Sometimes It’s All About Marketing

It’s no secret that the mainstream media does not love President Trump. It is no secret that the percentage of Americans who get their news from said mainstream media do not like President Trump. So all you need to do to create a best selling book is say horrible things about the President and those around him. Those things don’t have to be true–you can even say in your introduction to the book that they might not be true–it doesn’t matter–you should have a best seller on your hands. Well, maybe. But what if you are dealing with people who understand the media?

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Wikileaks has provided a leak to the book “Fire and Fury” by Michael Wolff. This is the full PDF: https://t.co/sf7vj4IYAx

If you choose to read this piece of garbage, at least you won’t have to pay for it!

This image was posted at The Gateway Pundit:

I think that about covers it!

Hoisted On Their Own Petard

President Obama’s Executive Order creating DACA  (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) was unconstitutional. No one challenged it because no one challenged anything President Obama did that was unconstitutional. So President Trump decided to make the Democrats in Congress put up or shut up. He rescinded DACA and gave Congress until March 2018 to come up with an alternative approach. Just for the record, Congress is the branch of government that is supposed to make the law–they are not supposed to be made by Executive Order–all President Trump did was bring us back into alignment with the U.S. Constitution.

The American Thinker posted an article today explaining the dilemma that President Trump created for Senator Schumer by rescinding DACA and giving Congress a deadline. Needless to say, Congress is not good at deadlines.

The article reports:

The “young immigrants” in question re the so-called “Dreamers,” that group of illegal immigrants purportedly brought to this country by their parents, one quarter of whom are functionally illiterate and half of whom have not bothered to learn English.  The Democrats correctly see them as future voters, and hope that chain migration triples or quadruples the 800,000 into millions of new Democrats if they are allowed to gain permanent residence and citizenship.

The problem is that the general public is far from convinced that legalizing a group of border violators likely to become tax consumers, not tax payers, is the most pressing problem facing the nation, worthy of shutting down the government if Democrats don’t get their way. President Trump already called their bluff when they threatened the continuing resolution over DACA last month and the Dems caved and averted a Christmas season government shutdown. Their problem is that a substantial part of their base is angry over that concession to public opinion

The article concludes:

The Senate Democrats have been able to enforce a remarkable degree of party solidarity, far more discipline than the GOP. That is a huge bargaining asset for Schumer, already empowered by his party’s pickup in Alabama. But DACA looks like it could be a wedge issue destroying that disciplinary power.

This is a no-win situation. Harvard graduate Schumer should be asking himself how he got himself into this situation. But of course, he won’t. Either he alienates his base, or he risks adding to the GOP Senate majority by shutting down the government and having Trump fighting back in ways that never would have occurred to Presidents Bush or any establishment Republicans.

There is also another part of this issue–not all of the dreamers have been model citizens–they have included a number of MS 13 gang members. As Americans see the personal safety risks involved in blanket amnesty for the dreamers, they may demand that each dreamer be looked at as an individual case. We also need to remember that a large percentage of the dreamers are in their thirties by now. This should make it fairly easy to determine who is an asset to our country and who is a liability. Individual meret should be the basis of creating a path toward citizenship.

Iran

Just a small comment on the Iranian protests. The people are protesting for many reasons, but some of them are economic–the price of food has skyrocketed, and people are hungry. They are also protesting the amount of money going to Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon, etc. that the mullahs are sending in the hope of eventually setting up their Islamic caliphate. The money we gave Iran after the Iranian nuclear deal did not go to the people of the country–it went for military and terrorism purposes. That really isn’t a surprise, but we need to learn from that experience. It is time to use wisdom in our foreign aid–giving people money does not make people like us. If they hate us to begin with, why are we paying them to hate us? We need to remember that much of the hatred that is directed toward America is the result of dictators and tyrants using America as a scapegoat to blame for the problems in their countries. Some of the hatred is simply jealousy. America has been blessed as a nation. We need to appreciate what we have and share it where appropriate. A friend of mine from another country once told me that he was amazed at the generosity of Americans–we are among the first there to help after a disaster. We need to continue to help where help is needed, but we need to be more careful about how we distribute our foreign aid. Let’s help the people who align with us–not give money to countries that will use it against us.

Saving The Government Money

Breitbart is reporting today that enrollment in the food stamp program has dropped by two million since President Trump took office.

The article reports:

The USDA data show that the number of people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the government program that administers food stamps, plunged to 42,182,443 in fiscal year (FY) 2017 —a drop of 2,036,920 from the 44,219,363 enrolled in FY 2016.

Participation in the program is at its lowest level since 2010, when 40,302,000 people enrolled in the program.

Food stamp enrollment steadily declined after 2013, when participation in the government program swelled to 47.6 million—the highest amount it has ever been since former President Lyndon Johnson authorized the creation of the food stamp program in 1964. Taxpayers spent $79.8 million on SNAP when enrollment reached its peak in 2013.

The article includes other ways that the Trump Administration is planning to cut the cost of the program:

The USDA announced in December that the agency would give state agencies more autonomy over administering SNAP as one way to curb costs of the multi-billion dollar welfare program.

The federal government is also examining policy ideas being considered at the state level, such as limiting the number of family members who can make purchases using a SNAP card and drug-testing welfare recipients, to potentially implement them nationwide.

Cutting taxes is a wonderful idea, but cutting spending is also very much needed.

An Unfortunate But Necessary Decision

Yesterday One America News posted an article about President Trump’s shutting down of the Voter Integrity Commission. There is no question that we do have a problem with voter fraud–it is a problem we have traditionally had (Chicago?). The question is how much voter fraud is there and what can we do to combat it. One of the problems is the fact that all states are not updating their voter registration lists on a regular basis. Last year a friend of mine checked the voter rolls and found that there were three voters registered at her address who did not live there. When she approached the Board of Elections, she was told that she did not have the authority to remove those people from the voter rolls. Hopefully there is a procedure to verify the information and remove them, but her word was not enough.

