Tuesday Top News Executive Summary

Media Editors: National Security

ASYLUM CLAMPDOWN: “Being part of a family that’s harassed by a gang isn’t enough on its own to qualify for asylum, Attorney General William P. Barr ruled Monday, in the latest effort by the administration to put a cap on the expanding universe of asylum claims. Mr. Barr overturned a decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, which had ruled that being part of a targeted family could qualify as a distinct social group, which is a key element of valid asylum claims.” (The Washington Times)

NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS: “The Trump administration on Monday issued new sanctions against a North Korean official who the United States accuses of aiding Pyongyang’s illicit nuclear weapons and ballistic missile research programs. The latest disclosures indicate that a senior North Korean official sought to import and export sensitive materials through Vietnam, a matter that is rankling U.S. diplomats working to push North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un back to the negotiating table.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

VETOS SUSTAINED: “The Senate on Monday failed to override President Trump’s vetoes of resolutions blocking his arms deal with Saudi Arabia, marking the latest setback for critics of Riyadh. Senators voted 45-40, 45-39 and 46-41 on the override attempts, falling well short of the two-thirds majority needed to nix Trump’s veto.” (The Hill)

Government & Politics

PARDONS: “President Donald Trump granted full pardons Monday to five individuals previously involved in offenses like transporting marijuana and drug-trafficking. The president decided John Richard Bubala, Roy Wayne McKeever, Rodney Takumi, Michael Tedesco and Chalmer Lee Williams were worthy of Executive Grants of Clemency after ‘a careful review of the files’ of each individual, according to an official statement from the Office of the Press Secretary.” (The Daily Caller)

9/11 VICTIM FUND SIGNED: “President Trump welcomed 9/11 first responders to the White House Monday morning, as he signed a bill that will ensure continued funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund. The bill ensures that first responders suffering from illnesses such as lung disease and cancer as a result of their experiences helping at the sites of the 2001 terror attacks will continue to receive government aid.” (Fox News)

RACE BAIT: “The executive director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) resigned Monday after Democratic lawmakers and DCCC staffers lashed out publicly at the organization’s leadership over their failure to prioritize racial diversity.” (National Review)


HEALTH-CARE TRANSPARENCY: “The Trump administration wants to force hospitals to disclose to patients how much they charge for all supplies, tests and procedures. A new proposal released Monday aims to make it easier for patients to shop around for the best price by forcing hospitals to disclose what are often secret rates negotiated with insurance companies. Under the policy, hospitals would be required to post online all charges for all items and services provided by the hospital beginning Jan. 1, 2020.” (The Hill)

CREDIT-CARD BREACH: “Capital One … announced Monday that a hacker had accessed about 100 million credit card applications, and investigators say thousands of Social Security and bank account numbers were also taken. The FBI has arrested a Seattle area woman, Paige A. Thompson, on a charge of computer fraud and abuse, according to court records.” (The Washington Post)

Around the Nation

MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZED: “New York governor scumbag-Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a law that decriminalizes the recreational use of marijuana in the state but stops short of legalizing the drug. … Under the new law, possession of under two ounces of marijuana will be a misdemeanor punished by a fine. In addition, individuals convicted of certain Marijuana-related charges in the past will see those convictions expunged from their records.” (National Review)

EQUAL PAY — AND THEN SOME: “Facing mounting public pressure in a fight over equitable pay, U.S. Soccer said the World Cup champion women’s national team has been paid more than the men’s team. According to a letter released Monday by U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro, the federation paid out $34.1 million in salary and game bonuses to the women between 2010 and 2018 as opposed to $26.4 million paid to the men. The total does not include the value of benefits received only by the women, like health care.” (Associated Press)

Closing Arguments

POLICY: The Fed is courting disaster by leaving interest rates too low (New York Post)

POLICY: Lack of funding is not what ails American schools (National Review)

HUMOR: Rep. worthless-Omar and husband to divorce, agree to see other siblings (Genesius Times)

