Switzerland’s Plan to Stop Stockpiling Coffee Proves Hard to Swallow

No coffee?!!? Ridiculous!

The Swiss are nothing if not well-prepared. Theirs is a country with a nuclear bunker for every household, a country that tests its air raid sirens every year, and a country that, although one of the wealthiest in the world, stockpiles thousands of tonnes of goods in case of an emergency — including coffee.

But when the Swiss government proposed ending the stockpiling of coffee earlier this year, the plan was met with fierce resistance.

The drink, low in calories and with little nutritional value, did not belong, the government said, on the “essential to life” list.

But this led to a public outcry. The Swiss are among the world’s biggest drinkers of coffee, and many, it seems, do regard it as “essential”. Faced with such a public response, the government said it would reconsider.

Not sure if AOC is finally being honest or if she’s too dense to realize she just gave the whole thing away?

Embrace the mighty power of ‘And’. 

Ocasio-Cortez: Impeachment Could Prevent a ‘Disastrous Outcome’ in 2020

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) on Wednesday said that impeaching President Donald Trump is necessary to prevent a “disastrous outcome” in 2020.

“This is not just about something that has occurred, this is about preventing a potentially disastrous outcome from occurring next year,” she said.

 

ISIS Bride Who Wanted to ‘Spill Blood’ of Americans Pleads to Return: ‘I Want to Have My Own Car’

Her own car? What for, so she can make it a VBIED?
I’d give her a ride though. Straight to hell.
Yes, I believe in equal opportunity for all jihadies.

NBC News wants you to pity Hoda Muthana, and who are you, O mortal, to answer back to NBC News? Hoda is a simple, down-to-earth, hijab-wearing Alabama gal who decided one day to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State (ISIS). But hey, everyone makes mistakes, right? “I want to have my own car,” pines Hoda, and how could you possibly resist such an all-American appeal?

Only the most grudging “Islamophobe” would dare to note that Hoda’s desire to have her own car is downright chilling in light of her earlier call for Muslims in America to “go on drive-bys, and spill all of their blood” — that is, the blood of the unbelievers that Hoda can’t wait to return and live among now………….

According to NBC, Hoda Muthana’s plight, her fear, her difficulty getting out of bed, her stomach aches, her headaches, her day-to-day struggle, is the fault of – who else? – President Trump, who said several months ago that he had ordered Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to allow Hoda to reenter the United States. The Trump administration contends that Hoda is not an American citizen, for while she was born in New Jersey, she is the daughter of a Yemeni government official who was only here temporarily, and so is not entitled to birthright citizenship. Pompeo also bluntly stated the core of the problem with her returning to Alabama: “She’s a terrorist.”

Tacoma City Council Increases Prices on Firearm, Ammunition Sales

I guess a city in Washington state can do this even when the state legislature has preemption on gun law. If it was me with a gun business in Tacoma, I’d move right outside the city limits and advertise like crazy.

The Tacoma, Washington, City Council voted Tuesday to increase prices on firearm and ammunition sales within city limits.
Fox News reports that the council did this by passing new taxes that will amount to an additional $25 on the price of every gun, two cents on the price of every round of .22 ammunition, and five cents on the price of every round of ammunition that is of higher caliber than .22.

The council approved the tax hike by a vote of 8-0.

The council expects the city of Tacoma to “raise about $300,000 annually” off the imposition, and they say they will use the money to fight violence.

On August 12, 2015, Breitbart News reported Seattle’s adoption of a similar tax and less than two years later Money reported, “It didn’t work.”

Money reported Seattle’s City Council predicted the tax would “raise $300,000 to $500,000” annually. In reality, it brought in less than $200,000. However, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that the tax did achieve one end–it drove licensed, law-abiding gun dealers outside of city limits where they could avoid paying the tax.

Also, violence in Seattle surged as licensed gun dealers moved outside the city to avoid the new taxes.

 

SEN. HIRONO: AMERICANS SHOULD ‘BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE AS THOUGH IT’S RELIGION’

Her level of intelligence never has impressed me

Even as she acknowledged its not a religion, Sen. Mazi Hirono (D-Hawaii.) encouraged Americans Tuesday to embrace climate change “as though it’s religion.”

Hirono was speaking to a group of DACA activists at a Center for American Progress organized prayer breakfast. The gathering preceded the group marching to the Supreme Court, where the high court is hearing arguments on President Trump’s effort to end Deferred Action Against Childhood Arrivals (or, DACA).

Listing action items for the gathered immigration activists, Sen. Hirono included climate change

Sen. Hirono said: “And the third [thing to do] is, leaving our comfort zone. And for a lot of us, protesting, marching, that’s not something that we normally do, but, you know what? These are times that call for us to do those things that we believe in and to march.”

“And not just to march,” she continued, “because that’s important to show solidarity, but then to do those things, such as voter registration, get people to — out to vote so that we can have people here who truly are committed to human rights and environmental rights, climate change, believe in climate change as though it’s a religion (it’s not it’s a science), and all the things that remains to be done and there’s a lot.”

“This is a very divided country,” she said, “these are not normal times.”

This just in:

The Supreme Court has denied cert. for the Remington v Soto case in Connecticut where the state is allowing a suit against Remington to proceed under their  Unfair Trade Practice law.

