Accusations Vs Facts

Congressional hearings provide an opportunity for member of both parties to grandstand on behalf of their pet causes. It is no secret that Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is opposed to fossil fuel in general. However, she needs to get her facts straight before she makes her claims.

The Daily Caller reported yesterday on Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s latest gaffe:

The Daily Caller reported:

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blamed the Keystone XL pipeline for leaking about 5,000 barrels of oil in rural South Dakota about two years ago.

There’s just one problem: The Keystone XL pipeline has not been built yet.

During a House hearing Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez claimed that “Keystone XL, in particular, had one leak that leaked 210,000 gallons across South Dakota” while she questioned Wells Fargo president and CEO Timothy Sloan.

…The existing Keystone pipeline, however, was responsible for leaking up to 9,700 barrels in South Dakota in 2017. The initial estimate for the spill was about 5,000 barrels, or 210,000 gallons of oil. Both Keystone and the planned XL line are operated by Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada.

TransCanada said it repaired the pipeline and cleaned-up the spill, Reuters reported in 2018, though the event has been used by environmental activists to gin up opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline.

Ocasio-Cortez, who recently introduced the Green New Deal resolution, also took aim at Wells Fargo’s financing of the Dakota Access Pipeline, which sparked violent protests along the project’s planned route throughout 2016.

For those of you new to this site, I have previously posted the reason for some of the opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline during the Obama administration. In a 2014 article I stated:

If the Obama administration holds firm on blocking Keystone, the big loser will be TransCanada Corporation. But who will the big winners be? American railroads:

And of them, the biggest winner might just be the Burlington Northern Santa Fe, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Obama supporter and Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett. In December, the CEO of BNSF, Matthew Rose, said that his railroad was shipping about 500,000 barrels of oil per day out of the Bakken Shale in North Dakota and that it was seeking a permit to send “crude by rail to the Pacific Northwest.” He also said the railroad expects to “eventually” be shipping 1 million barrels of oil per day.

…The freshman Democrat (Senator Kaine) has between $15,000 and $50,000 invested in Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, according to his most recent financial disclosure. Kinder Morgan is looking to build a pipeline that would directly compete with Keystone.

Kinder Morgan is considering expanding its Canadian pipeline infrastructure with an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which carries oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries and export terminals on Canada’s west coast.

The expansion would boost Trans Mountain’s capacity to 890,000 barrels per day. Keystone, a project of energy company TransCanada, is expected to carry about 830,000 barrels per day if fully constructed.

Observers have said a rejection of Keystone would be a boon for Kinder Morgan, since the Trans Mountain pipeline presents a viable alternative for exporting crude from Canadian oil sands.

The second scenario is a blatant example of how freshmen Congressmen arrive as middle-class Americans and leave as millionaires. The first example shows how environmental policy can be easily influenced by money.

This Lady Needs To Read American History

The Herald Mail Media reported yesterday that Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, speaking at the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, stated the following:

“Capitalism is an ideology of capital — the most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit,” Ocasio-Cortez said. And that comes at any cost to people and to the environment, she said, “so to me capitalism is irredeemable.”

Although she said she doesn’t think all parts of capitalism should be abandoned, “we’re reckoning with the consequences of putting profit above everything else in society. And what that means is people can’t afford to live. For me, it’s a question of priorities and right now I don’t think our model is sustainable.”

…While America is wealthier than ever, wealth is enjoyed “by fewer than ever,” she said.

“It doesn’t feel good to live in an unequal society,” she said, citing an increase in homelessness in New York City among veterans and the elderly while penthouses sit empty. “It doesn’t feel good to live in a society like that.”

Let’s look at those statements through the lens of American history. In November 2005, the Heritage Foundation published an article about communism in America.

The article included the following notes on American history:

Recalling the story of the Pilgrims is a Thanksgiving tradition, but do you know the real story behind their triumph over hunger and poverty at Plymouth Colony nearly four centuries ago? Their salvation stemmed not so much from the charitable gestures of local Indians, but from their courageous decision to embrace the free-market principle of private property ownership a century and a half before Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations.

