Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the impact of New York City raising the minimum wage over the past four years.
The editorial reports:
Over the past four years, the minimum wage for New York City restaurants that employ more than 10 workers went from $10.50 an hour to $15. That’s a whopping 43% increase. Next year, every restaurant, big and small, will have to pay their workers at least $15 an hour.
A big victory for workers, right? That’s how it’s depicted by the “Fight for $15” crowd. And, yes, if you held a full-time minimum-wage job over those years, your gross income would have gone up by $9,360.
But those massive wage hikes come at a painful cost that backers refuse to acknowledge. They kill jobs. Just like they’re doing right now in New York City.
In just the last three months of last year, 4,000 workers lost jobs at full-service restaurants, Bureau of Labor Statistics data show.
One of the problems here is a misunderstanding of the purpose of the minimum wage. A minimum-wage job should not be an ultimate goal. A minimum-wage job should be a way to enter into the workforce and learn some basic skills–dealing with people, being punctual, having manners, etc. Theoretically these basic skills will allow you to advance to a job that pays better than minimum wage.
The editorial continues:
Even during the Great Recession, restaurant workers didn’t suffer as much as they are now. In fact, over the course of the recession, which lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, the number of restaurant jobs in the city actually increased by 1,800.
It’s getting so bad that fast-food workers now want the city to protect them from getting fired without “just cause.”
Those who keep their jobs aren’t necessarily better off, either.
The Hospitality Alliance survey found that more than three quarters of New York restaurants cut worker hours in 2018 to offset that year’s wage hike. Seventy-five percent say they want to cut hours this year.
“Though the new regulations are intended to benefit employees, some restaurateurs and staffers say that take-home pay ends up being less due to fewer hours — or that employees face more work because there are fewer staffers per shift,” notes Tara Crowl in an article in New York Eater.
The results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in New York City are similar to the results of a significant increase in the minimum wage in Seattle and in Illinois. It seems to me that we need to stop making the same mistakes over and over again and take a good look at the results. Rather than increase the minimum wage, we should be encouraging people to learn the skills they need to get them into jobs that pay better than minimum wage. We should also realize that raising wages too high too fast will create unemployment–not wealth.
Breitbart is reporting today that Google failed to tell consumers about a secret microphone in its home security product, Nest Secure. So your security system may be eavesdropping on you. Great.
The article reports:
According to Business Insider, Google announced this month “users would now be able to use Google Assistant” on Nest Secure devices.
However, “users didn’t know a microphone even existed on their Nest Secure devices to begin with.
Google apologized for failing to disclose the “secret” microphone on Tuesday, claiming it was due to an “error.”
“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part,” declared a Google spokesman. “The microphone has never been on, and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”
“Security systems often use microphones to provide features that rely on sound sensing,” the spokesman explained. “We included the mic on the device so that we can potentially offer additional features to our users in the future, such as the ability to detect broken glass.”
There is a saying that you should never put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want your mother to see as a headline in The New York Times. I think we need to change that saying to never say anything within range of your security system, your cell phone, or Alexa that you wouldn’t want to see as a headline in The New York Times.
On Sunday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about fraud in the government’s food stamp program.
The article reports:
According to a new report produced by the Government and Accountability Office (GAO), at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are “trafficked annually,” meaning they are fraudulently used. The extent of the fraud is uncertain, the GAO warns, estimating the abuse of the program could be as high as $4.7 billion.
About 20 million lower-income households receive benefits from the $64 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to buy food. But GAO found that instead of being used for food, many stores are defrauding the program by “selling” cash instead of food.
“For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits – then pocket the difference,” GAO explains.
The article explains one possible remedy:
The fraud, known as “retailer trafficking,” costs taxpayers at least $1 billion. However, the real cost could be “anywhere from $960 million to $4.7 billion,” the GAO adds.
The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank advocating reform, launched a “Stop the Scam initiative” to raise awareness of the widespread problem.
“Welfare fraud is one of the biggest untold stories of the last decade, robbing resources from the truly needy and eroding public trust in the integrity of our welfare programs,” Sam Adolphsen, vice president of executive affairs at FGA, said in a statement. “While the bad-actor food stamp retailers exposed in this GAO report are in part to blame, we must not lose sight of the accountability that falls upon the food stamp recipient willing to commit fraud and abuse the system.”
The FGA hopes to reduce fraud and abuse at the state level by uncovering discrepancies in each state’s eligibility systems by regularly reviewing their processes.
Public assistance works best when it is closest to the recipient. That way the people providing the assistance know who is in need and who is taking advantage of the program. It also allows those administering the program to spot fraud more easily. Every program in Washington needs to audited for fraud and cleaned up. That alone might make it unnecessary for Congress to raise the debt ceiling every few months.
The article concludes:
Finally, GAO recommended that FNS should “determine the appropriate scope and time frames for reauthorizing high-risk stores,” increase penalties for retail traffickers, and establish performance measures for its trafficking prevention activities.
The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 gave the USDA the authority to strengthen penalties for retailers that commit fraud, but as of November 2018, FNS had not done so.
“By failing to take timely action to strengthen penalties, FNS has not taken full advantage of an important tool for deterring trafficking,” GAO states.
When the GAO confirms what actions FNS has taken in response to its recommendations, it plans to provide updated information to the public, the agency states. It states that the FNS generally agreed with its findings.
The USDA/FNS did not respond to requests to comment for this story.
KDKA Pittsburg posted an article yesterday about January’s Polar Vortex. The Polar Vortex was a very intense cold snap that began January 26th and lasted until February 1st.
