About That Privacy Thing

Breitbart is reporting today that Google failed to tell consumers about a secret microphone in its home security product, Nest Secure. So your security system may be eavesdropping on you. Great.

The article reports:

According to Business Insider, Google announced this month “users would now be able to use Google Assistant” on Nest Secure devices.

However, “users didn’t know a microphone even existed on their Nest Secure devices to begin with.

Google apologized for failing to disclose the “secret” microphone on Tuesday, claiming it was due to an “error.”

“The on-device microphone was never intended to be a secret and should have been listed in the tech specs. That was an error on our part,” declared a Google spokesman. “The microphone has never been on, and is only activated when users specifically enable the option.”

“Security systems often use microphones to provide features that rely on sound sensing,” the spokesman explained. “We included the mic on the device so that we can potentially offer additional features to our users in the future, such as the ability to detect broken glass.”

There is a saying that you should never put anything in writing that you wouldn’t want your mother to see as a headline in The New York Times. I think we need to change that saying to never say anything within range of your security system, your cell phone, or Alexa that you wouldn’t want to see as a headline in The New York Times.

Yes, It Is An Emergency

Breitbart posted some leaked photos of what is currently happening on our southern border. This is one of the photos:

The article reports:

Another source operating under the umbrella of CBP spoke with Breitbart under the same conditions and stated, “This is no different than what we were dealing with during the Obama Administration. This is happening in the Rio Grande Valley Sector, the Del Rio Sector, the El Paso Sector, the Tucson Sector, the Yuma Sector, and the San Diego Sector. It’s almost across the entire Southwest border that we are being overwhelmed by migrant families.” The source added, “We are basically facilitating Mexican cartels’ migrant smuggling operations into the interior of America. We are babysitting and not securing our border. The flow shows no signs of abating and it keeps increasing.”

We desperately need to secure the border.

What Happens When The Investigation Doesn’t Go In The Direction You Had Hoped

Breitbart posted an article today about some recent comments by Representative Adam Schiff.

The article reports:

Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) hinted that he would not accept the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller as the end of the investigation into President Donald Trump and Russia.

CNN’s Dana Bash asked, “We expect at some point maybe soon, maybe not, the findings of the Mueller investigation to finally be completed. If he finds that there was no direct collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, will you accept that?”

Schiff, “We’re going to have to do our own investigation, and we are. We’ll certainly be very interested to learn what Bob Mueller finds. We may have to fight to get that information. Bill Barr has not been willing to commit to provide that report either to the Congress or to the American people. We’re going to need to see it. The American people need to see it. We may also need to see the evidence behind that report. There may be, for example, evidence of collusion or conspiracy that is clear and convincing but not proof beyond a reasonable doubt.”

He added, “The American people are entitled to know if there is evidence of a conspiracy between either the president or the president’s campaign and a foreign adversary. At the end of the day, the most important thing for the American people to know is whether the president is somehow compromised, whether there’s a leverage the Russians could use over the president and if the Russians are in a position to expose wrongdoing by the president or his campaign. That’s compromising.”

There have been a lot of insinuations that Robert Mueller’s report is not going to find anything. If Representative Schiff has his own investigation, he can keep the unfounded suspicions against the President in the news until the 2020 election and hope that he can create enough innuendo to cause the President to lose the election. That is what is actually going on here. Finding the facts has very little to do with anything in Congress.

Good News–Temporary Good News, But Good News

Breitbart is reporting today that a White House study released on Friday found that President Donald Trump’s Obamacare reforms will save Americans roughly $450 billion over the next ten years.

That is wonderful news, but it is only temporary wonderful news.

The article reports:

A White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) study released on Friday found that Americans will save $450 billion through Trump’s Obamacare reforms. The CEA suggested that Trump’s repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate and the expansion of short-term insurance plans and Association Health Plans (AHPs) will save Americans billions over the next ten years.

The White House also suggested that the benefits of Trump’s deregulatory actions saved Americans billions, increased access to more health insurance options, and did not amount to a “sabotage” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Unfortunately these savings are a result of Executive Orders, not legislative action. That means that the changes can theoretically be reversed by a future President. It would have been wonderful if Congress had stepped up to the plate and made the necessary changes.

The article concludes:

Many Americans have contended that because 80 percent of those who paid the Obamacare mandate made less than $50,000 a year, the individual mandate repeal serves as a significant middle-class tax break.

The CEA said about 87 percent of Obamacare exchange enrollees receive ACA subsidies and “only pay a fraction of their health insurance costs.”

