When The Press Interferes With National Security

Terrorism is a worldwide problem. As ISIS is being defeated in Iraq, its members go to other parts of the world to commit terrorist acts. Bringing down ISIS worldwide would be a major step in the direction of peace. However, not everyone is working toward that goal.

Yesterday the following video was posted on YouTube:

An article at The Conservative Treehouse that included the above video. In the video, General Tony Thomas explains how leaked intelligence foiled the capture of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The article at The Conservative Treehouse quotes a Fox News story from July 21st:

“We have absolutely dismantled his network,”  Gen. Tony Thomas, speaking of Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, said at the Aspen Security Forum. “I mean everyone who worked for him initially is dead or gone. Everybody who stepped to the plate the next time [is] dead or gone. Down through a network where we have killed, in a conservative estimate, 60,000 to 70,000 of his followers, his army.”

In a wide-ranging interview moderated by Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, Thomas, who leads the Special Operations Command, said his team was “particularly close” to Baghdadi after the 2015 raid that killed ISIS oil minister Abu Sayyaf. That raid also netted his wife, who provided a wealth of actionable information.

“That was a very good lead. Unfortunately, it was leaked in a prominent national newspaper about a week later and that lead went dead,” Thomas said. “The challenge we have [is] in terms of where and how our tactics and procedures are discussed openly. There’s a great need to inform the American public about what we’re up to. There’s also great need to recognize things that will absolutely undercut our ability to do our job.”

The article mentions that the comment about a national newspaper probably refers to a New York Times article that appeared in June 2015.

I wonder how the Department of Justice would have handled this sort of leak during World War II. There is no doubt that this leak cost lives–either in America or other places around the world. A major international terrorist was allowed to escape because a newspaper wanted a headline. I understand that a free press is necessary for a representative republic such as America, but what about a responsible press?

 

I Think We Are Investigating The Wrong People

One of the worst things that can happen to a representative government is for a political leader to use the power of his position to spy on his political opposition. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more obvious that under President Obama that was the norm.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the latest leak from the Washington establishment.

The article reports:

Since that time (March 2017) we now know that the FBI was investigating the Trump Tower servers during the election.

We also know Susan Rice lied at first but then admitted when she got caught that she was unmasking her political opponents phone calls. Rice blamed racism after she got caught.

Ex-officials said what Susan Rice’s unmasking requests were not routine and “never done.” And… she was not alone in her unmasking requests.

Obama officials later moved the unmasking documents to the Obama library.

Tonight Deep State leaked documents to the Washington Post that show the Obama administration were spying on Republican senator Jeff Sessions before the election.

Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Jeff Sessions, who was at the time a Senator from Alabama, were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, according to the far left Washington Post.

Once again this proves President Trump was right.
Barack Obama was spying on his political opponents.

Robert Mueller is investigating the wrong people. I suspect that is by design.

Scary Things Our Children Are Being Taught In College

On Wednesday, National Review posted an article about Professor Jerry Coyne, a professor in the department of ecology and human evolution at the University of Chicago. Professor Coyne writes a blog called “Why Evolution Is True.” I don’t have a problem with his belief in evolution as long as he also explains that it is a theory and that there are other theories. However, I am concerned about a recent post on his blog.

Professor Coyne writes:

If you are allowed to abort a fetus that has a severe genetic defect, microcephaly, spina bifida, or so on, then why aren’t you able to euthanize that same fetus just after it’s born?

…After all, newborn babies aren’t aware of death, aren’t nearly as sentient as an older child or adult, and have no rational faculties to make judgments (and if there’s severe mental disability, would never develop such faculties). It makes little sense to keep alive a suffering child who is doomed to die or suffer life in a vegetative or horribly painful state.

Professor Coyne states:

As for the “slippery slope” argument — that this will lead to Nazi-like eugenics — well, this hasn’t come to pass in places where assisted suicide or euthanasia of adults is legal.

The article at National Review reminds us that what Professor Coyne states about the “slippery slope” is not entirely true:

Superficially, he is correct, but it is silly to think that abuses will occur only in such an explicit manner. “The violence we commit,” writes Hart, “is more hygienic, subtler, and less inconvenient than that committed by our forebears.” Indeed, Wesley J. Smith has highlighted how an increasing number of mentally ill patients are euthanized in countries where it is legal. As he noted at NRO, these patients tend to be “the prime candidates for conjoining euthanasia with organ harvesting.” Sometimes, however, fatal malpractice is more explicit: In 2015, hundreds were euthanized in the Netherlands without request.

