Weighing The Facts

Yesterday I posted an article about the sentencing of General Michael Flynn. In the article I noted that there were some curious circumstances surrounding the interview in which General Flynn is accused of lying. Evidently I am not the only person concerned about those circumstances.

The American Thinker posted an article today about the judge who will be sentencing General Flynn.

The article reports:

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is due to sentence General Michael Flynn next Tuesday, has thrown a wild card on the table, raising the possibility that a miscarriage of justice may finally be called out and the guilty plea coerced by Team Mueller thrown out.

Thanks to the sentencing memorandum filed by counsel for General Michael Flynn, we now see that the FBI used deception to ensnare him in a perjury trap.

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial titled, “The Flynn Entrapment.”

The editorial states:

Of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s many targets, the most tragic may be former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The former three-star general pleaded guilty last year to a single count of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Now we learn from Mr. Flynn’s court filing to the sentencing judge that senior bureau officials acted in a way to set him up for the fall.

Not a rich man after decades in uniform, Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to avoid bankruptcy and spare his son from becoming a legal target. Mr. Flynn’s filing doesn’t take issue with the description of his offense. But the “additional facts” the Flynn defense team flags for the court raise doubts about FBI conduct.

The Flynn filing describes government documents concerning the Jan. 24, 2017 meeting with two FBI agents when Mr. Flynn supposedly lied. It turns out the meeting was set up by then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally called Mr. Flynn that day on other business—to discuss an FBI training session. By Mr. McCabe’s account, on that call he told Mr. Flynn he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with him to talk about his Russia communications.

There is another clue in The American Thinker article as to why the Judge is asking questions:

Chuck Ross reports for the Daily Caller News Foundation on Judge Sullivan’s startling order:

District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Wednesday ordered Flynn’s lawyers to hand over two documents: a memo that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote after speaking with Flynn ahead his Jan. 24, 2017 interview with two FBI agents and the FBI summary of notes taken during that same interview.

That summary, known as an FD-302, was compiled on Aug. 22, 2017 by the two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn. It is unclear why the summary was put together seven months after the Flynn interview.

When you look at the actions of the FBI and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team, you find that in some cases civil rights were trampled (attorney-client privilege, having a lawyer present, being put in solitary confinement for crimes that did not warrant it, etc.). Hopefully the actions of Judge Sullivan will cause both the FBI Special Prosecutor Mueller to be more aware of the civil rights of all Americans.

One Can Only Hope The Truth Will Come Out

Yesterday Sara Carter reported on a public hearing that is going to take place today.

The article reports:

A trove of documents on the Clinton Foundation alleging possible pay for play and tax evasion have been turned over to the FBI and IRS by several investigative whistleblowers, who will be testifying in an open hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, according to the committee and lawmakers.

Roughly 6,000 documents that are expected to reveal the nearly two-year investigation by the whistleblowers with a private firm called MDA Analytics LLC, which allegedly turned over the documents more than a year and a half ago to the IRS, according to John Solomon, who first published the report last week in The Hill. 

There is a connection between the whistleblowers and Robert Mueller:

However, a former whistleblower, who has spoken with agents from the Little Rock FBI field office last year and worked for years as an undercover informant collecting information on Russia’s nuclear energy industry for the bureau, noted his enormous frustration with the DOJ and FBI. He describes as a two-tiered justice system that failed to actively investigate the information he provided years ago on the Clinton Foundation and Russia’s dangerous meddling with the U.S. nuclear industry and energy industry during the Obama administration.

William D. Campbell’s story was first published by this reporter in 2017. He turned over more than 5,000 documents and detailed daily briefs to the bureau when he served as a confidential informant reporting on Russia’s nuclear giant Rosatom. Campbell worked as an energy consultant, gaining the trust of Russians and providing significant insight into Russia’s strategic plans to gain global dominance in the uranium industry. He reported on Russian’s intentions to build a closer relationship with Obama administration officials, to include then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as reported. The documents he turned over to the DOJ, which were reviewed by this news site, showed Campbell had also provided highly sensitive information both related to the uranium case, as well as other intelligence matters, since 2006.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller was the director of the FBI at the time Campbell was a confidential informant and according to Campbell, the information was briefed to Mueller by his FBI handlers.

It seems as if the corruption and blindness in the FBI is not a new thing.

Is This What The Voters Wanted?

Yesterday The Daily Wire reported a statement from New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James. The statement is troubling on many levels.

The article reports:

New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James is buttressing President Trump’s claims that there is a “witch hunt” pursuing him; she told NBC News that she intends to investigate not only the president, but also his family and “anyone” in his circle who may have violated the law.

James blustered, “We will use every area of the law to investigate President Trump and his business transactions and that of his family as well,” adding, “We want to investigate anyone in his orbit who has, in fact, violated the law.”

The article also notes:

When she campaigned for attorney general, James stated that she supported legislation allowing prosecutors to charge individuals who received a presidential pardon. Because of the double jeopardy clause, if an individual receives pardons for crimes at the federal level, they cannot be tried at the state level. James stated:

After careful deliberation, I am urging the state legislature to swiftly pass legislation which safeguards against President Trump’s attacks on the rule of law in our country. The pending legislation closes a loophole in our state law that effectively allows the president to pardon individuals for crimes committed in New York State. Given President Trump’s recent use of the presidential pardon in a case adjudicated in New York State and his claim that he can pardon himself as he pleases, it’s clear that we must act now. We can protect New Yorkers from double jeopardy prosecutions without giving away our state’s ability to deliver justice for all.