Many Obamacare proponents suggested that the repeal of the individual mandate, as well as the expansion of short-term plans and AHPs, would lead to higher premiums on the Obamacare exchanges.

In contrast, the CEA contended that because more people will use AHPs and short-term plans and fewer people will use the ACA exchanges, the government will save $185 billion over the next ten years.

The CEA said that instead of sabotaging the ACA, the Trump administration offered millions of Americans more affordable health insurance options.

“The oft-expressed view that deregulation ‘sabotages the ACA’ by giving consumers more insurance-coverage options is misguided,” the CEA said.

The free market is always the best answer.

Logic Takes A Vacation

Breitbart posted an article today about the State of New York’s $2.3 billion budget shortfall. Governor Cuomo is blaming the Trump tax bill for the shortfall.

The article explains the logic:

According to Cuomo, it was Trump’s tax cut that caused “many of the state’s richest residents — who pay 46 percent of the state’s income tax — to either change their primary residence or leave New York entirely.”

…What Trump’s tax reform did was to restore fairness to the tax code, was to put an end to the injustice of all Americans — including those in the middle class — paying for the sky high tax rates in states like New York.

You see, before Trump reformed the tax code, all Americans were subsidizing the rich.

It used to be that you could write off every penny of your state income tax on your federal income tax. Trump put an end to this outrage. Here’s how it works…

In the state of New York, if you earn over $1.078 million per year, you pay an income tax to the state of almost nine percent.

In other words,  using round numbers, a New York resident who earns $10 million owes the state of New York close to $900,000 in income taxes. But…

Democrat-run states like New York knew that their rich residents would not feel the sting of that $900,000 tax bill because that $900,000 could be written off of their federal tax bill.

Basically, this was a sleazy way for Blue States to steal money from federal taxpayers, to make all of us pay for their grotesque tax rates. These Democrat-run states not only got all of this tax money, they also avoided getting voted out of office for over-taxing because the federal write-off removed most of the sting for the wealthy taxpayer.

Thankfully, Trump’s tax bill put an end to this shell game. Whereas before there was no limit on the amount of state income tax you could write off on your federal taxes, now there is a $10,000 limit. This means that the poor sap gutted for $900,000 in income taxes by New York, now eats $890,000 of it, which is as it should be.

Hey, if you’re a rich guy who thinks your taxes are too high, instead of making middle class taxpayers subsidize your ass, maybe stop voting for Democrats? Just an idea.

For those who want the rich to pay more taxes, the Trump tax plan has accomplished exactly that in New York and some other states that have excessive taxes.

The article concludes:

The truth, though, is spelled out very well by economist Marty Cantor, who laid it out for a local news outlet.

“The problems here are caused by the governor and his administration,” he told News12, “It’s too expensive to live on Long Island and in New York state. Taxes are too high, people are leaving. It has nothing to do with Trump.”

Here’s the kicker: The $10,000 write-off limit did not go into effect until  2018. So how does Cuomo explain 2017’s $4.4 billion deficit? How did the Orange Bad Man create that one?

Crickets.

H R 1

The Democrats in the House of Representatives are planning to start the new year off with a bang. Hopefully it will turn out to be more of a whimper. H.R. 1 is called the “For the People Act of 2019.” It is actually only for some people who want to make sure that the Democrats win all future elections. It was introduced into the House on January 3rd.

Breitbart posted an article about the bill today. In their article is a link to the Conservative Action Project which is opposing the bill.

The Conservative Action Project lists some problems with the bill:

H.R. 1 undermines the First Amendment. H.R. 1 undoes key Supreme Court cases that protect elections as fundamental to free speech. It would allow the Federal Election Commission to track and catalogue more of what Americans are saying, register even very small political donations, and make public those who donate to different charitable and nonprofit organizations. The legislation will subject private citizens to intimidation and harassment for their private and political beliefs, far broader than what was done in the IRS targeting scandal in 2013.

H.R. 1 yanks election authority away from the states. H.R. 1 reasserts the ability of the federal government to micromanage state elections through a process known as “preclearance.” Preclearance, which was previously overturned by the Supreme Court, requires states to get permission from the federal government for changes as small as modifying the hours of an election office, or moving a voting location from a school gym to the library. Critically, none of these practices would undo any fraud or corruption. Rather, these same practices result in incorrect registrations and inaccurate voter data, while failing to address actual corrupt practices like ballot harvesting. Moreover, they are all designed to eliminate the federalism that keeps elections transparent, local, and fair.

