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From Karen B:

Just a note for my right-leaning family and friends from my left-leaning self as we near voting day:

They say we want to disband police departments (and that we hate the police): we don’t, that’s a lie. We want to weed out racism and unnecessary police brutality and for those who abuse their power to be held accountable.

They say we want to release all prisoners: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want to weed out racism and ensure the punishments match the crimes and to deprivatize prisons.

They say we want open borders: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want asylum seekers to be given their chance to seek asylum. We want to help people who are cg from unimaginable terror and poverty help to give them the chances we have. We want to ensure children aren’t separated from their parents and that nobody is kept in cages. But we do want proper vetting.

They say we want to take away your guns: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want logical gun control to help prevent mass shootings.

They say we want to wage a war on Christianity and Christian values: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want people of all religions to be able to practice and worship freely.

They say we want to get everything for free: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want to work hard and make sure that healthcare and education are affordable for all.

They say we want a war against traditional marriage: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want people of all sexual orientations to be able to love freely, no matter who you love.

They say we want to destroy or rewrite history: we don’t, that’s a lie. We want to recognize the ugly parts of our past and do everything we can to say “that’s not okay, let’s not honor those aggressors, let’s not let those things happen again”.

They say we want to take away your constitutional rights: we don’t, that’s a lie. We choose to believe science and wear masks and try to prevent the spread of this disease.

They say we hate America: we don’t, that’s a lie. We just recognize our faults and want us to do better, be better.

Stop with the us vs. them. Stop with the straw man arguments. Stop with the fake news. Stop with Fox News. Our position is one of empathy, compassion, and logic. Stop believing the hype. Stop with the division. Just because we want equality for all doesn’t mean we want to take anything away from you.

From the Gov:

Thanks for writing, Karen. You are a very thoughtful and idealistic person. But who is this "we"? When you say “we,” I don’t think you can include the leftists with power in the Democrat Party in your description of what “we” do and do not want. You are a moderate, and today's Democrat Party is NOT moderate.

For example, it’s certainly not a “lie” to say that many who fund and support the Democrat Party and various leftist organizations want to defund the police. YOU don’t, but many of them do. Some in Congress openly call for it. Trump wants bad cops out, of course, but law and order and the safety of Americans is a must.

It’s not a “lie” to say that many who fund and support the Democrat Party want to open up prisons. YOU don’t, but many of them do. Brace yourself, but I’d say that your goals of rooting out racism in the prison system sound downright “Trumpian.”

It’s absolutely not a “lie” to say that many on the left want a “borderless” world. YOU don’t, but many leftists with a lot more influence than you want exactly that. I’m sure you know that the left is continuing to lie (REALLY lie) about Trump and the “children in cages.”

It’s not a “lie” to say that many on the left want to confiscate all guns. YOU might not, but it’s the dream of many in your party. With a handful of Supreme Court justices bent on reinterpreting the Second Amendment, they could do it.

It’s not a “lie” to say that many in your party want to wage a war on Christianity or Christian values. YOU don’t want to, but activists on the left are waging that war, mostly in courtrooms.

It’s not a “lie” to say that some people want everything for free. YOU don’t, but many do. Democrats are seriously considering how they’re going to do reparations. Rioters justify their looting. I’m glad to hear you have a sense of responsibility. Did you know that, by improving the economy so much, Trump had made it much easier for people to get jobs and work hard?

It’s not a “lie” to say that many want a war on traditional marriage. YOU don’t, but some do. (See “Christianity,” above.) The next step is abolishing even the idea of marriage as a partnership; why not polyamory? And over the past several decades, Democrat policies have helped destroy the traditional family –- especially black families, where 70 percent are born out of wedlock and male role models are largely absent.

It’s not a “lie” to say that many on the left want to tear down or rewrite history. Oh, yes, they do. YOU might see it as “recognizing the ugly parts” and learning from our past, but they see it not as a chance to learn, but to exercise mob rule, pulling down statues of...abolitionists, suffragettes, saints, whatever. Many don’t know what they’re doing. And a concerted effort to rewrite history is going on right now.

