Impeachment Transparency: Politics is tearing our country apart. There is plenty of blame to go around, it’s a bipartisan mess. But the looney left is stooping to new lows and is doing what it can to impeach the President because he won. I wish they would take this fight to the ballot box and get back to governing…but such is politics.
At the very least, I think transparency is key. If you’re going to make wild claims, be they a witch hunt or not need to be open, transparent and as honest as is possible in this environment.
If there is a crisis in our country…if Democracy is being challenged…if the Republic is at risk, it will happen when “we the people” allow it to happen behind closed doors, in secret without transparency. At least if its transparent, we can make up our own minds if at least some of it is presented in a fair and balanced way!
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This Week’s News Summary:
As Medicare open enrollment begins, many Florida seniors eye ‘Advantage’ plans
Medicare Advantage, an alternative to Original Medicare that offers benefits through health insurance companies, has made huge gains in recent years.
Don’t Be Surprised If Trump Is Never Impeached
The central thing to consider here is that impeachment is a political, not a legal, process.
Here are the 7 most ridiculous economic proposals from the Dem debate
Twelve Democratic presidential hopefuls took the debate stage Tuesday night and espoused a flurry of terrible economic policy proposals.
Trump is on his way to an easy win in 2020, according to Moody’s accurate election model
President Donald Trump will win re-election easily in 2020 if the economy holds up, modeling by Moody’s Analytics shows.
“If voters were to vote primarily on the basis of their pocketbooks, the president would steamroll the competition,” the report states.
Three models show Trump getting at least 289 electoral votes and as many as 351, assuming average turnout.
The Moody’s models have been backtested to 1980 and were correct each time — except in 2016, when it indicated Clinton would win a narrow victory.
Middle America’s wallet will decide 2020
The great American middle class is coming back strong, and this may be the most important factor in the 2020 election.
We’re talking prosperity here. $65,976: that’s the median household income now. And it’s up $5,000 since Mr. Trump took office. Up $5,000!
In the 16 years before the Trump era, household income rose just $1,500. Trump: up $5,000 in three years. Bush and Obama: up $1,500 in 16 years!
That is a newly prosperous Middle America and it’s Middle America that decides elections.
You haven’t heard much about this of course. Anything good about the Trump years is ignored and the socialists running for president repeat the tired old clichés about the rich getting richer and having to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.
Why do conservatives support Trump? Because he implements conservative policies.
Critics of President Trump often express bafflement over why his broad support among conservatives is so enduring. Some of this “dismay” is simply manufactured, as many in the “Never Trump” rump have to deny any good has happened on his watch, as it complicates their certainty about Trump. They prefer their extreme rhetoric of denunciation to even the possibility of a mixed record. Others who admit that Trump has got a lot right resist an explicit balancing of good and bad, as it inevitably leads to discussion of Trump’s good policy choices which, when examined closely, are many and enduring.
Assuming, though, that some of the mystified critics are either genuinely confounded, and that some are otherwise engaged or just too lazy to do the work, let me give you the latest exhibit in Trump’s record of genuine and possibly lasting conservative reforms.
On Oct. 9, the president signed two executive orders designed to improve transparency when government agencies issue or enforce “guidance” on how best to comply with a law or regulation.
The Rise of Young Black Conservatives
This past weekend, I spoke for the second time at the second annual Black Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., hosted by Turning Point USA. Turning Point was founded in 2012 by then-18-year-old Charlie Kirk. Its website describes its goal as seeking “to identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government.”
In addition to the Black Leadership Summit, Turning Point holds other annual gatherings, including the Young Women’s Leadership Summit, the Young Latino Leadership Summit and the Student Action Summit. Turning Point, according to Kirk, has established chapters at over 1,000 college campuses across the country. In a short time, the organization has become quite a force.
In an interview with Business Insider, Kirk asked: “Have you ever seen a conservative shout down a liberal speaker on campus? Isn’t that kind of strange, though, that the left does that every day and conservatives don’t?” He argues: “We live in a broken culture. Where the conservative movement is making gains really quick and where the left is really struggling right now is that we are offering remedies for a broken culture.”
Not too surprisingly, Turning Point is not without controversy. A column in the conservative Washington Examiner written by a college senior insists: “TPUSA is initially attractive to many young people due to the organization’s savvy marketing using memes, posters, and catchy slogans such as ‘socialism sucks.’ And at first glance, this may seem like a good thing for the conservative movement.
