Friday Top Headline Summary

by Media Editors: The omnibus spending deal received President Donald Trump’s signature this morning. The president simultaneously declared a national emergency, which will be the foundation for seeking another $8 billion in border-barrier funding. There is no question that this battle will soon move to the courts.

“Amazon announced Thursday it will not build its headquarters in New York City after local opposition,” according to CNBC. “The company had originally planned to build the campus in the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens” Amazon had no other choice given the prevailing political headwinds.

William Barr is officially the new attorney general following a 54-45 vote in the Senate on Thursday. “Barr now will head the Justice Department during a pivotal time, overseeing special counsel dirty cop-Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference of the 2016 presidential election,” ABC News reports. “The Senate vote fell roughly along party lines, with a majority of Democrats opposing his confirmation.”

Think Democrats are for “the little guy”? Think again. “Amid all the hoopla about Democrats wanting to raise taxes on the rich, they are quietly working on a bill that would increase taxes on every working family in America,” reports Investor’s Business Daily. “Why? To fund expanded benefits for baby boomers hitting retirement. The Social Security 2100 Act would hike the combined payroll taxes paid by workers and their employers from 12.4% today to 14.8% by 2043. The bill would also apply the payroll tax on incomes over $400,000. According to the Social Security Administration, in the first 12 years alone, this would amount to a $1.5 trillion tax hike.”

From The Hill: “U.S. retail sales in December suffered their worst decline in nine years, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday, a potential red flag for economic growth.” It’s a dark cloud in an overall strong economy.

“In Rhode Island, legislators are considering a bill to put their state on par with New York by repealing nearly all existing protections for unborn life,” report the editors of National Review. “It is part of a national campaign by Democrats to use deceptive marketing to enshrine a regime of elective abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.”

California Republicans call for re-do vote on high-speed rail project after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “bait-and-switch” on the subject, Fox News reports. “I would support the citizens of the Central Valley putting this up to a vote again,” Shannon Grove, the Republican Minority Leader of the California State Senate.

Actor Jussie Smollet allegedly staged an anti-gay hate-crime attack against himself and lied to police, who say it’s “unconfirmed” and “inaccurate,” reports Reason. But hey — he’s homosexual and has to be believed. Smollett even complained: “It feels like if I had said it was a Muslim, or a Mexican, or someone black, I feel like the doubters would have supported me much more.” Or maybe if he had told the truth…

More Facebook facepalm: “Facebook maintains a list of individuals that its security guards must ‘be on lookout’ for that is comprised of users who’ve made threatening statements against the company on its social network as well as numerous former employees,” CNBC reports. Meanwhile, The Washington Post says, “The Federal Trade Commission and Facebook are negotiating over a multibillion-dollar fine that would settle the agency’s investigation into the social media giant’s privacy practices.”

Once you get beyond the government, the greatest threats to free speech and free thought in America are the social media companies that have been allowed to become monopolies,“ argues John Hawkins at Pajamas Media. And he offers 15 quotes from social-media executives and others to make the case.

Humor: Conservatives accused of making liberals look bad by simply reading a list of things liberals believe, teases The Babylon Bee. All this “pouncing” and “seizing on” is just beyond the pale.

~The Patriot Post


How the Trump Administration can Improve Health Care Coverage

by Michael McGrady and Dr. Michael Koriwchak

{} ~ In October 2018, the Trump administration issued a proposed rule that would greatly expand the use of Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRAs). HRAs are account-based group plans that employers can utilize to provide pretax health care funds to their employees… Employees with HRAs can use these accounts, which are funded exclusively by employers, to pay for qualifying health expenses, such as out-of-pocket costs for a medical procedure. Unused funds roll over to the following year. In the executive order that spurred the proposed rule change, President Donald Trump directed the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and the Treasury to “increase the usability of HRAs, to expand employers’ ability to offer HRAs to their employees, and to allow HRAs to be used in conjunction with nongroup coverage.” The proposed rule would increase access to HRAs and allow employees more ways to use them, reversing the approach of the previous administration. HRA funds could be utilized to cover premiums for individual health insurance coverage, and a new “excepted benefit HRA” would permit employees to use HRAs to pay for short-term, limited-duration health insurance plans, according to an October report by Health Affairs. Short-term, limited-duration plans are much more affordable than the plans now offered in scumbag/liar-nObamacare exchanges. The Treasury Department estimates 800,000 employers and 10 million employees would take advantage of HRAs once the new rules are fully implemented. Although the proposed HRA rule is a major step forward, there is still room for improvement. In particular, the rule should be expanded so that employees can use HRA funds to pay for direct primary care (DPC) agreements…


