United States

President Trump Kicks off his 2020 re-election campaign

Supporters of American President Donald Trump lined up 40 hours early ahead of his re-election campaign kickoff in Orlando, Florida on Tuesday. The President tweeted that the rally would be “record-setting” after the campaign received over 100,000 ticket requests for an arena that fits 20,000.

Under the new campaign slogan ‘Keep America Great’, President Trump said, “Our Country is doing great, far beyond what the haters & losers thought possible – and it will only get better!” Addressing his supporters, he said, “America will never be a socialist country. Ever. Republicans do not believe in socialism. We believe in freedom.”

President Trump said the Democratic Party is becoming “more radical,” dangerous, and unhinged than at any point in history. Illegal immigration cuts off the path of the most vulnerable Americans and schoolchildren are being threatened by illegal MS-13 gangsters, while mass illegal migration reduces living standards and strains public resources. The President said the Democrats’ embrace of open borders and illegal immigration is “morally reprehensible and it’s the greatest betrayal of the American middle class and, frankly, American life our country has as a whole…nobody has seen anything like it.” He lambasted California Democrats for giving health care to illegal migrants instead of helping homeless citizens.

Additionally, the President said Democrats do not want a border wall with Mexico now, contrary to earlier statements, simply because he the President at this time pushing for the move. “Democrats want to splinter us into factions and tribes…. They want us divided,” he said and added that the 2020 election is a verdict on whether Americans want to live in a country where people who lose elections want to spend two years shredding the constitution and ripping the country apart because they refuse to concede.

In terms of the economy, President Trump said his new tariffs are working and America has added 16,000 manufacturing jobs each month since he took office and that China took former President Barack Obama and former Vice President Joe Biden for “suckers” to take advantage over the United States on trade.

President Trump asked the crowd to imagine what the “angry, left-wing mob” would do if they were in charge of the country in 2020, citing what the Democrats wrongly did to Brett Kavanaugh, where it wasn’t about the Democrats wanting to win but about wanting to “destroy him with false and malicious accusations.

Speaking the trend of the left-wing censoring those who disagree with them, the President also warned that the Democrats want to pack the courts and radicalize judges in order to “shut down your free speech” and “use the power of the law to punish their opponents.” He said the Democrats will “strip Americans of their Constitutional rights” while flooding the country with illegal migrants with hopes that they will expand their political base.

President Trump goes on a state visit to the United Kingdom

Outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May invited American President Donald Trump on a state visit to the United Kingdom to further a post-Brexit trade deal between the two nations. In a joint news conference, President Trump lauded the US-UK relationship as the "greatest alliance the world has ever known". This is only the third state visit by a US leader to the UK.

The week-long visit is mostly ceremonial, including audience with Queen Elizabeth II in London, D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel, and his first presidential visit to Ireland, which will include a stay at his coastal golf club.

At Monday morning’s arrival, the Trumps were greeted by Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, at Buckingham Palace. They chatted with members of the Guard of Honor as the rest of the American delegation, from a terrace, observed the elaborate arrival ceremony, complete with the playing of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. Royal gun salutes were fired from nearby Green Park and from the Tower of London. President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump had a private lunch with the Queen followed by inspection of a collection of artifacts and a wreath-laying at the Grave of the Unknown Warrior at Westminster Abbey. That evening, President Trump was honored at an extravagant state dinner hosted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

Conservative party leadership candidate and former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson had a "friendly and productive" 20-minute phone call with the President.  Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage was believed to have had a private meeting with President Trump after he was seen at Winfield House, where the President stayed.

Despite leading an anti-Trump rally, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn had requested a meeting with the President, which was declined. President Trump said, "He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided I would not do that. I think he is from where I come from somewhat of a negative force. I think the people should look to do things correctly as opposed to criticize - I really don't like critics as much as I like and respect people who get things done - so I decided not to meet."

Despite the friendly reception given by the monarch and her family, the mainstream news media chose to elevate undiplomatic comments from the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that ignore the national interests of the country and reason for President Trump’s invitation. Mayor Khan wrote a column titled “It’s un-British to roll out the red carpet for Donald Trump” calling the President a "global threat," listing the President’s most controversial policies, and likening them to the actions of European dictators of the 1930s and 1940s.

Given that one of the primary reasons for the timing of President Trump’s visit was to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in line with the role played by the United States in the liberation of the continent from the tyranny of Nazism and Communism, Mayor Khan’s comparison of the President with a “20th century fascist” was offensive and an insult to the memory of the thousands of Americans and Europeans who died fighting actual fascism.

President Trump, as any democratically elected leader, was deserving of a welcome befitting the status of his office and his great country, as PM May also represents. Ahead of President Trump's arrival, Mayor Khan posted additional comments on Twitter, including "I think there are many, many racists who think he's their poster boy" and claiming racist groups across the world "have been normalised and mainstreamed because of Donald Trump".

In an address filmed by ELLE UK, the Mayor of London addressed President Trump directly, publicly denouncing everything that the President stands for in what the magazine called a “heartfelt call to arms”. In the video, Mayor Khan said, “President Trump, if you're watching this, your values and what you stand for are the complete opposite of London's values and the values in this country.”

In response, President Trump tweeted, "@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly “nasty” to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom. He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.......Kahn reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job - only half his height. In any event, I look forward to being a great friend to the United Kingdom, and am looking very much forward to my visit. Landing now!

President Trump to change US immigration for the first time in 54 years

On Thursday, United States (US) President Donald Trump announced his plan to improve border security and reform the legal immigration system to favor applicants who speak English, are well-educated, and have job offers. The President will present a detailed overview of the plan in the coming weeks. The last time the country made changes to its immigration system was in 1965.

For decades, US immigration law has prioritized family-based immigration, where two-thirds of all people who are granted green cards each year have family ties to people in the country. President Trump plans to maintain legal immigration at 1.1 million people a year, where family-based immigration would account for one-third of this figure. Highly skilled people with jobs would be given priority, and could bring with them their spouses and children.

The immigration proposal is largely the work of senior advisers Jared Kushner, Stephen Miller, and economic aide Kevin Hassett. The team looked at the legal migration systems of Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand for how to shift American policy more toward attracting skilled workers and less on uniting extended families. They found that 12 percent of migration to the US was based on employment and skill, compared with 68 percent for Australia, 63 percent for Canada, 57 percent for New Zealand, and 52 percent for Japan. By giving a preference to immigrants proficient in English and with degrees or training and job offers, the reformed plan will allow 57 percent of green cards, which grant permanent legal residency, to be based on employment.

President Trump proposes to end the diversity lottery system, which offers applicants from countries with low immigration rates the chance to move to the United States. The plan also proposes changes to the asylum process, which the Trump administration says is abused. This would result in 10 percent of green cards being given to immigration for humanitarian reasons, down from 22 percent currently.

The plan also focuses on strengthening the country’s southern border wall with Mexico, which experiences very high levels of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and drug smuggling, and will improve the inspection of goods and people at ports of entry. An increase in fees collected at the border would pay for border security infrastructure.

Immigration will likely be a key issue heading into the November 2020 Presidential and Congressional elections, and Republicans will now need to seek approval for the changes by Congress. Priorities of Democratic lawmakers are “Dreamers”, the children of immigrants in the country illegally, and immigrants in the country under Temporary Protected Status. It is currently unknown whether the reform plan will include provisions to help farmers and other seasonal employers obtain more guest workers.

The day before the reform announcement, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham proposed legislation to deal with the surge of migrants from Central America at the southern US border to address the immediate crisis.

President Trump pardons Conrad Black and investigates the FBI

It is a widely held belief that western legal systems today are not systems that produce justice. This week, American President Donald Trump pardoned Conrad Black as his Attorney General William Barr launched an investigation into government surveillance involving the Trump 2016 Presidential campaign. 

Conrad Black, a Canadian newspaper publisher who once owned The National Post and The Daily Telegraph and earned peerage in the British House of Lords, wrongly spent three years in an American prison on criminal fraud charges – “The two counts for which I have just received a presidential pardon, and of which I was "convicted" in 2011, after the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously vacated them only to have a self-serving appellate judge reinstate them, were for wire fraud and obstruction of justice,” as he wrote this week.

Describing the phone call he shared with the President this week, vindicating Mr. Black’s reputation, he writes,

He could not have been more gracious and quickly got to his point: he was granting me a full pardon that would "Expunge the bad wrap you got." He had followed the case closely and offered to come to give evidence at my trial in Chicago in 2007 on one of the counts (I was acquitted of that one). He said that there would be some controversy, "But you can handle that better than anyone." I asked "Do you authorize me to say that your motivation is that it was an unjust verdict?" He checked with the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone, who was in the room, if this would be a problem legally, and was told and affirmed to me that I could say that was his motive and that he was reversing an unjust verdict. 

"We've known each other a long time," the president told me, "but that wasn't any part of the reason. Nor has any of the supportive things you've said and written about me." I suggested that he knew "better than anyone" the antics of some U.S. prosecutors. (I had had Robert Mueller as director of the FBI, which we caught installing illegal bugging devices in our home in New York and in many falsehoods; James Comey as deputy attorney-general, and Patrick Fitzgerald, now Comey's counsel, as U.S. attorney in Chicago. They were all, as my distinguished caller on Monday has described Comey, "bad cops.") We moved briefly on to generalities, greetings to wives, I thanked him for his call and again for the purpose of his call, and the conversation ended.

