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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

With the new toll rates in 2020, it will cost $53.50 to cross Pennsylvania on the turnpike

Starting on Jan. 5, Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls are going up for the 12th consecutive year, making it more costly than ever to cross the state.

Under the new fares, it will cost $53.50 to travel from Neshaminy Falls — the easternmost start of the mainline — to Warrendale — the final toll plaza in the west.

That's an increase of about 6 percent or $3.10, from the 2019 rates, while E-Z Pass rates remain significantly lower, costing $38.40 to cross the state.


‘Courts Take Months And Months’

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler admitted Sunday that the main reason House Democrats have been keeping impeachment-related issues out of the courts is that it would take too long.

Nadler spoke with CNN’s Dana Bash, who was guest-hosting “State of the Union” for Jake Tapper, about the most recent developments in the ongoing 'impeachment proceedings' against President Donald Trump.

Bash pressed Nadler on the fact that House Democrats had not pushed harder to compel testimony from possible direct witnesses, such as White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton.

“But the Founders, who we heard a lot about in your committee last week, set up a third co-equal branch of government, the courts, to resolve differences like this but you have not tried to go to the courts to compel these witnesses to testify,” Bash began. “With something as grave and momentous as impeachment, why not?”

More here

TICK TOCK: Rudy to Release Report on Ukraine-Biden Crime Family Findings This Week

President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani traveled to Hungary and Ukraine last week and met with officials in Kiev in his ongoing efforts to expose corruption and pay-to-play schemes involving the Biden crime family and other Democrats.

Mr. Giuliani revealed Monday morning on Steve Bannon’s radio show “The War Room: Impeachment” that he is working to release a report on his findings from his latest trip to Europe to Attorney General Bill Barr and GOP lawmakers in Congress this week.

OAN reporter Chanel Rion has been traveling with Rudy Giuliani and reporting on his investigations in Hungary and Kiev, Ukraine.


Democrats’ latest impeachment line: Investigating corruption is ‘election interference’

Here is what you need to understand the House Judiciary Committee’s impeachment hearings on Monday: According to Democrats, any investigation of possible Democratic corruption, or of Democratic collusion with foreign officials to interfere in our elections, is itself impeachable interference in our elections.


Numerous problems mar the impeachment process — not least the rush to judgment. Democrats have been rushing congressional proceedings until they catch up with the judgment that the president must be impeached, a judgment House Democrats have already drawn. The haste rubs many Americans the wrong way.

Democrats have also had trouble identifying a crime. That’s why they appear to have settled on a vague “abuse of power” standard that would make every future president impeachable. Without being able to articulate egregious executive misbehavior, they are nevertheless racing ahead.


"Undeniable Evidence": Explosive Classified Docs Reveal Afghan War Mass Deception

In what's already being hailed as a defining and explosive "Pentagon papers" moment, a cache of previously classified documents obtained by The Washington Post show top Pentagon leaders continuously lied to the public about the "progress" of the now eighteen-year long Afghan war.

The some 2,000 pages of notes from interviews of senior officials who have shaped US strategy in Afghanistan confirm that “senior US officials failed to tell the truth about the war in Afghanistan throughout the 18-year campaign, making rosy pronouncements they knew to be false... hiding unmistakable evidence the war had become unwinnable," according to the bombshell Post report.

The internal interviews and statements were unearthed via Freedom of Information Act request and span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. The trove further confirms that US leaders knew vast amounts of money was being wasted in a futile attempt to "Westernize the nation".


Judicial Watch Sues for Documents Related to Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch

Judicial Watch has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department seeking documents related to a reported “untouchables list” given in late 2016 by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch to Ukraine Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko.

Lutsenko recently told The New York Times that Yovanovitch “pressed him not to prosecute anti-corruption activists.” Lutsenko previously reportedly said the do-not-prosecute list included a founder of the Ukraine group Anti-Corruption Action Centre (AntAC), which was funded by George Soros foundations and the U.S. federal government, and two members of the Ukrainian Parliament who vocally supported the Soros group’s agenda:

The implied message to Ukraine’s prosecutors was clear: Don’t target AntAC in the middle of an American presidential election in which Soros was backing Hillary Clinton to succeed another Soros favorite, Barack Obama, Ukrainian officials said.

