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On the subject of masks, I previously reported on a Canadian university study that found that the type of cloth masks most people wear are only about 10% effective at stopping the spread of COVID (prompting one of my writers to observe, “So to stop a disease that we have a 99.7% chance of surviving, we have to wear masks that have a 90% chance of failing.”)

Now, at long last, there’s finally a large-scale study awaiting peer review that assesses the real-world effectiveness of masks. It was a “cluster randomized trial” done in Bangladesh and involved over 342,000 unvaccinated people in 600 villages. Some villages had no masks and people were just told to social distance, some had typical cloth masks, and some had more effective surgical masks. Here’s a video explaining the results.

https://youtu.be/fFCYv0X4kf4

As usual, there are various caveats that you can hear about in the video, but in a nutshell: surgical masks made enough of a difference in infection rates to be noticeable, but the difference between those using the cloth masks most people wear and those with no masks at all was “statistically insignificant.”

Yet in some liberal cities, actual criminals are being let out of jail while people are being arrested for refusing to wear masks. So to avoid jail in a leftist-run city, you can rob a convenience store, just as long as you're wearing a mask.

 

COVID Mask Theater

September 21, 2021

I think it’s safe to assume that you didn’t watch the Emmy Awards last night (yes, that was actually on last night.) That’s not just a statement about conservatives; I think the only people who watch the Emmys anymore are the nominees. You didn’t miss much, but there was one thing of note: it provided the final punchline to a long stretch of escalating elitist liberal mask hypocrisy.

The same leftist politicians and celebrities who love to berate the masses for not wearing three masks whenever they step outside their bedrooms have given us a number of high profile examples of their “Rules for thee but not for me” philosophy. One biggie was Obama's birthday bash. Last week, the mayor of San Francisco and a co-founder of BLM were among the leftist elites caught defying the city’s mask mandate at a jazz club (where the staff, of course, had to wear masks)…

https://reason.com/2021/09/17/london-breed-san-francisco-mask-covid-hypocrisy/

There were also the notorious photos of the ultra-swank Met Gala in New York, where AOC wore her designer “Tax The Rich” gown but like all the other swells, did not wear a mask (the staff, of course, had to wear masks.) And then last night at the Emmy Awards, hundreds of celebrities gathered close together without masks (the staff, of course, had to wear masks.)

Seth Rogan even remarked on the hypocritical flouting of the rules, noting that it had been described as an outdoor event, but there were way too many people in a hermetically-sealed tent.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/09/19/liberal-elites-gather-for-emmys-in-la-where-apparently-covid-doesnt-exist-n2596147

I know hypocrisy is nothing new. These are the same liberal celebrities and the same events where they used to preach to normal Americans about how sexist and unwoke we were, while protecting powerful celebrities who were later revealed to be serial rapists and child molesters. Now, they lecture us about not wearing masks while not wearing masks.

But kudos to everyone who pointed out that in the background, the wait staff and security people are always wearing masks. I guess COVID only attacks hourly wage workers, not celebrities. The same way it knew to spread only at Trump rallies and never at BLM protests.

Today’s theme in the news

September 21, 2021

People who deserve to be held accountable but won’t be.

Here’s a story about the top World Health Organization official who botched the pandemic response and helped cover for China (among other serious accusations), and now appears almost certain to retain his job.

https://www.westernjournal.com/dr-tedros-appears-set-keep-top-job-despite-handling-pandemic-problems-home-country/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=huckabee

As one critic put it in a comment that’s also becoming a recurring theme, “It’s a glaring failure of the Biden administration not to have prepared an alternative.” Just as he apparently has no alternative ready for Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley or his Secretary of State or any number of other people who should be held accountable for the disastrous handling of Afghanistan (and the latest development: the drone strike on an innocent family), but won’t be. Biden seems determined to continue the Obama policy of standing by and even promoting the biggest screw-ups in his Administration.

That’s why the indictment by John Durham was so shocking to the DC ecosystem: it looks as if someone in their high-powered orbit might actually be held to the same laws the rest of us have to follow! That’s one down and…thousands to go.

