Things Are Coming Into Focus

In 1964 a movie called “Seven Days In May” was released. The movie deals with a plot by United States military leaders to overthrow the President because he supports a nuclear disarmament treaty and they fear a Soviet sneak attack. Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about eight days in May 2017 when a politicized FBI and Department of Justice began their efforts to unseat a duly elected President.

The article reports:

The New York Times reported last month that in that period, the FBI opened up a counterintelligence investigation focused on the president himself. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

That is one sort of investigation. The other probe McCabe wanted to nail into place was what became the Mueller investigation. Describing the decision to appoint Mueller — the decision was actually made by Rosenstein — McCabe wrote, “If I got nothing else done as acting director, I had done the one thing I needed to do.”

And then there were the talks about secretly recording the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. According to CBS, top law enforcement officials were discussing which Cabinet members might be persuaded to go along with an effort to remove Trump. “They were counting noses,” Pelley said on CBS Thursday morning. “They were not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating.”

Much, if not all, of what McCabe reports has been reported before. But an eyewitness, insider account lends new weight to the idea that the highest levels of the national security apparatus experienced a collective freakout in the days after the Comey firing.

In particular, it intensifies questions about Rosenstein’s behavior in those eight days. Remember that Rosenstein played a key role in the removal of Comey. A few days later, he was talking about removing the president for having removed Comey. The sheer audacity of that has stunned even experienced Capitol Hill observers.

If we are to keep our free country and our election process, there are a number of people who need to be held accountable for their actions while they were in leadership roles in government organizations.

Morality In America

General Omar Bradley (February 12, 1893 – April 8, 1981) was a field commander of the United States Army who saw distinguished service in North Africa and Europe during World War II and later became General of the Army. He once stated:

“We have grasped the mystery of the atom and we have rejected the Sermon on the Mount. The world has achieved brilliance without conscience, our world is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants.”

One of the moral issues facing America today is abortion. Not just abortion–late term abortion and deciding whether or not a baby who survives an abortion should be given a chance to live. Part of the problem is that abortion is a million-dollar industry partially subsidized by our government and at the same time making large campaign donations.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about one of Speaker Pelosi’s guests at the State of the Union speech:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., invited Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, to be one of her guests at the State of the Union address.

Wen’s seat was not cheap. Affiliates of her organization spent millions to support Pelosi’s quest for the majority in the House of Representatives and the ultimately unsuccessful efforts by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to retake the Senate.

In total, the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and Planned Parenthood Votes — the arms of the Planned Parenthood Network allowed to engage in electoral politics under tax regulations — spent almost $6.5 million in outside spending supporting the election of Democrats to both houses of Congress in the 2018 midterm and special elections, according to FEC records compiled by OpenSecrets.

The article explains the current goals of Planned Parenthood:

Planned Parenthood didn’t spend large sums just to get face time with Speaker Pelosi or reward donors such as Wallace. Federal government programs channel $563.8 million to the Planned Parenthood network annually. To keep Pelosi and her allies in charge of the federal purse strings is to ensure the continued flow of taxpayer money to the organization and its affiliates.

Planned Parenthood also hopes to expand the scope of abortion law. Planned Parenthood-backed Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam recently sparked controversy when he defended a Planned Parenthood-backed repeal of certain limits on late-term abortions. Northam suggested that an infant delivered alive in a botched late-term abortion would “be kept comfortable” and “would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired.”

At the federal level, the Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from directly funding abortions except in extremely limited circumstances; Planned Parenthood would like to see these inconvenient restrictions removed.

So on “SOTU” night, full of kingly pomp and symbol, Leana Wen sat in Speaker Pelosi’s section. It was yet another symbol of a powerful special interest’s hold on a Congress it helped pay to elect.

If you do not support these goals, I suggest you get involved locally in order to elect people to Congress who share your beliefs. Otherwise, federally-paid-for-late-term abortions will become a reality in America.

 

The Tactics Are Definitely Over The Top

The internet is buzzing today with the arrest of Roger Stone, someone who evidently had contacts with the Trump campaign at various points. Nothing he did in that context was illegal, but it seems that when questioned by Congress he did not tell the entire truth. Funny, other people who have recently lied to Congress are still walking around free.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Roger Stone’s arrest.

The article reports:

FBI agents arrested longtime Trump associate Roger Stone in a paramilitary-style raid at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., early Friday morning. A CNN producer on the scene said the arrest involved “heavy weaponry.” Stone was taken into custody without incident.

The arrest followed action by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., under Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. On Thursday, the grand jury indicted Stone on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation.

Roger Stone is 66 years old. The paramilitary-style raid was an abuse of power and was dangerous. It was also a waste of money. I have no doubt they could have simply waited until after breakfast, knocked on the man’s door, and taken him into custody. This is another example of the over-the-top tactics used by Robert Mueller.

The article goes on to explain what Roger Stone is charged with. Basically it is process crimes connected to the Special Counsel’s witch hunt. I suspect his real crime was supporting President Trump.

