High Crimes–Not Misdemeanors

Yesterday Sebastian Gorka posted an article at American Greatness titled, “ObamaGate: No Misdemeanors, Only High Crimes.” I understand all of us are getting tired of hearing about any of the garbage that went on in the Obama administration in terms of spying on the political opposition. However, because that issue has not yet been dealt with, it will remain in the news until those guilty of misusing federal agencies are held accountable.

Sebastian Gorka points out:

…Or look instead at Anderson Cooper, CNN’s putative doyen, who can’t even garner 0.3 percent of the population as viewers for his “flagship” program, and who recently accused Jared Kushner of “gaslighting” the nation over Russia; in other words of making statements aimed at convincing the listeners that they are insane.

This from the network that has so stoked the flames of Russia conspiracy-mongering every day for two years, that they publish outlandish pieces on Robert Mueller’s sealing indictments against the president, and as Cooper’s fellow show host Chris Cuomo qualifies the president’s public statements as those made by a convict already wearing an “orange jumpsuit,” statements that are less gaslighting than full on tinfoil-hattery.

And why was Kushner so calumniated? What craziness was he trying to sell to America as fact? His “gaslighting” sin was to state early last week that the Mueller investigation and the rest of the related farrago had done more damage to our republic and democratic practices than the original illegal actions of Russian actors on Facebook. Yet, ironically, Kushner was lambasted all over the corporate leftist media as the majority of Americans actually agreed with the president’s senior advisor.

The article concludes with some troubling information:

It has been brought to my attention by a former CIA station chief of some prominence and who has a legendary reputation inside the community of pre-Brennan operators, that Hillary Clinton’s loss did not curtail the worst activities of the outgoing Obama team. In fact, through the use of a walled-off team of contractors working inside the Intelligence Community, and for political realms alone, with no FISA-authorization or other national security justification, the Trump White House was spied upon after the January 20 inauguration. (Those responsible for this on-going crime are known to more than one investigative journalist and I have been told that the first of the new revelations will be published in the coming week).

Simply put: the Obama Administration used the most powerful intelligence capabilities in the world to attempt a penetration and subversion of the presidential campaign of the the opposing party. When that failed, they used a special prosecutor to divert attention away from that activity, log-jam the work of the new president, and clean up the evidence of what had been done to him and his team. And most un-American of all: the former intelligence leadership of the Obama Administration continued to spy illegally on Donald Trump and his closest advisers after they had moved into the White House.

Many take offense at the way President Trump uses language, at his tweets and at what they see as his hyperbole. But this week when he called the operations against him and the will of the people who chose him, a “coup” and an “attempted overthrow” of the government, he was making a simple statement of fact. One that will soon make Watergate an irrelevance.

The spying that was done in the Obama administration more closely resembles Soviet Russia than it does America. It is frightening to think that someone whose administration had so little regard for the law or the civil liberties of Americans sat in the White House for eight years. I don’t think a lot of Americans realize that the same force of government used against individuals in the Trump campaign and transition team could someday turn against them for no reason. The punishment for the actions taken against the Trump campaign and administration needs to be severe enough so that another coup attempt will never happen.

 

Where Are We And Where Are We Headed?

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

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

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

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

 

The Supreme Court Will Hear The Case Regarding The Citizenship Question On The Census

Yesterday Breitbart reported that the Supreme Court will hear the case regarding putting a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article details some of the history of the question:

The Enumeration Clause in Article I of the Constitution requires a nationwide census be taken every ten years. The Census Act empowers the head of the Commerce Department to determine what the census will ask, aside from the number of persons residing at every address in the nation. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross decided for the Trump administration that the census will ask each person in the nation next year if that person is a citizen of the United States.

That was a recurring question on census forms until recently. The first census to ask about citizenship was the one conducted in 1820, and the last was 1950. After 1950, the Census Bureau – which is part of the Commerce Department – has continued to ask that question on the “long form” census form that goes to some census-takers, as well as on its yearly questionnaire that goes to a small number of households each year, called the American Community Survey (ACS).

…However, when Ross put that question on the 2020 census, leftwing partisans sued, claiming that inserting this question violates the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). More surprising to many, Judge Jesse Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York agreed, writing a 277-page decision (which is shockingly long) holding that it is illegal to ask about citizenship.

The article explains that the case revolves around the APA:

There are three issues in the case. The first is whether it violates the APA for the census to ask about citizenship. The second is whether courts can look beyond the administrative record to probe the thinking of top-ranking government officials in an APA case. The justices inserted a third issue of their own, asking whether asking that if the APA allows the question, would that question nonetheless violate the Enumeration Clause.

In other words, the case is about whether asking about citizenship violates either federal law or the Constitution, and also whether it is out of bounds to chase down a member of the president’s Cabinet in such lawsuits.

This case has very significant implications. Legislative districting lines for Congress and statehouses are based on census data. Dozens of congressional seats and perhaps hundreds of state seats could shift if states drew lines based on citizenship, instead of total numbers of persons. Some even argue that congressional seats, and with them Electoral College votes for president, could be reallocated among the states based on citizenship data. At minimum, billions of dollars in federal spending is based on census numbers.

The states that will probably lose representatives and electoral college votes if the citizenship questions is on the census are California, New York, Arizona, and possibly New Mexico.

