Friday AM ~ thefrontpagecover

~ Featuring ~
Rich and Poor
Tom McLaughlin
Ukraine foreign minister defends Trump's call 
with Zelenskiy: 'I think there was no pressure'
By Melissa Leon 
{ } ~ A top Ukrainian official on Saturday defended President Trump's July phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy... during which Trump reportedly urged authorities in Kiev to investigate dealings in the Eastern European county by the son of former Vice President  loose lips liar-Joe Biden. “I know what the conversation was about and I think there was no pressure,” Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the Hromadske media outlet. "There was talk, conversations are different, leaders have the right to discuss any problems that exist. This conversation was long, friendly, and it touched on many questions, sometimes requiring serious answers." Zelenskiy's office has not commented on the allegations. Trump and  Zelenskiy are expected to meet in person at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Trump had repeatedly asked Zelenskiy to investigate Hunter Biden, who had ties to a natural gas firm that was being investigated by a Ukrainian prosecutor as part of a corruption probe. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has suggested that loose lips liar-Joe Biden, the current frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, worked while he was vice president to protect his son's company from being investigated. "President Trump is interested, his advisor, Giuliani, newspapers, Democrats, Republicans are interested in whether pressure had been put on Ukraine," Prystaiko said during the same interview. "I want to say that we are an independent state, we have our own secrets." loose lips liar-Biden on Saturday denied he has ever spoken to Hunter about his business in Ukraine and called President Trump's actions an "overwhelming abuse of power." “Trump’s doing this because he knows I’ll beat him like a drum, and he’s using the abuse of power and every element of the presidency to try to do something to smear me,” loose lips liar-Biden told reporters in Iowa on Saturday. President Trump earlier on Saturday tweeted about the "Ukraine Witch Hunt," which he says is a last-ditch effort by the "Fake News Media" to protect loose lips liar-Biden. "Now that the Democrats and the Fake News Media have gone 'bust' on every other of their Witch Hunt schemes, they are trying to start one just as ridiculous as the others, call it the Ukraine Witch Hunt, while at the same time trying to protect Sleepy loose lips liar-Joe Biden," Trump said. "Will fail again!"...  
The Case for Indicting 
scumbag/commie-John Brennan
{ } ~ Former CIA director scumbag/commie-John Brennan calls the Justice Department’s widening probe into Spygate’s origins “bizarre.” It has no “legal basis,” he bleats... What’s bizarre is that the expanding inquiry didn’t happen earlier. scumbag/commie-Brennan’s responsibility for criminal leaks during the scumbag/liar-nObama administration’s investigation of Trump has been obvious for at least two years. Even Trump hater Peter Strzok, the FBI liaison to scumbag/commie-John Brennan, couldn’t believe the leaks coming out of his shop. Referring to scumbag/commie-Brennan’s agents as “sisters,” Strzok said to his mistress Lisa Page, “our sisters have begun leaking like mad. Scorned and worried and political, they’re kicking in to overdrive.” The “leaking like mad” began in the thick of the 2016 campaign, as the feverishly partisan scumbag/commie-John Brennan sought to sabotage Donald Trump before Election Day. Has John Durham, the U.S. attorney assigned to the probe of the scumbag/liar-nObama administration’s spying on Trump, talked to Harry dinky-Reid about scumbag/commie-Brennan’s leaking? He should. Recall scumbag/commie-Brennan’s blatant disclosure of classified information about the investigation to the former Nevada senator in the late summer/early fall of 2016. dinky-Reid has told reporters that scumbag/commie-Brennan used him as the conduit for that leak against Trump during the campaign: “Why do you think he called me?” In other words, scumbag/commie-Brennan knew damn well that he was criminally leaking to a fellow anti-Trump partisan. That’s enough to indict him right there. dinky-Reid, of course, was happy to broadcast the leak to the media, but even he found scumbag/commie-Brennan’s “ulterior motive” for a senatorial briefing a little odd, as he explained to David Corn and Michael Isikoff in their book Russian Roulette. Corn and Isikoff write that dinky-Reid “had concluded the CIA chief believed the public needed to know about the Russian operation, including the information about the possible links to the Trump campaign.” scumbag/commie-Brennan has said that the widening probe “concerns” him. It should. He is guilty as hell. The news that his subordinates are lawyering up suggests that he is perhaps hoping that one of those saps takes the fall for him. But the fact remains that he conducted the briefing with dinky-Reid in the hopes of dirtying up Trump before election day. Durham could also nail scumbag/commie-Brennan for perjury — his most obvious whopper being his denial before Congress of knowledge of the scumbag/liar-Hillary-financed Christopher Steele dossier. dinky-Reid had told scumbag/commie-Brennan about the Steele dossier in the summer of 2016. So, too, did Steele’s old colleagues in British intelligence, whose well-publicized role in feeding scumbag/commie-Brennan information about alleged Trump–Russia ties depended at least in part on Steele’s recycled yarns. Peter Strzok, to whom scumbag/commie-Brennan gave a special CIA award, would have also alerted him to Steele’s role in Crossfire Hurricane. The same demented political animus driving scumbag/commie-Brennan now drove him before the election. Through leaks to the press, he made it clear to scumbag/liar-Hillary Clinton that he wanted to remain as CIA director under her. In the last months of the campaign, scumbag/commie-Brennan was in effect auditioning for her. He had hoped his October surprise with Harry dinky-Reid would win him her enduring affection...
