The Search For Significance

This article has two sources–a New York Sun editorial posted today and an article by Scott Johnson posted at Power Line Blog today. Both articles deal with the ‘surprise’ overwhelming victory of Boris Johnson in the British election yesterday.

The New York Sun notes:

It’s hard to overstate how wonderful is the news that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has won a mandate to, after all these years of struggle, lead a restoration of British sovereignty and independence. We may have been in that fight from the early days, but we don’t mind saying that we’ve had moments of doubt, particularly during the past year, that Britain would prevail. All the sweeter the results being tallied this evening.

This is only partly in respect of Brexit. It was, certainly, the overriding issue in the election. It is the very reason why the election was called when it was. Once again, the polls got it wrong. On the eve of the vote, the gods of polling were predicting that the race had become too close to call. A hung parliament couldn’t be ruled out. Some hazarded that Labor’s Jeremy Corbyn might end up at 10 Downing Street.

In the event, the British people delivered a resounding “no” to all that Mr. Corbyn stood for — the resentment of Jews and Israel, the embrace of socialism, and another Brexit referendum. The result is that Labor’s drubbing stands as its worst since 1935. No less than Jonathan Chait rushed out a column to mark that American leftists thought Corbyn’s inevitable victory would be their model against Trumpism.

Which is one way to mark a phenomenon that has been glimpsed throughout this battle since 2016. The phenomenon can be put this way: “As goes Brexit, so goes Trump.” In a way, the Brexit referendum turned out to be a predictor, or even a precursor, of Mr. Trump’s triumph in the election. The victory by Mr. Johnson and the Conservative Party today could well be a precursor of Mr. Trump in 2020. On verra.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog notes:

The election has already produced a ruling cliche to describe the results: Labour’s “red wall” crumbled. (In the UK, the colors are reversed: blue represents the Tories, red Labour.) Among the many seats in its “red wall” that has now crumbled, for example, is Tony Blair’s Sedgefield constituency. The Tories picked up a shocking number of seats that historically belonged to Labour in the industrial and rural north. It overstates the results to observe that Labour is contracting to a metropolitan party, but the tendency seems to be implicit in the outcome.

From a distance, at least, Boris proved himself an ebullient and optimistic campaigner, and not just by contrast with the dour and deceitful Corbyn. Boris staked the election campaign on the theme of getting Brexit done. His performance made me think of Steve Hayward’s observation in Churchill on Leadership: “[F]rom time to time, and especially in a crisis, the genuine leader must simply exert his personal force and summon up his willfulness.” Boris seems to me to have met the moment with some part of this quality in leading his party to its remarkable victory yesterday.

The British people voted for Brexit years ago. The ruling elite chose to ignore that vote. The people removed the blockage. I suspect we are going to see similar things in America next year–those who have blocked the immigration and economic policies of President Trump might find themselves on the unemployment line.

Truth In Comedy

There is a bit of a dust up going on right now between China and the National Basketball Association. It seems that Daryl Morey, general manager of the Houston Rockets, posted a tweet showing support for Hong King’s freedom movement. Obviously, the Chinese are not a big fan of free speech. Mr. Morey has deleted his tweets and apologized, but that does not seem to be enough for the Chinese.

In an article posted today, CNBC reports:

  • Searches for “Houston Rockets” and “Rockets” in Chinese on Alibaba-owned Taobao and Tmall and another site JD.com, yielded no results.
  • It comes after Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted support for the anti-government protestors in Hong Kong. The tweet was quickly deleted.
  • Chinese broadcast partners Tencent and state-owned CCTV said they would no longer show Rockets games.

We need to remember that China is NOT a free country.

Meanwhile, enter Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” fame.

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about their response to the dust up.

The article quotes an article in The Guardian:

South Park’s creators have responded with a mock apology to reports that China has censored the programme, ridiculing the country and comparing President Xi Jinping to Winnie the Pooh.

The “apology” from Trey Parker and Matt Stone comes after reports on Monday that China had scrubbed all episodes, clips and content related to the long-running comedy cartoon from Chinese streaming and social media platforms in response to a recent episode that was critical of the country.

The episode, called Band in China, took aim at what it portrayed as a tendency in US culture to adjust content to accommodate Chinese censorship laws. “It’s not worth living in a world where China controls my country’s art,” says one character in the episode.

The episode also includes a plot line in which a character is caught selling drugs in China and as punishment is sent to a work camp, similar to the mass internment camps in Xinjiang where an estimated one million people, including Uighurs and other Muslim minorities are detained.

