Small Business Growth Was Killed Under Dodd-Frank

On Friday, Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about the impact of the Dodd-Frank Bill on the growth of small businesses in America.

The editorial reports:

A new study released by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), the quasi-private think tank that serves as the referee for deciding U.S. upturns and downturns, shows the damage done by Dodd-Frank to small businesses was severe.

The study, “The Impact of the Dodd-Frank Act on Small Business,” by economists Michael D. Bordo and John V. Duca, goes a long way toward explaining why GDP growth under Obama was a mere 2%, a full third slower than the long-term average.

It’s based on a long-term and well-known dynamic. Small businesses grow faster than large ones, and account for over two-thirds of all U.S. jobs growth. Dodd-Frank’s damage was substantial and persistent.

The editorial explains how the regulations impacted small businesses:

Dodd-Frank made making loans to large companies far more attractive. They did so by new compliance rules that treated small and startup loans as inherently more risky than big-business loans.

In economic terms, Dodd-Frank increased the fixed cost of making a loan to smaller companies. So banks simply stopped lending to them. Overnight, businesses that once had lines of credit lost them. Many closed. Startups could get nothing.

This may sound like a wonky debate, but it isn’t. Dodd-Frank’s destructive lending restrictions destroyed millions of jobs and kept entrepreneurs from creating thousands and thousands of new, wonderful businesses.

And it also explains why, with a few deft strokes of his presidential pen, cutting both regulations and taxes sharply, President Trump has been able to offset Dodd-Frank’s growth-killing rules and restored 3% growth to the economy.

The cutting of regulations and the tax cuts created the economic atmosphere that has resulted in stunning economic growth in the past year. Now if the Federal Reserve will be very careful as it raises interest rates to reasonable levels, we should be able to come out of the slump we were in during the Obama administration smoothly.

What Is The Difference Between A Leaker And A Source?

Yesterday The New York Times reported the following:

…James A. Wolfe, 57,  (a former Senate Intelligence Committee Aide) was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with sensitive information related to the committee’s work. He denied to investigators that he ever gave classified material to journalists, the indictment said.

The article states:

Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.

…Court documents describe Mr. Wolfe’s communications with four reporters — including Ms. Watkins — using encrypted messaging applications. It appeared that the F.B.I. was investigating how Ms. Watkins learned that Russian spies in 2013 had tried to recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser. She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts.

However, we are dealing with The New York Times, which is not above using very selective memory in spinning a story.

The article states:

Ms. Watkins’s personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said: “It’s always disconcerting when a journalist’s telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department — through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process. Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges.”

Poor Ms. Watkins. Let’s go back to the case of James Rosen.

The following was reported by Fox News on May 23, 2013:

Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation — even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter’s parents.

The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal “co-conspirator,” citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.

Rosen was not charged, but his movements and conversations were tracked. A source close to the leak investigation confirmed to Fox News that the government obtained phone records for several numbers that match Fox News numbers out of the Washington bureau.

Further, the source confirmed to Fox News that one number listed matched the number for Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.

A journalists right to report needs to be protected, but the leaks out of the Senate Intelligence Committee are ridiculous. There have been instances of matters not taken up by the Committee because the members knew that anything said would be leaked. I am not sure where we need to draw the line on investigating leakers, but it seems as if both the Obama administration and the Trump administration have used questionable methods to try to stop leaks.

The Positive Economic News Continues

Yahoo News is reporting today that jobless claims expectantly fell last week. (Why was it unexpected–the trend has been going downward for a while?) Because of this, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates next week to keep the economy from overheating. I have mixed emotions about this. We do have to get back to reasonable interest rates, but it seems as if the federal reserve also has a habit of overreacting and slowing down (or speeding up) the economy a little too quickly.

This is a chart of interest rates starting in approximately 2008 taken from trading economics:

As you can see, the rates were kept very low during the Obama Administration in order to avoid an economic crash. Ideally, the Federal Reserve will raise them very slowly so as to protect the economic growth we are currently seeing.

Yahoo News reports:

The dollar was trading lower against a basket of currencies. Prices for longer-dated U.S. Treasuries rose marginally and stocks on Wall Street were mixed. The labor market is considered to be close to or at full employment. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 223,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped to an 18-year low of 3.8 percent.

The jobless rate, which has declined by three-tenths of a percentage point this year, is now at a level where the Fed projected it would be by the end of this year.

The number of people receiving benefits after an initial week of aid increased 21,000 to 1.74 million in the week ended May 26. The four-week moving average of the so-called continuing claims dropped 13,250 to 1.73 million, the lowest level since December 1973.

…The strong job market conditions were also underscored by the publication on Thursday of the Labor Department’s Contingent and Alternative Employment Arrangements survey, which showed 1.3 percent of U.S. workers in May 2017 held jobs they considered temporary or did not expect to last beyond a year.

That is a decline from 1.8 percent in February 2005 when the government last conducted a similar survey.

When self-employed individuals and independent contractors were included, the share of workers was 1.6 percent in May 2017, down from 2.3 percent in February 2005. Most contingent workers were under the age of 25.

The Labor Department will publish its Contingent Worker Supplement report in September. It is expected to shed light on the so-called gig economy.

Like him or not, President Trump is a successful businessman who understands how economics works. It might be a good idea in the future to elect businessmen to the presidency instead of politicians.

Funny Money In The 2016 Election Campaign

The slime that is leaking from the FBI and Department of Justice relating to their conduct during the 2016 election campaign just keeps getting worse. On Monday, The Conservative Tribune posted an article about money paid to Stefan Halper to spy on the Trump campaign.

The article reports:

Over the past few days the public has learned that the FBI had at least one spy in the Trump campaign, Stefan Halper. It’s also been revealed that Halper formerly worked for the CIA (and perhaps still does). In addition, Halper allegedly meddled in at least one previous U.S. presidential election and appears to have continued spying at least nine months after the 2016 election.

The latest devastating revelation? The Obama administration paid Halper $282,000 (or $411,000 depending on how the budgeting worked) to work for a mysteriously named “Other Defense Agency” just days after Trump pulled to within a point of Clinton in the polls.

The ‘cover story’ for this payment was that Halper was being paid to produce an economic study on India and China. $282,000 is a serious amount of money to be paid for that study.

The article continues:

Want to hear a remarkable coincidence? On July 26, 2017, Halper appears to have been paid $129,000 for further work on the Sino-Indian study. Two days later, Halper emailed Carter Page, asking what he or the Trump administration (it’s not clear which) planned to do moving forward on the collusion investigation.

He also told Page that Virginia’s summer was pleasant and that it “would be great to catch up.” Civility in spying really has come a long way.

Has anyone ever seen this study?

