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1  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China Trade Shock on: Today at 12:55:50 AM
2  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama sneaks another $500M to United Nations on: Today at 12:54:24 AM
3  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Deep State uses Pravda on the Hudson to continue its subversion of Trump on: Today at 12:38:31 AM
Intercepted Russian Communications Part of Inquiry Into Trump Associates


WASHINGTON — American law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining intercepted communications and financial transactions as part of a broad investigation into possible links between Russian officials and associates of President-elect Donald J. Trump, including his former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, current and former senior American officials said.

The continuing counterintelligence investigation means that Mr. Trump will take the oath of office on Friday with his associates under investigation and after the intelligence agencies concluded that the Russian government had worked to help elect him. As president, Mr. Trump will oversee those agencies and have the authority to redirect or stop at least some of these efforts.

It is not clear whether the intercepted communications had anything to do with Mr. Trump’s campaign, or Mr. Trump himself. It is also unclear whether the inquiry has anything to do with an investigation into the hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s computers and other attempts to disrupt the elections in November. The American government has concluded that the Russian government was responsible for a broad computer hacking campaign, including the operation against the D.N.C.

The counterintelligence investigation centers at least in part on the business dealings that some of the president-elect’s past and present advisers have had with Russia. Mr. Manafort has done business in Ukraine and Russia. Some of his contacts there were under surveillance by the National Security Agency for suspected links to Russia’s Federal Security Service, one of the officials said.
Continue reading the main story
Russian Hacking in the U.S. Election
Complete coverage of Russia’s campaign to disrupt the 2016 presidential election.

    Putin Says Accusations in Trump Dossier Are ‘Clearly Fake’
    JAN 17
    ‘Kompromat’ and the Danger of Doubt and Confusion in a Democracy
    JAN 15
    C.I.A. Nominee Says He Won’t Balk at Seeking Russian Intelligence
    JAN 12
    N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications
    JAN 12
    Fact Check: Trump’s News Conference
    JAN 12

See More »
Related Coverage

    For Trump, Three Decades of Chasing Deals in Russia JAN. 16, 2017
    Russians Ridicule U.S. Charge That Kremlin Meddled to Help Trump JAN. 7, 2017

Continue reading the main story

Mr. Manafort is among at least three Trump campaign advisers whose possible links to Russia are under scrutiny. Two others are Carter Page, a businessman and former foreign policy adviser to the campaign, and Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative.

The F.B.I. is leading the investigations, aided by the National Security Agency, the C.I.A. and the Treasury Department’s financial crimes unit. The investigators have accelerated their efforts in recent weeks but have found no conclusive evidence of wrongdoing, the officials said. One official said intelligence reports based on some of the wiretapped communications had been provided to the White House.

Counterintelligence investigations examine the connections between American citizens and foreign governments. Those connections can involve efforts to steal state or corporate secrets, curry favor with American government leaders or influence policy. It is unclear which Russian officials are under investigation, or what particular conversations caught the attention of American eavesdroppers. The legal standard for opening these investigations is low, and prosecutions are rare.

“We have absolutely no knowledge of any investigation or even a basis for such an investigation,” said Hope Hicks, a spokeswoman for the Trump transition.

In an emailed statement Thursday evening, Mr. Manafort called allegations that he had interactions with the Russian government a “Democrat Party dirty trick and completely false.”

“I have never had any relationship with the Russian government or any Russian officials. I was never in contact with anyone, or directed anyone to be in contact with anyone,” he said.

“On the ‘Russian hacking of the D.N.C.,’” he said, “my only knowledge of it is what I have read in the papers.”

The decision to open the investigations was not based on a dossier of salacious, uncorroborated allegations that were compiled by a former British spy working for a Washington research firm. The F.B.I. is also examining the allegations in that dossier, and a summary of its contents was provided to Mr. Trump earlier this month.

Representatives of the agencies involved declined to comment. Of the half-dozen current and former officials who confirmed the existence of the investigations, some said they were providing information because they feared the new administration would obstruct their efforts. All spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.
First Draft

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Numerous news outlets, including The New York Times, have reported on the F.B.I. investigations into Mr. Trump’s advisers. BBC and then McClatchy revealed the existence of a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government.