The article continues:

All the counts stem from Stone’s Sept. 26, 2017, interview with the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election and the response by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Stone is not charged with lying to or attempting to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

The special counsel’s charges involve Stone’s House testimony about WikiLeaks and its release of hacked material from the Democratic National Committee and, later, from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 campaign. The indictment does not say Stone communicated with Wikileaks head Julian Assange. Rather, it says Stone lied about his attempts to learn Assange’s intentions through two intermediaries: journalist and provocateur Jerome Corsi and radio host Randy Credico.

Meanwhile, crimes involving lying to a FISA court go unpunished, misuse of government agencies to spy on Americans goes unnoticed, and destruction of evidence that was subpoenaed goes unpunished.

Unless the new Attorney General is sworn in quickly and deals with the unequal justice currently being practiced in America, we will have become a banana republic.

A Wall For Thee But Not For Me

Hot Air posted an article yesterday about some recent comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. It seems that walls work in other places, but they don’t work in America when President Trump wants them.

The article reports:

Baier (Bret Baier of Fox News)pressed on this point, asking Hoyer about border barriers that have already been built: “Would you remove those existing barriers because you say they don’t work?”

“No, no,” Hoyer replied.

“So they work there?” Baier asked. Hoyer rambled for a bit about people living along the Rio Grande and eventually, Baier asked him again, “So they work some places.”

“Obviously they work some places,” Hoyer said as if it hadn’t taken three minutes of concerted effort to get him to admit the obvious.

Not only do they work in some places, America has helped finance them in some places.

Some places in the world where border walls are used for security:

India and Pakistan

Morocco and Algeria

Israel and the West Bank

Cyprus

Northern Ireland

Saudi Arabia and Yemen

Saudi Arabia and Iraq

Turkey and Syria

Kenya and Somalia

The list is courtesy of The Washington Examiner.

So even some Democrats know that walls work, and the amount of money requested to build a wall is a totally insignificant part of the budget, so what is this about? Do not be fooled. The establishment Republicans do not want the wall any more than the Democrats do. To the Democrats, open borders represent future voters. To the Republicans, open borders represent cheap labor for their corporate sponsors who belong to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is also the added aspect of the Washington establishment finally getting a victory over President Trump. The only way Americans are going to ever have a voice in Washington is if they clear out ALL of the establishment politicians in both parties. Term limits might be a really good place to start.

Who Has The Transcript? Who Is Leaking The Transcript? Why Is It Being Leaked?

Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner today about James Baker’s two interviews with House of Representatives investigators last October. The article notes that Republican Rep. Mark Meadows called parts of Baker’s testimony “explosive.”

The article reports:

Republicans intended to make the interview transcripts public. The questioning was not conducted in a classified setting, and Baker had FBI and other lawyers with him the whole time. But the House still had to send the transcripts to the FBI for clearance, just to make sure public release would not reveal any classified or otherwise secret information.

If Republicans hoped for a quick OK from the bureau, they were sorely disappointed. October passed. Then November. Then December. And now, half of January. The FBI still has the transcripts, and there is no word on when the bureau will clear them for release.

Even though the transcripts have not been released, they are in the news.

The article explains:

Two major news stories in the past few days have been based in whole or in part on what Baker told lawmakers. Some news organizations appear to have read the transcripts, or at least significant portions of them, or had them read to reporters by someone with access. Suddenly, the Baker transcripts are hot.

Again, the FBI still has the transcripts and is not yet saying when they will be cleared for release.

It seems as if both The New York Times and CNN have reported on information in the transcripts (along with comments by Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows):

The Baker excerpt, revealing the criminal investigation, is a new and important part of the story of the FBI’s handling of the Trump-Russia investigation. Release of the full transcripts could shed new light on the FBI’s use of the Trump dossier in the Russia probe. But they remain secret — and it is the FBI that has the final word on whether and when to allow the release of information that is unflattering to the FBI.

The second big story that came in part from the Baker transcript was the New York Times piece last Friday headlined, “FBI Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia.”

The story caused intense excitement in anti-Trump circles. “Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president’s own actions constituted a possible threat to national security,” the Times reported. “Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow’s influence.”

In the piece, the bureau’s reasoning was explained by references to … the secret Baker transcripts. The paper said Baker told lawmakers that the FBI viewed President Trump’s firing of Director James Comey as a national security issue. “Not only would it be an issue of obstructing an investigation, but the obstruction itself would hurt our ability to figure out what the Russians had done, and that is what would be the threat to national security,” Baker said in the still-secret testimony, according to the Times. The paper said portions of the testimony “were read to The New York Times.”

Not long after, CNN published an article, “Transcripts detail how FBI debated whether Trump was ‘following directions’ of Russia.” CNN quoted significant portions of the Baker transcripts, in which Baker said the FBI wanted to know if Trump “was acting at the behest of and somehow following directions, somehow executing [Russia’s] will.”

