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Conservatism Healthier Than 
Beltway Pundits Believe
Political Editors
Where To Now for the Trump 
Administration’s North Korea Policy?
by Jack David } ~ President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un have now met three times. With a fair amount of fanfare and hope, Trump had held two summits with Kim... The first was in June 2018. The second, in February 2019. Those summits produced modest consequences. One of them was that, amid an exchange of friendly letters between the two leaders, North Korea refrained from provocative military actions while the United States scaled back joint military actions with South Korea. Then, over the weekend, with dramatic suddenness and circumstance, the two leaders held a third meeting, at the demilitarized zone. The forecasts coming out of each of these meetings, especially the most recent one, were optimistic, but the accomplishments have fallen far short of the goals of both leaders. Yet hope springs eternal. Trump’s goal hasn’t changed: to persuade Kim and the rest of the North Korean leadership that their abandonment of nuclear weapons and nuclear-weapons programs in favor of aggressive development of their country’s economy offers a path to greater personal wealth, popular support from the North Korean people, and favorable recognition in history. The administration’s effort, including the offer of U.S. development aid, to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat by peaceful persuasion is admirable. But just as the first two summits fell short of achieving that goal, so too the meeting to be held among nuclear experts from the two sides, as agreed at the DMZ meeting, will probably fall short.  Like Trump, Kim has not wavered in his objective: to remove the United States as an impediment to the achievement of the ultimate strategic goal sought by his grandfather, his father, and himself. That goal is the conquest of South Korea by force and the unification of the Korean Peninsula under his tyrannical rule. As they conduct diplomatic discussions at the highest level, both sides continue to pursue their respective goals. For North Korea that has meant and, from all we can see, will continue to mean, the continuation of its annual military exercises, aimed at readying its army to invade South Korea through the tunnels it constructed under the border of the two countries; maintaining its vast array of artillery to the north of the southern border, within range of Seoul; and continuing to develop and strengthen its ability to fabricate nuclear weapons and deliver them by missile, or by other means, to locations as far away as cities in the continental United States. Early in this summitry period, North Korea imposed on itself a suspension of nuclear and long-range missile tests. That does not suggest an intention to abandon the goal of conquering the South, even though it facilitates an environment in which the North can more easily pursue that goal through congenial discussion with the United States...
House Passes Bill Eliminating Per-Country Caps
By Preston Huennekens } ~ On Wednesday, by a vote of 365-65, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1044 – the Fairness for High Skilled Immigrants Act... As reported earlier this week, this FAIR-opposed bill would fundamentally alter how the United States distributes employment-based green cards - and not for the better. Currently, no country’s nationals can comprise more than 7 percent of any visa category. The existing caps are designed to increase diversity in employment-based immigration, which reflects the long standing American priority of welcoming talented immigrants from across the globe. H.R. 1044 seeks to remove these caps entirely for employment-based immigrant visas, while also raising the cap on family-preference visas from 7 percent to 15 percent. Under H.R. 1044, Indian and Chinese nationals applying for employment visas would not face caps. Before, nationals from other countries could receive employment visas because no country could fill more than 7 percent of any employment visa category. H.R. 1044 erases that boundary, thereby allowing the hundreds of thousands of applicants from India and China to dominate the employment categories and limiting applicants from other nations. If signed into law, this bill would profoundly change legal immigration to the United States for generations to come; and few, if any, individuals from countries other than India or China would be able to immigrate to the United States on an employment-based visa. Our immigration system is not designed to benefit only one or two countries. Due to the 1990 dual-intent rule, all H-1B temporary workers can choose to apply for a limited number of green cards. This created the 20-plus year waiting list for Indian green card applications. H.R. 1044 rewards tech and foreign outsourcing companies that replaced American workers with hundreds of thousands of these low cost, less skilled H-1B guest workers. That is a slap in the face to victims of flawed guest worker programs like the H-1B — American mothers, fathers, and breadwinners who lost their livelihoods to cheaper foreign replacements and outsourcing...
Trump Signs New Law To Protect Innocent 
Small Business Owners From IRS Seizures
by Nick Sibilla } ~ For the first time in nearly 20 years, Congress has reined in civil forfeiture, which lets the federal government permanently confiscate property without ever filing criminal charges... Following unanimous approval by Congress, President Donald Trump last week signed the Taxpayer First Act (H.R. 3151), an overhaul of the Internal Revenue Service that includes the Clyde-Hirsch-Sowers RESPECT Act. Named after Institute for Justice clients Jeff Hirsch and Randy Sowers, two small-business owners who had their bank accounts raided by the IRS, the RESPECT Act curbs the IRS’s power to seize cash for “structuring” offenses. Under the Bank Secrecy Act of 1970, banks must report any cash transactions greater than $10,000. But if someone frequently deposits or withdraws their cash in amounts under $10,000, the IRS could seize it for “structuring.” Even though their money was earned legitimately and despite the fact that they were never charged with a crime, in 2012, the IRS seized nearly $63,000 from Randy and more than $446,000 from Jeff. It took years of litigation and high-profile coverage before they won their money back. Structuring can be a Kafkaesque nightmare for small-business owners, especially for entrepreneurs like Jeff and Randy who work in cash-heavy industries: Jeff runs a convenience store distribution business with his brothers on Long Island, while Randy is a dairy farmer in Maryland. Their cases weren’t isolated incidents. Between 2005 and 2012, the IRS used civil forfeiture to seize nearly $200 million in over 2,100 cases. Roughly half of all seizures involved amounts under $34,000—hardly the proceeds of the sprawling criminal enterprises structuring laws were supposed to target. But under the RESPECT Act, the IRS can now only seize property for structuring if it’s “derived from an illegal source” or if the money were structured to conceal criminal activity. According to a 2017 report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS “enforced structuring laws primarily against legal source funds and compromised the rights of some individuals and businesses.” Out of a sample 278 structuring cases, in 91% of those investigations, TIGTA “did not find evidence that the structured funds came from an illegal source or involved any other illegal activity.”...
