Astroturf vs. Reality

On Tuesday there was a rally in Washington, D.C., to support continuing the DACA program. This is the program that allows children who were brought to America illegally by their parents at a young age to remain in the country. There are some good aspects of this law–this is the only country these children have ever known, and theoretically these children have adapted to American culture. However, DACA was never proposed as a law and Congress was never given the chance to vote for or against it–it was done by Executive Order. The downside of DACA is that it encourages illegal immigration. I suspect there is a compromise somewhere in the middle, but I haven’t seen it yet.

But we need to look at this rally in light of who put it together and who handled the expenses (the signs and the t-shirts were not homemade).

Breitbart posted an article today about the backers of the rally.

The article reports:

United We Dream and CASA, two Soros-funded pro-immigration groups, were behind the rally outside the White House where illegal aliens demanded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program be kept in place by the President Trump Administration.

In 2010, Soros’ Open Society Foundation gave United We Dream a total of $75,000. In 2015, the open borders organization CASA thanked Soros’ Open Society Foundation for their funding and support.

At the protest, more than 25 open border activists were arrested by Metro Police outside of the White House, according to Democracy Now.

The article further explains some of the troubling aspects of DACA:

DACA recipients are given protection by the federal government and since the Trump Administration has not ended the program. Experts like Mark Krikorian have previously said that 800 new permits for protected DACA status can be granted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) per day.

Immigration hawks have long criticized the temporary amnesty program as being unconstitutional, mainly because former President Obama enacted the program through executive order. Since DACA’s inception, potentially dozens of recipients of the federal protection may be MS-13 gang members, Breitbart Texas reported.

There is a pattern here with the current unrest that we need to note. Many of the people protesting are paid, many of the people protesting have ties to international movements working against America, and many of the people protesting have no idea why they are protesting or who they are involved with.

Donald Trump is a serious threat to those who seek global governance. The political left, the establishment Republicans, and the globalists are all very unhappy about the results of the last election. Up until the election of Donald Trump, things were traveling in the direction they wanted to travel, and he has thrown a real wrench in the works. They are not going to take this lying down. If Americans truly want America to be the country that was founded in 1776, they are going to have to get involved, find their own news sources, and stand up against those who want to take our freedoms away.

We need to remember that the group that controls the vocabulary controls the news narrative. Hate speech can be used to describe any speech that does not conform to the mainstream media template. Have you ever wondered why the media refers to pro-life people as ‘anti-abortion’ and pro-abortion people as ‘pro-choice’? Have you noticed the attempt to declare anyone espousing conservative values as a racist or bigot? Why is it homophobic to support marriage the way it has been for centuries? Why is the church being asked to condone homosexual marriage–isn’t it enough to allow it to be legal? There is an attempt to undermine America’s cultural and moral fiber that has reached major proportions in the past few years. Either we are going to fight to preserve those morals and that culture or we are going to have to explain to our children and grandchildren why we were unwilling to defend their freedom.

The Next Step After Failure To Repeal ObamaCare

Investor’s Business Daily posted an article today about the consequences of the Republicans’ failure to repeal ObamaCare.

The article states:

Many Democrats and their ideological allies are using the congressional recess to crow about the GOP‘s defeat — and dream about replacing Obamacare with a bonafide single-payer system.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has promised to introduce a single-payer bill next month. “I have no illusions that . . . suddenly we’re going to see a Medicare-for-all, single-payer passed,” he said last week. “Why is the United States the only major country on earth not to guarantee health care to all people?”

Several folks within the senator’s sizeable political following have hinted that support for single-payer will be a “litmus test” that will determine whether they will get behind Democratic candidates — or primary them.

So what does single-payer healthcare mean? The Medicare for All plan that Senator Sanders introduced during his presidential run would cost $2.5 trillion — nearly double what the Sanders campaign claimed. Another study by the Urban Institute found that the plan would increase spending by $32 trillion over the next decade.

The article further reports:

Last November, Colorado voters rejected Amendment 69, a ballot initiative that would have created a single-payer system in the state, by an 80-20 margin. An independent analysis revealed that the plan would have run a deficit of $253 million in its first year — and $7.8 billion by 2028.

Bernie Sanders’s own state of Vermont experienced similar sticker shock. The plan under consideration in the Green Mountain State would have cost $4.3 billion — nearly 90% of the entire state budget.

