Lied To Again

Honesty in Washington, D.C. seems to be non-existent. A lot of the things we were told during the Obama Administration have turned out to be simply not true.

Recently a news site called Circa reported that the statistics released by the Obama Administration showing the number of American citizens unmasked after being captured in accidental National Security Agency intercepts were inaccurate.

The article reports:

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, now under new management with President Donald Trump, confirms that the 654 unmaskings reported last year for fiscal 2015 was underreported by a factor of more than three times. The correct number was actually 2,232.

…National intelligence officials say the 654 figure reported last year actually represented the number of times a government official had a request approved to unmask an American name and not the total number of U.S. persons’ identities that actually were unredacted after the fact in intelligence reports, as had been represented in last year’s report.

…But starting in 2011, former President Obama made it easier to access that information, essentially creating keys for intelligence professionals and even his own political aides to unlock the NSA’s lock box to consume surveillance on Americans.

Circa reported last week that since those changes, the number of requests to search NSA records for Americans’ information more than tripled under the former administration from about 10,000 in 2013 to more than 25,000 in 2016.

These numbers confirm the fears some Congressmen had about the Patriot Act. What we saw in the Obama Administration was the use of government agencies to spy on political opponents. Every person involved in this effort needs to be fired and sent to jail. This is totally unconstitutional.

It Wasn’t A Unilateral Decision

This article is based on two sources–an article posted at Lifezette today and an article from the BBC, also dated today.

The article at Lifezette reminds us that until President Trump fired FBI Director Comey, the Democrats wanted Director Comey fired.

The article reports:

Comey, being Comey, closed the new investigation in record time, ending the investigation two days before Election Day and enraging Republicans by publicly declaring he still would not recommend charges against Clinton.

Schumer indicated Comey’s handling of the matter was a deal-breaker.

“I do not have confidence in him any longer,” Schumer said of Comey on Nov. 2.

Schumer called Comey’s letter to Congress “appalling.”

Schumer is far from the only Democrat who has questioned Comey’s judgement or called for his firing.

…”This is not fake news. Intelligence officials are hiding connections to the Russian government. There is no question,” then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid said in a Dec. 10 interview on MSNBC. “Comey knew and deliberately kept this info a secret,” he said.

The MSNBC host asked Reid if Comey should resign. “Of course, yes,” Reid replied.

 Comey’s decision to publicly reopen the Clinton investigation drove Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) to also demand the FBI director resign.

“I called on FBI Director James Comey to resign his position after his recent communication with members of Congress regarding the bureau’s review of emails potentially related to Hillary Clinton’s personal email server,” Cohen wrote in a Nov. 3 op-ed published in The Hill.

It gets better.

The BBC posted a copy of the letter written by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommending that Director Comey be fired. Follow the link above to read the entire letter.

Director Comey made some unusual decisions during the run-up to the November 2016 election. There are some valid questions as to whether or not the FBI was politicized under President Obama. It is very obvious that the Justice Department was compromised, but the jury is still out on the FBI.

I don’t know whether or not this is part of draining the swamp. I do know that draining the swamp is going to be a long term, ongoing operation, and I wish President Trump all the best in doing that.

The Brutal Culture We Don’t Understand And Insist On Importing

The Middle East is a tough neighborhood. Aside from the basic political unrest, there seems to be constant news of terrorist attacks and innocent people being murdered. The brutality of the region seems to be part of the culture. There are aspects of American culture that can be violent, but we have not accepted those elements in quite the same way.

PJ Media posted an article today about some recent events in the Middle East and one man’s reaction to those events.

The article reports:

In December, the Islamic State claimed a suicide bombing in a church inside Cairo’s Coptic cathedral compound that killed 29 (all but one were women and girls). On Palm Sunday, two separate Islamic State suicide bombings killed nearly 50 worshippers.

Over the weekend, the group threatened more attacks on Christians

The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in 1928 and has been a problem for Egypt ever since. Egypt’s President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has tried to keep the Muslim Brotherhood in check since he took office. Obviously, he has not been totally successful. It is somewhat annoying to me that some Americans in the last administration were extremely sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood. One in particular posted some strange tweets.

The article reports one of Mohamed Elibiary’s (former Obama Homeland Security Advisory Council member)  tweets:

Reading ISIS’s latest mag “otherizing” Egypt’s Copts. Subhanallah how what goes around comes around. Coptic ldrs did same to MB Egyptians.

The article explains:

What has Elibiary upset? Many in the Coptic Christian community backed the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi in 2013. In his tweet, he references “MB Egyptians” — Muslim Brotherhood Egyptians.

During the time Morsi was President of Egypt, Christians were relentlessly persecuted. Although the persecution has somewhat abated under el-Sisi, it does continue. The Coptic Christians are one of the oldest branches of Christianity in the Middle East, dating back to about 42 AD. By the beginning of the Third Century, they comprised the majority of Egypt’s population. Many of them have left in recent years because of persecution.

According to Pew Research:

The highest share (of Christians in Egypt) reported in the past century was in 1927, when the census found that 8.3% of Egyptians were Christians. In each of seven subsequent censuses, the Christian share of the population gradually shrank, ending at 5.7% in 1996. Religion data has not been made available from Egypt’s most recent census, conducted in 2006. But in a large, nationally representative 2008 survey — the Egyptian Demographic and Health Survey, conducted among 16,527 women ages 15 to 49 — about 5% of the respondents were Christian. Thus, the best available census and survey data indicate that Christians now number roughly 5% of the Egyptian population, or about 4 million people. The Pew Forum’s recent report on The Future of the Global Muslim Population estimated that approximately 95% of Egyptians were Muslims in 2010.

Religious tolerance is not a part of Koranic Islam. Infidels have to be converted or killed. Sharia Law takes precedence over any Constitution or law of the land. So I have a few questions. Why was a man who supports the Muslim Brotherhood in the Department of Homeland Security in America? Why are we importing ‘refugees’ who will not respect our Constitution and who believe that killing infidels is acceptable? Where will American Christians flee if our citizens elect people who support the persecution of Christians? How many of our government appointees from the last administration share the beliefs of Mohamed Elibiary?

 

Is ObamaCare Dying?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill today to repeal and replace ObamaCare.The bill, named the American Health Care Act, passed by a vote of 217-213. It is not a perfect bill, but it is a first step in stopping the collapse of ObamaCare and the descent into a government-controlled single-payer system. When President Obama gave us ObamaCare, the Democrats knew it would fail–the law ignored the statistics of the actuarial tables that keep the insurance agencies in business. There was no way it could succeed. The goal was to create an entitlement that would collapse and then institute a single-payer government plan. If Hillary Clinton had been elected, that would have happened. Instead, we have a President Trump who believes in free markets.

