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.

Saving Money Anywhere He Can

The Dennis Michael Lynch website is announcing today that the new WhiteHouse.gov website which was launched yesterday will save taxpayers as much as $3 million a year. Wow. The savings are the result of changes to the security and maintenance of the site.

The article reports:

The reconstructed website will feature enhanced search tools, provide “in-depth policy updates” and appear “much cleaner,” the official revealed, adding, “It adapts the U.S. web design standards and uses a style that is clean, simple and presidential.”

After years of hearing about the previous administration’s pricey battles with internet technology, taxpayers can expect a better deal with Trump. A White House spokesperson told the Washington Examiner the old website cost “more than $6 million a year.”

This is another reason to have a businessman in the White House.

Questioning The Credibility Of An Accuser

The ‘me, too’ movement has reinforced the idea that any woman who accuses a man of any sort of sexual impropriety should be automatically believed. She should be listened to, but not necessarily believed. An example of the fact that everything an accuser says is not to be believed without being critically examined has recently surfaced.

The Washington Examiner is reporting today:

One of Roy Moore‘s accusers admitted Friday that she added “notes” to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore’s signature in her yearbook but insisted he did sign her yearbook in 1977.

Why did she add notes? A lot of people signed my yearbook back in the age of dinosaurs, is it that important that he might have signed it? How many times does a public figure routinely sign something that is randomly put in front of him?

How much of this person’s testimony is now questionable? I guess the voters of Alabama will tell us. How likely is the mainstream media to report this?

Protecting Voter Fraud

The Daily Signal posted an article today about the President’s election commission that is investigating voter fraud.

The article reports:

Many of the states refusing to cooperate with President Donald Trump’s election commission aren’t in compliance with federal law on maintaining voter registration lists, according to government watchdog groups.

So far, 18 states and the District of Columbia have declined or are still considering whether to provide election data to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, established in May to examine and prevent voter fraud, among other concerns.

The commission requested voter registration data from every state and the District and 14 states include counties where registered voters outnumbered eligible voters based on Census Bureau data, according to findings from Judicial Watch, a conservative legal group.

The 1993 ‘motor voter law‘ requires states to purge their voter rolls of ineligible voters periodically.

The article explains:

Kentucky, a decisively red state in previous elections, had the most counties where registered voters outnumber eligible voters. California, a strongly blue state, also had significant problems, according to findings from Judicial Watch and the Public Interest Legal Foundation, both conservative watchdog groups.

Other states that outright refuse to cooperate with the commission are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming.

The states of Arizona, Illinois, and Indiana are still undecided.

“Overall, in most of the states not providing information to the commission, there are a significant number of counties with problems,” Robert Popper, senior attorney for Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, told The Daily Signal.

Common sense tells us that if registered voters outnumber eligible voters in a county, there is a problem. Every fraudulent vote cast in an elections voids the vote of a legitimate voter. That is the true definition of voter suppression and needs to be stopped.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Real To Make The News

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the Trump dossier that received so much attention during the 2016 Presidential campaign. The article notes that the FBI has not verified the dossier.

The article reports:

FBI and Justice Department officials have told congressional investigators in recent days that they have not been able to verify or corroborate the substantive allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign outlined in the Trump dossier.

The FBI received the first installment of the dossier in July 2016. It received later installments as they were written at the height of the presidential campaign, which means the bureau has had more than a year to investigate the allegations in the document. The dossier was financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele.

An August 24, 2017 subpoena from the House Intelligence Committee to the FBI and Justice Department asked for information on the bureau’s efforts to validate the dossier. Specifically, the subpoena demanded “any documents, if they exist, that memorialize DOJ and/or FBI efforts to corroborate, validate, or evaluate information provided by Mr. Steele and/or sub-sources and/or contained in the ‘Trump Dossier.'”

It sounds as if Congress wants the dossier proven or disproven, but the FBI and the Justice Department are dragging their feet.

The article reminds us that some parts of the dossier have already been shown to be untrue:

Some Republicans point out that at least one group of assertions, the ones concerning Michael Cohen, have been convincingly debunked. (Cohen has produced proof that he was not in the Czech Republic, or even in Europe, when the purported meeting took place.) The dossier attributed the Cohen story to a “Kremlin insider” who was “speaking in confidence to a longstanding compatriot friend.” Investigators want to know if that insider-compatriot line of sourcing provided other, equally unreliable information in the dossier.