The article reports:

Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky says that members received an email only shortly before the president signed the Executive Order to end the commission.

Mr. von Spakovsky explains the problems with the commission:

Von Spakovsky says that he understands why the president made the decision to do so, despite his disappointment and frustration.  Von Spakovsky validated the president’s explanation for the decision.  Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that “rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense.”

Von Spakovsky says the demise of the commission can be attributed to two reasons– the refusal of some states to share voter registration information and litigation.  “We’ve had almost a dozen lawsuits filed against the commission, all of them frivolous. And those lawsuits were intended to keep us from being able to work and unfortunately they were successful,” said the former commission member.

According to von Spakovsky, commission members spent nearly 100% of their time fighting litigation rather than investigating voter integrity.  “It basically became impossible for us to do the work we were intended to do,” added Von Spakovsky.

Members of the panel also suffered personal attacks. Von Spakovsky was accused of sending an email to the Department of Justice requesting that “democrats” not be allowed to serve on the panel.  However, the Heritage Foundation fellow refutes that claim saying that he had expressed concerns about democrats joining the panel in a private email months before he himself joined the panel. That individual forwarded the email to the DOJ.  Von Spakovsky said that his concern was that democrats would join the panel to sabotage its work–a prediction that proved true according to von Spakovsky.

“One of the democratic members, Matt Dunlap- he’s the Secretary of State of Maine- actually filed a lawsuit against the commission as a member.  Again, making all kinds of frivolous claims.  And it was lawsuits like that that made it practically impossible for us to work,” said von Spakovsky.

One wonders why anyone would want to block a commission to ensure the integrity of America’s elections.

The article concludes:

Trump signed an executive order abolishing the panel and turning the matter over to the Department of Homeland Security. However, von Spakovsky is concerned DHS will focus solely on cyber security attacks rather than addressing illegal immigrants that may be voting and those people are registered and voting in more than one state.

The ending of this commission illustrates the difference in how the government works and how a businessman thinks. As Ronald Reagan said, “A government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.” A businessman ends a program if it isn’t working. Obviously we need more businessmen in our government.

Does The United Nations Support Freedom?

One America News posted an article today stating that the U.N. Security Council is set to meet Friday to discuss the ongoing protests in Iran.

The article reports:

Security Council members are divided on the matter with several powers calling for non-interference with what they see as an internal Iranian issue.

U.S. policymakers have shown rare unity on the matter with hawks among both the Democrats and mainstream Republicans embracing the Iranian protest movement.

However, while the Washington establishment is favoring the regime change strategy, it has shown little concern with the loss of human lives in Iran.

Experts don’t expect Friday’s U.N. Security Council meeting to produce major results as its permanent members are concerned with either supporting the Islamic revolution or changing the regime, rather than the well-being of the Iranian people.

One of the problems with asking the United Nations for help for the Iranian people is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a 57-member group with 56 members also being voting members of the United Nations.  The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony.” The OIC supports Sharia Law and would very much be in agreement with the mullahs rather than the people of Iran.

It would be very surprising to see anything come out of the United Nations in support of the Iranian people demonstrating for freedom.

Felonies Were Committed, What Happens Next?

The Hill posted an article yesterday about Ex-FBI Director James Comey’s original statement closing out the probe into Hillary Clinton‘s use of a private email server.

The article reports:

…(the statement) was edited by subordinates to remove five separate references to terms like “grossly negligent” and to delete mention of evidence supporting felony and misdemeanor violations, according to copies of the full document.

…The full draft, with edits, leaves little doubt that Comey originally wrote on May 2, 2016 that there was evidence that Clinton and top aides may have violated both felony and misdemeanor statutes, though he did not believe he could prove intent before a jury.

“Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statute proscribing gross negligence in the handling of classified information and of the statute proscribing misdemeanor mishandling, my judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case,” Comey originally penned.

That passage, however, was edited to remove the references to “gross negligence” and “misdemeanor mishandling,” leaving a much more generic reference to “potential violations of the statutes.”

The FBI has told Congress the edits were made by subordinates to Comey and then accepted by the then-director before he made his final announcement July 5, 2016 that he would not pursue criminal charges against Clinton.

This is disturbing.

The article further notes:

“The edits to Director Comey’s public statement, made months prior to the conclusion of the FBI’s investigation of Secretary Clinton’s conduct, had a significant impact on the FBI’s public evaluation of the implications of her actions,” Johnson (Government Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) wrote, noting recently released text messages show some senior FBI officials involved in the case harbored political hatred for Trump or preference for Clinton.

“This effort, seen in light of the personal animus toward then-candidate Trump by senior agents leading the Clinton investigation and their apparent desire to create an ‘insurance policy’ against Mr. Trump’s election, raise profound questions about the FBI’s role and possible interference in the 2016 presidential election,” Johnson wrote.

One edit that concerned Johnson was a decision to delete from Comey’s original draft a reference to the FBI working on a joint assessment with the intelligence community about possible national security damage from the classified information that passed through Clinton’s nonsecure email servers.

“We have done extensive work with the assistance of our colleagues elsewhere in the Intelligence Community to understand what indications there might be of compromise by hostile actors in connection with the private email operation,” Comey originally wrote.

The reference to the rest of the intelligence community was edited out, the memos show.

One of the main problems with this nonsecure server is the impact it may have had on the national security of the country. It is widely believed that Hillary Clinton’s private server was easily hacked by unfriendly intelligence services. That is a threat to national security. That is the true problem with the server, other than the question of what was being hidden by the destruction of evidence and the use of a private server.

