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Burisma Founder Under Investigation For Embezzlement Of Over $30 Million

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Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka announced earlier today that the government would be expanding its investigation into Burisma founder Mykola Zlochevsky to include possible embezzlement of state funds, according to Reuters and The Daily Caller.

Burisma is the Ukrainian natural gas company whose board Hunter Biden served on from April of 2014 until April of this year, earning a reported salary of $50,000 per month, despite having zero experience in the energy sector.

Ukrainian officials are currently unable to locate Zlochevsky, who is suspected of embezzling the equivalent of $33 million in state funds while serving as the country’s ecology and natural resources minister from 2010 to 2012.

Prior general prosecutors managed a variety of investigations into the Burisma founder, stemming from allegations related to tax violations, money-laundering, and licenses awarded to Burisma while Zlochevsky was serving as ecology minister. The latest announcement by Ryaboshapka reveals that embezzlement of state funds may now be added to the list of possible crimes. Ryaboshapka’s declaration was prompted after lawmakers in a prior press conference leaked a document from the general prosecutor’s office related to the investigation.

The latest news of an expanded probe into the Burisma founder coincides with the impeachment inquiry hearings, which the Democrats are conducting to determine if President Trump withheld aid from Ukraine in return for an investigation into Zlochevsky’s Burisma, as well as into Joe and Hunter Biden. The announcement comes on the heels of Democrats perpetually urging the public that the Bidens engaged in no wrongdoing while conducting activities in Ukraine.

Undoubtedly, given that the time period of the potential embezzlement precedes the arrival of the youngest Biden, the media and Democrats will leap on this chain of events as vindication or “proof” that Hunter Biden was not involved in corrupt activities abroad and that Joe Biden did not offer informal leverage for his son. However, it’s entirely possible that Burisma sought Western figures with clout-carrying names like “Biden” to shield the company from undergoing too rigorous an investigation after the potentially corrupt activities unfolded. This theory becomes particularly poignant when considered in light of Joe Biden’s speech, in which he bragged about having the then-general prosecutor of Ukraine fired, allegedly under the banner of a widespread anti-corruption campaign he carried out during his tenure as vice president.

As The New York Times shared in May, Hunter’s appointment to the board of Burisma, in the very least, was advantageous for suggesting to the world that the Ukrainian energy sector was beginning to address its own rampant corruption. “Their [Hunter Biden and others’] support allowed Burisma to create the perception that it was backed by powerful Americans at a time when Ukraine was especially dependent on aid and strategic backing from the United States and its allies, according to people who worked in Ukraine at the time,” the Times reported.

The direct advantage Hunter’s retainment gave to Burisma is still unknown. Still, journalists will likely find this recent information highly exculpatory, despite the fact that Hunter could have just as easily served as a Western balm to a highly invasive and expensive investigation. As the Democrats continue to rail against Trump for a phone call made transparent by an actual transcript, the latest allegations against Zlochevsky reveal a whole world of corruption that remains largely unknown to Congress — and one Hunter Biden had immeasurable connection to.

Erielle Davidson is a Staff Writer at the Federalist and a law student at Georgetown University Law Center. Find her on Twitter at @politicalelle.

Under Obama, Democrat Witness Fiona Hill Argued Against Lethal Aid For Ukraine

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During the Democrats’ partisan impeachment hearings on Thursday, their witness Fiona Hill, a former White House official, testified she was concerned that a hold on aid might endanger Ukraine’s security. But in 2015, Hill penned an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing that providing lethal weapons to Ukraine would be a mistake.

In both her closed-door testimony last month and her public hearing on Thursday, Hill said she was concerned about Ukraine’s safety and stability as it defends itself against Russia should President Trump continue to withhold aid. But while she was the director of the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution a few years prior, Hill wrote an op-ed titled “How aiding the Ukrainian military could push Putin into a regional war,” in which she strongly disagreed with the idea that “increasing the Ukrainian army’s fighting capacity … would allow it to kill more rebels and Russian soldiers.”

Fiona Hill wrote an op-ed in 2015 for the Washington Post in which she argues against providing lethal military aid to Ukraine #FoxNews #ImpeachmentHearing pic.twitter.com/V5w6CM13da

— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) November 21, 2019

“It is hard to find effective alternatives to the current sanctions policy, but if we plunge headlong into sending weapons, we may lose our allies, and we may never have the opportunity to get things right,” Hill wrote.

Other witnesses who testified before the House Intelligence Committee admitted that Trump’s policy of denying lethal defensive assistance to the Ukrainians has been more effective than President Barack Obama’s policies in Ukraine and Russia.

Hill also previously testified that she has absolutely no direct knowledge of both the phone call with Ukraine and why the aid was withheld.

Madeline is a staff editor at the Federalist and the producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Follow her on Twitter.

Sean Davis: Anti-Trump Impeachment Theater Is ‘Watergate Cosplay’ For Democrats

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Sean Davis, co-founder of The Federalist, joined “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Wednesday to recap another day of House Democrats playacting at their partisan, anti-Trump impeachment hearings.

“I think we learned that the Democrats are quite convinced they need to keep going with this Watergate cosplay in Washington,” Davis said. “We learned no new facts. We heard the same stuff we’ve heard over and over again. We saw the same playacting.”

Davis said the only thing he has learned from the House Intelligence Committee’s theater is how committed Democrats are to the farce of impeachment they have been pursuing for three years.

“That’s the central crime of Donald Trump’s presidency, is he had the audacity to beat Hillary Clinton when she was supposed to be ordained and coronated,” he said. “They said they were going to impeach him on day one. The day he was inaugurated they said, ‘Now impeachment begins.’”

Both Democrats and our complicit news media have made it difficult for Americans to take this latest round of impeachment threats seriously after tearing the country apart over a fake Russia collusion narrative for two years.

