Playing Chess With World Trade

America has been on the wrong end of bad trade deals for a long time. We watched our manufacturing jobs leave America after NAFTA. We watched the steel industry disappear after being undercut by Chinese steel held up by subsidies by the Chinese government. President Trump is a businessman. As a businessman, he is trying to level the trade playing field. In some areas he is getting cooperation at home and abroad; in some areas he is not. China has been a difficult country to deal with regarding trade. The uneven playing field they have enjoyed for years has been very profitable for them. Because their economy is based on an uneven playing field, they are reluctant to make changes. Their economy is currently struggling, and if President Trump stands his ground, the Chinese economy could face serious challenges. That’s where we are. There is, however, some positive news about where we might be headed.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a possible breakthrough in the talks with China.

The article reports:

Did China finally blink in Donald Trump’s trade war? Trump himself seems to think so. At the G-7 summit, Trump told reporters that a statement earlier in the day from a top official in Beijing showed that China had finally expressed a real interest in redefining the trade relationship between the world’s top two economies. It’s “the first time” that Trump sees China acting in good faith, he said

The article continues:

After rapid-fire escalations in tariffs by both sides, China’s vice premiere called for “calm.” Liu He also declared Beijing’s willingness to conclude a trade agreement and called for talks to begin immediately:

“We are willing to resolve the issue through consultations and cooperation in a calm attitude and resolutely oppose the escalation of the trade war,” Liu, who is President Xi Jinping’s top economic adviser, said, according to a government transcript.

“We believe that the escalation of the trade war is not beneficial for China, the United States, nor to the interests of the people of the world,” he added.

U.S. companies are especially welcome in China, and will be treated well, Liu said.

“We welcome enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China,” he added.

“We will continue to create a good investment environment, protect intellectual property rights, promote the development of smart intelligent industries with our market open, resolutely oppose technological blockades and protectionism, and strive to protect the completeness of the supply chain.”

The last time we thought we had a deal, the person who made the deal was executed when he returned home. Hopefully this time will turn out better for everyone.

Will The Victims Receive Justice?

The death of Jeffrey Epstein was not the end of the story. Today Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about one of Epstein’s victims filing a lawsuit against Ghislaine Maxwell, described as one of Epstein’s enablers.

The article reports::

A new front in the Jeffrey Epstein case opened Wednesday morning, as Epstein accuser Jennifer Araoz filed a lawsuit against his estate, his longtime associate Ghislaine Maxwell and three unnamed female household staff.

Araoz alleges she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Epstein at his New York City townhouse when she was 14 and 15 years old, including a forcible rape in 2002. She first disclosed her alleged abuse publicly in an exclusive TODAY Show interview with Savannah Guthrie of NBC News on July 10, the same day she filed papers in New York state court saying she intended to sue Epstein.

The complaint Araoz filed Wednesday alleges Maxwell and the other staffers “conspired with each other to make possible and otherwise facilitate the sexual abuse and rape of Plaintiff.”

Meanwhile, The U.K. Daily Mail reported today:

Ghislaine Maxwell, long-time consort of Jeffrey Epstein and the alleged procurer of victims in his underage sex trafficking ring, has been laying low in a New England beach town, DailyMail.com has learned exclusively.

Maxwell, 57, is in a relationship with Scott Borgerson, 43, and has been living with him at his secluded oceanfront property at the end of a long private road in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts.

The British socialite has been loath to leave the $3 million mansion, a source told DailyMail.com amid heightened focus on Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators following the convicted pedophile’s apparent suicide on Saturday.

‘She’s become a real homebody, rarely ventures out. She’s the antithesis of the woman who traveled extensively and partied constantly with Epstein,’ said a source familiar with Maxwell’s new life.

Hot Air concludes:

Araoz explains her decision in today’s New York Times to press forward with her civil claims, not just against Epstein’s estate but also against his “adult enablers.” Without them, Epstein could never have succeeded in the scope of his predation, Araoz convincingly argues:

The power structure was stacked against me. His money, influence and connections to important people made me want to hide and stay silent. Those same powerful forces let him hide and evade justice.

That changes, starting now. I want my story to hold Epstein to account and also his recruiters, the workers on his payroll who knew what he was doing and the prominent people around him who helped conceal and perpetuate his sex-trafficking scheme. Their hideous actions victimized me and so many young girls like me. …

Standing up to the entrenched network of power and wealth that surrounded Epstein is scary, but I am no longer afraid. Reliving these experiences is tough, but I’ve learned to be tougher.

I used to feel alone, walking into his mansion with the cameras pointing at me, but now I have the power of the law on my side. I will be seen. I will be heard. I will demand justice.

So will others, especially now that Epstein’s dead and his “power structure” is on the run. Or at least the part of it that we know about at the moment. When other victims start adding some high-profile male names to this “power structure” in court documents, we’ll see how well the justice system works.

