Cuomo: America was never great

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is in hot water for countering Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan with one of his own: “America was never that great”.  I don’t know how far that’s going to get him with the majority of Americans, but it will play well with the radical Democratic Socialists on the Left.  Just yesterday Bernie Sanders said America is “fundamentally immoral and wrong”.  Andrew Cuomo’s brother and CNN commentator Chris Cuomo recently got himself in trouble suggesting that punching right-wingers was morally justifiable.

Democrat governor says America was never great

Economists are taking Elizabeth Warren to task over her far fetched Accountable Capitalism Act.  Warren, who opposes free market capitalism, came up with the idea of having corporations have to obtain a “Federal charter” to operate.  The license, in addition to the hoops they have to jump through to work in their state, would raise $1 billion in fee taxes.  Warren’s so-called “charter” would require corporate directors to consider not just their stakeholders, but also their employees and communities.

Of course, this is moronic.  Any well run company has to consider the well-being of their employees and communities or the free market will eliminate that company from competition.  In fact, that point was made by none other than BET co-founder Robert Johnson.  The Black Entertainment Television co-founder said “Most companies and most boards look at all of their stakeholders, not only their shareholders. They look at their employees, they look at the community where they reside and do business, they look at even the vendors that they do business with. So I think it’s a solution in search of a problem that’s absolutely not necessary,”

What Warren’s bill, along with the exemptions for friends of the ruling party that we have seen with previous Socialist overreaches, would create a new avenue for crony capitalism.  In other words, to get an exemption for your federal charter or to guarantee you have your charter maintained, you have to stay friendly with the party in power.  We saw the same thing with ACA where Obama’s biggest supporters received exemptions to various new labor rules.

Warren’s new socialist measure to control businesses gets a failing grade

Trump is implementing what Obama failed to do with his new Buy America push.  Trump is planning on using an executive order to create rules to ensure that federal agencies use American made goods and services for their projects.  There are questions about the legality of the executive order and sure to be legal challenges.  There are also issues of increased costs to the taxpayers if the government has to buy more expensive American goods.

Obama tried and failed to pass a buy American provision in 2009 and again in 2011.  He backed off of the provision in 2009 after American companies who sell overseas swayed him away from the influence of the US labor unions with fears of foreign retaliation.  When Obama flopped back to supporting Buy American, the Jobs Act of 2011 was squashed by the GOP.

Our opinion?  It was wrong when Obama tried it, it’s wrong now.  Free trade produces lower prices for consumers and taxpayers, and competition helps American producers to be efficient.  A better way to help American producers is to cut taxes and regulation so that they can compete on the high end of the global scale.  But Trump is doubly wrong by doing this as an executive order rather than through Congress.  Many Democrats support Buy American provisions.  Labor unions love it.  By going it alone, Trump will alienate conservative and free market GOP members, but I doubt he’ll receive any recognition from the left.  Democrats also supported protectionist tariffs, until Trump did it.  All around this is poor strategy and contrary to free market principles.

Trump to accomplish Obama agenda item with Buy American executive order

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Fox News and CNN earn 100% bias rating on the same story

It’s rare to see too competing and ideologically different media outlets get the same issue so wrong.  But that’s what happened on Wednesday when Sarah Sanders refused to guarantee that Donald Trump has never and would never behave a specific way.  That sparked unfounded accusations from the two media outlets that Trump was on some secret tape somewhere using racial slurs.  Of course, if that tape ever did arise it would be a glorious day for liberal and establishment Republican allies.  So glorious in fact, that if the tape existed it, like Russian collusion evidence, would be on a 24/7 news cycle until even the spaghetti spine GOP establishment would be voting to impeach Trump.  But no tape has surfaced.

In fact, Trump himself made a statement that no tape exists because he doesn’t use those words.  “They aren’t in my vocabulary” tweeted the President.  Mark Burnett who produced The Apprentice has confirmed no such tape exists.  But the media took one ridiculous question from a reporter and Sarah Sanders’ reasonable response and turned it into the big story.

