Bullet Points: Saturday, February 29, 2020

Wow, there are certainly many things floating around the nation and the world in the news that each and all impacts you and me. It’s worth it on this Saturday morning to give you as comprehensive as possible synopsis of each of these. Here’s how our Bullet Point feature works: we give you a headline and short summary of the news event. It’s followed by a hyperlink that, if you want to get details on the story, you can click to go directly to the full story.

The Bullet Point concept is simply to give you the opportunity to skim the highlights of the top news stories of the week and to get immediate access to the details of any of those events that you may choose.

Hey, it’s Saturday! Grab a cup of coffee and check out today’s Bullet Points and keep current with the world events most important to you.

  • Coronavirus: The coronavirus news changes by the hour. I encourage you to keep an ear tuned to whatever news source you trust throughout the weekend to keep up with the latest. The biggest piece of news is how the news media is playing this story: it is morphing into “Corona-Gate” — the fourth or fifth attempt by the Left to denigrate President Trump’s ability to respond “appropriately” to the pending “pandemic.” Of course, the two words “appropriately” and “pandemic are totally subjective. But those are the words the current media pundits weaponize for their ongoing war with Mr. Trump. How bad is it and what can be expected as far as exposure, containment, quarantine, and numbers are still in serious question. The bottom line is that no one or no group have definitive answers to any of these questions. But there is plenty of speculation about it. We DO have actual numbers by country and province/state. You can download this link and keep it. You can access the site through the link and refresh it periodically. It will give you all the current numbers of ill, numbers of deaths, and numbers of recoveries: http://coronavirus-realtime.com/
  • The Stock Market: It is common knowledge that this week was the worst week in decades for the stock market regarding losses by percentages: approximately 3500 points from the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Lay the entire loss at the feet of coronavirus. Companies have no idea how it will impact their operations — both domestically and overseas: how will it impact their direct operations, their employees, their work hours, product production, shipping, interfacing with customers, and, of course, their stock prices. But there’s another side to this story: the chance to make large profits by acting IN THIS MARKET ATMOSPHERE. Big time Investors always look for opportunities to “buy low, sell high.” Now, according to experts, might just be the “right time.” For complete details, click on this link: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/coronavirus-stock-market-crash-of-2020-may-have-created-a-once-in-a-lifetime-buying-opportunity-strategist-173608909.html
  • Bernie Madness: Bernie Sanders in several polls has taken a national lead for the Democrat Party nomination for President. Some people are really afraid, (like Democrat Party leaders) while many young Americans who have an open perception of believing Socialism is really a good think who view Bernie as a breath of fresh air the U.S. really needs. For more details, click on this link: https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/483408-sanders-opens-12-point-lead-nationally-poll
  • Democrat Party Election Scrambling: Democrat Party leaders are anxious as they watch the South Carolina primary unfold. Joe Biden remains the odds-on favorite to win in South Carolina, but the party-pick to face Donald Trump in the November election is nationally being blasted by Independent Bernie Sanders. Party leadership is nervously watching national polls as Bernie has taken the lead. For complete details, click on this link: https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/480879-shock-poll-bernie-sanders-takes-the-lead-nationally
  • “It’s Trump’s Fault: Something we see and hear everyday from Democrat Party presidential candidates is “Trump is wrong about this,” or “Trump is wrong about that.” The latest, of course, is that Trump is totally wrong about coronavirus, how we should respond to its certain danger, and where we stand as a nation in fighting it. But, the Associated Press states that these Democrat Presidential contenders have it all wrong. For more details, click on this link: https://apnews.com/d36d6c4de29f4d04beda3db00cb46104
  • Another Whistleblower: A government whistleblower has filed a complaint alleging that some federal workers did not have the necessary protective gear or training when they were deployed to help Americans evacuated from China. Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA), said, “My concern from the moment I heard it is that individuals at HHS are not taking the complaints of HHS employees seriously,” Gomez said in an interview. “Their superiors are not supposed to brush them off. By retaliating against people if they do call out a problem, that only discourages other people from ever reporting violations.” for complete details, click on this link: https://apnews.com/c80d86633aa077b04ca430606c1e10fc

Summary

Things in the U.S. are hot and getting hotter! And, at least for now, at this moment there are no conversations about impeaching President Trump — at least for a few minutes!

What we are seeing in America is this very important lesson we all can learn from: sometimes bad things happen to good people, and, often things are much better than they appear to be.

Which of these is appropriate in this coronavirus scare? What about the stock market? Are we headed toward a rapidly escalating recession or is this just a temporary setback due directly from the concerns of coronavirus?

No one has an answer that can yet cannot be verified as correct. In the meantime, fear of a pandemic rules the news media stories and news shows.

It’s time to be cautious — about everything. It is nowhere near a pandemic. In fact, while you worked today, thousands of Americans were diagnosed with the flu and several hundred died. Today there were less than six new coronavirus cases identified, but no one died. In fact, no one has died in the U.S. as a result of coronavirus.

These details change daily. Stay close and we’ll keep you updated!

Your Retirement Income is Toast!

I’m a guy past retirement age. I paid into various retirement programs and accounts for 50+ years. Yet here I sit today feeling shortchanged for many reasons. And though I have diligently participated in these programs, they’re NOT what they were promised to be.

What about you? To be honest, unless you made cash deposits into a direct savings instrument of some kind for a long time, you’ve had no real guarantee your investments have been managed properly with realistic ability to grow and certainly no guarantee of its “today” status. There are no guarantees that the retirement program which holds your retirement dollars will pay you what you were told you would receive when you started.

I’m not a federal government conspiracy guy, but what I for years suspected has been revealed as truth: in the U.S., the only workers whose retirement benefits are fully guaranteed to perform at the levels promised years ago are federal employees. For many others, it’s almost like rolling the dice. The engine of guaranteed payouts at promised levels for those federal employees is YOU AND ME: American taxpayers pay through our tax dollars for any shortages in federal employee pensions.

I have a good friend who was a lifetime top-level corporate manager for an American automaker who was promised amazing retirement benefits. He participated in employee matching programs and stock benefits for 50 years or so. Then came the financial crisis in the auto industry. President Obama intervened to prevent that automaker from shutting down.

On his authority, the President began all those things necessary to restructure that company to a financial status that could be sustained. There are only two ways to a bottom line: Revenues and Expenses. Revenues can be increased and Expenses can be reduced. The federal government stepped in to do the only possible “fix” in this case: cut expenses.

A key component of expenses in a large manufacturing company is personnel costs. The “new” management — the Obama White House — slashed expenses financially company-wide. A key focus was on personnel expenses. In that process, the UAW, on behalf of its union members, stepped in and “forced” the federal government to protect retirement benefits for the company’s UAW members’ pensions, but NOT the retirement benefits of the company’s managers. Management members were NOT UAW members. My friend was forced to settle for pennies on the dollar of his retirement benefits.

Who inevitably cost those thousands of company managers who had paid millions into pensions that with one swift motion lost more than half? The federal government.

There are many ways similar travesties regarding retirement dollars of Americans are impacted by wrongdoing. Not surprisingly, the U.S. government almost always fits into the picture. There are 22 million Americans employed by federal, state, and local governments. Because of that, one would think the federal government would be all about taking care of the retirement for its workers.

And with the “Big One” — Social Security — one would think the government makes federally backed pensions and Social Security “Financial Project #1.”

It’s not looking that way. Let’s take a look.

Robbing Union Pensions

Do you have a union or government pension? Were you told your retirement funds in that pension are guaranteed by the government and that your pension fund will be there for you forever? It ain’t true.

A recent story published by FOX News tells the tale:

The pension collapse is coming. Current retirees may find their pension check is cut by 10 percent or 50 percent. “We just don’t have enough money, and the amount of money that we have to put into this is just mountainous,” says Malanga, of City Journal.

Neither party wants to make the tough choices involved. “Both Democrats and Republicans have incentives to short the pension fund,” says Joe DiSalvo, Malanga’s fellow journalist. “For Democrats, if we can not put as much in, we can free up more money for greater public spending on public programs that we think are good. If we’re Republicans, we probably want to cut taxes.”

“Ten years from now, they’re gonna have a problem,” says Malanga. “But 10 years from now somebody else is in office!”

Some pension plans are promises that should never have been made, but few politicians will say that. At most, they talk about making small changes to “keep our promises.” Small changes won’t be enough. Detroit and several California cities already ran out of money and declared bankruptcy. “At some point, your debts are so great that you can’t afford to provide basic services to people,” says Malanga. “Police force, fire protection — all will be on the chopping block,” added DiSalvo.

Instead of making cuts now to avoid crisis later, some politicians increase retirement benefits. New Jersey passed 13 separate benefit enhancements between 1999 and 2003. I assume politicians make these unsustainable promises because powerful municipal unions demand them.

“Public employee unions regularly lobby and seek to elect politicians who offer them better compensation packages. They’ve been intimately involved in the whole system from the beginning,” says DiSalvo.

But Steven Kreisberg of AFSCME, the biggest government workers’ union, tells me that unions didn’t create this problem. “There’s plenty of money with which to pay our people.” What about the $5 trillion in unfunded liabilities? That’s “a figure that’s used by some anti-pension zealots,” replied Kreisberg. “It’s fake news.” But it’s the number (actually, now $6 trillion) you get if you use accounting standards that the federal government demands from private pension plans.

Unions fight to keep every penny that politicians promised. But Detroit’s bankruptcy changed the rules on that. “The federal bankruptcy judge created a precedent that said pensions could actually be cut,” says DiSalvo. “That was a shock to the unions. It called into question these strong legal protections that public pensions have so long enjoyed. They can’t just sit back and say, well, we’re going to get paid no matter what.”

Some politicians hoped that a rising stock market would fund their promises. Many assumed their investments would grow by more than 7 percent per year. Do you make that much on your savings? I don’t. Seven percent seems like wishful thinking. Malanga says it was “more than wishful thinking. It borders on criminality, frankly. If after nine years of a bull market we haven’t begun to fix this, when are we gonna fix it?”

Malanga and DiSalvo argue that the only honest way to fix it is to reduce benefit levels and switch to individual retirement accounts like private sector 401(k)s. That way, instead of a promise backed by nothing more than political hot air, there’s an actual account with money in it, and people can track how well their retirement investments do. The politicians and union bosses, by contrast, would like to ignore the problem — until one day, no matter what promises they’ve made, they simply won’t be able to keep them.

Is Social Security Going to Be Around When I retire?

Have you ever heard that “Social Security would be doing just fine if the thieving politicians hadn’t stolen all the money from the Trust Fund that we paid in to earn our benefit checks.” Or “Social Security is broke.”

The Social Security Administration does invest its surpluses. Those surpluses are the revenues from FICA taxes, taxes on Social Security benefits, and interest credited to the Social Security Trust fund, (yes there IS one) less benefits paid out, into government bonds. And if you or I, or a pension fund, happened to exist in government bonds, we wouldn’t consider that investment to be “fake,” or the money to have been “stolen” from us. It’s real money, and we’d have a real right to that money. In the same way, the Trust Fund will redeem its bonds when it begins to run out of cash to pay benefits.

But there’s more to the story.

