Sky Links, 1-16-19


-(Daily Caller)

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.
Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade. 
They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.
Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxie (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.
Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.

'Major concerns': Resolution of border wall showdown not likely to end shutdown
-David Sherfinski

Even if the wall debate is resolved, it’s not necessarily the end of the shutdown that has gone well into its fourth week.


-Mike Brest

 FBI Russia investigation was always about Trump 

-Andrew McCarthy

The FBI and DOJ knew this would be controversial – the incumbent administration spying on the opposition campaign in the absence of corroborated evidence of a crime. So, they designed the investigation in a way that allowed them to focus on Trump without saying they were doing so. Before Trump was elected, they papered the files to indicate that they were focusing on the Trump campaign or people connected to it, like Page and Papadopoulos. This way, they could try to collect evidence about Trump without formally documenting that Trump was the target.
After Trump was elected, the FBI realized that Trump was soon going to have access to government intelligence files. If they honestly told the president-elect that they had been investigating his campaign in hope of making a case on him, they had to be concerned that he would shut the investigation down and clean house at the FBI and DOJ. So, they misleadingly told him the investigation was about Russia and a few stray people in his campaign, but they assured him he personally was not under investigation.
This was not true. The investigation was always hoping to find something on Trump. That is why, for example, when director Comey briefed then-President-elect Trump about the Steele dossier, he told Trump only about the salacious allegation involving prostitutes in a Moscow hotel; he did not tell the president-elect either that the main thrust of the dossier was Trump’s purported espionage conspiracy with the Kremlin, nor that the FBI had gone to the FISC to get surveillance warrants based on the dossier. The FBI was telling the president-elect that the allegations were salacious and unverified, yet at that very moment they were presenting them to a federal court as information the judges could rely on to authorize spying.
Later, though Comey repeatedly told President Trump he was not a suspect, he gave House testimony patently geared to lead the public and the media to believe Trump was a suspect – which is exactly how the media reported it. In so doing, the FBI (and the Obama holdovers in the Justice Department who authorized Comey’s testimony) violated DOJ rules about publicly confirming the existence of an investigation, and publicly identifying a subject of an investigation: the Trump campaign, which Comey publicly announced was suspected of “coordinating” in the Kremlin’s widely reported cyberespionage interference in the 2016 campaign.
Comey’s firing on May 9, 2017, was not the start of an investigation of Trump. It was the point when the FBI and Justice Department rashly determined that they finally had a crime to pin on Trump — obstruction. In their haste and overconfidence, they rationalized that (a) Comey’s firing must have been intended to impede the Russia investigation, and that they could couple this with; (b) the claim that Trump may have impeded the Flynn investigation – based on a memo Comey leaked to the New York Times a few days after his firing.
Legally, none of this was obstruction. Yet, the FBI and Justice Department settled on this novel and flawed legal theory: Even though the president has constitutional authority to fire subordinates and weigh in on investigations, he may somehow still be prosecuted for obstruction if a prosecutor concludes that his motive was improper. Of course, even though he could have, Trump never actually took any steps to interfere in the investigations of Russia (which is still continuing) or Flynn (who later was indicted and pled guilty). Yet the FBI, hot-headed over the director’s dismissal, concluded that this obstruction theory was a sound enough basis to go overt with the case on Trump they had actually been trying to make for many months.

