Is There A Problem?

President Trump made a very generous offer to the Democrats in the House of Representatives today regarding border security on our southern border. Unfortunately it is a pretty safe bet that they will turn down the offer. So exactly what is at stake?

On January 7th Christopher Holton posted an article at The Center For Security Policy about the security threat on our southern border. It is a rather detailed article, and I suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article.

Here are some of the highlights:

For instance in May 2001, former Mexican National security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, reported, that ‘Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.’

There is no way to estimate how many jihadists may already have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. But the time to play politics with the border issue is long past. The shallow sloganeering and race-baiting that have dominated the national debate about border controls should be recognized as what they are: hindrances to sane and sensible national defense measures.

…Mexicans trying to enter the U.S. illegally are often simply processed at the border and sent back. But Mexico won’t allow us to send citizens from other countries back through Mexico, and under U.S. law, they’re entitled to a formal deportation hearing. The immigration service lacks beds to hold them, so the vast majority of OTMs are released from custody and asked to voluntarily return for their court date.

For instance, in 2005 alone, there were estimated to be 71,000 such OTM fugitives.

…The intrepid Todd Bensman of the excellent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has provided the highlights of that report’s findings:

• The recent migrant caravans originating in Central America have included “several SIAs (Special Interest Aliens), and potentially” known or suspected terrorists traveling toward the U.S. border.

• The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to prioritize the SIA threat as one of the top threats to the homeland because of the consistently “large number” of individuals from special interest countries that travel to the Western Hemisphere using illicit pathways.

• Written ISIS materials and publications have encouraged ISIS followers to cross the U.S. Southwest Border.

• DHS Border Patrol Agents “routinely” encounter SIAs at the border using routes controlled by transnational criminal organizations.

• Statistics on the number of known or suspected terrorists on routes to the border are often classified, but the threat posed by “the existence of illicit pathways into the United States” highlights that “border security is national security” as terrorist groups seek to exploit vulnerabilities among neighboring countries to fund, support, and commit attacks against the homeland.

• The report lists five open-source, unclassified cases representing the types of individuals and threats associated with illicit routes to the homeland. (CIS recently compiled and published a list of 15.) A number of heavily redacted cases are included in which biometric enrollment information uncovered suspected terrorists in 2013, 2015, and 2018.

• The frequency of international flights from special interest regions into Latin America and the Caribbean continues to increase due to economic and governance challenges in those countries that create an attractive environment for illicit SIA travel to the U.S. border.

• ICE Homeland Security Investigations is deeply enmeshed in investigations and operations throughout Central America to counter human smuggling organizations that move SIAs in Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil.

• The United States-Canada border “is also susceptible to exploitation by SIAs.”

It’s time for the politicians in Washington to stop fooling around and secure the border. The next terrorist attack in America will be on their hands.

President Trump’s Saturday Speech

I watched the President’s speech on Saturday afternoon. I have a few observations. As the President pointed out, the proposals he is offering to the Democrats are things that they have voted for in the past (as is the fence, actually). He is also asking the Senate to introduce a bill on Monday based on his proposals. This is smart–the bill has a reasonable chance of passing in the Senate. If the bill passes in the Senate and fails in the House of Representatives, then the Democrats can be blamed for the shutdown, which is definitely lingering on. It also puts the Democrats in the position of keeping the government shut down by voting against things they have voted for in the past. That is not a good optic for them. Introducing the bill in the Senate first is a win-win for President Trump. There may be information that some Democrats in the House will support the President’s compromise. I don’t know that, but I wonder because of the speech today.

Mitch McConnell posted a press release following the President’s speech that included the following:

“I commend the President for his leadership in proposing this bold solution to reopen the government, secure the border, and take bipartisan steps toward addressing current immigration issues.

“Compromise in divided government means that everyone can’t get everything they want every time. The President’s proposal reflects that. It strikes a fair compromise by incorporating priorities from both sides of the aisle.

“This bill takes a bipartisan approach to re-opening the closed portions of the federal government. It pairs the border security investment that our nation needs with additional immigration measures that both Democrat and Republican members of Congress believe are necessary. Unlike the bills that have come from the House over the past few weeks, this proposal could actually resolve this impasse. It has the full support of the President and could be signed into law to quickly reopen the government.

“Everyone has made their point—now it’s time to make a law. I intend to move to this legislation this week. With bipartisan cooperation, the Senate can send a bill to the House quickly so that they can take action as well. The situation for furloughed employees isn’t getting any brighter and the crisis at the border isn’t improved by show votes. But the President’s plan is a path toward addressing both issues quickly.”

Opening the government without fully funding the wall would be a mistake. Congress has proven in the past that they do not always get things done if the pressure is taken away. I can guarantee that if the government is opened before an agreement is reached, the wall will never be built and our border will remain unsecured.

Watch Out For The Bright, Shiny Object

Rightwinggranny is a little more than ten years old. I have learned a few things along the way. One of those things is that when the media is screaming headlines in unison, there is probably something going on behind the scenes that I need to be aware of. This article is an example of that.

On January 16th, Breitbart reported that New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be serving on the House Financial Services Committee. The Committee is led by Representative Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California.

Representative Ocasio-Cortez has made some remarks that indicate she may not totally understand exactly how America’s Representative Republic works, but that’s okay–she still got elected. So let’s look at who supported her election. Opensecrets.org is a website that tracks political campaign donations, The link I highlighted leads to information on the funding of Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign for the House of Representatives. There is nothing illegal here, but it is always interesting to see where a candidate gets their funding.