It’s time for the FBI to stop playing games and release the transcripts. If there are rogue elements of the FBI that will be revealed in these transcripts, so be it. It is time that we cleaned up our justice system and brought back transparency and equal justice under the law.

 

Because I Have To Write Something About The Wall

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the wall that seems to be responsible for the government shutdown.

The article reports:

According to the results of an ABC News and Washington Post poll released Sunday morning, 42 percent of Americans support a wall. That is up from 34 percent one year ago and a previous high of 37 percent in 2017.

With 54 percent, the majority of Americans polled still oppose building a border wall. However, that opposition is shrinking, as 63 percent opposed the wall a year ago and the previous low was 60 percent two years ago.

The article also reports:

According to the poll, only about a quarter of Americans — 24 percent — believe there is a crisis-level situation in regards to immigration at the border.

That is a very sad statistic. We have drugs coming across the border, human trafficking is happening at the border, and American citizens are being killed by illegal aliens that should not even be in the country. There is a crisis. A wall will not end that crisis, but it will provide a partial solution that will greatly help the border patrol. Either Americans are not well-informed or they don’t see a crisis because it hasn’t directly impacted them. I am not sure which is the case. At any rate, the wall (and the increased border security requested with it) represents such a small part of the federal budget that there shouldn’t even be a question about whether or not to build it.

In Fiscal Year 2019, the federal budget will be $4.407 trillion. Compare the cost of the wall and the increased security at our border with the annual cost of illegal immigration. The wall is a bargain.

This Is What Desperation Looks Like

Democrats and anti-Trump people will do almost anything to stop people from watching President Trump tonight when he explains why we need a border wall, but one person seems to have gone over the edge.

The Washington Examiner reported the following today:

Porn star Stormy Daniels will livestream herself folding her laundry in her underwear while President Trump addresses the nation regarding the southern border.

“If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live,” Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, posted to Twitter.

We have reached a new low. Just for the record, I can tell you what the Democratic response to the President’s speech will be–“wall bad” “orange-haired man bad.”

Securing the border is part of the responsibility of the President. Congress needs to let him do his job.

The Coast Guard Will Get Paid

Yesterday The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Concerned about U.S. Coast Guard forces losing a paycheck in the partial government shutdown, President Trump personally urged his team to find a solution that would allow the administration to make this week’s $75 million payroll, according to officials.

Trump stepped in on Wednesday, calling on top lawyers and staffers to determine if the Coast Guard could make payroll despite being included in the shutdown that has impacted about 25 percent of the government, including the Department of Homeland Security, which houses the Coast Guard.

Military personnel under the Department of Defense are not included in the shutdown, because their appropriations were approved earlier in Congress.

Officials said that Trump was keen to find a “way we can fix this” as news media stories about the Coast Guardsmen’s plight started to pile up.

At his urging, the Office of Management and Budget, DHS and the Coast Guard determined that the rules governing pay to Coast Guard forces requires it be made through the end of the year. To make it, the lawyers said that unused funding could be tapped for pay. The service had a bit more than the needed $75 million left over from its past continuing resolution appropriation, enough to make this month’s last payroll check.

“The president is trying to make the shutdown as painless as possible for workers, and this case proved it,” said an official.

Remember that only 1/4 of the government is shut down because President Trump had the forethought to get the rest of the budget passed previously. The Democrats (who in the past voted for a fence (a.k.a. wall) have changed their minds and shut down the government because President Trump wants a wall. At least President Trump is attempting to make the shutdown as painless as possible while Representative Nancy Pelosi (who should be in Washington negotiating) vacations in Hawaii.

Somehow I Don’t Think This Is Helpful

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that the Nation of Islam has received $364,500 in contracts and awards from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice between fiscal 2008 and fiscal 2019.

The article reports:

The funding was designed to provide “Nation of Islam religious services,” “Nation of Islam spiritual guide services,” “Nation of Islam study services,” and other related programming led by the organization’s leaders, according to Bureau of Prison records. The Nation of Islam has been labeled a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

It scares me that I agree with the Southern Poverty Law Center on anything, but in this case they are right. The Nation of Islam is led by Louis Farrakhan. Some of his teaching states that white people are “blue-eyed devils” and Jews are “the synagogue of Satan.” That is not a message that is helpful to anyone.

The article further reports:

In total, the Bureau of Prisons contracted with over a dozen organizations and individuals to specifically provide Nation of Islam programming for inmates. One of these individuals was Verbon Muhammad, a Nation leader in Monroe, La., who received over $60,000 to “provide Nation of Islam religious services.” Muhammad told a reporter at the Louisiana News Star last year that white people are not allowed to attend Nation of Islam religious services.

“We don’t allow white people in our meetings, period,” said Muhammad.

There is a concern that chaplains in our prisons are not helping inmates in their journey to be productive citizens.

The article reports:

King (New York Republican Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence) said the funding raises concerns about the federal vetting process for prison chaplains in light of reports that prisons can be a breeding ground for radicalization.

