FTC Going After Musk Over Twitter

The Federal Trade Commission. It has been reported without much fanfare that the FTC is sticking their nose into the Twitter purchase by Musk. Of concern is the radical head of the agency.

The Federal Trade Commission could be unfairly biased against Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter due to its chairwoman’s previous employment at a left-wing group, according to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH).

Jordan asked FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan to provide extensive details of her interactions with her former employer, the Open Markets Institute, and say whether she or the FTC have had any interactions with the agency regarding an April 26 statement from OMI Director Barry Lynn advocating federal intervention regarding the Twitter takeover bid. More

We heard a lot about the agency during the Obama administration.  So while it is easy to shrug off this story as nothing since it appears to be obvious that there cannot be anything that they can sink their teeth into….well not so fast. At the least they can tie up the Twitter purchase by months if not longer. After all, don’t we want at least to get passed November 2022? Better, block it and tie it up in litigation for years even when everyone knows the FTC will lose in the end. We have seen this play before.

Front Page Mag:

So why is the FTC even considering an antitrust review of Twitter? The answer is obvious: the FTC is part of today’s political establishment, which is dominated by Leftists who don’t believe in the freedom of speech and are trying to destroy it in the name of stamping out “hate speech” and disinformation. The FTC today is full of people who believe that Old Joe Biden’s Disinformation Governance Board is a grand idea, and that their friends, colleagues, and allies ought to have the power to silence anyone who says things they believe are false, hateful, or damaging in whatever way.

Also part of this establishment is the Open Markets Institute, which claims to “address threats to our democracy, individual liberties, and our national security from today’s unprecedented levels of corporate concentration and monopoly power.” Yet instead of fighting against the social media giants’ monopoly of Leftist speech restrictions, OMI Director Barry Lynn is going after Musk’s acquisition of Twitter.

Lynn stated, “The Open Markets Institute believes the deal poses a number of immediate and direct threats to American democracy and free speech. Open Markets also believes the deal violates existing law, and that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have ample authority to block it.”

This is a rancid pile of hooey, and Lynn likely knows that. The FTC may well block the deal, but if it does, it will be because the establishment determines that such a block would be the most effective way it can deal with the problem Musk presents, not because it actually has the authority to do so or because there is any actual justification for not allowing the deal to go through.

Even worse is Lynn’s claim that Musk’s purchase of Twitter “poses a number of immediate and direct threats to American democracy and free speech.” This is straight-up Orwellian “War Is Peace” territory. Twitter right now is a far-Left propaganda platform on which saying that a man can’t be a woman (although that has relaxed somewhat since news of Musk’s acquisition) and that there was chicanery involved in the 2020 presidential election can get you banned.

Innumerable people who have spoken out in various ways against the Left’s fantasies and delusions have been banned; others remain but are heavily shadowbanned, which means that they might as well be gone, as hardly anyone ever sees what they say aside from a few people of like mind.

Read more

Let’s take a look at this flashback:

We are picking up where Obama left off and it isn’t taking any eight years to get there.

FTC to “reinvent” journalism

This is not a document meant to salvage an independent press.  It’s a road map for government control over the news.

The nation needs a strong, independent press, the FTC argues, and so they want to find ways for government to “reinvent” journalism.  If that sounds vaguely Orwellian to you, the actual language in the Federal Trade Commission’s discussion-points memo should have hairs standing on the backs of necks across the nation.  It shows a wildly laughable rationale for government intervention that would prop up the failing newspaper model in a manner that would put the entire industry at the mercy of the federal bureaucracy it’s supposed to keep in check.

Not only that, it then offers a very strange definition of “subsidy” in order to provide cover for a government intervention:

There are reasons for concern that experimentation may not produce a robust and sustainable business model for commercial journalism. History in the United States shows that readers of the news have never paid anywhere close to the full cost of providing the news. Rather, journalism always has been subsidized to a large extent by, for example, the federal government, political parties, or advertising.

Mark Tapscott warns that a government reinvention of journalism will mean a journalism much less likely to be independent:

[W]hat they cannot deny is what is clearly written in the FTC document and what it reveals about the intention behind the initiative, which is to transform the news industry from an information product collected by private individuals and entrepreneurs as a service to private buyers, to a government-regulated public utility providing a “public good,” as defined and regulated by government.

The authors hide this dangerous intention behind carefully worded expressions of concern for preserving “quality journalism” and “addressing emerging gaps in reporting,” and they rationalize their proposed approach of massive government intervention in the news process as simply an extension of what government has always done via postal subsidies, tax breaks, and so forth. …

Better to explain yet again that the original intention of the Founders with respect to the media – “Congress shall make no law respecting … the freedom of the press” – is the key to saving independent journalism.

Then we must remind them that the adversarial relationship that is supposed to exist between journalists and public officials must apply no matter who those public officials might be or what political party or ideological school of thought they represent.

Elected officials’ first thought is always about re-election, while career government workers’ is job security. A journalist’s first thought is supposed to be getting the facts.

To that end, we’re supposed to be adversaries, not co-conspirators, partners, favored “stakeholders,” or beneficiaries. That’s why the Constitution made us independent.