The campaign funding information on Representative Ocasio-Cortez shows that during her primary campaign, two-thirds of the donations came from small donors. She may not fully understand how our government works, but she did a very good job or organizing a campaign. Eighty-eight percent of the large donations to her campaign (over $200) came from outside her district. From the time she won the primary election until the end of June, she received $70,000 from out-of-state donors. How does a newcomer to politics build that kind of a political machine? Who were the people who helped her organize her campaign? I don’t have answers to those questions.

So why is it significant that Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been appointed to the House Financial Services Committee? That is the committee that oversees big banking, lending, and the financial sector. Representative Ocasio-Cortez has already expressed an interest in looking into the student loan crisis (a crisis created when the government took over student loans). It is quite possible that the committee will attempt to undo the deregulation President Trump has done that has led to the economic growth we are experiencing. Hopefully the Senate can protect our booming economy.

The other significant appointment you might not have heard about is the appointment of Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. (You can read more about Ilhan Omar at Power Line Blog.) 

Breitbart posted an article about the appointment yesterday.

The article reports:

Omar supports the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, which has been called antisemitic because it singles out the Jewish state for isolation and ignores the Palestinian side.

…House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) issued a statement in which he reminded Pelosi that she said Congress “must” oppose BDS, and that Schumer had called BDS “anti-Semitism.”

“I would love to know what changed, because Democratic leaders just promoted a pro-BDS Democrat to a key committee that deals with the State of Israel.”

McCarthy continued: “Anti-Semitism has no place in Congress and certainly not on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.”

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) blasted Pelosi for appointing Omar to the committee, saying she had a “documented history of making anti-Semitic and anti-Israel remarks.”

He added: “House Democrats have now just endorsed that ideology.”

This appointment may simply be a reflection of the ongoing battle between Nancy Pelosi and President Trump as to who is going to lead the country. However, both of these appointments represent a very severe left turn on the part of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. It remains to be seen if Americans will support this extreme left turn.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

But It Sounds So Wonderful

Sometimes I wonder if anyone in Congress has actually read the U.S. Constitution.

Shmoop states:

Clause 1. The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

The Constitution generally leaves it up to the states to organize congressional elections, but gives Congress the power to set new rules for federal elections as it sees fit. In 1842, Congress passed an important law requiring single-member district elections in every state, standardizing congressional election practices nationwide. The same law set one standard Election Day—the Tuesday after the first Monday in November—throughout the country. We still use the same Election Day today.

On Thursday PJ Media reported that one of the top legislative priorities of the new House of Representatives is the passage of H.R. 1.

The official name of the bill is:

H.R.1 – To expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.

If only that were what the bill is actually about.

These are some of the provisions of H.R.1 listed in the article:

It forces states to implement mandatory voter registration. If someone is on a government list — such as receiving welfare benefits or rental subsidies — then they would be automatically registered to vote. Few states have enacted these systems because Americans still view civic participation as a voluntary choice. Moreover, aggregated government lists always contain duplicates and errors that states, even without mandatory voter registration, frequently fail to catch and fix.

H.R. 1 also mandates that states allow all felons to vote. Currently, states have the power under the Constitution to set the terms of eligibility in each state. Some states, like Maine, have decided that voting machines should be rolled into the prisons. Other states, like Nevada, have chosen to make a felony a disenfranchising event.

…H.R. 1 would also force states to have extended periods of early voting, and mandates that early voting sites be near bus or subway routes. While purportedly designed to increase participation, early voting has been shown to have no effect on turnout.

…H.R. 1 also undermines the First Amendment by exerting government control over political speech and undoing the Supreme Court’s Citizen’s United decision.

The proposal also undoes another Supreme Court decision. In Husted, a case arising out of Ohio, the Court ruled that federal laws — known as “Motor Voter” — do not prohibit states from using a voter’s inactivity from triggering a mailing to that voter to see if they still are living at that location. H.R. 1 would undo that ruling and prohibit states from effectively cleaning voter rolls.

You get the picture. Please follow the link to read the entire article. Aside from the fact that most of H.R. 1 in unconstitutional, it is a naked power grab by the new House of Representatives. It needs to be stopped cold.

Killing A Growing Economy One Law At A Time

On January 4th, Investor’s Business Daily reported:

Since President Donald Trump took office nearly two years ago, some 4.8 million new payroll jobs have been created. That’s more than four times as many as created during President Obama’s first four years.

Hold on, you say, didn’t the unemployment rate jump from 3.7% to 3.9%? It did. Yes, but not because more people were unemployed, but because more people entered the labor force, seeking opportunities that didn’t exist before.

It’s actually a bullish sign. Some 419,000 people entered the workforce during the month, driving the labor force participation rate to 63.1%, up from 62.7% a year ago. That bellwether employment figure declined pretty consistently during the job-poor Obama years, from 65.7% when Obama entered office to 62.9% when he left. It stabilized under Trump. Last month’s 63.1% tied for the highest point since September 2013.

This rapidly improving economy is the result of President Trump’s deregulation and tax cuts. Cutting the corporate taxes and regulations resulted in manufacturing jobs returning to America (after President Obama told us they were never coming back). So why is the Democrat House of Representatives trying to undo this progress?

The Hill reported yesterday:

Rep. John Yarmuth, the new House Budget chairman, said his chamber’s budget blueprint will aim to claw back lost revenue by boosting the corporate tax rate from its current 21 percent to as high as 28 percent, with rate increases also possible for high-earning individuals.

