Things That Began Well Don’t Always End Well

This is my eulogy for Fox News. I remember Fox News Sunday when Tony Snow was hosting it. It was balanced and informative. That has changed in recent years. I enjoy Tucker Carlson. I understand we may not agree on everything, but he is fair, logical, and informative. I used to enjoy Hannity and Colmes when they debated both sides of an issue. I guess the fairness and balance of Fox News will be a distant memory.

The Los Angeles Times posted an article yesterday about some changes to Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox as it prepares for a merger with Walt Disney Company. 21st Century Fox created a new company, Fox Corp., made up of Fox News Channel and Fox broadcast network.

Yesterday The Washington Post reported that Paul Ryan will be a board member for Fox Corp., the new parent company of Fox News.

The Washington Post reports:

Last week, Ryan reportedly told a crowd during a lecture in Vero Beach, Fla., that the Democrat who defines the race as one about Trump and Trump’s personality could beat him. But he quickly backtracked on Twitter to clarify that he believes Trump deserves to win.

“To be clear, GOP wins elections when they’re about ideas not when they’re personality contests like Dems & media want. We’re clearly better off because of @RealDonaldTrump,” Ryan tweeted. “His record of accomplishment is why he’ll win re-election especially when compared to Dems’ leftward lurch.”

Ryan will serve on the seven-member board along with Murdoch, Fox’s founder, and his son, Lachlan Murdoch, Fox’s chairman and chief executive.

I believe the choices currently being made will be the end of Fox News as the most-watched news network in America.

This Explains A Lot

Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article that explains a few things that were curious at the time. When viewing these events, it’s a good idea to consider the underlying currents–establishment Republicans don’t want the wall any more than the Democrats. Their reasons are different, but the goal is the same. That is why the Secure Fence Act of 2006 was never actually carried out.

100 percent fed up detailed the timeline of events following the passage of the Secure Fence Act of 2006 in an article posted on August 16, 2015.

Here are some highlights from that timeline:

In his speech in El Paso on immigration reform on May 10, 2011, Obama declared that the fence along the border with Mexico is “now basically complete.” Like much of what comes out of the Obama administration, that was a lie. What was supposed to be built was a double-layered fence with barbed wire on top, and room for a security vehicle to patrol between the layers. Except for 36 of the seven-hundred-mile fence, what was built looks like the picture above or the one below.

This is the above picture:

This is the below picture:

Somehow the two pictures do not appear to be the same.

So what happened? The article reports:

The first blow against the promised fence was made by Kay Bailey Hutchison, Republican Senator from Texas, at the urging of DHS she proposed an amendment to give the Department discretion to decide what type of fence was appropriate in different areas. The law was amended to read,
“Nothing in this paragraph shall require the Secretary of Homeland Security to install fencing, physical barriers, roads, lighting, cameras, and sensors in a particular location along an international border of the United States, if the Secretary determines that the use or placement of such resources is not the most appropriate means to achieve and maintain operational control over the international border at such location.”
Hutchison’s amendment was included in a federal budget bill in late 2007 despite the fact that Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., had a cow…he argued the amendment effectively killed the border fence promised in the 2006 bill, he was right. Hutchison’s intentions may have been honorable, but she didn’t foresee Barack Obama being the next president.

The article concludes:

Here’s the bottom line. Back in 2006, the people of the U.S. were promised a border fence. Since then thanks to Kay Bailey Hutchison and Barack Obama 95% of the fence wasn’t built. The arguments against the fence are bogus especially if you look at Israel’s history. It’s time for America to demand that its leaders build the fence they promised. No one can honestly say it wont work, after all, it hasn’t been tried.

Yesterday after an interview with President Trump, The Daily Caller reported:

President Donald Trump says former House Speaker Paul Ryan promised to secure wall funding while Republicans controlled both Houses in exchange for the president’s signature on the 2018 omnibus spending bill.

But after the president signed the massive, $1.3 trillion spending package, Ryan reneged on his commitment.

“Well, I was going to veto the omnibus bill and Paul told me in the strongest of language, ‘Please don’t do that, we’ll get you the wall.’ And I said, ‘I hope you mean that, because I don’t like this bill,’” the president recounted in an exclusive Wednesday interview with The Daily Caller.

“Paul told me in the strongest of terms that, ‘please sign this and if you sign this we will get you that wall.’ Which is desperately needed by our country. Humanitarian crisis, trafficking, drugs, you know, everything — people, criminals, gangs, so, you know, we need the wall.”

“And then he went lame duck,” Trump said.

“And once he went lame duck, it was just really an exercise in waving to people and the power was gone so I was very disappointed. I was very disappointed in Paul because the wall was so desperately needed. And I’ll get the wall.”

Paul Ryan began well. He stood up to President Obama on various issues (without actually accomplishing anything). He began as a budget hawk, trying to keep spending under control. However, he somehow became part of the Republican establishment and went down the wrong path. I seriously doubt that he ever had any intention of building the wall.

When Did The FBI Become Political?

This article is based on two articles–one at The Conservative Treehouse and one at The Hill.

The Conservative Treehouse article reports:

The DOJ-NSD and FBI are holding a press conference today at 9:30am.  The topic is unknown, but the timing coincides with a document production subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee for McCabe Memos, the “Woods File” supporting the Carter Page FISA application, and Gang-of-Eight documents on the Russia investigation.

In related news, former FBI chief legal counsel, James Baker, delivered testimony to the Joint House Committee yesterday in the ongoing investigation of corrupt FISA processes and “spy-gate”.   Fox News and The Hill both have reports.

The Hill reports:

Congressional investigators have confirmed that a top FBI official met with Democratic Party lawyers to talk about allegations of Donald Trump-Russia collusion weeks before the 2016 election, and before the bureau secured a search warrant targeting Trump’s campaign.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker met during the 2016 season with at least one attorney from Perkins Coie, the Democratic National Committee’s private law firm.

