#ukraine

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.

Kavanaugh 2.0? Do texts tell anything?

CM will say this from the outset. If Trump is actually guilty of a crime that validates formal impeachment, then the law of the land must prevail, regardless of partisan bias.

Unfortunately, this impeachment process smacks of Kavanaugh 2.0. Don’t be surprised if more allegations come out of the woodwork. After Kavanaugh’s eventual confirmation, recall that many who came forward in the hearings suffered bouts of amnesia or flat out reversed the initial allegations made. The Democrats remain so deranged, that if not careful, this could create an ill wind that will blow back on them if not successful.

Luckily for the Democrats, having a compliant mainstream media which can think of nothing better than aiding and abetting an impeachment are salivating so as to recover self-inflicted slumping ratings. So much for objective journalism. How cute that they pass so little airtime over allegations that US politicians could have family members embroiled in corrupt activities while they were in office. Don’t Americans see that as worth knowing? Isn’t it odd that Hunter Biden, a man with no experience in a particular field, was given a $600k job to act as a director, 10x the average CEO salary in the country?

How they missed the allegation that the first whistleblower, failed to disclose his meeting with House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff to the Inspector General Michael Atkinson. Atkinson didn’t follow up because he had no knowledge until it came out. Never mind that according to 18 U.S. Code § 1001, anyone who “falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact” might be guilty of making a false statement. A felony?

Now that whistleblower #1’s credibility is looking even shakier (given his testimony was based on second-hand information), how surprising that whistleblower #2 has come out of the woodpile with supposedly first-hand information. He claims to have evidence supporting the first. What a surprise?

Will he/she also be found to be a registered Democrat? Will he have the same impartiality of FBI agent Peter “at no time in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took” Strzok when the lead investigator of Hillary Clinton’s email saga and Trump’s alleged Russia collusion?

Now the media wolf pack is seizing on comments that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made supposedly about quid pro quo. He said,  “This is what we do. Nations work together and they say ‘Boy...if you can help me with X, we’ll help you achieve Y. This is what partnerships do. It’s win-win, it’s better for each of us.” If one looked at nearly every administration, countries look for mutual benefits. What is remotely odd about that? Does America give aid to countries that benefit it? Israel perhaps? If you help keep peace in the region, we’ll sell you state of the art equipment? Saudi Arabia? If you buy our fighter jets, we’ll buy your oil?

Zelenskiy said there was no quid pro quo. Australian PM Scott Morrison spoke of exactly the type of cooperation Australia and the US has had for decades. It isn’t a quid pro quo. It is mutual benefit. Sharing common values.

Officials taking part in the texts are Kurt Volker, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine; William Taylor, who was interim chargé d’affaires in Kiev is the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine; Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union; and Andrey Yermak, a top aide to Zelenskiy.

In an exchange dated Sept. 9, in a text Taylor sent to Sondland, the career diplomat wrote: “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

Sondland responds: “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind.

In a July 25 message between Volker and Yermak — the aide to Ukraine’s president Zelenskiy — which occurred just ahead of the Trump-Zelenskiy call, Volker wrote:

Heard from White House—assuming President Z convinces trump he will investigate/’get to the bottom of what happened’ in 2016, we will nail down date for visit to Washington.

Weeks later, on Aug. 9, Sondland and Volker exchange texts as they try to establish a date for Zelenskiy’s visit:

Sondland: “Morrison ready to get dates as soon as Yermak confirms.”

Volker: “Excellent!! How did you sway him? 🙂

Sondland: “Not sure I did. I think POTUS really wants the deliverable

So the texts go to show there was no quid pro quo which involved “monies being withheld”, which is the real point of attack by Schiff et al.

Does Trump wanting to get to the bottom of the very collusion during the 2016 election that the Democrats had been screaming about for the better part of two years all of a sudden require impeachment because that it doesn’t suit their purposes? Do they want a president to wield a big stick or be a wallflower? 

Washington Post gave 4 out of 5 Pinocchio’s to Adam Schiff. How hard must have that been? Pelosi removed Jerry Nadler from the investigation. Surely she must think to remove him given the incompetence he has shown? Now Schiff has made himself part of the investigation. He is now a witness. A bit hard to chair an impeachment enquiry when he himself is part of it.

What a farce.