The orders list is here:

CERTIORARI DENIED

19-168 REMINGTON ARMS CO., LLC, ET AL. V. SOTO, DONNA L., ET AL

SCOTUS Gun Watch, Episode 4

More surprising to me than the fact that the Court denied review was the fact that there was no noted dissent from the denial.

Alex Vindman Is Living, Breathing Proof That The Deep State Exists, And It Is Corrupt.
Democrats and the Deep State have elevated more policy disagreements to what amounts to an attempted coup. Just listen to Alex Vindman.

Remember the original ‘Seven Days In May’ movie with Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster? A military officer let his supposed patriotism override his oath to defend the Constitution ( which makes the President the head of State and maker of Policy) because he didn’t hold with the political and policy decisions of the President and decided to do something about it. This is as close a deal as you can get in real life to what this officer did: Decide he didn’t like the President’s policy as it conflicted with what he figured policy should be.

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman is living, breathing, testifying proof the Deep State exists. He has shown his true colors and the agenda of the self-appointed elites who think they run this country.

Let me state categorically that I am not implying dual loyalty or questioning Vindman’s patriotism or even his devotion to duty as he sees it. I’m questioning his judgment about where that duty lies and the execution of those duties as a military officer and civil servant.

Vindman’s Testimony Gives the Game Away

But Vindman gave the game away with his prepared testimony. He believes the permanent bureaucracy should reign supreme, and if some elected politician gets crosswise with the solons of the state, then they must act. So he did, as he detailed in his prepared statement and testimony to Congress. From the statement: “In the Spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency. This narrative was harmful to U.S. government policy.”

There is a lot of wrong in those two sentences, which profoundly illustrate the fundamental flaw Vindman and his fellow Deep Staters operate under. The interagency he mentions is a collection of staff from the major agencies like the State Department, Department of Defense, and intelligence agencies, who meet to coordinate and plan implementation of policy. They most certainly are not supposed to decide what policy the United States will follow. That is 100 percent the purview of the president.

Kenneth Anderson: The Fragmenting of the New Class Elites, or, Downward Mobility.

In social theory, OWS is best understood not as a populist movement against the bankers, but instead as the breakdown of the New Class into its two increasingly disconnected parts. The upper tier, the bankers-government bankers-super credentialed elites. But also the lower tier, those who saw themselves entitled to a white collar job in the Virtue Industries of government and non-profits – the helping professions, the culture industry, the virtueocracies, the industries of therapeutic social control, as Christopher Lasch pointed out in his final book, The Revolt of the Elites.

The two tiers of the New Class have always had different sources of rents, however. For the upper tier, since 1990, it has come through its ability to take the benefits of generations of US social investment in education and sell that expertise across global markets – leveraging expertise and access to capital and technological markets in the 1990s to places in Asia and the former communist world in desperate need of it.

As Lasch said, the revolt and flight of the elites, to marketize themselves globally as free agents – to take the social capital derived over many generations by American society, and to go live in the jet stream and extract returns on a global scale for that expertise. But that expertise is now largely commodified – to paraphrase David Swenson on financial engineering, that kind of universal expertise is commodified, cheaply available, and no longer commands much premium. As those returns have come under pressure, the Global New Class has come home, looking to command premiums through privileged access to the public-private divide – access most visible at the moment as virtuous new technology projects that turn out to be mere crony capitalism.

The lower tier is in a different situation and always has been. It is characterized by status-income disequilibrium, to borrow from David Brooks; it cultivates the sensibilities of the upper tier New Class, but does not have the ability to globalize its rent extraction.

The helping professions, the professions of therapeutic authoritarianism (the social workers as well as the public safety workers), the virtuecrats, the regulatory class, etc., have a problem – they mostly service and manage individuals, the client-consumers of the welfare state. Their rents are not leveraged very much, certainly not globally, and are limited to what amounts to an hourly wage.

The method of ramping up wages, however, is through public employee unions and their own special ability to access the public-private divide. But, as everyone understands, that model no longer works, because it has overreached and overleveraged, to the point that even the system’s most sympathetic politicians understand that it cannot pay up.

The upper tier is still doing pretty well. But the lower tier of the New Class – the machine by which universities trained young people to become minor regulators and then delivered them into white collar positions on the basis of credentials in history, political science, literature, ethnic and women’s studies – with or without the benefit of law school – has broken down.

The supply is uninterrupted, but the demand has dried up. The agony of the students getting dumped at the far end of the supply chain is in large part the OWS. As Above the Law points out, here is “John,” who got out of undergrad, spent a year unemployed and living at home, and is now apparently at University of Vermont law school, with its top ranked environmental law program – John wants to work at a “nonprofit.”

Pity the poor avocado-eating graduates: University-educated millennials have absorbed elite values but will never enjoy the lifestyle.

Countless articles have rehearsed the class insecurities of the “left behind” Brexiters. Generally these unfortunates are depicted fulminating over pasties and ale in shabby market towns and grim post-industrial cities outside the London area. The object of their antipathy is the shiny “elite”, plugged into a promise-filled, multicultural urban life and the knowledge economy, seemingly buoyant in the new, frictionless modern world.

Leaving aside its substantive, real-world pros and cons, Europhilia has become a mark of devotion to the culture and worldview associated with this “elite” and the modern world it navigates. It is a value set strongly correlated with tertiary education and that has come to be called “openness”. . . .