“They tried it with the Russia collusion hoax. They tried it with the 25th amendment nonsense, and that failed, so now we’re in the third version of their impeachment passion play that we’re all being forced and held hostage to watch,” Davis said.

Gordon Sondland’s Testimony Changed Nothing About Adam Schiff’s Grift

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Early on in David Mamet’s movie “House of Games” there is a scene where a group of con artists are trying to scam 6,000 dollars from a mark. A handgun is placed on a table to emphasize to the mark the gravity of the situation. But just as she is about to write a check, she notices something, water is dripping from the gun. Just like that the scam is exposed. Two of the con men lament their failure.

Vegas Man: I told you a squirtgun wouldn’t work.

Mike: A squirt gun would have worked. You didn’t have to fill it.

Vegas Man: What, am I going to threaten someone with an empty gun…?

Mike: No, George, your right, of course.

Upon careful examination, Amb. Gordon Sondland’s supposedly damning testimony before the House Intelligence Committee yesterday looks a lot more like a dripping gun than a smoking one. What made his appearance before the committee seem so important is that he was the first and only witness so far to change their story from their original secret testimony to go from no quid pro quo to yes, quid pro quo.

Except, there are two problems with this alleged bombshell. One, the supposed quid pro quo had nothing to do with congressionally approved foreign aid, but rather a White House meeting with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, and the president can obviously invite or not invite anyone he pleases to the White House for any reason. Two, the statement of intent to conduct investigations from Zelensky never happened.

When it came to the military aid, Sondland testified that he “presumed” the less than two month delay was a result of Zelensky refusing to announce investigations against Burisma, the Ukrainian energy concern that was paying then Vice President Joe Biden’s son a fortune for apparently nothing, and into alleged interference in the 2016 election. He was told this by no one, certainly not the president, who flat out told him he wanted nothing from Zelensky, he just kind of figured it.

The next shiny paint job that got the left in a tizzy of Trump loathing was Sondland saying that the president didn’t even want the investigations, just the announcement. Some seized on this as evidence that Trump’s sole intention was to smear the Biden’s not to fight corruption, but Sondland himself put the lie to this theory. He explained that Ukraine has a history of failing to live up to promises made in private, so the president wanted a public announcement to ensure the investigations would in fact happen.

The broad picture we got of Sondland was that of a wealthy guy, with a lot of ego, who loves colorful language and enjoys touting his power as an ambassador and who likes to brag about having the president’s ear. It was Sondland who told the Ukrainians that military aid was tied to investigations, but apparently under nobody’s authority. He had a hunch, and he thought that was good enough to go on.

Throughout this impeachment process, just like the Mueller probe into Russian collusion before it, a bunch of gotcha moments, made to look damning have turned out to be nothing more than the somewhat unconventional running of the White House and a campaign for it. For three years now the “walls have been closing in” on Trump, but like Zeno’s arrow, they never seem to actually touch him.

Nonetheless, the illusion that Sondland badly damaged Trump, along with all the talking heads on cable news aghast, and all the spicy memes on Twitter have probably given the Democrats in the House enough ammunition to vote for articles of impeachment.

What continues to be the norm in this, the public phase of impeachment effort 2.0 is that we already know all of the basic facts from the transcripts of secret testimony. Sondland changed that for a few minutes, that’s why it felt like a big deal. But not long into being cross-examined by the Republicans and their counsel, everything settled back down into the hum drum same old story that Trump was acting within his authority and did not expressly tell anyone that military aid would not be released unless investigations were announced.

Democrats will feel on firmer footing now, pinning their grave votes for impeachment which they promise they are very sad to have to cast on Gordon Sondland. But what seems equally certain is that Sondland’s testimony will not move the needle with the American public and will not have Republicans jumping ship to support ousting the sitting American president.

Rep. Adam Schiff’s grift is coming to an end soon, but he’s already blown the gaff. His mark, the American people are seeing through the con game. The president will not be removed from office, so how about we just have an election.

David Marcus is the Federalist’s New York Correspondent. Follow him on Twitter, @BlueBoxDave.

New York Requires Religious Schools, Churches, Hospitals To Hire Pro-Abortion, Pro-LGBT Employees

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New York has taken a strong stand against both religious freedom and life causes this year, with three laws that push forward an ethical climate in the state completely incompatible with liberty, true health care, and allowing people to live according to their consciences. These laws push an intrusive agenda, overreaching into every part of people’s lives, including into whether churches can hire and fire people for doctrinal issues.

Each of these on their own is too far, but together they create a situation in New York that alters the fundamental ability of people to live their lives and worship according to their sincerely held beliefs. New York has violated the most basic and simple protections around people’s rights to free association and free exercise of religion.

New York’s Egregious Law Trifecta

Each of these three laws builds on each other, strengthening the anti-family, anti-freedom, anti-religion position of the state. The first is the Reproductive Health Act (SB 240), which has radically extended abortion access in the state.

Abortion is now legal in New York through 24 weeks of pregnancy — a gestational age at which babies are born and can survive with NICU care — or until birth if the baby is deemed to have an “absence of fetal viability,” or if the mother’s life is somehow threatened. This law also grants New York citizens the fundamental right to sterilization.

It also struck from penal law the homicide protections for unborn children, so when a pregnant woman is victimized in the worst way and deprived of her life, there is no justice for the murder of her baby. It also removes the ability of a coroner to investigate a death by a suspected “criminal abortion.” Since the passage of this law, there has already been at least one attack on a pregnant woman that led to her death as well as her baby’s, wherein the murderer could not be charged with the baby’s death.

Women matter. Their babies matter. Justice for them when the unthinkable happens should be preserved, not legislated away. New York’s lawmakers should remember Jennifer Irigoyen and her unborn child, and the fact that their law lessened the legal ramifications for the man who murdered them.

Chemical Abortion Is Not Contraception

New York’s second law in this trifecta is the Comprehensive Contraception Coverage Act (SB 659A). Health plans in New York must now fully pay for contraception on behalf of employees, including for medications that can end a pregnancy. All Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, devices, and procedures must be covered at 100 percent, with no cost-sharing.

