Some Thoughts On Hawaii’s Mistaken Alert

Rush Limbaugh said some very interesting (and true) things about Hawaii’s false missile alert. I would like to share them here.

This is part of the transcript of what Rush Limbaugh said yesterday on his radio show:

You know, I mentioned on this program countless times that one of — you know, we all have pet peeves. And one of my biggest pet peeves is arrogant condescension. People who know less than I do who think they know more than everybody else, and they’re arrogant about it. And then they condescend, treat you like you’re an idiot, treat you like you can’t possibly know what you’re talking about.

The second — and it’s kind of related — the second pet peeve that I have is people insulting my intelligence, and it happens frequently. And we are in the midst of it right now with this explanation of what happened in Hawaii with the, “Oops, the guy hit the wrong button!” And for 34 minutes, the people of Hawaii thought they were dead. Yeah, he hit the wrong button twice.

Have any of you — don’t do this if you haven’t — have any of you on your iPhone ever had to erase the whole thing for whatever reason to start over? It’s called settings, general, reset. And there are many different things you can reset. You can reset network settings, you can reset the whole damn thing, which means that you are going to erase everything on the phone. You have to confirm that a minimum of three times.

Apple will not let you do that accidentally.  And it’s an iPhone and there’s not a single nuclear code on an iPhone.  All there is is your personal data.  All of your passwords, your settings, whatever is on the phone, if you have to erase it, which you can do, you will get three different alerts asking you if that’s what you really intend to do, if you’re really certain about it. And there are areas like this all over the iPhone.

There is a feature that hardly anybody knows about.  It’s well hidden.  It happens to be one of my favorite features that Apple will not divulge anything about.  It’s called significant locations.  I’m not even gonna bother to tell you where it is.  That’s not the point.  But you can clear the location history from your phone if you want to.  Your phone records, where you’ve been.  I happen to think that’s marvelous and magic and great and I love it.  And I use it.  Other people are paranoid about it.  They think Tim Cook is spying on everything they do, just like Zuckerberg spying on every Facebook user and the Twitter people — (laughing) it turns out the Twitter people are spying on you!  O’Keefe has yet another video from Project Veritas.

They’re collecting everything at Twitter on you, everything, including your photos.  They’re creating a sexual file of all of their users.  They’re creating a data file on everybody at Twitter, by their own admission.  More details on that.  Anyway, if you want to clear your location. Let’s say you have effectively been made paranoid about your phone recording where you’ve been.  And you find out about it, “Oh, no, I want to get rid of that.”  Okay.  You go into significant locations, and you tap on “clear history.”

You will have to do it three times.  You’ll have to confirm that’s what you want to do three times. Just like if you want to erase the whole phone, you’ll have to confirm that three times. “Are you sure you want to?”  Yes.  “Are you really, really sure?  This is gonna erase everything on your phone, and you can’t go back and undo this.  Are you sure you want to do it?”  You tap “yes.”

It comes back, “Do you really know what you’re doing here?  Are you certain that you want to take this phone and make it like it’s brand-new out of the box?”  And yet we’re told that on a nuclear warning test, the guy hit the wrong button twice.  We’re now told the guy hasn’t been fired.  He’s barely been reprimanded.  We don’t know his name.  He’s going to be reassigned.

…And we’re told, “Ah, the guy hit the wrong button.”

I just can’t accept this, not within the context of everything that has gone on that has been originated in or perpetrated by the American left and our administrative state. The Hawaii emergency management administrator, Vern Miyagi, reported one of his employees clicked the wrong button twice, said, “It’s embarrassing, but again, it’s a mistake.”

Why hasn’t it happened before? If it’s this easy to make this kind of mistake, why hasn’t it happened before? And why did it take 34 minutes to correct this mistake? People were living in abject fear, except for one guy who kept playing golf. I like that guy. He said (paraphrasing), “Even if it’s true, I’m going out doing what I love. To hell with it. I’m not hiding in some sewer drain.” But that’s what people were doing. They were hiding their kids everywhere they could. I mean, for 34 minutes the Hawaii emergency management administration allowed abject fear to percolate in the state of Hawaii.

“Vern Miyagi, the administrator, said, that he “was supposed to select the option for a drill. Instead, he chose the real thing twice. ‘A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. This is not a drill.’” Grab audio sound bite number 17. Here is what it sounded like…

VOICE: The U.S. Pacific Command has detected a missile threat to Hawaii. A missile may impact on land or sea within minutes. This is not a drill. If you are indoors, say indoors. If you are outdoors, seek immediate shelter in a building. Remain indoors well away from windows. If you are driving, pull safely to the side of the road and seek shelter in a building or lay on the floor.

So let’s say the employee did this on purpose. Thank God America did not respond. The military would have known if there actually were missiles in the air, so they would have known the alert was a mistake. Did the military scramble? Did they know about the alert?

For the sake of argument, let’s say that the person who pushed the button thought that if he could get a dangerous response out of President Trump, President Trump could be declared unfit for office. Having watched the media for the past year, I am convinced that there are some people out there who would put the safety of America at risk to bring down President Trump. The irrational hatred of President Trump is totally amazing. Was this person willing to start World War III in order to prevent President Trump from succeeding? I don’t know. I do know that Microsoft Word won’t even let me close down its window without telling me that I am going to lose what I have typed. Surely, our missile alert system is better than that.

How The News Media Covers President Trump

Newsbusters posted an article today analyzing how the major media covers President Trump. As I am sure almost everyone is aware, the coverage is almost always negative. I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article–the statistics are amazing.

