into the United States.

    It is legislation introduced by Sen.Ted Cruz of Texas last year — the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (E.L.C.H.A.P.O.) Act which would use fund confiscated from drug dealers like El Chapo and traffickers to pay for border security. As Cruz explained after introducing his bill in April of 2017:

    Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) introduced a bill calling for the use of $14 billion seized from cartel drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to be used to pay for the President’s border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

    “Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” Senator Cruz stated, according to a statement obtained by Breitbart Texas from the senator’s office…

    The Texas senator said that leveraging criminally forfeited assets from El Chapo and other Mexican cartel members and drug dealers can “offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”

    Some might dismiss this idea as a campaign gimmick intended to help Cruz in his tough 2018 reelection bid, but it is an idea whose time has definitely come. El Chapo is responsible for many crimes against his people and ours, including the murder of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry using a weapon supplied by presidential wannabe and former Obama AG Eric Holder:”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I hear ya’ Chas. Then what would they do? 🙂

    But hey, if a paltry 5 billion for border security is the hill Dems wanna die on, then die away.


    “NO DEAL: Government Heads to Partial Shutdown at Midnight After Congress Fails to Reach a Funding Deal

    It should not be controversial to ensure the security of any of our borders, and yet… the Democrats have made this a hill to die on.”


  3. Such a disappointment he’s been…..

    Like with Obamacare, he’s siding with liberals again.


    “This is an ominous sign.

    Chief Justice Roberts has been sensitive to political criticism of the Supreme Court.

    It was widely reported in 2012 that Roberts succumbed to a public pressure campaign from Obama and Democrats that the Court would lose its legitimacy if it overturned Obamacare. Roberts reportedly changed his vote to uphold the Obamacare mandate as a tax, to the fury of the four conservative Justices who wrote a dissent that sounded like it had once been the majority opinion.

    Roberts also saw fit to make a public pronouncement after Trump criticized a San Francisco federal judge for a decision enjoining Trump’s new policy on processing asylum claims, which held that people who illegally crossed the border could not apply for asylum. After Trump referred to the Judge as an Obama Judge, Roberts issued this statement to AP:

    “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” Chief Justice Roberts told the Associated Press.

    “What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

    The injunction against the new asylum rules was upheld by the 9th Circuit, and the government sought an emergency stay. In a 5-4 Order released today, the Court rejected the stay, with Roberts joining the four liberal justices:

    The application for stay presented to Justice Kagan and by her referred to the Court is denied.

    Justice Thomas, Justice Alito, Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Kavanaugh would grant the application for stay.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Swamp protects it’s own.


    This is 100% stolen from Julie Kelly at American Greatness, but trust me, it’s worth stealing:

    In a recent court filing, the defendant’s attorneys begged for mercy. The offender—once a high-level government official assigned with protecting national security secrets—had pleaded guilty to one charge of making a false statement to the FBI in 2017.

    Citing his modest upbringing, community involvement, and decorated military service, the defendant’s lawyers asked the judge only to impose a sentence of probation rather than jail time.

    “This case has garnered a significant amount of media attention,” the attorneys wrote, “and plainly sends a message to the public that lying to federal agents—even when those lies were denials animated by a desire to conceal a personal failing—has profound consequences.”

    The appeal was supported by letters written by powerful people, including top lawmakers on Capitol Hill, who attested to the man’s overall decency, claiming he had already suffered enough and how his “conduct is contradicted sharply by the character of the man that his family and community and country relied upon and loved and respected.”

    So General Michael Flynn…no, wait!

    No, that entreaty was not about Lt. General Michael Flynn; it was on behalf of James Wolfe, the former security chief for the Senate Intelligence Committee who was caught not just lying to FBI officials but illegally leaking classified information to journalists, including his 20-something girlfriend. Wolfe’s misconduct was far more egregious—and damaging—than the process crime committed by Flynn.

    Late Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Wolfe to two months in jail for one count of lying to the FBI; the prosecution had asked for 24 months. After a tearful apology to the judge, Wolfe essentially escaped with a slap on the wrist. Outrageous.

    Wolfe, 58, was a key player in the leaking strategy employed by anti-Trump bureaucrats to seed bogus Trump-Russia collusion stories in the news media during the administration’s early months. Entrusted with safekeeping the committee’s most secret documents, Wolfe was caught passing off the information to four reporters. One of the journalists, Ali Watkins, was at least 30 years his junior; their three-year affair began when she was a college intern working for a Washington, D.C. news organization.

