How Long Has The Media Been Lying?

One of my longterm interests is the Vietnam War. Partly because I served during that time, but primarily because my cousin, Donald LeRoy Carlson, was killed there. I attended his funeral just days before I went to Navy boot camp.

I’m a founding member of Vietnam Veterans for Factual History. So, I’m constantly researching the war, trying to learn and understand as much about it as I can. I’ve contributed research to books written by authors who are well known in the arena of Vietnam War History.

One of the things that interest me is how the media portrayed the war (very negatively) and why.

So you can imagine my surprise and bemusement when I started researching the South Vietnamese Regular Forces and Popular Forces and came across this interview of Daniel Graham, who headed up intelligence efforts in Vietnam for a while.

I’m going to copy and paste a portion of his interview. I really don’t need to comment on it (although I will briefly.) It’s self-explanatory. Graham describes how Americans discovered a huge underground complex (basically a VC base) that was unoccupied. The VC had apparently left in a hurry and apparently hoped that the base wouldn’t be discovered. But it was.

When the reports started pouring in, Graham hopped on a chopper and raced down there, because he was concerned that any documents or other items of intelligence value might be lost or destroyed by troops who didn’t realize their value.

So, now, we’ll pick up Graham’s story.

But I’ll be damned, when my chopper landed, there were already two TV crews on the ground, CBS and NBC, I think. Nobody in the television crew was English-speaking. One of them was a bunch of Koreans and another was a bunch of Thailanders, and all they were down there [for] was to get the footage. There wasn’t an American newsman anywhere around.

When my chopper landed, I guess they decided I was a very big wheel. Maybe they thought I was a general, because I was a colonel at the time and I had a general staff star on, and they started following me around with the cameras. I went around kicking tires and looking at equipment and documents and so forth.

Now, keep in mind that the VC were already gone. IOW, there was no fighting going on. No guns being fired. No one injured or killed. It was strictly a recovery operation trying to exploit what the VC had left behind.

After he returned to Saigon, Westmoreland and he hopped the next plane back to Washington so they could discuss the find. Now we pick up the story again.

Well, I was sitting in a conference with a bunch of people over at DIA when a fellow came in and he says, “Hey, Danny, you’re on television.” And I said, “Oh, yeah, I know what that is.”

But I get home and my wife meets me at the door, and she’s really mad. She says, “What the hell are you doing? You’re trying to play [Douglas] MacArthur, you’re trying to get promoted,” and blah-blah-blah. She’s giving me all kinds of hell. I said, “What are you talking about?” She says, “Well, it’s probably going to be on the news again.”

It was about six, six-thirty. She turns on the news. Sure enough, first of all, there’s an announcer talking as if he were in a foxhole defilade, talking about this American action. There’s a rattle of machine gun fire, and mortar or artillery or something going off in this capture of this Vietnamese position, even though it occurred without a shot being fired. Then it pans to Graham walking around with a soft hat on, not even a helmet, in the middle of all this uproar, with guys being carried out on stretchers, which they’d gotten [from] some other tape from some other action, no doubt, because nobody got hurt there. So my wife was properly angry. And I said, “Jesus, Ruth, if all that hell had been breaking loose, I’d have been in eyeball defilade somewhere.”

So, when people say fake news is a recent phenomenon, I just laugh. You have no idea. Fake news? How about fake machinegun fire? Fake mortars and artillery. Fake guys being carried out on stretchers?

Today’s media are pikers by comparison. Don’t even get me started on Walter Cronkite’s fakery.

Disproven? Not quite!

When I saw this article’s headline that claimed, Vindman Burns Trump Booster John Solomon, it immediately caught my attention. I had been trying for some time to track down how and when the claim that Ambassador Yovanovitch handed Prosecutor Lutsenko a do-not-prosecute list was debunked.

Impeachment witness transcripts released Friday revealed that right-wing journalist John Solomon’s outsized role in jumpstarting Trumpworld’s Ukraine narrative was based on lies and false information.

Throughout his testimony, released Friday, the National Security Council’s top Ukraine expert, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman—who listened in on the infamous July 25 call between Trump and Ukraine’s president—noted that Solomon’s March interview with former Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko was a major influence on Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the president, especially when it came to the removal of former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch last spring. 

Lutsenko alleged in the interview that Ukrainian officials helped Hillary Clinton in 2016 by leaking damaging information about former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and that Yovanovitch gave him a “do-not-prosecute” list and cooperated with Clinton to undermine Trump. Lutsenko eventually retracted the claim against Yovanovitch.

The link in eventually retracted takes you to an article that clearly debunks the claim that Lutsenko’s claim was debunked. Which is kind of interesting, if you think about it. The media “proves” their claim by linking to an article that disproves their claim.

Read this:

“The meeting [with the ambassador] took place in the PGO [Prosecutor General’s Office], at this very table in January 2017,” Lutsenko told the Ukrainian TheBabel online publication. “She was accompanied, so was I. Mrs. Yovanovitch was interested in Vitaliy Kasko’s case. The fact was that Mr. Kasko’s mother got registered for official housing [in Kyiv], while she had never left Lviv. That had signs of abuse.”

So, Yovanovitch met with Lutsenko to discuss the case of a Mr. Kasko.

Lutsenko recalled Yovanovitch insisted Kasko was an outstanding anti-corruption activist, and “the criminal case discredited those who were fighting against corruption.”

“I shared the details and explained that I could not open and close cases on my own. I listed some so-called anti-corruption activists under investigation. She said it was unacceptable, as it would undermine the credibility of anti-corruption activists. I took a piece of paper, put down the listed names and said: ‘Give me a do not prosecute list.’ She said: “No, you got me wrong.’ I said: “No, I didn’t get you wrong. Such lists were earlier drawn up on Bankova Street [the presidential administration’s address, Lutsenko meant the Yanukovych administration], and now you give new lists on Tankova Street [the former name of Sikorsky Street, where the U.S. Embassy is located]. 

Do you see what they’re doing? They’re claiming that Lutsenko never received a written do-not-prosecute list. And that claim is true. But, does that mean Lutsenko walked back his claim? No. Read it again.

In this article, his PR flack clarifies what took place.

Press Secretary of Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko Larysa Sargan stated that in fact, the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told the names from the “do-not-prosecute” list Lutsneko orally, there was no written list, as she wrote on Facebook.