The Daily Signal posted an article about the passage of the bill today.

The article details some of the amendments to the bill:

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur’s amendment would give the secretary of health and human services the authority to grant a waiver to states that wanted an exemption from costly Obamacare rating rules and benefit mandates.

In order to secure a waiver from these federal insurance rules, the amendment specifies that states must establish a high-risk pool for persons with pre-existing conditions, a program to stabilize the those premiums, or participate in a new federal risk-sharing program designed to secure continuing coverage and market stability.

As drafted, the waiver from these federal regulations would be virtually automatic. In short, the states would make the key regulatory decisions over benefits and rating rules.

A second amendment, offered by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) adds $8 billion over 2018-2023 to the bill’s $130 billion Patient and State Stability Fund (making the total around $138 billion).

It specifies that those additional funds are to be used by states that have received a waiver from federal insurance rules (under the MacArthur Amendment) to assist individuals with increased healthcare costs.

A Good Foundation

The House’s action should be understood as part of a continuing process of national health reform.

As amended, the House bill rightly focuses on costly health insurance rules, makes historic changes in Medicaid—transforming Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement to a budgeted program—and repeals the national health law’s mandate penalties and its slew of taxes.

In fact, the House bill provides for one of the largest tax reductions on record.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a beginning. Twenty Republicans voted against the healthcare bill. All the Democrats voted against the bill. It would be nice if Congress stopped playing politics and worrying about campaign donations and elections and simply tried to do what was best for America.

I Will Be Surprised If ObamaCare Is Repealed

Republicans have the votes to repeal ObamaCare. They have proven that the other sixteen times they voted to repeal ObamaCare. It was safe to vote for repeal before President Trump was sworn in because they knew there would be a veto coming from the White House. Now that there won’t be a veto, they have lost the courage of their convictions (as if they actually have convictions).

ObamaCare is another entitlement program. Getting rid of an entitlement program is almost impossible. The people who are benefiting from the program don’t want to give it up (even though the people paying for it want to get rid of it as soon as possible).  That is why many Republicans want to keep ObamaCare.

Betsy McCaughey, who has actually read the original ObamaCare bill and followed the issue of ObamaCare closely, posted an article at Investor’s Business Daily today.

The article reports:

The House vote on the GOP‘s ObamaCare repeal bill vote is down to the wire, with dozens of Republicans waffling as “undecideds.” What’s the hold-up? Ninety-six percent of people who have to buy their own insurance stand to benefit from this bill, which will likely drive down premiums by double digits.

The remaining 4% — those with pre-existing conditions — will be protected by a federal fund to subsidize their insurance costs. They won’t get priced out of the market, because the fund will pay the lion’s share of their premiums.

But some Republicans are running scared. Although the bill solves two problems — lowering premiums and protecting people with pre-existing conditions — these fence sitters are worried about something else — getting re-elected.

As a member of the New York delegation put it, the issue is “optics.” They’re cowed by the media’s false reports that the GOP is abandoning people with pre-existing conditions.

It is a fact of life that in America we have a political class that would rather get re-elected than do what is best for America. That is one of the main reasons Donald Trump was elected President. Voters hoped he would change that.

The article explains how some individual states have handled healthcare reform:

New York, New Jersey and several other states ruined their individual insurance markets two decades ago by imposing community pricing, which drove out healthy buyers. Lawmakers in those states would be smart to wise up, get a waiver and offer low prices to most buyers. But don’t count on it, at least not in New York.

But several states — Alaska, Minnesota, Idaho and Oklahoma among them — have already acted, without waiting for Congress. They used state funds to help cover the sickest people, and relieve pressure on healthy premium payers. Alaska averted a 40 percent premium hike that way last year.

To summarize: The funding is adequate and the approach works. Spineless politicians whining about “optics” should look in the mirror. What’s they’re really missing is backbone.

The first repeal of ObamaCare bill was a bad bill, and its defeat was a good thing. The courageous (and correct) thing for Congress to do would be to reintroduce one of its past repeal bills and simply let the chips fall where they may. However, as that would take courage, it is highly unlikely.

The Ever-Changing Story

There are some serious problems with the actions of the Obama Administration in terms of unmasking American citizens making phone calls. It is not an incredible coincidence that the unmasked citizens were people closely connected to the Trump presidential campaign. One name that has continually been mentioned as part of this unmasking is Susan Rice. She appeared on the Sunday News Shows (hasn’t she done that before?) today to explain her innocence.

The details are posted at Hot Air today.

Ms. Rice stated this morning:

Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice denied President Donald Trump’s claim that she tried to unmask Americans in an attempt to implicate Trump campaign officials, adding that she never did anything “untoward with respect to the intelligence” she received.

During an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” airing Sunday morning, Rice said Trump’s accusation is “absolutely false” and that members of Congress have not found anything inappropriate in the situation.

“I think now we’ve had subsequently members of Congress on the intelligence committees on both sides of the aisle take a look at the information that apparently was the basis for Chairman [Devin] Nunes’ concern, and say publicly that they didn’t see anything that was unusual or untoward,” Rice said, referring to the California Republican.

But what has she said before? The article reports:

You may recall that when the story first broke Rice spoke to Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC and at least heavily implied that Trump’s initial accusations were all some sort of fever swamp fantasies. (What she actually said was that she never leaked anything.) But before very long the details which emerged told a very different story. Within days it was revealed that she had, in fact, actively sought to have names revealed to her even if they had originally been picked up “incidentally.” Eventually we reached the point where the best they could say was that it appeared that she hadn’t done anything that was technically illegal.

Now, in the fashion so typical of politicians (as opposed to national security experts), she’s answering an entirely different question. Yes, she did get that information but she never did anything “unusual or untoward” with it. And why would we be so suspicious as to think she might have seen some value in data collected on people associated with the guy who was then in a heated battle to defeat the candidate who was promising to carry on her boss’s legacy? Perish the thought.

If the Justice Department has actually become the Justice Department rather than a political arm of the Democrat party, someone will be charged with a crime in this matter. The leaking of the names and information to the media was illegal. The leaking of the information was exactly what some members of Congress warned about when the Patriot Act was passed–that there would be eavesdropping on Americans that would be used for political purposes. What happened during the 2016 presidential campaign is an example of this. If no one is held accountable, it will continue to happen. That is not good news.

 

What Tax Reform Can Do

President Truman is quoted as saying, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” He also said, “You can’t get rich in politics unless you’re a crook.” We are seeing the truth in both of those observations in the current tax debate.

This is a picture of America‘s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in recent years from the balance:

You might remember that 2012 was the year the tax increases to pay for ObamaCare began. In 2013 the Capital Gains tax increased for high income earners, and the increase in the medicare payroll tax also began in 2013. Obviously raising taxes did not help the economy.