The Kentucky Democrat said Friday he wants to mark up a fiscal 2020 budget resolution, which will outline his party’s vision for taxes and spending over the next decade, in time to reach the House floor in early April. Yarmuth said Democratic leaders have told him they want to be ready so they can set the procedural stage for passage of all 12 appropriations bills before the August recess.

Are they simply economically badly informed or is there another motive? Well first I would like to mention my favorite Milton Friedman quote, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.” I think there are two forces at work here–first of all the Democrats love taxes. They believe that the more of everyone else’s money they have to spend, the more powerful they are. Second of all, Democrats with brains realize that increasing taxes will slow economic growth. Slowing the Trump economy is the only chance the Democrats have of taking the presidency in 2020. That is the plan. Hopefully the Senate will not pass the House of Representative’s budget plans. They will be harmful to average Americans. President Trump has helped average Americans economically. President Obama helped Wall Street but ignored Main Street. The House Democrats seem determined to go back to that model which ignored average Americans.

More Shark Jumping In The House Of Representatives

While our southern border remains porous, the new majority of House Democrats is busy. On January 3rd, The Hill reported that Representative Julia Brownley of California has introduced a bill to rewrite federal laws with gender-neutral terms, codifying the progressive ideological tenet that distinctions between men and women are exclusionary.

The article reports:

The Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide in 2015, but LGBT rights advocates say discrimination against same-sex couples still persists.

Lambda Legal, a civil rights group, has filed two lawsuits in the past year challenging the Social Security Administration’s requirement that couples be married for at least nine months to qualify for survivor’s benefits.

Brownley introduced a similar bill in the previous Congress, and before that the bill was championed by former Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.). The measure failed to make it out of committee.

Brownley said the new legislation will “recognize and re-affirm that all Americans have the right to marry the person they love, to ensure no one is denied federal benefits and protections because of who they love, and more broadly to make sure that same sex couples are treated equally under the law in all respects.”

If the law requires that all couples must be married for at least nine months to collect survivor’s benefits, how is that discriminatory? I think this proposed law is another example of the children’s book If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.

 

Speaker Pelosi Has Jumped The Shark

CNS News posted an article today about a bill proposed by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. In an effort to continue to harass the President, Speaker Pelosi has introduced legislation that would require all candidates for president and vice-president to release their tax returns. There would be no requirement for candidates for Congress to release their tax returns.

The article reports:

The provision is part of H.R. 1—the “For the People Act”—which Pelosi introduced Friday.

A summary of the bill says that it includes a section titled “Presidential Tax Transparency.” This section, says the summary: “Requires sitting presidents and vice presidents, as well as candidates for the presidency and vice presidency, to release their tax returns.”

In 2017, when members of Congress were calling on President Donald Trump to release his tax returns, Roll Call asked all 535 members of the House and Senate to release theirs. As Roll Call reported at the time, 6 members did release their tax returns as requested by the publication. Another 6 had already released theirs elsewhere. Another 45 members, Roll Call reported, had previously and partially released their tax returns. But 473 members had not released their tax returns and did not respond to Roll Call’s request that they do so.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi was one of the members, Roll Call reported, who had not released her tax returns.

At an April 2017 press briefing promoting similar legislation that would have required the president—but not members of Congress—to release their tax returns, Pelosi said that president’s do not have a “right to privacy” when it comes to their tax returns.

I don’t mean to be picky here, but if Congress is willing to pass a law that states that candidates for president and vice-president have to release their tax returns, then Congress should have to release theirs.

I have a feeling that for the next two years the House of Representatives is going to spend more time working on laws to make life difficult for President Trump than it is making laws that will be helpful to Americans. That is truly sad.

The Show Has Begun

We are going to need a lot of popcorn to watch the show in Congress for the next two years.

Taken from an article at The Gateway Pundit posted today:

In the last 24 hours since taking control of the House of Representatives, Democrats have:

** Introduced articles of impeachment
** Called for the impeachment of “mother f*cker” Trump
** Scratched Israel off the map and replaced with Palestine
** Called for a 60%-70% tax rate
** Refused to fund a border security wall
** Worked one day and went on break until Tuesday

It gets even better:

Open Democrat-Socialist Rep. Alexandria “Sandy” Ocasio-Cortez called for a 60%-70% tax rate on Friday.

That was quick.

Ocasio-Cortez: “But once you get to the tippie tops, on your $10 millionth, sometimes you see tax rates as high as 60% or 70%. That doesn’t mean all $10 million are taxed at an extremely high rate. But it means that as you climb up this ladder, you should be contributing more… I think radicals changed this country. Abraham Lincoln made the radical decision to sign the Emancipation Proclomation. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made the radical decision to establish programs like social security. ”

Hold on to your wallet, there has been a change in Washington.

 

How Does This Statement Make Sense?

Yesterday I posted an article that included the following:

…Newly-elected Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) also endorsed impeaching Trump on her first day in office, according to The Nation, which described Tlaib as calling for “immediate steps” to remove the president from the White House.

“Each passing day brings more pain for the people most directly hurt by this president, and these are days we simply cannot get back. The time for impeachment proceedings is now,” Rep. Tlaib declared.

I really am confused about how this president is hurting people. I am further confused by looking at Representative Tlaib’s statement in view of some economic news that was reported today.

For instance, CNN is reporting today:

US employers added 312,000 jobs in December, well above what economists expected and underlining that the American economy remains strong despite recent market turbulence.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9% as more people were looking for work. It had been at a 50-year low of 3.7% for two of the last three months.

