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Mitt Romney says he isn"t encouraging Liz Cheney to run for president: "She would not become the nominee"

Mitt Romney says he no longer wants to encourage people to run for president, especially Liz Cheney, who he says won't "become the nominee." Rep. Liz Cheney and Sen. Mitt Romney are both prominent members of the Republican party who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images, Drew Angerer/Getty Images After her Wyoming primary loss, Rep. Liz Cheney may be considering a 2024 presidential bid. Sen. Mitt Romney previously told Insider he "wouldn't be surprised to see her run for president." But on Thursday he told Utah's Desert News he doesn't think she would win the GOP nomination and shouldn't run. After losing her Wyoming primary to Trump-endorsed lawyer Harriet Hageman, Rep. Liz Cheney says she is "thinking about" a 2024 presidential run. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told Insider's Oma Seddiq on August 3 that he "wouldn't be surprised to see her run for president." The senator also hosted fundraisers on her behalf before her primary loss.But on Thursday Romney told Desert News on Thursday he wouldn't push her to run."I'm not going to encourage anyone to run for president. I've done that myself, and that's something I'm not doing again. I don't know if she really wants to do that," Romney said. "She would not become the nominee if she were to run. I can't imagine that would occur."—Byron York (@ByronYork) August 19, 2022 Romney also said Trump would most certainly receive the GOP nomination should he announce another presidential bid."I don't think someone who is seen outside the Trump circle would have any realistic chance of becoming the nominee in 2024, barring something I can't foresee at this stage," he told Desert News. "If he doesn't run again, I think it'll be people who either were supporters of his or people who didn't say much about him and then would be open to become the nominee."Cheney, a pro-impeachment Republican and member of the House Select Committee investigating the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, has repeatedly challenged Trump and has expressed that she will not be stopping her criticism anytime soon."I salute her courage. You wouldn't call it courage, by the way, if there were no consequence for doing what you think is right. She did what she thought was right. I believe she was right," Romney told Desert News when asked about Cheney facing-off with a Trump-endorsed candidate.Romney also noted that he was "not in collaboration" with Cheney running for president for any reasons other than trying to secure the Republican nomination.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytAug 19th, 2022

Markets have misinterpreted the most recent statements from the Fed - and its likely the central bank will push rates past 4%, former New York Fed president says

Rate cuts wont come as soon as investors think, and the Fed still has a long way to go before reaching its 2% inflation target. Chairman of the Federal Reserve nominee Jerome Powell testifies during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee November 28, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Markets have misinterpreted the Fed's recent statements, former New York Fed President William Dudley said. Dudley thinks markets are wrong for expecting rate cuts in 2023, predicting the policy rate would rise past 4%. The central bank will be wary of cutting, Dudley said, wary of loosening policy too quickly and causing stagflation. Stocks have rallied since the last Federal Reserve meeting, and since data showed inflation easing in July. But markets have misinterpreted the Fed's statements on its approach to fighting inflation, and the central bank will likely push its benchmark rate past 4%, according to former New York Fed President William Dudley.The S&P 500 has rallied nearly 15% to 4,294 from its mid-June low of 3,666, a sign that investors are starting to turn bullish after the Fed initiated its second 75 basis point rate hike last month. In another encouraging sign, July's Consumer Price Index showed inflation cooling off from June's red-hot 9.1%. But Dudley thinks that optimism may be premature considering the amount of work the Fed still has to do."I think the Fed is going to be higher for longer than what market participants understand at this point," Dudley said in an interview with CNBC.He added that he believed investors "misread" Fed Chair Jerome Powell's statements after the July meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, where he suggested the policy rate had hit a "neutral" level. It "likely will become appropriate" for the FOMC to slow the pace of its rate hikes as officials gauge how much they want to tighten financial conditions, Powell said in the July 27 press conference. Markets have interpreted that to mean the Fed will soften future rate hikes and begin cutting in 2023. However, Dudley noted the current unemployment rate, which slipped to 3.5% in July, is still too low for the Fed to significantly loosen policy.And while headline inflation had been quelled by falling energy prices, price growth in other areas of the economy remains elevated, meaning the Fed still has more room to tighten before getting close to its 2% inflation target. "The problem here is that the market doesn't believe Powell when he says he wants to get inflation back down to 2%. They think basically that [if] inflation is 3% in the middle of next year and the economy is soft, the Fed will relent," Dudley said. "I believe Powell means what he says, but it's going to take time for the market to understand that."Other Fed officials have reinforced Powell's messaging in the wake of the bull rally, possibly looking to get market participants more in line with the central bank's stance. Forecasts that the Fed will soon start cutting rates are "a puzzle to me," Mary Daly, president of the San Francisco Fed, said in an early August interview, adding the hiking cycle is "nowhere near almost done."Chicago Fed President Charles Evans made similar remarks, saying it will take more time and data to know "if we have a lot more ahead of us."Dudley added that the Fed would likely need to hike interest rates past 4%, and said that he doubts rate cuts are coming anytime soon. The Federal Reserve, he said, needs to see a strong downwards trend toward the 2% target before making any sort of dovish pivot, or else it runs the risk of repeating the mistakes of the 1970s when the Fed loosened policy too quickly and kicked off a period of stagflation."Chair Powell doesn't want to do that, so they want to be highly confident they solved the problem of inflation," Dudley said, warning against premature optimism.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 15th, 2022

Trump doesn"t rule out supporting Brian Kemp in the Georgia gubernatorial race: "We"ll be looking at everything"

A show of support for Kemp would be a major breakthrough if it were to happen given former President Trump's bitter history with the Georgia governor. From left to right, then-Sen. David Perdue, then-Georgia gubernatorial nominee Brian Kemp, and then-President Donald Trump arrive at a campaign rally in Macon, Ga., on November 4, 2018.AP Photo/John Bazemore Trump on Saturday didn't rule out backing Brian Kemp in the 2022 Georgia gubernatorial election. "Well, we'll be looking at everything," he told Fox News while at CPAC in Dallas, Texas. Trump railed against Kemp over his refusal to help overturn Biden's 2020 victory in Georgia. With Georgia Republican Gov. Brian Kemp once again set to be the party's standard bearer in the state's gubernatorial election this fall, former President Donald Trump said on Saturday that he is "looking" at potentially backing the governor in November.While speaking with Fox News at the the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Dallas, the former president didn't rule out a potential endorsement as the fall election approaches."Well, we'll be looking at everything," he said, without adding context regarding his current feelings about Kemp.Trump's statement comes following nearly two years of lobbing political attacks against Kemp, accusing his onetime political ally of failing to bolster his claims that the 2020 election was stolen.After seeing now-President Joe Biden narrowly win Georgia in November 2020 and pressing Kemp to help overturn the results, Trump has spent an enormous amount of energy in an effort to undermine the governor, even encouraging former Sen. David Perdue to run as a gubernatorial primary challenger against him.But something huge happened; not only did Kemp win the GOP primary this past May, but he defeated Perdue in an electoral landslide, and will go on to face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 contest.A vocal show of support for Kemp would be a major breakthrough if it were to happen.After Trump endorsed Kemp in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary, he went on to beat then-Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, who was long seen as a frontrunner in that race.Cagle won the initial multi-candidate primary with a plurality of the vote, but since no candidate received over 50% of the vote, the top-two finishers advanced to a primary. And after Trump endorsed Kemp, he went on to beat Cagle by nearly 40 percentage points.Trump's backing was seen as a key factor in Kemp's political rise.Kemp would go on to narrowly defeat Abrams — a former Democratic state House minority leader and prominent voting-rights activist — by roughly 55,000 votes out of nearly 4 million ballots cast in what was the closest gubernatorial race in Georgia since 1966.Two years later, when now-President Joe Biden defeated Trump in the state by roughly 12,000 votes out of nearly 5 million ballots cast, the then-president immediately cast doubt on the results and argued that there was widespread fraud — without providing any evidence.Trump became incensed when Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger refused to help overturn Biden's 2020 election victory.Shortly after the election, Trump said during a Fox News interview that he was "ashamed" to have backed Kemp's gubernatorial bid.And before Trump was deplatformed from Twitter, he retweeted a post from attorney Lin Wood that called for Kemp and Raffensperger to be jailed for not challenging the Georgia election results.Throughout 2021, Trump continued to rail against both state officials, calling into question their political futures headed into 2022 primaries where the former president remained widely supported by the Republican base.The former president even suggested just last year that Georgia Republicans might have been better off if Abrams had defeated Kemp in 2018.But GOP voters separated their overwhelming support for Trump with their views on Kemp and Raffensperger.In addition to Kemp's victory, Raffensperger defeated Trump-backed congressman Jody Hice in a comfortable victory that reportedly "stunned" the former president, per The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytAug 7th, 2022

Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson could push corporate America into a new age of diversity

Fortune 500 diversity consultants said the historic moment in US society could have ripple effects in C-suites. A new day could be dawning for leadership in America with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson taking her post.Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images Ketanji Brown Jackson was sworn into the Supreme Court on Thursday. Jackson is the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court in US history. Corporate diversity consultants said it could prompt CEOs to make similar moves. It's no secret that prestigious and powerful roles like a Supreme Court justice or a Fortune 500 CEO have historically been occupied by white men.There are few exceptions who've defied the odds and ascended to the highest court — or corner offices — in the land. Former justices Thurgood Marshall and Sandra Day O'Connor broke barriers, as did current justice Sonia Sotomayor. There are high-profile CEOs like Jane Fraser, head of Citi, and Marvin Ellison, who is Black, and runs the hardware chain Lowe's. Thasunda Brown Duckett, a Black woman, heads TIAA, the insurance and investment company. Each of these leaders are history-makers in their own right.But political and social tides could be changing: Ketanji Brown Jackson on Thursday was sworn in as the first Black female Supreme Court justice, following Justice Stephen Breyer's retirement. Corporate consultants said Biden's Supreme Court decision was bold and direct, just like his decision to choose Kamala Harris, a Black woman, as his running mate. While Biden makes moves in the political sphere, corporate America, too, is trudging forward. CEOs are naming Black women as their successors. Others are promoting women of color to leadership roles. "I think the importance for society cannot be understated," Malia Lazu, a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told Insider. "It's happening as America is wrestling with its history and current actions of white supremacy."Despite an emphatic backlash, Biden's move signals a departure from the Supreme Court's 233-year history, and its implications reach far beyond the nation's capital. At a time when Americans are demanding equity in all aspects of life, CEOs will be pressured into making similar calls for equity in their own companies, diversity consultants said.A new attitudeThasunda Brown Duckett, the CEO of TIAA. Consultants said CEOs have been realizing their role in advancing diversity.TIAAConsultants described Biden's move as similar to what they were seeing in corporate America: More leaders are starting to understand how racism and patriarchy have historically kept Black women out of spaces of power."I think George Floyd's murder raised consciousness in a lot of people," Tara Jaye Frank, a corporate consultant and author of "The Waymakers," told Insider. "It's no longer 'these Black people talking about it.' Business leaders had an opportunity to see it with their own eyes."Surveys have suggested that America is asking CEOs to act on that new understanding."What I hope CEOs take away from this moment is that equity does not happen by accident," Frank said. "What's been happening for years is companies say, 'We're going to hire the most qualified people,' but what ends up happening is their affinity bias takes over."Workplace experts define affinity bias as the phenomenon of people associating, recruiting, and hiring people who remind them most of themselves. It's been pervasive in corporate culture and in America's courts, Frank said. Some business leaders, she said, have recently started to grasp this."This is about representation in its purest form. Every American deserves to have their needs, interests, concerns represented by someone who shares their lived experience and cares about it intuitively," Frank said. "You don't get there without being intentional."  Tina Opie, a Fortune 500 strategist and an associate professor of management at Babson College, is hopeful about the future of corporate America. More white male CEOs, she said, are calling her for guidance on how to be deliberate in advancing diversity. They are having complicated and uncomfortable conversations with their communities, she added.For example, Opie said she was encouraging CEOs to question the backlash to Biden's decision."Why is it so unfair to declare the nominee will be a Black woman?" Opie said. "You all were completely fine with white men representing over 90% of justices for decades. But we even say a Black woman, all of a sudden you start talking about quality and qualifications."Positioning Black women for successJoe Biden's decision to pick Kamala Harris as his vice president and to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court show the importance of allyship, experts said.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesExperts said Biden's decisions to choose Harris as his vice president and a Black woman as his Supreme Court nominee were a testament to white male allyship."Biden's leadership here is a real example of not only allyship but co-conspiratorship," Lazu said. "It's not enough that you're not racist, that you put up a Black Lives Matter sign. It's what are you doing with the power you have to move the needle on equity and inclusion?"Piper-Simone Casey, a law student at the University of Pennsylvania, said that while Biden's allyship was admirable, the business community needed to push itself further."I think it is time that corporate America stops questioning Black women and their merit just because they want to uphold spaces that are dominated by white men," Casey said. "Not only are Black women capable of working in these spaces, but they are likely to impart a great deal of wisdom and creativity while doing so."The journey forward will be bumpy, Opie said, but CEOs are on a promising trajectory."I would encourage CEOs to approach their constituents and say something like: 'Look at the prior CEOs of our organization since its inception. What do you notice? It's largely homogenous. We have been having affirmative action for white people, and today that stops. My next successor will be a Black woman,'" she said.This article was originally published on February 2022. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Social Media Study Shows Growing DeSantis Boom Among Swing Voters

Social Media Study Shows Growing DeSantis Boom Among Swing Voters Authored by John Ransom via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), An analysis of social media posts shared with The Epoch Times shows growing momentum for Florida’s Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis as the GOP presidential nominee in 2024 among voters who aren’t solidly in the Trump camp. “A sizable portion of the positive discussion (32 percent) speak of him as preferable to Trump,” said the summary analysis of the research paid for by the Ready for Ron Committee—a draft committee that is encouraging DeSantis to run for president. “To them, he is the rightful heir and suggest the former president step aside and allow the younger man to run the gauntlet,” the analysis said of the majority of surveyed voters. The research, which was conducted by Impact Social, looked at 40,000 “swing” voters on social media and categorized them into ten segments, from “Disillusioned Trump” voters, Obama-turned-Trump voters, to “Bernie Sanders” voters. U.S. President Donald Trump and Florida's Gov. Ron DeSantis hold a COVID-19 and storm preparedness roundtable in Belleair, Fla., on July 31, 2020. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images) Trump Gets More Traction, But More Attacks Too While the name Trump is more prominent on social media than DeSantis, Impact Social reported that Trump-related posts attract more negative sentiment, including among right-leaners who would otherwise favor the GOP in 2024. Impact Social analyzed approximately 93,000 posts mentioning Trump and around 8,000 posts mentioning DeSantis made by the swing voters from June 1 to June 14. “It is interesting to note that, despite many of these floating voters emanating from the right of the political spectrum, only a relatively small number come to Trump’s defense,” Impact Social said. The recent hearings regarding the Jan. 6 breach also haven’t helped Trump among undecided voters. While the hearings have fallen far short of proving that an insurrection occurred in a legal sense, they certainly didn’t burnish the image of the former president. “Well, I think in retrospect, I think it would have been very smart to put [Republicans on the committee] and again, I wasn’t involved in it from a standpoint so I never looked at it too closely but I think it would have been good if we had representation,” Trump told conservative radio host Wayne Allen Root earlier this month, blaming Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) for a “bad decision” on declining to put someone on the Jan. 6 House Committee. Former President Remains Popular U.S. President Donald Trump, daughter Ivanka Trump, and son Donald Trump Jr., make their way to board Air Force One before departing from Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta, Ga., on Jan. 4, 2021. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images) Still, Trump remains the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination, with a recent poll by Quinnipiac showing that 69 percent of Republicans think Trump bears little blame for the Jan. 6 riots. Polling continues to show that Trump has a commanding lead against DeSantis, who is not well-known outside of Florida or outside the GOP activists base, even as DeSantis is reported by some to be eating into Trump’s lead as of late. A recent Granite State Poll by the University of New Hampshire showed Trump and DeSantis in a statistical dead heat in New Hampshire, more than doubling the DeSantis support since October. But as the head of the Ready for Ron Committee, former Reagan campaign manager Ed Rollins previously told The Epoch Times that it’s doubtful that DeSantis would run against Trump if Trump actually seeks the nomination. The committee’s goal isn’t to supplant Trump, but to make sure there is a candidate that can carry on Trump’s legacy if Trump declines to run, is unable to run, or runs into trouble, Rollins said. “Under President Donald Trump’s leadership, the United States enjoyed record unemployment, economic stability, safety, and global respect. Many are yearning for a return to these policies and the prosperity good leadership can bring,” Ready for Ron legal counsel and spokeswoman Lilian Rodríguez-Baz told The Epoch Times via video. “The era of President Trump was wonderful, but now, since he isn’t currently running, we must get ready for a new leader, we must be Ready for Ron,” Rodríguez-Baz added. Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 23:25.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 28th, 2022