CNN took it a step further with Anderson Cooper “explaining” how Sarah Sanders basically admitted there is a Trump N-word tape out there somewhere:

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2018/08/14/kth-omarosa-trump-white-house-nword-dog-ac-vpx.cnn

“Today the woman who speaks for the President of the United States said she cannot rule out…” was how Cooper begins.  But that is a complete mischaracterization of what actually happened.  In fact CNN tweeted the exchange before driving their unhinged narrative that Sanders was admitting something.  As a reporter asks her about the possibility of the existence of the tape, Sanders says several times that President Trump has addressed the question directly and she would refer them to him.

The reporter pressed and asked if she could guarantee that no tape with Trump using a racial slur will ever show up.  But Sanders can’t predict the future, nor can she speak beyond what she knows.  So she directed them back to the President’s statement.  Sanders’ refusal to guarantee that there will never be a tape now or in the future of Trump saying something turned into the Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC headline.

We spelled it out for CNN on our Instagram page:

As a result of this media narrative, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC have earned a 100% bias rating on the story, and our Brief’s On Fire label.

Drain the Swamp: Brennan loses security clearance

Former CIA director turned far left political commentator John Brennan saw his security clearance finally revoked on Wednesday.  Brennan was cited for “lying” and conduct unbecoming for someone who has access to the nation’s secrets.  But Brennan isn’t the only one on the list being considered.

Politico also names FBI Director James Comey, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden, former national security adviser Susan Rice, former FBI attorney Lisa Page, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, former FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Bruce Ohr.  McCabe and Strzok were fired from the FBI for misconduct.

Bruce Ohr has been demoted from assistant deputy attorney general and may not have a job much longer.  He was a crucial part of the Russian investigation, even though his wife worked for Fusion GPS.  In addition to Bruce Ohr’s connections to Fusion GPS, Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya was also a client of Fusion GPS when she set up her meeting with Donald Trump, Jr. in Trump tower.  Nothing happened at the meeting, but it has been cited by liberals as Russian collusion.  Some speculate that entire meeting was a Fusion GPS setup.

It’s possible these late moves are more than just cleaning house.  Many of these individuals have a very suspect past when it comes to the botched Clinton investigation and the unnecessary Trump investigation.  We have seen plenty of evidence from Strzok’s texts of collusion with the Obama administration to stop Trump.  And when you add in the Fusion GPS connections, everyone seems to be in bed with everyone else.  In some cases, literally.

The Inspector General’s office continues it’s investigation into these individuals, but Horowitz’s conclusions have thus far been suspect.  His decision that Strzok’s texts didn’t show bias gives me little hope for the future of that investigation.

8/15/18: What’s going on in Turkey

Tensions have continued to rise between the US and Turkey.  At the center of the dispute is a US pastor who was arrested as part of retaliation for a failed coup in Turkey in 2016.  Andrew Brunson is being held under house arrest and charged with espionage, but the US denies all charges.  To get Brunson back, Trump has used tariffs as more than just economic retaliation for another country’s tariffs, but is now using them for diplomatic pressure as well.  Turkey’s court of appeals refused to release Brunson this week.

Trump hits Turkey with tariffs, Turkey responds in kind over detained pastor

In an update to a story we brought you a few days ago, there are now over 200 papers in the US set to write anti-Trump editorials to supposedly prove that they are unbiased and don’t deserve to ever be called out for fake news.  Media outlets led by CNN’s cry baby Jim Acosta and the Boston Globe have feared that the “fake news” label on news that isn’t true is going to cause violence against the media.

Meanwhile, as we reported on our Facebook page yesterday, CNN’s Chris Cuomo made a feeble attempt to ask Antifa to cool it when it comes to actually physically assaulting members of the media.  Cuomo’s rambling charge against Antifa seemed to suggest that they were ok to be violent as long as it was against bigots, but that they really ought to leave the press and the cops alone.  He ignored their attacks on non-white supremacist Trump supporters who happened to be in the area and were assaulted.