Best of the swamp today.

Tennessee GOP Remove President Trump’s House Pick and Two Others

 

 

The RINOs raise themselves like snakes on a warm spring day to strike.  The old good ole boys will not be denied. One way or another. In this case, changing the law requiring candidates to live in the state for three years.

Tennessee Republicans changed the law which prevented President Trump’s pic for the House in the state from qualifying for office.

 

Morgan Ortagus

A Trump-backed congressional candidate in Tennessee’s primary race was booted from the ballot after the local GOP voted to remove her because she had only just moved to the state.

Morgan Ortagus served as the State Department Spokesperson under former President Donald Trump and is currently a Navy Reserves officer. She was running to represent the district that encompasses Nashville, but is now unlikely to be able to continue her effort.

Trump had endorsed Ortagus in her bid to represent Tennessee’s 5th congressional district.

‘President Donald Trump believes I’m the best person to fight for his America First agenda and Middle Tennessee in Congress, and I’m working hard to ensure that my fellow Tennesseans, including TNGOP SEC members, understand why,’ Ortagus said in a statement on the decision to remove her.

 

‘As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative — not establishment party insiders,’ she continued. ‘Our team is evaluating the options before us.’

The vote came after the GOP-controlled state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that requires congressional candidates to live in Tennessee for three years to qualify to run on primary ballots.

Republican Governor Bill Lee allowed the bill to become law after failing to sign it in the 10-day period.

Source

These days it seems we don’t want candidates to make the ballot one way or another. Mustang wrote a good piece if you missed it.

Legal Efforts Increase to Disqualify GOP Candidates as ‘Insurrectionists’

 

Enter now Marjorie Taylor Greene (also known as MTG), a U.S. House of Representatives member representing Georgia’s 14th Congressional District. She is a member of the Republican Party, first elected to Congress in 2020.  Leftists describe her as “an American politician, businesswoman, and far-right conspiracy theorist.”

As with the case of Mr. Cawthorn, a “group of Georgia voters” has challenged the right of MTG to seek reelection based on the prohibitions outlined in Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment (previously discussed) because she supported insurrectionists who attacked the U.S. Capitol on 6 January. 

This issue is now sitting on the desk of federal Judge Amy Totenberg, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  Judge Totenberg is a Barack Obama appointee and the sister of media leftist Nina Totenberg, National Public Radio’s Special Correspondent for the U.S. Supreme Court.

We aren’t exactly sure how the matter so suddenly arrived on Judge Totenberg’s desk — but there it sits.  I suspect Mr. Ron Fein, the legal representative of Free Speech for the People, may have mentioned over cocktails that he has reservations about the legality of MTG running for reelection, and the judge may have said, “file a motion, and I’ll look at it.”  You know how that good-old-girl network works.

 

The best of the swamp today.

FEC fines DNC and Clinton for Trump dossier hoax

 

Trump deserves far more reporting of Hillary et al being fined by the FEC over the Russian Dossier.  Amazing. Trump was right once again. “Clinton’s treasurer $8,000” brought the deed right to the Clinton door step.  Of course just a drop in the bucket for the Clinton crime family. The principal of winning this fight remains. It deserves attention.

This may well be the first time that Hillary Clinton—evidently one of the most corrupt politicians in American history—has actually been held legally accountable, and I’m proud to see the FEC do its job for once,” Coolidge Reagan attorney Dan Backer, who authored the FEC complaint, said in a statement. “The Coolidge Reagan Foundation proved that, with pluck and grit, Americans standing with integrity can stand up to the Clinton machine and other corrupt political elites. Clinton and her cronies willfully engaged in the greatest political fraud in history, destroying our nation’s faith in the electoral process, and it’s high time they were held accountable. Let’s hope this is only the beginning for accountability, not the end.”

File:Hillary Clinton (30648639972).jpgGage Skidmore

The monies was funneled through the Law firm if Perkins Coie. Yes that one. Former Attorney General Eric Holder was a member of the firm at the time.

Earlier I posted:

Law Firm behind junk Russian Dossier behind fake hit on Jim Jordan

Last fall Glenn Simpson revealed in Congressional testimony that the Clinton campaign and Democrat Party were the financial backers behind Fusion GPS’s Trump dossier project.

The House Intelligence Committee released a 165-page transcript of testimony given on Nov. 14 by Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson.

Snip….

Fusion in turn hired Steele, an ex-MI6 officer who operates a private intelligence firm in London.

 

Barack Obama also hired Fusion GPS to investigate Mitt Romney and also hid the payments through Perkins Coie.

 

Washington Examinier:

The Federal Election Commission has fined the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign for lying about the funding of the infamous, and discredited, Russian “dossier” used in a smear attempt against Donald Trump weeks before he shocked the world with his 2016 presidential victory.

The election agency said that Clinton and the DNC violated strict rules on describing expenditures of payments funneled to the opposition research firm Fusion GPS through their law firm.

A combined $1,024,407.97 was paid by the treasurers of the DNC and Clinton campaign to law firm Perkins Coie for Fusion GPS’s information, and the party and campaign hid the reason, claiming it was for legal services, not opposition research.