The question to me is whether or not people who are in America but not citizens should have a voice in our government. Would you allow a guest in your house to determine your household budget?

How Your Tax Money Is Spent

The Daily Signal posted the following today:

Obviously we have some work to do. The question that comes to mind is why do we always hear that Social Security is running out of money but we never hear that the Welfare State is running out of money. I think it is truly time to examine the bureaucracy that support each. I suspect we could save some serious money there without hurting the people who truly need government assistance.

Is Equal Justice Under The Law Possible?

The Daily Caller is reporting that Attorney General William Barr stated today that an inspector general’s investigation into whether the FBI abused the surveillance court process during the Russia probe will be completed by May or June.

The article states:

Barr also told lawmakers during a House Appropriations Committee hearing that he is reviewing how the FBI handled the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign that began in summer 2016.

…The FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation into Trump campaign advisers on July 31, 2016, purportedly based on information from the Australian government about Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos.

Alexander Downer, who then served as Australia’s top diplomat to the United Kingdom, claimed that Papadopoulos mentioned to him during a meeting in London on May 10, 2016 that Russia might release information on Hillary Clinton later in the campaign.

While the FBI has claimed its investigation did not begin until receiving the tip from Australia in late July 2016, a longtime FBI and CIA informant, Stefan Halper, made contact with Page in England earlier that month.

The entire Russian collusion investigation was a scam set up by the deep state during the Obama administration. The question is whether or not President Obama was in on the scheme.

The article notes that the entire basis for the FISA warrants was the rather questionable Steele Dossier, which was simply a piece of political opposition research:

The FBI relied heavily on the Democrat-funded Steele dossier to obtain four FISA warrants against Page. The dossier, authored by a former British spy, alleged that Page acted as a liaison between the Trump campaign and Kremlin during the 2016 campaign. Republicans have argued that the FBI should not have relied on the dossier since its allegations were unverified and because the document was opposition research funded by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

If this investigation is not handled properly, we can expect political parties in power to use the force of the government against their political opponents in the future. Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. I hope Attorney General Barr has the courage to see this investigation to the end.

The Deep State Continues To Fight

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Judicial Watch Forced to Delay Clinton Email Deposition After DOJ and State Dept Defy Court-Ordered Deadline.”

Judicial Watch is a nonpartisan group that was founded in 1994. They have held both Republican and Democrat politicians accountable through the Freedom of Information Act, which was passed in 1966 and went into effect in 1967.

The article at The Gateway Pundit reports:

Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch was scheduled to take the deposition of John Hackett, a State Department records official “immediately responsible for responding to requests for records under the Freedom of Information Act” on Friday, April 5th.

The government watchdog group was forced to delay its Clinton email deposition because the Deep State DOJ and Department of State failed to comply with a deadline.

“Turns out we had to delay today’s Clinton email deposition because the State and Justice Departments failed to comply with the court-ordered deadline for needed documents,” JW president Tom Fitton said in a tweet Friday evening.

The article concludes:

If not for Judicial Watch, Americans wouldn’t even know about Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server which she set up to avoid FOIA oversight of her Clinton Foundation pay-to-play while she was the head of the Department of State.

Judicial Watch blew the story wide open and their FOIA lawsuits also revealed Hillary Clinton was sending classified information over her private server.

A name of a clandestine CIA agent was even found in a tranche of emails uncovered by Judicial Watch — classified Hillary emails were found on pervert Anthony Weiner’s laptop after his wife, Huma Abedin, who happened to be Clinton’s aide, appeared to sync Hillary’s emails to her computers at home.

This is the second time in recent days the DOJ and State Department tried to derail Judicial Watch’s scheduled deposition of Obama-era-Clinton aides.

A couple weeks ago, Obama’s speech writer-turned-Iran-echo-chamber Ben Rhodes defied a court order to provide written answers, under oath to Judicial Watch and the State Department and Justice Department objected to Judicial Watch who sought an in-person interview with Mr. Rhodes.

The deep state is alive and well and continuing its attempt to preserve its power until President Trump is out of office.

Following The Money On Renewable Energy

John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article yesterday about the cost of the a green energy proposal in Minnesota. The article illustrates what will happen if this sort of program is attempted on a national scale.

The article reports:

Today Center of the American Experiment released a groundbreaking paper that addresses a relatively mild “green” proposal: legislation that would raise the renewable energy standard in Minnesota from 25% to 50%. Two of my staffers have been working on the paper for months, drawing on publicly available (but rarely consulted) sources to understand what would be necessary to achieve that 50% goal, what it would cost, how it would impact the state’s economy, and what effect it would have on global temperatures.

The paper is titled “Doubling Down on Failure: How a 50 Percent by 2030 Renewable Energy Standard Would Cost Minnesota $80.2 Billion.” With appendices, it runs to 75 pages. I am not aware of a similarly comprehensive analysis that has been done of any “green” proposal at either the state or the federal level. The paper is fully transparent: all assumptions, data and calculations are clearly set forth. The appendices are largely spread sheets. If anyone disagrees with the report’s conclusions, it should be easy to identify where and why those disagreements arise. You can read the paper here.

