Technology Isn’t Perfect

The San Francisco Chronicle posted an article today about facial recognition technology. The technology was developed by Amazon.

The article reports:

San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting has never been arrested, but facial recognition technology developed by Amazon links his image to a jailhouse mugshot.

Ting is one of 26 state legislators who were wrongly identified as suspected criminals using the technology, according to results of a test released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU, said the organization ran its experiment using Amazon’s Rekognition software and screened 120 lawmakers’ images against a database of 25,000 mugshots.

The article concludes:

More than half the 26 California lawmakers who were falsely identified in the ACLU’s experiment are people of color, Ting’s office said. Ting said that makes the technology especially dangerous for African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans.

“This could lead to more false arrests in those particular communities,” he said.

Last year, the ACLU ran a similar experiment using images of members of Congress. It found that Amazon’s program incorrectly matched 28 of them with suspected criminals.

I realize that this technology may have some usefulness after it is improved, but there is an important fact that needs to be acknowledged here.  In America a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I am afraid that the use of this technology might shortchange that process. It might be used to recognize a criminal, but I question how it would be used in a court of law.

The Arrival Of Robin Hood

Remember teaching your children that money doesn’t grow on trees and that they have to earn it? Evidently some of our members of Congress never learned that lesson.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about some recent statements made by Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Minnesota.

The article reports:

Far-left “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) spoke at the NAACP convention over the weekend and railed against the GOP tax cuts in a pitch for her anti-poverty BOOST Act, promising to take money from the rich and give it “back to the people that earned it.”

Tlaib introduced her anti-poverty legislation – the Building Our Opportunities to Survive and Thrive (BOOST) Act – last month and spoke about it at the NAACP convention over the weekend. The proposal offers a guaranteed income – up to $6,000 per year – to families and individuals under certain financial thresholds via a “refundable tax credit that can be paid monthly.”

The Michigan lawmaker’s BOOST Act serves as her response to what she calls the “GOP Tax Scam,” despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans will pay less in taxes in 2018, thanks to the tax cuts.

“Recently, I introduced the Boost Act. This legislation completely repeals the GOP Tax Scam that is only helping wealthy individuals – the rich, the corporations,” she told the crowd.

“And do you know what I did with that money? Do you know what I said? We’re going to go ahead and put it in the pockets of folks like everyday Americans,” she said, noting that families making less than $100,000 could get up to $6,000 per year.

Taking the moral route, Tlaib said it is important to give money back to the people who actually “earned” it, suggesting that wealthy individuals do not earn or deserve to keep the fruits of their labor.

 I guess the Democrats have decided that class warfare works better than racism. Their playbook is getting very old.

The article notes the impact of the GOP tax cuts:

The economy has seen a boost from the GOP tax cuts, with companies issuing employee bonuses and announcing plans to invest billions in the U.S., thereby providing thousands of new jobs.

Last year, Exxon Mobil announced that it would invest $50 billion in the U.S. economy, adding 12,000 new jobs, thanks to the GOP tax cuts.

Even Starbucks, a notoriously left-leaning company, used millions of its corporate tax cut to raise the wage for existing workers.

Under Tlaib’s economic plan, the people who would benefit are the people who are not working; and the people who would lose are the people who work for a living. How long would it be before those who are working to give those who don’t work a free ride would see the folly of their ways and quit producing? That’s where socialism always winds up.

Forgetting Your Oath

On Tuesday The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Democratic Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson asserted that people who mock members of Congress online should face prosecution.

“Those people who are online making fun of members of Congress are a disgrace, and there is no need for anyone to think that is unacceptable [sic],” Wilson said during comments made Tuesday outside of the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Homestead, Florida.

“We’re gonna shut them down and work with whoever it is to shut them down, and they should be prosecuted,” she continued. “You cannot intimidate members of Congress, frighten members of Congress. It is against the law, and it’s a shame in this United States of America.”

Wow.

This is the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The underline is mine.

This is the oath Representative Wilson took when she became a U.S. Representative:

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Enough said.

How We Got Here

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted a  transcript of an interview by Sean Hannity of Congressman Devin Nunes. Congressman Nunes related the history and origins of the spying on the Trump campaign by members of the Obama administration.

This is the essence of the story:

Finally Devin Nunes is outlining what CTH has been calling attention to for over two years.  The spying began in 2015.   “Spygate” was part of the larger “Russian Conspiracy and Collusion” operation.   This was all planned well in advance.

The spying began in 2015, and was part of the collaborative process -and reason- for Nellie Ohr to join the political opposition research being conducted by Fusion GPS.

CIA Director John Brennan had his OCONUS lures, Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper on standby awaiting targeting information.  They needed targets.

Fusion-GPS and Nellie Ohr were researching targets based on candidates.  Donald Trump was the most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination.  Trump was the focus of identifying targets.

