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2 hours ago, deicer said:

How can you deride 'secretive meetings' when the republicans did the same thing to Clinton?

I deride the House Intelligence Committee for not attending intelligence briefings because they are preoccupied with another attempt at impeachment. Going back to the Clinton days and invoking relative privation as "sufficient cause" is simply proof that we have (collectively) learned very little. Ancient history, dead relatives and the mistakes of the past is the reason most people can't get through Christmas dinner with their relatives too. Tactically, the here and now is what's important and we should resolve not to repeat the tactical blunders of the past..... that's exactly the reason for studying them IMO. They stand as examples of what not to do and why not to do it. That is why they hold their value, using past stupidity as justification for present stupidity with the promise of more to come is not how you pave the roads of the future. 

You may be right about the eventual outcome.... I don't know, I'm just risk adverse and wouldn't want my back to the sea. Great democracies thrive on consensus, cooperation, and compromise; it allows people with diverse opinions and beliefs to live together under a frame work of laws and good governance. A winner take all approach to governing is usually short lived, messy, painful and costly.... and that's if you are lucky, it can also be dangerous and destructive if you aren't. There is an African proverb that says "better to walk than curse the road." I think it means do the work, earn the win.... but that's just me. The Federalist Papers and Politics and Poetics should be required reading for students in Hight School. Instead, we deconstruct such literary masterpieces as Day of The Triffids.

This was such an easy win, what is the motivation behind making it so hard? Set he radical left adrift, be moderate, be reasonable and just watch the magic. The "green new deal" plan is about as believable as the notion that Tulsi Gabbard is a Russian spy. So, if you are looking for a place to "start stopping," that might work.

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The longer he sticks around, more and more damaging information surfaces.  He would be wise to step down.

Judge orders Trump to pay $2m for misusing Trump Foundation funds

Trump presents a chequeImage copyright Reuters

A New York judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $2m (£1.6m) for misusing funds from his charity to finance his 2016 political campaign.

The Donald J Trump Foundation closed down in 2018, after prosecutors accused it of working as "little more than a chequebook" for Mr Trump's interests.

Charities such as the one Mr Trump and his three eldest children headed cannot engage in politics, the judge ruled.

She said the money must be paid by Mr Trump himself.

"I direct Mr Trump to pay the $2,000,000, which would have gone to the Foundation if it were still in existence," wrote Judge Saliann Scarpulla.

She said the money should go to eight charities Mr Trump has no relationship to.

Mr Trump "breached his fiduciary duty" by allowing funds raised for US veterans to be used for the Iowa primary election in 2016, she said in the settlement.

Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump - who were also directors of the Trump Foundation - are required to undergo mandatory training "on the duties of officers and directors of charities", New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

The payment is the final resolution of a case brought by state prosecutors.

What's the deal with the Trump Foundation?

Mr Trump and his lawyers had argued that the case was politically motivated and blamed "sleazy New York Democrats" of "doing everything they can to sue me

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In case you really wanted to know how good Trump is for the heartland...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckjones/2019/08/30/amid-trump-tariffs-farm-bankruptcies-and-suicides-rise/#4eef7d2c2bc8

 

Aug 30, 2019, 11:28am

Amid Trump Tariffs, Farm Bankruptcies And Suicides Rise

 
Chuck Jones
Chuck Jones Senior Contributor
Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.
Markets
I cover technology companies, worldwide economies and the stock market
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Pat Sheldon, a corn and soybean farmer from Percival, Iowa, who

Pat Sheldon, a corn and soybean farmer from Percival, Iowa. (Annie Gowen/The Washington Post via ... [+] Getty Images)

The Washington Post/Getty Images

Farmers are pretty much under stress all the time since many factors that affect their livelihood are outside of their control. However, over the past few years the combination of lower prices, rain that has created havoc with their ability to plant and finally China freezing the imports of U.S. grown crops due to President Trump’s tariffs has unfortunately created almost the perfect storm against them.

Corn and soybeans are the largest cash crops grown in the U.S. per NASS, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. In 2018 the value of corn was $51.5 billion, with soybeans second at $39 billion. The next largest crop was hay, a distant third at $17 billion. For comparison the value of apples grown in the U.S. was about $4 billion and oranges was $2 billion.

U.S. crop cash receipts

U.S. crop cash receipts

USDA, Economic Research Service, Farm Income and Wealth Statistics. March 6, 2019
 

Body blow to farmers

Today In: Money

After China made its announcement that it would stop importing U.S. agricultural products American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said, “China’s announcement that it will not buy any agricultural products from the United States is a body blow to thousands of farmers and ranchers who are already struggling to get by.”

He added, “In the last 18 months alone, farm and ranch families have dealt with plunging commodity prices, awful weather and tariffs higher than we have seen in decades. Farm Bureau economists tell us exports to China were down by $1.3 billion during the first half of the year.”

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Impact of China trade war on agricultural products

Impact of China trade war on agricultural products

USDA FAS, Farm Bureau Calculations

Duvall pointed out, “Now, we stand to lose all of what was a $9.1 billion market in 2018, which was down sharply from the $19.5 billion U.S. farmers exported to China in 2017.”

U.S. ag shipments to China

U.S. ag shipments to China

USDA, Farm Bureau

China bought $9 to $10 billion in soybeans per year

China had been buying 30-35 million tons of soybeans, which is 22% to 25% of total U.S. production.