Recently, Rudy Giuliani stated that AntAC “was co-funded by the Obama administration and far-left billionaire financier George Soros,” and “was ironically under investigation for alleged corruption, namely a ‘misplaced’ $4.4 million in U.S. funds designated to ‘fight corruption inside the former Soviet republic,’ during the 2016 presidential election in America.”


John Durham says he disagrees with DOJ IG conclusion that Russia probe was justified

U.S. Attorney John Durham said Monday he disagrees with the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that the FBI was justified in 2016 when it launched an investigation into President Trump’s campaign.

Mr. Durham was tasked by Attorney General William P. Barr earlier this year to oversee a separate investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. His investigation is covering much of the same territory as Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.

Mr. Durham noted the inspector general’s authority was limited to information within the Justice Department, while his investigation found information from “other persons and entities both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”


Supreme Court Lets Kentucky Ultrasound Law Stand

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky law requiring doctors to perform ultrasounds and show fetal images to patients before abortions.

The justices did not comment in refusing to review an appeals court ruling that upheld the law.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had challenged the law on behalf of Kentucky's lone remaining abortion clinic. The ACLU argued that “display and describe” ultrasound laws violate physicians' speech rights under the First Amendment.


New Jersey Man Gets 3 Years for $3.2 Million Food Stamp Fraud

A New Jersey man and former Connecticut supermarket employee has been sentenced to nearly three years in prison for his role in a $3.2 million food stamp fraud scheme.

U.S. District Judge Vanessa L. Bryant sentenced Muhammad Shahbaz, of Jersey City, New Jersey, to 33 months in prison on Wednesday after he agreed to a deal with federal prosecutors to plead guilty and repay the federal government $1.5 million.

Authorities say Shahbaz was involved in a food stamp fraud scheme with his colleagues at W.B. Trade Fair Supermarket in Hartford, Connecticut, where they defrauded the government of $3.2 million since 2014.


In a Blow to Political Correctness, Trump Praises Salvation Army

America isn’t the only thing making a comeback under President Donald Trump—so is Christmas! The candidate who vowed, “We’re gonna be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” delivered on that promise again in a big way Thursday night. Thirty feet of big, to be exact. In front of the giant spruce, the President made it very clear that this event wasn’t about illuminating the tree—but shining a light on the real reason for the season.

In a speech that no one would mistake for former President Barack Obama’s, the President talked about the wise men coming to worship Jesus.

"Christians give thanks that the Son of God came into the world to save humanity. Jesus Christ inspires us to love one another with hearts full of generosity and grace … As one grateful nation, we praise the joy of family, the blessings of freedom, and the miracle of Christmas."

His words were a breathtaking departure from Christmases past, which were full of nothing but the pageant of political correctness.

To millions of Americans, Trump hasn’t just tapped into the frustration they feel about Christmas, but the mockery of the values they hold dear. And he took another moment to prove it, intentionally recognizing the Salvation Army for its important work—despite the left’s latest attacks over its Christian roots.


[I don't know about you, but I'm going to find a Kettle this weekend and put a nice donation in it. Bravo, Mr. President! --Editor]

Border Patrol Agent Debunks Viral Video Showing Illegal Immigrant Scaling Trump Wall

On Wednesday, a video went viral on social media seemingly showcasing a portion of President Donald Trump’s new southern border wall failing to do its job. At least one illegal immigrant, using a rope ladder, scales the border wall and takes off before border patrol agents show up on scene, the video appears to show.

However, on Thursday, Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) shared a video of a border patrol agent explaining that the illegal immigrant who seemed to successfully cross the border was quickly apprehended by officers, thanks to the design of the wall and other security measures.

More/video here

Read the full articles of impeachment document here

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee revealed two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump Tuesday, setting in motion a historic chain of events in our nation's history.

The Democrats cited two charges, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, in their announcement.

