Howdy All, a few Interesting Items for your information. Enjoy –
In this issue:
- Deep State
- Natural Gas
- Vindman. It is not often that you see a successful gotcha moment in these sorts of orchestrated hearings, especially when the witnesses are all selected by democrats for the maximum negative impact on President Trump. But we got one with Army LtCol Alexander Vindman, who appears to be Patient Zero for this particular phase of the festivities. Vindman was one of the NSC staffers listening in on the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky. He claimed to be concerned and refused to take his concerns to his boss. Rather, he went to a NSC lawyer, told his brother (also an Army LtCol on the NSC staff), and two other people, one of which was in the intel community. This is where it got interesting, as House democrats focused in quickly on that little nugget, first asking why he never notified his boss via the sacrosanct (when it is convenient to democrats) Chain of Command and most importantly who in the intel community he told and which agency was it? At this point, Chairman Schiff stepped promptly in, demanding the line of questioning be shut down so as not to out the whistleblower. Now Schiff has already denied knowing who the whistleblower known to be in the CIA was. Shutting down the questioning on this basis is easy confirmation that not only does Schiff know who it is, but so does everyone else on the committee, and that Schiff has been lying about it for months. And the insolent, insubordinate Vindman is the guy who lit that fuse.
- Hearings. House democrats engaged in a bit of goalpost shifting last week after their original rational for impeachment, the quit pro quo fell on the dual rocks of poor education (not many schools are teaching Latin anymore) and poor evidence. So, like any good group of democrats, they went out and held a focus group. They found that charges of bribery and extortion held far more gravitas among the participants than quid pro quo, so those became the charges du jour. Their problem is that neither word appears in any of the secret testimony they took in the basement. And it doesn’t show up in any of the transcripts either. Finally, the notion of both bribery and extortion both require some sort of a quid pro quo, for you are expecting some sort of action by the target for whatever it is that you are doing to them, which nicely takes you full circle. Now that the hearings are over, the next step is unclear. Schiff along with another 4-6 committees are going to write reports to send to House Judiciary. They will be just as nasty and full of inuendo as humanly possible. What happens there is anyone’s guess. Will Nadler allow Republicans to call witnesses? Will they talk about the whistleblower? Will they allow Trump’s legal team to participate? At this point, I am more clueless than normal.
- Threats. Apparently concern for those threatened by the mob only applies to democrats as a story broke last week that Ambassador Sondland and his wife’s hotel business have been systematically threatened by leftist activists during the impeachment runup. It is likely the reason that he omitted his direct conversation with President Trump on quid pro quo from his 23-page opening statement and did not mention it until being questioned by Republican congress critters. Sondland, his wife and business have been the target of threats, pickets and a boycott. Following his testimony, Congressman Early Blumenauer (D, OR) Tweeted “Gordon Sondland, welcome to the resistance.” Blumenauer called for a boycott of Sondland’s hotels in and around Portland until he testified about the Ukraine. Interesting effort that, as throughout the Mueller investigation, any time Trump Tweeted anything about the investigation, it was called witness tampering by democrats. Wonder what Blumenauer is doing to the Sondlands and their business is going to be called?
- Deep State. One of the unintended consequences of House Intel impeachment hearings was a demonstration of precisely what President Trump is up against with the State Department, NSC and the Intel community. It wasn’t quite a Star Wars bar scene, but in terms of the participants and their complete lack of respect for the direction Trump is taking foreign policy, I can’t think of a better lesson for the mere viewing public. And the single guy who had personal contact with President Trump, EU Ambassador Sondland, was told twice there was that the only thing Trump wanted out of newly elected Ukrainian President Zelensky, was to do the right thing.
- Natural Gas. Two Cali energy stories last week, both energy related. First is an order by Cali Governor Gavin Newsom’s Department of General Services to stop the purchase of gas-powered vehicles. The order exempts public safety vehicles. The order also requires state agencies to only purchase vehicles from manufacturers who agree with Cali’s ability to set its own air pollution standards, something the Trump administration has revoked. These include Honda, Ford, BMW and VW. GM, Toyota, Mazda and Fiat Chrysler are aligned with the Trump administration (another reason we own two Toyotas). Cali currently has over 51,000 vehicles in its fleet, with a little more than 3,000 either hybrids or zero emissions. The second Cali story are demands that Cali homes and businesses convert their homes and buildings to all-electric and forego natural gas completely. On the face of it, this would seem to be an entirely idiotic demand or goal, as with the refusal to properly maintain firebreaks, clear brush near transmission or distribution lines, electrical outages are now in the future of everyone in the state without a generator. An all-electric home or business will be unable to cook or heat their homes during an outage. But at least they can freeze and starve in the dark.
