Rumor has it that the Trump administration will try to bypass Congress and cut billions in funding for foreign aid, and as you might have guessed, Congress isn’t happy about it.
Every year, billions of the U.S. tax dollars extorted from the citizenry are sent around the world, ostensibly to help folks who are worse off than we privileged Americans. In the pursuit of his “America First” agenda, President Trump has pushed both tax cuts and federal spending cuts – the second, of course, being necessary in order to make the first practical.
In his first year in office, Trump was handed a tax cut bill by Congress, which he signed happily, achieving one of his many seemingly impossible campaign promises. Now it seems he’s eying foreign aid money as one of his primary targets to get spending down.
Congress folk on both sides of the aisle, led by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ), have vowed to push back on any effort by the president to actually do this. Of course, neither party likes the idea of real spending cuts – it seems Democrats and Republicans alike are statists when it comes to keeping the gravy train rolling.
The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has allegedly asked the State Department and USAID for information for a recission package targeting foreign aid. Reuters broke the story, but their source – some administration officials – spoke on condition of anonymity. So while this is hopeful news from a normally reputable source, as you should with all “unnamed source” stories, take it with a grain of salt and a shot of penicillin.
Assuming the claim is true, the administration is going after money that has been appropriated by Congress already, but not spent. According to these unnamed officials, the OMB is after about $3.5 billion that is no longer needed for the original purpose for which it was appropriated. According to a cable from the OMB to the Department of State and USAID that Reuters claims to have obtained, “the package will focus on expiring international assistance funds that the administration considers unnecessary.” Here’s how they plan to make it happen:
“If Congress fails to take action to release the funds they will remain on hold until the end of the fiscal year, September 30, at which point they will expire and be returned to the treasury.”
The funds to be cut in this plan aren’t even funds that are actually going overseas; it’s the leftover money that doesn’t make it. However, as reasonable a plan as this appears to be on the surface, the aforementioned Bobs aren’t happy.
“I don’t know how they can do that legally, but we certainly look forward to seeing how to counter that, if that’s the case,” Bob Corker said.
“If they do it in the way that they’re going to… in essence, it effectuates a cut without Congress being able to act, then I have to look at the nominations in a whole different light,” Menendez said, meaning that he would consider blocking Trump nominations as retaliation.
The Bobs lead a powerful Senate committee, the Senate Foreign Relations committee, and plan to throw their considerable weight against the president in this endeavor.
Is it true?
As is the case with any story originating from an unnamed source, the veracity is immediately called into question. How many times did The Washington Post, The New York Times, or CNN rush to publish anti-Trump stories from their own “reliable sources,” “officials close to the matter,” “officials speaking on the condition of anonymity,” and other unnamed sources, only to end up with egg on their faces and retractions in their publications?
But Reuters hasn’t seemed to jump on the anti-Trump bandwagon. On August 16, around 350 news outlets joined to publish editorials rebutting Trump’s claim that the media has become the enemy of the people, but Reuters was not among them.
More to the point, Trump has often suggested cutting foreign aid, and even made the attempt in the latest budget suggestions, though Congress shut him down on it. Neither the State Department nor USAID have commented yet, and the OMB said that it doesn’t comment on alleged leaks and that it won’t discuss deliberative and pre-decisional information.
A Step in the Right Direction
Regardless of whether Donald Trump or Mick Mulvaney really has some clever plan to work around Congress to cut foreign aid, it’s still a practice we need to cease. It isn’t right to force Americans to turn over their hard-earned money to send it off to other countries. It wouldn’t be right even if it actually ended poverty. There’s nothing charitable about giving if what you’re giving was taken by force from someone else.
But as Andrew Moran astutely pointed out, much of this money isn’t going to the poor:
“[o]ver the last 40 years, the U.S. government has given $500 billion in aid to Africa alone. Is the continent any better off? Millions still reside in slums, suffer from curable diseases, and starve to death – but at least the despots live in mansions and drive luxury vehicles.”
Some of it has undoubtedly helped common folk. But at what point are they responsible for their own fortunes? And what gratitude has the world shown us for our enforced “charity”? Foreign aid is a drain on the taxpayer, and it’s a bad investment for the nation. It’s time to pull the plug on it all together – and we can nix any contributions to the UN while we’re at it. If President Trump can get the ball rolling, then good for him and good for the American people – whether Congress likes it or not.
The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, passed away in her Detroit home Thursday morning at age 76. Her publicist, Gwendolyn Quinn, confirmed that the cause of death was advanced neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer.
Franklin’s voice is so iconic that even those who don’t care for her style of music can identify her songs. From her first gospel album at age 14 to her final performance in June of 2017, her career spanned six decades and several genres and has influenced countless artists.
The Early Years
Aretha Franklin was born in Memphis, Tennessee on March 25, 1942, but moved with her father, Reverend C.L. Franklin, to Detroit at age five. He became the pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church, and it was there that young Aretha discovered both her natural talent and her love for music.
Rev. Franklin encouraged her to sing and helped her record her first gospel album when she was 14. He told her that she would sing for kings and queens – and she has – presidents, too.