I wonder if this lady has actually read her job description.

According to the National Association of Attorneys General:

As the chief legal officer of the states, commonwealths and territories of the United States, the attorneys general serve as counselors to their legislatures and state agencies and also as the “People’s Lawyer” for all citizens. Originating in the mid-13th century in the office of England’s “King’s Attorney,” the office had become, by the American Revolution, one of advisor to the Crown and to government agencies.

While varying from one jurisdiction to the next due to statutory and constitutional mandates, typical powers of the attorneys general include the authority to issue formal opinions to state agencies; act as public advocates in areas such as child support enforcement, consumer protections, antitrust and utility regulation; propose legislation; enforce federal and state environmental laws; represent the state and state agencies before the state and federal courts; handle criminal appeals and serious statewide criminal prosecutions; institute civil suits on behalf of the state; represent the public’s interests in charitable trust and solicitations; and operate victim compensation programs.

What New York Attorney Gen.-elect Letitia James plans to do is highly unethical. Using one’s public office to personally go after a person or family you disagree with or don’t like is a blatant abuse of power.  She deserves to be immediately censured for her statements if not impeached.

Little By Little We Are Learning The Truth

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the sentencing of General Michael Flynn. The article sheds some light on the circumstances that led to the charges against General Flynn and the role former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe played in creating those circumstances.

The article reports:

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

I understand that politics can be a dirty business, but this is a disgrace. It is becoming very obvious that General Flynn was set up. It would be interesting to know what he was threatened with by the Mueller gang if he chose not to plead guilty.

The article further reports:

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

…”The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.” (The underline is mine.)

I personally think the charges against General Flynn should be dismissed.

If It’s Not About The Money, What Is It About?

In January of 2018, The Washington Times noted that the estimated $18 billion over the next decade spent on a border wall between the United States and Mexico would be roughly 0.0338 percent of the $53.128 trillion the Congressional Budget Office currently estimates the federal government will spend over that same 10-year period. So what is all the fuss about?

Yesterday WWF came to the Oval Office in the White House when Representative Nancy Pelosi and Senator Chuck Schumer discussed the border wall with President Trump. YouTube posted the video:

The battle is not about money–it’s about votes. The Democrats have lost some of the voting blocs they have counted on to win elections–they can no longer be sure of the working man’s vote or the union vote. So how are they going to win elections? They are counting on the minority vote. The Democrats are afraid that if the wall is built, they will lose the Hispanic vote.

According to the Pew Research Center, this is how Hispanics voted in 2018:

According to a USA Today article posted November 9, 2016, President Trump did surprisingly well among Hispanic voters:

Hispanics favored Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton 65% to 29%, a 36-point difference that helped her secure winning margins in states like Nevada and Colorado and kept her competitive late into the night in other key battleground states.

But that margin, based on exit polling conducted by Edison Research, was smaller than the 71%-27% split that President Obama won in 2012. And it was smaller than the 72%-21% her husband, former president Bill Clinton, won in 1996.

Because the Democrats are becoming more dependent on the votes of minority groups to win elections, it is easy to understand why they would oppose any legislation or spending that most cost them votes in the minority community.

The Real Numbers

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the federal deficit and federal revenues. The numbers tell a very different story than the one the media would have you believe.

The editorial reports:

The latest monthly budget report from the Congressional Budget Office shows the deficit jumping $102 billion in just the first two months of the new fiscal year.

…A true apples-to-apples comparison, the CBO says, shows that the deficit climbed by just $13 billion.

So, no, the deficit is not soaring.

The editorial explains:

In fact, the CBO report shows that overall tax revenues climbed by $14 billion in the first two months of the year, compared with the same months last year. Which means they continue to hit new highs.

The CBO report shows that combined income and payroll taxes were the same in the first two months of the new fiscal year as they were last year. That’s even though far less money was withheld from paychecks thanks to the Trump tax cuts.

It also found that corporate income taxes went up by $5 billion. That’s despite the “massive corporate tax giveaway” that Democrats want to repeal.

Why are these revenues flat or up? Simple: The tax cuts help spur accelerated economic growth, which create jobs and spark income gains. More workers and higher wages mean more tax revenues. On the corporate side, a bigger economy means more profits, which even when taxed at lower rates can produce more revenue. This is exactly what advocates of Trump’s pro-growth tax cuts said would happen.

Meanwhile, revenue from “other sources” climbed by $8 billion. (To be clear, at least some of that $8 billion came from the re-imposition of ObamaCare’s nefarious tax on insurance premiums, which Congress had suspended the year before.)

But while revenues climbed by $14 billion, spending in the first two months of the new fiscal year climbed by $27 billion.

The obvious solution to the deficit problem is to limit spending. If we can’t agree on that, we could lower taxes again to increase revenue further, but I suspect that would really cause some Congressional heads to explode.

Common Sense Begins

The Washington Times reported yesterday that President Trump plans to make a major change in immigration rules. The new rule would require immigrants to show they aren’t a public burden if they want to extend their visas or get on the path to citizenship. That sounds like common sense to me. America is struggling to take care of her veterans, and struggling to provide assistance to the people already here. Why would we bring in more people from other countries to drain our welfare system further?