To cover that tab, payroll taxes would have surged 11.5%; income taxes would have increased 9%. Consequently, in 2014, Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin shelved the plan, deeming it “unwise and untenable.”

The article reminds us that the way to make single-payer more economical is to ration care. That is not an improvement to the healthcare Americans received before President Obama ruined it for the majority of Americans.

The article concludes:

The median Canadian, for example, waits nearly five months to get treatment from a specialist after receiving a referral from his general practitioner. That is more than twice the wait of 25 years ago.

The United Kingdom’s single-payer system offers more of the same. At the end of June, 4 million people were waiting for care. That is the highest figure in a decade.

Is this really the path the United States wants to go down? According to a June Pew survey, only 33% of Americans think single-payer health insurance is a good idea. But that number is up 12 percentage points since 2014.

It should come back down, once Americans realize that single-payer means paying a lot more for a lot less health care.

It is long past time for the Republicans to repeal ObamaCare.

 

The Swamp Is A Danger To American National Security

On August 4th, Daniel Greenfield posted an article at Front Page Magazine about National Security Council head H.R. McMaster.  Daniel Greenfield has concluded that McMaster is part of the deep state and is working against the interests of both America and the Trump Administration. At this point I should mention that like it or not, Donald Trump is the President, and working against Donald Trump is working against the interests of America. It is not patriotic to oppose anything and everything the Trump Administration proposes–it is obstructionism. The Washington establishment’s worst nightmare is for the Trump Administration to succeed–that will be the end of their stranglehold on our government and their success as an elite class.

The article notes:

Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

It seems as if the NSC under McMaster has turned political,  gotten totally out of control, and needs to be promptly reined in.

The article continues:

Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is chilling to think that a group of people have become so entrenched in a government agency that they will risk the security of America to remain in power.

 

Why Congress Failed To Repeal ObamaCare

For seven years, Republicans promised to repeal ObamaCare if voters gave them the House, the Senate, and the White House. Last week they failed to repeal ObamaCare. What were some of the things that kept them from keeping their promise.

Yesterday CBN News posted an article about some of the things about the relationship between Congress and ObamaCare that were not widely reported.

The article reports some of that history:

In 2009, when lawmakers were debating Obamacare, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, put forth an amendment calling for congressional employees to subject themselves to insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The amendment was unanimously adopted.

“The whole point of this provision was to make them feel the pain if it didn’t work,” Kerpen (Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment) said in an interview Wednesday with CBN’s Pat Robertson.

One flaw in the final Senate bill was that the amendment did not include employer contributions. Consequently, when Obamacare passed, it terminated coverage that members and their staff previously had through the Federal Employee Health Benefit program, which subsidized about 75 percent of their health care plans.

…Senate Democrats met with President Barack Obama in 2013 to address this problem. After the meeting, Obama directed the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to issue a rule qualifying both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate as small businesses, which is a label legally only given to businesses with less than 50 employees.

Kerpen says one person filed “blatantly false documents,” which were obtained by Judicial Watch, in order to sign up 12,000 people in an exchange that should only apply to companies with 50 employees or fewer.

…When President Trump threatens to end the bailouts for members of Congress for Obamacare, he is threatening to direct the OPM to reverse Obama’s regulation allowing employer contributions to exchange plans.

If this rule is reversed, members and their staff would lose their government-funded subsidies and be subjected to paying the premiums people without employer coverage have to pay that make too much money to qualify for subsidies.

“This is mandatory work they’ve got to get done for the American people,” Kerpen said.

This is the tweet from President Trump:

I hope that the President follows through on that threat–Congress is supposed to live under the laws they pass! Insurance Companies should not be compensated for the campaign donations they make!

 

A Necessary Step

Judicial Watch released the following statement today:

In a major shift from lax Obama-era regulations, the Trump administration is finally allowing customs officers to screen all cargo trucks entering the U.S. from Mexico and sources on both sides of the border tell Judicial Watch Mexican drug cartels are fuming. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using X-ray technology and other non-intrusive tools to screen 100% of cargo trucks crossing the southern border after eight years of sporadic or random screening permitted under the Obama administration.

“We felt like we were the welcoming committee and not like we were guarding our borders,” said veteran U.S. Customs agent Patricia Cramer, who also serves as president of the Arizona chapter of the agency’s employee union. “The order was to facilitate traffic, not to stop any illegal drugs from entering the country,” Cramer added. “We want to enforce the law. That’s what we signed up for.” Cramer, a canine handler stationed at the Nogales port of entry in Arizona, said illicit drugs are pouring in through the southern border, especially massive quantities of fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) says is more potent than morphine.