Instead, the DNC’s $849,407.97 and the Clinton campaign’s $175,000 covered Fusion GPS’s opposition research on the dossier, a basis for the so-called “Russia hoax” that dogged Trump’s first term.

The memo said that the Clinton campaign and DNC argued that they were correct in describing their payment as for “legal advice and services” because it was Perkins Coie that hired Fusion GPS. But the agency said the law is clear and was violated.

It added that neither the campaign nor the party conceded to lying but won’t contest the finding. “Solely for the purpose of settling this matter expeditiously and to avoid further legal costs, respondent[s] does not concede, but will not further contest the commission’s finding of probable cause to proceed” with the probe, said the FEC.

The FEC, in a memo to the Coolidge Reagan Foundation, which filed its complaint over three years ago, said it fined Clinton’s treasurer $8,000 and the DNC’s treasurer $105,000.

The memo, shared with Secrets, is to be made public in a month.

Keep reading

Image

 

Legal documents

Download this PDF

The best of the swamp.

Madeleine Albright – The deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children was worth it for Iraq’s non existent WMD’s

“What’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?’ Madeleine Albright screamed at Colin Powell. Her stinging rebuke could not have been better designed to scrape a raw American nerve, challenging the nation’s machismo and role as leader of the free world. Powell reacted furiously. ‘I thought I would have an aneurysm,’ he recalled. ‘American GIs are not toy soldiers to be moved around on some global game board. Source

When you stop valuing one person’s life, the number of dead then just become an inconvenience. Is there a hell? A special place for special treatment to those who think this way? Madeline Albright just died. Dead of cancer.

The interview:

An Iraqi mother peeks through her black and gold embroidered hijab to gaze upon her child dying in her arms. The malnourished toddler lies motionless — his eyes shut, his skin pale. The words of 60 Minutes correspondent Leslie Stahl can be heard.

“We have heard that half a million children have died,” she says, referring to the effects of the U.N. sanctions effort in Iraq. Pausing for a brief moment to regain her thought, Stahl continues, asking then US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, “Is the price worth it?” The camera pans to Albright, who responds in a tempered diplomatic tone, “This is a very hard choice, but we think the price is worth it.” For Stahl, this historic interview would result in an Emmy award and wide journalistic praise. For Secretary Albright, however, her choice of words would spark a heated response from swath of the Arab world and would reinforce a narrative of anti-US sentiment festering since the very inception of the Iraq sanctions. Read more

 

Today, the press wouldn’t even ask a question like this. Good question and soulless response. Longer interview farther down.

The U.S. has a nasty belief that sanctions are the way to bring a “country to heel.” Albright was a believer. Economic destruction. Starvation.

With sanctions it may be cheaper material wise, the cost is in the large number of innocent lives that suffer. Corrupt people with power in Iraq did not suffer, their needs came first over the masses.

By the end of the 1970’s Iraq had received an award from UNESCO for its campaign to eradicate illiteracy. Before the implementations of sanctions, over 80 percent of the nation regularly drank safe, clean, drinking water, child mortality rates were comparable to European nations and Irai children had access to a nearly universal primary school education. For all intensive purposes, Cockburn writes, 1989 Iraq was, “a rich modern city.”

The combination of sanctions and coalition bombings resulted in the destruction of nearly half of Iraq’s infrastructure by 1991. Telecommunications, agricultural development, and electrical power sustained crippling blows. In Gordan’s book, Martii Ahtisaari, the Under Secretary General for Administration and Management for the U.N. at the time of the sanctions said of the sanctions affect, “the recent conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results upon the economic mechanized society…Iraq has, for some time to come, been relegated to a pre industrial age.’”

More complete interview. The clip moves on to a different topic at the end.

The numbers of children who died is in some dispute but even at best, hundreds of thousands of children died no doubt.

Fair:

“There are no operational water and sewage treatment plants and the reported incidence of diarrhea is four times above normal levels,” one post-war assessment reported; “further infectious diseases will spread due to inadequate water treatment and poor sanitation,” another predicted.

Combine this with harsh and arbitrary restrictions on medicines, the destruction of Iraq’s vaccine facilities, and the fact that, until this summer, vaccines for common infectious diseases were on the so-called “1051 list” of substances in practice banned from entering Iraq. Deliberately creating the conditions for disease and then withholding the treatment is little different morally from deliberately introducing a disease-causing organism like anthrax, but no major U.S. paper seems to have editorialized against the U.S. engaging in biological warfare–or even run a news article reporting Nagy’s evidence that it had done so. (The Madison Capitol Times–8/14/01–and the Idaho Statesman–10/2/01–ran op-eds that cited Nagy’s work.)

Another opinion:

….Other critics of Albright, however, featured fewer degrees of civility. Mixed within the analytical criticisms of Albright’s seemingly indifferent tone when speaking about Iraqi civilian casualties and the US’s neglect to properly address humanitarian concerns resulting from the prolonged sanctions, were a slew of attacks on the secretary targeting her female identity and supposed jewish ancestry. US news outlets, like the Los Angeles Times, swiftly condemned such criticism, denouncing the attacks on Abright as misogynist, anti-semitic, and inaccurate. This sentiment was shared vocally by members of the US State Department, whose spokesman Glyn Davies called Arab backlash against Albright, “biased and reprehensible.”