The Birth of a Career
She toured with her dad’s gospel caravan. She signed a deal with Columbia Records, but saw her best success after leaving Columbia for Atlantic. Her 1967 album, I Never Loved a Man the Way I love You, went gold, with “Respect” leading the album as her first number one single. Otis Redding may have done the song first, but it’s all Aretha’s now. In 1968, a 26-year-old Aretha Franklin was on the cover of Time Magazine, her voice hailed as the sound of soul.
Franklin landed 77 songs in the top 100 charts and 18 Grammys – out of 44 nominations. She won the Legend Award in 1991, the Lifetime Achievement Award in 1994, and MusiCares Person of the Year in 2008. Aretha Franklin was the first woman inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, just a year after the first inductees in 1986. Rolling Stone named her the Greatest Singer of All Time.
A Civil Rights Legacy
Beyond even the message of her music, Aretha Franklin was deeply involved in the civil rights movement. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and her father were friends, and Aretha toured along with Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young, Sidney Poitier, and Jesse Jackson to help fund King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. After King’s assassination, Franklin strove to help keep the movement going. She later told Ebony that she always had “a great admiration for him and his sense of decency and the justice that he wanted.” She called him “just a plain old good man,” and said that you can’t help but admire that.
The world took to Twitter to honor the Queen of Soul, from other performers and celebrities to politicians, business leaders, and regular, common folk. Former Beatle, Paul McCartney, even upgraded her title – which Franklin was always fond of – from Queen of Soul to the Queen of our souls.
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris called Franklin’s songs “the soundtrack of my childhood.” Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, talked about the blessing of living in a world with Aretha Franklin, both for her singing voice and her voice in the Civil Rights Movement. Director Ava DuVernay said she was “peerless,” and Bette Midler called her “the greatest voice in American popular music.”
Both the former president and the current one paid homage. The Obamas said in a statement:
“In her voice, we could feel our history, all of it and in every shade ― our power and our pain, our darkness and our light, our quest for redemption and our hard-won respect. She helped us feel more connected to each other, more hopeful, more human. And sometimes she helped us just forget about everything else and dance.”
Trump joined the multitudes paying tribute via Twitter, calling her a great woman whose voice was a gift from God:
Four states wrapped up their primaries Tuesday, August 4. The Governors of both Minnesota and Connecticut decided not to seek reelection. DNC vice chair and U.S. Representative, Keith Ellison, gets his shot at leaving Washington to serve as Minnesota Attorney General in November, and the DNC probably blew their chance of flipping Paul Ryan’s seat in Wisconsin. In Vermont, Bernie Sanders has no competition, though he’s not feeling so independent these days.
The big news in The Green Mountain State is that so-called Republican Phil Scott might actually lose the governorship to the first transsexual person to win a gubernatorial primary, Christine Hallquist. Vermont hasn’t given an incumbent governor the boot since 1962, and the closest Hallquist has to political experience is having served as the chief executive of the Vermont Electric Cooperative. However, Scott betrayed conservative voters with a trio of anti-gun bills he signed into law back in April, and he brought home about 3,000 fewer votes than Hallquist Tuesday night.
Minnesota’s Democrat governor, Mark Dayton, isn’t seeking a third term, and the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party (DFL) offered up five candidates – including the state’s attorney general, Lori Swanson. As of midnight local time (1 AM Eastern), Tim Walz comes in at 41.7% with 241,666 votes. His nearest competitor has 32.1% and 185,987 votes, making Walz the clear winner for the DFL primary with 99% of all precincts reporting.
Former AG Swanson came in third, with 24.4% and 141,529 votes, leaving Tim Holden in fourth and Ole Savior dead last with 1.1% and 0.7% respectively. Despite recent <a href=”https://www.libertynation.com/keith-ellison-abuse-ignored-and-dismissed/”>allegations</a> of abuse, DNC vice chair Keith Ellison still managed to take Swanson’s place – at least in the primary – with 49.9% of the vote.
Republicans only had three choices, and 167,523 of them chose Jeff Johnson, making him the Republican winner with 52.6% of the vote. Tim Pawlenty came in second at 43.9%, and Matt Kruse only managed to rake in 11,204 votes – a meager 3.5%
Libertarian Josh Welter and Chris Wright, the Grassroots Legalize Cannabis Party (GRP) and Legal Marijuana Now joint party candidate, both ran uncontested.
Democrat Amy Klobuchar, the incumbent senator, annihilated her competition with 95.7% – over half a million votes. Of her four competitors – Steve Carlson, Stephan Emery, David Groves, and Leonard Richards – none managed to break 2%, with the last two falling below even 1%.
For the Republicans, Jim Newberger brought in 200,490 votes or 69.5%. Number two in the line-up, Merrill Anderson, only brought in 15.7%, leaving Rae Hart Anderson and Roque De La Fuente with 8.9% and 5.9%.
Paula Overby will represent the Green Party and Dennis Schuller the Independent Party. Both ran uncontested.
For the U.S. Senate special election, Tina Smith took 76% of the Democratic vote, and Karin Housley landed 62% of Republicans.
With 99% of all precincts reporting, Tony Evers takes the Democratic primary in Wisconsin with 41.7%, or 224,432 votes. The runners-up are Mahlon Mitchell at 16.4%, Kelda Roys at 12.8%, then Kathleen Vinehout, Mike McCabe, Matt Flynn, Paul Soglin, Andy Gronik, Dana Wachs, and Josh Pade – none of whom
Incumbent Governor Scott Walker took the Republican primary – no surprise there. He defeated his sole challenger, Robert Meyer, landing 91.6% of the 455,904 votes tallied so far. Michael White and Phil Anderson both ran uncontested, for the Green and Libertarian Parties, respectively.