Gone with this is the ability for religiously motivated plans to take a stand against medications that can harm or destroy an early-stage pregnancy. The law includes no exclusion or opt-out for religious institutions or those that do not want this coverage. New York has decided all plans in the state must cover it and everyone in the state must have this available, whether they want it or not.

Then there’s the final piece of this picture: SB 660. Supporters of this bill named it the “Boss Bill.” This law ends the ability of churches, schools, hospitals, and all other religious businesses to employ only people who share the same beliefs about sexuality, family planning, or abortion.

The law reads in part: “To prohibit employers from discriminating against employees based on the employees’ or dependent’s reproductive health decisions, and to provide remedies for such violations.” Also provided under this new law are the remedies, including financial restitution, reinstatement of the job if the person is fired, and attorney’s fees.

These Laws Violate Basic Freedom and the Public Will

Denise Harle, legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom on this case, explained the implications for New York employers:

This law tells religious organizations and groups that they must employ, hire, and keep employed people whose beliefs and behaviors violate the religious beliefs of the organization. So in other words, it prevents any religious group or organization from — it says discriminating — but for making any hiring decisions based on someone’s reproductive health decisions. So in the example of a church like our client, First Bible Baptist Church, this would prevent them from making sure they’re employing people with beliefs and Biblical teachings on sexuality and marriage and reproduction. In the case of our client CompassCare and NIFLA, the pro-life pregnancy centers, this would actually require them to employ people who promote and endorse abortion, which obviously violates kind of the core mission of those charities.

It’s clear the reality lawmakers are creating in New York: one where the religious are restricted from deciding who they can hire, even on sincerely held beliefs and doctrinal tenets. A place where attacks on pregnant women, leading to the deaths of their wanted and loved unborn children, don’t equal double murder charges. A place where religious groups, such as orders of nuns, are forced to pay for unwanted abortifacients. New York doesn’t value religious diversity. It’s violating it.

New York’s laws and leaders are out of touch with the views of mainstream Americans, as demonstrated in a newly released Religious Freedom Index from the Becket Fund for Religious Freedom. This survey found that Americans treasure religious liberty, even when that liberty is “discriminatory”: “68% strongly support religious freedom, even if it means allowing for ‘offensive/discriminatory’ views.”

Directly contrary to New York’s new law, Americans believe employers alone should be able to determine who they hire and who they fire: “7 in 10 respondents support freedom for religious groups or organizations to make their own employment and leadership decisions without government interference,” and they support the rights of organizations and those who run them to make choices based on faith: “73% of respondents support freedom for people to run their business or private organizations according to their religious belief.”

To all the faithful in New York, to the lawyers bringing the lawsuits challenging these unjust laws, to the judges who will hear these suits, please remember and fight for religious freedom. Fight to preserve life. No one should be forced to acquiesce to laws that go against core parts of their faith, and New York is terribly, terribly wrong to have passed these laws. Support ADF in this legal fight, as all the work they do fighting for liberty and freedom is pro bono.

Be Informed About Your State Legislature and Laws

Harle also believes being informed is a vital part of what people can do to help in these cases:

I think a good thing to do is honestly be educated about this bill and the way it violates the Constitution and to speak out about it, speak to your friends and neighbors. Certainly, I think it’s great to support even sending a note of encouragement or otherwise support these ministries that are already standing up on behalf of so many other groups. You know, it’s not fun to be in litigation, but these people are willing to take a stand and to defend their person and that right — and on behalf of all others in New York that deserve the same freedom.

This isn’t only New York’s problem, and should serve as a stiff wake-up call to Americans across the nation. Be vigilant in watching bills that are proposed and working through your state’s legislature. Contact all your elected officials and let them know how important protecting life and religious liberty are to you and your family.

Places of worship must be able to make their own determinations on who to hire and why. It’s unthinkable to allow the courts to intrude on this, something the Supreme Court agreed with in 2012. Being discerning — being discriminating — in who can fulfill religious obligations in religious workplaces such as churches, schools, care centers, etc. is vital to the way they operate.

Anything else is a fundamental change in how religion functions in America. New York’s new laws are wrong and must be overturned.

Holly Scheer is a writer and editor, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. She’s fascinated by politics, culture and theology. Follow her on Twitter @HScheer1580.

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

The Most Important News Story Right Now Isn’t Impeachment, It’s The Crisis In Mexico

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Two important and interrelated news stories largely passed under the radar Wednesday as the House impeachment hearings continued to dominate the headlines. Both stories concern the deteriorating state of affairs in Mexico and have huge implications for immigration, the southwest border, and U.S. national security. It’s a shame more Americans aren’t paying attention.

The first was a report from BuzzFeed that as of Wednesday the Trump administration began carrying out a controversial plan to deport asylum-seekers from El Salvador and Honduras—not to their home countries, but to Guatemala, which the administration has designated a “safe third country,” meaning that migrants from those countries must first apply for asylum in Guatemala before seeking asylum in the United States.

The move is part of the administration’s broader strategy to reduce the number of Central Americans seeking asylum at the southwest border, which last year saw a dramatic increase in illegal immigration largely driven by families and minors from the so-called Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.

The second story was a Los Angeles Times dispatch from the Mexican state of Michoacán, where rival cartels are waging war not over drug trafficking routes but over control of the multibillion-dollar avocado industry. More than a dozen criminal groups are fighting over the avocado trade in and around Uruapan, the capitol of Michoacán, “preying on wealthy orchard owners, the laborers who pick the fruit and the drivers who truck it north to the United States,” writes reporter Kate Linthicum. Organized crime in Mexico, she explains, is diversifying—it isn’t just about drugs anymore:

In parts of Guerrero state, cartels control access to gold mines and even the price of goods in supermarkets. In one city, Altamirano, the local Coca-Cola bottler closed its distribution center last year after more than a dozen groups tried to extort money from it. The Pepsi bottler left a few months later.




