Usurping Parental Rights

Yahoo News posted a USA Today article about a 14-year-old school child who decided that she was a boy. The story is heartbreaking because the parents tried to provide the help the child needed, and the school undermined them every step of the way.

The article reports:

In April 2016, my then 14-year-old daughter became convinced that she was my son. In my attempt to help her, her public school undermined me every step of the way.

Throughout my daughter’s childhood, there were no signs that she wanted to be a boy. She loved stuffed animals, Pocahontas and wearing colorful bathing suits. I can’t recall a single interest that seemed unusually masculine, or any evidence that she was uncomfortable as a girl.

The only difficulty she had was forming and maintaining friendships. We later learned why: She was on the autism spectrum. She was very functional and did well in school, helped by her Individualized Education Program (IEP), a common practice for public school students who need special education.

At her high school, my daughter was approached by a girl who had recently come out at school as transgender. Shortly after meeting her, my daughter declared that she, too, was a boy trapped in a girl’s body and picked out a new masculine name.

The school began treating the girl as a boy and addressing her with masculine pronouns. The parents were unaware of this. When they found out about it, they requested that those in the school call her by her legal name at all times. Their request was ignored–the school continued to address her by a masculine name and masculine pronouns.

The article continues:

We met with the school district’s assistant superintendent, who told us the hands of school personnel are tied and that they had to follow the law. But there was no law, only the Obama administration’s “Dear Colleagues” letter of May 2016 that said schools need to officially affirm transgender students. Just three months later, in August 2016, a federal judge in Texas blocked the guidelines from being enforced. And in February 2017, the Trump administration rescinded the Obama-era guidelines, leaving it to the states to set their own policies.

I also learned that the ACLU has sent threatening letters to schools stating that it is against the law to disclose a student’s gender identity, even to their parents. But this letter appears to misunderstand federal law. The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act requires that schools allow parents to “inspect and review” their child’s education records as long as the child is under 18.

The article then reveals the peer pressure in the world of psychology:

We had our daughter evaluated by a psychologist approved by the school district. He told us that it was very clear that our daughter’s sudden transgender identity was driven by her underlying mental health conditions, but would only share his thoughts off the record because he feared the potential backlash he would receive. In the report he submitted to us and the school, he did not include these concerns that he would only share in person.

Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the story. I need someone to explain to me how this sort of behavior by schools is in any way helpful to our children.

A Common Sense Approach To Saving Taxpayer Money

Welfare was meant to be a safety net–not a career choice. Unfortunately we have lost the war on poverty started by President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. According to the social work degree center website, in the 1960’s, 22 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In 2014, 14.8 percent of Americans lived below the poverty line. In January 2016, The Daily Signal reported:

First, the War on Poverty has failed to achieve Johnson’s goal: to “strike at the causes, not just the consequences of poverty.” Since he declared “unconditional war,” poverty has thumbed its nose at its would-be conquerors.

The official poverty rate has hovered between ten and fifteen percent for 50 years. But that is only a part of the story. Since the 1960s, the institutions that contribute to self-sufficiency—namely, marriage and work—have declined. Today, more than 40 percent of children are born outside marriage; in 1964, only 7 percent were.

…Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy studies at the Heritage Foundation, writes that “taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s war. Adjusted for inflation, that’s three times the cost of all military wars since the American Revolution.” It’s time to change course. We need a new strategy against poverty.

The changes in our culture are part of the problem, but there is another increasing problem–people who come to this country to take advantage of our generous welfare system.

Breitbart posted an article today stating:

President Trump is set to save American taxpayers billions of dollars as his administration announces a new rule on Monday that will essentially ban welfare-dependent legal immigrants from permanently resettling in the United States.

A new regulation set to be published by the Trump administration will ensure that legal immigrants would be less likely to secure a permanent residency in the U.S. if they have used any forms of welfare in the past, including using subsidized healthcare services, food stamps, and public housing.

Below is a chart of current welfare expenditures:

I have no problem with having a safety net, but it seems that our priorities are out of order. The first group of people that we should be helping are our veterans. Too many of them come home and need help to get on their feet when they separate from the military. I would like to see that as our first priority in welfare spending.

The article at Breitbart concludes:

Currently, there is an estimated record high of 44.5 million foreign-born residents living in the U.S. This is nearly quadruple the immigrant population in 2000. The vast majority of those arriving in the country every year are low-skilled legal immigrants who compete against working and middle-class Americans for jobs.

If we don’t get a handle on immigration, we are going to bankrupt America.

The Need For Civility (And Sanity)

Yesterday Townhall posted an article about some recent remarks by Elie Mystal on MSNBC Thursday night.

According to Legal Talk Network:

Elie Mystal is the Managing Editor of Above the Law Redline and the Editor-At-Large of Breaking Media. He’s appeared on MSNBC, Fox, and CNN, and pretty much any network that will invite him. He’s written editorials for the New York Times, the Daily News, and would make a good character in a Billy Joel song. He graduated from Harvard University in 2000, Harvard Law School in 2003, and was an associate at Debevoise and Plimpton.

Townhall reports:

Earlier this week Rep. Joaquin Castro in Texas “named and shamed” San Antonio supporters of President Donald J. Trump in what he says was an effort to get these Americans to think twice before being “complicit in white supremacy.” Anybody with common sense understood the move was dangerous, especially coming from a public official, as it could paint a target on these individuals’ backs regardless if the information was already public or not. On MSNBC Thursday night, guest Elie Mystal took the hysteria over supporting President Trump one step further, saying that protesters should form literal mobs outside the SoulCycle and Equinox chairman’s home in the Hamptons due to his support for the commander-in-chief.

“People of color are already targeted under this administration,” Mystal said Thursday night regarding Rep. Castro’s actions. “I have no problem with shining the light back on the donors who fund this kind of racialized hate.”

“I mean I go further, I want pitchforks and torches outside [Stephen Ross’] house in the Hamptons,” Mystal continued. “I’ve been to the Hamptons, it’s very nice. There’s no reason why it has to be. There’s no reason he should be able to have a nice little party. There’s no reason why people shouldn’t be able to be outside of his house and making their voices peacefully understood.”

I am amazed that such a well-educated man would say something that stupid. Just for the record, people of color are not being targeted under the Trump administration. First of all, let’s take a detour here to look at some actual facts. President Trump signed the First Step Act into law, a bipartisan measure to give prisoners getting out of jail a chance to find jobs and contribute to their communities. Since 38 percent of prisoners at the state level are people of color, that law will have a positive impact on people of color.  Unemployment for people of color is at historic lows under President Trump. Second of all, pitchforks and torches? Really?

