An Interesting Perspective

On Sunday, The Wall Street Journal posted an op-ed piece about vaccine mandates. The editorial pointed out some very obvious questions.

The article notes:

Federal courts considering the Biden administration’s vaccination mandates—including the Supreme Court at Friday’s oral argument—have focused on administrative-law issues. The decrees raise constitutional issues as well. But there’s a simpler reason the justices should stay these mandates: the rise of the Omicron variant.

It would be irrational, legally indefensible and contrary to the public interest for government to mandate vaccines absent any evidence that the vaccines are effective in stopping the spread of the pathogen they target. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Both mandates—from the Health and Human Services Department for healthcare workers and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for large employers in many other industries—were issued Nov. 5. At that time, the Delta variant represented almost all U.S. Covid-19 cases, and both agencies appropriately considered Delta at length and in detail, finding that the vaccines remained effective against it.

Those findings are now obsolete. As of Jan. 1, Omicron represented more than 95% of U.S. Covid cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because some of Omicron’s 50 mutations are known to evade antibody protection, because more than 30 of those mutations are to the spike protein used as an immunogen by the existing vaccines, and because there have been mass Omicron outbreaks in heavily vaccinated populations, scientists are highly uncertain the existing vaccines can stop it from spreading. As the CDC put it on Dec. 20, “we don’t yet know . . . how well available vaccines and medications work against it.”

The article notes that mandating a vaccine to stop the spread of a disease requires evidence that the vaccines will prevent infection or transmission.

The article also notes:

As the World Health Organization puts it, “if mandatory vaccination is considered necessary to interrupt transmission chains and prevent harm to others, there should be sufficient evidence that the vaccine is efficacious in preventing serious infection and/or transmission.” For Omicron, there is as yet no such evidence.

The article concludes:

It is axiomatic in U.S. law that courts don’t uphold agency directives when the agency has entirely failed to consider facts crucial to the problem. In many contexts courts send regulations back to the agency for reconsideration in light of dramatically changed circumstances. If the agency’s action “is not sustainable on the record itself, the proper judicial approach has been to vacate the action and to remand the matter back to the agency for further consideration,” as the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia put it.

Neither HHS nor OSHA ever considered Omicron or said a word about vaccine efficacy against it, for the simple reason that it hadn’t yet been discovered. In these circumstances, longstanding legal principles require the justices to stay the mandates and send them back to the agencies for a fresh look.

It is becoming very obvious that there is a severe lack of common sense among those who are currently supporting vaccine mandates.

The Soft Coup That Is Taking Place In Front Of Us

A friend who is much smarter than I posted this on Facebook today:

It’s easy to ignore major parts of a huge government like ours because we never deal with certain sections. Of course we deal indirectly with the food and drug administration every time we eat some food but we don’t really pay them any attention.

I bet 98% of Americans have no idea what position Jelena McWilliams holds, yet her FDIC controls everything that happens at your bank. Through regulations passed to improve our “faith” in our banking institutions, the FDIC affects everything from how much money you earn on your savings account to whether or not you can get a mortgage on your house. If somebody was going to take over our government, it would be a good place to begin.

Last month Ms. McWilliams, chairman of the FDIC, warned us of just that. She said the Democrats on the FDIC’s committee have been going behind her back to get agency employees to circumvent the chain of command to use their position to further their own agenda. One of the ways they do this is to threaten banks that make loans to conservative businesses. During the Obama reign of terror they made it next to impossible for gun dealers, including independent sporting goods stores, to use federal banks.
Ms. McWilliams wrote an Op-Ed about the problem and encouraged the Puppet President (who is constitutionally mandated to take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed) to get involved.

After the White House refused to stop targeting conservatives, she tendered her resignation Friday. We now have one less patriot fighting against corruption and the takeover of our government by a select few who think they know what is best for us.

That is why the Democrats are not concerned about this year’s election. They plan to have complete control of our country by that time. If they get their “voting rights act“ passed, we will not have another fair election until after the civil war.

You may disagree with his conclusion, but his facts are correct. After reading his post, I went looking for more information. I found it.

Fox News covered Ms. McWilliams’ resignation yesterday, reporting:

FDIC Chairman Jelena McWilliams announced her resignation Friday in an open letter addressed to President Biden, just weeks after she warned of a “hostile takeover” of the agency by Democrats. 

McWilliams, a Serbian immigrant, has lived in the country for decades and boasts a successful career in law, finance, and banking policy.

“When I immigrated to this country 30 years ago, I did so with a firm belief in the American system of government,” McWilliams wrote in the letter

…She continued, “Throughout my tenure, the agency has focused on its fundamental mission to maintain and instill confidence in our banking system while at the same time promoting innovation, strengthening financial inclusion, improving transparency, and supporting community banks and minority depository institutions, including through the creation of the Mission Driven Bank Fund.”

McWilliams was appointed to the position in 2018 under former President Trump. Her resignation will be effective Feb. 4.

McWilliams did not provide a direct reason for her resignation in her letter to the president. However, she previously published a December op-ed in which she described a “hostile takeover” of the FDIC by Democrats.

