It’s Amazing What Comes To The Surface

Politico posted an update today on the hearings in the House Intelligence Committee.

The article reports:

Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under U.S. government surveillance following November’s presidential election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.

Nunes said the monitoring appeared to be done legally as a result of what’s called “incidental collection,” but said he was concerned because it was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and was widely disseminated across the intelligence community.

“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”

Nunes said he is heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief Trump on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources who thought that we should know it.” He said he was trying to get more information by Friday from the FBI, CIA and NSA.

Nunes described the surveillance as most likely being “incidental collection.” This can occur when a person inside the United States communicates with a foreign target of U.S. surveillance. In such cases, the identities of U.S. citizens are supposed to be kept secret — but can be “unmasked” by intelligence officials under certain circumstances.

…It was previously known that Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls with Russia’s ambassador were intercepted by the U.S. government; he resigned last month after it became clear he misled his colleagues about the nature of the calls.

Nunes has said Flynn’s calls were picked up through incidental collection and said his committee is investigating why Flynn’s name was unmasked and leaked to the news media.

Obviously, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador were taped and transcribed. Because he has talking to the Russian ambassador, that is not unusual. What is unusual is for the transcripts of those calls to be leaked to the press with his name on them. That is against the law. The person who did that belongs in prison.

As this investigation continues, it is becoming obvious that candidate Donald Trump was under government surveillance during the campaign and after he was elected. That is a serious violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. This surveillance is one reason many Congressmen opposed the Patriot Act–they feared the kind of political abuse of the law that the Obama Administration was evidently guilty of. There are many stories out there documenting the surveillance of Donald Trump and his campaign. I have not posted some of them because I am not familiar with the sources. However, those sources are beginning to look reliable.

Better Late Than Never

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon reported on a Supreme Court ruling that happened on Tuesday.

The article reports:

The court ruled Tuesday that Obama appointee Lafe Solomon illegally served as acting general counsel to the National Labor Relations Board from 2010 to 2013. Solomon, who once violated the agency’s ethics rules, should have vacated the position in accordance with the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA) after the Senate refused to take up his nomination to serve as permanent general counsel in 2011, the court found in a 6-2 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. The appointment was an “end-run around” the Constitution.

“We cannot cast aside the separation of powers and the Appointments Clause‘s important check on executive power for the sake of administrative convenience or efficiency,” the majority ruled.

The case came to the court after the NLRB filed unfair labor practice charges against an Arizona-based ambulance service, Southwest General, following union complaints.

David Phippen, a management-side labor attorney at the firm Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, said the decision clarifies the meaning of the FVRA.

“The case is a reminder that the language of the FVRA statute means what it says and must be followed, not ignored by Presidents, as appeared to be the case here,” Phippen said in an email. “The decision … appears to make it somewhat more difficult for Presidents to put ‘her or his people’ into important agency positions unilaterally, i.e.,  without approval of the Senate.”

The article notes that Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg were the only Justices who dissented from the majority vote.

On another note, the media spin on this story is very interesting. While The Washington Free Beacon focused on the case and the fact that the actions of President Obama were unconstitutional, Yahoo News posted the following headline about the story:

Supreme Court restricts Donald Trump’s power to fill temporary government posts

This case had nothing to do with Donald Trump, although it will prevent him from ignoring the Constitution, as President Obama did.

Changing the Wrapping Doesn’t Change The Package

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the changes made to the ObamaCare replacement bill.

The article quotes Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton:

“Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans. The House should continue its work on this bill. It’s more important to finally get health-care reform right than to get it fast.”

The article at Power Line states the following:

If, under a Republican plan, premiums/deductibles continue to rise, people will believe that Obamacare’s replacement made things worse. They will blame Republicans and the GOP will pay a heavy price.

No Republican should support replacement legislation unless he or she is confident it will result in better outcomes with regard to premiums/deductibles. If Democrats won’t support legislation that’s likely to produce that result, Republicans should either push such legislation through without Democratic support (overruling the Senate parliamentarian) if necessary or let such legislation be voted down.

Republicans have no obligation to pass replacement legislation they don’t like in order to patch up Obamacare. The Democrats created the current mess. If they won’t cooperate with the GOP in fixing it properly, Republicans shouldn’t take the political hit that would come with pretending to fix it on their own.

