Don’t Look For This Name On The Witness List

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article about Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko.

The article reports:

Badly undermining Democrats’ impeachment narrative, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko told the press in Kiev on Thursday, “I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance.”

That is, between the investigations President Trump wanted into 1) Ukrainian interference in the 2016 campaign and 2) Joe and Hunter Biden and the Ukrainian firm Burisma, on the one hand, and US aid that Trump put on hold this summer, on the other.

He specified that he didn’t hear that message from Trump’s top envoy, Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who “did not tell us, and did not tell me exactly, about the relation between the assistance and the investigations.”

In summary: “Yes, investigations were mentioned, you know, in a presidential conversation. But there was no clear connection between these events.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has also made it plain he never felt undue pressure to investigate the Bidens. And he never did, yet the aid went through anyway.

If you were paying close attention to the circus in Washington, you probably noticed that the charges against President Trump have suddenly changed from quid pro quo to bribery. That is the result of focus groups engaged by the Democrats that showed that the concept of bribery carried more impact that the idea of quid pro quo. When bribery doesn’t resonate the way they want it to, they will move on to something else. Meanwhile we have trade deals that need to be approved and infrastructure that is crumbling. Hopefully, the voters will replace the ‘resistance’ leaders in the House of Representatives in the next election.

Ignoring The Real Purpose Of Government

Theoretically the purpose of our government is to secure the rights of the people. It’s not supposed to limit our rights–we are supposed to limit government’s power. There are, however, some basic responsibilities of government. One of those responsibilities is infrastructure. However, Congress is so busy trying to undo the 2016 presidential election that they are neglecting more pressing items.

Yesterday The Hill posted an article with the following headline, “Scores of US dams found in poor condition, endangering thousands of people: analysis.” If I remember correctly, President Trump has asked Congress to work with him on an infrastructure bill, but Congress has been busy doing other things.

The article reports:

Scores of dams in the U.S. are in poor or unsatisfactory condition, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal and state data.

The AP found in its two-year investigation that 1,688 dams were classified as high-hazard, meaning their failure could result in people’s deaths, and that thousands of people are at risk.  

The article concludes:

Overall, the number of deaths from dam failures has decreased since the 1970s, when state governments improved their oversight, the AP reported. It also cited Stanford University research that showed  about 1,000 dams have collapsed in the past 40 years, resulting in 34 deaths. The average age of dams across the country is 50 years old, the AP reported.

The White House named an infrastructure week in 2017, which was quickly overshadowed by the hearing for former FBI Director James Comey. Attempts to refocus on infrastructure in the next two years have not produced results.

Obviously it is time to elect a Congress that will pay attention to the safety of the American people.

North Carolina’s Third Congressional District

I am not endorsing anyone for the Third District House of Representatives seat in North Carolina. However, I heard Allen Thomas speak tonight, and I was impressed by a lot of what he had to say.

Mr. Thomas is a native of eastern North Carolina and is the former Mayor of Greenville, North Carolina. He graduated from New Bern High School,  continued his education at Eastern Carolina University, and finally earned his MBA at Chapel Hill. He started a business in North Carolina which he sold last year. As Mayor of Greenville, he was successful in lowering the crime rate in the city and bringing industry into the city and the area of eastern North Carolina. He also served on the board of Global Transpark, creating jobs for eastern North Carolina.

Mr. Thomas listed the following items as major issues in eastern North Carolina:

  • Reinforce the military presence and keep our military here after they leave the military by working with companies to create jobs
  • Reinforce the infrastructure of the area–transportation, broadband, connectivity
  • Insure the future for farmers and for fishermen

Mr. Thomas described himself as a fiscal conservative – he stated that the current national debt is unacceptable. We need to reexamine the role we have played as the world’s policemen and work toward a shared mandate to deal with terrorism and rogue nations.

On immigration Mr. Thomas stated that as a sovereign nation we need to secure our borders. He also noted that illegal immigration has created a shadow economy in certain areas of our economy and that needs to be considered in dealing with the immigrants who have been here for a long time who are not legal citizens. We need to bring that economy into the mainstream of the American economy.

On the issue of life, Mr. Thomas stated that his personal view is to protect life, but he did not want to see America go back to a time when abortions were illegal and performed in back alleys.

Mr. Thomas also pointed out the need for politicians of both parties to work together across the aisle.

Mr. Thomas is a very well-spoken, charismatic candidate. I disagreed with him on some basic issues, but he had some very good ideas.

