HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge Says Biased Home Appraisal Problem Is Systemic

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Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Marcia Fudge appeared on CNN’s Tonight show (08/22/22) to address recent media reports that show significant appraisal disparities between homes owned by people of color, as opposed to those owned by Whites. Secretary Fudge told CNN host Laura Coates that the appraisal problem, which was initially relegated to homes in redlined districts, is now “systemic, and intentional to some degree.”

The latest example which has stunned many, involves two Black Johns Hopkins University professors, Nathan Connolly and Shani Mott, who live in an affluent Maryland neighborhood. The Black couple’s home was initially appraised at $472,000, but after they “whitewashed” their home and let their White friend pose as the home owner, their house was appraised at a staggering $950,000, almost double the initial value.

Asked for her response to the outrageous Maryland incident, Secretary Fudge said(2:23): “I think professionally and personally, it is an absolute violation of the law. It is a violation of the fair housing law, it is a violation of the lending law, so what HUD is doing, and what we have done already is, we were tasked by the president to look at appraisal bias, because what we know is that it used to be that these things happened only in redlined communities, but now it is pervasive. It is happening everywhere, and we determined that part of the problem was how appraisers are trained, who is in the appraisal industry, and how they are governed, and so what we did in March was to present a report that showed how deeply this whole bias situation is across this country. It is systemic, and it is intentional to some degree…What we’ve already done is have the appraisal sub committee say to every single state in this country, the test that you use is no longer valid because it is a violation of the fair housing law.”

Secretary Fudge clarified her remarks regarding the test saying she was referring to the test to become an appraiser, adding(3:53), “What we have looked at is how data is collected. That’s part of the problem, it’s the data. So they collect data, and the data is not what it should be, they then use the data in a way that it should not be used, and so they come up with these biased appraisals. But as well, when you look at an industry that is more than 95% White, you find that people of color are treated differently because there is an inherent bias with a lot of them, and because they collect the data, the data is not good data.”

Secretary Fudge also made a startling acknowledgement regarding HUD, saying no previous administration has ever attempted to address the home appraisal bias problem, which is now evidently systemic. She said(5:05): “It has not happened before. This is the first of it’s kind report, this is the first if it’s kind subcommittee. It’s called Property Appraisal Valuation Equity. What the president has said is that we have to look at everything through a lens of equity. What we have realized is that people selling homes, just as the persons you were talking about, and even people buying homes, if their appraisal is not correct, what we find, especially as Black people and communities of color and underserved communities, is we lose great wealth just through the appraisal process. If those homes are appraised the way that they should be, then we look at being able to pass down significantly more resources and more wealth to generations that follow. But if we are constantly undervaluing communities of color, either because they are communities of color, or that the person themselves is in a community that they don’t think that we should be in, then we consistently lose wealth in our communities, and that’s why this is so important from an equity situation.”

Secretary Fudge concluded with her personal home appraisal story, telling host Coates that her house , which is in a Black community, is literally two doors away from an all-White community. She has a bigger lot size and house than the one two doors away from her, yet her house is valued at $25,000 less than that house in the White community.

Bottom line folks, the problem of biased home appraisals is a major one, and needs to be confronted head on. As Secretary Fudge correctly pointed out on CNN, “If those homes are appraised the way that they should be, then we look at being able to pass down significantly more resources and more wealth to generations that follow.” This issue is especially important to communities of color.

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Rep Liz Cheney Discusses Primary Loss, Future Plans On ABC’s This Week Show

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Rep Liz Cheney(R-WY) sat down for an interview with ABC’s Jonathan Karl, three days after her landslide primary loss to Trump-backed challenger Harriet Hageman, to discuss her future political plans. The interview aired on ABC’s This Week show (08/21/22) and as many expected, Cheney’s lopsided loss was in no way shape or form, an end to her political career, but rather, a beginning of a new political chapter.

Rep Cheney said this moments after her loss to Hagenan on 08/16/22: “We must be very clear-eyed about the threat we face, and about what is required to defeat it. I have said since January 6th, that I will do whatever it takes to ensure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office, and I mean that.”

Asked whether she regretted the fact that her staunch opposition to former President Trump had cost her a leadership position in the House and eventually her seat, Rep Cheney responded (2:51): “No regrets. You know, I feel sad about where my party is, I feel sad about the way that too many of my colleagues have responded to what I think is a great moral test and challenge of our time, a great moment to determine whether or not people are going to stand up on behalf of the democracy, and on behalf of our republic.” Rep Cheney added that she has heard from several prominent leaders after her primary loss, thanking her for putting the country over her party. One such call, she said, came from President Biden.