Kurt Schichter has also noticed this recurring theme of the elites never holding each other accountable for their massive failures, lies and malfeasances. He has some comments on that, in his inimitable style.

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2021/09/20/heads-wont-roll-n2596077

Trash Day

September 21, 2021

You know, when it’s trash pickup day and you have only one Hefty bag left, you try to stuff all your garbage into it? That’s sort of how Congressional Democrats have treated their $3.5 trillion “budget reconciliation” bill. Since that type of bill can pass with only 51 votes and isn’t subject to filibuster, they’ve tried to cram every garbage idea the left’s got into that bag, from expensive climate change boondoggles to amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants. But Sunday, the Senate Parliamentarian popped their Hefty bag.

Elizabeth McDonough ruled that just because something involves money (and everything Congress does involves money), that doesn’t make it a budget issue. Major non-budgetary legislation can’t be passed with 51 votes in a budget reconciliation bill. So the illegal immigrant amnesty cannot be included.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/senate-parliamentarian-deals-blow-to-dems-immigration-push

Since no Republicans support it, that should kill it. But the Biden White House, which has yet to hesitate to do a flamenco dance all over the Constitution, urged Democrats to come up with some other creative end-run around Senate rules to get amnesty passed with 51 votes. What should be happening instead is that the Parliamentarian should yank out all the other things that have no business being in a budget reconciliation bill.

One other obstacle that Biden would have to get around is Sen. Joe Manchin, who already said he won’t back a spending bill that big, and who is now reportedly saying privately that he thinks the Senate should take a “strategic pause” until 2022 before voting on it.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/spencerbrown/2021/09/19/manchin-wants-to-delay-consideration-of-35t-budget-until-2022-n2596144

That would be an election year when many Democrats in swing states and districts might not be too keen to put their names on a garbage bag full of government-bloating, debt-exploding, freedom-killing “progressivism.”

Meanwhile, some far-leftists are demanding that Biden get tough with Congressional Democrats and order them to pass the bill. Considering that his approval rating is now down to the low-mid-40s and a new survey finds that 55% of voters in seven Democrat-controlled swing districts think the $3.5 trillion bill is “wasteful and unnecessary,” that doesn’t give him much leverage for threatening Congress members – unless he threatens to publicly endorse them if they don’t do what he wants.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2021/09/17/joe-bidens-toxicity-is-finally-leeching-into-these-swing-districts-n2596091?utm_campaign=rightrailsticky1

Non-story

September 21, 2021

Fearmonger-in-Chief Nancy Pelosi had the security fence put back up around the Capitol (because walls only provide security when they’re protecting Democrats) in anticipation of the sure-to-be-violent “Justice For J6” rally this weekend. It was a protest of the political over-prosecution of non-violent protesters who entered the Capitol on January 6th. Liberal media outlets attacked conservative outlets for “downplaying” the threat, but as usual, the liberal outlets were hysterically wrong.

https://redstate.com/joesquire/2021/09/20/the-big-scary-january-6-solidarity-protest-was-entirely-media-concocted-n445336

President Trump warned supporters to stay away from the rally because it was “a trap,” and that leftist agitators would try to stir up trouble so that they could be blamed and arrested for it. And he wasn’t the only one who smelled a trap. The handful of nonviolent rally attendees were likely outnumbered by all the security people (some of whom were laughably trying to “blend in” with the right-wingers and about as convincing as when Bob Hope used to dress up as a hippie for comedy sketches.) It reached the height of absurdity when the undercover feds reportedly arrested someone for carrying a weapon, and it turned out he was also an undercover cop. Let’s hope this helps pound the last nail into the coffin of the idiotic idea that the biggest threats to America are white supremacists and the weather.

Just as I expected, the rally was a non-story, but it did give conservative wags an opening to create some hilarious memes from the photo of the overzealous feds in their “4Chan Follower” Halloween costumes.

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2021/09/19/the-one-photo-that-sums-up-the-spooky-far-right-rally-in-dc-everyone-was-worried-about-n2596122

Laura Ainsworth: Big in Japan

September 21, 2021

Congratulations on some exciting news for our contributor Laura Ainsworth, who in addition to being a top notch writer/news researcher is also an award-winning retro jazz singer in the Julie London/Rosemary Clooney tradition.