That’s the firm used by the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign to secretly pay research firm Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence operative, to compile a dossier of uncorroborated raw intelligence alleging Trump and Moscow were colluding to hijack the presidential election.

The dossier, though mostly unverified, was then used by the FBI as the main evidence seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant targeting the Trump campaign in the final days of the campaign.

The revelation was confirmed both in contemporaneous evidence and testimony secured by a joint investigation by Republicans on the House Judiciary and Government Oversight committees, my source tells me.

It means the FBI had good reason to suspect the dossier was connected to the DNC’s main law firm and was the product of a Democratic opposition-research effort to defeat Trump — yet failed to disclose that information to the FISA court in October 2016, when the bureau applied for a FISA warrant to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“This is a bombshell that unequivocally shows the real collusion was between the FBI and Donald Trump’s opposition — the DNC, Hillary and a Trump-hating British intel officer — to hijack the election, rather than some conspiracy between Putin and Trump,” a knowledgeable source told me.

Here you have the smoking gun in the Russian investigation. Unfortunately it is a smoking gun that Robert Mueller has chosen to ignore. That alone should give all of us pause. What in the world is Mueller investigating? (Or what in the world is Mueller avoiding investigating?)

The Hill further reports:

The growing body of evidence that the FBI used mostly politically-motivated, unverified intelligence from an opponent to justify spying on the GOP nominee’s campaign — just weeks before Election Day — has prompted a growing number of Republicans to ask President Trump to declassify the rest of the FBI’s main documents in the Russia collusion case.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), veteran investigator Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) and many others have urged the president to act on declassification even as FBI and Justice Department have tried to persuade the president to keep documents secret.

Ryan has said he believes the declassification will uncover potential FBI abuses of the FISA process. Jordan said he believes there is strong evidence the bureau misled the FISA court. Nunes has said the FBI intentionally hid exculpatory evidence from the judges.

And Meadows told The Hill’s new morning television show, Rising, on Wednesday that there is evidence the FBI had sources secretly record members of the Trump campaign.

“There’s a strong suggestion that confidential human sources actually taped members within the Trump campaign,” Meadows told Hill.TV hosts Krystal Ball and Ned Ryun.

I can assure you that if those responsible for the illegal spying on the opposition campaign are not brought to justice, this will happen again in the future. In the Watergate Scandal, people went to jail. In the Russiagate Scandal, people should also go to jail. Oddly enough, it seems as if the people the Special Prosecutor is investigating are not the ones who should go to jail.

Sunshine Really Is The Best Remedy

Last night The Daily Wire reported the following:

House Republicans filed a resolution to impeach United States Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday, citing the Justice Department’s lack of transparency and obstruction of congressional oversight.

“I just filed a resolution with Jim Jordan and several colleagues to impeach Rod Rosenstein,” Meadows wrote on Twitter. “The DOJ has continued to hide information from Congress and repeatedly obstructed oversight–even defying multiple Congressional subpoenas.”

The lack of transparency is not the only problem–Rod Rosenstein signed one of the FISA warrants. He might be totally conflicted in deciding what documents to turn over to Congress.

The saga continues. Yahoo News reported today:

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday rejected a move by fellow Republicans to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, who oversees the federal probe of Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election.

“Do I support impeachment of Rod Rosenstein? No, I do not,” said Ryan, whose stance could make it easier for other Republican members to oppose the measure.

This is not a surprise. Paul Ryan will be stepping down from his role as Speaker and probably looking for a job in Washington. Although I believe the impeachment of Rosenstein would be appropriate (for conflict of interest as much as anything else), I don’t think Paul Ryan is willing to do anything that might rock the boat right now. He wants to stay friends with everyone. (That is probably why he should resign today!)

On Tuesday, Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner which outlined a solution to this whole sordid mess.

The article points out:

While the lawmakers support maximum declassification, they also gave the president another option: declassify two key sections of the application that Republicans believe are particularly revealing. In the letter, the GOP committee members made a very specific request.

“To enable the public to understand the DOJ’s and FBI’s basis for obtaining the FISA warrant and three subsequent renewals,” the lawmakers wrote, “we respectfully request that you declassify and release publicly, and in unredacted form, pages 10-12 and 17-34, along with all associated footnotes, of the third renewal of the FISA application on Mr. Page. The renewal was filed in June 2017 and signed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.”

So what is on pages 10-12 and 17-34? That is certainly a tantalizing clue dropped by the House Intel members, but it’s not clear what it means. Comparing the relevant sections from the initial FISA application, in October 2016, and the third renewal, in June 2017, much appears the same, but in pages 10-12 of the third renewal there is a slightly different headline — “The Russian Government’s Coordinated Efforts to Influence the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election” — plus a footnote, seven lines long, that was not in the original application.

As for pages 17-34, there appear to be, in the third renewal, new text and footnotes throughout the section headlined “Page’s Coordination with Russian Government Officials on 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Influence Activities.” (That is the same headline as the original application.) The Republican lawmakers ask that it be unredacted in its entirety, suggesting they don’t believe revealing it would compromise any FBI sources or methods.

Clearly, the GOP lawmakers believe pages 10-12 and 17-34 contain critical information, so it seems likely that the release of those pages would affect the current public debate over the FISA application. That would, in turn, lead to charges that the Republicans were cherry-picking the application and did not want the public to see information that undercuts their position.

Which is why the application should be released in its entirety, or as closely to its entirety as is possible. Will that happen? At the moment, it appears the only person who can answer that question is Trump.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Amazing Scientific Commentary

The following comments are from an article in The New Yorker from January 30, 2017. Unfortunately the article is still extremely relevant.

The article reports:

Calling it a “medical mystery of the first order,” scientists are baffled by the ability of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to stand upright without the benefit of spines.

