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

When The Issue Is More Important Than The Solution

Immigration will probably be a major issue in the 2020 presidential election. Traditionally that issue works to benefit the Democrat party. Therefore it is to the Democrats’ advantage to avoid solving the immigration problem in the coming year.

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about Republican’s effort to solve the immigration problem. This is not to suggest that the Republicans are the men in white hats coming to the rescue on principle–this is to suggest that the Republicans want the problem solved so that it cannot be used against them. I really don’t care about the motives–I just want the problem solved.

The article describes the events in the House of Representatives:

“Blame me but we’re not going to stop”, he said. Senator Lindsey Graham, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee kept his promise to move a bill on asylum out of the committee today. Committee Democrats aren’t happy about that. Graham acknowledges his failure to get joint support, but that’s the breaks. He’s moving forward.

“I don’t want to separate families. I want to adjudicate families and I don’t want to release families unless they win their day. So, right now, we’re in the worst of all worlds. We can’t hold children beyond 20 days. If you don’t want to separate the family you have to let them all go because we just don’t have the capability to hold them. This is a mess, it’s a disaster and it needs to change.” He voiced disappointment that the committee couldn’t reach agreement on a broader package but noted he doesn’t want the committee to become irrelevant.

The Democrat members of the committee are not happy about the move:

“I told him it is the first immigration bill before the committee in the last six or seven years. It’s the first partisan immigration bill that we’ve ever had, that I know of,” said U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the chamber’s No. 2 Democrat who has worked with Graham on numerous immigration bills over the years.

“I think it’s a terrible mistake that will sharply divide our committee,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, another Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The article notes that the committee is already divided.

The article concludes:

The bill is introducing some pretty basic changes to asylum law, especially in handling families at the border. The proposed increase in immigration judges will help to speed up the process and move migrants more quickly.

It would increase the number of days a family can be held together from 20 days to 100 days, preventing family separations but lengthening the period children could be held in custody with their parents.

It would also require asylum claims be filed in Mexico or a home country instead of the United States, provide funding for 500 new immigration judges and allow unaccompanied minors from Central America to be sent back to their home countries, similar to unaccompanied minors from Canada or Mexico.

Today’s vote should not be controversial, nor should it have been obstructed for as long as it has been. It is Democrats trying desperately to continue to make illegal immigration and open borders a campaign issue in 2020. Democrats would rather prey on a humanitarian crisis than work on real solutions.

Stay tuned. Generally speaking, major legislation does not happen in the last eighteen months before an election. That should give you an idea of how hard Congress actually works.

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.

A New Level Of Insanity

Hot Air posted an article today about “Meth-gators.” Yes, you read that right.

The article reports:

Loretto Police Department in Tennessee posted an ominous warning on Facebook. “Don’t flush your drugs” is their message. If you thought that “Deeznutz” the attack squirrel was a wild story, how about meth-gators?

You may remember Deeznutz. Alabama police say they were warned about a man feeding his pet squirrel methamphetamines to make it an attack squirrel. The story goes that the squirrel was not tested for drugs when the man was arrested and it was released. If you think a meth-fueled rodent sounds bad, there is a more troubling development. Maybe.

An attack squirrel? Really?

There is a serious side to this article.

The article reports:

The Loretto Police Department used its Facebook page to deliver a public service announcement after the drug bust on the dangers of contaminating the local water supply with drugs. No one wants methed-up animals.

“This Folks…please don’t flush your drugs m’kay (sic). When you send something down the sewer pipe it ends up in our retention ponds for processing before it is sent down stream. Now our sewer guys take great pride in releasing water that is cleaner than what is in the creek, but they are not really prepared for meth.”

“Ducks, Geese, and other fowl frequent our treatment ponds and we shudder to think what one all hyped up on meth would do. Furthermore, if it made it far enough we could create meth-gators in Shoal Creek and the Tennessee River down in North Alabama. They’ve had enough methed up animals the past few weeks without our help. So, if you need to dispose of your drugs just give us a call and we will make sure they are disposed of in the proper way.”

Seriously, most police departments have a disposal site for unused drugs. They don’t belong in our water supply.

Progress?

