While We Were Sleeping

Yesterday The Houston Chronicle reported that the Justice Department charged eight people — including a prominent political donor to both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and a Lebanese-American businessman who was a witness in Robert Mueller’s investigation — with conspiring to conceal the source of more than $3.5 million in donations to Clinton.

The article reports:

The 53-count indictment unsealed in federal court in Washington detailed efforts by Ahmad “Andy” Khawaja and George Nader to conceal the true source of the millions of dollars in campaign contributions, which prosecutors allege were made to gain influence with high-level political figures, including Clinton.

Khawaja, who lives in Los Angeles and is the owner of the online processing company Allied Wallet, is accused of making the donations in his name, his wife’s name and his company’s name, even though they were actually funded by another businessman, Nader.

As they arranged the payments, Nader was in touch with an official from a foreign government about his efforts to gain influence with the prominent politicians, prosecutors charge. The government is not identified in court documents.

A 2018 investigation by The Associated Press detailed that Khawaja, Allied Wallet and top executives contributed at least $6 million to Democratic and Republican candidates and groups. The donations earned Khawaja access to Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign and a post-election Oval Office visit with Trump.

Clinton is not identified by name in the court documents made public Tuesday, but there are repeated references in the indictment identifying the candidate as a woman. Federal donor records show Khawaja gave millions of dollars to Democratic candidates, including the main political action committee supporting Clinton’s campaign. He also donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural fund.

Nader is already in federal custody on unrelated charges accusing him of transporting a dozen images of child pornography and bestiality. He had provided grand jury testimony in the special counsel’s Russia investigation about his efforts to connect a Russian banker to members of Trump’s transition team. He had also worked to advance Saudi Arabia’s agenda to the Trump administration.

This may be only the beginning of draining the Washington swamp. Hopefully there is more to come.

The Mainstream Media vs. The Truth

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article highlighting more dishonest reporting from The New York Times.

The article reports:

Seven weeks ago, after the White House released its official summary of a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the Ukrainian President, the New York Times noted that the two had previously spoken on April 21 and wrote the following about that conversation:

When Ukraine elected its new leader, Volodymyr Zelensky, on April 21, Mr. Trump seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case….He urged Mr. Zelensky to coordinate with Mr. Giuliani and to pursue investigations of “corruption,” according to people familiar with the call, the details of which have not previously been reported.

On Friday morning, the White House released its official summary of that earlier call, and it completely debunked the Times reporting that appeared in a front-page September 26 article. The official summary shows a light-hearted conversation about Zelensky’s election victory, Trump’s promise that a “very, very high level” delegation would attend his inauguration, and an invitation for Zelensky to visit the White House.

There’s not the slightest indication that he “seized on the moment as an opportunity to press his case,” nor any reference to Joe Biden, Rudy Giuliani, or anything else suggested in the Times story.

The Times account of the today’s White House release is silent on the Times earlier, apparently false reporting. But it does complain about how “a White House readout of the call in April provides a different account.”

Reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eileen Sullivan point out: “In that summary, provided to reporters shortly after the call took place, the administration said that Mr. Trump promised to work with Zelensky to ‘implement reforms that strengthen democracy, increase prosperity and root out corruption.’”

Indeed, today’s White House release does contradict the White House report released at the time of the call, but the erroneous September 26 Times’ story does not rely on the “readout” as the basis for its wrong claims, but rather “people familiar with the call.”

In other words, the Times can’t blame the White House for its mistake in September. That’s all on them, and their anonymous source. (Maybe secret sources aren’t the best sources after all.)

There is agreement that there was corruption in Ukraine. There is also agreement that the corruption needed to be cleaned up.

A friend of mine who is a lawyer who follows these events very closely recently wrote:

Then I discovered that the day after VP Joe Biden bribed the Ukraine government into firing the Prosecutor who was investigating his son’s company, the Ukraine court released $23 million the government had seized as part of the investigation. Nobody knows what happened to the $23 million.

