10/20/20

Mister Trump Goes to Washington

By: T.F. Stern | Self-Educated American

A curious dream awakened me this morning, tying an old Jimmy Stewart movie, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, with current political situations.  Wiping the sleep from my eyes it occurred to me how President Trump and the fictional character Jefferson Smith, newly appointed Senator, have much in common.

(Mr-Smith-Goes-to-Washington-image-courtesy-of-silverpetticoatreviw-dot-com)

The corrupt political machine run from behind closed doors by a mover and shaker named Jim Taylor, had the puppet strings on just about everyone in their state, to include long time Senator Joseph Paine, played by Claude Raines.  Jefferson Smith idolized Paine, his having been a close friend of his own father.  Little did Smith know the underhanded dealings that were being pushed through by Senator Paine and his buddies, legislation which would greatly enhance their financial holdings by selling out their constituents.

With a little effort, very little effort, it would be easy to insert George Soros’ name for Jim Taylor and then trade out the Clinton Crime Syndicate/Obama Crime Syndicate along with Joe Biden and Son Criminal Enterprises.  So, we’d have former Senator Hillary Clinton and Former Vice President Joe Biden taking the place of Senator Paine.  Remember, we’re making a movie, purely fictional, just a silly movie for entertainment purposes only.  (Yeah, right)

The plotline would have to be altered a bit; but basically, the corruption would easily work the same way.  President Trump, upon taking office was unaware of exactly how much corruption was involved as his every move to clean up Washington was under fire.  Those involved in moving taxpayer’s money overseas to corrupt politicians so those politicians could line their pockets; but in return would pay huge kickbacks to the Clinton Foundation or to Biden family members to launder that money; all this was done to enrich the crime syndicate members.

The Obama administration “allegedly”, have to remember to include allegedly, had moved a large number of munitions illegally from the U.S. Government to our enemies, arms which eventually were used to take out one of our helicopters.  Unfortunately, the serial number for the ordinance which took out the helicopter was identifiable and belonged to weapons that were supposedly still in U.S. military possession.  Long story short…an arrangement was made whereby those weapons would be transferred back into our hands in a place called Benghazi.

It was supposed to have gone smoothly but as they say in the Middle East, “Shiite Happens”. Those friendly terrorists murdered the U.S. diplomat (arms smuggler) and three unexpected special forces heroes who defended the embassy for a couple of hours.  The Obama administration claimed the terrorist attack was the result of a YouTube video and arrested the maker of that video in order to distract the public.  Hillary Clinton, then-Secretary of State, erased thousands of email entries from her illegal server to eliminate any connection with illegal arms sales to Islamic terrorists and the FBI and Justice Department, “allegedly” working under the direction of President Obama, turned a blind eye to the entire incident.

Meanwhile, Vice President Biden “allegedly” set his son Hunter up as a bag-man between corrupt Ukrainian government officials and the U.S. taxpayers.  Money was handed over to the politicians so they could line their pockets and the Ukrainian crime bosses “allegedly” hired Hunter to a high paying position which only existed on paper in order to launder money back to the Biden Crime Family account. This process was “allegedly” duplicated with the Communist Chinese government with even more U.S. taxpayer money being laundered back and forth.

Had Donald Trump been defeated and Hillary Clinton become president the American public would never have known about any of the criminal activity that was being covered up with a phony FBI investigation followed by the Justice Department sweeping any left-over dust under the rug.  Hillary Clinton, as we have recently found out, didn’t want the public looking into all her email transactions.  What better way to throw off the spotlight than to cook up a phony document making it look like Donald Trump had violated his office by asking for an investigation into former VP Joe Biden’s crooked dealings over in Ukraine?

The Democrat Party was then given the task of making the phony Ukraine investigation look legitimate which included the 40 million-dollar Mueller Investigation which led up to the phony impeachment hearings.  At one time those involved in an attempted coup would have been rounded up, charged with Treason, and tried for their crimes; but that has not happened.

It can be officially called an attempted coup, we now have a ‘smoking gun’, the information found on Hunter Biden’s laptop computer.  Apparently, the FBI had this information for over a year and kept it from the public’s view, hoping that Biden would win the Oval Office and this whole mess would blow over.  But the information got out before the November elections and, even with the help of the major news media outlets refusing to share the story along with Twitter and Facebook censoring stories linked to the Biden’s corruption…the public can now connect the dots.

Unlike Senator Paine in the movie, whose conscience caused him to break down and admit his own corruption there on the Senate floor, there are no individuals with any honor left in them; referring to the Obama Crime Syndicate, the Clinton Crime Syndicate, and the Biden Crime Family.  They are content to remain silent as to their “alleged” involvement; instead, ramping up their attacks on President Trump, hoping the November elections will make this all go away.

It isn’t much different than the original movie; thugs pushing young boys carrying their home edition newspapers into the ditch and stealing away any news of the Shadow Government’s involvement while their own big-city newspapers unleash all manner of lies about President Trump.  “Your Comment Violated Community Standards”, oh, and Trump must be destroyed or we’re all going down!

The only thing that matters is holding onto or obtaining power.  Secret Combinations are made between those willing to sell their souls for a piece of the pie.


t-f-stern-1Self-Educated American, Senior Edi­tor, T.F. Stern is both a retired City of Hous­ton police offi­cer and, most recently, a retired self-employed lock­smith (after serving that industry for 40 plus years). He is also a gifted polit­i­cal and social com­men­ta­tor. His pop­u­lar and insight­ful blog, T.F. Sterns Rant­i­ngs, has been up and at it since January of 2005.