Her three CDs and best-of LP were recently picked up for distribution in Japan and proved so popular that an expanded CD best of, “Top Shelf,” has just been released there. It includes 16 tracks (one a previously-unreleased Irving Berlin classic), all remastered by Jessica Thompson, who was Grammy-nominated for her work on Erroll Garner’s “The Complete Concert by the Sea.” It includes a 16-page color booklet on Laura’s music and her unique upbringing as the daughter of musician Billy Ainsworth, who played with Tommy Dorsey, Freddy Martin and other legendary big band leaders.

The new Japanese CD just debuted and is available in the US, along with all her other music, through her website, www.lauraainsworth.com.

If you love great American music, here’s your chance to pick up some terrific CDs for yourself or Christmas gifts, and support one of the “Huckabee” family. You can also follow her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lauraainsworthsings and on Twitter at @lauraainsworth1.

Just to give you a taste, here she is singing a great old Mills Brothers tune on “Huckabee”:

https://youtu.be/AGorRNgp4t4

Remnants of an Army

September 20, 2021

PROLOGUE

                                                     

On a cold January day in 1842, a half-starved soldier – slumping across the neck of a dying horse - appeared at the gates of Jalalabad, Afghanistan. The horse and rider had survived a 10 day, 90-mile “retreat” over and through the Spin Ghar Range that sprawls between Kabul through Jalalabad to the Khyber Pass. Behind them lay the frozen, mangled bodies of General Sir William Elphinstone and more than 4,500 soldiers of The British and East India Expeditionary Force. The General had been promised a safe withdrawal to India by Muhammad Akbar Khan, the leader of the Afghan tribesmen who had revolted against British rule; but after evacuating Kabul, the British force was attacked by Khan’s tribesman army at Gandamak, where the British Force made a valiant but futile last stand. When Dr. William Brydon, the lone survivor of that first Battle of Kabul was asked where the rest of the army was, he simply answered, “I am the army.”  In 1879, Dr. Brydon and his horse were immortalized on canvas by Elizabeth Thompson, Lady Butler. Her painting, “Remnants of an Army,” ranks with Picasso’s “Guernica,” Goya’s “The Third of May,” Emanuel Leutze’s “Washington Crossing the Delaware,” William Bass’ “The Battle of Bosworth Field,” Paul Phillipoteaux’s “The Battle of Gettysburg” and God knows too many more paintings depicting the horrors of war.

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

On a hot August day in 2021, I was reminded of Lady Butler’s painting as I watched another “remnant of an army,” General Chris Donahue, retreat from this most recent Battle of Kabul, a retreat which I’m guessing was against the General’s will and better military judgment. General Donahue, Commander of the vaunted 82nd Airborne, was “captured on film” by a night vision camera as he solemnly trudged up the gangway of a C-17 to leave Afghanistan and GOD only knows how many American citizens behind.

 

Over the last “fortnight” as the Brits would say, I have searched my heart, soul and mind, trying to get my brain wrapped around the events of the last two weeks. President Biden’s shameful, cowardly, militarily indefensible, politically-motivated decision to surrender the most powerful military force on the planet to a rabble of 7th century Neanderthals - murderers, terrorists, and rapists - the Taliban. I confess that I am so damned mad at the “Surrenderor-in-Chief that any clear-eyed assessment of the situation on my part is difficult if not impossible. What I really want to say cannot be printed “in these pages” and if it could be printed, would probably prompt a visit to my house by “employees” of one or more security agencies of the United States government. At the very least, I would be cancelled from Facebook and Twitter (I don’t “do” either one, BTW.)