In Mexico City, bar owners in upscale neighborhoods must pay taxes to a local gang, while on the nation’s highways, cargo robberies have risen more than 75% since 2016.




Compared with drug trafficking, a complex venture that requires managing contacts across the hemisphere, these new criminal enterprises are more like local businesses. The bar to entry is far lower.

The report also notes that homicides are at an all-time high in Mexico, and that cartels have taken control of migrant smuggling in the state of Tamaulipas, which borders the Texas’s Rio Grande Valley, the busiest stretch of the border for illegal immigration.

All this comes on the heels of the massacre of an American family in Mexico, including three women and six children, earlier this month by cartel gunmen, as well as the defeat of a detachment of the Mexican National Guard by cartel forces in the city of Culiacan last month. Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has no strategy to reduce cartel violence and no intention of fighting the cartels.

The Chaos South of Our Border Won’t Stay There

So what do these two news stories from Wednesday have to do with one another, and why would they have major implications for the United States? Simply put, what has happened in Central America is now happening in Mexico. The difference is, when asylum-seekers from Mexico start turning up on our border we won’t be able to deport them to a third country or easily turn them away. If you thought the border crisis was bad last year, wait until hundreds of thousands of families in Michoacán and Tamaulipas decide to flee the cartels and seek asylum in the United States.

To really appreciate the gravity of the situation in Mexico you have to understand some of the dynamics behind the border crisis, which has been driven by Central Americans fleeing societies that are in a state of collapse. Widespread extortion, kidnapping, and violence from gangs throughout the Northern Triangle, combined with grinding poverty and scarce economic opportunities, has prompted hundreds of thousands of Central American families to head north.

One of the reasons this mass exodus turned into a crisis is that unlike earlier waves of illegal immigration, these migrants weren’t single adults from Mexico who could be quickly deported under U.S. law. They were migrant families and minors seeking asylum from noncontiguous countries, which meant they had to go through an entirely different legal process that takes much longer.

The Trump administration, like the Obama administration before it, faced a choice: either release large numbers of people who had crossed the border illegally or detain them in inadequate facilities that were never designed to hold children and families. The administration responded with a host of new policies, some of which have been struck down by the courts, designed to deter Central American asylum-seekers and reduce illegal border-crossings.

Designating Guatemala as a safe third country is one of those policies, despite the reality that Guatemala is by no means a “safe” country (like El Salvador and Honduras, it’s one of the most violent countries in the world). The Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as “remain in Mexico,” is another such policy, which forces asylum-seekers to await the outcome of their case in Mexico, often in dangerous border cities where they are vulnerable to exploitation by cartels and corrupt officials.

The upshot is that as Mexico descends into warlordism marked by widespread criminality and gang warfare, we should expect ordinary Mexicans to respond the way ordinary Central Americans have. Eventually, they’ll leave. Many of them, perhaps hundreds of thousands, will at some point head north and claim asylum. When they do, the border crisis that we’ve been dealing with for the past year will seem insignificant—a prelude to a much larger and intractable crisis, for which there will be no easy fix.

Photo U.S. Customs and Border Protection photo by Jerry Glaser

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

As Trans Locker Rooms Spread, Republicans Need To Get Woke On Education Indoctrination Already

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Two male transgender teens who legally pressured a suburban Chicago school district to let them use the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms won a 5-2 school board vote last week allowing “full access,” reports the local CBS affiliate.

Nova “Maday’s attorneys said the fact she [sic] is anatomically male has nothing to do with her [sic] gender identity, and should have no relevance on whether she’s [sic]allowed access to the girls’ locker room,” CBS 2 reported.

“It’s not everything we want,” Maday said of the school board vote, citing other policies he wants, including transgender student IDs. Yet “It’s a great first step… and school districts all across the state and nation are watching.”

According to CBS 2, an unnamed female student told school board members during public comments before the vote, “I do not want to see a transgender student naked in the locker room. I do not want a transgender student to see me naked in the locker room.”

After the vote, another visibly upset student named Julia Burca told The Daily Herald, “I feel uncomfortable that my privacy is being invaded. Because I am a swimmer I do change multiple times naked in front of other students in the locker room. I understand that the board has an obligation to all students, but I was hoping they would go about this in a different way that would accommodate students such as myself.”

The Ratchet Only Goes One Way

Even if her school board had the will to protect young women like Burca, these policies are subject to unelected judges and federal bureaucrats. Therefore even if parents did change their school board, which is difficult enough and so far has required fighting outside money and the entire media-political establishment, they are likely not to be able to get it to rescind this policy.

That’s likely one reason no public school district has yet undone any transgender policy, as far as I’m aware of. I mention this in every article I write about such incidents and have yet to have any readers inform me of any reversal.

District 211 is just an illustration of how this ratchet works everywhere. In 2015, under pressure from the Obama administration via a complaint from another transgender student, Palatine-Schaumberg District 211 started allowing transgender access to single-person changing stalls both inside and outside formerly single-sex private areas.

Maday sued to use the locker room right next to the undressing girls. Enraged parents also sued the district with the help of religious liberty nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom. Earlier this spring, however, a federal district court judge threw out half of the parents’ case, ruling students have no constitutional right to privacy and that parents’s rights do not include having schools teach what parents believe.

The suing parents “have cited no case that suggests the right to direct education includes a right not to have their teachings undermined by public school (beyond, of course, the right to choose private school instead),” wrote Judge Jorge Alonso. The parents dropped their case soon after this adverse ruling.

Using a Few Pieces of Silver to Amass Enormous Power

Where did this whole situation start? Well, in 2015 the Obama administration pressured District 211 — and every other district into the nation — into trans bathrooms to comply with “non-discrimination law and g[a]ve the district 30 days to comply or else jeopardize its Title IX funding,” CBS 2 says.

