Has Sovereignty Become An Issue?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the repeal of ObamaCare. That’s not so unusual, but some of the source of the pushback against the repeal is interesting.

The article reports:

Dana Milbank reports, with glee, that the United Nations “has contacted the Trump administration as part of an investigation into whether repealing [Obamacare] without an adequate substitute for the millions who would lose health coverage would be a violation of several international conventions that bind the United States.” The warning comes from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission (now known as the Human Rights Council) purports to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,“ Its members include China, Cuba, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

This would be laughable if it were not serious. So what is happening here? President Trump is not a globalist. Unfortunately for a number of decades, the American government has been run by globalists. Our recent Presidents have been in step with the United Nations and have done things that have put our national sovereignty in jeopardy. Evidently the globalist elites at the United Nations now feel that they have a valid voice on the American political landscape. That’s a notion that needs to be put to rest very quickly. It is a little upsetting to think that countries with such dismal human rights records as China, Cuba, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela feel free to criticize America because America does not want socialism. Let’s look at what poverty looks like in those countries versus what poverty looks like in America.

The article goes on to report:

By way of illustration, one of the provisions the U.N. relies on in this case is Article 5(e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by the U.S. in 1994. It calls on states to “guarantee the right of everyone” to, among other things, “public health, medical care, social security and social services” without regard to race or color.

It is not far-fetched to imagine lawsuits in U.S. courts based on claims that the government is violating this kind of “obligation” to which America agreed. How far-fetched is it to imagine left-liberal judges seriously entertaining such lawsuits? Not very, in my view.

In reality, pre-Obamacare America offered health care to everyone without regard to race or color. It provided poor Americans with free health care via Medicaid. Millions of other Americans received health insurance from their employer. The rest (except those with pre-existing conditions, a matter of real concern) were free to purchase health insurance, if they so desired. The market offered plans that were not expensive — my wife had one — at least not compared to the ones Americans are required to purchase under the Obamacare regime.

No one was denied health insurance due to race or color. Nor, to my knowledge, was anyone denied service — e.g. at an emergency room — on that basis.

The article concludes:

The U.N., through its “investigation,” is claiming the right to evaluate Obamacare replacement packages. In effect, it asserts the right to assess whether the replacement incentives measure up to the Obamacare incentives (inadequate though these are).

The U.N.’s infringement on our democracy is obvious.

It’s not surprising that elites in the rest of the world want to dictate to America. It’s not surprising that many of the left want such leftist elites to dictate to us. What’s surprising is that America has gone as far as it has to provide the tools with which claims like those being made by these elite, via bureaucrats in Geneva, can be asserted with a straight face.

When the United Nations begins to attempt to interfere in internal politics of its member countries, it is time for the United Nations to go away. We need to withdraw our membership, make them pay their parking tickets, and kick them out of the country.

The Search For Honest Elections

The Daily Haymaker posted a story on Saturday about voter irregularities in North Carolina. The watchdog group Judicial Watch has decided to hold the state accountable for the integrity of its elections.

The article reports:

In the wake of an audit that found ineligible voters casting votes in the state’s 2016 elections, an advocacy group called Judicial Watch is stepping forward with a pretty serious demand for state elections officials:

Dear Director Strach:

We write to bring your attention to violations of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) in North Carolina. From public records obtained, fifteen (15) counties in North Carolina have more total registered voters than adult citizens over the age of 18 living in that county as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey. This is strong circumstantial evidence that these North Carolina counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the NVRA. […]

This letter serves as statutory notice that Judicial Watch will bring a lawsuit against your office if you do not take specific actions to correct these violations of Section 8 within 90 days. In addition, by this letter we are asking you to produce certain records to us which you are required to make available under Section 8(i) of the NVRA. We hope that litigation will not be necessary to enforce either of these claims.

The letter also notes that North Carolina is not in compliance with voter registration list maintenance requirements. In fifteen counties in the state there are more total registered voters than adult citizens over the age of eighteen. Those counties include Buncombe (registration rate 101 %), Camden (100% ), Chatham (101 % ), Cherokee ( 100% ), Clay (106% ), Dare ( 107% ), Durham ( 111 % ), Guilford ( 101 % ), Madison ( 100% ), Mecklenburg ( 108% ), New Hanover (101 %), Orange (111 %), Union (106%), Watauga (105%), and Yancey (104%). When I looked at the results of the 2016 election in those counties, they were mixed–about half voted for Donald Trump and about half voted for Hillary Clinton. Hopefully, if there was cheating, it did not impact the outcome.

Judicial Watch is a successful watchdog organization. I hope that their efforts in North Carolina will put other states on alert that they also need to clean up their voter rolls.

 

More Truth Comes Out

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

The article further reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some People’s First Amendment Rights Are Better Than Others

According to Wikipedia:

While the United States Constitution‘s First Amendment identifies the rights to assemble and to petition the government, the text of the First Amendment does not make specific mention of a right to association. Nevertheless, the United States Supreme Court held in NAACP v. Alabama that the freedom of association is an essential part of the Freedom of Speech because, in many cases, people can engage in effective speech only when they join with others

It is not too much of a stretch to say that this includes the right of a business to do business (or not do business) with whomever they choose (excluding national security issues and things like that). Is that still true in America?