In 2018 the U.S. produced:

·     4.6 billion bushels of soybeans

·     One bushel weighs 60 pounds

·     Equaling total production of 276 billion pounds

·     Or 138 million tons

China buying 30-35 million tons:

·     Is 22% to 25% of the total U.S. production

·     Or 1 to 1.15 billion bushels

·     At a price of $8.50 per bushes this equates to

·     $8.5 to $10 billion in revenue from China to U.S. farmers

Soybean price chart

Soybean price chart

StockCharts.com

Corn farmers are also being impacted by Trump

China had not had nearly the same effect on corn farmers. However, in early August when China announced that it would stop importing U.S. agricultural products corn prices dropped by about 10%.

Corn prices

Corn prices

StockCharts.com

The recent decision by Trump’s EPA to exempt an additional 31 small oil refineries from incorporating ethanol, which is made from corn and accounts for 40% of total corn use per the USDA, will put even more stress on farmers.

U.S. corn production uses

US CORN PRODUCTION ETHANOL

U.S. corn production uses

Farmer loan delinquencies and bankruptcies are rising across the U.S.

The American Farm Bureau Federation, also known as the Farm Bureau, published a report in July that dove into farm loan delinquencies and bankruptcies based on Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and U.S. court data.

The information showed that, “the delinquency rates for commercial agricultural loans in both the real estate and non-real estate lending sectors are at a six-year high and … were above the historical average of 2.1%.”

Farm loans past due

Farm loans past due

FDIC Call Report Data, Farm Bureau Calculations

The Farm Bureau report showed that farmer bankruptcies had risen in every region of the U.S. for the year ending in June except for the Southwest. Wisconsin, Kansas and Minnesota led the nation in Chapter 12 filings; bankruptcy filings in Kansas and Minnesota increased so significantly in the past year that they reached the highest levels of the past decade

Farm bankruptcies by region

Farm bankruptcies by region

U.S. Courts, Farm Bureau Calculations

While Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on China and its subsequent retaliation is not the only reason for the stress farmers are under, it is a self-inflicted wound. John Newton, the Chief Economist at the Farm Bureau, summarized the farmer’s situation as, “The deteriorating financial conditions for farmers and ranchers are a direct result of several years of low farm income, a low return on farm assets, mounting debt, more natural disasters and the second year of retaliatory tariffs on many U.S. agricultural products.”

2019 farm income should be in the bottom 25% of the past 90 years

In another report from Newton, his analysis shows that while farm income in 2019 should increase by 10% from 2018, that would put it in the bottom 25% of the past 90 inflation-adjusted years. His analysis also includes direct payments from the Trump Administration’s Market Facilitation Program, and while it is not on the chart, 2018’s was even lower than 2019’s projected result.

Inflated-adjusted net farm income

Inflated-adjusted net farm income

USDA ERS, Farm Bureau Analysis

Farmers live off of thin margins

Farmers have high fixed costs including the land that they own, the equipment they must buy and the seed they need to grow their product. However, their revenue is variable and can change based on factors totally out of their control. The chart below shows farmer’s rate of return on their assets has fallen to under 2% for the past 6 years and for 2019 Newton projects it to be 1.3%.

Rate of return on farm assets

Rate of return on farm assets

USDA ERS, Farm Bureau

China will find other suppliers or grow more crops themselves

Farmers are probably the first to realize that they will have lost a lot of Chinese market share to other countries or that China will start to grow more of the crops they have been importing. It has taken decades to grow the Chinese market but a significant amount will be lost in just a few years due to Trump’s tariffs and China’s retaliation. 

A USDA study shows that Canadian shipments of wheat to China have grown over 400% in two years. The report said, “Canada’s share of total Chinese imports of wheat has rocketed above 60% in marketing year 2018/19, up from 32% in marketing year 2017/18, as U.S. wheat exports to China have plunged and Australian exportable supplies have fallen sharply.”

Top destinations for Canadian wheat exports

Top destinations for Canadian wheat exports

USDA, Global Trade Atlas

The Farm Bureau provided these facts.

 

  • From 2017 to 2018, U.S. agricultural exports to China fell more than 50 percent, dropping to $9.1 billion
  • In 2014, U.S. agricultural exports to China exceeded $24 billion
  • From 2000 to 2017, U.S. agricultural exports to China increased by 700%

 

 

U.S. agricultural exports to China

U.S. agricultural exports to China

USDA, Farm Bureau

China will also increase the amount of soybeans it grows itself. It will be difficult to almost impossible for U.S. farmers to find a market for the amount of soybeans that China won’t be buying.

Hu Xijin tweet

Hu Xijin tweet

Twitter

All of this has led to increased stress levels for farmers

The Farm Bureau and Morning Consult did a survey of rural adults and farmers to understand multiple aspects of mental health for this population. One of the findings was that 91% of farmers and farm workers think financial issues impact the mental health of farmers.

Mental health issues for farmers and farm workers

Mental health issues for farmers and farm workers

Morning Consult, Farm Bureau

Dr. Michael Rosmann has a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology, serves as a counselor for farmers and ranchers and spends 15 to 25 hours a week, seven days a week responding to requests for help. He wrote an article in The New Republic in April that describes the types of phone calls and situations he helps people with.

He passed along that, "When the AgriWellness Inc. board holds telephone conference calls (usually every few weeks), the state coordinators of services for farmers have a similar message—that the number of calls to their hotlines or to them personally have increased slowly and fairly consistently over the past three years. They reported more concerns about farmer bankruptcies and suicidal contemplation until about July when the farmers became busier with crops that were maturing.”