Incumbent Tammy Baldwin ran uncontested for the Democrats and will square off against Republican Leah Vukmir, who defeated the next runner-up, former Democrat Kevin Nicholson, 49% to 42.9% with all but two precincts reporting. George Lucia took only 4.2%, despite almost certainly being a favorite amongst Star Wars fans for the uncannily similar name, and Griffin Jones and Charles Barman brought up the rear with 2% and 1.8%.
U.S. House – A Special Case
For the soon to be vacant seat of everyone’s favorite RINO, Paul Ryan, the Democrats cranked up the heat. Alas, their flame may have burned <em>too</em> hot. Randy “Ironstache” Bryce will lead the blue team in November, but, incredible nickname aside, he might not have the clout to flip the seat. He’s had his fair share of media gaffes and has faced uncomfortable questions about prior arrests due to marijuana use, a DUI, and his failure to pay child support. His opponent, Cathy Myers, focused much of her campaign on attacking Bryce’s character. While it wasn’t enough to win her the primary, it might well be enough to kill any chance Bryce had of flipping Ryan’s seat.
Republican incumbent Phil Scott managed to defend his spot in the primary against the sole contender, Keith Stern, despite falling approval after <a href=”https://www.libertynation.com/vermont-succumbs-to-the-fear-of-the-gun/”>signing</a> three very Democrat-like gun control bills back in April. He raked in 24,206 votes with 99% of precincts reporting, giving him 67.5% over Stern’s 32.5%.
Four Democrats vied for the opportunity to face Scott in November, and in what progressives from sea to shining sea are bound to call a great step forward, transgender “woman” Christine Hallquist took the lead with 48.3%, or 27,558 votes. She beat out James Ehlers, Brenda Siegel, and Ethan Sonneborn.
Sadly, this means that Vermont will either have to forgive Phil Scott his anti-Second Amendment transgressions or elect the transgender Democrat – who, as you might guess, supports an “assault weapon” ban, $15 per hour minimum wage, and healthcare and high-speed internet for all. As it stands right now, the progressive Democrat has over 3,300 more votes than the incumbent governor formerly known as Republican.
U.S. Senate – and Then Some!
It looks like Bernie Sanders will be changing his alphabetical alignment from I to D once again, as he took in 94.4% of the Democratic primary vote to defend his seat in the Senate. For the Republicans, Brooke Paige took a narrow lead over Lawrence Zupan – 39.6% to 37.9% – a mere 436 vote lead with two precincts still to go. But that’s alright, we know neither of them will unseat Bernie Sanders in November, and even if Zupan does manage to oust Paige for the GOP spot, she’ll still have a shot at some other office. Paige is running for Senate, House (leading the GOP primary with 63.4%), and uncontested amongst Republicans for Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor, and Treasurer. Wow, what a trooper!
Dannel P. Malloy, Connecticut’s two-term Democratic governor, did not seek reelection. However, conservatives probably shouldn’t get their hopes up for a Republican governor, as the runner-up in the Democratic primary, Joseph P. Ganim, brought home just over 1,000 fewer votes than the Republican winner, Bob Stefanowski. Bob’s 41,957 votes seem unlikely to approach Democratic primary winner Ned Lamont’s 171,658. Stefanowski only took 29.4% of the Republican vote, while Lamont brought in 81.2% of Democrats, which amounted to almost 30,000 more votes than all the GOP candidates received combined.
Christopher S. Murphy, the incumbent Democrat, faced no competition from his own party, and GOP hopeful Mathew Corey beat his single opponent with 76.5% of the Republican vote – 99,630 votes to 30,539. In all other primary categories in which more than one candidate vied for the top slot, the Democratic frontrunner had considerably more support than the Republican, meaning that this entire state will likely remain more or less entirely blue in November.
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Once a favorite to replace Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) now faces conveniently timed allegations of abusing his former girlfriend, Karen Monahan. Karen’s son, Austin, made the accusation via Facebook just a few days before the primary. Ellison has denied that the incident ever occurred, and it remains to be seen how this will affect the election.
<img class=”wp-image-67529″ src=”https://www.libertynation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Representative-Keith-Ellison-300×216.jpg” alt=”” width=”410″ height=”295″ /> Representative Keith Ellison
Rep. Ellison is in his sixth term as a U.S. congressman and is looking for a new opportunity a little closer to home. Until the accusations of abuse, he was the frontrunner in the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s (DFL) primary for Attorney General, as the current one, Lori Swanson, hopes to replace Governor Mark Dayton.
Swanson faces fellow DFL hopefuls Erin Murphy and Tim Walz in the Tuesday, August 14 primary. If Victorious, she’ll face one of two Republicans, Jeff Johnson or Tim Pawlenty, in November. To fill the vacant AG office, Ellison will have to defeat Tom Foley, Debra Hilstrom, Matt Pelikan, and Mike Rothman of the DFL Tuesday, then face either Bob Lessard – a former Democrat – or Dough Wardlow in November.
