The Free Market Is Good For The Environment

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about air pollution in America.

The article cites the successes America has had in curbing air pollution in our country:

Over the last 50 years, harmful air pollution known as particulate matter has plummeted. Toxic pollutants like lead, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are now nearly nonexistent in our air. Ozone is down dramatically. We’re the only highly populated nation in the world to meet the World Health Organization’s standards for particulate matter and by a long shot. In fact, our standards are among the strictest in the world.

These radical air quality gains occurred at the same time our population, energy consumption, vehicle miles traveled, and gross domestic product also grew dramatically.

Economic growth does not have to be crippled in order to create a clean environment–in fact, economic growth can be used as an engine to promote a clean environment.

The article explains:

Take the catalytic converter, which turns toxic exhaust into harmless gases, like water vapor, by catalyzing a chemical reaction. It was perfected for use in gasoline engines in the 1950s by Eugene Houdry, a French scientist who became a U.S. citizen in 1942, and was popularized in the 1970s as an efficient way to meet the Clean Air Act standards.

According to the EPA, which calls the catalytic converter “one of the greatest environmental inventions of all time,” modern cars, SUVs, trucks, and buses are 98-99% cleaner now than they were 50 years ago. Tailpipe pollutants have nearly been eliminated, meaning our cities are no longer stifled by smog. We’re free to take advantage of the independence, mobility, and economic opportunity personal vehicles offer without sacrificing environmental quality.

That’s good old American ingenuity at work. It continues to work today in technologies like baghouse dust collectors that eliminate pollution from commercial plants and renewable natural gas generation from methane captured from landfills or wastewater treatment plants. The limitless potential of the free market and innovation, not government mandates and taxes, have driven both our economy and environment to dramatic success.

All this is made possible by access to abundant, reliable, and affordable energy. Our energy resources have the power to improve our quality of life, power our economies, and lift people out of poverty both at home and abroad, all while improving the environment. Nothing is more powerful to drive human flourishing than energy.

We don’t have to ruin the American economy to prevent being wiped out in twelve years.

Anyone who believes that the radical agenda of the environmentalists is actually about the environment needs to consider the following quote from an Investor’s Business Daily article of March 29, 2016:

…listen to the words of former United Nations climate official Ottmar Edenhofer:

“One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with the environmental policy anymore, with problems such as deforestation or the ozone hole,” said Edenhofer, who co-chaired the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group on Mitigation of Climate Change from 2008 to 2015.

So what is the goal of environmental policy?

“We redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy,” said Edenhofer.

Wake up and listen to what the people who are pushing drastic environmental regulations are really supporting.

The Question That Has Gotten Lost In The Politics

The Mueller Report is out. It is all over the news. The mainstream media is trying to find something in it that they can actually use to discredit President Trump; the Democrats in Congress are trying to find something in it that they can use to impeach President Trump. Unfortunately, the circus continues–the main event has moved on, but the clowns remain.

Yesterday, Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner that reminds us what the Mueller investigation was supposed to be about.

The article notes:

…At its heart, the Trump-Russia probe was about one question: Did the Trump campaign conspire, coordinate, or collude with Russia to influence the 2016 election? Mueller has concluded that did not happen.

…And now Mueller has determined there was no collusion. Not that there was no criminal collusion. Or no prove-beyond-a-reasonable-doubt collusion. Just no collusion. Mueller’s report says it over and over and over again. Here are seven examples:

1. “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

2. “The investigation examined whether [contacts between Russia and Trump figures] involved or resulted in coordination or a conspiracy with the Trump Campaign and Russia, including with respect to Russia providing assistance to the Campaign in exchange for any sort of favorable treatment in the future. Based on the available information, the investigation did not establish such coordination.”

3. “The investigation did not establish that [Carter] Page coordinated with the Russian government in its efforts to interfere with the 2016 election.”

4. “The Office did not identify evidence in those [contacts between Russians and people around Trump after the GOP convention] of coordination between the Campaign and the Russian government.”

5. “The Office did not identify evidence of a connection between Manafort’s sharing polling data and Russia’s interference in the election … [and] the investigation did not establish that Manafort otherwise coordinated with the Russian government on its election-interference efforts.”

6. “The investigation did not establish that these [contacts between Russians and people around Trump during the transition] reflected or constituted coordination between the Trump Campaign and Russia in its election interference activities.”

7. “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons conspired or coordinated with the [Russian disinformation campaign].”

That is definitive. It is not kinda, sorta. It is definitive. As far as Mueller’s conclusions are concerned — and remember, he was long considered the gold standard of Trump investigations — there was no collusion.

Other than dealing with the abuse of power by some former high officials in our government, can we please move on now.

We Spent An Awful Lot Of Money For Nothing

Yesterday Bryon York posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the upcoming release of the Mueller Report. The article lists five arguments that will not be settled by the release of the report.

The article lists those five items:

1. Collusion. On the face of it, Barr’s summary of Mueller’s conclusion could not be clearer: The evidence gathered by the special prosecutor does not show that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to fix the 2016 election. Barr included two brief quotes from the Mueller report on collusion: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” and “the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.” So on the question: Will Mueller show that collusion occurred? The answer seems a pretty straightforward no.

