Putting Up The Smoke Screen

The Inspector General’s report on the foreign intervention in the 2016 election is expected to come out in the next two weeks or so. Many of us are getting very impatient. Based on what the alternative media has been reporting for years now, Attorney General Barr and his investigating team are looking in all of the right places–Russia, Australia, Italy, Ukraine, and Britain. Those who took part on the scam and the investigation that followed are correct to be very uncomfortable about what is to come. The mainstream media is trying to blunt the impact of the information that will be made public.

Yesterday Newsbusters posted an article detailing exactly what is going on. It is a complicated article, so I suggest you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will provide a few highlights.

The article reports:

Once upon a time — in a galaxy far, far away — The New York Times and The Washington Post were the go-to papers when it came to uncovering political scandals.  

Both papers made a point of running the Pentagon Papers, an internal and secret U.S. government history of  various presidents and their relevant Cabinet secretaries decision-making on American involvement in the Vietnam War. The Post, of course, was also famous for its birddogging young reporters Woodward and Bernstein and their digging out the details of the Watergate scandal. In fact, movies have been made with Hollywood A-listers lionizing both The Post and the journalists involved. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman starred in the Watergate movie (All the President’s Men), while Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep starred in the dramatic tale of the Post’s battles with government officials over  breaking the Pentagon Papers story (The Post. )

So it is with no little irony that today the two papers are leading the media charge to cover-up “Spygate” – the considerable scandal that is the the use of American intelligence agencies to spy on the political opponents of Obama and Clinton in 2016.

The Wall Street Journal has noticed, saying this in an editorial titled: “Foreign Influence and Double Standards. Democrats want to stop Barr from investigating what happened in 2016.” 

The article also notes:

Over at the Times, that paper is busy running stories like this one by the virulent Trump-hater Michelle Goldberg. This jewel of political framing is titled: “Just How Corrupt Is Bill Barr?” 

Perhaps the real question should be: Just How Corrupt is The New York Times

A perfect example of the game at play in this article is Goldberg citing one “Stephen Gillers, a professor of legal ethics at New York University School of Law.” I recall Stephen Gillers. In fact, I took a look at Gillers in my 2005 book The Borking Rebellion, a recounting of the Senate confirmation of Bush nominee Judge D. Brooks Smith for the Third Circuit of Appeals. The Post had asked Gillers for comment on a supposed ethics issue involving Judge Smith, presenting him, as does Goldberg today, as an above-it-all, strictly non-partisan legal ethics expert.

In fact, in the Smith battle I uncovered the fact that Gillers was hardly a non-partisan. He had served as a consultant to a far left special interest group called the Community Rights Counsel. The CRC had issued a report harshly critical of the Judge, and The Post went to Gillers for comment, leaving out of their story Gillers own ties to the CRC, the very group whose report on Smith he was being asked to comment. 

Goldberg plays the same game, citing Gillers as if he were some lofty non-partisan when, in fact, his background and record illustrate that he is anything but. Goldberg’s presentation is, to borrow again from her title, corrupt.

Andrew McCarthy at The National Review noted recently:

The strategy here is obvious. The Democrats and their note-takers would like the public to believe that Barr’s investigation is an adjunct of the Trump 2020 campaign — and a grossly improper one at that. The misimpression they seek to create is that Barr is putting the nation’s law-enforcement powers in the service of Trump’s reelection campaign, in the absence of any public interest. The hope is that this will delegitimize not only any information that emerges from Ukraine but the whole of the Justice Department’s investigation of intelligence and law-enforcement abuses of power attendant to the 2016 election.

If the people who used government and foreign resources to spy on a political opponent in 2016 are not held accountable, their actions will become the template for future political campaigns. This will destroy our republic.

If You Wondered Why Energy Independence Is Important

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the drone attack on Saudi oil fields. The Iran-allied Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen have claimed credit for the attack.

The article reports:

The production shutdown amounts to a loss of about 5.7 million barrels a day, the kingdom’s national oil company said, roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil.

Officials said they hoped to restore production to its regular level of 9.8 million barrels a day by Monday. Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said lost production would be offset through supplies of oil already on hand.

The strikes mark the latest in a series of attacks on the country’s petroleum assets in recent months, as tensions rise among Iran and its proxies like the Houthis, and the U.S. and partners like Saudi Arabia. The attacks could drive up oil prices if the Saudis can’t turn production back on quickly and potentially rattle investor confidence in an initial public offering of Saudi Aramco, the national oil company.

The article concludes:

The Yemen war is a central front in a new and more aggressive foreign policy overseen by Prince Mohammed, who launched the intervention with a coalition of allied states in 2015. Under the prince’s watch, the kingdom also applied a blockade on neighboring Qatar, detained Lebanon’s prime minister, and sent a team of men to kill exiled journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul in 2018.

A conservative kingdom with a Sunni Muslim majority, Saudi Arabia has been an opponent of Iran in a struggle for power across the broader Middle East since the 1979 revolution that toppled Iran’s monarchy.

The attacks on Aramco’s facilities are poorly timed for Aramco’s coming IPO and pose a challenge to oil officials after a changing of the guard in their leadership. Aramco last week picked seven international banks to help it list on Saudi Arabia’s domestic exchange, an IPO that could value the company at about $2 trillion dollars and come before the end of the year.

There are a lot of things going on behind the scenes here. This is part of the conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. At their core, both the Saudis and the Iranians want to bring back the former caliphate. The Ottoman Empire (which was that caliphate) existed until the early 1900’s. Many Muslims want that Empire restored. The argument is over who will rule the caliphate when it is established. Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood are players in this conflict, as is ISIS. Jamal Khashoggi was a part of the Muslim Brotherhood. Descriptions of him as simply a journalist were misleading. Another part of this puzzle is the fact that Saudi Arabia is drawing closer to aligning with Israel because of the fear of a nuclear Iran. That also would be a cause for increased aggression from Iran.

Generally speaking, any terrorism that goes on in the Middle East can be traced back to Iran. They have been training and funding terrorists since the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

I have no idea what impact this will have on world oil prices. I do know that Saudi Arabia will work to repair the damage as soon as possible. I have no doubt that Iran is violating the sanctions on its oil exports, so if the price of oil rises significantly, Iran may be able to pull itself out of its current economic difficulties and calm its population. America will continue to prosper as oil prices rise because we are now a net exporter of oil rather than a net importer. Because of the policies of President Trump, we are in a very different situation than we were during the oil crisis of the 1970’s.

The Accounting On This Would Cost More Than The Gains

MSN Money posted an article from The Wall Street Journal today. The article deals with the Democrats’ latest plan to raise taxes on things that are not currently taxed. The Democrats don’t seem concerned with cutting spending–they just want more of your money.

The article explains the plan:

The income tax is the Swiss Army Knife of the U.S. tax system, an all-purpose policy tool for raising revenue, rewarding and punishing activities and redistributing money between rich and poor.

The system could change fundamentally if Democrats win the White House and Congress. The party’s presidential candidates, legislators and advisers share a conviction that today’s income tax is inadequate for an economy where a growing share of rewards flows to a sliver of households.

For the richest Americans, Democrats want to shift toward taxing their wealth, instead of just their salaries and the income their assets generate. The personal income tax indirectly touches wealth, but only when assets are sold and become income.

At the end of 2017, U.S. households had $3.8 trillion in unrealized gains in stocks and investment funds, plus more in real estate, private businesses and artwork, according to the Economic Innovation Group, a nonprofit focused on bringing investment to low-income areas. Most of the value of estates over $100 million consists of unrealized gains, said a 2013 Federal Reserve study. Much has never been touched by individual income taxes and may never be.

