Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Here's an In-Depth Analysis of Trump's Policy Proposals in His State of the Union Speech

President Donald Trump delivered his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

Heritage responded to the president's executive order to reorganize the federal government by producing two comprehensive reports that include proposals for cross-cutting government reforms, like making federal compensation more competitive with the private sector and reducing red tape; and more than 100 individual proposals to cut waste, duplication, inefficiencies, and unnecessary federal functions.

One important component of the president's tax reform was the removal of state and local tax deductions.

President Trump rightly called for an end to chain migration and the diversity lottery in his State of the Union address.

In the 2018 State of the Union address, President Trump declared that our rival, Russia, challenges "Our interests, our economy, and our values." This could not be truer.

President Trump singled out Iran for special attention in his speech, saying: "When the people of Iran rose up against the crimes of their corrupt dictatorship, I did not stay silent. America stands with the people of Iran in their courageous struggle for freedom."

President Trump previously had blasted the regime in a series of tweets that zeroed in on an important factor that sparked the protests: simmering resentment over the economic, financial, and human costs of Iran's aggressive foreign policy, which has diverted billions of dollars from Iran's domestic needs to pay for the regime's military interventions in Iraq and Syria, support for insurgents in Yemen and Afghanistan, and financing of a wide variety of terrorist groups.

Second Trump-Russia dossier being assessed by FBI

The FBI inquiry into alleged Russian collusion in the 2016 US presidential election has been given a second memo that independently set out some of the same allegations made in a dossier by Christopher Steele, the British former spy.

The second memo was written by Cody Shearer, a controversial political activist and former journalist who was close to the Clinton White House in the 1990s.

The Guardian has been told the FBI investigation is still assessing details in the 'Shearer memo' and is pursuing intriguing leads.

The revelation comes at a moment when Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers have been seeking to cast doubt on the credibility of the Mueller inquiry and the motivation of the FBI in examining Russian collusion, including unproven allegations that investigators had a bias in favour of Hillary Clinton when the investigation was initially launched before November.

The memo reportedly claims the FBI had an anti-Trump bias when it sought a warrant from the US foreign intelligence surveillance court to collect intelligence on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign.

The Republican memo reportedly alleges that the FBI relied on the Steele dossier, which was partly paid for using Democratic funds, in seeking the Carter Page warrant, according to the New York Times.

The Shearer memo was provided to the FBI in October 2016. 

Adam Schiff's Statements Are Frequently False Or Missing Key Details

Yesterday the House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence voted to release a four-page summary document alleging surveillance abuses by the Justice Department and FBI. The committee's memo has been available to all 435 House members for more than a week.

For background, Schiff has spent the last week and a half upset that the majority's memo alleging abuses was available for House review.

Today, as the committee gathered to vote on releasing their memo to the public, following its lengthy House review, Schiff asked the Intelligence Committee to release his memo.

His memo is on the same subject matter, risking the same national security threat he had wailed about for a week, with the same supposed risk to sources and methods.

Unlike what happened when Republicans on the committee asked Democrats for that vote, Republicans joined with Democrats to unanimously support his memo's release to the House - the same process used for the majority memo.

Here's his claim: "The 'release the memo crowd' apparently doesn't want to release the memo now. The most they would do is say that at some indeterminate point, a week or so from now, they would consider whether to release the minority memo."

Just this past week he pushed the false claim that Americans' desire to see the House Intel Committee's memo was in reality a Russian bot operation. 

Wages, Obama Economy's Weakest Link, Now Surging Under Trump

XA new survey out by the National Association of Business Economics finds that companies are starting to boost pay for their workers in order to attract and keep productive, skilled employees in a tighter labor market.

Almost half - 48% - of the NABE survey of 119 of its member companies said that their wage and salary packages had increased during the last three months, while none reported reducing pay for workers.

In short, wages are starting to rise fast, a trend that is expected to continue, as companies invest more, add jobs and look for qualified workers to do them.

Companies as diverse as Apple and Wal-Mart are adding to the pay packets of their workers, in some cases making pending minimum-wage hikes moot, as in the case of Wal-Mart.

Some three million workers have already seen a hike in pay, a bonus or more money added to their 401(k), the first sweet fruit of the tax cuts.

They're not only raising pay, they're also investing in their workers.

In the NABE survey, companies that have trouble hiring enough qualified workers say they're "Training internally" and "Raising pay" in response to market pressures. 

Trump's lawyers argue Mueller has not met threshold for presidential interview

While the White House has cooperated with Mueller's investigation by providing documents and voluntary witness testimony, the President's legal team argues that the President should not be treated like anyone else.

Trump's attorneys would like Mueller's prosecutors to show that only the President can give them the information they require.

The President's team, one source said, is consulting with the White House counsel's office and other outside legal experts given the implications of any decision about the President's testimony on the office of the President.

The discussions about presidential testimony are ongoing and professional, says one source.

It is now clear where the President's attorneys stand.

Mueller has made clear he is seeking a sit-down interview with the President, CNN reported last week.

Mueller has even provided Trump's attorneys with a range of topics he wants to ask about as part of ongoing negotiations regarding an interview with the President, sources familiar with the matter tell CNN..

