March 30, 2020

5 Major Paradigm Shifts The Wuhan Flu Crisis Has Revealed Americans Need

Our first priority amid coronavirus must be neutralizing immediate threats to health and safety, but the disruption also provides a chance to engage in national reflection.

Crises have a way of revealing critical, unspoken truths. If we can recognize these truths, we can emerge from such crises significantly stronger. While America’s first priority in the wake of the Wuhan coronavirus crisis must be neutralizing immediate threats to the health and safety of our people, the disruption of our lives also provides an opportunity to engage in national reflection.

If we do so, amid the pandemic hysteria, several critical signals emerge. Acknowledging those signals today and internalizing them tomorrow can help us prevent, or be better positioned to handle, such Black Swan shocks to our system in the years ahead.

1. Communist China Is a Global Menace

When the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic arose and began spreading, for weeks the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sought to cover it up, with deadly consequences for the world. When communist China was blamed, it not only refused to take responsibility, but slandered America for pointing the finger, to the point of calling the United States culpable as part of a disinformation campaign.

The CCP even threatened, via a state-backed publication, to cut off essential medical supplies should Americans continue speaking openly and honestly about the CCP’s role in creating the crisis. Then the CCP cynically tried to act as a savior for the crisis it created.

Every day this pandemic persists, and long after it is neutralized, we must remember the CCP bears by far the greatest responsibility of any party for this pandemic. If the CCP is not made to pay in a meaningful sense for the global catastrophe it caused, it will continue to act with impunity in its quest for hegemony, guaranteed.

This pandemic should represent the most tangible sign yet for all of America that we must decouple from communist China in every strategically significant sector. We cannot put our survival in the hands of a hostile adversary.

2. Coronavirus Starkly Illustrates Globalism’s Downsides

The Chinese coronavirus pandemic should serve as a figurative punch in the mouth to the Davoisie class. This pandemic spread as a result of human-to-human transmission beginning in a far-flung province in central China. As it metastasized, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations-based agency on which governments around the world rely, parroted the Chinese Communist Party’s chosen narratives, including that the Wuhan virus could not be passed from one human to another, and that it was “racist” to refer to the virus by its place of origin.

The chief praiser of China’s response, and propagator of its favored messages, was WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He won that position with Chinese backing and collaborated with China as Ethiopia’s health minister.

As the pandemic spread to the United States and criticism of the CCP grew, China again threatened to leverage its dominant position in the production of essential medical supplies to cut off Americans from vital equipment. It signaled that either we tow the CCP line or people will die.

This series of events perfectly illustrates the downsides to the globalist agenda of open borders, global political institutions, and global economic integration at all costs. It perfectly illustrates the merits of an America First, nationalist agenda, including a focus on border control, national sovereignty, and eschewing of global institutions, as well as an economic independence combined with truly free, fair, and reciprocal trade. Does anyone believe America would have been hit as hard by coronavirus if China were not so deeply integrated into our architecture?

3. We Must Establish Principles for Dealing with Crises

As a society, we must create some agreed-upon principles for dealing with a pandemic or analogous crisis. One of the most astounding aspects of the response to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic has been the willingness of our leaders to call for societal shutdown based on shoddy data and flawed source models. Those leaders have definitively damaged our economy, stretched the limits of constitutional governmental power, and threatened to inflame and endanger civil society by forcing people to comply with draconian lockdowns while releasing criminals into the streets and ceasing policing — all on the basis of hypotheticals.

One need not be a medical doctor to understand the “garbage in, garbage out” issues inherent to projections in which the underlying data sets are incomplete, inconsistent, suffer from selection bias and correlation-versus-causation issues, or are just plain dubious — as in the case of data from China.

It is not surprising that politicians would err to the extreme side in seeking to avoid a public health catastrophe. But can a society long function by cutting off its nose to spite its face? And what kind of precedent is being set in the process? Going forward, it is incumbent upon our leaders to articulate and codify at minimum a general set of broadly agreed-upon principles for dealing with such crises.

4. The GOP Needs a Real Response for Democrats’ Games

For Democrats, politics trumps all else, and Republicans must have a response. In case the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation process or the more than three years of anti-constitutional and unconstitutional resistance to President Donald Trump did not make it crystal clear, the Democrats’ brazen gambit to use the coronavirus crisis to impose their radical agenda on the country by holding hostage emergency relief legislation should have removed all doubt about their singular desire for power.

Simply put, for Democrats, the ends justify any and all means. The fact that Republicans were so blindsided and befuddled by this in the coronavirus context indicates the GOP still lacks an understanding of the nature of their political adversary.

Democrats will shamelessly use crises to cram their policies down our throats. Do Republicans have any answer to this? Do they understand that Democrats will seek to make any and all of their favored temporary measures that pass in coronavirus-tied legislation permanent after the crisis subsides? Have Republicans formulated a counter-response not only for that possibility, but for their own policies that cut in the opposite direction? Where is the GOP counter-agenda?

5. We Need to Get Our Fiscal House in Order

While a society-wide shutdown certainly represents the most extreme kind of financial shock, nevertheless, the devastating impact of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic accentuates the problem of our largely debt-based economy in both the public and private spheres.

At the governmental level, the fact that we are likely to completely blow out budgets that were already so bloated as to ensure interest payments on the national debt would soon swamp all spending besides entitlements shows the extent of our profligacy and misplaced confidence we can debt-finance the U.S. government forever. There appears to be zero national will to deal with runaway spending and the runaway deficits and debt it creates.

But the reality is that in the next major crisis, we will be in an even worse financial position. What will happen if multitrillion-dollar relief bills are simply not tenable at that point?

Everyone knows U.S. government spending is unsustainable. But the fact that no one is prepared to make the case to the public that we are better off making difficult financial trade-offs now to stop calamity later — while we are doing this precise thing in dealing with the pandemic — leads to the question: Are we simply comfortable as a nation guaranteeing future financial calamity? Should the cost and extent of this crisis not cause us to revisit this issue?

We find an analogous issue in the private sector. While the bailouts from the federal government fundamentally differ from those during the financial crisis — in this instance, government has effectively killed businesses — that in a humming system so few businesses could withstand such a shock indicates the problems again with our debt-based economy and short-term orientation.

There is likely little will among businesses, their shareholders, and their stakeholders to be more prudent, keeping substantial cash in reserve, and ensuring they can survive if their operations withstand a tremendous hit and capital markets are closed to them. But perhaps the Wuhan coronavirus should serve as a wakeup call that there ought to be. Prudence is as important for government and businesses as it is for households.

It is paramount that the American people get healthy and that our country gets back to the business of business. But we must not simply gloss over the truths this crisis has revealed. Recognizing them and incorporating them into future policies will ensure the long-term vitality of our country.


Ben Weingarten is a Federalist senior contributor, senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, and fellow at the Claremont Institute. He was selected as a 2019 Robert Novak Journalism fellow of the Fund for American Studies, under which he is currently working on a book on U.S.-China policy. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.


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Weinstein Guilty!

Harvey Weinstein found guilty of third-degree rape, criminal sex act

Former Hollywood film producer Harvey Weinstein was found guilty by a Manhattan jury Monday of two of five charges relating to sexual assaults and faces as many as 25 years in prison.

He was found guilty of criminal sex act for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013. The jury found him not guilty on the most serious charge, predatory sexual assault, that could have resulted in a life sentence.

The verdict followed weeks of often harrowing and excruciatingly graphic testimony from a string of accusers who told of rapes, forced oral sex, groping, masturbation, lewd propositions and that’s-Hollywood excuses from Weinstein about how the casting couch works.

The jury of seven men and five women handed down the on Monday after five days of deliberating.

Weinstein has maintained any sexual encounters were consensual.

The case against the once-feared producer was essentially built on three allegations: that he raped an aspiring actress in a New York City hotel room in 2013, that he forcibly performed oral sex on Haleyi and that he raped and forcibly performed oral sex on “Sopranos” actress Annabella Sciorra in her apartment in the mid-1990s.

The case marks the only criminal trial to stem from the many accusations that came out about Weinstein following a bombshell expose written by Ronan Farrow in 2017 in which 13 women accused the now-disgraced movie mogul of sexual assault.

In this Oct. 24, 2017, file photo, Mimi Haleyi appears at a news conference in New York. Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sex act for assaulting the then-production assistant at his apartment in 2006. (AP)

As expected, Weinstein chose not to testify, avoiding the risk of having prosecutors grill him on cross-examination about the vile allegations. He confirmed the decision on Feb. 11 after returning to the courtroom from meeting with his lawyers behind closed doors for about a half-hour as speculation swirled that he was pushing to testify.

Asked as he left court if he was thinking of testifying, Weinstein said: “I wanted to.”

Defense lawyer Arthur Aidala added that Weinstein “was ready, willing, able and actually quite anxious to testify and clear his name” but didn’t do so because his lawyers felt prosecutors ”failed miserably” to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Six women out of the many who have accused Harvey Weinstein of vile sexual behavior testified at the trial. Their harrowing accounts were the centerpiece of a prosecution case. Other accusers were allowed to testify because prosecutors allege there was a practiced method to Weinstein’s attacks.

Lauren Marie Young, a model from suburban Philadelphia, testified that Weinstein invited her to his Beverly Hills hotel room, lured her to the bathroom, stripped off his clothes, pulled down her dress and groped her breast. Her allegation is part of a criminal case that was filed against Weinstein in California just as this trial was getting underway.

In this Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020 file photo, actress Annabella Sciorra returns after a lunch break in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial in New York. (AP)

Her testimony bookended that of the first accuser to testify, actress Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein barged into her apartment in the mid-1990s, threw her on a bed and raped her as she tried to fight him off by kicking and punching him.

In between, jurors heard similar stories of Weinstein ingratiating himself with much younger women, appearing to show interest in helping their careers before getting them into a hotel room or an apartment and violating them.

Most were aspiring actresses. Sciorra was a star on the rise. Another, the 2006 accuser Mimi Haleyi, was looking at the time to get more involved in behind-the-scenes aspects of the entertainment business.

The defense case, meanwhile, mainly relied on the testimony of three witnesses that Weinstein’s lawyers used to try to cast doubt on the accounts on two of the accusers.

Talita Maia, a former roommate of the woman Weinstein is charged with raping, told the jury the woman never gave any indication that he victimized her — in fact, she said, the woman spoke highly of him and once called him her “spiritual soulmate.”

“She seemed to really like him as a person,” Maia said. “She would only compliment him.”

Another friend of the woman testified that she seemed like “her everyday self” when they met up for breakfast with Weinstein just a short time after she alleges he assaulted her.

Thomas Richards, a Hollywood talent agent, testified the woman was friendly toward Weinstein during the breakfast and didn’t say or do anything to indicate she’d just been raped.

The third witness, Mexican model and actress Claudia Salinas, repudiated the testimony of Young, one of the women called by the prosecution to bolster the allegations of Weinstein’s main accusers.

Asked about Young’s claims that she stood by and did nothing while Weinstein groped her at a Beverly Hills hotel in 2013, Salinas responded that it “never happened.”

Young had testified that Salinas closed the door behind her and Weinstein as they went into the bathroom, where she alleges he stripped off his clothes, grabbed her breast and masturbated. Once it was over, Young said she found Salinas standing outside the bathroom and shot her an evil look before leaving as quickly as she could.

“If I had done that, I would remember that,” Salinas testified. “I would never close the door on anybody.”

By Sasha Savitsky, Marta Dhanis |The Associated Press contributed to this report. You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

By James Thompson. James holds a doctoral degree, and is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.


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Unfortunately, It’s time for a National ID

WERE YOU AWARE THAT MOST NATIONS HAVE A NATIONAL ID?

It’s true. For a quick lesson in how many countries issue a National ID for their citizens, do a Google search for “national id” and click on images. Hundreds of nations issue ID cards for their citizens, to differentiate them from non-citizens and ensure that national benefits and rights are extended to their citizens, and that they are not removed as non-citizens.

