The Manchester Free Press

Thursday • January 24 • 2019

Vol.XI • No.IV

Manchester, N.H.

The Border Wall Fight

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2019-01-06 14:08 +0000

Shall we settle in with our popcorn for the upcoming, sure to be entertaining, border wall fight?  Ordinarily, I would be pessimistic about the outcome.  Republicans have a bad habit of losing these kinds of budget fights, but I don't have the same misgivings over this one.  Why is that, you might ask?  Trump.

Trump knows what Democrats would rather not say.  Democrats do not want border security.  No matter what you hear Democrats say, they don't want border security. In one of her rare moments of sincerity, Hillary told a group of investors what Democrats really want — open borders.

"My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, sometime in the future with energy that's as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere," Clinton reportedly said to investors in a paid speech she gave to Brazilian Banco Itau in 2013.

Though Democrats have voted for border security in the past, including a border wall, Democrats' long range goal, as stated by Hillary, is open borders.  Open borders will facilitate the demographic shift that has been at the heart of Democratic strategies for achieving permanent progressive majorities. 

Until the 1960s, the surrounding neighborhood of Boyle Heights was far more mixed and less Hispanic than it is today. Jewish immigrants lived there, as did a large Japanese community. There were immigrants from Yugoslavia, Armenia, Russia and even a few Irish.

Bit by bit, they moved away to better neighborhoods, were displaced by urban renewal projects or simply died off, leaving behind no or too few descendants, and Mexicans moved in to fill the vacuum. They came across the nearby border in growing numbers, legally or illegally, searching for a new and better home. Today, about 100,000 people live in Boyle Heights, and 95,000 of them have Hispanic roots. President Barack Obama's reelection was decided in places like Boyle Heights.

By the time Barack Obama won re-election, Democrats were already committed to the abandonment of their traditional core of support, the blue collar union workers, in favor of a strategy of identity politics and unlimited immigration.  Blue collar abandonment became official when Hillary told the a gathering of high dollar Democrat donors, that those who were once a pillar of Democrat support were now "her basket of deplorables."  Trump had picked up the banner of their cause — jobs, manufacturing jobs — and they were throwing their support to him.

The other day President Trump invited Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi over to the White House to discuss, among other issues, the border wall, and much to their chagrin, he also invited the press to come in with their cameras.  Trump does the unconventional, if not the unexpected and he fights to win.

As you watch the video above, you can't help but notice, Schumer and Pelosi were not about happy having the border conversation in full view of the American people.  Trump, on the other hand, was really enjoying it.  He relished the role of Reality President, even though he couldn't tell them, "You're fired."  Trump could, and did, catch them by surprise and he did make them very uncomfortable.  He told them, very publicly, that he would be "proud to shut down the government for border security," setting up a confrontation in which both sides are now dug in.  This isn't the way Republicans usually get into these things, but we're dealing with Trump here.

As for the Democrats, there is a formula for the way these things play out, that they've followed for years, and that they'll follow again.  It starts with careful selection of the issues over which to go into battle.  Important issues for Democrats have three important characteristics. 

  1. Democrats must get something out of it, a substantial gain, financial or other, for the Democratic party.  It need not benefit America, Americans, or anybody other than the Democrats.
  2. It must cast Democrats in the role the fair minded and compassionate champions of those less fortunate. 
  3. It must afford opportunities for "exposing" Republicans' "real motives," greed, racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, homophobia — you name it.

In the past when Democrats had faithfully followed their script, Republicans would resist briefly then give up in fear that mud-flinging Democrats would get some of the mud to stick, and voters would then punish them on election day. 

The immigration and border security fit the Democrat model perfectly. For decades Democrats have been systematically promoting illegal immigration, sanctuary cities, and lax immigration enforcement in order to pack the voter rolls with Democrat-voting migrants. I should note that this dovetails with Democrats' opposition to any kind of legislation requiring states to confirm that a voter is legally entitled to vote.

  1. Maintaining that pipeline of left leaning voters from south of the border is a huge benefit to the Democrats. In fact, a cutoff in the flow of those new voters poses a threat to their future electoral success.
  2. The plight of migrants at the border, especially the children, sets the stage for Democrat moral preening. The wall is immoral, they say.
  3. It's been the go to tactic for Democrats to call Republicans racist, but the issue of security along the Mexican border lends itself to more strident accusations since Latin Americans are generally considered non-white.

If we were back in pre-Trump days, we would watch in dismay as Republicans followed their own script for capitulation.  "Moderate" Republicans, eager to prove their commitment to "diversity" and to demonstrate "statesmanship," would "reach across the aisle" for "compromise."  Today, Republicans know they have to counter the Democrats at each point of attack.  With Trump showing them they way, I believe they can and will.

  1. Immigration and border security are important to Americans of all races and creeds, and Trump is not about to allow Democrats to import a new electorate from Central and South America to replace the American electorate that is already here. 
  2. Democrats are far from compassionate when they entice people by the millions to travel through territory controlled by drug cartels in the fading hope of reaching sanctuary and under the table jobs. 
  3. The race card has worn thin.  It's not racist for Republicans or for anybody else to support border integrity.

Pelosi is betting it will play out according to the old script, confident that the threat of punishment at the polls will force the Republican side to give in.  She is leaving no room for compromise. 

"Are you willing to come up and give him some of this money for the wall?" Guthrie asked. "Because apparently that's the sticking point."

"No, no. Nothing for the wall," Pelosi responded. "We're talking about border security."

"We can go through this all back and forth—no," Pelosi continued. "How many more times can we say no? Nothing for the wall."

It may not work out so well for her this time. Trump and the Republicans are either confident that matching her hard line stance won't come back to bite them, or confident that failing to match it would be worse.  I suspect congressional Republicans realize that caving in will be worse for them.  If they give up on the wall and fail to secure the border, they can kiss future elections goodbye.  The formerly moderate Republican Senator Lindsey Graham apparently agrees.

"To Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats: No Wall Money, No Deal," Graham tweeted on Friday.

Republicans are catching on to how Trump fights.  As he wins his fights he wins more and more Republicans to his side.  Complain of his demeanor, his tweets, and his manners if you will, but Trump has been demonstrating to Republicans that it's possible to actually stand for something and win.  But they've got to fight and it's not always pretty.

Democrats have a knack for flexibility.  What they have voted for on earlier occasions they denounce as racist and white nationalist today.  Aren't they forever getting "woke."  It's a wonder their voters survive the whiplash, but perhaps Democrat voters think they're in on the deal.  They think they understand how Democrats have to pander to those not as smart and discerning as themselves, the people who don't have sense enough to vote for their own best interests.  Democrat voters are happy to elect leaders who are wise enough to impose what the less intelligent people can't perceive is best.

However, flexibility on issues has its drawbacks.  Democrats depend on the new crop of voters each year who don't know, and couldn't care less, how their leaders voted last year.  Therein lies the importance of border security, which Democrats will pretend to be for, while doing everything in their power to undermine, or flat out prevent.

Trump has a knack for flushing out the hypocrisy in Democrats. It's a new ballgame.  Don't count on Trump losing it.

Last updated January 6,2019, 9:03 AM.

Categories: Blogs, United States

2018 – A Look Back

Libertarian Leanings - Wed, 2019-01-02 12:00 +0000

Forget what Time Magazine says about its 2018 Person of the Year.  In 2018 it was Trump again, a fact that was affirmed by none other than Time Magazine's executive editor, Ben Goldberger.

