Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lying media again

An image that went viral of a little Honduran girl crying after being apprehended in the US was not separated from her mother, her father says.

The Honduran toddler pictured sobbing in a pink jacket before US President Donald Trump on an upcoming cover of Time magazine was not separated from her mother at the US border, according to a man who says he is the girl's father.

The powerful original photograph, taken at the scene of a border detention by Getty Images photographer John Moore, became one of the iconic images in the flurry of media coverage about the separation of families by the Trump administration.

Dozens of newspapers and magazines around the globe published the picture, swelling the tide of outrage that pushed Trump to back down Wednesday and say families would no longer be separated.

"My daughter has become a symbol of the ... separation of children at the US border. She may have even touched President Trump's heart," Denis Valera told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Valera said the little girl and her mother, Sandra Sanchez, have been detained together in the Texas border town of McAllen, where Sanchez has applied for asylum, and they were not separated after being detained near the border.

Honduran deputy foreign minister Nelly Jerez confirmed Valera's version of events.



500 days of unleashing our economic engine

Amazing growth – while protecting environment, health and welfare from actual threats

Paul Driessen

The “mainstream media” remains riveted on alleged Trump-Russian collusion and how the Trump-Kim Jong Un deal will fail. But it mostly ignored reports on Russia-environmentalist collusion and China-environmentalist collusion – and milestones reached during the Trump Administration’s first 500 days.

In that short time, the US economy has gone from the lowest labor participation rate since the 1970s to nearly the lowest Black, Hispanic and women’s unemployment rates in history. It added 223,000 jobs just last month. Many employers are struggling to find qualified workers, even though private sector salaries and benefits have been increasing to attract them. (Perhaps generous welfare and unemployment payouts still tempt too many?) More than 4 million Americans have received pay raises and/or bonuses.

Businesses large and small are investing billions of dollars in facilities and equipment, and the Dow Jones Industrial average skyrocketed from 18,800 points just after the November 2016 elections – to a record 26,617 on January 26, 2018, before falling to 23,533 and then rebounding to 25,200. IRA, 401(k), and private and government pension funds have gained hundreds of billions in cumulative value.

Economists predict a growth rate of 4% for the second quarter of 2018, while one of the best forecasters says we may hit 5% by year’s end, thanks to extensive investment capital flowing into the USA.

The primary reasons for these changes were anticipation of and reaction to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of December 2017 and the Administration-wide reduction in regulations: not enacting many new ones, while reversing past bureaucratic rules, obstacles and delays. Two departments led the way: EPA and Interior.

* The Obama Department of the Interior implemented numerous actions to curtail fossil fuel production, mining, ranching and other economy-enhancing programs. During his first 500 days, Secretary Ryan Zinke reversed, eliminated or streamlined many of those rules and decision-delaying processes.

In accordance with the 2017 Tax Act, he opened the narrow “Coastal Plain” of Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to leasing and drilling, so that the area’s enormous oil and gas potential can be evaluated. Environmentalists had blocked access for nearly 40 years, denying America critically needed energy that can be developed safely under practices proven by decades of operations at the Prudhoe Bay oilfield.

Secretary Zinke also ended DOI’s war on coal and opened large tracts of valuable Utah coal reserves that had been closed off via abusive use of the 1906 Antiquities Act. He did so while fully protecting smaller monument areas of true historic, prehistoric and scientific value. Onshore and offshore, he opened millions of acres to oil and gas leasing, so that they can go through a full formal study and review process, with some of them ultimately being made available for exploration, drilling and production.

These and other actions have already helped send US oil production to a record (projected) 2018 output of 10.7 million barrels a day. They have created thousands of jobs and generated billions of dollars in lease bonus, rent, royalty and tax revenues to support essential government programs and services.

The new DOI and other government policies also helped the United States export a record $20 billion in crude oil, liquefied natural gas and refined products in April 2018 alone. US natural gas exports also increased – by 66% over their first quarter 2016 level.

After years of neglecting this critical obligation, Interior has dedicated tens of millions of dollars to restoring, repairing and maintaining national park lands, trails, lodges and visitor centers, so that families can continue enjoying them.

Meanwhile, many other Interior Department lands will now be managed under traditional “multiple use” guidelines that permit motorized access, non-wilderness recreation, grazing, forest management, timber harvesting, and responsible development of energy resources above and below the ground – all via expedited planning and permitting under the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws.

Finally, with an eye toward America’s current and future defense, renewable energy, communication and other needs, Interior issued a detailed report assessing the nation’s access to the “critical minerals” that are essential for manufacturing those vital technologies.

* Under President Obama, the Environmental Protection Agency was the most regulation-prone agency in government. Its heavy-handed rules cost the US economy billions and killed countless jobs. No longer.

During his first 500 days, Administrator Scott Pruitt’s EPA reduced or eliminated numerous burdensome regulations, likely saving America at least $1 billion a year in regulatory costs so far – while still protecting air and water quality and safeguarding human health against actual, demonstrable risks.

