What Is Being Hidden Here?

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted a story about some recent comments by senior Iranian officials.

The article reports:

Senior Iranian officials are warning the Trump administration about disclosing secret deals related to the nuclear deal that have long been hidden from the public by the Obama administration, according to recent comments that prompted pushback from senior sources on Capitol Hill.

Does anyone else wonder why the details of this agreement are such a closely guarded secret? What ever happened to transparency in government? Iran may be a tyrannical dictatorship, but America is supposed to be a representative republic.

The article further reports:

Alaeddin Boroujerdi, a senior Iranian lawmaker and head of country’s foreign policy committee, warned the Trump administration against making these documents public in recent remarks.

“If Trump wants to publish confidential documents exchanged between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency, it will in fact constitute a violation of the agency’s obligations, because the agency has been committed not to make Iran’s confidential nuclear information and documents available to any country, including the U.S.,” Boroujerdi was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-run media.

Some of these documents surround side deals struck between Iran and the IAEA regarding the Islamic Republic’s ability to enrich uranium. They also include deals about how much information Iran must disclose to international inspectors about the country’s contested nuclear program.

As part of the nuclear deal, U.S. inspectors are not permitted to take part in the review of any Iranian sites.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a vocal opponent of the Iran deal who has long been fighting for the full disclosure of the Iran deal documents, told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration hid these documents in order to mislead Americans about the true nature of the agreement.

“The administration is under no obligation to conceal information about secret side deals, nor should they feel obligated to protect the anonymity of individuals or institutions who misbehaved at the behest of the Obama administration,” Roskam said.

Included in these documents are details of multiple, secret payments to Iran that totaled close to $2 billion. The money is believed to have been part of an incentive package aimed at securing the release last year of several American hostages in Iran.

None of this information is technically classified, yet it remains hidden from the American public and a large portion of Congress.

This is a nuclear agreement that could potentially impact the future of not only the Middle East but also America. The American public has a right to know exactly what was agreed to by the Obama Administration.

 

Eternal Vigilance Is The Cost Of Freedom

While we were waiting for Donald Trump to become President, there were some things going on in Washington that we need to look at. At the time these things may not have seemed important, but in view of recent events, they need to be re-examined.

Yesterday PJ Media reported on a New York Times story from January 12, 2017,.

The New York Times reported:

In its final days, the Obama administration has expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches.

The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

PJ Media states:

Let’s call the roster of the bad guys:

Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch signed the new rules, permitting the N.S.A. to disseminate “raw signals intelligence information,” on Jan. 3, after the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., signed them on Dec. 15, according to a 23-page, largely declassified copy of the procedures.

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.

This is essentially a land mine placed in the path of the Trump Administration by the Obama Administration. If I told you how angry I was about this, this blog would no longer be family-friendly.  I hope Americans can put partisan politics aside and realize how damaging this is to the country and to the Fourth Amendment rights of all Americans. Former President Obama has gone out of his way to make things difficult for President Trump. This is not appropriate. It is petty, vindictive and unpatriotic. If laws were not broken, there cannot be a legal penalty, but there should be a public censure of some sort. I have always felt that former President Obama did not understand America. His actions in the last months of his presidency and his actions since leaving office have convinced me that is true.

How An Open Border Effects You If You Live In North Carolina

Border security under former President Obama was something of a joke. Border patrol agents were simply not allowed to do their job. Certain areas of America were marked with signs indicating it was dangerous to go there because drug cartels were using those areas to conduct business (inside America). Well, there is a new sheriff in town, but he sure has a lot to clean up.

On February 7th, Judicial Watch posted an article about the reach of Mexican drug cartels into America. It’s not good news.

The article reports:

Illustrating that the Mexican drug crisis is having a far-reaching impact on the U.S., a heroin ring operated by a Mexican cartel was recently busted in an American suburb more than 1,500 miles from the southern border. In the last few years Judicial Watch has reported extensively on the massive amounts of drugs—especially heroin—that get smuggled into the U.S. by Mexican traffickers who later use street, prison and outlaw motorcycle gangs to distribute them throughout the country. Undoubtedly, these enterprises benefitted tremendously from the Obama administration’s open border policies.

Now we have confirmation that these illicit drug operations have penetrated areas far from the border. This case comes out of Rowan County, North Carolina where a local news report reveals that authorities began targeting large-scale heroin distribution in 2013. Last week three people with ties to a Mexican drug cartel were arrested in the county. Large quantities of heroin, handguns, a rifle, ammunition, numerous telephones, cash and drug paraphernalia was confiscated by police. Authorities say the Mexican heroin trafficking ring was based in the Charlotte-Matthews area and has been supplying heroin to Rowan County for more than a decade. “Over the past two months, investigators purchased large amounts of heroin from two people working for this Mexican National Drug Trafficking Organization,” the news report states.

Rowan County is near Charlotte, North Carolina.