Yesterday Hot Air reported that Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has agreed to pass the Senate border funding bill after the House bill was defeated in the Senate. The bill has now passed the House by a vote of 305-102. Some Democrats want to be re-elected in 2020.

The article reports:

“Behind the scenes,” noted CNN, “moderates were encouraging members of the Blue Dog and Problem Solvers caucuses to vote against a procedural vote that governed floor debate and force Pelosi to pass the bipartisan Senate bill, as the White House and Hill Republicans have been demanding.” Per Politico, 18 centrist Dems were prepared to tank her revised bill on the floor if she didn’t hurry up and pass the Senate bill instead. The reason Democrats hold the House majority right now is because a bunch of centrists knocked off a bunch of Republican incumbents last year in purple districts. Those centrists are frightened of perceptions back home that Democrats don’t want to do much of anything to ease the crisis at the border except complain about how immigrants are being treated, and they know how potent Trump’s messaging on this topic can be. In the end, if Pelosi wants to keep her majority, those members need to be protected even if it makes AOC cry. So Pelosi made a hard choice: Hand the centrists a win, even at the price of being steamrolled by Mitch McConnell, even knowing how lefties will caterwaul, and get immigration off the table for now.

That choice was made slightly easier for her by the fact that McConnell’s Senate bill wasn’t a party-line matter.

The Senate border bill passed the Senate by a vote of 84-8. It has bipartisan support.

According to UPI:

The Senate passed the bill Wednesday, setting aside nearly $3 billion in humanitarian aid and increasing security measures at the border. The Democratic-controlled House passed its version of the bill earlier this week with a stronger focus on protecting migrant children.

At some point we need to understand that the more liberal Democrats are not interested in increasing security  measures at the border.

Whatever Happened To Transparency?

Yesterday Hot Air reported that all of the cable networks except MSNBC will be banned from live coverage of the South Carolina state Democrat convention. Who made this deal, and why did they make it? C-Span is included in that ban.

The article reports:

Every political junkie in America knows that C-Span is the place to go when looking for coverage of anything political. This is particularly true during political conventions and other large partisan events. The cable channel’s live coverage is unsurpassed. Viewers don’t have to worry about partisan journalists or talking heads from standard cable news networks chiming in or interrupting coverage for commercial breaks. South Carolina Democrats have decided to give MSNBC, the most partisan liberal-leaning cable network, exclusive rights to live coverage. All the other networks, including C-Span, CNN, and Fox News Channel, are required to wait three hours after the convention ends to show their live footage.

The article explains how the coverage is supposed to be handled:

South Carolina is an early primary state. The Democrat state convention is a required stop for the presidential candidates. The cattle call, er, showcase of candidates give the state’s voters a leg up in hearing from all the candidates in person. MSNBC was chosen to “enhance the proceedings”, according to a party spokesman. Two MSNBC show hosts, Joy-Ann Reid, and the Rev. Al Sharpton will interview all of the candidates in attendance using a set specifically built for them to do so inside the convention hall. I doubt it is a coincidence that two black show hosts were chosen to do the interviews. The majority of South Carolina Democrat primary voters are African-American. This is important because South Carolina follows Iowa and New Hampshire as the third state to hold its primary vote. It is known as the First in the South. What better choice could MSNBC have made than to pick their two loudest race-baiters to interview the Democrat candidates? It’s all about putting on a good show, you see.

I suspect the MSNBC coverage will be a new dimension of slanted news. That is a serious disservice to the voters of South Carolina.

A Get-Out-The-Popcorn Moment

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article with the following headline, “Tempers explode, Democrat candidates balk over debate rules.” I guess it’s difficult when you have more than twenty candidates who want to president all vying for a place on the debate stage.

The article reports:

Montana Governor Steve Bullock is angry that he doesn’t qualify for a spot on the debate stage in the DNC’s first two debates scheduled for June and July. His late entry into the race has hampered his ability to qualify for either of the DNC’s requirements – receive 1% support in three polls from an approved list of pollsters and receive campaign donations from 65,000 unique donors, including 200 donors each from 20 states. That sounds simple enough, right? It should be noted that the candidates don’t have to meet both requirements to qualify to participate in the debate, just meeting one of them is enough. The qualifications will be raised higher to qualify for the third and fourth debates scheduled for September and October.