10/20/20

American Muslims for Palestine Pushes Debunked Israeli Police Exchange Narrative

By: Steve Emerson | CCNS

The video is just over two minutes, but it sure is disturbing. Blindfolded Palestinian detainees appear next to an image of American police in riot gear.

In the video posted to its Facebook page Wednesday, American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) claimed that programs that take American police leaders to Israel “only exacerbate U.S. law enforcement officials’ disproportionate use of force, especially against people of color.”

“Participants’ pre-existing notions of militarized security were reinforced by the Israeli officials who teach the methods of mass surveillance, racial profiling, violent repression of protests, infiltration of communities and the militarization of border security,” a narrator says.

It’s an extension of an ongoing campaign to connect the training programs to American police violence, in hopes of persuading local governments to prohibit their law enforcement agencies from participating. The AMP video ends by directing viewers to a website called “Deadly Exchange,” run by the anti-Israel group Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).

JVP did not start the campaign to end police exchanges in Israel, but it became one of the effort’s leaders in 2017 when it launched a concerted campaign under the banner “Deadly Exchange.”

The campaign, its reliance on unsubstantiated allegations and anti-Semitic roots, were the subject of a two-part investigation published last week by the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

The investigation led to two major findings:

  1. Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) spent nearly three years promoting “Deadly Exchange,” saying the police training in Israel led to “extrajudicial executions, shoot-to-kill policies, police murders …” The organization quietly scrubbed that language from the Deadly Exchange website in June, issuing an “update” which cautioned that “Suggesting that Israel is the start or source of American police violence or racism shifts the blame from the United States to Israel … It also furthers an antisemitic ideology.”
  2. Critics, like JVP, AMP, and others, offer no evidence to support their allegations. Rather, they make emotional appeals, juxtaposing images of Israeli police in tactical gear with similarly outfitted American cops. The IPT interviewed four police chiefs – two active and two retired – who said they saw none of the horrors described by JVP or AMP.

JVP’s update is an indirect acknowledgment that the campaign was rooted in a hyperbolic, anti-Semitic smear. And the investigation showed how rhetoric falsely linking Israeli police training to American police killing black people has been repeated by Israel bashers like Linda Sarsour, Marc Lamont Hill, and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

Despite its new disclaimer, JVP has not acknowledged its own role pushing the kind of anti-Semitic rhetoric it now warns against. Despite engaging in rhetoric it now says “provides fodder for those racist and antisemitic tropes,” it wants people to believe the rest of the campaign is grounded in truth. That’s simply not the case.

The IPT spoke with exchange organizers and participants. Each said the programs contained no hands-on training of any kind. And rather than pushing a message of oppression, the chiefs said the programs emphasized the importance of good community relations, of making sure disparate community voices are heard.

“So I knew my experience was nothing even close to what [critics] were trying to portray or what they’ve said was the purpose of the training, the executive-level leadership training,” Fayetteville, N.C. Police Chief Gina V. Hawkins said. “Definitely, none of the information in regards to any type of policing that’s against any type of demographics, because that, one, would go totally against my beliefs, and totally against the beliefs of law enforcement, the professional law enforcement that we know.”

LaGrange, Ga. Chief Louis Dekmar, a past president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, has traveled to Israel repeatedly to meet with counterparts there and knows many other police exchange alumni. None has returned saying, “Man, you’re not going to believe what we learned about crowd control or you’re not going to believe what we learned about new interrogation techniques.”

Rather, Dekmar said, “It’s how the Israeli police, under extremely difficult circumstances, has a respect for human rights and civil rights, the accountability system that includes the courts and how they do a very good job under difficult circumstances.”

When the AMP claims that the programs “exacerbate U.S. law enforcement officials’ disproportionate use of force, especially against people of color,” the video shows a New York Police Department car rolling into a crowd of protesters.

 

 

But real-life experiences from two retired police chiefs who participated in Israeli police exchanges debunk the AMP claim.

George Turner’s tenure as Atlanta police chief included protests tied to the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter movements. A CNN report from 2011 showed that Turner’s officers did not use tear gas or any excessive force in finding a middle ground between people’s rights to protest and maintaining order.

In Olympia, Wash., Police Chief Ronnie Roberts advocated on behalf of environmental protesters opposed to fracking sand being shipped through Olympia’s port.

In all the years of casting interaction with Israelis as a cause for American police excesses, neither JVP nor AMP or anyone else has produced a whistleblower to contradict the chiefs’ accounts. And while JVP still calls the program “Deadly Exchange,” there is not one example of anyone being harmed as a result of the police programs.

Hawkins pointed to a general tendency to “repeat what others say without any evidence or their own experience from what they’ve seen or what they’ve heard. Without any personal experience, they empathize with someone else’s story. Which is good. It’s okay to empathize. But when you repeat it without understanding, or without true facts, we see a lot on social media right now in which people are just retweeting false information, or sharing information without the full story.”

It is important to consider the overall objective held by the police exchange program critics.

JVP members “unequivocally oppose Zionism.” The organization includes Omar Barghouti, the father of the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement, on a “Deadly Exchange” advisory board. Barghouti openly admits that he opposes “oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian – rational Palestinian, not a sell-out Palestinian – will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”

AMP “unequivocally supports the right of return” for Palestinians, something which would end Israel’s existence as a Jewish homeland by flooding it with Palestinian “refugees” who are generations removed from any relative who actually lived in Israel or the Palestinian territories.

