Common Sense Begins

The Washington Times reported yesterday that President Trump plans to make a major change in immigration rules. The new rule would require immigrants to show they aren’t a public burden if they want to extend their visas or get on the path to citizenship. That sounds like common sense to me. America is struggling to take care of her veterans, and struggling to provide assistance to the people already here. Why would we bring in more people from other countries to drain our welfare system further?

The article reports:

The president’s backers said they expect Mr. Trump and his team to finalize the proposal. If anything, they said, it doesn’t go far enough to crack down on what appears to be rampant welfare use by noncitizens and their children.

“I think they’re going to implement them as is or with some tweaks. This is the kind of thing he was elected for,” said Steven A. Camarota, research director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “While there might be advocacy groups that object to that idea, the fact is most Americans think immigrants should be self-sufficient, so I think they’re on pretty strong ground.”

The center released a study this month calculating that a staggering 63 percent of households led by noncitizens use at least one welfare program. The rate for households led by native-born Americans is just 35 percent.

It would also be a good idea to begin to put a time limit on welfare programs. For instance, a person could not get housing assistance for more than 10 years or food stamps for more than 5 years unless they showed proof of at least part-time employment or job training. We cannot afford to continue to take money away from people who earn it and give it to people who didn’t earn it and think they are entitled to it.

A New Face

The Washington Times reported on Thursday that Kathy Kraninger has been confirmed as the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and will serve for the next five years.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile the CFPB is still facing major legal hurdles.

Some federal judges have ruled that by placing so much power — including an independent budget that Congress doesn’t control — in a single director, the CFPB violates the Constitution. But a ruling earlier this year by the full U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld the singe-director structure.

Let’s take a look at the inception of the CFPB. The CFPB is the brainchild of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. It was passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Dodd-Frank Act was Congress’ way of dealing with the housing bubble that caused the recession of 2008. However, the congressional solution was aimed at banks and Wall Street. It made no mention of the role that Congress had played in creating the housing crisis and made no effort to take responsibility for their actions or prevent a repeat of the problem.

In 1995 The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) was changed, allowing Fannie Mae to purchase $2 billion of “My Community Mortgage” Loans, pilot vendors to customize affordable products for low and moderate income borrowers. Some of the things done to make the loans more affordable were low (or no) down payments and variable interest rates. Fannie Mae guarantees mortgages and then sells them to banks and investors. Banks were forced to issue sub-prime mortgages or pay large penalties. As more people took out mortgages, the price of houses rose quickly.  In 2005, 91 percent of Fannie Mae loans were variable rate loans. In 2004, 92 percent of Fannie Mae subprime loans were variable rate loans. Interest rates rose, gas prices increased, and people could not pay their mortgages. The subprime market collapsed, and foreclosures increased rapidly. Banks stopped making mortgage loans.

There were efforts made to stop this train. On September 11, 2003, The New York Times reported:

Bush administration today recommended the most significant regulatory overhaul in the housing finance industry since the savings and loan crisis a decade ago.

…a new agency would be created within the Treasury Department to assume supervision  on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored companies that are the two largest players in the mortgage lending industry.

The Democrats opposed the reform. Barney Frank, a Democrat from Massachusetts, said that it would mean less affordable housing. Melvin Watt, a Democrat from North Carolina, said that it would limit the ability of poor families to get affordable housing.

In 2005, John McCain warned of a coming mortgage collapse. He sponsored S.190 (109th), Federal Housing Enterprise Regulatory Reform Act of 2005. The Democrats blocked it. It was again brought up and blocked in 2007.

Opensecrets.org lists campaign contributions to politicians. Fannie Mae gave generously to insure that it would not be regulated. Some Democrats and Fannie Mae executives had ‘sweetheart’ loans from mortgage companies that were heavily involved in sub-prime mortgages.

So where am I going with this? The housing bubble was created by bad legislation. Bad legislation continues. In August 2016, The New York Post reported:

The Obama administration is doing its best to give the nation another mortgage meltdown.

As Paul Sperry recently noted in The Post, Team Obama has pushed mortgage lenders to offer home loans to folks with shaky credit, setting up conditions for another housing-market collapse.

Wasn’t the last one bad enough?

Credit scores of approved borrowers, for example, have been trending down, even as their debt levels have grown.

The Federal Housing Administration and government-sponsored “independent” lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been demanding lower credit standards — just as the feds did starting under President Bill Clinton, in pursuit of the same “affordable housing” goal.

Some borrowers need only put 3 percent down to get a Fannie Mae loan — even if the downpayment is a gift. Fannie also has started up a new subprime lending program.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently warned that mortgage underwriting standards have slipped and now reflect “broad trends similar to those experienced from 2005 through 2007, before the most recent financial crisis.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Board (and Dodd-Frank) were not related to the cause of the 2008 recession–the recession was the result of bad laws. Both the CFPB and Dodd-Frank need to go away. They are nothing but a blatant example of government overreach.

The New House Of Representatives Could Be Very Interesting

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday that included some recent quotes by Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The lady is obviously very impressed with herself. I wonder if she realizes that she is one of 435 members of the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

The New York Democrat told reporters on Friday that once again the U.S. is “at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss” that requires citizens of a special kind of mettle. She says that such an elite group exists — and that she and other newly elected Democrats are in it.

“This is not just about a Green New Deal, this is about a new deal for the United States of America,” the 29-year-old said at a “Sunrise Movement” press conference in Washington. “Because in every moment where our country has reached the depths of darkness, in every moment, when we were at the brink, at the cusp of an abyss, and we did not know if we could be capable of saving ourselves, we have.”