Approximately 471,000 trucks pass through the U.S-Mexico border monthly, according to figures published by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The busiest port of entry is in Laredo, Texas where 167,553 trucks enter the U.S. from Mexico monthly, followed by Otay Mesa in California (76,953), El Paso, Texas (58,913), Hidalgo, Texas (45,355) and Nogales with 29,439. Other busy ports include East Calexico, California (29,173), Brownsville, Texas (16,140) and Eagle Pass, Texas (12,952). Trucks bring in everything from auto parts to appliances, produce and livestock. In fact, a veteran Homeland Security official told Judicial Watch that cattle trucks passed without inspection during the Obama administration because Mexican farmers complained that the security screenings frightened their cows. “Our guys were livid that we were not allowed to check cattle,” the federal official said.

Frontline customs agents stationed along the southern border confirm that trucks containing “legitimate” goods are often used by sophisticated drug cartels to move cargo north. This is hardly surprising since most illegal drugs in the United States come from Mexico, according to the DEA, and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest threat to the United States. They’re classified as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) by the government and for years they’ve smuggled in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. Last year the Congressional Research Service (CRS), the nonpartisan agency that provides Congress with policy and legal analysis, published a disturbing report outlining how Mexican cartels move record quantities of drugs into the U.S. Because cartels move the drugs through the Southwest border, western states have become part of what’s known as the “heroin transit zone,” according to the CRS.

Federal law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch Mexican cartels operate like efficient businesses that resort to “other more treacherous routes” when necessary, but driving through a port of entry in a cargo truck is a preferred method of moving drugs. Cartels station shifts of spotters with binoculars in Mexican hills near border checkpoints to determine the level of security screenings. “They know if we’re on the job, the level of screening that we’re conducting,” Cramer said. “The cartels watch us all the time.” Nogales is a favorite for cartel spotters because the U.S. checkpoint sits in a valley surrounded by hills on the Mexican side, where unobstructed views facilitate surveillance. “They see everything,” Cramer said. For years the cartel spotters saw that much of the cargo passing through the checkpoint was waved through, according to agents contacted by Judicial Watch.

We have no right to complain about the opiate epidemic in America if we are not willing to take the actions necessary to stem the flow of illegal drugs coming into the country.

I Think We Are Investigating The Wrong People

One of the worst things that can happen to a representative government is for a political leader to use the power of his position to spy on his political opposition. Unfortunately, it is becoming more and more obvious that under President Obama that was the norm.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article about the latest leak from the Washington establishment.

The article reports:

Since that time (March 2017) we now know that the FBI was investigating the Trump Tower servers during the election.

We also know Susan Rice lied at first but then admitted when she got caught that she was unmasking her political opponents phone calls. Rice blamed racism after she got caught.

Ex-officials said what Susan Rice’s unmasking requests were not routine and “never done.” And… she was not alone in her unmasking requests.

Obama officials later moved the unmasking documents to the Obama library.

Tonight Deep State leaked documents to the Washington Post that show the Obama administration were spying on Republican senator Jeff Sessions before the election.

Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Jeff Sessions, who was at the time a Senator from Alabama, were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, according to the far left Washington Post.

Once again this proves President Trump was right.
Barack Obama was spying on his political opponents.

Robert Mueller is investigating the wrong people. I suspect that is by design.

Watching The Senate Democrats Drag Their Feet

It is amazing to me that anything ever gets done in Washington. The Democrats in the Senate, led by Senator Schumer, have done everything they can to block the appointments and agenda of President Trump. Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article on that subject that included the following chart:

The article reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that after completing work on a health care bill to replace Obamacare, the Senate will turn to a defense spending bill and “the backlog of critical nominations that have been mindlessly stalled by Democrats.”

“In order to provide more time to complete action on important legislative items and process nominees that have been stalled by a lack of cooperation from our friends across the aisle, the Senate will delay the start of the August recess until the third week of August,” McConnell, R-Ky., said.

During a press briefing Tuesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders noted McConnell’s announcement and accused Senate Democrats of “looking to set a record for pointless and dangerous obstruction.”

Citing the Obama administration, Sanders added:

While more than 90 percent of the previous administration’s nominations were confirmed by a voice vote, Democrats in the Senate have allowed only approximately 10 percent of President Trump’s nominees to be voted on in that way.