Doctors at the University of Minnesota Medical School, who have been studying the skeletal structures of both Republicans for months, believe that their ability to stand, walk, and even break into a brisk trot when confronted by reporters’ questions is “virtually inexplicable.”

“The fact that they can do these things without the aid of spines makes McConnell and Ryan anomalies in the animal kingdom,” said Dr. Davis Logsdon. “According to everything medical science teaches us, their bodies should be collapsing to the ground in two heaps.”

…Logsdon said that the anatomies of McConnell and Ryan require further study, and that there was growing public support for both men to be dissected.

There is nothing I can add to this!

Why ObamaCare Was Not Repealed

I used to be a Democrat. Then I used to be a Republican. Now I am an unaffiliated voter because there is not a conservative party that believes in smaller government. The Republicans used to believe in smaller government, but they have forgotten who they are. Yesterday was a glaring example of that fact. The Conservative Review posted an article yesterday about the failure of the House of Representatives to vote on the repeal (and replacement) of ObamaCare. The headline of the article is, “How DARE House Freedom Caucus hold GOP accountable to its promises!?” For me, that pretty much sums up what happened.

The article reminds us:

In 2016, the GOP-controlled Congress passed a clean repeal bill through the reconciliation process. It was sent to Barack Obama who vetoed it, as CNN reported at the time. In 2017, Rand Paul (R-Ky) has offered a bill that does many of the same things, as the 2016 legislation.

CNN reported:

The GOP-controlled House of Representatives on Wednesday afternoon passed legislation that would repeal ObamaCare, and after more than 60 votes to roll back all or part of the law, the bill (to) dismantle it will finally get to the President’s desk.

But it won’t stay there long; President Barack Obama has vowed to veto any Republican bill that guts his signature health care law, a five-year-and-counting effort.

The vote was 240-181, largely along party lines.

The article goes on to explain that members of the House Freedom Caucus wanted the 2016 bill to be voted on in this session of Congress. It is very annoying to those of us who have followed this story closely (rather than listen to what the media is telling us) that the Freedom Caucus is being blamed for the failure of this bill. This is simply not true. As usual, the establishment GOP has dissed its voters.

The article concludes:

It’s pretty easy to see who one should truly be disgusted at. It’s not Mark Meadows (R-NC), and the other members of the Freedom Caucus. It is Paul Ryan and his leadership team, who refuse to offer the bill they already passed in 2016 as the model they would use if they had a president who would sign it.

Ryan now has a president who would sign the 2016 legislation that easily passed in a campaign year as the blueprint for repeal. He refused to bring it to a vote, lest it show that the GOP campaign promises mean nothing. The Freedom Caucus is absolutely right to insist that the House and Senate do so.

President Trump is a very smart man, but I believe that he does not yet fully understand the backstabbing that is an everyday part of Washington. I believe Paul Ryan purposely stabbed President Trump in the back. Paul Ryan has become part of the Republican establishment that is fighting to maintain the status quo. The Republican establishment would like to see President Trump fail as much as the Democrats would. As ObamaCare collapses, which it will, the establishment Republicans will be the ones who will bring us nationalized healthcare. That is truly sad. It can be prevented, but it needs to be done quickly and decisively. It may be time to change the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives.

Further Swamp Draining Needed

Yesterday Breitbart reported that Congressional Republicans are already meeting to block Donald Trump’s plans for his Presidency. Why are some Republicans getting ready to fight the Trump agenda? It is against the wishes of their major donors.

Let me mention just one issue. Illegal immigration would have been stopped long ago if Congress wanted to stop it. Why didn’t they? Illegal immigrants provide a cheap labor base for corporate types that hire them–corporate types join the American Chamber of Commerce and give money to Republicans. Illegal immigrants if naturalized are likely to vote Democratic, thus the Democrats have no desire to stop illegal immigration.

The article reports:

Top aides tell Breitbart News that certain members of the House Freedom Caucus are backing the Republican leadership’s agenda by supporting the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has long championed globalist donor class policies, such as the uninhibited flow of cheap foreign goods and labor across international borders through expansionist immigration policies and unrestricted free trade.

“At a certain point, we’re going to have to change our group’s name from the ‘House Freedom Caucus’ to the ‘Paul Ryan Caucus,’” one senior aide to a member of the House Freedom Caucus told Breitbart.

The aide continued:

Many members of the Freedom Caucus never opposed Ryan’s positions on trade and immigration the way their constituents do. So they’re more than happy to ignore and cast aside the policies that got Trump elected in exchange for going along with the Ryan’s policies. They’d rather keep the status quo and march lockstep with Ryan than have to stir things up by electing someone who would fight for Trump’s mandate and fight to fulfill the wishes of the American people.

In a power struggle between Donald Trump and Paul Ryan, my money is on Donald Trump. Please follow the link to the entire article. It is very enlightening. It illustrates the battle between the political establishment and American voters.

The New Boss Seems No Different From The Old Boss

Paul Ryan took over as Speaker of the House in October. It was hoped that he would do a better job of opposing the liberal policies of President Obama than John Boehner. It seems to me that all he has accomplished is to advance the policies of the Republican establishment while ignoring the voice of the conservatives which form the base of the party. The more unhappy Republicans become with their leadership in Washington, the stronger the candidacy of Donal Trump for President becomes. As I have previously stated, I am not a Trump supporter, but I believe he represents a temper tantrum on the part of the Republican base, and the Washington Republicans keep adding fuel to the fire by not responding to that base.

My evaluation of the omnibus budget deal is based on two articles from Power Line. One is written by Paul Mirengoff about the impact of the bill on the Department of Education, and the other is written by John Hinderaker about the impact of the bill on American workers.

Mr. Mirengoff states:

I want to focus on one area that I care very much about — education. The omnibus bill apparently grants a 7 percent increase in the budget for the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR).

This outfit does all it can to impose the left’s agenda at the K-12 and college levels. In doing so, it often ignores the law, defining perfectly legal conduct as unlawful.

