Congress

Russiagate Collusion Theory Takes Blow as House Intelligence Committee Probe Ends

The “Russiagate” collusion theory took a huge blow this week, as the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into Russia meddling came to an end. While the special counsel probe continues, the House Intelligence Committee’s conclusion of “no collusion” underscored the lack of any evidence to date of any such activities. “The collusion conspiracy theory is breaking down. There is no evidence of collusion at this point after year-plus investigations in the House and Senate. [Rep. Adam Schiff] claimed a year ago he had more than circumstantial evidence of collusion, but he still can’t produce it,” said a source involved in Congress’s Russia investigations. “And we’ve seen nothing on collusion from [special counsel Robert] Mueller. In addition, everyone now knows the Steele dossier is a fraud, and that the FBI was using it anyway. So the only thing sustaining the collusion narrative now is the media’s complicity in it.” Democrats on the committee complained they just were not allowed to dig deep enough — after more than a year of investigating and 73 witness interviews. They have vowed to keep investigating, although without the power to compel witnesses or documents, it is hard to imagine they will make much progress. And they continue to argue that disparate incidents amounted to collusion — a London professor telling Trump volunteer campaign aide George Papadopoulos that the Russians had thousands of emails that were embarrassing to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Jr. showing receptivity by accepting a meeting with a Russian lawyer who purportedly had dirt on Clinton. But the lead Republican on the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia probe, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), dismissed that idea, telling reporters after the committee’s conclusion was announced: ” Only Tom Clancy or Vince Flynn or someone else like that could take this series of inadvertent contacts with each other, or meetings, whatever, and weave that into some sort of a fictional page-turner spy thriller. But we’re not dealing with fiction, we’re dealing with facts. And we found no evidence of any collusion, of anything that people were actually doing, other than taking a meeting they shouldn’t have taken or inadvertently being in the same building.” Perhaps the biggest blow to Democrats is the loss of the probe as a political vehicle ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. The House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), had become a cable news fixture talking about Russia collusion and suspected leaker to CNN about the probe. The RNC tracked Schiff’s TV interviews in the last 13 months about the probe at 227. “It’s not shocking that the person most upset by the outcome had used the investigation to launch his TV career,” Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens told the Washington Examiner. Schiff also tried to fundraise off of the Russia probe…

Congress scrubs Thomas Jefferson from Gateway to the West

With nary a nay, Congress has scrubbed Thomas Jefferson’s name from a park built to celebrate one of his life’s great achievements and the way it changed America. The famous arch on the Mississippi River’s western bank in St. Louis anchors what has long been named the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. On Thursday, however, a unanimous voice vote in the House sent to President Trump a bill to rename it Gateway Arch National Park. The bill passed the Senate without objection in December. Those involved hasten to note that the act isn’t rooted in political correctness. Instead, they say it’s a sound marketing scheme. Since hardly any Americans know the park’s name but practically every American knows the Arch, it is sensible to refer to the place by its most familiar landmark. “This gives this national icon an updated and recognizable name,” Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, Democrat Hawaii, said during the House debate Monday. The bill was introduced by the two senators from Missouri: Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt. The House version also had Republican and Democratic sponsors. Robert Vogel, acting deputy director of the National Park Service, signaled the administration’s support in testimony to Congress in July. “The name ‘Jefferson National Expansion Memorial’ does not readily identify where the memorial is located or the fact that the key feature of the park is the Gateway Arch,” he told lawmakers. “Using ‘Gateway Arch’ in the name of the site would make the name immediately recognizable to all citizens and future visitors to St. Louis.” Indeed, increasing the number of those future visitors is more of a reason for the change than Jefferson’s parenting with Sally Hemings. In its heyday, the Arch drew 3.2 million people a year, but that number has fallen to 2.3 million for various reasons. A name change and a private-public renovation to the tune of $380 million, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for July 3, are also part of this campaign. “Not at all,” said Ryan McClure, communications director for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation, when asked if modern politics were behind the removal of a past political master. “With this renovation, I think Jefferson’s role is highlighted even more than in the past. Jefferson’s vision is still recognized and honored in the park, and I don’t think this diminishes his role at all,” he said. When the park was envisioned between the world wars, its primary booster, Luther Ely Smith, saw it as “a suitable and permanent public memorial to the men who made possible the western territorial expansion of the United States, particularly President Jefferson.” The Gateway to the West refers to the Louisiana Purchase, the real estate deal engineered by Jefferson’s administration when European strongman Napoleon Bonaparte wanted money for war. With the stroke of a pen and pennies on the acre in 1803, Jefferson added 828,000 square miles to the U.S. But much that came after that is also a part of the park. Explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off on their fabled journey from a spot beneath the arch. The park also holds the Old Courthouse where Dred Scott, whose name would sound above the din of America’s bloodiest battles, first sued for his freedom from slavery. Much of this was in President Franklin Roosevelt’s mind when he signed an executive order creating the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and when Congress gave its imprimatur in 1954. In addition to famous names, Congress said in the chestier tones that Americans used to employ when talking about their history, the park would honor “the hardy hunters, trappers, frontiersmen, pioneers and others who contributed to such expansion.” Some believe all this history will be lost in the name change. While relieved to learn that social justice storm troopers weren’t behind the change, Illinois lawyer David Shestokas, who has followed the name switch at his blog, wondered if something wasn’t being lost nonetheless. “Why not call it ‘Jefferson Gateway Arch National Park?’” he asked. “That’s what all this was supposed to be about in the first place because without Jefferson there is no Louisiana Purchase.”