The article includes the following graph:

The conclusions of the article are somewhat frightening:

The media reaction to Trump’s first year has been so extreme, the public itself has become polarized over the coverage. In September, Gallup discovered that record numbers of Democrats are reporting “trust and confidence in the mass media to report the news ‘fully, accurately and fairly,’” with 72 percent of Democrats saying they trusted the press in 2017, compared to just 51 percent who said that a year ago.

A month later, a Politico/Morning Consult poll found that “more than three-quarters of Republican voters, 76 percent, think the news media invent stories about Trump and his administration.” That number swells to 85 percent when just Trump supporters are asked the question.

What seems to be happening is that many in the media, including the broadcast networks, have chosen to morph into anti-Trump activists. As a result, they provide massive attention to stories that they think make him look bad, give little airtime to more positive aspects of his administration, and punish him with massively negative spin.

The polls suggest anti-Trump Democrats love that kind of news, pro-Trump Republicans hate it — while the national media are cementing their reputation as biased partisans. Their hostility against the White House is now so obvious, nobody could possibly take them seriously if they ever again claim to be fair and non-partisan professionals.

When politicians (or the media) complain about the divisiveness in America, they need look no further than themselves. The lies that the media is telling and the things that the media is choosing to emphasize are not helping inform the public and they are surely not helping to unite us in the common goal of making America a better place.

The Worldwide Impact Of Developing America’s Energy Resources

With the lifting of many of the restrictions on domestic oil drilling (and fracking) in America, the impact of American oil and natural gas on the world market has grown. Today Reuters posted an article about the impact of American energy on the global oil market.

The article reports:

Surging shale production is poised to push U.S. oil output to more than 10 million barrels per day – toppling a record set in 1970 and crossing a threshold few could have imagined even a decade ago.

So what does this mean?

The article explains:

The economic and political impacts of soaring U.S. output are breathtaking, cutting the nation’s oil imports by a fifth over a decade, providing high-paying jobs in rural communities and lowering consumer prices for domestic gasoline by 37 percent from a 2008 peak.

…“It has had incredibly positive impacts for the U.S. economy, for the workforce and even our reduced carbon footprint” as shale natural gas has displaced coal at power plants, said John England, head of consultancy Deloitte’s U.S. energy and resources practice.

The article notes that in an attempt to stop American energy development, OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) tried to discourage shale production of oil in America by flooding the market with oil (Saudi Arabia also played a role in financing movies and advertising containing misinformation about fracking).

The article notes:

The cartel of oil-producing nations backed down in November 2016 and enacted production cuts amid pressure from their own members over low prices – which had plunged to below $27 earlier that year from more than $100 a barrel in 2014.

Shale producers won the price war through aggressive cost-cutting and rapid advances in drilling technology. Oil now trades above $64 a barrel, enough for many U.S. producers to finance both expanded drilling and dividends for shareholders.

The article also  mentions American oil exports:

Efficiencies spurred by the battle with OPEC – including faster drilling, better well designs and more fracking – helped U.S. firms produce enough oil to successfully lobby for the repeal of a ban on oil exports. In late 2015, Congress overturned the prohibition it had imposed following OPEC’s 1973 embargo.

The United States now exports up to 1.7 million barrels per day of crude, and this year will have the capacity to export 3.8 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas. Terminals conceived for importing liquefied natural gas have now been overhauled to allow exports.

That export demand, along with surging production in remote locations such as West Texas and North Dakota, has led to a boom in U.S. pipeline construction. Firms including Kinder Morgan and Enterprise Products Partners added 26,000 miles of liquids pipelines in the five years between 2012 and 2016, according to the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Several more multi-billion-dollar pipeline projects are on the drawing board.

Energy independence is important for America. Total energy independence will have a very positive impact on our foreign policy. Because tyrannical regimes in the Middle East have traditionally controlled the oil supply to the rest of the world, western countries have been required to support governments they should not be supporting in order to keep the oil flooding. Russia is another country that has used its pipelines to Europe as a way to control certain European countries. Energy independence will give America a degree of freedom we have not had for a long time. Hopefully we will use that freedom wisely.

The Temper Tantrum Continues

Fox News is reporting today a number of Democrats are going to boycott President Trump’s State of the Union Address. Way to establish communication and work together, democrats.

The article reports:

“For the first time since I began serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, I will not be attending the president’s State of the Union address,” Wilson (Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson) said in a statement late Sunday. “I have no doubts that instead of delivering a message of inclusivity and an agenda that benefits all Americans, President Trump’s address will be full of innuendo, empty promises and lies.”

Wilson joins Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.; and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., in boycotting the event.

This sort of foolishness (which has appeared at times on both sides of the aisle) needs to stop. It is time that the people we sent to Washington sit down and listen to each other whether they like it or not. Everyone needs to go to the speech.

Just for the record, the tax cuts are inclusive–the will impact about 90 percent of Americans with tax savings. They will benefit almost all working Americans.

The number of regulations the Trump Administration has rolled back has benefited all Americans. Most working Americans have 401k plans. The Trump Administration has been very helpful to those Americans. Most Americans want to have full time jobs. The Trump Administration has had a very positive impact on unemployment.

This list goes on. You get the point. The temper tantrum the left has thrown since Donald Trump was elected President needs to end. It has gotten very old and boring.

More Taxpayers Voting With Their Feet

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about migration within the United States. The states that lost the most population in 2017 were Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.

The article reports:

United Van Lines, which tracks state-to-state migration patterns, found that Illinois was the top state for outbound migration with 63 percent of moves going out of state.