Employers added 2.6 million jobs in 2018, compared to 2.2 million in 2017. Revisions to the October and November estimates added an additional 58,000 jobs to the 2018 total.

…Paychecks grew as employers raised wages to attract new workers. Average hourly pay was up 3.2% compared to a year earlier. The average number of hours people worked also edged up.

…The unemployment rate rose because more than 400,000 people joined the labor force looking for jobs. The percentage of the working-age people in the work force matched a five-year high.

“Yes, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, but for the best of reasons,” said Mark Hamrick, Bankrate.com senior economic analyst. “That’s a deal we’ll take if more people are participating in the workforce.”

The chart that I watch to see how things are going is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is the chart of the Workforce Participation Rate. It indicates how many Americans are actually part of the workforce. This is the chart:

Note that we have reached the 63.1 percent participation rate only three times since 2014. When President Obama took office, the rate was 66.2. By the time President Obama left office, the rate was 62.7. That was after the federal deficit doubled due to the stimulus package that was supposed to create jobs.

The House of Representatives has a choice–they can either join in the efforts of President Trump to improve the American economy and the lives of American workers, or they can do everything they can to slow it down. Unfortunately, the new rules they are putting in place will bring us laws and policies that will slow the economy down. That is unfortunate–Americans deserve better, even though they elected these people.

When Congress Fails To Do Its Job, The Executive Branch Has To Do It

The Washington Times posted an article today about the Farm Bill that was recently passed. The House of Representatives added a more stringent work requirement to the Food Stamps Program, but the Senate eliminated the requirement. Thus the Farm Bill as it currently stands puts a 20-hour-per-week work requirement only on people between the ages of 18 and 49 who receive food stamps.

The article reports:

President Trump moved Thursday to tighten work requirements for people who receive food stamps, after Congress failed to include the proposal in a $400 billion farm bill that’s headed to the president’s desk.

The Agriculture Department said it is proposing a rule on Mr. Trump’s orders that would move “more able-bodied recipients” of food stamps back into working at least 20 hours per week.

“Long-term reliance on government assistance has never been part of the American dream,” said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. “As we make benefits available to those who truly need them, we must also encourage participants to take proactive steps toward self-sufficiency. Moving people to work is common-sense policy, particularly at a time when the unemployment rate is at a generational low.”

…Currently, able-bodied adults ages 18-49 without children are required to work 20 hours a week to keep their food-stamp benefits. The House measure would have raised the age of recipients subject to work requirements from 49 to 59 and required parents with children older than 6 to work or participate in job training.

The Labor Force Participation Rate currently stands at 52.9 percent. The Unemployment Rate currently stands at 3.7 percent. Wages at all levels have risen under President Trump. Inflation for 2018 is slightly over 2 percent. There is no reason anyone collecting food stamps cannot find a place to work for 20 hours a week or enter a job-training program that will help them find a job that pays enough for them to get off of food stamps. The Agriculture Department is doing the right thing in looking into strengthening the work requirements to collect food stamps.

What’s Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander

Much has been made about contracts President Trump entered into with sexual partners that were supposed to buy their silence. We saw how well that worked. Meanwhile Congress had a slush fund used to pay off sexual harassment claims and other matters dealing with misbehavior on the part of Congressmen. That fund was paid for by taxpayers.

The Daily Wire reported yesterday that the House of Representatives and the Senate passed a bill yesterday (by unanimous consent) that will require Congressmen to pay out of pocket for settlements with former staffers and aides who accuse them of sexual misconduct and will not be allowed to rely on taxpayer money to defend themselves in lawsuits brought by former colleagues.

The article reports:

The Huffington Post reports that the bill goes a bit further than just limiting cash flow, reforming a grievance reporting system mired in the 1990s: “Under the current law, which has been in place since 1995, Capitol Hill staffers who claim they’ve been harassed or discriminated against have to undergo counseling, mandatory arbitration and a 30-day ‘cooling off’ period before going to court. They won’t have to do any of that anymore.”

The bill doesn’t accomplish everything Speier [Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)] set out to do. The provisions within the bill are limited to sexual harassment claims and sexual misconduct claims only — not claims of discrimination, even if those claims are sexual in nature. The bill also does not provide representation to alleged victims free of charge. Although those two requests were in the House version of the bill, Senate leadership encouraged the bill’s authors to pursue those objectives in separate legislation.

This is a mixed victory. One aspect of being in the public eye is that you are vulnerable to false claims made by people seeking money. In corporations, the corporations simply pay the ‘victim’ without confirming the charges because in the long run that is cheaper and easier. One example that comes to mind is a company in Massachusetts that awarded a large settlement to an employee who claimed sexual harassment. The company paid the claim despite the fact that the employee had lived with the person she made the charges against and actually had two children with him. Rather than debate the circumstances, the company paid. Not all charges against Congressmen are valid, and it is actually easier (and probably cheaper) to pay all of them. This may not actually be a step forward.

Misplacing The Blame

For years the Republicans told us that if they controlled the House of Representatives and the Senate, they would repeal ObamaCare, defund Planned Parenthood, and build a border wall. We gave them the House and the Senate. Then they said they couldn’t do what they said because they didn’t have the Presidency. So we gave them the Presidency. We were so naive. When they knew their votes on these matters would not be vetoed, they broke the promises they made to the voters and voted against repealing, defunding, and building.

On Thursday Breitbart posted an article about some recent comments by Tucker Carlson.

