Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham lead condemnation of foreign policy move that could prove ‘disaster in the making’Donald Trump with Mark Milley, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, in the Cabinet Room on Monday. Lindsey Graham said abandoning the Kurds would be ‘a stain on America’s honour’. Photograph: Carolyn Kaster/APDonald Trump was dangerously isolated on Monday as, in a rare rebuke, some of his most loyal allies revolted against his decision to withdraw US troops from north-eastern Syria.Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell led a chorus of Republicans who, having defended the president on almost every other issue – including over impeachment – decided to draw a line in the sand.“A precipitous withdrawal of US forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime,” McConnell said. “And it would increase the risk that Isis and other terrorist groups regroup.”He added: “As we learned the hard way during the Obama administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal.”The criticism was significant because McConnell is usually at pains not to cross Trump even at his most capricious. Last week the Kentucky senator released a Facebook video promising to stop Democratic-led impeachment in its tracks.Article 1 of the United States constitution gives the House of Representatives the sole power to initiate impeachment and the Senate the sole power to try impeachments of the president. A president can be impeached if they are judged to have committed "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors" – although the constitution does not specify what “high crimes and misdemeanors” are.The process starts with the House of Representatives passing articles of impeachment. A simple majority of members need to vote in favour of impeachment for it to pass to the next stage. Democrats currently control the house, with 235 representatives.The chief justice of the US supreme court then presides over the proceedings in the Senate, where the president is tried, with senators acting as the jury. For the president to be found guilty two-thirds of senators must vote to convict. Republicans currently control the Senate, with 53 of the 100 senators.Two presidents have previously been impeached, Bill Clinton in 1998, and Andrew Johnson in 1868, though neither was removed from office as a result. Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before there was a formal vote to impeach him.Martin BelamThe unusual fracture emerged on Sunday night when, shortly after a phone conversation between Trump and Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the White House announced removal of US troops from the Syria-Turkey border area. “Turkey will soon be moving forward with its long-planned operation into Northern Syria,” it added.Critics of all political stripes have long feared that the move could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area. Kurdish groups have fought alongside a small US presence in Syria to drive Islamic State militants from the region.The Republican backlash was rapid and potentially unnerving for a president whose fate is tethered to the party and the assumption that it will acquit him in the Senate if, as widely expected, the Democratic-led House of Representatives votes for impeachment.Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, who has become an outspoken defender (and frequent golf partner) of Trump, did not acquiesce this time. Abandonment of the Kurds would be “a disaster in the making”, he said, and “a stain on America’s honour”.Graham told Fox News: “I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is. I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”Graham wrote on Twitter that if the plan goes ahead, he will introduce a Senate resolution opposing it and seeking reversal of the decision. He added: “We will introduce bipartisan sanctions against Turkey if they invade Syria and will call for their suspension from NATO if they attack Kurdish forces who assisted the US in the destruction of the ISIS Caliphate.”Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House, whose attempts to defend Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president have provoked mockery, said: “If you make a commitment and somebody is fighting with you, America should keep their word.”Michael McCaul of Texas, the lead Republican on the House foreign affairs committee, also urged the president to reconsider. “The United States should not step aside and allow a Turkish military operation in north-east Syria,” he said. “This move will undermine our ongoing campaign to prevent an Isis resurgence and will ultimately threaten our homeland.“Additionally, the United States needs to stay engaged to prevent further destructive involvement in the region from our adversaries like the Assad regime, Putin and Iran.”Notably, senator Marco Rubio of Florida, reluctant to criticise Trump even when the president suggested that China investigate former vice president and 2020 election rival Joe Biden, was clear , describing the retreat as “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria”And Nikki Haley, Trump’s former UN ambassador, admonished Trump without mentioning his name. “We must always have the backs of our allies, if we expect them to have our back,” she tweeted. “The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake. TurkeyIsNotOurFriend”Ominously for Trump, even conservative Fox News aired dissent. Host Brian Kilmeade described the pullout as “a disaster”, telling viewers of Fox & Friends: “Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?”Republicans who have contradicted Trump before did so forcefully again. Utah senator Mitt Romney described Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal”, adding: “It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster.”Romney and Democratic senator Chris Murphy issued a joint statement insisting Trump’s administration “explain to the American people how betraying an ally and ceding influence to terrorists and adversaries is not disastrous for our national security interests”.Democrats also piled in but there was a lone voice of support for the president on Capitol Hill. Republican senator Rand Paul, long a critic of foreign intervention, said: “So many neocons want us to stay in wars all over the Middle East forever. [Trump] is absolutely right to end those wars and bring the troops home.”Trump himself was undeterred by the blowback. Speaking at the White House on Monday, he said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republican critics. And added: “People are extremely thrilled because they say it’s time to bring our people back home. We’re not a police force. They’re policing the area. We’re not a police force. The UK was very thrilled at this decision … many people agree with it very strongly.”
