Trying To Level The Playing Field Has Its Challenges

Fox Business posted an article today about the devaluing of the Chinese yuan. The devaluing of the Chinese currency (currency manipulation) has been used by China for decades to grow their economy at the expense of America. It has been used to lure manufacturing away from America, impact our trade balance, and generally work against the American economy. We have needed to combat this practice for decades, but no President had the courage.

The article reports:

The onshore Chinese yuan weakened to worse than seven per U.S. dollar, hitting its lowest level since 2008, as Beijing looks to cushion the blow from Trump’s tariffs. A weaker yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper for overseas buyers, which may be necessary as China just lost its spot as the US’s biggest trading partner.

Trade data released Friday by the Department of Commerce showed U.S. imports from China fell by 12% in the first six months of the year, allowing Mexico to supplant it as the U.S.’s biggest trade partner.

“China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low,” Trump tweeted Opens a New Window. on Monday. “It’s called “currency manipulation.” Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!”

Last week, Trump said beginning Sept. 1 the U.S. would place a 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese goods. He went ahead with the announcement despite objections from his advisers.

The president warned he could “always do much more” with respect to tariffs, adding the 10 percent tax could go “well beyond 25 percent” if necessary. Earlier this year, the administration placed a 25% tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Weakening the yuan isn’t the only form of retaliation Beijing took on Monday. It also ordered state-owned enterprises to stop purchases of U.S. agricultural products, according to a Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the situation.

That is a reversal from just last week, when Beijing said it had purchased several tons of U.S. soybeans Opens a New Window. as a gesture of a goodwill amid trade negotitations. Before the trade war began, China was the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, accounting for 70% of all purchases, but their imports have fallen by 97% since the trade war began.

The article notes:

Over the weekened, The Trump administration pushed back against the idea the trade war was hitting the wallets of U.S. consumers.

“China has strategically gamed the tariffs by slashing their prices and by devaluing their currency,” White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told “Fox News Sunday.”

This trade dust-up with China may get ugly, but it is something that has to be done.

Things That Began Well Don’t Always End Well

This is my eulogy for Fox News. I remember Fox News Sunday when Tony Snow was hosting it. It was balanced and informative. That has changed in recent years. I enjoy Tucker Carlson. I understand we may not agree on everything, but he is fair, logical, and informative. I used to enjoy Hannity and Colmes when they debated both sides of an issue. I guess the fairness and balance of Fox News will be a distant memory.

The Los Angeles Times posted an article yesterday about some changes to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox as it prepares for a merger with Walt Disney Company. 21st Century Fox created a new company, Fox Corp., made up of Fox News Channel and Fox broadcast network.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that Paul Ryan will be a board member for Fox Corp., the new parent company of Fox News.

The Washington Post reports:

Last week, Ryan reportedly told a crowd during a lecture in Vero Beach, Fla., that the Democrat who defines the race as one about Trump and Trump’s personality could beat him. But he quickly backtracked on Twitter to clarify that he believes Trump deserves to win.

“To be clear, GOP wins elections when they’re about ideas not when they’re personality contests like Dems & media want. We’re clearly better off because of @RealDonaldTrump,” Ryan tweeted. “His record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election especially when compared to Dems’ leftward lurch.”

Ryan will serve on the seven-member board along with Murdoch, Fox’s founder, and his son, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox’s chairman and chief executive.

I believe the choices currently being made will be the end of Fox News as the most-watched news network in America.

I Wish The Media Would Get The Facts Right

I just watched Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. I was a bit disappointed. Chris Wallace is generally a fairly even-handed newsman, but today he was not. He interviewed a Newt Gingrich about Donald Trump’s campaign and then a campaign spokesman for Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The interviews were not at all even-handed. First of all, I like Newt Gingrich, and I respect him, but I have watched the mainstream media tear him down long enough to know that he may not be the best spokesman for Donald Trump–Newt Gingrich is a brilliant man, but his image needs repairing. Just the choice of Newt Gingrich to be interviewed to speak for Donald Trump is questionable. I am sure there were other choices. It was obvious that the Clinton spokesperson had not properly rehearsed his lines. He stumbled quite a few times when answering basic questions about Hillary’s honesty and other issues. Chris Wallace let most of those things slide, but when it came to questioning Newt Gingrich, Chris Wallace claimed that the statement that Hillary Clinton went to bed during the Benghazi attack was false. The record shows otherwise.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about Chris Wallace’s interviews on Fox News Sunday.