Meanwhile, the boom in openness-promoting tertiary education produced not so much a boom in graduate jobs as inflation in the qualification levels required to do the jobs we already had. This has left many young people struggling to service a mountain of debt on salaries that are never likely to show much of the “graduate premium” they were promised.

Today, thanks in part to the “open” economy whose values form the foundation of the “cultural Remain” identity, the cost of living — and especially home ownership — has rocketed. Simple aspirations that were within the reach of the working class in the 20th century are an unattainable dream today for millions of young people far higher up the sociocultural pile. And yet those young graduates have all, in the course of moving away to get their degree, absorbed the “open” value set now explicitly taught in tertiary education.

The result is an Everywhere precariat, that has absorbed the values of a world that has little to offer it in terms of concrete benefits, and resolves this conflict by renting the heavily-subsidised and internet-enabled perks of a smarter lifestyle than it can afford to buy. Where once rentals might have just been housing and cars, today that can even include clothing.

Google signs healthcare data and cloud computing deal with Ascension

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google has signed its biggest cloud computing customer in healthcare to date, in a deal giving it access to datasets that could help it tune potentially lucrative artificial intelligence (AI) tools.

Google and Ascension, which operates 150 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities across the United States, said the healthcare provider would move some data and analytics tools in its facilities to Google’s servers.

The deal was mentioned in Google’s July earnings call, but drew scrutiny on Monday after the Wall Street Journal reported on.wsj.com/2q3WCer that Google would gain personal health-related information of millions of Americans across 21 states.

The Journal reported that the data involved in the project includes lab results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalization records, among other categories, and amounts to a complete health history, along with patient names and dates of birth.

Google said in a blog post on Monday that patient data “cannot and will not be combined with any Google consumer data.”

Won’t be combined? Pull my finger.

ANALYSIS: Democrats have a Colonel Vindman problem.

House Democrats conducted their impeachment interviews in secret, but Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman still emerged as star of the show. Appearing at his Oct. 29 deposition in full dress uniform, the decorated Army officer, now a White House National Security Council Ukraine expert, was the first witness who had actually listened to the phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that is at the heart of the Democratic impeachment campaign.
Even though lawmakers were forbidden to discuss his testimony in public, Vindman’s leaked opening statement that “I did not think it was proper [for Trump] to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen” exploded on news reports.

Vindman has not yet been scheduled to appear before the Democrats’ public impeachment hearings. When that happens, he will undoubtedly again play a prominent role. But there will be a difference. The public now has a transcript of Vindman’s deposition. And those who have taken the trouble to read the 340-page document will have a different picture of Vindman’s testimony than the one presented in early media reports.

Yes, Vindman testified repeatedly that he “thought it was wrong” for Trump, speaking with Zelensky, to bring up the 2016 election and allegations of Ukraine-related corruption on the part of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden.
But the Vindman transcript also showed a witness whose testimony was filled with opinion, with impressions, who had little new to offer, who withheld important information from the committee, who was steeped in a bureaucracy that has often been hostile to the president, and whose lawyer, presumably with Vindman’s approval, expressed unmistakable disdain, verging on contempt, for members of Congress who asked inconvenient questions.
In short, Vindman’s testimony was not the slam-dunk hit Democrats portrayed it to be. And that raises questions about how it will play when Vindman goes before the world in a public impeachment hearing.

Here are four problems with the Vindman testimony:

1) Beyond his opinions, he had few new facts to offer. Vindman seemed to be an important fact witness, the first who had actually been on the July 25 call when Trump talked to Zelensky. But the White House weeks ago released the rough transcript of that call, which meant everyone in the secure room in which Vindman testified, and everyone on the planet, for that matter, already knew what had been said.

Indeed, Vindman attested to the overall accuracy of the rough transcript, contrary to some impeachment supporters who have suggested the White House is hiding an exact transcript that would reveal everything Trump said to the Ukrainian president.
As one of a half-dozen White House note-takers listening to the call, Vindman testified that he tried unsuccessfully to make a few edits to the rough transcript as it was being prepared.
In particular, Vindman believed that Zelensky specifically said the word “Burisma,” the corrupt Ukrainian energy company that hired Hunter Biden, when the rough transcript referred only to “the company.”
But beyond that, Vindman had no problems with the transcript, and he specifically said he did not believe any changes were made with ill intent.

“You don’t think there was any malicious intent to specifically not add those edits?” asked Republican counsel Steve Castor.

“I don’t think so.”

“So otherwise, this record is complete and I think you used the term ‘very accurate’?”

“Yes,” said Vindman.

Once Vindman had vouched for the rough transcript, his testimony mostly concerned his own interpretation of Trump’s words. And that interpretation, as Vindman discovered during questioning, was itself open to interpretation.

Vindman said he was “concerned” about Trump’s statements to Zelensky, so concerned that he reported it to top National Security Council lawyer John Eisenberg. (Vindman had also reported concerns to Eisenberg two weeks before the Trump-Zelensky call, after a Ukraine-related meeting that included Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.)
Vindman said several times that he was not a lawyer and did not know if Trump’s words amounted to a crime but that he felt they were “wrong.” That was when Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, a former U.S. attorney, tried to get to the root of Vindman’s concerns.
What was really bothering him?
“I’m trying to find out if you were reporting it because you thought there was something wrong with respect to policy or there was something wrong with respect to the law,” Ratcliffe said to Vindman. “And what I understand you to say is that you weren’t certain that there was anything improper with respect to the law, but you had concerns about U.S. policy. Is that a fair characterization?”