The article concludes:

That’s fine, as far as it goes — after all, investigators unanimously agree that Russia tried to influence the election — but what about the Trump campaign? What about all those specific allegations of coordination between Team Trump and the Russians? Those were the most explosive parts of the dossier. And they remain unverified.

The bigger question is whether or not the dossier was used as a justification to put the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team under electronic surveillance. If that was done without verifying the information in the dossier, the people who signed off on the surveillance should at the very least be fired.

Destroying Your Own Credibility

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that Black Lives Matter is experiencing a backlash after shutting down an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) free speech event at the College of William and Mary last week.

The article reports:

Claire Gastañaga, the shouted-down executive director of the Virginia ACLU, said “a public college like William and Mary has an obligation to protect the freedom of the speaker to speak,” and college president Taylor Reveley wrote the action prevented “hard questions” and a “debate where the strength of ideas” prevails.

What has college become?

The article concludes:

The disruption of the ACLU event in Virginia follows the February cancellation of a speech by then-Breitbart columnist Milo Yiannopoulos at the University of California at Berkeley after violence and property damage by his opponents and the shouting down in March of political scientist Charles Murray at Middlebury College — each incident attracting significant national debate, with older left-wing scholars such as Noam Chomsky and some members of Berkeley’s pioneering 1960s Free Speech Movement arguing it’s wrong to censor others.

The William and Mary Black Lives Matter chapter did not respond to a request for comment, but remained defiant in the face of growing condemnation Friday, posting a message to Facebook: “The right to free speech is a fundamental human right. However, speech that condones, supports or otherwise fails to explicitly condemn injustice must be directly confronted.”

We need to go back to teaching American history and the U.S. Constitution in our schools. There is nothing wrong with confronting speech, but there is a difference between confronting speech and not allowing someone to speak.

Unintended Consequences Of A Coming Investigation

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about one of the unintended consequences of the formation of a commission to study voter fraud. This would be funny if it were not so consequential.

The article reports:

Several county clerks in Colorado said they’ve seen hundreds of people withdraw their voter registrations following the state’s announcement that it would comply with President Trump’s voter fraud commission.

In Denver, a spokesperson for the Denver Elections Division said 180 people have withdrawn their registrations in the county since Monday, according to a Denver Channel report.

In Arapahoe County, which contains the city of Aurora, at least 160 people have withdrawn their registrations since July 1.

The counties normally see fewer than 10 withdrawn registrations in similar time frames.

There is nothing I can add.

Is There Anyone In Washington Who Is Not Part Of The Swamp?

It just seems as if every agency in our government has been infused with political operatives. We were supposed to be protected from that by the Hatch Act, but somehow it hasn’t worked that way. Washington has become a sea of people with subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) political alliances that have nothing to do with the good of the country.

The Federalist Papers posted an article yesterday about the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. It is my personal opinion that this investigation will continue until the political left finds someone they can accuse of something. Since they have been throwing accusations around for six months and have found nothing, this may take a while. It may cost us a lot of money to go after some person who did something so horrible as to forget a phone call he made a year ago.

The article states:

As the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election continues, we see yet another potential issue; this time, it appears that the investigators, the acting FBI director at that, may have personal conflicts of interest that could taint the integrity of the investigation.

The story was revealed by Sara Carter and John Solomon of Circa. They revealed that Senator Chuck Grassley is demanding the DOJ Inspector General investigate the acting FBI director for potential conflict of interest violations.

The article goes on to explain that the U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating FBI Director Andrew McCabe for violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain federal employees, including the FBI, from engaging in political campaign activity. The news source Circa revealed that McCabe was engaging in political campaigning for his wife in a Virginia state senate race.

The latest problem with Director McCabe is his involvement in an FBI matter involving General Flynn.

The article at The Federalist Papers reports:

The Chairman (Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley) is also asking the Inspector General to investigate the ongoing sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by former FBI Special Agent Robyn Gritz, which named McCabe and other FBI officials, who she accused of impeding her work within the bureau.