The designation wasn't intended as a specific message to the magazine's runner-up choice, President Donald Trump, who has denounced "fake news" and called some reporters enemies of the people, said Ben Goldberger, executive editor.

It wasn't intended as a specific message?  Pardon my skepticism.  Let me stop here and state up front, journalism can be a dangerous, life threatening, life ending occupation.  With rare exceptions, the awards journalists get are well deserved.  At the same time, it's no good pretending that there have not been those exceptions.  The New York Times proudly displays a Pulitzer Prize won in the 1930s by Walter Duranty for a series of articles extolling the wonders of a supposed Soviet workers paradise.  In reality millions were dying of starvation in the Ukraine from Stalin's collectivism induced famine.  Duranty and the Times knew it and ignored it, publishing a work of fiction glorifying the benefits of communism instead.

But back to 2018, why is this the Year of the Journalist, and not any of the preceding eight years?  Because Trump.  When the Obama Justice Department was caught spying on Fox News and Associated Press reporters, did Time Magazine champion their cause with Person of the Year honors?  No.  Nor did Time Magazine indicate any concerns about very real threats to journalism posed by Obama administration cyber attacks against Sharyl Attkisson, a reporter for CBS at the time.

Time's award, it seemed, was triggered by the death of Jamal Kashoggi whose horrific murder was ordered by someone high up in the Saudi government.  But Kashoggi's murder did not signal a rise in political targeting of journalists.  According to The Committee to Protect Journalists, the number of journalists confirmed to have been targeted in 2015 was 73 compared to 53 in 2018.  In fact over the eight years of Obama's presidency, on average there were 10 more journalists confirmed to have been killed each year than in 2018.  Where were the honors then?

In 2018 journalists get the honors because Trump has been calling out the press for its frequently biased, misleading, and dishonest reporting. 

Time said that 2018 has been marked by manipulation and abuse of information, along with efforts by governments to foment mistrust of the facts.

Trump makes everybody crazy.  And it's not just the liberal media that are suffering nervous breakdowns. Trump is a nightmare for the left.  Liberal pundits have wet dreams of impeachment. Here's Robert Reich with a left wing confection of and wild, unrealistic imaginings.

Where would we be if a president could simply shut down the government when he doesn’t get his way? If he could stop federal prosecutions he doesn’t like and order those he wants? If he could whip up public anger against court decisions he disapproves of? If he could mobilize the military to support him, against Congress and the judiciary?

NeverTrump conservatives like Jonah Goldberg are having fits too.  I don't know what Goldberg's problem is, but he just doesn't seem to get Trump.  I don't know whether Goldberg really doesn't understand, or he's in denial.

Nearly all of the controversies that have bedeviled Trump’s administration are the direct result of his character, not his ideology. To be sure, ideology plays a role, amplifying both the intensity of anger from his left-wing critics and the intensity of his transactional defenders. Many of the liberal critics shrieking about the betrayal of the Kurds implicit in Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria would be applauding if a President Clinton had made the same decision. And many of the conservatives celebrating the move would be condemning it.

But Trump’s refusal to listen to advisers; his inability to bite his tongue; his demonization and belittling of senators who vote for his agenda but refuse to keep quiet when he does or says things they disagree with; his rants against the First Amendment; his praise for dictators and insults for allies; his need to create new controversies to eclipse old ones; and his inexhaustible capacity to lie and fabricate history: All of this springs from his character.

Goldberg tries to peddle the notion that Trump is anti-democratic when he hits back at his enemies. Trump routinely calls out members of the media for inaccurate, misleading, or downright dishonest reporting.  When he does that, Goldberg tries to sell it as an attack on the First Amendment.  In doing so Goldberg is actually using a technique he describes in a book he wrote called The Tyranny of Cliches: How Liberals Cheat in the War of Ideas. Here is an example that he provides in the book's product description:

"One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter: Sure, if the other man is an idiot. Was Martin Luther King Jr. a terrorist? Was Bin Laden a freedom fighter?"

Calling Osama bin Laden a "freedom fighter" is not very different from saying that Trump "rants against the First Amendment" when he is really calling out Goldberg's fellow journalists for using the very technique that Goldberg complained about in his book.  But the book was published in 2013, which has left Goldberg with five or six years to revise his thinking on the subject. Sadly for Goldberg, Trump supporters know the difference between Goldberg and reality.  Complaints about biased or dishonest news reporting are not complaints about the First Amendment, no matter how badly Goldberg wants to make Trump out to be a fascist.

Looking back over the year, it's pretty obvious that Trump has been playing Goldberg and the rest of the liberal media "like a banjo at an Ozark hoedown," to quote Marvin Boggs in the movie Red 2.  Creating new controversies is Trump's way of focusing the media on subjects they'd rather not cover. Recall when newly elected Trump tweeted about Obama wiretapping his campaign.  "Without any evidence!" screeched the media in response.  Fast forward:  Is there anyone, anywhere who doesn't know that the Obama intelligence community had the Trump campaign under surveillance?  And, that such surveillance was unethical at best and most likely illegal.

Tweets will not go away.  Trump's tweets are obnoxious and annoying to Goldberg and the liberal media because they provide a platform that they can't filter.  Trump, the real Person of 2018, has controlled the news cycles from wire to wire, and in so doing he's forced the Democrats to oppose positions they once claimed to favor, and to fight for positions they once pretended to be against.  Democrats were always opposed to border security, but they always pretended to support it.  Trump is forcing the Democrats to be more truthful, and they don't like it.  Democrats want the flexibility to pretend they stand for whatever will help them at the moment, but Trump is tearing down the facade, ripping off the mask.

Expect the same in 2019.  Break out the popcorn, the border wall fight is about to begin in earnest.  Don't count on Trump losing it.

Last updated: January 2, 2019

Categories: Blogs, United States

Flynn Sentencing Delayed Again

Libertarian Leanings - Fri, 2018-12-21 10:49 +0000

I'm confused by Judge Emmet Sullivan's decision to delay sentencing Michael Flynn for his crime of lying to the FBI. Flynn pled guilty to it. But a presumably routine sentencing blew up when the judge launched into a tirade suggesting that Michael Flynn may be guilty of much more than lying to the FBI. He might be guilty of treason. In the heat of the moment Sullivan might truly have believed it. But he turned around a short time later and walked it all back.

Judge Sullivan erupted right after Flynn declined several of his offers to let Flynn withdraw his guilty plea. There was no question, Sullivan was livid. 

So Sullivan kicked things off asking Flynn, the highest ranking official so far charged with crime in Trump’s White House circle,if he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea and if he had in fact been tricked. Flynn responded he had aware that his lying repeatedly to the FBI about his contacts with Kislyak was a crime and he did not want to withdraw his guilty plea.

After Sullivan gave Flynn several opportunities to withdraw that plea, he formally accepted the plea, then lit into Flynn, calling his offense “very serious” and expressing his “disdain” and “disgust.”

And then the judge really unloaded on Flynn. He seemed to lose it, almost completely.  Sullivan might have intended all along that he would intimidate Flynn.  Well, upping the ante from lying to treason was sure to do it.  But the accounts that are available seem to say that the judge gave into his rage and ranted.

