Category Archives: Current Political Affairs

“LIB FASCISM” – FAKE MORALITY AND GOVT GREED

Seattle attempts to impose morality with ridiculously high taxes on sugary drinks
rare.us

Seattle has decided to impose a 1.75 cent per ounce tax on all sugary beverages within the city with the hopes of raising a $15 million revenue stream that it will use for programs to help people “have better access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” as Seattle station KIRO 7 explains. The price of Gatorade Frost Variety Pack at Costco, usually $15.99, with the $10.34 tax, shot up to $26.33, leaving customers with sticker-shock.

There’s more than a few problems with the new tax scheme, which a sign right next to the Gatorade in Costco helpfully demonstrates.

As with all excise taxes, this one is easily avoided: customers can visit Costco stores in nearby Tukwila or Shoreline and skip paying the City of Seattle’s Sweetened Beverage Tax. Customers are less likely to make extra inconvenient trips if the price changes are barely noticeable–but with such a steep price change, many residents will likely take the extra trip.

Some are saying they will switch to diet soda instead, which city officials say is “the point,” according to KIRO7. “Not necessarily to switch to diet soda, but getting consumers to go for healthier options.”

The position the tax advocates take is oddly contradictory, as  Scott Drenkard of the Tax Foundation summarized on Twitter:

“First they interview people at the Costco who are rightfully shocked at how high prices on soda and sports drinks are now (they are almost doubled). Then they interview a public health advocate who says ‘that’s right! We want these prices to change people’s behavior and slow sales!’ Then they talk to the consumer, ‘think you’ll change your behavior, maybe even shop somewhere else?’ And she’s like, ‘ya the Tukwila store is close enough.’ Then they ask a city council member if this will hurt local [business], who says ‘there is no data’ suggesting that. Then the SAME public health advocate says that people won’t respond to price increases, shopping elsewhere because it isn’t ‘worth their while.”

If advocates are truly concerned about public health and want people to change their behavior by consuming sugarless beverages then the tax will indeed slow sales and hurt local businesses. It has to because that’s the only way it will actually induce people to lower their calories; assuming you believe that this model works.

But the government doesn’t actually want everyone to switch away from sugary drinks or it won’t be able to collect that $15 million it’s hoping for. That’s why using the tax code to punish or reward behavior is tragically short-sighted.

Government attempts to disincentive certain behavior often have subversive effects (beyond forcing people to take longer trips or purchase sugar-free brands.) The point of these policies is to drastically reduce usage; but while the pricing cuts demand, it also fuels smuggling and black markets.

A steep soda tax opens up the way for an illegal underground trade in soda. Before you laugh, realize that’s exactly the problem that arose in Philadelphia when similar taxes were introduced. In New York, these types of sin taxes led to stratospheric taxes on cigarettes, which buoyed an underground black market in “loosie” cigarettes. Tragically, police enforcement of the tax also led to the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, who died in police custody after allegedly resisting arrest.

His action, selling loose cigarettes, was only a crime because of these types of policies. Governments, including the City of Seattle, should avoid creating similar situations.

COMMENTS (605)

HERE IT IS! THE GREAT TAX DEAL

TAX REFORM BILL RECONCILED!

Both houses of Congress have passed and negotiated the outstanding differences.

GOP slashes rates, kills Obamacare penalty!

  • Lawmakers released the full text of the Republican leadership-backed tax cut Friday evening.
  • The Senate is expected to vote Monday and House is expected to vote Tuesday.
  • Top income tax rate drops to 37 per cent from 39.6.
  • Corporate tax rate slashed to 21 per cent from 35 per cent.
  • Estates worth up to $11.2 million shielded from federal taxes.
  • State and local tax deduction capped at $10,000 as in House bill.
  • New York and California lawmakers railed against the elimination of SALT.
  • Latest Senate version reduces taxes $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
  • Doubling of child tax credit and increase in standard deduction.
  • White House says bill simplifies ‘rigged and burdensome tax code’

Republicans released their long-awaited tax overhaul bill late Friday afternoon, drawing months of negotiations to a close and setting up a pair of final votes on Monday and Tuesday.

>President Donald Trump has promised to deliver tax relief as a Christmas present. He ran on a pledge of making it happen and the Republican Party is betting that voters flush with newfound money will reward them at the polls.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act creates seven new tax brackets, including a 37 per cent rate – down from 39.6 per cent – for top-end wage earners.

The new rates start at 10 percent,  to 12, 22, 24, 32, 35 and 37 per cent.

The bill also lowers the top corporate tax rate from 35 per cent to 21 per cent, the largest such reduction in U.S. history.

President Donald Trump has promised Americans a tax cut as a Christmas present and he’s betting that his base will support him even though the tax plan itself doesn’t poll well

DEATH TO OBAMACARE – Democrats are upset at a feature of the bill that repeals the Obamacare ‘individual mandate’ penalty, a tax paid by Americans who don’t buy medical insurance. This liberation from the extremely unpopular Democrat fascist imposition forced upon healthy younger taxpayers was nothing but a pyramid scheme to subsidize deadbeats and leeches – it was simply another Democrat “vote-buying scheme. “

The new tax formula changes the income levels where the tax rates would kick in, raising the top tier by about $30,000 so only those earning $500,000 or more would be in the top bracket.

A change to the deductibility of mortgage interest will limit it to the first $750,000 of new home loans.

And Americans who inherit property won’t have to pay estate taxes on the first $11.2 million. That’s double the current exemption.

Some tax breaks that were written out of early versions of the bill are back in.

Those include a deduction for medical expenses and an exemption for graduate school tuition waivers. Americans paying off student loans will still be able to deduct the interest.

A promised $10,000 deduction for income and property taxes paid to states, counties and cities is also included – a compromise that attracted the support of lawmakers from high-tax states like New York and California.

The bill includes an expanded child tax credit, a move calculated to win the support of last-minute holdout Marco Rubio,. a Florida Republican senator.

It also eliminates the tax penalty placed on Americans who don’t buy medical insurance required by Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has cautioned that this may lead to more Americans not buying insurance policies, which could then contribute to premium-hikes for those who do.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio became a ‘yes’ vote when lawmakers sweetened the pot for working families who claim a child tax credit

Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker surprised Washington on Friday by abandoning his opposition to the GOP’s $1.5 trillion tax reform bill

California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (center right, in blue) called the bill ‘awful’ and ‘one of the most irresponsible I’ve seen’

The White House said in a statement that ‘[b]y lowering tax rates, simplifying the rigged and burdensome tax code, and repealing the failed tax on lower- and middle-income households known as the Obamacare individual mandate, this legislation will grow our economy, raise wages, and promote economic competitiveness.’

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, said that ‘China is already worried about this tax bill, because they know it will make America more competitive and spur greater investment here in America. This legislation will bring real relief to the middle class by taking money out of Washington’s pocket and putting it into theirs.’

Democrats were predictably sour on the legislation; it will surely result in major cuts to their out-of-control wasteful spending.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein called the bill ‘awful’ and ‘one of the most irresponsible I’ve seen.’ She has never encountered a tax cut she would support because her husband Richard Bloom enriched their own bank accounts by exploitation of government waste.  It is reported that their net worth exceeds 100 million now, since their early endeavors as slum-lords in San Francisco.

‘In addition to driving up the deficit, it will increase health care premiums in the individual market by 10 percent each year, leave 13 million more Americans without health insurance and threaten to destroy a pristine section of the Alaskan wilderness.

‘I’m surprised anyone can call this a tax reform bill with a straight face,’ she said. ‘This is nothing more than a huge tax cut for big corporations and the rich, paid for by the middle class.’

Under the plan, however, Americans claiming the standard deduction instead of itemizing will have the benefit of a deduction that’s nearly doubled.

Republicans say that will result in millions of Americans filing a single-page tax return.

The final per-child tax credit will give families making up to $400,000 a year a $2,000 benefit per child.

WHAT’S IN THE FINAL TAX BILL?

  • Top income tax bracket has dropped to 37 per cent from 39.6 per cent
  • Other brackets are zero, 12, 22, 24, 32 and 35 per cent
  • ‘Standard’ deduction for non-itemizers nearly doubles
  • Interest is deductible only on the first $750,000 of new home mortgages
  • Only individuals making more than $500,000 and couples earning $600,000 are in the top bracket
  • Corporate tax rates drop from 35 per cent to 21 per cent
  • Deduction for medical expenses and student loan interest and an exemption for graduate school tuition waivers
  • Ends Obamacare tax penalty for failing to buy health insurance
  • Doubles child tax credit to $2,000 for families earning up to $400,000
  • $1,400 of child credit is refundable even for families that don’t pay any income tax
  • Doubles estate tax exemption to the first $11.2 million of inheritances
  • Opens a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling
    ‘Pass-through’ corporations can deduct 20 per cent of income
  • Elimination of corporate Alternative Minimum Tax
  • No repeal of Johnson Amendment barring churches and religious organizations from election activity

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has called the tax cut a years-long goal

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the legislation ‘will bring real relief to the middle class by taking money out of Washington’s pocket and putting it into theirs’

That doubles the child tax credit from the current maximum of $1,000 and makes it available to a greater number of middle- and upper-bracket families.

It would begin to phase out for families earning above $400,000. That’s down from a $500,000 cap in the original Senate measure, which passed earlier this month.

But it also benefits more working families by making it refundable, meaning even people who pay no tax would benefit.

Like all major legislation, there are pot-sweeteners inserted to win the support of hesitant legislators.

One, a carve-out for Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, will open a tiny fraction of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling.

The 19.6-million-acre refuge in northeastern Alaska is one of the most pristine areas in the United States and is home to polar bears, caribou, migratory birds and other wildlife.

Murkowski and other Republicans say drilling can be done safely with new technology, while ensuring a steady energy supply for West Coast refineries.

THE NEW RATES: A joint committee of House and Senate negotiators released this chart showing the personal income tax brackets for 2018, provided the bill becomes law

Small businesses organized as ‘pass-through’ corporations also get a break.

Most of these firms can write off 20 percent of their income tax-free, a change brought about by business groups and advocates including Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin.

Democrats are expected to vote in lockstep against the bill in both the House and Senate. Republicans hold 52 Senate seats and need 50 to pass the bill – plus the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Mike Pence.

While Rubio and Corker have said publicly that they will vote yes, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona are still undeclared.

Republicans will need Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Thad Cochran of Mississippi to return in order to muster enough votes for passage.

Both men have been away fighting illnesses.

One provision of the tax law would open up a tiny portion of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration

One thing the final bill does not include is a measure that Trump had promised to evangelical voters – the repeal of a law forbidding churches from endorsing candidates and engaging in other explicit politicking.

The 1954 Johnson Amendment also keeps churches, synagogues, mosques and other houses of worship from raising money for politicians unless they want to give up their federal tax-exempt status.

Trump pledged at the National Prayer Breakfast in February to ‘totally destroy’ the law.

The tax plan originally passed by the House included a repeal, but the Senate’s version did not. As lawmakers met to hammer out the differences, Democrats prevailed in stripping it out of the final compromise.

An analysis by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation showed that the bill would increase federal deficits by $1.46 trillion over 10 years.

But Republicans argue that economic growth resulting from changes in the tax code will more than make up for it.

Americans so far have been skeptical of a government promising tax cuts.

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Border Surge in November 2017

Illegal immigration on border surges back to Obama levels
www.washingtontimes.com

In this June 22, 2016, file photo, Border Patrol agent Eduardo Olmos walks near the secondary fence separating Tijuana, Mexico, background, and San Diego in San Diego. U.S. President Donald Trump will direct the Homeland Security Department to start building.

Illegal immigration across the Southwest border has surged back to Obama-era levels, according to the latest data released Friday that suggests the gains President Trump made early in his tenure have worn off.

Nearly 40,000 illegal immigrants were nabbed attempting to sneak in at the border in November, which was up about 12 percent compared to October, and more than twice the monthly numbers from March and April, when Mr. Trump touted his early accomplishments.

Perhaps just as worrisome for officials is the rise in families traveling together, which surged 45 percent last month, and unaccompanied minors traveling without parents, which rose 26 percent in November.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection called the rise an “uptick.”

The 39,006 people apprehended in November is still less than the previous two years, but is more than 2012, 2013 or 2014, signaling a return to Obama-era levels of illegal immigration on the border.

HOUSE PASSED! Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

Introduced in House (01/03/2017)

HR 38 – Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017

House vote final tally

Passed House vote  on 6-NOV-2017

This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.

A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence.

Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.

Constitutional Authority Statement

[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 1 (Tuesday, January 3, 2017)] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office

[www.gpo.gov]

By Mr. HUDSON:
H.R. 38.

Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant to the following:
The 2nd Amendment, which states that “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
[Page H47]

About Constitutional Authority Statements

On January 5, 2011, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Rule XII. Rule XII, clause 7(c) requires that, to be accepted for introduction by the House Clerk, all bills (H.R.) and joint resolutions (H.J.Res.) must provide a document stating “as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.”

COMMENTARY:  By M Souza

The anti-2nd Amendment Left –

Constitutional Authority Statement
[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 1 (Tuesday, January 3, 2017)] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] By Mr. HUDSON:
H.R. 38.
Congress has the power to enact this legislation pursuant
to the following:
The 2nd Amendment, which states that “A well regulated
militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the
right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be
infringed.”
[Page H47]

About Constitutional Authority Statements

On January 5, 2011, the House of Representatives adopted an amendment to House Rule XII. Rule XII, clause 7(c) requires that, to be accepted for introduction by the House Clerk, all bills (H.R.) and joint resolutions (H.J.Res.) must provide a document stating “as specifically as practicable the power or powers granted to Congress in the Constitution to enact the bill or joint resolution.

including the overwhelming majority of members of the Democrat Party – are frequent to extoll the righteous virtues of Federal law across all states: except in matters of Immigration and Firearms. For these two categories, federal authority doesn’t apply.

3 MEDIA SCREW-UPS IN 1 WEEK!

The media’s Russia probe meltdown: 3 screw-ups in one week – Axios
www.axios.com

Rep. Trent Franks announced his immediate resignation on Friday, after saying Thursday he would be resigning effective January 31st after admitting he’d raised the topic of surrogacy with several of his staffers.

“Last night, my wife was admitted to the hospital in Washington, D.C. due to an ongoing ailment. After discussing options with my family, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for our family now would be for me to tender my previous resignation effective today,December 8th, 2017.”

Meanwhile… (same week)

CNN Botches Major ‘Bombshell’ Alleging Contacts Between Don Jr. And WikiLeaks
dailycaller.com

CNN misreported key details of an offer made to Donald Trump Jr. last year of a batch of stolen Wikileaks documents.

The story, which CNN published on Friday and covered extensively on TV, was touted as the first evidence that the Trump campaign was given a heads-up about documents stolen from Democrats.

But the story appears to have been riddled with errors, while also lacking key context.

Perhaps the most jarring error in the CNN report is the date on which Trump Jr. was sent the email. The network reported that a person named Mike Erickson emailed Trump Jr. and others on the Trump campaign on Sept. 4, 2016, with a link to Wikileaks documents as well as a decryption key to access them.

The email also offered access to emails that had been stolen from former Sec. of State Colin Powell, according to CNN.

But a copy of the email provided to The Daily Caller shows that Erickson sent the email on Sept. 14.

That date is significant because WikiLeaks had released a batch of stolen documents on Sept. 13. The group touted its release of the DNC documents, which were published by Guccifer 2.0.

The email shows that Erickson messaged Trump Jr. stating that “Wikileaks has uploaded another (huge 678 mb) archive of files from the DNC.”

“It is too big for me to send you by e-mail attachments, but you can download it yourselves,” he added, providing a link to the same website cited by Wikileaks the day before.

He also included a link to a decryption key that could be used to access the documents.

The Washington Post first reported on the true date and wording of the Erickson email.

The site that Erickson linked to leads to a page where a file with the same file name referenced in the Wikileaks tweet could be downloaded.

Powell’s emails were also published online on Sept. 13. DC Leaks, a group that has been affiliated with the Russian government, published the documents online. The group granted access to the documents to several news organizations, including The Daily Caller. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Colin Powell’s Emails Hacked, Published Online)

How CNN got its report so wrong is unclear.

The article states that its information was based on a read-out of the Trump Jr. email provided by multiple sources, none of who are identified. Trump Jr.’s lawyer, Alan Futerfas, speculated on Friday that the source was on the Democratic side of the House Intelligence Committee, which interviewed Trump Jr. earlier this week.

The spokesman for the committee Democrats did not respond to a request for comment.

Erickson also appears not to be a super-secret Kremlin agent. The Post identified him as the president of an aviation management company.

Attempts made by The Daily Caller to contact him were unsuccessful.

Futerfas, the lawyer for Trump Jr., said that the real estate executive received “tons of unsolicited emails” during the campaign.

“The email was never read or responded to — and the House Intelligence Committee knows this,” he said in a statement.

“This email arrived after published media reports disclosed 12 hours earlier that hacked documents had been posted. The suggestion that this information was not public is false.”

Futerfas blasted the House Intelligence Committee over what he says is its leak of the story.

“It is profoundly disappointing that members of the House Intelligence Committee would deliberately leak a document, with the misleading suggestion that the information was not public, when they know that there is not a scintilla of evidence that Mr. Trump Jr. read or responded to the email,” he said.

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DIRTY DOG AL FRANKEN

Senator Al Franken Kissed and Groped Me Without My Consent, And There’s Nothing Funny About It
www.kabc.com
By Leeann Tweeden

Proof – pervert Sen Al Franken (D) groping Leeann Tweeden, asleep.

In December of 2006, I embarked on my ninth USO Tour to entertain our troops, my eighth to the Middle East since the 9/11 attacks. My father served in Vietnam and my then-boyfriend (and now husband, Chris) is a pilot in the Air Force, so bringing a ‘little piece of home’ to servicemembers stationed far away from their families was both my passion and my privilege.

Also on the trip were country music artists Darryl Worley, Mark Wills, Keni Thomas, and some cheerleaders from the Dallas Cowboys. The headliner was comedian and now-senator, Al Franken.

Franken had written some skits for the show and brought props and costumes to go along with them. Like many USO shows before and since, the skits were full of sexual innuendo geared toward a young, male audience.

As a TV host and sports broadcaster, as well as a model familiar to the audience from the covers of FHM, Maxim and Playboy, I was only expecting to emcee and introduce the acts, but Franken said he had written a part for me that he thought would be funny, and I agreed to play along.

When I saw the script, Franken had written a moment when his character comes at me for a ‘kiss’. I suspected what he was after, but I figured I could turn my head at the last minute, or put my hand over his mouth, to get more laughs from the crowd.

On the day of the show Franken and I were alone backstage going over our lines one last time. He said to me, “We need to rehearse the kiss.” I laughed and ignored him. Then he said it again. I said something like, ‘Relax Al, this isn’t SNL…we don’t need to rehearse the kiss.’

He continued to insist, and I was beginning to get uncomfortable.

He repeated that actors really need to rehearse everything and that we must practice the kiss. I said ‘OK’ so he would stop badgering me. We did the line leading up to the kiss and then he came at me, put his hand on the back of my head, mashed his lips against mine and aggressively stuck his tongue in my mouth.

I immediately pushed him away with both of my hands against his chest and told him if he ever did that to me again I wouldn’t be so nice about it the next time.

I walked away. All I could think about was getting to a bathroom as fast as possible to rinse the taste of him out of my mouth.

I felt disgusted and violated.

Not long after, I performed the skit as written, carefully turning my head so he couldn’t kiss me on the lips.

No one saw what happened backstage. I didn’t tell the Sergeant Major of the Army, who was the sponsor of the tour. I didn’t tell our USO rep what happened.

At the time I didn’t want to cause trouble. We were in the middle of a war zone, it was the first show of our Holiday tour, I was a professional, and I could take care of myself. I told a few of the others on the tour what Franken had done and they knew how I felt about it.

I tried to let it go, but I was angry.

Other than our dialogue on stage, I never had a voluntary conversation with Al Franken again. I avoided him as much as possible and made sure I was never alone with him again for the rest of the tour.

Franken repaid me with petty insults, including drawing devil horns on at least one of the headshots I was autographing for the troops.

But he didn’t stop there.

The tour wrapped and on Christmas Eve we began the 36-hour trip home to L.A. After 2 weeks of grueling travel and performing I was exhausted. When our C-17 cargo plane took off from Afghanistan I immediately fell asleep, even though I was still wearing my flak vest and Kevlar helmet.

It wasn’t until I was back in the US and looking through the CD of photos we were given by the photographer that I saw this one:

I couldn’t believe it. He groped me, without my consent, while I was asleep.

I felt violated all over again. Embarrassed. Belittled. Humiliated.

How dare anyone grab my breasts like this and think it’s funny?

I told my husband everything that happened and showed him the picture.

I wanted to shout my story to the world with a megaphone to anyone who would listen, but even as angry as I was, I was worried about the potential backlash and damage going public might have on my career as a broadcaster.

But that was then, this is now. I’m no longer afraid.

Today, I am the news anchor on McIntyre in the Morning on KABC Radio in Los Angeles. My colleagues are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with in my career. Like everyone in the media, we’ve been reporting on the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct allegations since they broke, and the flood of similar stories that have come out about others.

A few weeks ago, we had California Congresswoman Jackie Speier on the show and she told us her story of being sexually assaulted when she was a young Congressional aide. She described how a powerful man in the office where she worked ‘held her face, kissed her and stuck his tongue in her mouth.’

At that moment, I thought to myself, Al Franken did that exact same thing to me.

I had locked up those memories of helplessness and violation for a long time, but they all came rushing back to me and my hands clinched into fists like it was yesterday.

I’m still angry at what Al Franken did to me.

Every time I hear his voice or see his face, I am angry. I am angry that I did his stupid skit for the rest of that tour. I am angry that I didn’t call him out in front of everyone when I had the microphone in my hand every night after that. I wanted to. But I didn’t want to rock the boat. I was there to entertain the troops and make sure they forgot about where they were for a few hours. Someday, I thought to myself, I would tell my story.

That day is now.

Senator Franken, you wrote the script. But there’s nothing funny about sexual assault.

You wrote the scene that would include you kissing me and then relentlessly badgered me into ‘rehearsing’ the kiss with you backstage when we were alone.

You knew exactly what you were doing. You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed.

While debating whether or not to go public, I even thought to myself, so much worse has happened to so many others, maybe my story isn’t worth telling? But my story is worth telling.

Not just because 2017 is not 2006, or because I am much more secure in my career now than I was then, and not because I’m still angry.

I’m telling my story because there may be others.

I want to have the same effect on them that Congresswoman Jackie Speier had on me. I want them, and all the other victims of sexual assault, to be able to speak out immediately, and not keep their stories –and their anger– locked up inside for years, or decades.

I want the days of silence to be over forever.

Leeann Tweeden is morning news anchor on TalkRadio 790 KABC in Los Angeles

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LIBERAL FASCISM BLAMED ON TRUMP!


Do Trump’s liberal critics seem increasingly unhinged?
thehill.com

Last week’s anniversary of Trump’s election sparked widespread teeth-gnashing by the nation’s pundits.  Trump is supposedly the gravest threat to American democracy since the secession of the Confederacy. His presidency, probably, continues to be a boon for antidepressant sales across the land.

New York Times columnist Michelle Goldberg, in a column last week headlined “Anniversary of the Apocalypse,” lamented the “terror-struck and vertiginous days” after Trump’s win and the ongoing “metaphysical whiplash” and “hideous interregnum,” which leaves her “poleaxed by grief at the destruction of our civic inheritance.” Professor Henry Giroux of McMaster University frothed that Trump’s “ascendancy in American politics has made visible a culture of cruelty, a contempt for civic literacy, a corrupt mode of governance and a disdain for informed judgment that has been decades in the making.”

It is understandable that folks would be riled by Trump’s bluster about revoking the broadcast licenses of his critics or calling for the firing of protesting football players. His administration’s rhetoric on trade and the drug war threaten to revive moronic policies that should have been banished forever by perennial failures.  But while Trump poses plenty of constitutional perils, many of his opponents are even more authoritarian.
Anti-Trump fervor is making liberals far more illiberal. Commentators in the Washington Post and New York Times have called for selective censorship of ideas and doctrines they abhor. A recent Washington Post article touted 38 fixes for democracy including mandating three years of compulsory labor for young people in the military of AmeriCorps-like programs, outlawing private education, punitively punishing gun owners, and vastly increasing redistribution to end racial inequities.

Thanks to Trump’s firing of James Comey, Democrats are exalting the FBI as if J. Edgar Hoover and COINTELPRO never existed. Political mob violence by Antifa against conservatives was vindicated in the Washington Post and cheered by prominent Democrats as the moral equivalent of the American soldiers who stormed Normandy beaches in 1944.

Some liberals believe the federal government should become domineering to vanquish the fascist tendencies of Trump supporters. But this is imprudent unless liberals irrevocably control all three branches of the federal government.

Unfortunately, Trump’s biggest follies (thus far) have evoked the loudest cheers from his Washington critics. Trump’s finest hour, according to much of the media, was sending 59 cruise missiles to blast the Syrian government based on mere allegations that it had carried out a chemical weapons attack. Pulling the rug from under the Iran deal (one of Obama’s solid achievements) was cheered by much of the foreign policy elite as if destabilizing the Middle East was akin to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Trump’s threats to “totally destroy” North Korea spurred no effective resistance on Capitol Hill. But blundering into another war would do more harm to American democracy than 10,000 raving Oval Office tweets.

Many Democrats sound ready to rush to impeachment regardless of what Trump has actually done. They seem inspired by the Soviet secret police chief who declared: “Show me the man and I will show you the crime.” Desperate assertions that $3000 in Russian-linked Facebook ads swung the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin are indicative of the pathetic logic of many Trump critics.

Many Trump opponents are the same type of zealots who, in the late 1700s, proudly labeled themselves “Friends of Government.” In their eyes, Trump’s greatest sin is tarnishing the majesty of the presidency and the federal government. Trump is exposing the sham of a Leviathan Democracy which pretends that presidents will be philosopher kings — instead of merely talented vote catchers. However, Trump cannot be blamed for destroying Americans’ trust in Washington. This was already achieved by presidents such as George W. Bush and Obama who the media occasionally exalted to the skies.

Trump’s critics are correct that the president has too much arbitrary power. But many people happy to believe the worst about Trump will heave all their skepticism overboard when the next political savior is anointed. Such naivete is being encouraged at the highest levels of Democratic Party. Recall that Hillary Clinton’s recent book declared that the lesson of George Orwell’s 1984 is that people should trust their leaders and the media.

Hysteria remains the 2017 political badge of honor. Last Wednesday, thousands of people gathered across the nation to shout at the sky to protest the anniversary of Trump’s victory. But righteous rage is no substitute for focusing on the real perils that Trump and any other president poses to our rights. The Friends of Freedom need to keep their intellectual ammo dry.

James Bovard is a USA Today columnist and the author of 10 books, including “Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty” (St. Martin’s Press, 1994).

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NEXT ANAL PROBE: CROOKED HILLARY

Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Republican concerns, letter shows
www.washingtonpost.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The revelation came in a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.

The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and that those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

Trump has repeatedly criticized his Justice Department for not aggressively probing a variety of conservative concerns. He said recently that officials there “should be looking at the Democrats” and that it was “very discouraging” they were not “going after Hillary Clinton.” On the campaign trail, Trump’s supporters frequently chanted “Lock her up!” at the mention of Clinton’s name.

What you need to know about the Uranium One deal 

House Republicans have announced a probe into a deal involving U.S. uranium reached under the Obama administration in 2010. Here’s what you need to know. (Bastien Inzaurralde/The Washington Post)

“Hopefully they are doing something, and at some point, maybe we are going to all have it out,” Trump said recently.

Sessions’s relationship with the president has been significantly strained since he recused himself from the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. The president has publicly lambasted his attorney general and noted that had he known in advance of Sessions’s recusal, he would not have appointed him to the post. It was after Sessions’s recusal that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III to lead the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

While the Justice Department is part of the executive branch — and the attorney general is appointed by and answers to the president — the White House generally provides input on broad policy goals and does not weigh in on criminal probes.

In that context, the letter is likely to be seen by some, especially on the left, as Sessions inappropriately bending to political pressure, perhaps to save his job. The possible reigniting of a probe of Clinton is likely to draw especially fierce criticism, even as it is welcomed by Trump’s supporters.

When Trump said during the campaign that he would “instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor” to look into Clinton, former attorney general Michael Mukasey — a Trump supporter and vocal Clinton critic — said Trump having her investigated and jailed “would be like a banana republic.”

“Putting political opponents in jail for offenses committed in a political setting, even if they are criminal offenses — and they very well may be — is something that we don’t do here,” he said.

Trump would later back down from his threats, before breathing life into them again with his more recent comments.

How the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Jeff Sessions

The Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a Department of Justice oversight hearing on Oct. 18, asking him about issues from Russian meddling to immigration enforcement. (Joyce Koh/The Washington Post)

Sessions, who was a Republican senator from Alabama before being appointed attorney general, is set to testify before Goodlatte’s committee Tuesday and is likely to face questions on the topics raised in the letter.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment for this article, as did a lawyer for Comey.

Brian Fallon, who served as the press secretary for the Clinton campaign, noted that the Justice Department letter became public not long after revelations that Donald Trump Jr. had communicated with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

“Like clockwork, just as we learn of damning details of Donald Trump Jr.’s contacts with WikiLeaks, the Trump administration is firing up the fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe,” Fallon said.

In asking for a second special counsel in July, Goodlatte wrote that he wanted to “request assistance in restoring public confidence in our nation’s justice system and its investigators.” His letter, signed by 19 other Republicans, said Judiciary Committee members were concerned that Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to investigate other election-related matters, which he said included actions taken by Comey, Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

Many of the items Goodlatte wanted investigated had long been conservative talking points, some having to do with matters many considered resolved: various decisions made in the Clinton email case, the Uranium One purchase, the “unmasking” of people by the intelligence community and allegations by Trump that he was wiretapped by his predecessors. Unmasking is a routine part of intelligence officials’ jobs; officials have said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped; and while conservatives have sought to cast the Uranium One deal as an example of Clinton taking Russian money to influence U.S. policy, there is no evidence that Clinton participated in any discussions regarding the sale, which was approved during the Obama administration while she was secretary of state.

In the Justice Department’s response, Boyd did not indicate whether any of the topics might draw greater interest than others, though he said the review by senior federal prosecutors would “better enable the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to more effectively evaluate and manage the caseload.” He noted that the Justice Department inspector general already was investigating several aspects of the Clinton email case and said that once that probe was complete, the department would assess “what, if any, additional steps are necessary to address any issues identified by that review.”

“We will conduct this evaluation according to the highest standards of justice,” he wrote.

A special counsel can be appointed when the Justice Department or a U.S. attorney’s office has a conflict of interest, when there are other “extraordinary circumstances,” or when it would otherwise be “in the public interest” to do so, according to the federal regulation governing such appointments.

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FBI PROBES PLANNED PARENTHOOD

FBI seeks Senate documents, signaling possible probe into sale of fetal tissue
thehill.com

The FBI has asked the Senate for unredacted documents it obtained from abortion providers, signaling agents may be investigating whether Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers illegally sold fetal tissue and body parts, according to sources familiar with the document request.

The request was made in recent days, the sources said, to the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), last December referred Planned Parenthood and several other abortion providers to the FBI for investigation after a lengthy probe into the transfers of fetal tissue.

Grassley said at the time that his committee had uncovered enough evidence in its final investigative report to show abortion providers had transferred tissue and body parts from aborted fetuses to firms for use in research by charging dollar amounts above their actual costs.

Abortion providers are allowed under a 1993 law to transfer fetal tissue for research at a cost equal to the price of obtaining it, but are not allowed to sell it at a profit.
The Justice Department declined comment, saying it does not confirm nor deny whether an investigation is taking place.

A spokesman for the FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Planned Parenthood said that while it is aware of Grassley’s prior request for a criminal probe, none of its affiliates has had any contact with the FBI. It noted it provided more than 30,000 pages of documents and several witnesses to the congressional probes and believes it has complied with the law.

“Planned Parenthood strongly disagrees with the recommendations of the Senate Republican staff to refer this matter to the Justice Department, especially in light of the fact that investigations by three other Congressional committees, and investigations in 13 states including a Grand Jury in Texas, have all shown that Planned Parenthood did nothing wrong,” said Dana Singiser, Vice President of Government Affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

“These accusations are baseless, and a part of a widely discredited attempt to end access to reproductive health care at Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has never, and would never, profit while facilitating its patients’ choice to donate fetal tissue for use in important medical research,” she added.

The Senate probe and a similar investigation by the House were prompted by the public release in 2015 of several undercover videos from an anti-abortion group showing abortion providers or fetal tissue firms discussing how they took money for aborted fetuses. The Senate committee conducted interviews and gathered documents on its own as part of an investigation triggered by the videos.

It is that information, including the unredacted documents Senate Judiciary gathered from abortion providers and fetal tissue firms, that was requested by the FBI, the sources said, speaking only on condition of anonymity.

“The report documents the failure of the Department of Justice, across multiple administrations, to enforce the law that bans the buying and selling of human fetal tissue,” Grassley wrote last December when he asked the FBI and Justice Department to investigate Planned Parenthood and other abortion and fetal tissue providers. “… It also documents substantial evidence suggesting that the specific entities involved in the recent controversy, and/or individuals employed by those entities, may have violated that law.”

Grassley staff is working to comply with the FBI’s document request in compliance with Senate rules, sources said.

One option would be for FBI agents to be allowed to come to the committee’s reading room and review the documents. A full Senate vote would be required if copies of the documents needed to be transferred to a grand jury, according to a source directly familiar with Senate document procedures.

Lila Rose, a prominent anti-abortion activist, praised the FBI’s document request.

“We, of course, applaud any action taken to follow the evidence to where it leads and to hold Planned Parenthood accountable,” she said. “The only thing that could hinder this investigation from leading to indictments of Planned Parenthood and the companies involved in the sale of fetal body parts is politics.”

The advent of a criminal investigation into abortion providers would mark a major escalation in a controversy ignited by undercover videotapes made by an anti-abortion group back in 2015.

The Center for Medical Progress, which released the videos, saw two of its executives charged with state privacy violations for making the undercover tapes. The charges were dropped in Texas but remain pending in California, where they are being appealed. The group denies any wrongdoing.

The center’s head, David Daleiden, said Monday that an FBI probe is “long overdue” and that the ”sale of aborted baby body parts is the greatest human atrocity of our times and must finally be brought to justice under the law.”

The Senate report concluded that the prices paid for tissue and body parts exceeded the actual costs, and that in some cases such costs weren’t even calculated until after investigators began asking questions.

In one example cited by the Senate report, a firm’s own records show it paid $60 for an aborted fetus from a Planned Parenthood clinic, then transferred the various parts for $2,275 – including the brain for $325, two eyes for $650, and a part of a liver for $325. The firm also charged additional fees for shipping and disease screening, the report said.

“The companies involved in transferring fetal tissue have been free to receive substantial payment with impunity, relying on an expansive interpretation of the exception to the ban on buying and selling fetal tissue,” the report said.

Some of the companies involved in the transactions “had not, in fact, conducted any analysis of their costs when setting fees, and their post ad hoc accounting rationalization invoked a bevy of indirect and tenuously related costs in an attempt to justify their fees,” the report added.

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Media Cover Up Conspiracy: Hillary Medically Unfit

How Brazile’s book exposes liberal media’s Hillary health coverup
nypost.com

Silly, silly Donna Brazile. She’s publioshing a book detailing turmoil in the Democratic Party during the 2016 campaign, highlighted by her concern that Hillary Clinton was seriously ill and might need to be replaced by Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders.

What’s the big deal? There’s no news here because all this was well-known and covered at the time by the big national newspapers and networks, right?

Wrong. If Brazile were rehashing things we knew, there would be no book and no bombshell headlines now.

Instead, she has thrown open a new and very big window on 2016 — and exposed yet again the consequences of the political biases of the Democratic media.

The missed stories are not merely the result of mistakes or sloppy reporting. Brazile’s book is a revelation in that it shows that many left-leaning journalists didn’t so much cover Clinton as cover up for her.

Put it this way: How is it possible that the leader of the Democratic Party was talking to colleagues about trying to replace its nominee during the general election because of health concerns, and none of the thousands of journalists covering the campaign got wind of it?

It’s not possible — if the media had been playing it down the middle and holding both candidates to the same standard of scrutiny. But big media missed a big story because so much campaign “news” coverage was tilted toward defeating Donald Trump and electing Clinton.

Anything that could possibly suggest Trump was unfit for the Oval Office — bingo, front page, top of the broadcast.

On the other hand, anything that could hurt Clinton was downplayed or ignored. Nothing to see here, move along.

The coverage of Clinton’s health was a prime example of the tilt. Her coughing fits, especially a long one on Labor Day, and a history of falling were pointed out by the popular Drudge Report, some Republicans and smaller, conservative-leaning sites to suggest she was not being honest about her health.

But her campaign always denied anything was wrong — allergies, the candidate and her flacks insisted, caused the persistent coughs, and major news organizations mostly nodded their heads and stayed mum, accepting the official denials without skepticism.

The dam cracked a bit on Labor Day, when an NBC reporter filed a 91-word, four-paragraph story that said Clinton had been unable to finish her speech in Ohio because of a coughing fit.

The truth was dangerous, so the Praetorian Guard sprang to Clinton’s defense. The NBC reporter, Andrew Rafferty, was mocked and insulted, first by the campaign, and then by journalists, including some MSNBC commentators who turned on their colleague as if he had violated a secret oath.

CNN joined the Clinton amen chorus, and at the Washington Post, political writer Chris Cillizza denounced the topic of Clinton’s health as “a totally ridiculous issue” and declared it a “sure-fire loser” for Trump.

“It’s hard to plausibly insist, based on the available data, that Clinton is ill,” insisted Cillizza, who is now at CNN.

Five days later, Clinton was unable to walk on her own and collapsed at the 9/11 ceremony in Manhattan as she tried to get into a van. The campaign insisted she was just “dehydrated” until a short video of the incident aired, then admitted the candidate had been diagnosed with pneumonia days earlier.

In other words, the claim of allergies was a big fat lie. That prompted Brazile to contemplate starting the process of replacing Clinton, writing in her book that the campaign also was “anemic” and had “the odor of failure.” She says she considered numerous tickets to replace Clinton and Sen. Tim Kane, and decided that Biden and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) would be the best.

It’s not clear how long she deliberated or how many people she talked to, but Brazile writes that Biden called her on Sept. 12. In the end, she says, she made no move because she couldn’t disappoint Clinton’s supporters.

Her book is called “Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House,” and it’s got lots of other juicy bits, including evidence that the party rigged the primaries to help Clinton beat Sanders and that Clinton possibly broke federal campaign finance laws by scooping money donated by big donors to state parties, far in excess of individual federal limits.

Brazile also writes that the Clinton team treated her like “a slave,” and she accuses its male hierarchy of sexism.

As is their wont, the Clinton campaign is attacking Brazile, saying she fabricated incidents just to sell books. But curiously, the candidate herself has been silent.

Presidential campaigns, of course, are grueling, dynamic events and infighting is common. But what is extraordinary here is the fact that none of the huge moments Brazile recounts has been reported before.

That would matter less if the media humbly acknowledged it missed major stories that could have rocked the race, but that’s apparently expecting too much from news organizations that have forfeited their public trust. Nothing has changed, with the anti-Trump bias firmly intact.

Still, Brazile’s book is timely, with today the anniversary of Trump’s smashing upset. It is a reminder that, thankfully, voters weren’t fooled by the media conspiracy to hide the truth.

Gray Lady hasn’t a ‘preyer’
An op-ed in the New York Times headlined “The Deep Confusion of the Post-Weinstein Moment” celebrated the way women are becoming emboldened to name their powerful abusers instead of staying silent. I was agreeing with the author that it is a welcome cultural change we are witnessing — until she spoiled her piece by twisting it with politics.

The writer, novelist Naomi Alderman, made three mentions of the sexual accusations against President Trump last year, but skipped the most famous sex case in the history of politics — the one involving a sitting president by the name of Bill Clinton and a young intern. Nor, having blasted Trump and his supporters, did she mention Harvey Weinstein’s prodigious fundraising for Democrats, or the way Hollywood liberals protect predators.

Left not right again on guns
The military screw-up that allowed the Texas killer to buy his weapons is a perfect example of how the failure to enforce laws often leads to horrible tragedy — and yet still provokes calls for ever more laws.

If the Air Force had done what it is supposed to and told the FBI that Devin Patrick Kelley had been dishonorably discharged after beating his wife and cracking the skull of his infant stepson, he would not have been allowed to purchase any firearms legally. But the Air Force never made the crucial notification, and Kelley passed all background checks as he assembled his small arsenal.

Still, the demand for more gun control, any gun control, dominates the left’s reaction.

Don’t facts matter?

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