|Cache||In a rare show of bipartisanship, the top lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on Monday condemned President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, which could open the way for a Turkish strike on Kurdish-led fighters in the area.|
|Cache||1871 The Great Chicago Fire starts, supposedly when a cow kicks over a lantern in a barn. Most of the city is razed. 1908 The House of Representatives conducts a fresh ballot on possible sites for the federal capital, supporting Yass-Canberra, 39 to...|
House of Representatives seeks leave from SCOTUS to file amicus brief in Seila Law; Seila Law files reply brief with SCOTUSCache
|House amicus brief. The House of Representatives has filed a motion seeking leave to file an amicus brief in support of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Seila Law. While acknowledging that the deadline for filing amicus briefs has passed, the House notes that a timely amicus brief would have been due the day after the House received the CFPB’s letter announcing that it would no longer defend its constitutionality in the appellate courts or before the Supreme Court. In the amicus brief it seeks to file, the House argues that Seila Law’s cert petition should be denied because there is no circuit split and the Ninth Circuit’s decision upholding the CFPB’s constitutionality is correct. It further states that if the court were to grant the petition and rule that the CFPB’s structure is unconstitutional, the proper remedy would be to sever the CFPA’s for-cause removal provision. Since the DOJ and CFPB are not defending…|
|Cache||Capitol Hill As the year’s legislative calendar winds down, a large new infrastructure spending program with dedicated funding for broadband appears dead. Attention now is on smaller but important pieces of bi-partisan broadband legislation such as the Secure and Trusted Communications Act, introduced in the House of Representatives on September 24. The bill would prohibit the use of federal funds to purchase communications equipment or services that pose a national security risk, and appropriates $1 billion for the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC” or the “Commission”) to establish a $1 billion “Secure and Trusted Communications Reimbursement Program” to assist small communications providers in removing and replacing compromised equipment (so-called “rip and replace”). Broadband mapping also continues to be a focus with a number of bills circulating in both the House and Senate. Congress has…|
One of the darkest refrains of the Trump presidency have been the crowds at his rallies chanting "Lock her up" at the mention of Hillary Clinton's name.
The idea that an American president would threaten to imprison a political rival smacks of authoritarian tactics that have no place in a democracy.
These days, the chants seem rather ironic being that Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives for trying to extort the president of Ukraine. If Trump is removed from office, he may face legal consequences for his actions which could mean jail time.
"The Late Show" host Stephen Colbert had fun with the idea of Trump being locked up on his show Monday night when his guests were former Secretary of State Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea.
At the start of the interview, Colbert asked Clinton about the impeachment inquiry saying, "Is it time to — dare I say — lock him up?"
Then the crowd began chanting "Lock him up" to Clinton's chagrin and then she motioned with her hand to tamp down the chanting.
When the crowed quieted, Clinton said that the impeachment inquiry is "exactly what should be done."
"I believe strongly that this particular incident has had such a huge impact because we've known for a long time that he [Trump] was a corrupt businessman who cheated people, and we've known that he and his campaign asked for aid from Russia, we've known that," said Clinton.
"But to see him in the office of the president putting his own personal and political interest ahead of the national security of our country just pierced through whatever confusion or denial people had. And, at that point, Speaker Pelosi rightly said this is something we have to investigate and that's what's going on."
Colbert admits that Trump's dealings with Ukraine have changed his opinion on impeachment.
"I was never a big 'let's impeach him' fan," Colbert said. "I thought we should go to the ballot box. But when someone is clearly using the office that they're in to subvert the ballot box. To use by corrupt means influence fro other countries to maintain their office, what good is that ballot box at that point?"
Clinton knows about impeachment. Her husband was impeached in 1998 and, as a young lawyer, she worked on the case against Richard Nixon. She believes that Trump's actions are exactly what the framers of the Constitution were defending against.
"To undermine the oath that he took to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people that's what falls right into the definition of an impeachable offense," she said.
Colbert also asked Clinton's thoughts on current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was on the call when President Trump attempted to extort the president of Ukraine.
"How many times when you were Secretary of State did you have to say to Barack Obama 'You can't extort foreign countries'?
"Yeah, that never happened," Clinton laughed.
|Cache||"On behalf of hard-working Hoosiers...let's give Americans real relief at the pump."
Contact: Matt Lloyd, 202-226-4379, mikepence.house.gov
WASHINGTON, March 1, 2012 /Standard Newswire/ -- U.S. Congressman Mike Pence spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives regarding the high price of gas. His remarks are below:
Click here to view the video
"There are a lot of issues being debated here in our nation's Capitol, but Hoosiers are talki Source: Congressman Mike Pence|
|Cache||The Judiciary Committee of the US House Of Representatives has sought information from Spotify regarding the formal complaint it filed earlier this year with the European Union against its big rival Apple. According to Reuters, Congress members have approached Spotify as part of their ongoing investigation into allegations of anti-competitive conduct that have been levelled […]|
OHIO VALLEY — Ohio House of Representatives Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) announced Monday that Jason C. Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) has been selected by the House Majority Caucus to represent the 93rd House District, which includes Gallia and Jackson counties, most of Lawrence County and part of Vinton County. Stephens will replace Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell), who […]
|Cache||The U.S. House of Representatives just passed the disastrous and dishonestly titled Equality Act that if passed into law will not merely gut First Amendment protections but effectively ban Christianity and any other religions that teach that homoerotic acts and cross-sex impersonation are immoral. This proposal (H.R. 5) passed Friday afternoon by a vote of […]|
For only the fourth time in U.S. history, the House of Representatives has started a presidential impeachment inquiry. House committees are trying to determine if President Donald Trump violated his oath of office by asking a foreign country to investigate a political opponent.
Here's a quick summary of the latest ...
Incoming Tennessee State House Rep London Lamar Busted Calling Residents ‘Racist’, GOP Voters ‘Uneducated’Cache
|In a racist rant, a Tennessee Democrat newly elected to the House of Representatives has said the state is racist and most residents who voted Republican are uneducated. Democrat London Lamar, who ran uncontested in House District 91, posted the now deleted video last week. “Tennessee’s racist. Period. Period. Like, Tennessee is racist.” “Most of the […]|
The US Department of Justice has an open antitrust investigation into Apple and other major tech companies. In the latest development, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has asked Spotify for information on the alleged anticompetitive practices that the company previously leveled at Apple.