The article further reports:

A big part of the problem is that the drug trafficking is being leveraged by corrupt public officials in the U.S., a years-long Judicial Watch investigation has found. Undoubtedly, cartel violence is real but truckloads of drugs are getting across the country because U.S. officials at the municipal, state and federal level are turning a blind eye or actively participating and cooperating with cartels. As part of an ongoing probe, Judicial Watch has provided the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley with evidence, including the sworn testimony of law enforcement officers, of this corruption and criminality in all levels of government. Learn more about Judicial Watch’s probe here.

Hopefully the new sheriff in town can put an end to this activity. However, when you realize how pervasive the corruption is, you begin to understand some of the opposition to President Trump. There is a lot of money tied up in the drug trade that does not want the new sheriff to interfere with that money. Our future as a nation is at stake–it is time to get control of our borders.

Cutting The Cost Of Government

From The American Action Forum:

The chart below tracks the progress of regulatory modernization during the Trump Administration. Every CRA measured signed into law and all rulemakings that reduce paperwork hours or costs will be available below (and updated weekly). This reflects data from 2017 onward and all figures are from benefit-costs analyses provided by federal agencies, available at RegRodeo.com. To date, Congress and the administration have saved $2.8 billion and 41 million hours of paperwork.

 

The above chart is the reason the American people elected Donald Trump as President. It is also the reason that those in the bureaucracy so strongly oppose him.

 

Something To Consider

I am getting tired of the Michael Flynn controversy, and I suspect you are too, but there are some aspects of this incident that need to be considered. There are two stories that I think contain important information.

The first story is from The Week, a magazine not known for its conservative leanings.

Some highlights from that story:

In a liberal democracy, how things happen is often as important as what happens. Procedures matter. So do rules and public accountability. The chaotic, dysfunctional Trump White House is placing the entire system under enormous strain. That’s bad. But the answer isn’t to counter it with equally irregular acts of sabotage — or with a disinformation campaign waged by nameless civil servants toiling away in the surveillance state.

As Eli Lake of Bloomberg News put it in an important article following Flynn’s resignation,

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do. [Bloomberg]

Those cheering the deep state torpedoing of Flynn are saying, in effect, that a police state is perfectly fine so long as it helps to bring down Trump.

It is the role of Congress to investigate the president and those who work for him. If Congress resists doing its duty, out of a mixture of self-interest and cowardice, the American people have no choice but to try and hold the government’s feet to the fire, demanding action with phone calls, protests, and, ultimately, votes. That is a democratic response to the failure of democracy.

John Podhoretz, also not a supporter of Michael Flynn,  posted an article at The New York Post.

He stated the following:

This information might have come because the US intelligence community has an active interest in the Russian official to whom he talked.

Or it could have come because the FBI had been pursuing some sort of secret investigation and had received authorization to monitor and track his calls and discussions.

If this was intelligence, the revelation of the Flynn meeting just revealed something to the Russians we shouldn’t want revealed — which is that we were listening in on them and doing so effectively.

And if it was an FBI investigation, then the iron principle of law enforcement — that evidence gathered in the course of an investigation must be kept secret to protect the rights of the American being investigated — was just put through a shredder.

Keeping our intelligence-gathering assets hidden from those upon whom we are spying is a key element of our national security.

And as for playing fast and loose with confidential information on American citizens: No joke, people — if they can do it to Mike Flynn, they can do it to you.

The danger in this situation is not whatever relationship Michael Flynn has or had with Russia; the danger is the means that the opponents of Donald Trump will use to take down one of his appointments.

We know that former President Obama has organized a nonprofit group called Organizing for Action (OFA) for the purpose of ‘protecting the Obama legacy from President Trump.’ Aside from the fact that this is highly unusual, it is simply classless. This group may or may not be involved in what happened to Michael Flynn, but I suspect that they have a few contacts within government that they might have encouraged along the way. OFA also has a press secretary and the ear of the major media. OFA also has an office paid for with taxpayer dollars because Barack Obama is a former President. The taxpayers are paying to undermine their own government!

Be prepared for more media attacks on members of the Trump Administration.

 

 

This Might Be One Reason Infrastructure Projects In Massachusetts Cost So Much

Boston CBS Local posted an article yesterday about a perk that some state employees receive. It’s okay for a job to have perks, but somehow this perk was unknown to the general public and hidden under layers of accounting.

The article reports:

For possibly more than 30 years, some managers at the MBTA have enjoyed a perk that’s been hidden from the public: Unmarked take-home cars that are owned by construction companies.

The I-Team discovered the cost to taxpayers is almost impossible to determine because the vehicles have been buried in the overall price of multi-million dollar projects.

Now, leaders at the cash-strapped agency say the secret car program is coming to a screeching halt. Less than a week after the I-Team started asking questions, the MBTA returned all 23 vehicles to construction companies.

…Gas, insurance and maintenance costs were all covered by the contractor, while the MBTA picked up the tab for the $625 monthly parking pass at a private downtown garage.

…MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve told the I-Team the contractor-owned vehicles are another example of trying to change “decades of mismanagement” at the agency.