…Two other Democrats aren’t going to be on the debate stage. Rep. Seth Moulton and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam. Moulton sounds at peace with the fact that he’ll miss the debate while no one knows who Mayor Messam is, outside of his city. Messam entered the race in March and has been missing in action ever since.

…Washington Governor Jay Inslee is upset that his main focus, climate change, will not have its own debate. Wednesday Inslee blasted the DNC.

The article concludes:

The Democrat field is huge. None of them are going to be able to speak very much during the debates, at least until the herd is thinned. Whining about the very first and most basic qualifications seems petty. If a candidate can’t raise money and get himself enough publicity to be recognizable to the general public, how will that candidate possibly be able to win a general election? Pass the popcorn.

The Republicans went through a similar process in 2016, and Donald Trump was the winner. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in the Democrat debates. Donald Trump was experienced in media and knew how to use the media to his advantage. I am not sure any of the Democrat candidates have that experience or knowledge.

Priorities

Hot Air posted an article yesterday stating that the New York State Senate is getting ready to rid the state of a group of major criminals–people who text while walking.

The article reports:

As in Hawaii and some municipalities in, of course, California, it would impose fines between $25 and $250 on people for texting, browsing online, emailing or playing games on their cellphone while in a crosswalk.

Because obviously New York has no crime anymore and no serious wrongdoing that hasn’t already been addressed by authoriuties, police or parking cops will have plenty of time to watch the hands of everyone using a crosswalk in a state with about 39 million hands.

Of course, on paper such a rule might make sense. But is it government’s role to fight crime or combat select individual’s lack of common sense? And what about the impact on YouTube where, a friend informs me, many people go for repeated guffaws watching cellphone users walk into light-poles and water fountains?

“If they’re going to get killed crossing the street not paying attention,” said Lyles Press, “that’s their fault. I don’t see why you need to legislate common sense.”

Texting while walking is stupid–it takes a few seconds to stop walking and text what you need to text. However, I really think the New York State Senate has other more important issues it needs to address. In January of this year, The New York Post reported that more people are leaving New York than any other state. Shouldn’t the New York State Senate be thinking about laws that would make New York State a more attractive place to live? Shouldn’t they be thinking about ways to fight crime or end drug addiction or homelessness in their state? Darwin will take care of the people texting while walking, New York Senate, you might consider working toward making your state a better place to live.

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.

Actions Have Consequences

Most Americans strive to preserve the environment, despite how the more radical environmentalists portray them. The problem occurs when there is a small risk to the environment but a benefit to people.  Anything civilization does will probably incur a small risk to the environment, but benefits and risks need to be weighed carefully. New York State is paying a price for the actions of some of its more radical environmentalists.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some consequences of recent environmental activist victories.

The article reports:

If you know anything about New York in the modern era (both the state and the Big Apple), you’re likely aware that it’s not exactly a friendly landscape for the oil and gas industry. The “Keep it in the ground” crowd has a lot of influence with the Democrats who control the government. That why, back in 2013, when the new Constitution Pipeline was proposed to carry natural gas from Pennsylvania’s rich shale oil fields to New York, activists were able to block the construction despite it already having been approved by federal regulators. Similarly, when National Grid (the local energy consortium) requested an extension to the Williams Co. Transco pipeline, they were also tied up because of the outcry from environmental activists.

Here comes the surprise that nobody could have possibly seen coming. The city and its surrounding downstate region are still expanding with new construction projects, but their energy suppliers have told them that they will not be able to supply natural gas to any new customers because they’re already at capacity.

The article concludes with some interesting irony:

The additional ironic twist to all of this is they don’t even need those long pipelines to begin with. Or at least they wouldn’t need them if they were thinking clearly. The southern section of upstate New York is sitting on some of the richest natural gas deposits in the country in the form of the Marcellus Shale deposits. It’s the same formation delivering all of that natural gas over the border in Pennsylvania. But Andrew Cuomo and his Democratic buddies pushed through a moratorium on any and all natural gas drilling and it’s still in place today.

