Bouncing Back

Yesterday CNBC reported the following:

After a disappointing February in which just 20,000 jobs were added to the economy, the job market is back on track, adding 196,000 jobs in March.

That’s according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statics, which also showed unemployment remaining at 3.8% and wages increasing by 3.2% from a year ago.

“I think the March report will reassure investors after the weak report in February brought about concerns of a possible slowing economy,” Glassdoor’s chief economist Andrew Chamberlain tells CNBC Make It. “The report is strong across the board and it’s hard to find any weaknesses. It shows that even after 102 months of positive job gains, the economy still has room to grow.”

At some point the economy will slow down. We have not yet dealt with the debt that runaway spending has created in recent years, and we have not yet fully revised trade deals that were detrimental to our country. However, March was a good month for Americans looking for work and Americans in the workforce.

The article reminds us that there may be a recession in the future, but not in the near future:

Though February’s numbers may have been alarming to some, Hamrick, Gimbel and Chamberlain agree that there’s no need to worry about a recession just yet.

“There’s no sign that one is imminent,” says Hamrick, though he adds, “we know that one is inevitable at some point.”

Gimbel adds that, “In 2018, we created, on average, about 200,000 jobs per month. That is astonishing at this point in the recovery and highly unlikely that the economy is going to keep that up moving forward. So if we drop down to creating 180,000 jobs a month, or 150,000 or even 100,000, that is OK.”

Having a businessman as President has been a good thing for the majority of Americans.

How We Got Here

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted a  transcript of an interview by Sean Hannity of Congressman Devin Nunes. Congressman Nunes related the history and origins of the spying on the Trump campaign by members of the Obama administration.

This is the essence of the story:

Finally Devin Nunes is outlining what CTH has been calling attention to for over two years.  The spying began in 2015.   “Spygate” was part of the larger “Russian Conspiracy and Collusion” operation.   This was all planned well in advance.

The spying began in 2015, and was part of the collaborative process -and reason- for Nellie Ohr to join the political opposition research being conducted by Fusion GPS.

CIA Director John Brennan had his OCONUS lures, Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper on standby awaiting targeting information.  They needed targets.

Fusion-GPS and Nellie Ohr were researching targets based on candidates.  Donald Trump was the most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination.  Trump was the focus of identifying targets.

As the Fusion and Ohr research was ongoing, and when it became transparent that Trump was going to be the victor in the Primaries; the media began demanding to know who were the foreign policy and national security advisors to candidate Trump.  This DNC inspired effort to demand names and lists was in alignment with Brennan, Fusion and Ohr.

Once they had some names identified (March/April ’16), ie. Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manafort and Page,…  Brennan tasked Mifsud and Halper to run the spygate operation.

In/around late June and early July of ’16, Brennan was in position to turn over the outcome of his operation to the FBI via an origination EC memo.

[April 22nd 2018] According to House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes; who is also a member of the intelligence oversight ‘Gang-of-Eight’; that EC contains intelligence material that did not come through “official intelligence channels” into the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

The EC was not an official product of the U.S. intelligence community. Additionally, Brennan was NOT using official partnerships with intelligence agencies of our Five-Eyes partner nations; and he did not provide raw intelligence –as an outcome of those relationships– to the FBI. {Go Deep}

CIA Director Brennan formatted the same intelligence to the White House where Susan Rice and Samantha Powers were doing the unmasking to facilitate the leaks.

The FBI took Brennan’s two-page “EC” memo and originated the official counterintelligence operation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31st, 2016.

FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok wrote out the operational instructions and objectives for the operation.  As noted by Trey Gowdy, included in those instructions was the targeting of the “Trump Campaign” specifically.

”’The intelligence outcomes were then continually distributed to the White House and in August 2016 to the Gang-of-Eight as noted by Brennan’s testimony.

Brennan: [13:35] “Third, through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues as we identified them.”

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

“Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case [that means the FBI], involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”… (LINK)

This is thoroughly disgusting. It is a total misuse of the power of the government. There should be a lot of people held accountable for breaking the law for political purposes.

Spying, What Spying?

Supposedly Attorney General Barr dropped a bombshell when he told Congress that there was spying on the Trump campaign. Although Congress seemed shocked, I suspect most Americans were not.

An article in The Gateway Pundit yesterday quotes James Comey in a recent interview:

“With respect to Barr’s comment, I have no idea what he’s talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign and so I can’t really react,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation conference.

…“The FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance, “Comey said. “I have never thought of that as spying…and if the Attorney General has come to the belief that that should be called ‘spying’ – WOW!”

“But I don’t know what he meant by that term — and factually I don’t know what he meant because I don’t know of any court-ordered electronic surveillance aimed at the Trump campaign and that’s the reason for my confusion,” Comey said.

So now the argument is that the FISA warrants were not aimed at the Trump campaign? I’m sure it is just an incredible coincidence that most of the surveillance allowed by those FISA warrants were on members of the Trump campaign who would have communicated with the candidate fairly frequently. This may be believable to the never-Trump crowd, but I sure wouldn’t try to sell it anywhere else.

He who defines the words controls the debate.

It really doesn’t matter if it is court-ordered or not, if you are listening to a person’s private conversations, it is spying. Notice that in claiming it was court-ordered, he avoids the issue of whether or not the court was deceived.

We need to keep in mind that this was court-ordered surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. It was the use of the government to spy on that campaign–it was not simple ‘opposition research.’ Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. Unless we hold those responsible accountable, this will become an everyday occurrence in political campaigns.

The Strange Case of Julian Assange

Yesterday NewsbustersNewsbusters posted an article reminding us that the media once loved Julian Assange. Now, not so much.

The article reminds us:

Before the hacking of the DNC during the 2016 Campaign, WikiLeaks was responsible for many document dumps that harmed American national security, the most infamous case involving a U.S. Army private then known as Bradley Manning. WikiLeaks also put at risk the lives of informants working for U.S. and allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was during that time, when WikiLeaks endangered lives and undermined U.S. war efforts, that the press sang its praises as a truth-telling and information-gathering organization.

The article lists a number of examples of news stories praising Assange for revealing ‘behind the scenes’ information on military matters. They chose to ignore the fact that American lives were put at risk by what he did. Then came the hacking of the DNC. Somehow the story changed–then Assange became a villain in the eyes of the media.

The article concludes:

Even if it wasn’t known in 2010 that WikiLeaks was an arm of Russian intelligence, Jullian Assange was enemy of the United States before, during, and after the 2016 hack into the e-mails of John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee, but the media only uniformaly came out against Assange when it appeared that his work would hurt Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, not when he was endangering lives by undermining U.S. war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

There are a few things I want to remind people of as this story unfolds. Jullian Assange has repeatedly stated that the DNC leaks did not come from Russia. There is speculation that they may have come from a lost cell phone of John Podesta (with the password ‘password’) or from a leaker inside the DNC who was concerned that the primary election was being rigged for Hillary Clinton (Seth Rich?). I would also add that if you supported the leaking of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971, then you should probably support Jullian Assange. Just for the record, Daniel Ellsberg was indicted for stealing and holding secret documents, but the judge in the case declared a mistrial and dismissed the charges.

I don’t support leaking military information, but when there are shenanigans going on in a political campaign, I am grateful when it is revealed.

 

When Congress Becomes A Joke

PJ Media posted an article today about some recent statements by Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

The article reports:

Waters is the chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee — the committee that regulates the banks.

During a hearing examining the practices of some of the nation’s biggest banks, Waters complained to a panel of seven bank CEOs that there are more than 44 million Americans that owe … $1.56 trillion in student loan debt.”

She added, “Last year, one million student loan borrowers defaulted, which is on top of the one million borrowers who defaulted the year before.”

She then demanded to know what they intended to do about this massive problem. “What are you guys doing to help us with this student loan debt?” she asked. “Who would like to answer first? Mr. Monahan, big bank.”

I guess she wasn’t paying attention when the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) which put the government in charge of all student loans. The band CEO’s she was questioning both stated that they had stopped making student loans long before 2010.