We get it. They hate Israel and can’t tolerate anything that acknowledges its existence or contributions to the world. Just come out and say it. It would at least be honest and not a perpetuation of this fact-free narrative.

To see part 1 of the IPT investigation, which focuses on JVP’s false narrative, click here. To see part 2, and hear directly from the police chiefs and organizers, click here.

Research Analyst Teri Blumenfeld contributed to this report.

10/20/20

Finally, the DoJ Sues Google

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Justice Department Sues Monopolist Google For Violating Antitrust Laws

The Antitrust Case against Google | Yale Insights

Department Files Complaint Against Google to Restore Competition in Search and Search Advertising Markets

Today, the Department of Justice — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives.  Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” said Attorney General William Barr. “Since my confirmation, I have prioritized the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive.  This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”

“As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation—this time in vital digital markets,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen.

As one of the wealthiest companies on the planet with a market value of $1 trillion, Google is the monopoly gatekeeper to the internet for billions of users and countless advertisers worldwide. For years, Google has accounted for almost 90 percent of all search queries in the United States and has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in search and search advertising.

As alleged in the Complaint, Google has entered into a series of exclusionary agreements that collectively lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet, by requiring that Google be set as the preset default general search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide and, in many cases, prohibiting preinstallation of a competitor. In particular, the Complaint alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:

  • Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service.
  • Entering into tying and other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference.
  • Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default – and de facto exclusive – general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools.
  • Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.

These and other anticompetitive practices harm competition and consumers, reducing the ability of innovative new companies to develop, compete, and discipline Google’s behavior.

The antitrust laws protect our free-market economy and forbid monopolists from engaging in anti-competitive practices. They also empower the Department of Justice to bring cases like this one to remedy violations and restore competition, as it has done for over a century in notable cases involving monopolists over other critical industries undergirding the American economy like Standard Oil and the AT&T telephone monopoly. Decades ago the Department’s case against Microsoft recognized that the antitrust laws forbid anticompetitive agreements by high-technology monopolists to require preinstalled default status, to shut off distribution channels to rivals, and to make software undeletable. The Complaint alleges that Google is using similar agreements itself to maintain and extend its own dominance.

The Complaint alleges that Google’s anticompetitive practices have had harmful effects on competition and consumers. Google has foreclosed any meaningful search competitor from gaining vital distribution and scale, eliminating competition for a majority of search queries in the United States. By restricting competition in search, Google’s conduct has harmed consumers by reducing the quality of search (including on dimensions such as privacy, data protection, and use of consumer data), lessening choice in search, and impeding innovation. By suppressing competition in advertising, Google has the power to charge advertisers more than it could in a competitive market and to reduce the quality of the services it provides them. Through filing the lawsuit, the Department seeks to stop Google’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition for American consumers, advertisers, and all companies now reliant on the internet economy.

Google is a limited liability company organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware and is headquartered in Mountain View, California. Google is owned by Alphabet Inc., a publicly-traded company incorporated and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware and headquartered in Mountain View, California.

10/19/20

Biden’s New Super PAC Is A Foreign Government Agent

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Primer from last year:

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has a brand new Super PAC in his corner, and it’s being run by a registered foreign agent for the government of Azerbaijan. Larry Rasky, a lobbyist who previously worked as a top campaign operative for Biden, is listed as the treasurer of the PAC, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

“A former Joe Biden aide has filed paperwork to form a super PAC, called Unite the Country, that is set to boost the former vice president with millions of dollars in spending in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary,” Politico reported on Tuesday.

Other 2020 Campaign Websites from Jan. 2019-Mar. 2020

Records filed with the Department of Justice show that Rasky is also a registered foreign agent lobbying on behalf of the government of Azerbaijan. The records, which were filed pursuant to the Foreign Agent Registration Act, show that Rasky was hired by the Azerbaijani government on April 23, 2019. Federal documents signed by Rasky show that he reports directly to Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan’s ambassador to the United States.

“[The government of Azerbaijan] will pay RASKY a minimum monthly non-refundable fee (the ‘Monthly Fee’) for the Services provided of $15,000 per month, plus a 5% administrative fee as described below,” Rasky’s contract with the foreign government states. “The Monthly Fees totaling $94,500 shall be paid in two equal installments. The initial payment of $47,250 is due upon the signing of this agreement. The second payment of $47,250 is due on July 15, 2019.”

Rasky changed the name of the PAC from “For The People” to “Unite the Country” on Monday, according to FEC filings. The filings do not state which country Rasky intends to unite on Biden’s behalf. More here.

***

So, what does all this have to do with the current Hunter email scandal? Plenty as it seems that Hunter with other people including additional members of the Biden family via the surfacing emails are defacto lobbyists… meaning paid foreign agents and in violation of the Foreign Agents Registration Act which is governed by the Justice Department.

Just now, a check of two keywords (Biden and Rosemont), shows no registration(s) at all.

For reference on Rosemont:

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of the money.

An update:

Devon Archer, whose conviction was reinstated by Wednesday’s ruling, had partnered with Hunter Biden in Rosemont Seneca, a Washington-based investment firm. Starting in 2014, the pair served together on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company accused of corruption, at the same time that his father oversaw U.S. policy towards Ukraine. Hunter Biden has called his decision to take the board seat “a mistake,” while Joe Biden has defended the decision, saying, “my son did nothing wrong.”

