It’s Amazing What Comes To The Surface

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Real Issue In The Hearings About Russia And The Election

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about the hearings on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The article states:

President Trump posted video following the intelligence hearing pointing out there was no evidence of collusion with Russia.

Trump continued:

“The real issue is the unbelievable amount of classified information that has been illegally leaked, putting our national security at risk – must get to the bottom of it!”

President Trump represents the idea of shrinking government and going back to the form of government originally envisioned by our Founding Fathers–a weak federal government and strong state governments. That idea is a serious threat to the entrenched bureaucracy and the globalists who want to undermine American sovereignty. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people working in Washington who are feeling very threatened by President Trump’s policies because they have gotten fat and happy as members of the Washington establishment. These are the people behind the leaks, behind the fake news, and doing everything they can to block what President Trump is trying to do. Remember as you read all the stories that say the wiretapping claims are false that The New York Times posted a story on January 20th saying that there were wiretaps. As far as I know, that story has never been recanted. The claim of Russian involvement in our elections is simply a shiny object to distract us from the excessive leaking which is going on and the attempts by the Washington establishment to undermine President Trump. If the media and Democrats are successful in taking down President Trump, I can guarantee that we will lose the protections on our citizens found in the U.S. Constitution. Be alert, and don’t fall for the spin.

The Politicization Of The Supreme Court

In 1987, Judge Robert Bork was nominated to the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Bork was a man of character who had a sterling record as a judge. Bork served as a Yale Law School professor, Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and a judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He was, however, a judge who believed in the Constitution as it was written–a problem for the Democrats. The attack on Judge Bork was without merit and brutal.

Senator Ted Kennedy, not a man of character, stated:

Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists could be censored at the whim of the Government, and the doors of the Federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is—and is often the only—protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy … President Reagan is still our president. But he should not be able to reach out from the muck of Irangate, reach into the muck of Watergate and impose his reactionary vision of the Constitution on the Supreme Court and the next generation of Americans. No justice would be better than this injustice.

None of this was true, but the mainstream media loved it. We can expect the same kind of inappropriate behavior by the Democrats in dealing with the nomination of Federal Appeals Court Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

Breitbart posted an article today about the comments by Senator Ted Cruz on the nomination.

Senator Cruz stated:

“A decade ago, Judge Gorsuch was confirmed by this committee for the Federal Court of Appeals by a voice vote,” Cruz said. “He was likewise confirmed by the entire United States Senate by a voice vote without a single Democrat speaking a word of opposition.

“Not a word of opposition from Minority Leader Chuck Schumer,” Cruz said. “Not from Harry Reid, or Ted Kennedy, or John Kerry.”

“Not from Senators Feinstein, Leahey, or Durbin, who still sit on this committee,” Cruz said. “Not even from Senators Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, or Joe Biden.”

“Not a one of them spoke a word against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination a decade ago,” Cruz said.

Senator Cruz also pointed out that candidate Donald Trump put out a list of the people he would nominate for the Supreme Court. That list was part of the election process, and the American people were able to consider that list when voting.

The article also reminds us:

Notwithstanding its leftist political leanings, the American Bar Association (ABA) earlier this month gave Gorsuch a “well qualified” rating to serve as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ABA has three ratings for judicial nominees: not qualified, qualified, and well qualified. The ABA’s standing committee on the federal judiciary was unanimous in granting Gorsuch its highest rating.

Judge Gorsuch needs to be confirmed quickly. He is well qualified. His becoming a member of the Supreme Court will not impact the balance of the Court, although that should really not be a part of the deliberation.

Whoops!

Was President Trump wiretapped during the presidential campaign? America‘s spy agencies say no. However, that doesn’t seem to be the end of the story.

The American Thinker posted a transcript today of an interview of Larry Johnson by CNN’s Brian Stelter.

This is the transcript:

STELTER: “Let me ask you about this thing.”
JOHNSON: “Sure.”
STELTER: “So my sense is that on Monday, Napolitano says this on TV, he says he has Intel sources who believe this is true. You’re saying you were one of those sources, but you didn’t know Napolitano was going to use you like that?”
JOHNSON: “What happened was I communicated, when Donald Trump tweeted what he did Saturday two weeks ago, the next day I was interviewed on Russia today. I had known about the fact that the British, through ghcq were information back channel, this was not at the behest of Barack Obama, let’s be clear about that. But it was done with the full knowledge of people like John Brennan and Jake clapper. Two people I flow within the intelligence community in January, they were very concerned about this because they saw it as an unfair meddling in the politics, but it was a way to get around the issue of American intelligence agencies not collecting.”
STELTER: “To be clear, you have this secondhand? So you didn’t get this information directly, you’re hearing from others.
JOHNSON: “I’m hearing it from people who are in a position to know, that’s correct.”

Obviously, there will be more information on this story in the coming days. The question is, “Who ordered the surveillance?”

Some Random Comments On President Trump’s Budget Proposal

The first thing to keep in mind when viewing this budget is that President Trump made his money by negotiating real estate deals. He is a negotiator. I seriously doubt that his proposed budget will pass exactly as proposed. I suspect there is some wiggle room built into his budget. That being said, however, the budget moves in the direction of cutting spending, an anathema to lobbyists and professional politicians in Washington, but a necessary strategy to protect the financial futures of our children and grandchildren.

The Heritage Foundation has a number of articles analyzing the budget proposal. I chose the article posted yesterday for highlights.

Here are a few comments on President Trump’s proposed budget from The Heritage Foundation:

The new budget proposal put a high priority on national defense. While the FY18 defense boost would be fully paid for with cuts to nondefense programs, the proposal would raise the FY17 Budget Control Act caps by $10 billion. Boccia (Romina Boccia, Deputy Director, Thomas A. Roe Institute) suggests that the president “should set a precedent this year that budgeting is about prioritizing which means fully offsetting any new spending.”

