President Trump’s Tax Plan

The information in this article is from Investor’s Business Daily and the Tax Foundation.

Investor’s Business Daily reports:

Among the most potent provisions in the GOP tax reform package unveiled Wednesday by President Trump are the big cuts in taxes on corporations and small businesses. Inevitably, they will be styled by foes as a sop to the rich and Wall Street. In fact, they’re one of the best middle-class tax cuts of all.

How we tax businesses is among the most distorted, costly and anti-competitive elements of our tax code. Today, U.S. corporations competing on the world stage face a top tax rate of 39%, compared to a 23% average for the rest of the world.

The proposed Republican tax reform would slash that to 20%, below the average. It would also shift the U.S. to a “territorial taxation” model, which keeps overseas profits from being taxed twice — once when the profit is earned overseas, and again when repatriated to the U.S. The U.S. is almost alone among nations in doing this.

Meanwhile, new rules would level the playing field between U.S.-headquartered companies and foreign-headquartered companies by keeping our rates low. This will keep companies from buying foreign companies and relocating their headquarters overseas to take advantage of lower rates.

Then there’s small businesses. Among other things, the plan cuts levies on so-called S corporations (small businesses and sole proprietorships, in which the profits go to the owner’s individual tax form) to 25%, thus giving many small business owners who now pay super-high individual tax rates of 30% or higher a big tax cut. It also lets businesses write off investments (except for structures) immediately. This would let companies recapture the value of their investments more quickly, lowering their tax bite now and boosting profits later on.

The article notes that the media generally portrays business and business owners in a negative light. They fail to realize that businesses pass the expense of taxes along to the consumers. We are the ones who pay the corporate taxes.

Investor’s Business Daily further states:

…A survey of tax-cut research by the Heritage Foundation finds 10 studies demonstrating that corporate tax cuts improve worker welfare by upgrading their skills, improving the equipment they work with, and boosting their pay.

Another recent study, this one published in August by economists Andrew Hanson of Marquette University and Ike Brannon of the Cato Institute, asserted that “recent tax reform discussions that propose a (corporate) rate reduction between 30% to 57% … would imply employment gains between 6% to 22% and wage increases between 15% to 28%.” That’s quite a gain, and a big reason why tax reform could put us back on the path to 3% average GDP growth.

Sadly, because of the relentless anti-business bias of the U.S. media, many Americans think corporations are “greedy,” and so they should be taxed to the gunwales.

The Tax Foundation reports:

  • Mr. Trump’s tax plan would substantially lower individual income taxes and the corporate income tax and eliminate a number of complex features in the current tax code.
  • Mr. Trump’s plan would cut taxes by $11.98 trillion over the next decade on a static basis. However, the plan would end up reducing tax revenues by $10.14 trillion over the next decade when accounting for economic growth from increases in the supply of labor and capital.
  • The plan would also result in increased outlays due to higher interest on the debt, creating a ten-year deficit somewhat larger than the estimates above.
  • According to the Tax Foundation’s Taxes and Growth Model, the plan would significantly reduce marginal tax rates and the cost of capital, which would lead to an 11 percent higher GDP over the long term provided that the tax cut could be appropriately financed.
  • The plan would also lead to a 29 percent larger capital stock, 6.5 percent higher wages, and 5.3 million more full-time equivalent jobs.
  • The plan would cut taxes and lead to higher after-tax incomes for taxpayers at all levels of income.

The Democrats will fight this plan tooth and nail. Why? Because under this plan states with reasonable tax burdens will no longer subsidize states with high tax burdens. New York, California, Connecticut, and Massachusetts (to name a few) all will have to re-examine their tax policies or they will see a taxpayers’ revolt.

I celebrate the end of the death tax. The purpose of the death tax is to redistribute wealth–that is not an American value. The money in an estate was taxed as it was earned. If land increased in value, so be it. A family should not have to sell the family farm to pay their taxes.

Democrats have never met a tax cut they liked. I expect this one will be no different. The other thing to keep in mind is that the worst nightmare for the Washington establishment is a successful Trump administration. These tax cuts would promote economic growth, which in turn would begin to lower the deficit. The Washington establishment cannot afford to have an outsider reach that level of success. Now if we could only cut the spending.

You can expect the Federal Reserve to begin to raise interest rates quickly in an attempt to slow economic growth. The Federal Reserve is also part of the Washington establishment that does not want an outsider to succeed.

Judicial Watch Is On The Case

The following Press Release was issued by Judicial Watch yesterday:

Sues for Records on Links Between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe 

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced that it today filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the U.S. Department of Justice for records concerning FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). Danik worked for the Federal Bureau of Investigation for almost 30 years.

The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s (Dr. Jill McCabe’s) political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers.  Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:

Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”  

In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe.

“I am saddened by how the FBI’s reputation has been tarnished by the poor judgement and ethics of its leadership,” stated Mr. Danik. “I know I’m not the only retired (or serving) FBI special agent who is concerned about Mr. McCabe’s conflicts of interest on the Clinton email matter.  The agency seems to be illegally hiding records about this scandal, which is why I’m heading to court with Judicial Watch.”

“We’re honored to help Mr. Danik hold accountable the FBI—the agency he served for decades,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “We believe Mr. McCabe’s text messages and emails will be particularly enlightening to the public seeking answers about the Clinton email debacle.”

In July 2017, Judicial Watch filed three FOIA lawsuits seeking communications between the FBI and McCabe concerning “ethical issues” involving his wife’s political campaign; McCabe’s communications with McAuliffe; and McCabe’s travel vouchers.

There are obviously some honest FBI agents who are concerned with the reputation of the Agency. Hopefully, the corruption in the FBI will be exposed and dealt with.

Reading The Tea Leaves

Some pundits and some Republicans are beginning to realize that President Trump was elected by Americans who want to see his agenda (repeal ObamaCare, tax reform, smaller government, end Iranian nuclear treaty, shrink government, build the wall, etc) move forward. Blocking that agenda is not a smart move. Many of us are tired of empty promises and lame excuses. There are a few people now concerned that if the Republican Congress does not deliver on their promises, there will no longer be a Republican Congress. Democrats are salivating, and Republicans who have never had to live up to their false promises are beginning to wonder if they will have a job after 2018.