It’s not a “lie” to say that many on the left want to take away our constitutional rights. YOU apparently don’t, but many in your party do. I’ve touched on a few of these above. Another right that many would love to take away –- and they’re working on it –- is freedom of speech. As for masks, effective treatments, etc., there's a LOT of dispute within the scientific community about all that, and, unfortunately, it got politicized.

It is absolutely not a “lie” to say that many on the left hate America. YOU don’t, but many do, from the rioters on Seattle streets to billionaires who fund your party and leftist causes. Some are calling for the outright destruction of our country. Thanks to them, America is far from “being better.”

I’d love it if you would show this letter to your family and friends, both left and right-leaning. It would be great to hear their reaction. I fear your idealism causes you to look at your party through rose-tinted glasses, ironically at a time when the left is finally showing its true colors. It might surprise you to hear that you sound in a lot of ways like today’s Republican Party. You really are too smart and thoughtful to be led around by the far-leftists of the Democrat Party. Maybe they’re not who you think they are. And I haven’t “lied” about them at all.

Wednesday was night three of the GOP virtual convention, and while it’s hard to compare, this might have been the best night yet. Michael Goodwin of the New York Post said that Trump is producing the greatest reality show on Earth, and I would second that. If you aren’t watching it (and if you’re watching on a liberal network where they yak over 90% of the speeches, you aren’t really watching it), then be sure to watch the final night tonight, and go to YouTube to catch up on the previous nights uninterrupted from CSPAN. It makes the Democrats’ Convention look like a Zoom meeting set up by 14-year-olds, not that that would be too hard.

Funny, everyone was talking about all the severe limitations put on the convention, yet Trump has delivered possibly the best convention ever. But then, over-delivering despite having severe limitations put on him could describe his entire Administration.

Here’s a link to the full live-stream of night three that starts after CSPAN's opening with a WaPo reporter repeating Democrat talking points – disappointing, since CSPAN had been simply airing the event with no editorializing up until now to let viewers make up their own minds.

And here are last night’s live blogs by PJ Media

And Townhall.com

Plus a good article on five important parts of night three, although the author correctly admits that there were so many inspiring stories and great speeches that it was hard to narrow it down to only five.

Night three’s theme was a salute to heroes, and they weren’t make-believe movie superheroes but regular Americans who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. There were more great speeches and stories than I have room to recount, here are just a few highlights:

Ohio mom Tera Myers, who refused to be pressured into aborting her Down Syndrome son or letting him go without an education. She fought for school choice reform and helped create a program that gives parents of special needs kids the freedom to choose education that fits them best…

Chen Guangcheng, the blind Chinese dissident (reading his speech by Braille), describing the heartless tyranny of the Chinese communist government and its mandatory one-child policy that he exposed. FYI, while visiting China in 2011, Joe Biden told his hosts, “Your policy has been one which I fully understand — I'm not second-guessing — of one child per family”…

Republican Rep. Dan Crenshaw, who lost an eye and nearly died from an IED explosion during his third tour of duty in Afghanistan…

Madison Cawthorn, who will be the youngest House member if elected in North Carolina in November, is paralyzed from a car crash when he was 18. In a stunning moment, he ended his speech by using a walker to rise from his wheelchair and stand for the Pledge of Allegiance…

Sister Deirdre Byrne, who is not only Mother Superior of the Washington Little Workers sisters but also a doctor and a colonel and reservist in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, praised Trump for his defense of the unborn, whom she called “the most marginalized group in the world.” She branded Biden/Harris as "the most anti-life presidential ticket in history" and warned, "While what I have to say may be difficult for some to hear, I am saying it because I’m not just pro-life, I’m pro-eternal life, and I want all of us to end up in Heaven someday."

And what a fantastic speech by civil rights icon Clarence Henderson, who risked his life by defying Jim Crow laws and ordering food at a segregated Southern lunch counter in the ‘60s. Pointing out that that’s what “peaceful protest” really looks like, he recounted the history of the Republican Party’s leadership on civil rights issues, and ended by referencing Joe Biden’s claim that if you don’t vote for him, “you ain’t black.” Henderson said if you think it’s strange that he’s a Republican, then “you don’t know history.”