Fair enough..   Regardless.. having grown up in St. Louis, I’m excited to see the renovated park.  If you’ve never seen the Arch, put it on your bucket list.    🙂

Rush Limbaugh: Schumer, Dems caved on shutdown because ‘Trump went on offense’

Radio host Rush Limbaugh says there is a simple reason why a short-lived government shutdown ended Monday: President Trump “went on offense.” The man behind “the golden EIB microphone” told listeners this week that Democrats were so caught off guard by “Schumer Shutdown” attacks that they did a political U-turn after three days. Mr. Limbaugh said the Republicans’ refusal to negotiate on Saturday, coupled with rhetorical broadsides against Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, constituted a political masterstroke. “When was the last time the GOP won a shutdown showdown?” the conservative asked. “When was the first time the GOP ever won a shutdown showdown? Yet Trump has won a shutdown showdown.” Mr. Limbaugh said that Democrats “wanted this [shutdown] to go on through the State of the Union,” but were forced to retreat after Mr. Trump proactively took control of the narrative. “It sounds to me like that Schumer and the Democrats expected the Republicans to cave, and Trump did not cave. And the Democrats know they’re on thin ice on this and so Trump wins,” the radio host said. They just didn’t count on the fact that — and this is beyond me why they didn’t — but they didn’t count on the fact of Trump returning fire. Not just returning fire, Trump went on offense.” The deal struck by lawmakers on Monday, which includes a promise for a Senate debate on immigration reform, will keep the government running through Feb. 8. “I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “As I have always said, once the Government is funded, my Administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country.”

Us usual, “El Rushbo” nails it!    🙂

Opinion/Analysis: The absurdity of government ‘shutdowns’

Here we go again. One more time around on the crazy merry-go-round otherwise known as a broken and dysfunctional Washington, D.C. And as usual, in this game of absurd brinkmanship there are accusations, frustrations, misinformation and political games afoot. First of all, government shutdowns aren’t the end of the world. President Ronald Reagan had eight government shutdowns in his terms in office and the nation experienced strong economic growth. Quite frankly, if Republicans really knew how to win a messaging fight, they should shut the government down. When shutdowns take place, all non-essential federal employees are sent home. While there is a pause in their pay, historically Congress has voted to make that pay retroactive once government reopens. President Reagan said the nine most frightening words are: “We’re from the government and we’re here to help.” I’d like to see a new term to describe the government employees during a shutdown: “Now we know what you don’t do.” If Republicans were prepared and knew what there were doing – and they don’t currently – it would be a very interesting experiment for the American people to watch: how many of the nearly 2 million federal government employees who cost the taxpayers over $136 billion annually are actually essential? How many of the over 430 departments, agencies and sub-agencies are actually essential? Over the course of four or five weeks, when in fact the American peoples’ lives would not change, we would have a very clear picture of what is essential and what is not. But as Republicans typically end up on the short end of the stick in these political messaging fights, it’s clear they have no desire to shut government down. According to friends inside the Freedom Caucus, even many of them really don’t have a desire to shut government down. It appears the play is going to be for the House to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to fund government for the next four weeks, send it to the Senate and have every Republican senator vote for the CR. Since it will take 60 votes to pass that CR in the Senate – and since Sen. John McCain is absent for health reasons – 10 Democratic votes are needed to keep government going. Currently Democrats are trying to hold hostage America’s security and safety while blackmailing Republicans on behalf of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants and over a vulgar word that President Trump might, or might not, have said. All of this centers around the fight over DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and how to successfully thread the needle on a political compromise. The parameters for a deal have already been laid out. Republicans would get full funding for the wall on our southern border and border security, an end to chain migration as we know it, and an end to the diversity visa lottery system. To please Democrats, Republicans are willing to have the roughly 700,000 immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children and now protected by DACA get legal status to avoid deportation. Many in President Trump’s base are perfectly fine with giving DACA recipients green cards and potentially a path to citizenship over several years. However, in an era of distrust, the path to citizenship for the DACA recipients should correlate with the completion of the southern border wall. If it takes five years to complete the wall, the path to citizenship should be five years, for example. What is also on display with the Democrats’ crass political games is their rank hypocrisy: in 2006, then-Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer all voted for the Yuma Sector Wall on our border. And in 2010, Sen. Dick Durbin was on the floor of the Senate calling for an end to chain migration. In the short term, Republicans need to hold their ground, vote a CR through the House, have every Republican senator vote for it and then dare Democrats to shut government down. Democrats always loudly proclaim how essential all government is for the American people. Let’s see when push comes to shove if they’ll put the interests of hundreds of thousands of illegals over the priorities of the American people, who they will get to face this fall at the ballot box.