Yesterday Breitbart posted an article quoting Representative Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, on what Republicans need to do when Congress reconvenes.

The article reports:

“We’re going to have to juggle [the debt ceiling, Obamacare repeal, spending bill, and tax reform] and if we don’t I can tell that really the next 12 days, and that’s all we have — 12 legislative days in September — will decide whether we’re going to remain in power as a Republican majority or not,” Meadows said in the interview with Breitbart Washington Political Editor Matthew Boyle on the program. “Are we serious about getting the president’s agenda done? The next 12 days will do that. You mentioned a couple of those items — the debt ceiling; obviously repeal and replace Obamacare.”

…“The vehicle that we have for that actually will soon expire,” Meadows said. “So if we don’t use that reconciliation instruction in the next 30 to 45 days we will have lost the opportunity to get it done with just 51 votes in the Senate. As I look at it is critical that we are ‘all hands on deck.’ But more importantly that we have a plan. I think the frustration that I have is that I see the critical deadlines that are coming up and yet I see a lot of talk but no action. I just talked to a friend. A guy by the name of Clay Tally, who really represents the typical Trump voter. He was saying, ‘You know what, I’m tired of the talk, let’s get some things done and why not support the president and make sure that we get it done.’”

The article concludes:

Meadows concluded by noting these 12 legislative days in September will literally determine the future of the Republican Party. 

“You may call it the bloody September — I call the Dirty Dozen because we’ve got 12 legislative days left. Hopefully we can rise to the occasion and get these things accomplished,” Meadows said. “They need to make sure that their member of Congress, their senators understand they are tired of talk. Just like my friend Clay Tally told me, they are tired of the rhetoric, they want results and they want us to get behind the president’s agenda, make sure that we support him and get it done. and if we don’t they need to let them know that there will be consequences.”

He called on Americans to rise up and call their members of Congress and make their voices heard throughout the process.

“You know the voice of the people is a very, very powerful tool,” Meadows said. “I’ve found that any time you go against the people’s voice you’re going up against a tsunami that will have unbelievable power and implications. So they need to be sure that they make their voices be heard early in September — that we go ahead and start working that first week back.”

If the Republicans choose to remain in power, they need to start listening to the voters. Otherwise they will be voted out of office. Most Americans recognize the need to ‘drain the swamp’ that is Washington, D.C. The Republicans have the choice as to whether or not they want to be the part of the swamp that is drained. We know that the majority of Democrats do not want the swamp drained–if they did, they would be doing something other than obstructing the President at every turn. It is time for the voters to unelect all Congressmen and Congresswomen who are standing for the status quo.

Losing Touch

It is no surprise to anyone living outside the bubble of Washington, D.C., California, or the Northeast that the mainstream media has totally lost touch with average Americans. There are a few general traits of average Americans that the media has forgotten. America was originally founded by people who were fleeing persecution and looking for religious freedom. There are still a number of us who consider religion an important part of our lives. Generally speaking, members of the mainstream media do not fall into that category. Many of the original British settlers to America were the second sons of their family. Under British law, they would receive no inheritance, so they set out to start from scratch in a new land. They understood the risks, but were willing to settle the new land. Personal responsibility and the risks included in that were part of our growth as a nation. The other trait that permeates our culture is cheering on the underdog. When someone is under constant attack or being bullied, Americans seem to rally to their side. That is something the mainstream media has overlooked in their frenzied attacks on President Trump. A recent article in The Conservative Treehouse illustrates that point.

The article states:

If you were to review how CNN and corporate mainstream media talk politics, well, according to their echo-chambered versions of President Trump, each week that passes is the worst week ever in presidential history.  Seriously, no joke. President Trump has been in office for 30 weeks, and 20 of those weeks have been called “the worst” by media.

However, if you actually engage with people living their lives and not focused on who the media blame for the latest round of horrid offenses; well, then you might recognize the scope of how over-emphasized and out-of-touch the media perspective really is.

CBS and The Associated Press each found themselves picking their corporate media jaws off the floor when they actually did ask people.  You know, ordinary people.  Folks like you and me.  The media didn’t anticipate the power of common sense to see through their BS.

There is also the analogy of the boy who cried wolf. Twenty of the thirty weeks President Trump has been in office have been described by the mainstream media as “the worst.” The seems more than a little over the top.

I am sure that the comments made in the video included in the article were a bit of a shock to the media. Here is the video:

The video is from CBS News. I am somewhat amazed that they were willing to release it.

The Danger Within

The biggest danger to America right now is not from outside the country–it is from within. The danger comes from a well-established, well-funded, totally entrenched group of people in Washington who are afraid that President Trump will upset their apple cart and take away their goodies. What they don’t realize is the the success of President Trump is very closely related to the success of America–if President Trump is driven from office, it is quite possible that our representative republic will dissolve into chaos. At that point, no political party wins and everyone loses.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the efforts to undermine and eventually oust President Trump by a coalition of Marxists, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.

The article reports:

Rich Higgins, until recently director of strategic planning at the NSC, revealed the program in a seven-page memorandum produced in May that warns of a concerted information warfare campaign by the Marxist left, Islamists, and political leaders and government officials opposed to the populist president.

“The Trump administration is suffering under withering information campaigns designed to first undermine, then delegitimize and ultimately remove the president,” Higgins states.

“This is not politics as usual but rather political warfare at an unprecedented level that is openly engaged in the direct targeting of a seated president through manipulation of the news cycle,” he said.

Higgins, an Army veteran and former Pentagon official who specialized in irregular warfare and who was dismissed last month for writing the memo, said the attacks should not be confused with normal partisan political attacks or adversarial media attention.

The former aide criticized the White House for failing to counter the activities and said the political warfare attacks threaten the Trump presidency.

