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Obama-appointed members of presidential arts committee resign en masse

Liberty Unyielding - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 7:17pm
Edward-Isaac Dovere, Politico

Maxine Waters refers to Ben Carson as ‘white-wing nationalist’

Liberty Unyielding - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 6:53pm
Kyle Olson, American Mirror

The smug bigotry of Trump-haters

Tea Party Tribune - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 5:01pm

Fox News contributor Tammy Bruce provides insight

Source: FoxNews.com

The post The smug bigotry of Trump-haters appeared first on Tea Party Tribune.

North Korean Situation History and Proposed Solution

Tea Party Tribune - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 4:26pm

Of course, the current North Korean brouhaha is all Trump’s fault at least according to the propaganda megaphone and prime time indoctrination machine that is the ABCCBSNBCPBSCNNMSNBCNPR Cartel.  But then again according to these Alt-Left AntiFa stenographers what isn’t?

To be effective all current events must happen in a vacuum.  That way the spinmeisters can work their editorial magic and make everything fit their narrative.

Therefore in their delegitimizing playbook aimed at the eventual impeachment of President Trump, the North Korean nuclear showdown is all because of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric.  However current events are the History of the Future and they need to be seen in context to be understood.

Way back in the mists of recorded time, on October 18, 1994 President Bill Clinton facing the reality of North Korea saying it was going to build nuclear weapons acted out the usual Democrat imitation of Nevil Chamberlain.  In other words, Mr. Clinton gave the tin-pot dictator de jure whatever desired as long as he could wave a little piece of paper and declare it signified “Peace in our time” just before an election.

He briefly described the “Deal” this way, “This agreement [$4 billion in U.S. energy aid] will help achieve a longstanding and vital American objective—an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.”

Looking for a talking point to help the Democrat machine maintain its traditional hold on Congress Mr. Clinton set the North Koreans on the road to a nuclear bomb.  Taking no thought for the eventual repercussions and looking only to immediate political advantage he threw America under the bus.

Even that flagship of the left the New York Times saw this for what it was, political maneuvering, not diplomacy.  Here’s how they described it at the time, “The accord struck in Geneva gave the President a chance to proclaim a major foreign policy success just weeks before the midterm election. But Asian diplomats pointed out today that it also placed the United States in the odd position of bolstering the political capital of a man it has regularly denounced as a terrorist, a supplier of missile technology to Iran and a dictator: Kim Jong Il.”

Clinton said, “North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program.”

Here’s what the Times had to say, “What bothers some nuclear experts, from the Pentagon to the International Atomic Energy Agency, is that the North will continue to possess nuclear spent fuel for years, surrendering it only when the new reactors are nearing completion. That leaves open the possibility that if it ever renounced this week’s agreement it could eject all international inspectors and resume the bomb project.”

According to President Clinton, “The United States and international inspectors will carefully monitor North Korea to make sure it keeps its commitments. Only as it does so will North Korea fully join the community of nations.”

As reported by the New York Times, “‘This means that we are living with a country that flouted the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and will remain in noncompliance for years,’ an atomic energy agency official said today. ‘We wanted to get that fuel out of the country, and out of the country fast.’’’

And, “‘Similarly, some of the agency’s officials are concerned that the so-called special inspection of a suspected nuclear site that they demanded two years ago — a demand that prompted the North to announce it would pull out of the Nonproliferation Treaty — will be delayed for five years or more. “It is not a good precedent to set,’ the official said, ‘if we have to demand a special inspection in Iran or Iraq or someplace else in the world.”’

The Times had a bit more to say about this American Munich, “President Clinton approved a plan today to arrange more than $4 billion in energy aid to North Korea during the next decade in return for a commitment from the country’s hard-line Communist leadership to freeze and gradually dismantle its nuclear weapons development program.”

And, “American and North Korean officials plan to sign the broad accord on Friday, and almost immediately the United States will begin a remarkable new foreign aid program: it will provide for the North, with which it has never signed a peace treaty ending the Korean War, supplies of heavy oil to keep factories running and homes heated.”

And not only did the United States agree to provide oil Bill Clinton arranged for something else, “The accord calls for a consortium of nations, led by South Korea and Japan, to provide the North with two light-water nuclear reactors, designed in a manner that makes it far more difficult for the North to convert nuclear waste into atomic weapons.”