Forbes Magazine reported on February 3rd:
Temperatures in the -20°Fs to -40°Fs were common from North Dakota to Illinois. A possible state record of -38°F was observed at Mount Carroll, Illinois. What was truly remarkable was the wind that accompanied these low temperatures. Many instances of sustained winds over 20 mph with temperatures colder than -20°F were reported. This causes the wind chill to drop dangerously low. For reference, a temperature of -20°F with a sustained wind of 20 mph produces a wind chill of -48°F. This is a good time to note that this analysis exclusively uses the wind chill formula developed in 2001. Based on the 2001 formula, the lowest wind chill reading I can find anywhere in any year at an official station is -73°F at Pembina, ND, in January 1936. Other lower readings probably exist, but that is the lowest I have seen.
A Virginia Tech research experiment shows that the Polar Vortex may have killed as many as 95 percent of stink bugs that hadn’t found warm shelter during the winter months.
The National Pest Management Association also says that the Emerald ash borer and southern pine beetles also likely dind’t survive the polar plunge.
Unfortunately that doesn’t mean all annoying insects were killed off in big numbers due to the frigid temperatures.
Researchers say cockroaches, and bed bugs will not be affected. Even if the adults freeze, they have already laid eggs which will hatch when the warmer weather gets here.
You may not see mosquitoes and termites this time of year, but that doesn’t mean the cold temperatures killed them off.
At least there should be some benefit to the incredibly cold weather we suffered through last month.
Yesterday Townhall posted an article with the following headline: “Democrats Don’t Want ICE Notified When Illegal Aliens Try to Purchase Guns.” Wouldn’t a thorough background check determine your immigration status and shouldn’t that be reported?
The article reports:
Last year a record number of illegal aliens, millions of them, tried to purchase firearms in the United States. Not only is it illegal to enter the United States without permission, it’s also illegal to purchase or possess a gun.
…Democrats on the House Oversight Committee, especially Chairman Elijah Cummings, are vicious advocates for gun control…against law abiding American citizens. In fact they believe “gun violence,” the vast majority of which is made up of suicides, is a national emergency.
The only positive thing I can find to say about this is that at least the background checks were thorough enough to find the illegal aliens. The fact that the Democrats seem willing to have people who have already broken the law not reported to the agency designed to deal with them shows how little interest the Democrats have in public safety. It seems to me that an illegal has already broken one law by entering the country illegally. Now he is attempting to break a second law by buying a gun. If he has that little respect for the laws of America, maybe he shouldn’t be here.
This is the current polling from RealClearPolitics:
This is some recent economic news reported by The Washington Times on January 9:
Given the dazzling December economic data, it’s no wonder the press gave it short shrift. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added a whopping 312,000 jobs, far more than the expected 176,000. After revisions, job gains have averaged an impressive 254,000 per month over the past three months. Job growth in 2018 (an average of 220,000 per month) passed that of both 2016 (195,000) and 2017 (182,000). Payrolls increased by 2.6 million in 2018, the highest since 2015.
The sunny jobs picture encouraged 419,000 new workers to enter the workforce and sent the labor force participation rate up to 63.1 percent. Unemployment rates among blacks, Latinos and women are at or near historic lows.
Job growth has also meant significant wage growth. Wages are up a stunning 3.2 percent from last year and .4 percent from November. December was the third straight month that the yearlong growth in nominal average hourly earnings was above 3 percent in nearly a decade; the last time we saw that trend was April 2009. Wages are also being given an assist by inflation being kept in check.
The article at The Washington Times concludes:
His (President Trump’s) astounding economic track record is their worst nightmare. It puts the lie to the nonsense Mr. Obama, the Democrats and the media have been shoveling for years: That anemic economic growth, high unemployment, the collapse of manufacturing and grotesque trade imbalances were the “new normal.”
It also pointedly demonstrates that the statist vision — radical wealth redistribution, socialized medicine, green energy chimeras, social justice enforcement, limits on free speech, private property and gun ownership, and the rule of the leftist mob — creates only tyranny, poverty, injustice and servitude. (Note the deflection: These are things the left claims to want to eradicate.)
Mr. Trump and his economic thunderbolt are exposing the left and its policies as irredeemably bankrupt, economically and morally. And that is perhaps the biggest reason why they must try to destroy him.
A lot of this economic news has not been reported. However, people do notice when there are more jobs available and there is more money in their paycheck. President Trump’s approval numbers are finally in positive numbers. The economy is booming. What would be the basis for most Americans believing America is headed in the wrong direction? Might it be the constant negative reporting from the media? Can you imaging what President Trump’s approval rating would be if the media were actually balanced? Just remember–the people vote. The media represents only a small percentage of votes.
On February 15th The Washington Examiner posted an article with the following headline: “‘Medicare for All’ would require obesity laws.” I wonder if the few Americans who actually support the idea of ‘Medicare for All’ understand that would be part of the deal (along with drastic increases in taxes, long waits for medical care, and a reduction in the quality and quantity of medical care available).
The article notes:
At 36.2 percent, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among OECD countries. Of every European nation with universal healthcare, only the United Kingdom (27.8 percent) and Hungary (26.4 percent) come within 10 percent of the American obesity rate.
In Germany, France, Portugal, and Sweden, the national obesity rates are 22.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 20.8 percent, and 20.6 percent respectively. And in Denmark and Italy, fewer than 20 percent of people are obese.
Like it or not, we live in a country where ordering a salad at a fast food place often costs more than ordering something less healthy. Unless Americans are willing to change their eating habits significantly, Medicare for All would be a disaster.