The continuing investigation again puts the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, in the middle of a politically fraught investigation. Democrats have sharply criticized Mr. Comey’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Mrs. Clinton has said his decision to reveal the existence of new emails late in the campaign cost her the election.

The F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Manafort began last spring, and was an outgrowth of a criminal investigation into his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine and for the country’s former president, Viktor F. Yanukovych. In August, The Times reported that Mr. Manafort’s name had surfaced in a secret ledger that showed he had been paid millions in undisclosed cash payments. The Associated Press has reported that his work for Ukraine included a secret lobbying effort in Washington aimed at influencing American news organizations and government officials.

Mr. Stone, a longtime friend of Mr. Trump’s, said in a speech in Florida last summer that he had communicated with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that published the hacked Democratic emails. During the speech, Mr. Stone predicted further leaks of documents, a prediction that came true within weeks.

In a brief interview on Thursday, Mr. Stone said he had never visited Russia and had no Russian clients. He said that he had worked in Ukraine for a pro-Western party, but that any assertion that he had ties to Russian intelligence was “nonsense” and “totally false.”

“The whole thing is a canard,” he said. “I have no Russian influences.”

The Senate intelligence committee has started its own investigation into Russia’s purported attempts to disrupt the election. The committee’s inquiry is broad, and will include an examination of Russian hacking and possible ties between people associated with Mr. Trump’s campaign and Russia.

Investigators are also scrutinizing people on the periphery of Mr. Trump’s campaign, such as Mr. Page, a former Merrill Lynch banker who founded Global Energy Capital, an investment firm in New York that has done business with Russia.

In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Page expressed bewilderment about why he might be under investigation. He blamed a smear campaign — that he said was orchestrated by Mrs. Clinton — for media speculation about the nature of his ties to Russia.

“I did nothing wrong, for the 5,000th time,” he said. His adversaries, he added, are “pulling a page out of the Watergate playbook.”

The lingering investigations will pose a test for Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who has been nominated for attorney general. If Mr. Sessions is confirmed, he will for a time be the only person in the government authorized to seek foreign intelligence wiretaps on American soil.

Mr. Sessions said at his confirmation hearing that he would recuse himself from any investigations involving Mrs. Clinton. He was not asked whether he would do so in cases involving associates of Mr. Trump.
4  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sec State Kerry goes to bat for CAIR with UAE on: January 19, 2017, 11:21:32 PM
Fg scum bag!  angry angry angry

The Inside Story of How John Kerry Secretly Lobbied to Get CAIR Removed From UAE's Terrorist Organization List
by Steven Emerson
IPT News
January 19, 2017

On Nov. 16, 2014, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) took the unusual step of designating the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), and the Muslim American Society (MAS) – as terrorist organizations. They were among 83 groups named for their connections to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

This outraged CAIR officials, who immediately began efforts to get their organization removed from the list. They found a powerful ally in Secretary of State John Kerry, who authorized State Department officials to meet regularly with UAE officials to lobbying on behalf of CAIR and MAS .  CAIR already had a sympathetic ear in the Obama administration, including the State Department, that had openly embraced and legitimized the entire spectrum of radical Islamist groups falsely posing as religious or civil rights groups, which both CAIR and MAS had done.

At a daily State Department press briefing two days after UAE released its list, a spokesman said that State does not "consider CAIR or MAS to be terrorist groups" but that it was seeking more information from UAE about their decision. He added that "as part of our routine engagement with a broad spectrum of faith based organizations, a range of U.S. government officials have met with officials of CAIR and MAS. We at the State Department regularly meet with a wide range of faith based groups to hear their views even if some of their views expressed at times are controversial."

In making that admission, the State Department official had effectively affirmed the Obama Administration policy of embracing radical Islamist group under the euphemism of calling them "faith based groups."