Professor Coyne is teaching the leaders of tomorrow. Hopefully they will acquire some moral clarity on the idea of killing children before they become leaders. It is scary to think of a world where we think we have the right to arbitrarily kill children or adults because we deem them defective.

 

 

 

Voter Fraud Is Real

The Daily Signal posted an article today about voter fraud.

The article reports:

On Thursday, The Heritage Foundation is releasing a new edition of its voter fraud database. Featuring well over 100 new cases, the database documents 1,071 instances of voter fraud spanning 47 states, including 938 criminal convictions.

This revamped edition of the database separates cases by type of disposition, allowing readers to easily distinguish not only what type of fraud occurred but the outcome of the case—criminal convictions, pre-trial diversion programs, and other types of adjudication used in various states and counties across the United States.

The article reports specific incidents in a few states. Elections, even federal elections, are controlled by the individual states. However, it is time for all the states to take action to limit voter fraud. One way to limit voter fraud would be to institute voter identification. That would be a really good place to start.

Taxpayer-Funded Political Opposition Research

Bloomberg News is reporting today that special prosecutor Robert Mueller will be expanding his investigation of President Trump to include all of President Trump’s business activities before he became President. This is ridiculous. It amounts to taxpayer-funded political opposition research.

The American Thinker posted an article in June which featured the following quote from John Eastman, law professor at Chapman University:

The special counsel will not to track down the details of a crime known to have been committed and determine “who dunnit,” but will scour the personal and business affairs of a select group of people – the President of the United States, members of his family, his business associates, and members of his presidential campaign and transition teams – to see if any crime can be found (or worse, manufactured by luring someone into making a conflicting statement at some point). This is not a proper use of prosecutorial power, but a “witch hunt,” as President Trump himself correctly observed. Or, to put it more in terms of legalese, this special prosecutor has effectively been given a “writ of assistance” and the power to exercise a “general warrant” against this select group of people, including the President of the United States, recently elected by a fairly wide margin of the electoral vote.

That is the very kind of thing our Fourth Amendment was adopted to prevent. Indeed, the issuance of general warrants and writs of assistance is quite arguably the spark that ignited America‘s war for independence.

This witch hunt is just wrong. Unless Robert Mueller and his staff are sent packing, we are in danger of losing our republic to a bunch of entrenched establishment bureaucrats who behave like spoiled brats when they lose an election to an outsider.

 

The Connections Just Keep On Coming

Yesterday Breitbart reported that energy firm Joule Unlimited has collapsed.

The article reports:

“The investors walked away,” former Joule Unlimited CEO Brian Baynes told The Digest, a biofuel publication.

First revealed in research from Breitbart News Senior Editor-at-Large and Government Accountability Institute (GAI) President Peter Schweizer, Podesta joined the executive board of Joule Unlimited Technologies — a Boston, Massachusetts-based firm that received $35 million from the Russian government while Clinton served as secretary of state — in June 2011. Podesta received 75,000 common shares of Joule stock options, according to an email uncovered by WikiLeaks.

Podesta failed to disclose his presence on the board of the Dutch-registered Stichting Joule Global Foundation before he became President Obama’s senior adviser in January 2014 — a possible violation for federal law.

Did the investors walk away because when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election, they realized that any influence they might have had on American foreign policy was gone? There are simply some amazing connections between Russia, the Clinton Foundation, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

For Your Consideration

The fact that I am posting this does not mean that I believe it is true–it means that I think this is a necessary item to add to the current debate.

The U.K Daily Mail posted an article today based on a National Enquirer story .

The U.K. Daily Mail article states:

Hillary Clinton and a firm with ties to the Democratic party setup President Donald Trump and his family in an attempt to destroy the billionaire businessman and politician according to the National Enquirer

The tabloid magazine, which has made no secret of its pro-Trump agenda, came to this conclusion after what they describe as an ‘exhaustive investigation’ into the matter.

These attempts by ‘evil’ Hillary to bring down her rival included luring Donald Jr. into meeting with shadowy Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskyaya claims the tabloid.

And the firm in the middle of all this is Fusion GPS according to the tabloid, the same group that allegedly compiled Christopher Steele’s scandalous dossier of claims about President Trump that was published in January.

I don’t know if this story is true or false. What I do know is that there is a group of establishment politicians in Washington that is intent on preventing President Trump from accomplishing anything. The Washington establishment has become the ‘cool’ kids at the high school lunch table who refuse to let anyone they deem unworthy to enter their group. It is high time that someone tipped their table over and sent them home.

Remember, the National Enquirer broke the John Edwards story. Lately they have a better track record than The New York Times.