Whatever happened to the calls for civility?

Trying To Level The Playing Field Has Its Challenges

Fox Business posted an article today about the devaluing of the Chinese yuan. The devaluing of the Chinese currency (currency manipulation) has been used by China for decades to grow their economy at the expense of America. It has been used to lure manufacturing away from America, impact our trade balance, and generally work against the American economy. We have needed to combat this practice for decades, but no President had the courage.

The article reports:

The onshore Chinese yuan weakened to worse than seven per U.S. dollar, hitting its lowest level since 2008, as Beijing looks to cushion the blow from Trump’s tariffs. A weaker yuan makes Chinese goods cheaper for overseas buyers, which may be necessary as China just lost its spot as the US’s biggest trading partner.

Trade data released Friday by the Department of Commerce showed U.S. imports from China fell by 12% in the first six months of the year, allowing Mexico to supplant it as the U.S.’s biggest trade partner.

“China dropped the price of their currency to an almost a historic low,” Trump tweeted Opens a New Window. on Monday. “It’s called “currency manipulation.” Are you listening Federal Reserve? This is a major violation which will greatly weaken China over time!”

Last week, Trump said beginning Sept. 1 the U.S. would place a 10% tariff on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese goods. He went ahead with the announcement despite objections from his advisers.

The president warned he could “always do much more” with respect to tariffs, adding the 10 percent tax could go “well beyond 25 percent” if necessary. Earlier this year, the administration placed a 25% tariff on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods.

Weakening the yuan isn’t the only form of retaliation Beijing took on Monday. It also ordered state-owned enterprises to stop purchases of U.S. agricultural products, according to a Bloomberg report, citing people familiar with the situation.

That is a reversal from just last week, when Beijing said it had purchased several tons of U.S. soybeans Opens a New Window. as a gesture of a goodwill amid trade negotitations. Before the trade war began, China was the largest buyer of U.S. soybeans, accounting for 70% of all purchases, but their imports have fallen by 97% since the trade war began.

The article notes:

Over the weekened, The Trump administration pushed back against the idea the trade war was hitting the wallets of U.S. consumers.

“China has strategically gamed the tariffs by slashing their prices and by devaluing their currency,” White House trade advisor Peter Navarro told “Fox News Sunday.”

This trade dust-up with China may get ugly, but it is something that has to be done.

A Small Step Forward For Americans Filling Prescriptions

Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air today about the new initiative rolled out by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.

The article reports:

Democrats ate the GOP’s lunch on health-care messaging in 2018’s midterms. The Trump administration might be preparing better for the 2020 election. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar rolled out a new initiative today that would allow for prescription purchases from Canada, addressing a key Democratic talking point on the cost of health care:

“President Trump has been clear: for too long American patients have been paying exorbitantly high prices for prescription drugs that are made available to other countries at lower prices. When we released the President’s drug pricing blueprint – PDF for putting American patients first, we said we are open to all potential solutions to combat high drug prices that protect patient safety, are effective at delivering lower prices, and respect choice, innovation and access,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. “Today’s announcement outlines the pathways the Administration intends to explore to allow safe importation of certain prescription drugs to lower prices and reduce out of pocket costs for American patients. This is the next important step in the Administration’s work to end foreign freeloading and put American patients first.”

The article lists some of the details of the plan. Please follow the link above for more information.

The article also lists some of the problems with the plan:

The question of pharmaceutical importation has its complexities, and it might not be a great idea in terms of long-term policy outcomes. For one thing, drug prices in Canada are artificially low thanks to intervention by the Canadian government, which will be tougher to maintain if demand increases exponentially via re-importation into the US. (Canadians in particular might not be very happy about what happens to their drug prices.) It doesn’t solve the major problems in pharmaceutical production costs, which are consolidation in the industry, copyright issues, and bureaucratic delays in FDA approvals, among others. It’s a Band-Aid over a gaping wound.

However, it’s going to be a very popular Band-Aid in the short run. The new HHS effort also lends itself to a slow rollout, which will play right into Trump’s need to pre-empt Democrats on health care in this cycle…

The article takes a rather cynical view regarding the motive for this action, but at least temporarily many Americans will appreciate the savings. On a personal note, one of the maintenance drugs my husband takes for heart problems sells for $600 a month. With the help of our health insurance, we have managed to get that price down to $70 a month, but the idea of having to pay $600 a month out-of-pocket for a drug is more than a little frightening.

This is a small step in the right direction. I understand that high drug prices are the result of the procedures for the invention, development, and selling of a new drug, but Americans shouldn’t have to pay for all of the research while other people reap the rewards of that research without paying for it.

Some Basic Facts

Yesterday Mark Penn posted an article at Fox News about the Mueller investigation. Mark Penn was the chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The article reminds us of some important facts regarding the investigation:

Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress, by any reasonable standard, should have been the swan song of the impeachment movement.

To state the obvious, there is no evidence that President Trump or any other American probed by the Mueller investigation conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

…So why does a third or more of the public still believe in Russia collusion? Because partisanship by our politicians and some in the media knows no bounds, and to partisans, facts and evidence are simply inconvenient bumps on a road to power.

That brings us back to the Mueller testimony and the Mueller Andrew Weissmann investigation. Mueller turned out to be the classic emperor-has-no-clothes witness. He once again said that he did not indict Trump because of the Justice Department policy against indicting a president only to once again retract the statement hours later.

He may be old, but he surely understood he was playing and retracting that card — he would have practiced that question 10 times as it was the only anti-Trump card remaining in his dwindling hand. He ignored that Attorney General William Barr, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and career Justice Department lawyers all determined that the facts he listed didn’t constitute criminal obstruction of justice.

The president was, as far as the Justice Department was concerned, cleared on obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s weak grasp of the facts, combined with his deputy Weissmann’s documented history of prosecutorial abuse, strongly suggests Weissmann ran the investigation, not Mueller. It also indicates that Weissmann enjoyed free rein to go after not just the facts, but the people associated with the president.

The article concludes with a very important observation:

Targeting political opponents through the legal and subpoena process after a massive investigation revealed no collusion undermines our democracy. It is a far greater threat to our country and its institutions than any ads on Facebook. Whether you think the FBI acted out of political malice (which is now being investigated) or a sense of duty, there is simply no evidence that the president ever committed a crime, or that his top aides were involved in collusion or conspiracy. Nothing of consequence alleged in the Steele dossier was ever proven true.

Mueller’s testimony confirmed these basic facts, and it should put impeachment investigations in the rearview mirror.