The charges stem from the president's push for an investigation into his political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, by the Ukrainian government. Democrats alleged the president threatened the integrity of the U.S. election system and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine.


Giuliani Shocked AT&T Turned Over Phone Records

Rudy Giuliani told "War Room: Impeachment" on Newsmax TV Monday that he was shocked that AT&T turned over his telephone records, including information on his calls with President Trump, to Adam Schiff and the House Intelligence Committee.

The AT&T records were used for the committee’s impeachment report and Giuliani said they were shared without the President’s knowledge or permission.

"I would think they would've" asked, Giuliani, the former two-term New York City mayor, told "War Room".

“Everybody in America knows that I'm the president's lawyer,” Giuliani said. "And any intelligent person in America has heard of the attorney-client privilege.

Some experts have said AT&T could have questioned the subpoena as well as notified the targets like Giuliani and that the telecom company may have run afoul of FCC guidelines on sharing personal data.


American Education’s Great Stagnation

American school children's educational attainment has stagnated in the 21st century, according to data from two recently updated assessments of reading, math, and science skills.

Results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released in November, and from the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), released Tuesday, indicate that American kids have seen minimal improvement in their academic abilities since the early to mid-2000s.

"For all of these ambitious efforts we've seen unfold, they don't seem to be making much difference, at least when it comes to measured student performance in reading and math," Rick Hess, an education policy expert at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon.


Vehicle Drives Into CVS In Salisbury

Hospitals Sue to Keep Healthcare Prices Secret

Of all the insults to their collective intelligence and dignity Americans put up with, perhaps none is more infuriating than the quintessential Q&A that makes an utter mockery of the healthcare industry’s consumer-provider relationship.

Question: How much does this procedure cost?

Answer: What insurance do you have?

Applying the same “standard” to any other consumer-provider transaction reveals its bankruptcy. How much is that loaf of bread? What will it cost me to fix my car? To apply progressive-speak to the equation, what the healthcare industry wholly embraces is price “fluidity” more familiarly known as “why should you care, your insurance company is footing most of the bill?”

How about because the United States spends more per capita on healthcare than any other nation in the world by a considerable margin?

Think price transparency would help? The Trump administration does. On Nov. 15, 2019, it announced that it would begin requiring hospitals to publicly disclose the discounted prices they negotiate with insurance companies. The rule would kick in beginning in 2021, as part of an administration effort to make the entire healthcare market more transparent. In addition, the administration is also proposing a rule that would require insurers to provide patients with advanced estimates of their out-of-pocket costs before they see a doctor or go to the hospital.


WCSO Press Releases - Dec. 10, 2019

Incident: Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute
Date of Incident: 9 December 2019
Location: 400 block of Main Street, Salisbury, MD
  • Katie M. Dilworth, 31, Seaford, DE
  • Damon L. Dillard 35, Seaford, DE
Narrative: On 9 December 2019 at 11:37 am, a deputy stopped a vehicle operated by Katie Dilworth after observing a broken taillight on Dilworth’s vehicle. During the encounter the deputy discovered that Dilworth was in possession of crack cocaine. A search of the passenger, Damon Dillard, revealed multiple wax folds of what was identified as heroin. The amount of heroin seized from Dillard was indicative of distribution.
The deputy placed both Dilworth and Dillard under arrest and transported them to the Central Booking Unit where they were processed and taken in front of the District Court Commissioner. Following their initial appearances Dilworth was released on Personal Recognizance while Dillard was detained on a bond of $10,000.00 in the Detention Center.
Charges: Possession of Crack Cocaine (Dilworth), Possession of Heroin (Dillard), Possession of Heroin with the Intent to Distribute (Dillard)