…2. Obstruction. This is a guarantee: Some readers of the Mueller report will swear that it proves the president obstructed justice, while others will swear it proves he did not obstruct justice. Mueller himself has made sure that will happen by not making what Barr called a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the obstruction question. Why Mueller did that is not clear; perhaps it will be revealed when the report is released. Barr said Mueller “views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”

…3. Impeachment. Some Democrats had hoped that the Mueller report would give them cover for impeaching the president. I was undecided, they might say, and then I saw the special counsel’s overwhelming evidence against the president, and I knew it was my duty to impeach. Some of those Democrats also hoped that the Mueller report would serve as a road map to impeachment, in effect doing for Congress the work of discovering and organizing evidence against the president.

…4. Investigating the investigation. Many Republicans, long convinced that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia, have instead sought to uncover the events surrounding the decision by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the Trump campaign in 2016. It’s been hard finding out what happened. Rep. Devin Nunes, when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, shook loose a lot of information, but much remains unknown to the public. Now, those Republicans are counting on an investigation by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz to reveal more. And they are hoping that President Trump will declassify documents that could shed new light on the matter. One place they are not looking for answers is the Mueller report.

5. Why a special counsel? Some Republicans question whether there was really a need for a special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia. First, they cite the fact that there was no underlying crime. There was no crime specified in Mueller’s original scope memo, and Mueller could never establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. Second, they point to the circumstances of Mueller’s appointment, when fired FBI director James Comey leaked confidential documents in order to set off an uproar that he hoped would result in the appointment of a special counsel. As it turned out, things went according to Comey’s plan. But was a special counsel really necessary to investigate the crime that did not occur? Like so many others, don’t look for that argument to be resolved by the Mueller report.

The Mueller investigation cost American taxpayers approximately $31 million. In the end, it proved to be nothing more than a way to keep a number of political people in Washington employed for a while after the administration they supported was not reelected.

 

 

How Is The Trump Economy Doing?

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the impact of President Trump’s economic policies on the economy during the past two years.

The article reports:

President Trump has had a tumultuous two years in office, but as he starts to ramp up his reelection campaign, he can boast of having presided over the lowest recorded average unemployment rate of any of his predecessors at this point in their presidencies.

On Friday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate had held steady at 3.8%. That brings the average unemployment rate for the first 26 months of Trump’s presidency, from February 2017 through March 2019, to 4.1%.

Starting with the presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1953, there has never been a president who oversaw such a robust employment market at this point in his presidency. This is demonstrated in the chart below. The official BLS unemployment data go back to 1948, and thus is not available for the comparable period in the Harry S. Truman era or earlier.

Since the economy is a strong player in presidential elections, these numbers are important.

The article concludes:

The strong economic performance will also be a test of a lot of models predicting the outcome of elections. Many analysts rely heavily on the state of the economy when predicting whether an incumbent will get reelected. However, typically, when the economy is strong, it is also associated with a solid presidential approval rating. Yet Trump has polled consistently lower than other presidents, despite the strong economy.

For instance, take Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, whose unemployment rates came closest to Trump, at 4.4% and 4.5%, respectively. At the comparable points in their presidencies, according to Gallup, Eisenhower was polling at 71 percent and Nixon, while less popular, was still at 50%. In contrast, Trump is currently polling at 39%.

That’s why predicting the 2020 election is so perilous, especially with the Democratic nomination battle so wide open. It’s easy to come up with a scenario in which Trump loses reelection despite having the strongest presidential term for employment in recorded history, because he turns off voters in many other ways. On the other hand, it’s also possible to imagine an outcome in which the strength of the economy convinces voters to get past their objections with Trump and stay the course rather than risk radical change being promised by Democrats.

The strong economy may be the reason the Democrats are trying to get so much mileage out of the Mueller Report. It may be their only hope.

In Case You Were Wondering If It Was Political…

On Monday, The Washington Examiner posted an article about the Democrats’ calls to make the entire Mueller Report public, including source information, Grand Jury testimony, etc. Well, there are some pretty strict rules protecting the secrecy of Grand Jury testimony, and it is quite possible that disclosing other information could be a problem for our intelligence services (and possibly some foreign intelligence services). It should be noted that in their calls for transparency I haven’t heard them ask that the FISA warrants and background information on those warrants be made public. However, this call for transparency on the part of the Democrats is an interesting contrast to their reactions to previous Special Counsel reports.

The article reports:

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, is the leading Democrat demanding the release of the Mueller Report “in its entirety” without redactions.

His committee is planning to subpoena the Justice Department for the full report.

But back in 1998, as a member of the same committee, he vociferously opposed the release of the full Starr Report, saying that “as a matter of decency and protecting people’s privacy rights, people who may be totally innocent third parties, what must not be released at all.”

Ken Starr, the independent counsel investigating then-President Bill Clinton, delivered his report to Congress on Sept. 9, 1998. That night, Nadler went on Charlie Rose’s show to push back against the Republican demand that the voluminous report should be made public. “It’s grand jury material. It represents statements which may or may not be true by various witnesses,” Nadler said. “Salacious material. All kinds of material that it would be unfair to release,”

What Nadler, 71, said in 1998 echoes what Attorney General William Barr told Congress last week. Barr, 68, wrote that he might redact grand jury testimony, information related to ongoing investigations, sensitive or classified information, and “information that would unduly infringe on the personal privacy and reputational interests of peripheral third parties” from the report that he provides to Congress and the public.

Representative Nadler does not want the entire report made public–he wants the Democrats to get the entire report so that they can leak misleading parts of the report and make the scandal last until the 2020 election. The is a political game.