All-in-all she says, “the proposed cuts to non-defense programs, together with executive actions to streamline federal agencies and cut waste, signal that this administration is serious about cutting the bloated Washington bureaucracy down to size. Congress should work with the administration to bring greater accountability to government and to eliminate federal programs that intervene in areas that are rightfully the domain of the private sector or state and local government.”

Two other experts comment on the State Department cuts:

Brett Schaefer (Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs) and James Carafano (The Heritage Foundation’s Vice President, Foreign and Defense Policy Studies, E. W. Richardson Fellow, and Director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies) weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.” 

Furthermore, they add “the State Department budget grew roughly 30 percent under President Obama, yet the jump in spending has failed to make the world safer for the United States or our allies. North Korea continues to threaten Japan and South Korea, Iran – further emboldened by a misguided nuclear deal – is destabilizing the Middle East, and Russia continues to exert itself over eastern Europe largely unchecked. The administration is right to refocus on supporting statecraft that will advance American interests and benefit our allies.” and James Carafano weigh in on the budget cuts to the State Department, saying, “the cuts to the State Department budget proposed by the Trump administration largely represent a return to focusing taxpayer dollars on the business of true statecraft and away from funding global pet projects championed by the Obama administration.”

The article also examines the changes in education spending:

“For the first time in decades, the Trump administration is significantly trimming the budget at the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating a commitment to restoring federalism in education,” according to Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at Heritage.

Burkes argues, “the budget correctly zeroes out funding for various programs, such as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program and the Supporting Effective Instruction state grants program.” According to her, “ it is not appropriate for the federal government to fund high school counseling programs, after-school programs, teacher professional development and a myriad other programs it currently runs.”

The Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states:

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It seems that we have forgotten the Tenth Amendment when we produce federal budgets. It is time to get back to the country our Founding Fathers designed. That includes an end to career politicians and an end to the bloated federal government.

Countering Fake News

The major media sources are all abuzz with the fact that President Trump is denying food to senior citizens by cutting Meals on Wheels. How awful. How awful that the media is reporting something that is not true. Meals on Wheels only gets a small percentage of its funds from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs. The cuts President Trump is making will have little or no impact on Meals on Wheels.

The Conservative Review posted an article today explaining the details:

President Donald Trump is catching hell from the media over accusations that his budget will cut off funding for Meals on Wheels as part of his proposal to eliminate funding for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs.

Most of the media’s hysterics are exaggerating the effects of the Trump proposal, or being downright dishonest about CDBGs. Examine what Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mulvaney actually said during Thursday’s press conference on the budget, in response to a question on Meals on Wheels.

“As you know, or I think you know, Meals on Wheels is not a federal program,” he began. “It’s part of that community that CDBGs — the block grants that we give to the states, and then many states make the decision to give that money to Meals on Wheels.” (emphasis added)

The article goes on to mention that the government has spent $150 billion on CDBG programs since 1970 and has no results to show for it.

The article explains the problem:

This program is ineffective because the administration of these funds is often absolutely corrupt. In 2013, the House Financial Services Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee identified “more than $770 million in questionable costs and included recommendations for putting $739.5 million in HUD funds to better use.” The subcommittee identified CDBGs as one of HUD’s largest programs that “lack proper oversight” and are “especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, and abuse.”
The article goes on to list some of the abuses in past use of CDBG money. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. President Trump is acting like a businessman–he is cutting funds to programs that do not work and moving funds to programs that show results. If we are ever to find a way out of our increasing debt, these are the steps that will be necessary. It is a shame that the mainstream media wants to continue to increase the debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay off.

How Much Is Big Bird Actually Worth?

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about President Trump’s plan to cut funding for Public Broadcasting. The article illustrates the fact that in some cases, executives of nonprofit organizations make salaries that don’t sound as if they are appropriate for an organization that is nonprofit.

The article reminds us of two conflicting statements made by NPR about their budget:

On average, less than 1% of NPR’s annual operating budget comes in the form of grants from CPB [the taxpayer-funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting]  and federal agencies and departments.

…Federal funding is essential to public radio’s service to the American public. Its continuation is critical for both stations and program producers, including NPR. . . Elimination of federal funding would result in fewer programs, less journalism—especially local journalism—and eventually the loss of public radio stations, particularly in rural and economically distressed communities.

Both of those statements cannot be true. I have no idea which one is.

The article further reports:

According to tax filings — the most recent of which covers 2014 — then-president and CEO Melvin Ming was paid more than $586,000 in salary and benefits in the nine months before retiring, which included a $37,500 bonus and $18,700 in benefits. The year before that, Ming cleared $672,391 in salary, bonuses and benefits.

That’s five times the average pay for CEOs at nonprofits, according to Charity Navigator. (It’s twice as much as the CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gets paid.)

The average compensation for the other 10 top officials at Sesame Workshop in 2014 was a very handsome $382,135 — which is about six times the median household income in the U.S.

Big Bird is big business. The article states:

Last year, Sesame Workshop had $121.6 million in revenues. Of that, $49.6 million came in distribution fees and royalties and $36.6 million in licensing of toys, games, clothing, food and such. In 2014, only 4% of its revenue came from government grants.

I suspect there are other programs on Public Broadcasting that would do quite well if they chose to market items related to their television shows. I truly think it is time to give the free market the chance to work its magic in the area of Public Broadcasting.

ObamaCare Is Not Doing Well

Politico posted an article today about sign-ups for ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Sign-ups for Obamacare coverage declined for the first time in the 2017 season and fell below the Obama administration‘s estimates for the three-month enrollment window, according to figures released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

A total of 12.2 million people enrolled in Obamacare plans nationwide between Nov. 1 and Jan. 31 — a drop-off from the 12.7 million sign-ups at the close of the last open-enrollment season. The Trump administration soon after taking office scaled back enrollment outreach during the critical final week of sign-ups.