“We’ve done what we thought was impossible. We went to the moon,” she added. “We electrified the nation. We established civil rights. We enfranchised the country. We dug deep and we did it. We did it when no one else thought that we could. That’s what we did when so many of us won an election this year. That’s what so many of us did.”

I believe that if you look back at history, the Republicans passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Democrats in the Senate staged a 75-day filibuster against the measure. I don’t think you can say that the Democrats established civil rights.

This is a picture of the voting taken from the govtrack website:

I look forward to many more interesting statements from Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

We Need To Learn From Past Mistakes

I live very close to a national forest–a very large national forest. Watching what has happened in California makes me wonder how safe I am here. However, I am also aware that controlled burns in the national forest here are a part of summer life. I should also mention that generally there is enough rain during the summer to make these burns safe. Unfortunately that is not always the case in California, and sometimes a controlled burn is simply not practical. However, there are other ways to clear out brush and possible fuel for a fire.

The Washington Times posted an article about the California fires on Friday. What has happened in California is horrific, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it happening in the future.

The article reports:

A national logging organization is offering support to President Trump following catastrophic wildfires in California and a political debate over the causes of the destructive blazes.

“President Trump blamed poor forest management for wildfires in California and throughout the West, and there is truth to statements he has made,” said Daniel Dructor, executive vice president of the American Loggers Council, a coalition of state and regional associations that represents independent contract loggers.

“It’s time to rise above political posturing and recognize that active forest management — including logging, thinning, grazing and controlled burning — are tools that can and must be used to reduce fire risks and help mitigate the impacts to landscapes,” Mr. Dructor said in a statement.

According to the council, some 60 million to 80 million acres of national forest are at “high, to very high, risk of catastrophic wildfire.”

Citing research from the U.S. Forest Service, the council backs such methods as thinning stressed trees and prescribed burns to reduce wildfires but said “only a small fraction of high-risk acres are being treated.”

Mr. Dructor advised the Trump administration and Congress to expand public-private partnerships to manage the problem.

The article concludes:

Loggers are America’s ‘boots on the ground’ to conserve our forests and reduce the risks of wildfire,” council president Chris Potts said in a statement.

We work in the woods every day, we understand forestry and see the dangers every day, and we know what needs to be done. Without forests, we are out of business. That’s why we’ll continue to work with Republicans and Democrats on needed reforms that will help to sustain our forests and protect our forests and communities from wildfire,” he said.

Lumber is a renewable resource. A properly managed forest can continue indefinitely. Good forest management will not only provide jobs and resources, it will create a healthy environment for wildlife and avoid the environmental catastrophe that the California forest fires have been.

Why We Need Concealed Carry

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about an incident in an Alabama McDonald’s.

The article reports:

Once again: The Second Amendment saves. 

The father, who hasn’t been publicly named, was leaving the fast food place on Saturday when a masked man walked in and began shooting.

The dad then pulled his own weapon and started firing at the masked shooter — becoming the shooter’s target in the process.

The father sustained life-threatening injuries, according to WBRC. His son is recovering from his own gun-related injuries. The masked gunman, meanwhile, died from wounds suffered during the incident.

Police aren’t sure what the masked gunman was after — whether he was trying to rob McDonald’s or shoot someone within the establishment. But what’s sure is the father is not going to be charged.

The thing that stopped the shooting from being a massacre was a good guy with a gun who shot the bad guy with a gun, Thank God for gun rights in America.

The article concludes:

Simply put: If it hadn’t been for that armed dad, the bloodshed would’ve been a lot worse. If not for his gun-toting self, the media reports on this would be a lot different, a lot more tragic, and the focus would be on how many were murdered, not saved.

“The shooting took place at the McDonald’s across from Princeton Hospital,” WBRC reported. “A masked man entered the restaurant when an employee opened the door for a father and his sons to leave. The masked man then opened fire in the restaurant. At that point, the father began shooting at the masked man.”

Aside from the father and one of his sons, nobody else was reported injured. Nobody else, aside from the masked gunman, was killed.

This unidentified father deserves a hero’s award for quick and life-saving thinking. Once again, it’s a case of the Second Amendment saving untold numbers from disaster.

Yes,

It Really Is Easy To Commit Voter Fraud

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about an attempt to commit voter fraud in Texas.

The article reports:

The Texas Democratic Party asked non-citizens to register to vote, sending out applications to immigrants with the box citizenship already checked “Yes,” according to new complaints filed Thursday asking prosecutors to see what laws may have been broken.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation alerted district attorneys and the federal Justice Department to the pre-checked applications, and also included a signed affidavit from a man who said some of his relatives, who aren’t citizens, received the mailing.

“This is how the Texas Democratic Party is inviting foreign influence in an election in a federal election cycle,” said Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the PILF, a group that’s made its mark policing states’ voter registration practices.

The Texas secretary of state’s office said it, too, had gotten complaints both from immigrants and from relatives of dead people who said they got mailings asking them to register.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to investigate.

The article continues:

The applications were pre-addressed to elections officials, which is likely what left many voters to believe they were receiving an official communication from the state.

But the return address was from the State Democratic Executive Committee, and listed an address in Austin that matches the state Democratic Party’s headquarters.

The letter is emblazoned with “Urgent! Your voter registration deadline is October 9.” It continues: “Your voter registration application is inside. Complete, sign and return it today!”

On the application, boxes affirming the applicant is both 18 and a U.S. citizen are already checked with an “X” in the Yes field.

The mailing also urges those who are unsure if they’re registered to “Mail it in.”

A person answering phones at the state party declined to connect The Washington Times with any officials there, insisting that a reporter email questions. That email went unanswered.

Sam Taylor, spokesman for Texas’s secretary of state, said they heard from people whose relatives were receiving mail despite having passed away 10 years ago or longer. One woman said her child, who’d been dead 19 years, got a mailing asking to register.

