What We Should Call The Coronavirus

Yesterday The Epoch Times posted an editorial giving their opinion on what to name the coronavirus. Their suggestion is a common-sense approach to placing responsibility where it belongs.

The editorial states:

The Epoch Times suggests a more accurate name is the “CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus,” and calls upon others to join us in adopting this name.

The name holds the CCP accountable for its wanton disregard of human life and consequent spawning of a pandemic that has put untold numbers in countries around the world at risk, while creating widespread fear and devastating the economies of nations trying to cope with this disease.

After all, CCP officials knew in early December that the virus had appeared in Wuhan, but they sat on the information for six weeks. They arrested those who tried to warn of the danger, accusing them of spreading “rumors,” and employed the regime’s rigorous censorship to prevent media coverage and to delete any mentions of it from social media.

What might have been contained was allowed silently to spread, showing up in all of China. Individuals who might have protected themselves became victims, in numbers far greater than the CCP has admitted. By late January, there were reports that all of the crematoria in Wuhan were operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deal with the crush of dead bodies.

The editorial notes the price of getting too cozy with dictatorships:

In any case, as questions about the origin of the virus have gone unanswered, the CCP has begun throwing out wild charges that the United States is responsible. This will be met around the world with perplexity, if not ridicule. President Donald Trump has pushed back by referring to the “Chinese virus.”

But the CCP likely intends these charges of U.S. responsibility for its domestic audience. The CCP has victimized the Chinese people in its first denial of the virus and now seeks to victimize them again by shifting responsibility for its actions to others.

And this points out why the name “CCP virus” is needed, to distinguish the victims from the victimizer. The people of Wuhan and of China are the victims of the CCP’s arrogance and incompetence, expressed in this viral pandemic.

The name CCP virus also sounds a warning: Those nations and individuals close to the CCP are the ones suffering the worst effects from this virus, as is seen in the raging infections in the CCP’s close ally Iran and in Italy, the only G-7 nation to sign onto the Belt and Road Initiative. Taiwan and Hong Kong, which are highly skeptical of the CCP, have had relatively few infections.

The editorial concludes:

Finally, the CCP virus reminds the people of the world that the source of the virus is itself evil. This is a communist virus, and with the name CCP virus, The Epoch Times reminds the world of the cure: ending the CCP.

President Trump And His Trade Policies

Yesterday Fox News reported that the US trade deficit has dropped for first time in 6 years because of the taxes President Trump has placed on China.

The article reports:

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as President Donald Trump hammered China with import taxes.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad fell 1.7 percent last year to $616.8 billion. U.S. exports fell 0.1 percent to $2.5 trillion. But imports fell more, slipping 0.4 percent to $3.1 trillion. Imports of crude oil plunged 19.3% to $126.6 billion.

The deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed last year by 17.6 percent to $345.6 billion. Trump has imposed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in a battle over Beijing’s aggressive drive to challenge American technological dominance. The world’s two biggest economies reached an interim trade deal last month, and Trump dropped plans to extend the tariffs to another $160 billion in Chinese goods.

The article notes:

Overall, the United States posted a $866 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances, down from $887.3 billion in 2018. But it ran a $249.2 billion surplus in the trade of services such as tourism and banking, down from $260 billion in 2018.

America is a nation of consumers, so I suspect trade deficits are something that will always be with us, but as the manufacturing base in America expands and our trade policies become more balanced, I believe we will see lower trade deficits.

Fixing A Broken Law

The Daily Signal posted an article yesterday about the State Department’s beginning to look into what to do about ‘birth tourism.’

The article reports:

“Birth tourism” has become big business. Today, hundreds of companies advertise to pregnant women—particularly upper-middle-class women from China, Nigeria, Russia, and Turkey—offering assistance to get visas that would allow them to visit the U.S. during the time they expect to give birth.

The U.S. hosts tens of thousands of “birth tourists” every year. In 2015, the Center for Immigration Studies pegged the number at 35,000. The Qianzhan Industry Research Institute reported that, in 2016, as many as 80,000 birth tourists came to the U.S. Whatever the total number, it appears to be growing.

What draws these women to our shores isn’t U.S. obstetric or natal care. It’s automatic U.S. citizenship for their babies.

The 14th Amendment declares: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, [emphasis added] are citizens of the United States … .” The government currently interprets this as meaning that anyone born on U.S. soil is a U.S. citizen, regardless of the parent’s nationality or immigration status. Essentially, this reading ignores the qualifying phrase italicized above.

The article lists some of the reasons behind the growth of ‘birth tourism’:

U.S. citizenship makes a child eligible for free public education and loan programs, government food assistance, Medicaid, and other welfare programs. Costs can run into the billions. Furthermore, when birth-tourist babies become adults, they may then apply for immigrant visas (green cards) for their family members, increasing chain migration.

The wealth of benefits offered by the U.S. are a major selling point for the birth tourism industry. Last January, the Justice Department unsealed indictments for 19 people involved in Chinese birth tourism schemes.

The indictments revealed that the “birthing house” operators told pregnant women that they could seek U.S. visas to obtain the “most attractive nationality,” “priority for jobs in U.S. government,” “free education from junior high to public high school,” and “senior supplement benefits when the parent is living overseas.”

After paying a fee—which ranged from $15,000 to $50,000—each client received coaching on how to pass visa interviews; overstay visas once in the U.S.; and apply for federal benefits.

This kind of fraudulent behavior not only undermines the integrity of our immigration system, it generates national security concerns, as well.

The article concludes:

President Donald Trump has heard the call of those clamoring for an end to birthright citizenship and has pledged to end the policy. Since the 14th Amendment does not require universal birthright citizenship, a constitutional amendment is not necessary to change current policy. All that’s needed is a new policy.

And that’s exactly what the State Department is issuing—a final rule designed to combat birth tourism in the United States.