Asked what Trump’s continuing grip on the GOP says about the party, Rep Cheney said the party, both at the state and national level, “is very sick.” She specifically said(4:11):“I think one, it says that people continue to believe the lie, they continue to believe what he’s saying, which is very dangerous. I think it also tells you that large portions of our party, including the leadership of our party, both at the state level in Wyoming, as well as on a national level with RNC, is very sick, and that we really have got to decide whether or not we are going to be a party based on substance and policy, or whether we are going to remain as so many of our party are today, in the grips of a dangerous former president.”

Asked about the argument by former President Trump and others, that her landslide primary loss is proof that the principles she is fighting for are not shared by the GOP, Rep Cheney responded (5:03): “Well, doesn’t that tell you something? What I’m fighting for is the Constitution. What I’m fighting for is the perpetuation of the republic, what I’m fighting for is the fact that elections have to matter, and that when the election is over and the courts have ruled, and the electoral college has met, that the president of the United States has to respect the results of the election, and if Donald Trump’s spokesman says that those are principles that are inconsistent with Donald Trump’s views, and inconsistent with the Republican Party’s views, I think that ought to give every American pause about who Donald Trump is, and about what the Republican Party stands for today.”

Asked about what her new political organization is going to focus on, Rep Cheney said one of her primary objectives will be to campaign against “election deniers”.

Asked about her views on House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, and specifically, whether he should become Speaker if the GOP takes over the House, Rep Cheney said (6:22): “My views about Kevin McCarthy are very clear. The Speaker of the House is the second in line for the presidency. It requires somebody who understands and recognizes their duty, their oath, their obligation, and he’s been completely unfaithful to the constitution, and demonstrated a total lack of understanding of the significance and importance of the role of Speaker, so I don’t believe he should be Speaker of the House, and I think that’s been very clear.”

Asked whether she would support Trump’s acolytes like Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX) or Josh Hawley(R-MO) if one of them secured the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, Rep Cheney responded (9:50): “It would be very difficult when you look at somebody like Josh Hawley, or somebody like Ted Cruz, both of whom know better, both of whom know exactly what the role of Congress is in terms of our constitutional obligations with respect to presidential elections, and yet both of whom took steps that fundamentally threatened the constitutional order and structure in the aftermath of the last election, so in my view, they both have made themselves unfit for future office.”

Asked about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who many view as the number two contender for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination after Trump, Rep Cheney said(10:28): “DeSantis is somebody who is right now campaigning for election deniers, and I think that is something that people have to have real pause about. Either you fundamentally believe in and will support our constitutional structure, or you don’t.”

Asked whether if she runs for president in 2024, it will be out of a genuine desire to win, or simply sending a pro-democracy message, Rep Cheney responded in relevant part(10:59):“Any decision that I make about doing something that significant and that serious, would be with the intention of winning, and because I think I would be the best candidate.” She punted when asked whether running as an Independent remained an option for her saying(11:19), “I’m not going to go down that path anymore in terms of speculating.”

Bottom line folks, Rep Liz Cheney is not going anywhere. Her primary loss will free her from the bondage that is Trump’s GOP, and allow her to pursue loftier goals–the fight for democracy. She said one of her primary goals will be to defeat “election deniers”, which Yours Truly hopes includes one Senator Ted Cruz, who is up for reelection in 2024. We’re going to need you Liz, in the Lone Star state.

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Jared Kushner Discusses His New Book “Breaking History” On Fox News’ Hannity Show

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Former President Trump’s Senior Adviser and Son-in-Law Jared Kushner, appeared on Fox News’ Hannity show (08/22/22) to discuss his new book, “Breaking History, A White House Memoir”. The basic premise of Kushner’s book is that his Father-in-Law accomplished quite a lot in four years, and would have done much more, had he not been subjected to “false investigations”.

Kushner specifically told host Hannity (1:50): “You were speaking earlier about all of the different accomplishments he was able to have economically. Those weren’t an accident. It’s been awful to watch the inflation that’s happened, the rising gas prices, but all that happened under the guise of all the investigations and attacks and I write extensively in the book. Every one who has read it says that it’s a very fast-paced read and that’s because I weave together all of the efforts to try to push forward on the different policies, while simultaneously dealing with all these false investigations that we had to fend off because even though they were based on crazy accusations from the beginning, whether it was the Russia hoax, or trying to get Trump, or impeach him for trying to  investigate corruption in Ukraine, they were serious accusations and we had to take it.”

Kushner also said his book lays out how former President Trump negotiated a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia in order to save our oil and gas industry. He appeared to blame the current problem we have with high gas prices, on the fact that President Biden doesn’t get along with world leaders like his Father-in-Law did.