The investigation and surveillance of the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration were a violation of the civil rights of a number of Americans. This is unacceptable. Those who violated those civil rights need to be held accountable or our Justice Department will become a political instrument to be used against political opponents. At that point we will have lost our republic.

Moving In The Right Direction

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that the Trump administration’s restrictions on family planning funds could go into effect, a move that would cut off millions of dollars from organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions.

The article reports:

The Trump administration refers to the provision as the “Protect Life Rule,” and its supporters say that funding for family planning should not be used to help subsidize abortion providers.

The rule will go into effect everywhere except in Maryland, due to a lawsuit from Baltimore. The state legislature there also passed a bill that would reject the Title X funds if the Trump administration’s rules were attached to them.

Planned Parenthood’s president, Dr. Leana Wen, said the organization would continue to fight the rule from taking effect.

…The rule applies to a $286 million-a-year grant that 4 million low-income people use. Planned Parenthood receives between $50 million and $60 million from the grants.

On January 21, 2019, The Daily Caller reported:

Planned Parenthood has claimed that stripping federal funds from the organization would devastate women’s access to health care, but private contributions put the organization’s donations total at nearly $631 million.

Total net assets also increased from roughly $1.6 billion to nearly $1.9 billion in 2018, according to the report.

“Planned Parenthood turned a profit of nearly $250 million, a 150 percent increase, according to its own accounts,” Students For Life (SFL) President Kristan Hawkins said in a Monday statement. “What a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

The abortion organization reported findings through the fiscal end year date June 30, 2018.

Somehow I think Planned Parenthood can manage to squeeze by. Meanwhile, taxpayers should not be required to fund Planned Parenthood.

How Should We Deal With Iran?

On Friday, Bret Stephens posted a column in The New York Times about the recent aggressive actions taken by Iran against international shipping. Bret Stephens is not a supporter of President Trump, but in this instance, his views seem to be in line with the policies of the Trump administration.

The column notes:

On April 14, 1988, the U.S.S. Samuel B. Roberts, a frigate, hit an Iranian naval mine while sailing in the Persian Gulf. The explosion injured 10 of her crew and nearly sank the ship. Four days later, the U.S. Navy destroyed half the Iranian fleet in a matter of hours. Iran did not molest the Navy or international shipping for many years thereafter.

Now that’s changed. Iran’s piratical regime is back yet again to its piratical ways.

Or so it seems, based on a detailed timeline of Thursday’s attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman provided by the U.S. Central Command, including a surveillance video of one of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps patrol boats removing an unexploded limpet mine from the hull of one of the damaged tankers.

The column notes that the evidence points to Iran as behind the recent attacks:

In this case, however, the evidence against Iran is compelling. CentCom’s account notes that “a U.S. aircraft observed an IRGC Hendijan class patrol boat and multiple IRGC fast attack craft/fast inshore attack craft (FAC/FIAC) in the vicinity of the M/T Altair,” one of the damaged tankers. The Iranian boats are familiar to the U.S. Navy after decades of observing them at close range. And staging deniable attacks that fall just below the threshold of open warfare on the U.S. is an Iranian specialty.

So what do we do now?

The column concludes:

It can’t be the usual Trumpian cycle of bluster and concession. Neither can it be the liberal counsel of feckless condemnation followed by inaction. Firing on unarmed ships in international waters is a direct assault on the rules-based international order in which liberals claim to believe. To allow it to go unpunished isn’t an option.

What is appropriate is a new set of rules — with swift consequences if Iran chooses to break them. The Trump administration ought to declare new rules of engagement to allow the Navy to engage and destroy Iranian ships or fast boats that harass or threaten any ship, military or commercial, operating in international waters. If Tehran fails to comply, the U.S. should threaten to sink any Iranian naval ship that leaves port.

If after that Iran still fails to comply, we would be right to sink its navy, in port or at sea. The world cannot tolerate freelance Somali pirates. Much less should it tolerate a pirate state seeking to hold the global economy hostage through multiplying acts of economic terrorism.

Nobody wants a war with Iran. But not wanting a war does not mean remaining supine in the face of its outrages. We sank Iran’s navy before. Tehran should be put on notice that we are prepared and able to do it again.

Sometimes you simply have to stand up to a bully in order to correct his behavior.

Twisted

No one ever claimed that the team put together by Robert Mueller to investigate President Trump was politically unbiased, but I at least expected them to report the facts as they uncovered them. Evidently my expectations were too high. On May 8, I posted an article about Joseph Mifsud, claimed by the Mueller Report to be a Russian asset. It turns out that he was training American intelligence officers. His contract with George Papadopoulos had nothing to do with Russia. On June 1st, I posted an article about the editing of a phone message from President Trump’s attorney John Dowd to Michael Flynn. The message was edited in a way that left an impression totally different than what was actually happening. Well, okay, maybe that was just an oversight. That’s two strikes. Now we have another incident where something totally misleading (and false) was stated in the Mueller Report.

John Solomon at The Hill posted an article yesterday with the following headline, “Key figure that Mueller report linked to Russia was a State Department intel source.” The person in questions in Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik.

The article reports:

In a key finding of the Mueller report, Ukrainian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik, who worked for Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, is tied to Russian intelligence.

But hundreds of pages of government documents — which special counsel Robert Mueller possessed since 2018 — describe Kilimnik as a “sensitive” intelligence source for the U.S. State Department who informed on Ukrainian and Russian matters.

Why Mueller’s team omitted that part of the Kilimnik narrative from its report and related court filings is not known. But the revelation of it comes as the accuracy of Mueller’s Russia conclusions face increased scrutiny.

It gets worse:

Three sources with direct knowledge of the inner workings of Mueller’s office confirmed to me that the special prosecutor’s team had all of the FBI interviews with State officials, as well as Kilimnik’s intelligence reports to the U.S. Embassy, well before they portrayed him as a Russian sympathizer tied to Moscow intelligence or charged Kilimnik with participating with Manafort in a scheme to obstruct the Russia investigation.

Kasanof’s and Purcell’s interviews are corroborated by scores of State Department emails I reviewed that contain regular intelligence from Kilimnik on happenings inside the Yanukovych administration, the Crimea conflict and Ukrainian and Russian politics. For example, the memos show Kilimnik provided real-time intelligence on everything from whose star in the administration was rising or falling to efforts at stuffing ballot boxes in Ukrainian elections.

Those emails raise further doubt about the Mueller report’s portrayal of Kilimnik as a Russian agent. They show Kilimnik was allowed to visit the United States twice in 2016 to meet with State officials, a clear sign he wasn’t flagged in visa databases as a foreign intelligence threat.