Finding The Leaks

I am still enough of an optimist to think that there are some members of Congress who actually care about what happens to America. I am tired of watching the dog and pony show of endless accusations, endless hearings, endless anonymous sources, and no one being actually found guilty of anything. I believe that the election of President Trump has illustrated the fact that there is a deep state of the Washington establishment that does not want anyone to rock their boat.

I have quoted Carrol Quigley before:

I would like to believe that he was wrong. There is some hope.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for Samantha Power and other Obama Administration figures, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, in an effort to find out who has been leaking raw intelligence reports to the press during the presidential transition period.

The article reports:

Power’s role in this unmasking effort is believed to be particularly questionable given her position as the U.N. ambassador, a post that does not typically require such sensitive unmasking activities, according to former U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

“It might be defended when the communication in question relates directly to U.N. business, for example an important Security Council vote,” explained the former official, who would only discuss the matter on background. “Sometimes it might be done out of other motives than national security, such as sheer curiosity or to defend a bureaucratic position. Or just plain politics.”

The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”

It is becoming obvious that President Obama used to power of his office to spy on and limit the influence of his political opponents. Under President Obama, the IRS became a political arm of the Democratic party–slow walking nonprofit applications from conservative groups. The Justice Department was also politicized when voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers was ignored despite video evidence. It should not be a surprise that the Patriot Act was also misused in the way feared by those in Congress who opposed it.

It is time to hold those who misused their government offices accountable. Leaking raw intelligence to the media is a crime. There are penalties. The law needs to be applied, and it needs to be applied evenly to everyone who broke it. Either Congressional investigations have value or they are a dog and pony show that wastes taxpayer money. We are about to find out which.

 

Investigating Voter Fraud

Yesterday The Daily Signal noted that the presidential commission to examine voter fraud began its work. The goal of the commission is to examine voter fraud and the soundness of the election process throughout the country.

The article reminds us why this commission is needed:

The panel likely will push best practices among states, such as voter ID and updating voter registration rolls, said Jason Snead, a legal policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation, who studies voter fraud and helps maintain the think tank’s database on voter fraud.

Snead noted a Pew Research Center study that found 1.8 million dead people were listed as voters, 12 million records with incorrect data, and 2.75 million persons registered in more than one state.

Every vote cast illegally cancels the vote of a legal voter. It is time we investigated and put an end to voter fraud.

Changing The Definition Of A Word For Political Purposes

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the attempts to claim that Donald Trump, Jr., is guilty of collusion.

The article includes the Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of collusion:

secret agreement or cooperation especially for an illegal or deceitful purpose * acting in collusion with the enemy

The article further explains that definition and how it relates to the charges against Mr. Trump:

Thus, when the U.S., Russia and other countries jointly operate the International Space Station, they aren’t colluding, they are cooperating.

Liberals talk about “collusion” in connection with Trump, Jr’s meeting to paper over the fact that there was nothing wrong with it. Collecting information about corruption on the part of a candidate for office is a good thing, not a bad thing. We know from Clinton Cash that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played a key role in turning over a large part of America’s supply of uranium to the Russians, at about the same time when Russians associated with that country’s government paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to Bill and Hillary Clinton. So we know about the quid and the quo, the only question is whether there was a pro. If the Russian lawyer had had information on this point, it would have been a public service to disclose it.

It is different, of course, if false information about a candidate is being fabricated. Thus, we can properly say that Democrats colluded in the production of a fake dossier on President Trump.

I have always felt that most of the things the Democrats accuse the Republicans of are things that the Democrats are doing. I think the make-believe case against Donald Trump, Jr., is an example of this.

The Democrats have so altered the definition of collusion that it could theoretically apply to any conversation with anyone who was remotely connected to any country other than America. It will be interesting to see if karma is going to show up in the near future.

At Least Hawaii Is Safe

Townhall.com posted an article today about the threat of North Korean missiles.

The article quotes Charles Krauthammer in a Washington Post article:

Across 25 years and five administrations, we have kicked the North Korean can down the road. We are now out of road.

On July 4, North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile apparently capable of hitting the United States. As yet, only Alaska. Soon, every American city.

Moreover, Pyongyang claims to have already fitted miniaturized nuclear warheads on intermediate-range missiles. Soon, on ICBMs.

However, in the midst of this unsettling news, there is some good news. At least Hawaii is safe.

The article reports:

But although there are questions about whether we can fully protect the mainland, Hawaii, the most vulnerable state to Korean attack, is well protected by America’s missile defense system. Early this year, a new missile-defense system in the state destroyed a target missile, proving that the area will be well-secured in the event of a nuclear attack.

The United States has had a successful test of its own recently. In late May, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency announced it had successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile during the first test of its updated ground-based intercept system.

