Thursday, February 22, 2018

GROWING THE AMERICAN ECONOMY: THE ECONOMIC REPORT OF THE PRESIDENT


 

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary

“America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.” – President Donald J. Trump
Read the Economic Report of the President here.
A GROWING ECONOMY: President Donald J. Trump’s pro-growth policies are reviving the United States economy, and the Economic Report of the President (ERP) shows a path for continued growth. 
·       The Trump Administration is the first since that of President Ronald Reagan to see positive economic growth exceed its first-year forecast.

o   In 2017, the United States economy saw 2.5 percent growth in real gross domestic product (GDP), up from 1.8 percent in 2016.

·       Growth helped the United States economy add 2.2 million nonfarm jobs in 2017, as American workers saw the lowest unemployment rate since 2000 at 4.1 percent.

·       The White House Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) projects economic growth will increase to 3.1 percent in 2018, remaining above 3 percent through 2020 and adding a cumulative $1.1 trillion to the economy.

o   If fully implemented, President Trump’s economic agenda would lead to 3 percent annual GDP growth on average throughout the next decade.
TAX REFORM IS DELIVERING RESULTS: President Trump’s tax cuts are benefiting United States workers and businesses, providing long-term benefits and putting America on a path to greater prosperity.
·       The CEA projects that President Trump’s corporate tax reform will lead to a $4,000 annual wage increase for American workers.

·       The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s (TCJA) reforms and cuts to the individual tax code will raise GDP by an estimated 1.3 to 1.6 percent over the next three years.

·       To date, over 370 companies have announced new investments, raises and bonuses, or other benefits as a result of tax reform that will positively affect 4.1 million workers.

o   Through January, the CEA tallied $190 billion in new investment projects that were related to the passage of the TCJA.
REDUCING RED TAPE: By eliminating costly, unnecessary, and ineffective regulations, President Trump is freeing the United States economy.
·       President Trump is prioritizing the cutting of burdensome red tape and has ordered Government agencies to eliminate two old rules for every new one.

o   In the first eight months of the Trump Administration, Federal agencies issued 67 deregulatory actions and just three regulatory actions, far exceeding this two-for-one goal.

·       According to the CEA, the economics literature indicates that excessive Government regulation places a drag on the American economy, slowing productivity and stifling entrepreneurship.

o   The Obama Administration’s overregulation likely played a role in slow economic growth rates of the last eight years.
BUILDING A STRONGER AMERICA: President Trump wants to rebuild our Nation’s infrastructure by working with State and local governments and the private sector to spur new investment.
·       The CEA estimates that a $1.5 trillion investment in infrastructure, as proposed by the President, could add approximately 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points to economic growth over the next decade.

·       The CEA finds that growth will be encouraged through a plan that streamlines the permitting process, encourages the prioritization of spending, and optimizes use of infrastructure assets.
FAIR AND RECIPROCAL TRADE: President Trump is standing up for American workers and businesses, enforcing the rules and ensuring that trade deals are fair and reciprocal.
·       American producers face higher barriers to selling their products abroad than competitors do selling products in the United States.

o   President Trump is seeking to break down barriers to United States exports and crack down on unfair trade practices. 

o   Given America’s comparative advantages, American energy and agriculture sectors are well-positioned to benefit from these policies and increase their exports to the rest of the world.

·       President Trump is also seeking to improve existing United States trade deals that did not achieve the intended result and negotiate new ones that will break down barriers to United States exports. 
INNOVATION IN HEALTHCARE: The Trump Administration is focusing on policies that will promote competition, improve health outcomes, and lower healthcare costs for Americans.
·       Competition, choice, and innovation are key to improving America’s healthcare system.

o   Obamacare drove up costs and significantly curtailed choices of coverage options. Taxpayers have spent an enormous amount expanding Medicaid, without a substantial benefit to population health.

o   Freeing consumers and providers from excessive government regulation and promoting competition through healthcare markets will lower prices and increase choice in order to improve our national quality of life.