The article concludes:
The country under single-payer will make former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda taxes and food-nannying look like child’s play. Everything from your sugar consumption to your alcohol would become a matter of public regulation, and the public would not only have the power but also the moral right to regulate how people live.
Of the 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. per year, 300,000 are caused by obesity. It’s one of the single greatest drivers of avoidable healthcare spending, costing the country around $200 billion annually.
Progressives may call this fat-shaming. But it’s really just public health and economics.
Keep your hands off my Bo-Jangles!
Breitbart posted some leaked photos of what is currently happening on our southern border. This is one of the photos:
Another source operating under the umbrella of CBP spoke with Breitbart under the same conditions and stated, “This is no different than what we were dealing with during the Obama Administration. This is happening in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, the Del Rio Sector, the El Paso Sector, the Tucson Sector, the Yuma Sector, and the San Diego Sector. It’s almost across the entire Southwest border that we are being overwhelmed by migrant families.” The source added, “We are basically facilitating Mexican cartels’ migrant smuggling operations into the interior of America. We are babysitting and not securing our border. The flow shows no signs of abating and it keeps increasing.”
We desperately need to secure the border.
Breitbart posted an article today about some recent comments by Representative Adam Schiff.
The article reports:
Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hinted that he would not accept the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller as the end of the investigation into President Donald Trump and Russia.
CNN’s Dana Bash asked, “We expect at some point maybe soon, maybe not, the findings of the Mueller investigation to finally be completed. If he finds that there was no direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, will you accept that?”
Schiff, “We’re going to have to do our own investigation, and we are. We’ll certainly be very interested to learn what Bob Mueller finds. We may have to fight to get that information. Bill Barr has not been willing to commit to provide that report either to the Congress or to the American people. We’re going to need to see it. The American people need to see it. We may also need to see the evidence behind that report. There may be, for example, evidence of collusion or conspiracy that is clear and convincing but not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”
He added, “The American people are entitled to know if there is evidence of a conspiracy between either the president or the president’s campaign and a foreign adversary. At the end of the day, the most important thing for the American people to know is whether the president is somehow compromised, whether there’s a leverage the Russians could use over the president and if the Russians are in a position to expose wrongdoing by the president or his campaign. That’s compromising.”
There have been a lot of insinuations that Robert Mueller’s report is not going to find anything. If Representative Schiff has his own investigation, he can keep the unfounded suspicions against the President in the news until the 2020 election and hope that he can create enough innuendo to cause the President to lose the election. That is what is actually going on here. Finding the facts has very little to do with anything in Congress.
When you are born, you have either an x and a y chromosome or two xx chromosomes. Men have and x and a y, and women have two x’s. These chromosomes determine your biological makeup. There are only two options. However, lately politicians have decided to ignore the science and determine sex without consulting any obvious physical characteristics.
Hot Air posted an article today with the following headline: “Gillibrand: We need to federally recognize a third gender.”
The article reports:
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to great lengths to establish her far-left bona fides heading into the Democrat’s POTUS primary. This weekend she upped the ante even further by jumping onto the transgender rights bandwagon. When asked by a reporter, Gillibrand indicated that she would certainly be in favor of recognizing a third gender (defined as “X” or none of the above) at the federal level.
Isn’t that basically denying science?
The article concludes:
But now that she’s on the record, it may be time to ask her what happened to that whole thing about Democrats being “the party of science.” That’s the position they claim to take every time the subject of climate change comes up. But there is absolutely zero, zilch, nada evidence in medical science that human beings can be some sort of “third gender” or be “genderless” if they decide they don’t feel like one or the other. The only exceptions would be intersex individuals with genetic aberrations to the 23rd chromosomal pair. Such individuals should be able to pick whichever gender they prefer (of the two available choices) for purposes of legal classification. But as for the other 99.99% of the population, applying such a standard to legal documents can cause any number of complications for everything from law enforcement needs to federal allocation programs.
To be clear, you can call yourself whatever you want. I don’t object to it personally and the government has no business suppressing your speech in that fashion. But just because you happen to be in denial of reality, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us (or the government) are under any obligation to go along with your views. Gillibrand is running off to join the circus of politicians beclowning themselves in an effort to establish themselves at the far leftmost extreme of the ideological spectrum. But looking at the latest poll numbers, she isn’t making the sale to the socialist base thus far and it’s tough to imagine this will do the trick.
The Democrats are working very hard to make something that used to be very simple very complicated. Let’s go back to having boy babies and girl babies. It was much easier.
CBS Chicago posted an article yesterday about the attack on Jussie Smollett. It seems that what was originally reported does not seem to be true. As I am sure you remember, Jussie Smollett claimed to have been attacked by two Trump supporters wearing MAGA hats and shouting racial slurs. The attackers were also accused of shouting, “This is MAGA country.” That in itself should have raised suspicions–does anyone really believe that Chicago is MAGA country?
The article reports:
Jussie Smollett paid two brothers to stage an attack against him, directed them to buy items used in the alleged assault and actually rehearsed it with them, sources say.
Sources say at least one of the brothers bought the rope used in the incident at Smollett’s request. The sources also say the “Empire” actor paid for the rope, which was purchased at the Crafty Beaver Hardware Store in the Ravenswood neighborhood the weekend of Jan. 25.
Obviously, the actor is denying that the attack was staged:
Smollett’s attorneys, Todd S. Pugh and Victor P. Henderson, released a statement Saturday about the latest allegations.