We’re coming up on the August recess of President Trump’s first term, by which point the Senate [had] confirmed 69 percent of President Obama’s nominations; less than a month out from that same point, the Senate has confirmed only approximately 23 percent of President Trump’s nominees. These numbers show the Democrats’ true colors.

I am not a big fan of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, but he is right about this. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut.

We Need Leaders Who Respect National Security

Breitbart.com posted an article yesterday about memos written by former FBI Director James Comey. The Hill also posted a similar article yesterday.

The Hill reported:

More than half of the memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote as personal recollections of his conversations with President Trump about the Russia investigation have been determined to contain classified information, according to interviews with officials familiar with the documents.

This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election.

Breitbart reported:

FBI policy forbids any agent from releasing classified information or any information from ongoing investigations or sensitive operations without prior written permission, and mandates that all records created during official duties are considered to be government property,” the report said

Comey admitted to senators last month that he leaked at least one memo to his friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia Law School professor and former prosecutor so that he could leak them to the New York Times.

Was there anyone in the Obama Administration who believed in playing by the rules that you and I would have to follow?

 

The Shell Game Being Played In Washington With Taxpayer Dollars

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the agricultural spending portion of the federal budget. Part of the problem in curbing agricultural spending is the fact that the food stamp program is included in the agricultural budget. Thus when cuts can be made to the food stamp program because of an improving economy, agricultural subsidies can be increased without appearing to spend more money. The first step in solving this problem would be to separate the food stamp program from the agricultural program. This would provide more honest numbers showing the cost of these programs. However, there are also some other problem areas.

The article reports:

  • The safety net for agricultural producers (commodity/disaster assistance and crop insurance) is projected to cost $1 billion more than originally projected over the course of the five years of the farm bill.
  • The two massive new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, are projected to cost about $13 billion more than was originally projected ($31 billion compared to $18 billion over the first five years of the programs).
  • The 2014 farm bill, when it passed, was projected to cost an astonishing $352 billion more than the 2008 farm bill ($956 billion compared to $604 billion). Almost all of this was due to a massive increase in food stamp costs.

The article further reports:

In 2001, spending on the food stamp program was roughly $19 billion. These costs doubled to $39 billion in 2008 and, by 2013, doubled again to reach a peak of almost $83 billion.

Although food stamp costs have come down a little since 2013 (they cost $73 billion in 2016), food stamp spending was still close to double what it was in 2008.

The latest projections show the four largest titles of the farm bill (about 99 percent of the farm bill costs) will save more than what was originally projected for the five-year farm bill, but almost all of that is connected to food stamps ($27.3 billion of the $30.8 billion in savings).

These food stamp savings have generally been attributed to a better economy, not the 2014 farm bill.

Now that there has been a minor reduction in the still-massive amount of food stamp spending (it is still near record highs), some legislators want to use those “savings” to provide cover for keeping or even expanding farm handouts.

The American taxpayer can no longer afford to be an insurance provider to farmers. This is another place where the government needs to get out of the way and let the free market take over. It is time for Washington to balance the needs of the taxpayers against the runaway spending of Congress. We are dangerously close to the point where there are so many people riding in the wagon that those not in the wagon do not have the strength to pull it.

 

Inappropriate Behavior

While the media is focusing on whether or not President Trump’s tweets are appropriate, they are ignoring some extremely inappropriate behavior by former President Obama.

The Federalist Papers posted an article today about the recent violation of the Logan Act by former President Obama.

The article reports:

President Moon Jae-in renewed his resolve to pursue sanctions and dialogue to tackle North Korea’s nuclear program during a meeting with former US President Barack Obama on Monday, saying now is the “last chance” for the regime to return to the negotiating table.

During the 40-minute talk, Moon shared the results of his recent summit with his incumbent US counterpart Donald Trump, asking for Obama’s advice on ways to advance the relationship.

The article then explains the problem:

This could be construed as a violation of the Logan Act as defined by Cornell Law School:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

However, the article includes a quote from The New York Times:

The Logan Act appears to be a so-called dead letter, meaning a law that remains technically on the books but is essentially defunct or toothless.