The article reports:

FOX News Sunday host Chris Wallace defended Hillary Clinton today like the rest of the liberal media from Donald Trump’s attacks this week.

Wallace said Hillary did not go home and sleep during the Benghazi attack – parroting what the rest of the media has been reporting this week.

The fact is Hillary Clinton DID GO HOME AND SLEEP during the Benghazi attacks and there are records to prove it.

According to official watch logs on September 11, 2012 during the Benghazi attack on the US consulate the first note of the attacks (not protest, another Hillary lie) was posted after 4 PM on that Tuesday afternoon. And Hillary Clinton was home by 10:30 PM as US forces continued to come under attack at the CIA complex in Benghazi.

…There were no official records of any activity by Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama after 10:30 that night. No calls to the Defense Department, no calls to the State Department, no calls to officials in Libya. Hillary was at home and in bed.

Before she went home though she plotted with Obama to blame the attack on a YouTube video – while the annex was still under attack!

The next morning Hillary and Barack blamed a YouTube video for the attack when she knew it was a terrorist attack.

This is what Donald Trump is up against. If voters are paying attention to facts, he will probably win this election. If voters are depending on the mainstream media for their information, Hillary Clinton will be President. That will not be good for the country.

 

When The Spin Just Keeps Coming

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line today about President Obama’s interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday yesterday. The explanations regarding the problems with Hillary Clinton’s email server just seem to be getting stranger.

The article reports:

In his interview with Chris Wallace broadcast on FOX News Sunday yesterday, Obama explained that the classified information on her server wasn’t really classified and that the Top Secret information on the email server was not “really top secret top secret.”

FOX News has posted the transcript of the interview here; I quote the relevant passage here. I have embedded a video of the interview below (about 16 minutes). Obama is asked about Clinton’s email setup at 8:35 of the video.

The media coverage of Clinton’s email scandal has been pathetic. Perhaps it is too much to expect any member of the press at the White House daily press briefing today the logical follow-up questions, but I offer a few in the spirit of constructive criticism.

Will Obama now see to the immediate release of the 22 emails withheld in their entirety by the State Department from its production of Clinton’s official email? Obama has told us that the documents are not “really top secret top secret.”

If the emails are not classified, will they be released? I doubt it. What about the emails that contained information labeled “Special Access Programs” (SAP), a level above Top Secret. Are they no longer considered classified?

The article concludes:

If one remains detached from the seriousness of the issues, Obama’s comments are laughable. Taking them at face value, Obama’s comments undermine laws that his administration has otherwise enforced against journalists and government officials. Insofar as Obama is duty bound to enforce the laws of the United States, his comments are, to say the least, not really presidential. They constitute the apologetics of a pathetic hack.

The media has not covered the Clinton email story very well, but if you have a friend who has ever handled classified material, talk to them about it. The story you will hear about the seriousness of having classified material on an unsecured server is very different than the story Hillary Clinton and President Obama are telling.

The Obama Administration’s Guide To Handling A Scandal

On Sunday, Real Clear Politics quoted a transcript of some comments made on Fox News Sunday by Kimberley Strassel describing how the Obama Administration handles scandals.

Ms. Strassel totally understands exactly what is going on. The article reports:

CHRIS WALLACE: Kim, why do you think that the White House keeps playing this card?