U.S. Attorney General Barr has now assigned John Durham, an attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Mueller investigation, in particular the FBI counterintelligence inquiry into the Trump campaign and Russia in 2016. Mr. Durham has previously investigated law enforcement corruption, the destruction of CIA videotapes, and the Boston FBI office's relationship with mobsters. He is set to continue to serve as the chief federal prosecutor in Connecticut.

Mr. Durham is tasked with examining the origins of the Russia investigation, determine if intelligence collection efforts targeting the Trump campaign were lawful and appropriate, and whether Democrats were the ones who improperly colluded with foreign actors. The investigation includes the pre-transition period, prior to November 7, 2016, including the use and initiation of informants, as well as potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses.

Since last March, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz has been investigating wiretap applications from 2016 and political bias among FBI officials, and this is nearing its completion. Republicans also have been looking for answers from U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber, who was appointed a year ago by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to review surveillance abuses by the FBI and DOJ and authorities' handling of the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm behind the Steele Dossier that asserted collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, was retained by the Hillary Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee (DNC).

President Trump celebrates his victory with the release of the Mueller Report

After nearly two years of investigation into possible Russian interference in the 2016 United States’ Presidential election the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report were made public Thursday morning to Congress and the general public. As Attorney General Bill Barr declared last month, its results show that investigators did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

 Ahead of the report’s release, President Donald Trump posted a tweet and graphic inspired by Game of Thrones that read “No collusion, no obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats...GAME OVER.” Earlier in the day, he declared the probe to be “The Greatest Political Hoax of all time!

During a press conference ahead of the report's release, Attorney General William Barr told reporters that the Mueller team found no evidence of collusion. "So that is the bottom line," Attorney General Barr said, "After nearly two years of investigation, thousands of subpoenas, and hundreds of warrants and witness interviews, the Special Counsel confirmed that the Russian government sponsored efforts to illegally interfere with the 2016 presidential election but did not find that the Trump campaign or other Americans colluded in those schemes."

The report had looked at ten episodes related to the allegations of obstruction of justice, including: “The campaign's response to reports about Russian support for Trump; Conduct involving FBI Director Comey and Michael Flynn; The President's reaction to the continuing Russia investigation; The President's termination of Comey; The appointment of a Special Counsel and efforts to remove him;  Efforts to Curtail the Special Counsel's investigation; Efforts to prevent public disclosure of evidence; Further efforts to have the Attorney General take control of the investigation; and Conduct toward Flynn, Manafort, [REDACTED]; conduct involving Michael Cohen.

The Justice Department’s public version of the 48-page report included redactions consistent with Attorney General Barr’s plan to black out portions of the document, including grand jury material, information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods, any material that could interfere with ongoing prosecutions, and information that could implicate the privacy or reputational interests of “peripheral players.” The redactions in the report were color-coded, labeled with the reasoning behind each redaction, with categories including "grand jury material," "personal privacy," "investigative technique," and "harm to ongoing matter."

Although Attorney General Barr's Department of Justice determined they did not have evidence to pursue an obstruction case, the Democrats' demanded to see the unredacted report and have Mr. Mueller testify, citing the section that reads, "[W]hile this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler tweeted, "This is exactly why we need to hear directly from Special Counsel Mueller and receive the full, unredacted report with the underlying evidence."

Report’s Findings

The Justice Department appointed Mr. Mueller on May 17, 2017 for the investigation that took 675 days, or 22 months, concluding on March 22, 2019. There were 13 Democrats on the Mueller team. Mr. Mueller ultimately indicted, convicted, or got guilty pleas from 34 people and three companies.

The total cost of the investigation is still unknown. So far, Mr. Mueller’s office has released three expenditures statements. Direct and indirect costs totaled USD $25.2 million from May 17, 2017 through September 30, 2018. Mr. Mueller turned in a proposed budget to the Department of Justice in July 2017, but officials declined to make it public, instead committing to releasing reports of the team’s expenditures every six months.

The report said, “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities,” while also saying there were "links" between the two. “While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges. Among other things, the evidence was not sufficient to charge any Campaign official as an unregistered agent of the Russian government or other Russian principal,” the Special Counsel report stated.

Ultimately, the report shows Russian social media interference was limited and not pervasive. The St. Petersburg-based Internet Research Agency, which is financed by Yevgeny Prigozhin, purchased 3,500 Facebook ads. The expenditure cost the IRA USD $100,000, according to the report. On Twitter, the IRA was responsible for 3,814 accounts, which were responsible for posting about 175,993 tweets before the start of the election. Approximately 84 percent of those tweets were election related. Twitter said it contacted about 1.4 million people who it believed were in contact with the IRA-controlled accounts.

The New Investigations

Former FBI Assistant Director Mark Morgan said he believes the investigation by the Inspector General into the origins of the Russia probe will uncover the motives from past high ranking members of the bureau and it’s something that every American citizen should want to see as well. Mr. Morgan worked in the Bureau for more than 20 years, including a 3-year stint as the Assistant Director to the FBI’s training division. On Thursday, he said that part of the FBI re-building its reputation after the last two years requires going back to see if past leaders had an agenda against President Trump. “We need to look at how this started. We need to look at the actions of these top leaders,” he said, “We need to look at the adequacy of the predication – the motives behind the actors. I mean, we are talking about high powers of position.

From President Trump’s standpoint, the FBI Director and Deputy Director had mishandled the Hillary Clinton email investigation and he saw the same people wasting taxpayer money on a politically-motivated investigation into a baseless conspiracy theory. The report’s findings clarified that Mr. Mueller knew very early on in his investigation that there was no collusion. The remainder of the investigation was essentially spent trying to find a way to frame President Trump’s legitimate outrage over this attempt to nullify his election victory as “obstruction of justice.”

The Democrats who supported the investigation – and continue to press for the unredacted version and testimony from Mr. Mueller – are undermining the legitimacy of American democracy and the public’s faith in democratic institutions. To them, the motivation is not about achieving justice for now-disproven Russian election interference or obstruction of justice, but to politically weaken a democratically elected President by all means necessary.

Former Democratic Senator Bob Kerrey said “delusion” has taken hold of his party and he called the process of crime convictions that arose from the Mr. Mueller probe “tainted,” asserting that the people convicted of those crimes deserve to be pardoned. He further chastised Adam Schiff for politicizing the House Intelligence Committee to keep the hoax going.

Attorney General Barr will now proceed with new investigations behind the Mueller investigation. He will explore the numerous ways that career lawyers at the FBI and Department of Justice, including an interconnected network of external actors, aimed to remove a candidate and sitting President to gain political power.

WikiLeaks’ Assange arrested in London and facing extradition to the United States

47-year-old Australian-born Julian Assange who founded WikiLeaks in 2006 and has been living at the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past seven years has been arrested by British police under an extradition treaty between the United States and Britain. He was charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion and faces up to five years in prison in the United States, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement. The arrest makes extradition now possible.

I am sure that the whole House will welcome the news this morning that the Metropolitan Police have arrested Julian Assange,” Prime Minister Theresa May told Parliament, saying “This goes to show that in the United Kingdom no one is above the law.

In July 2010, WikiLeaks released more than 91,000 documents, most of them secret U.S. military reports about the war in Afghanistan. In October of that year, it released another 400,000 classified military files chronicling the war in Iraq from 2004 to 2009. Leading up the 2016 American Presidential election, WikiLeaks revealed Hillary Clinton’s use of an unsecured server to transmit potentially classified information via email.

Mr. Assange’s supporters consider him to be an advocate for free speech who challenges censorship and a hero for exposing what they describe as abuse of power by modern states. “Journalists around the world should be deeply troubled by these unprecedented criminal charges,” said Barry Pollack, a lawyer for Mr. Assange. Another of his lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, said the arrest set a “dangerous precedent” for the media where “This precedent means that any journalist can be extradited for prosecution in the United States for having published truthful information about the United States,” she said.

On Thursday, U.S. prosecutors announced charges against Mr. Assange, accusing him of conspiring with former Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning, formerly named Bradley Manning, to gain access to a government computer as part of one of the largest compromises of classified information in U.S. history. Ms. Manning was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of espionage and other offenses for furnishing more than 700,000 documents, videos, diplomatic cables, and battlefield accounts to WikiLeaks while she was an intelligence analyst in Iraq. Obama commuted the final 28 years of Manning’s 35-year sentence. The indictment was made secretly last year and unsealed on Thursday. Mr. Assange faces up to five years in prison if convicted, and legal experts anticipate more charges.

In November 2011, London’s High Court said Mr. Assange should be extradited to Sweden for questioning over alleged sex crimes after accusations by two former WikiLeaks volunteers in 2010. After losing an appeal, Mr. Assange took refuge in Ecuador’s embassy in June 2012 to avoid being extradited. He was granted political asylum by the anti-American left-wing former Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa. Mr. Assange remained in the embassy after Sweden dropped the investigation against him in 2017, fearing the U.S. would prosecute him.

In 2017 elections, Mr. Correa was replaced as Ecuadorean President by Lenin Moreno who has since moved Ecuador’s foreign policy to a more U.S.-friendly stance. He has been openly critical of Mr. Assange in recent months, calling him an inherited problem and accusing him of violating the rules of his asylum. President Moreno said the South American country had complied with its duties to Mr. Assange under international law and he accused Wikileaks of repeatedly violating the rules of his asylum, including a provision which was meant to stop him intervening in the internal matters of other countries. A leak of Vatican documents in 2019 was the most recent example of Mr. Assange violating that policy, President Moreno said in a video posted on Twitter.

