The Fight For Honest Elections

The goal of elections in America is to have every citizen vote and every citizen’s vote counted. When a non-citizen votes, it cancels out the vote of a citizen. That is one of the arguments for voter id requirements.

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about a recent Texas lawsuit that had to do with voting.

The article reports:

The largest county in Texas settled a lawsuit with a watchdog group after refusing to release records dealing with noncitizens on its voter rolls.

A federal district court in Houston entered a settlement agreement this week between the Harris County voter registrar and the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF). The settlement calls for the county to turn over records on its cancellations of ineligible voters, copies of registration applications that have blank or negative responses to citizenship questions, and all registrar communications with law enforcement regarding ineligible registrants, among other records. Officials from Harris County, the most populous county in Texas, previously testified that “thousands” of noncitizens were discovered on its voter rolls every year.

The settlement comes as the election watchdog group seeks to clean voter rolls in major cities ahead of the November elections. Democrats have pushed back against attempts to clean voter rolls, often calling them “purges.” Individuals removed for ineligibility tend to belong to demographic groups that lean Democrat. Texas has in recent years become a target of national Democrats, who have poured millions into the Lone Star State in attempts to gain power.

The article concludes:

PILF has filed a number of lawsuits in cities across the country in recent months. The group filed a suit against Detroit officials after discovering 2,500 dead registrants on the city’s voter rolls. Nearly 5,000 voters appeared more than once on the rolls, and there were more registered voters than there were eligible voters in the city.

PILF also filed suit against Pittsburgh officials after finding dead voters, duplicate registrants, and 1,500 registrants aged 100 or above (49 marked as being born in the 1800s) on county voter rolls.

It is really sad that Americans do not turn out to vote in high numbers, yet those who come here illegally vote. There is something wrong with that picture.

Changes Needed

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about legislation sponsored by Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) and Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.). The legislation would bring back pharmaceutical manufacturing from China to America, aiming to reduce a dependency that could seriously limit the U.S. coronavirus response.

The article reports:

Cotton’s is just the latest proposal to onshore pharmaceutical supply chains, including a similar one from Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and rumblings from the White House about a “buy American” executive order. Prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, many are beginning to see the cost-savings from Chinese-made pharmaceuticals as not worth the risk of undersupply during another pandemic, or during a potential conflict with America’s main geostrategic rival.

“China unleashed this plague on the world, and China has to be held accountable,” said Cotton during a Fox News interview Wednesday evening. “It’s too grave a threat to let our health rest on Chinese drugs.”

The Cotton bill would directly target Chinese API producers, requiring the FDA to track the point of origin for APIs and drugs made outside of the United States, as well as requiring drug companies to list the country of origin for APIs on their products. It would also prohibit all federal entities—including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense—from purchasing drugs that use APIs made in China.

The bill also aims to bolster domestic pharmaceutical production capacity. It would allow domestic manufacturers to immediately expense the costs of expanding production capacity, giving such businesses a major write-off on their taxes. If successful, that provision could help U.S.-based manufacturers compete with lower-cost Chinese ones, keeping drug prices low even as production moves back to the United States.

The really positive aspect of this is the tax break–unless drugs manufactured in America have a lower price than those manufactured in China, Americans won’t buy them. Any bill that aims to bring manufacturing back to America needs to consider the cost of making whatever is manufactured. We have cheap energy right now, and our corporate tax policies generally make America a good place to do business. Both of these factors are the result of having a businessman in the White House.

The article concludes:

Perhaps, in part, because of these profits, discussion of repatriating pharmaceutical production appears to have spooked Chinese authorities. In a Tuesday tweet, the country’s ministry of foreign affairs claimed that “trying to move medical supply chains back to the U.S. from China is unrealistic and unhelpful,” adding that it would be “a wrong remedy for #COVID19 pandemic.”

Seems Fair To Me

On Saturday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the logical next step after the Supreme Court decision that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment.

The article reports:

In 2018, Mark Janus convinced the Supreme Court that mandatory government union dues violate the First Amendment. Now he wants his money back.

After his triumph at the High Court, Janus asked a federal trial judge to require the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) pay out about $3,000 in agency fees the union collected from his paycheck between 2013 and 2018. The judge declined and Janus lost on appeal, prompting a new petition to the Supreme Court.

So-called right-to-work cause lawyers including the Liberty Justice Center and the National Right to Work Foundation are litigating some 30 cases that collectively seek $120 million in garnished wages for public sector workers. Public sector unions proved surprisingly resilient after the Janus decision, seeing modest increases in membership and limited losses of revenue. Judgments ordering restitution to aggrieved workers, however, could vindicate doomsayers who predicted the end of agency fees would devastate organized labor. Approximately 5.9 million public employees paid mandatory fees prior to Janus, a massive pool of prospective plaintiffs.

The article concludes:

Trial judges in about two dozen other cases and two appeals courts have reached the same conclusion and rebuffed worker attempts to recoup lost wages. If allowed to stand, those decisions “are likely to doom all such cases,” Janus’s petition to the High Court warns.

“This Court should grant review so the employees in these suits can recover a portion of the ‘windfall’ of compulsory fees unions wrongfully seized from them,” the petition reads.

Other Janus follow-on cases are currently pending before the Supreme Court. One petition asks the Court to declare the so-called integrated bar unlawful under Janus. Integrated bar rules require lawyers to join a state bar association and pay fees as a condition of practicing law. Another petition asks whether employers can designate a union as the sole representative of its workers in collective bargaining.

The Court will hear the case in its next term, which begins in October, if it grants review. AFSCME’s response to Janus’s petition is due on April 9. The case is No. 19-1104 Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31.

Open Secrets details some of what the dues paid to AFSCME were used for:

In the 2016 races, almost all of AFSCME’s more than $1.7 million in candidate contributions went to Democrats, including Hillary Clinton. The breakdown is similar in the 2018 election cycle — more than 99 percent of its $1.1 million in candidate contributions so far have gone to Democrats.

The AFSCME also contributes millions of dollars to liberal outside spending groups.

The union has given roughly $3.6 million to outside spending groups in the 2018 election cycle alone. More than 70 percent of that spending has gone to a super PAC called For Our Future, which was formed by labor unions to support Democratic candidates. Sky Gallegos, who is listed as For Our Future’s treasurer, is the Democratic National Convention Committee’s deputy CEO for intergovernmental affairs.