·       The CEA estimates that Americans pay more than 70 percent of the world’s patented biopharmaceutical profits among developed nations funding drug innovation.

o   Policies must be developed to lower drug prices for Americans and to encourage pharmaceutical companies to have other countries pay their fair share of development costs.
DEFENDING AMERICAN CYBER SECURITY: With billions of dollars lost each year to cyber-crime, American cybersecurity is of paramount importance to our economic well-being.
·       Using the most recent data available, the CEA estimates that malicious cyber activity lowered United States output by as much as $109 billion in 2016.

·       Even as information technology has increased in importance to American economic interests, the ERP indicates that the market alone may not provide sufficient incentives to invest in cybersecurity.

·       The ERP underscores the ever-growing importance of public-private cybersecurity partnerships, in order to manage and mitigate the risks associated with our modern economy.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

BREAKING: The Rev. Billy Graham Has Died At 99



Billy Graham/Quotes:
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.
When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.
My home is in Heaven. I'm just traveling through this world.


_________________________________


The Rev. Billy Graham, prominent Christian evangelist, dead at 99



The Rev. Billy Graham , the Christian evangelist whose worldwide crusades and role as adviser to decades of U.S. presidents made him one of the best known religious figures of his time, died Wednesday at age 99 at his home in Montreat, N.C, Todd Shearer of DeMoss Associates told Fox News.
Graham, who had been in ill health for a number of years, was regularly listed in polls as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World."
Shearer told Fox News that Graham died from "natural causes." 
His Christian crusades took him from the frenzy of Manhattan to isolated African villages and according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website, he preached to more people in live audiences than anyone else in history.
The BGEA put his lifetime audience at nearly 215 million people in more than 185 countries and territories, with "hundreds of millions more" viewing him on television, video, film and webcasts.
"My one purpose in life," he said, "is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ."
Graham was last hospitalized in 2011 at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. for what was described as "evaluation and treatment of his lungs." He was also hospitalized that year due to pneumonia.
William Franklin Graham Jr. was born Nov. 7, 1918 and raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, N.C.
At 15, he made his personal commitment to Christ at a revival meeting in Charlotte. After attending Bob Jones College and the Florida Bible Institute, Graham was ordained a Southern Baptist clergyman in 1939.
In 1943, he graduated from Wheaton College, where he met fellow student Ruth McCue Bell, daughter of a medical missionary, who had spent the first 17 years of her life in China.
They married in August 1943 and had five children, 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Ruth Graham died in June 2007 after 64 years of marriage.
Graham vaulted to national prominence with his 1948 Los Angeles crusade, scheduled for three weeks and extended to eight.
Subsequent crusades in various cities around the globe also lasted far longer than scheduled – in New York, he ran nightly for four months at Madison Square Garden in 1957.
In 1950, Graham founded the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, based in Minneapolis, Minn. until it relocated to Charlotte in 2003.
Through the BGEA he conducted his weekly "Hour of Decision" radio program and published "Decision" Magazine as well as producing television programs for Christian networks.
In addition, Graham wrote 33 books, including his autobiography "Just As I Am." His last book, "Where I Am: Heaven, Eternity, And Our Life Beyond The Now" was published in 2015. 
In the 1960s, he ardently opposed segregation, refusing to speak to segregated audiences.
"The ground at the foot of the cross is level," he once said, "and it touches my heart when I see whites standing shoulder to shoulder with blacks at the cross."
Graham also was noted for consulting and praying with every U.S. president from Dwight Eisenhower to Barack Obama, who in April 2010 visited Graham at his mountaintop cabin in North Carolina. He also met with President Harry Truman in what was initially a contentious meeting after Graham spoke to the press, but the two men later viewed the episode as a humorous incident.
The White House later said Obama was "extraordinarily gratified" that Graham took the time to meet with him.
Graham presided over the graveside services for President Lyndon Johnson in 1973 and spoke at the funeral of President Richard Nixon in 1994.
On September 14, 2001 he led a national prayer service at Washington National Cathedral after the 9/11 attacks.
He and his wife were both awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1966.
But Graham found himself the target of criticism in 2002 and again in 2009 following the release of tapes of 1973 conversations he had with Richard Nixon that were critical of Jews.
He remained active well into his 70s but in recent years had been slowed by Parkinson's Disease, which he's had since 1992, and other medical problems.
His last crusade was in 2004. His elder son, Franklin, has long been expected to succeed his father as head of his ministry.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/02/21/rev-billy-graham-prominent-christian-evangelist-dead-at-99-fox-news-confirms.html