I wonder what the Kim dynasty has done with those reactors?

Along come George II and what does he do?  He inaugurates the Six Party Talks between the United States, South and North Korea, China, Russia, and Japan.  These talks went on and off for years eventually producing nothing but more time for North Korea to improve upon their first nuclear test which happened on the second Bush watch.

The Obama Administration courageously followed a policy of strategic patience, essentially a commitment to denuclearization as a precondition for talks, conducted in close alliance with Seoul and the other members of the Six-Party Talks.  The talks continued to drag on as Mr. Obama kicked the can down the road.

Now the latest model of a crazy Kim struts around like a bantam rooster with a bad haircut on the world stage.  He overtly threatens us with nuclear war and President Trump stands up to him.

To the corporations once known as the mainstream media this is provocative.  Standing up for yourself is not the progressive way.  We are supposed to cower in the corner and apologize for being who we are.  That is not the American way.  At least it wasn’t before the Clinton – Bush – Obama era.

As stated earlier: To be effective all current events must happen in a vacuum.  That way the spinmeisters can work their editorial magic and make everything fit their narrative.

However, nothing happens in a vacuum.  We must consider the context for a text without a context is a pretext.

So how are we supposed to deal with North Korea short of turning them into a sea of glass?

I propose that we pull our troops out of South Korea.  With a population twice as large and an economy almost four times the size of the stunted North the South should be able to fend for itself after 67 years of American protection.  Then we tell China that unless they reign in their protégé we will help South Korea, Japan, and Taiwan to build their own nuclear weapons. Then we step aside and let the Asian Tigers figure out how to bell the cat in Pyongyang.

Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion.  He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2017 Contact Dr. Owens [email protected]  Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens

The post North Korean Situation History and Proposed Solution appeared first on Tea Party Tribune.

Case against Wasserman Schultz’ ex-IT aide expands with 4-count indictment

Tea Party Tribune - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 4:05pm

The federal case against Imran Awan, a former IT aide for Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, expanded Thursday with an indictment on four counts including conspiracy and making false statements.
He originally was charged with a single bank fraud count; his wife Hina Alvi also was indicted Thursday.

The grand jury decision in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia comes roughly a month after Awan was arrested at Dulles airport in Virginia trying to board a plane to Pakistan, where his family is from.

Awan and other IT aides for House Democrats have been on investigators’ radar for months over concerns of possible double-billing, alleged equipment theft, and access to sensitive computer systems. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Schultz had kept him on until his arrest in July.

The indictment itself, which merely represents formal charges and is not a finding of guilt, addresses separate allegations that Awan and his wife engaged in a conspiracy to obtain home equity lines of credit from the Congressional Federal Credit Union by giving false information about two properties – and then sending the proceeds to individuals in Pakistan.

The case has put renewed scrutiny on Wasserman Schultz for keeping Awan on the payroll for months, even after a criminal investigation was revealed and he was barred from the House IT network.  

Awan and other family members for years had a lucrative arrangement for IT-related work on Capitol Hill for House Democrats. According to The Daily Caller, the members of the Pakistani family made at least $4 million since 2009.

In a recent interview published in the Sun Sentinel, Wasserman Schultz blamed the “right-wing media circus fringe” for the attention on Awan.

The former head of the Democratic National Committee suggested it’s all part of an effort to distract from the investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible ties to President Trump’s team.

“Any opportunity they can to pull people’s eyes and ears away from that they take,” Wasserman Schultz told the newspaper.

Her colleagues in Congress, though, say there are serious security implications in her former staffer’s case.

“We have to investigate how our systems may have been compromised,” Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., recently told “Fox & Friends.”

Though Awan was barred from the IT network, Wasserman Schultz’ spokesman David Damron told Fox News their office worked with the House Chief Administrative Officer to arrange for the employee to keep providing “valuable services without access to the House network.”

Awan, 37, of Virginia, earlier pleaded not guilty to a single count of bank fraud.

Attorney Christopher Gowen told Fox News  that federal authorities have no evidence of misconduct by Awan relating to his IT duties

Source: FoxNews.com

The post Case against Wasserman Schultz’ ex-IT aide expands with 4-count indictment appeared first on Tea Party Tribune.

Steve Bannon out as White House chief strategist

Liberty Unyielding - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 2:19pm
Another member of Team Trump leaves the building.

