Proof That Economic Policies Matter

The Cato Institute posts a report on freedom in each of the fifty states. The link posted here will send you to the North Carolina report, but you can get to information on any state from that link. I am focusing on North Carolina because it so beautifully illustrates the idea that economic policies matter.

This is the write up on North Carolina:

North Carolina is a rapidly growing southern state with a reasonably good economic freedom profile and an even better record on personal freedom, especially when compared with its neighbors.

North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies from 2011 to 2016. State taxes fell from 6.2 percent of adjusted personal income to a projected 5.7 percent, right around the national average. Local taxes have held steady over that period at 3.3 percent of income, seven-tenths of a percentage point below the national average. Debt and government consumption and employment fell, but so did financial assets.

Despite large inmigration, North Carolina has disdained excessive controls on the housing supply. Eminent domain was never effectively reformed. Labor law is good, with no minimum wage, a right-to-work law, and relatively relaxed workers’ compensation rules, but an E-Verify mandate was enacted in 2011. Regulation has killed off the managed care model for non-large-group health insurance. Cable and telecommunications have been liberalized. Occupational freedom is a weak spot, especially for the health professions. A sunrise review requirement for occupational licensing proposals was scrapped in 2011. North Carolina is one of the worst states for insurance freedom. It has a large residual market for personal automobile and homeowner’s insurance because of strict price controls and rate classification prohibitions. It also has a price-gouging law and a minimum-markup law for gasoline. Entry is restricted for medical facilities and moving companies. North Carolina’s civil liability system has improved over time and is now about average.

North Carolina has one of the best criminal justice regimes in the South. Incarceration and victimless crime arrest rates are all below average. There is no state-level civil asset forfeiture, but local law enforcement frequently does an end-run around the law through the Department of Justice’s equitable sharing program. Gun rights are more restricted than in many other southern states, with carry licenses somewhat costly to obtain and hedged with limitations. Plus, buying a pistol requires a permit, there is local dealer licensing, background checks are required for private sales, and most Class III weapons are difficult to obtain (sound suppressors were legalized in 2014). Alcohol freedom is mediocre because of state liquor stores and somewhat high markups and taxes. Marijuana has not been liberalized apart from a 1970s-era decriminalization law. Gambling freedom is quite low. School choice was introduced in 2014, but only for students with disabilities. Tobacco freedom is about average because of reasonable taxes and workplace freedom (but not freedom in bars or restaurants).

The information also includes:

Note that the article says that North Carolina gradually improved its fiscal policies between 2011 and 2016. So what happened in 2011–the Republican party took over the legislature after 140 years of North Carolina being a one-party state (Democrat). The Republicans in the legislature have continued to cut taxes and cut spending. Those economic policies have brought people to the state and improved the economic position of the state. Economic policies matter.

A Common Sense Solution To The Violence In Chicago

Carl Jackson posted an opinion piece at Townhall today with suggestions as to how to deal with the gun violence in Chicago. He refers to his solution as the “Three G’s”–guys, God, and guns.

The article reminds us:

First off, when I say the word “guys” I mean dads! At the very least young men need a healthy male role model around. Young men need dads to show them how to cope with the harshness of life.

A boy who grows up without a dad has no one to guide him into the man he can become despite his surroundings or circumstances. Not to mention, help him discover his gifts and talents so that he becomes a productive contributor to society. Without a dad around gangs and or other bad influences will fill that void because children need a sense of belonging. Kids that wind up in gangs typically rebel against authority because oftentimes the first father figure they encounter that’s willing to address their bad behavior authoritatively is a cop.

…Secondly, boys who grow up without loving fathers find it harder to believe and accept that they have a heavenly father that wants the best for them. Consequently, if kids don’t have a source for objective truth, they will invent their own truth, even if it means justifying crime. Young men, who grow up with a biblical worldview are less inclined to commit violent crimes because they believe there are eternal consequences to their actions. Beyond that, religious faith gives you a roadmap to daily living and a sense of purpose, joy and peace you can’t find on the streets.

Lastly, it’s time for the city of Chicago to embrace the Second Amendment. On the surface this may sound contradictory but it’s not. When gangsters start to realize they are outgunned by law abiding citizens who simply want to protect themselves and their families, they’ll keep their illegal guns in their pocket. I experienced this myself.

Mr. Jackson goes on to relate his culture shock at moving from Los Angeles to Orlando, Florida. He explains:

To escape the violence, I moved to Orlando, Florida and moved in with my aunt and uncle for a while. To my shock, I couldn’t believe how many people I saw driving around town with shotguns displayed inside of their pickup trucks. I was scared senseless! I thought I’d be shot and lynched. But that never came to fruition. Compared to Los Angeles, there wasn’t much violence besides an occasional school fight despite the high rate of gun ownership. Gun violence was rare. My attitude even shifted. I wasn’t trying to be a tough guy knowing people could legally carry firearms in Florida. In part, guns helped cure my case of “wannabe gangsteritis.”

I recommend that you follow the link above and read the entire article. Mr. Jackson has some good ideas.

Despite What The Mainstream Media Says…

Stephen Moore posted an article at Real Clear Politics today about global pollution. Remember all the hysteria when America didn’t sign the Kyoto Treat and didn’t institute a cap-and-trade carbon tax? Well, evidently Americans cared enough about keeping the air clean to reduce carbon dioxide emission on their own.

The article reports:

Yet the latest world climate report from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy finds that in 2017, America reduced its carbon emissions by 0.5 percent, the most of all major countries. That’s especially impressive given that our economy grew by nearly 3 percent — so we had more growth and less pollution — the best of all worlds. The major reason for the reduced pollution levels is the shale oil and gas revolution that is transitioning the world to cheap and clean natural gas for electric power generation.