And it wasn’t just the one name, Kasko.

There are 13 names in the list: MPs Serhiy Leshchenko, Mustafa Nayem, Svitlana Zalishchuk, Serhiy Berezenko, Serhiy Pashynsky; ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk; ex-Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriya Hontareva; ex-First Deputy of the National Security and Defense Council Oleg Hladkovsky; judge of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine Makar Pasenyuk; candidate for presidency Anatoly Hrytsenko; singer Svyatoslav Vakarchuk; journalist Dmytro Hordon and ex-Head of the Presidential Administration Borys Lozhkin.

Ambassador Yovanovitch should be questioned about her claim that this was “absolutely false”. It also brings into question whether she told the truth about the other claims made against her. Rather than a smear against a faithful ambassador, it appears there is some justification for questioning what Yovanovtich was doing in Ukraine.

It’s A Matter Of Perspective

I couldn’t resist responding to this article today: In Seeking to Join Suit Over Subpoena Power, Mulvaney Goes Up Against the President

In seeking to portray Trump in the worst light possible, the writer reveals his biases.

Even in a White House of never-befores, this may be one of the more head-spinning: The president’s chief of staff is trying to join a lawsuit against the president.

Notice how his opinion is inserted before the facts? “never-befores”, “head-spinning”. Those are opinions, not facts. But this is supposed to be reporting, not opinion.

Mick Mulvaney works only about 50 steps from the Oval Office as he runs the White House staff, but rather than simply obey President Donald Trump’s order to not cooperate with House impeachment investigators, he sent his lawyers to court late Friday night asking a judge whether he should or not.

Is that really what Mulvaney is doing?

To obtain such a ruling, the lawyers asked to join a lawsuit already filed by a former White House official — a lawsuit that names “the Honorable Donald J. Trump” as a defendant along with congressional leaders. The lawyers tried to finesse that by saying in the body of their motion that the defendants they really wanted to sue were the congressional leaders, but their own motion still listed Trump at the top as a defendant because that is the suit they sought to join.

Notice how the writer says that Mulvaney’s lawyers are “finessing” the filing? The problem here is that the writer has no comprehension of how the legal world works. The lawsuit in question is KUPPERMAN v. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE U.S.A. (1:19-cv-03224). Charles Kupperman is a former deputy to John Bolton. He sued to quash a subpoena from Congress. He’s the plaintiff. The defendants? The US House of Representatives, the President, Nancy Pelosi, and Adam Schiff.

This is what the writer wants to characterize as “trying to join a lawsuit against the President”. I’ll let you decide if that’s an accurate portrayal of what’s going on here. But he’s not done.

Mulvaney did not explain why he chose a different course, but his decision focused renewed attention on his relationship with Trump; it has been increasingly strained as House Democrats prepare to open public hearings into whether the president should be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.
“It’s symptomatic of a White House that is more dysfunctional than ever — except now it’s not just chaos, the long knives are coming out,” said Chris Whipple, the author of “The Gatekeepers,” a history of White House chiefs of staff. “Everybody, including the White House chief, seems to be lawyering up.”

Here’s an alternative view. Trump asked Mulvaney to join the lawsuit to test the waters regarding subpoenas for everyone in his branch. To date, all the lawsuits contesting subpoenas have been filed by former White House officials. Mulvaney is the first active White House official to sue.

But the writer wants to portray the White House as being in chaos, a recurring theme of the media, as can be seen by an internet search.

Read Kupperman’s complaint.

Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2201 and 2202, Plaintiff Charles M. Kupperman, the former Deputy National Security Advisor and Acting National Security Advisor to President Donald J. Trump, files this action in the nature of interpleader against Defendants: the United States House of Representatives; Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Representative Adam B. Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Acting Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (collectively, the “House Defendants”); and Donald J. Trump, President of the United States. Plaintiff is faced with irreconcilable commands by the Legislative and Executive Branches of the Government and, accordingly, seeks a declaratory judgment from this Court as to whether he is lawfully obliged to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Defendants demanding his testimony “[p]ursuant to the House of Representatives’ impeachment inquiry,” or he is lawfully obliged to abide by the assertion of immunity from congressional process made by Case 1:19-cv-03224 Document 1 Filed 10/25/19 Page 2 of 17 – 3 – the President in connection with the testimony sought from Plaintiff. Plaintiff hereby alleges as follows:

The reason Trump is included in the lawsuit is that Kupperman considers himself on the horns of a dilemma. Does he respond to the subpoena or obey the President? And he’s asking the court to give him guidance. That is the lawsuit that Mulvaney joined.

Kupperman clearly articulates the problem in his complaint.

INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY OF THE ACTION 1. Plaintiff served as the Deputy National Security Advisor and Assistant to the President from January 9, 2019, to September 20, 2019, and as the Acting National Security Advisor from September 10, 2019, to September 20, 2019. As part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, the House Defendants have issued a subpoena requiring Plaintiff to appear and testify about his official duties in connection with the United States’ relations with Ukraine. The President, however, acting through the White House Counsel, has asserted that Plaintiff, as a close personal advisor to the President, is immune from Congressional process, and has instructed Plaintiff not to appear and testify in response to the House’s subpoena. Plaintiff obviously cannot satisfy the competing demands of both the Legislative and Executive Branches, and he is aware of no controlling judicial authority definitively establishing which Branch’s command should prevail. 

Now let’s look at Mulvaney’s Motion to Intervene.

John Michael Mulvaney, through undersigned counsel, respectfully moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 24 to intervene as a plaintiff in this matter against (1) the following current Defendants: the United States House of Representatives; Representative Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives; Representative Adam B. Schiff, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Acting Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform; and (2) three entities not currently defendants in this matter: the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; the House Committee on Foreign Affairs; and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (collectively with the current Defendants, the “House Defendants”).

Notice that Mulvaney’s intervention in the case doesn’t even mention the President? And also adds additional committees of Congress?

Every time you read an article, you have to wade through paragraphs of bias and lies to get to the truth. Sometimes, you have to actually research the facts to figure out what’s going on. That’s not reporting. That’s opinions.