“As a victim of a hate crime who has cooperated with the police investigation, Jussie Smollett is angered and devastated by recent reports that the perpetrators are individuals he is familiar with. He has now been further victimized by claims attributed to these alleged perpetrators that Jussie played a role in his own attack. Nothing is further from the truth and anyone claiming otherwise is lying.
“One of these purported suspects was Jussie’s personal trainer who he hired to ready him physically for a music video. It is impossible to believe that this person could have played a role in the crime against Jussie or would falsely claim Jussie’s complicity.
So what might be the motive for a staged attack? Consider that the mainstream media would quickly publicize any attack they could tangentially attach to President Trump. Therefore, the attack would make the news. Consider that actors tend to seek publicity.
Stay tuned. I think CBS Chicago has stumbled on the truth.
From my friends at Power Line Blog:
The Democrats have taken a stand in support of late-term abortion. A recent survey shows that most Americans opposed this practice. Why do the Democrats support it?
The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday that stated the following:
The Democratic Party’s leading presidential contenders are silent on data showing an overwhelming majority of voters oppose their stance on abortion.
A poll released by Susan B. Anthony List on Wednesday found that 77 percent of likely general election voters favor legislation protecting children born through failed abortions and 62 percent oppose efforts to expand late-term abortions. The results closely mirror those previously recorded by Gallup showing only 28 percent of Americans think abortion should be legal during the second trimester and only 13 percent support it during the third trimester.
Despite these numbers, the Democratic presidential contenders continue to support the Women’s Health Protection Act. If implemented, the bill would invalidate any laws that “single out abortion providers with medically unnecessary requirements and restrictions, do not promote women’s health or safety, and limit access to abortion services,” according to the liberal Center for Reproductive Rights. Effectively it would strike down prohibitions on abortion after 20 weeks, regulations protecting individuals or institutions from being forced to perform abortions, and laws preventing abortion on the basis of sex, among others.
The article continues:
“I don’t think they’ve seen the poll numbers,” Kristen Day, the executive director of the Democrats for Life of America, told the Free Beacon. “They look at the poll numbers which Planned Parenthood and NARAL give to them, which say that most Americans don’t want Roe v. Wade to be overturned. But that isn’t the truth about abortion and what people’s opinions are on abortion.”
Day called supporters of the bill “definitely out of the mainstream on this issue. Think like in California and New York, you get a lot of electoral votes. So they’re in line with where California and New York are on abortion but that’s not the majority of the nation.”
Day urged for both pro-life and pro-choice Democrats to “speak out more” against late-term abortions. She added the caveat, however, that was often easier said than done.
“A lot of them are afraid to speak out, I think, because they don’t want to appear to be against women,” Day said. “There are people in Congress right now who are pro-life … but they’re afraid to vote that way, they’re afraid to vote their conscience. On no other issue would you be forced to do that.”
Abortion is a million-dollar business in America. Planned Parenthood makes money both on abortions and on the selling of aborted baby body parts. Planned Parenthood (through its PAC’s) makes large donations to Democrat candidates’ campaigns. At some point Democrat candidates are going to have to decide whether the campaign money they receive from Planned Parenthood is actually helping their campaigns with voters who opposed late-term abortions.
A lot of what we are hearing about collusion, surveillance, etc., is simply stated as ‘reliable sources say.’ I suspect some of what we are hearing is true, but it is impossible to tell what is real and what is not. However, while the media is simply speculating and smearing people they don’t like, Judicial Watch is quietly executing Freedom of Information Act requests and analyzing the date.
Below is the latest Press Release from Judicial Watch (February 15th):
‘I’ll make sure Andy tells Mike to keep these in his pocket’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 186 pages of records from the Department of Justice that include emails documenting an evident cover up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Judicial Watch obtained the records through a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch is seeking all communications between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.
The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton to the FBI to begin processing 13,000 pages of records exchanged exclusively between Strzok and Page between February 1, 2015, and December 2017. The FBI may not complete review and production of all the Strzok-Page communications until at least 2020.
[Redacted] writes: I am still working on an additional page for these TPs that consist of a chart of the statutory violations considered during the investigation, and the reasons for the recommendation not to prosecute, hopefully in non-lawyer friendly terms …
Strzok forwards to Page, Jonathan Moffa and others: I have redlined some points. Broadly, I have some concerns about asking some our [sic] senior field folks to get into the business of briefing this case, particularly when we have the D’s [Comey’s] statement as a kind of stand alone document. In my opinion, there’s too much nuance, detail, and potential for missteps. But I get they may likely be asked for comment.
[Redacted] writes to Strzok, Page and others: The DD [Andrew McCabe] will need to approve these before they are pushed out to anyone. At the end of last week, he wasn’t inclined to send them to anyone. But, it’s great to have them on the shelf in case they’re needed.
[Redacted] writes to Strzok and Page: I’m really not sure why they continued working on these [talking points]. In the morning, I’ll make sure Andy [McCabe] tells Mike [Kortan] to keep these in his pocket. I guess Andy just didn’t ever have a moment to turn these off with Mike like he said he would.
Page replies: Yes, agree that this is not a good idea.
Neither these talking points nor the chart of potential violations committed by Clinton and her associates have been released.
Rybicki writes: By NLT [no later than] next Monday, the Director would like to see a list of all cases charged in the last 20 years where the gravamen of the charge was mishandling classified information.
It should be in chart form with: (1) case name, (2) a short summary for content (3) charges brought, and (4) charge of conviction.
If need be, we can get it from NSD [National Security Division] and let them know that the Director asked for this personally.
Please let me know who can take the lead on this.
