Just days ago, on August 27, Jonathan Moffa threw a big rock at the hornet’s nest called the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It seems that the accusers have become the accused.
During closed-door testimony before the House Judiciary and Oversight committees, Moffa “made it clear to the committee that the FBI routinely uses media reports to corroborate analytic work product. We have emails and texts plainly showing the FBI leaks to the media, raising major red flags. If FBI executives want the American people to believe they haven’t used leaks to their advantage, they are not being honest,” stated House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC).
At 9:20pm that evening, Rep. Meadows tweeted about Moffa’s disclosure:
“We’ve learned NEW information suggesting out suspicions are true: FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press, and then used those same press stories as a separate source to justify FISA’s.”
Never heard of FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act? This federal legislation was enacted in 1978 to establish “procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of ‘foreign intelligence information’ between ‘foreign powers’ and ‘agents of foreign powers’ suspected of espionage or terrorism. The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies.”
As we reported last October 2017 in an article titled “FBI Busted Over Trumped-Up Dossier”! the FBI used a Democrat-purchased fictional file (or dossier) written in 2016 before the fall U.S. presidential election by a British ex-spy named Christopher Steele.
It didn’t take long for observers to cry shenanigans on the FBI’s spy program to collect political dirt on Page using illegal wiretap monitoring. In April 2017, Alice Greene reported in Punching Bag Post that the “FBI Used Fake Report to Obtain Warrant on Carter Page” and that “the agency used the infamous Trump dossier, published last January, as proof in obtaining the warrant.”
The MEMO which made headlines in January this year, written by Rep. Devin Nunes, contended that “the warrant for Page was improperly obtained using information from the Russia Dossier.”
The FBI cited an article written by Michael Isikoff for Yahoo! News. According to Fox News:
“The Isikoff article was published on Sept. 23, 2016, focusing on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow. According to a House GOP memo earlier this year, the Isikoff article did ‘not corroborate the Steele dossier’ as the article was derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.’ Yet the subsequent FISA application to spy on Page cited the Isikoff article, among other pieces of evidence.”
Now Moffa, former work associate of FBI officials Strzok and Lisa Page, has said on record that his agency is setting people up for a fall. Meadows observed:
“We know that some people at the Department of Justice and the FBI actually gave information to the media, then the stories were reported. Then they used those reports to justify further investigations…that’s like saying, we’re going to incriminate on one hand, and be the jury on the other. It just doesn’t work that way.”
But who actually provided the dodgy dossier to the FBI? Testimony given by former FBI operative Peter Strzok points to then-associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr who happens to be married to Nellie Ohr who happened to work as a senior official for Fusion GPS at the time Steele turned in his salacious dossier. When the public became aware that Justice employee Ohr was linked to the Steele dossier – Ohr had meetings with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS – the ADA was demoted to a DOJ human resources job.
What a tangled web those co-conspirators wove: leaking this, spying there, hurling accusations right and right.
What a perfect no-lose system the Democrats, Justice Department, and Federal Bureau of Investigation had going: the Dems hire left-wing political muck-rakers to write published articles with false and purposely misleading information provided by the FBI, which then uses those fake news stories to spy on anyone the Dems consider to be a threat – and all of these illegal activities operate under the approving eye of the DOJ.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) confirmed what many have suspected since 2016:
“Hillary Clinton and the Democrats [were] funneling money to the Perkins Coie law firm who then paid Fusion GPS, and then Glenn Simpson contracting out with Chris Steele, and then Steele paying whoever the heck he needed to pay to try to get some of the garbage that he got, and then they’re bringing these reports back, and Nellie Ohr, from Fusion GPS, is giving that to her husband, Bruce Ohr, and then Bruce is giving it to people like Strzok in the FBI.”
According to Fox News, an unnamed source said that FBI whistleblower Moffa “admitted the leak-and-reuse tactic at least ‘had been a practice in the past.'”
“He more or less admitted that the FBI/DOJ have previously leaked info to the press and then used stories from the press as justifications for FISA warrants.”
Will We the Taxpayers stand a federal justice system that has created a culture of leaking for their own gain, as one source called it, that uses fake news media reports they themselves distribute to persecute their political opponents.
From our Department of We Told You So: …
Well. Enough said.
Democrats are salivating over the prospect of doing what they did in 2006 – as reflected in the above graphic. But can they … will they?
