America

Schiff’s whistleblower may not testify at all

Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, has admitted that the first whistleblower may not testify in person or in writing. It was only several weeks ago that Schiff said the whistleblower was ready to go on record as the pillar of the impeachment hearing. Schiff said on CBS,

Well, our primary interest right now is making sure that that person is protected … given that we already have the call records we didn’t need the whistleblower, who wasn’t on the call.

The Democrats look like the Keystone Cops running this investigation. If it is such an open and shut case, why are such rookie errors being made? This is what happens when derangement clouds one’s judgment. Unbridled hatred of Trump has removed any sense of coherency in the process.

Impeachment for budding US constitutional experts

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Salvatore Balbones has written one of the better pieces as goes impeachment to all those budding US constitutional experts in The Spectator today.

In the United States, no president has ever been convicted in an impeachment proceeding, even if he was guilty. In 1998, Bill Clinton almost certainly committed at least two high crimes (perjury and obstruction of justice), and God knows how many misdemeanours, but even he was acquitted. And that was with Republicans in control of the Senate. The idea that Donald Trump would be convicted on vague charges of ‘abuse of power’ by two-thirds of a Senate where his party controls an absolute majority is preposterous. Even Donald Trump isn’t that unpopular.

And then there’s the election. In case you haven’t heard, 2020 is an election year in the United States. Conviction in an impeachment proceeding removes the incumbent from office, but it doesn’t automatically disqualify him from running again. That takes an additional vote. But if Senate Republicans not only convict President Trump but also disqualify him from holding office in the future, who would be the Republican candidate in the 2020 elections? Currently, no one else is (seriously) running. The national Republican party isn’t even holding candidate debates, and some state parties are cancelling primaries and caucuses. It seems very unlikely that the Republicans would let the Democrats walk into the White House unopposed.

Seems whistleblower may have worked with Biden when he was VP

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There are so many twists and turns in the Trump impeachment saga. So many allegations. Who to believe? What to believe? Adam Schiff, who managed to score 4 Pinocchio’s from the heavily left-leaning Washington Post, is now a key witness in a trial he is slated to chair. Did Joe Biden receive $900,000 as a Ukrainian MP outlined? Is his word to be believed?

Despite confirmation from the Inspector General that the CIA whistleblower #1 was involved with the candidacy of a 2020 Democratic nominee it turns out he is working for Joe Biden’s campaign. A retired CIA officer has told the Washington Examiner the following,

From everything we know about the whistleblower and his work in the executive branch then, there is absolutely no doubt he would have been working with Biden when he was vice president.

As Zero Hedge noted,

So, to clarify, a registered Democrat on the CIA payroll, who previously worked with VP Joe Biden, went to Adam Schiff’s committee, who referred him to a Democratic operative attorney, who helped him file a whistleblower complaint about Trump attempting to uncover Biden’s corruption, on a form which was altered to allow second-hand information.

CM is sure there is even less to see.

Pot calling the kettle black?

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Ukrainian MP Andriy Derkach revealed yesterday that former VP Joe Biden received $900,000 from Burisma Group (the one his son Hunter worked for) for lobbying activities.

Derkach publicized documents which explained the channel of getting those funds. He said,

This was the transfer of Burisma Group’s funds for lobbying activities, as investigators believe, personally to Joe Biden through a lobbying company. Funds in the amount of $900,000 were transferred to the U.S.-based company Rosemont Seneca Partners, which according to open sources, in particular, the New York Times, is affiliated with Biden. The payment reference was payment for consultative services…According to the documents, Burisma paid no less than $16.5 million to [former Polish President, who became an independent director at Burisma Holdings in 2014] Aleksander Kwasniewski, [chairman of the Burisma board of independent directors] Alan Apter, [Burisma independent director] Devon Archer and Hunter Biden [who joined the Burisma board of directors in 2014]“…

Using political and economic levellers of influencing Ukrainian authorities and manipulating the issue of providing financial aid to Ukraine, Joe Biden actively assisted closing criminal cases into the activity of former Ukrainian Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, who is the founder and owner of Burisma Group…Biden’s fifth visit to Kyiv on December 7-8, 2015 was devoted to making a decision on the resignation of [then Ukrainian Prosecutor General] Viktor Shokin over the case of Zlochevsky and Burisma. Loan guarantees worth $1 billion that the United States was to give to Ukraine was the point of pressure. Biden himself admitted exerting pressure in his speech at the Council of Foreign Relations in January 2018, calling Shokin ‘son of a bitch who was fired.”