Victor Davis Hanson: What The January 6 Committee Might Have Been

Victor Davis Hanson: What The January 6 Committee Might Have Been Authored by Victor Davis Hanson, Congress should investigate fully the January 6 riot at the Capitol - and similar recent riots at iconic federal sites. But unfortunately, it never will. Why not? The current committee is not bipartisan. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., forbade Republican nominees traditionally selected by the House minority leader to serve on the committee. No speaker had ever before rejected the minority party's nominees to a select House committee. Pelosi's own cynical criteria for Republican participation was twofold: Any willing minority Republican members had to have voted to impeach former President Donald Trump while having no realistic chance of being reelected in 2022. Of some 210 Republican House members, that left just Representatives Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., who were willing and able to fit Pelosi's profile. A real investigation would have ignited argumentation, cross-examination, and disagreements - the sort of give-and-take for which congressional committees are famous. In contrast, the January 6 show trial features no dissenting views. Its subtext was right out of the Soviet minister of Internal Affairs Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria's credo: "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime." If Trump was not considering a third run for the presidency, would the committee even have existed? Its slick Hollywood-produced optics demonstrate that the committee has no interest in inconvenient facts. Why did a Capitol officer lethally shoot a petite unarmed woman entering a Capitol window? And why was the officer's identity and, indeed all information about his record, withheld from the public? Why did the committee not investigate whether large numbers of FBI agents and informants were ubiquitous among the crowd? After all, progressive New York Times reporter Matthew Rosenberg who was there on January 6, claimed, "There were a ton of FBI informants amongst the people who attacked the Capitol." About his own journalistic colleagues advancing a psychodramatic "insurrection" narrative, Rosenberg scoffed, "They were making too big a deal. They were making (Jan. 6) some organized thing that it wasn't." A real committee would also investigate why there were lots of warnings that a large crowd would assemble, but apparently little government follow-up to ensure security, should rogue elements turn violent. A real committee would learn why the government and media insisted that officer Brian Sicknick was killed by Trump supporters - even when it was known he died of natural causes. None of the questions will be answered because none will be asked because the committee's role is not inquiry but confirmation of a useful narrative. A real committee would also investigate the other, far larger and more lethal riots on iconic federal property months earlier. On May 31, 2020, for example, violent demonstrators tried to rush the White House grounds. Rioters sought to burn down the nearby historic St. John's Episcopal Church. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser mysteriously did not send police to reinforce overwhelmed Secret Service agents who, at moments, seemed unable to keep the mob from the White House itself. The giddy New York Times later crowed, "Trump shrinks back." Was the Times preening that the president was a coward for retreating from a righteous mob? As a precaution, the Secret Service removed the president and first family to a safe underground bunker. Such riots near or at the White House continued for much of the fall, before mysteriously tapering off in the last weeks before the election. Less than three weeks after the violent Washington riot, Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris seemed to incite the continuing violent protests, "They're not going to stop . . . This is a movement . . . they're not going to let up. And they should not, and we should not." Note that Harris' cheerleading was joined by a host of prominent left-wing luminaries who contextualized the violence. The "1619 Project" architect Nikole Hannah-Jones boasted, "Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence." Former CNN anchor Chris Cuomo pontificated, "And please, show me where it says protesters are supposed to be polite and peaceful." Note that the 2020 summer rioting, arson, and looting continued for nearly four months. Its toll resulted in over 35 dead, some 1,500 police officers injured, around 14,000 arrests, and between $1-2 billion in property damage. The violence was often aimed at iconic government buildings, from courthouses to police precincts. There were never any federal investigations to determine why state, local, and federal officials allowed the destruction to continue. Why were the vast majority of those arrested simply released by authorities? And how had antifa and BLM radicals orchestrated the violence using social media? What was the role of prominent elected officials in either condoning or encouraging the violence or communicating with the ring leaders? A truly bipartisan House select committee dedicated to ending all violence directed at the White House, the Capitol, or federal courthouses might have been useful in probing this dark period in American history. And that is precisely why there was no such committee. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/16/2022 - 17:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 16th, 2022

Pennsylvania"s Republican Senate primary is headed for a recount with Trump adding to the chaos

The outcome of the general election in November could tip the balance of the Senate. Trump urged Oz to pre-emptively declare victory in the meantime. Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidates Mehmet Oz and David McCormickStephanie Keith, Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc via Getty Images The GOP primary for Sen. Pat Toomey's seat in Pennsylvania is headed to a recount. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick are so close that they'll likely trigger an automatic recount. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has been encouraging Oz to pre-emptively declare victory. Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary is headed to an automatic recount with the Senate majority hanging in the balance. Celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz leads former hedge fund CEO David McCormick by just 956 votes a week after the election, according to Insider's partners at Decision Desk HQ, separating the two by just 0.08 points and falling well within the 0.5-point margin that triggers an automatic recount in Pennsylvania. Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman called the recount on Wednesday after the May 24 deadline for counties to send her unofficial election returns. As with every election, the unofficial returns don't include a small share of remaining military, overseas, and provisional ballots. And McCormick's campaign is suing to count an undetermined number of absentee ballots that lack a handwritten date on the outer envelope after a federal court ruled that officials must count around 250 such ballots cast in the 2021 election. The Republican National Committee and Pennsylvania Republican Party intervened in the lawsuit against McCormick, siding with Oz's campaign's position that the ballots should not be counted under Pennsylvania law. The looming recount and legal battle will extend an already expensive, tumultuous, and high-stakes primary election.Oz and McCormick, who are both independently wealthy, have spent $12 million and $11 million on their own campaigns, respectively, and could soon find themselves paying even more for election lawyers across the state. And the delay in resolving the Republican primary could take up precious time that ultimately advantages the Democratic Senate nominee in one of the nation's most competitive 2022 Senate races. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who easily cleared the field for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, raised an eye-popping $1.6 million the day after winning the race, his campaign said.Making matters even more chaotic, President Donald Trump has been publicly pressuring Oz — his endorsed candidate who struggled to consolidate the MAGA vote — to preemptively declare victory, as the former president did in 2020. Echoing his previous false statements baselessly alleging fraud, Trump told Oz in a TRUTH Social post that declaring victory before the vote is finalized "makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'"Both Oz and McCormick projected confidence and predicted they will win when all the votes are counted on election night, but they've otherwise ignored Trump's meddling and have not gone as far as the former president in questioning the validity of the mail-in ballots that could secure either of them a victory. McCormick in particular has benefited from the mail-in and absentee votes relative to Oz, though it remains unclear how large a share of the remaining ballots fall into those categories.Ballot counting hiccups in two counties have further delayed counting. In 31 precincts in Allegheny County, flash drives containing election data were left at polling sites instead of taken to central counting locations and couldn't be retrieved for tabulation until the Monday after the election, county officials said.And in Lancaster County, a printing error of the county's absentee ballots made them unable to be read by scanners, meaning election workers had to manually duplicate and scan 16,000 ballots.   Pennsylvania has been a ground-zero of highly-scrutinized election processes, legal battles over voting laws, and aggressive efforts by Republicans to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss. Those efforts culminated in 2020 election denier and January 6 rally attendee state Sen. Doug Mastriano with Trump's backing, easily securing the Republican nomination for governor. But looking towards November, a drawn-out, highly-watched recount in the Senate primary will force the winner to concede that Pennsylvania can indeed run a clean, close election and recount after all — especially if Oz prevails with the "ballots they just happened to find." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 25th, 2022

Georgia Republicans who despise Gov. Brian Kemp threaten to stay home this November if Trump-backed challenger David Perdue loses Tuesday"s primary

MAGA world would rather sit out the Georgia governor's race in November than vote for the incumbent who certified President Joe Biden's 2020 win. Georgia gubernatorial hopeful David Perdue poses alongside a cardboard cutout of former President Donald Trump during a campaign stop in Augusta, Georgia on Friday, May 20.Warren Rojas/Insider David Perdue is challenging incumbent Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in a May 24 primary. Trump has suggested that MAGA world may stay home in November if Perdue loses. MAGA voters denounced Kemp as a "Judas," "betrayer," and "liar." AUGUSTA, Georgia — Georgia Republicans still seething about the 2020 presidential race say they would rather sit out the election in November if Trump's candidate, former Sen. David Perdue, loses an upcoming GOP gubernatorial primary than ever support incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp.  The animosity towards Kemp, whom several MAGA Republicans described as a "Judas" and "betrayer" for certifying Joe Biden's win in 2020, is unlikely to affect the outcome of the May 24 primary. But it may hurt Kemp's chances this fall in an anticipated rematch with presumed Democratic nominee Stacey Abrams, the woman he narrowly beat in 2018 — with Trump's support."I don't want Stacey Abrams. But I don't think I can vote for Brian Kemp," a 27-year-old Gordon County resident who declined to give his name told Insider at a "Bikers for Trump" rally about an hour north of Atlanta. The local Republican, who accused Kemp of "rolling over and letting the country get crucified" during the last election, said he planned to vote for Perdue on Tuesday because the Trump-endorsed former senator from Georgia had vowed to hold everyone involved in the "rigged and stolen" presidential contest accountable if he gets elected. Earlier in the day, an 81-year-old Georgian who said he's voted Republican since 1964, couldn't even bring himself to say Kemp's name or that of Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger. "I wouldn't vote for either one of them. They're not Republicans. They're liars," David, who declined to provide his last name, said at Perdue's May 20 event at a rural airfield. He added that Kemp and Raffensperger "did Trump in in Georgia" by not investigating the results to the twice-impeached former president's satisfaction. Kemp and Raffensperger conducted a statewide audit and oversaw recounts of the more than 5 million votes Georgians cast in the 2020 presidential election. Biden beat Trump there by about 12,000 votes. Amy Steigerwalt, a professor of political science at Georgia State University, said the 2020 race is over for everyone but the Trumpiest locals. "Most voters know that the recounts and audits all showed that the election was conducted fairly and transparently, and that there was no evidence of fraud or malfeasance," she told Insider. Still, Trump mentioned the possibility of his devotees sitting out the governor's race earlier this month. CNN reported that he said "many Republicans are just not going to vote for Kemp" during a call-in rally he did for Perdue. David Perdue supporter Robert Weinger hoists his custom shofar at a campaign event in August, Georgia on Friday, May 20.Warren Rojas/InsiderThat prediction is closer to becoming reality as Perdue, who is pushing back against recent polling showing that Kemp has a 30-point lead heading into Tuesday's primary, keeps trying to drive GOP voters to the polls. "I'm encouraging anybody that's concerned about the future of our state and our country to get out and vote — whichever side you're on," he told supporters Friday, adding, "If you don't vote, it is absolutely a vote for the other side."Regardless of the outcome on Tuesday, Perdue rally attendee Robert Weinger, 70, said his mind is made up about November. "I will not vote for Gov. Kemp," he said, brushing aside gloom-and-doom scenarios about Abrams carrying the state this fall. "Anybody can beat Stacey Abrams," Weinger said. "She's a fraud."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 21st, 2022

Pennsylvania"s Republican Senate primary is likely headed for a recount with Trump adding to the chaos

The outcome of the general election in November could tip the balance of the Senate. Trump urged Oz to pre-emptively declare victory in the meantime. Republican Pennsylvania Senate candidates Mehmet Oz and David McCormickStephanie Keith, Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call Inc via Getty Images The GOP primary for Sen. Pat Toomey's seat in Pennsylvania won't be decided any time soon. Mehmet Oz and David McCormick are so close that they'll likely trigger an automatic recount. Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has been encouraging Oz to pre-emptively declare victory. Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary is likely headed to an automatic recount with the Senate majority hanging in the balance. The margin between celebrity TV doctor Mehmet Oz and former hedge fund CEO David McCormick has been razor-thin, sitting at just 1,240 votes with more than 95% of ballots counted by Thursday at noon, according to Insider's partners at Decision Desk HQ.A narrow margin of just 0.10 percentage points currently separates Oz and McCormick, all but guaranteeing a statewide recount under Pennsylvania's 0.5-percentage point automatic recount threshold.The law requires the secretary of state to call for a recount by the end of the day on the Thursday after the election, or May 26, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Acting Secretary of State Leigh Chapman says she'll "have a very good sense" of whether she'll be calling for a recount by Tuesday when counties are due to send her unofficial returns. The looming — possibly weeks-long — recount will extend an already expensive, tumultuous, and high-stakes primary election.Oz and McCormick, who are both independently wealthy, have spent $12 million and $11 million on their own campaigns, respectively, and could soon find themselves paying even more for election lawyers across the state. And the delay in resolving the Republican primary could take up precious time that ultimately advantages the Democratic Senate nominee in one of the nation's most competitive 2022 Senate races. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who easily cleared the field for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday, raised an eye-popping $1.6 million the day after winning the race, his campaign said.Making matters even more chaotic, President Donald Trump has been publicly pressuring Oz — his endorsed candidate who struggled to consolidate the MAGA vote — to preemptively declare victory, as the former president did in 2020. Echoing his previous false statements baselessly alleging fraud, Trump told Oz in a TRUTH Social post that declaring victory before the vote is finalized "makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they 'just happened to find.'"Both Oz and McCormick projected confidence and predicted they will win when all the votes are counted on election night, but they've otherwise ignored Trump's meddling and have not gone as far as the former president in questioning the validity of the mail-in ballots that could secure either of them a victory. The outstanding votes include 51,000 total absentee ballots, including 17,000 Republican primary ballots, yet to be counted, the secretary of state's office announced Thursday morning. Most of the uncounted ballots are in Philadelphia, where Oz currently leads, Delaware County, where McCormick narrowly leads, and Lancaster County. Some Election Day votes in Allegheny County, a McCormick stronghold, and Philadelphia are also still yet to be counted, NBC's Steve Kornacki explained in a Thursday Twitter thread. A smaller pool of overseas and military votes and provisional ballots will also add to the count over the next few days. McCormick in particular has benefited from the mail-in and absentee votes relative to Oz, though it remains unclear how large a share of the remaining ballots fall into those categories.Ballot counting hiccups in two counties have further delayed counting. In 31 precincts in Allegheny County, flash drives containing election data were left at polling sites instead of taken to central counting locations and can't be retrieved for tabulation until Monday, county officials said.And in Lancaster County, a printing error of the county's absentee ballots made them unable to be read by scanners. Election workers are currently in the process of manually duplicating and scanning 16,000 ballots, a process they expect to wrap up by Friday.   Pennsylvania has been a ground-zero of highly-scrutinized election processes, legal battles over voting laws, and aggressive efforts by Republicans to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss. Those efforts culminated in 2020 election denier and January 6 rally attendee state Sen. Doug Mastriano with Trump's backing, easily securing the Republican nomination for governor. But looking towards November, a drawn-out, highly-watched recount in the Senate primary will force the winner to concede that Pennsylvania can indeed run a clean, close election and recount after all — especially if Oz prevails with the "ballots they just happened to find." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 19th, 2022

