Days before award-winning independent investigative journalist and best-selling author Sharyl Attkisson did her recent column on the Hill and a related podcast, right-of-center talk radio, Fox News personality, and best selling author Mark Levin interviewed Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) on a topic related to the headline.
But each of those sources trailed left-of-center Politico – notably in a report referenced again below at this link here – on the topic of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and Ukraine. Politico, Attkisson, and Levin ironically all remind us of these points. There have long been quid-pro-quos in foreign affairs. Furthermore, there has long been “interference” by our nation into the internal affairs of others. Other nation’s have long attempted to influence our government too. Finally those three sources on either side of the left-right media divide tell us that while journalism has become partisan, it does still exist. That points to the need for a ‘separating wheat from chaff‘ approach to fact-gathering for professionals, investors, and all others to whom the political winds in Washington, D.C. and beyond are more than just a matter of curiosity.
Business decisions are routinely impacted by politics, and while it may not always be visible, political forces are certainly fostered by business interests at home and abroad. Thus the wisdom in at least periodically tracking issues that may not seem to have a direct connection to affordable housing or manufactured homes.
Such realities span the left-center-right divide.
The fact that meddling in the foreign affairs of other nations seems or sounds new to millions is a sad testament to the state of American education in a significant number of schools. That is a reminder of what Hilaire Belloc said decades before, in England, not here in the U.S. Belloc’s principle applies in many nations, not just those two.
“It has been discovered that with a dull urban population, all formed under a mechanical system of State education, a suggestion or command,
however senseless and unreasoned, will be obeyed if it be sufficiently repeated.”
– Hilaire Belloc, from An Essay on the Restoration of Property.
How These Ukrainian and Russian Episodes Might Benefit Americans
Under decades of both Democratic and Republican administrations, billions of dollars annually has flowed from America into other nations. At least on paper, Attkisson explains that foreign aid is predicated on conditions. Foreign aid has become institutionalized to the point that it isn’t much questioned by either major party.
Thus the video clip below reflects – for good or ill – the point of how this system often works. Senator Ron Johnson (WI-R) is saying things on camera that in one sense are not a surprise, but on another level could open himself up to attacks during his own re-election should he seek it. Rephrased, this commentary by Johnson has the ring of candor to it.
Both major parities have played this same game of foreign aid.
With that set up, let’s look at a snippet from a recent episode from Levin’s weekly broadcast on right-of-center Fox.
Life, Liberty & Levin 10/20/19 | Ron Johnson | Part1
Next, we’ll turn to an op-ed on the modestly left-of-center “The Hill” website that Sharyl Attkisson recently brought to our attention.
She explained that her suggested title was “Quid Pro No” but some editor at The Hill obviously tweaked her suggested headline to read “Quid pro quo in Ukraine? No, not yet.” The Hill used a standard disclaimer, “The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill,” and the following from the commentary found at the link above is being provided here under fair use guidelines for media. The video that accompanied the report can be found at the link above.
Quid pro quo in Ukraine? No, not yet.
Quid pro no.
The current impeachment debate is being framed in terms of whether or not there was a “quid pro quo”- as if that is the bar that will determine whether or not President Trump did something egregious.
There are big flaws with this framing, as well as with the use of the term.
Diplomatic quid pro quo – requiring certain actions, behavior or “conditions” in return for U.S. aid – is common, according to current and former diplomats I spoke with, and foreign policy guidance. “Under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, the President may determine the terms and conditions under which most forms of assistance are provided.”
The notion that there’s something inherently wrong with this sort of foreign-aid diplomacy is raising concern among some career diplomats. A former Obama administration State Department official told me that, by controversializing this common practice, “the Democrats are basically hamstringing any future president.” He adds: “That’s why this is a constitutional moment.”
It is true that few Americans would think it’s appropriate for a U.S. president to use his foreign aid diplomacy to set conditions to receive “dirt” on a political opponent. But the available information is proving to be a far cry from the original “whistleblower” allegations that Trump “solicit[ed] interference from a foreign country” in the 2020 presidential election, in quid pro quo fashion.
Foreign aid is widely considered a tool to allow the U.S. “access and influence in the domestic and foreign affairs of other states,” particularly “national security policy.” It also “helps governments achieve mutual cooperation on a wide range of issues.”
All of this appears to neatly fit the definition of the very things President Trump’s critics allege he did: try to ensure Ukraine’s cooperation in the U.S. investigation into the 2016 presidential campaign, and obtain a commitment from Ukraine to open an investigation into widespread corruption that could have U.S. ties – including a possible tie to the 2020 presidential election.
Most Americans may not know it, but Ukraine could be uniquely positioned to assist the U.S. in these matters. Multiple reports allege that Ukrainian officials, under a previous Ukrainian president, partnered with the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in 2016 to “sabotage Trump.” According to Politico, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump.” A paid consultant with the DNC, Alexandra Chalupa, met with Ukrainian officials in 2016 to “expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia,” Politico reported, and “the Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia.”
It could be argued that Trump’s interest in digging into Ukraine’s corruption and foreign interference in the 2016 campaign transcends political desires. It fits a mandate. Since he was elected, Trump and Congress have been pressed to get to the bottom of improper foreign influence in the 2016 election that happened under the watch of Obama intel officials such as then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, then-CIA Director John Brennan and then-FBI Director James Comey. And the Trump administration and Congress have pledged to do all they can to prevent a repeat in 2020.