The state could be producing its own natural gas and supplying New York City more cheaply, but they’re refusing to do it out of spite. And now they’ve outstripped their fuel supply. This entire situation would be hilarious if it weren’t creating such a massive SNAFU for the energy grid.

I guess if you live in New York, you’d better make sure you have a working fireplace that you can cook on. The environmentalists put questionable science over the practical needs of people.

Taxes For Thee, But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article today about the infrastructure bill being discussed in Washington. No one doubts that we need to make major repairs on our infrastructure; the question is how to pay for these repairs.

The Hill reports on a suggestion by Republican Chris Collins:

A Trump ally on Capitol Hill is calling for the doubling of the federal gas tax and airline fees in order to pay for the $2 trillion infrastructure package being negotiated by President Trump and Democratic leaders.

Rep. Chris Collins (R-N.Y.) is urging Congress to double the 18.4-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax, which has not been raised in more than a quarter century. He also wants to double the existing fee that airline passengers pay per flight.

“I not only support increasing the gas tax; I support doubling it. I support doubling the airline passenger fee from $4.50 to $8 or $9. Those are user fees. I won’t even call it a tax,” Collins told The Hill in an interview after Trump and Democratic leaders agreed Tuesday to try to fund a $2 trillion bill to improve the nation’s crumbling roads, bridges and other infrastructure.

Hold on there a minute, Congressman Collins. According to answers.com:

Members of Congress gets their gasoline free , although some pay for their gas out of pocket But don’t stop there. Those that pay for their gas will turn in their gas receipt and get their money back. Don’t believe me , just ask your friendly member of Congress.

Members of Congress also fly at government expense. So who is impacted by doubling the gasoline tax and doubling the existing fee that airline passengers pay per flight? It’s the ‘little people’–it’s not members of Congress. This is exactly the mentality that President Trump was elected to combat. This is another example of Congress putting a burden on the American people that Congress does not have to share. Any Republican Congressman that votes to increase any tax needs to be reminded why he was elected. Any Congressman that suggests a tax that will impact average Americans, but not Congress needs to face a primary opponent in the next election.

False Advertising

Hot Air posted an article today about the 5K Family Fun Run Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held in Queens, New York, on Saturday.

The article reports:

It started innocently enough. AOC advertised the 5K run as an opportunity to support her far left aspirational environmental policy known as the Green New Deal. It was billed as “a Family Fun Run supporting U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal on the Saturday following Earth Day.” That’s a clear statement, right? The message says come out and support AOC’s Green New Deal. Period.

It turns out that the $30 registration fee plunked down by participants went directly into AOC’s campaign coffers. Instead of saving the planet, they are saving AOC’s congressional seat. Ocasio-Cortez even told the runners that the purpose was to “fight for the Green New Deal together.” It is reported that 400 people turned out for the event. So, that’s a tidy sum for a campaign to raise on a Saturday afternoon in a congressional district.

It seems that charging children a registration fee when the money is going into campaign coffers is a violation of campaign laws–it is illegal for parents to donate their money on behalf of their children. I  somewhat sympathize with Representative Ocasio-Cartez on this one. Campaign laws are complicated, and it is easy to violate them unintentionally. However, it does appear that the advertising for this run was misleading at best.

The article concludes:

So, the moral of the story is to read the fine print, just as your parents told you to do as you became old enough to sign your name on the dotted line.

The questions you have to answer when you contribute to a political campaign are a bit much–if you are retired, you have to list what you did for work before you retired. Why is that important? At any rate, campaign laws are complex, and candidates ought to have someone on their staff to make sure they are in compliance. This was a rookie mistake.

Promises Made, Promises Broken

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the latest twists and turns in the Jussie Smollett case. The article notes that two days ago Kim Foxx told the media that she thought the court had sealed Smollett’s court file due to a misunderstanding and that it would be unsealed once the error was recognized. Well, things have changed.

The article reports:

The state prosecutors’ association also faulted Cook County prosecutors for not objecting to a defense request to immediately seal the court file at Tuesday’s brief, unannounced hearing. By Tuesday evening, all traces of the case had been deleted from court records.

In an interview Wednesday with the Tribune, Foxx said she believed the case file had only been sealed due to a misunderstanding — and that the seal did not apply to the entire court file. Nevertheless, she said, the case file would be unsealed.

