It Is Scary That This Happened In America

Yesterday Jay Sekulow posted an article at Fox News about new information found in recently disclosed documents.

The article reports:

Stunning new information just released by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) shows that the Obama administration stepped up efforts – just days before President Trump took office – to undermine Trump and his administration.

The ACLJ, where I serve as chief counsel, has obtained records that show the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, under Director James Clapper, eagerly pushed to get new procedures as part of an anti-Trump effort. The procedures increased access to raw signals intelligence before the conclusion of the Obama administration, just days before President Trump was inaugurated.

By greatly expanding access to classified information by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats, the Obama administration paved the way for a shadow government to leak classified information – endangering our national security and severely jeopardizing the integrity and reputation of our critical national security apparatus – in an attempt to undermine President Trump.

Consider the fact that had Hillary Clinton been elected, this would never have been done. This is further evidence that the Obama administration considered itself an arm of the Democrat party–the did not consider themselves accountable to the American people for their actions.

The article continues:

As I told Sean Hannity on his Fox News Channel program, the documents were obtained as a result of one of our Freedom of Information Act lawsuits – this one against the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the National Security Agency.

The documents confirmed what we suspected: the Office of the Director of National Intelligence rushed to get the new “procedures signed by the Attorney General before the conclusion of this administration,” referring to the Obama administration.

The documents also reveal that Robert Litt, who worked in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense’s Director of Intelligence Strategy, Policy, & Integration: “Really want to get this done … and so does the Boss.” Presumably “the Boss” is a reference to Director Clapper. 

And documents the ACLJ received that were produced by the National Security Agency show that NSA officials discussed that they “could have a signature from the AG as early as this week, certainly prior to the 20th of Jan.” In other words, certainly before President Trump’s inauguration.

Consider what we now know about the nature and degree of Deep State opposition to President Trump.

The article also notes:

In this particular instance, it concerned us when we heard that, according to The New York Times, “in its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.”

On December 15, 2016 – after President Trump’s election – Director of National Intelligence Clapper executed a document titled “Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the National Security Agency Under Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333.”

On January 3, 2017 – just days before President Trump’s inauguration – then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch executed the document, indicating her approval.

According to The New York Times, “the new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations.”

Changing the law may have been legal, but does anyone actually doubt the intention?

Socialism In The Nordic Countries

On Monday The Washington Post posted an article about how the economies of the Nordic countries work.

These are some of the things noted:

Undoubtedly, the Nordic nations, with their high incomes, low inequality, free politics and strong rule of law, represent success stories. What this has to do with socialism, though, is another question.

And the answer, according to a highly clarifying new report from analysts at JPMorgan Chase, is “not much.”

Drawing on data from the World Bank, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development and other reputable sources, the report shows that five nations — Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the Netherlands — protect property rights somewhat more aggressively than the United States, on average; exercise less control over private enterprise; permit greater concentration in the banking sector; and distribute a smaller share of their total income to workers.

“Copy the Nordic model if you like, but understand that it entails a lot of capitalism and pro-business policies, a lot of taxation on middle class spending and wages, minimal reliance on corporate taxation and plenty of co-pays and deductibles in its healthcare system,” the report notes.

This really does not sound like the utopia that Bernie Sanders is pushing–particularly the co-pays and deductions.

The article continues:

Sanders and other left-leaning Democrats promise to pay for tuition-free college and Medicare-for-all with higher taxes on the top 1 percent of earners. Most Nordic countries, by contrast, have zero estate tax. They fund generous programs with the help of value-added taxes that heavily affect middle-class consumers.

In Sweden, for example, consumption, social security and payroll taxes total 27 percent of gross domestic product, as compared with 10.6 percent in the United States, according to the JPMorgan Chase report. The Nordic countries tried direct wealth taxes such as the one that figures prominently in the plans of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.); all but Norway abandoned them because of widespread implementation problems.

The Nordic countries’ use of co-pays and deductibles in health care may be especially eye-opening to anyone considering Sanders’s Medicare-for-all plan, which the presidential candidate pitches as an effort to bring the United States into line with European standards.

His plan offers an all-encompassing, government-funded zero-co-pay, zero-deductible suite of benefits, from dental checkups to major surgery — which no Nordic nation provides.

The Netherlands’ health insurance system centers on an Obamacare-like mandate to buy a private plan; individuals face an annual deductible of $465 (as of 2016), according to the Boston-based Commonwealth Fund.

Dutch consumers’ out-of-pocket spending on health care represented 11 percent of total health expenditures in 2016, according to the Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker — the same percentage as in the United States. In Sweden, meanwhile, out-of-pocket spending accounted for 15 percent of health expenditures. Who knew?

The article concludes by noting that the burden for these programs falls on the middle class–the rich will always have tax accountants to limit the amount of taxes they pay–the middle class has no such luxury. Bernie Sanders’ proposals will essentially rob the poor to pay the rich. I really don’t think that is what most Americans have in mind.

Be Careful What You Wish For

CNS News posted an article today about the upcoming appearance of Robert Mueller before the House of Representatives.

The article notes:

Be careful what you wish for, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) told Fox News’s Laura Ingraham Tuesday night:

“Listen, it is not a good day for America, but Bob Mueller better be prepared. Because I can tell you, he will be cross-examined for the first time, and the American people will start to see the flaws in his report.”

Republicans have many unanswered questions about the scope of Mueller’s investigation, including the process leading up to the FISA warrant on Carter Page and when Mueller’s team learned that there was no coordination between the Trump campaign and the Russians.

Meadows said Democrats have courted Mueller “just so that they can harass the president” and keep the collusion/obstruction narrative going for political reasons.

Meadows predicted that Mueller’s testimony will “backfire” on Democrats.

Mueller, in his only public comment on the report, said it speaks for itself and he would have nothing to add beyond what is in it.

