Little By Little We Are Learning The Truth

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the sentencing of General Michael Flynn. The article sheds some light on the circumstances that led to the charges against General Flynn and the role former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe played in creating those circumstances.

The article reports:

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

I understand that politics can be a dirty business, but this is a disgrace. It is becoming very obvious that General Flynn was set up. It would be interesting to know what he was threatened with by the Mueller gang if he chose not to plead guilty.

The article further reports:

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

…”The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.” (The underline is mine.)

I personally think the charges against General Flynn should be dismissed.

How Much Does It Cost?

The following chart was posted at The Washington Examiner today:

Although I object to the word ‘native’ being used in this context, the chart shows that a large portion of our tax money is going to people who are not American citizens. The real problem with this is that veterans and other Americans are not getting the services they need because money is limited and our national debt is skyrocketing. Supporting people who are here illegally is simply a luxury we can no longer afford.

The article further states:

  • In 2014, 63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.
  • Welfare use drops to 58 percent for non-citizen households and 30 percent for native households if cash payments from the Earned Income Tax Credit are not counted as welfare. EITC recipients pay no federal income tax. Like other welfare, the EITC is a means-tested, anti-poverty program, but unlike other programs one has to work to receive it.
  • Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).
  • Including the EITC, 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare, compared to 19 percent of native households. If the EITC is not included, then cash receipt by non-citizen households is slightly lower than natives (6 percent vs. 8 percent).
  • While most new legal immigrants (green card holders) are barred from most welfare programs, as are illegal immigrants and temporary visitors, these provisions have only a modest impact on non-citizen household use rates because: 1) most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify; 2) the bar does not apply to all programs, nor does it always apply to non-citizen children; 3) some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; and, most importantly, 4) non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth.

I am reminded of the line from the movie “Men In Black,” “We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.” We can do everything we can to help people in poor countries, but we need to understand that until those countries have some form of economic freedom, our aid simply goes to the corrupt officials at the top. The answer to the number of illegals coming to America is for those illegals to gather together to fight the corrupt governments in their own countries. Based on the fact that the large majority of the people currently trying to break into America are military-age men, we need to ask them to go back home and work to fix things. We simply cannot afford to taken in everyone in the world who is looking for a better life. At some point you simply cannot put any more people on the bus.

The Only People Actually Conducting A Real Investigation Of Federal Misconduct Are Judicial Watch

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent Freedom of Information Act Request filed by Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is an impartial government watchdog agency–they have gone after Clintons, Bushes, Obamas, etc.

The article reports:

A conservative watchdog group announced Friday it had filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department seeking communications records that relate the FBI’s investigation into whether Hillary and Bill Clinton’s charity organization participated in pay-to-play schemes or other improper behavior with the U.S. government.

The latest lawsuit by Judicial Watch related to the Clintons, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the FBI denied their FOIA request and appeal this fall, targets the offices of prominent Obama-era officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Specifically, Judicial Watch demands the DOJ do a search, and “demonstrate that it employed search methods reasonably likely to lead to the discovery,” for “[a]ll records of communication, including but not limited to e-mails (whether sent or received on .gov or non-.gov e-mail accounts), text messages, or instant chats, sent between officials in the offices of the FBI Director, Deputy Director and General Counsel on the one hand, and officials in the offices of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and or Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General on the other hand, regarding the closure or possible closure of an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.”

The article concludes:

The watchdog also singled out the DOJ inspector general’s report released in April in which McCabe described a “very dramatic” call he had with another high-level department official about the handling of the Clinton Foundation probe. That same inspector general’s report, which led to McCabe’s firing, found McCabe ” lacked candor” on four separate occasions, including three times while under oath, in connection with the disclosure to the Wall Street Journal leak to push back on a report about large donations McCabe’s wife received from Democrats during her bid for the Virginia state Senate — a leak that effectively confirmed the existence of the Clinton Foundation probe.

“The record shows the Obama Justice Department suppressed a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It’s time for the DOJ to stop shielding the Clintons and produce records on this miscarriage of justice.”

It may be that the Clintons are totally innocent of any wrongdoing. However, much of their past behavior definitely calls their honesty into question.

Lying When Convenient

Politicians are not known for telling the truth, but sometimes the lies are simply outrageous. It seems that lying to attack political opponents has become a way of life for some of our politicians.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a recent whopper told by Senator Chuck Schumer. The lie by Senator Schumer was told during a hearing for Thomas Farr, a North Carolina lawyer who is President Trump’s pick to be a district court judge in New York.

The article reports:

Schumer said on the Senate floor that Farr “stands for the disenfranchisement of voters,” then raised the 2013 Supreme Court case Shelby County v Holder. That case ended in a Roberts opinion that said a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 is outdated and needs to be modernized.

Schumer said that opinion showed that Roberts believes voting discrimination no longer exists.

“Justice Roberts will go down in history as one of those who worked to take away voting rights when he authored the Shelby decision and stated that he didn’t believe that … more or less, he stated that he didn’t believe that discrimination existed any longer, so we wouldn’t need Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act,” Schumer said.

But Roberts never wrote that voting discrimination no longer exists and, in fact, said explicitly that it does still exist.

“At the same time, voting discrimination still exists; no one doubts that,” Roberts wrote at the time.

Either Senator Schumer is misinformed or he decided that the best was to prevent the appointment of Thomas Farr was to play the race card. That card is getting very old, and the number of Americans falling for it is rapidly dwindling. The card is played frequently against President Trump despite the awards he won before running for President for promoting racial harmony and for his removal of race and religion restrictions when he opened Mar-a-Lago.

Unexpected Benefits Coming From The Trump Tax Cuts

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a recent policy change from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The article reports:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a proposed rulemaking that would require all publicly-owned utility companies that own transmission lines “to revise” their rates to account for the benefits they received under the tax reform package.