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about a recent poll of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison regarding the rights of people engaged in business.

The article reports:

Students told ADF (Alliance Defending Freedom) that it was okay for a dress designer to turn down Melania Trump for political reasons. “You should be able to control your business in that regard, yeah,” one young man said. “I mean, it’s a free market, that’s what most conservatives want anyway,” another student chimed in. When asked if the dress designer has the right to do that, a young woman replied, “Absolutely.”

ADF also asked students what should happen if a church approached a Muslim singer for an Easter service. Students unanimously said that such a singer has a right to “opt out” of that arrangement. “That seems like such an unusual circumstance that they would want them … like a Christian church would force a Muslim singer to sing at their church if they didn’t want to,” one young woman said. Students agreed that no law should force someone to serve another person against their religious convictions.

But when asked if a Christian has the right to opt out of serving a same-sex wedding, the students hesitated.

The question behind this poll is something that is going to continue to arise in our country as we take in more refugees that choose not to assimilate and as Christianity is no longer respected in our culture. What about the Muslim who refuses to drive a truck that transports beer? What about the Muslim taxi driver that refuses a fare because the man is blind and has a seeing-eye dog? What about the checkout person at the supermarket who refuses to scan bacon? Generally speaking, these are employees–not the business owner. Does the business owner have to allow the limitations on their ability to do their job? If these people are given a pass on the basis of their religious beliefs, should Christians also get a pass?

One of the dangers of bringing people into America with a different culture and no desire to assimilate is that it opens the door for lawfare. Lawfare is the use of frivolous lawsuits to advance a political agenda. It is a primary tool of organizations like CAIR (The Council on American-Islamic-Relations) to bring American laws in compliance with Sharia Law. CAIR will create a situation to be used as a test case to further its agenda.

There was a recent instance of a situation where a person who spoke the language needed probably has prevented a lawsuit that was being planned (here). Please follow the link and read the story. We don’t know exactly what was being planned–whether it was a lawsuit or something more serious–but thanks to a lady who spoke the appropriate language, whatever was planned was stopped in its tracks!

America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. Our culture (up until recently) was a Christian culture. Many parts of America still have a Christian culture. To attempt to bring an alien culture into America rather than assimilate as refugees is going to create problems and tension. You can only live in peace with people who choose to live in peace with you. Unfortunately there is an element in Islam that does not want to live in peace with anyone who does not follow the tenets of Islam. That is a problem.

Attempting To Work Together

Partisanship in Washington is a way of life, but it can also be a serious problem when there is a crisis. It would be nice to believe that both sides of the aisle can work together if they have to in a crisis. Unfortunately, we may be about to find out if that is possible.

Fox News is reporting today that the entire U.S. Senate has been invited to the White House on Wednesday for a briefing on the North Korean situation.

The article reports:

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats plan to provide the update to lawmakers.

It is rare for the entire Senate to be invited to such a briefing. 

Spicer (White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer) clarified that while the event will take place on the White House campus, it is technically a Senate briefing and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is the one who convened it.

The briefing, first reported by Reuters, was confirmed after President Trump earlier spoke to the leaders of both China and Japan.

I believe that this is an attempt at working together, and working together is desperately needed right now.

The article concludes:

On Monday, Trump also had lunch with ambassadors of countries on the U.N. Security Council. Ahead of the meeting, Trump called for “big reforms” at the U.N. and criticizing its handling of recent events in Syria and North Korea – but said it has “tremendous potential.”

“You just don’t see the United Nations, like, solving conflicts. I think that’s going to start happening now,” he said. 

It is going to be an interesting year.

 

The Truth Will Eventually Come Out

Townhall.com posted an article today about a recent New York Times story about the actions of Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

The Townhall article reports:

In a lengthy New York Times piece, the publication charted the history of Mr. Comey’s actions, which placed the FBI in the eye of the 2016 election. We also found out that the Obama Justice Department tried to water down the language, like calling the investigation a “matter,” and playing down the fact that the FBI’s investigation was a criminal one [emphasis mine]:

The Justice Department knew a criminal investigation was underway, but officials said they were being technically accurate about the nature of the referral. Some at the F.B.I. suspected that Democratic appointees were playing semantic games to help Mrs. Clinton, who immediately seized on the statement to play down the issue. “It is not a criminal investigation,” she said, incorrectly. “It is a security review.”

In September of that year, as Mr. Comey prepared for his first public questions about the case at congressional hearings and press briefings, he went across the street to the Justice Department to meet with Ms. Lynch and her staff.

Both had been federal prosecutors in New York — Mr. Comey in the Manhattan limelight, Ms. Lynch in the lower-wattage Brooklyn office. The 6-foot-8 Mr. Comey commanded a room and the spotlight. Ms. Lynch, 5 feet tall, was known for being cautious and relentlessly on message. In her five months as attorney general, she had shown no sign of changing her style.