The article reports:

The president’s backers said they expect Mr. Trump and his team to finalize the proposal. If anything, they said, it doesn’t go far enough to crack down on what appears to be rampant welfare use by noncitizens and their children.

“I think they’re going to implement them as is or with some tweaks. This is the kind of thing he was elected for,” said Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “While there might be advocacy groups that object to that idea, the fact is most Americans think immigrants should be self-sufficient, so I think they’re on pretty strong ground.”

The center released a study this month calculating that a staggering 63 percent of households led by noncitizens use at least one welfare program. The rate for households led by native-born Americans is just 35 percent.

It would also be a good idea to begin to put a time limit on welfare programs. For instance, a person could not get housing assistance for more than 10 years or food stamps for more than 5 years unless they showed proof of at least part-time employment or job training. We cannot afford to continue to take money away from people who earn it and give it to people who didn’t earn it and think they are entitled to it.

A Tale Told By An Idiot, Full Of Sound And Fury, Signifying Nothing

I’m sure you recognize the above quote from Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It also pretty much describes the investigation carried out by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. What started out with many people convinced that Russia interfered in our election has now boiled down to the fact that President Trump paid some women he behaved badly with to keep quiet. Wow. Talk about a downward slide.

Mark Penn, who formerly served as an advisor to President Clinton, posted an article at The Hill yesterday which illustrates some of Robert Mueller’s mendacity.

The article reports:

I’m experiencing 1998 déjà vu as prosecutors once again work overtime to turn extramarital affairs and the efforts to keep them secret into impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors. Unable to get the witnesses to compose the stories they want, today’s prosecutors are discovering they can simply compose the crimes by manipulating the pleas of men desperate to protect their families.

The Michael Cohen sentencing memo took aim directly at both Cohen and President Donald Trump. It was used, unethically, to cast the president as directing a criminal conspiracy to make “secret and illegal” payments. Sentencing memos are not supposed to use secret grand jury info to point fingers at those who are not being sentenced, but that’s exactly what these did.

One can say today that these New York prosecutors, acolytes of fired U.S. District Attorney Preet Bharra, have learned that the “plea’s the thing wherein to catch the king.” First, they went after the man, not the crime, and turned up millions in unpaid taxes and some bank-loan misrepresentations by Cohen. At that point, they convinced him to cave for the sake of his family; the trick was to get him to plead guilty to supposedly two campaign finance “felonies,” and then vaguely implicate the president as directing them (which Trump denies).

Despite promises to the contrary from prosecutors, they threw their star witness off the bus anyway, making him the biggest chump in this drama after he hired attorney Lanny Davis and burned all his bridges with his former client. Once they had the guilty pleas in hand, the prosecutors no longer needed Cohen; they trashed him as a greedy liar and called for substantial jail time.

The reason these two guilty pleas were so valuable is that these prosecutors could not, in my opinion, have gotten them in court. The first payment was not even made by Cohen but by American Media Inc., a bona fide media company with First Amendment protections; it could have decided to use the story that it bought, hold the story, or just prevent some competitor from using the story.

The article cites the legal precedent for the fact that a payment to a mistress or a publication is not a campaign contribution:

Perhaps the biggest difference between oppo research and paying for nondisclosure of an affair is that one is definitely a campaign expense and the other is a personal expense not covered by election law. When prosecutors brought a similar case against former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.), they failed to get a conviction and it came out that FEC auditors had determined that the payments from donors to his mistress were not a campaign expense at all.

The article also points out that the typical remedy for a campaign finance violation is a fine–not indictment or impeachment. This charade is getting very old. Robert Mueller has been a man in search of a crime. He felt as if he already had the guilty party in his sights, he just needed to find the crime. Just for the record, that is not how the American justice system is supposed to work.

Unbelievable

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about a recent statement by Representative Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. Representative Nadler told CNN’s Jake Tapper that President Trump’s hush money payments to two women with his own money are impeachable offenses.Somehow lost in this discussion was the fact that Congress paid has paid out $17 million in the past 10 years, public records show, for unwanted sexual advances by unnamed lawmakers.

The offenses were by unnamed lawmakers. And the money came from taxpayers. So paying women to be quiet with your own money is impeachable, but paying women to be quiet using taxpayer money is acceptable. Wow. Who knew?

The article includes the following tweet:

That is an interesting question.

A Wonderful Story

This was posted on my Facebook feed by Sivan Rahav Meir:

“Shalom, Sivan. I must tell you about something that we experienced during the last few days. The White House invited my mother to a Hanukkah party with Trump. My mom, the Holocaust survivor Zehava Unger, 88 years old, refused to go. She had long scheduled on that day an annual Hanukkah party with the entire family, and this was supposed to be her chance to meet her more than 90 descendants! For her, this is the biggest victory over the Nazis. Only after heavy pressure from the family, did she agree to change her priorities and said ‘yes’ to the White House. It was an amazing party. I’m surprised that it wasn’t covered in the Israeli Media. Trump decided to invite 8 Holocaust survivors, one for every Hanukkah candle. It was moving to see him call the seven female survivors and one male survivor to the stage, one by one, by name, and among them – my mom. He spoke about the heroism of the Maccabees and about them continuing that heroism, since they fought against the worst kind of evil in our time, and prevailed. He turned to them and said: ‘For you I moved the embassy to Jerusalem. I did it for you.” My mother handed Trump a personal letter, and this is what she wrote there:
‘On Hanukkah of 1944 I was languishing in Auschwitz; alone, freezing and hungry; not knowing how many more seconds the Nazi beasts would allow me to live. I was only 14 years old at the time. Ironically, a delegation of Jewish Rabbis couldn’t even make their way into the White House to plead for us… Miraculously, I survived, without anyone helping me and I had no family and no home to return to. Seventy-four years later it is again Hanukkah, and the pages of history have fortunately turned. Today, I am a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to scores of lovely children. I am privileged to be invited to the White House, which is now occupied by the greatest friend the Jewish people has ever had among the leaders of the free world'”.

Wow!

The Economy Under President Trump

I am not an economist, but I have learned over the years to listen to the people with the best track records on analysis. One of those people is Stephen Moore, who posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

The article reports:

Liberals are tripping over themselves to explain why the economy has performed so much better under Donald Trump than it did under Barack Obama. The economy has grown by nearly 4% over the past six months, and the final number for 2018 is expected to come in at between 3% and 3.5%. The U.S. growth rate has doubled since Mr. Obama’s last year in office.

When Mr. Trump was elected, many Democratic pundits predicted an economic and stock-market meltdown. Then the economy started surging and they abruptly changed their tune, arguing that Mr. Trump was simply riding a global growth wave. That narrative was shattered when U.S. growth kept steaming ahead even as global growth—especially in China and Germany—stalled.

The people who predicted an economic crash if President Trump was elected are now saying that the tax cuts have given us a ‘sugar high’, and the market will crash when the sugar wears off. That makes about as much sense as President Obama taking credit for the move toward American energy independence.

The article continues:

The real contradiction in the “sugar high” argument is that it ignores the slow growth of the Obama years, which featured an avalanche of debt spending. Deficits as a share of GDP were 9.8% in 2009, 8.6% in 2010, 8.3% in 2011 and 6.7% in 2012. Where was the sugar high then? Instead of the expected burst in output coming out of the 2008-09 recession, borrowing more than $1 trillion a year for four years yielded the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Even excluding 2009, Mr. Obama’s deficits averaged more than 5% of GDP throughout the rest of his presidency but produced less growth than Mr. Trump has with lower deficits.

This wasn’t what Keynesians expected. Mr. Obama’s economic team predicted 4% growth every year coming out of the recession. Instead the “sugar high” from record peacetime deficits produced measly 2% growth. By 2016 GDP was running about $2 trillion below the trend line of a normal recovery.

The fastest growth rate over the past three decades was recorded in Bill Clinton’s second term, when federal government spending fell from 21.5% to 18% of GDP and deficits disappeared into surpluses. So much for the idea that deficit spending is a stimulant.

Mr. Trump’s fiscal policies have produced more growth than Mr. Obama’s because they were designed to incentivize businesses to invest, hire and produce more here at home. The Obama “stimulus,” by contrast, went for food stamps, unemployment benefits, ObamaCare subsidies, “cash for clunkers” and failed green energy handouts.

The article concludes:

Those pushing the “sugar high” fallacy also don’t realize that the Trump tax cuts aren’t going away soon. The 2017 business tax cuts can’t cause a recession in 2019 or 2020 because they don’t expire until 2025. They aren’t sugar pills.

The biggest threats to the economic boom and financial markets today are a deflationary Federal Reserve and the specter of a global trade war. Solve those problems and the American economy can keep flying high on its own power. And Mr. Trump’s critics will be proved wrong again.

When you decrease taxes and regulations on businesses, we all gain. That combination, if allowed to continue, will bring us continued economic growth.

A New Face

The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Kathy Kraninger has been confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and will serve for the next five years.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile the CFPB is still facing major legal hurdles.

Some federal judges have ruled that by placing so much power — including an independent budget that Congress doesn’t control — in a single director, the CFPB violates the Constitution. But a ruling earlier this year by the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the singe-director structure.

Let’s take a look at the inception of the CFPB. The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was Congress’ way of dealing with the housing bubble that caused the recession of 2008. However, the congressional solution was aimed at banks and Wall Street. It made no mention of the role that Congress had played in creating the housing crisis and made no effort to take responsibility for their actions or prevent a repeat of the problem.

In 1995 The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was changed, allowing Fannie Mae to purchase $2 billion of “My Community Mortgage” Loans, pilot vendors to customize affordable products for low and moderate income borrowers. Some of the things done to make the loans more affordable were low (or no) down payments and variable interest rates. Fannie Mae guarantees mortgages and then sells them to banks and investors. Banks were forced to issue sub-prime mortgages or pay large penalties. As more people took out mortgages, the price of houses rose quickly.  In 2005, 91 percent of Fannie Mae loans were variable rate loans. In 2004, 92 percent of Fannie Mae subprime loans were variable rate loans. Interest rates rose, gas prices increased, and people could not pay their mortgages. The subprime market collapsed, and foreclosures increased rapidly. Banks stopped making mortgage loans.

There were efforts made to stop this train. On September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported:

Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

…a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision  on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The Democrats opposed the reform. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that it would mean less affordable housing. Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, said that it would limit the ability of poor families to get affordable housing.