“It looks like a case of really bad information they are using to send out these mailers,” Mr. Taylor said.

He said some of the non-citizens who called wondered whether there had been some change that made them now legally able to vote despite not being citizens.

Mr. Taylor said there is a state law against encouraging someone to falsify a voter application, but it would be up to investigators to decide if pre-checking a box rose to that level.

Pre-checking the citizenship box encourages someone who is not a citizen to commit fraud. The officials who sent out the mailing with the checked box need to be held accountable and sent to jail. Voter fraud will end much more quickly if it results in jail time.

I Guess Caring About The Welfare Of The Voters Is Old-Fashioned

The Washington Times posted an article today about the Democrat’s plans if they win the mid-term election. One statement is particularly revealing.

The article reports:

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said American voters will simply have to deal with the “collateral damage” that comes their way if Democrats craft economic policies in the years ahead.

The California Democrat recently sat down with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman in the Big Apple to discuss public policy. The event, hosted by the Jewish organization 92nd Street Y, included a portion on climate change that sparked the lawmaker’s pronouncement.

“We owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country, and if there is some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it, but it shouldn’t be our original purpose,” she said Sunday.

Her commentary came against a political backdrop in which the U.S. unemployment rate is at a 49-year low — 3.7 percent — in conjunction with moderate inflation.

Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said earlier this month, for instance, that Americans are enjoying a “historically rare” economic climate.

Wow. Representative Pelosi admitted that the economic policies will have “collateral damage.” If the Democrats understand that their economic plans will be destructive, why do they support those economic plans? Seems like a fair question. Note also that she predicts “collateral damage” to those who do not share our view. Does it make any sense at all to put this lady in a position of power?

American Sovereignty

Yesterday The Washington Times reported that the International Court of Justice has ordered the United States to lift some Iran sanctions. The Court wants to make sure that the people of Iran are not harmed by the sanctions. Does the Court want to set up another ‘oil for food’ program like the one in the 1990’s? It’s amazing how much money dishonest people made from that program while the people of Iraq starved. (article here)

First of all, what are the sanctions on Iran about? Iran is probably the largest source of money for terrorism in the world. Iran supplies weapons and military equipment to Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, the government of Syria, Palestinian terrorists, etc. It would be nice if Iran had a little less money to spread around. Iran has also partnered with North Korea and Russia in developing nuclear technology. This is not a country that is working toward peace.

There is also the matter of human rights abuses by the Iranian government. Homosexuals are dropped from buildings or worse. Dissidents are jailed and never heard from again. Fashion police roam the streets and beat women for being immodestly dressed. Human rights are not part of the Iranian government.

The sanctions are putting pressure on the regime. As the financial situation of the people worsens, they are rebelling against the totalitarian government. In this rebellion they have the support of America. If the International Court of Justice truly supported human rights and the humanitarian treatment of people, they would support the sanctions as a way to bring freedom to the people of Iran.

The article states:

The ICC’s David Scheffer responded in the Guardian by saying Bolton’s speech “isolates the United States from international criminal justice and severely undermines our leadership in bringing perpetrators of atrocity crimes to justice elsewhere in the world.”

Wahh.

In case the United Nations hadn’t noticed, this is the Donald Trump administration — not the Barack Obama wishy-washy White House. On globalism first, America second, this president doesn’t play that. MAGA, anyone?

The ICC, apparently, isn’t getting the message.

“The United Nations‘ highest court has ordered the United States to lift sanctions on Iran that affect imports of humanitarian goods and products and services linked to the safety of civil aviation,” NBC wrote.

And on that: “Ordered” seems a rather remarkable word. Better would be “begged.”

After all, what is the ICC to America? America may have helped establish this court back in 2002 — but that’s the extent of the relationship. America has not joined as a state party; the ICC does not dictate policy and procedure to the United States.

It’s almost a delicious anticipation to sit and wonder what Bolton will say to this ICC “order.”

Chances are, given his past and this administration’s bold “America First” dealings on the foreign policy front, it’ll be something like, Bite me, ICC.

That would be well stated, for sure.

I like having a President who not only stands up for American sovereignty, but is willing to support the quest for freedom in other countries.

Some Things Are Just Weird

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about Lanny Davis. Lanny Davis is the longtime friend of the Clintons who is now Michael Cohen’s lawyer. That in itself defies logic, but then it gets worse.

The article reports:

Michael Cohen’s attorney has acknowledged being an anonymous source for the disputed CNN Trump Tower story and also admitted lying on TV about his involvement.

Lanny Davis told BuzzFeed News on Monday evening that he was a source for the story claiming that President Trump had personal prior knowledge of a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians — a story the Cohen camp has since repudiated.

“I made a mistake,” Mr. Davis said.

But the mistake traveled:

But as other news outlets wrote stories “matching” the CNN scoop, which if true would contradict the president’s repeated and public denials of any knowledge of the meeting, Mr. Davis was eagerly confirming the story to those other outlets.

The New York Post and the Washington Post each has publicly named Mr. Davis as their confirming source for their Trump Tower meeting stories, despite initial grants of anonymity.

I am willing to wager that at least half of the people in the country who heard the original statement have not heard the retraction. What Lanny Davis originally said was a lie–not a mistake–intended to make President Trump look bad. The lie traveled, and I suspect the truth has not traveled as far. This sort of lying is one of the reasons for the divisiveness in our country right now–there are an awful lot of Americans walking around believing the lies the mainstream media is telling them every day. When confronted with the truth, they become defensive. The damage to our country that the mainstream media is doing is almost incalculable. As they persist in their biased lies, I believe we will see the alternative media grow stronger (if the alternative media can tell the truth that is not being told). I look forward to the day when we have a media that tells the truth and lets Americans draw their own conclusions.

