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Saturday, February 29, 2020

Russia, Democrats, and the DEATH of LOGIC

Simple logic and a cursory understanding of history, economics, and political philosophy punctuate the absurdity of the media's statements on Russia. 

                                                                         Weak American Leaders. Obama, Clinton, Sanders

Fletch Daniels

The media's attempt, bolstered by some in the intelligence community, to spin the lie that Russia wants Donald Trump re-elected shows their utter contempt for the intelligence of Americans.

Simple logic and a cursory understanding of history, economics, and political philosophy punctuate the absurdity of their statements.

It is relatively easy to surmise the kind of leader whom Vladimir Putin or Xi Jinping would love to see leading America.

That leader would be weak, show little interest in a militarily strong America or its allies, and implement policies that would weaken America and American influence. That leader would be skeptical of capitalism and would be advocating the dismemberment of the U.S. energy sector, since this would significantly boost Russia's economic prospects and global influence while crippling America. That leader would propose obscene levels of government spending to bury the country under a mountain of debt. He would be all in on open borders. He would be groovy with unfair trade agreements and would seek to tie America's hands behind its back with ineffective international treaties and agreements. That leader would be a committed globalist inclined to see America as the problem. He might even own a flexible red plastic reset button.

Notably, there are candidates aplenty in the race who check the right boxes, and none of them is named Trump. Anyone who is telling you Russia wants Trump to be re-elected is telling the big lie, one that is so absurd that only a university-educated fool would believe it. It also demonstrates that the media and their fellow Democrat travelers are convinced that Americans really are a special kind of stupid.

They have reason to believe this since they have been prepping the battlefield with and for their lies for decades. Considering that Democrats guzzled down Russia, Russia, Russia like the last drop of water in a desert of despair, their designated liars have some reason to believe that it will work again.

This is also why Hillary Clinton saw no problem in accusing Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein, along with Donald Trump, of being Russian agents. She knows that this is absurd but thinks her fellow Americans are stupid enough to lap up her smug vomit. In a saner world, these accusations would have marked the last time she was ever allowed to show her face in public.

Even the "revelation" that the Russians are pulling for Bernie Sanders in the primary is offered in a way that defies logic, while containing a supersized escape hatch. The argument is that the Russians want Bernie Sanders to be nominated, not because he is a Marxist madman threatening to burn down the U.S. system, but because he would be the easiest opponent for Trump to beat since these fictitious Russians want Trump to stay in office. This conveniently allows its proponents to offer full support to Sanders in the increasingly likely event he is the candidate.

One of my favorite minor fictional characters is Professor Digory Kirke, who was breathed onto the page by the great C.S. Lewis in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Kirke, who was the boyhood hero in The Magician's Nephew, is now a wise, old, and cantankerous professor. Whenever he interacts with the Pevensie children, he constantly chides them for not using logic. He laments that logic is no longer taught in school and questions the value of what the children are learning.

Written in 1950, Kirke is a prophetic character who is likely representative of Lewis himself, since he was also a profoundly logical professor.

Lewis was clearly already concerned about the breakdown of logic and reasoning in schools and its effect on the next generation. We are now almost seventy years beyond when Kirke appeared on the page. Some of the philosophies that would later wreck academia were being birthed around that time.

We used to say people went to college to learn how to think. Today, that has been inverted. Students go to college to learn how to not to think for themselves. Teaching that leads to clear and logical thinking has been replaced by concepts that are its antithesis, such as intersectionality, Marxism, deconstructionism, humanism, queer theory, and social justice theory.

One of the most important steps in preparing a society to accept the kind of contradictions George Orwell wrote about in 1984 is to short-circuit critical thinking and to prepare a pliant and aggrieved population to embrace the lies. The ideal citizen when the corrupt "elites" are trying to transform society into a hellish Marxist landscape is the one who is ignorant and lacks an understanding of history, political science, ethics, philosophy, economics, literature, science, and mathematics, among other disciplines.