He pointed to other recent examples like privatizing operations at the MBTA’s “money room,” and eliminating hundreds of unused cell phones from the budget.

In the case of the take-home vehicles, Shortsleeve said the program raised immediate concerns when he heard about it.

It will be interesting to revisit this issue in about six months and see if anything has been done about it.

When You Pump Raw Sewage Into Your Home Every Night, Eventually Your House Will Smell

This morning I was watching one of the major network news shows. They had a segment about an upcoming show about a transgender child’s fight to use the school bathroom of his/her choice. While I understand that this child might feel ostracized by having to go to a special bathroom that was inconvenient, I want to consider what else is going on here.

The interview was slanted to make the child a very sympathetic character. Anyone who was not sympathetic to the problem faced by this child because he had to walk down an extra hallway to get to his/her bathroom was seen as unfeeling. I believe the child was a girl transitioning to a boy and wanted to use the boys’ restroom. The purpose of this show is to make parents and students comfortable with the idea of a biological girl using the boys’ room. As a parent or a student, are you comfortable with that? I understand the dilemma if the child is truly transgender (that is another wholly separate discussion), but what about the child who simply wants to use the other bathroom and tells the teacher (or whoever) that he (or she) is transgender when he/she is not? Are we putting our school students at risk here? Is it an unnecessary risk?

Television has been used to impact the culture since it arrived. There have been some positive influences and there have been some fun influences, but the majority of television’s network programming undermines the basic foundations of our society. The news on the major news channels is no long objective and is aimed at promoting a specific point of view. The mainstream networks no longer report news–they tell us what to think and what to be outraged about.

We are at a crossroads. It is interesting that a few people in Hollywood have realized that filth does not sell as well as good things and are making family movies again. However, television has not yet gotten the message. When you look at the ratings of MSNBC, you wonder why they are still on the air. The answer is simple–someone is paying their way because they are supporting a definite political viewpoint that their supporters want put forth. All of us need to be very careful what we let come into our house–both in terms of people and in terms of entertainment. We are in danger of losing our values and thus our way of life.

Gentlemen, This Is A Football

Legendary Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi was known for beginning the first team meeting of the preseason by stating, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” The Green Bay Packers were the team to beat in the 1960’s, winning the first two Super Bowls. Vince Lombardi was their coach during this time. Many of the players at those initial team meetings had already won Super Bowls. So what is the point of the statement, “Gentlemen, this is a football?” Simple, there comes a time (quite often) when you simply have to get back to basics.

The news story of the day is the resignation of General Flynn. The bottom line on the story is that the General was not totally truthful in his statements to Vice-President Pence about his contacts with Russia. The contacts with Russia may not actually be a serious problem, but if you want to be part of an administration, it’s not a good idea to lie to those in charge. However, there is much more to the story.

Those of us who want more honesty in government may not be too upset by this resignation. General Flynn is a good man who made a mistake. Unfortunately that mistake cost him his job.

Yesterday, Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the kerfuffle that reminds us of some of the elements surrounding the story.

These are some of the observations in the article:

Thus, I agree with David Goldman that even if reports of the conversation are true, Trump need not remove Flynn over it. (Goldman, by the way, sees the attack on Flynn as part of a CIA vendetta against the retired general).

Misleading Mike Pence, if that’s what Flynn did, is another matter. Obviously, the president and the vice president should be able to count on the national security adviser for honest reports about his conversations with foreign ambassadors (and about all other matters). If Flynn was not honest, that’s a problem.

…ONE MORE THING: It’s clear from the Post’s (Washington Post) report that Sally Yates and the others discovered that the Russians conceivably could blackmail Flynn by listening to a recording of the Russian ambassador’s phone call with Flynn. That’s how they learned Russia could show Flynn might have misled Pence about what was said during the call.

Thus, the Post has reported that the U.S. is tapping the Russian ambassador’s phone. Now, maybe the Russians already know, or assume, this. On the other hand, it may be that the Post has harmed U.S. intelligence gathering capability by running its breathless “blackmail” story.

One final thought. Remember that those of us who want President Trump to drain the swamp are not playing on a level playing field. The political left and their allies in the press are working very hard to undermine President Trump. You could probably also include many career government workers in that category. So what is going on here is not simply the resignation of someone who was less than truthful in his dealings with his boss. The political left will celebrate this as a victory because they caused the removal of General Flynn. We need to be very careful that this does not become a pattern. Also, anyone in the Trump Administration needs to realize that they have to be one hundred percent above board in their actions or the press will destroy them. This is not the Obama Administration where obvious violations of civil rights laws and other laws was overlooked by the press. Under a Republican Administration, the press will suddenly rediscover its role as watchdog.

It’s Time To Get Rid Of A Bad Idea

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about plans by Republicans to redo some of the reforms put in place after the 2008 housing bubble crash.