A lawyer for Archer, Matthew Schwartz, decried the ruling by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. “As the experienced federal judge who presided over Mr. Archer’s month-long trial determined, he ‘lacked the requisite intent and is thus innocent of the crimes charged,’” Schwartz said. “Today’s ruling, which second-guesses that judge’s decision without having sat through the evidence and listened to the witnesses, is beyond disappointing.”

To say this is complicated is an understatement but now we must include Blue Star Strategies to be fair.

The company, Blue Star Strategies, was hired by Burisma in November 2015, after Hunter Biden joined the Burisma Board of Directors.   Blue Star’s task was to improve the “image” of Burisma and its oligarch owner,  Mykola Zlochevsky both in Ukraine and the United States.

Grassley & Johnson; Seek Information Regarding “Blue Star ...

The Obama administration let a Democratic p.r. company that worked for Ukrainian energy firm Burisma take part in a conference call about an upcoming visit to Ukraine by then-Vice President Joe Biden, emails obtained by The Post show.

An associate at Blue Star Strategies then emailed a memo with minutes of the conference call hosted by the White House to a top Burisma executive, Vadym Pozharskyi, as well as to Joe Biden’s son Hunter and Hunter’s business partner, Devon Archer, both of whom sat on Burisma’s board.

The trip, in December 2015, turned out to be the one during which Biden later bragged about forcing Ukrainian officials to fire a state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma by threatening to withhold a $1 billion US loan guarantee.

The memo, sent shortly after the Dec. 2, 2015, call, also “outlined the trip’s agenda and addressed several questions regarding US policy toward Ukraine.”

Blue Star has said it began working for Burisma and contacting Ukrainian officials on its behalf in November 2015, and an email shows that on Nov. 18, 2015, Pozharskyi sent the Blue Star contract to Hunter Biden, Archer, and Eric Schwerin, president of the Rosemont Seneca Partners investment firm. More here.

Ah yes, we did find a FARA filing there for Blue Star Strategies:

Interesting names right? One of them, Sally Painter.

  • Newly released State Department emails from 2016 shed light on an effort by a consultant for Burisma Holdings to set up a meeting with a top State Department official regarding Ukraine. 
  • Hunter Biden served with the consultant, Sally Painter, on the board of the Truman National Security Project. Biden reportedly recommended that Burisma hire Painter’s firm, Blue Star Strategies.
  • Emails show that Painter approached Tony Blinken about Ukraine at a conference for the think tank in June 2016. Blinken is now a top campaign surrogate for Joe Biden.

Then there is Karen Tramontano. From 1997 to 2001, Ms. Tramontano served in the White House as deputy chief of staff to President William Jefferson Clinton and counselor to Erskine Bowles and John Podesta. Her portfolio encompassed a wide range of issues, including international trade and transatlantic relations as well as economic and financial issues concerning the World Trade Organization, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund.

10/19/20

Meet the Key Biden Team Players

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Out of the Biden campaign’s nearly 700-person volunteer advisory group, eight members work for Facebook, Apple, Google, or Amazon, the New York Times reported in August. They include Jessica Hertz who previously worked in the Obama White House and left a top position at Facebook to join the Biden transition team. Then there is Carlos Monje, a former Twitter public policy director that also joined forces with the Biden operation. More here.

There is also the campaign chairperson Anita Dunn, a Democratic strategist, married to Robert Bauer, a former partner at Perkins Coie and former personal counsel to President Obama and the White House Counsel. Anita Dunn left the Obama White House to later to return to SKDKnickerbocker, an advertising and consulting firm she founded that lobbies for a variety of corporate interests, and where she serves as a partner. As of November, she was still leading the firm. The “D” in the firm’s name refers to Dunn. The first “K” is for Bill Knapp, currently on leave from the company to work for Michael Bloomberg’s campaign.

Ron Klain, Biden’s chief of staff during his time as vice president, isn’t officially on the campaign payroll, the longtime Biden confidant is still one of his closest advisers and is said to know his strengths and weaknesses more than almost anyone. Before working directly for Biden, Klain helped President Bill Clinton shepherd through his judicial nominations and later became Vice President Al Gore’s chief of staff.

Klain also helped lead Hillary Clinton’s debate prep back in 2016 and reprised that role prior to Biden and Trump’s first debate.

Critically, Klain served as the “Ebola czar” for the Obama administration and successfully helped guide the federal response to containing the outbreak of that virus in 2014 and 2015. Biden also hired younger sister, Valerie Biden Owens. Biden Owens was just 27 when she ran her brother’s successful first Senate run against an entrenched Republican incumbent. Biden Owens was instrumental in her brother’s decision to reverse his longtime support of the Hyde Amendment during the Democratic primary. Then there is Steve Ricchetti who also had a lobbying firm that worked for a few major pharmaceutical companies, among other clients. Add in Mike Donilon is another longtime Biden adviser and friend. He’s considered one of the former vice president’s most trusted confidants, and the pair has a long history — he’s been helping Biden as a strategist since 1981. Donilon previously worked for former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder — who, in 1990, became the country’s first Black governor since Reconstruction — and President Clinton. And like much of Biden’s inner circle, he’s helped the candidate prepare for debates in this campaign.

Biden campaign announces $280 million ad buy through fall ...