“The Northeast continues to experience a moving deficit with New Jersey (63 percent outbound), New York (61 percent) and Connecticut (57 percent) making the list of top outbound states for the third consecutive year,” the report states. “Massachusetts (56 percent) also joined the top outbound list this year.”

The other states that led the nation for the highest outbound migration were Kansas, Ohio, Kentucky, Utah, and Wisconsin.

It is interesting that the top four states are controlled by the Democratic party and have high taxes (also cold weather).

The states that grew in population were also listed in the article:

The 10 states with the highest inbound migration were Vermont, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, South Carolina, North Carolina, Colorado, and Alabama. The data find that more Americans are moving to the Mountain West and the South.

The article concludes:

According to the Tax Foundation, there is a relationship between taxes and migration.

“Individuals move for a variety of factors,” the group states. “Climate, job opportunities, family, among others, impact the decision to relocate. Taxes can influence the decision too.”

“Tax rates and structure affect a state’s economy; states with less burdensome tax structures and lower rates tend to have better economic growth,” the foundation explains. “Increased job opportunities can result from the better economic growth.”

“Someone moving to Chicago for a new job could decide to live in Illinois or commute from Indiana,” the group says. “Indiana’s 3.3 percent individual income tax rate could be an encouragement to locate in that state over Illinois’ 3.75 percent rate. An individual moving to the Washington, D.C., area could decide to live in Virginia instead of the District because income taxes are lower.”

As more people leave the higher-tax states, the tax burden on the people remaining will increase. That is going to create situations like Detroit, where people simply leave their homes because they can’t afford the taxes. In some of these high-tax states, elderly people on fixed incomes are being forced out of their homes because they cannot afford the taxes.

Voting with your feet is a great idea as long as the people moving to lower-tax states don’t bring their high-tax ideas with them.

Undoing America, One Vote At A Time

Breitbart is reporting today that chain migration is likely to add potentially 8 million foreign-born voters to America over the next two decades.

The article reports:

Research by University of Maryland, College Park political scientist James Gimpel has found in recent years that more immigrants to the U.S. inevitably means more Democrat voters and thus, increasing electoral victories for the Democratic Party.

In 2014, Gimpel’s research concluded with three major findings:

Immigrants, particularly Hispanics and Asians, have policy preferences when it comes to the size and scope of government that are more closely aligned with progressives than with conservatives. As a result, survey data show a two-to-one party identification with Democrats over Republicans.

By increasing income inequality and adding to the low-income population (e.g. immigrants and their minor children account for one-fourth of those in poverty and one-third of the uninsured) immigration likely makes all voters more supportive of redistributive policies championed by Democrats to support disadvantaged populations.

There is evidence that immigration may cause more Republican-oriented voters to move away from areas of high immigrant settlement leaving behind a more lopsided Democrat majority.

The article further reports that five years of chain migration to the U.S. has exceeded one year of all American births, where about 4 million U.S. babies are born every year.

So what does this mean? First of all, we need to address the fact that American school children are not being taught the ideas and principles behind the U.S. Constitution. If we are not teaching American children how our government works and we import millions of people from countries that do not have constitutions, what will our government look like in twenty years? If we are not teaching our children to treasure our freedom and our culture, how can we expect those who have not grown up with that freedom and culture to respect it? How do those coming to America see government? Do they see government as a valid authority or has their past taught them that equal justice under the law is not possible?

We really do need to rethink our immigration policies. We used to allow people to immigrate who were willing to assimilate and contribute to the country. In recent years, we have allowed people to come to America to take advantage of government programs and live at the expense of the Americans who already live here. That has got to stop. We cannot afford to feed, clothe, and provide medical care for everyone in the world. Charity is a wonderful thing, but it needs to be voluntary and begin at home. After we have helped our homeless veterans, children of fallen soldiers, and children of fallen policemen, we can begin to help people from other countries. Until then, we need to live up to our responsibilities at home.

Teaching Responsibility To Those Who Have Somehow Avoided The Lesson

Yesterday Fox News posted a story about Kentucky‘s plan to follow President Trump’s suggestion to add a work requirement for receiving Medicaid.

The article reports:

Under the new rule, adults age 19 to 64 must complete 80 hours of “community engagement” per month to keep their care. That includes working a job, going to school, taking a job-training course or volunteering.

“There is dignity associated with earning the value of something that you receive,” Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said. “The vast majority of men and women, able-bodied men and women … they want the dignity associated with being able to earn and have engagement.”

One of the comments under this article on the site where I saw it posted commented that benefits were not for the benefit of the recipients, but to make sure how the recipients voted. Unfortunately we have created a group of people in America who would rather receive free things that the rest of us pay for than earn those things himself. I realize that some people need these benefits and have valid reasons for wanting them, and we need to help these people. However, we need to end the free ride for those who are taking advantage of the situation.

Note that the requirement is 80 hours a month. That is not a lot. That is approximately 20 hours a week. That is not an unreasonable requirement.

And So It Begins?

Yesterday while the mainstream media had their panties all in a wad over something President Trump may or may not have said in a private meeting, The Daily Wire posted an article about the Uranium One scandal.

The article reports:

An 11-count indictment was handed out on Friday connected to the alleged Russian bribery scheme involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Obama administration, and Uranium One.

The charges are against Mark Lambert, who is the “former co-president of a Maryland-based transportation company that provides services for the transportation of nuclear materials to customers in the United States and abroad.” Lambert 54, of Maryland, was charged with “one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering,” the DOJ said in a statement.