As I have previously stated, I do not want to see Hillary Clinton go to jail, although I do remember that Charles Colson went to jail after Watergate. Mr. Colson’s time in jail actually had a very positive impact on his life–it changed him from a self-centered, ruthless politician to a man who genuinely cared for the well being of other people. Hmmm.

The Jobs Report Is Out

CNBC posted the numbers from today’s jobs report on December 2017. Overall it is a positive report, although some numbers are not changing as rapidly as we might hope–the labor force participation rate is holding steady at 62.7.

There is a lot of good news in the report.

Breitbart also posted an article about the jobs report.

Here are some of the highlights from that article:

…the unemployment rate for black Americans dropped to just 6.8 percent, which is the lowest ever recorded. Prior to this month, the previous record was 7.4 percent in 2000.

The Hispanic unemployment rate remains at a near record low of just 4.9 percent, up just a bit from the record of 4.7 percent in November of last year.

White unemployment sits at 3.7 percent, while only 2.5 percent of Asians are unemployed.

The overall unemployment rate is just 4.1 percent.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

With unemployment so low, job growth should mean wage gains. More jobs than people looking for them puts employees in the driver’s seat. Also good news for workers is the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration. This can only mean better wages and more job opportunities, especially for unskilled, entry, and blue-collar workers — those who have been left behind more than any other group.

That is good news for all Americans. As wages rise, it becomes less attractive to collect welfare. Hopefully, we will see the welfare rolls decrease as the tax cuts and wage increases take hold.

Misplaced Hysteria (As Usual)

Fox News is reporting today that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed federal policy on enforcing marijuana laws in states where marijuana is legal. Well, sort of. The ‘federal policy’ that is being changed is a 2013 memo from then-Deputy Attorney General James Cole that it would not obstruct states that legalized marijuana if the drug was regulated not to hinder key federal enforcement priorities–preventing distribution to minors, preventing it being moved to other states, and preventing it used as a cover for other drug trafficking. Note–this was a memo not a law.

So exactly what did Attorney General Sessions do–he rescinded the memo.

The article reports:

The move effectively unleashes federal prosecutors to consider bringing marijuana cases, while stopping short of ordering them to do so. 

“U.S. attorneys need to make decisions in these cases as they do in other drugs cases,” a senior DOJ official told Fox News.

Attorney General Sessions brought back prosecutorial discretion in dealing with marijuana cases. Again, he did not make a law–he undid a non-law.

Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado is now threatening to block every Justice Department nominee until Attorney General Sessions undoes his actions. Wait a minute, doesn’t Senator Gardner have the ability to propose a law that would clarify federal policy and solve this problem?

There are a few things that need to be mentioned here. To those of you who believe that marijuana is a miracle drug that ‘big pharma’ is keeping from the American people, remember that ‘big marijuana‘ also has a strong lobby pushing for legalization. Also keep in mind that if recreational marijuana becomes legal in all fifty states, there is no question that children and teenagers will get a hold of it. How many children and teenagers manage to get into their parents alcoholic drinks? There is sufficient evidence that marijuana, although not addictive, can negatively effect a teenage brain. There is also the impact of the drug on basic maturity in teenagers–if a teenager learns to simply get high rather than solve his basic problems, how will he deal with problems in later life? Unfortunately, this last comment is based on personal observation. Many years ago, there was a neighborhood teenager who routinely came home from school stoned. He was a really nice teen and a very bright and gifted child. As an adult, he has some physical symptoms possibly related to the drug use, but more than that, I believe the drug totally interfered with his ambition and ability to reach his potential. The good news is that he no longer smokes pot and has become a contributing member of society, but I believe that because of his drug use, he has never come close to his full potential.

Legalizing marijuana is a mistake. It will not improve the quality of life for those who use it or for America.

The Story The Mainstream Media Wants You To Ignore

All we heard from the new yesterday was the Twtter battle between Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. It turns out that the quote in the book involved may not be accurate. So why was this the main story of the day? Because the real main story of the day was not part of the narrative the mainstream media is selling.

In case you missed it, The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday about a civil lawsuit filed in Washington, D.C.,  by Paul Manafort against the Department of Justice, Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller.

The article explains the basis for the suit:

To put it plainly, Mueller is tasked with finding a crime that does not exist in the law. It is a legal impossibility. He is being asked to do something that is manifestly unattainable.  Today as reported by Cristina Laila at TGP, Manafort sued the DOJ, Mueller and Rosenstein because what they are doing is not supported by US Law. This is the biggest story of the day! Manafort is suing to have the Mueller investigation shut down!

Manafort’s case argues in paragraph 33 that the special counsel put in place by crooked Rosenstein gave crooked and criminal Mueller powers that are not permitted by law –

  1. But paragraph (b)(ii) of the Appointment Order purports to grant Mr. Mueller further authority to investigate and prosecute “any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation.” That grant of authority is not authorized by DOJ’s special counsel regulations. It is not a “specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated.” Nor is it an ancillary power to address efforts to impede or obstruct investigation under 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a).

If Manafort wins this case – which it appears according to the law he will – the entire investigation would be deemed illegal – which it is – and therefore legally would have to be shut down – which it should be.

There have been a lot of problems with this investigation from the beginning–the choice of an obviously politically biased investigative team, the early morning raid on Manafort’s home when he was already cooperating with investigators, the uneven application of the law by the Justice Department, and the relational incest among the investigators. There has been a year of investigations and so far the only charges have been unrelated to the supposed purpose of the investigation. Meanwhile, the investigation contrasts vividly with the investigative standards used to investigate the Clinton emails and Uranium One.

The Mueller investigation is part of the swamp that needs to be drained. Hopefully this lawsuit will be the beginning of this process.