I left the Republican Party because I felt that they had forgotten their commitment to smaller government and had become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The current ObamaCare replacement bill is a perfect example of that. Republicans were told that if we gave them the House, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House and the Senate, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, ObamaCare would be gone. If this bill passes, it won’t be gone. We will simply have ObamaCare Light, a bad bill that the Republicans would be totally responsible for–just as the Democrats were totally responsible for ObamaCare. That is not a step forward–it is a step backward! Please, Republicans, do not pass this bill. Simply repeal ObamaCare. Then you can fight over its replacement. Don’t break faith with the voters.

 

The Real Issue In The Hearings About Russia And The Election

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about the hearings on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The article states:

President Trump posted video following the intelligence hearing pointing out there was no evidence of collusion with Russia.

Trump continued:

“The real issue is the unbelievable amount of classified information that has been illegally leaked, putting our national security at risk – must get to the bottom of it!”

President Trump represents the idea of shrinking government and going back to the form of government originally envisioned by our Founding Fathers–a weak federal government and strong state governments. That idea is a serious threat to the entrenched bureaucracy and the globalists who want to undermine American sovereignty. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people working in Washington who are feeling very threatened by President Trump’s policies because they have gotten fat and happy as members of the Washington establishment. These are the people behind the leaks, behind the fake news, and doing everything they can to block what President Trump is trying to do. Remember as you read all the stories that say the wiretapping claims are false that The New York Times posted a story on January 20th saying that there were wiretaps. As far as I know, that story has never been recanted. The claim of Russian involvement in our elections is simply a shiny object to distract us from the excessive leaking which is going on and the attempts by the Washington establishment to undermine President Trump. If the media and Democrats are successful in taking down President Trump, I can guarantee that we will lose the protections on our citizens found in the U.S. Constitution. Be alert, and don’t fall for the spin.

Giving Land Management Authority Back To The States

On March 10, One America News Network reported that congress has used the Congressional Review Act to roll back aggressive land use regulations that undermined local land management in many western states implemented by the Obama Administration in the last days of that administration.

The article reports:

“In the West particularly where the abundance of of our natural public lands are at, we want to make sure we have access to those lands and make sure that our local communities are engaged in the planning process, as well. Local governors, as well. The 2.0 rule was implementing a process where communities weren’t having that actual input and supplanting the actions our governors could take, as well,” Tipton (Colorado Congressman Scott Tipton) explains.

It was that 2.0 rule, implemented by the Bureau of Land Management or BLM that caused Westerners to object. The rule would have taken many land and resource management decisions away from states and localities. Tipton says his legislation will reverse that.

“You know, our lands are incredibly important in the State of Colorado in my district and access to those public lands. Keep them in the public domain, but let’s make sure we are having the opportunity to grow businesses, let’s make sure that we’re using resources going to be responsible. And protecting the land as well. And we want to make sure that we are having a place at the table. With our state government when there is a planning process on those lands,” Tipton said.

More local control of local public lands that happen to be owned by the federal government. That’s what western states want, but that was not what the Obama administration was doing, says Frontiers for Freedom President George Landrith who got his start as staff member for a Wyoming senator.

At the time the article was written, the legislation was approved by the House and the Senate and was waiting the President’s signature. This is another move back to the government our Founding Fathers created. The Tenth Amendment specifically states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

We need to get back to our Constitution.

The Politicization Of The Supreme Court

In 1987, Judge Robert Bork was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Bork was a man of character who had a sterling record as a judge. Bork served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was, however, a judge who believed in the Constitution as it was written–a problem for the Democrats. The attack on Judge Bork was without merit and brutal.

Senator Ted Kennedy, not a man of character, stated:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy … President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.

None of this was true, but the mainstream media loved it. We can expect the same kind of inappropriate behavior by the Democrats in dealing with the nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Breitbart posted an article today about the comments by Senator Ted Cruz on the nomination.

Senator Cruz stated:

“A decade ago, Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by this committee for the Federal Court of Appeals by a voice vote,” Cruz said. “He was likewise confirmed by the entire United States Senate by a voice vote without a single Democrat speaking a word of opposition.

“Not a word of opposition from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,” Cruz said. “Not from Harry Reid, or Ted Kennedy, or John Kerry.”

“Not from Senators Feinstein, Leahey, or Durbin, who still sit on this committee,” Cruz said. “Not even from Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden.”

“Not a one of them spoke a word against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination a decade ago,” Cruz said.

Senator Cruz also pointed out that candidate Donald Trump put out a list of the people he would nominate for the Supreme Court. That list was part of the election process, and the American people were able to consider that list when voting.