In an impeachment mud wrestle, the safest bet is on Trump

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The Democrats currently have 6 congressional committees investigating Trump. Six. They are looking like a complete laughing stock, once again trying to find a smoking gun where seemingly none exists. The mainstream media was as ever compliant, fuelling their blood lust set off by chronic Trump Derangement Syndrome. Releasing the unredacted phone transcript with Ukrainian PM Volodymyr Zelensky shows once again how Trump always ends up the favourite in a mud-wrestling contest. One would have thought the Democrats would get this by now. Yet they fall for it every time.

If one reads the transcript, it seems that Trump asked about having Zelensky look into the possible shenanigans surrounding the 2016 election and Joe Biden’s son’s alleged corruption with Ukrainian oligarchs in 2015. There are no quid pro quos made, something even the left-leaning NYT admits.

Pelosi seems to have buckled to her party to flip-flop on impeachment. Instead of waiting for the telephone conversation to be released, which Trump promised he’d do, she seems to have acted in haste. Unless she thinks retired Vice Admiral Joseph Maguire’s testimony opens a whole can of worms which could lead to their ultimate wish, as it seems they realise 2020 is sunk by conventional methods.

There is a touch of irony that it is only Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat presidential nominee who seems to favour the American people deciding rather than a bunch of politicians who haven’t got over the fact that Clinton’s coronation never came to be. Gabbard said,

“I believe that impeachment at this juncture would be terribly divisive for the country at a time when we are already extremely divided. The hyperpartisanship is one of the main things driving our country apart…I think it’s important to beat Donald Trump, that’s why I’m running for president…But I think it’s the American people who need to make their voices heard making that decision.

Impeachment still requires a 2/3rds vote in the Senate which is highly unlikely in the Republican-dominated upper house. That will require at least 20 Republicans to side with the Democrats to remove Trump. What the call for impeachment will do is likely finish off ol’ Joe Biden from the race. He is far too centrist for the left of the party in any event given it has been hijacked by the hard-left.

Ultimately Trump may relish the thought of a protracted impeachment battle that ends up showing no evidence yet exposing that Democrats as being more intent on pursuing vendettas than helping the very people they’re elected to serve.

One thing is for sure, Americans are growing tired of these antics and impeachment hearings will only make the chance of turfing Trump in 2020 that much harder, despite several Democrat-held states introducing legislation to bar Trump from the ballot paper should he refuse to release his taxes.

As Napoleon Bonaparte once said, “never disturb your enemy when he is making a mistake.

Who will get the Nobel Peace Prize for helping end the Korean War – Kim, Moon & Xi or Trump?

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Will President Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for getting Kim & Moon to the peace table? It is unlikely in so far as the Norwegian Nobel Committee would fear the full weight of international opinion (aka mainstream media) for doing so. Surely they wouldn’t risk making a mockery of such a coveted award? Then again a one Barack Obama was handed one less than 9 months into his first term on the stated basis of a noble quest for the Holy Grail of world peace rather than anything actually achieved. In 2016 alone, the Obama administration dropped 26,171 bombs on enemies. Not bad for a serial appeaser. A Nobel prize has even been awarded to a multi billion dollar embezzling terrorist of a self appointed authority, so Kim Jong-un is in with a shot.

Will Trump receive any credit (even without a Nobel) for pushing ‘Rocketman/The Fat Kid’ to the negotiating table? Probably not. How come no other administrations were able to achieve something that was relatively easier when the state of the North’s arsenal was considerably less lethal? Kim threatened Guam less than half a year ago. Trump didn’t back down and the North Korean dictator clearly realized from Twitter that the most powerful man in the world wasn’t all bluster. President Xi may well have played a solid hand in pushing Kim to sue for peace negotiations. In the interests of President-for-life Xi, his foe Trump has a maximum 7 years left to meddle. If Korea gets a peace deal, Xi can play hardball on the peninsula if a softer President enters the White House thereafter. Then he can take a stab at Taiwan. Xi can afford to wait.

We should not forget that Kim Jong-Un travelled to China on his first ‘overseas’ visit earlier this year. Best get the approval of a real dictator before progressing. Kim was there to get Beijing’s blessing to ensure North Korean sovereignty come what may so as to maintain the desired geographical buffer to pro-US nations.

