By Jeff Childers
Good morning, C&C, it’s Friday! Your end-of-week roundup includes: Feinstein temporarily shingled out of the Senate; Fetterman gets more done in intensive care than when he’s in the office; you won’t believe how much money FTX misplaced; another democrat official caught with kiddie porn; a Florida bill seeks to disclose blogging dark money; Governor DeWine goes to Palestine and hits pay dirt; Alexander Vindman scores some blood money; East Palenstine’s air tested by independent scientists who don’t agree with EPA; and in local news, my city commissioners were forced to take a pay cut after being grilled by the State.
🗞*WORLD NEWS AND COMMENTARY* 🗞
💉 The BBC ran a story yesterday headlined, “US Senator Dianne Feinstein In Hospital With Shingles.”
Feinstein, 89, has been in California since late February, missing a dozen votes and two committee hearings since her illness began, her spokesman told the San Francisco Chronicle. The Senator said she expects to make a “full recovery” and “hope[s] to return to the Senate later this month.”
I suppose when you’re 89 and get shingles, the hospital is probably the right way to go. It’s worth noting, though, that with both Fetterman and Feinstein out, the Democrats have lost their outright majority. This week, the Senate was functioning at a 48-48 deadlock, forcing Vice President Kamala Harris to step up, casting several tie-breaking votes.
🔥 Forbes reported yesterday that Joe Biden wants $1.6 billion for the DOJ, to unleash FBI agents on small and medium-sized businesses who allegedly participated in “covid fraud”:
President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress for $1.6 billion to tackle “historic” levels of fraud linked to the government’s Covid relief programs, the White House announced on Thursday.
6:13 PM ∙ Mar 2, 2023154Likes39Retweets
The real covid fraud is in the government and in big pharma. Investigate them and leave small business alone; after all, to the extent any fraud occurred, government created the moral hazard in the first place.
I don’t have any particular objection to pursuing egregious cases of fraud and abuse. But I’m going on record to say Biden’s “war on covid fraud” is a Trojan Horse.
🔥 Gone … but not forgotten. The Post Millennial ran an eerie story yesterday headlined, “John Fetterman ‘Co-Sponsors’ Senate Bills Despite Being Institutionalized Since February 15.”
Not only did Fetterman somehow co-sponsor a train safety bill yesterday, he also, possibly telepathically, co-authored a letter to Norfolk Southern with Ohio’s other Senator Bob Casey. Maybe his still-unexplained neck lump separated from his body and is taking care of things at the office while Fetterman is in rehab, I mean extended care, or whatever they’re calling it.
We know it’s not Giselle, because she’s been on a Canadian waterfall hike or gondola ride or something.
Maybe it was the Senate Fairy! There’s a legend that the Senate Fairy will do all your work for you that day, if you leave out on your desk a blank paper containing only an unregistered Ukrainian bank account number. So, you never know.
Anyway, it’s kind of weird how strangely more productive Fetterman is, now that he’s in the hospital. He’s getting lots more done now than even when he was walking and trying to talk. But corporate media is completely uninterested about exactly how all Fetterman’s work is still being done under intensive inpatient care. And Democrat voters in Ohio are also pretty uninterested in who’s making decisions for them.
I guess if THEY don’t care, why should we?
🔥 Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an eye-popping story headlined, “FTX Says $8.9 Billion in Customer Funds Are Missing.” The sub-headline was even more startling: “Much of the shortfall can be traced to Alameda Research, which borrowed a total of $9.3 billion from customers’ accounts before FTX filed for bankruptcy.”
Borrowed? Is that what they’re calling it now? “Hey, would you happen to have a few billion I could borrow? Well, actually, about NINE billion.”
You’ve heard of accountants spending days trying to find a missing ten cents somewhere? Well, FTX’s accountant has got his work cut out for him. Here’s how the Journal put it:
FTX says it has identified a deficit of $8.9 billion in customer funds that it can’t account for, the first time the bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange has pinned down how much money has gone missing.
It’s more than a missing ten cents. They can’t account for EIGHT POINT NINE BILLION? Where’d it all go? Wait a minute … is it in Ukraine?
You might think there’d be SOMETHING helpful in the Quickbooks system. But it gets worse:
“[The exchange’s] books and records are incomplete and, in many cases, totally absent,” said [restructuring officer John J.] Ray in a statement.
Incomplete and totally absent. That works for Biden and Fetterman, too.
Behold! The media-manufactured wunderkind, the financial genius who often decorated Davos at the World Economic Forum and traded dating tips with former presidents:
How could all this have possibly happened? Baffling.