The Media’s Trump-Russia Death Spasms
-Julie Kelly

But the reality is that the Times article and resulting hysteria are the death spasms for Trump-Russia election collusion. The public now is being told not to expect any earth shattering surprises out of Team Mueller. ABC News correspondent Jonathan Karl admitted over the weekend that Mueller confidants warned the final report, due shortly, will be “anticlimactic.” If that happens, the media will be further discredited as reliable, skeptical, and honest brokers of the truth and instead will be mocked as the hostile, reactionary propagandists that they are. They are not just accomplices in the biggest political scandal in U.S. history: they are co-conspirators.
In fact, the Times story is just another example of the media’s Trump-Russia spin machine; it was alarming not for what it did report but for the key details it twisted, misrepresented and/or omitted. In the nearly 2,000-word account, one name does not appear: Andrew McCabe.
The Times failed to mention that when the FBI initiated its probe of the president, the agency was being led by former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a crucial point that can only be explained as an intentional oversight by the reporters. Not only is McCabe a known partisan, text messages between his counterintelligence chief, Peter Strzok, and his agency counsel, Lisa Page, indicate McCabe was instrumental in orchestrating the “insurance policy” if Trump won the presidency.
Trump fired the deputy director shortly after an internal investigation concluded McCabe leaked unauthorized information to the news media and lied about it to federal officials. The disgraced G-Man is now being investigated by a grand jury and could soon face criminal charges. Seems like relevant information to include in the Times’ “bombshell,” correct? The only reason is was omitted was to conceal the highly-political nature of the FBI investigation.

The Manchurian Media
-William A. Jacobson

We have been told that the goal of the Russians has been to disrupt our democratic processes, to sow discord throughout the United States and among Americans, to weaken our institutions and to delegitimize our political process. I believe those are the goals of the Russians, as it would be consistent with almost a century of Soviet and now Russian propaganda and disinformation efforts.
But if that is the goal of the Russians, then Donald Trump is not the culprit. All he did is win an election fair and square.
The people serving the Russians’ purposes are the media which weekly rolls out unproven and non-disprovable accusations of collusion that undermine our political structures and institutions, and delegitimize elections far beyond Vladimir Putin’s wildest dreams.

The FBI Prostituted Itself
-George Perry 

A national disgrace of unprecedented historic proportions.

Citing unnamed “former law enforcement sources and others,” the New York Times reports that “in the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president’s behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.”
The mainstream media has touted this story as major breaking news. But, to anyone who has been paying even a modicum of attention, it is crystal clear that Comey’s firing did not precipitate the FBI’s investigation of Trump. To the contrary, the readily available record facts demonstrate that Comey’s FBI began investigating Trump and his campaign for possible Russian collusion shortly after he won the Republican Party’s nomination.
Even though the Times would have us believe that the FBI investigated Trump out of a legitimate concern for national security, those same facts prove that, in launching and directing the investigation, the leadership of Comey’s FBI was engaging in partisan presidential politics to further their own selfish interests. Here’s why.

Watergate By Any Other Name
-Roger Kimball

Over the last few days, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and other anti-Trump outlets have revealed, and reveled in, something that many observers suspected for a long time. That the investigation into various figures associated with the Trump campaign—not only Carter Page, but also George Papadopoulos, Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, and Michael Cohen—was just a pretext. The main target all along was Trump himself. As Andy McCarthy observed, “following the firing of FBI director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the bureau formally opened an investigation of President Trump.”

The Times breathlessly frames its story as the revelation that Trump might have been “secretly working on behalf of Russia.” Right on cue, the anti-Trump fraternity went into full-swivet mode. Probably the most comical contribution to this almanack of rhetorical incontinence was written by Max Boot, who offered “18 Reasons Why Trump Could Be a Russian Asset.” Reason number one: that Trump, the head of a multi-billion dollar real-estate development company with interests all over the world, had business dealings with Russia. Excellent, Max!
In fact, though, what the Times story revealed was simply that, pace repeated assurances by James Comey, Trump was the target of the investigation from the beginning. As McCarthy notes, “the only thing the story shows is that the FBI, after over a year of investigation, simply went overt about something that had been true from the first. The investigation commenced during the 2016 campaign by the Obama administration—the Justice Department and the FBI—was always about Donald Trump.” Moreover,

The FBI and DOJ knew this would be controversial—the incumbent administration spying on the opposition campaign in the absence of corroborated evidence of a crime.