The emails also show how misleading, by omission, the Mueller report’s public portrayal of Kilimnik turns out to be.

For instance, the report makes a big deal about Kilimnik’s meeting with Manafort in August 2016 at the Trump Tower in New York.

By that time, Manafort had served as Trump’s campaign chairman for several months but was about to resign because of a growing controversy about the millions of dollars Manafort accepted as a foreign lobbyist for Yanukovych’s party.

Specifically, the Mueller report flagged Kilimnik’s delivery of a peace plan to the Trump campaign for settling the two-year-old Crimea conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“Kilimnik requested the meeting to deliver in person a peace plan for Ukraine that Manafort acknowledged to the Special Counsel’s Office was a ‘backdoor’ way for Russia to control part of eastern Ukraine,” the Mueller report stated.

But State emails showed Kilimnik first delivered a version of his peace plan in May 2016 to the Obama administration during a visit to Washington. Kasanof, his former handler at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, had been promoted to a top policy position at State, and the two met for dinner on May 5, 2016.

I am grateful for investigative reporters. It is time to acknowledge that the Mueller Report, despite the fact that it found no evidence of collusion on the part of the Trump campaign, is tainted. It is time to put this entire farce to rest and lift the cloud the Democrats have placed over the Trump administration. It is time to allow the President to solve the problems at our southern border, deal with Iran, negotiate trade deals, and generally be President.

Illegal Immigrants Can’t Reach The Southern Border Of The United States Without Traveling Through Mexico

It seems a rather obvious point, but illegal immigrants entering America through our porous southern border have to go through Mexico to get to that border. That is the reason it makes sense to involve Mexico in the process of securing our southern border.

First of all, let’s look at the increase in the number of people attempting to cross our southern border. The chart below is from U.S. Customs and Border Protection:

As you can see, the total apprehensions have increased dramatically in the past two years.

On June 1st, American Greatness posted an article with some suggested solutions to the problem. The article includes a list of how Mexico can become part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

The article reports:

On Thursday, the administration rolled out a new policy aimed at encouraging Mexico to do more to crack down on the thousands of Central American migrants passing through their country on the way to the United States to claim asylum.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan described the three efforts the United States wants to see from Mexico:

    • More vigorous efforts by Mexico to secure the border between Guatemala and the Mexican state of Chiapas. The Guatemala-Chiapas border is approximately 500 miles—small as borders go. For comparison, the U.S.-Mexico border is close to 2,000 miles.
    • A crackdown on the organizations that help migrants travel through Mexico to the United States. These organizations range from the criminal—a RAND corporation study estimates that Central American cartels made $2.3 billion on human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017—to the activist groups organizing massive surges toward the U.S., to the bus lines that have arisen to facilitate entrance to the U.S. There’s a reason why more migrants are appearing in large groups—Customs and Border Enforcement report that they’ve found 180 groups of more than 100 people since October, compared to only 13 in the previous 12-month period, and only two the year before.
    • Finally, McAleenan says he wants “align with Mexico on asylum.” This is a reference to the “safe third country” agreement that is common practice throughout the rest of the world, but with which Mexico refuses to engage.

The article notes the rules on aslyum:

This is where the “safe third country” doctrine comes in. Under international law known as the Dublin Regulation, migrants seeking asylum are required to claim it in the first safe country they enter. The theory behind this is that if migrants are truly seeking shelter from persecution, rather than simply trying to use the system to reach a specific destination, they will stop in the first place they find relief.

One interesting aspect of this is that the migrants would be more culturally compatible with Mexico than America. Mexico speaks Spanish, their native language. America speaks English (or some form of it).

At any rate, it is time for a solution. I hope the tariffs the Trump administration is threatening to impose provide an incentive for Mexico to help stop the flow of illegal drugs and immigrants at our southern border.

This Incidental Information Is Going To Be Very Important In The Near Future

Before you read this article, I want you to consider how the Democrats (particularly the Clintons) have avoided being held accountable for skirting the law in the past. Generally speaking, the playbook means keeping questions about whatever the scandal is in the news until everyone is sick of hearing about the scandal. At that point, when the answers begin to come out, everyone tunes out because they are totally bored with anything having to do with whatever behavior went on. That is exactly the playbook that is being used on the question of how the Russian-collusion investigation began and why members of President Trump’s campaign and transition team were under surveillance. Keep that in mind as you read the following.

Today Breitbart posted an article with the following headline, “Biden Present at Russia Collusion Briefing Documented in ‘Odd’ Susan Rice Email.”

The article reports:

Vice President Joe Biden was documented as being present in the Oval Office for a conversation about the controversial Russia probe between President Obama, disgraced ex-FBI chief James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and other senior officials including Obama’s national security advisor Susan Rice.

In an action characterized as “odd” last year by then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Rice memorialized the confab in an email to herself describing Obama as starting “the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book.’”

Grassley, in a letter to Rice, commented: “It strikes us as odd that, among your activities in the final moments on the final day of the Obama administration, you would feel the need to send yourself such an unusual email purporting to document a conversation involving President Obama and his interactions with the FBI regarding the Trump/Russia investigation.”

Grassley noted the unusual timing of the email sent by Rice to herself more than two weeks after the January 5, 2017 White House meeting on the Russia investigation, but mere hours before she vacated the White House for the incoming Trump administration.

The email, Grassley documented, was sent by Rice to herself on Trump’s inauguration day of January 20, 2017.

“If the timestamp is correct, you sent this email to yourself at 12:15 pm, presumably a very short time before you departed the White House for the last time,” Grassley wrote to Rice in a letter seeking clarification on a number of issues regarding the email and the Oval Office briefing at which Biden was documented as being present.

The article cites a Washington Post article describing how few people were involved in the Trump/Russia investigation:

The lengthy Washington Post article from 2017 detailed the closed circle of Obama administration officials who were involved in overseeing the initial efforts related to the Russia investigation — a circle than was narrowly widened to include Biden, according to the newspaper report.

According to the newspaper, in the summer of 2016, CIA Director John Brennan convened a “secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.”

The Post described the unit as so secretive it functioned as a “sealed compartment” hidden even from the rest of the U.S. intelligence community; a unit whose workers were all made to sign additional non-disclosure forms.

The unit reported to top officials, the newspaper documented:

They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.

The number of Obama administration officials who were allowed access to the Russia intelligence was also highly limited, the Post reported. At first only four senior officials were involved, and not Biden. Those officials were CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey. Their aides were all barred from attending the initial meetings, the Post stated.

This is looking more and more like an attempted political coup.

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.