The tax reform bill passed last December cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent beginning in 2018. A number of states’ energy commissions have already directed the utilities they regulate at the retail level to account for the changes and grant credits to ratepayers.

…FERC also issued a policy statement on Thursday that provided ratemaking guidance for all companies under FERC’s jurisdiction to account for the tax benefits they received. Those companies include public utilities, owners and operators of natural gas and oil pipelines.

FERC also acted on 46 show-cause investigations, directing certain public utilities whose transmission tariffs used a tax rate of 35 percent to reduce their tax rates to 21 percent, or show why they did not need to do so.

As much as I generally don’t like federal regulations, if that is what it takes to pass the tax savings of publicly-owned utility companies on to their customers, then I support the regulations.

 

Getting To The Bottom

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about what the Republicans have accomplished in informing Americans about the misuse of government agencies in surveilling the Trump campaign and the Trump administration.

The article lists what we know as a result of the work of the House Intelligence Committee.

This is the list:

1) The important role that the incendiary allegations in the still-unverified Trump dossier played in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

2) The fact that the dossier was commissioned and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

3) The unusual circumstances surrounding the formal beginning of the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

4) The troubling deficiencies in the FBI’s application for a warrant to wiretap onetime Trump campaign figure Carter Page.

5) The anti-Trump bias of some of the top officials in the FBI investigation.

6) The degree to which the dossier’s allegations spread throughout the Obama administration during the final days of the 2016 campaign and the transition.

7) Obama officials’ unmasking of Trump-related figures in intelligence intercepts.

8) The fact that FBI agents did not believe Michael Flynn lied to them in the interview that later led to Flynn’s guilty plea on a charge of lying to the FBI.

9) The role of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in the Trump-Russia probe.

There is more. The article notes that the FBI and Justice Department fiercely resisted the investigation. They withheld materials, dragged their feet, and flat-out refused to provide information to which congressional overseers were clearly entitled.

The article further reports:

None of this has been bipartisan. The work has been done by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. And if Democrats win control of the House, as a number of polls suggest they will do, it will stop immediately.

If Democrats win, Rep. Adam Schiff, who has opposed nearly everything Nunes has done, will become chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Rep. Jerrold Nadler will head the Judiciary Committee. And Rep. Elijah Cummings will take over the Oversight Committee.

This month Schiff wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post broadly outlining the new direction Democrats would take. In the Intelligence Committee, Schiff promised to investigate aspects of Trump-Russia that committee Republicans would not — a move that would target the president but also likely duplicate the work of other investigators. Schiff also mentioned what he said were “serious and credible allegations the Russians may possess financial leverage over the president, including perhaps the laundering of Russian money through his businesses.”

The Judiciary and Oversight Committees would also abandon their current paths and focus directly on the president.

There are legitimate concerns about the use of government agencies to spy on a political opponent. It is unfortunate that the Democrats do not seem to share this concern. If the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, the political abuses of government agencies will continue. At that point we will lose the concept of ‘equal justice under the law.’ We will be on our way to becoming a nation where your politics matter more than your guilt or innocence.

I Have No Words

On Friday, The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s ex-husband co-founded a DNA testing company and wrote one of the first computer codes for making genetic comparisons.

Jim Warren’s career involved him in the kinds of genetic testing that Elizabeth Warren controversially invoked this month to prove that she had Native American ancestry.

One of the two other co-founders of his testing company, FamilyTreeDNA, has worked with Carlos Bustamante, the Stanford University geneticist who administered a DNA test at Elizabeth Warren’s request.

Why do I think 23 and Me might have gotten different results? Actually I am not sure 1/1024 Indian would even show up on a 23 and Me DNA test.

On October 15th, The National Review reminded us:

In fact, at the far end of the range — if her Native American ancestor is ten generations removed — then she is only 1/1024 Native American. By that measure, “white” Americans are also commonly black, and black American are also commonly white. It turns out that at least some mixing is routine in American racial groups. In 2014, the New York Times reported on the results of a massive DNA study and found that “European-Americans had genomes that were on average 98.6 percent European, .19 percent African, and .18 Native American.” Black Americans were “73.2 percent African. European genes accounted for 24 percent of their DNA, while .8 percent came from Native Americans.”

In other words, Elizabeth Warren isn’t a Cherokee. She’s a relatively normal White American — a person with some bit of mixing somewhere in their distant past. How distant? If you move to the older end of the generation range, her Native American ancestor could predate the founding of the country. She had no business holding herself out as Native American in faculty directories, in a book, or in her personal narrative.

This is a living example of how silly quotas are. Everyone needs to have any application judged on the basis of their qualifications and nothing else. Can we please put all of this group identity behind us and simply identify as Americans?

A Lie Can Travel Half Way Around The World While The Truth Is Putting On Its Shoes

The above quote is from Mark Twain. He definitely knew what he was talking about. In America there are six major companies that control our media. Five of them lean left, one tends toward the center right. That is called balance. The alternative media is really the only chance most Americans have to get a balanced picture of what is actually happening.

The Washington Examiner posted an editorial today which listed the stories major media had misreported regarding the allegations against Judge Kavanaugh.

Here is a summary of those stories:

“Accuser’s schoolmate says she recalls hearing of alleged Kavanaugh incident,” NBC News trumpeted on Wednesday and Thursday. The casual reader would believe that someone had corroborated the accusation against Kavanaugh. Instead, the piece was based on a tweet, which was later retracted, by a woman who admits, “I do not have first hand knowledge of the incident.”

NPR followed up on the schoolmate’s claim, reporting that she says she has “no idea” if the assault happened or not. That misleading and suggestive NBC News headline is still drawing in duped readers, popping up on social media and Google News homepages.

On Sept. 20, the Guardian published a salacious article claiming that a “top professor at Yale Law School” told students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models.” This professor also reportedly said she “would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him.”