Austin Aslim Monahan took to <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2319134031447108&set=a.361250107235520.104919.100000516013250&type=3″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Facebook</a> Saturday night to speak out about the hell his mother went through living with Keith Ellison. He allegedly saw a video that showed Ellison cursing at his mother and trying to yank her off the bed by her feet. There was more abuse, he said, but he plans to leave that up to her to disclose if she so chooses.
Ellison admits that he was in a long-term relationship with Karen Monahan, but denies that he ever mistreated her. Ellison says that though their relationship ended in 2016, he still cares about her. The video, he says, doesn’t exist because he never acted that way, and that “any characterization otherwise is false.”
Karen Monahan confirms that the video does exist, but has thus far refused to let anyone see it. In an interview with MPR News, she revealed that she never intended the public to know about it. “It’s humiliating, it’s traumatizing, for everyone’s family involved, and for me,” Monahan said. However, she’s also frustrated that people won’t just take her at her word.
<img class=”wp-image-67530″ src=”https://www.libertynation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Karen-Monahan-300×199.png” alt=”” width=”410″ height=”272″ /> Karen Monahan
“It sets the expectation for survivors of all kinds of forms of abuse, whether it be abuse toward women, abuse from police officers, abuse from other people in power, to have to be the ones, like I’m doing right now, to show and prove their stories. It’s feeding into that.”</blockquote>
Of course, what she and so many other alleged victims don’t seem to realize is that the burden of proof is always on the accuser. That’s just how our system of justice is supposed to work. If a crime occurred, there should be evidence of it. If you have irrefutable evidence – like this tape, for example – then you are obligated to show it if you want anyone to believe your accusations.
She did give MPR access to over 100 texts and Twitter messages, showing that she and Ellison communicated for months after the breakup. Sometimes the discourse was friendly, with both acknowledging that they still care for each other. At other times, it was more confrontational. There is, however, no evidence of this physical abuse in these messages.
One exchange, according to MPR, shows Karen Monahan telling Ellison that she plans to write about their “journey” in her book. Ellison allegedly warns her not to, and calls it a “horrible attack on my privacy.” She did send a text in December 2017 addressing the alleged video, but Edison didn’t respond.
<img class=”wp-image-67531″ src=”https://www.libertynation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Kim-Ellison-300×227.jpg” alt=”” width=”410″ height=”310″ /> Kim Ellison
Keith’s ex-wife, Kim Ellison, came to his defense, saying that the alleged behavior did not match the character of the Keith she knows. Yet this isn’t Ellison’s first accusations of abuse. In 2005, Ellison took out a two-year restraining order against Amy Alexander, a Democratic activist who had accused him of abusing her. She said they met in 1993 and started their extramarital affair shortly after.
Ellison denied ever having been involved with Alexander or having been to her house or assaulting her. In 2006, Ellison’s lawyer dismissed Alexander’s claim as an attempt to blackmail the campaign.
Did Keith Ellison physically and emotionally abuse Karen Monahan? That’s the question. From the released messages and the break up itself, it’s clear they had a rocky relationship – at least toward the end. But abuse? The only evidence are the claims of an angry son and a video that may or may not even exist. That – along with the timing – make this accusation suspect.
On the other hand, while Karen apparently planned to write about their relationship in her book at some time in the vague future, she claims to have had no intention of revealing the abuse now. In truth, it was her son who made the allegation, not her; she just confirmed it. That separates this case from the standard accusations that tend to crop up around election time. If she wanted to destroy his candidacy, why not do it herself?
<img class=”alignleft wp-image-67532″ src=”https://www.libertynation.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/keith-300×199.jpg” alt=”” width=”410″ height=”272″ />As for the video, it’s entirely understandable why Monahan wouldn’t want it public information. Her description of events – which we must assume the video, if it exists, supports – show that she was terrified by a level of rage from Ellison she had never seen before. This video would show a woman already submissive out of fear of her life being yanked about and yelled at viciously. Why would anyone want the world to see them at such a vulnerable moment?
But unless Monahan does decide to share that video with someone who can verify it to the rest of the world – whether that means making it public or not – we cannot assume that Ellison is guilty. As much as many may not <a href=”https://www.libertynation.com/impeach-donald-trump/”>care</a> for his <a href=”https://www.libertynation.com/democrat-keith-ellison-endorses-antifa/” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>politics</a>, no one should deny him the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Perhaps the real question is: Will it matter to the voter? We’ll find out after the ballots are all returned Tuesday night.
Few causes manage to rival the idiocy of the American gun control movement. After Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO) apparently thought that magazines weren’t reusable, or after Senator Kevin de Leon (D-CA) held up a rifle he claimed could empty a .30 caliber clip in half a second, it should be clear that these people are clueless.
But just in case anyone forgot or was still on the fence, the anti-gun left decided to showcase its boundless ignorance yet again as activists marched on the NRA headquarters Saturday, August 4. These concerned citizens – rallied by the National Organization for Change and a couple of Parkland students – demanded that the organization lose its tax-free status, proposed such genius “common sense” gun control measures as banning “fully semiautomatic” weapons, and claimed that the NRA had blood on its hands for spreading the firearms that kill children.
Yet for all their alleged common sense, these enlightened fools were blind to the true irony of their situation: Their willful ignorance is far more dangerous to the safety of the American people than any firearm in the hands of a deranged killer could ever be.