If the OCR’s resources are stretched thin, it’s because of its overreach, based on a willful misreading of the law. By increasing OCR’s budget, Congress rewards its misconduct. The budget should be slashed, not increased.

The article lists some of the recent actions of the OCR:

1. OCR’s school discipline policy has encouraged districts across the country to adopt racial quotas in discipline.

2. OCR’s guidance purports to convert ordinary incidents of schoolyard bullying into violations of federal law.

3. OCR misstates applicable law on sexual assault and harassment on campus, encourages unfair treatment for some accused students, and allows colleges and universities to abridge First Amendment rights.

These people don’t need more money–they just need to go away.

John Hinderaker deals with the impact of the bill on American workers. He quotes Senator Jeff Sessions:

The more than 2,000 page year-end funding bill contains a dramatic change to federal immigration law that would increase by as much as four-fold the number of low-wage foreign workers provided to employers under the controversial H-2B visa program, beyond what is currently allowed. These foreign workers are brought in exclusively to fill blue collar non-farm jobs in hotels, restaurants, construction, truck driving, and many other occupations sought by millions of Americans.

At a time of record immigration – with a full 83% of the electorate wanting immigration frozen or reduced – the GOP-led Congress is about to deliver Obama a four-fold increase to one of the most controversial foreign worker programs. The result? Higher unemployment and lower wages for Americans.

…The bill also funds sanctuary cities and illegal alien resettlement, allows the President to continue issuing visas to countries that refuse to repatriate violent criminal aliens, and funds the President’s ongoing lawless immigration actions – including his unimpeded 2012 executive amnesty for alien youth.

As feared, the effect is to fund the President’s entire immigration agenda.

I suspect that there are many Americans who would have been willing to endure the non-hardship of a government shutdown to avoid these two aspects of the omnibus spending bill. It really is time for new leadership in Washington. No one there (with very few exceptions) is listening to the American people who voted them into office.

When Cuts Aren’t Cuts

The CATO Institute posted an article yesterday about Congressman Paul Ryan’s budget proposal.

The article included this chart which tracks spending in the coming years under Congressman Paul Ryan’s proposed budget:

The chart below compares Paul Ryan’s budget against the CBO projections of the federal budget:

Notice that there are no actual spending cuts in Paul Ryan’s budget–it simply represents a slower rate of growth.

The article reports:

Chairman Ryan’s budget would spend $42.6 trillion over the next ten years. Opponents will say that Ryan’s budget slashes federal spending, while supporters will say that it includes large budgetary savings. The reality is that Ryan’s budget would increase spending at an annual average rate of 3.5 percent, or from $3.54 trillion in 2014 to $5.0 trillion in 2024. Only in Washington would that be considered substantial restraint, let alone slashing.

Until we change the culture of Washington, we can expect to see Congress drive America into bankruptcy. If you want to see change, you need to change the people you vote for. Continually voting for the people who keep spending high will not result in lower spending.  Most of the establishment Republicans (as well as the Democrats) have forgotten their promises to cut spending. Those Republicans need to be replaced by people who will remember their promises.

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Further Information On The COLA Cuts To Military Pensions

As someone with a family member in the military, the cuts to the Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) on military pensions hit close to home. Not only are they the ONLY cuts made in the budget agreement, they also represent a broken promise to our military troops. One of the best articles I have seen on the subject is posted at Allen West’s website.

The article reminds us that the four retired senior officers — three generals and one admiral–who supported the cut would not be impacted by the change in the rules. However, there are some retired senior enlisted men who are impacted who are speaking out.

One of those senior enlisted men shares the story of a friend who landed a high-paying job with a defense contractor in the same field he worked in on active duty:

But several years later, the company went bankrupt, and Hoynes, a former chief operations specialist, found himself jobless. Now Hoynes and his wife must rely on his $1,600-a-month military retirement pay (after taxes, health care and insurance payments) and her small retail salary to pay the bills.

If the cost-of-living adjustment reduction to military retired pay included in the Bipartisan Budget Act goes into effect in December 2015, the retired chief, now 50, stands to lose as much as $55,000 in retirement pay over his lifetime.

This is obscene simply on the facts, but it is even more obscene that it represents a broken promise to our military.

Allen West also points out:

There are close to 350,000,000 Americans and 840,000 have to be sacrificed to support the legislative budgetary process? That’s two-tenths of a percent. All over $6 billion? You mean to tell me that lawmakers in Washington DC — Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray specifically — could not find $6 billion dollars elsewhere? Hmm, will one of them explain to retired Chief Chip Hoynes and his wife that a Member of Congress only needs to serve 5 years to earn 70 percent retirement, for life (since it goes to the spouse upon death of the Member)?

This needs to be corrected as soon as Congress resumes. Otherwise the Republicans who signed on to this deal should be quickly voted out of office.

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Using The IRS To Silence Free Speech

Yesterday the New York Times posted an article about an organization formed in Hollywood called Friends of Abe. The group of about 1,500 conservative people in the entertainment industry has applied for tax-exempt status. The group has kept a low-profile in order to avoid the possibility of a conservative black list that would result in their not being hired to work in their industry.

The article reports:

Now the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the group’s activities in connection with its application for tax-exempt status. Last week, federal tax authorities presented the group with a 10-point request for detailed information about its meetings with politicians like Paul D. Ryan, Thaddeus McCotter and Herman Cain, among other matters, according to people briefed on the inquiry.

The article further reports:

The group is not currently designated tax-exempt, but it behaves as a nonprofit and has almost no formal structure, people briefed on the matter said. The I.R.S. review will determine whether Friends of Abe receives tax-exempt status that would provide legal footing similar to that of the People for the American Way Foundation, a progressive group fostered by the television producer Norman Lear and others. If not, Friends of Abe could resort to the courts, or it might simply operate as a nonprofit, but it would be unable to receive tax-deductible contributions.