But “Congress has questions that go beyond the report,” Rep. Schiff told CNN Tuesday night:

“So we have any number of questions about the counter-intelligence investigation, and the role of the counter-intelligence agents within his team to questions about some of the prosecutorial decisions that were made. We have fact questions about some of the statements that are made in the report, so there are any number of issues that we wish to cover with him,” Schiff said.

So what about the questions some of the rest of us have:

  • How was the investigation team chosen?
  • Why was the investigation team composed solely of Democrat campaign contributors and in one case a lawyer who had worked for the Clintons?
  • Why was someone put in charge of investigating the President right after the President had rejected his job application? Was he expected to be objective?
  • Why did the Mueller Report totally ignore Christopher Steele, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, etc.?
  • Why was an unverified dossier used as the basis for a FISA Warrant?
  • How many attempts were made to place undercover agents in the Trump campaign?
  • Why were charges against Paul Manafort that had been deemed not worth prosecuting more than ten years ago suddenly brought to life again?
  • Why did the investigation look equally into both campaigns?
  • Did the report include the fact that the Democrats never allowed the FBI to examine their computer servers that they claimed the Russians had hacked?
  • When did Robert Mueller realize that there was no collusion between President Trump and Russia?

Those questions might make for an interesting hearing. I would be willing to watch that on C-SPAN.

Our Ancestors Understood Human Nature A Lot Better Than We Do

From Vox June 23:

Sen. Bernie Sanders’s proposal to make college free in the United States just got bigger: He wants to erase all student debt too. All $1.6 trillion of it.

The Vermont senator will unveil the most ambitious higher education plan in the Democratic 2020 presidential primary so far on Monday. The proposal would make two- and four-year public and tribal colleges and universities tuition-free and debt-free, and erase the roughly $1.6 trillion in student loan debt currently owed in the US, paid for by a tax on Wall Street.

Currently, about 45 million Americans have student loans. This would cancel debt for all of them — regardless of their income or assets. That’s a notable difference from Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s free college proposal, which also provides broad debt relief but caps it for households with incomes over $250,000.

Sanders is proposing funding streams to states, tribes, and historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to allow them to eliminate undergraduate tuition and fees. The bill would also increase spending on work-study programs and build up federal grant programs for low-income students for additional costs related to getting an education, from housing and transportation to buying books.

The proposal would cost $2.2 trillion over 10 years, which Sanders says would be paid for with his Wall Street tax. He proposed a Wall Street speculation tax in 2016, which would raise small levies on buying and selling stocks, bonds, and derivatives; many experts estimate it could raise hundreds of billions of dollars annually. Sanders’s office cited progressive economist Robert Pollin’s projection that the tax would bring in $2.4 trillion in revenues over 10 years.

From The New York Post February 22nd:

Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren said they both support reparations for African-Americans affected by slavery.

Asked about the matter last week on the 105.1 FM show “Breakfast Club,” Harris agreed with the host that reparations are necessary to address problems of “inequities.”

“America has a history of 200 years of slavery. We had Jim Crow. We had legal segregation in America for a very long time,” she said on the radio show. “We have got to recognize, back to that earlier point, people aren’t starting out on the same base in terms of their ability to succeed and so we have got to recognize that and give people a lift up.”

From Alexander Fraser Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee (15 October 1747 – 5 January 1813), who obviously understood a lot more than all three of these Democrat candidates for President:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
Alexander Fraser Tytler
We have a choice of where we will be on that timeline.

What They Actually Did

Yesterday Sebastian Gorka posted an article at American Greatness about the recent dust-up about President Trump’s comments in an interview with George Stepanopoulos. The comments had to do with accepting information on an opposing candidate from a foreign source. Sebastian Gorka’s response to the dust-up is to list the offenses committed by President Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton that fit that description. I strongly recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will try to list the highlights.

The article lists what we know as fact so far:

  • Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with close ties to the Kremlin and an intense hatred for Donald Trump was paid by Hillary Clinton’s lawyers and the Democrat Party to compile a file of damaging information on candidate Trump. He did so without registering as an agent of a foreign power.
  • This file was replete either with unverifiable fabrications, old accusations that were already out in the open or which were deceptively repackaged to implicate Donald Trump, or outright propaganda Steele had “acquired” from his contacts associated with Russian intelligence.
  • Steele was deemed so unreliable and biased a political actor by the FBI and the State Department, that he was terminated as a source by the Bureau.
  • Senior DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele, and he funneled anti-Trump opposition research from his wife to the FBI.
  • The DNC dispatched a contractor to the embassy of Ukraine to collect proffered opposition research on Donald Trump from the government in Kiev with a plan to coordinate a smear campaign with officials from that non-NATO nation, foreign power.
  • As the Trump campaign grew in strength, Clinton’s allies in the Obama Administration initiated an unprecedented cross-agency operation code-named CrossFire Hurricane to target Donald Trump and his associates.
  • This involved the exploitation of foreign “liaison services,” especially in the UK (and possibly Italy and Australia as well) in order to circumvent constitutional protection that forbid U.S. intelligence agencies from spying on Americans citizens for political reasons. John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was the pivotal actor driving these operations, which led in part to the sudden resignation of the director of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, and included FBI Director James Comey as well.
  • On multiple occasions, U.S. intelligence assets were tasked with penetrating the Trump campaign to lure its representatives into what they believed were attempts to connect with the Russia government.
  • This included targeting George Papadopoulos, a minor figure in the campaign, via the offices of the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and a female FBI “analyst” known as Azra Turk who no one has been able to locate. (Note: When Downer was Foreign Minister he funneled $25 million of taxpayer dollars to the Clinton Foundation).
  • The NSA’s massive database of surveillance intercepts was repeatedly accessed illegally, often by contractors with no authority to do so.
  • At a rate never seen before in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community (I.C.), the identity of hundreds of American citizens innocently caught up in NSA intercepts were “unmasked” by senior Obama Administration officials. Some of the officials who authorized the unmaskings weren’t even members of the I.C. and who had no plausible reason for the unmasking, including Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The fabricated allegations provided by Russian government sources that Clinton and the DNC bought from Christopher Steele were used to obtain a secret FISA Court warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign. The unverified quality of the “Steele dossier” and the fact that is was opposition research paid for by Donald Trump’s political opponent was hidden from the secret FISA court.