The actual details of the events which led to her resignation are contained in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal on December 15th.

Some highlights from the Wall Street Journal:

On Nov. 16, as I was about to board a flight to Switzerland for a meeting of international regulators, I informed board member Michael Hsu, acting comptroller of the currency, that the FDIC staff document would be available to board members no later than Dec. 6. Seventy-five minutes later, the directors sent a joint letter instructing FDIC staff to mark up their original document instead. Agency staff report to me as the CEO, and I have always ensured that board members have access to staff for discussions, briefings and technical expertise. The board members’ letter was an attempt to seize control of the FDIC’s staff while its chairman was on a nine-hour flight to Europe for official meetings.

…On Dec. 6, the FDIC staff produced a document to board members that was factual and neutral in tone, informed by the expertise of career staff—a genuine effort to solicit public feedback without politicizing the agency or the process. It asked broad-based questions on the statutory factors that govern merger applications and whether the FDIC’s existing approach is appropriate.

Within hours of receiving that document, board members responded by attempting to vote on the original CFPB document. Board member Martin Gruenberg, a former chairman, electronically signed his alleged vote on Dec. 3, three days before receiving the FDIC document for review. When board members were informed that their actions didn’t constitute a valid vote, Messrs. Chopra and Gruenberg posted their document on the CFPB’s website and claimed it was an official FDIC issuance.

Of the 20 chairmen who preceded me at the FDIC, nine faced a majority of the board members from the opposing party, including Mr. Gruenberg as chairman under President Trump until I replaced him as chairman in 2018. Never before has a majority of the board attempted to circumvent the chairman to pursue their own agenda.

So why is this important? Remember when banks (under the Obama administration) closed accounts of businesses dealing in gun sales? Remember (under the Obama administration) when any organization with a conservative-sounding name was denied tax exempt status? Remember when banks (under the Clinton administration) were forced to make sub-prime mortgage loans in the name of equality? The FDIC needs to be politically neutral. What is happening now is the Biden administration (aka deep state) attempting to silence conservative speech by taking control of the banking system. Be prepared to hear in the future that organizations like One America New and other conservative news outlets will not be able to get business loans to expand their businesses. That is where this is going.

Da*n The Consumer And Full Speed Ahead

On Sunday, Zero Hedge posted an article about the impact of some of the Biden administration’s regulations on American consumers.

The article reports:

At a time when the Biden administration is panicking in an attempt to keep energy prices down, the House has slapped a “fee” on methane that is being called a “stealth tax” on natural gas and everyone who uses it.

The House bill results in an “escalating tax on methane emissions by oil and gas producers,” a new op-ed in the Wall Street Journal points out. The tax will hit $1,500 per ton by 2025 and the fee is supposed to be a contribution to recent promises made in Glasgow to curb methane emissions.

The cost of the fee will obviously get passed along to the consumer, which will then result in even higher energy prices than consumers are already struggling with. 180 million  Americans use natural gas to hear their homes, the report says.

The article concludes:

The WSJ op-ed board calls it a “regressive tax” and says that “Department of Energy notes the average energy burden for low-income families is three times higher than for more affluent households”.

The methane tax “exposes the contradiction at the heart of Democratic climate policy” and clearly violates President Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on those making less than $400,000 per year, the op-ed argues.

The op-ed concludes by arguing that once the methane tax is in place, it’ll be easy to raise over time. Combined with new methane regulations, it’ll continue to raise costs and introduce inefficiencies for producers.

The methane tax is “targeted, punitive and can be linked to higher consumer energy bills,” the op-ed concludes.

We are headed into a cold, dark winter brought to you by the Biden administration’s misguided energy policies.

An Interesting Change In Voting Habits

On Thursday, The Patriot Journal posted an article about a shifting voting bloc.

The article includes an excerpt from Fox News:

A new poll from The Wall Street Journal found that Hispanic voters are now split between Republicans and Democrats on the generic ballot at 37%. A further 22% responded that they were undecided…

Hispanics were also divided nearly evenly on the question of a 2024 presidential rematch. In an identical election between President Biden and former President Trump, 44% stated they would vote for Biden, while 43% said they would vote for Trump.

The article at The Patriot Journal continues:

We’ve been seeing this trend all throughout the year. Several special elections were held in Texas in 2021. Candidates were running in largely Hispanic towns and districts, close to the border. And, what do ya know, Republicans won again and again. In some places, this was the first time a GOP candidate took the victory.

That’s a very bad sign for Democrats. And it’s not just about elections. Democrats pride themselves on being “inclusive” and “diverse.” Much of their messaging is that they are the party that supports people of color. And that Republicans only care about rich, white people.

But that narrative is completely shattered if half or more of the Hispanic voters break for the GOP. Democrats can’t claim they are the only ones that care about minorities if so many of them vote for the other party.

Many of the Hispanics that are voting GOP are unhappy with the open-borders policy of the Biden administration. People who came here legally do not appreciate the unsecured border. Our Hispanic population is very familiar with the character of the cartels currently controlling our border and smuggling gang members through our porous border.

