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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>LESLIE&rsquo;S TRIVIA BITS: December 2, 2019</p>\n<p>It&rsquo;s possible that the world&rsquo;s oldest coin-operated machine was a holy water dispenser devised by the ancient Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria. When a coin was inserted, the machine released a stream of water that allowed a worshipper to cleanse himself before entering a temple to pray. Heron also invented mechanical toys, a syringe and a steam-powered engine.</p>\n<p> CHRISTMAS movies capture hearts, but they don&rsquo;t grab many Academy Awards. Even &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life,&rdquo; that ultimate Christmas classic, had five Oscar nominations but no wins. One film on the short list of Christmas films that won Oscars is &ldquo;How the Grinch Stole Christmas&rdquo; (2000), which brought Rick Baker and Gail Rowell-Ryan an Oscar for best makeup. Edmund Gwenn won best supporting actor for portraying Kris Kringle in &ldquo;Miracle on 34th Street&rdquo; (1947). And a best original song Oscar went to Irving Berlin for &ldquo;White Christmas&rdquo; from &ldquo;Holiday Inn&rdquo; (1942).<br />\n On the morning of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941, the repair ship USS Vestal was moored beside the battleship USS Arizona. Two direct bomb hits combined with explosions from the attack on the Arizona blew the Vestal&rsquo;s captain and hundreds of crewmen overboard. Seven crew members were killed, and the ship was severely damaged, but the Vestal wasn&rsquo;t finished. After repairs, it continued in service through the end of World War II.<br />\n Winter isn&rsquo;t typical ice cream season, so Bill and Dorothy Harmsen, owners of the Jolly Rancher ice cream shop in Golden, Colorado, began selling candy to keep sales up during the cold weather. That&rsquo;s how the Jolly Rancher candy company was born. It started with Fire Stix, a flat bar of cinnamon hard taffy. Watermelon, green apple and other flavor &ldquo;stix&rdquo; followed. At one point, the Harmsens estimated they were making a million pounds of candy a week in the Jolly Rancher candy kitchen.</p>\n<p> THE standard playing card suits of clubs, spades, hearts and diamonds originated in France in the 15th century. Earlier German playing card suits were acorns, leaves, hearts and bells. In Switzerland, the suits were (and sometimes still are) acorns, flowers, shields and bells. The oldest suits on playing cards from Italy and Spain are coins, cups, swords and caveman-style clubs, all derived from the Middle East and North Africa, where playing cards originated. Back then, each suit consisted of 10 numbered cards and three face cards: a king, a cavalier and a knave, but no queen.<br />\n We tend to think of all conifer trees, like the spruce, the fir and the pine, as being evergreen, but Mother Nature reliably provides an exception to every rule. Larch, bald cypress and dawn redwood are part of a small group known as deciduous conifers. They produce cones and have needle-like leaves that turn red or gold, drop off in the fall and then regrow fresh and green in spring.</p>\n<p> TRIVIA<br />\n 1. The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World included what type of structure in Alexandria, Egypt?<br />\n A) Lighthouse<br />\n B) Mausoleum<br />\n C) Palace<br />\n D) Pyramid</p>\n<p> 2. According to the classic film, where did the &ldquo;Miracle on 34th Street&rdquo; take place?<br />\n A) Central Park<br />\n B) Empire State Building<br />\n C) Grand Central Terminal<br />\n D) Macy&rsquo;s department store</p>\n<p> 3. Pearl Harbor is located on which Hawaiian island?<br />\n A) Hawaii (the &ldquo;Big Island&rdquo;)<br />\n B) Lanai<br />\n C) Molokai<br />\n D) Oahu</p>\n<p> 4. Which American painter lived at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico?<br />\n A) Louise Nevelson<br />\n B) Georgia O&rsquo;Keeffe<br />\n C) Jackson Pollock<br />\n D) Gilbert Stuart</p>\n<p> 5. According to legend, what hand was Wild Bill Hickok holding when he was shot during a poker game in 1876?<br />\n A) Full house: aces over tens<br />\n B) Royal flush in diamonds<br />\n C) Straight: king-high<br />\n D) Two pair: black aces and eights</p>\n<p> 6. From 1992 to 1995, the Cones Hotline in the U.K. fielded phone calls from citizens about what subject?<br />\n A) Healthcare<br />\n B) Ice cream trucks<br />\n C) Recycling<br />\n D) Road construction</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>&nbsp;</p>\n<p>\n ANSWERS<br />\n 1) The lighthouse, or pharos, of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.