Negotiating with Madmen
In addition to revoking the tax-exempt status of the NRA, they had the following demands:
Universal, comprehensive background checks – They expect all transfers, even private sales, to comply. Never mind the privacy issue here, there’s another major problem with this. Where in the Second Amendment does it say anyone is excluded from the people?
Bring the ATF into the 21st century – They want a digitized, searchable database. And what data would it hold?
Funds for the Center for Disease Control to research gun violence epidemic in America – They falsely argue that the Dickey Amendment blocks the CDC from researching gun violence. The CDC does, in fact, collect data on gun violence – It’s one of my favorite resources for proving how uninformed these people are.
High-capacity magazine ban – Fewer bullets means less time shooting. True, but negligibly so. At least they didn’t argue (here) that rifles with high capacity magazines are used in more shootings than any other weapon.
Assault weapons ban – No more weapons of war! But don’t worry; they don’t target handguns and revolvers, of course. “An assault weapon shall be defined as any weapon of a caliber higher than .30 caliber or more and any long gun or short barreled rifle that fires in semi-automatic and takes self-loading magazines.” Oh, well maybe they do. Bye-bye .44 mag and .45 ACP – amongst other pistol and revolver rounds, both popular and obscure.
Stop access to downloadable gun blueprints online by passing these bills – They’re behind and actively advocating for the 3D Printing Safety Act and Untraceable Firearms Act. The idea of DIY firearms is the stuff of nightmares for these people. So, how’s this for a bedwetting thought? It’s legal and not all that uncommon for people to order 80% milled AR and AK receivers and build their own unregistered – and serial number free – rifles. And the jig, drill press, and Dremel tool required to do so cost considerably less than a 3D printer.
The Danger of Ignorance
While the organizers and their Twitter minions belittled anyone who argued against them by calling them paranoid and assured the nation that no one said we should ban guns all together, that is, in fact, exactly what some of the protesters suggested. The NRA posted a video to Twitter, showing protesters arguing that all “fully semiautomatics” should be banned. The people shown didn’t know what made a semiautomatic; one even suggested it was the number of rounds that could be fired, or perhaps the type of ammunition, that made some guns semi-auto. One person holding a sign labeling her a teacher couldn’t describe or define a bump stock. The same so-called educator thought that an AR-15 was anything with “automatic loading and refiring.” Another openly advocated the repeal of the Second Amendment all together, saying that civilians didn’t need guns or any other weapon that could kill people in “an instant of a second.”
It’s reasonable to assume that the NRA only showed the crème de la crème of moronic answers, but that doesn’t change the fact that these uninformed people are marching – and presumably voting – against the Second Amendment. Despite this passion, they refuse to put in the minimal effort required to educate themselves on the issue. They would rather make complete fools of themselves publicly and advocate for the revocation of rights they don’t understand.
After being arrested and sentenced to 13 months in prison for, essentially, ignoring a media gag order and reporting on a Muslim rape gang trial, British activist and citizen journalist Tommy Robinson has been released.
Lord Chief Justice Ian Burnett and two other judges overturned the conviction after finding that the original judge rushed the initial trial, preventing Robinson from adequately defending himself. The trio of judges ostensibly felt that Robinson was treated unfairly due to the muddled nature of the hearing – though the Free Tommy Rally and other various protests around the world quite likely didn’t hurt.
So the calls to free Tommy Robinson have been heeded – for now. He was released on bail. His only condition of bail is that he attend his new hearing.
Who Is Tommy Robinson?
As Liberty Nation’s Mark Angelides explained, Tommy Robinson – born Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – began and organized the English Defense League (EDL) after two shocking experiences. First, he discovered that young men from his hometown of Luton were recruited to fight for the Taliban. Later, he saw Islamists protest a British army homecoming parade, during which they were allowed to spit at and abuse the soldiers and their families – all in the name of keeping the peace.
After his split from the EDL, Tommy continued to protest the Islamization of Britain – a quest which has seen him imprisoned more than once.
A Political Prisoner
While the May 2018 arrest and same-day conviction and sentencing was ostensibly for contempt of court regarding a previously suspended sentence, the real reason is censorship. Not so sure? Well, his initial suspended sentence was for violating a media gag order and reporting on a trial for men accused of being part of a Muslim rape gang, as it allegedly had the potential to “derail a fair trial.” His most recent violation? Once again reporting outside a court during a similar trial.
Not-So-Free Speech in the UK
There is no real freedom of speech in the U.K. As Leesa K. Donner wrote in “Media Suppression and Tyrannical Governments,” the British government often issues gag orders, called Defense and Security Media Advisory Notices (DSMA-Notices), prohibiting the press from reporting on certain issues. These are quite common for trials – especially ones that showcase the rape epidemic that has resulted from uncontrolled Islamic immigration without any hint of assimilation.
The villainy and absurdity of imprisoning a man – in solitary confinement, no less – for exposing and fighting the massive culture rot of this rape epidemic hasn’t just caused protests at home and abroad. It has led some Americans to question whether we should step in on Mr. Robinson’s behalf.
U.S. Representative Paul Gosar (R-AZ) took the matter to his fellow Congressmen:
“Mr. Robinson, a British Activist and journalist, was arrested and jailed for simply filming outside a public courtroom, and was sentenced to 13 months for this “crime.” His real crime is his refusal to agree to the government’s efforts to cover up crimes by Muslim gangs who are raping British girls.”