This is more than a little fishy. It also illustrates the need for a serious audit of how the government spends our tax money. It has taken many years to build the swamp. Unfortunately it may take many years to drain it. Hopefully we can keep the right people in place long enough to get the job done.

An Honest Man Creates A Problem For The Deep State

The American Thinker posted an article today about the role of retired Admiral Mike Rogers in making things difficult for the deep state during the primary election season. The article is a perfect example of how one honest man can make a difference.

The article deals with the revelation of the identity of the spy the Obama administration had placed inside the Trump campaign during the primary and beyond.

The article reports:

Last week I reported that Internet sleuths had winkled out the name of the spy/agent provocateur that Obama’s intelligence officers had used on the Trump campaign. The New York Times and Washington Post, the Democrats’ semi-official newspapers this week megaphoned the instigators, offering up their justifications without naming his name. 

Again, the name is Stefan Halper, who, as I wrote here last week, was paid a substantial sum by the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment. 

If it was for this work – and it suspiciously looks like it because the payments were made in July and September of 2016 when he was weaseling his way into the campaign – then we know we have the DNI, CIA, DOJ, FBI, Dept. of State and the Defense Department working for Hillary’s election and to smear and create a basis for further spying on Trump and his campaign. 

This is the story:

Former FBI agent Mark Wauck suggests Halper may have been operating under a preliminary investigation(PI), not a full Investigation (FI)

The FBI is asked–way back as early as 2015, but who knows? — to be helpful to the Dems and they agree. What they do is they hire non-government consultants with close Dem ties to do “analytical work” for them, which happens to include total access to NSA data. Advantages? For the Dems, obviously, access to EVERYTHING digital. A gold mine for modern campaign research. For the FBI there’s also an advantage. They get to play dumb — gosh, we didn’t know they were looking at all that stuff! They also don’t have to falsify anything, like making [stuff] up to “justify” opening a FI [full investigation]on an American citizen and then lying to the FISC to get a FISA on the USPER [US person] and having to continually renew the FISA and lie all over again to the FISC each renewal. And the beauty of it all is, who’s ever going to find out? And even if they do, how do you prove criminal intent?

So everything’s humming along until a pain in the a** named Mike Rogers at NSA does an audit in 4/2016, just as the real campaign season is about to start. And Rogers learns that 85% of the searches the FBI has done between 12/2015 and 4/2016 have been totally out of bounds. And he clamps down — no more non-government contractors, tight auditing on searches of NSA data. Oh sh*t! What to do, just give up? Well, not necessarily, but there’s a lot more work involved and a lot more fudging the facts. What the FBI needs to do now is get a FISA that will cover their a** and provide coverage on the GOPers going forward. That means, first get a FI on an USPER [US person] connected to the Trump campaign (who looks, in [April] or [May] 2016, like the GOP candidate) so you can then get that FISA. That’s not so easy, because they’ve got to find an USPER with that profile who they can plausibly present as a Russian spy. But they have this source named Halper.

So they first open a PI [preliminary investigation]. That allows them to legally use NatSec Letters and other investigative techniques to keep at least some of what they were doing going. But importantly this allows them to legally use Halper to try to frame people connected to the Trump campaign — IOW, find someone to open a FI on so they can then get that FISA. However the PI is framed, that’s what they’re looking to do. It has legal form, even if the real intent is to help the Dems. And you can see why this had to be a CI [counterintelligence] thing, so in a sense the Russia narrative was almost inevitable — no other bogeyman would really fit the bill, and especially on short notice.

So that’s what they do, and Halper helps them come up with Papadopoulos and Page, so by the end of July they’ve got their FI. Problem. Their first FISA is rejected, but eventually, 10/2016, they get that.

And then Trump wins and Rogers visits Trump Tower. And the Deep State has a fit.

The article also reveals the role of Virginia Senator Mark Warner in this story:

Mark Warner was also the guy caught text messaging with DC Lawyer Adam Waldman in the spring of 2017. (his first assignment) Waldman was the lawyer for the interests of Christopher Steele – the author of the dossier.

While he was working as an intermediary putting Senator Warner and Christopher Steele in contact with each other, simultaneously Adam Waldman was also representing the interests of… wait for it… Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska.

Derispaska was the Russian person approached by Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok and asked to assist in creating dirt on the Trump campaign, via Paul Manafort.

You see, Senator Mark Warner has a vested interest in making sure that no-one ever gets to the bottom of the 2016 political weaponization, spying and surveillance operation.

Senator Mark Warner was a participant in the execution of the “insurance policy” trying to remove President Trump via the Russian Collusion narrative. 

The article concludes:

Wretchard tweets something impossible to deny: “The biggest problem with politically weaponizing intelligence agencies is it CREATES a pathway for the foreign takeover of the system. If once a hostile power takes over the WH, it obtains the power to remain indefinitely.”

We now have an imaginary crime – collusion – with imaginary evidence and even imaginary defendants. What is not imaginary is the selfish effort to destroy our polity by several handfuls of men and women who abused their positions of trust for intended partisan gain that failed. Give them the hook already.

No wonder Congress is having such a hard time obtaining the documents it is entitled to!

Please follow the link to read the entire article. There are some amazing connections revealed here. There are also many people named in this article that need to suffer the consequences of their actions.

The Pieces Are Beginning To Fit Together

Townhall posted an article today that explains a lot of the pieces in the Special Prosecutor story and how those who supported Hillary Clinton for President worked together inside the government to create problems for President Trump.

The article reminds us:

On December 29, 2016, the Obama Administration – with three weeks remaining in its term – issued harsh sanctions against Russia over supposed election interference. Two compounds in the United States were closed and 35 Russian diplomats were ordered to leave the country.

In the two years since that was done, it has become obvious that the basis for the sanctions was questionable at best. So what was this all about?

The story begins with the emails showing that the Democratic primary election was rigged for Hillary Clinton. There are still questions as to whether those emails were ‘phished’ or hacked. The scandal was significant enough to cause the resignation of DNC chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz on the eve of the Democratic convention.

The article points out:

The FBI never bothered to test the computers for a hack.  That task was left to CrowdStrike, a private contractor whose CTO and co-founder, Dmitri Alperovitch, is a Russian ex-patriot and a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a think tank with an anti-Russian agenda.

The Atlantic Council is funded by Ukrainian billionaire Victor Pinchuk, a $10 million donor to the Clinton Foundation.  The fix was in.  CrowdStrike dutifully reported that the Russians were behind the hack.

Lat year The Nation, a progressive publication, got a group of unaffiliated computer experts to test CrowdStrike’s hypothesis and they concluded that the email files were removed from the computer at a speed that makes an off-site download from Russia impossible.  

