A Much Needed Executive Order

There are a lot of reasons why people strongly dislike President Trump. A lot of the dislike is the result of the lies told about him in the mainstream media. If you believe President Trump is a racist, you might want to look into his history and the awards he has received for not being racist. Among other things, President Trump literally fought city hall to allow African-Americans and Jews to join Mar-a-lago. I suspect you won’t find a report of that on the mainstream media. Aside from the horrific picture the mainstream media has painted of this man, there are a lot of status quo financial interests that his presidency threatens. Corruption and payoffs in Washington have been part of the game for a long time, and obviously President Trump is not playing. A recent Executive Order is one example of why the Washington insiders hate President Trump.

The Epoch Times posted an article today with the headline, “US Invested Billions Into Companies With Ties to Chinese Military.”

The article reports:

President Donald Trump’s latest executive order bars U.S. investors from holding ownership stakes in a list of 31 Chinese companies designated to have ties with various Chinese Communist Party (CCP) military apparatuses.

This order, while somewhat limited in scope, ensnares several well-known Chinese companies including non-public companies such as Huawei and publicly traded companies such as China Mobile and Hangzhou Hikvision. The 31 companies were previously designated by the Pentagon as being “owned or controlled” by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the official name of the Chinese military. (The list of companies can be found here and here.)

The action could be a sign of things to come for Chinese companies with close ties to the CCP; U.S. capital could prove increasingly hard to come by. In addition, examining the foreign ownership base of these companies reveals that a number of them are partially owned by prominent U.S. investment firms, insurance companies, and pension funds.

Four more years of President Trump will not be kind to these investments. A Joe Biden presidency will allow business as usual to continue despite the threat to national security.

The article reports:

An analysis by The Epoch Times of ownership of these 31 Chinese companies reveals that billions of U.S. capital have already flowed into shares of these companies, all of which allegedly have ties to the CCP military or intelligence agencies.

Of the 16 publicly-traded firms either on the list or are subsidiaries and related parties of companies on the list, U.S. entities currently hold shares worth approximately $14.9 billion, based on closing prices as of Nov. 20 and latest available public filings data compiled by Bloomberg.

The vast majority of the $15 billion is invested in two of China’s biggest telecommunications giants. The first is China Mobile Ltd. with $8.1 billion invested via both the New York-listed ADR shares as well as the Hong Kong-listed shares. The company with the second-largest amount of U.S. capital is New York-listed China Telecom Corp with $2.3 billion of investments. Both firms are believed to have links to the PLA, according to the U.S. defense department.

Third on the list is surveillance equipment manufacturer Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd., with $1.7 billion of investments from U.S.-domiciled sources. Hikvision has been criticized in the West for producing equipment used to monitor Uighur Muslims in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.

Unsurprisingly, investment advisors and fund management firms are the biggest single group investing into these Chinese companies—with $13.5 billion invested—by way of their actively managed mutual funds or passively managed exchange-traded funds (ETFs). They are followed by government and pension funds with $466 million invested, and hedge funds with $406 million invested. Other investor classes with large stakes include insurance companies (for their own accounts) and banks and brokers (likely on behalf of client accounts).

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It really makes you wonder about the loyalty to America of some of our financial people.

This Is Needed

Yesterday Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported that President Trump has signed an Executive Order establishing the 1776 to study the teaching of American history in America.

The article reports the purpose of the Executive Order:

…empowers the 1776 Commission to produce and publicly disseminate a report within a year. That report shall discuss “the core principles of the American founding and how these principles may be understood to further enjoyment of ‘the blessings of liberty’ and to promote our striving ‘to form a more perfect union.” In other words, says Kurtz, “the 1776 Commission, likely to be populated by some of America’s finest historians and scholars, will produce a report on the meaning of the Founding, on how American history can be understood as a struggle to realize our founding principles, and on how best to teach all this to the rising generation.”

The article points out one ray of hope in the Executive Order:

But President Trump’s order doesn’t entail imposing his vision of patriotic education on the nation. Instead, he calls on local communities to reassert control over the curriculum.

Isn’t it great to have a president who views America with pride, who is willing, unabashedly, to defend our founding, and who will contest the views of radicals seeking to enlist an all-too-complicit education establishment in tearing America down? If Joe Biden wins the election, we won’t have such a president.

The federal government has no business in education in the states (because of the Tenth Amendment). This may actually be a step toward regaining local control.

Waiting To See The Impact Of This

For years Americans have subsidized research by pharmaceutical companies by paying higher prices for drugs than other countries. Yesterday The Epoch Times reported that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that requires drug companies to charge Americans the same price for druges that the companies charge other countries.

The article reports:

The latest step would replace a July 24 Trump executive order.

It extends the mandate to prescription drugs available at a pharmacy, which are covered under Medicare Part D. The July version focused on drugs typically administered in doctors’ offices and health clinics, covered by Medicare Part B.

Specifically, it would pay a price for a drug that matches the lowest price paid among wealthy foreign governments. Medicare, the government healthcare program for seniors, is currently prohibited from negotiating prices it pays to drugmakers.

…Trump took executive action in late July on drug prices, which included discounts on insulin and EpiPens for hospitals, which would be passed down to patients, allowing the United States to allow the legal importation of prescription drugs from Canada and other countries where prices are lower, and a Medicare program will be required to purchase drugs at the same price that other countries pay.

The article notes:

The orders received swift pushback from the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America said in a statement that the move was “a reckless distraction that impedes our ability to respond to the current pandemic—and those we could face in the future.”

The pushback is not a surprise. The pharmaceutical industry pays very well.

For example according to Fierce Pharma:

Len Schleifer, Regeneron has a salary package of $41.97 million

Jeffrey Leiden, Vertex Pharmaceuticals has a salary package of $36.64 million

Brent Saunders, Allergan (formerly Actavis) has a salary package of $36.61 million

You get the picture. While I believe in the Free Market and don’t want to see the government interfere in anyone’s salary, I also believe that there is something askew here. It seems to me that as the President moves to bring drug prices into the rhelm of reality, the pharmaceutical companies might want to re-evaluate what they are paying their CEO’s. I am sure the President’s Executive Orders will impact the bottom line of the pharmaceutical companies. The question will be how they choose to handle the revenue cuts.$

7 illion $41.million

 

 

Transparency Is Always A Good Idea

Yesterday The Epoch Times reported that Judge Carl Nichols with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that the Trump administration can compel hospitals and insurers to publish negotiated costs for health care services that are normally kept secret from patients. This is wonderful news for patients in hospitals although I suspect that the medical community is not happy with the decision.