~The Patriot Post



Tax increases to fund Social Security expansion will cut Medicare

by Andrew G. Biggs

{ aei.org } ~ Today, the House Ways and Means Committee held its fourth and likely final hearing on the Social Security 2100 Act, a proposal to expand Social Security benefits… that has 210 Democratic sponsors and is likely to pass the House in the autumn. That hearing will itself be largely uninformative: House Democrats have yet to call a single true policy expert to testify on Social Security expansion, instead favoring advocates and interest groups to cheer for their plan. However, a newly-released analysis by Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation shows that tax increases to fund Social Security expansion would cut other federal tax revenues by $300 billion over the first 10 years alone. This bizarre result complicates House Democrats’ plans to pass a Social Security expansion bill. The Social Security 2100 Act, authored by Connecticut Rep. John Larson, would expand Social Security benefits across the board, financed by increases in the 12.4% Social Security payroll tax rate and phasing out of the current $132,900 salary ceiling on which Social Security taxes apply. The payroll tax would rise by 0.1 percentage point each year. Social Security taxes would also be applied to earnings over $400,000. But since this dollar figure wouldn’t be indexed for wage growth, as is the current payroll tax ceiling, over several decades all earnings would be subject to Social Security taxes. The Act would increase the initial benefits paid at retirement, then raise them further by granting higher Cost of Living Adjustments each year. Overall, Social Security taxes would increase by 35% by 2045, including a nearly one-fifth increase in the taxes paid by low and middle-income workers. In return, of course, Americans would receive not only a solvent Social Security program, but one that pays higher benefits. Still, the Joint Tax Committee analysis point outs a significant issue that hasn’t yet received attention: tax increases for Social Security can be revenue losers for the rest of the budget. And those losses are substantial. In a 2017 Wall Street Journal op-ed, I made what I think is a pretty important point: the tax increases in the Social Security 2100 Act would cause significant losses of tax revenues elsewhere in the budget. Here’s the reason: when employers are hit with higher Social Security taxes, they finance those new taxes by reducing the wages they pay to employees. The Social Security actuaries, the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation assume this offset occurs dollar-for-dollar, meaning that in reality employees pay the full tax increase. That has some impact for individuals: while the Social Security 2100 Act makes the benefit formula more generous, that formula will be applied to slightly lower wages…  http://www.aei.org/publication/tax-increases-fund-social-security-expansion-cut-medicare/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiWVRCa01qY3haRGcyTnpaaSIsInQiOiJ0cXk5cFZlNVM5Y0ZtR2pncEE4YnNwRXExTE81MnJPUFFMb1dodUtySXpMYXdZWDJlXC90M1Fqd3l4SHJqR3ZmV1ZOa0NHYitXellhS0hHV1dJMG1Pejc3N3NwcE5IcGZCa1Z6bUFwMndiUWlxNGt6amJrSlAza1NVZXNHYklmVnMifQ%3D%3D


Gas Guzzling DC Threatens Oil Companies

by Todd Shepherd

{ freebeacon.com } ~ The District of Columbia municipal government is exploring an environmentalist lawsuit against oil providers… despite buying more than 1 million gallons of gasoline in 2018. A Washington Free Beacon analysis of invoices obtained by a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all wholesale purchases for city vehicles found that D.C. paid for more than 1 million gallons of fuel in 2018 alone. The city’s consumption of fossil fuels did not stop lawmakers from exploring potential lawsuits against the very companies it purchased fuel from. In March 2019, the district attorney general’s office put out a request for bids from outside attorneys to investigate and possibly sue major energy producers such as Exxon for reasons linked to climate change. The bid alleges “Exxon has failed to inform consumers about the effects of its fossil fuel products on climate change.” Steve Berman, one of the attorneys representing New York City in its public nuisance lawsuit against Exxon and other energy companies, was among the lawyers that received the bid. D.C. is just the latest city to go after energy companies. In 2017, the cities of San Francisco and Oakland, along with other smaller governments in California, were the first to file nuisance tort claims against energy companies, asking the court to order the creation of remediation funds to pay for damages. Since that time, the effort has moved east to government administrations in Baltimore, Rhode Island, and even inland locations such as Boulder, Colorado. D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser is a leader in the U.S. Conference of Mayors, which filed an amicus brief in support of these lawsuits. The organization passed a resolution in June asking Congress to preserve cities’ ability to sue energy producers… https://freebeacon.com/issues/gas-guzzling-dc-threatens-oil-companies/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=fd891d5be8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_29_12_06_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-fd891d5be8-45611665