The article reminds us of the lies that were told in order to create the Dodd-Frank reforms and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

The article reports:

One of the great follies of the 2010 Dodd-Frank reforms is that it let Democrats pretend that “Wall Street greed” was to blame for the financial crisis. In a brilliant bit of jujitsu, Democrats used that false narrative to create a mass of new regulations — and a new super-regulator, the CFPB, giving it sweeping, near-dictatorial and likely unconstitutional regulatory control over nearly all lending in the U.S., from major mortgage lenders to payday lending shops.

It was created under false pretenses. The fact is, government, not Wall Street, was to blame for the crisis. Research by Edward Pinto, former executive vice president and chief credit officer for Fannie Mae, found that by 2008 more than half of all mortgages in the U.S. were subprime or otherwise risky, and 76% of those were on government agencies’ books. And it is an indisputable fact that, from the Clinton administration on, government regulations required banks to lend to uncreditworthy borrowers, or face stiff penalties.

“This leaves no doubt that government housing policies — and not a lack of regulation — created the demand for these risky mortgages,” wrote American Enterprise Institute Senior Fellow Peter Wallison, who sat on the government’s 2009 Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the official investigation into the crisis.

The article reminds us that since the creation of the CFPB in 2010, there has been a near-decade long credit slump which has crippled the nation’s financial industry. Both Dodd-Frank and the CFPB have severely hurt economic growth in America.

The article concludes:

We’re happy to see that Congress wants to seriously reform the CFPB. We’d be even happier if they just got rid of it.

That is a wonderful idea.

For an honest history of the housing bubble, I strongly recommend this video:

 

Is This Really Necessary?

On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the confirmation hearings for President Trump’s cabinet.

The article reports:

Trump has now been president for a full three weeks, and the number of approved members in his cabinet stands at seven—a number that was boosted by three contested confirmations last week that were opposed by almost the entire Democratic caucus.

Senate Democrats, vowing to use “everything” they can to stop Trump‘s nominees, have used procedural tricks like boycotting committee meetings to slow the confirmation process to a historically slow pace.

Recent administrations have had many more nominees approved at the three-week mark. Barack Obama had 12 out of 15 nominees approved, George W. Bush had his entire cabinet approved, and Bill Clinton had all but one approved in less than a day.

For most of history, approving cabinet nominees has been a non-issue. Presidents John Kennedy, Richard Nixon, and Jimmy Carter had their entire cabinet approved in the first days of their presidency—a brisk pace that has been the norm for most of U.S. history.

As noted by historian Robert David Johnson, the only confirmation process at all comparable to the current situation was that of President George H.W. Bush, and even he had 10 of his 14 nominees confirmed by the three-week mark.

The article reminds us that in the case of President H.W. Bush, the Democrats controlled the Senate and had the power to stop his cabinet choices. The Republicans currently control the Senate, and even then the Democrats are successful at slow-walking President Trump’s cabinet choices. Odds are that all cabinet members will eventually be confirmed. It doesn’t make sense to obstruct, and obstruction may have a political price.

The article further reports:

The continuing obstruction of even uncontroversial cabinet choices is being driven by demands from the liberal base of the Democratic Party, which is demanding that Democratic lawmakers not cooperate with Trump on anything.

“Democrats, pushed by their base, are under pressure to not cooperate with the new president—on anything,” wrote the Wall Street Journal following reports that Democrats boycotted committee hearings for multiple nominees.

“Gone are the concerns about appearing overly obstructionist,” Politico reported. “Officeholders are now chasing a base that will not tolerate any sign of accommodation.”

The White House has complained that Democrats are “working overtime” to stop the administration from putting qualified nominees in place at agencies.

The Partnership for Public Progress, a nonpartisan group that promotes public service, has said the slow pace of confirmations is damaging the country.

“They are running the most important organization on the planet, and they don’t have their team on the field,” said the organizations CEO. “They don’t have their critical people in place and that’s vital to being able to do their jobs appropriately.”

This is ridiculous. I am waiting for the Democrats who are slowing the confirmation process to start complaining that the Trump Administration isn’t doing anything. Meanwhile, the Democrats are planning on obstructing anything that is attempted. This is not what the American people signed up for. We want a government that gets things done. We want a government that will do what is needed to restart the economy. We want a government that will get out of health insurance and let the free market work. Simply stated, we want a government that will let us live our lives. This obstructionism is not appreciated by anyone except the extreme left, and candidates running for re-election need votes from all groups of voters. The current actions of the Senate Democrats may please the base, but we will see in 2018 if they actually helped the party or hurt the party.

Politics Before National Security

The decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals did not uphold the law. This is the law as it is written:

The Executive Order issued by President Trump did not stop immigration from the seven countries listed–it put a 90-day pause in effect on refugees from these countries. The idea was to allow time for us to find a way to vet them so as to ensure the safety of Americans. The Executive Order also included a 120-day pause in admitting refugees. Again, this would give us time to examine our policies so that we could improve our procedures. Most of what the news is reporting on this Executive Order is simply not true. It is my hope that another Executive Order regarding refugees will be written more carefully and will stand.