Meanwhile, as our emissions fell, the pollution levels rose internationally and by a larger amount than in previous years. So much for the rest of the world going green.

The world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide emissions is China. According to the invaluable Institute for Energy Research, “China produces 28 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. India is the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide and had the second-largest increment (93 million metric tons) of carbon dioxide emissions in 2017, more than twice as much an increase as the U.S. reduction.” This means it doesn’t really matter how much America reduces its greenhouse gases because China and India cancel out any and all progress we make. Those who think they are helping save the planet by purchasing an electric car or putting a solar panel on their roof are barking up the wrong tree. There is no way to make progress on greenhouse gases without China and India on board — which they clearly are not.

It is basically ironic that China and India, both countries that signed the Kyoto Treaty, have increased their carbon dioxide to the point where they are cancelling out the gains made by America.

The article concludes:

So there you have it. The countries in the Paris climate accord have broken almost every promise they’ve made and the nation (the U.S.) that hasn’t signed the treaty is doing more than any other nation to reduce global warming. Yet, we are being lectured by the sanctimonious Europeans and Asians for not doing our fair share to save the planet. It’s another case study in how the left cares far more about good intentions than actual results. What matters is that you say that you will wash the dishes, not that you actually do it.

Unfortunately the war on carbon has never been about making the earth a cleaner place–it has always been about money. The Chicago Climate Exchange was set up in 2003 so that powerful Democrats could make a ton of money once cap-and-trade legislation was passed in America. It closed in 2010 when the legislation was not passed, and those Democrats lost their investment. Its two biggest investors were Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management and Goldman Sachs–and President Obama, who helped launch CCX with funding from the Joyce Foundation, where he and presidential advisor Valerie Jarrett once sat on the board of directors. Had cap and trade gotten through Congress, all of those people would have made a lot of money. That is one of many reasons why they supported the legislation–clean air was simply a side issue. (References here and here).

 

 

The Old Guard Versus The New Left

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the Democrats’ summer meeting next week in Chicago. It seems that not everyone is happy with the role the superdelegates played in the 2016 Democrat primary election.

The article reports:

The battle is over a proposal that would reduce the power of superdelegates ahead of 2020. Superdelegates are Democratic leaders who are able to vote for their preferred candidate at the convention, even if that candidate lost the primary or caucus in the delegate’s state.

Subcommittees within the larger Democratic National Committee have advanced the measure over the last year, tweaking it along the way to go even further than previously recommended. The current proposal has the support of both delegates who supported Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

…The original proposal was drafted by the Unity Reform Commission, created in the aftermath of the 2016 election to unite the Sanders and Clinton delegates who came to blows during the primary. The commission also proposed measure to provide DNC budget transparency and crack down on conflicts of interest, but those measures have been pushed to the side.

The meeting next week is expected to be contentious as an opposition wing has formed against the superdelegates measure. In the final days, members have been whipping each other to rally behind weakening the influence of superdelegates.

Reforming parts of the nominating process have been critical ahead of 2020 to heal divisions among factions of the party. Democrats expect a large number of candidates to jump into the 2020 contest, and are hoping that changes to the nominating process will prevent another gruesome primary.

The following is from Wikipedia:

The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members.[15] As a result of this change the number of primaries more than doubled over the next three presidential election cycles, from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.[15] Despite the radically increased level of primary participation, with 32 million voters taking part in the selection process by 1980, the Democrats proved largely unsuccessful at the ballot box, with the 1972 presidential campaign of McGovern and the 1980 re-election campaign of Jimmy Carter resulting in landslide defeats.[15] Democratic Party affiliation skidded from 41 percent of the electorate at the time of the McGovern-Fraser Commission report to just 31 percent in the aftermath of the 1980 electoral debacle.[15]

Further soul-searching took place among party leaders, who argued that the pendulum had swung too far in the direction of primary elections over insider decision-making, with one May 1981 California white paper declaring that the Democratic Party had “lost its leadership, collective vision and ties with the past,” resulting in the nomination of unelectable candidates.[16] A new 70-member commission headed by Governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt was appointed to further refine the Democratic Party’s nomination process, attempting to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates exemplified by the liberal McGovern or the anti-Washington conservative Carter and lessening the potential influence of single-issue politics in the selection process.[16]

Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of unelected and unpledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs (so-called “superdelegates”).[16] With the original Hunt plan, superdelegates were to represent 30% of all delegates to the national convention, but when it was finally implemented by the Democratic National Committee for the 1984 election, the number of superdelegates was set at 14%.[17] Over time this percentage has gradually increased, until by 2008 the percentage stood at approximately 20% of total delegates to the Democratic Party nominating convention.[18]

The superdelegates were put in place to prevent the Democrats from nominating a candidate too far out of the mainstream (as exemplified by George McGovern). (For an interesting article on George McGovern and what he learned when he opened a bed and breakfast in Connecticut, click here). Let’s be honest–the establishment of both parties likes to be in control. Superdelegates help maintain that control. Unfortunately the superdelegates for the Democrats in 2016 worked against their success–Hillary Clinton was simply not a popular candidate, and she also had the right-direction, wrong-track poll working against her (here).

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this convention is. I don’t expect the mainstream media to report it, but I will go looking for it.

First They Came For…

As we approach the mid-term election, there are a number of things to consider. One of the things to look at is the Right-Direction or Wrong Track poll done by Rasmussen. Right now 43 percent of Americans think we are headed in the right direction; 52 percent think we are headed in the wrong direction. In contrast, on October 30, 2016, 30 percent of Americans thought we were headed in the right direction, and 63 percent thought we were headed in the wrong direction. In early January 2016, 28 percent of Americans thought we were headed in the right direction, and 67 percent thought we were headed in the wrong direction. So where am I going with this? As Bill Clinton said, “It’s the economy, stupid!” Hopefully most Americans understand that if the Democrats are able to take control of Congress this year, the economic progress made by the Trump administration will end. Impeachment proceedings against President Trump will begin (it won’t matter whether or not there are any valid charges, the trial will begin). Any investigations into Uranium One, spying on political opponents, or politicizing the justice system will also end. That will mean the institution of a two-tiered justice system in America. If you are connected to the right people, you can pretty much get away with anything. That is what a Democrat victory in the mid-terms will bring us. The Democrats fear that the public will begin to realize this and will attempt to shut down conservative news.