For all of us civil libertarians, who abhor ‘Big Brother’ tracking our every move and knowing what we are doing in our private life, the thought of a National ID card has been a very sore subject for decades. We have simply rejected any mention of it at every turn.

Yet, we live in a nation where liberals create problems, then create solutions to those problems, which create bigger problems — perpetuating the escalating cycle of government intrusion and bureaucratic expansion.

Because we are overrun with non-citizens who seek American citizen rights and privileges — like voting, welfare benefits, employment, etc. — and because the left has been pushing so hard to make those rights and privileges available to non-citizens, we must seriously consider the reality that we must now provide all Americans with federal government issued identification. Those who hold the ID are extended the rights and privileges of US citizens, and those who do not hold it are not. It’s really that simple.

Of course, those who are in favor of open borders and who have a desire to dilute the status of US citizenship will hate the idea. They will decry a National ID as being exclusive, discriminatory, and limiting. They will tell us that there will be a few citizens who have difficulty obtaining a National ID, and therefore, no one should have it (like a Voter ID card, for example).

We are at the point that we can make a National ID card that is nearly impossible to replicate. A biometric database (fingerprint or retina scan) can quickly identify anyone who is asked to produce his ID, but left it in his other wallet.

Again, critics will argue that those who are unable to obtain a Nation ID will be discriminated against, and illegal aliens will be deported. Of course, every nation on the earth defines its borders and only allows certain people within its borders (try to visit Canada or Sweden without their permission, and you’ll see how archaic America has become), and America should be no different. To those who fear that illegals will be discovered through this process, all I can say is — you’re right. That is exactly what will happen.


By James Thompson. James holds a doctoral degree, and is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.


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Presiding Bishopric: LDS Church Spends Nearly $1 Billion Annually On Humanitarian Efforts

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints nears $1 billion a year in fast-growing humanitarian, welfare spending

SALT LAKE CITY — The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints doubled its humanitarian spending over the past five years and now annually provides nearly $1 billion in combined humanitarian and welfare aid, the church’s Presiding Bishopric said this week in a rare interview.

But the church’s work and missions cannot be reduced to its humanitarian spending and charity efforts, said Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé and his counselors, Bishop Dean M. Davies and Bishop W. Christopher Waddell. Those represent just one function of a sprawling global faith that funds 30,000 congregations, more than 200 temples and educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of students while also providing food, clothing and shelter for hundreds of thousands of people a year.

“It’s no surprise we are talking about billions of dollars,” Bishop Caussé said. “Nobody should be surprised, given the number of members, millions of members, 16 million members in so many countries. This is a church that has become quite large, and so there’s a large budget, and we are grateful for that because that’s an opportunity to expand the reach of all the good that the church can do around the world.”

The bishopric gave a unique look at the breadth and depth of the financial dealings of the global faith in a sit-down interview with the Deseret News and Church News two weeks after the bishopric spoke to The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) answering critics’ charges that the church is amassing wealth.

To the contrary, church leaders said it is fulfilling its mission to care for the poor, spread the gospel of Jesus Christ around the world, strengthen the spiritual foundation of its members and live the principles of self-reliance it teaches to all.

The church’s investment arm, Ensign Peak Advisors, reportedly has grown to $100 billion, a figure claimed by the brother of a former worker at Ensign Peak. The members of the bishopric said they were aware that those reports drew both praise from some about the way church leaders are managing what they and members consider sacred donations as well as criticism and questions about what the church is doing with such a large amount of money.

They did not confirm whether that amount was accurate, but they said they expect leaner economic times will come in the future and also acknowledged that the church’s needs and expenditures are accelerating as the faith grows around the world. They also rejected the notion they are hoarding money for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Instead, they said, they are making prudent, diverse investments to protect against economic downturns and prepare for the future.

What follows is a look at the faith’s holdings through the eyes of the men tasked with receiving and distributing donations to the church.

‘We won’t have to stop’

Bishop Caussé said the size of the fund is a proper backstop for the church’s full breadth and depth of operation.

Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé
Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé

“Most of the growth, I have to say, is because we are right now in the longest period of prosperity in the United States that has ever been recorded, and this is creating that surge of financial markets,” he said. “We are just beneficiaries of it.”

In 2008, the credit crisis and related stock market plunge reportedly obliterated 21% of the value of Ensign Peak’s holdings, according to a document produced by the former employee’s brother. The Ensign Peak fund reportedly has more than doubled in the subsequent, ongoing economic upswing.

The bishopric did not confirm those reports, but did say the church froze budgets and hiring during the crisis. The only budget item that increased in that period was humanitarian and welfare spending, because church leaders knew more people would need help. “Most of the growth, I have to say, is because we are right now in the longest period of prosperity in the United States that has ever been recorded, and this is creating that surge of financial markets. We are just beneficiaries of it.” — Presiding Bishop Gérald Caussé

“There will be future downturns,” Bishop Waddell said.How extensive, how dramatic we don’t know. But one of the comments we made to the Journal was that if that were to happen, because of the reserves being carefully watched over, protected and wisely handled, we won’t have to stop missionary work, we won’t have to stop maintaining buildings and building temples, we won’t have to stop humanitarian and welfare work, we won’t have to stop education work. What the journalist (wrote) was that we won’t have to stop missionary work, period. Well, there’s more than that.”

The Presiding Bishopric said a large reserve is necessary, specifically citing as reasons the church’s expansion into countries in which congregations are not self-sustaining, the construction of 50 more temples and the growing cost of providing educational opportunities for more and more students. The church is educating 880,500 students through its seminary and institutes program, universities and Pathway program.

FILE – BYU students participate in a campus devotional with Elder David A. Bednar in the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018.

They said tithing and fast offerings are spiritual principles that benefit church members, shared more details about the church’s farms and educational expenses and described its humanitarian donations as precision-guided aid.

“It is a church,” Bishop Caussé said. “It’s not a financial institution … and because it is a church, the funds that are managed within the church are contributed by the members of the church and are really sacred. We really consider those funds as belonging to the Lord.

“It’s difficult to understand the church,” he added. “If you look at it as a financial institution, you will never understand it. You have to look at it as an organization of consecrated followers of Jesus Christ. This is what it is, with a mission assigned by the Lord.”

Humanitarian and welfare spending

The three bishops challenged some of what they’ve seen in previous reports.

“The people who say we’re not doing our part, that is just not true,” Bishop Waddell said. “We’re talking close to $1 billion in that welfare/humanitarian area on an annual basis. Yes, we are using our resources to bless the poor and the needy as well as all of the other responsibilities we have as a church.”

The figure includes all humanitarian and welfare expenditures, including fast offering aid.

The budget for humanitarian work “has gone up dramatically,” Bishop Waddell said.

Warehouse workers load supplies as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints send aid to China in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. Respirator masks, protective googles and protective suits were sent.
Warehouse workers load supplies as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sends aid to China in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020.

In fact, Bishop Caussé added, humanitarian expenditures have doubled in the past five years.

“And we believe they are going to increase fast,” he said.

Increases in humanitarian and welfare spending are driven first by the contributions and volunteerism of church members, the bishops said. The other major factor is how quickly the church can ensure new avenues for precise giving. For example, Latter-day Saint Charities carefully and thoroughly assesses each partner. “The last thing you want to do is just give them money and then you really don’t know where it goes,” Bishop Davies said. “So we have both missionaries and area staff on the ground, feet on the ground, who actually are there, they can see that food’s being distributed, or equipment, or schools are being built as part of our program.”

“We have an obligation to the members of the church who pay their tithes and offerings to make sure that is going to organizations or areas that will actually meet a need,” Bishop Waddell said. “The members of the church have a right to trust that it’s going to be managed and handled well and not just thrown at issues.”

The leaders said the church’s expansion into more countries is increasing its ability and opportunities to help others.

“As the church has been established in many more countries, we develop local relationships with nongovernmental organizations and governments, and as we develop those types of relationships, we become aware of more and more needs,” Bishop Caussé said. “In the past our humanitarian reach was done mostly either directly or through our partnerships with global organizations” the church trusts to ensure donations are effective. “We’re going to see more and more partnerships with local organizations, because we are there and we are present and we know the people.”

50 temples under construction

While humanitarian spending is increasing, so are all the other costs associated with operating the church.

“The (financial) needs of the church are increasing and accelerating,” Bishop Caussé said. For example, “There are 50 temples that have been announced that are either under construction or in preparation for construction right now, 50. That’s huge.”

The church has 167 operating temples, which come with operational and maintenance costs.

Provo City Center Temple dedication Sunday, March 20, 2016.
FILE – The Provo City Center Temple, which was built after a fire destroyed the Provo Tabernacle, is seen in March 2016.

Among the other missions of the church is missionary work, which includes funding 399 missions and the travel and health care expenses of 67,695 missionaries.

Education is another massive expenditure that must be backstopped. Bishop Caussé said the church’s five universities and colleges, which educate 90,000 students, operate at a cost of $1.5 billion a year paid for by tuition and tithing.

Previous statements by leaders show that tithing subsidizes well over half of the cost. That allows many students to graduate with little to no debt. Brigham Young University ranks No. 1 on the latest Forbes list of best value colleges.

Universities are only a portion of the church’s education costs. It pays for a Seminary and Institutes program that provides religious education to more than 800,000 teens and college students around the world. The effort includes 50,000 teachers, Bishop Caussé said.

The church operates 27 wheat storage facilities and funds nine refugee resettlement agencies in the United States. It also operates more than 100 bishops’ storehouses full of food and commodities to help church members around the world.

Family history work is growing and the church allocates resources to obtain records and produce searchable records, Bishop Caussé said. There is urgency, because some of the records are deteriorating.

FILE – Steven Watrous scans a book at the FamilySearch free book scanning booth at the RootsTech conference on Feb. 6, 2016.

All those growing and varied missions of the church are part of what its leaders call preparing for Christ’s Second Coming.

“When we talk about preparing for the Second Coming, that doesn’t mean we’re hoarding money so that we have it when the Second Coming takes place,” Bishop Waddell said. “In preparing for the Second Coming, we’re talking about building temples and providing places of worship and temples where people can receive sacred and exalting ordinances so we can gather Israel, we can do the missionary work in preparation for that day. And so, when we talk about preparing for it, that means all the work that’s going on now.”

That work could be jeopardized by an economic disaster like the Great Depression, he said.

“There will come a time when all of these resources, reserves, will be necessary,” he said. “We don’t know when, we don’t know exactly in what form, but you think of the (Bible story of the) seven fat years and the seven lean years, there’s so many examples in the scriptures that we strive to follow, whether it’s the parable of the talents and not to bury the talent. We saw what the Lord did to that individual. We want to be ready for any contingency.”

Why tithe when there is a surplus?

In the Bible and Latter-day Saint scripture, Jesus Christ commands church members to “pay one-tenth of all their interest annually” as “a standing law forever.” Church members believe scriptural promises that tithing provides spiritual and temporal blessings.

The bishopric said the law of tithing is a principle that works and, in addition to being a commandment, called it an expression of gratitude to the Lord.

“It’s very valid and current in our world,” Bishop Caussé said, “and we see it over generations, how the gospel is blessing families and their lives.”

FILE – The Bishop’s Storehouse at Welfare Square in Salt Lake City in 2016.

Bishop Davies said paying tithing and fast offerings — the value of meals skipped during a 24-hour fast once a month — are spiritual commitments with promised blessings. Fast offering funds first stay within a ward or a branch to help people in the congregation. Excess funds are shared around the church.

He said the leaders of local congregations have the ability to obtain resources needed to help members of the church in their areas and reach out to strengthen others in their communities.

He and the other two bishops said they know it can be difficult for the poorest members to pay tithing, but all church leaders teach that all members should do so. They said no church member has to choose between eating and paying tithing.

