Turkey has often been accused of having porous borders, with nearly all non-local ISIS members traveling through the NATO approved caliphate before entering the skirmish in Syria or Iraq. Due to this dubious track record, many are alarmed to hear that Turkey’s new maritime and military treaty with Libya places them responsible for a point of entrance over 1 million illegal immigrants attempt to use to enter Europe through southern Italy each year.
Feeling cut off from America over the conflict in Syria, excluded from Israel and Greece’s pipeline deal, and fighting off with the UAE, Russian, and Egypt in Libya, Turkey’s power-play gives the state much needed negotiation power.
We often discuss migration as a reaction to Western policies, such as in Syria, but a confidential internal security report from EU police and border agencies, leaked at the time, stated 900,000 illegal immigrants were entering the EU every year. Given population growth as well as regional instability, the number of entrance attempts has only increased in the last decade.
Look for dramatic actions in the upcoming weeks to take place in the East Med, as the EU will be unable to allow Erdogan to repeat Muammar Gaddafi’s famous threat to “turn Europe black” if Libya was not given $5 billion a year.
Just days after the Justice Department reversed course to recommend up to six months of prison time in his case, more than a year later after pleading guilty and offering to cooperate, Donald Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, has requested to withdraw his guilty plea. Flynn and his attorneys are arguing that he’s been the victim of an “overzealous” Justice Department that has operated in “bad faith.”
This move by Flynn’s new legal team comes just as Judge Emmet Sullivan bumped Flynn sentencing date — which was originally set to be Jan. 28 in a D.C. federal court – to Feb. 27. If Sullivan ultimately allows Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea, that sentencing date will likely be scrapped altogether, and the case could presumably head to trial.
Flynn’s move on Tuesday to withdraw his guilty plea came just days after the Justice Department reversed course to recommend up to six months of prison time in his case, alleging he was not fully cooperating or accepting responsibility for his actions.
Some experts say that the move amounts to a Hail Mary pass that has the potential to backfire and place Flynn in greater legal peril.
“This is a risky maneuver,” said Jeffrey Harris, a former federal prosecutor in New York, who was deputy associate attorney general during the administration of President Ronald Reagan.
“If Judge Sullivan were to allow him to do it — and I don’t think he will — and he loses [at trial], he’s toast,” Harris said.
However, Flynn’s legal team said he had to move to withdraw his plea “because of the government’s bad faith, vindictiveness and breach of the plea agreement.”
In the filing requesting the withdrawal of the plea, Flynn’s attorneys wrote, “The prosecution has shown abject bad faith in pure retaliation against Mr. Flynn since he retained new counsel. This can only be because with new, unconflicted counsel, Mr. Flynn refused to lie for the prosecution.”
The filing continued: “Justice is not a game, and there should be no room for such gamesmanship in the Department of Justice.”
Flynn’s case stretches back more than two years. He pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his conversations with Sergey Kislyak, then the Russian ambassador to the United States, in the weeks before Trump took office.
The allegations surfaced months earlier, prompting Flynn to resign as national security adviser after 24 days, the shortest tenure in the office’s history.
At his original sentencing hearing in December, Judge Sullivan rejected claims from Flynn’s lawyers that he was pressured to plead guilty to lying to federal investigators about his contacts with the Russian diplomat. His lawyers also had claimed the government withheld critical evidence that may have favored their client.
The dramatic hearing ended with Flynn’s taking up the judge on his offer to provide more time to offer further assistance. Flynn’s new defense team immediately went on the attack and pushed for the case to be thrown out, accusing the government of having targeted Flynn for political purposes and having coerced him into making false statements.
“It’s been one atrocity after another,” Sidney Powell, one of Flynn’s lawyers, said on Fox News’ “Hannity” on Tuesday Jan.14, “The recent sentencing note is full of lies.”
Criminally indicted Lev Parnas, the new “star witness” of the Dems, who they claim proves that Trump had former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, under surveillance, has now said, that text messages that seemingly suggested Yovanovitch was in danger, and being secretly monitored, were in reality just the ramblings of a “drunk.”