"Not only did you lie to the FBI, you lied to senior officials in the incoming administration," Sullivan told a startled Flynn. Beckoning to the flag, the judge continued: "All along, you were an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as the national security adviser to the president of the United States. Arguably, that undermines everything this flag over here stands for. Arguably, you sold your country out."

Sullivan even asked whether Flynn's behavior "rises to the level of treasonous activity. … Could he have been charged with treason?"

The prosecutor answered, "No," but that was small comfort to Michael Flynn.  Just when he thought his legal problems might be coming to an end, Judge Sullivan said, not so fast.  Even though Flynn had not been charged for failures related to Foreign Agents Registration Act, the judge made it clear they would be taken into consideration when in the sentence for lying.  And that would lift the odds in favor of jail time.

Sullivan said that while he can’t guarantee that Flynn will receive a lighter sentence after his cooperation is fully over, it would at least allow the court to take everything into consideration with regard to Flynn’s assistance to prosecutors. “I can’t consider the full extent of your cooperation in this case,” Sullivan said, noting that Flynn’s crime of lying about his conversations with the Kislyak was “very serious” and resulted in top White House officials—including the vice president and press secretary—lying to the public. “You can’t minimize that,” he said. “If you want to postpone this, that’s fine with me.”

What a shock to Flynn and his defense team. Judge Emmet Sullivan had earned a reputation for coming down hard on prosecutorial misconduct. It was Judge Sullivan who dismissed the guilty verdict against the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska.  Stevens was the victim of overzealous and likely partisan prosecutors who withheld exculpatory evidence from his defense team during his trial for corruption in 2008.  Sullivan threw out the verdict, but the trial cost Stevens his re-election to the Senate. Then in 2010 Stevens was killed in a plane crash.  So, if fireworks were in store this time, they were expected to be along the same lines as in the Stevens case with Judge Sullivan focusing on potential misconduct in the Office of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller.  Signs pointed in that direction when Sullivan was assigned to Flynn's case. He replaced the abruptly recused Judge Rudolph Contreras, and as his force order of business Sullivan issued a "Brady" order to the Special Counsel.

It was Judge Rudolph Contreras who accepted General Flynn’s guilty plea, but he suddenly was recused from the case. The likely reason is that Judge Contreras served on the special court that allowed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to surveil the Trump campaign based on the dubious FISA application. Judge Contreras may have approved one of those four warrants.

The judge assigned to Flynn’s case now is Emmet G. Sullivan. Judge Sullivan immediately issued what is called a “Brady” order requiring Mueller to provide Flynn all information that is favorable to the defense whether with respect to guilt or punishment. Just today, Mueller’s team filed an agreed motion to provide discovery to General Flynn under a protective order so that it can be reviewed by counsel but not disclosed otherwise.

This development is huge. Prosecutors almost never provide this kind of information to a defendant before he enters a plea — much less after he has done so.

Sullivan's Brady order shifted attention to the Special Counsel Robert Mueller . Had anything been denied the defense team?  Did Judge Sullivan suspect that Mueller coerced Flynn into a guilty plea for a crime he didn't commit?  And does Judge Sullivan still harbor such suspicions?  The Special Counsel had not strictly followed Department of Justice policy, which generally requires that defendants be charged with the most serious offenses that can be supported by evidence.

On Monday, however, the Eastern District of Virginia unsealed an indictment charging Flynn’s business partner and another Turkish individual with crimes related to their failure to register as a foreign agent acting in the United States. For the first time, the indictment revealed the full nature and extent of Flynn’s illegal conduct related to his work with Turkey. This egregious conduct involved a months-long scheme by Flynn and his partners to illicitly and secretly charge the Turkish government hundreds of thousands of dollars in return for lobbying American officials to reverse stated U.S. policy to the benefit of the Turkish government while Flynn worked as a critical national security adviser to the Trump campaign. What’s more, Flynn was then complicit in lying to the Justice Department about this foreign lobbying during and after he served as Trump’s national security adviser.

Yet Mueller did not require Flynn to plead guilty to this conduct, which would have increased his sentencing exposure. Mueller seems to have artificially suppressed Flynn’s sentencing-guidelines range in return for his cooperation, contrary to Justice Department policy. And he recommended no prison for Flynn.

As it stands, Michael Flynn did not withdraw his guilty plea, but he did agree to a delay in sentencing, and in the meantime,presumably, his obligation to cooperate with prosecutors remains in force.  But the difference now is that Judge Sullivan has required Special Counsel to provide him with all details of Flynn's cooperation.  What is going on?

By outward appearances, Robert Mueller is now finished squeezing Michael Flynn for evidence of Trump campaign collusion with Russia, but that doesn't mean Michael Flynnn is done being squeezed. Judge Emmet Sullivan seems to have taken over the squeezing, the object of which might be to extract evidence of improper behavior on the part of Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. For instance, why was Flynn given a sweetheart deal — no jail time for one count of lying — when he might well have been charged for acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power?  Then again, maybe that wasn't such a sweetheart deal, especially when you compare it to the one Tony Podesta appears to have gotten.  Tony is the brother of Hillary Clinton's campaign manager John Podesta. To absolutely no one's surprise, Tony Podesta, apparently guilty of the same crime as Flynn — acting as an unregistered agent of a foreign power — has never been charged with anything.

When this latest sentencing delay in Michael Flynn's case was announced my first thought was, what a gift, another excuse to keep the investigation going — carte blanche for Robert Mueller.  Now I'm not so sure about that. My confusion continues. When Judge Emmet Sullivan took up this case he was very much interested in Robert Mueller's actions. It appears he still is.

Last updated December 21, 2018, 5:48 AM

Categories: Blogs, United States

Richard Cantillon, the Most Important Economist You’ve Never Heard Of

Libertarian Leanings - Thu, 2018-12-13 05:16 +0000

The following article was provided by Jp Cortez, assistant director at Sound Money Defense League.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Richard Cantillon is the most important economist you’ve never heard of.

Born in Ireland sometime in the mid- to late-1600s, Richard Cantillon’s contributions to economics are found in his major work, Essai sur la Nature du Commerce en General (Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General).

In 1734, Cantillon was mysteriously murdered by a disgruntled former employee, and his home was set ablaze. Essai, which survived the fire, was published in 1755.

Cantillon’s work went on to influence Adam Smith and other well-known economists. Essai included his observations on production and consumption, money and interest, international trade and business cycles, and inflation.

We have a basic understanding of inflation and its effects. Put simply, inflation is an increase in the money supply.

An increase in the supply of money that isn’t met with an increase in the demand for money necessarily leads to price inflation, ceteris paribus. Said another way, prices rise as new money is introduced, all other things being equal.

However, this cursory understanding of inflation only paints half the picture. A less discussed aspect of this process is not only that the monetary supply has increased, but how. The entry point of new money into the economy has profound implications.

The effects of inflation are not uniform throughout the economy.

Cantillon writes, “I conclude … that by doubling the quantity of money in a state, the prices of products and merchandise are not always doubled. The river, which runs and winds about in its bed, will not flow with double the speed when the amount of water is doubled.” Monetary inflation does not affect prices proportionally or simultaneously, to the benefit of some and to the detriment of others.

In a central-bank directed economy, the entry point of money is via large commercial banks. Unelected bureaucrats, bankers, and other members of the deep state are the first to enjoy this “new money.”

