Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Nunes and his Committee Are Taking America Back from the ProgDems, while Italian Populists Are Rattling the EU and Germany's Military is Rusting
THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS ABOUT DEVIN NUNES, ITALIAN ELECTIONS AND GERMANY. We ought to thank God every day that Representative Devin Nunes exists and is doing his job. • • • NUNES AND AMERICA VS THE PROGDEMS. House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes gave an interview released last weekend to investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson to explain the details of the FISA memo and the continuing investigation into potential wrongdoing by FBI and DOJ leadership. When Attkisson asked him why the Carter Page wiretap was so pivotal to the larger investigation of FISA abuse, Nunes said : “It really boils down to this. You had a campaign. The Hillary Campaign and the Democratic Party went out and paid for dirt. They got it from Russians by the way. Then they used that dirt and funneled it into the FBI. The FBI then used that dirt to get a warrant on a US citizen who was part of the other campaign. A limited role, yes. But still, to do that, it’s wrong.” • Attkisson noted that Ranking Member Adam Schiff declined to be interviewed and claimed the FISA memo drawn up by Nunes and Representative Trey Gowdy was “misleading and omitted material facts.” Nunes answered that charge by saying : “Because we didn’t want to disclose any sources and methods. We tried to reduce the memo down to what we believed the American people needed to know. What was most important? So we put in the memo, the things that were used before the FISA court in order to justify the warrant. Was there other information? Sure. But it wasn’t, it wasn’t important in terms of the justification of the warrant.” • Schiff believes the GOP’s goal is to put the whole FBI on trial as well as Mueller’s investigation, according to Attkisson. But, Nunes answered that as well : “Yeah, well FISA abuse has nothing to do with, with the Mueller investigation. As it relates to Department of Justice and the FBI, if they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial. The reason that Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created. DOJ and FBI are not above the law. Congress created them, we oversee them, and we fund them. And if they’re committing abuse for a secret court, getting warrants on American citizens, you’re darn right that we’re going to put them on trial.” • In an earlier Nunes interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity, Nunes said that there was indeed collusion in the 2016 presidential election and it did indeed involve actors from Russia. The only problem with the mainstream narrative, in fact, is that they are looking at the wrong party. Nunes said that Democrats were running scared from his controversial memo because they know a “counterintelligence investigation should have been opened up against the Hillary campaign. We have a clear link to Russia. You have a campaign who hired a law firm, who hired Fusion GPS, who hired a foreign agent, who then got information from the Russians on the other campaign.” • Restore American Glory asked about the Nunes interview concerning the FISA application by the FBI and the Steele Dossier : "Do you really think there’s one chance in a billion that if there was a 'pee tape' out there starring the President of the United States, we would not have seen it by now? Come on. Let’s be serious. Do you really think that if Donald Trump had a percentage of the Russian state oil company, investigators would not have tracked that information down by now? To believe in the Dossier is to believe in fairy tales. It might work in a Tom Clancy novel or a James Bond movie, but it doesn’t pass the smell test in the real world. No, this was pure Russian disinformation and the Democrats either (a) fell for it hook, line, and sinker, or (b) chose to ignore the obvious implausibilities and use it anyway for political purposes. Either way, they worked with people either currently or formerly in the Russian government to sway the election -- the exact same thing, in other words, that they’re accusing Trump of doing. Worse, the Obama administration -- either dumb or complicit themselves -- used that same Russian nonsense to begin investigating the Republican who was smack-talking the guy in the White House. They did it because they thought that Hillary would be the next President and they could get away with it. Make no mistake, this Dossier represents the Clintons’ dirtiest deed to date, and while it’s darkly hilarious that she STILL couldn’t win the election, their justice has come due." • • • POLLS NOT GOOD FOR DEMOCRATS. Restore American Glory also reported on Valentine's Day that : "Democrats have really been counting on a huge midterm election season, quite certain that they can ride a wave of negative Trump coverage all the way to the metaphorical bank. And, to be fair, the polls haven’t looked good for Republicans in quite some time. Trump’s popularity among conservative voters does not necessarily translate to local