The article cites a few highlights from the report:

* Building and maintaining “green” wind and solar facilities, along with transmission lines and necessary natural gas complementary plants (to provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing, i.e. 60% of the time), would cost $80.2 billion through 2050. For a state like Minnesota, that number is out of the question.

* Every household in Minnesota would pay an average of $1,200 per year, in 2016 dollars, through higher electricity rates and otherwise.

* Electricity prices would rise by 40.2%.

* Electricity-intensive industries like mining, agriculture, manufacturing and health care would be hurt the most. Once again, urban greenies are hammering rural, and physically productive, America. [That last is my commentary, not found in the executive summary.]

* Higher electricity prices are a dead loss that will reduce spending in other areas as household budgets are squeezed. Therefore, according to economist John Phelan, using the generally accepted IMPLAN software, achieving the 50% renewable goal would cost Minnesota 21,000 permanent jobs, and reduce the state’s GDP by $3.1 billion annually. It is one small step on the road to Venezuela.

This really does not sound like a good idea. The push for green energy has always been about government power–whether at the state or federal level. It is interesting that the political left has chosen to attack fossil fuels just at the time when America has achieved energy independence because of fossil fuels and fossil fuels are driving our economic success. Economic success is the enemy of those who espouse socialism–if people are become prosperous, why would they want something different?

The Game Being Played

Yesterday I posted an article about the release of Bruce Ohr’s testimony by House Judiciary Committee Georgia Representative Doug Collins. There were some obvious differences between Bruce Ohr’s testimony and other testimonies. At some point that will have to be sorted out, but there is another interesting aspect to the story.

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the release of the transcript.

The article notes:

NBC News penned an article about the unorthodox release of DOJ official Bruce Ohr’s transcript.  Within the article NBC notes current DOJ officials responded to the congressional request for release by sending them an approved “redacted version”:

…Having read the Ohr transcript (also provided below), there didn’t appear to be any national security interests, sources or methods, beyond investigative embarrassment for DOJ and FBI, simply because of the sham of it all.

What parts did the current DOJ redact, and what would have been their justification? What did the current DOJ attempt to hide? …Maybe Representative Doug Collins could provide the redacted version, so we can find out.  Curiouser, and curiouser…

Can we all agree that redactions supposedly in the name of national security have become redactions in the name of keeping the misconduct of the government under President Obama out of the public eye?

What Happened To Ethics In Science?

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about research going on at the University of California at San Francisco. This research is so horrific I can’t even believe it is being done in America, much less being partially financed by the government.

The article reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services says it has granted a second 90-day extension to a contract it has with the University of California at San Francisco that requires UCSF to make “humanized mice.”

These creatures are made by implanting mice with human tissues taken from late-term aborted babies.

The HHS’s multi-million-dollar contract with UCSF that requires the construction of these “humanized mice” creates a demand–driven by federal tax dollars–for tissue taken from late-term aborted babies. According to an estimate it has published on its website, the National Institutes of Health (which is a division of HHS) will spend $95 million this fiscal year alone on research that–like UCSF’s “humanized mouse” contract–uses human fetal tissue.

Under the new 90-day extension, the contract—which the government calls “Humanized Mouse Models for HIV Therapeutics Development”–will run through June 5.

HHS also is still in the process of conducting the “comprehensive review” it announced last September “of all research involving fetal tissue.”

It’s bad enough that we are killing the unborn. Now we are using them for scientific experiments. That is beyond repulsive.

Most People Got Bigger Tax Refunds This Year Than Last Year

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about this year’s tax refunds. The article was in response to a Washington Post article claiming that people were getting lower tax refunds this year than last year.

The article at Hot Air pointed out a number of things that might result in getting a smaller tax refund:

But since we have to play this game, let’s figure out why your refund is smaller. Did you get a raise or a significant bonus last year? Did you perhaps start a new job that pays more? Were there any other major changes in your financial situation? Tax filing company Intuit has a list of possible explanations you could look for. They include things such as your filing status changing, the selling of assets or the possibility that you were hit with a penalty.

There will be a small number of people who lost out on part of their SALT (state and local tax) deductions, but that should really only have a significant impact on people in high-tax states like New York who are earning well into six figures. As for everyone else, if your income went up, did you adjust your withholdings accordingly? If not, perhaps you need to have a chat with an accountant.

The article also reminds us that a tax refund is a refund of the money that you gave to the government during the year. You allowed them to have that money interest free until you filed your tax return and they were obligated to give the money back to you. Ideally, your tax refund should be small–that means that you correctly calculated the amount of money you actually owed the government. The question is not how big your tax refund is–the question is how much money you actually paid in taxes. The size of your tax refund is simply a reflection of how much money the government took from you during the year.

Our Future?

I think most Americans realize that Big Brother is getting to be a bit intrusive. Our computer searches are mined for advertising information, Alexa listens to our conversations, our government has been known to listen to our telephone conversations. This is not headed in a good direction. However, it gets even worse when you consider the fact that the next step will be modifying our behavior to fit some ideal created by someone who believes he has the right to control everyone. Not a pleasant thought. Think it’s too farfetched? An article posted at Wired on January 23 might change your mind.

The article begins:

A friend of mine, who runs a large television production company in the car-mad city of Los Angeles, recently noticed that his intern, an aspiring filmmaker from the People’s Republic of China, was walking to work.