We are about to find out if there really is equal justice under the law

A Small Step Forward For Americans Filling Prescriptions

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the new initiative rolled out by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The article reports:

Democrats ate the GOP’s lunch on health-care messaging in 2018’s midterms. The Trump administration might be preparing better for the 2020 election. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar rolled out a new initiative today that would allow for prescription purchases from Canada, addressing a key Democratic talking point on the cost of health care:

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices. When we released the President’s drug pricing blueprint – PDF for putting American patients first, we said we are open to all potential solutions to combat high drug prices that protect patient safety, are effective at delivering lower prices, and respect choice, innovation and access,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the Administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients. This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”

The article lists some of the details of the plan. Please follow the link above for more information.

The article also lists some of the problems with the plan:

The question of pharmaceutical importation has its complexities, and it might not be a great idea in terms of long-term policy outcomes. For one thing, drug prices in Canada are artificially low thanks to intervention by the Canadian government, which will be tougher to maintain if demand increases exponentially via re-importation into the US. (Canadians in particular might not be very happy about what happens to their drug prices.) It doesn’t solve the major problems in pharmaceutical production costs, which are consolidation in the industry, copyright issues, and bureaucratic delays in FDA approvals, among others. It’s a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.

However, it’s going to be a very popular Band-Aid in the short run. The new HHS effort also lends itself to a slow rollout, which will play right into Trump’s need to pre-empt Democrats on health care in this cycle…

The article takes a rather cynical view regarding the motive for this action, but at least temporarily many Americans will appreciate the savings. On a personal note, one of the maintenance drugs my husband takes for heart problems sells for $600 a month. With the help of our health insurance, we have managed to get that price down to $70 a month, but the idea of having to pay $600 a month out-of-pocket for a drug is more than a little frightening.

This is a small step in the right direction. I understand that high drug prices are the result of the procedures for the invention, development, and selling of a new drug, but Americans shouldn’t have to pay for all of the research while other people reap the rewards of that research without paying for it.

The Economy Continues To Move In A Positive Direction

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the latest economic numbers. As usual when a Republican is President, the ‘experts’ were surprised that the numbers were better than expected.

The article reports:

It’s not great news for the White House, but it could have been a lot worse. The US economy’s growth slowed to 2.1% in the second quarter, down a full point from Q1. However, with economists predicting a recession right around the corner, the growth is still substantial enough to look positive:

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.1 percent in the second quarter of 2019 (table 1), according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the first quarter, real GDP increased 3.1 percent.

The Bureau’s second-quarter advance estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency (see “Source Data for the Advance Estimate” on page 2). The “second” estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 29, 2019.

The increase in real GDP in the second quarter reflected positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), federal government spending, and state and local government spending that were partly offset by negative contributions from private inventory investment, exports, nonresidential fixed investment and residential fixed investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, increased (table 2).

The deceleration in real GDP in the second quarter reflected downturns in inventory investment, exports, and nonresidential fixed investment. These downturns were partly offset by accelerations in PCE and federal government spending.

President Trump weighed in on Twitter:

The article at Hot Air concludes:

“Not bad” is a little bit of an understatement, actually. It’s pretty good, especially in the context of the global economy. That’s the bigger anchor, especially the trade disputes that at least for one quarter hit our exports hard.

The steady growth with low inflation should result in the Federal Reserve lowering interest rates in the near future.

Prepare The Popcorn

Washington is nothing if not leaky. The leaks are starting to come out about the Inspector General’s report. The report will be scrutinized and edited before any (or all) of it is released to the public in September, so we really don’t know what we will be allowed to see. It seems to me that if (if?) there is corruption in our government that the American people are entitled to know about it, but that’s just naivete`.

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today giving his take on the subject.

The article reports:

If RealClearInvestigations’ sources accurately describe Inspector General Michael Horowitz’ upcoming report, it’s no wonder Donald Trump fired James Comey. According to two sources reportedly briefed on the upcoming Horowitz report, the former FBI director repeatedly lied about not targeting Trump in his probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Comey also had what amounted to a spy in the White House, raising the specter of J. Edgar Hoover all over again:

Sources tell RealClearInvestigations that Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz will soon file a report with evidence indicating that Comey was misleading the president. Even as he repeatedly assured Trump that he was not a target, the former director was secretly trying to build a conspiracy case against the president, while at times acting as an investigative agent.

Two U.S. officials briefed on the inspector general’s investigation of possible FBI misconduct said Comey was essentially “running a covert operation against” the president, starting with a private “defensive briefing” he gave Trump just weeks before his inauguration. They said Horowitz has examined high-level FBI text messages and other communications indicating Comey was actually conducting a “counterintelligence assessment” of Trump during that January 2017 meeting in New York.

In addition to adding notes of his meetings and phone calls with Trump to the official FBI case file, Comey had an agent inside the White House who reported back to FBI headquarters about Trump and his aides, according to other officials familiar with the matter.

Who authorized placing spies inside the White House? Wouldn’t that come under the definition of treason–spying on the American government? If the spies were reporting back to James Comey, who was James Comey reporting back to?

Stay tuned.

Child Abuse In Our Schools

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a lawsuit filed by some parents against an Oregon school district. The case began with an 8-year-old boy with a stomach issue and ends with that child being encouraged to be a girl.

The article reports:

Parents in Woodburn said their 8-year-old son was held back from recess multiple times for one-on-one conversations about his gender identity – and they had no idea.