The article also states:

Waters then quickly changed the subject to small businesses.

The Obama administration put the federal government in charge of student lending in 2010, with the intention of saving taxpayer dollars by “cutting out the middleman,” as President Barack Obama put it.

According to the Washington Times, “student loan debt exploded from $154.9 billion in 2009 to $1.1 trillion at the end of 2017”  with current student debt “estimated at more than $1.5 trillion.”

Earlier in the hearing, Waters grilled the bank execs about their interactions with Russia.

This woman serves in Congress. She continues to be re-elected. That is beyond sad.

Our Representatives Need To Speak More Carefully

The New York Post today posted an article about some recent comments by Congresswoman Ilhan Omar regarding the events of September 11, 2001.

Congresswoman Omar recently stated the following in a speech she made at the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last month– “CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, and that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties.” First of all, CAIR was founded in 1994–before September 11, 2001. Second of all, CAIR was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation Trial. That is the trial where the government exhibits include the Muslim Brotherhood’s plan to undermine the government of America. The government exhibits are on line. Please look them up if you haven’t yet looked at them.

Meanwhile, The New York Post today posted an article that I believe is the correct answer to Congresswoman’s statement.

The article states:

On 9/11/01 my son, firefighter Jimmy Riches was murdered along with close to 3,000 American citizens by Muslim terrorists.

I rushed to Engine 4 in Lower Manhattan when I heard what was happening. That’s where my son worked.

As I came over the Brooklyn Bridge, the towers had both already fallen. All the rigs at the firehouse were gone, so I knew they were all at the World Trade Center.

When I got there, I saw the death and destruction — people lying there dead and mangled.

We picked up the bodies and saw how gruesome it was. Those people died a horrible death.

We were there for 9 months picking up body parts, pieces.

We found my son’s body six months later, March 5, 2002. He was at the North Tower. We got to bury him.

People talk about closure, but that’s not closure. I’ll never get closure until my son walks through that door again.

It was the worst day for me, to lose my son and all those other people. They went to work that day to help people and they ended up murdered.

My son died doing his job, helping others in distress. The American public said NEVER FORGET 9/11!

Now, we have people who were working down there getting sick and dying. It hasn’t ended.

Congresswoman Omar owes a lot of people an apology. Unfortunately Congresswoman Omar represents her district. She will probably be in the House of Representatives for a while. This is what happens when immigration without assimilation is allowed.

The Truth Begins To Drip Out

If you depend totally on the mainstream media for your news, you might be unaware that there was government surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. There is a school of thought that believes that Admiral Mike Rogers informed President Trump that Trump Tower was under electronic surveillance early in the Trump administration and that is the reason President Trump began doing business from New Jersey. I suspect that will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, there was some very interesting testimony on Capitol Hill by Attorney General William Barr regarding surveillance.

CNS News posted an article today about that testimony.

The article reports:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) asked Attorney General William Barr at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday to “rephrase” his use of the word “spying” to characterize the government targeting the Trump campaign.

“I want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said, because I think when the attorney general of the United States uses the word ‘spying,’ it’s rather provocative, and in my view unnecessarily inflammatory, and I know what you’re getting at, because you have explained yourself in terms of answering Senator Graham’s questions and the questions of others,” Schatz said.

“Do you want to rephrase what you’re doing, because I think the word ‘spying’ could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out, and I think it’s necessary for you to be precise with your language here. You normally are, and I want to give you a chance to be especially precise here,” the senator said.

The article continues:

As CNS News.com reported, Barr told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that “spying” occurred during the 2016 election.

“So you’re not suggesting though that spying occurred?” Shaheen asked.

“I think there was – spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” the attorney general said.

“I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened,” Barr said.

I suspect that by the end of next week we will know a lot more about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and Trump transition team. The news media being what it is, I suspect a lot of information on this subject will be in the Good Friday news dump because the media is hoping most people will be too preoccupied with Easter to see it.

Poverty In America

Below are the U.S. Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines:

This is a chart from The Heritage Foundation showing changes in the poverty rate since 1959:

As you can see, the War on Poverty actually slowed down the decrease in the poverty rate that had begun in 1950.

This is a chart from Pew Research showing how the American family has changed:

First of all, living in poverty in America is not the same as living in poverty in any other part of the world.

The Heritage Foundation reports:

Because the official Census poverty report undercounts welfare income, it fails to provide meaningful information about the actual living conditions of less affluent Americans. The government’s own data show that the actual living conditions of the more than 45 million people deemed “poor” by the Census Bureau differ greatly from popular conceptions of poverty.[7] Consider these facts taken from various government reports:[8]

  • Eighty percent of poor households have air conditioning. By contrast, at the beginning of the War on Poverty, only about 12 percent of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning.
  • Nearly three-quarters have a car or truck; 31 percent have two or more cars or trucks.[9]
  • Nearly two-thirds have cable or satellite television.
  • Two-thirds have at least one DVD player, and a quarter have two or more.
  • Half have a personal computer; one in seven has two or more computers.
  • More than half of poor families with children have a video game system such as an Xbox or PlayStation.
  • Forty-three percent have Internet access.
  • Forty percent have a wide-screen plasma or LCD TV.
  • A quarter have a digital video recorder system such as a TIVO.
  • Ninety-two percent of poor households have a microwave.

I think it’s time to examine closely the impact of the War on Poverty. One of the differences between business and government is that in business when something doesn’t work, you fix it. In government when something doesn’t work, you simply add more money to it. It is obvious which solution is more effective.

The goal of any poverty program should be to help people develop self-reliance and get out of the poverty program. Obviously that is not happening–we have generations of welfare recipients. Another goal of any poverty program should be to support the family unit. Obviously our current welfare programs do not do that. It’s time to reevaluate and redo our poverty programs–they are breaking the budget and not accomplishing their goals.

In March 2013, The Brookings Institute posted the following three rules to avoid poverty:

First, many poor children come from families that do not give them the kind of support that middle-class children get from their families. Second, as a result, these children enter kindergarten far behind their more advantaged peers and, on average, never catch up and even fall further behind. Third, in addition to the education deficit, poor children are more likely to make bad decisions that lead them to drop out of school, become teen parents, join gangs and break the law.

In addition to the thousands of local and national programs that aim to help young people avoid these life-altering problems, we should figure out more ways to convince young people that their decisions will greatly influence whether they avoid poverty and enter the middle class. Let politicians, schoolteachers and administrators, community leaders, ministers and parents drill into children the message that in a free society, they enter adulthood with three major responsibilities: at least finish high school, get a full-time job and wait until age 21 to get married and have children.

Our research shows that of American adults who followed these three simple rules, only about 2 percent are in poverty and nearly 75 percent have joined the middle class (defined as earning around $55,000 or more per year). There are surely influences other than these principles at play, but following them guides a young adult away from poverty and toward the middle class.

Those three rules should be the foundation of any poverty program.

Is Equal Justice Under The Law Possible?

The Daily Caller is reporting that Attorney General William Barr stated today that an inspector general’s investigation into whether the FBI abused the surveillance court process during the Russia probe will be completed by May or June.

The article states:

Barr also told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing that he is reviewing how the FBI handled the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in summer 2016.

…The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign advisers on July 31, 2016, purportedly based on information from the Australian government about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Alexander Downer, who then served as Australia’s top diplomat to the United Kingdom, claimed that Papadopoulos mentioned to him during a meeting in London on May 10, 2016 that Russia might release information on Hillary Clinton later in the campaign.

While the FBI has claimed its investigation did not begin until receiving the tip from Australia in late July 2016, a longtime FBI and CIA informant, Stefan Halper, made contact with Page in England earlier that month.

The entire Russian collusion investigation was a scam set up by the deep state during the Obama administration. The question is whether or not President Obama was in on the scheme.