Bishop Waddell said some are making an assumption that the church is bleeding the poor by having them pay tithing so it can amass reserves.

“It’s anything but,” he said. “They pay their tithing because it’s a commandment, and they are encouraged to, if they only have enough money to pay tithing or eat, ‘Pay your tithing and we’ll help with food,’ because the blessings that are associated with the payment of tithing will then be theirs, and they won’t go hungry, because we have the ability to assist them now.”

FILE – Volunteers slice and package loaves of bread at the Welfare Square bakery in Salt Lake City, Tuesday, May, 31, 2016.

Bishop Caussé called it an act of faith to pay tithing and receive fast offering aid from other members. There is great concern that members all over the world be treated equally and fairly.

“There’s always the church reaching out to those people, making sure that nobody will be set aside and everybody will benefit from the great blessing it is to be a member of the church,” he said.

Church leaders use tithing funds and fast offerings from established areas of the church to help finance less-established areas, the bishops said.

“In these emerging countries of the church, there is no way that the tithing, although members are very faithful … their tithing cannot cover all the expenditure, so it’s very important that members here in the United States and many other countries where the church has been established for a long time will contribute to it,” Bishop Caussé said. “There’s a great transfer of funds that happens, and it will be more and more in the future as the church develops in those countries.”

Bishop Caussé added, “In the center of everything that we do, is to care for those around us and to love our neighbor. And sometimes our neighbor can be in a faraway country.”

Bishop Davies said the number of church members who pay a full tithing is very close to the number who pay a fast offering.

Ensign Peaks Advisors

The church transfers surplus tithing each year to Ensign Peaks to invest for a rainy day.

“The church practices what it preaches in terms of setting aside and having budgets,” Bishop Davies said. “We never expend more than what we estimate will be coming in terms of tithes and offerings. And also by definition we set aside a certain amount every year in reserve for those times when there will be a need, and there will be a need in the future.”

Ensign Peak invests in a diverse portfolio. Some of the money is invested in U.S. equities, which are stocks and bonds. Previous filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission have shown that Ensign Peaks’ various funds hold stock in companies such as Apple, Home Depot and Alphabet.

But that is just a portion of the reserve fund.

“In addition to the reserves that are invested by Ensign Peak, we have reserves invested in real property and commercial real estate, residential real estate and in agriculture,” Bishop Waddell said. “The church practices what it preaches in terms of setting aside and having budgets.” — Bishop Dean M. Davies

That includes many large ranches and farms, which produce food to feed the hungry as well as provide long-term investment. The church recently bought a 15,000-acre, Dallas-area corn and sorghum farm with 10,000 head of cattle through one of its tax-paying agriculture companies, which include AgReserves Inc. and Farmland Reserve Inc. The property was listed for nearly $50 million, the Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday.

“They are one of the largest cattle ranch operators in the U.S.,” Icon Global founder Bernard Uechtritz told the newspaper.

The church’s ranch holdings are public.

For example, the church owns 670,000 acres of cattle ranches, farms and timberland in Florida. It started Deseret Ranches of Florida in 1950. It shared information about the ranch in a 1975 issue of the Ensign, one of the faith’s magazines, and on its Church Newsroom website in 2016. The Deseret News wrote about the ranches in 2013 and also covered the purchase of the timberland. It is public information that the church plans to develop some of the ranch property over the next 60 years.

The church invests in stocks so it can capture the value in economic boom times. It invests in agriculture, commercial real estate, residential real estate and other financial instruments to hedge against inflation during tougher times.

“The church has an attitude of being very conservative, very prudent,” Bishop Caussé said. “We really look in the long term. It’s not about having your reserves fluctuate all the time but looking into long-term care of those funds so they can be available to the church for accomplishing its mission. For example we have agricultural land that we look at with a 20- to 30-year perspective. It’s about how can we develop in a way that will be safe for the environment, that will be developing the land and the community, providing a great increase for the church or an interest of the church, but also preserving it for generations. That’s something that the church can do with its reserves that most businesses cannot do, because we are church. It’s a different way of reasoning.”

FILE – The Church Office Building in Salt Lake City.

Blessing the receiver and the giver

The church has not released financial reports since 1959, when it ran a deficit. The financial policies it now follows, never spending more than it takes in and setting aside some money in a reserve fund each year, were established in the 1970s, prior to the tenure of any of today’s church leaders. The late church leader President Gordon B. Hinckley explained the philosophy in the days after Sept. 11, 2001, which he called perilous times. “We cannot provide against every contingency,” he said, “but we can provide against many contingencies. Let the present situation remind us that this we should do.”

For the past four decades, media outlets have published newspaper series, magazine cover stories and books about the church’s property, investments and reserves. In the latest example two months ago, a man posted information online that he said contained documents his twin brother took from Ensign Peak before he resigned last year. The man filed a complaint with the IRS alleging the church should be forced to pay taxes on the returns earned by Ensign Peak because it is not spending its funds. The Washington Post later reported that the twins have had a falling out.

Independent tax experts have told multiple publications the IRS is unlikely to act on the man’s complaint because Ensign Peak is integral part of the church, legally known as an integrated auxiliary.

There have been no allegations of leaders enriching themselves, something noted in multiple reports on church finances. The church’s general authorities leave their professional careers to serve as church leaders full time often at significant financial sacrifice.

Bishop Caussé said the church’s work cannot be measured by dollars alone. He called the volunteer work of members an intangible, citing doctors and medical staff who train others and more.

“There are really two objectives of what we do,” he said. “The first one is to bless the receiver, and the other one is to bless the giver, and both are equally important. So, we always look at ‘Who is it that we can help,’ but also, ‘Can we provide enough opportunities for the members of the church to go and to reach out to others?’”

By Tad Walch@Tad_Walch


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Limbaugh: Radio and Political Genius

“I’m one of the luckiest people to be alive”

Rush Limbaugh receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom

His ‘army of one,’ inspiring millions who’d been ignored, changed the political landscape.

Genius is often defined in myriad ways. One trusted criterion is the ability to do something extraordinary in a field where others could not — and doing something that perhaps will never be done again by anyone else.

By that measure, Rush Limbaugh certainly is the genius of talk radio, a genre in which he not merely excelled but that he also singlehandedly reinvented as something entirely different — and entirely more powerful and instrumental in American life — from what was imaginable pre-Limbaugh.

Even stranger still, his ascendance coincided with the presumed nadir of radio itself. It was supposedly a has-been, one-dimensional medium, long overshadowed by television. Even in the late 1980s, radio was about to be sentenced as obsolete in the ascendant cyber age of what would become Internet blogs, podcasts, streaming, and smartphone television.

Stranger still, Limbaugh has prospered through two generations and picked up millions of listeners who were not born when he first went national and who had no idea of why or how he had become a national presence.

He certainly did not capture new listeners by adjusting to the times. While tastes changed and the issues often metamorphosed, he did not. He remained conservative, commonsensical, and skeptical of Washington and those in it, as if he knew all the predictable thousand faces of the timeless progressive project, whose various manifestations reappear to mask a single ancient and predictable essence: the desire of a self-appointed group of elites to expand government in order to regiment the lives of ordinary people, allegedly to achieve greater mandated equality and social justice but more often to satisfy their own narcissistic will to power. It was Limbaugh who most prominently warned that lax immigration enforcement would soon lead to open calls for open borders, that worry about “global warming” would transform into calls to ban the internal combustion engine, and that the logical end of federal takeover of health care would be Medicare for All.

The Left — and many too who would later become the Never Trump Right — thought that Limbaugh’s worst moment finally came after Obama’s 2008 victory, during the post-election euphoria and just days before the January 2009 inauguration. It was a heady time, when the media would go on to declare soon-to-be Nobel laureate President Obama as, variously, a living “god” and “the smartest guy” ever to assume the presidency. His supporters often compared him to iconic wartime presidents such as FDR and Lincoln. Americans had been lectured on Obama’s divinity even as a candidate, and the evidence had ranged from the mundane of Platonically perfect creases in his trousers, to the telepathic ability to prompt spontaneous electrical impulses in the legs of cable television anchors.

In answer to Obama’s promise to fundamentally “transform America,” Limbaugh flat-out said he hoped that the new president would not succeed: “I hope Obama fails.” Outrage followed. Was Limbaugh rooting for the failure of America itself? In fact, he was worrying about how America might survive the first unabashedly progressive president in over 60 years, now empowered by an obsequious media, a House majority, a veto-proof Senate, and Supreme Court picks on the near horizon.

Limbaugh was the first voice to warn that what would soon follow the election was not the agenda that Obama sometimes disingenuously voiced on the campaign trail — Obama’s ruse of occasionally sounding concerned about illegal immigration, gay marriage, the spiraling debt, a rapid pullout from Iraq, and identity politics — but rather a move to the progressive hard-left.

What would ensue instead lined up with Obama’s senatorial voting record, his prior associations with the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, and Father Pfleger, and his occasional slips on the campaign trail: “I want you to argue with them and get in their face,” “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a knife,” and (in the pre-Netflix, pre–Martha Vineyard estate days), “I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.” Once elected, Obama was unbound. He lectured the nation about the wages of the West’s sin: the Crusades, America’s prior role in the world, and its own domestic woes. He instructed Americans on when it was the time to profit and when it was not, the point at which people should concede they had made enough money. And he listed the various reasons that he could not, as some anti-constitutional “king,” grant unconstitutional amnesties by fiat — before he went on to do just that.

Prior to Limbaugh’s national prominence, radio talk-show hosts were not shapers of national culture or politics. Even the few local and regional celebrity radio hosts had little power to influence issues of the day. While local talk radio was more conservative than liberal, it was hardly seen as traditional conservatives’ answer to the liberal biases of the major national newspapers, network evening news, and public radio and TV, much less the aristocratic pretensions of the Republican Beltway hierarchy.

So, what was inconceivable in 1988 was not just that any one person could leap from local prominence to national dominance, but that he could empower (rather than replace) his legions of radio subordinates. Far from making them irrelevant, Limbaugh energized talk-radio hosts. Once he became a national force, hundreds of others became far more effective conservative local and regional voices, partly through the art of emulation, partly through scheduling to lead in to or follow Limbaugh’s daily three-hour show, partly in the general renewed public interest in talk radio itself.

Call that coattails, or force multiplication, but in essence, Limbaugh redefined the genre as something more entertaining, more political, and yet more serious — an “army of one” antidote to the New York and Washington media corridor. How strange that after progressives achieved a monopoly in network news, public television and radio, the Internet conglomerates, Hollywood, and network prime-time programing, they sought to emulate Limbaugh by creating their own leftist version of national talk radio, Air America. Millions of dollars, dozens of talk-radio hosts, and Chapter 11 later, the venture collapsed in abject failure.

I wager that more Democrats listened to Limbaugh than to Air America, in the fashion of my late Democratic father, who used to sneak into my office on the farm and listen with me to Rush during the 1991 Gulf War.

How did Limbaugh do it?

No one really knows because few have been able to duplicate his success, despite a number of gifted hosts who have tried. For all the criticism that Limbaugh was crass, over some 25,000 hours of the syndicated Limbaugh show, there were few embarrassments. And in cases where Limbaugh said something he regretted, he later apologized. He certainly could grow animated but seldom shouted and yelled. He talked about having talent “on loan from God” but could turn self-deprecatory and compliment callers for insights that he found original and noteworthy, saying, “I hadn’t thought of that.” He mocked identity politics but at work and in life often surrounded himself with talented people who were not white, and he seemed oblivious to any significance of that fact other than that he’d found friends and employees who were competent and whom he liked. He was a self-made multimillionaire many times over and proud of it, and yet felt and acted more comfortable with those of the Midwestern middle classes with whom he’d grown up.

Perhaps the best clue is that Limbaugh was never just a talk-show host at all. Or rather, he redefined the talk-radio three-hour format into something far more expansive than the critical arts of editorializing and answering impromptu listeners’ calls. In his prime role as unyielding conservative explicator of the daily news without the filters of the Washington and New York commentariat, he combined the jobs of entertainer, stand-up comedian, psychologist, impressionist, satirist, provocateur, therapist, and listener to the nation.