With about 70 days to go, it is time to take an early look at the mid-term election. All the speculation of the past eight months has been good fodder for the news folks and the paid pundits. It helped fill up all those hours of so-called news. It did not, however, give us much of anything that was predictive of the upcoming election. I have frequently cautioned against reading too much into those “breaking stories” and partisan analyses that surface more than 90 days before an election.
Now that the candidates have been selected for the main production in November, we can start to see meaningful trends – but they need serious analysis and interpretation. The information available cannot always be accepted as factual and relevant at face value.
The first consideration is the historic trend. The party in the White House generally – that is “generally” – loses seats in mid-term elections. In modern times, only two presidents were able to see their party gain in a mid-term election – Bill Clinton and George Bush. For Clinton, it was credited to a roaring economy. For Bush it was the combination of a good economy and the patriotic response to 9/11.
Trump is getting increasing credit for a roaring economy. It has not just returned to pre-recession levels but is breaking records. The bull market shows no sign of slowing down. Unemployment is low, with minority unemployment reaching the lowest levels in history. Economic growth has passed four percent – a level predicted two years ago to be impossible to reach for more than a decade.
The good news is offset by three negative factors for Republicans – at least as Democrats and the anti-Trump media see it. First is Trump the person – his unpleasant personality and his myriad of potential legal problems remain the top news … the only news … for the Democrat-allied media. Democrats and the liberal press are strategically committed to make Trump, the person, the major issue. However, they used that strategy in 2016 and lost.
Democrats are also counting on the divisions within the GOP to tamp down enthusiasm among disenchanted Republicans and those all-important independents. The left takes their optimism from two sources: polls that show that Democrats have an eight-point lead in the so-called generic poll and the highly exaggerated favorable coverage in the media. It would not be the first time, however, that those pre-election indicators failed them.
As a person whose business often required me to function as a political pundit, offering my crystal ball view of future outcomes, I have made it a practice to ignore the generic polls – especially those taken more than a couple weeks before an election. To the extent polls are reliable at all, it is those that are taken district-by-district that have relevancy. We do not elect our Congress in a national at-large election, but that is how the generic ballot polls view it.
The most discouraging polling statistic for the Democrats is the president’s stable favorability rating, and the fact that it is at a respectable 42 to 46 percent range – about the same level seen from time-to-time in both the Bush and Obama presidencies. In terms of the respective bases, there is an inverse relationship. While 90 percent of Republicans approve of Trump policies, only 10 percent of Democrats have the same opinion. That makes the independents important, and so far, they are wobbling back and forth.
Then there is the problem of predicting the unforeseeable. We have come to expect an “October surprise.” What that might be requires the most extreme and meaningless speculation imaginable. We refer to it as a “surprise” because we cannot foretell it. Duh!
In terms of the United States House of Representatives, it is truly too close to call. The once predicted 60 to 70 seat gain by the Democrats seems to be fading. If Democrats do gain control of the House, it is more likely to be with a gain of approximately 30 seats – just seven more than they need.
At this juncture, it does seem unlikely that the Republicans can gain seats in the House. It is more likely that if the GOP retained control of the House, it would be by the slimmest of margins – perhaps less than a five-seat advantage. But even that would be a near fatal blow to the Democrats.
Despite the exuberant optimism projected at the beginning of the year, the prospect of a Democrat take-over in the Senate has all but evaporated. The more serious question is how many seats will the Democrats lose? There is even a chance … just a chance … that Republicans could win enough seats to achieve a super majority – taking away the Democrats last hold on power in the upper chamber, the filibuster.
A Republican gain in the Senate and the GOP holding on to the House, even by one seat, could end the Democrat’s claim to be a truly national party – but rather a bi-coastal regional party. It could create a vacuum for the first serious third-party movement since Republicans replaced the Whigs in the mid-1800s. The party of Jefferson and Jackson desperately needs to take control of the House to stay in the game.
So, as my mother often counseled: We shall see what we shall see.
Within the course of approximately 24-hours, the hysterical drumbeat by the rabid media on CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and ABC for “IMPEACHMENT” was uttered over 300-times. No doubt the left is salivating like hungry jackals circling the mighty bull, hoping to bring down the Trump Administration with another bogus claim that’s as transparent as Mueller’s Russian hoax.
The issue of campaign finance law violation has become the latest saga stemming from the Mueller probe. While the rabid response from the Left might make one think they are living through the second coming of the Watergate scandal, campaign finance violations are nothing new.