It’s not until the 10th paragraph of the story that Guardian readers are told, “There is no allegation that the female students who worked for Kavanaugh were chosen because of their physical appearance or that they were not qualified.”

CNN, MSNBC, and Politico circulated a dishonestly edited video this week of Kavanaugh saying in 2015, “What happens at Georgetown prep, stays at Georgetown prep.” The remark came in the larger context of a joke, but MSNBC and CNN viewers weren’t shown that. Neither were Politico’s readers. Audiences are left instead with the impression that Kavanaugh was somehow admitting bad behavior.

These are only a few examples of misleading stories. There are some real questions as to what happened 30-some years ago. There are some real questions as to the timing of introducing this story into the confirmation process. There are also some real questions as to whether or not we will ever know the entire truth about this matter. The accuser has stated that she can’t remember where or when this incident happened–she just knows it was Judge Kavanuagh. How good is your memory on 30-years old incidents.

Watching The Double Standard In Action

Before I get into the substance of this article, I would like to note that the change in Lindsey Graham since the death of John McCain is interesting. All of a sudden Graham is sounding like a conservative. He is not up for re-election until 2020, so that’s not it. It seems as if he is finally waking up to what the deep state is up to and has decided not to be part of it. He may be beginning to realize that the days of the deep state may be numbered.

At any rate, yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article detailing some of Senator Graham’s comments at the confirmation hearings for Judge Kavanaugh.

The article reports:

Democrats bellyache that Kavanaugh worked as an attorney for the Ken Starr investigation and served in the White House of President George W. Bush. Graham could care less.

“Have you heard of Justice Breyer? Do you know him?,” Graham said in an opening statement equally rambling and passionate. “Where did he come from? He was Ted Kennedy’s Senate judiciary person. Where do you think Republicans are going to go find a judge?”

Good point. The article notes one other area where the double standard is glaring:

But Graham has another reason to be angry, and it isn’t just hypocrisy. He held up what he considered his end of the bargain during the Obama administration, voting for both Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The Republican senator certainly didn’t agree with every decision either nominee made. But Graham found both of them to be qualified and found himself “getting a lot of crap” as a result.

The same standard, Graham groused, has not been applied to Republican nominees like Neil Gorsuch and now Kavanaugh. “I would suggest you think long and hard,” he said with some bitterness to the aspiring 2020 Democrats on the committee, “if you’ve got a political ambition, of voting for this guy because it will not play well on your side.”

Graham isn’t wrong, and that is why he’s angry.

The elected President is entitled to his choice of judges and cabinet members unless there is a moral or character issue with the candidate. That is what ‘advise and consent’ is about. The Democrats seem to have forgotten that.

Good News For American Workers

The Washington Examiner posted an article today stating that a trade deal has been negotiated with Mexico. The deal did not include Canada, President Trump has indicated that he wants to cut a separate deal with Canada.

The article reports:

The main aspect of Monday’s deal with Mexico was raising to 75 percent, up from 62.5 percent, the amount of North American-made parts a car or truck must have to qualify as duty-free under NAFTA. The change will make it less economical for manufacturers to rely on supply chains that extend into Mexico. The Trump administration has long sought to force more manufacturing back into the U.S. Deal also requires at least 40 percent of auto content to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour.

The article concludes:

The deal will likely increase pressure on Canada to agree to U.S. demands when three-way talks resume, mostly likely after López Obrador takes office.

“Progress between Mexico and the United States is a necessary requirement for any renewed NAFTA agreement,” Adam Austen, a spokesman for Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, told Reuters. “We are in regular contact with our negotiating partners, and we will continue to work toward a modernized NAFTA. We will only sign a new NAFTA that is good for Canada and good for the middle class. Canada’s signature is required.”

America has made some bad trade deals in the past. NAFTA is one of them. It looked good on paper (to some people), but hurt American workers. I applaud President Trump’s efforts to protect the jobs of American workers and bring jobs back to this country.

The Old Guard Versus The New Left

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the Democrats’ summer meeting next week in Chicago. It seems that not everyone is happy with the role the superdelegates played in the 2016 Democrat primary election.

The article reports:

The battle is over a proposal that would reduce the power of superdelegates ahead of 2020. Superdelegates are Democratic leaders who are able to vote for their preferred candidate at the convention, even if that candidate lost the primary or caucus in the delegate’s state.

Subcommittees within the larger Democratic National Committee have advanced the measure over the last year, tweaking it along the way to go even further than previously recommended. The current proposal has the support of both delegates who supported Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton in 2016.

…The original proposal was drafted by the Unity Reform Commission, created in the aftermath of the 2016 election to unite the Sanders and Clinton delegates who came to blows during the primary. The commission also proposed measure to provide DNC budget transparency and crack down on conflicts of interest, but those measures have been pushed to the side.

The meeting next week is expected to be contentious as an opposition wing has formed against the superdelegates measure. In the final days, members have been whipping each other to rally behind weakening the influence of superdelegates.

Reforming parts of the nominating process have been critical ahead of 2020 to heal divisions among factions of the party. Democrats expect a large number of candidates to jump into the 2020 contest, and are hoping that changes to the nominating process will prevent another gruesome primary.