I say all that to predict the actions of the political left in the coming two months. The American Thinker posted an article today spotlighting a situation that should concern all of us. It is about the censorship of Alex Jones. I need to say up front that I am not a huge fan of Alex Jones, but whether you like him or not is not the point. The fact that he can be banned from certain areas of the Internet because of his views should give us all pause. As we approach the mid-term elections, I expect to see more of this. A lot of it is already happening. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It reminds us of some of the abuses by the media that we have seen in recent years. The Internet has ended the liberal monopoly of the media– it was wounded with the advent of popular talk shows, but the Internet allows everyone to do their own research. Expect to have to look a little harder for your favorite conservative news source in the next few months. I believe PragerU is back on Facebook, but I am not sure for how long. That is only the tip of the iceberg.

Good News For Indiana

Yesterday Breitbart reported the following:

U.S. Steel has announced that they will invest $750 million at their 110-year-old steel manufacturing plant known as Gary Works in Gary, Indiana, crediting President Trump’s protective tariffs on steel imports.

…“We are pleased to be making this significant investment at Gary Works, which will improve the facility’s environmental performance, bolster our competitiveness and benefit the local community for years to come,” Burritt said in a statement.

“We are experiencing a renaissance at U.S. Steel,” Burritt said.

That manufacturing renaissance for U.S. Steel comes after decades of free trade policies which incentivized American companies to readily outsource their labor force to foreign countries.

…Already, though, Trump’s tariffs have created 11,100 American jobs in six months. There have been 20 times as many U.S. jobs created because of the tariffs than those jobs that have been lost.

This illustrates why it is good to have a political outsider who is a businessman in the White House. The political establishment and the State Department would never have had the courage to reverse bad trade agreements. America cannot afford to support the world by making bad trade deals–we have serious deficits that we still have to deal with. We need to remember that when more Americans that are working, fewer Americans are depending on the government to support them. That alone cuts government spending.

The economic growth we are experiencing under President Trump is a vivid example of the fact that economic (and trade) policies matter. The elimination of unnecessary regulations combined with a tax code that is friendly to business have resulted in a degree of economic growth that Democrats told us was impossible. We need to remember who said that this couldn’t be done and vote them out of office. We then need to vote people into office who will support economic policies that result in economic growth.

When The State Thinks It’s Your Mother

The Independent Journal Review posted an article today about a new law that California is planning to pass.

The article reports:

In an attempt to reduce childhood obesity rates, the state of California is taking the reigns from parents and banning restaurants from serving sugary beverages to children. 

The new bill restricts children’s drink options to be listed as just water or milk. The bill passed through the state legislature and is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. 

The American Cancer Society led the charge on this bill, telling CBS 13, “Cancer is fought in the halls of government, not just in the halls of a hospital.”

…Mike Slater, a radio host in San Diego told Fox News, “It amazes me always, the progressive instinct to ban things they don’t like. Whether in California it’s banning plastic bags or straws, or even speech.”

Under this bill, parents are still allowed to ask for a different drink, such as soda or chocolate milk, but it cannot be listed as a default beverage by the restaurant. 

If a restaurant fails to comply with the new bill, they could face a fine of up to $500. 

Maybe it would be better simply to educate parents on basic nutrition. I also think that if a child is taken out to dinner by his (or her) parents on a special occasion, he (she) should be allowed to drink anything he (she) wants.

I remember in junior high school (back in the age of dinosaurs) that the class did a science experiment with mice. There were two mice. One mouse was fed potato chips and soda (the dream diet of many children), and the other mouse was fed vegetables and things that were considered healthy. After a few weeks, the junk-food mouse was actually skinny and not healthy looking and the healthy-food mouse was growing and doing well. Do they still teach basic nutrition in schools? Might that be part of the problem?

Just for the record, I am not sure that what the children are drinking is the problem. Admittedly, soda is not good for you. However, what about looking at the ingredients in the foods you buy in the supermarket every week. How much of our bread has high fructose corn syrup in it? Isn’t that a product that contributes to obesity? How much of our children’s cereal has high fructose corn syrup in it? What is the price difference between real maple syrup and syrup made up of everything but natural maple syrup?

Aside from the government intrusion involved in this law, I think it is taking aim at the wrong thing. Soda is the least of our worries in terms of what our children are eating.

When Common Sense Meets Health Insurance

On August 14th, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact that the removing of regulations by the Trump administration has had.

The article reports:

As the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted earlier this year in its “Ten Thousand Commandments” annual report, federal regulations cost a lot more than their stated dollar amount. As of last year, regulation and federal intervention in the economy cost Americans an estimated $1.9 trillion. And that’s one of the lowball estimates out there.

How much is that? It’s the equivalent of a $15,000-per-household tax levied each year in perpetuity. That’s more than the average family spends on food, clothing or transportation. Only housing takes more of the family budget.

If regulation were a nation, and let’s be thankful it’s not, it would be the eighth-largest economy in the world. Regulation even exceeds the IRS’ total take in corporate and individual income tax. That’s how big it is.

Last year, Trump began cutting rules in earnest as soon as he entered office. He slashed the total number of pages in the Federal Register, the government’s regulatory bible, from 95,894 in 2016 to 61,308 pages in 2017. That’s a decline of 36% and the lowest since 1993. This year it will go even lower.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about how removing some regulations has impacted ObamaCare.