Page forwards to Strzok: FYSA [For your situational awareness]
Strzok replies to Page: I’ll take the lead, of course – sounds like an espionage section question… Or do you think OGC [Office of the General Counsel] should?
And the more reason for us to get feedback to Rybicki, as we all identified this as an issue/question over a week ago.
Page replies: I was going to reply to Jim [Rybicki] and tell him I can talked [sic] to you about this already. Do you want me to?
A Wilkinson Walsh attorney, emails [Redacted] FBI National Security Division Officials: We wanted to follow up on our conversation from a few days ago. We would like to schedule a time to speak with both you and [Redacted] early next week. Is there a time on Monday or Tuesday that could work on your end?
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official emails: See below. I am flexible on Monday and Tuesday. [Redacted] can chime in with her availability. It is my understanding that Toscas [George Toscas, who helped lead Midyear Exam] may have called over to Jim or Trisha [former Principal Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson] regarding some high-level participation for at least the first few such calls. I am happy to discuss further but wanted to send you this so you could raise within the OGC [Office of the General Counsel] and give me a sense of scheduling options. I am around if you want to talk.
[Redacted] FBI National Security Division official writes: In the meantime, I’ll tell Hal that we will certainly schedule a call and will get back to him as to timing. Since he knows Beth [Wilkinson] personally, it could be useful to have Jim on the phone if she is going to be haranguing us re: the laptops.
[Redacted] FBI Office of the General Counsel writes: More…I guess this is [Redacted’s] rationale for why we need to have the GC on the call to discuss the fact that we will be following all of our legal obligations and FBI policies/procedures with regard to the disposition of the materials in this case.
Strzok writes: You are perfectly competent to speak to the legal obligations and FBI policy/procedures. We should NOT be treating opposing counsel this way. We would not in any other case.
[Redacted] NSD official responds: Would like to see what you have on your agenda so we could see what we might want to add on our end. I will mention to [Redacted]. Also interested in understanding FBI OGC’s analysis of the privilege and ethics issues we are facing.
Strzok forwards to Page: Pretty nonresponsive.…
Page responds: Why provide them an agenda? I wouldn’t do that until you have a sense of how Andy [McCabe] wants to go. So no. We’ll talk about what we’re going to talk about and then they can talk about what they want to talk about. Also, seriously Pete. F him. OGC needs to provide an analysis? We haven’t done one. But they seem to be categorical that it’s just impossible, I’d just like to know why.
And now I’m angry before bed again.?
Total indulgence, there’s a TV in here. Here’s hoping I can find something to sufficiently melt my brain???
Strzok replies: Because I want to make this productive! Why NOT provide them an agenda!?!? We all talk about what we want to talk about and that’s a waste of time.
They haven’t done one either (legal analysis)
Assume noble intent.
How do we maximize this use of time?
Page writes: I’m ignoring all this and going to bed.
Strzok and Page were discussing a meeting that the Justice Department and FBI were about to have concerning, among other things, “privilege and ethics issues we are facing.”
Strzok writes: “We’re looking into it and will get back to you this afternoon; the answer may require some tweaking, the question is whether this is the forum to do it.” The email is addressed to FBI intelligence analyst Moffa; Rybicki; Michael Kortan, FBI assistant director for public affairs, now retired; Lisa Page and others.
Strzok’s suggested press response is fully redacted, but included is his deferral to the “7th floor as to whether to release to this reporter or in another manner.”
When asked “should we provide any additional information to FactCheck.org or would any updates more appropriately be give [sic] directly to Congress?” Strzok defers to “Jim/Lisa [Page]” and [Redacted].
“Judicial Watch caught the FBI in another cover-up to protect Hillary Clinton,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These records show that the FBI is hiding a chart detailing possible violations of law by Hillary Clinton and the supposed reasons she was not prosecuted.”
Judicial Watch recently released 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 Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues. The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”
When in doubt, go directly to the source!
The program listed below is archived at cctaxpayers.com.
Sunday at 11 am and 8 pm, Wake-up Call is broadcast on WTKF 107.1. This week’sl broadcast will feature a discussion with Major David Goetze (Ret.). Major Dave served in the Military Police of the U.S. Army as an investigator dealing with computer data. Major Dave has closely examined the public records of the 2016 and 2018 elections in North Carolina and found some very interesting anomalies. He will be discussing his findings on Wake-up Call this Sunday. I can promise you that the show will be eye-opening.
Newsbusters posted an article yesterday about the report that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. You might think that after two years and millions of dollars spent on an investigation, that might be news. You might think that, but evidently the major news media disagrees with you.
The article reports:
It’s been two days since NBC’s exclusive reporting that the Senate Intelligence Committee has found no material evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and as of yet none of the three major broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, and NBC) have given it even a single second of coverage in their evening newscasts. Considering these networks have given the Russia probe a massive 2,202 minutes of airtime, their silence on this major development is deafening.
MRC analysts examining all coverage on ABC’s World News Tonight, the CBS Evening News, and the NBC Nightly News found that those 2,202 minutes spent on the Russia investigation accounted for nearly 19 percent of all Trump-related reporting between January 21, 2017 and February 10, 2019. However none of those three shows have even mentioned the investigation since NBC’s report came out on February 12.
The situation has been much the same on those networks’ flagship morning shows. Neither CBS This Morning nor NBC’s Today have even acknowledged this new information from Senate investigators since the news broke on February 12. ABC’s Good Morning America briefly touched on it in a news brief totaling less than one minute on February 13.
In that segment, ABC’s Mary Bruce focused only on the public disagreement between Republican Chairman Richard Burr and Democratic Ranking Member Mark Warner. She failed to acknowledge NBC’s reporting that other Democrats on the Committee had agreed with Burr’s finding that thus far, they had found no direct evidence of collusion.