The following is from Wikipedia:

The rules implemented by the McGovern-Fraser Commission shifted the balance of power to primary elections and caucuses, mandating that all delegates be chosen via mechanisms open to all party members.[15] As a result of this change the number of primaries more than doubled over the next three presidential election cycles, from 17 in 1968 to 35 in 1980.[15] Despite the radically increased level of primary participation, with 32 million voters taking part in the selection process by 1980, the Democrats proved largely unsuccessful at the ballot box, with the 1972 presidential campaign of McGovern and the 1980 re-election campaign of Jimmy Carter resulting in landslide defeats.[15] Democratic Party affiliation skidded from 41 percent of the electorate at the time of the McGovern-Fraser Commission report to just 31 percent in the aftermath of the 1980 electoral debacle.[15]

Further soul-searching took place among party leaders, who argued that the pendulum had swung too far in the direction of primary elections over insider decision-making, with one May 1981 California white paper declaring that the Democratic Party had “lost its leadership, collective vision and ties with the past,” resulting in the nomination of unelectable candidates.[16] A new 70-member commission headed by Governor of North Carolina Jim Hunt was appointed to further refine the Democratic Party’s nomination process, attempting to balance the wishes of rank-and-file Democrats with the collective wisdom of party leaders and to thereby avoid the nomination of insurgent candidates exemplified by the liberal McGovern or the anti-Washington conservative Carter and lessening the potential influence of single-issue politics in the selection process.[16]

Following a series of meetings held from August 1981 to February 1982, the Hunt Commission issued a report which recommended the set aside of unelected and unpledged delegate slots for Democratic members of Congress and for state party chairs and vice chairs (so-called “superdelegates”).[16] With the original Hunt plan, superdelegates were to represent 30% of all delegates to the national convention, but when it was finally implemented by the Democratic National Committee for the 1984 election, the number of superdelegates was set at 14%.[17] Over time this percentage has gradually increased, until by 2008 the percentage stood at approximately 20% of total delegates to the Democratic Party nominating convention.[18]

The superdelegates were put in place to prevent the Democrats from nominating a candidate too far out of the mainstream (as exemplified by George McGovern). (For an interesting article on George McGovern and what he learned when he opened a bed and breakfast in Connecticut, click here). Let’s be honest–the establishment of both parties likes to be in control. Superdelegates help maintain that control. Unfortunately the superdelegates for the Democrats in 2016 worked against their success–Hillary Clinton was simply not a popular candidate, and she also had the right-direction, wrong-track poll working against her (here).

It will be interesting to see what the outcome of this convention is. I don’t expect the mainstream media to report it, but I will go looking for it.

Are You Coming To America To Add To America Or Take From America?

The Washington Examiner posted an article Thursday about new rules from the Department of Homeland Security.

The article reports:

President Trump previewed the issue during a speech in Iowa last year, saying that “those seeking admission into our country must be able to support themselves financially and should not use welfare for a period of at least five years.”

We need to remember that up until 1965, there was no welfare for immigrants (or Americans) to collect. People who came to America came in search of opportunity–not handouts.

The article notes:

The authors of a 2017 study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine believed more immigration to be a good thing — and yet still found that nearly 60 percent of noncitizen, non-naturalized, immigrant-led households used some kind of welfare from 2011-2013. That’s compared to just 42 percent of homes led by native-born citizens.

A 2015 study by the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates restricting immigration, found basically the same thing only looking at data for 2012. The study said that immigrant-led households consumed double the Medicaid and food assistance benefits that native ones did. Overall, 51 percent of immigrant-led homes used “any welfare,” compared to 30 percent for native homes.

There is a school of thought that says that illegal immigrants are prevented from collecting welfare, but that is not true.

The article explains:

Under current law, if immigrants have a baby on U.S. soil, as a default citizen, he’s instantly eligible to bring in welfare for the family. Or, if one immigrant marries a citizen, the wait time for benefits shrinks from five years to three. If the immigrants have any children under 18, they’re all allowed benefits, too.

In addition to that, all refugees and asylees, 13 percent of legal residents, according to the report by the Center for Immigration Studies, are eligible for full benefits.

Aside from being expensive, this is simply not acceptable. We need to go back to a time when churches and community organizations helped families on the local level. These groups knew who was in need and who was freeloading. Now we have a giant bureaucracy administering a program with the knowledge that if less people are on welfare the bureaucrats will lose their jobs. There is no incentive to actually get people off of welfare. That needs to change. New regulations will be the beginning of that change.

Good News For American Families

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about changes made to the current federal regulations regarding healthcare insurance.

The article reports:

Last Wednesday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced a finalized rule granting consumers greater access to affordable health insurance policies. Under the new rule, people will be allowed to purchase short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans for periods as long as 12 months. Currently, the maximum period allowed is only three months. Plans can be renewed after the 12-month period, but they cannot extend beyond 36 months.

Short-term health insurance plans are significantly cheaper than most Obamacare plans because they don’t include many of the costly essential health benefits mandated under federal law and because they are sold for a limited duration. These plans do not provide comprehensive coverage, but they are an excellent option for people who are relatively healthy but can’t afford to pay for an outrageously priced Obamacare plan.

This means that a family whose insured member is changing jobs or between jobs can get coverage at a reasonable price. The plans cannot extend for more than three years, but hopefully Congress will find its backbone and totally repeal ObamaCare by then.

The article further states that although premiums under ObamaCare have risen drastically, that is not the entire problem:

Premiums are not the most important cost to consider, however, because some people who purchase health plans through an Obamacare exchange receive large subsidies to help offset their plan’s high premiums. A much more important factor is the high cost of deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. The average family enrolled in a Silver Plan will pay a maximum of $13,725 for out-of-pocket expenses, with Silver Plan deductibles increasing by 13 percent in just the past year alone.

Working families can’t afford to pay more than $13,000 to cover out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, health insurance this expensive is virtually useless.

The high costs associated with an Obamacare plan are a big reason why the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services predicts about 600,000 Americans will sign up for a new short-term health insurance plan next year. By 2022, CMS expects 1.6 million to be enrolled in a short-term plan.

The article concludes:

The healthcare system is failing, and has been for decades. Despite the promises made by former President Barack Obama and the congressional Democrats who passed Obamacare into law, the legislation has only made things worse. Congress needs to pass a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. But since that has yet to occur, the Trump administration is doing everything it can to help young people and working families gain affordable coverage. It’s great to finally have a presidential administration that’s truly committed to reducing health insurance costs rather than appeasing far-left activists in the Democratic Party.

