Getting the vapors at the WSJ

September 21st, 2019

This Shocked! Shocked! WSJ piece below is from the other day, and it is freaking out about things reported in April and earlier, huh?

Before you read these things, please note that we live in the most wonderful world of all, where the US Number 2 Executive demanding that a prosecutor who’s going after his kid gets fired – or else billions in foreign aid are dropped – is “no evidence of wrongdoing.” Beautiful, just beautiful.

“President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son, according to people familiar with the matter, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani on a probe that could hamper Mr. Trump’s potential 2020 opponent. “He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” if his lawyer’s assertions that Mr. Biden acted improperly as vice president were true, one of the people said. Mr. Giuliani has suggested Mr. Biden’s pressure on Ukraine to fight corruption had to do with an investigation of a gas company for which his son was a director. A Ukrainian official this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son Hunter Biden. Mr. Trump in the call didn’t mention a provision of U.S. aid to Ukraine, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid pro quo for his cooperation on any investigation. The interactions between the president, Mr. Giuliani and Ukraine have come under scrutiny in recent days in the wake of a whistleblower complaint that a person familiar with the matter said involves the president’s communications with a foreign leader. The complaint, which the Washington Post reported centers on Ukraine, has prompted a new standoff between Congress and the executive branch. Separately, lawmakers are investigating any connection between the review of foreign aid to Ukraine and the efforts to pressure Kiev to look into Mr. Biden. Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. After the July call between the two presidents, the Ukrainian government said Mr. Trump had congratulated Mr. Zelensky on his recent election and expressed hope that his government would push ahead with investigations and corruption probes that had stymied relations between the two countries. The White House declined to comment. Mr. Biden, in a statement Friday, called for the White House to release the transcript of the president’s call with Mr. Zelensky. “Such clear-cut corruption damages and diminishes our institutions of government by making them tools of a personal political vendetta”

That’s the WSJ, not the NYT, BTW. Now let’s compare what was ancient history, um, April 1 of this year:

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor. In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin. “I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko. “Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat. Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired. But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member. U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia. The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Um, we’re missing what’s giving the WSJ NYT-style vapors, when the stories have been out for all to see for many months, and it’s clear who the bad guys are – and they’re not the ones asking obvious questions, domestic or foreign. So huh? What are we missing?

Question of the day

September 21st, 2019

Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus. The question of the day is: why? Extra Corn Pop for the first correct answer, but Esther Williams will not be at the pool, since she’s too busy conspiring with Ukraine.

Some reading and viewing

September 21st, 2019

Feel free to believe in greenhouse gas climate doom if you like. However, it is not all non-cognoscenti on the other side of the issue, which we believe to be the #2 economic scam in history. (BTW, the scam has Spy vs. Spy hidden sneaky laugh benefits to the Commies and others who’d like to see the West cripple itself.)

We begin our discussion with the humiliating defeat of climate God / Mann (of hide the decline fame). Professor Mann sued Dr. Tim Ball in Canada for saying he was a fraud, and then he failed to produce the evidence for his famed hockey stick (which chart, in a Freudian confession, actually eliminated the MWP!!!!). Gee, why would he fail to produce evidence for such a famous thing? Hmmm? Steyn has more, as Mann’s similar suit against him seeks to enter its second decade.

Meanwhile, here’s a rather funny piece by Richard Lindzen, and a longer one here. Then there’s another one saying that CO2 is beneficial by a fellow named Dyson. (BTW, how can it be beneficial if, to the nearest 1/10 of 1%, there is 0% CO2 in the atmosphere? It must be Magic CO2!)

We also recommend some PragerU material. Here’s one from Bjørn Lomborg, a believer in global warming, another from Lindzen, and a piece hauling PragerU over the coals (as it were), which we include since it is amusingly authored by someone named Joe McCarthy.


2 out of 4

September 20th, 2019


Anxious about their future on a hotter planet, angry at world leaders for failing to arrest the crisis, hundreds of thousands of young people poured into the streets on Friday for a day of global climate protest.

In New York City the main demonstration got underway around midday, but participants began assembling early at Foley Square and it was clear that turnout would be large. By midafternoon, the New York City mayor’s office estimated the crowd at 60,000.