200+ Media outlets set to attack Trump to show they aren’t biased

Twitter has joined the ranks of social media platforms in banning Alex Jones, but only for a short period of time after he violated one of their rules with a video he linked to.  Twitter had stated that they would not ban him unless he violated one of their rules.  The current restriction is temporary.  Jones has gotten a lot of mileage out of the bans on other social media platforms.  Alex Jones’ site, Infowars, tends to be a cesspool of conspiracy theory and Jones’ lawyer admitted in a recent court battle that he is “playing a character” in his role as a media personality.

At Political Brief, we don’t follow Alex Jones.  We support his right to free speech and expression, but we also support the right of private businesses to make the economic decision to discriminate when it comes to hosting private individuals.  Consumers will need to decide for themselves if blocking Alex Jones is enough to get them to leave those social media platforms.  It also is a good caution to consumers to remember that political commentators have an agenda.  Be sure to double check sources and treat any political story with skepticism, whether it’s Alex Jones or Jim Acosta.  Also, know that Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and other platforms are privately run and push content to you.  The best way to navigate politics online is to do your research and find people you trust.

Twitter restricts Alex Jones after video violation

8/14/18:The missing tape

CBS is leading off today with a new recording from Omarosa from 2016 in which Omarosa insists to other campaign officials that Trump used the N word while filming the Apprentice.  Omarosa has maintained this claim and that there is a recording, although the existence of the recording remains unverified.  In the recorded phonecall with Lynne Patton and Katrina Pierson, Patton says she asked Trump if he had used the word and he said no.  Someone believed by CBS to be Pierson then says “no, he said it”, although that could be Omarosa talking.  Pierson has denied that they knew about this tape or were trying to spin it.

Omarosa insists that she heard this supposed recording of Trump using the N word, but has not given any details about the specific context.  Producer Mark Burnett apparently called Trump to reassure him no such tape exists.  Omarosa was fired for multiple ethics violations and potentially violated the law by illegally taping White House meetings.

Omarosa cites phantom recording of Trump, but has no evidence

Al Gore is out there now resetting the Global Warming apocalypse timeframe.  Gore said Trump hasn’t been as bad as he thought, and with a new President we could be back on track to save the planet.  Gore has previously cited Global Warming studies to predict that the polar ice caps would be melted and gone by 2014.  Gore also predicted 2016 would be the point of no return for hoping to stop Global Warming.  Apparently, having survived two previous near apocalypses, if only we can get a new President we’ll be OK.  I wonder who he has in mind?

Al Gore discovers the Global Warming apocalypse hasn’t happened yet

Radical Democrat protesters are being investigated by the Secret Service after calling for violence against the President.  The Antifa group, made up of Democrats, Democratic Socialists, and Communists, attacked Trump supporters, beat cops, and tangled with Secret Service in violent demonstrations over the weekend.  Some protesters were asked on camera what they would do if they saw Trump.  Their suggestions ranged from unhinged violence to sodomy and murder.  It is a felony to threaten to harm or kill the President.  The protesters also called on violence towards “fascists”, but their definition is broad and includes pretty much anyone who disagrees with them.

We believe that if Trump has a duty to denounce white supremacist groups over and over, then Democrat leaders have a duty to denounce Antifa as well.  Last year when a tiny group of white supremacists clashed with violent Antifa members, Trump was severely criticized for denouncing violence “on both sides”.  We are now calling out Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and anyone else who considers themselves leaders on the Left.  It’s time to condemn the violent bigotry of Antifa and call on them to go home and consider joining only in the civil debate our political system is built on.

Violent Democrats and Leftists under investigation

Supply, Demand, and Economic Cycles

Before engaging in political debate, it’s good to have a knowledge base built up to help your arguments.  It is also helpful to challenge your presuppositions and make sure that you have a good foundation from which to build your positions.  One of the issues that throws off both sides of the aisle is a basic lack of understanding when it comes to economic cycles.  For example, without a good understanding of cycles someone would look at the Clinton economy and Bush economy and think that Bush had bad economic policy while Clinton had good economic policy.  That is a simplistic understanding if you don’t factor in the cycles that played into their success and the difficulties they overcame.