The missile was launched from the Ronald Reagan Ballistic Missile Defense Test Site on Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands. The intercept, launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, collided with the missile an hour later over the Pacific Ocean.

The system had gone 9-for-17 in tests from 1999 through 2014 but had not tested an intercept since. It was the first successful test since 2014 and the first time the intercept had worked with no pre-programmed information on the location of the target – a true blind seek-and-destroy mission.

How completely we can protect mainland America depends on how many nuclear missiles the North Koreans have. In Israel, the Iron Dome has protected the country from numerous rocket attacks. I am not sure how useful the Iron Dome would be in the case of an ICBM attack. However, the most recent intercept test does show that we do have the capacity to protect ourselves. The “Mutually Assured Destruction” (MAD) policy used with Russia during the Cold War does not apply to today’s tyrants. Iran believes it can hasten the coming of the Mahdi by creating chaos, and the North Korean leader is not a rational person. Our best strategy is to be able to shoot down anything that comes our way before it gets here. We also need to understand that America has very few allies in the world who would be willing to help with our defense. (And those who would be willing to help us are dealing with serious issues regarding their own defenses).

It is time to acknowledge that we can no longer kick the can down the road. It also might be a good time to make sure our defenses are up and running to protect all areas of the country.

“Don’t Throw Me Into The Briar Patch”

Joel Chandler Harris was an American author who wrote the Uncle Remus stories. Some of these stories later became an animated film by Walt Disney called “Song of the South.” One of the characters in these stories was Br’er (“brother”) Rabbit, who when captured by Bre’r Fox pleads, “Don’t throw me into the briar patch.” Of course, Br’er Rabbit has grown up in the briar patch, is quite at home there, and sees the briar patch as an escape route. So why in the world is a political blog talking about Br’er Rabbit and the briar patch? Because I believe the story of Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox totally explains the current healthcare debate.

Let’s look at the healthcare debacle strictly through a political lens. The best outcome for the Republicans (with a Republican President) is the complete failure of ObamaCare–rising costs, escalating premiums, denial of healthcare to senior citizens and young people, etc. Theoretically, President Trump has tried to avoid this. Had this failure occurred under a Democratic President, the solution would have been single-payer socialistic medicine. Under a Republican President, a free-market solution may be possible, but only after the total failure of ObamaCare. As premiums rise and health insurance and healthcare become more difficult to obtain, voters may get angry enough to remove from office those who had blocked the repeal of ObamaCare. I suspect that much of the Tea Party is already there. Because the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare, it is still the Democrat’s policy. That may be exactly where the Republicans wanted it.

So where are we now in the healthcare debate?

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that there is no possibility of repealing and replacing ObamaCare and there is no possibility of repealing ObamaCare over the next two years.

The article reports news from two sources:

From Bloomberg News:

GOP Senators Susan Collins, Shelley Moore Capito and Lisa Murkowski said Tuesday they’ll oppose a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. McConnell said late Monday the Senate would vote on a repeal with a two-year delay to give Congress time to agree on a replacement, but he could afford to lose no more than two Republican votes to advance the measure.

Repealing the law now and then hoping for a replacement “would create great anxiety for individuals who rely on the ACA,” Collins of Maine told reporters in Washington. “I believe it would cause the insurance markets to go into turmoil.” She said she would oppose bringing a repeal bill up for debate.

Capito of West Virginia said she would refuse to take up a repeal plan without an adequate replacement. “I did not come to Washington to hurt people,” she said in a statement.

Murkowski of Alaska also said she wouldn’t vote to take up a repeal-alone measure.

From the Washington Examiner:

House Republicans on Tuesday were seething with anger over the Senate GOP’s late Monday decision to pull the plug on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Lawmakers leaving the House GOP’s weekly conference meeting said feelings of exasperation and anger have set in, now that the Senate has dropped plans to vote on an Obamacare replacement bill this month.

“There is a lot of frustration, borderline anger I guess, at what really has to be described as some level of incompetence to be able to get together and get something done,” Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., who heads the conservative Republican Study Committee, told the Washington Examiner.

I am not sure the Democrats are celebrating the fact that the Republicans could not repeal ObamaCare–now the Democrats are stuck with a healthcare plan that is rapidly crashing.

 

When The Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

This was posted by a friend on Facebook:

This seemed like a reasonable question, so I did some research. On December 2016, CNN Money posted the following:

Nearly 6.4 million Americans have selected Obamacare policies through the federal exchange for coverage starting Jan. 1, federal officials announced Wednesday. That’s 400,000 more than had selected policies a year ago.