People Who Live In Glass Houses…

I was not upset that John Brennan’s security clearance was revoked. I was more confused as to why he still had it. It is highly unlikely that anyone in the Trump administration would seek his advice on anything. There is also the question as to whether or not John Brennan is working against the interests of a duly-elected President. The removal of the clearance was not political–it was practical. However, it seems that in the past there have been some instances when the revoking of a security clearance was questionable at best.

On Wednesday The Washington Times posted an article about Adam Lovinger, a Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst.

The article reports:

A Trump-supporting Pentagon analyst was stripped of his security clearance by Obama-appointed officials after he complained of questionable government contracts to Stefan Halper, the FBI informant who spied on the Trump presidential campaign.

Adam Lovinger, a 12-year strategist in the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment, complained to his bosses about Halper contracts in the fall of 2016, his attorney, Sean M. Bigley, told The Washington Times.

…“As it turns out, one of the two contractors Mr. Lovinger explicitly warned his ONA superiors about misusing in 2016 was none other than Mr. Halper,” Mr. Bigley wrote in his ethics complaint, which called the contracts “cronyism and corruption.”

Mr. Lovinger filed a whistleblower reprisal complaint in May with the Defense Department inspector general against James Baker, director of the Office of Net Assessment. The complaint also singles out Washington Headquarters Services, a Pentagon support agency that awarded the Halper contracts totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Every day, more of the witch hunt is being exposed.

Why Energy Independence Matters

The Washington Times posted an article today about Iranian military exercises in the Straits of Hormuz. The Straits of Hormuz is significant because 35% of all seaborne traded oil, or almost 20% of oil traded worldwide flows through the Straits of Hormuz. This is something to watch as the situation in Iran becomes more volatile.

This is today’s Dry Bones cartoon:

The Washington Times reports:

Iran’s navy sent dozens of small boats into the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, dramatizing its ability to choke off the strategic Persian Gulf waterway — a move that could send global oil and U.S. gasoline prices soaring — and escalating the confrontation with the Trump administration for withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal.

U.S. officials said the naval exercise was Tehran’s way to show its capability to create a disruption in the waterway, through which some 30 percent of the world’s sea-transported oil passes daily. Officials at the Pentagon said they expected the exercise would last only a few hours, although it was unclear Thursday night whether it had ended.

“We are monitoring it closely, and will continue to work with our partners to ensure freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce,” said a statement by Navy Capt. Bill Urban, U.S. Central Command spokesman.

The development marked Iran’s latest escalation in response to Mr. Trump’s promise to begin reimposing harsh economic sanctions in the coming days that were suspended under the 2015 deal. One Pentagon source said the unexpected Iranian navy moves were meant to hammer home Tehran’s rejection of President Trump’s offer this week for direct, unconditional talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

The article details the unrest in Iran:

It is an increasingly delicate moment for Mr. Rouhani, who faces protests in Iran over the nation’s struggling economy, weak growth and declining currency.

The Rouhani government has been rocked by a string of protests in cities across the country over the failing currency, mismanagement and investor fears of U.S. sanctions, the first wave of which is set to begin Tuesday. The Trump administration is pressuring Iran’s other trading partners in Europe and elsewhere to curb trade and investment ties as well.

A report by the official IRNA news agency said about 100 people took to the streets Thursday in the northern city of Sari and that demonstrations broke out in at least three other cities. The agency reported that none of the protests had official permission and all were broken up by police.

Iranian dissident groups abroad have detailed multiple demonstrations in recent days, with harsh police crackdowns in response. The Associated Press cited videos circulating on social media purporting to show dozens of demonstrators setting fire to police vehicles and shouting “death to the dictator.” The authenticity of the videos could not immediately be verified.

One way for a dictator to unite his people is to unite them against a common enemy. This may or may not work in Iran since many of the younger people in the country are more inclined toward western ideas than the ideas of the mullahs.

The article concludes:

“Any disruption of oil supplies in the Persian Gulf would be a major threat to the global economy and would hurt U.S. trading partners, thereby damaging the U.S. economy,” said Amy Myers Jaffe, who heads the Program on Energy Security and Climate Change at the Council on Foreign Relations.

U.S. domestic oil and gas production and export increases in recent years “have not reduced the U.S. need to police the free flow of oil from the Middle East,” Ms. Myers Jaffe wrote in an analysis for the think tank this week. “An oil price rise due to the loss of supply in one part of the world is reflected in U.S. price levels as well all other locations across the globe.”

Rockford Weitz, who heads the Fletcher Maritime Studies Program at Tufts University, said that in the Strait of Hormuz, Iran “could damage commercial shipping with relatively cheap anti-ship missiles, fast patrol boats, submarines and mines.

“Even threats and modest disruption to commercial shipping could trigger economic damage in the form of higher marine insurance rates, crude oil supply concerns and unsettled stock markets,” Mr. Weitz wrote in an analysis published by Tufts last month.

We live in a fragile world–keep praying.

Common Sense In The Automotive Industry

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about the Trump administration’s decision regarding CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. The administration is freezing current gas mileage requirements rather than instituting the drastic standards put in place just before President Obama left office. Regulators required that automakers achieve an average 54.5 mpg by 2025, but they relaxed that target to between 50.8 mpg and 52.6 mpg last year. The argument against the draconian standards was that they would increase the price of a car by almost $2000 and create unemployment in the auto industry. The harsh standards would also make our roads less safe.

The Washington Times reports:

A draft of a regulation prepared this summer would freeze an Obama-era program that was intended to improve fuel efficiency and cut pollution.

In excerpts obtained by The Associated Press, the administration argues that heavier vehicles are safer than lighter ones and that people would drive more — and be exposed to increased risk — if their cars get better mileage.