H.R. 1 attacks individual voter integrity. America was founded on the principle of “one person, one vote.” H.R. 1 turns this on its head by weaponizing every aspect of the political regulatory system. The Federal Election Commission, which is currently a neutral body, would be given a 3-2 makeup, guaranteeing a partisan outcome with little accountability toward the actual votes which are cast. H.R. 1 also includes a 600 percent government match for political donations, and authorizes even more public dollars to campaigns. The bill also wants to make Election Day a new paid holiday for government workers, with additional paid vacation given to bureaucrats to oversee the polls. All of these changes are designed to distance the outcome of the election from those casting their votes.

H.R. 1 would also implement the following changes:

• Forces states to implement mandatory voter registration, removing civic participation as a voluntary choice, and increasing chances for error.
• Mandates that states allow all felons to vote.
• Forces states to extend periods of early voting, which has shown to have no effect on turnout.
• Mandates same-day voter registration, which encourages voter fraud.
• Limits the ability of states to cooperate to see who is registered in multiple states at the same time.
• Prohibits election observers from cooperating with election officials to file formal challenges to suspicious voter registrations.
• Criminalizes protected political speech by making it a crime to “discourage” someone from voting
• Bars states from making their own laws about voting by mail.
• Prohibits chief election officials in each state from participating in federal election campaigns.
• Mandates free mailing of absentee ballots.
• Mandates that states adopt new redistricting commissions.

H.R. 1 would cause sweeping and irrevocable damage to the free speech, privacy, and integrity that are central components to free and fair elections in America. We oppose H.R.

Our new House of Representatives has obviously decided to throw out our Constitution wherever possible. This bill is representative of that. It opens the door to massive voter fraud and nationalizes state elections, which is unconstitutional. Nationalizing all elections also greatly increases the vulnerability to hacking. The bill needs to fail miserably or we will be in serious danger of losing our representative republic.

Putting The Fox In Charge Of The Hen House

Yesterday Breitbart reported on the latest attempt by Microsoft to end the plague of fake news. It’s a valiant effort.

The article reports:

Without consulting with its users, Microsoft has installed an establishment media browser extension, purportedly designed to rate the accuracy of news websites, as a default extension on mobile versions of its Edge browser. In practice, it creates a news blacklist by warning users away from sites including Breitbart News, The Drudge Report, and the Daily Mail.

Actually all three of those sources have a better track record than many of the news sources that Microsoft has labeled as reliable.

The article cites some examples:

The website of the conservative-leaning British newspaper The Daily Mail, which has the third-highest circulation in the U.K., is also given a “red” rating. Newsguard says the site “fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”

WikiLeaks, which has never had to retract a story due to false or misleading information, is also given a “red” rating.

Among the websites given a “green” rating is BuzzFeed, which was recently humiliated for publishing alleged details about the ongoing Mueller investigation that were contradicted by the speial prosecutor himself. BuzzFeed did not retract the story, and even led with it on its frontpage … after Mueller contradicted it.

But in Newsguard’s view, BuzzFeed “regularly corrects or clarifies errors.”

Many of the websites that recently fed the fake news feeding frenzy against students of Covington Catholic high school in Kentucky, who were falsely accused of taunting a left-wing Native American agitator, are also given a “green” rating. These include CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. 

Also “green” — Media Matters, the Clintonite Democrat website that regularly publishes hit-jobs against conservative media publications and personalities.

Rolling Stone, the magazine infamous for publishing a hoax rape allegation against members of a University of Virginia fraternity in 2015 is also given a “green” rating. Newsguard says the outlet has “consistently published well-researched, factual information about contemporary American culture.”

Some left-wing sources are given “red” ratings by Newsguard. However, they tend to be on the anti-establishment side of Democratic politics: ShareBlue and the Daily Kos, for example, both have “red” ratings. Salon and the Huffington Post, however, do not.

Obviously, to anyone who actually pays attention to accuracy in the media, the best way to use this list is to regard those news sources marked in red as reliable and those news sources marked in green as fake news. The past histories of each group support that theory.

Rules For Radicals In Action

Rule number 13 of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals is, “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” That is currently what the mainstream media is doing to the students of Covington High School in Kentucky. The students are being targeted because they are pro-life, Catholic, go to private school, and support President Trump. A full viewing of the video shows that they were simply waiting for a bus while being harassed by a racist group and rudely treated by an elderly native American. I can pretty much guarantee that if Nathan Phillips had done what he did to the Covington High School students to a group of New York City students, the invasion of their personal space might have been handled very differently.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article illustrating how this works.

The article cites the media’s bringing up a previous story that has already been proven false:

Nevertheless, the media jihad continues, and that includes NBC shamelessly running a debunked and deceptive smear story that had been reported on and debunked all the way back in May.