Specifically, the rule amends the State Department’s regulation on temporary visitors seeking a “B” (business or pleasure) nonimmigrant visa. It stipulates that such visas are granted to accommodate temporary visits for pleasure and not visits taken for the primary purpose of giving birth in this country.

It also states that, if a consular officer has reason to believe that a visa applicant would give birth while in the U.S., he or she may presume that the primary purpose is to gain citizenship for the unborn child. Unless the applicant is able to rebut that presumption, she would be ineligible for the visa.

Ending birthright citizenship would restore order to our immigration system, decrease welfare costs, and improve national security. The State Department’s new rule to combat birth tourism is a good first step.

This is definitely a move in the right direction.

Tariffs Work

No one likes trade wars, but we continue to see evidence that tariffs (combined with economic strength) work. Bloomberg posted an article on Thursday (updated Friday) about the recent trade agreement reached between the United States and China.The article notes that the tentative agreement was reached just as more tariffs were due to go into effect against China on December 15th. Because of the tentative agreement, the tariffs are postponed.

The article reports:

President Donald Trump signed off on a phase-one trade deal with China, averting the Dec. 15 introduction of a new wave of U.S. tariffs on about $160 billion of consumer goods from the Asian nation, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal presented to Trump by trade advisers Thursday included a promise by the Chinese to buy more U.S. agricultural goods, according to the people. Officials also discussed possible reductions of existing duties on Chinese products, they said. The terms have been agreed but the legal text has not yet been finalized, the people said. A White House spokesperson declined to comment.

While there was no official confirmation from the government in Beijing on Friday, an announcement is expected in Washington as early as today, according to people familiar with the Americans’ plans. One possible option is for U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to sign the agreement with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai, according to people briefed on the matter.

When the agreement was announced, global stocks soared to record highs.

The article concludes:

In addition to a significant increase in Chinese agricultural purchases in exchange for tariff relief, officials have also said a phase-one pact would include Chinese commitments to do more to stop intellectual-property theft and an agreement by both sides not to manipulate their currencies.

Put off for later discussions are knotty issues such as longstanding U.S. complaints over the vast web of subsidies ranging from cheap electricity to low-cost loans that China has used to build its industrial might.

Nothing is at yet cast in stone. Stay tuned.

Quietly Fighting The War On Child Pornography

NBC News is reporting today that federal agents have shut down the world’s “largest dark web child porn marketplace.”

The article reports:

The now-shuttered English-language site, called “Welcome to Video,” contained more than 200,000 unique videos or almost 8 terabytes of data showing sex acts involving children, toddlers and infants, according to the 18-page criminal indictment unsealed here Wednesday, and processed 7,300 Bitcoin transactions worth more than $730,000.

According to prosecutors, the vast online store was run by Jong Woo Son, a South Korean citizen currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in his home country after his conviction on charges related to child pornography. The site operated from June 2015 until it was seized and shut down by U.S. authorities in March 2018.

At a press conference Wednesday morning, U.S. officials said 337 suspected users of the site had been arrested worldwide to date.

…In addition to Son, more than 300 other suspects have been arrested in South Korea as of Wednesday, while still more suspects were identified in other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, including a Washington, D.C., man who was caught with the equivalent of 50 years worth of video footage he had downloaded.

The website ran solely on the dark web, a section of the internet that can only be accessed via a Tor browser, which is designed to protect users’ tracks online and obscure digital footprints. Users could purchase videos using cryptocurrency and an annual membership was priced at 0.03 bitcoins (at current exchange rates, around $300).

The article concludes:

When they announced the arrest of “Mr. A” in 2018, the South Korean police also said they had arrested a total of 156 South Koreans for either uploading or downloading child porn materials, which was unusual given that the site operated entirely in English.

“Most of the users were in their 20s, unmarried and white-collar office workers and first-time offenders, although some were ex-convicts of sexual crimes, including juvenile sex offenders. One possessed as many as 48,634 child porn [files],” the KNPA said.

Paul Henkins, head of the Americas region for the U.K.’s National Crime Agency, said at the Wednesday press conference that 18 investigations of alleged site users had yielded seven convictions, with one defendant sentenced to 22 years.

The case, Henkins said, demonstrates the “increase in the scale, severity and complexity of child sexual abuse offending.”

Hopefully the people arrested will spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Can I Help You Pack?

Yesterday Fox News reported the following:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that his country’s delegation would vote for the United Nations headquarters to be moved out of New York if given the chance, in the latest sign of escalating tensions with the United States on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly.

“If we’re ever asked, we will, of course, vote for it, for the United Nations headquarters to be transferred to a more secure and better country that does not have the narrow viewpoints that we have been witnessing,” he said in response to a question at a press conference. There appears to be no significant movement to move the U.N.

This is probably the first and last time I will agree with President Rouhani.

The article continues:

He mentioned a number of instances of Iranians being barred from entering the U.S. The Trump administration this week restricted senior Iranian government officials and their family members from entering the U.S.

“For years, Iranian officials and their family members have quietly taken advantage of America’s freedom and prosperity, including excellent educational, employment, entertainment, and cultural opportunities in the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Thursday.

“Under this proclamation, designated senior regime officials and their families will no longer be allowed entry into the United States. No longer will elites reap the benefits of a free society while the Iranian people suffer under the regime’s corruption and mismanagement.”

Rouhani accused the U.S. of capitalizing on its position as host nation for the U.N.

“This is the house of peace and house of communications with one another and America must not take advantage of its position as a host and only grant visas to whom America likes,” he said.

Rouhani spoke at a lengthy press conference in which he blamed the U.S. for the collapse of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and called on the U.S. to remove sanctions before talks can occur between the two countries. President Trump had opened the door to talks with the Iranian regime, but has also kept up his “maximum pressure” campaign of sanctions against Tehran.

