Open Thread

I had to be reminded that the impeachment trial was still going on – I tuned into maybe half an hour of it the first day. Apparently I’m not the only person tuning it out: ratings for the show are abysmal.

It appears that the antics of the House Managers are turning off a lot of Senate GOPers and there may not end up being one GOP vote for the Democrats…but there is a chance that two or three Democrats may vote with the GOP.

Meanwhile, the FISA court admits the warrants (or, at least, some of them) against Carter Page were bogus. Of course they were: the whole thing was bogus from the start. Always remember that all these things which were set afoot in 2016 were started by people who were certain they’d be answering to President Hillary come January, 2017. What’s happened since then has only partially been about getting Trump…they are also desperately trying to cover up what they did.

The coronovirus thing out of China – you worried about it? I can’t get worked up about it. So many of these health scares have come and gone with no real ill affect on a major scale – I guess I’m just a bit jaded about it. Though my supposition is that if the Chinese government is really locking down cities, they are at least worried it is easy to transmit from human to human. But I’ve only elevated my personal Threat Level from “Whatever” to “Huh: Interesting”.

The Democrats are getting ready for Iowa and New Hampshire – I’ve seen this and that about them. It is rare, as it turns out, for one candidate to win both contests. I guess that means we can expect a Biden win in Iowa and Sanders in New Hampshire. Meh. To me, it doesn’t really matter – unless Sanders wins both because that means the Democrat bosses will go nuts to crush Sanders…and make it so obvious that at lot of the Bernie Bros will stay home in November. A lot of people – some I actually respect – are now talking up Bernie’s chances and, additionally, trying to claim he’s the Democrats’ best chance to beat Trump. I don’t see it. Beating Trump, I mean. What in heck other than Socialism, SJW insanity and Orange Man Bad do any of these clowns bring to the table? All signs point to a strong economy through 2020 and Trump is not the guy to get us into a war…what is the event that would make people move away from Trump?

Very interesting:

The head of the one of the world’s largest Muslim organizations paid an unprecedented visit to the site of the Auschwitz extermination camp on Thursday, where he participated in remembrance prayers for the Jewish victims of the Nazi Holocaust.

Lots of things like this are going on – signs that the hatred between Jews and Muslims is abating, at least in some quarters. After Trump moved the embassy to Jerusalem, told the Palestinian leadership to pound sand, set his Jewish son-in-law to find a path to peace, whacked Iran’s terrorist mastermind…funny, huh?

Brexit becomes official as Queen Elizabeth gives Royal assent. Britain leaves on the 31st. I honestly didn’t think the Brexiters would pull it off…the British Ruling class was just so entirely dead set against it…and make no mistake about it, Boris Johnson is part of that class; but he was the only one in it who realized that the people wanted it, and whomever gave them what they wanted would be rewarded with power.

39 thoughts on “Open Thread

  1. Cluster January 24, 2020 / 6:28 pm

    Good for Trump to speak at the March for Life rally … first ever. In the last 3 years, Trump has accomplished nearly everything that every conservative pundit has preached for over the last 20 years and yet they still won’t get on board.

    I am looking forward to hearing the defense beginning Saturday or most likely Monday and I have to think that following that they will move to vote without witnesses. Schiff and his misfit toys did not serve themselves or their case very well particularly when they lectured the Senators and questioned their integrity. Not a good move.

    • jdge1 January 24, 2020 / 10:42 pm

      How refreshing that we should be blessed with a politician that actually fulfills their campaign promises. And does so in spite of such massive obstructions placed in from of him. As you pointed out in a previous thread, the reason many people voted for Trump in the first place is because he is NOT an establishment politician trying to keep the status quo, keeping the gravy train going for those in positions who are supposed to be working FOR the people who put them there. All too often the right side of the political equation have cowered behind fear of not wanting to get tagged with derogatory verbal mud the left slings so well. Then when the polls come out and show dissatisfaction with the elected, it’s more often a case where the voter is upset the politician is trampling on the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the constitution and ignoring their prmoises. We’ve been praying for someone to be a true leader willing to stand up against the injustices we’ve all come to expect from the left, able to move the bar forward instead of relinquishing more ground. The left is falling into despair facing someone who does not fold under their usual antics, who actually fights back willing to expose the detrimental policies of previous administrations and current leaches.