NBC’s deliberately misleading headline reads: “Gay valedictorian banned from speaking at Covington graduation ‘not surprised’ by D.C. controversy.” The story accuses “Covington” (I’ll explain the quote marks in a bit) of “banning” a speech that was to be given by an openly gay student.

The article then explains the problem with the story about the graduation speech:

  1. NBC News does not concede the fact that Bales submitted the speech late, instead framing it only as an allegation — an excuse from the diocese.
  2. Nowhere does NBC News reveal that Bales’ speech was a Parkland-inspired diatribe about gun control.
  3. Christian Bales was not a student at Covington High School.
  4. Christian Bales graduated from Holy Cross High School, a completely different high school.
  5. If his speech had been approved, he would have given it at Holy Cross High School, not at Covington High School.
  6. Holy Cross High is run by the same Catholic diocese as Covington High, but they are two completely different schools.
  7. NBC News bombards the story with more than a dozen references to “Covington” but goes out of its way to obscure the fact Bales attended a completely different school…

Since Covington High School is the target of the current media attack, the fact that the incident happened at a different high school is not relevant to the media. This is how fake news works, and this is how Rules for Radicals are implemented.

 

How To Limit The Second Amendment Without Appearing To Do So

Breitbart posted a story today about a Missouri law that limits the gun rights of foster parents in Missouri. The law prohibits all foster parents from carrying concealed firearms or storing ammunition with firearms in the same locked safe. It seems to me that if a foster parent has a concealed carry permit, he knows to store his firearms in a locked safe and to accept the responsibilities of a legal gun owner. Being a foster parent has nothing to do with gun rights.

The article notes:

James and Julie Attaway are asking for an injunction from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri’s Western Division against the Missouri gun regulation.

…The couple is joined in the suit by the Second Amendment Foundation. They said the regulations “amount to deprivation of civil rights under color of law” and are similar to other laws they’ve challenged in Michigan and elsewhere.

“This is familiar ground for us,” Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the group, said in a statement. “We have successfully challenged similar regulations in other states when we find them, because there is a significant question about the constitutionality of such prohibitions. We believe this is an unconstitutional provision in Missouri’s Code of State Regulations. It is important for the court to take action to protect the rights of Missouri residents who open their homes and hearts to foster children for whom they wish to provide a stable environment.”

The Attaways said they’re concerned the gun regulation, which they described as “unconstitutional,” may be scaring off other potential foster parents.

“The foster system in Missouri is in need of qualified, loving families to take children into their home,” James Attaway said. “Many families who value their Second Amendment rights to self-defense are deterred from applying to be foster parents. We were not allowed to continue with the licensing process until we agreed to abide by the department’s firearm policy while foster children were placed in our care. We ultimately agreed and finished our licensing process, and while having a foster child in our home, we have had to abide by these unconstitutional policies for fear of losing our foster care license.”

The couple said their goal is to change the regulations so they and other foster parents don’t have to choose between being legally armed and caring for foster children.

“We are pursuing this legal action so that we, and other families who feel called to care for foster children in their home, don’t have to decide between retaining their Second Amendment rights and caring for children in need,” James Attaway said.

I don’t mean to be cynical, but this seems like another back door approach to limiting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. This law does nothing to make anyone safer–criminals don’t follow gun laws, and it simply attacks legal gun owners who are trying to do something positive in their community.

Dueling Gotcha’s

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily reported the following:

As John Solomon reported in The Hill,  “The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official (Ohr) briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and might be biased.”

FBI, Justice Knew

Ohr himself told congressional investigators, “I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump.  I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected. So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

Ohr at the time was the No. 4 official at the Justice Department, a powerful post. Even so, he claims he told the FBI that both his wife, Nellie Ohr, and Steele both worked for Fusion GPS. Hillary Clinton’s campaign hired Fusion GPS through their law firm, Perkins Coie, to do opposition research on Trump.

The article concludes:

They started a dirty campaign operation against Trump, used it to spy on him, then opened a special investigation that probed virtually all areas of his life and business affairs, not just his supposed collusion with Russia. It originated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Yes, but it found more-than-willing participants in the remnants of Obama’s national security and intelligence Deep State.

None of this behavior is legal, of course. The politicization of the FBI and Justice are crimes, plain and simple. As Roger Kimball recently noted, this is not on a par with Watergate — it’s far worse. Our system is tragically broken when government officials can lie and deceive in an effort to thwart an American election.