The saga continued:

Trump protested by stating the obvious: the federal government has “no idea” who was behind the hacks.

The FBI and CIA called him a liar, issuing a “Joint Statement” that suggested 17 intelligence agencies agree that it was the Russians. Hillary Clinton took advantage of this “intelligence assessment” in the October debate to portray Trump as Putin’s stooge.

She said, “We have 17, 17 intelligence agencies, civilian and military who have all concluded that these espionage attacks, these cyber-attacks, come from the highest levels of the Kremlin. And they are designed to influence our election. I find that deeply disturbing.”

The media’s fact checkers excoriated Trump for lying. It was the ultimate campaign dirty trick: a joint operation by the intelligence agencies and the media against a political candidate.

The article concludes:

The machinations that followed, the secret memos and special counsel, the prosecution of Flynn anyway for what happened in his conversation, the whole sordid mess, is a cover-up.

In the inverse logic of Russian collusion, the investigation itself supplies credibility to the collusion narrative. Any attempt to end the investigation is obstruction of justice.

One person has the constitutional responsibility end this nonsense. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who himself was duped into recusing himself by since discredited intelligence, should bow to recent disclosures of impropriety and say enough is enough.

His Inspector General will be issuing a report to him sometime soon. Maybe then he will lift his recusal and start the prosecutions. People should go to jail for this.

This is a scenario generally reserved for third-world countries. It is distressing to know that we have people in government who are so unpatriotic as to engage in this sort of shenanigans. Hopefully there will be an influx of politicians into our jail cells in the near future.

The Evidence Slowly Drips Out

The American Center for Law and Justice posted an article yesterday about the documents they have begun to receive as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding the unmasking of Americans in wiretaps.

The article reports:

We’ve all seen the reports of the unprecedented unmasking of U.S. citizens by senior Obama official, Ambassador Samantha Power, in the final days of the of the Administration – to the tune of more than one a day.  Now, through our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation, we have unearthed evidence of significant political bias during the same time period she was unmasking Americans.

Last fall the media began reporting that among other Obama Administration officials, former Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power made numerous requests seeking the “unmasking” (or unredacted identification) of names and other information about members of the Trump campaign team whose communications had been incidentally caught up in intelligence surveillance efforts. Power’s requests, reported to number in the hundreds, occurred mostly in the final days of the Obama Administration, that is between the election of President Trump in November 2016 and his inauguration in January 2017.

What the media has not reported, but the ACLJ has since discovered through one of our FOIA lawsuits, is that the clear political—and personal—bias of Power against the incoming President and the conservative agenda led her to undertake efforts aimed at undercutting support for the new Administration.

The article further reports:

We warned you about the 73 Days of Danger – the final days of the Obama Administration, and this new evidence confirmed what we said all along. The Administration was fully engaged in attempts to do whatever they could to undermine the conservative agenda and the will of the American voters.  But it was far worse than we thought.

Power goes on in this November 11th email to pitch a 60 Minutes episode to help lay a public foundation to undermine the incoming Administration. She wrote:

I am not sure exactly what I am pitching, but it seems there could be something interesting to show through USUN about this waning multilateral moment for the US, how we use these last two months, what we are trying to defend, how we are consoling other countries, etc. I wondered if there could be something in this that would hit home for viewers, even or perhaps especially those who support Trump. Let me know if you would like to brainstorm.”

The conversation continues four days later with Owens acknowledging and agreeing to help pitch the piece. He further stated, “I can only imagine the conversations you are having with some of our allies now and I would love a chance to brainstorm.”

The article concludes:

Further, and of critical importance, is that nothing in the unredacted portion of either email chain that day is responsive to our FOIA request. That means, that something in those redacted email chains – sent just 3 days before the presidential inauguration – is responsive to our FOIA request.

What is the Deep State hiding?

We will be challenging these redactions. The American people deserve to know the truth. 

In addition, we are pleased to report that late last week we secured a federal court order increasing the State Department’s required processing rate for production in this case by 33%. With nearly 9,000 pages that we know have yet to be processed, there is much more that we can and will learn about this situation.

Power’s political bias was palpable and calls into severe question any suggestion that Power’s unprecedented unmasking requests against U.S. citizens was done with anything other that political animus.  If this production is what the Deep State was willing to turn over to us, we can only imagine what remains to be turned over, litigated over, and be unredacted.

Stay tuned. The Freedom of Information Act may be the only way will be able to save our republic.

Some Thoughts On The FISA Court

The following video from One America News was posted at YouTube on Friday:

What happened during the end of the Obama Administration was a violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens by the abuse of a secret court. It is the obligation of the government to insure that never happens again. The surveillance of the Trump campaign and transition team makes the wiretapping engaged in by the Watergate burglars look like child’s play. The use of government agencies for political purposes was something that happened more than once in the Obama Administration–the IRS was eventually forced to pay fines to the conservative organizations it refused to grant tax-exempt status to. The purpose of not granting the tax-exempt status was to silence organizations engaging in conservative speech during the 2012 elections. Regardless of where you stand on the political spectrum, that is a dangerous thing. Remember, it is always possible that someday the shoe will be on the other foot. If we don’t end the practice of using the government against people who disagree with us now, it will not end.

An Investigation Of These Russian Ties Is Needed

The Hill posted a very disturbing article today about a deal with Russia that was made during the Obama Administration. Evidently the Department of Justice slow walked an investigation that had been done by the FBI and did not brief Congress on the investigation in a timely manner.

The article reports:

Federal agents used a confidential U.S. witness working inside the Russian nuclear industry to gather extensive financial records, make secret recordings and intercept emails as early as 2009 that showed Moscow had compromised an American uranium trucking firm with bribes and kickbacks in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FBI and court documents show.

They also obtained an eyewitness account — backed by documents — indicating Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow, sources told The Hill.

The racketeering scheme was conducted “with the consent of higher level officials” in Russia who “shared the proceeds” from the kickbacks, one agent declared in an affidavit years later.

Rather than bring immediate charges in 2010, however, the Department of Justice (DOJ) continued investigating the matter for nearly four more years, essentially leaving the American public and Congress in the dark about Russian nuclear corruption on U.S. soil during a period when the Obama administration made two major decisions benefiting Putin’s commercial nuclear ambitions.

The first decision occurred in October 2010, when the State Department and government agencies on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States unanimously approved the partial sale of Canadian mining company Uranium One to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, giving Moscow control of more than 20 percent of America’s uranium supply.

It pays to donate to the Clinton Foundation. Or at least it did.

It gets worse:

The Obama administration and the Clintons defended their actions at the time, insisting there was no evidence that any Russians or donors engaged in wrongdoing and there was no national security reason for any member of the committee to oppose the Uranium One deal.

