Hanged On Hayman’s Gallows

In the book of Ester in the Bible, there is a character called Haman. Haman is an ambitious character who loves status, money, and power. He is honored by the king and expects all citizens of the kingdom to bow down before him. Mordecai is a Jewish man who refuses to bow down to Haman. As a result of this perceived affront, Haman plans to kill all of Mordecai’s people (the Jews) and hang Mordecai. Ester intervenes, the Jews are saved, we have the Jewish holiday of Purim, and Haman is hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai. The current situation with the Russian investigation, corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, and massive leaks to the press to undermine President Trump is beginning to look a lot like the book of Ester.

Based on the emails we have all seen, I suspect the ‘Russia’ story began officially in the office of Andrew McCabe. Hillary blamed the Russians the night she lost the election, but I have no idea if she knew what was being planned at the FBI if Donald Trump won. So some senior officers at the FBI set out to unseat a duly-elected President. Wow. It’s amazing that they have not been charged with treason, but the story isn’t over yet either.

The plan unfolds with numerous leaks to the press, use of personal connections to a judge on the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978) court, withholding information from the FISA court, and lying to Congress and the Inspector General. Remember, the plan is to remove President Trump from office before he can accomplish anything. So where are we now?

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the firing of Andrew McCabe as Deputy Director of the FBI. Andrew McCabe was fired yesterday. Paul Mirengoff is a lawyer, and the articles he posts at Power Line are very clear and very logically thought out. His article on the firing of Andrew McCabe is an example of that clarity and logic. The article reminds us of a few important points in this story that may get overlooked by the mainstream media.

The article reports:

McCabe promptly issued an angry statement. He claimed, among other things, that his dismissal was part of the Trump’s administration’s “ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation” and was the result of pressure from President Trump.

It seems likely that McCabe will seek legal redress. However, he may end of fighting on two legal fronts — criminal and civil. A prosecution for making false statements might well be in McCabe’s future.

As to the firing, it was recommended by the FBI office that handles discipline. The recommendation was based on findings by the DOJ’s inspector general investigation. The IG found that McCabe authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media about a Clinton-related case and then misled investigators about having done so.

If these findings are valid, they warrant firing. Unless McCabe can point to high level DOJ employees who were found to have engaged in similar misconduct but were not fired, I doubt he has much of a case (assuming, again, that the findings of misconduct are well-supported). That, at least, is my impression on first blush.

…But if the discharge decision has a strong factual basis, if (as is the case) it was recommended to Sessions through normal DOJ channels, and if it’s consistent with past practice, then the decision seems just and proper, whatever Trump has tweeted. In these circumstances, it ought to be upheld.

This is going to get ugly, but it is the beginning of the next phase of draining the swamp.

The Issue Or The Solution?

One of the problems with Washington is that if there is a problem, the political types will always try to figure out if solving it is the answer or if playing up the issue and the fact that it is not solved will gain votes. That is one of many reasons it is so hard to get things done. It is a shame that our politicians have forgotten that they are supposed to work for the voters and that they were sent to Washington to accomplish things. There are a few aspects of illegal immigration that make it very difficult to solve. The Democrats want the issue and the future voters. The Republican corporate types want cheap labor. There is also a school of thought that leaving the issue of the ‘dreamers’ unsolved will bring out Democratic voters–another reason Democrats would rather have the problem than the solution. Meanwhile, no one in Washington is looking at the negative impact of illegal workers on the salaries of Americans with low skills.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the failure of Congress to pass a bill to help the ‘dreamers.’ He pointed out some of the last minute things that were added to one ‘compromise’ bill.

The article quotes a Washington Post article:

[A]s the “war room” of administration lawyers and policy experts examined the 64-page text on Wednesday, it was a handwritten note on the final page that set off the loudest alarm bells. That section dealt with setting in law DHS’s priorities for enforcement. Under the proposal, the agency would focus its powers on immigrants with felonies or multiple misdemeanors, who were national security threats and who had arrived in the country after a certain date.

Scribbled in the margins was a date: June 30, 2018 [Note: an end of January date in the typed text was crossed out].

The administration team was dumbstruck: In addition to making it harder for DHS to deport all of those already here illegally, lawmakers were opening the door to a surge of new unauthorized immigrants by setting an effective “amnesty” date four months in the future.