This is the stuff of Banana Republics, where rule of law means nothing. That’s not America, where rule of law is everything. But if these crimes go unpunished, we  will surely become a Banana Republic, too.

Mediaite reported today:

Anthony Cormier is one of the two investigative reporter at BuzzfeedNews who co-authored the bombshell report published Thursday night — a report which claimed President Donald Trump directed his former lawyer Michael Cohen to lie during Congressional testimony over discussions between the Trump Organization and Russian authorities about a Trump Tower Moscow project.

Cormier appeared on CNN’s New Day and revealed that he had not seen the evidence underlying his report.

Frankly I think Michael Cohen would tell Mueller that he saw Donald Trump cavorting with alien creatures from a spaceship in his back yard in order to stay out of jail. I guess I am skeptical.

Breitbart notes the following in an article posted today:

Thanks to the media’s previous bombshell report on this very same subject, a report that proved — like all the others — to be fake news, when the president’s own son, Donald Trump Jr., testified before congress on this Russia deal, he told the truth, he told congress that this particular Russia deal stayed alive (in some nebulous form) until June of 2016.

But now we’re supposed to believe that, even though his own son told the truth, Trump still instructed Cohen to lie — to testify the Russian deal died six months earlier, in January of 2016.

I think Michael Cohen might do better with the aliens and spaceships.

UPDATE: The Special Counsel has openly denied the Mediaite report. Hopefully that will be the end of this lie.

Watch Out For The Bright, Shiny Object

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breitbart posted an article about the appointment yesterday.

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Update On The GoFundMe Page For The Wall

Today Breitbart posted an article updating the information on the GoFundMe Account to build the border wall.

The article reports:

We are witnessing something truly extraordinary. In merely 19 days, a GoFundMe campaign to raise private contributions to build sections of the wall along the Mexico border has raised an astonishing $19.0 million. It will soon be the most successful GoFundMe campaign ever—the current record holder is the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund for victims of sexual assault, which raised $22 million in 2018 over a much longer period of time. The campaign to build the wall should blow past that number in a few days.

The article  mentions that the Presidential Election Campaign Fund Tax Check-Off, which does not actually add to the tax burden for the people who check it off, raises less than a million dollars in a typical month.

The article continues:

The astonishing number of contributions that this project has received from ordinary Americans demonstrates just how important the wall is to the American people. Citizens see the crime, wage depression, and other negative consequences of illegal immigration, and they want something done about it.

More than that, building the wall makes clear that the United States is a sovereign nation that is willing to do what is necessary to control its own border. Indeed, securing a nation’s borders is one of the most fundamental obligations that a government owes to its people. For decades, the federal government has failed miserably in fulfilling that obligation. Now, Americans are making a grassroots effort to solve the problem themselves, while sending a message to Washington. As Kolfage put it, “This is giving them an avenue to be heard.”

I  have to wonder what the focus groups are telling the Democrats about the wall. There have been a number of polls showing that Americans overwhelmingly support the wall, so to continue a government shutdown to stop the wall is not a wise political move. The only rationale might be that the Democrats are depending on the media to make the case to the American people that the wall is expensive and not in line with modern technology. I have already seen these talking points used, but I am not sure they are useful. The latest talking point I heard was that the wall was immoral, but that doesn’t even make sense. Does that mean locking your doors at night is immoral?

The next week is going to be very interesting.

No One Should Be Surprised By This

Breitbart is reporting today on some of the things the Democrats plan to do now that they have taken over the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) plans to introduce articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Thursday — the first day that Democrats control the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

…Newly-elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also endorsed impeaching Trump on her first day in office, according to The Nation, which described Tlaib as calling for “immediate steps” to remove the president from the White House.

“Each passing day brings more pain for the people most directly hurt by this president, and these are days we simply cannot get back. The time for impeachment proceedings is now,” Rep. Tlaib declared.

Representative Sherman wants to impeach President Trump for obstructing justice by firing former FBI Director James B. Comey, among other wrongdoing.

The article states:

“There is no reason it shouldn’t be before the Congress,” Sherman said. “Every day, Donald Trump shows that leaving the White House would be good for our country.”

I don’t know what these people are looking at, but the middle class has come roaring back since President Trump took office. The unemployment numbers are down, there are more jobs than people looking for work, people have more spending money in their pockets, manufacturing is coming back to America, better trade deals have been negotiated, America’s carbon dioxide emissions are down, and North and South Korea are talking to each other. Which one of these accomplishments do you think the American people are willing to impeach President Trump for?