“I’m feeling very hopeful,” said Azalea Danes, 20, a senior at the Bronx High School of Science. “This is our first inter generational strike.”

Thousands of marchers eventually made their way out of the square, turning south on Broadway and heading toward an afternoon rally at Battery Park. Youth leaders led the group in chants of “you had a future and so should we” and “we vote next” as they marched. Many brought handmade signs. “Think or Swim,” one read.

Strikes were planned in each of the 50 United States. By late morning, protesters across the Eastern Seaboard were streaming out of schools and office buildings, pooling around steps of local city halls. The police in Baltimore blocked roads as students arrived on foot, scooter and skateboard. In St. Petersburg, Fla., about 200 protesters convened at City Hall, including one dressed as a polar bear with a sign that said “Climate Action Now.”

In Des Moines, Iowa, around 500 protesters with signs gathered outside the State Capitol under a cloudless sky, sweat rolling down their faces as temperatures hovered around 83 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 28 Celsius.

A day after Tropical Storm Imelda swamped parts of southeast Texas, crowds in Houston chanted, “Our streets flood, so we flood the streets.” Many websites went dark in solidarity with the protests or posted statements of support. Groups of scientists, doctors and technology sector workers were also joining the strikes in various locations.

More than 1,500 employees of Amazon planned to walk out from the company’s Seattle headquarters and other office locations, after months of pressing the technology company to issue a comprehensive climate plan. Workers at Google, Facebook and Twitter also said they planned to participate.

Demonstrations in North and South America will be the culmination of a day of global strikes that began almost 24 hours earlier as morning broke in the Asia-Pacific region.

More than 100,000 protested in Melbourne, in what organizers said was the largest climate action in Australia’s history. The rally shut down key public transport corridors for hours. In Sydney, thousands gathered in the Domain, a sprawling public park just a short walk east of the Central Business District — grandparents escorting their children holding homemade signs, groups of teenagers in school uniforms, parents handing out boxed raisins to their young children.

As morning arrived farther west, banners in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, ranged from serious to humorous. One read, “Climate Emergency Now.” Another said, “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.” In Mumbai, children in oversize raincoats marched in the rain. Thousands turned out in Warsaw, the capital of coal-reliant Poland.

Rarely, if ever, has the modern world witnessed a youth movement so large and wide, spanning across societies rich and poor, tied together by a common if inchoate sense of rage. Roughly 100,000 demonstrators gathered around the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on a bright but unseasonably chilly day in Berlin, according to the police.

Demonstrators there held signs reading: “Stop the Global Pyromania,” “Short-Haul Flights Only for Insects,” and “Make the World Greta Again.” “We all know what the problem is,” said Antonia Brüning, 14, marching nearby, next to the Reichstag, with a group of her friends from school. “So why isn’t anything happening?” Across Britain, there were protests from Brighton to Edinburgh. The turnout in London was large, with organizers estimating more than 100,000 participants.

Theo Parkinson-Pride, 12, was passing by the Palace of Westminster with his mother Catherine, 45, who said she had emailed her son’s school to tell them he would be missing classes on Friday. “I said to my mum, I feel this is more of important than school today because soon there may be no school to go to,” Theo said.

At a time of fraying trust in authority figures, children — who by definition have no authority over anything — are increasingly driving the debate over how to avert the most catastrophic effects of climate change. Using the internet, they are organizing across continents like no generation before them. And though their outsize demands for an end to fossil fuels mirror those of older environmentalists, their movement has captured the public imagination far more effectively.

“What’s unique about this is that young people are able to see their future is at risk today,” said Kumi Naidoo, the head of Amnesty International and a longtime campaigner for environmental issues. “I certainly hope this is a turning point.”

The generational outcry comes as planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar, even as their effects — including rising seas, intensifying storms, debilitating heat waves and droughts — can be felt more and more. Average global temperatures have risen by about 1 degree Celsius since the start of the industrial age, and the world as a whole remains far from meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement, the landmark climate accord designed four years ago, to keep temperatures from rising to catastrophic levels. President Trump has said the United States, which has contributed more emissions than any country since the start of the industrial age, will pull out of the accord.