    I am so old, I can remember when intelligence officials leaking top secret information to women they were sleeping with was frowned upon. At one time, the fear was that such women might be Russian spies. Now, it is reasonable to assume that they are Democrats.”


    “The swamp protects its own.

    Yes, the truth is coming out, and it’s a nasty, ugly truth. If you reside in the protected class of Washington bureaucrats who break the law, betray your public duty and attempt to destroy innocent Americans by wielding unchecked power, you will get away with it. You will have a letter of commendation written on your behalf by U.S. senators, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). You will avoid being charged with a felony, even though your conduct presented serious national security risks. You successfully will evade nonstop media coverage by sympathetic journalists while they instead obsess about a lesser crime committed by an ally of the president they despise.

    That sums it up pretty well. I confess that I had forgotten James Wolfe’s name. Somehow, no one seems interested in his crimes. Meanwhile, Ali Watkins, who began her affair with Wolfe while a college student and was covering national security for the Times by the time she was 25–it helps to be sleeping with the director of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee–is still employed by the paper, although she has been reassigned to the metro desk. As Julie Kelly says, “[h]er sex-for-scoops strategy worked like a charm.”

    Somehow, though, all of this isn’t front-page news.”


  5. Here’s the American Greatness piece……


    “But here is the real injustice: While it was clear by both the original indictment and the sentencing memo that Wolfe was responsible for disclosing details about the FISA warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, he was not charged with that crime—a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

    The investigation into Wolfe began after the Washington Post published an explosive story in April 2017 confirming that the FBI had obtained a FISA order right before the election to spy on Page.

    “There was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia,” the Post reported. “This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump associate was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.” The information was given to the reporters “on the condition of anonymity because [the sources] were not authorized to discuss details of a counterintelligence probe.”

    Wolfe lied to the FBI when he denied having any contact with three Post reporters: The sentencing memo confirms Wolfe spoke to Nakashima several times between late 2015 and mid-2017.

    Prosecutors also note that Wolfe “received, maintained and managed” Page’s top-secret FISA application. On the same day it was transported to the Senate Intelligence Committee—March 17, 2017—he exchanged 82 text messages with Watkins and had a lengthy phone conversation with her.

    The length of the FISA application? Eight-two pages.

    While Watkins wrote a separate piece for Buzzfeed on April 3, 2017, quoting a “U.S. intelligence official” that also contained private information about Page, which Nakashima, Entous, and Barrett would report in the Washington Post a week later. Barrett wrote another piece in June 2017 revealing the FBI had questioned Page.

    Page’s FISA warrant was renewed three times; he has never been charged with a crime. But Page—a Naval Academy graduate and global energy financier—has suffered tremendous personal and professional damage because of the illegal leaks by Wolfe and others.

    “This has been a long, torturous road, but I think the truth will start to come out a little bit,” he told me last summer.

    Yes, the truth is coming out, and it’s a nasty, ugly truth. If you reside in the protected class of Washington bureaucrats who break the law, betray your public duty and attempt to destroy innocent Americans by wielding unchecked power, you will get away with it. You will have a letter of commendation written on your behalf by U.S. senators, including Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Burr (R-N.C.). You will avoid being charged with a felony, even though your conduct presented serious national security risks. You successfully will evade nonstop media coverage by sympathetic journalists while they instead obsess about a lesser crime committed by an ally of the president they despise.

    This isn’t the swamp. It’s the gutter.”


  6. He needs to work on his delivery.


    ““Trump Criticized For Breaking With Longstanding American Tradition Of Remaining In Middle Eastern Countries Indefinitely,” joked the Babylon Bee upon the news President Donald Trump is bringing troops home from Syria, but the joke wasn’t far from the truth at all.

    The news deeply angered the Washington foreign policy consensus, which argues that troops should stay in the region indefinitely even though the stated mission of defeating ISIS has been accomplished.

    It’s true that Trump’s decision to depart Syria was sudden and poorly communicated. Viewed one way, however, it was not a complete surprise. Since at least 2013, Trump has repeatedly argued against the idea we need a sustained conflict in Syria:”

    “Both before and since March, his military and diplomatic advisors have pushed a radically different strategy than the one he promised voters. Various administration officials and their allies in the media have argued for a new strategy and a continued presence in Syria, saying that the United States needed to make sure Iran left the area, that the defeat of ISIS was a suspiciously undefined “enduring,” and that the United States played a role in post-war peace.