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

SHOCK: Liberal Media Promoted Russian Rallies








 __________________________

Michael Moore Participated In Russia-Sponsored Anti-Trump Rally

By DEREK HUNTER  I Daily Caller




Progressive director Michael Moore participated in an anti-Trump protest in New York that was organized by Russians, according to information released Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein announced indictments from Special Counsel Robert Mueller Friday against 13 Russian nationals for meddling in the 2016 election, highlighting how the Russians used social media to stir up strife and anger on social media using memes and unwitting Americans to do their bidding. One Russia-sponsored event was a protest of then President-Elect Donald Trump on Nov. 12, 2016, called “Trump is NOT my President,” and it involved Moore.
On the day, Moore tweeted:
--------




At today's Trump Tower protest. He wouldn't come down. Here's my Facebook Live coverage: http://facebook.com/mmflint

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On his Facebook page, Moore embedded a long video of him “reporting” from the Putin-organized event, calling Trump a “sociopath” and a “racist.”

Moore’s Facebook page is littered with charges that Trump and Republicans are Russian tools and enemies of the American people.

In advance of the Electoral College vote making Trump the 45th president, Moore wrote a long post appealing to Republican electors to refuse to support the president-elect because of “Russian hacking” of the election.

“I know you HAVE to be full of worry and consternation over the way Russia hacked into our election in order to help Trump,” Moore wrote.

Monday, February 19, 2018

WHY MUELLER DIDN’T INDICT THE RUSSIANS FOR MEDDLING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION


By JOHN HINDERAKER  I POWERLINE


I wrote here about Robert Mueller’s indictment of 13 Russian citizens and three Russian companies. The indictment is an odd one, as I pointed out:

Its very first paragraph recites that it is against the law for foreign nationals to spend money to influence US elections, or for agents of foreign countries to engage in political activities without registering. But no one is charged with these crimes. Instead, the indictment is devoted mostly to charging a “conspiracy to defraud the United States.” Normally, that would refer to defrauding the U.S. out of, say, $10,000 in Medicare benefits. Its application to the 2016 election seems dubious. Beyond that, the indictment charges relatively minor offenses: bank fraud (opening accounts in false names) and identity theft.

I have continued to puzzle over why Mueller chose not to indict the Russians for their most obvious offenses. I think the answer lies in this column by Robert Barnes, titled “Does Mueller Indictment Mean Clinton Campaign Can Be Indicted for Chris Steele?”

Barnes’s column is off the mark, I think, because it is written as though Mueller did indict the Russians for improper meddling in a U.S. election:

Special Counsel Robert Mueller indicted foreign citizens for trying to influence the American public about an election because those citizens did not register as a foreign agent nor record their financial expenditures to the Federal Elections Commission. By that theory, when will Mueller indict Christopher Steele, FusionGPS, PerkinsCoie, the DNC and the Clinton Campaign?

Actually, Mueller indicted the Russians only for violating 18 U.S.C. §371 (conspiracy to defraud the United States), §§ 1343 and 1344 (wire fraud and bank fraud), and §1082(A) (identity theft). He did not indict them for violating 52 U.S.C. §30121 (contributions and donations by foreign nationals). The question is, why not? Here, I think Barnes supplies the answer, although again I do not think his explanation is technically accurate.