Palatine-Schaumberg District 211, comprised of 11,762 high school students, fits the “wokester” profile: predominantly white, wealthy, and well-credentialed, according to federal statistics. Illinois is known for its massive property taxes, and District 211 makes an annual outlay per student of a whopping $25,371. Of that, $18,875 comes from local taxes. Just $563 per student, or 2 percent of the district’s budget, comes from federal funding.

Thus the feds told District 211, an obviously wealthy district that can easily afford to spend a little less or raise a little more, that 2 percent of its budget was required in exchange for exposing young girls’ naked bodies to mentally ill young men every day. The district chose the money over the girls’ innocence.

It’s not just this school district, either. They all do it. Every time in the past 50 years the federal government has told schools to sacrifice the best interests of their students for a tiny bit of money, the schools have chosen the money. The trans bathrooms issue makes this underlying dynamic more shocking and obvious, but it’s been depriving Americans of an education befitting a free people for generations.

We Can’t Go On Like This

This has created an existential crisis for our nation. Many of our citizens lack the basic knowledge to function as self-governing citizens, precisely because our schools don’t teach it. This is a threat to our very existence as a people capable of self-government. I’ll just cite one example here for brevity, but there are hundreds more.

In a October 2019 YouGov study commissioned by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, the youngest generations were the most likely to say that communism was presented favorably in their K-12 schooling. One-quarter of the youngest generation, Gen Z, said this. It’s pretty easy to make an educated guess that communism “lite,” or socialism, is presented favorably in public schools in significantly higher numbers.

I shouldn’t have to make this conclusion obvious, but given the state of affairs I clearly do: communism is the antithesis of American government. The point at which we have even a significant minority of voters supporting it is the point at which America is over. Elections are often within a percentage point, and the winner takes all. All the socialists need is an electoral wedge, and given the Democratic primary polling numbers for Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, they’ve already got one.

If our public schools are increasing sympathy for socialism and communism — and they clearly are — then they are an enemy of representative government and our natural rights. Same thing for transgender bathrooms: if our public schools are actively accommodating and promoting a denial of basic reality, they have lost all moral and intellectual authority and deserve to be immediately replaced.

A public school system that gets this basic of a reality and morality check wrong — how can it be trusted with anything important? Will trans bathrooms clarify this reality for enough parents to motivate demands for our representatives to get off their rear ends and get us relief?

Parents, Taxpayers Need an Escape Hatch Pronto

I live in a red state, and when our Republican leaders have addressed this issue their stock answer to avoid responsibility for the public education systems they oversee has been “local control.” If you don’t like it, parents, get out and vote in a new school board.

This is not an issue on which there is a grey area. It is simply wrong to force naked girls to be in the same room as naked boys.

This is an inane, self-immolating response from men with no chests. It completely ignores the legal and social dynamics at play, and the reality that local control no longer exists. Besides, it’s very obviously a convenient excuse for cowardice.

When crazy people run into public schools brandishing a gun, do Republicans shrug their shoulders and tell voters, “You want more funds for school safety, vote in a new school board”? When unions use deceptive statistics to claim that teachers are underpaid, do Republicans say, “Teacher pay is a local issue. Take it up with the school district we’ve freed to make their own financial decisions”? In both cases they should, but they absolutely do not. They typically rush to “do something.”

Only when we get into protecting children from insane ideology do Republicans refuse to get involved. It’s like they think ideas don’t matter, yet they’re mystified come election time when basic ideas of property rights, the right to life, the importance of marriage, personal responsibility, and other fundamentals glance right over voters’ heads and they’re reduced to hocking taxpayers’ money for votes on a slightly smaller scale than the Santa Claus Democrats. That’s an equation they’re never going to win.

This is not an issue on which there is a grey area. It is simply wrong to force naked girls to be in the same room as naked boys. It is an assault on their natural rights and on their human dignity. It is an embarrassment that this needs to even be said. Have the transgender doctors spayed and neutered all the politicians in this country too?

Boycott, Divest, Sanction, Stat

Since it is a moral outrage to force children into these situations, it is also a moral outrage to force taxpayers to pay for children’s moral, emotional, and psychological deformation through these policies and the curriculum that undergirds them. Most Republicans accept this basic principle by opposing taxpayer funds for abortion. It’s high time we got a Hyde Amendment for education indoctrination as well, both in K-12 and higher ed.

Public schools have long taught secular religion under the pretense of religious neutrality. The transgender debate makes it absolutely clear that they cannot possibly accommodate both sets of religious, moral, and scientific values. It’s time for those who claim to represent people of faith and science to enact boycott divestment sanction policies for the kind of education that tolerates this outrage.

What does that mean? For politicians:

  1.  Full school choice for all parents. If they’re okay with penises next to their underage daughters, they can keep their public schools. If not, they won’t be forced to ransom their hostage children by paying taxes on top of private tuition. Plus: Hugely popular with minority voters.
  2. Tax restructuring. Forcing people to bundle tuition with their property taxes is an outdated way to pay for public schools that disadvantages the poor. It also handicaps school choice possibilities.
  3. Make school board elections on the same day as all other elections, to reduce special interest control of education.
  4. Divest institutions of all public funds used on Marxist gender studies and other ideological programs that fuel this garbage, very much including teacher schools, which are havens of communist and socialist indoctrination of the people who teach kids.
  5. End the U.S. Department of Education so it can’t force schools into transgender policies and God knows what else to come.

For parents and charitable givers: Get kids out of public schools. Move to a cheaper house if you have to. Cut cable. Get a new job. Ask your extended family and church to help with tuition. Give to your extended family and church for help with tuition.

Without serious education reforms, children in those classrooms are sitting ducks for experimentation. The process is rigged against parents. As the Illinois case shows, even if you go to court it will take four years to lose, all while your children must endure lies and indignities that will deeply affect them. They deserve better than this.