Under current law, when stocks and investment funds are inherited, the person inheriting them pays no tax on the capital gains that were accrued during the time the previous owner possessed the stock. At the point of inheritance, new capital gains begin to accrue. For example, if a person of modest means bought five shares of a stock a month over a period of ten years and his $3000 a year investment was worth $300,000 at his death, his heirs would receive the $300,000 worth of stock and pay capital gains when they sold it on the basis of that $300,000. The idea is to encourage people to invest. The Democrats want to change that.

The article reports:

In campaigns, Congress and academia, Democrats are shaping tax plans for 2021, when they hope to have narrow majorities. There are three main options.

President Obama left office with a list of ideas for taxing the rich that might have raised nearly $1 trillion over a decade. The most important was taxing capital gains at death.

The idea was too radical for a serious look from Congress at the time. Now, to a Democratic base that has moved left, it looks almost moderate.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the candidate most prominently picking up where Mr. Obama left off, has proposed repealing stepped-up basis. Taxing unrealized gains at death could let Congress raise the capital gains rate to 50% before revenue from it would start to drop, according to the Tax Policy Center, because investors would no longer delay sales in hopes of a zero tax bill when they die.

And indeed, Mr. Biden has proposed doubling the income-tax rate to 40% on capital gains for taxpayers with incomes of $1 million or more.

But for Democrats, repealing stepped-up basis has drawbacks. Much of the money wouldn’t come in for years, until people died. The Treasury Department estimated a plan Mr. Obama put out in 2016 would generate $235 billion over a decade, less than 10% of what advisers to Sen. Warren’s campaign say her tax plan would raise.

That lag raises another risk. Wealthy taxpayers would have incentives to get Congress to reverse the tax before their heirs face it.

Mr. Obama’s administration never seriously explored a wealth tax or a tax on accrued but unrealized gains, said Lily Batchelder, who helped devise his policies.

“If someone’s goal is to raise trillions of dollars from the very wealthy, then it becomes necessary to think about these more ambitious proposals,” she said.

Instead of attacking favorable treatment of inherited assets, Mr. Wyden goes after the other main principle of capital-gains taxation—that gains must be realized before taxes are imposed.

The Oregon senator is designing a “mark-to-market” system. Annual increases in the value of people’s assets would be taxed as income, even if the assets aren’t sold. Someone who owned stock that was worth $400 million on Jan. 1 but $500 million on Dec. 31 would add $100 million to income on his or her tax return.

The tax would diminish the case for a preferential capital-gains rate, since people couldn’t get any benefit from deferring asset sales. Mr. Wyden would raise the rate to ordinary-income levels. Presidential candidate Julián Castro also just endorsed a mark-to-market system.

For the government, money would start flowing in immediately. The tax would hit every year, not just when an asset-holder died. Mr. Wyden would apply this regime to just the top 0.3% of taxpayers, said spokeswoman Ashley Schapitl. Mr. Castro’s tax would apply to the top 0.1%.

The article concludes:

The Constitution says any direct tax must be structured so each state contributes a share of it equal to the state’s share of the population. A state such as Connecticut has far more multimillionaires per capita than many others, so its share of the wealth tax would far exceed its share of the U.S. population. How Ms. Warren’s wealth tax might be categorized or affected is an unsettled area of law relying on century-old Supreme Court precedents.

Still, the wealth tax polls well, and Democratic candidates are eager to draw a contrast with President Trump, a tax-cutting billionaire.

Republicans will push back. Rep. Tom Reed (R., N.Y.) says tax increases aimed at the top would reach the middle class. “It easily goes down the slippery slope,” he said. “If it’s the 1%, it’s the top 20%.” he said.

The bookkeeping would be ridiculous. The tax forms would be intimidating. Let’s keep moving in the direction of simpler tax forms and less taxation. The next step should not be more taxes–it should be less spending.

The Results Of Our Education System And The News Media

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the changing values of Americans. The article includes the chart below:

According to statistica.com (2017 data), there are 97 million Americans born between 1928 and 1964 currently in America. There are 65.45 million Americans born between 1965 and 1980 currently in America. There are 72.06 million Americans born between 1981 and 1996. I realize that these dates do not exactly correspond to the graph above, but they give you a general idea of the age of the American population. Thank God the old people still have the young whippersnappers outnumbered. Evidently we are the generation with the strongest traditional values.

This shift in values did not happen in a vacuum. In 1962, prayer was taken out of American schools. Students no longer started the day with some sort of simple prayer. I remember in Junior High School (now Middle School) we began every day with an assembly where we said the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and sang The Lord’s Prayer. I don’t remember being significantly harmed by that. By high school, the prayer and the Pledge were gone.

The article at The Wall Street Journal goes on to describe different feelings about racism.

The article reports:

The survey also found partisan divides on views of race relations. When surveyed six years ago, about half of Republicans and a slightly larger share of Democrats said relations among the races were on a good footing. Today, half of Republicans say race relations are good, while only 21% of Democrats say so.

Overall, the latest poll found 60% of adults saying race relations are in a bad state, a smaller share than in mid-2016, before Mr. Trump took office, when 74% said relations were poor. At the time, two incidents of police shootings of African-American men had been in the news.

In the new survey, only 19 percent of African-Americans said race relations were fairly or very good, the lowest level in Journal/NBC News polling over more than two decades.

While views on race relations improved overall, the change didn’t come through when Americans were asked about Mr. Trump’s time in office, the poll found.

Fifty-six percent of adults said race relations had gotten worse since Mr. Trump became president, while 10% said they had improved.

The Journal/NBC News poll surveyed 1,000 adults from Aug. 10-14. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

I blame the news media for that one. We had more racial unrest under President Obama than we have seen under President Trump.

The article also includes an interesting comment on patriotism:

Megan Clark, a 31-year-old from Austin, Texas, said her experience as a child living overseas due to her father’s military career influenced her views on patriotism.

“Patriotism for the sake of patriotism means nothing to me,’’ she said. “If you believe in the values that your country is expressing and following and you want to support those, then, sure. But just as a blind association with wherever you happen to be from, that just doesn’t seem logical.”

Generational differences on personal values were most pronounced among Democrats. In fact, the views of Democrats over age 50 were more in line with those of younger Republicans than with younger members of their own party.

Part of the responsibility for the decline in patriotism goes to our schools. It is disconcerting to me that the Advanced Placement U.S. History books focus on the negative aspects of American history–slavery, mistreatment of Indians, etc. They don’t focus on how unique the concept of God-given rights and freedom were at the time of the American Revolution. Part of the responsibility for the decline of patriotism also falls on parents. It is up to us to teach our children to love our country. Our freedom is always only one generation away. Hopefully we are not currently watching that generation grow up.

Finding The Truth In The Epstein Investigation

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that federal prosecutors have served grand jury subpoenas on Jeffrey Epstein’s personal pilots.

The article reports:

Testimony from the pilots could be used by federal investigators in their efforts to corroborate accounts from Mr. Epstein’s accusers. They could also provide detail on Mr. Epstein’s travels and his associates. Some of the pilots were responsible for keeping flight logs of passengers who flew on Mr. Epstein’s private jet, according to court filings.

Mr. Epstein, who was denied bail and will remain in federal custody pending trial, has pleaded not guilty to sex-trafficking charges stemming from what prosecutors allege was a yearslong scheme from 2002 to 2005 to recruit and sexually abuse dozens of girls.

Mr. Epstein’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment.

In a recent court filing, prosecutors said that entities controlled by Mr. Epstein own at least two private jets in active service, and that at least one of them is capable of traveling internationally. He frequently traveled by private jet between his homes in New York and Palm Beach, Fla., according to the indictment against him. Mr. Epstein’s lawyers said he owns one private jet and sold the other one last month.