“No one who has worked on immigration issues in the administration or on the Hill was aware of any legislation that had ever been proposed and scheduled to receive a vote on the floor of the Senate that created an amnesty program effectively for those who arrive in the future,” said a DHS official who helped lead the review. “That would clearly and unequivocally encourage a massive wave of illegal immigration and visa overstays.”

(Emphasis added by Paul Mirengoff)

What this bill would do would be to extend amnesty to anyone who arrived before June 30. Does anyone believe that setting that date would not encourage a flood of illegal immigrants wanting to arrive before the deadline. There is no way anyone who read the bill all the way through and understood its consequences could support it.

The article at Power Line concludes:

Perhaps some wanted to maximize the amnesty, while others were too lazy to read to the end of bill or too clueless to grasp the consequences of what they read.

From the Democrats’ perspective, was the prospective amnesty something they thought they could sneak through or was it a poison pill? Some have speculated that Democrats don’t want any deal that includes a wall and would like (or be okay with) a political landscape in which the Dreamers are still in limbo.

Perhaps Democrats saw inclusion of the handwritten note as a win-win. Either they get all those new illegal immigrants ensconced here or they blame the administration for doing nothing for Dreamers.

Today’s Post story looks like implementation of the second option.

When you hear the Democrats complain that President Trump refused to help the ‘dreamers,’ remember that it was the Democrats who made sure the bill would not be passed. It is obvious that the issue is of more value to the Democratic party than a solution.

The Memo Is Released

The long-awaited memo put out by the House Intelligence Committee has been released. The news source you listen to may determine your evaluation of how important the memo is. There is enough nastiness, hand wringing, and shouts of triumph to provide a space for everyone.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the memo at Power Line. John Hinderaker is a lawyer from Minnesota who operates Power Line Blog. The blog includes a few lawyers as writers and can always be depended upon for logical, clear-headed analysis of any situation.

The article at Power Line reports a few items in the memo:

The FISA warrants that are the subject of the memo all relate to Carter Page. The original warrant was sought on October 21, 2016, and the memo says that there were three renewals, which apparently occur every 90 days. This would appear to take the surveillance well past the presidential election, and beyond President Trump’s inauguration. The memo does not explain this aspect of the timing. The FISA applications were signed by some familiar names: James Comey signed three, and Andrew McCabe, Sally Yates and Rod Rosenstein all signed one or more.

The fake “dossier” compiled by Christopher Steele with the assistance of unknown Russians “formed an essential part of the Carter Page FISA application. In fact, McCabe testified before the committee that no FISA warrant would have been sought without the fake dossier. Steele was paid over $160,000 by the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign to come up with derogatory information–true or false, apparently–on Donald Trump.

DOJ and FBI failed to mention in their FISA application that it was based on opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC, even though this apparently was known to the FBI. The application apparently tried to mislead the FISA court by saying that Steele “was working for a named U.S. person”–the memo doesn’t tell us who that person was–but not disclosing Fusion GPS or Glenn Simpson, let alone Hillary Clinton and the DNC. This appears to be a deliberate deception of the court.

In addition to Steele’s fake dossier, the FISA application cited an article about Carter Page that appeared on Yahoo News. The application “assessed” that this corroborating account did not originate with Christopher Steele. In fact, it did: Steele himself leaked the information to Yahoo News.

The memo casually notes that “the FBI had separately authorized payment to Steele for the same information.” This is news to me. It has been reported that Steele sought funding from the FBI, but I believe prior reports have been to the effect that the Bureau refused. Was the FBI paying Steele, known to be working for the Hillary Clinton campaign?

Please follow the link to the article at Power Line to read the rest of the highlights.

So what does this mean?

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

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The FISA act establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and collection of “foreign intelligence information” between “foreign powers” and “agents of foreign powers” suspected of espionage or terrorism.

The FISA act states:

Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power”, and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain “minimization requirements” for information pertaining to U.S. persons. Depending on the type of surveillance, approved orders or extensions of orders may be active for 90 days, 120 days, or a year.

It is becoming very obvious that the FISA applications were being used for political purposes. This is the kind of thing that goes on in a police state. All the people who knowingly engaged in this activity violated their Oath of Office to act in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. Everyone involved needs to be charged with a crime appropriate to their level of involvement. The decisions made from this point forward will determine whether we are a nation of equal justice under the law or we have become a nation where the powerful are exempt from the law.