hometown boys, especially those that reject the President’s agenda at every given opportunity. And thanks to mainstream media bias, many Americans are laboring under the delusion that Trump is actually a terrible President." But, says Restore American Glory : "the economy tells the truth, even when the Left lies. And voters cannot help but recognize that things have been on a tremendous upswing since Trump took office. The tax reform bill was a major victory for the GOP and the President, and it’s ramifications could be dramatic enough to put the Democrats’ hope of a blue wave back in the dusty box it came from. According to a new Politico poll, Republicans have basically erased the generic Democrat Party advantage on the midterm ballot." Here is the Politico poll report : "Fully 39% of registered voters say they would support the GOP candidate for Congress in their district, while 38% would back the Democratic candidate. Nearly a quarter of voters, 23%, are undecided. Voters are split almost evenly along party lines. Democratic voters break for their party, 85% to 5%, while Republicans similarly favor the GOP, 84% to 8%. Among independent voters, 26% would vote for the Democrat, 25% for the Republican and nearly half, 49%, are undecided. The GOP’s 1-point advantage comes after three months of tracking in which Democrats maintained a lead ranging between 2 and 10 points on the generic ballot. That has been generally smaller than the party’s lead in other public surveys: The most recent RealClearPolitics average shows Democrats ahead by 7 points on the generic ballot, though that’s down from a high of 13 points late last year. The new year has also produced a Trump polling bump. In the new poll, 47% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as President, while the same percentage disapprove." • If Trump and his awkwardly supportive Republicans can really get to work together, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish. Voters will reward them in November. • AND, to put some icing on the cake, a National Federation of Independent Business survey -- this group represents small businesses in America -- shows that optimism among small business entrepreneurs rose to new highs in January thanks to a record number of owners who say this is an excellent time to expand their companies. The index rose 2 points to 106.9, bringing it near November’s 107.5 metric which was the highest number since 1986. Furthermore, 32% of surveyed owners said now is a good time to expand, which shatters all monthly numbers since 1986 and even quarterly figures going back to 1973. A full 41% of owners think the economy still has room to improve, which is a significant jump from the 37% who said so last month. Bloomberg reported that these were only a few of the indications that small business optimism is on the rise : "Six of the 10 components that make up the small-business optimism index increased in January, producing one of the strongest readings in the 45-year history of the survey. The figures show sustained, sturdy business sentiment since the November 2016 election. A measure of plans to boost capital spending in coming months increased by 2 points to 29%, consistent with other data indicating robust outlays for equipment. One in five small companies said they plan to boost hiring, unchanged from the prior month, as finding qualified workers remains problematic and underscores a tight job market." • Going into the November mid-term elections, the ProgDems will be hearing the echo of James Carville's prophetic words -- "it's the economy, stupid" -- but this time, the economy is vastly favoring President Trump and his GOP supporters. • • • MEANWHILE, ITALY IS HEADING TO AN ELECTION. The UK Express reported last Thursday that : "Italy's anti-European Union Lega Nord has surged ahead in the polls in the Lombardy region and is predicted to take 41% of the vote in local elections despite a recent race storm, according to a recent poll. According to the latest Ipsos poll for influential daily Corriere della Sera, Lega Nord's controversial candidate Attilio Fontana is leading his nearest rival Giorgio Gori by 6 points. Mr Fontana sparked outrage last month when he called on the “white race” to be defended when he talked about Italy being confronted with a stark choice to make over immigration. He later defended his comments, saying it was 'not a question of being xenophobic or racist, but a question of being logical or rational.' " The Ipsos poll results suggest that Lega Nord will be the strongest party of the center-right coalition, unlike in 2013 when Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia achieved a better result. And, according to the Express : "Analysts are keeping a careful eye on Lombardy which could be regarded as a bellweather region as Italy prepares to go to the polls in national elections on March 4. The latest national opinion polls have put Luigi Di Maio’s anti-establishment Five Star Movement (MS5) on top for the sixth week running but without the support to win an outright majority and take power, the party could be outmanoeuvred by the Forza Italia/Lega coalition. Lega