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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "democrats" (Page 31)

Lindsey Graham To Investigate Joe Biden and the Democrats Would Pay Good Money To Keep His Main Witness Anonymous

Westlake Legal Group lindsey-graham-toothy-620x360 Lindsey Graham To Investigate Joe Biden and the Democrats Would Pay Good Money To Keep His Main Witness Anonymous volodymyr zelensky Ukraine south carolina Rudy Giuilani republicans Politics Lindsey Graham Joe Biden hunter biden Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Burisma Allow Media Exception

Count me among the people who see more good than bad in President Trump requesting the Ukraine president to investigate Joe Biden’s involvement in suppressing allegations of corruption involving his son, noted philandering cokehead Hunter Biden, and the major privately (by that I mean oligarch) held natural gas company in Ukraine, Burisma. But if it is possibly improper for a president to ask another president to investigate corruption, then we need to look at the entire context including whether it is improper for a vice president to demand that another nation leave is kid alone.

Thanks to Lindsey Graham, we will be getting that context and some must-see television. Because where the Democrats are insisting that their star “witness” (if a rumor-monger can be classified as a witness) anonymous, Graham’s first witness will be anything but reticent about publicity.

Just some thoughts on this. First, I have zero doubts that whatever legitimate motives Biden had in interfering in the domestic politics of another nation by threatening to withhold military aid despite them being under assault by Russia (remember RUSSIA IS NOT OUR FRIEND!!1!!!11!!!1!), a significant reason for him doing so is that Joe Biden is a grifter and he knows his son is a grifter, too. But while Joe Biden has always been somewhat measured and discreet in his graft and grift, Hunter Biden has no discernible sense of boundaries or proportion.

Secondly, the Democrats are trying to build a mystique about their “witness” by hiding him and you can bet they will leak parts of his testimony designed to bolster their case just as they did with the Volker testimony. Having a full blown investigation into Joe Biden’s actions is not going to make him look good. It isn’t going to make Nancy Pelosi’s son look good. It isn’t going to make Mitt Romney look good because Romney’s long time “foreign policy adviser,” former CIA official Cofer Black, is now on the board of Burisma, too.

Which of these events is going to get media attention. The secret hearing? Or the one with Rudy Giuliani hurling his patented mixture of truth, innuendo, and sheer bullsh**?

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The post Lindsey Graham To Investigate Joe Biden and the Democrats Would Pay Good Money To Keep His Main Witness Anonymous appeared first on RedState.

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White House Tells Adam Schiff to Pound Sand, Won’t Let Gordon Sondland Testify

Westlake Legal Group AS White House Tells Adam Schiff to Pound Sand, Won’t Let Gordon Sondland Testify Ukraine Politics Nancy Pelosi impeachment House Gordon Sondland Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story EU envoy Election donald trump democrats Congress Bill Taylor Allow Media Exception adam schiff 2020

A bit of news this morning, as the scheduled testimony of Gordon Sondland has been called off by the White House. The State Department ordered him not to appear and his lawyers have commented that they are bound to follow that order.

If you are wondering who Gordon Sondland is, he’s at the center of a string of text messages, which Adam Schiff cherry-picked and released to the public. You can read some of them here. After a day of breathless supposition that Trump was finished, it was revealed that Bill Taylor (an Obama holdover and the other major player in the messages) got his assumptions about a quid pro quo from a Politico article, not from actual knowledge.

Never one to stop ramming his head into a wall, Schiff called Sondland to testify on the matter.

The White House has given their answer: Take a long walk off a short pier.

This is a move I’ve been stumping for over the past month, not with Sondland specifically, but with the current “impeachment inquiry” in general. There is no actual impeachment investigation. It doesn’t exist and has not been voted on. All that’s actually going on is another committee investigation dressed up by Democrats and the media to be something it’s not.

Here was Adam Schiff’s response.

Nope. Until this clown votes on impeachment and we see the rules of an investigation passed by popular vote, there can be no “obstruction” by claiming executive privilege. President Trump has zero obligation to play this game, especially when Republicans are being purposely frozen out of the process.

For their part, the White House has made it clear they aren’t going to play ball just because Schiff and Pelosi decree something.

Some Republicans still can’t quite grasp what’s going on here and that they can’t win by just giving Schiff what he wants.

High ground? The media were going to do exactly what was done with Volker’s testimony, which is receive selective leaks and use it to bash the GOP over the head with while ignoring the later context that comes out. The right move here is not to hand Schiff the ball and hope he doesn’t throw a strike. It’s to not play the game at all.