The article also reminds us:

Notwithstanding its leftist political leanings, the American Bar Association (ABA) earlier this month gave Gorsuch a “well qualified” rating to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ABA has three ratings for judicial nominees: not qualified, qualified, and well qualified. The ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary was unanimous in granting Gorsuch its highest rating.

Judge Gorsuch needs to be confirmed quickly. He is well qualified. His becoming a member of the Supreme Court will not impact the balance of the Court, although that should really not be a part of the deliberation.

Whoops!

Was President Trump wiretapped during the presidential campaign? America‘s spy agencies say no. However, that doesn’t seem to be the end of the story.

The American Thinker posted a transcript today of an interview of Larry Johnson by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

This is the transcript:

STELTER: “Let me ask you about this thing.”
JOHNSON: “Sure.”
STELTER: “So my sense is that on Monday, Napolitano says this on TV, he says he has Intel sources who believe this is true. You’re saying you were one of those sources, but you didn’t know Napolitano was going to use you like that?”
JOHNSON: “What happened was I communicated, when Donald Trump tweeted what he did Saturday two weeks ago, the next day I was interviewed on Russia today. I had known about the fact that the British, through ghcq were information back channel, this was not at the behest of Barack Obama, let’s be clear about that. But it was done with the full knowledge of people like John Brennan and Jake clapper. Two people I flow within the intelligence community in January, they were very concerned about this because they saw it as an unfair meddling in the politics, but it was a way to get around the issue of American intelligence agencies not collecting.”
STELTER: “To be clear, you have this secondhand? So you didn’t get this information directly, you’re hearing from others.
JOHNSON: “I’m hearing it from people who are in a position to know, that’s correct.”

Obviously, there will be more information on this story in the coming days. The question is, “Who ordered the surveillance?”

Comments On A Current Scandal

This is not a news article—this is a rant from an old person who is concerned about the activities of the current younger generations. There is no source for this article although it is the result of the news we have recently seen about the scandal in the Marine Corps regarding nude pictures and videos. Admittedly, I come from a generation that was more accustomed to privacy—we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, etc. to post pictures of our lunch and other activities. The older generation had a different concept of privacy than the current generations.

I don’t find it odd that men would look at pictures of naked women. I don’t find it odd that a man would look at an explicit video. I do question the wisdom of the women posting these pictures or videos. A good rule of thumb is to never put anything on the internet that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of The New York Times or on the evening news. Even if the pictures of videos were not intended for the internet, there is no guarantee when you give a person a picture or a video that the picture or video will never be seen by anyone else. Again, wisdom is called for. Never put anything on film or in your phone or laptop that you don’t want to go public. These pictures and videos could create a serious problem if a future employer were to see them.

I don’t know what the eventual punishment of the people involved in this scandal will be. It is my hope that the people who created the pictures and videos will be disciplined as well as those who set up the Facebook page to view them. There are no victims here—the women who created the pictures and videos are not victims—the pictures and videos were created with their consent. They are guilty of bad judgement, just as the men who set up the Facebook page are guilty of bad judgement.

As I have previously stated, I am part of a generation that believed in privacy. These pictures and videos devalue the women that made them. They are the result of the lies that many women are told about their value and about their role as women.  My advice to a woman whose boyfriend or husband asks for such a picture or video is to find another boyfriend of husband. You are worth more than that.

I am sure there will be some serious consequences for the people involved in this scandal. It is my hope that they will learn from their mistakes and be more prudent in their actions in the future. I also hope that the women involved begin to realize their true worth and that the men involved begin to respect the women in their lives rather than viewing them as sex objects.

Sad News For Those Of Us Who Remember New York City In The 1960’s

The New York Daily News is reporting today that columnist Jimmy Breslin has died. During the 1960’s, Jimmy Breslin was a columnist for the New York Herald Tribune. His columns were insightful and often hilarious. They were the subject of many conversations in my house when I was growing up. He wrote many books, but my two favorites are Can’t Anyone Here Play This Game, a book about the 1962 New York Mets (who were an adventure in themselves) and The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight based on the life of Joey Gallo (later made into a movie).

Jimmy Breslin was definitely a product of New York. Born in Jamaica, New York, he attended Long Island University.

The Daily News article describes the article that got him noticed:

In 1963, Breslin was hired as a news columnist for the New York Herald Tribune and quickly made his mark.

He was sent to cover the funeral of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and found an angle that eluded other reporters. Breslin’s story about Clifton Pollard, the man who dug the President’s grave is still one of the most talked about stories in journalism history, even used in J-school courses as a prime example of enterprise reporting.