“If these preconditions are taken off the table and then of course the possibility exists to talk with America,” Rouhani said.

Would the UN just leave if all the delegates were asked to pay their parking tickets?

When The Numbers Are Just Not Cooperating

As the climate change hysterics from the Democrat presidential candidates continue, some of the actual facts seem to have gotten lost in the discussion.

John Hinderaker posted an article at Power Line Blog yesterday with the following headline, “No U.S. Warming Since 2005.”

The article reports:

Even when measured, temperature records are not very reliable. The U.S. is generally considered to have the best records, but surveys show that over half of our weather stations do not comply with written standards. Some are located in places that obviously will be warmer than surrounding air, e.g., next to airport runways. Many are in cities, where temperatures are artificially inflated by concentrations of people, motor vehicles, buildings, etc. And on top of all of that, the alarmists who curate weather records have systematically fiddled with them, lowering temperatures that were recorded decades ago and raising recent ones, to exaggerate the supposed phenomenon of global warming.

The article continues:

In order to address some of these problems, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) implemented, beginning in 2005, a new surface temperature measurement system in the U.S.

[The U.S. Climate Reference Network] includes 114 pristinely maintained temperature stations spaced relatively uniformly across the lower 48 states. NOAA selected locations that were far away from urban and land-development impacts that might artificially taint temperature readings.

Prior to the USCRN going online, alarmists and skeptics sparred over the accuracy of reported temperature data. With most preexisting temperature stations located in or near urban settings that are subject to false temperature signals and create their own microclimates that change over time, government officials performed many often-controversial adjustments to the raw temperature data. Skeptics of an asserted climate crisis pointed out that most of the reported warming in the United States was non-existent in the raw temperature data, but was added to the record by government officials.

The USCRN has eliminated the need to rely on, and adjust the data from, outdated temperature stations.

So–not to keep you in suspense–what does the USCRN show so far? No warming:

I guess we might have a little more than twelve years left. Please follow the link to the article to read the rest of the information.

Foreign Policy Wisdom

The Center For Security Policy posted the following Secure Freedom Minute on July 26:

In recent days, fast-boats of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have seized oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.  This action has followed a series of other direct and indirect Iranian provocations, including attacks on shipping, Saudi oil infrastructure and U.S. assets in Iraq.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, a pair of Chinese long-range bombers joined two of their Russian counterparts and one of the Kremlin’s command-and-control aircraft in conducting a deliberate provocation in the airspace over islands claimed by South Korea and Japan. An extraordinary three hundred warning shots were fired in two separate instances before the intruders departed the area.

Make no mistake: These are probing actions designed to test the readiness and resolve of the United States and its allies. As with any bully, a failure to demonstrate both will result in more aggression worldwide.

This is a lesson we should have learned a long time ago.

Some Politicians Are Playing With Fire

On June 25th Reuters reported:

Four men with suspected ties to the Islamic State militant group were captured on Tuesday by members of the Nicaraguan armed forces after entering the country illegally from Costa Rica, Nicaraguan police said.

The identities of three of the men matched those of suspects featured in an alert attributed to U.S. Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) warning that three possible terrorists had recently arrived in Central America.

In a statement, Nicaraguan police said two of the men were Egyptian nationals and the other two were Iraqi. The four were due to be deported back to Costa Rica, it added.

The Egyptians were named as Mohamed Ibrahim, 33, and Mahmoud Samy Eissa, 26, while the Iraqis were Ahmed Ghanim Mohamed Al Jubury, 41 and Mustafa Ali Mohamed Yaoob, 29.

The first three men were named in the HSI alert published by Mexican media on Monday, which identified them as possible members of Islamic State headed for the United States.

They were not coming here to improve their economic status.

How Much Of The American Media Has Reported This?

The U.K. Mail reported yesterday that Rapid DNA testing reveals a THIRD of migrants faked family relationship with children to claim asylum during ICE pilot of the procedure in Texas.

The article reports:

ICE conducted the pilot for a few days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, finding about 30 per cent of those tested were not related to the children they claimed were their own, an official told the Washington Examiner

The official said that these were not cases of step-fathers or adoptive parents.

‘Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members,’ the official said.

…The official said that some migrants did refuse the test and admit that they were not related to the children they were with, when they learned their claim would be subjected to DNA proof.

ICE said the Department of Homeland Security would look at the results of the pilot to determine whether to roll out rapid DNA tests more broadly. 

After President Donald Trump’s administration backpedaled on ‘family separation’ in the face of enormous backlash last summer, the number of family units arriving at the southern border has skyrocketed.

Current U.S. law and policy means that Central Americans who cross the border illegally with children can claim asylum and avoid any lengthy detention in most cases. 

The Central Americans that have made the journey to the United States’ border are desperate, but we need to find a way to discourage them from making the journey in the first place. The initial step might be to revise our immigration laws to allow an orderly, less expensive way to enter the country legally. However, we can’t take in every economic migrant in the world. We need people coming here to help build the future of America–not simply to live off the largess of the American people. The influx of illegal immigrants is a drain on America in a number of ways. First of all, illegal aliens working under the table have a negative impact on the wages of low-skilled American workers. Second of all, illegal aliens are taking advantage of government welfare in America.–legally they are not permitted to, but many of them have found ways to get around the law.  Thirdly, the children of illegal aliens are in our schools at our expense while their parents are not paying taxes and are sending money back to their home country–the parents are taking from Americans without contributing to the expense of educating their children. Finally, many illegals do not respect American laws–they broke the law in coming (or overstaying their legal stay) and feel no obligation to follow the rest of our laws.

We do need to make it easier for people to come to American legally, but we also need to bring people here who want to assimilate and to work to make America a better place for all of us.

The Ghost Of The Obama Administration

Breitbart posted an article today about trade agreements between the United States and Qatar. It seems that there are air trade agreements that Qatar is violating. Those violations were allowed under the Obama administration. Qatar would like to see those violations continue under the Trump administration.