Want to talk to Sondland? Vote on impeachment. Until then, the Democrats can go pound sand.

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The post White House Tells Adam Schiff to Pound Sand, Won’t Let Gordon Sondland Testify appeared first on RedState.

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Democrats Considering Hiding the Identity of Whistleblower From the GOP, Changing His Appearance, Voice

Westlake Legal Group adam-schiff-pelosi-AP Democrats Considering Hiding the Identity of Whistleblower From the GOP, Changing His Appearance, Voice whistleblower Ukraine Impeachment of President Trump Impeachment farce Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post democrats Congress Allow Media Exception

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, accompanied by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif. and other congress members speaks during a news conference on Trump Putin Helsinki Summit at Capitol Hill in Washington on Tuesday, July 17, 2018. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

Just when you think Democrats can’t be any more manipulative about the process of impeachment against President Donald Trump, they manage to go even lower.

First, Democrats ‘launched’ an impeachment inquiry simply by the proclamation of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) without holding a full floor vote to open an inquiry as has been the process previously. So the process doesn’t even have the sanction of a Congressional vote.

Second, as we reported yesterday, Democrats have been holding hearings, questioning people in secret and they plan on doing that this week as well. So there’s absolutely no transparency to the process and no one can see what is actually being said and Democrats get to frame (read: leak selectively) whatever they want to frame the case. (READ: Democrats Trying to Impeach Trump in Secret Hearings)

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has argued it’s necessary to maintain the identity of the whistleblower. So are they intent upon trying to impeach the president without even identifying who the person is so that the person’s story can be adequately cross-examined?

Apparently so because now the word is that they don’t even intend on telling their Republican colleagues who the person is or even allowing them to question the whistleblower.

From The Hill:

Democrats are going to great lengths to hide the whistleblower’s identity out of fear the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee could leak their identity, according to The Washington Post, which cited three people familiar with the discussions.

Democrats are considering holding testimony outside the Capitol as well as a staff-only session that would bar lawmakers from questioning the whistleblower, according to the Post.

Democrats are also weighing options to distort the whistleblower’s appearance and voice, including through a video camera or audio-only testimony or by placing the person behind a screen, the Post reported.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) blasted the lack of transparency and secrecy by the Democrats.

Are we a banana republic or do we operate according to the Constitution? This is insane.

‘Democracy’ isn’t dying in the darkness, our republic is being assaulted in broad daylight by this effort of the Democrats.

Democrats’ argument for secrecy is especially ironic given the multiple leaks out of Adam Schiff’s committee directly to media that always seemed against the president during the Russia probe.

As Scalise notes, what are they hiding? Do they not want the GOP to know who the person is because that might be revelatory of bias? Fox’s Catherine Herridge has already reported that not only is the person a registered Democrat which by itself might not be a big thing, but also a prior work history with a current, prominent Democratic politician.

Time to end the charade.

The post Democrats Considering Hiding the Identity of Whistleblower From the GOP, Changing His Appearance, Voice appeared first on RedState.

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Senior FBI Official Who Took Illegal Gifts From CNN and Lied to Investigators Was Not Prosecuted and Allowed to Retire With Full Benefits

Westlake Legal Group facepalm-620x414 Senior FBI Official Who Took Illegal Gifts From CNN and Lied to Investigators Was Not Prosecuted and Allowed to Retire With Full Benefits Politics Peter Strzok michael koran Lisa Page james comey Front Page Stories FBI democrats corruption Andrew McCabe Allow Media Exception
Back in early 2018, as the text messages between adulterous FBI lovebirds, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, became the stuff of late night television gags (or would have been had late night comedy been suffering from Stage 5 TDS and was only capable of chanting “OrangeManBad”) several senior FBI personnel bailed out or were defenstrated:

Two more senior government officials who were prominently discussed in text messages exchanged by FBI personnel formerly assigned to the Trump-Russia investigation are leaving their positions.

Mike Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, is set to retire next week, an FBI spokeswoman confirmed. In addition, the chief of the Justice Department’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, David Laufman, resigned this week, a department spokesman said.

The list of officials frequently discussed in the texts who are no longer in their jobs seems to grow by the day. It includes former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump; former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe; Comey’s chief of staff, James Rybicki; FBI General Counsel James Baker; as well as Strzok, who was booted off the special counsel investigation and sent to a job in the FBI’s personnel division.

At the time this was all hinted at being the move of men with “muh principles” of the highest order refusing to serve the lawless Trump.

