Uneven Precautions

Hot Air posted an article today about some recent comments by New York City Mayor DeBlasio.

The article reports:

“A small number of religious communities, specific churches and specific synagogues, are unfortunately not paying attention to this guidance even though it’s so widespread,” the New York Democrat said Friday at his daily press briefing.

“I want to say to all those who are preparing for the potential of religious services this weekend: If you go to your synagogue, if you go to your church and attempt to hold services after having been told so often not to, our enforcement agents will have no choice but to shut down those services,” he added.

De Blasio said that continued resistance of authorities to close religious services could mean a permanent shutdown.

The last paragraph is an amazing statement. Particularly when you consider the fact that he has not closed down the parks in New York City.

The article notes:

But it’s still interesting to see how selective the Mayor is in the targets he picks for “special treatment” in terms of enforcing his social distancing decrees. As I mentioned above, why threaten to close the synagogues when he still hasn’t closed the public parks? We’re seeing much larger crowds still clogging the parks than you’re likely to find in the average temple on any given Saturday.

The last paragraph of the article reminds us how silly Mayor De Blasio’s statement about closing down the churches and synagogues is:

The last thing I’ll touch on here was de Blasio’s admonishment about potentially closing the buildings “permanently.” That’s hogwash. Or perhaps malarkey, if you’re feeling more Bidenesque. Sooner or later this virus will pass. When it does, the rules about not gathering in large groups will go out the window. And any elected official found trying to shutter churches and synagogues at that point will quickly find themselves on the losing end of a massive court case, if not run out of town on a rail.

At any rate, one thing Americans need to make sure of is that the freedoms guaranteed in the First Amendment of our Constitution do not get lost in the fight against the coronavirus.

Waiting For The Next Step

For thirty-five years, I lived about ten miles from Kraft Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. New England sports fans are dedicated–even when their team is losing. I learned to appreciate the New England Patriots (actually I am a Jets fan, but I learned to appreciate the talent of the Patriots). I wasn’t really surprised to hear today that Tom Brady will be leaving the New England team. It has been an amazing 20 years for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today about Tom Brady’s announcement that he is leaving the New England Patriots.

The article includes an Instagram post by Tom Brady:

The article concludes:

That era has finally closed out, and what an era it was. It was the kind of dominance that free-agency and the draft were designed to prevent by providing parity to the NFL. It seems unlikely that we’ll ever see it again, but that’s part of the fun of playing the games. At the very least, Brady earned that Greatest of All Time title, and we had fun watching him do it — even if many of us were wailing and gnashing our teeth while he did. No matter where he lands, it’s a long shot that Brady can generate that kind of dominance in the time he has left, but he might have enough to take a more complete team to the Super Bowl. Never count him out.

I will miss watching Tom Brady play. He made the game look easy.

 

 

I Think He Needs To Do Some Work On His People Skills

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about a recent Joe Biden event in Detroit.

The article reports:

Say what you want about the inevitable Joe Biden presidential nomination, but at least it will be entertaining. At least, it will be as entertaining as arrogant ignorance ever gets, a combination that Biden has mastered over long decades in the public eye. Biden went stumping for votes in a Detroit auto plant today, a natural venue for campaigning thanks to the Obama administration’s rescue of GM and Chrysler.

Instead, Biden got caught up in a gun-control argument with a worker who accused him of “actively trying to end our Second Amendment right.” Biden offered a pungent reply — “You’re full of s**t!” — and then things got really testy:

…Biden denies in this clip that he wants to confiscate anyone’s guns. One week ago, though, Biden publicly proclaimed that he would put Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke in charge of his gun policy, a former presidential aspirant who explicitly called for gun confiscations by law enforcement following an assault rifle ban.

The Second Amendment may be a problem for Democrat candidates. Recent statements by all of the presidential candidates and many legislators have advocated gun buy-backs (a polite word for gun confiscation). There are a lot of people in America who value their Second Amendment rights either for hunting or for self-protection. I think most voters are smart enough to see the writing on the wall–that we will lose our Second Amendment rights under either a Democrat President or a Democrat Congress. And I do think Joe Biden needs to work on his people skills.

A Small Step Toward Justice

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air is reporting today that there have been some small steps taken by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court to insure that the civil rights of Americans will not be violated as they were in the case of Carter Page.

The article reports:

Substantively, it might not seem like much, but symbolically, this order will sting the FBI and Department of Justice. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court effectively barred any agents involved in the Carter Page FISA warrants from taking part in its proceedings as a consequence of the misconduct that took place in Operation Crossfire Hurricane. Also, the court will now require agents and attorneys to swear under oath explicitly that they have included all potentially exculpatory evidence in their presentations:

A secretive federal court on Wednesday effectively barred F.B.I. officials involved in the wiretapping of a former Trump campaign adviser from appearing before it in other cases at least temporarily, the latest fallout from an internal inquiry into the bureau’s surveillance of the aide.

A 19-page opinion and order by James E. Boasberg, the chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also largely accepted changes the F.B.I. has said it will make to its process for seeking national-security wiretaps following a damning inspector general report about errors and omissions in applications to monitor the adviser, Carter Page.