I am not sure there is a way to counter these activities other than by the use of the President’s Twitter account and the basic economic success of the President’s programs. Actually, I think the opponents of the President fear his economic success more than they fear anything else. The idea that someone outside the ‘club’ can be successful is frightening to any member of the Washington establishment.

What is currently going on in Washington is the equivalent of the ‘cool’ kids in high school holding tight control over who sits at their lunch table. A kid they do not consider cool has become popular and has chosen not to join them at their table. Every smear campaign possible that might put the cool kids back in control will be attempted. That is where we are.

A Rookie Mistake

The Trump family are not politicians (although I hope Donald Trump, Jr., will eventually find his way into politics). They are not in the habit of playing political games–they emerged from the New York City real estate business, not known for its finesse and political correctness. Now they are attempting to drain a swamp in Washington that has established itself over decades by means of deception, big money, backroom deals, etc. Draining the swamp is not going to be easy, but I believe that they are up to the task. However, I am very tired of watching the media attempt to duplicate their ‘success’ of Watergate. I don’t think this President is going to quietly step down for any reason. In fact, I suspect that those attempting to remove him unlawfully will eventually be hoisted on their own petards.

The latest Russian dust-up is about a meeting Donald Trump, Jr., had with Natalia Veselnitskaya during the presidential campaign of 2016. Ms. Veselnitskaya is a Russian lawyer. She scheduled the meeting saying that she had information on Hillary Clinton’s campaign accepting Russian money. Actually, anyone who follows the escapades of the Clinton Foundation has information on the Clintons accepting Russian money, but that is another story. When Donald Trump, Jr. met with Ms. Veselnitskaya, he discovered that the real agenda for her meeting was a discussion of the adoption of Russian children and the Magnitsky Act. The 2012 Magnitsky Act (named for Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who was arrested and died in a Russian prison after he discovered massive fraud by corrupt Russian officials) lets U.S. officials withhold visas and freeze financial assets of Russians suspected of human rights abuses.

So who is this lady and what are her political connections?

A picture is worth a thousand words (the photo is from The Gateway Pundit):

The article at The Gateway Pundit reports the following:

That looks like Emin Agalarov sitting next to Natalia Veselnitskaya. He was mentioned in Donald Trump Jr’s statement this morning. Emin helped set up the meeting with Veselnitskaya.

Veselnitskaya was also connected to Fusion GPS, the DNC opposition research firm that produced the fraudulent and discredited Trump Dossier.

So why was Veselnitskaya hanging out with Obama officials just days after her meeting with Donald Trump Jr.?

And why was Veselnitskaya given a privileged seat up front during the Congressional hearing?

This meeting was obviously a set-up. The deep state was at work doing mischief in case Donald Trump was elected–this was a staged, planned attack to be used at a future date. It really is time for the Democrats and the media to realize that Donald Trump is a legally elected President and that he should be allowed to do his job. The American voters will ultimately decide in four years whether or not he needs to be removed from office. The degree of opposition President Trump has faced should be an indication to all of us that the swamp is deeper and more entrenched than any of us might have imagined.

UPDATE:

There is more here than I originally found. Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line posted an article about the meeting between Donald Trump, Jr. and Natalia Veselnitskaya that included the following:

These facts are well known to anyone who has been following the news recently. What’s less known is that Veselnitskaya was not in the U.S. lawfully.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley has written to Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to complain about this and related matters. Grassley informs Kelly and Tillerson:

According to her sworn declaration, former Russian prosecutor Natalia Veselnitskaya was denied a U.S. visa to travel to the United States from Russia to participate in litigation. Although she was subsequently granted immigration parole to make the trip, her parole was set to expire on January 7, 2016. Her request to extend was denied on January 4, 2016.

Yet she was still in the U.S. in June when she met with Trump, Jr. Grassley’s letter seeks information about how could have happened.

I am sure there will be more to come.

Suspicions Confirmed

Sharyl Attkisson posted her interview with Congressman Jason Chaffetz at the Full Measure website. Congressman Chaffetz has resigned from Congress..

Here are a few highlights from the interview:

Sharyl: After eight and a half years on an upward trajectory in Washington DC, Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah has suddenly and quite unexpectedly, pulled himself out of the game. Some people might think this is a great time to be a Republican Chairman of an important committee because Republicans control the House, they’re the majority in the Senate, and they hold the President’s office. That means, you would think, that federal agencies can’t stonewall investigations of spending, waste, fraud, and abuse.

Jason Chaffetz: The reality is, sadly, I don’t see much difference between the cutting to photo of their middle with no heads is a little disconcerting can you pick a different sort of move? Trump administration and the Obama administration. I thought there would be this, these floodgates would open up with all the documents we wanted from the Department of State, the Department of Justice, the Pentagon. In many ways, it’s almost worse because we’re getting nothing, and that’s terribly frustrating and with all due respect, the Attorney General has not changed at all. I find him to be worse than what I saw with Loretta Lynch in terms of releasing documents and making things available. I just, that’s my experience, and that’s not what I expected.

Sharyl: What were some of the investigations that this committee was stalled on that you hoped could be picked up now, that’s not been able to happen in terms of documents not provided by federal agencies?

Jason Chaffetz: We have everything from the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which is really one of the critical things. There was the investigation into the IRS. And one that was more than 7 years old is Fast and Furious. I mean, we have been in court trying to pry those documents out of the Department of Justice and still to this day, they will not give us those documents. And at the State Department, nothing. Stone cold silence.

…Jason Chaffetz: Congress doesn’t stand up for itself. I think it’s, it’s really lost its way. They say, oh, we’ll use the power of the purse. That doesn’t work. First of all, they never do cut funding. Even getting people to come up and testify before Congress, the Obama Administration at the end of their term, they got so brazen they stopped sending people up. They just didn’t care. And, and there was no way to enforce that, and until that changes, uh the legislative branch is going to get weaker and weaker.