In the early stages of the proliferation of new money into the economy, prices have not yet adjusted to the increase in money supply. Those at the top of the monetary monopoly receive and spend this new money at low prices.

And then the other shoe falls.

By the time new money reaches the average consumer, prices have risen to reflect the increase in monetary supply. Those who don’t receive new money until later in the process can do little more than watch the purchasing power of their Federal Reserve Notes (i.e. dollars) inflate away.

Many politicians today champion “fixing” income inequality and wealth disparity. To fix these problems we should revisit the work of Richard Cantillon and examine the systemic shortcomings of a financial system that serves to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Politicians hoping to help the common man should support ending the elites’ monetary monopoly and the disastrous effects of their printing of fake money.

Categories: Blogs, United States

In Global Warming News...

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2018-12-08 17:35 +0000

Sorry. I meant to say, "Climate Change News."  But, there's nothing new, really.  Like most all progressive issues,Climate Change is about wealth redistribution, and in the case of the Climate Change issue, this means wealth redistribution from richer countries to poorer countries.

The hyperbole continues in Katowice, Poland – where 30,000 activists and bureaucrats (and a few scientists) are meeting to finalize regulations to implement the 2015 Paris climate treaty and compel wealthy nations to give trillions of dollars in “adaptation, mitigation and compensation” money to poor countries that have been “victimized” by climate change, even as the rich nations de-industrialize.

More importantly, Climate Change is about the substantial sums that will rub off on progressive redistributionists who selflessly assist in the wealth liberation from the richer (capitalist) countries.

As a side note, Power Line's This Week In Pictures graphically illustrates how "Global Warming" became "Global Climate Change".

 

Categories: Blogs, United States

Tell Us How You Really Feel

Libertarian Leanings - Sat, 2018-12-08 14:50 +0000

Tom Selleck:

“I am very disappointed at the talk show hosts, also spewing out lies and propaganda against Donald. Why, I wonder? The only thing I can think of is he represents a form of freedom none of them ever saw before, and they are bewildered about it, and frightened about it. I would say “f*ck you” to all of them. To all that are criticizing him for no reason and want him to resign for no reason. Just go to hell all of you!”

Categories: Blogs, United States

Pelosi For Speaker

Libertarian Leanings - Thu, 2018-11-08 21:19 +0000

I watched Nancy Pelosi's press conference yesterday. She paid lip service to bipartisanship and working with Republicans, all the while speaking of Republicans in the most insulting of terms. She accused Republicans of 'assault' on health care, and called the tax bill a 'Republican scam.' She used the terms 'Republican assault' and 'Republican scam' more than once while claiming her intent to be be bipartisan. I had to force myself to keep watching the deceitful old hag.

I have no doubt that Democrats in congress plan to obstruct and investigate. It's not going to go over very well with Americans, most of whom have no interest in Mueller's Russia probe. Meanwhile Trump claims to be serious when he says Pelosi deserves to be Speaker. He wants her there.

I'm not one for 4D chess, but I do think Trump knows what he wants to do, and has realistic plans and strategies for getting it done. I can't imagine Pelosi getting the better of him. Trump really did accomplish a lot in his first two years.

My faith sometimes weakens, and I grow fearful that Trump might revert to typical Republican presidential form -- bipartisan for the sake of being bipartisan and preserving a legacy. But then Trump unceremoniously dumped Attorney General Jeff Sessions. I expect he will soon declassify FISA applications. To hell with all the talk of obstruction of justice.  Trump doesn't need to get along with the Democrats, congress, or anybody else for the sake of a legacy. Trump sees his legacy is about getting substantive things done.

And he wants Pelosi in the Speaker chair.  Maybe he thinks he can work with her, or maybe he thinks she will make a wonderful foil, a villain.  Whatever the case, Trump wants Pelosi in the Speaker chair.

Categories: Blogs, United States

We Are No Longer One People

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:40 +0000

In his essay, Our Revolution’s Logic, Angelo Codevilla says that revolution is coming.  He can't say what will happen, or when — only why.

This is our revolution: Because a majority of Americans now no longer share basic sympathies and trust, because they no longer regard each other as worthy of equal consideration, the public and private practices that once had made our Republic are now beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Strife can only mount until some new equilibrium among us arises.

Our Logic

The logic that drives each turn of our revolutionary spiral is Progressive Americans’ inherently insatiable desire to exercise their superiority over those they deem inferior. With Newtonian necessity, each such exercise causes a corresponding and opposite reaction. The logic’s force comes not from the substance of the Progressives’ demands. If that were the case, acquiescing to or compromising with them could cut it short. Rather, it comes from that which moves, changes, and multiplies their demands without end. That is the Progressives’ affirmation of superior worth, to be pursued by exercising dominance: superior identity affirmed via the inferior’s humiliation. It is an inherently endless pursuit.

Categories: Blogs, United States

10 Red Flags

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:39 +0000

According to Adam Mill, a Kansas City attorney who specializes in labor and employment law, "It’s not nice or politically correct to say, but people do sometimes lie to get money, revenge, power, attention, or political advantage. False allegations of assault have been documented."  Mr. Mill lists his 10 red flags that tell him when an assault accusation might not be true. Here are the first three:

1. The accuser uses the press instead of the process.

Every company has a slightly different process for harassment and assault complaints. Often it begins with a neutral investigator being assigned to interview the accuser first, then potential corroborating witnesses. When an accuser is eager to share with the media but reluctant to meet with an investigator, it’s a flag.

2. The accuser times releasing the accusation for an advantage.

For example, when the accuser holds the allegation until an adverse performance rating of the accuser is imminent, or serious misconduct by the accuser is suddenly discovered, or the accused is a rival for a promotion or a raise, or the accused’s success will block an accuser’s political objective. It’s a flag when the accusation is held like a trump card until an opportunity arises to leverage the accusation.

3. The accuser attacks the process instead of participating.

The few times I’ve been attacked for “harassing” the victim, it has always followed an otherwise innocuous question about the accusation, such as: Where, when, how, why, what happened? I don’t argue with accusers, I just ask them to explain the allegation. If I’m attacked for otherwise neutral questions, it’s a red flag.

Sound familiar?  Here is the rest of it. It's worth reading.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Character Assassins

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:38 +0000

Today's Real Clear Politics page features an article from the Wall Street Journal by James Freeman, Is Trump Creating New Republicans?  (The WSJ version is here.)  The gist of it is that Republican candidates are polling well among Latinos in districts that Hillary dominated during the 2016 election, which does not bode well for Democrats in the upcoming midterms.  Are formerly true-blue Democrats drifting to red?  From Mr. Freeman's column:

Amy Walter of the Cook Political Report writes today that Democrats are confident about their support among suburban women, but enthusiasm among female Democratic voters “isn’t being replicated among another group of voters that theoretically should be as motivated — or more — to vote for Democrats: Latino voters.”

Ms. Walter explains:

Latino voter drop-off in midterm elections is nothing new, but the thinking was that President Trump’s rhetoric and policies around immigration, especially the issue of separating children from their parents at the border, would be a catalyst for higher Latino engagement in 2018. At this point, however, recent polling by New York Times Upshot/Siena College and Monmouth University, suggests that’s not the case.
In California’s 39th district — a racially diverse district that Hillary Clinton carried 52 to 43 percent — a Monmouth poll out this week found Republican Young Kim leading Democrat Gil Cisneros 46-42 percent.