Hillary Clinton Violated Classified Information Handling Rules and Her Lifetime Non-Disclosure Agreement
This is a short tutorial on classified information that explains what classified information is, how it is to be protected, the obligations of everyone granted access to it, and the rules governing its handling under all circumstances. After you read it, as well as this article I wrote, you will understand what Hillary Clinton did – knowingly – and her multiple felonies! There remain many Americans who don’t understand the rules, including the lifelong obligation that ANYONE granted access has to protect the information, and that the statutes are completely silent on “intent” regarding its compromise. In short, even if an inadvertent error is made resulting in the compromise (“spillage”) of classified information, that person is flat-out guilty of a felony – no questions asked. Anyone who states that Hillary showed no “intent” in compromising classified information via her server and therefore deserved to be exonerated by James Comey is lying.
What infuriates me are all the Hillary Clinton sycophants on CNN and MSNBC who themselves once had access to classified information, and who blithely continue to excuse the multiple felonies that she and her aides committed surrounding her unauthorized email server when they know the rules and obligations. She and her aides (and anyone else who had knowledge of what classified information passed through that server) can be prosecuted at any time, provided there is the political will to do so. Commentators and others who excuse her crimes are undermining that political will which, of course, is their goal.
There has been virtually ZERO honest investigative reporting on this subject by the legacy media since Hillary’s unauthorized server was first discovered despite the abundance of current and former military and intelligence community personnel available to explain the topic to the American people. On the contrary, those people have been covering for everyone who mishandled classified information that passed through that server. It is up to the rest of us to continue to demand accountability and harsh punishment if the justice that has been delayed is to be finally served. Thus, a little tutorial on classified info is in order to level-set those who have never held a security clearance.
Progressives Are All Too Willing to Cut Constitutional Corners
They despise and bully adversaries and practice theatrical but selective indignation about attacks on fundamental American principles.
Presidential aspirant Beto O’Rourke, thrashing about in an attempt to be noticed, says tax exemptions should be denied to churches and other institutions that oppose same-sex marriage. O’Rourke’s suggestion, and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to tax the “excessive” exercise of a First Amendment right, and the NBA’s painful lesson about the perils of moral grandstanding illustrate how progressivism has become a compound of self-satisfied moral preening and a thirst for coercion.
O’Rourke is innocent of originality: Harvard law professor Mark Tushnet recommends a “hard line” against people who deviate from progressivism: “Trying to be nice to the losers didn’t work well after the Civil War” and “taking a hard line seemed to work reasonably well in Germany and Japan after 1945.” Apparently it is progressive to regard unprogressive Americans as akin to enemies vanquished in wars. No Churchillian nonsense about “in victory, magnanimity.”
UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh notes that in 1952 California voters used a progressive device, a referendum, to amend the state’s constitution to deny tax exemptions to certain people despised by the majority — people who advocated the unlawful overthrow of the U.S. government. Fortunately, in 1958, in another case from California (concerning denial of property tax exemptions to veterans who refused to swear an oath not to advocate the unlawful overthrow of the government), the U.S. Supreme Court did its counter-majoritarian duty to protect minority rights, striking down this measure: “To deny an exemption to claimants who engage in certain forms of speech is . . . the same as if the state were to fine them for this speech.”
No, Kurds and Turks Are Not ‘Natural Enemies,’ Mr. Trump
In the days just before Turkey’s military incursion into Syria, for which the stated aim includes purging a Kurdish militia that has been allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State, President Trump made a comment on the history of the two conflicting sides. He defined Kurds as Turkey’s “natural enemy,” adding, “one historian said they’ve been fighting for hundreds of years.”
I am not sure who that historian was, but as someone who has studied this particular history, I can assure you that the tension between Turks and Kurds is not centuries old. It is actually about one century old, and it’s the result of a very modern force: nationalism.
The history does begin in the early 16th century, when the Ottoman Empire, founded in western Anatolia by Sunni Turks, began to expand eastward, only to conflict with the Shiite Safavid Empire in Persia. The Kurds, a tribal people, most of whom were Sunni Muslims, were caught in the middle; soon they willingly joined the Ottomans. Through the next four centuries, they lived under the same state with Turks, Arabs, Bosnians, Armenians, Greeks and Jews — because the Ottoman Empire, like the neighboring Hapsburg Empire, was a multiethnic and multireligious mosaic.
The Secret Origins of the U.S.-Kurdish Relationship Explain Today’s Disaster
On June 30, 1972, two Kurdish men, Idris Barzani and Mahmoud Othman, arrived nondescriptly at the CIA’s sprawling headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and were led into the office of the agency’s legendary director, Richard Helms. They discussed a stunning shift in U.S. policy. Henry Kissinger, President Richard Nixon’s national security advisor, had personally authorized Helms to express American sympathy for the Kurds’ plight and assure them of his “readiness to consider their requests for assistance.” For more than a decade, the Kurds had been fighting against the Iraqi government and had made countless pleas for American assistance to no avail. Helms was now declaring that the United States had changed its mind. He failed to mention it would soon change again.