Gritz’s complaint was supported by then former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn, who went on to become President Trump’s National Security Advisor, was subsequently fired after highly classified information regarding a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyac was leaked to the media.

There is definitely a question as to whether Director McCabe has a conflict of interest regarding the Russian investigation.

The article at The Federalist Papers concludes:

The question now, is does the acting FBI director need to recuse himself from presiding over the Russia investigation because of the plausible conflict of interest? Not to mention the fact that McCabe is under investigation for a potential violation of the Hatch Act, it seems that something is very amiss in the acting FBI director’s discretion, going all the way back to 2015 (that is, what we have on record at least).

Is there any untainted, apolitical person we can put in charge of the FBI?

It Will Be Interesting To See If The Truth Ever Comes Out

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that a new twist has been added to the lawsuit some Bernie Sanders supporters are bringing against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) because of the rigged primary election.

The article reports:

A court document filed this week with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida by their attorneys said that they received a call for information about the case from the office of Wasserman Schultz, a Democratic congresswoman from Florida, and claimed that it sounded like the caller used a voice changer.

According to attorney Elizabeth Lee Beck: “At 4:54 p.m. today [June 1], an individual called our law office from ‘305-936-5724.'” That number is the contact phone number for Wasserman Schultz’s Aventura office in Florida.

“My secretary stated that it sounded like the caller was using a voice changer, because the voice sounded robotic and genderless — along the lines of the voice changers used when television show interviews are kept anonymous,” Beck continued. “The caller concluded with ‘Okey dokey,’ after my secretary gave the caller public information about the case. After the call ended, a simple Google search of the phone number ‘305-936-5724’ shows that it is the phone number for Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz‘ Aventura office … What just occurred is highly irregular and we will be filing the instant e-mail with the court forthwith.”

Beck also included a screen shot of the caller ID information.

Wow. Of course the lawyers representing the DNC say the office was under repair and there was no one there that could have made the call.

The article concludes:

Because the incident is related to congressional phone lines it was reported to Capitol Police, the document added.

Stay tuned. This illustrates the mixed blessing of caller ID!

Common Sense Shows Up

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a ruling by U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

The article reports:

A Texas judge has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s new requirements for transgender care, granting a preliminary injunction Saturday to several states and religious health organizations suing over the rules.

The rule, which was slated to go into effect Jan. 1, says that doctors can’t refuse to provide medically necessary health services within their scope of practice because of a patient’s gender identity. It doesn’t explicitly require doctors to perform gender transition services, but it says providers can’t refuse services they already provide based on discrimination.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas temporarily blocked the requirements at the request of Texas, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Arizona and Mississippi along with the Franciscan Alliance and several other religiously affiliated organizations.

Judge Reed O’Connor wrote that the rule contradicts existing law and “likely violates” the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The Becket Fund, which is representing the states and organizations, said the decision ensures doctors won’t be required to act against their best medical judgement or violate their religious beliefs.

Transgender rights seem to be the new cause of the political left. According to the statistics I could find, the LGBT community makes up between 3 to 4 percent of the American population, and the transgender community makes up a small percentage of that 3 to 4 percent. I really don’t care what anyone does in their spare time or in their bedroom–that is way above my pay grade to judge. However, when their practices begin to infringe on my rights as a religious person, I have a right to defend those rights. Again, I don’t care if you get married–just don’t ask a person who believes in the Biblical definition of marriage to marry you. Don’t ask a baker who holds a Biblical definition of marriage to bake you a cake. Ask someone who is comfortable with being involved in some way with your wedding. (No, I don’t think the Rockettes should be required to perform at Trump’s Inauguration either). You are entitled to your freedom as long as it does not interfere with my freedom. As far as the battle over restrooms is concerned, to me it is very simple–there are non-LGBT people out there who will take advantage of a law allowing transgender people to use the bathroom of the sex they are becoming by using the bathroom that does not correspond with their obvious sexual characteristics. The problem is not the transgender community–it is the disturbed people outside of that community who will take advantage of the law if it changes. In places where the law has changed, there have already been arrests. I don’t want a man in the ladies’ room when I (or my daughters or granddaughters) are in there. If he feels like a woman, he is still not welcome if he is a man.