Yet ultimately his audience listened because he differentiated between two worlds. On one hand, he saw, with a skeptic’s eye, the cosmos of progressive and liberal translators who selectively edit the day’s events and massage their supposed importance to Americans, to present the news in line with liberals’ preconceived agendas — under the guise that such reporting was beyond reproach as professional, disinterested, and entirely based in facts. Limbaugh exploded all those pretenses.

But he also saw the other world that was never reported. He did not claim to be a traditional journalist or even an opinion journalist. Instead, he proudly assumed the mantle and collective voice of a conservative Everyman. Or maybe, more dramatically, his listeners saw him as an atoll of traditional sanity in a turbulent sea of postmodern madness. His forte was explaining why nominal conservatives were infected with a fatal virus of wanting to be liked by the “mainstream media” and the cultural elite — and thus often “grew” in office, moving leftward, as if they had become smarter and more sophisticated than those who had voted for them.

People tuned in because they knew in advance that Rush would not weaken or deviate, much less “transcend” them. There would be no faddish Limbaugh who renounced his prior personas and positions. So his listeners were reassured each day that they were not themselves crazy to express doubt about what the nation was told or instructed.

Rush Limbaugh speaks at the 2019 Student Action Summit in West Palm Beach, Fla., December 21, 2019. (Gage Skidmore)

The New York Times story picked up by their local paper, the NPR segment they heard in the car, and the commentary of the ABC, CBS, or NBC evening news anchors were rarely if at all the whole truth and anything but the truth. Limbaugh reminded them that what was purportedly the news was increasingly the output of a rather narrow slice of cocooned America between Washington, D.C., and New York City, offered up by affluent progressives (the “drive-bys”) who had come to believe that the media’s role was not to report events per se, but to do so in a way that would not only educate the otherwise blinkered American masses but would also improve them morally and make them redeemable spiritually.

Limbaugh did all that, day in and day out, without any sense of monotony or boredom, but with almost adolescent energy and excitement about just talking to America each day. He never dialed it in. And his audience knew it.

Limbaugh himself knew his listeners, not just by class or locale, but through a shared skepticism about the values of coastal America and its inability to show any correlation between proven excellence and an array of letters after one’s name or name-dropping on a résumé. Does anyone think that a professor of journalism, a Washington pundit, a network anchor, a Senate elder, a president, or even a late-night TV host could host 30 hours of the Limbaugh show without losing most of the audience?

He was the Midwestern college drop-out who had bounced around among jobs before he found his natural place. Through that experience, he posed an ancient Euripidean question, “What is wisdom?” The answer was found in many of his targets: academics, editorialists, celebrities, journalists, government functionaries, and politicos whose bromides Limbaugh made ridiculous, and he instructed millions on how and why their ideas made no sense in a real world beyond their enclaves. Rush was hated by the Left supposedly for his politically incorrect -isms and -ologies; in truth, it was because he so often made them look ridiculous.

Limbaugh sounded sane when giddy Stanford grad and Rhodes scholar Rachel Maddow enthused about Robert Mueller’s daily walls-are-closing-in bombshells — much as farmer and Cal Poly graduate Devin Nunes wrote the truth in his House Intelligence Committee majority report while Harvard Law graduate Adam Schiff’s nose grew in his minority-report reply, and in the way that supposedly idiotic wheeler-dealer Donald Trump energized the economy after Ivy League sophisticate Barack Obama said it would require a magic wand.

In response to Rush Limbaugh’s announcement that he has advanced lung cancer, millions voiced sympathy, support — and shock. Last week, millions asked, “What are Rush’s chances?” The correct answer might be, “Not good — if it was anyone but Rush.”

Yet one who can create national talk radio ex nihilo can similarly beat toxic malignancy. His listeners seemed worried not just over Rush’s health but about their own equally ominous future of the day’s events without him.

May that day be far off.

By Victor Davis Hanson, NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution and the author, most recently, of The Case for Trump. @vdhanson


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Jussie Smollett Indicted on 6 Counts for Lying to Police

Judge upholds decision to appoint special prosecutor in Jussie Smollett case.
A Chicago judge denied requests from Jussie Smollett’s legal team to block the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Jussie Smollett has been indicted by a grand jury on six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about his claims of a racist and homophobic attack against him in January 2019, a special prosecutor announced on Tuesday.

Special prosecutor Dan Webb issued a statement announcing the indictment against the 37-year-old former “Empire” star. He is due in court on Feb. 24, Fox 32 reported citing a source.

Smollett, who is black and gay, originally was charged last year with disorderly conduct for allegedly staging the attack and lying about it to investigators. The charges were dropped in March 2019 with little explanation, angering police officials and then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Cook County Judge Michael Toomin in August appointed Webb, a former U.S. attorney, as a special prosecutor to look into why the charges were dropped. Webb was also charged with looking into whether Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s calls with a Smollett relative and an ex-aide of former first lady Michelle Obama unduly influenced the decision to drop charges. Foxx recused herself from the case but continued to weigh in.

In January 2019, Smollett told police he was attacked by two masked men as he was walking home from a Chicago Subway sandwich shop at approximately 2 a.m. The actor alleged that the masked men taunted him with homophobic and racial slurs, beat him and looped a noose around his neck before fleeing.

He said his attackers, at least one of whom he said was white, told him he was in “MAGA country” — a reference to President Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

Several weeks later, investigators alleged that Smollett had paid two friends $3,500 to help him stage the attack because he was unhappy with his salary as an actor on “Empire” and wanted to drum up publicity for his career.

By Mariah Haas. Fox News’ Matt Finn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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Trump Acquitted

Despite years of searching for, then manufacturing episodes of wrongdoing, the US Senate has overwhelmingly voted to acquit.
The Senate overwhelmingly acquitted President Trump on both articles of impeachment against him Wednesday afternoon following a brief trial, in a historic rejection of Democrats’ claims that the president’s Ukraine dealings and handling of congressional subpoenas merited his immediate removal from office.
All Democratic senators supported convicting the president of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, including swing-vote moderate Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Doug Jones, D-Ala.

The only party defection was on the abuse of power charge from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who declared hours before the final vote that Trump had engaged in as “destructive an attack on the oath of office and our Constitution as I can imagine.” Romney voted not guilty on the obstruction charge.

By a final vote of 52-48 against conviction on the abuse of power charge and 53-47 on the obstruction charge, the Senate fell far short of the two-thirds majority needed to convict and remove the president. Swing-vote Republican senators — including Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lamar Alexander of Tennessee — voted to acquit on both counts.

The separate obstruction of Congress charge concerned the White House’s assertion of executive privilege and refusal to comply with congressional subpoenas. Romney explained he would acquit on the obstruction count, saying House Democrats had chosen not to respond to the White House’s legal arguments against the subpoenas.

Publius

BREAKING: Senate Votes NO on Additional Impeachment Witnesses

51 to 49 Vote. Murkowski comes out against impeachment witnesses, putting Trump on path to acquittal

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski came out Friday against calling witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial, all but assuring the Senate will move to wrap up proceedings with a likely acquittal in a matter of days, if not hours.

“Given the partisan nature of this impeachment from the very beginning and throughout, I have come to the conclusion that there will be no fair trial in the Senate. I don’t believe the continuation of this process will change anything. It is sad for me to admit that, as an institution, the Congress has failed,” said Murkowski, R-Alaska, a key moderate senator who has been closely watched on the witness question.

The announcement came after Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who also had been on the fence on the issue, announced late Thursday that he would not support additional witnesses in Trump’s “shallow, hurried and wholly partisan” trial.

The Senate voted on the witness question later Friday. From there, proceedings could drag on through Friday night and into the weekend – and possibly beyond – but it takes a two-thirds super-majority to convict a president.

Few senators have publicly budged from party lines during the course of the trial, leaving impeachment managers far short of the votes needed to convict barring some extraordinary turn.

Murkowski, after keeping her views close to the vest, issued her statement just as what could be the final day of proceedings got underway. In it, she said she “carefully considered” the question of allowing witnesses and documents in the trial, “but ultimately decided that I will vote against considering motions to subpoena.”

She even seemed to take a swipe at Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for a day earlier applying not-so-subtle pressure on Chief Justice John Roberts to side with those seeking witnesses. On the floor Thursday, Warren gave Roberts a question that asked if refusing to allow witnesses would “contribute to the loss of legitimacy of the chief justice, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution?”

Murkowski said in her statement: “It has also become clear some of my colleagues intend to further politicize this process, and drag the Supreme Court into the fray, while attacking the Chief Justice. I will not stand for nor support that effort. We have already degraded this institution for partisan political benefit, and I will not enable those who wish to pull down another.”

The statement also could have been a reference to Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., clashing with Roberts over the last two days for the latter’s refusal to read aloud his question naming the alleged Ukraine whistleblower.

“We are sadly at a low point of division in this country,” Murkowski said.

Trump is accused of withholding aid to Ukraine as leverage to extract an investigation led by that country into Democrats including 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his family. He denies it, but former national security adviser John Bolton reportedly has alleged, in his forthcoming book, that the president indeed linked the aid and the investigations.

This prompted a renewed scramble by Democrats to muster the votes to demand witness testimony, from Bolton and others. The New York Times reported Friday that Bolton also claims Trump told him to help with his Ukraine pressure campaign as early as May.

Trump denied the claim.

As it became clear that votes were lining up to block witnesses, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., alleged earlier Friday that Republicans were on the verge of participating in the “greatest cover-up since Watergate.”

“The president’s acquittal will be meaningless because it will be the result of a sham trial,” he declared.

Judson Berger

By Judson Berger


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US Attorney Durham Confirms He Will Prosecute Dems in Russia Criminal Probe

The U.S. attorney who is conducting a wide-ranging investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe released a rare statement Monday saying he disagrees with conclusions of the so-called FISA report — after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz found in that review that the probe’s launch largely complied with DOJ and FBI policies.

“Based on the evidence collected to date, and while our investigation is ongoing, last month we advised the Inspector General that we do not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened,” U.S. Attorney John Durham said in a statement.

Horowitz released his report Monday saying his investigators found no intentional misconduct or political bias surrounding efforts to launch that 2016 probe and to seek a highly controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in the early months of the investigation. Still, it found that there were “significant concerns with how certain aspects of the investigation were conducted and supervised.”

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham said. “However, our investigation is not limited to developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department. Our investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

As Horowitz has conducted his review of DOJ actions during the Russia probe, Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, has also been conducting a wider inquiry into alleged misconduct and alleged improper government surveillance on the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Fox News reported in October that Durham’s ongoing probe has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr ripped the FBI’s “intrusive” investigation after the release of Horowitz’s review, saying it was launched based on the “thinnest of suspicions.”

“The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken,” Barr said in a statement.

Barr expressed frustration that the FBI continued investigating the Trump campaign, even as “exculpatory” information came to the light.Video

“It is also clear that, from its inception, the evidence produced by the investigation was consistently exculpatory,” Barr said. “Nevertheless, the investigation and surveillance was pushed forward for the duration of the campaign and deep into President Trump’s administration.”

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller acknowledged in his report that investigators did not find evidence of a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Russians in 2016 – which the FBI probed extensively.

Barr said the FISA report shows a “clear abuse” of the surveillance process.

“In the rush to obtain and maintain FISA surveillance of Trump campaign associates, FBI officials misled the FISA court, omitted critical exculpatory facts from their filings, and suppressed or ignored information negating the reliability of their principal source,” Barr said.

He added, “The Inspector General found the explanations given for these actions unsatisfactory. While most of the misconduct identified by the Inspector General was committed in 2016 and 2017 by a small group of now-former FBI officials, the malfeasance and misfeasance detailed in the Inspector General’s report reflects a clear abuse of the FISA process.”