“One of the last to serve John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who was the thirty-fifth President of this country, was a working man who earns $3.01 an hour and said it was an honor to dig the grave,” Breslin wrote.

Over the next quarter century Breslin was a scoop machine, scoring exclusives on government corruption and Mafia malfeasance.

His unique views on the events of the day and the humor he added to reporting those events will be missed.

Some Random Comments On President Trump’s Budget Proposal

The first thing to keep in mind when viewing this budget is that President Trump made his money by negotiating real estate deals. He is a negotiator. I seriously doubt that his proposed budget will pass exactly as proposed. I suspect there is some wiggle room built into his budget. That being said, however, the budget moves in the direction of cutting spending, an anathema to lobbyists and professional politicians in Washington, but a necessary strategy to protect the financial futures of our children and grandchildren.

The Heritage Foundation has a number of articles analyzing the budget proposal. I chose the article posted yesterday for highlights.

Here are a few comments on President Trump’s proposed budget from The Heritage Foundation:

The new budget proposal put a high priority on national defense. While the FY18 defense boost would be fully paid for with cuts to nondefense programs, the proposal would raise the FY17 Budget Control Act caps by $10 billion. Boccia (Romina Boccia, Deputy Director, Thomas A. Roe Institute) suggests that the president “should set a precedent this year that budgeting is about prioritizing which means fully offsetting any new spending.”

All-in-all she says, “the proposed cuts to non-defense programs, together with executive actions to streamline federal agencies and cut waste, signal that this administration is serious about cutting the bloated Washington bureaucracy down to size. Congress should work with the administration to bring greater accountability to government and to eliminate federal programs that intervene in areas that are rightfully the domain of the private sector or state and local government.”

Two other experts comment on the State Department cuts:

Brett Schaefer (Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs) and James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies) weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.” 

Furthermore, they add “the State Department budget grew roughly 30 percent under President Obama, yet the jump in spending has failed to make the world safer for the United States or our allies. North Korea continues to threaten Japan and South Korea, Iran – further emboldened by a misguided nuclear deal – is destabilizing the Middle East, and Russia continues to exert itself over eastern Europe largely unchecked. The administration is right to refocus on supporting statecraft that will advance American interests and benefit our allies.” and James Carafano weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.”

The article also examines the changes in education spending:

“For the first time in decades, the Trump administration is significantly trimming the budget at the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating a commitment to restoring federalism in education,” according to Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at Heritage.

Burkes argues, “the budget correctly zeroes out funding for various programs, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Supporting Effective Instruction state grants program.” According to her, “ it is not appropriate for the federal government to fund high school counseling programs, after-school programs, teacher professional development and a myriad other programs it currently runs.”

The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It seems that we have forgotten the Tenth Amendment when we produce federal budgets. It is time to get back to the country our Founding Fathers designed. That includes an end to career politicians and an end to the bloated federal government.

Countering Fake News

The major media sources are all abuzz with the fact that President Trump is denying food to senior citizens by cutting Meals on Wheels. How awful. How awful that the media is reporting something that is not true. Meals on Wheels only gets a small percentage of its funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. The cuts President Trump is making will have little or no impact on Meals on Wheels.

The Conservative Review posted an article today explaining the details:

President Donald Trump is catching hell from the media over accusations that his budget will cut off funding for Meals on Wheels as part of his proposal to eliminate funding for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs.

Most of the media’s hysterics are exaggerating the effects of the Trump proposal, or being downright dishonest about CDBGs. Examine what Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mulvaney actually said during Thursday’s press conference on the budget, in response to a question on Meals on Wheels.

“As you know, or I think you know, Meals on Wheels is not a federal program,” he began. “It’s part of that community that CDBGs — the block grants that we give to the states, and then many states make the decision to give that money to Meals on Wheels.” (emphasis added)

The article goes on to mention that the government has spent $150 billion on CDBG programs since 1970 and has no results to show for it.

The article explains the problem:

This program is ineffective because the administration of these funds is often absolutely corrupt. In 2013, the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee identified “more than $770 million in questionable costs and included recommendations for putting $739.5 million in HUD funds to better use.” The subcommittee identified CDBGs as one of HUD’s largest programs that “lack proper oversight” and are “especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.”
The article goes on to list some of the abuses in past use of CDBG money. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. President Trump is acting like a businessman–he is cutting funds to programs that do not work and moving funds to programs that show results. If we are ever to find a way out of our increasing debt, these are the steps that will be necessary. It is a shame that the mainstream media wants to continue to increase the debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

How Much Is Big Bird Actually Worth?