Under the proposed repeal and replace ObamaCare bill, the rate of growth of Medicaid will be cut–Medicaid will still grow, but more slowly. The goal is to create a program that will create a rate structure that allows more Americans to pay for their own health insurance. I am not thrilled with the current bill in the Senate, but passing it may be a necessary evil if we are to avoid single-payer or socialized medicine (which would be the result of the total collapse of ObamaCare which is rapidly approaching).

When Your Predictions Are Wrong, Just Change The Time Frame

Yesterday The Independent Journal Review posted an article about the global warming predictions that were supposed to be happening about now that are nowhere in sight.

The article reports:

The cult’s leader — Al Gore — said in 2009 that there was a 75 percent chance that the entire arctic polar ice cap would melt by 2014.

It’s still there.

The year before the North Pole was supposed to be gone, noted climate scientist Hans von Storch went against cult orthodoxy in an interview with Spiegel Online in 2013 and had some interesting things to say about the climate prediction models so revered by the alarmists.

After noting that “climate change seems to be taking a break,” von Storch had this to say about the models:

“If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations.”

I’m not a scientist, but it seems to me that if your predictions supposedly using the scientific method continually do not happen, there might be something wrong with your models or your calculations.

The article reports what the scientists are doing to modify their failed predictions:

Climate alarmist James Hansen’s prediction of Manhattan being underwater by 2018 seems to not be happening, so he’s moving his own goal posts and saying “50 to 150 years” now.

That’s the beauty of being one of the “we believe in science” people: there’s never any penalty for being wrong. Every prediction that doesn’t come true isn’t a cause for reflection about perhaps adjusting the conclusion; it’s merely an opportunity to pull a new prediction out of thin air.

Perhaps they are finally getting embarrassed, though. Tossing all of the predictions a century down the road at least saves them from having to be around when those are proved wrong.

The global warming movement has never been about science or the environment.

The following is from an article I posted in March 2016:

Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

For those who want to believe that maybe Edenhofer just misspoke and doesn’t really mean that, consider that a little more than five years ago he also said that “the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

The earth’s climate is cyclical.  Scientists have found fossils in Greenland of animals from much more temperate climates. The Middle Ages experienced a period of global warming that had nothing to do with SUV’s.  The bottom line is that man is rather insignificant in the grand scheme of the earth’s climate. I believe that we have a responsibility to keep the earth as clean as possible, but we also have a responsibility to develop the earth’s resources to allow all people on the planet to experience freedom and the ability to earn enough to have food and shelter. Redistribution of wealth is not the solution to poverty–freedom is–and that is exactly what the global warming crowd is trying to limit.

I would like to note at this point that at least one generation of school children has been raised on this fake science as if it were fact. Combined with the fact that our children are no longer being taught critical thinking skills, this may be a major problem for the future of our country.

Using Mind Control On Our Teenagers

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the government will be using subliminal messages to discourage teenagers from smoking.

The article reports:

The National Institutes of Health is spending nearly $400,000 testing how to insert subliminal messages against cigarette smoking in video games played by teens.

The University of Connecticut received a grant for the study earlier this year that suggest teenagers are easier targets for anti-cigarette messaging when they are lost in video games.

“With surveys indicating that 97 [percent] of adolescents and 80 [percent] of young adults play videogames for entertainment, use of entertainment videogames as a tool for delivering graphic warnings has tremendous potential to influence youth cigarette and e-cig rates,” according to the grant for the study. “However, before such an approach can be pursued, researchers need to better understand health communication dynamics in computer-mediated, virtual gaming worlds.”

First if all, I don’t have a problem telling teenagers not to smoke. I do have a problem with subliminal messages sponsored by the government. Also, why are we going after smoking at the same time many states are legalizing marijuana. If marijuana is legal, does anyone really believe that teenagers will not find a way to get a hold of it and smoke it? I think there is a contradiction here.

Also, according to AgMag:

Arizona Sen. John McCain ignited an historic debate over crop insurance yesterday when he offered an amendment to the farm bill that would end insurance subsidies to tobacco farmers.

The amendment offered by McCain and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would actually end tobacco subsidies.

Like most of us, McCain thought the U.S. stopped subsidizing tobacco after the famed “tobacco” buy-out in 2004. Fact is, between 1995 and 2011, taxpayers gave tobacco farmers another $276 million in crop insurance subsidies – on top of $1.3 billion in other farm subsidies.

As McCain said, “it turns out Joe Camel’s nose has been under the tent all this time in the form of hidden crop insurance subsidies.”

It also turns outs that tobacco subsidies are a smoking gun. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

Until now, crop insurance subsidies have largely remained hidden from public view – even though taxpayers pay two-thirds of the cost of premium subsidies and most of the claims when disaster strikes.