<br />\n 2) &ldquo;Miracle on 34th Street&rdquo; centers on Macy&rsquo;s department store.<br />\n 3) Pearl Harbor is on the island of Oahu in Hawaii.<br />\n 4) Georgia O&rsquo;Keeffe had a house at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico.<br />\n 5) According to legend, Wild Bill Hickok&rsquo;s &ldquo;Dead Man&rsquo;s Hand&rdquo; was two pair: black aces and eights.<br />\n 6) The U.K.&rsquo;s Cones Hotline (as in traffic cones) fielded citizens&rsquo; questions about road construction.</p>\n', created = 1575645714, expire = 1575732114, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:03e8fb85507e44d806e26114659cfb68' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>LENDING: December 4, 2019</p>\n<p>Washington do-goodism almost always fails to help the people it is supposed to because politicians ignore the Law of Unintended Consequences. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to a congressional plan to put payday lenders and other short-term lending institutions, such as the burgeoning online lenders, out of business.</p>\n<p> THESE are lenders that provide the service of last-minute or emergency loans &mdash; typically of between $100 and $600 &mdash; to mostly low-income Americans or those with poor credit scores. Liberal &ldquo;consumer advocacy groups&rdquo; and liberals in Congress demonize these companies as modern day Shylocks, the nefarious lender in Shakespeare&rsquo;s &ldquo;The Merchant of Venice&rdquo; who demands a pound of flesh if loans aren&rsquo;t repaid on time.&nbsp;<br />\n Reps. Jesus Garcia, D-Ill., and Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., are the cosponsors of a bill called the Veterans and Consumer Fair Credit Act (the bill has nothing to do with veterans, and several veteran groups have written to complain of this ruse). It would cap interest rates on short-term and emergency loans at 36%. Critics of short-term lenders say they &ldquo;target&rdquo; low-income and minority Americans. The left says this new law would &ldquo;save&rdquo; low-income Americans between $5 and $10 billion a year.<br />\n No one forces anyone to go to these stores or use online lenders. They do so because these folks feel it&rsquo;s the best and most convenient option for them.<br />\n The bill would make it illegal for a lender to provide someone with a $250 cash advance and then pay back the loan a week later with a $10 fee. But why? Can&rsquo;t consenting adults make up their own minds about whether they want to engage in this transaction? Or is the left so contemptuous of the poor they think their voters are incapable of making sound everyday decisions on their own?<br />\n Perhaps it is the Washington politicians who are financially clueless here. Well, more than half of all Americans live paycheck to paycheck today. Oftentimes these workers have poor credit scores, so they can&rsquo;t get a traditional loan or consumer credit from a bank. About 1 in 4 Americans without a credit card don&rsquo;t qualify, or if they do, they ring up debt on their Visa card, which is far more expensive than opting for a short-term payday or online loan.</p>\n<p> ACCORDING to a 2019 Federal Reserve Board study, almost 4 in 10 Americans today would have difficulty covering an emergency expense of $400.<br />\n For Americans tangled in these kinds of financial tight spots, payday lenders are saviors, not devils. The $5 to $20 fee for an emergency cash loan is a small price to pay. Except that many in Congress don&rsquo;t think so. They complain that a $10 or $15 fee for a $200 loan paid back in two weeks can have an annual percentage rate interest of up to 400%. But an annual percentage rate, or APR, is a totally irrelevant statistic on a 10- or 14-day cash advance. The Wall Street Journal has calculated that the APR for a bounced check can sometimes exceed 1,300%. Are we going to eliminate credit cards, too?<br />\n One vital on-the-street reality that the consumer advocates and politicians fail to take into account is that payday and online lenders have actually helped low-income areas in an important way: They have largely replaced loan sharks. The interest rate on an unpaid loan to a loan shark isn&rsquo;t a $10 or $20 fee; it&rsquo;s a broken arm.<br />\n It also speaks volumes of the motivation of the Fair Credit Act and its supporters that the law would exempt credit unions. These are tax-exempt institutions that are direct competitors to the payday and online short-term lenders &mdash; and they&rsquo;d like nothing better than to run the competition out of town, just like McDonald&rsquo;s would love to shutter Burger King. Credit unions are also major funders of many of the consumer interest groups hammering payday lenders. So it might be too charitable to even say that Fair Credit Act supporters are primarily driven here by a misguided concern for the financial well-being of lower-income Americans.