In 2005, John McCain warned of a coming mortgage collapse. He sponsored S.190 (109th), Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. The Democrats blocked it. It was again brought up and blocked in 2007.

Opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions to politicians. Fannie Mae gave generously to insure that it would not be regulated. Some Democrats and Fannie Mae executives had ‘sweetheart’ loans from mortgage companies that were heavily involved in sub-prime mortgages.

So where am I going with this? The housing bubble was created by bad legislation. Bad legislation continues. In August 2016, The New York Post reported:

The Obama administration is doing its best to give the nation another mortgage meltdown.

As Paul Sperry recently noted in The Post, Team Obama has pushed mortgage lenders to offer home loans to folks with shaky credit, setting up conditions for another housing-market collapse.

Wasn’t the last one bad enough?

Credit scores of approved borrowers, for example, have been trending down, even as their debt levels have grown.

The Federal Housing Administration and government-sponsored “independent” lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been demanding lower credit standards — just as the feds did starting under President Bill Clinton, in pursuit of the same “affordable housing” goal.

Some borrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie Mae loan — even if the downpayment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (and Dodd-Frank) were not related to the cause of the 2008 recession–the recession was the result of bad laws. Both the CFPB and Dodd-Frank need to go away. They are nothing but a blatant example of government overreach.

South Africa Moves Toward Taking Land Without Compensation

On Tuesday U.S. News posted an article about the move to take land from South Africans without paying them any compensation. The parliament recently approved a report endorsing a constitutional amendment that would allow expropriations without compensation.

The article reports:

Land is a hot-button issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions among the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.

A parliamentary team last month recommended a constitutional amendment to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation in the public interest.

The article continues:

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma in February, has prioritized land redistribution as he seeks to unite the fractured ruling African National Congress (ANC) and win public support ahead of an election next year.

But the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and some rights groups are critical of the government’s plans, saying it will jeopardize property rights and scare off investors.

“We support expropriation of land without compensation or zero Rand compensation in the public interest,” the ANC’s Vincent Smith said during the parliamentary debate.

Ahead of Tuesday’s debate, John Steenhuisen, the main opposition’s chief whip, said “the DA will not hesitate to approach the courts” should the report backing the expropriation of land be adopted.

Following Tuesday’s vote, a new bill proposing the change to Section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation would need to be drafted.

It would also require the public’s contribution before a debate and vote in the assembly. To become law, it would need passed by both houses of parliament and then signed by Ramaphosa. It is unclear how long this process would take.

Last week the High Court rejected a legal challenge brought by AfriForum, a group representing mainly white Afrikaners who wanted to overturn a parliamentary committee report supporting changes to the constitution.

There are some things the South African government might want to consider if they decide to move forward with the idea of seizing land without compensation. Although that might seem like a solution to the misdeeds of the past, it is simply a misdeed in the present. Taking anything from someone without compensation is not a path toward harmony. Because the land distribution seems to be so uneven, wouldn’t it be better to require people who hold large portions of land to sell portions of it under government supervision at a reasonable price. Otherwise, you are infringing on private property rights. In December 2010, I posted an article about the relationship between private property rights, the rule of law, and prosperity. You cannot have prosperity without private property rights or without the rule of law. To seize property without compensation violates this principle. It is the way to poverty for South Africa.

 

What A Wonderful Gesture

The following is a press release put out by Chick-Fil-A on December 4th:

Chick-fil-A is now an official associate partner of the 119th Army- Navy Game presented by USAA. One of the most storied and iconic rivalries in all of sports will take place on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field with the broadcast on CBS. The Chick-fil-A partnership includes a pop-up restaurant in Philadelphia that will be part of an experiential watch party for military service men and women. Chick-fil-A will host active duty military, veterans and their families at the private event.

The partnership and event are an extension of Chick-fil-A’s active involvement in college football which includes the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which is part of the College Football Playoff,” said Keith Hester, Sports & Entertainment Partnerships at Chick-fil-A. “Chick-fil-A is proud to support and honor the men and women in the military and their families who have served, are serving, and will serve our country.”

The Chick-fil-A pop-up restaurant is designed to bring fans of rival football teams together by creating a shared table. Members of the military will attend the event to participate in spirited competition, a shared meal and a watch party. Army and Navy active military and veterans can register to attend the event by RSVP via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chick-fil-a-army-navy-watch-party-tickets-52313236298

Other activities include a card writing station to show military appreciation, giveaways, food and much more. Chick-fil-A will also be flying in Army and Navy veterans nominated by local franchise Operators located across the country to attend the pre-game ceremonies and the game.  

Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy was a World War II veteran himself, and the company is proud to count many veterans among the more than 120,000 Operators, Team Members, and staff who represent the brand nationwide. The company plans to continue its commitment to hiring and honoring veterans, recognizing the value in their unique skills and easing the transition to civilian life after service. Recently, Chick-fil-A was named No. 2 on Indeed’s list of Top-Rated Workplaces as ranked by military veterans.

There are many reasons I love Chick-Fil-A.

There Are Very Few People Who Actually Want To Clean Up Washington

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the uniparty that current controls Washington, D.C. The uniparty is made up of the professional republicans and the professional democrats. Their common enemy is Donald Trump.