In 2010, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee released a report that found “as many as three dozen U.S. citizens who converted to Islam while in prison have traveled to Yemen, possibly for Al Qaeda training.” The issue has drawn recent attention in Europe, after a gunman who attacked visitors at a Christmas market in France was reported to have been radicalized during a prior stint in jail.

“Since there have been too many instances of radicalization occurring in prisons, that, to me, is a public concern as to what is being taught,” King said. “To me, once you’re associated with Farrakhan, that, to me, would end the vetting right away.”

It’s time to reevaluate our prison chaplain program to see if it is helping prisoners to become productive citizens or creating people that will not exist peacefully in society.

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

Little By Little We Are Learning The Truth

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about the sentencing of General Michael Flynn. The article sheds some light on the circumstances that led to the charges against General Flynn and the role former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe played in creating those circumstances.

The article reports:

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

I understand that politics can be a dirty business, but this is a disgrace. It is becoming very obvious that General Flynn was set up. It would be interesting to know what he was threatened with by the Mueller gang if he chose not to plead guilty.

The article further reports:

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

…”The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.” (The underline is mine.)

I personally think the charges against General Flynn should be dismissed.

How Much Does It Cost?

The following chart was posted at The Washington Examiner today:

Although I object to the word ‘native’ being used in this context, the chart shows that a large portion of our tax money is going to people who are not American citizens. The real problem with this is that veterans and other Americans are not getting the services they need because money is limited and our national debt is skyrocketing. Supporting people who are here illegally is simply a luxury we can no longer afford.

The article further states:

  • In 2014, 63 percent of households headed by a non-citizen reported that they used at least one welfare program, compared to 35 percent of native-headed households.
  • Welfare use drops to 58 percent for non-citizen households and 30 percent for native households if cash payments from the Earned Income Tax Credit are not counted as welfare. EITC recipients pay no federal income tax. Like other welfare, the EITC is a means-tested, anti-poverty program, but unlike other programs one has to work to receive it.
  • Compared to native households, non-citizen households have much higher use of food programs (45 percent vs. 21 percent for natives) and Medicaid (50 percent vs. 23 percent for natives).
  • Including the EITC, 31 percent of non-citizen-headed households receive cash welfare, compared to 19 percent of native households. If the EITC is not included, then cash receipt by non-citizen households is slightly lower than natives (6 percent vs. 8 percent).
  • While most new legal immigrants (green card holders) are barred from most welfare programs, as are illegal immigrants and temporary visitors, these provisions have only a modest impact on non-citizen household use rates because: 1) most legal immigrants have been in the country long enough to qualify; 2) the bar does not apply to all programs, nor does it always apply to non-citizen children; 3) some states provide welfare to new immigrants on their own; and, most importantly, 4) non-citizens (including illegal immigrants) can receive benefits on behalf of their U.S.-born children who are awarded U.S. citizenship and full welfare eligibility at birth.

I am reminded of the line from the movie “Men In Black,” “We’re not hosting an intergalactic kegger down here.” We can do everything we can to help people in poor countries, but we need to understand that until those countries have some form of economic freedom, our aid simply goes to the corrupt officials at the top. The answer to the number of illegals coming to America is for those illegals to gather together to fight the corrupt governments in their own countries. Based on the fact that the large majority of the people currently trying to break into America are military-age men, we need to ask them to go back home and work to fix things. We simply cannot afford to taken in everyone in the world who is looking for a better life. At some point you simply cannot put any more people on the bus.

The Only People Actually Conducting A Real Investigation Of Federal Misconduct Are Judicial Watch

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about a recent Freedom of Information Act Request filed by Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is an impartial government watchdog agency–they have gone after Clintons, Bushes, Obamas, etc.

The article reports:

A conservative watchdog group announced Friday it had filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Justice Department seeking communications records that relate the FBI’s investigation into whether Hillary and Bill Clinton’s charity organization participated in pay-to-play schemes or other improper behavior with the U.S. government.

The latest lawsuit by Judicial Watch related to the Clintons, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the FBI denied their FOIA request and appeal this fall, targets the offices of prominent Obama-era officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former FBI Director James Comey, and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Specifically, Judicial Watch demands the DOJ do a search, and “demonstrate that it employed search methods reasonably likely to lead to the discovery,” for “[a]ll records of communication, including but not limited to e-mails (whether sent or received on .gov or non-.gov e-mail accounts), text messages, or instant chats, sent between officials in the offices of the FBI Director, Deputy Director and General Counsel on the one hand, and officials in the offices of the Attorney General, Deputy Attorney General and or Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General on the other hand, regarding the closure or possible closure of an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.”