The article concludes:

In sum: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid a foreign agent to collect or manufacture damaging information about the Republican candidate for president, information that was sourced from the Russian government. The subsequent propaganda file was used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, illegally, as NSA and British assets were also used to spy on those associated with Clinton’s political rival, and as human intelligence assets were deployed in an attempt to entrap Trump advisers and members of his staff.

The fall-out of the Stephanopoulos interviews is great. But not in the way George and his allies would like it to be.

With one sentence, the president has yet again turned the nation’s attention to the real scandal that should claim our focus: how the Democrats willingly colluded with a nation that remains our enemy in an attempt to win an election and defraud the will of the American people, in the biggest and most successful information operation Moscow has ever deployed against us.

Now it is up to Attorney General William Barr to uncover the rest of their crimes before our next election.

Much of America is waiting for equal justice under the law.

 

Karma Anyone?

A lot of elected officials have never worked in the private sector. This impacts their view of economics and how it works. Often people who support liberal ideas have not had enough economic experience to understand that ideas that may sound wonderful may not work out as planned.  A recent example of this is a bookstore owner in New York City.

Yesterday Steven Hayward posted an article on Power Line Blog about Chris Doeblin, the owner of Book Culture, a four-location independent bookseller in New York City. The bookstore has a reputation of being a progressive bookstore.

The owner of the bookstore is quoted in the article:

“Our four stores are in danger of closing soon and we need financial assistance or investment on an interim basis to help us find our footing. This is true in spite of the fact that business has been good and we are widely supported and appreciated,” [owner Chris Doeblin] wrote. “In the last 30 months the payroll costs for Book Culture have risen by 50% and it has been difficult to adapt quickly enough. We have now made the structural changes to our company and the cuts that will allow us to move ahead profitably once we find the financial resources we need.”

The operative statement in that quote is that the payroll costs have risen by 50%. The article explains:

Doeblin blamed payroll cost increases on the city’s minimum wage raise, which he says increased hourly wages for his employees “from $10 to $15.25 since December 2016” and forced him to initiate layoffs and reorganizing.

Now Doeblin has a solution for the problem, which further confirms his lack of understanding of how economics and the free market work:

Doeblin explained to Gothamist what he believes the business needs to survive, and his larger ambitions to try to help other small businesses stay alive in an ever-changing city: “I think we need at least $500K in a term loan but I hope to find $750K to a $1M,” he said. “I would like the city to immediately [guarantee] such a loan and then embark on a serious plan to improve the odds of small business in New York. I would like to be on that panel too, because there is a lack of creative optimistic thinking and action.”

This illustrates the reason we need to teach economics and the principles of the free market in high schools and colleges.

The Appropriate Response And The Slanting Of The Story

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog about the warfare of the future. In the article Mr. Hinderaker mentions that according to The New York Times, Russia and China are working on the technology of hypersonic weapons. These weapons would render our missile defense systems useless.

The article also mentions President Trump’s response to the Iranian attacks on oil tankers:

Cyber warfare is almost old hat by comparison. The Associated Press (AP) says that President Trump ordered cyber attacks on Iran in place of actual bombings:

U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday as President Donald Trump backed away from plans for a more conventional military strike in response to Iran’s downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, U.S. officials said Saturday.

The article then illustrates how the Associated Press can spin a story by quoting the AP’s reporting on the President’s response:

“This is not a remote war (anymore),” said Sergio Caltagirone, vice president of threat intelligence at Dragos Inc. “This is one where Iranians could quote unquote bring the war home to the United States.”

Caltagirone said as nations increase their abilities to engage offensively in cyberspace, the ability of the United States to pick a fight internationally and have that fight stay out of the United States physically is increasingly reduced.

Note that the AP accuses the United States of picking a fight internationally.

The article concludes:

Did the U.S. pick a fight here? I thought Iran did that, by bombing tankers in international waters and shooting down an American drone. But for the AP, like many other American liberals, anything other than Obama-style supine acquiescence constitutes picking a fight.

Well said, sir.

Are We Really All On The Same Team?

On Saturday The Washington Examiner posted an article with the following headline, “Officials accuse DHS chief Kevin McAleenan of leaking ICE raids plan to sabotage operation.”

The leak was to the Washington Post.

The article reports:

This week’s big leak about a major Immigration and Customs Enforcement operation was orchestrated by acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan in an effort to sabotage the raids before they were scheduled to take place, according to three current and two former senior administration officials.

In a move he said was to placate Democrats, President Trump announced on Saturday that the nationwide immigration enforcement operation planned to start Sunday — aimed at migrant families who illegally remain in the country despite being denied asylum — was called off to give lawmakers two weeks to work on a plan to fix legal “loopholes” he said have enticed migrants to come to the U.S.

However, all five officials who spoke with the Washington Examiner confirmed McAleenan’s decision to go rogue and stymie the operation was what prompted the White House to call off the 10-city operation.

I have a few comments on this. First of all, if you are going to deport illegal immigrants, there needs to be a hierarchy in doing it. Most Americans would not object if the deportations began with members of MS-13. They need to go back to the countries they left. Even if they are here legally, they need to go back to the countries they left. Next, anyone convicted of a criminal offense–dealing drugs, drunk driving, illegally possessing firearms, etc., needs to be given a ticket out of the country. I would hope that the issue of deporting family members when only part of the family is here illegally would be put at the bottom of the priority list. It also might be better to deny welfare benefits to illegals in order to encourage them to leave on their own.