Act II

The Mueller Report fizzled. Donald Trump is still President. The House of Representative is preparing for impeachment on possible charges of a cover-up where there is no crime. Most of the Democrat candidates running for President in 2020 support socialism, killing babies up until the moment when they are actually born, open borders, free healthcare for everyone (including those here illegally), and free college. What could possibly go wrong? Well, now is the time to get out the popcorn.

On Thursday, Victor Davis Hanson posted an article at The National Review about the collapse of the Russian-collusion narrative.

Mr. Hanson points out a few obvious facts that made the narrative doubtful from the start:

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions, and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own reelection bid.

The article concludes by noting that the rats are deserting the sinking ship:

Comey is also in a tiff with his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. Both know that the FBI under Comey illegally leaked classified information to the media. But Comey says McCabe went rogue and did it. Of course, McCabe’s attorney shot back that Comey had authorized it. Comey also claims the Steele dossier was not the chief evidence for a FISA warrant. McCabe insists that it was. It’s possible that one might work with prosecutors against the other to finagle a lesser charge.

Former CIA director John Brennan has on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and gotten away with it. He may not get away with lying again if it’s determined that he distorted the truth about his efforts to spread the Steele dossier smears. A former CIA official claims that Comey put the unverified Steele dossier into an intelligence community report on alleged Russian interference. Comey has contended that Brennan was the one who did.

It’s possible that both did. Doing so would have been unethical if not illegal, given that neither official told President Obama (if he didn’t already know) that the silly Steele dossier was a product of Hillary Clinton’s amateurish efforts to subvert the 2016 Trump campaign.

In sum, the old leaky vessel of collusion is sinking.

The rats are scampering from their once safe refuge — biting and piling on one another in vain efforts to avoid drowning.

The really scary part of this is that if Hillary Clinton had been elected, we would know none of this, and using the government to spy on political opponents would have become a way of life in America. Unless the people responsible for using the government as a political weapon are brought to justice, using the government to spy on political opponents will become a way of life in America.

Congress Needs To Remember That They Are Responsible For Making Laws

There was some genuine ugly in Congress this week. Unfortunately that is fairly common lately, but sometimes things are said that are really over the top. Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a discussion Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez probably should not have gotten involved in.

The article reports:

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended a fellow Democrat who argued in a Wednesday hearing that the deaths of migrant children in U.S. custody were “intentional.”

“Yesterday, GOP moved to silence Lauren Underwood’s words bc she had the audacity to say the obvious: that stealing children away from their parents, trafficking, & caging them w/o end is intended to do harm,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “They tried to silence her; make her back down. She didn’t. Be proud.”

…Underwood, a Democrat representative from Illinois, had claimed a day earlier that Republicans, and specifically the Trump administration, had intentionally chosen a policy that they knew would result in harm or death to migrant children.

…What neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Underwood acknowledged was the fact that the family separation policy had been adopted in part to reduce the trafficking of children, and neither mentioned the hundreds of children who had been removed from adults who were not actually their parents or even relatives, some of whom had been “rented” in order to help a single adult gain entry to the U.S. more easily.

Just for the record, the policy was implemented during the Obama administration. If Congress is against the policy, it is their responsibility to change it–not to blame someone else for their inaction.

This Should Never Have Been Legal

Yesterday The Daily Caller reported that President Trump made a change to a 2014 Medicaid regulation. Some states had been skimming money from Medicaid payments and funneling it into union coffers.

The article reports:

The Obama administration issued a regulation that protected a state practice that had, by that time, been practiced for decades. Since the 1990s, states have accepted Medicaid money from the federal government meant for home health service providers, often the family or friends of the Medicaid-assistance recipient, according to the conservative think tank Freedom Foundation.

In distributing checks to the health providers, some states had begun skimming money and diverting it to unions and other interest groups in the form of dues, even though home health providers may not be members. The Center for Medicaid Services will begin cracking down on the process in July.

…The new regulation will prevent states from skimming up to $150 million per year from Medicaid payments and diverting it to other causes. The Freedom Foundation found that in 2018 eight states – California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Washington – were skimming money off Medicaid payments to caretakers.

As expected, the unions opposed this new regulation:

Unions slammed the Trump administration over the new rule. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), one of the largest public-sector unions in the U.S., said the new policy was “anti-worker.”

The final rule attacks “roughly 800,000 home care workers’ ability to use common paycheck deductions for health insurance contributions, union dues, and other expenses,” the SEIU said in a statement. “The rule wrongly targets independent provider home care workers who, without a union, are faced with a physically and emotionally demanding job with a median wage of just $10.49 an hour, no healthcare, no paid sick time and no benefits.”

How about letting home care workers decide for themselves whether or not they want to join a union or pay union dues? The Obama regulation was simply another way to put money in union coffers that they could donate to Democrats during election cycles.

The Scam We Hope Will Be Fully Revealed Soon

The mainstream media has been less than enthusiastic about uncovering the root of the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. However, in spite of their efforts to bury the misdeeds of people in the Obama administration, the story is slowly beginning to come out. Most of the mainstream media is still avoiding telling the story, but you can still find it in some outlets.

Yesterday The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy that reminds us of some of the unseemly (and probably illegal) things that were going on in late 2015 through early 2017. I strongly suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article, but there are a few things that need to be highlighted.

The article notes:

In Senate testimony last week, Attorney General William Barr used the word “spying” to refer to the Obama administration, um, spying on the Trump campaign. Of course, fainting spells ensued, with the media-Democrat complex in meltdown. Former FBI Director Jim Comey tut-tutted that he was confused by Barr’s comments, since the FBI’s “surveillance” had been authorized by a court.

(Needless to say, the former director neglected to mention that the court was not informed that the bureau’s “evidence” for the warrants was unverified hearsay paid for by the Clinton campaign.)

The pearl-clutching was predictable. Less than a year ago, we learned the Obama administration had used a confidential informant — a spy — to approach at least three Trump campaign officials in the months leading up to the 2016 election, straining to find proof that the campaign was complicit in the Kremlin’s hacking of Democratic emails.

But there is more to the story. I never understood the significance of some of the other events in the story. Andrew McCarthy explains them:

In the months prior to the election, as its Trump-Russia investigation ensued, some of the overtly political, rabidly anti-Trump FBI agents running the probe discussed among themselves the prospect of stopping Trump, or of using the investigation as an “insurance policy” in the highly unlikely event that Trump won the election. After Trump’s stunning victory, the Obama administration had a dilemma: How could the investigation be maintained if Trump were told about it? After all, as president, he would have the power to shut it down.