The post DOJ asks Spotify for details on its complaints against Apple for antitrust case appeared first on 9to5Mac.
The current whirligig comes 21 years after the last impeachment attempt against a sitting president - Bill Clinton. The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts of 1990 and 1993 increased taxes and limited government spending. These created a budget surplus and an expanded economy. Bill Clinton survived impeachment challenges because he delivered a Goldilocks economy, an analogy to the Goldilocks and three bears story, where the microwave was serving the porridge for one and all. The economic policies of Bill Clinton, referred to by some as Clintonomics. In proposing a plan to cut the deficit, Clinton submitted a budget and corresponding tax legislation overseeing a very robust economy during his tenure. The US had strong economic growth (around 4 per cent annually) and record job creation (22.7 million).
As luck would have it, it was on this day 21 years earlier that the impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated on October 8, 1998, when the United States House of Representatives voted to commence impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors", which were subsequently detailed in two articles of impeachment.
Wherever one goes in DC, a city of intrigue in the normal course, there is heightened conversation over President Trump's impeachment process. On Dassehra day back home, tension and suspicion play out in equal parts as the White House blocked EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's Ukraine deposition to Congress. Trump has refused to allow Sondland's testimony because he thinks it will be a kangaroo court which will take a view on the matter. Calling it strong evidence of obstruction, his rivals have been baying for his blood. Further, the plan not to reveal additional text messages has come as a bigger damper. This came against the backdrop of the subpoena to Trump lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, for Ukraine documents. Democrats have requested information from three Rudy Giuliani associates - Lev Parnas, a Ukrainian-American businessman who worked with Giuliani; Igor Fruman, a business partner of Parnas; and Semyon "Sam" Kislin, a former aide to Giuliani. Lawmakers are also warning they will subpoena the associates if they do not comply with their requests for documents and depositions.
And as if all this tension wasn't enough, Trump's decision to pull the plug on US forces in Syria blindsided the capital and all its players. Trump's growing aggression is seen typical of his persona as he now goes after ex-insider, veep Joe Biden. While Trump is cognisant of polls, impeachment is not a winner, the dynamic of change is rapidly taking root.
On December 19, 1998, Clinton became the second American president to be impeached (the other being Andrew Johnson who was impeached in 1868), when the House formally adopted the articles of impeachment and forwarded them to the US Senate for adjudication. The trial in the Senate began in January 1999 with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. On February 12, Clinton was acquitted on both counts as neither received the necessary two-thirds majority vote of the senators present for conviction and removal from office - in this instance 67. On Article One, 45 senators voted to convict while 55 voted for acquittal. On Article Two, 50 senators voted to convict while 50 voted for acquittal. Consequently, Clinton remained in office for the balance of his second term.
As Trump remains surrounded, Democrats were taken by surprise with key witness Sondland being pulled out as they believe that a massive cover up has been initiated. With sands shifting, punters still aver that Trump will survive this catechism.
Non-remittance of Funds: Reps C’ttee threatens legal action against oil companies.
The House of Representatives has called on major oil companies in Nigeria to ensure the...
The post Non-remittance of Funds: Reps Committee threatens legal action against oil companies appeared first on The Express News.
Democrats in the House of Representatives have launched an investigation into “ghost reservations” at Trump’s hotels. These “ghost reservations” are when a client books and pays for a room or space, and then never actually shows up to use it. Democrats believe this is being done at his hotels by foreign nationals and domestic groups […]
The post Trump Facing MAJOR New Investigation Regarding His Hotel Chain appeared first on The Ring of Fire Network.
|Cache||Updated 9:50 a.m. ET The Trump administration has blocked Gordon Sondland, President Trump's ambassador to the European Union, from testifying before Congress on Tuesday. Sondland has been a key figure in the widening Ukraine scandal involving the president, members of his Cabinet and high-ranking diplomats. "Early this morning, the U.S. Department of State directed Ambassador Gordon Sondland not to appear today for his scheduled transcribed interview before the U.S. House of Representatives Joint Committee," the law firm representing Sondland said in a statement. "Ambassador Sondland had previously agreed to appear voluntarily today, without the need for a subpoena, in order to answer the Committee's questions on an expedited basis. As the sitting U.S. Ambassador to the EU and employee of the State Department, Ambassador Sondland is required to follow the Department's direction." The statement described Sondland as "profoundly disappointed" and noted that he traveled from Brussels to|
The Deep State
From the time of the campaign all the way until now, the president has been under repeated attacks from elements of America’s intelligence agencies, including the CIA and FBI. Many of the people, like Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe, and Strzok, have been removed. But there are still many more who have not been identified and “weeded out.”
The president has appointed various people he was told would clean house. Former Indiana Sen. Dan Coats, an old friend of mine, was named director of national intelligence. But he quickly became a mouthpiece for the agency he was running rather than a reformer of the agency. Thanks for nothing, Dan.
Early in his administration, a CIA official resigned and wrote an op-ed in The Washington Post lambasting the president. He was promptly hired to be a commentator for NBC News. More recently, an intelligence analyst at the State Department used his resignation to make a big splash in the news.
The current controversy reportedly originated with an employee at the CIA. The current head of the CIA is Gina Haspel, a career officer and the first woman to lead the CIA.
The president was told, and we were all told, that she was the ultimate professional who would not tolerate any nonsense. Clearly, she needs to call in all agency supervisors and review the rules regarding their involvement in partisan politics.
It is worth remembering that even before the inauguration, then President-elect Trump was expressing his frustration with the intelligence community. At the time, Senate Democrat Leader Chuck Schumer bragged to Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
If this abuse of our intelligence agencies cannot be ended, then the globalists have won and we have lost the country. I pray and still believe that is not true. But the jury is still out.