He also tweeted directly at the president that the U.K. seemed more concerned with covering up rape than seeking truth.
Thankfully, such interference doesn’t seem necessary – for now. Though Tommy has been released, it’s entirely possible he could be resentenced at his hearing later this year – possibly as early as September, according to The Sun.
Robinson Family Reunited
After his release, Robinson refused to comment to reporters, saying that “all the British media do is lie. I have a lot to say but nothing to you.” In a video uploaded to his YouTube channel, Tommy explains that he was subject to all manner of hit pieces by the mainstream British media. He read a heart-breaking letter from his wife and called the solitary confinement mental torture.
But he refuses to be bitter. As he stood in his home, awaiting the arrival of his unsuspecting children, Robinson said that if he’s bitter and angry, then he accepts his own victimhood. “I’m their target; I’m not their victim,” he declared.
He spent over half the five-minute video thanking people for their support – for the protests, the rallies, and the letters and emails. When he gets back from his vacation, he plans to watch everything that has happened since his arrest – and he wants everyone who has supported him along the way to join him.
Regardless of what may happen later this year, Mr. Robinson is jubilant, if not a bit flabbergasted, to be home and able to spend time with his family. He may well end up right back in jail after the new hearing – but not if the myriad Tommy Robinson supporters around the world have anything to say about it.
Medicare for all. That’s the battle cry of American socialists. Wouldn’t it be grand to provide free medical coverage for all Americans, allowing them to live their lives without exorbitant and exploitive insurance premiums or the constant, nagging fear of going uncovered?
Well, the great Bernie Sanders Claus has a plan, creatively named – you guessed it – Medicare for All. If passed, M4A, as it’s called for short, would provide free health care for every American, regardless of income level. With an estimated price of $32.6 trillion over the first 10 years, that’s an average of about $23,000 per taxpayer per year.
But of course, we don’t all pay at the same rate. As that’s fairly similar to the $3.2 trillion squeezed from American taxpayers in 2017, a more realistic estimate might be to say that – at least in the early years – we’ll all pay about twice what we pay now in taxes, giving us just one more thing in common with the taxpayers of the socialist paradise, Venezuela.
The Brilliant Plan
Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) Medicare for All Act of 2017 would establish the Universal Medicare Program, which would cover every resident – not citizen, or even legal resident – of the United States, as well as some non-residents in certain situations. Naturally, it has the support of Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), and several other Democrats from both congressional bodies – including the new darling of the DNC, New York district candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez .
The bill includes a freedom of choice act – allowing anyone to pay for private coverage if they so choose – but there is no income requirement obligating the well-off to opt out. And who would want to double their tax obligation and get no benefit in return? It seems highly unlikely that many would opt out of the system to keep costs down, as most of us wouldn’t be able to afford private health care anymore once we’ve doubled our tax obligation to cover the so-called free program.
Anyone born or acquiring a qualifying resident status in the U.S. after implementation would be automatically enrolled and issued an individual Medicare identification card. Naturally, this program covers pretty much any medical cost one could imagine – presumably including abortion, as the bill includes “termination of pregnancy” as a related medical condition to pregnancy in its non-discrimination clause.
No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
There’s an old saying that comes to mind anytime some socialist comes around promising free stuff: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Think this is just paranoia? Let’s examine the actual cost of this most generous of offers. The Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a study in late July estimating the total price of Bernie’s M4A at $32.6 trillion in the first 10 years, from 2022 to 2031.
Sanders attacks this number, of course, but not by offering any alternative projections. He merely says that the Mercatus Center received some funding from the conservative Koch brothers and that the results are misleading. But a senior health policy advisor from the Clinton administration, Professor Kenneth Thorpe, said the study is accurate. “It’s showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending,” he said.
Of course, this $3.26 trillion a year for the first 10 years is a conservative estimate; it assumes that the act will also successfully lower federal spending – which it probably won’t. The government overspent in 2017, of course, creating an evil looking $666 billion budget deficit for just that year.
Here’s what we’ll all pay in federal income taxes alone for 2018:
- 10% up to $9,525 for individuals or $19,050 for married couples filing jointly.
- 12% up to $38,700 for individuals or $77,400 for married couples filing jointly.
- 22% up to $82,500 for individuals or $165,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- 24% up to $157,500 for individuals or $315,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- 32% up to $200,000 for individuals or $400,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- 35% up to $500,000 for individuals or $600,000 for married couples filing jointly.
- 37% over $500,000 for individuals or over $600,000 for married couples filing jointly.
The Socialist Paradise
It doesn’t require a degree in economics to understand that doubling our tax burden will result in most taxpayers shelling out more for this system than they’ll get back in benefits – by quite a lot, for most of us. Ultimately, the time would come when even the unemployed would be harmed by this. Consider what happens when you double the tax burden of those who work.
Let’s look at the $50,000 so often touted as the average household income. Without any other deductions or credits right now, that household owes the federal government 22% of that, or $11,000. Now double that to $22,000 at 44%, and the average U.S. household will have paid 10%, or $5,000, more than a family making the same amount in Venezuela.
Does it sound paranoid to suggest we might end up like Venezuela? How long can we sustain this before the strain of striving to barely make it while those who don’t bother do just fine begins to break the average worker? When unemployment skyrockets, as seems almost inevitable, where would the government turn for funds?
