Congress seeks to fund U.S. Refugee Admissions Program as if Trump didn’t exist

President who? This budget “deal” makes me wonder if Obama is still in the Oval Office!

The so-called budget deal being ironed-out to fund the government to the end of the year commits billions to the refugee program.  You might think that Obama was  back in the White House and that Donald Trump never campaigned on slowing the flow of refugees from countries that produce terrorists.

I can’t make heads or tails out of the budget bill language, but here Alex Pfeiffer at the Daily Caller tells us it is full steam ahead with refugees because if they have your money, you can bet it will be spent.

It isn’t too late….

trump-extreme-vettingTrump could flex his muscles this week and say to Congress, go back to the drawing boards.

He could say: we will do another continuing resolution for a couple of weeks until you get it right.  (After all, it isn’t just with the refugee program that Congress is dissing the Prez).

You may have seen the Dems gloating about their apparent budget victory yesterday.

And, the RINOs are pretty slick too! 

Look at it this way, the Dems and the RINOs join forces to make sure almost none of Trump’s campaign promises are fulfilled, voters blame it on Trump and Trump becomes a one-term President.  The only question is, does Trump get that and will he show some muscle and fight back right now!

Here is what the Daily Caller says about refugees:

The budget deal to keep the government funded through September agreed upon by congressional leaders would continue funding the refugee resettlement program.

An agreement on the omnibus budget was reached by leaders from both parties Sunday, as a government shutdown looms on Friday. The proposed spending agreement includes no money to construct the president’s border wall, and continues funding Planned Parenthood.

[….]

The bill would include a total of $3 billion towards migration and refugee assistance, which is roughly the same that was spent in Fiscal Year 2016. It would also include $50 million towards the emergency refugee and migration assistance fund, which is also the same amount spent in the previous fiscal year.

With President Trump’s executive orders temporarily blocking refugee resettlement held up in court, 12,397 refugees have been resettled during his presidency.***

Pay close attention to the last line here, and below.

This is why I have been saying that Trump did not have to include changing the ceiling or language about a moratorium in the Executive Order.  He has the power to stay anywhere under the ceiling! The Refugee Act of 1980 tells the President to set the ceiling in advance of the fiscal year, before October 1, and if he wants to raise the ceiling during the year he must inform Congress, but he does not have to reach the ceiling—few Presidents in recent times have reached the ceiling—or even inform Congress that he will be coming in under it!

The Obama administration set a goal in September of 110,000 refugees admitted in Fiscal Year 2017. A State Department official told The Daily Caller in early April that “this language represents a ceiling on refugee admissions – it is not a mandatory target.”

It isn’t too late for Trump to quietly institute the 120-day moratorium, as he originally planned, to assess whether our security screening is adequate. It gets much harder if the agencies are awash in money that they want to send out to government contractors!

EndNote: See my post here from a couple of days ago about Trump’s refugee admissions.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

At this point in the fiscal year, more refugees have entered US in FY2017 than in any of the previous ten years

237 Somalis have been removed from US since last October; not thousands!

Tennessee Senator Corker wants refugee program back to ‘normal’ ASAP

UAE Ambassador to Germany warns Merkel about radical Islamist preachers

Somali refugees resettled in Arizona headed to Minnesota in large numbers

Trump’s America: 100 Days Later

Here we are folks, 100 days into Trump’s presidency. My “Never Trump” friends are still itching for Trump to betray us so they can say, “I told you so.” Well, if Trump betrays us tomorrow, we are still winners; light years down the road to making America great again than where we would be had another Republican won.

I was accused of betraying conservatism when I jumped aboard the Trump train after my candidate Ted Cruz dropped out. For me it was a no brainer. Hillary in the Oval Office would have ended America as founded. I care more about saving my country than saving conservatism.

I have also come to realize that Trump is you and me. While I have voted Republican ever since Ronald Reagan, I never got involved in politics until the Tea Party. As a rookie, political experts instructed me to walk-on-eggshells during media interviews, less the press brand our side mean and racist.

My Baltimore projects instincts kept nagging me; why please dishonest bullies who don’t care about truth and only seek to destroy you? When Trump entered the political arena, he blew up everything I was taught about how to deal with fake news media. I cheered Trump on feeling vindicated and liberated.

NeverTrumps are still embarrassed by Trump and Press Secretary Spicer. It is like NeverTrumps are in high school and fake news media are the cool kids they want to like them. I do not give a rat’s derriere about what Leftists think about me. I am focused on defeating their evil agenda. Therefore, Trump is you and me.

I suspect it has been eye-opening for our non-ideological president to see how insanely and viciously Leftists have responded to him doing common-sense things in the best interest of our country. Conservatives are the every day common-sense thinking Americans. Leftists are the extremist and wackos who are out-of-touch and out-of-sync with American values and culture.

So, while Leftists continue to have foot-stomping, pulling-out-their-hair, temper-tandems in frustration, here are several of Trump’s incredible reversals of Obama’s mess in only 100 days.

Trump ended Obama’s War on coal, bringing back jobs.

Trump reversed various Obama attempts to disarm Americans

Trump has begun rolling back Obama’s nonsensical climate change regulations.

Trump reversed Obama’s dangerous mandate for public schools to allow boys into girl’s restrooms and locker rooms. 

Trump ended Obama’s policy of forcing us to pay for abortions overseas

Trump ended Obama’s iron-fist mandate that states fund Planned Parenthood

Trump has begun unclogging Obama’s overreaching EPA water rules

Trump is fixing Obama’s awful deal in which he funded the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

Thus far, Trump has signed 37 orders reversing Obama’s Make America Last policies/agenda.

Meanwhile, fake news media relentlessly promotes their false narratives; Trump has backtracked on all of his crazy/naive campaign promises; his supporters are dispirited; his administration of bulls in Washington DC’s china shop cannot get anything done.

Oh how they lie and lie and lie. Congrats Mr President on your amazing first 100 days. We are all behind you, looking forward to tax reform and repealing Obamacare.

Trump Administration Steps Up to the Plate with Tax Reform Plan

The big news on taxes this week was the Trump administration releasing its tax reform proposal.

The U.S. Chamber’s tax expert welcomed it, calling it, “the start of the conversation.”

Releasing the plan shows the administration is “stepping up to the plate and engaging and working towards pro-growth tax reform,” Caroline Harris, chief tax council and vice president for tax policy, told Bloomberg.

Harris brought up three principles of tax reform: Permanence; moving to a territorial system; and appropriate transition rules.

  1. “Businesses want certainty; they want permanence,” Harris said. Knowing what to expect will help companies determine how to best deploy investments and hire workers.
  2. “We need to shift to a territorial system, which is something we heard from the Trump White House talk about,” Harris explained. “If you have a territorial system you’re not subjecting cash to that extra layer of tax when you bring it back to the United States, and it frees that capital up going forward.”
  3. “Businesses also need time to change how they operate to respond to changes in the tax code,” said Harris. Reform should avoid causing unnecessary business disruptions.

[Here is the U.S. Chamber’s list of principles for pro-growth tax reform.]