Suicide data is anecdotal but prevalent

It takes quite a while for the Centers for Disease Control to collect national violent death data, which are based on coroner reports. Municipal coroner reports are funneled to their respective states and then to the CDC. However, multiple people involved in the farming community have spoken out about increased suicides in the past few years.

National Farmers Union has seen more farmer suicides

A Newsweek article in May detailed a Fox News interview with Patty Edelburg, vice president of the Washington-based National Farmers Union, which represents about 200,000 U.S. farms. In the interview she said, "It has been insane. We've had a lot of farmers—a lot more bankruptcies going on, a lot more farmer suicides. These things are highlighting many of the news stories in our local news."

She added, "We have more commodities, more grain sitting on the ground now because we lost huge export markets. We've lost export markets that we've had for 30 years that we'll never get a chance to get back again. Farmers are hopeful to get their crops in the ground this year but really hopeful we have a place to sell it come fall."

Soybean farmer in Minnesota has seen increased suicides

In a CNN interview in May, Minnesota soybean farmer Bill Gordon said, “With these added tariffs farmers are not getting their credit lines renewed, banks are coming in and foreclosing on their farms, taking their family living away and it's too much for some of them. We have seen a definite increase in the suicide rate and depression in farmers in the U.S., especially in the Upper Midwest.”

Even a corn maze in Wisconsin is highlighting the issue

Govin’s Meats & Berries/Govin’s Farms created a corn maze this summer to highlight the concerns it has about suicides and to provide a way for someone to get help.

Corn maze

Corn maze

Govin’s Meats & Berries/Govin’s Farms Facebook page

Farm Progress hearing of more suicides

A Farm Progress article in May reported that, “those of us in the field know we’re hearing about more of them.” The reporter added, “I can think of two farmers I know who’ve committed suicide in the past year.”

Farm Aid saw a 30% increase in calls last year

Farm Aid’s mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America. It released a statement in June that included, “Based on a 30% increase during 2018 in calls to their farmer hotline and feedback from family farm partners around the country, Farm Aid says it will continue to prioritize farmer stress.”

It added, “Increased calls to Farm Aid’s hotline and our work with partners around the country confirm that farmers are under incredible financial, legal and emotional stress. Bankruptcies, foreclosures, depression and even suicide are some of the tragic consequences of these pressures. America’s family farmers — reduced in numbers since the Farm Crisis of the 1980s — have approached endangered status. At Farm Aid, we spend our time on the phone with anxious farm families who cannot make ends meet, and who will not be able to improve their situation simply by working harder. Confusion and lack of resolution on policies like trade, immigration and healthcare accelerate the crisis.”

This could be worse than the farm crisis of the 1980’s.

A March opinion column in SC Times noted, “Times have not been good for farmers the past several years. Many have compared it to the farm crisis of the 1980s. Others think the situation for farmers is even worse now than 30 years ago.” In the column, Jennifer Fahy, a communications director for Farm Aid observed, "The farm crisis was so bad (in the 1980s), there was a terrible outbreak of suicide and depression." But today, she said of stress and farmer suicide, "I think it's actually worse."

 

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16 hours ago, Marshall said:

The longer he sticks around, more and more damaging information surfaces.  He would be wise to step down.

Judge orders Trump to pay $2m for misusing Trump Foundation funds

Trump presents a chequeImage copyright Reuters

A New York judge has ordered President Donald Trump to pay $2m (£1.6m) for misusing funds from his charity to finance his 2016 political campaign.

The Donald J Trump Foundation closed down in 2018, after prosecutors accused it of working as "little more than a chequebook" for Mr Trump's interests.

Charities such as the one Mr Trump and his three eldest children headed cannot engage in politics, the judge ruled.

She said the money must be paid by Mr Trump himself.

"I direct Mr Trump to pay the $2,000,000, which would have gone to the Foundation if it were still in existence," wrote Judge Saliann Scarpulla.

 

She said the money should go to eight charities Mr Trump has no relationship to.

Mr Trump "breached his fiduciary duty" by allowing funds raised for US veterans to be used for the Iowa primary election in 2016, she said in the settlement.

Donald Trump Jr, Eric Trump and Ivanka Trump - who were also directors of the Trump Foundation - are required to undergo mandatory training "on the duties of officers and directors of charities", New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

The payment is the final resolution of a case brought by state prosecutors.

What's the deal with the Trump Foundation?

Mr Trump and his lawyers had argued that the case was politically motivated and blamed "sleazy New York Democrats" of "doing everything they can to sue me

sooooo much winning.....

 

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Quote of the day...on political correctness.

"There is a cost to depriving people of the freedom (in both the legal and social senses) to speak their mind. The presidency just went to the guy whose main qualification, according to his supporters, is that he isn't afraid to speak his."

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https://eand.co/do-americans-know-how-weird-and-extreme-their-collapse-is-getting-977f3b6c73b3

Do Americans Know How Weird and Extreme Their Collapse is Getting?

Even the Dark Ages Would Laugh at Where We’re Going

 

Here’s a tiny question. Do Americans know how extreme, bizarre, and weird American collapse is getting? How far off the charts it is? Forget the charts of “normal” — I mean the charts of history. Even the Dark Ages, ancient Rome, and the barbarians might laugh, astonished, at the backwardness of America in 2018. Doubt me? Indulge me — while I prove it.