The article concludes:

Following the Post report Friday, ICE advised the White House not to go forward with the raids, in part because those who were the targets might have fled the locations Enforcement and Removal Operations officers had expected to find them.

“Leaking the locations and details to stop the operation from happening not only harmed operational integrity, but it put the safety and well-being of his own officers in jeopardy,” the third official wrote.

“That’s law enforcement sensitive information. You just don’t reveal that,” the second official said. “It gets people hyped up. It gets the NGOs activated, and then anyone wearing a jacket with the ICE name on it is really chastised. Cities are coming out saying, ‘Here’s how you can protect yourself against it.’”

That same official said the “worst” consequence of the leak, especially if it was directed by the department’s leader, was how it endangered personnel.

“It really jeopardized the safety of law enforcement officers — that’s the part that’s really detrimental,” the official said.

Whoever the leaker is, he needs to be fired.

How To Allow Non-Citizens To Vote Without Being Noticed

On Thursday The New York Post posted an article about a mistake in a bill about voter registration.

The article reports:

A typo in the state’s automatic voter registration bill would have forced non-citizens to register despite their ineligibility — but lawmakers vowed it would be fixed.

The bill directs designated state agencies such as the Department of Motor Vehicles, State Board of Elections and Department of Social Services to automatically enroll residents who fill out any paperwork with their agencies.

An “opt-out” box would let people choose not to enroll. But sloppily written instructions specifically directed ineligible non-citizens to not check the box.

The instructions were actually supposed to tell them to check the box so they wouldn’t inadvertently be registered.

“There is a drafting error which [the Democratic] majority has recognized will be fixed in a chapter amendment,” Assembly Democrats wrote in a memo obtained by The Post.

A “chapter amendment” means lawmakers will pass the bill as-is and then edit the language after the fact.

The Assembly is supposed to vote on the bill Thursday. The Senate already passed the measure — typo included — Wednesday by a 43-to-19-vote margin.

But Assembly Republicans seethed because the intended vote comes three days after Gov. Cuomo signed the controversial “Green Light” bill granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

It will be interesting to see if they actually fix their mistake.

The article explains that the sole requirement for registering to vote in New York State is a driver’s license. If non-citizens have driver’s licenses, they will be able to register to vote–even if they are here illegally. One way to combat this is to check the voter registration rolls against the list of people who have declined jury duty because they are not citizens. However, I find it very unlikely that New York State will do this.

The conventional wisdom is that illegal aliens will vote Democrat. In New York State that really won’t impact presidential elections. Generally New York City votes Democrat, and its population is large enough to overpower the rest of the State and give the Democrats the Electoral College votes for President. However, allowing illegal aliens to vote could make a significant difference on local elections. Any remaining Republican pockets in New York State would quickly disappear.

This Is Good News

CNS News reported on Thursday that Pennsylvania has passed a law making Female Genital Mutilation as a first-degree felony in that state.

The article reports:

Currently, 32 states have laws against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), but women and girls are unprotected in 18 states, including Pennsylvania.

Murt added, “My bill has been endorsed by the AHA Foundation, established by human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali in 2007 to promote freedom from FGM, honor violence and forced marriages.”

He continued, “According to the group, more than 500,000 women in the United States are at risk of this procedure—166,000 women under age 18. The organization ranks Pennsylvania 11th in the nation for this risk, with more than 19,000 women at risk for the procedure, 6,000 of them under the age of 18.”

This is not a benign procedure. The procedure is painful and often done without proper anesthesia. The healing period is long and painful. The procedure can also cause frequent urinary infections in women. It can also cause problems in labor and the delivery of children. This is not an acceptable practice–it is barbaric. It should be outlawed regardless of its acceptance in some cultures. It is not acceptable in America.

Trying To Get It Right

Dale Folwell is the State Treasurer of North Carolina. He was responsible for getting the state out of debt to the federal government unemployment benefits program (over the objections of many Democrats) and is now working to bring transparency to health benefits for state workers (again over the objections of Democrats and some Republicans).

The Carolina Journal reported on June 17th that Mr. Folwell is actually  making some progress.

The article reports:

With a deadline just 13 days away, Community Care Physician Network, North Carolina’s largest network of independent physician clinics, announced Monday, June 17, it signed on to the State Health Plan’s cost-cutting Clear Pricing Project.

Community Care Physician Network is associated with 2,500 primary care clinicians, pediatricians, family medicine physicians, obstetricians/gynecologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants. The group has more than 880 practices statewide. The network treats more than 2.5 million North Carolinians, including 700,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.

“Their physicians are leaders in our state in developing the highly regarded medical home model. They’re known nationwide for high quality care, patient satisfaction and by using their innovative, collaborative approach to drive down costs,” Folwell said in a news release announcing the move.

Folwell says health care costs must be reduced immediately. The State Health Plan is only 3% funded, has $35 billion in unfunded liabilities, and will become insolvent in 2023. The Treasurer’s Office projects taxpayers could save $258 million and plan members $57 million annually under the Clear Pricing Project. The changes take place in 2020. Providers have until June 30 to join the project.

“It made good sense to us,” Conrad Flick, Community Care Physician Network co-president, said of linking with the reconstructed plan. “We’re dedicated to our communities and our patients, and focused on providing them with better and more cost-effective health care.”

The article concludes:

The N.C. Healthcare Association, the lobbying arm of hospitals and large health systems, continues to oppose Folwell’s plan. The group pushed for passage of House Bill 184 to halt the reforms and launch a two-year study instead. The House passed the measure, but it has gotten no traction in the Senate.