Until we can come up with a material to make cars that is light, strong, and inexpensive, heavier vehicles are safer. American roads have many semi-trailers and trucks on them. A lightweight vehicle does not have a chance of survival in a crash with a heavier vehicle. Fuel economy is a good thing, but the safety of Americans is also very important.

This Is Really Sad

John McCain is a war hero. When given the chance to go home from a North Vietnam prison camp because of his father’s rank, he chose to stay with his men. Because of that choice he was severely beaten and mistreated. That is heroism. Unfortunately his actions in recent years have not reflected the patriotic service to his country that his time in Vietnam exemplified. We have no way of knowing how long the brain cancer he is suffering from clouded his judgement, but even so, some of his actions in recent years are reprehensible.

On Friday, The Washington Times posted an article about some recent documents received by Judicial Watch as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The article reports:

A new report from Judicial Watch reveals a concerted effort from Sen. John McCain’s office to urge the IRS under Lois Lerner to strike out against political advocacy groups, including tea party organizations. 

Thanks to the results of an extensive Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that has been delayed for many years, Judicial Watch has obtained several key emails from 2013 that chronicle McCain’s and Democrat Sen. Carl Levin’s efforts to reign in the advocacy groups that sprouted immediately following the Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court. 

The documents uncovered by Judicial Watch include notes from a high-level meeting on April 30, 2013 between powerful members of McCain’s and Levin’s staffs and Lerner, then-director of tax exempt organizations at the IRS under Barack Obama. The notes reveal the suggestions from McCain’s former staff director and chief counsel on the Senate Homeland Security Permanent Subcommittee, Henry Kerner who urges Lerner to use IRS audits on the advocacy groups to financially ruin them:

In the full notes of an April 30 meeting, McCain’s high-ranking staffer Kerner recommends harassing non-profit groups until they are unable to continue operating. Kerner tells Lerner, Steve Miller, then chief of staff to IRS commissioner, Nikole Flax, and other IRS officials, “Maybe the solution is to audit so many that it is financially ruinous.” In response, Lerner responded that “it is her job to oversee it all:”

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday detailing some of the biography of Henry Kerner.

The Conservative Treehouse reports:

Yesterday it was revealed that Henry J Kerner (Henry Kerner), as a former McCain senior staff official, was part of a bipartisan DC team who constructed the IRS weaponization program to target the Tea Party.  That’s bad enough.  However, a little more digging, you’re not going to believe this: the same guy who was attached to the prior investigations, is now in charge of all DC “corruption” and “whistle-blowing” cases, including the current FBI and DOJ corruption.

Henry Kerner is Special Counsel in charge of all “whistle-blowing” witnesses and cases of government corruption.  Henry Kerner controls the events as the lead official, the Special Counsel in charge of the Office of Special Counsel; and he is in the position to manipulate/control any investigative outcome.

Now a whole bunch of things begin to make sense. From his CV summary Henry Kerner would have been in position to influence: Fast-n-furious scandal (Issa), IRS scandal (Chaffetz), Benghazi (Chaffetz, Gowdy, McCain); and now in his position in charge of the entire Office of Special Counsel he would have influence and control over Spygate etc. (underline is mine)

This is how the deep state works–put a person in a position to act as a dam in case of scandal. In case we ever wondered why none of the above scandals ever resulted in a prosecution, we have a common thread–Henry Kerner.

John McCain’s treachery is bad enough, but to have his former staff member as the protector of those involved in scandals is disgusting. We really need to start voting some of our Congressmen out of office–they have not served us well.

One Of The Main Alligators In The Swamp

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about Rod Rosenstein and his position in the swamp that is Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Mr. Rosenstein, one of the most powerful men in the Department of Justice, threatened to investigate members of Congress and their staff if Congress continued to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to oversee the increasingly rogue federal department.

Move over J. Edgar Hoover. Rod Rosenstein has officially taken your place as the most power-drunk, nefarious, crooked blight on justice to ever preside in the Department of “justice.”

The popularity of Congress may be in the toilet, but self-dealing rogue prosecutors with unlimited power to punish political opponents and put people in jail are so far down the toilet they are fertilizing daisies in Denmark.

In a statement to Fox News, a DOJ official denied that Mr. Rosenstein threatened Congress in a bizarre statement — that confirmed Mr. Rosenstein did precisely that.

The Deputy Attorney General was making the point — after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official said.

After admitting Mr. Rosenstein threatened Congress for overseeing his department, the DOJ official went on to reiterate that the threat remains.

Congress is assigned the job of overseeing the Department of Justice. Mr. Rosenstein’s thuggery is totally unacceptable.

The article points out the difference between Rod Rosenstein and Eric Holder, neither of which were particularly interested in following the U.S. Constitution:

Ex-Attorney General Eric Holder was an ideological crusader and political thug, hell-bent on maximizing the power of the president for whom he worked. Mr. Holder was never elected anything, but he was working for a guy who did get elected. Twice.

Mr. Rosenstein is a thousand times worse and so much more dangerous. He never got elected anything — and he is blatantly giving the middle finger to anyone elected by the people to oversee him and his increasingly lawless department.

Mr. Rosenstein believes he is — literally — above the law. He is answerable to no one. Legal accountability is beneath him. The public be damned.

Firing Mr. Rosenstein would be a step toward draining the swamp. Hopefully that step will be taken in the near future.

The War On Crimes Against Children

The Washington Times reported today that between March and May, the Justice Department arrested more than 2,3000 suspected online child sex offenders.

The article reports:

The operation was conducted by the Justice Department’s Internet Crimes Against Children task forces. All told, 195 offenders who either produced child pornography or committed child sexual abuse and 383 children who suffered sexual abuse were identified, the Justice Department said.