The long history of U.S. abandonment of the Kurds is well understood by most observers. What has mostly gone forgotten is that such eventual betrayals were entirely predictable given the way the two sides came together in the first place. Indeed, it’s impossible to understand President Donald Trump’s decision to support Turkey in waging war in Syria against U.S.-allied Kurds without understanding the largely untold origins of the U.S.-Kurdish relationship.
The history extends back to 1920, when the Kurds, the largest ethnic group in the world not to have a state of their own, were promised autonomy in the Treaty of Sèvres. But the two great powers of the day, Britain and France, reneged in 1923 and carved up the Kurdish territories into modern-day Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The Kurds rebelled against this betrayal and were crushed by their new British, French, Iranian, and Turkish colonizers. After decades of relative quiet, the Kurds tried again to achieve autonomy in the aftermath of Iraq’s 1958 revolution, which saw the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy.
The True Face of the Baltic Fleet
In the domestic critique of the Pohjanmaa-class, an often repeated claim is that with the Russian focus on light vessels, the few corvettes will simply be overwhelmed by the swarming vessels launching barrages of anti-ship missiles. Rarely however does anyone discuss this claim more in detail, including which small vessels would fire the barrages, whether the Russian fondness for light craft really exist, and what the geography in the Baltic Sea dictates. As it turns out, these oft-repeated truths aren’t necessarily truths at all.
To begin with the geographic realities of the Baltic Fleet needs to be acknowledged. The main base, Baltiysk, sits in Kaliningrad. There it is not only within artillery distance from a NATO-country, but it also lacks a land connection to the Russian mainland, and any ship wanting to exit the port to reach the Baltic Sea has to do so by transiting the two kilometer long and 400 meter wide Strait of Baltiysk which cuts through the Vistula Spit. The second base is located in Kronstadt, just outside of St Petersburg. While the base is located closer to the Russian mainland and more easily defendable, it comes at cost of any vessel wanting to head over to the Baltic Sea proper having to run the full 400 km length of the 40 km wide Gulf of Finland. The Gulf of Finland is also shallow, making submarine operations with conventional submarines challenging. It is often forgotten in the Finnish discussions exactly how bad the geostrategic realities are for the Russian Baltic Fleet in the grand scheme of things.
The Russian Baltic Fleet feature a varied fleet, made up of a significant number of vessels of Cold War designs, including a single destroyer, frigates, light corvettes, and FACs. In addition, seven modern corvettes of three(!) different classes are found. If you are the kind of person who really want to pick the details and look into numbers, at the bottom is a somewhat lengthy go-through of the individual classes and their weapon systems.
In short, the majority of the Baltic Fleet is far from any kind of swarming wunderwaffe. The lightest vessels, the Molnaya, still displace almost twice that of the Hamina-class. The majority of the missiles carried by these vessels are old bordering on obsolete, though getting hit with a 300 kg warhead still hurts if the seeker works. As of writing, the Baltic Fleet operate seven modern vessels with any kind of surface warfare capability (and a single modern minesweeper of the Project 12700 Alexandrit-class), these being the four Steregushchiy, two Buyan-M, and single Karakurt corvettes. Notable is also that the endurance of the vessels are somewhat limited, usually around ten to fifteen days. As was seen during the fleet parades of 2018 reinforcements can come from the outside, though such movements risk alerting the adversary and the number of modern vessels in the Northern and Black Sea Fleets are limited as well.
Photos: Thirty Years of Protests in China Since Tiananmen
The Chinese government violently crushed the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and has quelled most dissent since then. In the past decade, President Xi Jinping has ramped up repression by jailing human rights activists, boosting internet censorship and surveillance, and harassing journalists and academics who voice criticisms.
But people from all backgrounds continue to resist authority and demonstrate for religious freedom, workplace protections, reparations for man-made disasters, and many other causes. Here’s a look at protests in China since 1989—and what drives activists to stand up against all odds.
Three Nations That Tried Socialism and Rejected It
Israel, India, and the United Kingdom each lifted itself from economic stagnation by switching to free-market policies.
Socialists are fond of saying that socialism has never failed because it has never been tried. But in truth, socialism has failed in every country in which it has been tried, from the Soviet Union beginning a century ago to three modern countries that tried but ultimately rejected socialism — Israel, India, and the United Kingdom.