The editorial reports:

The leftist Center for American Progress claimed that premiums for ObamaCare’s “benchmark plan” would rocket up 25% next year, due almost entirely to the individual mandate repeal and Trump’s decision to expand access to far less expensive “short term” insurance plans that don’t have to comply with ObamaCare regulations and mandates.

Rates in Pennsylvania, it said, would jump 27%. They were going to climb 28% in Wisconsin. And 29% in Arizona and Nebraska.

All those dire predictions scored widespread news coverage.

But then insurance companies started announcing modest rate requests for 2019, and suddenly ObamaCare was no longer a story.

ObamaCare premiums will rise a mere 0.7% in Pennsylvania, according to the state’s insurance commissioner. They will climb by just 1% in Nebraska. In Wisconsin, they’re expected to drop by 3.5%, and drop by more than 5% in Arizona.

The overall increase this year will be just over 5%, on average, according to ACASignups.net, which is aggressively supportive of ObamaCare.

If that holds true, it will be the lowest increase in premiums since ObamaCare started.

According to data from the Health and Human Services department, premiums in the individual market jumped 25% in 2014, ObamaCare’s first year. They climbed 14% in 2015 and 8% in 2016. In 2017, premiums shot up by 23%. And then another 37% in 2018.

Keep in mind that except for the 2018 rate increase, all those prior hikes were announced when Barack Obama was in the White House and everyone expected Hillary Clinton to become the next president.

Government regulations affect all of us. Most of them simply need to go away.

How Many Smoking Guns Do We Need?

On August 16th, Sara Carter posted an article about the latest batch of emails released between Bruce Ohr and other people involved in the lead up to the investigation of President Trump and Russia.

The article reports:

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:

“Asked them 3 questions:

  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”

SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

Wouldn’t we all like to know exactly what those important firewalls were.

The Backtracking Has Begun

I will be in my office doing my happy dance on the day (if it ever happens) that the political left admits that President Trump has been treated unfairly by the instruments of government–his campaign was spied on, he has been investigated for almost two years without a shred of evidence, and evidence against his political opponents has been carefully ignored. I honestly don’t know if there are any Democrats left who will be honest enough to admit any of that even when faced with overwhelming evidence. However, you can already see some Democrats (and deep state Republicans) covering their tracks. This post is based on two articles–one posted yesterday at Breitbart and one posted at The Conservative Treehouse today.

Breitbart reports:

On Friday’s broadcast of MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” former CIA Director John Brennan stated that he didn’t mean President Trump committed treason when he referred to the president’s performance at the Helsinki summit as “nothing short of treasonous.”

Host Rachel Maddow said, “After Helsinki, you were stark, and even a little bit scary in your criticism of his behavior. You said it rose to treason.”

Brennan responded, “I said it was nothing short of treasonous.”

Maddow then stated, “In this current controversy, that specific comment has been singled out by a number of people as a comment that maybe, by you, crossed the line, that was maybe –.”

Brennan cut in to respond, “Crossed what line?” He continued that he has a right to free speech.

…Brennan answered, “I know what the Russians did in interfering in the election. I have 100% confidence in what they did. And for Mr. Trump to stand on that stage in Helsinki, with all the world’s eyes upon him, and to basically [say] he wouldn’t — he doesn’t understand why would the Russians interfere in the election. He’s given Mr. Putin and the Russians a pass time after time after time, and he keeps referring to this whole investigation as a witch hunt, as bogus, as — and to me, this was an attack against the foundational principle of our great republic, which is, the right of all Americans to choose their elected leaders. And for Mr. Trump to so cavalierly just dismiss that, yes, sometimes my Irish comes out, and — in my tweets, and I did say that it rises to and exceeds the level of high crimes and misdemeanors and is nothing short of treasonous. … I didn’t mean that he committed treason, but it was a term that I used, nothing short of treasonous.”

He does have the right to free speech and he is entitled to his opinion. However, his lack of judgement in making these statements is obvious.

Next we move to The Conservative Treehouse, which reported:

The Associated Press published an interview with Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr today where the intensely corrupt Senator Burr tries to reverse all his prior positions, publications and manipulated committee findings, against President Trump.

Richard Burr could be the star of a new television series called, “When Republicans Go Bad.”

The article at The Conservative Treehouse reports:

Burr said there is “no factual evidence today that we’ve received” on collusion or conspiracy between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign. But he said he’s still open on the issue and hasn’t personally come to any final conclusions, since the investigation isn’t finished.

The Senate investigation is the last bipartisan congressional probe of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and connections to Trump’s campaign. Working with the panel’s top Democrat, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, Burr has so far managed to keep the investigation free from the extraordinary acrimony that has plagued work on the House side of the Capitol. The House Intelligence Committee bitterly fought through its entire Russia investigation, which ended earlier this year despite the objections of Democrats.

“From an institution standpoint I want the American people to understand that the Senate can function, even on the most serious things,” Burr said. 

So why are we still spending millions paying politically biased investigators to continue investigating this?

We Need To Know Who Made The Decision To Bulldoze The Compound

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the investigation into the Muslim compound in New Mexico where children were being trained as jihadists. The judge involved in the trial of the adults in the case let them out on signature bond. They have ankle bracelets and supposedly will be monitored, but their bail was essentially a signature. Would an American charged with multiple counts of child abuse have gotten off so easily? But then things got even stranger…

The article reports:

The story of the jihadist training compound in New Mexico takes yet another weird turn today, as federal authorities removed the partially buried trailer, bulldozed a portion of the compound in the process, and yet left key evidence including: ammunition, a bullet proof vest, birth certificates and notebooks, laying around.

