Big govt, Politics

Trump’s Putin Summit Already Yielding Fruit

The mainstream media have been quick to criticize President Trump for what they argue was a failed summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Some have even begun to call for impeachment. But less than 72 hours have passed and gains are already being realized. On the heels of the meeting, Russia has agreed to an accord with the Trump administration to put a leash on Iran and work together to decrease the violence in Syria. After negotiating a treaty with North Korea and now reducing tensions in the Middle East, the media are hard-pressed to continue the criticism.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

President Donald Trump has been criticized by the media and by Beltway politicians of both parties for his meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. But the summit has already produced a very significant win: namely, agreement to avoid a war in the Middle East by restraining Iran in Syria.

As Breitbart News columnist Caroline Glick noted last month, it was crucial that Trump confront Putin over Syria, because Russia  was about to allow Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers, dressed in Syrian uniforms, to move into southwestern Syria along the border with Israel and Jordan.

That was not a situation that the U.S. or Israel could accept.

As Glick explained:

The U.S. has a major interest as well in preventing Iran’s Hezbollah forces from deploying in Syria and in Yemen. The U.S. has an interest in preventing Russia from taking over Syria. … [T]he physical deployment of Iranian-controlled forces along the Syrian-Israeli border and the Syrian-Jordanian border all but ensures a major war between Israel and these forces — including Syrian military forces, which are also controlled by Iran. It raises the likelihood of a Jordanian war with these same forces to an unprecedented level.

The Iranian-Israeli war will spread to Lebanon, which is controlled by Iran through Hezbollah. It can easily spread to Gaza as well, given Iran’s sponsorship of the Hamas terror regime that rules the area.

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Big govt, Politics

John Brennan Hints At Trump Impeachment

Former CIA Director John Brennan blasted President Trump this week immediately following the summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. In his caustic remarks he argued Trump’s actions have crossed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ which historically have triggered impeachment proceedings. But defenders are beginning to point out that Trump’s actions might have been a stroke of genius. Had he appeared at the summit with the intent of publicly or privately castigating Putin for what we know took place during the election shenanigans, there would have been no benefit to American interests. But, defenders argue, Trump might have been making a grand calculation that in appearing to defend Putin, he is actually drawing him closer in order to better protect American interests.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

Former CIA Director John Brennan reacted to President Donald Trump’s press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin by calling on Republican lawmakers to support impeaching the president.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors,’ Brennan wrote, hinting at impeachment proceedings.

Brennan is a frequent Trump critic and a contributor for NBC/MSNBC.

“It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin,” he continued. “Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

During the press conference with Putin, Trump questioned the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and their failure to seize the DNC’s server that they claimed was hacked by Russians.

Later in the day, Brennan appeared on MSNBC to call for Trump officials to resign.

“I cannot understand how the national security team can continue to abide by this and how Pompeo and Bolton and Kelly can continue in their jobs,” he said. “This, I think, rises to the point of good American patriots resigning in objection to that performance by Donald Trump.”

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Big govt, Issues, Politics

Governor Vetoes Budget to Block Planned Parenthood Funds

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has become the champion of pro-life conservatives this month after vowing to block the state’s budget until the legislature sends him a plan that does not include funds for Planned Parenthood. Promising to ‘keep on vetoing it’ regardless how many times legislators send him a new budget, McMaster also slammed Congress for not giving states the right to remove Planned Parenthood from their recipient rolls. He’s among the growing chorus of state leaders, particularly in the South, calling for defunding of the organization both at the state and federal level for using tax dollars to promote abortion.

Here’s more from PJ Media…

No matter how many times South Carolina lawmakers try to restore the $16 million Gov. Henry McMaster chopped from the state’s healthcare budget, the Republican governor vowed to just “keep on vetoing it.”

McMaster said he cut the money from the legislature-approved budget in July to make sure not a dime of South Carolina taxpayer money paid for Planned Parenthood abortions.

“This is the center, this is the core of it and that’s why I vetoed it. And I’ll keep on vetoing it,” McMaster said. “The veto is the most direct way to get the money going to them for family planning services, which in Planned Parenthood land means abortions.”

McMaster also promised to continue stopping state money from flowing into Planned Parenthood until the federal government permitted South Carolina to exempt the organization from the state’s Medicaid provider network.