Trump vindicated from the Mueller campaign, exposing the lies and hypocrisy of the mainstream news media

American President Donald Trump tweeted this week, “No Collusion, No Obstruction, Complete and Total EXONERATION. KEEP AMERICA GREAT!” after Special Counsel Robert Mueller submitted a report that concluded there was no evidence of Russian collusion by the President, his family, or anyone on his campaign team, nor is there any evidence to support obstruction of justice charges against the President.

Following one year, ten months, five days, and millions of taxpayer dollars, Mr. Mueller’s investigation and the corresponding mainstream news media coverage has proven a futile attack not just on the reputation and character of the President but on the whole of American democracy in an attempt to subvert the result of a Presidential election motivated purely by partisan spite. President Trump went along with the investigation and in the end all Mr. Mueller found out was what the President had already told the public.

In Attorney General William Barr’s summary, Mr. Mueller’s report “didn’t find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia in its effort to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election”. No collusion with Russian President Vladimir Putin or his agents, no conspiracy to ‘steal’ the 2016 election, and no co-ordination with Russia to create confusion and division among American voters.

The only collusion, confusion, and division stems from the deep and wide failure of responsibility by the American mainstream media to investigate and produce fact-based news to the public. Instead, the pro-Democrat media was clearly exposed as repeatedly leaking and suppressing information dependant upon whether it favours or harms their cause. Rather than accepting that they have been exposed for what they are, the media instead doubled down with attempts to disregard Mr. Mueller’s report now that it did not support their narratives. CNN alone repeated “does not exonerate” 120 times in a single day as House Democrats are now expected to push for impeachment proceedings anyway.

In an interview, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley said, “I spoke to the President about this, I was at Mar-a-Lago with him when this all started coming down, and he was obviously very happy with the outcome, but he made the point to me, ‘I’m angry, do you think it’s ok to be angry?' I said absolutely, you should be and I think the American people should be.”

The Mueller investigation by the numbers 

  • 2,800 subpoenas

  • 500 search warrants

  • 500 interviews

  • 13 Russian nationals with suspiciously good computer skills

  • 12 Russian intelligence officers

  • 8 indictments against Americans with past affiliation to President Trump’s campaign or administration

  • 3 Russian companies

  • 2 other people who seem to have heard something at the time

What was not explained throughout the investigation were questions surrounding then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in handing over 20 percent of America’s uranium supplies to Uranium One, a company entirely owned by the Russian government. This company was controlled by Ian Telfer, a major donor to the Clinton Foundation, and was the successor to a company controlled by Frank Giustra, another major donor to the Clinton Foundation. To date, no serious investigation has been launched into this highly controversial decision.

So, why was such an investigation even launched? The far-left and progressive branches of politics and society, including the vast majority of the mainstream news media, use the well-know tactic of deflection whereby you accuse your opponent of committing offenses that you and your team actually have to distract and deflect public opinion away from what must not be discovered – your own illegal activities.

The best Mr. Mueller could come up with was President Trump’s guilt by association. Campaign Manager Paul Manafort was convicted of hiding earnings, some of them from advising a pro-Russian party in Ukraine, and his business partner Rick Gates plead guilty to lying to investigators. A Dutch lawyer named Alex van Der Zwaan served thirty days for lying to the FBI about contact between Mr. Gates and an unnamed person in Ukraine. George Papadopoulos, a minor figure in President Trump’s early campaign, served 12 days in jail for lying to investigators. Michael Flynn, President Trump’s first National Security Advisor, plead guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador, but the content and significance of the conversations is unclear. Two of Mr. Flynn’s advisors were charged with violating lobbying rules in their work for Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Michael Cohen was convicted of campaign finance violations for paying off Stormy Daniels, tax and bank fraud, and lying to Congress. Roger Stone is accused of lying to Congress about his links to Wikileaks.

Michael Avenatti, who represented Ms. Daniels, was arrested this week, accused of four counts of wire and bank fraud by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. Nicola T. Hanna, the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California, said in a press release that Mr. Avenatti was also being accused by his office of embezzling a client’s settlement fee. Additionally, Mr. Avenatti is accused of attempting to extort USD $20 million from Nike regarding an NCAA and Nike basketball scandal. If convicted on all charges, he could face up to 50 years in prison.

As President Trump declares victory over ISIS, special ops force member gives a warning

Perhaps for the first time since the War of Terror began nearly twenty years ago, American President Donald Trump announced the destruction of ISIS’ last remaining foothold in Syria and the decimation of the ISIS proclaimed caliphate.

As President Barack Obama before him claimed victory for the death of Osama bin Laden, President Trump’s win can be attributed to his persistence in ensuring the group’s terror network was no longer capable of what it once was. President Trump took office at the height of ISIS's brutal rule, when ISIS fighters controlled more than 20,000 square miles in Iraq and Syria, and on Wednesday he held up a map with red marking the definitive collapse of this territory to a speck. He proclaimed that ISIS would be “gone by tonight.

However, as special operations task force Brett Velicovich wrote for Fox News, as “someone who spent nearly a decade hunting ISIS leaders, I can tell you that they are far from done. The ISIS caliphate may be destroyed territorially, but if we are not careful, it might get worse.” While government officials in D.C. saw the war from a distance, the soldiers on the front line saw a different reality. Mr. Velicovich reminds us that in 2010, ISIS had been brought to the brink of extinction when after nearly five years, the terrorist network’s number one and number two in charge had been killed and the remainder of the network dispersed.

ISIS did then and is re-emerging now. A recent report at CTC West Point shows that suicide operations, targeted killings, and raids continue to persist in cities once “liberated” from ISIS. Mr. Velicovich says tens of thousands of ISIS fighters now remain in prisons across the battlefield, but these prisons are over capacity and groups like the Syrian Defense Forces will eventually have to release many of them. In fact, they have already started and over the coming years tens of thousands more will be released. He asks, “do we really think those prisoners will simply return to a normal life?

The British government finally released actual numbers of ISIS Jihadists known to be in the United Kingdom, numbering a minimum of 23,000 … a great deal higher than their initial announcement of 3,000. The recent issue of ISIS bridge Shamima Begum wanting to return to England highlighted the fact that ISIS supporters are not returning “home” because they see the error of their ways, but rather due to the present decline of ISIS in the Middle East. Will the attention of Jihadists in Europe now turn to domestic terror?

Mr. Velicovich says it's hard to tell how many ISIS members still exist. During the battle of Baghouz to liberate the last remaining ISIS territory, SDF fighters estimated that there were only 500 fighters remaining in the city, but while the battle raged, over 3,000 ISIS fighters surrendered.

He believes our estimates of the numbers of remaining ISIS fighters globally are likely highly inaccurate., whereas many have likely slipped through the front lines of war, assimilating back into society, and prepping for a new asymmetric battle in the shadows. “This is when it gets more dangerous.  When they held terrain, it was easier to know exactly where they were, targeting them when they couldn’t blend into the civilian populace made it easier for coalition forces,” Mr. Velicovich said.

When faced with an enemy that believes in the global domination of Islam, will the War on Terror ever be truly be won?

Democrats are split over how to handle Congresswoman Omar’s latest anti-Semitic remarks

Newly elected United States House of Representatives Ilhan Omar has claimed that pro-Israel Americans have “allegiance to a foreign country” following her accusation last month that pro-Israel groups are bribing members of Congress. Representative Eliot Engel, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in turn accused Rep. Omar of making a “vile anti-Semitic slur” and demanded that she retract and apologize. Democratic leaders forced her to apologize and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer warned of “further action” if she persisted.

This week, the Democrats promised to pass a resolution condemning anti-Semitism on Wednesday, hoping that would solve the problem. However, under pressure from the radicals in the caucus, Democrats delayed their vote and watered down the resolution to include almost every other group that could conceivably have been a target of discrimination. The text failed to mention Rep. Omar and after the vote Thursday she offered no statement of contrition. Instead, Rep. Omar celebrated what she called “the first time we have ever voted on a resolution condemning Anti-Muslim bigotry in our nation’s history.” This claim is historically inaccurate, as Congress voted to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry in the days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Several Democrats were quick to make excuses for the comment. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told reporters Thursday that she would not ask Rep. Omar to apologize, saying, “I do not believe she understood the full weight of the words.” Fellow ‘Justice Democrat’ Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said, “I think it’s a learning experience. It’s part of the fact that when we elect the most diverse Democrats in Congress that we have in pretty much ever, it means that we’re we have new communities at the table, new conversations that need to be had. We have to learn how to have conversations differently every time. So I think it’s just part of a learning process that we have as a country, frankly.” Rep. Jan Schakowsky said, “I think this is a learning moment for her” and suggested that her repeated anti-Semitism be met with more understanding because she is a Somalian refugee.

Earlier this year, Ms. Omar also apologized for a 2012 tweet in which she claimed Israel had “hypnotized” the world and committed “evil doings.” President Donald Trump, who daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner are Jewish, criticized Democrats for failing to condemn Rep. Omar for her anti-Semitic comments, saying, “They’ve become an anti-Israel party, they have become an anti-Jewish party, and that’s too bad.”

After critics described it as an attempt to mask Rep. Omar’s antisemitic comments, the President said, “I thought that vote was a disgrace, and so does everybody else, if you get an honest answer from politicians, they thought it was a disgrace.

Many Republicans, and even some Democrat members of Congress, have criticized the party for not going far enough and being too appeasing to this rising antisemitic sentiment inside the fringes of the Democrat Party as represented by Rep. Omar’s views. Rep. Liz Cheney was one of 23 Republican members to vote against the resolution, describing it in a statement on Thursday as “a sham put forward by Democrats to avoid condemning one of their own and denouncing vile anti-Semitism.” Democratic Rep. Ted Deutch also criticized the vote on the House floor Thursday, saying, “It feels like we’re only able to call the use of antisemitic language by any colleague of ours if we’re addressing all forms of hatred, and it feels like we can’t say it’s antisemitism unless everyone agrees that it’s antisemitism.