When he offered to arrange a swifter mode of transportation, she declined. When he asked why, she explained that she “needed the steps” on her Fitbit to sign in to her social media accounts. If she fell below the right number of steps, it would lower her health and fitness rating, which is part of her social rating, which is monitored by the government. A low social rating could prevent her from working or traveling abroad.

China’s social rating system, which was announced by the ruling Communist Party in 2014, will soon be a fact of life for many more Chinese.

By 2020, if the Party’s plan holds, every footstep, keystroke, like, dislike, social media contact, and posting tracked by the state will affect one’s social rating.

Personal “creditworthiness” or “trustworthiness” points will be used to reward and punish individuals and companies by granting or denying them access to public services like health care, travel, and employment, according to a plan released last year by the municipal government of Beijing. High-scoring individuals will find themselves in a “green channel,” where they can more easily access social opportunities, while those who take actions that are disapproved of by the state will be “unable to move a step.”

We do an awful lot of business with China. When trade was opened with China, the idea was that our form of government and freedom would influence their government in the direction of freedom. Somehow, based on this story, I don’t think that is what has happened.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. There is no way I can summarize all of it, but I would like to share a few more points.

The article continues:

Perhaps we are reading the wrong books. Instead of going back to Orwell for a sense of what a coming dystopia might look like, we might be better off reading We, which was written nearly a century ago by the Russian novelist Yevgeny Zamyatin. We is the diary of state mathematician D-503, whose experience of the highly disruptive emotion of love for I-330, a woman whose combination of black eyes, white skin, and black hair strike him as beautiful. This perception, which is also a feeling, draws him into a conspiracy against the centralized surveillance state.

The Only State, where We takes places, is ruled by a highly advanced mathematics of happiness, administered by a combination of programmers and machines.

The article concludes:

Beauty is the ultimate example of human un-freedom and un-reason, being a subjectivity that is rooted in our biology, yet at the same time rooted in external absolutes like mathematical ratios and the movement of time. As the critic Giovanni Basile writes in an extraordinarily perceptive critical essay, “The Algebra of Happiness,” the utopia implied by Zamyatin’s dystopia is “a world in which happiness is intertwined with a natural un-freedom that nobody imposes on anyone else: a different freedom from the one with which the Great Inquisitor protects mankind: a paradoxical freedom in which there is no ‘power’ if not in the nature of things, in music, in dance and in the harmony of mathematics.”

Against a centralized surveillance state that imposes a motionless and false order and an illusory happiness in the name of a utilitarian calculus of “justice,” Basile concludes, Zamyatin envisages a different utopia: “In fact, only within the ‘here and now’ of beauty may the equation of happiness be considered fully verified.” Human beings will never stop seeking beauty, Zamyatin insists, because they are human. They will reject and destroy any attempt to reorder their desires according to the logic of machines.

A national or global surveillance network that uses beneficent algorithms to reshape human thoughts and actions in ways that elites believe to be just or beneficial to all mankind is hardly the road to a new Eden. It’s the road to a prison camp. The question now—as in previous such moments—is how long it will take before we admit that the riddle of human existence is not the answer to an equation. It is something that we must each make for ourselves, continually, out of our own materials, in moments whose permanence is only a dream.

This is scary–not scary enough to get me to get rid of Alexa–but scary.

Thoughts For The New Year

The following is from In God We Still Trust by Dr. Richard G. Lee:

“Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.” from President George Washington’s Farewell Address 1796

“Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” John Adams, U.S. President 1797-1801

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” James Madison, U. S. President 1809-1817

Dr. Lee also points out how a change in definition of a word reflects a concerning change in our society:

Noah Webster’s An American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828, defines patriotism as follows:

n. Love of one’s country; the passion which aims to serve one’s country, either in defending it from invasion, or protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institution in vigor and purity. Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man in the character of a citizen.

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition, copyright @ 2004 defines patriotism as follows:

n. Love for or devotion to one’s country.

Noah Webster’s definition includes service; Merriam-Webster’s definition is simply an emotion. Noah Webster’s definition includes action, not just acceptance of an idea.

It is time to return to Noah Webster’s definition of patriotism.

Legislating Against The Middle Class

Everyone loves vacations–the adventure of spending a few days in a different place and relaxing. However, vacations are not cheap. Travel can be expensive, and hotels are expensive. Several alternatives to hotels have appeared in recent years to make vacations more affordable and to give Americans a way to supplement their income–companies like Airbnb provide cheaper lodging at popular destinations and allow people to earn extra income by renting out their houses on a short-term basis. Needless to say, hotels are not happy about the existence of a cheaper alternative. In Massachusetts, the hotel lobby has been successful in creating regulations that will greatly limit the availability of Airbnb lodging.

On December 30, Hot Air posted an article about a law recently passed in Massachusetts that will probably end Airbnb in that state.

The article reports:

Baker (Governor Charlie Baker) is touting this as a compromise which he claims is able to, “avoid placing undue burdens on occasional renters.” This is nonsense, of course, because in order to qualify for the exemptions to most (though not all) of these new burdens on hosts, you can only rent out your room for a maximum of fourteen nights per year. For most hosts, that’s not going to be worth the bother of signing up for the app in the first place.