I hate to by cynical about this (but I am), but it would be nice if Friends of Abe were treated the same way as People for the American Way. Unfortunately under President Obama, the IRS is as much a political tool as an agency to collect taxes.

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A Letter From A Veteran About The Budget Deal

This post is taken from The Blaze. It is a Facebook post and a letter to Paul Ryan from a veteran:

FB Friends,

I’m still mulling this Paul Ryan budget deal that stole money from every military retiree (past, present and future). This morning, upon opening my email, I noticed I had a letter from Congressman Paul Ryan…and it was begging me for an “emergency end of the year donation.” It only proves what we already know. The folks in Washington are indeed clueless. Instead of hitting the delete button, I decided to call Congressman Ryan out on his audacity and lack of self-awareness. I sent the following to him. I’m also posting it on the FB USAF Chiefs page as an open letter to the Congressman. If you’re a retiree, I will tell you we may have lost the battle, but not the war. If you’re inclined and find it worthy, let’s flood social media with this letter and see if we can get some traction. Thanks.

To Congressman Paul Ryan
Today at 8:19 AM

Congressman Ryan,

Please note that this request by you for a cash donation from me is extremely unfortunate and very ill-timed. You see sir, I am one of the military retirees your “bipartisan” budget just impacted. You and every Republican (both in the House and Senate that voted to pass this travesty betrayed and broke trust with me and everyone like me. You may not know us by name, but we’re the people, Congressman, who answered our Nation’s call, some of us at a very early age to willingly serve YOU and others LIKE YOU so you could safely attend college and pursue your personal ambitions without fear of harm.

You might also want to note that for at least 20 years, my brothers-in-arms answered that call of duty EVERY SINGLE DAY, without fail, without complaint, without enough money to sustain our loved ones we had to leave behind while we DID OUR JOB in every corner of the Earth. And for that service, we were given absolute assurance our so-called retirement benefits would be protected by law. The very law you shattered in your zeal to impress your Democratic cohorts in your back room deal–with the enemy. Yes, I said it. The liberal Democrats are an enemy to the American people and our Nation. Your lack of judgement and eagerness to compromise on the backs of us who protected you is sickening. Congressman, you and every Republican that voted for injuring military retirees have engaged in a complicit, sordid affair with the Democrats who’s objective has always been to dismantle the military. By climbing into their bed on this issue, you have confirmed you are absolutely no better than they and have proven it with your vote.

Congressman Ryan, the audacity which you display is noteworthy, but to unceremoniously snatch earned money from a small group that has added so much more value than the paltry $6B you looked to “save” (which is all smoke and mirrors and you know it), is reprehensible and insulting.

We have, despite the hardships, meager salaries and harsh conditions, have performed with honor and excellence…in silence, which is something most members of Congress have no idea about doing. Our job approval was, is and always be better than yours. We knew our mission and we got it done, then handed it off to a new generation in better shape than we found it.

Your ability to look us in the eye, take money from us (apparently there was ZERO, other source of waste within the federal government that you could have recovered this money from…right, got it), while simultaneously holding your hand out to beg (with passion) for our cash is stunning. Your actions have proven you do not have the tremendous intellect you’ve sold the American people on. I say, with all seriousness, Congressman, what you lack in intellect and spinal rigidity, you make up for in cajones.

I hope you and your cowardly, Republican “colleagues” hear a message from me loud and clear. You will NEVER receive another cent of financial support from me. Further, if you happen to be at a Capitol Hill dinner or at a K Street cocktail party with RNC Chair Reince Priebus, Rep. Ron Barber, Sen. Jeff Flake or Sen. John McCain, I would be honored if you communicate with them that I am launching an effort to ensure NONE of you traitorous “representatives of the people” ever receive another vote from a military retiree. Remove me from your contact lists.

Chuck Wooten,
Chief Master Sergeant, USAF (Ret)

He says it better than I could.

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Manipulating The Numbers To Disguise Increased Spending

Breitbart.com posted an article today about the budget compromise recently reached by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. Congressman Ryan continues to defend the proposed cuts to veteran’s retirement pay. Before I continue, I just want to mention that cutting retirement pay for veterans is breaking a contract that was made with them when they agreed to serve in our military for twenty years or more.

Now, back to the actual point–the spending cuts in this budget do not reduce the deficit–they are math gimmicks.

The article reports:

As Breitbart News has reported, Ryan’s and Murray’s budget deal does not reduce the deficit. In fact, the deal raises the deficit by at least $15.5 billion because of a series of gimmicks that Ryan and Murray employed in the accounting of the deal — namely, double counting of savings like the tactic which was employed in Obamacare, and the failure to include an estimate of the interest on the borrowed money for the first couple of years of increased spending. These are only a few among a series of other misleading statements Ryan has made about the deal.

Congressman Ryan claims that the changes in military pensions are simply a ‘small adjustment.’ The facts do not back up that statement.

The article reports:

Ryan characterized the change as a “small adjustment” in the next paragraph, even though he admitted it could affect veterans by as much as $100,000 or more over their lifetimes, depending on when they retire.

That’s a serious broken promise.

The article reminds us:

In his op-ed, Ryan did not address the proposal in the House of Representatives gaining significant attention already from Reps. Martha Roby (R-AL) and Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA). Roby’s and Fitzpatrick’s plan would restore pensions for all military veterans and offset the savings those cuts create with savings from closing a loophole allowing illegal aliens access to the Refundable Child Tax Credit. Closing that loophole would save $7 billion — more than enough to ensure that the Pentagon gets the money it needs to buy top-notch military equipment.

Why are we taking money away from our military veterans and giving it to illegal aliens? Is this where we want to go?

 

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Breaking Faith With America’s Wounded Veterans

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that disabled veterans will not be exempt from the pension cuts included in the budget deal currently being considered in the Senate.

The story reports:

The Free Beacon previously reported that military retirees under the age of 62 would receive 1 percentage point less in their annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in the plan crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.).