At the meeting, everyone agreed that Mr. Comey should not reveal details about the Clinton investigation. But Ms. Lynch told him to be even more circumspect: Do not even call it an investigation, she said, according to three people who attended the meeting. Call it a “matter.”

Ms. Lynch reasoned that the word “investigation” would raise other questions: What charges were being investigated? Who was the target? But most important, she believed that the department should stick by its policy of not confirming investigations.

It was a by-the-book decision. But Mr. Comey and other F.B.I. officials regarded it as disingenuous in an investigation that was so widely known. And Mr. Comey was concerned that a Democratic attorney general was asking him to be misleading and line up his talking points with Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, according to people who spoke with him afterward.

As the meeting broke up, George Z. Toscas, a national security prosecutor, ribbed Mr. Comey. “I guess you’re the Federal Bureau of Matters now,” Mr. Toscas said, according to two people who were there.

Despite his concerns, Mr. Comey avoided calling it an investigation. “I am confident we have the resources and the personnel assigned to the matter,” Mr. Comey told reporters days after the meeting.

Please follow the link above to the Townhall article. The article goes on to list some of the problems the FBI encountered while trying not to politicize the investigation.

The article at Townhall further reports:

The Russian collusion allegations have yet to bear fruit. Senate Democrats have admitted that their investigation into possible collision might not find a smoking gun. Over at the House side, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), ranking member of the intelligence committee (and Democratic attack dog), said that there is no definitive proof of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. As for the interference, well, the election wasn’t hacked in the sense that many on the Left think (i.e. messing with vote tallies), instead it was a concerted effort by state-funded media outlets and social media trolls. None of which had an impact in swaying the election and fake news played no pivotal role either.

Some of the mainstream media is still claiming Russian interference. No one has evidence of that, but I believe that the feeling is that if they claim it long enough, some people will accept it is fact, even though it is not true.

I don’t know what the eventual outcome of Hillary Clinton and her private server will be. I do know that if John Q Public had handled classified information as carelessly as she did, he would be in jail. That clearly illustrates a problem within our legal system.

The Politics of Abortion

Hot Air posted an article today about a recent statement by Democrat National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

The article reports:

Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez became the first head of the party to demand ideological purity on abortion rights, promising Friday to support only Democratic candidates who back a woman’s right to choose.

“Every Democrat, like every American, should support a woman’s right to make her own choices about her body and her health,” Perez said in a statement. “That is not negotiable and should not change city by city or state by state.”

“At a time when women’s rights are under assault from the White House, the Republican Congress, and in states across the country,” he added, “we must speak up for this principle as loudly as ever and with one voice.”

Has anyone really thought this through? They are fighting for a woman’s right to kill her child because the child is inconvenient, not perfect, not wanted, etc. I am sure it is simple coincidence that one of the major contributors to Democratic political campaigns is Planned Parenthood, a million dollar business that performs the majority of abortions in America.

As I have previously stated, I do not support making abortions illegal–there may be times when an abortion is necessary to protect the live of the mother. However, I don’t believe that abortion should be a multi million dollar industry. Planned Parenthood specializes in abortion. They provide minimal healthcare for women in other areas. Planned Parenthood is a major contributor to Democratic political campaigns. The Democratic Party is simply protecting a major source of their funding.

It is time to re-evaluate abortion in America.

This is a picture of abortion in America in 2016 (from the Guttmacher Institute):

As you can see, the majority of abortions in America are performed on poor minority women. Our goal should be to help these women with birth control–not kill their children.

 

 

Some History To Explain Some Current Events

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

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

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

The Daily Caller is reporting today:

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

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

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

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

An Unbelievable Temper Tantrum

America needs tax reform. Our current tax system is a tribute to lobbyists and special interests in Washington. It is not pro-growth and does not encourage Americans to save and plan for their futures. There is pretty much universal agreement that the tax code needs to be reformed. But the process of reform has run up against a truism stated by Harry S. Truman, “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” The plan to reform the tax code has encountered opposition based not on its worth, but on politics–the Democrats don’t want President Trump to achieve any success, and also, part of the Democrats success as a party is in class warfare. Cleaning up the tax code might have an impact on those Democratic voters that receive more money from the government than they contribute. That is the actual reason the Democrats are going to fight any changes in the tax code. Now for the reason they will give (because it works politically).

From a Thursday editorial in the Investor’s Business Daily:

Taxes: Democrats say they won’t work with President Trump on tax reform unless he first releases his tax returns. This has to be the lamest excuse for not fixing the tax code we’ve ever heard.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said this week that “if he doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done.”

Democrats say that seeing Trump’s tax returns is critical to tax reform, because otherwise how would anyone know if changes to the tax code will benefit Trump.

As Schumer put it, “releasing his own full tax returns (would) erase any doubt of where his priorities lie.”

Not coincidentally, this argument has started popping up in newspaper opinion pages at the same time.

USA Today posted an op-ed on Saturday by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, arguing that “before this administration even thinks of proposing any changes to the tax code, we should see what tax code provisions the president himself has been and is taking advantage of, and how much tax he has paid in the past few years.”