The article reminds us that roughly four out of five people who sign up for ObamaCare receive tax credits to offset their monthly premiums. Even at that, people are not rushing to sign up.

The article concludes:

The Trump administration reversed plans to scrap phone calls and other forms of outreach to encourage sign-ups in the finals days of the enrollment period after the move sparked outcry from the law’s supporters and health insurers. Officials said they were unable to pull back some HealthCare.gov radio and TV advertising that had been purchased by the Obama administration. HHS was able to cancel about $4 million to $5 million in ads.

The enrollment report comes amid a spate of troubling news about health law insurance markets. Last month, Humana announced it would become the first major insurer to pull out of the market completely next year. Molina, which had an unexpected loss, said it would assess ongoing participation at a later date. Other insurers are sounding alarms.

ObamaCare needs to go away. The Republicans need to pass the bill they have passed before in order to end it. The gamesmanship that is going on now in the Republican Party is totally unacceptable.

Three Phases Of HealthCare Reform Might Not Work

Townhall posted an article this morning about the Republican plan to reform ObamaCare. The current plan being discussed does not replace ObamaCare–it merely tweeks it a bit and changes the name.

The article quotes Senator Tom Cotton:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), one of many skeptical Republicans, told radio host Hugh Hewitt on Tuesday that the three-phase process is a myth. What we see right now is what we get.

“Hugh, there is no three-phase process,” Cotton said. “There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin. This is why. Step one is a bill that can pass with 51 votes in the Senate. That’s what we’re working on right now. Step two, as yet unwritten regulations by Tom Price, which is going to be subject to court challenge, and therefore, perhaps the whims of the most liberal judge in America. But step three, some mythical legislation in the future that is going to garner Democratic support and help us get over 60 votes in the Senate. If we had those Democratic votes, we wouldn’t need three steps. We would just be doing that right now on this legislation altogether. That’s why it’s so important that we get this legislation right, because there is no step three. And step two is not completely under our control.”

Somehow, when the Republicans were repealing ObamaCare knowing that whatever they did would not make it past President Obama, they were willing to repeal ObamaCare. Now, when their votes actually matter, they seem to be afraid to make a move. Republicans need to realize that even if they do nothing and ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, Republicans will be blamed. That is the nature of the media. ObamaCare was passed by reconciliation, it can be repealed through reconciliation. It is time to get it done.

The Lynch Pin That Connects The Scandals

American Lens posted an article today that reminds us why we need to drain the swamp.

The article states:

Loretta Lynch is the only Attorney General in American history to invoke her Fifth Amendment privileges in her appearance before Congress in October 2016 about the $1.7 billion dollar Iran ransom payments.

It is her constitutional right to assert that privilege, as it is for all Americans. However, it dramatically increased the already toxic environment between the Obama Justice Department and Congress and left serious concerns in the air about her actions surrounding the $1.7 billion in cash payments to a hostile terrorist regime.

Invoking the Fifth Amendment does not immediately make her guilty of anything, but she is the first Attorney General to do so.

The article explains:

Under Federal Law, 50 U.S. Code § 1805 (a) (1), the Attorney General must approve the application for the warrant before it goes to a judicial panel in a FISA court.

A FISA order is used to collect information on a foreign entity when there is no other normal means available to gather the information – 50 U.S. Code § 1805 (6)(c).

According to the law there must be credible evidence that demonstrates, “each of the facilities at which surveillance directed is being used or about to be used by foreign power or agent thereof .” That could mean trouble for President Trump.

If the FISA standards were upheld, it could mean that there were at least two intelligence indicators that Trump’s equipment or personnel were about to act as foreign agents.
However, with the revelation that General Flynn was a confidant of the Turkish regime and had been in contact with the Russian foreign minister, these would likely be the indicators that could have been or were used as part of the FISA affidavit.

But, as we have previously reported, there is at least one cooperating witness in the tap of Trump tower during his presidential campaign.

Stated another way, someone in the Obama/Lynch Justice Department swore under penalty of perjury that they had evidence that Trump Tower was being used by a foreign power during the presidential campaign and/or that there was reasonable suspicion that Trump or one of his associates at the tower was about to be a secret foreign agent.

Obviously, we do not yet know all the details of the FISA request, but it appears that the Democratic Party’s opposition research team definitely got out of hand. This wiretap is different from Watergate in that government agencies were used against an opponent of the opposite party. In Watergate, it was a Republican campaign committee–the government was not involved in the actual burglary, and when the guilty parties attempted to bring in the government, the scandal was uncovered and people went to jail. This is a much more serious breach of the trust of the American people–we expect those in office to follow the laws of the land–not break for their own personal gain.

Why Is Anyone Surprised?

Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial today about the current state of the economy. The editorial reminds us that under President Trump, the economy is growing rapidly.

The editorial reports:

Growth: For eight years, economic indicators repeatedly came below forecasts. Now, there’s been a string of reports — the latest one is on jobs — that have outperformed economist predictions. What’s changed, we wonder?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the economy added 235,000 jobs in February, when economists expected 200,000 new jobs. And that comes after January’s 227,000 gain, which also beat economists’ forecasts by a substantial margin.

That’s not all. Other recent indicators have come in better than economists had expected.

Orders for capital goods were higher in December than forecast.

There were supposed to be 5.55 million existing-home sales in January. The actual number was close to 5.7 million — which was the highest level since 2007.

Retail sales in January climbed 0.4%, where economists had predicted they’d advance only 0.1%. At the same time, the Commerce Department revised the December sales increase upward to 1%.

Now, obviously we can’t draw any broad conclusions from a few unexpectedly good economic results.

But it’s worth pointing out that this is a dramatic change from the Obama years, when about the only thing that you could predict with any degree of accuracy was that the economy would underperform economists’ predictions.

This is an example of soft bias on the part of the media. When the economic numbers are changed during the month following their release, they may not receive the media coverage that the numbers received when they were originally released.