The article notes that the entire basis for the FISA warrants was the rather questionable Steele Dossier, which was simply a piece of political opposition research:

The FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against Page. The dossier, authored by a former British spy, alleged that Page acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. Republicans have argued that the FBI should not have relied on the dossier since its allegations were unverified and because the document was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

If this investigation is not handled properly, we can expect political parties in power to use the force of the government against their political opponents in the future. Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. I hope Attorney General Barr has the courage to see this investigation to the end.

About That ‘Cover Up’ Thing

As I have previously stated, if you want an unbiased assessment of what is actually going on behind the scenes in our government, one of your best sources is Judicial Watch.

Yesterday Judicial Watch posted a Press Release about Hillary Clinton’s private server. Below are some of the highlights:

FBI notes of an interview with an unidentified Platte River Networks official in February 2016 (almost a year after the Clinton email network was first revealed) show that Platte River “gave someone access to live HRC archive mailbox at some point.” The same notes show that an email from December 11, 2014, exists that reads “Hillary cover up operation work ticket archive cleanup.” The interviewee said that the “cover up operation” email “probably related to change to 60 day [sic] email retention policy/backup.” The subject indicated that he didn’t “recall the prior policy.” The notes also indicated, “[Redacted] advised [redacted] not to answer questions related to conv [conversation] w/DK [David Kendall] document 49 – based on 5th amendment.”

The subject said that “everyone @ PRN has access to client portal.”

A December 11, 2014, Platte River Networks email between redacted parties says: “Its [sic] all part of the Hillary coverup operation <smile> I’ll have to tell you about it at the party”

An August 2015 email from Platte River Networks says: “So does this mean we don’t have offsite backups currently? That could be a problem if someone hacks this thing and jacks it up. We will have to be able to produce a copy of it somehow, or we’re in some deep shit. Also, what ever [sic] came from the guys at Datto about the old backups? Do they have anyway [sic] of getting those back after we were told to cut it to 30 days?”

In March 2015, Platte River Networks specifically discusses security of the email server.

[Redacted] is going to send over a list of recommendations for us to apply for additional security against hackers. He did say we should probably remove all Clinton files, folders, info off our servers etc. on an independent drive.

Handwritten notes that appear to be from Platte River Networks in February 2016 mention questions concerning the Clinton email system and state of back-ups

The documents show Platte River Networks’ use of BleachBit on the Clinton server. The BleachBit program was downloaded from a vendor called SourceForge at 11:42am on March 31, 2015, according to a computer event log, and over the next half hour, was used to delete the files on Hillary’s server.

…From: [Redacted]

Sent: Saturday, June 27, 2015 2:46 PM

To: Grafeld, Margaret P [Peggy]

Subject: Concerns about the HRC Review …

While working with this inspector, I have personally reviewed hundreds of documents in the HRC collection. I can now say, without reservation, that there are literally hundreds of classified emails in this collection; maybe more. For example, there are comments by Department staff in emails relating to the Wikileaks unauthorized disclosures; many of the emails relating to this actually confirm the information in the disclosures. This material is the subject of FOIA litigation, and the emails will now have to be found, reviewed and upgraded. Under the EO 13526, it would be in in our right to classify the entire HRC collection at the Secret level because of the “mosaic effect.” While there may be IC equities in the collection, I am very concerned about the inadvertent release of State Department’s equities when this collection is released in its entirety — the potential damage to the foreign relations of the United States could be significant.

The Press Release concludes:

“Judicial Watch uncovered new ‘cover-up’ records on the illicit Clinton email system that further demonstrate the sham nature of the FBI/DOJ ‘investigation’ of her,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These shocking new documents show that various Obama agencies were protecting Hillary Clinton from the consequences of her misconduct. It is well past time for the DOJ to stop shielding Hillary Clinton and hold her fully accountable to the rule of law.”

In a different lawsuit Judicial Watch previously released 186 pages of records from the DOJ that include emails documenting an evident cover-up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

And, in a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch uncovered 215 pages of records from the DOJ revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues.

Judicial Watch has previously released numerous instances of classified information distributed through Clinton’s unsecure, non-government email system. For example, see here, here and here.

And, Judicial Watch is currently conducting depositions of senior Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides.

Here’s the evidence. What is the government going to do about it?

The North Carolina Election For The Third District In The U.S. House Of Representatives

There are a lot of candidates running in the primary election for North Carolina’s Third District in the U.S. House of Representatives. There are candidates running in the Republican, Democrat and Libertarian parties. I will be voting in the Republican Primary for Michael Speciale. I have known Michael Speciale almost since I arrived in North Carolina, and I am impressed with his knowledge of the U.S. Constitution, his devotion to the law, his work ethic, his leadership, and his accessibility to the people he represents.

The For Love of God and Country Blog gives a list of Michael’s accomplishments while serving in the North Carolina legislature:

Legislation that NC Rep. Michael Speciale has Sponsored or Co-Sponsored:

2019 SESSION:

HB 22 – Woman’s Right to Know / Ashley’s Law.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  This bill requires that women/girls seeking an abortion are informed about the possibility of reversing that abortion when using the high-dose hormone product, RU486. Hence, the bill is referred to as the “RU486 Reversal Bill.” RU486 is an abortion pill regimen that uses a 2-step process: The woman takes 2 pills – Mifepristone and then misopristone. RU486 can effectively terminate a pregnancy that is less than 10 weeks along (70 days) by sloughing off the uterine wall and the fetus with it. RU486 (mifepristone, a progesterone blocker; progresterone being essential for the uterus to sustain a pregnancy) basically causes the lining of your uterus to shed — so your pregnancy can no longer continue because the egg will have nothing to stay attached to. Then, the misoprostol will cause uterine contractions to allow the uterus to be emptied. According to the bill: The following information must be provided to a woman before a medical abortion: (A). Immediately prior to administering the drug mifepristone, the physician or qualified health professional shall inform the woman that: (i) it is still possible to discontinue a medical abortion by not taking the prescribed misoprostol (the second drug in the abortion protocol) and taking progesterone to reverse the effects of the mifepristone and (ii) information on how, where, and from whom women can obtain assistance in discontinuing a medical abortion is available on the Department of Health and Human Services’ Internet Web site. And (B) Immediately prior to administering the drug misoprostol, the physician or qualified professional shall provide medical proof to the woman that fetal death has occurred.”

HB 28 – Prohibit Abortions After 13 Weeks.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — This bill would prohibit abortions after 13 weeks, unless absolutely necessary to protect the life of the mother or for a verified medical emergency. (The current law prohibits abortion after 20 weeks). After 13 weeks, the physician or qualified health professional who recommends an abortion would have to explain that recommendation, as well as present his medical findings, to the state Department of Health and Human Services.

HB 53 (= SB 52) – A Second Chance for LIFE.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 53 is the COMPANION BILL – S 52.   HB 53 (and S 52), would require a physician who prescribes an abortion-inducing drug to a pregnant woman to provide the woman with written information about the possibility of reversing the drug-induced abortion through the administration of progesterone. The bills direct the State Department of Health & Human Services to design the written materials including the phone number for the Abortion Pill Reversal Hotline. (Refer also to HB 22).

HB 54 (= SB 51) – Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment     (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 54 is the COMPANION BILL to S 51.   HB54 would make it illegal for a physician to perform a “dismemberment abortion” in North Carolina. The bills define this gruesome procedure in the following manner: “With the intent to cause the death of an unborn child, to dismember a living unborn child and extract that child in pieces from the uterus through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp, or a combination of these, a portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off.”

The bills (S 51 and HB 54) make it unlawful “for any person to willfully perform a dismemberment abortion and thereby kill an unborn child, or attempt to perform a dismemberment abortion, unless it is necessary to prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.” The term “health risk” is narrowly defined to include circumstances necessary to avert the death of the mother or “serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function, not including psychological or emotional conditions.” Both bills would allow the mother or father of the unborn child to seek civil penalties, including monetary damages and attorneys fees, against an individual who performs a dismemberment abortion.