To keep the momentum going, Harris said President Trump is “going to have to start having conversations with Chairman Brady in the House, Hatch in the Senate, with leadership—with Speaker Ryan—with Leader McConnell and parse out what they want to do and how we can have the most pro-growth tax code.”

Also, all sides need to be involved in the conversation. Republicans, Democrats, the White House, Congress, and the business community have to work together. “Everyone has to come to the table. This has to be a group effort,” she emphasized.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Steven Mnuchin, Treasury secretary (right), and Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council. Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg.

Trump’s Tax Plan Is Brilliant Politics and Even Better Economics by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Donald Trump’s tax plan seems to mark a new chapter in his presidency, from floundering around with strange and sometimes scary policies (bombings, border closings, saber rattling) to focusing on what actually matters and what can actually make the difference for the American people and the American economy.

Under Trump’s plan, taxes on corporate profits go from 35% to 15%. They should be zero (like the Bahamas), but this is a good start. Taxes on capital gains go from 23.8% to 20%. Again, it should be zero (as with New Zealand), but it is a start. Rates for all individuals are lowered to three: 10%, 25%, and 35%. The standard deduction for individuals is doubled (politically brilliant). The estate tax and the alternative minimum tax is gone. Popular deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest are preserved. The hare-brained idea of a “border adjustment tax” is toast.

All of this is wonderful, but the shining light of this plan is the dramatic reduction in taxes on corporate profits. The economics of this are based on a simple but profoundly true insight. Economic growth is the key to a good society. This is where good jobs come from. This is how technology improves. This is what gives everyone a brighter outlook on life. If you can imagine that your tomorrow will be more prosperous and flourishing than today, your life seems to be on track.

Tax Capital, Wreck Prosperity

Where does economic growth come from? For decades dating back perhaps a hundred-plus years, people imagined that it could come from government programs and policy manipulation. Surely there are some levers somewhere in the center of power that can cause this thing we call economic growth. We just need solid experts with power, resources, and intelligence to manage the system.

This turns out to be entirely wrong. It hasn’t worked. Since 2008, government has tried to mastermind an economic recovery. It has floundered. We are coming up on a full decade of this nonsense with economic growth barely crawling along. We are surviving, not thriving, and income growth, capital formation, and entrepreneurial opportunity restricted and punished at every turn.

The Trump tax plan is rooted in a much better idea. Economic growth must come from the private sector. It must come from investment in private capital. The owners of this capital who are doing well and earn profits should be allowed to keep them and invest them. This creates new job opportunities. It allows for more complex production strategies. It expands the division of labor.

The crucial institution here is capital. Sorry, anti-capitalists. It’s just true. Capital can be defined as the produced goods for production, not consumption. It is making things for the purpose of making other things. Think about it. Without capital, you can still have markets, creativity, hard work, enterprise. But so long as you have an absence of capital, you are forever floundering around just working to make and sell things for consumption. This is called living hand to mouth.Without capital, and the private ownership of capital, and security over your property rights, you can’t have economic growth. You can’t have complex production. You can’t raise wages. You can’t live a better life. Every tax on capital, capital formation, capital accumulation, and business profit reduces the security of property rights over capital. This is a sure way to attack economic growth at its source.

And this is precisely what American policy has done. The rest of the world has been wising up about this, reducing taxes on capital for the last 15 years. But the US has languished in the mythology of the past, regarding capital not as a font of prosperity but rather a fund of stagnant resources to be pillaged by planners in government. It is not surprising that this strategy results in slow growth and even permanent recession.

What This Can Do for Growth

I have no regression to present to you but this much I can say out of experience and intuition. If this tax plan goes through, the entire class of entrepreneurs, investors, and merchants will receiving a loud signal: this country is safe for you to realize your dreams and make the dreams of others come true.It wouldn’t surprise me to see GDP growth go from an anemic 1-2% to reach 4% and higher in one year. There is so much pent-up energy in this country. This tax cut will unleash it. And think what it means for the next recession or financial crisis. It prepares the entire country to weather such an event better than we otherwise would.

The beauty of unleashing the power of private capital is that the brilliant results will always be surprising. We don’t know what kind of experimentation in investment and business expansion this will create. This is the nature of a capitalist economy rooted in the freedom of enterprise. It defies our every expectation. No model can forecast with precision the range of results here. We only know that good things will come.

Now, of course, the opponents will talk of the deficit and the national debt. What about the lost revenue? The problem is that every revenue forecast is based on a static model. But an economy rooted in capital formation is not a static one. It is entirely possible that new profits and business expansion will produce even more revenue, even if it is taxed at a lower rate.If you want to cut the deficit, there is only one way: cut spending. I see no evidence that either party wants to do this. Too bad. This should change. But it is both economically stupid and morally unsound to attempt to balance the budget on the backs of taxpayers. Letting people keep more of what they earn is the right thing to do, regardless of government’s fiscal problems.

In the meantime, these pious incantations of the word “deficit, deficit, deficit,” should be seen for what they are: excuses to continue to loot people of their just earnings.

The Politics of It

Already the opponents of this plan are kvetching in the predictable way. This is a tax cut for the rich! Well, yes, and that’s good. Rich capitalists  – sorry for yet another hard truth – are society’s benefactors.

But you know why this line of attack isn’t going to work this time? Take a look at the standard deduction change. It is doubled. Not a single middle-class taxpayer is unaware of what this means. This is because they are profoundly aware of how the tax system works. If you take the standard deduction from $6,200 to $15,000, that means people are going to keep far more of their own money. There is not a single taxpayer in this country who will not welcome that.

This is why it strikes me as crazy for Democrats to inveigh against this plan. Doing so only cements their reputation as the party of pillage. Do they really want the United States to be outcompeted by every other nation in the OECD? What they should do is rally behind this, forgetting all the ridiculous pieties about the deficit and the rich and so on. Do they favor the interests of the American people are not?It’s also fantastic politics to retain the deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest. These are popular for a reason. They are two of the only ways that average people can save on their tax bill. It always pained me when the GOP would propose a “flat tax” that eliminated these provisions. People are very aware: taking away an existing tax break is a terrible foreshadowing of bad things to come. So this Trump plan dispenses with all that. Good.

As for compliance costs of the current system, the elimination of the Alternative Minimum Tax will do worlds of good.

What I love most about this plan is its real-world economic foundation. It embraces a truth that so many want to avoid. If you want jobs, rising wages, and economic growth, you have to stop the war on capital. You have to go the other way. You need to celebrate capital and allow rewards to flow to those who are driving forward economic progress.

It’s a simple but brilliant point. Finally, we’ve got a tax proposal that embraces it.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

The President’s Tax Plan Massacres the 1%ers in the 10 States with Highest-Tax Rates

As the media slices and dices the proposed tax plan offered by President Trump’s Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on April 26th, one thing is clear – the rich will pay more in taxes than the working class.

In the Daily Signal article How Trump’s Tax Plan Would Affect High-Tax States Like California, New York Fred Lucas writes:

High-income earners in high-tax states would see a federal tax rate cut, but may pay more in the end if they’re unable to deduct state and local taxes under President Donald Trump’s tax reform proposal announced Wednesday.