The mother and father in Woodburn are now suing a school district for nearly a million dollars after they say a second-grade teacher singled out their son by asking him if he was transgender. The parents say the teacher had inappropriate conversations with the child at school without their permission. …

The parents say this all started when their son started using the staff restroom because of a stomach problem. They say their son was uncomfortable using the boy’s bathroom because of his medical condition. However, they believe the teacher assumed their son was uncomfortable because he was transgender.

“Still today, a year later, if he plays with my niece, he’s a girl in that moment… if he plays with my nephew, he’s a boy,” said the mother.

The mother says her son was left confused and hurt after being singled out. Now, a year later, the 9-year-old is taking anxiety medication and going to therapy, according to his parents. The family says the boy’s confusion and emotional distress has also affected the entire family. The father says he’s suffering from panic attacks and the mother says she’s now on medical leave, suffering from anxiety and depression, and staying home from work.

It is entirely possible that the panic attacks and anxiety on the part of the parents might be something of an overreaction, but their complaint is certainly valid.

The article notes:

There’s video at the link, but it’s not embeddable here. Bear in mind that this wasn’t a teenager, which might be bad enough, but an eight year old with a stomach problem. Even granting the best of possible intentions, why wouldn’t the first step in dealing with suspicions of gender dysphoria be to contact the child’s parents? It’s not as if the parents in this case are social neanderthals, at least from the perspective of Academia. They tell reporter Bonnie Silkman in the video that they aren’t concerned about what identity he chooses as long as he chooses it, and not get indoctrinated into it by an activist teacher.

The article concludes:

The most impressively loco part of this story is that the teacher still works at the school — a full year after the school confirmed the parents’ story. The only correction the teacher received was to be reminded of the district’s policies on “controversial issues” and to notify parents and the school when she “alters a student’s regular school day.” Meanwhile, this family will be dealing with the aftershocks of her actions for years.

The school district declined to comment on the story because of the lawsuit, but they might owe an explanation to the other parents in the district, especially to those whose children are within this teacher’s supervision. How many other children has she attempted to indoctrinate into transgender identities? And how many of the parents in this school district — and elsewhere — might start considering private schools or home-schooling to protect their children from predatory behavior?

If I had children in that school district, this article would cause me to consider seriously the option of home-schooling.

This Makes My Heart Hurt

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the spending bill the President signed this morning.

The article notes:

Forty-eight hours before the government would have shut down, Congress produced the conference report containing the seven remaining funding bills for the FY2019 budget. And less than 20 hours after producing the 1,159-page monstrosity, both the House and the Senate are expected to pass the bill. Perhaps members will take a nap with it under their pillow to absorb it by osmosis.

It’s not a good bill, and even if it were, how would anyone know? I am sure some members of Congress assigned various sections of the bill to staff members in the hopes of getting most of it read, but this is no way to run a country.

Meanwhile, the President is charged with defending our borders. We have had and continue to have thousands of people forming caravans to break into our country. Any public official who took an oath to defend our Constitution has an obligation to defend our borders. I really don’t understand why that is so difficult to understand. Well, yes I do–it’s about money and voters. When the Democrats look at illegal aliens, they see Democrat voters. Illegal aliens are already allowed to vote in local elections in some cities and states. When Republicans look at illegal aliens, they see cheap labor. Since much of the campaign money for Republicans comes from PAC’s related to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (made up of corporations that support cheap labor), Republicans are not inclined to seal our borders.

So what impact does illegal immigration have on those of us who are ordinary citizens? In June 2018, Numbers USA reported:

A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled Chilling Effects: The Expected Public Charge Rule and Its Impact on Legal Immigrant Families’ Public Benefits Use, revealed that 10.3 million out of the 22 million foreign nationals in the U.S. receive benefits from at least one welfare program funded by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, 54.2% of foreign national children, age 17 and younger, are granted welfare benefits. The data also showed that 46.3% of foreign national welfare recipients are adults, age 18 to 54, and 47.8% are older than 54.

MPI examined a leaked draft of an executive order that would deny green cards to individuals who use public benefits, or have relatives who do. The report goes on to explain how the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule would reduce the number of foreign nationals on welfare, cause a decrease in immigration levels, and make it more difficult for foreign nationals and their dependents to be eligible for welfare benefits.

A website called nokidhungry.org reports that 17.9 percent of American children under the age of 18 are living in households that experienced limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food at some point during the year. (Source: Feeding America). That number is a disgrace when you consider the amount of money we provide to poor families in this country, but it also illustrates the fact that we cannot afford to support more low-income families–particularly if they are not American citizens.

It is pathetic that Congress could not support preserving our country. Thank God we have a President who is willing to fight to preserve America.

I Just Wish All Terrorists Were This Dumb

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article about a would-be New York City terrorist. The way the New York Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered this plot is somewhat amazing.