Speaking to MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” a day after he provided a slew of new documents and text messages to House investigators, which made Democrats drool, Parnas repeatedly said prominent Trump donor Robert F. Hyde “wasn’t being serious” when he claimed in some of those communications to know Yovanovitch’s whereabouts in Kiev.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif, wrote Tuesday that Hyde’s texts indicated “that he had Ambassador Yovanovitch under physical surveillance.” Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders said it was “outrageous that the president’s personal lawyers appear to have directed the surveillance of a U.S. ambassador” and demanded that the matter be “fully investigated.” Yovanovitch herself called for a probe.
However, Parnas told Maddow, “I don’t believe it was true, I think he was either drunk or was trying to make himself bigger than he was.” Adding that he was “disturbed” by the “crazy” text messages. “I didn’t take him seriously. I didn’t even respond to him most of the time. If I did, it was something like ‘LOL’ or ‘Okay’ or ‘Great’ or something like that.”
Parnas said that after he received the bizarre texts from Hyde about the apparent surveillance, he called up a “mutual acquaintance” at the super PAC America First — and that the acquaintance told Parnas to “stay away from Hyde.”
“I think he [Hyde] got into something with Greg Pence, Mike Pence’s brother, thinking that the Secret Service was after him and somebody wants to kill him,” Parnas told Maddow. “Once he started texting me that, that was the end of our relationship.”
When Maddow pointed out that Hyde’s texts went on for several days, and doubted that someone could be intoxicated for so long, Parnas quickly sought to set he straight.
“He’s drunk the whole time,” Parnas responded. “He wakes up and he’s drunk. He starts at 6. I’ve never seen him not drunk.”
Maddow did not ask Parnas about his own pending federal criminal case for making false statements and falsifying records, his previous claims about Yovanovitch, or prosecutors’ assertions that Ukrainian officials wanted the diplomat gone.
Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., has introduced a pro-Second Amendment bill in the Senate that is aimed at easing restrictions on gun owners transporting their firearms across state lines.
The bill would reform the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA), clarifying the term “transport” to include “staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental.”
Daines said Americans should not be afraid to transport their legally owned firearms.
“This is about protecting law-abiding gun owners and their constitutional right to safely transport their firearms,” he told Fox News in a recent interview. “Montanans want their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms protected, and that’s what I’m fighting for.”
The bill would seek to ensure that gun owners could not be arrested for violating local laws regarding “the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms” unless police had probable cause.
Daines said he wanted the burden of proof to be on the states to prove that a traveler violated the law beyond a reasonable doubt. He also aimed to clarify that the transportation of firearms, magazines, and ammunition has always been a federally protected right.
Senate Democrats generally have pushed for a focus on gun safety. Last year they pushed a bill passed by the House that would expand background checks on gun purchases. “The time is not for a moment of silence. The time for the Senate is to act. The time is to listen to the American people,” then House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said last summer. Rep. Debby Dingell, D-Mich., added, “We can’t keep going to our corners and not figuring out what we are going to do.”
But, the GOP-led Senate effectively killed the measure later that same year.
The executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action, Jason Ouimet, offered a statement of support for Daines’ bill.
“Law-abiding Americans traveling with unloaded, secured firearms have continually been harassed with malicious arrests and prosecutions when traveling through anti-gun jurisdictions,” he said. “Senator Daines’ legislation ensures such outrageous actions will no longer be tolerated under the law.”
Ouimet’s statement concluded, “On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, we thank Senator Daines for having the legislative courage to stand and fight against local bullies who were hoping to suppress our Second Amendment rights.”
One could make a claim that money is the one thing that makes the world go around. Currently, currency is as precious as water or air. One must have it to survive. But, there is a lot more to money that most people understand. What if I told you that money is really debt?