And there were many more moving and inspiring real life stories and terrific speakers, including Kayleigh McEnany (who discussed her double mastectomy, and how Donald and Melania Trump were among the first to call her afterwards)…Kellyanne Conway, who was the first woman to manage a winning Presidential campaign, talked about how Trump has put more women into major positions of power than any other President…Former DNI Richard Grennell, who said he was sickened when he finally got to see the pathetic “evidence” that the Democrats had for their Russian collusion charges …Rep. Elise Stefanik, who defended Trump so well during the ludicrous impeachment trial, called that "not just an attack on the President. This was an attack on you." Also, like all the blue city violence, impeachment was never mentioned even once at the DNC Convention. They’re hoping we’ll forget about their giant partisan waste of time and money…

Plus more great speeches by South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (who is sparking Presidential buzz), Burgess Owens

…both Mike and Karen Pence, Joni Ernst, and a must-see speech by former NFL player and lifelong Democrat Jack Brewer, who took a rhetorical flamethrower to the idea that blacks have to believe false narratives and vote for Biden/Harris because they don’t like Trump’s “tone.”

I think Sen. Marsha Blackburn had the funniest line of the night: “Nancy Pelosi says China would prefer Joe Biden…Yep!...I BET they WOULD!”

And how great was it to see Mike Pence speak from Fort McHenry, where the Star-Spangled Banner that inspired Francis Scott Key to write our National Anthem once flew? At this convention, even disabled people stand to salute the flag. On the other side, they kneel to the Anthem, burn the flag, try to “cancel” Francis Scott Key and want to change the National Anthem to John Lennon’s “Imagine.”

I could go on and on, but go to YouTube and watch it yourself if you haven’t already. Trump and his people are doing the impossible: they’re making a political convention a binge-watchable series. Tonight is the final night, and Trump himself will be speaking. It's "Must-See TV!"

Rachel Maddow's New Gig

August 26, 2020

Please sit down before reading this. If you’re standing up, you might laugh so hard, you’ll fall down and hurt yourself. Ready? Good…

Guess who’s decided to become a “fact-checker.” Rachel Maddow of MSNBC! That’s right: the woman who spent three years spinning ever wackier Trump-Russia collusion conspiracy theories has decided that the Republicans at the convention are such “LYING LIARS WHO LIE” (trademark registered) that she just has to “correct the record” for her extremely undemanding viewers.

And what is her first subject on her maiden voyage into the uncharted territory of actually checking a fact? She claims that Cissy Graham Lynch misled viewers by calling Trump a champion of religious freedom rights because if he cared about religious freedom, he wouldn’t have instituted the “Muslim ban.”

I have to thank her because I’d almost forgotten about that hoax. That was one of the earliest examples of the media deliberately distorting what Trump said or did, and it set the template for all their "reporting" since (whatever Trump says or does, ascribe the worst possible motives to it.) If you don’t remember, thanks to Obama/Biden letting ISIS spread across the Middle East, there was a threat of terrorist attacks on our homeland. When Trump first came into office, he wanted to restrict travel from a handful of nations that had active anti-American terrorist cells and no structure for vetting emigrants. Liberals immediately misrepresented this as a “Muslim ban,” even though not all the nations on the list were majority Muslim and there were many other majority Muslim nations that were not on the list. It was really about keeping out terrorists, but the media spun it as "Trump hates Muslims."

This was the earliest example of Democrats and the media being willing to trade the safety and security of their fellow Americans for bad publicity for Trump. It would soon be followed by many more.

How appropriate is it that Rachel Maddow based her first “fact-check” of Republicans on a known partisan lie? But then, anyone who would rely on her to give them the “facts” about Trump would also probably take advice about proper Oval Office decorum from Bill Clinton. Oh, wait: that was actually part of the Democratic Convention.

She pressed on in her "fact-check" to talk about Trump’s executive order exempting the Little Sisters of the Poor from having to provide contraceptives and abortifacient drugs to employees under Obamacare. Maddow condescendingly “explained,” “The anti-abortion right has decided to say in recent years that contraception including things like the birth control pill, they've decided to call that abortion. So if you take birth control pills you're, like, constantly having abortions all the time. That's what that reference is to. And that may be very familiar rhetoric in the anti-abortion right.”