Women in civil lawsuits have accused Mr. Epstein of conspiring with his pilots and other associates from at least 1998 to 2002 to facilitate sex abuse and avoid law-enforcement detection. One woman has said in court filings that when she was a minor in 2000, Mr. Epstein transported her regularly on his private jet to be sexually exploited by his associates and friends.

If even one tenth of what Jeffrey Epstein is accused of is true, he needs to spend the rest of his life in jail. However, even Jeffrey Epstein is innocent until proven guilty. The best outcome of this investigation is that justice will be based on truth.

How Do You Run Against This Record?

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the 2020 Presidential election. The title of the article is, “Byron York: Dem 2020 task: Convince voters to overlook economy.” He is right assuming that the economy continues to do as well as it has. We need to remember that the Federal Reserve is in a position to undercut our prosperity. A few key interest rate raises would definitely slow down our growth. The fed is already making noises that it might not cut rates this year as previously expected. That might also have a negative impact on our growing economy. I am not convinced that the problem the Democrats have is to convince voters to overlook the economy as much as all Americans need to make sure that political forces do not move to wreck a good economy for political gain.

The article concludes:

“Trump’s tenure is straining one of the most enduring rules in presidential politics: the conviction that a strong economy benefits the party holding the White House,” wrote analyst Ron Brownstein in The Atlantic. “Across many of the key groups in the electorate, from young people to white college graduates, Trump’s job-approval rating consistently runs at least 25 points below the share of voters who hold positive views about either the national economy or their personal financial situation.”

Of course Democrats can’t ignore the economy. So far, when they have addressed it, they haven’t been terribly creative, relying on the standard-issue Democratic critique of Republican presidents — that Trump is creating an economy that only benefits his rich friends.

“Who is this economy really working for?” asked Elizabeth Warren at the first Democratic debate. “It’s doing great for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.”

It’s not clear how well that will work. As the Wall Street Journal editorial board pointed out recently, under Trump, “wages are rising at the fastest rate in a decade for lower-skilled workers, and unemployment among less-educated Americans and minorities is near a record low.” The result of the president’s policies, the Journal argued, “has been faster growth and less inequality.”

Another way to say that is that millions of Americans are better off than they were four years ago. The question in 2020 will be whether that matters.

Actually, if the  Democrat debates continue at their present level of relevance, President Trump may easily cruise into another term as President.

We Need To Get Healthcare Right

Yesterday Issues and Insights posted an article about ObamaCare 10 years out.

The article reports:

Based on polling data, Obamacare has been a miserable failure, and Obama will be far from the last president to grapple with this issue.

The most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that health care is at the top of the nation’s priority list, with 24 percent of respondents listing it as their top priority for the federal government. Next on the list is immigration, at 18 percent, and after that, economic growth at 14 percent. 

The poll also found that 42 percent list health care as either their first or second choice on the priority list.

Back in June 2008, when Obama was running for president, only 8 percent rated health care as a top priority, just 20 percent as their first or second priority. Of course, the economy was in a recession and the country at war with Iraq, both of which weighed heavily on the public’s mind at the time.

But even in earlier years when the economy was doing well, health care ranked far lower on the list of priorities than it does today. In June 2006, only 14 percent ranked it as No. 1 on their list. A year later, 15 percent said it was their top priority.

The public has not been impressed with ObamaCare:

An ongoing Gallup survey finds that the public was actually more satisfied with their own coverage and quality of health care in 2007 than they were in 2018. Other surveys find cost remains a major complaint.

The article lists a few problems with ObamaCare:

It has done nothing to slow, much less reverse, the rising cost of health care. In fact, Obamacare itself caused premiums in the individual market to more than double in its first four years.

…National health spending, which was 16.3 percent of GDP in 2008, is now 17.9 percent and is slated to hit 19.4 percent by 2027. Per-capita spending on healthcare jumped from $7,898 to $10,739 over those years.

Far from driving the deficit down, Obamacare is pushing federal red ink up. The Congressional Budget Office has calculated that repealing Obamacare would cut the deficit by some $473 billion in the first 10 years

Rather than admit failure, the Democrats simply want to throw more money at it.

The article concludes:

Naturally, because of these failures, the Democrats’ answer is to dump even more taxpayer money into government-run health care programs, with most now favoring a $32 trillion plan developed by socialist Bernie Sanders to have the government nationalize the entire health insurance industry.

Only in government, and only among fans of big government, are massive failures like Obamacare rewarded with still more government. 

Sad News For The American Economy

One entity that controls the American economy is the Federal Reserve (which is not controlled by the government). It’s board members are nominated by the President and approved by Congress, but it is a private entity. Unfortunately it is part of the globalist cabal that seeks to undermine American sovereignty. President Trump has attempted to put two skilled businessmen on the Federal Reserve recently. The globalists in Congress have caused both men to withdraw their nominations. In the coming year, you can expect the Federal Reserve to subtly move to make the re-election of President Trump more difficult. I expect rate hikes leading up to the election to counter a healthy economy that is rapidly expanding. President Trump is not a globalist, and the globalists really want him gone. Globalists in Congress include both Democrats and Republicans (that is why it is so difficult to secure our borders).

The Gateway Pundit is reporting today that Stephen Moore has withdrawn his nomination to the Federal Reserve Board.

The article reports:

Stephen Moore has a distinguished career in leadership roles at Heritage and The Wall Street Journal. Stephen Moore is a founder at the Club for Growth. Moore was an early Trump campaign supporter and wrote the book Trumponomics.

Moore is a presidential adviser and friend and is an architect of the greatest economic boom since Ronald Reagan.

In September Stephen Moore spoke at the Gateway Eagle Council in St. Louis, Missouri.

And in December Steve criticized Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for his irresponsible and dangerous rate hikes and threats of rate hikes. Powell was able to unilaterally stall the US economic boom in its tracks and cost the US economy hundreds of billions of dollars.

Moore wrote that it was time for Powell to resign. Moore was right.

The article includes excerpts from a World Net Daily article explaining why Jerome Powell should resign:

The Fed had already reduced the monetary thrust that it provides to the economy eight times since Dec. 15, 2015, by raising its federal funds interest rate from 0.25 percent to 2.25 percent. Each time, the Fed claimed that it needed to guard our economic airliner from inflationary “overheating” – as if its job is to prevent too many people from working and to make sure that paychecks aren’t rising too quickly.

Unfortunately, if you cut engine power too far on a jetliner, it will stall and drop out of the sky.

On Wednesday, Dec. 19, despite the numerous market-based alarms that were sounding in the cockpit, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and his co-pilots on the Federal Open Market Committee – a committee within the Federal Reserve System charged under the United States law with overseeing the nation’s open market operations and which makes key decisions about interest rates and the growth of the U.S. money supply – voted to raise the funds rate to 2.50 percent. This sucks more dollars out of the economy at a time when the world is demanding more dollars – thanks to Trump’s tax-cutting and deregulation policies.

Powell has been entirely tone-deaf to the financial markets he seeks to protect. The Dow Jones Industrial average, which had risen by 382 points on hopes that the Fed would listen to Trump and stop cutting power, plunged by 895 points after the 2 p.m. announcement, and closed the day down 352 points (1.49 percent). Poof. Trillions of dollars of wealth vanished.

The article at The Gateway Pundit concludes:

The Democrats and Deep State apparatus does not want Stephen Moore on the board of the Federal Reserve. Stephen is the perfect pick for the job. Now the deep state is attacking Steve and his family.