New York Times Lies

Since I prefer primary source documents over the descriptions of media who hate Trump and will cast him in the worst possible light, I researched and found the case index number and located the settlement agreement for the Trump Foundation case, which you can read for yourself here:…

Here are the claims made in the settlement document (summarized):

  1. The Board of Directors never met, never set guidance, never audited the Foundation, and never provided oversight. It also did not provide a conflict of interest policy in 2014, as required by law.
  2. The campaign planned and organized the fundraiser and paid for all the expenses, but used the name of the charity in its promotional materials and on its website.
  3. The fundraiser raised $5.6 million – $2.823 million to the charity, the rest directly to veterans organizations. So, 50.5% of the money raised was given directly to veterans organizations, not to the Trump Foundation. There is no allegation that any of that money did not go to veterans groups.
  4. In 2007, Mar-A-Lago was involved in a lawsuit. The settlement directed the club to pay $100,000 to the FIscher Foundation, a veterans charity, and the money was paid by the Foundation. On March 10, 2017, Trump reimbursed the Foundation $100,000 plus $8.763.41 in interest.
  5. In 2011, a lawsuit was filed against the Alonzo Mourning Charities and the Trump National Golf Course because an insurer refused to pay $1 million for a hole in one, as agreed in advance, citing a flaw in the setup of the 13th hole.
    1. The settlement directed $750,000 to the charity designated by the winner.
    2. Trump agreed to provide AMC with three lifetime memberships to TNGC.
    3. After AMC sold the three memberships, Trump transferred $157,250 to the Foundation to satisfy its agreement with AMC, and that money was donated to the winner’s charity of choice.
    4. On March 17, 2017, Trump reimbursed the Foundation $158,000 plus $3,593.08 in interest.
  6. In 2013, Trump directed that $25,000 be sent to Pam Biondi’s political campaign fund And Justice For All. Due to an accounts payable clerk’s error, Foundation money was used because she thought it was a Utah charity by the same name.
    1. A different clerk cut the check for Pam Biondi’s campaign.
    2. The error wasn’t reported, because the accountant’s identified it as yet another charity in Kansas.
    3. On March 23, 2016, the error was discovered, and Trump reimbursed the Foundation the $25,000 plus the excise tax required by law.
  7. In 2013, $5,000 was donated to the DC Preservation League. The donation entitled the Foundation to run an ad in a DCPL fundraising event. A Trump International promotion was placed in the same event program.
    1. On December 9, 2016, Trump Hotels reimbursed the Foundation $5,084.62 plus interest as well as paying excise taxes of $1514.33.
  8. On March 1, 2014, a charitable event for the Unicorn Children’s Foundation was held at Mar-A-Lago. A painting of Trump was actioned off, and Trump bought it for $10,000 using Foundation funds. The painting was eventually hung at Doral. Later, the portrait was returned to the Foundation.
    1. On November 17, 2016, the Doral Hotel paid the Foundation $185.82 plus interest for the fair rental value of the painting.
    2. On December 19, 2016, the Doral Hotel paid excise taxes of $26.91
    3. On March 15, 2019, $10,000 was reimbursed to the Foundation.
  9. In 2015, the Foundation donated $32,000 to the North American Land Trust on behalf of an entity that Trump owns.
    1. On November 17, 2016, the entity reimbursed the Foundation the $32,000.
    2. On December 9, 2016, the entity paid $228.38 in interest to the Foundation.
    3. On December 19, 2016, the entity paid the IRS $3,213.19 in excise taxes.
  10. The Foundation acknowledged the following:
    1. It had not held regular meetings of its Board of Directors
    2. It did not have written policies for consideration or approval of grants
    3. It did not have a written policy regarding conflicts of interest
    4. It did not have a written investment policy
    5. It did not have a written whistleblower policy
  11. On December 9, 2018, the Foundation was closed
  12. On October 1, 2019, the Foundation disbursed the remaining $1,782,910.92 to eight different charities
    1. Donald Trump Jr, Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump agreed to receive Board Training
  13. Trump will make a payment of $11, 525 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

Now, let’s look at the how the New York Times reported this settlement: Trump Ordered to Pay $2 Million to Charities for Misuse of Foundation

The first thing I noticed is, the headline is a lie. Trump didn’t pay a dime. The Foundation was ordered to release the remainder of its funds, $1,782,910.92, as a part of its dissolution. If the headline is a lie, what can we expect from the article?

“A state judge ordered President Trump to pay $2 million in damages to nonprofit groups on Thursday after the president admitted misusing money raised by the Donald J. Trump Foundation to promote his presidential bid, pay off business debts and purchase a portrait of himself for one of his hotels.”

False. He did not pay damages. The remainder of the Foundation’s funds were disbursed. He did not admit to misusing money to promote his Presidential bid, pay off business debts, and purchase a portrait for one of his hotels. The only thing admitted to was improper and lax oversight of Foundation activities and disbursements.

As Trump said in his statement, these were all technical violations. Normally, these things are handled administratively, but because it’s Trump, it results in a lawsuit, laying headlines, and lying reporting.

“The damage award brought an end to a protracted legal battle over the foundation, whose giving patterns and management became a flash point during Mr. Trump’s run for office in 2016. New York’s attorney general had filed suit last year accusing Mr. Trump and his family of using the foundation as an extension of his businesses and his presidential campaign.”

Again, it wasn’t a damage award. Trump didn’t pay a single dime. Why is it necessary for the Times to lie so blatantly? Because they’re all but certain that no one will read the primary source documents. Well, sorry for them, I did.

And what the attorney general characterized it as is not the truth. But, the Times can report it with a straight face, because the attorney general said it. (Therefore, it must be true, right?)

When you take the media’s reporting as truth, you are sadly misinformed.

“The settlement, which was finalized last month and announced on Thursday in the judge’s order, included a detailed admission of misconduct that is rare for the president, who has long employed a scorched-earth approach toward fighting lawsuits.”

“A detailed admission of misconduct? Really? Lax procedures? Yes. Sloppy paperwork? Certainly. Misconduct? Then why wasn’t anyone charged with fraud? Again, a false and misleading statement, but that’s what you get with the New York Times. Ask them about Walter Duranty.

“Among Mr. Trump’s admissions in court papers: The charity gave his campaign complete control over disbursing the $2.8 million that the foundation had raised at a fund-raiser for veterans in Iowa in January 2016, only days before the state’s presidential nominating caucuses. The fund-raiser, he acknowledged, was, in fact, a campaign event.”