The article concludes:

Democrats are already making excuses for these numbers. They claim they just need to do a better job at “reaching” Hispanic voters. But these Americans have seen what Democrats can do when given power. And they are not impressed. They want what we all want, a safe border, good education for their children, and—oh yeah—an economy that’s not terrible.

And it seems Democrats cannot deliver on any of that.

The Proper Solution To The Computer Chip Shortage

The Daily Wire reported yesterday that Samsung s planning to build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in Taylor, Texas.

The article reports:

A statement from the office of Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) says that Samsung chose the Lone Star State due to its business-friendly climate:

The new manufacturing facility will produce advanced logic chips that will power next-generation devices for applications such as mobile, 5G, high-performance computing (HPC), and artificial intelligence (AI).

The project will create over 2,000 high-tech jobs, thousands of indirect jobs, and a minimum of 6,500 construction jobs. Construction will begin in early 2022 with a target of production start in the second half of 2024. The $17 billion in capital investments includes buildings, property improvements, machinery, and equipment.

A Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF) grant of $27,000,000 has been extended to Samsung for their job creation. In addition, Samsung has been offered a $20,000 Veteran Created Job Bonus.   

The article concludes:

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal reports that firms across the globe are racing to produce more semiconductors:

Samsung’s doubling down on Texas where it already has a footprint comes amid a year of historic spending for the semiconductor industry, spurred by government incentives seeking to attract local production. A global chip shortage has undercut many industries from smartphones and home appliances to cars.

Samsung, the world’s largest semiconductor maker by revenue, plans to invest more than $205 billion over the next three years, with chip-making a priority. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. has earmarked more than $100 billion over the next three years to build new chip factories. Intel Corp. has also unveiled more than $100 billion worth of semiconductor factory investments plans in the U.S. and Europe over the coming decade.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said earlier this year that he has “never seen anything like” the semiconductor shortage.

“Our biggest challenge is supply chain, especially microcontroller chips,” Musk said on social media, comparing his company’s decision to “overorder” various products to the “toilet paper shortage” that occurred at the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States.

Bringing industry back to America will help America economically and will add to our national security. To have outsourced computer chips and pharmaceuticals to countries that are not our allies is foolishness.

Does Your Government Work For You?

Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about President Biden’s $1.75 trillion expansion of the federal safety net.

The article reports:

An analysis by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan fiscal watchdog, estimates that President Biden’s $1.75 trillion expansion of the federal safety net could kill more than 103,000 jobs over the next decade and add $750 billion to the federal deficit.

The estimate is based on a thorough analysis of the White House’s spending “framework” and the corresponding 1,684-page bill text released by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat. Experts from the Tax Foundation say the proposal would fall far short of White House promises.

“We estimate that the House bill would reduce long-run economic output by nearly 0.4% and eliminate about 103,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the United States,” the experts wrote. “It would also reduce average after-tax incomes for the top 80 percent of taxpayers over the long run.”

It should be shouted everywhere that according to a CNBC article posted in August 2021, more than 100 million U.S. households, or 61% of all taxpayers, paid no federal income taxes last year, according to a report from the Tax Policy Center. Think about that for a minute. If you are not paying taxes, why should you care how much the government is spending or how much the government is planning to raise taxes? This is not a good situation.

The article at The Washington Times concludes:

Mr. Biden is backing a 5% “wealth tax” on those with adjusted gross income above $10 million. The figure jumps to 8% on adjusted gross income over $25 million.

“I can’t think of a single time when the middle class has done well but the wealthy haven’t done very well,” Mr. Biden said. “I can think of many times, including now, when the wealthy and the superwealthy do very well and the middle class doesn’t do well.”

Despite the rhetoric, Tax Foundation economists say, the provisions would affect all workers by killing more than 29,000 jobs.

The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. 

The report was released one day after Sen. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, accused his colleagues of engaging in “budget gimmicks” to hide the true cost of the spending package.

“As more of the real details outlined … what I see are shell games and budget gimmicks that make the real cost of this so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be twice as high,” he said. “That is a recipe for economic crisis. None of us should ever misrepresent to the American people what the real cost of legislation is.”

Actually, the middle class did very well during the Trump administration. Trump administration policies helped increase the number of Americans in the middle class.

Does anyone remember the Luxury Tax of 1990.

On September 10, 2011, The American Enterprise Institute posted the following:

Flashback:Wall Street Journal editorial on January 6, 2003

“Most Americans celebrated as the ball fell in Times Square New Year’s Eve. But for auto dealers this new year is especially sweet. January 1 marked the expiration of the federal luxury tax on cars, the last vestige of the destructive luxury tax package in the infamous 1990 budget deal.

Starting in 1991, Washington levied a 10% luxury tax on cars valued above $30,000, boats above $100,000, jewelry and furs above $10,000 and private planes above $250,000. Democrats like Ted Kennedy and then-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell crowed publicly about how the rich would finally be paying their fair share and privately about convincing President George H.W. Bush to renounce his “no new taxes” pledge.