Republican Senators Joni Ernst (R-IA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lisa Murkowsky (R-AL) and anti-Trumper Mitt Romney (R-UT) expressed reservations this week. The Republican senators effectively killed Steve Moore’s nomination.

The Republicans voiced concerns over Moore’s nomination for comments he made nearly 20 years ago about women earning as much as men in fields like women’s sports.

On Thursday Steve Moore withdrew his nomination for the Federal Reserve Board.

It was a victory for anti-Trump globalists everywhere.

Stephen Moore’s withdrawal of his nomination is America’s loss.

Following The Money

The Daily Caller has some of the best investigative reporting on the internet. Yesterday they posted an article detailing the source of some of the money that paid for the Fusion GPS Christopher Steele document that formed the basis for the investigation of President Trump. I know that people who actually follow the news instead of the mainstream media will not be surprised that the trail eventually leads to George Soros. Before we go into the details of the money, let’s look at some George Soros’ past actions. George Soros made a great deal of money by shorting the British pound.

In February 2019, Investopedia reported:

In Britain, Black Wednesday (Sept.16, 1992) is known as the day that speculators broke the pound. They didn’t actually break it, but they forced the British government to pull it from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). Joining the ERM was part of Britain’s effort to help the unification of the European economies.

Compounding the underlying problems inherent in the pound’s inclusion into the ERM was the economic strain of reunification that Germany found itself under, which put pressure on the mark as the core currency for the ERM. The drive for European unification also hit bumps during the passage of the Maastricht Treaty, which was meant to bring about the euro. Speculators began to eye the ERM and wondered how long fixed exchange rates could fight natural market forces.

Spotting the writing on the wall, Britain upped its interest rates to the teens to attract people to the pound, but speculators, George Soros among them, began heavy shorting of the currency.

The British government gave in and withdrew from the ERM as it became clear that it was losing billions trying to buoy its currency artificially. Although it was a bitter pill to swallow, the pound came back stronger because the excess interest and high inflation were forced out of the British economy following the beating. Soros pocketed $1 billion on the deal and cemented his reputation as the premier currency speculator in the world.

The Daily Caller reports on some of his more recent activities during the 2016 campaign:

A dark money group with links to several high-profile liberal activists contributed $2 million to The Democracy Integrity Project, an organization founded by a former Dianne Feinstein staffer that has contracted with Fusion GPS and Christopher Steele to investigate President Donald Trump.

Fund for a Better Future (FBF) donated $2,065,000 to The Democracy Integrity Project (TDIP) in 2017, according to IRS filings reviewed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

TDIP was founded on Jan. 31, 2017, by Daniel Jones, a consultant who worked for Feinstein, a California Democrat, when she controlled the Senate Intelligence Committee. Jones has disclosed to the FBI that he hired Fusion GPS and Steele, the author of the anti-Trump dossier, to continue an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

He also told an associate that TDIP operated as a “shadow media organization helping the government.” Jones suggested to the associate, Adam Waldman, that his TDIP team planted several anti-Trump articles.

Little is known about the donors behind both TDIP and FBF. Both of the organizations are 501(c)(4)s, the type of public advocacy group most closely associated with “dark money” contributions. FBF has contributed to a mix of environmental organizations and politically active groups, including Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Priorities USA — the political group that backs Democrats — and the League of Conservation Voters, a progressive dark money group.

George Soros contributed $1 million to TDIP, a spokesman for the billionaire financier told The New York Times in October. That disclosure came only after TheDCNF reported that Jones told his associate, Waldman, that Soros was one of TDIP’s funders.

…According to a report released by the House Intelligence Committee in April 2018, Jones told the FBI in March 2017 that his group would receive $50 million in funding from seven to 10 wealthy donors from New York and California. TDIP’s tax filings in 2017 show that the group received far less: $9,036,836.

Jones also said that TDIP “planned to share the information he obtained with policymakers … and with the press” and that his group “had secured the services of Steele, his associate [redacted], and Fusion GPS to continue exposing Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cabal Of Wealthy Donors Funding $50 Million Anti-Trump Project)

Fusion GPS, which was founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, hired Steele in June 2016. Fusion was working at the time for the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee to investigate Trump’s links to Russia.

Few details are known about the work Fusion and Steele, a former MI6 officer, have done since the 2016 election. Both have been ensnared in legal fights over publication of the dossier, which remains unverified and has been heavily disputed. But there is some evidence they have continued their efforts to bolster the dossier and to plant negative stories in the press about Trump.

In a March 17, 2017, exchange obtained by TheDCNF, Jones sent Waldman, a lawyer with ties to Steele, a text message with a link to a Reuters article about Russian investments in Trump Organization properties in Florida.

“Our team helped with this,” Jones wrote Waldman.

This is a major part of the swamp that needs to be drained. George Soros is an American citizen, but he has been working against the best interests of America for a long time. He is in favor of open borders and one-world government. His money has paid for a lot of the negative reporting you have heard about President Trump.

Let’s Talk About The Rebuttal

It’s not easy to give the rebuttal speech to the State of the Union. Chances are that you don’t have a copy of what you are rebutting. I guess you can make changes at the last minute, but the majority of your speech has to be written before you have a clue what it is supposed to be about. It’s not a great place to be. That said, however, I would like to take issue with some of the comments made by Stacey Abrams last night. Much of what she said was only half of the truth, and some of what she said was simply not true.

Time posted a transcript of her speech. I would like to talk about sections of that speech.

Ms. Abrams stated:

Just a few weeks ago, I joined volunteers to distribute meals to furloughed federal workers. They waited in line for a box of food and a sliver of hope since they hadn’t received a paycheck in weeks. Making their livelihoods a pawn for political games is a disgrace. The shutdown was a stunt engineered by the President of the United States, one that defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people – but our values.

It was nice of her to give out meals, but she failed to mention that all of those furloughed workers received every penny of their back pay. The simply got an extra paid vacation.

She further stated:

In Georgia and around the country, people are striving for a middle class where a salary truly equals economic security. But instead, families’ hopes are being crushed by Republican leadership that ignores real life or just doesn’t understand it. Under the current administration, far too many hard-working Americans are falling behind, living paycheck to paycheck, most without labor unions to protect them from even worse harm.

The Republican tax bill rigged the system against working people. Rather than bringing back jobs, plants are closing, layoffs are looming and wages struggle to keep pace with the actual cost of living.

We owe more to the millions of everyday folks who keep our economy running: like truck drivers forced to buy their own rigs, farmers caught in a trade war, small business owners in search of capital, and domestic workers serving without labor protections. Women and men who could thrive if only they had the support and freedom to do so.

Hasn’t she read the economic numbers? On December 20th, The National Review reported:

A recent Wall Street Journal economic analysis of current jobs reports found that worker wages were starting to rise above inflation and that the biggest percentage gains were showing up in the paychecks of the lowest income workers. In other words, income inequality with respect to take home pay was shrinking.

…Remarkable, too, about this chart is that every group that was least likely to vote for Trump has seen an abnormally large gain in jobs and wages. Our supposed racist president has delivered outsized economic gains for blacks and Hispanics — with both groups now experiencing the lowest unemployment rates in at least a half century. So much for Trump’s policies benefiting only white America. The rich are clearly not “the big winners” from Trump’s economic policies.

Contrast that with the economy when Democrats were in charge:

The poor and unskilled that Mr. Obama was supposed to lift out of poverty saw their incomes fall by 7.4 percent for those with less than a high school diploma and 8.2 percent for those with only a high school diploma. In dollar terms, between the time the Obama recovery began in June 2009 and until June 2014, median black household income fell by nearly $3,000, Hispanic households lost nearly $2,500, and female-headed households lost roughly $1,500. In 2015 and 2016, income gains were thankfully reversed for these demographic groups, but many still lost ground over eight years. The income gains under Mr. Obama were mostly concentrated in those Americans in the top 20 percent of income. This is why the income gap between rich and poor rose nearly every year under Obama.