The article also includes the non-apology apology from Trey Parker and Matt Stone:

I think that is called ‘speaking truth to power.’

What The News Doesn’t Report

Scott Johnson posted an article on Power Line Blog today about an incident at the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.

The article quotes Alpha News:

A mob of eight to 10 males wielding hammers descended upon bystanders at the East Bank Light Rail station on Friday night injuring several, according to recorded police dispatch audio.

The incident was apparently reported to 911 just before 10 p.m. on Friday according to the audio and other social media police scanner reports. A 9:48 p.m. Facebook post on 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch page said that University of Minnesota (U of M) police were requesting assistance from Minneapolis police (MPD) and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and that some people were injured. A Facebook post a minute later on Minneapolis Scanner page said that the three police departments were responding to “multiple [911] calls” about “10-12 Somali teen males armed with hammers chasing people,” also with “several injuries reported.” Both Facebook pages regularly post summaries of police scanner audio.

A person who claimed on social media to have been at the station when the incident occurred said that the group of males had “hammers and bars,” and that they seemed to be “attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white.” The witness, who said he isn’t white, said he didn’t want to “[take] on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects,” and that he “hurried an older white lady away” and they walked a few blocks to catch a bus.

On Wednesday there was an attempted robbery at the same location during which two U of M students were injured, according to a media report. It’s unknown whether these incidents are related.

The East Bank LRT station is part of the Green Line operated by Metro Transit and is located on the 500 block of Washington Avenue Southeast in the center of the University of Minnesota campus and across the street from the U of M police department. The stop is popular with students and people attending U of M sporting events.

We reached out to the U of M Police Department, the MPD and to Metro Transit police for comment on this incident and did not receive a response prior to publication.

Somehow the Minneapolis Star Tribune has failed to report this incident.

The article at Power Line Blog further comments:

According to the Pioneer Press, police stopped seven teenage boys: “Two males who were carrying metal pipes were identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions….Police issued them citations….Police cited two males for disorderly conduct and fleeing police on foot; one was also cited for giving police a fictitious name. A police report didn’t specify their exact ages, but indicated that one is 12 or 13 and the other is 14 or 15.”

The lack of descriptive information is troubling. The juvenile status of the perpetrators protects their identities from disclosure, but if the hammer-wielding teenagers remain at large, the rest of us would like to be on guard. I would advise avoidance of the University of Minnesota’s East Bank light rail station after dark.

I think I would like a better description of the teenagers.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

The Letter

Below is a copy of Attorney General Barr’s summary letter to Senator Lindsey Graham, Representative Jerrold Nadler, Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Representative Doug Collins. You can view the letter on Scribd by clicking on the link.

Barr’s Letter by on Scribd

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article about the letter today.

He notes a few basic facts about the letter:

This investigation is the product of a Clinton campaign fabrication. That’s why the investigation was a witch hunt. It is also why the finding of no collusion is unsurprising to anyone who has paid attention with a modicum of impartiality and critical intelligence. The finding of no obstruction is made by Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein. If there was no collusion, they suggest, there was highly likely no obstruction and in fact they find that Mueller did not identify any actions that in the judgment of Barr and Rosenstein constituted obstructive conduct. See page 3, paragraph 3.

While investigations and prosecutions will continue for the foreseeable future, we can turn out the lights on the Mueller investigation; the party’s over. Mainstream media hardest hit.

One thing to keep in mind is that a team of totally partisan Democrats looking under every rock they could find for two plus years not only could not find evidence of Russian collusion by President Trump, they somehow failed to notice the entanglement of the Clinton campaign in providing a dossier that paved the way for surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. As the Democrats continue to investigate in the hope of turning public opinion against President Trump before the 2020 election, I hope the American voters begin to realize where the scandal was in this investigation–it wasn’t in the Trump campaign.

Why We Need The Alternative Media

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about some of the fiction recently written by the mainstream media.

The following tweet is included in the article:

It’s amazing how the story changes to fit the current narrative. If you are a consumer of news, this should make you very upset–a large portion of American voters are reading this nonsense and believing it.

There Is Some Serious Money Being Spent In The Texas Senate Race

Scott Johnson at Power Line Blog posted an article today about the Texas Senate race where Bobby O’Rourke (aka Beto O’Rourke) is challenging incumbent Ted Cruz. Bobby O’Rourke raised $38.1 million in last three months according to The Dallas Morning News’ Todd Gillman and Tom Benning. That sounds really impressive until you look at some of the details.