Incident: Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute
Date of Incident: 9 December 2019
Location: Rip Will Drive, Salisbury, MD
Suspect: Cornelius D. Brunson, 48, Nanticoke, MD
Narrative: On 9 December 2019 at 8:45 PM, a deputy stopped a vehicle operated by Cornelius Brunson during the investigation of an incident that was reported in the vicinity. During the encounter, the deputy ran a query on Brunson and discovered an open arrest warrant for him through the State of Pennsylvania for drug charges.
Upon placing Brunson under arrest on the warrant, the deputy discovered marijuana in Brunson’s vehicle that exceeded the threshold for a civil infraction. Further search of the vehicle revealed both cocaine and crack cocaine in amounts that were indicative of an intent to distribute.
The deputy placed Brunson under arrest and transported him to the Central Booking Unit where he was processed and taken in front of the District Court Commissioner. Following an initial appearance, the Commissioner detained Brunson in the Detention Center without bond.
Charges: Possession of Cocaine with the Intent to Distribute and Possession of Marijuana over 10 grams

Transgender homicide rate 'remarkably low' despite cries of 'national epidemic'

Calls to combat a purported 'epidemic of killings' targeting transgender people, especially women of color, are rising, even though U.S. data indicates that people who identify as members of the opposite sex are less likely to end up as homicide victims than their non-transgender counterparts.

Kentucky State University associate professor Wilfred Reilly found that the 2017 homicide death rate for transgender people was about 1.48 per 100,000, less than a third of the overall murder rate..


ICE HSI Charlotte nets 125 human trafficking arrests in FY 19

4th highest number of trafficking arrests among HSI field offices
CHARLOTTE – In fiscal year 2019, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the principal investigative component of the Department of Homeland Security, arrested 2,197 criminals associated with human trafficking, a 38 percent increase from the previous year. HSI Charlotte made 125 of those arrests, which was the 4th highest number of human trafficking-related arrests among HSI field offices.
Arrests included:
Zerrell Ross Fuentes and his associates for sex trafficking three minor victims. In November 2019, Fuentes was sentenced to 30 years in prison, and two females associated were sentenced to 10 and two years in prison, respectively, for their roles in the trafficking scheme.
Thuy Tein Thuy Luong, the business owner of a nail salon, and a co-conspirator for allegedly engaging in forced-labor and financially benefitting from trafficking in persons. The victim in this case alleged that she was repeatedly physically assaulted by her employer and forced into a debt contract for $180,000.

‘We Vote by Film, Not By Gender’

Despite gains in the number of films and TV shows helmed by women, female directors were completely shut out of the Golden Globes once again this year.

The snub was immediately called out on social media, with film-makers like “Honey Boy” director Alma Har’el tweeting, “do not look for justice in the awards system.” However, Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Lorenzo Soria defended the move by saying the organization votes based on film, not gender.

“What happened is that we don’t vote by gender. We vote by film and accomplishment,” Soria told Variety’s Marc Malkin at the Globes announcement Monday morning.

“Every year, somebody gets left out,” Barry Adelman, one of the executive producers of this year’s Globes, told Variety. “Who knows what will happen next year.”

Only five women have ever been nominated for directing in the 77-year history of the Golden Globes.

More here

Gary Reacts to Video of Others Thanking Him for His Humanitarian Work

Our founder, Gary Sinise, has spent the last four decades supporting our active duty service men and women, veterans, first responders, their families and caregivers, and those in need. It's this commitment that he considers his true calling in life. And the reason that he’s written his memoir, GRATEFUL AMERICAN: A JOURNEY FROM SELF TO SERVICE, hoping to inspire others to find their true purpose through service to others.

In honor of his commitment, our CEO, General Robin Rand, made a surprise video for Gary with General Colin Powell, Tom Hanks, Jay Leno, Robin Roberts, Ron Howard, Rob Lowe, Robert DeNiro, Maria Shriver, Tim Allen, Steve Buscemi, Joe Mantegna, Kristin Chenoweth, Richard Rawlings, Judd Apatow, Mayim Bialik, Sela Ward, Tim Allen, Aaron Eckhart, Iliza Shlesinger, Jeff Perry, Donal Logue and Kellie Pickler along with our heroes from the military, first responders, Medal of Honor recipients, Gold Star families and the USO, all expressing their gratitude to Gary’s for his humanitarian work, hoping to inspire people to give back.