The article reports:

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) introduced a rule in November 2019 that defined “standard charges,” laid out the publication requirements for hospitals and insurers, and the department’s enforcement plans.

At the time, hospital and insurer organizations and advocacy groups objected to the agency’s proposals, disputing that the Trump administration has the authority to require the disclosures, which they believe are trade secrets. The hospitals also disputed that the policy would benefit consumers and lead to lower costs, countering that compliance would instead be too burdensome and “get in the way” of providing services for patients.

The finalization of the rule, which goes into effect January 2021, prompted the American Hospital Association (AHA) to sue, arguing that the White House didn’t have the authority to make the directive, had violated the First Amendment in its creation, and had acted in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner.

The article concludes:

Trump’s executive order on improving transparency on health care prices and quality required the HHS secretary to propose a regulation to publicly post standard charge information “in an easy-to-understand, consumer-friendly, and machine-readable format using consensus-based data standards that will meaningfully inform patients’ decision making and allow patients to compare prices across hospitals.”

It also requires hospitals to regularly update the posted information.

David Mitchell, the founder of advocacy group Patients For Affordable Drugs, said in a statement to The Epoch Times in response to the ruling that he thinks “we have to get rid of our system in which prices are secret and hidden from those who must pay them.”

This is good news for the people who pay for hospital care.

Great News For America

Energy independence is wonderful, but in today’s technology age, there are other important areas where America needs to be self-sustaining. One of the them is the rare earth minerals used in the manufacture of our technology. On Wednesday (updated yesterday) The Epoch Times posted an article about one step that has been taken in this direction.

The article reports:

Owners of the Wheat Ridge facility for processing rare earth elements and critical minerals have received an operating permit that will enable minerals critical to advanced technology manufacturing to be mined and processed in the United States.

USA Rare Earth, LLC, and Texas Mineral Resources Corp. announced on June 18 that their Wheat Ridge, Colorado, facility has received its operating permit, with its pilot plant now in the commissioning process.

Texas Mineral said in a press release that the plant “will have the ability to produce the full range of high purity, separated rare earths as well as other critical minerals … which are essential for modern manufacturing ranging from defense applications to wind turbines, electric vehicles, smart phones, advanced medical devices, and the physical backbone of emerging 5G networks.”

The company says its objective is “to build the first rare earth and critical minerals processing facility outside China.”

The CEO of USA Rare Earth, Pini Althaus, said in a press release that the establishment of an independent, robust, and domestic rare earth metal and critical mineral supply chain is vital for the United States, “overcoming reliance on China.”

Congress and President Trump have both recognized the need to produce these minerals in America.

The article notes:

Reps. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) and Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) introduced legislation (pdf) on May 28 to protect American mineral supply chains.

Gosar described critical minerals as the building blocks of our modern lives, as they are vitally important for special components in defense systems, health care applications, and energy generation technology.

“For years, our country has become increasingly dependent on China and other nations to fulfill our demand for minerals,” said Gosar. “The global pandemic has demonstrated the severe consequences of allowing this longstanding over-reliance on China to go unchecked.”

Waltz said that critical minerals are integral to our way of life.

“As coronavirus has unfortunately demonstrated, if China can threaten to cut off our pharmaceutical supply, they can do the same with their supply of rare earth minerals,” said Waltz. “We need to bring this supply chain back to America—and this bill will be an important step to do that.”

…President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13817 in December 2017, titled “A Federal Strategy to Ensure Secure and Reliable Supplies of Critical Minerals.” The order directed federal agencies to list critical minerals, develop strategies to reduce reliance on the minerals themselves and on foreign suppliers, and increase domestic production.

The positive impact of the coronavirus is that it reminded us that as a nation we need to be as self-sufficient as possible. It is encouraging to see steps being taken in this direction.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Breitbart is reporting today that Governor Cuomo of New York has ordered election officials to automatically mail New Yorkers a postage-paid absentee ballot application during the coronavirus pandemic. These ballots are for the June primary, but if the idea is carried over to the presidential election, I can now guarantee that Governor Cuomo will be re-elected, Joe Biden will win New York State in the presidential election, and all Democrat members of the state legislature will be reelected by overwhelming majorities.

The article reports:

“I am issuing an Executive Order to ensure every New York voter automatically receives a postage-paid application for an absentee ballot because no New Yorker should have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” the governor continued.

Recently, Cuomo also issued an executive order allowing residents to vote absentee in the June 23 primary election, the announcement noted.

However, the New York GOP called the move an “illegal and unconstitutional political power grab that will severely undermine the integrity of our elections,” according to Breitbart News.

“The ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ mentality has permeated the Governor’s office and Cuomo is using this pandemic as a reason to expand his powers and force his political agenda through,” said chairman Nick Langworthy.

The article concludes:

Nearly 30 million mail-in ballots sent to registered voters went missing in the last four election cycles dating back to 2012, Breitbart News reported.

“In 2012, for instance, more than 33 million mail-in ballots were sent to registered voters. Of those, nearly four million went missing, more than 425,000 were undeliverable, and almost 260,000 were rejected,” the article read.

In a statement, Public Legal Interest Foundation (PILF) President J. Christian Adams called vote-by-mail a “disaster.”

“People who think it works haven’t studied the failures. The facts show mail voting doesn’t work,” he concluded.

This is not the path to an honest election. This is a dry run. If the Governor is successful in doing this, he will push for a mail-in presidential election. If he is successful, New York State will never again have an honest election.

The First Amendment

The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Yesterday The Blaze posted an article about a drive-in church service in Mississippi that resulted in those present receiving tickets for $500 for attending. Just for the record, the cars had their windows closed and were following social distancing guidelines.