The Federal Government Should Get Out of Infrastructure

Center for Freedom and Prosperity (CF&P) - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 12:37pm

I’ve called for the abolition of the Department of Transportation on more than one occasion, so I was very excited to see this new video about infrastructure from Johan Norberg.

Very well put. As Johan says (channeling Bastiat), we should remember that jobs are destroyed when money is taken out of the private sector to build infrastructure.

So it behooves us to make sure that any new project isn’t a boondoggle and instead will increase the economy’s productive capacity.

Which is why we should strive for decentralization and shrink Washington’s footprint. If a state or local government is paying for its own projects, presumably it’ll have a greater incentive to avoid wasteful pork. When the federal government pays, by contrast, that’s a recipe for waste.

Veronique de Rugy explains the issue in a column for Reason. She starts with some economic analysis.

Economists have long recognized that roads, bridges, airports, and canals are the conduits through which goods are exchanged, and as such, infrastructure can play a productive role in economic growth. But not all infrastructure spending is equal. Ample literature shows, in fact, that it’s a particularly bad vehicle for stimulus and does not, in practice, boost short-term jobs or economic growth. …Publicly funded infrastructure projects often aren’t good investments in the long term, either. Most spending orchestrated by the federal government suffers from terrible incentives that lead to malinvestment—resources wasted in inefficient ways and on low-priority efforts. Projects get approved for political reasons and are either totally unnecessary or harmed by cost overruns and corruption.

And she concludes by arguing for market forces rather than federal involvement.

[Trump] should put an end to the whole idea that infrastructure should be centrally planned, taxpayer-funded, and the responsibility of the federal (as opposed to state or local) government. The current system obliterates the discipline that comes from knowing a project needs to pay for itself to survive. User fees should become our preferred option for funding infrastructure. That change kills two birds with one stone: It lessens the need for massive federal expenditures, and it gives the private sector an incentive to spend money on crucial but not exactly sexy maintenance tasks. …If Trump wants the United States to have “world-class” infrastructure, the surest way is through market-based reforms that increase competition while reducing subsidies and regulations. Embrace real privatization, not federally directed private investments.

Writing for U.S. News & World Report, Tracy Miller similarly argues that decentralization is the best approach.

Highways as well as public transportation are currently funded with money from the federal Highway Trust Fund, and by state and local governments. …Money from the fund has strings attached that raise costs and limit state and local governments’ ability to choose which projects have priority. These strings include prevailing wage laws, which require contractors receiving federal money to pay unionized wages even if they could attract qualified workers willing to work for less. High-profile projects chosen by politically powerful congressmen can easily take priority over projects that would generate greater benefits for their constituents. From an administrative standpoint, it would not be very difficult to reduce or eliminate the federal government’s role in highway and transit funding. Instead of gas taxes going to the federal government before being returned to the states, as is presently the case, each state could collect all taxes on fuel sold within its borders and decide how best to spend it. This would make it possible to downsize the U.S. Department of Transportation, saving taxpayers billions of dollars.

He explains why reform will lead to better – and cheaper – transportation.

Local governments – with greater awareness of the local needs of metropolitan areas, small towns or rural areas – can do a better job of funding and managing roads, highways and public transportation that serve primarily local residents. State governments or private firms, meanwhile, can best manage interstate and other major highways that cater mostly to long-distance travelers, especially if they could cover expenses with user fees. …Many drivers object to the idea of paying tolls for the use of currently “free” interstate highways, whether they are managed by private firms or state governments. But highways aren’t free – the costs are hidden within our fuel taxes. If mileage-based user fees are applied to all highways and set at the correct levels, they can become a much more efficient (and ultimately cheaper) replacement for fuel taxes.

Professor Edward Glaeser of Harvard summarizes the issue nicely in an article for CNBC.

Our current system of federal funding for transportation means that taxpayers in New York fund highways in Montana and drivers in Utah pay for New York’s airports. If President Trump wants to seriously improve American infrastructure spending, he should champion a new federalism for transportation, in which infrastructure is funded by states, localities and especially the users themselves. …The best decisions are made when decision-makers bear the costs and reap the benefits. When companies invest, they agonize about whether future customers will pay enough to cover the production costs. …Having lived through Boston’s Big Dig, I am well aware of how the promise of federal funding skews local decision-making. Local leaders stop asking themselves whether the benefits cover the costs because it’s somebody else’s nickel. …Detroit would have never built its absurd People Mover Monorail without federal encouragement and funding.