While there were major political differences between the totalitarian rule of the Soviets and the democratic politics of Israel, India, and the U.K., all three of the latter countries adhered to socialist principles, nationalizing their major industries and placing economic decision-making in the hands of the government.
The Soviet failure has been well documented by historians. In 1985, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev took command of a bankrupt disintegrating empire. After 70 years of Marxism, Soviet farms were unable to feed the people, factories failed to meet their quotas, people lined up for blocks in Moscow and other cities to buy bread and other necessities, and a war in Afghanistan dragged on with no end in sight of the body bags of young Soviet soldiers.
The economies of the Communist nations behind the Iron Curtain were similarly enfeebled because they functioned in large measure as colonies of the Soviet Union. With no incentives to compete or modernize, the industrial sector of Eastern and Central Europe became a monument to bureaucratic inefficiency and waste, a “museum of the early industrial age.” As the New York Times pointed out at the time, Singapore, an Asian city-state of only 2 million people, exported 20 percent more machinery to the West in 1987 than all of Eastern Europe.
A Million People Are Jailed at China’s Gulags. I Managed to Escape. Here’s What Really Goes on Inside
Twenty prisoners live in one small room. They are handcuffed, their heads shaved, every move is monitored by ceiling cameras. A bucket in the corner of the room is their toilet. The daily routine begins at 6 A.M. They are learning Chinese, memorizing propaganda songs and confessing to invented sins. They range in age from teenagers to elderly. Their meals are meager: cloudy soup and a slice of bread.
Torture – metal nails, fingernails pulled out, electric shocks – takes place in the “black room.” Punishment is a constant. The prisoners are forced to take pills and get injections. It’s for disease prevention, the staff tell them, but in reality they are the human subjects of medical experiments. Many of the inmates suffer from cognitive decline. Some of the men become sterile. Women are routinely raped.
Such is life in China’s reeducation camps, as reported in rare testimony provided by Sayragul Sauytbay (pronounced: Say-ra-gul Saut-bay, as in “bye”), a teacher who escaped from China and was granted asylum in Sweden. Few prisoners have succeeded in getting out of the camps and telling their story. Sauytbay’s testimony is even more extraordinary, because during her incarceration she was compelled to be a teacher in the camp. China wants to market its camps to the world as places of educational programs and vocational retraining, but Sauytbay is one of the few people who can offer credible, firsthand testimony about what really goes on in the camps.
‘Think of your family’: China threatens European citizens over Xinjiang protests
Two days after Abdujelil Emet sat in the public gallery of Germany’s parliament during a hearing on human rights, he received a phone call from his sister for the first time in three years. But the call from Xinjiang, in western China, was anything but a joyous family chat. It was made at the direction of Chinese security officers, part of a campaign by Beijing to silence criticism of policies that have seen more than a million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities detained in internment camps.
Emet’s sister began by praising the Communist party and making claims of a much improved life under its guidance before delivering a shock: his brother had died a year earlier. But Emet, 54, was suspicious from the start; he had never given his family his phone number. Amid the heartbreaking news and sloganeering, he could hear a flurry of whispers in the background, and he demanded to speak to the unknown voice. Moments later the phone was handed to a Chinese official who refused to identify himself.
By the end of the conversation, the façade constructed by the Chinese security agent was broken and Emet’s sister wept as she begged him to stop his activism. Then the Chinese official took the phone again with a final warning.
“You’re living overseas, but you need to think of your family while you’re running around doing your activism work in Germany,” he said. “You need to think of their safety.”
In interviews with more than two dozen Uighurs living across Europe and the United States, tales of threats across the world are the rule, not the exception. Uighurs living in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, and France all complained of similar threats against family members back in Xinjiang, and some were asked to spy for China.
More than a million Uighurs, a Muslim Turkic ethnic group, and other minorities are being held in extrajudicial internment camps, according to the UN, with some estimates saying the number is “closer to 3 million”.
Former Michigan Governor William Milliken dies at 97
William Milliken, who was Michigan’s longest-serving governor and a champion for Detroit, the environment, and a far more moderate Republican Party, died Friday. He was 97.
Milliken, who was governor from 1969 to 1983, was a World War II air combat veteran, a retailer, state senator, and lieutenant governor (to George Romney), all before becoming Michigan’s 44th governor.
Milliken died at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Traverse City home he built himself, 60 years ago, said Jack Lessenberry, a spokesman for the family. He had been under hospice care.
Barring a change to the state constitution, which since the 1990s limits governors to two four-year terms, Milliken’s record 14 years as governor of Michigan will never be surpassed.
He was also the oldest ex-governor in state history, surpassing the record of Alpheus Finch, who served briefly as governor before the Civil War and died much later at age 91.