Now some more light has been shined upon at least one of the cases.

The FBI’s top press officer during the Hillary Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations accepted tickets to a Washington Nationals game from a CNN correspondent and lied about it repeatedly during interviews with the Justice Department’s inspector general, according to a report obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Kortan accepted Nationals tickets from the reporter at least twice, for a May 9, 2016 game and another on Sept. 30, 2016. He also accepted tickets from a New York Times reporter in either 2014 or 2016.

The OIG report cites text messages which indicate that the FBI official attended the May 9, 2016 game with the reporter. The reporter contacted Kortan on Sept. 27, 2016, offering up four tickets.

“Nats v Marlins Friday night. I have to be away,” the reporter wrote on Sept. 27, 2016. “Can you use four tix?”

“I’m good for 2 tix if that’s OK,” replied Kortan.

Kortan initially told investigators with the OIG in a March 29, 2017 interview, that he reimbursed the reporter for the tickets, and denied accepting any gifts from members of the press.

“Kortan described the CNN correspondent as one of his ‘top five’ contacts with the press as part of his job,” the report says. Kortan denied having a personal relationship with any of the reporters, saying that he didn’t “consider anybody a friend.” (RELATED: Strzok Text Messages Shed Light On FBI Interactions With The Media)

He also said that he had “probably daily contact” with the CNN reporter to discuss “the news of the day.”

When asked whether he paid for the tickets, Kortan was initially adamant that he did.

“I have never accepted them without reimbursement,” he said in the March 29, 2017 interview, referring to the tickets. “I always reimburse the amount of the ticket as a routine, just because I do.”

But he was actually a lying sack of ordure which the IG discovered by observing that his lips were moving actually visiting the ball park and finding the tickets were in a reserved section.

Like with McCabe, this simply underscores the two-tiered justice system in this country. The elites can break laws with impunity in regards to the handling of classified information or taking bribes and nothing happens. But if you, Joe Citizen, does the same you will be hammered and DOJ will issue a press release spelling out your crimes against the Republic. In this case, despite (or because) of the fact that he was a senior executive who knew better, and who lied on multiple occasions, Kortan was allowed to retire with full benefits. The case was referred to Department of Justice Criminal Division and they declined to prosecute.

At some point, someone needs to remind these people that they are servants, not masters, of the people and the weight of the judicial system should fall much more heavily upon an FBI agent how tells multiple lies to investigators to cover up illegal acts than it should on some run of the mill street criminal.

DOJ OIG report on Michael K… by Chuck Ross on Scribd

The post Senior FBI Official Who Took Illegal Gifts From CNN and Lied to Investigators Was Not Prosecuted and Allowed to Retire With Full Benefits appeared first on RedState.

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Abby Huntsman on ‘The View’: Trump and Crew’s ‘Campaign of Confusion’ Will Sucker the Careless Dolts Who Support Him

Westlake Legal Group abby-huntsman-the-view-SCREENSHOT-620x323 Abby Huntsman on ‘The View’: Trump and Crew’s ‘Campaign of Confusion’ Will Sucker the Careless Dolts Who Support Him Uncategorized Ukraine The View Television joy behar Impeachment of President Trump impeachment Government Front Page Stories Featured Story Entertainment donald trump democrats corruption Congress collusion Allow Media Exception abby huntsman 2020

[Screenshot from TheDC Shorts, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX4_74j49Hs]

 

How might that hideous monstrosity, The Donald, get re-elected?

The View’s Abby Huntsman may be on to the scent of just such a way of wizardry: confusion.

On the show Monday, the talkfesters discussed the emergence of a second whistleblower amid the hubbub of Trump’s alleged extortion via Alexander Graham Bell.

Co-host Sunny Hostin asserted the President’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding the Biden family was likely heard firsthand by whistler #2:

“[The second whistle-blower is very important because that person apparently has firsthand knowledge of the phone call so, that implies that that person was on the call.”

Are people going to care? Abby — who’s from Philadelphia — realizes a Big Apple TV studio ain’t America:

“But here’s what I would say, and I was talking to friends at home, and I realize the way we talk about it in these studios in New York City is oftentimes different than how people are feeling about it. And I’m now convinced he’s probably going to win re-election. I do.”


Luckily for the President, I guess, people are dumb:

“I think that what they’re doing right now is a campaign of confusion which, frankly, they’re very good at doing. I think they are very clever because there’s no way to dig out of this hole. And they know that, so what they’re saying is ‘Let’s try and confuse the American people.’”