And where did the money go? Every dime went to veterans charities, and the campaign paid ALL the expenses for the event. But let’s not let the fact get in the way of painting Trump in the worst possible light. By writing “complete control over disbursing, they make it sound like not one dime when to charity. The lawsuit proved this is a false allegation.

“The president also admitted to using the foundation to settle the legal obligations of companies he owned, including Mar-a-Lago, his private club in Florida, and the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, N.Y. And he acknowledged that the foundation purchased the $10,000 portrait of Mr. Trump, which was ultimately displayed at one of his Florida hotels.”

Legal obligations? They were all donations to charities. And every one was reimbursed. At best you could argue that he didn’t “come clean” soon enough. But these kinds of technical violations are frequently settled with administrative settlements and improvements in the policies and practices of the charity.

“Once billed as the charitable arm of the president’s financial empire, the Trump Foundation closed its doors in December, six months after the attorney general’s office sued, saying the foundation was acting “as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”

Just gotta get that dig in one more time. The attorney general provided a nice quote, so let’s use it. Never mind that the court never found that it was true. It sounds good and makes Trump look bad, so let’s use it.

What’s the sum total of Trump’s “sins”? In ten years, there were less than $350,000 in questionable contributions in a charity that, when it closed, had five times that amount in undisbursed funds and gave more than eight times that amount to veterans charities in 2016 alone.

You’ll pardon me if I’m not exactly upset about what went on in the Trump Foundation. It’s quite obvious that Trump treated the Foundation as his personal charity distribution system and didn’t set up the strict controls that a true charity has. After all, it was his money.

Yes, he didn’t follow the rules. But, when discovered, he reimbursed all of it. And he never paid a dime in “damages” as the Times alleges, because he didn’t defraud anyone.

Why The “Inquiry” Is Bogus

There’s a lot of smoke and mirrors surrounding the so-called impeachment inquiry. Some argue that there’s nothing wrong with what’s going on, that the Benghazi hearings were done the same way, that this is just an investigation. Impeachment will be open and public.

“There is nothing in the Constitution that requires a full House vote to launch an impeachment inquiry,” Berkeley Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky told Newsweek. “That has been done before, but it is not a constitutional requirement. President Trump is wrong in saying that it is not a legitimate impeachment inquiry without a floor vote.”

While this is certainly true, it ignores the fact that this is the first time in the history of the House that an inquiry has begun without a resolution on the House floor authorizing it. (BTW, the Benghazi Select Committee was authorized by a House resolution that was approved by both Republicans and Democrats.)

(e) The Speaker, with the approval of the House, may appoint special ad hoc oversight committees for the purpose of reviewing specific matters within the jurisdiction of two or more standing committees.

B. Procedure in the House

§ 6. In General;

Initiation and Referral of Charges


Under the modern practice, an impeachment is normally instituted by the House by the adoption of a resolution calling for a committee investigation of charges against the officer in question. This committee may, after investigation, recommend the dismissal of charges or it may recommend impeachment. Impeachment—Selected Materials, Committee on the Judiciary, H. Doc. No. 93-7, Oct. 1973, p 699. A resolution recommending impeachment is reported to the House simultaneously with the articles of impeachment setting forth the grounds for the proposed action. § 8, infra. Following the adoption of a resolution to impeach, the House appoints managers to conduct the impeachment trial in the Senate. The Senate is then informed of these facts by resolution. Manual § 607; Deschler Ch 14 § 9. When this resolution reaches the Senate, the Senate advises the House as to when the Senate will receive the managers appointed by the House. The managers then present themselves and the impeachment articles to the Senate, the House reserving the right to file additional articles later. Manual § 608a; Deschler Ch 14 §§ 10, 11.  (Emphais mine.)

One has to wonder why no vote was taken. And whether the Speaker has the plenary power to launch an impeachment inquiry without a resolution from the House floor. I am not a lawyer, but my reading of the Constitution says that the House has the power, not the Speaker.

Be that as it may, the inquiry is underway, and there are some very troubling aspects to it. Republicans are barred from asking questions during the depositions in clear violation of House Rules

(B) A rule adopted by the committee pursuant to this subparagraph—
(i) may provide that a deponent be directed to subscribe an oath or affir- mation before a person authorized by law to administer the same; and

(ii) shall ensure that the minority members and staff of the committee are accorded equitable treatment with respect to notice of and a rea- sonable opportunity to participate in any proceeding conducted there- under.

Only committee members are allowed in the depositions, also in clear violation of House Rules

(C) A Member, Delegate, or Resident Commissioner may not be excluded from nonparticipatory attendance at a hearing of a committee or sub- committee (other than the Committee on Ethics or its subcommittees) unless the House by majority vote authorizes a particular committee or sub- committee, for purposes of a particular series of hearings on a particular arti- cle of legislation or on a particular subject of investigation, to close its hearings to Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner by the same procedures specified in this sub- paragraph for closing hearings to the public.

And transcripts are only available to Republican committee members, again in clear violation of House Rules, and are not available at all to all House members.

(2)(A) Except as provided in subdivision (B), all committee records (including hearings, data, charts, and files) shall be kept separate and distinct from the congressional office records of the member serving as its chair. Such records shall be the property of the House, and each Member, Delegate, and the Resident Commissioner shall have access thereto.

Thomas Jefferson wrote a Manual of Parliamentary Practice when he was Vice President. That Manual has been followed by and provided guidance to every Congress convened since then. Section 1 is titled Importance of Adhering to Rules. It begins thus:

Mr. Onslow, the ablest among the Speakers of the House of Commons, used to say, ‘‘It was a maxim he had often heard when he was a young man, from old and experienced Members, that nothing tended more to throw power into the hands of administration, and those who acted with the majority of the House of Commons, than a neglect of, or departure from, the rules of proceeding; that these forms, as instituted by our ancestors, operated as a check and control on the actions of the majority, and that they were, in many instances, a shelter and protection to the minority, against the attempts of power.’’ 

Given that the Democrats are completely ignoring the Rules of the House and flaunting tradition by refusing to pass a resolution authorizing the inquiry, it should come as no surprise that Trump is calling the inquiry illegitimate and refusing to comply with their “subpoenas” (which are not really subpoenas, but that’s another story.

The Crowdstrike Server?

Many people are wondering what Trump is talking about when he mentions the Crowdstrike server. Media is calling it “a long ago debunked conspiracy theory”.