But hold on… there is more. Plenty more, but you’ll get the point as you read on.

Here is a list of who’s who on Biden’s economic team. Several are likely to get key posts if the former vice president manages to win the White House.

The progressives

  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
  • Sarah Bloom Raskin, former Fed governor and Obama Treasury hire, her husband is a progressive member of House
  • Richard Cordray, the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • William Spriggs, chief economist to the AFL-CIO and former assistant secretary for policy at Obama Labor Department
  • Andrew Yang, former presidential candidate

The Biden veterans

  • Jared Bernstein served as chief economist to Vice President Biden. and now at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Ben Harris, also served as chief economist to Vice President Biden. He is now at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management
  • Don Graves, was Biden’s counselor as vice president, currently head of corporate responsibility and community relations at KeyBank

The Obama moderates

  • Gary Gensler, former head of the CFTC under Obama
  • Larry Strickling led Obama’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration
  • Lael Brainard, Fed governor, and former Obama Treasury official
  • Austan Goolsbee, former Obama chair of the council of economic advisers

The young guns

  • Byron Auguste, president of [email protected] and worked at the Obama White House as well as McKinsey & Co.
  • Heather Boushey, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. She served as chief economist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential transition team
  • Gautam Raghavan, chief of staff to Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He was a former staffer for the Obama White House
  • Julie Siegel, a former Warren staffer who worked at CFPB and at Obama White House
  • Felicia Wong, president, and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute and an expert on race and barriers to an inclusive economy
  • Sonal Shah previously worked at Goldman Sachs, Google, and the Obama White House. She was most recently the national policy director for Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign
  • Bharat Ramamurti, Warren’s senior counsel for banking and economic policy
  • Cecilia Munoz, former head of Obama’s domestic policy and worked at the National Council of La Raza

Pulling from Wall Street

  • Roger Altman, founder and senior chairman of Evercore, served in Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department
  • Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan Chase JPM, -1.16%. Dimon is routinely mentioned as a potential candidate for Treasury secretary
  • Roger Ferguson, president, and CEO of TIAA. He is a former vice-chairman of the Federal Reserve
  • Tom Nides, managing director and vice-chairman of Morgan Stanley MS, -0.69% was deputy secretary of state in the Obama Administration
  • Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock BLK, -0.73% has been backed by some of Biden’s Wall Street supporters for a role in the new administration
  • Tony James, the executive vice-chairman of the private equity firm Blackstone BX, -0.18% is also on the wish-list of Biden’s Wall Street supporters
  • Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, has been a policy adviser to congressional Democrats

Team Fed

While not advisers in any sense, these officials could be tapped for jobs in the administration or for top Fed jobs.

  • Raphael Bostic, president of the Atlanta Fed, is the first Black leader of a regional Fed. Bostic has been speaking out about the need to narrow racial and economic gaps
  • Mary Daly, president of the San Francisco Fed, has a unique story, rising from high-school dropout to head a regional Fed bank. She is a gay woman who can explain economic issues to a broader audience than Wall Street.
  • Eric Rosengren, president of the Boston Fed. Longest-serving regional Fed president, first appointed in 2007. He has been tough on Wall Street regulation.

Potential Republicans

  • Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC, has been mentioned as having a possible role in a Biden administration due to her tough stand on bank regulation
  • Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis Fed and former Republican candidate for governor of California, favors tougher capital standards for banks and has been a dove on interest-rate policy

10/19/20

Are there Enough Christians to Save America?

By: Cliff Kincaid

Deaths from the China virus number more than 1 million worldwide. Deaths from abortion worldwide number 1 billion. Interestingly, the China virus problem has been used in many states to shut down churches and keep abortion clinics open as “essential businesses.” In effect, the China virus serves as a cover for mass murder and Christian persecution.

In response, a movement called “Let Us Worship” is calling for civil disobedience against governmental authorities in the United States suppressing Christian gatherings. It is led by Christian activist Sean Feucht, who says “I burn to see abortion and Roe v. Wade overturned,” and quotes Mother Teresa as saying, “Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want.”

In regard to abortion, which has claimed 63 million lives in America since Roe v. Wade, the comparison with the China virus is made not to minimize the suffering and lives lost by one evil or another. Rather, the comparison is designed to highlight how the threat of the China virus has diverted our attention from what Thomas W. Jacobson, Executive Director of the Global Life Campaign, has called “the greatest genocide in history.”

“Many Christian leaders are reluctant to talk about abortion,” he says, “but it is the number one cause of death in the United States and worldwide.”

“It is a great tragedy that more than 1 million people have died worldwide this year from the coronavirus pandemic,” Jacobson says. “It is also a great tragedy that about 1 million babies are aborted by choice every month (and this only includes the reported ones).”

He adds, “Look at the massive global efforts every nation is undertaking to protect our lives – the lives of the born.  Should we not undertake an equally great effort to protect babies in the womb and end abortion?”

Taking a religious view, he says, “Covid-19 is a global plague like those recorded or prophesied in the Bible.  This year is 2020, the 100th anniversary of the first government authorizing abortion [the Russian communist regime], and more than 1 billion babies have been sacrificed in one century. I do not know for certain, but if Covid-19 is the beginning of God’s judgments for the slaughter of innocent babies, then either this pandemic or additional plagues or catastrophes may continue, one after another, until we humble ourselves, repent of our sins, and stop murdering babies.”