</p>\n<p> BUT THE motives really don&rsquo;t matter here; the results do. Run short-term lenders out of business, as some states have already done, and the victims are the people who can no longer use the convenience of these services that were once down the street. There is evidence that many Americans living near a state border drive out of the state without payday lenders into the states that have them. If Garcia and Grothman have their way, Americans won&rsquo;t even have the option of doing that anymore. It&rsquo;s a law that only a loan shark could love.</p>\n', created = 1575645715, expire = 1575732115, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:c051f366353e7cf9332f50d4d29bb9e0' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>IMPEACHMENT: November 29, 2019</p>\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://www.conservativechronicle.com/sites/default/files/Lowry.gif\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 116px;\" /></p>\n<p>Nancy Pelosi said she undertook impeachment &ldquo;prayerfully,&rdquo; and apparently what she was praying was that she could get it over with as soon as possible.</p>\n<p> THE HOUSE is preparing to send a flagrantly incomplete factual record to the Senate as the basis of an effort to remove a sitting president for the first time in our history.<br />\n Pelosi has affected a posture of heavy-heartedness since the outset of the process, saying that &ldquo;there&rsquo;s no joy in this&rdquo; and urging a somber spirit as Democrats pursue the facts wherever they may take them &mdash; so long as that&rsquo;s not too far into an election year.<br />\n In substantive terms, the Democrats had a good set of public hearings before Adam Schiff&rsquo;s intelligence committee the past two weeks &mdash; with one gaping hole. They didn&rsquo;t have anyone with first-hand knowledge of Trump&rsquo;s directives on Ukraine or his state of mind. The closest was EU ambassador Gordon Sondland, who, still, could only &ldquo;presume&rdquo; a quid pro quo over the defense aid.<br />\n There are people who probably don&rsquo;t have to presume, and Sondland named some of them: Trump&rsquo;s personal counsel Rudy Giuliani, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They all were closer to this than Sondland, yet Democrats are happy to make the guy from the outer bounds of the inner circle their &ldquo;star witness&rdquo; and forgo the inner circle.<br />\n This makes no sense as an investigative matter. The logic of skipping the most knowledgeable witnesses is entirely political. Pelosi doesn&rsquo;t want to spend an inordinate amount of time on impeachment, holding her vulnerable members hostage to an initiative that may not play well in their districts and ticking ever closer on the clock to the beginning of the campaign season.</p>\n<p> TO GET the more central witnesses requires litigation since they all have at least colorable claims of privilege. The Democrats don&rsquo;t want to wait for the courts. Instead, Pelosi and Schiff have talked loosely of including an obstruction count in the articles of impeachment, even though some of the Trump claims might ultimately prevail.<br />\n The minimum requirement of a historic impeachment case, only the fourth in our history, would seem to be a complete account of the facts. Schiff used to say as much: &ldquo;We have to flesh out all of the facts for the American people. The seriousness of the matter and the danger to our country demands nothing less.&rdquo; Now, the seriousness and the danger are demanding that Democrats rush things along so the president can be impeached by the end of the year.<br />\n No matter how often Democrats say, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s honor the Constitution,&rdquo; their actions say, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s check the box.&rdquo;<br />\n Democrats have had the difficulty from the beginning of trying to build an edifice of impeachment and removal atop the narrow foundation of the Ukraine episode, and now they aren&rsquo;t even going to finish the edifice, content with what they could complete in a two-month investigation largely reliant on the testimony of people who weren&rsquo;t around for the main events (former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch) or were out of the loop (former Trump Russia adviser Fiona Hill).