But it wasn’t long before even these die-hard class warriors noticed they’d badly missed their mark. The taxes took in $97 million less in their first year than had been projected — for the simple reason that people were buying a lot fewer of these goods. Boat building, a key industry in Messrs. Mitchell and Kennedy’s home states of Maine and Massachusetts, was particularly hard hit. Yacht retailers reported a 77% drop in sales that year, while boat builders estimated layoffs at 25,000. With bipartisan support, all but the car tax was repealed in 1993, and in 1996 Congress voted to phase that out too. January 1 was disappearance day.

The end of any federal tax is such a rarity that it’s well worth celebrating. And the luxury tax lesson of economic damage is worth keeping in mind as politicians begin to wail that President Bush’s new tax proposals aren’t punitive enough on the rich.”

HT: Pete Friedlander

The recession that followed the 1990 luxury tax cost President George H.W. Bush re-election. The Democrats might want to keep that in mind.

 

Insanity Reigns

The Patriot Daily Wire is reporting today that the Biden administration is considering a plan to offer immigrant families separated during the Trump administration $450,000 per person in compensation. This was originally reported in The Wall Street Journal.  American soldiers killed in action do not even receive that much.

The article includes a portion of The Wall Street Journal article:

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represents families in one of the lawsuits, has identified about 5,500 children separated at the border over the course of the Trump administration, citing figures provided to it by the government. The number of families eligible under the potential settlement is expected to be smaller, the people said, as government officials aren’t sure how many will come forward. Around 940 claims have so far been filed by the families, the people said. -WSJ

Welcome to America where the government thinks money grows on trees. How about helping our homeless veterans and others before helping people who are here illegally?

The article concludes:

“It is a complicated, complex piece of litigation” – trying to resolve hundreds of separate lawsuits at the same time, and “sometimes even more complex to try the cases” said Margo Schlanger, who ran the civil-rights office during the Obama administration at the Department of Homeland Security and now teaches at the University of Michigan law school.

What will the reparations crowd think of this?

This is not acceptable.

 

Hold On To Your Wallet

Yesterday NewsMax reported the following:

Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are trying to wrap up their proposal for $2.9 trillion in tax hikes, which would mean the largest tax increase in decades, in order to help pay for  higher spending in their ‘reconciliation’ package, Politico reported on Monday.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the proposal is expected to include raising the corporate tax rate to 26.5% from 21% and enacting a 3-percentage-point surtax on individual income above $5 million.

House Democrats are also thinking about boosting the minimum tax on the foregn income of U.S. companies to 16.5% from 10.5%, as well as raising the top capital-gains tax rate to 28.8% from 23.8%.

This will be sold as a tax increase only for the rich. If you believe that, you have not been paying attention for the past thirty years. There are a few things to keep in mind when you hear about ‘tax increases for the rich.’ First of all, the ‘rich’ can afford tax accountants who will find ways to mitigate the tax increases. Second of all, raising capital-gains taxes discourages investment and has a negative impact on the 401k account of the average American, Raising the corporate tax only results in higher prices for consumers–corporations pass the cost of increased taxes on to consumers. The entire idea of ‘tax the rich’ is a socialist scam. It has been used all over the world to create class warfare and line the pockets of those in power who despite their wealth somehow manage to avoid the tax increases.

The article concludes:

Other details in a five-page memo being passed around about the Democrats’ plans include tightening estate tax rules and reducing deductions for some unincorporated businesses, as well as new limits on supersized individual retirement accounts, additional restrictions on deductions companies take for highly compensated employees, and new “wash sale” rules for those who own cryptocurrencies.

The Wall Street Journal pointed out that the monetary value of the tax increases “includes $1 trillion in tax increases on individuals, $900 billion on corporations, $700 billion from drug-pricing policy changes, and $120 billion from tougher tax enforcement. Adding miscellaneous other changes and an assumption that the economy will grow reaches $3.5 trillion.”

White House spokesman Andrew Bates praised Neal’s proposals, saying that “this meets two core goals that the president laid out at the beginning of this process — it does not raise taxes on Americans earning under $400,000 and it repeals the core elements of the Trump tax giveaways for the wealthy and corporations.”

Bates added that “the President looks forward to continuing to work with Chairman Neal, as well as the Senate Finance Committee and Chairman Wyden, as we advance the Build Back Better agenda.”

I’m Not Sure I Believe This

Red State posted an article yesterday about a recent statement by Senator Joe Manchin. The Senator wrote an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal  stating that he will not support the $3.5 trillion reconciliation budget proposed by the Democrats. The article notes that he is requesting a pause to decrease the amount of spending in the proposal. Some are celebrating that this is the end of the $3.5 trillion budget, but you need to look at the wording of the statement and the history of Senator Manchin more carefully. Senator Manchin always claims to be a fiscal conservative. He even votes that way WHEN HIS VOTE DOESN’T COUNT. When his vote counts, he votes with the Democrats. He is in an awkward position right now because he represents West Virginia, a mostly conservative state. If he wants to get re-elected in 2022, he has to at least make some conservative noises. I am skeptical as to whether this will be anything other than noise. Chances are that the budget will be cosmetically scaled down and he will vote for it.