The schools and universities are dutifully doing their part. The great books and concepts of the past have been replaced by the foolish theories of today.

It's a tragedy when kids go to college to receive an education but instead are stripped of their moral bearings, filled with nonsense, and returned to society as something less than when they entered, all for the basement bargain price of $250,000 or more. And then the same cultural arsonists who irrevocably damaged these students demand that we cancel their debt.

The Apostle Paul, writing to Timothy, saw this age coming. He wrote, "The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron" (1 Tim. 4:1–2). The left is a refuge of hypocritical liars and projectionists operating under the vilest of influences. Within their perverse worldview, it makes perfect sense for a multi-millionaire who collects houses the way some people collect sports cards to preach Marxism while demanding the end of billionaires. It is perfectly acceptable for virulently racist columnists who note that "it's kind of sick how much joy I get out of being cruel to old white men" to lecture Americans from liberalism's flagship New York Times.

We don't need committees or Secret Squirrel CIA officers to study and tell Americans who foreign powers would like to see elected in America. Any thinking person can deduce exactly whom China, Russia, and Iran want to see elected, although Qassem Soleimani could not be reached for comment. The last type of person any of them desires is an American president set on strengthening America's economy and influence. China, in particular, is eager to see a new resident move in to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

These countries will certainly try to interfere in our election. That's what hostile foreign powers do. But that interference will be aimed at assisting in the election of any of the remaining stable of Democrats, any of whom would be much more compliant and supportive of their interests. Anyone arguing otherwise is either a liar or a fool.

If Russia, or any other country, drops intelligence breadcrumbs that indicate that it is trying to help Trump, it is with the knowledge that the information will be weaponized by both the bureaucracy and the Democrats to hurt him. It is a mistake to assume that our geopolitical adversaries aren't devious or that they are stupid. They're not. They are more than capable of employing reverse psychology.

Russian efforts at disruption and division attempted the last time succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but only because the Russians had such eager allies in America. The media-Democrat blabocracy have enjoyed their role as willing accomplices to America's enemies and will remain so for the foreseeable future, counting on the blindness and illogic they have cultivated to aid their efforts.


14 Crucial QUESTIONS That Bernie Sanders Surrogate Ilhan OMAR Won’t Answer

If Ilhan Omar is who Democratic front-runner Bernie Sanders entrusts with Minnesota in 2020, America deserves a response to these burning questions about her past.
14 Crucial Questions That Bernie Sanders Surrogate Ilhan Omar Won’t Answer

Ben Weingarten

Freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., is perhaps best known for her antisemitic rhetoric, radically left-wing policy, and mounting allegations that she committed marriage and immigration fraud.

But as I argue in my new book, “American Ingrate: Ilhan Omar and the Progressive-Islamist Takeover of the Democratic Party,” the sensational aspects of Omar’s story belie the fact that she is not only one of the most prominent symbols of the Democratic Party’s ascendant far-left base, but a powerful player in her own right. Her collusion with Islamist adversaries foreign and domestic, and alleged criminality and proven corruption, should send chills down the spines of Americans.

Ilhan Omar Is a Significant Democratic Player

Omar’s clout was demonstrated most recently when Democratic presidential front-runner Bernie Sanders tabbed her campaign co-chair in the all-important 2020 state of Minnesota. The congresswoman also recently introduced a
battery of bills concerning foreign policy that senior Obama National Security Council official Ben Rhodes characterized as the “new progressive baseline.”

Lest we forget, this is a House member who, in spite of her known virulent antisemitism, blame America first positions, and potentially compromising background, retains a seat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which grapples with the most sensitive national security and foreign policy information and issues.

The party signaled a willingness to allow her to act with impunity, effectively condoning her rhetoric and behavior by refusing to censure her by name for her comments, specifically regarding the so-called Israel lobby, and her invocation of other antisemitic tropes.