However, on Thursday, an office spokeswoman backed off that claim, saying the case file would remain under seal in its entirety by court order.

The Chicago Tribune ran to court yesterday to try to prevent Smollett’s lawyers from moving to expunge his file, which conceivably would mean all records related to the case getting destroyed. Smollett’s lawyers insisted they won’t try to do that — surely you trust them — and the presiding judge assured the Tribune’s attorneys that records wouldn’t be destroyed even if the file ultimately was expunged. “That isn’t what we do in Cook County,” he said.

So, look out next week for the inevitable headline, “SMOLLETT RECORDS DESTROYED AFTER FILE EXPUNGED; FOXX KNOWS NOTHING.”

Stay tuned.

 

 

Should A Representative Republic Represent Its Citizens?

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a recent vote in the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

In the Democrats’ rush to pass HR1, a serious snag emerged for Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her party’s leadership. Republicans were able to force a vote on adding language to the supposed voting rights bill condemning the idea of illegal aliens voting in any elections. It simply read, “allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.”

Sounds fairly basic, right? It’s already against the law for illegal aliens to vote in federal elections, though a few liberal municipalities have moved to allow them to cast ballots on the local level, such as in school board elections. Surely this is one area where we can generate some bipartisan consensus, yes? Apparently not. Out of the Democrats’ significant majority in the House, they only managed to find six people who were willing to support the measure and it went down in flames.

There are a few basic facts here that seem to have been overlooked. Illegal aliens are guests of America. They may have broken into the country, but they are guests. Do you let your household guests make decisions about how you run your household? Isn’t the running of the household left up to the permanent residents in charge? The fact that this amendment to HR1 did not pass tells you what HR1 is actually about.

I have written about H.R. 1 before (here, here, and here). If you are not familiar with the bill, please take a look at it. The bill is unconstitutional–Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states power over elections. H.R. 1 would give the federal government control of elections. Federalizing elections would also make it much easier to tamper with the results–because elections in states are not linked together, undermining them takes a much more widespread effort and is generally not worth it.

If you truly care about preserving our republic for our children, you need to vote all the Democrats who voted not to prohibit illegal aliens from voting out of office. People who are not here legally should not have a say in how our country is run. An illegal voter cancels out the vote of an American citizen. That is simply not right.

The article concludes:

I realize this theme gets beaten to death in the early days of any primary, as the numerous candidates race to shore up their support with the base, but just how far left can they go? Opposing the idea of allowing non-citizens, particularly those in the country illegally, to cast votes in American elections is not a fringe or even particularly right-wing idea. It’s baked into the fabric of the national consciousness. Even beyond the folks who will eventually wind up running for president, each of these Democratic House members is going to have to answer for this vote when they come up for reelection themselves. (And particularly in the more purple districts, you can rest assured that their Republican opponents will make sure they do.)

Tack on their votes in favor of infanticide recently and you’ve got a large chunk of the party – not just their POTUS hopefuls – who are veering so far to the left that the GOP may end up having a much better season than anyone is anticipating. What’s up next for the donkey party? Shutting down all Christian churces as “hate groups?”

Representative Lee Zeldin Explains Why He Did Not Vote For The Democrats’ Resolution Condemning Hate

Representative Zeldin’s speech condemning the Democrats’ resolution on hate speech was posted at Hot Air today. I wonder if anyone is listening. Here is the speech:

 

Attacked For Doing His Job

A smart police force keeps track of groups coming into town to hold rallies or protests. I am sure that any time the Tea Party or Antifa holds a rally in a city, the police are aware of the gathering and keep close tabs on it. That is their job. However, some of the residents of Portland, Oregon, seem to be unaware of the procedures involved in policing rallies.

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about some recent events in Portland.

The article reports:

Last week a Portland police lieutenant named Jeff Niiya was accused of colluding with right-wing protest group Patriot Prayer after a string of his texts were released to the public. Lt. Niiya’s job is to coordinate with protest groups coming to the city and the texts show him doing just that, i.e. chatting with Patriot Prayer’s Joey Gibson about the group’s intentions and planned movements. As I noted last week, Lt. Niiya has previously been in close contact with a member of Antifa who became an outcast when other members of the group learned she’d be talking with police.