- Sanctuary. Political pushback against the democrat victory in legislative races earlier this month continued with several downstate counties declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties, whose officials will now refuse to enforce any new gun control legislation out of the democrats. To date, 9 counties have already voted themselves sanctuaries for gun owners with at least 18 others with scheduled votes in December. Of course, the media, democrats and Ralph “Blackface” Northam have all blasted the movement as lawless and other less friendly descriptions. Here’s the funny part, the Send Amendment Sanctuary movement in VA is taking a page from the pro-immigration Sanctuary movement, which has a home in VA. Arlington, Chesterfield and Fairfax Counties, all around the DC Beltway have declared themselves sanctuary counties. The Republican-led legislature passed anti-sanctuary legislation that Northam vetoed. These counties all went strongly democrat in the most recent elections. This should be fun to watch, as the democrats and their media cheerleaders are going to be railing against the very sorts of things they have been supporting in the immigration wars.
- Chick-fil-A. Announcement last week that the company had dropped corporate donations to the Salvation Army and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes came as a surprise to most observers on the right. The company had been under attack by the woke LGBTQWTFs for a few years as unnecessarily close to Christianity. This appeasement to the woke bullies did not mollify them very much as they were immediately demanding Chick-fil-A roll completely belly up and “… ensure safe workplaces for LGBTQ(WTF) employees and should unequivocally speak out against the anti-LGBTQ(WTF) reputation that their brand represents.” There was also confusion about whether or not the company had caved into the wokescolds. Over the weekend, Ace of Spades HQ reported that not only did Chick-fil-A cave in to the LGBTQWTFs, but it was intentional, though not quite in the way you would expect. In any business, personnel is the key to success or the lack thereof. In Chick-fi-A’s case, corporate donations were coming out of the CFA Foundation. The Executive Director of the Foundation is a guy named Rodney D. Bullard, former WH Fellow and Assistant US Attorney. While he did both of these in the Bush administration, over the last year he was both an O’Bama and Hillary donor, hardly a conservative worldview. He recently claimed that the foundation had a “… higher calling than a political or cultural war”, meaning he was paving the way to accommodate the political left in the cultural war which he did. One of the reasons the right glommed onto Chick-fil-A in recent years is their support for Christian organizations. Once that goes away, that support will crumble also. We will soon see if they are smart enough to cashier Mr. Bullard. Sooner would be better than later.
- PP. Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains won a potential $2.275 million judgment against an anti-abortion activist and his Center for Medical Progress for causing “substantial harm” to Planned Parenthood facilities in Colorado. A pair of investigative reporters secretly filmed abortion doctors and staff in various clinics 2013 – 2015. Once of these was the Rocky Mountains clinic. The interviews made the case that the clinics were a chop shop for body parts from aborted babies. The clinics sued, claiming they committed trespass, breach of contract and violated federal recording laws as well as recording laws of CA, FL and MD. The federal jury also found that the filming violated RICO. The federal judge in this put the defense in a real bind with a finding of fact that held that permission given by the Planned Parenthood clinics was to the alias used by the reporters and that they had lied about who they were and what they were there to do, meaning they were trespassers. Expect this case to be appealed. Interesting reminder that freedom of the press means absolutely nothing when someone on the political right or is pro-life gores a leftist ox. Reporters on the left can say and do anything, as long as their reportage lifts their side and damages the other. Those of us on the political right, not so much. I don’t think they will enjoy playing under their new rules a lot.
- NSSL. NSSL is the National Security Space Launch system. It is an Air Force space launch initiative intended to retain US access to space on US rockets. Today, there is only one game in town, Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The United Space Alliance (ULA) is also an active player in this. The problem is that Jeff Bezos wants his Blue Origin company also in the mix. To date, both Musk and Bezos have been in court demanding a piece of the action. There is good news and bad news in this story. The good news is that we are well on our way to rebuilding a competitive space launch industry in the US a mere 40 years after making the conscious decision to move all payloads to a single launch system, the Shuttle, which was a mistake. The bad news is that both Musk and Bezos being savvy businessmen look like they are going to use the courts to cement their competitive position in the new industry and do their level best to keep other competitors out of the game. This will only work if they manage to get a government to do that dirty work for them. From Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book I, Chapt X:
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. It is impossible indeed to prevent such meetings, by any law which either could be executed, or would be consistent with liberty and justice. But though the law cannot hinder people of the same trade from sometimes assembling together, it ought to do nothing to facilitate such assemblies; much less to render them necessary. A regulation which obliges all those of the same trade in a particular town to enter their names and places of abode in a public register, facilitates such assemblies. . . . A regulation which enables those of the same trade to tax themselves in order to provide for their poor, their sick, their widows, and orphans, by giving them a common interest to manage, renders such assemblies necessary. An incorporation not only renders them necessary but makes the act of the majority binding upon the whole.
More later –