    Syria envoy (and vocal Never Trumper) Jim Jeffrey recently told reporters that the Trump administration was shifting its policy in Syria and would remain indefinitely. He said “we are not in a hurry to pull out” and that Trump was “on board” with the new approach. Obama holdover Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, also said President Trump was on board with a military presence in Syria that had literally no end in sight.

    This portion of a December 11 press conference brought to mind the U.S. presence in Iraq:

    QUESTION: We’re talking about years?

    MR MCGURK: Not going to put a timeline on it at all.

    QUESTION: Well, you seem to say – sorry.

    MR PALLADINO: Go ahead.

    QUESTION: Me? Brett, you seem to say the military’s objective is the enduring defeat of ISIS. So does that not mean, then, given the qualification of enduring defeat – does that not mean that American soldiers will remain in Syria for some time unforeseen, into the unforeseen future, even after the physical caliphate is totally wiped off the map?

    MR MCGURK: I think it’s fair to say Americans will remain on the ground after the physical defeat of the caliphate, until we have the pieces in place to ensure that that defeat is enduring.

    The United States claimed its goal in Syria was to defeat ISIS. That has happened, so the goalposts are now being shifted to endless defeat of ISIS, a standard by which no war would ever be won, no victory ever claimed. With Wednesday’s announcement, Trump’s campaign pledges returned to the discussion.

    “This is a good decision made in a bad way, through a process nobody would want to emulate,” said Benjamin Friedman of the defense think tank Defense Priorities in a call with reporters on Wednesday. That’s a good summation of the overall situation. The process has been an embarrassment and the communication of it outright contradictory, but the overall effect of departing Syria is sound.”


    Unless your goal is sustained, never ending wars, like Afghanistan. As has been shown. while popular with the Pentagon brass, these are troop morale killing, forcing constant deployments and a never ending use of resources and equipment, which is already substandard. We’re not the World Police, so let’s stop acting like we are.


  7. Equal justice under the law is dead. They’re killing it right in front of us, while we watch and do nothing.


    “The Most Important Thing About Michael Flynn Is Not His Guilt, But His Politicized Prosecution

    For many, the criminal case against Flynn was never about Flynn; it was about our country abandoning the precept of equal justice under the law.”


    “This governing platitude took a hit when the FBI spun its investigation into Hillary Clinton as a mere “matter;” when agents questioned the former secretary of State in the presence of two witnesses, assuring their stories would match; when an agent involved in the Clinton investigation called her responses “questionable,” but not “provable” lies, and nothing became of it; when the FBI took no action against other witnesses whom they believed clearly lied during their investigation of Clinton; and when the public learned that the agents knew all along nothing would be done about Clinton’s criminal recklessness in her handling of classified materials.

    In contrast to the kid-glove handling of Hillary Clinton and those close to her, the FBI reached out to Flynn with an iron fist ensconced in a velvet glove. An interview that ended with agents concluding that Flynn had not lied resulted instead in federal charges once Special Counsel Mueller’s office became involved.

    Leaks about Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador go unanswered, while FBI Director James Comey launched a probe into leaks surrounding the Clinton investigation. Comey ignored President Obama’s public pronouncement of Hillary’s innocence during the heat of the investigation, while President Trump’s private comments to Comey about Flynn serve as the subject of a secret memorandum Comey would later use to suggest the commander-in-chief has obstructed justice.

    Flynn’s guilty plea under these circumstances chafes. Plea or not, we may never know if Flynn lied when he sat down with Peter Strzok and the other unidentified FBI agent. But if Flynn didn’t lie then, he lied to Sullivan on Tuesday when the long-time judge quizzed Flynn on his guilt.

    “I cannot recall any incident in which the court has ever accepted a plea of guilty from someone who maintained that he was not guilty, and I don’t intend to start today,” Sullivan stressed.

    Yet Flynn remained firm. He was guilty and was ready to face his punishment (after a slight delay to allow Flynn to complete his work with Mueller, while also giving Sullivan the chance to cool off before deciding Flynn’s sentence).

    So be it. Flynn’s fate is but that of one man, and while to his family and friends the difference between probation and a five-year sentence holds the utmost significance, to the average American, it matters not.