The article concludes:

The watchdog also singled out the DOJ inspector general’s report released in April in which McCabe described a “very dramatic” call he had with another high-level department official about the handling of the Clinton Foundation probe. That same inspector general’s report, which led to McCabe’s firing, found McCabe ” lacked candor” on four separate occasions, including three times while under oath, in connection with the disclosure to the Wall Street Journal leak to push back on a report about large donations McCabe’s wife received from Democrats during her bid for the Virginia state Senate — a leak that effectively confirmed the existence of the Clinton Foundation probe.

“The record shows the Obama Justice Department suppressed a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It’s time for the DOJ to stop shielding the Clintons and produce records on this miscarriage of justice.”

It may be that the Clintons are totally innocent of any wrongdoing. However, much of their past behavior definitely calls their honesty into question.

Looking Forward And Protecting Your Gains

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about some of Representative Nancy Pelosi’s plans should she become Speaker of the House. Say what you will about the lady, she wants to protect the Democrat party from themselves.

The article reports:

Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in the midst of fending off a coup to derail her return to the House speakership, is proposing a series of rules changes that could kneecap liberals from pursuing a bold agenda in the new Congress.

Among the many proposed rules changes the incoming majority plans to make in a draft document obtained by the Washington Post, is one backed by Pelosi and Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, that would “[r]equire a three-fifths supermajority to raise individual income taxes on the lowest-earning 80% of taxpayers.”

The proposed changes also hint at restoring some sort of “reasonable rule” aimed at making sure legislation is paid for, though there isn’t much elaboration.

Below is a chart from Pew Research Center illustrating who pays taxes. The chart is from 2016:

Raising taxes on the lowest 80 percent of taxpayers would theoretically even the tax burden, but it would be another blow against the Middle Class. Keep in mind that one of the signs of a country with a healthy economy is a thriving Middle Class. I would like to see all Americans pay some income tax–everyone needs ‘skin in the game’, but simply raising taxes on the lower 80 percent of Americans makes no sense–it will only slow down the economy and not raise revenue.

The article concludes:

Now, I suppose Democrats technically would have some wiggle room if the new rule were adopted. Because the proposed rule specifies “income taxes” it leaves an opening to raise money in other ways — payroll taxes, VAT taxes, and so on. But politically, that’s really a nonstarter. If Democrats make the 80 percent pledge and end up raising taxes on the middle class, Republicans will be able to effectively campaign against it as a broken promise, and any Democratic candidate trying to claim, “Well, we said income tax, but not payroll tax,” will be scorched.

I mean, I didn’t expect Pelosi to suddenly go full speed ahead with the Sanders agenda, but I also wouldn’t have predicted that she would have cut liberals down right out of the gate.

Representative Pelosi is attempting to protect her party’s chances in the 2020 presidential election. As much as I don’t wish her success, her fellow party members would do well to pay attention to what she is doing–she is trying to protect the future of the party. Older Americans are the majority of the voting population, and generally speaking, they do not support socialism–they have seen too much.

Economic Policies Have Consequences

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about Congressional Budget Office (CBO) statements on the condition of the American economy. The CBO is not optimistic about the future.

The article reports:

The CBO updated its fiscal projections Wednesday, and they reflected its new gloomy view that the future of the U.S. economy is one of slower growth and lower productivity.

“They think that we will get back up to potential growth,” said Loren Adler, an analyst at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, “but they make it clear that they think potential growth is lower than it used to be in the ‘80s and ‘90s.”

The CBO first reached the conclusion that future growth will be slower when it released its long-term budget projections in July, but only incorporated it into its official 10-year budget projections Wednesday.

In its new projections, the CBO sees the economy suffering from a scenario in which its potential is slightly lower than before — 1 percent lower in 2024 than previously expected.

As a result of weak economic growth this year and slightly slower potential growth over the next 10 years, the CBO sees $514 billion in lost revenue.

…The CBO’s scenario — slower growth and permanently lower interest rates — is consistent with the “secular stagnation” scenario outlined by former Obama economic adviser and Harvard professor Larry Summers, who has argued that the U.S. economy may not be able to generate enough consumer demand for goods and services on its own without stimulus from the Federal Reserve or through federal spending.

The assumption that demand will return to normal “now seems problematic,” Stein (Center for American Progress’ Harry Stein) told the Washington Examiner, noting that he wasn’t sure whether the CBO assumed secular stagnation in its model.

So how do you grow an economy? Ronald Reagan seemed to have the answer–lower taxes. If you look at the deal that President Reagan made with Congress (a Democrat-controlled Congress), Congress was going to cut spending along with the tax cuts. Unfortunately, Congress chose to ignore their part of the bargain, and spending during the Reagan years increased greatly and deficits went up despite record tax revenues coming into the government. Even with the growing deficits, the economy grew rapidly once the tax burden was taken off of the people who create jobs and produce wealth. The Obama Administration has increased the income of the wealthy while leaving the middle and lower classes behind. This is the fruit of crony capitalism. The gap between rich and poor has increased during the Obama Administration–not decreased. If you want to see America prosper again, elect people to Congress who will cut taxes and cut spending.