The UAE had good reason to designate CAIR, as records obtained by the FBI indicate it was created as front group for a Hamas support network. While CAIR bills itself as "the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization," the reality is quite different.  Before helping launch CAIR, Executive Director Nihad Awad worked as public relations director for the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP), a Hamas propaganda arm in the United States. A 2001 Immigration and Naturalization Service memo documented IAP's support for Hamas and found that the "facts strongly suggest" that IAP was "part of Hamas' propaganda apparatus."

IAP was part of the "Palestine Committee," created by the Muslim Brotherhood to support Hamas politically and financially. CAIR was added to the Palestine Committee's roster just after its 1994 creation.  In 2008, the FBI cut off official contact with CAIR, citing evidence from the Holy Land Foundation terror funding trial which documented the connections between CAIR and its founders to Hamas.  In a letter to U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, the FBI explained, "until we [the FBI] can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner."

During a 2003 Senate hearing, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, said that CAIR is known "to have ties to terrorism." In 2009 correspondence with the FBI, he wrote that cutting off contact with the Islamist group "should be government-wide policy."

CAIR and its representatives, meanwhile, often espouse radical ideology and propagate the jihadist narrative that the United States is waging a "war on Islam." Awad repeated that message as recently as September when he denounced legislation allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia.
CAIR officials often side with Hamas and other Palestinian terrorists.

CAIR-New York board member Lamis Deek, an attorney, tweeted during the 2012 war between Israel and Hamas that Gaza is a "beacon of resistance, exposes shackles, awakens dignity, inspires revolution, reaffirms our oneness – the reason 'israel' won't last."

During a 2009 fundraiser for an effort to break Israel's embargo against the Hamas government in Gaza, Deek explained that Palestinian support for Hamas is a choice for "one united Palestinian state on all of the 1948 territories from the north to the very south. That is what Palestinians chose. And in supporting Palestinian choice we are saying we support their right to liberation from violent colonialism."

Just days before the UAE's 2014 designation of CAIR as a terrorist group in the organization's San Francisco chapter bestowed its "Promoting Justice" award to Sami Al-Arian and his family. Al-Arian secretly ran an American support network for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist group in the late 1980s and early 1990s. PIJ was responsible for terrorist attacks which killed dozens of Israelis and several Americans.

Al-Arian pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide goods or services to the PIJ. His plea agreement included an admission that he was associated with the PIJ. U.S District Judge James S. Moody went further in sentencing Al Arian: "The evidence was clear in this case that you were a leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad," Moody said. "You were on the board of directors and an officer, the secretary. Directors control the actions of an organization, even the PIJ; and you were an active leader."

Since 2001, six CAIR officials have been convicted of terror-related charges. A longtime national board member was deported in part because of his Hamas support.  Yet despite the massive evidence linking CAIR to Hamas and other terror groups, the Obama administration repeatedly invited CAIR officials and other radical Islamist groups to the White House.

In December 2014, CAIR met with top officials of the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Justice Department, asking them to pressure the UAE to remove them from the list, according to reliable sources intimately familiar with the communications. On December 22, 2014, CAIR issued a press release asserting that "the two American Muslim organizations and the U.S. government pledged to work together to achieve a positive solution to the UAE designations.

In response to a letter sent by CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad sent to Secretary Kerry protesting the UAE designation, Kerry responded on May 5, 2015 in a letter to Awad stating, "Let me reiterate, first, that the U.S. government clearly does not consider CAIR to be a terrorist organization. As your letter noted, the Department of State rejected this allegation immediately after the UAE designations were announced in November, and we will continue to do so....U.S. officials have raised the issue of CAIR's inclusion on the UAE's terror list with UAE officials on multiple occasions..."

That portion of the letter now appears on CAIR's website. But at the time that the letter was sent to CAIR, according to knowledgeable sources, there was an agreement between CAIR and the State Department to keep the letter secret. An excerpt from it was posted on CAIR's website only in May 2016, a year after it was received. The IPT has learned that Kerry and CAIR made this agreement to keep the letter secret so as to protect Kerry from public embarrassment. In light of CAIR's numerous ties to Hamas and other unsavory aspects of its record, Kerry had good reason to believe that the letter could cause a public relations disaster for him.

