Even before seeing the transcript of the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Nancy Pelosi threw the door wide open to the impeachment of Donald Trump by the Democratic House.
Though the transcript did not remotely justify the advanced billing of a "quid pro quo," Pelosi set in motion a process that is already producing a sea change in the politics of 2020.
The great Beltway battle for the balance of this year, and perhaps next, will be over whether the Democrats can effect a coup against a president many of them have never recognized as legitimate and have sought to bring down since before he took the oath of office.
Pelosi on Tuesday started this rock rolling down the hill.
She has made impeachment, which did not even come up in the last Democratic debate, the issue of 2020. She has foreclosed bipartisan compromise on gun control, the cost of prescription drugs and infrastructure. She has just put her own and her party's fate and future on the line.
With Pelosi's assent that she is now open to impeachment, she turned what was becoming a cold case into a blazing issue. If the Democrats march up impeachment hill, fail and fall back, or if they vote impeachment only to see the Senate exonerate the president, that will be the climactic moment of Pelosi's career. She is betting the future of the House, and her party's hopes of capturing the presidency, on the belief she and her colleagues can persuade the country to support the indictment of a president for high crimes.
One wonders: Do Democrats blinded by hatred of Trump ever wonder how that 40% of the nation that sees him as the repository of their hopes will react if, rather than beat him at the ballot box, they remove him in this way?
The first casualty of Pelosi's cause is almost certain to be the front-runner for the party nomination. Joe Biden has already, this past week, fallen behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren in Iowa, New Hampshire and California. The Quinnipiac poll has her taking the lead nationally for the nomination, with Biden dropping into second place for the first time since he announced his candidacy.
By making Ukraine the focus of the impeachment drive in the House, Pelosi has also assured that the questionable conduct of Biden and son Hunter Biden will be front and center for the next four months before Iowa votes.
What did Joe do? By his own admission, indeed his boast, as vice president he ordered then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko to either fire the prosecutor who was investigating the company that hired Hunter Biden for $50,000 a month or forgo a $1 billion U.S. loan guarantee that Kiev needed to stay current on its debts.
Biden insists the Ukrainian prosecutor was corrupt, that Hunter had done no wrong, that he himself was unaware of his son's business ties.
All these assertions have been contradicted or challenged.
There is another question raised by Biden's ultimatum to Kiev to fire the corrupt prosecutor or forgo the loan guarantee. Why was the U.S. guaranteeing loans to a Kiev regime that had to be threatened by the U.S. with bankruptcy to get it to rid itself of a prosecutor whom all of Europe supposedly knew to be corrupt?
Whatever the truth of the charges, the problem here is that any investigation of potential corruption of Hunter Biden, and of the role of his father, the former vice president, in facilitating it, will be front and center in presidential politics between now and New Hampshire.
This is bad news for the Biden campaign. And the principal beneficiary of Pelosi's decision that put Joe and Hunter Biden at the center of an impeachment inquiry is, again, Warren.
Warren already appears to have emerged victorious in her battle with Bernie Sanders to become the progressives' first choice in 2020. And consider how, as she is rising, her remaining opposition is fast fading.
Sen. Kamala Harris has said she is moving her campaign to Iowa for a do-or-die stand in the first battleground state. Sen. Cory Booker has called on donors to raise $1.7 million in 10 days, or he will have to pack it in. As Biden, Sanders, Harris and Booker fade, and "Mayor Pete" Buttigieg hovers at 5 or 6% in national and state polls, Warren steadily emerges as the probable nominee.
One measure of how deeply Biden is in trouble, whether he is beginning to be seen as too risky, given the allegations against him and his son, will be the new endorsements his candidacy receives after this week of charges and countercharges.
If there is a significant falling off, it could be fatal.
Patrick J. Buchanan
The transcript of President Trump's phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky is yet another illustration of the rule: Never ask a question you don't know the answer to.
