The Cost Of ‘Free’ Energy

Green energy is a wonderful thing–the wind and the sun are free and they create electricity without pollution. If you believe that, I have a bridge in New York I would like to sell you. Some of the components in the batteries in wind and solar energy have a bigger environmental footprint than natural gas. Anyway, so far green energy has not lived up to its expectations.

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the use of wind power in Minnesota. Obviously solar power in Minnesota would not work, but wind power sounds like a good idea. Unfortunately for the consumer and the environment, it wasn’t.

The article reports:

…can green energy fulfill the extravagant promises made by its backers?

The answer is a resounding No, according to a blockbuster paper by our own Steve Hayward and Center of the American Experiment’s Peter Nelson. The paper, titled “Energy Policy in Minnesota: the High Cost of Failure,” can be read or downloaded at the Center’s web site.

Minnesota is a poor place for solar power, so its renewable policies have focused on wind. Minnesota has gone whole hog for wind energy, to the tune of–the Hayward/Nelson paper reveals, for the first time–approximately $15 billion. It is noteworthy that demand for electricity in Minnesota has been flat for quite a few years, so that $15 billion wasn’t spent to meet demand. Rather, it replaced electricity that already was being produced by coal, nuclear and natural gas plants.

Wind energy is intermittent and unreliable; it can only be produced when the wind is blowing within certain parameters, and cannot be stored at scale. It is expensive and inefficient, and therefore patently inferior to nuclear, coal and natural gas-powered electricity, except in one respect–its “greenness.” That greenness consists of not emitting carbon dioxide. So, for $15 billion, Minnesota must have bought a dramatic reduction in the state’s CO2 emissions, right?

The article explains that Minnesota’s use of wind energy has reduced CO2 emissions slightly, but because the backup to wind energy is coal-fired electric plants, the reduction has not been significant. The state would have gotten better (and cheaper) results by replacing the coal plants with natural gas. The article also points out that the state’s investment in green energy has resulted in significantly higher energy costs for the residents. Considering what residents of Minnesota spend to keep their homes warm in winter, this is not good news.

The article concludes:

The sad story of Minnesota’s green energy failure is one that no doubt is being replicated around the country. And one of the ironies of green energy is that it is terrible for the environment. Both wind and solar energy require enormous amounts of land compared with conventional, reliable energy sources. Minnesota has scarred its landscape with endless acres of giant windmills and, to a lesser degree, solar panels. When those windmills begin to rust and fall still, the environmental damage will be even greater. And the green cronies who are now making millions through their political connections will be long gone.

When the government interferes in the free market, bad things happen for the consumer and the taxpayer.

Transparency is Obviously A Lost Art

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the battle between CNN and the government about making public James Comey’s memos about his discussions with President Trump regarding the Russian investigation.

There are a few things that need to be noted here. In June, I posted an article which included the following:

In a statement delivered on the Senate floor, Grassley (Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA)) said that in March, former FBI Director James Comey had told him, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and the group of Senate and House members known as the “Gang of Eight” that the president was not under investigation.

But Schumer, who is part of the Gang of Eight, continued to tell the media Trump was under investigation, Grassley said.

Okay. So if those Senators knew in March that President Trump was not under investigation, why did Senator Schumer claim he was and why is Robert Mueller continuing to investigate something that was already known?

At any rate, the article at The Washington Examiner reports:

Government lawyers asked a judge Friday to deny CNN’s request to force the FBI to publicly disclose former FBI Director James Comey’s memos documenting his interactions with President Trump about the Russia investigation.

The news network made the case in a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in June that there was high public interest in Comey’s memos and that the notes were not classified, as insisted by Comey himself in testimony. CNN, along with other outlets and watchdog groups, had requested the memos under the Freedom of Information Act.

However, a report from CNN on Saturday explained that parts of Comey’s memos were determined to be classified and the government argued that to make them public would “reveal the scope and focus of the investigation and thereby harm the investigation” and possible prosecutions.

The government is also requesting that an unnamed “FBI employee” make the government’s case in secret.

Was the memo Comey leaked to Columbia University professor Daniel Richman, (who then at the request of Comey revealed the details of the notes to the New York Times to make sure a special prosecutor was appointed) a secret? if so, why hasn’t Comey been held accountable? Who is the government actually working for?

It’s time for the government to start cooperating with the citizens. I realize that might by an alien concept to some government employees, but I am sure they could get used to the idea that they work for the citizens, not the other way around. It truly is time for some transparency in government.

 

After More Than A Year Of Questions, There Are Still No Answers

Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate ties between President Trump and Russia, possibly involved in sabotaging the election process. Historically, this was the excuse put out by the Hillary campaign when they lost, but the media liked it, James Comey played along, and we now have a special prosecutor. One of the questions in the part of the investigation that has been made public is the dossier on President Trump that was used as an excuse for the electronic surveillance on the Trump campaign staff and Trump cabinet before and after the election. Where did that file come from, how did the media get hold of it, and who authorized it? Even the Wall Street Journal is commenting on the media’s lack on interest in finding the answers to these questions. The article is behind the subscribers’ wall, but here is the link.

The Daily Caller has also taken an interest in the story. They posted an article today about the media cover up of the history of the dossier.

The article in the Daily Caller notes:

What’s significant about the newspaper’s piece is that Fusion GPS was co-founded by three former Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. But that relationship provides no cover for the Fusion trio.

“The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others. Consider the pack’s lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion [sic] and the ‘dossier’ from former spook Christopher Steele,” writes the Journal’s editorial board, which is considered right-of-center on the political spectrum.

“Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.”

The dossier, which Steele began working on after being hired by Fusion GPS last June, has become a centerpiece of the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives.

Fusion was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s when it hired Steele to look into Trump’s activities in Russia. The result was a 35-page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated from June 20 to Dec. 13 containing a slew of salacious allegations about Trump’s personal activities in Russia. It also alleges that the Trump campaign was exchanging information with the Kremlin to help the election effort.

The article reminds us that when Republicans have attempted to investigate the origins and history of the dossier, they have been met with opposition from the Democrats. Not that opposition from the Democrats is anything new, but you would think that the Democrats might want to learn the truth about this matter.

The article concludes:

“The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016,” they write.

Fusion GPS has maintained close ties to reporters at the major news outlets, not just on the Trump-Russia story but for other investigations conducted for corporate and political clients.

During the campaign last year, Fusion GPS and Simpson shared some of Steele’s reporting with reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News and Mother Jones. Steele has revealed in a court in London, where he is based, that Fusion GPS directed him to brief reporters on some of his findings. He has also said that Fusion directed him to provide some memos in the dossier to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

I totally understand why globalists in Washington would not want Donald Trump to become President and why they would not want his agenda to succeed. I guess I just thought that there might be a few more honest people in Washington who really wanted what was best for the country, rather than for their own personal ambitions. Obviously, the few honest people who are there are going to have to fight very hard to drain the swamp. As Harry Truman once said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”

When A Simple Investigation Turns Into A Witch Hunt

I have previously posted articles about the bias that seems to be part of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller‘s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election. (You can locate these articles using the search engine at the top of the blog to locate articles about Robert Mueller.)  The list of people he hired and the strong-arm tactics used against Paul Manafort are an indication that he had decided on the verdict before he conducted the investigation–much like his friend James Comey and the investigation into Hillary Clinton‘s emails. Well, this endless and wandering investigation may be called on to provide some accountability.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that nineteen Republican Congressmen have called for hearings on Robert Mueller’s investigation. It is definitely about time.

Following is the letter they sent:

Special Prosecutors need a deadline, a specific investigation subject, and a budget. The abuses connected with special prosecutors are numerous. If Congress is unwilling to terminate the position, they should at least limit it.

Restoring The Rule Of Law

A website called usconstitution.net explains the procedure involved in government spending:

…”All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Article 1, Section 7). Thus, I’ve listed the House’s “original jurisdiction” over revenue bills (laws that affect taxes) as a check. The House, however, views this clause a little differently, taking it to mean not only taxation bills but also spending bills.

The plain language of the clause would seem to contradict the House’s opinion, but the House relies on historical precedent and contemporaneous writings to support its position. In Federalist 66, for example, Alexander Hamilton writes, “The exclusive privilege of originating money bills will belong to the House of Representatives.” This phrase could easily be construed to include taxing and spending. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that the Senate can initiate bills that create revenue, if the revenue is incidental and not directly a tax. Most recently, in US v Munoz-Flores (495 US 385 [1990]), the Court said, “Because the bill at issue here was not one for raising revenue, it could not have been passed in violation of the Origination Clause.” The case cites Twin City v Nebeker (176 US 196 [1897]), where the court said that “revenue bills are those that levy taxes, in the strict sense of the word.”

Yesterday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article explaining how recent actions by President Trump are restoring that constitutional principle. On Thursday, President Trump announced that he was ending payments to insurance companies that were implemented by Executive Order under ObamaCare. Since the payments were never approved by the House of Representatives, the payments were illegal and should never have begun in the first place. The Obama Administration had made those payments.

The article at Power Line states:

Liberal news outlets are offering a parade of horribles that will ensue if the federal government doesn’t continue to pay off insurance companies. In most cases, they pay little or no attention to the constitutional issue at stake. Whether such consequences will result is not so clear. Chris Jacobs points out:

For the time being, individuals likely will not see any direct effects from the payments ceasing. Carriers cannot exit Exchanges mid-year, and contracts for the 2018 plan year are already signed. (A provision in carriers’ 2017 and 2018 contracts lets them exit Exchanges if enrollees do not receive cost-sharing reductions—not if the insurers themselves do not receive reimbursement for those cost-sharing reductions. This clause, awkwardly drafted by insurers’ counsel, may provide them with little legal recourse—and further highlights their questionable assumptions and behavior surrounding the subsidies.) So maybe—just maybe—Washington can spend some time focusing on the real issue behind the Administration’s action: Upholding the Constitution.

If Congress wants to continue the subsidies, it can do so. Its appropriation, obviously, will make them constitutional. But regardless of what happens from now on, the Trump administration has acted admirably by refusing to go along with the unconstitutional regime that Barack Obama instituted.

This is not about politics–it is about following the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land.

Is Anyone Really Surprised?

Does anyone remember what the Clintons taught us about how to handle a scandal in Washington–stonewall, stonewall, stonewall, and then claim it is old news? Well, they are still using the same playbook–even out of office.

The following is a Press Release from Judicial Watch today:

FBI Finds 30 Pages of Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Meeting Documents – Wants Six Weeks to Turn Over Docs

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch was informed yesterday by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that the FBI has located 30 pages of documents related to the June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former President Bill Clinton, and proposes non-exempt material be produced no later than November 30, 2017 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-02046)).