KIMBERLEY STRASSEL, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, because they can’t say that they did know or else the next question is going to be, why didn’t you do anything about it or why were you allowing this to go on? You almost — you have to wonder if there is a scandal manual in the top drawer of the president’s desk. It isn’t just the I heard about it from the media. There is five steps that this administration keeps repeating every time the scandal comes up. Step one is, well, I didn’t know about it, step two is to express great outrage. When that doesn’t work, step three is to fire some low level bureaucrat.

(CROSSTALK)

WALLACE: The study — The study is going …

STRASSEL: The study comes next. Then, you know, we’re going to wait and see what the I.G. says or the FBI investigation or whatever it is. And then when that doesn’t stop, six months later, you say it’s either A, done or B, all the results are the partisan pushed by Republicans. And it just goes on and on. You could take — this is not just the clips of him repeating again and again I didn’t know about this, when you listen to some of his press conferences, they’re eerie. It’s the exact same language every time.

At what point do American voters realize what is going on here?

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The Talking Points Are Becoming Obvious

A serious investigation into the events surrounding the attack on Benghazi and the cover-up that followed is necessary. However, a serious investigation at this point in time is exactly what the Democrats do not want. Actually if the Democrats had been smart, they would have gotten all of the negative information out as soon as the 2012 election was over. It would have been old news by now. Unfortunately, the negatives are coming out now–in the midst of the mid-term elections and in time to influence the 2016 presidential elections. So what should the Democrats do? Actually, what they should do is not part of the equation, what they will do to provide damage control is becoming obvious.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about the appearances on the Sunday shows by the damage control team. Democratic Congressman Adam Schiff was on Fox News Sunday suggesting that the Democrats would boycott the House’s proposed select committee on Benghazi.

The article quotes Congressman Schiff:

Establishing a select committee to investigate the State Department’s handling of the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Libya is a “colossal waste of time,” according to Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.).

“We’ve had four bipartisan investigations already,” Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday,” adding that the Republican plans to create the committee are politically motivated.

Schiff also said that Democratic leaders should not appoint anyone to the committee. “I don’t think it makes sense, really, for Democrats to participate,” he said. “I think it’s just a tremendous red herring and a waste of taxpayer resources.”

Translated loosely that means ‘we don’t want anyone to uncover any more damaging emails, so we are going to do everything we can to continue to cover up whatever went on concerning the attack on Benghazi.’

The question is whether or not the American public and the mainstream news media are going to let the investigation into Benghazi die.

The article points out:

Can the Democrats possibly get away with the claim that there is no Benghazi scandal, even though four Americans were killed, including an ambassador, and we already know that 1) the Obama administration ignored repeated calls for improved security in Benghazi, 2) the administration made no attempt to rescue the besieged Americans, over a period of seven or eight hours, and 3) the administration’s attempted cover-up–al Qaeda is on the run, this was just a bunch of film critics who got out of hand–has already been exposed? One wouldn’t think so. And, by the way, we still don’t know what (if anything) either President Obama or Secretary of State Clinton did with regard to the terrorist attack on the evening of September 11, 2012. Did they participate? Did they give any orders, and if so, what were they? Were Obama and Clinton even awake? We don’t know.

I am very tired of hearing about Benghazi, but I am even more tired or being lied to and told stories that I know are false.  I want to know why we chose not to rescue the Ambassador. I want to know why the lies were told about the video. And I want to know who made the decision not to send help that night. At that point I will be willing to consider the matter closed.

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Our Representatives Have Forgotten Who They Represent

One of the problems with ObamaCare is the number of exemptions that have been carved out for President Obama’s chosen few. Congress and Congressional staffers will receive massive subsidies from the government to ensure that they are not negatively impacted by the increased premiums in ObamaCare. Therefore, Congressmen–establishment Republicans and Democrats have no incentive to repeal a really bad law. The Tea Party candidates who were elected to end ObamaCare are really the only people in Washington fighting this battle. Ted Cruz is leading the charge. Thus, what you are about to read below is not really a surprise.