But on the basis of one drama queen's overreaction to a rumor she'd heard about what was said on a phone call she didn't hear (I'm assuming the whistleblower is Christine Blasey Ford), the Democrats have launched impeachment proceedings against the president.
I guess they figured it's easier than flying to South Dakota with picks and chisels and carving Trump into Mount Rushmore. But it will have the same effect.
Now that the transcript has been released, it's The New York Times that doesn't want anyone to see it.
The transcript I'd like to see is the one of Nancy Pelosi reading the Trump transcript.
F@@@@@@CK! Whose f***ing idea was it to demand this goddamn transcript? F@CK! F@@CK! F@@@CK!
The absolute worst version for Trump -- i.e. the one being repeated non-stop on MSNBC -- is that he did exactly what Obama and Biden were doing to Ukraine: intimidating an ally into giving us something in exchange for the foreign aid we were giving them.
Biden himself bragged about getting Ukraine's prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold a big fat check from them.
The Democrats' argument is: No, no, no! When WE were pressuring Ukraine, we were doing it for good! Don't you understand? We're good; they're bad.
The other reason the media are going to have to bury this transcript is that Trump brought up a few items that the media have been hoping the public would never find out about.
Trump said: "There's a lot of talk about Biden's son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the attorney general would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution, so if you can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me."
Well, that's something the media haven't mentioned before. Ninety-nine percent of Americans will be hearing about the funny business with Biden's son, Hunter, for the first time with the release of this transcript.
Why did Vice President Biden order the Ukrainian president to fire the prosecutor investigating the Ukrainian company paying his son millions of dollars? Are Democrats claiming that this company was clean as a whistle and it was an absolute OUTRAGE that it was being investigated?
Ukraine was looking into the company that conveniently placed Hunter Biden on its board long before Trump came on the scene. Something must have made the Ukrainian prosecutor want to investigate Biden's company -- and it sure wasn't to curry favor with the Obama/Biden administration.
The second issue the media does not want anyone to think about is CrowdStrike.
What is CrowdStrike, you ask? That is the cybersecurity firm that is the sole source of the claim that the Russians hacked the DNC's emails -- which launched the conspiracy theories that tied our country in knots for the past three years.
The Russian collusion story was originally hatched by Hillary Clinton in the summer of 2016 to cover up the utter corruption revealed by the dump of Democratic National Committee emails on Wikileaks. As was her practice whenever a scandal threatened to engulf her, Hillary rushed out and told the press to investigate something else.
And "the great story" about the DNC email hack wasn't about a "vast right-wing conspiracy" -- as she claimed when the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. No, this time, it was a vast Russian conspiracy!
At the time, the entire media laughed at Hillary's Russian conspiracy nonsense -- The New York Times, New York Newsday, the Los Angeles Times and so on. But then Trump won the election, and suddenly the Russia conspiracy seemed totally believable. What else could explain how Americans could put this boob in the White House?
The subsequent three years of breathless Russia coverage was based entirely on the word of one cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, that the DNC's emails had been hacked by Russia. Recall that the DNC wouldn't allow the FBI or any other U.S. government official anywhere near its computers. That's precisely why so many cybersecurity experts doubted that it was the Russians: The FBI was never allowed to perform its own investigation.
CrowdStrike was founded by Ukrainian Dmitri Alperovitch (now an American citizen apparently -- because who isn't?) and funded by the fanatically anti-Russian Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk Foundation.
Talk about interfering with our democracy! Alperovitch and Pinchuk sent one political party and nine-tenths of the American media off on a wild goose chase into Russian collusion that, after years of accusations, investigations and embarrassing conspiracy-mongering ... turned up goose eggs.
The entire Russian insanity was launched by a couple of Ukrainians. I think a lot of us would like to get to the bottom of that.
This is why Trump said to President Zelensky: "I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say CrowdStrike ... I guess you have one of your wealthy people ... The server, they say Ukraine has it."(How'd you like to be the Ukrainian translator for a Trump conversation?)