But FBI, Energy Department and court documents reviewed by The Hill show the FBI in fact had gathered substantial evidence well before the committee’s decision that Vadim Mikerin — the main Russian overseeing Putin’s nuclear expansion inside the United States — was engaged in wrongdoing starting in 2009.

Then-Attorney General Eric Holder was among the Obama administration officials joining Hillary Clinton on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States at the time the Uranium One deal was approved. Multiple current and former government officials told The Hill they did not know whether the FBI or DOJ ever alerted committee members to the criminal activity they uncovered.

This is the swamp that needs to be cleaned out. Anyone involved in this investigation and the fact that it was kept secret from Congress needs to be unemployed immediately. Please follow the link to the article and read the entire story and review the documents involved. This story is an example of government corruption and that corruption needs to have consequences for those involved.

The Plot Thickens

It seems as if there were some major infringements on the privacy and civil rights of American citizens during the last year or so of the Obama Administration. Fortunately, it looks as though these violations will be investigated and the guilty parties will be held accountable.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the ongoing investigation into the unmasking of the names of American citizens who were named in classified intelligence community reports. Oddly enough, many of these citizens were associated with the Donald Trump campaign for President or his transition team.

The article reports:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, which is handling the probe, petitioned Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week to request his help in addressing the unmasking issue.

Nunes disclosed in his letter that the former Obama administration had “easy access” to sensitive classified information and that they may have used it to “achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

Congressional investigators uncovered that “one official [whose] position has no apparent intelligence-related function”—now believed to be Power—”made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration.”

Little justification was provided for the request of this sensitive classified information, which government insiders described as outside the purview of a U.N. ambassador.

“Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why that specific official required the personal information for the performance of his or her official duties,” according to Nunes.

One former senior U.S. official intimately familiar with the national security infrastructure told the Free Beacon that Power would have little reason to be requesting such information, particularly information that included in raw intelligence reports related to Trump and his team.

“Asking for an unmasking is rare at the [National Security Council] or the State Department. It is frankly shocking that anyone would be asking for dozens, and if there are really hundreds it is indefensible,” said the former official. “It does make me wonder why [National Security Agency] didn’t stop her [Power], by questioning this practice and getting the head of NSA to raise it with the president or the national security adviser.”

In addition to Power, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other top officials as part of its investigation into these leaks.

This is NOT politics as usual. The unmasking of American citizens and then leaking classified information is an example of using a government position for political purposes. Not only is it illegal, it is a danger to our republic.

The article concludes:

One veteran congressional adviser who has been briefed by senior Intelligence Committee members told the Free Beacon that the emergence of Power’s role in these unmasking efforts could point to the improper use of this information, given her unrelated role at the U.N.

“The outrage about Obama officials spying on Americans, let alone on the Republican candidate and then incoming president, is both real and legitimate,” said the source, who would only discuss the sensitive matter on background. “But there are still a lot of known unknowns, which could make things a lot worse.”

“The Obama folks may have made a deliberate decision to use Power, even though they knew it would risk giving away their unmasking campaigns, because she had no business making those requests,” the source said. “What was so bad they had to use her for the requests, rather than someone who would have had a better excuse but may have balked?”

Stay tuned. Even if the mainstream media ignores this story, you will be hearing more about this in the future.

 

This Is Not A Surprise

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that Iran is using the money that it was paid as part of the Iranian nuclear deal to fund an unprecedented military buildup.

The article reports:

Iran is using the billions in cash resources provided under the landmark nuclear deal to engage in an unprecedented military buildup meant to transform the Islamic Republic’s fighting force into an “offensive” juggernaut, according to a largely unreported announcement by Iranian military leaders that has sparked concern among U.S. national security insiders and sources on Capitol Hill.

Iranian officials announced late last month that Iran’s defense budget had increased by 145 percent under President Hassan Rouhani and that the military is moving forward with a massive restructuring effort aimed at making it “a forward moving force,” according to regional reports.

Iranian leaders have stated since the Iran deal was enacted that they are using the massive amounts of cash released under the agreement to fund the purchase of new military equipment and other armaments. Iran also has pursued multi-million dollar arms deals with Russia since economic sanctions were nixed as part of the deal.

Iran is not our friend and has been funding weapons used against American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since American troops got there. We need to remember that the goal of Iran is to establish a caliphate with Iran in charge. Iran is currently working with Russia to support the current regime in Syria and is working to fight ISIS. ISIS also wants to set up a caliphate. The difference is Sunni and Shiite. ISIS is the remnants of the Baathist regime that ruled Iraq with Saddam Hussein, Sunni Muslims. Iran is Shiite Muslim.  A caliphate set up by either group would be ruled by a brutal regime according to Sharia Law–women would be second-class citizens, homosexuals would be killed, and freedom of religion would not be allowed. The establishment of that caliphate by Iran is what the large amounts of cash given to Iran by the Obama Administration will be used to attempt.

The article concludes:

One senior congressional source tracking the matter expressed concern about the safety of U.S. forces in the region, which already are routinely harassed by Iranian military personnel.

“This is certainly grounds for concern,” the source said. “An Iranian military buildup coupled with an offensive posture is a threat to the United States and our allies. This also serves as an important reminder of why the Obama administration’s cash infusion to Iran was so dangerous.”

The cash windfall provided by the United States and European countries is “fungible and hence can be used for everything from sponsoring terror proxies to developing ballistic missiles,” the source warned. “Congress will continue to take action to counter Iranian terrorism and ensure this regime never acquires a nuclear weapon.”

Iran’s military announcement has already sparked a renewed push on Capitol Hill to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran.

“The Iranians know that the party will end this fall, when Congress will pass bipartisan legislation that begins to roll back Iran’s military growth,” one senior congressional adviser working on the sanctions effort told the Free Beacon.

“The Obama administration avoided any serious action for years, and so Iran kept growing its arsenal and using it against our allies, against Syrian civilians, and increasingly against our military,” said the source. “Now they’re rushing to accomplish as much as they can before Congress and the Trump administration get around to reversing Obama’s policies.”

Let’s hope Congress reverses this policy. They haven’t shown the spine yet to reverse much of anything. If Congress cannot reverse a policy that puts American soldiers at risk, then they should be made to put on uniforms to get a new perspective.

Republicans May Be Learning To Fight Back

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about a lawsuit filed by the Watchdog group, Cause of Action (CoA) seeking records relating to the relationship between the FBI and Christopher Steele, a former British spy who was the lead author of the largely debunked Trump dossier.