The section of the U.S. code that has been altered also applies to disabled servicemembers, many of whom have been wounded in combat.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, called the change “unthinkable.”

“It has been asserted that the controversial change to military retirees’ pensions affects those who are ‘working-age’ and ‘still in their working years,’ with the clear suggestion being that these individuals are able to work,” Sessions said in a statement. “That’s why I was deeply troubled when my staff and I discovered that even individuals who have been wounded and suffered a service-related disability could see their pensions reduced under this plan.”

“It is unthinkable that this provision would be included in a deal that spares current civilian workers from the same treatment,” he said. “An equivalent amount of savings and more can be easily found, and I hope the Senate will move to address the unbalanced treatment of our servicemembers before considering the legislation any further.”

This is simply obscene, and it really bothers me that I haven’t seen this provision commented on in any major news outlet.

The article further reports:

Rep. Ryan told the Weekly Standard that the changes are appropriate because servicemen and women who retire in their 40s after serving for two decades are still young enough to maintain a job.

“We give them a slightly smaller adjustment for inflation because they’re still in their working years and in most cases earning another paycheck,” Ryan said.

Sens. Roger Wicker (R., Miss.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), and Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) have said they are opposed to the deal because it cuts the benefits of military retirees, while not imposing equal cuts to federal civilian workers.

Paul Ryan is clearly on the wrong side of this issue. When anyone currently in the military joined the military, they were promised a certain pension if they retired after so many years of active duty or if they were retired due to injury. This is a breach of contract as well as a disgrace. The reason the cuts went to the military and not the federal civilian workers is that the federal civilian workers have unions–our military does not. This is simply wrong.

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The Cost Of Compromise

A budget compromise was needed by both sides–establishment Republicans and Democrats for different reasons. The Republicans did not want to be blamed for another shutdown when the Continuing Resolution (CR) expired or when the debt ceiling needed to be raised (that day is rapidly approaching and there are no guarantees that either side will  handle it well). The Democrats needs to pass a budget (for the first time in five years) to change the subject from ObamaCare. Each side had their reasons. However, it bothers me that both side were willing to throw the veterans who served our country and went to war at the request of Congress under the bus.

Yesterday the Washington Free Beacon reported that the budget compromise which has passed the House of Representatives could cost military service retirees as much as $124,000 in retirement pay.

The article reports:

The Washington Free Beacon reported that under the budget agreement crafted by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.), military retirees younger than 62 will receive 1 percentage point less in their annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

While new federal employees who are hired after Jan. 1, 2014 will be required to pay 1.3 percent more of their pay into their pension plans, federal retirees will continue to receive their generous pension benefits and current employees will not be required to pay more.

Please excuse my cynicism, but note that the federal employees have unions–the military does not. Unions make very large political contributions–the military does not. This is a horrible perversion of priorities. We ask our soldiers to risk their lives, and then we cut their pensions rather than cutting the pensions of civil servants who work in safety. That is simply awful.

The article reports:

A loss of one percentage point in their COLA translates into thousands of dollars in lost retirement income.

For instance, a 42-year-old who retires as an enlisted E-7 could lose a minimum of $72,000. E-7 refers to the ranks of Sergeant First Class, Chief Petty Officer (CPO), Master Sergeant, and Gunnery Sergeant.

A 42-year old Lieutenant Colonel could lose a minimum of $109,000 over a 20-year period.

If an E-7 retires at 40, they would lose $83,000. Commissioned officers could lose much more. Lieutenant colonels and commanders (an O-5 rank) who retire at 40 would lose $124,000.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.) has also come out against the deal late Thursday.

“I cannot support a budget agreement that fails to deal with the biggest drivers of our debt, but instead pays for more federal spending on the backs of our active duty and military retirees – those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,” Ayotte said in a statement.

“My hope is that both parties can work together to replace these unfair cuts that impact our men and women in uniform with more responsible savings, such as the billions that the Government Accountability Office has identified in waste, duplication and fraud across the federal government.”

It will be interesting to see if this part of the bill gets changed. If not, everyone who voted for the compromise should be voted out of office.

 

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Welfare Spending In America

The Heritage Foundation posted the following chart in October in an article about Paul Ryan‘s plan to reform welfare:

The article reports:

Tragically, this massive welfare state has been a driver of dependency. Today, 100 million Americans—roughly one-third of the U.S. population—receive aid from a government welfare program (not including Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment insurance).

As Ryan noted, in the 1990s Congress passed the historic welfare reform law, inserting work requirements into the largest federal cash assistance program. This was a huge success.

“[W]e saw welfare enrollment drop dramatically, as millions of our fellow citizens gained new lives of independence,” Ryan said. “We saw child poverty rates fall over 20 percent in four years—and we saw employment for single mothers rise.”

But these reforms are at risk. In July of this year, the Obama Administration announced it would remove work requirements from welfare reform—the very element that made the law such a success.

At what point will this kind of institutionalized dependency result in the loss of America as we know it?

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His Nose Is Growing…

On Friday, the Washington Free Beacon posted a story specifically listing the lies Vice-President Joe Biden told during the Vice-Presidential debate this week. I will attempt to summarize.

The article reports:

“We weren’t told they wanted more security there,” Biden said in response to a charge from Republican opponent Paul Ryan. “We did not know they wanted more security.”

…The White House now claims Biden only meant that neither he nor President Obama was personally informed of the security requests, but press secretary Jay Carney on Friday awkwardly declined to say whether or not they ever were briefed on the matter.

It is bad enough that the Vice-President might have lied–it is worse if he and the President were not made aware of the problem after the numerous previous attacks on the Embassy.

The article further reports:

Ryan and House Republicans “cut” embassy security by $300 million.

…A senior State Department official who testified before Congress earlier this week said budget considerations were not a factor in the decision to deny the U.S. Libyan delegation’s repeated requests for additional security.

