Sky Links, 2-22-20

Local papers aren’t really local. They’re investments owned by lefty tycoons like Warren Buffett. As the investments become hopeless, they’re turning into non-profits owned by lefty tycoons like Jeff Bezos. If the local paper is just going to consist of recycled talking points from the Washington Post or the New York Times, then who needs the “local” paper? Local communities don’t. That’s why they’re dying.

The local newspaper is dead. The national media writing its eulogies long ago fired the fatal shot.

What local media markets are really missing is diversity. Vital media markets used to have dueling papers. There are fewer dueling papers and even fewer conservative ones. Of the 100 largest papers in the country, only 2 endorsed Trump in 2016. Only 6 papers endorsed Trump across the country.

It’s telling that “local” newspapers wouldn’t support a candidate that local communities voted for.

How representative are local papers when 62 million people voted for a presidential candidate who went on to win the election that only 6 papers endorsed? Who are those papers really representing?

Why would any of those 62 million people bother reading newspapers that have nothing to say them?

CNBC's full interview with National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow

Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, joins "Squawk on the Street" to discuss the economy, bonds and more.

-Richard Bernstein

Although religious figures and people on the right have challenged the transgender movement, the conflict with WoLF involves feminist stalwarts of the social justice left who support their fundamental rights but reject the idea that a man can truly become a woman, or vice versa.

Specifically, the ire of trans activists and their supporters has been aroused by some basic positions taken by WoLF and others, namely: 1) that a person's sex is biologically determined and can't be changed, even by surgery; and 2) that the pieces of legislation passed or pending in several countries and American states to extend civil rights protections to transgender people, usually called Equality Acts, are wrongheaded and harmful to women and children.

The number of liberals making those arguments publicly is still small. But it is growing. And it has already given rise to a strange reshuffling of the political deck, as some feminists of otherwise impeccable leftist credentials have formed alliances with conservative and evangelical groups that would fervently disagree with them over just about everything else – abortion and gay marriage most conspicuously. In January, the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., hosted a panel called “The Inequality of the Equality Act: Concerns From the Left,” during which several speakers from WoLF explained their point of view to a supportive Heritage audience.

The headline sounded ominous: “Former Justice Dept. Lawyers Press for Barr to Step Down,” blared an article in Sunday’s New York Times. More than 1,100 former federal prosecutors signed a letter to condemn Attorney General William Barr and encourage Justice Department employees to tattle on the nation’s top lawman if they see anything naughty.

The lawyers were outraged at Barr’s decision to override “line prosecutors,” including two holdovers from the Robert Mueller investigation, who had recommended an excessive sentence against Roger Stone. “Barr’s actions in doing the President’s personal bidding unfortunately speak louder than his words,” they wrote. “Those actions, and the damage they have done to the Department of Justice’s reputation for integrity and the rule of law, require Mr. Barr to resign.”

Times reporter Katie Benner, trying to make the stunt look like a legitimate grassroots effort, attributed the letter to Protect Democracy, which she described as a “nonprofit legal group.” But Protect Democracy is not an organic activist group spontaneously created by high-minded legal experts alarmed by Trump’s alleged flouting of the rule of law. Protect Democracy was launched in early 2017 as part of an extensive anti-Trump operation managed by a leftwing tech billionaire: Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. This is who is behind Protect Democracy and a number of other nonprofits formed to destroy the president.

It began when Carr invited Columba Bush, the wife of former Gov. Jeb Bush, to visit a domestic violence shelter. Carr had spent a decade working to aid victims of domestic violence, and Columba’s mother had been a victim of spouse abuse.

After seeing the work the shelters did, saving lives and protecting families, Columba Bush became a devoted supporter of the cause and joined the board of directors of the agency’s foundation. Carr emerged as a rock star in Gov. Bush’s orbit.

Bush’s former chief of staff, Kathleen Shanahan, became the coalition’s pro bono adviser. By 2003, Carr was rewarded with the rare and coveted status of being a sole source contractor, serving as the single clearinghouse for about $50 million in state and federal domestic violence funds each year.

The Bush family helped Carr raise money for the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence foundation through the years, and she returned the favor, serving as a campaign surrogate in the 2016 presidential primary.

Until late last year, Carr, 51, remained at the top of the organization she built — although increasingly she barely set foot in the office.

Under fire for her excessive salary and her agency’s failure to turn over documents to the inspector general who was investigating, Carr resigned in November 2019, citing poor health.

But she didn’t really leave. She signed a contract to work as a consultant until January 2020, was paid two years of severance, compensated for two years of health insurance, life insurance and disability insurance. She kept her email account and her company laptop and remote computer.

She also used her carefully honed network to get information from legislative staff and officials at the Department of Children and Families, enough to inform board members what to resist when lawmakers demanded it. The Department of Children and Families is the state agency that deals directly with the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence and is supposed to have an oversight role.

On Wednesday, after months of obstruction, the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence turned over documents to the House that detail the extent of Carr’s compensation scheme. Outraged and frustrated by what they saw, legislators in the Florida House on Thursday issued 14 subpoenas demanding Carr, the top two officials at the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence — the chief financial officer and the chief operating officer — and 11 current and former board members testify under oath.