      I haven’t watched any of the impeachment hearings but from what I’ve read it’s going much how I anticipated, with the left screaming and throwing all kinds of legal sounding end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it phrases, if the Republican senators don’t impeach, all without really saying anything of real importance. The dems have to know they’re in a no-win situation as far as the outcome of the proceedings, but still do what they can to fire up their base and influence uninformed voters. The question I ask is, will there be any lasting damage to the left for putting the President thru this, outside of not getting Trump removed from office, thereby removing the likely continuation of these kind treasonous acts.

      • Cluster January 25, 2020 / 10:03 am

        … will there be any lasting damage to the left for putting the President thru this,

        Outside of losing at the ballot box, the answer is no. Their legions of quasi socialists and media sycophants will praise their efforts and accuse conservatives of “white privilege” and belonging to a cult if Trump is acquitted and reelected. This fight has accelerated in the last 3 years and is just getting started. Nearly everyone in the 5 counties that surround Washington DC are pushing back on those of us in fly over country and that fact says a lot and should be a wake up call.

      • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 1:02 pm

        There won’t be any lasting damage to the Left if we just let all the ammunition they have been giving us sit ignored in some dim storeroom of history. But there can be, if we can finally get our collective conservative heads out of our collective nether regions and pull together to compile it into a coherent narrative.

        What ammunition?

        Lack of due process, ranging from the House refusal to employ any degree of it to the whine that the president shouldn’t even be allowed to HAVE a defense
        Defense of gulags and forced “reeducation” of political opponents by forcing them into slave labor
        Thought Police punishing people for saying “wrong” things and attributing thoughts to people which are then punished
        Promoting the overturn of elections by a few elites if they decide the outcome was not what they wanted
        A press which has gone from leaning toward support for the Left to outright lying to the public to advance Leftist agendas
        Ignoring or discarding elements of our Constitution, including the Bill of Rights, when those elements do not support Leftist agendas
        Outright blatant lying to the American people in the televised charade of the House efforts to unseat the president
        Different laws and consequences for different people depending on their status and political connections. (This should be a huge focus, ranging from elites like Hillary and Comey not being prosecuted for blatant crimes to the fact that illegal aliens, for example, have different laws applied to them than citizens do, and how this kind of selective law enforcement destabilizes a nation.)
        Promoting disrespect for laws and law enforcement officers

        This is just a partial list of the things the Left has felt emboldened enough to openly support and encourage. It doesn’t even touch on things like the idea, promoted by some prominent Lefties, of splitting DC into so many “states” that the resulting Congress would be totally controlled by the Left ( or the New Green Deal goal of forcing every building owner to undertake massively expensive construction on each building, whether a home or a business, to meet arbitrary Leftist standards.

  2. Cluster January 25, 2020 / 9:55 am

    I think it’s important to knock liberals off of their morally superior pedestal they put themselves on. Nothing is more annoying than unaccomplished people who lecture and preen about in self anointed righteousness. Adam Schiff has been the perfect example of that over the last 3 days. His lecturing, condescension, and exaggeration was only slightly more annoying than his juvenile emotional pleas. He is a complete embarrassment.

    What conservatives have learned over the last 3 years is that regardless of how effective and positive conservative policies are for our communities and individual lives, it will never be enough for Democrats to pause and take notice and reexamine their positions. We have learned that regardless of the successes brought about by conservatism, Democrats will continue to attack and destroy so I implore all GOP representatives to drop the pretense of collegiality and excoriate those on the other side of the aisle. It is they who are a direct threat to our Republic.

    MSNBC this morning is wondering why the President even gets a defense in light of over whelming evidence and Ali Velshar just accused Republican Senators of “voting the wrong way” which means of course they voted against Democrats. Such is the state of “propaganda journalism” in 2020 America, something of which also must be put down. I think it’s important to view Washington DC and the lobbyists and media acolytes that occupy the same swamp as a cabal of co conspirators trying to dismantle and take control of the levers of our government. Adam Schiff actually said this out loud on the floor yesterday when he said “we could not trust the 2020 election”. This is war and it will not stop with the acquittal of the President.

    • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 12:44 pm

      MSNBC this morning is wondering why the President even gets a defense in light of over whelming evidence…

      You have to admit, they have a point. This worked really well for Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Hitler, Fidel—all those who used Star Chamber pseudo-trials to try to lend an air of legitimacy to their tyranny and elimination of opposition. It’s just an expansion of the House tactics, in denying due process to the President.