But, as the cost of the program has exploded – from $2 billion in 2001 to $9 billion in 2011 – more legislators have begun to wonder why farmer businesses and crop insurance companies enjoying record profits can’t share more of the cost of their risk management.

For example, Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) wonder why the $50,000 payment limit that applies to other farm subsidies doesn’t apply to crop insurance premiums. Under current law, some farm businesses should annually receive more than $1 million in premium support, and more than 10,000 policyholders should receive more than $100,000 in insurance subsidies.

One of the problems that Washington consistently has is that once federal money is given to Americans, politicians will lose votes if it is taken away. Since the goal of every politician in Washington is to be re-elected, few of them have the courage to take away something voters see as a benefit.  That is the root of the current problem in repealing ObamaCare.

In 2013 The Hill reported the following about the suggested amendment to the farm bill:

Their amendment would have prohibited the payment by the federal crop insurance program of any portion of the premium for a policy or plan of insurance for tobacco. Feinstein said tobacco farmers could still buy crop insurance, but it wouldn’t be federally subsidized. She added that the effects of tobacco already cost taxpayers billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid expenses.

The amendment was rejected.

So let’s get this straight–the government is spending nearly $400,000 testing the idea of inserting subliminal messages into video games to discourage teenagers from smoking while at the same time providing insurance and subsidies to farmers who grow tobacco. What, pray tell, are the farmers supposed to do with their insured and subsidized crop? Why not simply pay the farmers a small amount of money to grow a different crop? At that point, the cost of smoking would be so prohibitive that teenagers would not have the money to smoke. Wouldn’t that be better than using mind control on a supposedly free people?

 

 

Government Intervention Will Eventually Eliminate The American Fishing Industry

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article on its website called, “A Fisherman’s tale of fighting Uncle Sam.” The article deals with a lawsuit that has been making its way through the legal system since 2015 and may be coming to the Supreme Court later this year.

The article reports:

It involves a small volume fisherman who is fighting back against onerous regulations from the Department of Commerce which are threatening to put him (and so many other family operations) out of business. David Goethel is in the fight of his life because new government regulations are costing him more per day than he can generally earn in profit from his fishing operation. Cause of Action Institute (CoAI) is working on this case and provides the details.

Meet New Hampshire fisherman David Goethel. The federal government is destroying Mr. Goethel’s industry through overregulation and forcing ground-fishermen like himself to pay $700 per day to have authorities monitor them on their boats. Even the government estimates these additional costs would put 60% of the industry out of business. CoAI is helping Mr. Goethel fight back through the courts to save his livelihood.

This is a story that is being told by commercial fisherman with family businesses who are under attack by federal and state regulators making legal changes that favor either sports fishermen or large commercial fishing enterprises. This over-regulation needs to stop. The state and federal government is attacking the family fisherman while at the same time over-fishing by foreign fleets continues off of our coasts. What is the government trying to accomplish?

The video below provides the background to the story:

The article concludes:

Besides the gross unfairness of the situation, I’m left wondering how this was the only solution the government could come up with. This is 2017, not 1817. Even if you feel you need to peer over the shoulders of these fisherman every time they leave port, do we really have to station a human being on every boat? Couldn’t there be a camera hooked up via satellite using Skype or something so a single person back on shore could monitor multiple boats?

Goethael has already been through two rounds of court action protesting this crippling regulatory burden but has been rejected in the lower level courts. Thus far they haven’t even been ruling on the merits of the case, but rather on a technicality, claiming that the plaintiff didn’t file soon enough after the regulation went into effect. (This ignores the fact that the government didn’t transfer the cost of these monitors to the fishermen until much later.) CoAI has filed a petition for writ of certiorari urging the Supreme Court to take up the case and rule on the merits and consider the damage that this regulatory albatross is doing to an industry as old as the nation itself.

If we have reached the point where we have surrendered so much of our freedom that the state or federal government can put small businessmen out of business, it is time to take a second look at our government. Is our government operating under the principles our Founding Fathers set forth? I think not.

Another Incredible Coincidence

On Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported that Klaus Eberwein, a former Haitian government official had committed suicide in a motel room in Florida.

The article reports:

A supporter of former Haitian President Michel Martelly, Eberwein served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, better known as FAES. He held the position from May 2012 until February 2015 when he was replaced. He was also a partner in a popular pizza restaurant in Haiti, Muncheez, and has a pizza — the Klaus Special — named after him.

…During and after his government tenure, Eberwein faced allegations of fraud and corruption on how the agency he headed administered funds. Among the issues was FAES’ oversight of shoddy construction of several schools built after Haiti’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010, earthquake.