Again, I don’t need to know or care what anyone else does in their bedroom, but I do need to care when someone tries to infringe on my right to practice my religion.

 

Ending Government Over Regulation

On Wednesday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the Freedom Caucus’ list of regulations that can be repealed quickly in the Trump Administration.

The article reports:

The incoming chair of the House Freedom Caucus has given President-elect Trump a list of 232 rules and regulations he can repeal on his first day in office.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said on CNN the group of conservative lawmakers came up with a 21-page report to give to Trump that shows their least favorite rules and regulations handed down by the Obama administration. He said it’s an important way to restore balance between the executive and legislative branches.

“The list continues to grow, but we felt like it was important to put together a real working document where they can look at that and make executive branch decisions,” Meadows said.

Meadows said all the regulations listed in the report do not have a possible legislative fix and can’t be repealed under the Congressional Review Act. Republicans in Congress will be working to identify which rules and regulations they need to act on legislatively to repeal.

Because President Obama passed so many regulations through Executive Orders, these regulations can be repealed through Executive Order.

The National Association of Manufacturer’s website includes the following chart showing the cost of federal regulations:

Keep in mind that consumers pay those costs–the company passes them on in the form of higher prices. Repealing unnecessary federal regulations puts more money in the pockets of all Americans.,

The Price Of A Porous Border

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the cost of young people illegally entering America every day.

The article quotes Center for Immigration Studies Policy Director Jessica Vaughan:

“An average of 255 illegal alien youths were taken into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) every day this month, according to the latest figures the agency provided to Congress. This is the largest number of illegal alien children ever in the care of the federal government. To pay for it, the agency says it will need an additional one or two billion dollars for the next year – above and beyond the $1.2 billion spent in 2016 and proposed for 2017 – depending on how many more arrive. For now, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where ORR resides, is diverting $167 million from other programs to cover the cost of services for these new illegal arrivals through December 9, when the current continuing resolution expires.”

So, what are the other programs? A total of $167 million will be coming from other federal programs. This includes $14 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration, including $4.5 million from the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program and $2 million from the Maternal and Child Health program. I have a question. If (according to the Democrats in Congress) it is impossible to cut the federal budget, how can you cut these programs? Are you denying Americans what they need to accommodate people who entered the country illegally? Wouldn’t it be cheaper simply to send the youths home?

Let’s hope that the new Congress follows its obligation to approve a budget and stick to it. This is ridiculous.

Necessary Changes In The Trump Transition Team

On Tuesday The Washington Examiner posted an article about changes to the Trump Transition team. Chris Christie has been replaced by Vice-President elect Mike Pence, and other changes have been announced.

The article reports:

President-elect Trump’s White House transition team has vowed to go lobbyist-free, after coming under criticism for staffing up on lobbyists despite campaign promises to fight the influence of special interests in Washington.

Vice President-elect Pence and the White House transition have signaled plans to clear out any lobbyists serving in official roles as they begin the 10-week transition process until Trump’s inaugration on Jan. 20, according to a report from Fox News.

Draining the swamp is not going to be easy–there are a lot of people who have a vested interest in maintaining the swamp–it has made them very wealthy.

If This Is Not Illegal, It Should Be

Anyone who follows the news closely (assuming they don’t depend on the mainstream media as their news source) is aware that the Clinton Foundation is a personal cash cow for the Clinton family. A number of sources that have investigated the Foundation have observed that between 8 and 10 cents of every dollar goes to help whatever cause is being helped. The other 90 to 92 cents goes to ‘overhead.’ It would be very interesting to see a dollar by dollar breakdown of that ‘overhead.’ Meanwhile, the concept of ‘pay for play’ keeps rearing its ugly head.

The Washington Examiner posted a story today about communication between the Clinton Foundation and the U.S. State Department during the time that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.

The article reports:

Call logs from the office of Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff at the State Department, show Mills had frequent contact with top executives at the Clinton Foundation.

The logs, which were obtained by Citizens United through the Freedom of Information Act, indicate the foundation’s chief operating officer, Laura Graham, called Mills often to discuss State Department business.