The charges are connected to the alleged bribery scheme that involves “Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.”

TENEX is the commercial sales arm for Russia’s Rosatom, which took full control of Uranium One in 2013.

A report from October revealed that federal agents started collecting evidence in 2009 about Russian officials that were engaged in bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering connected to the Uranium One deal

Stay tuned. This is going to get interesting. There is also a question of whether or not uranium left the country and how that happened. I suspect there is much more to come on this.

Poverty

Dictionary.com defines poverty as:

1. the state or condition of having little or no money, goods, or means of support; condition of being poor.

Antonyms: riches, wealth, plenty.

2. deficiency of necessary or desirable ingredients, qualities, etc.:

poverty of the soil.

3. scantiness; insufficiency:

Their efforts to stamp out disease were hampered by a poverty of medical supplies.

After President Trump’s remarks (in a supposedly private meeting) have caused such a stir, I thought I would point out a few things about poverty and economic refugees.

For those of you who have chosen to forget, the wealth of America was built on sacrifice and blood. It was built by a small percentage of Americans who rebelled against British rule rather than flee the country they had settled. They were never able to share in the wealth of the nation they helped create–most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence died in poverty. They fought tyranny. Why are the economic refugees we are taking in fleeing tyranny rather than fighting it?

What are the keys to economic prosperity in a country? Hernando de Soto is a Peruvian economist who has done decades of pioneering work for presidents and in the streets on behalf of property rights for the poor.

His biography, posted at the Cato Institute website states:

Having made enough money to retire, he decided to devote his life full-time to solving the riddle of development: Why are some countries rich and others poor? De Soto knew that Peruvians did not lack entrepreneurial energy. The bustling informal economy of Lima was testament to that. Nor did they lack assets, per se. From countryside to urban shantytown, ownership was governed by a system of informally evolved and acknowledged property rights.

But as de Soto explained in his 1986 book The Other Path, these de facto owners were locked out of the formal, legal economy—and that was the root of the problem. “They have houses but not titles; crops but not deeds; businesses but not statutes of incorporation.”

In 1980 de Soto created the Institute for Liberty and Democracy. The more he and his fellow researchers at the ILD investigated, the more they realized that dealing with the Peruvian state to obtain legal recognition of one’s assets was maddeningly difficult, if not impossible.

As an author and an activist, and later as adviser to President Alberto Fujimori in the early years of his administration, de Soto moved to bring his impoverished fellow countrymen out of the shadow economy and unlock their potential to build wealth, a process that continues today.

His biography also talks about some of the challenges of what Mr. de Soto is attempting:

For his efforts, the Peruvian Marxist terror group Shining Path targeted him for assassination. The institute’s offices were bombed. His car was machine-gunned. Today the Shining Path is moribund, but de Soto remains very much alive and a passionate advocate. Delivering formal property rights to the poor can bring them out of the sway of demagogues and into the extended order of the modern global economy. “Are we going to make [capitalism] inclusive and start breaking the monopoly of the left on the poor and showing that the system can be geared to them as well?” That’s de Soto’s challenge and his life’s work. (The italics are mine)

So what is compassion? Is it giving money to the leaders of impoverished countries only to have the leaders spend it on luxuries while the people starve? Is it giving to grass roots organizations that work on a people-to-people level to help the poor? Is it simply allowing the poor to escape their homes? Where will we find the people who will work with Mr. de Soto to change the way some of the world’s poorest countries are run?

Economic migration is not necessarily a good thing–you are taking people away from a place where they might be able to make a difference to a new culture where they are total aliens who may or may not be willing to assimilate. We have had a problem in many of the cities that have taken large numbers of foreign immigrants of people using public streets as toilets. There are pictures all over the internet of people relieving themselves in public and wiping themselves with their hands. That is not acceptable in American culture, but because we have overwhelmed the local populations in some towns and cities, it is becoming a problem. We have an obligation to help those in poverty in a constructive way, but we also have the right to protect our own cultural heritage.

Good News For Free Speech

The Daily Signal reported yesterday that the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Baltimore pro-life pregnancy centers do not have to put up signage in their waiting rooms saying they do not offer or refer for abortions.

The article reports:

At least 10 pregnancy help centers in the city of Baltimore are being spared the city’s “weaponized” attack on their work—including Greater Baltimore Center for Pregnancy Concerns, which opened its fifth location in May 2017, right next door to a Planned Parenthood.

A legal process that has played out since early 2010 has failed to establish even one instance of pregnancy centers deceiving or misleading women into their offices, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote in the ruling.

“After seven years of litigation and a 1,295-page record before us, the city does not identify a single example of a woman who entered the Greater Baltimore Center’s waiting room under the misimpression that she could obtain an abortion there,” Wilkinson, a Ronald Reagan appointee, wrote.

With pregnancy centers awaiting the Supreme Court’s say on a 2015 California law that forces state-licensed pro-life medical clinics to tell women where and how to get taxpayer-funded abortions, the 4th Circuit’s ruling could play into a number of state and local efforts to curb life-saving alternatives to abortion.

The article concludes:

As the abortion industry continues to spin its wheels in opposition to pro-life efforts, the pregnancy help community continues to celebrate lives saved and families transformed, one woman at a time.

And, should the courts continue to shift the battlefield from government coercion to compassionate persuasion, the pregnancy help community can expect to go on celebrating more and more lives in the coming year.