What we do know is the $23 million was part of the $50 Million in USAid that 26 Democrats shepherded through the United States Congress in 2014. All 26 received campaign contributions from Ukraine’s new lobbyist: Secretary of State John Kerry’s former chief of staff. How dare the President look into changing the USA’s foreign Policy!

Do you really wonder where the missing money ended up?

Maybe it’s time to take a really good look at where our foreign aid actually goes.

How Do You Reconcile This?

The Associated Press posted an article today about a recent fund raiser held by Kamala Harris. The fund raiser was hosted by was hosted by six partners of the law firm Kirkland and Ellis.

The article reports:

Kamala Harris bemoaned the influence of the powerful and connected elite last Tuesday when she called on top Justice Department officials to recuse themselves from any matter related to Jeffrey Epstein. She said their former law firm’s work on behalf of the financier accused of sexual abuse “calls into question the integrity of our legal system.”

Yet the same day, Harris’ husband headlined a Chicago fundraiser for her presidential campaign that was hosted by six partners of that firm — Kirkland and Ellis, according to an invitation obtained by The Associated Press.

…”If any connection with Kirkland and Ellis is a stain on (senior Justice Department officials), why isn’t a connection with the law firm for the receipt of campaign contributions a stain on her own campaign?” said Paul S. Ryan, an attorney for the good-government group Common Cause.

Ian Sams, a Harris spokesman, said there wasn’t a problem with accepting the campaign contributions because the firm is big and the partners who hosted the fundraiser didn’t work on Epstein’s plea agreement.

“The people involved in that case have not supported her campaign, and she wouldn’t want that support anyway,” Sams said.

This explanation represents some of the best doublespeak I have heard recently.

Where Are We And Where Are We Headed?

Politics in America right now is disturbing. It is becoming obvious that the resources of government were used for political purposes against a presidential candidate. Now that the candidate is in office, the ‘deep state’ continues to oppose him. During the next year and a half, we are going to be subject to endless investigations of everything Donald Trump has ever done combined with a media that wants to recapture the power they had during Watergate (the ability to drive a President from office). So what are we to do about it?

American history tells us that during the American Revolution, it is estimated that only 3% of the colonists were actively fighting in the field against British forces at any given time. These 3% were people who saw what was going on and chose to be involved. We need that 3% now. We need people who are willing to look past the lies being told in the mainstream media and do their own research. We need people who don’t believe the constant drumbeat of the major media that says “Orange man bad” and are willing to look at what the Trump administration has accomplished.

Next November there will be an election. President Trump will run again. A lot can happen between now and then, but even a casual glance shows that currently almost all of the Democrat candidates have wandered away from the mainstream of America. It’s up to voters to do their homework, decide what they want for America, and vote. The plans of the Democrat candidates will negatively impact our freedom and our economy. All of us who care about our country should fight those plans with everything we have. Study voting records of those in office, and study campaign contributions (opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions of all candidates).

Get involved. You future, your children’s future, and your grandchildren’s future depend on it.

 

Have We Passed The Point Of Being Able To Have A Serious Discussion Of Issues?

On Friday, The Daily Signal posted an article that provides some background information on Stacey Abrams.

These are some basic facts about Ms. Abrams listed in the article:

1. She ‘Wouldn’t Oppose’ Noncitizen Voting  –  she did support the idea of non-citizens voting to local elections, but the fact remains that people who are here illegally are breaking the law and should not have voting rights.

2. She Wants to Turn Georgia Blue – that’s not all that unusual, but her approach in somewhat interesting.

3. She Wants to Promote ‘Race and Gender’ Issues – has anyone else noticed that promoting race and gender issues divides us rather than unites us?

4. She Was Endorsed by Planned Parenthood – just for the record, Planned Parenthood receives on average approximately $500 million a year in taxpayer funds. How much of that money is essentially laundered and spent on campaign contributions?

5. She Is ‘Sick and Tired’ of Free Market Role in Health Care – actually health care worked very well until the government got involved – people were taken care of and the cost was not prohibitive.

