The Jury Talks Back

10/29/2019

Lt. Col. Vindman: The Ukraine Transcript Is Missing Some Important Lines

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:44 pm

This morning we were told, amidst seemingly coordinated talking points about Vindman’s “affinity” for Ukraine, that we didn’t need to hear from Vindman because everyone can read the “perfect” transcript.

But what if the perfect transcript is … missing something?

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that the White House transcript of a July call between President Trump and Ukraine’s president omitted crucial words and phrases, and that his attempts to restore them failed, according to three people familiar with the testimony.

The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.

Colonel Vindman, who appeared on Capitol Hill wearing his dark blue Army dress uniform and military medals, told House impeachment investigators that he tried to change the reconstructed transcript made by the White House staff to reflect the omissions. But while some of his edits appeared to have been successful, he said, those two corrections were not made.

As the House prepares tomorrow to end the Republicans’ whining about how there has been no formal vote for an impeachment inquiry — a vote that will usher in a new era of Republican lawmakers focusing on the facts misleadingly whining about other alleged procedural shortcomings — let’s hope there is a new focus on getting to the bottom of whether Vindman is right about what is missing from the transcript.

There Is Nothing That Can’t Be “Woke” – Including Math

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 9:23 am

[guest post by Dana]

Because you knew that, eventually, even math would be sucked up into that swirling vortex of silly wokeness and that a city like Seattle would be the place to birth the movement in public school curriculum :

Seattle’s four-page framework is still in the proposal stage. If adopted, its ideas will be included in existing math classes as part of the district’s broader effort to infuse ethnic studies into all subjects across the K-12 spectrum. Tracy Castro-Gill, Seattle’s ethnic studies director, said her team hopes to have frameworks completed in all subjects by June for board approval.

If the frameworks are approved, teachers would be expected to incorporate those ideas and questions into the math they teach beginning next fall, Castro-Gill said. No districtwide—or mandated—math/ethnic studies curriculum is planned, but groups of teachers are working with representatives of local community organizations to write instructional units for teachers to use if they wish, she said.

“Seattle is definitely on the forefront with this,” said Robert Q. Berry III, the president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. “What they’re doing follows the line of work we hope we can move forward as we think about the history of math and who contributes to that, and also about deepening students’ connection with identity and agency.”

But seriously, when “power and oppression” and “history of resistance and liberation” become a focal point in math curriculum, is it still really math being taught?

Anyway, Robby Soave rightly observes:

[H]aving read over the proposed framework, I have to say that it does seem fairly terrible. It’s chock full of social justice jargon that sounds smart but is actually vapid. What does it mean to decode mathematical “beauty” or “identify how the development of mathematics has been erased from learning in school?” (Has it been erased? That seems like a problem for history class.) The guidance says it will “re-humanize mathematics through experiential learning” and facilitate learning “independently and interdependently.” That’s a fancy way of saying almost nothing at all.

The guidance also includes some extremely political, simplistic talking points that might be popular among activist academics but are in reality somewhat dubious. This is verbatim from the proposal: Students will be able to “identify the inherent inequities of the standardized testing system used to oppress and marginalize people and communities of color,” “explain how math has been used to exploit natural resources,” and “explain how math dictates economic oppression.” Each of these statements are debatable, but they are not being presented as such. It would be one thing to hold a class discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of standardized testing, but what’s happening here is that students are being trained to reject standardized testing due to its “inherent inequity,” which is asserted as some kind of proven fact.

Having read over the proposed framework myself, and given that I was one of those students who struggled to solve for X, I don’t think this woke math would have helped me out. Instead, I think I would have seen it as just more gibberish on top of the already undecipherable gibberish taunting me from my Algebra book.

–Dana

Lt. Col. Vindman Gives Opening Statement, Trump-Supporting Media Personalities Question His Patriotism

Filed under: Uncategorized — Dana @ 7:47 am

[guest post by Dana]

In spite of some disturbing commentary coming from Trump-supporting media personalities implying that the patriotism and loyalty of immigrants – even those who arrived here as toddlers – is suspect, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander S. Vindman gave his opening statement regarding activities relating to Ukraine that are now under investigation. Here are some excerpts. There is plenty of commentary to be found, but I wanted to post his own words.

Personal background:

I have dedicated my entire professional life to the United States of America. For more than two decades, it has been my honor to serve as an officer in the United States Army. As an infantry officer, I served multiple overseas tours…In Iraq, I was wounded in an IED attack and awarded a Purple Heart…Since 2008, I have been a Foreign Area Officer specializing in Eurasia. In this role, I have served in the United States’ embassies in Kiev, Ukraine and Moscow, Russia. In Washington, D.C., I was a politico-military affairs officer for Russia for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs where I authored the principle strategy for managing competition with Russia. In July 2018, I was asked to serve at the National Security Council…My family fled the Soviet Union when I was three and a half years old. Upon arriving in New York City in 1979, my father worked multiple jobs to support us, all the while learning English at night. He stressed to us the importance of fully integrating into our adopted country. For many years, life was quite difficult. In spite of our challenging beginnings, my family worked to build its own American dream. I have a deep appreciation for American values and ideals and the power of freedom. I am a patriot, and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend OUR country, irrespective of party or politics.

He then makes it very clear that his testimony is voluntary, and that he is not the whistleblower, nor does he know the identity of the whistleblower.

About the July 2010 meeting with Ukraine officials In Washington, D.C.:

On July 10, 2019, Oleksandr Danylyuk, the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council for Ukraine, visited Washington, D.C. for a meeting with National Security Advisor Bolton. Ambassadors Volker and Sondland also attended, along with Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

The meeting proceeded well until the Ukrainians broached the subject of a meeting between the two presidents. The Ukrainians saw this meeting as critically important in order to solidify the support of their most important international partner. Amb. Sondland started to speak about Ukraine delivering specific investigations in order to secure the meeting with the President, at which time Ambassador Bolton cut the meeting short.

Following this meeting, there was a scheduled debriefing during which Amb. Sondland emphasized the importance that Ukraine deliver the investigations into the 2016 election, the Bidens, and Burisma. I stated to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate, that the request to investigate Biden and his son had nothing to do with national security, and that such investigations were not something the NSC was going to get involved in or push. Dr. Hill then entered the room and asserted to Amb. Sondland that his statements were inappropriate.

Following the debriefing meeting, I reported my concerns to the NSC’s lead counsel. Dr. Hill also reported the incident to the NSC’s lead counsel.

About the election phone call:

On July 21, 2019, President Zelenskyy’s party won Parliamentary elections in a landslide victory. The NSC proposed that President Trump call President Zelenskyy to congratulate him.

On July 25, 2019, the call occurred. I listened in on the call in the Situation Room with colleagues from the NSC and the office of the Vice President. As the transcript is in the public record, we are all aware of what was said.

I was concerned by the call. I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine. I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma, it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained. This would all undermine U.S. national security. Following the call, I again reported my concerns to NSC’s lead counsel.

President Trump reacts this morning:

Vindman is giving his testimony behind closed doors today.

–Dana


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