Umm, we’re not talking about the “anti-abortion right.” We’re talking about an order of Catholic nuns, who understandably don’t want to be forced to pay for contraceptives. That’s why this is a religious freedom issue.

Maybe she should just go back to the Russia collusion fairy tale and leave discussions of religious freedom rights to people who know anything at all about religion. Or facts.

I expected the Republican virtual convention to be better than the Democrats for several reasons: President Trump is a better showman; the mission is to emphasize patriotism and optimism, not sow gloom and division; etc. I just didn’t expect that the GOP convention would be so much better right out of the gate that it was almost like comparing “Citizen Kane” to “Plan Nine from Outer Space.”

Day one of the Democrat infomercial mostly featured politicians talking directly into the camera like a national version of a bedroom vlogger’s YouTube stream, telling us over their iPhones how awful everything is because of the bad Orange Man. The most memorable things about it were Michelle Obama repeating the debunked “children in cages” lie (that actually started under her husband) and the giant wall of firewood behind Bernie Sanders. I’ll bet whoever cut that wood wasn’t the only one who was sawing logs last week.

By contrast, the Republicans offered an inspiring and well-produced (the opening film narrated by Jon Voight was superb) showcase of both political figures and private citizens from a wide range of backgrounds. They talked about positive things Trump has done for them and America, promises kept, and their optimism for the future, as long as Democrats are kept out of power. (BTW, you can add “Internet live productions” to cities, states and the Congress on the ever-lengthening list of “Things Democrats Cannot Be Trusted to Run.”) When Republicans did talk about negatives, like the riots, looting and assaults on police officers in blue cities that are the #1 news story in America right now, that was also a glaring contrast because the Democrats went for three days without ever mentioning that giant donkey in the room.

Maybe it’s not fair to compare the two. The GOP Convention could focus on Trump’s accomplishments because he actually has so many. The Democrats concentrated on Trump hate, division and name-calling because, hey, you go with what you’ve got.

There were so many powerful moments just on night one that I don’t have time or space to list them all. If you missed it, I suggest, believe it or not, that you actually watch the entire stream. It’s on YouTube here.

And here are the liveblogs from PJ Media

And Townhall.com…

As well as a separate article I wrote for Fox News

Here are just a few of the highlights, but incredibly, there were no lowlights (maybe the Democrats had so many lowlights because they were experiencing rolling brownouts):

Black Georgia Democratic Rep. Vernon Jones, who was viciously attacked for praising Trump, talked of how Trump has created opportunity zones and good jobs for blacks, and criminal justice reform of the law Biden co-wrote. He reminded us that Democrats are defunding cops who protect black children while providing security for themselves, and blasted Pelosi and Schumer for “pandering” to blacks by wearing African kente cloths. He said, “The Democratic Party has become infected with the pandemic of intolerance, bigotry, socialism, anti-law enforcement bias, and a dangerous tolerance for people who attack others, destroy their property and terrorize their own communities.” He warned that black people are becoming louder and more “woke” (I love the new, more accurate spin he put on that term) and in a line that is sure to be quoted and remembered for a long time: "The Democratic Party does not want black people to leave their mental plantation.” As one commenter put it, he left a smoking crater where the DNA used to be.

Cuban immigrant Maximo Alvarez choked back tears as he recalled his family’s escape from communism in Cuba, and how he’s hearing ominous echoes of their same tactics and rhetoric from blue cities like Seattle, Chicago and Portland. He said, “If I gave away everything that I have today, it would not equal 1 percent of what I was given when I came to this great country of ours: the gift of freedom. Right now, it is up to us to decide our fate and to choose freedom over oppression.”

NFL great Herschel Walker spoke movingly of his 38-year friendship with Trump and testified that the claim Trump is a racist is a slanderous lie (and will anyone ever forget the image of Trump joining Walker’s family at Disney World to ride “It’s A Small World” in a business suit?) By the way, I’ve also seen Trump enter one of his hotels and greet the desk clerks and other workers by name and ask about their families. Can you even imagine Hillary Clinton doing something like that?