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

This memo is evidence that President Obama was at least aware of what was going on. That should be all over the front pages of every newspaper in the country. Somehow it isn’t.

Who Gets To Be Represented In Congress?

One America News Network reported yesterday that the Supreme Court will take up the matter of the citizenship question on the 2020 Census.

The article reports:

The Trump Administration is looking to appeal a ruling by the Southern District of New York, which struck down their request. The ruling then headed to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals; however, this latest move means Justices will resolve the case before the lower court has the chance to review it.

The Department of Justice said Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who announced he would pursue updating the questionnaire in 2018, has the legal authority to include the citizenship question on next year’s census.

However, the district judge cast doubt on the reasoning behind Ross’ decision to include the question in the survey. The judge argued its inclusion would be unlawful and would violate the Administrative Procedure Act, but Ross cited the need to enforce the Voting Rights Act by asking census-takers if they are citizens of the United States.

The agency argued the question was included in previous years, with it last being seen in 1950.

Why is this important? It’s important for the House of Representatives and for the Electoral College.

The National Immigration Forum explained the impact of the question in an article posted in August 2018:

Because Congress is reapportioned in accordance with overall population, states with large undocumented populations that would go uncounted stand to lose representation. Due to the growth of the immigrant population in the southeast in recent years, in both rural towns and large southern cities like Atlanta and Charlotte, the impact of a census undercount will be felt in blue and red areas alike. As one expert has noted, the states “most disadvantaged, however, are not those with simply the most undocumented people,” like New York or Illinois. Rather, the states with the highest proportion of undocumented people compared to overall population would be the most impacted. These states include solid blue states like California, Maryland and New Jersey, but also a number of red states and swing states – Arizona, Florida, Nevada, and Texas. To the extent the citizenship question drives down the response rate, these states are most likely to lose congressional representation.

The number of votes a state receives in the Electoral College is also partially determined by the number of Representatives the state has in Congress, so an accurate count of the population is also important in determining the number of electors.

Putting the citizenship question on the 2020 Census will allow a more realistic count of American citizens. American citizens are the people Congress is supposed to represent. You gain the right to vote and to be represented when you become a citizen. Otherwise, you are simply a guest. Would you let a guest (invited or uninvited) determine the rules and budget of your household?

Sometimes Getting Things Done Takes Time

The Daily Caller is reporting the following today: “Late-Night Deal Breaks Deadlock Over Natural Gas Exports. The Trump Administration Is Ecstatic.” Natural gas is one of the cleanest energy sources in the world. America has a lot of it. Exporting it will have financial and diplomatic rewards.

The article reports:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) broke a two-year partisan deadlock Thursday night to approve a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal in Louisiana.

Top Department of Energy (DOE) officials said this was a major breakthrough that will alleviate a growing problem for U.S. energy producers — a lack of export infrastructure.

“We have been promoting US energy around the world and today’s decision by the FERC is a very important one,” DOE Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette told The Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.

The Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal is the first such project to get FERC approval in two years. Republican FERC commissioners Neil Chatterjee, the chairman, and Bernard McNamee worked with Democrat Cheryl LaFleur to hash out an agreement to get her support.

The article concludes:

FERC’s other Democratic commissioner Richard Glick opposed the terminal, arguing his colleagues were “deliberately ignoring the consequences that its actions have for climate change.”

The commission’s environmental review of Calcasieu Pass found the facility would emit roughly 3.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year — about 0.07 percent of total U.S. emissions.

Brouillette argued that while an individual LNG export terminal would emit greenhouse gases, it would help lower global emissions because countries want gas as an alternative to coal.

“To the extent that LNG is displacing coal around the world, we think the impact is going to be positive,” Brouillette said.

Brouillette also stressed the geopolitical implications of LNG exports and the role energy could play in President Donald Trump’s foreign policy.

“These are decisions that impact the President’s ability to make foreign policy decisions,” Brouillette told TheDCNF. “We get to assist Poland, we get to assist Lithuania, we get to assist the Baltic states.”

Energy independence for America is important, but it is also important to be able to export energy around the world when countries such as Russia threaten to shut down their energy pipelines in order the win political victories.

Some Interesting Legal Aspects Of The Isis Bride Who Wants To Come To America

Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review yesterday about Hoda Muthana, currently detained in a refugee camp in Syria, who wants to come home to America.

The article reports:

Now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced that Muthana will not be allowed to reenter the U.S. because she is not an American citizen: While born in America, she was the daughter of a diplomat and thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the U.S. As the secretary put it in his statement, “Ms. Hoda Muthana is not a U.S. citizen and will not be admitted into the United States. She does not have any legal basis, no valid U.S. passport, no right to a passport, nor any visa to travel to the United States.”

This conclusion is disputed by Muthana’s family and allies, and they may have a case. I would strongly urge the Justice Department to file an indictment against Muthana for treason, material support to terrorism, and any other readily provable offenses. She is less likely to press the issues of citizenship and right to enter if she understands that she faces prosecution and, very likely, lengthy imprisonment if she succeeds in coming here.

But it’s worth taking a closer look at the citizenship question itself. To my mind, the concept of citizenship implies not just the benefits of being a full-fledged member of the body politic, but also a duty of fealty to the nation. In a rational world, then, a citizen who made war against the United States would be stripped of citizenship.

Ms. Muthana left America to join ISIS, a group that was (and is) at war with America. If she claims to be a citizen, she should be charged with treason.

The article concludes:

Again: If the president and the secretary do not want Muthana to try to come back to the United States, the best strategy is to have the Justice Department indict her on serious felony charges. She may seek another alternative if she knows the risk of coming back here is decades of imprisonment. Of course, Muthana may decide to come anyway. After all, (a) she might see life in an American prison as better than her other alternatives, and (b) if she is an American citizen, there is a good argument that her young son is a citizen, too — he’d have a more promising chance of survival and a decent life here than in Syria (or wherever else in that godforsaken region they could end up).

In any event, the State Department has made its decision. Now it is up to Muthana’s supporters to establish her citizenship if they can, and for the Trump administration to indict her if it chooses.

This Makes My Heart Hurt

Yesterday Ed Morrissey posted an article at Hot Air about the spending bill the President signed this morning.

The article notes:

Forty-eight hours before the government would have shut down, Congress produced the conference report containing the seven remaining funding bills for the FY2019 budget. And less than 20 hours after producing the 1,159-page monstrosity, both the House and the Senate are expected to pass the bill. Perhaps members will take a nap with it under their pillow to absorb it by osmosis.