Let’s pause to ponder that last bit: “spying on the opposition campaign in the absence of corroborated evidence of a crime.” “Controversial”? You think? How about nefarious and probably criminal? Richard Nixon is unavailable for comment.
In a way, you have to admire the cunning of the Obama minions. Faced with exposure of their “controversial” tactic, they went to work. “[T]hey designed the investigation,”

3 reasons why the media’s ‘walls won’t work to stop drugs’ argument is wrong
-Daniel Horowitz

Prescription painkiller deaths are responsible for only a small portion of drug deaths and almost none of the epidemic-level increase since 2014. Yet Congress was willing to regulate the heck out of prescriptions in order to address the epidemic. But when it comes to illicit drugs, which are doing most of the drug killing and are almost all coming in from the Mexican drug cartels and their criminal alien syndicates, suddenly the political class has no interest in solutions unless you can prove that it will stop 100 percent of the problem.
Last year, Congress held endless hearings, wrote copious reports, and passed dozens of bills misdiagnosing the poly-drug crisis, its nature, and its source. They spent billions of dollars funding unproven addiction treatment programs while regulating prescription painkillers. Then they passed a bill with endless leniencies for drug traffickers. To the extent they ever spoke about illicit drugs, they focused on China and the dark web, but would never mention the word Mexico or the southern border, where almost all of the drugs are brought into the country. They were willing to do everything that, in their mind, would mitigate the emergency epidemic, even when they went after the wrong source. Now that we’ve successfully exposed the authentic source of the crisis – the Mexican border and lack of interior enforcement against cartel distributors in America – Congress is suddenly not interested in doing anything unless it’s a bulletproof end-all solution.

San Diego TV Station Accuses AP of ‘Fake News’ Headline

-Susan Crabtree

A San Diego television station has hit back at an Associated Press report that said it had "backed off" its belief that CNN decided against using one of its reporters for a border-fencing story because it didn't fit the network's narrative.
Steve Cohen, KUSI's news director, issued a statement Sunday denouncing an Associated Press headline about their position as "fake news," and clarifying that the rest of the AP story about the clash between KUSI and CNN is accurate.
"We are not backing away. The headline is a fiction, for the issue was never raised," Cohen said. "The AP story is factual, but the headline is fake news."

We Could Build 2 Border Walls By Just By Eliminating 'Improper Payments' — Audit Shows
-Investor's Business Daily

Waste: Critics of building a border wall claim that it would be ineffective at deterring illegal immigration. That's not true. But Congress could easily finance the wall by cutting federal programs that are ineffective.

"Wasteful" and "ineffective" are the adjectives now routinely attached to any discussion of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
But a wall would be effective. Even President Obama's head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, admitted as much. When asked in an interview with Public Radio International if the "physical barrier" built south of Yuma, Ariz., had been effective, her answer was "yes."
In fact, illegal crossings dropped by 95% in Yuma after that barrier went up. Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke says "crime has significantly decreased in the Yuma area."
Likewise, illegal crossings into San Diego, El Paso, Texas, and Tucson, Ariz., plunged once physical barriers were in place.
What's more, the government could easily pay for the border wall simply by eliminating real government waste and by axing ineffective programs.
 This week, for example, the Government Accountability Office reported that in 2017 alone, the federal government made $141 billion in "improper payments."

What Is Iran Up To?
-Michael Ledeen

The Israelis captured copious secret Iranian documents that demonstrate the Islamic Republic long worked on underground nuclear facilities at Parchin. Now a detailed analysis of the Iranian scheme has come out, and it warrants close attention. The analysis shows that the Iranians’ secret nuclear program was successfully hidden from Western intelligence services (including our own) and from the IAEA, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is supposed to monitor Iranian operations.

The Celebrated Fake Frog That Is Taking Down the Deep State
-Karin McQuillan

President Trump’s appointees, Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh, are now showing their mettle.
With liberals dominating the federal agencies and the courts, the Environmental Protection Agency’s power has grown decade by decade—that is, until President Trump appointed these two strong constitutionalists to the Supreme Court. The EPA is on the front lines of this battle because its rulings directly impact private property and economic freedom.