HB 61 – Omnibus Gun Changes (aka, Permittless Conceal Carry).  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 61 is nearly identical to HB746 (“Permittless Conceal Carry”) which the Republican leadership in the NC Senate failed to move forward last year (2017). HB 61 provides: PART I: Section 14-415.35 of HB 61 makes it lawful to carry a concealed handgun in North Carolina without obtaining a conceal handgun permit (ie, “Permitless Conceal Carry”). All citizens are allowed to carry a concealed firearm without obtaining a permit as long as they meet certain common-sense criteria (to ensure the safety of others).

HB 63 – Protect North Carolina Workers Act.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 63 would (1) increase the number of employers who are required to participate in the federal E-Verify program; (2) would repeal the E-Verify exemption for temporary employees; and (3) would exclude farm workers from the definition of “employee” under Article 2 of Chapter 64 of the General Statutes. HB63 would increase the number of employers required to comply with E-Verify by changing the definition of “employer” as “any person, business entity, or other organization that transacts business in this State and that employs five or more employees in this State.” (Originally, for an employer to be required to participate in E-Verify he/it was required to employ at least 25 employees). Furthermore, the definition of “employer” includes the following exclusions: “The term does not include a farm worker, an independent contractor, or an individual who provides domestic service in a private home that is sporadic, irregular, or intermittent.”

HB 65 – Marriage Re-Affirmation Act.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  The full title: “An Act to Reaffirm the Vote oif the People of North Carolina to Adopt Article XIV, Section 6 of the Constitution of the State of North Carolina, Known as the Marriage Amendment, to State Why the Amendment Should be Upheld, to Declare Null and Void for the State of North Carolina the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision of the US Supreme Court, and to Call on the US Supreme Court to Overturn the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision.” The bill would do the following: (1) Reaffirm the Marriage Amendment, which would be added to the state Constitution (Article XIV, Section 6); (2) Nullify the Obergefell decision in North Carolina (unenforceable in NC); (3) Call on the Supreme Court to overturn the opinion; and (4) No same-sex marriage would be recognized in the state.

HB 73 – Civic Responsibility in Education.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 73 would require the State Board of Education to include instruction on civic responsibility in the standard course of study (course curriculum) in Elementary, Middle, and High School. In Elementary, civic responsibility would be taught in the course “North Carolina History” and in Middle School, it would be taught in the course “North Carolina Geography.” In High School, civic responsibility would be taught in the course on the Founding Principles of the United States of America and the State of North Carolina.

HB 76 – School Safety Omnibus Bill.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 76 would establish school safety requirements for all public schools – to require Threat Assessment Teams be established at each school with duties clearly defined.

HB 110 (= SB 90) – Protect Religious Meeting Places.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  HB 110 would allow concealed carry on the premises when religious meetings are being held.

HB 131 (= SB 71) – Repeal Map Act.  (Speciale as co-sponsor) —  This bill would repeal the Transportation Corridor Official Map Act

HB 135 – Government Immigration Compliance.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 135 would do several things, including: (1) Repeal Law Enforcement authority to use prohibited forms of identification (ie, illegals can no longer present a matricula consular identification as an acceptable form of ID); (2) Create additional incentives for local governments to comply with state laws related to immigration; (3) Create a private cause of action to remedy local government non-compliance with state immigration laws; (4) Prohibit the institutions of the UNC university system from becoming sanctuary universities; and (5) Direct the Department of Public Safety to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement with the US Department of Homeland Security.

HB 136 – Concealed Carry Permit Relapse / Revise Law.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 136 would revise the Concealed Carry Law, Sect. 1. G.S. 14-415.16(e) to read: “If the permittee does not apply to renew the permit prior to its expiration date, but does apply to renew the permit within 180 days after the permit expires, the sheriff shall waive the requirement of taking another firearms safety and training course. course so long as the permittee (i) completes a refresher course on the laws governing the use or carry of firearms in this State that is certified or sponsored by at least one of the entities listed in G.S. 14-415.12(a and (ii) submits documentation to the sheriff confirming the permittee completed the refresher course.

HB 160 – Rescind Calls for Constitutional Convention.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — House Joint Resolution 160. This Resolution calls for the rescinding of all applications made by the NC General Assembly made during any session to the US Congress to call a Convention pursuant to Article V of the US Constitution for proposing one or more amendments to that Constitution and urging other states to do the same.

HB 172 – K-12 Academic Freedom Act.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  This bill would REQUIRE the State Board of Education to adopt a policy of academic freedom. It would impart a DUTY to the SBOE to adopt a policy that SHALL include, at a minimum, the following elements:

(a) Students and educators are encouraged to respect the ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints held by all persons in the classroom.

( b) Students and educators are permitted to engage in open dialogue, critical thinking, and the free exchange of ideas related to the content of the course.

(c) A student shall not be discriminated against or mocked for the student’s ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints.

(d) An educator shall not take a student’s ideological, political, religious, or nonreligious viewpoints into account when evaluating the student’s performance.

(e) Educators may answer questions posed by students with openness and honesty.

HB 173 – Exempt Ocular Surgery from Certificate of Need (CON) Laws.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 172 would exempt ocular surgery and would provide limited exemption for limited exemption for gastrointestinal endoscopy procedures from the Certificate of Need requirement under NC law. The growing need of the elderly for ocular surgery requires this exemption.

HB 174 – Home School Tax Credit.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  This bill would provide an income tax credit for those operating a home school.

HB 196 – Parental Consent for Sex Education.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 196 would require a student to have parental consent for any class that educates or attempts to education on reproductive health and safety. Each school year, before students may participate in any portion of (i) a program that pertains to or is intended to impart information or promote discussion or understanding in regard to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, or to the avoidance of out-of-wedlock pregnancy or (ii) a reproductive health and safety education program, whether developed by the State or by the local board of education, the parents and legal guardians of those students shall be given an opportunity to review the objectives and materials as provided in G.S. 115C-81.25(d). Local boards of education shall adopt policies to provide opportunities for parents and legal guardians to consent to their students’ participation in any or all of these programs. A student shall not participate in any program described in this subsection unless the student’s parent or legal guardian has consented to the student’s participation.

HB 215 – Justice for Rural Citizens Act.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) —  HB 215 would remove the injustice of extra-extraterritorial planning jurisdiction by declaring that no city in the state may have or exercise planning jurisdiction outside its corporate limits. HB215 lists the reasons for removing such extra-territorial planning jurisdiction: “Whereas, under current State law, any city may exercise planning jurisdiction under Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes within a defined area extending not more than one mile beyond its corporate limits; and Whereas, with the approval of the board of county commissioners with jurisdiction over the area, a city of 10,000 or more but less than 25,000 may exercise planning jurisdiction over an area extending not more than two miles beyond its corporate limits, and a city of 25,000 or more may exercise these powers over an area extending not more than three miles beyond its limits; and Whereas, the citizens who live in an area over which a city exercises extraterritorial planning jurisdiction are prohibited from voting in municipal elections; and Whereas, without the ability to vote in municipal elections to choose the persons who will make planning decisions about the areas in which they live, rural citizens do not have a say in some of the important matters that affect their lives and livelihoods.”

HB 216 – School Self-Defense Act.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor) — HB 216 would authorize certain members of a school’s faculty or staff to carry a handgun on the school grounds to respond to acts of violence of imminent threat of violence.

HB314 – Constitutional Amendment – Remove Literacy Test.  (Speciale as Primary sponsor – bipartisan bill) —  HB 314 is a bi-partisan bill that would amend the state constitution by repealing (removing) Section 4 of Article VI which requires a person to pass a literacy test in order to register to vote in North Carolina.

HB328 – Same Reqs/Officials/Early Vote & Election Day.  (Speciale as Primary Sponsor)  —  HB 328 would ensure that requirements for precinct officials (poll workers) will be the same for Early One-Stop Voting as they are on Election Day.