Writing in his diary of the dire economic straits and self-destructive behavior that consumed his fellow Puritans shortly after their arrival, Governor William Bradford painted a picture of destitute settlers selling their clothes and bed coverings for food while others “became servants to the Indians,” cutting wood and fetching water in exchange for “a capful of corn.” The most desperate among them starved, with Bradford recounting how one settler, in gathering shellfish along the shore, “was so weak … he stuck fast in the mud and was found dead in the place.”

The colony’s leaders identified the source of their problem as a particularly vile form of what Bradford called “communism.” Property in Plymouth Colony, he observed, was communally owned and cultivated. This system (“taking away of property and bringing [it] into a commonwealth”) bred “confusion and discontent” and “retarded much employment that would have been to [the settlers’] benefit and comfort.”

The most able and fit young men in Plymouth thought it an “injustice” that they were paid the same as those “not able to do a quarter the other could.” Women, meanwhile, viewed the communal chores they were required to perform for others as a form of “slavery.”

On the brink of extermination, the Colony’s leaders changed course and allotted a parcel of land to each settler, hoping the private ownership of farmland would encourage self-sufficiency and lead to the cultivation of more corn and other foodstuffs.

As Adam Smith would have predicted, this new system worked famously. “This had very good success,” Bradford reported, “for it made all hands very industrious.” In fact, “much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been” and productivity increased. “Women,” for example, “went willingly into the field, and took their little ones with them to set corn.”

The famine that nearly wiped out the Pilgrims in 1623 gave way to a period of agricultural abundance that enabled the Massachusetts settlers to set down permanent roots in the New World, prosper, and play an indispensable role in the ultimate success of the American experiment.

A profoundly religious man, Bradford saw the hand of God in the Pilgrims’ economic recovery. Their success, he observed, “may well evince the vanity of that conceit…that the taking away of property… would make [men] happy and flourishing; as if they were wiser than God.” Bradford surmised, “God in his wisdom saw another course fitter for them.”

There will always be inequities in wealth. A person who works 12-hour days will generally earn more than a person who works a 6-hour day. People who invent things or have new ideas generally do very well financially. Rewarding innovation provides an incentive for progress. Capitalism (or the free market economy) is not perfect, but it creates fewer problems than any other economic system. Those touting the wonders of socialism need only look at the economic history of Venezuela during the past ten years. Once the wealthiest country in South America, now a place of unspeakable poverty. That is the fruit of socialism or communism.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez, please learn your history.

Campaign Finance Violations On Steroids

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about some campaign finance violations by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti. The violations listed are not minor violations, there are some major amounts of money involved here.

The article reports:

Two political action committees founded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide funneled over $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

…The arrangement skirted reporting requirements and may have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

Campaign finance attorneys described the arrangement as “really weird” and an indication “there’s something amiss.” They said there was no way of telling where the political donations went — meaning they could have been pocketed or used by the company to pay for off-the-books campaign operations.

PACs are required to disclose how and when funds are spent, including for expenditures such as advertisements, fundraising emails, donations to candidates, and payments for events and to vendors.

The private companies to which Chakrabarti transferred the money from the PACs are not subject to these requirements.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article for the details.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. Was it a rookie mistake or was it planned corruption? Is this coming out now because AOC has become a problem for the Democrats–she is so far left that she may cost them votes in 2020?

The article concludes:

Bradley A. Smith, a former chairman of the FEC, said he has never seen such an arrangement. “It’s a really weird situation,” he said. “I see almost no way that you can do that without it being at least a reporting violation, quite likely a violation of the contribution limits. You might say from a campaign finance angle that the LLC was essentially operating as an unregistered committee.”

Chakrabarti declined to comment on the FEC complaint or provide details about his companies’ financial activities. Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, declined to comment.

Zeynab Day, communications director for the Brand New Congress PAC, said Chakrabarti was not currently affiliated with the group and that it recently went through a “transition period.” She referred questions about the LLC to Chakrabarti. “I’m unable to answer any questions about the LLC … I am not informed about them. We are not an affiliated group,” she said.