For instance, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign was fined $375,000 by the Federal Election Commission for campaign reporting violations – the largest amount ever imposed on a presidential campaign.
However, the pro-Obama media considered the violation to be little more than a technical infraction – an innocent oversight, barely worth mentioning. This simply illustrates the double-standard exhibited by the media along with the one-sided Mueller probe.
The fine against the Obama campaign by the FEC lays out the audit outlining the infraction committed by the campaign.
Apparently breaking campaign finance laws, regardless of the unabashed drama exhibited by the unhinged left towards President Trump, does occur and is usually remedied with a fine.
Perhaps the more sinister occurrence regarding egregious violations of campaign laws – which of course hasn’t received any attention by the leftist media – took place in 2012. Facebook voluntarily provided privileged information on millions of their subscribers to the Obama re-election campaign, which is an illegal corporate campaign contribution.
Federal law prohibits corporations from making “direct or indirect” contributions to candidates running for federal office. That ban extends beyond cash contributions to “any services, or anything of value.” In other words, corporations cannot provide federal candidates with free services of any kind. Under the Federal Election Commission’s regulations, “anything of value” includes any “in-kind contribution.”
The most troubling aspect of the Obama Facebook is the disinterest shown within the mainstream media to investigate one of their own. No doubt this should be investigated by the Federal Election Commission and potentially the U.S. Department of Justice – if the Attorney General ever decides to finally do his job.
“The conservative Koch brothers are no more – even if they remain a political powerhouse,” reported The Chicago Tribune in July.
The comment came shortly after David Koch announced his decision to step out of the network due to health problems.
David’s older brother Charles, who has always been more involved in the family’s political efforts, wasted no time directing journalists to replace the phrase “Koch brothers” with “Koch network.”
And while the Koch brothers have long been viewed by Democrats in the way Republicans view George Soros, the network is increasingly forging its own political path – and it’s not necessarily moving to the right.
The Koch brothers never supported Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. And while the network has celebrated his gains on tax reform, the economy, and the Supreme Court, donors are frustrated with his populist views.
Speaking to donors at a secret retreat in July, Charles criticized Trump’s tariffs on trading partners and described what he calls the “destructive rise of “protectionism.”
Charles, age 82, also told donors he wasn’t “getting weak in the knees”(supposedly a reference to his brother’s departure) and that the network was “just getting started.”
Shorty after the retreat, the Koch network announced it would not be endorsing Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) in his attempt to unseat Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). In June, the network ran a surprise ad campaign thanking Senator Heitkamp for her vote on a bill that eased banking regulations.
After the announcement, Trump referred to the Koch network as “highly overrated” and a “total joke.”
His comments couldn’t be further from the truth.
As noted in The Chicago Tribune, the Koch network remains one of the most influential political forces in the nation; it is a “conservative powerhouse simultaneously playing the long- and short-game in a way that ensures it will remain a dominant force long after President Donald Trump is gone.”
Other than elections, the Koch network has spent considerable money in attempts to reform healthcare, education, immigration policy, tax law, government regulations, courts, and the criminal justice system.
But the money behind these efforts has long been cloaked in secrecy.
As AP journalist Steve Peoples points out, “There’s no way to verify how or where the money is spent because most of its organizations are registered as nonprofit groups, which aren’t required to detail their donors like traditional PACs.”
Some of the most active organizations in the Koch network are:
Americans for Prosperity
In the meantime, the Koch network has promised to spend up to $400 million to shape the 2018 elections. Last time I checked, the network was involved in only three of eight toss-up Senate races. Midterm elections begin in just over two months.
In what has to be the earliest announcement of a congressional candidacy in American history, Parkland High School’s most famous graduate, David Hogg, has announced his intention to run for Congress. Of course, the 18-year-old young man has to wait seven more years to enter Congress – if he got elected. That is when he will reach the constitutional age requirement of 25 years.
Hogg began his campaign against gun violence by claiming to be non-partisan. Since that time, he has been coopted and boosted into prominence by the left wing of the Democratic Party. He no longer pretends to be nonpartisan. He sees his path to greater political prominence as a Democrat. But, not just any OLD Democrat. “Old” is not his thing.
Hogg is intimating that he will be among the hard-left younger generation that is opposed to senior citizens as much as guns. One can only imagine what he thinks of senior citizens WITH guns.
