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Today's newsletter includes:
- Damage to Ukraine is now in the billions of dollars
- APPROVED: A massive spending bill is sent to the White House
- Big Pandemic Story
- “How Would the Media React If This Had Been Trump?”
- And much more
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3. Damage to Ukraine is now in the billions of dollars
Here is today’s Fox News link for continually updated bulletins on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine:
Ukraine estimates that Russia has caused $119 billion worth of damage to Ukraine. The estimated number of Ukrainians who’ve fled has reached 2.5 million, including one million children. Ukrainian President Zelenskyy downplayed Vladimir Putin’s more extreme threats, like placing Russia’s nuclear preparedness on “high alert,” as bluffs because “nothing’s working for him.”
In a move that has stirred concerns about the worldwide food supply, Russia’s Industry Minister announced a temporary suspension of fertilizer exports. Instapundit’s Prof. Glenn Reynolds suggested using old Joe Biden speeches instead.
There’s been some follow-up on Russia’s claim that the maternity hospital they bombed in Mariupol was actually a secret hideout for “radicals,” i.e., people who fight back when you invade their homeland. Russia also claimed that no real civilians were injured.
They’ve offered no evidence for that claim. The New York Times independently verified the video of the bombing and the injured victims. And the Russian Embassy deleted a tweet claiming that a woman in the photos was an actor in “very realistic makeup” to look pregnant, after it was discovered she was a Ukrainian social media influencer who’d recently been posting videos of her pregnancy. There’s been a public outcry for Twitter to ban the Russian Embassy’s account for spreading "misinformation," but although they’ve vowed to label Russian media content, both the Russian Embassy and Putin still have Twitter accounts (and former President Trump doesn’t.)
As that analysis at the Redstate link suggests, it would’ve been convincing if, instead of claiming the “maternity hospital” was a secret military base, or that they were “baited” into attacking it, Russia had admitted what seems more likely: instead of using precision-guided weapons, they’re just dropping “dumb” bombs at random onto civilian areas to try to terrorize the people into surrendering, like Hitler blitzed London in World War II.
The article also notes how disgusting it is that as Putin commits these savage war crimes, the Kremlin is sniveling about how mean and unfair it is for other nations to wage “economic warfare” on Russia with all these sanctions. Given the choice between that and real warfare, where a tyrant actually drops bombs on maternity hospitals, I think I’d take the economic warfare without complaining.
4. APPROVED: A massive spending bill is sent to the White House
Because Washington has such a huge surplus of tax money to get rid of, Congress just passed a massive $1.5 trillion omnibus spending bill and sent it to the White House.
Republicans complain that it’s larded down with “progressive” wish list items, including lots of money for Green New Deal “climate change” initiatives, transgender services, and gender studies in Pakistan. There’s also lots of money for other countries, like $10 million to improve TV and radio broadcasting capabilities worldwide, including in Cuba; $40 million for democracy programs in Venezuela; and $6 million to an international leadership fund that includes Russian participants.
But as Republican Rep. Chip Roy tweeted, "This bill doesn’t do a THING to open up American oil and gas production. It does give $14.1 billion to Biden’s Department of Interior, which has not conducted A SINGLE onshore federal oil and gas lease sale this year."
But the people who passed it might not even know that because it was another 2,700-page bill that apparently nobody read before quickly passing it. And quite a few Republicans voted for it.
The bill also includes a whopping $774.4 million increase for the Members Representational Allowance, which funds House members’ office budgets and staff salaries. Which means House staffers will be getting a nice raise to help them pay the costs of all the inflation their bosses create. The Capitol Police will also be getting a $625 million budget increase.
I see that the Government Accountability Office will also be getting a $719.2 million increase. Which seems excessive when you consider the microscopic amount of government accountability that there is for them to monitor.
5. Big Pandemic Story
There have been a number of positive signs that the COVID-19 pandemic has passed (or that the polls for Democrats are terrifying), so government restrictions and mandates are being rolled back. But this might be the most significant story yet:
United Airlines announced Thursday that employees who were reassigned or put on unpaid leave because they sought religious or medical exemptions from being vaccinated can now return to their regular jobs.