…The 61 Internet Crimes Against Children task forces are comprised of more than 4,500 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies. It targets suspects who produce, distribute or receive child pornography as well as those who engage in the sex trafficking of children or travel across state lines or to foreign countries to abuse children.

The Trump administration announced on March 13, 2018, that it was declaring war on human trafficking. Pornography is directly related to the crime of human trafficking. It is good to see the President following through on this announcement.

Funding Terrorism Because You Don’t Think You Will Get Caught

Iran is known to be one of the major suppliers for weapons and terrorists around the world. The IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) American troops encountered in Iraq and Afghanistan generally originated in Iran. This is not a country that we want to give a lot of money to–the  money doesn’t go to the people–it goes to the military and to fund terrorism. So what in the world was President Obama thinking when he made a deal with Iran that gave them a boatload of money? It gets worse.

The Washington Times posted an article today about an attempt by President Obama to give Tehran access to American banks to convert the large amount of money Iran received after the nuclear agreement into American dollars.

The article reports:

The Obama administration — despite repeatedly assuring Congress that Iran would remain barred from the U.S. financial system — secretly mobilized to give Tehran access to American banks to convert the windfall of cash it received from sanctions relief under the 2015 nuclear deal into dollars, an investigative report by the Senate has revealed.

A copy of the report, obtained by The Washington Times, outlines how Obama-era State and Treasury Department officials discreetly issued a special license for the conversion to a major Omani bank and unsuccessfully pressured two U.S. banks to partake in the transaction, all while misleading lawmakers about the activities.

The document, compiled by the Senate’s Republican-led chief investigative subcommittee, began circulating Tuesday, just as the Trump administration issued its harshest warnings to date to foreign governments and companies to avoid doing business with Iran or find themselves in the crosshairs of Washington’s reimposition of sanctions as part of Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The article explains that Congress was not informed of what was going on–in fact they were lied to:

The Senate Homeland Security Committee’s permanent subcommittee on investigations probe contends that the Obama administration went out of its way to keep U.S. lawmakers in the dark about calculated and secretive efforts to give Tehran a back channel to the international financial system and to U.S. banks, facilitating a massive U.S. currency conversion worth billions of dollars.

“Senior U.S. government officials repeatedly testified to Congress that Iranian access to the U.S. financial system was not on the table or part of any deal,” according to a draft copy of the document obtained by The Times. “Despite these claims, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, at the direction of the U.S. State Department, granted a specific license that authorized a conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of U.S. dollars using the U.S. financial system.

“Even after the specific license was issued, U.S. government officials maintained in congressional testimony that Iran would not be granted access to the U.S. financial system,” the report said.

The article concludes:

Mr. Portman said in a statement Tuesday night that “the Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran.”

“Despite claims both before and after the Iran deal was completed that the U.S. financial system would remain off limits, the Obama administration issued a specific license allowing Iran to convert billions of dollars in assets using the U.S. financial system,” Mr. Portman said. “The only reason this transaction wasn’t executed was because two U.S. banks refused, even though the administration asked them to help convert the money.”

Such sanctions, he added, “are a vital foreign policy tool, and the U.S. government should never work to actively undermine their enforcement or effectiveness.”

Thank God our banks had more integrity than President Obama.

One Decision, But Not Really A Resolution Of The Issue

In 2012, Jack Phillips refused to bake a wedding cake for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. In 2012. Same sex marriage was not legal in Colorado, and the Supreme Court had not yet ruled on the issue. It was a very different time. The State of Colorado charged Mr. Phillips with discrimination, and the case made its way to the Supreme Court, which ruled today. The Washington Times posted the story today.

The article in The Washington Times reports:

Mr. Phillips had argued as a Christian, he could not be forced to create a custom wedding cake for a homosexual couple, citing his First Amendment rights, though he said he offered to sell one of his standard cakes to them.

Colorado said his refusal broke the state’s public accommodation law prohibiting businesses from refusing service to anyone based on religion, race, sexual orientation and national origin.

During proceedings before the state’s civil rights commission one commissioner complained that freedom of religion had been used to “justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust.” The commissioner called Mr. Phillips‘ beliefs “one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric.”

Justice Kennedy said those statements undermined the state’s case against Mr. Phillips.

The Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 in favor of Mr. Phillips. The two judges who ruled against Mr. Phillips were Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Mr. Phillips is essentially a cake artist. The question becomes whether or not a person can be forced to use his art for something he fundamentally disagrees with. Artists are usually commissioned. If the charges against Mr. Phillips were allowed to stand, does that mean that an artist does not have the right to refuse to do a commissioned work? I think that is the ultimate question–does a person running a business have the right to choose their clientele?

Bringing Efficiency Into Federal Employment

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about President Trump’s recent executive orders to change civil service regulations.

The article reports:

“These executive orders will make it easier for agencies to remove poor-performing employees and make sure taxpayer dollars are more efficiently used,” Mr. Bremberg said.

The move will promote efficiency, save taxpayer dollars and create better work environments for “thousands of employees who come to work each day and do a great job,” said another official.

as expected, unions objected loudly. The article reports some of the reasons for the reforms:

Office of Personnel Management data shows federal employees are 44 times less likely to be fired than a private sector worker once they’ve completed a probationary period.

A recent Government Accountability Office report showed that it takes between six months and a year to remove a federal employee for poor performance, followed by an eight-month appeals process.

The National Affairs blog posted the following this spring:

Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: “Meticulous attention,” the president insisted in 1937, “should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.” Roosevelt was hardly alone in holding these views, even among the champions of organized labor. Indeed, the first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”

Many of our current civil service policies are the result of the unionization of government workers. It is time for that practice to end. Government workers are paid very well and should be subject to the same rules as the rest of the workforce. Unions should not be able to collective bargain with people whose political campaigns they help finance.