The article concludes:
Over the past two years, broadcast evening news shows have spent more than 36 hours haranguing viewers about potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Given their keen interest in the subject, you might expect a bipartisan group of investigators finding “no material evidence” of collusion to be newsworthy. But evidently, you’d be wrong.
And there are still some people who wonder why most Americans do not trust the mainstream media.
Heritage.org posted an article today about Amazon’s decision not to locate in New York City.
The article reports:
Based on Amazon’s public statement, it seems the company couldn’t rely on the deals it had cut or the political support it had received to last beyond the next election. And businesses can’t base long-term decisions like this on shifting political sand.
That’s part of the problem with crony capitalism. It may procure short-term wins for a select few politicians and for businesses that can afford to pay to play, but it’s not a strategy for long-term success.
Employers want to set up shop in places where they can grow and succeed. The best environment for that is a level playing field with minimal government interference and low, broad-based taxes—not picking winners and losers through special-interest subsidies.
A favorable business environment is one where local leaders work to help all businesses equally, not a select few. Employers want leaders who can listen to their needs without telling them how to run their business, and they want communities and leaders that welcome the jobs and economic growth that employers bring, instead of protesting their presence.
It turns out this is not what New York City had to offer. Amazon said that certain politicians “made it clear that they oppose our presence and will not work with us to build the type of relationships that are required to go forward.”
New York City is not a friendly business climate, and losing those special “relationships” would have left it exposed to the same burdens and barriers that other businesses face in New York.
For most businesses, deciding where to locate really all comes down to the bottom line.
The article notes that businesses and people are leaving New York:
According to the ALEC-Laffer State Economic Competitiveness Index, “Rich States, Poor States,” New York ranks dead last in the overall economic outlook ranking, while Virginia ranks among the top 10.
And Amazon isn’t the only company wary of locating in New York. Plenty of individuals, families, and businesses are fleeing the state, and they’re taking their income and tax revenues with them.
In fact, between 1997 and 2016, every dollar of income that left New York was replaced by only 71 cents coming in. That deficit will only continue under New York’s current policies.
The article concludes:
States and cities should also take a lesson from this New York episode: Crony capitalism isn’t the way to win over more business. The key is to provide a level playing field that offers opportunity for all businesses to grow and thrive.
Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the spending bill the President signed this morning.
The article notes:
Forty-eight hours before the government would have shut down, Congress produced the conference report containing the seven remaining funding bills for the FY2019 budget. And less than 20 hours after producing the 1,159-page monstrosity, both the House and the Senate are expected to pass the bill. Perhaps members will take a nap with it under their pillow to absorb it by osmosis.
It’s not a good bill, and even if it were, how would anyone know? I am sure some members of Congress assigned various sections of the bill to staff members in the hopes of getting most of it read, but this is no way to run a country.
Meanwhile, the President is charged with defending our borders. We have had and continue to have thousands of people forming caravans to break into our country. Any public official who took an oath to defend our Constitution has an obligation to defend our borders. I really don’t understand why that is so difficult to understand. Well, yes I do–it’s about money and voters. When the Democrats look at illegal aliens, they see Democrat voters. Illegal aliens are already allowed to vote in local elections in some cities and states. When Republicans look at illegal aliens, they see cheap labor. Since much of the campaign money for Republicans comes from PAC’s related to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (made up of corporations that support cheap labor), Republicans are not inclined to seal our borders.
So what impact does illegal immigration have on those of us who are ordinary citizens? In June 2018, Numbers USA reported:
A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled Chilling Effects: The Expected Public Charge Rule and Its Impact on Legal Immigrant Families’ Public Benefits Use, revealed that 10.3 million out of the 22 million foreign nationals in the U.S. receive benefits from at least one welfare program funded by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, 54.2% of foreign national children, age 17 and younger, are granted welfare benefits. The data also showed that 46.3% of foreign national welfare recipients are adults, age 18 to 54, and 47.8% are older than 54.
MPI examined a leaked draft of an executive order that would deny green cards to individuals who use public benefits, or have relatives who do. The report goes on to explain how the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule would reduce the number of foreign nationals on welfare, cause a decrease in immigration levels, and make it more difficult for foreign nationals and their dependents to be eligible for welfare benefits.
A website called nokidhungry.org reports that 17.9 percent of American children under the age of 18 are living in households that experienced limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food at some point during the year. (Source: Feeding America). That number is a disgrace when you consider the amount of money we provide to poor families in this country, but it also illustrates the fact that we cannot afford to support more low-income families–particularly if they are not American citizens.
It is pathetic that Congress could not support preserving our country. Thank God we have a President who is willing to fight to preserve America.
In 1964 a movie called “Seven Days In May” was released. The movie deals with a plot by United States military leaders to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about eight days in May 2017 when a politicized FBI and Department of Justice began their efforts to unseat a duly elected President.
The article reports:
The New York Times reported last month that in that period, the FBI opened up a counterintelligence investigation focused on the president himself. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”
That is one sort of investigation. The other probe McCabe wanted to nail into place was what became the Mueller investigation. Describing the decision to appoint Mueller — the decision was actually made by Rosenstein — McCabe wrote, “If I got nothing else done as acting director, I had done the one thing I needed to do.”
And then there were the talks about secretly recording the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. According to CBS, top law enforcement officials were discussing which Cabinet members might be persuaded to go along with an effort to remove Trump. “They were counting noses,” Pelley said on CBS Thursday morning. “They were not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating.”