However, there is more to the story. On Thursday, The Washington Times reported the following:

The State Department has more than doubled the rate of refugees from Iraq, Syria and other suspect countries in the week since a federal judge’s reprieve, in what analysts said appears to be a push to admit as many people as possible before another court puts the program back on ice.

A staggering 77 percent of the 1,100 refugees let in since Judge James L. Robart’s Feb. 3 order have been from the seven suspect countries. Nearly a third are from Syria alone — a country that President Trump has ordered be banned altogether from the refugee program. Another 21 percent are from Iraq. By contrast, in the two weeks before Judge Robart’s order, just 9 percent of refugees were from Syria and 6 percent were from Iraq.

“There’s no doubt in my mind they would be doing whatever they could to get people in before something changes because, from their perspective, their motivation is to resettle these folks. It would not be the first time that State Department officials have prioritized facilitating someone’s entry to the United States over security concerns,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies.

This is an example of the need to fire the majority of employees left over from the previous administration.

There are some things we need to remember in this discussion. Vetting of refugees from these countries is very difficult–in some cases we are dealing with failed states that cannot check records, and in other cases we are dealing with states that promote terrorism. ISIS has already stated that it is including terrorists with the refugees. Do we need to import terrorists? We also need to remember who ISIS is–they are the Sunni Baathists who were in charge of Iraq under Saddam Hussein. They were ruthless in ruling Iraq, and they are ruthless as ISIS. We really do not want to allow them into America.

What we are seeing is the Washington establishment trying to destroy an outsider who is a threat to their power. We need to understand that as we view the events around us. The Ninth Circuit and (unfortunately) the State Department are not concerned with the safety or security of Americans–they are concerned only with their political views and their power. Our Founding Fathers would be appalled.

 

Is This Really Helpful?

Former President Obama has brought partisan politics to a new low. Rather than give President Trump an opportunity to undo the mess President Obama made of the American economy, foreign policy and national security, President Obama is going back to his days as a community organizer to divide the country and prevent forward progress.

The New York Post posted an article yesterday about the former President’s efforts.

The article reports:

He’s  (former President Obama) doing it through a network of leftist nonprofits led by Organizing for Action. Normally you’d expect an organization set up to support a politician and his agenda to close up shop after that candidate leaves office, but not Obama’s OFA. Rather, it’s gearing up for battle, with a growing war chest and more than 250 offices across the country.

Since Donald Trump’s election, this little-known but well-funded protesting arm has beefed up staff and ramped up recruitment of young liberal activists, declaring on its website, “We’re not backing down.” Determined to salvage Obama’s legacy,”it’s drawing battle lines on immigration, ObamaCare, race relations and climate change.

Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account. In fact, he gave marching orders to OFA foot soldiers following Trump’s upset victory.

It gets worse:

Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show “nonpartisan” OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide. Registered as a 501(c)(4), it doesn’t have to disclose its donors, but they’ve been generous. OFA has raised more than $40 million in contributions and grants since evolving from Obama’s campaign organization Obama for America in 2013.

…Obama will be overseeing it all from a shadow White House located within two miles of Trump. It features a mansion, which he’s fortifying with construction of a tall brick perimeter, and a nearby taxpayer-funded office with his own chief of staff and press secretary. Michelle Obama will also open an office there, along with the Obama Foundation.

The taxpayers are paying this former President to undermine our government. Wow. One of my objections to President Obama was that I never felt as if he understood America. It is now obvious that he does not understand the role of former Presidents. It is also obvious that he does not love America enough to sit down and shut up after he has left office. It is time to let someone else create economic and foreign policy. President Obama, you are no longer in the White House. As much as President Obama was thought to be a popular president, his polices were not successful–the Middle East is much less stable now than when he took office, the GDP never went over 3 percent a year during the time he was in office, and there were a number of domestic terrorism incidents.  In terms of policy, former President Obama was not successful, so why should he be allowed to interfere with the policies of the current President?

Acceptable Discrimination?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about some recent apartment and roommate searches in Washington, D.C. It seems as if the idea of tolerance is taking a vacation. It also seems that those calling for tolerance have forgotten how to be tolerant.

The article lists some of the various ads for apartments and roommates:

“Roommates Wanted. Trump Supporters Need Not Apply,” the Times (The New York Times)reports, arguing that anti-Trump rental policies are legal despite political affiliation being a protected trait under D.C. law.

…”[T]wo women in their 20s were searching for a roommate to take over a lavender-colored room in their Columbia Heights apartment for $550,” the Times reported. “The women detailed their love of happy hours, a ‘good Netflix sesh,’ pho and tacos.”

“We’re open to any age/gender identity/non-identity,” the liberal women said. “So long as you didn’t vote for Trump.”

…”If you’re racist, sexist, homophobic or a Trump supporter please don’t respond,” the posting said. “We won’t get along.”

…”I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said one person who had planned to rent out a room during the inauguration. “No amount of money could make me change my mind. It’s about moral principles.”