      They are writing the Republican campaign for 2020—“This is the world the Left wants for us—no due process, allowing a few partisan politicians to overturn elections, and deciding a defendant doesn’t even deserve a defense if the State feels it has made a good case. Gulags for conservatives, to be “reeducated” where they are slaves at hard labor to teach them the error of believing in the Constitution. Open borders with non-citizens allowed to vote. A system where the productive are forced to support a massive and growing Dependent Class. Rationed health care. Reduced standards of living. Consolidating power and control over the people in a massively powerful Central Authority, with little control left to the states or to the people. The Bill of Rights tossed aside. We don’t understand why the Democrats are howling about Russia when life in the USSR of the 1980s is their goal.”

    • Retired Spook January 25, 2020 / 1:40 pm

      Adam Schiff has been the perfect example of that over the last 3 days. His lecturing, condescension, and exaggeration was only slightly more annoying than his juvenile emotional pleas. He is a complete embarrassment.

      He may be an embarrassment to the country, but he certainly “feels” no embarrassment. In order to be embarrassed one must be capable of feeling shame, and the Left has no shame.

      I watched most of the President’s defense team’s opening statements this morning. Good strategy, IMO, to point out all the lies, misstatements and manipulation of facts by the House Managers. I have a lot more confidence in the outcome of this charade after this morning.

      • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 1:49 pm

        Darn it—I forgot to watch. Hopefully there will be a transcript somewhere.

  3. Amazona January 25, 2020 / 1:46 pm

    I am tired of being on the defense and saying “But…but…look at what THEY did!” But at the same time, it might be worthwhile to have some information at hand.

    For example, what with all the howling at the moon over Trump supposedly being too cozy with Putin, there has not been a single example of any covert communication between the two men. But JFK had a long series of secret communications with Khrushchev, one such communication being in the form of a letter smuggled inside a newspaper and hand delivered to Pierre Salinger to be given to the president. Both he and his brother Bobby entered into secret promises with Russia regarding disarmament, including removing missiles from Turkey. These were, essentially, treaties, but secret treaties outside of Congress.

    More recently, President Obama was caught on a hot mic asking Medvedev to convey to Putin his promise that after he was reelected he would be able to be “more flexible” regarding, among other things, missile defense. (One result: The Pentagon held internal talks on declassifying sensitive missile defense technology that it plans to share with Russia as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to assuage Moscow’s opposition to European defenses.

    Republicans in both the House and Senate plan to block any technology declassification for missile defense technology in the current defense authorization bill and other legislation. Legislative mark up on the authorization bill begins this week.

    Critics say giving Russia classified data would undermine the effectiveness of missile defenses, which have cost taxpayers more than $100 billion since the 1980s.

    Vice Adm. James Syring, director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA), disclosed during a congressional hearing Wednesday that the Obama administration has asked him about sharing sensitive missile defense data with Russia during talks over the past several years aimed at reaching a missile defense cooperation agreement. Pretty serious stuff.

    Then there is the Clinton State Department coziness with Russia, ranging from the implied promises of the inept and misspelled “RESET” button she fawningly produced after Obama’s election to her support for selling Russia so much of our rare uranium reserves to her receipt of millions of dollars in “speaking fees” and “donations” for her, Bill, and their fake foundation. And let’s not forget which countries Hillary went to, in her search for someone to help her compile fake information about Donald Trump—Russia and Ukraine.

    And, of course, there is the fact that the American Left’s political agenda is closely aligned to, and often seems to be inspired by, the Russian model of concentrated power, a corrupt and entitled Elite, use of government agencies and resources to spy on citizens in search of whatever might be used against them and the recent open adoption of the Star Chamber approach to faux judicial hearings.

    Only the Left, confident in the ignorance and stupidity of its base, could have the chutzpah to accuse the Right of acting like the Left and complaining that this is wrong and should be punished. (Remember, the classic definition of “chutzpah” is a man killing both his parents and then throwing himself on the mercy of the court because he is an orphan.)

    • Cluster January 25, 2020 / 7:56 pm

      I thought Purpurow (I think) one of Trumps defense lawyers had an impactful moment when he detailed the many times that foreign aid had been paused in the past allowing time to determine the effectiveness of the aid as it relates to US security. Even Volker testified that pausing assistance happens frequently for a variety of reasons. That testimony was left out of the House Managers presentation.