The article reports:

The same UniParty dynamic is visible in the way the FBI/DOJ and aggregate intelligence community were weaponized against Donald Trump – with Democrats and Republicans participating in the unlawful processes.   Now, in the downstream consequence phase, we see a UniParty defense approach to block Trump from revealing what happened.

I’m not sure people fully completely understand this dynamic within “spygate”.  It was not a targeting operation by democrats; republicans were just as complicit. The ongoing goal to eliminate candidate and president Trump is *not* partisan.

Which brings me to the current state of the advisers around the executive.  Remember, there are trillions at stake here – and the downstream benefactors are both Republicans and Democrats who make up the UniParty.

Within the UniParty dynamic, in order to retain full financial benefit, the political class need to align with Wall Street priorities.  That alignment means the UniParty needs to eliminate Main Street priorities that are adverse to their interests.

The article concludes:

Border controls and immigration enforcement are adverse interests to the UniParty. Additional cross party alignment to benefit Wall Street surrounds: •budgets and massive government spending; •government controlled healthcare retention; •government controlled education (common core); •and most importantly the removal of any national economic and trade policy that would threaten the structure of the multinationals.

On all of these issues the Democrats and Republicans have identical outlooks, common interests and mirrored legislative priorities. It is not coincidental that US Chamber of Commerce President Tom Dohonue also outlined these issues as primary priorities for his massive lobbyist spending.

There are trillions of dollars at stake; and we must never discount how far the Big Club participants will go to ensure the White House counselors are shaping their advice toward those objectives.

There are no MAGA lobbying groups in Washington DC advocating for policies that benefit economic nationalism. On this objective President Donald Trump stands alone.

We don’t need a third party in Washington DC, we actually need a second one.

This is a pretty good explanation as to why the promises that Republican Congressmen running for office made were broken–as long as President Obama was in power, they were safe promises–he was not likely to sign any law they passed that differed from Democrat ideas. When President Trump was elected, the Republicans had to put up or shut up. They chose to shut up in order to maintain their big donors and people they are beholden to other than the American voters. With a  few exceptions, we haven’t had Republican leaders in Congress since Newt Gingrich, and the establishment did a pretty good job of marginalizing him. If the Republican party continues on its current path, it will no longer exist in five years.

Misplacing The Blame

For years the Republicans told us that if they controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate, they would repeal ObamaCare, defund Planned Parenthood, and build a border wall. We gave them the House and the Senate. Then they said they couldn’t do what they said because they didn’t have the Presidency. So we gave them the Presidency. We were so naive. When they knew their votes on these matters would not be vetoed, they broke the promises they made to the voters and voted against repealing, defunding, and building.

On Thursday Breitbart posted an article about some recent comments by Tucker Carlson.

The article reports:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an interview Thursday that President Donald Trump has succeeded as a conversation starter but has failed to keep his most important campaign promises.

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund Planned Parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson told Urs Gehriger of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche.

“I’ve come to believe that Trump’s role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does,” said Carlson, whose new book Ship of Fools is a New York Times bestseller.

I like Tucker Carlson. I enjoy his TV show, but I think he is totally wrong on this. Republicans in Congress also made these promises. They had the votes to keep all of these promises, pass the laws needed, and send the bills to President Trump for his signature. I don’t think the problem is President Trump. I think the problem is Republicans in Congress that have reneged on their promises because of the groups that are funding their campaigns. Opensecrets.org is the website that tracks campaign donations. If you want to know why we don’t have a border wall, look at the expenditures of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are a group that likes the cheap labor of a porous border. The contribute heavily to Republican lawmakers. That is one reason there is no border wall. There won’t be as long as the Congressmen who receive money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are in office. If you want to know why Planned Parenthood is still getting government money, look at the campaign donations they make. How much money is the healthcare lobby pouring into Congress? The problem is not President Trump.

A Rookie Mistake Or A Portent Of Things To Come?

Not every country in the world has freedom of speech. In a case recently decided, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appealed an Austrian court’s conviction of her for denigrating the beliefs of an officially recognized religion by uttering “hate speech” against the prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her appeal.

For those who came in late, the hateful words uttered by Elisabeth were in the form of a rhetorical question about Mohammed’s sexual relationship with a 9-year-old girl: “What would you call it, if not ‘pedophilia’?”

The European Court of Human Rights is made up of a group of countries considered to be part of western civilization. What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said is true, but evidently that fact did not help her case. How in the world did we get here? We need to realize that free speech is a gift that needs to be protected.

Meanwhile back in America, yesterday The Federalist posted an article about a recent statement by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Admittedly the new Congresswoman is not known for her knowledge of the U.S. Constitution or any familiarity with her new job description, but her comment is somewhat chilling.

The tweet below is her response to a meme about socialism that she did not find humorous:

There are some problems with that statement.

The article notes:

Now, in a perfect world, we’d be holding debates about the merits of state-controlled economies versus markets via more dignified forums and mediums, but that’s not how things go in 2018. Not only is this all absurdly juvenile, but Ocasio-Cortez should be aware that, per page 150 of the House Ethics Manual, “Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members and staff are likewise prohibited from threatening punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

This seems like a small matter, but it is not. Essentially it is an incoming member of Congress threatening to use subpoena power against someone she disagrees with. Combine that with the censorship of conservatives on social media, the concept of ‘hate speech’ (who determines hate speech?), and the rumblings that the First Amendment is no longer needed, and you have the potential for Americans losing a large portion of their freedom. Pay attention and stay tuned. This may not have been a casual remark.