We live in a world where 1% of the earth’s population owns 40% of the world’s wealth? 50% of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day. Daily, 350,000 children die around the world from poverty and diseases that are curable in this present time while the rich get richer. This is a staggering number no doubt. One of the reasons for financial imbalance could be because most people use money but don’t understand money, how it relates to debt and how it relates to the monetary system itself.
Money Is Created Out Of Debt Through Loans
September 30th, 1941 at the House Committee Hearing on Banking and Currency, Marriner Eccles, Governor of the Federal Reserve, wrote, “ If there was no debts in our money system, there wouldn’t be any money.” Modern Money Mechanics was a document produced by the Central Bank or Federal Reserve some years ago. This document detailed the institutionalized practice of money creation by the Federal Reserve and the web of global commercial banks it supports. The first page clearly states it’s purpose which is to describe the basic practice of money creation in a “fractional reserve” banking system. The document goes into detail and breaks down how it works. It goes something like this, the US Government needs a loan. They go to the Federal Reserve and asks for $10 billion. The Fed. (Federal Reserve Bank) says, o.k. We’ll buy some government bonds from you. The government then creates some pieces of paper all nicely decorated and puts a value on these pieces of paper or bonds to the sum of $10 billion and deliveries them to the Fed.
The Fed. then have drawn up some nicely decorated pieces of paper also known as money and names them Federal Reserve Notes. The Fed. gives these notes to the government in return for the bonds. They exchange colorful paper in other words. After the exchange, the government takes the notes and deposits them into a bank account. This makes the notes legal tender henceforth adding $10 billion to the U.S. money supply. This is a generalization. Nowadays, of course, the transaction would be electronic. Like a direct deposit, etc. 97% of all money is now digital. Government bonds are basically instruments of debt. When the government gives the Fed. the bonds they are actually promising to pay back that money to the Fed. So the money was created out of debt. Money Is Debt!
It gets more crazy. That $10 billion deposit becomes part of that bank’s reserve that can be used against or to supply additional loans given out to additional businesses and individuals. The Modern Money Mechanics document states that all banks are required to keep a fraction or percentage of its deposits as reserve. Ten percent is the amount stated by the MMMD (Modern Money Mechanics Document). So, $10 billion gets deposited, $1 billion of that is placed in the bank’s reserve, and the other $9 billion is considered excessive reserve and can be used to issue out brand new loans. Now, one would think that the $9 billion is coming out of the initial $10 billion deposit. But, what is actually happening is that the $9 billion is magically created out of the thin air. This is how the Fed. and the banks expand the nation’s money supply. So, when someone applies for a loan, they sign a loan document and in return, they get money that was generated from nothing. Fiat money. Now, when this civilian deposits the money into a bank account, the process begins all over again.
The process could continue into infinity. On average, about $90 billion can be created on top of the original $10 billion deposit. All out of the ether or thin air. One has to ask, what gives a piece of paper or our dollar any value at all? The answer is that it’s the existing money currently in the system. So, the new money essentially robs the current currency of its value. This devalues the U.S. dollar and also causes inflation. When the money supply increases while the goods and services do not, when they shou7ld simultaneously, that’s when we have inflation.
When one takes a clear look at our money system, one could say that the banking system is set up to deliberately devalue our currency. We once used a silver standard to back our money. What are we using now to give our dollar any value? This and many other questions need to be answered.
President Trump continues his game of “I would if I could, but I can’t so I won’t,” with Democrats, vowing that former national security advisor (NSA), John Bolton will never testify in the president’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
President Trump said last week in an interview with Fox News host Laura Ingraham that he would “love everybody to testify,” including Bolton, secretary of state Mike Pompeo and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney.
But he then went on to say, “…there are things that you can’t do from the standpoint of executive privilege. Especially a national security adviser.” Trump then added, “You can’t have him explaining all of your statements about national security concerning Russia, China and North Korea, everything. You just can’t do that.”
Therefore, according to Trump, John Bolton (and presumably the others he mentioned) will be blocked from testifying at his impeachment trial. This despite the former NSA insisting he would do so if he received a subpoena.