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about President Trump’s plan to cut funding for Public Broadcasting. The article illustrates the fact that in some cases, executives of nonprofit organizations make salaries that don’t sound as if they are appropriate for an organization that is nonprofit.

The article reminds us of two conflicting statements made by NPR about their budget:

On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB [the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting]  and federal agencies and departments.

…Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public. Its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR. . . Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism—especially local journalism—and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities.

Both of those statements cannot be true. I have no idea which one is.

The article further reports:

According to tax filings — the most recent of which covers 2014 — then-president and CEO Melvin Ming was paid more than $586,000 in salary and benefits in the nine months before retiring, which included a $37,500 bonus and $18,700 in benefits. The year before that, Ming cleared $672,391 in salary, bonuses and benefits.

That’s five times the average pay for CEOs at nonprofits, according to Charity Navigator. (It’s twice as much as the CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets paid.)

The average compensation for the other 10 top officials at Sesame Workshop in 2014 was a very handsome $382,135 — which is about six times the median household income in the U.S.

Big Bird is big business. The article states:

Last year, Sesame Workshop had $121.6 million in revenues. Of that, $49.6 million came in distribution fees and royalties and $36.6 million in licensing of toys, games, clothing, food and such. In 2014, only 4% of its revenue came from government grants.

I suspect there are other programs on Public Broadcasting that would do quite well if they chose to market items related to their television shows. I truly think it is time to give the free market the chance to work its magic in the area of Public Broadcasting.

Using Our Court System Against Us

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about Imam Ismail Elshikh, who leads the largest mosque in Hawaii.

The article quotes a World Net Daily article explaining the Imam’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood:

Imam Ismail Elshikh, 39, leads the largest mosque in Hawaii and claims he is suffering “irreparable harm” from the president’s executive order, which places a 90-day ban on travel to the U.S. from six countries.

One of those six countries is Syria. Elshikh’s mother in law is Syrian and would not be able to visit her family in Hawaii for 90 days if Trump’s ban were allowed to go into effect.

Hawaii’s Obama-appointed federal judge, Derrick Watson, made sure the ban did not go into effect, striking it down Wednesday while buying Hawaii’s claim that it amounts to a “Muslim ban.” The state’s attorney general, along with co-plaintiff Elshikh, claims the ban would irreparably harm the state’s tourism industry and its Muslim families.

…Elshikh was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt, the home base of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose stated goal is to spread Shariah law throughout the world.

Elshikh is living in the U.S. on a green card, which gives him permanent legal status.

The proof that his mosque is affiliated with the Brotherhood is found in the court records for Honolulu County, which lists the deed holder as the North American Islamic Trust.

John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism specialist and now private consultant to law enforcement at Understanding the Threat, said all mosques under the “Muslim Association of” moniker are typically affiliated with the Brotherhood.

But the clincher in this case is that the mosque property is traced to NAIT, “confirming it is a Muslim Brotherhood organization,” Guandolo told WND in an email.

Let that sink in a minute. A man whose goal is to implement Sharia Law throughout the world is claiming that he is suffering “irreparable harm” from the president’s executive order. Why would that be? How is the president’s executive order impacting him? The man is not an American citizen–he is here legally, but he is not a citizen. When did a non-citizen have the right to work with a judge to overturn a legal act of the president? What country would allow that?

 

The Story The Media Is Not Telling About The Netherlands

Narrative Collapse posted an article about the Netherlands‘ election today. As usual, they cut through the mainstream media spin to the actual facts.

The article reports:

The following is the number of seats in parliament each party will get.

VVD 33 (center-right)
PVV 20 (right-wing)
CDA 19 (center-right)
D66 19 (center-left)
SP 14 (left-wing)
GL 14 (left-wing)
PvdA 9 (center-left)
CU 5 (center-right)
PvdD 5 (left-wing)
50+ 4 (pensioner advocacy)
DENK 3 (left-wing)
SGP 3 (right-wing)
FvD 2 (right-wing)

Divided into four categories you have:
Center-right: 57/61 Right-wing: 25
Center-left: 28/32 Left-wing: 36

So, you basically have 54.5%-57.3% of parliament on the right and 42.7%-45.3% on the left.