The new documents are being sent to Judicial Watch in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to comply with a July 7, 2016, FOIA request seeking the following:

  • All FD-302 forms prepared pursuant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server during her tenure.
  • All records of communications between any agent, employee, or representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding, concerning, or related to the aforementioned investigation. This request includes, but is not limited to, any related communications with any official, employee, or representative of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of the President, the Democratic National Committee, and/or the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
  • All records related to the meeting between Attorney General Lynch and former President Bill Clinton on June 27, 2016.

The FBI originally informed Judicial Watch they did not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting.  However, in a related case, the Justice Department located emails in which Justice Department officials communicated with the FBI and wrote that they had communicated with the FBI.  As a result, by letter dated August 10, 2017, from the FBI stated, “Upon further review, we subsequently determined potentially responsive documents may exist. As a result, your [FOIA] request has been reopened…”

(Surprisingly, the Trump Justice Department refuses to disclose the talking points developed by the Obama Justice Department to help it respond to press inquiries about the controversial June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.)

On June 27, 2016, Attorney General Loretta Lynch met privately with former President Bill Clinton on board a parked private plane at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. The meeting occurred during the then-ongoing investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s email server, and mere hours before the Benghazi report was released publicly involving both Mrs. Clinton and the Obama administration. Judicial Watch filed a request on June 30 that the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General investigate that meeting.

“The FBI is out of control. It is stunning that the FBI ‘found’ these Clinton-Lynch tarmac records only after we caught the agency hiding them in another lawsuit,” stated Judicial Watch Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch will continue to press for answers about the FBI’s document games in court. In the meantime, the FBI should stop the stonewall and release these new records immediately.”

This case has also forced the FBI to release to the public the FBI’s Clinton investigative file, although more than half of the records remain withheld.  The FBI has also told Judicial Watch that it anticipates completing the processing of these materials by July 2018.

There is significant controversy about whether the FBI and Obama Justice Department investigation gave Clinton and other witnesses and potential targets preferential treatment.

The Obama administration extended numerous immunity agreements, including: Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills; John Bentel, former director of the State Department’s Office of Information Resources Management; Heather Samuelson, Clinton’s executive assistant; Brian Pagliano, an IT employee at the State Department who serviced the Clinton non-government server; and an employee at Platt River Networks, the company that maintained it.  It is not clear whether Hillary Clinton received some type of immunity.

In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.  Judicial Watch has several lawsuits about this McCabe/FBI/Clinton scandal.

Is anyone really surprised? Every day we see another example of the deep state and the damage it has done to America. It is a living lesson illustrating the reason we still have a lot of swamp draining to do in Washington. It will be interesting to see how much of the information turned over is redacted!

Actually, This Is The Way It Was Supposed To Be Done In The First Place

According to the U.S. Constitution, the Senate has the responsibility of advice and consent regarding treaties:

The President…shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur… Constitution of the United States, Art. II, Sec. 2

The Senate never voted on the Iran Nuclear Treaty. President Trump has now “decertified” his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress.

Yahoo News is reporting today:

And, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter Tehran’s “aggression” in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile program.

Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in its region and its illegal missile program.

The US president said he supports efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address these threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal.

“However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said, in a televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House.

“It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time,” he warned.

Simultaneously, the US Treasury said it had taken action against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards under a 2001 executive order to hit sources of terror funding and added four companies that allegedly support the group to its sanctions list.

Any business done with Iran is done under the auspices of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard. It is a safe guess to say that any money Iran earns in international trade will be spent on its military and its support of terrorism throughout the world.

On May 10, 2016, I posted an article about the role that Ben Rhodes played in selling the Iran Treaty to the American public.In his statements to the New York Times, Mr. Rhodes was described as follows:

Like Obama, Rhodes is a storyteller who uses a writer’s tools to advance an agenda that is packaged as politics but is often quite personal. He is adept at constructing overarching plotlines with heroes and villains, their conflicts and motivations supported by flurries of carefully chosen adjectives, quotations and leaks from named and unnamed senior officials. He is the master shaper and retailer of Obama’s foreign-policy narratives, at a time when the killer wave of social media has washed away the sand castles of the traditional press. His ability to navigate and shape this new environment makes him a more effective and powerful extension of the president’s will than any number of policy advisers or diplomats or spies. His lack of conventional real-world experience of the kind that normally precedes responsibility for the fate of nations — like military or diplomatic service, or even a master’s degree in international relations, rather than creative writing — is still startling.

The Iran Treaty was based on the lie that Iran would give up its aggressive tendencies and its search for nuclear weapons. There is no evidence that either one of those things has happened. Ending the Iran Treaty and renewing the economic sanctions would be a step toward peace in the Middle East.

The State Department Announces

The New York Post is reporting today that the State Department has announced that America with be withdrawing from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) because of UNESCO’s anti-Israel bias. This is long overdue.

In June 2012, I posted an article illustrating how some of UNESCO’s money is spent. The article featured a cartoon teaching Palestinian children that Jews are killing them. That is not a recipe for peace.

The article at the New York Post concludes:

But the Israel-Palestinian issue has been a major point of contention.

Last year, Israel removed its UNESCO ambassador after the agnecy stated that one of Jerusalem’s holy sites is specifically a “Muslim holy site of worship,” according to Reuters.

Senior American officials, including UN Ambassador Nikki Haley, have repeatedly denounced UNESCO, which the US also withdrew from during the Cold War under then-President Reagan.

Washington, which viewed the agency as mismanaged and used for political reasons, rejoined it in 2003.