For example, Graham called Mills in February of 2012 to deliver a message relevant to the chief of staff’s upcoming meeting with an unidentified prime minister. The previous month, she had contacted Mills regarding “sensitive” issues that included Haiti relief.

Mills was also in contact with Stephanie Streett, executive director of the Clinton Foundation, the records show.

That’s just a little too cozy for me. It makes me wonder exactly who was influencing American foreign policy.

 

 

 

I Have No Idea What To Believe

I am not thrilled about my election choices in November. Donald Trump has foot in mouth disease and Hillary Clinton is as corrupt as they come. Great choice. However, there are some things to consider. The fact that the Democrats, the Republican establishment and the media oppose Trump probably indicates that he is the right man for the job. Donald Trump has also shown an ability to surround himself with very capable people.  Hillary Clinton is frightening because of the Supreme Court judges she would appoint, her stand on abortion, her stand on religious freedom, her healthcare policies, and her views on the Second Amendment. If Hillary is elected, tax dollars will routinely be used to fund abortion mills–something currently banned by the Hyde Amendment.

The reports by the major media show that the polls show that Hillary Clinton will win in November by a landslide. That seems rather odd because of the difference in attendance at Hillary Clinton events and Donald Trump events. Hillary can’t fill a small venue and Donald is overflowing in huge stadiums. So why isn’t that reflected in the polls? I don’t know.

Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner posted a story yesterday showing a poll with a different result.

The story reports:

Republican Donald Trump should win the presidency by a slim margin according to a model that has accurately predicted the popular vote since 1988.

Using several standards to make his prediction, Alan Abramowitz‘s “Time for Change” model done for the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics “Crystal Ball” shows Trump winning 51.4 percent to 48.6 percent for Hillary Clinton.

He added that the model shows a 66 percent chance of a Trump victory.

“Based on a predicted vote share of 48.6 percent for the incumbent party, these results indicate that Trump should be a clear but not overwhelming favorite to defeat Clinton: There should be about a 66 percent chance of a Republican victory,” Abramowitz added.

Later in the article, Abramowitz states that Hillary Clinton will win in November because Donald Trump’s unfavorable ratings are so high. It must be nice to be able to write a story that takes both sides of an issue.

The bottom line is simple. Our republic is on the line. Everyone needs to get out and vote. I really don’t want to explain to my grandchildren how we got a Supreme Court that doesn’t support individual freedom.

What Does This Mean For America’s Future?

The Washington Examiner reported today that the rate of homeownership in America has declined steadily since 2006.

The article includes the following graph:

HomeownershipThe article explains:

The only age group that saw a rising homeownership rate over the past year was 35-44-year-olds, with younger and older people turning more to renting.

So let’s take a look at this from a broader perspective. Part of the decline is due to the housing bubble. However, we need to look at the impact of homeownership on our society and how the decline in homeownership will impact us in the future.

Homeowners are invested in their houses and in their neighborhoods. Generally speaking they take pride in both and will endeavor to keep both their homes and neighborhoods clean and crime-free. Under most circumstances, a home will increase in value, providing a basic investment for people who may not be able to invest in other assets. The increase in renters means an increase in landlords, people who own the rental property. It seems to me that the increase in landlords and renters is an indication that the middle class is being squeezed out economically. I understand that in many parts of the country housing is extremely expensive, but there are also areas of the country where jobs are available and housing is reasonably priced. I fear that the decrease in homeownership represents a moving away from the idea of owning something, taking care of something, and having an asset in the future. It may be a reflection of our instant gratification society rather than an economic indicator. It also may be a reflection of the American culture versus the culture of the large number of immigrants currently coming to America from different countries. Private property rights are one of the backbones of our freedoms–other countries may not have those rights. In order to keep our middle class strong economically and help keep our neighborhoods crime-free, we need to encourage all Americans, whether they were born here or just arrived from another country, to own homes and take care of them.

What Hillary Clinton And Tim Kaine Will Mean For American Jobs

The Washington Examiner posted an article about the immigration policies of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine.

The article reports:

Sen. Tim Kaine, who told Telemundo in Spanish that he and Hillary Clinton would push legalize 12 million illegals in their first 100 days in the White House, is also a proponent of bringing up to 1.8 million more foreign workers sought by U.S. outsourcing companies.