The article at Red State includes part of the opinion piece:

The nation faces an unprecedented array of challenges and will inevitably encounter additional crises in the future. Yet some in Congress have a strange belief there is an infinite supply of money to deal with any current or future crisis, and that spending trillions upon trillions will have no negative consequence for the future. I disagree.

An overheating economy has imposed a costly “inflation tax” on every middle- and working-class American. At $28.7 trillion and growing, the nation’s debt has reached record levels. Over the past 18 months, we’ve spent more than $5 trillion responding to the coronavirus pandemic. Now Democratic congressional leaders propose to pass the largest single spending bill in history with no regard to rising inflation, crippling debt or the inevitability of future crises. Ignoring the fiscal consequences of our policy choices will create a disastrous future for the next generation of Americans.

It will be interesting to see how he actually votes. When you think about it, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema hold the keys to Joe Biden’s presidency. As long as the Democrats have 50 votes for the budget reconciliation package, they need Kamala Harris to be the 51st vote to pass the budget. If the Democrats do not have 50 votes, then Kamala Harris is not needed as the 51st vote. Therefore she can be promoted to President if Joe Biden seems to be failing. Stay tuned.

 

Vendetta

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, a vendetta is 1. a blood feud or 2. an often prolonged series of retaliatory, vengeful, or hostile acts or exchange of such acts. I sincerely believe that what we are currently seeing in American politics is a vendetta against President Trump. So what did he do to trigger this vendetta? Let’s take a look back for a minute.

President Trump came into politics as an outsider. The mainstream media treated him as if he were a joke. He had the audacity to win. What happened when he won? First of all he discovered that a lot of Washington insiders took joy in stabbing him in the back. Secondly, he discovered that the intelligence apparatus in America was being used as a political weapon. (That has never been dealt with and probably continues under the Biden administration.) Third, he exposed the Washington swamp and was able to accomplish some noteworthy things in spite of it–energy independence, wage increases at the lower end of the economic spectrum, bringing manufacturing back to America, creating jobs, lowering gas prices, peace treaties in the Middle East, developing the coronavirus vaccine in record time, etc. Because he was successful as an outsider the Washington swamp hates him. They impeached him twice, and his poll numbers are still high. But they are not done yet.

There are two recent headlines those of us who believe the attack on President Trump has been over the top need to pay attention to. An article in Red State posted yesterday reports that the Attorney General in Fulton County, Georgia, is planning the charge President Trump with a crime in relation to a phone call to the Governor of the state. The  headline in yesterday’s Washington Times reports, “Trump properties in New York under investigation: Report.”

The Washington Times article states:

Former President Trump is facing scrutiny from prosecutors in Manhattan over millions of dollars in loans he took out for several properties in New York, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday.

Citing unnamed people familiar with the matter, the Journal reported that the office of Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance is “investigating financial dealings” involving the Trump properties.

Specifically, the people said prosecutors are looking at loans that were made to Mr. Trump by subsidiaries of the same real-estate investment trust, Ladder Capital Corp., the Journal reported.

On May 9, 2018, The Oxford Eagle posted an article that noted the following:

Lavrentiy Beria, the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror in Russia and Eastern Europe, bragged that he could prove criminal conduct on anyone, even the innocent.

“Show me the man and I’ll show you the crime” was Beria’s infamous boast. He served as deputy premier from 1941 until Stalin’s death in 1953, supervising the expansion of the gulags and other secret detention facilities for political prisoners. He became part of a post-Stalin, short-lived ruling troika until he was executed for treason after Nikita Khrushchev’s coup d’etat in 1953.

Beria targeted “the man” first, then proceeded to find or fabricate a crime. Beria’s modus operandi was to presume the man guilty, and fill in the blanks later. By contrast, under the United States Constitution, there’s a presumption of innocence that emanates from the 5th, 6th, and 14th Amendments, as set forth in Coffin vs. U.S. (1895).

Regardless of how you feel about President Trump, do you want to see the Constitution shredded because the deep state has a vendetta?

 

 

Papers, Please

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about the new travel rules for people flying into America from abroad.

The article reports:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has ordered that all travelers flying to the U.S. from abroad will have to show proof of negative Covid-19 tests before boarding their flight starting Jan. 26. The CDC said preflight testing is necessary as Covid-19 cases continue to soar and new, more contagious strains of the virus emerge around the world.

Does anyone want to guess how long it will be before these rules are applied to travelers in the United States?

The article answers a few pertinent questions:

Even if you have been vaccinated for Covid-19, you still will need to show proof of a negative test.

…If you have tested positive for Covid-19 in the past three months but no longer have symptoms, the CDC doesn’t recommend getting tested again. If you are in this group and have met the criteria to end isolation, the CDC says you can travel as long as you have written permission from a health-care provider or public-health official. Bring your positive test result and the doctor’s letter to show the airline in lieu of a negative test result.

We have come a long way from “Please remove your shoes,” and I am not sure this is the direction we should be headed in. The next step will be banned from flying if you haven’t had the vaccine.

Understanding The Power Of The Press

One America News reported yesterday that The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is spending millions on ad space to spread pro-China messages across the United States.