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly

Sperry: Ukraine Worked With Democrats Against Trump In 2016 To Stop Putin -- And It Backfired Badly Authored by Paul Sperry via RealClearInvestigations, Six years ago, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of their country, the Ukrainians bet that a Hillary Clinton presidency would offer better protection from Russian President Vladimir Putin, even though he had invaded Crimea during the Obama-Biden administration, whose Russian policies Clinton vowed to continue. Working with both the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, Ukrainian government officials intervened in the 2016 race to help Clinton and hurt  Donald Trump in a sweeping and systematic foreign influence operation that's been largely ignored by the press. The improper, if not illegal, operation was run chiefly out of the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington, where officials worked hand-in-glove with a Ukrainian-American activist and Clinton campaign operative to attack the Trump campaign. The Obama White House was also deeply involved in an effort to groom their own favored leader in Ukraine and then work with his government to dig up dirt on – and even investigate -- their political rival. Ukrainian and Democratic operatives also huddled with American journalists to spread damaging information on Trump and his advisers – including allegations of illicit Russian-tied payments that, though later proved false, forced the resignation of his campaign manager Paul Manafort. The embassy actually weighed a plan to get Congress to investigate Manafort and Trump and stage hearings in the run-up to the election. As it worked behind the scenes to undermine Trump, Ukraine also tried to kneecap him publicly. Ukraine's ambassador took the extraordinary step of attacking Trump in an Op-Ed article published in The Hill, an influential U.S. Capitol newspaper, while other top Ukrainian officials slammed the GOP candidate on social media. Ukraine's ambassador to the U.S. attacked Trump in an Op-Ed weeks before the 2016 election. At first glance, it was a bad bet as Trump upset Clinton. But by the end of his first year in office, Trump had supplied Ukrainians what the Obama administration refused to give them: tank-busting Javelin missiles and other lethal weapons to defend themselves against Russian incursions. Putin never invaded on Trump's watch. Instead, he launched an all-out invasion during another Democratic administration – one now led by President Biden, Barack Obama's former Vice President, whose Secretary of State last year alarmed Putin by testifying, “We support Ukraine's membership in NATO.” Biden boasted he’d go “toe to toe” with Putin, but that didn't happen as the autocrat amassed tanks along Ukraine’s border in response to the NATO overtures. The Ukrainian mischief is part of Special Counsel John Durham’s broader inquiry – now a full-blown criminal investigation with grand jury indictments – into efforts to falsely target Trump as a Kremlin conspirator in 2016 and beyond. Sources say Durham has interviewed several Ukrainians, but it’s not likely the public will find out exactly what he's learned about the extent of Ukraine’s meddling in the election until he releases his final report, which sources say could be several months away. In the meantime, a comprehensive account of documented Ukrainian collusion – including efforts to assist the FBI in its 2016 probe of Manafort – is pieced together here for the first time. It draws from an archive of previously unreported records generated from a secret Federal Election Commission investigation of the Democratic National Committee that includes never-before-reviewed sworn affidavits, depositions, contracts, emails, text messages, legal findings and other documents from the case. RealClearInvestigations also examined diplomatic call transcripts, White House visitor logs, lobbying disclosure forms, congressional reports and closed-door congressional testimony, as well as information revealed by Ukrainian and Democratic officials in social media postings, podcasts and books. 2014: Prelude to Collusion U.S. envoys Victoria Nuland and Geoffrey Pyatt helped bring to power Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko, right. (AP) The coordination between Ukrainian and Democratic officials can be traced back at least to January 2014. It was then when top Obama diplomats – many of whom now hold top posts in the Biden administration – began engineering regime change in Kiev, eventually installing a Ukrainian leader they could control. On Jan. 27, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt phoned Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland at her home in Washington to discuss picking opposition leaders to check the power of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, whom they believed was too cozy with Putin. “We’ve got to do something to make it stick together,” Pyatt said of a planned coalition government, adding that they needed “somebody with an international personality to come out here and help to midwife this thing.” Nuland responded that Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan had just told her that the vice president – who was acting as Obama’s point man in Ukraine – would give his blessing to the deal. “Biden’s willing,” she said. But they agreed they had to “move fast” and bypass the European Union. “Fuck the EU,” Nuland told the ambassador, according to a leaked transcript of their call. Hunter Biden: His father helped engineer the rise of an amenable Ukrainian leader who would later fire a prosecutor investigating the son.   Nuland’s role in the political maneuvering was not limited to phone calls. She traveled to Kiev and helped organize street demonstrations against Yanukovych, even handing out sandwiches to protesters. In effect, Obama officials greased a revolution. Within months, Yanukovych was exiled and replaced by Petro Poroshenko, who would later do Biden’s bidding – including firing a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter. Poroshenko would also later support Clinton's White House bid after Biden decided not to run, citing the death of his older son Beau. The U.S. meddling resulted in the installation of an anti-Putin government next door to Russia. A furious Putin viewed the interference as an attempted coup and soon marched into Crimea. Nuland is now Biden’s undersecretary of state and Sullivan serves as his national security adviser. Whispering in their ear at the time was a fiery pro-Ukraine activist and old Clinton hand, Alexandra “Ali” Chalupa. A daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Chalupa informally advised the State Department and White House in early 2014. She organized multiple meetings between Ukraine experts and the National Security Council to push for Yanukovych’s ouster and economic sanctions against Putin. In the NSC briefings, Chalupa also agitated against longtime attorney-lobbyist Manafort, who at the time was an American consultant for Yanukovych's Party of Regions, which she viewed as a cat’s paw of Putin. She warned that Manafort worked for Putin’s interests and posed a national security threat. At the same time, Chalupa worked closely with then-Vice President Biden’s team, setting up conference calls with his staff and Ukrainians. Another influential adviser at the time was former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, who provided Nuland with written reports on the Ukrainian crisis and Russia that echoed Chalupa’s warnings. Nuland treated them as classified intelligence, and between the spring of 2014 and early 2016, she received some 120 reports on Ukraine and Russia from Steele. 2015: The Move Against Manafort Commences Paul Manafort: Targeted by Chalupa over work for the ousted Ukrainian president and ties to Trump. (AP) In April 2015, the DNC hired Chalupa as a $5,000-a-month consultant, according to a copy of her contract, which ran through the 2016 election cycle. (Years earlier, Chalupa had worked full-time for the DNC as part of the senior leadership team advising Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.) After Trump threw his hat in the ring in June 2015, Chalupa grew concerned that Manafort was or would be involved with his campaign since Manafort had known Trump for decades and lived in Trump Tower. She expressed her concerns to top DNC officials and “the DNC asked me to do a hit on Trump,” according to a transcript of a 2019 interview on her sister’s podcast. (Andrea Chalupa, who describes herself as a journalist, boasted in a November 2016 tweet: “My sister led Trump/Russia research at DNC.”) Chalupa began encouraging journalists both in America and Ukraine to dig into Manafort’s dealings in Ukraine and expose his alleged Russian connections. She fed unsubstantiated rumors, tips and leads to the Washington Post and New York Times, as well as CNN, speaking to reporters on background so a DNC operative wouldn’t be sourced. “I spent many, many hours working with reporters on background, directing them to contacts and sources, and giving them information,” Chalupa said. But no reporter worked closer with her than Yahoo News correspondent Michael Isikoff. He even accompanied her to the Ukrainian Embassy, where they brainstormed attacks on Manafort and Trump, according to FEC case files. Chalupa was also sounding alarm bells in the White House. In November 2015, for example, she set up a White House meeting between a Ukrainian delegation including Ukraine Ambassador Valeriy Chaly and NSC advisers – among them Eric Ciaramella, a young CIA analyst on loan to the White House who later would play a significant role as anonymous "whistleblower" in Trump’s first impeachment. In addition to Putin’s aggression, the group discussed the alleged security threat from Manafort. Chalupa was back in the White House in December. All told, she would visit the Obama White House at least 27 times, Secret Service logs show, including attending at least one event with the president in 2016. Eric Ciaramella (middle right) across from Ukrainians in a June 2015 meeting at the White House, flanked by Biden security adviser Michael Carpenter and Ciaramella's NSC colleague Liz Zentos. (unknownukraine.com) January 2016: High-Level Meetings With Ukrainians in the White House On Jan. 12, 2016 – almost a month before the first GOP primary – Chalupa told top DNC official Lindsey Reynolds she was seeing strong indications that Putin was trying to steal the 2016 election for Trump. Emails also show that she promised to lead an effort to expose Manafort – whom Trump would not officially hire as his campaign chairman until May – and link him and Trump to the Russian government. That same day, Chalupa visited the White House. A week later, Obama officials gathered with Ukrainian officials traveling from Kiev in the White House for a series of senior-level meetings to, among other things, discuss reviving a long-closed investigation into payments to American consultants working for the Party of Regions, according to Senate documents. The FBI had investigated Manafort in 2014 but no charges resulted. One of the attendees, Ukrainian Embassy political officer Andrii Telizhenko, recalled Justice Department officials asking investigators with Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, or NABU, if they could help find fresh evidence of party payments to such U.S. figures. (Three years later, Democrats would impeach Trump for allegedly asking Ukraine to dig up dirt on a political rival, Joe Biden.) The Obama administration’s enforcement agencies leaned on their Ukrainian counterparts to investigate Manafort, shifting resources from an investigation of a corrupt Ukrainian energy oligarch who paid Biden’s son hundreds of thousands of dollars through his gas company, Burisma. “Obama’s NSC hosted Ukrainian officials and told them to stop investigating Hunter Biden and start investigating Paul Manafort,” said a former senior NSC official who has seen notes and emails generated from the meetings and spoke on the condition of anonymity. Suddenly, the FBI reopened its Manafort investigation. “In January 2016, the FBI initiated a money laundering and tax evasion investigation of Manafort predicated on his activities as a political consultant to members of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian politicians,” according to a report by the Justice Department’s watchdog. The White House summit with Ukrainian officials ran for three days, ending on Jan. 21, according to a copy of the agenda stamped with the Justice Department logo. It was organized and hosted by Ciaramella and his colleague Liz Zentos from the NSC. Other U.S. officials included Justice prosecutors and FBI agents, as well as State Department diplomats. The Ukrainian delegation included Artem Sytnyk, the head of NABU, and other Ukrainian prosecutors. Ciaramella was a CIA detailee to the White House occupying the NSC’s Ukraine desk in 2015 and 2016. In that role, Ciaramella met face-to-face with top Ukrainian officials and provided policy advice to Biden through the then-vice president's security adviser Michael Carpenter. He also worked with Nuland and Chalupa.Ciaramella was carried over to the Trump White House. As RealClearInvestigations first reported, he would later anonymously blow the whistle on Trump asking Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to help “get to the bottom of” Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election, a phone call that triggered Trump’s first impeachment by a Democrat-controlled House. Ciaramella’s former NSC colleague Alexander Vindman leaked the call to him. Vindman, a Ukrainian-American, is also aligned with Chalupa. (Vindman is now back in the news for his demands that the United States provide more active military support to Ukraine and his insistence that Trump shares great blame for the war.) As Manafort drew closer to Trump, Obama officials zeroed in, and the FBI reopened a closed 2014 probe. (Justice Department Office of the Inspector General) February 2016: Obama White House-Ukraine Coordination Intensifies On Feb. 2, two weeks after the White House meetings, Secret Service logs reveal that Ciaramella met in the White House with officials from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN, which would later provide the FBI highly sensitive bank records on Manafort. (In addition, a senior FinCEN adviser illegally leaked thousands of the confidential Manafort records to the media.) On Feb. 9, less than a month after the White House summit, Telizhenko, who worked for the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met with Zentos of the NSC at a Cosi sandwich shop in Washington, according to emails obtained by the Senate. It's not known what they discussed. In addition, on Feb. 23, the two emailed about setting up another meeting the following day. “OK if I bring my colleague Eric, who works on Ukraine with me?” Zentos asked Telizhenko, apparently referring to Ciaramella. In the emails, they discussed the U.S. primary elections, among other things. NSC's Zentos and Ukraine's Telizhenko would meet and correspond numerous times during 2016. (HSGAC-Finance Committee Hunter Biden Report) Telizhenko would later testify that Ambassador Chaly had ordered him then to “start an investigation [into the Trump campaign] within the embassy just on my own to find out with my contacts if there’s any Russian connection that we can report back.” He suspects the Ambassador delivered that report to Chalupa and the DNC. Chalupa visited the White House on Feb. 22, entrance records show, just days before the second meeting Telizhenko had planned with Zentos. March 2016: Chalupa Engineers Manafort Messaging Assault With Ukrainians After Manafort was named Trump campaign chair, the campaign against him went into overdrive. New York Times On March 3, Zentos and Telizhenko planned to meet again, this time at a Washington bar called The Exchange. According to their email, Zentos wrote, “I’ll see if my colleague Eric is up for joining.” The pair also met the next day at Swing’s coffee house in Washington. After the meeting, Telizhenko emailed Zentos seeking a meeting with senior Obama NSC official Charlie Kupchan, an old Clinton hand who was Ciaramella’s boss on the Russia/Ukraine desk. Kupchan is an outspoken critic of Trump who has made remarks suggesting what countries “can do to stop him” and “protect the international institutions we’ve built .” Zentos and Telizhenko also met on March 10, patronizing the Cosi coffee shop again. On March 24, 2016, four days before the Trump campaign announced that it had hired Manafort, Chalupa met at the Ukrainian Embassy with Ambassador Chaly and his political counselor Oksana Shulyar, where they shared their concerns about Manafort, according to Politico. When news broke on March 28 that Manafort was joining the Trump campaign, Chalupa could hardly contain herself. “This is huge,” she texted senior DNC officials. “This is everything to take out Trump.” She immediately began circulating anti-Manafort memos, warning the DNC of the “threat” he posed of Russian influence. The next day, March 29, she briefed the DNC communications team about Manafort. They, in turn, hatched a plan to reach out to the Ukrainian Embassy to get President Porochenko to make an on-camera denouncement of Manafort and feed the footage to ABC News, where former Clinton aide George Stephanopoulos works as a top anchor. On March 30, Chalupa fired off an email to Shulyar, her contact at the Ukrainian Embassy: "There is a very good chance that President Poroshenko may receive a question from the press during his visit about the recent New York Times article saying that Donald Trump hired Paul Manafort as an adviser to his campaign and whether President Poroshenko is concerned about this considering Trump is the likely Republican nominee and given Paul Manafort’s meddling in Ukraine over the past couple of decades,” Chalupa wrote. "It is important President Poroshenko is prepared to address this question should it come up. In a manner that exposes Paul Manafort for the problems he continues to cause Ukraine." Within minutes of sending the email, Chalupa wrote the DNC’s communications director Luis Miranda, “The ambassador has the messaging.” Then she reached out to a friend in Congress, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Ohio, about holding hearings to paint Manafort as a pro-Kremlin villain. April 2016: Chalupa Solicits Ukrainian Dirt on Trump, His Campaign, and Manafort Though accounts differ, Chalupa discussed Trump dirt with Ukrainian representatives. Federal Election Commission American presidential campaigns aren't supposed to work with foreign governments to dig up dirt on their political opponents. Geneva Convention rules bar diplomats from becoming entangled in their host country’s political affairs, particularly elections. There are also federal laws banning foreign nationals from engaging in operations to influence or interfere with U.S. political and electoral processes. In 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian nationals on charges of conspiring to defraud the U.S. government for that purpose. But just weeks after Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, the Ukrainian Embassy appeared to be working with the Clinton campaign to torpedo him and the campaign. Emails reveal that Chalupa and Shulyar, a top aide to Ambassador Chaly, agreed to meet for coffee on April 7, 2016, at Kafe Leopold, a restaurant near the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington. (Chalupa had paid a visit to the White House just three days earlier.) One of the purposes of the meeting, according to FEC case files, was to discuss Manafort and the danger he allegedly posed. They were joined at the café by Telizhenko, who said he was working on a “big story” on Manafort and Trump with the Wall Street Journal. In a sworn 2019 deposition taken by the FEC, Telizhenko alleged that Chalupa solicited “dirt” on Trump, Manafort, and the Trump campaign during the meeting. Telizhenko also testified that Chalupa told him that her goal was “basically [to] use this information and have a committee hearing under Marcy Kaptur, congresswoman from Ohio, in Congress in September and take him off the elections." Telizhenko later approached Ambassador Chaly about the DNC representative's overtures and he responded: “Yes. And I know that this is happening. You should work with her." After speaking with Chaly, Telizhenko claims that he went back to Shulyar who instructed him to help Chalupa. “I went to Oksana and said, ‘Like what are we doing?’” he testified. " And she told me, ‘You have to work with Chalupa. And any information you have, you give it to me, I’ll give it to her, then we’ll pass it on later to anybody else we are coordinating with.’” Less than a week later, on April 13, Telizhenko met again with White House official Zentos, email records reveal. Telizhenko said he resigned the next month because of concerns regarding his embassy’s work with Chalupa and the Clinton team. In her sworn account of the meeting, Chalupa acknowledged discussing Manafort and the “national security problem” he allegedly presented, but denied asking the embassy for help researching him. She allowed that she “could have mentioned the congressional investigation … that I had talked to Marcy Kaptur,” but maintained she couldn't recall trying to enlist the embassy in the effort. Shulyar, however, clearly recalls that Chalupa sought the embassy’s help warning the public about Manafort – including pitching stories to the press and lobbying Congress, according to a 2020 written statement to the FEC. An “idea floated by Alexandra Chalupa was that we approach a co-chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus to initiate a congressional hearing on Paul Manafort,” Shulyar said, though she denied the embassy acted on the idea. Around the same time, two Ukrainian lawmakers – Olga Bielkova and Pavlo Rizanenko – visited the U.S. and met with journalists, as well as a former State Department official with close ties to Sen. John McCain – David Kramer of the McCain Institute. Kramer would later leak the entire Steele dossier to the media. The meeting was arranged by major Clinton Foundation donor Victor Pinchuk, a Ukrainian oligarch who lobbied Clinton when she was Obama’s secretary of state. Bielkova was also connected to the Clinton Foundation, having once managed a Clinton Global Initiative program for Ukrainian college students. While Clinton was at Foggy Bottom from 2009 to 2013, Ukrainians gave more money – at least $10 million, including more than $8 million from Pinchuk – to the Clinton Foundation than any other nationality including Saudi Arabians. Pinchuk's donation was a down payment on an astounding $29 million pledge. On April 12, 2016, Bielkova also attended a meeting with Ciaramella and his NSC colleague Zentos, head of the Eastern Europe desk, according to lobbying disclosure records. In late April, Chalupa helped organize a Ukrainian-American protest against Manafort in his Connecticut hometown. Activists shouted for Trump to fire Manafort, whom they called “Putin’s Trojan Horse,” while holding signs that read: “Shame on Putin, Shame on Manafort, Shame on Trump” and “Putin, Hands Off the U.S. Election.” Chalupa also organized social media campaigns against Manafort and Trump, including one that encouraged activists to share the Twitter hashtags: “#TrumpPutin” and "#Treasonous Trump." Also that month, Chalupa reached out to Yahoo News reporter Isikoff to pitch a hit piece on Manafort. She connected him with a delegation of Ukrainian journalists visiting D.C. Isikoff would later be used by Steele to spread falsehoods from his dossier. May-June 2016: Manafort Dirt Spreads In a May 3 email, Chalupa alerted DNC communications director Luis Miranda and DNC opposition research director Lauren Dillion that there was “a lot more [dirt on Manafort] coming down the pipe[sic].” Chalupa told them the dirt has “a big Trump component” and would “hit in the next few weeks.” It’s not clear if she was referring to the notorious "black ledger” smear against Manafort, who was promoted to campaign chairman on May 19, but a story about it was brewing at the time. On May 30, Nellie Ohr, an opposition researcher for the Clinton-retained firm Fusion GPS, emailed her husband, Bruce Ohr, a top official at the Justice Department who would become a prime disseminator of the Steele dossier within the government, and two federal prosecutors to alert them to an article indicating NABU had suddenly discovered documents allegedly showing Manafort receiving illicit payments. Amid the flurry of anti-Manafort activity, Zentos met again with Telizhenko on May 4, records show. And Chalupa visited the White House for a meeting on May 13. Chalupa paid another visit to the White House on June 14, Secret Service logs show. On June 17, Ciaramella held a White House meeting with Nuland and Pyatt of the State Department to discuss undisclosed Ukrainian matters. In late June, the FBI signed an evidence-sharing agreement with NABU, less than two months before the Ukrainian anti-corruption agency released what it claimed was explosive new evidence on Manafort. July 2016: Ukrainian Officials Attack Trump Publicly Chalupa continued to pow-wow with the Ukrainian Embassy and got so cozy with officials there that they offered her a position, which she declined, as an “embedded consultant” in the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That same month, high-ranking Ukrainian officials openly insulted Trump on social media in an unusual departure from normal diplomacy. For instance, Ukraine Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov tweeted that Trump was a “clown” who was “an even bigger danger to the U.S. than terrorism.” In another July post, he called Trump “dangerous for Ukraine.” And on Facebook, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk warned that Trump had “challenged the very values of the free world." (After Trump upset Clinton, Avakov and other officials tried to delete their statements from their social network accounts, saying that they had been wrong and had rushed to conclusions.) “It was clear that they were supporting Hillary Clinton’s candidacy,” Ukrainian lawmaker Andriy Artemenko told Politico. “They did everything from organizing meetings with the Clinton team to publicly supporting her to criticizing Trump." While attending the Democratic convention in Philadelphia, Chalupa spread the scurrilous rumor that Manafort was the mastermind behind the alleged Russian hacking of the DNC and that he “stole" her and other Democrats’ emails. She later told her sister’s podcast that she had reported her conspiracy theory to the FBI, eventually sitting down and meeting with agents in September to spin her tale of supposed espionage (the Senate has asked the FBI for copies of her interview summaries, known as FD-302s). Chalupa also prepared a report for the FBI, as well as members of Congress, detailing her Russiagate conspiracy theories, which Mueller later found no evidence to support. In addition, Chalupa helped spread a false narrative that Trump removed a reference to providing arms to Kiev from the Republican platform at the party's convention earlier that month. Internal platform committee documents show the Ukraine plank could not have been weakened as claimed, because the “lethal” weapons language had never been part of the GOP platform. The final language actually strengthened the platform by pledging direct assistance not just to the country of Ukraine, but to its military in its struggle against Russian-backed forces. August-September 2016: The Phony Manafort Ledger Leaks  A page released by Ukrainian authorities from the fake Manafort ledger. New York Times/NABU In another attempt to influence the 2016 election, Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko leaked to the U.S. media what he claimed was evidence of a secret handwritten ledger showing Manafort had received millions in cash from Yanukovych’s party under the table. He claimed that 22 pages of the alleged ledger, which contained line items written by hand, had mysteriously appeared in his parliament mailbox earlier that year. Leshchenko would not identify the sender. A fuller copy of the same document showed up later on the doorstep of a Ukrainian intelligence official who passed it to NABU, which shared it with FBI agents stationed in Kiev. Leshchenko and NABU officials held press conferences declaring the document was “proof" of Manafort corruption and demanding he be “interrogated.” The Clinton campaign seized on the story. In an Aug. 14 statement, campaign manager Robby Mook stated: “We have learned of more troubling connections between Donald Trump's team and pro-Kremlin elements in Ukraine.” He demanded Trump "disclose campaign chair Paul Manafort's and all other campaign employees' and advisers' ties to Russian or pro-Kremlin entities." But there was a big hole in the story. Though Manafort was a consultant to Yanukovych's party, he was paid by wire, not in cash, casting serious doubt on the ledger’s authenticity. Another problem: the ledger was alleged to have been kept at party headquarters, but rioters had destroyed the building in a 2014 fire. Leshchenko admitted that he had a political agenda. He told The Financial Times at the time that he went public with the ledger because “a Trump presidency would change the pro-Ukrainian agenda in American foreign policy.” He added that most of Ukraine’s politicians are “on Hillary Clinton’s side." Leshchenko also happened to be "a source for Fusion GPS,” as Nellie Ohr confirmed under questioning during a 2019 closed-door House hearing, according to a declassified transcript. Fusion was a paid agent of the Clinton campaign, which gave the private opposition-research firm more than $1 million to gin up connections between Trump and Russia. Fusion hired Steele to compile a series of “intelligence” memos known as the dossier. As a former MI6 operative, Steele gave the allegations a sheen of credibility. FBI counterintelligence veteran Mark Wauck said the dossier and the black ledger both appear to have originated with Fusion GPS, which laundered it through foreigners who hated Trump – Steele and Leshchenko. "The ledger and the dossier are both Fusion hit jobs,” Wauck said. “The two items shared a common origin: the Hillary campaign’s oppo research shop." In an August 2016 memo written for Fusion GPS, “The Demise of Trump’s Campaign Manager Paul Manafort,” Steele claimed he had corroborated Leshchenko’s charges through his anonymous Kremlin sources, who turned out to be nothing more than beer buddies of his primary source collector, Igor Danchenko, a Russian immigrant with a string of arrests in the U.S. for public intoxication, as RealClearInvestigations first reported. Danchenko had worked for the Brookings Institution, a Democratic think tank in Washington that Durham has subpoenaed in connection to its own role in Russiagate. Danchenko was indicted last year by Special Counsel Durham for lying about his sources, including one he completely made up, as RCI reported. “YANUKOVYCH had confided in PUTIN that he did authorize and order substantial kick-back payments to MANAFORT as alleged,” Steele claimed in the unsubstantiated report, citing “a well-placed Russian figure” with knowledge of a "meeting between PUTIN and YANUKOVYCH” allegedly “held in secret” on Aug. 15. As a paid informant, Steele had long reported to the FBI about alleged corruption involving Yanukovych. The FBI used his Clinton-funded dossier as a basis to obtain warrants to spy on former Trump adviser Carter Page, including the false claim that Page acted as an intermediary between Russian leadership and Manafort in a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” that included sidelining Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue. Steele also falsely claimed that Page had helped draft the RNC platform statement to be more sympathetic to Russia’s interests by eliminating language about providing weapons to Ukraine, according to a report by the Department of Justice's watchdog. In fact, Page was not involved in the GOP platform. The misinformation came from Danchenko’s fictional source. Fusion co-founder Glenn Simpson worked closely with the New York Times on the Manafort ledger story. In his book, “Crime in Progress,” Simpson boasts of introducing Leshchenko to the Times as a source, who ended up providing the paper some of the dubious ledger records. On Aug. 19, Manafort stepped down from the Trump campaign the day after the Times reported what it had been fed by the anti-Trump operatives. In effect, Ukrainian government officials tried to help Clinton and undermine Trump by disseminating documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and telling the American media they were investigating the matter. In 2018, a Ukrainian court ruled that Leshchenko and NABU’s Sytnyk illegally interfered in the 2016 U.S. election by publicizing the black ledger. Among the evidence was a recording of Sytnyk saying the agency released the ledger to help Clinton’s campaign – “I helped her,” Sytnyk is recorded boasting. But the damage was done. The Ukrainians, along with Chalupa and the Clinton camp, achieved their goal of undermining the Trump campaign by prompting Manafort’s ouster though they never proved he was colluding with the Russians. Neither did Special Counsel Mueller. In fact, Mueller did not use the ledger to prosecute Manafort after a key witness for the prosecution told him it was fabricated. “Mueller ended up dropping it like a hot potato,” Wauck said.  Ukraine’s neutrality in the election was also called into further question that September, when Porochenko met with Clinton during a stop in New York. He never met with Trump, who appeared to get the cold shoulder from the Ukrainian leader. In statements following Trump’s surprise victory over Clinton in November, Ukraine’s embassy has denied interfering in the election and insisted that Chalupa was acting on her own. Epilogue After Trump won the election in spite of her efforts to sabotage him, Chalupa predicted: “Under President Trump, the Kremlin could likely invade U.S. allies in Europe without U.S. opposition.” Not only did Russia not invade Europe “under Trump,” it didn’t even invade Ukraine. Rather, the invasion came under Biden, whose campaign Chalupa supported. Yet she continues to blame Trump. Recent tweets show a still-obsessed Chalupa has not dialed back her extremist views about Trump or Manafort, whom she believes should be prosecuted for “treason." In a Feb. 28 post on Twitter, for example, Chalupa claimed that Putin installed “a puppet regime in the U.S. with the help of Paul Manafort.” The previous day, she tweeted, “We had a Putin installed Trump presidency.” A day before that, she wrote: “Now would be a good time to release the Putin-Trump treason calls.” And on Feb. 25, Chalupa tweeted another wild conspiracy theory: "It’s important to note that Putin’s imperial aspirations are of a global criminal empire, as we saw when he installed Donald J. Trump president and tried to turn the U.S. into a Russian satellite state." Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 11th, 2022