The police were investigating a bomb threat called into a school. When a 15-year-old student was bored in class one day, her teacher, Christian Toro, told her to call in a bomb threat to liven things up. When the threat was investigated, the student told the authorities that the teacher had suggested it. (I can’t believe she was stupid enough to follow the suggestion.) The teacher resigned, and two days later his brother returned the laptop computer that had been issued to Christian Toro by the school. When a school technician examined the computer, he found an instruction book on how to make explosives. NYPD dropped by to pay the former teacher a visit. Meanwhile, the student indicated to authorities that her relationship with the teacher was inappropriate. The former teacher was arrested for statutory rape. The student also mentioned that she and a friend had been in the teacher’s apartment and had been paid to empty black powder from fireworks. The investigation of the former teacher continued.

The article reports:

So police got a search warrant for the apartment shared by the twin Toros — and hit paydirt:

They discovered a box on the floor of the bedroom closet containing a glass jar of black powder, 20 pounds of iron oxide, five pounds of aluminum powder, five pounds of potassium nitrate, and two pounds of confectioners sugar. A small container held iron oxide and aluminum powder that had been mixed into thermite, which the complaint describes as “an explosive material that can create heat and high temperatures.”

They also found Tyler Toro’s diary, which had all sorts of interesting comments, including this epigram: “UNDER THE FULL MOON THE SMALL ONES WILL KNOW TERROR.” Yeah, nothing creepy at all about that.

So let’s recap. The teacher had decided to build a bomb for “terror,” but rather than keep things quiet, he had teenage students emptying out fireworks for the powder in large quantities. He then started having sex with one of them, and then encouraged her to call in a fake bomb threat to relieve her boredom. If all this is true, the only thing Toro didn’t do is to install a large sign on his apartment building that said “TORO TWINS TERROR, INC.”

The article concludes:

If stupidity was a federal crime, Christian Toro would be a death-penalty case. And yet, it apparently took all of this sequence of events for someone to finally say something about the Toros and their black-powder reclamation project. Next time, let’s hope “see something, say something” gets taken more seriously earlier in the cycle. Thankfully, an alert IT technician at the school managed to get it right.

I wish all terrorists were this stupid.

The Impact Of President Obama On The Democrat Party

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about President Obama’s impact on the Democrat party. Mr. Morrissey states that members of the party are seeing the damage President Obama has done to the party and are asking him to move to the center to make peace with the Republicans. It is becoming very clear that President Obama has no such intentions.

Politico reported today:

As much Hillary Clinton anticipation as there is, two weeks later, Democrats are still reeling and anxious. Obama may have built his political career without the party — and created anti-establishment alternatives — but he’s a lame duck with a new Congress that’s been elected to oppose him. He needs Democrats. And they need him.

“The base craves his leadership,” Brazile said in an interview later that week, following a meeting of the DNC committee that’s beginning to set the rules for the next presidential nomination. “They want him in the mix, talking about what Democrats accomplished, what Democrats are fighting for, and what the president has done to make lives better.”

President Obama could easily make Washington work–under normal conditions, a President who was so soundly defeated in the mid-term election would move toward the center. We are already seeing that President Obama has no such intention.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Obama didn’t learn the Bill Clinton lesson after the first midterms. He’s not interested in learning it after his second massive defeat, either. Even with Bill Clinton’s more strategic direction, Democrats ended up losing narrowly at the end of his presidency. Obama may be leading Democrats into a reverse 2008, or perhaps even worse.

The future looks very interesting.

I Might Be A Member Of The Flat Earth Society

I might be a member of the flat earth society. I don”t believe the earth is flat, but I don’t believe that global warming is caused by man either. So Secretary of State John Kerry compares me to a member of the flat earth society. Well, let’s see how John Kerry’s data on man-made global warming stacks up with reality.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about what the scientific models have predicted about global warming and what has actually happened.

This is the chart:

wsj-temps-lg2

As you can see, the truth has simply not kept up with the scientific predictions.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday that stated:

“Consensus” science that ignores reality can have tragic consequences if cures are ignored or promising research is abandoned. The climate-change consensus is not endangering lives, but the way it imperils economic growth and warps government policy making has made the future considerably bleaker. The recent Obama administration announcement that it would not provide aid for fossil-fuel energy in developing countries, thereby consigning millions of people to energy poverty, is all too reminiscent of the Sick and Health Board denying fresh fruit to dying British sailors.

Before we take actions that negatively impact the economy of the entire world, we really do need to make sure that the science we are using to justify the actions is valid.

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The Quest To Turn Texas Blue

Texas is a red state. It votes Republican. It also has one of the fastest growing economies in the country because of the policies Republicans have put in place. However, the Democrats have decided to focus on making Texas a blue state. That is fine–America is about competition–but they are not entitled to break the law to do it.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about laws being broken in the quest to turn Texas blue.

The article reports:

Battleground Texas has a mission — to turn the deep-red state of Texas as blue as Austin, a monumental if not quixotic task. Like other activist groups, the progressive organization conducts voter-registration drives, attempting to get like-minded citizens to turn out in force in the next election cycle. Project Veritas did an undercover operation of Battleground Texas and found out that registering voters is just the start of those efforts. According to the video, the group’s leaders cull information from those registration forms and build their database of personal information — which is a direct violation of Texas law:

This is the video:

Project Veritas also discovered that Enroll America was also making illegal use of date obtained in registering voters.