Mass Migration Can Create Problems

Breitbart posted an article today about a study done by the German Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. The study found a direct relationship between the mass influx of migrants into Germany and the rapid increase of violent crime.

The article reports:

The criminologists behind the study looked at the period between 2014 and 2016 in the state of Lower Saxony and found that before the migrant crisis violent crime had only increased by 10.4 per cent compared to after the height of the crisis where the number had dramatically increased to 92.1 per cent, Die Welt reports.

Migrants have been shown to commit far more violent acts proportionally to their size of the population in Germany and according to the researchers, they accounted for suspects in one in every eight violent crime cases.

…The authors give several potential explanations as to why the migrant crime rate is so much higher than the rest of the population, saying that most migrants are men aged 14-30 who are the age bracket most likely to commit violent crimes.

The article concludes:

Since the height of the migrant crisis in 2015, cities like Berlin have seen migrants and non-Germans account for around half of all criminal suspects. Areas like Alexanderplatz or the Ebertplatz area in Cologne have been described as “no-go zones” due to the high number of young migrant gang members operating in them.

Asylum seekers have also been the alleged perpetrators of some of the most shocking murders in Germany in recent years, including the suspected rape and murder of Maria Ladenburger by 33-year-old Afghan Hussein Khavari and the recent fatal stabbing of a 15-year-old girl in Kandel.

Note that most of the migrants are men aged 14-30. Where are the women? It should also be noted that terrorists are most likely to be men between the ages of 14 and 30. It really is time western countries take a closer look at the ‘refugees’ they are admitting.

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about railway safety.

The article reports:

The letter from Democrats, co-signed by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and 14 colleagues, demanded answers from DOT secretary Elaine Chao on the implementation of positive train control (PTC) technology shortly after last month’s deadly derailment in Washington. The senators asked for “vigorous” action on PTC and stressed a fast-approaching deadline to implement it.

I understand their concern, but there is something that they have overlooked–

The article reports:

DOT concurred with the senators on the importance of PTC implementation but slammed them for blocking the nomination of Ronald Batory, who was unanimously approved by members of the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation shortly after he was nominated to be federal railroad administrator last summer.

…Schumer has openly stated he will work to block votes on Batory and other DOT nominees until the administration pledges billions of dollars in funding for a major tunnel project in New York. He most recently blocked a confirmation vote on Batory on the last day of the 2017 legislative calendar, just days after signing the letter urging action on PTC.

Requests for comment sent to spokespeople for each of the 15 senators were not returned.

You cannot complain that an agency is not acting quickly on your requests while you are blocking the nomination of the person chosen to head it. The arrogance involved in writing the letter to the DOT secretary amazes me.

So What Did He Do?

Yesterday Chicks on the Right posted an article listing the top twenty-five accomplishments of President Trump.

Here is the list:

  1. Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
  2. Increase of the GDP above 3 percent
  3. A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
  4. Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans
  5. Signed an Executive Order demanding that two regulations be killed for every new one creates. He beat that big and cut 16 rules and regulations for every one created, saving $8.1 billion.
  6. Withdrew from the Obama-era Paris Climate Agreement, ending the threat of environmental regulations.
  7. Eliminated an Obama rule on streams that Trump felt unfairly targeted the coal industry.
  8. Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  9. Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
  10. Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.
  11. Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
  12. Ended the Obama-era “catch and release” of illegal immigrants.
  13. Boosted the arrests of illegals inside the U.S.
  14. Started the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program.
  15. Removed 36 percent more criminal gang members than in fiscal 2016.
  16. Trump has nominated 73 federal judges and won his nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.
  17. First, the president declared a Nationwide Public Health Emergency on opioids.
  18. In his first week, Trump reinstated and expanded the Mexico City Policy that blocks some $9 billion in foreign aid being used for abortions.
  19. Signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program.
  20. Directed the rebuilding of the military and ordered a new national strategy and nuclear posture review.
  21. Imposed a travel ban on nations that lack border and anti-terrorism security.
  22. Saw ISIS lose virtually all of its territory.
  23. Pushed for strong action against global outlaw North Korea and its development of nuclear weapons.
  24. Ordered missile strikes against a Syrian airbase used in a chemical weapons attack.
  25. Made good on a campaign promise to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

That’s a pretty good year for someone who has had to fight the Democrats, the establishment Republicans and the mainstream media.

 

The Immediate Impact Of The Tax Cuts

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the immediate impact of the tax cuts recently passed by Congress.

I would like to remind people of what happened the in the 1980’s when President Reagan and Congress passed major tax cuts.

According to a Washington Post article April 10, 2015:

…the government’s budget numbers show that tax receipts expanded from $517 billion in 1980 to $909 billion in 1988 — close to a 75 percent change (25 percent after inflation),” Moore (Stephen Moore of The Heritage Foundation) wrote.

We checked the historical records of the White House budget office, and those numbers are right. But it’s devoid of important context.

First of all, revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), which is the best way to compare across years, dropped from 19.1 percent in 1981 to a low of 16.9 percent in 1984, before rebounding slightly to 17.8 percent in 1989. One reason the deficit soared during Reagan’s term is because spending went up as a share of the economy and revenues went down.

A HeraldNet article of December 15, 2012 reminds us that President Reagan made a deal with the Democrats that included spending cuts as well as tax cuts. Conventional wisdom concerning that deal was that for every dollar in tax cuts there would be a three dollar cut in spending. Unfortunately, the Democrats never kept their end of that bargain.

The HeraldNet article reports the plan:

Here’s the actual breakdown of the three-year agreement, according to a June 1982 chart prepared by the GOP-controlled Senate Budget Committee staff, which appears in the 1989 book “The Deficit and the Public Interest,” by Joseph White and Aaron B. Wildavsky. (Note: The numbers represent reductions from anticipated outlays.)