The revelations — prompted by Times/Herald reporting over 18 months — have rocked the domestic violence community, a group of 42 centers that received funding, training and advocacy from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Many are asking: How could this happen?

On Airbnb, it turns out, scams aren’t just the preserve of lone chancers. As the short-term rental goldrush gathers pace, Airbnb empires are being rapidly scaled and monetised, with professional operators creating scores of fake accounts, fake listings and fake reviews to run rings around Airbnb, local law enforcement and the guests who place their trust in the platform. Reviews from guests paint a grim picture of people who have been tricked into staying in accommodation with blocked drains, broken fixtures and fittings, filthy floors, dirty bed linen – or, in some cases, accommodation that they simply did not book.

To squeeze every penny out of these inner-city goldmines, scammers have started outsourcing property management to ill-equipped call centres in the Philippines. The scammers call it “systemising”, a process of grabbing as many apartments as possible, filling them with identikit furniture, taking professional-looking photographs and then using every trick in the book to turn them into lucrative investments. Some of these tricks, though morally dubious, are perfectly legal. But others breach both Airbnb’s policies and local planning laws, while also putting the safety of guests at risk. As Vice found in October 2019, Airbnb is littered with fake and downright dodgy listings. But in London, where Airbnb enforces an annual 90-day limit on all “entire homes” listed on its platform, scammers have made a mockery of lax enforcement both by regulators and Airbnb itself, by turning entire new-build apartment blocks into de facto hotels designed for the short-term rental market. And the problem is far worse than anyone realises.

K.T. McFarland Says Mueller Interrogators Put Her Through ‘Hell’ and Left Her ‘Traumatized’
-Debra Heine

“When the Mueller people came knocking at my door, they started quizzing me on stuff that I didn’t have access to and didn’t remember 100 percent accurately, and it allowed them to say, ‘well you must be lying then,'” McFarland told WMAL hosts Vince Coglianese and Mary Walter.

Walter asked McFarland why she wasn’t in the same position as Flynn, who ended up pleading guilty to a crime he didn’t commit (after Mueller threatened to bring criminal charges against his son). She replied: “because I didn’t break.”

“They gave me the distinct impression after … 20, 30, 40 hours of hell that they wanted me to either plead guilty to a crime I didn’t feel I committed, or to talk about other people having done things that I didn’t think they had done,” she explained.

The former Trump aide told the hosts that the Mueller interrogators didn’t come right out and say they wanted her to cop a plea, but that “was the impression they conveyed.”

McFarland, a foreign policy and national security expert whose political career goes back to the 1970s, said she’d had “a really hard time of it” and almost broke herself.

“At one point, I turned to my lawyer and said, ‘just tell me what they want me to say and I’ll say it!'” she recalled.

McFarland told the hosts that she just wanted the ordeal—which cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees—to be over with.

“My husband, God bless him, said ‘you can’t do that. Even if we go bankrupt,” she continued. So McFarland decided to stand her ground.

“I finally said, no, you’re going to have to charge me with a crime,” she said. “At that point, they went away because I couldn’t give them what they needed to spin their web. 

Information on the Enneagram’s occultic roots:

Tell Me who I Am, O Enneagram
-Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J.

Fr. Mitchell Pacwa, S.J., was a professor of Scripture and Hebrew at Loyola University of Chicago when this written. His book on the New Age movement, Catholics and the New Age: How Good People are Being Drawn in Jungian psychology, the Enneagram, and the Age of Aquarius, included two chapters on the enneagram and was published in 1992.

-Kenneth Berding

Several of my college students in recent days have asked for my opinion about the Enneagram of Personality.  It turns out that while I’ve had my nose stuck in my Greek New Testament, the Enneagram has become all the rage.  So I decided to hunker down and educate myself about the Enneagram.  My initial take is that some people use the Enneagram merely as a personality test to help them become aware of their character traits and negative propensities.  If that’s all there is to it, then there is little about which to complain.  But my initial foray into all-things-Enneagram suggests that there often is a spiritual side to this diagram-of-types.  That spiritual aspect ranges, on the one hand, from disturbingly false religious ideas, to more mundane personality analysis, on the other.  But even the most mundane appearances of the Enneagram still often include a claim that there is “spiritual” insight to be gained through its use, so Christians behoove themselves to critically evaluate whether the tool they are utilizing is biblically-rooted and God-honoring…or not.

Workers of the Church, Unite!: The Radical Marxist Foundation of Tim Keller's Social Gospel
-Timothy F. Kauffman

-AP San Diego, Elliot Spagat

San Diego Sheriff's Department is the first to announce its cooperation with ICE.
They will share information about criminal illegal aliens with federal immigration officials, and ignore sanctuary laws. 

Meet the two Venezuelan exiles warning college students against socialism
-Jennifer Kabbany

Poll: 4 major denominations support abortion

Utah Senate votes to decriminalize polygamy among consenting adults
-Jennifer Dobner