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter Meadow was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, credited President Trump with reversing the Obama “restorative justice” policy that he blames for the killer not being stopped sooner, and warned that Joe Biden wants to bring it back…

Mark and Patricia McCloskey probably never imagined they’d be speaking at a GOP Convention (Mark is a lawyer who’s defended a BLM activist.) But after they were charged with a felony by St. Louis’ far-left DA for brandishing guns to protect their home from a threatening mob – but none of the mob members were charged – their blinders fell off pretty quickly.

After hearing Sen. Tim Scott’s closing speech, I have to second what some conservative bloggers said: I want to vote for him for President in 2024. It was personal and moving, but also substantive. And I loved this line about his early struggles in school: "Trust me, after spending seven years in the Senate, I know I’m not the only one in Congress who failed civics."

I was thrilled that for the Pledge of Allegiance, the speaker made a point of reminding people that the words include “under God,” which was left out of two recitations of it at the Democratic Convention. (I also appreciated that they told attendees to stand for the National Anthem, not stand or kneel, whatever your preference.) The embrace of God may have already turned at least one vote

Natalie Harp, who would have been relegated to death by cancer by government regulations if it weren’t for Trump’s “right to try” reform that let her try an experimental drug, reminded viewers of all the people who have been saved by Trump’s ending of VA hospital waiting lists, reduction of drug prices and other health initiatives. She also reminded us of Charlie Gard, the British infant who was sentenced to die by British government health care bureaucrats.

There was also a powerful film and speech by a Louisiana doctor who both treated and contracted COVID-19, on the false narrative that President Trump did nothing about or botched the disease response. It reminded viewers of how the pandemic took the world unawares and unprepared, and Trump quickly built an unprecedented public-private effort that prevented equipment shortages, removed FDA red tape and fast-tracked new treatments. Bonus: footage of Democratic Governors such as Andrew Cuomo praising Trump’s efforts (this was before word came down that they were supposed to trash and blame him)

Charlie Kirk appealed to young people by defending “the American way of life,” including freedom of speech and religion, against the cancel culture, self-righteous Silicon Valley censors, and a mob of “bitter, deceitful, vengeful activists who have never built anything in their lives.” He called Trump “the bodyguard of Western Civilization”…

Rebecca Friedrichs, the California kindergarten teacher who took on the teachers’ unions in court and won (she noted that the Obama/Biden Administration and Kamala Harris fiercely opposed her in that lawsuit), spoke about school choice (a recurring theme of the evening) and how teachers’ unions are trapping poor and minority children in failing schools. It’s a subject that’s become red hot now that stuck-at-home parents are discovering what their kids were being “taught” all these years…

All this, and I still haven’t touched on Nikki Haley’s excellent speech, Trump’s moving visits with coronavirus essential workers and Americans who’d been held hostage abroad whom he brought home (he rescues people from the other side of the world while Democrats fight having to give medical care to a newborn baby in the same room), Maryland House candidate Kim Klacik’s powerfull message, and so much more.

It was also a stunning contrast just to see Trump popping up everywhere, seemingly working around the clock with limitless energy. At the Democratic Convention, we waited three days for Joe Biden to emerge from his basement like we were waiting for Punxsutawney Phil to rouse himself from his burrow on Groundhog Day. It definitely bolsters Trump’s “Sleepy Joe” moniker and puts pressure on the Dems to let Biden debate to prove he’s up to the job.

You really should watch it all if you can. It will lift your spirits and renew your hope. As I said in my article for Fox News, the Dems gave a funeral for America, and the Republicans threw a celebration. Never has an electoral choice been so stark – or so obvious.

But I can’t end without quoting the funniest line of the night, from Donald Trump Jr: Joe Biden is the “Loch Ness Monster of the swamp.” He sticks his head up every 20 years or so to run for President, then disappears into the swamp again.

