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Many Trump supporters are frustrated that the President seemed unprepared for some of the tough questions about the US coronavirus response in his Axios interview with Jonathan Swan. So he might want to take a cue from Matt Margolis at PJ Media, who has some advice for him on how to explain it in clearer terms.

Margolis points out that in comparing the US negatively to Germany and South Korea in terms of deaths per million, Swan cherry-picked two nations but left out a lot of others. In fact, the US is not #1 in deaths per million, but tenth.

Also, the US isn’t a small, homogenous nation with one all-powerful central government; it’s a collection of 50 states that the federal government can only offer aid and advice to as they make their own local decisions, and with Constitutional rights for individuals that must be accommodated (even if they are trampled in some blue states.) Because of that, many of the COVID-19 deaths have been in a small handful of Northeastern blue states. If you lifted New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and DC out and lumped them together as if they were a nation, they would lead the world in deaths per 100,000, while the entire remaining states together would come in 18th.

Liberal media outlets would like us to believe that Trump is somehow responsible for the bad decisions made by local Democratic officials, like forcing nursing homes to take in COVID-19 patients. Trump didn’t run the New York State or City response to the virus, but he did insure that the predicted deadly shortages of ventilators and hospital rooms (remember that scare story?) never materialized.

If Swan wants to know who was in charge of the response in New York, maybe he should interview New York City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. Wait, I’m sorry: she’s now the former Health Commissioner. She just resigned and blasted Mayor DeBlasio on her way out the door. She wrote, “I leave my post today with deep disappointment that during the most critical public health crisis in our lifetime, that the health department’s incomparable disease control expertise was not used to the degree it could have been.” There had been longstanding conflicts between her and DeBlasio, who said he needs team players: “It had been clear in recent days that it was time for a change. We need an atmosphere of unity. We need an atmosphere of common purpose.” (Can you imagine the media's reaction if Dr. Fauci had resigned and blasted Trump, and he replied that he needed team players?)

Please note that I’m not even going to comment on which side is right here. I may think that DeBlasio has done a terrible job, but that doesn’t mean that he should have done whatever Dr. Barbot said. Way back in April, when there were reports of dust-ups between Trump and Fauci, I said I wouldn’t be surprised, since they both have different jobs. Fauci has only the health issue to deal with, and if he thinks we could prevent even only COVID-19 death by shutting down the economy for two years, he might think it’s worth it. But Trump is more like a general overseeing a battlefield: he has to consider all the ramifications and unintended consequences; he can’t focus solely on one platoon if it’s going to cost him the war in the long run.

We have pandemics all the time (remember swine flu in 2009?), but we can’t shut down the world for a year or more until we develop a vaccine for all of them. Maybe DeBlasio thought he was protecting both New York’s health and its economy. He simply failed on both counts.

Neil Young just joined the seemingly endless list of rich leftist musicians complaining about their music being played by Republicans, only he’s taken the step of actually suing the Trump campaign for playing some of his songs at their events. The story is here:

Having had personal experience with this nonsense, I’ll just point out the obvious: if a venue pays for an ASCAP performance license, it is allowed to play any ASCAP licensed song it wants without having to get permission. If you want to dictate who’s allowed to play your music, then you should’ve kept it in your bedroom and not signed that evil, capitalist ASCAP contract.

Some artists are now pushing for a separate license for political events so that they can bar politicians they dislike from using their music, but as yet, that doesn’t exist. Since many of these artists are boomer icons such as Young or the Rolling Stones, I would strongly suggest that they think twice before alienating older, non-coastal Republicans. Those are not only their biggest fans, but just about the only people who still buy CDs instead of illegally downloading music files for free. They’re making the same mistake as a lot of corporations and sports leagues these days: ticking off their real fans while sucking up to people who don't patronize their product anyway.

MEDIA-WORSHIP OF CHRISTOPHER STEELE LIKE A BAD JOKE NOW

The rug has been pulled out from under those who insisted for years that Christopher Steele was some brilliant British super-sleuth who had the goods on Donald Trump. He turned out to be pretty sorry at intelligence-gathering, and even his fiction appears to have been gleaned from others more creative than he.