Why Cats Pay a Lower Price for CAT Scans
Once a year, I bring my ill-tempered three-legged tabby cat (named Hopper) to the veterinarian. No one ever has a good time or particularly enjoys the cacophony of hisses, growls, and whiny meows. All the same, I can’t help but feel an “Alice in Wonderland” sort of feeling while talking to my feline’s healthcare providers. Most procedures and medical tests for our furry friends are the same as ours. But unlike the human healthcare system, prices are transparent and upfront in pet care. While no one likes hearing that Fifi’s surgery will cost $600, having costs out in the open keeps prices tethered to reality and under control. Lawmakers can throw patients everywhere a (figurative) bone by opening healthcare markets to competition and encouraging price transparency.
When most owners bring their furry nincompoops to the veterinarian, insurance simply isn’t a part of the conversation because nearly 2 million cats and dogs are covered by insurance policies in the U.S., compared to more than 180 million cats and dogs owned in total.
Compare this less-than-2 percent coverage rate for our pets to the predominance of human health insurance. Around 90 percent of Americans have health insurance, with most plans covering at least some routine doctors’ visits and predictable expenses such as medications. Americans pay even less money out-of-pocket for medical care (as a percentage of expenditures) than most of their Canadian and European (i.e. Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden) counterparts.
When the government and/or insurers are footing the bill, providers have little reason to disclose prices. Patients asking a doctor’s office or hospital for the price of, say, a CAT scan or an appendectomy will probably be stonewalled. With no price transparency and other people paying the bills, costs skyrocket out of control and healthcare expenditures climb far in excess of the rate of inflation. From 2008 to 2018, healthcare prices in the U.S. climbed 21.6 percent while prices for goods and services overall grew by 17.3 percent (measured by GDP deflator).
But not so in the pet healthcare sector, where consumers are exposed to price and veterinarians have a real incentive to keep costs low. Because pet insurance accounts for such a tiny sliver of the veterinary healthcare market, the prices that they pay for claims reflects prices that consumers are willing to pay rather than the third-party driven “prices” of the human healthcare market. For the past several years, Nationwide’s pet health insurance division has partnered with Purdue University researchers to track trends in pet insurance payouts. The researchers track a “basket” of the most commonly-utilized procedures to see how the typical veterinary visit has changed in price over time. According to their research, these ordinary expenses declined by 6 percent from January 2009 to December 2017 after adjusting for inflation.
This decrease is corroborated by less reliable sources, such as the American Pet Products Association (APPA) annual consumer spending surveys. For virtually every year tracked (accessible via web archive), cat and dog owners reported spending less money on average routine and surgical visits. The data is jumpier than the Nationwide and Purdue rigorous analysis of 30 million insurance claims but confirms an interesting – and counterintuitive – trend. In a system where consumers and patients’ “representatives” have enough skin in the game, healthcare prices behave like they would in most other markets.
There are, of course, differences between pet and human healthcare. Owners are far less likely to spend money treating Fluffy for cancer than they would for their own chemotherapy treatments. All the same, prices continue to decline in real terms as a rapidly growing percentage of pet owners regard their companions as members of the family and worthy of medical care. As these numbers increase further, policymakers should take notice and keep tabs on price trends. Perhaps increasing consumer exposure to prices and empowering them to pay medical expenses directly via Health Savings Accounts would lead to the same declining prices seen in the veterinary world.
I’m not sure what medical surprises await Hopper in the next few years, but prices are all but guaranteed to come up for discussion in future vet visits. This norm may be unpleasant, but it sure seems to keep costs under control. Humans and their pets can benefit from a price structure that encourages competition and cost control.
Enough with Existential Crises
BY STEPHEN KRUISER
I think we can trace most of modern American society's ills back to when men decided to start hugging. OK, a lot of it can go back to when women began watching football too, but I'll try to maintain some focus here.
I remember the first time I got a man hug and I wasn't at a funeral, which used to be the only events at which they were acceptable. I knew that some sort of testosterone-based Pandora's box had been opened.
The next thing I knew, everyone had feelings and the Super Bowl became less about football and more about making the womenfolk happy with seven-hour-long halftime concerts.
Now I hug a lot, but only because people don't expect it from me and I know it makes them uncomfortable.
Back in 2015 and 2016 when I was -- to put very mildly -- a Trump skeptic, I did keep telling people that I didn't think he posed an existential threat to the Republic. I'm a grown-up who has been through too many false apocalyptic political narratives to fall for them anymore.
In yesterday's Briefing, we looked at the first installment of a full-court press by the media to woo Republicans to getting behind impeachment. The plea was a predictable one: Trump must be removed from office or the country that survived a civil war, the Soviet Union, and the heresy of New Coke will cease to exist.
That press picked up speed on Monday, with various "save the country" pleas to Republicans -- specifically GOP senators -- to save the country.
When they're not making their prom pitches to Republicans with grandiose visions of saving the country, the MSM and Democrats are concern trolling for the future of the GOP.
Jeff Flake -- my least favorite former senator -- wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that worried about Republicans' "souls."
Nobody's soul is at stake, especially the GOP's.
The future of the United States is most certainly not in danger because of anything the president is doing. The hysteria is more boring than agitation-inducing at this point.
Look around you. The world isn't ending. The United States isn't in its death throes. The baseball season is ending and that is sad, but we can work through it.
I'm dismissive of my political opponents these days because they're more in need of diapers than careful consideration of their opinions.