“So I would recharacterize it as I thought it was wrong and I was sharing those views,” Vindman answered. “And I was deeply concerned about the implications for bilateral relations, U.S. national security interests, in that if this was exposed, it would be seen as a partisan play by Ukraine. It loses the bipartisan support. And then for — ”

“I understand that,” Ratcliffe said, “but that sounds like a policy reason, not a legal reason.”

Indeed it did. Elsewhere in Vindman’s testimony, he repeated that his greatest worry was that if the Trump-Zelensky conversation were made public, then Ukraine might lose the bipartisan support it currently has in Congress. That, to Ratcliffe and other Republicans, did not seem a sufficient reason to report the call to the NSC’s top lawyer, nor did it seem the basis to begin a process leading to impeachment and a charge of presidential high crimes or misdemeanors.

At another point, Castor asked Vindman whether he was interpreting Trump’s words in an overly alarmist way, especially when Vindman contended that Trump issued a “demand” to Zelensky.

“The president in the transcript uses some, you know, words of hedging from time to time,” Castor said.
“You know, on page 3, he says ‘whatever you can do.’ He ends the first paragraph on page 3, ‘if that’s possible.’ At the top of page 4, ‘if you could speak to him, that would be great.’ ‘So whatever you can do.’ Again, at the top of page 4, ‘if you can look into it.’ Is it reasonable to conclude that those words hedging for some might, you know, lead people to conclude that the president wasn’t trying to be demanding here?”
“I think people want to hear, you know, what they have as already preconceived notions,” Vindman answered, in what may have been one of the more revealing moments of the deposition.
“I’d also point your attention to ‘whatever you can do, it’s very important to do it if that’s possible.'”

“‘If that’s possible,'” Castor stressed.

“Yeah,” said Vindman. “So I guess you can interpret it in different ways.”

2) Vindman withheld important information from investigators. Vindman ended his opening statement in the standard way, by saying, “Now, I would be happy to answer your questions.” As it turned out, that cooperation did not extend to both parties.

The only news in Vindman’s testimony was the fact that he had twice taken his concerns to Eisenberg.
He also told his twin brother, Yevgeny Vindman, who is also an Army lieutenant colonel and serves as a National Security Council lawyer. He also told another NSC official, John Erath, and he gave what he characterized as a partial readout of the call to George Kent, a career State Department official who dealt with Ukraine.
That led to an obvious question: Did Vindman take his concerns to anyone else? Did he discuss the Trump-Zelensky call with anyone else? It was a reasonable question, and an important one.
Republicans asked it time and time again. Vindman refused to answer, with his lawyer, Michael Volkov, sometimes belligerently joining in. Through it all, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff stood firm in favor of keeping his committee in the dark.

Vindman openly conceded that he told other people about the call. The obvious suspicion from Republicans was that Vindman told the person who became the whistleblower, who reported the call to the Intelligence Community inspector general, and who, in a carefully crafted legal document, framed the issue in a way that Democrats have adopted in their drive to remove the president from office.

Vindman addressed the suspicion before anyone raised it. In his opening statement, he said, “I am not the whistleblower … I do not know who the whistleblower is and I would not feel comfortable to speculate as to the identity of the whistleblower.”

Fine, said Republicans. We won’t ask you who the whistleblower is. But if your story is that you were so concerned by the Trump-Zelensky issue that you reported it to Eisenberg, and also to others, well, who all did you tell?
That is when the GOP hit a brick wall from Vindman, his lawyer Volkov, and, most importantly, Schiff.
As chairman of the Intelligence Committee, charged with overseeing the intelligence community, Schiff might normally want to know about any intelligence community involvement in the matter under investigation.
But in the Vindman deposition, Schiff strictly forbade any questions about it. “Can I just caution again,” he said at one point, “not to go into names of people affiliated with the IC in any way.”
The purpose of it all was to protect the identity of the whistleblower, who Schiff incorrectly claimed has “a statutory right to anonymity.”

That left Republicans struggling to figure out what happened. “I’m just trying to better understand who the universe of people the concerns were expressed to,” said Castor.

“Look, the reason we’re objecting is not — we don’t want — my client does not want to be in the position of being used to identifying the whistleblower, okay?” said Volkov. “And based on the chair’s ruling, as I understand it, [Vindman] is not required to answer any question that would tend to identify an intelligence officer.”

“Okay,” Castor said to Vindman. “Did you express concerns to anybody, you know, that doesn’t fall under this category of someone who might be the whistleblower, or is Eisenberg the only — ”

“No,” said Vindman. “In my coordination role, as I actually said in the statement, in my opening … in performing my coordination role as director on the National Security Council, I provide readouts of relevant meetings and communications to [redacted] properly cleared counterparts with a relevant need to know.”

What did that mean, exactly? Vindman didn’t tell anybody else, he just provided readouts? On a need-to-know basis? Republicans tried on several occasions to figure it out. “Some of the other people that you raised concerns to, did you ask any of those folks to do anything with the concerns?” asked Castor.