The article reports:

Temple Baptist members were staying in their vehicles with the windows rolled up to listen to Pastor Arthur Scott’s sermon on the radio, the paper said.

Lee Gordon — a 23-year member of the church as well as a representative for the Washington County Board of Supervisors — told the Democrat-Times the church has been using a low-power FM frequency to broadcast sermons in the parking lot for the last three weeks.

“The preacher is in the church at the pulpit, and we are streaming the service live as well,” Gordon added to the paper. “But a lot of our membership is elderly and [lacks access to streaming technology].”

Gordon told the Democrat-Times he and his wife were among those gathered in the church parking lot — and figured they all were abiding by the coronavirus social distancing guidelines given they were in their cars with the windows rolled up.

But that wasn’t the case — and they paid for it.

Gordon told the paper he and his wife were both issued $500 tickets.

“I think somebody called the police,” he added to the Democrat-Times. “And we were just doing the same thing we’ve been doing the last three weeks.”

Gordon noted to the paper that the police “were respectful and just doing their job. They asked us to leave first, and those who stayed got a ticket.”

This is not acceptable behavior. I might be a little more forgiving if the people had been packed inside the church, but they were in their cars following social distancing guidelines. There is no way the city had the right to shut that down. Unfortunately, that may happen in my city tomorrow as some churches are planning to do drive-in services.

Again, if the people are in their cars with the windows rolled up, how is that a problem? This is an obvious violation of the First Amendment and it is good news that court cases will follow.

The article concludes:

And as it happens, First Liberty Institute — which is representing Hamilton and his church — sent a letter to Simmons (Democratic Mayor of Greenville Errick Simmons) urging him to withdraw his executive order, WJTV-TV reported.

“Protecting religious liberty is essential, even during a pandemic,” Jeremy Dys, special counsel for litigation and communications at First Liberty, told the station. “Americans can tolerate a lot, if it means demonstrating love for their fellow man, but they will not — nor should not — tolerate churchgoers being ticketed by the police for following CDC guidelines at church. This has to stop now.”

This is not acceptable. I wonder how long it will be before we get our First Amendment rights back.

About That Oft Repeated Concern For The Constitution…

Yesterday PJMedia posted an article about constitutional violations under President Obama. Somehow I don’t remember the Democrats being very upset about those violations.

The article lists the violations:

5. Illegally firing an inspector general

In 2009, Barack Obama illegally fired Gerald Walpin, the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service,  without notice or providing the legally mandated explanation for the firing to Congress. Obama did this to protect Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, an ally of his, whom Walpin had been investigating for misusing federal funds Walpin had discovered a cover-up of sexual assault allegations by minors against Johnson.

4. Giving “green energy” loans to donor companies

If you want to talk about an abuse of power, Barack Obama and Joe Biden were both personally involved in the decision-making process to determine who got $80 billion for clean energy loans, grants, and tax credits for green energy companies, in a highly politicized process that favored companies that supported the Obama-Biden campaign over those that didn’t. It was no coincidence that the companies that got all the cash were donors to their campaign. In fact, DOE officials expressed concerned that Obama and Biden’s involvement was putting taxpayer dollars at risk. Not only did they give all this money to green energy companies that donated to their campaign, but the Obama administration also stole proprietary technology from companies that didn’t get the loans to the Obama cronies who got them. This scandal was much bigger than Solyndra, but the calls for Obama’s impeachment weren’t there.

3. Unconstitutional recess appointments

When Obama made a number of controversial picks for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), he was unable to get them through the Senate. So, in January 2012, he declared his nominees appointed to the Senate via recess appointments. Except the Senate wasn’t even in recess at the time. Obama’s actions were such a blatant abuse of power that experts on both sides of the aisle blasted Obama for what he did and a federal appeals court overturned the appointments a few days after his second inauguration, declaring, “Allowing the president to define the scope of his own appointments power would eviscerate the Constitution’s separation of powers.” The United States Supreme Court ultimately took up the case, and unanimously agreed Obama abused his power.

2. Illegally reinterpreting Title IX

When Title IX was written, the goal was to protect people from discrimination based on sex in education. The notion of “gender identity” or “gender expression” wasn’t even a thing back in 1972 when it was passed. Nevertheless, Obama unilaterally decided that “sex” meant “gender identity” and threatened to enforce this bizarre idea. This was a huge violation of the rights and privacy of women and girls nationwide without so much as a national debate in Congress, where this issue needed to be worked out. Instead of going to Congress, Obama simply threatened educational institutions at all levels with the loss of Title IX funding if they didn’t comply and allow boys to share bathrooms, locker rooms, and dorm rooms with girls, as well as allow boys to play on girls sports teams. Obama’s going around Congress on this issue was a huge violation of power.

1. Changing immigration law via executive order

The truth is, Obama spent most of his presidency with a divided Congress or a GOP-controlled Congress. His radical left-wing agenda was mostly DOA because rather than work toward compromise legislation, his default position was to act on his own, assuming the executive authority to change laws via executive fiat. Anyone who’s familiar with the Constitution knows he had no such authority.

Still, when the DREAM Act failed to pass, Obama issued an executive order creating DACA, an executive-branch version of the DREAM Act. Obama literally bypassed Congress, changing U.S. immigration law via executive pen to appease his pro-open-borders base.

There seems to be something of a double standard here. The Democrats are not able to name one instance where President Trump abused his power or violated the Constitution, yet there was not a peep out of them when President Obama openly violated the Constitution.

Today At The Supreme Court

Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments about DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). It is interesting that the case has taken so long to get to the Supreme Court.

In September 2017, the Heritage Foundation reminded us of the following statement by former President Obama:

Responding in October 2010 to demands that he implement immigration reforms unilaterally, Obama declared, “I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself.” In March 2011, he said that with “respect to the notion that I can just suspend deportations through executive order, that’s just not the case.” In May 2011, he acknowledged that he couldn’t “just bypass Congress and change the (immigration) law myself. … That’s not how a democracy works.”

I guess he changed his mind. Also, just for the record, former President Obama was supposed to be a Constitutional Law Professor. We are not a democracy–we are a representative republic. Did he know that?