True.

Much Ado About Nothing (As Usual)

The let’s-trap-Trump major media is getting old. The memes on Facebook are having a ball with some of the reporting. One meme stated that Trump should come out against the wall so that Democrats would support it. Things have gotten that bad. Last weekend there was a hair-on-fire story that totally illustrated how weird things have become.

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner on Monday about the latest effort by the mainstream media to get Trump. I don’t know how the average voter reacted to the excited reports by the mainstream media, but to an informed voter, the reports were pathetic.

The reporting had to do with a Trump Tower meeting between Donald Trump, Jr., and Russian-born American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin; Irakly Kaveladze, a Russian associate of the businessman Aras Agalarov, who was involved in the 2013 Miss Universe pageant with the Trumps; British music promoter Rob Goldstone; Russian-born American translator Anatoli Samochornov; and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya (who gave written answers).

The article reports that:

…the Senate Judiciary Committee… also interviewed Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson, who did not attend the meeting but who met with Veselnitskaya both before and after the meeting and who prepared some of the material that Veselnitskaya presented.

Are you getting the feeling that this was a set up?

Donald Trump, Jr., was lured to the meeting on the premise that Veselnitskaya had incriminating information on Hillary Clinton. When he got there, the meeting was about Russian adoptions.

The article reports:

But when the meeting took place, the “information that would incriminate Hillary” was nowhere to be found. Veselnitskaya, who was connected to the Kremlin and at the same time working with Fusion GPS, spoke briefly and vaguely about some sort of distantly-Clinton-related tax matters in Russia — none of the Americans had any idea what she meant — and then quickly moved to the issue of adoption. When Russians like Veselnitskaya talk about adoption, they’re not really talking about adoption. They’re talking about the Magnitsky Act, the U.S. law placing sanctions on Russia. In retaliation for the Act, Russian President Vladimir Putin cut off American adoptions of Russian children. So from a Russian standpoint, the adoption battle is really about the Magnitsky Act, and the Magnitsky Act is about U.S. sanctions on Russia. Several participants told the Senate Judiciary Committee that much of the meeting was about adoption. Start off with Akhmetshin.

“How did you introduce yourself?” a Senate investigator asked Akhmetshin. “Do you remember?”

Akhmetshin said he told the Trump team: “‘I am Rinat Akhmetshin. I work for this organization in Washington that is trying to restart adoptions.”

Classic bait and switch. But I have one question. Why is the media so upset about Donald Trump, Jr.’s meeting but not upset about the collusion with the Russians by the Clinton campaign involving the Russian dossier? Also, does anyone else think it odd that Glenn Simpson met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya both before and after the meeting. Remember the connection between Fusion GPS and Bruce Ohr. Seems like a bit of a double standard.

Sometimes You Wonder Who The FBI Is Working For

Yesterday Byron York at The Washington Examiner posted an article about Christopher Steele. It seems that Christopher Steele did not end his efforts to undermine and attack President Trump after the election.

The article reports:

Congressional investigators know that Christopher Steele, the former British spy who compiled the Trump dossier on behalf of the Clinton campaign, kept supplying allegations to the FBI after the 2016 election — and even after he was terminated as a source by the bureau for giving confidential information to the media.

Because he had broken his agreement with the FBI, bureau procedure did not allow agents to keep using Steele as a source. But they did so anyway — by devising a system in which Steele spoke regularly with Bruce Ohr, a top Obama Justice Department official whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, which hired Steele to search for dirt on Donald Trump in Russia. Ohr then passed on Steele’s information to the FBI.

In a highly unusual arrangement, Ohr, who was the fourth-highest ranking official in the Justice Department, acted as an intermediary for a terminated source for the FBI’s Trump-Russia probe. His task was to deliver to the FBI what Steele told him, which effectively meant the bureau kept Steele as a source.

This is just ugly.

The article goes on to cite the exact times information from Christopher Steele was used:

There are a dozen 302 reports on FBI post-election interviews of Ohr. The first was Nov. 22, 2016. After that, the FBI interviewed Ohr on Dec. 5; Dec. 12; Dec. 20; Jan. 23, 2017; Jan. 25; Jan. 27; Feb. 6; Feb. 14; May 8; May 12; and May 15. The dates, previously unreported publicly, were included in a July letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to the FBI and Justice Department.

Congressional investigators have read the Ohr-Steele 302s. But the FBI has kept them under tight control, insisting they remain classified and limiting access to a few lawmakers and staff. Congress is not allowed to physically possess copies of any of the documents.

The cover-up continues.

The article concludes:

What would all of that show? It’s likely that the 302s and notes, if released, would show that the FBI was both still trying to get new information out of Steele after the election and that it was also trying to verify the information Steele had already provided in the dossier installments he handed over in preceding months. Remember, the FBI had already presented some of the dossier’s allegations as evidence to the FISA court. After going out on a limb like that, the bureau wanted to know if the allegations were true or not.

In a larger sense, the Ohr-Steele 302s could shed some light on how an effort — it certainly included Steele, but also others — to keep Trump from being elected morphed into an effort to keep Trump from being inaugurated and then morphed into an effort to remove Trump from office. A version of that effort is still going on, of course, even as some in Congress try to find out how it started.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is becoming obvious that incestuous relationships between various Washington bureaucrats comprise the deep state. Unfortunately that deep state does not represent the interests of the American people and often works against those interests. It is time to remove those people in the bureaucracy who believe they should have more power than American voters.

Sunshine Really Is The Best Remedy

Last night The Daily Wire reported the following:

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

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

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

The saga continues. Yahoo News reported today:

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

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

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

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

The article points out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Grasping At Straws

The focus on the Mueller investigation seems to be Paul Manafort. Manafort is currently being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail because of alleged witness tampering. Does anyone doubt that this is an attempt to get him to make something up that Mueller can use against President Trump? Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Mueller has now revealed the relationship between the Trump campaign and Manafort.