The Truth Is Slowly Coming Out

The murder of Jamal Khashoggi was a horrible crime. It should not have happened. However, some of the misleading reporting of the event is now coming to light. The first thing to remember when viewing this crime is that alliances in the Middle East are complex, sometimes illogical, and often hidden. All three of these elements play a role in this crime.

Breitbart posted an article by John Hayward on Wednesday with the title, “Hayward: Washington Post Admits Khashoggi Let Qatar ‘Draft Material’ for Columns.”

Breitbart reports:

The new Post article conceded that Khashoggi was a political activist and admitted his writing may have been “shaped” by the government of Qatar, including an executive linked to that government “drafting material” for Khashoggi’s columns.

Before diving into the Washington Post’s revelations, it is sadly necessary to restate for the record that nothing disclosed in the piece justifies his murder by Saudi agents at the consulate in Istanbul in October. Being honest about who Khashoggi was, and taking a closer look at connections he preferred to keep secret, is not the same thing as blithely accepting his murder.

The Washington Post reported on December 22:

Among Khashoggi’s friends in the United States were individuals with real or imagined affiliations with the Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, and an Islamic advocacy organization, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, regarded warily for its support of the public uprisings of the Arab Spring. Khashoggi cultivated ties with senior officials in the Turkish government, also viewed with deep distrust by the rulers in Saudi Arabia.

After leaving the kingdom, Khashoggi sought to secure funding and support for an assortment of ideas that probably would have riled Middle East monarchs, including plans to create an organization that would publicly rank Arab nations each year by how they performed against basic metrics of freedom and democracy.

Perhaps most problematic for Khashoggi were his connections to an organization funded by Saudi Arabia’s regional nemesis, Qatar. Text messages between Khashoggi and an executive at Qatar Foundation International show that the executive, Maggie Mitchell Salem, at times shaped the columns he submitted to The Washington Post, proposing topics, drafting material and prodding him to take a harder line against the Saudi government. Khashoggi also appears to have relied on a researcher and translator affiliated with the organization, which promotes Arabic-language education in the United States.

Breitbart further reports:

Reaboi (David Reaboi at Security Studies Group) found it shocking the Washington Post would suddenly disclose these details and complicate the Khashoggi narrative unless the paper was trying to get out in front of even more damaging revelations to come.

“Rumors have floated inside the Beltway about the contents of Khashoggi’s text messages and, potentially, evidence of wire transfers from Qatar found at his residences in Turkey and in Virginia,” he noted.

To me, the following paragraphs are the most important in the Breitbart article:

If carefully chosen facts, heavily promoted narratives, and strategic falsehoods are the artillery of information warfare, then suppressed details are its stealth fighters and commando squads. Reaboi found the Saudis incredibly clumsy and perhaps breathtakingly arrogant to go radio-silent for a few days after Khashoggi’s death and leave the information warfare battlefield wide open for Turkey and Qatar, which effortlessly seized control of the Western media narrative.

Turkey effectively controlled the entire Western media apparatus with strategic leaks about the case, with some wild stories “confirmed” by anonymous Arab officials Reaboi suspects of being Qatari.

The story behind the death of Khashoggi may continue to unfold.

Raising Interest Rates Is Not The Right Move

Interest rates were kept artificially low during the Obama administration. This resulted in lower interest payments on the national debt, which increased from $7.27 trillion in 2009 when President Obama took office to $14 trillion at the end of fiscal 2016. The current national debt is $16 trillion. Increasing interest rates from 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent increases the amount of money all taxpayers will have to pay as interest on that debt.

Breitbart reported today:

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 2-1/4 to 2‑1/2 percent,” the Federal Reserve announced. The Fed indicated the possibility of just two rate hikes in 2019.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose leading up to the announcement.

Predictions looked toward a likely rate hike ahead of the announcement and possible signaling to a slowing of potential future rate hikes. USA Today reported ahead of the announcement, “Most Wall Street pros expect the Fed, as it has signaled, to hike its key rate another quarter point to a range of 2.25 percent to 2.50 percent. This would be the fourth increase this year and ninth since late 2015.”

The Federal Reserve is not a government agency. They are supposed to be apolitical, but their actions in recent years bring that into question. Lower interest rates during the Obama administration kept the stock market high, paid dividends to those on Wall Street and any well-connected politicians. It provided the appearance of an okay economy despite decreases in the Workforce Participation Rate and the rapidly shrinking middle class. Since President Trump took office, the middle class is growing, and the Workforce Participation Rate is slowly climbing. This rate increase will increase the amount of money needed to pay interest on the national debt and will be a drag on the economy. I don’t mean to be cynical, but I believe that is by design. The Federal Reserve is part of the political establishment that does not want to see the economic success of President Trump’s economic policies. President Trump is not a member of the political establishment, and it will be more difficult to get rid of him in 2020 if the economy is growing. The rate hikes announced today will put a damper on economic growth. The question will be how much of a damper.