Combined Raytheon And United Technologies Will Pursue Hypersonic Weapons Development

By Ben Werner

{ news.usni.org } ~ Raytheon and United Technologies executives spent this week pitching their proposed combined operations as a deal intended to create a defense industry research and development powerhouse… Cash flows from the combined operations of both companies will fuel the development of directed energy weapons, hypersonic weapons and counter-hypersonic missile systems, the chief executives of both Raytheon and United Technologies said during separate conference calls with analysts this week. The Department of Defense signaled to industry it’s ready to spend on developing new weapons technologies, said Tom Kennedy, chief executive of Raytheon. The leaders of a combined Raytheon and United Technologies – to be called Raytheon Technologies – want to tap into this potential revenue stream. The deal, announced in June, will create a defense and aerospace industry juggernaut with estimated annual sales of $74 billion. In the U.S., only Boeing will be larger among defense and aerospace industry companies. “Given the growth in the DoD research and development spending and the broad shift to new technologies to provide solutions to counter peer threats in 2018 and 2019, the growth rates for the R&D accounts were higher than the growth rates of the base budget and overall modernization accounts,” Kennedy said during a Thursday conference call with analysts. “This growth trend is expected to continue in 2020 and beyond to support the National Defense Strategy and plays to the strengths of the combined company that is well aligned to play to the NDS priorities.” The Pentagon’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget request included $2.6 billion for all hypersonic-related research, with $157.4 million directed explicitly to hypersonic defense programs, according to a July Congressional Research Service report. Developing hypersonic missiles and the counter-hypersonics is a growth area, Kennedy said, adding, “we see it becoming a big part of our portfolio moving forward.” However, the CRS report notes DoD has yet to establish any programs of record for hypersonic weapons. Requirements and long-term funding for the programs are still being considered…  https://news.usni.org/2019/07/26/combined-raytheon-and-united-technologies-will-pursue-hypersonic-weapons-development?utm_source=USNI+News&utm_campaign=105cd34a2c-USNI_NEWS_DAILY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0dd4a1450b-105cd34a2c-231491269&mc_cid=105cd34a2c&mc_eid=3999f18767


Dem Gov’s $1 Billion Gift to Party Deputy

by Charlie Hoffmann

{ freebeacon.com } ~ Rhode Island governor Gina Raimondo is facing criticism after her administration awarded a no-bid billion-dollar contract to a gaming company… that is represented by the treasurer of the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) which Raimondo chairs. In June, Governor Raimondo and Democratic state legislators announced an exclusive twenty-year $1 billion contract with IGT to operate the state’s lottery system. The British gambling company is also poised to receive a 32 percent stake in newly-legalized sports betting operations. Critics of the deal are raising questions over the closed-door no-bid process of the negotiations as the head lobbyist for IGT, Donald Sweitzer, also serves as the treasurer for the Democratic Governors Association which is led by Raimondo. IGT have also contributed approximately $70,000 to Gov. Gina Raimondo since 2014. On Wednesday, the Rhode Island Republican Party filed a complaint with the state’s Ethics Commission alleging Raimondo’s close ties to Sweitzer and his representation of IGT violate state ethics laws. The no-bid contract will give the company a needed boost as its stock has suffered in recent years. The ethics complaint says the no-bid contract will “increase IGT’s share of Rhode Island lottery revenues from 1 percent to 5 percent between $275 million to $400 million and will change Rhode Island law to give IGT control of 85 percent of the video gaming machines.” This presents a conflict of interest given her relationship with Spritzer, given his past ownership of nearly 60,000 shares in the company. “If Sweitzer, a business associate of Raimondo, has an ownership interest in IGT of at least $5,000, the State of Rhode Island cannot enter into an agreement with IGT except through an open, and public process,” the ethics complaint says. “Raimondo’s participation in the agreement with IGT is prohibited by the Rhode Island Ethics Code…even if Sweitzer is not a shareholder of IGT, Raimondo violated the ethics code when she entered into a new agreement with IGT while Sweitzer, her DGA business associate, was actively lobbying for IGT related to this agreement.”…  https://freebeacon.com/politics/dem-govs-1-billion-gift-to-party-deputy/?utm_source=Freedom+Mail&utm_campaign=fd891d5be8-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_07_29_12_06_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b5e6e0e9ea-fd891d5be8-45611665