He claims that Republicans have been successful because they are empowering young people. Really? I thought the party of Lincoln was a cobwebbed institution run by rickety old white men. At least that is what his fellow millennials on the left have been putting out.
In terms of the older generation, Hogg does display bipartisan disdain. He told Newsweek that “Older Democrats just won’t move the f**** off the plate and let us take control.”
Someone needs to inform David that older people are not obligated to walk off the end of the pier just so he can fish for public office. He should also not assume that he is smarter and wiser than they are. At 18, Hogg is filled with the passion of youth – a bit toxic in this case — but lacks knowledge, wisdom and experience. He actually does not even know what he does not know.
Hogg’s entire case against House Minority Leader and Speaker wannabe Nancy Pelosi is that she “is old.” That may be, but she is more than likely to be leading the House Democrats whether as Minority Leader or Speaker.
Between now and his run for Congress, Hogg said he will be working on some presidential campaign. Based on his contempt for anyone born before the turn of the century, one might assume that Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden will not have the benefit of his support. He seems to prefer that they join Pelosi at the political hospice?
In the photograph that heads up this commentary, Hogg is seen playing political footsie with one of those who is not moving “the f*** off the plate” for him and his generation — 85-year-old Senator Dianne Feinstein. On the other hand, checking out his facial expression, one might recognize the look of contempt.
Hogg’s twerpish arrogance seems to have no bounds. He should keep in mind that the clock keeps ticking and one day he will be an old politician, if that is in fact his career path. Maybe he will grow to be like that fictional Hogg from the old Dukes of Hazard television show and movies — Jefferson Davis Hogg, known to his friends and adversaries alike as Boss Hogg.
The comparison is not without similarities. Boss Hogg was arrogant and had little use for people who did not suit his purposes. He was consumed and corrupted by his own ambitions. Young Hogg should be forewarned, however. His older namesake character turned out to be a joke.
One in 7 teenagers is abusing opioids, and sexual minorities increasingly face health disparities and health risks, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that analyzes high-risk behaviors of high school students across the country.
Traditionally, adolescence is seen as a time for moments of poor judgment and learning about life. The CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) studies these moments and trends them every 2 years to compile a national report assessing adolescent and young adult health risks.
The report monitors 6 categories of health-related behaviors in young persons—behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence; tobacco use; alcohol and other drug use; sexual behaviors related to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; unhealthy dietary behaviors; and physical inactivity. The entire report summarizes a total of 121 health-related behaviors of students across 39 states, although this new report focuses on covering all these categories except for nutrition and exercise.
The report also highlights the health disparities faced by students across the country based on sex, race/ethnicity, and sexual identity. The report found that students of sexual minority face the greatest challenges, and “the level of disparities among sexual minority youth cannot be ignored especially given the rates of violence, substance use, and attempted suicide among these groups.” According to the study data, 14.6% of the students who completed the survey were sexual minorities.
The newest report found that, overall, teenagers are moving in the right direction despite some concerns. Kathleen Ethier, PhD, director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health for the CDC, says there were some surprises in the report, which the CDC has conducted biennially since 1991.
“A couple of things surprised us. Whereas we are heartened to see that youth are making better decisions in some areas, the levels of violence they experience and the mental health issues they face are very concerning. We also noted that 14% of high school students report having misused prescription opioids,” Ethier says. “This is the first year we have had national YRBSS data specific to the misuse of prescription opioids, and I think most people will agree that 1 in 7 high school students reporting this behavior in the midst of a national opioid crisis is particularly concerning.”
According to the newest report, fewer high school students are abusing drugs, but 1 in 7 abuse opioid prescriptions. In terms of drug use, overall use of illicit drugs—cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, inhalants, hallucinogens, and ecstasy—dropped from 23% in 2007 to 14% in 2017.
Tobacco use is also a concern, with 3.6 million middle and high school students admitting to using some form of tobacco in the month prior to the report. Most students, 11.7%, use e-cigarettes, followed by 7.7% who use cigars, 7.6% who use cigarettes, 5.5% who use smokeless tobacco, and 3.3% who use hookahs.
Other risky behaviors highlighted in the report include problems with driving—39.2% of high school students admit to texting or sending e-mails while driving, and 5.9% rarely or never wear a seat belt while riding in a car driven by someone else—and other drug use, including 29.8% of students who admit current alcohol use and 19.8% who use marijuana.