That only prompted more bureaucratese from the witness. “I don’t think that’s an accurate characterization, counsel,” Vindman said. “I think what I did was I fulfilled my coordination role and spoke to other national security professionals about relevant substance in the call so that they could take appropriate action. And frankly, it’s hard to — you know, without getting into, you know, sources and methods, it’s hard to kind of talk about some of these things.”

So, Vindman’s basic answer was: I won’t tell you because that’s a secret. After several such exchanges, Volkov got tough with lawmakers, suggesting further inquiries might hurt Vindman’s feelings.

“Look, he came here,” Volkov said. “He came here. He tells you he’s not the whistleblower, okay? He says he feels uncomfortable about it. Try to respect his feelings at this point.”

An unidentified voice spoke up. “We’re uncomfortable impeaching the president,” it said.

“Excuse me. Excuse me,” Volkov responded. “If you want to debate it, we can debate it, but what I’m telling you right now is you have to protect the identity of the whistleblower. I get that there may be political overtones. You guys go do what you got to do, but do not put this man in the middle of it.”

Castor spoke up. “So how does it out anyone by saying that he had one other conversation other than the one he had with George Kent?”

“Okay,” said Volkov. “What I’m telling you right now is we’re not going to answer that question. If the chair wants to hold him in contempt for protecting the whistleblower, God be with you. … You don’t need this. You don’t need to go down this. And look, you guys can — if you want to ask, you can ask — you can ask questions about his conversation with Mr. Kent. That’s it. We’re not answering any others.”

“The only conversation that we can speak to Col. Vindman about is his conversation with Ambassador Kent?” asked Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin.

“Correct,” said Volkov, “and you’ve already asked him questions about it.”

“And any other conversation that he had with absolutely anyone else is off limits?”

“No,” said Volkov. “He’s told you about his conversations with people in the National Security Council. What you’re asking him to do is talk about conversations outside the National Security Council. And he’s not going to do that. I know where you’re going.”

“No, actually, you don’t,” said Zeldin.

“Oh, yes, sir,” said Volkov.

“No, you really don’t,” said Zeldin.

“You know what?” said Volkov. “I know what you’re going to say. I already know what you’re going to do, okay? And I don’t want to hear the FOX News questions, okay?”

Zeldin, perhaps seeking to cool Volkov down, said, “Listen, this transcript is going to be out at some point, okay?”

“I hope so,” said Volkov.

Finally, Schiff stepped in to stop things. “The gentleman will suspend,” he said. “Let’s suspend. Counsel has made his position clear. I think his client has made his position clear. Let’s move on.”

It should be noted that Volkov was a lawyer, and members of Congress were members of Congress. The lawyer should not be treating the lawmakers as Volkov did. Volkov was able to tell Republicans to buzz off only because he had Schiff’s full support. And Republicans never found out who else Vindman discussed the Trump-Zelensky call with.

3) There were notable gaps in Vindman’s knowledge. Vindman portrayed himself as the man to see on the National Security Council when it came to issues involving Ukraine. “I’m the director for Ukraine,” he testified. “I’m responsible for Ukraine. I’m the most knowledgeable. I’m the authority for Ukraine for the National Security Council and the White House.” Yet at times there were striking gaps in Vindman’s knowledge of the subject matter. He seemed, for instance, distinctly incurious about the corruption issues in Ukraine that touched on Joe and Hunter Biden.

Vindman agreed with everyone that Ukraine has a serious corruption problem. But he knew little specifically about Burisma, the nation’s second-largest privately owned energy company, and even less about Mykola Zlochevsky, the oligarch who runs the firm.

“What do you know about Zlochevsky, the oligarch that controls Burisma?” asked Castor.

“I frankly don’t know a huge amount,” Vindman said.

“Are you aware that he’s a former Minister of Ecology”? Castor asked, referring to a position Zlochevsky allegedly used to steer valuable government licenses to Burisma.

“I’m not,” said Vindman.

“Are you aware of any of the investigations the company has been involved with over the last several years?”

“I am aware that Burisma does have questionable business dealings,” Vindman said. “That’s part of the track record, yes.”

“Okay. And what questionable business dealings are you aware of?” asked Castor. Vindman said he did not know beyond generalities. “The general answer is I think they have had questionable business dealings,” Vindman said.

Castor then noted that in 2014 Burisma “undertook an initiative to bring in some additional folks for their board, are you aware of some of the folks they added to their board in 2014?”

“The only individual I’m aware of, again, after, you know, as it’s been reported in the press is Mr. Hunter Biden,” Vindman said.

“Okay,” said Castor. “And did you check with any of your authoritative sources in government to learn a little bit more about these issues?”

“I did not,” said Vindman. “I didn’t think it was appropriate. He was a U.S. citizen, and I wasn’t going to ask questions.”

A short time later, Castor asked, “And do you have any knowledge as to why Hunter Biden was asked to join the board?”

“I do not.”

“Did you check with any of your authoritative sources whether he was a corporate governance expert or — ”

“Like I said, I didn’t,” Vindman answered. “He’s an American citizen. Certainly there are domestic political overtones. I did not think that was appropriate for me to start looking into this particular … I drew my conclusions on Burisma and I moved on.”