Consider a tiny but telling and particularly awful example. There’s a GOP candidate in North Carolina, I read today, who proclaims that “God is a white supremacist.”

Now, you might laugh. It’s funny, in an absurd kind of way. But do we call such a belief? What does it take for a mind to think such a thing?

It’s not simple fascism — because fascism, at least the sort we know of in history, tends to reject the church. That’s because, of course, Nietzsche preached a different gospel: that Christian values make people weak, that only the strong survive, and that the job of the strong is to dominate the weak. Fascism is simply an expression of this perverse belief system, this ideology, and in that way, it tends to demonize religion — just as the Nazis did, ruling over a church they despised with an iron fist.

So what is it? Theocracy? Well, it’s not theocracy either — again, at least as we know it. Because in theocratic systems, God is an equalizer. You’re oppressed until you’re pious and faithful, maybe beaten, starve, punished, jailed, as in Iran or Saudi Arabia — but when you are pious, then you’re accepted into the community of believers. In other words, even in hardcore theocracies, God isn’t a racist (LOL) — he might be a vengeful, terrible, angry God, but he’s an equal opportunity abuser. He might call for women and gays and minorities to suffer terribly — but when they renounce their sin, and they’re pure, then they belong to society too. But “God is a white supremacist” is a belief so strange, so bizarre, so fundamentally new in history that it goes even further than that.

The question, then, is this: how far back in history do we have to travel to find a God who’s a racial supremacist? Who damns people purely for the color of their skin, their ethnicity, their “race”? Well, we’d have to go back past the colonial era — because even in, for example, South America and Africa and Asia, God could save everyone — religion was a colonial instrument (and I don’t mean that in a pejorative sense, just a historical one) — not just whites or Aryans or whomever. Sure, you might never be an archbishop — but the church would happily accept you into a congregation.

What about the Dark Ages? In fact, we’d have to go back past the medieval era, too — because even then, the same logic applies. God was angrier, and more menacing, demanding inquisitions and tests of faith — but nobody was beyond redemption. Even the medieval church had black saints!

Do you see how bizarre, extreme, and gruesome all this is getting? We’re already in the Dark Ages — but what America’s producing today is even more unenlightened than the actual literal textbook Dark Ages. How funny. How strange. How sad.

Let us continue, until we reach an answer. Let’s go all the way back to antiquity. What about Greeks and Romans? They weren’t monotheists — but were their Gods racial supremacists? Did Athena and Artemis damn black people and Asians, just for the color of their skin? Of course not. The most obvious classical example is Anthony and Cleopatra — neither of whom “converted” in any modern sense, but Cleopatra obviously wasn’t white, and Anthony obviously wasn’t Egyptian. In fact, by this time, Rome was a mixture of all kinds of people — and its Gods rejected no one.

So now we’ve gone back — all the way back in human history to the very dawn of civilization. And we haven’t found one example of a statement as weird, grotesque, and bizarre as “God is a white supremacist!!” That doesn’t mean that religions didn’t do terrible things, or even racist things — of course they did. But that is not the same as a racist God. But nowhere do we find such a belief. Even the ancients, it appears, aspired to higher moral and ethical values than racist Gods. Even they’d find such a thing fantastic, foolish, and laughable, probably.

(You might have thought by now — “it’s barbarism!” Ah, but it would be too easy to call this barbarism. Barbarians, the poor things, aren’t even this uncivilized. Their gods are violent and wrathful, but like the Vandals or the Visigoths or the Vikings, they weren’t racists, really, nor were they fascists, just warrior Gods, and besides, many “barbarians”, like indigenous Americans, had peaceful naturalist deities, probably far more civilized than their colonizers.)

What is such a thing, then? It’s entirely new in human history, more or less. Now, it’s dangerous to say that something is “new”. History’s a cycle, not a line. So when might we have found beliefs like this? Probably in times of great crisis. Imagine a series of failed harvests, season after season. The priests stand atop a great pyramid, and cry, “it is their fault! The Gods demand their blood!” And so the human sacrifices begin. A scenario like that is what would produce a racist God — but for the same reason, when the harvest returns, Gods, who must be impartial beings probably have the darkness of those days scrubbed from them, and go back to being Gods of mercy and justice and so on.

So if “God is a white supremacist!” is new — at least in the sense that it’s the kind of gruesome thing we only see in periods of genuine collapse — what do we call it? It’s not fascism, as we’ve already discussed, nor is it theocracy. It’s more like a bizarre, strange, toxic cocktail of the two — which are already toxic cocktails of their own, fascism of liberalism and conservatism, theocracy of state and church. So it’s a finely distilled poison, which we might call theofascism.

And that is what America is really inventing now. Once upon a time, it invented great and amazing things. Moonshots, chemotherapies, highways. Yet, even at those times, it was also inventing terrible things, too, which, mostly, it brushed under the rug — Jim Crow laws, segregation, and so forth. Now, though, the balance has changed. America isn’t inventing great things anymore (no, Facebook doesn’t count. Are you kidding?) It seems instead to be inventing new ways to destroy, ruin, and shatter things. What things? Democracy. Reason. Civilization. Truth, justice, equality. It is creating poisonous cocktails, so dangerous, so bitter, so toxic, that they are off the charts of history. Things like theofascism — which is just one ideology of ruin.