When The American Empire Doesn’t Strike Back 
By Michael Rosen
{} ~ In the tiny kingdom of Francophone Americanophiles, Bernard-Henri Levy reigns supreme. More or less unique among his countrymen... the French philosopher, journalist, and activist favors the United States and Europe vigorously vindicating human rights and advocating for freedom, including through the use of force, around the globe. In The Empire and the Five Kings: America’s Abdication and the Fate of the World, a characteristically trenchant and poignant polemic that is part cri-de-coeur, part battle cry, Levy urges Western leaders and their populations to restore their once unquestioned commitment to global leadership, especially as darker forces gather strength. The empire represents the United States, while the five kings signify Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and China — aggressive, autocratic powers jockeying for regional and even global hegemony. The United States, Levy argues, “lacks something of that splendor, that self-confidence, that hubris that characterized, for example, the absolute power of seventeenth-century France or Renaissance Italy. It lacks, and will long lack, the imprimatur, the scar, of total authority.” Still, he gratefully acknowledges the American spirit of responsibility that motivated our entries into World War I and II alike, “a belief in the exceptional role of an American nation called upon to pick up the torch that had fallen from the fragile hands of the prophets and apostles of the City of God; and the mission was to carry that torch into dark lands.” Levy traces the recent Western retrenchment from global engagement to several causes. First,  he has no love lost for President Trump, whom he says has recklessly antagonized our European allies for no good reason, but he aptly notes that Trump’s predecessor — responsible for a “pivot to Asia,” a Russian reset, and absent from the 25th anniversary celebration of the fall of the Berlin Wall — set an almost equally poor example. He also contends that our focus and energy have turned unduly to the “panopticon” of technological surveillance, to “global domination through GAFA — Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple.” These “empires within the empire” have, in Levy’s telling, impoverished discourse, strained relationships, derailed democracy, and defeated objective truth itself. Levy goes so far as to bundle together Trump and Mark Zuckerberg as “two blades of a pair of scissors that is cutting the fabric of truth to ribbons.”... Levy is one sick puppy.
Gov’t Dependency Plunges Under Trump — 
Why Aren’t We Celebrating?
by ~ Friday’s jobs report showed that the economy created 224,000 new jobs, yet the unemployment rate edged up to 3.7%. Both are welcome news... The unemployment rate went up because 158,000 rejoined the labor market. These are people who previously didn’t have a job and weren’t looking for one. The labor market is tight enough that people who’d given up on work are getting lured back into the job market. And they’re finding work. As of June, there were 5.6 million more people with jobs than when President Trump took office — despite claims by prominent economists that the economy was already at full employment when he was sworn in. The healthy labor market has resulted in something even more important yet little noticed: A sharp trend away from dependency on federal welfare and other benefits. Take a look at the numbers: Food Stamps. The Department of Agriculture reports that April enrollment in food stamps — which is officially called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — was down more than 308,000. So far this year, SNAP enrollment has declined by nearly 1.2 million. And since Trump took office, the number of people collecting food stamps has plunged by more than 6.7 million. Enrollment is now lower than it’s been since August 2009.  Disability. The number of workers on Social Security’s Disability Insurance program has sharply declined as well. It went from 8.8 million in January 2017 to 8.49 million as of May. That’s the lowest it’s been since August 2011. Some of that decline is because beneficiaries who turn 65 shift over to regular Social Security. But the data also show that new disability applications are down. Average monthly applications for SSDI this year is 9% below where it was in 2016, government data show. Medicaid. Enrollment in Medicaid also has dropped sharply since Trump took office — despite the fact that Virginia decided to expand its program under scumbag/liar-nObamacare, which added some 300,000 to its Medicaid rolls over those years. As of this March, the total number of people on Medicaid and CHIP — the health insurance program for children — was down by 2.5 million...   
Conservatism Healthier Than Beltway 
Pundits Believe
Political Editors:  National Review’s Jim Geraghty recently wrote an interesting piece wherein he notes that, contrary to much of the mainstream media’s political assumptions, “conservative ideas and policies are doing just fine beyond the nation’s capital.” As evidence, Geraghty points to the increasing number of states whose Republican governors enjoy positive favorable polling numbers. Even more impressive is that three of the four Republicans with the highest approval rating are governors of blue states — Charlie Baker (MA), Larry Hogan (MD), and Chris Sununu (NH).

The reason Republican governors have been doing so well in blue states, Geraghty theorizes, is due to the nature of conservatism. Rather than seeking to push for massive government-led changes, these Republican governors tend to act more as a check against Democrat excess. Geraghty notes that some Republican governors “support and try to enact policies that are explicitly conservative,” but that “guys like Baker and Hogan act as a conservative check on more liberal state legislators.”

As far as policy goes, conservative tax policies have gained in favorability among the states, as 16 states passed large tax cuts in 2018 alone. These cuts amount to an estimated $1.7 billion in combined savings for Americans in those states.

A final interesting note is that since much of the mainstream media is so focused on the political drama in Washington, state-level policy news is often ignored. And this is where conservatism, outside the hyper-partisan spotlight, most thrives at doing the work of good governing.  

~The Patriot Post  

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