The South Carolina Legislature reconvenes in September. Restoring the money vetoed by McMaster will be at the top of Democratic lawmakers’ agendas in advance of the November election.

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Big govt, Politics, States

States Stuck in ObamaCare Medicaid Limbo

States are struggling with ObamaCare red tape and the American people needing health care are paying the price. Even state legislation to allow more coverage as part of Medicaid are subject to federal regulations, but Congress has yet to jump in the fray and do the job it was elected to do in November 2016. One of the major problems facing states is that to help low-income people get care under the current Affordable Care Act system means diving head first into a Medicaid one-size-fits-all expansion complete with burdensome federal rules and requirements. The bottom line is that Obamacare, which was narrowly passed under the auspices of getting health coverage for more people, continues to be the reason people are opting out of health coverage altogether.

Here’s more from The Daily Signal…

Recent attention to a court decision against a waiver granted to Kentucky to make work requirements part of its Medicaid program should spur congressional action on Obamacare to give states greater flexibility to help those in need.

Under the current Obamacare structure, states that want to help low-income people get care and coverage are pushed into a Medicaid expansion and hamstrung by its federal rules and requirements. This proposition is a bad deal for the states and vulnerable Americans who need access to care.

Obamacare has wreaked havoc on the individual and small group insurance markets by replacing state oversight of insurance markets with federal regulatory overreach. This has meant fewer people purchasing coverage in these markets, higher premiums for those who do, and fewer choices across the board.

But the individual market is only half the problem. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion remains a challenge for the states. Rather than offering states meaningful solutions and reforms to the Medicaid program, Obamacare simply asked states to do more, enticing them with more money. Some states accepted the proposition, but others have rejected it.

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Big govt, International, Politics

Trump Declares Victory With NATO Commitment to Pay More

President Trump refused to do business as usual at the NATO summit in Brussels last Thursday forcing an ’emergency session’. Reports revealed Trump insisted on keeping defense funding front and center until it was addressed. Following the meeting, President Trump declared: “We’ve accomplished a lot with respect to NATO…everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment, they are going to up it to levels they never thought of before.” This is a major concession for NATO allies who have benefitted for decades from American defense spending for the protection of the entire Western hemisphere.

Here’s more from Breitbart…

President Donald J. Trump appeared to have met his key objectives for the Brussels NATO summit Thursday, revealing that alliance members would “substantially” increase their commitments, and much faster than previously planned.

The comments came at a surprise press conference called after an emergency session of NATO ally leaders Thursday morning. The meeting had begun as a planned multilateral discussion between NATO, Georgia, and Ukraine, but Trump’s insistence on discussing the poor state of defense funding among the majority of members led to alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declaring the meeting an “emergency session”.

Foreign leaders including those of Ukraine, Georgia, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had to leave the room, which was then restricted to the most senior leaders of NATO member nations.

Speaking after the conclusion of the meeting, President Trump said that while he had expressed to his fellow world leaders that he was “extremely unhappy”, he hailed them for having agreed to “substantially up their commitment”.

The President said: “We’ve accomplished a lot with respect to NATO… everyone has agreed to substantially up their commitment, they are going to up it to levels they never thought of before.”

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Big govt, International, Politics

Border Patrol: NYC Mayor De Blasio Illegally Crossed Border

According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio broke federal law. More specifically, he and his security detail illegally crossed into Mexico during a June visit to Texas — after being denied permission to cross the area earlier that day. De Blasio denies willfully breaking the law and continued his attacks on President Trump. But the USBP isn’t backing down in their claims. If it’s ultimately verified, it’s more proof in the case for liberals’ notion that they’re above the law. And it’s yet another demonstration for why Hillary Clinton lost the election.

Here’s more from Fox News…

A letter from U.S. Customs and Border Protection emerged stating the mayor and his security detail illegally crossed over the U.S.-Mexico border during a visit to Texas last month.

During a news conference Wednesday at the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, de Blasio called the allegations “absolutely ridiculous” and an attempt by the Trump administration to create a distraction amid the immigration debate involving illegal immigrant children.

“[This] is another way to distract [the American people] from an inhumane policy,” de Blasio said about the letter being released about two weeks after it was issued.

“Threats by the Trump administration will not stop me from speaking out and won’t stop my fellow mayors from speaking out,” the mayor said.