It’s not a good bill, and even if it were, how would anyone know? I am sure some members of Congress assigned various sections of the bill to staff members in the hopes of getting most of it read, but this is no way to run a country.

Meanwhile, the President is charged with defending our borders. We have had and continue to have thousands of people forming caravans to break into our country. Any public official who took an oath to defend our Constitution has an obligation to defend our borders. I really don’t understand why that is so difficult to understand. Well, yes I do–it’s about money and voters. When the Democrats look at illegal aliens, they see Democrat voters. Illegal aliens are already allowed to vote in local elections in some cities and states. When Republicans look at illegal aliens, they see cheap labor. Since much of the campaign money for Republicans comes from PAC’s related to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (made up of corporations that support cheap labor), Republicans are not inclined to seal our borders.

So what impact does illegal immigration have on those of us who are ordinary citizens? In June 2018, Numbers USA reported:

A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute, entitled Chilling Effects: The Expected Public Charge Rule and Its Impact on Legal Immigrant Families’ Public Benefits Use, revealed that 10.3 million out of the 22 million foreign nationals in the U.S. receive benefits from at least one welfare program funded by taxpayer dollars. Additionally, 54.2% of foreign national children, age 17 and younger, are granted welfare benefits. The data also showed that 46.3% of foreign national welfare recipients are adults, age 18 to 54, and 47.8% are older than 54.

MPI examined a leaked draft of an executive order that would deny green cards to individuals who use public benefits, or have relatives who do. The report goes on to explain how the Trump Administration’s Public Charge Rule would reduce the number of foreign nationals on welfare, cause a decrease in immigration levels, and make it more difficult for foreign nationals and their dependents to be eligible for welfare benefits.

A website called nokidhungry.org reports that 17.9 percent of American children under the age of 18 are living in households that experienced limited or uncertain availability of safe, nutritious food at some point during the year. (Source: Feeding America). That number is a disgrace when you consider the amount of money we provide to poor families in this country, but it also illustrates the fact that we cannot afford to support more low-income families–particularly if they are not American citizens.

It is pathetic that Congress could not support preserving our country. Thank God we have a President who is willing to fight to preserve America.

Misleading The Public About International Affairs

NBC News posted an article today about the relationship between President Trump and the nation of Turkey.

The article reports:

As Trump administration officials presided over the second day of an international conference in Warsaw dominated by calls to ratchet up pressure on Iran, one longtime U.S. ally and NATO member was noticeably absent — Turkey.

Snubbing the gathering in Poland, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday attended a rival conference in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, where he planned to meet his Russian and Iranian counterparts to work out a final settlement of the war in Syria.

The dueling summits illustrate President Donald Trump’s struggle to forge a united front against Iran, and reflect Turkey’s drift away from Washington as it finds common ground with Moscow and Tehran, experts and former officials said.

These three paragraphs are totally misleading and paint a negative picture of President Trump’ foreign policy that is totally inaccurate. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became President of Turkey in 2014. He had previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014. As he moves Turkey in the direction of an Islamic State, it is only natural that his friendly relationship with America would deteriorate rapidly.

On July 28, 2014, The Jerusalem Post reported:

Harold Rhode, a senior fellow at the New-York-based Gatestone Institute and a former adviser on Islamic affairs in the office of the American secretary of defense, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday that the real issue in the ongoing conflict is that Turkey and Qatar are supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas in their goals.

“[Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan has been associated with the Muslim Brotherhood long before he was prime minister,” Rhode said.

It should now be clear to all that Erdogan “is now out of the bag,” Rhode said, adding that US President Barack Obama does not speak to the Turkish leader anymore despite previously describing him as one of his closest friends among the world’s leaders.

“Erdogan is doing whatever he can to help Hamas,” he said, asserting that it will only hurt the Palestinian people in the end.

On January 7, 2019, Clare Lopez posted an article at the Center for Security Policy that stated:

As National Security Advisor John Bolton heads to Turkey today for discussions about President Trump’s announced decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syrian battle spaces, he might question Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about his expressed intent to re-establish the Ottoman Empire and how Erdogan calculates U.S. policy in the region to figure into that ambition.

He might cite from Erdogan’s February 2018 assertion that “modern Turkey is a ‘continuation’ of the Ottoman Empire,” or ask exactly what Erdogan meant when, in November 2018 he declared that “Turkey is bigger than Turkey; just know this. We cannot be trapped inside 780,000 kilometers [Turkey’s total area].” He might perhaps ask also what exactly Erdogan meant by threatening the U.S. with an “Ottoman Slap,” in reference to American support for Kurdish forces fighting against the Islamic State.

Then there was the November 2018 “International Islamic Union Congress,” held in Istanbul. Headed by Erdogan’s chief military advisor, Adnan Tanriverdi, the event’s participants endorsed the aim of “unity of Islam” through establishing the “Confederation of Islamic Countries.” It was not entirely clear how or if such a “Confederation” would differ from a Caliphate or Islamic State.

Clearly, U.S. objectives for the region are not the same as Turkey’s.

I don’t think President Trump is the problem in our relationship with Turkey.

Good News–Temporary Good News, But Good News

Breitbart is reporting today that a White House study released on Friday found that President Donald Trump’s Obamacare reforms will save Americans roughly $450 billion over the next ten years.

That is wonderful news, but it is only temporary wonderful news.

The article reports:

A White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) study released on Friday found that Americans will save $450 billion through Trump’s Obamacare reforms. The CEA suggested that Trump’s repeal of the Obamacare individual mandate and the expansion of short-term insurance plans and Association Health Plans (AHPs) will save Americans billions over the next ten years.

The White House also suggested that the benefits of Trump’s deregulatory actions saved Americans billions, increased access to more health insurance options, and did not amount to a “sabotage” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Unfortunately these savings are a result of Executive Orders, not legislative action. That means that the changes can theoretically be reversed by a future President. It would have been wonderful if Congress had stepped up to the plate and made the necessary changes.

The article concludes:

Many Americans have contended that because 80 percent of those who paid the Obamacare mandate made less than $50,000 a year, the individual mandate repeal serves as a significant middle-class tax break.

The CEA said about 87 percent of Obamacare exchange enrollees receive ACA subsidies and “only pay a fraction of their health insurance costs.”

Many Obamacare proponents suggested that the repeal of the individual mandate, as well as the expansion of short-term plans and AHPs, would lead to higher premiums on the Obamacare exchanges.

In contrast, the CEA contended that because more people will use AHPs and short-term plans and fewer people will use the ACA exchanges, the government will save $185 billion over the next ten years.

The CEA said that instead of sabotaging the ACA, the Trump administration offered millions of Americans more affordable health insurance options.