A study by the Congressional Research Service in 2015 said nobody has ever been prosecuted under the statute and identified only one instance of an indictment under the law: in 1803, the United States attorney in Kentucky obtained from a grand jury an indictment of a Kentucky farmer who had written an article in support of creating a separate nation in the territory west of the fledgling United States that would be an ally to France. But the prosecutor dropped the case. A recent draft scholarly paper posted online by a Federal Appeals Court law clerk identified a second apparent such indictment, involving the reported arrest in 1852 of a man who wrote a letter to the president of Mexico.

What President Obama did in meeting with the South Korean President was tacky, inconsiderate, breaking with tradition, and a further attempt by a now irrelevant politician to regain the spotlight.

Meanwhile the media is focused on Donald Trump’s tweets. Really?

Leading By Example

Forbes Magazine posted an article today about the impact President Trump has had on the While House payroll.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.
  • $5.1 million in payroll savings vs. the Obama FY2015 payroll. In 2017, the Trump payroll amounts to $35.8 million for 377 employees, while the Obama payroll amounted to $40.9 million for 476 employees (FY2015).
  • Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).
  • Counts of the “Assistants to the President” – the most trusted advisors to the president – are the same (22) in both first-year Trump and Obama administrations. In the Trump White House, Steven Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and 17 others make salaries of $179,700. In Obama’s first-year, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and twenty others held the title with top pay of $172,000.
  • The highest compensated White House Trump staffer? Mark House, Senior Policy Advisor, has a salary of $187,500. Mr. House is “on detail” from a federal agency which allows him to exceed the top pay-grade of $179,700. In Obama’s Administration (2009), David Marcozzi earned $193,000 “on detail” from Health and Human Services.

The article concludes:

At the nation’s founding, Ben Franklin said, “Diligence is the mother of good luck.” Although the White House personnel budget is an infinitesimal part of the $3.9 trillion federal budget, it could be a leading indicator of Trump’s commitment to cut waste, fraud and taxpayer abuse.

I wish we could pass this thriftiness along to Congress.

 

Just Repeal–Don’t Replace

The current ObamaCare bill is rapidly collapsing. It was designed that way. The plan was that Hillary Clinton would get elected and we would move to single-payer (totally government-controlled) healthcare. The fact that Donald Trump got elected and isn’t playing the Washington establishment’s games is a problem for those that want government healthcare. That is one of the reasons they are trying so hard to demonize him and get rid of him.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the current state of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Roughly 41 percent of counties in the United States could have only one insurer participating on the Affordable Care Act exchanges next year, according to a new analysis from Avalere Health.

This percentage is up from the lack of participation in 2017, when roughly one-third of counties, or 33 percent, had only one insurer participating on the exchanges.

According to their count, there will be 47 counties that will have no insurer participating on the exchange leaving about 34,000 consumers with no choice.

…”In addition to the cost of premiums, insurer decisions around whether or not to offer plans in the exchanges will impact shoppers,” said Caroline Pearson, senior vice president of the group. “Consumers will see fewer choices on the exchange again in 2018, with some counties at risk of having no options.”

This is not what success looks like. ObamaCare has been a failure. The best replacement would be to let the free market rule. Tax credits could be used to help lower income people afford health insurance, but the free market would make healthcare more affordable for everyone.

There are a few principles that would reform healthcare in a way that would benefit everyone–portability across state lines, tort reform, high risk pools for people with pre-existing conditions, and letting the companies with the actuary tables determine rates. The government does not have a stellar record when it comes to running things. There are very few government programs that are not wasteful, inefficient, and expensive. We don’t need another government money pit. It’s time to repeal ObamaCare. Then the debate on its replacement can begin.

Circular Logic Used To Justify Breaking The Law

The following post is based on two articles–one from The New York Post yesterday and one from Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog today.

The New York Post article states that the company Fusion GPS (the company that commissioned the Russian intelligence dossier on then candidate Trump) has blocked Congressional investigators from looking at its connection to the Democratic Party.

The article at The New York Post reports:

Fusion GPS was on the payroll of an unidentified Democratic ally of Clinton when it hired a long-retired British spy to dig up dirt on Trump. In 2012, Democrats hired Fusion GPS to uncover dirt on GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. And in 2015, Democrat ally Planned Parenthood retained Fusion GPS to investigate pro-life activists protesting the abortion group.

More, federal records show a key co-founder and partner in the firm was a Hillary Clinton donor and supporter of her presidential campaign.