Impeachment Misfire
William Taylor’s Smokeless Gun
{ } ~ Since late Tuesday the nation has been deafened by media outlets declaring that diplomat William Taylor provided “damning” congressional testimony involving President Trump’s actions toward Ukraine... The New York Times, for example, produced this breathless headline: “Donald Trump’s Quid Pro Quo Is Now a Smoking Gun.” Evidently, the “reporters” responsible for this story failed to read Taylor’s opening statement. It consists almost entirely of hearsay, shows that he wasn’t on the fabled phone call between presidents Trump and Zelensky, and confirms that he was assured by high-ranking Trump administration officials that the president sought no quid pro quo arrangement with Ukraine in exchange for aid: On September 7, I had a conversation with Mr. Tim Morrison the head of the White House National Security Council’s Eurasia desk in which he described a phone conversation earlier that day between Ambassador Sondland the U.S. ambassador to the European Union.… According to Morrison, President Trump told Ambassador Sondland that he was not asking for a “quid pro quo.” William Taylor is, for the time being at least, the acting United States envoy to Ukraine. The 15-page opening statement   he read aloud before taking questions from committee members reveals more about Taylor’s role in the metastasizing administrative state than any offense committed by President Trump. It contains, for example, a considerable amount of kvetching about the way Trump’s administration was managing its relationship with the new Zelensky government: “I found a confusing and unusual arrangement for making U.S. policy towards Ukraine.” Anyone with experience in large bureaucracies will recognize this standard complaint of all such functionaries when faced with change. Taylor is typical of the breed:  On May 28 of this year I met with Secretary Mike Pompeo who asked me to return to Kyiv to lead our embassy in Ukraine.… During my meeting with Secretary Pompeo on May 28, I made clear to him and the others present that if U.S. policy toward Ukraine changed, he would not want me posted there and I could not stay. But there may be more to Taylor’s aversion to policy changes than mere bureaucratic inertia. He may have personal objections to President Trump’s encouragement of an investigation by the Zelensky government into possible corruption involving a Ukrainian energy company. Taylor says in his statement that he was “alarmed” when informed that the company in question was Burisma. It isn’t clear why this would cause him such concern. As a former ambassador to Ukraine, he is surely aware of the Treaty on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, negotiated 20 years ago, whereby Ukraine must cooperate in certain U.S. investigations. He may, however, have personal reasons to wring his hands about such joint inquiries. Taylor’s opening statement indicates that, subsequent to his replacement by erstwhile President scumbag/liar-nObama as the ambassador to Ukraine, “I have stayed engaged with Ukraine, visiting frequently since 2013 as a board member of a small Ukrainian non-governmental organization supporting good governance and reform.” As Breitbart reports, however, there is more to this story than the promotion of good governance. The small non-governmental organization, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, has close ties with an entity called the Atlantic Council, which happens to be funded by everyone’s favorite Ukrainian energy company — Burisma Holdings. Taylor, like Hunter Biden, has been a beneficiary of Burisma largesse:  U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, who provided key testimony to the Democrats’ controversial impeachment inquiry yesterday, has evidenced a close relationship with the Atlantic Council think tank, even writing Ukraine policy pieces with the organization’s director and analysis articles published by the Council. The Atlantic Council is funded by and works in partnership with Burisma...