Lest anyone forget about Facebook’s blatant disrespect for the idea of free speech or their extreme bias against conservatives in general, they have provided yet another reminder. State Representative Matt Caldwell (R-FL) posted a video advertisement on the social media giant for his campaign to become the Florida agriculture commissioner, only to have it blocked.
Was it his pro-gun or pro-Trump stance? Perhaps it was the fact that he’s endorsed by the NRA. Whatever the cause, it just goes to show that on Facebook, conservatives just aren’t welcome.
I Love the Second Amendment
The video begins by showing Rep. Caldwell shooting skeet, then cuts over to him sitting on the tailgate of a pickup for his message:
“I’m Matt Caldwell. I like guns. I love the Second Amendment. And I support our president. That’s why I’m endorsed by the NRA. I’m Matt Caldwell [snaps a break-over shotgun closed] and that’s all there is to it.”
And that’s quite literally all there is to it – a whole 15 seconds, in which Mr. Caldwell shoots a clay pigeon and confesses to four deadly sins, as far as the left is concerned:
- He likes guns.
- He loves the Second Amendment.
- He supports Donald Trump as the president.
- He’s endorsed by the NRA.
What a monster. If he had thrown in an anti-abortion comment or said that there are only two sexes, he would have quite likely been declared literally Hitler and permanently banned from Facebook.
Facebook Admits the “Mistake”
Facebook admitted that they mistakenly blocked Caldwell’s video, saying it was flagged for promoting the sale of weapons. Take another quick look at the quote. Where was his sales pitch and what gun did he offer?
Naturally, Facebook didn’t initially respond to the representative’s inquiry as to why they had blocked him, and they only reversed their action after Caldwell lambasted the company, calling them a “censorship regime.”
Of course, they very quickly reversed the ban and issued an apology… well, sort of:
“We review millions of ads each week and sometimes we make mistakes. We have overturned the incorrect decision and the ads are now running live on Facebook.”
The Bigger Issue
But the damage may already have been done. Caldwell can’t afford to lose days of campaign exposure when the GOP primary in Florida takes place in August. As he said when he noticed then initial rejection, “Just the mere fact that you have a gun, I don’t think should flag any kind of ad.”
It might well be that some algorithm automatically flagged his ad; perhaps some anti-gun leftist noticed and manually blocked it. Either way, the same question must be asked: What was it about his video that so offended Facebook? It couldn’t have been any gun manufacturer or dealer that Caldwell endorsed, because he didn’t.
Nothing New Under the Sun
Perhaps it was just the fact that he likes guns. Maybe it was his love for the Second Amendment. Recall not that long ago that the Liberty County, Texas, newspaper, The Vindicator, had one of their own posts blocked for quoting the Declaration of Independence. Perhaps it was because he supports President Trump. Facebook once banned the founder of Oculus Rift VR simply for supporting Donald Trump.
Or perhaps its just because he’s a Republican. Liberty Nation reported Facebook’s silencing of the conservative voice over a year ago. More recently, we saw them censor black conservatives Diamond and Silk, who were, apparently, somehow “unsafe.” They’ve meddled in international politics by prohibiting ads regarding the abortion referendum in Ireland – a prohibition which was far more detrimental to the pro-life crowd than to supporters of abortion.
Facebook has proven time and again – as have other mainstream social platforms like YouTube and Twitter – that there’s just no room on the social corner of the internet for anyone who isn’t a die-hard leftist. But if you somehow begin to forget, don’t worry; they’ll give us another reminder soon enough.
Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) led a group of 11 Republicans in introducing five articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday, July 25.
Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble predicted that this might happen after Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray faced a particularly scathing congressional hearing back in June. Rosenstein stands accused of intentionally withholding documents from Congress, failing to comply with congressional subpoenas, and abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The first article explains that a second Special Counsel in the Russian investigation had been requested multiple times for “apparent and actual” conflicts of interest, but denied each time. It further points out that Rosenstein signed the FBI’s application to renew FISA surveillance on Carter Page, making him a fact witness to the ongoing investigation of FISA abuse. Since this is a conflict of interest, he should have recused himself. Both issues constitute dereliction of duty, according to the GOP Representatives.
Article II accuses Rosenstein and the Department of Justice of refusing to produce documents as requested by the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform multiple times – in direct conflict with the constitutional duty of both committees to conduct oversight of both the FBI and the Department of Justice.
This article points out that Rosenstein seemed to ignore three letters requesting information, a subpoena, and a Memorandum-of-Understanding to expedite the turning over of the previously required documents. According to whistleblower documents provided to Congress in July 2018, the Rosenstein-led DOJ and FBI knowingly withheld information to avoid oversight.
Additionally, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has instructed material fact witnesses to refuse to release information under the jurisdiction of the joint investigation – even though much of that information was not law enforcement sensitive and was available through open source reporting. Finally, testimony given to the committees on July 13 revealed that the Department of Justice didn’t notify material fact witnesses of multiple congressional requests for testimony.
An in camera review of DOJ documents revealed that, under the supervision of Rod Rosenstein, the Department tried to conceal certain facts by heavily and unnecessarily redacting the documents. For example, they tried to hide the price of Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table merely because the information could be embarrassing.