Revenue:

$98.3 billion (26 percent)

Defense cuts: $26.4 billion (7 percent)

Nondefense cuts: $34.8 billion (9.1 percent)

Entitlement cuts: $30.8 billion (8.1 percent)

Other reductions/offsets: $7.8 billion (2 percent)

Freeze federal pay raise: $26.1 billion (6.9 percent)

Management savings: $46.6 billion (12.3 percent)

Net interest: $107.7 billion (28.4 percent)

Total non-revenue:$280.2 billion (74 percent)

Total: $378.5 billion

…At best, the spending savings that Congress could deliver, including defense cuts, amounted to a 1:1 ratio.

As Congress debates spending, we can hope that they will not repeat this mistake. Increased government revenues due to tax cuts should not lead to increased federal spending.

So far the results of the recent tax cut have been positive.

The article at The Daily Signal reports:

More businesses are announcing bonuses, higher minimum wages, and new benefits for employees after passage by Congress of Republicans’ tax reform bill. 

An email from House Speaker Paul Ryan’s press office highlights 33 businesses—including Aflac, Associated Bank, and PNC Bank—that have announced raises, bonuses, and other improvements for employees.

In moves that may defuse efforts to mandate higher minimum wages across the nation, at least nine of the 33 businesses announced they are boosting their minimum wage for thousands of workers to $15 or more an hour.

The article at The Daily Signal includes a partial list of companies offering benefits to their employees as a result of the tax cut. The article also includes a link to a complete list.

All working Americans have many reasons to celebrate the tax bill.

 

Awaiting A Constitutional Crisis

The Conservative Treehouse reminded us today that tomorrow is the deadline for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to turn over to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes documents related to their investigation of the Donald Trump campaign. These documents are under subpoena.

The article reports:

The FBI Counterintelligence Division began an official investigation on/around July 15th, 2016. The target of the investigation was the Donald Trump campaign. The FBI has refused to answer questions or allow investigative oversight toward the origin of their endeavor.

Numerous leaks from the FBI imply the leadership is attempting to shape the narrative surrounding the origin.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is complicated and detailed. I will do my best to hit the highlights, but there is a lot here.

The article states:

In October 2016, immediately after the DOJ lawyers formatted the FBI information (Steele Dossier etc.) for the FISA application, the head of the NSD, Asst. Attorney General John P Carlin, left his job.  During his exit John Carlin informed the FISA court the DOJ-NSD frequently provided false information to the court to gain FISA warrants – Read Here.

Chairman Devin Nunes wants answers to the origin of the FBI counterintelligence operation.  Back in February 2017 Devin Nunes went to a secure SCIF and saw some of the unmasking reports that stemmed from that operation.

A copy of that letter is included in the article.

The story includes the timeline that led to the surveillance:

Those who have followed the back-story closely can see clear political outline of the 2016 operation. Here’s the way the entire construct looks in simple outline.

Career officials, managers and staff within the DOJ and FBI wanted to help ensure Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election. Those people were ideologically aligned with President Obama, and held the goal of maintaining progressive advances as part of their motive.

A “small group” was formed within the DOJ and FBI to facilitate this goal. The first goal was to remove Clinton from the burden of the FBI email investigation.

Once that goal was achieved, they moved on to Clinton’s 2016 challenger. By the time the 2016 GOP convention drew near, everyone accepted that challenger would be Donald Trump.

As such the FBI “small group” began monitoring candidate Donald Trump in June/July 2016 as part of a plan toward the benefit of candidate Hillary Clinton.

However, the FBI and DOJ officials also needed an actual basis, a legal justification for their behavior and the time they were spending. The plan to justify that behavior was to create an official counterintelligence operation.

To get the counterintelligence operation going, they needed a reasonable basis for creating one. That basis was the formative seeds of claims of Russian connections to the Trump campaign.

To establish the basis the Russian elements needed for the operation; the DNC and Clinton campaign has earlier paid Fusion GPS (April ’16) to contract Christopher Steele to write a dossier that would form the legal grounding for the counterintelligence operation.

The wife of Glenn Simpson (Fusion GPS), Mary B. Jacoby, with years of Russia-angled reporting –including Donald Trump– visits the White House on April 19th 2016.

Fusion GPS (Mary B. Jacoby, and Glenn Simpson) hired DOJ Deputy Attorney Bruce Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, who was well versed in counterintelligence operations, CIA operations, and using CIA tradecraft to create illusions.

This is just ugly. Please read the entire article to learn the rest of the story. It is a chilling example of using the power of government for political purposes. Thank God it didn’t work.

At Least Congress Is Paying Attention

The case of Hillary Clinton’s emails is a disgrace to our justice system. A young sailor’s life was ruined because he took a picture of his workplace on his cell phone–he did jail time and is on probation. Hillary Clinton had classified information on an unsecured server and subsequently destroyed information that was under subpoena and was charged with nothing. Something is dreadfully off balance here.

The Hill is reporting tonight on Congressional investigations into this injustice.

The article reports:

The investigators also confirmed that the FBI began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.

Those witnesses included Clinton and the computer firm employee who permanently erased her email archives just days after the emails were subpoenaed by Congress, the investigators said.

Lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee who attended a Dec. 21 closed-door briefing by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe say the bureau official confirmed that the investigation and charging decisions were controlled by a small group in Washington headquarters rather the normal process of allowing field offices to investigate possible criminality in their localities. The Clinton email server in question was based in New York.

In normal FBI cases, field offices where crimes are believed to have been committed investigate the evidence and then recommend to bureau hierarchy whether to pursue charges with prosecutors. In this case, the bureau hierarchy controlled both the investigation and the charging decision from Washington, a scenario known in FBI parlance as a “special,” the lawmakers said.