Omar’s symbolic and substantive significance is summarized simply in the reality that a vote for Sanders is a vote for Omar and their shared agenda of socialism at home and submission abroad. Yet she has faced almost zero media scrutiny. She and her supporters attack as bigots the few who dare pursue her story. But it would be bigoted to treat her differently from any other politician on the basis of her identity traits.

In writing “American Ingrate,” I sought answers to some of the most vexing yet basic issues about Omar’s background, positions, and associations. I delivered a list of questions via email first to Omar’s chief communications staffer in September 2019, then to her general press account in December 2019, and again in February 2020 following the release of “American Ingrate.” Neither Omar nor her office ever responded.

Omar Should Answer These Questions

Below is my verbatim letter. I hope someday Omar will provide answers to my queries. Perhaps she will in her memoir set to be released in May, which she announced within hours after the release of “American Ingrate” could be preordered.

Dear Congresswoman Omar:

My name is Ben Weingarten. I am a national security and foreign policy analyst, and write for several publications including The Federalist, where I am a Senior Contributor. In connection with a book on which I am working, I wanted to ask for your comment on several questions. Please find them below:

1. What are the full legal names of each of your siblings and father, to where did each of them immigrate upon leaving Africa, and where do they live presently?

2. While your family was in Somalia, it has been reported that your father was a “teacher trainer,” while other family members were civil servants. A Washington Post article from April 1980 notes that “Teachers and civil servants were required to attend weekly indoctrination classes run by the Soviet-created Political Office of the presidency, and any Somalian official ‘judged to have a ‘non-socialist’ attitude [was] retired or dismissed from government service,’ the CIA reported.” Was your father indoctrinated in, and/or tasked with indoctrinating others in the ideology promulgated by the Political Office? Assuming he was a member of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party, did he ever renounce his allegiance to it? Were your relatives who were employed as civil servants indoctrinated consistent with the claims of the Washington Post article cited?

3. You have spoken in interviews of the influence your grandfather, who you have referred to as “Abukar,” had on your politics. As Director of Marine Transport under the Barre regime, was he a member of the Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party? What did his work consist of?

4. Public records indicate that during the period in which you were completing your studies at North Dakota State University, you lived for a time at the same address as both Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and Ahmed Hirsi, and for another period solely with Hirsi while you were still legally married to Elmi. Is this accurate?

5. On August 10, 2017, in the course of your divorce proceeding with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, you swore under penalty of perjury to a number of statements, including that your last contact with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was in June 2011. Screenshots from social media accounts bearing your handle, and Mr. Elmi’s handle, indicate several instances of contact between yourself and Elmi subsequent to June 2011. Do you have an explanation for this discrepancy? Why have you, per captured social media records, deleted specifically numerous posts reflecting your relationship with Elmi?

6. On the “Report of Receipts and Expenditures” that you filed with the Minnesota Campaign Finance & Public Disclosure Board (CFB) covering the period from 1/1/2016 through 7/18/2016, appended hereto, the third entry details a campaign contribution of $1,000.00 attributable to a “Self-employed Candidate” named “Omar, Ilhan S.” (See appended document immediately following this letter.) Per public documents, your full name is Ilhan Abdullahi Omar. Assuming you are the person referenced in the CFB document, how do you account for this discrepancy in your middle name?

7. You have demanded that President Donald Trump release his tax records, yet have not responded to inquiries to release your own — presumably the ones you corrected from 2014 and 2015 — from mainstream publications such as the Associated Press. Why?

8. An April 2015 MPR News article notes that you were “friends with some of the young men who joined the Somali terror group al-Shabab several years ago.” What are the names of these men, and what was the extent of your relationship with them?

9. The Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist financing prosecution in U.S. history. You have appeared at numerous events sponsored by the organization’s various chapters, and received campaign contributions from the CAIR-CA PAC and numerous CAIR officers. As a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, do you consider it appropriate to consort with organizations, and the officials thereof, listed as unindicted co-conspirators in terror financing cases? If not, would you pledge to cease contact with CAIR and its officials, and vow to return any and all contributions you receive from CAIR and its officials in the future?