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

In order to try to accomplish that probably impossible task, I decided to try to get some historical perspective regarding wars - the victories, defeats, surrenders and retreats - the cowards and the heroes from the past. I went back and re-read some of the classical writers on warfare: Herodotus, Thucydides, Gibbon and more recent writers, Stephen Crane, Eric Maria Remarque, and finally my contemporary literary hero, Ernest Hemingway, because I remembered what he had said when asked how he started a new novel, “I just sit down at my typewriter and bleed.” So this morning over coffee, I re-read for the umpteenth time, parts of Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” on the chance that it might help me understand this latest chapter (THE BIDEN BLUNDER) of what Captain Arthur Conolly and Rudyard Kipling long ago dubbed “The Great Game,” the fight for Afghanistan and Central Asia.

 

Since I don’t own a typewriter, and since my iPad is a cold, black piece of metal and composite poly something or other and has no soul, I sat down at my writing table, the surface of which are my two priceless 1798 Imperial Editions of Charles Knightly’s “The Plays of William Shakespeare;” took my Palomino Blackwing 602 Pencil in hand; and let it “bleed” onto a piece of unlined white paper.

It bled:

 

1)      I am not a warrior. 

2)      I have never REALLY been shot at. (Once in Somalia...a few rounds fired over my head...different story for another time)

3)      I have never shot at anything that didn’t have 4 legs or 2 wings.

4)      I have never been in that “hell” that General Sheridan called war.

5)      I’ve never seen another human being blown apart in front of my eyes.

6)      I’ve never heard the dogs of war howling all around me, or felt the earth shake from exploding ordinance on a killing field where life seemed to be so cheap and so costly at the same time, so how can I possibly write anything that matters?

 

The answer is, maybe I can’t; but this morning I watched and listened as a “30-something preppy-looking buttoned-down Ivy League-looking” robot was trotted out by the Pentagon to try to convince me and my fellow Americans that we need not worry about the $90,000,000,000 worth of state-of-the-art military equipment that was left behind in this latest retreat from Afghanistan and that it poses no threat to us. I respectfully offer that those who believe that are either heartlessly indifferent, woefully naive, ignorant of history, just plain stupid or all of the above; and I will state emphatically that there is a danger looming in those remote mountains that has been, for almost 300 years, and still is one of the most strategically important places in the world - the Khyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan and our “friends and “allies” to whom we have given almost $80,000,000 since 1948. And our “friends” have nukes…a lot of nukes…and they have friends called the Taliban...and the Taliban has poppy fields…a lot of poppy fields…which means money...a lot of money…which means weapons...a lot of weapons...which means dead bodies...a lot of dead bodies...because the Khyber Pass is still right there where it has been since the beginning of time - at the crossroads between England, through Europe, through the Straits of Bosporus to Central Asia, India, Arabia and Russia to Africa, intersecting the Silk Road from China to Africa and the Mediterranean. And whoever controls it, to a large extent, controls half of the world.

 

[SEE: Tom Clancy’s “Sum of All Fears,” wherein the bad guys obtain fissile material from an unexplored Israeli nuke and make a “ dirty bomb” that they explode at The Super Bowl in D.C.] The scariest thing of all is that Joe Biden and “all the usual suspects,” his lemmings/handlers/sycophants, are still in charge of keeping America safe and protecting America’s interests, including the above-mentioned Khyber Pass....and…

 

THEY JUST DONT GET IT...HELP US!! So Clueless Joe Biden surrendered...again, GOD HELP US!!

   

Dr. Brydon and his fellow British soldiers were fighting to keep the Khyber Pass open because it was the gateway for trade, for “goods and services” back and forth between England and India, the Jewel of The British Empire. The passing of “goods and services” is no longer the reason to secure “THE KHYBER,” unless by “goods and services” you mean nukes or fissile material, and I’m afraid that there will be nothing “good” passing through The Khyber any time soon.

 

EPILOGUE

   

George Santayana wrote, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” I would offer that Clueless Joe can’t remember what he had for breakfast, and he is repeating the same old mistakes.

  

And finally, Plato wrote that “Argument based on knowledge implies instruction, and there are some one cannot instruct.” Clueless Joe has proven that being knowledgeable is not one of his strong suits, and that he cannot be instructed unless by “instructed” you mean, “I was instructed to call on Kelly O’Donnell,” etc. etc.”

 

I would offer that there are some whom one cannot even shame, which is, in fact, a shame.