But Judge Boasberg ordered law enforcement officials to specifically swear in future cases that the applications to the court contain “all information that might reasonably call into question the accuracy of the information or the reasonableness of any F.B.I. assessment in the application, or otherwise raise doubts about the requested findings.”

…The banishment of Crossfire Hurricane figures is almost certainly meant to be embarrassing, but that’s about as much teeth as FISC has in this situation. As the New York Times’ Charlie Savage points out, the court has limited authority to deal with FBI misconduct. It has no oversight over the Department of Justice at all, which is an executive-branch agency. Presumably the court’s rotating judges had already adopted a more skeptical approach to more recent surveillance warrant applications after reading the Michael Horowitz report, but unless Congress changes the FISA law, courts are still required to follow it.

Speaking of which, the law is due to expire, and Donald Trump has already declared he won’t sign an extension without significant changes. Given what happened in Crossfire Hurricane, few would be surprised to know that, of course:

Unless it it renewed, FISA sunsets on March 15th. There are recommendations on the table to reform the law. President Trump has stated that he will not sign an extension of the law without reforms. Considering how the law was illegally used against him and his campaign, I think that is a very reasonable approach.

There Are Some Things To Remember When Viewing The Truce In Afghanistan

Hot Air (and many other places on the Internet) are reporting today that America has signed a peace treaty with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The article notes:

The United States is set to sign a peace deal Saturday with the Taliban, its adversary in Afghanistan’s 18-year war. The deal marks a major turning point in a conflict marred by years of both military and diplomatic stalemate.

One provision of the agreement is the full withdrawal of American troops that is “heavily conditions based,” according to two U.S. officials who have been briefed on the deal. The officials declined to elaborate on what exactly those conditions are. They spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to discuss the deal publicly.

The article concludes:

This is something I was venting my frustrations about on Twitter yesterday. While I would be very pleasantly surprised to be proven wrong, I can’t believe that the promises of the Taliban are worth anything. Also, even if they were being sincere, they don’t control all of the fighters in their country, so their ability to maintain a ceasefire is dubious at best.

I realize I’ve preached this line to all of you in the past, but I’ve not seen anything to sway my opinion much. The Taliban is just waiting for us to leave. If they have to wait another 14 months or another 14 years, they will. They’re very good at waiting for invading armies to grow frustrated and go home. They’ve been doing it forever. And as soon as we’re gone, they will tear now the new government and return to being a primitive, seventh century nation just as they’ve always been. At this point, we should probably just face up to that reality, use this deal as a ticket to pull our troops out and leave them to their own devices.

There are some things to remember when considering the war in Afghanistan. We made two major mistakes in that war that essentially cost us the moral high ground. Because we did not have the courage to face the problem of pedophilia in the country or to eliminate the poppy crop. Both would have been very difficult, but both would have had a positive impact on the blatant corruption in the country. Unless we were willing to overwhelm the population and stay long enough to change the culture, we were not going to be victorious there.

We also need to remember two of the basic concepts found in Islam–hudna and taqiyya. Reliance of the Traveller, which is a classical manual of fiqh for the Shafi’i school of Islamic jurisprudence, states the following:

If the Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him Peace) made a truce with Quraysh for that long, as it related by Abu Dawud. It is not permissible to stipulate longer than that, save by means of new truces, each of which does not exceed ten years.

The purpose of a truce (hudna) was to give the Muslims time to stockpile weapons and become stronger.

In Islamic law, an obligation to lie exists if it is the only way to achieve an obligatory goal in Islam. Al-Taqiyya is based on a concept in Quaran 3:28 and 16:106. It is also found in the hadith,  the embodiment of the sunnah, the words and actions of the prophet and his family the Ahl al-Bayt (The Twelve Imams and the prophet’s daughter, Fatimah).

We are leaving Afghanistan. Under present conditions, that is a good thing. However, to believe that this will mean that Afghanistan will no longer be a disjointed terrorist state is naive. Afghanistan has never really experienced freedom under a central government. It is naive to believe that we can superimpose a central government that espouses individual freedom over what is currently there. We need to learn the lessons of the American revolution–unless the people are willing to fight for their freedom and respect the Laws of Nature and the Laws of Nature’s God, they will never be free.

Note: the information in this article about the principles of Islam are taken from Stephen Coughlin’s book Catastrophic Failure. It is recommended reading for anyone who wants to understand the Muslim plan for worldwide Sharia Law.

 

Another Unsung Accomplishment By President Trump

Hot Air is reporting today that America reduced its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019.

The article reports:

Increased natural gas consumption helped bring down U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, according to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Chances are you haven’t heard. That’s because the mainstream media and environmentalists insist on condemning the Trump administration for championing fossil fuels even though the United States is doing a better job at reducing emissions than many other countries that signed the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

The public can credit much of this success to the fracking boom, which has made natural gas much more plentiful. Cheap, abundant natural gas has gradually been displacing coal, which emits about twice as much carbon dioxide. A recent Rhodium Group study found that coal-fired power generation dropped by 18% last year, the lowest level since 1975.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, thanks to a huge abundance of cheap natural gas (generated via fracking), America reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2% in 2019 after previously cutting them by the same amount the prior year. In fact, U.S. emissions went down by 12% between 2005 and 2017. By next year, American emissions are projected to be the lowest they have been since 1991, a time when the population was much lower than it is now.