The interview concludes:

Jason Chaffetz: Look, first and foremost, it really is a family decision. I, I loved being engaged in the fight, but yeah there, there does, after 9, you know, 8½, 9 years, get to be a, a degree of frustration that hey, when are we going to get serious about changing these things? Because the American people, when I first started, they had Democrats who had the House and Senate in the Presidency. And that whole pendulum swung, but I’m telling you, in the first five, six months, I haven’t seen any changes. And, and that’s, that’s very frustrating, You come to that point and say, alright, it’s, it’s time for a change.

If the swamp is not drained quickly, we will lose more good congressmen like Congressman Jason Chaffetz.

 

 

What Actually Needs To Be Investigated

This story is from March, but has been pretty much ignored in the press. Larry Klayman posted an article at Newsmax on March 5, 2017.

There are some interesting charges made in the article:

The newest revelations that the Obama administration wiretapped, that is “bugged” President Trump and all of his men, in the lead up to and after the November 8, 2016, elections are not surprising. In this regard, for over 2 years the highest levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have been secretly investigating the “harvesting” of highly confidential information including financial records of the chief justice of the Supreme Court, other justices, over 156 judges, prominent businessmen like Donald Trump, and public activists like me.

In this regard, a whistleblower named Dennis Montgomery, a former NSA/CIA contractor, came forward to FBI Director Comey with 47 hard drives and over 600 million pages of largely classified information, under grants of use and derivative use immunity, which I obtained for him with the U.S Attorney for the District of Columbia. Later, Montgomery, who suffers from a potentially fatal brain aneurism, testified under oath, for over 2-and-a-half hours before FBI Special Agents Walter Giardina and William Barnett in a secure room at the FBI’s field office in Washington, D.C. The testimony was under oath and videotaped and I have reminded the FBI recently to preserve this evidence.

…Legally speaking, my cases against the intelligence agencies also encompass the illegal surveillance of President Trump and his men, as what apparently occurred shows a pattern of unconstitutional conduct that at trial would raise a strong evidentiary inference that this illegal behavior continues to occur. Our so called government, represented by dishonest Obama-loyal attorneys in the corrupted Federal Programs Branch of the Justice Department, continues to maintain that they cannot for national security reasons confirm or deny the mass surveillance against me or anyone else.

I have asked Judge Leon to enter a permanent injunction against Obama and his political hacks at the NSA and CIA, many of whom are still there and are bent on destroying the Trump presidency and attempting to blackmail prominent Americans, like me, who might challenge the destructive socialist/pro-Muslim agenda of the Obama-Clinton-Soros left.

I am not aware of the current status of this case. If anyone can update me, I would appreciate it. However, the charge that the deep state has been collecting information on Washington leaders is not a surprise. Does anyone remember the more than 300 FBI files that were mysteriously obtained by the Clinton Administration? It is time to drain the swamp. I also think that if our leaders would simply be honest and ask for our forgiveness about past mistakes that they are covering up, we might (I said might) be able to move forward. If your actions are already out there and you have acknowledged your mistakes, you can’t be blackmailed!

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

Fox News is reporting today that the attorneys general of Maryland and Washington D.C. are planning on filing a lawsuit against President Trump alleging that foreign payments to his businesses violate the Constitution. The lawsuit is based on the fact that people from foreign countries stay at or use his hotel facilities around the world. Where were these people when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was funding millions in foreign cash into the Clinton Foundation?

The article reports:

The Justice Department on Friday argued that the plaintiffs in that lawsuit lack the legal standing to sue because they cannot allege enough harm caused by Trump’s businesses. Justice Department lawyers also contended that Trump hotel revenue is not an improper payment under the Constitution.

This is another attempt by the deep state to prevent the Trump Administration from pursuing its agenda. Americans have a choice–they can continue to listen to a media that wants President Trump and his agenda to be destroyed or they can do their own research and fight for the freedoms we all enjoy.

Forgetting Why You Were Originally Formed

Unions in America were formed to give working people a voice in their negotiations with their sometimes unyielding employers. Most of the demands unions were created to pursue are now covered by government regulations, and the role of unions in the life of the everyday worker is not what it originally was. Union workers pay their dues, and union officials live very well. Somehow I don’t think that was what the original intention was.

The Washington Free Beacon posted a story today about how the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) spends its money. For those of you who believe that big corporations provide the money in politics, some of this may come as a surprise.

The article reports:

Labor giant Service Employees International Union spent $60 million on politics and lobbying as well as $19 million on the Fight for 15 movement in 2016, and now finds itself laying off headquarters staff.

The union’s federal filing to the Department of Labor reveal that it experienced marginal growth in 2016, adding about 15,000 members from 2015. However, that increase did not correlate with financial growth as revenue fell by $17 million, fueling a $10 million budget deficit.

The union, which represents healthcare and public sector workers, spent $61.6 million on political activities and lobbying in 2016, roughly 20 percent of its $314.6 million budget, according to the filing.

However, those figures may underestimate its political spending. The union spent $19 million on activist groups and public relations consultants to assist with the Fight for 15 campaign, which has successfully pushed for dramatic minimum wage increases in New York, California, and Washington, D.C., according to an analysis from the Center for Union Facts.

Who represents those union members who don’t support the causes and candidates that the union leaders decide to support? Do union members ever get a chance to vote on the causes or candidates the union will support?

The article further reports:

“The SEIU has transformed from a labor union into a subsidiary of the Left, spending millions of dues dollars on left-wing causes unrelated to collective bargaining,” Berman (Richard Berman, executive director of the Center for Union Facts) said. “Instead of fighting for workplace benefits, the union is going behind their members’ backs to bankroll Democrats and liberal advocacy groups.”

The International Franchising Association, a trade industry group whose members have been targeted by the Fight for 15 movement, said that political agitation and the expansion of membership ranks among fast food workers does little to benefit dues-paying members.

“Perhaps SEIU should spend more money helping workers it represents and less money attacking corporations and a business model like franchising that actually successfully lifts people out of poverty and gives them a ladder of opportunity to advance in their career,” spokesman Matthew Haller said.