Without property rights, we have no freedom. The founding fathers understood that private property is the boundary which limits the tyranny of state power. As David D’Amato wrote, the leftist assault on liberty preaches that private property is inherently unjust. The sanctity of your private property has no place in their dystopia of social justice under an all-powerful state.
Enter President Trump’s new conservative majority on the Supreme Court. In the very first case of the new term, the court, with Kavanaugh taking his seat, took on a seemingly comical case that goes to the heart of government overreach.

NO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM - WITHOUT PRISON REFORM  Isn't it high time to put an end to prison rape?

-Jack Kerwick

As to the frequency with which prison rape occurs, due to the reluctance of victims to share their experience, this is something that’s difficult to determine. There are, though, other facts that Human Rights Watch (HRW)—no “law and order,” right-wing conservative organization—was able to determine in its extensive study, “No Escape: Male Rape in Prisons.” According to the report:

“Specifically, prisoners fitting any part of the following description are more likely to be targeted: young, small in size, physically weak, white, gay, first offender, possessing ‘feminine’ characteristics such as long hair or a high voice; being unassertive, unaggressive, shy, intellectual, not street-smart, or ‘passive’; or having been convicted of sexual abuse against a minor.”
The report notes the racial dynamics of prison rape:

“Inter-racial sexual abuse is common only to the extent that it involves white non-Hispanic prisoners being abused by African-Americans and Hispanics.”
In other words, “African-American and Hispanic inmates are much less frequently abused by members of other racial or ethnic groups; instead, sexual abuse tends to occur only within these groups.”
Human Rights Watch corroborates other studies that document “the prevalence of black on white sexual aggression in prison.” Its research, comprised as it is of “correspondence[s] and interviews with white, black, and Hispanic inmates,” persuaded its investigators that “white inmates are disproportionately targeted for abuse.”
“Although many whites reported being raped by white inmates,” the report continues, “black on white abuse appears to be more common.” And to “a less extent, non-Hispanic whites also reported being victimized by Hispanic inmates.”
Members of all racial groups are at risk of being raped while incarcerated, it’s true. However, it’s something approximating an ironclad rule that black and brown inmates can be “turned out” only their co-ethnics:

“Some inmates told Human Rights Watch that…’only a black can turn out (rape) a black and only a chicano can turn out a chicano.’ Breaking this rule by sexually abusing someone of another race or ethnicity, with the exception of a white inmate, could lead to racial or ethnic unrest, as other members of the victim’s group would retaliate against the perpetrator’s group.”

Whistleblower Bishop Calls on McCarrick to Publicly Repent of Alleged Sex-Abuse
-Michael W. Chapman

Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the Vatican's former top diplomat to the United States, released a public letter on Sunday calling on accused sex-abuser Archbishop Theodore McCarrick -- a power player in the U.S. church -- to "confess and repent" of his "sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly" because "your eternal salvation is at stake."
"As has been reported as news by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the accusations against you for crimes against minors and abuses against seminarians are going to be examined and judged very soon with an administrative procedure," said Archbishop Vigano in his Jan. 13 letter.
Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former apostolic nuncio to the United States. (YouTube)
"No matter what decision the supreme authority of the Church takes in your case, what really matters and what has saddened those who love you and pray for you is the fact that throughout these months you haven’t given any sign of repentance," wrote Vigano. "I am among those who are praying for your conversion, that you may repent and ask pardon of your victims and the Church."
"Time is running out," said the archbishop, "but you can confess and repent of your sins, crimes and sacrileges, and do so publicly, since they have themselves become public. Your eternal salvation is at stake."
Archbishop Theodore McCarrick (formerly a cardinal) has been accused of sexually abusing at least three minor boys and eight seminarians over the last several decades. His actions apparently were known by many priests, bishops, and cardinals but was kept hushed-up. In August 2018, Archbishop Vigano, who served as Apostolic Nuncio to the United States from 2011 to 2016, issued an 11-page "Testimony" detailing the cover-up and other instances of alleged corruption in the Church.