By comparison, how are the “good” countries who signed on to the Paris accord doing? As it turns out, France Germany and the United Kingdom all missed their emissions reduction goals last year. Germany’s emissions actually increased after they started gutting their nuclear power program and were forced to restart some coal-fired plants to keep the lights turned on.

The only countries that are given high marks for meeting the climate agreement’s objectives are very small nations with low populations and not very much economic or industrial activity. So who are the real bad guys in this story? Before any global consortium starts trying to dictate to us how to handle our greenhouse gas emissions, perhaps they should get their own houses in order and follow our example. Rather than just talking about reducing emissions, we’re actually doing it. And we didn’t need a treaty with anyone else to get the job done.

The reason the success of America in reducing greenhouse gases is not heralded is that the success goes against the purpose of the climate change agenda–it doesn’t allow tyrannical countries to shake down democracies and republics.The goal of the climate change rhetoric is to redistribute the world’s wealth–to take money from countries that have prospered under the free market and give it to countries where the government controls the economy. America’s success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions simply does not fit the desired template.

This Could Get Interesting

Hot Air is reporting today that Everytown for Gun Safety, a Mike Bloomberg-backed gun-grabbing group, is setting its sights on Texas.

The article reports:

Everytown for Gun Safety, a Michael Bloomberg-backed group that pushes for expanded background checks, red flag laws and other measures, is plotting what its political director calls an “unprecedented financial and grassroots effort” to flip the Texas House, defend vulnerable freshmen Democrats in Congress and help Democrats take congressional seats in the suburbs. A memo detailing the plan, the group’s biggest state investment to date, was shared exclusively with Hearst Newspapers.

“We believe that Texas, as it becomes younger and increasingly diverse, can be the next emerging battleground state with gun safety as the tipping point,” Chris Carr, the group’s political director wrote in the memo. “We believe there are opportunities to elect gun sense candidates up and down the ballot, from the statehouse to the U.S. Congress — and potentially even statewide.”

I will admit that I don’t know a lot about Texas politics, but it seems to me that the basic culture of Texas might make this planned gun grab a little more difficult.

The article concludes:

While Shannon Watts (founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group of activists affiliated with Everytown) uses hyperbole in comparing Texas to Virginia, she should know that Texas is not like most other states. There are plenty of Democrats in elected office who are strong supporters of the Second Amendment and are gun owners themselves. This is not as partisan issue as it is in other states.

“I would say anyone running for office in Texas should look to Virginia,” Watts said. “Six months after a shooting in Virginia Beach, all of the elected officials who refused gun sense were voted out of office.”

Everytown is supporting freshmen Democrats like my own congresswoman – Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, who is vulnerable. The district was a strongly red district – the reddest in Houston – and fell into Democrat hands for the first time in 2018 when she was elected. She is facing a tough battle to retain her seat. I’m counting on my district moving back into the red column in November.

Everytown is also planning to go on the offensive against Republican U.S. Reps. Dan Crenshaw, Michael McCaul, Chip Roy and John Carter, and it’s planning to spend big in districts left open by retiring Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Will Hurd.

As is said in Texas, come and take it.

Let’s hope Texas voters are awake enough not to repeat what happened in Virginia. One thing to keep in mind when looking at Virginia is that a lot of the Democrat candidates ran unopposed. Hopefully that won’t happen in Texas.

The Problem With Red Flag Laws

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about Florida’s Red Flag Law. Please follow the link to read the entire article. Based on what has happened since the law was passed, some of Florida’s counties were awash with crazy people and other counties had a totally sane population. I doubt either is entirely true.

The article reports:

Florida enacted its red flag law in the spring of 2018 and they didn’t lose any time in putting it to use. And I mean a lot of use. But as this report from the Associated Press indicates, use of the law is not consistent from county to county and there are serious questions remaining as to how fairly it’s being applied.

That is the problem with Red Flag Laws–they deny a citizen due process and they are arbitrary in the sense that an unhappy neighbor can file a complaint without a truly good reason.

The article continues:

The first thing I would point out here is that the AP article was edited to have a rather disingenuous title. It reads “In 2 years, Florida ‘red flag’ law removes hundreds of guns.” While that’s technically true, the actual number is more than 3,500, so “thousands of guns” would have been a more accurate description.

The article concludes:

Here’s one other hole in the state’s red flag law that has many people concerned. These red flag hearings are not considered criminal proceedings so you aren’t entitled to a lawyer assigned by the court. If you’re too poor to afford a good attorney, your chances of prevailing at the hearing go way down. With all that in mind, how many of these “success” stories about gun confiscations were actually brought by people with an ax to grind against their neighbor or angry ex-wives and girlfriends? Once the judge makes the decision to confiscate your weapons, that’s pretty much it. You’re allowed to appeal, but again, if you don’t have a good lawyer what chance do you have?