And everybody knows how Trump supporters are — they’re knee-jerking to their hatred of them-there medias:

“They will always have, they will always have a forty percent support base. People that can’t stand the media, that can’t stand the liberals, and so if they go out there and the Trump loyals say, ‘Look, this was a joke all along. It was actually Ukraine that interfered in the elections,’ people are going to believe what they want to hear. People will believe what they want to hear.”

Joy Behar added, “They don’t care.”

That’s the reality, Abby noted:

“Look, I find this, I find this serious, but I also think we need to live in reality and where we are, and there are some people that will let this slide.”

Plus, Trump’s super good at sociopathically trickin’ those dipsticks. Joy said it:

“It’s very easy to muddy the waters and obfuscate when you are shameless and a liar.”

For at least some in Congress supporting the President, it’s all about dishonesty and cowardice:

“They’re shameless, and they’re lying. Just watch (Ohio Rep.) Jim Jordan, watch (Wisconsin Sen.) Ron Johnson. These people are shameless. They’re cowards.”

People certainly are confused. Trump isn’t even American, for Pete’s sake:

“They’re sticking behind somebody that they know is unpatriotic, that is not American, and they’re doing it anyway.

So watch out, y’all dummies — the Commander-in-Chief’s idiotic appeal is coming to an empty skull near — or inside — you:

“So go ahead, keep lying and muddy the waters, and see how dumb Americans are. That’s what they’re trying to do.”

Now that you’ve been tipped off, maybe you can avoid being suckered.

So lay back, relax, and smartly welcome President Elizabeth Warren.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article:

Joy Behar Knows: If The Hurricane Had Hit A Country Full Of Only White People, Trump Would Let Them All Come Here

Amid Absolute Absurdity, Thursday’s Debate Spotlighted America As A Shining City Upon A Hill

The Fight Continues: Arnold Schwarzenegger Claims President Trump Is In Love With Him

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below. 

The post Abby Huntsman on ‘The View’: Trump and Crew’s ‘Campaign of Confusion’ Will Sucker the Careless Dolts Who Support Him appeared first on RedState.

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Video: Liberal Comedian Teaches Twitter Mob a Lesson After Criticism for Being Friends With President Bush

Westlake Legal Group EllenDeGeneresGWBush-620x317 Video: Liberal Comedian Teaches Twitter Mob a Lesson After Criticism for Being Friends With President Bush the ellen show Texas Sports Social Media republicans Politics North Carolina LGBTQ LGBT Internet Hollywood Green Bay Packers George W. Bush gay rights Front Page Stories Front Page Featured Story Featured Post ellen degeneres democrats Dallas Cowboys Culture California Allow Media Exception

Comedian Ellen DeGeneres was at the Green Bay Packers/Dallas Cowboys game on Sunday at the invitation of Charlotte Jones, the daughter of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

During the game, the cameras panned to Jones’ suite and showed DeGeneres seated next to former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush:

Here’s video of them standing for the national anthem:

Predictably, the liberal Twitter fauxtrage mob was incensed that a gay liberal like Ellen DeGeneres would stoop so low as to sit next to a conservative Republican like Bush. Some of the tweets have since been deleted, but Vox’s Aaron Rupar was one of those who said it was a “bad look” for Ellen and her wife Portia de Rossi to sit next to Bush:

Here are some others who were none too pleased with the seating arrangements:

DeGeneres, who has had Bush and some of his family members on her television show in the past, was not interested in playing the shame game. Here’s what she said Monday on her show in response to the haters:

“People were upset,” DeGeneres said. “They thought, why is a gay Hollywood liberal sitting next to a conservative Republican president?… A lot of people were mad. And they did what people do when they’re mad… they tweet.”
[…]
“Here’s the thing: I’m friends with George Bush. In fact, I’m friends with a lot of people who don’t share the same beliefs that I have,” DeGeneres continued. “We’re all different and I think that we’ve forgotten that that’s okay that we’re all different… but just because I don’t agree with someone on everything doesn’t mean that I’m not going to be friends with them.”
[…]
“When I say, ‘Be kind to one another,’ I don’t mean only the people that think the same way that you do. I mean be kind to everyone. Doesn’t matter.”

Watch the segment below:

Having the ability to break bread with someone you disagree with politically isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it could lead to changed minds depending on the types of conversations you may have. At the very least, it could lead to the other person at least being able to understand someone’s point of view from a different perspective, even if they still end up disagreeing with it.