Whatever influence the State Department exerted on the UAE did not work. There has been no indication CAIR and MAS were removed from the Gulf state's terrorist list.  When the UAE list was published, CAIR realized that it was going to a public relations disaster for them as well. So they published a FAQ attacking the UAE as a "politically 'authoritarian' regime."

The organization seemed more comfortable with this authoritarian regime in 2006, when Awad and CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper led a delegation on a fundraising trip to the UAE. State Department cables show that the delegation, led by the public relations firm Hill and Knowlton, sought millions of dollars from UAE donors. The cables, obtained by the IPT through the Freedom of Information Act, show that CAIR officials met with top UAE leaders and attended an evening reception "in honor of the CAIR group" hosted by a top presidential adviser. The cable also noted that "UAE press has reported that Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid al-Makhtoum Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, 'has endorsed a proposal to build a property in the U.S. to serve as an endowment for CAIR.' The cable added that CAIR had already received substantial contributions from several wealthy UAE donors, including one who had already given CAIR $1 million.

The Muslim American Society, meanwhile, has its own lengthy record of defending accused terrorists and terror supporters. It was formed as the Muslim Brotherhood's overt arm in the United States. Co-founder Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who pleaded guilty in 2004 to engaging in illegal transactions with Libya and facilitating a Libyan plot to assassinate then-Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, testified in 2012 that MAS's connection with the Brotherhood cannot be disputed.

This sordid episode of going to bat for a Hamas-support organization is emblematic of the larger problem of the Obama's administration's inability to pinpoint the heart of the impasse between the Palestinians and the Israelis as unceasing Palestinian terrorism, continued Palestinian subsidies paid to terrorist families, incendiary glorification of terrorists who kill Jews, and massive anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian schools and media.

The outgoing Secretary of State recently crowed in the New York Times about what he got right. This episode is a stark example of what he got wrong.
5  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Uber alles trucking on: January 19, 2017, 04:46:30 PM
6  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Stratfor: Can an ambitious India seize the moment? on: January 19, 2017, 04:37:47 PM

Can an Ambitious India Seize the Moment?
Geopolitical Diary
January 19, 2017 | 03:37 GMT Text Size
Broadening India's role on the world stage is an ambition that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar (R) embraces. (PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images)

The world is in a state of flux, and according to Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, that can be a good thing for a rising regional power such as India, which in many ways is primed to seize the moment and propel itself toward a greater global leadership role. Today at the Raisina Dialogue, an international conference in New Delhi, Jaishankar touted India's diplomatic successes while laying out the country's global ambitions to an audience of 250 delegates that included such leaders as British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, head of U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Harry Harris and former Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Many factors support a more influential global role for India. The country benefits from a relatively young population (a significant proportion of which speaks English) and has one of the fastest growing major economies in the world. Thanks to its history of multilateral engagement, it has made few enemies. What's more, India was spared the worst effects of the 2008 global financial crisis.

What is a Geopolitical Diary?

Of course, discussion of India's ambitions must be measured against the reality of its constraints. India's fiscal limitations stymie investment into the infrastructure projects it needs to spur growth. It is weighed down by an unwieldy parliamentary system that struggles to channel the demands of its billion-citizen polity into coherent policies. And it must contend with the persistent security threat from archrival Pakistan, which has prompted it to commit resources to support a strong military presence in Indian-held Kashmir, in turn undercutting the integration of South Asia's economies.

India also suffers from demographic shortcomings that limit its economic development. About 70 percent of Indians live in rural areas, and up to a quarter of the population is impoverished. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's efforts to grow India's manufacturing base and employ more of its large pool of semiskilled labor remain hamstrung by the lack of land and labor reform in the country. Even if India could implement land and labor reforms, however, it would still struggle to develop a globally competitive manufacturing sector in this era of increasing automation. For India, then, a further embrace of multilateralism could give it a path not only to compensate for those shortcomings and earn the investments it needs to bolster the economy but also to help it place a check on Pakistan.

Even as Jaishankar alluded to the uncertainty that colors New Delhi's view of U.S. intentions under President-elect Donald Trump, he sees an opportunity as the new U.S. administration takes power for India to increase its international engagement as a way to overcome its limitations. Sensing that Washington will grow more reluctant to throw itself into the affairs of distant nations, India wants to fill the vacuum by assuming a greater global leadership role of its own.