He specifically told host Hannity(2:47): “President Trump got along with people in the world. He got along with Vladimir Putin, he got along with President Xi. That didn’t mean he didn’t have tough discussions with them, but I really go through the way that he dealt with them, which is how he kept the world peaceful. All the critics who were lying about the Trump administration for four years, they were saying that if Trump was elected, he would lead to world war three, but we had six peace deals during Trump’s time, and the world was a very very safe place. We go through all that extensively in the book.”

Kushner also talked about his efforts to broker a peace deal in the Middle East. He said(4:10): “One of the efforts that I worked on, that I detail in the book, was the efforts in the Middle East to try to bring peace between Israel and the Arab countries, and that’s something that the conventional thinking was that it would never happen, but President Trump was an outsider. He brought a businessman’s approach to Washington. Businessmen are results-driven, unlike politicians who generally want to just process…I write about how an outsider without a lot of political experience, and a team, came in and were able to achieve results that the political career people were not able to achieve, and so the book really goes through that in detail.”

The interview then came to the million dollar question which every viewer had probably tuned in for, and that is, whether former President Trump would run again in 2024. I got the sense from Hannity’s questioning, that he was almost dissuading Trump from running again because of the toll his presidency has had on his family, but I’ll let you be the judge on that.

Hannity(4:54): “When you factor in all that your family went through, we’re talking about Don Jr, and Eric, and Lara, and Ivanka…when you factor all of that in, do you want him to? Would you want to go through that again?”

Kushner responded in relevant part(5:31): “I think that the way we all viewed it, is that the cost of service, and of the attacks, was very small relative to the impact that President Trump and his administration were able to make for so many people and their families…”

I think it’s safe to say that any reasonable person presented with Kushner’s “small cost” response to Hannity’s question, would conclude that he believes former President Trump will indeed run again in 2024.

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Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Proposed Bill Seeks To Outlaw Gender-Affirming Care

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Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene(R-GA) appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Show (08/18/22) to discuss a new bill she is sponsoring, called Protect Children’s Innocence Act, which seeks to among other things, outlaw gender-affirming care. Rep Greene labeled such procedures “child abuse”.

Rep Greene told host Tucker Carlson (0:35):“When it comes to gender affirming care, which is really child abuse…this practice should never happen, it’s so disgusting and appalling, and it’s an embarrassment to our country.”

She went on to say (0:50): “I’m one of those that believes the Republican Party is only…worth deserving of the people’s vote if we are willing to stand up and stop horrific things like child abuse, and like so-called gender affirming care, which is really genital mutilation, it’s puberty blockers that cause chemical castration, teenage girls actually having their breasts chopped off, teenage boys being castrated. This needs to be illegal, and I’m introducing a bill called ‘Protect Children’s Innocence Act’, and it would create a law that would cause it to be a Class C felony for any person involved in so-called gender affirming care, that means genital mutilation surgery, that means hormones, that means puberty blockers, anything involving any youth under the age of 18, because these kids are too young to make these awful decisions that will affect them and will be permanent for the rest of their lives.”

Asked why her fellow House Republicans are not overwhelmingly supporting her bill, Rep Greene said(1:59): “You know, I should have every single Republican co-sponsor but unfortunately, I don’t yet, I only have five co-sponsors. I’m talking to all of my colleagues and urging them because…this is a referendum on the Republican Party. When we take back the majority if the American people elect us…we have a lot of work to do. Not only do we need to impeach [AG] Merrick Garland, we need to clean out the corrupt FBI, we need to hold the Democrats accountable and defund all of their climate garbage, 87,000 IRS army, but there is one thing that we have got to do, and we are not even a party worth deserving of the American people’s votes if we cannot protect children from this horrific child abuse, and create this to be a felony because this practice has to end…”

It will be interesting to see how Rep Greene’s colleagues in the House react to her bill, which has a potential of generating backlash among LGBTQ-friendly suburban voters, a few weeks away from the midterm elections.

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Trump’s Attorney Christina Bobb Addresses Bombshell News Of Nuclear Documents At Maralago

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Former President Trump’s Attorney Christina Bobb appeared on Fox News’ Ingraham Angle (08/11/22) to address the bombshell revelation by U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland, that among the documents sought by the FBI at Trump’s Maralago residence, were classified documents related to our nuclear capabilities, which of course have serious national security implications.

Asked to confirm whether there were classified nuclear documents at Maralago, Christina Bobb said she didn’t think so, but wasn’t sure because she had not spoken to former President Trump about the issue–a strange answer indeed.

Host Ingraham(1:18): “Okay Christina, just so I’m clear about this, I want to be really clear. Is it your understanding that there were not documents related to our nuclear capabilities, or nuclear issues that had national security implications in the president’s possession when the agents showed up at Maralago?”