The article reports:

Via Cause of Action:

According to a news report, Mr. Steele entered an agreement with the FBI a few weeks before the November 2016 election to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump while, at the same time, he was employed by an opposition research firm to collect information for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

CoA Institute President and CEO John Vecchione: “If a former spy who was being paid to do opposition research on a U.S. presidential nominee was also on the FBI’s payroll, there are serious concerns about the agency’s independence. We need to better understand this financial relationship to ensure the FBI was not misusing taxpayer money to interfere in a presidential election on behalf of one of the candidates.”

On March 7, 2017, CoA Institute sent a FOIA request to the FBI seeking access to records into whether the FBI paid money, or had plans to pay, Mr. Steele for any purpose. To date, the FBI has failed to produce any responsive records within the applicable FOIA timeframe.

The obvious questions is, “Exactly who was Mr. Steele working for–the FBI or the Clinton Campaign?”

The article concludes:

The amount of corruption in these government agencies is astounding. The FBI is damaged. Comey needs to go. Trump needs to gut these institutions! The Obama administration weaponized every agency to target his political opponents. Every person involved must be prosecuted and brought to justice.

It truly is time to drain the swamp!

The Timeline Shows The History

Sharyl Attkisson was an investigative journalist who resigned from CBS News in 2014. She was unbiased and reported events as she saw them. In July 2012, Ms. Attkisson’s reporting on the Fast and Furious scandal received an Emmy Award. Ms. Attkisson has reported that her personal computer and work computer were illegally accessed beginning in 2012. She has posted an article on her website about some of the indications that government surveillance of Americans during the Obama Administration was not unusual.

The article includes a timeline. Here are some highlights:

 April 2009:

Someone leaks the unmasked name of Congresswoman Jane Harmon to the press. According to news reports, the Bush administration NSA incidentally recorded and saved Harmon’s phone conversations with pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage. The story is first broken by Congressional Quarterly’s Jeff Stein.

December 17, 2009:

The Obama administration prosecutes FBI contractor Shamai Leibowitz for leaking documents to the media in April 2009. Leibowitz says he leaked because he felt FBI practices were “an abuse of power and a violation of the law” which he reported to his superiors at the FBI “who did nothing about them.”  (According to the ACLU: “Amazingly, the sentencing judge said, ‘I don’t know what was divulged other than some documents, and how it compromised things, I have no idea’.”)

2010:

The IRS secretly begins “targeting” conservative groups that are seeking nonprofit tax-exempt status, by singling out ones that have “Tea Party” or “Patriot” in their names.

Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning begins illegally leaks classified information to WikiLeaks revealing, among other matters, that the U.S. is extensively spying on the United Nations.

Obama Attorney General Eric Holder renews a Bush-era subpoena of New York Times reporter James Risen in a leak investigation.

Obama administration pursues espionage charges against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. (According to the ACLU: spy charges were later dropped and Drake pled guilty to a misdemeanor. The judge called the government’s conduct in the case “unconscionable.”)

May 28, 2010:

The government secretly applies for a warrant to obtain Google email information of Fox News reporter James Rosen in a leak investigation, without telling Rosen.

September 21, 2010:

Internal email entitled “Obama Leak Investigations” at “global intelligence” company Stratfor claims Obama’s then-Homeland Security adviser John Brennan is targeting journalists.

“Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources,” writes one Stratfor official to another.

The email continues: “Note — There is specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…”

“The Wonder Boys” reportedly refers to the National Security Agency (NSA). Brennan later becomes President Obama’s CIA Director.

Early February 2011:

After receiving an anonymous tip, CBS News investigative correspondent Sharyl Attkisson begins researching the Department of Justice “gunwalking” operation nicknamed “Fast and Furious” that secretly let thousands of weapons be trafficked to Mexican drug cartels. One of the “walked” guns had been used by illegal aliens who murdered U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December 2010.

February 22, 2011:

CBS’ Attkisson breaks news about “Fast and Furious” on The CBS Evening News.

After the story airs, the government issues an internal memo that seeks to “push positive stories” to contradict the news.

Given the negative coverage by CBS Evening News last week…ATF needs to proactively push positive stories this week, in an effort to preempt some negative reporting, or at minimum, lessen the coverage of such stories in the news cycle by replacing them with good stories about ATF.

March 4, 2011:

CBS News’ Attkisson exclusively interviews sitting ATF special agent John Dodson. He gives a firsthand account contradicting government denials re: Fast and Furious.

The article continues with the timeline continuing through April 11, 2017, citing actions by the Obama Administration and by the people who remained in government positions after the Obama Administration ended. I think we have a problem. The only possible solution is to find the guilty parties and hold them accountable to the law. One wonders if we are not in a situation similar to what happened when J. Edgar Hoover headed the FBI and collected enough damaging information on everyone in government so that no one ever challenged him when he overstepped the limits of his position. If we have a similar situation now, we may not be able to solve the problem of overactive government surveillance for political purposes, and voters are simply going to have to be smart about what they believe.

 

 

 

The Keystone Pipeline Will Be Good For The Environment, But You Might Have To Search A Bit To Find That Story

On March 24th, The New York Post posted an article about the environmental impact of the Keystone Pipeline. I would like to point out that none of the environmental studies on the pipeline done during the Obama Administration ever stated that the pipeline would harm the environment. The objection to the pipeline at that point was that if President Obama allowed the pipeline to be built, the Democratic Party would lose the donations of the radical environmental groups. If they refused to build the pipeline, they would lose a large portion of donations from unions. They made a choice to keep the environmentalists happy and ignore the unions who wanted the jobs the pipeline would create.

The article points out:

Environmentalists like to tout scary spill statistics. But in actuality, oil travels most securely by pipeline, reaching its destination safely 99.999 percent of the time, according to the Association of Oil Pipe Lines and the American Petroleum Institute.

A recent study by Canada’s Fraser Institute provided more reassuring information: Of the rare spills that do occur, 83 percent happen in facilities specially equipped to handle them, not along the pipeline’s route, where they could cause environmental harm. Moreover, 70 percent of the spills that do occur amount to a total of less than a cubic meter of spilled oil.

The article explains the impact of alternative forms of transporting oil:

As energy-related rail traffic increased, 2013 alone saw more train-related crude-oil spills than the entire 37 years prior, combined. And between 2013 and 2015 alone, the United States and Canada saw 10 separate explosions involving oil-laden trains.

To understand how much riskier railway transportation can be, look no further than to Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. In 2013, a crude-oil train derailed, plowing into town at more than 62 miles per hour and exploding. Forty-seven people died, and the blaze wiped out 44 buildings.

The wreck unleashed nearly 1.5 million gallons of oil, and what didn’t char the town seeped into the soil and contaminated the nearby Chaudière River.