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson"s Supreme Court nomination could push corporate America into a new age of diversity

Fortune 500 diversity consultants said the historic moment in US society could have ripple effects in C-suites. A new day could be dawning for leadership in America, corporate diversity with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's nomination, experts told Insider.Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson for the Supreme Court, per NBC News. Jackson would be the first Black woman selected to serve on the Supreme Court if confirmed. Corporate diversity consultants said that could prompt CEOs to make similar moves. It's no secret that prestigious and powerful roles like a Supreme Court justice or a Fortune 500 CEO have historically been occupied by white men.There are few exceptions who've defied the odds and ascended to the highest court (or corner offices) in the land. Thurgood Marshall, Sandra Day O'Connor, Sonia Sotomayor, Jane Fraser, Marvin Ellison, and Thasunda Brown Duckett are all history makers in their own right.But political and social tides are changing. President Joe Biden is expected to announce Friday that he will nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to succeed recently retired Justice Stephen Breyer on the Supreme Court, according to a source familiar with the matter told NBC News. Jackson would be the first Black woman elected to serve on the Supreme Court if confirmed.President Joe Biden first promised he would nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court during a debate in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2020. Looking at cameras broadcasting to millions of viewers, he vowed that the next Supreme Court justice would be a Black woman.Corporate consultants said Biden's Supreme Court decision is bold and direct, just like his decision to choose Kamala Harris, a Black woman, as his running mate. While Biden makes moves in the political sphere, corporate America, too, is trudging forward. CEOs are naming Black women as their successors. Others are promoting women of color to leadership roles. Strategists say that a brighter horizon is appearing and that it's time for CEOs to learn from Biden's leadership."I think the importance for society cannot be understated," Malia Lazu, a lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, told Insider. "It's happening as America is wrestling with its history and current actions of white supremacy."Despite an emphatic backlash, Biden's move signals a departure from the Supreme Court's 233-year history, and its implications reach far beyond the nation's capital. At a time when Americans are demanding equity in all aspects of life, CEOs will be pressured into making similar calls for equity in their own companies, diversity consultants said.A new attitudeThasunda Brown Duckett, the CEO of TIAA. Consultants said CEOs have been realizing their role in advancing diversity.TIAAConsultants described Biden's move as similar to what they were seeing in corporate America: More leaders are starting to understand how racism and patriarchy have historically kept Black women out of spaces of power."I think George Floyd's murder raised consciousness in a lot of people," Tara Jaye Frank, a corporate consultant and author of "The Waymakers," told Insider. "It's no longer 'these Black people talking about it.' Business leaders had an opportunity to see it with their own eyes."Surveys have suggested that America is asking CEOs to act on that new understanding."What I hope CEOs take away from this moment is that equity does not happen by accident," Frank said. "What's been happening for years is companies say, 'We're going to hire the most qualified people,' but what ends up happening is their affinity bias takes over."Workplace experts define affinity bias as the phenomenon of people associating, recruiting, and hiring people who remind them most of themselves. It's been pervasive in corporate culture and in America's courts, Frank said. Some business leaders, she said, have recently started to grasp this."This is about representation in its purest form. Every American deserves to have their needs, interests, concerns represented by someone who shares their lived experience and cares about it intuitively," Frank said. "You don't get there without being intentional."  Tina Opie, a Fortune 500 strategist and an associate professor of management at Babson College, is hopeful about the future of corporate America. More white male CEOs, she said, are calling her for guidance on how to be deliberate in advancing diversity. They are having complicated and uncomfortable conversations with their communities, she added.For example, Opie said she was encouraging CEOs to question the backlash to Biden's decision."Why is it so unfair to declare the nominee will be a Black woman?" Opie said. "You all were completely fine with white men representing over 90% of justices for decades. But we even say a Black woman, all of a sudden you start talking about quality and qualifications."Positioning Black women for successJoe Biden's decision to pick Kamala Harris as his vice president and to nominate a Black woman to the Supreme Court show the importance of allyship, experts said.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesExperts said Biden's decisions to choose Harris as his vice president and a Black woman as his Supreme Court nominee were a testament to white male allyship."Biden's leadership here is a real example of not only allyship but co-conspiratorship," Lazu said. "It's not enough that you're not racist, that you put up a Black Lives Matter sign. It's what are you doing with the power you have to move the needle on equity and inclusion?"Piper-Simone Casey, a law student at the University of Pennsylvania, said that while Biden's allyship was admirable, the business community needed to push itself further."I think it is time that corporate America stops questioning Black women and their merit just because they want to uphold spaces that are dominated by white men," Casey said. "Not only are Black women capable of working in these spaces, but they are likely to impart a great deal of wisdom and creativity while doing so."The journey forward will be bumpy, Opie said, but CEOs are on a promising trajectory."I would encourage CEOs to approach their constituents and say something like: 'Look at the prior CEOs of our organization since its inception. What do you notice? It's largely homogenous. We have been having affirmative action for white people, and today that stops. My next successor will be a Black woman,'" she said.This article was originally published on February 2022. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 25th, 2022

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From "Insurrection" To Authoritarianism