To understand economic cycles, let’s start with a brief discussion of supply, demand, and equilibrium.  Equilibrium is the price at which those who sell and those who buy come to agreement to the point where every product produced is sold and every buyer is satisfied.  As you can imagine, equilibrium is more theoretical than practical.  Whenever the market is not at equilibrium, there is a vacuum that drives economic decisions to produce more, seek alternatives, etc.  For example, if you have five people buying and four bananas for sale, the price of bananas will go up until only the people who want the bananas enough to pay more will buy them.

In a free market society, producers will produce what consumers want and need at a price they are willing to pay.  While the market finds it’s way towards this ideal, there is a vacuum between equilibrium price and surplus on one side or shortage on the other.

Economic growth and retraction occurs in this vacuum.  When there is an oversupply, producers will cut back production to stabilize the price and bring it up.  When there is a shortage, producers will find ways to produce more to take advantage of higher prices, which will drive the price down.  This means economic growth or retraction.  On the flip side, when prices are too high buyers will seek alternatives.  When prices are too low, buyers will increase consumption.  These also lead to economic growth, enrichment, and opportunity.  When a pricey product is replaced by a better or lower cost product, this leads to the enrichment of the innovator and losses by those who previously had control over the market.  This idea of self correction was the idea behind Adam Smith’s invisible hand.

Forces exterior to the free market can also have an effect.  For example, if the government lowers taxes, that puts more money in the pocket of consumers and shifts the demand curve.  That means they can buy more because they can afford higher prices.  Equilibrium price goes up and producers produce more.  When the government takes money out of the economy, the opposite happens.  If there is a discovery of new sources of a product or commodity, for example the innovation of the shale industry, the supply curve shifts and prices go down.

Economic cycles happen as the vacuum in the supply and demand system flips from prices being too high to prices being too low, or when we go from shortages to surpluses in the market.  We saw this with the housing market in 2006.  Supply could not keep up with demand, so prices of real estate went up.  There were winners, those who sold high, and losers, those who had to buy less house for their money.  Then in 2008 we saw a reversal of fortunes.  The winners were those picking up foreclosures and cheap houses off an oversupplied market, while the losers were those stuck in a house they couldn’t afford in the first place.

John Maynard Keynes believed the government could play a role in efficiently managing economic cycles.  For example, he understood that deficit spending by the government artificially grew the economy.  Higher taxes and less spending would slow down an overheating economy and soften the blow of a future crash.  When Clinton left office, we were heading for a severe market correction caused by the tech bubble crash and 9/11.  Bush, a Keynesian, cut taxes and increased spending to turn the economy around.

Some take it too far.  Obama believed he could eliminate economic cycles through massive government stimulus and regulation.  His theory actually worked.  For nearly 8 years the natural economic cycle was suppressed.  Unfortunately this was while we were due a recovery.  Once Trump cut taxes and lifted thousands of burdensome regulations, the economy resumed it’s normal cycle by overcoming years of repressed growth.

Socialists, the most extreme of which are the Communists, believed that government could effectively control equilibrium prices by controlling supply.  As a most egregious example, Communism determined exactly what a person needed and attempted to provide it.  Unfortunately the government could not provide what it did not have, and without a free economic cycle there was no impetus outside of government force to cause people to produce.  Eventually as resources run out and incentives are withheld, Communist systems beyond the tiniest scales will collapse.

More moderate Socialist systems such as Liberalism rely on marginal incentive by only seeking to control certain aspects of the economy.  However, even in these modules of the economy, the loss of incentive to produce or value of the product is devastating.  For example, in the education system Liberalism creates artificial demand.  They do this by hiding the true cost of education from the consumer.  As a result, the increase in demand produces a higher price point.  The higher price point draws more suppliers into the market, but there is no economic impetus to produce a superior good.  As a result, we have high cost education with a reduction in quality.