This is the laffer curve:

As you can see, there is a point where tax increases no longer generate revenue.

I am going to assume that Democrats are going to try to block President Trump’s tax reform. I think that is rather obvious. So the question becomes, “Do Democrats not understand economic principles and economic growth (e.g. the Laffer curve) or do they simply want to enslave the American worker?” At this point it is a valid question.

I can understand high-tax states not wanting to give up the benefit they reap in the current tax code. I can also understand all the lobbyists tearing their hair out because their special interest will no longer get a tax break, but at some point Congress needs to do what is best for the country and for the American people. Economic growth is struggling under the current tax burden. Every American who works is giving the government a higher percentage of what they earn than the Medieval surfs paid their lords. That is a scary thought. At the same time, many people who choose not to work are driving expensive cars and living better than the people who do work. The poverty in America that the government is now supporting currently owns a nice car, a big-screen television, an ipad, a smart phones, and central air conditioning. I am all for helping people in time of need, but I think we have lost our way.

Congress needs to pass President Trump’s tax plan. Every Congressman who does not support the plan needs to be voted out of office as soon as possible. Unless the American voters begin to hold their representatives accountable for what they do, the swamp will never get drained. The problem is in both political parties. It is time to take note of the people whose votes help America and the people whose votes hurt America.

 

More Truth Comes Out

Even what we knew about the Iran deal at the time was questionable at best, but it keeps getting worse. Yesterday Politico posted an article about one aspect of the deal that somehow wasn’t covered by the press at the time.

The article reports:

When President Barack Obama announced the “one-time gesture” of releasing Iranian-born prisoners who “were not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses” last year, his administration presented the move as a modest trade-off for the greater good of the Iran nuclear agreement and Tehran’s pledge to free five Americans.

“Iran had a significantly higher number of individuals, of course, at the beginning of this negotiation that they would have liked to have seen released,” one senior Obama administration official told reporters in a background briefing arranged by the White House, adding that “we were able to winnow that down to these seven individuals, six of whom are Iranian-Americans.”

Sounds pretty innocent. But wait–there’s more to the story. Although President Obama described the seven as civilians, that is not actually true.

The article further reports:

But Obama, the senior official and other administration representatives weren’t telling the whole story on Jan. 17, 2016, in their highly choreographed rollout of the prisoner swap and simultaneous implementation of the six-party nuclear deal, according to a POLITICO investigation.

In his Sunday morning address to the American people, Obama portrayed the seven men he freed as “civilians.” The senior official described them as businessmen convicted of or awaiting trial for mere “sanctions-related offenses, violations of the trade embargo.”

In reality, some of them were accused by Obama’s own Justice Department of posing threats to national security. Three allegedly were part of an illegal procurement network supplying Iran with U.S.-made microelectronics with applications in surface-to-air and cruise missiles like the kind Tehran test-fired recently, prompting a still-escalating exchange of threats with the Trump administration. Another was serving an eight-year sentence for conspiring to supply Iran with satellite technology and hardware. As part of the deal, U.S. officials even dropped their demand for $10 million that a jury said the aerospace engineer illegally received from Tehran.

Why in the world was President Obama so desperate to make a deal with Iran?

Please follow the link above to the Politico article. It is a rather lengthy article, but has a lot of insight into the difficulties created by President Obama’s Iran treaty. The treaty not only will allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon in the near future (think North Korea). The treaty also creates immediate security and safety issues for American troops in the Middle East because of the large amounts of untraceable cash sent to Iran. That money can be used to support worldwide terrorism or to fund actions against American troops.

We need to scrap the treaty and put the sanctions back!

Some History To Explain Some Current Events

Technically Egypt is considered a Republic. However, Egypt has a history of military coups, protests, and assassinations that have forced changes in leadership. As I am sure you remember, there were protests in Egypt as part of the so-called Arab Spring. As a result of those protests, on 13 February 2011, the military dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution. In June 2012, Mohamed Morsi was elected President of Egypt. On 2 August 2012, Egypt’s Prime Minister Hisham Qandil announced his 35-member cabinet comprising 28 newcomers including four from the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in 1928. It has a two-fold purpose–to implement sharia law worldwide and to re-establish the imperial Islamic state (caliphate). Al Qaeda has the same objectives as the Muslim Brotherhood–they differ only in timing and tactics. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was responsible for the assassination of Anwar Sadat after he signed a peace treaty with Israel. Although most Egyptians supported the treaty, Egypt was kicked out of the Arab League because of Anwar Sadat’s actions, and he was assassinated by the Muslim Brotherhood. That is some of the history of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and explains why the Egyptian military removed Mohamed Morsi from office. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected President and sworn in on June 8, 2104. My purpose in explaining the history is to illustrate the reasons el-Sisi has found it necessary to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood. They are very active in Egypt and are a threat to the nation’s freedom.

President Obama had a much better relationship with Morsi than he did with el-Sisi. President Obama was much more sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt than he was to those who opposed them. When President Obama spoke al-Azhar University in Cairo in 2009, he specifically invited 10 members of the Brotherhood’s parliamentary bloc to attend the speech. President Obama’s actions showed much more sympathy to the Muslim Brotherhood than to those who wanted religious freedom in Egypt. So where am I going with this?

Our relationship with Egypt has improved since President Trump took office.

The Daily Caller is reporting today:

Egypt has released an Egyptian American woman who was imprisoned in Cairo for several years after Donald Trump struck a deal with the Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi.

Aya Hijazi, 30, a U.S. citizen and humanitarian worker, had been in prison for three years on child abuse and trafficking charges — which the U.S. dismissed as false — because she operated a nonprofit dedicated to helping kids on the street with her husband. Last week, an Egyptian court dropped all charges against her.

Ms. Hijazi had been in prison for three years. Donald Trump has been President for three months. There is no reason that President Obama could not have freed this woman as soon as she was arrested (other than the fact that he did not have a good relationship with el-Sisi).

Egyptians will probably never enjoy the degree of freedom that Americans enjoy, but it is to our advantage to stay on good terms with as many world leaders as possible. Some of the early indications are that the Trump Administration will endeavor to do this.

But What Are They For?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the activities of the Center for American Progress  The Center for American Progress has an Action Fund, which they are planning to use to fund anti-Trump activities around the country during the Congressional recess. Think about that for a minute. Why are they funding anti-Trump activities? Did anyone ever fund the Tea Party?

The article reports:

The Town Hall Project, a group that has served as the central hub for raucous town hall events against Republican lawmakers, announced the partnership with CAP Action to amplify their efforts.

“So today I’m excited to announce a partnership between Town Hall Project and the Center for American Progress Action Fund,” an email from Town Hall Project said. “With CAP Action amplifying our town hall event research, we can even better ensure that that all Americans have the tools needed to channel their organic energy to ensure their voices are heard and their elected representatives held accountable.”