I’ve been on the fence about these red flag laws since they first started cropping up. In extreme cases like the ones I mentioned at the top, I can definitely see firearms removal as being justifiable. But the system is also open to abuse and there appear to be few safeguards in place for the wrongly accused.

One Disturbing Aspect Of The New Hampshire Democrat Debate

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about the Democrat debate in New Hampshire last week. The article noted that none of the Democrat candidates would have killed terrorist Qassem Soleimani. That is really amazing. Soleimani was the head of the Quds Force, a division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps primarily responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operation from 1998 until his death. He was responsible for the killing and maiming of thousands of American soldiers in Afghanistan. It was also reported that he was planning terrorist attacks on numerous American Embassies in the Middle East.

The article reports:

Mayor Pete at least went so far as to say that Soleimani was “a bad guy.” But he then claimed that “taking out a bad guy is a bad idea if you do not know what you’re doing.” Oh, really? Seems to me that our military knew precisely what they were doing. They knew where Soleimani was, where he was heading and took him out with a single drone shot. And the collateral damage was minimal. He also referenced learning lessons from Iraq in that context. Was he implying that Saddam Hussein should still be alive? Is he aware that Hussein was executed by his own people, not the Americans?

…Biden simply says he wouldn’t have ordered the strike because “there’s no evidence yet of an imminent threat that was going to come from [Soleimani].” Two points about that response should have been obvious. First of all, Biden has been out of office for more than three years. He’s not getting the daily intelligence briefings anymore. Much of the intelligence about Soleimani couldn’t be released to the public because it could have exposed sources and methods. So Joe Biden has no way of knowing conclusively about any imminent threats.

And second, the President can and should make the argument that an imminent threat wasn’t even required. The amount of blood on the hands of Soleimani and the Quds Force could be used to paint a mural the size of Texas. At some point, you run out of second chances. We’d been trying to track Soleimani’s movements since the Bush 43 administration. The opportunity came to take him out and Trump took it. You’ll also recall that Joe Biden disagreed with Barack Obama about the raid to take out Osama bin Laden. Sounds like bad guys around the world should sleep well at night if Joe Biden is elected.

The article concludes:

Bernie believes you can’t “go around saying you’re a bad guy and we’re going to assassinate you.” That, he believes, would lead to “international anarchy.” He would also prefer that such matters be handled through stronger diplomacy at the State Department. Perhaps he’s pining for the good old days of the Obama administration and thinks Iran will behave better if we go back to sending them pallets of cash. We all saw how that worked out during the previous administration.

Notice how Sanders, along with many other Democrats, chooses to use the word “assassination” when referring to the death of Soleimani, as if he was some sort of public figure deserving of respect. The General wasn’t assassinated. He was a battlefield casualty in the war on terror and a very high-value target.

This crew has demonstrated that they’re basically carbon copies of each other on many key issues. As for the current topic of discussion, they are soft on crime domestically (with calls for criminal justice reform and emptying the prisons) and soft on terror both at home and abroad. And if voters want to pick one of them this November they will fully deserve the whirlwind we’ll reap from that decision.

Just for the record, killing Soleimani made the world safer for everyone. Soleimani had no problem killing innocent civilians if they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Obviously, he felt that the rules of war did not apply to him (as if everyone plays by the ‘rules of war’). It appears that the current field of Democrat candidates has no idea that they should be protecting America or any other nation from terrorism. That’s sad.

 

I Find This Rather Telling

While Senator Sanders is holed up in Washington in the impeachment hearings, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is out on the campaign trail campaigning for him.

Yesterday Hot Air reported on some of her efforts:

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sure has an odd way of campaigning for Bernie Sanders. She doesn’t mention his name.

Last October, Bernie scored the coveted AOC endorsement. What could be better than a young socialist with a huge following to endorse an old socialist who captured the imagination of the socialist wing of the Democrat Party in 2016? AOC, after all, volunteered for the Sanders campaign back then. She has a history with him. Last November he announced that she will fill-in for him on the campaign trail while he is doing his day job in the Senate during the impeachment trial.

Michael Moore is also campaigning for Bernie Sanders.

The article reports:

“It is bold and it is a risk,” she (Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) said. “We hedge our bets, we get more of the same. And the same has not been helping. So our job right now is to come together …We’ve got ten days left, ten days (until the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3).”

The New York Democrat also called for the abolition of two federal immigration agencies — Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). She also advocated for Medicare-for-all, and suggested that political leaders craft the nation’s environmental policy around “indigenous wisdom.”

“This is not just about how we win, it’s about how we heal,” Ocasio-Cortez added. “From our bodies to this land, we are going to need entirely new paradigms of public policy in order to heal.”

It’s more than a little scary to me that currently Bernie Sanders is holding his own in the Democrat primary. I do wonder what lengths the Democrat establishment will go to prevent Bernie Sanders from winning the nomination.

It’s Always A Good Idea To Follow The Money

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about the money that funded the March for Our Lives. The March for Our Lives took place on March 24, 2018, in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018. Isn’t it amazing how people managed to organize and put all that together in about five weeks?