An early test of the student protests will come on Monday when world leaders assemble at United Nations headquarters to demonstrate what they are willing to do to avert a crisis. Their speeches are unlikely to assuage the youth strikers, but whether the youth protests will peter out or become more confrontational in the coming weeks and months remains to be seen. More protests are planned for Monday in several cities.

“They’re going to call ‘BS,’” Dana R. Fisher, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies contemporary protest movements, said of the protesters. “It’s great for people at the United Nations summit to posture and say they care about this issue, but that’s not enough to stop the climate crisis. These kids are sophisticated enough to recognize that.” “Adults are, like, ‘respect your elders.’ And we’re, like, ‘respect our futures,’” said Jemima Grimmer, 13, on Friday in Sydney. “You know, it’s a two-way street, respect, and I’m angry that I have to be here.”

Certainly, this is not the first time in modern history that young people have been stressed about their future and galvanized around a cause. Young people led social movements against the Vietnam War and for civil rights in the United States. So, too, against apartheid and in the global antinuclear movement.

This is a new generational revolt, though. It’s not against injustice in a particular country, nor against a war. This is about the future on a hotter planet. Young people worry about the cataclysmic impact of climate change on their future, coloring where they will live, how they will grow their food, and how they will cope with recurrent droughts and floods. The internet allows them to mobilize. They often know more about the issue than their parents do. Whether they will have any direct impact is unlikely to be clear for years.

Megan Mullin, a political scientist at Duke University, said she saw no evidence that the youth protests would move the political needle on climate change in a state like hers. “The challenge is translating something that is a global movement into a kind of concentrated political pressure than can influence government decisions,” she said. “It needs to be translated to influencing decision makers who aren’t already convinced.”

In the United States, climate strikers — nearly two-thirds of whom are women and girls — have been unusually engaged. Half had attended other protests, including for gun control laws and women’s rights, according to a survey that Dr. Fisher carried out among 660 climate strikers. By comparison, 40 percent of survey-takers outside the United States had attended protests on other social issues.

“They are mobilized around an issue of consistent concern across countries and across geographic areas,” Dr. Fisher said. “It spans the developing-developed country divide. There aren’t that many issues that would unify in such a manner. And we all know the burden of climate change will fall on these kids’ shoulders when they are adults. They are acutely aware as well.”

As we’ve said, the 4 indicators of insanity (hey, let’s be kind, it could just be idiocy) are (1) the climate nonsense above; (2) thinking Marxism-Leninism-Socialism (Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro, Maduro, etc.) is somehow good; (3) thinking there are more than 2 sexes; and (4) thinking the New York Times, with the story above and its 1619 rubbish, is still a “news”paper.

Thus we see at least 2, and maybe 3, indicators in the story above. Wouldn’t be nice if we all woke up tomorrow and instead of this nonsense being so organic and deep-seated, it turned out to be just a simple old Commie plot. Ah, the good old days….

A “potentially explosive complaint” – Ukraine?

September 20th, 2019

Let’s see. Russia, Racism, Recession, and now Rukraine? YAWN.

A “potentially explosive complaint” against Orange Man, shrieks the media today, for a full 6-12 hours or so maybe. Then snooze and wait for the next BLOCKBUSTER. Our guess is if anything at all occurred, the Evil One asked about the Biden family and its nasty and maybe illegal stuff in Ukraine, China, etc. DOUBLE YAWN.

Question: if (a) you have not finished 6.00 grade and/or gotten a PhD in politics, and (b) your IQ is not more than 60.00, is there any way you can get turned down for a job on MSNBC, etc.

Very funny climate shrieks

September 19th, 2019

Here. HT: FM

From Bright College Years to Not-2-Brite Cottage Cheese

September 19th, 2019

Boola Boola:

Dean Takahashi, the longtime senior director of the Yale Investments Office, will spearhead a new multidisciplinary Yale laboratory that will develop and support innovative solutions to the challenge of climate change.

The Yale Carbon Offset Laboratory (COLab) will engage faculty and students from across campus — as well as innovators and scientists from outside the university — who are developing technologies that sequester and store carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It will focus on methods designed to succeed on a large scale and that can be tested and validated quickly and inexpensively.