  4. Retired Spook January 25, 2020 / 3:40 pm

    The latest from the YCMTSU file.

    Anyone surprised?

    • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 4:48 pm

      From your link:

      Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) even accused the president, falsely, of causing the deaths of Ukrainian soldiers.

      Jason Crow ran a thoroughly despicable and vile campaign, and as soon as he won he started working on portraying himself as decent and honorable. I wondered how long it would take him to find that too much of a burden and start to show his true vicious and dishonest self. He has found his true home in the Schiff/Waddler/Perlosi camp.

  5. Amazona January 25, 2020 / 3:58 pm

    “They kept saying are no eyewitness accounts,” Mr. Schumer told reporters. “But there are people that have eyewitness accounts. The very four witnesses, and the very four sets of documents that we have asked for.”

    Eyewitness accounts of WHAT? There are no first person accounts of Trump stating that the delay in processing the Ukrainian financial aid was to leverage the country to investigate Biden. The only second and third hand accounts are merely repeating not what anyone heard, but what they assumed might be the intent behind what they heard.

    ….text messages and comments from participants in the debate over the hold suggest they believed that Mr. Trump was trying to pressure Ukraine to open an investigation into his political rivals at home. That’s about as good as it gets for the Dems. A “suggestion” about a “belief” without an actual quote or statement.

    “Well, your Honor, we want you to send this man to jail because we have some “messages and comments” from some people he may not have even spoken with SUGGESTING that they BELIEVE he was going to try to rob a bank. No bank was robbed, no effort was made to rob a bank, but there is a SUGGESTION that some people BELIEVE he was going to do it.” See how far you would get with that.

    OK, I agree—-with the brain-dead sheeple on the Left, it would probably send the guy to prison or even the chair, if he was a Republican.

    There is an overheated spittle-flying screed from the Washington Post about the alleged “bombshell” (yes, another “bombshell”) about a recording in which Trump tells someone to fire U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. It’s quite an emotional amalgam of various lies, distortions and opinions, presented as not only news but news damning the President.

    The Post’s spin? The recording also suggests new detail about just how involved Trump was in the campaign to oust Yovanovitch. As you’ll recall, Yovanovitch had to be removed — which Trump ultimately did — to clear the way for the corrupt scheme that Giuliani was preparing to orchestrate in an effort to extort Ukraine into announcing investigations that would help Trump politically. Nothing to do with the fact that she was despised by the people she had to work with in Ukraine, or had been bad-mouthing her boss, or trying to undermine his policies in Ukraine. No, it was “to clear the way for a corrupt scheme”.

    And, seriously—HOW INVOLVED TRUMP WAS IN THE CAMPAIGN TO OUST YOVANOVITCH ????? Uhh, guys—-he fired her. How much more “involved” do you find important? He was her boss. He thought she was doing a bad job. The people she had to work with didn’t like her. And she was bad-mouthing him. Never a good idea to talk trash about your boss and hardly surprising when you get fired for it. And they are trying to make a big deal out of HOW INVOLVED Trump was? Here’s a clue: he fired her. Can’t get much more involved than that.

    Here’s a lovely example of Agenda Media: “The president can say, ‘I’m recalling this ambassador,’ ” former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner told me. “Why in the world instead of doing that do you yell to two underworld characters like Parnas and Fruman, ‘get rid of her,’ going around the entire machinery of government?” Aside from the casual slandering of two men who are not really involved in this manufactured melodrama by calling them “underworld characters” and then expanding that to libel by printing it, this hair-on-fire fabrication seems to rest, when the hysterics are peeled away, on outrage that the president went “..around the entire machinery of government”. Which, if course, forms most of the butt-hurt we are seeing played out in the House psychodrama and by its sycophants. He didn’t do what the underlings wanted him to do, and he must be punished for it.

    And, BTW, this recording is the latest “bombshell” the poor frantic Left is peeing down its leg in its eagerness to get it into the Congressional record.

    Another BTW—in most places in this country it is illegal to record someone without his knowledge and implied consent. Why don’t we start going after people who break this law, as well as those who so casually violate the requirements of security clearances?

    • jdge1 January 25, 2020 / 8:24 pm

      From Trump’s defense: “In his public testimony, Ambassador Sondland use variations of the words assume, presume, guess speculate, and believe over 30 times,” said Purpura.

    • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 9:50 pm

      Update on the recording that is the alleged “bombshell”. Evidently the taped comment about getting rid of Yovanovich was not made to either of the “underworld characters”—-Parnas or Fruman—- but was overheard in presidential conversation between President Trump and “…his assistant and counselor Johnny DeStefano.”

      “A video was released which allegedly depicted Trump at a dinner talking about wanting to fire Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in April 2018. She was not recalled and fired until 2019. Trump apparently directed the comments to his assistant and counselor Johnny DeStefano. But according to ABC, Lev Parnas was at the dinner. So some have interpreted the direction as going to him. Given that if apparently came from a Parnas associate, there’s every reason to doubt it, as well.”

      AND……She wasn’t recalled until a year later and relieved of her duties until May 2019. She’s still working for the State Department.

      What this comment actually shows was that his disturbance with her likely had nothing to do with what Democrats have claimed – anything related to the Bidens.

      AND…she is still alive, in spite of the hysterical wailing from the Usual Suspects that the comment constituted a threat on her life and an instruction to kill her. Still alive, still working for the State Department, still complaining about Trump. Now if that comment had been uttered by Hillary………..

      BTW, it appears that Glenn Kirschner has decided to follow the Schiff path to fame, by simply making up outrageous lies. He whined “Why in the world instead of doing that do you yell to two underworld characters like Parnas and Fruman, ‘get rid of her…” when he didn’t yell, much less yell anything to either of those two bottom feeders.

  6. Amazona January 25, 2020 / 4:30 pm

    I have learned the identity of the witness Schiff wants to call—his secret source of all the information and insight upon which he has based his <strike< persecution prosecution:

    I knew he had to have a secret weapon to let him know with such certainty the innermost motives and intentions of the President no matter what the obvious facts told reasonable people.

    • Amazona January 25, 2020 / 4:32 pm

      I am just imagining the entire Senate showing up wearing ZOLTAR SPEAKS T-shirts

  7. Amazona January 25, 2020 / 11:08 pm

    YES !!!

    If Eric Ciaramella is the ‘Whistleblower’, Then He, IG Michael Atkinson and Adam Schiff Must Be Questioned Under Oath Right Away

    This is what I have been saying all along. This whole mess started with Vindman (who should be on this list, on his way to a court-martial) and his lies to EC, who ran to Schiff and Atkinson, who manipulated the process and became part of it to get the bogus accusation made public with the supposed legitimacy of having been submitted to Congress.

    If EC is the individual who filed the whistleblower complaint which launched the impeachment of a U.S. President, then he is not a whistleblower, but a political activist at best, and possibly a criminal. And Adam Schiff and Michael Atkinson, who facilitated this farce, have just become fact witnesses.

    Much more important, in terms of the impeachment process, than either of the Bidens. Refer to the information about prior interest in Hunter, if necessary, but keep the focus on the impeachment process itself and don’t be distracted by the shiny allure of humiliating a Biden or two. Leave that to the DOJ.

    • Cluster January 26, 2020 / 10:05 am

      Re: Yavonivitch – the careerists at MSNBC are complaining that she was in fear for her life after Trump was caught on tape saying “take her out”. The problem of course was this tape just came out and she wasn’t let go for nearly a year later but it makes for a good story so they decided to go with it. I think the term careerists defines all of these people very well. They are like leaches that attach themselves to a host body and are very difficult to get rid of.

      Bernie is leading in Iowa …. meaning the Democrat party is soon to have an all out civil war. What is not discussed much in the media is the complete dysfunction of the Democrat Party. If Biden wins, Bernie supporters will not vote for him and in fact may riot in Milwaukee. Conversely if Bernie wins, many Democrats will not vote for him but at least they won’t riot but of course we all know Bernie will not win. The DNC will make sure of that and Milwaukee will bern (every pun intended). This is going to be fun to watch. Did you see where AOC said the Democrat party is a center right party? Pass the popcorn

      • Amazona January 26, 2020 / 10:36 am

        I heard the comment ‘We don’t have a left party in the United States. The Democratic Party is not a left party, The Democratic Party is a center or a center-conservative party.. but didn’t recognize the voice.

        Again….IF a candidate on the Right is organized enough and focused enough, comments like this might defeat her. But she has to be called out as so profoundly STUPID she should not be sent back to Congress.