When Lawlessness Becomes A Pattern

Today’s Washington Examiner posted a story about the number of emails missing or destroyed in various agencies of the Obama Administration. Federal regulations require that emails of federal agencies be retained for certain periods of time. It is becoming very obvious that the federal agencies in the executive branch of the Obama Administration have chosen to ignore that regulation.

The article reports:

The latest example comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, which admitted Wednesday that hundreds of Obamacare emails subpoenaed in 2013 by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform were destroyed months ago.

Subpoena, what subpoena??!!

The article concludes:

And it’s not just emails. As Christopher Horner wrote earlier this week in the Washington Examiner, Environmental Protection Agency officials routinely destroy official text messages, contrary to law. And let’s not forget those fake EPA email names like “Richard Windsor.”

And there’s this: 47 inspectors-general told Congress in a letter this week that their investigations are often obstructed, delayed or otherwise impeded by top agency officials.

It became abundantly clear several years ago that the Obama administration was waging a campaign of massive resistance to legitimate congressional oversight.

That campaign — and a parallel one against aggressive journalism — has made an utter mockery of Obama’s opening-day promise of the “most transparent administration in history.”

So what is it these people are so desperate to cover up?

Richard Nixon and Rosemary Woods would be green with envy.

It’s Generally Inconvenient When The Chickens Come Home To Roost

Guy Benson posted an article at Townhall.com today about what is happening to health insurance premiums in Florida due to ObamaCare.

The article reminds us of some of the promises made when ObamaCare was passed:

“We will lower your premiums by $2,500 per family, per year.”

“…save a typical family an average of $2,500 on their healthcare costs…”

“Everybody will have lower rates.”

Well, it just hasn’t worked out that way. There will be an average health insurance rate increase of 13.2 percent for Floridians who buy healthcare insurance on the individual market next year.

Those who supported ObamaCare also told us that ObamaCare would bend the ‘cost curve’ of overall health spending downward. That hasn’t happened either. The projected ten-year cost of ObamaCare has nearly doubled from its original estimated cost. It has followed the path of other government programs over the years–cost more, solve fewer problems.

To add to the mess, the Washington Examiner posted a story yesterday about a government healthcare program started in California as part of the economic stimulus package.

The Washington Examiner reported:

“We need to bundle payments so you aren’t paid for every single treatment you offer a patient with a chronic condition like diabetes, but instead paid well for how you treat the overall disease,” Obama told the crowd of physicians.

Obama was articulating what would become one of the key payment reforms in his health care law — a proposal aimed at giving incentives to providers to control costs by rewarding them for providing less expensive care.

But a study published in the journal Health Affairs looked at an ambitious three-year pilot program of bundled payments in California that was funded by a $2.9 million grant from Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package — and found that the program was such a massive failure, it could hardly get off the ground.

“In spite of a high level of enthusiasm and effort, the pilot did not succeed in its goal to implement bundled payment for orthopedic procedures across multiple payers and hospital-physician partners,” the study reads. “An evaluation of the pilot documented a number of barriers, such as administrative burden, state regulatory uncertainty, and disagreements about bundle definition and assumption of risk. Ultimately, few contracts were signed, which resulted in insufficient volume to test hypotheses about the impact of bundled payment on quality and costs.”

Can we please get the government out of our healthcare and let the people who actually know something about it run it?

 

Why We Are Still Investigating Benghazi

Byron York posted an article at the Washington Examiner yesterday explaining why Congress had formed a committee to investigate the Benghazi attack. In the article, he mentions two reasons that have been set forth by the Democrats as the reason to form an investigative committee–to destroy Hillary Clinton as a Presidential candidate in 2016 or some sort of weird Republican fixation. But he puts forth a much more logical reason for a Congressional probe–more than two years later, we still don’t know very much about the attack on Benghazi, why help wasn’t given to the people there, and what the attack was about. That’s why we need a committee.

The article reports:

Republican sources on Capitol Hill say that in general, the Pentagon’s cooperation has been a model of how to deal with such an investigation, while the State Department and White House have been models of what not to do.

If the rest of the administration had followed the military’s example, the Benghazi controversy would likely be over by now.

The probe started with three questions. One, was the U.S. adequately prepared for possible trouble abroad on the anniversary of Sept. 11?

Two, did the government do everything it could to try to rescue the Americans who were under attack for seven and a half hours?

And three, did the Obama administration tell the straight story about what happened?

Republicans in Congress have been reluctant to form an investigative committee–fearing that it would be seen as a political move. That changed with the recent release of emails obtained by Judicial Watch in a Freedom of Information request that revealed a White House role in creating a misleading narrative about the attack. From my perspective, the attack and the fact that we did not send help is bad enough, but the political whitewashing and misleading the American people that went on afterward is a disgrace.

I look forward to the answers to the three questions above.

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The New Definition Of Senate Oversight

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted a story about an exchange between HELP Committee Chairman Tom Harkin and ranking Sen. Lamar Alexander at a Senate Hearing.