What the English language media is telling people is that this is a humiliating defeat for conservatives because Geert Wilders party on got 13% of the vote. This is only disappointing if you look at polls from weeks ago that showed the PVV almost neck and neck with VVD.

The article reports that the election illustrates increased polarization of the voters in the Netherlands. It also notes the following:

What is actually demoralizing is reports that VVD intends to pick D66 as a coalition partner instead of PVV. This is the exact behavior associated with “RHINO” and “neo-con” Republicans in the United States. They run to the right during election season and then run back left the day after.

Geert Wilders is not a radical (as the media has tried to convince us). He is a man who loves his country and wants to see his country preserved. Unfortunately it may take many of his fellow countrymen some time to realize this. Hopefully, that realization will come before the Netherlands is destroyed.

Repairing The American Automobile Market

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about President Trump’s visit to Detroit to talk to auto manufacturers. The editorial reminds us of some of the policies initiated by the American government that have created problems for the auto industry. The editorial also suggests some solutions for these problems.

First, the editorial examines the history of CAFE Standards:

For those who don’t know, the federal government first imposed the “Corporate Average Fuel Economy” standard in 1975, in response to the government-caused energy crisis. The standard requires automakers to meet annual fuel economy targets based on the fleet of cars they sell in a year, or pay stiff penalties.

By the time the standards started to bite in the early 1980s — which forced a radical (and deadly) downsizing of the domestic fleet of cars — President Reagan had deregulated the oil industry, thus ending the energy crisis. And now, with fracking, the country is awash in domestic oil supplies.

But the CAFE standards persisted, and President Obama hiked them in 2009 and again in 2011. If left in place, cars will have to get an average 54.5 mpg starting in 2025 — less than eight years from now.

This was a thinly disguised effort by the Obama administration to force electric cars onto the market, since not a single conventional vehicle comes close to that mileage standard today.

This is just another example of the government interfering with the free market to the detriment of the American consumer.

The Standards were supposed to be reviewed in 2017, but the government, under President Obama, reneged on its promise:

Detroit signed on to this idiocy in 2011 in part because it reformed the existing CAFE regulations, but mainly on the promise that they’d have the chance to review and amend the standards in 2017. But just before leaving office, Obama’s EPA regulators reneged on their end of the bargain, locking the 54.5 mpg mandate in place without even a cursory review.

In a recent letter to Pruitt, the Auto Alliance — which represents Ford (F), GM (GM), Fiat Chrysler (FCAU), Toyota, Volvo and other carmakers — pushed him to allow the 2017 review to go on as promised, so they at least can make their case on why the 2025 standard should be eased. Trump announced his plans to do so on Wednesday at an event in Detroit.

The Standards did encourage auto companies to design cars that got better gas mileage. However, now it is time to let consumers make their choices as to what cars and what efficiency they want. The CAFE Standards have raised the price of cars for everyone and not really accomplished much. It is time to encourage auto makers to make cars that get reasonable gas mileage, but not hold them to unreasonable standards. The CAFE Standards need to go.

ObamaCare Is Not Doing Well

Politico posted an article today about sign-ups for ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage declined for the first time in the 2017 season and fell below the Obama administration‘s estimates for the three-month enrollment window, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 12.2 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 — a drop-off from the 12.7 million sign-ups at the close of the last open-enrollment season. The Trump administration soon after taking office scaled back enrollment outreach during the critical final week of sign-ups.

The article reminds us that roughly four out of five people who sign up for ObamaCare receive tax credits to offset their monthly premiums. Even at that, people are not rushing to sign up.

The article concludes:

The Trump administration reversed plans to scrap phone calls and other forms of outreach to encourage sign-ups in the finals days of the enrollment period after the move sparked outcry from the law’s supporters and health insurers. Officials said they were unable to pull back some HealthCare.gov radio and TV advertising that had been purchased by the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel about $4 million to $5 million in ads.

The enrollment report comes amid a spate of troubling news about health law insurance markets. Last month, Humana announced it would become the first major insurer to pull out of the market completely next year. Molina, which had an unexpected loss, said it would assess ongoing participation at a later date. Other insurers are sounding alarms.

ObamaCare needs to go away. The Republicans need to pass the bill they have passed before in order to end it. The gamesmanship that is going on now in the Republican Party is totally unacceptable.

The Next Economic Bubble Is Growing

Yesterday The Star Tribune posted an article about the rising number of student loan defaults.

The article reports:

A new analysis of federal student loans reveals the number of people severely behind on repaying their debt has soared in the last year, painting a bleak picture of one of the largest government programs.