 2017 – 2018 SESSION: (Bills Michael Speciale was the primary sponsor or co-sponsor)

HB 3 – Eminent Domain

HB 69 – Constitutional Carry Act   (to amendment the state constitution to prohibit condemnation of private property except for public use)

HB 76 – Increase Fire & Rescue Pension Benefits

HB 145 – Repeal Constitutional Regulation of Concealed Weapons   [this bill would remove the following language from Article I, Section 3 (“Militia & the Right to Bear Arms”): “nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice”)

HB 146 – Citizens Allegiance to US Constitution     [this bill would amend Article I, Section 5 (“Allegiance to the United States”) to remove the offending language, as underlined: “Every citizen of this State owes paramount allegiance to the Constitution and government of the United States, and no law or ordinance of the State in contravention or subversion thereof can have any binding force”]

HB 147 – Amend the NC State Constitution to Remove Article I, Section 4 (“Secession Prohibited”)

HB 148 – Amend the NC State Constitution to Remove the Literacy Requirement to Vote   [this bill would remove Section 4 of Article VI (“Qualification for Registration”) of the state constitution which requires a person to pass a literacy test in order to register to vote – “Every person presenting himself for registration shall be able to read and write any section of the Constitution in the English language”]

HB 201 – NC Constitutional Carry Act (to protect a person’s right to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and to protect his right to purchase a handgun without a pistol purchase permit)

HB 266 – Terminate Agreement for Tolling of I-77

HB 306 – Require E-Verify for All Government Contracts

HB 417 – Actually Getting Rid of Common Core Act

HB 986 – Various Changes to Education Laws [passed and signed into law – SL 2018-32]

HB 1092 – Constitutional Amendment to Require Photo ID to Vote

If you want to send someone to Washington who will work to represent you, Michaael Speciale is your man.

Who Is The New Guy?

LifeZette posted an article today about the seemingly abrupt resignation of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will now become the new acting head of the Department of Homeland Security.

The article tells us a little about Acting Secretary McAleenan:

1.) McAleenan is a longtime border officer, “reflecting Trump’s priority for the department initially founded to combat terrorism after the September 11 attacks,” as Fox News noted.

2.) Trump wanted the “toughest cop” around on border security — “and McAleenan fit the bill,” the outlet also reported.

3.) McAleenan served as head of Customs and Border Patrol and was the nation’s top border security official; he was sworn into that job in March 2018. Prior to his confirmation, he was acting commissioner beginning Jan. 20, 2017, according to his biography.

4.) In that role, McAleenan oversaw 60,000 employees, managed a budget of over $13 billion, and ensured “CBP’s mission to protect national security while promoting economic prosperity,” as his biography also noted.

5.) Before that, he held several leadership positions at CBP and at one of its agencies, the U.S. Customs Service. In December 2011, he became acting assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, leading “agency operations to secure the U.S. border while expediting lawful trade and travel at 329 ports of entry in the United States and 70 international locations in more than 40 countries.”

6.) From 2006 to 2008, he served as area port director of Los Angeles International Airport, directing CBP’s border security operations there and at 17 other airport facilities.

7.) After the 9/11 terror attacks, McAleenan focused on national security issues. In November 2001, he helped establish the Office of Antiterrorism in Washington, D.C. Two years later, he became executive director.

8.) Prior to government service, McAleenan practiced law in California. He received his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

9.) He earned a bachelor of arts in political science from Amherst College in Massachusetts.

10.) He is 47 and was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He is married to Corina Avalos McAleenan, a Deloitte executive; they have two children.

Congratulations, sir, you have probably just accepted the most miserable job in the universe–Congress not only won’t help you, they will fight you and the President in the courts every step of the way. However, the American people are behind you.

According to an article posted at Power Line yesterday by John Hinderaker:

Do you think illegal immigration is a serious problem? If you are like 67 percent of likely voters, you do. If you think illegal immigration is a very serious problem, you have plenty of company–47 percent of voters.

Of course, if you are running for president as a Democrat, you don’t think illegal immigration is a problem at all. Eight percent of likely voters agree with you. Not only do none of the Democratic presidential candidates want to build the wall, some of them want to tear down barriers where they already exist.

Best wishes, Secretary McAleenan, I sincerely hope you can do what needs to be done.

The Equality Act of 2019

One thing most of us have learned over the years is that the better the name of the bill introduced in Congress sounds, the farther from the truth the title is. We saw that with the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) which should have been named the lose your insurance and your doctor and pay more act.

Last month the Democrats in the U. S. House of Representatives introduced The Equality Act of 2019. It should have been named the anti-free speech and anti-religion act of 2019.

On March 14th, The Heritage Foundation posted an article listing seven reasons why the law would not encourage equality.

The article lists the reasons:

1. It would penalize Americans who don’t affirm new sexual norms or gender ideology.

We have already seen this attempted in the case of Jack Phillips’ battle with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. He is only one example.

2. It would compel speech.

Both federal and private employers could face costly lawsuits if they fail to implement strict preferred pronoun policies. Employees could be disciplined if they fail to comply, regardless of their scientific or moral objections.

3. It could shut down charities.

Adoption agencies that hold to a Biblical definition of marriage have been shut down because of their beliefs.

4. It would allow more biological males to defeat girls in sports.

5. It could be used to coerce medical professionals.

Under state sexual orientation and gender identity laws, individuals who identify as transgender have sued Catholic hospitals in California and New Jersey for declining to perform hysterectomies on otherwise healthy women who wanted to pursue gender transition. 

If these lawsuits succeed, medical professionals would be pressured to treat patients according to ideology rather than their best medical judgment.

6. It could lead to more parents losing custody of their children.

This has already happened. In Ohio, a judge removed a biological girl from her parents’ custody after they declined to help her “transition” to male with testosterone supplements.

After the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Health Clinic recommended these treatments for the girl’s gender dysphoria, the parents wanted to pursue counseling instead. Then the county’s family services agency charged the parents with abuse and neglect, and the judge terminated their custody.

7. It would enable sexual assault. 

A federal sexual orientation and gender identity law would give male sexual predators who self-identify as females access to private facilities, increasing the likelihood of these tragic incidents. 

It could also make victims less likely to report sexual misconduct and police less likely to get involved, for fear of being accused of discrimination

The proposed Equality Act could impose a nationwide bathroom policy that would leave women and children in particular vulnerable to predators. It actually would promote inequality by elevating the ideologies of special-interest groups to the level of protected groups in civil rights law. 

This is not a law that I want to see passed. It does not do anything to promote equality. In fact, it creates the kind of inequality that the ruling class pigs created in George Orwell’s Animal Farm where “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee Testimony

An article posted at The Federalist on Thursday includes the testimony of Federalist senior correspondent John Daniel Davidson, delivered before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Some highlights of his testimony:

McAllen, a city of fewer than 150,000 residents, is now facing the prospect of thousands of migrants discharged from ICE custody, wandering the streets and sleeping in doorways and on park benches—the city’s mayor has said as much. What’s more, in February the city ordered Catholic Charities to vacate the former nursing home and find a new location within 90 days, citing complaints from neighbors about constant traffic and strangers wandering nearby streets where children play. By any measure, the situation in McAllen is an emergency.

This is just one border town in Texas. Something similar is playing out all up and down the U.S.-Mexico border. In El Paso, hundreds of migrant families are turning themselves in to Border Patrol every day, overwhelming federal facilities and personnel. In a five-minute stretch one day in late March, Border Patrol apprehended two different groups totaling 400 people. On the night of President Trump’s rally in El Paso in February, a group of 300 turned themselves in to the Santa Teresa Border Patrol station, which sits on an empty stretch of New Mexico scrubland 22 miles west of El Paso. Agents had to move all the ATVs out of the garage just so a hundred or so migrants would have someplace warm to sleep that night. Since then, things have been getting worse.