Until the people who now live in the Gaza Strip do something other than to send rockets into Israel, I see no reason to recognize Palestine as a nation. The world does not need another terrorist state. In recent years we have seen rockets from the Gaza Strip aimed at civilian targets in Israel and tunnels dug to facilitate attacks on Israeli children. Western countries have funded these activities in the name of humanitarian aid. Unfortunately, very little of the humanitarian aid has gone to humans–it has been used to buy weapons and create tunnels to attack Israel. If the United Nations continues to support these activities, we will have no choice but to withdraw from the United Nations completely.

We Have Been Doing Things Right For A While

The world is not going to end tomorrow because of fossil fuels. Man’s use of fossil fuels has not been proven to be the source of climate change. Climate change has happened since climate began. All of these statements are very logical and true, but somehow those pursuing ‘green energy’ work very hard to periodically convince all of us that if we use fossil fuel, we are all going to die next week (while flying around in their private jets). Green energy is in theory a great idea, but I can’t help thinking that the search for a totally green source of energy is somehow related to the search for the perpetual motion machine. It’s a great idea, but it defies the law of physics. At any rate, we are doing better at keeping the environment clean today than we were in the early 1900’s despite much greater energy usage.

WattsUpWithThat posted an article today about some observations from scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago.

The article includes the following picture:

The article explains:

Horned Larks are cute little songbirds with white bellies and yellow chins–at least, now they are. A hundred years ago, at the height of urban smoke pollution in the US, their pale feathers were stained dark gray by the soot in the atmosphere. A new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the discoloration of birds in museum collections can be used to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time and the effects of environmental policy upon pollution.

“The soot on these birds’ feathers allowed us to trace the amount of black carbon in the air over time, and we found that the air at the turn of the century was even more polluted than scientists previously thought,” says Shane DuBay, a graduate student at The Field Museum and the University of Chicago and one of the authors of the study. He and co-author Carl Fuldner, also a graduate student at UChicago, analyzed over a thousand birds collected over the last 135 years to determine and quantify the effects of soot in the air over cities in the Rust Belt.

…Birds were also ideal candidates for the study because they molt and grow a new set of feathers every year, meaning that the soot on them had only been accumulating for the past year when they were collected. And there was an apparent trend: old birds were dirtier, and new birds were cleaner.

The article concludes:

DuBay notes that in addition to the environmental implications of the project, their work also shows the importance of museum collections like those they used from The Field Museum in Chicago, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, and the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology in Ann Arbor. “I hope this study exposes collections as a valuable resource to address present day environmental concerns,” says DuBay. “This paper shows the ways that natural history collections can be used, underlining the value in collections and in continuing to build collections, to help us improve our understanding of human impacts on the natural world.”

Fossil fuel is now abundantly available in America. We can use our scientific talents to make it as clean as possible. Like it or not, it is the basis of our economy.

It Really Is About The Money

A lot of Americans are not watching the NFL games this year. The kneeling protests by oppressed players making millions of dollars has not really impressed the fans. I miss football, and I may begin to watch it now that everyone is required to stand up and respect the flag. I am sorry that we have not achieved racial equality in America, but we have come a long way, and if we can work together, we can progress even further. One area that would make a big difference would be to strengthen the black family and instill a desire to succeed in school in black children. We will never have equal outcome because everyone is different, but we need to provide equal opportunity. I agree that there are problem areas, but they are problem areas–they are not the whole picture.

At any rate, yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted the following statement by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell:

The NFL will discuss in an upcoming meeting the nationwide dispute over whether players must stand during the National Anthem, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a copy of a memo obtained by CNBC.

In the memo sent to NFL teams, Goodell said the league must “move past this controversy” and that this has to be done in collaboration with its players.

“Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting,” Goodell said in a Tuesday memo.

While he said the plan would include continued dialogue and promoting the work of its players on key issues, Goodell didn’t provide further details on what that proposed plan would entail.

The NFL comissioner said that the league believes everyone should stand for the National Anthem. Goodell said the NFL also “care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”

This is about money. If the viewership is not there, advertisers will not pay what they normally pay for ads. Some advertisers have pulled their ads or threatened to pull their ads. If the revenue does not come in, the NFL cannot meet its financial obligations–players will no longer make millions, and owners will be facing financial problems. The Commissioner did the right thing for the wrong reason. That’s ok. I’ll take it.

 

The Biggest Scandal The Media Is Ignoring

The Daily Caller has been following the Democrat House IT scandal for quite some time. Other media is totally ignoring it. On August 17, Imran Awan and his wife Hina Alvi, were indicted. Both were information technology staffers who worked for Representative Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and other Democrat congressmen. Judicial Watch has also been following the case closely and seeking information.

Yesterday there was a discussion of the scandal among Congressional House Members where Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch appeared as a witness. I have posted the video below. It is long, but worth watching. It is currently available on YouTube.

 

There are a few points noted in the video that are significant.

  1. Imran Awan was arrested on charges of bank fraud, but that is only a small part of the story.
  2. Mr. Awan and a number of members of his family were employed by multiple Congressmen. When Mr. Awan reached the salary cap for his job, he would hire another family member. This continued, evidently with little regard to the computer skills of the hired family member.
  3. Mr. Awan at one point set up an alias account that allowed him to access Congressional servers after he was denied access. At one point after he was denied access, a significant data download occurred under his alias account. Mr. Awan claimed that the data download was his elementary school child’s homework, but the download involved thousands of pages. Most elementary school homework does not involve thousands of pages. It was also noted that the size of the data breach was such that it could not have been done over the internet—it had to be done using a thumb drive or similar piece of equipment.
  4. It is quite possible that the leakage of information regarding the Democratic National Committee came from Mr. Awan. At the time Mr. Awan was employed by Representative Wasserman-Schultz, she was chairman of Democratic National Committee.