The editorial concludes:

…The National Federation of Independent Business‘ small business optimism index hit a 12-year high in January. The IBD/TIPP Economic Optimism Index was the highest it’s been since October 2004. The Dow has gained nearly 17% since the November elections.

This sudden change of heart appears to be having an immediate impact on the economy. The unexpected rise in home sales, for example, is being driven in part by “a postelection jump in mortgage rates, led by optimism about President Donald Trump‘s plans to ease regulations and spur economic growth,” noted Crain’s Business. The jump in capital goods orders “is a sign that businesses might be following up buoyant postelection sentiment by spending more after years of tepid global growth,” according to Bloomberg.

Whether this will last depends on whether Trump gets his economic policies in place.

In the meantime, it’s worth asking why it is that economists consistently overestimated the economic impact of Obama’s tax-regulate-and-spend policies, and now appear to be underestimating Trump’s pro-business agenda.

It’s time to get on board–it seems that the train has left the station.

The Dangers Of Unchecked Immigration

A few years ago I had the privilege of meeting Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. I wrote about it here. She is now on a speaking tour in America shedding light on what has happened in Europe because of the large number of Muslim immigrants. An article outlining her observations is posted at The Gates of Vienna.

In the article she explains some of the history and some of the consequences of the unchecked migration into Europe:

The most important thing to remember is that it is PLANNED.

It did not start in 2015 when Chancellor Merkel made her famous invitation to all the “refugees” to come on in from the Middle East. It had been going on since the “Arab Spring” began in 2011, and especially since Qaddafi was deposed and killed. By the time the flood started in 2015 the masses of people were all there ready to move, and the traffickers were equipped to move them.

The current routes being used run across the Mediterranean from Libya. Vessels owned and operated by NGOs meet the “refugees” off the coast of Libya shortly after their launch and “rescue” them. They are assigned this task, and they collude with the people-traffickers to accomplish it.

The thing to remember in dealing with the Islamic culture is that their perspective is long-term. They are not part of the microwave society that we live in.

The second most important thing is that it is EXPENSIVE.

The routes used in 2015 across the Aegean into Greece costs thousands of dollars per head. The migrants themselves did not pay the costs. Somebody else did; the big question is WHO?

We don’t know for certain that Soros is behind it, although we know that his organizations are involved. (a) Some of his organizations are among those that own and operate the boats picking up migrants in the Med off the coast of Libya. (b) His organizations were discovered to have printed maps and helpful instruction sheets handed out to migrants during the great exodus of 2015.

The migrants did not walk across Europe. They traveled by ferry, bus, and train — a MILLION of them or more. Someone paid for that transport. It was expensive to charter those buses and run those trains.

We know that some of the cost was borne by the governments en route, but not all of it. George Soros was definitely involved, and there are strong indications that governments in the Persian Gulf gave financial assistance.

When they arrived in Slovenia and Austria, refugees bought goods and hired taxis using brand new €500 notes. Those notes are very unusual, and the refugees did not find them on the ground along the way. Someone gave the notes to them — WHO?

I suspect that the answer to that question will lead us to many more questions.

The article continues:

Sweden is the European country that is closest to collapse. Although Germany has been hit harder, its economy is stronger, and can withstand the current (very expensive) crisis longer.A couple of years before Merkel invited in the migrants from Syria, the Swedish prime minister at the time, Fredrik Reinfeldt, did EXACTLY the same thing — he made a public announcement that anyone from Syria who came to Sweden would be accepted. As a result, for a while Sweden was their preferred destination.

Now Sweden in undergoing nightly riots, gang wars, arson, bombings, rapes, and murders. It has reinstituted border controls.

Obviously Sweden has learned from experience. It remains to be seen whether or not the Swedes will ever reclaim their country.

  Free speech has been a casualty of the new open-borders policy. Immigration is not popular, but governments are determined that it must happen, so they crack down vigorously on any publicly-expressed sentiments against immigrants or Islam.Dissidents on the Great Migration are fired and harassed. They are routinely prosecuted in Sweden, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, France, and Britain. Prison sentences are now handed out for Facebook posts or for putting bacon on the door handle of a mosque.

It is no longer possible to speak out freely, honestly, and truthfully about the consequences of immigration in Europe.

This is the result of the unchecked invasion of Europe. I strongly suggest that you follow the link above to read the entire article. We have the ability to prevent this from happening in America. The question is whether or not we will do what is necessary.

 

Circumstantial Evidence

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today that explains why President Trump may be right in stating that he was wiretapped.

The article reports:

“As far as I know from people I’ve spoken to and sources that I’ve reached out to about this, it is entirely plausible that in fact Trump in some way or fashion was bound up in some sort of wiretap,” Kredo (Adam Kredo, senior writer for the Washington Free Beacon) said. “My understanding is that during an investigation into possible ties to Russia and business dealings that a FISA warrant reached this kind of stuff.”

Kredo then presented a question that he believes Clapper should answer to clarify what he knows about the issue.

“If there was no such wiretap and that did not exist as he says, where did the transcripts of the conversations that reporters at the New York Times and others were passed along about conversations between Michael Flynn and Russian officials, where did those come from?” Kredo asked. “I think it is very curious that, if in fact there was no sort of wiretap, there would be no record of those conversations, when in fact we all know there is.”

It is time for Congress to take a really good look at this. Who else was or is being wiretapped? Has privacy become a thing of the past for all Americans?

 

It Can Be Fixed, But It’s Not Right Yet

Yesterday The Heritage Foundation posted their evaluation of the bill to replace ObamaCare. Admittedly, The Heritage Foundation is a politically conservative group, so their solution to ObamaCare would be aimed at shrinking government, not just moving the chairs around.

The article lists some of the problems with the bill:

Basically, the bill focuses on protecting those who gained subsidized coverage through the law’s exchange subsidies and Medicaid expansion, while failing to correct Obamacare’s misguided insurance regulations that drove up premiums for Americans buying coverage without government subsidies.