But there are many more, if we look closely at American collapse. The idea that we should arm teachers, instead of protect kids from school shootings — militant capitalism. The idea that people should have to crowdfund insulin — techno-Darwinism. The idea that people should never be able to retire — neofeudalism. The idea that freedom is just the weak being exploited by the strong — neo-authoritarianism. Those are four more weird, ruinous, baffling ideologies — and just like theofascism, we’d have to go a long, long way back in human history to make sense of them. All these ideas are so strange, self-destructive, and fatally absurd, that they’re off the charts of history, all the way back to the dawn of civilization.

Do you think the Romans would have let their kids hack each other to bits in the Colosseum? That the Vikings would have let hedge funds buy and sell the lives of their young and old with impunity? Do you think the Victorians would have stopped people from having insulin if they had it? Of course not — they were already pioneering public parks, libraries, and transport. American collapse is off the charts — in the weirdness and totality of its cruelty. So let me ask again: do you think Americans know how weird, extreme, and bizarre American collapse is getting?

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Cause and effect with a Liberal twist.

The Conservatives will paint a similar version of the very same effect and ascribe an equal and opposite cause factor. Each side being too short sighted and foolish to realize they induced those characteristics in the people they criticize by actions of their own. That's what makes the process of decline unstoppable.

Moderate reasonableness and a "do the work, earn the win" attitude is all that it takes to recover from this brand of unusual attitude. Instead of cooperation though, you will see each pilot pull the controls in opposite directions inducing oscillations that only serve to increase the amplitude of deviations and hasten the decent. Each of these fools will be screaming "I have control" as they continue the tug of war until impact. The accident investigator will likely say "what did you think was going to happen" in the last line of the report.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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I really wish she would run for the Presidency. This lady talks nothing but COMMON SENSE.

 

“American decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. Only we will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country,” former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley writes in her new book.

 

Former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley, in her newly released book, defended the Trump administration's decision to pull out of the United Nations' global migration pact -- arguing that it would have eliminated the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, and sharply questioning its focus on issues like climate change.

The U.S. withdrew from the drafting of the U.N.’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in December 2017. The document, which was adopted by the global body a year later in Morocco, saw a host of other countries --including Hungary, Poland, Austria and Israel -- pull out of the compact amid concerns it would hurt nations’ ability to control their borders.

TILLERSON DENIES UNDERMINING TRUMP AFTER NIKKI HALEY ALLEGATIONS

The accord included 23 objectives for managing migration at "local, national, regional and global levels." But many of those aims are vague, including objectives like: "enhance availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration" and "address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration."

Haley, in “With All Due Respect,” said that speculation that she was pressured into ending U.S. participation was “not true” and then went into detail about her objections to the internationalist document.

“The compact grew out of an international statement of principles on migration that had been championed by the Obama administration. The statement was a mess,” she said. "Like so much of our immigration debate today, it attempted to erase all distinctions between illegal and legal immigration.”

Haley, the daughter of legal immigrants from India, said that it also blurred the lines between economic or family-based migrants and refugees escaping persecution -- distinctions she argues are “critical.”

“If we no longer acknowledge a difference between legal and illegal immigration -- and between people who need international protection and those who just want to escape poverty or crime -- we will have a system of completely open immigration,” she wrote. “We will have effectively eliminated our borders. We can never do that.”

In the book, she said that while the document was nonbinding and largely symbolic, she first believed the U.S . could change the document's language and direction -- but as the debate went on, realized that wasn’t the case. Instead, she said, the document started turning toward focusing on issues like climate change.

“Give me a break,” she said. “Millions of people didn’t flee Syria because of climate change. They fled because chemical bombs were being dropped on their homes by a war-criminal dictator who was clinging to power.”

That remark comes just as 2020 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders released his immigration plan, which calls for pathways to citizenship for those in the country illegally as well as the acceptance of a minimum of 50,000 “climate migrants” in the first year of a Sanders administration.

SANDERS IMMIGRATION PLAN: HALT DEPORTATIONS, ABOLISH ICE, WELCOME 50K 'CLIMATE MIGRANTS,' GIVE WELFARE TO ALL

American decisions on immigration policies must always be made by Americans and Americans alone. Only we will decide how best to control our borders and who will be allowed to enter our country,” she said. “The Global Compact on Migration was headed toward creating an international right to migration, which does not exist in international law and is not compatible with U.S. sovereignty.”

 

Elsewhere in the book, Haley accused the left of trying to erase the difference between legal and illegal immigration, and pushing the message that those who want borders are cruel -- and calls it an example of “the divisive politics that is poisoning our public debate.”

“What those pushing this argument don’t realize or don’t want to acknowledge is that this kind of polarizing, us-versus-them politics actually hurts those immigrants who want to come to America, work hard, respect our laws, and embrace our principles,” she wrote. “Equating support for immigration with open borders only causes people to oppose immigration."

 

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/haley-un-migration-pact

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Oh Hilary, please say yes - the country needs you!

Quote

WASHINGTON — Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that she is under pressure from “many, many, many people” to pursue a 2020 White House bid, but she signalled that she isn’t planning to run — at least, not at the moment.

“Well, you know, I’d never say never to anything,”

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15 hours ago, deicer said:

What's that smell?

We have a mysterious whistleblower who the Democrats don’t know, then do know, then don’t know and a series of witnesses who weren’t there but heard second and third hand about it. The rules of evidence are out the window and suddenly people who don’t care about their own borders are concerned about the borders of Ukraine.