At any rate, DACA is now at the Supreme Court. Yesterday John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article about the coming hearings.

The article notes:

The long-running battle over the Trump administration’s bid to end the Obama-era program for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers” will land before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
***
“The administration has basically chalked up the fact that they are going to lose a lot of these cases in the lower courts,” said Thomas Dupree, a former top Bush Justice Department official and now an appellate attorney.

“But they’re playing the long game. I think that there are those in the White House and the Justice Department who have made a calculation saying, ‘Look we can absorb all these losses in the lower courts because we are going to win the endgame when this case gets into the Supreme Court.’”

It remains to be seen how the court will rule, however, on this complicated issue — which concerns the limits of one president trying to rescind the policies of his predecessor.

The article concludes:

I haven’t studied the briefs so as to be up to speed on the technical arguments that will be presented to the Court tomorrow. But at the end of the day, it is hard to see how the courts can hold that the president is legally barred from carrying out his constitutional duty to see that the laws–including the immigration laws–are faithfully executed.

Stay tuned.

Common Sense Comes To Montgomery County Maryland

On Monday The Daily Caller posted an article about some recent changes to Montgomery County, Maryland, laws dealing with people who are in America illegally.

The article reports:

Following months of national media coverage over the handling of illegal aliens in his custody, Montgomery County, Maryland, Executive Marc Elrich has somewhat reversed a sanctuary policy he signed into law.

Elrich will allow Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents the ability to access certain areas of the Montgomery County jail in order to apprehend illegal aliens, according to ABC7 News. A county spokesman confirmed to the local news outlet on Nov. 1 that correctional officers have been ordered to give ICE agents clearance to “identified areas” of the jail to “ensure that transfers are conducted in a safe environment.”

News of the cooperation between Montgomery County and federal immigration authorities comes three months after Elrich signed an executive order that prohibited county officials from working with ICE.

After Marc Elrich signed the executive order, there were a number of illegal aliens arrested in Montgomery County who were charged with rape and other sexual assault crimes. The national news picked up the story, and the executive order became controversial.

The article concludes:

It’s not clear if Elrich’s rollback of his sanctuary rules are sufficient enough for federal immigration authorities. ICE did not respond to a request for comment from the DCNF.

There are caveats to the renewed cooperation, however. Before arriving at the county jail, ICE must submit an immigration detainer and arrive before the wanted illegal alien is released. If, for some reason, ICE agents are not able to arrive on time, the individual is released into the public — even if the individual has been charged with murder, rape or other heinous crime.

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start.

If President Trump Did Nothing Else, This Makes Him A Great President

For years national security experts have been warning of the dangers of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. A nuclear warhead exploded at a precise altitude in the middle of America could totally disable our electric grid. Car engines with electronic fuel injection would no longer run (older cars could simply replace their spark plugs and a few other parts and carry on). One well-placed EMP attack could instantly bring Americans back to the early 19th Century. The phenomena of EMP was discovered in the 1940’s and 1950’s during the nuclear testing the United States did on Bikini Atoll. When an atomic bomb was set off on the Atoll, it scrambled all of the traffic lights in Hawaii. That was an early example of the impact of an EMP.

John Hinderaker at Power Line posted an article today about a recent Presidential Executive Order.

The article reports:

In the first step of its kind, President Trump has signed an executive order calling for a government wide war on EMP, the types of electromagnetic pulses that can wipe out every computer, electric grid, and jet.

In joining the voices of those warning of EMP attacks, Trump called on his government to quickly generate a plan to detect EMP, protect critical infrastructure like water and electric sources, and also to recover if a hit lands.

This is part of the Executive Order:

(b) The Secretary of Defense shall:

(i) in cooperation with the heads of relevant agencies and with United States allies, international partners, and private-sector entities as appropriate, improve and develop the ability to rapidly characterize, attribute, and provide warning of EMPs, including effects on space systems of interest to the United States;
***

(iii) conduct R&D and testing to understand the effects of EMPs on Department of Defense systems and infrastructure, improve capabilities to model and simulate the environments and effects of EMPs, and develop technologies to protect Department of Defense systems and infrastructure from the effects of EMPs to ensure the successful execution of Department of Defense missions;
***
(vi) incorporate attacks that include EMPs as a factor in defense planning scenarios; and

(vii) defend the Nation from adversarial EMPs originating outside of the United States through defense and deterrence, consistent with the mission and national security policy of the Department of Defense.

In 2014 Natural News reported:

Meanwhile Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., has been working to raise concern about the issue (EMP attack) for years. He said during the first panel testimony that “catastrophic civilian casualties” could occur unless Congress acts.

…Franks has introduced H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act, which would enable the Department of Homeland Security to adopt measures necessary to protect the power grid.

Dr. Michael J. Frankel, a senior scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said Franks’ bill is a “necessary first step” for the defense of the electric grid, WFB reported. Currently, the measure has 19 co-sponsors.

Dr. Peter Pry, a member of the Congressional EMP Commission and executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security, said during testimony that the issue is urgent because an EMP event could wide out nine-tenths of the nation’s population.

“Natural EMP from a geomagnetic super-storm, like the1859 Carrington Event or 1921 Railroad Storm, and nuclear EMP attack from terrorists or rogue states, as practiced by North Korea during the nuclear crisis of 2013, are both existential threats that could kill 9 of 10 Americans through starvation, disease, and societal collapse,” he said.

That was almost five years ago. It seems as if an Executive Order may be the only way to protect Americans–Congress does not seem capable of the job.

Good News–Temporary Good News, But Good News

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The free market is always the best answer.

Taking A Stand For America

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about a successful policy President Trump has instituted to deal with the problem of illegal immigrants.

The article reports:

Sierra Leone for years had thumbed its nose at U.S. officials, slow-walking deportations so badly that it earned its way onto Homeland Security’s “recalcitrant country” naughty list. Over the last two years of the Obama administration, Sierra Leone took back just 21 deportees.