I have no problem with unions spending money on political activities as long as the members of the union have a vote in which activities to support. Also, as long as unions are free to spend the kind of money they spend on political action, corporations should be equally free to do so, again at the discretion of their stockholders.

 

The Cost Of Raising The Minimum Wage

On Friday, The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about a new minimum wage law in Washington, D.C.

The article reports:

Washington, D.C. will lose thousands of jobs as the district’s plan to raise the minimum wage to $15 goes into effect, while the higher wages will primarily benefit workers in the surrounding suburbs, according to a new report by the city’s chief financial officer.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser spearheaded the effort for a $15 minimum wage, more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Analysis by the city’s Office of Revenue Analysis, however, says the plan could cost the district 2,500 jobs by 2026, the Washington Times reports.

The district’s minimum wage is currently $11.50 an hour and each year will grow by 70 cents until it reaches $15 in three years. After 2020, the minimum wage will grow based on inflation.

The article explains that the probable impact of the increase in the minimum wage will be to bring more workers into Washington from the neighboring suburbs. This will increase the competition for jobs within the city and make it more difficult for residents of the city to find jobs.

The article concludes:

D.C. passed a measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 for hourly employees in June. Critics immediately castigated the law at the time.

“Unfortunately, it’s employees and small businesses who will pay the tab,” Michael Saltsman, research director of the free market Employment Policies Institute, told the Washington Free Beacon at the time.

D.C. restaurants lost 1,400 jobs in the first six months of 2016 and experienced their worst hiring period in 15 years. Suburbs in Virginia and Maryland added nearly 3,000 jobs over the same period.

Not All Previous Scandals Have Gone Away

Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release on Thursday:

Federal Court Hearing Tuesday, March 7, in Clinton Email Case, Judicial Watch Seeking Answers on Abedin/Weiner Laptop Emails

MARCH 02, 2017

(Washington DC) – Judicial Watch today announced a hearing will be held Tuesday, March 7, 2017, regarding Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails that were sent or received during her tenure from February 2009 to January 31, 2013, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Clinton regarding her non-‘state.gov’ email address (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). The case is before Judge James E. Boasberg.

Items of discussion at the hearing will be the emails of Clinton aide Huma Abedin that were found on the laptop of Anthony Weiner, Abedin’s estranged husband. Judicial Watch also will be seeking answers as to the timing of the release of Clinton’s emails that were recovered by the FBI in its investigation of the server used by Clinton and others.

The State Department has previously been ordered to produce documents to Judicial Watch, and is currently processing 500 pages per month from disk one of seven available disks. At the upcoming hearing, the State Department must address the number of documents subject to FOIA on the remaining disks.

The hearing details are:

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
Location: Courtroom 21
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia
333 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20001

The lawsuit was originally filed in May 2015.

Be Smart About What You Support

Yesterday The Washington Free Beacon posted an article about the spending habits of The Congressional Black Caucus PAC (CBC PAC). It seems that the CBC PAC, whose purpose it is to raise money for potential candidates, spends more money on itself than it gives to candidates.

The article reports:

The CBC PAC claims its mission is to increase “the number of African Americans in the U.S. Congress” and to “support non-Black candidates that champion our interests, and promote African American participation in the political process-with an emphasis on young voters,” according to its website.

The PAC spent hundreds of thousands throughout the 2016 election cycle on administrative expenses that included bills for lavish trips that were paid by the committee.

A $5,000 payment was made in January 2016 from the PAC to the Buccaneer Hotel located in St. Croix, Virgin Islands, one of the “world’s top 50 tropical resorts.”

Later, on March 21, 2016, the PAC made another payment to a resort in the Virgin Islands. This time, the money went towards a stay at the “one-of-a-kind” Renaissance St. Croix Carambola Beach Resort and Spa also located in St. Croix. The Renaissance is situated “among the foothills of a lush tropical rainforest and only steps away from the pristine sands of Estate Davis Bay.”

The PAC spent $820 on taxicabs while in the Virgin Islands. More than $2,000 was spent at Sweeny’s St. Croix Tours in the town of Christiansted, considered “the most beautiful town in the West Indies.” Sweeny’s provides an open-air bus for its guests as they embark on safari tours of the island. More than $4,500 was also spent by the PAC on catering at Un Amore, an Italian restaurant.

The group’s largest expenses were made in New York and Washington, D.C.

The article notes a number of expenditures on various luxury hotels and spas in New York City and California.

The article concludes:

Benjamin Branch, who provides administrative and managerial consulting services to the PAC, pocketed nearly $177,000 from the group.

The committee put $283,100 total towards administrative expenses while $127,000 went towards fundraising purposes. The PAC contributed just $91,000 to federal candidates, according to overall data of the PAC from the Center for Responsive Politics.

The CBC PAC did not respond to requests for comment on its expenditures by press time.

I wonder how many well-meaning people who might not have a lot of extra money donated to this PAC. While I don’t necessarily have the same goals as the CBC PAC, they do have a right to exist and to put forward their agenda. However, if I were a donor, I think I would give any money I had directly to the candidates I supported. The questionable priorities in their spending habits may be perfectly legal, but they are definitely not doing all that they should to advance their cause. It would be interesting to know if this sort of behavior was also found in other PACs.

Acceptable Discrimination?

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about some recent apartment and roommate searches in Washington, D.C. It seems as if the idea of tolerance is taking a vacation. It also seems that those calling for tolerance have forgotten how to be tolerant.

The article lists some of the various ads for apartments and roommates:

“Roommates Wanted. Trump Supporters Need Not Apply,” the Times (The New York Times)reports, arguing that anti-Trump rental policies are legal despite political affiliation being a protected trait under D.C. law.

…”[T]wo women in their 20s were searching for a roommate to take over a lavender-colored room in their Columbia Heights apartment for $550,” the Times reported. “The women detailed their love of happy hours, a ‘good Netflix sesh,’ pho and tacos.”