The trust fund is not a matter of “us” saving for “our retirement.”  There was a real element of building up surpluses during the early years of the program, though not to the degree that would make it an advance-funded program, rather than only partially-so.  The Trust Fund was virtually depleted in 1983, and the system would have been unable to pay full benefits but for FICA contribution increases beginning in 1977 and accelerated in a 1983 bipartisan reform bill, which also raised the retirement age to 67 and otherwise stabilized the system’s finances.   The funds which have built up since then are the excess of revenues over payouts following the tax hike. That’s not how you would see it in a pension fund or an IRA. Its function is really just, in principle, “to smooth out spending over time.” (When has the federal government “smoothed out” spending over time!)

Americans in large view Social Security from a simple perspective:  Having paid taxes during our working lifetime, we have a moral right to our Social Security benefits, or to a retirement free of financial worry. And this is not the case. Why? The federal government.

In George W. Bush’s second term, his featured legislative promise to retirees was to overhaul Social Security for their benefit. I attended a meeting he held in which he detailed a private/government Social Security plan in which Americans at younger ages could choose a Social Security plan linked to a private retirement plan. Some payroll deductions for retirement would go to Social Security. Some deductions would go into an individual retirement plan. Percentages of contributions would vary based on ages. The older one got, the Social Security plan investment would be reduced. The President’s idea failed miserably. Americans simply refused to trust the government to effectively manage all of their retirement funds. The issue put many older Americans in a place of uncertainty about their financial futures as they approached retirement age. And there was (and still is) the uncertainty of there really being a “real” Social Security Trust Fund created and managed to ONLY receive and payout seniors’ Social Security Benefits.

The bottom line is that whether the Trust Fund is “real” or just fiction on paper, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Whether the Trust Fund uses its assets to pay retirees, and the federal government has to borrow to pay back that debt, or whether the government has to pay those benefits directly, it’s still the case that money has to be found — and the amount of money which will have to be found, for retirement benefits, Medicare, and other expenses, is forecast to grow dramatically.

According to the Brookings Institute, due to the aging of the American population, federal spending on the elderly is forecast to grow from the current level of just over 20% of GDP, up to 29.4% in 2046 — and that’s not 29.4% of government spending, but 29.4% of our total economic output.  And this isn’t just a temporary “hump” due to the Baby Boom.

I wish we had a rosy answer to what should be done to protect those currently receiving Social Security retirement benefits and those who certainly will get there. The one federal government promise seniors hold onto is the promise that “if you pay a small amount every month into your Social Security account, your employer will match that dollar for dollar. Then when you retire, you will be paid by the government monthly the benefits owed to you until your life ends.”

I don’t feel there have been any instances of government illegality regarding Social Security. But there certainly have been scads of incorrect and purposely misrepresented Social Security presentations by those in Congress for decades. Many have for political campaigning purposes actually used the uncertainty in Social Security’s funding future against opponents. Who will ever forget the Democrat Party ad during the 2012 presidential race between President Obama and Mitt Romney? In the ad, a man who looked like Romney’s vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, was pushing a wheelchair with an elderly woman sitting in it over a cliff. Its purpose was to portray an image of a Romney presidential administration taking actions in Social Security that would kill grandma. They, with that ad, were using the fears of elderly people to score political points not FOR President Obama, but against Mitt Romney. And the message in that ad was untruthful. In effect, they USED Social Security to score political election points from petrified Social Security elders.

One can easily say they’re doing that along with NOT doing anything to repair the problems with the system IS at least morally wrong. After all, for 50 years I’ve paid them that percentage of my wages each payday, my employer has matched that amount each payday, and the government has control of its investment and its growth. In the private sector, there are many today sitting in jail who have misrepresented investment savings plans to entice Americans to invest. The investments were unwise or illegal or both, and that investment specialist ends up with a pot full of money but the investor little or none. Just remember “Bernie Madoff” cost many seniors collectively $64 billion.

Summary

There’s no magic “fix.” Social Security is what it is. Honestly, it’s an iffy retirement plan. Just like in any investment situation, in Social Security, there’s no magic or guarantee.

As we’ve seen again and again, even in pensions, there are far too many unknowns and too few certainties for those who are invested to be confident of the results that have been represented to them. You saw the section above that details the amounts of dollars in pensions that are today unfunded. What happens if and when they fail and those pensions that are backed by the U.S. government declare bankruptcy. We’ve been told the federal government underwrites those so U.S. taxpayers will take the hit. What if there’s a massive financial disaster for the nation and the government CANNOT pick up the tab for those pension retirement losses?

There’s no warm and fuzzy ending here. Why? I don’t have one. The federal government doesn’t have one. Your bank doesn’t have one. Nobody has a guaranteed warm and fuzzy answer for the question, “What will happen if my pension or Social Security cannot pay my retirement benefits, and the government cannot pick up the tab?”

I know: I’ve hit you with a downer right before the weekend! I don’t mean to bring you down, but sometimes bad things happen to good people. In investing, there are far too many unknowns that play into anticipated results that will not occur for 30-50 years. And no one can tell the future.

What do I suggest? Setup and be faithful to a retirement plan! What type of program, which plan, and how much to invest under what conditions are things you will have to tackle yourselves. But do it!

The other thing: speak to your lawmakers about Social Security: it’s the “Big Kahuna.” Why do I encourage that? 98% of you are paying into Social Security today and will be until you’re 60+. Why not fight to make sure YOUR investment is taken care of and that its results — good results — will be there when you need them.

On that note, grab a cup of coffee and get back to worrying about coronavirus and the stock market plummeting of yesterday. You need something positive to ponder!

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Ground Zero: “King Kongoramus Virus”

Coronavirus or King Kongoramus Virus. It’s already been called many things. But what it will be called “if” it morphs into the biological epidemic many think it will become, will have many other names.

Do you think there might be some way to understand a little bit more about coronavirus and what we might be facing? Depending on to whom you listen, it might be equivalent to a bad cold or it might be the trigger to a pandemic. Getting an understanding of this is critical.

February 15, 2020, we published a story about the coronavirus and its purported origins. There are dozens of conspiracy theories in circulation about an alleged biological weapons purpose for its creation. Other stories claim it originated in bats, fish, or in a lab in Canada. Another origin story states it originated in lab animals in Wuhan, China.

We don’t know the truth of its origins. Probably the Chinese government is the only entity that knows that for certain. Biological scientists and immunologists are hard at the task of getting it taken care of.

Meanwhile, literally every country on Earth is taking emergency actions to protect their countries and its citizens against the coronavirus. And that includes the United States.

And, of course, Democrats have hopped on the coronavirus as the latest tool with which they can attack Donald Trump.

House Speaker Pelosi is not alone in placing the blame for coronavirus at President Trump’s feet.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). During a floor speech, Schumer accused the Trump administration of “towering and dangerous incompetence” in its approach to addressing the virus.

“Here in the United States, the Trump administration has been caught flat-footed. The administration has no plan to deal with the coronavirus, no plan, and seemingly no urgency to develop one,” Schumer said.

Experts in Emergency Preparedness under President Trump

U.S. Northern Command is executing plans to prepare for a potential pandemic of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID19, according to Navy and Marine Corps service-wide messages issued this week. An executive order issued by the Joint Staff and approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper this month directed Northern Command and geographic combatant commanders to initiate pandemic plans, which include ordering commanders to prepare for widespread outbreaks and confining service members with a history of travel to China.

The Navy and Marine Corps messages, issued Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, reference an executive order directing U.S. Northern Command to implement the Department of Defense Global Campaign plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13. The document serves as the Pentagon’s blueprint for planning and preparing for the widespread dispersion of influenza and previously unknown diseases.

U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday it was directed the Joint Staff February 1 to commence “prudent planning” in their assigned role synchronizing the department’s plans for pandemic flu and disease.

Are there Any Truths About the Virus?

Sure there are. In spite of Democrats using it to pelt the President with another nerf ball to try to make him look bad, his administration has been on the job for some time. It appears there is actually a vaccine on its way. An experimental coronavirus vaccine IS on its way according to top health officials. Massachusetts-based biotech firm Moderna said Monday that it created its first batch of mRNA-1273 to treat humans for the virus, and released it to officials at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“I want to thank the entire Moderna team for their extraordinary effort in responding to this global health emergency with record speed,” Juan Andres, the company’s chief technical operations and quality officer, said in a statement. “The collaboration with NIAID and with CEPI has allowed us to deliver a clinical batch in 42 days from sequence identification.”

The vaccine will not be immediately available to patients in the general public. The vaccine must be tested and the results of those tests need to be compared before it is released. How long that could take is not clear.

The U.S. Coronavirus Case Status

So far, there have been 60 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. in total. That figure includes individuals who have been repatriated to the United States. 15 people were in the initial set of cases, three more came from evacuation flights, and 42 from the Diamond Princess ship that was quarantined by Japanese health authorities earlier this month.

In a White House press conference on Wednesday, the president announced he was putting Vice President Mike Pence “in charge” of coronavirus prevention efforts, effective immediately. The White House had reportedly considered naming a virus czar to be the point person on the disease.

“Because of all we’ve done, the risk to the American people remains very low,” Trump said. “We’re ready to adapt, and we’re ready to do whatever we have to.”

The president revealed that of the “15” Americans confirmed to have the virus, eight have “returned to their homes to stay in their homes until fully recovered, one is in the hospital, and five have fully recovered; and one is, uh, we think in pretty good shape and is in between hospital and going home.” Trump later said the person was “pretty sick and hopefully will recover.”

Perspective of Numbers

Origin facts of coronavirus are sketchy at best: who should be believed. But the sheer volume of cases in China and the extent to which the Chinese government has gone to lockdown their people to prevent as much spreading as possible has created a very scary environment. The unknown along with how demonstrative the Chinese have treated the virus has fed the fear of a possible pandemic.

President Trump in his White House briefing was pilloried by reporters regarding the reported lack of immediate reaction on the part of his Administration to stem those fears. Reporters in the room had obviously taken their cues from the media talking heads who on Day One of this situation pushed the throttle to the floor in their one concept of the disease and its circumstances. What Americans have heard for several weeks from the media is “We’re all going to die!” I know, that’s a stretch. But their reports are not far from that.

Watching the dozen or so disease experts from the CDC and hearing them address concerns from the White House podium should have made reporters in the room a bit more relieved. Not so. In fact, it seemed like many were angry that no doctor came to the podium and screamed, “Hide in your basement and don’t come out for months!” Those reporters were doing what was expected for them to do: find a juicy story. There’s NOT a juicy coronavirus story — at least not yet.

The President made it clear that he and those in his administration know the coronavirus could escalate to epic levels. He also stated that, according to ALL the experts, it might not escalate at all. The President has been derided by members of the media claiming that he has not taken the coronavirus seriously. Seeing and hearing what Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Chuck Schumer, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren blamed the President for demonstrates what I feel is their primary goal: denigrate President Trump. Mr. Trump put it in perspective for all, specifically for a “today” understanding: from 25,000 to 69,000 Americans die each year from the flu. And that occurs even with a flu shot being made to all Americans for years. We have 60 confirmed cases in the U.S. It’s easy to do the math.

Mr. Trump was careful to state that the flu numbers are not a fair case to case comparison of those with coronavirus because of the differences in timing. “It just might spread exponentially,” he said, “But it might not. In either case, we are prepared as we possibly can be and have the best doctors and scientists in the world working on it daily.” The President pointed out that doctors from China, Italy, and other impacted countries are daily reaching out to U.S. specialists seeking help and advice on handling coronavirus cases in their countries.