The only conservative quoted in the Times piece said he would live with anyone, regardless of their political beliefs.

Aside from the legality of this, what does it say about the opposition to Donald Trump? This is disturbing. Whatever happened to the idea of being able to sit down and discuss something? What specifically are the principles behind this discrimination?

It’s odd that racist, sexist, homophobe is the the normal charge the political left throws at its opponents, but it never seems to be able to back up these charges. I would hope in the future we would all be willing to get along a little better. We all belong to the same country, and I believe we all enjoy the privilege of living in America. Let’s appreciate our differences and learn to be tolerant of each other.

Environmentalism Gone Beserk

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported that because of the unusually cold winter in Europe and the reliance on green energy, there are major power shortages in Europe.

The article reports:

European Union nations, including Greece and Hungary, hoarded power due to the cold winter weather. That hoarding triggered shortages that cut off electricity to tens of thousands of homes and sent power prices soaring to record levels.

Temperatures across southern Europe are expected to drop below freezing again next week. The continent has been unable to meet electricity demand, as green energy tends to go offline in the cold. Solar power, for example, tends to produce less energy in the winter because the days are shorter.

“What I see in the Balkans is clear evidence that everybody first secures its own consumption and only then, if they’re in a position to do so, they’ll help the others,’’ Andras Totth, the deputy CEO of the Hungarian utility MVM, told Bloomberg.

The transition to green energy (if that is possible) will happen when governments stop interfering in the free market and let the industry grow without government help. Just as a baby chick needs to break the egg it is in to gain strength to live in the outside world, the free market will allow the most efficient and inexpensive technologies to gain strength and survive. When the government picks winners and losers and attempts to move to a technology that has not yet been fully developed, we all lose.

The Cost Of Political Correctness

Breitbart is reporting today that Britain is prepared to deport four Pakistani men who hold dual citizenship in the U.K. and Pakistan. The men have fought the deportation claiming that they were the victims of prejudice against Muslims. The truth is very different.

The article reports:

The Rochdale gang to which they belonged was convicted in 2012 of preying on girls as young as 13 in the northern town, plying them with drink and drugs before they were “passed around” for sex.

 Mr. Ahmed is currently serving 22 years for preying on vulnerable teenagers on the street of Rochdale, as well as for 30 child rapes on a young Asian girl he treated as a “possession” for more than a decade. Adil Khan, 47, Abdul Rauf, 48, and Abdul Aziz, 46, have been released on license.

Mr. Justice McCloskey, president of the immigration and asylum chamber of the upper tribunal, said: “The appellants were all many years older than their victims. In some cases girls were raped callously and viciously and in others they were forced to have sex with paying customers.

“The sentencing judge noted that some of the appellants acted to satiate their lust, others did so for financial gain and some had both motivations. All were condemned as having treated their victims as worthless and undeserving of basic respect.”

The judge added: “These offences were shocking, brutal and repulsive.”

As horrible as what they were doing is, it is not the whole story.

In September 2014, I posted an article about the problems with this group of Pakistanis preying on young girls.

That article included the following statements:

The Rotherham scandal and a series of cases in towns including Rochdale highlighted how evidence of Pakistani men targeting white girls for abuse was repeatedly played down for fear of accusations of racism.

Mr Danczuk (Simon Danczuk, who helped expose a pattern of grooming of white teenage girls by men from a Pakistani background in Rochdale, where he is the Labour MP) said the elements of Pakistani political culture itself were partly to blame for the cover-up.

“There are cultural issues around the way politics are done in the Asian community which have to change,” he said.

He said he had personally come under pressure from Asian councillors and members of the community for speaking out as well as being warned by prominent figures in his party.

He pointed to the way in which two Muslim councillors in Rochdale had provided character references for one of the perpetrators of the Rochdale abuse.

Politics are done differently in Pakistan, it is a cultural difference we have imported some of that into some of these northern towns and cities and I think we have to face up to the fact that we can’t carry on doing politics like that.

“It is not healthy and the direct consequence is that we end up having to tackle issues like has been faced in Rotherham.”

He described it as “a looking after your own” within the Asian community which other politicians had accepted.

So the rape of these teenage girls was played down in the name of sensitivity to another culture. What garbage! The actions of these men continued long past when they should have been stopped–because of racial sensitivity. Does this not perfectly illustrate the folly of political correctness? These young girls were subjected to horrific things because someone was afraid of being labeled racist or culturally insensitive. Have we lost our minds? Western culture does not condone the rape of young girls. In Islam, the marriage to a child was perpetrated by the founder of the religion. There are differences in cultures, and we need to recognize those differences before we find ourselves allowing things that no one should allow.

Not Comforting News

Katie Pavlich posted an article at Townhall today about an investigative report done by CNN. The report states that the Venezuelan government has been issuing official passports in Iraq  to anyone who is willing to pay for them–even if they have ties to terrorism.