 

 

Stalling For Time

In less than four weeks, the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives. So what can we expect before than happens? I don’t mean to be cynical, but I suspect we will see the illusion of motion while very little is actually accomplished.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about James Comey’s testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concerning the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the irregularities in the FISA applications that allowed the Justice Department to spy on the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration.

The article reports:

FOX News Catherine Herridge reported that a DOJ attorney is telling Comey not to answer questions. They may have to call Comey back in for more questioning.

The Republicans in the House have maybe two working weeks before losing control of the House. Does anyone honestly believe that Comey will answer pertinent questions about these matters in that time? Does anyone honestly believe that the Democrats will ask these questions after they take control of the House?

I don’t know why the Republicans have avoided dealing with this previously. I do know that this looks very much like they wanted to look like they were doing something without actually accomplishing anything. I think a lot of voters are getting very tired of that method of doing business.

A Summation Of What Robert Mueller Is Actually Doing

On December 1, Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review summarizing what he believes is the goal of the Mueller investigation. His summary makes a lot of sense.

First of all Andrew McCarthy reminds us that this investigation is leading to a report–not a trial. Therefore, the fact that the only charges so far involve lying (which obviously discredits a witness in a trial) is irrelevant. He then notes that the investigation is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation.

The article notes:

This is why, from the beginning of the Trump-Russia investigation, and certainly since Mueller’s appointment on May 17, 2017, we have stressed that the probe is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. The idea was not to dizzy you with Justice Department esoterica. The point is that we don’t want prosecutors involved until it has been established that a crime was probably committed, warranting use of their awesome, intimidating investigative powers. Our main interest is in the crime we authorize prosecutors to investigate; we are not looking to have prosecutors manufacture crimes through the process of investigating — even if we agree that people should not be permitted to lie to investigators with impunity.

With respect to the president and “collusion,” Mueller does not have a crime he is investigating. He is investigating in hopes of finding a crime, which is a day-and-night different thing.

The article further explains the methods of investigation being used:

Mueller is turning such lies into guilty pleas, for three reasons.

First, he is not going to indict the president, which would precipitate a trial at some point. The convicted liars are not going to be jury-trial witnesses, so Mueller is not concerned about their lack of credibility. The report will detail disturbing — and thus politically damaging — connections between Trump associates and Kremlin cronies. But there will be no collusion crime, and thus no charges and no need for witnesses.

Second, with the media as his biggest cheerleader (other than Jeff Flake), the false-statements pleas create the illusion of a collusion crime, and thus appear to vindicate Mueller’s sprawling investigation. As I’ve previously explained, the game works this way: The media reports that Mueller is investigating Trump–Russia collusion and that dozens of people have been charged or convicted; but the media omits that no one has been charged, much less convicted, of any crime involving collusion between Trump and Russia. The great mass of people who do not follow the news closely come away thinking a Trump–Russia collusion crime is an established fact; by now, Mueller must be tightening the noose around Trump because he’s already rolled up a bunch of the apparent accomplices.

Third, defendants convicted of making false statements are very useful because Mueller is writing a report, not preparing for a jury trial. Convicted liars never get cross-examined in a report. Nor do they give the bumpy, inconsistent testimony you hear in a courtroom. Instead, their version of events is outlined by a skilled prosecutor, who writes well and knows how to make their stories sing in perfect harmony. They will sound far better in the report than they would on the witness stand. We’ve already gotten a taste of this in the offense narratives Mueller has incorporated in each guilty plea. Read the criminal information in Cohen’s case and ask yourself whether Mr. Fixer could have recited matters with such clarity.

Aside from the fact that this investigation has been a colossal waste of money, it is sad that the press so readily signed on to the idea of bringing down a President they did not like. It’s odd that when Donald Trump was a Democrat he got awards for his work in racial harmony, was hailed for putting the first woman in charge of constructing a New York skyscraper, and fought city hall to make sure Mar-a-Lago did not discriminate against either Jewish people or black people. The press loved him then. They laughed at his unfiltered remarks and gladly put him in their social pages. It is amazing how much that changed when he ran for President as a Republican.

Glossing Over The Actual Crime

This week we watched the Mueller investigation recommend that Michael Flynn not be incarcerated because of his extensive cooperation with the investigation. This creates more questions than it answers. Why was there any kind of continuing investigation of Michael Flynn? Notes released from the investigation show that no one who interviewed him thought he was lying. So why wasn’t the investigation dropped? But wait–there’s more!

Kimberley Strassel posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday with the following title, “Mueller’s Gift to Obama.” The article reminds us that the charges against Michael Flynn were based on his telephone calls and interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. As incoming National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn would have been expected to have those conversations. It is also expected that those conversations would be wiretapped because they involved a Russian Ambassador. What is not protocol is the unmasking of General Flynn’s identity.