Eberwein was scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Haitian Senate’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission, the head of the commission, Sen. Evalière Beauplan confirmed. The commission is investigating the management of PetroCaribe funds, the money Haiti receives from Venezuela’s discounted oil program.

A website called Yournewswire gives a slightly different description:

Klaus Eberwein, a former Haitian government official who was expected to expose the extent of Clinton Foundation corruption and malpractice next week, has been found dead in Miami. He was 50.

Eberwein was due to appear next Tuesday before the Haitian Senate Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission where he was widely expected to testify that the Clinton Foundation misappropriated Haiti earthquake donations from international donors.

According to Miami-Dade’s medical examiner records supervisor, the official cause of death is “gunshot to the head“. Eberwein’s death has been registered as “suicide.”

Eberwein, who had acknowledged his life was in danger, was a fierce critic of the Clinton Foundation’s activities in the Caribbean island, where he served as director general of the government’s economic development agency, Fonds d’assistance économique et social, for three years.

The article at Yournewswire also reports:

According to the Haiti Libre newspaper, Eberwein was said to be in “good spirits“, with plans for the future. His close friends and business partners are shocked by the idea he may have committed suicide.

It’s really shocking,” said Muncheez’s owner Gilbert Bailly. “We grew up together; he was like family.”

Bailly said he last spoke to Eberwein two weeks ago and he was in good spirits. They were excited about future business plans and were working on opening a Muncheez restaurant in Sunrise, he said.

Wow. Just wow.

A Tale Of Two Collusions

I’m tired of hearing about a meeting of the President’s son that resulted in nothing while at the same time a presidential candidate who actually met with a foreign power to interfere in  the 2016 election got totally ignored. Just as an aside, I don’t think foreign meddling in an election is all that unusual–look at the Obama Administration’s efforts to influence the last election in Israel. They were unsuccessful, but they certainly tried.

While the Democrats and the media are screaming that Donald Trump should be hung from the yardarm, they have totally ignored the efforts of the Clinton campaign to use the Ukrainians to opposition research on Donald Trump.

On January 11, 2017, Politico posted an article with the headline, “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire.”

The article reports:

Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump by publicly questioning his fitness for office. They also disseminated documents implicating a top Trump aide in corruption and suggested they were investigating the matter, only to back away after the election. And they helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, a Politico investigation found.

A Ukrainian-American operative who was consulting for the Democratic National Committee met with top officials in the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington in an effort to expose ties between Trump, top campaign aide Paul Manafort and Russia, according to people with direct knowledge of the situation.

The Ukrainian efforts had an impact in the race, helping to force Manafort’s resignation and advancing the narrative that Trump’s campaign was deeply connected to Ukraine’s foe to the east, Russia. But they were far less concerted or centrally directed than Russia’s alleged hacking and dissemination of Democratic emails.

At this point I would like to note that the Russian hacking of Democratic emails is probably an urban legend with little basis in fact. First of all the Democratic National Committee (DNC) never allowed to FBI to directly examine their computer servers that they claimed were hacked. Second of all, how would simply releasing private information influence a campaign–would the release be damaging if it contained only mundane campaign information? Let’s not forget what the leaks contained–evidence of giving Hillary Clinton debate questions ahead of time, evidence of rigging the Democratic primary elections, and generally sleazy stuff. Had the DNC not been engaging in sleazy behavior, the leaks would not have mattered.

The purpose of sharing this information now is to remind everyone that in the mainstream media nothing is as it appears. I don’t believe Russia successfully interfered in our election. I believe they may have tried, but I don’t believe they were successful. Because our voting machines are not interconnected, it would be very difficult to actually change the results of an election–you would have to have hundreds of hackers at hundreds of locations, and voting machines would have to be connected to the internet. Although voting results are reported on the internet, the voting machines are not directly hooked up to it.. I have read reports of voting machines tallying votes incorrectly, but as far as I know, that has nothing to do with the Russians. At any rate, Donald Trump was duly elected, and it is time to move on.

The Free Market Works Every Time

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article about the energy industry in Mexico. The article is about a recent move by the Mexican government to end state control of the energy industry in Mexico. The decision to deregulate has paid off.

The article reports:

The government began auctioning off rights two years ago to drill in parts of the Gulf of Mexico. On Tuesday, an international consortium of energy companies said they had discovered a large oil field, and another firm said it had discovered more oil than expected in a separate area.

The overhaul of the Mexican oil and gas sector in recent years eventually ended the state energy company’s seven-decade domestic monopoly on exploration and production. The aim was to arrest years of declining oil output, blamed on a slow-moving public sector that lacked the technology to exploit opportunities in deep-sea drilling, or shale oil and gas.