In a letter sent on June 25 and obtained by Fox News, CBP said de Blasio and his security detail, run by the New York Police Department, illegally crossed the border near El Paso on June 21. The mayor and his security detail were spotted taking photos by a Border Patrol agent on the Rio Grande River flood plain south of the Tornillo, Texas, Port of Entry.

They had been denied earlier in the day entrance to a holding facility for immigrant children, which de Blasio said on Wednesday “made no sense.”

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

SCOTUS Nominee Now in Series of Senate Meetings

Brett Kavanaugh has begun a gauntlet of pre-confirmation meetings with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell following his Monday night nomination by President Donald Trump for confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice. Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have been specifically chosen to guide him through what is expected to be a bitter, brutal and hyperpartisan confirmation process.  Republicans are hoping to have him confirmed by Oct. 1 when SCOTUS begins its new term despite the complication from Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) not voting giving a slim 50-49 majority and requiring support from every remaining Republican to put Kavanaugh on the bench.

Here’s more from Washington Examiner…

Brett Kavanaugh kicked off his first day of Senate meetings on Tuesday by talking with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and is expected to schedule several others in the coming weeks in his bid to win confirmation as the next Supreme Court justice.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh Monday night, and the judge was accompanied to the Senate on Tuesday by Vice President Mike Pence and former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., who has been selected to shepherd him through the process.

Kavanaugh met with McConnell, R-Ky., in the leader’s office near the Senate chamber at 11 a.m.

“I think the president made an outstanding nomination,” McConnell said as he stood in his office next to Kavanaugh, Pence, ad Kyl. “We look forward to the confirmation process and it will unfold in the next few weeks.”

Pence said the White House “is very confident,” the confirmation process will show Kavanaugh “is the most qualified and most deserving” of the appointment to the Supreme Court. None of the men answered questions from reporters about whether they believe they can win over any Democrats.

Kavanaugh is also expected to sit down with another critical leader, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who will decide the pace and timing of Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. Grassley has not scheduled Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing yet, and Republicans are pushing to have him on the bench by Oct. 1, the start of the court’s next term.

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

Breaking: Trump Announces SCOTUS Nominee

President Trump has been teasing his pick for the Supreme Court for the better part of two weeks. And the political web has been abuzz with speculation about who the final pick may be. But at 9pm Eastern last night, Trump finally answered all the pundits with an announcement that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is the official pick.

At 53, he’ll be one of the youngest members of the Supreme Court if confirmed. And that was precisely one of the president’s goals as he works to reshape the Court with conservatives who can serve for 20 years or more. Kavanaugh brings with him a strong resume from the DC Court of Appeals along with a uniquely conservative record. And that reality has Democrats already preparing for the confirmation battle in the Senate in hopes of blocking Kavanaugh and preventing Roe v. Wade from being overturned.

Here’s more from The Daily Wire…

Over the weekend reports had concurred that President Trump had narrowed down his final choices for the Supreme Court to four.

Those four were D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Brett Kavanaugh; 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Thomas Hardiman; 7th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett; and 6thCircuit Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Kethledge.

All are smart lawyers with high praise from their supporters.

Read more…

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Adriana Cohen, Big govt, Media

Free Speech for the Goose

Editor’s Note: Adriana Cohen is off. The following column is by Laura Hollis.

The New York Times, borrowing Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s language from her dissent in last week’s Janus v. AFSCME case, purported in a June 30 article to explain “how conservatives (have) weaponized the First Amendment.”

The plaintiff in Janus successfully argued that he should not be forced to pay public sector union dues that support political causes he opposes. And the Janus decision was released the day after National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra. In Becerra, plaintiffs were pro-life pregnancy centers opposing California’s Reproductive FACT Act, a statute which forced them to promote and advertise for abortion services. Both plaintiffs won their cases on First Amendment free speech grounds. (And three weeks prior, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips won his suit challenging a Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision sanctioning him for refusing to create a wedding cake for a gay couple. Phillips, too, won on First Amendment grounds.)

As Times author Adam Liptak notes, passionate defense of First Amendment rights was once de rigueur for self-proclaimed leftists. But now that it’s conservatives who are asserting their rights to free speech, the left is sounding the alarm.