…The property owner and even local media covering the story are perplexed by the sketchy and haphazard investigative activity of federal authorities charged with investigating the events.  This follows earlier local reports of the feds clearing the compound, only to have the property owner discover tunnels, weapons and ammunition overlooked by the FBI.

…Local media are struggling to present an appropriate context for ongoing events, as the local courts have released the terrorist suspects without bail.

In releasing the suspects: where does the judge think they are going to live considering their previous residence was the illegal terrorist training compound?

The entire story is beyond sketchy, and unfortunately when things get this sketchy in the investigative process we are reminded of the fingerprints of the DOJ-CRS (Dept. of Justice, Community Relations Service).  The CRS is a secret institution within the DOJ Civil Rights Division consisting of very-far-left activists who are allowed to reach into the judiciary and justice system and essentially take over.

Stay tuned. I suspect there will be more on this story when the defendants disappear.

How’s That Refugee Program Working For You?

We have all seen or heard about the increase in crime in countries that have taken in large numbers of Muslim refugees. We have been told that it is safe to do so despite the fact that a large number of these refugees are military-aged young men with no women in sight. Vetting is questionable at best, and recently the United States Justice Department announced that an Iraqi wanted for murder in Iraq was arrested in California (story here).

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article that told the following story:

Ashwaq was kidnapped by ISIS in 2014 when the terrorist group attacked Kurdistan-Iraq.

When Ashwaq fled to Germany she saw the man who sold her as a sex slave. The man confronted her on the street and asked her if she was Ashwaq. She told him, “No, I don’t know an Ashwaq. I don’t know you.” The man responded, “Yes, I know you and you know me. And I know how long you’ve been living here.” She said she was so scared she could hardly talk. He said, “Yes I am Abu Humam and you are Ashwaq.” He then told her, “I know that you live with your mother and your brother.” And he repeated her address.

Ashwaq says many Yazidi women have seen their Islamic state abusers on the street in Germany.

Obviously Abu Humam and any of his friends that might be a threat to Ashwaq or her family need to be promptly arrested. I seriously doubt that will happen. The percentage of Muslims of military age in Germany has reached the point where the police are reluctant to take action against them. When German women and children were being molested by young Muslim men in public swimming pools, the Germans simply put out leaflets explaining that molesting women and children in public was not acceptable behavior in Germany. Some pools have posted security guards, and some pools have simply banned Muslims. This is the result of uncontrolled immigration. Military-aged male Muslim immigrants need to be send home to clean up their own countries.

People Who Live In Glass Houses…

I was not upset that John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked. I was more confused as to why he still had it. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the Trump administration would seek his advice on anything. There is also the question as to whether or not John Brennan is working against the interests of a duly-elected President. The removal of the clearance was not political–it was practical. However, it seems that in the past there have been some instances when the revoking of a security clearance was questionable at best.

On Wednesday The Washington Times posted an article about Adam Lovinger, a Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst.

The article reports:

A Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst was stripped of his security clearance by Obama-appointed officials after he complained of questionable government contracts to Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump presidential campaign.

Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, complained to his bosses about Halper contracts in the fall of 2016, his attorney, Sean M. Bigley, told The Washington Times.

…“As it turns out, one of the two contractors Mr. Lovinger explicitly warned his ONA superiors about misusing in 2016 was none other than Mr. Halper,” Mr. Bigley wrote in his ethics complaint, which called the contracts “cronyism and corruption.”

Mr. Lovinger filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint in May with the Defense Department inspector general against James Baker, director of the Office of Net Assessment. The complaint also singles out Washington Headquarters Services, a Pentagon support agency that awarded the Halper contracts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Every day, more of the witch hunt is being exposed.

Why Is The Good Economic News Always Unexpected When A Republican Is President?

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article about the July Retail Sales Report.

The article reports:

The Commerce Department – Economic and Statistics Administration – released the figures from July 2018 retail sales today (full pdf available here), showing an incredibly strong .5% increase in spending in July, bringing a 6.4% increase year-over-year;  and the results have dropped the jaws of the “experts”:

“Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales nudging up 0.1 percent in July.” (link)

“Retail spending in the United States increased a half-percent during the month of July — well beyond what experts predicted.” (link)

“U.S. retail sales rose more than expected in July as households boosted purchases of motor vehicles and clothing, suggesting the economy remained strong” (link)

The article explains the reason for the growth:

As a direct result of President Trump’s multifaceted economic strategy, manufacturing companies are having to look at TCO which is “Total Cost of Ownership”. You see, President Trump is not only approaching manufacturing growth policy from the trade-agreement and investment side, his policies also approach the larger impacts on raw material, energy and labor.

This multi-pronged policy approach forces companies to look at transportation and location costs of manufacturing. In combination with more favorable tax rates; if domestic costs of material and energy drop, in addition to drops in regulatory and compliance costs of operating the business, the total operating cost differences drop dramatically.

This means labor and transportation costs become a larger part of the consideration in “where” to manufacture. All of these costs contribute to the TCO. Transportation costs are very expensive on durable goods imported. If the durable goods are made domestically, the transportation costs per unit shipped drop significantly. The TCO analysis then further reduces to looking at labor.

U.S. Labor is more expensive, yes. However, if material costs, energy costs, regulatory costs, taxes and transportation costs are part of the TCO equation – then higher labor costs can be offset by the previously mentioned savings.

Economic policies matter. If you want to see this kind of growth continue, elect conservative Republicans to Congress in November. If you want to see this kind of growth come to a screeching halt, elect Democrats–they will take back the tax cuts, put back the regulations, and move to impeach the President. At that point, we will have at least two years of the same economic disaster we saw under President Obama.

Misplaced Values

How much is a human life worth? We live in a world where some countries kill their elderly simply because they are a financial burden on the younger generation. In some countries it is legal to kill children because they have birth defects or other issues. Who decides which lives have value and which do not?