Trump has been justly criticized for hiring his daughter and son-in-law at the White House. But at least when he pressures a foreign leader for a favor, it's to investigate corruption, not to get a prosecutor off his son's back. Maybe Biden's son was guilty, maybe he was innocent. But it is a fact that Joe Biden held up foreign aid to a desperately needy ally in exchange for their halting prosecution that implicated his son. It's not Trump's fault that Biden is now running for president.
I'll give the Democrats this: They've gotten so good at trying to remove Trump from office that, instead of three years, their insane accusations blow up in their faces within a week.
After three rounds of debates, the latest a winnowed field of 10 sharing a single stage, one thing seems clear: The Democratic Party needs a heavy hitter to enter this race, or one among the field to grasp reality. It is time to get real.
Without someone impassioned, articulate and believable -- think Oprah Winfrey or Michelle Obama -- the Democratic field has no clear message. The 10 leading candidates cannot clearly articulate why they want the job. As explained by spiritual author and Democratic candidate Marianne Williamson, who did not make the stage Thursday, no one will beat President Donald Trump with wonky insider policy talk.
Love or hate him and what he has to say, Trump had a crystal clear message when he ran in 2016: "Make America Great Again." He will run next year on a promise to "Keep America Great." It is called marketing.
Trump's simple slogans don't promise gifts or anything specific. They mean whatever any listener cares to dream of.
Compare that to the Democratic primary talk. Candidates exchange gibberish about giving away money, health care, education and other services and goods in exchange for support. To sloganize their grand vision, one could only say "Make America Socialist, As Never Before."
Democrats plan to control the climate by phasing out fossil fuels. This appeals to fantasy visions of far-left activists but makes no sense to anyone who understands the pervasive and intractable role of fossil fuels in nearly every aspect of human life.
Construction, manufacturing, transportation, heating, cooling, agriculture, food processing, media, telecommunication and low-emission "sustainable" energy innovation depend heavily on fossil fuels.
We will not imminently replace bulldozers, tractors, cranes, planes, boats, tires, roofs, lightbulbs, phones, TVs, ovens -- pretty much everything that defines the way we live -- with replacements we will somehow manufacture and operate without fossil fuels. It is not possible in anyone's lifetime.
When Americans of average intelligence hear an entire slate of presidential candidates promise the impossible, they roll their eyes and resign themselves to another four years of Trump.
Whether they like him, he does not threaten their ability to turn on lights, drive cars, heat homes and eat. We cannot say the same for 10 leading Democratic candidates, unless and until they explain how they will eliminate fossil fuels without screwing up our lives.
They have various ideas for giving away health care on a massive scale, and no one demands they explain how to pay for it. The even bigger concern is where they will get it. This country faces a severe and growing health care shortage, and the prospect of free health care for everyone including illegal immigrants only makes young adults less interested in future medical careers.
They will give away college educations and forgive student loan debt. Of 10 leading candidates, not one has a message that does not boil down to taking from Peter to pay for Paul's vote.
Small-time millionaire lawyer Andrew Yang has taken pandering to an all-time low, paying a few randomly selected people $1,000 a month for no apparent reason. If elected, everyone who needs $1,000 will get it from government. How to pay for this? No one asks.
The moderators and candidates in all three debates have essentially ignored economic questions and answers, allowing discussions of incomprehensible fantasy.
Democrats need a candidate moored to reality. Americans will vote for Trump, even if they don't like him, if given no better option. They won't vote for any Trump opponent with a message they cannot believe.
Since when do we take serious someone whistle blowing who had no direct knowledge of the events?
There is a chain of command that is followed. After the IG reviews the complaint and decided it needs to go forward it is reviewed again by the legal staff to make sure it is valid. It failed this check and was therefore not sent along to Congress.