Several Democrats, speaking on condition of anonymity, described Rep. Omar’s repeated antisemitic episodes as “the elephant in the room” distracting from what Democrats are trying to do in their first few months of a new House majority heading into the all-important 2020 presidential election. As such, these Democrats say they are seeking out a primary challenger in Minnesota’s fifth congressional district to remove her from office in the 2020 congressional elections. 

As one Democrat said: 

Many Democrats simply are simply too afraid to say anything because Islamophobia has become the knee jerk reaction to anyone who dares criticize her. To be labeled a racist or Islamophobe for simply calling out what we all know to be abhorrent, is not just a slippery slope, it’s deeply troubling. And it’s forcing allies out of the party. To say that Democratic leadership doesn’t know what to do would be an understatement. They are in a state of total paralysis. Ilhan rode into Congress with Ocasio-Cortez, and is, unfortunately, becoming more and more popular along with her. Omar represents a faction of the party that is, frankly, anti-intellectual. Their flirtation with religious extremism exemplifies that. A primary challenge wouldn’t just be healthy, it’s absolutely necessary. The longer Ilhan Omar remains in office, the longer we lose credibility in calling out extremism in all forms. It is a total quagmire.

Federal Election Commission Complaint Against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Claims She Hid $1 million in Donations

On Monday a complaint was filed by the National Legal and Policy Center (NLPC) with the United States Federal Election Commission (FEC) charging that newly elected Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, her Chief of Staff, and others with using two Political Action Committees (PACs) and LLCs to hide hundreds of thousands in campaign dollars.

The complaint states Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s Chief of Staff Saikat Chakrabarti founded and used two PACs to funnel around USD $1 million to two of his private companies and the companies may have been used to hide what funds were spent on. It also notes the possibility that contributions from the PAC to candidates exceeded the USD $5,000 FEC limit. It requests an FEC investigation into the two PACs for creating “an elaborate scheme to avoid proper disclosure of campaign expenditures.

According to NLPC, funds traveling through Brand New Congress LLC were spent on ten or more candidates, which stated the LLC was “apparently operated by Chakrabarti” and “The Complaint alleges that Chakrabarti’s LLC served as a “cutout,” for at least $885,735 received from Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign and two federal political action committees, Brand New Congress PAC and Justice Democrats PAC.

Director of NLPC’s Government Integrity Project Tom Anderson said, “These are not minor or technical violations. We are talking about real money here. In all my years of studying FEC reports, I’ve never seen a more ambitious operation to circumvent reporting requirements” and “Representative Ocasio-Cortez has been quite vocal in condemning so-called dark money, but her own campaign went to great lengths to avoid the sunlight of disclosure.”

NPLC said in a post to its website, “The final disposition of the funds is unknown because whatever expenditures were made were never reported to the FEC. It appears, however, that they underwrote a score of campaign-related events and activities for Ocasio-Cortez and other Congressional candidates.”

This is not the first FEC complaint concerning Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. Last week, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed a complaint alleging Brand New Congress PAC was used to funnel money to the Congresswoman’s boyfriend Riley Roberts. The Times noted that Roberts received payments as a “marketing consultant” of USD $6,000 from Brand New Congress PAC.

Ironically, regarding financial transparency, in last Sunday’s New Yorker feature, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said that she “can see Trump being enormously upset that a twenty-nine-year-old Latina, who is the daughter of a domestic worker, is helping to build the case to get his financial records. I think that adds insult to injury to him.” Last month, Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, who was described as looking “sullen, teenaged and at a loss” during the President’s State of the Union address, said there was no way she was going to clap when an “authoritarian” president who is hurting communities of color said he wanted to “make America great.” She said watching President Donald Trump’s address in the House chamber made her feel “sick” and “underwhelmed” because Trump is “such a small, mediocre person.”

President Trump declares a national emergency on the southern border

American President Donald Trump declared a national emergency and exercised executive powers to sign a bill that prevented another government shutdown, which would have been triggered at midnight last Friday, and a funding package that includes USD $1.4 billion for border security. Speaking to an audience that included border patrol agents and ‘Angel Moms’, who are parents of children killed by immigrants in the country illegally, the President said, "We’re going to confront the national security crisis on our southern border, and we’re going to do it one way or another” and predicted the issue would end up before the Supreme Court: "I expect to be sued. We’ll win, I think.” The administration has stated that pretending the border crisis doesn’t exist is an insult to those who face its consequences every day.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials explain the lack of physical infrastructure at the country’s border with Mexico is being continuously exploited for illegal purposes. In January, there was a surge of 22,000 more apprehensions of illegal immigrants at southwest border crossings than January 2018, suggesting that border officers will make over 600,000 apprehensions in 2019. The year-over-year increase was 84 percent, from 25,975 in January 2018 to 47,893 last January. This week, 103 illegal aliens from Central America were detained, in addition to two sex offenders, multiple criminal aliens including some with warrants and convictions for sexual assault, kidnapping, and murder, such as a convicted rapist caught in El Centro, California. A previously deported MS-13 gang member recently apprehended and nearly USD $1 million of drugs were seized in the Rio Grande Valley.

A senior administration official told reporters that the White House plans to move USD $8 billion in currently appropriated or available funds toward construction of the wall. Of that, USD $3 billion could be diverted with help from the emergency declaration. That money includes about USD $600 million from the Treasury Department’s forfeiture fund. That money has been described as “easy money” that the White House can use however it wants. The White House is also expected to use drug interdiction money from the Department of Defense. By declaring an emergency, President Trump would also seek to unlock money from the Defense Department’s military construction budget, to the tune of USD $3.5 billion.

The President’s decision to declare a national emergency follows a review of the compromise spending package, which was negotiated for weeks in a bipartisan conference committee and passed both the House and the Senate. However, the deal would provide only a fraction of the President’s originally proposed figure of USD $5.7 billion for border security and construction of a wall or physical barrier along the southern border. The bill also imposed a number of restrictions on the White House, with legislative language preventing the administration from moving funding around to get a barrier or a wall, which may have contributed to the emergency declaration decision.

Democrats' Green New Deal is compared to Mao's Great Leap Forward

The United States Congress will soon debate a non-binding resolution introduced by fundamentalist Democrats Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey to adopt their so-called Green New Deal. "More like the world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change and your biggest issue is how are we going to pay for it? And, like, this is the war -- this is our World War II,” is how Rep. Ocasio-Cortez framed the urgency for the U.S. to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas by 2030. Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced he is bringing the resolution to a vote.

The Plan outlines the transition of the U.S. economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans. The Plan states it will be “executed in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of such Plan; (d) provide opportunities for high income work, entrepreneurship and cooperative and public ownership; and (e) additionally, be responsive to, and in accordance with, the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality.”

Like the Green New Deal, the Great Leap Forward would “guarantee economic security... Like the Green New Deal, the Great Leap Forward would answer the question of “what will we do with our new shared prosperity.” Government would collect and distribute wheat, rice, and industrial products across the country, taking care that everyone’s needs were met, discouraging overconsumption and hoarding. Wealth inequality would fall. China would not be “a system that allows billionaires to exist” side-by-side with rural poverty.

Unfortunately — but predictably — the Great Leap Forward failed. Steel production did increase. But China’s factories focused on government-imposed production quotas: they delivered quantity instead of quality. Chinese steel was too brittle for industrial purposes. Much went unused. China’s farms were collectivized. But with farm labor being diverted to factories and private trade being banned, land went fallow. Yields dropped. Bureaucrats collected the harvest, but failed to move it where it was needed. Grain rotted in silos while several Holocausts worth of people starved to death.

China suffered until the government reversed itself.
— Lew Olowski, who likened the Plan to Mao Zedong's Great Leap Forward in poor, agrarian China through government mandate to create an industrialized country.

Fossil fuels currently account for 80 percent of American energy consumption. The Green New Deal would entail a profound and rapid “decarbonization” of the energy economy to alternative fuels, which would require a complete transformation of the country over to a centrally planned government, well beyond the scope of what was done in the Communist China or the Soviet Union. The proposal aims to transform the U.S. economy to combat climate change and promises a job to “all people of the United States”, including money to those “unwilling to work”. The plan calls for phasing out air travel within a decade to be replaced by a network of high-speed rails. Cows, as the released document acknowledges, have flatulence, so they must be totally eliminated from the earth and meat from the U.S. diet.

Not all Democrats support the Plan, drafted upon a profound ignorance of basic economic concepts. Senator Joe Manchin said, “The Green New Deal is a dream, it’s not a deal. It’s a dream. And that’s fine. People should have dreams in the perfect world what they’d like to see. I’ve got to work in realities and I’ve got to work in the practical, what I have in front of me.” In his interview with news anchor Chris Cuomo, he continued, “And you have to understand also that climate -- we talk about global climate, it’s the globe. It’s not North American climate, it’s not the United States’ climate. It’s the globe. How do we bring on China and India and everybody else who are great users of carbon right now and polluters of carbon to be carbon-free also?” Earlier this month, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was dismissive about the Green New Deal. “It will be one of several or maybe many suggestions that we receive,” Pelosi said in an interview with Politico, “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?