Back to the Democrats’ notion that it’s improper – or possibly even criminal – for President Trump to hold out U.S. aid in order to achieve cooperation from Ukraine’s new president. On Tuesday, headlines were made from widely leaked closed-door testimony by William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, who assumed that position in July. Taylor reportedly testified he was “alarmed” that the Trump administration supposedly was withholding military assistance unless Ukraine committed to investigating 2016 election corruption, including alleged wrongdoing by the Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
Yet Ambassador Taylor is very familiar with the process of “conditioning” U.S. foreign aid. He spoke of it extensively in November 2011 after he had just been handpicked by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a new position as the State Department’s Special Coordinator for Middle East Transitions, specifically Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
“You’ll condition your aid based on the direction in which these countries are going?” a reporter asked Taylor at a news conference.
“Our assistance is part of our foreign policy. This is clear,” Taylor replied. He went on to give examples of how U.S. aid would be used as leverage. Quid pro quo.
“We will say to the Egyptians, don’t send us that check [you owe the U.S.] for a billion dollars, which is actually 300 million over three years, keep that there, but we will agree with you – we, the United States Government, will agree with you, the Egyptian Government, on how to spend that billion dollars in Egypt,” Taylor told reporters.
A more recent example is the admission by former Vice President Joe Biden that he was able to get Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor as a condition to receive U.S. foreign aid. Quid pro quo.
Even if it were to be considered wrong for Ambassador Taylor, former Vice President Biden, President Trump or any U.S. president to engage in quids pro quo involving foreign aid, there’s still an issue in the current impeachment debate. A quid pro quo has two essential parts. First, a deal must be understood between the parties. In this case, it would be President Trump delivering U.S. aid if, and only if, the president of Ukraine delivers dirt on Trump’s “political rival” and potential 2020 opponent – Joe Biden.
Second, the goods must actually be delivered. In this case, President Trump would have had to receive the requested packet of “dirt” on Biden, in order to trigger release the U.S. aid to Ukraine. So far, there is not an allegation that Part Two ever occurred. Without delivery of the dirt, there’s no quid pro quo. Just a quid.
The most that can be reasonably alleged against President Trump at this stage is that he offered a quid pro quo – something both Trump and the other party, the president of Ukraine, deny – but that it was never consummated. New facts could emerge but, right now, there seems to be less than meets the eye.
One thing is clear. Some State Department diplomats, maybe lots of them, disagree with President Trump’s ideas and strategies. Ambassador Taylor confirmed as much. The fact is, the authority on these matters comes from the top down. Diplomats are not freelancers who develop and implement their own policies and goals independent of the wishes of a president; they are tasked with implementing a president’s foreign policy, whether they like him (and his policies) or not. Diplomats who disagree are generally not entitled to unilaterally defy, undermine and work against a president’s wishes.
All things considered, it begins to look like the quid pro quo accusations are an extension of the strategy that sought to keep President Trump from providing typical direction to the Justice Department for the better part of two years … because his critics cried that it would be obstruction of justice or interfering with the Mueller probe. With that investigation closed, Trump’s enemies appear to be trying to keep him from digging into dark, uncomfortable places about how it all came about and who was behind it, from Washington, D.C., to Kyiv, Ukraine.
Places where many Democrats and Republicans would rather he did not dig.
Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”
One can certainly debate the effectiveness or merits of Americans given billions a year in foreign aid to governments that are often corrupt in the first place. One could debate the wisdom too of allowing American jobs to be shipped to China, Mexico, Vietnam, India, and other nations too.
Right or wrong, these policies existed decades before President Donald J. Trump came to office.
Put differently, there is a narrative that has been forged around the notion of a quid pro quo that is as inaccurate as the Russian Collusion Delusion clearly appears to be. All foreign policy is made up of quid pro quos is what Levin, Attkisson, and by deductive extension Politico all tell us.
It will be recalled that early into those Trump campaign-Russian collusion allegations, MHProNews – citing legal experts like Democratic supporter and Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz – reported that what the Trump campaign was being accused of wasn’t illegal, even if it turned out to be true. MHProNews also reported on the Project Veritas undercover video that showed a CNN producer saying that Russian collusion was a ‘nothing burger.’ Some 2 years later, those and other concerns raised by MHProNews citing third party sources proved to be accurate. That wasn’t magic or a crystal ball. Rather, it was seeking a clear understanding of the law and facts from sources that spanned the left-right divide. That is how all such issues should be handled in an era when media divisions and agendas are all too common.
The same process of discernment should occur in this Ukrainian instance or other such matters too.
The entire drive to impeach President Trump is not grounded on some illegality, but rather has been part of a plan that media accounts make clear originated not long after he won the election in 2016.
It is as wrong to allow or support such tactics against President Trump as it would be to do the same if Senator Bernie Sanders became president. Once voting is done, the winning party should be allowed to govern within the norms of the law and ethics.
While this has little to do directly with manufactured housing, it has everything to do with how corrupt Washington, D.C. has become. It is therefore useful to understand why good existing federal laws could be sidelined to the detriment of manufactured housing’s independents, when laws are bent or broken even to target a sitting president.
The troubling facts of this Ukrainian tale are reminders that not only here, but in nations around the globe, political corruption exists. There are efforts by citizens in nations here and abroad to root out such corruption.
Misuse of governmental power is a tale as old as the hills. But in order to minimize it, more citizens need to understand the workings of their own government, seek authentic sources for information, and then act accordingly.
Ukraine’s gift to America? It is found in the real meaning behind the currently playing theatrics that are providing a costly lesson in our nation’s and world history. Freedom is never free, it requires eternal vigilance.
That’s your first look this Monday, Monday from your #1 source for professionals’ “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes and Factory-Built Housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Click the image/text box below to access relevant, related information.