President Trump took office vowing action, and one of his first executive orders instructed his administration to stop issuing visas to the worst-offending countries. The Sierra Leone government was targeted with sanctions in August 2017, and the change came quickly, with 44 deportees sent back that year, and 79 shipped back in fiscal 2018.

While much of Mr. Trump’s immigration agenda remains tied up in the federal courts or stalemated in Congress, he has made extraordinary progress on recalcitrant countries like Sierra Leone, cutting the number of deadbeat countries from a peak of 23 in 2015 down to just nine as of last month.

The number of countries on the at-risk list, or close to recalcitrant, also has been slashed, from 62 to just 24 as of May.

Long-time deadbeats such as Cuba, China and Vietnam are taking back hundreds more people, even though they remain on the naughty list.

Guinea earned its way off the list by increasing its acceptance of deportees by more than 1,200 percent from 2016 to 2018, while Eritrea went from 13 deportees in Mr. Obama’s final year to 62 last year. Myanmar rose from three to 40.

This is what protecting America looks like.

The article states:

Under Mr. Trump, six countries have already been slapped with deportee-related sanctions.

In each of those cases, the U.S. government said it would no longer issue business or tourist visas to government officials and their families — and warned that even broader sanctions could follow.

That got the attention of diplomats in the target countries, and elsewhere.

“Now these countries understand that the party is over and they — government officials in particular — will face consequences for blocking deportations,” said Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies. “The sanctions work.”

Even still, a massive backlog has built up of people waiting to be deported. China is the worst offender with more than 40,000 in the deportation queue, followed by Cuba with nearly 38,000.

More troubling is that almost all of them have been set free into U.S. communities, thanks to a 2001 Supreme Court ruling limiting detention to just six months in cases when the government doesn’t appear likely to be able to get the other countries to take them back.

That means convicted criminals are often released, including more than 30,000 of the Cubans, nearly 8,000 Vietnamese, nearly 4,000 Laotians and more than 2,000 Chinese.

Ms. Waldman called that a “remarkable public safety risk” that requires action by Congress.

Illegal aliens do not add to our country’s economy. We do need to change the immigration laws to make legal immigration to America more accessible to those people who want to come her and contribute to the American economy. We don’t need to have an open door for people who want to come here and take advantage of our generosity.

Reality vs Practicality

Yesterday Andrew McCarthy posted an article at National Review about birthright citizenship. President Trump is considering ending birthright citizenship by executive order. Actually, it’s not so much a question of ending birthright citizenship as it is reviewing exactly what the 14th Amendment actually says.

The article explains:

My friend John Eastman explained why the 14th Amendment does not mandate birthright citizenship in this 2015 New York Times op-ed. In a nutshell, the Amendment states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The highlighted term, “subject to the jurisdiction thereof” was understood at the time of adoption to mean not owing allegiance to any other sovereign. To take the obvious example, if a child is born in France to a married couple who are both American citizens, the child is an American citizen.

If I am living in Britain on a work visa and have a child, that child is not automatically a British citizen. Why should America do things differently?

The article concludes:

Moreover, it seems to me that, because Congress has weighed in on citizenship by codifying the 14th Amendment, the courts will swat down any executive order on the ground that it exceeds the president’s authority. That is, the courts will not even have to reach the merits of what jurisdiction means for purposes of the 14th Amendment and Section 1401.

We have seen something like this in an area of more certain executive power. President Bush attempted unilaterally to set up military commissions in wartime under his commander-in-chief authority. Even though there was plenty of precedent supporting this, the Supreme Court invalidated the commissions and told the president he needed Congress’s statutory blessing. (Congress later enacted the Military Commissions Act.)

Consequently, if the president actually issues an executive order changing the birthright-citizenship policy, I doubt the sun will set before an injunction is issued. I am in favor of changing the current understanding of birthright citizenship, but I believe such a change must be done by statute to have any hope of surviving court-scrutiny . . . and even then, I give it less than a 50-50 chance.

Stay tuned.

Following The Law And Not The Judge’s Bias

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold President Trump’s travel ban.

The article reports:

The Supreme Court vindicated President Trump’s final iteration of his so-called “travel ban” order in Trump v. Hawaii this morning. The ruling was 5-4. Although the plaintiffs prevailed in the lower courts, the Supreme Court’s rational wing was unimpressed by the arguments ginned up to frustrate Trump’s executive order. The ruling left Trump free to be Trump and interred the Court’s 1944 Korematsu decision upholding Japanese internment by the Roosevelt administration to boot.

It also reminds me again to thank the Senate Republicans who toughed it out to leave the appointment of the successor to Justice Scalia to the winner of the 2016 election. Thanks especially to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. They took a lot of abuse from the media in an early preview of the hysteria we have endured since Trump improbably won.

The law is as follows:

Section 212(f) of the INA is arguably the broadest and best known of these Authorities . It provides, in relevant part, that

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate

The President is ultimately responsible for national security. The buck stops with him. For the courts to undermine the President’s ability to protect America is simply unbelievable. We have reached the point where to some people politics is more important than national security.

Restoring The Rule Of Law

A website called usconstitution.net explains the procedure involved in government spending:

…”All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives” (Article 1, Section 7). Thus, I’ve listed the House’s “original jurisdiction” over revenue bills (laws that affect taxes) as a check. The House, however, views this clause a little differently, taking it to mean not only taxation bills but also spending bills.

The plain language of the clause would seem to contradict the House’s opinion, but the House relies on historical precedent and contemporaneous writings to support its position. In Federalist 66, for example, Alexander Hamilton writes, “The exclusive privilege of originating money bills will belong to the House of Representatives.” This phrase could easily be construed to include taxing and spending. The Supreme Court has ruled, however, that the Senate can initiate bills that create revenue, if the revenue is incidental and not directly a tax. Most recently, in US v Munoz-Flores (495 US 385 [1990]), the Court said, “Because the bill at issue here was not one for raising revenue, it could not have been passed in violation of the Origination Clause.” The case cites Twin City v Nebeker (176 US 196 [1897]), where the court said that “revenue bills are those that levy taxes, in the strict sense of the word.”