The Wheels Of Justice Turn Slowly

Fox News is reporting today that Judge Reggie B. Walton of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must provide the names of specific employees involved in targeting Tea Party groups. The Judge has also ruled that IRS the must provide information about which groups were targeted and why, along with a strategy to make sure such targeting doesn’t happen again. This is one of the few common sense rulings in this case. This might also be the pathway to having employees of the IRS reveal who ordered the targeting.

The article reports:

The targeting scandal drew much attention in 2013 when the IRS, headed at the time by Lois Lerner, admitted it was applying extra scrutiny to conservative groups applying for nonprofit status.

“That was wrong,” Lerner said at the time in the press. “That was absolutely incorrect, it was insensitive and it was inappropriate. … The IRS would like to apologize for that.”

But director of investigations and research at Judicial Watch Chris Farrell, whose organization is also involved in litigation with the IRS on this issue, told Fox News that the IRS owes litigants “real accountability.”

This is the equivalent of apologizing for robbing a bank, refusing to give back the money, and not going to jail. The apology is worth nothing.

The article concludes:

Walton ordered the IRS to search for further records, according to The Washington Times, in other agency databases for the time period spanning 2009 to March 27, 2015.

“Furthermore, to the extent that the plaintiffs have already received information produced by the government indicating that the plaintiffs were allegedly discriminated against, and that information provides a basis to believe that other such documents exist, the government must search all relevant sources to ensure that all documents responsive to the document request is identified and produced,” the judge wrote in his order.

Walton gave the IRS until Oct. 16 to finish the search.

This is a serious move toward draining the swamp.

Why Should We All Have To Play By The Same Rules?

On Friday The Washington Free Beacon posted a story about a group in Colorado that was working toward a $12 an hour minimum wage.

The article reports:

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage, which obtained the signatures needed to place a measure requiring a $12 minimum wage on the November ballot, paid many of its petition handlers less than $12 an hour, according to paperwork filed with the state and obtained by in the Washington Times.

“According to a circulator and wage report filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office by proponents of increasing the minimum wage, 24 of the workers collecting signatures to get on the ballot were paid less than $12 an hour,” the Times reported. “The report was obtained Keep Colorado Working, the opposition campaign, in an open records request.”

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage is a coalition of liberal groups, including prominent labor unions, such as the AFL-CIO and American Federation of Teachers. The group denied the allegations that it failed to pay its employees adequate wages following the Washington Times report, blaming “clerical errors” in campaign filings for the gap in pay.

“Every person working on the minimum wage ‘$12 by 2020’ ballot initiative has earned a minimum of $12 an hour and more because it’s crucial that the paychecks of Colorado working families can cover housing, food and other basics, campaign manager Patty Kupfer said in a release. “We included pay policy language in our office policy document to specifically ensure that every worker would earn at least $12 an hour.”

The group said it will file amended paperwork with the secretary of state’s office to reflect that it paid all of its workers at least $12 an hour.

How embarrassing. Either they paid their workers less than the minimum wage they were working toward or the people they paid the proposed minimum wage were not competent enough to do their job right. Either way it’s embarrassing.

There is something being overlooked here, and I don’t know why. The minimum wage was never intended to support a family or an individual living on their own–it was intended to provide a gateway into the workforce to enable people to learn the real basic job skills–showing up on time, respecting authority, being curteous, and other basic fundementals. So what happened? Unions discovered that if the minimum wage increased, the unions could bargain for higher wages for their members. Note that the Colorado Families for a Fair Wage includes prominent labor unions. Because much of the American public does not understand the purpose of the minimum wage, the fact that raising the minimum wage significantly will put small businesses out of business and cause employees to lose hours or jobs is not considered by most people.

There is also the aspect of illegal immigration. As long as America has thousands of illegal immigrants who are willing to work under the table for below minimum wage, raising the minimum wage is going to do more harm than good. One of the problems in the battle to close our borders to illegal immigration is that the U. S. Chamber of Commerce is a major campaign contributor to politicians (particularly Republicans). The Chamber of Commerce is an organization of businessmen. These businessmen like the fact that illegal immigration is a source of cheap labor. As long as the Chamber of Commerce continues to pour money into political campaigns, our illegal immigration problem will continue. That is the way Washington currently works. Until people are elected to office at all levels who are not part of the current system and not interested in becoming part of the current system, illegal immigration will continue and because unions contribute heavily to Democratic campaigns, the minimum wage will probably be raised past the point where it makes economic sense. That is where we are.

An Interesting Twist In The Guantanamo Story

Yesterday, Townhall.com posted an article stating the following:

Testifying in front of the House Appropriations Subcommittee Wednesday, Attorney General Loretta Lynch reiterated that transferring detainees from Guantanamo Bay Prison to the United States is against the law. From the Washington Times:

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Wednesday that federal law flatly prevents President Obama from sending of the the detainees from Guantanamo Bay to U.S. territory, hurting his ability to follow through on his new closure plan.

“That is the state of the law,” she said, pointing to the most recent defense policy law passed late last year, which cleared Congress on a bipartisan vote and which Mr. Obama himself signed into law.

Lynch also pointed this out during testimony in November of last year.

“With respect to individuals being transferred to the United States, the law currently does not allow that,” Lynch testified in front of the House Judiciary Committee. “Certainly it is the position of the Department of Justice that we would follow the law of the land in regard on that issue.”

Now you do have to be aware of the weasel words in that statement. The weasel words are, “With respect to individuals being transferred to the United States, the law currently does not allow that.” I suspect President Obama will attempt an executive order to supersede that law or find another way to get around it. I seriously doubt he will be stopped from moving Guantanamo prisoners here.