Experiences that can lead to poor physical and mental health outcomes are also on the risk profile for young persons, according to the report. The survey revealed that bullying occurs in 19% of students, and 7.4% have attempted suicide. Students who report feeling sad or hopeless increased from 29% in 2007 to 32% in 2017. The report also found that 1 in 10 high school girls and 1 in 28 high school boys have been forced into having sex.
As far as sexual practices, 39.5% of teenagers report having sexual intercourse, and 9.7% have done so with 4 or more partners. A little more than half of sexually active adolescents, 58.3%, use condoms.
One of the positives uncovered was the reduction in the percentage of students having sex, from 48% in 2007 to 40% in 2017. The number of students who have numerous—more than 4—sexual partners also declined, but so has condom use. According to the study data, condom use among sexually active high schoolers dropped from 62% in 2007 to 54% in 2017. The CDC notes that this could lead to increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and also reverses a long-running trend since the 1990s of rising condom use.
Although there were some unwelcome trends, such as the frequency of opioid use, decreases in condom use, and growing health disparities and risks for sexual minorities, most health risk trends moved in a desirable direction, according to the CDC. The goal is to combat the 74% of deaths in 10- to 24-year-olds that occur from high-risk behaviors including motor vehicle crashes (22%), unintended injuries (20%), suicide (17%), and homicide (15%). Interventions enacted as a result of the report findings also could help head off some of the most common causes of death in older adults, including cardiovascular disease and cancers, according to the CDC.
Identifying these problems is important, Ethier says, and pediatricians, families, and schools are the groups best positioned to elicit change.
“Pediatricians are in an excellent position to provide sexual health education and access to confidential and relevant information, services, and support to adolescents as a part of preventive healthcare,” Ethier says, adding it takes a special touch to reach teenagers when it comes to sensitive topics such as sexual activity and drug use.
“Connectedness—to family, to peers, and to important adults in their schools and other community organizations, including their healthcare providers—is key to protecting the health of adolescents,” Ethier says. “Students are more likely to thrive if they know they matter—that they have adults, teachers, and friends who care about their safety and success—and these protections last into adulthood.”
In addition to screening, support, and education on these topics provided by pediatricians, adolescents and young adults need families to be involved in their lives and schools to offer evidence-based educational programs in a safe environment, Ethier notes.
More than 100 years ago, New York Times owner Adolph Ochs arrogantly declared that his newspaper published “All the news that’s fit to print” – thus creating the most famous, if not the most accurate, media motto in journalism history. Today, Ochs’ publication is part of an east coast media cabal that offers up only half the news that’s fit to print – and even that half is jaded by deep-seated biases.
Papers, like the New York Times, function incestuously with the electronic media as a means of getting their biased perspectives amplified across the nation. More people, by far, read what is written in the New York Times or Washington Post by watching CNN or MSNBC than subscribing to the publications – even online.
Look at today’s “win,” “place” and “show” world of national cable news priorities. The clear “win” in the most recent race for press attention is the pulling of the security clearance of former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John Brennan. The “place” position goes to the trial of Robert Manafort, with the “show”(boater) position going to the book tour and n-word accusations of former White House staffer Omarosa. A verdict or another tape could put either of the trailing duo in the lead, however.
If you watch a few hours of CNN and MSNBC in the morning – as I must do – you soon discover that there are not even any other horses in that media race. There seem to be no other national or international events deserving of coverage.
In many ways, cable news is comparable to the editorial pages of the newspapers. That is where the editors and the columnists express their opinions and advance their contrived narratives. That is where they legitimatize their biases in a one-sided analysis of the facts – and attempt to influence rather than educate. In that regard, editorializing is a form of propaganda.
There was a time when the leading news outlets adhered to journalistic ethics, such as keeping opinion out of the hard news and offering up legitimate countervailing viewpoints. If you objectively look only at the time devoted to opposing viewpoints, one cable news outlet clearly leads in the objectivity category. That is FOX News. We should pause for a moment while those on the political left regain their composure.
It’s true. FOX most frequently features interviewees and panelists of diametrically differing viewpoints. If you do not believe it, take out the stopwatch and do your own analysis – and be honest. Oh, and do not count people of different parties who have the same opinion as the station’s management. Content is more important than title or past resume. Skip the false flaggers.
Second place goes to CNN. Now time for those on the hard right to swoon – but it is true. They definitely spin news to the left, just as FOX spins to the right, but they do present individuals who can articulate those all-important opposing views. And most of their hosts will ask tough questions of both sides.