Palestinians: “Journalism” Hamas Style

by Khaled Abu Toameh

{} ~ Hamas, as part of its crackdown on freedom of the media, has imposed yet another restriction on the work of journalists in the Gaza Strip… The Hamas measure has left many Palestinian journalists worried about their ability to report on what is happening in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. Foreign journalists, for their part, have yet to respond to the latest assault on public freedoms. What exactly did Hamas do to anger the Palestinian journalists? Earlier this week, the Hamas-controlled Government Press Office issued a directive in which it said that, as of April 1, journalists will not be permitted to conduct interviews or enter government institutions in the Gaza Strip unless they have obtained a “press card” issued by the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Information. This new directive means that any journalist who does not receive a “press card” from Hamas will not be able to operate freely and independently in the Gaza Strip. Needless to say, Hamas is not about to give credentials to any journalist who is not affiliated with the Islamist movement and its ideology. Also, Hamas is not going to give its “press cards” to any journalist who dares to criticize its rule over the Gaza Strip or express a different opinion. Worse, by granting itself the right to issue “press cards,” Hamas can now decide who is a journalist and who is not. Basically, Hamas’s message to journalists is, “If you’re not with us, go find yourself another job.”…


Trump Demands California Pay Back Federal Government For Canceled Bullet Train Project

by Evie Fordham

{} ~ President Donald Trump demanded that California pay back the federal government for its abandoned high-speed rail project, in a tweet Wednesday evening… “California has been forced to cancel the massive bullet train project after having spent and wasted many billions of dollars,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “They owe the Federal Government three and a half billion dollars. We want that money back now. Whole project is a ‘green’ disaster!” Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom responded to Trump’s tweet Wednesday evening. “Fake news,” Newsom wrote on Twitter. “We’re building high-speed rail, connecting the Central Valley and beyond. This is California’s money, allocated by Congress for this project. We’re not giving it back. The train is leaving the station — better get on board! Also, desperately searching for some wall $$??” Newsom announced Tuesday he was abandoning the high-speed rail project that sought to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco…


The Green New Deal

by Norman Rogers

{} ~ Apparently, the inmates have taken over the asylum, led by the former barmaid commie-Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, now a member of Congress. The Green New Deal is a bizarre plan to create a cultural revolution in the United States… The role of Mao’s little red book is replaced by the musings of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). After the green revolution, happiness will reign throughout the land. Ms. commie-Ocasio can’t even make a credible threat to our economic well-being. According to the Green New Deal, if we don’t prevent global warming, we will lose $500 billion of annual economic output by 2100. The current GDP of the U.S. is $20 trillion. Assuming modest real growth of one percent per year, GDP will be $44 trillion in current dollars by 2100. Losing $500 billion or 1.1 percent of 2100 economic output is clearly minor and would be made up by 2101. The Green New Deal advocates instantly destroy their own argument with their own numbers. We are told that the United States must adopt a leading role in reducing CO2 emissions because we are responsible for 20% of cumulative emissions. Referring to cumulative rather than current emissions is sleight of hand. The U.S. is responsible for about 14% of CO2 emissions and these have been declining due to increased use of carbon-light natural gas. The rest of the world is responsible for 86% of the emissions and the rest of the world is not adopting a Green New Deal. The words “China” or “Asia” don’t appear in the text of the Green New Deal. If we are to be serious about reducing CO2 emissions, isn’t it necessary to discuss the source of the vast majority of those emissions? The reports of the IPCC and of the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) are political documents masquerading as scientific studies. These organizations produce fantasy reports that illustrate the computer rule of garbage in, garbage out. The organizations have been discredited by dozens of books, and many reports from disaffected scientists. But the political utility of the doomsday predictions is so great that the political left proclaims that the doomsday predictions are “settled science.” Marx and Engels called their evil theories scientific socialism in order to borrow the prestige of science. If you need evidence that the IPCC is a fraud, you only have to know that it received the Nobel Peace Prize. The Peace Prize promotes leftist ideology by borrowing the scientific prestige associated with the separate Nobel prizes given for science. The Peace Prize has often been given to frauds and fashionable tricksters…