Democrats believe Bolton – who was ousted by Trump last September — has key insight into the president’s failed efforts to secure a so-called quid pro quo with the government of Ukraine. Bolton can provide the “firsthand” testimony that the GOP has been lacking thus far in the impeachment process. Despite the Democrat controlled House having drafted two articles of impeachment, without such firsthand accounts, Republicans have said there is actually no case against Trump.
Bolton surprised the White House earlier this week by announcing he would testify at Trump’s Senate trial if subpoenaed to do so. In a statement, he said he had tried to “resolve serious competing issues” in weighing “my obligations both as a citizen and as a former national security adviser” and concluded that he was prepared to testify.
Regardless of what the president has said regarding blocking Bolton’s testimony, there remains significant doubt that he will even be given that opportunity. Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has joined other leading Republicans in asserting that no witnesses should be called, and claimed last week to have enough votes to start the trial on that basis.
Democrats need to persuade four Senate Republicans to join them in a vote on trial rules that would allow witnesses, something that still seems a hard-sell at this point.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is finally expected to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate this week.
The complaint that there are no minority candidates on the Democrats left on the debate stage, got me thinking. A couple years ago, I wrote a commentary arguing that America is not only NOT a racist country, but that we are one of the most open and tolerant nations on earth. That is borne out by our long history of being the world’s leading nation of immigration.
It is literally absurd to call a nation racist that elects a black President. It is absurd to call a nation racist when you see every so-called minority group taking up positive roles on all the news channels, in advertisements, in movies and on television shows. It is also borne out by contemporary life. In that commentary, I wrote:
“If we take a fresh look at America, we might just discover that we are not a nation of racists after all, but rather the victims of racial baiting by politicians and the mainstream media. We should keep in mind that billions of times every day … yes, billions … black and white Americans smile and nod to each other as we pass on the streets. We serve each other in restaurants and stores. We work side-by-side in factories and offices. We do favors for each other. We come to each other’s aid. We cheer alongside each other on both sides of every sports arena. We play on the same teams. We chat on social media. We die alongside each other in battle. We become lifelong friends. We adopt each other. We fall in love and marry each other. We laugh together at the same movies and we weep together at shared tragedies.”
Of course, racism exists on the edges of society, but most of today’s institutional racism is confined to the segregated and impoverished communities in all those major cities that have been long ruled over by Democrat machines. But even in those environments where we so readily see racist governance, the people – white and black – are not racists.
The Democrat presidential campaign has given us yet another refutation or two of the accusations of pandemic racism. In an interesting juxtaposition, we see two seemingly conflicting examples that racism is not at the core of the American soul.
The first and most obvious example is the number of minorities in the presidential race – representing a variety of ancestral backgrounds. New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is African American, former candidate California Senator Kamala Harris is half African American and half Indian, former candidate and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is Mexican, businessman Andrew Yang is Chinese.
If we were a racist society, none of these individuals would have had the gravitas to credibly run for President of the United States, and they would not likely have been so successful in their careers.
At this time, all the leading candidates of the Democratic Party are not drawn from the minority ranks. They are all white men – and one woman. The leading candidate is an old white male of the kind demeaned and distained by the folks on the extreme left.
Understandably, Booker is lamenting the lack of minority representation on the ever-dwindling debate stage. His implication that it is due to racism is a bit racist on his part. He seems to believe that the color of one’s skin should determine standing in the Democrat primary. In fact, the all-while leadership in the primaries – at least up to this point – further establishes that America is not racist.
Perhaps that requires a bit of explanation.
The reason old white man Biden is in the lead position is because he has the support of approximately 48 percent of the black Democrat voters. They are not voting skin color as Booker would like. They are making a non-racial voting decision.
I suspect that Booker, Harris and Castro believed that just because they were minorities, “their people” would vote for them. Suspect? Hell, they have said as much. Part of their racist sales pitch was their assumed ability to “attract black voters” – or Hispanic, in the case of Castro. They did not. Castro and Harris had to drop out, and Booker – who seems to think he should get all the black votes – is hovering in the low single digits in the most recent polls – and has failed to make it to the stage for the debates in the past two rounds. He has a meager four percent of the black vote and will soon be joining Castro and Harris on the sidelines.