They also concealed Peter Strzok’s personal relationship with FISC Judge Rudolph Contreras. They redacted the names of high-ranking Obama administration officials, like former House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and high-ranking FBI officials, like former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
The DOJ conceded that the redactions were needlessly heavy-handed, and agreed that some information should not have been redacted in a letter to Representatives Meadows and Jordan in April.
When Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the Special Counsel in May of 2017, he wrote a memo detailing the scope of the investigation. Again, in August of 2017, Rosenstein drafted a memo explaining the scope of the investigation, which began with “the following allegations were within the scope of the investigation at the time of your appointment and are within the scope of the order” – but nearly everything that followed was redacted. The lack of information raises concerns that Mueller might actually have been appointed based on a counterintelligence basis, rather than criminal, which would fall outside the regulations for special counsel investigations.
Additionally, the heavily redacted classified memo called into question the government’s basis for alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether these allegations resulted in crimes worthy of investigation. Despite the significant public interest and the constitutional authority of Congress to conduct oversight, Mr. Rosenstein continued to refuse to provide more information from the memos, even in classified meetings.
Rosenstein oversaw the authorization of FISA searches and electronic surveillance of Trump campaign members. It was under his supervision that the infamous Trump dossier compiled by Christopher Steele for the DNC and Hillary Clinton became a material part of the FISA application.
This article posits that it was Rosenstein who failed to properly vet the dossier and who intentionally obfuscated the fact that before the FISC, it was a piece of opposition research against Trump’s campaign. All of these actions and inactions by Rosenstein and those under his supervision destroyed the public’s confidence in the FISA process, as that confidence relates to the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard – especially in the surveillance of American citizens.
Rosenstein Not So Untouchable
Whether Rosenstein is guilty of all these allegations or not, as LN’s Leesa K. Donner explained, “there is reason to believe Rosenstein is guilty of abusing his power.” Regardless of how far these articles of impeachment go, it is clear now that the Rod Rosenstein’s power isn’t absolute – and that he’s not so untouchable after all.
Americans have been making their own guns since before there was a United States or Second Amendment – and even with the unconstitutional restrictions we have today, home gunsmithing is still not a crime. But with the rise of 3D printing, it was inevitable that someone would generate designs for 3D printed firearms and – thanks to that modern marvel we call the internet – new demands for gun control.
Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, is that someone. By suing the U.S. Departments of State and Justice for stifling his First Amendment freedom of speech in mandating that he not post his blueprints online, Wilson secured a couple of concessions that may seriously undermine the gun control movement. First, the settlement acknowledges that code is speech, and that the government can’t prohibit Wilson or anyone else from sharing it freely if they so choose. Second, they redefine the phrase “Military Equipment” to exclude semi-automatic weapons smaller than .50 caliber.
Government Overreach Backfired
In 2013, a 25-year-old Cody Wilson test-fired his first 3D printed gun – and it worked. The plans for the .380 pistol were downloaded over 100,000 times in just a few days after he uploaded them to his website, defcad.com.
Wilson then dropped out of law school and launched his non-profit, Defense Distributed, with plans to build the world’s largest repository of 3D printable gun blueprints. But the State Department had other plans, and sent Wilson a letter less than a week later threatening to prosecute him for exporting weapons without a license if he didn’t take down his plans.
Of course, Wilson wasn’t distributing guns – just the plans necessary to print them. Misrepresenting a person’s actions or misquoting a law in order to scare people out of doing something entirely legal may be a long-standing government tradition, but this time, it backfired.
Wilson took down his site as ordered. Then, in 2015, he and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) sued the State Department for violating Wilson’s right to distribute information he owned as he saw fit.
The Win for Liberty
When the State and Justice Departments offered Wilson a settlement to end the lawsuit, they did more than just reaffirm his First Amendment right to freely express himself. They redefined “Military Equipment” to exclude any semi-automatic weapon smaller than .50 caliber – with only a few exceptions.
As Alan Gottlieb, founder of the SAF, told Breitbart:
“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby. For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called “weapons of war,” and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.
The federal government now saying semi-automatic firearms below .50 caliber are not inherently military means that they are admitting that rifles like the AR-15 are civilian in nature. This makes perfect sense, as they existed years before the military adopted the fully automatic version.”
Misrepresenting the Second Amendment
This settlement empowers those who would like to make their own guns at home. It allows them to avoid paying taxes for their guns, though the materials and equipment would still be taxed, and opt out of unconstitutional background checks. It gives more people the ability to protest the idea that gun dealers should have a federal license by providing yet another way around dealing with them all together. It has the added value of directly refuting a common gun control argument – that AR-15s are military equipment. In these regards, this is a win for liberty.
But in another sense, it misrepresents the Second Amendment. The purpose of the right to keep and bear arms was not to allow for hunting or sport shooting – it wasn’t even really about self-defense against criminals, though these are all fortunate side benefits. The Second Amendment was put in place by men who had just won their liberty from an oppressive government, and it protects the rights of the people to do the same in the future, should it become necessary.
Like most who believe in the unfettered right to keep and bear arms, I’ll take what wins I can get. However, the Second Amendment is a guarantee against future government tyranny, and the language is intentionally broad in order to allow for the eventual advancements in weapons technology. The right to keep and bear arms means very little if it doesn’t allow for military equipment.