<br />\n It&rsquo;s not as though getting a first-hand witness will weaken the Democratic case; it will in all likelihood make it stronger. But with every day that passes it becomes a little more absurd to say Trump should be impeached and removed when the public can make its own verdict in the election. Besides, Democrats know that impeachment is going nowhere in the Senate, so why bother locking down the case to make it worthy of the gravity of the process?</p>\n<p> THEY MIGHT as well go with what they have, a partisan impeachment pursued on a political timetable. During Bill Clinton&rsquo;s impeachment, it was his defenders who were saying, &ldquo;Let&rsquo;s move on.&rdquo; Now, it&rsquo;s Trump&rsquo;s pursuers, who prayerfully and sorrowfully want to get impeachment over with.</p>\n', created = 1575645715, expire = 1575732115, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:430a5012a1b3f7a26ce20f4df4e910c8' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>CHINA: December 3, 2019</p>\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://conservativechronicle.com/sites/default/files/Buchanan.gif\" style=\"width: 300px; height: 116px;\" /></p>\n<p>At first glance, it would appear that five months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong had produced a stunning triumph.<br />\n By September, the proposal of city leader Carrie Lam that ignited the protests &mdash; to allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China for trial &mdash; had been withdrawn.</p>\n<p> AND THOUGH the protesters&rsquo; demands escalated along with their tactics, from marches to mass civil disobedience, Molotov cocktails, riots and attacks on police, Chinese troops remained confined to their barracks.<br />\n Beijing wanted no reenactment of Tiananmen Square, the midnight massacre in the heart of Beijing that drowned in blood the 1989 uprising for democratic rights.<br />\n In Hong Kong, the police have not used lethal force. In five months of clashes, only a few have perished. And when elections came last month, Beijing was stunned by the landslide victory of the protesters.<br />\n Finally, last month, Congress passed by huge margins in both houses a Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act that threatens sanctions on Hong Kong authorities should they crush the rebels.<br />\n When President Donald Trump signed the bills, the protesters now had the U.S. as an ally, and the Chinese reacted viscerally.<br />\n An enraged Foreign Ministry declared: &ldquo;The US ... openly backed violent criminals who rampantly smashed facilities, set fire, assaulted innocent civilians, trampled on the rule of law and jeopardized social order.<br />\n &ldquo;This so-called bill will only make the Chinese people ... further understand the sinister intentions and hegemonic nature of the United States. It will only make the Chinese people more united and make the American plot more doomed to failure.&rdquo;<br />\n Thus do the Hong Kong protesters appear victorious, for now.<br />\n Sunday, black-clad masked protesters were back in the streets, waving American flags, erecting barricades, issuing new demands &mdash; for greater autonomy for Hong Kong, the release of jailed protesters and the punishment of police who used excessive force.<br />\n This confrontation is far from over.<br />\n Instead, it has escalated, and the U.S. government, having given up its posture of benevolent neutrality in favor of peaceful demonstrators for democracy, has become an open ally of often-violent people who are battling Chinese police inside a Chinese city.<br />\n On Monday, China retaliated, suspending visits to Hong Kong by U.S. military planes and Navy ships and declaring sanctions on the National Endowment for Democracy, Freedom House and half a dozen other U.S. agencies that promote democracy for interfering in the internal affairs of China.<br />\n And there is another issue here &mdash; the matter of face.<br />\n China has just celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Revolution where Mao proclaimed, &ldquo;China has stood up!&rdquo; after a century of foreign humiliations and occupations.</p>\n<p> CAN XI Jinping, already the object of a Maoist cult of personality, accept U.S. intervention in the internal affairs of his country or a city that belongs to China? Not likely. Nor is China likely to accede to demands for greater sovereignty, self-determination or independence for Hong Kong.