The Blaze reported today that Chris Wallace told the Fox News Sunday audience this morning:

“This has been one of the strangest weeks I’ve ever had in Washington,” Wallace said. “As soon as we listed Ted Cruz as our featured guest this week, I got unsolicited research and questions, not from Democrats but from top Republicans, to hammer Cruz.”

This is the clip:

Unfortunately Congress no longer represents the wishes of the American people. Both Republicans and Democrats have become the problem. The only people fighting for the rest of us are the Tea Party candidates. Please remember that next November.

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Stupid Quote Of The Week

Quoted on Fox News Sunday this week in reference to the bankruptcy in Detroit:

Steven Rattner, who is the former car czar for Detroit, wrote a story this week and he says that he believes — an essay — that he believes Washington should help. Let’s put on screen what he said.

He writes, “The 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit’s problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs, and eventually, Congress decided to help them.”

I have more than a few problems with that statement. The remaining residents of the Motor City are responsible for Detroit’s problems–they voted for the officials that made the decisions that brought the city to this point.

On Friday, Rich Galen posted an article at Townhall.com that pointed out the following:

But it’s not the unions’ fault. It is the fault of the elected officials — Democrats in Detroit — who didn’t have the guts to say “No” to their largest voting bloc.

It has been said that the difference between public and private unions is this: Private union leaders know that if their demands become too high, the company will go out of business and everyone will lose their job.

Public unions, until recently, just kept demanding, and getting, more and more while producing nothing new in terms of services they render. Union pensions tend to be so generous that taxpayers end up paying almost full wages to three or four workers, only one of whom is still actually working, to do exactly the same job that one person had been paid to do in an earlier age. According to some estimates, retirees outnumber active workers 2-1.

The problem is unfunded liabilities. If workers pay a small percentage of their salaries into a pension fund, that money can be set aside for the future. If workers are not required to contribute anything to their future pensions, those pensions become an unfunded liability and eventually overwhelm the system.

The bankruptcy of Detroit was the result of bad fiscal policies, raising taxes in the hopes of collecting more money (it doesn’t work–see the Laffer curve), and a population fleeing increased crime and less effective law enforcement. All of those things are avoidable–none of them are natural disasters.

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Sometimes Honesty Overrules Political Affiliation

There are still some honest politicians left. Yes, you read that right. Evidently, Dennis Kucinich is one of them. It truly scares me that I am in agreement with Dennis Kucinich, but he was right on target on Fox News Sunday yesterday. Below are two videos of his statements on Benghazi and on the targeting of conservative political groups by the Internal Revenue Service:

It scares me that I am in agreement with a self-proclaimed liberal Democrat, but in this case, Dennis Kucinich is absolutely right!

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This Kind Of Logic Makes My Head Hurt

The Hill posted an article yesterday about Robert Gibbs‘ comments on Fox News Sunday.

The article reports:

Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the administration’s record on Medicare from GOP attacks on Sunday, saying that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) should “thank President Obama” for strengthening the program.

President Obama took $716 billion out of Medicare and put it into Obamacare. I fail to see how taking money out of anything strengthens it. Does this mean that if I refuse to pay my taxes to the Internal Revenue Service I am strengthening the IRS? With Robert Gibbs’ logic, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported:

And those health care provider cuts are not that far off under Obamacare. They start this coming January, when Medicare payments to doctors are set to be slashed by 31 percent. That’s right, by 31 percent. If you don’t think current Medicare beneficiaries are going to have trouble finding a doctor who will see them after the government starts paying those doctors 31 percent less, you probably failed Econ 101.

When Obamacare was first drafted, it did not cut Medicare spending so quickly. But to keep the final Obamacare price tag under $1 trillion, it allowed the scheduled cuts to occur. By contrast, Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget fully paid for doctor Medicare reimbursement payments.

Any senior citizen who votes for President Obama in November needs to understand that they are voting against available medical care for senior citizens in the very near future.

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How You Answer When You Are Caught With Your Hand In The Cookie Jar

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today which featured my nominee for the Quote of the Week.

Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being interviewed on Fox News Sunday. She was asked about the Obama ad accusing Mitt Romney causing the death of Joe Soptic’s wife. Ms. Wasserman Schultz  pointed out that the ad was produced by Priorities USA, an Obama-affiliated super PAC run by a former Obama White House staffer. She then stated, “I have no idea the political affiliation of the folks who are associated with that super PAC.” Wow. Did she think it was a pro-Romney ad?

When you listen to the entire interview, you begin to wonder if the Democrat‘s main objection to Mitt Romney is that he was successful as a businessman. I wonder how many people in America think that America needs a successful businessman to put the economy of America in order.

Please follow the link to the Washington Free Beacon to watch the video. This is how you avoid answering a question when you are caught with your hand in the cookie jar!

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When Is A Tax Cut Not A Tax Cut ?

President Obama and the Democrat party are currently complaining that the Republicans really do not support tax cuts for the middle class because the Republicans are not supporting the extension of the payroll tax cut. That may be good for the campaign trail, but it really doesn’t tell the whole story.

On Sunday, the Business Insider posted the following:

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), the retiring minority whip, said he is opposed to extending the payroll tax cut — raising taxes an average of $1000 on American families and risking eliminating half-a-million jobs from the economy — because he is concerned about the longevity of Social Security.

“The problem here is payroll doesn’t go into general revenue, it supports Social Security, and you can’t keep extending the payroll tax holiday and have a secure Social Security,” he said on Fox News Sunday.

The problem with the cutting the payroll tax is that you are taking money directly out of Social Security, which is already in financial trouble. The government has gotten into the habit of manipulating Americans through tax policy–if you do this, you get a tax break, if you do that, we tax you extra. The payroll tax gives Americans the sense that they are getting something back, without explaining that they are helping destroy the future viability of Social Security. Again–the problem isn’t taxes–it’s spending, and until we deal with the spending (and excessive government regulations), the economy will not recover.

As much as I would love to have extra money in my pocket to spend, extending the payroll tax cut is a bad idea.

 

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Defending The Indefensible

Fox News Sunday

Image via Wikipedia

One of the challenges for voters in any election cycle is to sort out the truth from the ‘spin.’ Since we seem to be in a never-ending election cycle right now, that is becoming a full-time job. I like Fox News. That’s probably not a surprise to anyone who reads this website regularly, but I occasionally have my problems with their reporting as well as everyone else’s. However, yesterday morning I was cheering Chris Wallace for the questions he asked David Plouffe. The transcript of the interview can be found at the Fox News Sunday website

The discussion was about President Obama’s deficit reduction plan.

In the interview David Plouffe stated:

...But absent tax reform, the president believe the right way to get our fiscal house in order is ask the wealthy to pay their fair share. But he is going to continue, as he has throughout his presidency, push to cut taxes for the middle class folks so that they obviously can weather this economy turn better, but also allows them to help the economy by being able to consume more.

 Chris Wallace replied:

 But, Mr. Plouffe, what you are talking about $200 billion in tax cuts that end in the next 15 months. You’re talking about $2 trillion in tax increases that will go on for next decade. Between his jobs plan — and I want to break this down because it’s important — between his jobs plan and cutting the deficit, the president wants $1.5 trillion in new taxes over the next decade.

Let’s put it up on the screen — letting the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire, $866 billion; limiting the deductions for families making $250,000 a year, $410 billion; closing loopholes and tax breaks, $300 billion. And on top of that — on top of that, $1.5 trillion, another $500 billion in new taxes to pay for Obamacare, for a total of $2 trillion.

These are the facts that need to be repeated as the President claims that he is planning to raise taxes ONLY on the ‘rich.’

Chris Wallace also pointed out in the interview:

…$1 trillion of the $1 trillion in deficit reduction the president calls for in his plan is for not continuing to fight the wars in Iran and Afghanistan. The president is cutting money that wasn’t going to be spent anyway, instead of cutting of money that was.

The President’s jobs bill is all smoke and mirrors. It needs to be soundly defeated in Congress.

 

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