This part of the story should make General Michael Flynn furious:

The FBI also confirmed that a key witness, a computer technician who deleted Clinton emails from her server in March 2015 after a congressional subpoena had been issued for them, originally lied to the FBI during his interviews, memos show. The witness’s name was redacted from documents released by the FBI but he was identified as an employee of a computer firm that helped maintained Clinton’s email server.

His admission of false statements came one day after the Comey statement was already being drafted, investigators told The Hill.

The computer employee originally told the FBI in a February 2016 interview that he did not recall making any deletions from Clinton’s server in March 2015, FBI records show.

But then on May 3, 2016, the same employee in a subsequent FBI interview told agents he had an “oh shit moment” and in late March 2015 deleted Clinton’s email archive from the server, according to FBI documents reviewed by The Hill.

Lying to the FBI is a federal felony, a crime that former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn recently pleaded guilty to. But the FBI decided not to pursue criminal charges against the witness, and instead gave the technician an immunity deal so he could correct his story, congressional investigators said.

The article concludes:

The longtime Senate chairman went to the Senate floor before the holidays to raise another concern: the FBI did not pursue criminal charges when Clinton’s email archives were permanently deleted from her private server days after a subpoena for them was issued by a congressional committee investigating the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

The deletion occurred on the same day Clinton’s former chief of staff and her lawyer had a call with the computer firm that handled the erasure using an anti-recovery software called BleachBit, Grassley said.

“You have a conference call with Secretary Clinton’s attorneys on March 31, 2015, and on that very same day her emails are deleted by someone who was on that conference call using special BleachBit software,” Grassley said. “The emails were State Department records under subpoena by Congress.

“What did the FBI do to investigate this apparent obstruction?” Grassley asked. “According to affidavits filed in federal court — absolutely nothing. The FBI focused only on the handling of classified information.”

Can you imagine any ordinary citizen destroying evidence and not being charged? I am not a person who wants to see Hillary Clinton in jail, but I think it’s time to investigate the Clinton Foundation and deal with the mishandling of classified information she engaged in while Secretary of State. Breaking the law needs to have consequences.

Some Policies Are Simply A Bad Idea

Baltimore, Maryland, has had a rough year. After riots followed the death of Freddie Gray in April 2015, the Black Lives Matter movement insisted that the police be withdrawn from predominately black neighborhoods. It turns out that was not the solution. Yesterday Breitbart reported on the results.

The article reports:

Since the riots, police morale has collapsed, and city officials began planning a lighter police footprint in response to complaints of residents and protest leaders.

But now, black leaders are blaming cops for the spiraling murder rate, saying that the police pullback has put them in danger.

The Rev. Kinji Scott, a Baltimore activist, is blaming city hall for leaving the neighborhoods unprotected.

“We wanted the police there,” Scott insisted. “We wanted them engaged in the community. We didn’t want them beating the hell out of us, we didn’t want that.”

Scott and others are now pressuring the city to bring police back in as a deterrent to the soaring crime rate.

Despite the loud proclamations from BLM activists that the police are the problem, Scott and his fellow activists are now claiming that they never wanted police to go away.

This is an example of trying to have it both ways. During the protests in Baltimore, protestors wore t-shirts saying, “Disarm the police.” The police were a convenient scapegoat to blame for the problems in black neighborhoods. People much wiser than I have stated that one of the first things than can be done to reduce the crime rates in black neighborhoods is to bring fathers back into families. Children of all races who are raised in families with their two biological parents are much less likely to get involved in gangs and illegal activity. We need to fix the family and then improve the education in black neighborhoods. That is a goal all of us can work toward.

The article concludes:

The reverend’s claims also seem to fly in the face of a list of 19 demands issued by protesters in 2015, one of which demanded that police be barred from entering certain buildings or parts of neighborhoods they had designated as “safe” from police. Clearly, the protesters wanted police removed from Baltimore’s neighborhoods. But now that they’ve gotten their wish, community leaders have suddenly realized what a bad idea such a pullback is.

The police are a force for good. There are occasional exceptions, but they are rare. Generally speaking, where there is a police presence, there is less crime. The recent events in Baltimore illustrate that.

Some Good News In The Field Of Medicine

CBS News New York is reporting today that scientists may have accidentally stumbled upon a drug that will help treat people with Alzheimer’s disease. The scientists were working with a drug they hoped could be used to treat diabetes.

The article reports:

According to a press release from researchers at Lancaster University, a new drug being tested for diabetes patients was found to have “significantly reversed memory loss” in test subjects and is now being examined as possible treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.

The medication, known as a triple receptor drug — or “triple agonist” — reportedly works in multiple ways to protect the brain against degeneration and promote growth. Researchers say that a study of mice being given the drug found that the animals had an increased ability to learn and retain memories.

“These very promising outcomes demonstrate the efficacy of these novel multiple receptor drugs that originally were developed to treat type 2 diabetes,” Professor Christian Holscher said in the release.

The scientists added that the mice showed a decrease in chronic inflammation and amyloid plaques in the brain, which have been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s in people.

The article further explains that scientists have found a link between some of the symptoms of diabetes and Alzheimer’s–insulin desensitisation has been observed both in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and people suffering from diabetes.

I wonder if in the future we are going to find out that the amount of sugar in the average American diet is causing some of the health problems that were rare in previous generations.

How Is This Not A Violation Of The Second Amendment?

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution states:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Keep in mind when reading that amendment that the Bill of Rights, which includes the Second Amendment, was added to the Constitution to further insure the rights of citizens–not the rights of the government. This Amendment is there to insure the rights of the people to possess arms.The Revolutionary War battles of Lexington and Concord occurred because the British, under Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, were ordered to capture and destroy military supplies that were reportedly stored by the Massachusetts militia at Concord. From our beginnings as a nation, Americans have wanted to protect their right to bear arms.