    But what matters greatly—or should—is the lesson the Flynn prosecution teaches about justice in America: whether one is a friend or a foe of the political ruling class and their career concubines dictates the justice meted out. And an unequal justice under the law is no justice at all.”


  8. It’s only outrageous because Trump said it.


    “Americans will no longer support Washington’s incoherent Middle East adventurism.”

    “Unlike my colleagues, I’ve been a bemused spectator during this week’s Syria follies. As readers of these columns know (see, e.g., here, here, here, here, and here), I believe the United States has less interest in Syria than in the persistence of drought in Burkina Faso. That is why I was a steadfast naysayer on American intervention in a conflict among rivals whose common ground consists of hatred for America and affinity for sharia supremacism (and the abetting thereof — I’m looking at you, Vladimir).

    The current frenzy was ignited by the president’s abrupt decision to pull U.S. forces (all 2,200 of them) out of Syria. This prompted Defense Secretary James Mattis’s resignation — though General Mattis’s stinging letter indicates that Syria was really just the last straw for him after two years in the Trump grinder.

    These latest chapters are already being folded into the Syria Hawk Fantasy Narrative. To recap, we are to believe that President Obama, by extracting forces from Iraq (inconveniently, pursuant to an agreement struck by President Bush) created a “vacuum,” in which ISIS spontaneously generated. It is supposed to be irrelevant to this story that the American people never supported Washington’s farcical sharia-democracy project, and that the Iraqis claimed to want our troops out even more than we did. What matters is that Obama’s decision “created ISIS,” dashing the dreams for a secular, pluralist democracy harbored by the moderate Muslims who predominate Iraq (at least on days when they’re not executing homosexuals and apostates), and making an unspeakable bloodbath of the heroic struggle by the same moderate Muslims to overthrow Syria’s Tehran-backed monster, Bashar al-Assad.

    Of course, Obama did not create the Islamic State. Sharia supremacism did. What no one in Washington pontificating on Syria and neighboring Iraq cares to acknowledge is that this region is a tinderbox of fundamentalist Islam in which, if there were no intervention by outside forces, Sunnis and Shiites would be slaughtering each other until some strongman imposed order — something that is to be expected in a culture of voluntarism (God as pure will) where submission to authority is the norm. (Voluntarism is brilliantly explained by Robert R. Reilly in The Closing of the Muslim Mind.)

    It has been 17 years since 9/11 and 25 years since radical Islam declared war against the United States by bombing the World Trade Center. Yet, head firmly in the sand, we continue to discuss such catastrophes as Syria as if the most critical fact on the ground, the power and prevalence of sharia supremacism, did not exist. Consequently, we subscribe to delusional history (Obama created ISIS) and make policy around the resulting storylines.”


  9. I see where FoxNews is counting down the hours of the government shutdown.
    It’s good that they do that; otherwise we wouldn’t know.

    In the Vietnam war, when a soldier stepped on something and heard a click, he knew that when he removed his foot, there would be an explosion, ripping off his foot.
    That makes a dilemma. He already has his foot of the fuse.

    We have done the same thing in the middle east. We shouldn’t have gone there in the first place. Iran was better off with Sadam Hussein than without him. He was an evil man, but it was stable. There is nothing good in the Middle East and nothing good can come from meddling in it.
    I’ll confess. I was just as dumb as the others. But they should have realized this. I’m afraid some still don’t
    I don’t know that Trump is doing the right thing. There is no end to it.
    Until The Lord intervenes. It will get worse, regardless of who does what.

    As I said yesterday, Putin agrees with Trump. That should tell the smart guys something.


  10. The only people really complaining are those with a vested interest in the status quo.


    “American policy on Syria took a U-turn Wednesday with the news that President Donald Trump was preparing for a “full” and “rapid” withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Syrian civil war. After the news broke, Trump took to Twitter to declare, “We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there.”

    Trump is right to accept victory in Syria. By September, ISIS had lost 99 percent of the territory its vaunted caliphate once held, according to a Pentagon Inspector General’s report. With the last vestiges of Islamic State territory in Syria falling to U.S.-backed forces in recent days, the goal that drew the U.S. into Syria is achieved.

    This decision will upset most of Washington’s foreign policy establishment, which generally supports a more expansive war in Syria. Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, generally a Trump ally, called it an “Obama-like mistake” and a “big win for ISIS, Iran, Bashar al Assad…and Russia.” Scholars from the Foundation for the Defense of the Democracies, the Atlantic Council, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Center for a New American Security and other prominent think tanks all echoed that sentiment.