The COLab’s administrative home will be the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), but it will seek participation from across campus, taking advantage of the university’s strength in natural and social sciences. (Learn about the broad range of climate-change research at Yale.)

The lab will aim to offset more than 1 billion tons of global carbon dioxide emissions over the long term, and it will target more than 10 million tons in emissions offsets by 2030 — or about 50 times Yale’s current net emissions. By demonstrating the value of the technologies essential to this endeavor, Takahashi hopes the COLab will also strengthen the global market for carbon offsets, promoting further innovation.

“I know it is ambitious, but I think it is important to set aggressive goals for the COLab so that we do something significant and worthy of Yale,” Takahashi said last week. “To meet these targets, it is essential that we solicit and collect great ideas from the Yale community and externally.”

“Yale is a place where we should be coming up with big ideas that have global impact,” he added. “We want to find the kinds of projects that could reduce global carbon emissions safely at a large scale but at a low cost.”

“Dean has long been devoted to finding solutions to climate change (HINT: we call them heating and air conditioning, among other things.), and he has an impressive record of exceeding expectations to ensure a bright future for Yale. His work at the Investments Office for the last three decades has significantly strengthened our ability to fulfill our mission,” said President Peter Salovey. “Through the COLab, he will focus his considerable expertise and creativity on building a more sustainable future. He will foster multidisciplinary collaborations and champion innovation boldly.” Salovey has appointed a task force to determine how quickly Yale can meet its goal of net zero carbon emissions.

Takahashi takes on this new challenge following more than 33 years with the Yale Investments Office, where he worked alongside David Swensen, Yale’s chief investment officer, in developing the widely emulated “Yale model” of endowment management. During Takahashi’s tenure, Yale’s endowment grew from $1.5 billion to $30 billion, and annual spending increased from $50 million to $1.4 billion.

The COLab will identify a handful of projects with the long-term potential to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, with a focus on those that take advantage of the carbon-storage potential of natural ecosystems. Land-based plants and the world’s oceans currently store approximately half of global fossil fuel emissions. Unfortunately, global land use change is reducing the capacity of terrestrial systems to store carbon, increasing the release of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Natural ecoystems also produce methane and other greenhouse gases. The COLab will investigate technologies that reduce harmful emissions and increase carbon storage. In addition, it will examine techniques that reduce the absorption of incoming radiation by increasing the reflectivity of land surfaces.

The COLab, which will be located on the Yale campus, will provide funding and work space for project managers and assistants, as well as research fellows and interns working in collaboration with Yale faculty and external partners. (The COLab will have a general and administrative staff of five to eight people, and project teams with up to three members focused on developing specific technologies.) Selected projects will be eligible for funding commitments of three to five years, with possible extensions. The lab will also cover the costs of analytical studies, workshops with outside experts, technical instruments, pilot projects, and other direct operating expenses.

Integrating Takahashi’s expertise in investments with the scholarship being produced across Yale provides a critical opportunity to support new climate solutions, said Indy Burke, the Carl W. Knobloch Jr. Dean at F&ES. A closer relationship between Takahashi and F&ES, she added, is a “fantastic” match.

“Our mission at F&ES is to provide knowledge and leadership for a sustainable future, and I think that Dean is an absolutely perfect representative of that,” she said. “Through the COLab, Dean will work with scholars and practitioners from across campus, including those working on issues related to biology, ecosystems science, engineering, investments, health, and many others. This matters, because working across disciplines is critical to every solution for sustainability.”

Over the past several years, Takahashi has supported and collaborated on research at F&ES, including with professors Mark Bradford and Peter Raymond on the potential for managing peat bogs to reduce carbon emissions.

Also, working alongside Brad Gentry, the Frederick K. Weyerhaeuser Professor in the Practice of Forest Resources Management and Policy at Yale, Takahashi has helped the university explore how its investments in projects related to the reduction of carbon emissions might help it meet its own short- and long-term emissions reduction targets. Fourteen years ago, Yale committed to a 43% reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions compared with 2005 levels. It has committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Takahashi said he hopes that by developing and proving the viability of emissions reduction technologies, the COLab will not only help Yale achieve these targets, but also demonstrate the value of emissions reductions and bolster the global market for carbon offsets.