This was a complete surprise to Gary, everyone’s gift to him, revealed for the first time this morning online and on social media….and we’d love for you to take part and help us spread the goodwill!

After watching, share the video on your social media along with a comment or video expressing why you are #GratefulLikeGary for the kindness and dedication of someone in your life.

With Gratitude,

All of us at the Gary Sinise Foundation

Question Of The Day........

Supreme Court allows Kentucky abortion ultrasound law to take effect

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal over a Kentucky law that forces health providers to show pregnant women ultrasounds of their fetuses before having abortions.

The decision, issued Monday, means that the Supreme Court leaves intact a 2-1 ruling from the 6th Circuit that the law does not violate doctors' First Amendment rights to free speech, writing that the information gleaned from an ultrasound was "pertinent" to a woman's decision-making.

At least four justices must agree to hear a case for it to be taken up by the Supreme Court. Court observers have been closely watching the court, which now includes Republican-confirmed Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, to see whether they'll take up cases challenging Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationwide. Next year, the justices will hear arguments about a Louisiana law that requires doctors to have admitting privileges at a local hospital.


Fans of Sanders, Warren Want Jail Time for Hate Speech Offenders

Authoritarians of a feather flock together. Those who believe in big government seem more likely to trust government to regulate speech. Supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are more likely to say the government should ban offensive speech, jail people who say offensive things, and prevent offensive people from running for public office, according to a new poll from the Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports.

When asked, "Should federal or state governments ban speech by individuals that a majority of Americans believes to be offensive, including speech considered to be racist or sexist," most likely voters (50 percent) said "no," while 27 percent said "yes," and 24 percent said they were "not sure."

Yet a full 51 percent of likely voters who said they have a "very favorable" view of Bernie Sanders said governments should ban "offensive" speech. Thirty-six percent of those with a "somewhat favorable" view of Sanders agreed. Similarly, 49 percent of those who had a "very favorable" view of Elizabeth Warren also supported speech bans, as did 37 percent of those with a "somewhat favorable" view of her.


These ‘Founders’ Aim to Improve How Schools Teach History and the Constitution

Many students and educators agree that the history of America’s founding is sorely lacking in high school curricula across the country.

The philosophy behind the founding and the United States Constitution often gets the boot when competing with STEM-focused subjects in today’s classroom.

But one Florida organization is hoping to change that with an after-school program for high school students designed to fill in details absent from typical curriculums.

“Learning specifically about the Constitution and all that it entails and how it was created the way it was, what the Founders were like—it was just fascinating for me,” James Evans, 17, a senior from Callahan, Florida, told The Daily Signal in a phone interview. “You have the ability to show that you’re engaged and you want to be civically literate, and I thought that was amazing.”

The U.S. Constitution Scholarship Foundation does more than just fill in some important blanks of the school curricula of northeast Florida’s Nassau County. The organization prepares students for success after graduating high school and hosts educational events open to local residents.


GOP congresswoman demands Schiff release call logs

New York Rep. Elise Stefanik echoed a growing Republican cry for the release of call records showing contacts between the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and the whistleblower whose report has sparked an impeachment investigation into President Trump.

"Every American should be outraged by this unprecedented abuse of power by Adam Schiff," Stefanik said in a tweet. "Adam Schiff should immediately release HIS personal phone records so the American people will be able to see his coordination with the whistleblower."

Republicans have complained that Schiff improperly surveilled members of their party and journalists as his committee gathered evidence as part of the investigation.

"Where's Adam?" a poster board displayed behind House Republicans on the Judiciary Committee read Monday.


Giuliani: Clinton Campaign Received Funds From Ukraine

President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani said Monday on "War Room: Impeachment," which airs live on Newsmax TV, that one of the reasons he traveled to Ukraine last week was to investigate allegations that former Vice President Joe Biden "funneled illegal money" from Ukraine to Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Giuliani said on "War Room" that the whole purpose of his original investigation involving Ukraine was because there were "people totally uninvolved in this-- professionals, investigators-- who told me that there was a much worse situation in Ukraine than it was in Russia, that Russia was a dodge, a made-up situation, (and) that there had been substantial collusion in Ukraine."