If CNN and FOX were the only two cable news outlets, the public would be reasonably well served, but they are not.
The two new kids on the block, One America News (OAN) and Newsy – of which most people have never heard – tend to run straight news without spin – although OAN features personality shows that are hard right. It just does not filter into the news. Newsy is geared to the millennials and features a lot of target audience stories. The value of OAN and Newsy is that you get a LOT of information and news that you will not see on the three major cable news channels.
That leaves us MSNBC – and I would leave it if I could. They are hardline propaganda for the Democrats and the left. They offer no alternative viewpoints. It is 24/7 anti-Trump, anti-Republican, anti-conservative spin. They will also obsess on two or three anti-Trump stories to the exclusion of significant news featured on the other stations. When pressing their prosecutorial case in the court-of-public-opinion, MSNBC excludes facts and information that tends to exculpate those targeted in their indictment-like, preconceived narratives. They are the kangaroo court of the media.
One of the major MSNBC celebrities, Mika Brzezinski, once famously confessed that is their – MSNBC’s – job to tell people what to think. In classic left-wing arrogance, the distaff side of Morning Joe has revealed the left’s underlying distrust of the American people. We are not to look at events and make our own decisions, but we are to be told what to believe and not believe. Brzezinski has told us all we need to know to reject the MSNBC as a source of credible information.
I have often advised people, to be well informed, you need to use your television controller to cruise the various news outlets or you will pass control of your thinking to the one outlet – and God forbid it should be MSNBC.
FOR MANY FAMILIES, August is a time to get those back-to-school lists taken care of, schedule after-school activities and prepare for the kids to wake up early enough to eat breakfast and get out the door. For parents, it can be overwhelming. After getting the kids dressed, throwing breakfast together and packing lunches for everyone, making plans for dinner at home can fall by the wayside, especially with homework and extracurricular activities added back to the schedule.
This is an issue for almost every parent I know, so I reached out to my dietitian colleagues for their best time-saving and nutrition-rich advice to get dinner on the table during back-to-school season. From weekend planning sessions to emergency freezer meals, these expert tips can help keep the family nourished without a food show-like production:
Plan meals based on the family schedule.
Planning is a crucial step when it comes to getting dinner on the table. When we think through everyone’s schedule for the week, we can plan meals that take little to no preparation for hectic days and spend a little more time in the kitchen on days with a calmer agenda. “I have to look at our family schedule and realistically assess how hectic our evenings will be,” says Sarah Marjoram, a registered dietitian nutritionist and mom of three active children. Marjoram adds that “setting aside a little time to meal plan and making one big grocery run saves time, money and stress during a busy week. And I always embrace any opportunity to repurpose ingredients. If we grill chicken for one night’s meal, I grill double the amount so that we have prepped ingredientsfor another night.” As a meal planner myself, I pick one day a week to plan meals and stick to that day. Knowing that Sunday or Monday is my planning day helps me remember to get the plan done each week.
Keep your favorite recipes handy.
Keeping your favorite recipes close by helps when you want a sure-thing meal. Megan Byrd at The Oregon Dietitian says to “print out recipes and start keeping the ones you like in a binder with the rest of your cookbooks. If you find a super easy one or one that your whole family likes, save it in the binder for later. Keep it simple!” This can help with planning when you’re short on time and ideas.
Prep what you can ahead of time.
If a recipe calls for me to chop a bunch of vegetables on a busy evening, it’s unlikely that I’m going to follow through. This is where planning and prepping ahead can help save time, and your weeknight sanity. Natalia Stasenko of Feeding Bytes suggests prepping items to be used for “deconstructed” dinners and plans one to two of these no-cook dinners each week. She says the sandwich bar, baked potato bar, pasta bar, quesadilla bar or salad bar are all popular in her home. “Minimal cooking is involved, and all the components can be put away in the fridge to be reused for lunchboxes or other meals. An example of a quesadilla bar: tortillas, shredded cheese, black beans, chopped tomatoes and avocado [and] leftover chicken. Everyone can make their own quesadilla, and there is no cooking involved.” Stasenko adds.
Prepping for the deconstructed meal not only saves time on busy evenings, it gets kids involved with the meal. They can help with all stages from planning and prepping ingredients to setting the table and building their own plates.
Don’t forget about the freezer.