He elaborates on some of the implications for different types of infrastructure.

If new automotive infrastructure is meant to be self-financing, then the decision to build is a straightforward business investment and there is little need for large-scale federal funding. …The beneficiaries of metro systems are the businesses and commuters within a state. They could be funded with local property or sales taxes. My favorite metro funding model is in Hong Kong, where the city’s private mass transit system funds itself by building high-rises atop new train stops. …More federal funding for dysfunctional airports just perpetuates the status quo. They would be far healthier if they were split apart from the larger agency and allowed to operate, compete and charge higher landing fees, either as independent self-funding public airports, as in the U.K., or as private entities.

Amen. I’m not surprised to see Hong Kong as a role model. And I’ve already written about the U.K.’s success with privatization.

Speaking of privatization, a column in the Wall Street Journal points out that this is the way to improve airports in America.

Why do American passengers pay so much to get so little? Because their airports, by global standards, are terribly managed. Cities from London to Buenos Aires have sold or leased their airports to private companies. To make a profit, these firms must hold down costs while enticing customers with lots of flights, competitive fares and appealing terminals. The firm that manages London’s Heathrow, currently eighth in the international ranking, was so intent on attracting passengers that it built a nonstop express train to the city’s center. It’s also seeking to add another runway, as is the rival firm running Gatwick Airport. American airports are typically run by politicians in conjunction with the dominant airlines, which help finance the terminals in return for long-term leases on gates and facilities. The airlines use their control to keep out competitors; the politicians use their share of the revenue to reward unionized airport workers. No one puts the passenger first.

The author cites the San Juan airport as an example of what can happen under privatization.

If you want to see how much better American airports could be, take a plane to Puerto Rico. Until four years ago, the main airport in San Juan was run, and neglected, by an unwieldy bureaucracy, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority. The terminal was a confusing jumble of dim corridors. On rainy days, the ceilings leaked; on hot days, the air conditioning faltered. The stores were tacky and the restaurants greasy spoons, often rented at bargain rates to politicians’ friends or relatives. …Airlines switched operations to other Caribbean hubs. In 2013 the Ports Authority leased the airport for 40 years to Aerostar, a partnership operating airports in Cancún and other Mexican cities. The new managers agreed to make capital improvements, reduce landing fees and pay the Ports Authority $1.2 billion—half up-front. The result, three years later, is an airport nobody would call Third World. The redesigned concourses are sleek and airy, and revenue from new retail and restaurants has doubled. …Airlines no longer control the gates, but they’re reaping other benefits. “We’re paying lower fees for a much better airport,” says Michael Luciano, who runs Delta’s operations in San Juan. “Almost every area has been renovated. You go into any restroom, and it’s bright and clean—things like that are really important to our customers.” Passenger volume has been growing 4% annually, well above the industry average.

I can personally vouch for this. Because of all my travel in the Caribbean, I’ve used the San Juan airport extensively over the years, including just last week for the Liberty International conference.

The difference between today’s airport and the dump that used to exist is like the difference between night and day.

By the way, let’s also dismiss the notion that there’s some sort of infrastructure crisis.

I’ve already shared data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which shows that the United States actually ranks relatively high compared to other nations.

And I’ve also shared solid numbers making the same point from Chris Edwards, one of my colleagues at the Cato Institute. Michael Sargent of the Heritage Foundation has a tweet that nicely shows that there isn’t a crisis.

Oh, and let’s also consider the example of Japan, which thought infrastructure spending was some sort of economic elixir. That didn’t work so well, as pointed out by the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. economy isn’t growing at merely 2% because of potholes or airports… The prime illustration is Japan, which since the 1980s has tried to build its way out of stagnation. The country now boasts perhaps the world’s most spectacular suspension bridges, maglev trains, elevated highways and man-made islands, but the cost was trillions of yen of debt (now 230% of GDP) and no better growth. Nor could a monorail save Detroit. Projects make economic sense only to the extent they clear rigorous cost-benefit tests.

And if you want to know the infrastructure that is least likely to pass a cost-benefit test, just look at mass transit.