This is the relevant language of 52 U.S.C. §30121, which covers “meddling” in U.S. elections by foreign nationals:

(a) Prohibition: It shall be unlawful for—

(1) a foreign national, directly or indirectly, to make—

(A) a contribution or donation of money or other thing of value, or to make an express or implied promise to make a contribution or donation, in connection with a Federal, State, or local election;

(B) a contribution or donation to a committee of a political party; or

(C) an expenditure, independent expenditure, or disbursement for an electioneering communication (within the meaning of section 30104(f)(3) of this title); or

(2) a person to solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation described in subparagraph (A) or (B) of paragraph (1) from a foreign national.

The Russians obviously violated this statute; they spent millions of dollars to promote the candidacies of Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Jill Stein, and to oppose the candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. So why weren’t they charged with the most pertinent crime they committed? Because Christopher Steele arguably violated the same law. He is a foreign national, and he contributed a “thing of value” to the Hillary Clinton campaign, namely the fake dossier.

Note, too, Section (2): it is a crime to “solicit, accept, or receive” such a contribution from a foreign national. Isn’t that what the Perkins, Coie law firm, the Clinton campaign, the DNC, and probably Hillary herself, did?

The FEC guidance on contributions by foreign nationals is interesting. There is a “volunteer exception”; i.e., foreign nationals can volunteer their services to a political campaign. But Steele wasn’t a volunteer.

I don’t doubt that election lawyers could come up with defenses for Christopher Steele, were he to be charged with violating §30121. But that is a can of worms that Mueller didn’t want to open. 

Too many people know the facts behind the Steele dossier, and if he had charged the Russians with meddling in the presidential election under §30121, he soon would have faced questions about why he didn’t indict Steele–and Glenn Simpson, Perkins, Coie, Clinton campaign officials, and perhaps Clinton–for the same offense.

It was in order to avoid that pitfall, I suspect, that Mueller overlooked the most relevant federal offense that the Russians committed, and instead charged them with a vague “conspiracy to defraud,” along with wire fraud, bank fraud and identity theft. The first charge is entirely discretionary on Mueller’s part, and Steele didn’t commit wire fraud, bank fraud or identity theft.

I think that is why Mueller chose not to indict the Russians for meddling in a U.S. presidential election.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Trump acknowledged Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election



 Despite the media saying otherwise, President Trump has consistently acknowledged Russian efforts to meddle in the 2016 election. For instance, he did so in:

·         January 2017 – Trump: “As far as hacking, I think it was Russia.”

·         June 2017 – Trump: “The Obama Administration knew far in advance of November 8th about election meddling by Russia. Did nothing about it. WHY?”

·         November 2017  - “Trump says he agrees with US intelligence community that Russia meddled in election”

 Special Council Mueller’s recent indictment proves Russia’s attempt to create chaos and disrupt democracy spanned beyond efforts to criticize Hillary Clinton. The indictment explained how:

 ·         Russians worked to bolster the candidacies o Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders

·         The Russians were behind the organization of anti-Trump rallies.

·         Sens. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz’s campaigns were also the target of the Russians.

 The indictment shows the Russians began their efforts to interfere with U.S. elections in 2014. Flashback:

 ·         “Obama team was warned in 2014 about Russian interference”


·         2012: President Obama: "I'm glad that you recognize that Al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what's the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaeda. You said Russia. In the 1980s, they're now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War's been over for 20 years."



 Finally, yesterday’s indictment goes out of its way to point out there is no evidence any of the Russians charged colluded with any members of the Trump campaign.  The “collusion” argument is one the left and media have been making for the past year, and it just fell on its face.

 Compiled by the Republican National Committee

Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Do We Do about the Biased and Incompetent FBI?


BY ROGER L SIMON I PJ Media



It's bad enough for a law enforcement agency to be biased. It's even worse for it to be biased and incompetent.