“The oft-expressed view that deregulation ‘sabotages the ACA’ by giving consumers more insurance-coverage options is misguided,” the CEA said.

The free market is always the best answer.

Regulations Have Consequences

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the impact of regulations on business franchises put in place during the Obama administration.

The article reports:

An industry study found that the Obama administration’s crackdown on franchising has cut hundreds of thousands of job openings and dealt a $33.3 billion blow to the economy each year dating back to 2015.

A report put out by the International Franchise Association and a Chamber of Commerce found that the Obama administration provoked an “existential threat” to the franchise model in which small business owners operate under the umbrella of a national corporate brand. The Obama administration departed from decades of precedent when the National Labor Relations Board held that parent companies could be held liable for labor violations committed by franchisees. The report estimated that the new joint employer standard set curtailed expansion in the industry, leading to between 142,000 and 376,000 lost job opportunities—a 2.55 to 5 percent reduction in the workforce.

“All of this economic cost was predictable and avoidable,” IFA spokesman Matthew Haller said. “Franchise owners have incurred significant losses.”

The article details the Trump administration’s response to the study:

The Trump NLRB has turned to rulemaking to solidify the previous joint employer standard, which only held parent companies liable if they were directly involved in a violation. A previous decision overturning the Obama agency ruling was dismissed after an ethics official said Trump appointee William Emanuel should have recused himself because his old law firm handled joint employer cases. Bird and Haller said the effects of the regulation would not immediately reverse the damage caused by four years of uncertainty, but would be a first step to helping the industry begin creating new job opportunities and expand existing hiring.

“There is the opportunity to this [Trump NLRB] regulation to remove much of that source of fear and to remove the uncertainty—that is the minimum first step to recovering and removing these costs,” Bird said.

The report featured 77 one-hour interviews with lawyers, franchisees, and franchisors of all different sizes across the country. IFA has submitted the report to the NLRB as part of the public comment period for the rule proposal. The agency will begin reviewing these comments and all replies by Feb. 11.

Hopefully the ruling make during the Obama administration can be overturned and more people can go back to starting franchise businesses.

 

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

It’s hard to defend the actions of the Federal Reserve right now. The people who propped up the economy under President Obama seem determined to destroy the economy under President Trump. But we know that the Federal Reserve is apolitical. Sure we do. However, there may be some unintended consequences of the current Federal Reserve actions.

The Gateway Pundit posted an article today which explains some of those consequences.

The article reports:

The Chinese were relentless in their efforts to obtain Western technology and grow their economy.  They set up trade barriers and manipulated their currency in ways that helped China. The US was at a disadvantage in trade resulting in massive deficits into the billions.

Along comes the Trump Administration, the first administration to address China’s unfair trade advantage.  President Trump is a shrewd negotiator and he obviously believes now is the time to encourage China to make changes to their trade barriers with the US.  China may have no choice but to go with what the US offers to keep its economy afloat.

The more pressing issues for China surround real estate, in a manner similar to the US in 2008.  As China grew, it invested in its infrastructure and in addition it invested in large housing projects throughout the country.  These efforts helped bolster China’s already fast growing economy.

The problem is that China over invested in these random properties all over China and these properties today remain empty.

…Now to add to China’s misery, the Fed is doing all it can to kill the US economy.  China is dependent on the US economy to stay afloat.

…The US debt now stands at $21.8 trillion. A 2.25% interest increase on this amount of debt is an annual increase in debt interest payments of $500 billion!!!

The Fed is doing all it can to destroy President Trump’s economy. What the Fed doesn’t realize is that a flat US economy means disaster to the Chinese.

China’s financial crash may make the 2008 crash in the US look small.  The implications will no doubt impact the entire world.  Jerome Powell at the Fed has no idea what he is doing!

Hang on to your hat, if the Federal Reserve continues on its current path, this may be a very bumpy ride.

Who Is James Wolfe?

Who is James Wolfe, and why does it matter? On Thursday, American Greatness posted an article about James Wolfe, a former staff employee of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

The article reports:

Late Thursday, a federal judge sentenced Wolfe to two months in jail for one count of lying to the FBI; the prosecution had asked for 24 months. After a tearful apology to the judge, Wolfe essentially escaped with a slap on the wrist. Outrageous.

Wolfe, 58, was a key player in the leaking strategy employed by anti-Trump bureaucrats to seed bogus Trump-Russia collusion stories in the news media during the administration’s early months. Entrusted with safekeeping the committee’s most secret documents, Wolfe was caught passing off the information to four reporters. One of the journalists, Ali Watkins, was at least 30 years his junior; their three-year affair began when she was a college intern working for a Washington, D.C. news organization.

The first lesson here is don’t let your daughters be interns in Washington–there are a lot of older men walking around with evil intentions. The second lesson is more serious. James Wolfe was leaking classified information to newspapers with the intention of discrediting the Trump administration. He then lied about his actions when caught. He is looking at two months in jail. General Flynn has agreed to a plea of lying to investigators. He has lost his house, been financially ruined, etc. I realize that there is probably much more to that case than the public is aware of, but it seems to me that General Flynn’s actual crime was agreeing to be part of the Trump administration. His treatment by those in the ‘deep state’ was meant to send a message to anyone who was willing to be part of the Trump administration. The Mafia has been known to use similar tactics.

The article continues:

When confronted by the FBI about the affair and the disclosure of classified information to the other reporters, Wolfe repeatedly lied both during a personal interview and on a questionnaire. The investigation into Wolfe’s activities was so critical and risky that “the FBI’s executive leadership took the extraordinary step of limiting its notification to two individuals—the Chair and Vice Chair of the [committee]. Had this delicate balance not been achieved, this situation could easily have resulted in the possible disruption of information flow—an untenable degradation of national security oversight.”

Sounds a little bit more consequential than a phone conversation about Russian sanctions, right?

But here is the real injustice: While it was clear by both the original indictment and the sentencing memo that Wolfe was responsible for disclosing details about the FISA warrant on Trump campaign aide Carter Page, he was not charged with that crime—a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

The investigation into Wolfe began after the Washington Post published an explosive story in April 2017 confirming that the FBI had obtained a FISA order right before the election to spy on Page.

“There was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia,” the Post reported. “This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump associate was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.” The information was given to the reporters “on the condition of anonymity because [the sources] were not authorized to discuss details of a counterintelligence probe.”

James Wolfe belongs in prison for much longer than two months. Until we have equal justice under the law, we will not have our republic. The press is supposed to be holding elected officials and other bureaucrats accountable–not putting their thumb on the scales of justice.