Hospitals say the cost-cutting features of Folwell’s plan jeopardize the survival of rural hospitals. Folwell said most rural hospitals will be better off financially under the plan, and nine of 10 primary care physicians will get more money.

Montana is among a handful of states that use the reference-based pricing model for their state health plans. Officials there told Carolina Journalthe results are positive.

Dale Folwell is attempting to bring the same sort of fiscal sanity to healthcare in North Carolina that he brought to unemployment benefits. Let’s hope that he is successful.

Maybe There Are Some People In Chicago Who Are Not Corrupt

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the latest news on the Jussie Smollett case.

The article reports:

An Illinois judge assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged hate crime hoax carried out by Empire star Jussie Smollett and the handling of the case by the state’s attorney’s office.

Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx came under scrutiny for the deal reached with Smollett, who did not admit to guilt and forfeited his bail in return for charges being dropped. Despite having claimed to have recused herself and handing it to an “acting state’s attorney,” Foxx later claimed she never formerly recused herself and the announced recusal was only “in a colloquial sense.”

But Judge Michael Toomin of the Cook County circuit ruled Friday there is no provision in Illinois law for an “acting state’s attorney,” and that Foxx was supposed to allow a judge to appoint a special prosecutor. The case was therefore prosecuted by “a fictitious office having no legal existence.”

“Although disqualification of the duly elected State’s Attorney necessarily impacts constitutional concerns, the unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of an independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence and integrity of our criminal justice system,” Toomin wrote.

There are some serious questions as to what exactly happened during the supposed hate crime reported by Mr. Smollett. It is nice to see that the city of Chicago is attempting to answer those questions.

Whatever Happened To Transparency?

Yesterday Hot Air reported that all of the cable networks except MSNBC will be banned from live coverage of the South Carolina state Democrat convention. Who made this deal, and why did they make it? C-Span is included in that ban.

The article reports:

Every political junkie in America knows that C-Span is the place to go when looking for coverage of anything political. This is particularly true during political conventions and other large partisan events. The cable channel’s live coverage is unsurpassed. Viewers don’t have to worry about partisan journalists or talking heads from standard cable news networks chiming in or interrupting coverage for commercial breaks. South Carolina Democrats have decided to give MSNBC, the most partisan liberal-leaning cable network, exclusive rights to live coverage. All the other networks, including C-Span, CNN, and Fox News Channel, are required to wait three hours after the convention ends to show their live footage.

The article explains how the coverage is supposed to be handled:

South Carolina is an early primary state. The Democrat state convention is a required stop for the presidential candidates. The cattle call, er, showcase of candidates give the state’s voters a leg up in hearing from all the candidates in person. MSNBC was chosen to “enhance the proceedings”, according to a party spokesman. Two MSNBC show hosts, Joy-Ann Reid, and the Rev. Al Sharpton will interview all of the candidates in attendance using a set specifically built for them to do so inside the convention hall. I doubt it is a coincidence that two black show hosts were chosen to do the interviews. The majority of South Carolina Democrat primary voters are African-American. This is important because South Carolina follows Iowa and New Hampshire as the third state to hold its primary vote. It is known as the First in the South. What better choice could MSNBC have made than to pick their two loudest race-baiters to interview the Democrat candidates? It’s all about putting on a good show, you see.

I suspect the MSNBC coverage will be a new dimension of slanted news. That is a serious disservice to the voters of South Carolina.

Moving Cautiously In A Time Of Crisis

Breitbart is reporting today that President Trump called off a military strike on Iran last night at the last minute. The strike would have been in retaliation for Iran’s shooting down of an unmanned drone.

The President is right to exercise caution here. The younger generation of Iranians are not happy about the way the Mullahs are running the country. The younger generation would very much like to westernize Iran. They tend to be pro-American. For America to launch an attack (justified or unjustified) might change that dynamic. That dynamic is what will eventually bring down the Mullahs.

The article reports:

President Donald Trump confirmed Friday he pulled back a military strike on Iran after he learned the number of possible casualties.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on three different sights (sic),” Trump revealed on Twitter. The attack was planned in retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. surveillance drone on Thursday in international waters.

Trump said prior to the strikes he was told by a general the casualties could be up to 150 people.

“Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he wrote.

Trump added that he was in “no hurry” for additional military conflicts with Iran but warned them against obtaining a nuclear weapon.

The president recalled the recent history of the United States relationship with Iran noting that former President Barack Obama “made a desperate and terrible deal” that included over a billion in cash.

“Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out,” Trump said. “Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON.”

The president added that Iran continued to shout “Death to America” despite the deal, which he terminated as president.

“They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East,” Trump said. “Now they are Bust!”

There needs to be a response to the continuing aggression of Iran. However, that response does not have to be immediate and it does not have to involve civilian casualties.

A New Point Of View In The European Parliament

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today on some recent comments by Traian Băsescu, a former President of Romania, recently elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP).

The article quotes a Politico article:

Former Romanian President Traian Băsescu, newly elected as an MEP as part of the European People’s Party, slammed EU inaction on migration and what he sees as the bloc’s inability to protect its borders.

“The EU, through its lack of action, seems to tell us that we must live with the Muslim invasion,” Băsescu said in a TV interview this week…

…Băsescu said military fleets should be used in the Mediterranean to push back migrants while they are still in the territorial waters of the countries they set off from. This is the only way to stop them and put them back in a legal situation, since they’re trying to enter the EU illegally, he argued. “Any state defends its border,” he said.

The EU has to do that to fight not the “poor migrants,” but the criminal organizations that charge them some €5,000 to €10,000 to place them in Italy, Spain and Greece.

These “things are so well known that it seems very wrong to me that the EU does not put its resources together and stop” this, Băsescu said.