The Daily Caller reports the following:

You would think that House Republican leaders would give the Awan mess a much bigger stage. This GOP disinterest is the biggest mystery of all. The media and Democrats in Congress created a frenzy over vague accusations that Russia interfered with last year’s presidential election. They were always short on specifics, but they did have one, the publication of Wasserman-Schultz’ emails by WikiLeaks.

Then came along the reports that the Awans had access to all of the electronic data for a score of Democrats, including members of the House Intelligence and Homeland Security Committees. Imran Awan is even alleged to have the password to Wasserman-Schultz’ iPad. Maybe the Wasserman-Schultz emails didn’t come from the Russians as Wikileaks has always maintained, or if they did, perhaps they were first stolen by someone else.

…There is no indication that the Ethics Committee, chaired by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), is doing anything about the Awans, even when story after story appears about their outside businesses and scams, the income from which was not reported on their disclosure forms. These reporting violations are not the Awans’ most serious transgressions, but they provide Republicans with a thread on which to start pulling and an opportunity to raise the profile of the entire affair.

They do not have to defer to investigations by the FBI, the Capitol Police or anyone else. If they were serious about the task, they could proceed on every possible front, much like the Democrats have done on the Russia allegations.

I understand that media bias may be preventing this story from being told, but shouldn’t the media have enough interest in their own self-preservation to realize that this may be a serious national security issue. The Republicans also need to understand that this is a serious issue that they also need to address. Why was oversight on the information technology people in the House of Representatives so poor that Mr. Awan was allowed to add family members at will when he reached his salary cap? It may be time to vote everyone even remotely involved in this scandal and everyone who ignored the growing scandal out of office. This is the swamp.

Be Careful What You Say And Who You Say It To

Project Veritas has struck again. The Daily Caller posted a video of a New York Times bragging about opposing President Trump.

This is one of the videos involved, currently posted at YouTube:

I have embedded this video in case it disappears from YouTube.

The article further reports:

Conservative activist group Project Veritas released the video on Tuesday, showing Dudich joking about being objective, before saying: “No, I’m not. That’s why I’m here.” Dudich emphasized his influence within the Times newsroom, saying that his “imprint is on every video we do.”

The editor also claimed to be a former antifa member who frequently assaulted alleged neo-Nazis. “Yeah, I used to be an antifa punk once upon a time,” Dudich says, referring to the militant far-left movement that has repeatedly attacked conservatives and Trump supporters.

Are you still willing to believe what The New York Times is reporting?

In case you are not convinced, this is the longer version of the video:

Again, it is embedded here in case YouTube takes it down.

Dismantling ObamaCare One Rule At A Time

One of the mixed blessings about the way ObamaCare was passed was the fact that it was an unread law passed strictly along party lines (Democratic Party) and then filled in by Executive Order and orders from the Health and Human Services Department. Many of the mandates and other parts of ObamaCare were not written into the law, but came later. One of the advantages of that fact is that what was put in place by Executive Order can be taken away by Executive Order. Since the Republicans in Congress have broken their promise to the voters to repeal ObamaCare, President Trump is taking it apart piece by piece.

Today Red State posted an article showing the latest piece to go. The article included the following tweet by the President:

The article explains:

President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order later this week that would allow people to pool together and purchase group insurance plans, according to The New York Times.

Association health plans allow groups such as community organizations, churches or professional associations to purchase health plans together. Many insurance companies oppose this kind of pooled purchase, as they argue the plans take healthy patients out of the individual markets.

The executive order is the first step in President Trump’s plan to issue another directive that would allow people to purchase insurance across state lines, though it is still unclear if he has the authority to do so.

“I am considering an executive order on associations, and that will take care of a tremendous number of people with regard to health care,” President Trump said late September, according to The New York Times. “I’ll probably be signing a very major executive order where people can go out, cross state lines, do lots of things, and buy their own health care…It’s going to cover a lot of territory and a lot of people — millions of people.”

Letting the free market reign in health insurance is a giant step back to sanity. Health insurance companies are in business to make a profit, which they are entitled to, and they use actuary tables to calculate those projected profits. If you bring back competition, they will have to compete with each other in the area of pricing, and all Americans will benefit. This is a big step toward making health insurance affordable for everyone. The less the government is involved in health insurance and healthcare, the better it is for all of us.

Remember what Milton Friedman said:

If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.

Let’s get the government out of health insurance.

Slowly But Surely Things Are Changing

On Friday, CNS News reported that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people working for the federal government declined by 13,000 in 2017.

The article reports:

At the same time, overall government employment in the United States increased by 7,000 as the number of people working at the state government level and the local government level both increased.

The following chart is from the article:

I realize the chart is difficult to read, but basically, the intersect of manufacturing and government jobs took place about 1989. That is when government jobs began to outpace manufacturing jobs in America. It should be noted that every dollar spent by the government on employment or anything else is a dollar taken away from the private sector. Since the private sector is responsible for growing the economy and increasing employment, increased spending by the government is not a wise long-term strategy.