Nord leader Mateo Salvini remains convinced the center-right coalition will win the elections with his party being the dominant force. Mr Salvini’s support is especially strong in Italy’s northern regions such as Lombardy. In an interview with Italy’s Radio 24 network he said : 'I believe Lega will get more votes than Forza Italia. Italians will be the ones deciding in the elections. The centre-right coalition will surpass 40% and we will not need to ask for help in parliament, but if there is no majority, it is absolutely necessary to vote again. Within the center-right coalition, Lega only needs 0.1% more than Forza Italia, which means that our consistency has been rewarded.' ” • The UK Express says these polling results correlate with the anti-EU Five Star party threatening to rebel against Euro debt. The soaring Five Star Movement have turned the pressure up on Brussels by declaring an urgent need for an EU debate on tax." According to the Express, the eurosceptic Five Star Movement want to change EU rules about debt and some observers see this as an opening shot in a bid to wipe Italy’s Euro-debt clean. With just three weeks to go until the March election, the party warned the “time is right” for a debate on the EU’s debt restructuring program. The populist Five Star and Lega Nord seem to be edging toward a demand for the restructuring of Italy's very high public deby load. It could lead to a Greece-style restructuring, but the extreme austerity forced on Greece would certainly be ameliorated for Italy. Concerning the Five Star Movement's calling for an urgent debate on EU tax, an economic aide to Luigi Di Maio, who is the party’s prime minister candidate, said it was time for a long over-due “conversation.” • Di Maio has vowed he will hold referendums on membership of the Eurozone if he wins and with just weeks to go he has upped the ante once again, saying : “The post-voting scenarios are two : either the M5S rules the country or there will be chaos. I am confident, very confident. In these 25 days everything can change and we can reach the majority.” • In Europe the fear is that yet another country in the original EU bloc has grown a populist anti-EU faction that will exert increasing political power." • • • GERMANY ON DEFENSE AND TRUMP. Fox News reports that Germany's foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel, a socialist SPD member, said Saturday that his country no longer recognizes “our America” as he slammed President Trump’s "America first" foreign policy. Gabriel suggested that close US ties with a strong European Union are as much in Washington's interest as they are in Europe's. He was speaking to world leaders and defense officials at the Munich Security Conference, and acknowledged that no country in Europe has benefited as much from American help as Germany since World War II. He said Germany "eagerly learned" principles of democracy, multilateralism, international law and free trade from the relationship with the US. BUT, Gabriel added : "Maybe this can explain why we Germans in particular are so perturbed when we look across the Atlantic -- because we no longer recognize our America. Is it deeds, is it words, is it tweets we should look at to measure America?" He urged a return to greater joint cooperation, saying now is not the time for "just pursuing individual national interests." Gabriel suggested the US is going in the opposite direction, drifting toward approaches taken from powers like China and Russia who are "constantly trying to test or undermine" the European Union : "It is one thing from possible rivals or competitors, but from our friends and partners we expect that they will respect the unity of the EU. No one should try to divide the EU, not Russia, not China, but also not the United States." He warned that neither the EU nor the US can go it alone and that “we have to count on our friends and our partners.” • President Trump's national security advisor, General H.R. McMaster, met one-on-one with Gabriel after his speech. McMaster reassured the forum that the United States still is strongly committed to its traditional alliances, but emphasized that "we must all share responsibility. International peace and prosperity depends on all nations. For this reason, President Trump has called for stronger alliances and partnerships based on shared values, shared interests, shared responsibilities and shared burdens." • President Trump has pushed strongly for more NATO nations to live up to commitments to spend at least 2% of their gross domestic product on defense spending. • Poland has criticized Germany for not sufficiently addressing security concerns in Europe, particularly when it comes to spending. President Trump demanded that all NATO members spend 2% of their GDP on defense. While Poland has achieved this level, Germany is below the target. • Business Insider reported this week that : "Over the past several months, the entirety of Germany's submarine fleet has gone out of action, the Bundeswehr, its armed forces, has outsourced helicopter training to a private company because its own helicopters are in need of repair, and more than