“Despite the huge societal value of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there are few proven strategies to achieve it,” he said. “It’s a Catch-22: You cannot create policies and markets for carbon offsets on a large scale without viable negative emission technologies, but people won’t develop those technologies without functioning markets.”

“That change doesn’t happen with a flip of a switch,” he added. “It takes years to devise and test technologies, measure their impact, estimate their cost, and develop standards for quantifying their carbon offset value. We need to start developing and proving the viability of negative emission approaches now.”

Check and Double Check for one of the Big 4 of Insanity. When we went to college, they had actual adults in important positions. Bart Giamatti and his sprezzatura, Vincent Scully teaching art and architecture history, Harold Bloom teaching Blake, and so on.

Today in the world: GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES and confess your environmental sins. Just pathetic.

End Global Warming Now!

September 19th, 2019

The pathetic age 16 Thunberg creature was lecturing Congress, after her eco-friendly sailboat trip across the Atlantic and her UN speech, all the while propped up and exploited by the charlatans and sophists (and big time $$$ scammers) of so-called Climate Change. We need to end Climate Change now.

Here’s a suggestion for a good part of a solution: (a) compile a list of the most stern doomsayers in politics, big business, Hollywood, academia (oops, that guy already lost big-time in Canada), etc., of course complete with their predictions of THE END DATE (12 years or fewer please). (b) compile a list of the houses they own on Maui and Martha’s Vineyard, in Palm Beach, etc., all with dreamy nice photos of course, (c) as well as the total numbers of such properties they own, along with square footages if over 4000 square feet, or whatever the evil square footage is today. (The displaced are going to have to be moved somewhere, and the Climate Saints are so kind!) (d) similar questions re their Gulfstream G550’s, etc.

The final stage of eliminating Global Warming is the toughest, because it would depend on the reporters and correspondents being honest, rather than the rabid left-wingers they mostly are. Whenever the enviro-coo-coos appear before Congress, TV, or in enviro-galas, etc., the questioner should ask about their properties, and let them yammer a bit. Then ask them about their ritzy friends who have done the same thing. Then ask them why they (and their friends) don’t sell these billions of dollars of doomed properties and move to safer ground in the brief time remaining.

Their best answer might be that it would be immoral to exploit the property buyer in this way. “So you’re saying that you don’t want to take advantage of a gullible or stupid person who would buy such a property when it would be gone in a few years?” The Climate Saint answers YES, it would be wrong to exploit such stupidity, and we say: that’s a Bingo!

Again and again. Lather, Rinse, Repeat – which should be so easy since there’ll be water water everywhere.


September 19th, 2019

Our thoughts. VDH says them well.

Go figure

September 18th, 2019


The Federal Reserve Bank of New York saw huge demand from banks Wednesday, as they rushed to bid on the $75 billion on offer in a second day of intervention to ease a crunch in overnight funding markets. Banks bid for $80.05 billion in funding in the auction — $5 billion above the maximum amount offered by the Fed. Tuesday’s auction, the first in a decade, saw banks take $53 billion of the $75 billion on offer. Overnight rates remained elevated before Wednesday’s auction at about 2.8%. Soon after, they dropped to 2.6% and by midmorning were down to 2.25%, according to Refinitiv data. The tumult in U.S. overnight money markets is adding to investors’ hopes that the Federal Reserve might cut rates faster than expected in coming months or restart bond buying to boost the amount of money in the financial system. A loosening of monetary policy could alleviate the strains that caused overnight lending rates to spike as high as 10% Tuesday. The Fed lowered interest rates Wednesday by a quarter-percentage point for the second time this year. The high short-term U.S. rates and lower rates elsewhere have put foreign investors off buying U.S. Treasurys as it becomes increasingly less profitable to fund longer-term U.S. government bonds with short-term borrowing.