In the rough and tumble of politics, there’s nothing wrong with fighting tooth and nail for what you believe. There’s also nothing wrong with being able to share a beer with your political opponents at the end of the day. Because although there are indeed people in positions of power who do not have the best interests of our country at heart, not everyone you disagree with is The Enemy.

That was Ellen’s lesson and though I disagree with her more often than not, I applaud her for pointing this out.

By the way, the Packers won 34-24.

——-
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –

The post Video: Liberal Comedian Teaches Twitter Mob a Lesson After Criticism for Being Friends With President Bush appeared first on RedState.

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Minneapolis’s Radical Left Mayor Tries to Shut Down a Trump Campaign Rally

On Thursday, President Trump is due to give a rally in Minneapolis, MN. The venue has a rated capacity of over 19,000 and it is expected to be packed. And there will be another 20,000 slobbering, baying lunatics out in the streets protesting.

A coalition of groups has announced it will be protesting against President Donald Trump’s visit to Minneapolis, Minnesota, as he continues his 2020 re-election campaign.

Members from the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Anti-War Committee, Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union will hold demonstrate against Trump’s political rally in a protest at the Target Center from 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 10.

In a press conference announcing the protest, Kent Mori, spokesman for the Anti-War Committee, encouraged others to join the coalition in order to “protest Trump and his racist policies.”

“The Anti War Committee have been fighting Trump’s provocations since before he was even president, when he came down the escalator and made his first racist announcement about our brothers and sisters across the border in Mexico,” Mori added.

“He clearly signaled what he was going to do vis-à-vis the border wall and the concentration camps at the border with kids in cages.”

Shane Clune, an AFSCME member, said they will be protesting against Trump because he is an “enemy of the unions” and an “enemy of the working class.”

Westlake Legal Group jacob-frey-and-keith-ellison-620x413 Minneapolis’s Radical Left Mayor Tries to Shut Down a Trump Campaign Rally Politics Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS jacob frey Front Page Stories Featured Story donald trump democrats Allow Media Exception #TheResistance

Just two observations. First, it is ironic that the “Anti-War Committee” would be protesting a guy who has done more to scale back American military interventions abroad than any American president since possibly Dwight Eisenhower. Second, do real people still use the phrase “enemy of the working class” to describe anyone, much less a guy whose economic policies have overwhelmingly benefited the American worker?

But the hirsute, odoriferous mob in the streets is just a minor part of this. The real story is the effort by the Minneapolis mayor to actually stop Trump from holding a rally in that city. In fact, he’s as much as announced that is his intent (h/t to reader @AndrewHClark):

The venue, the Target Center, is owned by the City of Minneapolis but managed under contract by a company called ASM Global. Minneapolis has told ASM Global that if they allow the rally, which, by the way, is already contracted for, then they need to pay Minneapolis $530,000 to compensate the city for “security.”

ASM Global has threatened the Trump campaign with cancelling the event unless the campaign comes up with the money. The campaign is saying bullsh** and that Secret Service is providing security for the venue and the issue is something that the ASM Global and its boss need to work out.

The bottom line here is that a) yes, presidential and candidate events cost cities money and b) there is no legal way that he cities can force campaigns to pay. The reason here is obvious, going back to McCulloch vs. Maryland, it has been recognized that the ability of state and local government to demand taxes and fees from the operations of the federal government in essence gives them the ability to forbid that operation, “the power to tax is the power to destroy” and all. Minneapolis has never, ever demanded this kind of a fee to support any other federal office holder. It is simply trying to grandstand for the Resistance goons and get the Minneapolis mayor invited to be a guest speaker on the next Bulwark or National Review cruise.

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Why Ukraine Has Become a Breeding Ground for U.S. Political Scandals

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Paul Manafort: Political Prosecution

 

GQ’s Julia Ioffe is a Russian-born American journalist who worked as a foreign correspondent in Ukraine in 2013-2014. She wrote an especially insightful piece on Monday entitled “Here’s Why Ukraine Pops Up in So Many U.S. Scandals,” which helps put some of today’s events in context. She argues that there are two reasons why the scandals which have polarized Americans in the last several years have originated in Ukraine. The first reason is that Ukraine is in the middle of a tug-of-war between Russia and the West. The second is because Westerners (political consultants and operatives such as Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta) are paid millions of dollars by oligarchs and politicians.