Taxes For Thee, But Not For Me

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

The Hill reports on a suggestion by Republican Chris Collins:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Need For A Reality Check

Green energy is a wonderful concept. Energy in Iceland is almost entirely green because the country sits on a number of volcanoes that supply it with thermal energy. I’m not sure that I am willing to live on a volcano to get thermal energy, but that is one way to go green. However, the quest for green energy where there is not such an obvious energy source has not been particularly successful.

CNS News posted an article yesterday about the statement put out by Speaker Pelosi to recognize Black History Month.

The article has the entire statement, but I think the focus is interesting:

Democrats will be pushing a “For the People” agenda that will include raising wages by building green infrastructure.

“And we are pushing forward a bold, ambitious agenda For The People to make good on the promise of the American Dream for everyone by lowering the cost of health care and prescription drugs, raising wages by rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure, and strengthening our democracy by ensuring that our government works for the public interest, not the special interests,” Pelosi said.

Let’s talk about rebuilding America with green, modern infrastructure. Green energy is one of the major special interest groups in America.

In 2015, The Washington Times reported:

Taxpayers are on the hook for more than $2.2 billion in expected costs from the federal government’s energy loan guarantee programs, according to a new audit Monday that suggests the controversial projects may not pay for themselves, as officials had promised.

Nearly $1 billion in loans have already defaulted under the Energy Department program, which included the infamous Solyndra stimulus project and dozens of other green technology programs the Obama administration has approved, totaling nearly about $30 billion in taxpayer backing, the Government Accountability Office reported in its audit.

The hefty $2.2 billion price tag is actually an improvement over initial estimates, which found the government was poised to face $4 billion in losses from the loan guarantees. But as the projects have come to fruition, they’ve performed better, leaving taxpayers with a shrinking — though still sizable — liability.

It’s a good thing Speaker Pelosi didn’t say anything about lowering taxes–maybe the increased wages with increased taxes will pay for the green energy.

This green energy idea has not been successful when tried before.

In August 2014 The Daily Caller posted an article about Spain’s attempt to convert to green energy:

According to a new report by the free-market Institute for Energy Research, Spain’s green energy policies have resulted in skyrocketing electricity prices, billions of euros in debt and rising carbon dioxide emissions.

“For years, President Obama has pointed to Europe’s energy policies as an example that the United States should follow,” said IER in a statement on their new study. “However, those policies have been disastrous for countries like Spain, where electricity prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is over 25 percent, and youth unemployment is over 50 percent.”

Spain began heavily subsidizing green energy sources, like wind and solar, in the early 2000s with its“Promotion Plan for Renewable Energies. The country used a combination of generous feed-in tariffs, green energy generation quotas and green power subsidies to boost renewable energy development in the country and lower its carbon dioxide emissions.

…But what seemed like a booming green energy economy on the surface was really becoming a costly way to help drive Spain into economic recession. By 2011, Spain’s electricity prices stood at 29.46 U.S. ¢/kilowatt-hour — two and a half times what electricity cost in the U.S. at the time.

President Trump has helped all Americans. We have the lowest unemployment among minorities that we have had in a very long time. Wages are going up, taxes are going down, and the workforce participation rate is climbing. I suggest that if Speaker Pelosi truly wants to help minorities during Black History Month she should support President Trump’s economic agenda.

An Interesting Potential Swap

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted an article today posted an article about the current budget negotiations in Congress.

The article reports:

One of Obama’s advisers at that time, former OMB director Peter Orszag, warns that the nation’s infrastructure is ready to crumble unless we start spending big money to rescue it — and now, apparently, is the “perfect time” to start borrowing heavily to do it:

Mr. Orszag suggests that we issue $250 billion in bonds to pay for the repairs. The article goes on to say that the American Society of Civil Engineers (ACSE) has given the condition of America‘s infrastructure a grade of D. These are the same people who will repair these roads if the additional spending passes. Do you think there might be some self-interest here?

The article concludes:

John Boehner has a proposal for Democrats who want to talk infrastructure spending.  He’s willing to increase the allocations for that purpose, but only if the money comes from a specific new source of revenue:

As Congress continues to hunt for ever-elusive money to rebuild roads, bridges and transit systems, House Republicans are likely once again to turn to black gold.

In the tax-averse and conservative-heavy conference, transportation interest groups’ ideas about raising the gasoline tax or looking at distance-based fees are a tough sell. But expanding oil and gas drilling and using those revenues for infrastructure improvements represent what Speaker John Boehner has called a “natural link.”

That’s one way to test whether Democrats are serious about infrastructure repair, or are looking only to create more pork-barrel projects for people back home — as the ARRA “Porkulus” did in 2009 and 2010.

It should be an interesting debate.

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