Decarbonization would mean reversing the historical transition from less dense to more dense energy sources and has already been demonstrated unrealistic contrasted with renewable energy. Rapid decarbonization assumes all economic sectors and services can be electrified and that electricity can be delivered by intermittent renewable energy sources. These technologies, especially affordable grid-scale electricity storage, do not exist, particularly when it comes to transportation, where the high energy density of oil products makes them the ideal source of motive power. In Germany, the costs of transition from coal and nuclear energy to wind and solar plants has already exceeded USD $1 trillion, with only modest reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

If the environmental fundamentalists were genuinely concerned with doomsday projections regarding the climate, they should look to China, which is the world’s biggest physical polluter, creating more than twice the amount of carbon into the atmosphere than the U.S., and dumps almost as much non-degradable plastic into the oceans as the rest of the world’s combined.

Despite history in the twentieth century offers countless examples of the failure of government economic regulation, industrial planning, and central planning of the economy, an August Gallup poll revealed that 57 percent of Democrats said they held a positive view of socialism, compared with just 47 percent who support capitalism. A new Fox News poll that gauged support for capitalism versus socialism revealed that capitalism was preferred among all those polled, however, more Democrats (43 percent) had a favorable view of socialism than an unfavorable view (39 percent). According to the poll, 50 percent of self-identified liberals, 43 percent of Clinton voters, and 36 percent of people under the age of 30 had a favorable view of socialism.

Larry Kudlow, Director of the U.S. National Economic Council, pointed out on ‘America’s Newsroom’, “You’ve got all these...people talking about socialism all of a sudden. I think that right now your poll is showing that working folks want to embrace capitalism not some state-run, state-controlled socialism that will set our economy back a hundred years or more.” He continued, "This crazy [New Green Deal] plan is going to cost a fortune. You’re going to roll back one of the most important things that has contributed to this recovery and that is President Trump ended the war on business and he ended the war on success.’” President Trump is expected to warn of “the dangers of socialism” in a speech he plans to deliver this week in support of Venezuelan opposition leader and interim President Juan Guaido.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she has no qualms about acknowledging the New Green Deal will mean unprecedented governmental intrusion into the private sector. “As you know, congresswoman, one reason that people are politically conservative are skeptical of efforts to combat climate change is that it sounds to them like it requires massive government intervention, which they just don’t like,” NPR’s Steve Inskeep asked her in an interview, “Are you prepared to put on that table that, ‘Yes actually they’re right, what this requires is massive government intervention’?

Rep. Ocasio-Cortez quickly replied, “It does, it does, yeah, I have no problem saying that. Why? Because we have tried their approach for 40 years. For 40 years we have tried to let the private sector take care of this. They said, ‘We got this, we can do this, the forces of the market are going to force us to innovate.’ Except for the fact that there’s a little thing in economics called externalities. And what that means is that a corporation can dump pollution in the river and they don’t have to pay, but taxpayers have to pay.

The Plan naively assumes that all that needs to be done is for government to “finance” these projects through huge increases in taxes, borrowing, and printing money, and that such infusions of money will enable the government to “pay” for all of these new projects. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez said, “Yeah, I think the first move we need to do is kind of break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for 100 percent of government expenditure. It’s just not how government expenditure works. We can recoup costs, but oftentimes you look at, for example, the GOP tax cut which I think was an irresponsible use of government expenditure, but government projects are often financed by a combination of taxes, deficit spending and other kinds of investments, you know, bonds and so on.

FAQ and the Democrat's Select Committee For A Green New Deal

FINAL Select Committee for a Green New Deal

DRAFT TEXT FOR PROPOSED ADDENDUM TO HOUSE RULES FOR 116TH CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

SEC. [_____]. COMMITTEES, COMMISSIONS, AND HOUSE OFFICES.

(a) Establishment of the Select Committee For A Green New Deal.—

(1) ESTABLISHMENT; COMPOSITION.—

(A) ESTABLISHMENT.—There is hereby established a Select Committee For A Green New Deal (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “select committee”).

(B) COMPOSITION.—The select committee shall be composed of 15 members appointed by the Speaker, of whom 6 may be appointed on the recommendation of the Minority Leader. The Speaker shall designate one member of the select committee as its chair. A vacancy in the membership of the select committee shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(2) JURISDICTION; FUNCTIONS.—

(A) LEGISLATIVE JURISDICTION.—

(i) The select committee shall have authority to develop a detailed national, industrial, economic mobilization plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “Plan for a Green New Deal” or the “Plan”) for the transition of the United States economy to become greenhouse gas emissions neutral and to significantly draw down greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and oceans and to promote economic and environmental justice and equality. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan shall: (a) be prepared in consultation with experts and leaders from business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, academia and broadly representative civil society groups and communities; (b) be driven by the federal government, in collaboration, co-creation and partnership with business, labor, state and local governments, tribal nations, research institutions and civil society groups and communities; (c) be executed in no longer than 10 years from the start of execution of such Plan; (d) provide opportunities for high income work, entrepreneurship and cooperative and public ownership; and (e) additionally, be responsive to, and in accordance with, the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality set forth in paragraph (6).

(ii) In addition to preparing the Plan as set forth in paragraph (2)(A)(i), the select committee shall prepare draft legislation for the enactment of the Plan (hereinafter in this section referred to as the “draft legislation”), in accordance with this section. Such draft legislation may be prepared concurrently with the development of the Plan, or as the select committee may otherwise deem appropriate, provided that such finalized draft legislation shall be completed in accordance with the timing set forth in paragraph (5)(B)(ii).

 (iii) The select committee shall not have legislative jurisdiction and shall have no authority to take legislative action on any bill or resolution, provided that the foregoing shall not affect the select committee’s ability to prepare draft legislation in accordance with paragraph (2)(A)(i) and (2)(A)(ii).

(B) INVESTIGATIVE JURISDICTION.—In  furtherance of the mandate set forth in paragraph (2)(A), the select committee shall have the authority to investigate, study, make findings, convene experts and leaders from industry, academia, local communities, labor, finance, technology and any other industry or group that the select committee deems to be a relevant resource. The select committee may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, hold public hearings in connection with any aspect of its investigative functions.

(3) PROCEDURE.—

(A) Except as specified in paragraph (2), the select committee shall have the authorities and responsibilities of, and shall be subject to the same limitations and restrictions as, a standing committee of the House, and shall be deemed a committee of the House for all purposes of law or rule.

(B)(i) Rules [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees) and [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Procedures of Committees and Unfinished Business) shall apply to the select committee where not inconsistent with this resolution.

(ii) Service on the select committee shall not count against the limitations on committee or subcommittee service in Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Organization of Committees).

(4) FUNDING.—To enable the select committee to carry out the purposes of this section—

(A) The select committee may use the services of staff of the House and may, at its discretion and as its members may deem appropriate, use the services of external consultants or experts in furtherance of its mandate;

(B) The select committee shall be eligible for interim funding pursuant to clause [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] of Rule [to be confirmed by reference to overall House Rules package] (Interim Funding - Organization of Committees); and

(C) Without limiting the foregoing, the select committee may, at any time and from time to time during the course of its mandate, apply to the House for an additional, dedicated budget to carry out its mandate.

(5) INTERIM REPORTING; SUBMISSION OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL; SUBMISSION OF DRAFT LEGISLATION—

(A) The select committee may report to the House  or any House Committee it deems appropriate from time to time the results of its investigations and studies, together with such detailed findings and interim recommendations or proposed Plan or draft legislation (or portion thereof) as it may deem advisable.

(B) (i) The select committee shall complete the Plan for a Green New Deal by a date no later than January 1, 2020.

(ii) The select committee shall complete the finalized draft legislation by a date no later than the date that is 90 calendar days after the select committee has completed the Plan in accordance with paragraph (5)(B)(i) and, in any event, no later than March 1, 2020.

(iii) The select committee shall ensure and procure that the Plan and the draft legislation prepared in accordance with this section shall, upon completion in accordance with paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii), be made available to the general public in widely accessible formats (including, without limitation, via at least one dedicated website and a print publication) by a date no later than 30 calendar days following the respective dates for completion set forth in paragraphs (5)(B)(i) and (ii).

(6) SCOPE OF THE PLAN FOR A GREEN NEW DEAL AND THE DRAFT LEGISLATION.—

(A) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall be developed with the objective of reaching the following outcomes within the target window of 10 years from the start of execution of the Plan:

  1. Dramatically expand existing renewable power sources and deploy new production capacity with the goal of meeting 100% of national power demand through renewable sources;

  2. building a national, energy-efficient, “smart” grid;

  3. upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety;

  4. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from  the manufacturing, agricultural and other industries, including by investing in local-scale agriculture in communities across the country;

  5. eliminating greenhouse gas emissions from, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure, and upgrading water infrastructure to ensure universal access to clean water;

  6. funding massive investment in the drawdown of greenhouse gases;

  7. making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the United States, with the aim of becoming the undisputed international leader in helping other countries transition to completely greenhouse gas neutral economies and bringing about a global Green New Deal.