Not only was there a "tremendous amount of corruption," Giuliani said, but "the two things overlap" and "Biden was a key player," not only in the situation with his son, Hunter but in particular with pushing to have a corruption investigation quashed.

"Also, there were some allegations that he funneled illegal money for the Clinton campaign through several oligarchs, so obviously I was going to investigate as a lawyer," said Giuliani. "I never investigated anytime, including now, to affect the 2020 election. I could care less at this point about the 2020 election. My job is to defend my client and that's why I was there now."


Walmart apologizes for Santa sweater with cocaine

Walmart is apologizing for selling sweaters that appear to show Santa with lines of cocaine.

The sweater says ‘let it snow’ and includes three white lines.

Part of the description said, quote “The best snow comes straight from South America,” and that “Santa really likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade-A, Colombian snow.”


2020 candidates in Senate who skip impeachment trial could face arrest

Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and other Senate Democrats running for president might find themselves pulled off the campaign trail for the trial of President Trump, or face arrest, a former Senate parliamentarian told The Post.

Should Democrats in the House of Representatives formally impeach the president — something that is widely expected by the end of the year — a January Senate trial is almost certain. The president’s fate would then be decided by a vote of 100 senators, with a two-thirds majority required for his removal.

The timing, however, couldn’t be worse for many of the party’s leading lights, who could be compelled to come off the campaign trail to sit for weeks just before voting begins.

“The senate collectively has the power to compel the attendance of absent senators and the Senate collectively acts by its majority and Mitch McConnell is the majority leader. So he has the ability,” former Senate parliamentarian Alan Frumin said.

“If push comes to shove, compelling means arresting.”


Mosby: Violent repeat offender sentenced to more jail time for 2016 killing

BALTIMORE —Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby said a violent repeat offender will spend a lot of time behind bars.

A judge sentenced him to more than three decades for killing another man.

Davon Crowner, 34, is already serving time at a prison in Hagerstown for accessory after the fact. He'll start serving this new sentence after that.

"I think it's incredibly important, especially as we turn on the news, we open up the newspaper and we're constantly plagued with the violence that is happening in our city, for our community to know what's actually happening at the disposition," Mosby said.


Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon To Announce 2020 Political Plans Next Week

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Former Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon is expected to announce her 2020 political plans next week, WJZ has learned.

Dixon, the city’s one-time mayor, resigned in January 2010 amid a scandal involving her misuse of gift cards intended for the needy.


'Radicalized' Pensacola gunman visited 9/11 memorial in New York just two days before shooting dead three Navy trainees

The Saudi gunman who killed three people at a naval base in Pensacola and wounded eight others visited the September 11 memorial in New York City just days before the shooting.

Senior law enforcement officials also say that the killer, Second Lt. Mohammed Saeed al-Shamrani, 21, made preparations for the shooting by filing paperwork to purchase a gun in April.

The revelations about his movements are part of efforts by investigators to establish an exact timeline in the weeks leading up to Friday’s shooting rampage, according to The Daily Beast.  


Gohmert tears into Nadler: 'How much money do you have to give?'

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, infuriated Chairman Jerrold Nadler during Monday's impeachment hearing into President Trump, after he appeared to suggest a counsel for the Democrats had given money to members of the party in order to serve in a role of both witness and questioner.

The Judiciary Committee Democrats' counsel Barry Berke, a high-powered defense lawyer, was seated on the dais near Nadler, D-N.Y., asking questions of Republican counsel Stephen Castor in a move that Gohmert, R-Texas, called "unprecedented."

Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., initially interrupted Berke's questioning to make a formal "parliamentary inquiry" to Nadler about what Berke was being allowed to do.

Instead, Nadler slammed his gavel and told Johnson he was unable to make an inquiry. "Mr. Chairman, what is this?" Johnson asked, looking incredulously at the chairman as the New Yorker slammed his gavel.