Voting is a very important part of being an American. If we don’t protect the ballot box, we will lose our say in our government. Thank God that Project Veritas is exposing the cheating going on in preparation for the 2014 elections.

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Blaming Others For A Crisis You Caused Yourself

I have written about the Central Valley in California before. In September 2010, I posted the following vacation picture (rightwinggranny.com):

IMG_2957.JPG

This picture was taken driving through the Central Valley of California. In case you can’t read the sign, it says, “Stop the Congress Created Dust Bowl.”

This is what is really going on in the Central Valley of California:

A letter to the editor at the Herald and News in July 2009 stated:

“Thousands of people have also become unemployed or lost the ability to farm, which adversely affects both local and national economies.

“In addition to the California drought, there has been court-ordered protection of a 2-inch smelt fish that has stopped the pumping of water from the delta that is necessary for agriculture in central California. If it is listed as an endangered species, it’s likely that California agriculture, which supplies a third of the nation’s food supply, will be permanently changed.”

The water was cut off to protect the delta smelt, a small fish that was getting caught in the pumps. California is currently having a drought, but the drought has been exacerbated by the water shutoff.

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air yesterday stating that President Obama during his visit to the Central Valley blamed the drought on global warming.

This is a YouTube video of the President’s statement:

The article at Hot Air quotes Investor’s Business Daily on the history of the Central Valley drought:

The one thing that will mitigate droughts in California — a permanent feature of the state — is to restore the water flow from California’s water-heavy north to farmers in the central and south. That’s just what House Bill 3964, which passed by a 229-191 vote last week, does.

But Obama’s plan is not to get that worthy bill through the Senate (where Democrats are holding it up) but to shovel pork to environmental activists and their victims, insultingly offering out-of-work farmers a “summer meal plan” in his package.

“We are not interested in welfare; we want water,” Nunes told IBD this week. He and his fellow legislator Valadao are both farmers who represent the worst-hit regions of the Central Valley in Congress and can only look at the president’s approach with disbelief.

“He’s not addressing the situation,” Valadao told us.

“They want to blame the drought for the lack of water, but they wasted water for the past five years,” said Nunes.

The two explain that California’s system of aqueducts and storage tanks was designed long ago to take advantage of rain and mountain runoff from wet years and store it for use in dry years. But it’s now inactive — by design. “California’s forefathers built a system (of aqueducts and storage facilities) designed to withstand five years of drought,” said Nunes.

“We have infrastructure dating from the 1960s for transporting water, but by the 1990s the policies had changed,” said Valadao.

Environmental special interests managed to dismantle the system by diverting water meant for farms to pet projects, such as saving delta smelt, a baitfish. That move forced the flushing of 3 million acre-feet of water originally slated for the Central Valley into the ocean over the past five years.

If California would stop flushing millions of gallons of water into the ocean and give it to the farmers, the Central Valley would not be a dustbowl. It is truly a shame that President Obama chooses to use the hardship of the farmers as a political platform rather than solving the problem. This drought is not caused by global warming or climate change–it is caused by Washington politicians!

 

 

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This Shouldn’t Be A Surprise To Anyone

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about the United Nation‘s suggested solution to climate change. United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres stated that democracy is a poor form a government to solve the problem of global warming–communism works much better.

When you consider some of the problems in communist countries in regard to environmental damage, this statement is ridiculous. We remember Chernobyl. We have seen the pictures of Chinese cities where the smog is so thick people are wearing surgical masks.

On Monday, The Federalist posted an article about communism and its impact on the environment. The article reported:

When the Berlin Wall came down and the Iron Curtain was finally lifted to expose the inner workings of communism to Western eyes, one of the more shocking discoveries was the nightmarish scale of environmental destruction. The statistics for East Germany alone tell a horrific tale: at the time of its reunification with West Germany an estimated 42 percent of moving water and 24 percent of still waters were so polluted that they could not be used to process drinking water, almost half of the country’s lakes were considered dead or dying and unable to sustain fish or other forms of life, and only one-third of industrial sewage along with half of domestic sewage received treatment.

An estimated 44 percent of East German forests were damaged by acid rain — little surprise given that the country produced proportionally more sulphur dioxide, carbon dioxide, and coal dust than any other in the world. In some areas of East Germany the level of air pollution was between eight and twelve times greater than that found in West Germany, and 40 percent of East Germany’s population lived in conditions that would have justified a smog warning across the border. Only one power station in East Germany had the necessary equipment to clean sulphur from emissions.

The article at The Federalist concludes:

There is no society, nor has one ever existed, which featured zero pollution or harm to the environment. The only question is how best to manage it, and which system is best positioned to accomplish this. On that question the answer is surely capitalism, home to the world’s richest countries and cleanest environments. It isn’t even close.

Actually, democracy is not the entire answer. The other part of the answer is private property rights and free enterprise. When people own something, they take better care of it. When it pays to invent a cleaner way of doing something, that method gets invented. When people are oppressed by their government, they don’t have the energy to worry about their environment–they are simply worried about getting enough food to feed their families and enough heat to stay warm. Worry about the environment in a communist country is a luxury that people cannot afford.

