Good afternoon! Here are the top stories from this week that I think you will want to read. Topics include:
- Bible Verse of the Day - Romans 12:12
- Trudeau Fail
- Durham vs. Horowitz involves more than cellphones
- AINSWORTH --- NEXTDOOR: more social media to shape YOUR conversation
- Poll: Impeachment support is growing
- Hunter Biden in the News
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1. DAILY BIBLE VERSE
Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
2. Trudeau Fail:
Here is how Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded on Twitter to the massive protest by truckers against the vaccine mandates and other regulations that are destroying their livelihoods - a protest enjoying broad public support:
“Today in the House, members of Parliament unanimously condemned the antisemitism, Islamophobia, anti-Black racism, homophobia and transphobia that we’ve seen on display in Ottawa over the past number of days. Together, let’s keep working to make Canada more inclusive.”
Wow, you can tell how desperate he is by the fact that he threw the entire kitchen sink of the left’s white supremacy pejoratives at his critics. Usually, they try to parcel out the groundless accusations, but Trudeau is so panicky that he hurled all his worn-out “isms” to see if any of them would stick.
FYI: they didn’t. In fact, take a look at photos of Canada’s truckers and protesters. You’ll note that they’re unlikely “white supremacists,” since most of them are Sikh immigrants from India.
Also from that article: “The increasing number of protesters prompted police to prepare for the possibility of violence. As of now, no injuries or deaths have been reported.” Yes, that’s what an actual “peaceful protest” looks like. You don’t have to overlook any widespread arson to qualify it as “mostly peaceful.”
The only way Trudeau is making Canada more inclusive is that he's bringing so many people together to support the truckers and reject his vacuous woke nonsense.
The good news is that while Trudeau obviously fails to get the message, others can sense which way the wind is blowing, and it’s blowing away from governments seizing more power and trampling on people’s rights with destructive “health emergency” measures that aren't even helping. The premier of Saskatchewan wrote a letter of support for the truckers and set a target date of this month to end vaccination requirements, saying they’re no longer reducing transmission of the Omicron variant. And Quebec’s premier, surprised by the huge public backlash, dropped his plans to tax the unvaccinated.
And it’s not just in Canada: freedom is breaking out all over as public backlash has grown against harsh COVID restrictions that have done little or nothing to reduce COVID deaths.
Watching Trudeau spew all those empty “isms” and seeing that they no longer intimidate people into silence is one of the best pieces of news that Western civilization has seen in years. If for nothing else, those Canadian truckers have earned a big salute from everyone who cares about freedom of thought and speech, limited government and the rights of the individual.
Finally, some perfect illustrations of what I hope is the last gasp of mindless, unscientific COVID compliance theater by our hypocritical elites, check out this photo courtesy of the Gun Free Zone blog.
It’s a group of professional cheerleaders posing with basketball legend Magic Johnson. The young gymnasts in peak physical condition (a group at lowest risk from COVID) are all wearing masks. The only one not wearing a mask is the rich and famous 62-year-old overweight retiree who's had HIV for 31 years.
Magic also wasn’t wearing a mask in these photos with COVID lockdown fanatics, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and California Gov. Gavin Newsom. But then, neither were any of them.
At least Garcetti had an excuse: he held his breath for two seconds. Take that, virus!
3. Durham vs. Horowitz involves more than cellphones:
Over the past couple of weeks, a story has been developing about a ‘rift” between Special Counsel John Durham and Inspector General Michael Horowitz concerning some evidence that Durham had not received from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Just how important is this evidence, and why is Durham only now finding out about it? What does it mean to the Special Counsel investigation? Thanks to some outstanding reporting, this story is starting to gel, but some questions are unanswered.
The Epoch Times has a detailed new piece by Jeff Carlson and Hans Mahncke; it’s “premium,” so we’ve boiled it down and tried to make a complicated legal morass –- which can certainly happen with two investigations going on at the same time –- a little clearer.
Recall that Horowitz’s report was critical of the FBI but ultimately determined –- to the dismay of many, including me –- that the FBI had actually opened “Crossfire Hurricane” in good faith, with adequate “predication” (justification). Keep in mind that the OIG report was internal, dealing only with employees of the Justice (“Justice”) Department, while Durham’s has broad subpoena power and can bring criminal charges.
In a court filing dated January 25, Durham said Horowitz had failed to turn over to his office a couple of cellphones used by FBI General Counsel James Baker. This evidence was needed in connection with two investigations: the prosecution of Clinton attorney Michael Sussmann and the criminal leak investigation of Baker himself.