Some of President Trump’s tax returns have already been released. Also, we just finished eight years of a President who never released his college transcripts, or an explanation of why he had a Connecticut Social Security Number when he has never lived in Connecticut. The fuss over President Trump’s tax returns is simply a political red herring.

The article concludes:

Besides, the entire point of doing tax reform is to broaden the base and radically simplify the tax code — taking away the loopholes and other tax gimmicks that Democrats are sure Trump has used or will use, in exchange for lower and flatter tax rates.

The tax reform plan that Congress comes up with will have to be judged on those merits, not on how it might, possibly, conceivably affect one person many years from now.

Simplifying the code in this way will also make seeing a politicians’ tax returns — Trump’s or anyone else’s — even less important, since tax liability will be a straightforward calculation and there will be far fewer ways to dodge the tax man.

The real story here isn’t Trump’s tax returns. It’s the fact that Democrats don’t want to engage on tax reform because their highly agitated liberal base doesn’t want them to lift a finger to work with Trump on any issue.

Tax reform is vital to restoring economic growth and vitality. No one denies that. If tax reform fails — and the economy suffers as a result — it won’t be Trump’s tax returns that are to blame. It will be shortsighted Democratic lawmakers kowtowing to the extremists in their party.

The Democratic Party using the tax return issue to block tax reform is another reason that the Party is rapidly losing voters. As someone who feels that the Democratic Party has become a party that seeks to divide Americans and create divisions among us, I am not unhappy that they are losing support.

 

Interesting Information From An Unlikely Source

Wikipedia defines the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) as a British intelligence and security organisation responsible for providing signals intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance to the British government and armed forces.This group played an interesting role in the 2016 presidential election in America. The American Spectator reported today on some aspects of that involvement. The article at The American Spectator refers back to an article in the U.K Guardian on April 13th. The perspective on the story in the two articles is very different, but both stories have valid points.

The article at the U.K. Guardian reports:

Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

…Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.

The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.

“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” the source added. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’

I would like to point out that with all this electronic surveillance and all this investigating, there has not been one concrete, proven charge of the Trump campaign working with Russia to impact the election. I would also like to point out that the people in charge of this electronic surveillance in America (the Obama Administration) had a sincere interest in making sure Donald Trump was not elected President.

The article at The American Spectator has a different perspective:

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The article at The American Spectator concludes:

Were the media not so completely in the tank for Obama and Hillary, all of this political mischief would make for a compelling 2016 version of All the President’s Men. Instead, the public gets a steady stream of Orwellian propaganda about the sudden propriety of political espionage. The headline writers at Pravda couldn’t improve on this week’s official lie, tweeted out by the Maggie Habermans: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both Dem and Republican House Aides.”

Liberals pompously quote the saying — “the bigger the lie, the more it will be believed” — even as their media enshrine it. Historians will look back on 2016 and marvel at the audacity of its big lie: whispers of an imaginary Trump-Russia collusion that wafted up from the fever swamps of a real collusion between John Brennan and foreign powers seeking Trump’s defeat.

I am convinced that collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia does not exist. I am also convinced that the relationship between Hillary Clinton and Russia should be much more scrutinized than it is.

As I reported here in December 2016:

Let’s look at some of the history between Hillary Clinton and the Russians. in April 2015, Breitbart.com reported that the chairman of the Russian Nuclear Agency-controlled Uranium One funneled $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation. This was followed by the Uranium One deal that allowed the Russians to acquire control of one-fifth of America’s uranium. So the mainstream media is trying to tell me that Russia would rather do business with Donald Trump than Hillary Clinton. You can bribe Hillary Clinton. I’m not sure you can bribe Donald Trump.

The lesson learned in the contrast between the articles in The American Spectator and the U.K. Guardian is that the media can twist a story in any direction it chooses. It is up to the readers to do the research into the background of the story.

 

 

Republicans May Be Learning To Fight Back

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a lawsuit filed by the Watchdog group, Cause of Action (CoA) seeking records relating to the relationship between the FBI and Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was the lead author of the largely debunked Trump dossier.

The article reports:

Via Cause of Action:

According to a news report, Mr. Steele entered an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the November 2016 election to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump while, at the same time, he was employed by an opposition research firm to collect information for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

CoA Institute President and CEO John Vecchione: “If a former spy who was being paid to do opposition research on a U.S. presidential nominee was also on the FBI’s payroll, there are serious concerns about the agency’s independence. We need to better understand this financial relationship to ensure the FBI was not misusing taxpayer money to interfere in a presidential election on behalf of one of the candidates.”

On March 7, 2017, CoA Institute sent a FOIA request to the FBI seeking access to records into whether the FBI paid money, or had plans to pay, Mr. Steele for any purpose. To date, the FBI has failed to produce any responsive records within the applicable FOIA timeframe.

The obvious questions is, “Exactly who was Mr. Steele working for–the FBI or the Clinton Campaign?”

The article concludes:

The amount of corruption in these government agencies is astounding. The FBI is damaged. Comey needs to go. Trump needs to gut these institutions! The Obama administration weaponized every agency to target his political opponents. Every person involved must be prosecuted and brought to justice.