It is most certainly ironic that the majority of black Democrat voters are going with white candidates, but it is something to be celebrated by anyone who believes – as Martin Luther King said – that people should be judged on the content of the character rather than the color of their skin. Modern America is apparently living up to King’s dream more than ever. And a lot more than the politicians and news media – who find political advantage in constantly and dishonestly playing the race card — will ever admit.
So, there ‘tis,
Iranian propaganda mill is working overtime to undermine President Trump’s foreign policy as part of their anti-American efforts. Attempting to justify the attacks on American assets, America’s enemies – especially the Iranian leadership — are proffering a number of anti-American narratives. Here is what they are saying.
- The drone that was shot down by the Iranian Republican Guard Corps was in Iran airspace.
- There is no evidence to prove that Iran was behind the rocket attack that killed an American contractor.
- There is no evidence that Iran orchestrated the attack on the American embassy in Baghdad.
- Qasem Soleimani is a general in the Iran military and not a terrorist – therefor it was an act of war to kill him.
- Although designated as such, the Iran Republican Guard is a legitimate Irani military unit and is not a terrorist organization.
- The killing of Soleimani was a reckless act of war.
- The killing of Soleimani was a violation of Iraqi sovereignty – even though Osama Bin Laden and Bakr al Baghdadi were killed in surprise attacks in foreign nation – Pakistan and Syria respectively.
- Iran has been repeatedly and needlessly provoked by Trump’s warmongering.
- Despite widespread demonstrations against the Irani regime, the people of Iran are now united in their hatred of America under Trump.
- In Killing Soleimani, Trump violated international law.
- In killing Soleimani, Trump violated the United States Constitution.
- The conflict between the United States and Iran has been precipitated by Trump pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal.
- Iran has not attacked any American assets since the Nuclear deal – at least not until Trump provoked them.
- The death of Soleimani will make the people of the United States less safe.
- Soleimani was a beloved hero in Iran – much like Americans admired Elvis Presley and the British admire Princess Diana.
- The shooting down of the Ukrainian commercial airliner was a result of Trump’s provocative policies – specifically the killing of Soleimani.
- The Irani retaliation was specifically measured because they did not intend to kill any American soldiers – when, in fact, it was good preparation and luck that those in the target zone narrowly escaped death or injury.
- Trump is dangerously stupid in dealing with the complex issues of the Middle East.
- Sanctions are needlessly hurting Iran and preventing more productive diplomacy.
In one form or another, these have been the sentiments, narratives and opinions emanating from Tehran in recent days – and the list could go on. If there is an air of familiarity with them, you are not wrong. Everyone of these comments have been made by one or more Democrats and echoed throughout the left-wing media-sphere by their cronies.
I would not go so far as to say that a lot of Democrats love terrorists, as did Republican Congressman Collins (with an immediate apology), but it can be fairly said that in their obsession to spin all things against Trump, Democrats are giving aide to terrorists by providing credibility to the baseless propaganda pouring out of Iran – and other anti-American entities. In terms of shaping the narratives, Democrats – including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi – are aiding and abetting the propaganda operations of America’s enemies. It is hard to believe that they do not see the unfortunate consequences of their words and actions. Even sadder if they do see them.
So, there ‘tis.
During this pre-primary season, the media has little to report except poll numbers and money raised. Yes, the candidates talk about their issues, but who cares what a candidate proposes who is struggling to rise beyond one percent in the polls and cannot raise enough money to take a bus to Dubuque.
The simplest – and simplistic – analysis of candidate strength is to see who is ahead in the polls and who raises the most money. That is generally the viewpoint of the pundits and the candidates who happen to have the best numbers in one or both categories.