AG Barr Approved Expansion 
of Durham Probe to Include Scrutiny of 
scumbag/commie-Brennan, scumbag-Clapper
by Guy Benson
{ } ~ Thanks to Fox News' reporting, we already knew that the footprint of the Durham probe into the origins and conduct of the Trump/Russia investigation had been expanded... NBC News has added more details into the mix, including the development that Durham's work is poised to expand in order to scrutinize key scumbag/liar-nObama-era intelligence figures, such as former CIA Director scumbag/commie-John Brennan and ex-Director of National Intelligence scumbag-James Clapper: A review launched by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has expanded significantly amid concerns about whether the probe has any legal or factual basis, multiple current and former officials told NBC News. The prosecutor conducting the review, Connecticut U.S. Attorney John Durham, has expressed his intent to interview a number of current and former intelligence officials involved in examining Russia’s effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including former CIA Director scumbag/commie-John Brennan and former director of national intelligence scumbag-James Clapper, scumbag/commie-Brennan told NBC News.  scumbag/commie-Brennan and scumbag-Clapper, each of whom has serious issues  with the truth, have been active partisan combatants in the Trump era, as have several of their law enforcement counterparts -- including the former FBI director, who was reprimanded for misconduct on leaks, and his top deputy, who was fired for repeatedly lying under oath. scumbag/commie-Brennan went so far as to describe some of President Trump's admittedly  weak and embarrassing conduct as "treasonous." The extent to which scumbag/commie-Brennan and scumbag-Clapper et al were involved in any potential wrongdoing or envelope-pushing is an interesting and valid subject for exploration.  And as Ed Morrissey points out, NBC's revelation that some intelligence officials are reportedly obtaining legal counsel amid Durham's inquiry is intriguing: Barr almost certainly approved this expansion and direction because of what Durham has already found. And what Durham has already found, NBC notes, has intelligence operatives lawyering up...The DoJ made sure to note at the beginning that Durham was conducting an internal review, not a criminal investigation, although there was nothing to prevent it from developing into one. The DoJ does not comment on the existence of criminal investigations until they either close one or get an indictment — with a couple of notable scumbag-James Comey-related exceptions — and they’re not talking now, either. These developments, however, make it look like Durham has turned the corner from review to full-blown criminal investigation. At least that’s the impression that some of the people involved must have. There's no timeline on when Durham's Barr-backed investigation will wrap up, or when the public may get access to its findings. The fact that scumbag/commie-Brennan and scumbag-Clapper are apparently slated to be interviewed does not necessarily mean that they're in any legal or ethical peril themselves, but it does suggest that Durham's fully justified and appropriate review is going to be comprehensive...   
Netanyahu agrees to meet PM-designate 
Gantz; other right, Orthodox leaders wait
{ } ~ Blue and White’s Benny Gantz and Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu will meet in the coming days to discuss the possibility of forming a unity government... the parties said on Wednesday night, hours after the centrist leader was tasked with forming a government where the incumbent premier failed. Likud confirmed a meeting would be held in the coming days but stressed that Netanyahu was negotiating on behalf of the 55-member bloc of right-wing and religious parties loyal to him, without whom he will not enter a coalition. Blue and White has previously rejected this negotiation position outright. Immediately after receiving the mandate to form a government from President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday evening, Gantz got to work speaking with party leaders and inviting them to meet to negotiate their potential entry into the Blue and White-led coalition he hopes to establish. But in the round of phone calls, Netanyahu’s allies also maintained they would only enter talks after Likud negotiators, who are representing the bloc, meet with their counterparts in Blue and White. Gantz had already invited representatives of Likud to a meeting. In his speech on Wednesday evening, Gantz promised to build a government of national reconciliation and said he would invite Netanyahu and his Likud to be part of it. Following the brief ceremony with Rivlin, Gantz immediately began phoning party leaders and inviting them to personally meet with him while also setting up meetings between his Blue and White negotiating team and other parties’ counterparts...   
Bad News From Judge Nap: scumbag-Schiff’s Following The Rules … Approved 
By House Republicans
{ } ~ Who the heck told scumbag-Adam Schiff that he could conduct impeachment inquiries in secret? As it turns out... Judge Andrew Napolitano told his colleagues on Donald Trump’s favorite morning show, it was backstabber-John Boehner and the House Republican majority in 2015. “I read the House rules,” Napolitano told Fox & Friends, and “this initial level of inquiry can be done in secret.” Secret interviews were conducted in both the Nixon and scumbag/liar-Clinton impeachments, although by staff rather than by the committees involved, Napolitano notes, so what scumbag-Schiff is doing isn’t without precedent after all:  This is a good rebuttal to accusations of a star-chamber approach, but it’s not a complete defense to them. While the idea of interviews and depositions being taken in secret are not new, this process for doing them is at best proving problematic. Staff attorneys would probably know to keep their mouths shut about what transpires in such depositions, but scumbag-Schiff’s panel has been selectively leaking like a sieve ever since they started. His Democratic panel members have been all over the news making claims about blockbuster opening statements and testimony. Judge Napolitano notes that this is similar to a grand-jury process where testimony will later get tested in court. Only in form is that statement true. In practice, grand juries take secret testimony all the time, but they are also forbidden by law to comment publicly on it. scumbag-Schiff’s panel is trying the case in public without the president or his legal team able to access the witnesses or testimony, which seems less like a grand jury and more like a kangaroo court … or a star chamber. The result of this is a process devoid of credibility, through the fault of scumbag-Schiff and his House Democratic team. Furthermore, it’s entirely unclear that this will ever move to a fair process before the House votes on articles of impeachment. Napolitano is correct that staff attorneys took secret testimony in the previous two impeachment inquiries, but they then held public hearings for the cross-examinations that he describes, allowing the American public to see in real time what was being said and how reliable it was. scumbag-Schiff’s use of the rules is aimed to avoid that step and go directly to impeachment, forcing the Senate to do the job the full House should have done in the first place. Just because the rules allow it doesn’t make it good. Or right, either.