California seems to have forgotten America‘s history and the U.S. Constitution. Breitbart posted an article today about new regulations going into effect in California starting today.

The article reports:

Currently, law-abiding Californians must buy their ammunition from a licensed in-state ammunition dealer. This means that Californians who buy ammunition online must have that ammo shipped to a licensed in-state dealer and pay that dealer a fee when picking up the ammo.

These controls immediately lessen the supply of ammunition, thereby driving up the price for those who demand it. Also, these controls set the stage for phase two of ammunition control, which will consist of requiring a point-of-sale background check for ammunition purchases starting January 1, 2019. The point-of-sale background check will also carry a processing fee, which will drive the price of ammunition even higher.

These controls are in addition to the requirement that law-abiding Californians obtain a firearm safety certificate from the state before buying a firearm, endure a ten-day waiting period for gun purchases, pass a universal background check, register all firearms with the state, and live under the shadow of gun confiscation laws. There is an “assault weapons” ban, a ban on campus carry, and a new law against K-12 teachers being armed to shoot back if under attack at school.

California also has a “good cause” requirement for concealed carry, which allows bureaucrats within the issuing system to strictly control the number of permits given to law-abiding citizens. This single gun control has resulted in limiting the number of permits issued in Los Angeles County to 197; Los Angles County has a population of 10.2 million, yet only 197 concealed carry permits have been issued to the law-abiding citizens residing there.

That looks like infringement to me! Unfortunately the result of these laws will be more guns in the hands of those who do not follow the law and fewer guns in the hands of those who do follow the law. That is not the way to lower the crime rate.

So How Did The Federal Debt Do This Year?

President Trump is a businessman. Regardless of whether you like him or not, he is a businessman, and successful businessmen are relatively careful about how they spend money, and how much money they spend. President Trump is no exception.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the impact of the Trump Presidency on the debt.

The article reports:

In spite of the fact that President Trump took over with nearly $20 trillion of debt and the related interest payments on the debt, and in spite of the federal reserve (fed) under Janet Yellen increasing interest rates by a full 1 percent since the election, President Donald Trump’s first year debt is $1.1 trillion less than Obama’s.

Here is the picture:

The article at The Gateway Pundit reports:

Right after Barack Obama was elected President, on December 16, 2008, the Federal Reserve (The Fed) lowered the Fed Funds rate by an entire percent, from 1% down to 0% . The Fed had not lowered the Fed Funds rate by such a large amount (1% ) since at least before 1990, if ever. The Fed kept this 0% rate for most of Obama’s eight years in office.

CNBC reported in December 2015 that President Obama oversaw “seven years of the most accommodative monetary policy in U.S. history” (from the Fed). The Fed Funds rate was at zero for most of Obama’s time in office. Finally, in December 2015 after the Fed announced its first increase in the Fed Funds rate during the Obama Presidency.

The only Fed Funds Rate increases since 2015 were after President Trump was elected President. The Fed increased the Fed Funds Rate on December 14, 2016, March 15th, 2017, June 14, 2017 and again on December 13, 2017. Four times the Fed has increased rates on President Trump after doing so only once on President Obama.

If the Federal Reserve was political and wanted to prevent Republican Presidents from successful economic growth and debt decreases, then the Fed would increase the Fed Funds rates during Republican Presidents’ terms while decreasing the Fed Funds rates under Democratic Presidents’ terms.

This appears to be exactly what the Fed is doing.

The article at The Gateway Pundit also notes that without the increases in the interest rate it is possible that President Trump would have a balanced budget to date.

Remember that the Federal Reserve is neither Federal nor a Reserve. It is a stranglehold on our economy held by a small group of extremely wealthy people who control our money supply. For those who are interested in learning exactly how we got the Federal Reserve, I strongly recommend reading The Creature from Jekyll Island by G. Edward Griffin. It explains the chicanery that was involved in creating the Federal Reserve and how it was sold to the American people.

When Laws Are Broken And People Suspect That Laws Have Been Broken, Just Deflect Their Attention

It seems as if certain elements of our news media have become experts at avoiding the truth or avoiding the real story. The New York Times posted an article on Saturday stating that the investigation of Donald Trump‘s ties to Russia began with a barroom conversation between George Papadopoulos and an Australian diplomat. Unfortunately, as The Gateway Pundit and Power Line Blog point out, that account doesn’t hold water. So why did The New York Times post the story? It is fairly common knowledge that the Trump campaign team and the Trump transition team were under electronic surveillance by the Obama Administration (probably with information passed on to the press and to the Hillary Clinton campaign). The question is, “Who authorized that surveillance and why?”

Under most circumstances, the surveillance (on American citizens with names unmasked) is illegal, so who authorized it and what was the justification? It is becoming obvious that the justification was the infamous Christopher Steele dossier originally contracted by mainstream Republican leaders, later paid for by the Clinton campaign, and even later, possibly funded with FBI money. Since none of the information in the dossier has been proven true–it was simply campaign opposition research paper–it really does not justify the issuing of FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrants to wiretap either the Trump campaign or transition team. That is the conclusion that The New York Times is attempting to avoid reaching. That is the reason the article on George Papadopoulos appeared in the New York Times yesterday.

Some excerpts from The Gateway Pundit:

If the dossier wasn’t used in order to obtain a FISA warrant, then SHOW THE PUBLIC THE FISA APPS!

Papadopoulos was already charged. He wasn’t charged with ‘Russian collusion’. Papadopoulos was charged with making a false statement to the FBI because talking to Russians is not illegal, yet he’s what prompted the Russia investigation?