Though some of the criticism directed at Albright was surely laced with unsavory sentiment, the US press condemnation of criticism towards the Albright in totality failed to address the real underlying feeling of distrust and anger felt by a large group of people as a result of US foreign policy measures. As Joy Gordon notes in her book, Invisible War, one of the greatest catalysts of this anger seems to have arisen through the US and Albright’s perceived unwillingness to share the burden of responsibility for the deaths resulting from the sanctions. The United States deflected culpability, and held strong to the position that the Hussein regime was, “flatly responsible for whatever suffering there was.”

Read more. Reluctant Warrior

Source: “Is the Price Worth It?” The Crippling Effects of U.N. Sanctions in Iraq

Here is an interview maintained by the government.

I will choose a few points. The full read is worth the ride.

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Interview on NBC-TV “The Today Show” with Matt Lauer
Columbus, Ohio, February 19, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

MR. LAUER: On “Close Up” this morning — the showdown with Iraq. As UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan heads to Baghdad in a last-ditch diplomatic effort to end the standoff, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is traveling around the United States making the administration’s case for a possible strike against Saddam Hussein. Madame Secretary, good morning to you, good to see you.

……

MR. LAUER: That’s true. You did have people who stood up and expressed their concern over military action against Iraq. Did you walk away from the meeting, Madame Secretary, with a different point of view, a different perspective on the situation?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Absolutely not. I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access. That’s what we have to do.

Matt, we would like to solve this peacefully. But if we cannot, we will be using force; and the American people will be behind us, and I think that they understand that.

MR. LAUER: I’m just curious. Do you think yesterday’s session helped or hurt your case? I mean, back in the early 1990s, Madame Secretary, you used to appear on this show as an analyst for foreign affairs with William Hyland. And you’d come on and talk about the Administration’s reaction to foreign affairs. If you were analyzing yesterday’s performance by you and your colleagues, how would you rate it?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I thought our performance was great. But I think that the issue here is that there were people who disagree. I would probably say that there were a few dozen hecklers who disagreed. But what I would have said, actually, is that there were more people that asked questions and directed their thoughts about the fact that we ought to send in ground forces.

That’s what I found interesting — that there are more Americans who really would like us to go in and finish off Saddam Hussein. That was the message that I got from that meeting.

MR. LAUER: And you lead me right into my next question, because one man you heard from yesterday was a retired serviceman named Mike McCall, whose son died during the Vietnam War. Here’s what he said.

(Audio clip)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we had a half-a-million troops there in 1991. And the decision was that they could not take out Saddam Hussein. And I don’t think, frankly, that if we got into it, that the American people would want us to send in huge numbers of forces. So we are doing what must be done.

First of all, we would like to have a diplomatic, peaceful solution and have him give unfettered access to these places, so that we could tell what is happening with his weapons of mass destruction. But otherwise, the purpose of a very substantial strike will be to substantially reduce his weapons of mass destruction threat and his threat to the neighbors. We think that is an appropriate goal, and our goal — and we’ve said this, Matt — may not seem really decisive; but what we’re trying to do here is contain Saddam Hussein. We’ve managed to do that for seven years. This has been a successful policy. Whenever he puts his head up, we push him back.

MR. LAUER: Mike, let me ask you to stand by, and let me ask a couple more questions to Madeleine Albright.

Madame Secretary, your trip to the Middle East several weeks ago was not as successful as I think you would have liked, in building a coalition against Saddam Hussein at this point — certainly not as successful as the coalition in 1991. Have you spoken to President Bush or former Secretary of State Baker and asked for any advice on gaining support from the Arab world?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, I think my trip actually went pretty well, because this is a very different situation from ’91, when there was a cross-border invasion of one Arab country into another. And frankly, I got a lot more support than is publicly visible, because these people live in the region.

MR. LAUER: So they’re saying one thing in public, and saying something else to you in private?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Yes, yes. And we feel comfortable that should we have to use military force, that they will be very cooperative.

And as a matter of fact, I did talk to both former President Bush and former Secretary of State Baker; and they both agreed that we have a much more complicated situation than they had on their hands. And they were very supportive, and I especially enjoyed — well, I enjoyed talking to both of them, because they do have some very good points.

Continue……

https://1997-2001.state.gov/statements/1998/980219a.html

The best of the swamp.

Tucker Carlson nails the Durham report to the wall!

I remember when Trump, very early on in his presidency, tweeted out that Obama had him wire tapped. They all laughed. Most of us knew he was right at the time. The MSM refuses to cover the Durham latest finding. Here is a collection of factoids and the Tucker Carlson piece done last night on the report that is a “must see.” Any luck Twitter will keep most of this up.

Fox News host gives his take on the Durham probe on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

Image

Tucker lays it all out

Image

It was organized disinformation act. They did it willingly and knowingly. They conspired. An excellent read over at the Federalist. Jake Sullivan cannot be trusted. He got zero questions from the media at his presser yesterday regarding the latest Clinton reveal.

Liar liar pants on fire.