There is more, but what I find extremely interesting is that no one in the media is talking about how the whistle blower got access about information on a private call between the president and the leader of another country.
The fact that secret information is being distributed to people who do not have the proper security clearances to see that information is much more alarming to me then a BS whistle blower complaint when he/she clearly did not have all of the facts.
And find it even more disturbing that the Democrat run intelligence committee doesn’t find it equally disturbing.
Ann Coulter’s recent column, “”We don’t trust you”…says it all!
What a great column, except for 1 paragraph, as an OP-ED columnist, I envy her writing skills and eloquence. We, the Conservative Branch of government, need her and people like her.
I wish she would reconcile her differences with the President.
From that 1 paragraph I believe her differences are of a personal nature rather than based on the President’s ability to run the largest corporation in the world…the US of A!
This President is NOT a politically correct , polished politician.
There are two types of people, leaders and followers. Those who follow, like Schumer, Pelosi,…and all other Democraps, care what people think about their decisions…those who lead, don’t. Leaders make decisions based upon their integrity, oaths, experience and ability.
Having turned around everything Barack Hussein did in 8 long years, trying to destroy America… Trump? It only took him a short 2 years, to restore America, what no other person could have accomplished.
I’d rather Trump have my back, any day, than anybody Democrap!
J Gary DiLaura,
The Right Side
What a great actress that Gretta is!!! Wonder how many times she practiced that?
Strange though. Instead of going to India or China who produce the vast majority of the world's pollution she chose to come to the United States... Interesting. How about lecturing those countries first LMAO
Combined, the total debt of the 50 state governments in the U.S. was $1.5 trillion in fiscal year 2018, according to Truth In Accounting’s (TIA) 2019 Financial State of the States report.
It is the tenth in a decade of reports analyzing states’ budgeting, reporting, and fiscal health using the same methodology.
The good news is that due to a prosperous economy, total debt among the 50 states decreased by $62.6 billion in fiscal year 2018, excluding debt related to capital assets.
Despite this, the average taxpayer burden across all 50 states to cover the debt was $8,400, and 40 state governments were unable to pay their bills.
Nine state governments accumulated debt to the point where the taxpayer burden exceeds $20,000, according to the analysis.
TIA calculates the taxpayer burden according to the amount of money each taxpayer would have to pay for the state to pay all of its existing debt. A taxpayer surplus is the amount of money left over after all of a state’s bills are paid, divided by the estimated number of taxpayers in the state.
TIA labels states that can’t pay their bills as Sinkhole States and those who can as Sunshine States.
Top Sunshine States, with the lowest taxpayer burden, are Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho.
Sinkhole States are New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Hawaii.
In order to balance the budget, required by law in 49 states, “elected officials have not included the true costs of the government in their budget calculations and have pushed costs onto future taxpayers,” the report states. Unfunded retirement and healthcare obligations represent real expenses that fall on taxpayers, causing the greatest amount of debt, the report adds.
TIA implemented a grading system for the states to better explain their actual financial situation. Three states received A’s, seven received B’s, 13 received C’s, 18 received D’s, and nine states received failing grades.
The worst states with the highest taxpayer burden and worst fiscal health all earned F grades. They include New Jersey, with the highest taxpayer burden of $65,100, followed by Illinois with a $52,600 taxpayer burden, Connecticut with $51,800, Massachusetts and Hawaii both carrying a $31,200 taxpayer burden, Delaware with $27,100, Kentucky with $25,700, California with $21,800, and New York with $20,500.
“This crisis has been years in the making and demands political courage on the part of voters and elected officials to return to the path of sustainability,” Sheila Weinberg, founder and CEO of TIA, said.
One of the ways states appear to balance their budgets is that officials “shortchange” public pension and OPEB funds, resulting in a $824 billion shortfall in pension funds and a $664.6 billion shortfall in OPEB funds, TIA said.