Every economic decision should be considered in light of how it affects the supply and demand dynamic.  For example, allowing bankruptcy for student loans sounds great on paper.  But when you do that, it means there will be an artificial increase in demand.  The artificial increase causes the price of student loans, or the interest rate, to go up.  Government control over interest rates causes suppliers to be artificially repressed which also puts pressure on prices to go up.  When the government runs out of suppliers for a regulated product like student loans, the government must become the supplier in order to maintain the product.  But government can’t just print student loan dollars without devaluing the dollar and crashing the economy.  Someone has to pay.  Now suddenly bankruptcy on student loans means taxpayers are being forced to subsidize a product regardless of demand.  Consumers no longer have the freedom to choose whether or not to buy student loans; they are compelled to through taxes.

Libertarians tend to hold to Adam Smith’s view of the economy.  Give consumers choice and liberty, and the economy will correct itself.  If the government doesn’t build roads, consumers will demand roads and suppliers will build them.  Bridges to nowhere won’t exist because there will be no demand for them.  Those who cannot afford roads will invent alternatives.

Republicans and some of the most moderate Democrats hold to Keynesian economic models.  Republicans tend to see tax cuts as the way to spur economic growth, while leaving the consumer with freedom to buy what they demand.  Democrats look to spending increases to spur the economy.  Stimulus and government programs inject dollars into the economy.  The consumer buys what the government compels them to, such as healthcare, failed solar companies, and someone’s old “clunker” car.

In the extreme of Marxism, the government under the false guise of representing the “people”, seizes the means of production and controls supply and price regardless of consumer demand.  In these models, most recently touted by Democratic Socialists, the government gives you what the government believes you need.  Much like a slave, you receive food, shelter, government approved education, and government guaranteed income.  And like a slave, you are required by the government to do your duty to the people by working, buying and supplying as the government sees fit. Those who do not fit within the system are eliminated from the system because there is no other way.  This is why every Communist regime devolves into intense human rights abuse, and often genocide.  In lesser extremes we see penalty taxes for refusing to buy and vilification of those who have untaxed means.

Every political question of economics should be viewed through the lens of supply and demand, and the validation of good policy should take into account where we sit in an economic cycle.  Generally, the freer the market, the faster the growth, retraction, recovery cycle will go.  But in the end, the most important thing is economic liberty for the consumer and the supplier.  Liberty for the consumer creates an efficient market where people can choose to buy what they want and need.  Liberty for the producer allows them to freely produce what consumers desire or create new products for lower prices that exceed consumer expectations.  This is what creates wealth and consumer satisfaction throughout an entire economic system.

Breaking: Almost two years later, Peter Strzok is fired

The FBI agent who was an integral part of the Clinton and Trump investigations has finally been fired.  Peter Strzok, who became infamous for his anti-Trump and election meddling texts, was originally only to be demoted and suspended.  However, FBI Deputy Director David Bodwich overruled the disciplinary office and fired Strzok.

Strzok’s private texts were a goldmine for Trump supporters as the Trump Russia collusion investigation fell apart.  Strzok was having an affair with FBI attorney Lisa Page and texted her about his progress in investigating Trump.  Strzok texted her that Hillary should win, even though he was still investigating Hillary for her illegal email server.  Strzok went on to text that they would “stop Trump”, and went as far as colluding with her to spark the Russian investigation.

Strzok texted with Page about Andrew McCabe’s idea of the Russian investigation being an “insurance policy” in case Trump was elected.  They also texted about Strzok’s relationship with FISA Court judge Contreras in the context of how to spy on the Trump campaign.

In testimony before Congress, Strzok appeared angry, confident, and incredulous that he would be questioned over his texts.  He attempted to explain them away as simply personal political activism that didn’t affect his job, however even Lisa Page admitted that everyone understood his activism in the context of his job at the FBI.

Strzok’s friend and boss, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, was fired earlier this year for leaking to the media.  McCabe was in charge of the Clinton and Trump investigations, and responsible for using Hillary’s bought and paid for Russian dossier propaganda to get FISA warrants to spy on Trump.  McCabe refused to recuse himself, even though his wife was running for office in Virginia as a Democrat.

With McCabe and Strzok fired in disgrace and admissions from Comey and Mueller that Trump was never a target of the Russia investigation, the only thing left for Mueller is the possibility of a perjury rap if he can get Trump under oath.  This isn’t likely at this point unless Mueller subpoenas Trump.