According to Durham’s updated filing on January 28, Horowitz’s office then told Durham that “the cellphones likely were discussed” in a conference call that took place almost four years ago, on February 12, 2018. But Durham said he doesn’t recall this discussion. He knew nothing about Horowitz’s possession of Baker’s cellphone until he was briefed by a separate FBI investigative team just a few weeks ago, on January 6.
It doesn’t seem likely the phones were discussed during that conference call, because Horowitz didn’t even get them until February 15, three days after the call, and there’s no record he informed Durham about receiving them. And Horowitz doesn’t remember for sure if he mentioned them, even though Durham was investigating Baker at the time for making “unauthorized disclosures to the media," meaning criminally leaking. One would assume those phones would be pretty important.
It sure looks as though Durham didn’t know about the existence of those phones until Jan. 5, because on that day, he was seeking Baker’s “call log data” from the FBI’s Inspection Division. If he’d known about the phones, would he have needed the logs?
But there’s more of even greater interest in Durham’s January 25 filing. Amazingly, Horowitz also failed to disclose that he and his general counsel had met personally with Sussmann (!) regarding a “cyber matter” in March 2017. He also failed to disclose the identity of a Hillary-connected individual who provided the data to Sussmann that led to that meeting. And this is a big deal --- a huge part of Durham’s case against Sussmann.
Worse, Durham didn’t find this out from Horowitz, but from other sources, including Sussmann’s attorneys, who are entitled to discovery and apparently told him in their discovery meeting on January 20, “Hey, wait a minute, there’s nothing here about our client’s meeting with the OIG.” That material was missing even though Durham’s office had formally requested the OIG provide “all documents, records and information” in their possession regarding Sussmann.
The OIG did turn over some “relevant transcripts of interviews” about Crossfire Hurricane and, on December 17, 2021, a forensic report on the “cyber matter” that Sussmann had reported to the OIG. The “cyber matter” was that one of Sussmann’s clients (apparently “Tech Executive – 1” Rodney Jaffe) “had observed that a specific OIG employee’s computer was ‘seen publicly’ in ‘Internet traffic’ and was connected to a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in a foreign country.”
Horowitz told the Special Counsel that this was all he had. Durham provided it to Sussmann’s defense team on December 23, 2021.
Recall that Rodney Jaffe was coordinating with agents of the Clinton campaign to create the outlandish and quickly discredited story about Trump Tower communicating with Alfa Bank, to make it seem as if Trump had been signaling to the Kremlin. Jaffe was working with computer researchers at Georgia Tech to access private information, after which Georgia Tech got a $17 million Pentagon contract to research cybersecurity.
So, big question: who is this mysterious OIG employee? Why was Sussmann briefing Horowitz on this person’s activities? We want to know why Sussmann, who was a private attorney and not with the DOJ, would have been meeting with Horowitz, an internal affairs investigator, in early 2017. This was just a few weeks after pushing derogatory (and false) information about Trump to the CIA. It was also just a couple of months after Horowitz announced he was looking into the FBI’s handling of Crossfire Hurricane.
Regarding those phones of Baker’s, Durham asked the OIG on January 10 to conduct an “additional forensic examination.” On January 26, the day after Durham’s legal filing on the withheld evidence, the OIG finally responded with the forensic reports. But then, in his filing of January 28, Durham disclosed that Horowitz’s office had still MORE phones relating to the criminal leak investigation of Baker. Durham seems to have just found out about these in the past few days.
If you wonder why investigations take so ridiculously long, this one episode should give you some idea. But what a strange turn of events for defense attorneys to be providing the prosecutor with information that surprised him.
In case you missed Aaron Mate’s very detailed analysis of Durham vs. Horowitz from January 20 and have some time to catch up, here’s the link. The editors at RealClear Investigations sum it up this way: “As he exposes the role of Hillary Clinton’s campaign in false allegations about Trump-Russia collusion, Special Counsel John Durham is sharply challenging FBI apologists who claim dubious vindication from an inspector general’s finding that the Bureau’s probe was launched in good faith, Aaron Mate reports...”
Here’s another helpful refresher on Durham’s investigation from a few months ago. You might recognize the byline…
4. AINSWORTH --- NEXTDOOR: more social media to shape YOUR conversation:
In a week when Facebook is dominating the news, I’m surprised to find myself caught up in a personal drama about another social media platform called Nextdoor.