The article notes:

The U.S. Department of Justice reported that in just the last four years, Beijing has spent nearly $19 million in an attempt to push pro-China narratives within the country.

The payments have been on behalf of Beijing-controlled China Daily newspaper, which is an English language publication produced by the CCP that has paid millions of dollars just this year.

Publications like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Los Angeles Times have received these payments for running pro-China ads on their websites and printed publication. The paid advertisements are designed to look like real news articles, while often containing a pro-Beijing twist on contemporary news events.

Please understand what is happening here–the mainstream media such as the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times have been losing money because they have become so biased. The Chinese advertising revenue is one of the things keeping them afloat. The fact that some of these ads are designed to look like real news articles is an indication of the goal–subvert any American policy that is unfriendly to China. This is probably one of many reasons the mainstream media does not support the trade policies of President Trump that leveled the playing field with China.

The article includes the following screenshot:

This is one of many reasons Americans should not trust the mainstream media.

It’s Amazing How This Works

On August 10, 2020, The Wall Street Journal posted an article (if you can’t get into the article, try opening it up in a private window) about Joe Biden’s taxes. While Joe Biden (and the rest of the Democrats) are criticizing President Trump for the amount of taxes he paid (there is no indication that President Trump did anything other than follow the laws that were written by Joe Biden and his pals in Congress), it seems that the Bidens also believed in paying as little in taxes as possible.

The article reports:

Joe Biden responded to President Trump’s partial suspension of payroll-tax collections with a statement calling it the “first shot in a new, reckless war on Social Security.” He continued: “Our seniors and millions of Americans with disabilities are under enough stress without Trump putting their hard-earned Social Security benefits in doubt.”

Mr. Biden’s objections might be more persuasive had he and his wife, Jill, not gone out of their way to avoid funding seniors’ entitlement benefits. According to their tax returns, in 2017 and 2018 the Bidens and his wife Jill avoided payroll taxes on nearly $13.3 million in income from book royalties and speaking fees. They did so by classifying the income as S-corporation profits rather than taxable wages.

The Bidens did pay themselves “salaries” from their corporations—CelticCapri Corp. and Giacoppa Corp.—of nearly $750,000 between them over two years, and they paid full taxes on that income. But they circumvented the payroll tax on the nearly 95% of their income that remained. A tax expert interviewed by the Journal in 2019 called the Bidens’ scheme “pretty aggressive”; another told the paper it served solely to avoid the payroll taxes.

The article notes:

According to the Urban Institute, a couple featuring one high earner and one average earner, retiring this year, will have paid a total of $209,000 in Medicare taxes during their working lives. The Bidens avoided paying nearly twice that much in Medicare taxes during two years. The maximum payroll tax affected by Mr. Trump’s suspension is $1,984—less than 1/250th of the amount the Bidens avoided in 2017-18.

Seems like a bit of hypocrisy.

 

 

 

 

Putting Up The Smoke Screen

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

The article also notes:

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew McCarthy at The National Review noted recently:

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

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

If You Wondered Why Energy Independence Is Important

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update On Hong Kong

Politico posted an article today about the latest events in Hong Kong. The article is taken from the South China Morning Post. Please consider the source when reading the excerpts.

The article reports:

Embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has formally withdrawn the much-despised extradition bill that sparked the nearly three-month long protest crisis now roiling the city, confirming the Post’s exclusive report earlier on Wednesday.

She will also set up an investigative platform to look into the fundamental causes of the social unrest and suggest solutions for the way forward, stopping short of turning it into a full-fledged commission of inquiry, as demanded by protesters.

The decision to withdraw the bill will mean that the government is finally acceding to at least one of the five demands of the protesters, who have taken to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent.

Apart from the formal withdrawal of the legislation, the protesters have asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterizing the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process.

Whether they will view the investigative committee as adequate in meeting the call for a commission remains to be seen. On the bill withdrawal, a government source said that Lam will emphasize that the move was a technical procedure to streamline the legislative agenda, with the Legislative Council set to reopen in October after its summer break.

Paul Mirengoff posted an article at Power Line Blog today about Hong Kong. In the article he quotes a Claudia Rosette article at The Wall Street Journal:

[T]he millions of protesters. . .have been doing the world a heroic service. Like their predecessors at Tiananmen, they are exposing on a world stage the brutality of the Beijing regime. From the only place under China’s flag where there is any chance to speak out, they are shouting the truth, day and night, in the streets and from the windows—while they still can.

During more than 13 straight weeks of protest, Hong Kong’s people have demanded the rights and freedoms—including free elections—that China, in a treaty with Britain, guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years after the 1997 handover. At a press conference last week held by Hong Kong’s Civil Human Rights Front, which has organized some of the biggest peaceful protests, spokeswoman Bonnie Leung observed that if the authorities would simply keep those promises, “the whole movement will end immediately.”

Instead, President Xi Jinping and his puppet, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, have defaulted to threats, propaganda and force. Ms. Lam’s administration has deployed riot police, tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Officers have made more than 1,000 arrests.