On Monday, CNS News reported:

At the event promoting opposition to President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the former First Daughter of President Bill Clinton credited legalized abortion for helping add trillions of dollars to the U.S economy because women who had abortions were more inclined to enter the labor force:

“Whether you fundamentally care about reproductive rights and access right, because these are not the same thing, if you care about social justice or economic justice, agency – you have to care about this.

“It is not a disconnected fact – to address this t-shirt of 1973 – that American women entering the labor force from 1973 to 2009 added three and a half trillion dollars to our economy. Right?

“The net, new entrance of women – that is not disconnected from the fact that Roe became the law of the land in January of 1973.”

Thus, no matter what other things Americans may care about, everyone should appreciate the economic value of legalized abortion, Clinton said:

“So, I think, whatever it is that people say they care about, I think that you can connect to this issue.

“Of course, I would hope that they would care about our equal rights and dignity to make our own choices – but, if that is not sufficiently persuasive, hopefully, come some of these other arguments that you’ve expressed so beautifully, will be.”

Could one on those aborted babies have grown up and found the cure for cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s Disease? Who did we kill? Could one of those babies have grown up to find the key to nonpolluting green energy, preventing some valuable species from going extinct, or finding a key to longer, healthier living? How much would those discoveries have added to the economy?

The article at CNS News includes an update:

In response to tweets critical of her remarks, Chelesea Clinton declared that “Pro-choice is Pro-life” and that “Reproductive rights have always been about economic rights.”

We have sold our souls for a mess of pottage.

A Short Trip Down Memory Lane

The mainstream media has its panties in a wad for two reasons today. They are totally upset about President Trump’s characterizing them as enemies of the people. They may not be enemies of the people, but they are definitely enemies of fair reporting. In response, many newspapers across the country have organized a coordinated attack on President Trump on their editorial pages today. How does that in any way help their case? It seems to me that their actions are a perfect illustration of the fact that they have lost their objectivity and traded it for political activism. That’s fine–just don’t claim to be impartial while you are being a political activist.

The second horrendous recent action the media has gone ballistic about is the revoking of the security clearance of John Brennan. Why would he still have a security clearance? I seriously doubt that anyone in the White House would be sincerely interested in his advice on foreign affairs.

I would like to share a bit of history about both of these crises of the day.

First of all, the press is convinced that President Trump has declared war on the press. Well, let’s take a minute to remember what war on the press looks like. On May 21, 2013, The Guardian (not one of my usual sources!) posted an article with the following headline, “James Rosen: Fox News reporter targeted as ‘co- conspirator’ in spying case.” The case had to do with a State Department leak.

The article reports:

The FBI sought and obtained a warrant to seize all of Rosen’s correspondence with Kim (State Department security adviser Stephen Jin-Woo Kim), and an additional two days’ worth of Rosen’s personal email, the Post reported. The bureau also obtained Rosen’s phone records and used security badge records to track his movements to and from the State Department.

…Rosen has not been charged with a crime in the case. Kim was indicted in August 2010 on charges of violating the Espionage Act of 1917, one of a batch of six cases in which the Obama administration began to use the first world war-era spying law to prosecute suspected government whistleblowers.

…Instead of relying on the threat of a contempt charge to get journalists to divulge their sources, the Obama administration has used warrantless wiretapping and dragnet records seizures to identify who is talking to whom.

Last week it emerged that the Department of Justice had seized phone records for more than 20 lines used by the Associated Press, in possible violation of regulations governing such seizures. There have been no reports of the government accusing journalists of criminal activity in that case.

That’s what a war on the press looks like.

Now to John Brennan. On March 21, 2018, The American Thinker posted an article with the following headline, “John Brennan: Deep State Political Hack.”

The article includes the following:

Brennan was asked by NBC’s Andrea Mitchell whether the CIA had illegally accessed Senate Intelligence Committee staff computers “to thwart an investigation by the committee into” the agency’s past interrogation techniques.  The accusation had been made earlier that day by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who said the CIA had “violated the separation-of-powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution.” Brennan answered:

As far as the allegations of, you know, CIA hacking into, you know, Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth.  I mean, we wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s – that’s just beyond the – you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we would do. …

And, you know, when the facts come out on this, I think a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.

…CIA Director John O. Brennan has apologized to leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee after an agency investigation determined that its employees improperly searched computers used by committee staff to review classified files on interrogations of prisoners. …

A statement released by the CIA on Tuesday acknowledged that agency employees had searched areas of that computer network that were supposed to be accessible only to committee investigators.  Agency employees were attempting to discover how congressional aides had obtained a secret CIA internal report on the interrogation program.

John Brennan should have been fired by the Obama Administration for spying on Congress, but since he was an ally of the deep state, he was not.

Now you know the rest of the story!

My Rant For The Day

The New York Post posted an article today about a speech made by Andrew Cuomo at a bill-signing ceremony today.

The article reports:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo stunned the audience at a bill-signing ceremony Wednesday by saying America “was never that great” as he mocked President Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”

“We’re not going to make America great again,” Cuomo said while signing a bill dealing with human trafficking.

“It was never that great. We have not reached greatness. We will reach greatness when every American is fully engaged.”

…“We will reach greatness when discrimination and stereotyping against women … is gone. And every woman’s full potential is realized and unleashed, and every woman is making her full contribution … we have not yet fully liberated the women in this country, and we will, and New York will lead the way.”

I beg to differ. Let’s use Mario Cuomo as an example. His parents owned a store in South Jamaica, Queens, in New York City. He graduated from St. John’s University and St. John’s University School of Law, later becoming Governor of New York. A son of Italian immigrants who became governor of one of the largest states in our nation. I think that’s pretty great. Andrew was also able to get a good education and follow in his father’s footsteps. Whether or not you agree with his politics, Mario Cuomo is an example of a child of immigrants who was able to get an education and prosper. That is what makes America great. Andrew Cuomo needs to look at his own family history before he claims that America is not great. There are very few countries where what his family accomplished would be possible.