 

Misplacing The Blame

For years the Republicans told us that if they controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate, they would repeal ObamaCare, defund Planned Parenthood, and build a border wall. We gave them the House and the Senate. Then they said they couldn’t do what they said because they didn’t have the Presidency. So we gave them the Presidency. We were so naive. When they knew their votes on these matters would not be vetoed, they broke the promises they made to the voters and voted against repealing, defunding, and building.

On Thursday Breitbart posted an article about some recent comments by Tucker Carlson.

The article reports:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an interview Thursday that President Donald Trump has succeeded as a conversation starter but has failed to keep his most important campaign promises.

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund Planned Parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson told Urs Gehriger of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche.

“I’ve come to believe that Trump’s role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does,” said Carlson, whose new book Ship of Fools is a New York Times bestseller.

I like Tucker Carlson. I enjoy his TV show, but I think he is totally wrong on this. Republicans in Congress also made these promises. They had the votes to keep all of these promises, pass the laws needed, and send the bills to President Trump for his signature. I don’t think the problem is President Trump. I think the problem is Republicans in Congress that have reneged on their promises because of the groups that are funding their campaigns. Opensecrets.org is the website that tracks campaign donations. If you want to know why we don’t have a border wall, look at the expenditures of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are a group that likes the cheap labor of a porous border. The contribute heavily to Republican lawmakers. That is one reason there is no border wall. There won’t be as long as the Congressmen who receive money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are in office. If you want to know why Planned Parenthood is still getting government money, look at the campaign donations they make. How much money is the healthcare lobby pouring into Congress? The problem is not President Trump.

What Is This Actually About?

On Friday, Breitbart posted an article about the debate over one of the questions that is supposed to appear on the 2020 Census.

The article reports:

Republican lawmakers are working with Democrats to ban the 2020 Census from asking United States residents whether or not they are American citizens.

In March, President Donald Trump’s administration announced they would put the citizenship question back on the census. It has not been included since 1950. For seven decades, all residents living in the United States have been counted on the census but have not been asked whether or not they are American citizens, making it impossible for the federal government to know the size of the citizen population versus the immigrant population.

The article explains why this question is significant:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has noted the citizenship question on the census is necessary to further implement congressional apportionment based on the citizen population rather than the current rules that base state representation on the total population — including ocitizens, illegal alien residents, legal immigrants, and nonimmigrants on visas.

Should congressional apportionment be based on the number of American citizens in each state — which is only possible through asking the citizenship question on the census — Democrat-strong coastal areas with large foreign populations like California and Florida could lose representation, while states with small foreigon populations like Wyoming and Ohio would likely gain representation in Congress. Such a rule change would shift power from coastal states to the heartland of the country, Breitbart News reported.

Keep in mind that there are some serious philosophical differences in the politics of the elites in Washington (combined with the elites in coastal America) and the average American living in the mid-west.

Congress has been discussing illegal immigration since the 1980’s. Why hasn’t the issue been resolved? It’s a matter of viewpoint–the Democrats see illegal immigrants as future citizen voters–the corporate Republicans (the non-conservative, country-club Republicans) see cheap labor.  Until we elect Congressmen who are willing to see the problem of having millions of people in the country who are not contributing to Social Security or taxes yet are receiving government benefits, we will continue to have the problem of a large population of illegal immigrants. They do not have the right to represented in Congress–they are not citizens,

The question belongs in the 2020 Census, but I sincerely doubt it will be there.

 

A Ridiculous Lawsuit

CNS News posted an article today about the suspension of Jim Acosta from the White House Press Corps.

The article reports:

CNN is suing President Donald Trump and his aides for revoking its White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s hard pass.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., calls for the immediate restoration of Acosta’s White House access.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, his White House press credentials were suspended last week after he refused to give the microphone back to a White House intern during a press conference with Trump when Trump refused to answer any more of Acosta’s questions.

Sanders said at the time that the White House will “never tolerate a reporter placing his hands on a young women just trying to do her job as a White House intern.” She called his behavior “absolutely unacceptable” and disrespectful to other reporters he refused to allow to ask their questions.

It needs to be pointed out that the White House did not bar CNN–it simply barred a reporter who behaved very rudely.