Curiouser and Curiouser

No, this isn’t about memos or Russians. This is about the false alarm in Hawaii that must have been extremely frightening to the residents and tourists.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line yesterday about the investigation into the incident.

The article reports:

The employee who sent the false missile alert in Hawaii, causing widespread panic and confusion, is refusing to cooperate with the investigation, a federal official said Thursday.

Lisa Fowlkes, public safety bureau chief for Federal Communications Commission (FCC), told senators in a hearing that she was generally pleased with the cooperation from officials in Hawaii, but that “one key employee, the person who transmitted the false alert, is refusing to cooperate.”

The article goes on:

But Clairmont also suggested that the incident could be more than just a case of someone pressing the wrong button, telling the Star-Advertiser that “it’s not as easy saying it was one person doing this.”

A total of four people were on duty that Saturday morning, he said, and the employee who sent the alert is both a 10-year veteran of the agency and “very well-trained and seasoned.”

One really wonders what went on here. A person I know who was in Hawaii at the time said that she thought it was odd that the civil defense sirens did not go off when the alert came over her cell phone.

Stay tuned. If the results of this investigation are made public, they may be very interesting.

The article at Power Line concludes:

The offending employee has not been identified. Here is a wild guess: the employee who “pushed the wrong button” is a fanatical anti-Trump Democrat who believed that causing hysteria over a presumed North Korean missile attack would somehow make the president look bad. If that guess is incorrect, maybe the anonymous employee should start cooperating with the investigation.

Is there a better explanation?

You Can’t Teach People To Be Grateful For Opportunities

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about some recent fires at St. Catherine University (a/k/a St. Kate’s, formerly St. Catherine College), located on a leafy 110-acre campus in the Highland Park neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota. The fires were intentionally set by Truza Jamal Hassan — a 19-year-old former student.

The article reports:

Hassan kindly explained that she did so in retaliation for American military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to the criminal complaint failed in Ramsey County District Court. Her religious inspiration isn’t expressly stated, but she appeared in court yesterday wearing garb including a black face covering that exposed only her eyes and what appeared to be a large white sheet draped over her head. I think she was shooting to make a bold fashion statement with a makeshift niqab.

…Like the defendants convicted in the case of “the Minnesota men” that I covered for Power Line and the Weekly Standard, Hassan has been the beneficiary of the best Minnesota has to offer. She attended Highland Park Junior High School, a couple blocks from our old home in Highland Park. She graduated from Johnson Senior High School in St. Paul before moving on to St. Kate’s to go to college.

The details on Ms. Hassan’s background are somewhat sketchy. She enrolled in the St. Paul public schools in 2010. I could find no information on when she came to America or from where.

An article posted St. Paul Pioneer Press reports:

“You guys are lucky that l don’t know how to build a bomb because l would have done that,” Tnuza Jamal Hassan, 19, of Minneapolis allegedly told investigators after being arrested Wednesday afternoon in a campus dorm lounge.

We need to send this young lady back to wherever she was before coming to America.


Remembering Who Our Friends Are

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about a recent foreign policy decision by President Trump.

The article reports:

On Wednesday, Josh Rogin of the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration has for the first time approved the commercial sale of Model M107A1 Sniper Systems, ammunition, and associated parts and accessories to Ukraine, a sale valued at $41.5 million. The Obama administration had refused to issue export licenses for lethal weapons.

Initial reports, including the Post’s, were that the sales to Ukraine would not encompass heavier weaponry such as Javelin anti-tank missiles. However, today the Post reports that Javelins will also be sold to Ukraine.

The article continues:

Russia denounced Trump’s decision on sales to Ukraine. Its Deputy Foreign Minister, Sergei Ryabkov, said the decision will only make the conflict more deadly and that Russia might be forced to respond. He also said the U.S. can no longer cast itself as a mediator, and is now “an accomplice in fueling the war.” Putin himself has warned that U.S. assistance would escalate the conflict.

In reality, Russia is behind the war. Moreover, mediation has been futile because, as Jenna Lifhits of the Weekly Standard points out, Russia has failed to implement the 2015 Minsk ceasefire agreement. It requires Russian-backed separatists to withdraw heavy weapons from the conflict’s front line and create a buffer zone.