The article reports that according to The Washington Free Beacon:

The March For Our Lives Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization launched in the aftermath of the deadly 2018 shootings at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is bankrolled almost entirely by large donations in excess of $100,000. The group reported $17,879,150 in contributions and grants over the course of 2018, its first year of operations. Ninety-five percent of those contributions came from 36 donations between $100,000 and $3,504,717—a grand total of $16,922,331.

The group’s 990 tax form shows another 38 donations totaling between $5,000 and $100,000, which together accounted for an additional $876,114 of revenue. The remainder, just 0.5 percent of total receipts, came from those giving less than $5,000.

The group isn’t required to release the names of its donors but the Free Beacon notes that Marc Benioff and Eli Broad each donated a million dollars. Influence Watch has a list of some of the other big-name donors including Steven Spielberg and his wife who gave a combined million dollars:

A number of celebrities gave financial support to the organization: George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and Kate Capshaw each donated $500,000 for the event. The clothing company Gucci donated $500,000 to the movement. Actress Sara Ramirez notably donated $20,000 to the GoFundMe page. Professional basketball player Dwayne Wade also donated $200,000 to the organization.

All of that doesn’t include the largest contribution by far which came from CNN in the form of an endless stream of air time and online promotion for the Parkland kids, culminating in that awful special in which the Parkland kids and Sheriff Scott Israel were pitted against Dana Loesch and Marco Rubio.

The WFB story also includes a rundown of what the money was spent on. The largest chunk (nearly $8 million) went to funding the March itself. Another $4 million went to a 24-state tour to register young voters.

It is somewhat amazing to me that many Hollywood celebrities who are guarded by men with guns are perfectly willing to support taking guns away from ordinary citizens who are not guarded by men with guns.

This Should Be An Interesting House Race

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about one of the Democrat candidates for the 2nd U.S House district in New Jersey. The person currently holding this seat is Representative Jeff Van Drew, who recently switched from Democrat to Republican. The Democrat candidate is Amy Kennedy, ex-wife of former Representative Patrick Kennedy (son of Ted). Patrick Kennedy represented Rhode Island from 1995 to 2011. Patrick Kennedy has confessed to struggling with alcohol and has worked to combat drug addiction since leaving the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

Amy Kennedy released a video announcing her candidacy Monday.

What I see in that video is a candidate who knows exactly who she needs to win over to get elected – other women. She goes straight to our “moral compass” with a photo of Van Drew and Trump. She includes the soccer mom lingo of showing kindness, treat others with respect, and show compassion. All of this is heard in every household with kids every day. Then she pivots to the economy. She says people in south Jersey can’t find jobs. According to this chart, unemployment is higher in south New Jersey than the northern part of the state where it is more industrialized. The ‘richest corporations” she references are located further north. South New Jersey is more rural and always has been. Back in my college days, my first roommate was from Bridgeton. Her family owned a farm and her parents were active Republicans. In other words, it is traditionally a conservative part of New Jersey. Apparently, Kennedy thinks that inserting some far-left class warfare into the race is the way to go.

She speaks to the deregulation of the energy industry and mentions climate change. She’s really checking off all the boxes, isn’t she? She goes on to mention the mental health and addiction epidemic, too. “We continue to ignore the biggest public health emergency of our time — the mental health and addiction crisis that affects virtually every family.” Well, at least she didn’t succumb to the opinion of the most woke among us and say that climate change is the biggest emergency of our time. That will probably come later.

The video overall will certainly appeal to the audience for which she strives. She’s a former teacher and the mother of five. She’s the mom next door. She can fight the patriarchy and the bad Orange Man without breaking a sweat. Liberal voters are not prone to hold Kennedys morally accountable as they do conservatives. Conservatives see the irony of a Kennedy lecturing about the loss of morality in public life but liberals do not. We only have to look to the career of her father-in-law to see that.

It will be interesting to see how the voters of New Jersey react to Representative Jeff Van Drew’s decision to become a Republican and how they react to the candidacy of Amy Kennedy.

President Pelosi?

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported some recent comments by Adam Schiff to Rachel Maddow.

The article quotes the comments:

Adam Schiff: Well, we have acquired a piece of evidence, classified by Jennifer Williams, something she alluded to in her open testimony. Then going back and looking through her records she found other information that was pertinent to that phone call that we asked her about and made that submission. There is nothing that is classified in the document but the vice president’s office has said they are going to classify… It is not proper to classify something because it would be embarrassing or incriminating. And that submission does shed light on the vice president’s knowledge. We think the American people should see it.

The article notes:

During their conversation Schiff announced he was going after Vice President Mike Pence next and may have “acquired evidence” that the Vice President is hiding information in the House Ukrainian investigation.

If this sounds totally ridiculous (which it is), I would like to remind you of a quote from Maxine Waters (reported by Hot Air in September 2018):

“They say, ‘Maxine, please don’t say impeachment anymore.’

“And when they say that, I say impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment, impeachment,” she said to applause.

Waters told the crowd she won’t stop with Trump.

“I had a conversation here today with someone asked, ‘Well, what about Pence? If you are able to impeach, Pence will be worse,’” she recollected.

“Well, I said, ‘Look, one at a time.’

“You knock one down, one at a time,” she said.

“You knock one down, and we’ll be ready for Pence. We’ll get him, too,” she vowed.