Each week I start planning by taking an inventory of things I have in my freezer like ground beef and mixed veggies. This helps me use what’s on hand. When I reached out to other nutrition experts, they had some great ideas on how to use the freezer in other ways.
“I use the last weeks of summer to try out new, easy meal ideas so that I’m ready with quick meals I know my family loves,” says Jenna Braddock, a registered dietitian nutritionist, blogger at Make Healthy Easy and founder of Off-Season Athlete. “This summer I have focused on finding frozen meals I can add to my dinner routine.” She points out that the frozen section in the grocery story is always adding new products, so it’s worth taking the time to give it a look.
Emma Fogt, a registered dietitian nutritionist and CEO of Fuel Up for Success, adds that having meal items in the freezer for emergency backups can really help on days when there’s no time to prep. She says she’d come home and work from the freezer stash with some frozen turkey or Swedish meatballs, boil some pasta , add marinara from a jar and fresh salad to the meal, or make Asian dumplings, with rice and edamame – all from the freezer. “Many flash frozen foods are awesome in a pinch,” Fogt says.
Use the slow cooker on your busiest days.
This is something I do more and more as my family gets busier. It’s how I cook ahead chicken breasts to be used in other recipes. Just cooking chicken breast for three hours makes them tender, so they can be shred in a flash. Shredded chicken can be used immediately or placed in the fridge for dishes like chicken pot pie, stir-fry bowls or tacos on another day.
“The slow cooker is my best friend,” echoes registered dietitian nutritionist Yaelle Joselit. She uses it to make a turkey roast, and then serves that with roasted veggies. Turkey roast can be served in many ways: on its own, with a side of vegetables, whole grain pasta or rice, or another day in sandwich or wrap form with greens and a dipping condiment of choice, she says. “The kids like the variation and it definitely saves time on busy days.”
There are many ways to get a busy family around the dinner table during the week but it seems the most critical step is planning for it to happen. If we think through a busy week, we can plan to sit down together in spite of a tricky schedule. In addition to having a nourishing meal, spending time around the table helps kids develop important life skills and allows families to connect.
Former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan just got his top-level security clearance stripped away. It quickly became THE major story of the day. News anchors and their parroting panelists waxed on about the implications and the ramifications of the action. They even obsessed over the date the announcement was drafted, as if that had deep meaning.
Since the action was taken by Trump, the speculation by the left-leaning media folks again ran to the potential collapse of the Republic. The move against Brennan was declared to be an unprecedented abuse of power. Trump was roundly accused of doing it to punish a political enemy – as if that never happens in politics. That still leaves open whether Brennan deserved it. Did Trump have a valid reason to end Brennan’s access to highly sensitive information regarding national security?
To answer that question, one has to ask what Brennan was doing with his security access. Did he have a productive or compelling reason to retain his security status? Was it in the national interest?
Some of Brennan’s defenders argued that with his security clearance, he could assist current intelligence officials. He could use his institutional memory to give advice and counsel to the new Intel chiefs. That sounds good in theory, but Brennan has undermined that theory with his behavior.
First of all, while Brennan can no longer be privy to ongoing operations, he could still answer questions and offer opinions based on his past experience. He would only be half out of the loop. More realistically, Brennan had already made himself persona non grata at every intelligence agency. He had become a political loose cannon, and no one wanted his advice in exchange for access.
Brennan ceased to be a qualified and dependable intelligence asset when he decided to become a political antagonist to the president. Rather than using his access to sensitive security information to help the president develop and implement policy, Brennan began to use his knowledge and access to undermine administration policies. In his effort to bring down the president politically, he was undermining the good and necessary work of the entire Intel community.
To spread his anti-Trump narrative, Brennan played loose with truth and facts – acting more like a politician than an intel officer. He accused the president of acts of collusion that neither Brennan nor anyone else outside of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office could know. His screeds and rants reached a crescendo when he literally accused the President of the United States of treason.
Brennan made himself the bad example as to why we do not want our intelligence leaders to become partisan political operatives. He politicized himself to such an extent that even many of his allies and defenders on CNN and MSNBC say he went too far.
In response to the president’s action, Brennan stoutly proclaimed that he will not be silenced – as if anyone expected he would. The stripping of his security clearance was never intended to silence him. It was intended to prevent him from accessing intelligence information that he could – and would – weaponize against Trump. His actions not only made him an enemy of Trump, but an enemy of the Republic.