The sale of weapons to Ukraine is a response to the failure of the 2015 cease-fire and to the fact that, according the Trump administration’s envoy for the Ukraine crisis, 2017 was the most violent year in the four year history of this conflict.

The sniper systems Trump approved for sale are needed to address a specific vulnerability of Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed separatists.

This is a really smart move on the part of the Trump administration.

As I reminded everyone in May 2015:

A deal was signed on February 5, 1994, by Bill Clinton, Boris Yeltsin, John Major and Leonid Kuchma—the then-leaders of the United States, Russia, United Kingdom and Ukraine—guaranteeing the security of Ukraine in exchange for the return of its ICBMs to Moscow’s control. The last SS-24 missiles moved from Ukrainian territory in June 1996, leaving Kiev defenseless against its nuclear-armed neighbor.

That deal, known as the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, was not a formal treaty but a diplomatic memorandum of understanding. Still, the terms couldn’t be clearer: Russia, the U.S. and U.K. agreed “to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine…reaffirm their obligation to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine, and that none of their weapons will ever be used against Ukraine.”

That agreement was broken by Russia and ignored by Britain and by the Obama administration. It is nice to see President Trump honoring it at least in part by supplying weapons to Ukraine.

The article at Power Line concludes:

The weapon sales can also plausibly be viewed as a means of gaining leverage if Russia wants seriously to negotiate a settlement in Ukraine. Putin has proposed that peacekeepers be deployed but, not surprisingly, there are major disagreements about how and where the peacekeepers would operate. The U.S. and Ukraine want peacekeepers deployed throughout the separatist-controlled regions stretching to the Ukraine-Russia border. Russia, not so much.

In any event, it’s clear that President Trump has moved boldly to advance Ukraine’s interests at the expense of Russia’s, to the displeasure of Putin. I don’t see how this move can be squared with the extreme anti-Trump rhetoric of the foolish Clapper and others who peddle a similarly hysterical line.

Ending Some Of Washington’s Political Gamesmanship

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the practice of ‘the blue slip courtesy’ used to block judicial nominees in Congress.

The website judicialnominations.org explains the process:

One way in which senatorial courtesy has manifested itself is something called the “blue slip.” This is a device used by the Senate Judiciary Committee to communicate with the home-state Senators about a nomination to the U.S. courts of appeal or district courts, or to be a U.S. marshal or U.S. attorney. When a nominee is referred to the committee, the committee sends a letter (typically on light blue paper) asking the two home-state Senators to take a position on the nomination. The Senators check off the appropriate box on the sheet—either approve or disapprove—and return the paper to the Judiciary Committee.

The blue slip process is used only by the Senate Judiciary Committee —no other Senate committee uses it for other kinds of nominations. The practice of using blue slips dates back to at least 1917. Since mid-2001, the status of blue slips for each judge nominated have been publicly available on the Web.

It is a matter of some debate how important blue slips are in the confirmation process. The blue slip practice is not a formal part of the Judiciary Committee’s rules, and the determination of just how much weight to give to a Senator’s opposition to a nomination is left largely up to the chair of the committee. Among other issues, the chair will decide whether to honor the objections, voiced through blue-slips, from all home-state senators or just those who belong to the same party as the president.

Unfortunately, the process has been occasionally abused. The Judicial Nominations website explains:

Much also has been written that is critical of the blue-slip system. George  Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley described the system this way:  Blue-slipping is a little known process by which senators can block federal judge nominees from their state. This means that judges who may rule in your case often are selected to meet senatorial, not professional, demands. By simply not returning blue slips sent by the Senate Judiciary Committee, a senator can block a nominee for the most nefarious or arbitrary reasons, including a personal grudge, a bargaining tool with the White House or failure of the nominee to be sufficiently fawning in the senator’s presence.

This courtesy has been misused by both sides–it was not meant as a negotiating tool–it was meant to be a courtesy.

The article at Power Line details some changes that Senator Grassley is making in order to expedite the confirmation of President Trump’s judicial nominees.

Power Line reports:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley announced that he would not let Franken’s withheld blue slip block the nomination of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice David Stras to the Eighth Circuit (or Senator Kennedy’s block Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit).