Yesterday, John Hinderaker at Power Line Blog posted an article explaining how recent actions by President Trump are restoring that constitutional principle. On Thursday, President Trump announced that he was ending payments to insurance companies that were implemented by Executive Order under ObamaCare. Since the payments were never approved by the House of Representatives, the payments were illegal and should never have begun in the first place. The Obama Administration had made those payments.

The article at Power Line states:

Liberal news outlets are offering a parade of horribles that will ensue if the federal government doesn’t continue to pay off insurance companies. In most cases, they pay little or no attention to the constitutional issue at stake. Whether such consequences will result is not so clear. Chris Jacobs points out:

For the time being, individuals likely will not see any direct effects from the payments ceasing. Carriers cannot exit Exchanges mid-year, and contracts for the 2018 plan year are already signed. (A provision in carriers’ 2017 and 2018 contracts lets them exit Exchanges if enrollees do not receive cost-sharing reductions—not if the insurers themselves do not receive reimbursement for those cost-sharing reductions. This clause, awkwardly drafted by insurers’ counsel, may provide them with little legal recourse—and further highlights their questionable assumptions and behavior surrounding the subsidies.) So maybe—just maybe—Washington can spend some time focusing on the real issue behind the Administration’s action: Upholding the Constitution.

If Congress wants to continue the subsidies, it can do so. Its appropriation, obviously, will make them constitutional. But regardless of what happens from now on, the Trump administration has acted admirably by refusing to go along with the unconstitutional regime that Barack Obama instituted.

This is not about politics–it is about following the U.S. Constitution as the law of the land.

Much Ado About Nothing

President Trump has doomed the earth to extinction! We have all heard some variation of that chicken-little headline because President Trump has directed the EPA to roll back former President Obama’s hugely expensive Clean Power Plan.

Well, yesterday Investor’s Business Daily posted an article about the impact of President Trump’s directive.

The chart below is from the article:

The article explains exactly what the chart illustrates:

Take a look at the Clean Power Plan — Obama’s most ambitious climate change effort. Despite the costs of this regulatory monstrosity, the Clean Power Plan would have no discernible impact in global carbon dioxide emissions over the next three decades.

That’s not the conclusion of climate change “deniers.” That’s what the Obama administration’s own Department of Energy said in a report issued in May 2016.

As part of its International Energy Outlook, the Energy Information Administration provided long-term forecasts of energy-related CO2 emissions, comparing global emissions with the Clean Power Plan, and without it.

What it shows is that with the Clean Power Plan, global carbon emissions would still climb 32% in 2012 and 2040, only slightly below what the increase will be without it.

So why did we cripple our domestic energy production and put thousands of people out of work? Rush Limbaugh has commented many times that the environmental movement is the new home for the socialists and communists of the world. As countries with basic freedoms have become more prosperous, countries that do not have basic property rights have become poorer. Those poorer countries would very much like to find a way to extort money from the richer countries. That is exactly what a worldwide carbon tax would do. How do you implement a worldwide carbon tax? You convince people that wealthy nations are ruining the earth and need to pay a price for it, and you give the money to the tyrants of the world.

Please understand, I am not in favor of pollution. However, I am in favor of balancing the economy and the environment.

The article further points out:

As we noted in this space recently, without any government mandates, energy-related CO2 emissions in the U.S. fell 12.4% from 2007 to 2015. Overall carbon intensity — a measure of how much CO2 it takes to produce a dollar of GDP — declined an average 1.5% a year since 2005.

These gains are due both to the fracking breakthrough, which unleashed massive supplies of lower-carbon natural gas, and the unending pressure the free market puts on businesses to be more efficient.

This same market-driven decarbonizing trend has been happening around the world.

Between 1990 and 2012, the carbon intensity of developed nations dropped by 33%, and by 25% in developing countries. By 2040, the carbon intensity of developed nations will be cut in half, the report projects, and will drop by almost 40% in developed countries, the Energy Department report shows.

Yet overall energy-related CO2 emissions will still climb by 51% in developing countries, and 8% among industrialized nations, from 2012 to 2040 — even with the Paris agreement.

Why? “Increases in output per capita coupled with population growth overwhelm improvements in energy intensity and carbon intensity,” the report explains.

In other words, barring some miracle scientific breakthrough, the only reliable way to cut global carbon emissions would be to depopulate the planet or kill economic growth.

The global warming panic is nothing more than a stealth attack on our economy and freedom. As I have stated before, the best site on the Internet for good, scientific information on climate change is wattsupwiththat.com. I strongly recommend that you visit the site when you wonder about the scientific accuracy of whatever current panic attack the environmentalists are having.

Americans Have Common Sense, Do Our Leaders?

Yesterday The Hill posted an article about sanctuary cities. There is a surprising amount of public support for President Trump’s deportation of criminal aliens.

The article reports:

The poll shows that President Trump has broad public support in his effort to crack down on sanctuary cities.

A survey from HarvardHarris Poll provided exclusively to The Hill found that 80 percent of voters say local authorities should have to comply with the law by reporting to federal agents the illegal immigrants they come into contact with.

As it stands, hundreds of cities across the nation — many with Democratic mayors or city councils — are refusing to do so.

Trump has signed an executive order directing Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to find ways to starve these sanctuary cities of federal funding. A Reuters analysis found the top 10 sanctuary cities in the U.S. receive $2.27 billion in federal funding for programs ranging from public health services to early childhood education.

We need to deal with our own citizens who are living in poverty before we open our borders to more dependents.

The article includes the following graph:

If we are to be a nation of laws, we need to enforce our laws.

Putting Law Enforcement People At Risk

There are some real questions as to President Obama’s attitude toward police. A recent executive order really raises more questions.

Fox News reported Wednesday that:

President Obama issued Executive Order 13688 in January after the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Mo., amid concerns about the “militarization” of the police fueling a heavy-handed response.

The article explains:

Sheriffs using the program are outraged, saying that the main focus of the initial backlash – the armored tracked vehicles – are purely defensive vehicles that save lives in crisis situations, and double as rescue vehicles in areas with rough terrain.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard of Oakland County, Mich., told FoxNews.com of a situation in which an active shooter was holed up in his house shooting out of the windows, hitting nearby homes. Bouchard said they were able to use the vehicle to evacuate residents from houses, while also protecting police officers from being shot. During the siege, over 500 rounds of ammunition were exchanged.