The White House released the contours of his tax reform proposal that would lower tax rates and reduce the number of tax brackets. However, the plan would also reduce the number of tax deductions.

When a reporter asked if deducting taxes on state and local income taxes would also be eliminated, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin answered, “Yes.”

U.S._Democratic_Party_logo_(transparent).svgSo, Democrats should be very excited about taxing the rich, so will the 99%ers, like Occupy Wall Street, who have been for taxing the rich. This has been the mantra of the Democrat Party – Tax the Rich!

So which are the states with the highest tax rates? The national average for state income taxes is 9.9%. According to the 2017 Tax Guide published on BankRate.com the 10 highest taxed states are:

  1. New York – Tax burden: 12.7%

  2. Connecticut – Tax burden: 12.6%

  3. New Jersey – Tax burden: 12.2%

  4. Wisconsin – Tax burden: 11%

  5. Illinois – Tax burden: 11%

  6. California – Tax burden: 11%

  7. Maryland – Tax burden: 10.9%

  8. Minnesota – Tax burden: 10.8%

  9. Rhode Island – Tax burden: 10.8%

  10. Oregon – Tax burden: 10.3%

President Trump’s plan does what Democrats have made the goal of their platform. Make the rich pay more. But wait!

Lucas reports, “House Republicans were already reportedly considering eliminating the deduction on state and local taxes, which could disproportionately affect wealthy people in high-tax blue states such as New York and California.” The question is: Why?

The President’s tax plan would put pressure on the ten states listed above to lower their state income tax rates. Isn’t this ultimately good for the successful working class people of New York and California? The 99%ers!

This provision, among the other key policy shifts in the President’s tax plan are bold and make good on his promise to cut taxes, just not on the rich, many of whom have said they are happy to pay more in taxes.

Seems like a win-win to me. How about you.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump goes big on tax reform

Trump tax plan prompts GOP fears about deficit

Trump Tax Plan Cheat Sheet | Fox Business

House Speaker Paul Ryan — America’s worst nightmare

Dear Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI),

I understand that your wife Janna is a life long member of the Democrat party and worked very hard to elect Obama and tried to elect Hillary Clinton – into the Oval Office.

Your Democrat induced family network is deeply embedded in this nation as you wrap tightly around the necks of the American people and the small business owners that are trying to make America great again under the leadership of President Trump.

You are a fake and a fraud – you, sir, are a liberal posing as an American impeding the Trump economic recovery for this Republic.

You claim you want to cut spending while turning a blind eye to unconstitutional expenditures. For example: No attempt has been made to defund the unconstitutionally funded U.S. Department of Education (DOE)

The disclaimer on the DOE website clearly states the 10th Amendment protects the states from federal intrusion in funding and educating our children.

It states:

“Please note that in the U.S., the federal role in education is limited. Because of the Tenth Amendment, most education policy is decided at the state and local levels. So, if you have a question about a policy or issue, you may want to check with the relevant organization in your state or school district.”

So why are you Paul Ryan funding an increase of $1.3 billion tax payer dollars more for FY 17 for the Department of Education than was given in 2016? Do we borrow more money from China to cover this expense? Maybe we can send the bill to your wife’s idol Hillary Clinton?

The DOE budget request for FY 2017 includes $69.4 billion in discretionary funding, which is an increase of $1.3 billion over the 2016 appropriation. This is totally unacceptable tax payer waste and abuse.

Why is the federal government working through the Department of Education funding elementary and secondary programs annually handing out tax payer cash to 16,900 school districts and approximately 50 million students attending more than 98,000 public schools and 28,000 private schools?

Under whose authority? The Constitution does not permit this folly Mr. Speaker!

Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 13 million post-secondary students.

Why is this?

Who decides this redistribution-of-wealth to the far left colleges ran by pro Marxist – LGBT embracing – Communists leading our kids down the Socialist path of destruction?

This unconstitutional intrusion into our schools gave President Obama and his wife unprecedented control over all schools in this nation that accepted this fleeced tax payer money.

Right down to what the kids can eat for lunch with the federal bureaucrats inspecting our kids brown bag lunches to make sure they were compliant with Michelle Obama’s menu.

Our national debt is $20 Trillion.

Mr. Ryan – when you decide to return back to constitutional governance and defund and abolish this Jimmy Carter approved DOE assault on our schools please let us know.

So while the Republican led Congress sits on its asinus refusing to address the debt on this nation created by the unprecedented out of control spending by the Congress of the United States – we Americans will keep you in the spotlight until you resign from your leadership post in the Congress.

President Trump has only one tool blocking the Congressional excesses to free this nation from the over bloated – tax payer abusing Communist – Socialist Congress – YOU!

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Congress Should Resist Cotton Cronyism in Upcoming Spending Measures

Judicial Watch Sues for Records about Govt. Funding of George Soros’ Foundation

soros9

George Soros

One reason George Soros is so active in the political scene – both in the U.S. and worldwide – is that he is handed a lot of our tax dollars to fund his activities. And your Judicial Watch is hot on the trail of exposing this corruption.

This past week, we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) for records and communications relating to the funding and political activities of the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia. We want to learn why the Macedonia organization, part of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, received nearly $5 million from USAID from 2012 to 2016. We filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Agency for International Development (No. 1:17-cv-00729).

We sued after both the State Department and USAID failed to respond to a February 16, 2017, FOIA request seeking:

All records related to any grants, contracts, or disbursements of funds by the State Department to the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia and/or any of the Foundation’s subsidiaries. This request includes all related requests for funding, payment authorizations, or similar records, as well as all related records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the State Department and any official, employee, or representative of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Any records of communication between any official, employee, or representative of the State Department and any officer, employee, or representative of the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia and/or any of the Foundation’s affiliated organizations. This request includes responsive records of communication sent from or directed to U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia Jess L. Baily.

All analyses or similar records regarding the political activities of the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia and/or any of the Foundation’s affiliated organizations.

All messages transmitted via the State Department’s SMART system sent from any U.S. Government employee or contractor operating under the Chief of Mission’s authority at the U.S. Embassy in Skopje that pertain to the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia and/or any of the Foundation’s affiliated organizations.

The USAID website reports that between February 27, 2012, and August 31, 2016, USAID gave $4,819,125 in taxpayer money to Soros’s Open Society Foundation – Macedonia (FOSM), in partnership with four local “civil society” organizations. The USAID’s website links to www.soros.org.mk, and says the project trained hundreds of young Macedonians “on topics such as freedom of association, youth policies, citizen initiatives, persuasive argumentation and use of new media.”