Much, if not all, of what McCabe reports has been reported before. But an eyewitness, insider account lends new weight to the idea that the highest levels of the national security apparatus experienced a collective freakout in the days after the Comey firing.
In particular, it intensifies questions about Rosenstein’s behavior in those eight days. Remember that Rosenstein played a key role in the removal of Comey. A few days later, he was talking about removing the president for having removed Comey. The sheer audacity of that has stunned even experienced Capitol Hill observers.
If we are to keep our free country and our election process, there are a number of people who need to be held accountable for their actions while they were in leadership roles in government organizations.
NBC News posted an article today about the relationship between President Trump and the nation of Turkey.
The article reports:
As Trump administration officials presided over the second day of an international conference in Warsaw dominated by calls to ratchet up pressure on Iran, one longtime U.S. ally and NATO member was noticeably absent — Turkey.
Snubbing the gathering in Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday attended a rival conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he planned to meet his Russian and Iranian counterparts to work out a final settlement of the war in Syria.
The dueling summits illustrate President Donald Trump’s struggle to forge a united front against Iran, and reflect Turkey’s drift away from Washington as it finds common ground with Moscow and Tehran, experts and former officials said.
These three paragraphs are totally misleading and paint a negative picture of President Trump’ foreign policy that is totally inaccurate. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became President of Turkey in 2014. He had previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014. As he moves Turkey in the direction of an Islamic State, it is only natural that his friendly relationship with America would deteriorate rapidly.
On July 28, 2014, The Jerusalem Post reported:
Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New-York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser on Islamic affairs in the office of the American secretary of defense, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that the real issue in the ongoing conflict is that Turkey and Qatar are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in their goals.
“[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood long before he was prime minister,” Rhode said.
It should now be clear to all that Erdogan “is now out of the bag,” Rhode said, adding that US President Barack Obama does not speak to the Turkish leader anymore despite previously describing him as one of his closest friends among the world’s leaders.
“Erdogan is doing whatever he can to help Hamas,” he said, asserting that it will only hurt the Palestinian people in the end.
On January 7, 2019, Clare Lopez posted an article at the Center for Security Policy that stated:
As National Security Advisor John Bolton heads to Turkey today for discussions about President Trump’s announced decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syrian battle spaces, he might question Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his expressed intent to re-establish the Ottoman Empire and how Erdogan calculates U.S. policy in the region to figure into that ambition.
He might cite from Erdogan’s February 2018 assertion that “modern Turkey is a ‘continuation’ of the Ottoman Empire,” or ask exactly what Erdogan meant when, in November 2018 he declared that “Turkey is bigger than Turkey; just know this. We cannot be trapped inside 780,000 kilometers [Turkey’s total area].” He might perhaps ask also what exactly Erdogan meant by threatening the U.S. with an “Ottoman Slap,” in reference to American support for Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State.
Then there was the November 2018 “International Islamic Union Congress,” held in Istanbul. Headed by Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, the event’s participants endorsed the aim of “unity of Islam” through establishing the “Confederation of Islamic Countries.” It was not entirely clear how or if such a “Confederation” would differ from a Caliphate or Islamic State.
Clearly, U.S. objectives for the region are not the same as Turkey’s.
I don’t think President Trump is the problem in our relationship with Turkey.
The Daily Caller posted an article today about Speaker Pelosi’s reaction to the possibility that President Trump may declare a national emergency to build a border wall.
The article reports:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned President Donald Trump on Thursday that a future Democratic president could declare a national emergency to achieve an agenda, such as gun control policy.
Responding to the president’s announcement that he will declare a national emergency related to the U.S. southern border, Pelosi maintained that “Democratic presidents can declare emergencies as well. So the precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”
The Constitution charges the President with the responsibility of defending our borders. The Constitution also enshrines the rights of American citizens to bear arms. What the President is doing is constitutional. What Speaker Pelosi is threatening is not constitutional. It’s that simple.
The article quotes Speaker Pelosi:
Speaker Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference, “You want to talk about a national emergency? Let’s talk about today, the one-year anniversary of another manifestation of the epidemic of gun violence in America. That’s a national emergency. Why don’t you declare that emergency, Mr. President?”
Is the prospect of caravans of thousands of immigrants crossing our border illegally a national emergency? What else would you call it? I wonder if the Democrats are happy with their choice of Speaker of the House.
Ilhan Omar has been in the news recently for implying that a pro-Israel lobbying group — the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) — is paying US politicians to support Israel. AIPAC does not directly contribute to political campaigns, but does make contributions through a number of political action committees (PACs) and does lobby. That is no different than many other organizations. Her criticism is interesting, however, when you look at her donors.
Sara Carter is reporting today that Ms Omar received tens of thousands of dollars from PACs and lobbyists.
The article reports:
One PAC from which Omar received thousands of dollars in 2018 is the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR was named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the 2009 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest terrorism-financing trial in American history.
And CAIR not only has a PAC, it is a lobbying organization. On Jan.10, CAIR hosted the Community Congressional Reception at which Omar spoke.
In all, Omar received tens of thousands of dollars from lobbying groups. None of her money came from AIPAC or the NRA or the fossil fuel industry; That must be a coincidence.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Holy Land Foundation trial, here is the link to one of the government exhibits introduced in the trial. This exhibit outlines the plan of the Muslim Brotherhood to undermine the government of the United States and replace the U.S. Constitution with Sharia Law. CAIR is listed as an un-indicted co-conspirator in this effort. That is where some of this Congresswoman’s campaign money is coming from. She should be removed from the Foreign Relations Committee–she does not represent the best interests of America.