In September 2016, while Fusion GPS was quietly shopping the dirty dossier on Trump around Washington, its co-founder and partner Peter R. Fritsch contributed at least $1,000 to the Hillary Victory Fund and the Hillary For America campaign, Federal Election Commission data show. His wife also donated money to Hillary’s campaign.

Property records show that in June 2016, as Clinton allies bankrolled Fusion GPS, Fritsch bought a six-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Bethesda, Md., for $2.3 million.

Fritsch did not respond to requests for comment. A lawyer for Fusion GPS said the firm’s work is confidential.

Sources say Fusion GPS had its own interest, beyond those of its clients, in promulgating negative gossip about Trump.

Why is this important? Because the first FISA request to tap the Trump campaign was turned down. The second was approved after this dossier was leaked.

The Power Line article explains:

I remain convinced that the FISA warrants that were twice sought to target associates of Trump (and possibly Trump himself) are the key to blowing up the Russia narrative. As Andy McCarthy regularly points out, it was all done under the cloak of a counterintelligence (CI) investigation–and FISA techniques are at the heart of any CI investigation. Any FISA application encapsulates most of the predication for the investigation itself, and without FISA techniques the investigation likely goes nowhere. In a CI investigation focused on a foreign power, that’s not a problem since FISA on the foreign power (say, Russia) is already in place–all that needs to be done is to identify a foreign national as the agent of that power (Russia) and, presto, you get FISA coverage of anything that’s not already covered.

Where it becomes an acute problem is when the CI investigation is a ruse to cover domestic spying on political opponents. In that case FISA on the foreign power is of no use–not if, as appears to be the case, there was no significant contact or collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. If, in fact, the real target was Trump himself–and we are told that Trump himself was named in the rejected July 2016 FISA application–you need to gin up a FISA on someone who really IS in contact with Trump, no matter how far-fetched the reasoning. Carter Page? He’ll do in a pinch, right?

The Power Line article concludes with an observation on the changed culture of the FBI:

With respect to possible corruption of the FBI: I regret to say that the process began in earnest under Bush, who appointed Mueller. An acquaintance recently complained that the Bureau was no longer what it used to be, or maybe never had been. I maintained that the institutional culture was changed through the Legal Counsel Division. That’s how it always work in America, isn’t it? If you want to enforce Liberal/PC norms, you change the lawyers.

Formerly, the Bureau’s legal division, and most top administrations positions, was/were staffed with Special Agents who were lawyers. Under Mueller, outsiders were increasingly brought in, including to Legal Counsel Division. For example: Andrew Weissman, who twice did stints at the FBI, and is now a top guy on Mueller’s Special Counsel team. That kind of back and forth between the FBI and private practice and/or other agencies was previously absolutely unheard of. And the choice tells you pretty much all you need to know about Mueller…

It is time to fire the special prosecutor and his staff. They truly are on a witch hunt which was planned before President Trump was elected. If they are successful, then the votes of the American people are worthless–the bureaucrats in Washington have won.

I Think The Special Prosecutor Is Following The Wrong Trail

The following is a press release from Judicial Watch today:

Judicial Watch: Obama NSC Advisor Susan Rice’s Unmasking Material is at Obama Library

 Records Sought by Judicial Watch May Remain Closed to the Public for Five Years

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that the National Security Council (NSC) on May 23, 2017, informed it by letter that the materials regarding the unmasking by Obama National Security Advisor Susan Rice of “the identities of any U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team” have been removed to the Obama Library.

The NSC will not fulfill an April 4 Judicial Watch request for records regarding information relating to people “who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.”

The agency also informed Judicial Watch that it would not turn over communications with any Intelligence Community member or agency concerning the alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election; the hacking of DNC computers; or the suspected communications between Russia and Trump campaign/transition officials. Specifically, the NSC told Judicial Watch:

Documents from the Obama administration have been transferred to the Barack Obama Presidential Library.  You may send your request to the Obama Library.  However, you should be aware that under the Presidential Records Act, Presidential records remain closed to the public for five years after an administration has left office.

Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) April 4 request sought:

1.) Any and all requests for information, analyses, summaries, assessments, transcripts, or similar records submitted to any Intelligence Community member agency or any official, employee, or representative thereof by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice regarding, concerning, or related to the following:

  • Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence or otherwise interfere with the 2016 presidential election.
  • The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign.
  • Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government.
  • The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.

2.) Any and all records or responses received by former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council in response to any request described in part 1 of this request.