How Palestinian Leaders ‘Guarantee’ Freedom of Expression

by Khaled Abu Toameh

{ gatestoneinstitute.org } ~ During a meeting with a Human Rights Watch (HRW) delegation last week, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh promised that no Palestinian will be arrested or prosecuted… for exercising his or her freedom of expression. “Freedom of expression is a sacred right for every citizen,” Shtayyeh was quoted as saying. “The government has guaranteed citizens the right to express their opinion through constructive criticism, whether in terms of social media or websites.” Only one day before Shtayyeh assured the HRW delegation that his government would not crack down on Palestinians for expressing their views, however, Palestinian security forces in the West Bank arrested journalist and political activist Thaer al-Fakhoury, 30, for allegedly “vilifying the public authority.” Fakhoury’s lawyer, Hijazi Obeido, said that his client had gone on a hunger strike after his incarceration. “The Palestinian Preventive Security Force summoned the journalist for an interview and arrested him immediately after his arrival,” Obeido said. “Last Wednesday, his detention was extended for four days, and not 15 days as requested by the prosecutor-general, due to his health condition.” The lawyer continued that al-Fakhoury, a resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, had remarked during a court hearing that he was being interrogated about a video he allegedly posted on social media. The video reportedly mentions the names of Palestinians who work with the Palestinian security forces, the lawyer added. The journalist has denied any connection to the video. “The arrest of Thaer al-Fakhoury is a clear violation of the freedom of press work and the Palestinian law that protects the freedom of opinion and expression,” Skyline International, a Sweden-based human rights organization that focuses on social media and free speech, tweeted in a statement. “The arrest is a violation of promises made by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Shtayyeh not to arrest any journalist in his region. Skyline International calls for the immediate release of Fakhoury.” The Palestinian Committee for Supporting Journalists also called for the immediate release of al-Fakhoury. The committee said it rejects the arrest of Palestinian journalists because of their work and appealed to Shtayyeh to instruct the judicial authorities to refrain from issuing orders to arrest Palestinians for expressing their opinion or because of their journalistic work…  https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14620/palestinians-freedom-of-expression


Automakers Adopt CA’s Rigged Fuel Standards

Thomas Gallatin: Four auto companies — Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW of North America — recently joined together to sign a deal with California to meet its higher fuel-efficiency standards rather than the new and lower efficiency standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency. Under President Donald Trump, the EPA plans to roll back the scumbag/liar-nObama administration’s mandated fuel-efficiency of 54.5 miles per gallon for new vehicles by 2025 down to 37 miles per gallon. Under the California deal, the auto manufactures would need to meet an efficiency standard of 51 miles per gallon by 2026.

It’s clear that the four auto companies’ objective here is to pressure the Trump administration into adopting California’s standard so as to eliminate having to manufacture vehicles with differing standards for two markets. In other words, they are seeking to force a single, higher fuel-efficiency standard upon all automakers.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, is seeking to revoke California’s long-running authority to set not just its own clean-air standards, something the federal government has long allowed, but effectively set the standard for the whole nation. White House spokesman Judd Deere emphasized, “The federal government, not a single state, should set this standard.”

EPA spokesman Michael Abboud criticized the automakers’ deal with California, stating, “This voluntary framework is a PR stunt that does nothing to further the one national standard that will provide certainty and relief for American consumers.”

This is an interesting fight that upon first glance looks like a federalism battle. But, again, the real issue is that of California seeking to set fuel-efficiency standards for the entire country. Any standard with which all states must comply should be set by the federal government — if there’s any federal authority for such a standard, which is another matter. California, ironically, wants it both ways — the freedom to set its own standards and at the same time reject the federal government’s authority over national interstate regulations.

Meanwhile, these automakers are free to exceed the EPA fuel-efficiency standards should they choose and if the market demands. However, seeking to force all auto companies into meeting higher standards via government diktat simply because they believe it prevents the competition from taking advantage is not an embrace of free-market principles.

  ~The Patriot Post



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