10. Would you make publicly available a list of all government officials, and members of non-governmental organizations, with whom you met during trips to (i) Turkey, and (ii) Somalia, subsequent to August 9, 2016? Did you ever visit Turkey prior to such time, and if so, when and for what purpose?

11. In September 2017 as a Minneapolis State Representative, you had a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Who else was in that meeting, on whose authority did you take it, and were you briefed and debriefed by relevant U.S. government officials regarding its substance? Have you met with Turkish government officials on any other occasions? If so, with whom, and to what did the meeting(s) pertain?

12. Do you categorically and unequivocally deny having any communications with Somali Foreign Minister (FM) Ahmed Isse Awad, or any Somali official, regarding votes taken at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2019? If not, do you categorically and unequivocally deny having any communications with Somali FM Awad, or any Somali official, regarding votes taken at the UNHRC in March 2019 pertaining to Israel?

13. How would you propose strengthening America’s defenses against jihadists seeking to infiltrate the country via immigration, as for example U.S. authorities reported ISIS planned to do by embedding jihadists among refugees? Do you consider the potential for jihadists to enter the homeland through immigration to be a legitimate national security issue? How would you propose America grapple with the threat of jihadists already in the country, given there were 1,000 open investigations into ISIS alone as reported in May 2018?

14. You were one of only two Minnesota state representatives to vote against bill HF 1397 in the Minnesota House of Representatives, which concerned limiting payments to beneficiaries of terror suspects. Why did you vote against this bill?

If Omar is who the Democratic front-runner entrusts with Minnesota in 2020, America deserves a response to these questions.


US and Taliban Sign Historic PEACE DEAL to End 18-Year WAR

US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) shake hands after signing the peace agreement between US, Taliban, in Doha.
US Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation Zalmay Khalilzad (L) and Taliban co-founder Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar (R) shake hands after signing
 the peace agreement between US, Taliban, in Doha. Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Eileen AJ Connelly

The United States and Taliban signed a peace deal Saturday aimed at bringing an end to the country’s longest war.
The agreement sets the stage for the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan more than 18 years after President George W. Bush ordered bombing in response to the 9/11 attacks. The US has spent more than $750 billion fighting the war, which has cost tens of thousands of lives on all sides.
The historic deal was signed in Doha, Qatar, by US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad and Taliban political chief Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on hand to witness the ceremony.
“Today is a monumental day for Afghanistan,” the US Embassy in Kabul said on Twitter. “It is about making peace and crafting a common brighter future. We stand with Afghanistan.”
In the Afghan capital of Kabul, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will sign a declaration “recommitting the international community’s commitment to Afghanistan,” said Sediq Sediqqui, spokesman for Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.
Under the deal, US troops will be reduced to 8,600 from about 13,000 in the upcoming weeks. Further reductions will depend on the Taliban reaching specific counter-terrorism conditions. Part of the agreement included a promise from the Taliban not to let extremists use the country as a staging ground for attacking the US or its allies.
President Trump is aiming to fulfill his promise to bring troops home from the Middle East as his re-election campaign ramps up.
US officials are hesitant to trust the militant group, but hours before the deal, the Taliban ordered all its fighters in Afghanistan “to refrain from any kind of attack … for the happiness of the nation,” Reuters reported.
The deal sets the stage for peace talks between the Taliban and the Afghan government, which have been battling for decades. Prospects remain uncertain for the Taliban and Afghan government to reach an agreement. The government is under scrutiny after a contested election saw Ghani named president earlier this month, five months after the vote.