It’s actually good that U.S. Attorney John Durham is still putting the finishing touches on his report on FISA abuse, as we’re going to need some focused post-convention time to take a look at it. There’s a story to be told, a very important story, and we should soon know a lot more about how the "Russia" hoax came together. In fact, one can get a “sneak peek” right now by looking at Kevin Clinesmith’s plea agreement and seeing how it relates to parts of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s internal report.

Thanks to Margot Cleveland at THE FEDERALIST for connecting more dots. She's done the tedious part; now we get to talk about it.

As you know, Kevin Clinesmith, who worked in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel, pleaded guilty to one count of falsifying evidence; the plea agreement was released last Wednesday. He admitted that he had added four critical words --- “was not a source” --- to an email from an “unidentified government agency” (let’s just say the CIA because we know it was) concerning Carter Page’s “operation contact” with that agency. One of the agents involved in Crossfire Hurricane had told him they wanted “something in writing” about it, so he altered the email and forwarded it to that agent. (While pleading guilty, he still claims it was not his “intent” to mislead. Trying to have it both ways.) This revised email cleared the way for the fourth FISA.

But wait --- there had already been an original FISA application and two renewals, and they hadn’t mentioned this. What’s the story there? Well, according to Clinesmith’s plea agreement, the CIA had provided “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team” with a memo indicating that Page had been approved as an “operation contact” for them from 2008 to 2013 and detailing information that Page had provided them about “his prior contacts with certain Russian officers.” But we know this information was not included in the first three FISAs. (The Horowitz report says so, and Clinesmith makes a point of it in his plea agreement.)

If I understand correctly, THIS is the “suspicious” contact with Russians that gave the Crossfire Hurricane team their reason (excuse) to accuse Page of being a Russian agent. But in truth, there was no reason to spy on him over this; he had already been debriefed by the CIA about it, and the CIA had informed "certain members" of the team of his relationship with them before the initial FISA application was made. The FBI just left it out of the applications.

To accomplish this, the Crossfire Hurricane team even left it out of the information given to the division that HELPS with FISA applications, and one member of the team, Stephen Somma –- more on him coming up –- gave them incorrect information when explicitly ASKED about Page’s relationship with the CIA. This key information about Page is one of the “17 substantial errors or omissions” in the FISAs that Horowitz attributed to the FBI.

So, now we need to know the identities of the “certain members of the Crossfire Hurricane team” who received the memo about Page from the CIA, because they are the ones who kept the information out of the application and first two renewals. In the IG report, one is identified as “Case Agent 1,” and that person was identified by THE NEW YORK TIMES as the aforementioned Stephen Somma, who happens to have been Stefan Halper’s FBI “handler” as well! So we’re likely to be hearing more about Mr. Somma.

Cleveland’s article has more detail on how Somma mischaracterized Page’s work in Russia, moving the dates of it years earlier so it became “beyond the scope” of the FISA application. Clever, these FBI agents.

The Horowitz report says Somma claimed “not to recall his state of knowledge” about Page’s history with the CIA. One has to wonder if his memory might improve while under questioning in Durham’s criminal investigation, under threat of perjury.

Cleveland –- who has a FANTASTIC memory –- remembers that Somma, as Case Agent #1, had expressed great interest early on in surveilling Carter Page. But according to the IG report, the Crossfire Hurricane team didn’t become aware of the “dossier” till September. Before then, only Steele’s “handler” and a few agents in the New York Field Office knew about it, starting in early July.

But guess where Somma was working in early July, before joining the Crossfire Hurricane team in August? The New York Field Office, where he was a special agent for counterintelligence with a focus on...Russia.

Cleveland goes into more detail on who else among the team might have known about Page’s CIA involvement and kept it out of the application. Joe Pientka is certainly a possibility.

But the big stinky cheese at the FBI at that time was Director Comey, and this is one slick dude when it comes to protecting himself. As you might recall, Comey slithered his way out of having to talk about classified material with IG Horowitz by refusing to have his security clearance reinstated. Smooth, huh? The memo sent to the FBI about Page’s CIA activities would have been classified, for sure, and without a security clearance, Comey couldn’t have been shown the memo or asked anything about it.

A criminal investigation is different, though. Maybe Durham can put the squeeze on the big cheese. And maybe we’ll finally learn the whole sordid story.