Wouldn’t the Vice-President have had some idea of the Congressional testimony–it wasn’t even a good lie.

The next lie:

The Obama administration has “decimated” al Qaeda.

Lara Logan, chief foreign correspondent for CBS News, recently described the Obama administration’s declaration of victory in the war on terror a “major lie.”

The next lie:

Obama doesn’t want to raise taxes on families and small businesses earning less than $1 million a year.

…President Obama has often stated his desire to raise taxes on all individuals and small businesses earning at least $200,000 a year, a proposal he included in his most recent budget resolution. Doing so is estimated to raise about $800 billion in new revenue over the next decade.

The next lie:

Syria is five times the size of Libya.

Check you Atlas. I have no words.

The next lie:

Obama has ordered all American troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.

…However, the administration has discussed maintaining an “enduring presence”—in the words of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta—in Afghanistan beyond 2104. That would likely consist of somewhere between 10,000 to 15,000 military advisers and special forces troops, contingent on an agreement with the government of Afghanistan.

Always read the fine print.

The next lie:

The federal government is not forcing Catholic institutions to cover contraception.

…Yet 35 lawsuits against the HHS mandate, which forces insurance companies to cover contraception for free, are pending right now, including many from Catholic universities. The Becket Fund pointed out this fact in an email this morning objecting to the Vice President’s comments.

It depends on the meaning of the words Catholic institution.

The next lie:

Biden voted against the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

…Then-Sen. Biden voted for the Afghanistan resolution on Sept. 14, 2001, authorizing “the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.”

And on Oct. 11, 2002, Biden voted for a resolution authorizing unilateral military action in Iraq.

Biden did, however, vote against the First Gulf War to repel the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, arguing that the U.S. had no “vital interests” in the region.

Generally speaking, Vice-President Biden has been wrong on almost every statement he has ever made regarding foreign policy.

And that is the Washington Free Beacon’s list of lies Vice-President Biden told during the debate this week. For further details, follow the link above to the Washington Free Beacon.

 

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A Few Thoughts On The Vice-Presidential Debate

The debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan last night probably didn’t change anything. I felt that the moderator was reasonably fair. Joe Biden had slightly more time than Paul Ryan, but it was basically even. The only thing I would have changed was to have the moderator stop the frequent interruptions by Joe Biden when Paul Ryan was talking. I was also totally turned off by Joe Biden’s lack of respect for Paul Ryan, as shown in the smirking, laughing, etc. at Paul Ryan’s answers.

The Daily Caller posted its commentary this morning.

The article quotes Charles Krauthammer:

“If you read the transcript, I think it’s dead even,” Krauthammer said. ”If you heard it on radio, Biden won. If you watched on television, he lost. In the transcript, if you just look at the raw arguments I think it was even because each side had points to make and made them. I think on balance, not one side was stronger than another.”

The article also pointed out that Paul Ryan was not always able to follow up when Joe Biden made statements that were not true:

…And Ryan reacted with, I thought, excessive deference, allowing himself to be cut off and often just ending with a point that you might understand — for instance, when he talked about the Catholic Bishops — he made a point after Biden had said, ‘Oh, the Bishops of the Catholic church is not going to be compelled to do anything under ObamaCare.’”

“Ryan said, ‘Then why is that the Bishops are suing the administration?’ But that is almost an aside, and it was lost, and then it was over by the next question.”

All in all, I thought it was a good debate. I don’t think it changes anything, but it was a good debate. I also appreciated that Martha Raddatz pressed Joe Biden when he repeated the lies that the Obama Administration has told about the attack on the American Embassy at Benghazi. Much of the mainstream media has not covered the Congressional hearings on the attack, and the American people need to be aware that they were purposely lied to.

A New Low In Media Reporting

The Blaze posted two videos on Thursday of a Romney-Ryan rally in Ohio. The first video was played by MSNBC host Martin Bashir to illustrate his point that Paul Ryan was overshadowing Mitt Romney in the presidential campaign. A similar video had been played on “Morning Joe” the day before. I am not posting that video, if you would like to see it, follow the link to “The Blaze” above.

The unedited (untampered with) clip is at the bottom of the article at “The Blaze.” Here it is:

The article also provides an eyewitness account of the events. The eyewitness account and the unedited video clearly show that the crowd was not shouting “Ryan”–they were shouting “Romney,” and Mitt Romney encouraged them to change the shout to “Romney-Ryan.”  It is very discouraging to see videotape edited to fit the picture the mainstream media is trying to paint of this presidential campaign. This altered video clearly shows the reason we need the Internet as an alternative news source.

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Political Whiplash

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air posted a story yesterday about one of the quickest position reversals in the history of American politics. Ever since Paul Ryan was chosen as the Republican Vice-Presidential candidate, we have been hearing about the plight of poor granny–destined to a future of inadequate vouchers to pay for care that she will not be able to afford. Oh, the horror of it all. Those evil vouchers. Well, not so fast.

President Obama promised, “And I will — I will never turn Medicare into a voucher.”

Hot Air reports:

But back in Washington, his Health and Human Services Department is launching a pilot program that would shift up to 2 million of the poorest and most-vulnerable seniors out of the federal Medicare program and into private health insurance plans overseen by the states.

The administration has accepted applications from 18 states to participate in the program, which would give states money to purchase managed-care plans for people who are either disabled or poor enough to qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid. HHS approved the first state plan, one for Massachusetts, last month.

Paul Ryan’s vouchers were optional, President Obama’s are required.

Ed Morrissey points out that the plan may actually be a good plan–similar to the Medicare Advantage plan that Obamacare eliminated. The problem is, however, that the choice is taken out of the hands of the American citizen–not something we should encourage our government to do.