The article reports:

“ActBlue, the online Democratic fund-raising platform, makes it easier than ever for candidates to collect small sums from many people, and to prompt supporters for recurring donations. O’Rourke has brought in at least $25 million that way this year, and based on the latest tally, likely far more.”

The article also reports some recent polling data with comments by Scott Johnson:

We last checked in on incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s race against Bobby O’Rourke in “Query the Kavanaugh effect (2).” The most recent poll at that time showed Cruz with a 9-point lead (54-45). Since that post a New York Times/Siena poll of likely voters surveyed the electorate during the period October 8-11, entirely in the aftermath of the Kavanaugh confirmation. It shows Cruz with an 8-point lead (51-43), within the previous poll’s margin of error.

It wasn’t easy for the Times/Siena poll locate its sample of 800 likely voters. The poll made 51,983 calls in search of those 800 likely voters.

Bobby O’Rourke has ignited a mania among Democrats and their media adjunct. He is the greatest thing since…well, since Texas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis.

It will be interesting to see if money buys elections in Texas. Money didn’t buy elections in the 2016 campaign for President–if it had, we would have either President Jeb Bush or President Hillary Clinton. Thank God that, generally speaking, the American voters can’t be bought.

 

Following The Law And Not The Judge’s Bias

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban.

The article reports:

The Supreme Court vindicated President Trump’s final iteration of his so-called “travel ban” order in Trump v. Hawaii this morning. The ruling was 5-4. Although the plaintiffs prevailed in the lower courts, the Supreme Court’s rational wing was unimpressed by the arguments ginned up to frustrate Trump’s executive order. The ruling left Trump free to be Trump and interred the Court’s 1944 Korematsu decision upholding Japanese internment by the Roosevelt administration to boot.

It also reminds me again to thank the Senate Republicans who toughed it out to leave the appointment of the successor to Justice Scalia to the winner of the 2016 election. Thanks especially to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. They took a lot of abuse from the media in an early preview of the hysteria we have endured since Trump improbably won.

The law is as follows:

Section 212(f) of the INA is arguably the broadest and best known of these Authorities . It provides, in relevant part, that

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate

The President is ultimately responsible for national security. The buck stops with him. For the courts to undermine the President’s ability to protect America is simply unbelievable. We have reached the point where to some people politics is more important than national security.

A Resettlement Program Gone Awry

Yesterday Scott Johnson (one of the regular writers at Power Line Blog) posted an article at The City Journal website. The article was related to some recent events involving large amounts of cash flowing from Minnesota to Somalia.

The article reports:

When it was noted that the carry-on bags of multiple airline passengers traveling from Minneapolis to Somalia contained millions of dollars in cash, on a regular basis, law enforcement was naturally curious to know where the money came from and where it was going. It soon emerged that millions of taxpayer dollars, and possibly much more, had been stolen through a massive scam of Minnesota’s social-services sector, specifically through fraudulent daycare claims. To make matters worse, the money appears to have wound up in areas of Somalia controlled by al-Shabab, the Islamic jihadist group responsible for numerous terrorist outrages.

The article goes on to explain that beginning in the 1990’s, the State Department began sending refugees from the Somalia civil war to be resettled in Minnesota. Minnesota now has the largest population of Somalis outside of Somalia.

The article reports:

As the Washington Times noted in 2015, in Minnesota, these refugees “can take advantage of some of America’s most generous welfare and charity programs.” Professor Ahmed Samatar of Macalester College in St. Paul observed, “Minnesota is exceptional in so many ways but it’s the closest thing in the United States to a true social democratic state.” A high-trust, traditionally homogenous community with a deep civil society marked by thrift, industriousness, and openness, Minnesota seemed like the ideal place to locate an indigent Somali population now estimated at 100,000.

Fast forward to 2015 when the House Homeland Security Committee task force on combating terrorist and foreign-fighter travel discovered that Minnesota led the nation in contributing foreign fighters to ISIS. It gets worse. The refugees masterminded a very lucrative daycare fraud scheme that sent millions of taxpayer dollars to terrorists in Somalia.

The article cites one such example:

The case of Fozia Ali, recently sworn in as a member of the park board of an upscale Twin Cities suburb, is illustrative. Ali’s daycare center in south Minneapolis was suspected of billing the government for more than $1 million of bogus child-care services. According to Special Agent Craig Lisher, the FBI “found records that she was collecting a significant amount of money for a much larger number of children than were actually attending the center.” Ali’s case also had an international component. “We are aware that some of the funds went overseas, what she was cashing out, money from the business,” Lisher noted. He declined to specify the purpose to which the funds were put.