(B) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that a national, industrial, economic mobilization of this scope and scale is a historic opportunity to virtually eliminate poverty in the United States and to make prosperity, wealth and economic security available to everyone participating in the transformation. In furtherance of the foregoing, the Plan (and the draft legislation) shall:

  1. provide all members of our society, across all regions and all communities, the opportunity, training and education to be a full and equal participant in the transition, including through a job guarantee program to assure a living wage job to every person who wants one;

  2. diversify local and regional economies, with a particular focus on communities where the fossil fuel industry holds significant control over the labor market, to ensure workers have the necessary tools, opportunities, and economic assistance to succeed during the energy transition;

  3. require strong enforcement of labor, workplace safety, and wage standards that recognize the rights of workers to organize and unionize free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment, and creation of meaningful, quality, career employment;

  4. ensure a ‘just transition’ for all workers, low-income communities, communities of color, indigenous communities, rural and urban communities and the front-line communities most affected by climate change, pollution and other environmental harm including by ensuring that local implementation of the transition is led from the community level and by prioritizing solutions that end the harms faced by front-line communities from climate change and environmental pollution;

  5. protect and enforce sovereign rights and land rights of tribal nations;

  6. mitigate deeply entrenched racial, regional and gender-based inequalities in income and wealth (including, without limitation, ensuring that federal and other investment will be equitably distributed to historically impoverished, low income, deindustrialized or other marginalized communities in such a way that builds wealth and ownership at the community level);

  7. include additional measures such as basic income programs, universal health care programs and any others as the select committee may deem appropriate to promote economic security, labor market flexibility and entrepreneurism; and

  8. deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.  

(C) The Plan for a Green New Deal (and the draft legislation) shall recognize that innovative public and other financing structures are a crucial component in achieving and furthering the goals and guidelines relating to social, economic, racial, regional and gender-based justice and equality and cooperative and public ownership set forth in paragraphs (2)(A)(i) and (6)(B). The Plan (and the draft legislation) shall, accordingly, ensure that the majority of financing of the Plan shall be accomplished by the federal government, using a combination of the Federal Reserve, a new public bank or system of regional and specialized public banks, public venture funds and such other vehicles or structures that the select committee deems appropriate, in order to ensure that interest and other investment returns generated from public investments  made in connection with the Plan will be returned to the treasury, reduce taxpayer burden and allow for more investment.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why do we need a sweeping Green New Deal investment program? Why can’t we just rely on regulations and taxes alone, such as a carbon tax or an eventual ban on fossil fuels?  

  • Regulations and taxes can, indeed, change some behavior. It’s certainly possible to  argue that, if we had put in place targeted regulations and progressively increasing carbon and similar taxes several decades ago, the economy could have transformed itself by now. But whether or not that is true, we did not do that, and now time has run out.  

  • Given the magnitude of the current challenge, the tools of regulation and taxation, used in isolation, will not be enough to quickly and smoothly accomplish the transformation that we need to see.

  • Simply put, we don’t need to just stop doing some things we are doing (like using fossil fuels for energy needs); we also need to start doing new things (like overhauling whole industries or retrofitting all buildings to be energy efficient). Starting to do new things requires some upfront investment. In the same way that a company that is trying to change how it does business may need to make big upfront capital investments today in order to reap future benefits (for e.g., building a new factory to increase production or buying new hardware and software to totally modernize its IT system), a country that is trying to change how its economy works will need to make big investments today to jump-start and develop new projects and sectors to power the new economy.

  • The draft resolution sets out a (non-exhaustive) list of several major projects that need to be completed fast. These include upgrading virtually every home and building for energy efficiency, building a 100% greenhouse gas neutral power generation system, decarbonizing industry and agriculture and more. These projects will all require investment.

  • We’re not saying that there is no place for regulation and taxes (and these will continue to be important tools); we’re saying we need to add some new tools to the toolkit.

Why should the government have a big role in driving and making any required investments? Why not just incentivize the private sector to invest through, for e.g., tax subsidies and such?

  • Two main reasons: (1) scale and (2) time.

  • First - scale. The level of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies came together and were willing to pour all the resources at their disposal into this investment, the aggregate value of the investments they could make would not be sufficient.  For example, the “$1 trillion over 10 years” plan for investment in the green economy that has been floated by some policy makers has been criticized by climate experts as a wholly inadequate level of investment - $1 trillion is the entire market cap of Amazon, one of the biggest companies of all time (and it is far ahead of its closest competitors in terms of market size).

  • Second - time. The speed of investment required will be massive. Even if all the billionaires and companies could make the investments required, they would not be able to pull together a coordinated response in the narrow window of time required to jump-start major new projects and major new sectors.

  • Time-horizons matter in another way - by their nature, private companies are wary of making massive investments in unproven research and technologies; the government, however, has the time horizon to be able to patiently make investments in new tech and R&D, without necessarily having a commercial outcome or application in mind at the time the investment is made. Major examples of government investments in “new” tech that subsequently spurred a boom in the private section include DARPA-projects, the creation of the internet - and, perhaps most recently, the government’s investment in Tesla.

  • We’ve also seen that merely incentivizing the private sector doesn’t work - e.g. the tax incentives and subsidies given to wind and solar projects have been a valuable spur to growth in the US renewables industry but, even with such investment-promotion subsidies, the present level of such projects is simply inadequate to transition to a fully greenhouse gas neutral economy as quickly as needed.

  • Once again, we’re not saying that there isn’t a role for private sector investments; we’re just saying that the level of investment required will need every actor to pitch in and that the government is best placed to be the prime driver.

How will the government pay for these investments?

  • Many will say, “Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?” The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.  

  • In addition to traditional debt tools, there is also a space for the government to take an equity role in projects, as several government and government-affiliated institutions already do.

Why do we need a select committee? We already have committees with jurisdiction over the subject matter e.g. Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Science, Space and Technology.  Just creating another committee seems unnecessary.

  • This is a big problem with lots of parts to it. The very fact that multiple committees have jurisdiction over parts of the problem means that it’s hard for any one of those existing committees to generate a comprehensive and coherent plan that will actually work to transform America’s economy to become greenhouse gas neutral in the time we have left.

  • Not having a full 360° view of, and approach to, the issue (and only having authority over a part of the issue) means that standing committee solutions would be piecemeal, given the size and scope of the problem. A Democratic administration and Congress in 2020 will not have the time to sort through and combine all those solutions in the brief window of opportunity they will have to act.

  • Select committees, in the Congressional Research Services’ own words, serve the specific function of “examin[ing] emerging issues that do not fit clearly within existing standing committee jurisdictions or cut across jurisdictional boundaries. ”(see: https://www.senate.gov/CRSpubs/312b4df4-9797-41bf-b623-a8087cc91d74.pdf)

  • The challenges that the Select Committee For A Green New Deal is mandated to meet fit squarely within this space.

  • This does not need to be a zero sum proposition between committees. Just as Markey-Waxman was collaborative between the head of the Select Committee and standing Energy & Commerce committee, this can also be collaborative. More is more. A select committee ensures constant focus on climate change as the standing committee deals with that and many other issues of the day -- such as wild fires in California, Infrastructure, clean water issues, etc.

Why should we not be satisfied with the same approach the  previous select committee used (i.e. the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming)? Why do we need a new approach?

  • The previous select committee did not have a mandate to develop a plan for the transformation of our economy to become carbon neutral. It mainly held hearings to draw attention to the problem of climate change. That was already too little too late in 2007-11 when the committee was active.

  • The previous select committee’s work can be summarized as follows (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/111th-congress/house-resolution/5/text, the old select committee is established in Section 4 ):

  • The “sole authority” it did have was to “investigate, study, make findings, and develop recommendations on policies, strategies, technologies and other innovations, intended to reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign sources of energy and achieve substantial and permanent reductions in emissions and other activities that contribute to climate change and global warming.”

  • From March 2007 to December 2010 - a full 3.5 years - they did the job that they were tasked to do and held hearings and prepared reports (see: https://www.congress.gov/committee/house-energy-independence-and-global/hlgw00 and https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/index.html (in fact, they held 80 hearings and briefings)

  • Per their website, they “engage[d] in oversight and educational activities through hearings, reports, briefings and other means intended to highlight the importance of adopting policies which reduce our dependence on foreign oil and our emissions of global warming pollution.”  

  • So there has already been a select committee that did the investigating to highlight that it was important to have some action on this issue - it’s now time to move on from investigating and reporting to action.

  • The old select committee also had (even within its limited investigative mandate) the limitation that it focused on strategies for reducing foreign energy dependence and reducing emissions - rather than treating climate issues as the integrated social, economic, scientific challenge that it is.

Why does this new select committee need to prepare draft legislation?  Isn’t investigation, hearings, briefings and reporting enough?

  • The old select committee was mandated merely to investigate and  prepare reports for other people and House Committees to read and act on.

  • The idea was that (as per the old select committees website) “each Member of the Select Committee sits on legislative committees which process legislation and amendments affecting energy independence and global warming issues in other committees” and presumably, that those members would take the work of the select committee and come up with legislation in their own committees.

  • However, this approach did not make a big impact relative to the scale of the problem we face. The one piece of legislation that eventually came out of the old select committees work - the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) https://www.markey.senate.gov/GlobalWarming/legislation/index.html) was a cap-and-trade bill that was wholly insufficient for the scale of the problem.

  • The House had a chance (from 2007 to 2010) to try a version of a select committee that investigated an issue and then passed along preparation of legislation to other committees - the result of that process doesn’t inspire any confidence that the same process should be followed again if we wish to draft a plan to tackle the scale of the problem we face.

  • The new select committee will also continue to have investigative jurisdiction, so the new proposal isn’t taking anything away from the old one - it is adding things on to make the select committee more effective.

What’s an example of a select committee with abilities to prepare legislation? Does the new Select Committee For A Green New Deal seem to fit on that list?

  • Recent examples for select committees in the House include: Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Outer Continental Shelf (94th-95th Congresses), Ad Hoc Select Committee on Energy (95th Congress), Select Committee on Homeland Security (107th Congress), and Select Committee on Homeland Security (108th Congress).