Meanwhile on the right coast of the country, it seems that voters are also stubbornly refusing to play the roles they’ve been assigned in the conventional media narrative. Ms. Walter elaborates:

Republicans in Latino majority districts in South Florida are holding up better than their underlying infrastructure suggests they would. In a district Hillary Clinton carried with almost 57 percent, Republican Carlos Curbelo (FL-26) has a narrow lead over his Democratic opponent in the NY Times Upshot/Siena poll. And, in the 27th district, where moderate GOPer Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring, private polls show former Clinton administration HHS Director Donna Shalala struggling to open a lead in a district Clinton carried by more than 58 percent.

Latinos are not following the playbook.  This is not what Democrats had in mind.  Democrat thinking is "that President Trump’s rhetoric and policies around immigration, especially the issue of separating children from their parents at the border, would be a catalyst for higher Latino engagement in 2018."  However, support for Republican candidates seems to imply that if immigration is a hot-button issue for Latinos, it does not necessarily favor Democrats.  Other things may take precedence.

Nearly everyone who wants to work now has a job.

US job growth boomed in August — the 95th straight month of gains — while wage growth hit a nine-year high, the monthly jobs report revealed on Friday.

Fueled by tax and regulation cuts, the economy added 201,000 jobs over the past month, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 3.9 percent, near an 18-year low, according to the federal Labor Department’s report.

Average hourly wages also rose by 10 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $27.16 — the biggest yearly rise since 2009.

The hiring spree builds on what’s already the longest-ever economic expansion in US history, experts say.

“This picture underscores that the US economy is solid, the US economy is gaining strength,” said Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial.

Black and Hispanic unemployment rates reached record lows in response to Trump's tax and regulatory policies, and they have stayed low since then.  (My emphasis below)

The black unemployment rate fell in August to the second-lowest on record as the labor market continues to show signs of tightening.

In August, the black unemployment rate fell to 6.3%, continuing the rapid descent from the 16.8% peak shortly after the recession, and the lowest ever after the 5.9% rate in May.

The continued economic expansion, now showing up in rising wages, has helped all racial groups, data show. Donald Trump has frequently pointed out the black unemployment rate reached a record low during his presidency.

That said, the black unemployment rate is still higher than the 4.7% Hispanic unemployment rate — also the second-lowest on record — and the 3.4% unemployment rate for whites and the 3% jobless rate for Asian-Americans.

With all of this good economic news, why would immigration policy be expected to drive up Latino turnout?  In the perception-is-reality world of the Democrats, Hispanics have been elevated in the political sense, from an ethnic group to a distinct race.  Voila! Connect that new distinction to immigration policy, and Democrats have license to call Republicans racists.  Republicans want strict enforcing immigration laws because they don't like Latinos, Latinos not being not white enough to suit them.  That's the story from Democrats, anyway.  It's a strategy that relieves Democrats. so they think, of having to discuss issues — such as the very real implications of open borders and the virtually unlimited immigration that they favor through our southern borders.  Instead, Democrats can talk about insidious racism, the supposed disdain among Republicans for people who are not white, and the imagined nefarious motives of Republicans.  No need to offer explanations as to why Republican policies might be harmful, or how they might fail.

And on the flip side, Democrats don't have to explain what's good about their own proposals.  All their constituents have to know is that Republicans are bigots, their intentions are evil and therefore their policies must be evil, as well.  Republicans must be defeated.  The past success of this strategy has made Democrats complacent.  They've grown accustomed to proposing and implementing policies of their own that benefit hardly anybody except Democrat officeholders, to the great expense of the rest of America.

And now the Democrats have a serious problem.  Democrats' strategy relies upon their being able to instill a sense of oppression and outrage among their constituent groups and to focus it on a supposed racist enemy who is the cause of their problems — Republicans, naturally.  But sometimes it's not easy to feel oppressed.  What happens when hope arrives in the form of a job, instead?  What happens when a sense of well-being settles in as people begin to feel financially more secure?  What happens when realization sets in:  When the job market is so bad that your livelihood and career path are government assistance, there is no upward mobility.   

What happens when Republican policies are in place and the insufferable Trump is out there bragging about them.  Suckers in the progressive media fall for it.  They savage the boorish and unpresidential Trump, and by doing that they accidentally draw attention to his policy successes, and a contrast with reality appears.  The progressive media rail on about Trump the incompetent, Trump the insane, Trump the dangerous, Trump with the too short attention span, he must be defeated.  In the meantime it becomes inescapably clear to a growing number of Americans, of all races and creeds, that they are living a little bit better because of Trump.  

Democrats have painted themselves into a corner, having promised their various flocks that privations they endured were imposed upon them by the unjust policies of racist Republicans and the greedy One Percent.  America's wealth, they said, was not being shared in a fair enough way.  The rich were taking too much of our diminishing resources.  Obama told us that manufacturing  jobs were never coming back, and that 2% growth in GDP was the new norm, the best that we could expect.  And then Trump came along and said, "Here, hold my Coke.  Watch this."  Bingo!  Consumer confidence has hit highs last seen 18 years ago.  On Wall Street the Dow Jones Industrial Average has set record highs 100 times since Trump's election, and there are more job openings than people looking for work.

Unable and unwilling to admit they could be so wrong, Democrats invariably revert to character assassination.  It's worked for decades, and now it's their only remaining strategy for getting themselves elected.  They do what they know how.  From their painted-in corner Democrats spew their vitriol, but with diminishing effect.

Categories: Blogs, United States

The Clintons Rainmakers

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:38 +0000

It has been said that the closer you are to Bill and Hillary, the greater your risk of becoming a suicide victim.  I always got a chuckle out of that, but I can't say I ever put much stock in it.  Still, I'm in a state of continual astonishment at Hillary Clinton's ability to escape any repercussion for things that would land other people in a world of trouble.  In part that stems from Bill's and Hillary's cardinal rule to never admit to anything.  Deny, deny, deny.  The phrase "plausible deniability" was born in the Clinton White House.  But that's only part of the story.

A more important part of the story is the incredible loyalty that the Clintons have enjoyed.  Over the years people have gone to what seem to be extraordinary lengths to shield the Clintons from unflattering publicity or accountability for "mistakes."  Have you ever seen the docudrama, The Path to 9/11?  ABC produced the two-part series, airing it on the evenings of September 10th and 11th in 2006.  Unfortunately the series included scenes which cast the Clinton administration in a bad light, questioning its commitment and competence in its efforts to track down Osama bin Laden.  Mysteriously, the film was never broadcast again, and it has never been available for purchase on DVD unless you can find a copy on eBay.  How did the Clintons manage to suppress this so effectively?

And then there is the case of Sandy Berger, who was also a player in the "Path to 9/11" story.  Sandy Berger was President Bill Clinton's national security adviser during the Clinton administration's chase for bin Laden.  In 2004 when the 9/11 Commission conducted its investigation into events leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center, Sandy Berger was an important witness.  In preparation for his testimony, Berger went into the National Archives and got himself caught stuffing classified documents into his pants and his socks, documents that he removed from the Archives, hid under a construction trailer nearby, and then destroyed.  He was given a plea deal in which he avoided jail time but paid a fine of $50,000.  Later, he voluntarily gave up his license to practice law rather than answer questions at a disbarment proceeding.