Noone said peace isn’t desirable. The question is what price must one pay to get it? There are too many incidents in the past where signing peace treaties with dictatorial regimes have ended in disaster. Hitler/Chamberlain (Munich Agreement), Hitler/Stalin (Pact of Steel), Putin/Merkel/Macron (suggestion of UN in Ukraine), Le Duc Tho/Kissinger (Paris Peace Accords over Vietnam), Xerxes II/Leonidas (Greece) etc.

Will part of the denuclearization ‘deal’ call upon a withdrawal of US Forces from the Korean Peninsula? Would the US go for that? Highly unlikely. Would Moon be so gullible as to suggest a (slow) withdrawal? Of course he has the right to demand a foreign garrison pack up and go home. Trump may have pushed China and NK to act but he’d prefer the status quo than to roll over and vacate the premises. China wins in either scenario. America certainly doesn’t want to pay for the same real estate twice. Some quarters in South Korea must surely want the US military to stay as an insurance policy. Afterall how can one trust someone who comes from a dynasty that kills its own people and assassinates family members? Worryingly Moon looks to have a certain ring of Chamberlain about him.

It was clear that North Korea was dictating the moves at the Winter Olympics. It was South Korea who funded the $3mn in travel costs for the cheer squad. Anything that looked to mock the North Koreans was swiftly dealt with. It spoke volumes about which Korea was calling the shots. Anyone impersonating any other world leader could do so with reckless aplomb. Anything resembling Kim Jong-un  was quickly removed from sight. Tyrannies rarely do humour and sadly not enough democracies defend it. Still it is hardly an encouraging sign for even handed peace talks when one side looks to appease in this way.

Kim Jong-un is smart enough to realize at such a youthful stage in his life that he probably has another 40-50 years left in him. Reunification only works if he is given sanctuary. Idi Amin saw the beauty of a life in exile in Saudi Arabia. If Kim Jong-un can relax in Sichuan Province it maybe a dignified way out. One can bet his ‘some are more equal than others’ inner sanctum would rather the two stay separated. They would stand to lose way more than Kim.  It would be ridiculous to assume that Kim could be a major cog driving a reunification process with such an abysmal human rights record. Name a despot who would willing cede authoritarian rule much less without a deal which would exonerate him from any international criminal court that he would be held accountable for under a functioning democracy?

The South Koreans have had a think tank in Berlin researching the effect of reunification in Germany. The former West is still heavily subsidizing the former East. Depopulation (-15% between 1989 & 2013), unemployment rates (higher today that 1989) and inferior GDP per capita (27% less) are all a feature of the former communist state vs the federal republic over the last three decades.

How easily could South Korea absorb the North? West Germany had a population of 63mn in 1989 vs 16mn in East Germany or 4:1. South Korea has 53mn vs North Korea’s 24mn or 2:1. West Germany had a 2.3x GDP/capita ratio to the East in 1989. South Korea has a 52x GDP/capita ratio to the North. Reunification for Korea isn’t an apples to apples comparison with Germany. While Samsung might relish the prospects of tapping a cheap labour pool to build washing machines, the South would likely face far higher integration costs than the Germans. Even 30 years ago East Germany had a GDP/capita 17x that of North Korea.

In any event the only sure outcome of peace on the Korea Peninsula is that President Trump will get next to zero credit in the media. Wailing about the reckless diplomacy of an unhinged dictator will be the main with a few conceding it was at best a fluke.

What happens when you poke a Russian bear?

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As written earlier in the week, regardless of one’s views on the righteousness of any attack on Syria, Putin is being faced for the first time in a long time, a leader of a foreign nation (nations as it turns out) prepared to stand up to him. Obama fled the Syria battlefield after being given a two hour window when Russia first went to the aid of Assad. If that wasn’t the ultimate sign of a bully in the Kremlin it is hard to think of what is. While sanctions may have bitten to a degree post Ukraine and the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines flight, Syria is essentially a testing ground for Putin to weigh up Western (specifically Trump’s) resolve. If we look at Russia’s response post the Syrian strike,

The worst apprehensions have come true. Our warnings have been left unheard…A pre-designed scenario is being implemented. Again, we are being threatened. We warned that such actions will not be left without consequences…All responsibility for them rests with Washington, London and Paris…Insulting the President of Russia is unacceptable and inadmissible.