The union gave just over $11 million to outside spending groups in 2016, and about half those contributions went to For Our Future.

The AFSCME has lobbied Congress on right-to-work policies, according to lobbying disclosures. The union’s lobbying efforts overall have totaled than $2.3 million annually since 2009, peaking at $2.9 million in spending in 2011.

Union dues account for much of the money in politics. If people who choose not to join the union are not required to pay union dues, this will impact political campaigns in America.

Changing The Rules As You Go Along

The Democrat party claims to be the party of diversity, yet after a number of primary elections in which mainly Democrats voted, there were only three candidates left–two old white men and one woman. Now they have changed the debate rules so that the woman won’t be eligible to participate in the next Democrat debate. Doesn’t sound very diverse to me.

The Washington Free Beacon reported yesterday that under the newly announced rules for the March 15th Democrat debate, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who represents Hawaii, is not eligible to participate.

The article reports:

Under the newly announced rules for the March 15 CNN/Univision debate, candidates must have at least 20 percent of the awarded pledged delegates in order to qualify.

…Elderly white male candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have already locked up the required delegates, but the rule change makes it nearly impossible for Gabbard to qualify, even with a strong showing in the next round of primaries. The congresswoman needs 335 more delegates to lock up 20 percent by March 15, but only 352 are up for grabs on March 10.

Gabbard suggested on Thursday that she would attend the debate if invited, tweeting that she would “welcome the opportunity to raise & discuss the foreign policy challenges we face.”

DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa appeared to downplay the prospect of Gabbard making the debates in a Super Tuesday tweet, saying, “of course the threshold will go up.”

It’s  interesting to me that they changed the rules to let Mayor Bloomberg participate and now they have changed to rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard. I suspect her presence would make for a much more interesting debate.

The article concludes:

The exclusion of Gabbard comes one day after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) suspended her campaign, leaving the race with only one female candidate and prompting extensive soul-searching and criticism from Democratic women and media figures.

“I so wish that we had a woman president of the United States, and we came so close to doing that,” said Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.). “I do think there’s a certain element of misogyny.”

Former presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) omitted Gabbard entirely in her reaction to Warren’s departure, telling reporters, “Look at what’s happened. There are no women currently in this race.”

The Democrat presidential primary has reached the point where it is a soap opera that is moving very slowly toward something. I think it’s time to get out the popcorn!

It’s Always A Good Idea To Follow The Money

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about the money that funded the March for Our Lives. The March for Our Lives took place on March 24, 2018, in response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting on February 14, 2018. Isn’t it amazing how people managed to organize and put all that together in about five weeks?

The article reports that according to The Washington Free Beacon:

The March For Our Lives Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organization launched in the aftermath of the deadly 2018 shootings at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is bankrolled almost entirely by large donations in excess of $100,000. The group reported $17,879,150 in contributions and grants over the course of 2018, its first year of operations. Ninety-five percent of those contributions came from 36 donations between $100,000 and $3,504,717—a grand total of $16,922,331.

The group’s 990 tax form shows another 38 donations totaling between $5,000 and $100,000, which together accounted for an additional $876,114 of revenue. The remainder, just 0.5 percent of total receipts, came from those giving less than $5,000.

The group isn’t required to release the names of its donors but the Free Beacon notes that Marc Benioff and Eli Broad each donated a million dollars. Influence Watch has a list of some of the other big-name donors including Steven Spielberg and his wife who gave a combined million dollars:

A number of celebrities gave financial support to the organization: George and Amal Clooney, Oprah Winfrey, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg, and Kate Capshaw each donated $500,000 for the event. The clothing company Gucci donated $500,000 to the movement. Actress Sara Ramirez notably donated $20,000 to the GoFundMe page. Professional basketball player Dwayne Wade also donated $200,000 to the organization.

All of that doesn’t include the largest contribution by far which came from CNN in the form of an endless stream of air time and online promotion for the Parkland kids, culminating in that awful special in which the Parkland kids and Sheriff Scott Israel were pitted against Dana Loesch and Marco Rubio.

The WFB story also includes a rundown of what the money was spent on. The largest chunk (nearly $8 million) went to funding the March itself. Another $4 million went to a 24-state tour to register young voters.

It is somewhat amazing to me that many Hollywood celebrities who are guarded by men with guns are perfectly willing to support taking guns away from ordinary citizens who are not guarded by men with guns.

The Insanity Of The Mainstream Media

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon reported the following:

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper compared Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps killed in an American airstrike on Thursday, to French president Charles de Gaulle, a leader of the French resistance against Nazi occupation during World War II.

“Soleimani is—it’s difficult to convey how revered he is in Iran. Imagine the French Foreign Legion, at the height of the French empire. This guy is regarded in Iran as a completely heroic figure, personally very brave,” CNN host Fareed Zakaria said.

“I was trying to think of somebody, and I was thinking of de Gaulle, although he became the leader of the country,” Cooper said.

Soleimani was a terrorist. He has a lot of American blood on his hands. He was planning further attacks on Americans around the world.

A friend on Facebook noted the following:

The UN Security Council banned Soleimani from leaving Iran because of his extensive use of surrogates in other countries to commit terrorist acts. His presence in Iraq was in and of itself an act of war. He was there organizing part of a group of about 20,000 IRANIAN soldiers planning to attack the US embassy in military fashion. The first attacks were just to evaluate our defenses before the real attack they were planning.

Not any more.

It is wonderful having a leader who stands up to our enemies instead of sending them planes loaded with millions of dollars in cash to fund their killing of Americans.

It is a shame that our media has become so biased that they complain when our President protects Americans.

This Is A Form Of Antisemitism

The Federalist posted an article today about a recent decision by the EU’s Court of Justice (ECJ), the highest court in the EU. The court ruled that Jewish products made in contested areas of Israel must bear consumer warning labels.

The article notes:

Prior to the ruling, U.S. lawmakers in Congress fired warning shots, cautioning the EU that such a move would prompt the enforcement of American anti-boycott laws, thus endangering the EU’s trade with the United States.

Now, according to reporting by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon, the Trump administration is ready to go to battle over the ruling. Currently, the United States is the EU’s largest trading partner.