The article concludes:

Despite losing 1,000 jobs in September, the manufacturing sector has still gained 104,000 jobs in this year. In December, there were 12,343,000 employed in manufacturing in the United States. In September, there were 12,447,000.

Despite the gain in manufacturing jobs since the start of this year, government jobs continue to massively outnumber manufacturing jobs in the United States. As of September, the 22,337,000 employed by governemt in the United States outnumbrered the 12,447,000 employed in manufacturing by 9,890,000.

The first time government jobs outnumbered manufacturing jobs in this country was August 1989, prior to that–going back to 1939 (the earliest year for BLS’s sector-by-sector employment numbers)–manufacturing jobs had always outnumbered government jobs in this country.

Slowly, but surely, things may be getting back under control.

 

Bias Can Be What You Leave Out Of A Story As Well As Choosing The Stories You Report

Global warming is one of the sacred cows of the political left. Part of this is due to the fact that climate change can be used as a weapon against capitalism, free markets, and successful democratic nations.

In February of last year, I posted an article that included the following quote:

…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.

So that explains why the political left is so in love with the idea of global warming. Now let’s look at the omissions in a recent Associated Press article about global warming as reported in The Daily Caller.

The article reports:

An Associated Press reporter sent some questions to Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. about what role global warming played in this year’s slew of billion-dollar natural disasters.

Pielke, an expert on natural disaster costs, apparently didn’t give AP reporter Seth Borenstein the answers he was looking for, because his ensuing article didn’t have any quotes from the University of Colorado professor.

The following questions and answers were omitted from the AP article:

Please follow the link to The Daily Caller and read the entire article. It illustrates how the media tries to shape the debate rather than simply reporting facts. As I have stated before, the best website on the internet for climate information is wattsupwiththat.com.

 

Banning The Burka

On Friday, the U.K. Daily Mail reported that Denmark is preparing to ban the burka.

The article reports:

Full and partial face veils such as burqas and niqabs divide opinion across Europe, setting advocates of religious freedom against secularists and those who argue that such garments are culturally alien or a symbol of the oppression of women.

The niqab covers everything but the eyes, while the burqa also covers the eyes with a transparent veil.

France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Bulgaria and the German state of Bavaria have all imposed some restrictions on the wearing of full-face veils in public places.

‘This is not a ban on religious clothing, this is a ban on masking,’ Jacob Ellemann-Jensen, spokesman for the Liberal Party, told reporters on Friday after his party, the largest in the coalition government, decided to back a ban.

This would effectively mean a ban on the niqab and the burqa, he added. Around 200 women in Denmark wear such garments, according to researchers.

I will admit to having mixed emotions on this. I can see the need to ban face coverings for security reasons–terrorism is made easier by people being able to cover their faces and their bodies. It is difficult to distinguish a man from a woman in a burka, and burkas have been used by terrorists to escape. For security reasons, a ban on the burka makes sense. However, I hate to see any religious attire banned, regardless of the problems with it.

Considering the influx of Muslims into Europe in recent years, banning the burka is probably a good idea for security reasons.

The Threat Posed By America’s Looming Energy Independence

One America News posted a story today about a comment made by Mohammad Barkindo, OPEC secretary-general.

The article reports:

OPEC and other oil producers may need to take “some extraordinary measures” next year to rebalance the oil market, the OPEC secretary-general said on Sunday.

“There is a growing consensus that … a rebalancing process is under way. We are gradually but steadily achieving our common and noble objectives,” Mohammad Barkindo told reporters at the India Energy Forum organized by CERAWeek in New Delhi.

“To sustain this into next year, some extraordinary measures may have to be taken in order to restore this stability on a sustainable basis going forward,” he said, without elaborating.

Saudi Arabia and Russia helped secure a deal between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and 10 rival producers to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) until the end of March 2018 in an effort to reduce a glut.

Barkindo said consultations were under way for the extension of the OPEC-led pact beyond March 2018 and that more oil producing nations may join the supply pact, possibly at the next meeting of OPEC in Vienna on Nov. 30.

He also said that Nigeria and Libya, who are exempted from the pact, “are making progress towards full recovery” of production, after which they could join the OPEC-led agreement.

Translated loosely, there is a glut of oil on the world market, and the price has dropped. America is less dependent on foreign energy and has even been an exporter of crude oil since 2014 (see article here). The noose around America’s neck that OPEC exploited in the 1970’s no longer exists. OPEC will attempt to put that noose back, but I think it is too late.

Generally speaking, the countries that have been hurt by the drop in oil prices are not countries that celebrate freedom for their citizens–Russia and Venezuela to name a few. American energy independence is a good thing–both for America and for the world.

The Cost Of Keeping ObamaCare

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about what is happening to the cost of health insurance in Florida.

The article reports:

Obamacare plan premiums may increase an average of 45 percent in Florida next year due to health care insurers rate hike requests, according to Florida’s Office of Insurance Regulation.

There are six insurers in Florida selling plans on and off the exchanges in 2018 including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Celtic Insurance Company, Florida Health Care Plan, Health First Commercial Plans, Health Options, and Molina Healthcare of Florida.

Molina Healthcare requested the highest rate increase of 71.2 percent. Individuals with this coverage can expect their monthly premium to increase from $402 to $688.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield requested a 38.1 percent increase, Celtic Insurance Company requested a 46.1 percent increase, Florida Health Care Plan requested a 26.5 percent increase, Health First Commercial Plans requested a 39.3 percent increase, and Health Options requested a 36 percent increase.

On average, consumers in Florida can expect their monthly premium to increase from $463 to $671.