3.) Any and all records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the Department of any Intelligence Community member agency and former National Security Advisor Susan Rice and/or any member, employee, staff member, or representative of the National Security Council regarding, concerning, or related to any request described in Part 1 of this request.

The time frame for this request was January 1, 2016, to the April 4, 2017.

While acknowledging  in its FOIA request that “we are cognizant of the finding by the Court of Appeals … that [the NSC] “does not exercise sufficiently independent authority to be an ‘agency’ for purposes of the Freedom of Information Act,” Judicial Watch argued:

The records sought in this request pertain to actions by the former National Security Advisor that demonstrate a much higher degree of independent authority than was contemplated by the court; specifically, the issuance of directives to the Intelligence Community related to the handling of classified national security information…

The recent revelations of the role of Susan Rice in the unmasking the names of U.S. citizens identified in the course of intelligence collection activities and the potential that her actions contributed to the unauthorized disclosure of classified national security information are matters of great public interest.

Judicial Watch has filed six FOIA lawsuits related to the surveillance, unmasking, and illegal leaking targeting President Trump and his associates (see hereherehereherehere and here).

“Prosecutors, Congress, and the public will want to know when the National Security Council shipped off the records about potential intelligence abuses by the Susan Rice and others in the Obama White House to the memory hole of the Obama Presidential Library,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.  “We are considering our legal options but we hope that the Special Counsel and Congress also consider their options and get these records.”

 

A Different Perspective On The Leaked NSA Report

Yesterday Bloomberg posted an article about the recently leaked NSA report about Russian hacking into the 2016 election. The article is fairly complex in its explanation of the electronics involved. I don’t totally understand what is being said, but I wanted to share the information.

The article reports:

The publication that revealed a classified National Security Agency report on alleged Russian attempts to hack U.S. election-related systems, treats the report  as possible evidence that Russia tried to rig the vote. More likely, however, the Kremlin expected the vote to be rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.

According to the leaked report, the Russian military intelligence, GRU, ran a spear-phishing campaign targeting the employees of VR Systems, a voting hardware and software producer. At least one of its employee accounts was apparently compromised. Then, the hackers used the harvested credentials to trap local government officials in charge of organizing elections. Emails, coming credibly from a VR Systems employee, contained malware that would have allowed the GRU (although the report provides no clues as to how the attribution was made) to control the computers of these local officials. The NSA doesn’t seem to have determined whether the hackers managed that with any of their targets.

Logically I would have expected the Russians to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. As President, she would have been closely aligned with the policies of President Obama, who famously told Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”  Also, Hillary Clinton was involved in a transaction that brought cash into the Clinton Foundation and allowed Russia to obtain 20 percent of America‘s uranium reserves. I would think that Putin would have been hoping that Hillary would be elected. She probably would have made a great blackmail target using information gained from her unsecured server.

The article continues:

I have written before that it’s not impossible to rig a U.S. presidential election (and was ridiculed for saying so). The rigging, however, would require a vast conspiracy spanning the entire country and involving local election officials — the kind that exists in Russia. Trump, with his cheap, hastily thrown together campaign infrastructure could have achieved nothing of the kind, but, as the election campaign drew to a close, he appeared to fear such an effort from Barack Obama’s Democratic administration.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. The author paints a picture very different from the picture being painted by the mainstream media.

An Isolated Incident Or A Pattern Of Behavior?

Andrew McCarthy posted a story at National Review today about the House Intelligence Committee investigation into spying on Americans during the Obama Administration. It has become obvious from news reports since before President Trump was inaugurated that some sort of intelligence gathering on the incoming administration was going on.

The article reports:

The House Intelligence Committee has reportedly issued seven subpoenas in connection with its investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and of the Obama administration’s potentially illegal use of the government’s foreign-intelligence-collection power for the purpose of monitoring Americans — in particular, Americans connected to the Trump campaign and transition.

The subpoenas are aimed at getting information about requests made by Susan Rice and John Brennan to unmask names of Americans caught in intelligence gathering.

The article explains:

The House Intelligence Committee is investigating both a) Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, an inquiry that entails thus far unsubstantiated suspicions of Trump-campaign collusion, and b) the use of intelligence authorities to investigate the Trump campaign, an inquiry that focuses on whether national-security powers (such as those codified in FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) were used pretextually, for the real purpose of conducting political spying.
There is also the question of whether or not U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power requested the unmasking of Americans–as U.N. Ambassador, she would have no obvious need for that information.
The article concludes:
Thus, as I’ve also outlined, it is unlikely that any single instance of unmasking would be found to be a violation of law — and, indeed, it would not violate any penal statute (it would violate court-ordered “minimization” procedures). Nevertheless, were a pattern of unmasking established, divorced from any proper foreign-intelligence purpose, that would be a profound abuse of power in the nature of a “high crime and misdemeanor” — the Constitution’s predicate for impeachment.