“There’s no question that saved lives,” Bouchard, who is also a former senatorial and gubernatorial candidate, said. “We have letters from people we evacuated saying ‘we don’t know what you could have done to save us without that armored vehicle.’”

Bouchard said the federal government’s crackdown on the equipment is an example of the disconnect between Obama’s claims and reality.

“His verbiage calls these tanks. These aren’t tanks. There is no offensive weaponry mounted on a tracked armored vehicle in any police department. These are big safe boxes,” he said.

This is not the time to ask local police departments to give up weapons and machines that keep them safe. We are under a rather severe terrorist threat, and local police departments need all of the weapons they can get.

The executive order to take these weapons away from local police was part of President Obama’s response to the events in Ferguson, Missouri. We need to remember some of the specifics regarding the events of Ferguson. The policeman involved did not use excessive force, the criminal (yes, he had robbed a convenience store) had already attempted to steal the policeman’s gun and was charging the policeman. Remember that at one point in the Baltimore riots, the police were told not to restrain the rioters. These are things to think about.

Stop and think for a moment. If the local police force is stripped of all of its heavy weapons, who will have those weapons? Do you trust a federal government with weapons that would be overwhelming to local police forces? Do local police forces need safe vehicles to use in the case of terrorist attacks?

At the same time, ask yourself why in August of 2012  it was reported that Social Security Administration had purchased 174,000 rounds of ammunition, adding the agency to a growing list of federal agencies that have purchased multithousands of rounds of ammo over the last six months. This was reported in The Examiner on August 15, 2012.

I support the right of local law enforcement to have whatever armor and weapons they feel are needed. I also support the right of individual citizens to own guns.

Quietly Infringing On The Second Amendment

Historically, one of the first steps in gun confiscation is the registration of all privately-owned firearms. That step makes it very simple for authorities to quickly go to the homes where firearms are owned and take them away. Gun registration in America has not met with a lot of success, so those who would like to ignore the Second Amendment are looking for alternative ways to determine which households own guns.

ObamaCare included a section that stated:

(2) Limitation on data collection

None of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act or an amendment made by that Act shall be construed to authorize or may be used for the collection of any information relating to-

(A) the lawful ownership or possession of a firearm or ammunition;

(B) the lawful use of a firearm or ammunition; or

(C) the lawful storage of a firearm or ammunition.

On November 4, 2015, U. S. House of Representatives Representative Michael M. Honda, a Democrat from California, introduced H.R. 3926 To amend the Public Service Act to provide for better understanding of the epidemic of gun violence, and for other purposes.

The bill includes the following section:

SEC. 4. Protecting confidential doctor-patient relationship.

Section 2717(c) of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 300gg–17(c)) is amended by adding at the end the following new paragraph:

“(6) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—Notwithstanding the previous provisions of this subsection, none of the authorities provided to the Secretary under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, an amendment made by that Act, or this subsection shall be construed to prohibit a physician or other health care provider from—

“(A) asking a patient about the ownership, possession, use, or storage of a firearm or ammunition in the home of such patient;

“(B) speaking to a patient about gun safety; or

“(C) reporting to the authorities a patient’s threat of violence.”.

As of the writing of this article, the bill has 36 co-sponsors–all Democrats.

On Friday, a website called guns.com reported:

Federal research of gun violence as a health care issue had been largely defunded for 17 years until President Obama’s January 2013 executive order partially restored it. This order lead to the National Institutes of Health publicly requesting research projects on the topic for funding consideration.

The CDC peeked into gun violence as part of a White House by executive order following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, but its results were surprising to gun control advocates. The final study found that defensive gun use was common, while mass shootings were not. It was also discovered that when guns are used in self-defense the victims consistently have lower injury rates than those who are unarmed, even compared with those who used other forms of self-defense.

Taking guns away from innocent people does not make anyone safer. It amazes me that this seemingly rather obvious concept seems to be beyond the reach of many of our leaders.

Does The U.S. Constitution Matter?

Yesterday an article at The Blaze reported that the major television networks will not be carrying President Obama’s immigration speech tonight. CNN media reporter Brian Stelter is reporting that the speech will be carried on Univision (the Spanish network) and other cable channels. Univision will delay the start of the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards, one of the network’s biggest shows of the year, with a 2014 viewership of nearly 10 million. It is not a coincidence that the speech is being carried on Univision or that it is beginning at the time when Univision viewers will be tuning in to see the 2015 Latin Grammy Awards. Essentially, President Obama is doing an end run around the wishes of the American people.

This is the video posted on YouTube of President Obama explaining why it is not legal for him to do what he is going to do tonight:

Peter Wehner posted an article yesterday at Commentary Magazine explaining exactly what President Obama is going to do tonight. The article is entitled, “Obama Is About to Commit an Act of Constitutional Infamy.” Unfortunately, that is a really good description of what is unfolding before us.

The article at Commentary Magazine states:

As the liberal law professor Jonathan Turley put it last night, this is a “particularly dangerous moment” for the president to defy the will of Congress yet again, just 15 days after an election in which the American people registered their emphatic (anti-Obama) judgment. “What the president is suggesting is tearing at the very fabric of the Constitution,” according to Professor Turley. “We have a separation of powers that gives us balance. And that doesn’t protect the branches — it’s not there to protect the executive branch or legislative branch — it’s to protect liberty. It’s to prevent any branch from assuming so much control that they become a threat to liberty.”

What is about to happen may be the low point in a presidency filled with them. Mr. Obama is acting in a way that he himself knows–that he himself has said–is unconstitutional and indefensible. No matter. In an act of unmatched narcissism and selfishness, the president will create–he is thirsting to create–a constitutional crisis that is utterly unnecessary and will further polarize our political culture.

Mr. Obama is about to commit an act of constitutional infamy. This is a stain that will stay with him.

Congress needs to protect our Constitution. Our future, and theirs, depend on it.