“We’re open to any age/gender identity/non-identity,” the liberal women said. “So long as you didn’t vote for Trump.”

…”If you’re racist, sexist, homophobic or a Trump supporter please don’t respond,” the posting said. “We won’t get along.”

…”I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said one person who had planned to rent out a room during the inauguration. “No amount of money could make me change my mind. It’s about moral principles.”

The only conservative quoted in the Times piece said he would live with anyone, regardless of their political beliefs.

Aside from the legality of this, what does it say about the opposition to Donald Trump? This is disturbing. Whatever happened to the idea of being able to sit down and discuss something? What specifically are the principles behind this discrimination?

It’s odd that racist, sexist, homophobe is the the normal charge the political left throws at its opponents, but it never seems to be able to back up these charges. I would hope in the future we would all be willing to get along a little better. We all belong to the same country, and I believe we all enjoy the privilege of living in America. Let’s appreciate our differences and learn to be tolerant of each other.

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate

Donald Trump was elected President In November. To say the least, he did not fit the profile of recently elected Presidents. His election was a statement by the American people that they wanted Washington, D.C., to listen to what they were saying. I left the Republican Party because I was tired of supporting people who promised things and then made excuses for why they couldn’t keep their promises. I am hoping President Trump will end that trend, but I am not sure Congress is with him.

The New York Post posted a story today that echoes my feelings.

The story reports:

House Speaker Paul Ryan says lawmakers will focus first on replacing . . . er, “repairing” ObamaCare and on President Trump’s infrastructure plans, and only take up tax bills sometime in the spring.

That means Trump won’t be able to sign anything until before the fall — at the earliest, if no other delays pop up.

No. Just No. Fall is too late. People and businesses need to know what the changes in the tax laws are going to be in order to make plans. Is this the year to take capital gains? Is my mortgage still going to be deductible? Are medical expenses and charitable giving still going to be deductible? These are questions I expect to have answered by mid-summer at the latest.

The article reminds us:

Recall the early 1980s: President Ronald Reagan got his tax cuts passed, but allowed years for them to phase in. The economy didn’t take off until 1983 — and hit recession first. In ’82, Republicans lost 26 House seats.

Similar results in 2018 could make Nancy Pelosi the speaker — and block any further reform, while empowering Democrats to launch endless investigations to gum up the Executive Branch and feed the press a heavy diet of administration “scandal.”

Above all else, Trump promised “jobs, jobs, jobs,” and the American people expect him to deliver. If he doesn’t, they’ll start looking elsewhere for answers.

This is the Republican Party’s final opportunity to get it right. Speaker Ryan can either get on the train or get run over by it. Pushing back tax reform is a mistake. Congress may never get another chance to fix a badly broken law. I tend to wonder how many lobbyists are behind the effort to delay tax reform. If it is not done quickly, it will not be done. A reformed tax code would be a serious step forward in draining the swamp. I suspect there are a lot of residents of the swamp that are trying to prevent that draining.

It’s Time To Shrink The Government

As of 2012, four of the five top per capita earnings counties in America were suburbs of Washington, D.C. Working in government or lobbying the government has become very profitable. On Monday, CNS News reported that the number of people employed by the United States government is now higher than the number of people employed in manufacturing in America.

The article reports:

Government employment grew from 22,216,000 in September to 22,235,000 in October, according to BLS, while manufacturing jobs dropped from 12,267,000 to 12,258,000.

The 22,235,000 employed by government in the United States now outnumber the 12,258,000 employed in manufacturing by 9,977,000.

Over the past year—from October 2015 to October 2016—manufacturing employment fell by 53,000, declining from 12,311,000 to 12,258,000. During the same period, government employment climbed 208,000, rising from 22,027,000 to 22,235,000.

This is the picture:

governmentemployeesIt is time for a change in Washington. Hopefully, we have elected that change.

Priorities

The Presidential race is important. I totally understand that Hillary Clinton wants to be President and that she has people working with her on the campaign to make that happen, but I want to step back a minute and look at some recent events.

The video that went viral on Facebook on Sunday showed a woman who collapsed and had to be lifted into her van. She obviously had a serous medial event. She is back on the campaign trail today claiming to be fine. I have a problem with that. Not the problem you might expect, but a problem.

A number of years ago, when Patrick Kennedy had a driving episode in Washington, D.C., due to drugs or alcohol, he went into a rehabilitation program for a short period of time. Then he came back to work. Bob Beckel, who has been very open about his own battles with alcohol abuse, commented that he felt Kennedy’s handlers did him a disservice by not having him spend a year in a rehabilitation program. As far as I know, Patrick Kennedy has gotten his life together and is leading a fight against legalized marijuana, but the fact remains that his handlers put politics above his health and welfare. I feel strongly that Hillary’s handlers (and possibly Hillary) are making the same mistake. Campaigning (and the job of President) is strenuous. If she is recovering from pneumonia, she needs time to heal–she doesn’t need the wear and tear of a political campaign. I feel that Hillary (and her handlers) have lost their sense of priorities.

A Different Solution To America’s Spending Problem

The national debt has doubled since 2007.  It is now approximately $19,000,000,000,000. Congress has not been successful at stopping spending, and the economy is struggling along with the burden of debt and over-regulation. One Congressman has a proposal that will deal with at least part of the problem.

Yesterday PJ Media posted an article about a proposal by Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah).

The article reports:

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.), Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) joined Lee to formally introduce the Article I Regulatory Budget Reform Act, which would require Congress to cast a vote on the “total regulatory burden” federal agencies are able to enforce on the private sector each fiscal year.

“Federal regulations come with a cost, albeit a hidden one. The American people can look up in the federal budget and see a monetary cost for the IRS and the EPA. They should also be able to look up what the regulatory cost for these agencies are as well. Beyond making the cost of federal regulation transparent, a regulatory budget will help restore accountability for the cost of regulation onto the people’s elected representatives,” Hensarling said at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington.

“With a regulatory budget, it would become so much more difficult for members of Congress to simply pass the buck and blame the faceless, nameless bureaucrats for the cost of regulations on the American people’s families and their businesses,” he added.

Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress is charged with making laws. They are supposed to be held accountable for the laws they pass. Unfortunately, we have wandered into a system where unelected bureaucrats are making our laws, and we can’t vote them out of office.

The article adds:

Lee argued that most of the major bills Congress has passed only “establish aspirational guidelines,” which gives the executive branch the power to determine the specifics. He said Congress should establish “regulatory-cost limits” for federal agencies to follow.

“For the rule-writing bureaucrats, these open-ended laws are gifts that keep on giving. For instance, in the years since Congress first passed the Clean Air Act in 1977, federal bureaucrats have used the law to enact more than 13,500 pages of regulations – roughly 30 pages for every page of legislative text,” Lee said.

“But for the American people, this kind of government without consent is a violation of the social compact at the heart of our republic and exactly why they no longer trust the federal government,” he added.

The U.S. Constitution is an amazing document. The government it established works. Unfortunately we have altered that government to the point where it barely works and is not trusted by the American people. We need serious reform in Washington. Senator Lee’s proposal might be a good place to start.

Let’s See How Serious Congress Is About Protecting Americans

On Wednesday Breitbart.com posted an article about an amendment Representative Kevin Yoder introduced to the 2016 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill. The bill has been passed in the House Appropriations Committee. Let’s see how far it goes after that.

The article reports:

The revision serves to withhold funding from cities with sanctuary policies and inhibit enforcement of immigration law.

Thousands of Americans fall victim to crimes by illegal aliens each year that could be prevented, such as the July 1 death of Kate Steinle in San Francisco. Her murder may have been prevented had the “sanctuary city” not released a five-time deported, seven-time convicted felon back out onto American streets.

Steinle’s killer made a jailhouse confession in which he indicated that he chose San Francisco for its lax immigration enforcement.

…The House Appropriations Committee is also pushing to keep U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement from releasing criminal illegal aliens from custody before they are deported, the Associated Press reported.

Some 1,400 criminal illegal aliens released under the Obama administration in the 2014 fiscal year committed additional crimes, Breitbart News reported Tuesday.

Huh?

I feel obligated to write about this story because it has been all over the news lately, but to be honest, I really don’t understand it.

CBS News in Seattle, Washington, is reporting that Rachel Dolezal is resigning as the leader of the NAACP in Spokane after it was discovered that she had lied about her racial heritage for the past 37 years.

The article reports:

Meanwhile, Spokane is investigating whether she lied about her ethnicity when she landed an appointment to the city’s police oversight board. On her application, she said her ethnic origins included white, black and American Indian.

Dolezal, a 37-year-old woman with a light brown complexion and dark curly hair, attended historically black Howard University, teaches African studies at a local university and was married to a black man. For years, she has publicly complained of being the victim of racial harassment in the heavily white region.

The uproar over racial authenticity and professional honesty unfolded last week after Dolezal’s parents told the media their daughter is white with a trace of Native American heritage. They produced photos of her as girl with a pale complexion and straight blond hair.

Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal of Troy, Montana, told reporters she has had no contact with her daughter in years. She said Rachel began to “disguise herself” after her parents adopted four African-American children more than a decade ago.

Although I do not think it was right for her to lie about her background, I really don’t understand the issue. She wanted to work for civil rights. She obviously felt that she could do a better job of that as a member of the minority she was interested in helping. I have a problem with her lying, I don’t have a problem with her working for the NAACP. I do, however, wonder if she would have been elected to head the local NAACP chapter if she had been white. That is what we should be thinking about. Do you have to be the same race as another person to understand the struggles of that race and to want to help? Maybe we all need to look at the unintentional segregation we put on ourselves and instead start thinking about which people want to make things better, not who is what color.

Expanding The Bounds Of Ridiculousness

I don’t know if ridiculousness is a word, but in this case it surely applies. Last Monday, Breitbart.com reported that George Washington University Law School Professor John Banzhaf has filed a complaint with the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights against Catholic University. The Professor is charging the University with  creating an “offensive” environment in which Muslims are intimidated out of proper reverence for their own religion because of the large amount of Catholic imagery draping the halls. Dude, it’s Catholic University. What did you expect–statues of Buddha?

The article reports:

It’s hard to keep a straight face while reading all that, but rest assured the rusty gears and chains of the bureaucracy began clanking as soon as Banzhaf’s thick complaint was dumped into the hopper of the anti-discrimination machine. “A spokesperson for the human rights office said they are investigating Banzhaf’s complaint — and the inquiry could take as long as six months,” writes BeliefNet.

“I don’t know what the attorney wants them to do – if he wants them to actually move the Basilica or if the Muslim students can find someplace where they don’t have to look at it,” an incredulous Patrick Reilly of the Cardinal Newman Society told Fox News. “One wouldn’t expect a Jewish institution to be responsible for providing liturgical opportunities for other faiths and I wouldn’t expect a Catholic institution to do that.”

“This attorney is really turning civil rights on its head,” Reilly continued. “He’s using the law for his own discrimination against the Catholic institution and essentially saying Catholic University cannot operate according to Catholic principles.”

…This is all part of the effort to create a legal and super-legal regulatory environment in which maintaining faith-based institutions is nearly impossible… or, at least, so difficult that these institutions will be forever subdued beneath the heel of the almighty State. Just wait until churches lose their tax-exempt status for refusing to comply with Big Government decrees about same-sex marriage, and you’ll see how that works.

Religious freedom is under attack in America. It won’t be long before the tax-exempt status of churches will be under fire. If Americans value the right to freedom of religion, they need to begin to stand up now. One of the things to note is a subtle changing of the First Amendment. We are hearing people speak about ‘freedom of worship‘ rather than ‘freedom of religion.’ It’s a subtle difference, but the word change is an effort to keep religious people out of the public forum. Freedom of worship keeps God in the church. Freedom of religion allows God in the public square.