As Mollie Hemingway reminds us in THE FEDERALIST, Steele was supposed to have a “vast network of credible and well-connected sources spread throughout Europe,” but he really didn’t.

In the media, Steele was reverently described as “a former senior intelligence officer for a Western country who specialized in Russian counterintelligence.” Whew, that sounds impressive. Before he was even identified, MOTHER JONES described him as maybe the foremost expert in Russia matters in the world! Ooh, big stuff. They said he “spent almost two decades on Russian intelligence matters and...now works with a U.S. firm that gathers information on corporate clients.” HA, that “U.S. firm” turned out to be Fusion GPS, the dirty oppo research company working for Hillary and the Democratic National Committee. Not quite so impressive now, is he?

As we’ve reported, Steele got all his information from his “primary sub-source,” identified as Igor “Iggy” Danchenko, who was a staffer at the leftist think-tank (make that “think”-tank) the Brookings Institute. Recall that the Brookings Institute was at that time headed by longtime Clinton ally Strobe Talbott. (Again, when it comes to lies and corruption, all roads lead back to Hillary.) Danchenko picked up nothing that was actually documented; instead, he depended on what Hemingway describes as “rumors, drunken gossip, and outright brainstorming, conjecture and speculation.”

Hearsay based on hearsay was conveyed to Steele, who, in his admitted desperation to keep Trump out of the White House, dramatically overstated it.

No one ever had any reason to believe any of this, other than that they just wanted to. They thought they could turn Trump’s image into that of some evil Manchurian candidate and keep him away from power. That’s why the media grabbed onto the outrageously fake story with both hands and wouldn’t let go. As Hemingway reminds us, Adam Goldman of THE NEW YORK TIMES actually won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting the false “Russia collusion” narrative. (I will add that he should humbly return it, as the award is as fake as the story.)

When the narrative turned out to be bunk, Goldman and his colleague Charlie Savage got together and turned on a dime to make their story more about the unmasking of Danchenko as Steele’s source. (Hemingway provides the link to this.) Clever, these media hacks. They gave no evidence that Danchenko had been promised anonymity, though he was promised immunity for speaking with the FBI. Late in their story, they do admit problems with the dossier --- what else can they do? --- while simultaneously glossing over them.

The Horowitz report, which came out last December, strongly criticized FBI investigators for mischaracterizing the Steele dossier and the results of the Danchenko interview to the FISA court, just to keep renewing their warrant to spy on Carter Page (and thus the Trump campaign, and thus Trump.)

As Hemingway reminds us, revisionists have tried to say that the “dossier” didn’t actually come out until after the election. But that timeline isn’t right; we know that it --- and other so-called “dossiers” designed to damage Trump --- were kicking around during the summer of 2016. Steele himself admitted in a British court (he was being sued by executives of Alfa bank) that he was meeting with media and law enforcement people about the “dossier” prior to the election, as he wanted it weaponized and used against Trump.

Steele even told a State Department official, Kathleen Kavalec, that it was his goal to get the story around before the election; she provided notes about that to the FBI investigators, so they knew good and well. And Michael Isikoff’s September 2016 story about Carter Page being a Russian asset was taken right from the “dossier.”

Other media outlets, mostly on the left but even THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, inflated Steele’s resume and mystique. They really should be embarrassed now; I wonder how many of them are. Read Mollie’s entire piece; it’s quite entertaining. In fact, some of it is a real laff riot, as when she quotes NYT reporter Scott Shane as saying in January of 2017, “If all the information in the dossier is false, it is a very sophisticated fabrication.” Hahahahaha. That sounds so ridiculous now.

Come on, it was a pile of stinking, unverifiable garbage that many of us could tell was fake from the start. You in the media were taken for a ride, and you’d buy the ticket again if it meant you could hurt President Trump.

Consequences Are Back

August 6, 2020

All the underemployed liberal arts majors who wanted to play “social justice warrior” might start rethinking that decision after hearing this news: The FBI has opened more than 300 domestic terrorist investigations since the rioting began following George Floyd’s death. That doesn’t include investigations of violent crime and civil rights violations. Consequences are back.