It truly is time to drain the swamp!

But What Are They For?

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notre Dame Has Lost Its Way

Yesterday Western Journalism posted an article about the commencement speaker at Notre Dame this year. The University has a long standing tradition of inviting the president to give the commencement address during his first year in office. However, this year, in order to avoid the predictable protest, the University invited Vice-President Mike Pence. Well, that didn’t go exactly as planned.

The article reports:

Notre Dame seniors Immane Mondane and Jourdyhn Williams started a “#NotMyCommencementSpeaker” white board campaign in protest of the vice president’s scheduled commencement speech.

The students are inviting their classmates to take photos holding white boards with “direct quotes from Pence that are racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, offensive, or ostracizing to members of our community.”

…“For me personally, [Pence] represents the larger Trump administration,” Mondane told Notre Dame’s student-run newspaper, the Observer. “ … his administration represents something, and for many people on our campus, it makes them feel unsafe to have someone who openly is offensive but also demeaning of their humanity and of their life and of their identity.”

Williams added that the presence of Pence on the grounds of Notre Dame’s campus is in direct violation of the University’s Catholic mission.

The Catholic Church used to be pro-marriage and pro-life. Has that changed? These are university students, why are they so opposed to hearing ideas that might not agree with their ideas? Who is teaching them this lack of tolerance? Are they typical of our university students? If they are, the country had better look elsewhere for its future leaders.

They are illustrating one of the principles of one of the best-known communist leaders in America.

Rule 13 of Saul Alinsky‘s Rules for Radicals:

“Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

If they can’t attack President Trump, they will go after his Vice-President instead. It is no wonder it is so difficult to find honest men to hold public office. Why would anyone put up with being accused of all sorts of awful things because he holds a Christian view of marriage? Isn’t it ironic that students at one of our leading Catholic Universities no longer support the Christian view of marriage.,

The Spin Numbers Just Don’t Add Up

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

At any rate, the article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Story vs. The Spin

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

The New York Post reported yesterday:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

A Republican Victory In The Kansas Special Election

Fox News is reporting today that Kansas state Treasurer Ron Estes has won the special election in Kansas to fill the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Why does this matter? Because it is an indication that other than in the northeast and California, Americans are happy with the leadership of President Trump.

The article reports:

The race had been closely watched nationally for signs of a backlash against Republicans or waning support from Trump voters in a reliably GOP district. Trump won 60 percent of the votes cast in the 17-county congressional district this past November.

The president himself entered the fray Monday with a recorded get-out-the-vote call on Estes’ behalf and tweeted his support on Tuesday morning.

Other nationally known Republicans pitched in over the final days of the race. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas campaigned for Estes Monday in Wichita, while Vice President Mike Pence also recorded a get-out-the-vote call. The National Republican Congressional Committee spent roughly $90,000 in last-minute TV and digital ads.

Thompson (Democratic civil rights attorney James Thompson) reckoned that the high-profile support for Estes helped push him over the top, and claimed he could have won had national Democrats rallied to him sooner. Readers of the liberal blog Daily Kos donated more than $200,000 to Thompson in the final days of the race. Thompson was also backed by Our Revolution, the group that grew out of Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ 2016 presidential campaign.

The Our Revolution backing of Attorney Thompson is interesting. If you remember, Bernie Sanders ran as an outsider and definitely leaned to the left side of the political spectrum. In 2016, Bernie Sanders won the Kansas Democratic Primary with 67 percent of the votes.

The article includes some comments by voters:

All those GOP calls prompted Charlene Health, a 52-year-old homemaker and Republican in Belle Plaine, to cast a ballot for Estes.

“I wasn’t even going to vote,” she said as she left her polling site Tuesday morning. “I finally did. I realized this was important.”

Alan Branum, 64, a retired construction worker is a Wichita Democrat who voted for Estes and plans to change his party affiliation to Republican since he leans more conservative. He thinks Trump has been been doing fine so far.

“I don’t think it is fair people condemn him,” he said of the president. “He hasn’t been in long enough to make a judgment. People need to give him some time.”

Estes supported Trump last year and backs the president’s policies. He supports the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, backs funding for a wall on the border with Mexico, opposes funding for Planned Parenthood, and does not believe an independent investigation into Russian hacking of the election is needed.

Lucy Jones-Phillips, a 31-year-old insurance representative and Democrat, acknowledged she doesn’t vote in every election, but said she voted for Thompson because she wanted to ensure supporters of Gov. Sam Brownback are not in office. She was especially upset when the Republican governor recently vetoed Medicaid expansion.

There are upcoming special elections in Georgia, Montana, South Carolina, and California. California is the only special election this year for a seat formerly held by a Democrat.

Why Policy Matters

The Los Angeles Times posted an article today about the stretch of wild brushland between the Rio Grande and the sprawling Texas border cities of Hidalgo and McAllen. That deserted piece of land was one a bustling crossing point for illegals coming into the United States. It is now very quiet.