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

Gordon Sondland’s ‘Bombshell’ Impeachment Testimony Was A Dud

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It was the testimony that was supposed to bring an end to the Trump administration as we knew it, finally completing Democrats’ three-year mission to undo the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland testified Wednesday that President Donald Trump criminally leveraged the power of the Oval Office to pressure a foreign entity to investigate political opponents at home by tying military aid and a White House meeting with the Ukrainian president to an investigation into the Biden family in a quid pro quo.

“I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: was there a ‘quid pro quo’? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes,” Sondland declared in his opening statement, affirming the Democrats’ latest conspiracy theory seeking the removal of the president.

At first glance, it was a day of damning testimony for the president, and the media ran wild with headlines spelling out Armageddon for the Trump White House.

“Sondland Delivers for Democrats With Bombshell Testimony,” reads a headline in U.S. News and World Report. “Sondland’s bombshell testimony blows holes in Trump’s Ukraine defence,” reads another in The Guardian. “Sondland’s bombshell testimony leaves Trump’s Republican allies scrambling,” declares the Washington Post.

The “bombshell testimony” Sondland offered, however, failed to explode anything on the Trump administration. Sondland, who has already changed his testimony multiple times since sitting down behind closed doors for a private deposition, admitted to lawmakers Wednesday that his accusations of a clear quid pro quo were based entirely on assumptions about Trump and the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani.

“Mr. Sondland, let’s be clear: no one on this planet—not Donald Trump, Rudy Guiliani, Mick Mulvaney, Mike Pompeo—no one told you aid was tied to political investigations, is that correct?” Republican Rep. Mike Turner of Ohio asked.

“That’s correct,” Sondland said.

In fact, Sondland confirmed to the committee that Trump explicitly told Sondland that Trump did not want a quid pro quo on anything regarding Ukraine.

“I want nothing. I want nothing. I want no quid pro quo,” Sondland says Trump told Sondland.

Sondland admits Trump told him “I want no quid pro quo.” Also admits his opinion that there was quid pro quo is based on a “presumption” – and is directly contradicted by Volker and Morrison. Reasonable people having different conclusions isn’t compelling evidence to impeach. pic.twitter.com/aYaxH7O2xc

— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) November 20, 2019

During his public testimony on Capitol Hill, Sondland also accused Vice President Mike Pence, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, without any hard evidence and relying on personal recollection, of being aware of the president and Giuliani’s alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine after Sondland raised his concerns over the apparent situation.

Pence, Perry, and Pompeo each denounced the claims as false, refuting Sondland’s testimony that meetings ever took place in which Sondland confronted the vice president and senior cabinet officials of a quid pro quo.

Sondland’s “bombshell” testimony, based on presumptions and new accusations without evidence, have been further contradicted by several prior witnesses who appeared before the committee. On Friday, former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, one of the Democrats’ star witnesses who testified last week, admitted that she had no information that Trump was involved in any criminal activity whatsoever.

On Tuesday, Sondland’s charges of a quid pro quo were flatly disputed by former State Department Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and former National Security Council Staffer Tim Morrison, both of whom resigned their government posts before sitting for their private depositions in the committee.

Volker and Morrison were each asked point-blank whether there was any bribery or extortion, i.e., quid pro quo, pushed by the White House on Ukraine.

“Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House?” asked ranking Republican Rep. Devin Nunes of California to each witness.

“No,” they each said, without hesitation.

“Did anyone ever ask you to bribe or extort anyone at any time during your time in the White House?”

MORRISON: No

VOLKER: No

The Democrats’ new poll-tested narrative continues to sink. Americans aren’t buying their partisan impeachment of @realDonaldTrump. pic.twitter.com/Wk2KqulXrG

— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) November 19, 2019

Sondland’s appearance on Capitol Hill also gave credence to a potential congressional investigation of the Biden family’s shade business dealings with Ukraine.

Hunter Biden served on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company known to be highly corrupt, making $50,000 a month while his father, Joe Biden, served as vice president at the time and controlled U.S. policy towards Ukraine.

When pressed on whether the situation appeared to be a conflict of interest by Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, Sondland agreed.

“Clearly it’s an appearance of a conflict of interest,” Sondland told the committee.

WATCH: Ambassador Sondland admits Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma had the appearance of a conflict of interest. Yet Adam Schiff refuses to allow this Committee to call Biden as a witness. pic.twitter.com/6OSIpYWoPo

— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) November 20, 2019

Certainly, testimony from a witness who has already changed his story multiple times and offered claims based only on personal recollection of events contradicted by other witnesses made for quite an explosive day for the Trump White House in the Democratic impeachment saga.

Tristan Justice is a staff writer at The Federalist focusing on the 2020 presidential campaigns. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan
or contact him at [email protected]

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

10 Top Highlights From The Fifth Democratic Debate

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The fifth round of Democratic debates took place in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday night. This debate showcased ten candidates and, finally, the fights and one-liners America has been waiting for.

The following candidates took the stage (percentage denotes national polling average for each candidate):

  1. Joe Biden – 27%
  2. Elizabeth Warren – 20.3%
  3. Bernie Sanders – 18.8%
  4. Pete Buttigieg – 8.3%
  5. Kamala Harris – 4.8%
  6. Andrew Yang – 3%
  7. Cory Booker – 1.8%
  8. Amy Klobuchar – 1.8%
  9. Tulsi Gabbard – 1.3%
  10. Tom Steyer – 1%

Here are the best — but, worst — moments of the night.

1. Booker Calls Biden ‘High’ For Opposing Marijuana Legalization

Booker took a shot at Biden’s stance against the federal legalization of marijuana.

“This week, I hear [Biden] literally say that I don’t think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it,” Booker said.

Cory Booker to Joe Biden: “This week I hear him literally say that I don’t think we should legalize marijuana. I thought you might have been high when you said it.” #demdebate https://t.co/u9aiISXBvU pic.twitter.com/RUZ26t50WD

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 21, 2019

2. Kamala Harris Tries to Romp With Tulsi Gabbard — Fail

Harris attempted to attack Gabbard by saying Gabbard spent all her time before running for president trying to buddy up with Republicans. The problem is, Harris started attacking Gabbard’s bipartisan record right before she claimed to be a unifying figure.