Christina Bobb:“That’s correct, I don’t believe they were…”

Ingraham: “Well, do you know for a fact? Do you know for a fact they weren’t? Have you spoken to the president about it?”

Bobb: “I have not specifically spoken to the president about what nuclear materials may or may not have been in there. I do not believe there were any in there. The legal team had done a very thorough search, and had turned over…everything that we found, that we had, so it’s my understanding on very good belief, based on a thorough investigation, that there was nothing there.”

Any reasonable person presented with Attorney Christina Bobb’s remarks on the Ingraham Angle show, would find it very strange that she went on the show to discuss the bombshell news of possible nuclear documents at Maralago without first discussing the matter with her client(Trump). That just doesn’t add up, and to her credit, host Laura Ingraham’s tone suggested that she wasn’t buying it either.

The interview then moved on to the other big topic as to whether the feds provided Trump’s attorneys with a copy of the items taken from Maralago, the so-called “inventory list”. This is important because another Trump attorney, Lindsey Halligan, had stated on Fox News’ Hannity show the day before, that the feds never provided the inventory list. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara, had also said on various TV shows that Trump’s attorneys told her, they were not shown the warrant during the FBI raid.

Asked about her on-scene interaction with the feds, Christina Bobb responded(8:17): “Well, initially, it started out a little heated. I was upset and they were not excited to see me, so we had a little bit of an incident initially, just me wanting access to the warrant. They didn’t believe they needed to even show me the warrant so we fought about that, not for very long, maybe a minute, not more than two, and I did have an opportunity to see it. They didn’t give it to me…”

So she clearly admits that she was shown the warrant(read it), something the other lawyer and Lara Trump say never happened. Also, crucially, the fact that she was shown the warrant means that she knows exactly what criminal statute is at play here.

Then this interesting exchange took place. Host Ingraham(9:13): “Did they give you the inventory list before they left, or while they were doing the raid that they don’t want to call a raid?”

Christina Bobb:“Yes…we do have the inventory list as you can expect, it’s not particularly helpful so, yes, I kind of have the inventory list, they gave me the official receipt…”

So Christina Bobb clearly admits that she was shown the warrant, which means she knows exactly what the applicable criminal statutes are, plus she admits to having a copy of the inventory list, something Lara Trump and the other attorney(Lindsey Halligan) maintain they were not given. Folks, a total mess.

Bottom line folks, there’s a lot of confusion coming from Team Trump regarding the Maralago raid. First they said they were not shown the warrant, which apparently they were, then they said they were not given the inventory list, which apparently they were, and now they are denying that the search had anything to do with nuclear-related documents, something that must have been very clear to Attorney Christina Bobb from the warrant she was shown. Is this a case of innocent incompetence, or willful lying to the public? Hmm, as Trump famously used to say, “We’ll see what happens.”

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Trump’s Attorney Says FBI Never Provided Copy Of Search Warrant For Maralago Raid

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Former President Trump’s Attorney, Lindsey Halligan, appeared on Fox News’ Hannity show (08/10/22) to discuss the recent FBI raid of his Maralago residence in Palm Beach, Florida. Halligan, who called the FBI raid “an appalling display of abuse of power”, further accused the feds of using a sealed warrant for the express purpose of concealing what it is they were taking from Maralago, or the specific criminal statute(s) Trump is suspected to have violated.

Hannity (video at 0:56): “Did you ever get a chance to read the warrant. Did you ever get a copy of it, did you ever get any other information, do you know, are you aware of what they took out of Maralago?”

Lindsey Halligan: “That’s the thing, they had unfettered access to the property. They looked at God knows what in there, and did God knows what in there. We have no idea. What the FBI did was an appalling display of abuse of power. All documents requested were previously handed over. President Trump and his team painstakingly reviewed every single document at Maralago, and gave the government what they requested. If they needed any other documents they could have just asked. The warrant was secured under seal, so they tried to get away with concealing this overreach by obtaining a warrant under seal. Nobody knew about it, they knew that President Trump was in Bedminster, hasn’t been at Maralago for some time. They thought they could sneak in, snoop around without attorneys present in case they walked out with nothing so that nobody would know they snooped to this degree, and it’s unprecedented in United States history. The government seems to be out of control. It’s plagued with manipulation, corruption, greed, deceit and fraud.”

There’s no other way to interpret Attorney Halligan’s remarks on Hannity other than, (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course) because the feds got the warrant under seal, neither Trump nor his attorneys, know what documents were taken from Maralago, or what criminal statute formed the basis for the search warrant. As a matter of fact, Halligan accuses the feds of seeking a sealed warrant for the express purpose of keeping Trump and his attorneys in the dark as to what was being taken from Maralago, or the criminal statute he is alleged to have violated, conduct she describes as “an appalling display of abuse of power.”