The testimony states:

If you spend enough time talking to migrants themselves, a pattern begins to emerge. Most of them have similar stories about why they left their home countries in Central America, and they report similar experiences of how they made their way through Mexico to the southern U.S. border. A few common characteristics stand out:

  • A majority of the “family units” are men traveling with one or more children;
  • Many of these men say they have a wife and other children back in their home country and that they intend to secure work in the U.S. and send money back to support them;
  • They are headed for all points across the U.S. and have family members or friends in those places. Many of them also have jobs already lined up;
  • Nearly all of them say they left their homes because it is dangerous, citing gang violence, threats, extortion, etc.; they are all claiming asylum.
  • At the same time, many of them will admit that they don’t plan to remain in the U.S. permanently, and in fact have a set amount of time they plan to live and work here before returning home;
  • All of them say they paid a smuggler to secure safe passage to the border (the amount varies from $2,000 to $6,000 per person, sometimes more). Generally, they say they took cars or buses for transit through Mexico.

The testimony concludes:

Without a doubt, there is a crisis at the southern border. But it’s a deeply misunderstood crisis that’s being driven by specific factors and disproportionately affecting specific regions of the border, primarily the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. In general, the growing numbers of migrants now crossing the border are being driven by three major factors:

  • If you’re a minor or a family, it’s even easier to enter the U.S. now than it was during the Obama administration for the simple reason that there is no capacity at federal detention facilities and families can expect to be released soon after being detained by Border Patrol.
  • Smugglers are now marketing to people —women, families—who don’t want to undertake an arduous or dangerous journey. They have created a sophisticated and efficient busing package that has proven very popular with families, and word has gotten back to communities in Central America that, if they pay, the journey will be short, safe, and they will not be detained for long once inside the U.S.
  • Conditions in Central America have not improved enough to induce people to remain in their home countries. Persistent poverty, violence, and corruption, combined with the fear that it’s not going to be this easy to get into the U.S. forever, is prompting families to come now.

There is no easy solution to this crisis. Border security is part of the solution, but so is congressional action.

As long as Central American families know they can gain entry to the U.S. by initiating asylum proceedings upon crossing the border, the crisis will continue. As long as cartels and criminal networks know they can profit from trafficking migrant families to the border, they will do so. And as long as conditions in Central America continue to fester, families who can afford it will seek a better life for their children by traveling north.

The crisis on our southern border is not the result of anything President Trump has done. It is the result of years of inaction by Congress and previous administrations. As previously stated–Democrats see illegal immigrants as future Democrat voters; Republicans see illegal immigrants as cheap labor. Neither party sees them as desperate people. President Trump is at least trying to discourage them from making a long, dangerous trip. President Trump is also trying to protect America from being overwhelmed. If you doubt what this is about, look up the Cloward-Piven strategy. It explains what is currently happening (and illustrates why it must be stopped).

An Interesting Question

John Solomon posted an article today at The Hill titled, “Ukrainian to US prosecutors: Why don’t you want our evidence on Democrats?” That is a very interesting question.

The article reports:

Ukrainian law enforcement officials believe they have evidence of wrongdoing by American Democrats and their allies in Kiev, ranging from 2016 election interference to obstructing criminal probes. But, they say, they’ve been thwarted in trying to get the Trump Justice Department to act.

Kostiantyn Kulyk, deputy head of the Prosecutor General’s International Legal Cooperation Department, told me he and other senior law enforcement officials tried unsuccessfully since last year to get visas from the U.S. embassy in Kiev to deliver their evidence to Washington.

“We were supposed to share this information during a working trip to the United States,” Kulyk told me in a wide-ranging interview. “However, the (U.S.) ambassador blocked us from obtaining a visa. She didn’t explicitly deny our visa, but also didn’t give it to us.”

One focus of Ukrainian investigators, Kulyk said, has been money spirited unlawfully out of Ukraine and moved to the United States by businessmen friendly to the prior, pro-Russia regime of Viktor Yanukovych.

Ukrainian businessmen “authorized payments for lobbying efforts directed at the U.S. government,” he told me. “In addition, these payments were made from funds that were acquired during the money-laundering operation. We have information that a U.S. company was involved in these payments.” That company is tied to one or more prominent Democrats, Ukrainian officials insist.

In another instance, he said, Ukrainian authorities gathered evidence that money paid to an American Democrat allegedly was hidden by Ukraine’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) during the 2016 election under pressure from U.S. officials. “In the course of this investigation, we found that there was a situation during which influence was exerted on the NABU, so that the name of (the American) would not be mentioned,” he said.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The details are amazing. It still isn’t the Trump Justice Department–there are too many Obama holdovers.

Note that Kostiantyn Kulyk, deputy head of the Prosecutor General’s International Legal Cooperation Department, claims that they were not able to get a visa to travel to Washington to share their evidence. I wonder how fast they would have gotten a visa if their evidence had been against Republicans. If you had any doubt about the deep state and its role in all aspects of the 2016 election, this article should erase those doubts. Oddly enough, Robert Mueller, although he found no evidence of collusion between candidate Trump and the Russians (or President Trump and the Russians), somehow failed to examine evidence of collusion with Russians on the part of the Hillary Clinton campaign. The problem here is that President Trump supports American sovereignty. The deep state supports globalism. That is why he was considered such a threat, and that is why so much of the deep state was trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming President. Hopefully, some of the misdeeds of the deep state will be coming to light shortly.

Follow The Example Of The People With The Money Who Have A Choice

Today John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about Mick Jagger’s recent heart surgery. I was never really a Rolling Stones fan, but the Beatles aren’t there anymore. At any rate, the article includes the following Tweet from Mick Jagger:

That’s great news, but there is more to the story. Mick Jagger just underwent a successful transcatheter aortic valve replacement (in New York City). Wait a minute–if socialized medicine is so great, what is he doing in New York City? No long wait and up-to-date care. There is still enough of the free market left in American medicine that medical procedures are up-to-date and relatively easy to obtain.

The article explains:

I think it was Robert Conquest who said that everyone is a conservative about what he knows best. Likewise, the more you really care, the less wedded you are to liberal shibboleths. I need heart surgery? Goodbye, NHS. Some years ago, there was a woman who was a member of Canada’s Parliament. She was a fierce opponent of private medical care on the ground that the people should share health risks equally. Then she came down with a rare form of cancer. She was on the next airplane to the U.S.

The Rolling Stones have always had a good appreciation of the virtues of free enterprise. John Phelan, the British economist who works for my organization, likes to quote Keith Richards:

The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws…It’s why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we’d be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all.

Further proving that a conservative is simply a liberal who has been mugged and that tax policies have consequences.

Irony At Its Best

The Trump tax cuts made life a little easier for most Americans. They made life a little more difficult for some middle class and wealthy people in states with high taxes. Oddly enough, many of these states with high taxes are blue states with large populations and huge state budgets. Some of the most affected states were California, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, all reliably blue states. Those states control 116 Electoral College votes and send 106 Representatives to the U.S. House of Representatives (out of 435 total Representatives). Now, after all the complaining that the Trump tax cuts were tax cuts for the rich (which they were not), Democrats want to give the wealthy in high-tax states their tax cuts.

Real Clear Politics posted an article today about the Democrats’ plan.

The article reports:

Democrats often complain that tax cuts primarily benefit “the rich,” but apparently they only think it’s a problem when rich conservatives get a tax break, because they’re outraged that President Trump’s tax cuts scaled back a generous subsidy enjoyed by well-off taxpayers in liberal states.

A key provision of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a new cap on the so-called State and Local Tax (“SALT”) Deduction, which allows taxpayers to deduct state and local taxes on their federal tax return. This provision forces taxpayers in low-tax states such as Florida and Texas to effectively subsidize those in high-tax states such as New York and California.

For years, blue-state Democrats have been able to raise state income and property taxes far higher than voters might normally tolerate. That’s because the SALT deduction softened the impact for taxpayers in those states, particularly for the rich campaign-donor class. Since the SALT deduction only applies to taxpayers who itemize their returns, its benefits naturally accrue to those in the highest income bracket.

There was previously no limit to how much taxpayers could deduct through SALT, but even though the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act capped the deduction at $10,000, almost 93 percent of American taxpayers will be unaffected. It’s likely that fewer taxpayers will elect to take advantage of SALT, since the law also doubled the standard deduction, but about 11 million of the highest-earning Americans living in high-tax states are seeing their federal income tax liabilities increase.