To suggest that communism is the solution to the (non-existent) problem of global warming is naive at best. Christiana Figueres’ statement shows how far the United Nations has come from the idea of supporting the concept of freedom for all people. The United Nations has become a reflection of the tin-horn dictators that have taken it over in recent years.

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Good News For Religious Freedom

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a recent decision by a divided three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The ruling states that forcing business owners to fund and facilitate contraception and sterilization services against the tenets of their faith encroaches on their free exercise of religious belief, and that the government’s argument that protecting womens’ health trumped that right was absurd.

The article reports:

…What Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote in her decision was that corporations themselves, whether for-profit or non-profit, do not have First Amendment standing for religious exercise.  However, those who own or run them do, and even though the Gilardis’ businesses are corporations, the net effect of the HHS mandate is to penalize the Gilardis individually for living their faith.

The argument the Obama Administration has made for the requirement that companies provide contraception and abortion services is that these services need to be covered in order to protect women’s health. The Court seems to be saying that providing insurance for these services does not necessarily protect a woman’s health and should not override the religious freedom granted in the First Amendment.

This case or a similar case will eventually make its way to the Supreme Court.

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Losing Your Health Insurance Because Of ObamaCare

One of the unintended consequences of ObamaCare has been the changing of the American workforce from a full-time workforce to a part-time workforce. As companies attempt to cut expenses and avoid the extra expense of the policy requirements of ObamaCare, they are cutting the number of full-time employees. The problem is that the ObamaCare policies require coverage that many people do not want or need and have not previously paid for. I can assure you that as a senior citizen I don’t need pregnancy coverage on my health insurance.

Well, there is also another problem. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported today that Darden Restaurants will have to cancel the healthcare coverage they have previously offered to their part-time employees due to the requirements of ObamaCare.

The article reports:

Darden will no longer offer part-timers limited-benefit insurance because Obamacare forbids it. Darden said it will offer other programs to part-timers such as a bundle of discounts on prescriptions, and cash payments for services such as doctor’s visits.

They might pay less for premiums, but they’re going to pay more overall.  That’s because the so-called bronze plans that cost the least still are more expensive for most applicants even with the scalable subsidies, and also because deductibles will likely be much higher than Darden employees had under their employer plan. That means that those consumers will have to spend thousands of more dollars than they did in previous years before their insurance benefits kick in at all.  For those working part-time, that will take a particularly vicious bite out of their disposable income.

Unfortunately, the government will run health insurance about as efficiently as state governments run their motor vehicle agencies. Prepare for long lines and incredible red tape.

 

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Rewriting Recent History When Convenient

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about a recent chyron on MSNBC. Just in case you are not a news junkie, the chyron is the group of words at the bottom on the screen that either gives the latest headlines or adds to the discussion taking place on the screen. In this case, the chyron read, “GOP flubs Obamacare launch.” Wow. I wasn’t even aware that the GOP were the ones who had launched ObamaCare. The real GOP flub in the launch of ObamaCare was allowing it to go forward with a broken website and exemptions for Congress and big business and not for average Americans, but that wasn’t a flub–that was just the make-up of Congress.

Mr. Morrissey comments:

Ironically, the entire segment demonstrates why the chyron would be inaccurate in any context — and why the tactical retreat on the shutdown might turn out to be a strategic victory for Republicans in the long run.  Without the breathless minute-by-minute updates from Capitol Hill on the shutdown, the biggest national story and shared experience is the disastrous ObamaCare rollout, which is so bad and so big that even MSNBC can’t ignore it.

Stay tuned. I’m sure there is more to come. I want to see if MSNBC and their cohorts can successfully convince the American public that the Republicans are actually responsible for the botched roll-out of ObamaCare. If they can, we are in more trouble than I thought.

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Where Has All The Money Gone?

Below is a chart posted by Ed Morrissey at Hot Air today:

fred-dc-usa-medianincome

The chart above shows the median household income of the Washington, D.C., area versus the median household income of the rest of the nation.

The article at Hot Air points out a few things about the graph:

From the mid-1980s to around 2007, the median household income rise in DC remained pretty closely linked to that of the nation as a whole.  Anyone remember what happened in 2007, besides the economic slowdown that would turn into the Great RecessionDemocrats took control of Congress and federal spending shot upward ever since.  And at least according to the Fed, that disparity is actually accelerating,  at least to 2012, with DC median income skyrocketing while the rest of us stagnate.

We have a choice to make as Americans. It’s not a Democrat or a Republican choice–it’s an American choice. Do we keep spending ourselves into bankruptcy or do we begin to act like adults and live within our means? The choice is ours. We have an election coming up in about a year. Forget party labels–they really aren’t worth much right now. Find out what the candidate’s position is on spending and formulating a federal budget (we haven’t had one since 2009). Find our what the candidate’s past voting record is on fiscal matters. These things are not hard to find. Thomas.gov is an excellent source of information for votes, sponsors of legislation, and actions of past Congresses. Do your homework–your country depends on it.