The Global Life Campaign is trying to provide copies of its Abortion Worldwide Report: 1 Century, 100 Nations, 1 Billion Babies, to “leaders and people of influence in the United States.” These include 130 church denomination headquarters, 40 selected clergy and churches, 60 Christian leaders and ministries, 45 Christian colleges and universities, and 55 pro-life/family organizations.

It is sad that an effort has to be undertaken to provide this report to religious leaders and churches.  But Jacobson cites the case of two Baptist denominations, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and the American Baptist Church USA (ABC).  He notes, “The SBC stands firmly for the sanctity of human life and against abortion. But the ABC thinks abortion can be ‘morally acceptable.’”

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris is a member of the ABC. Presidential candidate Joe Biden claims to be a Catholic.

His review of 14 church denominations found the following:

  • Church denominations standing for the sanctity of human life and opposing abortion include the Anglican Church, Assemblies of God, Catholic Church, Church of God, Church of God in Christ, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, North American Lutheran Church, and the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Church denominations supporting abortion, include the American Baptist Church USA, Episcopal Church, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and United Methodist Church.

But the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court gives him hope. “Based on her faith, character, integrity, and commitment to the original intent of the Framers of the United States Constitution, President Donald Trump made an exceptionally wise choice in nominating Amy Coney Barrett as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court,” he says. “By her life, family, instruction, legal career, and judicial decisions, she represents the most honorable aspects of our nation.”

Former Trump Campaign Deputy Chairman Rick Gates says Trump’s appointment of Barrett has galvanized voters on both sides of the political aisle. But he goes on to say, “The current Trump Administration is going to be assessed on its handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the state of the economy.”

But how many of those voters know about the death toll from abortion and the differences between the two major political parties on the issue? How many know that abortion has taken far more lives than the China virus? What’s more, how many understand that China leads the world in the number of abortions – and that the number from that communist nation alone is now more than 401 million?

Some observers say that if Trump emphasizes his pro-life stand, contrasting that with the Biden/Harris ticket, he could turn the tide.  There are more than 80 million Catholics in the U.S. and Barrett is one of them.

All he has to do is quote Bishop Rick Stika of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Knoxville, Tennessee, who says that “abortion is the preeminent issue for the Catholic Church” and that Democratic candidate Joe Biden “supports ending the Hyde Amendment [limiting federal funding of abortion], is against parental choice for education, and wishes to make abortion the law of the land.” Putting the issue in direct and stark terms, he added, “If a person supports or promotes abortion, it is no different than supporting slavery. It is the ultimate abuse against human dignity and the human rights of the baby. It is the ultimate act of child abuse.”

A similar message has come from Father Ed Meeks of Christ the King Catholic Church, who says America is “staring into the abyss” on November 3 and that “Catholic” Joe Biden betrays Catholic teachings on the sanctity of life and marriage.

In a new video, “The Silence That Kills,” an Operation Rescue video calls for protests against Catholic Bishops that do not denounce Joe Biden by name.

Non-Catholics are also speaking out. Black Baptist Minister E.W. Jackson Sr., founder of the S.T.A.N.D. Foundation sponsors regular conference calls with experts on election issues to bypass Big Tech censorship and bring the truth to millions of Christians. He asks, “Will Christians vote in large enough numbers to counteract ‘ballot harvesting,’ mail-in balloting, and other practices that make vote fraud easier?”

At the March for Life in Washington earlier this year, President Trump said, “They are coming after me because I am fighting for you.” He was the first sitting president to appear at the massive pro-life event.

10/19/20

Was the MERS Virus a Model for the Creation of COVID-19?

By: Col. Lawrence Sellin (Ret.) | CCNS

First reported in 2012 in Saudi Arabia, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is a respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus with symptoms similar to the COVID-19 coronavirus, namely, fever, cough, and shortness of breath with a range from none, to mild, to severe.

As of January 2020, about 2,500 cases of MERS have been reported worldwide. Human-to-human transmission typically requires close contact with an infected person, the spread being uncommon outside of hospitals.

In contrast to COVID-19, the death rate from MERS is about 35%.

MERS is believed to have originated in bats, was transmitted to camels as an intermediate host, then infecting humans, who had contact with the infected animals.

Although the COVID-19 virus has structural similarities to bat coronaviruses, its precise origin has yet to be identified.

The most distinguishing and unique structural feature of the COVID-19 virus is the furin polybasic cleavage site, a sequence of amino acids that interacts with human cell enzymes, which “cut” or “cleave” parts of the viral structure, thus contributing to the life cycle of the virus.

In the case of COVID-19, that sequence of amino acids is usually identified as proline-arginine-arginine-alanine or, in scientific notation, PRRA, which precedes an arginine-serine cleavage point, R-S.

It is unknown from where the PRRA sequence originated because it does not exist in any of the bat coronaviruses identified as close relatives of the COVID-19 virus.

A model for such a structure, however, does exist in the MERS coronavirus, which has a proline-arginine-serine-valine or PRSV sequence preceding the R-S cleavage point and having the following alignment:

COVID-19    PRRAR-S

MERS           PRSVR-S

Both sequences begin with proline (P), both are polybasic having more than one arginine (R) and both have a non-polar amino acid in the fourth position, alanine (A) and valine (V), respectively, prior to the cleavage point, R-S.

It is important to note that COVID-19 and MERS are from two completely different families of coronaviruses, so one could not have evolved from the other.