The article concludes:

Special counsel Mueller declined to charge anyone associated with the Trump campaign of coordination with the Russians, but did not reach a decision on obstruction. Attorney General Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein concluded that Trump had not obstructed justice.

How can you have obstruction when there was no crime?

 

What We Know Didn’t Happen With The Mueller Report

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner titled, “Five things that didn’t happen in the Mueller investigation.” Please follow the link and read the entire article. It is very insightful.

The article reports:

1. Mueller did not indict Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, or other people whose purported legal jeopardy was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

2. Mueller did not charge anyone in the Trump campaign or circle with conspiring with Russia to fix the 2016 election, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

3. Mueller did not subpoena the president, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

4. The president did not fire Mueller, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year.

5. The president did not interfere with the Mueller investigation, as was the subject of intense media speculation in the last year. In his letter to Congress, Barr noted the requirement that he notify lawmakers if top Justice Department officials ever interfered with the Mueller investigation. “There were no such instances,” Barr wrote.

All of those five things are very different than what we have been hearing from the media for the past two years. What about the reckless comments made by former government officials and cable news anchors? Can they be held responsible for what was either total ignorance masquerading as inside knowledge or outright lies? When are the government officials who violated the civil rights of innocent people by unmasking their identifies when it was unnecessary? When are the people who used government agencies to wiretap on spy on an opposition party candidate going to be held accountable? When are the public officials who leaked information going to be held accountable? I have no answers to any of the above questions. My hope is that there is an Inspector General somewhere who is looking into these matters. It is a faint hope, but it is a hope.

Sunlight Is The Best Disinfectant

Today Representative Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican, released 370 pages of Lisa Page’s testimony to a joint congressional task force investigating potential bias in the Justice Department.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today revealing some of the details of the testimony.

One of the items in the testimony was the decision not to charge Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with mishandling classified information. The article reports:

Page said Comey and the FBI spoke with DOJ about a gross negligence charge for Clinton multiple times, but that the DOJ consistently pushed back on it. “We had multiple conversations with the Justice Department about bringing a gross negligence charge. And that’s, as I said, the advice that we got from the Department was that they did not think — that it was constitutionally vague and not sustainable,” she said.

Ratcliffe asked if the decision not to charge Clinton with gross negligence was a direct order from the DOJ. “When you say advice you got from the Department, you’re making it sound like it was the Department that told you: ‘You’re not going to charge gross negligence because we’re the prosecutors and we’re telling you we’re not going to,’” he said.

Page responded: “That’s correct.”

Page is the former FBI lawyer who reportedly carried out an affair with FBI agent Peter Strzok, the lead investigator in the Clinton investigation. The thousands of text messages that they sent back and forth about the Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations raised questions of bias, and Mueller eventually removed Strzok from the special counsel investigation. Strzok was also fired by the FBI.

Page’s testimony raises further questions related to the decision not to charge Clinton with any crimes, including gross negligence, following a lengthy FBI investigation into her email practices that potentially put classified information at risk. After the revelation that then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch met with former President Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac in June 2016, while Hillary Clinton was running for president, Lynch refused to recuse herself from the case while also saying she would accept Comey’s decision on what charges to bring against Clinton. But Page’s testimony indicates that DOJ had shut the door on gross negligence.

The decision on to charge Secretary Clinton was a glaring example of unequal justice. Some of our military have spent time in jail for far less serious offenses. There is also the matter of destroying evidence and deleting subpoenaed documents.

As more testimonies are made public, I wonder if it will change the public perception of the abuses of power that were going on in the final days of the Obama administration.

Campaign Finance Violations On Steroids

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about some campaign finance violations by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti. The violations listed are not minor violations, there are some major amounts of money involved here.

The article reports:

Two political action committees founded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top aide funneled over $1 million in political donations into two of his own private companies, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday.

…The arrangement skirted reporting requirements and may have violated the $5,000 limit on contributions from federal PACs to candidates, according to the complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center, a government watchdog group.

Campaign finance attorneys described the arrangement as “really weird” and an indication “there’s something amiss.” They said there was no way of telling where the political donations went — meaning they could have been pocketed or used by the company to pay for off-the-books campaign operations.

PACs are required to disclose how and when funds are spent, including for expenditures such as advertisements, fundraising emails, donations to candidates, and payments for events and to vendors.

The private companies to which Chakrabarti transferred the money from the PACs are not subject to these requirements.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article for the details.

This is interesting for a number of reasons. Was it a rookie mistake or was it planned corruption? Is this coming out now because AOC has become a problem for the Democrats–she is so far left that she may cost them votes in 2020?

The article concludes:

Bradley A. Smith, a former chairman of the FEC, said he has never seen such an arrangement. “It’s a really weird situation,” he said. “I see almost no way that you can do that without it being at least a reporting violation, quite likely a violation of the contribution limits. You might say from a campaign finance angle that the LLC was essentially operating as an unregistered committee.”

Chakrabarti declined to comment on the FEC complaint or provide details about his companies’ financial activities. Corbin Trent, a spokesman for Ocasio-Cortez, declined to comment.

Zeynab Day, communications director for the Brand New Congress PAC, said Chakrabarti was not currently affiliated with the group and that it recently went through a “transition period.” She referred questions about the LLC to Chakrabarti. “I’m unable to answer any questions about the LLC … I am not informed about them. We are not an affiliated group,” she said.