I wonder how people will look back at abortion in twenty years. Since Roe v. Wade (1973), there have been 59,115,995 abortions based on numbers reported by the Guttmacher Institute 1973-2014, with projections of 926,190 for 2015-16. GI has estimated possible undercounts of 3-5%,so an additional 3% is factored into the overall total. That’s a lot of American children that are not with us.

 

A Problem With The Two-State Solution

It would be nice if Israel and a new nation (historically it has never been a nation) of Palestine could live side-by-side. However, that is highly unlikely unless things change drastically.

One problem is what the Palestinians are teaching their children. Below is a picture of Palestinian kindergarten children dressed as suicide bombers. They are being taught that it is noble to die in the act of killing Jews. That might be a problem if you want peace.

Another problem is that the families of terrorists are generously paid for the terrorist acts of family members.

CBN has posted the following information along with a petition to Congress to sign the Taylor Force Act.

In 2016, Taylor Force was murdered in a knife attack while on a Vanderbilt University trip to Tel Aviv, Israel. His attacker was a Palestinian man who was paid with U.S. tax dollars by the Palestinian Authority, a known terrorist organization, to murder Taylor. The terrorist was killed by police—but his family was left with a lifelong lucrative financial reward:

  • Pension for life that is triple the average salary in the West Bank
  • Free tuition for life
  • Free health insurance for life
  • Free clothing allowance for life
  • Free monthly stipend—ALL courtesy of U.S. tax dollars.

This practice of financially incentivized murder is known as #PayToSlay. We must stop it.

Each year, the U.S. government gives $300 million in U.S. taxpayer money to the Palestinian Authority for the promotion of peace in the area—but that’s not how the PA uses it:

  • In 2016, the PA paid $135 million to terrorists jailed in Israel
  • And $183 million to family of terrorists and to incentivize future attacks
  • That adds up to more than $300 million to reward and incentivize acts of murder—in one year alone.

This is the information on the Taylor Force Act as posted at Thomas.gov:

Summary: H.R.1164 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

Introduced in House (02/16/2017)

Taylor Force Act

This bill prohibits certain assistance under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 from being made available for the West Bank and Gaza unless the Department of State certifies that the Palestinian Authority:

  • is taking steps to end acts of violence against U.S. and Israeli citizens perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control, such as the March 2016 attack that killed former Army officer Taylor Force;
  • is publicly condemning such acts of violence and is investigating, or cooperating in investigations of, such acts; and
  • has terminated payments for acts of terrorism against U.S. and Israeli citizens to any individual who has been convicted and imprisoned for such acts, to any individual who died committing such acts, and to family members of such an individual.

This is what has happened in the Senate:

To put it bluntly, unless the American people make noise, this bill will die in committee in the Senate. It is about time that America stopped funding to families of terrorists who kill Israelis.

Putting Out The Cheat Sheet

Does anyone actually believe that Diane Feinstein’s release of the closed-door testimony of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson was not a carefully planned move? How else will the people from GPS who testify in the future be able to keep their stories straight?

The Daily Caller posted an article yesterday about the release of the transcript.

The article states:

Feinstein published Simpson’s testimony on Tuesday, catching Republicans by surprise. Simpson’s testimony, taken during August of last year, covered his firm’s role in producing the infamous anti-Trump dossier for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

Feinstein, 84, expressed regret on Wednesday for keeping Sen. Grassley in the dark, and suggested it was because of a “bad cold.”

“The one regret I have is that I should have spoke with Senator Grassley before,” she told NBC News. “And I don’t make an excuse but I’ve had a bad cold and maybe that slowed down my mental facilities [sic] a little bit.”

This is amazing. This is so against protocol. I am convinced that the transcript was released as crib notes to those who are going to testify. There is so much rotten going on with the Fusion GPS story that the Democrats need to keep things under wraps. If the dossier was the basis for the FISA warrant against the Trump campaign (and there are now indications from various sources that it was), this is Watergate on steroids. Watergate was a third-rate burglary that was actually totally unnecessary. The spying on the Trump campaign and Trump transition team was the use of the government bureaucracy against a political opponent. If Charles Colson went to jail for Watergate, there are an awful lot of people involved in the surveillance of President Trump that need to go to prison. Whether that will ever happen, I don’t know. I do know that it should. If no one goes to prison, we have lost the concept of equal justice under the law.

Grasping At Straws After You Have Lost The Argument

Ordinary Americans are already benefiting from the tax reforms passed by Congress. People who work for the corporations who got the tax breaks are getting raises and bonuses. People who have 401k plans are watching their portfolios grow exponentially. So what’s the downside? If you’re a Democrat, it’s the fear that the economy may continue to grow in a way that positively impacts the average American. That fear is illustrated by a recent statement by Representative Nancy Pelosi.

Townhall.com posted an article today reporting Representative Pelosi’s comments on the impact of the tax reform.

The article reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who infamously called the tax law “Armaggedon,” is now acknowledging the bonuses, but insists they are “insignificant” when you look at the bigger picture of how corporations unfairly benefitted from the bill.

“In terms of the bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs they are giving to workers, to kind of put the schmooze is so pathetic, it’s so pathetic,” Pelosi said at a Capitol Hill press conference Thursday when asked about companies investing more in their workforce.

Pelosi explained where she was coming from by singling out one of the bonuses that is not that impressive because it was “already in a union contract.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) were among the other liberal lawmakers who couldn’t fully appreciate the positive consequences of a “make-rich-people-richer tax bill.” 

Representative Pelosi may consider the bonuses (and raises) insignificant in relation to the corporations, but there is another part of the story.  According to a website called celebritynetworth.com, in her 2015 wealth disclosure, Nancy Pelosi and her husband estimated their personal net worth to be between $43 million and $202 million. No wonder she regards the rewards for the American worker as insignificant!