Bottom line folks, the FBI’s raid on Maralago has created a firestorm among conservatives, who have always characterized former President Trump as a victim of the “deep state”— a supposed bipartisan cabal of establishment elites (both elected and unelected) who are terrified he is out to shake up the status quo in Washington, and dislodge them from their entrenched positions of power.

The counter narrative proffered by liberals for the FBI raid, has been that Trump and his attorneys know exactly what was taken from Maralago because he had to have been given a copy of exactly what the feds took from his residence–the so-called “inventory list”.

Where, as here, Trump’s attorney claims she has no idea what was removed from his residence, or the criminal statute he is suspected of having violated, reasonable people will agree that given the fact that the subject of the raid is the immediate former President of the United States, some kind of explanation of the raid by the Department of Justice, is in order.

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Taiwan’s Representative To The U.S. Slams China For Using Pelosi’s Visit As A Pretext To “Manufacture A Crisis”

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Taiwan’s Representative to the United States Hsiao Bi-Khim appeared on CBS’ Face The Nation to discuss House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to her country, which has caused an uproar in China. Rep Bi-Khim slammed China saying it was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit a pretext to “manufacture a crisis.”

Rep(0:24): “We have been living under the threat from China for decades, and we cannot let their ongoing threats define our desire to make friends internationally. If you have a kid being bullied at school, you don’t say, ‘you don’t go to school’, you try to find a way to deal with the bully, and that’s exactly what Taiwan is doing, working on making our society stronger and more resilient, fortifying our defenses so that we have means of managing risks. The risks are not posed by Taiwan, nor are they posed by the United States, the risks are posed by Beijing.”

Asked whether Taiwan is worried about a full scale military invasion from China, Rep Bi-Khim said (1:11): “The Chinese have not renounced the use of force. They have been intensifying threats towards Taiwan that is not only on a military level, it has involved a hybrid toolkit of public disinformation, cyberattacks, economic coercion, they have a broad toolkit that we have become more and more accustomed to. Again, that is not going to change our determination to defend our freedom.”

Asked whether she thought China’s military exercises at the Taiwanese coast following Speaker Pelosi’s visit were a drill, Rep Bi-Khim said it appears they have been preparing for this for a while, even before Speaker Pelosi decided to visit Taiwan.

Asked whether she had any assurances from the Biden administration that the U.S. will provide Taiwan with actual military protection as opposed to just providing them with weapons in the event China invaded, Rep Bi-Khim said (3:08): “We have a very strong security partnership that ensures the protection of our shared interest in the regional peace and stability”–which reasonable people will agree, is diplomat-speak for “yes”.

Asked about the criticism that Speaker Pelosi’s visit amounted to provocation, she responded (3:27): “I think the word provocation has only one place, and that’s with China right now. They are the ones that are provoking regional instability…Sometimes it’s hard for other countries from afar, to fully understand the feelings and perspectives of the Taiwanese people, and that is, for too long, we have been bullied, isolated, and surpressed, and banned from international organizations, so when friends come from afar, and wish to lend their support to Taiwan, we generally take that with gratitude.”

Asked about the reality that China’s invasion of Taiwan would be markedly different from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given the fact that China is far more powerful militarily and economically, and thus difficult to sanction, Rep Bi-Khim said that was part of the reason Speaker Pelosi visited–to give them assurances of support. Rep Bi-Khim specifically said (5:11): “I think that was one of the messages that Speaker Pelosi was trying to convey, and that is, despite all challenges, we have friends in the international community who will stand with us.”

Asked about China’s threat to pull out of important global negotiations on climate etc, if it doesn’t get its way with Taiwan, and the effect that may have on other countries (discourage them from defending Taiwan), Rep Bi-Khim responded (5:50): “Are we concerned? Yes we are concerned about the disruption of these very important discussions on global issues that are matters of interest to not only the United States, but to China and everyone in the world, but the fact is, again, congressional visits to Taiwan have been going on for decades, and for decades it hasn’t prevented the United States and China from having constructive discussions on matters of mutual interest…” Rep Bi-Khim added that Beijing was using Speaker Pelosi’s visit as a pretext to “manufacture a crisis”, and finished with this powerful admonition: “If China is to evolve as a responsible stakeholder in the global community, it’s really up to Beijing to decide if China’s rejuvenation will evolve with international respect, or with international condemnation.”