The origins of the legal dispute stretch back several years to when the EU issued a mandate in 2015 declaring that products produced in the West Bank and Golan Heights be labeled as coming from an Israeli settlement, facially for the purpose of promoting “consumer protection,” although it’s unclear if that is actually achieved here. In late 2016, France became the first EU member state to attempt to enforce the mandate, resulting in the Israeli winery Psagot filing a lawsuit claiming that such a mandate violated the EU’s anti-discrimination laws.

Under the new rule, goods produced by Jews will be labeled as having been produced in an Israeli settlement, while goods produced by Muslims may be labeled as made in “Palestine,” indicating blatant discriminatory treatment. Unsurprisingly, Israel’s presence in the West Bank and the Golan Heights are the only contested areas in the world to be the focus of the labeling ire of the EU.

The article notes that Israel is the only country singled out for this treatment:

“No other territory, occupied, disputed, or otherwise is subject to such requirements,” noted Eugene Kontorovich, director of the Center for International Law in the Middle East at George Mason University. Kontorovich emphasized the peculiarity of the ruling. “In no other case does any ‘origin labeling’ require any kind of statement about the political circumstances in the area. This is a special Yellow Star for Jewish products only.”

Indeed, there are a multitude of contested areas throughout the world that produce goods for which the EU has deemed politicized labeling requirements unnecessary. Despite Russia’s occupation of parts of Georgia or Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara, nothing in EU law or greater international law requires labeling goods produced by Russia in occupied parts of Georgia as “Made in Georgia” or goods produced by Morocco in Western Sahara as “Made in Western Sahara.”

Just a side note about the concept of contested territories. If you look at a map of the land originally given to form a Jewish state, it not only includes the ‘contested territories,’ it includes Jordan. The country of Jordan was originally intended to be the Palestinian state (as there had never been a Palestinian state), but was turned over to the Hashemites. For pictures illustrating the history of Israeli territory, go here.

This Might Explain A Lot

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today that stated that more than one-fifth of of all U.S. newsroom employees live in the liberal strongholds of New York City, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. New York has 12 percent and Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. each have 5 percent. The article notes that 13 percent of Americans live in these three cities–7 percent in New York, 4 percent in Los Angeles, and 2 percent in Washington, D.C.

The article notes:

All three cities are known for their strongly progressive bent. A Republican has not won New York City in a presidential election since 1924, or won Los Angeles County since 1984. No Republican has ever won Washington, D.C., in a presidential election.

According to Pew, only New York and Washington are home to a greater share of newsroom workers than workers overall. Given their significance in media and politics, those two cities are the broadcasting sites for every major show on cable and national network news.

Pew also found that 41 percent of newsroom employees who work in internet publishing live in the northeast, while just 18 percent of all workers live in the region overall. Thirty-seven percent of all workers live in the south, but it’s home to just 21 percent of newsroom employees who work in internet publishing.

Think about how where you live affects your worldview. Do you see poverty everyday? Do you see dirty streets and high crime? Do you see friendly people or stressed people? Is driving to work a grinding task or a reasonable chore? What are the views of the people you spend your time with? What are the values of the people around you?

I’m not a deplorable from flyover country where people cling to their God and their guns–I’m a deplorable living in a conservative stronghold in the southeast. But I wonder if the people in the newsrooms of the major media spent some time with the deplorables in various places, would their attitude and focus change? The bottom line here is whether or not the people charged with reporting the news to Americans can get past the their group biases against anything not liberal. If not, their industry will soon die from lack of relevance and from the consequences of biased reporting.

About That Money In Politics Thing…

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that The Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), an advocacy group funded by billionaire George Soros, has now pushed more than $70 million into lobbying efforts since Donald Trump took office.

The article reports:

Soros’s policy group, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that focuses on domestic and international advocacy, pushed $72 million into lobbying since January 2017. The amount that OSPC has put toward advocacy efforts over the last two-and-a-half years is a drastic uptick over what the group had spent in the prior 14 years combined.

From 2002 to 2016, OSPC reported spending a total of $56.65 million, which averages out to $4 million per year with most of this money going toward efforts over a four-year period from 2012 to 2016. Since Trump was sworn into office, the group has averaged $25 million per year in lobbying-related expenditures.

Soros’s group has both in-house lobbyists and provides grants to other liberal organizations for their own lobbying activities. The group reported spending $15.89 million throughout the third quarter, its filings show. The money in part went to its own lobbyists pushing issues on Capitol Hill in relation to the 2020 Senate Department of Defense Appropriations Act, National Defense Authorization Act and State and Foreign Operations Appropriations, and issues pertaining to the Arms Export Control Act and War Powers Act. OSPC lobbied both the House of Representatives and Senate over the last three months.

OSPC has now spent $24.41 million this year, an amount that is in line with its record from last year. Throughout 2018, the group dropped $31.5 million into lobbying and was among the top three lobbyist spenders ahead of the likes of Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Alphabet Inc., Boeing, Comcast, and Amazon, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics. Its 2018 advocacy money was increased by $15.3 million over the $16.2 million the group had spent in 2017, its previous record year.

So what is this about? George Soros is a globalist. His goal is a one-world government with him as one of the major power brokers. The biggest obstacle to that goal is a free America led by President Trump. George Soros has been successful in the past in collapsing the economy and creating chaos in various countries. Some countries have outlawed George Soros and his business interests from being in their countries. Unfortunately George Soros is an American citizen, so it might be difficult to do that in America. At any rate, George Soros does not wish good things for America and needs to be watched carefully.

An Interesting Relationship With The Truth

In 1996, Fordham’s Law Review celebrated Elizabeth Warren as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color.” That was because Ms. Warren had listed her heritage as Native American. Later DNA tests proved that this was not true. The latest tale told by Ms. Warren involves why she left teaching.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today that includes public records that indicate that Ms. Warren was not fired from teaching because she was visibly pregnant, but rather that the Riverdale Board of Education offered her a contract to continue what she had been doing. The minutes of the meeting are included in the article.

The article reports:

Toward the end of Warren’s first year on the job, in April 1971, the board approved her contract for the following school year, the meeting minutes show. Two months later, the meeting minutes indicate that Warren had tendered her resignation.

“The resignation of Mrs. Elizabeth Warren, speech correctionist effective June 30, 1971 was accepted with regret,” the June 16, 1971, minutes say.