“Many but not all states are in bad shape. States like Utah, Tennessee, Nebraska and, among the larger states, North Carolina – they have good lessons to offer other states,” Bill Bergman, TIA director of research, told The Center Square.
“For the states in bad shape, state legislatures, governors, judges and government employees probably shouldn't rely on federal government assistance, even if things like the government's response to the financial crisis of 2008-2009 or growing calls for federal assistance for the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation suggest they should,” Bergman adds. “Our federal government is arguably in worse financial condition than even the worst states (New Jersey, Illinois, and Connecticut), despite, or perhaps because of, the fact that the federal government thinks it can print money.”
Founded in 2002, Truth in Accounting is dedicated to educating and empowering citizens with understandable, reliable, and transparent government financial information. This year's report is the tenth in a decade of TIA \ analyzing states’ budgeting, reporting, and fiscal health using the same methodology.
“Providing accurate and timely information to citizens and the media is an essential part of government responsibility and accountability,” TIA states. “The lack of transparency in financial information, state budgets, and financial reports makes it difficult for governments to meet this democratic responsibility.”
The Center Square
If the global health care sector were a country, it would be the fifth-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet, according to a new report by Health Care Without Harm in collaboration with Arup, which provides engineering, design, and project management for the built environment.
Overall, health care emissions are equivalent to the annual greenhouse gases produced by 514 coal-fired power plants, finds the report, titled, “Health Care’s Climate Footprint.”
Establishing the first-ever estimate of health care’s global climate footprint, the report finds the health care footprint to be equivalent to 4.4 percent of global net emissions (two gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent).
Fossil fuel combustion makes up well over half of health care’s global climate footprint.
The report, released simultaneously at events in London and Medellin, Colombia on September 10, makes the case for a transformation of the health care sector that aligns it with the Paris Agreement goal of limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
“Not only are doctors, nurses and health facilities all first responders to the impacts of climate change, but hospitals and health care systems paradoxically make a major contribution to the climate crisis,” says co-author Josh Karliner, international director of program and strategy for Health Care Without Harm.
“The health sector needs to transition to clean, renewable energy and deploy other primary prevention strategies to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Health care has to step up and do its part to avoid catastrophic climate change, which would be devastating to human health worldwide,” said Karliner.
Held at the Wellcome Trust, the London launch event included a high-level panel moderated by Howard Frumkin, head of Our Planet Our Health at the Wellcome Trust.
Panelists included Mandeep Daliwhal, director of the UN Development Programme’s HIV, Health, and Development Group, as well as representatives from the World Health Organization, WHO, the National Health Service, Health Care Without Harm, and Arup.
The report was also showcased at the Climate and Health Conference in Medellin, Columbia, which featured Health Care Without Harm, city officials, the provincial government of Antioquia, Antioquia University and WHO’s Pan American Health Organization.
Hospitals, health systems and their supply chains in the United States, China, and the European Union, make up more than half of health care’s worldwide emissions. And while differing in scale, every nation’s health sector directly and indirectly releases greenhouse gases as it delivers care.
“Health sector facilities are the operational heart of service delivery, protecting health, treating patients, and saving lives. Yet health sector facilities are also a source of carbon emissions, contributing to climate change. Places of healing should be leading the way, not contributing to the burden of disease,” says Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization.
The report calls for a global roadmap for climate-smart health care in order to reduce emissions, while meeting goals such as universal health coverage. The report also outlines immediate actions that stakeholders from across the health sector could take.
First, individual hospitals and independent health systems should follow the example of thousands of hospitals already moving toward climate-smart healthcare via Health Care Without Harm’s Health Care Climate Challenge and other initiatives.
Also, national and subnational governments should build on existing initiatives to establish action plans to decarbonize their health systems, foster resilience, and improve health outcomes.
Finally, bilateral aid agencies, multilateral development banks, other health funding agencies and philanthropies should integrate climate-smart principles and strategies into their health aid, lending, and policy guidance for developing countries.