Part of the problem is the lack of competition. The article explains:

The Florida office notes declining insurer participation since 2015. In that year there were 21 participating insurers. In 2016 there were 19, in 2017 there were 14, and in 2018 there are 9, which includes the companies that participate off exchange. They also report there will be 42 counties in their state that will only have one health insurer participating on the exchange.

ObamaCare needs to be totally gone. Meanwhile, President Trump is dismantling the parts of it that he can legally dismantle. Since so much of ObamaCare was written as it went along, much of it can easily be eliminated by the Executive Branch. However, the ideal situation would be to get rid of ObamaCare totally and let the free market take over. That would probably result in lower healthcare premiums for everyone.

Destroying Your Own Credibility

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that Black Lives Matter is experiencing a backlash after shutting down an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) free speech event at the College of William and Mary last week.

The article reports:

Claire Gastañaga, the shouted-down executive director of the Virginia ACLU, said “a public college like William and Mary has an obligation to protect the freedom of the speaker to speak,” and college president Taylor Reveley wrote the action prevented “hard questions” and a “debate where the strength of ideas” prevails.

What has college become?

The article concludes:

The disruption of the ACLU event in Virginia follows the February cancellation of a speech by then-Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley after violence and property damage by his opponents and the shouting down in March of political scientist Charles Murray at Middlebury College — each incident attracting significant national debate, with older left-wing scholars such as Noam Chomsky and some members of Berkeley’s pioneering 1960s Free Speech Movement arguing it’s wrong to censor others.

The William and Mary Black Lives Matter chapter did not respond to a request for comment, but remained defiant in the face of growing condemnation Friday, posting a message to Facebook: “The right to free speech is a fundamental human right. However, speech that condones, supports or otherwise fails to explicitly condemn injustice must be directly confronted.”

We need to go back to teaching American history and the U.S. Constitution in our schools. There is nothing wrong with confronting speech, but there is a difference between confronting speech and not allowing someone to speak.

Watching The Spin

President Trump has ended the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that required employers to provide birth control for their employees even if birth control conflicts with their moral or religious objections. Before ObamaCare, employers were allowed to follow their conscience. If you worked for a Catholic organization, your medical plan did not cover birth control, and if you had a baby in a Catholic hospital, the doctors were not going to instruct you in birth control. It was simply the way things were, and most Americans got along fine under that system. ObamaCare changed that system. Now President Trump is changing it back to what it was, giving people the right to follow their conscience. Based on the outcry from the political left, you would think he was slaughtering women on live television. He is not depriving anyone of birth control–he is merely saying he is not going to force employers to pay for it if it violates their conscience.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about the controversy.

The article reports:

The new rule provides full protection for Americans with religious beliefs and moral convictions and acknowledges that the contraceptive mandate concerns serious issues of moral concern, including those involving human life.

Though left-wing groups claim President Donald Trump is taking away women’s birth control – which can be purchased for relatively little expense – the Obama administration itself actually exempted at least 25 million Americans, through various exemption allowances, from its own rule.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in its case against the HHS mandatenoted the Obama administration had exempted large corporations such as Chevron, Exxon, Visa, and Pepsi Bottling from the rule, as well as the U.S. military and large cities like New York City.

The headline for the story covered at NBC News reads, “Trump Just Made It So Employers Can Refuse to Pay for Birth Control.”

Just for the record, this isn’t really about birth control–it’s about abortion. Under ObamaCare, the morning-after pill, which causes an abortion was included in birth control. This was the first step toward government funding of abortions.

Here are a few facts on abortion from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ):

The fact of the matter is that 51 percent of Planned Parenthood’s yearly clinic income – their only self-sustaining revenue source – comes from abortion, 329,445 abortions.

40 percent of all reported abortions committed in the United States occur at a Planned Parenthood clinic, making it by far the largest abortion provider in America.

…Planned Parenthood’s latest report states that it performed “11 million services during nearly five million clinical visits.” So, now their abortion number jumps to 6.6 percent of clinic visits were for abortions. That’s right 6.6 percent of all visits to Planned Parenthood result in an abortion.

Digging a little deeper, Planned Parenthood claims that all those “services” it provides only go to 3 million women. So by it’s own admission, 11 percent of the women that visit a Planned Parenthood clinic in any given year obtain an abortion there.

What about some of the other “services” Planned Parenthood claims it provides? Prenatal services (those services provided to women who choose to keep their baby) account for a measly 0.28 percent off all services provided. Moreover, the 841 adoption referrals made by Planned Parenthood in their last reported year amount to a whopping 0.0076 percent of services rendered.

The outcry over the change in the HHS Mandate is born out of fear that the abortion industry will eventually be threatened by the Trump Administration. I need to explain here that I don’t want to see abortion made illegal. However, if an abortion is medically necessary, it needs to be done in a hospital. It does not need to be part of a multi-million dollar industry.

When Charity Becomes Political

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial recently about charities that are funding the ‘never Trump’ movement. I find it hard to view what these organizations are doing as charity.

The article reports:

An investigation by the Washington Free Beacon looked into the progressive community organizing group called the Center for Community Change Action (CCCA), which has spearheaded the anti-Trump “resistance.” What the Beacon found by looking at the group’s unredacted tax returns was surprising: Far from being funded by like-minded activists and grass-roots contributions, the anti-Trump CCCA is secretly funded by major charities with respectably wholesome, centrist images. In some cases, the charities fund other extreme left-wing activist groups, too.