  • The Congressional Research Service notes (in discussing these four recent select committees with legislative jurisdiction) that “The principal explanation offered in creating each of the four select committees with legislative authority was that their creation solved jurisdictional problems. The proponents in each case indicated that multiple committees claimed jurisdiction over a subject and that the House would be unable to legislate, or at least to legislate efficiently, in the absence of a select committee.” (see: https://www.everycrsreport.com/reports/R40233.html#_Toc228679963)

  • The proposed subject matter and mandate for the Select Committee For A Green New Deal sits squarely within this general description for a select committee with the ability and mandate to prepare legislation.

Doesn’t this select committee take away jurisdictional power from the other (standing i.e. permanent) committees that have jurisdiction over at least part of the issue?

  • All of the relevant standing committees will be able to provide input to and make their wishes known to the select committee during the creation of both the plan as well as the draft legislation, and then in a future Congress, when it comes to crafting and passing the final legislation, that Congress can take a decision on the best mechanism for bringing that final legislation to a floor vote and passage.

  • Allowing the select committee to draft legislation doesn’t take any jurisdiction away from current standing committees, it is entirely additive.

  • The legislation developed by the select committee would still need to be referred to and pass through the permanent House Committees that have jurisdiction over parts of the subject matter.

  • For example, the legislation drafted by the Select Committee on Homeland Security needed to pass through the permanent committees on Agriculture; Appropriations; Armed Services; Energy and Commerce; Financial Services; Government Reform; Intelligence (Permanent Select); International Relations; Judiciary; Science; Transportation and Infrastructure; Ways and Means (see: https://www.congress.gov/bill/107th-congress/house-bill/5005/committees)

  • The benefit of a select committee in this case would also be that there would be a single forum that could act as a quarterback in working through and resolving any comments or issues brought up by the other House Committees, which would streamline the process of drafting this legislation.

But a select committee only exists for the congressional session that created it! So even if this select committee prepares legislation, it likely won’t get passed in this session by a Republican-held Senate and White House, so why does having a select committee now even matter?

  • The proposed new select committee would work in two stages (which wouldn’t necessarily have to be sequential):

  • First, they would put together the overall plan for a Green New Deal - they would have a year to get the plan together, with the plan to be completed by January 1, 2020. The plan itself could be in the form of a report or several reports.

  • Second, they would also put together the draft legislation that actually implements the plan - they could work on the draft legislation concurrently with the plan (after they get an initial outline of the plan going) and would need to complete the draft legislation within 90 days of completing the plan (i.e. by March 1, 2020 at the latest)

  • The select committee is also required to make the plan and the draft legislation publicly accessible within 30 days of completing each part

  • The plan and the draft legislation won’t be developed in secret - they are specifically required to be developed with wide and broad consultation and input and the select committee can share drafts or any portions of their work with the other House Committees at any time and from time to time, so their work will be conducted in the open, with lots of opportunities to give input along the way.

  • The idea is that between (a) developing the plan and the draft legislation (and holding public hearings and briefings along the way as needed), (b) the plan coming out in Jan 2020 and (c) the draft legislation coming out in March 2020, the relevant permanent House Committees, House members, experts and public will have time to engage with, discuss, revise the draft legislation between March 2020 and the end of the 116th Congress so that, by the end of this congressional term, there is a comprehensive plan and enacting legislation all lined up as soon as the new (Democratic) Congress convenes in January 2021.

What’s wrong with the other proposed legislation on climate change? Can’t we just pass one of the other climate bills that have been introduced in the past? Why prepare a whole new one?

  • The shortest and most accurate response is that (1) none of them recognize the extent to which climate and other social and economic issues are deeply interrelated and (2) even if looking at climate as a stand-alone issue, none of them are scaled to the magnitude of the problem.

  • Of the other proposed legislation, the OFF Act could be a good starting point

President Trump’s new strategy to improve U.S. - Africa relations

United States (U.S.) National Security Adviser John Bolton presented the Trump administration’s new Africa strategy last week at The Heritage Foundation. The strategy focused on three priorities:

  1. Enhancing U.S. trade and commercial ties with African nations through arrangements that benefit both the United States and Africa. According to Mr. Bolton, “We want our economic partners in the region to thrive, prosper, and control their own destinies. In America’s economic dealings, we ask only for reciprocity, never for subservience.”

  2. Countering the threat of Islamic terrorism. Specifically, Mr. Bolton announced, “ISIS, al-Qaeda, and their affiliates all operate and recruit on the African continent, plotting attacks against American citizens and targets. Any sound U.S. strategy toward Africa must address this serious threat in a comprehensive way.”

  3. Ensuring that the U.S. allocates its foreign assistance efficiently and effectively to advance U.S. interests. In particular, Mr. Bolton emphasized, “The United States will no longer provide indiscriminate assistance across the entire continent, without focus or prioritization. And, we will no longer support unproductive, unsuccessful, and unaccountable U.N. peacekeeping missions.”

With the strategy announcement, the Trump administration demonstrates its recognition that development is far less dependent on foreign assistance than it is on the willingness of African governments to adopt market and investment – friendly policies. The Trump administration wishes to “pursue modern, comprehensive trade agreements on the continent that ensure fair and reciprocal exchange between the United States and the nations of Africa.”

Analysts at the Heritage Foundation have strongly urged the U.S. to focus on and counter Islamic extremism in Algeria, Kenya, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, and other countries in the region, which the administration focuses on as part of its strategy for the region. Mr. Bolton also said, “The predatory practices pursued by China and Russia stunt economic growth in Africa; threaten the financial independence of African nations; inhibit opportunities for U.S. investment; interfere with U.S. military operations; and pose a significant threat to U.S. national security interests.”

The Trump administration’s new foreign assistance strategy will improve the effectiveness of U.S. foreign aid, which requires an overhaul of America’s foreign assistance programs that are, in the words of Mr. Bolton, “designed to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War” and “fight terrorism after 9/11” rather than on today’s priorities. In particular, U.S. foreign assistance will “move recipient states toward self-reliance, and prevent long-term dependency” with less needy recipients graduated from foreign assistance and reductions in aid to countries “making poor policy decisions.” U.S. aid will “target resources toward areas where we have the most impact to ensure efficient use of taxpayer dollars.

In line with the strategy’s emphasis on the responsible use of taxpayer money, Mr. Bolton criticized the kleptocratic and violent South Sudanese regime that has misused American aid and expressed skepticism that the same leaders who led that country into war can lead it to peace. “Countries that repeatedly vote against the United States in international forums, or take action counter to U.S. interests, should not receive generous American foreign aid,” said Mr. Bolton. He also underscored the important effort to review all United Nations (U.N.) peacekeeping operations to ensure they are fit for purpose and focused on resolving conflicts.

Though recent administrations have talked a big game about shifting the U.S. and Africa away from a benefactor-supplicant relationship toward a true partnership, the Trump administration’s strategy outlines a path to realize that goal.

Bipartisan win for Americans and President Trump as U.S. Senate passes a landmark Prison Reform Bill

This week, the United States (U.S.) Senate approved the most sweeping prison reform bill in decades, voting to cut sentences of tens of thousands of inmates while also boosting access to programs designed to keep them from ending up back behind bars again. The measure cleared with an 87 – 12 vote and marks a major bipartisan victory for President Trump, who had pressured Republican leaders to pass it this year, before lawmakers closed down Congress. The bill still needs approval in the House, where a vote is expected before the end of this week.

Called the First Step Act, the legislation will expand prison programs designed to reduce recidivism and allow some prisoners to earn credits toward early release by taking part in those programs. The bill also reduces some maximum mandatory sentences, such as ending the three-strikes life-in-prison penalty and replacing it with a 25-year maximum. Backers said the credits would earn inmates a faster opportunity to enter a halfway house or be put on home detention.

Senator Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican who had made a crusade out of reforming sentencing, said “This prison and sentencing reform bill is a much-needed first step toward shifting our focus to rehabilitation and re-entry of offenders, rather than taking every person who ever made a mistake with drugs, locking them up, and throwing away the key.

The core of the deal was written by Senator Chuck Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Richard Durbin, a senior Democrat. The bill applies only to federal prisons, which hold far fewer people than state prisons. It includes new rules on keeping inmates in facilities close to their homes where possible and pushes for them to be put in home confinement for the maximum time allowed.

An early version of the bill would have released an average of 53,000 federal inmates a year over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office, which is more than a quarter of the current inmate population.

Texas Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional

Judge Reed O’Connor, a United States (U.S.) District Judge for the Northern District of Texas appointed by former President George W. Bush, ruled that Obamacare, officially called the Affordable Care Act (ACA), violated the Constitution. Judge O’Connor agreed with a coalition of twenty states that a change in tax law last year eliminating a penalty for not having health insurance invalidated the entire Obamacare law. The law, however, will remain in place to allow appeals process to play out, and the Supreme Court might eventually rule on the case. Shares of U.S. health insurers, hospitals, and healthcare companies fell on Monday, following the ruling.

 Obamacare mandates that all individuals have health insurance or pay a tax and also includes payments worth billions of dollars to health insurers to subsidize for low-income Americans. Twenty Republican state Attorneys General brought the lawsuit, Texas v. Azar, asking the court to rule that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) violates the Constitution after Republicans managed to zero out Obamacare’s individual mandate penalty with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year. The judge ruled that the law’s individual mandate violates the Constitution and therefore the entire ACA violates the Constitution.

Judge O’Connor acknowledged that healthcare is a “politically charged affair — inflaming emotions and testing civility,” adding that the courts “are not tasked with, nor are they suited to, policymaking.” Judge O’Connor said that because the individual mandate is “essential” to the rest of the ACA, all of Obamacare is invalid. He wrote, “Congress stated many times unequivocally — through enacted text signed by the president — that the individual mandate is ‘essential’ to the ACA. And this essentiality, the ACA’s text makes clear, means the mandate must work ‘together with the other provisions’ for the Act to function as intended.”

