Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud Mark Hemingway of “The Weekly Standard” for shredding the ridiculous notion that the Obama administration has been scandal-free. They also unload on the FBI for doing nothing after the man who later became the Ft. Lauderdale airport terrorist came to them and said his mind was being controlled by U.S. intelligence agencies. And they highlight the FBI revelation that the Democratic National Committee refused to allow agents to inspect their servers after they suspected they had been hacked.
Archives for January 2017
The new chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus is promising one of the most consequential starts to a presidential administration in modern history, as Republican stand poised to run Congress and the White House.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., made headlines in the last Congress for filing the resolution that led to the resignation of former House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, in 2015. Now he says House conservatives are ready to make significant contributions on a wide range of issues.
“It’s really pushing that conservative, solution-oriented agenda so that the Senate take notice and understands that watered-down, business as usual kid of decisions aren’t going to happen,” said Meadows.
“Whether it’s on securing our border, whether it’s looking at the Syrian refugee issue, whether it’s pushing back against an anti-Israel UN, they’re going to get the opportunity to take votes and make the important decisions that are important to your listeners that are our constituents as well,” said Meadows.
And despite previous clashes with GOP leaders over spending and who sits in the speaker’s chair, Meadows is confident that leaders are listening to conservatives on key issues.
“I have seen a real willingness on behalf of this leadership to really consider those things in earnest. We know we’re not going to win every battle but also know that the debate will be a fair debate. Hopefully the results will represent the will of the vast majority of the American people,” said Meadows.
The issue getting the most attention leading up to Donald Trump’s inauguration is the dismantling of the Obama health care law. Meadows says the House Freedom Caucus will soon advocate voting for replacement legislation at the same time they push for repeal.
“I believe we’ll start to coalesce around Sen. Rand Paul’s idea of having a replacement bill voted on the same day we vote on repeal. I think it’s important for the American people to understand that there are and have been replacement plans out there. It’s important to vote on that,” said Meadows, who says the votes could come as early as late February or early March.
“I think it will pass the House, may fail in the Senate and probably would fail in the Senate,” said Meadows.
That said, Meadows says a lot of Obamacare can be repealed through reconciliation instructions, but not all of it can be scrapped that way. But he says any tax provisions and the mandates can get the boot from a simple majority in the Senate.
Meadows also made headlines last month for offering the Trump transition team a book of 200 federal regulations that Trump could repeal upon taking office. He says the list is quickly approaching 300 regulations and the response from Trump’s team has been very encouraging.
“I’ve been led to believe many of those could be repealed on the very day of the inauguration after the parade. President Trump will then go in and sign those executive orders and treat that as day one of his new presidency,” said Meadows, who believes the American people will be grateful for a government looking for ways to make their lives easier.
Meadows suspects there may be some battles among Republicans over spending down the line, but probably not until the appropriations process plays out in autumn.
He is also pushing back against reports that House conservatives will be less demanding of a Republican president. Reports in December quoted House Freedom Caucus members as saying they might be willing to allow new spending that is only 50 percent paid for in other spending reductions. Meadows insists nothing has changed.
“We believe that any additional dollar of spending must be offset. We don’t have a taxing problem. We don’t even have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem, so if we want to find money for other areas, we need to reallocate that from existing revenue streams,” said Meadows.
“We cannot put the burden on our grandchildren or our children’s future. We’ve got to take the hard position now, the difficult choices now to make sure that we’re fiscally responsible. The Freedom Caucus is committed to making sure that we do that,” said Meadows.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud House Republicans and Democrats for an overwhelming vote condemning the UN resolution against Israel. They also groan as the Trump transition and Gen. James Mattis butt heads over who should fill top Pentagon positions. And they get a kick out of news that former Bush operative Matthew Dowd is thinking of running against Ted Cruz in 2018.
Four young adults in Chicago are facing a wide array of criminal charges after they live-streamed their torturing of a mentally disabled man, but the episode is also triggering a backlash against the media for allegedly treating the case differently because the perpetrators are black and the victim is white.