There are no further mentions of Warren in Riverdale Board of Education meeting minutes, according to a spokesman for the board.

Scrutiny of Warren’s explanation for her jump from teaching to law comes months after the Massachusetts senator steadied her campaign after a rocky start.

In October, two months before her campaign launch, Warren executed a botched attempt to put questions about her claims to Native American heritage behind her by releasing the results of a DNA test. The results, which showed she has minimal Cherokee ancestry, did little to quell the controversy.

She went on to issue a public apology for taking the test in the first place.

“I have listened, and I have learned a lot. And I’m grateful for the many conversations we’ve had together,” Warren told a Native American audience in Iowa in mid-August.

Though many on both sides of the aisle counted her out due to her handling of the issue, Warren has managed not only to bounce back but to climb to the top of the field. Even President Donald Trump, who savaged Warren for her attempt to claim Native American ancestry, has said publicly he regrets drawing attention to her early on given that she has managed prevail—at least thus far.

“I did the Pocahontas thing,” Trump said to supporters at an August rally. “I hit her really hard and it looked like she was down and out but that was too long ago, I should’ve waited.”

If white privilege exists, why did Elizabeth Warren claim to be a Native American to advance her career?

The Name Not Usually Mentioned

As we wade through the fertilizer the mainstream media is scattering about Hunter Biden’s job working with the Ukraine, we also hear that one of Hunter Biden’s business partners was Christopher Heinz. (Note: The Washington Examiner posted an article on August 27, 2019, stating that after the Ukrainian deal, Christopher Heinz cut his business ties with Hunter Biden). The was also another person involved in the Ukrainian transactions.

On May 13, 2019. The Washington Free Beacon reported:

Former vice president Joe Biden’s son Hunter Biden partnered with infamous mobster Whitey Bulger’s nephew and former secretary of state John Kerry’s stepson for his lucrative business deal with the Bank of China, according to reporter Peter Schweizer’s latest book.

Schweizer points to the business deal with state-owned Bank of China, a $1.5 billion private equity investment, as a possible reason why the current presidential candidate has adopted a conciliatory attitude toward China. The lucrative deal between the Bank of China and Hunter Biden’s company was inked in 2013 just weeks after Joe Biden brought his son along on an official trip to China.

Schweizer also lays out the interesting cast of characters who partnered with Biden for the deal, such as the Thornton Group consulting firm, which is headed by James Bulger. The son of Massachusetts state senator Billy Bulger, James is named after his uncle James “Whitey” Bulger, who was killed in prison late last year after a decades-long career in the mob that landed him on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Also partnered with Biden is Chris Heinz, the stepson of John Kerry. Biden and Heinz control Rosemont Seneca Partners, the private equity firm that received billions of investment dollars from China.

The cast of characters in this story is very interesting.

The following video is posted at YouTube. I am posting it here in case YouTube removes it. It is Joe Biden bragging about stopping the Ukrainians from investigating the company his son was involved with.

Meanwhile the media is attempting to blame President Trump for talking to the Ukrainian leadership about corruption.

When People Espousing Gun Control Know Nothing About The Subject

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about some recent statements by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat congresswoman from Texas.

The article reports:

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D., Texas) claimed to have held an AR-15 and immediately regretted it, saying it weighed as much as “10 boxes that you might be moving.”

Speaking to reporters last week, she added that AR-15s use a “.50 caliber” bullet that ought to be licensed.

“I’ve held an AR-15 in my hand,” she said. “I wish I hadn’t. It is as heavy as 10 boxes that you might be moving. And the bullet that is utilized, a .50 caliber, these kinds of bullets need to be licensed and do not need to be on the streets.”

Being a skeptical person and not wanting to mislead readers of this blog, I weighed an AR-15 with a thirty-round magazine. It weighed less than my cat–about 10 pounds. (One of my cats is part Maine Coon and weighs about fifteen pounds. Note: It is definitely appropriate that someone writing a blog called rightwinggranny would have multiple cats!)  I would hate to be the moving company in charge of moving Representative Lee if each moving box only contains one pound’s worth of goods.

The article concludes:

The Washington Free Beacon made a SuperCut in 2018 of gun control advocates bungling facts about firearms, and it included many Democratic elected officials.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) remarked it was legal to “hunt humans” with high-capacity magazines, former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg had to be corrected on the difference between automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.) warned about “rapid-fire magazines.”

Why do Democrat lawmakers want to take our guns away? Why do they want to take our guns away while they continue to have armed security guards? Is it okay for them to defend themselves but not okay for the average American citizen to be able to defend themselves? Why are lawmakers reluctant to put armed retired military in schools to defend the children, instead leaving schools on the list of ‘soft targets’ for mass shootings? Are lawmakers aware that the Aurora movie theater shooter chose that theater because it did not allow its patrons to exercise their concealed carry right? These are the questions that should be asked of our lawmakers.

False Statements That Create Division And Unrest

The mainstream media is not known for unbiased reporting, but every now and then even they have to correct something that is not only false but incendiary.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article on Thursday about a recent lie by two political candidates that could easily be called incendiary.

The article reports:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) doubled down on her tweet that claimed black teenager Michael Brown was “murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri,” saying Wednesday what mattered was an “unarmed man” was shot in the street.

Campaigning in New Hampshire, Warren was asked about her inflammatory tweet, which received the harshest “Four-Pinocchio” rating from the Washington Post.

“What matters is that a man was shot, an unarmed man, in the middle of the street, by police officers and left to die,” Warren said. “And I think that’s where our focus should be.”

Warren and fellow presidential candidates Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) and Tom Steyer all used the term “murder” to describe Brown’s death in 2014 at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. The incident set off a debate about police violence and racial injustice. Although the notion that Brown was killed with his hands up and begging Wilson not to shoot was apocryphal, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” became a mantra for protesters.

To Senator Warren and Senator Harris the narrative was more important than the truth. Rather than tell the truth, they lied in order to advance the idea that the police involved were racist.

The article concludes:

The Washington Post‘s Glenn Kessler said for Warren and Harris—he didn’t include Steyer in his story—to dismiss the Justice Department’s findings was “galling.”