Monday’s FISA report dealing with the investigation into Trump’s campaign has long been expected. Horowitz in September submitted a draft of the report to Barr and the FBI so they could identify any classified information. But it had not been publicly released until now.

The release comes as Washington has been consumed with an impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee is holding the inquiry’s latest hearing Monday, days after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats are moving forward with plans to bring articles of impeachment against the president over his dealings with Ukraine.

Fox News’ Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a senior politics editor at FoxNews.com. 


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Trump’s Thanksgiving Afghanistan Trip Kept Quiet Amid Extreme Security

President Trump serves Thanksgiving food to US soldiers serving in Afghanistan

President Trump surprised troops and news outlets on Thanksgiving morning when he appeared in Afghanistan to thank troops for their service to the country and help serve a turkey dinner — but doing so required extreme security measures to ensure both safety and to prevent the word from getting out.

“There’s nowhere I’d rather spend Thanksgiving than with the toughest, fiercest warriors,” Trump told troops on the ground. “I’m here to say Happy Thanksgiving and thank you very much. As president of the United States, I have no higher honor than serving as commander in chief.”

But in order to make the visit, intense security and a host of other measures were required to ensure the news didn’t leak. The journey began Wednesday, where Trump snuck out of Mar-a-Lago.

Many of the details of how he did so are a secret, but the president flew out of an undisclosed airport in Florida on a small, also undisclosed, plane Wednesday evening.

On that flight bound for Joint Base Andrews, in Maryland, there was only one Fox News journalist, who was serving as the pool reporter. The plane was bare-bones, except for four blue leather chairs and a port-a-potty that had been brought for the occasion.

As part of the security measures phones were taken from all onboard, including senior White House officials. Trump greeted the crew but remained in the cockpit for takeoff.

When the plane landed in Joint Base Andrews later Wednesday evening, Trump switched to Air Force One — which was not lit up on the tarmac, but was instead hidden in a hangar. It took off from JBA with all interior lights off and the windows drawn.

The plane landed in Afghanistan on a pitch-black runway, while the pool was only allowed to take pictures of Trump’s arrival from a nearby van. Accompanying Trump was White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham, Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Grisham said that only a tight circle of White House officials knew about the trip, and the White House even scheduled tweets to be sent out from the president’s account during the Internet blackout that he faced.

“It’s a dangerous area and he (the President) wants to support the troops,” Grisham said. “He and Mrs. Trump recognize that there is a lot of people who are away from their families during the holidays and we thought it would be a nice surprise.”

Watch Video

It certainly was a surprise to the troops, the public and the media — catching some outlets completely flat-footed. Newsweek had to overhaul an article that it had earlier posted that reported the president would spend the day tweeting and playing golf.

After serving and eventually sitting down for a Thanksgiving dinner — that included turkey, mashed potatoes, cornbread, baked ham, mac and cheese, Cornish hen and candied yams — Trump took as many pictures as time would allow with troops.

He then met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. Due to security concerns, the White House notified Ghani only “a few hours ago,” according to the White House.

Trump then finished his trip by addressing a few hundred cheering troops in the hangar on the airfield, bringing Ghani on the stage to also express his appreciation to the American troops. Trump told them that everyone was working hard to bring them back home.

“We will continue to work tirelessly for the day when all of you can go home to your families … and that day is coming very soon,” he said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman, Andrew O’Reilly and Jenny Buchholz contributed to this report.Adam Shaw is a reporter covering U.S. and European politics for Fox News.. He can be reached here.


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HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY, not Turkey Day

For many generations Americans have rightly paused on Thanksgiving Day to give thanks to a generous God, who is our Heavenly Father. America was founded on principles of Judeo-Christian ethics, and a shared faith in a personal God, who caringly watches over the affairs of humanity with a concerned eye–while leaving us to exercise our own free will.

As socialists have struggled to wrestle our personal liberties from us, one of their main tools has been to secularize our society. Indeed, the ACLU, Democratic Party and similar leftist organizations have led the fight to remove any mention of God, or His Son Jesus Christ, from the public’s vernacular.

As a result of this attempt to make God and Christ politically incorrect in our nation, we have recently been greeted with “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas,” and with “Happy Turkey Day” instead of “Happy Thanksgiving Day.”

We can see why the left would seek to take Christ out of Christmas, but why the shift from Thanksgiving Day to Turkey Day? Because “Thanksgiving” implies there is a reason to be thankful, and someone to whom we should give thanks–and that’s God.

I for one am careful to wish everyone I meet, at the store, at work, or in other public places, a hearty Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas. As a child of our Heavenly Father, I would much rather offend an anti-American, than offend God.

Happy Thanksgiving Day America, and may God bless us.

By James Thompson


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Bombshell – Obama FBI Anti-Trump Crimes Result in Criminal Charges

Horowitz finds FBI lawyer falsified FISA doc; WaPo stealth-deletes Strzok connection

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found evidence that an FBI lawyer manipulated a key investigative document related to the FBI’s secretive surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser — enough to change the substantive meaning of the document, according to multiple reports.

The show-stopping development comes as Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News that Horowitz’s comprehensive report on allegations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant abuse against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page will be released on Dec. 9. “That’s locked,” Graham said.

The new evidence concerning the altered document, which was related to the FBI’s FISA court warrant application to surveil Page, is expected to be outlined in Horowitz’s upcoming report. CNN first reported the news, which was largely confirmed by The Washington Post.

The Post, hours after publishing its story, conspicuously removed the portion of its reporting that the FBI employee involved was underneath Peter Strzok, the FBI’s since-fired head of counterintelligence. The Post did not offer an explanation for the change, which occurred shortly after midnight. Earlier this week, the DOJ highlighted a slew of anti-Trump text messages sent by Strzok when he was leading the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the probe into the Trump campaign.

Horowitz reportedly found that the FBI employee who modified the FISA document falsely stated that he had “documentation to back up a claim he had made in discussions with the Justice Department about the factual basis” for the FISA warrant application, the Post reported. Then, the FBI employee allegedly “altered an email” to substantiate his inaccurate version of events. The employee has since been forced out of the bureau.

Sources told Fox News last month that U.S. Attorney John Durham’s separate, ongoing probe into potential FBI and Justice Department misconduct in the run-up to the 2016 election through the spring of 2017 has transitioned into a full-fledged criminal investigation — and that Horowitz’s report will shed light on why Durham’s probe has become a criminal inquiry.

Durham has reportedly taken up Horowitz’s findings concerning the falsified FISA document, meaning the ex-FBI lawyer who made the changes is now under criminal investigation. The Post indicated, however, that the document was not central to the legality of the FISA warrant obtained against Page.

One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin - RC165B503FF0
One-time advisor of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump Carter Page addresses the audience during a presentation in Moscow, Russia, December 12, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin – RC165B503FF0

Republicans have long argued that the FBI’s alleged FISA abuses, which came as the bureau aggressively pursued ultimately unsubstantiated claims of criminal links between the Trump team and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign, were politically motivated. In recent months, a slew of unearthed documents have strengthened those claims.

Just nine days before the FBI applied for its FISA warrant to surveil Page, bureau officials were battling with a senior Justice Department official who had “continued concerns” about the “possible bias” of a source pivotal to the application, according to internal text messages previously obtained by Fox News.

The 2016 messages, sent between Lisa Page and then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, also revealed that bureau brass circulated at least two anti-Trump blog articles, including a Lawfare blog post sent shortly after Election Day that called Trump possibly “among the major threats to the security of the country.”

Fox News is told the texts were connected to the ultimately successful Page application, which relied in part on information from British ex-spy Christopher Steele – whose anti-Trump views are now well-documented – and cited Page’s suspected Russia ties. In its warrant application, the FBI inaccurately assured the FISA court on numerous occasions that media sources independently corroborated Steele’s claims, and did not clearly state that Steele worked for a firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

FILE - In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
FILE – In this July 10, 2018, file photo, former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn leaves the federal courthouse in Washington, following a status hearing. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Page has not been charged with any wrongdoing despite more than a year of federal surveillance, and he has since sued numerous actors — including the DNC — for defamation related to claims that he worked with Russia.

“OI [Office of Intelligence] now has a robust explanation re any possible bias of the chs [confidential human source] in the package,” Lisa Page wrote to McCabe on Oct. 12, 2016. “Don’t know what the holdup is now, other than Stu’s continued concerns.”

It’s unclear whether the confidential source in question was Steele or another individual. “Stu” was an apparent reference to Stuart Evans, then the DOJ’s National Security Division deputy assistant attorney general. In one previously unearthed and since-unredacted text message, Strzok texted Page that he was “Currently fighting with Stu for this FISA” in late 2016.

Page is not the only Trump official to allege misconduct by the FBI. Last month, an explosive court filing from Michael Flynn’s legal team alleged that FBI agents manipulated official records of the former national security adviser’s 2017 interview that led to him being charged with lying to investigators. Flynn’s attorneys demanded the FBI search its internal “Sentinel” system to find more evidence of allegedly doctored files.

Video

Newly released text messages involving text messages between Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page revealed that Page — who was not present for the Flynn interview — had apparently made “edits” to the so-called “302” witness report in the case, which was key to Flynn’s prosecution on a false statements charge. Page told Strzok on February 10, 2017 that she “gave my edits to Bill to put on your desk.”

Horowitz told congressional lawmakers in an October letter that his investigation and ensuing report were nearing their conclusion.

The “lengthy” draft report “concerns sensitive national security and law enforcement matters,” Horowitz wrote in the letter, adding that he anticipated “the final report will be released publicly with few redactions.”

Horowitz noted that he did not anticipate a need to prepare or issue “separate classified and public versions of the report.”

“After we receive the final classification markings from the Department and the FBI, we will then proceed with our usual process for preparing a final report, including ensuring that appropriate reviews occur for accuracy and comment purposes,” Horowitz wrote in the letter. “Once begun, we do not anticipate the time for that review to be lengthy.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman and Charles Crietz contributed to this report. Gregg Re is a lawyer and editor based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re or email him at gregory.re@foxnews.com.


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Glenn Beck: Facebook Is Deleting Conservative Pages

‘This is solely because I support President Trump’

The Facebook page of conservative author David Harris Jr. was unpublished on Friday, according to an article in Reclaim the Net. The report says Harris’ page was taken down after warnings of community standards violations. Facebook’s decision coincides with its announcement on Friday that it would remove posts mentioning the name of the alleged whistleblower in the ongoing scandal involving President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Harris immediately took to Twitter to blast the social media giant and allege he was targeted for political reasons. “This is solely because I support President @realDonaldTrump!” said the author.

According to Reclaim the Net, the removal of Harris’ page came after he was informed on Wednesday that his page received 14 community standards violations. Harris was also accused of publishing two false articles concerning climate change. However, Harris says he received no explanation of how his posts violated Facebook’s rules.

Conservative Latina also targeted

In an unrelated case, another conservative targeted by Facebook on Friday was Erika Garcia, a young GOP leader in Central Florida. In an interview with TheBlaze, Garcia said she posted photos of the alleged whistleblower posing with Democrats Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on her personal Facebook page, and within an hour the post was gone. She then shared them again in a post on the Florida Republicans United Facebook group that also disappeared.

Garcia, who serves as the Orange County chairwoman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, says she appealed the decision and was told by Facebook the post did not comply with its Community Standards, presumably the same ones that Harris was accused of violating.

She provided The Blaze with a screenshot of the message she received from the social media company:

The Orlando-area activist says this is not the first time she has been censored by Facebook. “They once removed a video I posted where I was being interviewed about why I love President Trump as a legal Mexican immigrant.”

She added, “Facebook has now removed two of my posts without any notice or any sort of communication. I think we have a freedom of speech crisis in America.”

What else?

The decisions came after Facebook said in a statement yesterday, “Any mention of the potential whistleblower’s name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content ‘outing of witness, informant, or activist. We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower’s name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.”