Sen. Schumer’s slap at Mr. Trump for requesting only $2.5 billion dollars in funding to address the coronavirus situation was an indication that the Administration was caught “flat-footed” and are certainly not concerned or prepared to handle it.” President Trump responded to Sen. Schumer by stating that he doesn’t know of any other time Democrat Congressional leadership has offered more money than was requested. “If they give it to us, we’ll use it or keep what we don’t need for later,” President Trump replied.

Regarding Speaker Pelosi’s slap you saw or heard above, President Trump replied to the reporter who asked the question, “She’s incompetent. All she can think of is attacking me,” the President said. “This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. This is an American issue that we should all work together to solve.”

Summary

It certainly comes as no surprise that Democrat leadership is so desperate for any advantage they perceive will give them even a slight edge on the President they jump on it. I wonder if Pelosi and Schumer are even capable of seeing how ignorant their anti-Trump antics appear to the majority of Americans?

Think about Schumer’s attack. “We’re going to allocate $8.5 billion to get the job done right. Trump doesn’t care and he certainly has no knowledge of how to handle this.” First, they haven’t allocated a nickel yet! They’ve not even presented a bill in either House to do so. Most Americans don’t know that and Pelosi and Schumer know that. All those statements were about was blasting President Trump. And they certainly don’t need the truth to do that.

In closing the conference, the President cautioned everyone to be careful when interfacing with others. He encouraged all to wash their hands often, stay indoors if one feels they have a cold and be wary of mingling in close-quarters with others in public places. Above all else, pay attention to updates from medical professionals as more information and treatments are made available to attack coronavirus. One doctor in the conference mentioned one such test preliminarily has shown to be effective. It will take a few more weeks of testing to verify its success. And if successful, this particular one would be available to the public almost immediately.

In the meantime, enjoy what you’re doing! Don’t work so hard. I’ve never seen a UHaul following a hearse to the cemetery!

 

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A “Sacrificial Lamb” in 2020?

In the mid to late 1960s, Top 40 radio nationally was lead by a Shreveport, Louisiana morning show DJ named Larry Ryan. His show dominated local and even national Top 40 ratings. His station, KEEL, was at the top of national Top 40 stations beside significant market stations like WLS in Chicago, WRKO in Boston, KIIS in Los Angeles, and WABC in New York. Ryan was an icon. And, as icons go, Larry Ryan decided to leave KEEL and bought his own radio station. That left a massive hole in the programming lineup at KEEL. Who would General Manager Billy Wilson bring to Shreveport to replace this giant?

There are two schools of thought for such a replacement. One is to find the best radio personality in the nation with which to replace Ryan. The second is to acknowledge how great Ryan was and recognize that no one could replace him at the same level. Wilson chose the latter and hired a no-name disc jockey that was mediocre at best. He lasted for about six months.

Wilson, when Ryan left, knew who he wanted to be the ultimate replacement at KEEL. When he fired the no-name guy, he brought in “his” guy: Jeff Edman. Edman was a storied morning show host at a small station in a small town. But he was okay. He went on air and, everyone in that market thought, “Finally, KEEL has someone as good as Larry.”

Wilson knew that it did not matter who followed Ryan; they would fail because of the constant comparisons with Ryan. The guy between Ryan and Edman was KEEL’s “sacrificial lamb.”

“How does that story fit anything in my life today?” you ask. This is an essential topic for today, and you’re going to have to buckle in with me. Instead of looking at everything at sea level, let’s go up to the 10,000-foot level.

The 2020 Election from 10,000 Feet

Who will be the next “new” President? Will that happen in 2020 or 2024?

In my life, I remember no previous election environment with even remote similarities to this one. The differences between both major parties are miles apart from each other. Like never before, I see very little — if any — consensus between Republicans and Democrats on any level.

In the American political system, there have always been party philosophical differences. But parties almost always find ways to work together for the good of the nation. Americans do not see that willingness from either party in 2020.

Donald Trump will surely represent the GOP in November. But who will represent the Democrat Party is far from determination. From the start of this campaign season, former VP Joe Biden was the odds-on favorite if he ran. When he formally announced his run, most were confident he would dominate other Democrat candidates. And, for a while, he did. That favor among fellow Democrats began to slip away slowly and continues to this day.

Enter Bernie Sanders.

Sanders, a consummate Socialist (who many say is a Communist), has become the only real threat to a Biden run against Trump in November. Sanders is so far left and has so much history as a real Socialist; his garnering enough support even to win Democrats’ nomination is tough, but then there’s the general election.

As of this date, Sanders has momentum. If he can hold that and build the consensus for a White House bid as a Democrat, a generation of young Americans who have been immersed in Socialist propaganda at our education institutions would be elated. But, unfortunately for Sanders, Democrats have closed their circle around the former VP and are throwing every shred of bad “Bernie News” they can uncover against Sanders to keep Biden at the forefront. It will be tough for him to get the majority of Democrat Party delegates to support him in Milwaukee at the Democrat Convention.

What will happen if Bernie cannot get a Democrat convention delegate majority, nor can Joe or any other candidate?

If that should happen on the first nominating ballot, all Democrat delegates are automatically released from their candidate obligation. They can then support any candidate they choose. Someone — may be another candidate currently in the race or even one who is not presently running — can put their name forward, hoping to pull enough of those “de-committed” delegates to their side sufficient in number to win the nomination.

Who could that person be that could pull enough of those de-committed delegates to win a majority of delegate votes to win the 2020 presidential nomination?

Enter: a sacrificial lamb.

Take the “Hit”

Here’s the Democrats’ problem: Who can beat Donald Trump in 2020? Go back up to the 10,000-foot level for a moment and consider who is out there that has a real shot at beating the President. If one puts aside a personal preference for a specific candidate and objectively believes who could defeat Mr. Trump, the choices are slim — and there may not be a candidate who can score that victory. Don’t think for one minute that Democrat Party leaders have for quite some time considered that possibility. Pelosi and Schumer and other Party leaders have a plan — a plan that might contain a sacrificial lamb. Let’s think this through:

  • Biden nor Sanders can score a majority of Democrat delegates on the first ballot at the convention in Milwaukee;
  • Committed delegates are then free to support whomever they choose;
  • Who in the current field has voter support even close to the sufficiency necessary to win the nomination, let alone defeat Donald Trump?
  • Who could be a possible candidate outside the shortlist of Democrats who would and who could bring Dems their November 3rd victory?
  • What are Democrats to do?

The Choices

Three names come to mind who might be able to pull off a victory: Michael Bloomberg, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama.

Michael Bloomberg. “Mini-Mike,” as President Trump has labeled the candidate, certainly has the bank sufficient to support the cost of a national campaign. But the former mayor made a poor showing in the Las Vegas debate — so bad that he may not be able to recover. Democrats as a whole do not know the former New York City Mayor. Is there time to educate voters about his positions on the issues that have been burning the electorate during this entire campaign period? If there is sufficient time for that, does he have adequate winning ideas to beat President Trump?

When one considers the formative accomplishments of this President — especially in economic benefits for Americans from every economic category — a candidate who is so weak at “selling” ideas to Americans in just a few months is an unlikely winner. And Bloomberg, while filthy rich, is not a proficient salesperson. He’s terrible. Mr. Bloomberg is undoubtedly destined to continue his life of wealth and eliteness, but not at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Hillary Clinton. OMG! Hasn’t the nation had enough? We won’t go into her political history. Everyone knows it from top to bottom. Her political history that is “known” in public is one thing. But her political history that is “unknown” is another.

There are far too many stories floating around about Hillary’s efforts to sow seeds sufficient to beat Mr. Trump in 2016. It’s unlikely she can successfully address and resolve those before November. Her post-election loss tour in which she incessantly blamed Donald Trump and the FBI, and the CIA, and President Obama, and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, were her attempts to regain some credibility. She too desperately sought support for her claims that the presidency was stolen from her.

She never received the support that she sought.

Add to that the fact that there may be some legal difficulties ahead for Ms. Clinton and her husband. There appears to have been wrongdoing at the Clinton Foundation, acceptance of foreign financial assistance for her 2016 campaign, and even possible criminal charges for mishandling of confidential and classified information and documents during the Mueller Probe.

That cloud of doubt over her is significant. It cannot be dismissed as some short-term hiccup. People could go to jail for that wrongdoing.

Michelle Obama. The former First Lady is the darling of the Left. She has shunned any aggressive political actions since leaving the White House with her husband, but she still dips her toes into the political fray from time to time. Many Americans — not just African Americans — like her a lot.

She has, on numerous occasions in public, rejected any idea of her running for the presidency. She blames the pressure, the grind, the lack of privacy, and the toll it takes on a family as reason enough for her to stay out of politics.

Many, however, think she is the perfect person going forward to carry the banner of the “traditional” Democrat Party. Never mind that she is as far left thinking as is her husband. Never mind that her stances on abortion, taxes, marriage, same-sex marriage, healthcare, and the economy mirror those of her husband.

But does America want Barack Obama Part 2?

What If…

Let’s play the game “What If?”

What if…

  • Democrat Party leadership feels like none of the current candidates nor anyone who might be able to steal a nomination in a brokered convention could defeat Donald Trump in November?
  • Democrat party leadership determined it is in the best interest of their party to swallow hard, continue to do their best through November at assisting whichever candidate finds their way to the top of a ticket, and take it in the chin November 3 and lose?
  • Do they launch a plan in which 2020’s election win is sacrificed for the benefit of a diamond of a candidate for 2024?

That would mean whoever ended up carrying the Democrat banner in November would be just an interim candidate laying some groundwork for 2024. That person would be the Dems “sacrificial lamb.”

Just like that DJ who replaced Larry Ryan at KEEL was from the beginning to be nothing more than a place holder while the dust settled in Top 40 radio, that interim person could be the same thing for Democrats: a sacrificial lamb.

In politics, a sacrificial lamb candidate is a candidate chosen to contest an election even though he or she has little chance of victory. The political party thus appoints the person as a sort of “sacrifice” to the stronger opponent.

Fielding a sacrificial lamb candidate can serve as an opportunity for the party to be more creative in choosing a candidate than would generally be considered acceptable in a closely contested race. Alan Keyes and Geraldine A. Ferraro are examples in American politics. In 1956, Adlai Stevenson was considered a sacrificial lamb candidate for president against Dwight Eisenhower. In 2004, Howard Mills was considered a sacrificial lamb candidate for the U.S. Senate from New York against Chuck Schumer. 2020 Democrats may pick someone to run against Mr. Trump to fill the spot on the 2020 presidential ballot, knowing they have not shot to win.

If that should be the case, you can bet Democrats are already on the prowl for 2024. And I’ll bet not only are they on the prowl, but I am also confident they have their candidate. Who could that be?

That’s a great question. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is and will be too young to run. Hillary will be just a bad 2016 memory. Michael Bloomberg will have moved to some European country he bought like Luxembourg, Lichenstein, or some other. Joe Biden will be looking for his hairpiece!

Who’s left? Michelle Obama.

For what the Democrats want to accomplish long term, they need a candidate who the nation knows about but doesn’t “know” personally — one that already has star power and street credibility. Michelle Obama checks all the boxes: African American, female, experienced, well-known and respected, politically savvy, from the Midwest, and has the last name “Obama.”