That news was revealed Tuesday during the opening of a Senate hearing titled, "The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.” It’s chaired by Sen. Ted Cruz, who said these violent rioters’ actions "are profoundly racist. The rioters...destroy minority communities, minority businesses and minority lives across this country. This shouldn't be complicated: peaceful protests must be protected. Riots must be stopped."

Cruz kicked off the hearings with some shocking video of what’s been allowed to rage on over the past couple of months in major American cities. You can see it here, if you dare:

Democratic Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono declared that the hearings should be called, "The right of the people peaceably to assemble without being beaten up by unidentifiable federal agents." That’s repeating a piece of fake news that the federal agents sent to Portland were not identified. In fact, they had their agency and number on their uniforms, they just didn’t have their names because those “peaceful protesters” were hunting down their families online and threatening them.

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley also claimed that protesters in Portland were “holding flowers, dancing, chanting" and calling for equal justice when federal agents emerged and attacked them with “military-grade tear gas" and other tools. Sen. Merkley has a bright future as a screenwriter if they ever reboot the “Billy Jack” franchise, but that doesn’t sound like the video we’ve seen actually coming out of Portland. As Sen. Lindsay Graham pointed out, if the feds hadn’t intervened, those peaceful flower children would have burned down the federal courthouse.

Throughout the hearing, Democrats attempted to blame the violence on overreaction by law enforcement and white nationalist groups posing as far-left radicals. The hearing ended with some political theater as Hirono dramatically walked out, accusing Cruz of refusing to listen and saying, “How many times have I had to say that we all should be denouncing violent extremists of every stripe?”

Cruz asked if that included Antifa. After she stormed out, he noted that “throughout her remarks she still did not say a negative word about Antifa nor has any Democrat here." I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that.

Weird Fake News Wednesday

August 5, 2020

Since 2016, there’s been a Twitter account allegedly run by an anonymous Arizona State University anthropology professor who claimed to be gay and Native American and to have fled Alabama because of the South’s “oppression of queer folk.” The widely-cited account promoted leftwing social justice issues. Recently, the writer claimed to have contracted COVID-19 because she’d been forced to come in and teach. She accused ASU of forcing her to continue giving 200-person lectures and to have cut her salary by 15% while she was hospitalized. And then came the announcement that she had died.

It was all very sad and tragic and infuriating…until the announcement came that every word of it was a big, fat lie. ASU has been closed since March and didn’t cut anyone’s salary. Also, the professor never really existed. Tuesday, one of the account’s Twitter contacts, BethAnn McLaughlin, admitted to making up the entire hoax. In a statement through her lawyer, she said, “I take full responsibility for my involvement in creating the @sciencing_bi Twitter account. My actions are inexcusable. I apologize without reservation to all the people I hurt.”

On the plus side, this does impart a very valuable lesson: Twitter is an open fire hydrant of sewage. Be very careful about which Twitter accounts you trust. There’s mine, and…well, after that, you’re on your own.

Susan Rice is the latest to be cited in the media as the current frontrunner to be Joe Biden’s running mate. He has committed to choosing a woman, and he's pretty well obligated to choose a woman of color as well. Naturally, the leftist media are obsessed with who it will be.

Folks, it’s all theatrics. Kamala Harris won't be it; Val Demings won't be it. And neither will Susan Rice, though she does have suitable Obama connections. Precisely none of the women mentioned as candidates for the #2 spot in recent weeks can help Biden win, and, more importantly, given the circumstances, none of them can be envisioned as President of the United States, because we all know that Biden, if he's still even the candidate on Election Day and (shudder) wins, will be replaced practically on the spot. Rice, with her foreign policy credentials, might have a little more gravitas than the others –- it wouldn’t take much to stand out in that crowd –- but she still has way too many problems.