The article reports:

One confidential intelligence document obtained by CNN links Venezuela‘s new Vice President Tareck El Aissami to 173 Venezuelan passports and ID’s that were issued to individuals from the Middle East, including people connected to the terrorist group Hezbollah.  

The article at Townhall reminds us that Venezuela is a close ally of Iran. Iran is the backer and money behind Hezbollah. Until 9/11, Hezbollah was the most prevalent terrorist organization in the work, and before 9/11, responsible for more American deaths than any other terrorist organization. A dubious honor at best.

The article further reports:

ISIS, which has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria, has hundreds of millions of dollars at its disposal to purchase official passports. Additionally, the terror army has set up their own fraudulent passport system. 

President Trump recently signed an executive order barring all refugees and visas holders from seven countries, including Iraq and Syria, without proper vetting procedures.

I think this report shows the wisdom of that ban.

 

 

An Update On An Important Story

On February 5th, I posted a story based on an article in The Daily Caller about three brothers who handled computer issues for some Congress members who were abruptly relieved of their duties.

The Center for Security Policy has some additional information that indicates that these men had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The article reports:

One of the Congressmen who was employing these operatives was Andre Carson. The Center has documented Carson’s extensive and alarming ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in the following dossier: http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2015/02/24/center-releases-dossier-documenting-a-house-intelligence-committee-members-extensive-ties-to-the-muslim-brotherhood/

We have also released a montage of relevant videos of Carson speeches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reM5UAXG0sk.x

Please follow the link above to the article at The Center for Security Policy. The article includes a dossier illustrating the history of how these three men gained access to classified information. It is truly disturbing.

If Our Leaders Don’t Follow The Law, Why Should We?

On Sunday, Breitbart posted an article about California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon.

The article reports:

California State Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Léon (D-Los Angeles) said last Tuesday that “half his family” was in the country illegally, using false documents, and eligible for deportation under President Trump’s new executive order against “sanctuary” jurisdictions.

De Léon, who introduced the bill, made his remarks at a hearing in Sacramento on SB54, the bill to make California a “Sanctuary State.

…Testifying before the Senate Public Safety Committee, De Léon defended the widespread practice by illegal aliens of using fraudulent documents to work and obtain taxpayer-paid benefits, dismissing any concerns California citizens may have about being the target of identity theft.

In an interview the following day on KPCC 89.3’s Air Talk with Larry Mantle, De Léon expressed outrage that President Trump’s executive order would include those who possess fraudulent documents or committed identity theft to obtain a Social Security number.

“Someone simply who received or purchased a [fraudulent] Social Security card down at McArthur Park, or elsewhere in my district would be eligible immediately for mass deportation,” De Léon said (at 11:45 in the link above).

Senator De Leon was interviewed by Larry Mantle, a talk show host after making the above statements.

Senator De Leon further explained:

Host Larry Mantle asked him: “… First of all, I just — I want to make sure I understand correctly: You don’t think purchasing a phony Social Security card and number should be a deportable offense?”

De Léon replied: “I don’t think so … the vast majority of immigrants — hard working immigrants — have done that.  I can tell you I have family members specifically who came here as undocumented immigrants, and they did the same thing. That’s what you need to do to survive in this economy.”

Mantle objected: “But of course the problem is, — and I know people too — who’ve had their Social Security numbers and identities stolen as a result of that….”

De Léon minimized the problem, saying it was not the same as “Russian” hacking.

So it’s okay to steal someone’s Social Security number if you are here illegally. Wow. That is the leadership in the California legislature. Just wow.

 

 

Quietly Taking Away The Rights Of American Citizens

There was much discussion about the Second Amendment during the presidency of Barack Obama. President Obama was the most successful gun salesman of all time. That became obvious at local gun shows when sales dropped precipitously after November. However, President Obama left a legacy in the courts that may not protect the rights of gun owners.

A website called cheaperthandirt posted a story on January 29th about a decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The article reports:

The case, United States v. Robinson, has been a roller coaster of conflicting opinions ever since Mr. Robinson first moved to have the evidence in the case against him suppressed for violation of his Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure. The issue presented by the case is whether police officers, having reason to believe a person is in possession of a firearm, can legally treat the individual as dangerous, even if they have no reason to believe the possession is illegal and even if the person’s behavior is not overtly threatening.

On March 24, 2014, an anonymous tipster called the Ranson, W. Va. police department claiming to have seen an African-American male in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven load a handgun, conceal it in his pocket, and leave the lot as a passenger in bluish-green Toyota Camry driven by a white female.

Within minutes, a police officer responded to the location and observed a vehicle less than a mile away from the 7-Eleven matching the description provided by the caller. The officer observed that the occupants of the car were not wearing seatbelts, which allowed him to execute a lawful traffic stop under West Virginia law. Mindful of the anonymous tip, the officer ordered Robinson, who was in the passenger seat, out of the car.