The article reports:

Open Skies agreements are executive agreements, similar to treaties, between the United States and other nations regarding international air travel, designed to foster free-market competition and a level playing field for international flights. From trade, to commerce, to tourism, Open Skies requires each participating country to provide non-preferential access to their airspace, and requires airline companies to compete against each other to in terms of offerings, quality of service, and low prices, without government subsidies.

Breitbart News has previously reported on several Arab nations that were violating their Open Skies agreements with the United States, illegally subsidizing three Persian Gulf carriers. The Obama administration did nothing, and a group of NeverTrumpers tried to convince President Trump to do nothing as well.

President Trump’s team had other ideas. In January 2018, the Department of State announced a deal with Qatar to end violations involving Qatar Airways, and in May 2018, Secretary Mike Pompeo announced a deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) addressing the remaining airlines, Etihad Airways, and Emirates Airline. These were hailed as significant victories for American workers and the president’s America First agenda.

But it appears there may still be trouble with Qatar. And someone from the Obama administration has been implicated, apparently operating behind the scenes.

In late April of this year, the CEOs of all three of the top U.S. airline companies – American, Delta, and United – published an open letter to President Trump as an ad in the New York Times and New York Post, entitled, “President Trump: Please enforce our trade agreements to support U.S. airline workers.”

The article then goes on to explain the involvement of someone from the Obama administration in this matter:

Then three other airline companies – FedEx, Jetblue, and Atlas Air – sent a letter defending Qatar to Pompeo and also Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. The April 16 letter pushes back against “false claims” and touts the need “to set the record straight.”

However, according to materials Breitbart News reviewed, it looks like someone forgot to remove the metadata from the document, showing who wrote the document. Because the metadata shows the letter sent by FedEx, JetBlue, and Atlas Air was actually written by Jenny Rosenberg.

Rosenberg is a lobbyist. But she formerly served as assistant administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and at another time served as acting assistant secretary for aviation and international affairs at the U.S. Department of Transportation – both stints during the Obama administration.

In other words, unless this document is a complete forgery or one of the CEOs’ personal secretaries happens to be named Jenny Rosenberg, an Obama White House political appointee is ghostwriting letters trying to persuade President Trump to ignore purported trade violations.

When the CEOs of American companies are asking the president to stand up for American companies against foreign interests who are undercutting American workers, someone who formerly held “senior executive positions” – that is how her company webpage biography puts it – to advance Barack Obama’s policy priorities is seeking to influence the President Trump’s White House, trying to persuade the current president that what is happening is consistent with his America First agenda, and that his Cabinet should ignore claims to the contrary.

If you are going to do something dishonest, it is wise not to leave your electronic fingerprints on it.

Should A Representative Republic Represent Its Citizens?

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about a recent vote in the House of Representatives.

The article reports:

In the Democrats’ rush to pass HR1, a serious snag emerged for Nancy Pelosi and the rest of her party’s leadership. Republicans were able to force a vote on adding language to the supposed voting rights bill condemning the idea of illegal aliens voting in any elections. It simply read, “allowing illegal immigrants the right to vote devalues the franchise and diminishes the voting power of United States citizens.”

Sounds fairly basic, right? It’s already against the law for illegal aliens to vote in federal elections, though a few liberal municipalities have moved to allow them to cast ballots on the local level, such as in school board elections. Surely this is one area where we can generate some bipartisan consensus, yes? Apparently not. Out of the Democrats’ significant majority in the House, they only managed to find six people who were willing to support the measure and it went down in flames.

There are a few basic facts here that seem to have been overlooked. Illegal aliens are guests of America. They may have broken into the country, but they are guests. Do you let your household guests make decisions about how you run your household? Isn’t the running of the household left up to the permanent residents in charge? The fact that this amendment to HR1 did not pass tells you what HR1 is actually about.

I have written about H.R. 1 before (here, here, and here). If you are not familiar with the bill, please take a look at it. The bill is unconstitutional–Article 1 Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution gives the states power over elections. H.R. 1 would give the federal government control of elections. Federalizing elections would also make it much easier to tamper with the results–because elections in states are not linked together, undermining them takes a much more widespread effort and is generally not worth it.

If you truly care about preserving our republic for our children, you need to vote all the Democrats who voted not to prohibit illegal aliens from voting out of office. People who are not here legally should not have a say in how our country is run. An illegal voter cancels out the vote of an American citizen. That is simply not right.

The article concludes:

I realize this theme gets beaten to death in the early days of any primary, as the numerous candidates race to shore up their support with the base, but just how far left can they go? Opposing the idea of allowing non-citizens, particularly those in the country illegally, to cast votes in American elections is not a fringe or even particularly right-wing idea. It’s baked into the fabric of the national consciousness. Even beyond the folks who will eventually wind up running for president, each of these Democratic House members is going to have to answer for this vote when they come up for reelection themselves. (And particularly in the more purple districts, you can rest assured that their Republican opponents will make sure they do.)

Tack on their votes in favor of infanticide recently and you’ve got a large chunk of the party – not just their POTUS hopefuls – who are veering so far to the left that the GOP may end up having a much better season than anyone is anticipating. What’s up next for the donkey party? Shutting down all Christian churces as “hate groups?”

Our Southern Border

CNS News posted an article yesterday detailing what is happening at the southern border of America.

The article reports:

Rodolfo Karisch, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, told the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Oversight, Management and Accountability on Thursday, that the Border Patrol in his sector has intercepted illegal aliens trying to enter the United States “from 40 different countries, including Bangladesh, Turkey, Romania and China.”

“I want to provide some perspective on the challenges facing our men and women at the Southwest border,” Karisch told the committee in his opening statement. “Though I cannot speak for all of the components of Customs and Border Protection, I can provide a first-hand account of the complex border-security environment and ask for your assistance in helping our frontline men and women.