🔥 Prepare to be shocked and appalled. Patrick Wohajn, 47, the democrat gay-activist mayor of College Park, Maryland, who often branded himself as a role model for LGBTQ++ youth, was arrested Thursday morning on dozens of counts of possessing and distributing child pornography. In fact, he’s charged with 56 total child sex offenses: 40 counts of possessing child sexually-exploitative material and 16 felony counts of distributing child pornographic material.
The mayor of College Park, Md., a Democrat & LGBTQ+ activist, has been charged with 40 counts of possessing child sex abuse material & 16 counts of distributing that content. Now-ex-mayor @patrick_wojahn resigned earlier today. thepostmillennial.comDemocrat Maryland mayor arrested on 56 child pornography chargesThe Democrat mayor, who declares his pronouns in his Twitter bio, had a search warrant executed on his home last week….11:11 PM ∙ Mar 2, 20233,463Likes1,346Retweets
Yesterday, Wojahn posted a note to the city’s website explaining, “While this investigation does not involve any official city business of any kind, it is in the best interests of our community that I step aside and not serve as a distraction…” You don’t say.
Meanwhile, the city — a college town ranked as one of America’s top LGBTQ-inclusive cities — released its own statement on Wojahn’s Wednesday night resignation, which effusively thanked the mayor “for his many years of dedicated service.”
“Dedicated service?” The city’s statement seemed … poorly worded. At best.
And not that it means anything, but Wojahn was good buddies with U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg:
Patrick Wojahn @patrick_wojahn
Just two mayors, grabbing a beer together. #MayorPete
3:14 AM ∙ Jul 11, 2019444Likes131Retweets
The Washington Blade previously reported that Buttigieg formally mentored Wojahn, whatever that means. At the time, Wojahn said, “I actually met Mayor Pete Buttigieg shortly after I was elected mayor in 2015, I went to the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Winter Meeting in D.C. in January and he was assigned to be my buddy.”
Unfortunately, this latest kiddie-porn story will be used to fuel more QAnon-style conspiracy theories about perverts and pedophiles infiltrating the U.S government and stuff, which everybody knows is rabid nonsense and dangerous misinformation because, I mean, who could ever believe something like that? And, where’s your evidence?
🔥 Re-posted, without comment:
THREAD: Highlights from President Putin’s speech today where he calls out the West’s normalization of pedophilia – “See what they do with their own peoples – the destruction of the family, cultural and national identity, perversion, mockery of children and pedophilia are… https://t.co/SmBKwbo2wK
1:44 PM ∙ Feb 21, 202333,693Likes13,070Retweets
It’s quite sad that I have to use former KGB agent and known assassin Vladimir Putin to make those obvious points.
🔥 Fox ran a story Wednesday headlined, “McCarthy Says Government Must Butt Out Of Kids’ Education, Pushes Federal ‘Parents Bill of Rights’.” Borrowing a theme from Florida’s Governor DeSantis, Speaker McCarthy and other House Republicans filed a proposed bill yesterday titled Parents’ Bill of Rights, same as the title of last year’s bill in Florida.
While education has historically been a state issue, McCarthy explained the bill was intended to reinforce broad principles described in five categories he called “pillars,” including: “the right to know what’s being taught in the school”; for parents to be heard; “the right to see the school budgets”; “the right to protect your child’s privacy” and “right to be updated on any violent activity at the school.”
Here is Family Research Council’s Meg Kilgannon explaining the rationale for the bill:
“They’re seeking to ensure that parents have a baseline of rights across the United States.” FRC’s Meg Kilgannon on the ‘Parents Bill of Rights’ legislation introduced by House Republicans. Full interview: tonyperkins.com
I’d like to think this bill was more than just a nice talking point, but it’s hard to imagine what the Republicans could possibly offer that could become law. I suppose we’ll see.
🔥 Last week, Florida State Senator Jason Brodeur (R) filed a somewhat controversial bill (SB1316), titled “Information Dissemination.” It has two parts, a minor modification on how judicial sales are noticed (snooze!), and then a significant and oddly-unconnected section that would require paid political bloggers to disclose the source and amount of their funding.
In its essence, the bill tries to solve the dark-money problem in social media by requiring anyone who gets PAID to write about Florida elected officials to disclose the source and amount of funding. Failing to report would potentially result in a $25 per-day fine, capped at $2,500. In a sense, it would treat paid political bloggers kind of like lobbyists, or maybe it treats payments to bloggers kind of like campaign contributions.
It’s a bold concept, never tried anywhere else that I’m aware of, and it has some anti-DeSantis conservatives pretty overheated:
Loomer is way off base. DeSantis has nothing to do with this. He only SIGNS bills, he doesn’t draft them. He’s never commented on or supported the bill. Loomer is just seeing Hitler everywhere she looks or something.