The article reports:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said in an interview Thursday that President Donald Trump has succeeded as a conversation starter but has failed to keep his most important campaign promises.

“His chief promises were that he would build the wall, de-fund Planned Parenthood, and repeal Obamacare, and he hasn’t done any of those things,” Carlson told Urs Gehriger of the Swiss weekly Die Weltwoche.

“I’ve come to believe that Trump’s role is not as a conventional president who promises to get certain things achieved to the Congress and then does,” said Carlson, whose new book Ship of Fools is a New York Times bestseller.

I like Tucker Carlson. I enjoy his TV show, but I think he is totally wrong on this. Republicans in Congress also made these promises. They had the votes to keep all of these promises, pass the laws needed, and send the bills to President Trump for his signature. I don’t think the problem is President Trump. I think the problem is Republicans in Congress that have reneged on their promises because of the groups that are funding their campaigns. Opensecrets.org is the website that tracks campaign donations. If you want to know why we don’t have a border wall, look at the expenditures of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They are a group that likes the cheap labor of a porous border. The contribute heavily to Republican lawmakers. That is one reason there is no border wall. There won’t be as long as the Congressmen who receive money from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are in office. If you want to know why Planned Parenthood is still getting government money, look at the campaign donations they make. How much money is the healthcare lobby pouring into Congress? The problem is not President Trump.

Stalling For Time

In less than four weeks, the Democrats will take control of the House of Representatives. So what can we expect before than happens? I don’t mean to be cynical, but I suspect we will see the illusion of motion while very little is actually accomplished.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about James Comey’s testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee concerning the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server and the irregularities in the FISA applications that allowed the Justice Department to spy on the Trump campaign and later the Trump administration.

The article reports:

FOX News Catherine Herridge reported that a DOJ attorney is telling Comey not to answer questions. They may have to call Comey back in for more questioning.

The Republicans in the House have maybe two working weeks before losing control of the House. Does anyone honestly believe that Comey will answer pertinent questions about these matters in that time? Does anyone honestly believe that the Democrats will ask these questions after they take control of the House?

I don’t know why the Republicans have avoided dealing with this previously. I do know that this looks very much like they wanted to look like they were doing something without actually accomplishing anything. I think a lot of voters are getting very tired of that method of doing business.

The New House Of Representatives Could Be Very Interesting

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday that included some recent quotes by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The lady is obviously very impressed with herself. I wonder if she realizes that she is one of 435 members of the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The New York Democrat told reporters on Friday that once again the U.S. is “at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss” that requires citizens of a special kind of mettle. She says that such an elite group exists — and that she and other newly elected Democrats are in it.

“This is not just about a Green New Deal, this is about a new deal for the United States of America,” the 29-year-old said at a “Sunrise Movement” press conference in Washington. “Because in every moment where our country has reached the depths of darkness, in every moment, when we were at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss, and we did not know if we could be capable of saving ourselves, we have.”

“We’ve done what we thought was impossible. We went to the moon,” she added. “We electrified the nation. We established civil rights. We enfranchised the country. We dug deep and we did it. We did it when no one else thought that we could. That’s what we did when so many of us won an election this year. That’s what so many of us did.”

I believe that if you look back at history, the Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Democrats in the Senate staged a 75-day filibuster against the measure. I don’t think you can say that the Democrats established civil rights.

This is a picture of the voting taken from the govtrack website:

I look forward to many more interesting statements from Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

It’s Hard To Get Anything Done When You Are A Lame-Duck Congress

I will admit that I am becoming very cynical about anyone being charged for misdeeds and abuses of power during the Obama administration. It seems as if the House of Representatives is making an effort, but I can’t help but think it is a lame effort that is simply too late.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about the upcoming hearings in the House of Representatives. The article notes that on November 22, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued subpoenas to both former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Former FBI Director Comey intends to fight the subpoena in court. Former Attorney General Lynch has not yet publicly responded to the subpoena. All they have to do is tie the case up in court until January when the Democrats take control of the House. The Democrats will drop the matter, and the FBI and Justice Department corruption will continue unabated. I hope I am wrong about this, but I doubt it.

The article reports:

“While the authority for congressional subpoenas is broad, it does not cover the right to misuse closed hearings as a political stunt to promote political as opposed to legislative agendas,” Kelley (one of Comey’s attorneys, David Kelley) said.

On November 22, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued subpoenas to both Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The former FBI Director responded on Thursday, tweeting that he will “resist” a “‘closed-door’ thing” — ironically claiming it was over his concerns about selective leaking.

Comey infamously leaked a memo of a private conversation between Trump and himself at the White House. This led to the Justice Department Inspector General conducting an investigation into classification issues related to his leaked memo.

While Comey may be attempting to claim that he is doing this for the sake of transparency, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has pointed out that during his last testimony he used the fact that it was public to dodge answering nearly 100 questions.

“So why in the world would he want to go back to a setting where he knows he can’t answer all the questions,” Gowdy asked on Fox News on Monday.

Stall, stall, stall, while the American people hope that someday justice will occur.

How Outside Money In Politics Can Impact Future Elections

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about a barrage of outside spending by a 527 group led by billionaire activists George Soros and Tom Steyer which impacted governor and legislative races in several targeted states. The ultimate goal of the targeting was to redistrict specific states in order to make it easier for Democrats to be elected to the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The National Democratic Redistricting Committee (NDRC) believes one of the reasons Republicans have enjoyed a lengthy majority in the House of Representatives is because of gerrymandered house districts. Because state legislative bodies usually draw house districts, the NRDC was trying to elevate some of these elections by putting a national veneer on races that usually come down strictly to local politics.