China has been pressuring Hong Kong companies, including Cathay Pacific Airways, to fire employees who join the protests. Chanting “Stand with Hong Kong! Fight for freedom!” the protesters have refused to back down. Some told me they are ready to die for their cause. Many of their predecessors did in Tiananmen.

Hong Kong police have begun firing warning shots with live ammunition. This weekend, police were caught on video beating unarmed civilians bloody on the subway. China has been conspicuously drilling troops of its People’s Armed Police across the border, and last week it sent fresh army troops to its garrison in Hong Kong, labeling this a routine rotation to ensure “prosperity and stability.”

(Emphasis added)

The article at Power Line Blog concludes with an UPDATE:

Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has finally agreed to withdraw the extradition bill discussed above. She takes her order from Beijing, so it looks like China wants to avoid a Tiananmen Square style massacre and the worldwide condemnation it would bring.

Will this concession, absent the freedoms China promised Hong Kong in 1997, be sufficient to take the steam out of the protests? Perhaps.

Another possibility is that the protesters, if anything, will be emboldened by the concession and that China, having made it, will believe it can defend a crack down by claiming that the protesters couldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

 Stay tuned.

 

The Accounting On This Would Cost More Than The Gains

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

The article explains the plan:

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

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

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

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

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

The Results Of Our Education System And The News Media

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

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

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The article also includes an interesting comment on patriotism:

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

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

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

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

Ruining The College Board

David Coleman has been the President of the College Board since 2012. David Coleman was one of the people responsible for developing the Common Core standards. He has now brought his total misconceptions of what works in education to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), long used as an indication of a student’s ability and possible clue to how well they would do in college.

Yesterday The New York Times posted an article that reported the following:

The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam taken by about two million students a year, will for the first time assess students not just on their math and verbal skills, but also on their educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, entering a fraught battle over the fairness of high-stakes testing.

The company announced on Thursday that it will include a new rating, which is widely being referred to as an “adversity score,” of between 1 and 100 on students’ test results. An average score is 50, and higher numbers mean more disadvantage. The score will be calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s neighborhood.

The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker.

The new measurement brings the College Board squarely into the raging national debate over fairness and merit in college admissions, one fueled by enduring court clashes on affirmative action, a federal investigation into a sprawling admissions cheating ring and a booming college preparatory industry that promises results to those who can pay.

Below is a picture of what constitutes the adversity score:

The American Thinker quoted Tucker Carlson, who noted the following about the idea:

It’s kept a secret. “Trust us,” in effect, they say. There is no appeal possible. And as a black box whose inner workings are secret, it becomes an ideal vehicle for engineering the racial results admissions offices desire.

It is easily gamed – fake addresses, even possible income manipulation (by claiming a lot of depreciation, for instance, the way that Donald Trump reported negative income in the 1980s)

And it provides perverse incentives, rewarding victim status, not achievement. Parents who start out with no advantages and work hard to provide a better life for their kids will now be handicapping them if they have high incomes and live in nice neighborhoods with good schools.

Obviously if you are a middle class parent living with the father of your children in a respectable neighborhood, the answer would be to divorce your spouse and move to Detroit. That is obscene.

It might also be a good idea to consider the consequences of this new program–how will children who do not have good SAT scores but have great adversity scores do in college? What will be the drop out rate? Will they understand the classes they are taking? The way to achieve diversity in colleges is to change the culture in communities where the work ethic has been lost. There are many first-generation Chinese children living in New York City in poverty that are gaining admission to the top schools in the city because their parents have taught them to work hard in school. Rather than risk putting students in college that are academically unprepared for what they are going to face, shouldn’t we simply encourage a cultural change in poor communities that rewards hard work in school. It can make a difference–Ben Carson is a shining example of a child growing up poor with a single parent who lacked education that taught her children the value of education. Let’s lift people up instead of making excuses for them because of where they grew up.

The Problem With Telling Lies Is That You Have To Keep Your Stories Straight

Michael Cohen has been caught lying to Congress. That shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone, but it happened. The Daily Caller posted the details today.

The article reports:

A lawyer for Michael Cohen says that the former Trump fixer directed his former attorney to inquire about a presidential pardon, a claim which, if true, would contradict Cohen’s congressional testimony on Feb. 27.

Lanny Davis told The Wall Street Journal Wednesday night that Cohen instructed Stephen Ryan, his previous lawyer, to raise the prospect of a pardon shortly after the FBI raided Cohen’s home in April 2018.

“During that time period, [Cohen] directed his attorney to explore possibilities of a pardon at one point with Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani as well as other lawyers advising President Trump,” Davis told The Journal.

That statement directly contradicts what Cohen told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in public testimony on Feb. 27.

Michael Cohen is not stupid. I am sure that when he saw the “Mueller Train” coming at him full speed, he was open to trying anything to get out of its way. I believe he would say anything to Congress to limit his jail time and any jail time for his wife. It is unfortunate that some on the Mueller team have resorted to the kind of theatrics and bullying that has been a major part of this investigation. We need to take action in the future to see that all Constitutional rights of Americans are protected–even when a Special Counsel is involved.

More Insanity From The Political Left

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an article about a recent statement from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Mayor stated, “Here’s the truth. Brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. There’s plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands.”