Friday, February 28, 2020

Mick Mulvaney: Media Is USING CORONAVIRUS Coverage To ‘TAKE DOWN’ Trump

Amanda Woods

White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday accused the press of only zeroing in on coronavirus now in an effort to “take down” President Trump.
Mulvaney — speaking with Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation at the Conservative Political Action Conference — accused the media of peddling a false narrative about the Trump administration “scrambling” to contain the virus even though the president had briefed Congress with other top health officials six weeks ago, according to The Hill.
Publications were too consumed with Trump’s impeachment — which Mulvaney called a “hoax” — to focus on the snowballing outbreak when they should have been, the chief of staff said.
“Why didn’t you hear about it?” Mulvaney said to the conservative audience. “The press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president.”
Reporters are paying more attention to the virus now in an attempt to “take down the president,” according to Mulvaney.
“Is it real? It absolutely is real,” Mulvaney said of the deadly virus. “But you saw the president the other day — the flu is real.
“Are you going to see some schools shut down?” he said. “Probably. May you see impacts on public transportation? Sure. We know how to handle this.”
Mulvaney said the now-struggling US stock market — fraught with coronavirus-fueled panic — could make a turnaround if people ignore the press’ hype for a bit.
“What I might do to calm the markets is turn the television off for 24 hours,” the official said.

Appeals Court Temporarily BLOCKS Key ‘Remain-In-Mexico’ Policy

Image result for Appeals court temporarily blocks key ‘Remain-in-Mexico’ policy

 Adam Shaw

federal appeals court on Friday slapped a temporary halt on the Remain-in-Mexico policy -- one of the most effective Trump administration policies in halting last year’s crisis at the southern border.
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled in a 2-1 vote to put a hold on the policy -- formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).
The policy, which was established in January expanded over the summer amid greater cooperation with Mexico, returns migrants to Mexico as they await their hearings, with courtrooms set up at key border points in places such as Laredo and Brownsville, Texas. Approximately 57,000 people have been returned to Mexico under the policy.
The policy essentially ended the process known as “catch-and-release” by which migrants were released into the interior, sometimes for years, until their cases were processed. While critics said MPP was cruel and placed migrants in danger of violence by returning them to the country, it was identified as ending a key “pull factor” in why migrants were flooding the border -- namely that they would be letter into the interior of the U.S. if they reached the border.
Officials said the process meant that cases could be heard in as little as 40-60 days, as opposed to the years it sometimes takes after family units are released into the U.S. Those in favor of the program said that works better for the migrants, as it leaves them in limbo for less time, while also acting as a disincentive for Central American migrants who do not have legitimate asylum claims but might otherwise get into the U.S. by claiming “credible fear” of returning home.
Since MPP was expanded, there has been a dramatic drop in migrants coming to the border from the high of April where 144,000 migrants reached the border. Officials have repeatedly said the policy, along with other international agreements with Central American countries, has been a significant factor in that reduction.
“The importance of MPP can’t be stated enough, it is what’s allowed us to take control of the crisis that we saw in April and May. The idea is to make sure we process individuals in a timely manner but make sure they wait south of the border,” Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News in November.
Wolf warned then that a ruling by the Ninth Circuit could have a dire effect on the U.S. effort to regain control of its southern border, and hurt efforts of law enforcement on the ground trying to enforce the law.
“So you get an adverse ruling on MPP and it’s going to make the job of the men and women of Border Patrol as well as [Customs and Border Protection] and [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] ... very difficult for them, so it really can’t be overstated how much the program means to the department in controlling the crisis,” he said.
But the policy has also been significantly controversial. Liberal civil rights groups have called the policy "secretive" and part of an attack on legitimate asylum claims. Multiple 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have promised to end the policy if elected to the White House.
It is far from clear what happens next. The administration may request an “en banc” review of the decision by all of the judges of the Ninth Circuit in the coming weeks, or possibly try to take the case to the Supreme Court, where it has seen significant success in recent months on a number of immigration-related issues. It is also unclear what will happen if those waiting at the border will be let in.
Groups advocating for a tough line on illegal immigration reacted to the ruling by noting the court’s traditional liberal bent -- although President Trump has started to tilt the balance of the bench.
“The Ninth Circuit has repeatedly engaged in torturous interpretations of immigration law in order to elevate the interests of foreign nationals over those of U.S. citizens,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), told Fox News Friday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Pope Francis Remains SICK, Cancels Friday Audiences