But the case that I think is most instructive is that of Jamie Gorelick.  Ms. Gorelick held the position of Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, reporting to Attorney General Janet Reno.  She left the Clinton administration in 1997, and that lapse of four years between then and the 2001 attack may explain why she was able to gain a seat on the 9/11 Commission.  As a 9/11 Commissioner Gorelick was in position to cross examine her former boss, Janet Reno who was a witness to events leading up to 9/11.  How strange that there was no perceived conflict of interest in that situation, but then loyalties to the Clintons so often resulted in strange outcomes.

One strange outcome occurred as 9/11 Commissioners grilled various Bush administration officials on their administration's inability to "connect the dots," anticipate, and then thwart the 9/11 attack.  Gorelick's inclusion on the Commission buttressed the impression that the Commission's purpose was, above all else, to shield the Clinton administration by focusing all blame on the Bush administration.  A stunning surprise came when Bush administration Attorney General John Ashcroft read from a memo that he declassified for just that occasion.  The memo instructed the Clinton administration Department of Justice to go further than the law required in keeping intelligence and law enforcement strictly separated.  No sharing of information was allowed.  The author of the 1995 memo was none other than Jamie Gorelick.  

There's an arrogance in the Clintons and their loyalists.  Even in the face of this blatant conflict of interest Gorelick refused to step down from the Commission, and she refused to be a witness before it. 

More recently, and more blatantly, we've seen this is the case of Hillary's Home Brew Email Server.  A highlight in the lead up to her presidential campaign was Hillary's ever changing story on the private illegal email server that she kept in her bathroom in Chappaqua.  At first her story was, no classified information was ever sent or received via her private server.  After a while when that was shown to be false the story changed.  No messages marked classified were ever sent or received via her private server.

But then, along comes FBI Director Jim Comey to exonerate Hillary.  In order to satisfy what was sure to be the dissatisfaction of a wide swath of Americans, Comey stepped forward to craft an explanation.  It was an unprecedented move.  When charges are not brought, authorities are not permitted to air the accusations or the evidence.  But here was Jim Comey, quoting chapter and verse from the statutes to show exactly how the law was violated, but then proclaiming that no prosecutor would ever bring such a case.  What a perfect place for Hillary to be.  Half the country knew she had been lying and she was guilty, but there was nothing anybody could or would do about it.  She was untouchable.

How do the Clintons get people to do things like this for them.  A answer may be found by looking at the four years that went by right after Jamie Gorelick left the Clinton administration.  After working in the Clinton Department of Justice from 1994 to 1997, Ms. Gorelick moved on.  To Fannie Mae.  Here is a brief excerpt from Wkipedia on the subject of her tenure there.

Even though she had no previous training nor experience in finance, Gorelick was appointed Vice Chairman of Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) from 1997 to 2003. She served alongside former Clinton Administration official Franklin Raines.[9] During that period, Fannie Mae developed a $10 billion accounting scandal.[10]

On March 25, 2002, Business Week interviewed Gorelick about the health of Fannie Mae. Gorelick is quoted as saying, "We believe we are managed safely. We are very pleased that Moody's gave us an A-minus in the area of bank financial strength – without a reference to the government in any way. Fannie Mae is among the handful of top-quality institutions."[11] One year later, government regulators accused Fannie Mae of improper accounting "to the tune of $9 billion" in unrecorded losses.[12]

In an additional scandal concerning falsified financial transactions that helped the company meet earnings targets for 1998, a "manipulation" that triggered multimillion-dollar bonuses for top executives,[13] Gorelick received $779,625.

A 2006 report of an investigation by the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight into Fannie Mae's accounting practices and corporate governance revealed that from 1998 to 2002 Gorelick received a total of $26.5 million in income from Fannie Mae.[14]

In return for her loyalty at DOJ President Clinton rewarded Gorelick with a $26.5 million position at Fannie Mae.  Sure, you could argue that Gorelick got the FAnnie Mae gig on her own merits and with no help from President Bill, but is that even slightly likely.  I don't think so.  According to this website a Senior Deputy Attorney General in Washington, DC today makes a base salary of $170,235.  I could scrape by on that, but imagine you're somebody important, somebody in the news, somebody who makes decisions that affect the entire country and everybody in it.  You're probably thinking you're real career is after you leave government.  Just like Jamie Gorelick.  Imagine yourself going from near $200K per year to $26.5 million.  You deserve it.  But who's going to pay it?

People who have business before the U.S. government will pay it.  There are foundations, think tanks, investment banking houses, law firms, corporations of all type, and even foreign countries that are just about guaranteed to pay it.  That is part of the make up of Clinton Foundation contributors.  In 2016 there were 515 other foundations that contributed at least $5,000 to the Clinton Foundation, and some that contributed between $25 million and $50 million.  The Clinton Foundation is at the center of a network of organizations that do big favors for each other.  They are movers and shakers.  And if you take care of Hillary she might just hook you up somewhere.

Maybe Lisa Page had that in mind when she advised Peter Strzok in a text message in February, 2016: "One more thing: she might be our next president. The last thing you need is going in there loaded for bear. You think she's going to remember or care that it was more doj than fbi?"

In all likelihood Hillary Clinton will remain above the law, even as an astounding number of federal officials have been fired, demoted, reassigned, and are under investigation for their meddling in the 2016 presidential elections on Hillary's behalf.

A trail of evidence appearing in major news outlets suggests a campaign to undermine President Trump from within the government through illegal leaks of classified information, and then thwart congressional investigators probing the disclosures.

On Monday the Justice Department released a handful of texts and other documents that included two former officials known for their anti-Trump bias – Peter Strzok and Lisa Page of the FBI – discussing the DOJ’s “media leak strategy.” Strzok now says, through his lawyer, that that strategy was aimed at preventing leaks. Nevertheless, days later he and Page approvingly mention forthcoming news articles critical of Trump associates.

“The leaks that have been coming out of the FBI and DOJ since 2016 are unconscionable,” said retired FBI supervisory special agent James Gagliano. “There’s a difference between whistleblowing and leaking for self-serving or partisan purposes.”

Had Hillary been elected we would never have heard of Peter Strzok or Lisa Page.  None of their text messages or their media leak strategy would ever have been made public.  But Hillary didn't win.  Instead we wait for Trump to declassify the Carter Page FISA warrant applications which were cover for partisan spying on the Trump campaign and undermining the Trump presidency.  I expect declassification approximately one month from today, so that a full airing of the biggest political scandal in American history will premier on the Sunday talk shows two or three weeks before the midterms elections, the outcome of which may well determine if justice will find any of the players in what has been an attempted coup, or if justice is gone forever from America.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Congressmen Introduce Bill to End Taxation of Gold and Silver

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:37 +0000

Press release from Jp Cortez, Policy Director, Sound Money Defense League:

Washington, DC (September 7, 2018) – The battle to end taxation of constitutional money has reached the federal level as U.S. Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) today introduced sound money legislation to remove all federal income taxation from gold and silver coins and bullion.

The Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act – backed by the Sound Money Defense League, Money Metals Exchange, and free-market activists – would clarify that the sale or exchange of precious metals bullion and coins are not to be included in capital gains, losses, or any other type of federal income calculation.