A Dangerous Executive Order

The Daily Signal posted an article today about President Obama’s latest Executive Order. The President claims that the order will bar federal contractors from practicing “discrimination” on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. That sounds good, but there are some problems with it.

The article reports:

Today’s executive order does not contain any religious liberty protections—though it does retain an older federal regulation that permits religious organizations that favor employment of co-religionists to continue such practices. But there is no protection for organizations that hire based on mission—not on affiliation—to continue to do so. This in effect excludes taxpayers who hold conscientious beliefs about sexuality that run counter to Obama’s from being eligible for federal contracts funded with their own tax dollars.

The article also explains the solution for this Executive Order:

In response to this executive order, Congress has an opportunity to protect religious liberty and the rights of conscience. Policy should prohibit the government from discriminating against any individual or group, whether nonprofit or for-profit, based on their beliefs that marriage is the union of a man and woman or that sexual relations are reserved for marriage. The government should be prohibited from discriminating against such groups or individuals in tax policy, employment, licensing, accreditation, or contracting.

The Marriage and Religious Freedom Act—sponsored by Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, in the House (H.R. 3133) with more than 100 co-sponsors of both parties and sponsored by Sen. Mike Lee, R – Utah, in the Senate (S. 1808) with 17 co-sponsors—would prevent the federal government from taking such adverse actions. Protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience fosters a more diverse civil sphere. Indeed, tolerance is essential to promoting peaceful coexistence even amid disagreement.

We have always had transgendered people with us. They should be treated with respect. However, people with religious convictions should also be treated with respect. The right of conscience has always been a part of American law–from abortion law to gender issues. The Executive Order President Obama signed today is an affront to the freedom of all Americans–it does not respect their First Amendment right to practice and live according to their religious beliefs. Someone needs to read the U.S. Constitution to all of the people in Washington .

The Quiet Government War Against Guns

According to a Breitbart.com article posted on January 8, 2014, Operation Choke Point is an outgrowth of the President’s Financial Fraud Task Force, established by President Obama by Executive Order in 2009.

Breitbart reports:

It (Operation Choke Point) also appears to have been kicked off in secret by the Department of Justice, FDIC, and the CFPB in early 2013 without the requisite statutory authority. Officials at the Department of Justice have withheld information about the program from Congress, though they have eagerly shared details with federal financial institution examiners authorized to supervise and discipline the nation’s banks and related financial institutions.

In an article posted yesterday, the Daily Caller describes Operation Choke Point as follows:

Operated under a cloud of secrecy by the Department of Justice and in coordination with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Operation Choke Point forces banks to keep a closer eye on companies in industries that are deemed “high risk”, including gun and ammunition dealers, coin dealers, payday lenders, and debt consolidation service providers.

Sounds harmless enough, right? Well, the story at the Daily Caller was about a Massachusetts gun shop owner who was denied a loan from TD Bank because he owned a gun shop.

This is the story:

Mark Cohen, who owns Powderhorn Outfitters, a Hyannis, Mass. gun retailer, said that his longtime bank, TD Bank, refused to extend a line of credit because of the business he is in.

Cohen explained what happened in an interview with The Daily Caller on Friday.

“This year I went to apply for a line of credit, and the bank manager came by the store,” said Cohen, adding that he’s known the bank manager for over 20 years.

“Mark, I apologize,” she said, according to Cohen, “your credit history is great, but the bank is turning you down because you sell guns.”

Cohen told his friend and lender that he would have no choice but to close his accounts with the bank since they couldn’t provide the services his company needs.

…Cohen believes that TD Bank didn’t want to do business with his gun store because of a government initiative called Operation Choke Point.

TD Bank has since tried to make amends, but Mr. Cohen has said that he will no longer do business with them. There is no law against legally selling guns, and there is no indication or charge that Mr. Cohen was doing anything illegal. We currently have an out-of-control federal government. We have November 2014 and November 2016 to shut it down. If we elect people who will continue in the direction we are going, we deserve what we get.

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The Latest Executive Order From President Obama Is Not What It Appears To Be

Executive Orders are getting old. According to Snopes, a sometimes reliable source, President Obama had issued 138 Executive Orders as of September 2012. In his two terms as President, George W. Bush issued 291.

Today the Daily Caller posted an article about an upcoming Executive Order to be issued by President Obama. The Order will “ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities.” Other than the fact that it is gun control law the President can’t get through Congress, it sounds rather harmless. Unfortunately it isn’t. This Executive Order will effectively shut down the 110-year-old Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).

The article explains:

The CMP tightly controls the importation of obsolete military weapons. The program was created by the U.S. Congress as part of the 1903 War Department Appropriations Act with the purpose of allowing civilians to hone their marksmanship skills, should they later be called into military service.

…There are no data indicating any of the weapons involved in homicide were imported surplus military rifles. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s homicide crime statistics, rifles accounted for only 323 deaths out of 12,664 homicides in 2011, the most recent data set provided by the FBI.

“Apart from a donation of surplus .22 and .30 caliber rifles in the Army’s inventory to the CMP, the CMP receives no federal funding,” the CMP website states, adding that they have been overwhelmed by requests and orders are taking 30-60 days to ship product.

This is an end run around Congress to take guns away from innocent, hard-working civilians.

The article concludes:

The rifles that the Executive Order would affect are typically from U.S. allies and are pre-Vietnam era. Without the importation of these rifles, the CMP is likely to become defunct and thus destroying a 110 year tradition of saving military arms and their civilian ownership.

I don’t know how much power Congress has in relation to Executive Orders, but Congress needs to develop a backbone and fight this one. This Order has nothing to do with crime or keeping Americans safe–it is simply a move by a petty tyrant to take firearms and firearm training away from Americans.

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Obama Is Politically Tone Deaf As He Is Ready To Begin His Second Term

The battle over the fiscal cliff continues. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… Today’s Weekly Standard is reporting that President Obama has issued an executive order ending the pay freeze on federal employees, thus giving a pay raise to Vice-President Biden and members of Congress.

The pay raises are not large, but it does seem odd that at a time when government spending is spiraling out of control, the government is giving out raises to government workers. Also, I would withhold a raise to Congress until they pass a budget.

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