The article reports:

Across the Southwest border, the number of immigrants caught crossing illegally into the United States has dropped dramatically. Fewer than 12,200 people were apprehended in March, a 64% decrease from the same time last year, and the lowest monthly number in at least 17 years.

…”We don’t really have a normal anymore,” said Castro, who has worked for Customs and Border Protection for nearly 20 years. She insists agents are not doing anything differently; the Trump administration’s executive orders are simply enforcing laws already on the books.

“Are you going to risk a 1,000-mile journey and pay $8,000 to be smuggled if you’re not sure you’ll get to stay?” Castro said, offering a reason she thinks fewer asylum seekers are crossing over. “I wouldn’t.”

Some of the reasons people are fleeing Mexico and countries south of there are the drug cartels and the gangs. It would make sense to work with some of the governments involved to clean up the drug cartels and the gangs. Unfortunately, that is very dangerous work, and the corruption runs deep. South American politicians who take on either the drug cartels or the gangs tend not to live very long. However, that is the answer. Ultimately, we need a wall to stop illegal immigration, but we also need a way to help stop the drug cartels and the gangs and to help the economies of our southern neighbors. We also need to understand that by not securing our borders, we are encouraging the drug cartels and the gangs to invade our country.

 

The March Economic Figures

The March Jobs Report was released today. Breitbart posted the numbers.

The article reports:

The United States created 98,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The number to watch is the Labor Force Participation Rate. That number has remained steady. It needs to go up, and I suspect that it will in the coming months.

This is the graph of the Labor Force Participation Rate since 2008:

It is my belief that as President Trump begins to remove the regulatory burdens from American industry, the Labor Force Participation Rate will increase. That will be the evidence that we are finally recovering from the recession that we entered eight years ago. The original recession was not the fault of President Obama, but the actions he took during his administration were not actions that were going to facilitate a strong recovery.

The Impact Of A President On The Economy

Reuters is reporting today that U. S. weekly jobless claims have recorded their biggest drop in two years.

The article reports:

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits declined 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 for the week ended April 1, the Labor Department said on Thursday. The drop was the largest since the week ending April 25, 2015.

The prior week’s data was revised to show 1,000 more applications received than previously reported.

Claims have now been below 300,000, a threshold associated with a healthy labor market for 109 straight weeks. That is the longest stretch since 1970 when the labor market was smaller.

The labor market is currently near full employment.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits falling to 250,000 last week.

A Labor Department analyst said there were no special factors influencing last week’s claims data. Claims for Louisiana were estimated.

The four-week moving average of claims, considered a better measure of labor market trends as it irons out week-to-week volatility, fell 4,500 to 250,000 last week.

The article reminds us that last week’s data will have no impact on the March unemployment report due out on Friday.

The article further reports:

According to a Reuters survey of economists, nonfarm payrolls likely increased by 180,000 jobs last month after rising 235,000 in February. The unemployment rate is seen steady at 4.7 percent.

Thursday’s claims report also showed the number of people still receiving benefits after an initial week of aid decreased 24,000 to 2.03 million in the week ended March 25. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims fell 7,750 to 2.02 million, the lowest level since 2000.

This is good news. The number to watch in the report coming out tomorrow will be the Labor Force Participation Rate. If the unemployment rate stays low as more people enter the workforce, then we are on our way to an actual recovery. The unemployment number was kept artificially low during the Obama Administration by not counting people who had given up looking for work. As those people begin to look for work, it is quite possible that the unemployment number will rise slightly. In order to get a true picture of what is actually happening to employment in America, you need to look at both the unemployment rate and the Labor Force Participation Rate. The unemployment rate needs to be low and the Labor Force Participation Rate needs to be high. I will be posting both of those numbers as soon as I get them.

 

The Nightmare The Opponents Of The Patriot Act Saw Coming

It would be nice to believe that we are a nation led by honorable men. In the past that has occasionally been true and I am sure that it will occasionally be true in the future. I am hoping it is true in the present. However, our Founding Fathers understood that we would not always be led by honorable men and set up the U.S. Constitution accordingly. The power was supposed to rest with the people–not with the government. The government was supposed to be responsive to the wishes of the people and accountable to the people. The framework was beautiful. Had we paid closer attention to following it, we would be in a very different place. I am particularly concerned about recent violations of the Fourth Amendment.

The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The Patriot Act allowed for the collection of electronic data unprecedented in American history. The idea behind it was to prevent terrorist attacks. Some Congressmen warned that the act could be used to violate the rights of average Americans. Evidently they were right.

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted a story about electronic surveillance under the Obama Administration. Evidently that surveillance went far beyond what was necessary or legitimate.

The article reports:

Barack Obama‘s CIA Director John O. Brennan targeted Trump supporters for enhanced surveillance, intelligence sources confirm to GotNews’ Charles C. Johnson.

The surveillance took place between Trump’s election on November 8 and the inauguration in January, according to White House and House intelligence sources.

The focus was on General Mike Flynn, billionaire Erik Prince, and Fox News host Sean Hannity — all of whom had close ties to Trump before and after the November election and had helped the future president with managing his new diplomatic responsibilities.