The Truth About Trump’s Insane Ukraine ‘Server’ Conspiracy

Donald Trump asked for more than a criminal investigation of his political opponent’s son in his call with Ukraine’s president. Trump also sought help in reviving a long-ago debunked conspiracy theory that challenges the basic underpinnings of the U.S. intelligence community’s findings on Russia’s 2016 election interference, in a bizarre spectacle that sees an American president trying to conscript a foreign leader into undermining his own intelligence agencies.

What has been debunked?

Conservative websites are spinning the odd exchange as a reference to a Justice Department investigation ordered by William Barr into the origins of the Mueller probe. “It is unclear specifically what Trump was referring to with Crowdstrike,” reads one article in this vein on The Federalist. In truth, it’s actually quite clear. Trump is referencing a conspiracy theory pushed by Russian trolls and far-right pundits that imagines the Democratic National Committee fabricating all the evidence in Russia’s 2016 breach of the DNC network.

So, the claim is that the right thinks the DNC fabricated the evidence that Russians breached their network and that is a disproven conspiracy theory.

Crowdstrike enters the picture because it’s the security firm the DNC hired to investigate the breach back in 2016, and the first of many to identify Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, as the perpetrator. A publicly-traded company headquartered in California, Crowdstrike has nothing to do with Ukraine, except in conspiracyland, which pretends that Crowdstrike co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch is Ukrainian, and that he framed Russia for election interference both on the DNC’s orders and to punish Putin for invading his homeland.

The first highlighted section is false. Crowdstrike never clearly stated that the GRU was the perpetrator in their report. And who are the “many” that identified the GRU? Media reports simply parroted Crowdstrike without evidence. The only one who definitely identified GRU as the culprit was Mueller’s report, and frankly, I think that report is highly suspect. It completely ignored what went on in Ukraine.

Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government, and may indicate affiliation with Главное Разведывательное Управление (Main Intelligence Department) or GRU, Russia’s premier military intelligence service.

Note the use of the phrase “may indicate affiliation with”. Crowdstrike never clearly identified who the perpetrator was, much less definitely stated that it was the GRU. At best you can say that they surmised that the GRU might be somehow involved. Indeed, it would be impossible for them to know that from a forensic examination of computer assets. I know this because I did forensic exams for years. It’s nearly impossible to identify who the culprits are without access to the logs of the servers from which the attack originated.

The second highlighted phrase is a strawman. No one that I’m aware of has claimed Alperovitch is a Ukrainian. What researchers have done is uncovered Alperovitch’s connections to Ukraine and a motive for blaming Russia – his hatred of and anger toward the country of his birth.

The firm’s CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with openly anti-Russian sentiments that is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, who also happened to donate at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation.

It seems that everywhere you look in this entire Russian collusion hoax, Hillary Clinton pops up, along with a lengthy string of important as well as bit players who insert their fingers in the pie. Yet the media is curiously incurious about all these connections.

In fact that incuriosity extends to our own government, which issues reports based on open-source reporting. The same reporting that gets its information from anonymous sources within the government. IOW, the very “wrap-up smear” that Nancy Pelosi described.

First you make up dirt on your opponent. Then you leak that dirt to the media. Then you use the media reports to “confirm” the lies you first spread. And you demand that your opponent answer to the charges. If that sounds a LOT like what’s been done to Trump, there’s a good reason for that.

On March 15 that the Department of Homeland Security released just two heavily redacted pages of unclassified information in response to an FOIA request for definitive evidence of Russian election interference allegations. Leopold wrote, “what the agency turned over to us and Ryan Shapiro, a PhD candidate at MIT and a research affiliate at Harvard University, is truly bizarre: a two-page intelligence assessment of the incident, dated Aug. 22, 2016, that contains information DHS culled from the internet. It’s all unclassified — yet DHS covered nearly everything in wide swaths of black ink. Why? Not because it would threaten national security, but because it would reveal the methods DHS uses to gather intelligence, methods that may amount to little more than using Google.”

The article that prompted my response here goes on to state that Crowdstrike shared the forensic evidence with the FBI.

The DNC later authorized Crowdstrike to share full copies of the hacked servers with the bureau, giving the FBI access to the same evidence Crowdstrike had. 
“With regards to our investigation of the DNC hack in 2016, we provided all forensic evidence and analysis to the FBI,” Crowdstrike said in a statement Wednesday. “As we’ve stated before, we stand by our findings and conclusions that have been fully supported by the US Intelligence community.”

But the FBI admitted, in a court document, that they never got anything but a redacted report from Crowdstrike.

At the direction of the DNC and DCCC’s legal counsel, CrowdStrike prepared three draft reports.1 Copies of these reports were subsequently produced voluntarily to the government by counsel for the DNC and DCCC. 2

1 Although the reports produced to the defendant are marked “draft,” counsel for the DNC and DCCC informed the government that they are the last version of the report produced.
2 The defendant describes the reports as “ heavily redacted documents,” Doc. 103, at 1. One report is thirty-one pages; only five lines in the executive summary are redacted. Another runs sixty-two pages, and redactions appear on twelve pages. The last report is fifty-four pages, and redactions appear on ten pages.

Nowhere in the sworn court document does the FBI state that they received forensic copies of the server. Nor do they state under oath that the examined those forensic copies. And multiple government officials and media reports have now admitted that they never did. If they never even got forensic copies of the server, how can they possibly say that the servers were hacked? The answer is, they can’t.

In the course of my work as a security professional, I sometimes had to engage the FBI in an investigation. In every case, we provided certified exact copies of the server to the FBI. They did their own analysis and never took our word for what we found, even though they knew we were competent. So, the DNC “hack” is clearly outside the norm with regard to how the FBI works.

In truth, Crowdstrike’s findings were never controversial among security experts, and they were later confirmed by FBI agents with access to the same evidence, as well as additional evidence Crowdstrike never had. In October 2018, Robert Mueller indicted 12 GRU officers for the DNC intrusion and hacks targeting John Podesta and the DCCC.

In truth, there’s not a word of truth in that statement. I wrote about the server hack on Feb 27, 2017. In that article I wrote this.

A skeptical security expert, Jeffrey Carr, has written an article explaining why blaming the Russians is questionable at best.  He also demonstrates that a supposed hack of Ukranian artillery troops leading to the destruction of 80% of their inventory was a false story. That supposed hack was used by Crowdstrike to buttress their “proof” that the Russians did it. Crowdstrike was later forced to revise that report.