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FBI Forwaded Tip Line Complaints About Kavanaugh To White House Counsel Without Investigation

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FBI Director Christopher Wray appeared for a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on 08/04/22. One of the most interesting moments in the hearing, especially for Supreme Court enthusiasts like Yours Truly, came during the questioning by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse(D-RI). Senator Whitehouse’s questions focused on the supplemental background investigation (B.I.), the FBI conducted on then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, a topic that has been the subject of much speculation on social media.

Senator Whitehouse has been in a battle with FBI Director Wray since 2019, trying to get to the bottom of whether the FBI thoroughly investigated the numerous tips it received from the public regarding then Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

This intro by Senator Whitehouse is important for establishing the context for the ensuing questioning: “As you know, we are now entering the fourth year of a frustrating saga that began with an August 2019 letter from me and Senator Coons, regarding the Kavanaugh supplemental background investigation, and I’d like to try to get that matter wrapped up.”

Senator Whitehouse(video at 0:23): “First, is it true that after [Justice] Kavanaugh-related tips were separated from the regular tip line traffic, they were forwarded to White House counsel without investigation?”

Director Wray(0:47): “When it comes to the tip line, we wanted to make sure that the White House had all the information we have, so when the hundreds of calls started coming in, we gathered those up, reviewed them, and provided them to the White House.”

At that point Senator Whitehouse interjected, “Without investigation”, to which Director Wray responded, “We reviewed them and then provided them to the White House.”

Sen. Whitehouse:“You reviewed them for the purposes of separating them from the tip line traffic, but did not further investigate the ones that related to Kavanaugh, correct?”

Director Wray:“Correct.”

Senator Whitehouse: “Is it also true that in that supplemental B.I., the FBI took directions from the White House as to whom the FBI would question, and even what questions the FBI could ask?”

Director Wray:“It is true that consistent with the longstanding process that we have had going all the way back to at least the Bush administration, the Obama administration, the Trump administration, and continue to follow currently under the Biden administration, that in a limited supplemental B.I., we take direction from the requesting entity which in this case, was the White House, as to what follow up they want. That’s the direction we followed, that’s the direction we’ve consistently followed throughout the decades, frankly.”

Director Wray went on to add, “It is true as to the ‘who’, I’m not sure as I sit here, whether it’s also true as to the ‘what questions’, but it is true as to the ‘who’ we interviewed.” In other words Director Wray agreed that in a supplemental B.I., it is true that the White House tells the FBI who to question, he’s just not sure yet, whether the White House also tells the FBI what questions to ask the people they question.

Senator Whitehouse:“By the way, is it true that even today we have not been provided by the FBI, it’s written tip line procedures?”

Director Wray: “Senator, I know that we have provided a lot of information to the committee and to you. I would have to check on that specific item. I know there is some information that you have requested that is not our call to provide, that has to do with interaction, communication with the White House.”

There’s no other way to interpret Director Wray’s responses to Senator Whitehouse’s questions other than (I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), during the highly contentious Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, the complaints the FBI received through its tip line regarding Kavanaugh, were not investigated by the FBI, but instead, forwarded to the White House Counsel. The White House Counsel then told the FBI who among the complainants, the FBI was to question, and possibly, even what questions to ask them.

Folks, no reasonable person presented with this information can ever conclude that the supplemental background investigation into Kavanaugh was “thorough”, as had been portrayed by Senate Republicans during his confirmation hearings. Director Wray argues that this is the same supplemental B.I. process the FBI has used for decades, but as we all know, none of Kavanaugh’s predecessors faced as many serious complaints about their character, requiring a thorough independent investigation. So, while Director Wray raises a valid point regarding consistent FBI practice, reasonable people will agree that Kavanaugh’s case was markedly different, and called for a thorough investigation by the FBI.

Bottom line folks, we’ll wait for Senator Whitehouse’s final report on this issue. As he indicated to Director Wray, he’ll give the FBI one more month to comply with his information requests, after which he will produce a final report on the Kavanaugh supplemental B.I. saga. One only hopes that if Senator Whitehouse’s investigation reveals that there were serious credible allegations against Kavanaugh that went uninvestigated, then an independent investigation will be launched into them immediately.

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Senator Mitch McConnell Discusses Inflation Reduction Bill On Fox News’ Special Report Show

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appeared on Fox News Special Report w/Bret Baier (08/03/22) to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act currently being negotiated in the U.S. Senate. Senator McConnell said he found the way Democrats characterized the bill “laughable”, because in his opinion, the bill actually increases inflation. Senate Democrats appear poised to approve the measure on a straight party vote.