However, so far the Republicans do not plan on making the transfer of terrorists to America totally easy. The article reports:

Speaker Paul Ryan immediately pushed back on the proposal, reminding President Obama about bipartisan legislation recently passed in the House and Senate banning detainees from being transferred. Today, Ryan threatened the White House with a lawsuit should President Obama proceed unilaterally.

Really? A lawsuit? Really? How is that any different than a strongly worded letter or an idle threat? If President Obama attempts to bring terrorists into America, he needs to be impeached. End of story. He will have broken his Oath of Office and needs to be removed.

 

Taking A Stand

The Washington Times reported today that Franklin Graham has left the Republican Party. He left the party after the omnibus spending bill was passed. The bill continues the government funding of Planned Parenthood and was passed with both Republican and Democratic votes.

The article reports:

“This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America,” Mr. Graham said in a Facebook post. 

“Seeing and hearing Planned Parenthood talk nonchalantly about selling baby parts from aborted fetuses with utter disregard for human life is reminiscent of Joseph Mengele and the Nazi concentration camps!” Mr. Graham continued. “That should’ve been all that was needed to turn off the faucet for their funding.”

I totally understand his decision. I have remained in the Republican party in the hope that at some point they will return to the pro-life stand stated in their platform. I don’t see the possibility of having a strong voice in Washington without being associated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. That is unfortunate and has gotten us into the mess we are in, but I believe it is where we are. I hope Reverend Graham will continue to speak out for the principles that made America great.

Celebrating The Labor Force On Labor Day

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about America‘s shrinking labor force. Although the unemployment rate is reported at 5.1 percent, that does not take into account the number of Americans who have given up looking for work.

The article reports:

The “unemployment rate” most often cited in the news media is U-3. But U-3 ignores everyone who hasn’t actively looked for work within the previous four weeks. So if you can’t find a job and give up looking, you don’t count as “unemployed” in the U-3 rate.

If we calculated the illiteracy rate that way, we wouldn’t count someone as illiterate unless he had attended a reading class in the past four weeks. In other words, the U-3 figure is fake, because it ignores whether the labor force participation rate has dropped.

According to Diana Furchtgott-Roth, former chief economist at the Labor Department, if America today had as high of a labor force participation rate as we had in 2006, then “last year’s average unemployment rate would have been 11.4 percent instead of 6.2 percent.”

So the U-3 measure of unemployment creates the illusion that the economy is serving American workers roughly twice as well as it really is, when you consider all the persons who’ve given up looking for jobs.

Today’s labor force participation rate is 62.6 percent, a 38-year low. That depressed number wipes out all the gains in employment made during the Reagan era, a time when women by the tens of millions moved into the workforce.

Today, more women are on food stamps than have full-time jobs.

If the economy is doing so well, why are more women on food stamps than have full-time jobs?

The article goes on to explain that before the housing bubble burst, the American economy grew at a rate of about 3.1 percent a year. Since President Obama has been in office, the growth has been slightly over 2 percent. Slow growth is expected to continue due to President Obama’s policies–ObamaCare and excessive Environmental Protection Agency regulations on energy production are expected to have a serious negative impact on economic growth.

The article concludes:

Even worse: That idea of a “new normal” 2.1 to 2.2 percent annual growth rate may be overly optimistic. We have yet to see the effect of many recent and proposed anti-growth policies — for example, Obamacare, which is being phased in over a period of years, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed plan, not yet final, to make the price of electricity “skyrocket.” If anti-growth policies push the economic growth rate down to around 1.6 percent a year, that’s like cutting the size of the 2063 economy in half. Long before that, government finances will collapse.

Welcome to Greece.

Elections matter. Unless we change those making policy in Washington, D.C., we will become Greece.

I’m Obviously In The Wrong Business

There is an article posted on Allen West’s website today about more protests is Ferguson, Missouri.

The article reports:

According to the Washington Times, the “Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment (MORE) has been paying protesters $5,000 a month to demonstrate in Ferguson. Last week, hired protesters who haven’t been paid held a sit-in at MORE’s offices and posted a demand letter online. Hired protesters with the Black Lives Matter movement have started a #CutTheCheck hashtag and held a sit-in at the offices for the successor group to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) in Missouri after the group allegedly stopped paying them.”

Evidently MORE is the current version of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Since its heyday, ACORN has filed for bankruptcy.

The article further reports:

FrontPage reported. MORE and other groups supporting the Black Lives Matter movement have received millions of dollars from billionaire financier George Soros. The group Millennial Activists United posted a letter on their blog demanding MORE “cut the checks” to demonstrators.

I wonder how many people who supported the Black Lives Matter knew that it was funded by George Soros. I wonder if that would have made a difference.

Black lives do matter, but the fact that the movement is being funded by George Soros should give us all pause.

The Government Doesn’t Even Follow Its Own Laws

The Washington Times is reporting today that the Department of Homeland Security had broken a judge’s order halting the administration’s new deportation amnesty.

The article reports:

The stunning admission, filed just before midnight in Texas, where the case is being heard, is the latest misstep for the administration’s lawyers, who are facing possible sanctions by Judge Hanen for their continued problems in arguing the case.

The Justice Department lawyers said Homeland Security, which is the defendant in the case, told them Wednesday that an immigration agency had approved about 2,000 applications for three-year work permits, which was part of Mr. Obama’s new amnesty, even after Judge Hanen issued his Feb. 16 injunction halting the entire program.

I really have nothing to add to this story other than to say that it is a disgrace. The Obama Administration has shown so little regard for the Constitution and the laws governing America, I guess this really should not be a surprise. However, it is extremely sad that the people charged with upholding our laws have chosen to break them.