On February 11th, Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it received 215 pages of records from the U.S. Department of Justice revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues.
The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”
The newly obtained emails came in response to a May 21 order in a January 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the DOJ failed to respond to a December 4, 2017 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00154)). Judicial Watch seeks:
On October 28, 2016, the day that Comey sent a letter to Congress regarding the FBI’s discovery that the Weiner laptop contained Clinton’s emails. Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, within hours, emails Baker requesting a call “ASAP” about the Comey letter. Baker describes his follow-up call to senior FBI officials:
I received the email below from David Kendall and I called him back. Before doing so I alerted DOJ via email that I would do that.
He said that our letter was “tantalizingly ambiguous” and made statements that were “inchoate and highly ominous” such that what we had done was worse than transparency because it allows people to make whatever they want out to make out of the letter to the prejudice of Secretary Clinton.
I told him that I could not respond to his requests at this time but that I would discuss it with others and get back to him.
I suggest that we have some kind of follow up meeting or phone call with this group either this evening or over the weekend to address this and probably other issues/questions that come up in the next 24 hours. Sound reasonable?
Baker’s heads up on the Kendall call was sent to:
The emails show that a conference call for the above senior officials was set up for the next day by Peter Strzok. (Two days before the election, on November 6, Comey sent a second letter reporting that the FBI’s review of the Weiner laptop material would not change his “conclusion” that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted.)
On October 13, 2016, former FBI attorney Lisa Page sent an email, which apparently references a related Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit and further discusses a previously reported quid pro quo offer from the State Department:
Jason Herring will be providing you with three 302s of current and former FBI employees who were interviewed during the course of the Clinton investigation. These 302s are scheduled to be released to Congress in an unredacted form at the end of the week, and produced (with redactions) pursuant to FOIA at the beginning of next week. As you will see, they describe a discussion about potential quid pro quo arrangement between then-DAD in IOD [deputy assistant director in International Operations Division] and an Undersecretary at the State Department whereby IOD would get more LEGAT [legal attaché] positions if the FBI could change the basis of the FOIA withhold re a Clinton email from classified to something else. [Emphasis added]
The lawsuit also forced the release of a November 6, 2016, email by then-FBI official Peter Strzok telling Bowdich, Priestap, Rybicki, Page, former FBI General Counsel James Baker and others: “[Redacted], Jon and I completed our review of all of the potential HRC work emails on the [Anthony Weiner] laptop. We found no previously unknown, potentially classified emails on the media.”
As Judicial Watch previously reported, there were at least 18 classified emails found on the Weiner laptop by the FBI. Paul Sperry’s RealClear Investigations report revealed that only 3,077 of the 340,000 emails “were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information.”
The new records also include a September 2, 2016, email that Comey forwards containing a press release issued that day by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), in which Grassley criticized the FBI for not publicly releasing many unclassified records related to the Clinton email-server investigation, as demanded by Congress. In his cover note responding to Grassley’s charge, Comey tells his top aides, “To be great is to be misunderstood.” Page then responds with, “Outstanding.”
On October 23, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Page and others the Wall Street Journal article revealing that Andrew McCabe’s wife had received a half million dollars for her Democratic state senate campaign. Page responded that the article, “shaded or omitted or mischaracterized” facts “in order to get out the story [the reporter] wanted to tell.” She claimed the WSJ story was just “another depressing chapter in this whole post-investigation saga.”
“It is big news that, just days before the presidential election, Hillary Clinton’s personal lawyer pressured the top lawyer for the FBI on the infamous Weiner laptop emails,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “These documents further underscore that the fix was in for Hillary Clinton. When will the Justice Department and FBI finally do an honest investigation of the Clinton email scandal?”
Last month, United States District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that discovery can begin in Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Obama administration senior State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides will now be deposed under oath. Senior officials — including Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes, and FBI official E.W. Priestap — will now have to answer Judicial Watch’s written questions under oath. The court rejected the DOJ and State Department’s objections to Judicial Watch’s court-ordered discovery plan. (The court, in ordering a discovery plan last month, ruled that the Clinton email system was “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”)
Judicial Watch’s discovery will seek answers to:
Yesterday The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina) posted an article about a recent City Council meeting in that city. The article illustrates how illegal immigration impacts the daily life of a city.
The article cites a few items from the City Council meeting:
The contentious national immigration debate pushed its way into Charlotte politics Monday night, as City Council voted to loosen the requirements for advisory boards and committees and allow people who aren’t registered voters to serve.
That would also potentially open up the 35 boards and commissions — which advise City Council on everything from zoning to transit to public art — to undocumented immigrants, as board members who opposed the change pointed out.
It was the second time in one meeting that immigration policy came up, as City Council members also debated whether the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department should be conducting DWI checkpoints in immigrant communities at a time of stepped-up ICE enforcement raids.
The article notes the vote on the idea of loosening the requirements for advisory boards:
City Council approved the change to the requirements for boards and commissions in an 8-2 vote, with Republicans Ed Driggs and Tariq Bokhari voting no.
The article notes that on the public safety issue of DWI checkpoints, common sense won the day:
City Council also voted unanimously to accept a grant allowing CMPD to continue DWI checkpoints, after a police official assured members that the checkpoints are planned based on traffic safety data and not in coordination with ICE.
Drunk driving is not an immigration issue–it is a public safety issue. As far as allowing illegal immigrants on advisory boards, do these people have a knowledge of the laws of America? Are they familiar with the U.S. Constitution? Do they sincerely have a stake in the welfare of the community?