 

Charlie Wilson said, “Three things happened. They were glorious. They changed the world. Then we f’d up the end game.”

 

I would offer that because we “f’d up” the end game back in ‘88, we had to go back to Afghanistan, and that’s what precipitated this latest tragic episode - Clueless Joe Biden’s disastrous surrender of Afghanistan to the Taliban.

 

GOD HELP US...Dr. William Brydon must be rolling over in his grave.

 

Last Thursday, a grand jury indicted attorney Michael Sussmann, a partner in the Clinton-connected law firm Perkins Coie, on one count of providing false information to the FBI. If you didn’t see our story on Friday, here it is…

https://www.mikehuckabee.com/latest-news?id=E86B8ADD-E9A9-44C4-AE53-B7C1EA509F74

In this case, “providing false information” is a euphemism for “lying his fool head off,” which is the way I'd want to write up the charge. Special counsel John Durham’s full description of events makes it clear that nothing about his actions was inadvertent. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/clinton-campaign-attorney-michael-sussmann-pleads-not-guilty-fbi

Sussmann met with James A. Baker, at that time general counsel for the FBI, to plant the fabricated “Russia Hoax” story about computer servers in Trump Tower and the Russia-connected Alfa Bank “pinging” back and forth. (He planted the same story with THE NEW YORK TIMES soon afterwards.) When asked if he was talking to the FBI on behalf of any legal client, he did not disclose that he was working for the Hillary Clinton campaign. Billing records for Perkins Coie obtained by the special counsel show that he was.

The Alfa Bank story was debunked as of September 2017, but that doesn’t mean the story didn’t keep turning up in the news and on social media, adding fuel to the completely fictional narrative that Trump had “colluded” with Putin to become President. Alfa Bank sued British ex-spy Christopher Steele for libel in a London court –- tell me, who does President Trump sue? –- and Steele’s deposition in that case probably helped Durham immeasurably. Steele testified he didn’t know much about Alfa Bank –- that’s believable; in fact, he had repeatedly misspelled it as “Alpha” Bank in his phony dossier –- but that what he did know had come from...(drum roll please)...Michael Sussmann.

Anyway, when the indictment became public, we wondered something: Why did Durham choose to tell so much of the story here? The indictment runs 27 pages, when it required just a few sentences. As it turns out, one of our go-to legal experts, Andrew C. McCarthy, noticed the same thing.

McCarthy divides the significance of the indictment into aspects: the short game and the long game. In brief, the special counsel alleges that Sussmann, on September 19, 2016, made a false statement to FBI Special Counsel Baker at the FBI. That’s it.

But you’ll notice that September 19, 2016, is just barely within the statute of limitations of 5 years. That --- not the timetable for the investigation as a whole --- is what determined the date of Sussmann’s indictment. For Durham to be able to try Sussmann on the false statements charge, he could not have delayed past Sunday. Successful prosecution of that case is the immediate concern.

But then there’s the long game, and thankfully, Durham has chosen to tell us a lot about it. He's communicating that he’s put the puzzle together. He KNOWS. In McCarthy’s words, “The Trump-Russia collusion narrative was essentially a fabrication of the Clinton campaign that was peddled to the FBI (among other government agencies) and to the media by agents of the Clinton campaign --- particularly, its lawyers at Perkins Coie --- who concealed the fact that they were quite intentionally working on the campaign’s behalf, and that they did not actually believe there was much, if anything, to the collusion narrative.”

Sussmann was also apparently working on behalf of a cyber expert and powerful executive identified in the indictment as “Tech Executive—1.” That is someone whose identity we eagerly anticipate. For more details on that person's role, here’s what McCarthy wrote for NATIONAL REVIEW.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2021/09/the-real-story-in-durhams-indictment-of-democratic-lawyer-michael-sussmann/

Back when Steele was testifying in the Alfa Bank lawsuit filed against him, Chuck Ross at the DAILY CALLER was following that trial. Ross reported in April of 2020 that Steele, in his “investigation” of Trump, met with two Democratic National Committee lawyers, Sussmann and Marc Elias. He met with Elias in September of 2016, just a week after writing the fictional memo accusing Alfa Bank of “illicit” ties with Vladimir Putin.