Why wouldn’t they make her the 2020 sacrificial lamb? They cannot afford to waste her and lose her value to their party and their cause. She fits the slot far better than any other on the political scene today.

I’m confident Mayor Pete, Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Amy Klobuchar would disagree with these thoughts. Face it: no one in national politics wants to be just an afterthought. But none of these have a shot at the presidency this year: a “decent” chance.

I don’t think anyone has a clear path to that in the Democrat Party. But I’m satisfied for 2024, you’ll begin to see some Michelle Obama yard signs and posters about the time Donald Trump takes his second oath of office. Democrats could probably forget about their pending whooping in November at the hands of “The Donald!”

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I’m Tired of Socialism Already, Bernie Boy!

The poison word we hear every third sentence or so: “Socialism!” I have something for all of you to drill-down into: if you think you’re tired of it now, wait until November 2nd! Bernie Sanders, with the extras thrown in: AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and a host of others, are feeding the media daily soundbites regarding Socialism.

If you’d like to get nauseated, just Google “Bernie Sanders and Socialism.” I just looked at the first page of Google’s search tool: 15 out of 15 are about Bernie Sanders and Socialism. If you’re tired of nausea regarding discussions, news reports, and speeches, either find a way to slip into an eight-month coma or find a way to deal with it. It’s not going anywhere anytime soon.

We’ve published here at TruthNewsNetwork three Socialism articles in the last year. We did so to try and give folks a basic understanding of what it is. But the noise continues. And here’s why:

“Free Stuff!” Every adult in the U.S. understands that nothing is free — someone pays the price for it. Whether it’s a Mom and Dad, a university subsidy of a scholarship, or a government handout, someone pays. But we have one entire generation who “hears” that but certainly does not “understand” that.

For that reason, it is imperative that we somehow create a method to teach those from within those two generations exactly what Socialism is, how it functions, and in it who wins and loses. But here’s the problem: it’s annoying to discuss!

Let’s try something different. We found a comprehensive yet amazingly inclusive video explaining Socialism and giving really good analogies for those who don’t know about Socialism (other than a professor or teacher saying so) and provides today real-world examples to explain. And it’s only a five-minute video.

Here’s what we’ll do: watch the video (or listen to the audio version) here. I promise that between now and November 3, somebody is going to get in your face screaming about the wonder that Socialism is and that the “World will end in twelve years if we don’t ditch Capitalism and replace it with Socialism!” The problem is, if you have Millennials in your family you show it to, they’re going to get angry because when they see the video, they’ll realize that “if something’s too good to be true, it always is NOT true.”

The truth hurts sometimes.

Take a look: It’s five minutes of truth that make Socialism easy to understand and puts it in comparison to Capitalism. We’ll get together right after this for some final thoughts:

If you’d like to download and copy this video to share, here’s the link with which you can do so: https://youtu.be/Fdfru9NHGvE

Summary

Let’s be clear: all of these Millenials that are supporting Sanders and his policies have NEVER heard the truth of Socialism. Our educators at the high school and college levels have been for two generations of our young been teaching our youth the evils of Capitalism espousing the fairness and equality that mysteriously appears with Socialism. However, there is NO fairness and quality that comes with Socialism.

We’re not going to do the “company story” about Socialism for you. You’ve heard it again and again. And you’ll hear it again and again through the November 3 election! I’m tired…and I know you are too.

Here are my thoughts on our political and economic system: Capitalism works better than any other system in World history. Socialism doesn’t! Facts without any question prove it.

Quick: name three countries in World history that were socialistic that survived and thrived. I’m waiting…

There aren’t any! No socialistic nation has ever been successful. Why? Because they all eventually run out of spending other people’s money!

Just a short word and video for you today. They’re important. Download that video and keep it handy. You might want to share it too. Feel free to do that.

We’ll get back on all the other “stuff” tomorrow: One day at a time!

“Russia, Russia, Russia” Again!

Click To Listen

 

Intelligence officials have warned lawmakers that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election campaign to help President Trump get reelected, according to three officials familiar with the closed-door briefing.

The officials, who asked for anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence, said Thursday that the briefing last week focused on Russia’s efforts to influence the 2020 election and sow discord in the American electorate. The intelligence warning was first reported by the New York Times and the Washington Post.

A senior administration official told the Associated Press that the news infuriated Trump, who complained that Democrats would use the information against him. Throughout his presidency, Trump has dismissed the intelligence community’s assessment of Russia’s 2016 election interference as a conspiracy to undermine his victory. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private meeting.

A day after the Feb. 13 briefing to the House committee, Trump berated the then-director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, and he announced this week that Richard Grenell, a Trump loyalist would replace Maguire.

Moscow denied any meddling. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the allegations are “paranoid reports that, unfortunately, there will be more and more of as we get closer to the elections [in the U.S.]. Of course, they have nothing to do with the truth.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted, “American voters should decide American elections — not Vladimir Putin.” She added that all members of Congress “should condemn the President’s reported efforts to dismiss threats to the integrity of our democracy & to politicize our intel community.”

Wait: there’s more Russian U.S. election interference underway at the same time!

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Friday, Feb. 21, acknowledged that U.S. intelligence officials briefed him about Russian attempts to interfere in the Democratic primary race to help his campaign, reported the Washington Post.

According to the Post, President Donald Trump and congressional lawmakers have also been informed of the Russian attempts. Sanders, in a statement to the press, disavowed the alleged interference from Kremlin to help him win the 2020 election.

“I don’t care, frankly, who Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said. “My message to Putin is clear: Stay out of American elections, and as president, I will make sure that you do.”

“In 2016, Russia used internet propaganda to sow division in our country, and my understanding is that they are doing it again in 2020. Some of the ugly stuff on the Internet attributed to our campaign may well not be coming from real supporters,” he added.

Uh Oh! Bernie has made one fatal mistake: he has burst into a significant lead in the Democrat push to win the White House. And Bernie’s not the hand-picked Democrat the Democrat Party machine has chosen to assume the role of the “next” Barack Obama.

So what happens now that has happened? The Russians always get involved in whatever election is coming up!

What Happened?

The same thing that happens every four years! There is plenty of history to support the theory of Democrat Party leadership, pulling out the stops to use everything in their arsenal to beat whoever is their “chief election nemesis of the day.” They used it in 2016. They didn’t win the White House for Hillary, but their efforts resulted in a three-year, $40 million investigation of President Trump’s campaign because “sources said” Trump was colluding with Vladimir. He wasn’t. Trump won.

Are they at it again, or is Russia a real election-tampering threat?

Let’s break that down:

  • “Intelligence sources” briefed members of Intelligence committees on methods that Russia used to throw the 2016 election to Trump. That’s according to Democrats who were in the room when those briefings were held.
  • Democrat after Democrat and even some Republicans stated again and again, “There is uncontroverted proof that Russia attempted to impact the 2016 election.”
  • Interim Attorney General Rod Rosenstein informed Congress and the world after a DOJ investigation that “any outside election influence impacted not a single vote in 2016 by Russia or anyone else.”

Wait a minute! Everybody declared emphatically that the Russians elected Mr. Trump. And evidence they have proved the Russian meddling gave Trump the win.

What did they do? What did their efforts change? How many votes were impacted? How did Russians change those votes?

I’ll venture a guess: Russian influence in the 2016 election was two-fold: buying Facebook ads that ran pro-Trump online ads. They, too, bought Facebook anti-Hillary ads to denigrate the former Secretary of State. Those ads influenced 63 million voters to choose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

IT DID NOT HAPPEN!

I have asked and asked for this: If there have been attempts by Russia or any other foreign country to impact the results of our elections directly, Americans should have those facts presented to us. That the intelligence agencies feel it is their job to deal with that information — if it ever happened secretlyIt’s disingenuous for them to “say” something’s right and not “prove” it’s right to Americans.

Until they present evidence proving otherwise, I don’t believe any election hacking has taken place.

How would that actually play out anyway? Remember this: there is no national U.S. network system in which federal elections are handled. Election voting is dealt with in total by the individual states. That means there are systems for each of the 50 states, one for Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and several territories. Each is separate with no internet connections and no way to coordinate in any way. Voting methods and even types of voting machines vary from state to state. If Russia was successful at getting into a voting machine, it not being connected to all other machines would fail any election hacking attempt.

But there IS election coordination. Where does it originate and who is responsible? Who stands to gain if it is even possible to change outcomes of federal elections?

The “Rest of the Story”

Anytime in politics, you question sources and methods for controversies, you can find the answers fairly easily. Do so from the bottom up. “Hmmm. What does that mean?”

Assume for a moment Russia really wishes to impact U.S. elections. “If” they are doing so, they must have a purpose and also the desired result. The first thought of most Americans is, “They want Donald Trump to win because he will go easier on Russia than any other candidate.”

In 2016, almost every Democrat preached that Putin was helping Trump beat Hillary because he was in Putin’s pocket. Their conspiracy has been soundly debunked. No other American President has been tougher on Putin and Russia than has Trump — economically and politically. Think about it: Trump rebuilt the U.S. military putting it back in the #1 international spot. Putin certainly wouldn’t want that to happen. He and Russia would have been far better with Hillary at the helm. She would have continued Obama’s track of “defanging” our military.

For the 2020 election, would Putin build a platform under Bernie Sanders? That seems more likely than a platform for Trump for the same reasons as that 2016 picture we just looked at — not because Bernie would do Russia any good but because Trump who is so tough on Russia would be unable to do anything further to hurt Russia.

Conclusion: other than the same social media ad campaigns by Russia in 2016’s election, Russia’s not helping Bernie OR Donald in 2020!

Facts

With both conspiracy theories in the American marketplace at the same time, what is happening regarding election interference by Russia? Russia doesn’t care. They want confusion in the electorate that causes distrust in the U.S. election system. Think about it: if the Russians can cause Americans to no longer trust the fidelity of the election system, Americans will always question if who in the White House was truly elected.

“Trust in Leadership” is something Putin never experienced from the Russian people. He knows how tough it is to govern with that cloud of doubt always overhead. He licks his chops to think of the chaos in our Republic that Americans just thought we controlled. Anytime we think there’s cheating in a U.S. election, Russia wins.

The bottom-line in all this is we don’t know if any nation is after our election process other than for typical reasons that have existed for decades. Nor do we know who is doing it if it’s happening.

There’s only one unanswered question in this puzzle: Why then would these stories be leaked in 2016 and 2020 if there’s no real opportunity for anyone to hack our election system?

Answer: someone DOES stand to win, and win big, no matter who wins or who loses the 2020 presidential election: The U.S. Mainstream Media!

The “Chaos” Culprits

Who needs chaos in elections as much as the Media? Look at what happened before, during, and since the 2016 election of Donald Trump. The Lamestream Media have had a field day in the news. Hardly a day goes by in which they are not lambasting President Trump or someone in his administration. There is a “Trump story of the day.” And those stories are always negative.

What could be better for the Media than to have the ability to sow seeds of contempt to drive a wedge of political divisiveness between conservatives and liberals? That gives mediocre networks and newspapers fuel for stories that might return to them whatever glory in reporting they had before Obama came to D.C. THEY HAVE NO CREDIBILITY!