Drawing new house districts will begin again after the completion of the 2020 census, which is why the NDRC is making such a strident push now in what they call a “fight to shift the balance of power away from Republicans before redistricting occurs in 2021.”

After the election the NDRC’s website boasted, “We won governors’ races in 8 states: Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Virginia (in 2017.).”

The website further claimed, “We flipped 6 legislative chambers: Colorado Senate, Maine Senate, Minnesota House, New Hampshire House and Senate, and the New York Senate.”

Nearly all of the states mentioned were the select spending targets of State Victory Action, a 527 fund established just this year, and which was overwhelmingly funded by Soros, Steyer, and to a lesser extent, Donald Sussman.

Representatives with Steyer, Soros, as well as the NDRC did not return requests for comment, including questions about whether there was coordination between State Victory Action and the NDRC.

For an example from the list on the NDRC’s site, Democrats (technically members of the Democrat Farmer-Labor Party) won a majority in Minnesota’s state house of representatives.

Using a pass through committee, State Victory Action donated millions to Alliance for a Better Minnesota.

Although I don’t like to see that kind of money from outside a state poured into state races, there is something we all need to remember here–every American is responsible for his own vote. We have the option of doing our own research and not being swayed by an abundance of campaign ads for a particular candidate. Money is important in elections, but as Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush proved in 2016, all the money in the world will not elect a candidate who is not supported by the electorate. George Soros and Tom Steyer do not represent me, but they do have the right to donate to any candidate they choose, just as I do.

If You Voted Democrat, Was This What You Voted For?

Yesterday The Federalist posted an article about some of the plans the Democrats have now that they will be the majority party in the House of Representatives. The dominant aspect of their plans has been obvious for a while–do anything they can to derail the Trump Agenda. That is rather logical considering that they are the opposition party, but I think some voters will be surprised at how far they are willing to go with this.

The article reports:

Judiciary Committee ranking member Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., revealed plans for House Democrats to investigate and impeach Justice Brett Kavanaugh for alleged perjury and investigate and impeach President Donald Trump for alleged treasonous collusion with Russia.

In post-election chats with various callers while riding the Acela train from New York to Washington, Nadler gave advice to a newly elected representative and discussed potential 2020 Democratic presidential nominees with another. He also lamented identity politics and the thriving economy and worried about Democrats losing working-class voters while gaining elite former Republicans and suburban women.

Although I hesitate to give the Democrats good advice, I would like to remind them what happened when the Republicans impeached President Clinton–the American people did not view the efforts favorably and the Republicans lost Congress. If the Democrats want to take that chance, they are welcome to, but it is a fool’s errand. The House of Representatives needs a simple majority to impeach, but the Senate needs a two-thirds vote–67 votes. That is highly unlikely. A very wise man once said, “Do not strike the king unless you kill him.” The political repercussions of attempting to impeach a Supreme Court Judge and a President would be overwhelmingly negative.

There is one other aspect of this I would like to mention. In recent years, more government policy has been set by the courts than by Congress. The political left is well aware of that fact. The biggest danger to the left from President Trump is the fact that he is naming judges who will follow the Constitution. That is the reason for the attack on both President Trump and Justice Kavanaugh. Congress has given over so much of its power to the courts that Congress is very close to irrelevant.

Is This What You Want?

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article listing the Democrat priorities if they should win the House in the midterm elections. To say the least, it is an interesting list.

The article reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) said the Democrats would prioritize new gun control legislation and protecting illegal immigrants if they regain control of the House of Representatives after the midterms next month.

Democrats will look to pass a gun background check bill and protect Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, Pelosi told Politico. She also said the Democrats would try to pass campaign finance reform and lower drug prices.

I suspect that the Democrats’ idea of campaign finance reform is to make sure that the playing field is no longer level and that union money will again be in control (the way it was before the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court).

The article continues:

The house minority leader is also preparing to return to the role of speaker of the House, a position she held from 2007 to 2011. Although her bid to become speaker has faced resistance from some House Democrats clamoring for new leadership, Pelosi appears to have solidified the support of her caucus, Politico notes.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) has listed five investigations the Democrats would launch if they win the House, saying they “will need to ruthlessly prioritize the most important matters first.”

Schiff wants to investigate whether the Russians have financial leverage over President Donald Trump. In the House Judiciary Committee, Schiff said Democrats will look into “abuse of the pardon power, attacks on the rule of law, and campaign finance violations.”

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, suggested before Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed that the committee would investigate him for “any credible allegation, certainly of perjury and other things that haven’t been properly looked into before.”

Nadler reiterated the idea Democrats would investigate Kavanaugh after the FBI concluded its investigation into allegations of sexual assault.

Can anyone explain to me how any of these agenda items help the American people in any way?

Is The Democrat Party Heading Further Left?

The Washington Post posted an article today about a primary election yesterday in Massachusetts. Boston city councilor Ayanna Pressley defeated veteran Rep. Michael E. Capuano (D-Mass.) in the primary to represent Massachusetts Seventh District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The article reports:

But the Capuano-Pressley race, which split Massachusetts Democrats and national liberals alike, had drawn the most attention. Capuano has been one of the House’s most reliably left-wing votes, especially on issues of war and defense funding. Pressley, a former Capitol Hill staffer long seen as a political star, had argued that she could lead “a movement” from the seat while Capuano was content to simply vote the right way.