A spokesperson for Justice Democrats said he did not know why the PAC paid so much money to Chakrabarti’s LLCs. When asked what the Justice Democrats PAC does on a daily basis, he said, “It’s very clear what we do,” but declined to elaborate.

Chakrabarti founded Brand New Congress PAC, in April 2016. According to a statement released by Justice Democrats PAC last May, Chakrabarti “was the only controlling member” of the company Brand New Congress LLC and “took no salary.” The statement added: “Saikat is lucky to have a small side business that generates him enough income that he is able to do all of this work as a volunteer.”

If this story is accurately reported, it is bound to get more interesting!

Positions Change When You Run For President

Kamala Harris is running for President. She has taken a number of stands on the issues, but some of these stands are in conflict with previous stands and actions. I guess things change when you run for President.

On Tuesday The Washington Examiner posted an article about one area where Kamala Harris has changed her views.

The article reports:

Presidential wannabee and Sen. Kamala Harris, who spent decades as a district attorney and California attorney general destroying the lives of sex workers, has officially come out in support of decriminalizing sex work.

In an interview with The Root, which includes a haphazard endorsement of reparations, Harris confirmed that “when we’re talking about consenting adults,” she endorses decriminalizing sex work.

It’s called the world’s oldest profession for a reason, and the overwhelming empirical evidence continues to demonstrate that in the absence of a legal and regulated arena for prostitution, an exploitative black market emerges. Decriminalizing, taxing, and regulating sex work seems like an obvious compromise that both the Left and libertarian-leaning conservatives would agree upon. But if you spend longer than half a second delving through Harris’ checkered past, you’d realize that she’s not a part of that coalition, and she never has been.

In 2008 as San Francisco district attorney, Harris excoriated Prop K, a ballot measure which would have ceased the enforcement of anti-prostitution laws and defunded the city’s anti-prostitution programs.

I honestly do not know enough about this issue to take a stand on it. However, I suspect that as a District Attorney, Kamala Harris saw the issue up close and made a decision based on what she saw. My question is, “Why would she change that decision?”

What Does This Say About Our Values?

I am strongly pro-life. I believe that the only time an abortion should be performed is when the pregnancy presents a physical threat to the mother. Those instances are rare and could easily be dealt with in a hospital. Those instances would also not result in a multi-million-dollar abortion industry.

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported that the Democrats had blocked a vote on a bill called the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act (S.311). Because of Senate rules, a bill needs 60 votes in order to be brought to the floor to be voted on (that is based on the idea of a filibuster except people no longer stand up and talk for hours). Republican Ben Sasse wanted a vote on S.311, but there were only 53 Senators in favor of voting for the measure (translated loosely that means that there were only 53 Senators willing to go on the record on treating infants who survive abortions). The bill was not perfect. There were some things I would have been very uncomfortable with–I don’t like the idea of doctors being sued or arrested for actions taken in the operating room. However, it seems strange to me that people would be more likely to help a puppy found on the side of the road than a baby who survived and abortion attempt. Most Republicans voted for a vote on the bill. A few Democrats voted for a vote.

In view of recent statements by the Governor of Virginia and the Governor of New York on abortion, some form of this bill is probably necessary. I hope we will see some form of the bill pass in the future. However, it is a sad commentary on our society that a stranded puppy would be more likely to receive care than an aborted baby.

The Real Numbers

On Friday The Daily Signal posted an article about the consequences of winding down ObamaCare. It seems that the press and the Congressional Budget Office lied to Americans about the consequences of repealing ObamaCare.

The article reports:

According to a report by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released Wednesday, the Congressional Budget Office wildly overestimated the number of people who would lose their health insurance with the repeal of the individual mandate penalty.

Initial estimates from the Congressional Budget Office said 14 million would drop off their health insurance coverage due to the elimination of the individual mandate. Then, during the height of the 2017 debate over repeal, progressives touted a leaked number from the Congressional Budget Office claiming that 22 million people would “lose” their insurance if Congress repealed the law.

However, as health care analyst Avik Roy pointed out, what made this number so high was the inflated number of people expected to lose their insurance due to repeal of the mandate—about 73 percent to be exact. So, it wouldn’t be 22 million Americans losing their insurance. Most of those in the projection would simply be choosing to opt out of insurance.

And it turns out even that wasn’t true. A far smaller number of Americans appear to be opting out of insurance since the individual mandate’s repeal. Only 2.5 million more people are expected to go without insurance in 2019 due to its repeal, according to the latest report, and that number is expected to decline in the years ahead.

Putting the government in charge of healthcare is always a bad idea. Economist Milton Friedman once stated, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there’d be a shortage of sand.” The government is not responsible for providing healthcare to anyone. Charitable hospitals and charitable organizations are welcome to take on that responsibility, but government healthcare is nowhere to be found in the U.S. Constitution.

The article further states:

Doug Badger, a visiting fellow in domestic policy studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that Congressional Budget Office analysis has been a chronic problem.

“When it comes to the individual mandate, CBO has never let the facts affect their wildly inaccurate estimates. CBO continued to forecast that millions of insured Americans would suddenly become uninsured if the mandate were repealed,” Badger wrote in an email to The Daily Signal. “CBO’s faulty estimates misled the public into believing that repealing Obamacare would lead to a vast increase in the number of uninsured. Bad estimates produced bad policy.”