“My view, which is backed up by language in the U.S. Constitution, is that gold and silver coins are money and…are legal tender,” Mooney said in a House Financial Services Committee hearing this week. “If they’re indeed U.S. money, it seems there should be no taxes on them at all. So, why are we taxing these coins as collectibles?”

Acting unilaterally, the Internal Revenue Service has placed gold and silver in the same “collectibles” category as artwork, Beanie Babies, and baseball cards, a classification that subjects the monetary metals to a discriminatorily high long-term capital gains tax rate of 28%.

Sound money activists have long pointed out it is inappropriate to apply any federal income tax, regardless of the rate, against the only kind of money named in the U.S. Constitution. And the IRS has never defended how its position squares up with current law.

Furthermore, the U.S. Mint continuously mints coins of gold, silver, platinum, and palladium and gives each of these coins a legal tender value denominated in U.S. dollars. This formal status as U.S. money further underscores the inappropriate nature of IRS income tax treatment.

A tax neutral measure, the Monetary Metals Tax Neutrality Act states that “no gain or loss shall be recognized on the sale or exchange of (1) gold, silver, platinum, or palladium coins minted and issued by the Secretary at any time or (2), refined gold or silver bullion, coins, bars, rounds, or ingots which are valued primarily based on their metal content and not their form.”

Under current IRS policy, a taxpayer who sells his precious metals may end up with a capital “gain” in terms of Federal Reserve Notes and must pay federal income taxes on this “gain.”

But the capital “gain” is not necessarily a real gain. It is often a nominal gain that simply results from the inflation created by the Federal Reserve and the attendant decline in the Federal Reserve Note dollar’s purchasing power.

Under Rep. Mooney’s bill (which has already been cosponsored by two others), precious metals gains and losses would not be included in any calculations of a taxpayer’s federal taxable income.

“Inflation is a regressive tax that especially harms wage earners, savers, and retirees on a fixed income,” said Jp Cortez, policy director at the Sound Money Defense League. “We are encouraged that an increasing number of citizens, state legislators, and members of congress are taking action to address the evils of the Federal Reserve System.”

“The IRS does not let taxpayers deduct the staggering capital losses they suffer when holding Federal Reserve Notes over time,” said Stefan Gleason, president of a Money Metals Exchange, a precious metals dealer recently named “Best in the USA” by a global industry ratings group.

“So it’s grossly unfair for the IRS to assess a capital gains tax when citizens hold gold and silver to protect them from the Fed’s policy of currency devaluation.”

Rep. French Hill (R-AR) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) joined today as original cosponsors. The text of the bill can be found here.

The Sound Money Defense League is a public policy group working nationally to bring back gold and silver as America’s constitutional money.  

Categories: Blogs, United States

A Simpleton Accuses

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:37 +0000

Let me start by saying that Michael Gerson is not a simpleton.  He can pinch-hit, though, until a real simpleton comes along.  Writing in the Washington Post Gerson takes a wild swing at President Trump and misses.  "We are a superpower run by a simpleton!"  Calling someone else a simpleton rarely works out well, and it doesn't seem to work well for Gerson either.  He writes:

Here is the increasingly evident reality of the Trump era: We are a superpower run by a simpleton. From a foreign policy perspective, this is far worse than being run by a skilled liar. It is an invitation to manipulation and contempt.

Pointing to the polls is the main response of Trump and his supporters. Whatever the president is doing, most Republicans want more of it.  As one apologist argues, “His [Trump's] personality is a feature, not a bug. Many Americans are comfortable with that.” Put another way, a motivated group of Americans — which largely controls the GOP nomination process — enjoys Trump’s reality-television version of presidential politics. And you can’t argue with the ratings.

I can and do. What we are finding from books, from insider leaks and from investigative journalism is that the rational actors who are closest to the president are frightened by his chaotic leadership style. They describe a total lack of intellectual curiosity, mental discipline and impulse control. Should the views of these establishment insiders really carry more weight than those of Uncle Clem in Scranton, Pa.? Why yes, in this case, they should. We should listen to the voices of American populism in determining public needs and in setting policy agendas — but not in determining political reality.

We should pay attention to the economic trends that have marginalized whole sections of the country.

We should pay attention to economic trends, says Gerson.  What an unfortunate moment to offer that advice — right when the August Jobs Report hits the newsstands.

Long-awaited wage growth posted its biggest increase of the economic recovery in August while payroll gains beat expectations and the unemployment rate held near a generational low of 3.9 percent, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report Friday.

Average hourly earnings rose 2.9 percent for the month on an annualized basis, while nonfarm payrolls grew by 201,000. Economists surveyed by Reuters had been expecting earnings to rise 2.7 percent, payrolls to increase by 191,000 and the jobless level to decline one-tenth of a point to 3.8 percent.

The wage growth was the highest since April 2009.

[...]

[T] he rolls of those at work part time for economic reasons, or the underemployed, fell by 188,000 to 4.4 million. That number has declined by 830,000 over the past year.

Well, what do you know? Underemployed, those who work less than 35 hours per week because they are unable to find full-time work, are now finding full-time jobs.  Those are the folks that were left behind during the Obama administration. Is that the trend that Gerson would like us to pay attention to?  Probably not. America's economic engine is roaring along at a very inconvenient time for Never Trumpers like Gerson, damn the luck.  And that's Gerson's problem.  He thinks it's luck.

But you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why the economy has suddenly taken off.  If we cut taxes on the wealthy, investment will grow.  Contrary to current liberal doctrine, they will not hide their money in their mattresses, they will invest it so as to make more money.  That investment will spur growth in jobs.  If we reduce burdensome regulations, smaller business will have an easier time of it.  It will be easier to start one, and easier to grow one, and guess what that means — more jobs.  If we fight back on unfair trade deals, say we level the playing field by putting tariffs on imported steel, our domestic steel industry will grow.  If we remove impediments to oil fracking we will get more domestic energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and reduce energy costs.  And how about immigration enforcement?

A recent analysis by Breitbart News also reviewed the wage and job opportunity benefits of workplace immigration enforcement by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.

In the most famous case, 600 jobs were secured for black Americans and wages were increased in February when ICE raided the Cloverhill Bakery in northwest Chicago, Illinois. Black Americans’ wages rose 25 cents thanks to enforcement.

Most recently, the tight labor market helped reintegrate retirees back into the workforce. Breitbart News has also reported extensively on how the tight labor market in Trump’s “hire American” economy has brought new job opportunities for Americans with disabilities and helped lower the demographic group’s unemployment rate.

There has also been history-making wage growth for American workers in the construction industry, the garment industry, for workers employed at small businesses, black Americans, and restaurant workers.

The tight labor market has also secured higher wages for overtime workers and high-paying, coveted white-collar jobs for American teenagers. Most recently, Breitbart News reported that the construction industry has had to recruit women to take jobs at higher wages rather than hiring illegal aliens. A Chick-Fil-A in California has even raised wages to $18 an hour to retain workers.

But Gerson sees no need to explain all that.  Instead he makes blithe reference to "whole sections of the country" that have been "marginalized."  Well, what sections and how have they been marginalized? Gerson doesn't say.