The article lists the new requirements for people who want to rent their property on a short-term basis:

And what are these burdens? First of all, anyone with a spare room will now have to carry the same type of insurance as a hotel chain, basically wiping out any profit they might make. On top of that, they’ll be paying a 5.7 percent state tax, plus another 6% tax if municipal or county governments decide to impose one.

Further, hosts will be legally required to list themselves on a publicly available registry. Proponents claim this allows neighbors to know who is renting out rooms to “strangers” but it’s obviously intended as an intimidation tactic, opening up hosts to public shaming, abuse or worse.

The bottom line here is that the hotel industry and their lobbyists have won a massive victory. They don’t like private citizens cutting into their business so they’ve greased the palms of enough politicians to essentially shut Airbnb down in the state. As the New York Times reported more than a year ago, leaked documents from the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) revealed, “a multipronged, national campaign approach at the local, state and federal level.” The goal of that campaign was to enlist elected Democrats to pass laws which would choke the life out of Airbnb and protect their profits. They specifically mentioned Boston as one of their key target markets, and now they have succeeded in bribing the state government to shut Airbnb down.

The article concludes:

It’s true that some people have begun “abusing” the system by purchasing large amounts of property and renting it out like a hotel using the app service. Perhaps a law like this might have been more palatable if it were applied only to people with more than ten rental units or something along those lines. But for all the private individuals with an extra room or a guest house who were using the system as originally intended and making a little extra money, this basically shuts them out of the game.

Airbnb already has one lawsuit in progress against Boston for similar municipal laws they passed earlier. Now they’re saying a new suit against the state may be coming. But if they find no satisfaction through the courts we’re probably seeing the beginning of the death of the gig economy along with the chance for private citizens to profit from their own homes or apartments.

I hope Airbnb wins their lawsuit. They are essentially the Uber of the hotel industry and are going to have to fight many of the battles against lobbyists that Uber had to fight.

We Need A Wall

The following was posted at CBN recently:

As President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats remain at an apparent impasse over the border wall, the commander in chief is drawing criticism for shutting down the government. Others, however, insist the wall is necessary, saying the president must stand up for national security.

CBN News‘ Charlene Aaron spoke with Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney about why he believes it’s so important for the president to win this particular battle over immigration.

I realize that a five minute video is a lot to post on a blog, but it is worth listening to. Frank Gaffney has been involved in national security for a long time and knows what he is talking about.

South Africa Moves Toward Taking Land Without Compensation

On Tuesday U.S. News posted an article about the move to take land from South Africans without paying them any compensation. The parliament recently approved a report endorsing a constitutional amendment that would allow expropriations without compensation.

The article reports:

Land is a hot-button issue in South Africa where racial inequality remains entrenched more than two decades after the end of apartheid when millions among the black majority were dispossessed of their land by a white minority.

A parliamentary team last month recommended a constitutional amendment to make it possible for the state to expropriate land without compensation in the public interest.

The article continues:

President Cyril Ramaphosa, who replaced Jacob Zuma in February, has prioritized land redistribution as he seeks to unite the fractured ruling African National Congress (ANC) and win public support ahead of an election next year.

But the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA) and some rights groups are critical of the government’s plans, saying it will jeopardize property rights and scare off investors.

“We support expropriation of land without compensation or zero Rand compensation in the public interest,” the ANC’s Vincent Smith said during the parliamentary debate.

Ahead of Tuesday’s debate, John Steenhuisen, the main opposition’s chief whip, said “the DA will not hesitate to approach the courts” should the report backing the expropriation of land be adopted.

Following Tuesday’s vote, a new bill proposing the change to Section 25 of the constitution to allow for expropriation of land without compensation would need to be drafted.

It would also require the public’s contribution before a debate and vote in the assembly. To become law, it would need passed by both houses of parliament and then signed by Ramaphosa. It is unclear how long this process would take.

Last week the High Court rejected a legal challenge brought by AfriForum, a group representing mainly white Afrikaners who wanted to overturn a parliamentary committee report supporting changes to the constitution.

There are some things the South African government might want to consider if they decide to move forward with the idea of seizing land without compensation. Although that might seem like a solution to the misdeeds of the past, it is simply a misdeed in the present. Taking anything from someone without compensation is not a path toward harmony. Because the land distribution seems to be so uneven, wouldn’t it be better to require people who hold large portions of land to sell portions of it under government supervision at a reasonable price. Otherwise, you are infringing on private property rights. In December 2010, I posted an article about the relationship between private property rights, the rule of law, and prosperity. You cannot have prosperity without private property rights or without the rule of law. To seize property without compensation violates this principle. It is the way to poverty for South Africa.

 

Ugly Rears Its Head In The House Of Representatives

Sometimes dumb ideas come from Republicans as well as Democrats. I am about to illustrate that fact. Yesterday Representative Ted Deutch of Florida introduced H.R. 7173 into the House of Representatives. The bills description is, “To create a Carbon Dividend Trust Fund for the American people in order to encourage market-driven innovation of clean energy technologies and market efficiencies which will reduce harmful pollution and leave a healthier, more stable, and more prosperous nation for future generations.” Never trust the government to create a trust fund–remember the Social Security Trust Fund–it was robbed during the 1960’s (by the government that created it).