Most of the 32 counts against Manafort in the Virginia case concern alleged crimes that took place long before there was a Trump campaign. Some go back as far as 2006. But four of the counts involve a pair of loans Manafort took out between April 2016 and January 2017. For a few months during that time period, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign.

The loans totaled $16 million and came from a financial institution Mueller refers to as Lender D. According to Mueller, Manafort lied to get the loans, overstating his income and understating his debts.

Mueller says that some workers at Lender D knew there was a problem with Manafort’s application, but that one top executive there, a man who wanted a place in the Trump campaign, granted the loan anyway. From the Mueller filing:

“The government intends to present evidence that although various Lender D employees identified serious issues with the defendant’s loan application, the senior executive at Lender D interceded in the process and approved the loan. During the loan application process, the senior executive expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told the defendant about his interest, and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign. The senior executive later expressed an interest in serving in the administration of President Trump, but did not secure such a position.”

The lending company and the senior executive are not identified in the indictment, but the loans appear to fit an episode reported in the New York Times involving a small bank in Chicago, the Federal Savings Bank, and its chief executive, Stephen Calk, who was named an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016 but did not join the administration.

The article concludes:

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller is investigating whether the loans were “made as part of a quid pro quo arrangement to secure Mr. Calk a job in Mr. Trump’s administration.” Calk has denied any such arrangement.

In any event, Mueller has not suggested that Donald Trump was involved in any of the actions outlined in the Manafort charges. The two Lender D loans are, apparently, the only connection between the Trump campaign and the broad array of criminal activity, some of it more than a decade old, alleged in the Manafort indictments. And Trump himself played no role in it.

Was a special counsel needed for that?

If Mueller investigated every horse trade that took place in Washington, I am sure he would find an awful lot to keep him busy and nothing noteworthy!

 

Their Concept Is Correct, The Patriotism Is Lacking

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about some recent comments by Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin.

The article reports:

Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., was pressed on this “dilemma” that Democrats face as the 2018 midterms approach during an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“Staying united to stop the Supreme Court pick could cost you red state senators. Not fighting it as hard might allow the red state senators to get re-elected and get Democrats in control of the Senate. That’s your dilemma,” host Chuck Todd posited on Sunday.

Durbin conceded that it is a dilemma “in one respect,” but made that case for how it is a trade off Democrats are willing to make.

“It is a dilemma in one respect, but not in another. I will tell you, the men and women that I work with on the Democratic side really take this seriously. They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election,” he said, adding that the issue is about setting the future course for the country.

The balance on the Supreme Court has been slightly left on social issues because of the views of Justice Kennedy. Replacing Kennedy with a conservative justice who believes that the Constitution is the law of the land might change the court for generations. That might change many things. The main thing the Democrats are worried about is Roe v. Wade.

In 2013 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made a very interesting comment about Roe v. Wade (article here):

Those more acquainted with Ginsburg and her thoughtful, nuanced approach to difficult legal questions were not surprised, however, to hear her say just the opposite, that Roe was a faulty decision. For Ginsburg, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion was too far-reaching and too sweeping, and it gave anti-abortion rights activists a very tangible target to rally against in the four decades since.

Ginsburg and Professor Geoffrey Stone, a longtime scholar of reproductive rights and constitutional law, spoke for 90 minutes before a capacity crowd in the Law School auditorium on May 11 on “Roe v. Wade at 40.”

“My criticism of Roe is that it seemed to have stopped the momentum on the side of change,” Ginsburg said. She would’ve preferred that abortion rights be secured more gradually, in a process that included state legislatures and the courts, she added. Ginsburg also was troubled that the focus on Roe was on a right to privacy, rather than women’s rights.

Roe isn’t really about the woman’s choice, is it?” Ginsburg said. “It’s about the doctor’s freedom to practice…it wasn’t woman-centered, it was physician-centered.”

What the frantic pro-abortion people are not telling you is that overturning Roe v. Wade would not end abortion–it would simple give the states the right to decide the issue for themselves (in accordance with the Tenth Amendment) as was the case before 1973.

What the hysteria over this judicial pick illustrates is that we have wandered from the intent of our Founding Fathers. The Founding Fathers envisioned the judiciary as the weakest branch of government–they were not elected and theoretically had little power–they did not make laws–Congress did. In 1803 Marberry v. Madison established the principle of judicial review, and the courts assumed power they were never intended to have. It is telling that American law students do not study the U.S. Constitution–they study case law.

President Trump has every right to have his nominee for the Supreme Court approved. Hopefully the Democrats will respect that right. Candidates should be judged on their qualifications–not their politics. Democrats pushed through some very left wing judges under President Obama after invoking the nuclear option. The Democrats demanded that the Republicans vote on qualifications rather than politics. It’s time for the Republicans to demand that same courtesy from the Democrats.

The Real Key To The North Korea Negotiations

On Friday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the negotiations with North Korea over denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.  The article reminds us of the major role China has played and will play in the continuing talks.

The article reports:

…And at a press conference in Beijing with his Chinese counterpart, Mike Pompeo said, “We have made very clear that the sanctions and the economic relief that North Korea will receive will only happen after the full denuclearization, the complete denuclearization, of North Korea.”

Which is why Pompeo’s meetings in Beijing are decisive. Not only would North Korea’s nuclear program cease to exist without Chinese support. North Korea would disappear too. Some 90 percent of North Korea’s foreign trade is with China. And it was most likely China’s reluctant imposition of tough U.N. sanctions last spring that grabbed Kim’s attention. Now, with Singapore behind us, China is ready to ease the pressure. That cannot happen if denuclearization is to succeed.