While it is a long ago and an extraneous issue, I still cannot forget that he voted for the Communist Party Presidential candidate during the height of the Cold War. In the hypersensitive world of national security, one might think that alone would have prevented his even being hired by the CIA, much less rising to the top. I thought the CIA’s job was to weed out and fight against Communist sympathizers. While it did not, it is fair to judge his political philosophy and how it might have come into play in pointing the Russian meddling issue in the direction of the Trump campaign.
In terms of the Brennan issue, the #NeverTrump media is recklessly throwing around abuse of power and obstruction of justice charges as political flak. Since the president has the unfettered power to remove the security clearance of anyone at any time and for any reason, Trump was well within his power to strip Brennan of his clearance. Unlike the free-wheeling journalists, most of the lawyers on both sides did not see this creating an obstruction problem for the president.
So, what IS the effect of taking away Brennan’s security clearance? Not much. Perhaps it should have been automatically suspended when he left government service. Or at least, it should have been extended if there was some national purpose and benefit.
Despite the media huffing and puffing this story up like a hot air balloon, the aftermath will have no measurable effect on anything happening in Washington. Nothing will change. Brennan will continue to be a welcomed guest on the anti-Trump media circuit. He may be the target of an occasional Trump tweet. Those who love him will love him, and those who hate him will hate him – just another media-driven tempest in a teapot.
In a stunning decision, a New Mexico judge on Monday granted bond to 4-adults who were charged with 11-counts of child abuse each. The police, after initially looking for 39-year old fugitive Siraj Wahhaj and his kidnapped son, raided a compound in New Mexico last week. Along with Wahhaj, 11 malnourished children and one decomposed body were found in the filth riddled desert compound.
The compound was allegedly used as a Muslim training facility, for the sole purpose of training some of the starving children in the use of firearms – with the intent of committing a terrorist attack on an American school.
After several hours of testimony and overwhelming evidence being presented by prosecutors, activist Judge Sarah Backus somehow made the bizarre and convoluted determination to grant bail, saying the state failed to meet the burden of showing the suspects were a danger to the community.
The compelling evidence presented, aside from the obvious mistreatment of the children, was the physical evidence of the compound itself – which mirrored terrorist training camps found in the Middle East. The complex even had its own firing range.
The prosecutors also provided additional information to the judge from two of the older children, regarding their training in the use of firearms and tactical terrorist techniques. Moreover, a scribbled manifesto against law enforcement and other institutions was also found in the compound. The letter, written by one of the suspects, contained pleas to fellow Muslims to come to the compound and “die like a martyr.”
Even the FBI testified on behalf of the prosecution, allowing their agent Travis Taylor to take the stand and reveal his “sources and methods” in conducting his interview between the FBI and the two teens from the compound. The interview revealed that Siraj Wahhaj would lead rituals that included reading from the Quran and were centered on his epileptic son.
“During these rituals, per witness statements, the victim, Abdul (Ghani Wahhaj) would begin to choke and have white foam or slime come from his mouth and then pass out,” Taylor said.
According to Taylor, the children were led to believe that Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj “would become Jesus” when his demons were exorcised. He added that once the child “became Jesus,” he would instruct the others of the property or the family what corrupt institutions to get rid of.”
A decomposing body believed to be that of a child was found buried in a shallow grave within the compound. However, investigators have yet to determine if the body is that of 4-year old Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj. What is known is none of the 11-children rescued within the compound is Abdul-Ghani Wahhaj.
The defense attorney representing the suspects immediately turned the bond hearing into a debate regarding the suspect’s Muslim religion, tagging investigators as perhaps suffering from “Islamophobia.”
The attorney declared that there’s a “double-standard” where Muslims are concerned, stating that if the suspects were Christian and white, “we might not be here today.”
It’s noteworthy to acknowledge that Chief District Judge Sarah C. Backus graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and was a Public Defender in the sanctuary city of San Francisco.
The good judge is also a lifelong Democrat – and was appointed by the Democratic Party of New Mexico in 2008 and again in 2010 to head the election protection efforts for the Democratic Party.
In a statement sent to KOB following the hearing, Gov. Susana Martinez said she “strongly disagreed” with the hearing’s outcome and Backus’s decision.
“Unfortunately, it highlights how extreme the New Mexico Supreme Court has been in dictating pretrial release for all kinds of dangerous criminals,” she said.