According to the scientific article “Structures and dynamics of the novel S1/S2 protease cleavage site loop of the SARS-CoV-2 spike glycoprotein,” the presence of proline (P) is highly unusual.

Unlike other amino acids, proline produces structural rigidity in proteins and is found in only 5 out of 132 identified furin cleavage site sequences.

Likewise, alanine (A) located just prior to the R-S cleavage point exists in only 5 out of 132 furin cleavage site sequences.

In an early June scientific article, “A novel bat coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2 contains natural insertions at the S1/S2 cleavage site of the spike protein,” the authors claimed to have identified a bat coronavirus, called RmYN02, that appears to have a “precursor” of the COVID-19 furin polybasic cleavage site.

RmYN02 has a proline-alanine-alanine (PAA) insertion roughly in a similar position to the COVID-19 virus, but PAA is chemically neutral, lacks any basic amino acids, and has no R-S point to be cleaved.

RmYN02’s PAA sequence, therefore, cannot be considered a precursor of the COVID-19 furin polybasic cleavage site.

So, the question remains, if no yet identified close relative of COVID-19 has a similar furin polybasic cleavage site, from where did such a unique structural feature with amino acids in unusual positions arise?

Furin polybasic cleavage sites are known to increase viral infectivity and pathogenicity. Genetic engineering techniques for inserting such cleavage sites have existed for at least fifteen years.

At present, no natural evolutionary pathway has been identified to explain the presence of COVID-19’s furin polybasic cleavage site.

Those who may have manufactured the COVID-19 virus could have been trying to mimic the cleavage site found in MERS.

Furthermore, the high rate of human-to-human transmission found for COVID-19, may have resulted from “pre-adapting” the virus for human infection by serial infection or “passaging” of the virus using animal models genetically-engineered to express the human coronavirus receptor.

There is now a preponderance of evidence that the COVID-19 virus was the product of laboratory experimentation rather than a natural infectious “jump” from bats to humans.

China still has a lot of explaining to do.

This column was originally published at WION.

(Lawrence Sellin, Ph.D. is a retired U.S. Army Reserve colonel, who previously worked at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases and conducted basic and clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry. He is a member of the Citizens Commission on National Security. His email address is [email protected])

10/19/20

Trump Working to Free American Hostages, Including Austin Tice

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Some things just cannot be mentioned by President Trump on the campaign trail for fear of damage to existing talks and harm to the hostages. Such is true with those that the President is working diligently to release. Further, it should be noted that under the Obama/Biden administration, the notable hostages released include the treasonous Bowe Bergdahl for 5 Gitmo detainees and likely some other side deals, yet to still be determined beyond the Taliban’s diplomatic facility in Qatar.

There were also 4 Americans that were released by Iran and thankfully so, however that included an exchange of at least 7 Iranians imprisoned in the United States and that pesky pile of money alleged to have been $150 billion.

But read on and give a hat tip to the Trump White House for all of these efforts.

WSJ: A top White House of­fi­cial re­cently trav­eled to Dam­as­cus for se­cret talks with the As­sad regime, mark­ing the first time such a high-level U.S. of­fi­cial has met in Syria with the iso­lated gov­ern­ment in more than a decade, ac­cord­ing to Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials and oth­ers fa­mil­iar with the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Journalist Austin Tice went missing in Syria in 2012 and hasn’t been heard from since. Photo: Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Zuma Press

Kash Pa­tel, a deputy as­sistant to Pres­i­dent Trump and the top White House coun­tert­error­ism of­fi­cial, went to Dam­as­cus ear­lier this year in an ef­fort to se­cure re­lease of at least two Amer­i­cans be­lieved to be held by Pres­i­dent Bashar al-As­sad, the of­fi­cials said. Of­fi­cials fa­mil­iar with the trip de­clined to say whom Mr. Pa­tel met with dur­ing his trip.

The last known talks be­tween White House and Syr­ian of­fi­cials in Dam­as­cus took place in 2010. The U.S. cut off diplo­matic re­la­tions with Syria in 2012 to protest Mr. As­sad’s bru­tal crack­down on pro­testers call­ing for an end to his regime.

U.S. of­fi­cials are hop­ing a deal with Mr. As­sad would lead to free­dom for Austin Tice, a free­lance jour­nal­ist and for­mer Ma­rine of­fi­cer who dis­ap­peared while re­port­ing in Syria in 2012, and Majd Ka­mal­maz, a Syr­ian-Amer­i­can ther­a­pist who dis­ap­peared af­ter be­ing stopped at a Syr­ian gov­ern­ment check­point in 2017. At least four other Amer­i­cans are be­lieved to be held by the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment, but lit­tle is known about those cases.

Ibrahim Ka­mal­maz, one of Mr. Ka­mal­maz’s sons, wel­comed Mr. Pa­tel’s trip as a pos­i­tive step in try­ing to bring his fa­ther home.

“This ad­min­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to our dad’s case, and we con­tinue to speak with of­fi­cials at the high­est lev­els of the U.S. Gov­ern­ment to bring dad home,” he said Sun­day.

A State De­part­ment spokes­woman de­clined to com­ment. White House of­fi­cials didn’t re­spond to re­quests for com­ment. The Syr­ian mis­sion to the United Na­tions didn’t im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment on the visit.