<br />\n This would only raise hopes of the city&rsquo;s eventual escape from its ordained destiny: direct rule by Beijing when the 50-year China-U.K. treaty regarding the transfer of Hong Kong expires in 2047.<br />\n For Xi to capitulate to the demands of Hong Kong&rsquo;s demonstrators could cause an outbreak of protests in other Chinese cities and bring on a crisis of the regime.<br />\n Xi Jinping is no Mikhail Gorbachev. He is not going to let his people go. He is not going to risk a revolution to overturn the Maoist Revolution he has served his entire life.<br />\n A ruler committing the atrocities Xi is committing today in the concentration camps in the Uighur regions of China is staying his hand in Hong Kong only so the world and the West cannot see the true face of the ideology in which this true believer believes.<br />\n In providing moral support for protesters in Hong Kong who desire the freedoms we enjoy, America is on the right side. But to align the U.S. with the protesters&rsquo; cause, and threaten sanctions if their demands are not met, is to lead these demonstrators to make demands that Hong Kong&rsquo;s rulers cannot meet and China will not allow.<br />\n We should ask ourselves some questions before we declare our solidarity with the protesters engaging the Hong Kong police.<br />\n If the police crush them, or if China&rsquo;s army moves in and crushes the demonstrators whose hopes were raised by America&rsquo;s declared solidarity, then what are we prepared to do to save them and their cause?<br />\n Are we willing to impose sanctions on Beijing, such as we have on Venezuela, Iran and Vladimir Putin&rsquo;s Russia?</p>\n<p> SOME OF us yet recall how the Voice of America broadcast to the Hungarian rebels of 1956 that if they rose up and threw the Russians out, we would be at their side. The Hungarians rose up. We did nothing. And one of the great bloodbaths of the Cold War ensued.<br />\n Are we telling the protesters of Hong Kong, &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got your back!&rdquo; when we really don&rsquo;t?</p>\n', created = 1575645715, expire = 1575732115, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:f034dfc29ef9cdc8d15f6589ae38560e' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>CLIMATE: November 20, 2019</p>\n<p>&ldquo;How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood!&rdquo; insisted teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations. &ldquo;We are in the beginning of a mass extinction!&rdquo;</p>\n<p> MANY people say that we&rsquo;re destroying the Earth.<br />\n It all sounds so scary.<br />\n But I&rsquo;ve been a consumer reporter for years, and I&rsquo;ve covered so many scares: plague, famine, overpopulation, SARS, West Nile virus, bird flu, radiation from cellphones, flesh-eating bacteria, killer bees, etc. The list of terrible things that were going to get us is very long.<br />\n Yet we live longer than ever.<br />\n Now I&rsquo;m told global warming is different.<br />\n The Earth&rsquo;s average temperature is rising. It&rsquo;s risen 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. The U.N. predicts it will rise another 2 to 5 degrees this century. If that happens, that will create problems.<br />\n But does that justify what&rsquo;s being said?<br />\n &ldquo;We have 12 years to act!&rdquo; says Joe Biden.<br />\n &ldquo;The world is going to end in 12 years if we don&rsquo;t address climate change!&rdquo; adds Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.<br />\n Twelve years? That&rsquo;s the new slogan.<br />\n The Heartland Institute invited some climate alarmists to explain the &ldquo;12 years&rdquo; and other frightening statements they keep making.<br />\n The alarmists didn&rsquo;t even show up. They never do. They make speeches and preach to gullible reporters, but they won&rsquo;t debate anyone who is skeptical.<br />\n Over the years, I repeatedly invited Al Gore to come on my TV shows. His staff always said he was &ldquo;too busy.&rdquo;<br />\n At a Heartland Institute event I moderated, climatologist Pat Michaels put the 12-year claim in perspective by saying, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s warmed up around 1 degree Celsius since 1900, and life expectancy doubled in the industrialized democracies! Yet that temperature ticks up another half a degree and the entire system crashes? That&rsquo;s the most absurd belief!&rdquo;</p>\n<p> ASTROPHYSICIST Willie Soon added, &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about hand-waving, emotion, sending out kids in protest. It has nothing to do with the science.&rdquo;<br />\n Is that true? I wish the alarmists would show up and debate.<br />\n Alarmists say, &ldquo;Miami will soon be underwater!