Amanda Woods

Pope Francis remained ill with an apparent cold on Friday — and canceled official audiences for a second day, Vatican officials announced.
The 83-year-old pontiff celebrated morning Mass as usual and greeted congregants at the end, the Vatican said. He planned to go on with his private meeting schedule, but opted to cancel his official audiences.
“The Holy Father celebrated Mass this morning and at the end, as usual, greeted the participants, but decided to postpone today’s official audiences,” spokesman Matteo Bruni said on Friday, the Vatican News reported.“The meetings on the agenda at Casa Santa Marta continue regularly.”
The Vatican has not said exactly what the pope came down with, but he appeared to have a cold as he coughed and blew his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass.
On Thursday, he nixed a penitential Mass, marking the start of Lent, that he’d planned to celebrate at the St. John Lateran basilica across town with Roman clergy, the Vatican said.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak continues to sweep through Italy — with 650 people infected and 17 killed. More than 400 of the cases occurred in the country’s northern Lombardy region.
A map of the coronavirus cases around the world

Three cases were reported in Rome, but each person has already recovered.
During a General Audience in St. Peter’s Square on Ash Wednesday, the pope expressed his support for coronavirus sufferers.
“I wish, again, to express my closeness to those who are ill with coronavirus and to health care workers who are caring for them,” he said.
Francis has not specifically met with coronavirus sufferers, but shook hands with the faithful in the front row during the audience. He also kissed a baby during his popemobile spin through St. Peter’s Square and greeted visiting bishops.
Pope Francis greets the believers as he arrives at St. Peter's Square on February 26.
Pope Francis greets the believers as he arrives at St. Peter’s Square on February 26.Getty Images
But the clergy members appeared to refrain from kissing his ring or embracing him as they normally would.
The Argentine pope has generally been in good health. He lost part of a lung as a young man due to a respiratory illness, and also suffers from sciatica.
With Post wires

Limbaugh: Sanders, Dems Pose GREATER THREAT to U.S. Than Coronavirus

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)

 Andrew Blake

Rush Limbaugh claimed Wednesday the Democratic Party and its current front-runner for president, Sen. Bernard Sanders, are more dangerous to the U.S. than the deadly coronavirus.
The conservative radio show host made the claim while defending a remark he made the previous day about Mr. Sanders, a Vermont independent and self-described democratic socialist.
“I opened the program yesterday asking which is more dangerous for the country, Bernie Sanders or the coronavirus? And I said Bernie Sanders, of course. I’ve gotten some pushback on that,” he said on “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”
“But think about it,” Mr. Limbaugh continued. “The coronavirus has a mortality rate of 2%. The mortality rate for countries with socialism is 100%. Socialism kills every country it comes in contact with, folks. Socialism destroys wealth — everybody’s wealth except the leaders. Socialism destroys liberty. It destroys freedom. It destroys prosperity. It destroys dreams. Socialism destroys 100%. every country it comes in contact with.”
Mr. Limbaugh, a staunch supporter of President Trump, subsequently claimed there’s “no question” that both Mr. Sanders and the Democratic Party “poses a far greater threat” to the U.S. than the coronavirus, which has been connected to the deaths of more than 2,700 of the 80,000-plus people known to have contracted the disease since its discovery in December.
“I mean to say that. The Democrat Party, as it’s currently constituted, poses a much greater threat to this country than the coronavirus does. And you can quote me on that,” Mr. Limbaugh said.
Representatives for neither the Democratic National Committee nor the Sanders campaign immediately answered requests for comment.
Mr. Limbaugh, who was recently awarded the President Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, has been highly critical of media coverage of the coronavirus as concerns swell of the outbreak reaching pandemic proportions.
He claimed during Monday’s show that the coronavirus is being “weaponized” by the media to bring down Mr. Trump, and on Tuesday’s program he questioned the intentions of Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who recently warned Americans that the coronavirus is certain to spread.
“This person running this agency, who does she donate to?” Mr. Limbaugh asked. “Most of that town is establishment-oriented or -rooted, which means they despise Trump.”