        She supposedly has a degree in economics, yet she doesn’t understand that capitalism is an economic model, not a political system. Now she is illustrating her ignorance of the meaning of “conservative” in a political context. The idea that someone can promote the most widespread and invasive takeover of individual rights and state sovereignty in the history of this nation, trying to consolidate nearly all authority over every aspect of life in the United States, into a massively powerful Central Authority and still consider herself, or at least the party she is representing, as “center or a center-conservative” is just more proof that she has no idea what she is talking about.

        A competent and aggressive opponent should be able to shred her in the next election.

  8. Amazona January 26, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    Mark—to revisit an old discussion we had: I am listening to an audio book about the Kennedy assassination you might find interesting. It is written from a theological perspective, by a Catholic who often refers back to Thomas Merton and Pope John Paul. It’s got a lot of information I did not know, and I will probably have to buy it in book form if there are footnotes to that information.

    The book is “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters” by James W. Douglass. He has a lot of information I never knew, such as an ongoing communication among the Pope, Kennedy and Khrushchev discussing possible pathways to disarmament and peace. Every now and then as I listen I think “I’ll bet Mark would be interested in this”.

    The author definitely has a perspective and an opinion, and like other books on the topic I have read (and there are many) I take it with a grain of salt. But irrespective of his conclusions, the data itself is fascinating.

  9. Amazona January 26, 2020 / 8:19 pm

    AOC told his (Sanders’) supporters that they must organize to “tip-off” illegal immigrants if ICE or CBP agents are in the area

    But…but…I thought obstruction of justice is supposed to be a bad thing.

    Again, it all depends on who is doing the obstructing.

  10. Amazona January 26, 2020 / 8:21 pm

    Prepare yourselves for the sanctification of Kobe Bryant. So far I haven’t seen a reference to his Colorado trial for rape and assault. As someone who lived in that county and knew many of the people involved in the trial, I know that key evidence was, for some reason ($$$$$$$ ?) quashed—that is, that he had a history of similar assaults and rapes, all the same M.O., and had been able to buy off the victims who sought justice.

    He was filth, and it doesn’t matter how good he was at a sport. It has always sickened me to see the adulation for this predator.

  11. Amazona January 26, 2020 / 8:35 pm

    I love the Greg Gutfeld show. It is uneven, but when it hits it is really funny. Last night one of the guests said that the only good thing about a Hillary win in 2016 would be knowing she would have to sit at THAT DESK. There was silence and then everyone cracked up. I love a joke that comes out of nowhere and makes people stop and work through it.

    • Cluster January 27, 2020 / 12:49 pm

      Gutfield is hilarious and his analysis is usually spot on. He and Jesse Watters are great together on The Five.

  12. Amazona January 27, 2020 / 1:02 pm

    I wonder if this will be part of the Trump defense:

    The purpose, rather, is to clarify that (a) aid packages for European security have been under extra scrutiny from the Trump administration because of Trump’s particular, well-known perspective on them; and (b) the Ukraine funding itself falls in the budget portfolio of the European Deterrence Initiative, and that’s why it was under general review.*

    We don’t have to deduce these details from circumstantial clues. They were stated repeatedly, explicitly, and in those very words, both in March 2019, when the defense budget for 2020 was proposed and in late August and early September 2019, when the recent review of military aid for Ukraine was reported.

    The EDI as the umbrella program for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, for which the $250 million at issue was requested, can be verified from Department of Defense programming documents (here and here) and the NDAAs for FY2019 and FY2020.

    But now we can also remind ourselves of the record that’s been out there all along. The Trump administration had the entire European Deterrence Initiative, which includes the military aid for Ukraine, under review for multiple reasons. And a reason that actually produced consequences was this simple one: Trump was looking for ways to shift defense funds and use them for the border wall.

    Despise that policy choice as seems good to you. But it’s an unvarnished, pre-spin record of what happened. It’s been there in plain sight.

    * I suspect, without having specific evidence of it, that there’s an additional consideration in the intensive scrutiny being given the EDI. It is funded as an element of Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, a practice favored during the Obama years but one that in some ways reduces the strict accounting integrity of defense spending. The Obama DOD tended to fold more defense spending into OCO than had been customary in the past, and budgeteers – like Mick Mulvaney – have looked askance at the method for some time. Reporting that Mulvaney was behind the intensive foreign aid review, and in particular behind the EDI military aid scrub and the Ukraine program suggests that the use of less-strictly-accountable OCO funding had something to do with it.