On the surface, the issue I’m about to describe would seem insignificant. But even though it doesn’t involve 24 million viewers and $2 million like John Stossel’s lawsuit against Facebook, it does have to do with shaping neighbor-to-neighbor dialogue in communities everywhere, which might be even more important in the long run. And it has to do with humor; namely, what we’re permitted to laugh at.
That’s up my alley, as I’m a humor writer who was already dismayed at what leftists have been doing to put the kibosh on laughs. The term “political correctness” came about to describe the way thoughts must be expressed to be acceptable in this day and time. It demands a lack of courage that pretty much spells death to comedy, which thrives not just on pushing the inside of the envelope but on ripping it open. Suffer through a few socially-approved evenings with Stephen Colbert or Trevor Noah and you’ll see immediately what I mean.
To set up my story, some months ago (hard to remember exactly), a man in my town who is on Nextdoor –- I’ll call him “Andy” –- started posting something he called “Laughter Of The Day.” The idea was that since we’re all dealing with covid, some of us stuck at home or even quarantined, he would send a few laughs in the way of corny “dad” jokes that, I assume, came mostly right out of an old joke book from the 1950s. They would be posted every week, and were always good for a groan, an eye-roll, or sometimes a big laugh out loud. Writing funny lines is my stock and trade --- you know that if you watch “In Case You Missed It” on the Governor’s TV show on TBN --- and I still loved his dated old wheezes.
His jokes were definitely NOT PC, though. There were “blonde” jokes (you know, about how dumb blondes are), “Little Johnny” jokes, jokes that made fun of everything. Some would call these jokes guilty pleasures, though to me they were as guilt-free as low-fat salad dressing.
Well, a few weeks ago, suddenly there were no more of Andy’s jokes. I thought he was probably just busy with other things. But this Sunday, somebody posted that he wondered if Andy was all right, as we hadn’t heard from him in a while. A number of neighbors chimed in, saying they were worried about him, too, and missed his jokes. But them someone wrote to say Andy was okay, just “in jail.” That means he’d been suspended from Nextdoor, totally locked out, not able to access the site at all. No reason given. More of Andy’s fans wrote in to post lots of those little red hearts, saying how much they loved Andy’s jokes and wanted him back.
My comment, though, was not little red hearts. It was more like, “What the hey? Andy doesn’t deserve to be ‘in jail.’ I want to know why Nextdoor did this. And I do not want to hear that it’s because of the jokes themselves. I do not want social media nannies telling us what we can and cannot laugh at.” I even said that, to me, “ND” stood for “Nanny Dearest.” (I had already been annoyed with ND for giving me screens asking, “Are you sure you want to publish this?” when I’d said something perfectly polite, accurate and well informed.)
On Monday, Andy was finally allowed (allowed!) to post again, and he put up another “Laughter Of The Day,” which I thought was his best ever.
Anyway, on Tuesday, when I tried to contact Andy through a PM (private message), I found that I myself couldn’t get into the site, at all. For most of the day, I was “locked out,” perhaps because of my diatribe against social media nanny-ism, but I don’t know for sure (because they don’t tell you). Later in the day, I was finally able to access the site and write to Andy. I suppose I’ll never know whether they locked me out deliberately or if it was just a weirdly coincidental computer glitch, but I don’t much care. This story is not about me, but rather what was done to Andy and his jokes.
Andy said he’d been working on setting up a group, just for the people who wanted to see his jokes. I told him this was the last straw for me and I was leaving Nextdoor. He said he was almost to that point himself.
I got this note from him on Tuesday:
“Laura. Just to let you know, I've already been reported for my post yesterday, over posting and for my Blonde jokes. So if they throw me in jail or delete me for good, it's been a pleasure.”
The worst thing about political correctness isn’t that easily-offended people don’t want to see the jokes --- it’s that they don’t want YOU to see the jokes. They don’t want YOU to be able to laugh at them.
I don’t know how far up the line the decision to take someone’s content off Nextdoor is made –- I would guess not very far –- but I went to their website to see who’s involved at the upper levels. To my surprise, Nextdoor is HUGE. Though it seems small and neighborly on your computer screen, it’s headed by people from all over the world. It’s based in San Francisco and, as of this March, is in 11 countries. It’s valued in the billions of dollars. Here’s a video I found called “The Story Of Nextdoor.”
It mentions problems arising from “moderators who are given significant power with very little training, if any, and can control the narrative of the town by censoring posts and making other people moderators with no accountability attached.” But the examples they give have to do specifically with racist content. The control they exert goes way beyond that.