A Ukranian writer has also written quite an extensive article exposing the flaws in Crowdstrike’s analysis. And two CIA retirees, experts in cybersecurity, have stated bluntly, “Why the DNC Was Not Hacked by the Russians”.

Bill Binney and Peter Clay have provided sworn affidavits that the DNC emails leaked to Wikileaks did not come from a hack. Binney affidavitClay affidavit

The media has turned a blind eye to all of this and have acquiesced to the party line. And now they want to insist that there is nothing to see here. Move along.

The article closes with this.

Today the secret server hoax is mostly confined to the very edge of the conservative fringe, though it’s made an appearance in court. Indicted former Trump campaign advisor Roger Stone has been using the theory to try and get evidence against him thrown out of court, even filing an affidavit written by William Binney, one of the conspiracy theory’s most dogged advocates.  Last week the federal judge overseeing Stone’s obstruction of justice case rejected his motion without ruling on the conspiracy theory itself.

I guess I’m on the very edge of the conservative fringe, then. Because I’m convinced the server was never hacked, and no one has ever publicly provided any proof that it was.

To answer the question I opened with, the Crowdstrike server that Trump refers to is the DNC server that was not hacked. Trump seems to think that Ukraine is somehow related to that evidence. Given that he’s been mocked on multiple occasions for statements that have later proven to be true, I am not going to question him on this. There must be something about Ukraine, related to the DNC hack, that Trump knows about.

And we will know soon enough.

Unfounded Conspiracies?

The media continues to pound the drum of “unfounded conspiracies” with regard to Ukraine. This article is a clear example of the disgusting media bias around this issue. Trump Ally Sen. Ron Johnson Had A Meltdown On “Meet The Press”

The article hammers home that the theory that the DNC was involved in Ukraine in 2016 working against Trump is a ridiculous conspiracy. (Highlighting is mine.)

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) gave a wild performance on “Meet the Press” Sunday, refusing to answer questions posed by host Chuck Todd, instead peddling unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2016 election. The bizarre interview is a demonstration of how President Donald Trump’s allies have responded to the impeachment inquiry by rallying around debunked theories about Democratic plots and deep state set-ups during the 2016 election, while dismissing the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference. 

Johnson’s refusal to answer questions, paired with Todd’s dismay that Johnson was embracing conspiracy theories, may also explain why other Trump allies refused to go on the Sunday news shows. In the midst of a tumultuous impeachment inquiry, no administration official or GOP leader from the House or Senate accepted an invitation to appear on any of the weekends news programs.

Pray tell. Who has debunked these theories? The media waves their hand and says the Ukraine story has been debunked. Glenn Beck would disagree. This is long, but you need to watch the entire thing. It’s a great example of doing in-depth research. Far from being debunked, the involvement of the DNC in Ukraine in an attempt to hurt Trump is proven.

But it isn’t just Glenn Beck. The media has proven it as well. They just don’t want to admit it.

Ukraine Prosecutor Says Amb. Yovanovitch Obstructed Crime Evidence From Reaching AG Barr

As Russian collusion fades, Ukrainian plot to help Clinton emerges

Ukrainian Officials Having Trouble Getting the DOJ’s Attention on Ukrainian-Democrat 2016 Collusion Efforts

Ukrainian Embassy Confirms DNC Solicited ‘Trump Dirt’ in 2016

Ukrainian efforts to Sabotage Trump Backfire

Report: $412,000 DNC Insider, Ukraine Officials Spread Dirt on Trump

How The Obama White House engaged Ukraine to give Russia collusion narrative a boost

DOJ Reconfirms: Ukraine’s Role in 2016 Election Interference is Being Investigated

Of course, the mainstream media doesn’t want this story out, because it’s very bad for the Democrats. So, the usual suspects try to denigrate the reporters, without evidence, to deceive their readers and viewers into thinking there’s nothing there.

I especially like the line “while dismissing the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference.” Guess how many times the Mueller report mentions Alexandra Chalupa? Zero times. Petro Oleksiyovych Poroshenko, the previous President of Ukraine? Zero times. Volodymyr Zelensky, the current President of Ukraine? Zero times. Marie Yovanovitch, the former US Ambassador to Ukraine who is accused of obstructing justice? Zero times. Victor Shokin, the prosecutor Biden had fired? Zero times. Joe Biden? Zero times. Yuri Lutsenko, the prosecutor that replaced Biden? Zero times.

The fact is, Mueller never investigated Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, never investigated Joe Biden’s extortion of the Ukrainians, never investigated a damn thing having to do with Ukraine except for Paul Manafort. Didn’t even investigate the Podesta’s involvement in Ukraine.

Yet the media wants you to think this entire story is a debunked conspiracy theory and only crazy people would believe it. Well, call me crazy then.

Quid Pro Quo? You Decide.

Yesterday, OMB Director and Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney held a press conference. The news that came from that conference was explosive. But was it true?

I decided to view the video and make a transcript. Here’s the video:

And here is my transcript. It doesn’t have every oh and ah, but it’s accurate. I’ve emphasized the important points that Mulvaney made, which have been ignored by the media.

Reporter: So, ah, to the question of Ukraine. Can you clarify, and I’ve been trying to get an answer to this, was the President serious when he said that he would also like to China to investigate the Bidens? And you were directly involved in the decision to withhold funding from Ukraine. Can you explain to us now definitively why? Why was funding withheld?

Mulvaney: Sure, I’ll, let’s deal with the second one first which is look, it should come as no surprise to anybody. The last time I was up here, I’ve been, I haven’t done this since I was Chief of Staff, right. Last time I was up here some of you folks remember, it was for the budget briefings, right, and one of the questions y’all always asked me about the budget is what are y’all doing to the foreign aid budget because we we we we absolutely gutted it, right.

President Trump is not a big fan of foreign aid, never has been, still isn’t. Doesn’t like spending money overseas especially, um, when its poorly spent, um, and that is exactly what drove this decision. Um, I’ve been in the office a couple times with him talking about this. He said look, Mick, um this is a corrupt place. Everybody knows it’s a corrupt place.