That is both a policy problem and a political problem.

The article goes on to explain that the people who need relief from ObamaCare are the people whose premiums and deductibles rose dramatically. That is the group the does not get relief in the new bill. The new bill leaves costly regulations in place and attempts to offset those costs with subsidies. That is what most Americans want to get rid of.

The article explains:

In that regard, the draft bill’s new “Patient and State Stability Fund” is particularly problematic. That program would provide grants to states of up to a total of $100 billion over the nine years 2018-2026.

There are a several significant problems with this new program.

First, it substitutes new funding for old Obamacare funding without adequately addressing the misguided Obamacare insurance market rules and subsidy design that made the exchanges a magnet for high cost patients.

Those mistakes in Obamacare created an insupportable burden on the individual insurance market by concentrating expensive patients in only that small portion of the total market.

Second, like Obamacare, it doesn’t actually reduce premiums, but rather masks with subsidies the effects of Obamacare provisions that drove up premiums in the first place.

Third, it creates a new entitlement for states. Furthermore, without a resulting reduction in unsubsidized premium levels, future Congresses will likely face pressure from states and constituents to extend and expand the program.

That is exactly backwards from what is needed.

The new healthcare bill also fails to reign in Medicaid.

The article reports:

Under the Medicaid expansion, the federal government reimbursed states 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid to able-bodied adults, with federal support eventually declining to 90 percent.

Yet, states continue to receive significantly less federal assistance (50 percent to 75 percent, depending on the state) for covering the more vulnerable populations (such as poor children and the disabled) that the program was intended for. That policy was both inequitable and unaffordable.

The draft bill does not correct that inequity, but rather reduces the enhanced match rate from 95 percent to 80 percent. The better approach would be to allow states to immediately cap expansion population enrollment, while also setting federal reimbursement for any new expansion enrollees at normal state match rates.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There are three things that need to happen with health insurance in America–the policy needs to be attached to the person–not their employer, policies need to be portable across state lines, and people with pre-existing conditions need to have a way to be insurance. Other than that, the government needs to get out of the healthcare business and let the free market rule. It will be bumpy for a short while, but if we don’t do it now, things will only get worse.

Some People Are Not Happy With The Current Silent Coup

Judicial Watch posted the following press release today:

Judicial Watch Sues CIA, DOJ and Treasury for Records Related to Intelligence Leaks Regarding Investigation of General Flynn

MARCH 06, 2017

National Security Agency Refuses to Confirm or Deny Existence of Records 

(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the United States Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury regarding records related to the investigation of retired United States Army Lieutenant General Michel Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency et al. (No.1:17-cv-00397)).  (The National Security Agency refused to confirm or deny the existence of intelligence records about communications between Gen. Flynn and Amb Kislyak.)

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the agencies failed to respond to a January 25, 2017, FOIA request seeking:

Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the investigation of retired Gen. Michael Flynn’s communications with Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergey Kislyak between October 1, 2016 and the present.

This request includes, but is not limited to, any and all related warrants, affidavits, declarations, or similar records regarding the aforementioned investigation.

For purposes of clarification, please find enclosed a CNN report regarding the investigation, which cites information that was provided to CNN by members of the Intelligence Community.

In its complaint Judicial Watch asks the court to order the agencies to search for all records responsive to its FOIA requests and demonstrate that they employed reasonable search methods; order the agencies to produce by a specific date all non-exempt records and a Vaughn index of all withheld records; and instruct the agencies to cease withholding all non-exempt records.

On January 23, 2017, CNN reported that the government was investigating Flynn, former national security adviser to President Trump:

The calls were captured by routine US eavesdropping targeting the Russian diplomats, according to the intelligence and law enforcement officials. But the officials said some of the content of the conversation raised enough potential concerns that investigators are still looking into the discussions, amid a broader concern about Russian intelligence-gathering activities in the United States.

The officials all stressed that so far there has been no determination of any wrongdoing.

FBI and intelligence officials briefed members of the Obama White House team before President Barack Obama left office about the Flynn calls to the Russian ambassador, sources said.

“President Trump is on to something. The Obama-connected wiretapping and illegal leaks of classified material concerning President Trump and General Flynn are a scandal,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch aims to get to the truth about these crimes and we hope the Trump administration stands with us in the fight for transparency.”

This is a necessary action. There are some serious questions about the actions of President Obama and some of the people in government during the transition of power to the Trump Administration.

Why We Need To Increase Defense Spending

The Heritage Foundation has posted highlights from the 2017 Index of U.S. Military Strength and the 2016 Index of U.S. Military Strength. I strongly suggest following the links and reading the report summaries, but I can give you the bullet points here:

From 2016:From 2017:

This is the summary of the 2017 Report:

Overall, the 2017 Index concludes that the current U.S. military force is capable of meeting the demands of a single major regional conflict while also attending to various presence and engagement activities—something it is doing now and has done for the past two decades—but that it would be very hard-pressed to do more and certainly would be ill-equipped to handle two nearly simultaneous major regional contingencies. The consistent decline in funding and the consequent shrinking of the force over the past few years have placed it under significant pressure. Essential maintenance continues to be deferred; the availability of fewer units for operational deployments increases the frequency and length of deployments; and old equipment is being extended while programmed replacements are either delayed or beset by developmental difficulties.

The military services have continued to prioritize readiness for current operations by shifting funding to deployed or soon-to-deploy units at the expense of keeping units that are not deployed in “ready” condition; delaying, reducing, extending, or canceling modernization programs; and sustaining the reduction in size and number of military units. These choices and their resulting condition, driven by the lack of funding dedicated to defense, hazard America’s ability to secure its interests now and erode America’s ability to shape conditions to its advantage by assuring allies and deterring competitors.

As currently postured, the U.S. military is only marginally able to meet the demands of defending America’s vital national interests.