“Let me emphasize that this is collaboration towards a common goal,” the email continued. “Town Hall Project is 100% independent and will never waiver [sic] from our core values of grassroots research and citizen engagement. While we stay true to ourselves—and to supporters like you—we know the way we win is to build a big coalition of progressive groups: big and small, new and old, online and offline, all working together to fight back.”

The email urges readers to visit ResistanceNearMe.org, a re-launched CAP Action website run in conjunction with the Town Hall Project.

“In partnership with Town Hall Project, Resistance Near Me is a hub for progressive local #resist actions, designed for you to find any public event, rally, town hall, protest, and more, near you, as well as the information you need to contact your member of Congress,” the website states. “It’s never been more important to raise our voices to resist Trump’s harmful agenda and the elected representatives who aren’t speaking for us.”

Jimmy Dahman, the founder of Town Hall Project, claimed on CNN in February that previous, explosive town hall events were “all organic and happening at the grassroots level.”

Wow. Funded grassroots. I think that’s called astroturf!

The concluding paragraph of the article explains who is behind this effort:

The Action Network’s board of directors includes Mark Fleischman, a former vice president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU); Jeffrey Dugas, who worked for Podesta’s Center for American Progress and Elizabeth Warren’s 2012 Senate campaign; and Brian Young, who worked for John Kerry and Howard Dean.

The Town Hall Project website now acknowledges a partnership with NextGen Climate, an environmentalist super PAC founded by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer.

In the email announcing the CAP partnership, the Town Hall Project took credit for “some incredible victories” with their progressive allies. The group linked to a Yahoo article on how activists organized to defeat the Republican health care reform bill.

The Town Hall Project did not return a request for comment on its partnership with CAP Action.

Donald Trump has made an effort to help the average American by rolling back regulations, cutting some government spending already, and planning to prevent the crash of ObamaCare. He is also planning to change the tax code to make it work for everyone. Which part of these things is the Center for American Progress against? What are they for? How many paid protesters does it take before people begin to see the game being played here by the political left?

The Spin Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

Yesterday The Chicago Tribune posted an article that seems to correct some of the charges made against President Trump about the cost of his travels to Florida. President Trump has visited Mar-a-Lago six times since he took office. I would like to note that he is not paying rent while he is there–he owns the place. As for arguments that the Secret Service is paying rent, I don’t know, but I do know the Secret Service paid rent to Joe Biden when they stayed on his property, so that is not anything new.

At any rate, the article reports:

With President Donald Trump making his seventh presidential trip this weekend to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, government watchdogs and Democrats are once again seeing dollar signs: namely, $3 million.

There are a few problems with the way this figure was reached. It was based on a trip President Obama made in 2013 to Palm Beach:

…Another problem with extrapolating from the October 2016 GAO report is that it included a leg from Washington to Chicago, where Obama gave an economic speech before heading to Palm Beach for a long weekend of golf.

Obama was only in Chicago for a few hours, but costs pile up because each destination triggers the need for the Secret Service to prepare and protect the site and the Defense Department to move the equipment involved.

Another significant cost-driver, GAO noted, is the per-hour cost of military aircraft, such as the president’s plane, Air Force One. So it’s not just a matter of slicing off a few hundred thousand dollars to come up with the $3 million estimate.

“If you take out Chicago, that just means the equipment is going to have to come from other bases,” Lepore said. Sometimes that means more money, sometimes less.

Judicial Watch arrives at its $1 million figure by estimating flight time and typical Secret Service costs, leaving out airlifting equipment such as the presidential limousines. Those costs also aren’t fully included in Judicial Watch’s $96 million total for Obama.

I would like to note that President Trump has been doing business while in Mar-a-Lago. Certainly it is an impressive place to meet with foreign leaders. I also wonder if it has less of a change of electronic surveillance than meetings in the White House. Considering all that we have learned about the surveillance of the Trump team, that might be a valid consideration.

The Story vs. The Spin

Yesterday The Washington Post reported some interesting information about the allegations that President Obama used electronic surveillance on President Trump’s campaign and transition team. I seriously wonder if anything will come of this, but I believe we have a smoking gun.

The article reports:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

I would like someone to explain to me how the Russian government could swing the election in Trump’s favor. The investigation into any Russian involvement in the Trump campaign is nothing more than a smoke screen for the illegal surveillance done by the Obama Administration.

The New York Post reported yesterday:

In what the paper (The Washington Post) described as a lengthy declaration, the government said Page “engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.”

The application was submitted in July and the ensuing 90-day warrant has been renewed at least once, the paper reported.

The government agencies are trying to determine whether Page or any other members of the Trump campaign had improper contacts Russian agents as the Kremlin sought to influence the presidential election.

Page told the paper that he was just a target in a political hit campaign.

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page told The Washington Post Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.”

This makes Watergate look like amateur hour. People went to jail because of the Watergate break-in. People should go to jail for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. What was done was unconstitutional and a violation of the civil rights of the people under surveillance. The leaking of this information with the names unmasked was also a violation of the law. If no one is held accountable, then the precedent is set that unwarranted surveillance of American citizens and releasing the information is acceptable.

 

The Individual States Are Laboratories To Determine The Best Policies

For whatever reason, the Republicans seem to have a problem keeping their campaign pledge to repeal ObamaCare. For some reason, they just can’t seem to bring up any one of the many bills they passed to repeal ObamaCare in the past when they knew the President would veto the bill. They are behaving like cowards. The problem is not the Freedom Caucus; the problem is the establishment Republicans who, like the Democrats, love bigger government. At any rate, the states have shown the way to repeal ObamaCare.

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial showing how various states have dealt with various aspects of ObamaCare.

The editorial explains:

In the early 1990s, several states adopted “guaranteed issue” (which banned insurers from turning anyone down for health reasons) and “community rating” (which banned insurers from charging the sick more than the healthy).

As with ObamaCare, these regulations banned insurers from denying coverage or charging people more because they were sick. Like ObamaCare, these reforms were popular with the public.

And, just like ObamaCare, they all caused their individual insurance markets to collapse, as premiums skyrocketed and insurers fled the markets.

So what happened?

Of 10 states that adopted ObamaCare-style market regulations, four repealed their “guaranteed issue” and “community rating” regulations altogether, according to a detailed analysis by Milliman in 2012.

New Hampshire, for example, adopted these protections in 1994. By 2000, only two insurance companies were writing individual policies in the state, and by 2001, only 3% of the state’s non-elderly population were enrolled in an individual insurance plan, down from 7.6% before the reforms kicked in.