Earlier, in February, in Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles we reported:

The U.S. government has quietly spent millions of taxpayer dollars to destabilize the democratically elected, center-right government in Macedonia by colluding with leftwing billionaire philanthropist George Soros, records obtained by Judicial Watch show. Barack Obama’s U.S. Ambassador to Macedonia, Jess L. Baily, has worked behind the scenes with Soros’ Open Society Foundation to funnel large sums of American dollars for the cause, constituting an interference of the U.S. Ambassador in domestic political affairs in violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
[ …]
Here’s how the clandestine operation functions, according to high-level sources in Macedonia and the U.S. that have provided Judicial Watch with records as part of an ongoing investigation. The Open Society Foundation has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government. One Macedonian government official interviewed by Judicial Watch in Washington D.C. recently calls it the “Soros infantry.” The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of the Soros’ groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” into Macedonian. The book is a tactical manual of subversion, provides direct advice for radical street protests and proclaims Lucifer to be the first radical. Thanks to Obama’s ambassador, who has not been replaced by President Trump, Uncle Sam keeps the money flowing so the groups can continue operating and recruiting, sources in Macedonia and the U.S. confirm.

According to InsidePhilanthropy.com, Soros’ Open Society Foundation “may be the largest philanthropic organization ever built, with branches in 37 countries. While the Gates Foundation spends more money, OSF has a larger footprint worldwide thanks to its many local offices, including throughout Africa.” OSF’s budget will be around $930 million …”The activities of Ambassador Bailey and USAID’s funding of the Open Society Foundation have recently come under Congressional scrutiny. On January 17, 2017, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) sent a letter to Baily asking him to explain the State Department’s relationship with Open Society Foundation. On February 24, 2017, Representatives Chris Smith (R-NJ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), and others called on the Government Accountability Office to conduct an investigation and audit of the State Department and USAID’s activities in Macedonia, including funding of Open Society Foundation entities and potential interference in domestic Macedonian political affairs in potential violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

It’s clear from what we have already learned that the Obama administration freely used our tax dollars for political purposes, including support of the Soros operation. Let’s hope the Trump State Department and USAID will get their act together and disclose the details of the Obama-Soros spigot.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Same People Who Organized Trump Inauguration Riots Are Helping With The Climate March

Dear Mr. Carvalho: The Miami-Dade Schools Grandfathered Salary Suit is Very Much Real

Recently, the Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Alberto Carvalho, called a related story “fake news” in response to an inquiry from Mr. Andrew Ladanowski

carvalho tweet

Anyone can say anything; it doesn’t make it so. After all, I can pin some fake antlers on Baxter the Cat and call him a 10 point buck; however, the fact remains he is still, and always will be, a cat.

What proof is there that the School District of Miami-Dade County violated the law with respect to the grandfather provisions of Florida Statute 1012.22?  The short answer is that the District ignored the plain language of the statute.  That said, you are entitled to a better explanation.  So first I am going to present the text of the law to you as it actually exists in print.  Next I am going to give you an example of grandfathering so that there is no doubt as to what it means.  Then I am going to give you some representative examples of deviations the District implemented – I can’t give you all of them over the last three years because it would take too many pages.  And finally, I am going to tell you how the District verbally tried to justify what they did.

  1. The statutes (both of them) are easy to read:

Grandfathered Salary Schedule The District school board shall adopt a salary schedule or salary schedules to be used as the basis for paying all school employees hired before July 1, 2014.

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 4. a. (emphasis added).

Grandfathered salary schedule means the salary schedule or schedules adopted by a district school board before July 1, 2014, pursuant to subparagraph 4. (Cited immediately above).

Florida Statute § 1012.22 (1) (c) 1. b. (emphasis added).

  1. How about an example of grandfathering?

Many cellular phone carriers including AT&T and Verizon had an unlimited data plan in the past, but these plans were discontinued. However, customers who already had subscribed to unlimited data plans could continue them for as long as they kept the same service. They were grandfathered.  But not new subscribers.  For them, the unlimited plan was no longer available, and they had to select from a limited plan.

  1. Some examples of 2015-16 salary schedule deviations from the grandfathered salary schedule:

Step

17             48,425             Down $1,875.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
19             51,900             Down $1,200.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
21             57,350             Down $1,000.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
22             60,775             Down $3,539.00 from the grandfathered schedule.
23             66,575             Down $3,750.00 from the grandfathered schedule.

  1. The District tried to justify it by saying that the grandfathered salary schedule would be any schedule they “designated as such.”

A little lame, don’t you think?

For a complete perspective of the pending complaint (still being drafted) that will be filed shortly in court, please review the amicus curiae brief authored by the lead attorney in the case per a related complaint that was addressed recently before Florida’s Public Employees Relations Commission.

As it will be a class action lawsuit, the plaintiffs are virtually suing on behalf of all the teachers of Miami-Dade County; thus, it is fair to say that 19,000 some odd M-DCPS school teachers will be suing the School Board in the foreseeable future.

Sadly, the United Teachers of Dade sided with M-DCPS in PERC and is opposed to the impending lawsuit.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Growing chorus of Miami-Dade teachers denounce pay deal by Carvalho, union

Miami Teachers Look to Sue District Over Merit Pay Raises

Border Security is National Security: Yet GOP leaders are withholding funds for U.S./Mexican border wall

On April 9, 2017 The Hill reported that Democrats were winning the fight over the wall.

The Democrats have been adamant about preventing the construction of that wall.  Therefore if they are winning then America and Americans are losing.

Paul Ryan

As this report noted:

Despite President Trump’s request for more than $1 billion to fund the Mexican border wall this year, GOP leaders are expected to exclude the money in the spending bill being prepared to keep the government open beyond April 28.

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says the choice is pragmatic and the money will come later.

But the issue has become a political thorn in the side of GOP leaders who are facing pushback from Republicans voicing concerns over the diplomatic fallout, the disruption to local communities and the enormous cost of the project, estimated to be anywhere from $22 billion to $40 billion.

With Democrats united against new wall funding, it’s unlikely the Republicans have the votes to get it through and prevent a government shutdown.

Ever since I have spoken out about the issue of immigration and national security, including during my appearances at Congressional hearings and when I provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission, I have been clear that simply building a wall along the U.S./Mexican border would not solve the immigration crisis.

However, I have come to compare the wall along that problematic border to the wing on an airplane.  Without a wing and airplane certainly would not fly, however, a wing by itself would go nowhere.

In other words, that border must be made secure and other deficiencies in the immigration system must simultaneously be effectively addressed including, of course, the vital issue of the effective enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.

The 9/11 Commission determined that multiple failures of the immigration system enabled not only the terrorists of September 11, 2001 but other terrorists, as well, to enter the United States and embed themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.

We have seen similar patterns in the terror attacks that have been attempted and/or successfully carried out in the United States in the years following the attacks of 9/11.

The preface of the official report,  “9/11 and  Terrorist TravelStaff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States” begins with the following paragraph:

“It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.”

To go from the philosophical perspective to the pragmatism of the real world, on April 12, 2017 ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) posted a news release, Foreign national extradited and pleads guilty to human smuggling conspiracy that included these three paragraphs:

Sharafat Ali Khan, 32, a Pakistani citizen and former resident of Brazil, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle undocumented migrants into the United States for profit before U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton of the District of Columbia. Kahn was extradited to the United States from Qatar on July 13, 2016. Judge Walton scheduled Khan’s sentencing hearing for July 6, 2017.