Ali used a phone app to register charges to the Minnesota state government while she stayed at an $800-per-night hotel in Nairobi. She pleaded guilty in March to charges of wire fraud and is serving time in federal prison. But the scam goes well beyond Ali. Though the total loss to the state’s $248 million daycare program remains to be determined, we have a serious case of deceit, obviously. But the real damage, harder to measure, is likely to be to the high-trust values of Minnesota, where newcomers can dupe the natives so easily.

These are not the sort of refugees we need.

We Were Very Close To Losing Our Republic

When the entire apparatus of government is used for political purposes, the freedom of Americans is in danger. Evidently there was a lot of that going on during the Obama Administration. It became particularly rampant during the 2016 campaign–electronic surveillance, the FBI’s ‘insurance policy’ in case Donald Trump got elected, etc. However, it was evident long before 2016.

In December 2017, I posted an article about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which funneled penalties they levied on corporations into Democrat aligned community organizer groups. We all know about the IRS’s targeting of conservative political groups to stifle free speech during the 2012 election. In 2008 most Americans watched a video of the New Black Panthers standing outside a polling place in Philadelphia with billy clubs looking very menacing. Despite the video evidence, they were never convicted of voter intimidation. There has been a problem with our federal justice system for a while.

Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line which cites the latest example of misuse of the government for political purposes. The article is based on a Wall Street Journal article (which is behind the subscriber wall).

Kimberley Strassel writes in The Wall Street Journal:

The Department of Justice lost its latest battle with Congress Thursday when it allowed House Intelligence Committee members to view classified documents about a top-secret intelligence source that was part of the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign. Even without official confirmation of that source’s name, the news so far holds some stunning implications.

Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.

House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”

This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.

The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign.

This would amount to spying, and it is hugely disconcerting.

Congress has legal oversight over the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice was created by Congress in 1870. Originally, there was simply an Attorney General who gave legal advice to Congress and the President. Eventually that was limited to Congress because of the workload. The Department of Justice is a creation of government.

Either Congress has not been properly exercising its oversight authority over the Justice Department or Congress is as corrupt as the Justice Department. It is one of the other. All of the information regarding the relationship between the Justice Department’s spying and otherwise interfering with the Trump campaign needs to be made public–immediately. The American voters are entitled to see where the corruption was (and is).

Using The Government To Intimidate Those With Differing Views

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about Michael Caputo. Michael Caputo is an ordinary citizen who worked on the Trump presidential campaign. On Tuesday, he appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee and gave his testimony. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is chilling to anyone who believes that Americans should be free to volunteer for any candidate’s campaign they choose without facing enormous negative consequences.

The article reports on Michael Caputo’s interview with Tucker Carlson These are some quotes from that interview:

“They’re still looking at Russian collusion, still looking for it…In my mind, if anybody thinks that Russia collusion is off the table, they haven’t visited with the Mueller team.”

 “They know more about the Trump campaign than anybody that worked there and they know more about what I did in 2016 than I do myself.”

” What are they looking at? “I don’t want to interfere with the investigation. I was warned about that.”

“Did he construe that as a threat? “I’m not going to be friending them today on Facebook, if that’s what you’re asking.”

 “It’s not nice but it’s nothing compared to the $125,000 in legal bills that I’ve stacked up for nothing.”

 “What’s happening to me and my family is happening to many other people in this investigation and I’m just a witness. I can’t imagine if somebody’s a subject or a target what they’re going to go through.”

This is the statement from the interview that I find chilling:

“I certainly didn’t sign up for this when I went to work for the Trump campaign and I will never, ever work on another Republican campaign for as long as I live…and I think that’s part of this, Tucker. This is a punishment strategy. I think they want to destroy the president, they want to destroy his family, they want to destroy his businesses, they want to destroy his friends so that no billionaire, say, in 15 years wakes up and tells his wife, you know what, they country’s broken and only I can fix it….His wife will say, ‘are you crazy Did you see what happened to Donald Trump?’ That’s what this is about.”

Mr. Caputo explains that he thinks this is the Democrat’s new strategy–intimidate people who work on Republican campaigns so that no one will be willing to work on them.