Transporting oil by truck also carries major risks. At the peak of the oil boom, The New York Times reported that highway fatalities were the top cause of deaths in the industry — more than 300 between 2002 and 2012. In North Dakota, highway fatalities skyrocketed as energy production soared; at one point, a person was killed in an accident every two-and-a-half days.

A 100 percent risk-free method of energy transportation doesn’t exist, and the Obama administration was well aware of the comparative risks of pipeline, rail and road. Five separate State Department studies examined safety and environmental concerns surrounding the pipeline. Their findings were consistently favorable to Keystone XL.

The most recent State Department report concluded that because of pipelines’ superior safety record, Keystone XL could prevent as many as six fatalities and 48 injuries each year.

Without the pipeline, the oil would travel by truck and rail. Both of these methods have a higher carbon footprint and a higher risk than a pipeline. It is also no coincidence that without the pipeline the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad is transporting large amounts of oil through the area where the pipeline will be built. The railroad is owned by Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett, a close friend of former President Obama. The delay of the Keystone Pipeline was truly a case of ‘follow the money.’

While We Were All Focused On A Shiny Object Over There…

BizPacReview reported yesterday about some information in the Obama Administration’s Friday night document dump.

The article reports:

Before the start of the Columbus Day holiday weekend, the Treasury Department made it easier for offshore banking institutions to make transactions with Iran, as long as the money doesn’t actually enter the U.S. financial system. Although many sanctions were lifted as a part of the Iran deal, certain “specially designated nationals,” or SDNs, are still subject to the sanctions for reasons which include their human rights record or support for terror groups.

Now, even these SDNs are no longer completely banned from transacting with U.S. businesses.

The Associated Press reports that this change in the rules is the result of complaints from Iran that the remaining U.S. Sanctions have limited Iran in its commercial dealings with other countries.

The article concludes:

Just another bad postscript to a bad deal, and we can expect plenty more of the same if people keep paying attention to the puppet shows instead of the man, or woman, behind the curtain.

The Iran deal was a really bad deal. We are financing terrorism and the development of an atomic bomb by Iran. We can expect more of the same from a President Hillary Clinton.

Politicians Don’t Like Being Held Accountable

Generally speaking, politicians don’t like being held accountable. They don’t like being held to any standard of transparency either. This has been particularly true in the relationship between the Obama Administration and Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is an equal opportunity government watchdog organization. The have investigated the Clinton Administration, the Bush Administration, and the Obama Administration.

Needless to say, they were more appreciated by Americans who wanted to hold their government accountable than they were by the administrations they were holding accountable. The Obama Administration, however, has reached a new low in its dealings with Judicial Watch.

On Thursday, The Washington Times reported that an Inspector General‘s report revealed the following:

Political operatives within the Obama administration wrongly punished conservative legal group Judicial Watch, stripping it of “media” status and trying to force it to pay higher fees for its open records requests, the General Services Administration inspector general said in a letter released Thursday.

The GSA botched several high-profile open records requests, delaying them for months while political appointees got involved, Inspector General Carol F. Ochoa said. The findings were released while the administration was facing charges of slow-walking open records requests for Hillary Clinton’s emails, as well as other requests.

In the case of Judicial Watch, the order to strip it of media status came from political operatives with long ties to Democratic causes — and even from the White House.

The inspector general said the decision came at the behest of Gregory Mecher, a former Democratic campaign fundraiser who at the time was liaison to the White House. He is married to Jen Psaki, a longtime spokeswoman with the Obama administration and its election campaigns.

 Ms. Ochoa said stripping Judicial Watch of media status violated several agency policies and things got worse when the GSA denied an appeal by the group.

The same person who ruled on the initial request also ruled on the appeal, “contrary to GSA procedures,” the inspector general said.

Judicial Watch ended up suing over the request, the agency finally agreed to waive all fees and even ended up paying Judicial Watch $750 as part of the settlement.

This is disgusting. We have entered a period of unbelievable corruption in Washington that reaches all the way to the top. We have had stories this year of archives of press conferences being altered after the fact to make the administration look better, now we have press credentials pulled on people simply doing a service to America.

Please follow the link and read the entire article. It is a basic course of the relationships among the elites in Washington. It truly is time to throw them all out!

Borders Matter

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article about the crimes committed by immigrants legally and illegally entering America with nefarious intentions.

The article reports:

In the month of September alone, a Turkish immigrant allegedly shot and killed five people in a Washington State mall; an Afghan immigrant allegedly planted bombs in New York and New Jersey injuring roughly 30 innocent people; a Somali immigrant allegedly stabbed nine people at a Minnesota mall; a twice-arrested illegal alien with a prior DUI conviction allegedly murdered a Kansas sheriff’s deputy; an illegal alien and convicted child rapist allegedly shot two California corrections officers; an illegal alien with a prior drug arrest, who had been a recipient of Obama’s executive amnesty, allegedly engaged in reckless driving killing a 12-year-old girl; a three-time deported illegal alien allegedly killed two people on what was described as a crime “rampage;” and a Mexican immigrant and Arizona pastor was arrested after it was revealed that he had allegedly molested children for years, many of whom are believed to belong to his church, and for impregnating one of his victims when she was 13 years old.

At the same time, a Department of Homeland Security audit revealed that over 1,800 foreign nationals who were slated to be deported were instead awarded U.S. citizenship.

In football, when you see an extremely long running or pass play, you can usually assume that someone on the defense missed his assignment. I think it is safe to say that somewhere in our immigration process, someone (or someones) has missed his assignment.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. The people who are in charge of our safety are not doing their job. They are either incompetent or have intentionally closed their eyes to the threat. Either way, they have missed their assignment.

Following The Money

There have been a lot of stories told about the $400 million that was paid to Iran (coincidentally just as some American hostages were being released). Yesterday Claudia Rosett posted an article in the New York Sun that offers an interesting explanation as to where the $400 million came from.

The article reports:

Congressional investigators trying to uncover the trail of $1.3 billion in payments to Iran might want to focus on 13 large, identical sums that Treasury paid to the State Department under the generic heading of settling “Foreign Claims.”

The 13 payments when added to the $400 million that the administration now concedes it shipped to the Iranian regime in foreign cash would bring the payout to the $1.7 billion that President Obama and Secretary Kerry announced on January 17. That total was to settle a dispute pending for decades before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal in at The Hague.

…The Judgment Fund has long been a controversial vehicle for federal agencies to detour past one of the most pointed prohibitions in the Constitution: “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”

The Judgment Fund, according to a Treasury Department Web site, is “a permanent, indefinite appropriation” used to pay monetary awards against U.S. government agencies in cases “where funds are not legally available to pay the award from the agency’s own appropriations.”