We previously revealed the private news website operated by a group of major liberal news journalists that can be accessed by only other journalists. They have coordinated news stories. An everyday leaked tidbit of Russia news each day locks-in readers, listeners, and viewers. With that comes ratings that consistently surpass any they had in the past.

What’s their objective? MONEY! But not only money — control of what people think about the U.S. political system. 

That may be the most critical result of all. Think about it: if the Media can convince a majority of the population something that is NOT true IS true, it makes it easier to sell to that public that something is evil. Those conspiracy thoughts grow. And with that growing audience comes the windfalls of larger audiences along with money, respect, and power over Americans.

“Information begats Power.”

Hitler knew that, Stalin knew that, Mussolini knew that, Mao knew that, Democrats KNOW that, and Vladimir Putin certainly KNOWS that.

I’ll end with this: do you know who in the United States (besides media moguls) knows that? Donald Trump. And he knows how to use it to his benefit.

Am I the only one to ever consider this scenario as “the” obvious explanation for why U.S. intelligence specialists would, in the same week, report to the President that Russia was tampering with the 2020 election for HIS benefit and then tell Bernie Sanders the Russians were tampering on HIS behalf?

Puzzle it through: it certainly makes 2+2=4, in this case, a plausible conclusion!

 

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February 19 Democrat Debate Bullet Points

Wednesday February 20 saw the remaining Democrats running for President who qualified to debate in Las Vegas for the final Dem debate of 2020. It was a raucus affair that at time was laughable, at times contentious, but from start to finish put the impossible policy promises of the Democrat Party on full display.

It was billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s first debate in the 2020 campaign. And if I had to pick a loser of the night, it was “Mini Mike” as President Trump has tagged him.

Let’s take a look at the leading confrontations between candidates on the night. My use of the word “confrontation” is actually an insult to the word. A “verbal slugfest” is far more appropriate. They went nuts on each other!

Buttigieg vs. Klobuchar

Buttigieg and Klobuchar, who finished second and third in the New Hampshire primary, respectively, sparred throughout the night. Klobuchar was asked by moderator Vanessa Hauc how she planned to protect the DREAMers, and she responded that her plan was “to beat Donald Trump.”

Buttigieg countered, saying that Klobuchar needed to own her votes, and said that she voted to confirm the head of the Trump administration’s Customs and Border Protection who was one of the architects of the family separation policy, and that she voted to make English the national language. He then argued he had expertise fighting for immigrants as mayor of South Bend, and ended his answer in Spanish. Klobuchar fired back, “I’m sorry not everyone can be so perfect as you. Let me tell you what it’s like in the arena.”

She said that she has opposed two-thirds of Trump’s nominated judges and said the official she confirmed was supported by another Democrat in the room and was “highly recommended by the Obama Administration.” She added she did not support “one bit” of those “draconian” policies and would repeal them in her first 100 days. She also added that she worked on multiple immigration reform bills in the Senate.“You’ve not been in the arena doing that work, you’ve memorized talking points,” she said to Buttigieg. He responded that he has plenty of experience even though he’s never worked in Washington, and added that he’s used to “senators telling mayors that they don’t matter.”

Sanders defends himself on socialism

When asked about a recent NBC News/Wall Street poll showing that two-thirds of all voters were uncomfortable with a socialist candidate, Sanders responded by asking “what was the result of that poll,” pointing out that it also showed him in the lead.

Sanders said that America already is a socialist society, but that it’s only for the very rich and the poor are forced to deal with “rugged individualism.”“I believe in Democratic socialism for working people not billionaires,” Sanders said.

Bloomberg pushed back, saying Sanders is the “best known socialist” in the country, but also is a millionaire with three houses. Bloomberg did say that taxes should be raised on the rich and that he did that when he was mayor. Biden weighed in and said work needs to be rewarded and not just wealth. He said that the tax rate should be 28% for corporate America and added that the middle class is getting killed and the poor have no way of moving up.

Buttigieg was also asked about his previous praise of Sanders, and if he was now out of touch with other Millennials who accept Sanders’ version of socialism. Buttigieg said that he respects Sanders but was critical of the Vermont senator’s proposed healthcare plan that he said would raise taxes of anyone making over $29,000. Sanders countered saying that people will not have to pay premiums, deductibles or co-pays.

Bloomberg faces attacks over harassment allegations and NDAs

Michael Bloomberg was asked about how multiple former employees have said his company is a hostile workplace for women and the former mayor himself has admitted to making sexually explicit remarks. “Should Democrats expect better from the nominee?” he was asked by moderator Hallie Jackson.

Bloomberg has been the subject of multiple lawsuits and allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace. The Washington Post reported, citing witness interviews and court appearances, multiple instances of offensive and sexists comments made by Bloomberg toward women in the workplace. Bloomberg denied the majority of the allegations, which go back decades, in depositions cited by the Post.

When asked, about these allegations during the debate, Bloomberg responded that he “has no tolerance for the kind of behavior that the #MeToo movement has exposed” and highlighted the fact that his foundation is run by a woman and he has a long career of employing women.

Warren swiftly jumped on the report. “I hope you heard what his defense was,” she said. “I’ve been nice to some women.” The Massachusetts senator then mentioned the fact that multiple former Bloomberg employees have signed Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) after working for him, a tactic used by many powerful men who were exposed during the #MeToo movement. Then Warren asked Bloomberg if he would release those employees from their NDAs, and allow them to speak freely about their experiences if they wish too. Bloomberg responded that he had a “few” NDAs that didn’t accuse him of doing anything, except perhaps “disliking a joke [he] told.” Warren repeatedly asked Bloomberg how many NDAs there were, and he didn’t respond. She pressed him once again to release those women from their NDAs tonight, and he responded that those NDAs were an agreement made between two parties that wanted to keep the issue quiet, so he would keep it quiet.

Warren responded that it’s rather a situation of women being “muzzled” by the NDAs, and said the issue was not just an issue of Bloomberg’s “character” but is also an issue of electability. “We are not going to beat Donald Trump with a man who has who knows how many NDAs and the drip, drip, drip of stories of women who say they have been harassed,” she said.

Biden jumped in, and supported Warren by demanding Bloomberg release the women from their NDAs. He said it’s actually not an issue of women wanting the issue to remain private, but rather being paid by Bloomberg’s attorney to sign the NDA.

Bloomberg responded that he’s not going to “end the agreements because they were made consensually and they have every right to expect they will stay private.” “If they want to release it, then they should be able to release it,” Biden fired back.

Bloomberg responds to questions on “stop-and-frisk”

When asked about the 2015 audio that resurfaced of Bloomberg saying most murder suspects in New York fit the same M.O. “male minorities, 16 to 25,” Bloomberg during the debate continued to apologize for the way the controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy “turned out.”

He said that his goal was to lower the murder rate, and that since there were 650 murders a year, he wanted to make sure people had the right to live. Bloomberg said he thought stop-and-frisk would help curtail the killings.

“It got out control, and when we discovered, I discovered, that we were doing many, many, too many stop and frisks, we cut 95% of it,” Bloomberg said. He added that the crime rate did go down, but that they could not go out and stop people indiscriminately. Biden said that the reason stop-and-frisks slowed down was because then-President Barack Obama sent moderators there that said the practice must stop and that at the time, Bloomberg didn’t agree.

But in fact, the practice was scaled back after a federal judge in 2013 ruled stop-and-frisk violated the constitution, calling it “a form of racial profiling.” The NYPD in turn mandated that police officers have a justified reason to make a stop.

On stage, Bloomberg responded and said that he has apologized and that criminal justice as a whole needs to be fixed. “If we took everybody off this panel that was wrong about criminal justice at some time in their careers there would be nobody else up here,” Bloomberg said.

Warren noted that Bloomberg has only apologized for how stop-and-frisk “turned out” and not what it was designed to do in the first place.

“It targeted black and brown men from the beginning,” Warren said of the policy that disproportionately affected Black and Latino men. “The apology has to start with the intent of the plan as it was put together.”

Buttigieg and Sanders spar on electability

The former South Bend, IN mayor and New Hampshire senator were neck-and-neck in the first two primaries, and at the debate, they were quick to make the case that the other would be the wrong candidate for the Democratic Party. Buttigieg argued that many Americans don’t see themselves fitting into the party of Bloomberg or Sanders, and cautioned against polarizing the party in either the progressive or moderate direction, presenting himself as the alternative.

”Let’s put forward somebody who actually lives and works in a middle class neighborhood,” he said. “Let’s put forward somebody who is actually a Democrat,” he added, a clear jab at Sanders who was registered as an Independent until he ran in the 2016 primary.

Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg Have Heated Exchange Over the Working Class

“We shouldn’t have to choose between one candidate who wants to burn this party down, and another candidate who wants to buy this party out,” he said, situating himself as the option in between Sanders and Bloomberg.

Sanders responded that he speaks to the “pain” of the “neglected working class,” arguing that Buttigieg “got the wrong word” when the former mayor called him “polarizing.”

Sanders said he aims to give a voice to people who are tired of growing economic inequality, and said “maybe it’s time for the working class of this country to have some power in this country, rather than your billionaire campaign.” Buttigieg accepts donations from billionaires, while Sanders does not.

The two went back and forth about who cared more about the working class, and Buttigieg brought up Sanders’ current tension with Nevada’s Culinary Union. The union has said it received threatening messages from Sanders supporters after announcing its opposition to Medicare for All.

Health care gets more debate time

Like clockwork, the crucial Democratic issue of healthcare came up early on in the debate.

Sen. Sanders was asked by Chuck Todd, “There are some Democrats that like you a lot but worry that this plan, Medicare for All goes too far and takes away private insurance. Are they right?”

“No,” Sanders predictably responded. “For 100 years, from Teddy Roosevelt to Barack Obama, this country has been talking about the need to guarantee healthcare for all people.”

He argued that despite spending twice as much as any other major country on Earth, millions remain uninsured. Sanders then addressed the Nevada’s Culinary Workers Union, that has openly opposed Medicare for All. “I will never sign a bill that will reduce the healthcare benefits they have. We will only expand it for them, for every union in America, and for the working class of this country.”

Warren then attacked Buttigieg, saying his plan would leave millions unable to afford their healthcare. “It’s not a plan, it’s PowerPoint.” She then turned to Klobuchar, saying that her health care plan is only “two paragraphs” and likened it to a “Post-it.”

Buttigeg and Klobuchar were swift to defend their plans. Buttigieg said his plan would insure all Americans without kicking them off their insurances, and then hit back against Sanders: “This idea that the union members don’t know what’s good for them is the exact kind of condescension and arrogance that makes people skeptical of the policies we’ve been putting forward.” Klobuchar argued that her public option would reduce premiums for 12 million people and expand coverage for a similar number. “It is a significant thing. It is what Barack Obama wanted to do from the very beginning,” she said.

Biden, who famously helped Obama whip votes for Obamacare in Congress, argued that he was “the only one who got anything done on healthcare.” When discussing healthcare, Warren returned to her message that she’s the candidate who “has a plan for that.” First, the Massachusetts senator criticized Buttigieg’s healthcare plan, arguing it only puts caps on premiums leaving the rest of a healthcare cost up to the American family.

Bloomberg then turned to the issue of healthcare, and said that he supported Obamacare back when he was mayor of New York City, but felt it did not go far enough. He added that “the first thing we need to do is get back the White House.” Biden pushed back against Bloomberg’s characterization of his position, pointing out the fact that in 2010 he called Obama a “disgrace” that would do “absolutely nothing to fix the big healthcare problems.”