Tulsi vs. Kamala 👀 pic.twitter.com/MB2fMTC3BH

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 21, 2019

3. Biden: I Don’t Need a Lecture From Tom Steyer on Climate Change

Steyer made a case for climate change the number one issue in his campaign, but Biden was not keen on being virtue signaled by a man who built coal mines.

“I don’t really need, kind of, a lecture from my friend. While I was passing the first climate change bill…my friend was producing more coal mines and produced more coal around the world,” Biden said.

Joe Biden: I don’t need a lecture from Tom Steyer, who was building coal mines while I was working on environmental issues and climate change.#DemDebate pic.twitter.com/Am54uu9ls6

— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) November 21, 2019

4. Elizabeth Warren Doesn’t Need Pro-Life Democrats

When asked whether she thinks there is a place for pro-life Democrats in the Democratic Party, Warren essentially responded no.

“I believe that abortion rights are human rights. I believe that they are also economic rights. And protecting the right of a woman to be able to make decisions about her own body is fundamentally what we do and what we stand for as a Democratic Party,” Warren said.

Amy Klobuchar had a much more inclusive answer when asked if pro-life Democrats had a home in the Democratic Party.

“Yes, I think they’re part of our party,” Klobuchar said.

Amy Klobuchar just told me she DOES believe there is room for pro-life Democrats in the party

“Yes, I think they’re part our party.”

Contrast that with Elizabeth Warren saying there isn’t any room for people who don’t believe abortion is a human right.

— Chrissy Clark (@chrissyclark_) November 21, 2019

5. Pete Buttigieg Went Toe-To-Toe With Tulsi Gabbard

This interaction took place at the tail-end of the debate. It started with Gabbard calling Buttigieg too inexperienced to be commander-in-chief, especially due to comments he made about invading Mexico.

“Do you seriously think anybody on this stage is proposing invading Mexico?” Buttigieg asked.

In return, Buttigieg targeted Tulsi’s judgement for meeting with Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Buttigieg said he would not have sat down with a “murderous dictator” like Assad.

Gabbard said she was proud of her judgement to work with both allies and adversaries. She then recalled previous presidents who sat down with dictators, such as John F. Kennedy, who met with the Soviet Union’s Nikita Kruschev. As Gabbard listed examples, Buttigieg chimed in by saying President Trump met with North Korea’s Kim Jung-Un.

This exchange between @TulsiGabbard and @PeteButtigieg is 🔥🔥 #DemocraticDebate

pic.twitter.com/xI5Pebo0Pp

— Max Lewis (@MaxLewisTV) November 21, 2019

6. Amy Klobuchar Raised $17,000 for Campaigns From Ex-Boyfriends

Klobuchar got on staged and bragged about raising $17,000 for previous campaigns from ex-boyfriends.

“My first Senate race, I literally called everyone I knew and I set what is still an all-time Senate record — I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends,” Klobuchar said.

Senator @amyklobuchar:

“I raised $17,000 from ex-boyfriends.” pic.twitter.com/Or8RJP2tcl

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) November 21, 2019

7. Moderators Were Partisan Hacks, Especially Maddow

These are Trump campaign advertisements in the making. The so called “moderators” asked some of the most ridiculously partisan questions. Most of these came from Rachel Maddow, the same woman who cried on air when Trump was elected president.

Watch a collaboration of all the ridiculous questions asked here:

Montage: MSNBC “moderators” lure Dems’ already left-wing 2020 candidates even further left pic.twitter.com/2kDVF9k3hi

— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) November 21, 2019

8. Biden Said the Only African-American Senator Supported Him — Wrong

While touting his record of support among black Americans, Biden gaffed — again — and said he has the support of the only African-American woman elected to the Senate.

“They know me, they know who I am. Three former chairs of the Black Caucus, the only African-American woman that’s ever been elected to the United States Senate,” Biden said.

Booker and Harris interjected to remind Biden that Harris was not the first or last African-American woman to be elected to the Senate.

Biden meant to say the first African-American woman elected to the Senate, not the only.

Joe Biden overstated when he claimed he enjoys the support of “the only African-American woman that’s ever been elected to the United States Senate.”

Kamala Harris: No. That’s not true. The other one is here. 🤷🏽‍♀️

Watch at 0:40:https://t.co/l8SRQ7wyuR pic.twitter.com/0FtKPcmLoz

— POLITICO (@politico) November 21, 2019

9. Harris Brags About Going Toe-To-Toe With Jeff Sessions, William Barr, and Brett Kavanaugh.

Harris attempted to showcase her record as a tough candidate, but she chose some pretty terrible examples.

“I believe we have to have the ability to not only have a nominee who can go toe-to-toe with Donald Trump. And I have taken on Jeff Sessions, I have taken on Bill Barr, I have taken on Brett Kavanaugh. I know I have the ability to do that.”

There’s only one problem here: all three of those individuals were confirmed.

Kamala Harris on why she’s qualified to be President:

“I have taken on Jeff Sessions, I have taken on Bill Barr, I have taken on Brett Kavanaugh. I know I have the ability to do that.”

ALL THREE OF THESE PEOPLE WERE CONFIRMED LOL pic.twitter.com/DJUAWzsbzZ

— Caleb Hull 🎅🏻🎁 (@CalebJHull) November 21, 2019

10. Andrew Yang Skewers ‘Objective’ Journalists at the Washington Post

It took 32 minutes for the moderators to acknowledge Yang during the debate. During his post-debate interview with the Washington Post, Yang seemed to mock the journalists for their “objective” reporting.

“Washington Post: Objective reporting. ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’ Is that you guys?” Yang asked.