“Harris and Warren have ignored the findings of the Justice Department to accuse Wilson of murder, even though the Justice Department found no credible evidence to support that claim,” Kessler wrote. “Instead, the Justice Department found that the popular narrative was wrong, according to witnesses deemed to be credible, some of whom testified reluctantly because of fear of reprisal. The department produced a comprehensive report to determine what happened, making the senators’ dismissal of it even more galling.”

The Massachusetts Police Union ripped Warren as well, saying she had unfairly accused police of harming society.

So what is the impact of these statements? Those Americans who are unaware of the Justice Department findings or the grand jury’s decision are left with the impression that the police in Missouri murdered a man without cause. How does that impact the opinion of law enforcement held by the people who believe this lie? How does this lie impact the amount of respect for law enforcement needed to maintain a civil society? The statements of Senators Harris and Warren are totally irresponsible. Even if they thought they were telling the truth, they owe those people who work in law enforcement an apology.

A Program That Is Getting Results

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, the oldest voucher program in the United States. This program began in 1990. The program offers private school vouchers to low-income Milwaukee kids using a lottery system. The article reports that just 341 students participated in the program’s first year. Today, that figure is nearly 30,000 across 126 public schools.

The article reports:

Because it has been running for so long, the MPCP has been widely studied. Past analyses have found that it increases math scores (although not reading), as well as high-school graduation and college enrollment rates. Other voucher experiments have also shown encouraging results: A 2013 study found that Washington, D.C.’s voucher program increased graduation rates by 21 percentage points, while a 2015 analysis of New York’s voucher system saw an increase in college enrollment among students with black mothers.

The authors of the new paper looked at data on students from elementary school through ninth grade who were enrolled in Milwaukee private schools in 2006. They identified 2,727 MPCP students, then used a detailed methodology to “match” them to comparable students in the Milwaukee Public School (MPS) system based on where they lived, their demographic information, their parents’ educational backgrounds, and other controls.

Having constructed their “treatment” and “control” groups, the researchers then looked at how each group faired in relation to pivotal achievement milestones: completing high school, ever enrolling in college, completing at least a year of college, and graduating from college.

The article concludes:

“MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and have more total years in a four-year college than their MPS peers,” the authors write. “We also find evidence that MPCP students are significantly more likely to graduate from college, although that college completion finding is only statistically significant in our sample of students who entered the program in third through eighth grade.”

Specifically, MPCP students who were in ninth grade in 2006 were 6 percentage points more likely than their MPS peers to enroll in a four-year college—46 percent versus 40 percent. MPCP students who were in third through eighth grades were 4 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college, and 3 percentage points more likely to graduate (all effects statistically significant).

These results contribute to what the authors call “a growing body of evaluation results indicating that private school voucher programs positively affect student educational attainment.” They point in particular to a Florida program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, the effects of which on graduation are “nearly identical.”

“The collective evidence in this paper indicates that students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program tend to have higher levels of educational attainment than a carefully matched comparison group of Milwaukee Public School students,” the authors conclude. “The MPCP students are more likely to enroll, persist, and experience more total years in a four-year college.”

Obviously the children using the vouchers to attend private schools are getting a better education than the students in public schools. I would guess that children involved in the voucher program also have a higher level of parental involvement–one of the keys to success for students. The children involved in the voucher program probably also know that there may be penalties for not doing the work required. I suspect that discipline in the private schools is probably more prevalent than in public schools. Our public schools have become places where children are not held to an academic or behavior standard. The success of the children in the voucher programs is an indication of problems in our public schools.

The Coming Election Impacts Foreign Policy

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about China’s plans to influence the 2020 presidential election.

The article reports:

In his conversation with Levin, Gertz (Washington Free Beacon senior writer Bill Gertz) reflected on his interview with Guo, who told Gertz earlier this week that the Chinese government has been deploying a prolonged campaign to defeat President Donald Trump in 2020. Gertz asserted the Chinese government may try to wait out Trump’s time in office so it can negotiate trade deals with a new Democratic president if Trump loses in 2020.

Trump announced Thursday he would impose an additional 10-percent tariff on certain Chinese exports as a trade agreement between the United States and China has yet to materialize.

“The China threat to me is the most serious threat facing the country,” Gertz told Levin.

He pointed to the economic integration between the U.S and China and how those relationships make it difficult for lawmakers and military officials to address Chinese aggression head-on, which he referred to as “an existential threat.”

The article concludes:

“There’s a major push right now to try and build up of American courses in Asia so we won’t have to go to war with China,” Gertz said of the government’s efforts to deter a war hypothetical war with China.

Looking towards the presidential race, Gertz warned the Chinese government would prefer to have a Democrat in the White House.

“It’s going to be a huge problem if the Democrats retake the administration,” Gertz said, pointing to former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent downplaying of threat China poses to the United States.

Gertz pointed out that during the Obama presidency the Chinese government expanded their presence in Asian waterways, in addition to ramping up their theft of intellectual property from American companies and entrepreneurs.

This may be the reason the negotiations with China have become so difficult–China is waiting for a President who will cave into their demands. It is obvious that President Trump is not that person.

By undermining President Trump since he was elected, the Democrat party has made international trade negotiations much more difficult. Creating an even playing field in trade with China would result in continued growth of the United States economy. It is time to repair the damage bad trade deals have done in the past.

A New Dimension Of Insanity

Om Wednesday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the latest protest by a group of climate activists. I don’t claim to be a scientist and I don’t claim to be a climate expert, but there are a few facts that I learned in school that have not changed. There is a difference between weather and climate. Climate is cyclical. The climate we are living with is always changing. Generally significant change takes a long time. Scientists have found plant fossils under the ice in Greenland. That indicates that at some point that part of the earth was much warmer. Right now you can’t grow much in Greenland. During the Middle Ages there was a period of global warming. There were no SUV’s. Generally speaking, there is a lot involved in climate science that we simply cannot explain.

The article reports:

When group members (of Extinction Rebellion) planned to glue themselves to the Capitol in early July, providence prevented them. Earlier in the day, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) and Earl Blumenauer (D., Ore.) introduced legislation to declare a national state of climate emergency. It was one of the group’s primary demands, and nullified the need for drastic action.

But these climatistas had to do something. So instead of glue, on July 9 they marched on the Capitol armed with chalk to commit offenses that were “only slightly against the law,” according to spokeswoman Kaela Bamberger. Capitol Hill police prevented them from even approaching the building—much to their disappointment.