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Confusing The Issue By Adding Facts

There have been a lot of charges made lately by Democrats that Republicans want to suppress the black vote by passing voter identification laws. There is no mention of the fact that you need a driver’s license or such to enter a federal building, board a plane, case a check, etc., but that’s another story. But occasionally, when charging people with racism, inconvenient facts get in the way.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story today showing that when Georgia became the first state in the nation to enact voter identification laws, the black and Hispanic voter turnout increased. From 2006 to 2010, voting by black and Hispanic voters increased dramatically, outpacing population growth for those groups over the same period.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution also posted an article today dealing with the same subject.

The The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article reports:

Under Georgia’s law, an in-person voter who arrives at the polls without a photo ID may cast a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot is counted only if the person returns with proper identification by the Friday following the election.

Records show that since 2008, 2,244 provisional ballots were cast by voters lacking photo ID. Of those, 658 returned with an ID and 1,586 did not — meaning their votes did not count.

That disturbs Laughlin McDonald, director of the Voting Rights Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the original plaintiffs who challenged the law.

“If one person is deprived of their right to see their vote count, that’s a violation of the Constitution,” McDonald said.

I guess I have become a little cynical of late, but I am not thoroughly convinced that the 1,586 voters who chose not to return with identification were legal voters. Just a thought.

There is no way to prove that voter fraud was stopped by voter identification laws. However, we can show that the laws do not suppress votes. In terms of stopping fraud, one blatant example of voter fraud was found in Houston, Texas, by a group called True the Vote. (See rightwinggranny.com) When True the Vote examined the voters registered by a group called Houston Votes, a voter registration group headed by Sean Caddle, who had previously worked for the  Service Employees International Union (SEIU), they found that only 1,793 of the 25,000 registrations the group submitted appeared to be valid. I don’t know if 23,000 votes is enough to change the outcome of an election, but this clearly seems to be an example of voter fraud.

Anyway, hooray for voter identification laws–the keep our elections honest!

 

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The Next Birther Controversy

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story today about the next birther controversy–it’s not Barack Obama–it’s Ted Cruz. Ted Cruz has released his birth certificate to the Dallas Morning News. Senator Cruz was born in Canada to an American mother and a father who fled Castro’s Cuba. Under American law, Cruz became an American citizen at birth because his mother was an American. Under Canadian law, Cruz is a Canadian citizen because he was born in Canada.

The article reports:

The presidential requirement of being a “natural born citizen” in Article 2, Section 1 of the US Constitution is unique, in that the concept has pretty much no other application in American life.  However, it’s not so unique as to be completely without analogy or comprehension.  A natural-born citizen can be defined as an American that does not require extra intervention to access citizenship rights.  If Cruz had to go through the naturalization process to vote, for instance, or to get a US passport, then he would not qualify to run for President.  Instead, Cruz has been able to legally exercise his rights as a citizen without any other intervention except his coming of age, as all American citizens do.  Current law makes it clear that regardless of how Canada sees Cruz, the US saw him as a citizen by provenance of his birth — a natural-born citizen.

Senator Cruz’s birth certificate is actually not related to this controversy. Ed Morrissey wonders if Senator Cruz is being a little tongue-in-cheek here. Since the controversy is rather silly to begin with, he might as well have a good laugh about it.

 

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What Are Our Welfare Programs Encouraging?

On Friday, Fox News posted the following video (also in YouTube):

So how is it possible to live on the generosity of the American taxpayer with no concept of working for a living? In September 2012, Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted the impact of the 2009 Stimulus Bill on the Food Stamp Program. Included in the Stimulus Bill were changes in the welfare program that waived the work requirement and made it easier for people with no intention of working to collect benefits.

The article at Hot Air reports:

In addition to the broader work requirement that has become a contentious issue in the presidential race, the 1996 welfare reform law included a separate rule encouraging able-bodied adults without dependents to work by limiting the amount of time they could receive food stamps. President Obama suspended that rule when he signed his economic stimulus legislation into law, and the number of these adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010, according to the CRS report, issued in the form of a memo to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va.

“This report once again confirms that President Obama has severely gutted the welfare work requirements that Americans have overwhelmingly supported since President Clinton signed them into law,” Cantor said in an emailed statement. “It’s time to reinstate these common-sense measures, and focus on creating job growth for those in need.”

This is the law that allows a beach bum in California to surf his life away and eat lobster on the money paid in taxes by families struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.

I think it’s time for Congress to grow a backbone and change the law back to what it was. That alone will save millions of dollars in federal spending.

 

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The Pro-Abortion Movement Gives New Meaning To The Term Grassroots

The picture below is from an article by Ed Morrissey posted at Hot Air. The ad appeared in Craigslist in Austin, Texas.

craigslist-prochoice-texas

Mr. Morrissey stated in his article that he posted the picture in case the website took it down. The bottom line is simple–you can make money be being an advocate for abortion. Somehow that just doesn’t seem to belong in the concept of ‘grassroots.’

The article at Hot Air states:

The special session got announced by Gov. Rick Perry on the 26th; this ad went up three days later, and just two days before a swarm of “volunteers” arrived at the capitol building today.  Pro-choice Texas employees get paid roughly minimum wage to “stand,” I mean start, assuming that the $1300 per month is for full-time work.  The position ranges to nearly $12.70 for standing around and yelling slogans like, “Hey hey, ho ho, fully-formed human life’s got to go,” and so on.