The article at The Gateway Pundit concludes:

Jennifer Williams testified before Congress in November and offered nothing. She worked for Vice President Mike Pence. So now Schiff has Democrats thinking Williams holds the key to Pence’s impeachment.

It is a scary thought that the ultimate result of what the Democrats are trying to do would be to install Nancy Pelosi as President. Hopefully, what Adam Schiff is trying to do is impossible, but his comments are a frightening window into his thoughts. I guess Representative Schiff really does not care that nearly 63 million Americans voted for President Trump.

 

Getting It Wrong…Again

On Friday, Hot Air posted an article about some Democrat’s reaction to President Trump’s new policy regarding food stamps. I wish Democrats would get the facts before they start complaining.  On December 5th, I posted an article explaining the new policy. The new rules state that a person between the ages of 18 and 49 who are childless and not disabled must work at least 20 hours a week for more than three months over a 36-month period to qualify for food stamps. In the past, states could easily get around this requirement, but the President has altered the rules to make avoiding them much more difficult.

Meanwhile, some Democrats obviously did not look at the new rule carefully.

The article at Hot Air includes the following Tweets:

Please note–the new rule does not apply to people between the ages of 18 and 49 who have children. Both of these tweets are totally dishonest. Tweets like these are one of many reasons the country is so divided–when people lie and others believe them, it creates division. I am willing to bet that right now there are a number of Americans who believe that under President Trump, people will not be able to get food stamps if they have children and are not working. It should also be noted that incomes for middle income Americans have risen under the Trump administration. The middle class is profiting from President Trump’s economic policies in ways they have not prospered in years. If you want to see America continue to prosper, you only have one choice when you vote for President next year–President Trump.

 

Wouldn’t You?

If you had a person in your life that was constantly spreading gossip about you that was not true, would you allow that person to remain in your life? That is roughly the situation between President Trump and Bloomberg News.

In 2017, The Washington Examiner reporting the following:

How negative was press coverage of President Trump’s first 100 days in office? Far more than that of Barack Obama, George W. Bush, or Bill Clinton, according to a new report from the Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy.

The Harvard scholars analyzed the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and the main newscasts (not talk shows) of CBS, CNN, Fox and NBC during Trump’s initial time in office. They found, to no one’s surprise, that Trump absolutely dominated news coverage in the first 100 days. And then they found that news coverage was solidly negative — 80 percent negative among those outlets studied, versus 20 percent positive.

The numbers for previous presidents: Barack Obama, 41 percent negative, 59 percent positive; George W. Bush, 57 percent negative, 43 percent positive; and Bill Clinton, 60 percent negative, 40 percent positive.

Things have not changed–on November 13, 2019, CNS News reported the following:

On Tuesday, nationally-syndicated radio host Mark Levin demonstrated how corrupt and bias network news has become, by quoting extensively from a new Media Research Center (MRC) study documenting the overwhelmingly negative coverage of President Donald Trump.

Levin used the opening segment of his show to explore the findings of a study by NewBusters, a division of MRC (as is CNSNews.com):

“Media Research Center: now, that’s a solid organization, come hell or high water. Pressure or no pressure. Because, (MRC President) Brent Bozell is a patriot, as are the people who work with him and for him. And, they stay on it. They will not be deterred.

“And, in a fantastic piece today: ‘Impeachment Frenzy: TV Networks Blast Trump with 96% Negative News’ – That should be the headline right there.”

How can a President be expected to run a country with that kind of news coverage?

At any rate, yesterday Hot Air reported the following:

Bloomberg News decided that it would grant Bloomy’s primary opponents an exemption from investigative coverage but couldn’t grant that sort of exemption to a sitting president, setting up a double standard in which Democratic candidates get a free pass while the Republican nominee is scrutinized. That’s the sort of unworkable ethical nightmare Mike Bloomberg created for his own news agency by choosing to run despite having no realistic path to the nomination. Today the Trump campaign struck back, saying that if Bloomberg News can’t investigate — or won’t investigate — all candidates equally then they’ll no longer be credentialed for Trump campaign events.

The only difference between Bloomberg and the rest of the mainstream media is that Bloomberg is at least being honest about what they are doing. Wouldn’t you kick them off the bus?

How Much Privacy Is A President Entitled To?

Hot Air posted an article today about the ongoing court battle regarding the Congressional subpoena of former White House Counsel Don McGahn. Counsel McGahn was summoned by the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions about the time he worked for President Trump.

The article reports:

Whether or not he would appear was a bone of contention for a while until a federal judge issued a dramatic proclamation on Monday, stating that “Presidents are not kings” and ordering McGahn to appear.

Well, that lasted for all of three days. By Wednesday evening, that same judge had backed down, allowing a request from the Justice Department to delay the implementation of the ruling until the appeals process has played out. Of course, this doesn’t mean McGahn (and the President) are totally off the hook, but they’ve at least bought a bit of breathing room. (Daily Mail)

The article concludes:

That doesn’t mean that the final decision on McGahn won’t cast a long shadow, however. How this plays out will have consequences for the ongoing impeachment circus. At issue here is the question of whether or not aides to the President are shielded from revealing details of private conversations they’ve had with the boss or the counsel they offered. Also, whether or not that shielding lasts indefinitely even after they’ve left their positions with the White House.