Another Reason Someone Needs To Audit The Federal Budget

The following was posted on the Judicial Watch Blog yesterday:

U.S. Has a National Mango Board With a $6.7 Million Budget

Even those who follow government closely may not know that the United States has a National Mango Board with a multi-million-dollar budget to help increase consumption of the juicy tropical fruit. This is a serious matter that is handled at the presidential cabinet level. The Mango board is a type of panel that was authorized by Congress decades ago and has 18 members who are appointed by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). It operates under a USDA oversight body known as the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).

Based in Orlando, Florida, the National Mango Board has a generous $6.7 million annual budget, according to USDA figures. The board is composed of eight importers, two domestic producers, one first handler and seven foreign producers who serve three-year terms. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue recently appointed six members to the board, including a mango producer from Jalisco, Mexico and another from Piura, Peru. The others are importers from California and Texas and a producer from Hawaii. “I truly appreciate the time and expertise that these individuals have agreed to give guiding the National Mango Board in its mission to find ways to provide fresh mangos to U.S. consumers and help their industry thrive,” Perdue said in an agency statement.

Here’s why this obscure government entity exists; to increase the consumption of fresh mangos in the United States, unlikely to be a pressing issue for most Americans. The board accomplishes this with promotion and market development activities that naturally also support a thriving industry. “The board’s vision is to bring the world’s love of mangos to the U.S.,” according to the National Mango Board website, which describes itself as a “promotion and research organization.” The site includes all sorts of interesting information about mangos, including the unique texture and flavors of different varieties, how to ripen, cut and store the fruit and tips on choosing the perfect mango—don’t focus on color because it’s not the best indicator of ripeness. There are also recipes for just about any dish with mango, including tropical mango guacamole, shrimp and mango curry, mango Manchego stuffed with jalapeños and crusted pork with mango relish, among others. Six varieties of mangos are sold in the U.S.; Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent, Keitt, Honey and Francis.

The board’s research portion is displayed in several sections that offer information on nutrition, history and “fun facts.” For instance, mangos were first grown in India over 5,000 years ago and mango seeds traveled with humans from Asia to the Middle East, East Africa and South America beginning around 300 or 400 A.D. “Legend says that Buddha meditated under the cool shade of a mango tree,” according to the National Mango Board. More serious research includes academic studies on consumer attitudes, bioactive components of mangos and the effect of hot water treatment on a Mexican specie (Tommy Atkins) vulnerable to fruit flies. A separate study on this type of mango, which also comes from Guatemala, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru, focuses on sunken pits on the fruit’s peel caused by pitting or lenticel damage. This can deter consumers at the store level, according to researchers, and most packers do not have a clear understanding if the damage comes from the orchards or the packing process. Tommy Atkins mangos from Oaxaca, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa are the focal point of that research.

One of the more recent studies sponsored by the board includes an in-depth analysis on the ideal temperature to deliver the highest quality mangos. The findings are delivered in an exhaustive 38-page report, but the nutshell is that the optimal transit temperature for mangos is around 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The problem however, is that mangos are often transported in refrigerated trailers with other food items that require colder temperatures and the mangos get compromised. The experts in “perishable food cold chain”  hired to research the matter were left with the objective of finding commercially available pallet covers for the thermal protection of mango pallets transported in a mixed load refrigerated trailer. It’s not clear how much this important research cost the Mango Board. For those wondering, Kent mangos were used in the study and pallet covers were tested with and without a base.

There is absolutely nothing I can add to this!

I Totally Understand This Story

English: Wolf spider Deutsch: Wolfspinne Русск...

English: Wolf spider Deutsch: Wolfspinne Русский: Паук волк (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yesterday Breitbart reported that a Redding, California, apartment resident recently killed a wolf spider. The story does not seem particularly newsworthy until you look at the details.

The article reports:

The Redding Record Searchlight reports that the unidentified resident of the Redding apartment complex tried to kill a wolf spider with a torch lighter but ended up setting fire to a mattress.

Fire officials say the fire spread from the mattress to several flags and curtains inside the man’s bedroom. It also torched a bedroom closet but did not spread to any other apartments in the complex.

KMOV reports that other residents unsuccessfully attempted to extinguish the fire with a garden hose before the fire department came.

Firefighters put out the blaze and no injuries were reported. However, the fire caused $11,000 in damage to the resident’s apartment and forced residents to find another place to live after fire officials deemed the apartment “uninhabitable.”

The Redding Fire Department posted a friendly reminder to Facebook warning those trying to kill spiders not to use fire to exterminate them.

I can totally relate to this story and I believe that I have family members who can also relate. Enough said.

Did You Ever Wonder Why The Democrats Love The Dreamers?

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article explaining why the Democrats are so concerned with the fate of the ‘dreamers.’

The article includes a copy of the Center for American Progress Action Fund letter. Please follow the link above to read the entire letter.

The article focuses on one particular part of the letter:

“The fight to protect Dreamers is not only a moral imperative, it is also a critical component of the Democratic Party’s future electoral success,” reads Palmieri’s memo, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“If Democrats don’t try to do everything in their power to defend Dreamers, that will jeopardize Democrats’ electoral chances in 2018 and beyond,” reads the memo. “In short, the next few weeks will tell us a lot about the Democratic Party and its long-term electoral prospects.”