Senator Grassley took to the floor of the Senate to explain his disposition of “the blue slip courtesy” and his decision to schedule a committee hearing on the nominations of Stras and Duncan (text of statement here, video below). The Hill reported on Senator Grassley’s statement here.

Washington needs to stop playing games and get its work done. All Congressmen (and Congresswomen) should be paid according to what they actually accomplish. That might actually change how things are done in Congress.

They Are Already Here

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about two recently arrested brothers Abdullah and Majid Alrifahe. The men were arrested while sitting in a parked car in Minneapolis. They had thrown a food wrapper out the window. A passerby confronted them, and they became belligerent, indicating that they were armed. The passerby called the police, the police placed the men in a squad car and did a quick search of the car. They found a hand grenade, weapons, and bomb-making material.

The local news carried the story:

The article at Power Line concludes:

Abdullah Alrifahe is in custody subject to $200,000 bail; he is scheduled to appear in court next month. We can only hope in the meantime that he doesn’t make bail.

Where is brother Majid? What is the brothers’ immigration status? What were they up to?

To be continued.

This could have ended very differently.


Has Sovereignty Become An Issue?

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article today about the repeal of ObamaCare. That’s not so unusual, but some of the source of the pushback against the repeal is interesting.

The article reports:

Dana Milbank reports, with glee, that the United Nations “has contacted the Trump administration as part of an investigation into whether repealing [Obamacare] without an adequate substitute for the millions who would lose health coverage would be a violation of several international conventions that bind the United States.” The warning comes from the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights in Geneva.

The U.N. Human Rights Commission (now known as the Human Rights Council) purports to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,“ Its members include China, Cuba, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela.

This would be laughable if it were not serious. So what is happening here? President Trump is not a globalist. Unfortunately for a number of decades, the American government has been run by globalists. Our recent Presidents have been in step with the United Nations and have done things that have put our national sovereignty in jeopardy. Evidently the globalist elites at the United Nations now feel that they have a valid voice on the American political landscape. That’s a notion that needs to be put to rest very quickly. It is a little upsetting to think that countries with such dismal human rights records as China, Cuba, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela feel free to criticize America because America does not want socialism. Let’s look at what poverty looks like in those countries versus what poverty looks like in America.

The article goes on to report:

By way of illustration, one of the provisions the U.N. relies on in this case is Article 5(e) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by the U.S. in 1994. It calls on states to “guarantee the right of everyone” to, among other things, “public health, medical care, social security and social services” without regard to race or color.

It is not far-fetched to imagine lawsuits in U.S. courts based on claims that the government is violating this kind of “obligation” to which America agreed. How far-fetched is it to imagine left-liberal judges seriously entertaining such lawsuits? Not very, in my view.

In reality, pre-Obamacare America offered health care to everyone without regard to race or color. It provided poor Americans with free health care via Medicaid. Millions of other Americans received health insurance from their employer. The rest (except those with pre-existing conditions, a matter of real concern) were free to purchase health insurance, if they so desired. The market offered plans that were not expensive — my wife had one — at least not compared to the ones Americans are required to purchase under the Obamacare regime.

No one was denied health insurance due to race or color. Nor, to my knowledge, was anyone denied service — e.g. at an emergency room — on that basis.

The article concludes:

The U.N., through its “investigation,” is claiming the right to evaluate Obamacare replacement packages. In effect, it asserts the right to assess whether the replacement incentives measure up to the Obamacare incentives (inadequate though these are).

The U.N.’s infringement on our democracy is obvious.

It’s not surprising that elites in the rest of the world want to dictate to America. It’s not surprising that many of the left want such leftist elites to dictate to us. What’s surprising is that America has gone as far as it has to provide the tools with which claims like those being made by these elite, via bureaucrats in Geneva, can be asserted with a straight face.

When the United Nations begins to attempt to interfere in internal politics of its member countries, it is time for the United Nations to go away. We need to withdraw our membership, make them pay their parking tickets, and kick them out of the country.

What Happens When Government Interference Skews The Free Market

America has been on a search for green energy for a long time. Historically man has been  on a quest for a perpetual motion machine. I am not sure the two searches are unrelated.

Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article about the environmental impact of solar energy. Solar energy is not as environmentally friendly as one might assume.

The article cites the example of a 60-acre solar farm at the Minnesota National Guard’s facility at Camp Ripley, Minnesota.