YouTube then followed Facebook’s lead and issued a similar statement to CNN:

A YouTube spokesperson said videos mentioning the potential whistleblower’s name would also be removed. The spokesperson said the company would use a combination of machine learning and human review to scrub the content. The removals, the spokesperson added, would affect the titles and descriptions of videos as well as the video’s actual content.

Meanwhile, Twitter said it would permit references to the whistleblower who is said to be a career CIA analyst who worked in the National Security Council in the previous administration.

by Giancarlo Sopa, TheBlaze


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Mexican Cartel Massacre: 9 Americans, including 6 children

Americans killed in cartel shootout in Mexico
At least nine American citizens including children have been killed by a Mexican drug cartel after being ambushed on the road.

Rhonita Maria LeBaron (left), along with 4 children, Dawna Langford (center) and Christina Marie Langford (right) were among those killed. (Facebook)

At least six children and three women living in a faith-based community of U.S. citizens in Mexico were shot to death Monday in the northern part of the country, and six more children were wounded after their convoy came under fire during a brazen daylight ambush believed to have been carried out by gunmen affiliated with the cartels.

Alfonso Durazo, Mexico’s top security official, confirmed the six deaths, adding that six more children were wounded in the attack, with five transferred to hospitals in Phoenix, Ariz.

He had indicated that one child was still missing, although relatives later appeared to indicate that the girl, Mckenzie Langford, age 9, who had been grazed in the arm by a bullet and had gone for help only to get lost in the dark, was eventually found.

Relatives said the victims live in the La Mora religious community in northern Mexico, a decades-old settlement in Sonora state around 70 miles south of Douglas, Arizona.

They said the group was attacked while traveling in a convoy of three SUVs. Durazo said the gunmen may have mistaken the SUV convoy for rival gangs.

The victims were all reportedly dual Mexican and U.S. citizens and were traveling back to the U.S. when they were ambushed, according to Utah’s KUTV.

Among those killed were Rhonita Maria LeBaron and her four children, including twin 6-month-old babies and two others, ages 8 and 10. Her burned-out bullet-ridden SUV was reportedly found outside the town of Bavispe, where the settlement is located. Relative Lafe Langford Jr. shared a video on Facebook that showed the SUV.

Relatives claim that cartel members kidnapped surviving church members after the initial shootout.

Rhonita’s young twins Titus and Tiana also died after the car caught fire (Instagram)

Langford Jr., who grew up in the settlement but now lives in the U.S., told the Salt Lake Tribune the bodies of the two other mothers in the group – 43-year-old Dawna Ray Langford and 31-year-old Christina Marie Langford – were found in a separate location later Monday. A third relative said a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy were also killed, bringing the death toll to at least nine.

Langford Jr. told Fox News: “It’s just huge. It’s just absolutely unimaginable. This is the absolute worst nightmare for our entire existence in Mexico…and we never thought it was possible.”

Jhon LeBaron, another relative, posted on his Facebook page that his aunt and another woman were dead. He also posted that six of his aunt’s children had been left abandoned, but alive, on a roadside.

In a series of tweets Tuesday morning, President Trump hit out at the “monsters” who perpetrated the act.

“A wonderful family and friends from Utah got caught between two vicious drug cartels, who were shooting at each other, with the result being many great American people killed, including young children, and some missing. If Mexico needs or requests help in cleaning out these monsters, the United States stands ready, willing & able to get involved and do the job quickly and effectively. The great new President of Mexico has made this a big issue, but the cartels have become so large and powerful that you sometimes need an army to defeat an army!”

He added in a third tweet: “This is the time for Mexico, with the help of the United States, to wage WAR on the drug cartels and wipe them off the face of the earth. We merely await a call from your great new president!”

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador refused that approach, saying at a Tuesday news conference, “The worst thing you can have is war.”

“We declared war, and it didn’t work,” Lopez Obrador said, referring to the policies of previous administrations. “That is not an option.”

Early reports indicated the tragedy could have been a case of mistaken identity, but recent history also raises the possibility the LeBaron family was the intended target: only a decade ago, two members of the family opposed to local drug trafficking groups were kidnapped and murdered, according to the Times.

Mexico’s federal Department of Security and Citizens’ Protection said security forces were reinforced with National Guard, army and state police troops in the area following “the reports about disappearance and aggression against several people.” The troops were searching for the missing community members, believed to include 11 children or more.

According to Langford Jr.’s Facebook post, one of the older boys in the group managed to escape with six of his siblings from the ongoing shootout and run back to his home at La Mora settlement, which is located about 70 miles south of Douglas, Ariz. He said he left other children who were injured hidden on the side of the road. It was unclear how many children were ultimately rescued as of Monday evening.

Many of the church’s members were born in Mexico and thus have dual U.S. citizenship. The three SUVs left Bavispe and were traveling on the outskirts of Sonora, near the neighboring state of Chihuahua, when they were reportedly attacked.

Claudia Pavlovich Arellano, the governor from Sonora, tweeted in Spanish her determination to find the killers.

“As a mother I feel courage, repudiation and deep pain for what cowards did in the mountains between Sonora and Chihuahua,” she wrote. “I don’t know what kind of monsters dare to hurt women and children. As Governor, I will do everything to make sure this does not go unpunished and those responsible pay.”

The U.S. State Department issued a statement saying, “The safety and welfare of U.S. citizens abroad is among the Department of State’s top priorities. When a U.S. citizen is missing or passes away overseas, we engage with local officials at multiple levels and provide all appropriate consular assistance.”

Danielle Wallace

By Danielle Wallace

Caleb Parke and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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DOJ Inquiry into Russian Probe Origin is Now a Criminal Investigation

‘Those who… broke the law to spread this hoax are about to face accountability’

The Department of Justice inquiry into the origins of the Russian probe into election interference and collusion has become a criminal investigation.

The escalation was reported by the New York Times on Thursday.

Shifting the inquiry into a criminal investigation would allow prosecutor John H. Durham to subpoena documents and witnesses, and also to convene a grand jury.

The Times reported that it was unclear what specific crime would be investigated.

Allies of the president have accused Democrats of illegally using the powers of government to surveil members of the Trump campaign in 2016 for political purposes. Those defending the investigation say it was an appropriate response to suspicions that the Trump campaign might have colluded with the Russian government.

“Spying on a campaign is a big deal,”Attorney General William Barr said to lawmakers in April. “I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated.”

President Donald Trump has called the accusations and investigation a “witch hunt.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) responded positively to the development via his social media account.

“NYT report: DOJ opening a criminal investigation into the spreading of the Russian collusion conspiracy,” he tweeted. “If true, this shows Bill Barr is doing EXACTLY his job: following the facts.”

“Those who damaged America and broke the law to spread this hoax are about to face accountability,” he added.

Can the President Say Lynching? Yes, and Here is Why

President Trump has recently asserted on his Twitter account:

So some day, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights. All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!

The president has come under fire from Democrats for using the word “lynching” to describe how the Democrats are attempting to throw him out of office without an underlying crime or due process, because they claim it is a word loaded with history of white supremacy–and cannot be invoked generally, and never by a white citizen.

Let’s look at what Lynching is.

Lynching–Definition and History: Democrats in the south killed and hanged thousands of African-Americans and 1,300 white Republicans who helped them, without due process.

This is the reality. Democrats committed the lynchings. They lynched blacks and any white Republican who sought to assist them in the post-war South.

Does the president’s use of the word withstand the historical definition? Democrats are trying to destroy a white Republican whose only ‘sin’ is informing America’s minorities that the Democrats have done everything in their power to keep blacks and Hispanics in poverty, because Democrats’ power base relies on a permanent dependent underclass that feels helpless to rise above their status. The president’s classic free market economic policies have lifted many millions of American minorities out of poverty in just 2.5 years, and unemployment rates for blacks, Hispanics, Asians and women are at all time historic lows. This is why the Democrats are trying to lynch the president.

Just in case there are any doubters out there (heaven knows that teachers’ unions and media obscure America’s history from the public), let me share this horrific and sordid history here:

First, let me preface that I am a Constitutionalist, politically. That means that my personal feelings about politics start and end with the Constitution. I have a doctorate in Law, and have a good understanding of US history—especially as it relates to individual liberty.

The thing about America is that it was a British colony, and the dumping ground for every horrible practice of nations of the time. Slavery was an abomination that had been practiced for thousands of years, and nearly every nation at the time was involved—especially most of the nations of Europe, and those of Africa. Irish were being enslaved and shipped to America and the Ivory Coast, followed by the African slave trade. Warring African tribes were attacking one another, and the victor would sell off the survivors of the defeated tribes to international slave traders. Under British rule, slave labor and white indentured servants (closely akin to slavery) was promoted heavily in the American colonies, and Caribbean islands owned by European nations were utilized as clearing houses for the African slave trade.

Democratic Party Campaign Flyer

As the American colonists rebelled against European oppression, including oppression of most British subjects as well as those trapped in the slave life, a great division formed among the colonies—those who utilized slave labor (mainly in the South) and those who opposed it (mainly in the North). The attitudes were diametrically opposed, and we even find thousands of Southern black citizens owning African slaves and thousands of Northern black citizens using the wealth they had accumulated in living the American dream to help the liberation cause.

The American Revolution and the coming forth of the US Constitution cost a lot of American blood and wealth, and many compromises were necessary to get us to that point. Let me share an example of the compromises. The Southern slave holders afforded no rights to their slaves—yet, for the purposes of representation in the US Congress, they insisted that their hundreds of thousands of slaves be counted in the census, thereby providing several additional members of the House of Representatives to Southern congressional districts. Northern politicians, who felt that slavery was vile, objected, and insisted that the slaves not be counted at all, because counting them would actually give the South an unfair voting advantage in the Congress—which they would utilize to keep the slaves in bondage. An eventual compromise was reached, for the purpose of forming a national government, and slaves were eventually counted as 2/3 of a citizen—unfortunately, still resulting in too many Congressmen being appointed by Southern states. Here is the problem—now, over 200 years later, this horrible compromise is twisted into something else. It is pointed to by the Party that tried to get the slaves counted so they could keep slavery alive in the South, as the North’s attempt to block slaves from being counted as “humans.” History is stood on its head by modern propaganda and rewriting history.

Abraham Lincoln was the candidate of the Republican Party, which was formed on the platform of emancipation, and an end to slavery in the US. The Democratic Party did everything in their power to block Lincoln and the Republicans. Steven Spielberg (Democrat) made an excellent movie starring Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, accurately depicting the efforts of the Republicans to free the slaves and empower them as US citizens, and the Democrats’ many attempts to block those efforts. More than 600,000 Americans gave their lives in the fight for freedom, to emancipate the slaves of the South. Most families were horribly affected—black and white. America won, the Constitution won, and Southern Democrats were sent home licking their wounds. They continued to treat black Americans as second class citizens for generations, forming the KKK, lynching blacks and their Republican protectors for decades.

This went on until President Eisenhower. The Republicans were trying to pass civil rights and voting rights legislation, and Southern Democrats were filibustering. If you look at the voting records of the 1950s, you will be shocked at the names voting against the Republican Civil Rights legislation (Gore, Kennedy, Fulbright, etc.). At that same time, Southern Democrats were still legislating Jim Crow laws, and standing on university steps with the National Guard, keeping young black Americans out of “white” schools.

There came a time when certain Democratic politicians made a decision, that they could gain political power if they suddenly changed lanes and proclaimed that they, not the Republicans, were the benevolent protectors of American blacks. This was orchestrated during the presidency of JFK, and when he was murdered, President LB Johnson championed welfare state legislation, forever trapping American minorities in a permanent underclass, dependent on government handouts. His words when he signed the Great Society legislation were, “We’ll have those n____ers voting Democrat for the next 200 years.” Despicable.