…But Pressley ran to Capuano’s left on a few key issues, calling for the abolition of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and for restoring voting rights to prisoners. She also gained an advantage over Capuano when the congressman groused that Democrats were becoming “balkanized” by racial identity.

…Republicans never intended to contest the 7th District, which gave Hillary Clinton 84.1 percent of the vote in the 2016 presidential race and was previously represented by Democratic Party legends Tip O’Neill and John F. Kennedy.

Massachusetts is basically a one-party state, and it is very liberal politically. I don’t know if the radical leftist views represented by Ayanna Pressley would win an election in many other areas of the country. At any rate, her election shows that the radical wing of the Democrat party is alive and well in certain areas of the country.

Where Is The Younger Generation?

A baby boomer is our current President. Chances are, if the economy continues to grow, he will serve two terms. Logically in 2024, Mike Pence would run. So who would the Democrats run in 2020 and 2024? The Democrats are a party in flux–half of them are openly embracing socialism and half of them are trying to bring their party more into the mainstream of America.

The Hill posted an article recently about the Democrat field of candidates for President in 2020.

The article reports:

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) are the most popular potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, according to a new American Barometer poll. 

The poll, which is a joint project of Hill.TV and the HarrisX polling company, showed Biden with a 50 percent favorable rating, while Sanders trailed with a 48 percent favorable rating. 

Only 31 percent of those polled said they viewed the former vice president unfavorably. A third of respondents said they viewed Sanders unfavorably. 

The survey comes as speculation swirls around a slew of potential Democratic contenders, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Cory Booker (N.J.), who could challenge President Trump in 2020. 

Warren held the highest favorable rating among Democratic senators listed in the survey, with 33 percent of those polled saying they held a favorable view of the senator.

The poll showed Gillibrand holding a 20 percent favorable rating, while 21 percent of respondents said they have a favorable view of Harris, and 23 percent said the same for Booker.  

Name recognition remains an obstacle for many Democratic contenders. 

Thirty-four percent of respondents said they had never heard of Gillibrand, while 36 percent said the same for Harris. Thirty-two percent of respondents had not heard of Booker.

Only 4 percent of those polled said they had never heard of Biden or Sanders. 

I realize that you have to be 35 to be President, but you don’t have to be over 60! Bernie Sanders is 76, and Joe Biden is 75. They are leading in the polls. Elizabeth Warren is 69. The younger contenders are Kirsten Gillibrand is 51, Kamala Harris is 53, and Cory Booker at 49 is the youngest of the group.

Where are the millenniums in either party?

In November 2017, Quorum posted the following chart about the House of Representatives:

This is the Senate:

Where are our young political leaders?

 

The Right To Try Bill

Yesterday President Trump signed a “Right to Try” bill. The bill had been introduced in the Senate on January 24, 2017. It passed the Senate in August of 2017, The bill passed the House of Representatives in May 2018.  This is the link to view the text of the bill.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article on the bill.

The New York Post reported:

President Trump signed a bill on Wednesday that will let terminally ill people use experimental drugs, citing the meds’ ability to save “tremendous numbers of lives.”

…The measure gives terminally ill patients the ability to seek drug treatments that​ haven’t been fully approved by the FDA.

More than 1 million Americans die from a terminal illness each year, the White House said.

During the ceremony, Trump also said that in two weeks, major drug companies will announce “voluntary drops in prices.”

Hopefully this bill will be helpful to medical research and will keep all of us healthier for longer.

A Small Step In The Right Direction

Generally speaking, I have my differences with the Republican Party. I changed my party affiliation earlier this year to unaffiliated. However, every now and then, the Republicans do something right. What follows is an example. There is no point in detailing an alternative to ObamaCare while President Obama is in office. However, he has approximately six months left. The House of Representatives has now released an alternative. Note that the alternative is being released just as ObamaCare premiums are about to skyrocket (probably right after the November election) and many health insurance providers are leaving ObamaCare. As ObamaCare collapses under its own weight, the Republicans have introduced an alternative. So what is the alternative?

The Weekly Standard posted a story yesterday about the proposed plan.

The article explains:

The proposal pairs an Obamacare alternative with Medicaid reforms and the crucial Medicare reforms (amounting to a kind of “Medicare Advantage Plus”) that Speaker Paul Ryan and House Republicans have long championed. As Ryan put it after the proposal’s release, “The way I see it, if we don’t like the direction the country is going in—and we do not—then we have an obligation to offer an alternative….And that’s what this is.” He called the plan not merely “a difference is policy” but “a difference in philosophy.”

Here are a few highlights from the plan:

1. It would dramatically lower health-care premiums. Obamacare drives up premiums though its inept and arrogant way of addressing preexisting conditions, and by mandating coverage of things that people don’t want. The GOP plan would drive down premiums by repealing Obamacare, putting people in control of their own health-care dollars, and letting them shop for value.

2. It would restore liberty while stopping Obamacare’s consolidation and centralization of power and money. Private American citizens would no longer be compelled (for the first time in all of United States history) to buy a product or service of the federal government’s choosing. The flow, like a river, of money and power to Washington, D.C., would be reversed.

3. It would lower Americans’ tax burdens. In addition to raising taxes, Obamacare raises spending—by about $2 trillion over a decade, per the CBO—at a time when the U.S. government is already almost $20 trillion in debt. The GOP plan would cut taxes even versus the pre-Obamacare status quo while saving hundreds of billions of dollars (and hopefully a trillion dollars or more) in spending versus Obamacare.