The article reminds us that 62 percent of Texans support the bill that the special session will be taking up. I guess that is why the organizations that oppose the bill are having to pay people to show up to protest the bill.

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About That Election Fraud Thing

Yesterday Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported that Miami-Dade investigators busted a ring of Democrats for attempting to push hundreds of fraudulent absentee-ballot requests in the 2012 election. The case reached the inner circle of at least one Democrat Congressman and possibly two.

Jeffrey Garcia, chief of staff for Congressman Joe Garcia (no relation), was asked to resign after being involved in a scheme that requested hundreds of fraudulent absentee ballot requests.

The article reports:

Garcia didn’t just work to defeat Rivera, who had ethics issues that made his re-election dicey at best.  He also worked to defeat Allen West, who lost by less than 2,000 votes and who complained about voter fraud at the time.

America works when elections are fair and people have confidence in them. Election fraud or attempted election fraud should be met with stiff penalties in order to discourage it from happening. It is quite possible that the defeat of Allen West was not done by an honest election. If that is so, dishonesty on the part of the Florida Democrats cost us a good man in Congress.

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What Happens When Your Administration Focuses On The Wrong Things

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported yesterday that the U. S. Marshall Service has lost track of two terrorists that had entered the Witness Security Program. The latest search for these two men indicates that one man is definitely living outside the United States and the other man is probably living outside the country.

Let’s look at some of the facts surrounding this–both men were involved or accused of being involved in terrorism. They have now left America. They took with them a personal knowledge of how the American Witness Security Program works.

So what happened? The article states:

The DoJ also failed to update the Terrorist Screening Center, which runs the no-fly lists.

I am reminded of an old episode of the television series WINGS in which Lowell Mather finds himself in the witness protection program. As he is leaving the airport on Nantucket, he shouts to his friends, “Aloha.” Needless to say, he is very quickly given a new destination. Anyone can make a mistake, but that mistake may cost American lives either in America or overseas. Who in the world is running our government?

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An Interesting Potential Swap

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today posted an article about the current budget negotiations in Congress.

The article reports:

One of Obama’s advisers at that time, former OMB director Peter Orszag, warns that the nation’s infrastructure is ready to crumble unless we start spending big money to rescue it — and now, apparently, is the “perfect time” to start borrowing heavily to do it:

Mr. Orszag suggests that we issue $250 billion in bonds to pay for the repairs. The article goes on to say that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) has given the condition of America‘s infrastructure a grade of D. These are the same people who will repair these roads if the additional spending passes. Do you think there might be some self-interest here?

The article concludes:

John Boehner has a proposal for Democrats who want to talk infrastructure spending.  He’s willing to increase the allocations for that purpose, but only if the money comes from a specific new source of revenue:

As Congress continues to hunt for ever-elusive money to rebuild roads, bridges and transit systems, House Republicans are likely once again to turn to black gold.

In the tax-averse and conservative-heavy conference, transportation interest groups’ ideas about raising the gasoline tax or looking at distance-based fees are a tough sell. But expanding oil and gas drilling and using those revenues for infrastructure improvements represent what Speaker John Boehner has called a “natural link.”

That’s one way to test whether Democrats are serious about infrastructure repair, or are looking only to create more pork-barrel projects for people back home — as the ARRA “Porkulus” did in 2009 and 2010.

It should be an interesting debate.

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Sometimes There Really Is A Cost To Ignoring The Constitution

The Second Amendment of the U. S. Constitution states:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

What part of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” do many of our current lawmakers not understand?

I know you can twist the words in ninety directions to attempt to change what they say, but the words are pretty straightforward. Anyway, a state is about to pay a price for choosing to ignore those words.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a new gun law about to be signed by Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. The bill limits magazine capacities. The executives at Colorado-based Magpul, a company that manufactures high-capacity magazines, has announced that if the Governor signs the bill they will leave Colorado for friendlier venues and take hundreds of jobs with them. Two legislators from the State of Pennsylvania have already put out the welcome mat for the company.

The article reports:

A Colorado-based magazine manufacturer said it would leave the state if the new restrictions were passed, taking hundreds of jobs with it. Democrats tried to ease the concerns from Magpul Industries, saying the company can still manufacture higher-capacity magazines if they were sold out of state.

Waller blasted Democrats on that amendment, saying it was hypocritical because they are telling the company “you can sell (magazines) at any other place where any of these tragic shootings have happened.”

Waller called the exemption “a monumental inconsistency in their thought process.”

What was the message here? Colorado won’t allow people to purchase high-capacity magazines because that will supposedly decrease violence, but they’re happy to export them to other states? One can’t blame Magpul for failing to trust Democrats to leave that loophole open for very long, not after their demonstration of hostility to Magpul’s industry.

I will admit that I don’t know why anyone needs a high-capacity magazine, but when the government starts limiting something it never seems to know where to stop. From what I have heard from people who know, high-capacity magazines jam easily and are actually not as deadly as lower-capacity magazines in many cases. At any rate, this law is an infringement–something the Second Amendment says is not allowed.

We need more Americans like the executives of Magpul who are willing to stand up for what they believe.

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