Jake Sullivan intentionally sabotaged relations with Russia by pushing a false flag story that his own team fabricated. Now he is National Security Advisor, tasked with advising the president on dealing with Russia. How is that even possible? Where is the media?

and Hillary uncorked a deranged, desperate press release. This is a presidential campaign?

Don’t miss the Federalist piece. Second chance!

Image

Just who is Sullivan married to?

Wikipedia:
“Sullivan is married to Margaret Goodlander, who was a former advisor to senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain and law clerk to then Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Justice Stephen Breyer.”

Finis! Trump at the final debate. “You should be in jail.” Never gets old.

Bonus from Bunkerville

But of course, that vast right wing conspiracy.

 

 

The best of the swamp today. For the best in conservative news push the button

Another Crimean War?

by Mustang

The background:

Most people today did not experience the tragedy and trauma of the last world war.  Less than half remember the dangers of the Cold War when two superpowers threatened one another with nuclear annihilation.  But even then, the American people seemed incapable of demonstrating wisdom in choosing their national leaders.

This matters because the president makes the final decision in foreign and domestic policies.  The question often asked is this: are we, as a people, better off today than we were in, say, 1945?  If we are honest with ourselves, the answer must be “no.”

Our honest answer has less to do with political parties than the utter ignorance of the people who choose their president.  Since 1945, we have had two bloody wars (Korea and Vietnam) and a series of smaller but more costly conflicts in the Middle East.  There was no American victory in either Korea or Vietnam, and we cannot say the U.S.-led coalition accomplished much toward preserving our true national interests in the Middle East, either.

We cannot lay our inept foreign policies at the feet of the American voter.  They do not influence the president’s choice of cabinet officers.  But we can criticize the American voter for choosing inept presidents who select their cabinet and whose “final say” makes us either more secure or less so.

President Joe Biden’s recent marathon presser revealed to the world what a horrible choice American voters made when they elected him president.  But Biden announced more than his incompetence.  He revealed that today’s world is as dangerous as ever.  Without much notice by anyone, Joe Biden has moved us closer to yet another major (regional) conflict.

Some Background

After a long period of domination by Poland, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania, and Russia, we did not see a fully independent Ukraine until late in the last century.  In size, Ukraine is second only to Russia on the European continent.  Between 1921-1991, Ukraine was part of the U.S.S.R.  Today, around one-quarter of the people living in Ukraine are ethnic Russians — and this matters because Russia and Ukraine are in a state of war.Image preview

The issue confronting these two countries today has historical roots.  In 1783, Catherine the Great of Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula to secure warm-water access to the Russian heartland.  Control of the Crimean Peninsula and most present-day Ukraine (once known as “New Russia”) has served Russia in two fundamental ways.  First, the Black Sea area provides Russia with access to maritime trade with the countries surrounding the Black Sea and access to the Mediterranean Sea.  Second, Ukraine and Crimea provide a defense shield to the Russian heartland.

In 1990, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) involved fifteen countries of Eastern Europe comprising more than 8.6 million square miles.  The largest of these was Russia.  The next largest Soviet Republic was Ukraine.  When the U.S.S.R. collapsed in 1991, its fifteen separate republics declared their independence, and Russia lost most of its regional influence, particularly in the area of the Black Sea.

Bulgaria and Romania not only became independent nations, but they also joined the alliance of western European states known as NATO.  Worse for Russia, Georgia and Ukraine announced their intent to follow suit, and Turkey began to cultivate relationships with former Soviet republics, mainly Moslem and Turkic speaking countries, including Ukraine and Crimea (an autonomous state of Ukraine).

Within two decades, Russia began to feel the pressure of encroaching NATO states in the area of the Black Sea, significant because 15 buffer states no longer protected the Russian heartland.  When Georgia attempted to join the NATO alliance in 2008, Russia engineered a breakaway effort among ethnic Ossetians and then used those disturbances as a pretense for military intervention.

Similarly, Russia had no intention of allowing Ukraine to join the NATO alliance or control its access to the Black Sea region.  Consequently, in 2014, Russia invaded portions of Ukraine and seized and annexed the Crimean Peninsula for the second time.

Russia’s aggressive behavior toward both Georgia and Ukraine demonstrates its willingness to use military force to safeguard its interests in the Black Sea area.  It is also remarkably consistent with the behavior exhibited by the United States during the so-called Cuban Missile Crisis.

Today

The Crimean Peninsula has once more become a springboard of Russian power and influence in the Black Sea area and the Mediterranean region.  Turkey’s control of the Bosporus and Dardanelles (a choke point that might deny Russia’s access to the Mediterranean) explain why Russian President Vladimir Putin has been working to create a closer relationship with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  It works to Russia’s advantage that President Erdogan has become frustrated with the NATO alliance.

For Russia, homeland security and its ability to project its power and influence top all other considerations because Russia has a substantial economic interest in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.  The Black Sea is an important trade and transportation artery, and the port of Novorossiysk is vital to both Russia and Central Asian countries to export grain and oil.