Ms. Abrams, if you truly cared about the success of the middle and lower classes, you would support the policies of President Trump. President Trump’s economic policies have worked. President Obama’s economic policies failed miserably. I would also like to note that illegal immigration depresses the wages of unskilled workers. The Democrat party sold out the working man a long time ago.

 

The Economy Under President Trump

I am not an economist, but I have learned over the years to listen to the people with the best track records on analysis. One of those people is Stephen Moore, who posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday.

The article reports:

Liberals are tripping over themselves to explain why the economy has performed so much better under Donald Trump than it did under Barack Obama. The economy has grown by nearly 4% over the past six months, and the final number for 2018 is expected to come in at between 3% and 3.5%. The U.S. growth rate has doubled since Mr. Obama’s last year in office.

When Mr. Trump was elected, many Democratic pundits predicted an economic and stock-market meltdown. Then the economy started surging and they abruptly changed their tune, arguing that Mr. Trump was simply riding a global growth wave. That narrative was shattered when U.S. growth kept steaming ahead even as global growth—especially in China and Germany—stalled.

The people who predicted an economic crash if President Trump was elected are now saying that the tax cuts have given us a ‘sugar high’, and the market will crash when the sugar wears off. That makes about as much sense as President Obama taking credit for the move toward American energy independence.

The article continues:

The real contradiction in the “sugar high” argument is that it ignores the slow growth of the Obama years, which featured an avalanche of debt spending. Deficits as a share of GDP were 9.8% in 2009, 8.6% in 2010, 8.3% in 2011 and 6.7% in 2012. Where was the sugar high then? Instead of the expected burst in output coming out of the 2008-09 recession, borrowing more than $1 trillion a year for four years yielded the worst recovery since the Great Depression. Even excluding 2009, Mr. Obama’s deficits averaged more than 5% of GDP throughout the rest of his presidency but produced less growth than Mr. Trump has with lower deficits.

This wasn’t what Keynesians expected. Mr. Obama’s economic team predicted 4% growth every year coming out of the recession. Instead the “sugar high” from record peacetime deficits produced measly 2% growth. By 2016 GDP was running about $2 trillion below the trend line of a normal recovery.

The fastest growth rate over the past three decades was recorded in Bill Clinton’s second term, when federal government spending fell from 21.5% to 18% of GDP and deficits disappeared into surpluses. So much for the idea that deficit spending is a stimulant.

Mr. Trump’s fiscal policies have produced more growth than Mr. Obama’s because they were designed to incentivize businesses to invest, hire and produce more here at home. The Obama “stimulus,” by contrast, went for food stamps, unemployment benefits, ObamaCare subsidies, “cash for clunkers” and failed green energy handouts.

The article concludes:

Those pushing the “sugar high” fallacy also don’t realize that the Trump tax cuts aren’t going away soon. The 2017 business tax cuts can’t cause a recession in 2019 or 2020 because they don’t expire until 2025. They aren’t sugar pills.

The biggest threats to the economic boom and financial markets today are a deflationary Federal Reserve and the specter of a global trade war. Solve those problems and the American economy can keep flying high on its own power. And Mr. Trump’s critics will be proved wrong again.

When you decrease taxes and regulations on businesses, we all gain. That combination, if allowed to continue, will bring us continued economic growth.

Glossing Over The Actual Crime

This week we watched the Mueller investigation recommend that Michael Flynn not be incarcerated because of his extensive cooperation with the investigation. This creates more questions than it answers. Why was there any kind of continuing investigation of Michael Flynn? Notes released from the investigation show that no one who interviewed him thought he was lying. So why wasn’t the investigation dropped? But wait–there’s more!

Kimberley Strassel posted an article at The Wall Street Journal yesterday with the following title, “Mueller’s Gift to Obama.” The article reminds us that the charges against Michael Flynn were based on his telephone calls and interactions with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak. As incoming National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn would have been expected to have those conversations. It is also expected that those conversations would be wiretapped because they involved a Russian Ambassador. What is not protocol is the unmasking of General Flynn’s identity.

The article reports:

But what about the potential crimes that put Mr. Flynn in Mr. Mueller’s crosshairs to begin with? On Jan. 2, 2017, the Obama White House learned about Mr. Flynn’s conversations with Mr. Kislyak. The U.S. monitors phone calls of foreign officials, but under law they are supposed to “minimize” the names of any Americans caught up in such eavesdropping. In the Flynn case, someone in the prior administration either failed to minimize or purposely “unmasked” Mr. Flynn. The latter could itself be a felony.

Ten days later someone in that administration leaked to the Washington Post that Mr. Flynn had called Mr. Kislyak on Dec. 29, 2016. On Feb. 9, 2017, someone leaked to the Post and the New York Times highly detailed and classified information about the Flynn-Kislyak conversation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes has called this leak the most destructive to national security that he seen in his time in Washington. Disclosing classified information is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in federal prison. The Post has bragged that its story was sourced by nine separate officials.

The Mueller team has justified its legal wanderings into money laundering (Paul Manafort) and campaign contributions (Michael Cohen) on grounds that it has an obligation to follow up on any evidence of crimes, no matter how disconnected from its Russia mandate. Mr. Flynn’s being caught up in the probe is related to a glaring potential crime of disclosing classified material, yet Mr. Mueller appears to have undertaken no investigation of that. Is this selective justice, or something worse? Don’t forget Mr. Mueller stacked his team with Democrats, some of whom worked at the highest levels of the Obama administration, including at the time of the possible Flynn unmasking and the first leak.

It is becoming very obvious that Robert Mueller’s investigation is wearing blinders. Their prosecution of Michael Flynn while ignoring the crime of leaking classified material and unmasking Americans on foreign phone calls  (not to mention ignoring the Clinton campaign’s relationship with Fusion GPS, Christopher Steele, and the dossier) is a glaring example of the politicization of our Justice Department. The Congressional hysteria over the idea that Mueller could be fired or limited in any way is a glaring example of the ignorance on the part of some Congressmen of our Constitution. For the past two years we have had a taste of what it would be like to live in a country where justice is political. If we do not successfully deal with this, we will have taken a pretty big step toward becoming a banana republic.

 

 

The Election Of Donald Trump Signaled A Change

Donald Trump became America’s President despite long odds. Hillary Clinton was considered to be the President-elect by almost everyone up until we actually voted. So what happened? Many Americans are looking past the news the mainstream media has been feeding them and looking around. They have reached the point where they are choosing to believe what they see rather than what they are being told. As the middle class of America struggled under the Obama administration, those in the bureaucracy increased in number and prospered. The richest counties in America are adjacent to Washington, D.C. That is not a coincidence. The political and media elite are looking out for their own interests while ignoring the well being of their fellow countrymen. Those countrymen elected Donald Trump. Those feelings are not unique to America. They recently erupted in France.

The Wall Street Journal posted an article yesterday about the recent riots in France. The straw that broke the camel’s back was the drastic increase in the gasoline tax, but that was the straw–the issue is much bigger.

The article reports:

Nothing reveals the disconnect between ordinary voters and an aloof political class more than carbon taxation.

The fault line runs between anti-carbon policies and economic growth, and France is a test for the political future of emissions restrictions. France already is a relatively low-carbon economy, with per-capita emissions half Germany’s as of 2014. French governments have nonetheless pursued an “ecological transition” to further squeeze carbon emissions from every corner of the French economy. The results are visible in the Paris streets.