The article includes some statistics to illustrate what is happening at our southern border:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has published a spread sheet listing the number of illegal aliens apprehended in each border sector in 2017 by their nation of citizenship.

Of the 303,916 who were apprehended that year along the U.S.-Mexico border, only 127,938—or approximately 42.1 percent—were from Mexico.

1,364 of the deportable aliens intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017 were from the People’s Republic of China. Of these, 702 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

564 deportable aliens from Bangladesh were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 304 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

433 deportable aliens from Romania were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 94 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

35 deportable aliens from Turkey were intercepted on the U.S.-Mexico border in 2017. Of these, 21 were intercepted in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.

It’s time to build a wall so that we know who is coming in.

One Way To Trim The Federal Budget

Breitbart is reporting today that according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), more than 3.8 million people dropped off food stamps since President Donald Trump’s first full month in office.

The article reports:

The latest USDA data revealed that food stamp participation dropped to 38,577,141 in November 2018, down by 3,899,257 since Trump took office in February 2017, when 42,134,301 Americans received food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Food stamp enrollment also dropped to its lowest level in a decade. The last time overall food stamp participation was this low was in November 2009, when 38,184,306 people were on the government dole, according to USDA data.

Overall food stamp participation had consistently declined since 2013 when the Obama administration was in power and enrollment in the program reached its highest levels in the nation’s history.

After 2013, SNAP enrollment plummeted once state legislatures passed laws requiring food stamp recipients to work, attend school, volunteer, or participate in job training for a set number of hours per week to receive benefits.

Another cause for the drop in food stamp participation was a proposal to tighten regulations regarding recent legal aliens. Food stamp participation by people who immigrated to the United States during the past five years has dropped by 10 percent. This is in response to a proposal that immigrants who received food stamps or other welfare benefits would not be granted permanent residency in the United States.

We cannot be the free lunch for anyone in America or the world who does not want to earn a living. Food stamps should be a temporary safety net–not a permanent solution. Work requirements and limitations on non-citizens using food stamps are a way to make sure the food stamp program is not misused.

Reykjavik Revisited

All Americans were hoping something good would come out of the meetings between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. It was understood that China was holding a leash on Kim Jong Un and that he was very limited in what he could agree to, but we hoped. Holding the summit in North Vietnam was a stoke of genius–the message it sent was ‘your country can have this kind of prosperity if you behave well.’ Unfortunately the talks ended without an end to North Korea’s nuclear policy and with no relief in sight for the starving, abused people of North Korea.

Fox News posted an article about the talks.

The article reports:

President Trump abruptly walked away from negotiations with North Korea in Vietnam and headed back to Washington on Thursday afternoon, saying the U.S. is unwilling to meet Kim Jong Un’s demand of lifting all sanctions on the rogue regime without first securing its meaningful commitment to denuclearization.

Trump, speaking in Hanoi, Vietnam, told reporters he had asked Kim to do more regarding his intentions to denuclearize, and “he was unprepared to do that.”

“Sometimes you have to walk,” Trump said at a solo press conference following the summit.

Trump specifically said negotiations fell through after the North demanded a full removal of U.S.-led international sanctions in exchange for the shuttering of the North’s Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters that the United States wasn’t willing to make a deal without the North committing to giving up its secretive nuclear facilities outside Yongbyon, as well as its missile and warheads program.

Removing sanctions without denuclearization would have been reminiscent of the Iran deal, which did not go well. Walking away was reminiscent of Reykjavik, which actually went very well (although it did not appear to go well at the time).

Let’s take a look at Reykjavik for a moment. Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev and American President Ronald Reagan met in Reykjavik on October 11 and 12, 1986. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the possibility of limiting each country’s strategic nuclear weapons to create momentum in ongoing arms-control negotiations. The two leaders failed to come to an agreement because President Reagan insisted on America having the freedom to develop the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI, mockingly known as ‘Star Wars’). SDI was still in the infant stages of its development at that point, but President Reagan wanted the freedom to develop it (and was willing to share the technology with Russia in order to create a situation where nuclear weapons owned by rogue nation states would be useless). Gorbachev refused to allow America to develop SDI, and President Reagan left the summit. The Soviet Union officially dissolved on December 26, 1991. The strong stand taken by President Reagan against the Soviet Union played a part in the end of the Soviet Union.

Hopefully the strong stand taken regarding North Korea’s nuclear program will also result in the dissolution of the tyrannical government currently in control of that country.

Is There A Problem?

President Trump made a very generous offer to the Democrats in the House of Representatives today regarding border security on our southern border. Unfortunately it is a pretty safe bet that they will turn down the offer. So exactly what is at stake?

On January 7th Christopher Holton posted an article at The Center For Security Policy about the security threat on our southern border. It is a rather detailed article, and I suggest that you follow the link above and read the entire article.

Here are some of the highlights:

For instance in May 2001, former Mexican National security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations, Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, reported, that ‘Islamic terrorist groups are using Mexico as a refuge.’

There is no way to estimate how many jihadists may already have crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. But the time to play politics with the border issue is long past. The shallow sloganeering and race-baiting that have dominated the national debate about border controls should be recognized as what they are: hindrances to sane and sensible national defense measures.

…Mexicans trying to enter the U.S. illegally are often simply processed at the border and sent back. But Mexico won’t allow us to send citizens from other countries back through Mexico, and under U.S. law, they’re entitled to a formal deportation hearing. The immigration service lacks beds to hold them, so the vast majority of OTMs are released from custody and asked to voluntarily return for their court date.

For instance, in 2005 alone, there were estimated to be 71,000 such OTM fugitives.

…The intrepid Todd Bensman of the excellent Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) has provided the highlights of that report’s findings:

• The recent migrant caravans originating in Central America have included “several SIAs (Special Interest Aliens), and potentially” known or suspected terrorists traveling toward the U.S. border.