There are some issues. The bill does NOT regulate content, but the financial disclosure requirement could chill free speech by reducing the ability of funders to speak anonymously. That problem would be offset to some degree because reducing anonymity through transparency enhances other public discourse. So you could argue it either way. Next, the bill’s definitions need some work. The bill needs to better define who is included and who is excluded. And it seems technologically outdated, focusing only on written formats and forgetting all about TikToks and podcasts.
With all these issues, I’m not sure this bill will survive the committee, and certainly not in its current form. It’s a good idea, it invites having an important conversation, it’s not an attack on free speech, but it also probably needs some improvement.
🔥 Governor Mike DeWine went to visit East Palestine Wednesday. During an interview with Local CBS 3, Ohio’s Governor said THIRTY THOUSAND truckloads of contaminated soil must be removed as part of the cleanup from the toxic train derailment. That’s a lot. And remember: 30,000 is only what he’s being told right now. Those kinds of numbers have a tendency to slip around on you.
Thirty thousand truckloads is also going to be wildly expensive. You could call it “pay dirt.”
Commenters can’t agree on whether Washington, DC or Martha’s Vineyard will be the most appropriate destination for East Palestine’s deadly dirt. The debate underscores the fact that nobody wants that contaminated payload, which might be one reason why they tried to keep the accident so quiet at first. Now it’s going to be MUCH more expensive for Norfolk-Southern to find a final safe resting place for all the removed material.
And that’s not good for business.
🔥 Yesterday, the UK Daily Mail ran a story headlined, “Air in East Palestine IS Toxic: Scientists Release Shock Report Showing ‘Higher Than Normal’ Concentrations of NINE Potentially Harmful Chemicals – Despite EPA Ruling Train Derailment Danger Zone Was ‘Safe’.”
The headline pretty much says it all, doesn’t it?
Experts from Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon University that aren’t affiliated with rail carrier Norfolk Southern have been conducting independent air quality tests from their mobile testing unit in East Palestine. They told curious reporters that, at the current levels of toxic chemicals in the air, residents will have long-term health issues.
That statement and the independent scientists’ findings directly contradict the EPA, which has said that the air in East Palestine is 100% normal. Who do YOU believe?
🚀 Yesterday, Human Events ran a story headlined, “EXCLUSIVE: Alexander Vindman Secretly Pitching Ukrainian Military for Millions in Defense Contracts.”
You remember Alexander Vindman. He’s the “whistleblower” who accused Trump of trying to arrange a “quid pro quo” with Ukraine by asking about their investigation into Joe Biden, which led to the President’s first impeachment trial. Vindman testified against the President.
Well, apparently he’s now in a dandy little business arming Ukraine. According to documents obtained by Human Events, in August 2022, Vindman (as CEO of a company called Trident Support), sold a very profitable $12 million dollar contract to Ukraine for “logistics” to help transport NATO weapons from Europe, and then train the Ukrainians on how to operate and maintain them.
The contract provided that Vindman’s employees would be “highly experienced former soldiers or contractors in Iraq and/or Afghanistan.” These documents only came to light from a court case over a dispute about payments (of course). No honor among thieves, apparently.
You may or may not know that Vindman was born in Ukraine, and he recently retired from the U.S. Army in July, 2020. Oddly, the section of Alexander’s Wikipedia page titled “Post-Military Career” does not mention his lucrative defense contracting work, or his company “Trident Support”; instead it just says he’s “pursuing a PhD.”
It’s so nice to see Alexander making the most of his government experience while he’s back in school! It’s probably just a part-time gig on the side as he works on his studies.
🔥 Earlier this week I reported on how State officials grilled my liberal local officials about their massive budget shortfall. Yesterday, they undid their most recent blunder, which was doubling their salaries in the face of looming municipal bankruptcy:
The amount of money actually saved by this move is not insubstantial, but it is small compared to the City’s overall debt. Still, it’s completely unnecessary to note that the City couldn’t afford their doubled salaries and it was dumb of them to vote for that in the first place. At least for the moment, it looks like my city leaders will have to start doing some real work instead of just sitting around virtue signaling and padding their purses.
And yes, that’s TWO who are still wearing masks all the time.
I am convinced that the State’s pressure on the City would not exist absent the pandemic and the City’s grotesque covid overreach. It’s another “local, local, local” win.
Have a fabulous Friday! We’ll re-convene tomorrow morning for the weekend edition.
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© 2022, Jeff Childers, all rights reserved
Published with author’s permission.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Citizens Journal Florida.