President Emmanuel Macron and his Socialist predecessor François Hollande targeted auto emissions because they account for about 40% of France’s carbon emissions from fuel combustion compared to 21% in Germany. But this is mainly because France relies heavily on nuclear power for electricity. Power generation and heating account for only 13% of French emissions, compared to 44% across the Rhine. French road-transport emissions were a mere 0.4% of global carbon emissions in 2016, when overall French emissions were less than 1%.

Yet Paris insists on cutting more, though transport emissions are notoriously hard to reduce. Cleaner engines or affordable hybrids have been slow to emerge. Undeterred, Mr. Macron pushed ahead with a series of punitive tax hikes to discourage driving.

If you still believe that the climate change movement is about climate, I would like to share the following from a previous rightwinggranny article:

Green For All acknowledges the need to disrupt the current economy, because we understand that our current economy was based upon human trafficking, the exploitation of labor, and violent racism,” according to the group’s website. “We are safe enough to be invited into spaces where power-building groups are not, and radical enough to push a deeply justice-based agenda in those spaces. We are radical enough to partner with grassroots organizations when other national groups are turned away, and enough of an ally to offer resources and support in those spaces.”

In case you were wondering, a deeply justice-based agenda means that the United Nations would be in charge of all political and economic activities of its members. There would be a movement toward socialism and a great loss of the freedoms we enjoy in America and in other western countries. The French were right to revolt.

Something That Is Happening Underneath The Noise

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about how the economy is doing under the Trump administration.

The article reports:

The number of Americans filing applications for new unemployment benefits fell to a new 49-year low for the third straight week, though Hurricane Florence’s effect on the jobs market remains unclear.

Initial jobless claims, a proxy for layoffs across the U.S., fell by 3,000 to a seasonally adjusted 201,000 in the week ended Sept. 15, the Labor Department said Thursday. It was the lowest level since December 1969, and less than the 210,000 claims economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expected.

The article includes the following chart:

The article concludes:

Jobless claims have remained low in recent years, as the labor market continues to tighten and managers face difficulty finding qualified employees. The unemployment rate has been hovering near an 18-year low in recent months.

The number of claims workers made for longer than a week declined by 55,000 to 1,645,000 in the week ended Sept. 8. The figure, also known as continuing claims, is reported with a one-week lag.

This growth is the result of deregulation, tax cuts, and the energy policy of the Trump administration. This growth will halt abruptly if the Democrats take control of Congress in November as they have already announced plans to reverse the policies put in place by the Trump administration that have resulted in the growth.

About That Recovery

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article illustrating the timeline of the economic growth our country is currently experiencing. The article deals with the recent claims by former President Obama that he is responsible for the current economic growth and that the growth began under his leadership. In February 2018 The Washington Times reminded us that Obama Democrats told us that what looked like long-term stagnation under President Obama’s economic policies, with growth stuck at 2 percent on average for his whole eight years in office, was the New Normal that the American people were going to have to get used to, the best we could do now.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Milton Friedman was the first economist to notice a pattern in American economic history: The deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. The economy has to grow even faster than normal for a while to catch up to where it would have been without the recession. The fundamentals of America’s world-leading economy are so strong that the pattern held throughout the country’s history.

Until the past decade. The 2008-09 recession was so bad, the economy should have come roaring back with a booming recovery—even stronger than Reagan’s boom in the 1980s. But Mr. Obama carefully, studiously pursued the opposite of every pro-growth policy Reagan had followed. What he got was the worst recovery from a recession since the Great Depression.

Before Mr. Obama, in the 11 previous recessions since the Depression, the economy recovered all jobs lost during the recession an average of 27 months after the recession began. In Mr. Obama’s recovery, dating from the summer of 2009, the recession’s job losses were not recovered until after 76 months—more than six years.

The article concludes:

Obama apologists argued America could no longer grow any faster than Mr. Obama’s 2% real growth averaged over eight years. Slow growth was the “new normal.” The American Dream was over. Get used to it. Hillary Clinton promised to continue Mr. Obama’s economic policies. America’s blue-collar voters rose up.

The recovery took off on Election Day 2016, as the stock market communicated. Mr. Trump’s tax cuts and sweeping deregulation—especially regarding energy—fundamentally changed course from Mr. Obama. These policies have driven today’s boom, increasing annual growth to more than 3% within six months and now to over 4%.

Will Democrats ever figure out what policies create jobs, economic growth and rising wages? If not, they’ll wake up some Wednesday morning to find they have been routed in a fundamental realignment election, in which they have permanently lost the blue-collar vote—once the backbone of their party.

The truth is in the numbers. All of us need to be aware that what former Presidents say about today’s economic growth may not be true. Economic policies make a difference, and President Trump has illustrated that.

Grasping At Straws

The focus on the Mueller investigation seems to be Paul Manafort. Manafort is currently being held in solitary confinement in a Virginia jail because of alleged witness tampering. Does anyone doubt that this is an attempt to get him to make something up that Mueller can use against President Trump? Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner reported yesterday that Mueller has now revealed the relationship between the Trump campaign and Manafort.

Most of the 32 counts against Manafort in the Virginia case concern alleged crimes that took place long before there was a Trump campaign. Some go back as far as 2006. But four of the counts involve a pair of loans Manafort took out between April 2016 and January 2017. For a few months during that time period, Manafort worked for the Trump campaign.

The loans totaled $16 million and came from a financial institution Mueller refers to as Lender D. According to Mueller, Manafort lied to get the loans, overstating his income and understating his debts.

Mueller says that some workers at Lender D knew there was a problem with Manafort’s application, but that one top executive there, a man who wanted a place in the Trump campaign, granted the loan anyway. From the Mueller filing:

“The government intends to present evidence that although various Lender D employees identified serious issues with the defendant’s loan application, the senior executive at Lender D interceded in the process and approved the loan. During the loan application process, the senior executive expressed interest in working on the Trump campaign, told the defendant about his interest, and eventually secured a position advising the Trump campaign. The senior executive later expressed an interest in serving in the administration of President Trump, but did not secure such a position.”

The lending company and the senior executive are not identified in the indictment, but the loans appear to fit an episode reported in the New York Times involving a small bank in Chicago, the Federal Savings Bank, and its chief executive, Stephen Calk, who was named an economic adviser to the Trump campaign in August 2016 but did not join the administration.

The article concludes:

In May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller is investigating whether the loans were “made as part of a quid pro quo arrangement to secure Mr. Calk a job in Mr. Trump’s administration.” Calk has denied any such arrangement.

In any event, Mueller has not suggested that Donald Trump was involved in any of the actions outlined in the Manafort charges. The two Lender D loans are, apparently, the only connection between the Trump campaign and the broad array of criminal activity, some of it more than a decade old, alleged in the Manafort indictments. And Trump himself played no role in it.

Was a special counsel needed for that?

If Mueller investigated every horse trade that took place in Washington, I am sure he would find an awful lot to keep him busy and nothing noteworthy!

 

The Trump Economy Keeps Rolling Along

The Wall Street Journal posted an article today about the latest unemployment numbers. There is lots of good news.

The article reports:

The U.S. labor market was firing on all cylinders in May: the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low, employers added jobs at a faster pace and wages modestly improved.

The unemployment rate ticked down to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in May, a jump from gains from March and April. Average hourly earnings ticked up to a 2.7% from a year earlier—and raises were even stronger for nonmanagers.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the workforce participation rate is at 62.7. That number has fluctuated very little since January 2016. It should increase as the economy further improves.