6. She Says ‘Liberal’ Is a Good Word – that is her privilege.

7. She Says the AR-15 Doesn’t Belong in Civilian Hands – Don’t look for her to support the Second Amendment.

And finally:

8. She Is a ‘Romance’ Novelist – she writes sexually explicit romance novels under the name of Selena Montgomery.

The comments in bold type are from the article. Other comments are mine.

This is the person the Democrats have chosen to respond to the State of the Union address.

A New Face

The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Kathy Kraninger has been confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and will serve for the next five years.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile the CFPB is still facing major legal hurdles.

Some federal judges have ruled that by placing so much power — including an independent budget that Congress doesn’t control — in a single director, the CFPB violates the Constitution. But a ruling earlier this year by the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the singe-director structure.

Let’s take a look at the inception of the CFPB. The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was Congress’ way of dealing with the housing bubble that caused the recession of 2008. However, the congressional solution was aimed at banks and Wall Street. It made no mention of the role that Congress had played in creating the housing crisis and made no effort to take responsibility for their actions or prevent a repeat of the problem.

In 1995 The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was changed, allowing Fannie Mae to purchase $2 billion of “My Community Mortgage” Loans, pilot vendors to customize affordable products for low and moderate income borrowers. Some of the things done to make the loans more affordable were low (or no) down payments and variable interest rates. Fannie Mae guarantees mortgages and then sells them to banks and investors. Banks were forced to issue sub-prime mortgages or pay large penalties. As more people took out mortgages, the price of houses rose quickly.  In 2005, 91 percent of Fannie Mae loans were variable rate loans. In 2004, 92 percent of Fannie Mae subprime loans were variable rate loans. Interest rates rose, gas prices increased, and people could not pay their mortgages. The subprime market collapsed, and foreclosures increased rapidly. Banks stopped making mortgage loans.

There were efforts made to stop this train. On September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported:

Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

…a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision  on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The Democrats opposed the reform. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that it would mean less affordable housing. Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, said that it would limit the ability of poor families to get affordable housing.

In 2005, John McCain warned of a coming mortgage collapse. He sponsored S.190 (109th), Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. The Democrats blocked it. It was again brought up and blocked in 2007.

Opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions to politicians. Fannie Mae gave generously to insure that it would not be regulated. Some Democrats and Fannie Mae executives had ‘sweetheart’ loans from mortgage companies that were heavily involved in sub-prime mortgages.

So where am I going with this? The housing bubble was created by bad legislation. Bad legislation continues. In August 2016, The New York Post reported:

The Obama administration is doing its best to give the nation another mortgage meltdown.

As Paul Sperry recently noted in The Post, Team Obama has pushed mortgage lenders to offer home loans to folks with shaky credit, setting up conditions for another housing-market collapse.

Wasn’t the last one bad enough?

Credit scores of approved borrowers, for example, have been trending down, even as their debt levels have grown.

The Federal Housing Administration and government-sponsored “independent” lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been demanding lower credit standards — just as the feds did starting under President Bill Clinton, in pursuit of the same “affordable housing” goal.

Some borrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie Mae loan — even if the downpayment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (and Dodd-Frank) were not related to the cause of the 2008 recession–the recession was the result of bad laws. Both the CFPB and Dodd-Frank need to go away. They are nothing but a blatant example of government overreach.

Well, We Know Where Some Of The Money Went

One of my pet peeves is campaign contributions by groups that receive grants from the government. This provides an incentive for Congress and the President to encourage these grants–they know it will free up money within whatever organization is involved to be used for campaign contributions. I am not for taking the money out of politics–that will always be there, but I for prohibiting groups (nonprofit or otherwise) that take money from the government from making campaign contributions to candidates or PACs.

The following is an example of my reasoning. Lifezette posted a story on October 10th about campaign donations made by Planned Parenthood.

The article reports:

Planned Parenthood is investing $30 million to make sure the nation’s most famous abortion activist takes over the White House.

The Planned Parenthood Action Fund Political Action Committee is hiring 800 professional canvassers and organizing 3,500 volunteers to get Hillary Clinton‘s message out in Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other key states.