According to admissions in the plea agreement, between March 2014 and May 2016, Khan and other co-conspirators organized and arranged the unlawful smuggling of large numbers of undocumented migrants to the United States. For their smuggling operation, Khan admitted that he and his co-conspirators used a network of facilitators to transport undocumented migrants from Pakistan and elsewhere through Brazil and Central America and then into the United States by land, air or sea travel. Khan further admitted that he was responsible for managing safe houses for the migrants and arranging a network of associates in other countries to serve as escorts during different legs of the smuggling route. Khan also admitted that voyage included harsh conditions that caused a substantial risk of serious bodily injury or death – including lengthy foot hikes with little food and water through the Darien Gap, a dangerous tropical forest area in Panama.

HSI New York investigated this case, with assistance from HSI Brazil, Mexico, Panama and Washington, D.C. field offices, the South Florida Joint Terrorism Task Force, FBI-Miami, the Human Smuggling Cell, the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) in Brazil, the Brazilian Federal Police and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s National Targeting Center. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs provided significant support with the defendant’s extradition and foreign legal assistance requests.  The Justice Department thanks the Government of Qatar for their assistance with the extradition in this case. Senior Trial Attorney Michael Sheckels of the Criminal Division’s Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard DiZinno of the District of Columbia are prosecuting the case.

On April 12, 2017 the Washington Times reported about this case in an article, Sharafat Ali Khan smuggled terrorist-linked immigrants, that began this way:

Federal authorities wrangled a guilty plea Wednesday from a Brazilian man who ran one of the Western Hemisphere’s more flagrant alien smuggling operations, sneaking dozens of illegal immigrants from terrorism-connected countries into the U.S. from 2014 to 2016.

Sharafat Ali Khan specialized in smuggling illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh over to the West, where they would be staged in Brazil before being sent north to try to penetrate the U.S.

One of the men Khan helped smuggle into the country was an Afghan who authorities said was involved in a plot to conduct an attack in the U.S. or Canada and had family ties to members of the Taliban.

Neither the ICE news release nor the Washington Times article reported on the fact that the Tri-Border region of Brazil hosts terror training camps.

While there was no mention of that the smuggling operation had an involvement in that dangerous region of Brazil, the fact that the smuggler had resided in Brazil and that he and the illegal aliens he smuggled into the United States are citizens of countries that are associated with terrorism had first landed in Brazil on their way to the United States, certainly raises this disturbing possibility.

To gain a better understanding of the threats posed by this region of Brazil, it is important to read a paper, Islamist Terrorist Threat in the Tri-Border Region that was published by Jeffrey Fields, Research Associate, Center for Nonproliferation Studies.

While some politicians who oppose the construction of the wall seek political “cover” by advocating the use of technology on the U.S./Mexican border, especially drones, in reality drones are costly and all but essentially worthless.

On January 6, 2015 the Washington Post published an article, U.S. surveillance drones largely ineffective along border, report says that was predicated on an audit performed by the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Homeland Security on the use of drones by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Nearly on year later, on November 2, 2016, the New York Times reported, Drones, So Useful in War, May Be Too Costly for Border Duty.

Although it has been said that there is no need to state the obvious, perhaps where the issue of drones is concerned, what should be obvious is not obvious.

Drones cannot make arrests.  It would be far more effective and less costly to fly Border Patrol agents in helicopters than to deploy unmanned drones to surveil the border.  airborne agents onboard helicopters who spot illegal aliens entering the United States can land and take the illegal aliens into custody.

Additionally, if agents on the ground are attacked, drones can only provide images of the incident so that other agents can head to the location to back up the agents who are under attack.

Border Patrol agents on helicopters can land immediately and come to the aid of their embattled colleagues.

Similarly, sensors may help agents identify the entry of illegal aliens as they enter the United States, but the it will again require Border Patrol agents to have to respond to arrest them.

A secure wall can prevent those illegal entries in the first place.

It must be presumed that politicians who take issue with these points do so because they want to keep that human tsunami of illegal aliens and possibly narcotics, coming across our borders.

It has been said, “Elections have consequences.”  We the People need to instruct our elected representatives that the way that they vote on legislation and funding have consequences for them.

The Cost of the Tax Code, Understandably

Complying with the tax code costs the United States a cool trillion dollars per year. That’s the entire GDP of Mexico, wasted because of the sheer complexity of our tax code, which runs to 74,000 pages or so when taken with the IRS policies and parts of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations) that bear directly on it.

And let’s imagine that we outsourced all the work done by Americans to comply, so that we could spend our time doing more good for ourselves and each other: it would require the whole population of Paraguay to spend every working hour calculating and filing our taxes for us… with no time for anything else!

As for those penalties that the IRS collects from us, largely for making honest mistakes and not rectifying them in time – they total up to the GDP of Estonia.

Think about that – about the shear human cost and waste – all the good not done for others, all the time not spent with families, all the industrial production foregone – because our politicians can’t wrest themselves away from the special interests and campaign donors, or put the well-being of Americans before their re-election or their preferred political ideology.

Disgusted by this state of affairs, a few folks from an outfit called the Tax Revolution Institute are about to draw a little attention to the problem.

They won’t be marching in the street or writing letters to politicians to explain the need to solve this problem, knowing full well that they are utterly incapable of working out how.

Rather, their protest will be altogether more sedentary and civilized.

They are just going to read it.

… But they are going to do so outside the IRS building in DC from dawn to dusk on Tax Day, April 18th, and they’re going to livestream the whole event on their website at TaxRevolution.us.

Now that I’d like to see… but probably not for the full 14 hours…

They will have the entire tax code with them… along with, I hope, plenty of water.

They’re really going to do it. How many of the 74,000 pages will they get through, though…?

Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner

Robin Koerner is British-born and recently became a citizen of the USA. A decade ago, he founded WatchingAmerica.com, an organization of over 200 volunteers that translates and posts views about the USA from all over the world, works as a trainer and a consultant, and recently wrote the book If You Can Keep It.

DEFUND: The Dazzlingly Bad Idea of Government-Funded Media

There are bad ideas, and then there are really bad ideas.

Government-funded national media resides in the realm of really bad ideas. Make no mistake, this is precisely what NPR and PBS are — government-funded media, an idea totally inimical to the founders’ concept in the First Amendment of a free and unfettered media.

President Trump is dead-on in wanting to defund this, as are many conservatives.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting was formed in 1967, embedded in the Great Society years that have proven so disastrous on so many levels — from locking in generational poverty to facilitating the disintegration of the family to diminishing labor participation rates.

A side note to the terrible Great Society ideas was the creation of public radio and television. Because in addition to the federal government becoming a nanny to every American’s needs and desires, government also decided they knew best what types of media were essential for Americans to consume. No, Americans could not possibly choose this appropriately on their own.

Who knows what sort of disdainful, low-brow choices they would make? Elvis Presley and the The Beatles? Paintings that don’t look like something a five-year-old spilled? National Review? Rush Limbaugh? No thank you. The federal government could not possibly allow that to be their only intake. They would ensure that all Americans could listen to — and be forced to pay for — classical and jazz music, plus the endless ultra progressive prattling of the news side.