The article reports:

If we devoted a fraction of that space to a natural gas, coal or nuclear facility we could produce 100 times the energy–even at night time, when people need to turn lights on.

It is sad to see military personnel who should know better, and probably do, mouthing the inane pieties of global warming:

“Camp Ripley is now capable of producing as much energy as it consumes,” said Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard. “We can make a better Minnesota and a better world by joining the worldwide initiative to address the serious challenge of climate change.”

Right. We’d prefer you address the serious military challenge of Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and so on. Tom Steward (Tom Steward in a story at the American Experiment) points out the costly reality:

The project’s astonishing $25 million price tag has led to the utility taking fire from state regulators for overpaying for solar panels and long-term lease with the National Guard. The collateral damage includes the northern Minnesota utility’s residential ratepayers, whose bills will rise as a result of the costly solar farm.

The solar facility can provide electricity for only 1,700 homes, a ridiculously small number, at “full capacity.” But solar installations never reach full capacity, and if it is dark or cloudy, they are irrelevant. No one would argue for ugly 60-acre scars on the landscape based on a cost/benefit analysis.

In Duluth, the best proxy for Camp Ripley, there are an average of 77 sunny days per year. Hey, that is better than one in five! Of course, they don’t have any sunny nights in Duluth, so there’s that.

Solar energy is not perfect. In 2014 I wrote an article about the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System in the Mojave Desert. The solar energy complex has the potential to kill as many as 28,000 birds annually. Last month I wrote an article about Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), a key chemical agent used to manufacture photovoltaic cells for solar panels. There has been a 1,057 percent in NF3 over the last 25 years. In comparison, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions only rose by about 5 percent during the same time period. There are also problems with wind energy. Spain attempted to move to green energy a few years ago and nearly wrecked its economy (article here).

If the free market is allowed to work, we may actually approach something like green energy at some point in the future. However, as long as the government subsidizes and encourages things that are not actually working, the progress will be delayed.


Changing the Wrapping Doesn’t Change The Package

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line about the changes made to the ObamaCare replacement bill.

The article quotes Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton:

“Despite the proposed amendments, I still cannot support the House health-care bill, nor would it pass the Senate. The amendments improve the Medicaid reforms in the original bill, but do little to address the core problem of Obamacare: rising premiums and deductibles, which are making insurance unaffordable for too many Arkansans. The House should continue its work on this bill. It’s more important to finally get health-care reform right than to get it fast.”

The article at Power Line states the following:

If, under a Republican plan, premiums/deductibles continue to rise, people will believe that Obamacare’s replacement made things worse. They will blame Republicans and the GOP will pay a heavy price.

No Republican should support replacement legislation unless he or she is confident it will result in better outcomes with regard to premiums/deductibles. If Democrats won’t support legislation that’s likely to produce that result, Republicans should either push such legislation through without Democratic support (overruling the Senate parliamentarian) if necessary or let such legislation be voted down.

Republicans have no obligation to pass replacement legislation they don’t like in order to patch up Obamacare. The Democrats created the current mess. If they won’t cooperate with the GOP in fixing it properly, Republicans shouldn’t take the political hit that would come with pretending to fix it on their own.

I left the Republican Party because I felt that they had forgotten their commitment to smaller government and had become part of the problem rather than part of the solution. The current ObamaCare replacement bill is a perfect example of that. Republicans were told that if we gave them the House, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House and the Senate, ObamaCare would be gone. When it wasn’t gone, we were told that if we gave them the House, the Senate, and the Presidency, ObamaCare would be gone. If this bill passes, it won’t be gone. We will simply have ObamaCare Light, a bad bill that the Republicans would be totally responsible for–just as the Democrats were totally responsible for ObamaCare. That is not a step forward–it is a step backward! Please, Republicans, do not pass this bill. Simply repeal ObamaCare. Then you can fight over its replacement. Don’t break faith with the voters.


This Is How You Handle A Tyrant!

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State. I have to say that after reading the article, I like Rex Tillerson’s style. The story that follows is an example of quietly outsmarting someone who tries to take advantage of you.

The article quotes a Washington Post story that details what happened shortly after Tillerson became CEO of ExxonMobil. Hugo Chavez needed money and demanded more of the profits of the western oil companies in Venezuela. All of the companies agreed except ExxonMobil.