There are a few things to consider when looking at DACA. The first thing to consider is that DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was unconstitutional. A quick google search will lead you to statements President Obama made before doing DACA that said that doing DACA was unconstitutional. President Trump rescinded DACA and gave Congress until March 2018 to come up with an alternative approach. He brought us back in line with the Constitution–Congress is supposed to make laws–not the President. Next, because of chain migration, legalizing the ‘dreamers’ will create a flood of immigrants, many of whom will not be able to support themselves and will be a burden on an already overburdened treasury. And finally, most of the ‘dreamers’ are now in their thirties. This is the only country they know. However, they need to get in line to be individually considered. Those with gang associations or criminal records need to go back to where they came from. If they have broken laws as adults, they need to leave.

It’s time to reform immigration. Changes to DACA may be part of that, but unless the borders are secure, the American people are not secure.

Attention North Carolina Voters

THIS IS AN UPDATE ON THE STORY BELOW–THE BILL WAS NOT INTRODUCED TODAY. However, we are not out of the woods yet. The bill can be introduced anytime in the near future. We just have to be informed voters and vote against the referendum if it shows up on the ballot in November! (Updated Wednesday, January 10, 2018)

 

Tomorrow in the North Carolina legislature a bill will be introduced to allow for the appointment of judges rather than letting the voters elect the judges. If the measure passes the legislature, it will appear on the ballot in November to be approved by the voters. This is a really bad idea.

These are the rules on who may serve as a judge in North Carolina:

Only persons authorized to practice law in North Carolina are eligible for election or appointment as a judge (district, superior or appellate). N.C. Const. Art. IV, Sec. 22. Because that wasn’t always the rule, there is an exception for persons elected to or serving in such capacities on or before January 1, 1981.

The result of this law is that it severely limits the number of people who may serve as judges. South Carolina, for instance, requires that judges have a college education, but there is not requirement that they have a law degree or are lawyers. So North Carolina has already limited the number of people who become judges. What will be the impact of having judges appointed instead of elected? First of all, if the judges are not accountable to the voters, who will they be accountable to?  Second of all, if a lawyer wants to become a judge, but isn’t part of the in crowd at the legislature, does he have a way of becoming a judge? If the legislature is appointing the judges, isn’t that one branch of government having authority over another supposedly equal branch? How much time do the legislators have to evaluate the judicial choices of their leadership? This suggested law seems to be the perfect way to put control of North Carolina’s judiciary into the hands of a very small group of people. That is a very bad idea.

Hopefully this bill will not get past the legislature, but if it does, beware of it in November.

Lied To (Again)

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about the Labor Department‘s December jobs report. I am probably not the only one who wondered why the jobs added number was lower than expected (I see signs of economic recovery all around me–new shops, new construction, formerly unemployed people going back to work, people getting bonuses, etc.). Well, it seems that there was more to the numbers than I thought.

The article reports:

But the number was kept artificially low by a seasonal adjustment that wasn’t comparable to the one done a year earlier, in December 2016.

And it’s unusual for one December’s adjustment to be so different from the previous December.

If the adjustments had been consistent, last Friday’s number would have shown growth of another 133,000. Add the growth that was announced (148,000 jobs) and the seasonal adjustment difference (133,000) and this December’s growth would have been a very, very healthy 281,000 jobs.

How to lie with statistics.

It gets worse:

There was another adjustment that made Friday’s job number look worse than it would have been.

In the December figure released last Friday, the government deducted 38,000 jobs that it thinks were lost but can’t prove were lost because they happened inside very small companies.

A year earlier, in December 2016, only 17,000 jobs were deducted for this reason.

Again, if Labor has simply remained consistent, December’s jobs gains could have been as high as 300,000.

As I’ve explained many times before, the government’s economic statistics are not expected to be completely accurate the first time they are announced — even though Wall Street and the media treat them like they are.

That’s why the government does numerous revisions.

I guess the only numbers we can actually believe are the ones in the final revision!

Congressional Oversight May Get Very Interesting

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about Congressional oversight into the FISA violations under President Obama.

The title of the article is, “How The FBI and DOJ Intelligence Units Were Weaponized Around Congressional Oversight…”

I strongly suggest that you follow the link and read the entire article, but there are a few things I want to mention here.

The article reports:

NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers has announced to his staff he is resigning. A nominee will be announced to replace him shortly. Rogers departure makes sense.  His incredible accomplishments are complete; he will now be free to testify, unencumbered, to congress.

So why is this important?

Admiral Mike Rogers became NSA director in April 2014.

Sometime in early 2016 Admiral Rogers became aware of “ongoing” and “intentional” violations of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Section 702(17) surveillance. Specifically item #17 which includes the unauthorized upstream data collection of U.S. individuals within NSA surveillance through the use of “About Query”.

Section 702 – Item #17 “About Queries” are specifically the collection of electronic messaging, emails and upstream phone call surveillance data of U.S. persons.

The public doesn’t discover this issue, and Director Rogers action, until May 2017 when we learn that Rogers told the FISA court he became aware of unlawful surveillance and collection of U.S. persons.

Put into context, with the full back-story, it appears that 2016 surveillance was the political surveillance now in the headlines; the stuff Chairman Nunes is currently questioning. The dates here are important as they tell a story.

As a result of Rogers suspecting FISA 702(17) surveillance activity was being used for reasons he deemed unlawful, in mid 2016 Rogers ordered the NSA compliance officer to run a full audit on 702 NSA compliance.

Again, 702 is basically spying on Americans; the actual “spying” part is 702. Item 17 is “About Queries“, which allows user queries or searches of content (messaging, email and phone conversations) based on any subject matter put into the search field.