For those of you with short memories, I would like to highlight a few incidents between the press and the White House during the Obama administration as reported by Breitbart in 2017:

Closing White House events to all but the official photographer. Obama barred the media from events — including, ironically, an award ceremony where he was recognized for “transparency” — and often restricted photographers’ access, only releasing images taken by the official White House photographer.

…Trying to shut out Fox News. The Obama administration targeted Fox News for isolation and marginalization, arguing that it was not a legitimate news organization but “the research arm or the communications arm of the Republican Party.” That served as a warning to other potentially critical outlets.

…Stonewalling FOIA requests. The Obama administration “set a record” for failing to provide information requested by the press and the public under the Freedom of Information Act. The low point was Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, where tens of thousands of emails were hidden on a private server and deleted.

…Prosecuting journalists and their sources. The Obama administration pursued Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private emails — then misled Congress about it. CNN’s Jake Tapper — to his credit — pointed out that Obama had used the Espionage Act against leakers more than all of his predecessors combined.

…Wiretapping the Associated Press. After the Obama administration’s snooping on the AP was exposed in 2013, a senior NBC correspondent excused President Obama on the grounds that he would not have been nasty enough to alienate “one of the president’s most important constituencies, the press.”

There’s more–please follow the link to the article to read the complete list.

The press has treated President Trump horribly since he became the Republican candidate for President. It is no surprise that he removed one of the more obnoxious reporters from the Press Corps. Until Mr Acosta learns some degree of manners, I don’t believe his access should be reinstated. Again, Jim Acosta was barred–not CNN. The First Amendment was not limited–just the access of someone with bad manners.

And The Lies Keep Coming…

Yesterday the Daily Caller posted an article with the headline, “Media Outraged After Trump Tricks Them To Cover Endorsements From Military Heroes.” The story explains that the media went to the Trump International Hotel expecting Donald Trump to take questions about whether he still questions President Obama’s birthplace. The media is trying very hard to make this an issue in the Presidential campaign (to illustrate that Donald Trump is not a good candidate?). When they got to the press conference, they were treated to a barrage of military endorsements for Trump. It wasn’t what they wanted or expected.

The article reports:

At the very end of the campaign event, Trump finally addressed the topic the media was there to hear. “Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy. I finished it.”

President Barack Obama was born in the United States,” Trump said. “Period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong again.”

Many reporters, some standing on chairs, began shouting questions over the applause from the guests in attendance. But Trump, having accomplished what he wanted, took none.

Meanwhile, the media has tried very hard to hang the birther controversy on Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the age of google searches has made that impossible.

Yesterday Breitbart reported the following:

The mainstream media, from Bloomberg News to MSNBC to Politico to the Washington Post and more, have all confirmed: Hillary Clinton’s failed 2008 campaign for president did substantially further the birther movement.

…It’s not just Hannity, who’s opposed to Clinton’s election and is a supporter of GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has confirmed that Clinton’s 2008 campaign and its allies pushed this.

In fact, Politico, in 2011, published a piece from two of its top reporters at the time—Ben Smith and Byron Tau, who have gone on respectively to BuzzFeed and the Wall Street Journal—specifically detailing how the Clinton campaign was behind birther rumors spreading.

The birther thing is something the media tried to use to attack Donald Trump. It is totally irrelevant at this point. The problem is that most of President Obama’s personal records remain sealed–even after almost eight years in office. That is unusual. That is actually why the birther controversy has continued–there are some genuine questions about some documents relating to President Obama. The mainstream media is getting desperate. They have lost any objectivity or credibility that they might have had. This election will probably mark the end of their influence on the majority of Americans.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

“With Clinton’s 2008 campaign manager admitting on national television and on Twitter that they promoted the rumors surrounding now-President Obama’s heritage, Mr. Trump has been fully vindicated,” Miller (Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller) said. “Not only was a Clinton campaign worker blamed and fired over the activity, we have now been informed that Secretary Clinton was aware of what was going on, with Clinton’s campaign manager even apologizing to Obama’s campaign manager. This still does not explain why Hillary Clinton failed to fire her chief strategist Mark Penn on the spot over the memo he sent her advocating she portray Obama as ‘fundamentally’ foreign. Hillary Clinton didn’t tell the truth about her emails and she didn’t tell the truth about her campaign’s role in pushing these rumors in 2008. This pattern is never going to change, and it’s why nobody trusts Hillary Clinton.”

There will be people who will vote for Hillary Clinton regardless of how many lies she tells. That is their privilege. It is my hope, however, that Americans are tired of the lies that surround Hillary and her campaign and will make a different choice.