A Congressman I Respect

If you read this blog regularly, you know that it has been almost a year since I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina. I am still learning about North Carolina politics and the people involved in them. Today I had the privilege of being part of a small group that met with Congressman Walter Jones. I was thoroughly impressed.

Congressman Jones believes in the United States Constitution. He votes in Congress based on what the Constitution says.

One of Congressman Jones’ concerns is the rapid increase of America’s national debt. He states that he believes we need to stop raising the debt ceiling and begin to bring government spending under control. He pointed out that the last time the debt ceiling was raised, it was done in a way that did not require the House to vote on increasing the debt ceiling until March of 2015, regardless of how much the debt had risen by then. He reminded us that just as you would not run your household budget that recklessly, the United States budget should not be run that way.

Congressman Jones is currently seeking another term in the U. S. House of Representatives. Based on what I saw today, I will happily vote for him. He stated that he sees serving in the House of Representatives as both an honor and a privilege. It is an honor to be represented in Washington by a man who loves his country and respects the United States Constitution.

Refusing To Learn The Lessons Of History

On Thursday, Michael Barone at the Washington Examiner posted an article about a government move to again encourage subprime lending in the mortgage market.

The article reports:

I have written frequently that I estimate that one-third of the mortgage foreclosures in the 2007-10 period were of Hispanic homebuyers. Very many had been granted mortgages, despite bad or dubious credit, by lenders who then fobbed them off on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac or other mortgage securitizers, in the meantime gaining brownie points with regulators for lending to “minorities.” Evidence supporting this comes, inadvertently, from an Urban Institute report spotlighted by the industrious and provocative blogger Steve Sailer. You can see that there was a huge increase in the number of mortgages granted to Hispanics in the years running up to 2006, when housing prices peaked, centered in metro Los Angeles and the adjacent Inland Empire to the east, in California’s Central Valley and in metro Las Vegas and Phoenix. Not coincidentally, these “sand states” (plus Florida) accounted for more than half of mortgage foreclosures when housing prices plummeted and buyers who suddenly found themselves underwater and/or out of work defaulted on their mortgages.

Both President Bush and President Clinton encouraged home buying for Hispanic buyers, which resulted in many of the previous income/mortgage ratio standards for granting mortgages being ignored. This resulted in the housing bubble, the crash that followed, and a tremendous amount of money spent in attempting to avoid disaster.

Well, the government has not learned its lesson. The article reports:

Now the Urban Institute and the Obama administration are pushing for more mortgages for blacks and Hispanics with subpar credit ratings. Haven’t America, the world and the intended beneficiaries already suffered enough from this perhaps well-intentioned but indubitably misguided policy?

How many times do we have to do this before we learn that it is not a good idea to lend large sums of money to people who cannot pay it back?

Move Along, Nothing To See Here

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article with the headline, “Fun with the Fed: Inflation is low, but the cost of living is up.” Meanwhile, CNS News posted the following graph yesterday:

Price of Ground Beef Hits All-Time High in November

It is hard for anyone who has been in a grocery store in the past year to believe that inflation is low.

The Washington Examiner reports:

From July to August, the “Core Consumer Price Index” did not move. That means zero inflation, if you use the measure of inflation the Federal Reserve uses when setting monetary policy. But core CPI omits volatile prices like food and energy. If you have a family, you’re probably pretty aware that food and utility bills are a big factor.

The result: The inflation measure that guides Fed decisionmaking has little resemblance to the inflation measure that guides family budgetmaking.

This is another example of the government manipulating numbers to get the desired result. Any resemblance to what is actually taking place and what the government is reporting is purely coincidental.

The Washington Examiner lists some of the price increases in the last year that impact families trying to live within their budget:

Food at home is up 2.9 percent.

Electricity is up 4.1 percent and gas bills are up 5.8 percent.

Coffee is up more than 50 percent from last year.

The article reports:

The net result is that life has gotten considerably more expensive for me since this time last year. I’m not saying this ought to guide our monetary policy. I’m just saying that core CPI doesn’t track the cost of living.

Media Bias Is Reflected In What You Hear Reported As Well As What You Don’t Hear Reported

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a Muslim man who has killed four people in America as an act of retribution for U.S. military action against Muslims in the Middle East. The story was reported in some New York and New Jersey newspapers in August.

On August 21, nj.com reported:

According to court documents filed Wednesday in Washington state, where he is accused of killing three other men, Ali Muhammad Brown said he considered it his mission to murder 19-year-old Brendan Tevlin as an act of “vengeance” for innocent lives lost in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

“All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So a life for a life,” he told detectives, according to the documents.

…Prosecutors say Brown is a devout Muslim who had become angered by U.S. military intervention in the Islamic world, which he referred to as “evil.” He also referred to drug use as inherently evil.

“During the interview Brown also stated that, as part of his beliefs, if a ‘man sees evil then he must take action against that evil’,” according to court papers.

Essex County authorities have characterized Tevlin’s June 25 murder as a robbery that turned violent when Brown fired 10 shots into the popular college student’s vehicle, which was stopped at a red light at the corner of Walker Road and Northfield Avenue in West Orange.

Why would the authorities characterize Brendan Tevlin’s murder as a robbery when Muhammad Brown told the authorities that he killed Brendan Tevlin and the other men because of his Muslim religion?

The article at Power Line reports:

Brown has a long criminal history that includes a prosecution for conspiracy to commit bank fraud in 2004. Authorities believed that Brown and 13 other men were using the bank fraud scheme to finance terrorist groups overseas, but were never able to prove where the money went, so Brown pled guilty to a single count and was released in 2005. So it is reasonable to infer that he has been a jihadist for a long time.

John Hinderaker at Power Line concludes:

Still, if you didn’t know better, you might think that national news outlets are leery of linking the words “serial killer” and “devout Muslim.” If Brown had told authorities he was a Tea Party member, I am sure we would have heard a lot more about him.

America has always had people who commit crimes and murder people for various reasons. What we have not been dealing with until the past fifteen years is people who live here and feel an obligation to murder Americans in the name of Islam.