Let’s hope this signals the dam breaking for the swift, widespread reversal of one of the most outrageously unjust policies ever to besmirch America. That’s the government depriving people of their ability to make a living and support their families because they objected to being forced to inject something into their bodies that they didn’t trust or that violated their Constitutionally-protected religious beliefs or that their own doctors warned might be risky to their health. And let’s pray it is the beginning of a return of common sense, real science and respect for individual rights.
It was downright whiplash-inducing how swiftly Joe Biden switched from vowing never to impose a vaccine mandate to enforcing an ironfisted mandate that harmed countless families and businesses; how the CDC backed off of claims that the vaccinated wouldn’t get COVID or spread the virus; how first responders, medical workers and truckers who were hailed as heroes during the height of the pandemic (many of whom had natural immunity from beating the disease) went from heroes to pariahs; and how the “my body, my choice” crowd decided that on this one issue, Americans had no right to bodily autonomy.
Now, with the elections heading for them like a freight train, the COVID over-reactors are suddenly doing a 180. Let’s hope the next victory for common sense will be to recognize the efficacy of natural immunity among the previously infected. Many officials still talk as if there are only two groups: the vaccinated and the unvaccinated – even though multiple studies have shown natural immunity to be very effective. When they mention it at all, it’s to discount it and urge those people to get vaccinated anyway, even though several studies have shown that the added benefit is minimal or statistically insignificant and the previously-infected may be more susceptible to vaccine side effects.
Dr. Paul Alexander, a former U.S. Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 adviser, told the Epoch Times, “One could argue that if there is benefit (in vaccination for people who've had COVID), it’s very modest.” Either way, the decision as to whether a small degree of extra protection against a disease you’ve already survived is worth the potential risk of side effects is the very definition of something that should be nobody’s business but your own.
6. “How Would The Media React If This Had Been Trump?”
To take our minds off the ever-unfolding series of catastrophes that is the Biden Administration, let’s play an old familiar game called “How Would The Media React If This Had Been Trump?”
For the record, Ellzey is a former Navy fighter pilot, which might explain Biden’s “bomb you” comment. The two black Congress members looking like they could play ball is one I’ll let you judge. But I think we can all judge the media, who dutifully ignored the story the way families try to ignore uncomfortable racist comments that Grandpa makes at the Thanksgiving table.
7. Barr has odd lack of curiosity about Election 2020
We waited a bit to comment on former Attorney General Bill Barr’s recent interviews promoting his new book, “ONE DAMN THING AFTER ANOTHER: Memoirs of an Attorney General,” mostly because the media coverage he was getting was very much a part of the story. This was a good time to sit back and let it unfold.
Those TV interviews were like Rorschach tests, because people saw different things. Barr slammed "progressivism" as decisively as it’s possible to do, and conservative news sites made that the headline. But he also talked about post-Election Day 2020 and the way Trump struck him as shaken and unhinged. Barr thought Trump needed to just accept that he had lost. Mainstream/left sites made THAT the headline, surprise surprise.
Barr deserves much credit for appointing agile and determined prosecutor John Durham to head the special counsel probe into the origins of the Trump-Russia hoax and “Crossfire Hurricane.” But given that, it seems odd that Barr himself shows such an enduring lack of curiosity about the 2020 election outcome. In the immediate aftermath, Trump had just seen what happened overnight in several battleground states as the votes were counted: when he was comfortably ahead and very confident he would win, counts in multiple key counties were halted, and when they picked up again, Biden was suddenly ahead in each of those counties by just enough to turn their states –- by razor-thin margins –- to Biden, a strange man with apparent cognitive issues who had campaigned from his basement.
I venture to say that if this had happened to you, you’d be agitated yourself –- extremely so. Given that the direction of the entire nation was at stake, you might even be shaking. I know I was, and I wasn’t even the candidate. Like millions of us watching that night, you’d suspect something wasn’t right.
As the days and weeks passed and it was clear the Judicial Branch was not going to do what Trump saw as their duty, to at least look at evidence of inaccuracies and possible fraud, he felt more and more that the election had been stolen. Highly suspicious anomalies were dismissed as “moot.” I daresay that if this had happened to, say, Obama when HE was running for re-election, the left would’ve screamed. And the same news outlets slamming Trump for not “losing” graciously would’ve been leading that chorus of screams.