The Washington Post reports what happened next:

Chavez responded by nationalizing ExxonMobil’s considerable assets in the country, which the company valued at $10 billion. The losses were a big blow to Tillerson, who reportedly took the seizure as a personal affront.

Only Tillerson didn’t get mad, at least in public. He got even.

In the deep blue waters 120 miles off Guyana’s coast, the company scored a major oil discovery: as much as 1.4 billion barrels of high-quality crude. Tillerson told company shareholders the well, Liza-1, was the largest oil find anywhere in the world that year.

For tiny Guyana (population 800,000), the continent’s only English-speaking country and one of its poorest, it was a fortune-changing event, certain to mark a “before and after” in a country long isolated by language and geography.

The Stabroek block where ExxonMobil and its partners struck oil is off the coast of a patch of wild South American jungle known as the Essequibo territory. Venezuela and Guyana have haggled over it with oscillating levels of vehemence for more than 100 years. Amounting to two-thirds of Guyana’s surface area, it is, by any practical measure, a part of Guyana and populated by Guyanese people, albeit sparsely.

But Venezuelan claims on the land have long kept foreign investors out. In 2013, a research vessel exploring the area for U.S.-based Anadarko was intercepted by a Venezuelan warship, which temporarily detained the 36-member crew. It was a warning to other companies thinking of partnering with Guyana. Tillerson’s ExxonMobil went ahead anyway.

Maduro ordered military exercises along the border, appealed to the United Nations to intervene, and cast his country as a victim of “imperialist” aggression.

But Maduro was boxed in. Tillerson had taken him to school. And he was just getting warmed up. The company has moved quickly to drill more wells since then, racking up new discoveries in the area.

Think about it. Tillerson refused the wishes of a bully, elevated a more reasonable government in a South America country without violence, and made a profit. I like his style.



Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about a recent incident in New York City.

The article reports:

Yasmin Seweid, an 18 year-old college students, was charged with filing a false report based on false statements to authorities that three men called her a terrorist and chanted “Donald Trump” while she was riding a New York City subway. Seweid alleged that when she moved to the other end of the train, one of the men followed her and tried to pull off her hajib.

As John Sexton notes, Seweid’s “traumatic train ride” became a talking point for the anti-Trump media. It fit the narrative that Trump’s election has produced a rash of hate crimes. See Slate’s initial coverage, for example.

The New York City police department reportedly spent significant resources trying to verify Seweid’s story. It was unable to find any witnesses to the incident or any video that corroborated her story.

Finally, Seweid recanted. She said she made up the tale to get attention because she was having issues with her family at home.

In this case the news reported what they thought was a true story, but how many of the reports of this nature have also been made up?

The article concludes:

How much trouble is Seweid in with the police? Possibly, more than a little. A NYPD source explained that given the amount of time detectives spent chasing the phony story, and how politically charged the allegation was, police and prosecutors felt compelled to charge her. To make matters worse, they reportedly gave her numerous opportunities to come clean, but she repeatedly refused to tell the truth for weeks.

The left is determined not to “normalize” Trump. But one benefit of normalization would be a diminution of abnormal behavior like that exhibited by Seweid. Let’s hope the mass freakout over Trump’s victory subsides in the coming months.

I can only assume that the left is so terrified of Donald Trump for two reasons–if his economic ideas work, they will be out of power for a long time, and if he drains the swamp, they might find themselves going down the drain. All Americans need to support what our President-elect is trying to do. It could mean the difference between America living up to her potential or America losing her way.

It Just Keeps Dripping

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today reporting major gaps in Hillary Clinton’s appointment calendar during her tenure as Secretary of State.

The article reports:

AP has identified at least 75 meetings that Hillary Clinton had with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, and corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded (or not properly recorded) on her State Department calendar. AP identified the meetings by comparing her calendar with separate planning schedules supplied to Clinton by aides in advance of each day’s events.

In many cases, Clinton’s State Department calendar simply excluded the meeting altogether. On other occasions, the names of those with whom she met were omitted.

It seems clear that the omissions were made to obscure Clinton’s ties to tycoons and big donors. For example, in one omission, Clinton’s State Department calendar dropped the identities of a dozen major Wall Street and business leaders who met with her during a private breakfast discussion at the New York Stock Exchange in September 2009.