Public media thinks very highly of themselves

As befitting the high-brows they are, the CPB see themselves as essential to the betterment of every American. Here is how the organization describes their mission:

“Public media creates and distributes content that is for, by and about Americans of all diverse backgrounds; and services that foster dialogue between the American people and the stations that serve them. In addition to providing free high-quality, educational programming for children, arts, and award winning current affairs programming, public media stations provide life-saving emergency alert services.”

There are so many problems with that single paragraph, and they all point to the operational blinders on the CPB.

  • “…for, by and about Americans of all diverse backgrounds;” This is not true, but it does mimic the mainstream media and progressive penchant for thinking that people who look different create diversity even if they all think alike. I’ve never met a public broadcast news person who was not liberal. Oh sure progressives consider a black liberal, a white liberal, an Hispanic liberal, a gay liberal and a female liberal a rainbow of diversity. But when one is producing news content, the outcome is essentially no difference among them.
  • “…services that foster dialogue between the American people and the stations that serve them.” Not true again. I know few conservatives who interact with public broadcast, for reasons ranging from philosophic opposition to government-funded media to frustration with their worldview being under constant fire with their own tax dollars. The dialogue, such as there is, is among the center to left who imbibe the doctrine and like music not popular in the broader culture.
  • “In addition to providing free high-quality, educational programming for children, arts, and award winning current affairs programming…” I think we’ve already established it is not “free.” It is just befuddling how the liberal mind thinks that if government provides something, it is magically free. To understand how “award-winning” journalism works to only benefit the liberal progressive worldview, please read this.
  • “…public media stations provide life-saving emergency alert services.” Okay, so technology has just passed this one by. It’s like saying they provide buggy whips. Not a strong selling point.

This government-funded media reaches more than 98 percent of the U.S. population. That means it has far more reach than any independent news organizations, and maybe as much as all of them put together. Not good.

But, but Big Bird! The arts!

A common misunderstanding used in defense of this bad idea is that it provides such popular programs as Sesame Street. This has long been just a silly argument as Sesame Street is hugely popular — so much so that it actually is first-run now on the HBO premium channel before being re-run on PBS.

But the truth of the matter is that the loss of public funding will not kill any of these PBS stations. In fact, it’s probably totally unnecessary in the age of high-speed internet and unlimited data plans on smart phones.

Most of the federal funding for these entities supports the distribution network of 1,400 radio and television stations and only a small — and now superfluous — amount goes to support programming.

Actual public programming, such as Sesame Street, Frontline, Fresh Air, All Things Considered and others would in no way be affected by cutting federal funding because they are popular. They would continue on and be profitable — as evidenced by HBO buying first-run rights to Sesame Street.

So when you see hashtags such as #SaveBigBird, you’re seeing a display either of ignorance or a dishonest appeal to emotions. Big Bird, Elmo and the rest will thrive without any federal money. In fact, it is likely driving a ton of cash into PBS.

During an ABC panel I was on, a consistent argument for saving taxpayer-funding of public radio and television is that it supports “the arts” and provides at least audio arts opportunities that would not otherwise be available in rural areas with small, spread-out populations.

You could make that argument before — although the government doing it would still be a huge obstacle — but not now. I held up my iPhone and said all those options and many, many more, are available through Spotify, Pandora and other apps via streaming.

If proponents really wanted to give rural and poor people a wider variety of musical arts opportunities, they should probably argue for grants to Spotify and others where listeners can be exposed to literally hundreds of times more options than whatever is playing on NPR that afternoon. I would oppose such funding, but at least it makes more sense than the 1960s model now being used.

A media love affair

In briefly researching Trump’s proposal to eliminate government funding of one media source, every media outlet I saw opined on the “need” for public broadcasting: The Washington Post, Newsweek, CBS News, The Hill, Vox, and so on. Those just showed up near the top of a Google search.

It is a universal truth in the mainstream media — which is to say that it is a universal truth of modern American liberalism — that government-funded media is essential to the welfare of Americans. It’s hard to get past the “government knows best” specter of this.

But then, that goes to a core of the liberal progressive mindset: government can and should do more and more things to improve our personal lives.

Vox does yeoman’s work trying to portray how mean Trump is by playing the rural card and the now common canard that Trump keeps doing things that hurt his own voters.

The digital media outlet wrote that Trump’s “proposed defunding of CPB is yet another way that a policy proposed by Trump seems as if it will have the most adverse effect on those who voted for him.” That’s because a lot of federal funding goes to pay for PBS and NPR programming in rural areas. While major metro areas may make up lost tax revenues through donations and grants from foundations, rural areas may lose their “beloved” government-funded stations.

But is that because they are poorer and donate less? Remember, the costs of running the stations in uncongested low-cost rural areas is also considerably cheaper than in major metro areas. Or is it because the high-brow snobbery generated on a lot of the stations just isn’t that popular in rural America and those people have no interest in supporting it — or the adjoining liberalism of the news side?

PBS and NPR are not going anywhere as entities. They have enough programming that enough people like that they are viable without federal funds. But without taxpayer funds is exactly what they should be, because there is no place for government-funded media in the United States.

Ever.

We cannot defund this bad idea soon enough.

RELATED ARTICLE: PBS Lesson Plan Teaches Kids to Sympathize with Muslim Suicide Bombers

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Revolutionary Act.

19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami-Dade for $60 million

Why would 19,000 teachers sue the School Board of Miami Dade Public Schools for $60 million in lost salaries?

Because a law passed by the Florida Legislature in 2011 required that as of July 1, 2014, whatever salary schedule was in place would thence forth be frozen in time, or, as the statute phrased it, grandfathered.  But the school district just didn’t do it.

The term grandfathered goes back a long way.  During the Jim Crow era, grandfather clauses were used by seven southern states to exempt those who already possessed the right to vote prior to 1866 (end of the Civil War) from new laws imposing educational, property or tax requirements for voting.  The grandfathered laws had the effect of disenfranchising freed African Americans who did not gain the right to vote until passage of the 15th Amendment in 1870.  But grandfathering allowed impoverished and illiterate whites to continue to vote as before.  They had been grandfathered.

The current law (Fla. Stat. §1012.22) was intended to prevent further annual increases to district salary schedules for teachers hired before July 1, 2014.  Teachers hired after that date would receive performance pay, which would be calculated or derived from the greatest increment between levels of the grandfathered schedule, depending upon a teacher’s effectiveness.  In theory, performance pay would quickly out-pace the frozen schedule forcing veteran teachers to relinquish their tenure to join the new comers.

However, M-DCPS just kept on bargaining new schedules to attack the higher end salary steps for teachers approaching retirement.  It was something like knocking off West Virginia mountain tops for the benefit of coal companies.  And not incidentally, for two years, the District did not award any performance pay whatsoever.   The damage to teacher salaries is estimated at $20 million per year.

“Wait a minute,” you say.  “How did the District get around grandfathering?”  The District’s position was that the grandfathered salary schedule was any schedule they “designated as such.”  Wonder how they interpret a 70-mph speed limit?