Historically, Indian policymakers have generally honored the call by Jawaharlal Nehru, the country's first prime minister, to avoid entangling alliances. But the country has grown discontented with remaining aloof. In the past year alone, it has demonstrated the scope of its vision by engaging with every major region in the world. To wit, India hosted both the India-Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit and the BRICS summit and ratified the United Nations climate change protocol in Paris. Modi addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress in June and embarked on a four-nation tour to Africa in July. He also hosted British Prime Minister Theresa May in what was her first visit outside of the European Union since taking office, and on Jan. 26, he will host Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nuhayyan, Abu Dhabi's crown prince, as the chief guest for India's annual Republic Day parade.

Yet for all of its diplomatic fervor, India bickers over foreign policy with its northern neighbor, China. Despite protestations and support from Washington, India has been unable to persuade China to place Masood Azhar, the leader of the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad, on a U.N. blacklist. Similarly, an 11th-hour diplomatic pitch in June and support from Washington failed to earn India a vote needed from China that would have allowed it to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-member body whose members share nuclear technology with one another. At the Raisina conference, Modi took a jab at China, saying that if Beijing wants its regional connectivity projects, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which runs through Kashmir, to be successful, it must respect India's sovereignty.

The prickly dynamic between the countries, in part, is a continuation of a difficult history. A lingering dispute stemming from their 1962 border war complicates any Chinese investments in infrastructure projects in South Asia, which India perceives as a form of encroachment. But beyond critical statements from New Delhi, India is limited in how it can retaliate. In addition, China's interests in denying India's diplomatic desires have more to do with its support of Pakistan. Thus, while its embrace of multilateralism is a way for India to compensate for its constraints, these international forums themselves can be constrained through the presence of China — and by extension the interests of Pakistan, which views China as its strongest ally.

During his famous speech to the Indian parliament on the eve of India's independence, Nehru said the moment rarely comes when "the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance." Over the past 70 years, India, as one of Asia's dominant powers, has sought to be the voice of the world's developing nations. Now it has the opportunity, but can it get others to listen?
7  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CNN fantasizes about Trump and Pence being assassinated , , , on: January 19, 2017, 03:46:58 PM
8  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Electro Magnetic Propulsion System moving forward on: January 19, 2017, 03:38:24 PM
9  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CA cooking the books again on: January 19, 2017, 10:54:34 AM
10  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Volume of Muslim call to prayer may be lowered on: January 19, 2017, 10:42:26 AM
11  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 50 Obama officials to stay on for now on: January 19, 2017, 10:29:50 AM
second post
12  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 5 things to watch for in Mnuchin hearing on: January 19, 2017, 08:49:59 AM



‘The rich are different’ — Steve Mnuchin edition

At first blush, Mr. Mnuchin was a busy enough man, with his investment business and his Hollywood endeavors listed on a Dec. 19 questionnaire for the Senate Finance Committee that he swore was “true, accurate and complete.”

But when pushed by committee aides, Mr. Mnuchin conceded there was more. In a revised questionnaire submitted to the committee this month, he disclosed that he was also the director of Dune Capital International Ltd., an investment fund incorporated in the Cayman Islands, a tax haven. He also revealed his management posts in seven other investment funds, which he said he “inadvertently missed,” according to Finance Committee documents obtained by The New York Times.

According to those documents:

    In his revised questionnaire, Mr. Mnuchin disclosed several additional financial assets, including $95 million worth of real estate — a co-op in New York City; a residence in Southampton, New York; a residence in Los Angeles, California; and $15 million in real estate holdings in Mexico. Mr. Mnuchin has claimed these omissions were due to a misunderstanding of the questionnaire — he does not consider these assets to be “investment assets” and thus did not disclose them, even though the Committee directs the nominee to list all real estate assets.