The NSA compliance officer identified several strange 702 “About Queries” were being conducted. These were violations of the fourth amendment (search and seizure), ie searches, privacy violations, and surveillance without a warrant.  Admiral Rogers was briefed by the compliance officer on October 20th, 2016.

Admiral Mike Rogers ordered the “About Query” activity to stop, reported the activity to the DOJ, and then went to the FISA court.

On October 26th, 2016, full FISA court assembled, NSA Director Rogers personally informed the court of the 702(17) violations.  Additionally, and as an outcome of the NSA systems inability to guarantee integrity, Rogers also stopped “About Query” permanently.

Here we have an honest patriot caught in a den of lying crooks. His testimony should be very interesting.

If You Dislike ‘Big Pharma’, You Should Also Dislike ‘Big Pot’

There is a move in America to legalize marijuana. I don’t know if it can be stopped. I doubt it can. Marijuana is proclaimed to be a miracle cure for everything from headaches to ingrown toenails. Well, it may have medicinal value, but it also has a pretty serious downside. I remember looking at the Sunday paper in California after medical marijuana was legalized. The last four pages were ads from doctors who would prescribe it to cure any ailment. All you had to do was call. The legalization of medical marijuana essentially made recreational use much easier to do legally. So what are the consequences of legal marijuana?

Yesterday Dr. David B. Samadi posted an article at Fox News about some of the dangers of legalizing marijuana.

The article states:

From a health standpoint, why is legalization of another mind-altering drug the right thing to do?  The U.S. is already in the midst of a devastating prescription opioid and heroin crisis.  And individuals from all walks of life struggle with the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

It may be too late, but taking an illegal drug and making it legal needs to be well-thought out, to determine what impact this major step will have on future generations.

…What is especially concerning is the fact that the marijuana of today is not the same as it was back in the 1960s or 1970s. Over the past few decades, the concentration of THC in the cannabis plant has been increasing, making it more potent than ever.

A fairly recent popular method of getting high is smoking THC-rich resins extracted from the plant. Extracts are quite powerful, delivering very large amounts of THC to the body. This has sent many users to the emergency room.

…Researchers are still studying the long-term effects of marijuana. But what is known is that the younger a person begins using pot, such as in the teen years, the greater the declines in general knowledge, impaired thinking, learning difficulties and lowered IQ.

The article discusses the medical claims and research on marijuana:

At this time, treating medical conditions using marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. There is still insufficient data from large, long-term, well-designed studies on the potential risks versus benefits of using marijuana to relieve symptoms of certain medical conditions.

There are however, ongoing studies on cannabidiol, a component of marijuana that does not have the mind-altering effects of THC. That may hold potential promise in helping conditions like drug-resistant epilepsy and some psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, substance use disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis.

The article concludes:

No matter how much fun using marijuana looks like on TV or in the movies, no matter what your friends say about it, no matter how many people tell you it’s harmless, and no matter what laws politicians pass to get votes or raise tax revenue, remember one thing: unless you have certain medical conditions where the drug may be beneficial, you are better off without it.

The campaign to legalize marijuana is not unlike the campaign to encourage smoking that went on in the motion picture and entertainment industries up until recent years. We all saw how well that turned out.

The Definition Of Serendipity

Serendipity means a “fortunate or happy unplanned coincidence”. We may be seeing an example of that concept in one of the unintended consequences of the recently passed tax bill.

Yesterday the Associated Press reported the following:

In New Jersey and California, top Democratic officials want to let people make charitable contributions to the state instead of paying certain taxes. In Connecticut and New York, officials are exploring a switch from income taxes to new ones on payroll. A few governors have even called for tax cuts.

The ideas are bubbling up as state lawmakers begin their 2018 sessions and assess the effects of the Republican tax overhaul that President Donald Trump signed into law last month. Lawmakers and governors in some states are grappling with how to protect their constituents.

Loosely translated this is what is happening as a result of the fact that states with low state taxes will no longer be subsidizing states with high state taxes. Under the current plan, if your real estate taxes were $20,000 a year, which is not unusual in New York, Connecticut, New Jersey or California, you knew you could deduct them on your federal income tax, so it really wasn’t that important to you. Now those deductions will be limited to $10,000 and you will still have to pay the balance to your state.

No one likes it when their gravy train is cut off.

The article further reports:

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo used his state-of-the-state speech to pledge to sue over the GOP tax plan, which he called “an assault” by the federal government. A lawsuit would add taxes to the growing list of Trump administration policies that Democratic states have challenged in court.

Other states have not committed to sue, but some leaders have indicated they’ll explore the idea.

“I’m certainly not a constitutional lawyer, but the notion that this is not constitutional is something we want to pursue,” said Phil Murphy, New Jersey’s Democratic governor-elect.

Officials in California and Connecticut also said this week they were considering legal options.

In high-tax states, officials have been focused on protecting taxpayers from the impact of a new $10,000 cap on deductions for paying state and local taxes. In California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York, more than one-third of tax filers claim the state and local tax deduction on federal taxes; the average deduction in each state is over $15,000.

The Constitution gives Congress the right to levy taxes. Good luck with your lawsuit.

It is remotely possible that fiscal responsibility may be forced on some of our high-taxed states. When you consider that the Founding Fathers saw each state as a laboratory to experiment with unique ideas, it becomes obvious that some states did better than others in controlling expenses. Those states which controlled expenses have been subsidizing those that spent wildly for years. It is nice that things are changing. Now the governments of those states who have overspent need to change.