Let’s talk about this trust fund for a moment.

The bill states:

“A carbon dividend payment is one pro-rata share for each adult and half a pro-rata share for each child under 19 years old, with a limit of 2 children per household, of amounts available for the month in the Carbon Dividend Trust Fund.”

Do you really want the government commenting or being involved in any way with how many children you have in your family?

The Hill posted an article yesterday about the bill. The article included the following:

…the bill would charge companies when they produce or import fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas, based on their expected greenhouse gas emissions.

But instead of using the money to pay for health or community projects, the new bill would distribute it to the public. Its backers say those “dividends” would offset the increased costs from the carbon tax, like higher utility and gasoline bills, for about 70 percent of households.

Dividend funds would be handed out by the Treasury Department under the bill, based on the number of people in a household.

“It’s transparent and easily trackable. You know where the money is going. It protects the American family so that families are not adversely impacted. Dividends would protect most families from cost increases,” Ben Pendergrass, senior director of government affairs at Citizens’ Climate Lobby, told The Hill.

“The market signals should still be there to guide things like fuel efficient cars and dividends protect people who can’t make that transition immediately.”

The bill would also prohibit the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the sectors that are taxed, unless the taxes aren’t effective after 10 years. That is an effort to attract support from Republicans, who are nearly united in opposition to Environmental Protection Agency climate regulations.

Rooney focused on the economic benefits of the bill, saying in a statement Wednesday that the revenue carbon neutral fee is good policy and a way “to support emerging alternate sources of energy.”

This bill is a really bad idea. It paves the way for more government intrusion into our private lives and takes more money from Americans. America has cut its greenhouse gas emissions without crippling our economy. We are quite capable of doing so in the future without stifling economic growth and creating even bigger bureaucracies.

 

I Suppose This Isn’t A Surprise

In early November, a Maryland man was killed as police tried to confiscate his guns under a ‘red flag’ order (story here). Obviously the man’s response to the police was unwise, but when you boil the whole story down, the man was killed because he resisted when police came to take his guns. That is chilling.

Today The Daily Caller posted an article about recent statement by Democratic California Representative Eric Swalwell.

The article reports:

Democratic California Rep. Eric Swalwell suggested on Friday that the U.S. government could use nuclear weapons on its own citizens if they fight back against firearm confiscation.

Right-wing internet personality Joe Biggs tweeted at Swalwell in response to a May report that Swalwell wants to ban “military-style semiautomatic assault weapons” and prosecute gun owners who did not turn in their newly-banned weapons.

Biggs promised any such legislation would provoke a “war” between gun owners and the government, writing, “You’re outta your f*****g mind if you think I’ll give up my rights and give the gov [sic] all the power.”

…Swalwell replied to Biggs that any such war between the government and gun owners would be “short” because the government has “nukes,” implying that the government would use nuclear weapons against its own citizens.

He further threatened that the nukes are “legit.”

The last sentence in the article states:

Swalwell said in August that he would consider a 2020 presidential run after the 2018 midterm elections.

This is what a threat to the Second Amendment looks like.

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

America is one of the most generous countries in the world. When natural disasters occur, we send aid. When Americans are in need, we help them. Sometimes we are taken advantage of because of our generosity, and Americans have accumulated a lot of debt because of our generosity. Some aspects of that generosity may be beginning to change.

The American Thinker posted an article today about impact of some of President Trump’s policies on welfare programs.

The article reports:

Welfare bureaucrats are putting the scream on, with news that President Trump’s efforts to enforce U.S. immigration law are incentivizing illegal aliens to drop out of assorted welfare programs.

Get a load of this alarmism from the welfare administrative mafias quoted by Politico:

Immigrants [sic] are turning down government help to buy infant formula and healthy food for their young children because they’re afraid the Trump administration could bar them from getting a green card if they take federal aid.

The article concludes:

The bureaucrats and do-gooders quoted all admit that they aren’t actually entirely sure why the Women, Infants, and Children program has seen its numbers drop from 7.4 million to 6.8 million since President Trump took office.  There is a dismissive note about the “improving economy” but no recognition that the sudden availability of jobs in the Trump economy tends to have a large effect on whether people (legal and illegal) stay on welfare rolls.  For a lot of the poor, the promise of a job with the prospect of higher wages and an improved standard of living – and no government supervision, no need to keep heads down and incomes low – is preferable to any state welfare, so they’re taking the jobs and running.  Jobs in that much dismissed “improving economy” are likely the biggest reason the numbers of welfare recipients, both legal and illegal, are going down.  This, by the way, is correlated with falling food stamp rolls (illegals supposedly can’t get those) and declines in other welfare populations in the Trump economy.

The quoted bureaucrats do say that, because they have fielded inquiries from illegals, those same people who supposedly aren’t bright enough to manage a voter ID card yet are amazingly cognizant on the minutiae of maintaining the exact qualifications for welfare, and who want to make sure that being a public charge won’t hurt their green card chances.