The video shows the victim blindfolded and gagged . The alleged perpetrators cut the victim’s sweatshirt and a piece of his scalp. Screamed insults also pepper the 30-minute video, including rants of “F–k Donald Trump” and “F–ck white people.” While the video lasted half an hour, the entire ordeal played out over 1-2 days.
On Thursday, Chicago police announced charges against Jordan Hill, Tesfaye Cooper and Brittany Covington, all 18 years old, as well as 24-year-old Tanishia Covington. All have been charged with a hate crime, felony aggravated kidnapping, aggravated unlawful restraint and aggravated battery.
While members of the media are expressing outrage across the board, critics point out the anger seems much more subdued than if the races were reversed.
The firestorm over media reaction began Wednesday, when CNN’s Don Lemon rejected the opinion of a guest that the torture was the result of evil
“I don’t think it’s evil,” he said. “I don’t think it’s evil. I think these are young people and I think they have bad home training,” said Lemon.
“I have no idea who is raising these young people, because no one I know on earth who is 17-years-old or 70-years-old would ever think of treating another person like that,” he continued. “You wonder, at 18-years-old, where is your parent, where is your guardian?” added Lemon.
Another panelist in the CNN discussion, Democratic strategist Symone Sanders, wasn’t sure hate crime charges were appropriate.
At least one prominent black conservative is shaking his head that Lemon could not see evil in the video.
“The mainstream media appears to have this thesis: When a minority does something so wicked, so depraved they come up with an excuse. When a non-minority does the same thing, they can never see an excuse,” said Horace Cooper, an attorney and co-chairman of the Project 21 National Advisory Board. Project 21 is a national leadership network of black conservatives.
Cooper is quick to point out that poor or non-existent parenting may well play a role in the depravity of the four people charged, but that doesn’t change the fact the video depicted evil.
“If he had said, ‘This is evil and it probably stems from bad parenting,’ he probably could have gotten my acquiescence and support for his observations. The destruction of the family in America, and in particularly in the black family, has wrought victimhood in so many ways,” said Cooper.
“I can’t [explain] a person who looks at this video and listens to what happens and then learns that this took place over several days and not think ‘evil’ as the first mindset that comes,” said Cooper.
The frustration with the media boiled over again Thursday afternoon, when Washington Post columnist Callum Borchers wrote that the video serves as a validation of Trump voters’ concerns over media bias, Chicago violence and targeting of Trump supporters.
But he also claims there is a valid reason why this story is getting far less coverage than if the perpetrators were white and the victim black.
“If the attackers had been white and the victim had been black, the incident would have, of course, conjured America’s ugly history of white mobs committing violence against black people. There is no parallel history of the reverse happening on anything remotely approaching the same scale,” Borchers wrote.
Cooper is stunned by that rationale.
“I’m appalled. Martin Luther King said that he longed for an America where people would not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character,” said Cooper.
Cooper says the media, and the rest of us, need to call out evil without regard to the demographic issues involved.
“We ought to be able to come together as a society – and I mean by society the mainstream media. We will give no space, no quarter to this kind of behavior,” said Cooper, who also says the Obama administration’s silence on the issue until late afternoon Thursday is also telling.
“I’m also disappointed that the President of the United States hasn’t issued a statement – and not just this particular case, hasn’t found an example like it to issue a statement. no one from the Department of Justice has issued a statement,” said Cooper.
Given Obama administration action in other racially charged cases, Cooper says the silence here is deafening.
“It sends the signal that somehow the depravity that we witnessed is different because this individual isn’t a minority. I think that is completely wrong. That is completely obnoxious. And it runs afoul of the whole idea that all Americans are equal before the law,” said Cooper.
The four suspects will face the legal system, as announced by the Chicago police on Thursday. However, Cooper points out that the same Justice Department that parachuted into Ferguson looking at hate crime charges in the Michael Brown case was nowhere to be found this time.