Many conservatives are fed up with the deference shown to the agency, given it’s poor track record and track of transparency. Reps. Mark Walker, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, suggested in 2017 that it’s time to stop “blindly” following the agency’s predictions.

“The value of having outside experts review legislation cannot be understated,” they wrote for the Washington Examiner. “But continuing to hinge congressional actions on the projections of an agency that has proven to be so consistently wrong does a disservice to not only members trying to represent their constituents, it primarily does a disservice to the public.”

I wrote in 2017 that perhaps we should be more skeptical toward the findings of independent agencies like the Congressional Budget Office. It seems those doubts were valid.

People based their votes on the information they were given. It is a shame that a government agency provided inaccurate information.

Women’s Health Is Improving–The Causes

The Washington Examiner posted an article today with the following headline: “Women’s health has improved over the last century, and Planned Parenthood had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

The article lists the scientific and cultural changes that impact the health of women:

1. Mammography–note–not a single Planned Parenthood facility offers mammography to patients.

2. Breastfeeding–the article states:

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services cites breastfeeding as a benefit to infants, and to mothers, where women who breastfeed are “less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, breast and ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression.”

On Planned Parenthood’s website, the only note on breastfeeding is buried deep in the “birth control” page, where the only emphasized benefit of the practice is its natural tendency to wane with ovulation. It boasts how “you can’t get pregnant if you don’t ovulate.”

3. Smoking (In 1985 28 percent of women smoked; in 2012 the number had dropped to 16 percent. Obviously quitting smoking improves a woman’s health.)

4. Mental health–the article states:

A recent survey on abortion and mental health risks found that “women seeking abortions may be at higher risk of prior mental health disorders,” and it recommended that abortion care settings should be an intervention point for mental health screening. Because there is little to no access to behavioral healthcare at Planned Parenthood, many of the company’s patients may go untreated for their mental health needs.

5. Sexually transmitted diseases–the article states:

Last year’s Center for Disease Control STD report revealed a sharp increase in STD infections for the fourth year in a row, with gonorrhea cases increasing 67 percent between 2013 and 2017 and syphilis increasing 76 percent over those four years. Chlamydia, which was virtually nonexistent in the 1980s, is now a common condition. The National Coalition of STD Directors’ David Harvey noted that the U.S. has “the highest STD rates in the industrialized world.”

After the CDC report was released, Planned Parenthood’s senior director of medical services, Dr. Gillian Dean, blamed a lack of sex education as the reason STD rates were rising and applauded her organization as “the nation’s largest provider of sex education and one of the nation’s leading HIV testing providers.”

But here’s the thing: The states with the most Planned Parenthood clinics disproportionately suffered the largest increases in STDs.

California, for instance, with the most Planned Parenthood Clinics per capita of any state, saw a record rise in STDs and a spike in the number of stillbirths caused by syphilis for the third year in a row. California also mandates sex education in schools, which was incidentally signed into law nearly four years ago, when this alarming trend began.

6. Abortion and Maternity–the article states:

Planned Parenthood is notorious for its focus on abortion services as the crown jewel of the organization. The company continues to claim that abortions are only about 3 percent of its services, even though the Washington Post debunked that claim.

…An organization that boasts its “100 years of women’s healthcare” history but does not support vital protections, like a 20-week cutoff for abortion or the requirement that they be done by qualified doctor who graduated medical school, leaves women vulnerable to unsafe, low-quality, and high-risk healthcare.

The article concludes:

Planned Parenthood has yet to make a mark on women’s healthcare for anything other than promoting various controversial birth control methods and performing abortions. Looking back at the company’s history in the last 100 years, it’s clear that the U.S. government and its various women’s health initiatives in the last few decades have done far more than Planned Parenthood in its entire century of existence.

For Planned Parenthood to think it can claim the topic of women’s healthcare as its own is laughable, especially for an organization which has arguably done the most to hurt women in the last 100 years with its subpar, bare-bones medical offerings — abortion being at the very top of the list.

Abortion is a million-dollar business, and unfortunately a lot of that money is funneled into political campaigns through PAC’s. Political candidates like campaign money, and many candidates have no problem with taking money from people who kill unborn babies and sell aborted baby body parts. That is extremely sad.

Do We Really Want To Do This?

On February 15th The Washington Examiner posted an article with the following headline: “‘Medicare for All’ would require obesity laws.” I wonder if the few Americans who actually support the idea of ‘Medicare for All’ understand that would be part of the deal (along with drastic increases in taxes, long waits for medical care, and a reduction in the quality and quantity of medical care available).

The article notes:

At 36.2 percent, the American obesity rate is the 12th-highest in the world and first among OECD countries. Of every European nation with universal healthcare, only the United Kingdom (27.8 percent) and Hungary (26.4 percent) come within 10 percent of the American obesity rate.

In Germany, France, Portugal, and Sweden, the national obesity rates are 22.3 percent, 21.6 percent, 20.8 percent, and 20.6 percent respectively. And in Denmark and Italy, fewer than 20 percent of people are obese.

Like it or not, we live in a country where ordering a salad at a fast food place often costs more than ordering something less healthy. Unless Americans are willing to change their eating habits significantly, Medicare for All would be a disaster.

The article concludes:

The country under single-payer will make former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s soda taxes and food-nannying look like child’s play. Everything from your sugar consumption to your alcohol would become a matter of public regulation, and the public would not only have the power but also the moral right to regulate how people live.