“A series of sharper than priced in rate cuts from the Fed will bring down the front end of the yield curve [cut short-term yields] and encourage foreign buyers back in,” said Guy LeBas, chief fixed-income strategist at Janney Capital Management, in Philadelphia. Foreign buyers with lots of dollars at hand, such as non-U.S. lenders and central banks, have also stopped buying Treasurys because they can put unlimited amounts of cash into the Federal Reserve’s foreign repo program. This facility is an ultrasafe haven for funds — paying the same as overnight repo — and has been absorbing foreign-owned dollars like “a supermassive black hole,” Zoltan Pozsar, a money-market strategist at Credit Suisse Group , said in August. Cutting interest rates more rapidly so that longer-term Treasurys yield more than short-term money would help to reverse this trend.

And: Seven of 10 officials voted in favor lowering the short-term benchmark to a range between 1.75% and 2%. As in July, two reserve bank presidents dissented from the decision in favor of holding rates steady. This time, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell faced a third dissent from a bank president who preferred a larger, half-point cut.

If we were running the Fed, we’d be strongly on the rate-cutting side. Having said that, we don’t understand the first two paragraphs above, and we’ve been studying this stuff for decades. A great deal more clarity is needed ASAP.

NYT: “You can see why people might be confused”

September 18th, 2019


When is Impeachment not Impeachment? To clarify: The House Judiciary Committee has begun an inquiry to determine whether to recommend the impeachment of President Trump. The effort has been underway since March 4, when the committee announced it would look into “the alleged obstruction of justice, public corruption, and other abuses of power” on the part of the president. Last Thursday, committee members passed a resolution setting the parameters for the investigation “to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment.” On Tuesday, the panel began what its chairman, Representative Jerry Nadler, has said will be an “aggressive series of hearings” to this end.

This does not mean that the committee will necessarily recommend impeachment. But Mr. Nadler’s team is working to establish whether that step makes sense. Unfortunately, there is tremendous confusion about what the Judiciary Committee is up to — largely because of conflicting signals from House Democrats, who have been struggling with their public statements on impeachment. Mr. Nadler has said repeatedly that his committee is engaged in an impeachment investigation — or, if you prefer, an impeachment inquiry. He insists the “nomenclature” does not matter. The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and her leadership team clearly disagree. They assiduously avoid the “I” word, painting the committee’s work as garden-variety oversight.

As a result, even Democratic lawmakers don’t seem to know whether they are engaged in an impeachment inquiry. Representative Pramila Jayapal has said “yes.” Representative Jim Himes has said “no.” Last week, Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, said “no” — then backtracked, claimed he’d misheard the question and offered a non-answer instead.

This is more than semantic hairsplitting. It is a reflection of the Democrats’ divisions over the wisdom of impeaching Mr. Trump. Advocates of impeachment are eager to play up, and skeptics to play down, the possibility of the Judiciary Committee’s work leading in that direction. Need to Impeach, the advocacy group founded by the Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, called Thursday’s resolution vote a “pivotal moment.” The speaker’s camp characterized it as non-news. At her Thursday news conference, Ms. Pelosi bristled when reporters pressed her on whether an impeachment investigation was underway. The conference was “gathering facts” as it had been doing for months and would make a decision “when we’re ready,” she said. “That’s all I have to say about this subject.”

Complicating matters, in attempting to wrest documents and testimony from a White House committed to stonewalling, Democrats have argued in court filings that they are already engaged in an impeachment inquiry. (Some legal experts contend that impeachment proceedings — versus ordinary investigations — could strengthen Democrats’ hand in such scuffles.) So even as the leadership and other skeptics insist there’s nothing unusual going on, Democrats’ court filings cite an existing impeachment inquiry.

Republicans have waded into the mix, arguing that impeachment investigations of past presidents required an authorization vote by the full House. Democrats counter that the rules have been changed such that the committee already possesses the investigatory powers that authorization once conferred, making a vote unnecessary. You can see why people might be confused. But the muddled messages are creating their own problems and threatening to undermine the push for presidential accountability. The contradictory statements make Democrats look divided and conflicted, complicating efforts to build public confidence in their oversight powers. Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican, has mocked the Democrats’ strategy as, “You can have your impeachment and deny it, too.”