It's Time to AUDIT Puerto Rico for Real

Political sweetheart deals leave the Caribbean jewel on the brink of bankruptcy

FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, the Puerto Rican flag flies in front of Puerto Rico's Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A senior Puerto Ricon official said Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that the island's government has lost more than $2.6 million after falling for an email phishing scam. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)
FILE - In this July 29, 2015 file photo, the Puerto Rican flag flies in front of Puerto Rico's Capitol as in San Juan, Puerto Rico. A senior Puerto Ricon official said Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, that the island's government has lost 
more than $2.6 million after falling for an email phishing scam. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo, File)


It’s been several years since Puerto Rico was wrecked by successive hurricanes. Yet, as we recently found out, insufficient progress has been made toward normalcy because the territorial government is in worse shape than the infrastructure.
It’s a shame it took a natural disaster to expose endemic corruption going back years. Sweetheart deals between the politicians and the unions that put them in office have left America’s Caribbean jewel on the brink of bankruptcy. Congress stepped in near the end of the Obama administration with legislation leading to the appointment of an independent financial oversight board authorized to restructure the debt owed to the island’s creditors. So far, it’s work has been sub-par — in part because corrupt local officials devoted their efforts to finding workarounds to keep the money flowing rather than pitching in on a plan to put things right.
Things cannot be allowed to continue as they have. Puerto Rico will continue to find it difficult to attract the capital investment needed to rebuild essential infrastructure if the markets cannot be guaranteed those investments make sense. An audit that laid out in plain and easy to understand terms how deep the debt runs and identifying the roadblocks hampering efforts to pay it back would be a good first step.
House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva, Arizona Democrat, recently called on the island’s financial overseers to define the government’s essential services so everyone can understand better which services cannot be reduced and for an audit of the island’s debt.
There’s always a risk in any investment. Buying government bonds and investing in utilities are less speculative than other investments and, therefore, considered safer. If it defaults — and there’s no sentiment in the current administration for a U.S. government bailout if they do — then investors will be left holding the bag while the capital markets shut Puerto Rico out. The money needed to get the lights back on, the hospitals and phones fully functioning, and to make other repairs and improvements to make the next hurricane less damaging won’t be there.
The oversight board is pushing a plan to restrict more than $50 billion in unfunded pension liabilities that creditors are calling insufficient. Those owed money want a clearer picture of the finances than they have been given — and to which they are entitled. Puerto Rico can’t dig itself out of the hole it’s in until we know how deep it is. The audit Mr. Grijalva and others want is badly needed and should begin post-haste.

Turkey to Allow Syrian Refugees FREE ACCESS to Europe After Troop Attack

FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2020, file photo, Turkish troops and artillery prepare to enter Syria, in Reyhanli, Hatay, Turkey. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 14, 2020, file photo, Turkish troops and artillery prepare to enter Syria, in Reyhanli, Hatay, Turkey. (AP Photo, File)

 Edmund DeMarche

Turkey said Friday that it ordered troops stationed along the Syrian border to stand down and allow refugees to cross into the European Union after a Syrian government airstrike killed 33 Turkish troops in what was seen as a major escalation in the conflict, a  report said.

A report said that hundreds of refugees could be seen flocking to the Greece and Bulgaria borders.
"We have decided, effective immediately, not to stop Syrian refugees from reaching Europe by land or sea," an official told Reuters. "All refugees, including Syrians, are now welcome to cross into the European Union."
The decision by Ankara was widely seen as an attempt to pressure EU countries in assisting in the conflict.
The deaths, which came in an attack late Thursday in northeast Syria, were a serious escalation in the direct conflict between Turkish and Russia-backed Syrian forces that has been waged since early February.
The attack also sharply raises the risk of direct military confrontation between Turkey, a NATO member, and Russia. Ambassadors from NATO countries were holding emergency talks on Friday at the request of Turkey, a member of the alliance.
The  Associated Press contributed to this report