Rich and Poor
Tom McLaughlin
{} ~ It occurred to me a few years ago that I’m a rich man. Many would doubt that if they knew the sum total of my assets and annual income, but it’s true if you accept the definitions of rich and poor my students and I developed over the years: “Poor” is having insufficient funds to supply adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care. “Rich” is defined as having all those things and some extra besides. If you have a little extra, you’re a little rich. If you have a lot extra, you’re very rich.
By that definition, I’ve never been poor because I’ve always had basic necessities. Early in my marriage, however, our family was below the poverty line as calculated annually by the federal government according to income and size of family. I was a low-paid teacher with a stay-at-home wife and four children.  
Working the woodpile at our old house
Our house needed constant repair and maintenance. We drove a vehicle that did too, but never did we lack the basics. I had to learn carpentry, plumbing, and electrical skills to fix up my house, and I had to buy or borrow the necessary tools. I had to learn basic mechanics to work on my vehicles because they frequently broke down and I couldn’t afford to have someone else do it. I had to cut my own firewood for heat. Those were our circumstances for most of three decades.  
My wife and me  
About twenty years ago things changed. Opportunities came up and my income rose. I could start paying down the mortgage and other debts and after ten years I was debt-free. I considered taking early retirement from teaching and a few years later I did — while keeping the part-time jobs I always had. My income went down, but with no payments to make we still lived well. I spent more time on photography, which I enjoy very much, and now I’m making money with that too. Life is good. I have everything I want — another definition of rich.  
Although I’ve written the following before in this space, it’s worth repeating. My wife will agree that the happiest times of our lives so far were when we had only those basic necessities and no more —  when we were under the federal poverty line. I worried about paying the bills many months, but we did it. We never threw food away and ate a lot of soup. We shopped at thrift stores and yard sales and we got excited when finding a nice piece of furniture or clothing cheap.  
Our youngest in the old kitchen  
My late father-in-law came up during the depression and his family didn’t have much. Still, I remember him saying: “I was happiest when we were eating onion sandwiches.” By that, he meant bread and onions were all there was to eat for a while. My own father was the same age and he also came up through the depression His father, my grandfather, was a binge-drinking alcoholic who often burned up his paycheck with booze. He made enough money as a street-car driver in the Carmen’s Union (of which he was president), and somehow kept his job, but his family lacked basic necessities. Those were not happy times for my father, the oldest of his six children. If not for my grandfather’s drinking, his family would not have been poor.  
Sad evidence of poor money management  
It might be claimed that America won the war on poverty. If we still have people lacking funds for basic necessities, it’s likely because, like my grandfather, they don’t manage their money well. Yes, there are people who have had serious health problems and have run up enormous medical bills. Even if they went bankrupt and had to go on welfare, their basic needs are still met — unless they spend unwisely. Unfortunately, that describes a rising number of Americans  
More sad evidence  
Their DBT cards are charged up at the beginning of every month but they run out of funds after the first or second week. Can that be helped? Not by government, it can’t. If their allotments were increased, it’s likely they’d continue to spend frivolously and still be poor for two or three weeks of every month. Maybe they’ll run out of food or heating oil. Maybe they won’t have enough for gasoline. Maybe they’ll be late on the rent or the electric bill or the gas bill, or all of those.  
Schools used to teach something called “home economics,” but I don’t think it’s part of the curriculum in most schools anymore. Even if people learned those skills, a certain amount of self-discipline is still necessary. My grandfather lacked it, and too many others in America do too. Their numbers are rising. As my old friend, fellow selectman and “Overseer of the Poor,” the late Stub Eastman, said: “We have the poor, and the poor have us.”  
Some things never change, and recent promises by 2020 Democrats won’t have any effect either.  
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Tea Party Command Center to add comments!

Join Tea Party Command Center