• The U.S. Department of Homeland Security continues to prioritize the SIA threat as one of the top threats to the homeland because of the consistently “large number” of individuals from special interest countries that travel to the Western Hemisphere using illicit pathways.

• Written ISIS materials and publications have encouraged ISIS followers to cross the U.S. Southwest Border.

• DHS Border Patrol Agents “routinely” encounter SIAs at the border using routes controlled by transnational criminal organizations.

• Statistics on the number of known or suspected terrorists on routes to the border are often classified, but the threat posed by “the existence of illicit pathways into the United States” highlights that “border security is national security” as terrorist groups seek to exploit vulnerabilities among neighboring countries to fund, support, and commit attacks against the homeland.

• The report lists five open-source, unclassified cases representing the types of individuals and threats associated with illicit routes to the homeland. (CIS recently compiled and published a list of 15.) A number of heavily redacted cases are included in which biometric enrollment information uncovered suspected terrorists in 2013, 2015, and 2018.

• The frequency of international flights from special interest regions into Latin America and the Caribbean continues to increase due to economic and governance challenges in those countries that create an attractive environment for illicit SIA travel to the U.S. border.

• ICE Homeland Security Investigations is deeply enmeshed in investigations and operations throughout Central America to counter human smuggling organizations that move SIAs in Panama, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, and Brazil.

• The United States-Canada border “is also susceptible to exploitation by SIAs.”

It’s time for the politicians in Washington to stop fooling around and secure the border. The next terrorist attack in America will be on their hands.

This Will Continue As Long As There Is A Market For It

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 52 bales of cocaine near Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands last week. The street value of the cocaine is roughly $30 million.

The article reports:

CBP officials said Puerto Rico is becoming an attractive smuggling route this year for cocaine and heroin headed for the United States. In 2017, CBP seized nearly 66,000 pounds of drugs in and around Puerto Rico, more than any prior year on record.

“Drug trafficking organizations have always sought to use the Caribbean as a route to smuggle both narcotics and migrants. The logistics to do so are intrinsically more complicated than traversing the southwest border,” Jeffrey Quinones, a spokesman for CBP’s Puerto Rico and Virgin Island outposts, told the Washington Examiner. “Nonetheless, we have seen cyclical increases in the quantity of narcotics brought to these islands and a diversity of means to conceal and enter the product.”

This illustrates the need to have secure borders surrounding our nation. Obviously these drugs would not be smuggled in unless Americans were using them, but the fact remains that the flow of drugs needs to be stopped. At that point we will have a much better chance of helping those addicted.

Does This Look Like What We Are Being Told It Is?

There is currently a migrant caravan headed toward the southern border of the United States. We are being told that it is a caravan of hopeless, innocent women and children fleeing danger and economic hardship. Well, let’s look at the pictures.

On October 19th, the U.K. Daily Mail posted pictures of the caravan. Let’s take a look at some of those pictures:

Look carefully–these are not women and children.

Why are they raising their hands and singing their national anthem? This is not a peaceful group of people seeking to immigrate to America–these are military age men coming illegally in a large group. Common sense says turn them back at the border.

One last picture:

Why Are All These People In Djibouti?

This is a map showing the location of Djibouti:

Many years ago at a Marine Ball in New Orleans, I sat next to a young officer who had recently returned from Djibouti. I asked him what he had done there, and he responded very politely by telling me everything I wanted to know about Djibouti except what I had asked him. I wondered, but let it go. That was at least twelve years ago, and Djibouti is still an important place to the world’s most powerful nations. One look at its location explains why.

On Friday, the Center for Security Policy posted an article with the title, ” Arms Trafficking on the Rise in Djibouti.” So what is this about?

The article reports:

Attention was brought this week to the growing issue of arms trafficking in the East African nation of Djibouti, which has seen a spike in recent years. Driving the problem is the instability and ongoing conflict in neighboring countries such as Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan. The negative attention comes as Djibouti is trying to establish itself as a developed and economic upstart nation.

…Djibouti’s lack of internal conflicts, its surge of economic investments and its resulting economic growth, have all led to increased stability not present in its neighboring countries.  Driving these positive developments are its access to both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, resulting in its labeling by some as the “most valuable real estate” in the world.

Another major component of Djibouti’s growth has been the military presence of several major world powers within its border such as the United States, France, China, and Japan. France was the first power to establish a military base there as the former colonial power in the region, although budget constraints will require them to close this in the near future. The United States has a strong military presence in Djibouti as the central location of its African-based operations known as AFRICOM. The only foreign bases of both China and Japan are in Djibouti, and India is looking to build a base there in the coming years. The main interest of these countries in Djibouti is the country’s strategic positioning near the Bab-el-Mandeb strait and the Horn of Africa.

…China has the largest presence in Djibouti, given its large development and business presence, and owns a significant amount of the nation’s debt. To this point, the United States sought reassurance earlier this year by the Djiboutian Foreign Ministry that Djibouti’s relationship to China would not overshadowed their agreement with the United States. Despite these assurances, concern over China’s heavy presence in Djibouti, and its ability to remain a neutral partner, continues to increase.

As Djibouti’s economy and international profile continue to grow, interest in the strategically located African nation will continue to increase from world powers and transnational criminals alike who look to profit from the country’s exponential rise.

Stay tuned. This growing country in one of the most unsettled regions of the world is very strategically located. The military buildup by foreign interests in Djibouti is not accidental.

The Real Numbers On Illegal Aliens

The U.K. Daily Mail posted an article today about the number of illegal immigrants currently living in America.

The article reports:

A new study has found that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States is more than double what was previously estimated. 

Two Yale professors and an instructor at MIT Sloan School of Management conducted the extensive research and found that there are 22.1million illegal immigrants in the country. 