The editorial goes on to explain that when the regulations were repealed in 2002 and a high-risk pool created for those with pre-existing conditions, more people bought insurance. By 2010, 8.5% of the population were buying on the individual market.

The editorial cites a similar experience in Kentucky:

Kentucky likewise abandoned these protections six years after adopting them, and after making various modifications in hopes to get the rules to work. When Kentucky first imposed guaranteed issue and community rating in 1994, there were more than 40 insurers in the state’s individual market. By 1996, only one was left.

Iowa and South Dakota also ditched their guaranteed issue and community rating reforms within nine years of enacting them. Washington weakened its guaranteed issue provision in 2000.

The editorial concludes:

These states show that repealing blanket “guaranteed issue” protections is politically possible, that it will restore the individual insurance market to health, and that there are other, better ways to take care of the sick.

The free market works every time it is tried!

The government does very few things well. Right now I can’t think of any of them. I am reminded of the Milton Friedman quote:

“If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand”

We need to keep that quote in mind when Congress talks about expanding government programs.

Why We Need A Clean Repeal Of ObamaCare

The Daily Caller posted an article today about the first U.S. city to feel the effects of the failure of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Knoxville, Tenn., could be the first city in the U.S. where Obamacare completely collapses, leaving tens of thousands of people without the option to buy a subsidized insurance policy.

Humana, the city’s only remaining insurance provider on its Obamacare exchange, announced it is exiting the market in 2018. If that happens, Knoxville citizens will be in a rough spot. Unless another insurance provider fills Humana’s place, some 40,000 people in the Knoxville area will likely be left without the option to purchase an Obamacare-subsidized insurance policy, CNN reports.

Knoxville is illustrative of one of the main problems with Obamacare: It doesn’t promote market-based competition. Insurers pull out of marketplaces where it is not cost-efficient for them to provide services, and, as a result, consumers are left with fewer options at higher prices.

When the government interferes with the free market, bad things happen.

Because of the collapse of ObamaCare, people will have to buy their insurance in the private marketplace. Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee have proposed a bill that would allow consumers to purchase any state-approved health insurance plans with ObamaCare subsidies. Again, the government is interfering in the free market.

The health insurance industry is not the villain here. Insurance companies use statistical tables to determine rates. They are in business to make money and should be allowed to do so (although allowances should be made for pre-existing conditions and long-term issues). There are a few steps that can be taken to bring reason back into the health insurance market–tort reform, selling insurance across state lines,  and high risk pools for pre-existing conditions.

Texas succeeded in slowing the rise of health insurance premiums by tort reform. Unfortunately a large percentage of the campaign money that goes to Congressional campaigns comes from trial lawyers. That will make it very difficult to pass tort reform on a national level. This is another reason to get the federal government out of the health insurance business.

The Layers Of The Obama-Orchestrated Palace Intrigue

President Obama has been relatively quiet since leaving the White House, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have people representing his interests in the Democratic Party and the media. What are his interests? The main one is preventing President Trump from undoing his executive orders and other policies that were put in place that were not helpful to the American economy. On Saturday, The New York Post posted a list of recent Presidents and the economic growth under each.

This is the list:

Here are the average growth rates for each president:

  • Johnson (1964-68), 5.3 percent
  • Kennedy (1961-63), 4.3 percent
  • Clinton (1993-2000), 3.9 percent
  • Reagan (1981-88), 3.5 percent
  • Carter (1977-80), 3.3 percent
  • Eisenhower (1953-60), 3 percent
  • Nixon (1969-74), 2.8 percent
  • Ford (1975-76), 2.6 percent
  • G.H.W. Bush (1989-92), 2.3 percent
  • G.W. Bush (2001-08), 2.1 percent
  • Truman (1946-52), 1.7 percent
  • Obama (2009-16), 1.6 percent

There are some real questions as to the methods former President Obama and those who supported him plan to use to prevent President Trump from taking actions to improve the economy. It is becoming obvious, however, that one of those methods is to attempt to delegitimize President Trump. So far the attempts to do this have included bogus information accusing President Trump of strange activities while visiting Russia, a claim that the Electoral College is unfair, and a charge that the Russians helped President Trump win the election. So far the only success these people have had has been the destruction of General Flynn and the withdrawal of one of the President’s cabinet nominations. However, we shouldn’t conclude that they are anywhere near giving up.

Sometimes the best laid plans backfire. An illustration of that is found at Bloomberg.com today in an article by Eli Lake.

The article reports:

White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

Oddly enough, these conversation involved members of the Trump transition team and contained information that would be of value politically.

The article also points out that Susan Rice has publicly denied any knowledge of President Trump’s transition team being caught up in intelligence collection. I would like to remind everyone that Susan Rice’s record on honesty is not spotless.

The article further reports:

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.

Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

This scenario is an illustration of the nightmare those who opposed the Patriot Act saw coming–the intelligence community being used as a political weapon. The problem is not entirely with the Patriot Act; part of the problem is unethical politicians who do not understand that they are also required to abide by the law and follow the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment rights of a number of people were violated by the actions of the Obama Administration. Those responsible need to be brought to justice.

Somehow Most Of The Media Has Avoided The History On This

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the confirmation process of Judge Gorsuch. The bottom line of the article is that it will take real talent for for Republican party to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in this instance. The article reminds us that until the administration of the 43rd President of the United States, Supreme Court Justices were sworn in by a simple majority.

The article reports the following quote from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on both FOX News Sunday and Meet the Press yesterday:

“I can tell you that Neil Gorsuch will be confirmed this week. How that happens really depends on our Democratic friends. How many of them are willing to oppose cloture, on a partisan basis, to kill a Supreme Court nominee? Never happened before in history, in the whole history of the country. In fact, filibustering judges at all is a rather recent phenomen[on] started by your next guest, Senator Schumer, after George Bush 43 got elected president. We didn’t used to do this. Clarence Thomas was confirmed 52-48, the most controversial Supreme Court nominee in history. And not a single Senator said he has to get 60 votes.”

Senator Harry Reid brought back the traditional concept of an up or down vote to confirm lower court judges. It will not be a big step to go back to the historical precedent of confirming Supreme Court judges the same way. The question is, “Do the Republicans have the intestinal fortitude to do what they need to do to put Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court?” This is nothing more than a political game of chicken. If the Democrats force the issue, the filibustering of Supreme Court judges will end. Because the Democrats are generally the party that uses this tactic, it will be their loss. There may be other vacancies on the Supreme Court in the next three years, and the Democrats will have given up a tool to oppose those nominations. If the Democrats allow this nomination to go through, they will simply replace a conservative judge with a conservative judge. They will also keep their powder dry for the next fight which may involve replacing a more liberal judge. It’s their choice.