Nadler Failed to Swear in Witnesses at Judiciary Impeachment Hearings

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) failed to swear in the two counsels for both the Democrats and Republicans prior to their opening statements in Monday’s impeachment inquiry hearing.

Though staff members are not typically sworn in, witnesses must be sworn in and deliver testimony under oath.

Both Democrat counsel Barry Berke and Republican Counsel Stephen Castor delivered opening statements. Berke in particular made several factual assertions — many of which were dubious at best, and outright false at worst.

For example, Berke claimed that State Department staffer David Holmes had “heard it from the President himself” when he testified that President Donald Trump was interested in Ukraine conducting investigations.

In fact, Holmes had not heard anything directly from the President.


A Bold-faced Lie.

The new report from Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed former CIA Director John Brennan lied to Congress about whether the dossier authored by Christopher Steele was used in the Obama administration’s Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA).

The ICA, a report conducted by intelligence officials in 2016 on Russian election interference, was used to brief President Barack Obama and President-elect Donald Trump in January 2017. According to the IG report, there was significant discussion by top intelligence officials as to whether the unverified Steele dossier should be included in the main body of the ICA report, summarized in an appendix, or even included at all.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said that “he felt strongly that the Steele election reporting belonged in the body of the ICA, because he feared that placing it in an appendix was ‘tacking it on’ in a way that would ‘minimiz[e]’ the information and prevent it from being properly considered.”

Ultimately, the ICA included a short summary and assessment of the dossier, which was incorporated in an appendix.

A few months later, on May 23, 2017, when testifying before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Brennan categorically denied that the CIA relied on the Steele dossier for the ICA report.

"It was not in any way used as a basis for the Intelligence Community assessment that was done.."

More here

Maryland State Police, Allied Agencies Target Criminal Activity, Drug Use In Eastern Shore Counties

(WICOMICO COUNTY, MD) – Maryland State Police, along with allied local and federal law enforcement agencies, partnered on Friday to target criminal activity and criminal organizations operating within Wicomico and Dorchester counties.

The initiative came under the Maryland Criminal Intelligence Network (MCIN), a criminal justice strategy, coordinated at the local, state, and federal levels targeting gangs, drugs, firearms and human trafficking. MCIN is particularly focused on those criminal networks that are impacting multiple jurisdictions and accomplishes this by sharing information across borders.

In Wicomico County, enforcement efforts were based on intelligence relating to illegal drug use and sales, firearm violations and crimes of violence. In Dorchester County, the gathering of information included identifying criminal gang members and suspects of open criminal investigations and fugitive apprehension/warrant services.

Political Memes

Tuesday Morning Funnies

DPI Statement on Ammonia Emissions Modeling

December 9, 2019 – Holly Porter, executive director of Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc., made the following statement today regarding recent North Carolina State University research attempting to model ammonia emissions on Maryland’s Eastern Shore:

Maryland’s family farmers raising chickens have played a key role in achieving the state’s well-documented progress in reducing nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay and improving water quality. Maryland has met its water-quality goals for reduced phosphorus seven years ahead of the 2025 deadline, in part because of reduced phosphorus loads from agriculture and despite rising phosphorus loads from cities and suburbs. Farmers in the watershed have reduced their nitrogen contribution to the Bay by 24 percent since the 1980s, even while nitrogen runoff from developed areas has risen.

Recent research supported by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and performed by North Carolina State University modeled ammonia emissions from a hypothetical chicken industry that bears little resemblance to Maryland’s actual community of chicken farmers. The research assumes farmers uses no litter amendments — particles spread on chicken house litter that soak up ammonia from the air. In reality, the use of litter amendments is widespread on U.S. chicken farms because they reduce ammonia, producing a better environment for chickens and farmers. The research also assumes that every Maryland chicken house contains birds 365 days a year, without pause. In reality, all chicken farmers have “layout” periods between flocks several times a year, when the houses are empty so farmers can perform maintenance and upgrades. The model also doesn’t account for any forested land on Delmarva, assuming all of Maryland’s Eastern Shore is farmland. In reality, forests absorb ammonia, as do vegetative buffers on chicken farms.