More concretely, the Department of Justice is using Democrats’ ambiguity to argue that the administration need not hand over information sought by congressional investigators. “Most prominently, the speaker of the House has been emphatic that the investigation is not a true impeachment proceeding,” the department contended in a court brief filed Friday.

The Democratic leadership should try to find a way forward that, at the very least, doesn’t leave members contradicting one another and further embolden Mr. Trump. Consider having members defer on the question to Mr. Nadler’s committee, which can reply, truthfully, that the panel is uncovering the facts and will decide how to proceed based on those facts. As the Judiciary Committee’s hearings begin, fresh attention will fall on its investigation. This exercise is about more than politics; it is about safeguarding the health of our democracy. Democrats need to clarify to the public — and to themselves — where they are headed.

Look we understand you hate the guy, but, as we asked CNN, what’s the crime?

A simple question that should be trivial to answer in one sentence

September 18th, 2019


Corey Lewandowski’s congressional testimony on Tuesday highlighted the fundamental paradox facing the House Judiciary Committee. On one hand, Lewandowski – despite openly antagonizing House Democrats and preening for his Republican cronies – testified fairly casually about misconduct by President Donald Trump that, in normal times, would be presidency-defining (and potentially presidency-ending). On the other hand, Lewandowski’s testimony changed little about the longer-term prospects of impeachment.

Through all the sarcasm, personal insults, and tortured debate about Congressional procedure, Lewandowski confirmed that Trump instructed him to have then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions intervene in, and derail, a criminal investigation of Trump and his close associates. This is a big deal – or should be. But it also was nothing new. The entire summer 2017 episode is set forth in detail in the Mueller report. Lewandowski’s testimony simply confirms that Mueller got it right – contrary to the repeated claims of Lewandowski’s chief benefactor Trump, who has repeatedly attacked Mueller’s impartiality and veracity.

Lewandowski was a truly horrible witness. His demeanor was the stuff of a trial lawyer’s nightmares. He was angry, combative, sarcastic, and more intent on getting off personal insults and pumping up his impending Senate campaign than actually answering questions or getting Congress or the public any closer to truth. When questioned by Republicans, he was an eager beaver, responsive and sharp. When questioned by Democrats, he turned hostile and suddenly seemed unable to hear, read, understand, or respond to even the simplest question.

And Lewandowski’s credibility is trash. He gave laughably implausible explanations for any conduct that suggested impropriety by Trump. For example, when asked why he did not transmit Trump’s initial message to Sessions, Lewandowski glibly responded that he went on vacation instead. That’s not an answer, that’s a non sequitor. Obviously, Lewandowski could have delivered the message before or after vacation. Plainly, Lewandowski did not deliver the message because he knew Trump’s message to Sessions was wrong and illegal. And he invoked the White House’s legally unsupportable “privilege” – “the White House has directed me not to disclose the subject of any discussion” – only selectively, whenever he wanted to dodge.

While Lewandowski’s performance on Tuesday was an abomination, it is the fault of House Democrats that it probably won’t make a dent. Here’s the problem: House Democrats – particularly Speaker Nancy Pelosi – have set the bar impossibly high by claiming publicly that “The public isn’t there on impeachment” and that impeaching Trump is “just not worth it.” By those statements, House Democrats essentially have conceded the Mueller report is not enough – perhaps politically more than legally – and there needs to be something more to proceed. But there very likely won’t be evidence relating to Russian interference or obstruction beyond what’s already in the Mueller report. House Democrats have set themselves up for failure.

Moving forward, House Democrats need to address this question squarely: Is the conduct in the Mueller report enough to impeach? If so, then why are we wasting time with the kind of absurd hearing we saw on Tuesday? (Note: they don’t need more — the House impeached President Bill Clinton based on the written report of Independent Counsel Ken Starr, without calling live witnesses). And if not, they’re not going to magically get some brand new, previously unknown smoking gun, especially not from partisan, dishonest favor-seekers like Lewandowski.

House Democrats need to make a tough decision. Will they continue to slow-play this process and shy away from impeachment because of the perceived political downside? Or will they take bold action to uphold the oath of office and defend the Constitution, whatever the speculative political cost? All indications are they will stay on the former road. And if so, we can expect plenty more hearings like Tuesday’s: plenty of sound and fury, ample evidence of wrongdoing and abuse of power, and no meaningful consequence.