Candidates go at Bloomberg early

Candidates wasted no time going at Bloomberg over his policies as Mayor of New York City and allegations of sexual harassment in the workplace.

In his opening remarks, Sanders criticized Bloomberg for the impact the controversial policy widely known as “stop-and frisk” had on the Black and Latino community. Bloomberg responded by saying that there is no chance that Sanders can beat President Donald Trump in a general election.

“I don’t think there’s any chance whatsoever that Sanders can win, and if he goes and is the candidate, we will have Donald Trump for another four years and we can’t stand that,” Bloomberg said.

Warren was equally critical and said Bloomberg is a “billionaire who calls women broads and horse-face lesbians.” She said Democrats will not win if a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, harassing women and supporting racist policies.

“I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is but understand this, Democrats takes a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another,” Warren said.

Klobuchar said she welcomed Bloomberg to the stage because she didn’t want him to hide behind his ads and was critical of the memo from his campaign that said certain candidates should get out of his way.

Bloomberg defended himself and said that he is not only the best candidate to beat Trump but would also be best equipped to run the country given his experience as Mayor of New York.

Summary

The bottom line to the final all-Democrat debate is who was the winner: President Donald Trump. All that Democrats have accomplished in each of their debates is to expose how incapable is the Democrat Party to give its candidates winning policies to sell to the American people. On top of that, we have a slate of candidates whose unified winning methodology is to denigrate as much as possible everything this administration has accomplished, extolling the personal evils of President Trump, and promising voters trillions of dollars of NEW social programs that are impossible to even implement. If we 100% of every dollar of American income to pay for these social programs Democrats want, there would not only not be money to pay all those, but there would not be enough money remaining to tread water in the pool of the government’s current obligations to just stay even.

It won’t work!

I’ve never before seen such a messed up political party on the brink of a presidential election who has no real plan that can possibly get anyone elected — except the candidate of the OTHER party! The best this party has to offer Americans is a pure socialist that who likes communism, a small-town mayor with virtually no experience running anything, a 30-year career former Senator and two-term Vice President who has only ever “carried the suitcase” for others in Washington. Add to that a woman who has spent her life pretending to be someone else determining who she was in her past based on which group she’s speaking to, a New York billionaire who apparently doesn’t like average Americans, other billionaires, and really doesn’t think much of himself. Then there’s Klobuchar. She actually is the best example of a “Moderate” this party has. But she can never win.

That’s it: there are no more to put in front of us.

No wonder multiple Democrats have stated again and again that unless they can impeach Donald Trump there’s no way they can beat him in the 2020 election.

Bingo! At least there’s one Democrat that gets it.

And You Just Thought Adam Schiff Was Evil

If you wish to hear today’s podcast, click on this link. (Our hosting company has a temporary technical glitch)

https://truthnewsnet.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/And-You-Thought-Adam-Schiff-was-Evil-22120-9.06-PM-1.mp3

If you’re a regular at TruthNewsNetwork, you already know our stance regarding Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA): NOT because he’s a Democrat, NOT because he’s from California, and NOT because he’s a Congressional heavyweight. Our opposition to Mr. Schiff is because of his dishonesty, mischaracterizations of the Law, his disdain for every American who disagrees with him, and his eagerness to twist the Law in continued efforts to use it to defend his political positions.

His February 21st Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times confirms our animus for Rep. Schiff. There’s no better way to illustrate our concerns than to let all read Mr. Schiff’s own words on President Trump. Here’s his letter from the LA Times:

“The impeachment trial of President Trump has ended, but the threat to our democracy continues. In the short time since the trial concluded, the president has proven that the House managers’ warning to senators that he will never change was prescient. President Trump’s actions demonstrate the need to develop and pass legislative reforms to safeguard the checks and balances of our democracy. Building new guardrails to defend against authoritarian-minded presidents must now be a top priority for Congress.

Within days of the Senate vote, Trump began to exact revenge against officials who complied with lawful subpoenas and told the truth to Congress. He had a security escort remove Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a decorated combat veteran, from the White House’s National Security Council, along with his twin brother, who served as an ethics attorney. The president’s vengeance against civil servants is disturbing enough, but it occurred alongside an even greater danger that has come into sharper focus this week: the politicization and potential weaponization of the Department of Justice. Trump insists he has the absolute right to direct the actions of the department. His efforts to obstruct investigations into his own misconduct and that of his associates — firing FBI Director James B. Comey, seeking to fire Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III and much more — are well documented. And now, the president has found his Roy Cohn in Atty. Gen. William Barr, who has shown himself willing to be the president’s political fixer and do his bidding at the expense of the department’s independence.

The severity of the threat to our democracy was made plain last week in a succession of troubling actions by the Justice Department.

Last Monday, the department recommended that Roger Stone, the president’s longtime political advisor, and self-proclaimed “dirty trickster,” be sentenced according to standard federal guidelines for the serious crimes he committed. Mr. Stone was convicted last year on seven charges related to lying to Congress about his dealings with the president and WikiLeaks — the platform publishing Russian hacked emails beneficial to the Trump campaign — and witness tampering. Late that same evening, the president tweeted in outrage, calling the recommendation “a miscarriage of justice.” The next morning, at Barr’s urging, the department reversed course and recommended a more lenient sentence, using language so unusual for the DOJ that it looked like it could have been written by Stone himself.

Barr claims he had planned to intervene in the case before reading the president’s tweet, but he does not deny his personal involvement. It is exceedingly rare for attorneys general to overrule the sentencing recommendation of their career prosecutors. Doing so in a case involving the president’s own wrongdoing may be unprecedented. As a result, the career prosecutors on the case demonstrated something in short supply in the White House but abundant among public servants — moral courage. One by one, they withdrew from the case, and one resigned altogether.

By the end of the week, reports emerged that Barr had ordered the review of other “politically sensitive” criminal cases, including that of President Trump’s former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators to cover up the nature of his own interactions with the Russians. This follows yet another Barr-ordered review intended to sow doubt about intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help then-candidate Trump, and a nearly successful effort to cover up the whistleblower complaint that ultimately led to Trump’s impeachment.

These interventions by Barr to benefit the president have profound implications for the rule of law and our democracy. With a willing attorney general and compliant congressional Republicans, Trump is attempting to utilize the instruments of justice for his political benefit, something that would give him immense power to punish and harass his political opponents and protect his friends. We cannot let that succeed. Institutions are only as strong as the people who protect them. Public servants, at personal cost, stepped forward in the impeachment inquiry and in the wake of the Stone sentencing reversal. Judges have also demonstrated a vital independence from this lawless president. Congress must also do its part through vigorous oversight, and also by enacting a new set of reforms to prevent presidential abuses akin to those passed after Watergate. Work on these is already underway. The president has continually taken advantage of the slow judicial review process to delay oversight of his administration. In response, Congress should enact legislation to expedite judicial review of congressional subpoenas, an idea House Republicans favored unanimously under President Obama.

There is also a clear need to legislate a stronger firewall between the Department of Justice and the White House, one secured by more than regulations or norms. One first step was introduced by my fellow House impeachment manager, Hakeem Jeffries, to require logging and disclosure of White House contacts with DOJ. But more will be required to prevent an unethical president from initiating or interfering in cases that involve the president’s enemies, allies or family members. Along these lines, I have introduced legislation to constrain the abuse of the pardon power. President Trump has repeatedly dangled pardons to his associates as they face federal criminal investigations. The bill would ensure that in the event, the president issues a pardon in a case related to him or his family members, the complete investigative files would be provided to Congress to ensure he could not obtain the corrupt benefit of covering up his own misconduct.

Some of these reforms may not become law while Trump remains in office, but that must not stop us from getting started. The future of our democracy depends on it.”

Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) represents California’s 28th Congressional District in the House of Representatives, where he serves as chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

Analysis

Our record of many of Schiff’s historical lies to Americans and in Congressional hearings are documented. There will be no re-hashing of those previous events and our conclusions. We know you’re familiar with those and we want to honor your time in this discussion today. But his comments in this LA Times opinion letter are so outrageous and untruthful they scream for a truthful response. I’ll be brief: (Schiff’s words are in red)

  • Schiff’s accusation is that POTUS had Vindman removed from the White House and the National Security Council as vengeance for Vindman’s testimony before Schiff’s committee during impeachment. Schiff left out a couple of facts. Vindman’s supervisor had felt and previously reported that Vindman had been secretly leaking information to the press. Additionally, Vindman verbally proclaimed his disagreement with several of Mr. Trump’s foreign policy positions. Vindman was NOT removed for his  testimony. He was removed because of National Security information being passed on with no authorization. Schiff “hinted” that Vindman was fired. He was not. He was simply reassigned to his original post at the Pentagon from which he was transferred to the White House in a “temporary position.” Schiff forgot to include that information in his letter.
  • And now, the president has found his Roy Cohn in Atty. Gen. William Barr, who has shown himself willing to be the president’s political fixer and do his bidding at the expense of the department’s independence.” Schiff accused the Attorney General of being evil, devious, and willing to do the bidding of his boss, no matter if doing so violated the law. Did Schiff give an example that explained the logic of that attack on AG Barr? No. He simply explained it by adding additional unfounded allegations. By any legitimate historical basis, the sentence for Stone as recommended by those Mueller prosecutors was outlandish, excessive, unwarranted, and partisan. Remember: those prosecutors were Democrats, hated Trump, and had failed in their attempt to remove POTUS from office. They saw Stone as a way to get even. Schiff said Stone’s sentence was a “sentencing reversal” — that’s a blatant lie. Stone had NEVER been sentenced. There had been no sentencing hearing! The seven-to-nine-year sentence was merely a recommendation to the judge by those prosecutors. Such recommendations are often changed by federal judges. In fact, the judge in the case, (who was anti-Trump all the way) Amy Berman Jackson, commented that it was unusual for the Department of Justice to take the side of any defendant in a trial that their department prosecuted — especially to request easier sentencing. But she concurred that the final Stone sentence of 34-40 months was historically much more realistic and appropriate than the original seven-to-nine years. Schiff forgot to include that in his letter.
  • Schiff blasted AG Barr’s authorization for the examination of the Michael Flynn case in which Flynn was pretty much forced to plead guilty to lying to keep his son out of prison. Schiff didn’t mention that. He also failed to mention that in the Flynn case, Flynn’s attorney has petitioned the court to allow the withdrawal of his guilty plea and for a new trial. Schiff claimed that in these “interventions,” Barr was doing so “to benefit the president and have profound implications for the rule of law and our democracy.” For the life of me, I cannot understand how Barr’s actions could possibly be viewed in that light! Barr like millions of Americans feels the Mueller Investigation was tainted, and he stated that in his Congressional testimony during his Senate confirmation hearing. Facts uncovered so far confirm that. Barr cannot change anything already done in the courts. But he, as would any other Attorney General, would make certain there was equal justice under the law for all those caught up in the partisan battle by the Left to unseat President Trump. If there was no wrongdoing there, Barr will not do anything. Schiff forgot to include that information in his letter.
  • Schiff declared that Congress intends to put serious restrictions even on just the contact between the White House and the DOJ — even demanding a log recording every such contact! The audacity of Schiff’s claim — and his fellow Congressman Hakeem Jeffries for drafting legislation to do that — is mind-boggling. They in doing this, if successful, would subvert the separation of powers mandated in the Constitution. They both must feel the Department of Justice is part of the Judiciary — that third co-equal branch of government. It’s not: it’s part of the Executive branch. President Trump heads the Executive Branch and therefore has all Constitutional authority over the DOJ. Schiff nor any other member of Congress has any authority to take any actions to change that structure. Congress has no authority to tell members of the Executive or Judiciary Branches of government what to do. Schiff forgot to include that information in his letter.