On the Republican side, there is no real contest. President Trump is the frontrunner because there is no serious competition. And as far as fundraising, Trump – with $46 million raised in the latest cycle — is the leader among all candidates – Republican or Democrats. The level of Trump’s fundraising suggests that despite all that the Democrats and the media have thrown at him, his supporters are holding firm.
The real race for the nomination is naturally on the Democrat side.
In most polls, former Vice President Joe Biden is ahead with Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg duking it out for second place. Contrary to expectations and tradition, the person leading in the polls is not leading in fundraising. Far from it.
In the latest cycle, it is Sanders who swamps the field with a total of $35 million raised from millions of supporters – averaging approximately $18 per contribution. That is a phenomenal contribution report and suggests strength beyond his polling numbers – which are not all that bad.
Buttigieg claimed second place with a haul of $25 million. Frontrunner Biden had to settle for third place with $23 million. Senator Elizbeth Warren’s donations dropped with her polling numbers. She took in $21 million. While Buttigieg, Biden and Warren are within a few million dollars of each other, they are trailing Sanders by $10 million or more.
Of course, the two billionaires in the race – former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and businessman Tom Steyer — are ahead of everyone in financial resources. They are not raising diddly-squat because they are mostly self-funding, as in Steyer’s case, and totally self-funding in Bloomberg’s case. And even Steyer cannot match Bloomberg even if he spent his entire $1.4 billion fortune. Bloomberg could match that and still have more than $50 billion left over.
Steyer is proof that money is not everything. He has the worst expenditure to polling numbers ratio of any candidate – although Bloomberg could eventually also best Steyer in that, too.
As candidates drop out, both the polling numbers and money raised will change. Sanders and Warren are currently splitting the far-left progressive polling numbers and money. When – not if – one of them drops out, the other is likely to get the lion’s share of the other’s support. Right now, it looks like that will be Sanders – but nothing can be certain. One more Sanders heart attack and Warren could again be on top.
There are still a lot of single digit Democrat candidates pulling in a lot of money. As they drop out the numbers will shift.
Some analysts note that combined, the Democrat candidates are raising more money than Trump. They suggest that once it is a one-on-one between Trump and whoever, whoever will be getting all that money. That will not happen. If Biden is the nominee, those supporting Sanders or Warren will put away their wallets. If Sanders or Warren is the nominee, all that Wall Street money will stay on Wall Street. If Bloomberg is the nominee, the left will not show up at the polls no matter how much he spends.
The large field of Democrat candidates is soaking up a lot of money. By the time a candidate is selected there is likely to be a LOT of donor fatigue. Trump and the Republicans should go into the General Election with an enormous financial advantage.
So, there ‘tis.
Just a few days after announcing the end of his own bid for the White House, Julian Castro endorsed Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts for the Democratic presidential nomination.
“Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people—not the wealthy or well-connected—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change,” the former San Antonio, Texas mayor and Housing secretary during former President Barack Obama’s second term, recently wrote on Twitter.
Castro – who was the only Latino candidate in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls – had a few heated exchanges with former Vice President Joe Biden, he always seemed to have warm relations with Warren.
Warren – who’s considered part of the top tier of nomination contenders along with Biden, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – praised Castro and his proposals a number of times on the campaign trail last year.
Short on campaign cash, unable to resonate in the polls, and failing to qualify for the most recent debates, Castro suspended his campaign on Jan. 2. On Tuesday Jan. 7 he joined Warren at a large rally in New York City. Castro is now headed to Las Vegas, Nevada and Marshalltown, Iowa this weekend to stump for Warren.
Some political pundits point to the possibility of Warren – if she wins the nomination – choosing Castro as her running mate.
Castro was the only Latino in the large field of Democratic White House hopefuls. And his deployment to Iowa and especially Nevada – where Latino voters play a crucial role in the state’s Democratic presidential caucus – could benefit Warren. It’s also likely he’ll stump for Warren in his home state of Texas – which has a large and vibrant Hispanic electorate. Texas is the second-largest state to vote on the March 3 Super Tuesday contests – the single largest day of voting in the nomination calendar.