Read some of the comments after the video, and you’ll see I'm not alone in saying Nextdoor is a place of censorship and progressive propaganda.
On their website, the “Neighborhood Vitality Advisory Board” includes “diverse academics and experts, in the fields of social psychology, equality and civic engagement.” Looking at the educational background and career focus of most of these participants, I imagine they’re far too “woke” to laugh at Andy’s “blonde” jokes. And I’ll bet they wouldn’t want you laughing at them, either.
I’ve had some good experiences with Nextdoor --- found some great service providers, and met someone who is now a dear friend. Social media wouldn’t be so pervasive in our lives if it didn’t provide benefits. But just like Facebook and Twitter, Nextdoor has anointed itself the arbiter of our conversations, controlling and shaping the narrative in ways both overt and subtle --- and that's nothing to laugh at.
To read more of Laura's work, visit our website here.
5. Poll: Impeachment support is growing:
I wrote yesterday about a new poll that showed President Biden’s disapproval on some major issues was as high as 69%. I wondered where it could possibly go from there. Well, the latest Rasmussen survey may give us a clue.
The survey found that 50% of likely voters now back impeaching Biden for his handling of the border and Afghanistan, with only 45% opposed. Even more shocking, 50% of blacks and even 34% of Democrats want Biden impeached.
I’m sure the media, if they mention this poll at all, will try to spin it as biased and inaccurate. But I think it can more likely be explained by listening to this Biden voter, a longtime Democrat who campaigned hard for Biden and even appeared in a Biden victory video. He’s so furious about how Biden’s governing that he went on Fox News to complain about it. That can’t be good news for the Democrats.
And with the recent revelations about the secret air flights of illegal immigrants and that the DOJ has been investigating Hunter Biden’s business ties with China, an incoming GOP Congress could have some actual grounds for impeachment, which would be novel these days.
FYI: Even the New York Times (not the Post, the Times!) is finally looking into Hunter’s deals.
One thing I expect this will do, however, is put the kibosh on those rumors of Biden getting Kamala Harris out of his Administration by nominating her to the Supreme Court. If there’s a growing chance of his impeachment, and a majority of Americans demanding it, the thought of her being next in line is probably his best job security.
6. America The Beautiful
God's creation is all around us. To learn more about Channel Islands National Park, visit its website here.
7. Hunter Biden in the News:
Does anyone remember the first Trump impeachment, the one over his phone call to the President of Ukraine? That was the one where we found out that Democrats think that a Republican President asking a foreign leader if he’s investigating corruption involving a former Democrat Vice President’s son is an impeachable offense, but that former Vice President being involved in said corruption isn’t in any way a disqualification for being President.
Well, a stunning new piece of evidence has surfaced, five years late. John Solomon at JustTheNews.com has obtained an email written on November 22, 2016, by George Kent, a former US Embassy official in Ukraine. Classified “Confidential,” it’s been kept from public view until now.
The email to Kent’s superiors in the State Department said that someone in Washington “needed to engage VP Biden quietly and say that his son Hunter's presence on the Burisma board undercut the anti-corruption message the VP and we were advancing in Ukraine." Solomon writes:
“Kent's email described an intense pressure campaign by advocates for Burisma — including a former U.S. ambassador — to rehabilitate the Ukrainian company's corrupt reputation and to get Ukraine prosecutors to drop their criminal investigations of the company.
Kent even relayed to higher-ups that he had confirmed with Ukrainian prosecutors that Burisma officials had paid a $7 million ‘bribe’ to make one of the cases against the company disappear. The bribe was allegedly paid at a time when Hunter Biden was serving on the Burisma board, a job that landed his firm more than $3 million from the Ukrainian energy company.”
In short, Kent was aware of the shadiness of Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine and how they were undermining efforts to fight corruption, the exact thing Trump was legitimately inquiring about. Yet somehow, even though Kent was one of the Democrats’ star impeachment witnesses, this email and the things he said in it never came up. How curious!
Congressional Republicans and some legal experts were outraged at this revelation. Trump was hit with a ridiculous impeachment charge and wasn’t allowed to have counsel at the depositions, and now we find that there was exculpatory evidence that was hidden from the President and the public.
All I can say is that I hope, and expect, that Joe Biden’s impeachment trial will be much fairer than this.
8. Newsletter Note:
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9. I Just Wanted to Say:
Thank you for reading the Sunday Standard.