By the way, put this in context. This is on the heels of what happened in Puerto Rico, when we took a lot of heat for not wanting to give a bunch of aid to Puerto Rico because we thought that place was corrupt. And by the way turns out we were right, right? So put that as your context, like, look this is a corrupt place. I don’t want to send them a bunch of money and have them waste it, have them spend it, have them use it to line their own pockets, um, plus I’m not sure that the other European countries are helping them out either.

So we actually looked at that, during that time before, when the mon, when we cut the money off, before the money actually flowed, because the money flowed by the end of the fiscal year, uh, we actually did an analysis of what other countries were doing, uh, in terms of supporting Ukraine, and what we found out was that, I can’t remember if it’s zero or near zero dollars from any European countries for lethal aid. You’ve heard the President say this, that we give them tanks and the other countries give them pillows. Um, that’s absolutely right, that the is as is as vocal as the Europeans are about supporting Ukraine they are really really stingy when it comes to lethal aid, and they weren’t helping Ukraine and that still to this day are not, and the President did not like that. I know this is a long answer to your question, but I’m still going.

So, um,that was, those were the driving factors. Did he also mention to me in passing that that that that the corruption related to the DNC server? Absolutely! No question about that! But that’s it. That’s why we held up the money. Now there was a report…

Reporter: So, so, so, so the demand for an investigation into the Democrats was part of the reason that he..

Mulvaney: It was on…

Reporter: ..ordered to withhold funding to Ukraine?

Mulvaney: The look back to what happened in 2016 certainly was, was part of the thing that he was worried about in corruption with that nation, and that is absolutely appropriate.

Reporter: Withholding, withholding the funding?

Mulvaney: Yeah, which, which ultimately then flowed. By the way, there was a report that we worried that the money wouldn’t, that if we didn’t pay out the money it would be illegal. OK. It would be unlawful.

Um, that is one of those things that is has that little shred of truth in it, um that that makes it look a lot worse than it really is. We were concerned about, in our, over at OMB about an impoundment. I know I’ve just put half you folks to bed but there’s a there’s the budget control act impound, the Budget Control Impoundment Act of 1974, says if Congress se.. appropriates money, you have to spend it. OK, at least that’s how to interpret by some folks, and we knew that that money either had to go out the door by the end of September or we had ever really really good reason not to do it and that was the legality of the issue.

Reporter: Let’s be clear. What you just described is a quid pro quo, it is funding will not flow unless the investigation into the Democratic server, ah, happened as well.

Mulvaney: We do, we do that all the time with foreign-policy. We were holding up money at the same time for, uh, what was it? The northern triangle countries. We were holding up aid to the northern triangle countries so that they, so that they would change their policies on immigration.

By the way, and this speaks to, this speaks to an important, I’m sorry? This speaks to an important point because I heard this yesterday. And I can never remember the gentleman’s who test.. was it McKinley? The guy, is that his name? I don’t know him. He testified yesterday. And if you go and if you believe the news reports, OK, because we’ve not seen any transcripts of this. The only transcript I’ve seen is Solomon’s testimony this morning.

If you read the news reports and you believe them, what did McKinley say yesterday? McKinley said yesterday he was really upset with the political influence in foreign-policy. That was one of the reasons he was so upset about this.

I have news for everybody. Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign-policy.

Reporter interrupts.

Mulvaney: I’m talking to Mr. Karl. That is going to happen. Elections have consequences and foreign policy is going to change from the Obama administration to the Trump administration. And what you’re seeing now I believe is a group of mostly career politi.. career bureaucrats who are saying I don’t like President Trump’s politics so I’m going to participate in this witch hunt that they’re, that they’re undertaking on the hill. Elections do have consequences, and they should, and your foreign policy is going to change. Obama did it one way, and we’re doing it a different way. And there’s no problem with that.

So, Mulvaney said Trump doesn’t like giving money to corrupt countries because it’s wasted. Ukraine was very corrupt, and some Ukrainians were involved in trying to help Hillary and hurt Trump during the election.

He’s done the same thing to other countries, as Mulvaney points out, and there is nothing wrong with that. Why should America give away our taxpayers hard-earned dollars to people that will simply pocket the money and enrich themselves?

The reporter then claims Mulvaney just revealed a quid pro quo. But did he? These discussions were between the President and Mulvaney. Ukraine was never involved and never knew anything about those discussions.

So, how is this a quid pro quo? And even if you think it is, what’s wrong with it? Didn’t Biden famously tell the Ukrainians that they weren’t getting a $1 billion loan guarantee unless they fired Shokin? That’s a much more troubling quid pro quo than we have concerns about corruption so we’re investigating before we give you the money.

Of course, the media and Dem spin will be extreme shock and outrage, but that’s to be expected. But any rational person would look at this and say, What’s the big deal?

UPDATE: In fact, the media is now reporting that Mulvaney is “walking back” his remarks. Here’s what Daily Signal reported today.

After 6 p.m. Thursday, Mulvaney issued a written statement clarifying his comments during the press briefing. 
“Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump,” Mulvaney said, adding: 

Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election.  The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.  

Multiple times during the more-than 30-minute briefing where I took over 25 questions, I referred to President Trump’s interest in rooting out corruption in Ukraine, and ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent responsibly and appropriately.  There was never any connection between the funds and the Ukrainians doing anything with the server—this was made explicitly obvious by the fact that the aid money was delivered without any action on the part of the Ukrainians regarding the server. 

There never was any condition on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the DNC server.

And that’s exactly what the transcript shows you. Once again, we see how the media can twist and contort things to achieve their agenda of destroying the Trump administration.

The Democrat Impeachment Sham

The Dems are conducting what they call “an impeachment inquiry”. They are taking depositions behind closed doors using staff lawyers, not allowing Congress members to question the witnesses, and not publicizing the results of the depositions (except for their own selective leaking.)

Is what they are doing Constitutional? It’s definitely not fair, and it’s not in accordance with more than 100 years of precedent. Some are claiming it’s Constitutional. I contend it’s not. Here’s why.

The Constitution contains one sentence about the House’s power to impeach.

Article I, Section II, Clause 5: The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Note that the House has the power of impeachment, not the Speaker of the House and not a Committee of the House. This is significant because it implies that the House must authorize an investigation with a vote. And indeed, that’s the way it’s always been done, until now.

In fact, the House has a rule book that describes the process.