I remain an agnostic here, if there is actual evidence of wrong doing let’s bring it out post haste, have the punishment fit the crime and get back to the nations business without delay. How long has it been since the Intelligence Committee had an intelligence briefing?

That smell is the decay and purification of western society….. every sign along the highway is screaming “turn back now” and instead of seeing it as a plea for reasonableness, lawmakers see it as “you can’t tell me what to do.” If you are enjoying the show, be sure to buy a squirrel.

Edited by Wolfhunter
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All major companies and public organizations in Canada and the US have a "whistleblower" system in place. These were put in place, primarily for financial issues following the Enron scandal, but are used for many other purposes.... non-financial criminal or immoral acts or breaking company rules being the secondary use.

In many cases, they use a firewalled system so that the "company" can't see the reporter and doesn't know their identity but even simpler systems are in place allowing people to report to an email address using a temporary email. The point is that the reporter provides initial facts and the designated person is responsible for investigating and determining the validity of the report. It doesn't proceed solely on the basis of the whistleblower's complaint.

The principle of the system is to protect those who know of illegal or immoral acts carried out by company personnel so that they can initiate investigations without concern about being fired or otherwise sidelined. In the case of Trump, the life of this unknown person would be at risk if exposed.

If the reporters information leads to no illegal or immoral acts, then the investigator simply drops the case.  In the case of Trump, if there was nothing to follow up, then the case would not have proceeded. There has been much confirmation (and more to come) of the contents of the whistleblower accusations and, since his accusations are, at least partly, hearsay, his/her direct testimony would add nothing to the proceedings.  The whistleblower's report can't be entered into testimony and, if you are watching carefully, while he is referred to in the proceedings, none of the details of his report is mentioned. Trying to "out" this individual is simply an effort to dissuade other potential reporters in the future from coming forward with what they know. It would be a true shame if they undermine the reporting system as it would mean that those in power would be even more prone to break the law.

This is exactly the way that the CrimeStoppers system works. That is a great way to get people to report crimes and identify perpetrators without having to risk personal harm. The perpetrator has no right to see his "accuser", nor should Trump.  It doesn't really matter whether the Dems know or don't know the whistleblowers identity any more than it matters if the Police know who a CrimeStoppers reporter is. The only thing that matters is where the information leads.

Regarding second hand information, the listener of the damning public phone call that Sondland had with Trump will be testifying tomorrow. So the GOP won't be able to call the phone call information "second hand" anymore. Really quite stupid of them. They pick a new rebuttal almost every day and it gets disgorged almost immediately. We'll see how compelling the witness' testimony. It may even result in Sondland's resignation... having a phone call with the president in public, which can be easily overheard while discussing a foreign government in a restaurant IN THE FOREIGN STATE.

There is no decay of western society in this issue except that those in power seem to think that they are above the law. The U.S. President and his men may have broken the laws and the meaning of the Constitution which they vowed to protect and there is enough evidence to at least see what is there. The fact that they will not participate, which in itself may be impeachable, just means that they don't get to tell their side, which will probably at least keep them out of jail for perjury.  If they have nothing to hide, why wouldn't they simply testify?

To paraphrase a great exchange from yesterday: 

GOP: I think that the instigator of this investigation should be made to face this inquiry.

DEMs: Absolutely. We await the President's attendance.

 

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I guess we will see what the rest of the process brings; I'll be away for a week or so and will catch up later.

It seems to me that the subject of the whistle blower complaint was a conversation contained in transcript (subsequently released) and it was monitored by a number of other officials and advisors. Hopefully they can/will speak to the accuracy of the transcript. But, if the whistle blowers opinion on the legality of the conversation is at odds with the opinion of the other officials privy to the very same conversation, it would seem more like a policy debate to me than a true whistle blower scenario that meets the threshold of protected status. Never the less, I would agree that the notion of “the right to face your accuser” doesn’t apply here since impeachment isn’t a criminal proceeding. I certainly support the idea of protecting people who are courageous enough to report wrong doing…. conflicting statements from the committee chair are (and should be) of concern though.

Assuming that the motives at play are pure (by that I mean not motivated by political partisanship or subject to manipulation by the Intelligence Committee itself), then the whistle blower testimony becomes somewhat irrelevant (IMO) given the existence of the transcript and a quorum of others with direct knowledge of events. So again, I say bring on those with direct knowledge and let the axe fall where the offence lies. Then let’s get on with the nations business…. I remain a political agnostic and, IMO this has dragged on for too long and at too high an opportunity cost in good governance and direct cost in polarization.

Thus far, we have been through collusion, conspiracy, obstruction and Stormy prior to setting sail on the MV quid pro quo and I think the country is the worse off for it… and growing weary of the seemingly endless chase in the process. Unless there is hard impeachable evidence here, I see little upside for the Democrats or the country as a whole. And, unless there are substantial additions to the evidence, I would suspect the impeachment findings of the House to be DOA at the Senate doors.

In other words, for good or ill, I fear the real issue for both sides is how this plays with the media and the court of public opinion. Tactically, a courageous move on the part of Democrats given the results of round one…. I would have chickened out and opted for doing the work to earn the win, content in the knowledge that it has never been easier to earn the victory than it is now. As it stands, the current field of 2020 Democrats have rendered themselves unelectable IMO and the push toward impeachment, in the absence of hard evidence (that meets the threshold of high crime)s, is unlikely to serve them well. To prevail in 2020, they will have to add another contender (or contenders) to the field and present a moderate option for moderate Democrats to relate to. I think they know this, they are also smart enough to know, that maintaining their present course in the impeachment process doesn't put them on track for "Impeachment Island". Only the addition of a popular moderate contender with a consecutive frontal assault in the media (hearings) is likely to save the day for them now. The predictability of their tactics serves to undermine the nobility of their (stated) motivations IMO, I only consider it "courageous" because of the potential danger of failure and risk of illuminating collateral corruption (of equal measure to that they allege) within their own ranks.  