CNN Anchors Impressed By Trump's 'Very Strong' Speech, 'Beautiful Prose'

The votes are in and by most accounts President Trump's first State of the Union was a home run.

It was a lengthy speech, but "a very strong speech," CNN's Wolf Blitzer noted Tuesday night after the main event.

Other CNN contributors like Chris Cillizza were among those media pundits who acknowledged the "Amazing moment" when Trump recognized North Korean defector Ji Seong Ho, who became crippled in his search for freedom.

At NBC News, Savannah Guthrie, while doubting the substance of the speech, had to at least note it struck a positive tone.

CBS News found that 75 percent of viewers liked what they heard from Trump.

Of course, there were others like Van Jones, who accused Trump of selling poison. 

'Mueller Will Not Indict Trump'

Mueller will not indict Trump for obstruction of justice or for any other crime.

These rules bind all Department of Justice employees, and Mueller, in the end, is a Department of Justice employee.

So the special counsel will not indict the president.... But what of the substance of the obstruction charge? Are pundits right that the case against Trump is becoming stronger-even if as a legal matter the president may not be charged?

After all their screaming a year ago about Trump-Russia collusion, it might have faded away due to utter lack of evidence but can't they still get President Trump on an obstruction charge?

Collateral cases, like those involving obstruction and perjury, are ones that involve derivative offenses, not the principal charges under investigation.

So maybe there's hope for a different indictment, since Rosenzweig notes "Several of the special counsel's prosecutorial hires specialize in money-laundering cases-an odd specialty for an election fraud/computer-hacking case." But, again, it's not happening!

Mueller will not indict the president, even for money laundering. 

'Dreamers' and Demons

The bright hopes of young Xinran Ji, a University of Southern California engineering student from Inner Mongolia, died in 2014 at the hands of a then-19-year-old "Dreamer" and his thug pals.

Mexican illegal alien Jonathan DelCarmen, who first jumped the southern border at age 12, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder last summer in the savage robbery and fatal beating of Ji - who was walking home from a study group after midnight.

Sometime during the night, Xinran Ji died in his bed.

"Dreamer" DelCarmen and his friends drove off to a nearby beach to rob two more innocent people in a city and state that have defiantly declared themselves "Sanctuaries" for people in the United States illegally - not for the best and brightest like Xinran Ji, but for lawless barbarians like Jonathan DelCarmen.

Victims of indiscriminate open borders, like Xinran Ji, don't exist.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, proud promoter of sanctuary policies for illegal immigrants, led more than two dozen Democrats in turning the State of the Union address into "Take an Illegal Alien to Work Day.".

The blind beatification and elevation of illegal immigrant "Dreamers" above law-abiding native Americans, naturalized Americans, legal immigrants and their families will be the ruin of us all. 

Once sacred, FBI becomes unlikely target of Republican fury

As special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation intensifies, President Donald Trump and his GOP supporters have unleashed their fury on the FBI and Justice Department, institutions they once held sacred.

THE CLASSIFIED MEMO.Republicans claim the FBI and Justice Department used false grounds to conduct surveillance as part of the Russia investigation.

THE TEXT MESSAGES.The Justice Department has been turning over to Congress thousands of text messages involving an FBI agent who was removed from Mueller's team following the discovery of derogatory comments about Trump.

Many of the texts between the agent, Peter Strzok, and an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, included their observations of the 2016 election and sometimes colorful opinions of Trump, Clinton and other politicians.

Some Republicans have seized on the communications as proof that the FBI is anti-Trump and Mueller's probe is tainted.

HILLARY CLINTON EMAIL.The most pronounced and long-lasting grievance took root in the summer of 2016, when then-FBI Director James Comey announced his determination that Clinton should not face criminal charges in connection with her use of a private email server.

Several developments involving senior career FBI and Justice Department officials - among them, Attorney General Loretta Lynch's impromptu airport tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton, and campaign contributions from a Clinton ally that flowed to the wife of FBI Deputy Andrew McCabe - only fueled Republican suspicion that Clinton was afforded special treatment. 

CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigns after report she invested in tobacco stocks

Brenda Fitzgerald, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, resigned on Wednesday following a report that she had invested in tobacco stocks while overseeing an agency tasked with promoting public health.

Fitzgerald had been under fire for months for not divesting some of her financial holdings.

The new Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who was sworn in earlier this week, announced the resignation in a brief statement.

The statement said that Fitzgerald owns "Certain complex financial interests that have imposed a broad recusal limiting her ability to complete all her duties as the CDC director."

It said that Fitzgerald could not divest from them in a definitive time period, due to the nature of the investments.

Fitzgerald, a longtime OB-GYN from Georgia, served as that state's public health commissioner before being named head of the CDC.According to Politico, after assuming her role at the CDC on July 7, Fitzgerald purchased between $1,001 and $15,000 of Japan Tobacco, one of the largest such companies in the world.

Records obtained under the Stock Act, which requires disclosures of transactions over $1,000, showed Fitzgerald sold the shares of Japan Tobacco on Oct. 26 and all of her stock holdings above $1,000 by Nov. 21, more than four months after she became CDC director.