The two announcements on Tuesday appeared to suggest that Mexico’s strategy, which was met with criticism when it was first pushed through, was succeeding.

The consortium, made up of Premier Oil of Britain, as well as Talos Energy of Texas and the Mexican company Sierra Oil and Gas, said that it had discovered a field containing more than one billion barrels of oil in shallow water 40 miles off the Mexican coast. Riverstone Holdings, an American private equity firm that specializes in energy investments, owns 45 percent of Talos Energy and 43 percent of Sierra Oil and Gas.

It’s amazing what can be accomplished when there is an incentive to accomplish it!

There are two things to note here–like it or not, fossil fuel is the basis of the current world economy, and an improving Mexican economy may help slow down the pace of illegal immigrants coming to America from Mexico. This is a win-win situation for Mexico and for America. The free market works every time it is tried.

Teaching A Work Ethic

America‘s welfare programs have lost their way. They have become a bureaucracy that leaves people in poverty instead of helping them achieve success. There is no incentive for either the recipient of welfare or the welfare administrator to help the recipient end their dependency on the government. The welfare recipient is supported by a check from the government, the welfare administrator is supported in her job by the necessity of overseeing the distribution of that check. That is a simplification, but essentially the recipient and the administrator are mutually dependent upon each other. Neither has an incentive to change the system. However, because welfare is one of the budget busters in federal spending, the system needs to change.

On Tuesday, The Daily Signal posted an article offering a proven solution to helping people escape government dependency.

The article reports:

Most Americans believe able-bodied adults receiving welfare should be required to at least seriously look for work.

A new piece of legislation in the House promises to advance that majority view in federal law.

Rep. Garret Graves, R-La., recently introduced the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Reform Act of 2017 (H.R. 2996), which would provide a much-needed reform to the food stamp program (SNAP). The bill would strengthen work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

H.R. 2996 would establish the principle that welfare assistance should not be a one-way handout. Assistance should definitely be given to those in need, but recipients should be required in exchange to take steps to support themselves.

The article reminds us that SNAP already has work requirements for adults without dependent children, but there is a way for counties to obtain waivers to opt out of the work requirement. In this bill, those waivers would be eliminated.

The article cites what happened in Maine when work requirements were added to welfare programs:

For example, in July 2014, Maine announced that it would no longer grant waivers from the work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependent children.

In order to receive benefits, they would thus have to work, participate in a work program for 20 hours per week, or do community service for about six hours per week.

It is important to note that this policy did not arbitrarily cut food stamp recipients from the program rolls. Able-bodied adults without dependent children in Maine were removed from the rolls only if they refused to participate in modest activities.

In fact, most of these individuals in Maine chose to leave the program rather than participate in training or community service, despite the strong outreach efforts of government caseworkers. This indicates that these individuals had other means of supporting themselves.

As a result of the new policy, the Maine caseload for able-bodied adults without dependent children dropped 80 percent in just a few months, falling from 13,332 in December 2014 to 2,678 recipients in March 2015.

The article states:

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Reform Act of 2017 establishes a federal work requirement for this same category of individuals, similar to the one established in Maine.

If enacted, this policy would save taxpayers around $90 billion over the next 10 years, or roughly 13 percent of the program’s 2018-2027 projected spending.

No one wants to deny help to those who need it, but we have reached the point where there are two many Americans riding in the wagon and too few Americans pulling it. A work requirement is one way to slash the SNAP program by 13 percent and still provide help to those people who need it.

Watching The Senate Democrats Drag Their Feet

It is amazing to me that anything ever gets done in Washington. The Democrats in the Senate, led by Senator Schumer, have done everything they can to block the appointments and agenda of President Trump. Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article on that subject that included the following chart:

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that after completing work on a health care bill to replace Obamacare, the Senate will turn to a defense spending bill and “the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.”

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell, R-Ky., said.

During a press briefing Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted McConnell’s announcement and accused Senate Democrats of “looking to set a record for pointless and dangerous obstruction.”

Citing the Obama administration, Sanders added:

While more than 90 percent of the previous administration’s nominations were confirmed by a voice vote, Democrats in the Senate have allowed only approximately 10 percent of President Trump’s nominees to be voted on in that way.

We’re coming up on the August recess of President Trump’s first term, by which point the Senate [had] confirmed 69 percent of President Obama’s nominations; less than a month out from that same point, the Senate has confirmed only approximately 23 percent of President Trump’s nominees. These numbers show the Democrats’ true colors.

I am not a big fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he is right about this. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.