Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Blame a dithering Congress, not Trump, for Democratic wins

After a hotly contested — and highly expensive — 2017 election cycle, the Democrats have taken the governor’s mansions in both Virginia and New Jersey. In both cases, it was a sweeping victory, with Ralph Northam winning nearly 54 percent of the Virginia vote and Ryan Murphy winning 56 percent of the New Jersey vote.

Contrary to what the mainstream media would have you believe, this was not a referendum on President Trump. This was a warning shot to congressional Republicans. Congressional Republicans have shown themselves unable to deliver. After running for years on promises of a wholesale repeal of ObamaCare and a replacement of it with a patient-centered, free market alternative, they couldn’t even get enough consensus to pass the “skinny repeal.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Republicans failed to win the day. Why would voters turn out for a party that can’t keep its promises? Why would conservatives support leaders who are utterly indifferent to skyrocketing premiums and crippling taxes? Why back a group as disorganized and duplicitous as today’s Republican party?

And why on earth would Virginia conservatives back Ed Gillespie? When conservatives chose Donald Trump in 2016, they were rejecting the seamy, swampy insider politics that have dominated D.C. for far too long and opting instead for an outsider and an innovator who would shake things up.

But Ed Gillespie is just the kind of politician voters rejected in 2016. He’s been a lobbyist; he’s been a chairman of the Republican National Convention; and he’s been a counselor for the Bush White House. All voters had to do was look at his resume to know exactly what they were getting: more carve outs for insider interests, more personal politics and favoritism, and more elitist interference. Conservative voters deserved better options than what they got this November — and they know it.

This election should be a wake-up call for Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Americans won’t tolerate delay and dithering any longer. They want a party that has a vision for America and the drive to see it through. Unless Republican leadership can convince citizens that they are this party, they’re looking at a bloodbath in 2018. Conservative voters will stay home, and liberals and moderates will flock to the polls to vote Ryan, McConnell and all other Republicans out of office.

If Republicans want to keep their seats, they need to act. They need to deliver a tax plan that gets rid of special favors for special interests, that cuts rates for businesses, families and individuals, and that brings American companies back home. They need to repeal and replace ObamaCare, once and for all. They need to bring federal spending under control and start hacking away at our $20 trillion-dollar debt. And they need to ensure three percent growth or higher.

This — and only this — will secure their seats in 2018. When Americans start finding more and more money in their wallets, when tax day arrives and they can finish their returns in a matter of minutes, when they aren’t steamrolled by health care costs, and when they can quickly find well-paying jobs, they’ll vote Republican.

Until then, my bet is on the Democrats — although I certainly hope I’m proven wrong. If I’m proven right, however, and Republicans lose the House and the Senate in 2018, you can bet they’ll try to blame Trump. But the fact of the matter is that, ultimately, they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.



An ICE Agent's Quest for Justice

By Michelle Malkin

Victor Avila is a survivor. Soft-spoken but iron-willed, he dedicated his life to law enforcement and to his country. Yet, the feds are now fighting tooth and nail to bury the full truth about the 2011 ambush by Los Zetas drug cartel thugs in Mexico that left him gravely wounded and his partner, special agent Jaime Zapata, dead.

This week, two of the Mexican gangsters convicted in the horror on Highway 57 between Mexico City and Monterrey were sentenced to double life terms in prison.

“HSI Special Agents Jaime Zapata and Victor Avila were in Mexico to protect and serve our country when they were ambushed by these ruthless criminals, who will now spend the rest of their lives in a prison cell,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco announced on Monday.

“This case serves as a reminder that if you harm a U.S. agent, the U.S. government will pursue you to the ends of the earth to ensure that you are brought to justice.”

Five others received lesser sentences of 35, 34, 30, 28 and 12 years for murder and attempted murder, which Avila on Tuesday called a “complete and utter disappointment.” As he described in his victim impact statement, “I was shot in three places and had shrapnel and glass imbedded in my body in too many places to count. Not only did I have to undergo multiple surgeries to remove the bullets and shrapnel and stitch together my shredded muscles and skin, but I also had to learn to walk again.”