Now, when I tell my children that what they are being taught at school is not historically accurate, they get this lecture. When I tell them that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father were Republicans, they are surprised. When I tell them that nearly all Black Americans were Republican until the Great Society legislation won them over to the Democratic Party, they are shocked. In fact, history has been so set on its ear by those seeking to rewrite it, that my children said they were told that Lincoln was a Democrat (as declared on a university plaque in Illinois), and that the KKK was started and manned by Republicans.

The Constitution is colorblind. American conservatives are colorblind. The Constitution is set in place to protect America’s citizens and the various states from federal encroachments. America’s minorities are being used as pawns by international leftists to accumulate power in the left, leaving minorities deeper in debt and more powerless with each passing year. Additionally, 3,500 minority babies are aborted in this nation every day. Who’s behind that? As Americans, we must recognize that this is a national disgrace, and I was pleased to hear Kanye West protest this fact during the election when he shouted out to American minorities to wake up to the reality of party politics and how the left is exploiting minorities without giving anything to them of value.

We live in a period of extreme political turmoil. The source of this turmoil is people and organizations who do not like America, and its personal liberties afforded by the US Constitution. They are doing everything they can to destroy America and seize its power and wealth. History will be on the side of those who stood by America and its ideals, enshrined in the US Constitution. Those ideals do not divide Americans into any groups—not by gender, religion, race, etc. The only people who want to emphasize those distinctions and divide the people into small groups pitted against one another are people and organizations seeking to accumulate political power at the expense of those divided groups. Divide and Conquer is how they do their damage.

Most of us are members of one minority group or another. We cannot allow enemies of liberty to persuade us to turn on one another, thereby promoting their purposes. We are all Americans, and we should say nothing more than “We Are All Americans, and we have individual liberty as our common goal.” There are extremists, yes, and they want nothing more than to suck us into their sick world by spewing hate. The world is and always has been full of them—Nazis in Germany, fascists in Italy, Socialists is Russia and China, Jihadists in the Middle East. All of these groups wish to wipe out all opposition to their world domination. Their main enemy is America, because American ideals and personal liberty make it impossible for them to succeed. Therefore, they seek to conquer America by dividing Americans. They are all represented by extremist groups here in America. They take advantage of the poor, and poorly educated, and to the extent possible, they do everything in their power to keep Americans poor and ignorant.

There are tremendous powers at work in America—and we are hearing a ton of propaganda every day. Translation—you cannot count on anything the press is reporting right now.

I share this because it is my hope that this brief explanation of race in American history serves to clarify the real issues at play in the press today. Everything we are hearing is about power, and the politics of the accumulation of power, at the expense of the citizens of the United States–with Americans who are told they are “minorities” being manipulated to that end. Don’t be fooled by a media and press that is part of the power grab.

James Thompson is a legal scholar and political writer, and a professional ghostwriter.


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FROM A LIBERAL: An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

The days of buffet-style politics are no longer allowed

This article is in The Spectator’s inaugural US edition.

Dear Democrats, I’m mad at you. I was raised a die-hard, bleeding-heart liberal. My grandmother was an Irish Catholic New Englander who worshiped JFK almost as much as Jesus. My dad and his nine siblings sang for the Kennedys at Hammersmith Farm.

For decades, I was a loyal regular at your bar until suddenly you started ignoring me. You took my support for granted and dismissed my concerns, focusing instead on courting the young city hipsters with their scooters and their designer weed and their craft beers. You began overlooking pragmatic moderates and catering to loud extremists who favor rewriting the Constitution and accelerating our lurch towards socialism.

So in 2016, feeling politically homeless, I dropped my party affiliation. How did this happen? How did I go from being a lifetime Democrat to a registered independent? I am far from alone: why don’t you Democrats seem to care?

Like most Americans, I developed my politics through osmosis. You absorb what you grow up around. I call this unexamined position ‘factory settings’. Factory settings are the default beliefs installed when you were a child. ‘I grew up in a conservative home and so I vote Republican.’ Or ‘I hate the Yankees because I’m from Boston.’

As a young person, I could spout Democratic party lines verbatim. I didn’t care all that much. Prior to 2015, I viewed politics as something that only affected the very rich and the very poor. I wasn’t dependent on the government and tax cuts didn’t benefit me. The winner of any election had very little influence on my life. I worked as a waitress. Too busy living paycheck to paycheck, I felt like just another cog in the wheel.

For most of the 20 years in which I have been able to vote, I’ve kept my head down and voted Democrat because I believed they were the ‘party of the people’. And I was told Republicans were evil my whole life.

I understood the importance of voting, but had fallen asleep at the wheel of a self-driving car and was happy to let the autopilot navigate. It was easier. And not in a lazy, ignorant or unmotivated way — I was simply too busy trying to survive, so I rested in the default settings I was born into and trusted the geniuses in charge could work on the details.

For a long time, politicians could count on the factory-settings crowd. People know the lever they’re supposed to pull and that’s about all they’re there to do. But social media and unprecedented amounts of interconnection have added new layers that disrupt the quiet majority of factory-settings voters like me.

Having been born and raised a liberal Democrat, I had only a vague sense of the truth behind America’s political divisions. This was because of the left’s firm domination of media, entertainment and education. I subscribed to what I now call ‘The Approved Message’, a sort of ‘right-think’ that meant you were one of the good guys: a Democrat. It made for a simpler life.

Then came Trumpism. The Approved Message grew louder and angrier. It coalesced into a progressive religion, ‘Wokeism’, which adopted increasingly complex rules. Suddenly, there was no limit on what someone might deem offensive. Certain opinions, words and ideas became unacceptable overnight. Citizens took to policing one another’s jokes, tone and internet histories.

It quickly became clear that anyone who supported Trump (to be clear, I am not a fan) should be shamed and ostracized. If they were a family member, disowned. In fact, coming out as anything other than anti-Trump could end your career, get you kicked out of your mommy group or land you on the wrong side of a virtual mob.

Like most Americans, I was suddenly playing catch-up. Speech is violence, capitalism and democracy are oppressive, critical thinking is ‘fence-sitting.’

If you try nuance or engage in ‘wrong-think’ on sacred issues, you won’t just get into a tiff with the neighbors; now there’s every chance you will have your personal life dragged into the public square in order to shame you into obscurity. The days of buffet-style politics are no longer allowed. You either check all the boxes of the ‘good’ party, or you belong to the ‘bad’ one. When I dared to push back by writing articles, I was struck by how quickly the left rejected me. Millions noticed this too: they watched in stunned silence as leftists demanded books be censored, scrutinized language and called anyone who disagreed a Nazi.

Flash forward three years into a Trump administration and instead of learning from mistakes, the loudest members of the party are heading for the same brick wall. At this point the 2020 Democratic platform feels like a barely veiled threat: ‘Vote for us or you’re racist.’

The progressive push to fully embody the promise made in the Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal’ used to feel aspirational and attainable. Now, the open-mindedness and tolerance that attracted me to the Democratic party seems like a thing of the past. Gone is the party that stood in direct opposition to the rigid moralizing of conservatism.

In its place is a movement that feels less about liberation and more about obedience. Progressivism is no longer interested in ideological diversity and instead demands rigid adherence to dogma. Dare to defy and risk being, as we say on Twitter, ‘canceled.’

When a movement is no longer open to dissent, the movement is dead. It is no longer a living, breathing dialogue. It’s a cult.

Like it or not, I’m a canary in the coal-mine. If I, a citizen of the Republic of California, have been abandoned in the center, how many people are there in Ohio? Or Florida? Or Wisconsin? I guarantee a lot more than the polls currently reflect, and a lot more than Democrats can perceive from their liberal bubble. You can’t bully people into voting the way you like and then when they push back imply they are racist and say good riddance — not if you want to survive.

So Democrats, please stop with this nonsense that people like me have left you, as you endlessly tell me on Twitter. You pushed us away. Offer us a compelling vision of the future based on the strength of your ideas and policies. If you can’t, maybe you don’t deserve to win.

by Bridget Phetasy


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Trump Wins Again! Supreme Court Backs Border Wall Funding

SCOTUS RULING — The Constitution does not prevent President Trump from moving federal funds to build a wall on the southern border — and the Supreme Court will not rule otherwise.

Democratic leaders greeted last week’s news that the Pentagon had carried out Trump’s transfer of $3.6 billion for the border wall as if the constitutional heavens had fallen.  “The president is negating the Congress’ most fundamental principles — the Constitution’s most fundamental principle — the separation of powers,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday, “by assaulting the Constitution’s power, our power of the purse, and he’s undermining the oath of office he takes to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people.” Even conservative commentators have echoed the claim that the president is violating the Constitution by moving funds for the wall without congressional permission.

Most of this criticism is pure partisanship. But those on the Left and Right who oppose the president’s actions in good faith are either wrong or confused about the nature of presidential power and congressional delegations of authority.

The Constitution says only a specific list of “legislative Powers herein granted” are “vested in a Congress.” But it vests “[t]he executive Power” of the entire federal government wholly and completely to the president. The Constitution purposefully does not limit the president to a specific list of powers, as it does with Congress. “Good government,” Alexander Hamilton explained in Federalist 70, requires “energy in the executive,” which is “essential to the protection of the community from foreign attacks” and “the steady administration of the laws.”

The Framers knew that it was impossible to define beforehand the nature of emergencies and crises, and so did not try to define the president’s powers to act in response. Because the “circumstances that endanger the safety of nations are infinite,” Hamilton warned in Federalist 23 during the fight over ratification, “no constitutional shackles can wisely be imposed on the power.”

If presidents are to protect America and execute its laws, they must have the ability to identify an emergency. Throughout our history, presidents have understood the Constitution’s grant of “the executive power” to include such a power. Thomas Jefferson effectively did so in response to Aaron Burr’s effort to raise a rebellion in Louisiana; Abraham Lincoln declared an emergency at the start of the Civil War; FDR did so, with far less justification, at the start of his presidency to handle the Great Depression.

Not only do presidents have the constitutional authority to respond to emergencies, but Congress has also enhanced it with the right to re-allocate military spending. 

In the judgment of President Trump and, presumably, many of those who elected him, our immigration laws at the border have failed.  Even the New York Times and other media critics of the president have called the situation at the border an “emergency.” As commander-in-chief, the president has already ordered 3,000 troops to defend the integrity of the border. This recalls the U.S. Army to its roots — safeguarding the frontier.

Congress long ago blessed presidential authority to follow up an emergency declaration with deeds. In 1976, Congress enacted the National Emergency Act. While it terminated most existing emergencies, the NEA neither defined a national emergency nor limited the president’s ability to declare one. The law only sets out the process for publication and congressional notification for the president’s declaration. Every president has used the NEA to declare a national emergency, several under circumstances far less immediate than this one. The Supreme Court has never disagreed.

Not only do presidents have a reservoir of constitutional authority to respond to emergencies, but Congress has also enhanced it with the right to re-allocate military spending. Congress has passed at least two specific laws that give the president the power to transfer funds to a construction project, such as a wall, after a declaration of emergency. The first, Section 2808 of Title 10, states that if Trump declares an emergency “that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense…may undertakemilitary construction projects” using construction funding if it supports the armed forces.

A wall would clearly support the troops deployed at the border. A wall would make the troops safer by protecting them and reducing the size of migrant flows. A wall would also reduce the size of necessary deployments along the border by reducing the area that must be patrolled.  Further, decisions over what “requires” the armed forces and what is “necessary to support” them traditionally have rested within the expertise of the president and have rarely, if ever, been second-guessed by the courts

A second law, Section 2293 of Title 33 of the U.S. Code, allows the secretary of Defense to reallocate funds from military construction projects if the president declares an emergency. This means the president can “terminate or defer the construction, operation, maintenance, or repair” of any project “he deems not essential to the national defense” and “apply the resources of the Department of the Army’s civil works program, including funds, personnel, and equipment” to military construction projects deemed essential.