He also forgot to disclose the $906,556 worth of artwork held by his children.
13  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump team prepares dramatic cuts? on: January 19, 2017, 08:46:17 AM
14  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Apache reservation was used as test ground on: January 19, 2017, 08:31:30 AM
15  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Red Team hackers break into US power grid on: January 19, 2017, 08:15:35 AM

 shocked shocked shocked
16  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Bill Ayers dancing over FALN pardon on: January 19, 2017, 08:10:22 AM
17  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Where are the numbers? on: January 18, 2017, 10:57:53 PM
18  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hollywood take on Trump on: January 18, 2017, 10:31:12 PM
19  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Newt on Trump's approach to balancing the budget on: January 18, 2017, 07:16:52 PM
A “Trumpian” Approach to Balancing the Budget
The following is adapted from my January 17th speech at the Heritage Foundation, which can be viewed in full here.
As a candidate, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that balancing the budget would be a goal of his administration.
Many so-called experts have dismissed the idea that he can actually achieve this goal as president.   As usual, the experts have it wrong.  In fact, President Trump’s focus on the fundamentals of the economy and the government will shrink the deficit and balance the budget.

To use a sports analogy, Bill Walsh, the former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, never focused on the score of the game. His focus was always on getting his players to perfectly execute their plays. If every play was perfectly executed, he believed the score would reflect the team’s actions.

This same principle holds true for balancing the budget. If Trump’s policies are implemented, the result will be a balanced federal budget.

I say this with some authority. As Speaker of the House, we achieved four consecutive balanced budgets. In the four years before I became Speaker, the combined deficit was more than a trillion dollars! Starting in fiscal 1998, we achieved a surplus of $559 billion.

How did we balance the federal budget?

We balanced the budget by focusing on the fundamentals of the economy and the government.

We cut capital gains. Our capital gains tax cut was very successful, and people responded positively to it. This was key to accelerating investment and to expanding small businesses – leading to more tax revenue.

We reformed welfare. Welfare reform not only put millions of people back to work, it also led to the largest decline in child poverty in American history.
We also enacted major reforms to communications regulations which played a role in the explosion of the telecommunications industries, including mobile phone technology and e-commerce.

All of this strengthened the dollar and resulted in lower interest rates.

The combined impact of these and other policy changes led to reduced spending and more federal revenue. That is how we balanced the budget when I was Speaker, and this is how President Trump, working with Speaker Ryan and Leader McConnell can do it again.

Here is what a “Trumpian” approach to balancing the budget would look like.

•   According to Jim Frogue in his book, Stop Paying the Crooks, if President-elect Trump’s team brought in American Express, Visa, and MasterCard to replace the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) payment bureaucracy, the government could save $1 trillion in fraud over a decade.

•   Applying this same principle to food stamps and disabilities, the government could save another $50 billion a year. If we apply this to the VA and TRICARE, the changes could be immense.

•   We must insist on health information technology interoperability to save lives and reduce costs.

•   We must create a public-private partnership for reaching Mars and the moon - we have to get into space faster for less. This will work if we redesign NASA and create public-private partnerships with entrepreneurs eager to make these exciting achievements happen.

•   We must liberate federal lands for energy, mineral, and other development reflecting the original sense of America as a land of opportunity. We must protect our national parks and truly sensitive environments, but also recognize, for example, that the federal government owning 82% of Nevada deprives Americans of opportunities. These policy changes would generate more than $200 billion a year, or over a trillion a decade.

•   Finally, we must bring American money back home. A five percent, one-time repatriation for the $2 trillion in profits locked up overseas could yield $100 billion in revenue and a substantial increase in investment in the U.S. The revenue from this growth would move us toward a balanced budget and create more jobs.

These are just a few examples. On almost every front, the current policies and bureaucracies are so inefficient and out of touch with 21st century capabilities that the potential is enormous for a less expensive federal government leading to a dramatically bigger American economy with far higher incomes.

This is the path to a Trumpian balanced budget. It will be a consequence of the right policies to spur economic growth and make our government operate more efficiently and effectively.

I will continue my‘Understanding Trump and Trumpism’ series this Thursday, January 19, 2017 at 8am ET. The speech will be streamed live on Facebook and transcript and video will be made available at Gingrich Productions and The Heritage Foundation following the presentation.