As the Fusion and Ohr research was ongoing, and when it became transparent that Trump was going to be the victor in the Primaries; the media began demanding to know who were the foreign policy and national security advisors to candidate Trump.  This DNC inspired effort to demand names and lists was in alignment with Brennan, Fusion and Ohr.

Once they had some names identified (March/April ’16), ie. Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manafort and Page,…  Brennan tasked Mifsud and Halper to run the spygate operation.

In/around late June and early July of ’16, Brennan was in position to turn over the outcome of his operation to the FBI via an origination EC memo.

[April 22nd 2018] According to House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes; who is also a member of the intelligence oversight ‘Gang-of-Eight’; that EC contains intelligence material that did not come through “official intelligence channels” into the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

The EC was not an official product of the U.S. intelligence community. Additionally, Brennan was NOT using official partnerships with intelligence agencies of our Five-Eyes partner nations; and he did not provide raw intelligence –as an outcome of those relationships– to the FBI. {Go Deep}

CIA Director Brennan formatted the same intelligence to the White House where Susan Rice and Samantha Powers were doing the unmasking to facilitate the leaks.

The FBI took Brennan’s two-page “EC” memo and originated the official counterintelligence operation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31st, 2016.

FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok wrote out the operational instructions and objectives for the operation.  As noted by Trey Gowdy, included in those instructions was the targeting of the “Trump Campaign” specifically.

”’The intelligence outcomes were then continually distributed to the White House and in August 2016 to the Gang-of-Eight as noted by Brennan’s testimony.

Brennan: [13:35] “Third, through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues as we identified them.”

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

“Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case [that means the FBI], involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”… (LINK)

This is thoroughly disgusting. It is a total misuse of the power of the government. There should be a lot of people held accountable for breaking the law for political purposes.

A Border Will Will Save Taxpayers Billions

Betsy McCaughey posted an article at Townhall today about the cost of not having a border wall.

The article reports:

Look what it costs us when a Central American teen crosses the border illegally without an adult. Uncle Sam spends a staggering $775 per day for each child housed at a shelter near Florida’s Homestead Air Reserve Base. There they have access to medical care, school and recreation. They stay, on average, 67 days at the Homestead shelter before being released to a sponsor. Do the math. That’s almost $52,000 per child. American parents would appreciate the government spending that money on their kids. Imagine the government handing you a check for $52,000 for your teenager.

However, there are bigger costs ahead. The number of illegal border crossers just hit an 11-year high with a total of more than 76,000 during the month of February alone. U.S. and Mexican officials predict hundreds of thousands more in the coming months.

The migrants use the word “asylum” as their get-in-free card. When they say it to a border agent, they gain entry to the U.S. 80 percent of the time according to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. They are temporarily housed and eventually released with an immigration court date. But half never go on to file an asylum claim, disappearing into the U.S., said former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Asylum is supposed to be reserved for people facing persecution and danger in their home country whose safety depends upon their leaving that country. People who simply want better lives are asked to go through the legal process. Unfortunately our southern border is so porous that it is very easy for people to come here illegally and then simply disappear. We need a wall. It is sad that Congress is playing political games in order to avoid building one. Congress has never wanted a secure southern border–the Democrats see future voters and the Republicans see cheap labor for the corporate sponsors. No one is looking at the security of America right now except the President and very few members of Congress.

Did They Plan On A Backlash?

Townhall posted an article today about the consequences of the recent trend in some states to make abortion more available. The idea of aborting babies right up until birth has created a backlash resulting in growth in the pro-life movement.

The article reports:

A recent Marist poll commissioned by the Knights of Columbus shows a significant increase just over the past month in the number of Americans who identify as “pro-life.”

The survey found that Americans are now just as likely to identify as “pro-life” (47 percent) as “pro-choice” (47 percent). This is a large increase from a similar survey last month, when another Marist Poll found Americans “more likely to identify as pro-choice than as pro-life by 17 percentage points (55 to 38 percent).”

The poll marks the first time since 2009 that the same amount of Americans identified as “pro-life” as “pro-choice.”

The increase in pro-life identification occurred among Americans under the age of 45 and among Democrats.

The article continues:

Another key finding by Marist was that 80 percent of Americans supported limiting abortion to the first three months of pregnancy, a 5 percent increase in that view since last month’s poll.

“Current proposals that promote late-term abortion have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” Carvalho emphasized.

“Arguments in favor of late-term abortion are simply not convincing the American people,” Knights of Columbus CEO Carl Anderson remarked on the findings. “If anything, since these proposals have been unveiled, people are moving noticeably in the pro-life direction. It is now clear that these radical policies are being pursued despite the opposition of the majority of Americans of both parties.”

This trend is going to force Democrat candidates to choose between campaign money from Planned Parenthood PAC’s and actual voters. We should see that choice being made during the next year. Watch for members of Congress who realize the significance of these poll numbers to begin to distance themselves from the extreme position on abortion expressed in the New York law and attempted by the Virginia legislature. Other states are following suit on liberal election laws. It will be interesting to see how these new laws impact the election of state governors and legislators.

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.

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.