Sunday Collum: 2021 Year In Review, Part 3 - From 'Insurrection' To Authoritarianism Authored by David B. Collum, Betty R. Miller Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology - Cornell University (Email: dbc6@cornell.edu, Twitter: @DavidBCollum), I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness. The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance. ~  Carl Sagan, 1995, apparently having invented a time machine Every year, David Collum writes a detailed “Year in Review” synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year’s is no exception. Read Part 1 - Crisis Of Authority & The Age Of Narratives here... Read Part 2 - Heart Of Darkness & The Rise Of Centralized Healthcare here... So, here we are at the third and final part of the 2021 Year in Review and it’s no longer 2021. Sorry about that pfuck-up. Think of it as not in 2021 but from 2021. You may have noticed that the first 200 pages (parts 1 and 2) were laced with a recurring catchphrase, “WTF is happening?” It was a literary device for noting that the events ceased to make sense within a conventional worldview, suggesting it is time to torch the old model and start anew. Our response to a disease that was killing a very small slice of the population was to sequester and vaccinate the entire population with an experimental drug of real but unquantified fatality rate. The apparent scientific illiteracy was not some mass psychosis. Y’all just got suckered by America’s Most Trusted Psychopathic Mass Murderer assisted by an epic media blitz sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry that had a distinct authoritarian quality. Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth. ~ Albert Einstein During the brief period after uploading part 2 while grinding on this last portion, the Supreme Court took on the vaccine mandate issue, ruling that the only people forfeiting control of their own healthcare are the healthcare workersref 2 The court also illustrated their profound ignorance of the pandemic and what they were even charged to assess—the Constitutionality of mandates, not the efficacy.ref 3 The CEO of a major insurer reported a 40% spike in fatalities within the 18–65 age bracket that was not from Covid.ref 4 He said 10% would be a 3-sigma, once-every-200-year event: 40% is unheard of. Although he refrained from identifying a cause—deaths of despair, neglected healthcare, or a toxic vaccine—he knows precisely what did them in. They have been studying this stuff for centuries. I suspect his real message was that the insurance industry is about to contribute to inflation with rising premiums. Meanwhile, the pathological liars running the covid grift decided after two years the masks you’ve been wearing served no medical purpose and that the vaccines don’t work either. Wait: who said the masks and vaccines don’t work? We have known for many months that COVID-19 is airborne and therefore, a simple cloth mask is not going to cut it…Cloth masks are little more than facial decorations. ~ Leana Wen, MD, CNN medical expert with no admitted ties to the CCPref 5 Two doses of the vaccine offers very limited protection, if any. Three doses with a booster offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and deaths. Less protection against infection. ~ Albert Bourla, Pfizer CEOref 6 Here is my most heartfelt response to them: You psychopathic lying sacks of shit. You had us wear rags across our faces and put rags across the kids’ faces when clinical studies that could be read by people with half your IQs showed they were worthless. Suicide rates and other deaths of despair soared while you petty tyrants played your little games and generated billions of dollars of profits while destroying the middle class. You have maimed or killed an unknown number of gullible victims with your lockdowns, vaccines, remdesivir, and oppression of Ivermectin. You jammed a vaccine that bypassed animal trials into the fetuses of pregnant women, assuring them it was safe. If we spoke up, we got muzzled. If we refused the vaccine, we got fired. You should all hang from your necks until dead. I will piss on your graves. I feel better already. Very refreshing. Meanwhile, many of my friends and colleagues look at the same data and say, “Oh. I guess I better get the booster and a KN95 mask.” You have got to unfuck yourselves. You’ve been duped. It will get worse. The tactics used to oppress us would have made Stalin smirk. Australia was a beta test for what is to come in the rest of the west if we don’t wake up soon. They are gonna keep coming for one simple reason: we accepted it. We got bent over and squealed like pigs. What normalization does is transform the morally extraordinary into the ordinary. It makes us able to tolerate what was once intolerable by making it seem as if this is the way things have always been. ~ Jason Stanley, How Fascism Works A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioral patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions. ~ William Sargant, in Battle of the Mind Meanwhile, the financial world became even more dominated by central bankers who haven’t the slightest understanding of free-market capitalism. These twits or criminals—maybe both—have blown the most colossal bubble in history if you account for both price and breadth across the spectrum of asset classes. For the layperson, that means they have set us up for a colossal failure. Go back and re-read Valuations if you cannot picture the epic financial carnage lying dead ahead. The gap between the Fed funds rate and headline inflation has never been this large. These pinheads believe that if the markets do not coincide with their world views, the markets must be wrong. I am not an economist, but it appears that none of them are either. The notion that a dozen nitwits should set the most important price of them all—the price of capital—rather than letting the markets set it through price discovery is financial authoritarianism or what some call State Capitalism. I am angry in case it doesn’t show. Meanwhile, in 2020–21 the Fed contributed to destroying upwards of a half-million mom ’n’ pop businesses—they gutted the middle class—while giving BlackRock credit at 0.15% interest rates to buy up all their houses. Here is my advice to those day trading criminals: look both ways as you enter crosswalks. What I believe the response of society to a severe downturn given the current political climate will be epic. Big downturns come after euphorias. We have never entered a downturn with society at large this grumpy. We are in the early stages of The Fourth Turning.ref 7 The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded. ~ Charles-Louis De Secondat When a State has mortgaged all of its future revenues the State, by necessity, lapses into tranquility, langor, and impotence. ~ David Hume, 1752 So, WTF is going on here? In this final part, I address geopolitics. It begins with a relatively benign analysis of Biden’s first year in office, culminating with what I think Afghanistan is really about. The second section addresses my view of what may prove to be the most important day in US History—January 6, 2021. Although it is my best shot—Dave’s Narrative—I will not attempt to nor will I inadvertently spread the love to both sides of the political spectrum. It is a right-wing view that most right-wing politicians and pundits are too cowardly to state in polite company. The final section addresses the Rise of Global Authoritarianism. For a topic covered by thousands of treatises to call my knowledge skeletal is a reach. I have merely created an intellectual foundation—a chalk outline—to ponder why authoritarianism is here and what could stop it. (Plot spoiler: I do not believe it can be stopped.) They know where we are, they know our names, they know from our iPhones if we’re on our way to the grocery store or not. But they haven’t acted on that to put people in camps yet. They could do it. We could be East Germany in weeks, in a month. Huge concentration camps and so forth. ~ Daniel Ellsberg (@DanielEllsberg), author of The Pentagon Papers and Secrets Before moving on, let me give a plug for a book.ref 8 I have not even finished it yet, but it will change your worldview. Look at those ratings! I can guarantee none of those readers enjoyed it. Kennedy will curdle your bone marrow describing 35 years of atrocities commited by America’s Most Trusted Madman. It is emblematic of a much larger problem. Evil is powerless if good men are unafraid – Americans don’t realize what they have to lose. ~ Ronald Reagan The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. ~ H. L. Mencken Biden – Freshman Year Scorecard Let’s go, Brandon! ~ Cheers across America Most presidents begin their reign with a calling. Reagan raised our national self-esteem after a period of economic and political malaise. Bush Sr. took on the Gulf War, for better or worse. Clinton oversaw the economic boom and bank deregulation, again for better or worse. Bush Jr. was handed 9/11 and, in my opinion, boned it badly. Obama had to wrestle with the Great Financial Crisis. Trump was charged with disturbing the peace—drain the swamp if you will. Biden undeniably needed to begin healing the social discord that, regardless of its source, left the country wounded and divided. Maybe that was not Biden’s calling, but I wanted to see him become the president of all the people. This is not revisionist history of my failing memory: Biden’s the last of the Old Guard, which is probably why he was slipped into the office by the DNC old guard. I am guessing there will be no Supreme Court stacking; that was just rhetoric (I hope). There will be wars just like every president (except Trump, who brought troops home.) Congress is more balanced again and, at the time of this writing, the Senate is still in Republican hands. Hopefully, the gridlock will usher in some garden-variety dysfunction. I have subtle concerns about a Harris presidency. Admittedly, my opinion is based on precious few facts, but Harris displays a concerning shallowness of character, a lack of a moral compass, and the potential to slide to the left of Bernie. (I sometimes reflect on what it must have been like raising the teenaged Kamala.) I am trying to reserve judgment because first impressions scavenged from the digital world are sketchy if not worthless. ~ 2020 Year in Review By this description, Biden tanked his GPA. He ushered in a Crusade to erase the Trump era and its supporters. The weaponizing of social media and censorship against one’s opponents was probably unavoidable, but the downside will be revealed when the wind changes. Team Biden took banishing of political opponents on social media to new levels by, as noted by Jen Psaki, flagging “problematic posts” and the “spread of disinformation” for censorship. NY Timeslapdog Kevin Roose called for a “reality Czar,” not noticing the Russian metaphor problem. The War on Domestic Terror may prove to be a turning point in American history, one that risks extinguishing the flame of the Great American Experiment. Significant erosions of Constitutionally granted civil liberties discussed throughout the rest of this document may not have been Biden’s fault, but they occurred on his watch. If you see an injustice and remain silent, you own it. I can’t remain silent. Biden is the epitome of the empty, amoral creature produced by our system of legalized bribery. His long political career in Congress was defined by representing the interests of big business, especially the credit card companies based in Delaware. He was nicknamed Senator Credit Card. He has always glibly told the public what it wants to hear and then sold them out. ~ Chris Hedges, right-wing hatchet man Team Biden. Books have been written about Trump’s fumbles in the first months (or four years) of his presidency. See Josh Rogin’s Chaos Under Heaven in Books or Michael Lewis’ less balanced The Fifth Risk reviewed in last year’s YIR. The Cracker Jack team assembled for Joe reveals a glob of feisty alt-left activists and omnipresent neocons. According to Rickards, two dozen players on Biden’s roster were recruited from the consulting firm WestExec Advisors (including Psaki and Blinken.)ref 1 That’s power and groupthink. David Axelrod: You must ask yourself, ‘Why are we allowing him to roll around in the hallways doing impromptu interviews?’ Jen Psaki: That is not something we recommend. In fact, a lot of times we say ‘don’t take questions.’ Young black entrepreneurs are just as capable of succeeding given the chance as white entrepreneurs are, but they don’t have lawyers; they don’t have accountants. ~ Joe Biden Joe Biden, President – Joe is the Big Guy. In an odd sense, he is immunized from criticism because he is visibly losing his marbles. His cognitive decline is on full display; this 52 seconds of gibberish about inflation is emblematic.ref 2 He’s 80 years old, for Cripes sake. I read a book this year entitled, When the Air Hits Your Brain, which derives from a neurosurgical aphorism that finishes with “you ain’t never the same.” Wanna guess who had two brain aneurysms (one rupturing) years ago leading to a miraculous recovery?ref 3 You’re the most famous African-American baseball player. ~ Joe Biden to the Pope, context unknown (possibly even a deep fake)ref 4 I am neither reveling in Joe’s problems nor do I believe he is calling the shots. Claims that the puppet master is Harris are, no offense, on the low side of clueless. Obama seems like a better guess but Barrack was a front man too. Having an impaired leader of a superpower, however, is disquieting and potentially destabilizing, especially with Taiwan in play. Biden’s energy policy that clamped down on fossil fuel production only to ask OPEC to open the spigots is one for the ages. The covid policies bridging both administrations were catastrophic, but throwing workers out of jobs into the teeth of unprecedented labor shortages makes zero sense. The nouveau inflation—Bidenflation—may stick to him like it stuck to Jimmy Carter, but that is unfair to both presidents. Look to the Fed in both cases for blame. Troubles at the southern border and the Afghanistan pullout are a couple of serious logs for a raging inferno that represents Biden’s first year in office. As discussed in a later section, demonizing “white supremacists”—not just political opponents but opponents labeled by their race—will not be viewed well by historians unless history is at a serious fork and Joe is ultimately protrayed as the founder of some new Fatherland. Kamala Harris, Vice President – Whenever situations heat up, Harris is off like a prom dress. During the crisis at the border that she was charged with overseeing, she took off to Europe, cackling about never even visiting the border. Kamala endorsed and claimed credit for the Kabul evacuation.ref 5,6 Realizing she had pulled yet another boner she pulled out before they renamed it Kamalabad. (Hey: At least I had the decency to pass on the Kamalatoe joke.) In a moment of surreal comedy, Harris hosted a public chat with Bill Clinton on “empowering women.”ref 7 She can even serve up semi-reasonable ideas with dollops of cringe. If the Democrats nominate her in 2024, may God have mercy on their souls—she is unelectable—or maybe on our souls—I could be wrong. Jen Psaki, Press Secretary – The role of any press secretary is to calm the press down with nuggets of insight—to feed the birds. When that fails, lie your ass off, all with a cold, calculating sociopathy. I would say she did the best job imaginable given the hand she was dealt. Disagree? I’ll just have to circle back with you on that. Ron Klain, Whitehouse Chief of Staff – This guy might be the rainmaker, but I haven’t quite figured him out. He has the durability of Andrei Gromyko, maintaining a central role through three democratic administrations. Keep an eye on him. Janet Yellen, Secretary of the Treasury – We have yet to find out Yellen’s role because she has not been pressed into service by a crisis. To resolve the minor “meme stock” bruhaha, which did not call for a resolution, she needed an ethics waiver owing to the soft corruption of her bank-sponsored million-dollar speaking tour. My expectations of her are quite low, and I imagine she will meet them. Antony Blinken, Secretary of State – He has a good resume. Like Psaki, he is forced to play a weak hand. He lacks Psaki’s skills. Jennifer Mulhern Granholm, US Energy Secretary – In a press conference she was asked how many barrels of oil a day the US consumes and said, “I do not have those numbers in front of me.” ‘Nuff said. Get her out of there. Merrick Garland, Attorney General – The press will tear anybody a new one so snippets with bad optics are always dangerous. I would say, however, ordering the FBI to investigate parents who get irate at school boards—even those who seem rather threatening—is over the top. Leave that to the local and state police. His role in the January 6th event and push into domestic terrorism is potentially sinister and moves him onto my shitlist. Saule Omarova, nominee for Comptroller of the Currency – This one blows my circuits. She is what in the vernacular is called “a commie” straight from Kazakhstan with a thesis on Marxism—a devout believer that the State should run the show. She also hails from Cornell Law School. (Yeah. I know. STFU.) Matthew Continetti of the National Review noted she is, “an activist intellectual who is—and I say this in the kindest way possible—a nut.”ref 8 There will be no more private bank deposit accounts and all of the deposit accounts will be held directly at the Fed. ~ Saule Omarova, Cornell Law Professor   We want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change. ~ Saule Omarova, on oil and gas companies For those who have seen the horror movie The Ring, Cornell tried to exorcise the demon by sending “the VHS tape” to Washington, D.C., but it came back stamped “Return to Sender.” She withdrew. Hey Team Biden: you could want to snatch up MIT’s Venezuelan-derived president who is already on the board of the World Economic Forum and was instrumental in pushing Aaron Swartz to off himself.ref 9 John Kerry, Climate Czar – Don’t we have enough Czars? John is charged with flying around the world in his private jet, setting the stage for a 30-year $150 trillion push to make many bank accounts much My disdain for the climate movement catches Kerry in the splash zone. Pete Buttegieg, Transportation Secretary – I must confess to liking Mayor Pete and would have been happier if he had gotten the crash course in the oval office rather than Joe. The one criticism I would make is that taking two months of paternity leave during the nation’s greatest transportation crisis seemed odd. I think when you are in such an important position you find a way. Get a nanny. Bring the twins to your office. Leave them with your spouse. For Pete’s sake (sorry), stay at your post. For the record, after my youngest son was born my wife had health problems. I used to bring him to work and lecture with him in a Snugly and changed a shitload of diapers. You could have done it too, Pete. Samantha Power, Head of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) – Sam is a garden-variety neocon, having served as ambassador to the UN and on the National Security Council, both under Obama. She was central to the planning behind destabilizing Libya,ref 10 which sure looks like a bad idea unless destabilizing the Middle East is our foreign policy. Please just don’t fuck up too much. Cass Sunstein, Homeland Security employee. This is not really an appointment, per se. Cass is the Harvard-employed husband of neocon Samantha Powers. In his 2008 book, Conspiracy Theories, Cass declared “the existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories” to be our greatest threat, outlining five possible solutions, and I quote, “(1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might engage in counter-speech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counter-speech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help.” Guys like Cass who come out of Harvard’s CIA training camps are menaces to society. Marvelous hire, Joe. Victoria Nuland, Undersecretary for Political Affairs – She is famous for her hot mic “Fuck the EU” comment and for engineering the coup in Ukraine—a Wonder Bread neocon. William J. Burns, Head of the CIA – I’ve got nothing on Bill, not even a fingerprint. It would be difficult for me to grade him poorly on a curve with the likes of John Brennan, William Casey, and Alan Dulles. (I once had dinner with a former CIA head John Deutch. What a dick.) Christopher Wray, Head of the FBI – As the FBI increasingly looks like the Praetorian Guard for the power elite (both in and out of public office), Wray has followed in the footsteps of his predecessors like J. Edgar Hoover and James Comie to be both top cop and dubious scoundrel. Wray’s fate might be dictated by the ongoing Durham investigation, but I have not seen any heads roll inside the Beltway since Watergate a half-century ago. Tony Fauci, Director of NIAID – That bipartisan, power-hungry authoritarian—The Most Trusted Madman in America—is a recurring theme. He doesn’t know any science. He is a political hack—a chameleon—who survived 35 years multiple administrations by being able slither out of anybody’s claws and regrow his tail. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the CDC – She got serious attention in part 2. I am horrified by her sociopathy. I think she is evil. Amy Gutmann, Ambassador to Germany – Guttman was given the job after giving the Big Guy more than $900,000 in speaking fees and an honorary degree from UPenn when she was the University’s president. I am sure every ambassador pays market rates for the job.  Cathy Russell, Biden’s Director of Presidential Personnel–She is married to Tom Donlin, Chairman of the gargantuan multinational investment firm, BlackRock. Their daughter made it into the Whitehouse National Security Council. A talented family enjoying the political respect accorded to billionaires. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe, Head of the Office of Science – Despite scientific chops as a climate-change-supporting agronomist, she has no administrative experience and is inexperienced in the scientific programs that she is overseeing. Of course, everything is now about the $150 trillion climate grift, so she’s our girl. Jared Bernstein, Whitehouse Economic Advisor – He is highly educated, with a bachelor’s degree in music, master’s degrees in social work and philosophy, and a Ph.D. in social welfare. His greatest strength may be his complete lack of training in economics. Shalanda Baker, Deputy Director for Energy Justice in the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity at the Department of Energy – Is that a salaried position? ‘Nuff said. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – Mark transitioned from the Trump administration. It caused a stir when he went more “woke” than Chelsea Manning. We will no longer defeat our enemy but assign them pronouns and include them. This was followed by a scandal outlined in Bob Woodward’s book in which he instructed military leaders in a secret meeting to bypass Trump on important military decisions.ref 11 He then unilaterally told his peer in the Chinese military that he would drop a dime if there was an impending military conflict. He tried to hang it on the Secretary of Defense, but the Secretary spit the bit fast.ref 12 My theory is that the sudden wokeness was to commandeer allies on the far left knowing that scandal was coming. It worked. He looks like he is right out of Dr. Strangelove without the lip gloss and eye shadow. Xavier Becerra, Secretary of Health and Human Services. He refuses to acknowledge the merits of natural Covid-19 immunity. That puts him near the top of my shitlist. Becerra has no medical or scientific training. He’s a lawyer, but at least he is from an underrepresented group. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services – I know little about her. She might be the most qualified candidate, certainly more so than her boss Becerra. Call me skeptical of a purely merit-based appointment. Hunter Biden. I was going to place Hunter in the bullets and call him Head of the DEA and National Association of the Arts, but I had reservations. There are sad, heartwarming, and troubling roles played by Hunter Biden. His addiction is a highly personal problem that is difficult for the first family to deal with, especially given other tragedies in their lives. Joe Rogan succinctly explained Hunter’s remarkably odd behavior: “he is a crackhead.” They are part and parcel of being dopesick. Leaked emails from the laptop show Dad to be a compassionate and loving father struggling to save his son. Ironically, old footage surfaced of Joe ranting about how we have to deal with crackheads severely no matter whom they know.ref 13 It did not age well. It is clear that Hunter Biden was selling access and influence. It appears that Joe Biden was aware of that effort. That is very serious. If these emails are false, this is a major story. If they are true, this is a major scandal. ~ Jonathan Turley Before you start blubbering, however, recall that Hunter’s laptop revealed that he was playing critical roles in Russian and Chinese dealings for the Biden family. The Kleenex gets tossed and the gloves now come off. Hunter’s business partner stepped forward admitting nefarious deals were made with Joe involved. Joe denied knowing the clown, but a then photo of the two surfaced.ref 14 This year Hunter also began selling his artwork for up to $500,000 a pop behind a “Chinese Wall”—a veil that ensures we cannot find out who bought the art.ref 15,16,17 The money might literally be from behind a Chinese wall. That buys a lot of crack even after the Big Guy’s 10% cut. Figure 1 shows two paintings, one by a Hunter and the other by two elephants. (No joke, elephants have been painting brilliant pictures free-trunk for decades.) Figure 1. Biden art (left) brought $500,000. The elephant painting (shown being painted) brought $39,000. We are a democracy…there are things you can’t do by executive order unless you are a dictator. ~ Joe Biden, several years ago Executive Orders. Before the first week of his presidency was over, Biden had signed 37 of those beauties. Some, such as the order extending rent moratoria, were overtly unconstitutional. Some merely unwound Trump’s orders that had unwound Obama’s orders. This is dodge ball. While Yale was battling a civil rights case for discriminatory admissions practices, the Biden DOJ dismissed it without comment.ref 18 Yale is said to have promptly destroyed the evidence, which shows they have good lawyers. Transgender athletes were reinstated in women’s sports, ensuring that longstanding records will be shattered.ref 19 It got surreal when UPenn’s transgender swimmer was beaten by Yale’s transgender swimmer.ref 19a An executive order giving the IRS direct access to our bank accounts seems both sinister and inevitable…death and taxes as they say.ref 20 There are a lot of Republicans out there giving speeches about how outraged they are about the situation at the border. Not many who are putting forward solutions. ~ Jen Psaki, forgetting about the wall idea Crisis at the Border. The mainstream press covered this one exhaustively. There are parallels here with the North Africans crossing into Europe several years back. It looks intentional, but why? Don’t tell me about building a democratic base. That is too far in the future and too simplistic. It is far easier to control the elections at the server level. Baffling details include the administration’s suggestion that border agents should be empowered to authorize the immigration of “climate migrants.”ref 21 That could boost a few agents salaries. Rumors of US military planes transporting illegals into the US suggests somebody could punk the elite: load up a boat and drop a couple hundred on Martha’s Vineyard. On further thought, rather than offering Vineyardians more gardeners, drop off some Afghans.ref 22Whoever is calling the shots, this is neither about civil rights nor climate change. Attorney General Merrick Garland clarified the immigration challenge: Today marks a step forward in our effort to make the asylum process fairer and more expeditious. This rule will both reduce the caseload in our immigration courts and protect the rights of those fleeing persecution and violence. If you do that, that will set off a mass migration that’s like nothing that we have ever seen in this country because the entire world will then come on through to get their asylum, essentially legalizing illegal immigration, in a very clever way. ~ Attorney General Merrick Garland WTF did Garland just say? Both his meaning and intent are unclear. The immigrants, of course, were all unvaccinated, which would have been OK by me had the administration not gone Third Reich to vaccinate US citizens. The administration also wanted to offer $450,000 to every immigrant family separated from their loved ones: why?ref 23They seemed to walk that third-trimester idea back and then walked it forward again. A half-billion-dollar, no-bid contract to manage the immigrants went to friends of the administration.ref 24 Your tax dollars at work. At least we are back to business as usual. By the way, where is Border Czar Kamala Harris while all this is going on? Making creepy videos.ref 25,26 People who like quotes love meaningless generalizations. ~ Graham Greene Miscellaneous issues surfaced that either went away or are still festering quietly. On the positive side, stacking the Supreme Court—increasing the number of justices to get a left-leaning majority—seems to have been only a political football. Granting Washington DC statehood, while to a plebe like me doesn’t seem nuts, has the trappings of a massive powershift to the left in national elections. Joe invaded the legal process by declaring Chauvin guilty and Kyle Rittenhouse a white supremacist. Would Obama have done this? I don’t think so. Rittenhouse may get his “10% for the Young Guy” in defamation suits against Joe and every media outlet on the planet. Joe checking his watch five times at the funeral of dead marines didn’t play well,ref 27 but if you put a camera on me I wouldn’t make it to lunchtime without serving up Jim Acosta fresh meat. The main drama of Biden’s first year, however, played out in a distant land.   Afghanistan—where empires go to die. ~ Mike Malloy Afghanistan. I’ve been groping for nomenclature — Afghazi, Afghazistan, Benghanistan, Benghazistan, Saigonistan, Clusterfuckistan, and Bidenistan—to describe this odd moment in history. That 20-year skirmish cost an estimated $2.3 trillion.ref 28 The idea that it was only a few thousand troops with no fatalities in the last year or two makes me question my wisdom, but I can’t start revising history. Whether for right or wrong, I was glad we were getting out. The ensuing Crisis in Kabul looked like the graveyard of a presidency—a combination of the Bay of Pigs and the Iran Hostage Crisis that would dog us for years. They are chanting “Death to America”, but they seemed friendly at the same time. ~ CNN reporter wearing a burka looking for a husband Even before the evacuation started we were hearing about huge caches of weapons that would be abandoned.ref 29 In an eat-and-dash that would make an IHOP waiter wince, we bugged out at 2:00 AM without telling anybody.ref 30Jalalabad Joe had assured us repeatedly the 300,000-strong Afghan army would hang tough. They were defeated in time to chow down on some goat stew for dinner. Images of desperate Afghan’s clinging to transport planes brought up images of the Saigon Embassy rooftop. We left service dogs in cages.ref 31 Marines would never do that. Stranded Americans and Afghan collaborators were begging for help to get to the airport and even to get into the airport.ref 32The administration used a drone to strike on some kids and their dads loading water into a truck to change the news cycle briefly.ref 33 The Afghan who is credited with saving Joe Biden and John Kerry in a disastrous excursion to Afghanistan years earlier got left behind pleading for help:ref 34 Hello Mr. President: Save me and my family. Don’t forget me here. Mercenaries like Blackwater’s Erik Prince tried to prevent Americans from taking The Final Exit,ref 35 only to get stonewalled by the Whitehouse. Meanwhile, the top commander and four-star Wokie, Mark Milley, was too mired in scandal.ref 36 Retired generals were calling for the active-duty generals to resign.ref 37 The withdrawal could not be botched worse if you tried. The populace are now facing a winter of profound famine.ref 38 Rural Afghanistan has been rocked by climate change. The past three decades have brought floods and drought that have destroyed crops and left people hungry. And the Taliban — likely without knowing climate change was the cause — has taken advantage of that pain. ~ CBS News, sticking it like a Russian gymnast This vexing story was from the Theater of the Absurd. Starting with the caches of military equipment left behind, I have two simple solutions that a group of teenagers could have concocted: Announce Blow Shit Up Friday (BSUF). Provide the military personnel with some grenade launchers and a few kegs of beer, grill up some goat burgers, and start blowing shit up. That would be a blast. If that is too unprofessional, you gather all armaments and anything of else of value into an open space. Once the wheels go up on the last troop transport, drop a MOAB—Mother of All Bombs.ref 39 Tough luck for those who were trying to hotwire the stuff when the MOAB arrives. It will take a year to get them out…If you use those billions of dollars of weapons behind I promise they’ll be using them against your grandchildren and mine someday. ~ Joe Biden, Presidential Candidate, 2007ref 40 The collapse of the Afghan Army also couldn’t have come as a surprise. The military and CIA certainly knew that those troops wouldn’t withstand a West Side Story-level brawl.ref 41 The soldiers were paid by the US for their service COD, and there was no C left. Shockingly, most of the payroll booty had long-since been snarfed up by the politicians and top military brass from the only swamp in Afghanistan.ref 42 Whocouldanode? Taliban can murder as many people as they want. But if they keep trolling Biden like this they’re gonna get kicked off of social media. ~ Jesse Kelley, noting the Taliban has an active Twitter feed Here is a script playing out in my noggin. The Crisis in Kabul was an arms deal—Fast and Furious 2.0. One of our top diplomats called the Taliban and said, “We are pulling out in a month. We’ll leave the keys in the ignition and pallets of $100 billsref 43 to help pay for upkeep. If you guys let us sneak out unmolested, you can party like it’s 999—an authentic Taliban-themed fraternity party. We will leave you guns, money, nice facilities, and even a few wives. If you fuck this up, however, we will be right back here.” The Whitehouse also lent a legitimizing tone to the regime when speaking about “working with the Taliban” as part of the deal. In return, the State Department called on the Taliban to form an “inclusive and representative government,”ref 44 so there’s that bit of risible nonsense. Neville Chamberlain couldn’t have done any better. The bottom line: 90% of Americans who wanted to leave Afghanistan were able to leave Afghanistan. ~ Jalalabad Joe Biden That might be a great poll number or inflated final exam grade at a college Joe erroneously claimed to attend, but I am not sure “90%” is impressive in this context. The actual evacuation was ineptly executed from the get-go. Mr. Rogers, with the help of his viewing audience of toddlers, could have Kabuled together a better plan based on the simple precept, “pull out the civilians then the military.” Baffling claims the Whitehouse was obstructing evacuations of charter flights containing Americans was not right-wing propaganda: Where are they going to land? A number of these planes have a handful of Americans, but they may have several hundred individuals who do not have proper documentation of identity….we don’t have manifests for them, we don’t know what the security protocols are for them, we don’t know what their documentation is…hard choices you face in government. ~ Jen Psaki, press conference WTF actually happened? When nothing makes sense your model is wrong. Glenn Greenwald got the scent that withdrawal was intentionally mishandled, suggesting this is “fully within the character of the deep-state operatives.”ref 45We also forgot to destroy our sophisticated FBI-derived software and a complete database containing the biometrics of Friends of the USA,ref 46,47,48 enabling the Taliban to find potential detractors for an attitude correction. Think of it as Afghanistan’s high-tech War on Domestic Terror. The stonewalling of help from other countries also makes no sense using a conventional model.ref 49 Biden’s CIA Director met with Taliban leadership covertly—so covertly we all knew about it—to concoct a “deal”, but what kind of deal?ref 50 During the evacuation, we gave the Taliban names of American citizens, green card holders, and Afghan allies supposedly to let them pass through the militant-controlled perimeter of the city’s airport.ref 51 They would never abuse this list, right? A large number of Afghan refugees—possibly as many as 100,000 according to Tucker Carlson—entering the US are consistent with our open border policy along the Mexican border, but what is that all about? Afghans, by the way, are reputed to be always recalcitrant to assimilate in Europe just in case you’re thinking of renting out your basement as an Airbnb.ref 52 What happened in Afghanistan is not incompetence. We are not that incompetent. ~ General George Flynn The goal is to use Afghanistan to wash money out of the tax bases of the US and Europe through Afghanistan and back into the hands of a transnational security elite. The goal is an endless war, not a successful war. ~ Julian Assange, 2011ref y I have no doubt that blood was shed after we left. More than a few US sympathizers surely lost their heads. As to the stranded Americans, why were they still there? China had evacuated their citizens months earlier.ref 53(Hmmm…Chinese citizens were there?) Two dozen students from the Cajon Valley Union School District and 16 parents there for an enriching summer trip were stranded.ref 54 How did they get visas? That field trip will generate a few college essays that will beat any written about dead grandparents, although Kabul State College may be their only option. This is now on-track, Peter, to be the largest airlift in U.S. history. I would not say that is anything but a success. ~ Jen Psaki to Peter Doucy The media can create, steer, or smother narratives at will. I have a question: Where are all the dead Americans—thousands of them—said to be left behind? Horror stories should be surfacing daily, but they’re not. We shit a mudbrick when One Dead Kashoggi (ODK) got fed to the camels in Saudi Arabia. Three thousand fatalities on 9/11 got us into Afghanistan in the first place. We supposedly left behind “thousands of Americans” but without generating a single headline? So much for that Bay of Pigs­–Iran Hostage Crisis analogy. So here are my next questions and I am deadly serious: Did we get duped? Was the whole thing more sham than farce? There is no such thing as a true account of anything. ~ Gore Vidal Here is Dave’s Narrative. We installed the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan as the best of many bad options. The winners are the Taliban and China. The two are inking deals for mineral rights as I type. The chaos was intentional. But why accept such a profound humiliation and dashed hopes of future alliances in global hotspots? I think that the Taliban winning the war in Afghanistan, and then the way our exit happened, has absolutely inspired jihadists all over the world. The Taliban is saying, we just didn’t defeat the United States, we defeated NATO. We defeated the world’s greatest military power, ever. I think, not only will the jihadists be inspired, but a lot of them are going to come to Afghanistan to be part of the celebration, to be part of jihadist central. We are more at risk, without a doubt. ~ Michael Morell, former CIA Director under Obama Maybe China has way more than just Hunter’s laptop to blackmail us and is about to take possession of Taiwan soon. While we await the next Kyle Rittenhouse trial to preoccupy ourselves, take a peek at this video. Skip over the election stuff since we all have rock-hard opinions on that and go to minute 55:30. Xi Jinping’s right-hand man, Di Dongsheng, publicly explained the extent Beijing controls US politics:ref 55 There is nothing in the world that money can’t fix, right? If one wad of cash can’t handle it, then I’ll have two wads. (laughter) Of course this is how I do things. In fact, to be a bit blunt, in the past 30 years or past 40 years, we manipulated the core power circle in the United States, right? I mentioned earlier that Wall Street started to have a very strong influence on U.S. domestic and foreign affairs in the 1970s. So we figured out our path and those we could be dependent on. But the problem is that Wall Street’s status has declined after 2008. More importantly, starting in 2016 Wall Street has no influence on Trump. Why? It is awkward. Trump had a soft breach of contract on Wall Street once, so the two sides had conflicts. They tried to help during the Sino-US trade war. As far as I know, friends from the U.S. told me that they tried to help, but they were too weak. But now we see that Biden has come to power. (crowd laughs) The traditional elites, political elites, and the establishment have a very close relationship with Wall Street. You all see it: Trump talked about Biden’s son, “You have investment funds around the world.” Who helped him build the funds? You understand? There are transactions involved. (laughter) So at this point in time, we use an appropriate way to express a certain kind of goodwill. (applause) ~Di Dongsheng, Vice Director and Secretary of the Center for Foreign Strategic Studies of Chinaref 55 January 6th Capitol Insurrection Alec Baldwin killed more people in 2021 than did the January 6th insurrectionists. Anybody reading this far knows that the January 6th riots stemmed from the right-wing voters who doubted the veracity of the 2020 election. Twitter polls show that view is not as partisan or as rare as the media would lead you to believe. I happen to doubt U.S. election integrity but have for quite a few election cycles. ref 1 Hacked Stratfor emails show the democrats rigged the vote in ’08 ref 2 and Republicans rigged it in ’04.ref 3 It is bipartisan Capture the Flag with red and blue pinnies.ref 4 In any event, Trump’s Green Goblin strategy was to beckon the MAGA faithful to the Capitol to protest the Electoral College signing off on the results. It was not so different than the mobs outside the courthouses trying to subvert the Rittenhouse and Chauvin trials, but the scale of January 6th was much larger and the optics were Biblical. It got out of hand and, at times, even a little Helter Skelter. Mob psychology elicits dramatic changes in brain chemistry and has been the topic of many laboratory studies.”ref 5 Temporary insanity is not a crazy defense. My Tweet got some hysterically hateful responses from the Right who missed the sarcasm and the Left who did not. I think I squandered more of my valuable time left on this planet burrowing through the January 6th story than on the Covid-Vaccine combo platter. I should preface this section by noting that I was praised by a thoughtful long-time reader for being “balanced and measured and carefully worded, even on edgy topics.” I may be on the cusp of disappointing him. It’s impossible to peer at the The Great Insurrection through a non-partisan lens. Both sides may find common ground in the belief that January 6th is a profound fork in the road of the American Experiment. The sock-starching Left will celebrate it as a national holiday every year while the bed-wetting Right will try to ignore it. Both are wrong. Look at that photo and pause to ponder its implications. Put a funny caption to it. Let’s hear from some Republicans first: We must also know what happened every minute of that day in the White House — every phone call, every conversation, every meeting leading up to, during, and after the attack. ~ Liz Cheney I think Lizard nailed it. We’re on the same page. Let’s keep going… January 6 was worse than 9/11, because it’s continued to rip our country apart and get permission for people to pursue autocratic means, and so I think we’re in a much worse place than we’ve been. I think we’re in the most perilous point in time since 1861 in the advent of the Civil War. ~ Michael Dowd, former Bush strategist I would like to see January 6th burned into the American mind as firmly as 9/11 because it was that scale of a shock to the system. ~ George Will, syndicated columnist Mike and George are as unhinged as I am but on different hinges. I think they are delusional and offensive. Edging forward… The 1/6 attack for the future of the country was a profoundly more dangerous event than the 9/11 attacks. And in the end, the 1/6 attacks are likely to kill a lot more Americans than were killed in the 9/11 attacks, which will include the casualties of the wars that lasted 20 years following. ~ Steve Smith, Lincoln Project co-founder Now I’m getting the heebie-jeebies if for no other reason than the Lincoln Project is filled with Democratic operatives (or at least neocons) pretending to be Republicans—as authentic as the Indians at the Boston Tea Party or stepmoms on PornHub. We have seen growing evidence that the dangers to our country can come not only across borders but from violence that gathers within…There is little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home… But in their disdain for pluralism, in their disregard for human life, in their determination to defile national symbols, they are children of the same foul spirit. ~ George W. Bush, a thinly veiled allusion to January 6 George got some serious guff from more than a few of the 80 million Fox-watching extremists including the Grand Wizard: So interesting to watch former President Bush, who is responsible for getting us into the quicksand of the Middle East (and then not winning!), as he lectures us that terrorists on the ‘right’ are a bigger problem than those from foreign countries that hate America. ~ Donald Trump He nailed it. I have stated previously that Bush committed war crimes. Of course, the National Security Machine chimed in… The No. 1 national security threat I’ve ever seen in my life to this country’s democracy is the party that I’m in — the Republican Party. It is the No. 1 national security threat to the United States of America. ~ Miles Taylor, a former Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official Dude! You just tarred about 80 million asses with that brushstroke. Let’s move further left to find some middle ground: They swooned for him on 9/11 because he gave them what they most crave: the view that Al Qaeda is comparable to those who protested at the Capitol on 1/6. ~ Glenn Greenwald, on George Bush’s comments Glenn is part of a growing cadre of liberals including Matt Taibbi, Tim Pool, Bill Maher, The Weinstein Brothers, and Joe Rogan who are unafraid to extend olive branches across The Great Partisan Divide at risk of being labled white supremacists and Nazis, but they are hardly emblematic of the Left. From the elite Left… I think we also had very real security concerns. We still don’t yet feel safe around other members of Congress.  ~ AOC AOC’s comment prompted one pundit to tell her to “get a therapist”, which seems correct given her moment of maximum drama was when a security guard was screaming outside her door, “Are you OK, Ma’am?” #AlexandriaOcasioSmollett began trending on social media when it was disclosed that she was not even in the building when Ragnar and his buddies showed up.ref 6 They will have to decide if Donald J. Trump incited the erection…the insurrection. ~ Chuck Schumerref 7 What ya thinking about Chuckie? We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on Jan. 6. ~ Joe Biden Joe may be on the A-Team, but he hasn’t found his way out of the locker room. The blue-check-marked liberals did not mince words… The 9/11 terrorists and Osama bin Laden never threatened the heart of the American experiment. The 1/6 terrorists and Donald Trump absolutely did exactly that. Trump continues that effort today. ~ S.V. Dáte, Huffington Post’s senior White House correspondent The only effective way for the government to respond to an act of war by domestic terrorists is to be prepared to meet them with machine guns and flamethrowers and mow them down. Not one of those terrorists who broke through police lines should have escaped alive. ~ a Washington Post commenter Moving as far left as you can by tuning into the most cunning commie who can outfox any Western leader… Do you know that 450 individuals were arrested after entering the Congress? They came there with political demands. ~ Vladimir Putin The Cast of this Drama. This Kafkaesque narrative will be scrutinized by historians and democratic operatives for years to come. The Left will cast this event as a truly unique moment in US history, but it was precedented. I see parallels with the 1920’s Bonus Army in which World War I veterans were pissed off about unpaid post-war benefits.ref 8 In the saddest of ironies, many were killed by Army regulars. Some authorities, including a young Dwight Eisenhower, thought it was a benign protest while others thought it was an assault on America. Grumpy crowds appear at the Capitol only on days of the week that end in “y.” Recently, f.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 6th, 2022