By way of example, this is the sort of Inevitable investigative exchange that serves all parties (including voters) badly:

 https://www.foxnews.com/politics/ratcliffe-on-ig-report-doesnt-take-500-pages-to-say-everything-was-done-right

The findings and timing of the release of those findings (regardless of source) become weaponized for maximum effect. In the absence of compelling evidence, I say do the job you were elected to do and run the country. If there is compelling evidence bring it forward and deal with it. People will lose patience with the clown show (if they haven't already) and it's going hurt when the music stops. The hurt will come as much from the timing of the release as the content of the release IMO.

The Democrats get all this, they know they are overplaying their hand, and they know the timing is bad..... IMO, rather than impeachment, they will opt for censure and additional moderate candidate(s) will enter the race.    

Edited by Wolfhunter
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Perspective...

https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/i-dont-know-who-to-believe-in-this-impeachment-hearing

November 13, 2019

I Don’t Know WHO to Believe In This Impeachment Hearing

 

This impeachment is so confusing. Both sides are making contradictory claims and it’s almost impossible to know who to trust.

On the one hand, you have George Kent, a career Foreign Service officer whose entire family served in the armed forces, including an uncle who was at Pearl Harbor and survived the Bataan Death March, and on the other hand, you have a bone spurs draft dodger whose dad got arrested at a KKK riot.

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There’s this fellow Bill Taylor who served as a Captain and company commander in Vietnam and who was awarded a Bronze Star, but then again, Donald Trump’s first wife Ivana and numerous other women have said that he sexually assaulted them.

If only American politics weren’t so partisan, I might be able to make sense of it all, but I can’t.

At the hearing, I saw two serious, professional men who both served under Republican and Democrat administrations. Yet just last week, President Trump was ordered to pay two million dollars for using charity funds to pay off his business debts and promote himself. How can a voter like me be expected to know who is more credible?

These men testified under oath that the president tried to withhold military aid to a crucial ally unless the Ukranian president made a phony and defamatory speech about Joe Biden, and I admit that does sound slightly damning. At the same time, there’s a white supremacist working closely with Donald Trump who orchestrated the immigration policy which separated thousands of children, including babies, from their parents. Politics are so complicated!

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What sounds more believable? That career diplomats with everything to lose would make up a story implicating the most powerful man in America? Or that the president’s butt-dialling, criminal-loving lawyer was involved in something nefarious? I wish this would be easier!

I’m no political scientist, but it seems to me that a man who has told 13,435 lies and has equated Nazis with people protesting Nazis, and who publicly stated he’d date his own daughter, and who tried and failed to buy Greenland is at least as honest as the many people, both Republican and Democrat, who have testified against him in this impeachment hearing.

You know, everyone keeps repeating this story about Ben Franklin over and over again  —  you know the one  —  about how in 1787, as the Constitution was adopted, Americans gathered on the steps of Independence Hall. When they saw Franklin, they asked, ‘What do we have, a republic or a monarchy?’ and Franklin replied, ‘A republic, if you can keep it.’

But what did Ben Franklin even mean by that? Was he trying to say that a Democracy is only as strong as its institutions and that if the people in power become nakedly corrupt and are not checked, that Democracy becomes a hollow pretense that’s no better than a despotic monarchy? Or did he mean that the newly founded nation was a banana republic?

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Someone help me! I’m utterly baffled! How will we ever get to the bottom of these impeachment hearings? I fear that America will be lost amidst the fog of uncertainty, destined to wander in the wilderness of chaos for a very long time indeed. A very, very long time.

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Even while they are trying to prove him guilty, Trump does his best to prove he's guilty.

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/mbmyb3/trump-gave-democrats-their-made-for-tv-moment-in-fridays-impeachment-hearing

Trump Gave Democrats Their Made-for-TV Moment in Friday’s Impeachment Hearing

He managed to undercut the GOP's attempt to keep things boring.

WASHINGTON — Democrats wanted a made-for-TV moment from Friday’s impeachment hearing. And President Trump, true to his reality television background, did all he could to assist.

Just as former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was testifying about feeling threatened by the president's smear campaign against her, Trump fired off a fresh insult on Twitter, attacking her track record as a diplomat and blaming her, evidently, for sparking conflict in hardship posts abroad.

Read: Trump Tried to Intimidate Marie Yovanovitch as She Testified About His Intimidation

In one tweet, Trump all but undercut the GOP’s strategy, which was to make Yovanovitch’s day on Capitol Hill so boring that the television audience would change the channel. His outburst was so off-message that even Fox News’ Brett Baier characterized it as “adding, essentially, an article of impeachment, real time” such that Republicans would have to “take the rest of this hearing to probably try to clean that up.”

And that was pretty much the size of things on Friday, the second day of live public testimony of Trump’s impeachment inquiry. Republican members of Congress and Trump’s own White House tried to keep things dull, as if backing up the message that nothing out of the ordinary had happened — while Trump fired off a schoolyard taunt at his own ambassador on Twitter.