It’s curious that liberals who criticized Trump so vociferously for “cutting taxes on the wealthy” are so upset by an element of the tax reform plan that merely takes away a tax break enjoyed disproportionately by the wealthy.

The problem here is simple. The Democrats believe that President Trump cut taxes for the rich (which he didn’t), but it was the wrong rich. However, just for the record, since most of the tax burden falls on Americans who are relatively successful, their tax cuts are going to seem larger than those who pay little or no taxes.

The following chart is from a Pew Research article. The figures are from 2015:

People who make over $100,000 (which in some areas of the country is not a lot of spending power) pay over 80% of all income taxes paid. I think we need to reopen the discussion of a flat tax. Everyone needs to have an equal stake in the game.

The Deep State Continues To Fight

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Judicial Watch Forced to Delay Clinton Email Deposition After DOJ and State Dept Defy Court-Ordered Deadline.”

Judicial Watch is a nonpartisan group that was founded in 1994. They have held both Republican and Democrat politicians accountable through the Freedom of Information Act, which was passed in 1966 and went into effect in 1967.

The article at The Gateway Pundit reports:

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch was scheduled to take the deposition of John Hackett, a State Department records official “immediately responsible for responding to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act” on Friday, April 5th.

The government watchdog group was forced to delay its Clinton email deposition because the Deep State DOJ and Department of State failed to comply with a deadline.

“Turns out we had to delay today’s Clinton email deposition because the State and Justice Departments failed to comply with the court-ordered deadline for needed documents,” JW president Tom Fitton said in a tweet Friday evening.

The article concludes:

If not for Judicial Watch, Americans wouldn’t even know about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server which she set up to avoid FOIA oversight of her Clinton Foundation pay-to-play while she was the head of the Department of State.

Judicial Watch blew the story wide open and their FOIA lawsuits also revealed Hillary Clinton was sending classified information over her private server.

A name of a clandestine CIA agent was even found in a tranche of emails uncovered by Judicial Watch — classified Hillary emails were found on pervert Anthony Weiner’s laptop after his wife, Huma Abedin, who happened to be Clinton’s aide, appeared to sync Hillary’s emails to her computers at home.

This is the second time in recent days the DOJ and State Department tried to derail Judicial Watch’s scheduled deposition of Obama-era-Clinton aides.

A couple weeks ago, Obama’s speech writer-turned-Iran-echo-chamber Ben Rhodes defied a court order to provide written answers, under oath to Judicial Watch and the State Department and Justice Department objected to Judicial Watch who sought an in-person interview with Mr. Rhodes.

The deep state is alive and well and continuing its attempt to preserve its power until President Trump is out of office.

How Is The Trump Economy Doing?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on the economy during the past two years.

The article reports:

President Trump has had a tumultuous two years in office, but as he starts to ramp up his reelection campaign, he can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had held steady at 3.8%. That brings the average unemployment rate for the first 26 months of Trump’s presidency, from February 2017 through March 2019, to 4.1%.

Starting with the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, there has never been a president who oversaw such a robust employment market at this point in his presidency. This is demonstrated in the chart below. The official BLS unemployment data go back to 1948, and thus is not available for the comparable period in the Harry S. Truman era or earlier.

Since the economy is a strong player in presidential elections, these numbers are important.

The article concludes:

The strong economic performance will also be a test of a lot of models predicting the outcome of elections. Many analysts rely heavily on the state of the economy when predicting whether an incumbent will get reelected. However, typically, when the economy is strong, it is also associated with a solid presidential approval rating. Yet Trump has polled consistently lower than other presidents, despite the strong economy.

For instance, take Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, whose unemployment rates came closest to Trump, at 4.4% and 4.5%, respectively. At the comparable points in their presidencies, according to Gallup, Eisenhower was polling at 71 percent and Nixon, while less popular, was still at 50%. In contrast, Trump is currently polling at 39%.

That’s why predicting the 2020 election is so perilous, especially with the Democratic nomination battle so wide open. It’s easy to come up with a scenario in which Trump loses reelection despite having the strongest presidential term for employment in recorded history, because he turns off voters in many other ways. On the other hand, it’s also possible to imagine an outcome in which the strength of the economy convinces voters to get past their objections with Trump and stay the course rather than risk radical change being promised by Democrats.

The strong economy may be the reason the Democrats are trying to get so much mileage out of the Mueller Report. It may be their only hope.

When Your Weapon Backfires

BizPacReview posted an article yesterday about a recent Rasmussen poll.

The article reports:

A new Rasmussen poll shows more voters believe it is Crooked Hillary Clinton rather than President Trump who is guilty of colluding with foreign operatives during the 2016 election campaign. Of likely voters polled, 47% believe the Clinton campaign was involved in collusion, as opposed to 45% who still buy the fraudulent Trump collusion story.

The worm is turning in spite of a non-stop, years-long onslaught of lies from the never-Trump media about it all. The tipping point is now … with the majority finally discerning the truth and slowly more and more rejecting the coordinated MSM disinformation campaign.

…The March 25-26 survey found 50% of voters satisfied with the conclusions reached by Mueller. About one-third, or 36%, are not satisfied and 13% are undecided.

The article also includes the following:

On March 25th, Yahoo News reported the following:

After 16 months of investigation, the cost had ballooned to $25 million, CNBC reported. Based on those figures, that works out to approximately $1.5 million spent per month. And that’s just working from September 2018, the 16-month mark. The cost has very likely gone up since then. If the $1.5 million figure remains static, taxpayers have paid another $7.5 million between October 2018 and February 2019.

In Mueller’s latest filing, released in September 2018, he reported “spending nearly $3 million on compensation, $580,000 on travel and transportation, $1 million on rent and related expenses, and $300,000 on contractual services, primarily related to IT,” according to CNBC.

The Democrats might want to keep all of these numbers in mind as they pursue their subpoenas of the Mueller Report. After the government spent some serious money and the mainstream media claimed that President Trump was a Russian agent, many Americans were not fooled.

Trying To Keep The Drip Going

Someone once told me that the Grand Canyon was the result of water dripping on a rock. I’m not sure if that is true, but it is an interesting thought. The Congressional Democrats are actually setting out to prove or disprove that theory.

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill titled, “Note to Team Mueller: If you don’t indict, you can’t incite.” Those are wise words that could actually do a lot of good in healing the divide in America if they were heeded.

The article states:

I’ve covered the Justice Department for three decades, and seldom have I seen a story like the one published in The New York Times this week under the headline, “Some on Mueller’s Team Say Report Was More Damaging Than Barr Revealed.”

What concerned me most is that the story’s anonymous allegations reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the role prosecutors play, including special counsels such as Robert Mueller.

The job of prosecutors is not, as the Times headline suggested, to pen “damaging” narratives about people they couldn’t indict. And it’s not their job to air those people’s dirty laundry, or that of suspects outside of a grand jury room or a courtroom.

Mueller concluded there wasn’t evidence President Trump colluded with Russia to hijack the 2016 election, and therefore no indictment was warranted. And he punted on the question of obstruction, leaving his bosses — Attorney General William Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — to determine that there wasn’t enough evidence to indict the president on that charge.

And, most significantly, there were no other people charged. That means Trump legally could not be named as an unindicted co-conspirator in an obstruction plot.

Many of the Democrat Congressmen (and Congresswomen) who are calling for the full, unredacted release of the Mueller Report are lawyers. They know that the full Mueller Report includes both Grand Jury testimony and classified information. They know that Grand Jury testimony is not public information and often contains things that may be misleading or have a negative impact on an innocent person’s life. Theoretically they are also aware of the rules regarding the handling of classified information. So if they understand the law, why are they requesting that the Attorney General break the law? Actually, the subpoena for the Mueller Report is simply part of a larger strategy.