That’s enough of my sentence-by-sentence “analysis” of Mr. Schiff’s letter. You can better analyze it than can I. The content of his letter as egregious as it is does not surprise me. Americans have learned this warped justice perception is the justice system in which Mr. Schiff functions.

Have you ever speculated as to the source of Adam Schiff’s alternate perception of the Rule of Law? What is the basis on which he has developed such factless political positions regarding legislation?

He represents the 28th California Congressional District. It includes West Hollywood, Burbank, parts of Pasadena, Glendale, the Verdugo Hills communities of Sunland and Tujunga, as well as parts of central Los Angeles including Hollywood, the Hollywood Hills, Echo Park, Silver Lake, and Los Feliz. As it includes Glendale and Little Armenia, it has the largest Armenian-American population of any district in the country. The district also includes two of Southern California’s more significant gay enclaves, West Hollywood and Silverlake. Knowing his district’s geographical coverage explains a bit of the acceptance of his constituents of his mostly far-left political ideals. The majority of citizens in his district embrace a left-leaning political perspective. His certainly confirms the reality of his quest for a much larger, more powerful and much more controlling federal government. Reading his comments that Congress needs to take more control of the Executive Branch of government in spite of the Constitutional separation of power reveals his hunger and quest for power.

Summary

Schiff is not alone in his power-grab agenda. Those on the far-left and many in the middle of the Democrat Party agree with Schiff. Their philosophy is simple: “Give our government the power to rule all parts of the lives of Americans. We can do better ‘for’ them than can they for themselves.” And Schiff certainly feels he is the best to put such a government together. He also feels conservative Americans are nothing more than a necessary evil. He’d prefer there to be no conservatives at all so as to not mess with the top-down government utopian vision he holds for the U.S.

How many others share those feelings? Sadly, it’s probably more than we can even imagine. Rep. Schiff and many other Democrats still function politically as if they have no concern for the truth nor what the majority of Americans feel.

I have argued with many who feel that Adam Schiff is evil, that he purposely misleads in most if not all of his communications with voters. I am no longer in the “disagreement mode” in that regard. I don’t know if he’s evil — I don’t know his heart. But as we were taught in the Bible, “Out of the abundance of the heart a Man speaks.” If that’s true, (and I’m certain it is true) Adam Schiff hates conservatism and conservatives. He has made a conscious decision that HIS lies are OK because it is him speaking them. He certainly feels like political expediency as he defines it is the only way Washington should run.

My belief in those things about him are based on Scripture. The following is based on my opinion:

Adam Schiff has his eyes on a larger more important role in Washington. I’m certain he thinks often about becoming U.S. Senator for California. Too, on his plate, are wishes for the office of Attorney General and someday even 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

I have news for Mr. Schiff: I have faith in the American people — far more faith than what I have in him. I’m certain that most Americans feel the same. I have no pulse of the feelings of Californians from his Congressional district or the remainder of California voters. But I think I have more of an unbiased opinion of them than does Adam: I trust that as CNN and MSNBC give him more airtime, the LA Times publishes more of his OpEd’s, and more of his committee hearings are televised, more Americans will catch on. They’ll see for themselves how narcissistic he is and how little he feels for them. He’s destined to go back to private law practice.

Wait a moment: I think he’s over-qualified to be California governor!

Equal Justice Under the Law: Two Sets That are NOT Equal

This story comes as a direct result of the story and podcast published yesterday, February 20, 2020, that was centered around the bold actions of three U.S. Senators along with former Secretary of State John Kerry. Those three plus Kerry took it upon themselves to go to a meeting in Europe to meet privately with the Foreign Minister of Iran to discuss matters in regards to relations between Iran and the United States.

That seems benign on its face. After all, Sen. Menendez (D-NJ), Sen. Van Hollen (D-DE) and Sen. Murphy (D-CT) currently serve in the “senior” chamber of Congress, the U.S. Senate. And Congress has oversight of the Executive Branch of government, which includes foreign relations.

We introduced our partners to the Logan Act — a law passed by Congress to protect the U.S. from politicians and others who decide on their own to interact with officials of other countries on governmental matters between the U.S. and those countries. Congress felt people in doing so would make a dangerous impact on U.S. foreign policy matters with those countries and could be egregiously damaged by those other than government officials who are expressly authorized to conduct such meetings. 

Not only did these three Senators and Kerry make this trip and meet with Iran’s foreign minister without permission of the State Department, but they also did so without the knowledge of anyone in the Administration.

In a FOX News interview, Kerry responded to charges of his violation of the Logan Act by first laughing and then saying, “I haven’t violated any law. I never negotiated with ANYONE.”

The Logan Act never lists “negotiating” as a violation of the law. It states that meeting with those foreign leaders “regarding matters having to do with anything between the U.S. and that other country” is a violation.

When our TNN partners were told of those actions in light of the Logan Act, over 100,000 expressed their anger and dismay! Email after email expressed horror and disgust for Van Hollen, Murphy, Menendez doing so. And there was almost hatred from many for John Kerry’s involvement. He’s not even in the government!

Those emails each very clearly stated that this is happening because there is no fear of prosecution for those crimes. Why is that? Americans feel there is a two-tiered Justice System in the U.S. today: one for regular Americans and one for the political elite that contains separate rules, regulations, and laws that apply only to those elites. And, obviously, those elites are held to a much easier and forgiving justice than are we.

Equal Justice Under the Law: Really!

The U.S. is comprised mostly of lawful, red-blooded Americans who love the red, white, and blue, often get choked up singing the “Star Bangled Banner,” and get a tear in their eye when hearing taps played while the caskets of soldiers are taken off a plane returning home after dying for their nation overseas.

Most Americans are proud to be Americans. And most Americans feel blessed to live in the greatest country on the planet. Most Americans feel one of the reasons for this country’s greatness is the structure of and fairness in the American Justice System. It guarantees us all “Equal Justice under the Law.” Laws are laws, and lawbreakers are considered innocent unless and until they are adjudicated to be guilty by a jury of their peers in a courtroom.

Those are the characteristics of our country that, for a couple of centuries, we just assumed are in place and always will be to protect us all. But that assurance is wavering.

Many Americans see things play out that dispute that eternal guarantee of equal justice. What fuels those disputes is illustrated best by what many have concluded is corruption in our government. Nowhere else is that corruption better represented than a justice system that appears to no longer be a system of justice that is fair and equal for all.

Two sets of rules under the law are called “duplicity:” contradictory doubleness of thought, speech, or action. Federal laws are written and presented to be implemented equally for everyone. Their enforcement sadly is no longer equal.

Equal Justice?

♦♦ In 2018, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. related to fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Horowitz issued a scathing report of McCabe’s conduct at the FBI, alleging that he authorized a leak to the media to “advance his personal interests” and then misled internal investigators and fired FBI Director James Comey about the matter.

Lying to federal investigators is a federal crime, and the report was seen by some analysts as a roadmap for federal charges against McCabe. Surely McCabe would be prosecuted. However, in February of 2020, almost two years later, the Department of Justice gave notice they will NOT prosecute McCabe for the criminal wrongdoing revealed in Inspector Horowitz’s referral.

♦♦ Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was charged with lying to FBI agents on January 24, 2017. The substance of Flynn’s statements made to FBI agents: he denied asking a Russian Ambassador to come to the United States and denied asking that Ambassador to request Russia to delay making their vote in the U.N. Security Council on a specific issue. Flynn plead guilty on both charges as part of a plea deal. However, Flynn’s lawyer has stated Flynn is asking to withdraw his guilty plea. The resolution is pending.

♦♦ Trump Associate Roger Stone was charged with seven counts. The seven counts against Stone include one count of obstruction of an official proceeding, five counts of false statements — including lying to Congress — and one count of witness tampering in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election. Stone was sentenced to 34 months in jail. A decision on a possible new trial is pending.

♦♦ George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign adviser, was charged and subsequently plead guilty to lying to the FBI as part of the Mueller investigation into Trump campaign wrongdoing. Papadopoulos plead guilty and served six weeks in jail.

There were others who were charged, several of which have plead to charges against them. However, none but those above were charged with anything that involved Donald Trump or his campaign. Paul Manaforte and his associate Rick Gates were charged and convicted for a host of actions taken before the Trump Campaign even began and involved nothing to do with the election or Mr. Trump.

Americans expect those — ALL those — who break the laws of the U.S. should face prosecution for their illegal actions. (That includes those who enter the nation illegally as illegal immigrants.) Those same Americans are aghast that any of those who break laws are allowed to skate with no accountability and are never charged for their crimes.

The reality of a “Deep State” with extremely intrusive political power is confirmed over and over as many politically connected Americans actually commit illegal actions for which they are never prosecuted. Each is an example of a two-tiered justice system: one that’s good for politically connected people and a second-tier applicable only for the rest of Americans — those who are NOT connected to VIP’s.

The actions of the Robert Mueller team proved that system exists. Recent actions confirm its existence but confirm that this “New” justice system is deeper and far wider than was first thought.

DOJ “Anti-Trump” Operatives Who Colluded to “Dump Trump”

Who will ever forget these:

  • Former FBI Director James Comey
  • DNI Director James Clapper
  • CIA Director John Brennan
  • Bruce and Nelli Ohr
  • Lisa Page
  • Peter Strozk
  • Susan Rice
  • The Impeachment Whistleblower
  • Christopher Steele
  • Glen Simpson
  • Hillary Clinton
  • Uma Abedin

Each of these worked in the Department of Justice, FBI, the White House or were involved directly with the Clinton Campaign during the 2016 election cycle regarding how to make certain Donald Trump did NOT win. Each of these have been implicated with “reasonable” evidence of illegal activity far more serious than was the basis used to take-down Michael Flynn, Roger Stone, and George Papadopoulos. Don’t forget: Inspector General Horowitz in his criminal referral to the DOJ of Andrew McCabe included a significant basis for McCabe’s prosecution.

The anger from Americans for all of the above is headed toward all-out rage. This comes exclusively because there is no explanation offered by the DOJ or any other agency for none of these — NONE — being prosecuted when their crimes are front-and-center in the faces of all Americans!

Summary

We’ve tried to be generous to the government regarding no legal actions being taken against those committing these unforgivable acts that often have been illegal. We’ve searched for plausible explanations for the prosecutorial inactions. But, honestly, we keep coming up empty. There’s no believable reason we can find for the lack of equal justice for these wrongdoers as compared to Flynn, Papadopoulos, Stone and even several others.

What’s believable? The only explanation I can find is this:

If you’re a working-class American with no political ties but just do your best in your town or city to raise a family, you’re NOT eligible to receive the same justice as are POLITICOS.

If you’re a federal politician with close ties to career workers at the DOJ, FBI, and intelligence agencies, there’s a good chance you can find a way to obtain a free pass that will exclude you from that “other” justice.