The word “Ukraine” means borderland. And “borderland” is an apt description of the country both physically and ideologically. Located between Russia and Europe, Ukraine is in the unique position of acting as a buffer zone between two conflicting ideologies. “Russia versus the West, led by America. The two sides have been fighting over which camp Ukraine joins for the past two decades.”

The way I see it is that Ukrainians will be on whatever side they need to be on to achieve their goals. Americans look at Ukrainians as being either pro-Western or pro-Russian, but the reality is far more complex than that.

Ioffe points out:

The political dynamic gets reduced to neat binaries—the forces there are either pro-Russia or pro-West; leaders are either corrupt actors or laudable reformers; the good guys versus the bad guys. But that framework belies the moral complexity of the place, which is why it pops up in our domestic political scandals in the first place.

People’s affiliations are often less than clear. Determining which oligarchic clan a politician or journalist is associated with is difficult, as is pinning down a person’s true geopolitical leanings.

Many Ukrainians have learned to play one side against the other in securing money and power for themselves.

Ukraine would like America and Europe to think of it as a promising young democracy, the good little country struggling to fend off the gravitational pull of evil Russia. There is a lot of truth in that. But it is also an oligarchy where a very small number of people control the country’s natural resources, a legacy of its Soviet past. Around each of these people is a clan vying for influence, resources, and political power. They sponsor media outlets and politicians. Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for example, has promised to fight corruption but is also closely linked with one of the country’s most powerful oligarchs.

A former Obama administration official told Ioffe, “It’s very difficult because of the level of distrust. You don’t know whom you can trust in Ukraine. Everyone accuses everyone else in Ukraine of being a Russian puppet, and getting to the bottom of it is extremely difficult to do.”

Interestingly, Ioffe says, “In the years after Yanukovych’s ouster and the Russian invasion, the easiest way to knock out a rival was to tarnish them as an agent of Moscow, whether the claim was true or not.” Looks like the Democrats took that and ran with it.

When a Ukrainian politician or oligarch finds themselves being accused of ties with Moscow, they often turn to American political consultants to restore their reputations.

Ukrainians pay exorbitant sums of money to American lobbyists and operatives which is what drew former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, lobbyist Tony Podesta and others to the country. Ioffe explains that they “see Americans as being really good at what in that part of the world is known as “political technology”: using data, polling, consulting to win elections.” Maybe even more important than that is the belief that hiring American operatives will buy them influence in Washington. This was likely the reason why Burisma was happy to appoint the unqualified son of the Vice President of the United States to their board of directors.

Ioffe writes that “lavishing money on an American consultant with deep ties to the Republican establishment (like Manafort) or to the Democratic one (like Hunter Biden or Devine) can go a long way in securing influence in Washington and, hopefully, still more money in the form of American aid.”

Manafort’s work was instrumental in helping Yanukovych win the presidency in 2010 and he was paid millions of dollars for his efforts. (Note: Because Yanukovych is pro-Russian, Manafort has been labeled as pro-Russian even though he strongly argued for Yanukovych to sign the EU agreement in 2013.)

Tad Devine, who was the chief strategist for Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign, also worked for Yanukovych. But we never hear anything about that. To give you an idea of the amount of money Ukrainians are willing to pay American strategists and operatives, Andrew Weiss, who oversees Russia and Eurasia research at the Carnegie Endowment, said that, “When Devine was contemplating working on the 2014 Ukrainian election, he stipulated that his rate would be $10,000 per day—not including travel…These are people getting paid in a way that is totally out of proportion to how you would be paid elsewhere.”

Knowing something about the recent political history of Ukraine, particularly during the pivotal period leading up to, including and following the Ukrainian Revolution through Russia’s invasion of Crimea, helps to understand the role the country has played in U.S. politics, especially during the 2016 election cycle.

As politicians often tell us, many times they are forced to decide between two bad options. In 2013, then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who was pro-Russian, faced such a decision. The EU had offered a package of loans to Ukraine, known as the European Union Association Agreement. In exchange, the country would agree to liberalize reforms. At the same time, he was facing pressure from the Kremlin, Ukraine’s largest trading partner not to sign the agreement. According to the BBC, Yanukovych said “Ukraine could not afford to sacrifice trade with Russia” and called the EU’s offer to lend Ukraine 610 million euros “inadequate.” He said “Ukraine would need at least 20 billion euros a year to upgrade its economy to European standards.”

In November 2013, Yanukovych said he was interested in signing an agreement with the EU, just not the current agreement. This decision set off a wave of protests, which became known as the “Euromaidan” movement. These protests culminated in the February 2014 “massacre” during which riot police fired into a crowd of demonstrators killing 88 people. On February 22, 2014, Yanukovych fled to Russia. The following month, Russia invaded Crimea.