Meanwhile, back-up had arrived. The second officer approached the car, opened the passenger side door, and asked Robinson if he had any weapons. He would later testify that Robinson’s only reply was to give him a “weird look.” The officers then had Robinson place his hands on top of the car and frisked him for weapons, finding a firearm in his pants pocket.

Both officers testified that Robinson was cooperative throughout the encounter and that they never observed any gestures indicating he intended to use any weapons against them.

After the frisk, one of the officers realized that he recognized Robinson from prior criminal proceedings. Confirming that Robinson had a felony record, the officer arrested him for felon in possession of a firearm. The case was then tried in federal court.

Under Supreme Court precedent from 1968 (Terry v. Ohio), police officers who believe a suspect they have detained for investigation but have not arrested can conduct a limited “pat down” of the suspect’s outer clothing when they have reasonable suspicion that the suspect is “armed and dangerous.” This was the basis for the search the officers used to find the incriminating firearm in Robinson’s pocket.

But Robinson claimed that the officers had no reason to believe that he posed any danger to them and therefore that they had no legal authority to frisk him. He noted that people may lawfully carry firearms in West Virginia, that the police had no information at the time of the frisk that his carrying was unlawful, and that he did not act aggressively or uncooperatively toward the officers.

The article goes on to explain that when the case was originally heard by a magistrate judge, the judge agreed with Mr. Robinson and asked that the evidence of the firearm be disallowed. The district court judge rejected the recommendation. Mr. Robinson then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

The article reports the majority opinion from the three-judge panel:

Judge Pamela Harris’s majority opinion stated:

[I]n states like West Virginia, which broadly allow public possession of firearms, reasonable suspicion that a person is armed does not by itself give rise to reasonable suspicion that the person is dangerous for Terry purposes. Where the state legislature has decided that its citizens may be entrusted to carry firearms on public streets, we may not make the contrary assumption that those firearms inherently pose a danger justifying their seizure by law enforcement officers without consent. … Nor will we adopt a rule that would effectively eliminate Fourth Amendment protections for lawfully armed persons … authorizing a personally intrusive frisk whenever a citizen stopped by the police is exercising the constitutional right to bear arms. [Quotation marks and citations omitted].

President Obama’s Justice Department then asked the entire Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to rehear the decision. The decision was then reversed.

The article further explains:

The majority insisted that the “armed and dangerous” language in Terry really meant “armed and therefore dangerous” (emphasis in original). In other words, “the risk of danger is created simply because the person, who was forcibly stopped, is armed.”

The court also asserted the same “logic” applies, even if possession of the weapon is legal. “The presumptive lawfulness of an individual’s gun possession in a particular State does next to nothing to negate the reasonable concern an officer has for his own safety when forcing an encounter with an individual who is armed with a gun and whose propensities are unknown,” the majority opinion concludes.

Thus, because Robinson was lawfully stopped, and the police officers had reasonable suspicion to believe he was armed, “the officers were, as a matter of law, justified in frisking him and, in doing so, did not violate Robinson’s Fourth Amendment right.”

Incredibly, though the court resolved the case on the broadest constitutional proposition possible, the majority opinion then went on to describe all the circumstances known to the officers that would have allowed them to make an individual “dangerousness” determination under the facts of the case. Thus, the majority essentially admitted that the patently anti-gun holding of the case–that all persons armed with a gun are a per se lethal threat to police officers–wasn’t even necessary to its resolution.

If the majority opinion were not bad enough, Judge James A. Wynn wrote an incendiary concurrence berating the majority for focusing broadly on “weapons” rather than on firearms specifically. Wynn’s opinion argued that the majority’s reasoning also necessitated recognition of two other “key issues.” The first, Wynn wrote, is that “individuals who carry firearms—lawfully or unlawfully—pose a categorical risk of danger to others and police officers, in particular.” The second is that “individuals who choose to carry firearms [therefore] forego certain constitutional protections afforded to individuals who elect not to carry firearms.”

Judge Wynn went on to explain how he believes the law of the Fourth Circuit—which includes Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia—is now that lawful gun owners are second class citizens.

“[T]he majority decision today necessarily leads to the conclusion that individuals who elect to carry firearms forego other constitutional rights,” Wynn wrote, “like the Fourth Amendment right to have law enforcement officers ‘knock-and-announce’ before forcibly entering homes.” He continued, “Likewise, it is difficult to escape the conclusion that individuals who choose to carry firearms necessarily face greater restriction on their concurrent exercise of other constitutional rights, like those protected by the First Amendment.”

Mr. Robinson’s Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable search and seizure was violated. I understand the feeling the police may have had that they wanted to prevent a crime, but the frisking of a passenger in a car that was stopped because people were not wearing seat belts is over the top. A man carrying a gun in West Virginia is not all that unusual. I hope Mr. Robinson takes his case to the Supreme Court. A person with a gun does not automatically need to give up his Fourth Amendment rights. Admittedly, the case is muddied by the fact that Mr. Robinson should not have had the gun, but that is a separate issue. The police had no reason to frisk a passenger in a car just because the passengers were not wearing seat belts.