Insanity Among Some Americans

Yesterday Todd Starnes posted an article about Brigadier General John Teichert, the new wing commander at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Brigadier General Teichert owns a website called, “Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States.”

The article reports:

…a press release from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation calling for the arrest of now Brigadier General Teichert – the new wing commander at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation is an organization that trolls military bases in search of any public display of the Christian faith. They are typically triggered by Nativity scenes and Bibles placed on Missing Man tables.

MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein was especially angered to learn that Gen. Teichert owns a website called, “Prayer at Lunchtime for the United States.”

The website encourages “Bible-believing Americans to take time to specifically pray for our nation at lunchtime every day.” It also features a prayer list – including among others President Trump, Vice President Pence, Congress and the military.

Weinstein demanded that Defense Secretary James Mattis launch an immediate investigation – calling Gen. Teichert a “fundamentalist Christian tyrant and religious extremist predator.”

The Military Religious Freedom Foundation claims to represent 41 personnel at Edwards AFB who are allegedly offended by the general’s personal website.

“Brigadier General Tiechert’s disgraceful, illegal and brazen promotion of his personal flavor of his weaponized version of Christianity represents one of the worst and most egregious cases MRFF has ever encountered in its 13 years of First Amendment civil rights advocacy,” Weinstein said in a prepared statement.

He went on to allege the general’s website violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice and demanded he must be investigated, prosecuted, convicted and punished.

“General Teichert should be doing time behind prison bars, not commanding a Wing wearing a General’s stars,” Weinstein said.

The Pentagon has not responded to my inquiries about Mr. Weinstein’s complaint, but the allegations are so outlandish they deserve no response.

“The Air Force appears to be doing exactly what it should upon receiving a complaint from Mikey Weinstein: ignoring him,” First Liberty Institute attorney Mike Berry told me. “Like so many complaints by the MRFF, this complaint is vindictive, intolerant, and completely without merit.”

Unless the Brigadier General was coercing people to go to his website, I really don’t think Mikey Weinstein has a case.

The article concludes:

During the Obama Administration Weinstein once bragged about having a hot line to the Pentagon. It’s beyond time for the Trump Administration to disconnect the number.

It’s time to put a stop to these vile and hateful attacks on Christian members of our military. Demanding that a general be imprisoned because he prays? Calling him an extremist predator? Outrageous!

It seems to me the only fundamentalist, extremist predator in this case is the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Mikey Weinstein is entitled to his opinion of Christianity. He is not entitled to prevent anyone from practicing Christianity.

Using The Justice System To Get Revenge

The Daily Caller is reporting today that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission is again going after Jack Phillips, the Christian baker who prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court after declining to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple.

The article reports:

On the same day the high court agreed to review the Masterpiece case, an attorney named Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ shop and asked him to create a cake celebrating a sex transition. The caller asked that the cake include a blue exterior and a pink interior, a reflection of Scardina’s transgender identity. Phillips declined to create the cake, given his religious conviction that sex is immutable, while offering to sell the caller other pre-made baked goods.

In the months that followed, the bakery received requests for cakes featuring marijuana use, sexually explicit messages, and Satanic symbols. One solicitation submitted by email asked the cake shop to create a three-tiered white cake depicting Satan licking a functional 9 inch dildo. Phillips believes Scardina made all these requests.

Scardina filed a complaint with the civil rights commission, alleging discrimination on the basis of gender identity. The matter was held in abeyance while the Supreme Court adjudicated the Masterpiece case.

Three weeks after Phillips won at the high court, the commission issued a probable cause determination, finding there was sufficient evidence to support Scardina’s claim of discrimination. In a somewhat strange development, the probable cause finding reads that Phillips violated state law, even though the proceedings are still in a preliminary stage.

The article cites Mr. Phillips’ response to all of this:

  • Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop fame is suing the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
  • The Commission commenced new proceedings against Phillips on behalf of a transgender complainant just weeks after he prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • Phillips’ attorneys say the Commission is engaged in a concerted campaign to destroy him, which is unlawful.

This has the appearance of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission using their power to target a specific person. The article notes that the baker was willing to sell Mr. Scardina a pre-baked cake, he was just not willing to use his artistic ability to support something that was against his religious beliefs. If we look at what is being said here, would you ask a Christian recording artist to record a song that praised the devil? Would you ask a painter who paints religious pictures to paint a picture glorifying the devil? Does an artist have the right to choose the direction of his art?

I believe that Mr. Phillips is correct to sue the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. It appears that after the ruling of the Supreme Court, the Commission has decided to use its power to personally harass Mr. Phillips.

The Piece Of The Puzzle Most Of The News Left Out

The American Thinker posted an article today about the firing of Peter Strzok. As expected, Mr. Strzok is claiming his firing was political and that it was widely undeserved. Well, it seems as if a lot of the media didn’t bother to report a lot of the story. I am sure many of you remember the smugness of Peter Strzok as he answered questions for Congress. There was a reason for that smugness. Peter Strzok was a member of the Senior Executive Service (SES)–the home of the deep state. I am sure he was convinced that his membership in the elite SES would protect him from being fired.

The article at The American Thinker quotes Sara Carter:

Former FBI special agents, some of whom worked with OPR for years, said they agree with Bodwich’s decision.  They told SaraACarter.com that the system is broken and Bodwich had no other choice but to step in and fire Strzok.  They say political leanings, friendships and dual systems of justice inside OPR have plagued how cases regarding FBI agents are adjudicated and handled.