Russia is investing in new infrastructure to protect its Black Sea trade corridor and create alternative routes to skirt Ukraine.  Experts believe that a series of oil and gas pipelines through Turkey will buttress Russian-Turkish ties, improve Russia’s leverage with Turkey, and provide Moscow with new export routes bypassing Ukraine.

What’s more, Russia is expanding its energy ties with Bulgaria, Macedonia, and Serbia, giving Moscow a geopolitical weapon to undercut NATO influence in the Balkans.  Russia’s energy pipelines do generate revenues, but more than this, they are part of Moscow’s regional defense strategy.

The Russian economy is not Moscow’s only concern.  After viewing the accompanying linguistic/ethnic map, “civil disturbances” within Russian-speaking Ukrainian communities could “justify” further Russian military intervention (as in Georgia).  Should that happen, what could the NATO countries do about it?

Image preview

Today, Russia views Ukraine’s growing ties with NATO as a threat to its physical and economic security.  In the past, Russia has demonstrated no hesitance in using its military to defend its interests.  With that in mind, was President Biden wise to threaten Moscow with severe economic sanctions?

Cornered animals are dangerous.  Perhaps the situation would be less dangerous if the west was dealing with less pig-headed Russians and Ukrainians, and maybe it would help if there were adults sitting at the negotiating table.  Adversarial relations only keep everyone tense.  People who are tense shouldn’t have their hands on atomic triggers.

The attitudes reflected by NATO and Russian diplomats does not bode well for future relations between East and West, but as a practical matter, how should the west expect Moscow to react to NATO missiles in the Ukraine and other former Soviet republics?  What could possibly result from Russian/Ukrainian intransigence, NATO poking Russia with a stick, and Joe Biden’s incompetence?

25 Federal Agencies Are Tracking Employees With Religious Exemption Requests

Biden is picking up where Obama left off. So Maxine Waters, not the brightest bulb in the room, had a clear vision of what the Obama regime was all about and knew they were collecting information on all of us and spilled the beans back in February 2013.

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

Now that didn’t take long to pick it up now did it?

Zero Hedge:

At least 25 federal agencies have implemented a system to track religious exemption requests for mandated vaccines, according to a review of Federal Register notices by The Epoch Times.

The agencies include the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, the Treasury, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Election Commission.

The Heritage Foundation, a conservative group, earlier this week found that 19 agencies were either considering or have already implemented the tracking system. The group warned that the system may be a test pilot plan to monitor all federal workers.

“It is likely the Biden administration is using these agencies to stealth test a policy it intends to roll out across the whole government,” attorneys for the foundation wrote in an analysis of the tracking system.

Notices of the new tracking system were only made public in the Federal Register, the daily journal of the federal government. News of the system drew criticism from conservative officials.

“The Biden Administration must immediately dismantle the Orwellian Database,” Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt wrote in a public comment he posted on regulations.gov.

“There is no freedom under our Constitution more sacred than the freedom of religious expression and practice.”

He called the move “alarming” and said it had “a chilling effect on a citizen’s exercise of religion.” The attorney general directed his comments specifically to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

“Rather than give the public ample time to weigh in on the advisability or legality of collecting such personal information, the Department of Transportation’s database, in particular, became effective on the day it was published,” Schmitt said.

The tracking system will include names and personal religious information, according to the notices.

“As the nation’s largest employer, with over four million civilian and military employees, the federal government has received tens of thousands of religious exemption requests,” The Heritage Foundation wrote in its updated report.

“It now appears that an increasing number of federal agencies are keeping and preserving those individuals’ names, religious information, personally-identifying information, and other data stored in lists across multiple government agencies.”

Maxine Waters: Dems will use Obama’s “Big Brother” Database June 10, 2013

We knew he had his enemies list, but could we have imagined him going to the extent he has?

Published on Feb 11, 2013

“The President has put in place an organization with the kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” Representative Maxine Waters told Roland Martin on Monday. “That’s going to be very, very powerful,” Waters said. “That database will have information about everything on every individual on ways that it’s never been done before and whoever runs for President on the Democratic ticket has to deal with that. They’re going to go down with that database and the concerns of those people because they can’t get around it. And he’s [President Obama] been very smart. It’s very powerful what he’s leaving in place.”

Crowdstrike was named by the Obama Administration as the Cloud system for 76% of the Federal Governments digital records. Crowdstrike is run by retired FBI officials like Shawn Henry. It was founded by Russian born computer security expert Dmitri Alperovitch. There are rumors that there is a backdoor in the Crowdstrike software that gives them access to any customers’ computers. THAT is why Trump asked Ukraine about Crowdstrike. The rumor is that the prior administration planned to maintain full, covert access to the Federal Govt. computer systems through friendlies in Ukraine and Crowdstrike. Information that would be VERY valuable to foreign governments and businesses in the intelligence market.

And that is the best of the swamp today.

Education and Politics – What Do They Have in Common?

by Mustang

Public education in the United States is terrible.  How bad?  Really bad — and everyone knows it.  Despite spending $640 billion annually on public education, the United States produces the highest number of low-education citizens in the industrialized world.  That’s somewhat like spending $304,995 for an Aston Martin DBS and having the power train fall out an hour after driving it off the lot.