What this shows is that the open borders lobby and the welfare industrial complex are amazingly integrated, and President Trump’s effort to restore rule of law at the border and protect taxpayer assets is a threat to their money interests and raison d’être.  What it also shows is that President Trump can’t keep pushing hard enough on this.  Striking out at the money trail has always been a surefire effort to end corrupt regimes and, by extension, corrupt bureaucratic empires.

I don’t want to see anyone’s child go hungry or not get the medical services they need, but there is a message in this. People are coming to America to take advantage of our welfare programs–they want to take from America, not contribute to America. Preferential treatment should be given to people who want to contribute to America. We need to remember that although we are a nation of immigrants, early immigrants did not have welfare programs they could join. They were expected to work hard to achieve the American Dream. That was the vision of America–it was a land of opportunity, not a land of the free lunch.

Those Nasty Unintended Consequences

On Monday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial detailing the impact of ObamaCare on doctors.

The editorial reports:

A year before ObamaCare became law, an IBD/TIPP Poll warned that it would lead to doctor shortages because many would quit or retire early. New evidence shows that our warnings were dead on.

A recent report from the Association of Medical Colleges projects doctor shortages of up to 121,300 within the next 12 years. That’s a 16% increase from their forecast just last year.

Not only are medical schools having trouble attracting doctors (New York University plans to offer free tuition to its med students), but current physicians are cutting back on patient visits, retiring early or switching careers.

An article in a recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings says that nearly one in five doctors plan to switch to part-time clinical hours, 27% plan to leave their current practice, and 9% plan to get an administrative job or switch careers entirely.

The editorial cites one possible reason for the declining number of doctors:

One of the big drivers of doctor exits, by the way, is the Obama administration’s “electronic health records” mandate, which was supposed to vastly improve the quality and efficiency of care.

It’s had the opposite effect. A Mayo Clinic survey found that the EHR mandate is reducing efficiency, increasing costs and paperwork hassles, and pushing more doctors to quit or retire early.

A Harris Poll found that 59% of doctors say the current EHR system foisted on them by the Obama administration needs “a complete overhaul,” and 40% say it imposes more challenges than benefits.

ObamaCare continued what had been a long and sorry trend in health care. Government-imposed rules designed to fix some problem in the system instead generated mountains of new administrative work.

The result has been that while the number of physicians in the country has climbed modestly over the past three decades, the number of health care administrators exploded.

This is an illustration of the consequences of government interference in the free market. The free market isn’t perfect, but it is the best way to keep prices down, innovation up, and industries (and professions) moving forward.

When Governments Go Awry

The American Thinker posted an article today about what is happening in South Africa. South Africa’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa and his political party are planning to amend to South African Constitution to allow the taking of farmland owned by white residents of the country without compensation. Cyril Ramaphosa  regards this as the last step on the country’s program of land reform.

According to a BBC report:

The country’s white minority is believed to have a disproportionate hold over land, with a few thousand white commercial farmers possessing the most fertile lands.

Somehow I don’t think this is going to work.

The article at The American Thinker points out the history of this sort of action:

Ramaphosa may think it’s money-for-nothing to legislate his way into free land for the people whose support he wants down the line, but it doesn’t work that way. The expropriated farms will soon be ravaged, just as they were in Stalin’s Ukraine or Chavez’s Venezuela, not to mention, Mugabe’s utterly miserable Zimbabwe right next door, and South Africa, too, will become a wasteland. It all looks real nice right now, but the change over just a few years after this move will be amazing.

I saw it myself in Venezuela, where ravaged sugar fields in Cojedes state, out on the llano, were on one half of the roadside, the expropriated-land half, with miserable looking people sitting under a half-tent with a ragged Venezuelan flag flying overhead. On the other side, there was a still crisp, clean, working sugar farm, obviously the next target. Private ownership, vs. public expropriation were visible with one glance. Bloomberg did a piece on the same horror in neighboring Portuguesa state in 2017.

For whatever reason, people appreciate things more when they have to earn them. Also, if people are suddenly given a large commercial farm, will they have the knowledge and ability to run it? That is the problem. When Venezuela took over the American oil wells, the government did not have the ability to keep the oil wells repaired and in good working order. The oil production of Venezuela began to drop shortly after the government took over the oil wells. We can expect the same thing to happen with the large commercial farms in South Africa.

I understand that South Africa has had some racial problems and people have not always been treated well. However, stealing land from people who have worked hard to farm it is not the answer. It might make more sense to compensate the farmers for part of their land and create a cooperative to help the new owners of  farms learn how to work the land. By allowing the current farmers to keep a large part of their land, you insure that the economy will be sustained as it goes through the change of helping the South Africans learn to work their part of the land.

Your Tax Dollars At Work

WJLA posted an article on Monday about a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The article reports:

You can learn a lot from studying birds and every year government funded research does just that.

But it’s one study in particular Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been railing against for years.

“$356,000 was spent of your money studying whether or not Japanese quail are more sexually promiscuous on cocaine,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in a speech on the Senate Floor.

According to scientists, the effects of drugs like cocaine have similar brain effects in quails as in humans. The study looked at behavior patterns while on the drug and found “repeated exposure to cocaine during sexual activity may increase sexual motivation which may, in turn, may lead to high risk sexual activities.”