Just as a point to remember–for those who are still screaming because Merrick Garland never got a hearing, remember that the Biden rule was called into effect during the last two years of the Bush Administration. The Republicans simply made the Democrats follow the rule that Joe Biden had stated! They simply enforced the same rule for both political parties.

How The Deep State Works

It is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee. The logic behind this is that civil servants should not be at the mercy of elections. They should have some modicum of job security. Although in theory that is a really good idea, it prevents the occasional housecleaning that Washington, D.C. needs. The group in Washington that is dedicated to maintaining the status quo is a small portion of the deep state. The deep state is much more complex and entangled than that, but for the purposes of this article, the deep state is simply the entrenched bureaucracy that is intent on maintaining the status quo. The deep state is one of the few things in Washington that is truly bi-partisan.

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday that illustrates how the deep state works.

The article reports:

Chairman Nunes is the only member of the Intelligence Oversight Gang-of-Eight who has reviewed the executive level intelligence product which caused him concern.  Nunes alleged in the last week he received evidence that Obama administration political figures gained access to unmasked American identities through foreign intercepts involving the Trump transition team between November 2016 and January 2017.

Media and congressional leadership intentionally skip the obvious questions:

Why don’t the other seven members also go look at the same executive intel?

  • Why, instead of looking at the same data, does the entire UniParty political apparatus and DC media now seem intent on eliminating Devin Nunes?
  • Why doesn’t Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Mark Warner simply go look at the same executive intelligence product?
  • Why doesn’t Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell or Richard Burr simply go look at the same executive intelligence product?
  • Why doesn’t any member of the DC media ask such brutally obvious questions?
  • Why is the DC UniParty both intent on not looking at the intelligence and simultaneously intent on removing Nunes, and getting the investigation removed from the House Intelligence Committee (Nunes/Schiff) and over to the Senate Intelligence Committee (Burr/Warner)?
  • What is it about that Executive Office Level Intelligence Product the gang-of-eight are all so desperately afraid of?
  • Why would the Senate launch another entire congressional intelligence inquiry, when the head of the Senate Intelligence Committees, Burr and Warner, are desperate NOT to see the intelligence product that causes Nunes such concern?

In a previous article, The Conservative Treehouse explains why much of those in Washington who should see the intelligence reports have not:

If Representative Schiff saw the same intelligence that substantiates Nunes he couldn’t keep up the fake outrage and false narrative. Right now Schiff can say anything about it he wants because he hasn’t seen it.  If Schiff actually sees the intelligence Nunes saw he loses that ability. He would also lose the ability to criticize, ridicule and/or marginalize Devin Nunes.

The same political perspective applies to Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Mark Warner. For each of them to see the information would eliminate their ability to talk about it, or criticize Nunes. The politics of the situation are more valuable so long as they don’t engage in actual truthful knowledge.

Chairman Nunes cannot share his intelligence finding with the House Committee, because the intelligence product is beyond their intel authority. Nunes has to ask for it in portions as each compartment would permit and authorize; And so long as Pelosi, Schumer, Warner and Schiff refuse to look at the intelligence that ‘only they’ are allowed to see, they can continue to ridicule and take political advantage.

This reality is also the reason why the media is so able to manipulate the narrative around Chairman Nunes; and simultaneously why he’s able to say he’s done nothing wrong.

Until we go back to a system under which civil servants can be fired and there is a periodic housecleaning in Washington, we will be a bi-partisan government of unelected bureaucrats and our votes will not be worth much. If President Trump is serious about changing Washington, he needs to begin clearing out the deep state by firing civil servants who are working against the interests of elected officials. The uproar will be monstrous, but it is truly the only way to drain the swamp.

 

 

Much Ado About Nothing

President Trump has doomed the earth to extinction! We have all heard some variation of that chicken-little headline because President Trump has directed the EPA to roll back former President Obama’s hugely expensive Clean Power Plan.

Well, yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact of President Trump’s directive.

The chart below is from the article:

The article explains exactly what the chart illustrates:

Take a look at the Clean Power Plan — Obama’s most ambitious climate change effort. Despite the costs of this regulatory monstrosity, the Clean Power Plan would have no discernible impact in global carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades.

That’s not the conclusion of climate change “deniers.” That’s what the Obama administration’s own Department of Energy said in a report issued in May 2016.

As part of its International Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration provided long-term forecasts of energy-related CO2 emissions, comparing global emissions with the Clean Power Plan, and without it.

What it shows is that with the Clean Power Plan, global carbon emissions would still climb 32% in 2012 and 2040, only slightly below what the increase will be without it.

So why did we cripple our domestic energy production and put thousands of people out of work? Rush Limbaugh has commented many times that the environmental movement is the new home for the socialists and communists of the world. As countries with basic freedoms have become more prosperous, countries that do not have basic property rights have become poorer. Those poorer countries would very much like to find a way to extort money from the richer countries. That is exactly what a worldwide carbon tax would do. How do you implement a worldwide carbon tax? You convince people that wealthy nations are ruining the earth and need to pay a price for it, and you give the money to the tyrants of the world.

Please understand, I am not in favor of pollution. However, I am in favor of balancing the economy and the environment.

The article further points out:

As we noted in this space recently, without any government mandates, energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell 12.4% from 2007 to 2015. Overall carbon intensity — a measure of how much CO2 it takes to produce a dollar of GDP — declined an average 1.5% a year since 2005.

These gains are due both to the fracking breakthrough, which unleashed massive supplies of lower-carbon natural gas, and the unending pressure the free market puts on businesses to be more efficient.

This same market-driven decarbonizing trend has been happening around the world.

Between 1990 and 2012, the carbon intensity of developed nations dropped by 33%, and by 25% in developing countries. By 2040, the carbon intensity of developed nations will be cut in half, the report projects, and will drop by almost 40% in developed countries, the Energy Department report shows.

Yet overall energy-related CO2 emissions will still climb by 51% in developing countries, and 8% among industrialized nations, from 2012 to 2040 — even with the Paris agreement.

Why? “Increases in output per capita coupled with population growth overwhelm improvements in energy intensity and carbon intensity,” the report explains.

In other words, barring some miracle scientific breakthrough, the only reliable way to cut global carbon emissions would be to depopulate the planet or kill economic growth.

The global warming panic is nothing more than a stealth attack on our economy and freedom. As I have stated before, the best site on the Internet for good, scientific information on climate change is wattsupwiththat.com. I strongly recommend that you visit the site when you wonder about the scientific accuracy of whatever current panic attack the environmentalists are having.

The Keystone Pipeline Will Be Good For The Environment, But You Might Have To Search A Bit To Find That Story

On March 24th, The New York Post posted an article about the environmental impact of the Keystone Pipeline. I would like to point out that none of the environmental studies on the pipeline done during the Obama Administration ever stated that the pipeline would harm the environment. The objection to the pipeline at that point was that if President Obama allowed the pipeline to be built, the Democratic Party would lose the donations of the radical environmental groups. If they refused to build the pipeline, they would lose a large portion of donations from unions. They made a choice to keep the environmentalists happy and ignore the unions who wanted the jobs the pipeline would create.