I believe he is right to call it an invasion. The demographics of Europe have changed dramatically as a result of the influx of refugees. The birthrate of the refugees is much higher than the birthrate of the native Europeans. Many areas of Europe are no longer part of western culture. Western culture recognizes the rights of women, allows freedom to practice religion, and allows economic freedom. Islamic culture does not. Unless Europe wants to give up its freedom, it needs to stop the invasion that has been going on in recent years.

Maybe Extreme Vetting Was A Good Idea

Yesterday Fox News reported that the FBI arrested a Syrian refugee on Wednesday who allegedly planned to bomb a church in Pittsburgh in the name of the Islamic State.

The article reports:

Mustafa Mousab Alowemer, a 21-year-old Pittsburgh resident who was born in Daraa, Syria, and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 2016, met with an undercover FBI agent and an FBI source posing as ISIS sympathizers several times between April and June, according to the criminal complaint.

…During these meetings, he allegedly provided details to bomb an unidentified Christian church on the north side of Pittsburgh, producing plot details and bomb materials he purchased along with copies of Google satellite maps that showed the details about the church including its location and various routes for arriving and escaping the premise.

He planned to carry out the attacks in July by setting off the explosives around 3 or 4 a.m., according to the complaint.

Alowemer has been charged with one count of attempting to provide material support to ISIS and two counts of distributing information relating to an explosive device or weapon of mass destruction, activities that the Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers called “beyond the pale.”

This is Alowemar’s high school yearbook picture:

We let this person into the country and sent him to high school and treated him well. Obviously he was not willing to return the favor.

There is one thing to remember if you are ever in a situation where a terrorist has planted a bomb. There is probably a second bomb timed to go off when the police arrive or when people are fleeing after the first bomb has exploded. The best thing to do in that situation is to stay low. The second bomb is usually aimed at waist level and generally contains large amounts of shrapnel. From the reports I have seen, this was going to be a two-bomb attack.

 

When The Roots Are Rotten

John Solomon posted an article at The Hill yesterday about some recent information dealing with the roots of the charges that candidate Donald Trump was colluding with the Russians.

The article reports:

And the behavior of FBI agents and federal prosecutors who promoted that faulty evidence may disturb us more than we now know.

The first, the Christopher Steele dossier, has received enormous attention. And the more scrutiny it receives, the more its truthfulness wanes. Its credibility has declined so much that many now openly question how the FBI used it to support a surveillance warrant against the Trump campaign in October 2016.

At its best, the Steele dossier is an “unverified and salacious” political research memo funded by Trump’s Democratic rivals. At worst, it may be Russian disinformation worthy of the “garbage” label given it by esteemed reporter Bob Woodward.

The second document, known as the “black cash ledger,” remarkably has escaped the same scrutiny, even though its emergence in Ukraine in the summer of 2016 forced Paul Manafort to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman and eventually face U.S. indictment.

In search warrant affidavits, the FBI portrayed the ledger as one reason it resurrected a criminal case against Manafort that was dropped in 2014 and needed search warrants in 2017 for bank records to prove he worked for the Russian-backed Party of Regions in Ukraine.

There’s just one problem: The FBI’s public reliance on the ledger came months after the feds were warned repeatedly that the document couldn’t be trusted and likely was a fake, according to documents and more than a dozen interviews with knowledgeable sources.

The article explains the problem with the “black cash ledger”:

For example, Ukraine’s top anticorruption prosecutor, Nazar Kholodnytsky, told me he warned the U.S. State Department’s law enforcement liaison and multiple FBI agents in late summer 2016 that Ukrainian authorities who recovered the ledger believed it likely was a fraud.

“It was not to be considered a document of Manafort. It was not authenticated. And at that time it should not be used in any way to bring accusations against anybody,” Kholodnytsky said, recalling what he told FBI agents. 

Likewise, Manafort’s Ukrainian business partner Konstantin Kilimnik, a regular informer for the State Department, told the U.S. government almost immediately after The New York Times wrote about the ledger in August 2016 that the document probably was fake.

Manafort “could not have possibly taken large amounts of cash across three borders. It was always a different arrangement — payments were in wire transfers to his companies, which is not a violation,” Kilimnik wrote in an email to a senior U.S. official on Aug. 22, 2016.

He added: “I have some questions about this black cash stuff, because those published records do not make sense. The timeframe doesn’t match anything related to payments made to Manafort. … It does not match my records. All fees Manafort got were wires, not cash.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team and the FBI were given copies of Kilimnik’s warning, according to three sources familiar with the documents.

So why didn’t Mueller simply end the investigation because the roots of it were proven to be false?

The article concludes:

Rep. Mark Meadows, a senior Republican on the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, told me Wednesday night he is asking the Justice Department inspector general to investigate the FBI and prosecutors’ handling of the Manafort warrants, including any media leaks and evidence that the government knew the black ledger was potentially unreliable or suspect evidence.

The question of whether the Mueller team should have used the ledger in search warrant affidavits before that is for the courts to decide.

But the public has a substantial interest in questioning whether, more broadly, the FBI should have sustained a Trump-Russia collusion investigation for more than two years based on the suspect Steele dossier and black ledger. 

Understandably, there isn’t much public sympathy for foreign lobbyists such as Manafort. But the FBI and prosecutors should be required to play by the rules and use solid evidence when making its cases.

It does not appear to have been the prevailing practice in the Russia collusion investigation. And that should trouble us all.

It is becoming very obvious that the Mueller investigation did not follow normal investigative rules or procedures. When he knew that both pieces of evidence were totally unreliable, Robert Mueller should have ended the investigation. I suspect that would have been long before the 2018 mid-term election. Somehow I think the clown show we are currently seeing in the House of Representatives as a result of the Democrats taking the majority is at least partially the result of continuing the Mueller investigation combined with reckless, baseless charges made against the President by some Washington insiders now working in the media.