Ukrainian-American lawyer and DNC consultant Alexandra Chalupa (who had worked as an aide to several Democratic politicians, including President Clinton), held Paul Manafort responsible for the Yanukovych’s victory in 2010, and put a target on his back. For whatever reason, she predicted several months before Manafort joined Trump’s campaign that he would eventually do so. In the spring, she made the decision to work full-time to destroy Paul Manafort. Her efforts bore fruit. After Artem Sytnyk, chief of the newly established National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and then acting Prosecutor General Serhiy Leshchenko published what was said to be Yanukovych’s “black ledger” showing payments of over $12 million to Manafort, he was forced to resign from Trump’s campaign. And the Democrats’ scheme to tie Trump to Russia took off.

It’s been nearly three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union set the stage for an independent Ukraine, yet the country cannot escape its ties to Moscow or the influence of the powerful oligarchs who rule the country. Ukraine needs to decide which ideology it wishes to align itself with. But as long as they continue to straddle two opposing world views, they will remain mired in the corruption for which they have become known.

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Syria Withdrawal Part II: Protecting (Our) Kurds

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Yesterday, President Trump announced that he was immediately withdrawing U.S. Forces from Syria. As expected, the usual suspects both Democrat, never-Trump and even sometime political allies of the President such as Senators Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, immediately and stridently decried the decision. I did a little write up yesterday explaining some of the history of our Syrian experience and the why’s and wherefore’s of The President’s decision.

Today we will delve into what many folks consider a huge issue; As the United States executes this decision, how do we protect the Kurds from our NATO ally, Turkey? Turkey as we know, within hours of U.S. troops moving, attacked Kurdish positions in Western Iraq. This is a non-starter.

First of all, let’s talk about Turkey. Turkey is a NATO “ally.” The reason for the quotes as you might imagine, is that we’ve been having some issues with Turkey for the past few years. These have become more of a problem since the President Erdogan’s election and subsequent consolidation of power over his political rivals. Erdogan, like his predecessors, has been dealing with an active insurgency in his country fostered by the PKK, a Kurdish separatist movement. The PKK has been declared by not only Turkey, but also the United States, as a Terrorist group. This will become more clear shortly.

“The Kurds,” on the other hand, aren’t. They are not one homogenous entity in their relations with each other, or with Turkey. They are actually three separate groups, each with differing loyalties. The below graphic explains this and also shows how much of the angst over President Trump’s alleged “abandonment of an ally” might be misplaced.

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At the top of the graphic, we have the Turkish government, with arrows showing its relationship to each of the main Kurdish groups. It is important to note as I have above, that Turkey has been fighting an active separatist movement for several decade. Of course this colors its view of the Kurds. At the bottom of all four entities involved, including the Turkish government, we can see that all four have engaged the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL).

On the far left is the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group in Turkey who have for several decades, been considered a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the United States. Note that the arrow from Turkey to this group is titled “Fighting.” The Turks are trying to keep their native Kurds from establishing a separate state inside Turkey.

On the far right, are the Iraqi Kurds. These folks have their own semi autonomous region inside Iraq and have been reliable U.S. allies. The arrow from the “Turkish Government” block indicates “good relations” between both governments. Absent some signal change, there is likely to be absolutely no bloodshed between the Iraqi Kurds and the Turks in the foreseeable future, despite what the never-Trump crowd is saying.

Now for the difficult part, the Syrian Kurds. As the graphic shows, while the Syrian Kurds were fighting ISIS/ISIL (incidentally also trying to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad) they are considered a hostile force by the Turkish government because of their alignment with the PKK. This is likely one of the reasons that the first thing the Turkish forces attacked after the withdrawal of U.S. forces, was a base supporting the Syrian Kurds.

As a January 2019 Washington Times article explains

The Kurds are a Middle Eastern minority spread out from Syria in the West, through Turkey and Iraq, to Iran in the east, and further divided into various political groupings.

But this is not what the foreign policy establishment is referring to in the Syria debate. Rather, they are talking about a specific Kurdish political institution in northern Syria, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). This is the Syrian franchise of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been at war with Turkey for 35 years, and is a U.S.-designated terrorist group inspired by Marxist doctrine.