If we are to remain free and protect our citizens, I believe that we have to increase our defense spending.

The Mainstream Media Is Still Reporting Fake News

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the current discussion about wire taps at Trump Tower.

There are two major points in the article:

  1. There is one item of actual hard news: the House Intelligence Committee will investigate.

      2. Every time the AP mentions FISAgate, it includes this ritual defense of the Obama administration:

Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama’s spokesman has denied it.

The AP’s statement is false. It is a classic instance of fake news. Barack Obama’s spokesman has not denied that “the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year.” He only denied that Barack Obama personally ordered such surveillance. But that isn’t the question. Presumably, the order to conduct surveillance came from Loretta Lynch’s Department of Justice. But no one thinks that Lynch would have ordered the opposing presidential candidate’s telephones tapped, or his computers hacked, without her boss’s approval.

Zero Hedge posted an article yesterday that also sheds some light on the issue.

Zero Hedge reports:

The best example of this came from Ben Rhodes, a former senior adviser to President Obama in his role as deputy National Security Advisor, who slammed Trump’s accusation, insisting that “No President can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.” He also said “only a liar” could make the case, as Trump suggested, that Obama wire tapped Trump Tower ahead of the election.

It would appear, however, that Rhodes is wrong, especially as pertains to matters of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance, and its associated FISA court, under which the alleged wiretap of Donald Trump would have been granted, as it pertained specifically to Trump’s alleged illicit interactions with Russian entities.

…But what is perhaps most important, is that we may know soon enough. As the NYT reported on Saturday afternoon, a senior White House official said that Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s chief counsel, was working on Saturday to secure access to what the official described as a document issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing surveillance of Mr. Trump and his associates.

If and when such a document is made public – assuming it exists of course – it would be Trump, once again, that gets the last laugh.

Stay tuned. This is going to be an interesting story. However, it is becoming obvious that we cannot trust the mainstream media to report it honestly.

Not All Previous Scandals Have Gone Away

Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release on Thursday:

Federal Court Hearing Tuesday, March 7, in Clinton Email Case, Judicial Watch Seeking Answers on Abedin/Weiner Laptop Emails

MARCH 02, 2017

(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch today announced a hearing will be held Tuesday, March 7, 2017, regarding Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Clinton regarding her non-‘state.gov’ email address (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The case is before Judge James E. Boasberg.

Items of discussion at the hearing will be the emails of Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband. Judicial Watch also will be seeking answers as to the timing of the release of Clinton’s emails that were recovered by the FBI in its investigation of the server used by Clinton and others.

The State Department has previously been ordered to produce documents to Judicial Watch, and is currently processing 500 pages per month from disk one of seven available disks. At the upcoming hearing, the State Department must address the number of documents subject to FOIA on the remaining disks.

The hearing details are:

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
Location: Courtroom 21
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

The lawsuit was originally filed in May 2015.

How The Free Market Economy Works

Hot Air posted an article today about job losses at the Boeing Aircraft plant in Washington State. The company announced this week that 1,800 unionized employees at the Seattle facility will be losing their jobs.

The article further reports:

Nearly three-quarters of eligible production workers at Boeing’s South Carolina plant voted Wednesday not to join the International Association of Machinists in a major setback for organized labor.

The Post & Courier newspaper reported that 2,097 of 2,828 voting workers — 74.2 percent — cast ballots against unionization.

Under NLRB rules, workers must wait a year before another union vote. In a statement, Machinists organizer Mike Evans said the union was disappointed with the vote but vowed to stay in close touch with Boeing workers to figure out next steps.

The article concludes by explaining exactly what is happening:

So 1800 workers in Washington are finding themselves unemployed. At the same time, more than 3000 people in the Palmetto State have gone to work, begun training and started pumping new life into the economy. So why aren’t the two unions in Washington who are making this doleful announcement talking about that story? I’m just taking a shot in the dark here, but it might be because South Carolina is a right to work state and the union has already been roundly rejected by the workers there who want to see the business grow and not kill the new goose which is suddenly laying a considerable quantity of golden eggs.

Boeing is not crashing and burning, nor is the economy collapsing. What we’re seeing is a rebalancing of resources where employers are going to places where there is an available pool of skilled labor and they can simultaneously keep labor costs under control to remain competitive in a challenging global market. Much like everything else in our capitalist system, such transitions produce winners and losers. Unfortunately for the employees of Boeing, their unions have opened the door to the “loser” side of the equation hitting the folks in Washington state while the benefits accrue to the citizens of South Carolina.

And that, folks, is how the free market works. In the end, more people gained jobs than lost them, and Boeing will be more competitive in world markets. That is a win-win. Unions are a useful tool, but they need to remember that if their contracts produce an unworkable business model for the company they work for, everyone loses.

At Some Point We Are Going To Have To Deal With This

There are some things going on in Washington that are under reported in the news. We as Americans are going to have to deal with these things quickly. Most of them have to deal with the actions of the former President and his undermining of the current President. Evidently the plans for undoing the Trump Administration were laid before the November election. Some of these actions would be envied by the Nixon Administration–they make Watergate look like the third-rate burglary that it actually was.

Breitbart posted the list yesterday. Mark Levin is credited with doing the research:

1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.

2. July: Russia joke. Wikileaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.

3. October: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.

4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

5.  January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier.Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.

6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.

7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the exisentence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was  part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them. Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.

9. February: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.

10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office. The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions’s testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts. The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.

President Trump is continuing to move forward on his agenda. That is good, but at some point the Justice Department that former President Obama is attempting to cripple will have to move forward with charges on some of these actions. The actions of former President Obama are a serious threat to our republic. This is not about Democrat or Republican–this is about a former President who is willfully undermining a current President. That is not acceptable behavior.

Why We Need To Support Trump As President

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about an event that somehow has escaped the major media. Sabrina De Sousa is a former CIA agent caught up in the legal fight in Europe over the US’ controversial “extraordinary rendition” program.