That sort of privacy has long been assumed to be part of the President’s executive privilege. But does that extend to investigations of potential criminal conduct? That’s the question that will be answered when the dust settles on McGahn’s subpoena. If he’s ordered to show up and testify, that could open the gate for numerous other Trump aides to be called in to talk about all of the Ukraine events. And that’s likely not something President Trump will want to see after we’re in the thick of the final push to next year’s election.

I guess my question is whether or not the President has the same civil rights as ordinary citizens, If you are an ordinary citizen, your conversations with your lawyer are protected by law. We saw this Constitutional principle violated when Michael Cohen’s offices were raided. Now the question is whether or not we are going to continue to violate President Trump’s Constitutional rights. All of us need to remember–if the President does not have Constitutional rights, then none of us have Constitutional rights.

It’s Nearly Impossible To Kill A Government Program–Even When It Doesn’t Work

Hot Air posted an article today about ethanol in America. The article notes that when the ethanol program (Renewable Fuel Standard) was put in place, it was based on two basic assumptions. The first assumption was that we would be producing huge amounts of biodiesel from sources like palm oil and recycled cooking oil. The other was that we would be pumping out massive volumes of cellulosic ethanol, derived from plants like switchgrass, which grows naturally all across the country. Well, both of those assumptions proved to be false. Because America is now the number one energy producer in the world, it no longer makes sense to use ethanol. Ethanol is not as environmentally friendly as carbon-based fuels when you consider the carbon footprint of its manufacturing process. There are also serious questions about the impact of ethanol on car engines.

The article concludes:

Corn is the least environmentally friendly way to create ethanol. It’s also a very inefficient fuel compared to gasoline so you wind up having to burn more of it to produce the same amount of energy. In short, we’re defeating some of the primary motivations that led us to start down this path to begin with. And yet the program endures for nothing other than political reasons. Midwestern states like Iowa want the government to keep demanding more and more corn ethanol to bolster agricultural markets. Meanwhile, refineries are stuck trading on a corrupt, fake market for RIN credits, driving some of the smaller ones toward insolvency.

The dream of corn ethanol has failed everyone across the board. But like most government mandates, once it’s been summoned into existence, it proves nearly impossible to kill. It would take a tremendous amount of political will to get rid of the RFS now, and that strength clearly doesn’t exist in the Trump administration. You won’t find it among the Democrats, either. And so we keep paddling upstream against the same forces for the foreseeable future.

The closest thing to immortality is a government program.

 

I Guess There Just Isn’t Any Truth In Advertising These Days

Yesterday Hot Air posted an article about a recent lawsuit against ice cream makers Ben & Jerry. Ben & Jerry’s owners are liberals who very openly support liberal causes. Their advertising claims that in harmony with their ideas about the humane treatment of animals ans the environment, their ice cream is made from milk from happy cows. I never really considered the emotional well being of the cows that supplied the milk for my ice cream, but I suppose it is a somewhat valid concern. Well, evidently all of the milk does not come from happy cows.

The article reports:

Since most of this week in Washington is already shaping up to be a festival of the ridiculous, we may as well toss a few more logs on the bonfire. Up in Vermont, Ben & Jerry’s, the famously liberal ice cream company, is being taken to court over fraudulent advertising, along with its parent company, Unilever. But this suit has nothing to do with the quality or safety of their product. An environmentalist is suing them because of their advertisements claiming that their creamy products are made from milk from “happy cows.” Not so, says the plaintiff! Apparently, many of the cows are simply miserable.

Ben & Jerry’s and parent company Unilever are being sued for false advertising by an environmental advocate who claims the milk and cream used to make flavors like Phish Food are deceptively marketed as coming from “happy cows.”

In a complaint filed Oct. 31 in federal court in Burlington, Vermont, where Ben & Jerry’s was founded, environmental advocate James Ehlers accuses the company and Unilever of deceiving consumers who buy the ice cream because of its pastoral and progessive image.

“During the past several years, Unilever has breached consumer trust by representing the Ben & Jerry’s Products as being made with milk and cream sourced exclusively from “happy cows” on Vermont dairies that participate in a special, humane “Caring Dairy” program,” the lawsuit claims.

The complaint alleges that less than half of the milk used is from the “Caring Dairy” program.

The article explains the program (and the problem):

USA Today looked into the question and found that the Caring Dairy program is indeed real. In order to qualify, farms have to follow certain regulations for how the cows are raised and what sort of environmental “carbon footprint” the operation has. But it’s not all that large, with only 65 farms in the Netherlands and the United States qualifying.

Even if Ben & Jerry’s had cornered the market on all of them, they probably wouldn’t produce enough milk to meet their needs. The company claims they “hope” to work with more farms like these going forward, but it certainly sounds as if they’re not using 100% “happy cow” milk. So maybe the plaintiff is correct.

I am strongly in favor of treating animals humanely. However, I also believe that animals are not people. What we need here is a sense of balance.