Derkach added that international corruption of this magnitude couldn’t have taken place without the participation of then Ukranian President Petro Poroshenko.

International corruption of this magnitude, as well as interference in the U.S. presidential election, could not have occurred without Poroshenko’s participation

…We see the conflict in which the new government of Ukraine faces due to the activities of the previous president. I want to emphasize that I’m almost sure, and not only I, but many journalists, that Poroshenko personally bears responsibility for the situation in which Ukraine has ended up, for dragging Ukraine into interfering in the U.S. presidential election, for a huge number of corruption scandals and international corruption that could not have occurred without his control or participation.

Of course, all this must be proven in a court of law, but isn’t it ironic that Biden is demanding Trump is impeached when it would seem the VP (undoubtedly in the full knowledge of the President) might have been complicit in quid pro quos with Ukraine himself.

Do we believe Joe Biden? Biden claimed he had never spoken to Burisma until a picture came out showing him playing golf with Devon Archer and his son, Hunter Biden, both directors of Burisma. Archer and Hunter were managing partners at Rosemont Seneca Partners. Archer was also a co-founder of the private-equity firm Rosemont Capital with Christopher Heinz, his college roommate at Yale. Archer had served as a senior adviser to Heinz’s stepfather, Democratic Senator John Kerry Kerry, during his 2004 presidential bid. Surely Joe never heard a peep about Burisma? Almost as believable as Bill Clinton’s chance meeting with AG Loretta Lynch on a Phoenix Airport runway, a day before her testimony on Hillary’s emails. Nothing to see here.

It smells like Kavanaugh 2.0

Can the Democrats really be so careless? It turns out that the CIA whistleblowera self-disclosed Democrat, who came forward over the Ukrainian affair has professional links to one of the 2020 Democratic nominee’s campaign.

The Inspector General (IG) Michael Atkinson stated this was the case, according to Washington Examiner journalist, Byron York.

Is this why House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff won’t release the transcript of former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker’s 10-hr testimony, which would possibly disprove allegations of a quid pro quo between President Trump and Ukraine’s government?

It is embarrassing enough that Schiff risks being a witness to an impeachment hearing he is chairing.

A deadly problem: should we ban SUVs from our cities?

Activists, including one wearing a Angela Merkel mask, outside the Frankfurt International Auto, holding signs reading ‘gas guzzling vehicles off the road’ and ‘Stop petrol and diesel’.

More junk journalism from The Guardian. Why can’t the paper make sensible commentary on the auto industry? Essentially it pushes a narrative that we should ban SUVs, a long term growth market for automakers because they advertise the segment too much. Shame on trying to act in the interests of shareholders. The article encourages the movement to push for a ban of SUVs in cities. Why? The socialisation of transport!

The article makes the early assertion that passengers are 11% more likely to die in an SUV accident than a regular passenger car. Unfortunately, it cited an article written 15 years ago. In that time, SUVs have evolved leaps and bounds. A far greater proportion of SUVs are made using a monocoque chassis as opposed to the old ladder frames. Even those SUVs with ladder chassis hold 5-star safety NHTSA ratings in 2019:

2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 5 star (ladder) vs 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee – 3 star

2019 Ford Expedition – 5 star (ladder) – 2004 Ford Expedition – 5 star

2019 GMC Acadia – 5 star (ladder) – 2007 GMC Acadia – 4 star

2019 Toyota RAV4 – 5 star (monocoque) – 2004 Toyota RAV4 – 4 star

2019 Mazda CX-9 – 5 star (monocoque) – 2007 Mazda CX-9 – 4 star.

Some may recall in the early 2000s when the Ford Explorer/Firestone tyre rollover incident killed 261 people. Since then, carmakers have installed so many safety items – passive and active. Automatic braking, lane departure detection, forward collision warning, electronic brakeforce distribution (which prevents rollovers). SUVs are safer than ever, including pedestrian facing features.

Never mind the huge leap in safety. Let’s shame the automakers and buyers instead.

The Guardian noted, “In Germany, in 2018 they spent more on marketing SUVs than on any other segment; they actually spent as much as they spent on other segments together” says Stephan von Dassel, the district mayor of Berlin-Mitte. “This is not some accident that people suddenly are really into these cars, they are heavily pushed into the market.”