No question the witness was incredibly annoying (yay!) to Nadler. Serious question for CNN, and it could have been put in one very simple sentence in the article above: what obvious and easily understood grounds for impeachment are you referring to?

They’re going crazy, and it’s so nice.

Salem Twit Trials, or something like that

September 17th, 2019

First, we begin with a thought from Thomas Sowell about the “villain of the day.” Today’s ho-hum is tomorrow’s death sentence. This led us to a piece on the Salem Witch Trials, which was okay, but featured a quote from president Increase Mather of Harvard, back when it was a sane place: “It would better that ten suspected witches may escape than one innocent person be condemned.” (By contrast: A petition urging Harvard dean John Manning to rescind Kavanaugh’s employment had been signed more than 900 times.)

As for the Salem Twit Trials, say something ten years ago that today’s kindergarten cops don’t like, and presto, you lose your job. How from from there to an antifa costume, we don’t know. How far from there to shooting and bombing the one assassinated person we’ve met, we don’t know. How far from there to stealing four airplanes? Etc, etc.

Sad to say, it’s going to get worse before it gets better. That is because the Leftist Loons have controlled the mainstream narrative for a long time. Therefore, keeping quiet achieves nothing. That’s why regular Americans and the president drive these fools crazy. We can begin keeping quiet when 4 hallmarks of sanity return, which seems a long way away.

Bonus disgusting award

September 16th, 2019

If tenured professor Jason Johnson says that aliens are not invading the planet, run as fast as you can to get away from the UFO’s.

Fun versus disgusting

September 16th, 2019

Moonbeams of fun, versus this depressing thing. Re depressing thing, since the so-called victim has zero recollection about any incident, who is the accuser? Why, it’s a guy who only appears 526 words into a story about the “transgression”. Say, what was he doing in 1998? Oh yeah, defending this guy. These people are truly disgusting.

Wake me up when it’s over – The Big 4 of Insanity

September 15th, 2019

When sanity returns, that is. The criteria for the return of sanity include these four: (1) climate change nonsense ceases; (2) presidential candidates stop worshiping Venezuela, etc; (3) there are two and only two sexes; (4) the New York Times becomes a newspaper.

Ho hum

September 15th, 2019

As noted, 87% of lib-D’s call fighting climate change an extreme priority.

Dum Dee Dum Dum, and Dummer

September 14th, 2019

There’s grammar school. There’s college. The stupidification continues apace, and without a crisis, we think stupidification has a good chance of winning. As early as first grade, the nuns gave us speed tests to see who could add and subtract the fastest. The other day we heard that a CA teacher got fired and a six month suspended sentence for trying out that evil on sixth graders.

More proof: Miami disappeared, and other climate common sense.

Then and now

September 13th, 2019

Angelo Codevilla:

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society,” as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions,” which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic — heretofore at odds — would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize — to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others.

Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true — recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can — by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism.

Kakotopia eh? Just change some of the names and dates above, lean back, turn on the record player, and tune in.

Can the stupidization succeed?

September 12th, 2019

We go back to that VDH piece on the infantilizing of the last 2 generations by the universities: “To object to such hucksterism was proof of one’s own racism, sexism, and homophobia.” Want proof? Okay, how’s this: “the share of Americans calling global climate change a major threat to the well-being of the United States has grown from 40% in 2013 to 57% this year“. 57% idiots, okay then. We agree with the Right’s new Paul Krugman that Warren is the perfect vessel for today – lots of energy and the proven willingness to say any absurd thing if it advances her ambitions.

It would be nice if this was all a Commie Plot to bring down the USA and the West, since it could be reversed, but alas, it appears to be home grown and deep. As proof of how far on the other side of the divide we’re on, unlike shrieking CNN and MSNBC, we see the president as ordinary in this sense: an ordinary highly successful real estate entrepreneur, who is comfortable making large decisions, and has the plusses of being very entertaining and punching back when attacked. Certainly no one to get hysterical about.

Next year should tell us a lot about how deep the rot is in the country.