Liptak writes, “Liberals, who once championed expansive First Amendment rights are now uneasy about them.” Immediately thereafter, he quotes renowned First Amendment litigator Floyd Abrams, who says, “Now, the progressive community is at least skeptical and sometimes distraught at the level of First Amendment protection which is being afforded in cases brought by litigants on the right.”

This brief passage obscures an important distinction between traditional liberalism and its more contemporary cousin, progressivism. Historically, liberalism has defended principles, and — subject to very limited exceptions — the universal application of them. Progressivism, by contrast, exalts not universal principles, but specific outcomes (which fluctuate wildly and change when the wind blows). In the progressive worldview, principles are malleable, and useful only to the extent that they achieve whatever the outcome du jour happens to be.

The United States Constitution — and the principles enshrined therein — is no exception.

For example, after tragedies like mass shootings, there are routinely calls for gun control. But now we are hearing arguments that it is time to repeal the Second Amendment. The hue and cry following the Masterpiece Cakeshop, Becerra and Janus cases sounds suspiciously like the first salvos in an attack on the First Amendment.

Here’s a poorly kept secret that the recent Supreme Court cases reveal about progressive objectives: They rarely win in a free and flourishing marketplace of ideas. As a result, progressive ideologues have resorted to legislation and lawsuits intended to stifle speech they don’t like and compel that which they do.

Alas, the left is waking up to the reality that all Americans have free speech rights — not just Vietnam protesters, flag burners and abortion rights activists. Surprise! The constitutional protection that is sauce for the progressive goose is also sauce for the conservative gander.

For all their posturing about the fear of fascism under the Trump administration, it is the so-called progressive left that makes known its loathing for the constitutional protections that get in the way of whatever utopic vision they’re fever-dreaming about today. And it is they, not the Christian right, who have the zeal of the converted on their quest to perfect America by dismantling the constitutional protections for anyone who gets in their way.

It is not hysteria to warn of the need to aggressively protect our liberties. Other western democracies have begun to severely curtail free speech in the name of some other progressive “good.” Author and humorist Mark Steyn spent nearly two years fending off allegations of human rights violations associated with a sarcastic piece he published in Canada about the decline of western civilization, titled, “The future belongs to Islam.” And just last week, a court in England upheld a city law banning prayer vigils outside of abortion clinics. The justice who handed down the court’s decision acknowledged that the city law violated the rights of those who sought to peacefully pray in protest, but insisted that such a law was “a necessary step in a democratic society.” Democracy for me, but not for thee, that is.

Unlike progressives, traditional liberals understood that society is stronger when everyone — even those whose ideas we find distasteful — plays by the same rules.

On this Independence Day, we would do well to treasure the gifts our forefathers gave us, and not trade our birthright as free Americans for the mess of pottage that progressives would force us to eat.

To find out more about Laura Hollis and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

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Big govt, Courts, Politics

Trump Reverses Obama-Era Affirmative Action Regs

President Trump continues to unravel the Obama legacy this week.
After reading a report that Harvard University is intentionally discriminating against Asian applicants in order to ‘diversify’ its campus in the favor of other (non-white) minorities, President Trump acted.
He announced a reversal of Obama administration guidelines strongly encouraging that schools consider race as a factor in admissions in order to achieve ‘diversity’ regardless of grades or other compelling candidate qualities.
Affirmative action is nothing more than reverse racism under another name. We do well to remind ourselves of Martin Luther King’s oft-quoted speech at the Lincoln Memorial in which he hoped people would be judged by the ‘content of their character, not the color of their skin’.
Here’s more from Hot Air…

The Trump administration is advising schools to avoid using race in admissions decisions. The change will reverse guidance issued by the Obama administration which recommended that schools consider race as one factor in admissions. The NY Times reports the change appears to be aimed at having an impact on a lawsuit filed against Harvard University over its admissions policies:

The Obama administration believed that students benefit from being surrounded by diverse classmates, so in 2011, the administration offered schools a potential road map to establishing affirmative action policies that could withstand legal scrutiny.

In a pair of policy guidance documents, the Education and Justice departments told elementary and secondary schools and college campuses to use “the compelling interests” established by the court to achieve diversity.They concluded that the Supreme Court “has made clear such steps can include taking account of the race of individual students in a narrowly tailored manner.”…

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