The Attorney General is compelled by law to deny the subpoena. This sends the case to the courts where it will be tied up for at least two years–through the 2020 presidential election. I am sure some of the actions of whatever court is involved will keep the story in the news through the election.

Recently someone familiar with the report noted that the summaries in the report, written by highly partisan investigators contain classified information or Grand Jury testimony. If Congress has the full report (or even the redacted version), they can selectively leak things (that might be misleading) to keep the collusion-delusion in the headlines. Victor Davis Hanson noted in a recent article that the Russian investigation was a soft coup attempted by the deep state. I have no reason to believe that the attempt is over.

This Is Not Good News For Our Representative Republic

The Daily Caller is reporting today that New Mexico is the fourteenth state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC). This is the group that says their states electoral college votes will go to the presidential candidate who gets the most popular votes. In other words, it really doesn’t matter how the residents of these states vote, this is where the electoral votes are going. In essence, that means that New York and California will determine who our next President is if this trend continues.

Just for reference, this is a picture of the 2016 election:

The article points out:

States that have passed similar legislation to join the NPVIC now represent 189 electoral votes. The compact could become official when that number hits 270, enough votes to elect the president of the United States.

That would change America from a Representative Republic to a Democracy.

I am reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin after the Constitutional Convention of 1787:

A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

Moving forward with the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact means that we will not keep it.

Objectivity From A Surprising Source

On Monday USA Today posted an article about the Mueller investigation.

The article asks a very interesting question:

The Russian collusion story had been an article of faith for the Resistance and the press. But why were so many people so deeply convinced of something that was not true? Who was behind not only concocting this fantastic tale but also embedding it in the highest levels of the Justice Department, the intelligence community and the news media?

This question had been on hold during the Mueller investigation. Government officials could not dig into it because anything they might do publicly would have been denounced as interference or “obstruction.” But with the Mueller phase concluded, the gates have opened.

President Trump retweeted a link about a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying the Obama administration must account for “abuse of surveillance powers.” “Time to investigate the Obama officials who concocted and spread the Russian conspiracy hoax!” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called for the appointment of a new special counsel. And former George W. Bush administration spokesman Ari Fleischer asked what could be the ultimate question, “What did Barack Obama know and what and when did he authorize it?

The surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team was inexcusable. It was a more blatant an abuse of federal power than anything previously seen.

This is Article I of the Impeachment Articles against Richard Nixon:

On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.

Note that the crime was breaking and entering to secure political intelligence and using the powers of government to cover up the crime. What about lying to a FISA court to be able to conduct illegal surveillance and then fabricating a crime to cover up your activities?

The article at USA Today includes the following:

Yet Obama officials also treated Trump campaign staffers as targets themselves. They used cooperative foreign intelligence services to chat them up overseas, both to put a layer of deniability between them and this questionable behavior, and to get around prohibitions against spying on American citizens. The recently released transcript of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Government Reform and Oversight interview with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos goes into great detail how this targeting was conducted. Papadopoulos claims that foreign governments are now cooperating to reveal more about these activities. 

These activities are illegal. Those involved in illegal FISA warrants, targeting innocent staff members of the campaign, and other misuses of government need to be held accountable. Unless they are held accountable, we can expect to see more of this behavior in the future.

Bad Day at Black Rock

Below is a guest post by Raynor James, an eastern North Carolina resident who has followed the debate on North Carolina House Bill 184 very closely:

Tuesday, April 3rd was a sad day in the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Let me tell you about it. Dale Folwell is North Carolina’s Treasurer. He’s a very popular fellow for all the right reasons. He did a good job when he served in the North Carolina General Assembly. He got North Carolina’s unemployment insurance out of debt to the Federal Government when he served in Governor McCrory’s administration, an accomplishment that continues to save North Carolina’s employers significant sums annually. He’s known as a problem solver.

North Carolina’s State Health Plan (which pays for medical expenses of current and retired state employees) is seriously underfunded and is projected to be bankrupt by the year 2023.When Dale Folwell was elected Treasurer, many who voted for him expected him to solve the Plan’s problems as its administration was in the Treasurer’s portfolio.

Enter HB-184 which if implemented will tie the Treasurer’s hands and not allow corrective action to be taken while a committee studies the situation.

HB-184 was debated on the floor of the House April 3rd. Let’s look in on how some conservative House members tried to kill the bill.

First, Representative Michael Speciale offered two amendments to the bill. Representative Speciale’s first amendment would give the Treasurer a vote on the study committee and would make it impossible to expand the size of the committee (something that is sometimes done when the “powers that be”don’t like the direction a committee seems to be taking).

That amendment passed by a vote of 106 to 5.

Representative Speciale’s second amendment would remove Section 2 from the bill. Section 2 requires that Blue Cross-Blue Shield continue to be used during the study period.

It also prevents the Treasurer from switching the Plan to using referenced based pricing for medical services to the Plan during the study period.That amendment failed by a vote of 88 to 23.

During debate on HB-184 itself, Representative Larry Pittman cited a memo from the Plan’s Board of Trustees that projects that the plan will be out of money in 2023, and said that we can’t wait on a two year study. He talked about how hospital groups were groaning about how burdensome the Treasurer’s planed payment changes would be on them [tie pricing of medical services to 172% of the average Medicare pays for the same service], and pointed out how well funded many hospitals are. In support of his assertion, Representative Pittman mentioned that the hospital at East Carolina has given $10 million dollars to fund a stadium.

Representative Pittman asked that members not pass the bill and added that when Treasurer Folwell had requested info from the hospital groups, they had sent him the schedules he asked for with page after page blacked out. “They might as well have slapped him in the face and spit on him,” Representative Pittman said.

He continued by saying passage of the bill would hurt both members of the Plan and taxpayers who pay the freight and pointed out that members of the Plan are also taxpayers, so they get hit two ways.

He stated that Dale Folwell is “competent” and “honest” and renewed his request by saying, “Defeat this bill.” Representative Michael Speciale said, “We’re told that if we don’t pass this bill, the sky will fall; we’ll lose our rural hospitals.” He went on to say that they’d heard the same thing when he was trying to get rid of the CON [Certificate of Need] laws [which did not pass] and shortly thereafter they closed one of the hospitals in my district.”

“I hear fake news ads” [on the topic of rural hospitals closing if HB-184 doesn’t pass] when I drive in my district.”

Representative Speciale went on to say that Dale Folwell got the people together who are opposing him [mainly large hospital groups] and asked how much waste, fraud, and abuse there is in the system. The answers they give him ran from 12% to 25%, so he took a middle number and asked them to figure out how they could reduce costs by 15% and said that they needed to get together again as soon as that was done.

After that meeting, Treasurer Folwell tried to set follow up meetings, and time after time he was stonewalled.

Representative Speciale continued, “Now we’re faced with $33 to $36 billion dollars in unfunded liabilities. If we don’t allow him to cut costs, how are we going to cut costs because it’ll be on us!”

“Dale Folwell has increased what would be going into rural hospitals. He’s compromised, but they won’t budge an inch.If we do not pass this bill, then the hospital lobby will sit down and talk to him. Let the state Treasurer do what he was elected to do. Throw the politics aside and vote NO!

Representative Keith Kidwell said, “For the last 10 years, health care costs have gone up and up. We asked Treasurer Folwell to handle it. Let’s not bobble him,or we’ll be faced with taking $235 million to $509 million [dollars] from the general fund to deal with the problem AND $1.1 billion will be added to the unfunded liability.”

“HB-184 will cost us a ton of money!” “Cut through partisanship and look at the numbers! We HAVE to block this bill!’

In spite of those eloquent pleas and others, too, HB-184 passed 75 to 36, and it will now be sent to the North Carolina Senate where it is hoped that wiser voices will prevail.

If you’d like to hear the whole debate, you can go to the NC General Assembly website at which NC House sessions are archived.

Thank you, Raynor. This is a picture of what is going on in the North Carolina state legislature. President Eisenhower warned about the military-industrial complex. What we see here is the result of intense lobbying by the healthcare-industrial complex. We need to stop this bill.