“Strzok was under oath before Congress and he made statements that appeared to be false and refused to answer some questions, but he was going to get just a slap on the wrist,” said a former supervisory special agent from OPR adjudication, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the nature of their work.  “There is absolutely no wiggle room when it comes to lack of candor in the FBI…unless you’re an SES (Senior Executive Service).  Strzok’s firing went well beyond texting about Trump.  Strzok would have also been involved in the handling of the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) application to the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court)…”  The agent noted that Strzok was “well aware that he was lying by deception when they did not include the information on who paid for the dossier and (that) Bruce Ohr was back-channeling information for a discredited source.”

“Strzok knew they were not putting the application in the right context,” the former FBI supervisory special agent added.  “If there was the slightest doubt if that application was not 100 percent true, then that application would not go forward.”

Any corporate organization would have fired him for his actions.

 

Our Justice System Is Skewed

The New York Post posted an article today about the trial of the suspects who were running the compound in New Mexico where neglected children were found. I posted an article detailing the discovery of the compound on August 9 (story here).

This is today’s update on the story:

A New Mexico judge granted bail Monday to five suspects — one the son of a controversial Brooklyn imam — who were accused of keeping kids in a filthy, heavily fortified compound.

Three women and two men, ages 35 to 40, will wear ankle monitors and be under house arrest if they can post $20,000 bond each, the judge ruled in Taos.

Deputy District Attorney Timothy Hasson told the court that the suspects were up to no good, saying, “This was not a camping trip and this was not a simple homestead of the kind that many people do in New Mexico.”

One of the suspects, Siraj Ibn Wahhaj, is the son of Brooklyn cleric Siraj Wahhaj, who has been linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

We let these people out on bail and we put Paul Manafort in solitary confinement because of tax evasion??? I think we have a problem in our justice system.

The Impact Of President Trump’s Economic Policies On Working Ameicans

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on average Americans.

The article highlights the story of Tom Condon, a factory worker for 28 years, employed by Jamison Doors.

The article reports:

Before the election of President Donald Trump, John T. Williams, chairman and chief executive officer of Jamison Doors, said the policies of the federal government “had not been kind to us.”

“The economy has not been good to us and we’ve had a pretty rocky road,” he told The Daily Signal.

But since Trump became president, “the business climate changed in a significantly positive way.”

“Now not all of it could be attributed to the election,” Williams explained, “but the general attitude seemed to change because of the prospect of fewer regulations in tax reform and a generally positive attitude toward businesses and building the economy.”

Condon, and two other factory workers The Daily Signal spoke with, agreed.

“We got a good bonus this year,” said Condon. “We appreciate that. And the way the company talks, in the future we can look forward to those pretty regularly.”

Economic policies matter.

The article explains the impact of the tax cuts:

Because of tax reform passed by Congress and signed by Trump just before Christmas, the company is expanding, investing in new equipment and making plans to open a new factory.

Workers are personally benefiting, too. Condon, along with the rest of the company’s estimated 150 full-time employees in the United States, already has received two bonuses related to tax reform this year.

“Passage of the tax reform was important because it provided more money that could be used to grow our business and improve our business,” Williams said. To share in the benefits of that, Williams gave two special bonuses to everybody who’s on the payroll, each time equal to a week’s worth of salary.

In January, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described those benefits as “crumbs.”

“The bonus that corporate America received versus the crumbs that they are giving workers to kind of put the schmooze on is so pathetic,” she said.

But for workers like Condon, those bonuses are meaningful. Married for 44 years, Condon has a son and a daughter to care for, both with cerebral palsy. Twice a year, the family goes on vacation to Deep Creek Lake in western Maryland. This year, thanks to the bonuses Condon received, he’s able to rent a bigger, nicer house, and able to extend the vacation by a few days.

The American people will decide in November whether or not they want to keep this economic growth going.

The Last To Know

It totally amazes me that the left-wing media believes that it has the right to classified information but does not believe that the American people have that right. One recent example is the FISA application to spy on Carter Page.

The Conservative Treehouse reported yesterday:

In preparation for explosive developments soon to reach critical mass CTH strongly urges everyone to think carefully about these recently discovered empirical truths:

#1) The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had the full, unredacted, FISA application on Carter Page since March 17th, 2017.  Think carefully about that. Think about what every member of that committee has said since March 17, 2017.

#2) With the leak of the Top Secret FISA application, by James Wolfe to Ali Watkins, Buzzfeed, The Washington Post and New York Times have had the full, unredacted, FISA application in their possession since March 17th, 2017.  Again, think carefully about that.  Think about all of their reporting since March 17, 2017.

#3) As a direct consequence of #1 and #2 – The media have deliberately, and with specific intent, falsified their reporting and kept the truth hidden which would undermine their false reporting.  Again, think very carefully about the ramifications.

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has the reputation of being the most ‘deep state’ and leakiest committee in Congress. Their actions in this matter prove that reputation to be true.

The article further notes:

Lest we forget, the IG report on how the FBI handled the Clinton investigation revealed that dozens of FBI officials were actually taking bribes from the media for information:

IG REPORT – We identified numerous FBI employees, at all levels of the organization and with no official reason to be in contact with the media, who were nevertheless in frequent contact with reporters. Attached to this report as Attachments E and F are two link charts that reflect the volume of communications that we identified between FBI employees and media representatives in April/May and October 2016. We have profound concerns about the volume and extent of unauthorized media contacts by FBI personnel that we have uncovered during our review.

[…] We do not believe the problem is with the FBI’s policy, which we found to be clear and unambiguous. Rather, we concluded that these leaks highlight the need to change what appears to be a cultural attitude among many in the organization. (link to pdf – page Xii of executive summary

I strongly suggest that Peter Strzok is probably not the only person in the FBI who deserves to be fired.