Of the 2.6 million deaths in the U.S. per year, 300,000 are caused by obesity. It’s one of the single greatest drivers of avoidable healthcare spending, costing the country around $200 billion annually.

Progressives may call this fat-shaming. But it’s really just public health and economics.

Keep your hands off my Bo-Jangles!

Things Are Coming Into Focus

In 1964 a movie called “Seven Days In May” was released. The movie deals with a plot by United States military leaders to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about eight days in May 2017 when a politicized FBI and Department of Justice began their efforts to unseat a duly elected President.

The article reports:

The New York Times reported last month that in that period, the FBI opened up a counterintelligence investigation focused on the president himself. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

That is one sort of investigation. The other probe McCabe wanted to nail into place was what became the Mueller investigation. Describing the decision to appoint Mueller — the decision was actually made by Rosenstein — McCabe wrote, “If I got nothing else done as acting director, I had done the one thing I needed to do.”

And then there were the talks about secretly recording the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. According to CBS, top law enforcement officials were discussing which Cabinet members might be persuaded to go along with an effort to remove Trump. “They were counting noses,” Pelley said on CBS Thursday morning. “They were not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating.”

Much, if not all, of what McCabe reports has been reported before. But an eyewitness, insider account lends new weight to the idea that the highest levels of the national security apparatus experienced a collective freakout in the days after the Comey firing.

In particular, it intensifies questions about Rosenstein’s behavior in those eight days. Remember that Rosenstein played a key role in the removal of Comey. A few days later, he was talking about removing the president for having removed Comey. The sheer audacity of that has stunned even experienced Capitol Hill observers.

If we are to keep our free country and our election process, there are a number of people who need to be held accountable for their actions while they were in leadership roles in government organizations.

Morality In America

General Omar Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981) was a field commander of the United States Army who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Europe during World War II and later became General of the Army. He once stated:

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and we have rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience, our world is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

One of the moral issues facing America today is abortion. Not just abortion–late term abortion and deciding whether or not a baby who survives an abortion should be given a chance to live. Part of the problem is that abortion is a million-dollar industry partially subsidized by our government and at the same time making large campaign donations.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about one of Speaker Pelosi’s guests at the State of the Union speech:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., invited Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to be one of her guests at the State of the Union address.

Wen’s seat was not cheap. Affiliates of her organization spent millions to support Pelosi’s quest for the majority in the House of Representatives and the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to retake the Senate.

In total, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes — the arms of the Planned Parenthood Network allowed to engage in electoral politics under tax regulations — spent almost $6.5 million in outside spending supporting the election of Democrats to both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm and special elections, according to FEC records compiled by OpenSecrets.

The article explains the current goals of Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood didn’t spend large sums just to get face time with Speaker Pelosi or reward donors such as Wallace. Federal government programs channel $563.8 million to the Planned Parenthood network annually. To keep Pelosi and her allies in charge of the federal purse strings is to ensure the continued flow of taxpayer money to the organization and its affiliates.

Planned Parenthood also hopes to expand the scope of abortion law. Planned Parenthood-backed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently sparked controversy when he defended a Planned Parenthood-backed repeal of certain limits on late-term abortions. Northam suggested that an infant delivered alive in a botched late-term abortion would “be kept comfortable” and “would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”

At the federal level, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from directly funding abortions except in extremely limited circumstances; Planned Parenthood would like to see these inconvenient restrictions removed.

So on “SOTU” night, full of kingly pomp and symbol, Leana Wen sat in Speaker Pelosi’s section. It was yet another symbol of a powerful special interest’s hold on a Congress it helped pay to elect.

If you do not support these goals, I suggest you get involved locally in order to elect people to Congress who share your beliefs. Otherwise, federally-paid-for-late-term abortions will become a reality in America.

 

It Really Is The Spending

The following graph was posted at The Washington Examiner yesterday:

The article notes:

As shown in the chart below, in the 50 years prior to the effective date of the Trump tax cuts (1968-2017), tax revenue averaged 17.4 percent of gross domestic product, while spending averaged 20.3 percent. With the Trump tax cuts in place, revenue is below the historical average for the next few years, but by the middle of the decade, it returns to that average and then surpasses it as some provisions of the tax cut begin to expire. By 2029, the end of the CBO projection period, revenue reaches 18.3 percent — or nearly one point of GDP above its historical average.

We need some serious budget-cutting in Washington. It is time for baseline budgeting to stop. Department budgets need to start from scratch and justify every penny.

The Tactics Are Definitely Over The Top

The internet is buzzing today with the arrest of Roger Stone, someone who evidently had contacts with the Trump campaign at various points. Nothing he did in that context was illegal, but it seems that when questioned by Congress he did not tell the entire truth. Funny, other people who have recently lied to Congress are still walking around free.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Roger Stone’s arrest.

The article reports:

FBI agents arrested longtime Trump associate Roger Stone in a paramilitary-style raid at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., early Friday morning. A CNN producer on the scene said the arrest involved “heavy weaponry.” Stone was taken into custody without incident.

The arrest followed action by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., under Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. On Thursday, the grand jury indicted Stone on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation.

Roger Stone is 66 years old. The paramilitary-style raid was an abuse of power and was dangerous. It was also a waste of money. I have no doubt they could have simply waited until after breakfast, knocked on the man’s door, and taken him into custody. This is another example of the over-the-top tactics used by Robert Mueller.