This statute appears even more generous than Section 2808. It does not demand that the national emergency requires the use of the U.S. Armed Forces; it allows that it could be an emergency that “requires or may require” their use. It also does not require that the construction be necessary to support the armed forces. Instead, the statute requires that (a) the civil works, military construction, or civil defense project be “authorized,” and (b) that the project be “essential to the national defense.” As law professor John Eastman has observed, the Secure Fence Act of 2006 authorized construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which meets condition (a).

These laws do not define what construction projects are essential to the national defense. The courts will be rightly reluctant to review these decisions. Instead, the Supreme Court will likely give the president the broadest deference to decide whether any construction project, even a border wall, would satisfy this statutory language.

This makes perfect sense. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to define by antecedent law what is militarily necessary — this lies squarely within the scope of executive power. Would the courts review whether the president’s decision to build a particular base, road, waterway, airport, fortification, defense structure, storage facility, arsenal, or even a bunker, is “essential” to the national defense? Such a decision would depend on the circumstances and the nature of the threat, which almost by definition could not be fully anticipated by Congress.

Despite the pleas of administration critics, the Supreme Court will almost certainly agree. If President Trump’s critics disagree with him as a matter of policy, they will be free to vote for someone else in 2020.


Matthew Peterson, Ph.D, is Vice President of Education and Salvatori Research Fellow at the Claremont Institute.

John C. Yoo is Heller professor law at UC Berkeley School of Law, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a visiting scholar at The Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of the new book “Striking Power: How Cyber, Robots and Space Weapons Change the Rules of War.” 


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9/11 Anniversary: Trump Says Day is ‘Seared into our Soul’

Eighteen years after the Tuesday morning President Trump says “is seared into our soul,” the nation paused to solemnly mark the events of the 9/11 terror attacks and the nearly 3,000 people who were lost – but never forgotten.

Morning ceremonies were held Wednesday at Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa. And this year is the first time the names of each are being read in the presence of a new, bittersweet section of the 9/11 Memorial — one honoring the growing list of first responders who’ve passed away from illnesses diagnosed in the aftermath of the attacks.

“For every American who lived through that day, the September 11 attack is seared into our soul,” Trump said during a ceremony at the Pentagon. “It was a day filled with shock, horror, sorrow and righteous fury.”

He added: “For the families who join us, this is your anniversary of personal and permanent loss. It’s the day that has replayed in your memory a thousand times over: the last kiss, the last phone call, the last time hearing those precious words ‘I love you’.”

Trump, a native New Yorker, said he and first lady Melania Trump are “united” with the survivors “in your grief.”

“We come here in the knowledge that we cannot erase the pain or reverse the evil of that dark and wretched day, but we offer you all that we have: our unwavering loyalty, our undying devotion and our eternal pledge that your loved ones will never, ever be forgotten,” he said.

This morning, the names of each victim at the Pentagon were read aloud, followed with the ringing of a bell. Former President George W. Bush is also expected to lay a wreath at the Pentagon this afternoon, while Vice President Pence will attend a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial near Shanksville, Pa.

Following the annual reading of names in Manhattan, the Port Authority — the owner of the original World Trade Center — will be holding an interfaith remembrance service at nearby St. Peters’ Church.

First responders and family members invited to dedication ceremony in Lower Manhattan; Rick Leventhal reports.

Farther north, the largest free-flying American flag in the world, which weighs 450 pounds and measures 60 by 90 feet, will be greeting drivers on the George Washington Bridge. And in the evening, the Tribute in Light beams that emanate from near Ground Zero will be visible up to 60 miles away.

The 9/11 Memorial Glade, which opened in late May, pays tribute to the more than 2,000 firefighters, police officers, federal agents and other first responders who have died after inhaling toxic fumes during recovery efforts and when clearing rubble at the scene.

The exhibit – just steps away from the reflecting pools — features six granite monoliths, each weighing 13 to 18 tons, inlaid and bound with strips of World Trade Center steel. The stones point skyward, crafted to look bruised, not broken, as a testament to the strength of the human spirit after the tragedy, the architects told Fox News earlier this year.

A visitor touches one of the granite slabs at the 9/11 Memorial Glade in New York City. When the names of nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 victims are read aloud today at the World Trade Center, a half-dozen stacks of stone will quietly salute an untold number of people who aren’t on the list. (AP)

A visitor touches one of the granite slabs at the 9/11 Memorial Glade in New York City. When the names of nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 victims are read aloud today at the World Trade Center, a half-dozen stacks of stone will quietly salute an untold number of people who aren’t on the list. (AP)

“Here we honor the tens of thousands / From across America and around the world / Who came to help and to heal / Whose selflessness and resolve / Perseverance and courage / Renewed the spirit of a grieving city / Gave hope to the nation / And inspired the world,” reads an inscription at one end of the Glade.

It opened on May 30 — the 17th anniversary of the official end of the rescue-and-recovery efforts that followed the 9/11 attacks.

But the number of those who have died from 9/11-related illnesses is expected to climb over time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s World Trade Center Health Program says.

In this year alone, those illnesses have claimed the lives of six police officers, the most recent being Cayuga County Undersheriff Stephen McLoud, who passed away from cancer just before Labor Day weekend, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP)

Smoke rises from the burning twin towers of the World Trade Center after hijacked planes crashed into the towers in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001. (AP)

In June, William Leahy, an officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Police Department, also passed away from cancer, which he was diagnosed with in the wake of the attacks.

“[He was] tough as nails and always got the job done,” Lt. Daniel Rhein told the New York Daily News. “At the same time, he would call his mother every day.”

At the opening of the 9/11 Memorial Glade, Caryn Pfeifer, whose firefighter husband Ray Pfeifer died of cancer in 2017, described the area as a “beautiful place for our heroes.”

She told The Associated Press that right after the World Trade Center towers fell, Ray “spent the next nine months searching and digging at Ground Zero without being asked, without being told, and without thinking about the consequences.

“But there were consequences,” she added. “There was illness and pain and death and for Ray that meant his guys and their families were in trouble.”

To date, only two men have been tried and sentenced in connection to the Sept. 11 attacks, leaving victims’ families increasingly frustrated.

Yet as this 18th anniversary comes, the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind, is inching closer. He and four other men will face war crimes charges at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba beginning in early 2021, a military judge said Friday.

As for today though, America continues to remember the lives lost, including of those who died at the Pentagon and those on board United Airlines Flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania.

Fox News’ Vandana Rambaran contributed to this report.


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Democrat Donor Epstein Found Dead – Another Clinton Witness Doesn’t Make it to Testimony

Disgraced multimillionaire Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sex trafficking minors, died from an apparent suicide inside in his Manhattan jail cell, officials confirmed Saturday.

Attorney General William Barr said in a statement Saturday that he was “appalled” to learn of the death and the Inspector General would open an investigation into the circumstances of his death. The FBI is also investigating.

“Mr. Epstein’s death raises serious questions that must be answered,” he said. “In addition to the FBI’s investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein’s death.”

The 66-year-old Epstein was found unresponsive inside his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York City around 6:30 a.m. Life-saving measures were initiated immediately by responding staff. He was transported to the New York Presbyterian-Lower Manhattan Hospital and was dead on arrival, officials said.

Law enforcement sources told Fox News that the initial call to the jail was cardiac arrest. Multiple reports claimed that he hanged himself. An autopsy is pending.

Marc Fernish, one of Epstein’s attorneys, blamed the government, the judge in the case and the media for this “unthinkable tragedy.”

“All these actors appear to bear some responsibility for this calamity. All seem to have a share of Mr. Epstein’s blood on their hands. All should be ashamed of their behavior,” the said in a personal statement to Fox News. “I call for a full investigation into the circumstances surrounding Mr. Epstein’s death. The public needs to know exactly what happened and why — and how his custodians could have let it occur.”

Epstein’s death comes two weeks after the 66-year-old was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck. At the time, it was not clear whether the injuries were self-inflicted or from an assault.

He had been taken off suicide watch before he killed himself, a person familiar with the matter told the AP. It wasn’t immediately clear when he was taken off suicide watch.Video

Epstein was arrested on July 6 over the alleged sexual abuse of dozens of young girls in his Upper East Side townhouse and his waterfront mansion in Palm Beach, Florida, between 2002 and 2005

Epstein allegedly created and maintained a “vast network” and operation from 2002 “up to and including” at least 2005 that enabled him to “sexually exploit and abuse dozens of underage girls” in addition to paying victims to recruit other girls. Prosecutors said that victims would be escorted to a room with a massage table where they would perform massages on Epstein.

At the time of Epstein’s arrest, prosecutors said they found a trove of pictures of nude and seminude young women and girls at his $77 million Manhattan mansion. They also say additional victims have come forward since the arrest.

He had pleaded not guilty and faced up to 45 years in prison if convicted.

His death also comes a day after thousands of documents were unsealed Friday in connection with a defamation cause against his alleged recruiter that revealed dozens of high-profile names including former Maine Sen. George Mitchell, ex-New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Prince Andrew, Duke of York.Video

Virginia Roberts Giuffre, who has long claimed Epstein forced her to have sex with powerful men, claimed in the lawsuit that Epstein and his associate, Ghislaine Maxwell, kept her as a “sex slave” in the early 2000s when she was underage.

Giuffre claimed in the unsealed May 2016 deposition to have been trafficked to have sex with and provide erotic massages to powerful politicians, foreign leaders, and well-heeled businessmen.

JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S HIGH-PROFILE ASSOCIATES ‘BREATHING A SIGH OF RELIEF’ AFTER DEATH: DEROY MURDOCK

Her attorney, Brad Edwards, reacted to Epstein’s apparent suicide on Saturday, telling Fox News it was “unfortunate and predictable.”

“The fact that Jeffrey Epstein was able to commit the selfish act of taking his own life as his world of abuse, exploitation, and corruption unraveled in both unfortunate and predictable,” he said in a statement. “While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for.”

He continued: “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused. It is never too late to come forward with information. We will continue to represent his victims and will not stop in their pursuit of finality and justice.”Video

Epstein’s arrest drew national attention, particularly focusing on a deal that allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to soliciting a minor for prostitution in Florida and avoid more serious federal charges.

Federal prosecutors in New York reopened the probe after investigative reporting by the Miami Herald stirred outrage over that plea bargain.

But his lawyers maintained that the new charges brought by federal prosecutors in New York were covered by the deal and were improper. They said he hasn’t had any illicit contact with girls since serving his 13-month sentence in Florida.

High-profile attorney Lisa Bloom, who presents some of Epstein’s accusers, tweeted Saturday that his death means a “consciousness of guilt.”

“He was charged with only two counts. But he knew. He knew he was guilty, and all of his money would not prevent the inevitable conviction. He knew justice was coming and he could not face it”, she wrote.

David Boies, who represents several women allegedly victimized by Epstein, told Fox News: “This is the end of one chapter, but only one chapter, of the battle to bring the sex traffickers to justice.  Jeffrey Epstein did not act, and could not have done what he did, alone. Justice demands that those who acted with him also be held to account.”

Before his legal troubles, Epstein led a life of extraordinary luxury that drew powerful people into his orbit.

He socialized with princes and presidents and lived on a 100-acre private island in the Caribbean and one of the biggest mansions in New York. A college dropout, he became a sought-after benefactor of professors and scientists, donating millions of dollars in donations to Harvard University and other causes.Video

Still, it was never entirely clear how the middle-class Brooklyn math whiz became a Wall Street master of high finance.

Epstein’s death is likely to raise questions about how the Bureau of Prisons ensures the welfare of high-profile inmates. In October, Boston gangster James “Whitey” Bulger was killed in a federal prison in West Virginia where had just been transferred.

The Justice Department and the federal Bureau of Prisons did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.

Fox News’ Bryan Llenas, Robert Gearty, Marta Dhanis, Brooke Singman, Travis Fedschun, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.Lucia I. Suarez Sang is a Reporter & Editor for FoxNews.com. Follow her on Twitter @luciasuarezsang


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