Senator McConnell said this about the Inflation Reduction Act (0:27): “First, I think all of us were somewhat shocked by Senator Manchin’s reversal of positions he’d taken as recently as last week, against raising taxes. This raises taxes, it increases the burden of taxation on lower income people significantly. Calling it inflation reduction bill is rather laughable. Independent analysis indicates it actually increases inflation in the next two years, and may have an impact over ten years, and their policies from last year have already produced 40-year high inflation, so it’s a terrible package. It appears as if they are all in line, but one, it will be up to Senator Sinema from Arizona, who’s quite independent, to determine what the final contours of the bill are.”

Asked about the charge by irate Republicans, that he was “played” by Democrats regarding the reconciliation bill, McConnell responded (1:28): “Reconciliation is something done by one party only. There’s nothing we could have done to prevent the Democrats from doing a bill that only they will vote for, so it’s not a question of being played here, what’s the story line here is that Senator Manchin had agreed to something that he had said publicly and privately over the last two weeks that he would never agree to. We’re not involved in the reconciliation bill. There won’t be a single Republican vote for it. There’s nothing we could do to deter it, other than to criticize it publicly, and that’s what we’re doing right here.”

Host Bret Baier then cornered Senator McConnell with a very interesting question as to why he has repeatedly cited renowned economists Larry Summers and Jason Furman on ways to tackle the current record inflation, yet now he refuses to follow their advice that the Inflation Reduction Act will help reduce inflation? Senator McConnell accused the economists of trying to appease President Biden. He specifically said (2:41):“The quotes they used me in, were Summers’ observations about what they [Biden Administration] did last year. Two trillion dollars they dumped on the economy, that both Furman and Summers predicted would produce rampant inflation, and it did. What they’ve done this year is kind of fall in line, and I assume they wanted to get back on the White House Christmas card list, but people who are not active Democrats, independent observers have said it has no impact on inflation, at all, over the long term, and actually increases it slightly in the short term. So Furman and Summers were certainly helpful as active Democrats in describing last year’s bill, but this year they’re sort of falling in line because I think they want to get back in the good grace of the White House.”

Asked about criticism from House Republicans, some of whom don’t want him as Senate Majority Leader any more, over what they perceive as him being “played” repeatedly by Democrats, and making President Biden look good, McConnell responded(3:55): “Well, I guess they’ve forgotten the Supreme Court that I’ve helped usher into–three new Supreme Court justices, the 2017 tax bill…I think just because you have closely divided government doesn’t mean you do nothing. The past two administrations tried to achieve bipartisan infrastructure, didn’t get it done, we needed to rescue the post office. Just because it’s a Democrat in the White House, I don’t think means Republicans should do nothing that’s good for the country. In the meantime, on the big issues, we are totally opposed to what this administration is trying to do, but on things like school safety, mental health, infrastructure, postal reform, why would we not want to make progress for the country no matter who’s in the White House?”

Asked about reservation by some Republicans, that expanding NATO to include Sweden and Finland, increases the likelihood of sending our troops into combat in Europe, Sen McConnell responded (5:08): “The NATO alliance is the most successful military alliance in world history. The way to prevent Americans from having to actively get involved in combat is to prevent it in the first place, and that’s what NATO is about. It won the cold war without firing a single shot. Putin has succeeded not only in actually expanding NATO and making it even more effective as a deterrent. Remember Reagan said peace through strength, and that’s what NATO is all about, and that’s why Finland and Sweden add a lot to NATO.”

Asked to pick between the Russia-Ukraine war, and the situation at our southern border, which one was a bigger national security threat to the United States, McConnell said both were threats that needed to be dealt with seriously–probably not the answer Fox News viewers obsessed with the southern border, wanted to hear.

Importantly, when asked about his earlier prediction that there would be a “red wave” in this year’s midterm elections, McConnell appears to have had a change of mind (probably due to Kansas), saying now that it will be a “very tight” election. McConnell specifically said (7:02): “I think it’s going to be very tight, we have a 50-50 Senate now, we have a 50-50 nation, and I think when the Senate race smoke clears, we are likely to have a very, very close Senate still, with either up slightly, or the Democrats up slightly”–a far cry from the “red wave” talk we heard earlier in the year from McConnell and his fellow Republicans.

Asked about the Kansas abortion vote heard around the world, McConnell responded (7:35): “I think what the Supreme Court has done is said people who are elected by the American people are going to deal with this highly sensitive issue, and it will be playing out all year, and I don’t think we really know until the end of the year, what kind of an impact putting this issue back into the hands of those of us who are elected, as opposed to nine unelected judges, will have on the country. We’re in the process of finding that out…It tells us that there are a lot of people interested in the issue in Kansas, there’s no question about that.”