“Washington Post: Objective reporting! ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness.’ Is that you guys?” – @AndrewYang during post #DemDebate @WashingtonPost Live coverage. #YangGang pic.twitter.com/d7nO561pL1

— Brent Baker (@BrentHBaker) November 21, 2019

Chrissy Clark is a staff writer at The Federalist. Follow her on social media @chrissyclark_ or contact her at [email protected]

The British Need To Learn From Americans How To Conduct A Rigorous Debate

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British debate moderators have the Bercow syndrome. John Bercow was the last speaker of the House of Commons who suffered from a sort of delusional Wodehouse-ian self-importance that made him perform verbose orotund circumlocutions.

While a normal debate moderator might say, “I think that’s not correct,” Bercow would probably say, “While this typically astute observation is characteristic of the great political acumen the honorable gentleman displays, on this point he suffers from a trivial but notable disadvantage — of being wrong.” Yes, it is amusing, I suppose, if you’re in an Oxford social club, but it gets exhausting with time. You wonder if it is all performative, or if this imbecile actually likes the sound of his own voice that much.

I sat to watch the unfortunate debate between British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with a carefully maintained English pessimism, but even with that Byronic attitude, it felt more disappointing than one could expect.

The moderator, Julie Etchingham, was annoying and schoolmarmish. The result was that no one could talk, there was no cross-questioning, there was no cross talk even between the contestants, and the interruptions were nearly endless. What was the point of that? No one watches a debate to hear the moderator pondering about the meaning of life.

The debate was predicated between one (quite literally) gigantic presence who is never comfortable with a short monosyllabic answer, and one Marxist geography teacher lookalike who would rather tend his Junipers and wax nostalgic about Cuban soldiers battling imperialists in Angola in the ’70s.

We Live in Polarized Times

The debate started with a handshake between the two contestants, signifying bringing propriety and civility back into politics, which, even though a bit effete for stoic Brits, was a good touch. We could all do with a bit of civility in politics. Until, of course, Corbyn (or Bernie Sanders) wins and starts confiscating properties from billionaires, which leads to shutting of business and capital flow and base relocations to offshore heavens such as Singapore, leading to thousands of job losses and riots. If you think that’s a fetch too far, you haven’t guessed what’s in store.

Johnson took every opportunity to say Corbyn has no Brexit plan, and thus his is the only plan on the table. That is objectively true. The third-largest party, the Liberal Democrats, who did not cross the threshold of the debate, at least had a plan of stopping Brexit. They are quite open about it. The clue is in their slogan, “Stop Brexit.”

The Conservatives, on the other hand, are slowly lining up behind Johnson and his deal. The one who has so far played both sides and hedged is Labour leader Corbyn. He never mentioned how he will get out of this three and a half years of live-action Hieronymus Bosch-designed purgatory called Brexit.

Unfortunately, whenever Johnson wanted to get on his Periclean flow, the moderator would cut him off and then proceed to ask Corbyn about something inane. You think there’s liberal bias in American media? Allow me to introduce you to an island next to the English Channel.

The biggest point of the debate was about National Health Service, or NHS. Regardless of its overall problems and incompetence, it remains deeply popular in the U.K. Unfortunately, in recent years a repeated rumor has circulated that NHS would be “on the table” in any future trade deal with the United States. It is absurd, needless to mention. American companies can already apply for private contracts.

Other than that, it is frankly mindless to imagine that American taxpayers would be willing to buy NHS and subsidize the British government-provided health service. Yet this conspiracy theory continues to haunt the British left.

Johnson had one shot to clear it up, which he duly did. The NHS will never be up for sale, he thundered. That would ideally take away the one issue arrow from Corbyn’s quiver. But we live in polarized times. Whether this even will reach to closed leftist ears is a matter of significant doubt.

Britain Won’t Debate the Important Things

Other than that, this was a Brexit debate, with both candidates trying to voice their opinion about why Brexit is the only issue ahead of the country and the moderator stopping them both for some reason. Corbyn wasn’t grilled much on antisemitism among the pro-Palestinian factions and demographics of the Labour Party.

An awkward audience question concerned monarchy, the most popular institution in the country, which both candidates wanted to avoid answering. A single question explored Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein (probably never going to happen in any U.S. debate, to be fair). I was half expecting someone to shout, “Epstein didn’t kill himself.”

There was no significant debate about crime in London, which has reached a proportion hitherto unknown in the civilized world. The type of homelessness, addiction, and crime one can see in London would make some parts of California proud.

Most of the criminals as well as the addicted homeless are native born. It is bizarre that in a country where jobs go unfilled by the local labor force, thousands of able-bodied drug addicts are doing nothing in London. The math doesn’t add up. At the time of writing, for example, jobs from farming to caregiving go unfilled in Scotland. Why do we have thousands of homeless dependents on social services in London? Your guess is as good as mine.

Not much discussion probed the greater questions of grand strategy. What would Britain do as the world gets divided between the United States, China, and Russia, with the EU trying to hedge among all three? How would Britain respond to the Hong Kong Rubicon moment? Will Hong Kongers who were British citizens until 1997 be given asylum? That would mean a couple million highly motivated, educated, and genuinely pro-Western new citizens — an idea with broad support among the British electorate as well as major swaths of Conservatives, but a catastrophe for the Labour Party.

What about the once-mighty Royal Navy, which is now struggling to form escort groups to guard its own carriers? Will Britain’s much-vaunted pivot to “east of Suez” continue alongside the Americans? Or is Britain going to be preoccupied with stalling a Emmanuel Macron-led European army and the eventual disintegration of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization?

This is a fundamentally unserious great power, formerly known as Great Britain, which despite being within the top 10 in every measurable ranking of military, economy, and technology has somehow lost the idea of what it means to be British and lost the pride in its own history. The result was this clown show, “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” The only grace was the audience laughter at both these leaders. At least the islanders haven’t forgotten to laugh, even at the face of adversarial uncertainty.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

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