Innovative Treatments May Require Equally Innovative Health Care Payment Models


{} ~ What Sen. commie-Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare-for-all,” former President scumbag/liar-nObama’s Affordable Care Act and former House Speaker Paul Ryan’s Medicare “premium support” model all have in common is an overemphasis on health insurance coverage… who needs it, who is eligible for it, at what level and who should pay for it private sector vs. state governments vs. federal government. Yet insurance coverage and health care are two different things. A focus on the first one has resulted in an endless debate over which third party pays for people’s health care bills. Whether your preference is the government or private insurers, both end up creating massive distortions and moral hazards, which then results in higher costs and poorer-quality health care. My colleague Dr. Robert Graboyes encourages us to instead think about how to produce better health not health insurance — not even health care for more people at a lower cost, year after year. This requires allowing and fostering the kind of revolutionary innovation in the health care industry that we’ve seen in other fields, like information technology. It requires allowing consumers to choose treatments, even high-risk ones. But it also requires innovation in the provision and payment of health care. For instance, advancements in gene therapy and personalized treatments could one day offer a cure for cancer or disorders currently considered incurable, sometimes with only a single injection. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration approved its first gene therapy treatment, Kymriah, for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The FDA expects 10 to 20 cell and gene therapy approvals annually by 2025…


How Trump Can Get the Rest of His Wall Money — Without a Shutdown or Emergency

by Marc A. Thiessen

It’s official. We just had the longest government shutdown in history over nothing. Democrats have agreed to fund $1.375 billion for 55 miles of physical barrier along the border, which is only a little more than what Trump would have gotten under a continuing resolution that funded the government at current levels — and far less than the $5.7 billion Trump demanded to build 230 miles of barriers that experts and the Department of Homeland Security said they need to secure the border.

But Trump can still get the rest of the money — without a government shutdown or declaring a national emergency.

Shutting down the government again isn’t an option. Democrats are not afraid of another shutdown. They know if Trump rejects this deal and closes the government, he would get the blame, and in a few weeks’ time we would end right up back where we are now — with a bad deal. They have zero incentive to give him more money for a border wall.

Declaring a national emergency would also be a mistake. Trump could face a rebellion within his own party, and rightly so. An emergency declaration is intended for actual emergencies — such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks or Hurricane Katrina. If Trump declares an emergency to circumvent Congress and build his wall, then a left-wing president could use that precedent one day to declare climate change a national emergency and implement the Green New Deal. Besides, the courts would likely enjoin his emergency declaration, tying up wall money for months if not years.

To win, Trump needs to shift the debate to a place where he has real leverage: using the threat of a sequester, rather than a shutdown, to force the Democrats to give him his border barrier. In 10 months’ time, if Congress fails to act, then an automatic sequester will kick in that would reduce federal spending in 2020 to levels that Congress and President Barack scumbag/liar-nObama set in the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress agreed to lift those spending caps for two years in 2018, increasing both defense and nondefense discretionary spending above sequester levels by $165 billion and $131 billion, respectively. But that deal runs out at the end of the year. If Congress does not lift the caps by December, then automatic $55 billion across-the-board cuts to domestic discretionary spending will take place, while defense spending will be cut by $71 billion.

That looming deadline gives Trump leverage he needs to get his wall. Democrats may not fear another shutdown, but will they really sacrifice $55 billion for domestic priorities next year just to deny Trump a measly $5.7 billion for a physical border barrier? Unlikely. If anything, Democrats want to use their new House majority to demand significant increases to domestic spending. Denying Trump his wall in December would lead to severe cuts. And Democrats would hardly have grounds on which to complain, since Trump would simply be following the terms of a budget deal that a Democratic-controlled Senate passed and scumbag/liar-nObama signed into law.

Of course, the defense cuts were intended as a deterrent to conservatives, who know they would be potentially disastrous for U.S. national security. But Trump may not care. He wants his wall and may be willing to swallow temporary defense cuts to inflict sufficient pain on the Democrats to get it.

Trump can’t win a shutdown fight today. But he can win a sequester fight at the end of the year. He should take the deal on the table today, resist the temptation to invoke a national emergency and then get the rest of his wall money in December when he finally has the upper hand. ~The Patriot Post


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