There are obviously some competing issues here that we need to resolve, but as the Washington Times excerpt above indicates, they might not be quite as cut and dried as The President’s critics seem to believe. First of all, Turkey is a NATO ally. Although lately they have been “somewhat unfriendly,” we need to treat them as as an ally to avoid exacerbating the situation to a point that it’s irrecoverable. That ally has a righteous concern regarding the PKK, it’s allies and Turkish internal security.

Second, we have to resolve the Syrian Kurds’ support for us with Turkey’s desire to eliminate them as a threat. The most critical thing we need to understand, is what I mentioned in the first article in this series; We were illegally involved in Syria in the first place. Moreover, while the U.S. had its agendas, the elimination of ISIS/ISIL and the advancement of the Obama/Powers Responsibility To Protect doctrine, the Syrian Kurds also had theirs, the overthrow of President Assad.

When we combine these three agendas, what we have, is an alliance of convenience. The Syrian Kurds assisted us in eliminating ISIS/ISIL, but we also assisted them in defending themselves against Assad’s government forces. Should we simply abandon them to whatever their fate may be at the hands of Assad or Erdogan? Of course not. But we do need to recognize, that absent the aberrant policies of the Obama administration, we would have never invaded Syria and certainly never been involved with this particular group in the first place.

So, what do we owe the Syrian Kurds? Not as much as we owe the Turks, as unpalatable as it many seem at this particular instant. However, we do owe them something, as they were of some assistance in helping us. The solution could be as simple as brokering a peace deal and a change of alignment of the Syrian Kurds. If we can convince them to forswear their alignment with the PKK and accept a U.S.-Turkey negotiated autonomous region on the Syrian side of the Syria-Turkey border, we could preclude further bloodshed while at the same time adding to President Assad’s (and his Russian sponsor’s) concern about a hostile force on his frontier. Moreover, this just might send such a message to President Erdogan as to begin a modest rapprochement with this most important NATO ally.

Tomorrow: Syria Withdrawal Part III: The Way Ahead

Mike Ford, a retired Infantry Officer, writes on Military, Foreign Affairs and occasionally dabbles in Political and Economic matters.

Follow him on Twitter: @MikeFor10394583

You can find his other Red State work here.

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Ocasio-Cortez Wants to Abolish Prisons Now Because Why Not?

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – Caricature by DonkeyHotey, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0/Original

At this point, I’m just assuming the left is fully aware that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is extremely ignorant, crazy, or both because every time she opens her mouth or tweets something out, ridiculousness comes spewing forth like an exorcist scene.

Take this tweet from AOC about how we should start seriously considering shutting down prisons because they’re leftover remnants of a racist America.

“Mass incarceration is our American reality. It is a system whose logic evolved from the same lineage as Jim Crow, American apartheid, & slavery,” tweeted AOC. “To end it, we have to change. That means we need to have a real conversation about decarceration & prison abolition in this country.”

Let’s get the obvious facts out of the way. Yes, we could use some criminal justice reform and our prison systems are far from perfect.

Should they be completely eliminated?

In order for that to happen, I’m wondering what kind of solution AOC has for serial murderers and rapists. How does she intend to punish child abusers or those who beat their wives and girlfriends? What about those who intentionally cheat the people out of money through scams.

I doubt the left would get behind this either. Where would they put Donald Trump in their weird fantasies after the law comes and gets him for being a big meanie? Where would Bill Nye put the people who deny climate change? What would they do if they don’t have a place to send people who say things like “men are not women?”

Once again, AOC is suggesting things that have zero sense behind them and no explanation as to how they’re going to work.

I’m under the impression that Ocasio-Cortez seems to think that everyone is a good soul underneath and with a little time and effort, anyone can be rehabilitated. Again, I agree that when it comes to many people in prison, rehabilitation, education, and no shortage of the love of God can bring anyone back from the darkness and turn their life around.

However, some people just can’t be saved due to one reason or another, and they’re going to do bad things that hurt a lot of people. They can’t help themselves, maybe because they’re mentally ill or their childhoods were so damaging that their psychological trauma has them almost programmed to act a certain way.

It’s clear that it’s all unicorns and rainbows to AOC and that she lives in some sort of fantasy land where socialism works, there is no social conflict, and anyone who makes mistakes is just a misunderstood person who we should all feel sorry for like some Disney villain in her own movie.

Heck, we even have the money to take in and give welfare to everyone who immigrates here illegally according to her proposals.

(READ: Watch: Ocasio-Cortez Proposes New Act That Gives Welfare To Illegal Immigrants)

I present to you, the unofficial leader of the Democrat party.

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