Vindman had other blind spots, as well. One important example concerned U.S. provision of so-called lethal aid to Ukraine, specifically anti-tank missiles known as Javelins. The Obama administration famously refused to provide Javelins or other lethal aid to Ukraine, while the Trump administration reversed that policy, sending a shipment of missiles in 2018. On the Trump-Zelensky call, the two leaders discussed another shipment in the future.

“Both those parts of the call, the request for investigation of Crowd Strike and those issues, and the request for investigation of the Bidens, both of those discussions followed the Ukraine president saying they were ready to buy more Javelins. Is that right?” asked Schiff.

“Yes,” said Vindman.

“There was a prior shipment of Javelins to Ukraine, wasn’t there?” said Schiff.

“So that was, I believe — I apologize if the timing is incorrect — under the previous administration, there was a — I’m aware of the transfer of a fairly significant number of Javelins, yes,” Vindman said.

Vindman’s timing was incorrect. Part of the entire Trump-Ukraine story is the fact that Trump sent the missiles while Obama did not. The top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council did not seem to know that.

4) Vindman was a creature of a bureaucracy that has often opposed President Trump. In his testimony, Vindman’s perspective could be mind-numbingly bureaucratic. One of his favorite words is “interagency,” by which he means the National Security Council’s role in coordinating policy among the State Department, Defense Department, the Intelligence Community, the Treasury Department, and the White House. His bible is something known as NSPM-4, or National Security Presidential Memorandum 4. He says things such as, “So I hold at my level sub-PCCs, Deputy Assistant Secretary level. PCCs are my boss, senior director with Assistant Secretaries. DCs are with the deputy of the National Security Council with his deputy counterparts within the interagency.” He believes the interagency has set a clear U.S. policy toward Ukraine.

“You said in your opening statement, or you indicated at least, that there’s a fairly consensus policy within the interagency towards Ukraine,” Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman said to Vindman. “Could you just explain what that consensus policy is, in your own words?”

“What I can tell you is, over the course of certainly my tenure there, since July 2018, the interagency, as per normal procedures, assembles under the NSPM-4, the National Security Policy [sic] Memorandum 4, process to coordinate U.S. government policy,” Vindman said. “We, over the course of this past year, probably assembled easily a dozen times, certainly at my level, which is called a subpolicy coordinating committee — and that’s myself and my counterparts at the Deputy Assistant Secretary level — to discuss our views on Ukraine.”

That is a classic bureaucrat’s view of government and the world. Needless to say, Trump does not do that sort of thing. The president is remarkably freewheeling, unbureaucratic, and certainly not always consistent when it comes to making policy. But he generally has a big goal in mind, and in any event, he is the president of the U.S. He, not the interagency, sets U.S. foreign policy.

Still, Vindman was deeply upset when Trump, relying on Rudy Giuliani and others, turned his attention to Ukraine. “In the spring of 2019, I became aware of outside influencers promoting a false narrative of Ukraine inconsistent with the consensus views of the interagency,” Vindman said in his opening statement. The outside influencers, he suggested, were undermining the work of his “interagency colleagues.” In the words of the Washington Post, Vindman was “deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy.”

Vindman’s discussion of the interagency, while dry as dust, might contain the key to his role in the Trump-Ukraine affair. In the last few years, the bureaucracy with which he so clearly identified has often been at odds, sometimes privately and sometimes publicly, with the president. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, writing in a new book, said two top officials, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and White House chief of staff John Kelly, sought to undermine Trump to “save the country.”

“It was their decisions, not the president’s, that were in the best interest of America, they said,” Haley wrote. “The president didn’t know what he was doing.”

That view extended deep into some areas of the government. Now, parts of the foreign policy bureaucracy are in open war with the president, channeling their grievances through the House Democrats’ drive toward impeachment. When he testifies in public, Vindman will be the living embodiment of that bureaucratic war.

THE BIGGEST THREAT TO OUR FUTURE

A stupid, ignorant, indoctrinated, instead of educated population is easier to control.

We face a lot of threats, of course–asteroids, rogue nuclear nations, stateless terrorism, pandemics–but in my opinion, the biggest threat to America’s future is our unbelievably bad public school system. It is hard for those (like me) who went through the public schools decades ago to understand how much things have changed. Academic standards have collapsed; objective testing is out of fashion; corrupt left-wing unions have taken nearly complete control; indoctrination has largely replaced education. The result is that we are raising a generation of ignoramuses.

Michael Ramirez ties the public education fiasco to Veterans Day.

I think we are rapidly approaching a point where there is a serious question whether our population is too dumb to sustain a democracy.

Nolte: Snopes Confirms Dems Tried to Impeach Every Elected GOP President Since Eisenhower

The fake, far-left fact check site Snopes accidentally confirmed that Democrats have sought to impeach every elected Republican president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Naturally, while confirming this, the garbage fire of fake news that is Snopes rated what is “mostly true” as “mostly false.”

The claim is: “Have Democrats Tried to Impeach Every GOP President Since Ike?”

Snopes decided to fact check this claim based on a popular meme that shows a black and white photo of Gen. Eisenhower above a caption that reads “INTERESTING FACT!!! Did you know Democrats have tried to impeach every Republican President since Eisenhower???”