The report concludes that health promotion, disease prevention, universal health coverage, and the global climate goal of net zero emissions must become intertwined.
“The health sector must become climate-smart,” says Gary Cohen, founder of Health Care Without Harm. “Both climate justice and health equity depend on it.”
Health Care Without Harm works to transform the health sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care, so that it becomes ecologically sustainable and a leading advocate for environmental health and justice. For more information about this report, visit noharm.org/ClimateFootprintReport.
© Environment News Service (ENS) 2019. All rights reserved.
The always-amiable Father Andrew Gilligan, who for many years taught Latin at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco, wanted his students to remember some of the great passages from Virgil's "The Aeneid" long after they had forgotten the arcane rules of Latin grammar. So, he gave us some to memorize.
One was: "Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit." His colloquial translation of this was: "Someday you may look back on even these things and laugh." That is what Aeneas told his men after they sailed through a horrendous storm.
They had escaped from Troy after the Greeks captured it. But they were destined to lay the foundation of the Roman Empire in Italy. The vengeful goddess Juno, seeking to stop them, ordered Aeolus, the god of the winds, to hit them as hard as he could. Neptune, the god of the sea, stopped the storm and spared Aeneas -- and, according to Virgil's story, the future of Rome.
This line from Virgil occurred to me aboard a cruise ship, as we peacefully sailed from a port near Rome, past Sicily, toward Greece and Turkey -- heading in exactly the opposite direction as Aeneas. The seas were calm. The skies were blue. It was hard to imagine what Aeneas went through.
As pantheistic as "The Aeneid" is, Virgil wrote it only decades before the birth of Christ -- the same century during which another great Roman, Cicero, wrote his "Treatise on the Commonwealth," which has been quoted in this column.
"There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil," Cicero wrote. "Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation."
"Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice," Cicero said. "It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing today and another tomorrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must forever reign, eternal and imperishable," he wrote.
"It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings," said Cicero. "God himself is its author, its promulgator, its enforcer. He who obeys it not, flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man."
As these lines demonstrate, Cicero was not a pantheist. He wrote of one God, whose universal law applied to all human beings in all times and all places.
In Rome, the ruins of the Colosseum, built in the first century after the birth of Christ, are within walking distance of St. Peter's Basilica, whose dome was designed by Michelangelo in the 16th century and whose piazza was designed by Bernini in the 17th century.
The interior of the Colosseum may have witnessed hideous things, but its classical beauty is rooted in the same immutable rules of harmony and proportion that guided the designs of the Renaissance.
A little more than a century after Bernini designed the Piazza San Pietro, our Founding Fathers declared the United States an independent nation, appealing as they did so to "the Laws of Nature and Nature's God" and stating that all men "are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights."
Thomas Jefferson later described the Declaration of Independence as "an expression of the American mind" and cited the writings of Cicero as one of its inspirations.
That new nation, which embraced the immutable principles articulated by Cicero, soon built a beautiful capital city, whose major structures, such as the Capitol and the White House, reflected the same basic architectural principles as classical -- and Renaissance -- Rome.
Based on that same principle Cicero articulated two thousand years ago, America became the freest and greatest nation on Earth.
In 1969, two American astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, planted our flag on the moon -- a profoundly symbolic moment for a nation that had reached higher than any other both morally and physically. Since Apollo 17 in 1972, we have not returned to the moon.
But we have aborted many millions of babies, declared it a "right" for two people of the same sex to marry and begun a national debate about whether a young man can declare himself a young woman and begin using the ladies' room.
At the same time, our federal government has run up a debt of more than $22 trillion.
The advice Aeneas gave to his men in the wake of that fictional storm that Virgil put into verse more than two thousand years ago could never be applied to the cultural challenge America faces today.
We will never look back on these conflicts with any sort of mirth. But, hopefully, someday soon we will look back and know that we not only weathered the storm but also turned the ship back in the right direction.