For one thing –- not that it would matter to hard-core Democrat party hacks and rabid anti-Trumpers –- she’s a liar of great repute. By that I don’t mean little lies here and there, tiny fibs that might be rationalized as necessary for national security, but huge politically-charged whoppers told repeatedly on national TV and even under oath. I’m still enough of an optimist to think that this would matter to the independent voters, the folks in the middle, the thoughtful “swing” voters that Biden or any challenger would need to sway.

Of course, we all know that Rice lied her head off about the cause of the 2012 attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed. She went on five different Sunday shows and told the same fake story about an anti-Islam YouTube video setting off protests that turned violent. Hillary told the same story. We all know it was fabricated to cover up the fact that it was a terrorist attack. American personnel were not given the protection they needed and deserved, help was not provided once the attack was underway, and our people ended up dead. But Rice did her political duty. From then on, we knew what she was made of.

That was just the first. Later on, we found out that Rice had written a curious “note to self” on the very last day of the Obama administration --- just as Trump was being sworn in, in fact. It was a “memo to the file” about the meeting she'd attended (aside: WITH JOE BIDEN) in the Oval Office on January 5, 2017, to say that Obama had told them everything having to do with the “Russia” investigation had to be done “by the book.” I think she mentioned that five times. This is what you call a “CYA” memo. She was “C”-ing Obama’s “A.”

Later, she covered her own “A,” too. She had her lawyer, Kathryn Ruemmler, who also happens to have been PRESIDENT OBAMA’S WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL, write a letter to Sens. Grassley, Graham, Feinstein and Whitehouse, saying, “While serving as National Security Advisor, Ambassador Rice was not briefed on the existence of any FBI investigation into allegations of collusion between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia, and she later learned of the fact of this investigation from Director Comey’s subsequent testimony.”

Oh, really?? Comey didn’t testify until March 20, 2017, but Rice was present at the January 5 Oval Office meeting that dealt with exactly that –- in particular, with the investigation into Michael Flynn.

And it gets worse. She also denied this under oath. On September 8, 2017, she gave sworn testimony to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (then chaired by Republican Devin Nunes) that she knew nothing about the FBI’s “Russia” investigation while she was at the White House. Apparently anticipating some difficult questioning from Republicans, she arrived with two attorneys from Latham & Watkins (Ruemmler’s firm). Ironically, it was a couple of questions from Democrats that tripped her up.

Adam Schiff: “Director Comey testified that, in July of last year [2016], he began a counterintelligence investigation into people associated with the Trump campaign and what contacts they may have had with Russia. That investigative responsibility, wasn’t part of your portfolio, I take it?”

Rice: “No, not at all.”

Schiff: “And would Director Comey brief you on the progress of his investigation?”

Rice: “No. I think it’s important for everybody to understand: We were not informed by Director Comey or the attorney general that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit...In the Obama White House, we maintained scrupulously the firewall between the people in the White House and contacts with Justice about potential or actual criminal matters. The only communication that was sanctioned in that vein was between the White House counsel and the Justice Department or the FBI.”

She goes on: “And Director Comey did not volunteer to us, not only then but for the duration of his administration, that there was an active investigation of anybody in the Trump orbit...I learned about it formally in the public domain after I left office.”

And later…

Eric Swalwell: “Is it fair to say that, as the national security adviser, you were not read in on active, ongoing investigations that the Department of Justice or the FBI were conducting?”

Rice: “Absolutely, that’s the case. Those were law enforcement matters...”

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Who is she kidding?

According to the Horowitz report, testimony from Comey differs markedly from that of Rice. Comey said the Obama team knew about the FBI’s investigation in detail, almost from the start. He said Rice was one of the people he had told (along with Obama) about “Crossfire Hurricane” in the summer of 2016. And, of course, her presence at the January 5 meeting shows she had to have been aware of the Michael Flynn case.

So, it appears that Biden’s current frontrunner for the VP slot has lied quite brazenly under oath. She'd had plenty of practice before then, too. Leftists won’t care one bit, but I don’t think swing voters will want to put someone in office who more appropriately belongs in jail. We knew Hillary belonged in jail; notice she didn't win in 2016.

This excellent article from RealClear Investigations details all of Rice's lies.