Looking to debunk this mostly true claim, Snopes accidentally confirms that Democrats have indeed tried to impeach every elected Republican president since Eisenhower [emphasis mine]:

The U.S. has had six republican presidents since Eisenhower left office in 1961: Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. The claim is wrong on its face because Democrats made no effort to impeach Ford. While a handful of Democratic lawmakers have introduced articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents, in most cases these efforts weren’t taken seriously by the party at large. Nixon and Trump have been the only Republican presidents since Ike who have faced a serious threat of impeachment.

So, Snopes has indeed confirmed that Democrats have “introduced articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents,” the sole exception being Gerald Ford, who was not elected.

Ford was not even elected to the vice presidency; he was appointed by Nixon after his original vice president, Spiro Agnew, resigned in disgrace over a matter that had nothing to do with Watergate.

What’s more, Ford was president for only a little more than two years.

But there you have it — confirmation from a left-wing fact check site that Democrats sought to impeach five of the last six Republican presidents and sought to impeach every Republican elected to the presidency since Eisenhower.

Granted, the meme that claims Democrats tried to impeach every president since Ike is not 100 percent accurate. But after Snopes confirmed the meme was 5/6th correct, why is a mostly accurate claim hit with a verdict of “mostly false”?

I think we all know the answer to that one…

Because it is a damning fact that proves just how anti-democratic the Democrats are, what a bunch of sore losers they are, and Snopes is not a real fact-checking site, it is a Palace Guard for the political left.

So Snopes splits hairs between what it describes as “serious” impeachment efforts and efforts that never went beyond a lawmaker introducing articles of impeachment.

So what we have here is Snopes making a subjective opinion about what “tried to impeach every elected Republican president since Eisenhower” means — and wouldn’t you know it? — Snopes’s subjective opinion falls right into the category of aiding and abetting the left.

But by any objective, pro-science standard, the meme in question is MOSTLY TRUE.

Regardless, we should at least thank Snopes for doing the hard work that proves for a fact the following…

Democrats Have Tried to Impeach Every Elected GOP President Since Eisenhower…

Thanks, Snopes!!!

Joe Biden Might Have Just Proposed Human Hunting And Cannibalism As A Rationale For Gun Control

Much like Hillary Clinton before an African American audience, when she breaks into her fake accent in order to try to give the impression that she can relate to people that she’d ordinarily cross the street to avoid, Joe Biden lapses into faux-gun-owner-ese whenever he’s in front of a group that might include a few gun owners. Such was the case in this sparsely attended Biden speech in New Hampshire.

Aside from his lack of facility with some very basic firearms terms screaming that he’s a poseur, the argument is patently stupid. Shotguns are limited to three rounds but only for migratory game birds. For instance, my aging Ithaca pump-action 12-gauge that I’ve had since high school has a five-round magazine and a plug that reduces magazine capacity to two. They are limited in capacity because the phrase “sitting duck” isn’t just something someone thought up and the laws are in place to ensure a regular supply of game birds to facilitate the sale of hunting licenses. Deer hunting has no such limit on magazine capacity because deer are just a little bit harder to kill than geese and you might find that you have to shoot more…hmmm…frequently to hit your quarry.

Unlike human predators, only rarely do game birds invade your home and seek to kill you. When you do need a weapon for home defense, the last thing you want is some goof like QuidProJoe and his fellow travelers leveling the playing field by reducing your magazine capacity and giving the criminal a fighting chance. Humans are notoriously hard to kill, one of my platoon sergeants counseled me that “you have to shoot a man’s weight in bullets at him to kill him,” and if you are surprised by an intruder, you probably aren’t going to have time to grab your back up ammo supply to make up for the magazine that only carries two “clips.”

This is just another dumb idea from one of the least intelligent politicians in the Democrat field, and that, my friends, covers one helluva lot of real estate.

Our Elites Don’t See What’s Coming.

What a world we live in. A confidential asset of a hyper-political CIA director, likely handpicked by the director to spy on the Trump White House, is now called a “whistleblower.” The son of a former vice-president and a current Democrat nominee was apparently eyeball-deep in corruption in Ukraine, and the Left screams that the president—for daring to broach the issue with Ukraine—should be impeached. Political pygmies, otherwise known as the Democrat 2020 field, prance about the country offering up program ideas tallying up to over $200 trillion in the first ten years of operation (against the roughly $44 trillion the government would bring in over the same time). Such programs would cost us millions of jobs, among other bad consequences. Yet we are expected to believe these are serious people.

All the while the mainstream propagandists gaslight us by shrieking that Trump is the corrupt one, that Trump’s ideas are destructive as the economy soars and unemployment remains at 50 year lows. When the Washington Post intones that “Democracy dies in darkness” they evince no apparent awareness of irony. They’re knifing democracy to death every single day.

In the meantime, as our constitutional republic faces the wrecking balls of the Left and is asked to endure as they smash away at every norm that has made this country great, many Republicans find themselves conveniently absent from the action. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), for example, sure does love himself a TV hit—and I have to tell you, his super-duper “enthusiasms” while on TV almost make me want to believe him when he says he is serious about being effective. But then another day goes by and it’s clear he lacks the stones actually to hold hearings and subpoena the corrupt cabal that has massively abused our surveillance state and law enforcement regime.

Richard Burr (R-N.C.)? Well, he’s been off in “la-la land” for quite some time. At some point, for decency’s sake, he should just give the title of chairman of Senate Intel to Mark Warner (D-Va.) so as actually to reflect reality. One would think confronting injustice and illegal behavior should be pretty standard, common sense sort of stuff. But then again, Swamp Creatures are hardly paragons of truth and justice. So let’s assume until things change that Graham and Burr have zero problem with what has happened over the last few years; heck, they might be implicated in what could be uncovered.