Moving In The Right Direction

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the Trump administration’s restrictions on family planning funds could go into effect, a move that would cut off millions of dollars from organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions.

The article reports:

The Trump administration refers to the provision as the “Protect Life Rule,” and its supporters say that funding for family planning should not be used to help subsidize abortion providers.

The rule will go into effect everywhere except in Maryland, due to a lawsuit from Baltimore. The state legislature there also passed a bill that would reject the Title X funds if the Trump administration’s rules were attached to them.

Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, said the organization would continue to fight the rule from taking effect.

…The rule applies to a $286 million-a-year grant that 4 million low-income people use. Planned Parenthood receives between $50 million and $60 million from the grants.

On January 21, 2019, The Daily Caller reported:

Planned Parenthood has claimed that stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women’s access to health care, but private contributions put the organization’s donations total at nearly $631 million.

Total net assets also increased from roughly $1.6 billion to nearly $1.9 billion in 2018, according to the report.

“Planned Parenthood turned a profit of nearly $250 million, a 150 percent increase, according to its own accounts,” Students For Life (SFL) President Kristan Hawkins said in a Monday statement. “What a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The abortion organization reported findings through the fiscal end year date June 30, 2018.

Somehow I think Planned Parenthood can manage to squeeze by. Meanwhile, taxpayers should not be required to fund Planned Parenthood.

Pulling Back The Curtain On Over-The-Top Investigation Tactics

On June 6, Real Clear Investigations posted an article by Paul Sperry about the tactics used by the people working with Robert Mueller in the Mueller Investigation. Now that the investigation is complete, some of the people who were investigated feel free to speak out about the extreme tactics used in dealing with witnesses and suspects in this investigation.

The article first deals with general misbehavior by the Mueller team:

Veteran journalist Art Moore was editing a story on the Trump-Russia probe last October when he heard a knock at the door. He saw a couple of men in suits on the front porch of his suburban Seattle home and thought they were Jehovah’s Witnesses making the rounds. But they weren’t missionaries there to convert him; they were FBI agents there to interrogate him, sent by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

The G-men wanted to talk about WikiLeaks, specifically whether the Trump campaign had any connection to the hacktivist group’s release of thousands of emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s campaign during the 2016 election.

Art Moore: “They were clearly on a fishing expedition.”

The two FBI agents – cyber-crimes experts Jared Brown and Aleks Kobzanets, the latter of whom had a Russian accent – grilled Moore, an editor for the news site WND.com, for about 90 minutes. Among other things, they asked about former WND correspondent Jerome Corsi and whether he had any advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ dumps of Clinton campaign emails. Corsi, who is friendly with the president, had used Trump confidante Roger Stone as a source during the campaign.

“They were clearly on a fishing expedition,” Moore said, recounting the incident to RealClearInvestigations publicly for the first time.

“They seemed desperate to find something to hang onto the narrative” of Russian collusion, he said.

The article notes that the accounts of the people interviewed are similar:

Their firsthand accounts pull back the curtain on the secret inner workings of the Mueller probe, revealing how the special counsel’s nearly two dozen prosecutors and 40 FBI agents used harshly aggressive tactics to pressure individuals to either cop to crimes or implicate others in felonies involving collusion.

Although they interacted with Mueller’s team at different times and in different places, the witnesses and targets often echoed each other. Almost all decried what they called Mueller’s “scorched earth” methods that affected their physical, mental and financial health. Most said they were forced to retain high-priced Washington lawyers to protect them from falling into “perjury traps” for alleged lying, which became the special counsel’s charge of last resort. In the end, Mueller convicted four Trump associates for this so-called process crime, and investigated an additional five individuals for allegedly making false statements – including former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Some subjects of investigation said Mueller’s agents and prosecutors tried to pressure them into admitting things to give the appearance of collusion. They demanded to know if they had spoken to anyone with a “Russian accent.” They threatened to jail them “for life” and to drag their wives or girlfriends into the investigation.

Former special prosecutors say the tactics used by Mueller’s team appear excessive.

The article then goes on to tell the stories of people specifically targeted during the investigation. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read those stories. Investigations in America should not be handled this way.

The article concludes with a statement by former Pentagon inspector general who worked on the Trump campaign, Joseph Schmitz:

Schmitz said Mueller’s investigation was a costly and terrible waste of time. Even federal law enforcement veterans say the probe was overkill.

“[He] put the country through two years of divisive trauma based on an investigation that he knew was baseless,” former FBI agent and lawyer Mark Wauck said.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Biasello said, he was one of 10 FBI agents selected to serve on Mueller’s team to investigate and research the hijackers assigned to American Airlines Flight 77.

“In this case,” he said, referring to the Trump-Russia probe, “he obviously was corrupted by his personal relationship with [former FBI Director James] Comey and politics. The glaring failure to produce a thread of a case against the president caused him and his office to resort to unethical investigative and prosecutorial methods.”

Ex-Trump campaign official Michael Caputo, who went public earlier, complaining he had to remortgage his house after having to hire expensive Washington lawyers, wants Mueller and his team investigated for “prosecutorial abuses.” “Ruining lives was blood sport for them,” he said.

Moore (veteran journalist Art Moore) agreed: “You look at the lives ruined — Corsi, Michael Flynn and others. That alone is enough to warrant a special investigation.”

I Guess We Really Don’t Have All The Answers

A website called The Watchers posted an article yesterday about the Jakobshavn Glacier in western Greenland, Greenland’s largest glacier.

The article reports:

Data collected in March 2019 confirm that the glacier has grown for the third year in a row, and scientists attribute the change to cool ocean waters, Kathryn Hansen of NASA’s Earth Observatory reports.