Agreed!!  And well said, Ned.  Ned Ryun is the founder and CEO of American Majority, a national grassroots organization.  As we all know the House has already passed a bill.  So, a little water under the bridge.   But, Ned’s points here are very well taken.  How much of “essential” agencies and government employees are truly essential?  And, if they’re so “essential,” then why is Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Dems holding the process hostage, and shutting the government down, all over some illegal aliens, and putting those illegals ahead of our “essential” government employees and so many “essential” federal government agencies.  And, why isn’t the dominantly liberal mainstream media asking Dems these questions?  Things that make ya go, “hmmmm”…

National Reciprocity for Concealed Carry Passes House, Heads to Senate

On December 6 the House of Representatives passed national reciprocity for concealed carry after well over an hour of debate, including a 15 minute vote resulting from a last-ditch effort to recommit national reciprocity to committee. The effort to recommit to committee was a Democrat effort to derail the vote on national reciprocity. The vote to recommit failed by a margin of 236 to 190. The House then passed Rep. Richard Hudson’s (R-NC) national reciprocity legislation via a voice vote. Democrats then requested a recorded vote and the final tabulation on the recorded vote was 231 to 198. On December 4, Breitbart News reported that Hudson urged his colleagues to honor the 73 percent of Americans who support the passage of national reciprocity. Hudson predicted national reciprocity would receive a floor vote December 6, saying, “[The] 73 percent of Americans who want to see reciprocity are finally going to have their day on the House floor.” National reciprocity now moves to the Senate. If it passes there it will correct the cumbersome and often confusing patchwork of concealed carry laws that law-abiding Americans face as they traverse the U.S.

Agreed!!   🙂

Major concealed-carry bill picks up momentum, steams toward House floor

Gun-rights supporters are eyeing a big win this week as a bill that would make concealed-carry permits valid across state lines heads to the House floor — though it faces long odds in the Senate amid deep-pocketed opposition from gun-control advocates. “This is just simple, common-sense legislation that says if you’re a law-abiding citizen … we’re not going to turn you into a criminal just for crossing an invisible state line,” bill sponsor Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., told “Fox News @ Night.” Hudson says the bill simply attempts to clarify the patchwork of state laws that confuse citizens who can unwittingly get arrested when traveling from state to state. “All I’m saying is, when I cross the state line, I don’t want to automatically become a criminal,” he said. The three-term congressman also is quick to point out the measure does not attempt to usurp state and local authority with federal law, nor does it ease background checks on gun purchases. The bill has 213 cosponsors, including three Democrats, and backing from 24 state attorneys general. Hudson has tried for several years to get his Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act passed and scored a victory several days ago when it got through the House Judiciary Committee. The full House is set to vote on Wednesday.

House Tax Plan May Kill Deduction Taken by 95% of Itemizers

The tax plan the House Ways and Means Committee will release on Wednesday may eliminate the federal income tax deduction that people are currently permitted to take for the state and local income or sales taxes they have paid. That deduction, according to the latest Internal Revenue Service data, was taken by 42,502,130 tax filers—or 95 percent of the 44,671,840 tax filers who itemized their deductions in tax year 2015. The deduction allowed those 42,502,130 tax filers to reduce their federal taxable income for 2015 by a combined $351,163,796,000. The tax reform framework that the White House, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee agreed to in September said the tax plan it envisions “eliminates most itemized deductions, but retains tax incentives for home mortgage interest and charitable contributions.” It did not say it would retain the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes.

Nor should it.  We need to get to a “flatter,” fairer income tax, as long as we have it.  For more, click on the text above.