Newsweek provides a summary of the case:

De Sousa, who was freed Tuesday from a Portuguese prison where she was awaiting extradition to Italy, has always maintained her innocence in the case, which was the subject of a sensational 2009 trial. She and 25 other Americans, all but one CIA employees, were convicted in absentia for their roles in snatching an Egyptian cleric off a Milan street and transporting him to Cairo. Hassan Mustafa Osama Nasr, known more widely as Abu Omar, says he was repeatedly tortured while under interrogation there. He was released in 2007 and convicted of terrorism charges in absentia by an Italian court in December 2013.

De Sousa, the subject of an international arrest warrant since her conviction, was detained as she tried to transit the Lisbon airport from the U.S. en route to visit her mother in India in October 2015. (De Sousa was born in the former Portuguese enclave of Goa.) She was freed shortly afterward but ordered to stay in Portugal pending a decision on her extradition. …

As is often the case involving the CIA, the U.S. government had nothing to say about De Sousa’s reprieve this week. The CIA has consistently refused to comment on the case. A State Department spokesman referred Newsweek to the White House for comment, but officials did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Yet Pete Hoekstra, a former Republican representative and ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee who took up De Sousa’s cause, claims she would not have been released “without extraordinary help from the Trump administration.” Hoekstra told Newsweek he began lobbying officials in the Donald Trump campaign, and later the transition, to do something about the former officer’s predicament. He had a number of friends in the national security apparatus from his time on the House Intelligence Committee—people like Michael Flynn, the recently departed White House national security adviser, fellow former Representative Mike Pompeo, now director of the CIA, and former Senator Dan Coats, the new director of national intelligence. And it didn’t hurt that he had chaired Trump’s Michigan campaign.

Ms. De Sousa tweeted the following:

The Trump Administration prevented a patriotic American (she held dual citizenship in the United States and in Portugal) from being imprisoned for doing her job.

The article also includes a rather sad side note:

De Sousa, 61, a dual U.S. and Portuguese citizen who lives in Lisbon, said she is elated by the last-minute decision, although she feels it came three months too late: Her mother, Julia De Sousa, died in early December at the age of 90. De Sousa couldn’t be with her.

“The sad thing is, I really wanted this to be resolved awhile ago so I could turn to her and say ‘It’s done,’” De Sousa said in a Skype interview on Wednesday. “People don’t seem to realize how a conviction impacts you and your normal daily life. I couldn’t see my family.”

The Obama Administration had a checkered record of how they treated Americans who had worked for America overseas. Hopefully, this story is an indication that the Trump Administration will not abandon people who have faithfully done their jobs.

The Mud Puddle In Your Front Yard Is No Longer Under Government Control

In April 2015, The Heritage Foundation posted an article on the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.

The article includes the following:

The proposed rule would assert jurisdiction over numerous types of waters, including “tributaries,” “adjacent waters,” and “other waters.” The definition for “tributaries” covers any water with a bed, banks, and ordinary high water mark that contributes flow, either directly or through another water, to a traditional navigable water, interstate water, territorial sea, or impoundment.[8] This definition is even broader than it sounds. As explained by the American Farm Bureau Foundation:

The agencies use the words “bed” and “bank” and “ordinary high water mark,” which sound like parts of a river or stream. In reality, though, the agencies’ explanation makes clear that those words just mean some kind of channel (land with higher elevation on each side of land with a lower elevation) plus any physical marks left by flowing water.

A broad interpretation of this law means that any mud puddle that forms in your yard in the spring has the potential of being under government control. The could impact your ability to build, landscape, or use your property in other ways.

On February 27, the White House issued the following statement about the Waters of the United States rule:

Presidential Executive Order on Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the “Waters of the United States” Rule

EXECUTIVE ORDER

– – – – – – –

RESTORING THE RULE OF LAW, FEDERALISM, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
BY REVIEWING THE “WATERS OF THE UNITED STATES” RULE

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1. Policy. It is in the national interest to ensure that the Nation’s navigable waters are kept free from pollution, while at the same time promoting economic growth, minimizing regulatory uncertainty, and showing due regard for the roles of the Congress and the States under the Constitution.

Sec. 2. Review of the Waters of the United States Rule. (a) The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (Administrator) and the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works (Assistant Secretary) shall review the final rule entitled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States,'” 80 Fed. Reg. 37054 (June 29, 2015), for consistency with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order and publish for notice and comment a proposed rule rescinding or revising the rule, as appropriate and consistent with law.

(b) The Administrator, the Assistant Secretary, and the heads of all executive departments and agencies shall review all orders, rules, regulations, guidelines, or policies implementing or enforcing the final rule listed in subsection (a) of this section for consistency with the policy set forth in section 1 of this order and shall rescind or revise, or publish for notice and comment proposed rules rescinding or revising, those issuances, as appropriate and consistent with law and with any changes made as a result of a rulemaking proceeding undertaken pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) With respect to any litigation before the Federal courts related to the final rule listed in subsection (a) of this section, the Administrator and the Assistant Secretary shall promptly notify the Attorney General of the pending review under subsection (b) of this section so that the Attorney General may, as he deems appropriate, inform any court of such review and take such measures as he deems appropriate concerning any such litigation pending the completion of further administrative proceedings related to the rule.

Sec. 3. Definition of “Navigable Waters” in Future Rulemaking. In connection with the proposed rule described in section 2(a) of this order, the Administrator and the Assistant Secretary shall consider interpreting the term “navigable waters,” as defined in 33 U.S.C. 1362(7), in a manner consistent with the opinion of Justice Antonin Scalia in Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006).

Sec. 4. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

DONALD J. TRUMP

THE WHITE HOUSE,
February 28, 2017.

Thank you, President Trump. I support clean air and clean water. I don’t support government’s interference in the property rights of Americans.