4. It would re-attract needed talent to the medical profession and thus improve the quality of care. Who, other than the truly committed few, would want to become a doctor under Obamacare’s regime of bureaucratic control over “health-care providers”? (Obamacare, which effectively bans the building or expanding of doctor-owned hospitals, doesn’t like to call such individuals “doctors.”)

5. It would stop Obamacare from being a vehicle for executive lawlessness. At practically every turn, the Obama administration has tweaked, altered, and even funded parts of Obamacare without congressional involvement. Three major casualties of Obamacare have been the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the Constitution.

6. It would stop Obamacare’s taxpayer funding of abortion. As the write-up for the GOP plan notes (citing the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office), insurance “plans that cover abortion are receiving federal taxpayer dollars under Obamacare.” Indeed, “California now requires all health insurance plans to cover abortion services.” Under the GOP plan, federal taxpayer dollars wouldn’t be allowed to fund abortions.

7. Even beyond these six ways, it would also lead to most Americans faring much better than under Obamacare. The exact dollar amounts of the GOP’s non-income-tested tax credits aren’t provided, but if they were to be the same as those called for by the 2017 Project, the Hudson Institute, Gillespie, Price, and Walker, most Americans of various incomes, ages, and family sizes would fare much better than under Obamacare. For example, the typical 36-year-old woman who makes $36,000 and buys her own insurance gets $0 under Obamacare, whereas she’d likely get something on the order of a $2,100 tax credit under the GOP plan (See the chart on page 9 of An Alternative to Obamacare for more detail on this point.) This overdue tax cut would be like $2,100 in her pocket.

Please understand–a Democratic President will not approve this plan. The changes made to ObamaCare have been laws not passed by Congress–the rules have been written by President Obama who has no constitutional authority to make those rules. Companies whose owners oppose abortion have been put out of business through executive orders. ObamaCare needs to go. It is expensive, unconstitutional and damaging to our republic. This is another reason the 2016 election is so important.

About That Democratic Sit-In

There are a few background things all of us need to remember about the Democratic sit-in in the House of Representatives.

The Hill posted an article today about the fund raising efforts the Democrats are relating to the sit in.

The article reports:

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) sent a brief email shortly after the sit-in crossed into Thursday, signed by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)

“This is an historically important moment! John Lewis has been leading a sit-in on the House floor for 11 long hours now. We’re fighting to prevent gun violence,” the email reads. “The Republicans refuse to lift a finger. It’s shameful. I need your help to defeat them once and for all.”
 
The email asks for 6,000 donations and gives several options to donate amounts between $1 and $250. 
 
It was at least the sixth such email from the DCCC as the sit-in gained steam. Several were signed by Lewis, a civil rights leader and Georgia representative who has lead many of the demonstrations on the House floor. 

As usual, follow the money. But wait! There’s more!

The Democrats are complaining about the Republican filibuster of the two anti-Second Amendment gun bills the Democrats wanted to pass. What about the Democratic filibuster of the two common-sense gun bills the Republicans wanted to pass? (further details here) This is political theater aimed at the uninformed voter. Don’t be that uninformed voter.

 

Attempting To Fight Corruption

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about the House of Representatives’ move to impeach John Koskinen for his blocking the investigation into the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) practices regarding conservative groups.

An article at Townhall reports the charges:

Specifically, Commissioner Koskinen violated the public trust in the following ways:

-Failed to comply with a subpoena resulting in destruction of key evidence. Commissioner Koskinen failed to locate and preserve IRS records in accordance with a congressional subpoena and an internal preservation order. The IRS erased 422 backup tapes containing as many as 24,000 of Lois Lerner’s emails – key pieces of evidence that were destroyed on Koskinen’s watch.
-Failed to testify truthfully and provided false and misleading information. Commissioner Koskinen testified the IRS turned over all emails relevant to the congressional investigation, including all of Ms. Lerner’s emails. When the agency determined Ms. Lerner’s emails were missing, Commissioner Koskinen testified the emails were unrecoverable. These statements were false.
-Failed to notify Congress that key evidence was missing. The IRS knew Lois Lerner’s emails were missing in February 2014. In fact, they were not missing; the IRS destroyed the emails on March 4, 2014. The IRS did not notify Congress the emails were missing until June 2014 – four months later, and well after the White House and the Treasury Department were notified.

The article at Hot Air also reminds us that a federal judge has already threatened to hold Koskinen accountable for his obstruction of the investigation into the IRS.

The article at Hot Air reports:

According to the rules of play, the House can bring the charges with a simple majority vote. Easy enough this year. But the trial is held in the Senate and requires a two thirds vote to convict. (If this is treated as a partisan issue and all the Democrats abscond in their duty it would be impossible.) Also, Joe Biden gets to preside over the trial. Many seem to think that it would be John Roberts, but he would only preside in the case of impeaching the President. That’s a tough hill to climb. In all of US history there have been seven successful impeachments and all of them were judges. The only cabinet official to ever be impeached was William Belknap, Secretary of War under President Grant, but he wasn’t convicted. The only two Presidents to be impeached were not found guilty, as were the various Senators brought to stand before the wheel.

Politically this is a losing battle. Legally it is a necessary battle. What this process will do is eliminate any doubt as to which Senators put party loyalty over honesty. There is no way Koskinen would be acquitted in a fair trial, but Congress (and the Justice Department) are not really focused on doing what is right at this point.