My good friend, Ricochet Editor-In-Chief Jon Gabriel, summed it up rather nicely on Monday:
Impeachment has been the left’s goal since December 2016 — before Trump took office. Ukraine is just another bite of the apple after the Mueller report failed so spectacularly.
The media hysteria over Ukraine feels a lot like the recent Greta hysteria. There’s no time to absorb facts, discuss options, or weigh pros and cons. We need to act now or else!
Hysteria is a poor strategy. It didn’t work for climate change or Kavanaugh or the many other panics we’ve been subjected to since Trump took office. How Trump’s detractors think this will end well is beyond me.
That's just it: they don't think. They feel. When that's all you do, everything is the end of the world.
And when everything is the apocalypse, nothing is the apocalypse.
Feds paid $1 billion in Social Security benefits to individuals without a SSN
The Social Security Administration paid $1 billion in benefits to individuals who did not have a Social Security Number (SSN), according to a new audit.
The agency’s inspector general found errors in the government’s documentation for representative payees, otherwise known as individuals who receive retirement or disability payments on behalf of another person who is incapable of managing the benefits themselves.
The audit released Friday found thousands of cases where there was no SSN on file.
Over the last decade, the agency paid $1 billion to 22,426 representative payees who "did not have an SSN, and SSA had not followed its policy to retain the paper application."
“Furthermore, unless it takes corrective action, we estimate SSA will pay about $182.5 million in benefits, annually, to representative payees who do not have an SSN or paper application supporting their selection,” the inspector general said.
The inspector general also found the agency paid $853.1 million in benefits since 2004 to individuals who had been terminated as representative payees by the agency.
Impeachment Coup and Civil War?
Donald Trump shared a warning from Pastor Robert Jeffress about a "Civil War-like fracture" given that Democrats are, again, undertaking what has all the markings of a coup d'état to remove him from office. The point was to assert that using deep-state operatives to overthrow a presidency is tantamount to insurrection.
Jeffress said, "Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats can't put down the impeachment match. They know they couldn't beat [Trump] in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, and they're increasingly aware of the fact that they won't win against him in 2020, and impeachment is the only tool they have to get rid of Donald Trump. And the Democrats don't care if they burn down and destroy this nation in the process."
In fact, he continued, "I don't pretend to speak for all Evangelicals, but this week I have been traveling the country and I've literally spoken to thousands and thousands of evangelical Christians. I have never seen them more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this president from office — overturn the 2016 election and negate the votes of millions of evangelicals in the process. And they know that the only impeachable offense President Trump has committed was beating Hillary Clinton in 2016. That's the unpardonable sin for which the Democrats will never forgive him." Jeffress predicted, "If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office, I'm afraid it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which this country will never heal."
Democrats have only two things to offer in 2020: socialist redistribution of wealth by way of an endless list of "free" stuff in return for votes, and impeachment to appeal for votes from those suffering severe Trump Derangement Syndrome. And, on top of that, they are openly proposing to confiscate guns. Unfortunately, these combined threats to Liberty make the reference to "civil war" relevant.
Australia Foreign Minister says helping White House probe in national interest
Australia’s offer to help U.S. President Donald Trump investigate a report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was in the national interest, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.
The New York Times on Monday reported Trump had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help investigating the origins of what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Trump in the 2016 national elections.
A spokesperson for Morrison on Tuesday said the prime minister had agreed to help, drawing criticism from Australia’s opposition Labor party.
But Payne said cooperating with Australia’s closest ally was prudent. “We are working in Australia’s interests and we are working with our closest and most important ally,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We should assist them as we can, we should ensure that assistance is appropriate and that’s what we’re doing.”
Trump is under mounting pressure amid an impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into reports that he sought to influence foreign governments to go after his political adversaries.
The Democratic-led House began the inquiry last week after a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in proposed aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.
Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in the 2020 election.
The Mueller report was triggered in part by former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer.
Downer was allegedly told in 2016 by George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign aide, that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
Downer reported the details of the conversation, which Papadopoulos denies, to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.
GIULIANI SUBPOENAED: "Democrats on Monday subpoenaed Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer who was at the heart of Trump's efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden's family. ... With Congress out of session for observance of the Jewish holidays, Democrats moved aggressively against Giuliani, requesting by Oct. 15 'text messages, phone records and other communications' that they referred to as possible evidence. They also requested documents and depositions from three of his business associates." (Associated Press)
HONG KONG BATTLEFIELD: "Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at pro-democracy protesters throwing petrol bombs in the Asian financial hub on Tuesday as its Chinese rulers celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic. ... The South China Morning Post and television reports said at least one person was wounded in the chest by police firing live rounds." (Reuters)
MANUFACTURING CONTRACTION CONTINUES: "A gauge of U.S. manufacturing slumped to the lowest level in more than 10 years in September as exports dived amid the escalated trade war. The U.S. manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index from the Institute for Supply Management plunged to 47.8% in September, the lowest since June 2009, marking the second consecutive month of contraction. Any figure below 50% signals a contraction." (CNBC)
For more blog postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in). GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.
Email me here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or here (Personal). My annual picture page is here
Why the Democrats Have Gone Insane
Impeach! Impeach, they say! If only he were Buckingham, they would take off his head as well. Trump has become the Democrats' version of Richard III, if he wasn't already. (Okay, he was.)
They even moved to open an impeachment "inquiry" (whatever that means -- a little bit chicken, if you ask me -- they've been doing it for the last three years anyway) after Trump announced he was making his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky public Wednesday in unredacted form. And now he's announcing the whistleblower's complaint, whatever hand it is -- second, third, who knows? -- will be released later in the week. Talk about a reckless jumping of the gun on the Democrats' parts. This reeks of outright panic.
So what's really going on here? Why have the Democrats, to put it bluntly, gone berserk? Why are they risking a backlash of cosmic proportions (other than appeasing their psychotically-inflamed base, of course)?
One, distraction. They live in absolute fear of the coming revelations about the Russia probe, from Inspector General Horowitz but even more from the DOJ's John Durham, who can actually put people in jail. The Dems know -- if they have a brain (and a few do) -- these revelations are likely to point up the line at the leaders of the Democratic Party all the way to President Obama. They were all involved to one degree or another with illegally spying on or undermining Trump and his administration and supporters before and after the election. The extent of this we are only beginning to understand.
Pelosi Makes It Official: Democrats Are Impeaching Trump
To put it mildly, not good. Whether you call this treason is up to you, but you can be sure Middle America (i.e. those elusive independent voters) will not appreciate it.
But there's something worse -- and Pelosi's knows it. The only hope for Democrats to defeat Trump is, remote and quixotic as it may be, impeachment. In the midst of the current brouhaha, Joe Biden -- their great (alas white male) hope -- is being exposed as not just a senile plagiarist, but a senile, corrupt plagiarist with a freaky family out of a Southern gothic novel with tentacles reaching into China and Ukraine. Again, not good.
Unfortunately, the rest of the Dems have tacked so far to the left that they wouldn't be able to win an election in Shenyang. Sanders, speaking of senility, is almost risible. He wants to restrict population for reasons of "climate change" when every one of the myriad social programs he so vehemently urges depends on strong continued population growth for economic survival, irrespective of taxes. (Is he that stupid? I don't think so. He's just a liar.)
As for his somewhat subtle clone, Ms. Warren, her proposals are if anything more extreme because she fails to acknowledge (though Colbert did his best to encourage her) that they are going to cost a ton of taxpayer money that approaches national bankruptcy. Even taxing the rich at one hundred percent won't come near supporting her ideas. Wait until Trump gets ahold of that.
So for the Democrats, trouble ahead, trouble behind. Ergo, impeachment.
Of course it will never happen. (Pelosi knows that too. That's why she never held a congressional vote on this "inquiry.") And indeed the whole spectacle might be amusing in a macabre sort of way if there weren't important things going on in the world. The president is engaged in negotiations of tremendous significance with the Chinese and trying to neuter as much as possible the violent mullahs of Iran, but the Democrats don't care. In fact, they would prefer he fail, and seem to be doing everything in their power to make it so. To call that un-American is an understatement. Actually, it's despicable and deeply immoral, not just for the citizens of this country, but for the world. What children!
Kamala Harris, Dianne Feinstein Fight to Keep Gay Trump Nominee Off 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
The Washington Blade, an LGBT news outlet, reports that Donald Trump has tried two times "to confirm a gay U.S. prosecutor to a federal appeals court despite objections from Sen. Kamala Harris over his qualifications for a lifetime judicial appointment."
Patrick Bumatay is a gay Filipino serving as a U.S. attorney in Southern California. He was put on a list of six individuals intended for nominations to the federal bench by the Trump administration.
Bumatay has been nominated to serve on the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. If confirmed, he would become the highest-ranking gay judge serving a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.
Bumatay's nomination has been stymied by objections from both Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D-Calif.). This disagreement led to the president removing Bumatay's nomination for the Ninth Circuit and nominating him for a seat on the U.S. District Court in Southern California instead. However, when U.S. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski left the Ninth Circuit Court because of sexual misconduct allegations that included showing pornography to employees in his chambers, the president nominated Bumatay again.
Washington Blade reports that Harris has decided, once again, to fight Bumatays nomination saying,
"Once again, the president has put forth a highly flawed nominee to the Ninth Circuit, without the support of California’s senators. I first objected to Mr. Bumatay after his initial nomination to the Ninth Circuit a year ago and again raised concerns about his qualifications and fitness when he was nominated for the district court...A nominee for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench must demonstrate exceptional skill, professionalism and respect for the principle of equal justice under law. Mr. Bumatay does not meet this standard. Mr. Bumatay has a troubling prosecutorial record, lacks the requisite experience, and has drawn criticism from members of California’s legal community, across party lines. It is clear that he lacks the judgment and qualifications to serve on the Ninth Circuit."
The Washington Blade requested specific examples of Bumatay's unfitness for the job from Harris's office. No word on when or if Harris will respond.
“Left Wing Obsession” Leads New York Times To Libel Supreme Court Justice Kavanaugh With Fake News Headline
In a brazen smear, the once respected paper has published another rape accusation without interviewing the accuser – who now denies the accusation
At least one New York Time reporter says “Every Single Person We Spoke to Said Kavanaugh Has Been a Great Person and an Exemplary Judge,” even as a key witness in Christine Blasey Fords’ congressional testimony says “I was told behind the scenes that certain things could be spread about me if I didn’t comply”
Leland Keyser, who Christine Blasey Ford said was a witness to when Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, now doubts that it ever happened. Meanwhile, The New York Times reporters who've written a new book about the Kavanaugh confirmation have blamed their editors for omitting a crucial fact (that the supposed female victim from the "new" accusation does not recall the alleged incident ever happening).
These events, and more, are unfolding as the US Congress is attempting to impeach Judge Kavanaugh and President Donald Trump. The entire Kavanaugh episode illustrates just how low the liberal political wing in America is willing to sink
Out-of-touch Democrats push destructive forced unionization bill
Since gaining control of the U.S. House, Democrats have clearly demonstrated that they are not fit to govern. While one might have assumed that gaining a bit of power would have caused them to behave more responsibly, that has not been the case at all. When Congressional Democrats are not busy ignoring the nation’s problems or scheming to overturn the result of the 2016 presidential election, they are pushing radical legislation that shows how just out-of-touch they are. Case in point, Democrats are supporting the Protecting the Right to Organize Act of 2019 forced unionization bill or PRO Act, which would empower and enrich union bosses while disempowering workers and killing jobs.
Here are a few of the PRO Act’s destructive provisions:
The legislation would essentially overturn Right to Work laws in more than two dozen states and force private sector workers to pay fees to a union – even if they adamantly oppose the union – just to keep their jobs.
It would force employers to hand over workers’ contact information, including home addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. Workers would have no choice in the matter, and union organizers could use this information to harass workers until they agreed to sign a union card.
It would expand the definition of employee to include more independent contractors thereby disrupting the gig economy and endangering jobs.
It would make national franchising companies, such as McDonald’s or Holiday Inn, responsible for the actions of employees of individual franchisees. This would disrupt the franchise industry and endanger more jobs as franchising companies sought to minimize their potential liability.
It would require that unionization elections occur quickly. By minimizing the amount of time that employers have to make their case against unionization – and the amount of time that undecided workers would have to make up their minds – unions gain an unfair advantage.
It would also impose harsher penalties on employers who violate the National Labor Relations Act while leaving the current penalties in place for unions who violate the same law.
Democrat support for the PRO Act is overwhelming. There are now 208 Democrat cosponsors of the House version of the bill, H.R. 2474. What that means is that over 87 percent of the House Democrat caucus supports the PRO Act. House cosponsors include House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, current presidential candidates Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), former presidential candidates Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) and Seth Moulton (D-MA), and over half of the supposedly centrist Blue Dog Caucus.
There are now 40 liberal Senate cosponsors: 39 Democrat and one Independent. In other words, over 87 percent of the liberal Senate caucus (which includes two Independents) supports this bill. Senate cosponsors include Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), current presidential candidates Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and former presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
The good news is that not one single Republican supports the disastrous PRO Act and that it will not be enacted this year or next; the bad news is that it could pass as soon as 2021, if the elections go poorly next year. Regardless of whether the legislation ever passes, the PRO Act shows that the Democrat Party has grown radical, and voters and donors need to accept this fact. In particular, investors and businesspeople need to recognize that these policies are bad for the economy. So even if they are liberal socially, they are voting or donating against their own interests when they choose to support them.
Overdue Tax Bill For Ocasio-Cortez’s Failed Business Remains Unpaid
Prominent Leftists don't have to obey the same rules as everyone elsde
A tax warrant against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s failed business venture remains open over six months after her office said the unpaid state taxes would be promptly paid back.
The state of New York issued a tax warrant in July 2017 against Brook Avenue Press, a Bronx-based children’s books publisher Ocasio-Cortez founded in 2012, for $1,618.36 in unpaid corporate taxes.
New York issues tax warrants against businesses if they “fail to timely resolve” their tax debt and don’t respond to notices of their debt, according to the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.
The New York Post first spotted the New York Democrat’s unpaid tax bill in early March. An Ocasio-Cortez spokesman told The Post at the time that it was the first they had heard of her business’s unpaid taxes and that the balance would be paid right away.
Former Ocasio-Cortez spokesman Corbin Trent told The Post her lawyers were looking into the matter in a March 23 story noting that the back taxes remained unpaid
Brook Avenue Press’s back taxes remain unpaid six months later.
The Bronx County Clerk confirmed in a phone call with the Daily Caller News Foundation Monday that the Brook Avenue Press tax warrant remains open and that a satisfaction of judgement has yet to be filed in the matter.
Ocasio-Cortez presumably has the means to pay off her business’s unpaid taxes with a congressional salary of $174,000.
Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.
New York state dissolved Ocasio-Cortez’s company in 2016 using a procedure reserved for corporations that fail to pay taxes for at least two years or fail to file tax returns.
Ocasio-Cortez reported she was the founder of Brook Avenue Press in her financial disclosure report filed with the House of Representatives in May.
As a member of Congress, Ocasio-Cortez has called for tax rates up to 70% on income earners at the “tippy tops” to fund her signature policy proposal, the Green New Deal, which would fully decarbonize the U.S. by 2030.
Ocasio-Cortez sang a different tune on taxes as a small business owner in 2012 when she came out in support of a bill that would provide tax deductions for business start-up costs.
“You don’t really make a profit in your first year,” Ocasio-Cortez told the now-defunct DNAinfo when she was trying to get Brook Avenue Press off the ground. “To get taxed on top of that is a real whammy.”
"BILLIONAIRES SHOULDN'T EXIST": "Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday rolled out his plan to levy an 'extreme wealth tax' on millionaires and billionaires, which he plans to enforce through the creation of a 'national wealth registry,'" National Review reports, which adds, "Sanders' annual tax on the top 0.1 percent would apply to Americans with a net worth of over $32 million, or about 180,000 households, and would raise approximately $4.35 trillion over the next decade, the Sanders campaign estimates. ... Under the plan, the IRS will be required to audit 30 percent of the top one percent's wealth tax returns and 100 percent for billionaires." The senator further groused on Twitter, "Billionaires should not exist." And socialism should?
THANKS, OBAMA: "Iran has spent more than $16 billion during the past several years to fund militant terrorists across the Middle East, cash that was repatriated to the Islamic Republic under the terms of the landmark nuclear deal, according to new disclosures from the Trump administration. As Iran's economy teeters on the brink of collapse under the tough sanctions regime imposed by the Trump administration, the Islamic Republic's authoritarian leadership has spent its limited cash reserves to bolster terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, as well as militant terrorists in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen." (The Washington Free Beacon)
FENTANYL SURGE: "The flow of the deadly narcotic fentanyl from China to the U.S. has surged despite President Trump's trade war with the communist county and President Xi Jinping's promise to crack down on the illicit trade. Customs and Border Protection agents have seized nearly 2,400 pounds of fentanyl this year through Aug. 31, enough to kill roughly 475 million people. That represents a nearly 32% increase from the same period last year. CBP's numbers represent a sliver of fentanyl flowing into the U.S. because U.S. authorities missed so much of it. China, the world's largest producer of fentanyl, accounts for 68% of the synthetic opioid's movement." (The Washington Times)
TURKEY'S NUCLEAR AMBITIONS: "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan hinted at an interest in acquiring nuclear weapons, telling the United Nations that it is unjust for the weapons to be possessed only by major powers. 'It bothers us like anyone else that the weapons of mass destruction are used as leverage in every crisis instead of their total elimination,' Erdoğan said Tuesday during the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly in New York. 'The position of nuclear power should either be forbidden for all or permissible for everyone.'" (Washington Examiner)
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|Cache||A group pushing for President Donald Trump's impeachment will launch a six-figure digital ad campaign on Tuesday, targeting vulnerable Republicans in the House of Representatives at a time polls show a growing percentage of Americans favor impeachment.|
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters announced a filing by the U.S. House of Representatives with the Supreme Court in support of the independence of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Consumer Bureau or CFPB). The House’s motion in the Seila Law v. CFPB case to file an amicus brief follows a recent announcement by CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger that the agency would no longer defend the constitutionality of the CFPB Director’s for-cause removal provision. The Trump Justice Department also urged the Supreme Court to consider the case in order to strike down the for-cause removal protection for the Director of this independent regulatory agency. The CFPB’s for-cause removal provision is designed to provide a degree of independence to the agency and to prevent the President from removing the CFPB Director at will.
“As part of comprehensive Wall Street reform, Congress established an independent cop on the beat to protect seniors, servicemembers, veterans, college students, and all consumers in America against the abusive and predatory financial marketplace practices that led up to the Great Recession,” said Speaker Pelosi. “By not defending the Consumer Bureau’s independence, the Trump Administration is choosing special interests over America’s consumers. As the lower courts have recognized in upholding the constitutionality of the for-cause provision, ‘Congress established the independent CFPB to curb fraud and promote transparency in consumer loans, home mortgages, personal credit cards, and retail banking.’ In the grip of President Trump, we have already seen the Consumer Bureau abandon its mission to protect the American people from unfair and predatory conduct.”
“The independence of the Consumer Bureau is essential to ensuring that the agency can operate as a tough regulator that stands up for consumers,” said Chairwoman Waters. “Despite previous court rulings that made it clear that the Consumer Bureau is constitutional and here to stay, Kathy Kraninger insists on working to undermine and politicize the agency at the expense of hardworking Americans. This is yet another example of a Trump Administration appointee working to undermine the mission of the agency they were appointed to lead. I am pleased that the House of Representatives has filed a motion before the Supreme Court in support of the independence of the Consumer Bureau. As Chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee, I will continue to defend the strong, independent structure of this agency to ensure it fulfills its important mission of protecting consumers as Congress intended.”
In May 2019, the House passed the Consumers First Act (H.R. 1500), legislation introduced by Chairwoman Waters to block the Trump Administration’s anti-consumer agenda and reverse their past efforts to undermine the mission of the Consumer Bureau.
Click here for the full text of the court filing.
The House of Representatives is determined to pass the 2020 Appropriation bill before the end of December, a member of the House, Mr Gudaji Kazaure (APC-Jigawa) has said. Kazaure gave this assurance in an interview on the sidelines of the presentation of the N10.33 trillion 2020 budget by President Muhammadu Buhari to the joint session […]
The post Reps will pass 2020 budget before December – Lawmaker appeared first on NEWSVERGE.
Trump Demands Vote As White House Rejects Democrats' "Constitutionally Invalid" Impeachment 'Inquiry'Cache
|Trump Demands Vote As White House Rejects Democrats' "Constitutionally Invalid" Impeachment 'Inquiry'
Tyler Durden Tue, 10/08/2019 - 17:35
The White House has implicitly moved to force Speaker Pelosi's hand to a formal vote by confirming in a letter that President Donald Trump and his administration won’t participate in the House impeachment inquiry, calling it unconstitutional and invalid, and framing it as an effort to “overturn the results of the 2016 election.”
White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote in the letter (full letter below) that:
While Pelosi claims that House committees have full authority to investigate, The White House disagrees, refusing to participate in any hearings or respond to subpoenas:
Because, simply put, no vote has been taken:
Thus forcing Pelosi and Schiff to put names to the impeachment farce (most notably those Democrats in swing districts) or the probe dies here - and the media-sponsored narrative with it.
We look forward to the response from the Democrats as yet another deep state coup fantasy crashes on the shores of constitutional reality (no matter what Chuck Todd says), even as top Democrats, as The Hill notes, have warned that the administration’s failure to comply with their requests could be cited as obstruction in future articles of impeachment.
Full Letter Below:
|Cache||Sean Duffy resigned from the House of Representatives to help his wife, television personality Rachel Campos-Duffy, care for their family.|
|Cache||President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani will not cooperate with the U.S. House of Representatives impeachment investigation and cannot imagine anyone in the Trump administration would work with Democrats leading the inquiry, the Washington Post reported on Tuesday.|