Getting On Board With Building The Wall

Yesterday The Hill posted an article sharing some news about the wall Donald Trump plans to build on the southern border of America.

The article reports:

…The Hill reported late Tuesday that 225 companies — mainly construction and engineering firms — have voiced interest in building Trump’s proposed wall.

The list was compiled from a website for contractors interested in doing business with the federal government.

Contractors intrigued by the project have until March 10 to submit a prototype concept paper, followed by a formal request for proposal by March 24.

Interested parties so far include construction companies like Caddell and Raytheon, a top defense contractor.

A number of small businesses have also applied, including 20 owned by Hispanic-Americans who could come under scrutiny for helping create the structure.

…The Department of Homeland Security estimated last month that Trump’s could take 3.5 years to complete and cost up to $21.6 billion.

In November 2014, I reported:

“The Internal Revenue Service continues to make little progress in reducing improper payments of Earned Income Tax Credits,” a press release from Treasury’s inspector general for Tax Administration says. “The IRS estimates that 22 to 26 percent of EITC payments were issued improperly in Fiscal Year 2013. The dollar value of these improper payments was estimated to be between $13.3 billion and $15.6 billion.”

Fixing that problem would provide a major portion of the cost of building the wall. I am sure there are other costs to illegal immigration that could also be eliminated to pay for the wall.

Ronald Reagan said it best:

“A nation that cannot control its borders is not a nation.”
Ronald Reagan

Americans Are Actually Unified On Some Things

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an editorial written by David Schoenbrod, a Trustee Professor of Law at New York Law School. The editorial is titled, “Washington’s War Against The People.” Professor Schoenbrod makes a few very good points in his editorial. He reminds us that the percentage of Americans who trust Washington to “do the right thing” “just about always” or “most of the time” was 76 percent in 1964. In 2015, that percentage had fallen to 19 percent. So what happened? Those in power in Washington learned a few tricks to avoid taking responsibility for their actions and to increase their own power and wealth. Meanwhile, they began to ignore the wishes and well being of the American people.

The editorial lists some of the ways that those in Washington promise good things while avoiding the blame for bad things:

  1. The Money Trick lets them get credit for tax cuts and spending increases, but shift the blame for the inevitable tax increases and spending cuts to their successors in office when the deficits and debt will become unsustainable.
  2. The Debt Guarantee Trick lets them get support from the too-big-to-fail financial giants whose profits they increase by guaranteeing their debts at little or no cost, but shift the blame for the inevitable bailouts to their successors in office when the speculation encouraged by the cheap debt guarantees will trigger another fiscal crisis and economic crash.
  3. The Federal Mandate Trick lets them get credit for the benefits they require the state and local government to deliver, but shift the blame for the burdens required to deliver those benefits to state and local officials.
  4. The Regulation Trick lets them get credit for granting rights to regulatory protection, but shift the blame for the burdens required to vindicate those rights and the failures to deliver the protection promised to federal agencies.
  5. The War Trick lets members of Congress get credit for having a statute that requires them to take responsibility for going to war, while colluding with the president to evade responsibility for wars that might later prove controversial.  So members of Congress can march in the parade if the war proves popular, but otherwise put the entire blame on the president.
The editorial points out that many Americans believe that Washington insiders have misled or tricked them. That explains why Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, both outsiders, received more votes in 2016 than anyone expected.

The current battle is between Washington insiders and the American people. Both Republicans and Democrats have forgotten who they represent. Some elected officials still try to represent the voters, but they are few and far between. The problem is across party lines. The only solution is well-educated voters (which will be a challenge because the mainstream media supports the Washington insiders). However, if it is possible to drain the swamp, I suspect it will have to happen in the next two years. I believe that is the size of the window Donald Trump will be given to accomplish anything.

Repeal It Or Go The Way Of The Whigs

Yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the repeal of ObamaCare. The editorial made some very important points. First of all, the writer reminded us that the demonstrations opposing the repeal of ObamaCare were planned by the Democrats shortly after the election. There are some people who want to keep ObamaCare, but despite what you see on the news, they are a minority.

The editorial reminds us:

Imagine that Democrats announced a health care reform plan that would force millions to cancel health plans and leave the doctors they like, drastically reduce choice and competition in the individual market, cause health insurance premiums to skyrocket, blow billions of taxpayer dollars creating faulty “exchanges” and failing co-ops, leave millions of middle-class families stuck with higher deductibles and higher premiums, cause massive industry losses, slow the economy, cost jobs, and increase the deficit.

Those are the results ObamaCare’s critics predicted and, without exaggeration, what it has produced. Does anyone honestly believe ObamaCare would have ever made it to Obama’s desk if its backers had been honest with the public?

Yes, the uninsured rate has come down, but as IBD noted, the “20 million gained insurance thanks to ObamaCare” claim is a wild exaggeration, and the gains that did occur are entirely due to the expansion of Medicaid — a terrible and financially troubled program — and other government insurance programs, not ObamaCare’s individual market “reforms.”

ObamaCare will implode on its own in a year or so, but the chaos it will leave will take years to undo. It makes much more sense to repeal it before it collapses.

There is another aspect of this mentioned in the editorial–the trust of the voters. First Republicans said, “Give us the House, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the House and the Senate, and we will repeal ObamaCare. Voters did that, and ObamaCare was not repealed. Then Republicans said, “Give us the Presidency, and we will repeal ObamaCare.” Well…

During the Obama Administration, Congress took numerous votes to repeal ObamaCare. It was a safe vote–Congressmen knew that President Obama would veto anything that actually got through the Senate, and nothing would happen. Now that a vote to repeal ObamaCare would actually mean something, Congress is stalling.

I have not given up on the repeal of ObamaCare. However, I have pretty much given up on the Republican party. If they choose not to repeal ObamaCare, how are they any different from the Democrats? How can their platform say that they support smaller government and their actions say something else? In plain English, it is time for the Republicans in Congress to put up or shut up.