It cost us $356,000 to find out that cocaine use during sex might be a problem. Most of our mothers could have told us that cocaine use at any time is a problem. Rather than look at the impact of cocaine on sexual activity, why not divert that money to helping combat the opioid crisis in America? The quail on cocaine study is truly a waste of taxpayer money.

The New Voting Laws In North Carolina

The North Carolina legislature has been working on a good voter identification law for a while. They are aware of the fact that a law has to be strong enough to be effective, yet able to get through any court challenges that may ensue. I don’t understand why the Democrat Party supports voter fraud, but that is a story for another day.

The Voter Integrity Project North Carolina released the following press release yesterday:

Update on Voter ID Compromise

June 19, 2015

Excuses

June 19, 2015 (RALEIGH)–After tapping several legislative sources today, we’re convinced the GOP caucus did not “intentionally” gut the voter ID law. Also, their limited window into election fraud analysis leads them to believe the new loophole won’t be a big deal in North Carolina. We humbly accept the former assertion but guardedly accept the latter.

At the end of the day, their new exception will, indeed, allow anybody to walk in with one of several non-photo pieces of paper (called “HAVA IDs”) and be guaranteed a vote that counts . . . so long as they fill out the paperwork correctly. We view this as a major security breach, but Rep Lewis said South Carolina, only had 114 voters exercised this loophole. We hope the same holds true here, but we’ll prepare for the worse.

Rodent Problems

Several highly placed sources convince us that it was an inside job. This emergency legislation was caused by middle- and lower-level bureaucrats at DMV who collected fees for those “free” voter ID cards and demanded more documentation than allowed by law. Whether accidental or deliberate, those state employees raised new doubts about winning the entire voter ID lawsuit and that’s what triggered the lopsided vote count.

Unconfirmed report: One of DMV’s victims was a State Senator’s own mother, so they’re paying closer attention now.

At any rate, we’re modifying our “tell them to veto cry” and are now urging them to investigate the sources of such harassment, . . . down to the specific employee.

The notion of “progressive” moles undermining Republicans in the NC government complex is no shocker. One Rep even laughed, “they’re not used to having Republican bosses.” But jokes aside, Linda Paine, Director of California’s Election Integrity Project, even caught their DMV subverting laws against driver’s licenses for illegal aliens. So, NCDMV workers hassling applicants for their free voter ID cards is all too plausible . . . and very convenient for voter ID opponents!

Governor McCrory and Transportation Secretary Bob Tata owe the public a full explanation.

Sometimes you just have to take a first step before everything falls into place.

 

The Economy In Pictures

Economics is always better explained in pictures than words. Zerohedge.com recently posted 10 Charts which show the true condition of the American economy. I am not going to post all of them, but there are a few that really tell the story.

Total debt of Americans

Presentation Credit Market Instruments

The Home Ownership Rate

Presentation Homeownership Rate

The Inactivity Rate For Men In Their Prime Working Years

Presentation Inactivity Rate

Real Median Household Income

Presentation Real Median Household Income

We definitely need a change in President Obama’s economic strategy.

Protecting Your State From Federal Government Overreach

This week the Supreme Court ruled on President Obama’s recess appointments. This was the first slap on the wrist the President has received when he has overreached his power. There is also a lawsuit coming from Congress regarding his changes to ObamaCare, which were clearly unconstitutional. However, there has generally not been a lot of pushback to President Obama’s power grabs. States that have refused to blindly follow the President on ObamaCare changes to Medicaid or on Common Core have found themselves treated poorly by the Obama White House. It has become obvious to some citizens that states need to protect themselves from unconstitutional actions by the federal government. Now more than ever, we need to follow the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

One concerned citizen has done something about his concern. The following article is posted at the Craven County North Carolina GOP website:

Craven County GOP Leaders visit with Senator Sanderson and Representative Speciale

By Mark Jones on June 23, 2014 in Events

Today, Carl Mischka and I traveled to Raleigh to visit with Senator Norman Sanderson (District 2) and Representative Michael Speciale (District 3). Joining us on the trip were Hal James, Raynor James, Rick Hopkins, and Randy Siler. The group thanked Norm and Michael for their efforts to further the cause of Conservatism in the North Carolina Legislature. We also asked both gentlemen to work hard to pass an effective bill that will end Common Core as we know it in North Carolina. Senate and House Bills about Common Core are currently expected to be debated and possibly combined this very week. It will take efforts in both Chambers of the Legislature to ensure an effective outcome.

We also talked to Senator Sanderson and Representative Speciale about what the Legislature may be able to do to protect North Carolina citizens from unconstitutional Federal executive orders. State Legislatures are the final line of defense between our out-of-control Federal Government and the people. We received commitments from both gentlemen to work with us on this issue between now and the next Legislative Session which begins in January. Let us hope and pray we have until January to do something before more freedoms are lost. More information will be provided on our website as it becomes available.

If anyone wishes to join us in our efforts to defend the Constitution and save America (one county at a time), please contact us for information about how you can help. One person can make a difference.

 

 About Mark Jones

Mark is the current 1st Vice Chairman of the Craven County Republican Party and former Precinct Chair for Epworth. Mark serves as a GOP leader organizing efforts in rural Precincts in western and northern Craven County. Mark believes in personal liberties, personal responsibility, limited Government, and in the U.S. Constitution as the blueprint for everything Government should do.