…Despite the fact that it was the Mayor’s own office requesting the information Lt. Niiya was gathering on Patriot Prayer, the investigation prompted by Niiya’s texts remains ongoing. As part of that process, Police Chief Outlaw scheduled a listening session to hear the community’s concerns Thursday night. Reporter Andy Ngo, who attended the meeting, says it quickly became a “sh*tshow” and a “circus of identity politics and hysteria.”

Some attendees at the listening session called for the Portland police to be disbanded. This sort of foolishness in Portland is not all that unusual.

The article concludes:

It’s not hard to imagine why Antifa anarchists like the idea of a city without a police force. That’s pretty much what they got last August when Mayor Ted Wheeler allowed an Occupy ICE camp full of vile extremists to grow and fester. Protestesters became so violent that ICE officers called 911 for help but Mayor Wheeler ordered the police not to respond. When the same mob turned on a woman running a food cart and burned it down, the police never responded. In the end, it was Police Chief Danielle Outlaw who demanded the Mayor allow her to clear out the camp. Naturally, the protesters left behind loads of garbage for the city to clean up.

At this point, Chief Outlaw seems to be one of the few city officials with any sense. Hopefully, she won’t buckle under the pressure from extremists to condemn Lt. Niiya.

This would be comical if it were not so serious.

Recycling Bad Ideas

Hot Air posted an article today about Democrat Presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren. Both candidates have stated that they would be in favor of reparations for black Americans.

The article reports:

Last week, Senator Kamala Harris of California agreed with a radio host’s recent suggestion that government reparations for black Americans were necessary to address the legacies of slavery and discrimination. Ms. Harris later affirmed that support in a statement to The Times…

Ms. Warren also said she supported reparations for black Americans impacted by slavery — a policy that experts say could cost several trillion dollars, and one that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and many top Democrats have not supported…

“We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences, including undermining the ability of black families to build wealth in America for generations,” Ms. Warren told The Times. “We need systemic, structural changes to address that.”

I would like to suggest that this might not be a winning issue. The article notes that last year Rasmussen found 70 percent of Americans opposed to reparations for slavery.

How would reparations be a positive thing? The money would have to come from somewhere. The people who paid increased taxes to pay reparations would resent it. Also, what about people in families that were not here during slavery? Also, how would you prove that a black person had ancestors who were slaves? How about reparations for the soldiers who fought against slavery? How about reparations for the Native Americans for the way they were treated? How about reparations for the Japanese interred during World War II? How about reparations for the Irish indentured servants who were treated badly?

As you can see, this would be the beginning of a journey down a very slippery slope. How about we make sure that all people of every color are treated equally under the law and given equal opportunity? How about we work to change the culture in low income communities of all colors to encourage intact families, a culture of learning, and a strong work ethic? Encouraging those three things would do more to increase the wealth of poor black communities than all the reparations in the world ever could.

 

Denying Science In A Way That Is Politically Correct

When you are born, you have either an x and a y chromosome or two xx chromosomes. Men have and x and a y, and women have two x’s. These chromosomes determine your biological makeup. There are only two options. However, lately politicians have decided to ignore the science and determine sex without consulting any obvious physical characteristics.

Hot Air posted an article today with the following headline: “Gillibrand: We need to federally recognize a third gender.”

The article reports:

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is going to great lengths to establish her far-left bona fides heading into the Democrat’s POTUS primary. This weekend she upped the ante even further by jumping onto the transgender rights bandwagon. When asked by a reporter, Gillibrand indicated that she would certainly be in favor of recognizing a third gender (defined as “X” or none of the above) at the federal level.

Isn’t that basically denying science?

The article concludes:

But now that she’s on the record, it may be time to ask her what happened to that whole thing about Democrats being “the party of science.” That’s the position they claim to take every time the subject of climate change comes up. But there is absolutely zero, zilch, nada evidence in medical science that human beings can be some sort of “third gender” or be “genderless” if they decide they don’t feel like one or the other. The only exceptions would be intersex individuals with genetic aberrations to the 23rd chromosomal pair. Such individuals should be able to pick whichever gender they prefer (of the two available choices) for purposes of legal classification. But as for the other 99.99% of the population, applying such a standard to legal documents can cause any number of complications for everything from law enforcement needs to federal allocation programs.