We should pay attention to the economic trends that have marginalized whole sections of the country. We should be alert to the failures and indifference of American elites. But we also need to understand that these trends — which might have produced a responsible populism — have, through a cruel trick of history, elevated a dangerous, prejudiced fool. Trump cannot claim the legitimacy of the genuine anxiety that helped produce him. The political and social wave is real, but it is ridden by an unworthy leader. The right reasons have produced the wrong man.

The testimony of the tell-alls is remarkably consistent. Some around Trump are completely corrupted by the access to power. But others — who might have served in any Republican administration — spend much of their time preventing the president from doing stupid and dangerous things.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Gerson will never be mistaken for a rocket scientist.  Oh, he's not dumb.  A former White House speech writer, he left the George W. Bush administration in 2006, joining the Washington Post in 2007 where he remains as the token establishment conservative who can be depended upon to bash other conservatives who are not moderate enough.  He makes a good living, and that's smart.  But he has no clue about Trump.  Our current accelerating economy is the result of Trump economic policy.  Gerson mistakes tweets for policy, writing that "a discussion on 'Fox & Friends' can so often set the agenda of the president."  In what dream world does Gerson live?

The testimony of the tell-alls is remarkably consistent. Some around Trump are completely corrupted by the access to power. But others — who might have served in any Republican administration — spend much of their time preventing the president from doing stupid and dangerous things.

The clueless Gerson, all too typical of Trump's enemies, seems utterly incapable of understanding.  And that's why we keep winning.  Trump's enemies don't get it.  They go apeshit over some tweet, hyperventilating for days on end.  Meanwhile, ISIS all but disappears from the battlefield, NATO countries begin paying their share of the costs of their own defense, North Korea comes to the bargaining table to talk nuclear disarmament, trade deals move forward, and the American economy shifts into high gear.  Gerson & friends never notice.  They seem to think, and want us to believe, that it's all because an army of faceless bureaucrats has our back, making it all happen while swiping papers off the Oval Office desk.  Sure.

"The testimony of the tell-alls is remarkably consistent," Gerson writes. It is. And the tell-alls, themselves, are remarkably consistent with the rest of the anti-Trump establishment. Like a herd of cows. Cows are remarkably consistent.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Trump's October Surprise

Libertarian Leanings - Sun, 2018-10-21 18:36 +0000

I'm waiting for that shoe to drop.  Which shoe is that, you might ask?  This is the shoe that will have the media tearing their hair and weeping over the outrageous President Trump.  There have been others, but the most notable example of such a shoe is this tweet:

Typical of the headlines flooding the media after Trump's tweet, was this from the New York Daily News: Trump, citing no evidence, accuses Obama of wiretapping his phones at Trump Tower before election on Twitter.

Trump offered no evidence of his explosive claim, which was quickly denied by an Obama spokesman and shot down by White House insiders past and present.

"A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," said Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis.

"As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false."

For some context, on Presidential Inauguration Day, January 20, 2108, the New York Times print edition arrived at newsstands sporting this front page, over the fold headline: Wiretapped Data Used in Inquiry of Trump Aides. The online version was quickly amended to read: Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates.

Jan. 19, 2017

WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

Bottom line: the Trump campaign was under surveillance by the Obama administration on the pretext that Trump campaign associate Carter Page colluded with Russians to fix the U.S. presidential election.  Several weeks after Trump tweeted "Wiretap!" Jonathan Turley wrote, Trump was right after all about the Obama administration wiretaps.   

He [Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.)] also said that the inadvertent interceptions were then subject to “unmasking” where intelligence officials actively and knowingly attached the names of the parties to transcripts and then circulated the information widely within the intelligence community. If true, that would clearly support a part of the president’s allegations and raise very serious questions about the improper use of surveillance. It would be Trump’s ultimate “redrum” moment.

Yet, when this disclosure was made by the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, CNN and other news outlets immediately proclaimed that it did not prove anything about the Trump allegations — again emphasizing that he said Obama “wiretapped” Trump’s phone. That is like saying that an alleged victim is not to be believed because he said that some “second story man broke into my home” when the evidence showed that there was no second story on the house and the burglar entered through an open window.

We have since learned that FISA warrants issued on Page meant that anyone in the Trump campaign with whom Page communicated electronically was subject to surveillance by the FBI.  We have since also learned the the FBI sent at least one informant to spy on the Trump campaign.  To protect it from the Russians, so they said, but they never informed the Trump campaign of the supposed threat or the "protections" provided.

Collusion with Russia was a fairy tale that only grew legs after Hillary Clinton lost the election.  Up until that time nobody believed there was any Russian collusion including Hillary, Barack Obama, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign.  After she lost, Russian Collusion became the Democratic Party's lead talking point.  It did not resonate with most Americans.

Within three months of Turley's article an opinion poll from The Hill found this:

On the question of collusion, 52 percent said they don’t believe Trump coordinated with Moscow to influence the 2016 presidential election. But 54 percent said they believe Trump’s associates may have been involved.

Either way, 62 percent of voters say there is currently no hard evidence to support the collusion claims.

Further:

In addition, 62 percent said there exists a campaign to delegitimize the president. This includes 87 percent of Republicans, 63 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats. [My emphasis]

The media is not winning points on this issue.  Trump has been masterful at forcing their biases out into the open where voters can see them and see that it is largely a media driven campaign to delegitimize.  Trust in the media sinks to new depths. 

Poll: 77 percent say major news outlets report 'fake news'

By CRISTIANO LIMA 04/02/2018 10:50 AM EDT

President Donald Trump is not alone in thinking media outlets spread "fake news."

More than 3-in-4 of 803 American respondents, or 77 percent, said they believe that major traditional television and newspaper media outlets report “fake news,” according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday, marking a sharp increase in distrust of those news organizations from a year ago, when 63 percent registered concerns about the spread of misinformation.

Among those, 31 percent said they believe those media outlets spread "fake news" regularly, and 46 percent said it happens occasionally.

The findings also showed Americans diverging on what constitutes "fake news," with 65 percent saying it applies broadly to the editorial decisions outlets make over what topics to cover and 25 percent more narrowly defining it to apply only to the spread of factually incorrect information.

The time is ripe.  The midterms are two months away.  Rather than sit back and wait, prepare his defenses, Trump, I expect, will spring his own October Surprise.  When it hits the media will erupt in an all consuming outrage — 24/7 wall to wall coverage.  But a solid majority of Americans will read past the shocking headlines and will look to alternative news sources, maybe even to the president himself.  And then they'll decide the media are mostly lying, and they'll back Trump.

I expect Trump to trigger new rounds of media outrage in three to four weeks.  Maybe it will be in the form of an "outrageous" tweet, or perhaps in a press conference he will let slip remark like the one in Helsinki where he "misspoke" and everyone took him to task for failing to back U.S. intelligence agencies.  Or better still, maybe there will be a high profile indictment of a former high ranking DOJ or FBI official, a hero of the left.

Categories: Blogs, United States

Temporary Time-Off

Meg McLain - Thu, 2013-12-19 02:05 +0000

I have had to take some time off from my activism (and to a lesser extent, my graphic design work) to care for my elderly grandfather.  I hope to return to full time activism and design freelancing eventually; however, my family is my primary focus at this point in time.  While I appreciate those who have contacted me with various projects, I am just not in the position to put my full focus on my work at this time, which isn’t fair to those looking for quality work.  My apologies to anyone who feels they have been overlooked.  I hope I can respond to everyone, but please do not take it personally

Hope I can return soon!

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