    Until this week, the Trump administration took a similar view. Even though the president said last spring that U.S. forces would be leaving Syria “very soon,” administration officials in September announced that he had decided to keep troops there indefinitely to ensure ISIS’s “enduring defeat,” compel the withdrawal of Iranian forces, and shape the post-war order. That last goal seemingly included protecting the Syrian Democratic Forces, the Kurdish militia that did most of ground fighting against ISIS, from Turkey.

    Trump’s decision is a good one, even though it reflects poorly on his administration’s security decision-making process. With the defeat of ISIS, the risks of keeping U.S. troops in Syria badly outweigh any potential benefits. The rationales that administration officials recently offered for staying are really reasons to go.

    No one knows exactly how an “enduring” defeat of ISIS differs from plain old defeat. That’s the point, presumably. Ensuring ISIS’s total extinction is a useful goal for keeping troops there forever, adding more, and adopting all manner of nation-building goals.

    The idea that U.S. forces can compel Iran’s eviction makes little sense. Like Russia, Iran has long-standing interests in Syria that are stronger than ours, was invited by the regime to deploy forces, and is unlikely to pull them before the civil war is over. Leaving rivals the draining task of trying to stabilize Syria is hardly doing them a favor. Syria offers occupiers nothing that can vault them to greater power and lots of potential trouble. Keeping U.S. forces there until Iran decides to leave simply offers them the right to say how long we incur costs.

    Nothing justifies the risks of staying in Syria

    Chasing those nebulous benefits means running a massive risk of escalation, with the Assad regime, Russia, Iran or NATO-ally Turkey. U.S. forces protecting Kurdish allies have engaged in tense stand-offs with Turkish forces in northern Syria. Israel attacks on Iranian-backed forces in Syria risk wider war that could embroil U.S. forces.”

    That’s my biggest hang up in this. What to do for our allies the Kurds, who will most surely be set upon by Turkey the minute we leave? There’s no easy answer.


  11. Huh.

    Why it’s alsmost like this whole thing has been a scam from the start. Mueller’s $30 million dollar wasting witch hunt included….


    “Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said Friday that his agency has not found any evidence of any direct interference in the midterm elections.

    Coats said he has submitted a required report to President Donald Trump that says the intelligence community has not uncovered any compromise of election infrastructure that would have disrupted balloting or changed results.

    Coats said the intelligence community did find a continuation of previously disclosed “influence activities” and “messaging campaigns” by countries such as Russia, China and Iran ahead of the election.

    He said in a statement issued Friday that the intelligence community did not assess whether those activities affected the outcome of the 2018 election.

    The report, not publicly released, was submitted to Trump and is being reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department.

    An executive order signed earlier this year requires the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report assessing foreign interference in U.S. elections within 45 days after the conclusion of the election.”


  12. Reagan’s son points out an inconvenient truth.



    “The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 allowed any illegal immigrants who had been in the U.S. since 1982 to receive temporary legal status and eventually become eligible for green cards if they learned English.

    The legislation also attempted to boost border security by increasing funding for the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the U.S. Border Patrol, although it did not call for a border wall. The measure also sought to crack down on illegal immigration by barring employers from knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.

    Since 1986, the number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. has more than doubled from approximately 5 million to approximately 10.7 million as of 2016, Pew Research Center report”


    It was a failure, didn’t work. Build the dang wall.


  13. 2 systems of justice. One for them, and one for us commoners.


    “Dancing FBI Agent Who Backflipped at a Bar and Accidentally Shot a Man Has Learned His Fate”

    “As seen on video, the agent does some sort of dance move with his legs. Then he backflips. A gun drops right out of his waistband. It doesn’t go off when it hits the ground, but it does fire when Bishop grabs it.

    Tom Reddington sustained a bullet wound to the leg. Prosecutors went after Bishop for second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, a felony. Instead, his guilty plea knocks that down to third-degree assault — negligent discharge of a deadly weapon, according to Denver 7.

    The defendant must serve two years of probation and give money to a Victim’s Assistance Fund. He must also pay the $1,200 probation supervisor fee, court costs, and administration fees. On the other hand, Bishop won’t be getting any jail time.

    FBI spokeswoman Kelsey Pietranton said the agency declined to discuss the case, saying it is standard practice not to comment on personnel matters.”


    I love the smell of BS in the morning…….

    Liked by 1 person

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