Kind of says it all really – Russia hasn’t been insulted. Putin has. He must have a glass jaw  like Trump! Two bullies flexing muscle. In a show down Should Putin wish to pick a direct conventional fight against 3 nuclear powers (explicitly mentioned), he knows that ‘mutually assured destruction’ is the very last option in the drawer and next to no chance of being selected despite all of the media beat up. On a conventional basis, Putin wins more battles by stirring up the hornet’s nests in other regions. Lending more support to Iran, Lebanon and Yemen. Destabilize Saudi Arabia and antagonize Israel.

CM wrote,

It is worth nothing that Syria is Rosoboronexport’s (Russia’s military export wing) 2nd largest customer after Iran. Putin is sick of having the West try to remove his clients. Assad is key to Russia’s foothold in the Middle East. With an essentially pro-Iran Iraqi government and Syria as well as Hezbollah Putin has a geopolitical doormat from the troubled separatist states to Russia’s south to Lebanon.

Some arguments have been made about the risks of the American, French or UK strikes killing Russian troops or civilians on the ground in Syria handing Russia free will to attack its enemies. Scroll back to November 2015 when the Turkish Air Force shot down a Russian Su-24 fighter it claimed entered its airspace. Two Russian pilots were killed in the shooting and subsequent rescue. The Russians were incensed but President Erdogan is still in power and Ankara isn’t flailing after seeing its capitol turned into smoldering rubble.

This argument that the Russians weren’t given advance warnings of the attack is ridiculous. Had the Russian defence forces been on proper alert (they most definitely weren’t passed out behind their radar screens after a vodka binge) they would have detected the missile launches. Wind back to the 59 missile launch earlier last year against Syrian chemical facilities. We didn’t hear a peep from Putin. Why now? Of course he is incensed over the booting of diplomats on the nerve agent scandal but this is a showdown of ego.

Think of the long geopolitical chess board here. Should Trump have backed down on Putin’s threats, wouldn’t China’s Xi feel equally empowered to annex Taiwan by telling POTUS that he risks ‘grave reprisals if he meddles with Chinese sovereign territory’?

For all the initial snubbing of Trump by Macron on his historic election win in France, there is no way he would have gone in alone to attack a chemical facility without the guarantee of the military might of America. It is unlikely Theresa May would have done it either. So for all of the ‘unhinged’ lunatic rhetoric bandied about by the media, foreign nations don’t gamble their own sovereignty lightly, especially over something like Syria.

General Mattis has said they plan no further strikes at this stage. Does Putin order his forces to sink a US destroyer in the Mediterranean which launched those missiles? Highly unlikely. He does have the best weapon available to do that (the ‘Sunburn’) but sending US naval vessels to the bottom of the sea on a strategic strike would seem a big response to a targeted hit.

Let there be no mistake. There is a new sheriff in town. Russia has a bloody nose it didn’t think it would find itself. Putin miscalculated that Trump isn’t all Twitter-fueled bluster. Uncertainty in foreign leaders is always a risk for enemies. Trump has shown Putin he won’t be bullied like his predecessor.

Putin doesn’t want a hot war with America. The best way to strike at the US is like the last 6 decades. Undermine her at every opportunity. Supply her enemies. As mentioned before, if the Russians didn’t think it worth hitting back at Turkey for deliberately targeting its fighters, it is unlikely that Putin, no matter how ‘insulted’ he might feel will take a strike not aimed at Russians as a pretext to pick a fight with Trump. Putin has worked out the US president’s measure. He miscalculated. He won’t make that mistake twice.

For the media, running all the scare campaign stories is not only highly irresponsible (as it did over Yemen’s attacks on Saudi Arabia) but proving the lack of depth of analysis. They can beat Trump over the head all they wish but should note the actions of Macron and May following him into the region as a tacit approval of the US leader. Was he the madman they portrayed him as in the first place they would have stayed well out of it.

Watch for Putin’s response (unlikely but will threaten it will come when the evil Americans least expect) and think deeply about why it is important that the real despots (Putin, Xi, KJ-U, Erdogan) around the world no longer have the ability to exercise free will in knowledge that the worst they face is a slap on the wrist from the UN.

Sounds more like grounds for congratulation than censure.