Kaine, who on Wednesday is expected to win the nomination as the Democratic vice presidential candidate here, was one of several co-sponsors of S. 169, the so-called I-Squared Act, that would have boosted visas for high-tech workers from 65,000 to 300,000 a year.

Because the H-1B employment visas last six years, that bill and a similar one currently under consideration in the Senate could bring in 1.8 million new workers.

The visas have become controversial because many big firms who apply for the visas are replacing higher-wage American workers with cheaper foreign help.

There is a rule that states that American companies cannot replace American workers with cheaper foreign workers, but that rule exempts jobs where the employee is paid $60,000 per year or more. Obviously, jobs in information technology routinely pay more than that, so American workers can easily be replaced.

The article concludes:

Kaine cheered immigration reform as a plan to help companies like those in high-tech rich Northern Virginia find workers. In a 2013 trip to Oracle, he said, “Immigration is fundamentally a talent issue. How do we attract and train the most talented people in the world to come to Virginia and help grow our economy?” He added: “I am encouraged by the bipartisan proposal laid out by a group of senators that recognizes the need for a comprehensive solution to an immigration system that hasn’t been seriously reformed in more than 25 years.”

We do need immigration reform. We need to make it easier and cheaper for skilled workers to come to America. We also need to make it illegal for new immigrants to immediately go on welfare and food stamps program. We need to encourage people to assimilate and become part of America and the American dream. I am not convinced we are doing that right now.

At Least Some Of The Internal Revenue Service Is Being Held Accountable

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that three IRS workers are facing prison time for defrauding the government. The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration detailed the charges today.

The article reports:

Paul G. Hurley, who worked in Seattle, was found guilty of taking bribes from a part owner of a chain of recreational marijuana shops.

“Hurley seemed sympathetic to the taxpayer regarding the [Internal Revenue Code’s] prohibition against deductions and credits for businesses in the marijuana industry and talked about being unhappy at the IRS,” the watchdog said.

Hurley bragged about saving the business owner $1 million, and said he was living “paycheck to paycheck.”

“Initially, Hurley wanted the taxpayer to pay off his student loans in small amounts over time, but when the taxpayer declined, Hurley said he wanted cash,” the watchdog said. “Hurley and the taxpayer scheduled a time to meet several days later. Hurley told the taxpayer not to tell anyone, not even his business partner.”

Hurley took a $5,000 payment, and then a $15,000 payment from the business owner. He was sentenced to 30 months in prison, plus three years of probation.

Creshika Wise pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft back in May.

Wise was an IRS revenue agent in Atlanta, and developed a scheme to ensure that all or part of a $758,846 payment due to the IRS would go to herself.

Kimberley Brown-English was found guilty of six counts of preparing and filing false tax returns.

She was an IRS worker based in California, and in 2011 and 2012, she filed income tax returns “in which she falsely claimed two dependents, a parent and a nephew.”

“Neither of the individuals claimed as dependents had a familial relationship with Brown-English,” TIGTA said.

The IRS is one of the most powerful federal agencies in the country. They have amassed too much power and have become politicized. It is truly time for them to go.

This Might Be Part Of The Problem

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about a statement made by Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., during a Thursday appearance on MSNBC‘s “Morning Joe.”

Senator McCaskill stated, “Part of the problem is that our framers were a little maniacal in that if you look at other democracies around the world, when one party wins the congressional branch, they take the executive branch. Not in our country.”

The Senator might want to take a look at the statement of James Madison in Federalist Papers, No. 47, p. 301. He states, “The accumulation of all power, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tryanny.” The separation of powers did not mean that the branches always had to work together, the separation was to provide checks and balances on each branch from the other branches. It wasn’t maniacal–it was brilliant in its understanding of human nature.

The article further reports:

The senator, who has endorsed fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton for president, said that if “Donald Trump would bother to read the Constitution he would understand that that means there is a special obligation to try to unite.”

“Hey listen, I think the Founding Fathers were geniuses. And that’s why I’m somebody who likes to preach the gospel of compromise. That’s what they wanted. They wanted us to compromise.”

They didn’t want us to compromise–they wanted us to follow the Constitution and limit the power of government. We have not done a very good job of either!