America Has Lost Her ‘Voice’

Born during the life and death struggle against Nazism, the Voice of America recently turned 75. During her long years of service, she provided a beacon of hope to captive nations in Europe, and helped keep that hope alive during decades of Soviet occupation.

More recently, the Voice has provided hope to freedom-seeking peoples in the Far East, Central Asia, Iran and Africa. Companion services managed by the U.S. government’s Broadcasting Board of Governors have provided surrogate broadcasting into Russia and other countries that lack a free press.

But lately, the venerable Voice has been behaving with an immaturity, lack of vision, and unprofessionalism that have dismayed many of her dedicated, long-serving employees, who regularly critique the agency on the BBG Watch blog, as well as her supporters on Capitol Hill.

statue of liberty in flamesFrom “fake news” to the glorification of terrorists, the Voice has lost her way.

VOA’s charter, writ into law under President Gerald Ford, could not be more clear. VOA is supposed to “represent America… [and] present a balanced and comprehensive projection of significant American thought and institutions.” Instead, the Voice has become an amateurish, partisan outset, which many recently-hired journalists and managers see as a taxpayer funded CNN.

The Voice of America – the same “Voice” that is supposed to hold high our nation as of the torchlight of freedom around the world – now compares America’s President to Lenin, Stalin, and Mao.

Open the VOA’s main website on virtually any day and you will find stories and headlines that wouldn’t pass muster in any freshman journalism class.

The lead story on Monday, March 27, carried the headline, “Trump to Roll Back Obama Era Environmental Rules.”

“White House officials say President Donald Trump will sign executive orders Tuesday that would effectively dismantle Obama era environmental regulations, rekindling the highly-charged partisan debate about how human activity affects the earth’s climate, and deepening concern decades of work on global climate treaties may be unraveling,” it began.

If that were followed by a detailed explanation of what the President planned to do, and what practical implications his executive orders would have, one might be able to excuse the shoddy left-wing slant of that opening graph.

Instead, the next sentence is a quote from a global warming alarmist saying the president’s policies “would be disastrous,” and many more paragraphs of overheated rhetoric, not journalism.

On the same day, VOA noted that the President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, would be testifying before the Senate intelligence committee. That certainly qualifies as news. But the VOA headline, “Senate Panel to Question Trump’s Son-in-law on Russia meetings,” suggests that Kushner was compelled to testify, an impression buttressed by the core of the article.

It turns out that Kushner volunteered to testify, a fact missing from the VOA story. Even CNN correctly acknowledged Kushner’s offer to the Senate committee in their lead paragraph.

This type of misrepresentation occurs every day in stories from the VOA Central newsroom, despite hype by VOA Director Amanda Bennett to have reformed and improved its operations.

Even worse are stories that glorify terrorists.

A March 25 story exalted the memory of a Pakistani man who was sentenced to death and executed for murdering a liberal politician who defended religious freedom.

The murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, “is now being hailed as a hero in Pakistan,” whereas the man he murdered was criticized for his “soft stand” on Asia Babi, a Christian woman who allegedly “blasphemed” Islam. “For his followers, Qadri [has become] no less than a saint,” the story gushed.

The day after Somali pirates hijacked a commercial vessel earlier this month, VOA’s Somali service ran an uncritical interview with one of the pirates, titled, “Desperate fishermen?”

VOA Director Bennett proudly posted the reporter’s words to Facebook as if they were her own. “One of the men who seized an oil tanker off the Somali coast this week tells VOA he’s not a pirate,” she wrote. VOA later corrected the headline and toned down the laudatory tone of the piece after criticized on BBG Watch.

In December, VOA ran a long profile of a Turkish-born ISIS fighter who joined the jihad and died in Syria. Clearly intended to be a piece of showcase journalism, it was nothing less than the glorification of a terrorist.

On any given day, you can go to VOA websites and find example after example of shoddy journalism, fake news, misleading headlines, and slanted reporting.

VOA editors appear not to understand or not to care about the VOA charter, which also requires them to “present the policies of the United States clearly and effectively.” This mission has been dropped entirely.

U.S. taxpayers spend over $770 million/year on U.S. government broadcasting. This includes Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Marti, and other media outlets.

For most of her 75 years, the Voice of America has been a powerful tool in the war of ideas, showing by example the attractiveness of American openness, pluralism, compassion, and tolerance.

It’s time for President Trump to appoint new management, so she can be great again.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Daily Caller.

Why Is Trump Waging War on the Freedom Caucus? by Jeffrey A. Tucker

Why is Trump attacking the House Freedom Caucus? He has tweeted that “we must fight them.”

My first thought: this is inevitable. Destiny is unfolding before our eyes!

There is the obvious fact that the Freedom Caucus was the reason the GOP’s so-called replacement for Obamacare went down to defeat. They fought it for a solid reason: it would not have reduced premiums or deductibles, and it would not have increased access to a greater degree of choice in the health-insurance market.

These people knew this. How? Because there was not one word of that bill that enabled the health care industry to become more competitive. Competition is the standard by which reform must be judged. The core problem of Obamacare (among many) was that it froze the market in an artificial form and insulated it from competitive forces.At minimum, any reform must unfreeze the market. The proposed reform did not do that.

Bad Reform

That means the reform would not have been good for the American people. It would not have been good for the Republican Party. And then the chance for real reform – long promised by many people in the party – would have been gone.

Trump latched on to the proposal without understanding it. Or, other theories: he doesn’t care, he actually does favor universal coverage even if it is terrible, or he just wanted some pyrrhic victory even if it did nothing to improve the access.

The Freedom Caucus killed it. And I’m trying to think back in political history here, is there another time since World War Two that a pro-freedom faction of the Republican Party killed a bill pushed by the majority that pertained to such a large sector and dealt with such a hugely important program?

I can’t think of one.

What this signifies is extremely important. We might be seeing the emergence of a classically liberal faction within the GOP, one that is self consciously driven by an agenda that is centered on a clear goal: getting us closer to an ideal of a free society. The Caucus isn’t fully formed yet in an ideological sense, but its agenda is becoming less blurry by the day. (And please don’t call them the “hard right wing.”)The old GOP coalition included nationalists, militarists, free enterprisers, and social conservatives. The Trump takeover has strained it to the breaking point. Now the genuine believers in freedom are gaining a better understanding of themselves and what they must do.

For the first times in our lives! Even in our parents’ and grandparents’ lives!

The Larger Picture

Trump is obviously not a student of history or political philosophy, but he does embody a strain of thinking with a history that traces back in time. I discussed this in some detail here, here, and here, among many other places. The tradition of thought he inhabits stands in radical opposition to the liberal tradition. It always has. We just remain rather ignorant of this fact because the fascist tradition of thought has been dormant for many decades, and so is strangely unfamiliar to this generation of political observers.

So let us be clear: this manner of thinking that celebrates the nation-state, believes in great collectives on the move, panics about the demographic genocide of a race, rails against the “other” invading our shores, puts all hope in a powerful executive, and otherwise believes not in freedom but rather in compliance, loyalty, and hero worship – this manner of thinking has always and everywhere included liberals (or libertarians) as part of the enemy to be destroyed.

And why is this? Liberalism to them represents “rootless cosmopolitanism,” in the old Nazi phrase. They are willing to do business with anyone, move anywhere, and imagine that the good life of peace and prosperity is more than enough to aspire to in order to achieve the best of all possible worlds. They don’t believe that war is ennobling and heroic, but rather bloody and destructive. They are in awe of the creation of wealth out of simple exchanges and small innovations. They are champions of the old bourgeois spirit.To the liberal mind, the goal of life is to live well in peace and experience social and financial gain, with ever more alleviation of life’s pains and sufferings. Here is magic. Here is beauty. Here is true heroism.

The alt-right mind will have none of this. They want the clash, the war, the struggle against the enemy, big theaters of epic battles that pit great collectives against each other. If you want a hilarious caricature of this life outlook, no one does it better than Roderick Spode.

Natural Enemies

This is why these two groups can never get along politically. They desire different things. It has always and everywhere been true that when the strongmen of the right-Hegelian mindset gain control, they target the liberals for destruction. Liberals become the enemy that must be crushed.

And so it is that a mere few months into the presidency of this odd figure that the Freedom Caucus has emerged as a leading opposition. They will back him where they can but will otherwise adhere to the great principle of freedom. When their interests diverge, the Freedom Caucus will go the other way. It is not loyalty but freedom that drives them. It is not party but principle that makes them do what they do.To any aspiring despot, such views are intolerable, as bad as the reliable left-wing opposition.

Listen, I’m all for working with anyone to achieve freedom. When Trump is right (as he is on environmental regulation, capital gains taxes, and some other issues), he deserves to be backed. When he is wrong, he deserves to be opposed. This is not about partisanship. It is about obtaining freer lives.

But let us not languish in naïvete. The mindset of the right-wing Hegelian is not at all the same as a descendant of the legacy of Adam Smith. They know it. We need to know it too.

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey Tucker is Director of Content for the Foundation for Economic Education. He is also Chief Liberty Officer and founder of Liberty.me, Distinguished Honorary Member of Mises Brazil, research fellow at the Acton Institute, policy adviser of the Heartland Institute, founder of the CryptoCurrency Conference, member of the editorial board of the Molinari Review, an advisor to the blockchain application builder Factom, and author of five books. He has written 150 introductions to books and many thousands of articles appearing in the scholarly and popular press.

RELATED ARTICLE: GOP Repeal Bill Left Too Much of Washington Power Grab in Place

CONFIRMED: Department of State is going back to ‘normal refugee admission numbers’

Leo Hohmann at World Net Daily received word from a US State Department spokesperson that YES, as the HuffPo reported yesterday, the Administration is going to admit 900 refugees a week for the remainder of the fiscal year which ends September 30th.

As of yesterday, that would mean that 62,482 could be the expected total.  The average since 9/11 has been around 64,000.  (See all admission numbers since 9/11 here.)

So big deal! The Trump team would be admitting only a small number below the average of George Bush and Barack Obama years.  The Dems, the Open Borders Left, the contractors with fat salaries, the Chamber of Commerce and RINO big business lackeys are surely all jumping for joy.

Some have suggested that all we have is Donald Trump, so I need to tone it down.  You aren’t going to hear me making excuses for him.

He is either being rolled by the bureaucrats or he (or Tillerson) has been convinced that businesses need the cheap labor.  Either way, it doesn’t look good!

Fortunately, since no one pays me for my work and my writing, I don’t have to tone anything down!

Here is what Hohmann learned from a “State Department Spokesperson” yesterday:

The U.S. State Department is ramping up refugee admissions back to more normal levels after it had slowed to a trickle over the past month under President Donald Trump.

WND has confirmed through a State Department spokesperson that the administration is set to more than double the number of refugees arriving in U.S. cities from the current 400 per week to 900 per week.  [Frankly I was surprised that they were even bringing, or planned to bring 400 a week—ed]

On March 15 a federal judge, Derrick Watson in Hawaii, issued a nationwide injunction stopping the State Department from enforcing or implementing sections 2 and 6 of President Trump’s March 6 executive order. Section 6[b] lowers the cap on refugee arrivals to 50,000, down from the 110,000 level set by President Obama.

After the court’s ruling, which was upheld Wednesday by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, the cap reverts back to the Obama level of 110,000.

Consequently, the State Department continues to accept refugees and this includes scheduling travel for refugees who have been screened and are otherwise approved for travel.

“The Court Order issued on March 15 prohibits the enforcement or implementation of Section 6 of the EO,” the State Department spokesperson told WND. “Section 6 of the EO includes a cap on refugee admissions into the United States of 50,000 for FY 2017. In accordance with the Court Order, and consistent with both our operational capacity and our capacity under available funding, we have increased the current pace of refugee arrivals to approximately 900 individuals per week. ” [So this means they must have lots of your money still available (or is coming from Congress!) to spend on admitting refugees!—ed]

Do the math, this comes out to approximately 62,482!

….the 62,482 is not a historically low number. In fact, it’s just barely under the per-year average of 64,000 since 2002.

Continue reading here.

Do NOT believe the lie that they have to aim to bring in 110,000 refugees just because Obama set a ceiling for FY2107 for that number.  That was not a normal number. It was by far the highest ceiling Obama had ever proposed.

Bill Frelick

And, there is nothing MANDATORY about that number.  They are trying to fool us and the media!

I am repeating this section of a recent postThe contractors have been for decades trying to turn the President’s ceiling into a target to be achieved, now Trump is helping them do that!

Bill Frelick of Human Rights Watch: There is no requirement that the U.S. must admit a single refugee. 

…look at this chart (below) very carefully.   When I found it at Wrapsnet, the last year, 2016, was not complete.  (Know that we ultimately brought in just short of the 85,000 ceiling (a rare occurrence)).

The federal refugee resettlement contractors have long wanted the president’s ‘determination’ each year to be a GOAL (a target) not a CEILING! But, the law says it is a ceiling. Look at the column for CEILING and the column for the number actually admitted!

What do you see?  Rarely does the number admitted reach the CEILING.

In FY2006, they were 28,777 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue the President?
In FY2007, they were 21,718 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue the President?
In FY2008, they were 19,809 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue the President?
In FY2009, they were 5,346 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue the President?
In FY2010, they were 6,689 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue the President?
In FY2011, they were 23,576 below the CEILING.

Did anyone sue President Obama because he didn’t reach the ceiling? No!

In FY2012, they were 17,762 below the CEILING. Did anyone sue President Obama for leaving thousands “stranded in war-torn countries”? No!

You need to let the President know what you think.  Click here for the White House comment page. After you tell Donald Trump how disappointed you are, then be sure to let your voice be heard in the offices of your Member of Congress and U.S. Senators!

One last thing, even if the Justice Dept. has hopes of successfully appealing the rogue judge’s decisions on the USRAP ceiling, there is no reason that they must open overseas processing at this time and jerking a lot of people around all over the world!

This post is filed in our Trump Watch! category as well as ‘refugee statistics’ and ‘where to find information.’

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