Both the Trump and Obama ad­min­is­trations worked to iso­late Mr. As­sad, who has en­listed help from Rus­sia and Iran to sup­press pop­u­lar protests and armed re­sis­tance that has un­suc­cess­fully sought to force him from power. The nearly decade­ long war has frac­tured the coun­try and left nearly a half-mil­lion peo­ple dead. Ear­lier this year, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion im­posed pun­ish­ing new eco­nomic sanc­tions on Syria that have fur­ther mar­gin­al­ized the As­sad regime.

In March, Mr. Trump wrote Mr. As­sad a pri­vate let­ter propos­ing a “di­rect di­a­logue” about Mr. Tice, and ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials have tried a va­ri­ety of ways to ne­go­ti­ate a deal.

Last week, Lebanon’s top se­cu­rity chief, Ab­bas Ibrahim, met at the White House with Robert O’Brien, the White House na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, to dis­cuss the Amer­i­cans held in Syria, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple in­volved in the talks.

Mr. Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s Gen­eral Se­cu­rity agency, has served as a vi­tal me­di­a­tor be­tween the U.S. and Syria. Last year, he helped to se­cure the re­lease of Sam Good­win, an Amer­i­can trav­eler held for more than two months while vis­it­ing Syria as part of an at­tempt to visit every coun­try in the world.

Mr. Trump has boasted in re­cent months of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s ef­forts in cam­paign ral­lies, and the Re­pub­li­can con­ven­tion fea­tured a video of Mr. Trump meet­ing with Amer­i­cans who had been held in In­dia, Iran, Syria, Tur­key and Ve­nezuela.

Last week, Mr. Pa­tel helped bro­ker a deal that led to the re­lease of two Amer­i­cans held by Iran-backed Houthi forces in Yemen in ex­change for the re­turn of more than 200 Houthi loy­al­ists stuck out­side the frac­tured Mid­dle East na­tion.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is also try­ing to press Ve­nezuela to re­lease six oil ex­ec­u­tives held since 2017. Two other Amer­i­cans were ar­rested in May af­ter en­ter­ing Ve­nezuela to al­legedly take part in an at­tempted coup to over­throw Pres­i­dent Nico­las Maduro.

The fam­i­lies of both Mr. Tice and Mr. Ka­mal­maz be­lieve that the two men are alive, but Syr­ian of­fi­cials haven’t of­fered de­finitive proof.

Talks with the As­sad regime haven’t got­ten very far, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple briefed on the ne­go­ti­a­tions.

The As­sad regime has re­peat­edly de­manded that the U.S. with­draw all its forces from Syria. Sev­eral hun­dred Amer­i­can forces help pro­tect oil fields in the north­east­ern part of the coun­try as part of an ef­fort to pre­vent Is­lamic State from re­gain­ing a foothold in the coun­try.

Con­cerns about the fate of both men was height­ened by the death of Layla Shweikani, a 26-year-old Illi­nois na­tive, who hu­man rights groups said was de­tained, tor­tured and ex­e­cuted by the As­sad regime in 2016 af­ter work­ing as an ac­tivist and aid worker in Syria.

Mr. Trump has taken a per­sonal in­ter­est in try­ing to se­cure Mr. Tice’s free­dom, men­tion­ing his case in a March news con­fer­ence and is­su­ing a state­ment on the eighth an­niver­sary of his dis­ap­pear­ance.

10/18/20

Appreciating the Moment

By: T.F. Stern

These last few weeks have been fun as I’ve been able to improve the audio-video capabilities of our modest home theater system.  We updated the audio quality by switching to an optical digital cable that’s now hooked to our television, and anything that goes through the television to the soundbar speakers.  I had no idea the difference would be that noticeable, speaking as a half-deaf senior citizen.  We also changed out the RCA type cables that run from the LaserDisc player to the back of the television to ‘Monster Cables’ that are supposed to have the better transfer of information.

But that’s not why I’m writing today…

One of the laserdiscs enjoyed this morning was Horowitz in Moscow.  There were images of various patrons soaking up the music produced by this world-class pianist. There was a camera shot from the balcony seating area where someone had placed their personal cassette recorder hoping to capture the experience so it could be played again once they’d gone home.

Here I am on the other side of the world watching and listening to a command performance given many years ago as if I were there.  I’m fortunate to own a laserdisc that captured each moment visually along with crystal clear reproduction of music.  It’s a good bet the audio reproduction on my copy far exceeds anything that was on the cassette recording made from the balcony.

The image shown includes a couple of items of importance.  Center stage is Horowitz as his fingers carefully and methodically move across the keyboard; but secondarily, as the laserdisc progressed, are images of those in the audience taking in the performance.  It occurred to me that I was among those in the audience, no different than if I’d purchased a ticket to sit among them as my reflection ghosts in from my vantage point on the sofa, nearly invisible until you study the image looking for that ghost.

Do we express our appreciation for the gifts we’ve been provided?  Perhaps we should say Thank You more often, not only for the things which are pleasing; but for the challenges that make us appreciate when things aren’t quite so hectic.  Gratitude is our way of paying for those moments, tears of sorrow for the passing of someone close, someone who was part of our world and made a difference, tears of happiness that they’ve gone home to continue their eternal progression.

Think I’ll put on the laserdisc with Harry Chapin’s Final Concert, the one that has Cat’s in the Cradle; yeah… “but he smiled as he did and he said, I’m gonna’ be like him, yeah, you know I’m gonna be like him”.

It dawned on me, my father passed away four years ago, those tears must be for the beautiful music I’ve been enjoying; yeah, must be the music…