Church vs. Temptation
-Angelo Codevilla

This points to the overriding issue: whether or not the Catholic Church will henceforth purvey a god of their own making that reflects the ruling class’s priorities.

A god of their own making? Yes, no less. We may see the size of the prize at which this party is grasping in Francis’s change in the words of the “Our Father,” the principal prayer that has defined billions of Christian lives over 2,000 years. The change, from “lead us not into temptation” to “abandon us not when in temptation” is far, far less significant than the attempt to substitute the pope’ own words for Christ’s.

The claim that this is simply a new translation is fraudulent because what Christ said is not in question. The Gospels, our only source, were written in Greek. The original texts are unchallenged. Anyone with a Greek dictionary can see that Christ’s prayer begins with the negation μὴ, moves to ἡμᾶς “us,” and then to εἰσενέγκῃς which combines the words “into” and “carry.” These are followed by πειρασμόν, which means temptation, or trial, or test. Nowhere in Christ’s words is anything like “abandon,” and “when.”
While we may argue about what God means, there can be no argument about what Christ says. Francis and friends are claiming that they know God the Father better than God the Son.
But why then the “translation” in the first place? Francis and friends argue that God the Father would not actually lead us into the Devil’s temptation. Hence, they are changing Christ’s words to fit the image of a kinder and gentler god. Tailor-making a god to fit progressive needs is what this party is all about. But why? So that, reliably, this god will bless all that progressives are and do.

The Breaking of the Never-Trump Mind
-Christopher Bedford

The Never Trumpers say they don’t recognize a Republican Party where the core tenets are neither free trade nor foreign democracy promotion. But maybe they just didn’t know their voters by sight, because the only party that has truly departed recognition is Never Trump.
Each week brings this movement a new and bizarre position: Opposing tax cuts, supporting Obamacare; wishing North Korean talks ill, wishing Democratic investigators well; dreaming of European political meddling, pining for American political comeuppance.
Rick Santorum, the Catholic working-class firebrand rarely seen among Washington’s polite classes, had long commented that a party such as the GOP, with a donor class so out of line with its base, could not possibly continue to function.

There could not be such a massive realignment without something somewhere snapping, but despite the Never Trump hysteria, it doesn’t appear to be the party. Though the president’s House was defeated in the first post-Trump national elections and his two-year approval among Democrats lies at historic lows, his approval with his own voters—those who the Never Trumpers courted not long ago—is second only to George W. Bush after 9/11.

The Truth About France's Yellow Vests
-Erik Svane

The more laws and restrictions there are,
The poorer people become
The more rules and regulations,
The more thieves and robbers.
—Lao Tzu
Not a single media report I have read or seen about the Yellow Vest demonstrations in Paris and across France has not been slanted by Fake News. The problem is that crucial information has been omitted.
It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations were caused by the government's decision to raise gas prices. But that view seems to pit two more or less equal sides against each other—people (responsible government officials) seeing the necessities of taxes in life versus carefree people (common citizens) unconcerned with the sacrifices that life entails and who go overboard with their protests.
What is missing from most all of the coverage of this crisis in France is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating back half a year, i.e., the recent tax hike that sparked the wave of protests was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back.
For the past four to five months, the nation's drivers and motorcycle riders have been growing increasingly irate at les sangsues (bloodsuckers) in the French government who seem to do little else, road-security-wise, but double down on bringing more and more gratuitous oppression upon their necks and saddling them with more and more unwarranted fines and costs.
In fact, the imposition of ever harsher rules has been going on for the past decade and a half or so—whether the government was on the right or on the left—and that is why the choice of garb, les gilets jaunes (the yellow jackets), by the demonstrators is particularly ironic.

The War on Cars
-Lauren Fix