This all leads us to a serious problem that we as a country are facing: we’ve been losing trust in our institutions for quite some time……

Seriously. Ask yourself: Do you really trust the FBI? I don’t. With the recent reports from Michael Flynn’s attorney, Sidney Powell, apparently senior FBI agents tampered with 302s, falsifying information to get the results they wanted which had nothing to do with the truth. This was the FBI—supposedly the world’s greatest law enforcement agency. I don’t think so. Until those senior officials go to jail for their abuse of power my distrust of the FBI will continue.

Do you really trust the Justice Department? Maybe. I’ll see what Attorney General Barr and John Durham pursue and actually accomplish. I can assure you, however, if there are not prosecutions with jail time, scratch that institution off the list. The CIA? Forget about it. Congress? You mean the inept worthless institution that sits on its hands and has ceded massive control of the lawmaking function of government to the administrative state? I have to tell you: is there really a point to Congress in its current form? Serious question. It gets slapped around every single day by the administrative state and the courts. Then they have the gall to tell the people, “By golly, we’re out here working so hard you gotta send us back to Congress so re-elect us.” Why precisely? So they can rubber-stamp more spending, tack on a few more cool trillions to our exploding debt?

Ask yourself: do you really think the halls of Congress are mostly populated with intelligent people? Or just functioning idiots? I’m kinda leaning towards the majority of them being functioning idiots. Prove me wrong.

What about the values Americans are supposed to believe in? Rule of law is a farce. And at this point, the idea of Lady Justice being blind and meeting out justice even-handedly borders on the absurd. Quite frankly, speaking of Lady Justice, I haven’t seen her lately. I assume she got mugged in some seamy back alley of the Swamp or offed herself, Epstein-style. Until I actually see the equal application of the law I’m just going to safely assume the current bifurcated legal system has us on a fast track to Banana Republic USA.

So what are we to do? When faith is gone, both of the spiritual and the political variety, what remains? People seek peace and prosperity, and will happily live with an untold number of illusions so long as they have those two things. Perhaps we’ve been doing that for a while. But what happens when those are gone? History shows us that when the ruling class and elites refuse to do what they should and instead do what they can, creating a government rigged in their favor, destroying the rule of law, and papering over corruption and injustice, the peasants pick up pitchforks and torches and they come for those who have behaved so abominably. Perhaps our elites should read more of that history.

Michael Bloomberg is an enemy of freedom

Michael Bloomberg is probably running for president. That’s bad news.

According to the New York Times, the former New York City mayor is making preparations to file for the Alabama Democratic primary. Alabama isn’t an early voting state, but it has an early registration deadline. Key Bloomberg advisers told the Times that this doesn’t mean he’ll surely enter the race, but that he will if he thinks it’s necessary: “We now need to finish the job and ensure that Trump is defeated — but Mike is increasingly concerned that the current field of candidates is not well positioned to do that.”

While I certainly understand the abstract appeal of the idea of adding a more moderate voice to a Democratic primary field that currently boasts Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders as front-runners, voters shouldn’t mistake Bloomberg for someone any more hospitable to liberty and freedom. In fact, the former mayor has made an entire career out of cracking down on individual liberty and building up the nanny state.

Don’t forget, he spent his tenure as NYC mayor fighting the problems that truly matter by … attempting to ban large sodas? And since leaving office, he’s spent much of his time crusading against vaping despite it being much healthier than traditional smoking.

Even on more serious issues, Bloomberg shows contempt for freedom and constitutional liberties. For instance, he supports a robust anti-Second Amendment agenda, which includes everything from so-called universal background checks to all-out bans on certain types of guns to bans on entire age groups from exercising their right to self-defense. And he’s spent millions of dollars trying to elect legislators willing to whittle away at the Second Amendment.

He fairs only somewhat better on First Amendment issues.

For instance, Bloomberg openly dismisses the idea of a free press when he says he expects his reporters at Bloomberg News to never cover him critically. Imagine that attitude in the Oval Office in the hands of someone who has already displayed ample willingness to use the powers of the government to squash individual liberties. Bloomberg’s contempt for press freedom led even a Washington Post writer to decry his “disturbing attitude toward the First Amendment — and democracy generally.”

Oh, and Bloomberg thinks marijuana legalization is “the stupidest thing anyone has ever done.” That’s right, he believes we should throw people in cages for smoking a plant in their backyard. Of course, I doubt the mayor wants to play by his own rules — he has admitted to smoking weed in the past.

There are, of course, some things to like about Michael Bloomberg. He supported charter schools as mayor of New York City and is at least somewhat fiscally conservative. And in a field that included aspirants as insufferable as Beto O’Rourke and Bill de Blasio, there’s no way he’ll be the most obnoxious candidate we’re forced to hear out.

But none of this makes the mayor’s policy positions any less disqualifying.

Bloomberg’s affinity for the nanny state and antipathy toward personal liberty led a writer at the libertarian magazine Reason to dub him a “billionaire busybody who can be counted on to oppose individual freedom in almost every area of life.” Let’s hope that billionaire busybody doesn’t become our next president.