Two weeks passed, and Sanders’s legislation went nowhere. Extinction Rebellion leaders decided Tuesday was their chance for arrest. It was time to cover themselves in glue.

A few days before the big event, the group sent out a mass email advertising dramatic “action.” Journalists were contacted over encrypted messaging apps with vague instructions about when and where to arrive outside the Capitol.

Upon our arrival, Extinction Rebellion members shepherd us downstairs to the Cannon rotunda, where an underground passage leads into Capitol offices.

When several young people arrive and begin their work about half an hour later, it’s a bit underwhelming. Gluing oneself to a building sounds dramatic—just short of self-immolation—but in practice, it’s an unceremonious affair. The two climate warriors closest to me dump Gorilla Glue into their palms and plaster them to the open doors of the passageway. To make their roadblock complete, they glue their two free hands together, human chain style. If I had not seen the whole process, I would have thought they were overly romantic tourists.

The article concludes:

After about 15 more minutes of shouting, singing, and a few tears from the climatistas, the police decide they’ve had enough. They clear the hallway and remove everyone from the doors, leading them out of the Capitol building. According to Extinction Rebellion spokespeople, 13 people were placed under arrest.

But there is no photo-op. Any arrests that occur happen away from the reach of cameras; the arrest-hungry climatistas get a pyrrhic victory.

“Well, that was anticlimactic,” Bamberger (Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Kaela Bamberger) sighs to me as we exit the scene.

Because our schools and colleges are indoctrinating rather than teaching the scientific method, we can expect to see more of this.-

 

Maybe There Are Some People In Chicago Who Are Not Corrupt

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday about the latest news on the Jussie Smollett case.

The article reports:

An Illinois judge assigned a special prosecutor to investigate the alleged hate crime hoax carried out by Empire star Jussie Smollett and the handling of the case by the state’s attorney’s office.

Cook County state’s attorney Kim Foxx came under scrutiny for the deal reached with Smollett, who did not admit to guilt and forfeited his bail in return for charges being dropped. Despite having claimed to have recused herself and handing it to an “acting state’s attorney,” Foxx later claimed she never formerly recused herself and the announced recusal was only “in a colloquial sense.”

But Judge Michael Toomin of the Cook County circuit ruled Friday there is no provision in Illinois law for an “acting state’s attorney,” and that Foxx was supposed to allow a judge to appoint a special prosecutor. The case was therefore prosecuted by “a fictitious office having no legal existence.”

“Although disqualification of the duly elected State’s Attorney necessarily impacts constitutional concerns, the unprecedented irregularities identified in this case warrants the appointment of an independent counsel to restore the public’s confidence and integrity of our criminal justice system,” Toomin wrote.

There are some serious questions as to what exactly happened during the supposed hate crime reported by Mr. Smollett. It is nice to see that the city of Chicago is attempting to answer those questions.

An Entirely Predictable Outcome

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about some recent statements by top Iranian leaders.

The article reports:

Top Iranian leaders issued a series of warnings on Tuesday, telling world leaders it is on the brink of restarting a significant portion of its most contested nuclear work, including the enrichment of uranium to prohibited levels that could be used as part of a weapons program.

With tensions mounting between the United States and Iran following a bevy on new sanctions issued by the Trump administration, Iranian leaders warned their counterparts in Europe that the country will begin to enrich uranium—the key component in a nuclear weapon—to levels needed for weapons research.

Iran also will begin to stockpile low-enriched uranium instead of shipping it out of the country, as it had been doing under the nuclear agreement. The Islamic Republic also will stop exporting its heavy water reserves, a nuclear byproduct that can provide a plutonium-based pathway to a weapon.

Both of these moves are enflaming global tension surrounding Iran’s nuclear program, which the country has used to receive billions in sanctions relief and cash windfalls as a result of the Obama administration’s accord. Iranian leaders insist that if Europe does not reject the new U.S. sanctions and help Tehran bypass them, they will stop adhering the nuclear deal, which several European counties are still party to.

Does anyone actually believe that Iran suspended its nuclear program while the treaty was in effect?

The article concludes:

Iran also is seeking to have its international oil trade restored.

The Trump administration, after a protracted inter-agency fight, decided last month to stop issuing sanctions waivers to several countries purchasing large amounts of Iranian crude oil. The removal of these waivers effectively killed Iran’s oil trade.

Keivan Khosravi, a spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said all banking and oil rights must be immediately restored or Tehran will continue with efforts to ramp up prohibited nuclear work.

“As the honorable president declared, concurrent with the SNSC statement, Iran will continue subsequent and staged steps to stop nuclear deal undertakings based on the UNSC statement until the status quo of its oil sales and banking transactions return to the conditions that prevailed before the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal,” Khosravi wrote in a memo published Tuesday by Iran’s state-controlled press.

Translated loosely, this means that the sanctions are working and we need to leave them in place. If Iran does ramp up its nuclear program, we need another computer virus to slow it down. The reactor sites are hidden too deep underground to be bombed successfully, but an electronic attack on their computers and power grid would probably slow them down for a few years at least. The answer to the problem of a nuclear Iran is an Iran not controlled by the mullahs. That is a possibility as the younger generation tends to lean toward western ideas, but those that make those tendencies known wind up in prison or dead. Iran needs another revolution. The sanctions and the economic hardship they cause make that revolution a possibility.

One thing I believe we need to consider is a lesson learned in recent years about setting up democracies in places that do not understand freedom. It seems that in order to create a free county, you need brave men of integrity willing to lead a revolution and fight for freedom for all people. You can’t come in and just plant a democracy. Planting a democracy is somewhat like helping a baby chick hatch–the baby chick needs the hatching process to gain the strength to survive. If you help a baby chick hatch, it will not survive. It seems that in recent years we have learned that democracies have the same problem–they have to do their own hatching. When the work is done for them, the wrong leaders rise and the people gain new despots–they don’t gain freedom.

Some Good News From The Senate

On Friday, The Washington Free Beacon reported that the Senate passed an amendment on Thursday renewing and codifying a Congressional ban on earmarking bills.