Resolutions introduced through the hopper that directly call for an impeachment are referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, whereas resolutions merely calling for a committee investigation with a view toward impeachment are referred to the Committee on Rules. Deschler Ch 14 §§ 5.10, 5.11. In the 105th Congress the House adopted a privileged resolution reported by the Committee on Rules referring a communication from an independent counsel alleging certain impeachable offenses against President William J. Clinton to the Committee on the Judiciary. Later, the House adopted a privileged resolution reported by the Committee on the Judiciary authorizing an impeachment inquiry by that committee. Manual § 603.

All impeachments to reach the Senate since 1900 have been based on resolutions reported by the Committee on the Judiciary. Before that committee’s creation in 1813, impeachments were referred to a special committee for investigation. Manual § 603; 6 Cannon § 657. 

Now, even if you want to argue that the House can Constitutionally hold inquiries where the minority has no voice at all (and they certainly have the power to do that, as they have proven), you certainly can’t argue that it is the way it’s ever been done before.

Furthermore, as the Conservative Treehouse points out, they are not even issuing legal subpoenas. Rather, they are issuing demand letters, a tacit admission that what they are doing does not have the force of law.

First, there should have been a vote on a resolution to conduct an inquiry. That was not done. Second, it must be referred to the Committee on Rules. That was not done.

Furthermore, what the House is currently doing requires a vote of the House to authorize.

In several recent instances, the House agreed to a resolution authorizing the counsel to the Committee on the Judiciary to take depositions of witnesses in an impeachment investigation and waiving the provision of rule XI that requires at least two committee members to be present during the taking of such testimony. Deschler Ch 14 § 6.3; 105-2, H. Res. 581, Oct. 8, 1998, p 24679; 110-2, H. Res. 1448, Sept. 17, 2008, p 19502; 111-1, H. Res. 424, May 12, 2009, pp 12211-13. 

Note that the House agreed. Not the Speaker agreed. So, Dems are not only ignoring more than a century of precedent, they are ignoring their own rules, which they agreed to abide by when they were seated.

IOW, they have violated their oaths. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. Democrats do this routinely. But, in the case of the most serious thing a Congress can do, impeachment, it is especially egregious that they have chosen to ignore both rules and precedent in their lust to destroy Trump.

Call this what it is. A blatant exercise of raw power, and it will not be forgotten, either by Republicans or by the people. When the Republicans next control the House, the Democrats will not have a leg to stand on to complain about that power being used against them.

For the entire existence of our system of government, the Legislative branch has followed the precedent set by previous Congresses to maintain decorum and a sense of comity among the members. Democrats, in their hatred for Trump and their refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election, have chosen to throw that out the window, to the detriment of the country and good government. Nothing good can come from this. And the Democrats are entirely to blame for it.

Is This What You Call Freedom?

Yes, I know I haven’t blogged in eight months. So sue me. I write when something bothers me, I have to speak about it, and microblogging on Twitter or Quodverum doesn’t lend itself to a full expression of my thoughts.

And this article motivates me to write. As I read it, I found myself asking, what kind of Orwellian thinking spawned this monstrosity? How did we get to this point, where we Americans became serfs and vassals?

If you work for a small business, you might get access to a 401(k)

The “centerpiece” (in Grassley’s view) of the reform concerns increasing access to 401(k) savings plans for small-business employees.

Trump signed an executive order in 2018 to encourage “multiple-employer plans” noting that only 53% of workers at small businesses are offered retirement benefits. The plans on Capitol Hill would go further and allow small business to join plans with companies in different industries, so-called “open” MEPs. According to a Senate Finance Committee summary, open MEPs will allow small businesses to “obtain more favorable pension investment results and more efficient and less expensive management services.”

Where in the Constitution does the federal government find the power to tell you what kind of retirement plan you can or cannot participate in? The very wording “allow small business” reveals where the power lies. If you own a small business, you have to go begging to the federal government for permission to use a certain type of retirement vehicle?

If Congress wants to create a tax-favored retirement plan like a 401K, I have no problem with that. But where do they get off deciding who can and who cannot take advantage of it? Where do they find the power to do that in our Constitution?

The answer is, they don’t. It’s not there. They made it up, like much else that they’ve made up, stealing power from the states and from the citizens, abrogating it to themselves because no one complained loudly enough. It is part and parcel of the takeover of our freedoms by our betters who think they should tell us how to live, where to live, and how we ought to conduct our personal business.

A summary of the Wyden bill describes it working this way: “If a 401(k) plan provides a 100% matching contribution on the first 5% of salary reduction contributions made by a worker, then a 100% matching contribution must be made for student loan repayments equal to 5% of the worker’s pay.” (It would be mandatory if an employer is offering a match, but they can offer whatever match they want.)

Shai Akabas, who steers the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings, noted that “allowing people to sort of walk and chew gum at the same time when it comes to both making progress on their student debt but also make inroads on their retirement can be a useful policy goal to have.”

“a 100% matching contribution must be made“. So the government believes it has the right to require that business provide certain levels of retirement assistance to employees? Guess which option most businesses will take.

And I love this. We, your benevolent government are going to “allow” you to “sort of walk and chew gum”. How kind of them. How thoughtful. How completely master-like of them. Hey, you serfs over there. Here’s a bone. Hope you enjoy it.

We didn’t get here overnight, and we’re not going to get rid of it overnight. The current Congress believes this is their job.

Lawmakers and observers are voicing optimism that closely linked private retirement reform bills, one from the House Ways and Means Committee, and one from the Senate Finance Committee, will soon be merged and sent to President Trump’s desk.

At a recent Senate hearing, Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley voiced optimism that the House would send its bill “over to us at some point this month.”

If passed, it would be the first major retirement legislation since 2006. Richard Neal, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, noted that the bill “represents a major bipartisan accomplishment” when it was passed out of his committee.

“a major bipartisan accomplishment”. Lawmakers “voicing optimism”. They are literally excited about granting us peons permission to access retirement plans that they’ve designed for us.

Orwell would shake his head in amazement that we have fallen for the lies.

The rest of the article is more of the same crap. Congress is filled with enthusiasm by the tidbits of freedom they’re willing to hand out to us.

There is only one way out of this mess. We have to change the attitudes of an entire nation and raise up lawmakers who will stick to their knitting and actually honor the oath of office they take.

That shouldn’t be too hard, right?