The article further reports:

A broad measure of unemployment and underemployment that includes Americans stuck in part-time jobs or too discouraged to look for work fell to 7.6% from 7.8% the prior month. That rate, known as the U-6, remains somewhat elevated compared with the last time unemployment was similarly low. In April 2000, the broader measure was 6.9%.

Like him or hate him, Donald Trump understands what was needed to grow the American economy. I am grateful that he is helping all of us to prosper.

The article also reports:

The unemployment rate for women, 3.6% last month, was the lowest since 1953, when far smaller share of women sought jobs. The jobless rates for blacks, Latinos and those without high-school diplomas are trending near record lows.

It is amazing what has happened to the economy in the last eighteen months. I suspect that not everyone is cheering.

 

 

Undoing The Economic Damage Done By The Obama Administration

Yesterday Fox News posted an article detailing some of the damage the environmental policies of the Obama Administration did to rural America. The article reminds us that President Trump and Scott Pruitt have ended the Waters Of The United States (WOTUS)  which attempted to give the government control over any mud puddle that appeared in your yard during heavy rains.

The article reports:

The far left will stop at nothing in their efforts to derail the presidency of Donald Trump. Still bitter about the outcome of 2016, the left claims much of their outrage toward the president is driven by his unpredictable personality, but ideological opposition to his administration’s reform-minded agenda is the real root of their anger.

Nowhere is this more evident than the furor surrounding Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Trump’s opponents have seized on a number of recent unflattering news stories involving Pruitt and his agency. While admittedly not the best public relations for Pruitt, his “real sin is that he is one of Mr. Trump’s most aggressive reformers,” as the Wall Street Journal editorialized last week. President Trump expressed a similar sentiment over the weekend when he tweeted praise for his EPA chief’s “bold actions” and “record clean Air & Water while saving USA Billions of Dollars.”

Since taking office last year, Pruitt has boldly carried out the president’s campaign promises. In October, he moved to repeal Obama’s Clean Power Plan regulations, ending the War On Coal and providing a shot in the arm for coal country that had been decimated.

The article points out the double standard in the attacks on Scott Pruitt:

Pruitt’s “scandals” are exaggerated for political expediency: never mind that the Obama EPA spent just as much, if not more, than Pruitt’s team, according to a recent Fox News report.  Or that Lisa Jackson, Obama’s EPA chief, was caught using the email alias “Richard Windsor” to communicate with people outside the government. Or that one Obama-era EPA employee was caught downloading and watching pornography on the job. These issues prompted no outrage from Hill offices, and one questions if Congressional inquiry could possibly be politically motivated, or if left-wing outrage is a one-way street.

The article concludes:

Our message to Administrator Pruitt: American energy workers who are going back to work thank you. The American economy thanks you. And please remember these wise words: if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog.

The political left has become something of a joke with their attacks on the Trump Administration. Meanwhile, President Trump has boosted the economy, put people back to work, and continues to accomplish good things. It would be nice to see those in Washington support America rather than their own political interests.

 

 

After More Than A Year Of Questions, There Are Still No Answers

Robert Mueller was appointed to investigate ties between President Trump and Russia, possibly involved in sabotaging the election process. Historically, this was the excuse put out by the Hillary campaign when they lost, but the media liked it, James Comey played along, and we now have a special prosecutor. One of the questions in the part of the investigation that has been made public is the dossier on President Trump that was used as an excuse for the electronic surveillance on the Trump campaign staff and Trump cabinet before and after the election. Where did that file come from, how did the media get hold of it, and who authorized it? Even the Wall Street Journal is commenting on the media’s lack on interest in finding the answers to these questions. The article is behind the subscribers’ wall, but here is the link.

The Daily Caller has also taken an interest in the story. They posted an article today about the media cover up of the history of the dossier.

The article in the Daily Caller notes:

What’s significant about the newspaper’s piece is that Fusion GPS was co-founded by three former Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch and Tom Catan. But that relationship provides no cover for the Fusion trio.

“The Beltway media move in a pack, and that means ignoring some stories while leaping on others. Consider the pack’s lack of interest in the story of GPS Fusion [sic] and the ‘dossier’ from former spook Christopher Steele,” writes the Journal’s editorial board, which is considered right-of-center on the political spectrum.

“Americans don’t need a Justice Department coverup abetted by Glenn Simpson’s media buddies.”

The dossier, which Steele began working on after being hired by Fusion GPS last June, has become a centerpiece of the ongoing investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russian operatives.

Fusion was working for an ally of Hillary Clinton’s when it hired Steele to look into Trump’s activities in Russia. The result was a 35-page dossier consisting of 17 memos dated from June 20 to Dec. 13 containing a slew of salacious allegations about Trump’s personal activities in Russia. It also alleges that the Trump campaign was exchanging information with the Kremlin to help the election effort.

The article reminds us that when Republicans have attempted to investigate the origins and history of the dossier, they have been met with opposition from the Democrats. Not that opposition from the Democrats is anything new, but you would think that the Democrats might want to learn the truth about this matter.

The article concludes:

“The real question is why Democrats and Fusion seem not to want to tell the public who requested the dossier or what ties Fusion GPS boss Glenn Simpson had with the Russians in 2016,” they write.

Fusion GPS has maintained close ties to reporters at the major news outlets, not just on the Trump-Russia story but for other investigations conducted for corporate and political clients.

During the campaign last year, Fusion GPS and Simpson shared some of Steele’s reporting with reporters at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Yahoo! News and Mother Jones. Steele has revealed in a court in London, where he is based, that Fusion GPS directed him to brief reporters on some of his findings. He has also said that Fusion directed him to provide some memos in the dossier to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

I totally understand why globalists in Washington would not want Donald Trump to become President and why they would not want his agenda to succeed. I guess I just thought that there might be a few more honest people in Washington who really wanted what was best for the country, rather than for their own personal ambitions. Obviously, the few honest people who are there are going to have to fight very hard to drain the swamp. As Harry Truman once said, “You want a friend in Washington? Get a dog.”

Aren’t We Tired Of These People Yet?

On Thursday, Townhall.com posted an article about speaking fees collected by Bill Clinton during the time that Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. You have to hand it to Bill and Hillary, regardless of what in the world goes on in their marriage, they know how to wash each other’s hands financially. She had amazing profits on cattle futures while he was leading Arkansas, and he had amazing speaking fees while she was Secretary of State. Wow. What an incredible coincidence.

This is the chart from the article that tells it all?

Note the last sentence before the numbers. Company representatives say the speeches were unrelated to any lobbying efforts. Sure they were.

A recent Wall Street Journal article reports:

Mr. Clinton also had a large payday from Oracle Corp.: a total of $500,000 for two talks given or approved while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state. He gave one in October 2012 as the company was urging the State Department to increase the number of skilled-worker visas being issued, lobbying reports show.

Oracle, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Microsoft Corp., whose co-founder Bill Gates has suggested eliminating the visa cap altogether, paid Mr. Clinton a total of more than $1.1 million for speeches during Mrs. Clinton’s tenure.

Mrs. Clinton has long supported increasing skilled-worker visas, known as H-1B visas, as did her husband when he was president. The issue has remained mired in the broader congressional debate about immigration.

In 2009, the Biotechnology Industry Organization lobbied the State Department to get diplomats to oppose rules against genetically modified foods. In December, Mrs. Clinton sent a cable to diplomats telling them to “pay particular attention” to countries considering biotech regulation and to push an “active biotech agenda” that would “protect the interests of U.S. farmers and exporters,” according to a copy released by WikiLeaks.

Five months later, the biotechnology group paid Mr. Clinton $175,000 to appear at its convention. After Mrs. Clinton left the State Department, she also spoke at the trade group’s convention, earning $335,000.