Most people fail to understand that a high school diploma simply means that the graduate is, at best, qualified for a minimum wage job.  It not only means that high school graduates begin their working lives at the bottom of the economic ladder, but also that unless they strive to increase their level of education, that’s where they will remain for their entire working life.

Classroom in Fort Christmas

So, the question is, considering how much we spend educating our children, why aren’t our schools doing a better job educating our children?  There are many reasons — and none of them make us happy.  So, as 62.5% of us are low-education citizens, we ignore the problem.  But if you happened to answer the question, “Because it benefits politicians to have low-educated voters,” you get a cigar.

According to a recent study published by the University of California (Riverside), low-education voters overwhelmingly embrace costly social welfare programs that ultimately work against their own short-and-long-term interests.  Low-education voters are five times more likely to support politicians who achieve elective office by appealing to issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual preference, social justice, and/or entitlement.

It’s probably a no-brainer to add that the more education one has, the more likely one is to vote responsibly — which is to say, not allowing themselves fooled by identity politics into voting against their own interests.  For example, a low-education voter doesn’t understand that by supporting an increase in the minimum wage, they also back increases in the cost of goods and services so that the minimum wage worker loses purchasing power.

In other words, they become financially worse off.  Today, the minimum wage worker has lost 21% of their purchasing power — but they’re too stupid to realize it.  Low-education voters are also less likely to realize that politicians are manipulating them (for the politician’s own benefit).  Not only that, no matter how dire their financial circumstances, low-education voters will continue supporting the race-baiters and gender warriors for most of their adult lives.

The preceding goes a long way to explain why politicians, particularly Democrats, see nothing wrong with maintaining the American education system as it now stands.  By “politicians,” I mean to say local (town council/school board), state, and federal representatives.

America’s education system demands a significant housecleaning, but before that can happen, voters need to martial their resources and clean the political landscape as well.  Is that likely to happen?  Not when 90% of registered voters cannot even name their school board representatives or those they voted for in the last statewide election.

Ah, those low-education voters.  They’re the gift that keeps on giving.

Photo credit: “Classroom in Fort Christmas” by Photomatt28 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

The March of the Revisionists Continues

By Mustang

When did American politics become polarized?  The answer depends on who answers.  If you’re a left-wing hack, the turn to the dark side occurred when Republican Newt Gingrich became Speaker of the House.  One of these hacks is Princeton professor Julian E. Zelizer, who assures us that American politics “went pear-shaped” between January 1987-March 1989, when Newt Gingrich’s rise to power culminated in the forced resignation of former Democratic House Speaker Jim Wright of Texas.

Having made that mind-shattering statement, Zelizer continues to say that it was Gingrich who “legitimized ruthless and destructive practices that had once been relegated to the margins” and “helped degrade Congress’s institutional legitimacy and paved the way for the anti-establishment presidency of Donald Trump.”

Zelizer isn’t standing alone.  Other “scholars” have made similar claims, such as Harvard University professors Daniel Ziblatt and Steven Levitsky, who claim that Gingrich’s speakership had a profound and lasting impact on American democracy because Gingrich instilled a combative approach in the Republican Party, where hateful language and hyper-partisanship became commonplace.

Balderdash.

File:US Capitol from NW.JPG

U.S. Capitol

Gingrich simply the one man in the Republican Party who refused to be kicked around by Democrats, who controlled the House for 40 years (1955-1995)?

And how did Gingrich “skewer” former House Speaker Jim Wright?

House members elected Jim Wright as their speaker on 6 January 1987, following the retirement of the famed Tip O’Neil, whose tenure as Speaker lasted ten years.  In 1987 (the 100th Congress), Democrats outnumbered Republicans 258-177.  Wright won reelection as Speaker in 1989 (the 101st Congress), Democrats outnumbering Republicans 260-175.  Tom Foley replaced Wright as Speaker in 1989.  Gingrich didn’t become Speaker of the House until 1995.  So how did Gingrich skewer Wright?

He didn’t.  Wright skewered himself.

In 1988 Wright became the target of an inquiry by the House Ethics Committee.  Their report in early 1989 implied that Mr. Wright had used bulk purchases of his book, Reflections of a Public Man, to earn speaking fees above the allowed maximum.  Not only that, Mr. Wright’s wife, Betty, was given a job and perks designed to help hide the limit on gifts to members of Congress.  Of course, since the 100th Congress was controlled by Democrats, Mr. Wright’s misconduct was only implied, which is different from evidence of wrongdoing.

During the 101st Congress, in May 1989, when the United States had a somewhat non-partisan press, media reports revealed that 16 years earlier, Representative Wright’s top assistant, a man named John Mack, had violently attacked a woman named Pamala Small.  Mack not only hit Miss Small repeatedly with a hammer, but he also stabbed her with a knife, and slashed her, and left her for dead.  Miss Small survived and gave testimony against Mack, whose trial ended in a conviction.  The trial judge sentenced Mack to 15 years in prison.  He only served 27 months.  You see, John Mack’s brother was married to Jim Wright’s daughter.