&rdquo;<br />\n Few serious people deny that the Earth has warmed and that sea levels are rising. But Michaels points out that even if the warming increases, humans can adjust.<br />\n For example, much of Holland is below sea level. &ldquo;They said,&rdquo; Michaels recounts, &ldquo;we&rsquo;re going to adapt to the fact that we&rsquo;re a low-lying country; we&rsquo;re going to build these dikes. Are you telling me that people in Miami are so dumb that they&rsquo;re just going to sit there and drown?&rdquo;<br />\n Climatology professor David Legates added a point the climate alarmists never make: &ldquo;The water has been rising for approximately 20,000 years and probably will continue.&rdquo;<br />\n But aren&rsquo;t sudden climate changes happening now? Aren&rsquo;t hurricanes suddenly far more violent?<br />\n &ldquo;No they aren&rsquo;t!&rdquo; responded Michaels. &ldquo;You can take a look at all the hurricanes around the planet. We can see them since 1970, because we&rsquo;ve got global satellite coverage. We can measure their power... There is no significant increase whatsoever -- no relationship between hurricane activity and the surface temperature of the planet!&rdquo;<br />\n He&rsquo;s right. That&rsquo;s what government data shows.<br />\n Nevertheless, activists and politicians demand the United States move toward zero carbon emissions. That would &ldquo;put you back in the Stone Age,&rdquo; says Michaels.<br />\n Another myth is that carbon dioxide, the prime creator of greenhouse gases, threatens the food supply.<br />\n But carbon dioxide helps plants grow. &ldquo;There are places on Earth where it is greening up like crazy,&rdquo; says Michaels.<br />\n But if the crisis isn&rsquo;t real, why do governments race to respond to it with regulations and big spending projects? Why is the U.N.&rsquo;s Panel on Climate (IPCC) so alarmed?<br />\n Well, IPCC does stand for Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>\n<p> LEGATES says, &ldquo;Governments want to keep control... Carbon dioxide becomes that molecule by which (they) can take control of your lives.&rdquo;<br />\n Government is the real crisis.</p>\n', created = 1575645715, expire = 1575732115, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:13f0bcd3f9fca3d4e85b4c27b8ee9f37' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>DURHAM INVESTIGATION: November 28, 2019</p>\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://www.conservativechronicle.com/sites/default/files/Tyrrell.gif\" /></p>\n<p>Last week, toward the end of the week, there appeared in our finest newspapers &mdash; the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal &mdash; a spate of news stories that set official Washington&rsquo;s mind at ease. As one of the great gazettes, the Washington Post, put it, &ldquo;The Justice Department&rsquo;s internal watchdog (that would be Inspector General Michael Horowitz) is expected to find in a forthcoming report that political bias did not taint top officials running the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign in 2016.&rdquo; Nonetheless, the report will be criticizing &ldquo;the bureau for systemic failures in its handling of surveillance applications, according to two U.S. officials.&rdquo;</p>\n<p> WE SHALL have to wait until Dec. 9 to hear from Horowitz as to what those &ldquo;systemic failures&rdquo; were. Do these early reports on his work forecast a whitewash? It would appear so. But can anyone really take seriously that those &ldquo;systemic failures&rdquo; took place in the absence of bias? Such a claim requires a great deal of contortion. And the spate of stories last week suggests the form that contortion will take: Blame will fall not on Peter &ldquo;We Will Stop Him&rdquo; Strzok &mdash; the virulent hater of President Donald Trump who orchestrated the spying on the Trump campaign &mdash; but on a low-level lawyer named Kevin Clinesmith. We are led to believe by these stories that while Clinesmith was biased against Trump &mdash; Trump&rsquo;s victory had &ldquo;devastated him,&rdquo; he wrote in an email &mdash; that bias never &ldquo;tainted&rdquo; his work or infected any of his colleagues. Many of whom, incidentally, are on record as sharing his bias. He was, you see, simply sloppy, or so the report is purported to say.</p>\n<p> I READ these happy, trouble-free news stories very carefully, and one thing struck me. Nowhere in any of the stories did anyone bother to ask the question: What precisely triggered the need for this investigation of the investigators? It did not start in a vacuum. Was it not largely precipitated by the discovery of the FBI&rsquo;s pervasive use of the Hillary-financed Steele dossier, upon which the Strzoks of this world relied for spying on Trump officials, all of whom turned out not to be Russian agents, as the FBI alleged?