The article reports:

But what about the potential crimes that put Mr. Flynn in Mr. Mueller’s crosshairs to begin with? On Jan. 2, 2017, the Obama White House learned about Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Mr. Kislyak. The U.S. monitors phone calls of foreign officials, but under law they are supposed to “minimize” the names of any Americans caught up in such eavesdropping. In the Flynn case, someone in the prior administration either failed to minimize or purposely “unmasked” Mr. Flynn. The latter could itself be a felony.

Ten days later someone in that administration leaked to the Washington Post that Mr. Flynn had called Mr. Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016. On Feb. 9, 2017, someone leaked to the Post and the New York Times highly detailed and classified information about the Flynn-Kislyak conversation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has called this leak the most destructive to national security that he seen in his time in Washington. Disclosing classified information is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. The Post has bragged that its story was sourced by nine separate officials.

The Mueller team has justified its legal wanderings into money laundering (Paul Manafort) and campaign contributions (Michael Cohen) on grounds that it has an obligation to follow up on any evidence of crimes, no matter how disconnected from its Russia mandate. Mr. Flynn’s being caught up in the probe is related to a glaring potential crime of disclosing classified material, yet Mr. Mueller appears to have undertaken no investigation of that. Is this selective justice, or something worse? Don’t forget Mr. Mueller stacked his team with Democrats, some of whom worked at the highest levels of the Obama administration, including at the time of the possible Flynn unmasking and the first leak.

It is becoming very obvious that Robert Mueller’s investigation is wearing blinders. Their prosecution of Michael Flynn while ignoring the crime of leaking classified material and unmasking Americans on foreign phone calls  (not to mention ignoring the Clinton campaign’s relationship with Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, and the dossier) is a glaring example of the politicization of our Justice Department. The Congressional hysteria over the idea that Mueller could be fired or limited in any way is a glaring example of the ignorance on the part of some Congressmen of our Constitution. For the past two years we have had a taste of what it would be like to live in a country where justice is political. If we do not successfully deal with this, we will have taken a pretty big step toward becoming a banana republic.

 

 

This Might Have Interesting Implications For American Politics

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno said that the UK has provided written assurances that they will not extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to any country where he will face the death penalty.

I really don’t have an opinion about Julian Assange. Obviously he broke the law by leaking information that was classified. Whether or not those leaks put anyone in danger, I don’t know. I guess if you are concerned with Julian Assange and his leaks, you should also look at the information taken off Hillary Clinton’s private server that actually did put people in danger. At any rate, I don’t feel as if I know enough about what was actually leaked to understand his case. However, his problems with the American government began about 2008. The Obama administration was known to be harsh on any whistleblowers, and it is possible that Assange was simply a whistleblower. It is also possible that if Assange had successfully hacked into the files of the Obama administration he would be a reliable source on President Obama’s use of government agencies to target his political enemies. We know that happened with the IRS and conservative organizations, and it is becoming obvious that there were other instances where conservatives were spied upon–for example Sharyl Attkisson.

The article at The Gateway Pundit concludes:

It was recently revealed through a filing error that Assange has been secretly charged in the United States — though the nature of the charges remains unknown.

At the end of November, a judge heard arguments about unsealing the charges, but no decision was made.

The US government argued that the press and the public have no right to know what the charges against the publisher actually are. He explained that he would be willing to provide more information in a closed setting.

The UK has refused to acknowledge the findings of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (UNWGAD), which found that he is being arbitrarily and unlawfully detained and must be immediately released and compensated.

As Matt Taibbi recently wrote in a must read op-ed for Rolling Stone, “the more likely eventuality is a prosecution that uses the unpopularity of Assange to shut one of the last loopholes in our expanding secrecy bureaucracy. Americans seem not to grasp what might be at stake. Wikileaks briefly opened a window into the uglier side of our society, and if publication of such leaks is criminalized, it probably won’t open again.”

Stay tuned.

The Church Used To Be Part Of The Foundation Of America

Today The Daily Caller posted an article that includes an amazing quote by Tom Perez, the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

The article reports:

Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chair Tom Perez on Wednesday complained that voters are influenced by what they hear in church on Sundays.

Perez claimed that Republicans have an advantage because “people buy” what they hear at church.

…“I’ve learned this from the outreach we’ve done at the DNC. Why aren’t we penetrating, I ask? And I had someone in northwest Wisconsin tell me: ‘You know what? For most of the people I know, their principle sources of information are Fox News, the NRA newsletter and the pulpit on Sunday.’ And it should come as a surprise to no-one that our message doesn’t penetrate,” Perez continued.

“It should come as a surprise to no-one that that person has elevated the issue of courts to the top because that person on the pulpit is saying ‘ignore everything else that this person has done and is doing, we have to focus on one issue of Roe vs. Wade.’ And people buy it. Because that’s their only source,” Perez asserted.

It’s interesting to me that the Democrats love to criticize Fox News. It never occurs to them to criticize the bias of CNN, MSNBC, or any of the major outlets. I think the problem with Fox News (according to liberal thinking) is that it was the first network to present a narrative different from all of the other networks. The lead stories on the news at CNN, MSNBC, CBS, NBC, and ABC are quite likely to be the same. They may not be actually coordinated, but they will be the same. If you want a different perspective, you have to go to Fox News or alternative news sites on the media.

It is also interesting to me that a politician would be so bold as to criticize what people hear in church. This should be a wake up call to Americans that their votes matter–if people who think like Tom Perez gain full control of our government, what you hear in church may be severely censored.