Asked whether he would survive his leadership role if “Trumpified” candidates(J.D. Vance, Oz, Blake Masters, Ted Budd etc) win this November, Sen McConnell responded (8:37): “I’ve been elected eight times without opposition. I don’t own this job, and there’s always an election every two years for leader. If anybody wants to challenge me, have at it.” McConnell added that he will still hang on as Minority Leader if Republicans don’t take over the Senate this Fall.

Asked whether, given his lengthy career in the U.S. Senate, there is a single issue the modern Republican Party gets right, which the old Republican Party got wrong, McConnell was all over the place. He didn’t give an answer that specifically answered the question.

Bottom line folks, the key takeaway from Senator McConnell’s interview on Fox News is that the “red wave” fantasy is gone. Republicans now acknowledge that even with the challenging economic times, and President Biden’s low approval numbers, the 2022 midterm elections will be very competitive. Reasonable politicos will agree that given historical trends re midterms, the fact that Dems are even still in the ball game, tells you all you need to know about the state of affairs at Trump’s GOP. 

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s Interview On CNN’s State Of The Union Show

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Australia’s Prime Minister Anthony Albanese appeared on CNN’s State of The Union show (07/31/22) for a wide ranging interview that touched on among other things climate change, and specifically, his pledge that Australia will achieve net zero carbon emission by 2050.

Asked whether Australia’s 2050 goal will be thwarted because of reluctance by India, China and the United States to come together, and address climate change with the urgency it deserves, PM Albanese responded(video at 0:38): “Well, I certainly hope not, and I’m very optimistic. At the Madrid NATO Summit, I had discussions with world leaders and also of course at the Quad leaders meeting, and I regard people as being very prepared to take much stronger action. There’s a greater recognition now as well, that dealing with the challenge of climate change represents also an economic opportunity. We will see the greatest transformation that we have seen in our economy since the industrial revolution, with the shift to clean energy, and clean energy will of course see jobs being created at the same time, something that the Biden administration recognizes, something that our European friends certainly recognize as well.”

Asked about the growing threat from China, and specifically, a troubling poll that shows 75% of Aussies believe China will attack Australia within the next 20 years, PM Albanese responded (1:44): “What we are preparing for is strengthening our alliances. We want to have good relationships with China and cooperate where we can, but we’ll stand up for Australian values where we must, and that is my approach to the relationship with China. Clearly it has changed in recent years. Under [President] Xi, China has become more forward-leaning, more aggressive in the region. We have strategic competition.”

Asked whether Australia would defend Taiwan if it was invaded by China, PM Albanese punted, saying he did not want to deal with hypotheticals. He then went on to say(2:38): “Australia supports a One China policy, but we also support the status quo when it comes to the issue of Taiwan, that people respect the existing structures which are there. I believe that clearly is in the interest of all parties, and I have taken the view as well, that it is not in the interest of peace and security, to talk up those issues of potential conflict.”

Asked what Australians think about “the health” of democracy the United States in light of the ongoing January 6th investigation, PM Albanese responded (3:57): “Democracy in the United States remains strong. The United States remains a beacon for the world in terms of democratic nations, I firmly believe that. And whilst the assault on democracy that we saw on January 6th was of real concern to all those who hold democratic processes dear around the world, the fact that you are having an open and transparent process, these hearings are being broadcast to the world, indeed underlies, in my view, the strength of U.S. democracy, the strength of those institutions.”

Asked what America can learn from Australia regarding how to deal with gun violence, PM Albanese responded(5:26): “In Australia we had a bipartisan response to the Port Arthur massacre, and we haven’t had once [mass shooting] since, and I just say that people should look at our experience. It’s up to the United States as a sovereign nation what direction it takes of course, but the truth is that Australia’s experience shows that less guns, particularly less automatic weapons, the less crime occurs, and the less tragedy occurs.”

Asked whether he supports the growing sentiment among Aussies to break away from the Queen of England and become a republic, PM Albanese responded(6:24): “Well, I do support a republic, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the Queen, who has presided over the Commonwealth for 70 years, it’s quite an extraordinary achievement. Our priority this term, is the recognition of First Nations people in our constitution. Our history didn’t begin in 1788 with the arrival of the British First Fleet, it goes back some 65,000 years with Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, the oldest continuous civilization on the planet. It should be a source of great pride, and my priority is getting that constitutional change done first.” Hmm, very interesting.

Bottom line folks, interviews with world leaders are always interesting(at least to Your Truly-a nerd), because they give you a glimpse into how others view/deal with the same issues confronting us here in the United States. I think reasonable people will agree that by far, the biggest takeaway from PM Alabanese’s interview, is how politicians in Australia came together to stump out mass shootings after the Port Arthur massacre(1996). Simply put, there is zero excuse for the nonsense we get from Congress, when it comes to addressing gun violence in the United States. Zero!!

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