Mr. Caputo concludes:

“I think the president should not go anywhere near this [Mueller team]. I think in a lot of ways it’s a trap. I think the president is clear on potential Russian collusion. I think the campaign is in the clear. In the end if they want to get the president, they’re going to try to trip him up in an interview like this and my advice, after being through it, is stay away.”

 “I have a lot of respect for Director Mueller. When this thing first started I had some faith that it was going to be done fairly. I’m not so sanguine about it anymore.”

 “I’m very confident there was no Russian collusion. I’m very confident that the president is in the clear here. I’m very confident that in the end they’re going to find the holes that they’re digging to be empty, but they are digging and they’re going to continue to dig.”

It is long past time to send Mr. Mueller packing. There was no Russian collusion on the part of the Republicans, and he is obviously not interested in the Russian involvement in the GPS Fusion dossier that the Democrats put together. There is no way this can be considered a fair or legitimate investigation.

 

Notes On The Iran Deal

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the new revelations by Israel about Iran’s nuclear program.

My favorite quote from the article:

Not even Neville Chamberlain funded Hitler’s aggression to secure his infamous agreement with the madman. That innovation in treachery took one Barack Obama and his many enthusiastic servants such as John Kerry.

There is even more information about the treachery involved in the Iran deal in the New York Times article I posted about in May of 2016 (here). The Iran deal was supported by the European nations because it was financially advantageous to them. They either did not believe or were not concerned about the fact that Iran was planning to threaten them with nuclear weapons as soon as the restrictions in the treaty expired.

Senator Ted Cruz posted the following press release yesterday after Prime Minister Netanyahu gave his presentation explaining the Iran actually does have a nuclear weapons program:

HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued a statement following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations about Iran’s nuclear program:

“Today’s stunning revelations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu powerfully demonstrate why the Obama Iran nuclear deal is not just unfixable, but truly catastrophic. The Prime Minister’s presentation was remarkable—unprecedented—and worth watching in full. Through extraordinary intelligence operations, Israeli agents captured over 100,000 secret documents and files from Iran. These Iranian documents prove that (1) for two decades, Iran has conducted a clandestine nuclear weapons program; (2) Iran lied repeatedly, and brazenly, denying that secret program; (3) the Obama nuclear deal was predicated on that edifice of lies; and (4) Iran is today in violation of that deal.

“The national security consequences of the Obama Iranian nuclear deal are twofold: First, America has allowed billions of dollars to flow to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, a nation directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of U.S. servicemen and women. And second, those billions of dollars have also propped up a despotic regime and provided vast resources for ongoing ballistic missile tests designed to enable Iran to launch a nuclear weapon on the American homeland.

“In light of these astonishing Israeli revelations, the course before President Trump is clear. As the President has said repeatedly, this deal is a ‘terrible deal,’ even worse than many previously realized. The United States should therefore withdraw immediately, re-impose crushing sanctions, work to encourage our allies to do the same, and do everything necessary to insure that the Ayatollah Khamenei never — never — acquires the nuclear weapons to make good on his pledge of ‘death to America.’”

I don’t know if Europe will join us in exiting the Iran nuclear deal–it is very profitable for them to stay in it. However, I think it is time for us to leave. Obviously, Iran has no problem telling us what they think we want to hear, and we have not been very good at finding out what the truth is.

Oversight Is Difficult When Needed Information Is Being Withheld

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the ongoing efforts of Devin Nunes, Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence in the U.S. House of Representatives, to obtain information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The article notes that Kimberley Strassel has entitled her weekly column at The Wall Street Journal “What is the FBI hiding?” It is beginning to look as if they are definitely hiding something.

The article at Power Line notes:

Strassel notes that House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes has just sent another letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray to demand yet again that they comply with an August 2017 subpoena and hand over, among other things, the electronic communication—“EC” in investigative jargon—that officially kicked off the counterintelligence investigation. In his letter, Rep. Nunes states that the FBI has provided only a “heavily redacted” version of the EC. Beyond that, the FBI would prefer not to give it up.

Rep. Nunes is not amused. He writes: “On March 23, 2018, the FBI’s Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs informed the Committee that the FBI would refuse to further unredact the EC based on its supposed sensitivity. The document in question is not highly classified, and law enforcement sources have apparently not been shy about leaking to the press information that the Department and Bureau refuse to share with Congress.”

The article at Power Line includes a copy of the letter sent by Representative Nunes. It is unfair to ask Congress to exercise Congressional oversight without giving them the requested information. Hopefully the FBI will cooperate in the near future.