Insanity In Our Schools

Hot Air posted an article today about a 12-year-old girl who is facing felony charges because she allegedly made a gun shape with her hand and pointed her finger at four students before pointing her finger at herself. Yes, you read that right.

The article reports:

Police hauled her out of school in handcuffs, arrested her and charged the child with a felony for threatening.

Shawnee Mission school officials said they could not discuss the case, citing privacy laws, but did say it wasn’t the district that arrested the child.

According to the Kansas City Star, the incident unfolded in a classroom at Westridge Middle School.

The person said that during a class discussion, another student asked the girl, if she could kill five people in the class, who would they be? In response, the girl allegedly pointed her finger pistol — like the ones many children use playing cops and robbers.

Because of that gesture, The Star was told, the girl was sent to Principal Jeremy McDonnell’s office, and the other students involved were also talked to. The school resource officer recommended that she be arrested, the source said. She was detained by police and later released to her mother.

It gets even worse. According to Star columnist Toriano Porter, there were two kids in the same school district who recently brought real guns to school that aren’t facing felony charges for their actions. Toriano Porter also states that pointing a finger gun at classmates and then yourself is a cry for help — not a criminal act of violence.

The article concludes:

I’m not even going to go so far as to say that this 12-year old was exhibiting a “cry for help.” She could have just been a 12-year old who wasn’t thinking that responding to a dumb question by a classmate was going to end up with her in handcuffs. What’s next? Arresting kids playing “Kiss, Marry, Kill” at lunch for making threats?

The 12-year old girl is now living in California with her grandfather, and will hopefully be able to put this incident behind her, but if the laws in Kansas need to be changed to prevent idiotic situations like this from taking place in the future, I hope legislators in the state will see to it that there are no more felony charges for finger guns in the future.

Did whoever decided to call the police on the child consider the emotional trauma to the child? If this was viewed as a cry for help, why did the authorities choose to make the child’s emotional situation worse? I know a lot of adults who played with toy guns and toy soldiers as children who grew up to be respectable non-violent citizens. The way this child was treated is totally unacceptable–and she didn’t even have a gun!

Is This A Winning Issue?

Andrew Yang is running for President in the Democrat primary. He is currently polling at about 3 percent. He has some interesting ideas on changing the American culture.

Hot Air posted an article today about some of those ideas.

The article reports:

MSNBC held their latest “climate crisis” event for 2020 Democratic hopefuls yesterday and when Andrew Yang took the stage he brought up one possibility that all the candidates should weigh in on. When asked by the host what the world would look like in 2050 after the everyone began dealing with climate change and carbon emissions, he suggested that the end of private car ownership was probably on the horizon.

…Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang said the United States may have to eliminate private car ownership to combat climate change during MSNBC’s climate forum at Georgetown University Thursday morning.

He told MSNBC host Ali Velshi that “we might not own our own cars” by 2050 to wean the United States economy off of fossil fuels, describing private car ownership as “really inefficient and bad for the environment.” Privately owned cars would be replaced by a “constant roving fleet of electric cars.”

Somehow I don’t see this happening.

The article concludes:

There are two sides to this proposal, consisting of the practical and the political. Being as we are in the midst of a presidential race, the political may be more important in the short term. The fact is that the Democrats seem to keep coming up with ideas that may look good on paper at liberal cocktail parties but are not at all popular with the voters at large. Eliminating private car ownership is just such a proposal.

People love their cars. Nearly everyone realizes that they are expensive luxuries and account for too much pollution, but we still live in a car culture. It’s a status symbol and a totem of our freedom of movement. No matter how well-intentioned you may be, if you come along and say the government needs to take away all your cars, the public is going to be up on their hind legs. This is the way you lose elections.

On the practical side, I will grudgingly admit that Yang is probably at least partially correct about this. If he was saying there would be nothing but mass transit, that would be nuts. Mass transit simply isn’t practical for most of the country unless you live in a densely populated urban area. But he’s also picturing fleets of electric, driverless vehicles that anyone can summon when they need to go somewhere. Uber and Lyft are working on just such a plan right now and sooner or later it may become our new reality.

But having said that, electric vehicles still need to be powered. Until you answer the question of where you’re going to come up with all of the electricity needed to replace the power currently being generated by gasoline, you’re not going to be doing much for the climate. As I mentioned yesterday when talking about efforts in California to eliminate natural gas usage, the state derives roughly half of their electricity from natural gas plants. If all of the cars are suddenly running on electricity, they’re going to be burning a massively larger amount of natural gas to meet the demand.

Yet again, we’re seeing the Church of Climate Change forcing Democrats to toss out expensive, impractical ideas that most people will rebel against. And they can’t seem to help themselves.

There is a lot more to the relationship between Americans and their cars than transportation. Somehow I can’t see taking away our private cars as a winning idea. We also need to consider that American carbon emissions are only a part of the world’s carbon emissions. We are a small percentage of carbon pollution. Unless the countries that are not concerned about the environment cut their emissions, nothing we do will have much of an impact. Keep in mind that China and India, the world;s biggest polluters, we essentially exempt from the climate treaty for a number of years. Maybe the treaty wasn’t really about climate.

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.