Your Friend,
20  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / VDH: Putin, Obama, and Trump on: January 18, 2017, 06:40:04 PM
21  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ryan and Bannon working together on tax reform on: January 18, 2017, 06:26:03 PM
22  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: January 18, 2017, 03:39:41 PM
23  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Wesbury sees four rate increases in 2017 on: January 18, 2017, 02:00:55 PM
The Consumer Price Index Increased 0.3% in December To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 1/18/2017

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in December, matching consensus expectations. The CPI is up 2.1% from a year ago.

"Cash" inflation (which excludes the government's estimate of what homeowners would charge themselves for rent) rose 0.3% in December and is up 1.7% in the past year.

Energy prices rose 1.5% in December, while food prices were unchanged. The "core" CPI, which excludes food and energy, increased 0.2% in December, matching consensus expectations. Core prices are up 2.2% versus a year ago.

Real average hourly earnings – the cash earnings of all workers, adjusted for inflation – rose 0.1% in December and are up 0.8% in the past year. Real average weekly earnings are up 0.2% in the past year.

Implications: A fitting reading on consumer prices for the final month of 2016, as December's 0.3% rise in prices pushed the twelve-month increase above the Fed's 2.0% target for the first time in more than two years. That is a significant pickup from the 0.7% increase we saw in 2015, and we expect 2017 will continue to see prices move gradually higher. Year-to-year prices have been steadily on the rise over recent months as energy prices, up 1.5% in December and rising at a 27.4% annual rate in the past three months, have turned into a tailwind after serving as a headwind for much of the past two-and-a-half years. Energy prices will likely average at modestly higher prices than 2016, but even stripping out energy and food prices – the latter of which have now been unchanged for six consecutive months – shows inflation up 2.2% in the past year, just a tad higher than the 2.1% gain in 2015. The "core" measure was once again led higher by housing prices in December. Owners' equivalent rent, which makes up about ¼ of the CPI, rose 0.3% in December, is up 3.6% in the past year – the largest annual rise going back to 2007 - and will be a key source of higher inflation in the year ahead. On the earnings front, today's report shows real average hourly earnings rising 0.1% in December. Real earnings rose a modest 0.8% in 2016, a slower pace than the 1.9% gain in 2015, but given continued employment gains this should move higher over the next year. With prices - both including and excluding food & energy costs – rising at or above the Fed's 2% target and continuing a steady climb higher, paired with continued strength in employment, we expect the Fed to raise rates three (and possibly four) times in 2017.
24  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sec HHS nominee Price insider dealing? on: January 18, 2017, 01:50:29 PM
Good to see Pelosi getting nailed.

In fairness, I thought I saw something on Sec HHS nominee Price in a similar regard.  Anyone have anything on this?
25  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California train slower than a speeding bullet and a lot more expensive on: January 18, 2017, 01:47:52 PM
third post of day:
26  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: California on: January 18, 2017, 01:47:05 PM
Off the top of my head, if I were drafting the law i would say:

a) no advertising
b) no public consumption
c) over 18 or over 21
27  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Judicial Watch approves Trump's conflict of interest plans on: January 18, 2017, 01:42:19 PM
28  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DOJ does not require statistical evidence on: January 18, 2017, 12:50:06 PM
29  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / In search of the Chardonnay moms, pot shops go upscale on: January 18, 2017, 10:58:55 AM
30  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama pretends to consider arming Kurds on: January 18, 2017, 10:49:47 AM
31  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / POTH: Third year in a row with record temps on: January 18, 2017, 10:29:27 AM
32  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Non Essential" workers freaking out on: January 17, 2017, 09:49:41 PM
33  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Issues in the American Creed (Constitutional Law and related matters) on: January 17, 2017, 06:18:23 PM
A very good article for reference -- thank you BD.
34  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Glick: Time to end the PLO on: January 17, 2017, 06:08:30 PM
35  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: January 17, 2017, 06:02:17 PM
I read the preface.  Looks like a good reference.  Thank you  cool
36  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Trump Transition/Administration on: January 17, 2017, 02:20:56 PM

That is 39 pages of serious reading.  Do you post it for general reference, or for some reason in particular?