Sara Carter has also been following this story. More details are available on her website.

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.

 

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.

 

Is The President Required To Follow The Law?

Scott Johnson posted an article at Power Line today about an aspect of the Iran nuclear deal that has not been widely discussed. It seems that one of the provisions in the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act (the Corker-Cardin bill) that was signed by President Obama is that President Obama is required to transmit to Congress the agreement–“including all related materials and annexes.” He is required to do this “not later than five days after reaching the agreement.”

The article reminds us:

Obama has not done so. The administration has failed or refused to submit the IAEA side deal with Iran regarding the possible military dimensions of Iran’s research at the Parchin military facility to Congress.

Indeed, the administration claim not even to have seen the IAEA side deal. Rather, administration officials claim only to have been briefed by the IAEA on the terms of the side deal. They claim it is cloaked in secrecy that prevents its disclosure. The side deal is nevertheless an integral part of the JCPOA and its disclosure expressly required by the act.

So what happens now?

The article reports:

Rep. Mike Pompeo and attorney David Rivkin take note in a brief Washington Post column. They write:

 Congress must now confront the grave issues of constitutional law prompted by the president’s failure to comply with his obligations under the act. This is not the first time this administration has disregarded clear statutory requirements, encroaching in the process upon Congress’s legislative and budgetary prerogatives. The fact that this has happened again in the context of a national security agreement vital to the United States and its allies makes the situation all the more serious.

For Congress to vote on the merits of the agreement without the opportunity to review all of its aspects would both effectively sanction the president’s unconstitutional conduct and be a major policy mistake. Instead, both houses should vote to register their view that the president has not complied with his obligations under the act by not providing Congress with a copy of an agreement between the IAEA and Iran, and that, as a result, the president remains unable to lift statutory sanctions against Iran. Then, if the president ignores this legal limit on his authority, Congress can and should take its case to court.

There is another aspect to this. Democratic Senators do not want to go on the record in terms of voting for this agreement. The agreement is not popular with the American public, who understands that the agreement paves the way for Iran to go nuclear and will start a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. So why in the world is President Obama pushing this treaty? There are a lot of guesses, but no real answer. It would be a feather in his cap to negotiate an agreement with a country that has been at war with America since 1978. The problem is that after the agreement is signed, Iran will still be at war with America. There is no financial gain for America in this treaty–Iran gets more money to fund terrorism and kill American soldiers in Afghanistan. Iran is also allowed to flood the world markets with oil, possibly crippling American efforts at energy independence. There is no upside for America in this treaty–it is a President looking for what he considers a foreign policy accomplishment. He may well get his accomplishment, but it’s a safe bet that history will not look kindly on this treaty.

Sometimes Facts Are Simply Inconvenient

Yesterday the Washington Post published the following chart:

Obamatons

The graph was also posted at Power Line by Scott Johnson. So what is the value of this graph?

The article at Power Line reports:

On two occasions this campaign season, against all the odds, President Obama has said something useful and, even more improbably, something true. On those occasions he advertised the fact that the Democratic Senate candidates running for election or reelection in states such as Colorado, New Hampshire, Louisiana, Alaska, North Carolina, and Arkansas are in the bag for him. When their vote is needed, Obama can count on it, and when they tell the voters of their states they wake up every day thinking how best they can protect their interests, as Jeanne Shaheen did last night in her debate with Scott Brown, they are playing the voters for chumps. 

The article at Power Line also includes the following footnote:

FOOTNOTE: The layers of fact checkers and editors at the Post apparently failed to observe that the Colorado Senator’s first name is Mark, not Tom (who is Mark’s first cousin and the Senator from New Mexico). Tom Udall is not to be confused with Mark Udall. Tom Udall only votes with Obama 94 percent of the time.

The current Democrat party does not allow for voting independence on the part of its elected officials–they are required to follow the party line. If we want a Congress that represents the people it is supposed to represent, we need to change our voting habits.

Israel Did Not Hit The Hospital And The Playground

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the hospital in Gaza that was supposedly attacked.

The article quotes The Algemenier:

The Israeli army said it was not operating in the vicinity of Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza on Monday, where an explosion reportedly killed and wounded dozens of Palestinians.

“A short while ago Al-Shifa Hospital and Al-Shati Refugee Camp were struck by failed rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.

The failed attempt to fire the projectile apparently hit a car near the center, according to Israel’s Channel 2 News, causing the casualties.