The article goes on to explain what Roger Stone is charged with. Basically it is process crimes connected to the Special Counsel’s witch hunt. I suspect his real crime was supporting President Trump.

The article continues:

All the counts stem from Stone’s Sept. 26, 2017, interview with the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election and the response by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Stone is not charged with lying to or attempting to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

The special counsel’s charges involve Stone’s House testimony about WikiLeaks and its release of hacked material from the Democratic National Committee and, later, from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 campaign. The indictment does not say Stone communicated with Wikileaks head Julian Assange. Rather, it says Stone lied about his attempts to learn Assange’s intentions through two intermediaries: journalist and provocateur Jerome Corsi and radio host Randy Credico.

Meanwhile, crimes involving lying to a FISA court go unpunished, misuse of government agencies to spy on Americans goes unnoticed, and destruction of evidence that was subpoenaed goes unpunished.

Unless the new Attorney General is sworn in quickly and deals with the unequal justice currently being practiced in America, we will have become a banana republic.

A Wall For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some recent comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It seems that walls work in other places, but they don’t work in America when President Trump wants them.

The article reports:

Baier (Bret Baier of Fox News)pressed on this point, asking Hoyer about border barriers that have already been built: “Would you remove those existing barriers because you say they don’t work?”

“No, no,” Hoyer replied.

“So they work there?” Baier asked. Hoyer rambled for a bit about people living along the Rio Grande and eventually, Baier asked him again, “So they work some places.”

“Obviously they work some places,” Hoyer said as if it hadn’t taken three minutes of concerted effort to get him to admit the obvious.

Not only do they work in some places, America has helped finance them in some places.

Some places in the world where border walls are used for security:

India and Pakistan

Morocco and Algeria

Israel and the West Bank

Cyprus

Northern Ireland

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Turkey and Syria

Kenya and Somalia

The list is courtesy of The Washington Examiner.

So even some Democrats know that walls work, and the amount of money requested to build a wall is a totally insignificant part of the budget, so what is this about? Do not be fooled. The establishment Republicans do not want the wall any more than the Democrats do. To the Democrats, open borders represent future voters. To the Republicans, open borders represent cheap labor for their corporate sponsors who belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is also the added aspect of the Washington establishment finally getting a victory over President Trump. The only way Americans are going to ever have a voice in Washington is if they clear out ALL of the establishment politicians in both parties. Term limits might be a really good place to start.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

Somehow They Don’t Seem Overly Concerned

Optics do matter in politics. However, some of our politicians are so accustomed to the media covering up their antics that they don’t even worry about the optics anymore. This was obvious last weekend when thirty Democrats headed out for a fun weekend in Puerto Rico despite the continuing government shutdown.

On Friday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the weekend trip.

The article reports:

Some 30 Democratic lawmakers left the government shutdown behind Friday on a chartered flight to Puerto Rico for a winter retreat with 109 lobbyists and corporate executives during which they planned to see the hit Broadway show “Hamilton” and attend three parties including one with the show’s cast.

Those attending the Congressional Hispanic Caucus BOLD PAC winter retreat in San Juan planned to meet with key officials to discuss the cleanup after Hurricane Maria at a roundtable Saturday.

But the weekend is packed with free time for the members and their families on the trip.

“We are excited for you to join us for CHC BOLD PAC’s 2019 Winter Retreat in San Juan, Puerto Rico! Each year, this retreat serves as a way for our CHC BOLD PAC Members and friends in the D.C. community to come together to escape the cold and discuss our shared priorities for a stronger and more prosperous country,” said a memo on the trip.

Some 109 lobbyists and corporate executives are named in the memo, a rate of 3.6 lobbyists for every member. They include those from several big K Street firms, R.J. Reynolds, Facebook, Comcast, Amazon, PhRMA, Microsoft, Intel, Verizon, and unions like the National Education Association.

What chance does the average American citizen have in getting the ear of his Congressman when lobbying groups can do this sort of thing?

The press release regarding the event is predictable–it blames President Trump for the shutdown and explains that the event was scheduled months before the shutdown. President Trump is at least partially responsible for the shutdown, but another aspect of the shutdown is the refusal of Representative Pelosi to negotiate. Having thirty of your Democrat Congressmen running off to Puerto Rico to party when the government is shut down does not make good political optics. I wonder if the American people will notice.

Because I Have To Write Something About The Wall

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the wall that seems to be responsible for the government shutdown.

The article reports:

According to the results of an ABC News and Washington Post poll released Sunday morning, 42 percent of Americans support a wall. That is up from 34 percent one year ago and a previous high of 37 percent in 2017.

With 54 percent, the majority of Americans polled still oppose building a border wall. However, that opposition is shrinking, as 63 percent opposed the wall a year ago and the previous low was 60 percent two years ago.

The article also reports:

According to the poll, only about a quarter of Americans — 24 percent — believe there is a crisis-level situation in regards to immigration at the border.

That is a very sad statistic. We have drugs coming across the border, human trafficking is happening at the border, and American citizens are being killed by illegal aliens that should not even be in the country. There is a crisis. A wall will not end that crisis, but it will provide a partial solution that will greatly help the border patrol. Either Americans are not well-informed or they don’t see a crisis because it hasn’t directly impacted them. I am not sure which is the case. At any rate, the wall (and the increased border security requested with it) represents such a small part of the federal budget that there shouldn’t even be a question about whether or not to build it.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal budget will be $4.407 trillion. Compare the cost of the wall and the increased security at our border with the annual cost of illegal immigration. The wall is a bargain.