Hannity was targeted because of his perceived ties to Julian Assange, say our intelligence sources. Hannity was reportedly unmasked by Susan Rice at Brennan’s behest thanks to his close relationship with Trump and Julian Assange.

Blackwater founder Erik Prince, a former CIA covert asset, has long criticized the CIA’s bloat and incompetence, including the Brennan-run CIA drone program’s failure to properly target terrorists rather than Afghan civilians. Prince has repeatedly called for restructuring the CIA and argued against Brennan’s tenure.

This is a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of these citizens. At the very least, lawsuits are in order. More appropriately, people who authorized or participated in this need to lose their jobs and possible go to prison. In the Watergate Scandal, which is peanuts compared to this, people went to prison. That would also be appropriate here.

 

 

Changing The Rules On “Don’t Let A Crisis Go To Waste”

During the second term of the Obama Administration, there was a lot of chaos caused by accusations of racism on the part of police. Later, many of these reports turned out to be false. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration set up a system whereby certain police departments would be subject to a level of interference by the federal government not seen before in America. Thankfully Attorney General Jeff Sessions has at least temporarily put that interference on hold.

The following memo was sent from Attorney General Jeff Sessions on March 31:

Hot Air posted an article about the memo today.

The article reports:

You may recall that less than three months ago there was a big press conference held in Baltimore where Loretta Lynch sat down with the Mayor to announce the approval of one of these consent decrees. In a very expensive program, the cops in Charm City would be in line for all sorts of “reforms” which would change their mandatory training regimens and the way they conduct business. Listed among the goals of the program were ways for police to focus on “deescalation” in violent confrontations, how to be more “respectful” of protesters (one assumes that would come before they actually begin setting buildings on fire) and putting civilians from the community in charge of police oversight.

Keep in mind that they were taking all of these steps even as Baltimore was experiencing a two year surge in violent crime which hadn’t been seen in decades. Much of the “reform” work was obviously in response to the Freddie Gray riots, which is particularly ironic because as I’m sure you will recall, all of the trials against the police were eventually dismissed with no evidence of foul play being established.

So now there will be a 90 day “pause” before any of these consent decrees move forward. What will happen during that time? Just a guess on my part, but I imagine there will be “modifications” rather than scrapping them completely. The changes will probably focus a bit less on reasoning with potentially violent mobs in the streets and getting some better armor and equipment. But as I said… that’s just a guess. It would certainly be in keeping with the promises that President Trump made while running for office, though.

Unfortunately there will always be people in authority who do not do their job fairly and honestly. There is nothing wrong with removing those people from their jobs. The problem is, however, that in recent years the press has reported things that were not true in many situations and caused unrest by their reporting. The lack of honesty in the press has ruined lives and given people a wrong picture of police in America. Most of our policemen are good men trying to do the difficult job of protecting the public. They need our support. Yes, we need to remove the bad apples, but we need to understand that the bad apples are the exception rather than the rule.

The Layers Of The Obama-Orchestrated Palace Intrigue

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

This is the list:

Here are the average growth rates for each president:

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

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

The article further reports:

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

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

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

An Interesting Perspective On Recent Comments By Evelyn Farkas

Townhall.com posted an article today about the recent comments by Evelyn Farkas on MSNBC regarding surveillance of President Trump’s transition team.

The article notes:

First, Farkas here acknowledges that the Obama administration, essentially, had indeed been gathering intelligence, or spying, on private citizens.

Second, being the Democrat partisan that she obviously is, Farkas’ intention in making these comments, and making them in the left-friendly venue of MSNBC, was to suggest that the Democrats’ “The Russians Made Us Do It (Lose)” narrative has substance.

At this point the article notes that Ms. Farkas provided no actual information relating to the charges that the Russians were responsible for Hillary Clinton losing the election. I would like to point out that Hillary Clinton would have been a much more favorable candidate for the Russians–she had already given them 20 percent of America‘s uranium reserves, and her campaign manager had extensive financial interests in Russia. I would also like to point out that the Russians were not responsible for Hillary Clinton’s campaign strategy.

The article continues:

Third, in fact, Farkas never even mentions any correspondence between Trump and “the Russians.” No, she instead references “Trump folks” and “the Trump staff” when talking about Russia.

Fourth, while Farkas obviously wanted for audiences to think that Obama’s government discovered some nefarious connection between “Trump folks” and those dastardly Russians, the only allusion that she ever manages to make is to the “dealings” that she alleges transpired between these groups.

In other words, Farkas’s wording here is profoundly vague.

Fifth, Farkas unwittingly confesses that she worried about “the Trump folks” discovering “how we knew what we knew….” Is it not eminently reasonable to infer from this statement that the “how” in question, the methods by which intelligence was supposedly gathered, consists of surveillance of the “Trump folks?”

Think about that for a minute. Why would “how we knew what we knew” be an issue unless there was some wrongdoing involved? Otherwise, what difference would it make?