The widely estimated number is thought to be around 11.3million, but researchers Edward Kaplan, Jonathan Feinstein and Mohammad Fazel‐Zarandi claim that is way off.

‘Our original idea was just to do a sanity check on the existing number,’ said Kaplan, a professor of operations research at Yale School of Management. 

The article includes the following graph:

The article further states:

According to Yale Insights, the researchers also found the greatest growth of undocumented immigrants occurred in the 1990s and early 2000s. They also said the population size has been relatively stable since 2008. 

‘The trajectory is the same. We see the same patterns happening, but they’re just understating the actual number of people who have made it here,’ said Fazel‐Zarandi, a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management and formerly a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in operations at the Yale School of Management.

‘They are capturing part of this population, but not the whole population,’ he added. 

All three researchers said they did not conduct the study with a political agenda, but know their findings will get ‘pulled and tugged in many ways’. 

There are a number of ways to deal with this problem. Part of the reason it has not been dealt with is the fact that both Republicans and Democrats see a benefit to those illegal aliens remaining here. The Democrats see them as a potential future voting bloc, and the Republicans see them as cheap labor for their major corporate donors. Because of that, there is no incentive to close the border and figure out who is here. A porous border is a security risk, and the border needs to be tightly controlled.

Why Are We Still In The United Nations?

The Preamble of the United Nations Charter states:

WE THE PEOPLES OF THE UNITED NATIONS DETERMINED

  • to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and
  • to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
  • to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
  • to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

That sounds really good. Unfortunately, they have fallen considerably short.

On August 22, CNS News posted an article about a recent statement by Idriss Jazairy, an Algerian national, is the Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue. He has described the leveling of sanctions on Iran by the United States as “unjust and harmful.”

The article reports:

Idriss Jazairy noted that the U.S. itself – during the Obama administration – had supported the U.N. Security Council resolution which unanimously endorsed the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

That underscored the illegitimacy of President Trump’s restoration of sanctions following his decision this year to exit the JCPOA, he said.

Jazairy pointed out that the other permanent members of the Security Council – as well as “all international partners” – were opposed to the U.S. move.

“International sanctions must have a lawful purpose, must be proportional, and must not harm the human rights of ordinary citizens, and none of these criteria is met in this case.”

The article further reports:

Jazairy’s appointment as “special rapporteur on the negative impact of the unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights” was controversial not just because of the mandate itself, but because of his own record.

Until 2012 he had served as Algeria’s ambassador to the HRC, representing a government that is designated “not free” by the democracy watchdog, Freedom House.

In that capacity, he led African opposition a decade ago to taking a tough stance towards Sudan’s Islamist regime over the deadly humanitarian crisis in Darfur. (Wearing his later special rapporteur hat, Jazairy blamed the suffering of Sudanese people on U.S. sanctions, rather than on the regime, whose leader is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.)

Jazairy has accused Israel of international piracy (after the 2010 Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza) and praised Libya’s Gaddafi regime in 2010 for its efforts “to promote human rights.”

What about the rights of women in Iran? What about the ‘fashion police’ in Iran who literally beat up women they think are not dressed appropriately? What about free speech in Iran? What about Iran’s violations of the Iran treaty?

It truly is time to leave the United Nations. The building in New York City, after some major repairs, would make wonderful upscale condos that would pay real estate taxes to the City. The lower levels of the UN building could be turned into parking garages, and all diplomats who have not paid their parking tickets could be deported. It would be wonderful.

Sorting Through The Latest Jobs Numbers

The unemployment numbers just released are good–they are not great because of some of the underlying factors. Investor’s Business Daily reported that in April the unemployment rate dropped to 3.9 percent. That is good news, but there are some other numbers that are cause for concern.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the workforce participation rate in April was 62.8 percent. That number has roamed between 62.7 and 63 percent since the end of 2015.

The article at Investor’s Business Daily reports:

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the economy added 164,000 jobs in April, and the unemployment level dropped to 3.9%. It was 4.8% when President Trump took office.

Since Trump took office, the economy has added a total of 2.7 million jobs, and since his tax cuts took effect we’ve seen an average 200,000 new jobs each month. Initial jobless claims are at decades long lows as well.

That’s unquestionably good news.

The report also finds, however, that wages rose slightly less than expected in April — with hourly earnings climbing at a 2.6% annualized rate.

…According to the Census household survey, the biggest contribution to the drop in the unemployment rate wasn’t people getting jobs — that survey registered a gain of just 3,000 in April. It’s due mainly to the fact that 410,000 dropped out of the labor force — and no longer count as unemployed.

The article cites some figures explaining changes in the Workforce Participation Rate in various age groups:

The labor force participation rate in Dec. 2000 was 67%. Today it is just 62.8%.

The employment-to-population ratio then was 64.4%. Now it’s 60.3%.

The population not in the labor force — they don’t have jobs and aren’t looking — has climbed a stunning 25.3 million over those years.

Think about it this way. If the labor force participation rate were the same today as it was in December 2000, the unemployment rate wouldn’t be 3.9%. It would be 10%!

Yes, many who’ve left the labor force over the past 18 years are baby boomers entering retirement. But that doesn’t come close to explaining the massive increase in labor dropouts.

For example, the labor force participation rate among 20- to 24-year-olds was 78% in December 2000. It’s just 71% today. For those 25-34 years old, the rate declined from 85% to 83%.

In contrast, among those 55 and older, the participation rate increased — going from 33% in December 2000 to 40% now.

From my perspective, there are a number of reasons for this change–the federal government has made not working too comfortable. Our safety net has gotten too comfortable for many people, creating multi-generational welfare recipients. We did go through a recession after the housing bubble burst, but we are coming out of that now, and it is time for people to resume their job searches. Another reason for the fact that the workforce participation rate is so low might be that we are graduating students from college with no marketable skills or with the idea that since they just graduated, they can start their careers at the top of the corporate ladder. Some of these graduates refuse to look for jobs outside of their chosen degree field or refuse to begin any place other than at the top. There is also the matter of whatever work ethic students may or may not have learned in college.