With all that the left has made of January 6 --- thanks to Project Veritas, we know they deliberately overplayed the story --- imagine what their reaction would’ve been if they’d thought the right had cheated Obama out of re-election. Why, there would’ve been riots not just at the Capitol but in major cities across America, with buildings burned to the ground and major loss of life. You KNOW there would have been. January 6 would pale in comparison. Nobody knows how to throw a good riot like the left. And the media would have been on their side.
Unlike Barr, investigative reporter John Solomon HAS shown curiosity about election irregularities and has dug deep for over a year, trying to assess what really happened. On Thursday, he posted his updated report: “Ballot Bombshells: 20 episodes exposing fraud, illegalities and irregularities in the 2020 election.” These cover the last 15 months of Solomon’s reporting and are listed with substantiating evidence and a handy list of sources with links. The article is a must-read, especially for Bill Barr, who apparently still doesn’t get why Trump was and is justified in questioning his “loss.”
To use Barr’s phraseology, this list is just “one damn thing after another.” Everything included here is confirmed, despite efforts by state and county officials and their attorneys to erect brick walls and avoid transparency. There were huge problems in Georgia, Arizona and Wisconsin –- just last week, we learned that laws were broken at Wisconsin nursing homes –- that have led 40 percent of Americans in a recent poll to no longer believe in the legitimacy of presidential elections. Social media censorship of this information, purported to safeguard trust in the system, has done the opposite.
At the same time, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s January 6 committee is trying with all its might to tie Trump to the Capitol Hill riot, even though he offered her the security of thousands of National Guard troops for that day –- she turned it down –- and told protesters to march (say it with me) “PEACEFULLY AND PATRIOTICALLY” to the Capitol. No doubt they’ll use the picture painted by Barr of a “shaken” Trump to further their chosen narrative.
Nancy is using her kangaroo court to “go fishing” and subpoena vast amounts of information that she isn’t entitled to, and the RNC has just filed suit to stop her. The committee has subpoenaed Salesforce.com for data it maintains for the RNC, including “sensitive information about private individuals with whom the organization has engaged, ultimately helping develop and execute political strategies,” according to the RNC’s statement. They’re demanding documents from an over-two-month period that have nothing to do with January 6, but that will give them plenty of private information on millions of Republicans. Maybe you.
More details at PJ Media…
Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, whose interminable legal nightmare after being targeted by the FBI in “Crossfire Hurricane” is well known, refuses to participate in what he terms “political theater” and has invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying before Pelosi’s committee. During Flynn’s deposition, committee members “insinuated that Gen. Flynn’s decision to decline to answer their questions constituted an admission of guilt,” according to his attorney. This represents “a disturbing denial of the meaning and existence of this vital constitutional right.” Gen. Flynn is still enmeshed in “active and ongoing federal investigations” and thus the Fifth Amendment “applies with full force.”
Of course, the object of Pelosi’s committee is to charge Trump with criminal conspiracy. Trump’s only “crime” was daring to doubt the outcome of an election and exploring the constitutionality of ways to legally challenge it.
Here’s what Flynn said a few days after the election. He was just asking for a slow-down and for some irregularities to be examined. He was talking then about possible problems with voting machines, but he also said, “I strongly believe, they’re going to find mail-in ballot problems.” After reading John Solomon’s list, we can see Flynn was right.
Finally, a brief update on the Durham probe: Just as we’d anticipated, the judge in the Sussmann case has decided not to strike the “Factual Background” from Durham’s motion, the part that dealt with “Tech Executive – 1” (Rodney Joffe), his cybersecurity team at Georgia Tech and another self-appointed “cyber police” group who fictionalized the Alfa Bank story Sussmann peddled to the FBI in service to his ultimate (secret) client, HILLARY CLINTON.
Judge Christopher Cooper did refer to the “dust-up” over this as a “sideshow.” But the truth of what was done to President Trump –- before, during and after the 2020 election –- continues to emerge.
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