In March, in letters responding to questions about the Iran settlement sent weeks earlier by Representatives Edward Royce and Mike Pompeo, the State Department confirmed that the $1.3 billion “interest” portion of the Iran settlement had been paid out of the Judgment Fund. But State gave no information on the logistics.

Aside from the fact that we are funding a regime that is using the money to fund attacks against American civilians and servicemen, I would like to note that the Tribunal at the Hague decided that America owned money to a known sponsor of terrorism. Based on that decision, I don’t think the Tribunal at The Hague is force for global peace. Giving money to a known sponsor of terrorism is not a good idea under any circumstances.

I Guess Things Didn’t Go As Planned

ObamaCare is touted as one of the crowning achievements of the Obama Administration. Like some of the other achievements touted, the benefits are somewhat questionable. The two main promises of ObamaCare–if you like your healthcare plan, you can keep it, and if you like your doctor, you can keep him–have not really worked out as claimed. Now the claim that ObamaCare has cut the cost of health insurance seems to be in doubt as well.

Forbes Magazine posted an article on Thursday disputing the claims of Loren Adler and Paul Ginsburg of the Brookings Institution that health insurance premiums have decreased under ObamaCare. The authors cite a 2014 Brookings study that concluded premiums have increased.

The article reports:

While I will discuss the relevant evidence of the ACA’s effect on premiums in depth, there are three data points worth emphasizing. First, unlike Adler and Ginsburg’s approach, Brookings 2014 study used actual data and found that “enrollment-weighted premiums in the individual health insurance market increased by 24.4 percent beyond what they would have had they simply followed…trends.” Second, S&P Global Institute found that average individual market medical costs increased substantially between 2013 and 2015, up an estimated 69%. Third, 2014 insurer data shows that premiums for individual market Qualified Health Plans (QHPs), ACA-compliant plans certified to be sold on exchanges, were much higher than premiums for individual market non-QHPs, mostly plans in existence before 2014 that did not comply with the ACA. Relative to non-QHPs, insurers collected more than $1,000 per enrollee in higher premiums and more than $2,300 in higher premium revenue per enrollee in 2014 after accounting for large premium subsidy programs for their QHPs.

The article includes the following graph:

PMPM Chart - Mercatus

The data shows a huge increase in PMPM costs in the individual market between 2013 and 2015. According to S&P, PMPM costs increased 38% between 2013 and 2014, and another 23% between 2014 and 2015. The two-year increase (69%) is the product of the two single-year increases.

…It is worth noting that the individual market includes both ACA-compliant plans as well as non-ACA-compliant plans. If only ACA-compliant plans were included in the post-2013 data, the spike would likely be much larger.

I do wonder how much of this will be reported by the mainstream media. The fact that most people will experience this on a personal level means that the public will become aware of it.

 

 

 

Some People In Congress Have Forgotten Who They Work For

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that Democrats on the House Select Committee on Benghazi voted against releasing the findings of the committee.

The article reports:

Sections of witness testimony and internal documents remain classified, although committee Chairman Trey Gowdy has pushed the White House to clear as much information as possible for release.

“We urge the Obama administration to clear for public release all of the supporting evidence and documents referenced in the more than 2,100 footnotes in the report, including all of the transcripts of the committee’s witness interviews and all of the video footage from the drones operating over Benghazi during the attacks,” the committee’s Republican members said in a statement. “The administration should do this as fast as possible so the American people can see all of the evidence for themselves.”

As Americans, we are entitled to see the results of this investigation without any filters. We should be smart enough to read it and draw our own conclusions. It’s time to end secrecy in Washington.

Changing History As It Occurs

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the recent editing of a State Department press briefing on December 2, 2013. A question asked by Fox News reporter James Rosen was edited out of the archived video of the briefing.

The article reports:

The deleted segment of the briefing featured Fox News reporter James Rosen asking then-State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki whether the Obama administration had lied about having secret talks with Iran in 2011. Psaki essentially admitted that it had.

Rosen inquired, “Is it the policy of the State Department, where the preservation or the secrecy of secret negotiations is concerned, to lie in order to achieve that goal?” Psaki responded, “James, I think there are times where diplomacy needs privacy in order to progress. This is a good example of that.”

The start date of the Iran nuclear negotiations is back in the spotlight because of a New York Times Magazine piece in which Ben Rhodes admitted that the Obama administration “largely manufactured” a narrative for the Iran deal in order to garner support for it. A key element of the manufactured narrative was that negotiations began in 2013 with the election of a “moderate” Iranian president.

It looks like the State Department tried, by editing the video, to cover up the administration’s lie about when Iran negotiations commenced (together with the admission that it is willing to lie), and then lied again by claiming that the cover up was the product of a glitch.

Remember, this video is supposed to be an accurate archived record of American history. The State Department chose to edit it to rewrite a portion of history. I thought only Communist countries did that.

The article explains the consequences for the editing of the video:

Who requested the scrubbing? The State Department claims not to know. It says that officials “tried” to determine who ordered the edit, “but it was three years ago and the individual who took the call [to edit the tape] just simply doesn’t have a better memory of it.”

Jen Psaki, who made the admission that needed to be deleted, is an obvious suspect. She denies responsibility.

Will the State Department launch an investigation? No it will not. Current spokesperson John Kirby says:

There were no rules governing this sort of action in the past, so I find no reason to press forward with a more formal or deeper investigation. What matters to me — and I take it seriously — is our commitment to transparency and disclosure.

The Obama State Department just can’t stop lying.

I have been known to complain about the mainstream media slanting the news or lying to Americans. Now we have evidence that the government is lying to us. It’s time for a new government.

Can Anyone Stop This Runaway Train?

Actually, there are two runaway trains–one is federal spending and the other is overreach by President Obama. Yesterday The Daily Signal posted an article that illustrates both of them. The article was written by Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma.

The article reports:

Last week, the Senate passed legislation to address and prevent the spread of the Zika virus. However, the Senate failed to pay for it, and instead approved a $1.1 billion “emergency” spending supplemental bill that is not subject to the budgetary caps that were agreed to last year.

While congressional inattention to the budget crisis is inexcusable, it is even more disturbing that the Obama administration already has the authority to pay for a Zika response from existing agency budgets, but chose not to.

…But an international medical emergency has now become a U.S. budget emergency, a major debt crisis that will impact our children as well.

If there was a way to both respond to Zika and prevent new debt spending, wouldn’t it be reasonable to do that? The Department of Health and Human Services, Department of State, and International Assistance Programs currently have about $80 billion in unobligated funds.

A small fraction of this could be reprogrammed and redirected to respond to the Zika emergency and not add any additional debt to our nation’s children. This is exactly the type of authority the Obama administration asked for in 2009 during the height of the H1N1 virus scare.