Liz Cheney Says Will Campaign For Democrats, Leave Republican Party If Trump Is 2024 Nominee

Liz Cheney Says Will Campaign For Democrats, Leave Republican Party If Trump Is 2024 Nominee Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) said on Saturday that she will not remain a Republican if former President Donald Trump is the GOP presidential nominee in the 2024 elections, and that she would also be willing to campaign for Democrats to stop GOP nominee Kari Lake from being elected in the Arizona gubernatorial race. Cheney, who has been called a “Republican in name only” by others in her party and lost the Republican primary to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman in August, made the comments at The Texas Tribune festival in Austin. “I’m going to do everything I can to make sure Kari Lake is not elected,” Cheney said. Former television anchor Lake, who is endorsed by Trump, won the Republican nomination in the Arizona primary election in August. Lake has been vocal in contending fraud in the 2020 election and has pledged to improve election security if she wins the gubernatorial race. When asked by Texas Tribune CEO Evan Smith whether doing everything she can to ensure Lake is not elected included campaigning for Democrats, Cheney simply stated: “Yes.” Cheney, who has become one of the most vocal voices in the Republican Party against former President Donald Trump, later added that she would not remain a Republican if he were to gain the party’s nomination in 2024. “I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee. And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Cheney said. Cheney also mentioned Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has said he will campaign for Lake. “He’s demonstrated that he’s somebody who has not bought into the toxin of Donald Trump—but he campaigned recently for Kari Lake, who’s an election denier, who is dangerous,” Cheney said. ... Cheney announced in August that she’s considering running for president in 2024 but has not yet made a decision on the potential run. “That’s a decision that I’m going to make in the coming months,” she said on Aug. 17 in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, despite having just lost in the Republican primary for the seat she now holds. Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans to vote to impeach Trump. She is also one of two Republican members sitting on the Democrat-led House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol. ... Read more here... Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 21:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge3 hr. 56 min. ago

Psaki Admits Democrats Will Lose If Midterms Are A "Referendum" On Biden

Psaki Admits Democrats Will Lose If Midterms Are A 'Referendum' On Biden Authored by Frank Fang via The Epoch Times, Former White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Sunday said the Democrats will lose if the November midterm elections are a “referendum” on President Joe Biden. “If it is a referendum on the president, they will lose. And they know that. They also know that crime is a huge vulnerability for Democrats, I would say one of the biggest vulnerabilities,” Psaki said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sept. 25. On the contrary, Psaki said that if the focus of the midterm elections is on the “most extreme” party, mentioning House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) by name, the Democrats will secure a victory in November. With a little more than 40 days to go before the November elections, Biden’s public approval rating remains low. According to a recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll, 39 percent of Americans approved of the president, while 57 percent disapproved. Additionally, 67 percent of the respondents said the United States was heading in the wrong direction, while 21 percent said the country was on the right track. Another recent Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll found that 50 percent of Americans thought Biden “should do more” on “blocking illegal immigrants” from entering the United States. Even Democrats are abandoning Biden as the party’s nominee for president in 2024. According to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, just 35 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents prefer Biden for the 2024 nomination, while 56 percent say the party should pick someone else. Referendum Some Republicans have long billed the midterm elections as a referendum on Biden, most famously former President Donald Trump. “This election is a referendum on skyrocketing inflation, rampant crime, soaring murders, crushing gas prices, millions and millions of illegal aliens pouring across our border, race and gender indoctrination, converting our schools,” Trump said during a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Sept. 3. Trump added, “And above all, this election is a referendum on the corruption and extremism of Joe Biden and the radical Democrat Party.” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks to The Epoch Times at CPAC 21 in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 26, 2021. (The Epoch Times) Also on Sunday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, wrote on Twitter that “It’s not breaking news Democrats don’t want the midterm elections to be a referendum on Biden.” Earlier this month, Joe O’Dea, the GOP candidate for senator in Colorado, also said the November race is a referendum on the president. “This election is a referendum on the trillions in spending and debt by Joe Biden and Michael Bennet that’s caused this inflation crisis,” O’Dea wrote on Twitter, who is facing incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.). Pennsylvania Psaki also said she has been following the senate race in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is facing Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, noting that Republicans have been spending money on ads portraying the Democrat candidate as soft on crime. “What’s been interesting to me is it’s always you follow the money, and where are people spending money,” Psaki said. “And in Pennsylvania, the Republicans have been spending millions of dollars on the air on crime ads against Fetterman because that’s where they see his vulnerability.” She added, “So, yes, the economy is hanging over everything. But you do have to look at state-by-state factors, and crime is a huge issue in the Pennsylvania race.” Oz and Fetterman are scheduled for a televised debate on Oct. 25. On Sunday, Oz took to Twitter to say he has a different approach to border management compared to his opponent. “John Fetterman would be a rubber stamp for Biden’s reckless border policies & make the crisis at our southern border even worse,” Oz wrote on Twitter. “Securing our border may not be Biden or Fetterman’s top priority, but I’ll do everything I can to address this issue.” Psaki left the White House in May and took a job at MSNBC as host for a new streaming program starting in 2023. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge8 hr. 24 min. ago

Gavin Newsom says he is definitely not running for president in 2024 after his "vulnerable" 2021 recall

"Not happening, no," Gov. Newsom said about running for president in 2024. "I mean it, and I never trust politicians, so I get why you keep asking." California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks onstage during Vox Media's 2022 Code Conference on September 7, 2022.Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Vox Media California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he won't run for president in 2024, despite rumors. Newsom survived a recall election in 2021 when over 60% of voters chose not to recall him.  At the Texas Tribune Festival, Newsom said the recall was a "sobering" experience.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom insisted he will not run for president in 2024, in part due to his close recall election last year. Newsom was asked if he was considering running for president in the next election during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin on Saturday. "Not happening, no, no, not at all," Newsom said. "I've said it in French, Italian. I don't know German. I mean, I cannot say it enough. But thank you. It's humbling. It is sweet. It's a nice thing to be asked. I mean it, and I never trust politicians, so I get why you keep asking."Rumors have swirled over who could be the potential Democratic presidential nominee in the event that President Joe Biden does not seek reelection. As a leading Democrat known for his sharp criticisms of Republicans, Newsom has been considered by others as a presidential contender. "California, I mean, what a gift," Newsom said Saturday. "Forty million Americans strong. We talk about lavatories of democracy, and we're able to scale ideas that have impact all across this country and around the world. I'm very proud of that privilege, and I don't take it for granted one day."—Texas Tribune (@TexasTribune) September 24, 2022 The first-term governor survived a recall election in 2021 when over 60% of voters opted not to recall him, Business Insider previously reported. He is expected to win his reelection this November against Republican state Sen. Brian Dahle. "I was almost recalled last year. They went after me hard. That's sobering, and that wakes you up. How vulnerable, how fast this is, how people come and go, and you know, people cut you off," Newsom said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 25th, 2022

Trump has called several GOP donors who contributed money to Ron DeSantis asking them to stop boosting the Florida governor: report

Former President Trump has tracked appearances made by DeSantis, while also monitoring the governor's poll numbers, per The Washington Post. Then-President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the White House on April 28, 2020.AP Photo/Evan Vucci Trump has informed some political donors to stop boosting Ron DeSantis, per The Washington Post. During his calls with donors, the ex-president said that DeSantis could be a potential 2024 rival. Trump's endorsement of DeSantis' 2018 gubernatorial bid was a key moment in the governor's political rise. Former President Donald Trump has asked several of his donors to refrain from boosting Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis — who has emerged as one of the former president's most formidable potential rivals in a GOP presidential primary matchup — according to The Washington Post.Trump was instrumental in shaping DeSantis' political rise in the Sunshine State, endorsing the little-known congressman in the 2018 gubernatorial primary over a more established rival, then-Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.With the MAGA movement behind DeSantis, he became unstoppable in the GOP primary that year, romping to an easy win over Putnam and narrowly winning the general election over Andrew Gillum, the onetime Democratic star.But the former president, who established Florida as the center of his political operations after leaving the White House last year, now finds himself having to coexist with a longtime political ally who has the potential to eclipse him in the minds of many Republicans who may not be keen on a third Trump presidential campaign.DeSantis is currently in the midst of a reelection campaign against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist, while also stumping for Republican candidates across the country — a sign of his growing influence within the party.And Trump has noticed how much DeSantis has become a political draw on his own, according to The Post.Per the newspaper's report, the former president has tracked appearances made by DeSantis, while also monitoring the governor's poll numbers.Trump has also taken the step of informing several donors who have also contributed to DeSantis to cease their support of the governor, telling them that the Florida Republican could be a potential 2024 rival, according to an individual tied to the donor world who spoke with The Post.DeSantis has received financial support from the billionaire Citadel founder Ken Griffin, who has said publicly that he would not back a Trump presidential campaign in 2024 and called the former president's White House tenure "pointlessly divisive."Despite the behind-the-scenes transitions, Trump and DeSantis remain in similar social circles and even ran into each other at a wedding at the former president's Mar-a-Lago resort, per the report.Insider reached out to representatives of Trump and DeSantis for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 25th, 2022

Liz Cheney says if Trump wins the 2024 GOP presidential nomination she "won"t be a Republican"

Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she will do "everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks to supporters at an election night event during the Wyoming primary election at Mead Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming on August 16, 2022.PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Liz Cheney said she'll do "everything I can" to ensure Trump is not a 2024 presidential nominee. Speaking at Texas Tribune Fest, she said if Trump is the GOP candidate, she "won't be a Republican." The recently primaried vice chair of the Jan 6 committee has historically voted conservatively. Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she would renounce her political party if Trump becomes the next Republican nominee for president. "I'm gonna make sure Donald Trump — I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee," Cheney told Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune, during the hourlong interview."And if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican," she added.Cheney, a second-generation Republican leader, has historically voted conservatively, following the political legacy of her father, Dick Cheney, who served as vice president under Republican President George W. Bush. The vice chair of the Jan 6 committee has long made clear her separation from her party's support of former President Trump, despite largely supporting his policies. Newsweek reported Cheney voted with Trump 93% of the time while in office, but the two have publicly feuded over her refusal to endorse him personally. "Knowing what I know now, I would not have voted for Donald Trump," Cheney said during the interview.The recently primaried representative has been a key Republican House member in the investigation into the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol. One political strategist told Insider her campaign loss may enable Cheney to be bolder in the actions she takes against the former president since she no longer has to campaign for a Republican audience that still largely supports Trump. Representatives for Cheney did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2022

Liz Cheney says if Trump wins a 2024 presidential nomination she "won"t be a Republican"

Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she will do "everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee." Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks to supporters at an election night event during the Wyoming primary election at Mead Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming on August 16, 2022.PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Liz Cheney said she'll do "everything I can" to ensure Trump is not a 2024 presidential nominee. Speaking at Texas Tribune Fest, she said if Trump is the GOP candidate, she "won't be a Republican." The recently primaried vice chair of the Jan 6 committee has historically voted conservatively. Speaking at the Texas Tribune Festival, Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney said she would renounce her political party if Trump becomes the next Republican nominee for president. "I'm gonna make sure Donald Trump — I'm gonna do everything I can to make sure he's not the nominee," Cheney told Evan Smith, CEO of The Texas Tribune, during the hourlong interview."And if he is the nominee, I won't be a Republican," she added.Cheney, a second-generation Republican leader, has historically voted conservatively, following the political legacy of her father, Dick Cheney, who served as vice president under Republican President George W. Bush. The vice chair of the Jan 6 committee has long made clear her separation from her party's support of former President Trump, despite largely supporting his policies. Newsweek reported Cheney voted with Trump 93% of the time while in office, but the two have publicly feuded over her refusal to endorse him personally. "Knowing what I know now, I would not have voted for Donald Trump," Cheney said during the interview.The recently primaried representative has been a key Republican House member in the investigation into the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol. One political strategist told Insider her campaign loss may enable Cheney to be bolder in the actions she takes against the former president since she no longer has to campaign for a Republican audience that still largely supports Trump. Representatives for Cheney did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2022

Raphael Warnock has a 5-point lead over Herschel Walker in high-stakes Georgia Senate contest, while Brian Kemp is ahead 6 points against Stacey Abrams in the governor"s race: poll

A new Marist Poll showed Sen. Raphael Warnock with 47% support among registered voters in Georgia, while Herschel Walker garnered 42% support. Sen. Raphael Warnock arrives for a rally in Conyers, Ga., on August 18, 2022.AP Photo/Jeff Amy Warnock has a 47%-42% lead over Walker in the Georgia Senate race, per a new Marist Poll. In the poll, Warnock was backed by 94% of Democrats, while Walker earned 83% support among the GOP. The two candidates are set to meet for their first televised debate in Savannah on Oct. 14. Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia holds a five-point lead over Republican challenger Herschel Walker in the state's high-stakes Senate race, according to a new Marist Poll.The survey showed Warnock with 47% support among registered voters in the Peach State, while Walker garnered 42% support and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver sat at 4%; seven percent of respondents were undecided.In the poll, a near-unanimous 94% of Democrats backed Warnock, while the senator peeled off 10% of Republicans and held a nine-point lead over Walker among independents (45%-36%).Warnock performed strongly in the Atlanta metropolitan area; in the Atlanta suburbs, he edged out Walker by three-percentage points (47%-44%).The senator — a Savannah native — earned 39% support in the state's GOP-heavy coastal and southeast regions, compared to Walker's 46% support.Walker — a former University of Georgia football standout and first-time candidate — received the support of 83% of Republicans in the survey.The ex-NFL player boasted a robust level of support in North Georgia, besting Warnock by 21 percentage points (54%-33%) in the deeply conservative area.In Georgia, a longtime Republican bastion that in recent years has seen major Democratic gains at the statewide level — underlined by President Joe Biden's 2020 win and the 2021 runoff election victories of Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff — a rural-urban divide is apparent.Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker, center, talks with state Sen. Butch Miller, left, and former state Rep. Terry Rogers in Alto, Ga., on July 21, 2022.AP Photo/Bill Barrow, FileWarnock held a massive 76%-19% lead among survey respondents residing in big cities and a 54%-38% advantage with suburban respondents, while Walker fared best with voters in small towns (55%-33%) and rural Georgia (61%-21%).Democrats currently control the 50-50 Senate by the slimmest of margins — by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote — and the Georgia contest has been seen as a marquee race that could determine which party leads the upper chamber in 2023.Warnock is seeking a full six-year term after winning the runoff election to fill the remaining term of Johnny Isakson, the veteran Republican lawmaker who retired from the Senate in December 2019 and passed away in December 2021.Walker has near-universal name recognition in Georgia, due in large part to his long football career, which has given him natural inroads with conservative-leaning Bulldogs fans.While Warnock has sought to highlight his push to cap insulin at $35 for patients on Medicare and his plan to reduce prescription drug costs for Americans — both of which were included in the Inflation Reduction Act signed into law by Biden last month — Walker has tried to paint the senator as too closely tied to the commander-in-chief.The Marist poll showed Biden with a 39% job approval rating in Georgia, with 55% disapproving of the president's performance.(A recent CBS News/YouGov poll showed Warnock with a narrower 51%-49% edge over Walker.)Warnock and Walker are set to meet for their first televised debate in Savannah on Oct. 14.Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia.AP Photo/Megan Varner, FileAbrams vs. KempIn the state's other high-profile race, incumbent Republican Gov. Brian Kemp holds a six-point lead (50%-44%) over Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams among registered voters in a rematch of their 2018 contest.While Abrams earned 93% support among Democrats, she trailed Kemp with independents — securing 41% of their vote compared to 47% for the governor.Kemp earned the support of 90% of Republicans and boasted an 18-point lead (58%-40%) among white college-educated voters, a demographic that has moved toward the Democratic Party in recent years.The survey also showed Kemp winning the support of 14% of Black respondents, while Abrams — a former state House minority leader — was backed by 78% of Black Georgians who were polled.Several recent reports have highlighted Abrams' need to boost her support among Black voters — notably Black men — as she seeks to become the first Black woman elected to a governorship in United States history.Marist polled 1,202 registered voters from September 12 through September 15; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 24th, 2022

A majority of Georgia voters support President Biden"s student-loan forgiveness plan, poll says

Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is locked in a tough reelection battle, has been one of the most forceful advocates of student loan relief. George Washington University student Kai Nilsen and other student loan debt activists rally outside the White House a day after President Biden announced a plan that would cancel $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 a year in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2022.Photo by Craig Hudson for The Washington Post via Getty Images A new AJC poll showed that 54% of Georgia voters backed Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan. Biden last month announced his plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student-loan debt for most borrowers. Warnock and Abrams back Biden's plan, while Kemp and Walker are opposed to the framework. A majority of Georgia voters expressed support for President Joe Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student-loan debt for borrowers, according to a new poll from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.In the survey, 54% of likely voters indicated that they supported the president's debt-cancellation plan — 36% of respondents indicated that they "strongly" supported it, while 18% expressed that they were "somewhat" supportive of the framework.The poll also showed that 42% of respondents were opposed to the forgiveness plan, with 34% expressing strong opposition and 8% stating that they were "somewhat" opposed to the Biden policy goal.The president in August announced that he would forgive $10,000 in federal student-loan debt for borrowers earning under $125,000 per year, with up to $20,000 in relief for those who received Pell grants and fall under the same income threshold.The plan also caps the monthly repayment of federal student loans at 5% of an individual's income through a new income-driven repayment plan, along with the president's fifth — and final — extension of the student-loan payment pause through December 31.Most Democrats, especially among the party's progressive flank, cheered the move. But Republicans have painted the plan as a giveaway that would burden taxpayers and blasted him for what they contend is his failure to address the high cost of tuition in higher education.The same poll showed Biden's job approval rating in the state at 37%, with 58% disapproving of his performance.Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who is locked in a tough reelection battle against former NFL player Herschel Walker, has been one of the most forceful advocates of student loan relief."Easing student debt will provide long-term benefits for hardworking Georgians of all ages, as well as our economy," he tweeted after Biden announced his plan last month. "I'm grateful President Biden has listened to me & the people of Georgia."Warnock also said that he would "keep fighting for additional student relief" by focusing on college affordability and pushing for the creation of more job-workforce programs.Walker said during a recent campaign event that Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan was "not right."Kemp, who is running for reelection against Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, recently signed onto a letter with 21 other Republican governors that urged Biden to "immediately" scrap his student loan framework."Rather than addressing the rising cost of tuition for higher education or working to lower interest rates for student loans, your plan kicks the can down the road and makes today's problems worse for tomorrow's students," the letter read.Abrams has praised Biden's plan and last month used the president's announcement to take a swipe at Kemp's policies."For everyone of those who are complaining, where were you when Brian Kemp gave a tax cut to billionaires and millionaires?" Abrams said during an event in Camilla, Ga., per the Journal-Constitution."If they can have $10,000, so can our young people trying to get on their feet," she added.The Atlanta Journal-Constitution polled 861 likely Georgia voters from September 5 through September 16; the survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 24th, 2022

How more than $424 million in taxpayer money is locked away in a forgotten government fund — and lawmakers won"t spend it or return it

Republicans, Democrats, charities, and special-interest groups all have different designs for a languishing — and massive — pot of money. A pool of more than $424.4 million contributed by taxpayers is waiting for Congress to decide how best to use it. In the meantime, no one is using it — and they haven't for years.Bill Oxford/Getty Images The money is supposed to publicly fund presidential campaigns. But it doesn't. Republicans and Democrats in Congress can't agree on what to do with the ever-growing pot. Charities told Insider the money could do great good for suffering Americans. See more stories on Insider's business page. Holed away in a government account is a massive cash stash most anyone — from depleted federal programs to American taxpayers — would love to tap.But it sits idle and untouched.The intended beneficiaries of the taxpayer-fueled Presidential Election Campaign Fund — presidential candidates — don't want it, as they're soured by its restrictions on their election fundraising and spending.Other prospective recipients, meanwhile, can't have it.Congress is what's preventing this. Conservatives would prefer to disband the fund and repurpose its money. Many Democrats want the money to seed a reimagined public campaign-finance program contained within a broader "democracy-reform" agenda that's hamstrung on Capitol Hill. Neither side will budge.Meanwhile, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund's pot had topped more than $424.4 million, as of August 31 — a record amount during the fund's nearly 50-year history, according to US Treasury records reviewed by Insider. A US Treasury document detailing the finances of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.US TreasuryThe fund grew by more than $600,000 from August 1 to August 31, according to US Treasury records.If current trends continue, the fund will continue to grow each month by six- or seven-figures thanks to the financial heft generated by American taxpayers who check that little box on their annual tax return that directs $3 to the fund.'Help people and communities recover'In a congressional session when lawmakers are measuring economic relief, infrastructure, and "inflation reduction" bills in the billions or trillions of dollars, a few hundred million deserted federal greenbacks may seem comparatively paltry.But some charitable organizations that serve people often possess next to nothing. Several nonprofit leaders told Insider that Congress could use the Presidential Election Campaign Fund money to immediately ease suffering, particularly in light of the COVID-19 pandemic."The best possible use of $400 million would be to provide funds for charities to help people and communities recover," Steve Taylor, United Way Worldwide's senior vice president and counsel for public policy, said, citing a looming eviction crisis, a burdened childcare system, education challenges, and mental-health needs among urgent pandemic-era problems. "Charities are leading the way in addressing these problems, and $400 million in new funding would be a game changer."While the federal government has directed significant funding toward its COVID-19 response, the pandemic is far from over, and people around the world will endure its aftereffects for a long while, said Judy Monroe, the president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, an independent nonprofit that supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's health-protection work."Additional federal funds that are not actively being utilized could, as deemed appropriate by Congress, be repurposed and brought to bear to address critical needs from COVID-19 to health inequities to strengthening the nation's public-health system to be prepared for the next, inevitable outbreak," Monroe told Insider.Erika Cotton Boyce, a Habitat for Humanity spokesperson, declined to speak specifically about the Presidential Election Campaign Fund but broadly said Congress should "find resources to fund critical programs that will address housing supply and housing affordability, especially homeownership programs for low-income families."Congress has various mechanisms for directing public funding to nonprofit entities. A bill introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, hopes to further help charitable nonprofits "provide services to meet the increasing demand in community needs caused by the coronavirus pandemic, preserve and create jobs in the nonprofit sector, reduce unemployment, and promote economic recovery."Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican of Iowa, wants the money sent to the US Treasury's general fund and used to help reduce the federal budget deficit.Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty ImagesDebt reduction, pediatric care, Alzheimer's researchSome lawmakers and special-interest advocates have other designs on the more than $424 million.During the 2019-20 congressional session, two Republican lawmakers sponsored similar bills that attempted to kill the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma sought to transfer the campaign fund's cash balance to a pediatric-research initiative administered by the National Institutes of Health.Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, meanwhile, wanted the money sent to the US Treasury's general fund and used to help reduce the federal budget deficit.Neither bill received a hearing, let alone a vote.In September, Ernst tried again with a similar bill that so far has garnered little support.That's a shame, said Joshua Sewell, a senior policy analyst at the nonpartisan Taxpayers for Common Sense who deemed the campaign fund "a vestige of a bygone era." He recommended its money be used to help pay down the country's national debt, which stood at more than $30.3 trillion as of April 30, according to the Treasury Department. Bradley Smith, a former Federal Election Commission chairman who now leads the nonprofit Institute for Free Speech, said Congress should repeal the law establishing the fund and direct its money to the Treasury's general fund. In April, the nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center released a report that recommended reallocating the fund's money to election administration. Doing so, it said, would provide "consistent, additional federal resources to meet a clear and growing need ... this incentivizes state and local governments to invest in their election infrastructure as well."  Cole plans to reintroduce a new bill targeting the presidential fund, he told Insider. And he's open to broadening where the more than $424 million might go."If the money were to be redirected somewhere other than pediatric-disease research, Alzheimer's research would certainly be a worthy cause," Cole said.Resist and reformCongressional Democrats in 2021 made voting, ethics, and campaign-finance reform a chief priority, which is enshrined in bills known as HR 1 and S 1 — colloquially, the "For the People Act of 2021."A historically robust public financing system for federal elections is part of the For the People Act.But Senate Republicans filibustered the For the People Act, effectively killing it. Democrats then floated a similar, but slimmed-down bill called the "Freedom to Vote Act," which does not include strong public financing language.Supporters of publicly funded campaigns say this is no time to give up — or to give away more than $424 million that's already earmarked and available for the public financing of elections.The For the People Act "represents the boldest democracy reform since Watergate, and any funds currently available for the old system should be used for the new system of federal citizen-funded elections, which must pass so we can get big money out of politics," Beth Rotman, the director of money in politics and ethics for Common Cause, said prior to the bill's stall-out."Getting rid of the money at this point would send the wrong signal," said Meredith McGehee, the former executive director of the nonprofit group Issue One, a self-described "crosspartisan movement for political reform."The pro-Democrat organization End Citizens United, which takes its name from the Supreme Court's 2010 decision that unleashed gushers of new political money into elections, also backed keeping the cash in place."The existing presidential system was designed following Watergate for anti-corruption purposes," the group's spokesperson Bawadden Sayed said, "and we would be supportive of potentially using it for future anti-corruption purposes."Former President Barack Obama campaigns for Joe Biden in Atlanta on November 2, 2020.Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty ImagesThanks, Obama?Public presidential-campaign funding wasn't always so derelict.From the late 1970s to the late 1990s, the Presidential Election Campaign Fund enjoyed a heyday, distributing eight or nine figures of public money to candidates each election cycle.Supporters lauded the program as an elixir to big-money politics and a defense against corruption. Candidates from both parties routinely opted to use it. Doing so allowed them to spend less time fundraising and more time campaigning.And since both sides participated, neither side engaged in the kind of political money arms races emblematic of contemporary presidential elections.But the détente wouldn't last. Citing financial advantages, George W. Bush rejected public matching funds during the 2000 Republican presidential primary. Both Bush and eventual Democratic nominee John Kerry declined public funding in their 2004 presidential primaries. Come 2008, Democrat Barack Obama rendered the Presidential Election Campaign Fund functionally obsolete by becoming the first major-party presidential candidate in post-Watergate politics to reject public funding during a general presidential election. Obama even broke a campaign promise to do so — he previously said he'd use public funding. The future president knew he could privately raise and spend hundreds of millions of dollars more than the public program would afford him. Republican presidential nominee John McCain accepted public money — and lost.No Democratic or Republican presidential nominee has since used public funding. Only a smattering of minor-party and longshot Democratic-primary candidates have patronized the Presidential Election Campaign Fund, who drew about $3 million combined since the 2012 race.The fund didn't distribute a single dollar to any presidential candidate during the 2020 presidential election.It last provided funding to presidential nominating conventions in 2012, as Congress two years later passed, and Obama signed, a law that axed public funding of conventions.Congress siphoned tens of millions of dollars from the presidential fund that otherwise would have gone to party conventions to a pediatric-research fund — the same one that Cole, the Oklahoma congressman, wants to fill with the account's full balance.Until that or any other repurposing decision comes down, the FEC continues to spend taxpayer resources keeping the Presidential Election Campaign Fund alive.The agency's audit division has administrative, oversight, and enforcement responsibilities over the program, Judith Ingram, an FEC spokesperson, said. The independent, bipartisan FEC, which regulates and enforces the nation's campaign-finance laws, employs about 300 people. Its projected 2022 budget is about $76.5 million, meaning the balance of the Presidential Election Campaign Fund could theoretically fund the agency for a full five years.This article was originally published on July 13, 2021, and has since been updated to include new financial data and legislative developments.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 22nd, 2022