Seriously, haven’t we had enough of Clinton scandals? Do we really want to go through this with a President Clinton again?

Socialism Doesn’t Work

In November of last year, the government of Venezuela seized control of two oil rigs owned by a unit of Houston-based Superior Energy Services. The company had shut down the rigs because the Venezuela oil monopoly was behind on payments.

On November 3, I posted an article about the takeover (rightwinggranny.com):

Nicolas Maduro, the successor to Hugo Chavez, has not taken over any industries during the six months he has been President of Venezuela. This is the first move he has made in that direction. When Hugo Chavez began taking over industries, one news analyst observed that it would be difficult for him to keep those industries running at their profit levels without the knowledge of the companies that owned them. The seizure of these two rigs, which are repair rigs, is an illustration of that point.

So where are we now? The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that despite being an oil-rich nation, Venezuela has now introduced food rationing.

The article states:

Here at Maracaibo’s supermarkets, hot and cranky consumers who were waiting in line recently pointed to the irony of Venezuela, a country with $114 billion in oil sales last year, having to ration toilet paper.

“It sort of makes me want to laugh, but I can’t,” said Nayibi Pineda, a hotel housekeeper. “How is it possible we’ve gotten to this extreme?”

Shoppers said the time waiting in line can stretch to more than five hours, a delay they chalk up to malfunctioning fingerprinting machines.

“I’ve spent hours standing in line, suffering in the sun,” shrieked a tearful Luzmarina Vargas, clad in a bright pink robe typical of the area’s Wayuu Indians.

Salvador González, the Zulia state finance director who oversees machines, said officials were requiring machines to be installed at each checkout point in order to shorten lines. Supermarkets must bear the cost of the machines, around $150 each.“Our objective is to guarantee cheap food,” he said in an interview.

It isn’t just food that’s rationed here. Officials shut off water to homes for up to 108 hours a week, say residents, because of problems with the water delivery system.

In the birthplace of Venezuela’s oil industry—the first well was drilled here in 1914—the sale of gasoline is also tightly controlled. Scanners read bar codes that are required on car windshields to limit drivers from filling up their sedans more than twice a week. The measure is designed to curb the sale of Venezuela’s heavily subsidized gasoline—which costs less than a penny per gallon—in neighboring Colombia, where a gallon goes for $4.50.

America learned in the days of the Pilgrims that communal property was not a good idea. The Free Republic has an article entitled “How Private Property Saved the Pilgrims” on its website.

The article states:

Bradford’s history of the colony records the decision:

 At length, after much debate of things, the Governor (with the advice of the chiefest amongst them) gave way that they should set corn every man for his own particular, and in that regard trust to themselves; in all other things to go in the general way as before. And so assigned to every family a parcel of land, according to the proportion of their number.
So the land they worked was converted into private property, which brought “very good success.” The colonists immediately became responsible for their own actions (and those of their immediate families), not for the actions of the whole community. Bradford also suggests in his history that more than land was privatized.

The system became self-policing. Knowing that the fruits of his labor would benefit his own family and dependents, the head of each household was given an incentive to work harder. He could know that his additional efforts would help specific people who depended on him. In short, the division of property established a proportion or “ratio” between act and consequence. Human action is deprived of rationality without it, and work will decline sharply as a result.

There are a number of basic principles that can be followed by a country that lead to prosperity. One of these principles is private property rights, another is free markets. When the government attempts to control the economy of a country, they find that they are in charge of an increasingly shrinking economy. Human nature says that people work the hardest when they know they will be rewarded for their efforts. If governments want financially successful countries, they need to remember that.

Trouble In Paradise

The Middle East oil countries have done very well during the past thirty or so years. The have combined to form the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and have raised the price of oil from somewhere near $5 a barrel to over $100 a barrel (although the cost of oil is currently dropping).

The Wall Street Journal reported today that as the Western countries begin to develop their oil resources, OPEC members are fighting over production quotas and prices.

The article reports:

But even modest cooperation between many members has broken down, and Saudi Arabia, in particular, has moved to act on its own. While it cut output earlier this summer, other members didn’t go along. Since then, it has dropped its prices.

Each member has a different tolerance for lower prices. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia generally don’t need prices quite as high as Iran and Venezuela to keep their budgets in the black.

Late Friday, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez, who represents Caracas in the group, called for an urgent meeting to tackle falling prices. The group’s next regular meeting is set for late next month.

But on Sunday, Ali al-Omair, Kuwait’s oil minister, said there had been no invitation for such a meeting, suggesting the group would need to stomach lower prices. He said there was a natural floor to how low prices could fall—at about $76 to $77 per barrel—near what he said was the average production costs per barrel in Russia and the U.S.

The history of oil prices has often been that when the Middle East begins to drop their prices, Americans stop looking for cheaper oil in their own country. Considering the current instability in the Middle East in the OPEC nations, that would be a big mistake.

America needs to be energy independent for both economic and security reasons. It is time to develop our own resources.

Calling President Obama’s Bluff

The American Thinker posted an article today about President Obama’s latest assurances that NATO would protect the Baltic states. The President has a habit of drawing red lines and then stepping over them. Unfortunately, we have passed the point where the rest of the world takes him seriously.

The article reminds us that as soon as President Obama drew his red line in Syria, Putin made a move that left Russia as the dominant player in Syria. Now Putin is reacting to President Obama’s statement that NATO would protect the Baltic republics.

On September 5, the Wall Street Journal reported:

The apparent abduction and detention of an Estonian security officer raised tensions between Estonia and Russia just two days after President Barack Obama came to the country and vowed to defend it as a NATO member.

Estonia’s Internal Security Service, known as KAPO, said its officer Eston Kohver was “illegally detained” at gunpoint early Friday while on duty in southeastern Estonia. It said his abductors had come from Russia and had jammed radio communications and used a smoke grenade in the incident.

“It is unacceptable that people who have crossed the Estonian border kidnap an Estonian citizen from Estonian territory,” President Toomas Hendrik Ilves tweeted on Friday. “I expect the case to be solved quickly.”

The article at America Thinker concludes:

We are in very dangerous territory now. Russia will be encouraged to escalate its provocations, having seen that Obama’s threats are empty. Putin as already mentioned that Russia is a nuclear power, a not so veiled threat to start World War Three should his future aggression meet a response. The risk is that having shown he can be bullied, Obama will respond too late and too strongly, thereby setting off Armageddon.

Weakness is provocative. Obama believes the opposite, and he is as wrong as Neville Chamberlain was.

When Do We Admit ObamaCare Is A Bad Idea?

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the HealthCare.gov website had been hacked. Evidently the hacker uploaded malicious software. Ann investigation concluded that no personal data was taken, so theoretically, if you used the site to purchase your healthcare insurance, you should not have to worry about identity theft (at least from that particular site).

The article concludes:

The attack comes as the federal government and insurance companies prepare for open enrollment, which begins Nov. 15. It is likely to be seized on by Republican lawmakers, who oppose the law, in fall campaigns as another sign of the health law’s flaws. HealthCare.gov suffered from crippling technology problems when it launched in October, though the government has since improved the site.

Taken with recent data thefts from J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Home Depot Inc., and celebrities’ iPhones, the HealthCare.gov hack further underscores that large organizations haven’t yet mastered how to secure the troves of data they collect from consumers.

The government has no business doing health insurance–that power is not given to them in the Constitution. We are going to reach a point in America when we have to decide whether or not the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. We can either choose to follow it or not. I think that during the past few years we have seen the consequences of not following the Constitution–government and government spending are out of control and all Americans pay a price for that–in terms of finances and in terms of privacy. It truly is time to take back the country from the Washington elitists who have been running it for a long time.