Wow, so carmakers actually made a sensible advertising budget allocations and convinced new buyers to voluntarily select their SUVs. Those wicked capitalists. They should be burnt at the stake for being in touch with their customers. Perhaps politicians could learn from the carmakers about being in touch with their constituents?

The Guardian then noted the following,

In Europe, sales of SUVs leapt from 7% of the market in 2009 to 36% in 2018. They are forecast to reach nearly 40% by 2021. While pedestrian deaths are falling across Europe, they are not falling as fast as deaths of those using other modes of transport.

So even though the sales of these vehicles have skyrocketed, pedestrian deaths are falling. Reading the paper published by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, stated

“A total of 5,987 pedestrians were killed in crashes in 2016, accounting for 16 percent of all crash fatalities. The number of pedestrians killed each year has declined 20 percent since 1975…”

Surprisingly, The Guardian waits till the end to point the finger at the pet issue facing SUVs – emissions.

“Transport, primarily road transport, is responsible for 27% of Europe’s carbon emissions. A decade ago the EU passed a law with a target to reduce carbon emissions to 95g/km by 2021 but a recent report by campaign organisation Transport and Environment highlights what is calls it “pitiful progress”. “Sixteen months from before the target comes into force carmakers are less than halfway towards their goals,” the report adds. The car industry faces hefty fines in Europe of €34bn in a few months for failing to meet emissions targets.”

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How is it that diesel engines, the increasingly preferred powerplant in SUVs, have had emissions cut 97% over the last 25 years? That is monumental progress.

Yet why have legislators tried to ban petrol and diesel cars and looking to force adoption of dirtier EVs which have done 150,000km equivalent CO2 emissions before leaving the showroom? Because ideology distorts reality. Even Schaeffler AG, an auto supplier, admitted it is almost impossible for automakers to comply with the different demands of over 200 cities in Europe with EV rules. No common standards and the quest of woke city councils trying to outdo each other on being climate-friendly. Then governments need to consider the 5% of total tax revenue that fill the coffers they would be giving up, although already in the US, Illinois is looking to impose a $1,000 a year EV tax.

Shouldn’t the EU and other countries face the realities that consumers (taxpayers) like the utility these SUVs provide for their individual needs over and above saving the planet? Shouldn’t politicians realise that consumers make conscious decisions when making the second largest purchase for the household?

One can absolutely bet that if some maker came out with a Hummer sized EV, these cities that want to ban SUVs from driving in them would grant the monster truck an exemption and special parking zones.

Julia Poliscanova, director of clean vehicles and e-mobility at Transport and Environment, says regulators must step in to force car manufacturers to produce and sell zero-emission and suitably sized vehicles, for example, small and light cars in urban areas.”

What if consumers don’t want to buy small and light cars? Force car makers to produce cars their customers don’t want? That is a winning strategy. If carmakers must sell zero-emission vehicles, why on God’s earth are politicians with absolutely no engineering pedigree dictating technology to the experts? Why not let necessity be the mother of invention? If carmakers can get fossil fuel-powered vehicles to be zero-emission and keep their brand DNA at the same time, imagine the billions that could be saved on reckless waste rolling out often unreliable charging infrastructure? Maybe then carmakers could build cars its customers wanted and make money to literally fuel the economy. Politicians would still be able to virtue signal! Win-win.

Maybe the modus operandi is to socialise transport. Poliscanova said, “Smart urban policies are also key to drive consumers towards clean and safe modes…Mayors should reduce space and parking spots for private cars and reallocate it to people and shared clean mobility services.

That is the ticket – force everyone off the road. That is a sure vote winner!

It’s hard being perfect

Obviously, a very daft thing to say. Self-appraisal is so vacuous. Then again, Trump is the master of lighting fires for the media to chase. True to form they’ll wail for days over this comment questioning his intelligence to deflect from impeachment and demands for his tax returns. Yet is this quote remotely surprising?

According to Trump, he’s said he is a

“stable genius,”

that “no one respects women more than I do”, 

“I will build a great wall–and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me–and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words”

“I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”

“I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”

“Ariana Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man–he made a good decision.”

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems. They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they’re telling us what we’re getting.”

“My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body.”

“I Have never seen a thin person drinking Diet Coke.”

“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”

“I’ve now been in 57 states — I think one left to go.”

“The reforms we seek would bring greater competition, choice, savings and inefficiencies to our health care system.”

N.B. the last two were Obama.

Nancy Pelosi wasn’t much better – “We have to pass the bill for you to find out what’s in it.”