The article quotes Senator Ben Sasse who led the initiative to ban earmarks:

“The last thing taxpayers need is for the same politicians who racked up a $22 trillion national debt to go on an earmark binge,” Sasse said in a statement. “It’s pretty simple: Earmarks are a crummy way to govern and they have no business in Congress. Backroom deals, kickbacks, and earmarks feed a culture of constant incumbency and that’s poisonous to healthy self-government. This is an important fight and I’m glad that my Republican colleagues agreed with my rules change to make the earmark ban permanent.”

Earmarks have been banned before, but somehow keep cropping up again. In 2011 the Senate passed a temporary ban on earmarks. In 2017, the Senate voted to keep the ban in place. However, in the past, the ban has not necessarily accomplished much.

The article reports:

The Senate voted in 2017 to keep the ban in place, with a push led by former Sen. Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.). Flake launched an investigation in 2015 which found that, despite the 2011 ban, many earmarks had slipped through, with hundreds of millions spent on side projects, such as grape research and subsidies for a ballet theater in the wealthiest congressional district in America.

Similarly, a Citizens Against Government Waste report found that Congress had approved $5.1 billion in earmarks in 2016. In 2016, House Republicans attempted to undo earmark bans, but the Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) rebuffed the effort, saying that it would inappropriate right after a “drain the swamp” election.

Earmarks are a tool to get bills passed that might not otherwise be passed. If a Senator is promised a new highway for his state in exchange for his vote, he might vote for whatever is being considered. However, earmarks make it possible to pass bills that are wasteful and would not otherwise pass. Banning earmarks is a really good idea.

When Politicians Think They Know More Than The Voters

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today that included the following quote by Representative Al Green, a Democrat from Texas:

“I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected. If we don’t impeach him, he will say he’s been vindicated,” Green said. “He will say the Democrats had an overwhelming majority in the House and they didn’t take up impeachment. He will say that we had a constitutional duty to do it if it was there, and we didn’t. He will say he’s been vindicated.”

So the Representative is concerned that if President Trump is not impeached, he will be re-elected. Wait a minute. Do you want to impeach him because you believe he has done something impeachable, or do you want to impeach him so that he won’t be re-elected. If this impeachment move political? Of course it is.

The voters get to determine who the next President is. They will decide whether or not President Trump is re-elected.

One of the best quotes during the questioning of Attorney General Barr was the Attorney General’s reply to Senator Richard Blumenthal. The Attorney General stated, “We have to stop using the criminal justice process as a political weapon.” Technically the impeachment process is a political process rather than a criminal justice process, but it was never meant to be a political weapon.

If President Trump continues to keep his promises and do a good job as President, he will be re-elected. Impeachment will not change that–in fact it would probably cost the Democrats their majority in the House of Representatives. They might want to consider than.

When You Lose One Fight, Revisit Another One

It hasn’t been a good couple of weeks for angry Democrats and Trump-haters. The Mueller Report was just not useful in the quest to impeach President Trump, the economy is doing better than expected, unemployment is low, the stock market is high, and the workforce participation rate is slowly climbing back to pre-2008 levels. Meanwhile, President Trump’s rallies are extremely well attended. So what can an angry Democrat do now? Rewrite history and get angry at Justice Kavanaugh.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday with the headline, “Dark Money Leftist Group Runs Facebook Ads Targeting Kavanaugh.” The man was confirmed, the allegations were never proven, there was a lack of consistency in the story told, and Justice Kavanaugh is considered innocent until proven guilty. It’s time to let it go.

The article reports:

A dark money progressive organization hoping for a leftward turn on the courts is targeting Justice Brett Kavanaugh with advertisements, suggesting the Court is illegitimate following his elevation last October.

“Brett Kavanaugh’s performance during his testimony in front of the Senate was a disgrace. His blatant partisan attacks and hostile behavior towards senators calls into question his ability to serve as a fair and impartial judge. His conduct undermines the legitimacy of his decisions and the entire Supreme Court,” the ad reads.

“We’re calling on Congress to open an investigation into Kavanaugh right now.”

Other ads by the group Demand Justice alleged there was “overwhelming evidence that Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury during his confirmation hearings before the Senate” and also urged George Mason University to “fire” Kavanaugh from teaching a summer course at the Virginia school.

The article concludes:

Carrie Severino is chief counsel and policy director of the Judicial Crisis Network, which, according to its website, advocates for the rule of law consistent with the “Constitution and the Founders’ vision of a nation of limited government.”

She says Democrats and others on the left failed at phase one and two of their campaign, to delay and then defeat Kavanaugh’s nomination, and have moved on to phase three: discredit.

“Knowing that they failed even with historic levels of dirty politics, smear campaigns to get him off the court, they’re hoping they can discredit him at every future decision that he makes,” Severino told the Washington Free Beacon.

“It’s the last refuge of scoundrels,” she added later. “If you can’t actually win on the merits of your arguments, you can’t say ‘well, he’s wrong on the law,’ and then explain your constitutional or legal reasoning, then you just go for ad hominem attacks. This is a variation of that theme.”

Requests for comment to Demand Justice were not returned.

If this continues, is anyone going to want to accept an appointment to high office or want to work for the government? The group can buy all of the ads they want, but the American people need to be smart enough to ignore those ads and make them a waste of money.

Prepare The Popcorn, The Show Is About To Begin

Joe Biden has entered the Democratic presidential race. Prepare for amazing statements by someone who seems to have no relationship with reality.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about a recent statement by former Vice-President Biden.

The article reports:

“The thing I’m proudest of is we, coincidentally, we were each in a different part of the country and we were each talking to groups of people that were being televised. On the same day, purely coincidentally, we were asked what are you proudest of from your administration? You know what I said—he said the same thing, though probably a bit more clearly than I did: Not one single whisper of scandal,” Biden said on ABC’s The View. “That’s because of Barack Obama.”

This has been a common refrain among Democrats and people in the media. In 2018, Obama himself declared his presidency was free from scandal.

“I didn’t have scandals, which seems like it shouldn’t be something you brag about,” Obama said.

Despite Obama’s claim of a scandal free presidency, his administration was plagued by numerous scandals. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s email scandal, the administration’s response to the 2012 terror attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, a scandal involving the IRS targeting conservative organizations, Operation Fast and Furious, Department of Justice’s tracking of reporter James Rosen, the Solyndra scandal, and the failures of the Department of Veterans Affairs are a few of the scandals to have occurred throughout Obama’s time in office.

Wow. Maybe he just forgot.