Avila’s wife, who also worked for the government, lost her job. The ICE agent’s health care costs and other bills related to the attack’s aftermath piled up, leaving the family nearly $200,000 in debt and his wife and two children traumatized. “To this day, the government has not reimbursed my out-of-pocket expenses related to my work injuries,” he told U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth.

Another disgraceful indignity: This week, the feds refused to cover the Avilas’ $3,000 in travel and lodging costs from Texas to DC for the sentencing hearing, but did provide humanitarian parole for several of the Zetas’ family members from Mexico to attend the trial.

Even more disappointing, however, is the callousness of Beltway bureaucrats obstructing the Avilas’ and Zapatas’ search for answers. The families want to know who ordered the agents to travel through Zetas-infested territory unprotected to pick up equipment from another agent; why their superiors ignored a State Department security warning banning travel by U.S. personnel on Highway 57; and what the Obama administration hid as evidence mounted that the semi-automatic weapons ad handguns used in the ambush came from one of its botched gun-walking operations that echoed the infamous and deadly Operation Fast and Furious scheme.

“The significant importance here,” Avila explained on an upcoming episode of my CRTV.com show, “Michelle Malkin Investigates,” is that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives “had identified the arms traffickers, had them under surveillance, and had the opportunity to arrest them months before, and did nothing. They still allowed these individuals … the Osorio brothers, to continue trafficking in arms, and allowing the weapons to be walked south into Mexico. Once the weapons went south into Mexico, there is no trace of them. They were long gone. They were lost.”

While the feds have paid lip service to Zapata’s sacrifice and Avila’s courage, their actions have administered a collective slap in the face. The families’ public records requests have been stymied every step of the way. Not a single Justice Department official has been punished for President Obama’s deadly gun-walking failures. Instead, Avila was ostracized, transferred against his will and issued a “3R” letter to “resign, retire or relocate.”

As Avila’s wife, Claudia, told my program: “He had to give up his passion … he loved his job. And the government ended that. I think more than anything we feel betrayed. We feel like complete outcasts … Very unfair. If you didn’t know any better, you would think that Victor was this criminal person that did something very wrong in his line of duty and is being punished for it. I mean, we’re outraged. We’re very disheartened. The government has most definitely turned their back on us. And not only us but the Zapata family. I mean, they lost their son. They’re still trying to find answers; they are overwhelmed.”

Where is Congress? Where is President Trump? True justice for the Avila and Zapata families requires full accountability and real consequences — not just for the triggermen but for the crapweasels who enabled them.



Bernie Sanders goes to Canada and turns a blind eye to their failing health system

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., traveled to Canada in late October. His goal? To highlight the supposed benefits of that nation's single-payer healthcare system. "How is it that here in Canada, they provide quality health care to all people ... and they do it for half the cost?" he asked rhetorically.

If Sanders took off his rose-colored glasses, he'd see that Canada doesn't provide "quality" care to all people. And it only keeps costs low by rationing who can see doctors and obtain treatment.

That's hardly a model Americans should envy.

The Vermont socialist is willfully oblivious to the Canadian system's shortcomings. He went so far as to deny "there is any debate that the quality of care is as good or better than the United States."

If Canada's healthcare system was really as top-notch as Sanders claims, why do so many Canadians flee the country to obtain treatment? A Fraser Institute report from this summer finds that more than 63,000 Canadians sought medical treatment elsewhere in the world in 2016.

Could it have something to do with Canada's atrociously long wait times? When Canadian patients receive referrals from general practitioners, the median wait time is 20 weeks until specialists treat them. Here in the United States, waiting five months for treatment is unheard-of.

The problem isn't limited to specialist care. One-in-five Canadians must wait longer than a week to see a family doctor. About three-in-ten wait more than four hours at emergency departments. The crisis is so widespread that #CanadaWAITS is trending on Twitter.

Canada's rationed care is the predictable result of a healthcare system funded and administered by government bureaucrats. Americans mustn't let Sanders fool them into adopting a system that guarantees free, universal access to a waitlist.





Compare and contrast


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