But the latter seems to be an apt characterization of our Federal Bureau of Investigation in the wake of the killings in Parkland, Florida, where, by their own admission, the organization overlooked warnings about the killer that could have saved seventeen students and teachers from mass murder. 

This is no mere bureaucratic slip-up and the demand by Governor Scott for the resignation of FBI Director Wray is understandable considering the number of dead children in his state.

The incompetence, moreover, is not just restricted to Parkland. It pervades an institution that—frequently blinded by the most rote political correctness—interviewed and then released terrorists who ultimately perpetrated horrific attacks from the Boston Marathon to the Orlando nightclub massacre. (There are several more.)

Those, to be kind, oversights demonstrate aspects of bias mixed with incompetence, but that lethal combination became yet more apparent throughout the Russian collusion investigation. 

For the last few weeks we have been digesting the nauseating probability that the FBI used a dossier paid for by the Clinton campaign and ginned up by an assembly of creepy political hatchet men and women (Blumenthal, Shearer, Steele, two Ohrs, etc.) with input from various "friends of the Kremlin" in order to spy on an American citizen and, undoubtedly, Donald Trump, before and after he became president.

In other words, the FBI displayed the behavior of a Banana Republic in its bias (well, it's a lot more than that, sadly ) at the same time it demonstrated its incompetence by doing so in a manner that would so easily—despite their myriad redactions—finally be uncovered. 

Many have stated they felt they could do this—play fast and loose—because Clinton's victory was assured, but even that was no guarantee. Documents exist. Did they think Tom Fitton and Judicial Watch would stop their FOIA requests? Eventually, the truth gets known. Whether anyone does anything about it is another matter.

This  "biased incompetence" has not gone away. 

It showed up again Friday in the supposedly momentous announcement by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies have been indicted for monkeying with our 2016 election via social media. Two of them even came to the U.S. to do it.  

Aiming to wreak havoc with our system, they are alleged to have done everything from exploiting minority groups (in the grand Soviet tradition)  to instigating pro and con Donald Trump demonstrations on the same day.

Disinformation, as most intelligence officials know, or should, has been a hallmark of Russian intelligence since the czars. (Remember The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?) These particular Russkies began their disinformation campaign back in 2014, two years before the election.

Wait... 2014?

Where was the FBI? Why did it take them so long to unmask a fairly paltry one million dollar Internet campaign using the most old-style Soviet front groups, although throwing them up online this time? 

Could it be because this all got started under Obama and he was the one who famously excoriated Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential debates for daring to point out that Russia was still a serious threat? 

Obama (busy cozying up to and ultimately enriching Iran) accused Mitt of being back in the eighties. The Cold War had been over for twenty years. No wonder the FBI wasn't paying much attention to Putin & Co.

Evidently it took the Trump-Russia gambit to get them off their duffs to discover this giant espionage ring—this even though Rosenstein admitted during his press conference it had no impact on the election and did not involve a single willing U.S. citizen. 

At certain levels, it seemed almost like a practical joke.

Incompetence, indeed. 

It's worth remembering that the FBI has a history of missing out on Russian threats.

 Back in 1940, Whittaker Chambers also famously came forward to warn them about the Ware Group of Soviet spies, including Alger Hiss, that had infiltrated the highest levels of the U.S. government—something far more serious than we have today—but his warnings were dismissed by the feds. Chambers was right, of course. 

At least the excuse at that point was that the FBI was more worried about the Nazis than the communists. 

Nowadays, the excuse seems to be Donald Trump.

No, our FBI is not the stuff of legend, if it ever was, although, obviously, good, hard-working people work there. 

But it doesn't seem to be doing its job. 

In fact, it seems to be doing the wrong job

The bias and incompetence have infected each other to a degree that is indeed lethal. 

They are a bureaucratic organization gone rotten.

The solution isn't that complicated but it's painful.  

Since the fish rots from the top, cut it off.  All of it.

Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Academy Award-nominated screenwriter and co-founder of PJ Media.  His latest book is I Know Best:  How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If  It Hasn't Already.