He helped persuade President Trump to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Treaty, which would have forced the USA to slash its greenhouse gas emissions and thus its reliance on fossil fuels, and pay billions of dollars annually into a “green climate” slush fund. Meanwhile, China, India and other rapidly developing countries will continue expanding their oil, gas and coal use … and CO2 emissions. In short, Paris will bring no climate benefits, even if CO2 actually is a primary factor in climate change.

Pruitt also repealed the deceptively named “Clean Power Plan,” which used dishonest claims about particulate, mercury and carbon dioxide emissions, exaggerated “social cost of carbon” data, and dubious assertions about climate change to justify rules that forced numerous coal-fired generators to shut down.

Pruitt also proposed to end the longstanding EPA practice of using secretive, questionable, non-replicable, even deceptive science to support agency policy and regulatory initiatives. The new rules will ensure that any science underlying agency actions is transparent and publicly available for independent experts to examine, validate or debunk. Studies that do not comply cannot be part of the decision-making process.

Equally important, Pruitt ended the underhanded sue-and-settle tactic that allowed radical environmental groups to work with EPA officials behind the scenes, to devise policies, sue in friendly courts to force their implementation, and then settle the cases – without parties affected by the decision able to present testimony or have their day in court. (My only complaint here is that Pruitt perhaps should have waited until conservative groups had some opportunities to use the same tactic to advance their policy agendas.)

The Pruitt EPA has garnered bipartisan praise for moving to expedite the cleanup of Missouri, Montana, Texas and other Superfund toxic waste sites that have posed threats to local communities for decades. It received similar support (and environmentalist criticism) for rescinding the “waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule that gave EPA effective control over every creek and temporary puddle in the nation

Those who still believe rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are causing dangerous manmade climate change will be happy to know that the United States has reduced its CO2 emissions more than any other country – even as America entered a new energy and economic renaissance under President Trump. In fact, they were down another 2.5% in 2016, on top of an 11% decline 2005 through 2015.

This is largely due to the Obama era war on coal, which resulted in hundreds of coal-fired generating units closing since 2008, with many replaced by increasingly efficient natural gas generators. With China, India, Germany and the rest of the world using fossil fuels to generate reliable, affordable electricity, it’s time for the United States to do likewise. Zinke and Pruitt are doing exactly that.

All of this represents enormous progress in returning to environmental common sense, restoring business and consumer confidence, and unleashing America’s powerful energy and economic engines.

However, there is still much to do: from immigration reform to renegotiated trade agreements that end the expanding tariff battles, and building more pipelines to get the nation’s increasing oil and gas production to power plants, refineries and export terminals – to ensuring a lasting Trump legacy through legislative deals, court victories and longer-term strategies, to augment executive orders and regulatory actions.

Using all this progress as a guide, imagine what could be accomplished over the next 500 days, the 950 days before Mr. Trump’s first term ends – or the next 2,400 days until the end of his second term!

Via email


Just How Far Are Democrats Lurching Left?

The party's presidential hopefuls are leading the charge toward ever more socialism

The expected electoral Blue Wave in 2018 has been tempered a bit considering the positive economic news based on the tremendous reversal in unemployment that sweeps across demographics with wages rising, consumer confidence soaring and small business optimism through the roof. Democrats’ recourse has been to double down on the extremist #Resist movement to the point that they’re literally hoping for recession just to get Donald Trump.

This thinking has positioned Democrats against the sweeping Republican tax cuts that have opened the economic flow of activity, against real DACA reform and against sweeping diplomatic efforts such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Put another way, they’re against peace and prosperity.

Now that’s a party platform that appeals to the masses!

This past week, a large gathering of the political Left occurred in Washington, DC — the We the People Summit. The event can be best summarized by a quote made by one of the event’s moderators and president of Demos, a progressive Democrat policy organization: “We’re not just pulling the party to the left. We’re pulling the party into the future.”

The list of host sponsors, in addition to Demos, tells the story: Planned Parenthood Action Fund, Communications Workers of America, Center for Popular Democracy Action, MoveOn, People’s Action, 32BJ SEIU, Working Families Party, PICO National Network, Caring Across Generations Action Fund, National Domestic Workers Alliance, New York Communities for Change, Sierra Club and United We Dream Action.

It doesn’t take a political scientist or consultant to see the obvious: Democrats are moving further to the political left and, in their own words, working to “project a bold, transformative vision.” Anyone remember what happened for eight years the last time some smooth-talking politician promised an agenda rooted in “fundamentally transforming the United States of America”?

Interestingly, as the political Left demands more and more government control, intervention and, yes, socialism, the political Right has moved into a governing role that, while still motivated by principles, is not as ideologically driven as the days of the Tea Party’s beginnings almost a decade ago. But that’s another story.

Exactly what are these bold, transformative Democrats proposing?