Pompeo understands that in the midst of good feeling there is a tendency to look away from bad behavior, to excuse or rationalize autocratic probing for weakness and irresolution. Democracies often sacrifice both their principles and their interests in order to perpetuate abstract, meaningless, consequence-free diplomatic processes. If the Trump administration is to produce a different outcome than the Clinton, Bush, or Obama administrations, it must relax its posture only when North Korea provides tangible reasons to do so.

So you go to Beijing. Why? Because North Korea is but a part of a much larger puzzle: China’s rise to great power status.

Some might argue for going easy on Kim in order to free up resources to deal with China’s military, cultural, political, and economic challenge to American power. This gets it backward. Want to see results in North Korea? Resist Chinese hegemony. By opening up the space for strategic decision-making and pressuring China at several points at once, you make it more likely Xi Jinping will exert influence over his vassal. Just so we back off.

Indeed, China is worried that North Korea may cut its own deal with the United States and, like Vietnam and Laos, become a one-party state that nevertheless balances against the Middle Kingdom.

President Trump is the first American President to introduce a stick into the negotiations with North Korea and China (as well as a carrot). Because he is seen as an usual President, the tactic seems to be working. Hopefully it will continue to work.

The article concludes:

Let’s increase Xi’s blood pressure a little. There are plenty of options. For starters, kill the defense sequester. In addition to conducting freedom of navigation operations, penalize China for militarizing islands in the South China Sea. Levy tariffs. Sell the F-35 to Taiwan. Warn the region that, if negotiations with Kim fail, America may be forced to reintroduce the tactical nuclear missiles that were removed from the Korean peninsula in 1991.

Will China protest, and U.S. doves cry? Of course they will. But remember they did exactly the same thing last year—until maximum pressure forced China to act. And North Korea sang a different tune.

Political Attacks On Good People

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line today about the appointment of Fred Fleitz as chief-of-staff of the National Security Council. The smear campaign against a good man has begun. Yesterday the Washington Monthly posted an article calling Fred Fleitz a Neo-Nazi.  He is not a neo-Nazi–but he is a man who understands the threat of radical Islam. They describe him as the anti-Muslim senior vice-president of an Islamaphobic think tank and now NSC chief of staff. The think tank they are referring to is the Center for Security Policy headed by Frank Gaffney. The Center for Security Policy has been one of the few honest sources for information on Sharia Law and the attempts to infiltrate Sharia into our government. They are described as Islamaphobic just as anyone who understands the threat of Sharia extremists in America is described.

The article at Power Line concludes:

The previous administration did not take the danger seriously. Or maybe it just couldn’t discern an Islamic radical group when it saw one.

Adam Kredo of the Washington Examiner argues that members of the Obama administration are instrumental in the slander of Fleitz. He notes that “organizations closely tied to the Obama administration” have led the charge. Kredo cites the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Southern Poverty Law Center. He also includes or Anti Defamation League which is currently headed by Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official.

Desperate to defend Obama’s major legacy item — the Iran nuclear deal — Team Obama has a strong interest in bringing down John Bolton and Fred Fleitz, as it brought down Michael Flynn. But CAIR, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and even the Washington Post aren’t the FBI. These outfits are just shouting into the wind. But that doesn’t make some of the shouting any less despicable.

There are many places in our government that need to be revamped after the damage done by the last presidential administration. The National Security Council is one of those places. The appointment of Fred Fleitz is definitely a step in the right direction.

 

Spending Money Where It Is Needed–Not For Political Purposes

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about ending the federal funding for abortion.

The article reports:

President Trump’s action last week, barring Title X family planning funds from programs and facilities that perform abortions, is thus entirely right and reasonable. For all Planned Parenthood’s gnashing of teeth, the only thing to suffer will be its own profits and the rewards of its senior executives. The public good and women’s health will, at a minimum, remain completely unaffected and, depending on your perspective, will be improved.

Trump’s decision will not reduce Title X funding at all. Rather, his policy guarantees that the limited funds available from that source will go to comprehensive community health centers all over America that provide health services Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer. There are 20 such community health centers for every Planned Parenthood affiliate. Most provide services such as mammograms that Planned Parenthood doesn’t offer. Most are also not so heavily involved and invested in partisan politics.

According to opensecrets.org, in the 2016 election cycle, Planned Parenthood (through its PAC) donated $671,048 to federal candidates (98% to Democrats, 1% to Republicans).

According to the ACLJ (American Center for Law and Justice):

Planned Parenthood just released their 2016–2017 annual report. The findings are clear: over 320,000 abortions committed in the last year; over half a billion in government funding; nearly $100 million in profit (a staggering 27% increase over the prior year). Big Abortion is big business.

Regardless of where you stand on protecting the unborn, abortion should not be a million dollar business.

It is obvious from the above numbers that Planned Parenthood does not actually need federal money–they are making a substantial profit on their own and they are supporting political candidates.

It has been my belief for a long time that entities that make political contributions should not be eligible for federal funds. This should include any political action committees (PACS) set up by those entities. This seems rather obvious to me, but evidently Congress has not yet figured it out (I guess Congress likes its donations from these entities). The idea of taking federal money and making political donations seems like money laundering to me.

 

The Lies Just Keep On Coming

Breitbart posted a story today about The New York Times’ leak of the questions that Robert Mueller supposedly plans to ask President Trump. Hopefully President Trump will tell Robert Mueller to go pound sand. But, in case he doesn’t, there is an interesting back story on one of the questions. I really wonder if these are current questions, because they seem to be seeking evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. All reliable sources have stated that never happened–the Congressional report was recently released. But evidently Mueller is still looking.

One of the questions leaked is “What involvement did you have concerning platform changes regarding arming Ukraine?” Well, there is a presupposition there that is false. As the Breitbart article explains:

The conspiracy theory was debunked by Washington Examiner columnist Byron York in an extensive investigative article in March 2017 titled, “How pundits got key part of Trump-Russia story all wrong.”