“Why hasn’t the media called out the Department of Justice for its silence on this matter, for it’s lack of regard for the depravity that is witnessed here. If this isn’t a civil rights violation, I guess I don’t understand what one looks like,” said Cooper.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome Sen. Tom Cotton’s measured view of Russia, not hysterical but also not blind to Russia’s troubling record on many issues including their lack of participation in the war against radical Islam. They also push back against columnists who don’t want Charleston murderer Dylann Roof executed because of childhood problems, societal issues or other possible factors in him committing the church murders. And they discuss the the pickup truck question that had Twitter on fire earlier this week.
Donald Trump has promised significant economic growth during his administration and a tax attorney says passing Trump’s corporate tax cut in his first 100 days is critical in making that happen.
Gayle Trotter is also a media analyst and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum. She says while Trump wants to see many different facets of tax reform, dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent is the linchpin to jump-starting an economy that has endured very small growth in recent years.
“This is an important point that Donald Trump spoke about extensively during his campaign and it’s something that people on both sides of the aisle can respect. There will be bipartisan support for Donald Trump’s policy of lowering the federal corporate tax rate,” said Trotter.
Right now, of the 35 most nations that take part in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, the United States has the highest corporate tax rates.
“When you look at that, you understand that American companies are put at a competitive disadvantage right out of the gate, because if these other companies have the ability to be at a 15 percent tax rate or even lower, then they right there have a competitive advantage economically to American businesses,” said Trotter.
As a result, multiple major corporations such as Pfizer and Burger King have elected to pursue corporate inversions, which is the process of setting up headquarters in more tax-friendly nations.
Trotter says Trump’s commitment to get government off the backs of businesses is paying dividends even before he sworn in to office.
“Because he’s going to do many, many other business-friendly policy changes from the White House, corporations are going to have the benefit. This policy, as a tool of his overall policy to make America competitive again, is going to have the advantage that we see as bearing fruit even before Donald Trump takes the oath of office,” said Trotter.
“We saw it this week with Ford, that they are not going to do a new factory outside of the United States and that it’s better to invest that money in the United States,” said Trotter. “They said that the reason they were doing it is because they see this as a vote of confidence in the business-friendly environment that Donald Trump has promised to put into place.”
She says that’s a big change from how the Obama administration treats the business community.
“The current administration was trying to come up with all these complex rules to punish companies so they wouldn’t do tax inversions. Yet, President Obama and his administration could have done the easy suggestion that Donald Trump is going to implement, to just lower the corporate tax rate,” said Trotter.
Trotter expects some fierce opposition from Democrats, including renewed calls to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans. She says the Democrats don’t have the numbers to push that idea, which is a proven loser.
“If you confiscated all of the wealth of all the wealthiest people in America, it cannot make a dent in the economic situation that our country is in right now, because of the tax and spend Congress that Republicans, unfortunately, frequently go along with,” said Trotter.
She says if Trump’s tax agenda is successful, the economic results will speak for themselves.
“We’re going to get to a three to five percent growth rate, which we haven’t seen to that extent in a long time. That’s going to give evidence that this type of change is good for the American people,” said Trotter.
Trotter also expects Trump to go hard after crony capitalism and work to remove loopholes and exemptions from the tax code. She says how to address the system comes down to a simple question.
“Is the whole point of taxation so that the federal government can fund its core purposes or is the core function of taxation in order to fund the pet projects of unaccountable politicians in Washington, D.C.?” asked Trotter.
She says any Republicans reluctant to scrap the status quo will likely be met with fierce public resistance.
“I think you are going to see remarkable change in the first 100 days, because if the Republican Congress does not back Donald Trump on his campaign promises, there is going to be a huge outcry and the congressional phone lines are going to melt down,” said Trotter.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are glad to see Donald Trump’s alleged Supreme Court short list coming down to mostly encouraging names. They also rip the right for its insane romance with Julian Assange, with Trump suggesting Assange is trustworthy and Sarah Palin even apologizing to Assange for condemning his publishing her own hacked emails years ago. And they groan as Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer vows to stall at least eight Trump cabinet nominees.
Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America conclude their 2016 awards presentations with the biggest awards of all. They unveil their choices for Person of the Year and Turncoat of the Year. They also reveal their political resolutions for 2017.