  13. Amazona January 27, 2020 / 4:05 pm

    I finally remembered to turn on the impeachment melodrama, and while I thought Purpura was compelling I am baffled by the efforts to introduce new “evidence”—that is, the Bolton book preview. Since when is a jury expected to consider “evidence” never presented in the indictment? It’s crazy.

    And, naturally, the Senate weasels, led by weasel-in-chief Mitt Romney, are supposedly considering this to show the need for more witnesses. That simply makes no sense to me. For the defense to call DEFENSE witnesses, yes. But since when is the defense required to call prosecution witnesses?

    I am stunned by the utter absolute insanity of this, as people seem to be running around making stuff up as they go, without regard to rules of evidence, rules of law, legal precedence or anything else that should matter.

  14. Amazona January 27, 2020 / 6:25 pm

    Good. I think this is not only appropriate but necessary.

    Sen. Ron Johnson wants to confirm and investigate the origins of the report by the alleged whistleblower that triggered the impeachment trial against President Trump.

    Johnson, a Wisconsin Republican, predicted on Monday that the acquittal of Trump in the Senate would be soon. Johnson, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said lawmakers should then turn their attention to the whistleblower, whose complaint about Trump’s interactions with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky kicked off the impeachment process.

    “At some point in time, I’d kind of like to know how this all got generated,” Johnson told the Washington Examiner. “I mean, what was behind all of this? I think there’s an awful lot of suspicious activity.”

    • Cluster January 28, 2020 / 9:19 am

      How do you not subpoena the whistleblower? To this day I am shocked that he hasn’t testified yet.

      As I type the panelists on Morning Joe are mocking and laughing at the Trump defense team but that is what children do. Their source of humor was the ignorance of the Trump team not knowing that the Biden/Burisma connection has been debunked and it is just more “Russian talking points”. According to Joe, every “respectable newspaper” has debunked the Hunter Biden issue and then he proceeded to mock Trump’s lawyers for even raising the issue. The fact that every Democrat particularly Biden himself get’s overly excited when the prospect of Hunter testifying is raised, tells me that there’s a lot to investigate there. Innocent people who are falsely accused are typically eager to take the witness stand.

  15. Amazona January 27, 2020 / 6:36 pm

    Sarah Tinsley, an adviser to Bolton, said that the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations sent the draft manuscript to the White House weeks ago for a prepublication review by the NSC. “The ambassador has not passed the draft manuscript to anyone else. Period,” she said.

    Bolton’s attorney, Charles Cooper, also released a statement decrying a “corrupted” review process and shared a copy of a cover letter showing the draft was submitted to the NSC’s Records Management Division for a standard prepublication security review for classified information on Dec. 30.

    Breitbart reported that (Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s identical twin brother) Yevgeny Vindman would have been in charge of the book manuscript submitted to the NatSec last month by former NatSec Advisor John Bolton.

    A source close to the Trump administration informs Breitbart News that Army Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman, a senior ethics lawyer for the National Security Council (NSC), is in charge of reviewing all publications by current and former NSC officials.

    The official added that Yevgeny Vindman could have seen former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s draft manuscript after it was submitted for prepublication review at the end of December.

    The review is a standard process that allows the NSC to review book manuscripts, op-eds, or any other material for any classified material to be eliminated before publication.

    Anonymous sources conveniently leaked to the New York Times claiming former National Security Advisor John Bolton’s book manuscript accused President Trump of tying Ukraine aid to Biden investigations.

    Time for some serious court-martial activity, or at the very least dishonorable discharges for the Vindmans.

    • Cluster January 28, 2020 / 9:21 am


      Breitbart reported that (Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman’s identical twin brother) Yevgeny Vindman

      Pajama boys strike back. That’s creepy. Beyond weird.

  16. Cluster January 28, 2020 / 9:45 am

    John Bolton is proving himself to be an opportunist and vindictive. Essentially, just another Bill Kristol.