A good place to start is the Wall Street Journal‘s recent editorial on a subway line in New York City.

New York City opened a new subway line—about a century after the project was proposed and merely decades after ground-breaking in 1972…by far the most expensive train track in the history of the world. The story is an example of what not to do… This first phase of the new line—amounting to 1.6 miles in a single neighborhood, with three new stations and a renovated stop—cost some $4.451 billion. …The next leg of the Second Avenue subway, which would extend the train 29 blocks north into Harlem starting in 2020, is projected to cost an astonishing $6 billion, and that is surely an underestimate.

Gabriel Roth, writing for the Washington Examiner, has the right idea.

…abolish the subsidies. The federal government forces road users to spend some $10 billion a year on non-road assets of little or no benefit to them. Those payments are not only wasteful in themselves; they also encourage states and local governments to squander money on mass transit, whose costs users are not prepared to cover — not even the operating costs. If local communities consider such expenditures important, they should pay for them themselves.

By the way, just to show my libertarian bona fides, I think decentralization is just part of the answer. In my fantasy world, the private sector plays a bigger role.

And the good news, as I wrote back in 2014, is that my fantasy is a reality in some instances.

Here’s another example from Hawaii.

Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii’s Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park — for free. …The state Department of Land and Natural Resources had estimated that the damage would cost $4 million to fix, money the agency doesn’t have, according to a news release from department Chairwoman Laura Thielen. …So Slack, other business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running March 23. And after only eight days, all of the repairs were done, Pleas said. It was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in. “We can wait around for the state or federal government to make this move, or we can go out and do our part,” Slack said. “Just like everyone’s sitting around waiting for a stimulus check, we were waiting for this but decided we couldn’t wait anymore.” …”We shouldn’t have to do this, but when it gets to a state level, it just gets so bureaucratic, something that took us eight days would have taken them years,” said Troy Martin of Martin Steel, who donated machinery and steel for the repairs. “So we got together — the community — and we got it done.”

Reminds me of the guy who built some stairs at a park for $550 because the Toronto government was taking too long and planned to spend $65,000 to do the same thing.

And here’s another case study from Portland.

Portland Anarchist Road Care (PARC) is a community collaboration of skilled workers who volunteer their services to fix the damaged roads around Portland, Oregon. Citing concerns about governmental bureaucracy, the current political climate, a lack of funds and a seeming lack of care, the members of PARC decided to take things into their own very capable hands.

I have no idea whether these people are libertarian-minded anarcho-capitalists or deeply confused left-wing nihilist anarchists, but kudos to them for stepping up and doing a job cheaply and efficiently. The very opposite of what we expect from government.

P.S. Since Nazis are in the news and since I’m writing about infrastructure, here are some blurbs from an academic study on how Germany’s National Socialists used autobahn outlays to generate political support.

The idea that political support can effectively be bought has a long lineage – from the days of the Roman emperors to modern democracies, `bread and circus’ have been used to boost the popularity of politicians. A large literature in economics argues more generally that political support can be ‘bought’. …In this paper, we analyze the political benefits of building the worldʹs first nationwide highway network in Germany after 1933 – one of the canonical cases of government infrastructure investment. We show that building the Autobahn was highly effective in reducing opposition to the Hitler regime. …What accounts for the Autobahn’s success in winning “hearts and minds”? We discuss the economic and transport benefits. In the aggregate, these have been shown to be minimal (Ritschl 1998; Vahrenkamp 2010). …we argue that the motorways…increased support because they could be exploited by propaganda as powerful symbols of competent, energetic government. …Our results suggest that infrastructure spending can indeed create electoral support for a nascent dictatorship – it can win the “hearts and minds” of the populace. In the case of Germany, direct economic benefits of pork‐barrel spending in affected districts may have played a role.

Seems that politicians, whether motivated by evil or run-of-the-mill ambition, love spending other people’s money to build political support. Is it any wonder that we hold them in such low esteem?

P.P.S. Fans of “public choice” doubtlessly will be amused by the IMF’s 2014 flip-flop on infrastructure.

CIA warned Spanish authorities about potential attacks in Barcelona two months ago

Liberty Unyielding - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:48am
Forewarned is forearmed … usually.

Media working overtime to prove Trump is a racist

Liberty Unyielding - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:31am
Pete Kasperowicz, Wash. Examiner

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