At last Wednesday’s progressive pep rally, the main event revolved around the current pool of 2020 presidential hopefuls for the Democrats — U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Bernie Sanders (Vermont), Kristen Gillibrand (New York) and Kamala Harris (California).

These politicians previewed issues that we should expect in the 2018 elections as well as the 2020 presidential cycle. Despite their passion, their platform was embarrassingly reflective of the mythical belief that government has its own money, can create jobs and is the institution that should, by default, replace all others that serve a civil society.

Let’s start with Medicare for All.

Remember that Medicare, the health insurance program funded by payroll taxes, surtaxes and some premiums from beneficiaries, is available to those 65 years of age or older and a select few more. Democrats want a single-payer (government) health insurance program for all citizens, and likely noncitizens, of the U.S., operating as Medicare for All. Universal health care sounds great because it covers all care. It’s the price tag of reality, however, that should deter us. Not to mention the inherent loss of Liberty.

Never mind that the Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees released a report just two weeks ago that declared the health insurance program for seniors would be insolvent by 2026. That means Medicare’s debts and promised services will outnumber its funds in only eight years. But, to paraphrase Lady Margaret Thatcher, when you’re a socialist, you don’t have a problem until you run out of other people’s money. Medicare is almost there.

The “We the People” parade of progressive hogwash also featured the call for a “living wage,” with specifics offered that range from a $15/hour minimum wage to a universal wage for everyone to eliminate economic inequities. Let’s ask Seattle how its business head tax, ostensibly aimed to generate $48 million to address homelessness and housing costs, worked out. It’s exactly the same premise. Mandating that a business pay some type of universal wage is a tax on jobs.

On immigration, the wannabe Democrat standard-bearers boast of the humanity that only they possess with their view that an open-border policy is the answer. They insist the “rights” of illegals are in jeopardy as long as racist Republicans enforce immigration laws and the notion of sovereignty within our own country. Yet the truth is, Democrats stand with the “animals” of MS-13 — perpetrators of heinous crimes — against the citizens of our nation. They keep moving further to the left.

Other foundational topics addressed last week included the leftist sacrament of unrestricted abortion, the rights of the gender confused, “free” college tuition for all and the need to cut our military to make way for more welfare spending.

But the event and the upcoming elections can be easily summarized: Democrats hope to ride a Blue Wave by offering “Better Deal” socialism that fails every time it’s tried. And yet they accuse Republicans of moving to the right.

Via email


Obsessive media coverage risks fuelling the rise of Donald Trump

Swiss journalist PATRIK MULLER below can see what the American Left apparently cannot: That the  ever-boiling media hate of Trump defeats their purposes.  Even before he was elected he dominated the news. The Left just cannot restrain their hate of him

As a Swiss journalist, I’ve followed US politics and media since the Clinton administration. But when I moved to Boston five months ago, I got a new perspective, and it has stunned me. I’m subscribed to several major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe. Too much of the press is obsessed with the US President.

In The New York Times, I counted 14 articles dealing with Trump in a recent Friday edition. One of them, an editorial, was titled “The Cult of Trump” and accused Republicans of revolving around a man rather than ideas. Could it be that the media’s excessive Trump coverage is a kind of cult, too? Could it be that, as important as this presidency indeed is, other relevant issues are crowded out?

To be sure, the media must report and comment at length on events such as the G7 and North Korea summits. They must analyse in detail the withdrawal from the Iran deal, the imposition of tariffs, and turnover in the administration. It is journalists’ duty to investigate and criticise every president and administration.

Yet many news organisations allow Trump to dominate the news cycle even when it comes to trivialities. Do his tweets about Kanye West, Roseanne Barr, the National Football League’s national anthem policy and the latest twist in the Stormy Daniels case warrant the scale and scope of the coverage?

The Trump hysteria extends to the President’s family and friends. When a reporter from The Boston Globe disclosed that “a small number” of Harvard alumni mocked Jared Kushner in their 15-year reunion book (“Shame on you!”), the newspaper ran the scoop on its front page.

From a Swiss perspective, this all seems familiar. In the 1990s, my country saw the rise of a man later described as the first populist in Europe, Christoph Blocher.

The billionaire entrepreneur took over the Swiss People’s Party and transformed it into a conservative, Eurosceptic and immigrant-weary movement. Blocher dominated the headlines for years, much the way Trump does in the US. Amid dire warnings by virtually every Swiss news outlet, Blocher’s party increased its share of the vote constantly, from around 10 per cent to 30 per cent.

In retrospect, it’s accepted that Blocher’s exuberant media presence, and his demonisation, helped him rise. While meaning to do the opposite, the media made him the hero against the “political class”. Similarly, Trump’s approval numbers are higher than when he was elected, and many Republicans who once were ambivalent now support him. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a private conversation, reported this month: “I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump. I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”

Johnson is a former journalist, and it’s worth thinking about how the method works on the press.



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1 comment:

C. S. P. Schofield said...

New thought;

What's the difference between Hillary Clinton and a Socialist?

A Socialist has an ideology. Hillary just has a price list.