The station said that a “Hamas Fajr-5 rocket aimed at central Israel, which was fired from a playground outside the Shifa hospital and exploded on the site causing casualties, had at least a 100 kg (220 lbs) warhead,” according to The Times of Israel.

The article at Power Line includes a photo with the comment:

The Algemeiner performs the service of running the suggestive photograph below with the caption: “Nick Casey, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East Correspondent, posted a photo to Twitter of a Hamas spokesman being interviewed on camera at Gaza’s Al Shifa Hospital, which Hamas uses as a base. The photo has since been removed. Photo: Nick Casey / Twitter.”

The fact that Hamas uses a hospital as a base of operations and fires rockets from a playground tells us all we need to know about how Hamas feels about protecting civilians.

Stonewalling As An Art Form

We have had Presidential administrations in the past that were very good at hiding information from the American people, but the Obama Administration has turned stonewalling into an art form.

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the latest wrinkle in the investigation into the misuse of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The article reports:

The IRS has informed the House Ways and Means Committee that it has lost Lois Lerner email messages from January 2009–April 2011. Harkening back to the allegedly accidental erasure of 18 1/2 minutes of critical Oval Office recordings that contributed to Richard Nixon’s resignation from office, the IRS attributes the loss of Lerner email to a computer crash.

Some email survives: the agency retains Lerner email to and from other IRS employees during this period. The IRS claims it cannot produce email written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or offices of Democrat congressmen. Funny how that works.

I know that this has been said so many times it is a cliche, but can you imagine what would happen if this occurred under a Republican President?

The Timeline Of The IRS Scandal

This article has two sources, an article posted in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and an article posted by Scott Johnson at Power Line today. Both articles printed the timeline of events surrounding the IRS’s attempt to curtail the free speech of groups that opposed the Obama Administration.

One of the most telling events on the timeline is from the Wall Street Journal article:

• Feb. 11, 2010: Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) says he will introduce legislation known as the Disclose Act to place new restrictions on some political activity by corporations and force more public disclosure of contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations. Mr. Schumer says the bill is intended to “embarrass companies” out of exercising the rights recognized in Citizens United. “The deterrent effect should not be underestimated,” he said.

All of this was in response to the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case, which allowed corporations to make political donations. This ruling finally leveled the playing field–the unions had been contributing massive amounts of money to political campaigns for years. (See rightwinggranny.com). The actions of the IRS were an attempt to undo the leveling of the playing field that occurred with the Citizens United decision.

Please follow one of the links above to see the timeline. It paints a picture of a genuine attempt to limit free speech in America.

The President may or may not have given any direct orders regarding the use of the IRS to limit free speech, but the ending paragraph of the Wall Street Journal article truly sums up what happened:

In 1170, King Henry II is said to have cried out, on hearing of the latest actions of the Archbishop of Canterbury, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights then murdered the archbishop. Many in the U.S. media still willfully refuse to see anything connecting the murder of the archbishop to any actions or abuse of power by the king.

Unfortunately we are dealing with a President who chooses to act more like a king than a president.

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Question Of The Day

On Monday, Fox News reported on President Obama’s interview with Bill O’Reilly:

Obama addressed concerns over Benghazi, the launch of HealthCare.gov and the IRS, during the interview Sunday before the Super Bowl. He adamantly rejected the suggestion that the IRS was used for political purposes by singling out Tea Party groups seeking tax exemption.

“That’s not what happened,” he said. Rather, he said, IRS officials were confused about how to implement the law governing those kinds of tax-exempt groups.

“There were some bone-headed decisions,” Obama conceded. 

But when asked whether corruption, or mass corruption, was at play, he responded: “Not even mass corruption — not even a smidgen of corruption.”

The question of the day (and it is not an original question) is, “if there was not a smidgen of corruption, why did Lois Lerner take the fifth rather than testify before Congress?”

Yesterday Scott Johnson at Power Line posted a letter from William Henck, a man who has worked inside the IRS Office of the General Counsel as an attorney for over 26 years. I am not going to post the letter as it is very long, but I strongly suggest that you follow the link to Power Line and read the letter. It is chilling.

Scott Johnson also posted a story at Power Line today about Cleta Mitchell, who he describes as the most dangerous woman in America. Ms. Mitchell is the Washington attorney who represents several clients victimized by the criminal misconduct of the IRS over the past four years. A video of her testimony before Congress on Thursday is included in the article. She is smart and articulate–she does represent a danger to the Obama Administration. Please watch the video to see why.