When the dirt began to be released about career bureaucrats who joined together to keep Donald Trump from office and then to remove him, Americans were told by political leaders, “Most of the rank and file workers at the Department of Justice and the FBI are good people who love the Country and authentic justice. The few whose political hatred and animus we’ve seen uncovered are in the minority, and there’s only a handful of them.”

Americans no longer believe that.

I still have the conviction that the DOJ is probably in the midst of ongoing investigations into these and others. We know those have been and are still underway at the hands of Federal Prosecutor John Durham of Connecticut. And Durham announced when they turned from “inquiries” to “criminal investigations.”

Americans don’t have much confidence that anything will come of this. So far, not one of the “black hat” guys has been brought to justice. McCabe is an example of that. Hillary, Comey, Obama, and a host of former Obama Administration members still hold their breaths, praying they’ll too get a pass as did McCabe. The “white hat” guys have all either been busted, run out of town or the country, or are hiding hoping to not show up in someone’s bullseye.

Is that the America in which we want to live? Do we not want and expect everyone to receive justice based on the same criteria as that for those in government and politics? Americans simply want “Equal Justice under the Law“– no special favors, no tricks by law enforcement officers, and simple truth.

We learned long ago that among the American public, “perception is reality.” Today’s American perception of the Justice System is that it has branched into two branches. Until that is disproven through actual examples that are rolled out in the public consistently, distrust for fairness under our justice system exists and will sadly continue to grow.

Americans are not supposed to feel that way. If your name is Kerry, Comey, Clinton, McCabe, Smith or Jones, Lady Justice shown above promised us all she’d be blind.

She’s peeking pretty regularly right now.

Play

U.S. Senators Caught Breaking Serious Federal Law

Today we are looking directly into the face of government anarchy and the hypocrisy by the Left in the U.S. that we’ve always known but have never before seen it so blatantly thrown into the faces of the American public. Three U.S. Senators and a former Secretary of State have purposely and secretly been meeting with the Foreign Minister of the country named by the U.S. as the leading promoter of terrorism on Earth: Iran.

I thought our government is at odds with Iran. Isn’t Iran the #1 funder of terrorist activities all around the world? Are not the streets of Tehran filled with Iranians most weekends demonstrating against the U.S., stomping on and burning our flag while yelling, “Death to Americans?” Why would our government secretly send a group of U.S. Senators to negotiate with Iran’s foreign minister?

The answer: Our government DIDN’T send them! They went on their own with no conversations with our State Department or coordination with anyone else in the Trump Administration.

   Sen. Van Hollen (D-MD)

Those senators led by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut secretly met Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Germany during the Munich Security Conference over the weekend, according to U.S.-based news outlet The Federalist. According to senior editor Mollie Hemingway, whose tweets are occasionally retweeted by PresidentTrump, the report cited a high-level source briefed by a French delegation to the event.

“Chris Murphy and other Democratic Senators held a secret meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif last week, a high-level source reports. His office is not responding to repeated requests for comment,” tweeted Hemingway.

In her report, she said, “A State Department official who spoke on background said that the State Department was not aware of any side meetings with Iranian officials in which Murphy was engaged. Such a meeting would mean Murphy had done the type of secret coordination with foreign leaders to potentially undermine the U.S. government that he accused Trump officials of doing as they prepared for Trump’s administration,” Hemingway said.

Senators Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, as well as former Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, also attended the event.

During the event on Saturday, both Murphy and Zarif publicly discussed and grilled U.S. policies on the Middle East at a two-hour-session.

The 56th Munich Security Conference took place on February 14-16. For three days, the conference was at the center of international diplomacy and welcomed world leaders from politics, academia, and civil society.

More about those Senators in a bit…

       Former Sec. of State John Kerry

Former Secretary of State John Kerry admitted that he’s met with top Iranian officials in hopes of salvaging the scrapped nuclear deal — as he slammed the Trump administration for trying to further “isolate” Iran.

The one-time presidential candidate said he’s sat down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “three or four times” in places including Norway and Munich since leaving office.

“What I have done is tried to elicit from him what Iran might be willing to do in order to change the dynamic in the Middle East for the better,” Kerry explained in an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt. “What do you do to try to get peace in Syria? I mean, those are the things that really are preoccupying, because those are the impediments to people, to Iran’s ability to convince people that it’s ready to embrace something different.”

Background

Constitutional experts have argued for decades about who in the U.S. government has power over foreign policy. Regarding “normal” policy matters, the President has always handled such matters. But when differences result in matters of military actions, Congress has the sole power from the War Powers Act to declare war.

Past Presidents have skirted the War Powers Act when they initiated American military intervention in foreign countries. Obama went to Libya with no Congressional approval. Just as a note: that action in Libya resulted in the deaths of four Americans at the Benghazi consulate. Obama took solo actions regarding Syria and ISIS. Bush 43 in ,the shadow of the New York twin-towers rubble, went to Congress for permission to take-on Saadam Hussein in  Iraq.

Those are not “normal” foreign policy matters. But they certainly are about foreign policy. All-out war definitely falls under the direction of Congress.

There have been historical interventions into foreign policy matters by others than the current President. Doing so is very dangerous, especially in light of the tenuous relationships that currently and for many years have existed between the U.S. and North Korea, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. One would think all those in government would be careful about any and all actions either Congress or the Administration take directly with those countries and surely would alert the other Branch in advance of such actions.

Few realize there is a U.S. federal law that prohibits such actions by those unauthorized to do so from happening: The Logan Act.

The Logan Act

The Logan Act has remained almost unchanged and unused since its passage. The act is short and reads as follows:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply, himself or his agent, to any foreign government or the agents thereof for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

The language of the act appears to encompass almost every communication between a U.S. citizen and a foreign government considered an attempt to influence negotiations between their two countries. Because the language is so broad in scope, legal scholars and judges have suggested that the Logan Act is unconstitutional. Historically, the act has been used more as a threat to those engaged in various political activities than as a weapon for prosecution. In fact, Logan Act violations have been discussed in almost every administration without any serious attempt at enforcement, and to date, there have been no convictions and only one recorded indictment.

One example of the act’s use as a threat of prosecution involved the Reverend Jesse Jackson. In 1984, Jackson took well-publicized trips to Cuba and Nicaragua and returned with several Cuban political prisoners seeking asylum in the United States. President Ronald Reagan stated that Jackson’s activities may have violated the law, but Jackson was not pursued beyond a threat.

The only Logan Act indictment occurred in 1803. It involved a Kentucky newspaper article that argued for the formation in the western United States of a separate nation allied to France. No prosecution followed.

Do you see any potential conflict with this law that seems to have stepped cross the line? 

Sen. Menendez (D-NJ)

Senators Chris Murphy, Robert Menendez, and Chris Van Hollen certainly are concerned about U.S. relations with the nation of Iran. They were each in full support of President Obama’s Nuclear Agreement with Iran to prevent Iran from, voluntarily, further pursuing nuclear weapons. But that’s not the job of a small group of American Senators.

I have huge problems with what these three Senators and John Kerry did on their own, and Kerry multiple times.

How does the U.S. historically acts to set foreign policy with countries when negotiations become serious and require formal U.S. action. We use treaties. We negotiate treaties to accomplish two things: make certain leaders in both countries are clear on the obligations of each, and to set by agreement the terms and conditions for compliance that includes actions that WILL result from any violation of the treaty.

Barack Obama was adamantly in support of Iran. He worked on that Nuclear Agreement for a long time. If it was meant to be a permanent agreement, then why did Obama not bring the agreement to the Senate to be ratified as an official treaty? I have my thoughts, but my thoughts are opinion. In this case, all that matters is that there is no treaty with Iran. If there was so much concern by those Obama Democrats about permanently preventing nuclear development by Iran, why did the Obama Administration not seek a permanent fix: a treaty?

It’s important to note that the U.S. entered the Nuclear Agreement solely by the executive action of President Obama. Congress was not part of the process. That apparently was OK with those Senators and other Democrats. But the mysterious and secret details negotiated by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry included $150 Billion dollars released to Iran. That decision was made without Congress even knowing about it. And the last $400 million was sent to Tehran on a U.S. private jet — IN CASH!

Sen. Murphy (D-CT)

That smelled to Americans. The stench of that transaction and the subsequent discovery that the Nuclear Iran deal that was supposed to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons only slowed them down for a few years. It never was agreed that they would forever cease their nuclear military programs.

On another note regarding these Senators meeting with Iranians, Sen. Murphy is heavily involved with the lobbying group, the National Iranian American Council, a group that has ties directly to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Republican Senators Braun, Cotton, and Cruz have requested that the Department of Justice investigate the group for violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

The Braun, Cotton, and Cruz Senators wrote to Murphy, Van Hollen and Menendez about their meetings with Iranians calling those meetings “interactions that purport to improve understanding between American and Iranian people but in reality, seem to spread propaganda and lobby on behalf of the Iranian government.”

There is also evidence to support that Zarif founded the group himself.

Summary

I am going to cut right to the chase: it is my opinion based on my understanding from the plain language of the Logan Act that former Secretary of State John Kerry, Senators Chris Murphy, Chris Van Hollen, and Robert Menendez have committed felony acts by breaking the terms of the Logan Act:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

We Americans are NOT stupid — we can read. There is no doubt in my mind that Kerry and the Senators met in Iran with intent to influence the conduct of members of the Iran government. And they had NO authorizations to take such actions.

And Kerry has met by himself previously wit,h Zarif to apologize for President Trump. Kerry even told Zarif that (paraphrased), “He won’t be in office for too long. We’ll get this all straight and the Agreement put back in place with the next election.”

What Kerry and these Senators have done is exactly what numerous previous Americans have been convicted of, several of which are in prison today. For any American to legally be in meetings and discussions with leaders of foreign agents, they must be registered with the U.S. State Department before conducting any meetings. These four politicians did NOT register as agents. They should pay the same price for their wrongdoing as have so many other Americans.

I have always held respect for the offices held by those in government over me. In this case, I think all these Senators and Kerry by doing what they’ve done are not just guilty of that one felony offense, I feel their actions arguably are acts of treason.

Some will say, “The Constitution does not preclude Senators from taking such actions, so their doing so is not illegal.”

That’s exactly why CONGRESS passed the Logan Act! Their meeting with Zarif is criminal.

Congress — who holds the exclusive power to craft and pass laws in the U.S. — passed The Logan Act telling everyone not to collude with foreign governments about matters between the U.S. and those other countries. It seems that doing so did not just get started. Apparently one of these and two OTHER U.S. Senators also stuck their noses into Ukrainian matters back in 2018. A letter was delivered to Ukraine from Washington by Sens. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Richard Durbin of Illinois and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, expressly asking a Ukraine prosecutor if he were fully cooperating with then-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged “collusion” between Russia and the Trump 2016 campaign.

Once again, we ask: “Where is the Department of Justice on this matter? Where is the FBI?”

Or is it simply that current and past members of Congress are immune to the laws THEY pass? Are they better than other Americans?

What they did is NO different than any American — ANY American — approaching a foreign government to discuss specifics of the political relationship between that country and the U.S.

Americans are tired of having to point to the obvious evidence of their being a “two-tiered” system of Justice in the United States: one that applies to members of the federal government and their minions and one that applies to everyone else.

“Equal justice under the law” Where did it go?

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