The article further points out that Ms. Farkas left the government in 2015. If she left in 2015, how and why is she involved now? What are her security clearances? What is her “need to know”? Her words may have encouraged loyal Democrats to continue to search for the first real piece of evidence in this months’ old scandal, but she definitely opened a can of worms in the process!

Some Sanity From Andrew McCarthy

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at PJ Media about General Flynn. Mr. McCarthy makes some very good points about General Flynn’s supposed request for immunity if he is to testify before Congress.

The article reports:

Long before riding the front of the Trump Train, Flynn made himself the bête noire of the intelligence community, accusing it of politicizing intelligence analyses and concealing the ineffectiveness of Obama’s approach to jihadist terror – claims which, to the great embarrassment of Obama’s spy chiefs, have been corroborated by intelligence agency operatives. Like Trump, moreover, Flynn – brash, unpolished, and erratic – has a knack for making enemies on all sides, such that Washington is now full of two kinds of people: those out to get Flynn and those who whisper that he had it coming.

Even that does not begin to describe the jeopardy Flynn had to be sensing when his lawyer reportedly offered his cooperation with investigations into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential campaign in exchange for some form of immunity from prosecution. But it does provide a sense of the poisonous atmosphere in which, as night follows day, government officials leaked the offer to the media, spinning it as an admission of guilt – although, of what offense, no one seems able to say.

…When the conduct of Democrats was at issue, the media told us not to read too much into immunity requests. Standard fare to get a lawyer and seek immunity – doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong. Even when subjects of the Clinton investigation claimed their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination rather than testify before Congress; even when reports surfaced of bizarre Justice Department agreements that evidence from the subjects’ computers would be destroyed rather than preserved; even when publication of the subjects’ FBI interviews detailed patently misleading statements – the media-Democrat complex steadfastly maintained there was nothing to see here.

Even though the Republicans control both houses of Congress, it is not a safe place for anyone who does not tow the establishment line. General Flynn is wise to realize that and act accordingly. I don’t know what we need to do to bring America back to being a nation of laws, but I hope it is not too late to go back to following our Constitution.

The Real Bottom Line On RussiaGate

On Wednesday, The Hill posted an article about the scandal surrounding Russian influence during the 2016 presidential campaign and election.

The article reminds us of some recent events:

Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Adam Schiff have both castigated Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for his handling of the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.  They should think twice.  The issue that has recently seized Nunes is of vital importance to anyone who cares about fundamental civil liberties.

The trail that Nunes is following will inevitably lead back to a particularly significant leak.  On Jan. 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that “according to a senior U.S. government official, (General Mike) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29.”

Remember–this case (or lack of it) is based on leaked information. The rights of a private American citizen were violated in the way the information about the Russian Ambassador’s phone call was distributed and leaked. What happened here is exactly what the Congressmen who opposed the Patriot Act feared would happen–the use of government apparatus to spy on political opponents. It’s here.

The article reports:

Regardless of how the government collected on Flynn, the leak was a felony and a violation of his civil rights.  But it was also a severe breach of the public trust. When I worked as an NSC staffer in the White House, 2005-2007, I read dozens of NSA surveillance reports every day. On the basis of my familiarity with this system, I strongly suspect that someone in the Obama White House blew a hole in the thin wall that prevents the government from using information collected from surveillance to destroy the lives of the citizens whose privacy it is pledged to protect.  

The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.  On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities.  From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.  

In late December there were reports of Russians hacking into the electricity grid of a Vermont utility. The hype of Russian intervention continued. It turned out later that the story was totally misreported–an employee had mistakenly loaded some information into the utility’s computer system.

The article  concludes:

While the White House was hyping the Russia threat, elements of the press showed a sudden interest in the infamous Steele dossier, which claimed that Russian intelligence services had caught Trump in Moscow in highly compromising situations.  The dossier was opposition research paid for by Trump’s political opponents, and it had circulated for months among reporters covering the election.  Because it was based on anonymous sources and entirely unverifiable, however, no reputable news organization had dared to touch it.  

With a little help from the Obama White House, the dossier became fair game for reporters.  A government leak let it be known that the intelligence community had briefed Trump on the dossier.  If the president-elect was discussing it with his intelligence briefers, so the reasoning went, perhaps there was something to it after all.

By turning the dossier into hard news, that leak weaponized malicious gossip. The same is true of the Flynn-Kislyak leak.  Ignatius used the leak to deepen speculation about collusion between Putin and Trump: “What did Flynn say (to Kislyak),” Ignatius asked, “and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” The mere fact that Flynn’s conversations were being monitored deepened his appearance of guilt.  If he was innocent, why was the government monitoring him?

It should not have been.  He had the right to talk to in private — even to a Russian ambassador.  Regardless of what one thinks about him or Trump or Putin, this leak should concern anyone who believes that we must erect a firewall between the national security state and our domestic politics.  The system that allowed it to happen must be reformed.  At stake is a core principle of our democracy: that elected representatives control the government, and not vice versa.

Laws were broken in releasing the transcripts of the conversations of General Flynn. It is time to get past the partisan divide and realize that this was a serious encroachment on the freedom of all Americans. Those responsible for spreading the information need to be dealt with severely.