Among those giving money to the CCCA — which, the Beacon notes, “has been involved in direct action against President Donald Trump and Republicans before and after the November elections” — include the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Ford Foundation and billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundation, which have together funneled millions of dollars to the anti-Trump, anti-conservative, anti-Republican activist group.

Kellogg alone gave $3 million, while the Ford Foundation ponied up $2.3 million. Soros delivered a cool $1.75 million to the anti-Trumpistas.

And there were others, among them the California Endowment (created by the 1996 acquisition of WellPoint Health Networks by Blue Cross of California), $524,500; the Marguerite Casey Foundation (started by UPS founder Jim Casey), $515,000; and the National Immigration Law Center, $316,000.

These groups are funding the ‘resistance,’ a group of sore losers attempting to undermine America’s representative republic. I really don’t know what has happened to the Democratic Party and the ideas it used to espouse. I used to be a Democrat, but that was when you could be a conservative Democrat and remain in the party. Now the Democratic Party has become the party of ugly. They oppose anything, even if it would help move America forward. They stand for nothing except opposition to Donald Trump. It is sad that the Democrats and so many Republicans have become so attached to the Washington establishment that they have forgotten that they were sent to Washington to represent the American people. It truly is a shame that some charities have chosen to fund ‘the swamp.’

 

Mixed Economic News Because Of The Hurricanes

Generally speaking, the economic news is good–the workforce participation rate is up and unemployment is down. That is a good thing. The only negative is the fact that according to CNBC America lost 33,000 jobs in the month of September. That loss is attributed to the hurricanes that hit Florida and the Gulf Coast states.

CNBC further reports:

Even with the surprise jobs number, the closely watched hourly wages figure jumped higher, to an annualized rate of 2.9 percent.

 Economists surveyed by Reuters expected payroll growth of 90,000 in September, compared with 169,000 in August. The unemployment rate was expected to hold steady at 4.4 percent. It declined even as the labor-force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent, its highest level all year and the best reading since March 2014.

“The lousy returns from the September jobs report will make little impression on observers, who essentially gave the labor market a free pass due to the impact of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma,” said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

An alternate number that includes discouraged workers as well as those working part-time for economic reasons also tumbled, falling from 8.6 percent to 8.3 percent, its lowest reading since June 2007.

The Workforce Participation Rate increased to 63.1. The following chart showing changes in the Workforce Participation Rate is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

As you can see, the rate is slowly inching upward.

According to Bloomberg News, Americans are going back to work.

Bloomberg reports:

Americans are coming off the labor market’s sidelines at a pace that intensified in September.

The number of people going from out-of-the-labor-market into jobs jumped to an all-time high last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s employment report showed on Friday, even as the number of people flowing into unemployment fell. While these numbers can be volatile, they provide the latest confirmation that Americans are being pulled into work as the labor market tightens.

The positive changes in the economy are the result of the deregulation that has been going on since President Trump took office. There is still more deregulation needed. If all or part of the President’s tax reform proposals are put into effect, those reforms will also help encourage economic growth.

Eliminating A Tax Break That Only Benefits The Rich

The class warfare that surrounds tax reform is bothersome. It’s not constructive and most of the information is false. The reason some tax cuts appear to benefit the rich is that the rich pay 80 percent of the taxes. They are the ones who need tax breaks. However, there is one tax break that generally impacts the rich that may disappear if the tax code is truly reformed.

Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article about the elimination of the deduction for state and local taxes. The article explains how this deduction impacts the residents of California:

Yes, California has high state income taxes. For instance, the rate for millionaires is 13.3 percent. It’s not insanely lower for the middle class, either: A married couple making $103,000 or more would pay a 9.3 percent rate, and while $103,000 might go far in plenty of areas in the United States, California’s outrageously high housing prices ensure that such a couple wouldn’t have an easy time paying all the bills.

But those Hollywood liberals raking in the big bucks and paying the 13.3 percent rate? Well, they’re not actually paying the 13.3 percent rate, thanks to our current U.S. tax code, which allows deduction for state and local taxes.

Let me explain. Currently, if anyone files taxes with itemized deductions, he can deduct his state and local taxes. In other words, if Joe Random makes $250,000 a year, and pays $26,000 in state and local taxes, and then donates an additional $14,000 to charity annually, he could deduct $40,000 from his salary—and pay federal taxes on only $210,000.

This deduction has big benefits for wealthy Californians. According to The Heritage Foundation’s research, that deduction means the effective tax rate for rich lefties in the Golden State is 8 percent, not 13.3 percent.

Essentially the rest of the country is subsidizing California’s high tax burden.

The article further reports:

Furthermore, for individuals pulling in over $200,000 a year, the average benefit of the state and local tax deduction is $6,296, according to Heritage research. For those making in the range of $40,000 to $50,000, that benefit shrinks to $134.

And it’s not just California whose blue-state government is currently raking in the perks thanks to the tax code.

“Just seven states receive 53 percent of the value of the state and local tax deduction: California, New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Connecticut,” write Rachel Greszler, Kevin D. Dayaratna, and Michael Sargent in their upcoming report for The Heritage Foundation.

Why should Americans from red states and lower-tax blue states be subsidizing other states? If states like California want to embrace big government, that’s fine—but they should also have to finance it themselves, not ask for a handout from the rest of the country.

Ending the deduction for state taxes would help make the income tax more equitable for everyone. There will be loud cries from the states it will impact, but it still needs to be done. Hopefully the Republicans will have the courage to do it.