 

Preparing For 2020

I can’t imaging the Democrats would be crazy enough to run Stacey Abrams as their candidate for Vice-President in 2020, but stranger things have happened. Why do I think this might be a possibility? Rather than have her run as a failed candidate, Democrats are painting her as someone who had an election stolen from her.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday stating that former Attorney General Eric Holder believes that Stacey Abrams won the race for Georgia governor in 2018.

The article reports:

In making that claim, Holder echoed other prominent Democrats in suggesting that Kemp’s role as secretary of state was a factor in the outcome.

“I think the way it was conducted, the – her opponent remaining as secretary of state, basically being the referee until about the last week of the election, certainly gave the appearance of unfairness, and I think it was unfairness.”

Abrams has never conceded the race, and has also maintained on several occasions that she won.

Also speaking to The Root, Abrams placed some blame on media coverage for how the election turned out.

“I would attribute it less to racism and more to a very narrow and immature ability to navigate the story of my campaign,” Abrams said. “I was doing a number of things that were new and different and discomforting to some. But what was worse was that, for a lot of those folks, they could not comprehend how all of these things could be true at the exact same moment. I wouldn’t necessarily ascribe any racial animus as much as I would a lack of—there was some incompetence in the coverage that was problematic.”

When the Democrats lose an election, somehow it is always someone else’s fault (or it is racism). How many times can you cry ‘wolf’ and still be believed?

Still Playing The Game

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article yesterday that explains why many people are moving away from Google as a search engine. Other than the fact that Google tracks your searches (DuckDuckGo.com does not), Google is not an unbiased search engine. It has a political agenda despite claims to the contrary.

The news of the day Friday was that there would be no further indictments in the Mueller investigation. If you went looking for that news on Google, it would not be immediately obvious.

The article illustrates:

Using Google search on multiple browsers and on private-browsing mode, the Free Beacon found Google search had an aversion to the search term “indictment.”

Using either “Trump” or “Mueller” as the subject, the following word “indictment” was not suggested even after spelling out most of it. For example, putting “Trump indi” into Google’s search bar does not lead to “Trump indictment” but rather to “Trump India,” “Trump India Pakistan,” Trump India tariffs,” and “Trump Indiana.”

Seems like Google might have overlooked the obvious. When “Mueller ind” was entered, the results were similar. The article also includes screenshots of Yahoo and Bing when the letters “Trump ind” and “Mueller ind” were entered. The first entries that came up were “Trump indictment” and “Mueller indictments”.

The article concludes:

Google was previously accused of pushing positive stories about Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has denied this kind of bias occurs in its search results, saying so repeatedly in a congressional hearing last year. Democrats, however, seemed to undermine Pichai’s message by arguing in that hearing that Google is free to suppress conservatives in its search results if it so desires. Pichai said such suppression of different views would violate the company’s “core principles,” although an executive was caught emailing about making sure Google services helped Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The company’s fidelity to principles of free expression has also come under scrutiny as it has continued to work with Xi Jinping’s autocratic regime in China. Because of severe free speech restrictions in that country, Google had been developing a special search engine “Dragonfly” that would block topics disapproved by the regime, including history about China and the Communist Party. Dragonfly was put on hold after it spawned an outcry against Google, but employees have expressed concern that it’s being developed in secret.

Domestically, the Silicon Valley giant is also dealing with pressure to have its products more strictly regulated. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren (D.) has called for breaking up major tech companies on anti-trust grounds.

On a somewhat related personal note, when I began this blog in 2008, Facebook was a good source of articles posted by conservative friends and conservative sources. Blogging was very easy. That has changed in recent years–many friends have spent time in Facebook jail, and many conservative sources have been blocked. Social media in its freest state is a wonderful thing, but gradually those in charge of social media have been removing our freedom. All Americans need to be vigilant about what they read on social media and also about what search engine they use. That is sad, but necessary.

 

 

How Much Of Our Tax Money Is Wisely Spent?

On Sunday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about fraud in the government’s food stamp program.

The article reports:

According to a new report produced by the Government and Accountability Office (GAO), at least $1 billion in food stamp benefits are “trafficked annually,” meaning they are fraudulently used. The extent of the fraud is uncertain, the GAO warns, estimating the abuse of the program could be as high as $4.7 billion.

About 20 million lower-income households receive benefits from the $64 billion Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, to buy food. But GAO found that instead of being used for food, many stores are defrauding the program by “selling” cash instead of food.

“For example, a store might give a person $50 in exchange for $100 in benefits – then pocket the difference,” GAO explains.

The article explains one possible remedy:

The fraud, known as “retailer trafficking,” costs taxpayers at least $1 billion. However, the real cost could be “anywhere from $960 million to $4.7 billion,” the GAO adds.

The Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA), a Washington, D.C.-based think tank advocating reform, launched a “Stop the Scam initiative” to raise awareness of the widespread problem.

“Welfare fraud is one of the biggest untold stories of the last decade, robbing resources from the truly needy and eroding public trust in the integrity of our welfare programs,” Sam Adolphsen, vice president of executive affairs at FGA, said in a statement. “While the bad-actor food stamp retailers exposed in this GAO report are in part to blame, we must not lose sight of the accountability that falls upon the food stamp recipient willing to commit fraud and abuse the system.”

The FGA hopes to reduce fraud and abuse at the state level by uncovering discrepancies in each state’s eligibility systems by regularly reviewing their processes.

Public assistance works best when it is closest to the recipient. That way the people providing the assistance know who is in need and who is taking advantage of the program. It also allows those administering the program to spot fraud more easily. Every program in Washington needs to audited for fraud and cleaned up. That alone might make it unnecessary for Congress to raise the debt ceiling every few months.

The article concludes:

Finally, GAO recommended that FNS should “determine the appropriate scope and time frames for reauthorizing high-risk stores,” increase penalties for retail traffickers, and establish performance measures for its trafficking prevention activities.

The Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 gave the USDA the authority to strengthen penalties for retailers that commit fraud, but as of November 2018, FNS had not done so.

“By failing to take timely action to strengthen penalties, FNS has not taken full advantage of an important tool for deterring trafficking,” GAO states.

When the GAO confirms what actions FNS has taken in response to its recommendations, it plans to provide updated information to the public, the agency states. It states that the FNS generally agreed with its findings.

The USDA/FNS did not respond to requests to comment for this story.