A spokesperson for Justice Democrats said he did not know why the PAC paid so much money to Chakrabarti’s LLCs. When asked what the Justice Democrats PAC does on a daily basis, he said, “It’s very clear what we do,” but declined to elaborate.

Chakrabarti founded Brand New Congress PAC, in April 2016. According to a statement released by Justice Democrats PAC last May, Chakrabarti “was the only controlling member” of the company Brand New Congress LLC and “took no salary.” The statement added: “Saikat is lucky to have a small side business that generates him enough income that he is able to do all of this work as a volunteer.”

If this story is accurately reported, it is bound to get more interesting!

The Details Matter

Campus Reform posted an article today about college students’ reaction to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. As might be expected, the students loved the idea–until they learned the details.

YouTube posted the video of the students’ reactions:

So what can we learn from this? When the 2020 campaign begins (actually, it already has), the key to success for Republicans will be getting the information out about what the Green New Deal actually entails and what socialism actually is. The example of Venezuela does not have traction for some reason, but when college students are confronted with the idea of people who don’t contribute to society getting paid, they seem to wake up a bit.  Venezuela is a striking example of a socialist society–there is no middle class–the majority of the population is equally poor. A small minority of the population is extremely wealthy. That’s not economic justice–that’s theft.

What Does The Green New Deal Have In Common With The United Nations’ Solutions To Global Warming?

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the Democrat’s Green New Deal. Oddly enough, when you look at the consequences of the policies of the Green New Deal, they have a lot in common with ideas espoused by the United Nations.

The motives of both are somewhat questionable.

In March 2016, I posted an article with the following:

…Then listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

For those who want to believe that maybe Edenhofer just misspoke and doesn’t really mean that, consider that a little more than five years ago he also said that “the next world climate summit in Cancun is actually an economy summit during which the distribution of the world’s resources will be negotiated.”

Mad as they are, Edenhofer’s comments are nevertheless consistent with other alarmists who have spilled the movement’s dirty secret. Last year, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, made a similar statement.

“This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said in anticipation of last year’s Paris climate summit.

“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”

Let’s compare that to the Green New Deal.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

Reading the Green New Deal (GND) plan, put out Thursday by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, one is tempted to think it’s not real, just a joke from the satirical “The Onion.” The individual planks in the plan, individually and collectively, sound like the rantings of someone who should be institutionalized, not like a rational political plan to solve a real problem.

Let’s begin with what the plan promises: “a massive transformation of our society with clear goals and a timeline.”

That’s a sweeping, explicit pledge of radical socialist change. And that’s  not all. It offers “a 10-year plan to mobilize every aspect of American society at a scale not seen since World War 2 to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and create economic prosperity for all.”

The editorial at Investor’s Business Daily concludes:

“The so-called Green New Deal resolution presented today by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., is a Back-to-the-Dark Ages Manifesto,” said Myron Ebell, director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Energy and Environment. “It calls for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in ten years, ‘upgrading all existing buildings’, and replacing our vehicle fleet with electric cars and more mass transit. And turning our energy economy upside down must be accomplished while ending historic income inequities and oppression of disadvantaged groups. Needless to say, the costs would be stupendous, and the damage done by its policies would be catastrophic.”

We’re grateful that President Trump threw down the gantlet against socialism during his Tuesday night State of the Union address. As he said, “America will never be a Socialist country.” And he drove that point home by adding: “We were born free and we will stay free.”

Scourge Of Socialism

We hope he’s right, and America’s declining education system and the increasingly far-left mainstream media have’t made socialism a palatable choice against the extraordinary success of  the free market. Socialism is among humanity’s worst ideas and it has failed everywhere — everywhere — it has been tried.

Those who don’t think the socialist disaster of Venezuela can happen here are sadly — tragically — mistaken.

It should never be tried again, anywhere, but especially not here.