PS:  Please post in the Constitutional Law thread on the SC&H forum as well.

37  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: January 17, 2017, 02:17:48 PM

In quoting Mike Morell it would have been appropriate to mention his role in the Benghazi talking points, and in the vigor of his advocacy for Hillary for President, etc.
38  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US-Russia on: January 17, 2017, 02:02:50 PM
I liked that article a lot.
39  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Clinton Foundation closing down on: January 17, 2017, 12:06:20 AM

40  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / POTH on Trump business in Russia on: January 16, 2017, 11:51:36 PM
41  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Geneology website on: January 16, 2017, 11:39:16 PM
42  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Trump narrowing list for SCOTUS on: January 16, 2017, 01:35:31 PM
43  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Drone freaks Teheran on: January 16, 2017, 01:33:03 PM
44  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Mosque burned in Washington on: January 16, 2017, 11:46:10 AM
45  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Germany: Fire bombing of synagogue "political protest" on: January 16, 2017, 11:44:41 AM
46  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The US Congress; Congressional races on: January 16, 2017, 11:34:05 AM
Welcome to the last week of the Obama presidency. It’s Inauguration Week, a time turn the page and leave behind the mistakes of the past… and to look ahead with new confidence to the mistakes of the future.

No Filibuster For Any Judicial Nominees?

Back in 2005, then-senators Barack Obama and Harry Reid voted to filibuster the confirmation vote on Supreme Court justice nominee Samuel Alito. They didn’t have the votes. This year, White House press secretary Josh Earnest declared that Obama regretted his actions then.  Then in 2013, Reid and the rest of the Senate Democrats ended the right to filibuster any nominee to federal appeals and district courts, as well as any cabinet appointments, but kept it in place for Supreme Court nominations.

Then in October of 2016, Harry Reid, predicting a Hillary Clinton presidency, said he would invoke the nuclear option and eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations as well.

“It’s clear to me that if the Republicans try to filibuster another circuit court judge, but especially a Supreme Court justice, I’ve told ‘em how and I’ve done it, not just talking about it. I did it in changing the rules of the Senate. It’ll have to be done again,” Reid told the liberal blog Talking Points Memo. “They mess with the Supreme Court, it’ll be changed just like that in my opinion.”

And now, today…surprise, surprise, the shoe is on the other foot, and Senate Republicans may nuke the filibuster for Trump’s nominee.

Democrats have not firmly said if they will filibuster a nominee -- and Republicans have not flatly said they would break that filibuster through a rules change known as the “nuclear option” -- but those cards are effectively on the table, weeks before Trump submits a nominee.  But the Trump team is still plotting for a possible climb that includes picking off at least eight Democrats, a tall order by any measure, much less a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
Pence went to work on a group of six senators at the Capitol Wednesday and Trump aides have been working behind the scenes at the Capitol.

“Today was really about talking about our legislative agenda, but also meeting with members of the Senate to get their input on the president’s decision about filling the vacancy on the Supreme Court,” Pence told reporters last week.

Pence said he “hopes” moderate Democrats will come on board with his pick.

“The President-elect made very clear today we do expect -- he’s not yet made a decision -- but we’re in the process of winnowing that list now,” Pence said.
The 60-vote bar has been somewhat informally set by Schumer himself, who told MSNBC last week that he would “absolutely” do all he could to keep the Supreme Court seat open.

And the threat of a filibuster was clearly on the minds of lawmakers as Pence tested their feelings on the Supreme Court nomination.

Once you’ve nuked the filibuster for all nominations… how long does the Senate majority keep it around for legislation?
47  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Trump's comments freak out Europe leaders on: January 16, 2017, 11:25:04 AM
48  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Lucky boy "raped" for nine months, teacher gets 10 years on: January 16, 2017, 11:21:35 AM
49  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Ukraine supported Hillary on: January 16, 2017, 02:00:32 AM
50  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The War on Drugs on: January 16, 2017, 01:26:23 AM
Please post in Mexico thread as well.
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