The first thing to notice here is that the search for this information was initiated by the Associated Press. Usually the press is supporting Hillary Clinton. Since the press tends to be aligned with the Democratic Party, this is an interesting development.

The article further reports:

AP had to go to court to pry from the State Department the records it needed to expose this latest example of Clinton’s lack of transparency and her ties to the wealthy.

The AP first sought Clinton’s calendar and schedules from the State Department in August 2013, but the agency would not acknowledge even that it had the material. After nearly two years of delay, the AP sued the State Department in March 2015.

The department agreed in a court filing last August to turn over Clinton’s calendar, and provided the documents in November. After noticing discrepancies between Clinton’s calendar and some schedules, the AP pressed in court for all of Clinton’s planning material.

The U.S. has released about one-third of those planners to the AP so far.

Is this a person we want in the White House?


President Obama And The Democratic Party

Yesterday John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line about Tuesday’s election results. The article notes some of the results:

Matt Bevin was elected Governor of Kentucky.

Republicans maintained the majority in the Virginia Senate.

Ohio rejected a proposal to legalize marijuana.

The Sheriff of San Francisco, who supported the ‘sanctuary city’ was defeated.

Houston voters rejected an initiative claiming to be non-discriminatory that discriminated against Christians.

There are some happy conservatives around the country right now. However, the Associated Press (AP) did not see it that way.

The article at Power Line reports some of the comments from AP about the election:

State and local elections across the country this week produced warning signs for both Democrats and Republicans as they press toward next year’s presidential contest.

…Democrats lost ground in state legislatures and governor’s mansions, raising questions about the party’s strength when Barack Obama’s name isn’t on the ballot.

…And in Kentucky, Republican Matt Bevin’s win for the governorship could be a sign that many voters are serious about electing outsider candidates.

…That sounds good for the GOP, whose leading presidential candidates are Donald Trump and Ben Carson.

…But Democrats still have important demographic advantages in the states that often determine presidential elections.

…And Republican leaders are skeptical that outsiders’ rebellious appeal will be sufficiently deep and lasting to send such a candidate to the White House.

The article at Power Line mentions one inconvenient fact:

The AP fails to mention that the Obama administration has been a disaster for the Democratic Party. President Obama is widely seen as both incompetent and outside the mainstream of American politics. This has largely driven the flight of voters to the GOP, not only in the House and Senate, both now under Republican control, but also in state offices across the country.

The conclusion:

It is remarkable how far the press will go to cover for the Democrats, even after ballots have been cast. But does it do the Democrats much good? On the evidence of the last five years, the answer is no.

At some point, the American voters are quite capable of looking past the hype and seeing the impact of eight years of President Obama. The next President will have to reconstruct both our economy and our healthcare system. It is becoming obvious that the Democrats are not capable of doing that.

Even The New York Times Needs An Editor Sometimes

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line today about a New York Times editorial dealing with Scott Walker. Because Scott Walker is getting noticed by Republican voters, and because making him run for re-election in Wisconsin every year or so has not destroyed him, it is not a surprise that the New York Times would take a shot. However, the editorial might have been more effective if they had called him Mr. Walker instead of Mr. Scott.

This is an excerpt from the article:

ScottWalkerEditorialSomehow I really think this weakens their case against him–but it is funny. Evidently the error has been corrected (with no mention of it being made in the first place).

The Problem With Attempting To Rewrite Recent History

The problem with attempting to rewrite recent history is that there are too many people around who remember what actually happened and that some of them write books. Such is the case with the political spin President Obama has used to explain why there were no troops left behind in Iraq.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article yesterday about Leon Panetta‘s new book “Worthy Fights,” excerpted in Time Magazine.

The article reports:

In Panetta’s forthcoming memoir “Worthy Fights,” which Time Magazine has excerpted, Panetta argues that Iraqi leaders privately wanted U.S. forces to stay behind after the formal 2011 withdrawal; that the U.S. had “leverage” to strike a deal; and that the Defense and State departments attempted to do so. However, says Panetta, “the President’s team at the White House pushed back” and thus no deal was reached.

This statement agrees with statements made by Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Iraq during the period in question.

National security should not be governed by politics. Unfortunately, under President Obama, every decision is governed by politics. We need to elect leaders who will put the good of America ahead of their own desire for personal gains.