Oh, and when Mack walked out of prison, he walked into a clerk’s job in the Capital — and then became the executive director of the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and Representative Wright’s Chief Legislative Strategist.  According to the press report, Wright manipulated the legal system to get Mack out of prison and then protected him from media scrutiny.  Somewhat embarrassed by this revelation, John Mack resigned from his post in May 1989.  With that horrid tale out of the bag, some wondered whether Mr. Wright could long remain Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Well, there is more to consider about Mr. Wright.  In the 1980s and 1990s, over 1,000 savings and loan associations (S&Ls) failed.  William K. Black, an S&L regulator, publicly accused Speaker of the House Jim Wright, and five U.S. Senators (John Glenn, John McCain, Alan Cranston, Dennis DeConcini, and Donald Riegle) of improperly intervening in the investigation of Charles H. Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association.  According to journalist Bill Moyers:

“The former Director of the Institute for Fraud Prevention now teaches Economics and Law at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.  During the savings and loan crisis, it was Black who accused then-house speaker Jim Wright and five US Senators, including John Glenn and John McCain, of doing favors for the S&L’s in exchange for contributions and other perks.  The senators got off with a slap on the wrist, but so enraged was one of those bankers, Charles Keating — after whom the senate’s so-called “Keating Five” were named — he sent a memo that read, in part, ‘get Black — kill him dead.’  Metaphorically, of course.  Of course.”

Keating went to jail.  He was the only one who went to prison.  Dirty members of Congress didn’t.  And Jim Wright?  A report by a congressional special counsel implicated him in several influence-peddling charges, such as Vernon Savings and Loan, and attempting to get William K. Black fired as the deputy director of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation (FSLIC).  However, the Democratically controlled House Ethics Committee concluded that “… while the Congressman’s dealings with representatives of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board may have been intemperate, the committee was not persuaded that there is reason to believe that he exercised undue influence in his dealings with that agency.”

Have I mentioned that Jim Wright was a Democrat in a Democrat-controlled Congress?  With 34 years in Congress, Jim Wright “resigned.”  Actually, he retired with a comfortable income for life.  Mr. Wright drew that retirement until he died in 2015.

So, for Dr. Zelizer to argue that Newt Gingrich’s rise to power in the House of Representatives forced Jim Wright’s resignation is a very long reach, borders on revisionist history, and goes a long way in questioning the veracity of Zelizer’s claim that Mr. Gingrich “burned down the House.”  Gingrich may have filed the charges with the House Ethics Committee, but it was Wright himself who misbehaved and escaped prosecution owing to the corrupt practices of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Who did the Democrats choose to replace Mr. Wright?  Tom Foley, the only member of congress to lose his seat in Congress while serving as Speaker of the House since 1862.  Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi (also a Democrat) said of Jim Wright, “Speaker Wright was a person of deep courage, brilliant eloquence, and complete mastery of the legislative process.  Speaker Wright’s strong, decisive leadership built an indelible legacy of progress, not only in his beloved state of Texas but around the world.  Wright championed prosperity for every working family and helped lead the way to peace to Central America.”

Okay then.  But what about the fact that Wright was a liar and a thief?

All of this is “old news,” of course.  Its only relevance is that in 2020, revisionists and left-wing hacks (such as Dr. Zelizer, Burning Down the House) are trying to explain the toxicity and polarization of our political system, and they’re doing it by shifting blame from corrupt Democrats to certain “toxic” members of the GOP.  This is what Democrats do — avoid responsibility, shift blame, and revise history.  And Dr. Zelizer, remember, is a college professor who bends the minds of our tuition-paying children to suit his own brand of politics.  How does that fit in with “polarization of politics” in the United States?

Photo credit:  “File:US Capitol from NW.JPG” by UpstateNYer is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mustang also blogs at Fix Bayonets and Thoughts From Afar

Biden flunks first Questions in Dementia Test

What year is it and Who is President are two standard questions in a Dementia test. Biden made a trip to his make believe play house yesterday and we got some real gems from him. A few high points but keep this in mind:

Biden says he plans to run for a second term in 2024, but many Democrats don’t believe it and polls find broad concern about his mental acuity.

Biden would be 86 if he completes a second term.

Politico/Morning Consult survey published in November found that 50 percent of registered voters disagreed with the statement “Joe Biden is in good health,” while only 40 percent agreed and 10 percent did not know or had no opinion.

The poll also found that 48 percent of voters disagreed with the statement “Joe Biden is mentally fit,” while 46 percent agreed and 6 percent did not know or had no opinion.

Apparently there are a lot of Americans who may be suffering as well. Those who still think Biden is in good health.

More at New York Post

We did it Joe!!

During a speech at South Carolina State University in mid-December, President Biden said this: “All kidding aside, of course President Harris is a proud Howard alum.”

He was addressing a group of the University’s newest graduates. 

This is not the first time President Biden has made this particular misstatement. In March, President Biden called Kamala Harris ‘President’ while making an announcement about the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. And back before the 2020 election, Biden referred to his campaign as the “Harris-Biden” campaign. Biden has also forgotten the names of members of his own cabinet. (First 20 seconds)

I think this sums it all up.

Liz Damon’s Orient Express sings “1900 Yesterday,”

Wishing everyone a wonderful day.

%d bloggers like this: