Monday, July 31, 2017

Anthony Scaramucci removed as White House communications director

Anthony Scaramucci has been removed as White House communications director at the request of White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, just days after being named to the job, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.
Scaramucci's brief tenure in the role had been marked by turmoil as he feuded publicly with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus. Scaramucci's arrival at the White House prompted press secretary Sean Spicer to resign in protest.
The abrupt decision signals that Kelly is moving quickly to assert control over the West Wing, which has been characterized by interpersonal disputes and power struggles during Trump's six months in office.
The retired Marine general, who was sworn in Monday morning, was brought into the White House in the hope that he will bring military-style discipline to Trump's staff. He has been fully empowered by the president to make significant changes to the organization, White House officials and outside advisers said.The White House confirmed Scaramucci's departure in a statement on Monday afternoon."Anthony Scaramucci will be leaving his role as White House Communications Director," said the statement, though it was unclear whether it was from Spicer or the incoming press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. "Mr. Scaramucci felt it was best to give Chief of Staff John Kelly a clean slate and the ability to build his own team. We wish him all the best."

US says time for talk on N.Korea 'is over'

The time for talk on North Korea is "over", the United States said, spurning a UN response to Pyongyang's latest ICBM launch in favour of bomber flights and missile defence system tests.
Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, said there was "no point" in holding a fruitless emergency Security Council session, warning that another weak council resolution would be "worse than nothing" in light of the North's repeated violations.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un boasted of his country's ability to strike any target in the US after an intercontinental ballistic missile test Friday which weapons experts said could even bring New York into range -- a major challenge to President Donald Trump.
US strategic bombers on Saturday flew over the Korean peninsula in a direct response to the launch, and on Sunday American forces successfully tested a missile interception system which the US hopes will be installed on the Korean peninsula.
Under Kim's leadership, North Korea has accelerated its drive towards a credible nuclear strike capability, in defiance of international condemnation and multiple sets of UN sanctions. The US Senate passed new bipartisan sanctions on Pyongyang on Friday. 

Health & Medical Care 2

This is an eye-opener regarding healthcare in America.  Quote: "They scare you with knowingly false claims that you’d have no doctors, nurses or hospitals, and thus would die.  This is trivially seen to be a bald-faced lie when one simply looks at the growth of administrators .vs. physicians in medical practice — the latter actually diagnose and treat persons, the former do not and if nearly all of them disappeared tomorrow there would not be any impact on the number of physicians and nurses — and thus there would be zero impact on the ability to deliver medical services either. If you get the force, fraud and extortion out of the medical system at all levels from pharmaceuticals to hospitals to the local imaging center and testing company you’d find that most of those administrators would lose their jobs — under a competitive market they would produce far less in value than they cost. Indeed, you only need to look at the quarterly filings for virtually any public company that operates in a competitive market and you will find that SG&A (that’s sales, general and administrative expenses) typically runs about 10% of revenue and most of that is G&A.  Businesses in a competitive market can’t spend more because if they do someone will come in, compete with said firm and destroy it by undercutting their prices.

This is about modern day science and its problems with getting things right.  Some science is good, others not so much.  Quote: "Science is getting a lot of attention these days. People seem to love it or hate it… and are even marching about it. Science has brought us a long way. It’s sent men to the moon and diseases into oblivion. And for the most part we are living longer healthier lives, thanks in large part to brilliant scientific discoveries. As great as science is though, it’s not completely infallible. But people who go against the scientific grain are treated like blasphemers. So why is it ok to question most things in life, but not science?

This item has some interesting content. Check it out to see if you think it is worthy of consideration. Quote: "In the spring of 2007, my future was clear: I was headed toward being bedridden and possibly demented. I have secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and had been experiencing seven years of steady decline. I had already tried to improve my diet, switching from a vegetarian diet to a Paleo diet that included meat, but even with these dietary changes, my decline continued."   http//


This is an important warning Charles passed along about certain plastics and their harm to our health.  Quote: "Look around your home and take note of just how many plastic items are around you.  From food containers and utensils to bags, water bottles, shower curtains and children's toys, plastic has become a permanent fixture in our everyday lives – but it's one that comes with serious consequences. Approximately 200 billion pounds (that's 100 million tons) of plastic are produced every year. Some now say we have entered the "Age of Plastics."1 But all of these plastic chemicals are now finding their way into your body and the environment, where they are accumulating over time with potentially catastrophic biological consequences."

This item offers good advice on how to avoid GMOs and toxic herbicides.

This item is interesting.  It suggests we pay attention to the timing of our meals and experience the consequential benefits.

This item provides a very interesting article telling us what the condition of our fingernails tell us about our overall body health.

This item lists what it considers the best 14 vegetables on earth.

More healthy eating tips on how to avoid cancer.

Vitamin C fights cancer. 

Interesting foods and cooking tips to avoid aging yourself.   Quote: "Although cognitive decline is a complex process, scientists have determined that one of the key contributing factors is Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs). AGEs lead to increased oxidative damage, cellular degeneration and chronic inflammation in our cells which drives aging and age-related diseases.  AGEs are formed through a process where sugar reacts with protein and fat. That means on one hand, diet can contribute to more rapid cognitive decline — the more dietary AGEs we consume, the more rapid the decline may be. Fortunately, on the other hand, you can reduce dietary AGEs and stop AGE formation by making better dietary choices…"

This is a warning for anyone on statin drugs.  I don't know if this is all on the up and up but I have seen a number of other items indicating statins fail to perform as advertised and have a number of unhealthy side effects.  FYI, you decide. 

George Burns

Health & Medical Care 1

Despite liberal words to the contrary things in England's socialized healthcare system are not going very well.  Quote: "World pharmacy news reports a stunning study: “Analysis of the drugs that were approved for use by the NHS Cancer Drugs Fund (CDF) in England has shown that the fund was not good value for patients and society and may have resulted in patients suffering unnecessarily from toxic side effects of the drugs.”  “In a study published in the leading cancer journal Annals of Oncology, researchers led by Dr Ajay Aggarwal, academic clinical oncologist at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (UK), and Professor Richard Sullivan, director of the Institute of Cancer Policy, King’s College London (UK), looked at 29 drugs that had been approved for use through the CDF in January 2015 for 47 specific cancer conditions (or indications).”  “Of these [cancer] indications, only 18 (38%) were based on clinical trials that reported a statistically significant benefit from the drugs in terms of patients’ overall survival; the (median) average overall survival benefit was 3.2 months, ranging from 1.4 months to 15.7 months.”    You will remember England's healthcare system served as the model for Obamacare.  Democrats want us to do the same thing.  No thanks.

If the National Institutes of Health admits it, this must be a really, really bad problem.   Quote:  "Almost 90 percent of biomedical research is wasted, according to the National Institutes of Health’s monthly newsletter.  The government agency, which spends over $30 billion of taxpayer funding on research each year, highlighted remarks by a Yale doctor who said the majority of research is useless. "As much as 87.5 percent of biomedical research may be wasteful and inefficient. So argued Dr. Michael Bracken at a recent Wednesday Afternoon Lecture in Masur Auditorium," the NIH Record reported on Friday. "Waste is more than just a waste of money and resources," said Bracken, the Susan Dwight Bliss professor of epidemiology at Yale University School of Public Health. "It can actually be harmful to people’s health."

We have the UN, and liberal western nation governments to thank for this mess they created and that harms innocent people.  Their fake "concern" for non-citizens no matter their plight far outweighs their "concern" for their own citizens.   

This piece does not place current day medical science in a good place. Quote: "Several times over the years one or more of my subscribers have asked me to explain what good science looks like. Well, it’s much easier to describe BAD science because it’s everywhere, right in front of your face. Never mind nit-picking over the “p” number or sample sizes. The whole ambience sucks. This is especially true of medical science, where there are massive financial incentives to cut corners, to cheat, to outright lie.

This item begs the question of whether or not Pharmaceutical companies eye the bottom line more than the efficacy of their products.  The FDA, MSM and government enforcement agencies are in collusion with them.  Quote: "By the way, if you want a good example of crony capitalism, as opposed to actual capitalism (in which buyer and seller voluntarily engage in commerce, the product does not cause harm, the people involved are honorable, the exchange of value for value isn’t regulated), you’ve just found one:  A medical drug’s manufacturer, and the federal government, and even the prescribing doctors, all know a drug is useless for off-label purposes, and also creates harm. But all the parties (cronies) feign ignorance, while protecting each other, and no law-enforcement agency charges any participant with a crime. All parties involved pretend, when the suit is filed and the settlement is reached, that justice has been done. One hand washes the other.  And, at the same time, if a researcher or doctor or layperson happens to come up with a non-toxic method of treating the disease for which the drug in question is the preferred option, and if that innovative natural method does no harm, and if responsible adults want to try the method…The house comes down on the researcher’s head. The full force of “experts” and government enforcement agencies and mainstream doctors and the MSM press comes into play. The “experts” and cronies, of course, trumpet concern for people’s health and lay claim to righteousness and ethics and science."

Apparently a study addressed in this link has found that there is indeed a link between mercury and autism.  Quote: "Now a new study is out linking blood mercury levels at late pregnancy and early childhood and their association with more autistic behaviors in children at age 5. The study, published in the international journal Science of the Total Environment comes out of the Republic of Korea where the prevalence of autism is higher than in the U.S., where it is found in 1 of every 38 children. In it, researchers began in 2006 testing blood mercury levels in pregnant mothers both early and late in the pregnancy, in umbilical cord blood, and in their children at ages 2 and 3. They found that as mercury levels rose from late pregnancy to birth, the rate of mild to moderate autism in 5 year olds rose 31 percent and the rate of severe autism rose 28 percent. The Federal government tacitly admitted years ago that vaccines are harmful when it established the Federal Vaccine Injury Compensation program (aka the “absolve Big Pharma of all liability at your expense” program) which pays out compensation for autism-related disorders." 

This item should give one pause when dealing with medical practitioners and other professionals too willing to prescribe or aid and abet distribution of addictive medications.

This is for those who may be suffering from cancer or know someone who is.  Quote: "New research conducted at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has found that chemotherapy spreads cancer throughout the body, causing a sharp increase in cancer cells circulating throughout the body (including the lungs). Led by Dr. George Karagiannis, the research focused on chemotherapy treatment of breast cancer, but further studies plan to see how chemotherapy might also spread cancers of other tissues, too. The research was published in Science Translational Medicine and is entitled Neoadjuvant chemotherapy induces breast cancer metastasis through a TMEM-mediated mechanism. A summary of the study reports that “the authors discovered that several types of chemotherapy can increase the amounts of TMEM complexes and circulating tumor cells in the bloodstream.” It concludes that “chemotherapy, despite decreasing tumor size, increases the risk of metastatic dissemination.”   

This is a sad commentary on Obamacare.  Nonetheless Democrats love it.  Facts do not matter.  People they hurt do not matter.   Here is further evidence of Democrat dissonance regarding the travesty they and they alone thrust on the backs of innocent citizens.

This item continues the Obamacare theme and the political left's rank dishonesty.  Partisan politics is far more important to them than fixing a disastrous mistake they made in creating Obamacare.  Trying to fix it is heresy to them.  Quote: "Thus, we have a consensus: Partisan academics, biased journalists, unemployed Obama administration hacks, and clueless comediennes agree that there can be but one reason to repeal Obamacare — and it has nothing to do with the failure of the “reform” law to accomplish any of its ostensible goals. It’s all about racism. This is certainly not the only spurious pretext concocted by the left to denounce AHCA, but it is easily the most asinine."    This does not mean that I am happy with the Republican solution...I am not.  But the point being made is that Democrats cling to their failures by pretending they are great victories.  To them hurting citizens with bad policies is less important than controlling people's lives.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The ‘Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat’ Gets a U.S. Court Rebuke

If you think the government should do something about the cramped legroom on airplanes, you’ve got a friend in a federal court.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., on Friday ordered aviation regulators to consider setting minimum standards for the space airlines give passengers.
“This is the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat,” Judge Patricia Ann Millett wrote on behalf of the three-judge panel. “As many have no doubt noticed, aircraft seats and the spacing between them have been getting smaller and smaller, while American passengers have been growing in size.”
The court found in favor of Flyers Rights, a nonprofit advocacy group, which had argued that steadily shrinking legroom and seat size created a safety hazard and the Federal Aviation Administration should impose new restrictions. 

'Collusion' Collapses: Dem Congressional Espionage Ring Takes Center Ring

In truth, the Russians “colluded” through GPS Fusion to harm, not help, Trump and the evidence of that is coming out. It’s time to repeal the Special Counsel law which has now been used twice to hamstring two Republican Presidents, has dubious constitutional authority, and will never result in the indictment of a prominent Democratic politician. 
Under the Constitution there are three ways to deal with official corruption: the ballot box, impeachment, or criminal prosecution. Instead, in recent years we have tried two different means: the Independent Counsel law, now lapsed, and the Special Counsel law.  Pepperdine Law Professor Douglas M. Kmiec explains the difference and argues that the features of the independent counsel, which the Supreme Court held constitutional, and the special counsel law that has not been challenged, are different, notably that the absence of outside supervision of the prosecutor and failure in both instances of the application of the Special Counsel act -- the Plame case, and the Russian interference case now under Mueller -- lack what the Court called a necessary predicate for such an investigation: a finding by the attorney general that there is reason to believe that a crime has occurred. That did not occur in the “collusion” investigation. In the Plame case, as I show, the major figures all knew there was no crime before they began the investigation.
In the case of the Independent Counsel investigation of Whitewater, you may recall the prosecutor said that they had reason to believe Hillary Clinton had committed perjury before the grand jury, but as prosecutors should not indict unless they believe a conviction is likely and the case would be brought before an Arkansas jury who would never convict Bill Clinton’s wife, no indictment would be sought 

594,000 and 5.7 million Noncitizens Voted in 2008. But How About 2016?

The president of the Just Facts non-profit research and educational institute issued a startling report in June indicating that between 594,000 and 5.7 million noncitizens voted in the 2008 presidential election. Just Facts, a New Jersey-based firm that employs conservative and libertarian policy analysts, was cited (among other places) in a June 22 editorial in Investor’s Business Daily headlined, “Did Votes By Noncitizens Cost Trump The 2016 Popular Vote? Sure Looks That Way.”
Investor’s Business Daily applied the 2008 election findings to the 2016 election, stating:
The findings are eye-opening. In 2008, as many as 5.7 million noncitizens voted in the election. In 2012, as many as 3.6 million voted, the study said.
In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were 21.0 million adult noncitizens in the U.S., up from 19.4 million in 2008. It is therefore highly likely that millions of noncitizens cast votes in 2016.
Just Facts’ findings were challenged by several organizations on the liberal-left side of the political spectrum. One such organization was PolitiFact, which wrote:
The number [of noncitizens voting] comes from a conclusion by Just Facts, a conservative/libertarian think tank. Just Facts’ numbers came from a study by Old Dominion University researchers. That study was based on a survey which showed that 38 people out 32,800 claimed to be noncitizens who had actually voted. Just Facts used data from the study and census estimates on the noncitizen population to come up with a national figure of noncitizen voters.
But other researchers and political scientists have said the small number is not a reliable source of data on noncitizen voters nationwide. We rate this claim False.
In a 2012 article, Jon Cassidy, a writer with the long-respected conservative journal Human Events questioned PolitiFact’s credibility after examining its work on a case-by-case basis. Human Events found that a pattern emerged whereby Politifact critiqued straw man claims; that is, “dismissed the speaker’s claim, made up a different claim and checked that instead.”

Elizabeth Warren Again Calls for ‘Equal Pay,’ Ignores Pay Gap in Own Office

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) spoke out on the issue of gender pay equality in a speech on Thursday without noting the equal pay shortcomings in her own senate office, where women earned a fraction of what was earned by men in 2016.
In an address to liberal activists of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Warren said that she is continually reminded on Capitol Hill that she needs to push equal pay.
"Boy, do they keep reminding me about this on Capitol Hill the need to say this," Warren said on Thursday. "We believe in equal pay for equal work."
Warren fell silent on the issue of equal pay after the Washington Free Beacon reported in April that women earned just 71 cents for each dollar earned by men. She notably failed to acknowledge Equal Pay Day this year, separating herself from every other female Democratic senator and most males as well.
Equal Pay Day was used by the Massachusetts senator in previous years to give strong statements demanding legislation to help alleviate the gender pay gap. In 2016, she called Equal Pay Day a "national day of embarrassment" and pledged to continue her "fight" until the pay gap was erased.

Samantha Power almost confirmed as being behind all the unmasking last year?

When last we checked in on the whole unmasking debacle, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was hot on the trail of… somebody. But we weren’t entirely sure who. People from the Obama administration had seemingly been requesting unmasking of any number of Americans who were detected during surveillance operations, but mysteriously they seemed to be focused on ones associated with the Trump campaign. (I’m sure that was just one of those weird, random coincidences that permeate the universe. Nothing to see here.) One name which was frequently mentioned was former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, but when Allahpundit examined the story a couple of weeks ago he was leaning toward Samantha Power. That was backed up by a report in the Free Beacon.
Power appears to be central to efforts by top Obama administration officials to identify individuals named in classified intelligence community reports related to Trump and his presidential transition team, according to multiple sources…
“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon…
Power was already subpoenaed over all of this. Now, after having some time to digest the information, Nunes seems to be doing everything but calling her out by name. And he’s using that bit of history to ask for new legislation regulating how these unmasking events are handled. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Everything You Need to Know about Government, in One Story

Every so often, I run across a chart, cartoon, or story that captures the essence of an issue. And when that happens, I make it part of my “everything you need to know” series.
I don’t actually think those columns tell us everything we need to know, of course, but they do show something very important. At least I hope.
And now, from our (normally) semi-rational northern neighbor, I have a new example.
This story from Toronto truly is a powerful example of the difference between government action and private action.
A Toronto man who spent $550 building a set of stairs in his community park says he has no regrets, despite the city’s insistence that he should have waited for a $65,000 city project to handle the problem. Retired mechanic Adi Astl says he took it upon himself to build the stairs after several neighbours fell down the steep path to a community garden in Tom Riley Park, in Etobicoke, Ont. Astl says his neighbours chipped in on the project, which only ended up costing $550 – a far cry from the $65,000-$150,000 price tag the city had estimated for the job. …Astl says he hired a homeless person to help him and built the eight steps in a matter of hours. …Astl says members of his gardening group have been thanking him for taking care of the project, especially after one of them broke her wrist falling down the slope last year.
There are actually two profound lessons to learn from this story. 

Bonfire of the Insanities

With the president who undercuts, insults, lambastes his attorney general, but does not fire him?
With the White House press secretary who resigns from his job only when he faces the prospect of reporting to someone he does not like?
With the White House communications director who tells a reporter he's planning on firing a staffer, then backtracks, then has the staffer resign?
With the Senate amending a bill that does not exist, while hoping that the finished legislation proceeds to a conference committee from which it does not pass?
With the White House communications director who calls a reporter outraged that news of a dinner with the president has leaked, who threatens to fire his entire staff, who blames the White House chief of staff for leaking his financial disclosure form, who uses an obscene metaphor to describe the senior strategist and chief ideologist?
With the president who is encouraging the communications director, loves the backstabbing and conflict and chaos, who privileges personal loyalty above all else?
There are too many options, too many ways to go at the problem. That problem is a White House in turmoil, a Republican Party that does not know what it wants on health care, taxes, and foreign policy, and a nation that remains as confused, divided, and incomprehensible to itself as it was on the day Donald Trump was elected president.

Corrupt Democrat Staffer Imran Awan Arrested Trying to Flee U.S.

The Democrat house of cards is continuing to collapse under the weight of its own corruption. A day after reports that the FBI raided the former home of an IT staffer with ties to high-ranking Democrats in Congress including Florida's Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, that IT staffer — Imran Awan — was arrested at Dulles International Airport Tuesday while attempting to flee the country.
Awan — along with his brothers, Abid and Jamal, and two of their wives, Hina Alvi and Natalia Sova — are at ground zero of an ongoing investigation by U.S. Capitol Police and the FBI. That investigation came to a head when the FBI — serving a warrant — raided a residence previously occupied by the Awans and seized numerous hard drives which had been smashed in an apparent attempt to render the data found on them irretrievable.
There is evidence that the five fleeced taxpayers for millions of dollars by a variety of methods including overbilling, theft, and employee fraud.
The chiefs of staff for at least 30 sitting Democrats were made aware at least as early as February that the three Pakistani-born brothers and two of the brothers’ wives were under investigation for a litany of crimes and abuses of their access to sensitive data and that as a result of violating the House IT network rules, the five were removed from the list of IT staff with access to the House computer network. Though her office was made aware of all of this, former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz continued to employ Imran Awan in an advisory role.
Many of the Democrats who had employed the Awans were so invested in them that in March of 2016, eight House Democrats — all serving on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — signed a letter requesting that the Awans be granted access to Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI). Besides being on the payroll for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Awans were also employed by members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

Judicial Watch Sues for Info on Comey Memos

Judicial Watch today announced it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice for the metadata for the memoranda written by former FBI Director James Comey memorializing his conversations with President Donald Trump as well as records about Comey’s FBI-issued laptop computer or other electronic devices and records about how Comey managed his records while he was FBI Director (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 17-cv-01520)). The metadata information may include details about when the memos were created or edited and by whom.
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 27, 2017, after the Department of Justice failed to respond to a June 21 FOIA request seeking:
  1. Any and all records depicting metadata for any and all memoranda written by former Director James Comey memorializing any meetings and/or telephonic communications with President Donald Trump, including metadata for the “original” electronic versions of the memoranda and any electronic copies of the memoranda that were subsequently created or saved. For purposes of this request, the term “metadata” includes, but is not limited to, dates and times of creation, modification, transmission, and/or retrieval of any electronic copy of any such memorandum currently or formerly in the possession of the FBI and/or drafted, modified, transmitted, and/or received via any FBI-owned computer or other electronic device.
  2. Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the return, disposition, or handling of any laptop computer or other electronic device previously issued to and/or utilized by former Director James Comey.
  3. Any and all records regarding, concerning, or related to the records management and preservation procedures utilized by former Director James Comey.  This includes, but is not limited to, any and all records of communication between Mr. Comey and any other individual or entity regarding, concerning, or related to any such procedures or related regulations. 

Judicial Watch Files Three Lawsuits for Info on FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe

Judicial Watch today announced that it filed three separate Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking records for current FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe relating to his political activities, travel vouchers, and employment status. The first two lawsuits specifically seek records of McCabe’s political activities involving his wife’s failed campaign for political office and interactions with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The first FOIA lawsuit, filed on July 24 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01494)), seeks the following:
  • Any and all records of communication between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other FBI or Department of Justice (“DOJ”) officials regarding, concerning or relating to ethical issues concerning the involvement of Andrew McCabe and/or his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, in political campaigns;
  • Any and all records related to ethical guidance concerning political activities provided to Deputy Director McCabe by FBI and/or DOJ officials or elements.
The second Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit, filed on July 26, seeks communication records between then-Deputy Director McCabe and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Democratic Party of Virginia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01495)), including:
  • Any and all records of communication between Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and any of the following individuals:

Nordic Socialism Is Realer Than You Think

When policy commentators talk about the Nordic economies, they tend to focus on their comprehensive welfare states. And for good reason. Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden are home to some of the most generous welfare systems in the world. Each has an efficient single-payer health care system, free college, long parental leave, heavily subsidized child care, and many other social benefits too numerous to list here.

As marvelous as the Nordic welfare states are, the outsized attention they receive can sometimes lead commentators to the wrong conclusions about the peculiarities of Nordic economies. Jonathan Chait thinks the Nordic economies feature an “amped-up version of … neoliberalism” while an oddly large number of conservative and libertarian writers claim the Nordics are quasi-libertarian.
The common thread to these mistaken conclusions, aside from the desire to deny that there are leftist success stories in the world, is the apparent belief that the only extraordinary part of Nordic economies are the welfare states. Except for their generous social benefits, everything else is properly capitalist and even more capitalist than the United States. Or so the argument goes.

Trump Will Sign Russia Sanctions Bill

President Trump intends to sign the recently-passed bill imposing new sanctions on the Russian government, the White House said. The bill includes provisions that give Congress the right to review any changes to the sanctions proposed by the administration and block them.
Though the bill passed both the House and the Senate with veto-proof majorities, Anthony Scaramucci told CNN Thursday that Trump may veto it to "negotiate an even tougher deal against the Russians."  Friday afternoon, the White House press office issued a statement indicating the President would sign:
"President Donald J. Trump read early drafts of the bill and negotiated regarding critical elements of it. He has now reviewed the final version and, based on its responsiveness to his negotiations, approves the bill and intends to sign."
As Leah wrote about on Friday, Vladimir Putin ordered the US to cut the number of diplomatic staff it has in the country to 455 (the exact number of staff Russia has in the US) and seized two US diplomatic properties in response to the sanctions. 

America's two-party political system is dying

The failure of the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate to repeal ObamaCare signals that both major political parties have accepted the central role of the federal government in controlling the American healthcare industry.
A similar seminal moment came, in 2012, with regard to federal fiscal and monetary policies, when the former Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan, David A. Stockman, wrote:

“The 2012 Presidential election signaled the onset of sundown in America, and not merely because an avowed big-spending statist won the race.  Rather, it’s because the Republican candidate proved in words and lifelong deeds that there is no conservative party left in America—at least not one that is willing or able to defend sound money, free markets, and fiscal rectitude.”1
The failure to repeal ObamaCare signaled a victory for the American Progressive Movement (APM).  And, it further advances the notion that America’s two-party political system has become a UniParty.
UniParty is a one-act political play with two characters. Once upon a time, there was Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Burns and Allen. Today it’s Republicans and Democrats.
Unlike the bygone comedy duos, the output of the UniParty is not humor, but more and bigger federal government—long the mother’s milk of the APM.

Media Keep Butchering the Facts About Obamacare

Since its passage, and in a way that is unlike any policy issue in modern American history, the press have rallied to the defense of Obamacare. From day one, there has been almost no light between the average liberal activist and average health care reporter.
Or the average "fact-checker," for that matter. "Fact-checking" has evolved from an occasionally useful medium to an exercise in revisionism and diversion. Take the Washington Post writer Glenn Kessler's recent article titled "President Trump's Mangled 'Facts' About Obamacare." Those who read the headline might assume it's just Trump doing what Trump does most of the time. Yet it turns out that all these supposedly "mangled" contentions about Obamacare are, at the very least, debatable assertions.
Kessler, for example, doesn't approve of Trump stating: "Americans were told that premiums would go down by $2,500 per year. And instead, their premiums went up to levels that nobody thought even possible." Other than the hyperbole ("nobody thought even possible") tacked on, this statement is substantively true.
The ostensive debunking of the "premiums are soaring" claim is really just a confirmation that premiums have indeed risen. Sure, Kessler blames the vagaries of modern life and demographics—because these things apparently didn't exist when Democrats were making their big unrealistic promises in 2009.
More interestingly, he contends that when then-President Obama promised Americans that their insurance premiums would drop by $2,500 per year per family, what he really meant was premiums would be $2,500 less than the anticipated rise. So, in other words, according to estimates, the average family is now supposedly paying $3,600 less than what it would have paid if Obamacare hadn't been passed.

Where The Scandals Really Are

From a press release that hit on Thursday…
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Republicans today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter follows yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee approval of H. Res. 446, as amended, to request documents pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton.
In their letter, the Judiciary Committee members express concern that the directive given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller is narrow in scope and many concerns arising out of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath are not being investigated. The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s directive to former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the investigation into former Secretary Clinton; the FBI and Justice Department’s investigative decisions related to the Clinton email investigation, including the immunity deals given to potential co-conspirators; selected leaks of classified information that unmasked U.S. persons incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community; and the FBI’s reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, among many others issues.
If you’re sick and tired of the never-ending “Trump And The Russians” scandal, which for all its hype has produced scant little actual evidence of anything other than desultory cooperation on the part of the president’s camp with an investigation it quite reasonably believes is a kangaroo court, this letter from Goodlatte’s committee might just be what the doctor ordered.