half of the Bundeswehr's Leopard 2 tanks, its most common model, were out of order, with just 95 of 244 in service. Those are only the latest reports of German military deficiencies. In spring 2017, the Bundeswehr contingent deployed to a peacekeeping mission in Mali was left hamstrung when heat, dust, and rough terrain knocked half its vehicles out of commission. In early 2016, it was reported that German reconnaissance jets taking part in the fight against ISIS couldn't fly at night because their cockpit lighting was too bright for pilots. In early 2015, as Berlin was preparing to send fighter jets to Syria, a military report emerged saying that only 66 of the air force's 93 commissioned fighters were operational -- and only 29 were combat-ready. In 2014, German troops tried to disguise a shortage of weapons by replacing machine guns with broomsticks during a NATO exercise." Business Insider reports that Germany has high standards for its military equipment, quoting experts, and it is believed that the country could mobilize much of its equipment in a short period if needed. Berlin also drew down its forces in 2011 in order to focus on asymmetrical warfare. It reversed course years later in light of Russian action in Ukraine and renewed concerns about conventional warfare, but much of that equipment has to be re-acquired. Those shortages of gear, says Business Insider : "may hinder recruiting efforts, as the German military transitions from a conscripted force to an all-volunteer one. (The Bundeswehr's recruitment drive has been criticized for targeting 16- and 17-year-olds.) But the German military's shortcomings have added to the country's internal political debates, and Germany's contribution to Europe's collective defense is also facing scrutiny. The SPD's Hans-Peter Bartels, the parliamentary commissioner for Germany's armed forces, has said while more limited operations may still be possible, the country's military is not prepared for a larger conflict. The hard currency, which should be used to measure the success of the minister, is the Bundeswehr's readiness for action. And this readiness has not improved over the last four years but has only gotten worse." The SDP and Merkel's CDU agree that Germany's military -- with 178,000 personnel and much outdated equipment -- needs improvement, but the SDP has balked at the CDU's push to increase the defense budget to 2% of GDP by 2024. Industry estimates put 2017 defense spending at about 1.13% of GDP." Such an increase would require Germany to grow military spending from €37 billion in 2017 to more than €70 billion by 2024, according to Deutsche Welle. • And, while German defense minister Sigmar Gabriel is busy saying he does not recognize "our America," he has called expanding defense spending to 2% of GDP a "pretty crazy idea." But, the SDP is not the only party resisting such an increase. The legacy of World War II and the Cold War have made some in Germany wary of military expansion, and others have argued the German military doesn't have enough uses to justify the allocation of 2% of GDP on defense, even though that would bring Germany to the level agreed upon by NATO member countries -- Germany's political parties disagree on whether that agreement is actually binding. • There is no question in President Trump's mind -- in 2017, he publicly scolded NATO members for "not paying what they should be paying" and admonished Germany for owing the US "vast sums of money." Berlin dismissed that assertion, but the US and other officials have continued to push Germany over its defense spending. Wolfgang Ischinger, chairman of the Munich Security Conference and Germany's former envoy to Washington, echoed accusations that Germany wasn't contributing its fair share, saying it was "undignified" for Germany's only contribution to the fight against ISIS to be reconnaissance flights. The biggest European Union state is all for victory over Islamic State in Syria and Iraq; we take photos, but we leave the dirty business of shooting to others. We should not develop the reputation of being one of the world's best freeloaders," he told Reuters in January. • • • DEAR READERS, Congress leaders like Devin Nunes, who are trying to bring the Deep State under control and take back American domestic and foreign policy from its anonymous clutches, and President Trump's economic measures that are lifting America out of its Obama-years doldrums and making the US an economic world force again, are signs that have not caught on yet in Europe. Germany and the EU elites still believe what they read in the Washington Post and New York Times, and what the ubiquitous CNN TV tells them about Trump and America. This is not limited to Germany -- every European leader likes to believe that the globalist socialist policies they support resonate and reflect the future. But, the populist movement in Europe, including Italy, is gaining confidence as it listens to President Trump and sees his leadership as the way of the future for citizen control of government. The EU, especially its leader Germany, will stay behind the Trump curve at its peril, both inside and outside the EU.