The economy is looking better, but we have a long way to go before we can be considered actually prosperous–we need to deal with the debt and we need to shrink government drastically.

Continuing His Unbroken Record Of Getting Foreign Policy Wrong

Thank God John Kerry is no longer Secretary of State. The Gateway Pundit reported today that former Secretary of State John Kerry secretly met with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to discuss the Iranian nuclear treaty.

John Kerry released the following tweet about the agreement:

Every detail PM Netanyahu presented yesterday was every reason the world came together to apply years of sanctions and negotiate the Iran nuclear agreement – because the threat was real and had to be stopped. It’s working! That’s why Israeli security experts are speaking out… Read their unprecedented letter in its entirety here: https://goo.gl/QQwB5k . Everything that PM Netanyahu laid out was exactly why we needed this agreement. It’s worth remembering that the early 2000’s – when his evidence comes from – was the period where the world had no visibility into Iran’s program. More and more centrifuges were spinning each month and the world wasn’t united like it is now: https://europeanmpsforjcpoa.com … There was no negotiation – and all of that changed with JCPOA. Blow up the deal and you’re back there tomorrow!

The Boston Globe reports the following:

Kerry also met last month with German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, and he’s been on the phone with top European Union official Federica Mogherini, according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal the private meetings. Kerry has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron in both Paris and New York, conversing over the details of sanctions and regional nuclear threats in both French and English.

Would someone please tell John Kerry that he is no longer Secretary of State and has no business interfering in American foreign policy.

Notes On The Iran Deal

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the new revelations by Israel about Iran’s nuclear program.

My favorite quote from the article:

Not even Neville Chamberlain funded Hitler’s aggression to secure his infamous agreement with the madman. That innovation in treachery took one Barack Obama and his many enthusiastic servants such as John Kerry.

There is even more information about the treachery involved in the Iran deal in the New York Times article I posted about in May of 2016 (here). The Iran deal was supported by the European nations because it was financially advantageous to them. They either did not believe or were not concerned about the fact that Iran was planning to threaten them with nuclear weapons as soon as the restrictions in the treaty expired.

Senator Ted Cruz posted the following press release yesterday after Prime Minister Netanyahu gave his presentation explaining the Iran actually does have a nuclear weapons program:

HOUSTON, Texas – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today issued a statement following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations about Iran’s nuclear program:

“Today’s stunning revelations by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu powerfully demonstrate why the Obama Iran nuclear deal is not just unfixable, but truly catastrophic. The Prime Minister’s presentation was remarkable—unprecedented—and worth watching in full. Through extraordinary intelligence operations, Israeli agents captured over 100,000 secret documents and files from Iran. These Iranian documents prove that (1) for two decades, Iran has conducted a clandestine nuclear weapons program; (2) Iran lied repeatedly, and brazenly, denying that secret program; (3) the Obama nuclear deal was predicated on that edifice of lies; and (4) Iran is today in violation of that deal.

“The national security consequences of the Obama Iranian nuclear deal are twofold: First, America has allowed billions of dollars to flow to the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, a nation directly responsible for the murder of hundreds of U.S. servicemen and women. And second, those billions of dollars have also propped up a despotic regime and provided vast resources for ongoing ballistic missile tests designed to enable Iran to launch a nuclear weapon on the American homeland.

“In light of these astonishing Israeli revelations, the course before President Trump is clear. As the President has said repeatedly, this deal is a ‘terrible deal,’ even worse than many previously realized. The United States should therefore withdraw immediately, re-impose crushing sanctions, work to encourage our allies to do the same, and do everything necessary to insure that the Ayatollah Khamenei never — never — acquires the nuclear weapons to make good on his pledge of ‘death to America.’”

I don’t know if Europe will join us in exiting the Iran nuclear deal–it is very profitable for them to stay in it. However, I think it is time for us to leave. Obviously, Iran has no problem telling us what they think we want to hear, and we have not been very good at finding out what the truth is.

It Sounds Good–It Just Isn’t True

Steven Hayward posted an article at Power Line today about a conversation with a supporter of green energy. The green energy supporter was speaking about a hotel they had invested in that had gone entirely to solar power.

The article reports:

…Knowing that the sun actually goes down and stops supplying electrons, I asked the obvious question:

“So, is the hotel disconnected from the grid?”

You don’t need to guess what the answer was, and why the claim that any building is “100 percent powered by renewables” (like Apple) is the epitome of fake news. Whereupon this Klimatista explained that before long we’ll have these terrific batteries that we can charge up during the daytime to supply our electricity over night. Problem solved! The planet is saved!

Although electricity is indeed the best and most efficient form of power in the abstract, I’m always amazed that no one bothers to ask a simple question: assuming we can get the cost of better batteries down, and increase their functionality (charging time, etc), has anyone‚ Bueller? Bueller?—bothered to do the materials calculations of increasing our battery production at least 1000-fold (just for the United States)? Ever seen what a lithium mine looks like, let alone all of the other materials required for batteries? How many new lithium, cobalt, and copper mines are we going to need to scale up 1,000x?

The article then goes on to explain the negative side of green energy:

The technical journal article that explains this, “Bulk Energy Storage Increases United States Electricity Systems Emissions” in Environmental Science & Technology, is unfortunately behind a paywall, but Dave Roberts—a deep greenie (the founder of what he calls “Climate Hawks”) summarizes the study in plain English for us in “Batteries Have a Dirty Secret” at Vox:

[E]nergy storage has a dirty secret. The way it’s typically used in the US today, it enables more fossil-fueled energy and higher carbon emissions. Emissions are higher today than they would have been if no storage had ever been deployed in the US . . .

I guess this green energy thing needs a little more work.