The article at Power Line Blog includes the following tweet by Kimberley Strassel:

Another article at Power Line Blog concludes:

It’s also important to remember that the question of whether the dossier prompted, or helped lead to, the FBI investigation is separate from the question of what role the dossier played when the Justice Department obtained a warrant from the FISA court to engage in electronic surveillance of members of Trump’s team.

The media is holding up a lot of shiny objects for us to look at. The thing to remember is that there are laws protecting the privacy of Americans. If those laws were broken, people need to be punished. That is the story the media does not want us to hear.

As If The Middle East Could Get More Complicated…

This article this post is based on is from April, but I suspect we may hear more about it in the future. The article appeared at Yahoo News on April 10, 2017.

The article reports:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Iran‘s exiled crown prince wants a revolution.

Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last shah to rule before the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has seen his profile rise in recent months following the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, who promises a harder line against the Shiite power.

Pahlavi’s calls for replacing clerical rule with a parliamentary monarchy, enshrining human rights and modernizing its state-run economy could prove palatable to both the West and Iran’s Sunni Gulf neighbors, who remain suspicious of Iran’s intentions amid its involvement in the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

But the Mideast is replete with cautionary tales about Western governments putting their faith in exiles long estranged from their homelands. Whether Pahlavi can galvanize nostalgia for the age of the Peacock Throne remains unseen.

“This regime is simply irreformable because the nature of it, its DNA, is such that it cannot,” Pahlavi told The Associated Press. “People have given up with the idea of reform and they think there has to be fundamental change. Now, how this change can occur is the big question.”

This is another example of the ways that the foreign policy of the Trump Administration has impacted countries in the Middle East. President Obama was willing to do almost anything to form an alliance with Iran–he saw Iran as a country that could unify the Middle East and bring peace to the region. I think that is something of a naive hope, but based on his actions, that was the plan of President Obama. President Trump understands that the only truly free country in the Middle East is Israel, and as President, Trump has aligned himself with Israel. The son of the shah may feel that this is the time to bring Iran into a free society–somewhat like what it was before the 1979 revolution. Stay tuned.

More Lying With Statistics

Recently I heard that despite Republican efforts to end ObamaCare and their successful effort to repeal the individual ObamaCare mandate, the number of people enrolling in ObamaCare was increasing. The Democrats were using that statistic as a talking point, saying that it was proof that the American people supported ObamaCare. Well, not so fast.

On Thursday, The Daily Signal posted a fact check on the idea that more people signed up for ObamaCare for 2018 than previously.

The article reports:

The total number of sign-ups on HealthCare.gov during the 2018 open enrollment period is lower than previous years, although the pace of sign-ups was faster.

About 8.8 million people signed up for 2018 health coverage on HealthCare.gov during this year’s open enrollment period ending Dec. 15, compared to 9.2 million sign-ups for 2017 coverage and 9.6 million for 2016 coverage.

HealthCare.gov provides Affordable Care Act individual health plans in 39 states. The remaining 11 states and the District of Columbia run state health exchanges, and may have later deadlines to sign up than the federal deadline. Total enrollment for Obamacare plans won’t be known until all exchanges are accounted for, but enrollment on state exchanges also lags behind previous years.

The New York Times claimed the 8.8 million number is surprising since President Donald Trump’s administration cut HealthCare.gov’s advertising budget by 90 percent and shortened the enrollment period to around 45 days, half the length as the 2017 enrollment period.

…The bulk of HealthCare.gov sign-ups were consumers renewing coverage, with 2.4 million new consumers for 2018 compared to 3 million new consumers for 2017 and 4 million new consumers for 2016.

Premiums for health plans offered on HealthCare.gov skyrocketed for 2018, due in part to the Trump administration eliminating cost-sharing payments to insurance companies. Premiums for the second-cheapest silver plan increased 37 percent from an average of $300 per month to $411 per month. Low-income Americans will get larger subsidies because of the price increase.

It is amazing to me that the government can force Americans to buy anything. It is also amazing to me that the price of health insurance under ObamaCare has skyrocketed and that tax dollars are being used to shore up the plan–subsidizing low-income Americans. What happens to average-income Americans when their insurance rates skyrocket? Hopefully with the repeal of the individual mandate, ObamaCare will die by the end of the year.

Some Comments On The Iranian Protests

Yesterday Fred Fleitz posted an article at The Center For Security Policy website about the ongoing protests in Iran.

The article reports:

There also is significant and growing opposition to the country’s theocratic system, especially by young people. Incredibly, protesters reportedly have been chanting “We don’t want an Islamic Republic” and “Death to Rouhani.”

It is no accident that the Iranian government announced today that it will no longer arrest women who go outside without wearing head scarves. So far these protests seem much smaller and not as serious as the massive Green Revolution protests that broke out in Iran after the fraudulent 2009 presidential election, which returned Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power. However, Amir Taheri, a well-known Iran expert, said in the below tweet that Iranian security reportedly is reluctant to fire on protesters:

When viewing the unrest in Iran, it is wise to consider the population demographics of the country. Because of the extended war with Iraq, a large group of the population is missing. Wikipedia posted a chart of the population demographic:

As you can see from the chart (although it is a few years old, the numbers are basically accurate), the largest percentage of the Iranian population is between the ages of ten and thirty-five. This group of people has no relationship with the Islamic revolution that took place in Iran in 1979–most of them were not even born then. The younger Iranians look with envy at the western world–they do not appreciate the rules of the mullahs. It is only a matter of time before the mullahs die out and the young people take over. I am not sure that democracy is possible in Iran after all they have been through, but there will come a time when a revolt leads to a more free society and hopefully one without nuclear ambitions.

It is telling that Iranian security is reluctant to fire on the protesters. That might be the result of the mullahs not wanting to create martyrs or it might be a reaction to the fact that the mullahs no longer have a friend in the White House. There are some positive aspects of the fact that many countries consider President Trump a loose cannon.