Comments From Someone Who Knows

On Thursday The Washington Examiner posted an article that featured comments by Mark Morgan, the Obama appointee who oversaw U.S. Border Patrol in 2016.

The article reports:

Mark Morgan, stealing a line from President Trump’s presidential campaign announcement in June 2015, said his agents were “apprehending and interdicting pedophiles, rapists, murderers, gang members every single day.”

“I’m outraged that we haven’t fixed this problem. I’m outraged,” Morgan told Fox News. “Who can say that this is a manufactured crisis? Anyone? Anyone left, right? I don’t care who it is — anyone that says this is a manufactured crisis, they are absolutely lying to the American people.”

Mark Morgan left the Border Patrol shortly after President Trump was elected.

Morgan has remained out of the public spotlight over the past two years, but broke his silence this week as Democrats and the White House have fought over whether to include an additional $5.7 billion for security measures at the U.S.-Mexico border.

In fiscal 2018, more than 360,000 people were arrested for illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. That number is comparable to figures over the past decade.

Hopefully the publicity given to the people who lost family members because of illegal immigrants will wake people up to the fact that a porous border is a crisis that needs to be dealt with.

My, How Times Change

Remember when the Democrats told us that ObamaCare was not a step in the direction of government-controlled single-payer healthcare? Well, that statement is now inoperative.

The Washington Examiner reported the following yesterday:

House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has asked the Congressional Budget Office to analyze the effects of shifting all healthcare costs onto the federal government, a first step toward the “Medicare for all” legislation sought by progressives.

…Yarmuth said in a statement that his request for the score is aimed to inform House hearings on “single payer,” proposals. Such hearings would be the first step in the process toward passing legislation enacting single payer systems, a top goal pursued by progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.

The article concludes:

The study concluded that overall spending, not just government spending, would be $2 trillion less compared to where spending is projected under the current healthcare system, but that would come mostly through cutting payments that hospitals and other providers were getting from private insurance by about 40 percent. Higher taxes may be under consideration to have Medicare payments align more closely with those of private insurers.

Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., had asked CBO to score the Medicare for All Act introduced by Sanders. In taking up various requests, CBO analysts tend to focus on bills that are closer to passage.

If you read this blog on a regular basis, you have seen this quote before, but here it is again:

Milton Friedman, “If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in five years there’d be a shortage of sand.”

Britain has single-payer health care. In March 2017, The Daily Wire posted an article about the problems with the British health care system.

These are some of the highlights from the article:

“Pressure on all services is rising and care is increasingly being rationed. Waiting lists should not be rising, and yet they are,” said Mark Porter, council chair of the British Medical Association (BMA).

“Doctors always want to deliver the best possible care for our patients, but we can’t continuously plug gaps by penny pinching and poaching from elsewhere in an overstretched NHS.”

…A study conducted by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine concluded that around 750 patients a month – one in 28 – pass away due to subpar quality of care, which includes “inattentive monitoring of the patient’s condition, doctors making the wrong diagnosis, or patients being prescribed the wrong medicine.” In other words, patients needlessly die as a result of the incompetence of the NHS.

For example, in January an elderly woman died from cardiac arrest after waiting 35 hours on a trolley because there was a shortage in hospital beds. A 73-year-old man also died from an aneurysm in the same hospital as he languished in the waiting room.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. Note that single-payer health care is government-controlled. Do you really want the government controlling your health care?

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

Democrats and anti-Trump people will do almost anything to stop people from watching President Trump tonight when he explains why we need a border wall, but one person seems to have gone over the edge.

The Washington Examiner reported the following today:

Porn star Stormy Daniels will livestream herself folding her laundry in her underwear while President Trump addresses the nation regarding the southern border.

“If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live,” Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, posted to Twitter.

We have reached a new low. Just for the record, I can tell you what the Democratic response to the President’s speech will be–“wall bad” “orange-haired man bad.”

Securing the border is part of the responsibility of the President. Congress needs to let him do his job.

The Coast Guard Will Get Paid

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Concerned about U.S. Coast Guard forces losing a paycheck in the partial government shutdown, President Trump personally urged his team to find a solution that would allow the administration to make this week’s $75 million payroll, according to officials.

Trump stepped in on Wednesday, calling on top lawyers and staffers to determine if the Coast Guard could make payroll despite being included in the shutdown that has impacted about 25 percent of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Coast Guard.

Military personnel under the Department of Defense are not included in the shutdown, because their appropriations were approved earlier in Congress.

Officials said that Trump was keen to find a “way we can fix this” as news media stories about the Coast Guardsmen’s plight started to pile up.

At his urging, the Office of Management and Budget, DHS and the Coast Guard determined that the rules governing pay to Coast Guard forces requires it be made through the end of the year. To make it, the lawyers said that unused funding could be tapped for pay. The service had a bit more than the needed $75 million left over from its past continuing resolution appropriation, enough to make this month’s last payroll check.

“The president is trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible for workers, and this case proved it,” said an official.

Remember that only 1/4 of the government is shut down because President Trump had the forethought to get the rest of the budget passed previously. The Democrats (who in the past voted for a fence (a.k.a. wall) have changed their minds and shut down the government because President Trump wants a wall. At least President Trump is attempting to make the shutdown as painless as possible while Representative Nancy Pelosi (who should be in Washington negotiating) vacations in Hawaii.