The ruling comes one day ahead of when Obamacare’s marketplaces will close for most of the country’s open enrollment period. Approximately 11.8 million consumers nationwide enrolled in 2018 Obamacare plans and the newest enrollment numbers are down 20 percent.

President Trump opens oil exploration in Alaska previously blocked by former President Obama

In 2017, United States’ Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke ordered officials to re-write the National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska (NPR-A) management plan written under former President Barack Obama’s administration, which had blocked nearly half of the 22 million-acre NPR-A from energy exploration.

The Interior Department is determining which areas can be open to oil and gas exploration and for conservation purposes. The new management plan aims to boost Alaska’s oil and gas industry, which has experienced declining production. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the NPR-A is estimated to hold 8.7 billion barrels of oil and 25 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The NPR-A is the largest block of land owned by the federal government, which was set aside by Congress decades ago for oil and gas production for the U.S. Navy. The Trump administration held the largest NPR-A lease sale ever in 2017, offering nine hundred tracts of land totaling around 10 million acres.

In 2013, the Obama administration declared 11.8 million acres of NPR-A off-limits to drilling, siding with environmental activists who argued enough land is already being developed, opening more land could harm the NPR-A’s ecosystem, and claiming there’s little industry interest in developing more. Energy companies and Republicans argued otherwise, saying the Obama administration’s plan hampered operations in the region and put potentially productive areas out of reach.

The Trump administration is also moving forward with opening the coastal “1002” area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Drilling is supported by the tribe that lives on the coastal plain but opposed by those living in ANWR’s interior where there will be no drilling.

Analysis of the 2018 U.S. Midterm Election

The Results

Voter turnout was exceptionally high at an estimated 114 million votes cast in the House election. With the addition of 16 percent first-time voters this is significantly higher turnout than the past two midterm elections, which saw 25 and 35 million votes cast in 2010 and 2014, respectively. More than $5 billion USD was spent this election cycle.

A ‘Blue Wave’ of Democratic wins did not materialize as projected by polls and the mainstream media. Historically, a president’s party always suffers losses in their first midterm election, with the recent exception being 2002 when Republicans in the White house also gained Senate seats.

Republicans retain control of the Senate, expanding their majority and also preserved key governorships in battleground states that will be key for them in 2020’s presidential election. The Republican's continued hold on the Senate gives them control over all critical federal judicial appointments, including nominations to the Supreme Court.

Democrats take control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. Democrats will be able to delay or stop many of President Trump's legislative priorities, such as funding for a proposed border wall and a new middle-class tax cut, or at least extract major concessions on contentious issues, like immigration reform, beforehand. The Senate will still be able to block anything the Democrats pass.

Narrow majorities for both parties:

  • House: Democrats 221, Republicans 197

  • Senate: Republicans 51, Democrats 46

  • Governor: Republicans 26, Democrats 23

Some results have yet to be determined: Democrat Stacey Abrams hasn’t conceded to Republican and Secretary of State Brian Kemp in Georgia's governor's race, and Arizona’s Senate race remains too close to call. There will be a recount in the Florida Senate race.

 

Analysis

Gaining ground in their Senate majority, Republicans have free rein for judicial appointments and foreign policy. Having won a majority in the House, Democrats have the ability to obtain subpoenas, investigate President Trump, and block the remainder of his legislative agenda.

The Democrats’ hyper-partisan scorched-earth campaign against President Trump, with respect to the Mueller investigation and supposed Russian collusion, has failed to materialize anything evidential and done little to contribute to improved political rhetoric in the country.

The resignation of Attorney General Sessions offers the opportunity to prosecute Democrats who have lied under oath and committed other offenses, including Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, and FBI agency directors Clapper, Brennan, and Comey, downward to those who worked in the Obama Administration and on Hilary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

President Trump has accomplished a great deal that has benefited Americans in the past two years, though there remain issues that ideologically divide Republicans and Democrats, such as healthcare, immigration, and gun policy. With a divided Congress, it would be wise for each side to offer concessions and reach compromise to make progress on major issues, as two years of partisan posturing and mud-slinging will only further frustrate Americans who elected a political outsider with Donald Trump. In lieu of obvious, strong Democratic leadership, it is anticipated Democrat Nancy Pelosi may be elected to Speaker of the House come January 2019 – once again, eight years later – yet she is not an equally matched opponent for the President.

 

Results in Key Races

Three Republicans flipped Senate seats in states Trump won in 2016: Mike Braun in Indiana, Kevin Cramer in North Dakota, and Josh Hawley in Montana.

In Texas, Republican Senator Ted Cruz beat Representative Beto O’Rourke.

In Nevada, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin beat incumbent Senator Dean Heller.

Former Presidential candidate and Republican Mitt Romney won the Senate seat in Utah.

Georgia's dramatic governor's race still hasn't been called with Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams refusing to concede.

Florida is headed for a recount.

Arizona's Senate race remains too close to call.

Mississippi will have to vote in a runoff on November 27th to elect their senator.

 

Election Firsts

Over one hundred women have been elected to the House of Representatives, with a previous record of eighty-four, and exit polls showed 52 percent of voters were women.

The House was also getting its first two Muslim women, Massachusetts elected its first black congresswoman, and Tennessee got its first female senator.

In New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez became the youngest women ever elected to Congress at 29 years of age.

Debra Haaland in New Mexico and Sharice Davids in Kansas are the first Native American women in Congress.

In Congress, Ayana Pressley was the first black woman to represent Massachusetts, and Rashida Tlaid in Michigan and Illhan Oman in Minnesota are the first Muslim women to be elected.

Representative Jared Polis in Colorado is the country's first openly gay male governor.

Georgia still hasn’t declared a winner for governor, but if Democrat Stacey Abrams takes the seat, she will be America’s first black woman governor.

 

Ballot Measures

Michigan voters to legalize recreational marijuana use for residents over the age of 21 with retail sales of the product subject to a 10 percent tax. Utah and Missouri approved the use of medical marijuana.

Michigan also voted to give the task of redrawing district maps to an independent commission.

Florida voted to restore voting rights for 1.5 million former convicts, which it enfranchises the largest population in U.S. history since women's suffrage.

Massachusetts voted in favour of protecting transgender rights by prohibiting gender identity-based discrimination in public places, like bathrooms and locker rooms.

Alabama and West Virginia are updating their state constitutions to prevent public funding of abortions. Oregon voters rejected a similar measure.

Washington State approved one of the toughest gun safety laws in the nation with a measure that increases the age limit to buy an assault rifle from 18 to 21 and imposes a 10-day waiting period for purchases.

Idaho, Nebraska, and Utah voted to expand Medicaid to cover an estimated 325,000 low-income residents.

San Francisco, California voters approved a tax on businesses that make more than $50 million per year, directed toward housing for the homeless.

United States Midterm Election 2018

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Midterm elections are the midpoint of an American President’s four-year term and are often viewed as a referendum on the Administration’s performance.

What Are Americans Voting On?

Resulting from the 2016 Presidential election, Republicans control both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the two chambers of Congress.

  • Current House of Representatives: 247 Republicans and 188 Democrats (all 435 seats will be voted on).

  • Current Senators: 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats (only 35 seats will be voted on).

  • Current Governors: 33 Republicans, 16 Democrats, and 1 Independent (only 36 states and 3 territories will be voted on).

States Voting for Senator

Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

States Voting for Governor

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kanas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

 

Election Goals by Party

Ohio, Michigan, Florida, and Pennsylvania were key swing states in the presidential elections, therefore governors in these states will be crucial to mobilising support and donations for the 2020 presidential election.

The Republicans currently control Congress and maintaining this control will ensure support for President Trump’s legislative agenda. The Republicans also control the Senate and are likely to retain control since many states up for election which are currently held by Democrats were states President Trump won in the 2016 election.

To reclaim a majority in Congress, the Democrats need to retain their existing seats and gain a minimum of 23 seats in the House, as well as a minimum of 2 seats in the Senate. If the Democrats were to regain control of the House, they oppose several of President Trump’s policies and with a large enough majority, will block the Republican’s legislative agenda.

Should the Republicans lose control of Congress, Americans will face two years of legislative gridlock; years of political ineffectiveness and infighting being a major factor that drew voter support to Donald Trump in his campaigns for leadership of the Republican Party and in the Presidential election. The same fate fell on former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, who were paralyzed after their first two years’ in office.

 

The White House Track Record

Since his election in 2016, President Trump has accomplished a great deal, including economic growth, a healthy job market with declining unemployment and wages and salaries on the rise – particularly for blue-collars, competitive tax reform, strong consumer confidence, overhauled Obamacare and lowering pharmaceutical drug prices, bipartisan support for tackling the opioid crisis, two successful nominations to the Supreme Court, a reduction in illegal immigration, renegotiating international trade deals, and talking North Korea off the nuclear cliff, to name a few.

 

What Do Polls Suggest?

Who does the polling result benefit? Polling firms are not unbiased and have been increasingly proven wrong in their predictions across many jurisdictions in many countries and regions for several years now. Polling firms have become a tool in the toolbox of partisan interests and mainstream news media to influence and control public opinion with biased population samples, wording of questions, and presentation of data

It may benefit Republicans who want to ensure their base gets out to vote by releasing polling results that show Republicans are trailing. It may benefit Democrats to release a poll with the same result to encourage their voters to come out if they believe there’s a chance they can win. Like every other aspect of a political campaign, polls are not always what they seem.