The Consumer Federation of America released a study Tuesday that found that millions of people had not made a payment on $137 billion in federal student loans for at least nine months in 2016, a 14 percent increase in defaults from a year earlier. The consumer watchdog used the latest data from the Education Department, which manages $1.3 trillion in federal student debt owed by 42.4 million Americans.

 What’s striking about the findings is that Americans have a variety of repayment options to avoid default. The Obama administration expanded programs that cap monthly payments to a percentage of earnings, but even though millions of people are enrolled in those income-driven plans, there is still a disconnect.

“Despite a rising stock market and falling unemployment, student loan borrowers are still struggling,” said Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at CFA and former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. “The economy remains very difficult for so many young people just starting out.”

In recent years, as more money has become available for college loans, the cost of college has increased at levels higher than inflation. Students have also pursued degrees in subjects that may not translate well into the marketplace. The combination has created an increasing debt with a decreasing ability of students to pay back that debt.

It’s time to let banks and other financial institutions handle student loans. Historically, banks and financial institutions loan money to people with the expectation that the money will be paid back. They are careful in their lending practices. Scholarships should be made available to worthy students who cannot qualify for loans. It is time for colleges to bring their tuition into line with the overall cost of living so that students are not taking out loans they cannot afford to pay back.

Three Phases Of HealthCare Reform Might Not Work

Townhall posted an article this morning about the Republican plan to reform ObamaCare. The current plan being discussed does not replace ObamaCare–it merely tweeks it a bit and changes the name.

The article quotes Senator Tom Cotton:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of many skeptical Republicans, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the three-phase process is a myth. What we see right now is what we get.

“Hugh, there is no three-phase process,” Cotton said. “There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.”

Somehow, when the Republicans were repealing ObamaCare knowing that whatever they did would not make it past President Obama, they were willing to repeal ObamaCare. Now, when their votes actually matter, they seem to be afraid to make a move. Republicans need to realize that even if they do nothing and ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, Republicans will be blamed. That is the nature of the media. ObamaCare was passed by reconciliation, it can be repealed through reconciliation. It is time to get it done.

Sometimes The Internet Just Makes Politics Difficult

On Sunday, Lifezette posted an article about Senator Elizabeth Warren‘s plan to obstruct the firing of U.S. Attorneys. Evidently Senator Warren has a short memory. Yesterday, The Gateway Pundit posted an article quoting California Democrat Representative Maxine Waters complaining that Barack Obama did not get rid of Bush-era U.S. Attorneys fast enough in May of 2009.

The Gateway Pundit quotes Representative Waters:

Maxine Waters: “As we understand it, the protocol has been that U.S. attorneys hand in their resignations and would give the new administration an opportunity to make new appointments, we don’t see that happening quite fast enough.”

Lifezette posted some tweets from Senator Warren:

Lifezette further reminds us:

While it is true that the Senate confirms any U.S. attorney appointees that a president names, neither the act of firing nor the appointment of replacements is something unusual in the transfer of presidential power.

I guess Senator Warren has forgotten recent history. Please follow the link to read the entire Lifezette article. Senator Warren’s tweets are totally over the top.

 

 

 

The Law Of Unintended Consequences At Work

One of the problems with the idea of ridding ourselves from fossil fuels is that we really haven’t perfected the alternatives. Our economy runs on fossil fuels, and until we develop a safe, clean, inexpensive, efficient, and reliable alternative, our economy will continue to depend on fossil fuel. In 2014, I posted a story explaining what happened when Spain attempted to switch over to green energy. As far as I know, the only country in the world that has successfully made the switch to green energy is Iceland. They have been able to generate large amounts of electricity because of the volcanoes the island sits on. Recently scientists have discovered that there is a serious down side to solar energy (other than the birds that have been fried while flying over solar panels).

On March 1st, The Daily Caller reported that the construction of solar panels generates Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

The article reports:

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) is a key chemical agent used to manufacture photovoltaic cells for solar panels, suggesting government subsidies and tax credits for solar panels may be a driving factor behind the 1,057 percent in NF3 over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period.

NF3 emissions have rapidly increased in Asia as well due to its rapidly growing solar panel market, and researchers think that many nations are under-reporting their NF3 emissions by roughly a factor of 4.5.

NF3 emissions are 17,200 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas over a 100 year time period.

NF3 is also used in the production of semiconductors and LCD flat screens.