The article points out:

Environmentalists like to tout scary spill statistics. But in actuality, oil travels most securely by pipeline, reaching its destination safely 99.999 percent of the time, according to the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the American Petroleum Institute.

A recent study by Canada’s Fraser Institute provided more reassuring information: Of the rare spills that do occur, 83 percent happen in facilities specially equipped to handle them, not along the pipeline’s route, where they could cause environmental harm. Moreover, 70 percent of the spills that do occur amount to a total of less than a cubic meter of spilled oil.

The article explains the impact of alternative forms of transporting oil:

As energy-related rail traffic increased, 2013 alone saw more train-related crude-oil spills than the entire 37 years prior, combined. And between 2013 and 2015 alone, the United States and Canada saw 10 separate explosions involving oil-laden trains.

To understand how much riskier railway transportation can be, look no further than to Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. In 2013, a crude-oil train derailed, plowing into town at more than 62 miles per hour and exploding. Forty-seven people died, and the blaze wiped out 44 buildings.

The wreck unleashed nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil, and what didn’t char the town seeped into the soil and contaminated the nearby Chaudière River.

Transporting oil by truck also carries major risks. At the peak of the oil boom, The New York Times reported that highway fatalities were the top cause of deaths in the industry — more than 300 between 2002 and 2012. In North Dakota, highway fatalities skyrocketed as energy production soared; at one point, a person was killed in an accident every two-and-a-half days.

A 100 percent risk-free method of energy transportation doesn’t exist, and the Obama administration was well aware of the comparative risks of pipeline, rail and road. Five separate State Department studies examined safety and environmental concerns surrounding the pipeline. Their findings were consistently favorable to Keystone XL.

The most recent State Department report concluded that because of pipelines’ superior safety record, Keystone XL could prevent as many as six fatalities and 48 injuries each year.

Without the pipeline, the oil would travel by truck and rail. Both of these methods have a higher carbon footprint and a higher risk than a pipeline. It is also no coincidence that without the pipeline the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is transporting large amounts of oil through the area where the pipeline will be built. The railroad is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett, a close friend of former President Obama. The delay of the Keystone Pipeline was truly a case of ‘follow the money.’

If You Can Discredit The Messenger, You Might Be Able To Discredit The Message

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Democrat‘s call that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuse himself from the investigation into Russian activities during the 2016 election. Their main justification for this request is that Congressman Nunes informed President Trump that he had been under surveillance by the Obama Administration.

The article reminds us:

Journalists were so busy scoffing on Twitter at Nunes’ March 22 press conference that they failed to pay attention to what he said. Importantly, the intelligence collected on Trump transition staff was not related to Russia. It was not collected in the course of monitoring Russian officials, nor as part of any official criminal investigation into Trump-world that might have justified inter-agency sharing.

In describing this still-unreleased intelligence material, Nunes referred to an earlier incident in which the Obama administration spied on Israeli officials. During that monitoring, the White House incidentally picked up conversations between the Israelis and members of Congress at the height of the debate over the Iran nuclear deal.

The article points out that there are two separate items before Congress right now that they should be investigating:

There are two important and separate questions now. One pertains to Russian propaganda efforts and illegal hacking during the 2016 election. The other pertains to potentially illegal handling of intelligence information on U.S. persons by the intelligence community or the Obama administration.

The article concludes:

Democrats accuse him of canceling the hearing to prevent testimony by Sally Yates, Obama’s acting attorney general whom Trump fired in January.

 Whatever the truth of this claim, and Nunes can prove them wrong by quickly rescheduling Yates’ testimony on Flynn and Russia, the illegal handling of intelligence information about conversations by opposition politicians is a very serious issue. Nunes is right to demand answers quickly by going to the source. Democrats’ calls for him to recuse himself from a completely separate investigation are not just disingenuous, but are intended to confuse the public.

By attacking Representative Nunes, the Democrats can take the focus off of the illegal surveillance of American citizens, the failure to mask the identify of those citizens, and leaking of surveillance information to the press with the purpose of bringing down a presidential candidate and later a President.  This is not acceptable behavior.

In watching the Democrats and their attempts to delegitimize by keeping the Russian interference story alive, I am reminded of a historic event in which the Democrats and the press did a similar thing and succeeded.

The actions of the Democrats during Watergate provide a preview of what is happening now. Watergate was a high watermark in the politics of personal destruction. In his book, Inside the Real Watergate Conspiracy, the author, Geoff Shepard, states:

“It seems clear that without Cox’s intervention, the federal prosecutors would have issued indictments at least by August 1973, and the public’s desire to know that the government was seriously pursuing the Watergate case would have been fully satisfied. Indeed, on May 24, 1973, the U.S. attorney publicly stated that comprehensive indictments were imminent; and the prosecutorial memo submitted to Cox on his arrival stated that the case was all but closed.”

As Americans, we need to make sure that this sort of manipulation of the news does not happen again. Today we have an alternative media that we did not have then. Hopefully that will make a difference. At any rate, we need to be aware of what is being attempted.

The accusations of Russian interference are garbage–they are a distraction designed to prevent President Trump from draining the swamp. The accusations provide another illustration of the reason President Trump needs to drain the swamp.

Setting The Narrative

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article that beautifully illustrates how the media shapes our opinion.

The article opens with the story of the role the media played in establishing the legacy of John F. Kennedy after he was killed:

On November 29th, a week after JFK was killed and four days after he had been laid to rest in Arlington Cemetery beneath an eternal flame lit by his widow and brothers – a flame that still burns today – the newly widowed Jacqueline  Kennedy summoned the Pulitzer Prize winning author Theodore H. White to the Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. White, who had won his Pulitzer for writing The Making of the President 1960, the groundbreaking book on JFK’s winning presidential campaign, dutifully responded, notebook in hand. 

White was not selected by accident. He had become an admirer and friend of the young President. He was a friendly journalist. The new widow chose him specifically because she had something she wanted to say for history – something she wanted to accomplish. And she wanted White to do it for her in the pages of arguably the most famous publication of the day — Life magazine.

…Why is this important to recall now? While the term had not yet been invented in 1963, what Mrs. Kennedy was doing —  with the ready acquiescence of Theodore White and Life magazine —  was creating the media narrative of JFK’s presidency. Today the liberal media does this all the time.

The article goes on to contrast the way that the mainstream media treated President Obama with the way the mainstream media is treating President Trump.