The IRS scandal is dangerous to America. It means that whichever party is in power in Washington can use the IRS to target its enemies. This is an impeachable offense, and any administration that engages in this behavior should be faced with the threat of impeachment.

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About The Claim That Women Are Paid Less Than Men Who Do The Same Job

First of all, if there were real wage equality, mothers would be the highest paid workers ever–they are on call 24/7, often act as family CEO’s, peacemakers, custodial staff, grounds keepers, in charge of grocery logistics, family nurse, and often hold a job outside the home as well. If there were true wage equality, mothers would make more than most company presidents.

However, in regard to President Obama’s statement on Tuesday night that “You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment.” This is simply not true.

The argument against this statement comes from three articles from people with very different political persuasions. On November 5,2012, Real Clear Politics posted an article by Dean Kalahar, on January 29, 2014, the American Spectator posted an article by Natalie deMacedo, and on January 30, 2014, Power Line posted an article by Scott Johnson.

All three articles said essentially the same thing–the figure of 77 cents on the dollar does not represent equal work–it represents the overall workplace and does not take into consideration the fact that many women work part time or that men tend to go into the higher paying professions–engineering, medicine (as doctors), etc.

What should be considered here is that women don’t always have the luxury of dedicating themselves to the high-paying corporate fast track. Women have to make a choice of priorities–motherhood versus career. While many women in lucrative careers can afford good child care, women in jobs in industries that do not pay as well often have difficult choices to make. That is not the government’s fault or the government’s responsibility–it is simply the way that things are.

Many years ago, I spent a few years working as a temporary employee. I learned a few things along the way. One of the things I learned was that pay scales in various industries vary a great deal. I have no idea why this is, but it was very obvious during the early 90’s in New England. I definitely considered that fact when I finally accepted a full-time job. It is also good to remember that a good statistician can make any given set of statistics say anything he wants them to say. The 77 cents on the dollar quote is a good example of that.

Just for the record, this is the statistic that was not cited (from the American Spectator):

Women congregate in different professions than men do, and the largely male professions tend to be higher-paying. If you account for those differences, and then compare a woman and a man doing the same job, the pay gap narrows to 91 percent. So, you could accurately say in that Obama ad that, “women get paid 91 cents on the dollar for doing the same work as men.”

Many men tend to go into science and engineering fields which generally pay more. Women who stay at home with children are factored in as earning nothing. Therefore, the 77 cent stat is a misleading one.

Rosin adds that the reason women are making less could largely depend on more complicated issues, such as maternity leave, marriage, and a lack of childcare options. Debates on those topics can be saved for another day.

Remember, any good statistician can make any given set of statistics say anything he wants them to say!

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The Pitfalls Of Random Acts Of Charity

It feels good to help someone who is less fortunate than yourself. We encourage our children to be generous, and we try to set a good example. However, our efforts are not always as helpful as we would like to think. I used to know a Pastor who when someone on the street asked him for money would offer to buy them lunch–that way he knew the money didn’t go toward drugs or alcohol. I don’t know the actual percentage of homeless people with drug or alcohol problems, but I suspect it’s fairly high.

Recently, a video of a New York City policemen went vital on YouTube because he bought a barefoot homeless man on the street a pair of new shoes. It was a beautiful gesture, but the story is not what it appears to be. Scott Johnson at Power Line posted ‘the rest of the story’ yesterday.

It seems that the homeless man actually did have a home–and multiple pairs of shoes. He earns a few hundred dollars a day (tax free) by walking the streets of New York City barefoot, asking for money.

The article at Power Line cites a New York Post article which concluded:

Hillman reminds us how easy it is to exploit generosity. His scam seems to have been directed at passers-by who take pity on a man who goes about Midtown pretending to be barefoot, poor and homeless. His example reminds us why it is important for the city to ensure that its own assistance is not exploited by those who don’t need it.

For in addition to the needy, New York also has a whole class of politicians and activists quick to denounce City Hall as cruel and heartless (and to sue) whenever it takes reasonable measures to weed out the deserving from the undeserving.

Scott Johnson draws a different conclusion:

I don’t think the Post quite gets the lesson offered by the Hillman saga as a case study. Despite Hillman’s exploitation of the kindness of strangers, I think his case is inherent in the welfare state. One way or another, however, it provides a case study worthy of continuing discussion.

The generosity of the policeman is commendable. The actions of the barefoot beggar are those of a con man taking advantage of the kindness of New Yorkers.

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