The article ends with an update:

Update: A couple of commenters object to my description of this as a “voucher” program — but that’s how Democrats describe Ryan’s plan, and that doesn’t have “vouchers,” either.  It’s a premium-support plan in a federal exchange of insurance plans approved by Medicare for coverage.  That’s what Medicare Advantage did too, and Obama raided it to pay for the Medicaid expansion in ObamaCare.  This plan doesn’t even have the federal exchange that Ryan envisioned, but fifty different exchanges doling out federal dollars.  Like I wrote, the plan and the experiment is worth trying, but it’s precisely the kind of push into private insurance that Obama swore the day earlier he’d never do … and he’s doing it with the poorest seniors with only an opt-out in some states rather than the opt-in that Ryan’s plan provided.  I’ll put quote marks on “voucher” in the headline, but this mechanism only differs from Ryan’s in that the exchanges get managed by the states rather than Medicare.

No wonder people don’t trust politicians.

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When Fact Checkers Don’t Fact Check

Red State posted an article today on some of the ‘fact checking’ done on the speeches at the Republican Convention. I will post some of the details, but the bottom line is simple–Don’t believe anything you hear until you have a chance to look into the facts for yourself.

The article at Red State cites a few examples:

Democrats are energetically attempting to create the perception that Republicans — specifically, Paul Ryan — are running around Tampa making stuff up about Barack Obama (as if that’s necessary). And when I say Democrats, as regrettably cliché as it may sound, I also mean the mainstream media.

The following assertions, for instance, are true:

  • Obama did cut over $700 billion from Medicare to fund Obamacare.
  • The stimulus was a case of political patronage, corporate welfare and cronyism.
  • The Janesville, General Motors plant was closed down under Obama (though Ryan made a more nuanced assertion that we’ll cover below)
  • Obama did blow off the bipartisan debt commission.
  • Obama’s waivers do allow for the relaxing of work requirements in welfare reform.

Unfortunately, if you read the fact checkers, you wouldn’t know that those things are true. It is really sad that in a republic where the citizens are asked to vote for their leaders, the press cannot be trusted to provide the information the voters need.

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The Impact Of Paul Ryan On The Presidential Campaign

Yesterday Fred Barnes posted an article at the Wall Street Journal explaining how Mitt Romney‘s choice of Paul Ryan as his Vice-Presidential running mate has impacted the presidential campaign.

The choice of Paul Ryan has moved the future of Medicare to the front of the debate.

The article states:

The economy remains a central issue, as do Mr. Obama’s overall record and Mr. Romney’s past one. But now the looming fiscal crisis, Medicare, and the size and role of government are front and center of the campaign. The presidential contest has been elevated into a clash of big ideas and fundamental differences. Neither presidential candidate, but especially Mr. Obama, could have imagined this. Credit Mr. Ryan.

This shift has been damaging to the president and helpful to Mr. Romney. The slogan of Mr. Obama’s campaign is “Forward,” but he’s become the status-quo candidate. Mr. Romney, having adopted slightly revised versions of Mr. Ryan’s bold plans for reducing spending and reforming Medicare, is now the candidate of change. This might have happened to some extent without Mr. Ryan in the race, but it certainly wasn’t inevitable.

There have been a lot of personal attacks on Mitt Romney from the Obama camp during this campaign. Mitt Romney has been accused of being responsible for the cancer death of someone’s wife, insinuations have been made that there is something unseemly about his wealth, and he has been accused of all sorts of nefarious things. The addition of Paul Ryan to the ticket will not only spread out the attack–it will change to debate to actual substance.

The more Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan talk about issues, the more foolish the President’s minions look when they engage in personal attacks.

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This Kind Of Logic Makes My Head Hurt

The Hill posted an article yesterday about Robert Gibbs‘ comments on Fox News Sunday.

The article reports:

Senior Obama campaign adviser Robert Gibbs defended the administration’s record on Medicare from GOP attacks on Sunday, saying that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) should “thank President Obama” for strengthening the program.

President Obama took $716 billion out of Medicare and put it into Obamacare. I fail to see how taking money out of anything strengthens it. Does this mean that if I refuse to pay my taxes to the Internal Revenue Service I am strengthening the IRS? With Robert Gibbs’ logic, wouldn’t that be a good thing?

On Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reported:

And those health care provider cuts are not that far off under Obamacare. They start this coming January, when Medicare payments to doctors are set to be slashed by 31 percent. That’s right, by 31 percent. If you don’t think current Medicare beneficiaries are going to have trouble finding a doctor who will see them after the government starts paying those doctors 31 percent less, you probably failed Econ 101.

When Obamacare was first drafted, it did not cut Medicare spending so quickly. But to keep the final Obamacare price tag under $1 trillion, it allowed the scheduled cuts to occur. By contrast, Ryan’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget fully paid for doctor Medicare reimbursement payments.

Any senior citizen who votes for President Obama in November needs to understand that they are voting against available medical care for senior citizens in the very near future.

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Fact Checking Paul Ryan’s Plan For Medicare

Fox News posted a story today about the attacks by the Obama campaign against Paul Ryan‘s plan to reform Medicare. It seems as if the plan that the Obama campaign is criticizing is not the right plan!

The article reports:

The president’s accusations largely refer to Ryan’s 2011 plan, ignoring the fact that the House Budget Committee chairman rolled out a different version in 2012 — taking into account Democratic critiques. Though the 2012 plan is more moderate, Obama and his surrogates have all but ignored the newer version as they amp up their accusations against the Romney-Ryan ticket. 

Most glaringly, the campaign has omitted a key point. 

While Ryan’s 2011 plan proposes to give seniors a government payment to buy private insurance, his 2012 plan offers seniors a choice. 

Under the blueprint, seniors could use the payment to buy private insurance or stay in traditional Medicare. 

The bottom line here is simple–Medicare is going broke. Medicare needs to be reformed in order to survive. Taking over $700 billion out of Medicare to fund Obamacare does not help Medicare. We need a serious discussion of how to fix Medicare–not rob it blind to fund more government programs.

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