The article also points out:

The 1,057 percent increase in US annual emissions of NF3 from 1990 to 2015 compares to an increase of 5.6 percent in carbon dioxide emissions, according to EPA data in a recently-published draft of a new report

There is, however, some good news. The study concluded that the more modern solar panels will emit less NF3 and will have a positive impact on the environment. This conclusion was reached by considering the amount of CO2 that would not be released when the solar panels were used. After some adjusting of the numbers, solar panels could be shown to have a positive impact on the environment. It might be a good idea to keep in mind at this point that a good statistician can make any group of numbers say anything he wants them to say.

The Lynch Pin That Connects The Scandals

American Lens posted an article today that reminds us why we need to drain the swamp.

The article states:

Loretta Lynch is the only Attorney General in American history to invoke her Fifth Amendment privileges in her appearance before Congress in October 2016 about the $1.7 billion dollar Iran ransom payments.

It is her constitutional right to assert that privilege, as it is for all Americans. However, it dramatically increased the already toxic environment between the Obama Justice Department and Congress and left serious concerns in the air about her actions surrounding the $1.7 billion in cash payments to a hostile terrorist regime.

Invoking the Fifth Amendment does not immediately make her guilty of anything, but she is the first Attorney General to do so.

The article explains:

Under Federal Law, 50 U.S. Code § 1805 (a) (1), the Attorney General must approve the application for the warrant before it goes to a judicial panel in a FISA court.

A FISA order is used to collect information on a foreign entity when there is no other normal means available to gather the information – 50 U.S. Code § 1805 (6)(c).

According to the law there must be credible evidence that demonstrates, “each of the facilities at which surveillance directed is being used or about to be used by foreign power or agent thereof .” That could mean trouble for President Trump.

If the FISA standards were upheld, it could mean that there were at least two intelligence indicators that Trump’s equipment or personnel were about to act as foreign agents.
However, with the revelation that General Flynn was a confidant of the Turkish regime and had been in contact with the Russian foreign minister, these would likely be the indicators that could have been or were used as part of the FISA affidavit.

But, as we have previously reported, there is at least one cooperating witness in the tap of Trump tower during his presidential campaign.

Stated another way, someone in the Obama/Lynch Justice Department swore under penalty of perjury that they had evidence that Trump Tower was being used by a foreign power during the presidential campaign and/or that there was reasonable suspicion that Trump or one of his associates at the tower was about to be a secret foreign agent.

Obviously, we do not yet know all the details of the FISA request, but it appears that the Democratic Party’s opposition research team definitely got out of hand. This wiretap is different from Watergate in that government agencies were used against an opponent of the opposite party. In Watergate, it was a Republican campaign committee–the government was not involved in the actual burglary, and when the guilty parties attempted to bring in the government, the scandal was uncovered and people went to jail. This is a much more serious breach of the trust of the American people–we expect those in office to follow the laws of the land–not break for their own personal gain.

The End Of Common Sense

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a high school basketball game is Des Moines, Iowa.

The article reports:

Supporters of the Des Moines North High School basketball team, many of whose players are from refugee families, were offended when fans of Valley High School’s basketball team wore red, white and blue last week, The College Fix reports.

“This is an example of BLATANT racism,” said Ty Leggett, a Valley High School alum, on the Valley High School – WDMCS Facebook page. “ALL participating should have been pulled and banned from ALL VHS extracurricular events for the remainder of the year! As a parent, I’d be mortified that my son or daughter thought this way, acted in this fashion and refrained from taking a stand against this 21st century inexcusable behavior!”

Erin Ness Carter, a mother living in the Iowan district, remarked that “for the supporters of one team from a primarily white part of town to paint themselves as the ‘team of the USA’ it strongly implies that the other team, the less white team, is less American.”

Wearing the colors and the American flag is not racist–it’s patriotic. Historically Americans have invited immigrants to join in that patriotism. Historically immigrants have been willing to be part of that patriotism.

The article further reports:

Some Facebook users commented on Valley High School – WDMCS, noting that they had heard the chant “deport him” or “deport them,” but others denied these claims. Valley High responded to the accusations, stating that “administrators and teachers did not hear nor have evidence during the game of this occurring. If we had been aware of it, we would have taken immediate action to stop it. Now having received reports, we are investigating and disciplinary action will be taken for evidence found.”

If evidence of these chants is found, those responsible need to be disciplined, but otherwise, there is no crime in wearing the colors of the American flag. I can’t believe that any school administrators were even willing to give this discussion the time of day.