York explained that the Republican platform not only retained its criticisms of Russian policy in the Ukraine, but that these were made even stronger during the process of drafting, including after instructions were allegedly received from “New York.”

This is the real story according to Byron York:

As it turns out, a look at the original draft of the platform — which has never been released publicly — shows that it always had tough language on Russian aggression in Ukraine. And not only did that language stay in the final platform — nothing was taken out — it was actually strengthened, not weakened, as a result of events at the convention.

Not long after the platform subcommittee meeting, the [Washington] Post’s “Trump campaign guts GOP’s anti-Russia stance on Ukraine” story was published [here, in the opinion section], and a new conventional wisdom began to form: The Trump team, doing the bidding of Vladimir Putin, gutted the GOP platform’s position on behalf of Russia.

That is precisely the opposite of what happened. In the end, the platform, already fairly strong on the Russia-Ukraine issue, was strengthened, not weakened, as a result of the subcommittee meeting. The Trump campaign agreed to a platform condemning Kremlin belligerence, calling for continued, and perhaps increased, sanctions against Russia, for the full restoration of Ukrainian territory, for refusing to accept “any territorial change in Eastern Europe imposed by force, in Ukraine or elsewhere,” and pledging to aid Ukraine’s armed forces.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

It is odd that the Special Counsel, who presumably has access to the Washington Examiner and the underlying facts and witnesses, would taint his inquiry by including a debunked conspiracy theory among the questions to be put to the president.

The fact that Mueller did so — assuming the Times report is accurate — lends weight to claim that the investigation has become so partisan as to call its credibility into question.

It truly is time for Mueller to pack his bags and go home.

The Deal Or The Issue?

There is a school of thought that the Democrats don’t want a deal on DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)–they want the issue in the 2018 mid-term elections. We may be about to find out if that is true.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an opinion piece about the immigration deal offered by President Trump. The deal currently on the table is to allow 1.8 illegal immigrants who came as children to apply for U.S. citizenship (this includes 690,000 who applied for DACA status as well as others who are eligible but did not apply). In exchange, President Trump gets $25 billion to build a wall, changes the slots in the diversity visa lottery to slots based on ‘merit’, and limits chain migration to nuclear family members.

The whole situation brings to mind a line from the movie “Men in Black,”

“We’re not hosting an intergallactic kegger down here.”

 [Zed (Rip Torn) in Men In Black (1997)

The deal currently on the table is pretty much what Senator Schumer asked for.

The opinion piece explains:

There just isn’t any substantial difference and, what’s more, there aren’t any significant losses. Schumer won’t be prostrating himself on the altar to offer his career as a sacrifice if he accepts the deal. Democrats have promised a fix for immigrant kids since literally the turn of the millennium. There’s no abandonment of principle here: Democrats have supported border security since 2006, when a majority got on board with a border fence.

Democrats can take this deal and, with a bit of courage, face their base. Of course, ending chain migration isn’t insignificant. But not every Democrat bet their political fate on full-fledged amnesty. Survival is possible.

Do the Democrats want to deal or do they want to whine?

You Can’t Have It Both Ways

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about railway safety.

The article reports:

The letter from Democrats, co-signed by Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) and 14 colleagues, demanded answers from DOT secretary Elaine Chao on the implementation of positive train control (PTC) technology shortly after last month’s deadly derailment in Washington. The senators asked for “vigorous” action on PTC and stressed a fast-approaching deadline to implement it.

I understand their concern, but there is something that they have overlooked–

The article reports:

DOT concurred with the senators on the importance of PTC implementation but slammed them for blocking the nomination of Ronald Batory, who was unanimously approved by members of the Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation shortly after he was nominated to be federal railroad administrator last summer.

…Schumer has openly stated he will work to block votes on Batory and other DOT nominees until the administration pledges billions of dollars in funding for a major tunnel project in New York. He most recently blocked a confirmation vote on Batory on the last day of the 2017 legislative calendar, just days after signing the letter urging action on PTC.

Requests for comment sent to spokespeople for each of the 15 senators were not returned.

You cannot complain that an agency is not acting quickly on your requests while you are blocking the nomination of the person chosen to head it. The arrogance involved in writing the letter to the DOT secretary amazes me.

What Did He Actually Do?

On Thursday, The Washington Examiner posted a list of accomplishments of President Trump. The list is divided into categories. Please follow the link to the article to read the entire list, but I will list a few highlights.

Under the category of jobs and the economy:

  • Passage of the tax reform bill providing $5.5 billion in cuts and repealing the Obamacare mandate.
  • Increase of the GDP above 3 percent.
  • Creation of 1.7 million new jobs, cutting unemployment to 4.1 percent.
  • Saw the Dow Jones reach record highs.
  • A rebound in economic confidence to a 17-year high.
  • A new executive order to boost apprenticeships.
  • A move to boost computer sciences in Education Department programs.
  • Prioritizing women-owned businesses for some $500 million in SBA loans.

Under Killing job-stifling regulations:

  • Made good on his campaign promise to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  • Opened up the North American Free Trade Agreement for talks to better the deal for the U.S.
  • Worked to bring companies back to the U.S., and companies like Toyota, Mazda, Broadcom Limited, and Foxconn announced plans to open U.S. plants.
  • Worked to promote the sale of U.S products abroad.
  • Made enforcement of U.S. trade laws, especially those that involve national security, a priority.
  • Ended Obama’s deal with Cuba.

Under Boosting U.S. energy dominance:

  • The Department of Interior, which has led the way in cutting regulations, opened plans to lease 77 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico for oil and gas drilling.
  • Trump traveled the world to promote the sale and use of U.S. energy.
  • Expanded energy infrastructure projects like the Keystone XL Pipeline snubbed by Obama.
  • Ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan.
  • EPA is reconsidering Obama rules on methane emissions.

Much of this has gone unreported. Please follow the link to the article to see the entire list.