I’ll bet he got a BIG pat on the back for that.

https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/27/christopher-steele-dossier-alfa-bank-perkins-coie/

By the way, Steele lost in court and was ordered to pay damages to Alfa Bank. One would think the bank could have had quite a case agains Perkins Coie as well, as they were apparently the ones who fed the phony-baloney “pinging servers” story to Steele.

https://dailycaller.com/2020/07/08/christopher-steele-alfa-dossier-lawsuit-aven-fridman/

In fact, Steele mentioned that in his own defense. Jerry Dunleavy of the WASHINGTON EXAMINER reported in April 2020 that “Christopher Steele claims Clinton lawyers fed him debunked claim about Russian collusion in 2016.” Guess that didn't help him.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/christopher-steele-claims-clinton-lawyer-fed-him-debunked-claim-about-russian-collusion-in-2016

One frustration is that this is information we’ve had for over a year, some of it much longer than that, and it’s just now “formally” coming out. Even now, most of the media will give it short shrift. The very fact that it’s so long in coming gives the press an excuse not to cover it. Why? It’s old news!

But we did learn quite a lot about this story a couple of years ago from Andrew McCarthy’s magnificent book, BALL OF COLLUSION, published in 2019. In Chapter 8, “The Brennan Clearinghouse,” under the subhead “The Mythical Alfa Bank Backchannel,” McCarthy outlined the whole story of Alfa Bank and the rush by “journalists” to cover that story a week before Election Day. This is highly recommended reading, along with anything else he comes out with about it, as he and this story go way back.

Eric Trump, who serves as executive VP of the Trump Organization, was on SUNDAY MORNING FUTURES with Maria Bartiromo, and he said he “remembered this story like it was yesterday.” On September 29, 2016, he said, he got an email from THE NEW YORK TIMES telling him of their fable about the Trump Organization having servers connected with those of the Putin-funded Alfa Bank. Eric replied that they did not. They said, “Yes you do.” They told him they had a tip that was “very, very credible.”

Eric told Bartiromo that until Durham’s indictment of Michael Sussmann came down a few days ago, he "did not know the whole thing was actually done by the Clinton campaign.” They’d had no idea where it came from, he said. He said they and all their IT vendors had been working with the FBI for “a year, year and a half.”

The Clinton campaign was after one thing, he said. That was the big headline, “Trump Organization under investigation by the FBI for ties with Russia.” Eric pointed out that Pulitzer Prizes were won for perpetuating the lie of Trump/Russia collusion. (Is there anyone reading this who doesn’t think they should have to give those awards back?) “We all know now that it was funded by Hillary Clinton," he said. "It’s an absolute disgrace. It makes our country look like a banana republic. It just shouldn’t have happened.”

You bet it shouldn't have.

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6273267659001?playlist_id=3386055101001#sp=show-clips

Are the media barricades against admitting the efficacy of natural immunity from COVID finally starting to crumble? There are some positive indications, like the growing coverage of the recent large-scale Israeli study, and now this shocking twist: the “fact-checking” site Politifact actually admitted that a politician’s statement that people who have recovered from COVID-19 have “very strong immunity” to the virus is “Mostly true.”

And what’s even more shocking: it was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis whom they admitted was right!

PJ Media has the full story, but it’s behind a paywall.

https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/stacey-lennox/2021/09/16/politifact-abruptly-breaks-with-the-preferred-covid-19-narrative-on-recovered-immunity-n1479353

If you’re not a subscriber, here’s why they said it was only “mostly true.” Politifact says the Israeli study did find that natural immunity gives longer-lasting and stronger protection than the Pfizer vaccine. However, “the same study said natural immunity plus a single vaccine dose gave the best protection.” But, fact-checking the “fact-checkers,” PJ Media’s Stacey Lennon adds the “missing context” that the difference between vaccinated and unvaccinated recovered patients was so small, it was ruled “statistically insignificant.”

Still, as far as earth-shattering news goes, Politifact admitting that Gov. DeSantis was correct is right up there with “Man Bites Dog, and Gives It COVID.”