According to CNS News, Planned Parenthood received $540.6 million–was provided by taxpayer-funded government health services grants in fiscal year 2013. That represented about 45 percent of their revenue. I have no problem with employees giving time and money to whatever cause they choose, but organizations that take taxpayer money should not be allowed to make campaign contributions. To me, that seems like basic common sense.

Where The Money Really Is

On Monday, The Hill posted an article about some of the Congressional campaign funding this year. Democrats in the House of Representatives are complaining that their usual sources of campaign funding had dried up because outside organizations are funding Senate campaigns rather than House campaigns.

The article reports:

According to public data compiled by a Democratic source tracking outside spending, liberal coalitions — labor, green and women’s groups — have spent $18 million less than what they invested in 2012. 

The biggest drop-off is in labor. 

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spent $8.3 million in 2012 to help House Democrats, but has only spent $181,500 in independent expenditures on House races this year. 

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (Afscme) also pitched in $6.3 million two years ago, but has only spent $612,000 to help House candidates so far in this cycle.

Both labor groups declined to comment.

The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) — which spent $4.2 million on House races in 2012 but just $1.1 million so far this year — admitted that, like other liberal groups, its focus has been elsewhere.

“We made a decision very early on that protecting the Senate firewall was our top priority,” LCV spokesman Jeff Gohringer told The Hill.

I thought that the Republicans were supposed to have all the outside money.

The article further reports:

Republicans argue Democrats have consistently outraised them throughout the 2014 cycle, have outspent them in the most competitive House contests, and are just setting up their post-election blame game. 

In August, the GOP committee brought in $4 million compared to the DCCC’s $10 million, and ended the month with $46 million in the bank compared to Democrats’ $55 million.

The well-heeled House Majority PAC has $21.4 million in ad reservations through Election Day, according to a Republican tracking ad buys, while the main GOP House outside group, American Action Network and its sister super-PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, have laid down $8 million for October. American Crossroads, also focused on the Senate, is playing in just one House race, Arkansas’s open 2nd District.

I hare to be cynical about this, but does anyone else remember that the security on the website that raised money for President Obama was disabled so that contributions from overseas could be accepted? Money will always be a major part of American politics, which is not my favorite fact, but one does occasionally wonder how much of this money comes from questionable sources.

At Least He Is Consistent

The Associated Press reported yesterday that during the month of June, President Obama’s campaign spent more than it collected. President Obama has been running the federal budget that way since he took office. Unfortunately he didn’t start with a surplus, so we are deeply in debt as a nation due to his spending.

The article reports:

June was the second consecutive month in which Romney brought in more money than Obama, finance reports filed Friday show. Romney’s money advantage prompted Obama’s campaign advisers to warn earlier this month that the president could lose the election if the financial disparity continued.

There is a little confusion in the above statement about the concept of cause and effect. If President Obama loses the election, it will not be because of the financial disparity–the financial disparity will instead be the result of waning support among the people who voted for the President in 2008.

According to the article, President Obama still has more money in the campaign bank than Governor Romney. The concern is that if the fund raising disparity continues, that money will soon be exhausted.

The Associated Press article leaves out a few facts. Many of President Obama’s donors give less than $200. Their donations do not have to be reported to the Federal Election Commission. Because the software on the President’s campaign website to prevent fraudulent and illegal contributions has been disabled, foreign donations are accepted. This was also the case in the 2008 election.

Power Line reported in April:

Urgent Agenda reader Adrian Murray wondered if the Obama campaign has become any more compliant this time around than it was last time. He conducted the necessary experiment and wrote Urgent Agenda proprietor Bill Katz.

Adrian Murray then attempted the following donation to the Obama campaign:

Name – Adolph Hitler
Address – 123 Nuremburg Way, Berlin, Germany
Occupation – Dictator
Employer – Nazi Party

After submitting, I received an email that began, “Dear Adolph, thank you for your generous donation….”

I then went to the Romney and Santorum websites and tried the same thing. Both rejected the donations with a message that the address could not be verified as belonging to the card holder.

Next time you hear the Obama campaign brag that their donations are mostly in small amounts, remember this!