To be clear, you can call yourself whatever you want. I don’t object to it personally and the government has no business suppressing your speech in that fashion. But just because you happen to be in denial of reality, that doesn’t mean that the rest of us (or the government) are under any obligation to go along with your views. Gillibrand is running off to join the circus of politicians beclowning themselves in an effort to establish themselves at the far leftmost extreme of the ideological spectrum. But looking at the latest poll numbers, she isn’t making the sale to the socialist base thus far and it’s tough to imagine this will do the trick.

The Democrats are working very hard to make something that used to be very simple very complicated. Let’s go back to having boy babies and girl babies. It was much easier.

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.

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.

Undermining Elections One State At A Time

I think most people understand that the Democrats look at people entering America illegally as future Democrat voters. However, it seems as if some of those expected votes are not happening in the future–they are happening now.

On Friday, Hot Air reported that the Texas Secretary of State has reported that as many as 58,000 non-citizens voted in elections in Texas between 1996 and 2018.

The Houston Chronicle reported that there has been some pushback on this statement:

“There is no credible data that indicates illegal voting is happening in any significant numbers, and the Secretary’s statement does not change that fact,” said Beth Stevens, Voting Rights Legal Director with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Stevens said she is concerned about how the state is identifying the suspected non-citizen voters.

The Secretary of State’s office insists the data is accurate and relies on documents that the voters themselves submitted to DPS when they were trying to obtain drivers licenses. Non-citizens are eligible to get a Texas drivers license, but they are not allowed to register to vote.

“It is important to note that we are not using information self-reported by the person regarding citizenship status; rather, we are using documents provided by the person to show they are lawfully present in the United States,” the state’s director of elections, Keith Ingram, wrote in a notice to registrars in all 254 counties in Texas.

The article at Hot Air concludes:

Also, it’s not as if the Texas Secretary of State makes this announcement and suddenly the names on his list are removed. The Secretary of State in Texas doesn’t have the power to remove anyone from the voter rolls, so that will be done by county-level registrars. Those officials will check the names and give each identified person 30 days to demonstrate proof of citizenship. Only if they fail to do that or don’t respond at all will they be removed from the rolls.

It seems to me what’s really at stake here is the presumption that large-scale voter fraud doesn’t happen. If Texas can substantiate even a fraction of this list it would change the dynamic of future conversations about non-citizen voting. We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.

We need to remember that every vote by a non-citizen cancels out the legal vote of a citizen. For those claiming that cleaning up the voter rolls disenfranchises people, what about the citizens disenfranchised by non-citizen votes?

 

A Wall For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some recent comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It seems that walls work in other places, but they don’t work in America when President Trump wants them.

The article reports:

Baier (Bret Baier of Fox News)pressed on this point, asking Hoyer about border barriers that have already been built: “Would you remove those existing barriers because you say they don’t work?”

“No, no,” Hoyer replied.

“So they work there?” Baier asked. Hoyer rambled for a bit about people living along the Rio Grande and eventually, Baier asked him again, “So they work some places.”

“Obviously they work some places,” Hoyer said as if it hadn’t taken three minutes of concerted effort to get him to admit the obvious.

Not only do they work in some places, America has helped finance them in some places.

Some places in the world where border walls are used for security:

India and Pakistan

Morocco and Algeria

Israel and the West Bank

Cyprus

Northern Ireland

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Turkey and Syria

Kenya and Somalia

The list is courtesy of The Washington Examiner.

So even some Democrats know that walls work, and the amount of money requested to build a wall is a totally insignificant part of the budget, so what is this about? Do not be fooled. The establishment Republicans do not want the wall any more than the Democrats do. To the Democrats, open borders represent future voters. To the Republicans, open borders represent cheap labor for their corporate sponsors who belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is also the added aspect of the Washington establishment finally getting a victory over President Trump. The only way Americans are going to ever have a voice in Washington is if they clear out ALL of the establishment politicians in both parties. Term limits might be a really good place to start.