…In a floor speech last week, I also shed light on the fact that Congress last December provided the Obama administration with authority to pull money from bilateral economic assistance to foreign countries.

They can use those funds to combat infectious diseases, if the administration believed there is an infectious disease emergency. In the middle of the Zika epidemic, the administration did use their authority to pull money from foreign aid and spend it, but they didn’t use it for Zika.

You might ask—so what did the administration spend the infectious disease money on earlier this year?

You guessed it… climate change.

It gets worse.:

In March, President Obama gave the United Nations $500 million out of an account under bilateral economic assistance to fund the U.N.’s Green Climate Fund.

Congress refused to allocate funding for the U.N. Climate Change Fund last year, so the president used this account designated for international infectious diseases to pay for his priority.

While I understand that intelligent people can disagree on the human effects on the global climate, it is hard to imagine a reason why the administration would prioritize the U.N. Green Climate Fund over protecting the American people, especially pregnant women, from the Zika virus.

The U.N. Green Climate Fund is connected to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which recently accepted the “State of Palestine” as a signatory. There is currently in place a U.S. funding prohibition that forbids any taxpayer dollars to fund international organizations that recognize “Palestine” as a sovereign state. Evidently the Obama Administration chose to ignore that prohibition and also to create more debt that our children and grandchildren will have to deal with. Someone needs to stop this runaway train.

Coming To A Neighborhood Near You

On July 19, 2013, the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Department of the federal government proposed the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation.

This is a brief summary of the regulation taken from the Federal Register:

This proposed rule would amend HUD regulations in 24 CFR part 5 that contain general HUD program requirements, and specifically 24 CFR part 5, subpart A, which contains generally applicable definitions and federal requirements that are applicable to all or almost all HUD programs. This rule proposes to add new §§ 5.150-5.180 under the undesignated heading of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” These new sections will primarily provide the regulations that will govern the affirmatively furthering fair housing planning process by states, local governments, and PHAs, but reserves additional sections in subpart A for HUD to continue to provide regulations that will assist all HUD program participants in more effectively affirmatively furthering fair housing.

Purpose of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Regulations (§ 5.150). New § 5.150 states that the purpose of HUD’s new regulations (AFFH regulations) is to provide more effective means of meeting the statutory obligation imposed on HUD program participants to affirmatively further fair housing. The new AFFH regulations are intended to add clarity to the goals that are at the heart of affirmatively furthering fair housing, to provide for guidance and interaction between HUD and program participants and, to the extent appropriate, inform other housing and urban development programs that are subject to AFFH requirements. The new regulations envision a process that is structurally incorporated into the consolidated plan and the PHA planning process, building upon what is already familiar to HUD program participants and thus reducing burden and connecting disparate planning processes.

So what exactly does this mean? Americans for limited government puts it in real terms:

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning today urged the Senate to support an amendment by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), S.3897, to the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill that will prohibit implementation of the HUD regulation “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) that conditions $3 billion of yearly community development block grants on 1,200 recipient cities and counties rezoning neighborhoods along income and racial guidelines:

“There is zero excuse for allowing the federal government to dictate local zoning policy via community development block grants to impose racial and income zoning quotas on cities and counties. Zoning ordinances only determine what can be built where, not who lives there. People can move wherever they want, and rent or buy. Real housing discrimination, that is, denying housing on the basis of race, has been illegal for decades. It is not at all what is at issue in the upcoming vote in the Senate.

“The Lee amendment simply says that community development block grants, which have been around for more than 40 years, can be spent by local communities as they see fit to put affordable housing where they think it makes sense. That’s the way these block grants have always been allocated, but suddenly, the Obama Administration found some new power for HUD to condition the community development block grants based on fulfilling the department’s utopian vision of racial and income equality.

“Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing is not about expanding the poor’s access to housing, it’s about expanding the federal government’s reach into local municipalities. Republican or Democrat, defunding this overreach should be an easy vote for every senator.”

One example of how the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation actually works is cited at a website called Obamazone.org:

In Westchester County, N.Y., a trial run for the rule has already occurred where HUD has attempted to rezone six cities, 19 towns and 20 villages as a condition for receiving $5 million of grants. Rather than submit to federal rule, County Executive Rob Astorino simply rejected the money from 2012, and Westchester lost out on some $7 million of grants from 2011 for the same reason. Watch the video of Astorino explaining how the HUD regulation will affect your neighborhood.

This is just the beginning, and left unchecked, the impact of this regulation will be felt nationwide. In 2012, HUD dispersed about $3.8 billion of these grants to almost 1,200 municipalities. By virtue of accepting the grants, under the rule, each of these 1,200 municipalities will be forced to comply with HUD’s racial zoning edicts.

The House of Representatives has already acted, defunding implementation of the regulation two years in a row. Now, it is the Senate’s turn to act. Senator Mike Lee has introduced an amendment to the Transportation and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) appropriations bill defunding implementation of the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” rule.

Zoning laws are done by local governments who understand the area they are dealing with–the infrastructure, the land, and the resources. The federal government has no business overriding local government laws and decisions.

Effectively Using The Power Of The Purse

Theoretically, the House of Representatives can limit executive power by using its control of the purse strings. According to the U.S. Constitution, the government cannot spend money unless that spending is authorized by the House of Representatives. We haven’t seen the House of Representatives use that power as much as I would have liked under the Obama Administration, but the power is there. In fact, there was one recent incident where the House of Representatives successfully used that power.

In October I posted a story about the Obama Administration attempting to spend money that was not allocated by Congress. At issue were payments to insurance companies to alleviate their losses under Obama.

As reported by the Daily Signal in October:

In January, Sessions’ committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee had identified that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) lacked an appropriation for bailing out insurance companies through the risk corridors. They asked the Government Accountability Office to look into the matter. That September, the GAO issued its legal opinion: the administration would need an appropriation from Congress to make outgoing payments.

Today The Los Angeles Times reported:

A federal judge ruled for House Republicans on Thursday in their suit against President Obama and declared his administration is unconstitutionally spending money to reimburse health insurers without obtaining an appropriation from Congress.

The judge’s ruling, though a setback for the administration, was put on hold immediately and stands a good chance of being overturned on appeal.

The ruling upholds the Constitution, why would it be overturned on appeal?

The article at The Los Angeles Times reports:

The Constitution says “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law,” said Judge Rosemary Collyer, yet the administration has continued to pay billions to insurers for their extra cost of providing coverage for low-income Americans.

“Paying out Sec. 1402 reimbursements without an appropriation thus violates the Constitution,” she wrote. “Congress is the only source for such an appropriation, and no public money can be spent without one.”

Stay tuned to see if the Constitution will be upheld.