Wow. So it’s wrong for the money to be in the hands of the people who actually earned it?

The article notes:

• Perhaps he means David Koch, the retired businessman and libertarian who donated the entire $65 million cost for the new public plaza in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The more than six million people who visit the museum each year can now stroll past trees and fountains on their way in and out of the Met, which by the way is also supported by private donors.

• Or perhaps the mayor is thinking of Ken Langone, the Home Depot founder, who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the New York University Medical Center that treats patients of all incomes and social strata. Mr. Langone’s most recent $100 million gift, made last year, will go to provide cost-free tuition for every NYU medical student. Wrong hands?

• Or maybe the mayor has in mind Richard Gilder, who made a fortune in finance and provided the first major grant for the Central Park Conservancy that has rescued the park from its sad mid-20th-century decline. Each year the conservancy, led by private donors, restores eroding corners of this grand public space with new trees, lawns, playgrounds and ballfields that are used by tens of thousands across the city regardless of income.

Mr. Gilder has also given generously to the American Museum of Natural History and the New-York Historical Society, two other favorites for visitors and students of all ways and means.

• Then again the mayor dislikes charter schools, so perhaps he means Stanley Druckenmiller, the legendary investor who has donated hundreds of millions of dollars for Geoffrey Canada’s successful charter-school network in the poorest neighborhoods of the city. These students would otherwise be stuck in failing schools run by Mr. de Blasio’s friends in the teachers union.

But thanks to donations from Mr. Druckenmiller, and hedge-fund operator Dan Loeb’s gifts to the Success Academy charter network, thousands of kids have a shot at a better life.

The article reminds us that because of capitalism and the fact that when men can keep the fruits of their labor, donations are made that educate children, improve neighborhoods, and provide playgrounds and recreation.

Let’s compare that record with what happens when government controls the money. The article concludes:

As for Mr. de Blasio’s right hands, there are those failing schools. And don’t forget the New York City Housing Authority, which last year had to sign a consent decree with the federal government for lying about its failure to provide safe and sanitary conditions.

“Somewhat reminiscent of the biblical plagues of Egypt, these conditions include toxic lead paint, asthma-inducing mold, lack of heat, frequent elevator outages, and vermin infestations,” federal Judge William Pauley III wrote last year, adding that the authority “whitewashed these deficiencies for years.”

Perhaps those are the hands Mr. de Blasio should do something about.

Weighing The Facts

Yesterday I posted an article about the sentencing of General Michael Flynn. In the article I noted that there were some curious circumstances surrounding the interview in which General Flynn is accused of lying. Evidently I am not the only person concerned about those circumstances.

The American Thinker posted an article today about the judge who will be sentencing General Flynn.

The article reports:

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, who is due to sentence General Michael Flynn next Tuesday, has thrown a wild card on the table, raising the possibility that a miscarriage of justice may finally be called out and the guilty plea coerced by Team Mueller thrown out.

Thanks to the sentencing memorandum filed by counsel for General Michael Flynn, we now see that the FBI used deception to ensnare him in a perjury trap.

Yesterday The Wall Street Journal posted an editorial titled, “The Flynn Entrapment.”

The editorial states:

Of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s many targets, the most tragic may be former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The former three-star general pleaded guilty last year to a single count of lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. Now we learn from Mr. Flynn’s court filing to the sentencing judge that senior bureau officials acted in a way to set him up for the fall.

Not a rich man after decades in uniform, Mr. Flynn pleaded guilty to avoid bankruptcy and spare his son from becoming a legal target. Mr. Flynn’s filing doesn’t take issue with the description of his offense. But the “additional facts” the Flynn defense team flags for the court raise doubts about FBI conduct.

The Flynn filing describes government documents concerning the Jan. 24, 2017 meeting with two FBI agents when Mr. Flynn supposedly lied. It turns out the meeting was set up by then Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who personally called Mr. Flynn that day on other business—to discuss an FBI training session. By Mr. McCabe’s account, on that call he told Mr. Flynn he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with him to talk about his Russia communications.

There is another clue in The American Thinker article as to why the Judge is asking questions:

Chuck Ross reports for the Daily Caller News Foundation on Judge Sullivan’s startling order:

District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan on Wednesday ordered Flynn’s lawyers to hand over two documents: a memo that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote after speaking with Flynn ahead his Jan. 24, 2017 interview with two FBI agents and the FBI summary of notes taken during that same interview.

That summary, known as an FD-302, was compiled on Aug. 22, 2017 by the two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn. It is unclear why the summary was put together seven months after the Flynn interview.

When you look at the actions of the FBI and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s team, you find that in some cases civil rights were trampled (attorney-client privilege, having a lawyer present, being put in solitary confinement for crimes that did not warrant it, etc.). Hopefully the actions of Judge Sullivan will cause both the FBI Special Prosecutor Mueller to be more aware of the civil rights of all Americans.

The Economy Under President Trump

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

The article continues:

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

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

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

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

The article concludes:

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

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

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

Glossing Over The Actual Crime

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

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

The article reports:

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

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

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

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

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