There were some very obvious lies told by President Obama. Five of the more obvious lies are listed by conservative author Jack Cashill in the New York Post all the way back there in 2014:

My father left my family when I was two-years old.”

…“The Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration.”

…There was “Not even a smidgen of corruption” in the Obama administration.

…“We revealed to the American people exactly what we understood at the time.”

…“Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Please follow the link above to read the entire article with the explanations of the lies.

These are obvious lies, yet the media never called President Obama on his lies. The article reminds us:

But what is the liberal media narrative Time — and other outlets — are pumping out there? The Obama presidency was fabulous.He was young, glamorous, literate, and oh so smart. The economy roared along. The world respected us. The eight years of Obama were like those three years of the Kennedy Camelot. And most importantly of all? The president told the truth. 

Fast forward to the media reporting about President Trump. The article reminds us that today at least we have the alternative media to help us find the truth:

So here we go again. Trump lies is the new media narrative. This is nothing more than the latest way to attack not only Trump but the newest Republican president. It succeeds the liberal media narrative about President Bush 43 (“Bush lied! People died!”) and the liberal media narrative of Mitt Romney. Romney, recall, was portrayed as having killed a steel workers wife by denying her health care! He beat up a gay kid! He was cruel to his dog! And on and on it goes, all the way back to 1964 GOP nominee Barry Goldwater and his alleged affection for the Nazis. (Really!)

America is a long, long way from that sad week in November of 1963 when a grieving First Lady made it her business to set the media (and history’s) narrative about her late husband. What’s changed is that creating liberal media narratives is a full time occupation  (obsession?) for today’s liberal media.

The difference between 1963 and today is that there is a conservative media around to correct the record.

 

Why ObamaCare Was Not Repealed

I used to be a Democrat. Then I used to be a Republican. Now I am an unaffiliated voter because there is not a conservative party that believes in smaller government. The Republicans used to believe in smaller government, but they have forgotten who they are. Yesterday was a glaring example of that fact. The Conservative Review posted an article yesterday about the failure of the House of Representatives to vote on the repeal (and replacement) of ObamaCare. The headline of the article is, “How DARE House Freedom Caucus hold GOP accountable to its promises!?” For me, that pretty much sums up what happened.

The article reminds us:

In 2016, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a clean repeal bill through the reconciliation process. It was sent to Barack Obama who vetoed it, as CNN reported at the time. In 2017, Rand Paul (R-Ky) has offered a bill that does many of the same things, as the 2016 legislation.

CNN reported:

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon passed legislation that would repeal ObamaCare, and after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law, the bill (to) dismantle it will finally get to the President’s desk.

But it won’t stay there long; President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any Republican bill that guts his signature health care law, a five-year-and-counting effort.

The vote was 240-181, largely along party lines.

The article goes on to explain that members of the House Freedom Caucus wanted the 2016 bill to be voted on in this session of Congress. It is very annoying to those of us who have followed this story closely (rather than listen to what the media is telling us) that the Freedom Caucus is being blamed for the failure of this bill. This is simply not true. As usual, the establishment GOP has dissed its voters.

The article concludes:

It’s pretty easy to see who one should truly be disgusted at. It’s not Mark Meadows (R-NC), and the other members of the Freedom Caucus. It is Paul Ryan and his leadership team, who refuse to offer the bill they already passed in 2016 as the model they would use if they had a president who would sign it.

Ryan now has a president who would sign the 2016 legislation that easily passed in a campaign year as the blueprint for repeal. He refused to bring it to a vote, lest it show that the GOP campaign promises mean nothing. The Freedom Caucus is absolutely right to insist that the House and Senate do so.

President Trump is a very smart man, but I believe that he does not yet fully understand the backstabbing that is an everyday part of Washington. I believe Paul Ryan purposely stabbed President Trump in the back. Paul Ryan has become part of the Republican establishment that is fighting to maintain the status quo. The Republican establishment would like to see President Trump fail as much as the Democrats would. As ObamaCare collapses, which it will, the establishment Republicans will be the ones who will bring us nationalized healthcare. That is truly sad. It can be prevented, but it needs to be done quickly and decisively. It may be time to change the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

This Is Not Incidental Data Collection

As I have listened to the Congressional hearings, I have heard the term ‘incidental data collection‘ mentioned as the reason there were transcripts of conversations between former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador. Well, that excuse is no longer valid. The Gateway Pundit posted an article today that included information from a whistleblower who Congressional investigators chose to ignore. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. It is chilling to realize how seriously the rights of American citizens were breached and that people in high places chose to try to bury the information on the surveillance.

The article cites a letter from the whistleblower to Representative David Nunes from the General Council at Freedom Watch.

The article includes the following excerpt from the letter:

If these charges are true, and it sounds as if the whistleblower has the information to back them up, some of our highest government officials belong in jail. It truly is time to drain the swamp.

It’s Amazing What Comes To The Surface

Politico posted an update today on the hearings in the House Intelligence Committee.

The article reports:

Members of the Donald Trump transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under U.S. government surveillance following November’s presidential election, House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) told reporters Wednesday.

Nunes said the monitoring appeared to be done legally as a result of what’s called “incidental collection,” but said he was concerned because it was not related to the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the election and was widely disseminated across the intelligence community.

“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” Nunes told reporters. “It looks to me like it was all legally collected, but it was essentially a lot of information on the president-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.”

Nunes said he is heading to the White House later Wednesday to brief Trump on what he has learned, which he said came from “sources who thought that we should know it.” He said he was trying to get more information by Friday from the FBI, CIA and NSA.

Nunes described the surveillance as most likely being “incidental collection.” This can occur when a person inside the United States communicates with a foreign target of U.S. surveillance. In such cases, the identities of U.S. citizens are supposed to be kept secret — but can be “unmasked” by intelligence officials under certain circumstances.

…It was previously known that Flynn’s pre-inauguration phone calls with Russia’s ambassador were intercepted by the U.S. government; he resigned last month after it became clear he misled his colleagues about the nature of the calls.

Nunes has said Flynn’s calls were picked up through incidental collection and said his committee is investigating why Flynn’s name was unmasked and leaked to the news media.

Obviously, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s phone calls with the Russian ambassador were taped and transcribed. Because he has talking to the Russian ambassador, that is not unusual. What is unusual is for the transcripts of those calls to be leaked to the press with his name on them. That is against the law. The person who did that belongs in prison.

As this investigation continues, it is becoming obvious that candidate Donald Trump was under government surveillance during the campaign and after he was elected. That is a serious violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. This surveillance is one reason many Congressmen opposed the Patriot Act–they feared the kind of political abuse of the law that the Obama Administration was evidently guilty of. There are many stories out there documenting the surveillance of Donald Trump and his campaign. I have not posted some of them because I am not familiar with the sources. However, those sources are beginning to look reliable.