<br />\n Naturally, these stories skirt that issue. If Horowitz skirts that issue, too, his report will not amount to much, and we will have to look to Justice Department prosecutor John Durham for real answers. In April, Attorney General William Barr said, &ldquo;I think spying on a political campaign is a big deal.&rdquo; It has not ceased to be a big deal, even if Horowitz breezes over it.</p>\n<p> WHAT real grounds did the Obama administration have for its spying? That has never been satisfactorily explained. Consider the irony here. During the impeachment hearing, we have heard Democrat after Democrat intone gravely that nothing is more abusive than a president seeking to get foreigners to spy on a &ldquo;political rival.&rdquo; Yet is that not exactly what Obama did in letting the John Brennans and Peter Strzoks loose to spy on the Trump campaign with the help of foreign intelligence bodies, such as MI6? If it was wrong for Trump to try to get our ally Ukraine to investigate the Joe and Hunter Biden, as the Democrats assert, how can they possibly justify the Obama administration&rsquo;s use of foreign intelligence bodies to spy on Trump?<br />\n &ldquo;Now, what you&rsquo;re going to see, I predict, will be perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country,&rdquo; said the president of the coming revelations from Durham. Let us hope he is right. Spygate dwarfs Watergate in seriousness. After all, the Obama administration was not caught in a third-rate burglary but in a high-level scheme to weaponize both domestic and foreign intelligence instruments against a political opponent. For over two years, I have been predicting the Justice Department would find evidence of FBI and CIA agents working together to spy on Trump operatives. The Durham investigation will bear this out. The media, of course, will try to pit Horowitz against Durham. Do not fall for it.</p>\n', created = 1575645715, expire = 1575732115, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:be27a1a0842d29dd2a6fd03863f3f81a' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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Columns

12/04/2019 - 6:22pm
LESLIE’S TRIVIA BITS: December 2, 2019 It’s possible that the world’s oldest coin-operated machine was a holy water dispenser devised by the ancient Greek engineer Heron of Alexandria. When a coin was inserted, the machine released a stream of water that allowed a worshipper to cleanse himself before entering a temple to pray. Heron also invented mechanical toys, a syringe and a...
12/04/2019 - 6:18pm
LENDING: December 4, 2019 Washington do-goodism almost always fails to help the people it is supposed to because politicians ignore the Law of Unintended Consequences. Nowhere is that more evident than when it comes to a congressional plan to put payday lenders and other short-term lending institutions, such as the burgeoning online lenders, out...
12/04/2019 - 6:16pm
IMPEACHMENT: November 29, 2019 Nancy Pelosi said she undertook impeachment “prayerfully,” and apparently what she was praying was that she could get it over with as soon as possible. THE HOUSE is preparing to send a flagrantly incomplete factual record to the Senate as the basis of an effort to remove a sitting president for the...
12/03/2019 - 12:45am
CHINA: December 3, 2019 At first glance, it would appear that five months of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong had produced a stunning triumph. By September, the proposal of city leader Carrie Lam that ignited the protests — to allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China for trial — had been withdrawn. AND THOUGH the...
12/03/2019 - 12:44am
CLIMATE: November 20, 2019 “How dare you? You have stolen my dreams and my childhood!” insisted teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg at the United Nations. “We are in the beginning of a mass extinction!” MANY people say that we’re destroying the Earth. It all sounds so scary. But I’ve been a consumer...
12/01/2019 - 8:58pm
DURHAM INVESTIGATION: November 28, 2019 Last week, toward the end of the week, there appeared in our finest newspapers — the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal — a spate of news stories that set official Washington’s mind at ease. As one of the great gazettes, the Washington Post, put it, “The...
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