    • Amazona January 28, 2020 / 10:38 am

      “Former CIA analyst and ex-National Security Council staffer Fred Fleitz”, who worked closely with Bolton and considers him a friend, thinks Bolton should withdraw his book from publication at least until after the election. He made what I think is an excellent point in his interview with Laura Ingraham last night—that a president HAS to have people he can trust to bounce ideas off of, to brainstorm and toss out different prospective solutions and possibilities, without worrying that his “…ideas and musings will not appear in the press or in books.” Key word: MUSINGS

      We’ve all tossed out ideas and possibilities, some serious and some not, about how to approach different problems or situations, and we are not held accountable for every comment made as if it was an actual plan to be executed. It’s a natural part of the thinking process. It’s as if you and your brother and a friend are talking about how to deal with a neighbor parking in front of your driveway. Some far fetched and facetious ideas are tossed out, you finally just go talk to the neighbor and ask him to stop doing this, and you don’t have to worry that there will be some media weasel proclaiming on the 8 o’clock news that you once “planned” to sabotage a neighbor’s car by flattening its tires.

      It is one thing to expose a serious plot, meant to be executed, that is a violation of the law. It is quite another to take something out of a series of possibilities and suggestions which were never developed into plans and betray the trust of the man you are supposed to be advising, because you don’t like him and are sulking because he didn’t treat you and your ideas with the respect you thought was appropriate.

      As Fleitz said, it seemed that Bolton thought HE was the president. And it’s the same pattern we have seen with other Deep State bureaucrats and politicians think they should be in charge.

      • Cluster January 28, 2020 / 11:41 am

        IF Bolton had serious concerns and actually held evidence of bribery by the POTUS, he should have resigned and gone to the proper authorities. The fact that he was fired and waited to put this “damning information” in his newly published book, reeks of insincerity and vindictiveness. He is a small and petty little man.

      • Retired Spook January 28, 2020 / 12:04 pm

        Some random thoughts on Bolton. I agree with Cluster — Bolton could have resigned and made his concerns public or done so after he was fired. I’ll bet CNN and MSNBC would have given him an unlimited platform.

        The New York Times admitted in the article that they HADN”T SEEN the actual book manuscript. The portion they cited was LEAKED to them (yeah, I was shocked as well). My wife and I were watching TV Sunday night when the leak was made public, and my first thought, even before I read Amazona’s post above was that the source was the weasel twin brother of LtCol Vindman, who is still, unexplainably, a member of the NSC.

        Finally, any GOP senator who votes to have Bolton alone testify might as well resign immediately. My guess is, if the Senate votes to have unlimited witnesses (including the so-called whistleblower as well as Adam Schiff), even a number of Democrats will vote against it.

      • Amazona January 28, 2020 / 11:26 pm

        You guys make a great point. Maybe it is time to “leak” that some Republicans what to ask Bolton why, if he is so principled, he didn’t do as you say and resign and address what he thought was so wrong. That they are eager to ask why he stayed on if he thought the president was being unethical, and gee, doesn’t coming out with this now, after the matter has received so so much media attention, reek of petty spitefulness?

        “Mr. Bolton, just when did you realize there might be something wrong with the president wanting to have the Biden/Ukrainian relationship investigated? Wasn’t it after you saw the attention paid to the phone call” Didn’t you see this as a way to get back at the president for firing you?”

        That might chill the ardor of the Dems

      • Amazona January 28, 2020 / 11:31 pm

        I think naming a potential witness list including Ciaramella and Atkinson might make some Dems rethink their witness positions. Forget the Bidens—they belong in the jurisdiction of the DOJ which can then indict. Focus on how the impeachment process even got started. That is, the Vindman/Ciaramella/Schiff/Atkinson chain of manipulations to set it up.

        And once one Vindman is shown to be a leaker, go after his brother as well.

  17. Cluster January 28, 2020 / 12:01 pm

    And then there is this from the “better angels” over at CNN:

    A segment on “CNN Tonight with Don Lemon” is drawing heavy criticism after guests Wajahat Ali and Rick Wilson spent some time mocking President Trump and his supporters as Americans who can’t read, write, or read a map.

    Wilson began the parade of insults on Saturday when he said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “knows deep in his heart that Donald Trump couldn’t find a Ukraine on a map if you had the letter U and an actual crane. He knows this is an administration defined by the ignorance of the world. That’s part of him playing to their base.”

    Describing Trump’s base as a “credulous, boomer rube” demographic, Wilson then used a southern accent to state: “‘Donald Trump’s a smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.'”

    Host Don Lemon burst into laughter as Wilson mocked the voters.

    “‘You elitists with your geography, maps, spelling,'” Ali joined in. “‘Yeah, your reading. Your geography. Knowing other countries. Sipping your latte.'”

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