Senator Alexander asked Labor Secretary Thomas Perez  if he believes that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is qualified to judge the impact of raising the minimum wage. The CBO has stated that raising the minimum wage will cost jobs. Perez did not directly answer the question.

The article reports what happened next:

Harkin said that Perez can “answer as he wants to answer, not as you direct him to answer. You can’t force him to say one thing or another. If he wants to answer that question, then he can answer that question.”

Alexander: “So a senator is not entitled to a yes-or-no answer to a specific question?”

Harkin: “The senator is entitled to ask a question, and the secretary can give the answer as he sees fit.”

Alexander: “That’s not much congressional oversight in my book.”

Harkin: “Well, it’s being respectful of people who want to respond in the way that they feel is best suited to answering the question.”

Alexander: “Well then we might as well not ask questions if we can’t get answers.”

This exchange depicts where we are in Washington. Congress has given up so much power that it has lost its oversight of the executive branch of government. It will be interesting to see if the minimum wage gets raised by an executive order. Then we will see if there are enough people in Congress who respect the Constitution to demand that it be followed. America has serious economic issues–this is not the time to play political games with people’s lives.

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The IRS Scandal Summed Up In One Paragraph

Yesterday’s Washington Examiner summed up the IRS scandal in one paragraph:

These simple questions – each based on indisputable facts – establish that somebody outside of the IRS told her they wanted the tax agency to “fix” something involving groups seeking 501(c)(4) tax status, that she directed subordinates to begin a (c)(4) project she feared could be seen as “political,” that she viewed Tea Party groups as “dangerous,” and that she ordered that such groups be subjected to “multi-level review.” Those are the four essential points of the IRS scandal: Who ordered the tax agency to get involved, who in the tax agency responded, who they targeted and what actions they took. She cannot answer these questions because, as she herself has claimed, that would be incriminating. Lerner and others must hope Issa doesn’t already have the answers.

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Phantom Spending Cuts

One of the biggest scams in Washington is something called baseline budgeting.  It is a way for Congress to claim that they are making spending cuts while increasing the amount of the federal budget. It is actually a rather clever use of the language to mislead the American public. Hopefully the public is beginning to get wise. The budget recently announced by President Obama and the way it is being reported by most of the press is an amazing example of political doublespeak.

Yesterday the Washington Examiner posted an article explaining the real numbers behind the President’s budget and the fact that in the stories in most of the media, the exact numbers are not being reported. All that is being written is that the President’s budge represents a reduction in government spending.

In a nutshell:

...in the current year, the federal government is expected to spend $3.77 trillion. With all the spending cuts being talked about, a reasonable person might assume that spending next year will be down a bit. But it’s not. In fact, the president’s budget calls for spending $3.90 trillion in 2015. That’s approximately $230 billion more than this year. It’s not a one-year aberration either. Spending increases are projected every single year for the next decade and beyond.

It’s hard to write that the president’s budget is cutting spending by $600 billion while also reporting numbers showing spending going in the opposite direction.

Sadly, Washington reporters have chosen to overcome this difficulty by leaving the real numbers out of their stories. That’s a huge problem. We can reasonably expect politicians to spin the numbers and hide the truth because that’s what they do. However, in a free society with a free press, we should be able to count on journalists to report the facts rather than the spin. Unfortunately, we can’t.

Until the average voter gets wise to this sort of journalistic spin, we can expect government spending to increase. This is a game played by both political parties and by journalists. The Washington insiders are not fighting about cutting the budget–they are fighting over who gets to spend the money. Until America elects fiscal conservatives to office, Washington will continue to drive the country into bankruptcy.

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Flawed Logic Coming From The White House

Today’s Washington Examiner is quoting President Obama as stating that the stimulus “actually worked, despite what everybody claimed.”

The article reports:

Speaking from the Union Depot in St. Paul, Minn., the president cited the station, which had been refurbished and improved thanks to TIGER grants from the stimulus, as an example of successful spending to improve infrastructure and create jobs.

I am glad that Union Depot was refurbished, but I do have a basic problem with the President’s logic.

Yesterday the Heritage Foundation posted an article examining the actual impact of the 2009 stimulus package. The article explains the flawed logic in the claims that the stimulus package of 2009 actually improved the American economy.

The article at Heritage Foundation reports:

cbostimulus1cbostimulus2

President Obama is now stating that since the first stimulus was a success, we should have another one.

The article at the Washington Examiner states:

The president said his own forthcoming budget proposal would request over $300 billion in new infrastructure spending.

“While Congress decides what it’s going to do, I’m going to do what I can to create more good jobs,” Obama added.

The president warned that if Congress failed to pass transportation funding by the end of the summer, projects across the country would grind to a halt, costing workers their jobs.

The American workforce as a percentage of American workers is at an all time low. Unemployment has dropped because people who are no longer seeking employment are not counted in the statistics. Our true unemployment number is probably above 9 percent. I think the policies of President Obama have cost enough Americans their jobs despite his claims to the contrary. I hope Congress will stand up to the President and demand at least some degree of fiscal responsibility.