They idea that a country can prosper by guaranteeing everyone a comfortable standard of living whether they choose to work or not goes against human nature. Prosperity comes from achievement, and achievement is generally spurred on by the rewards it receives. If hard work is not rewarded, there will be no great achievements. It’s that simple.

Prepare For A Very Ugly Year In The House Of Representatives

You can tell a lot about what is going on in the House of Representatives by the committee assignments. Based on the assignments being given out now, this is going to be a very ugly year. We have already seen two news stories in the past week that were an indication that facts don’t matter. We are going to see many more of those stories in the near future; and those stories, whether true or false, will be the excuse for the Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump in the House of Representatives. The Democrats would do well to remember what happened to the Republicans after they tried to impeach President Clinton. What the Democrats need in order to avoid paying a heavy penalty for this move is to get President Trump’s approval ratings below 30 percent. They were able to do that with previous Republican presidents, but President Trump keeps fighting back (and the economy is providing jobs for people who might otherwise be disgruntled).

Yesterday Politico posted an article detailing some of the committee assignments that are relevant to the impeachment process.

The article reports:

The House Oversight Committee is adding a group of progressive flamethrowers to its ranks.

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) won spots on the high-profile committee on Tuesday, two sources told POLITICO.

…The new members, all of whom are freshmen except Khanna, have been critical of President Donald Trump, and their addition to the committee comes as Democrats have pledged to launch wide-ranging investigations into the president and his administration.

Tlaib drew swift backlash when she vowed to “impeach the motherf—er,” referring to Trump. Republicans have discussed a censure for Tlaib for railing against Trump.

Not only did the Democrats not chastise Representative Tlaib–they rewarded her behavior!

The article continues:

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the chairman of the Oversight Committee, dismissed concerns about the outspoken freshman lawmakers.

“If I based the choices going on the committee based on what people said or their reputations or whatever, I probably wouldn’t have a committee,” Cummings told POLITICO. “I am excited — there were a lot of people that wanted to come on our committee.”

…Rep. Dan Kildee, a member of the Democratic steering panel, said he was excited about the progressive picks.

“I want people to be aggressive, especially on that committee. It’s good to have people who aren’t afraid,” the Michigan Democrat said in an interview. “They’re going to be dealing with some pretty important stuff.”

The Democrats are continuing their effort to bring down a duly-elected President and totally undermine our representative republic instead of actually passing laws that will continue our strong economic growth. How sad.

Watch Out For The Bright, Shiny Object

Rightwinggranny is a little more than ten years old. I have learned a few things along the way. One of those things is that when the media is screaming headlines in unison, there is probably something going on behind the scenes that I need to be aware of. This article is an example of that.

On January 16th, Breitbart reported that New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be serving on the House Financial Services Committee. The Committee is led by Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez has made some remarks that indicate she may not totally understand exactly how America’s Representative Republic works, but that’s okay–she still got elected. So let’s look at who supported her election. Opensecrets.org is a website that tracks political campaign donations, The link I highlighted leads to information on the funding of Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for the House of Representatives. There is nothing illegal here, but it is always interesting to see where a candidate gets their funding.

The campaign funding information on Representative Ocasio-Cortez shows that during her primary campaign, two-thirds of the donations came from small donors. She may not fully understand how our government works, but she did a very good job or organizing a campaign. Eighty-eight percent of the large donations to her campaign (over $200) came from outside her district. From the time she won the primary election until the end of June, she received $70,000 from out-of-state donors. How does a newcomer to politics build that kind of a political machine? Who were the people who helped her organize her campaign? I don’t have answers to those questions.

So why is it significant that Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been appointed to the House Financial Services Committee? That is the committee that oversees big banking, lending, and the financial sector. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has already expressed an interest in looking into the student loan crisis (a crisis created when the government took over student loans). It is quite possible that the committee will attempt to undo the deregulation President Trump has done that has led to the economic growth we are experiencing. Hopefully the Senate can protect our booming economy.

The other significant appointment you might not have heard about is the appointment of Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (You can read more about Ilhan Omar at Power Line Blog.) 

Breitbart posted an article about the appointment yesterday.