Otherwise, Republicans vacillated between burying Yovanovitch in minutiae, and attempting to describe her experience under Trump as ultimately positive. Specifically, they tried to paint a happy ending for Yovanovitch, by portraying her as landing a cushy teaching gig at Georgetown University after she was recalled from Ukraine.

Read: Trump’s White House Either Lied About Ukraine Anti-Corruption Call in April — or It’s Lying Now

Earlier in the day, the White House tried their own hand at counter-programming by releasing a rough transcript of a previous call between Trump and Zelensky that was dull and lifeless. That release appeared intended to deflect from the other call between the two presidents — in which Trump slammed his own ambassador, Yovanovitch, as “bad news” and said ominously that she’s “going to go through some things.”

Democrats, meanwhile, struggled to find other newsworthy moments, but ultimately appeared to decide they couldn’t compete with Trump’s own bombast.

By the end of the day, they’d foisted up Trump’s tweet as an exhibit in the very hearing itself. Democrat Rep. Eric Swalwell slammed it as “disgusting.”

The audience in the chamber seemed to agree — and ended Yovanovitch’s hearing with a standing ovation for the career foreign service officer.

 

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If this is the quality of 'advisor' Trump picks, everything else is explained. The women of the U.S. must be thrilled, "Grab 'em by the....."

https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/vb5axm/new-trump-advisory-board-member-thinks-women-should-be-handmaidens

New Trump Advisory Board Member Thinks Women Should Be 'Handmaidens'

 

A member of the advisory board for “Black Voices for Trump,” an initiative recently launched by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign, has said that women are not equal to men and suggested that women would be better off acting like “handmaidens” rather than “queens.”

Clarence Mason Weaver, described as an author and motivational speaker on one of his websites, has posted multiple videos online where he discusses the purported differences between men and women and expounds on his beliefs about women’s role in society, as first reported Monday by Media Matters for America, a progressive nonprofit organization. The titles of those videos include “Men and women are not equal,” “Toxic Feminism is the real problem,” and “Why are women so masculine?”

 

In the video entitled “Men and women are not equal,” posted in August, Weaver warned female viewers that men are not looking for “queens.” “We look for handmaidens, sweetheart,” he said. “We look for a helpmate out here, girl.”

He went on, “If you’re as strong as I am, you go and deal with the burglar next time. You’re as strong as I am, you go out at night and take care of the car. If you’re as strong as I am — if you’re not, be quiet and be humble and be submissive.”

In a December 2017 video, Weaver spoke about how women can, in his opinion, simply accuse a man of “something” and ruin his career.

“Can you imagine a situation where a female is in competition with a male worker for a promotion?” he asked. “All she has to do now is go whisper in the boss’s ear or the head of the human resources. Just whisper in their ear, so-and-so molested me, so-and-so made a comment. A comment now. Folks, you can’t even say the wrong thing, hurt their feelings. And that guy will not get the promotion and no one will know why. Women are setting themselves up to be so fragile that we can’t even blow on them without them coming against us. So who wants to hire a female now?”

On October 8, 2016, after the Washington Post published a tape of Trump bragging about grabbing women by the pussy while he visited the “Access Hollywood” set, Weaver posted a video called “Trump likes women, imagine that!”

 

In it, he attacked Republican leaders for not standing behind Trump. “Every man talks like that,” he said. “Every man thinks like that, and stop quivering behind the skirts of the feminists!”

Weaver — who also sometimes goes by the names “Mason Weaver” and “Clarence A. Mason, Media Matters reported — didn’t immediately reply to a VICE News request for comment through one of his websites. Other members of the advisory board include personalities like Herman Cain, Diamond and Silk, and “Clueless” actress Stacey Dash.

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This is well worth taking the time to read.

We are now at 152 pages and this is  the second incarnation of the thread. Rex has aptly summarized (my feelings on) the subject and it leaves me with nothing more to contribute. In the final analysis, "doing the work and earning the win" will be awarded the merit it never actually relinquished and the self inflicted damage to the media's credibility will outlast the Trump presidency: 

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-if-successful-impeachment-would-tear-the-u-s-apart

Edited by Wolfhunter
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1 hour ago, Wolfhunter said:

This is well worth taking the time to read.

We are now at 152 pages and this is  the second incarnation of the thread. Rex has aptly summarized (my feelings on) the subject and it leaves me with nothing more to contribute. In the final analysis, "doing the work and earning the win" will be awarded the merit it never actually relinquished and the self inflicted damage to the media's credibility will outlast the Trump presidency: 

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-if-successful-impeachment-would-tear-the-u-s-apart

 

“ On the pure narrow ground of what change he has brought to politics that most defines his White House occupancy I say, without irony, that it is his consistent and so far unfailing capacity to unset, even to derangement, the minds of those who most disparage and despair of him. His impact on the Democratic-friendly media — most of the big channels and a slew of their cable epigone — has been fundamental. He has made them forget that a tradition of neutral journalism was even an accepted standard, evacuated their once proud sense of balanced, fair judgment, and turned many of its large-name performers into frothy caricatures of what journalists are supposed to be.      (CNN ??)

To his opponents in the Democratic Congress that impact has registered as well. The poor, sad Democrats who could not even conceive that a bloated, loud-mouth bumpkin, with no political experience and a blustering mega-aggressive approach to both life and politics, had the slightest chance of wrecking the ambition of their House queen and empress, that vessel of unappeasable ambition and guile, Hillary Clinton.”

 

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