“The third straight year of thickening of Greenland’s biggest glacier supports our conclusion that the ocean is the culprit,” said Josh Willis, an ocean scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and principal investigator of the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) mission.

The maps below show how the glacier’s height changed between March 2016 and 2017 (top); March 2017 and 2018 (middle); and March 2018 and 2019 (bottom). The elevation data come from a radar altimeter that has been flown on research airplanes each spring as part of OMG. Blue areas represent where the glacier’s height has increased, in some areas by as much as 30 m (98 feet) per year.

These are the maps:

The article concludes:

The change is particularly striking at the glacier’s front (solid blue area on the left) between 2016 and 2017. That’s when the glacier advanced the most, replacing open water and sea ice with towering glacial ice. The glacier has not advanced as much since then, but it continues to slow and thicken.

Willis and colleagues think the glacier is reacting to a shift in a climate pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation, which has brought cold water northward along Greenland’s west coast. Measurements of the temperatures collected by the OMG team show that the cold water has persisted.

The team will go back to Greenland in August.

Obviously we do not understand as much about how earth works as we think we do.

Reaching For Fairness

Yesterday The Daily Wire reported the following:

On Monday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) attorneys representing teen track star Selina Soule and two other minor female track athletes submitted a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights seeking an investigation into sex discrimination. The complaint specifically challenges the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) policy allowing biological males who identify as female to compete in girls’ athletics, ADF announced in a press release sent to The Daily Wire on Monday.

Per the CIAC policy, Soule was forced to compete against female-identifying biological males in a high-stakes track competition where two transgender sprinters beat the field, taking first and second place by significant margins; Soule landed in 8th place, missing an opportunity to compete in front of college coaches by two places.

“I am very happy for these athletes and I fully support them for being true to themselves and having the courage to do what they believe in,” Soule told host Fox News host Laura Ingraham in February. “But, in athletics, it’s an entirely different situation. It’s scientifically proven that males are built to be physically stronger than females. It’s unfair to put someone who is biologically a male, who has not undergone anything in terms of hormone therapy, against cis-gender girls.”

“Throughout the 2018-19 track season, males consistently deprived the female athletes who are part of the complaint of dozens of medals, opportunities to compete at a higher level, and the public recognition critical to college recruiting and scholarship opportunities,” an ADF news release said. “The complaint notes that CIAC’s policy and its results directly violated the requirements of Title IX, a federal regulation designed to protect equal athletic opportunities for women and girls.”

I will admit that this is a new issue to me. Transgender was not common when my children were in school. It does seem to me that adolescent girls and adolescent boys are different physically. Generally boys have more muscle mass and more upper body strength. That makes competition between the sexes uneven. If a male transitioning to female is allowed to compete against women, he has a physical advantage–he will generally be taller with more muscle mass. That seems unfair to me. The only logical solution is to set up athletic events specifically for transgender students. Otherwise the athletes are not competing on a level playing field.

How Should We Deal With Iran?

On Friday, Bret Stephens posted a column in The New York Times about the recent aggressive actions taken by Iran against international shipping. Bret Stephens is not a supporter of President Trump, but in this instance, his views seem to be in line with the policies of the Trump administration.

The column notes:

On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.

Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.

Or so it seems, based on a detailed timeline of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including a surveillance video of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.

The column notes that the evidence points to Iran as behind the recent attacks:

In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.

So what do we do now?

The column concludes:

It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.

What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.

If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.

Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.

Sometimes you simply have to stand up to a bully in order to correct his behavior.

Recognizing That Hunters And Fishermen Are Conservationists

I need to say up front that I neither hunt nor fish, and I am not likely to take up either in the future. However, I have a lot of respect for the people who do hunt and fish because the people I know who engage in these activities are very aware of conservation and have a lot of respect for the land they hunt and fish on. Because of this, I am glad to see President Trump opening up large areas of America for these sportsmen.

The Washington Examiner posted an article yesterday stating that the President has instructed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt to open 1.4 million acres and eliminate 7,500 regulations limiting access to that land.

The article reports:

The campaign to open access to the outdoors is a personal one for Bernhardt. In an interview, he said that living next to federal land as a kid in western Colorado helped shaped his life.

“Having those opportunities to succeed and fail made me more confident and made me more willing to accept challenges,” said Bernhardt. “If I lived somewhere where my parents had to drive 300 miles for me to hunt or fish, it wouldn’t have happened at all, though that might have been a lot better for my grades.”

When he had young children in his first tour at Interior under former President George W. Bush, then-Secretary Dirk Kempthorne advised him to get a boat.

“He said, ‘You need to get a boat. The great thing about a boat, if you get your kids on one, even if they are with their friends, they’re stuck with you,’” Bernhardt recalled. And now, he added, his kids are hooked on the outdoors. “Exposure matters,” said the secretary, whose office sports a huge moose skull and antlers from an Alaska hunt.

First under former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and now as the nation’s top outdoorsman, Bernhardt has been implementing rules to expand access at lightning speed.

As part of that effort, Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service established 10 “hunting and fishing chiefs” that have scoured every single federal property to find opportunities to expand access.

This month, Bernhardt announced a proposal to open 1.4 million more acres to hunting and fishing at 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries. After a public comment period, he hopes to have the land open in time for the September dove season.

The article also notes:

Part of the effort also aims at harmonizing federal and state hunting and fishing regulations, commonly a complex maze. “You’ve got to be a lawyer to figure out if you can hunt or can’t hunt,” said Bernhardt, a former board member on the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

Wildlife conservation groups are buzzing about the new access.

“This announcement will benefit America’s sportsmen and -women by providing access to prime hunting and fishing areas,” said Christy Plumer, chief conservation officer for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

Our sportsmen are some of our best conservationists. They will sound the alarm when anything in nature is out of order. I think it is wonderful that this land will be open for hunting and fishing.