It’s a little late to impeach former President Obama, but the voters have spoken and dealt with the problem in their own way. The one thing that will be interesting to watch as this story unfolds is how the mainstream media will spin the story. The Obama Administration went after a Fox News journalist–journalists need to realize that they have as much at stake in protecting their freedom as the average American.

The Incest Of Washington Politics

The Gateway Pundit has done a very good job of bringing up the questions and problems related to the investigation of the death of Seth Rich. Judging by the reaction when Sean Hannity brought up the subject, this is a place the political left does not want to go. Unfortunately it also seems to be a place where law enforcement does not want to go.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today which may explain part of the problem.

The article reports:

Former Head of the DNC, Debbie Wasserman Schultz,  lost her position during the DNC Convention due to WikiLeaks emails being released that showed her efforts to enable Hillary Clinton to win the DNC nomination and steal the nomination from Bernie Sanders.  Now Wasserman Schultz is back in the news.  This time it is because of her close ties with the Assistant US Attorney at the Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

Wasserman Schultz’s brother, Steven Wasserman, is the Assistant US Attorney at the Attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.  Questions are arising whether Steven has played a part in burying the Seth Rich case in DC.  No one has yet been charged in spite of the many unanswered questions related to the murder case.  Because Rich reportedly provided emails to WikiLeaks there are many who believe Rich was murdered as a result.

This is the sort of information investigative reporters used to report. Why has it taken almost a year for this information to surface? Where are the investigative reporters?

Blatantly Ignoring The Protocol

In the days when we elected people to the White House who at least wanted to seem like gentlemen, it was understood that when you left office, you removed yourself from the spotlight and went on your way. Former President Obama not only did not get that message, he has chosen to be a totally sore loser after his party’s candidate lost.

Last Thursday, The Washington Times posted an article about some of former President Obama’s recent antics. It is very obvious that former President Obama is working very hard to undermine the Trump Administration. Hopefully the American public is smart enough to ignore his efforts.

The article reports:

Mr. Obama joined German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin to lecture America and the West to quit being so beastly to the strivers of the Third World, and open wider the borders of the West. “We can’t isolate ourselves,” the former president said from a platform at the Brandenburg Gate. “We can’t hide behind a wall.”

This is the message that resonates with Mrs. Merkel and many of the Europeans, even it strikes a sour note at home and even in Britain, coming just days after the spawn of a Libyan immigrant murdered nearly two dozen Britons, including several children, and then blew himself up at a concert arena in Manchester.

 Timing is everything, as the man said, and the president in exile used his appearance in Berlin as a coming-out party after nearly six months of playing celebrity in borrowed houses across the South Seas and the Caribbean, playing at golf instead of government. But boredom set it and when Frau Merkel agreed to receive him as a fellow head of state, well, why not? She knew she could count on him to deliver platitudes and goo-goo worthy of an American president in exile.

“One way we can do a better job is to create more opportunities for people in their home countries,” Mr. Obama said. “If there are disruptions in these countries, if there is bad governance, if there is war, or if there is poverty in this new world we live in, we can’t isolate ourselves — we can’t hide behind a wall.”

The comment about the wall is an amazing statement from someone who spent serious money to build a wall around his Washington residence.

Some of former President Obama’s actions as President were questionable at best. For example:

Mr. Obama might think (though the Secret Service probably doesn’t) that he is safe from illegal immigrants up to no good simply because of who he is. But more bad timing: Only one day after the former president’s tryst with Frau Merkel, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, revealed that Customs and Border Protection had released, at Mr. Obama’s direction, 16 members of the remarkably brutal MS-13 gang, freed to look at will for opportunities to kill and plunder.

“[The federal authorities] apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed them into our communities,” the senator told his committee.

Former President Obama’s lack of respect for the unwritten rule of removing himself from the public spotlight after leaving office is another illustration of the self-centeredness of the man. I suspect the only way he will leave the spotlight is to have the American people ignore him as irrelevant. I am hoping that will happen.

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.