Sometimes You Wonder If Members Of Congress Have Ever Read The Constitution They Swore To Uphold

Yesterday The Hill posted an article about legislation proposed by Republicans to keep families together at the southern border of the United States.

The article reports:

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) on Tuesday dismissed a legislative proposal backed by Republican leaders to keep immigrant families together at the border, arguing that President Trump could fix the problem more easily with a flick of his pen.

“There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense,” Schumer told reporters. “Legislation is not the way to go here when it’s so easy for the president to sign it.”

Asked if that meant Democrats would not support a bill backed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to keep immigrant families together while seeking asylum on the U.S. border, Schumer said they want to keep the focus on Trump. (Italics mine)

Legislation is the job of Congress. They are responsible for making laws. Not only is Senator Schumer shirking his responsibility, his statement makes it clear that he is more interested in politics than finding a solution. Senator Schumer is illustrating the difference between a politician and a businessman, and he is also illustrating the reason Donald Trump got elected. A politician ‘never lets a crisis go to waste.’ A businessman’s focus is on solving problems and moving forward.

It’s time to stop playing politics with border enforcement, secure our borders, and discourage people from trying to come to America illegally. If Senator Schumer chooses not to do his job, he should be replaced by a Senator who has read the Constitution and is willing to abide by his Oath of Office.

One Of The Main Alligators In The Swamp

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about Rod Rosenstein and his position in the swamp that is Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Mr. Rosenstein, one of the most powerful men in the Department of Justice, threatened to investigate members of Congress and their staff if Congress continued to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to oversee the increasingly rogue federal department.

Move over J. Edgar Hoover. Rod Rosenstein has officially taken your place as the most power-drunk, nefarious, crooked blight on justice to ever preside in the Department of “justice.”

The popularity of Congress may be in the toilet, but self-dealing rogue prosecutors with unlimited power to punish political opponents and put people in jail are so far down the toilet they are fertilizing daisies in Denmark.

In a statement to Fox News, a DOJ official denied that Mr. Rosenstein threatened Congress in a bizarre statement — that confirmed Mr. Rosenstein did precisely that.

The Deputy Attorney General was making the point — after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official said.

After admitting Mr. Rosenstein threatened Congress for overseeing his department, the DOJ official went on to reiterate that the threat remains.

Congress is assigned the job of overseeing the Department of Justice. Mr. Rosenstein’s thuggery is totally unacceptable.

The article points out the difference between Rod Rosenstein and Eric Holder, neither of which were particularly interested in following the U.S. Constitution:

Ex-Attorney General Eric Holder was an ideological crusader and political thug, hell-bent on maximizing the power of the president for whom he worked. Mr. Holder was never elected anything, but he was working for a guy who did get elected. Twice.

Mr. Rosenstein is a thousand times worse and so much more dangerous. He never got elected anything — and he is blatantly giving the middle finger to anyone elected by the people to oversee him and his increasingly lawless department.

Mr. Rosenstein believes he is — literally — above the law. He is answerable to no one. Legal accountability is beneath him. The public be damned.

Firing Mr. Rosenstein would be a step toward draining the swamp. Hopefully that step will be taken in the near future.

Blindly Stumbling On The Truth

One of the loudest anti-Trump Democrats is Adam Schiff. However, he recently said something most of us can agree with. Hot Air posted an article today about one of his recent statements. Representative Schiff is warning his fellow Democrats that planning to impeach President Trump simply for political reasons might not be a good move politically.

The article includes his statement:

The legal standard for what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor is less important than the practical and political standard that must be met in any impeachment case. And while that political standard cannot be easily or uniformly defined, I think in the present context, it means the following: Was the president’s conduct so incompatible with the office he holds that Democratic and Republican members of Congress can make the case to their constituents that they were obligated to remove him?

If they cannot, if impeachment is seen by a substantial part of the country as merely an effort to nullify an election by other means, there will be no impeachment, no matter how high the crime or serious the misdemeanor…

Should the facts warrant impeachment, that case will be made more difficult politically if part of the country feels that removing Mr. Trump was the result that some of their fellow Americans were wishing for all along…

Given the evidence that is already public, I can well understand why the president fears impeachment and seeks to use the false claim that Democrats are more interested in impeachment than governing to rally his base. Democrats should not take the bait.

The statement that impeachment for no apparent reason would be seen as an attempt to overturn an election is the first intelligent thing I have heard this man say. The Democrats need to keep in mind that after the Republicans tried to impeach President Clinton, they lost Congress and didn’t get it back for a while. Most Americans have a sense of fairness, and the Democrats’ actions toward this President since he won the nomination in 2016 have not been praiseworthy. Those Americans who are aware of the emails between FBI Agents Page and Strzok have reason to be suspicious of the actions of the Democrats.

Just for the record, it is my belief that if the Democrats retake Congress, one of their first items of business will be impeachment. That will destroy the economic prosperity we have seen under President Trump (and the Democrats know that), but they will do it anyway.