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Congress Isn’t The Only Branch Of Government That Has Mastered The Art Of Kicking The Can Down The Road

As of February 10, 2014, there have been 35 changes to ObamaCare according to the Galen Institute. Those changes include 18 by executive action, 15 by Congress, signed by President Obama, and 2 changes made by the Supreme Court.

The most recent change to ObamaCare is a delay of the employer mandate requiring companies to provide insurance for full-time employees. The Galen Institute reports that the latest change postpones enforcement of the requirement for medium-size employers until 2016 and relaxes some requirements for larger employers. Businesses with 100 or more employees must offer coverage to 70% of their full-time employees in 2015 and 95% in 2016 and beyond.

On Tuesday, The Heritage Foundation posted an article explaining why these changes are important.

The Heritage Foundation explains the problem in one sentence:

Congress included a mandate when it passed the law. Obama signed that law. So (unless lawmakers repeal it, and of course they should) the mandate should take effect, even if that causes the entire law to collapse like a burning firework factory.

Yesterday Michael Barone posted an article at the Washington Examiner which asked two questions about the changes made to ObamaCare.

The two questions are:

The first question is: Are employers’ legal counsel advising that those provisions might be enforced, retroactively, at some later date? After all, the provisions remain on the books. If this administration or a later one decides that, say, the employer mandate should be enforced as written, does the employer have to pay up?

My second question is: What would stop a future administration from following Obama’s precedent and declaring that it would not enforce other provisions in tax laws?

Those members of Congress who are not speaking out against the executive overreach that is currently happening might want to consider how they would react if it were being done by an administration they did not agree with.

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Ignoring The Financial Report Deadlines

Today the Washington Examiner reported on the progress of the Budget Process under President Obama.

The Congressional Budget Act of 1974 (Titles I-IX of P.L. 93-344, 2 U.S.C. 601-
688) established the congressional budget process, which coordinates the legislative activities on the budget resolution, appropriations bills, reconciliation legislation, revenue measures, and other budgetary legislation. Under this budget process, the President is required to submit a budget to Congress on the first Monday in February.

The article in the Washington Examiner reports:

“The Office of Management and Budget recently announced that President Obama’s FY 2015 budget would be delivered to Congress on March 4, just over one month past the statutory deadline (which requires the President’s budget to be submitted by the first Monday in February),” explains a news release from Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “This will be the 18th occasion that the Administration has missed an in-law budget deadline.”

…Obama has never submitted a plan to control Medicare spending following a Medicare funding warning, though the law states that “if there is a Medicare funding warning … made in a year, the president shall submit to Congress, within the 15-day period beginning on the date of the budget submission to Congress under subsection (a) for the succeeding year, proposed legislation to respond to such warning.”

Such warnings have were issued and ignored in 2010, 2011, and 2012. Obama’s team has not submitted a final sequestration transparency report, which was due Jan. 21 of this year. They were late submitting the earlier installation of the report.

Obama’s team was also late filing mid-session reviews in 2010, 2011, and 2011. The financial reports on the United States were filed late in 2009, 2011, and 2012.

The obvious question is, “What good is the law if the President refuses to honor it?”

The President has stated that if Congress does not cooperate with his agenda, that he has a pen and a phone and he will go around them. It seems as if he has already  insulted them by ignoring the laws they have passed. Maybe the President needs to look in his own back yard before complaining about the trash in his neighbor’s yard.

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The Challenge To Union ‘Closed Shop’ Laws Moves Forward

The Washington Examiner is reporting today that a California case challenging union ‘closed shoplaws is moving forward. The Center for Individual Rights (CIR) has been trying to get the case challenging those laws to the Supreme Court. Currently they will be appealing the case to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The ‘closed shop’ laws require anyone who is hired by a company where there is a union has to pay dues to that union whether they choose to join the union or not. The supposed rationale behind that is that the person hired benefits by the fact that the union has negotiated the current wage and benefits package of the company, and since the employee benefits from that negotiation, he should be required to pay union dues. In a ‘right to work’ state, that practice is prohibited.

The article reports:

CIR’s case argues that unions should not be able to get “security clauses” in the contracts they negotiate management. These clauses, also called “closed shop” rules, say that anyone hired must either join the union or at least pay dues to one. The rationale is that the clauses prevent economic “free riders” since all workers theoretically benefit from union collective bargaining.

Such clauses have long been a standard feature of union contracts, though 24 states have “right to work” laws that prohibit the practice.

CIR’s case argues that the practice should be prohibited even in those states without right to work laws because they violate the individual rights of workers. “These fees do nothing but cause ongoing and irreparable injury to their First Amendment rights,” Pell (CIR  President Terry Pell) said.

If this case goes to the Supreme Court and the right of the individual not to pay union dues if he chooses, all states will become ‘right to work’ states. Obviously, the unions are trying to prevent that from happening.

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