The article reports:

Omar supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which has been called antisemitic because it singles out the Jewish state for isolation and ignores the Palestinian side.

…House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement in which he reminded Pelosi that she said Congress “must” oppose BDS, and that Schumer had called BDS “anti-Semitism.”

“I would love to know what changed, because Democratic leaders just promoted a pro-BDS Democrat to a key committee that deals with the State of Israel.”

McCarthy continued: “Anti-Semitism has no place in Congress and certainly not on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) blasted Pelosi for appointing Omar to the committee, saying she had a “documented history of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks.”

He added: “House Democrats have now just endorsed that ideology.”

This appointment may simply be a reflection of the ongoing battle between Nancy Pelosi and President Trump as to who is going to lead the country. However, both of these appointments represent a very severe left turn on the part of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. It remains to be seen if Americans will support this extreme left turn.

A Rookie Mistake Or A Portent Of Things To Come?

Not every country in the world has freedom of speech. In a case recently decided, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff appealed an Austrian court’s conviction of her for denigrating the beliefs of an officially recognized religion by uttering “hate speech” against the prophet Mohammed. Unfortunately the European Court of Human Rights ruled against her appeal.

For those who came in late, the hateful words uttered by Elisabeth were in the form of a rhetorical question about Mohammed’s sexual relationship with a 9-year-old girl: “What would you call it, if not ‘pedophilia’?”

The European Court of Human Rights is made up of a group of countries considered to be part of western civilization. What Ms. Sabaditsch-Wolff said is true, but evidently that fact did not help her case. How in the world did we get here? We need to realize that free speech is a gift that needs to be protected.

Meanwhile back in America, yesterday The Federalist posted an article about a recent statement by Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). Admittedly the new Congresswoman is not known for her knowledge of the U.S. Constitution or any familiarity with her new job description, but her comment is somewhat chilling.

The tweet below is her response to a meme about socialism that she did not find humorous:

There are some problems with that statement.

The article notes:

Now, in a perfect world, we’d be holding debates about the merits of state-controlled economies versus markets via more dignified forums and mediums, but that’s not how things go in 2018. Not only is this all absurdly juvenile, but Ocasio-Cortez should be aware that, per page 150 of the House Ethics Manual, “Members…are not to take or withhold any official action on the basis of the campaign contributions or support of the involved individuals, or their partisan affiliation. Members and staff are likewise prohibited from threatening punitive action on the basis of such considerations.”

This seems like a small matter, but it is not. Essentially it is an incoming member of Congress threatening to use subpoena power against someone she disagrees with. Combine that with the censorship of conservatives on social media, the concept of ‘hate speech’ (who determines hate speech?), and the rumblings that the First Amendment is no longer needed, and you have the potential for Americans losing a large portion of their freedom. Pay attention and stay tuned. This may not have been a casual remark.

 

 

The New House Of Representatives Could Be Very Interesting

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday that included some recent quotes by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The lady is obviously very impressed with herself. I wonder if she realizes that she is one of 435 members of the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The New York Democrat told reporters on Friday that once again the U.S. is “at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss” that requires citizens of a special kind of mettle. She says that such an elite group exists — and that she and other newly elected Democrats are in it.

“This is not just about a Green New Deal, this is about a new deal for the United States of America,” the 29-year-old said at a “Sunrise Movement” press conference in Washington. “Because in every moment where our country has reached the depths of darkness, in every moment, when we were at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss, and we did not know if we could be capable of saving ourselves, we have.”

“We’ve done what we thought was impossible. We went to the moon,” she added. “We electrified the nation. We established civil rights. We enfranchised the country. We dug deep and we did it. We did it when no one else thought that we could. That’s what we did when so many of us won an election this year. That’s what so many of us did.”

I believe that if you look back at history, the Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Democrats in the Senate staged a 75-day filibuster against the measure. I don’t think you can say that the Democrats established civil rights.

This is a picture of the voting taken from the govtrack website:

I look forward to many more interesting statements from Representative Ocasio-Cortez.