Sunday, August 20, 2017

Trump's Worst Week Ever?

The mainstream media was out in force this week highlighting what many described as the worst week ever for President Donald Trump.

Of course, at least ten times during his 30 week Presidency, one media outlet or the other has stated it was his worst week ever.

The negativity about Trump drones on and on and on and on and on and on.

I am a news junkie but I can no longer bear to hear the same thing over and over and over again on the network news and cable channels.

The mainstream media seems to have made it its sole purpose to demean, denounce and delegitimize President Trump.

They may yet succeed. At their core, most people detest political drama and a constant drumbeat from the media that amplifies anything and everything about Trump will undoubtedly take a toll over the long term. Mother Theresa herself could not withstand this type of barrage.

However, as I wrote at the depths of Trump's problems after the Access Hollywood video surfaced last October, I have learned to "Never Say Never With Trump." 

I have learned to not bet against Donald Trump. He has defied the odds week after week over the last year and a half. He fights to win. It is too soon to count him out. Too many people have counted him out and have been proven wrong.

If you doubt it, take a look at Trump's approval ratings after his "worst week ever".

Only 34% approved of Trump's job performance going into his worst week ever.

After Charlottesville, after Bannon was fired, after the media attacked him day and night for a week, Trump's approval rating rose to 38%.

That may look bad. However, do you know what Trump's approval rating was on November, 8, 2016, on election day before he won the Presidency?

38%!

63 million people voted for Trump although only 38% told pollsters they approved of him on election day. As the media tries to make it seem as if all those people are uneducated, uncultured, unrefined and racist, it bears remembering again that those are the most votes for a Republican candidate in history. More than Reagan. More than either Bush. More than McCain. More than Romney.

Yes, the number of voters has grown. However, that is still worth thinking about. The Left and the liberal media want you to believe that Trump voters are out of the mainstream. No, it is the mainstream media that is out of the mainstream.

Look no further than the current controversy about Confederate war statues. A recent NPR/PBS.Marist poll (after Charlottesville) asked whether these statues "honoring leaders of the Confederacy" should remain as a historical symbol or "be removed because they are offensive to some people? By 62%-28% overall, registered voters stated the statues should remain. Independents stated they should remain 58%-32%. Even so-called "soft" Democrats stated they should remain 52%-33%.

The only group that thinks the statues should be removed are so-called "strong" Democrats. However, 34% of them still thought the statues should remain.

I guess you could call most of the mainstream media "strong" Democrats so it is probably no surprise how they are reporting all of this.

The same can be said of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi who has called for Speaker Paul Ryan to remove all Confederate statues from the Capitol.

"The Confederate statues in the halls of Congress have always been reprehensible," Pelosi added. "If Republicans are serious about rejecting white supremacy, I call upon Speaker Ryan to join Democrats to remove the Confederate statues from the Capitol immediately."

Strangely, if the statues have "always been reprehensible" why didn't Pelosi do something to remove them when she was Speaker of the House for four years?

If you want to know why I say "Never Say Never With Trump" look no further than the actions of the press and people like Pelosi.

Trump may have his flaws, faults and foibles.

However, there are two sides in this drama. Trump is not the only bad actor in this political play. In fact, one of the things that appealed to voters about Trump he is that he was not the typical politician mincing words and trying hard not to offend anyone. He doesn't pretend to be something he is not. The same can't be said about the media and politicians like Nancy Pelosi.

The people understand this better than ever. They see the bias in the media and the hypocrisy of politicians like Pelosi in starker terms than ever before. It is on full view everyday. That is why Trump's poll numbers can go up after his "worst week ever."

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Insuring Domestic Tranquility

One of the critical functions of government  is to "insure domestic tranquility".  It is in the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. Most historians trace the roots of this important governmental role to concern by the Founders on what they had witnessed in "Shay's Rebellion" that transpired shortly before they convened to draft the Constitution.

Shay's Rebellion involved men who took up arms to protest conditions in the country after the Revolutionary War. They tried to take justice into their own hands. The vehemence and violence that occurred had a profound impact on our Founders as they gathered shortly thereafter to draft the Constitution. Insuring "domestic tranquility" became a key reason for a strong national government.

Shay's Rebellion was also the catalyst to bring George Washington back into public service after his retirement as the leader of the Revolutionary Army.  The Rebellion convinced him to return to public service and work for a strong federal constitution to replace the Articles of Confederation. In fact, Washington had no patience for trying to influence or appease protestors who exercised violence. He wanted "a government by which our lives, liberties and properties will be secured" to insure that such tumults would not be allowed to occur in the future.

Our constitution that was created in the aftermath of that civil unrest had as its primary purpose the protection of our liberty.

However, as James Madison explained so well in speaking of the protection of our liberty,


 "Liberty may be endangered by the abuses of liberty as well as the abuses of power."


This is useful perspective to have as we see what has unfolded in the actions of extremist groups on the left and right recently.



Alt right demonstrators carry torches and foment hate in Charlottesville
Credit: @TomasTaylor4


People have the right to exercise their free speech and to peaceably assemble. However, they do not have the right to occupy parks, take over streets, disobey municipal ordinances and disrupt the lives of other citizens.

They do not have the right to walk down a street carrying a torch spewing hateful speech.

They do not have the right to shout down speakers that they do not agree with at public meetings or gatherings.

They do not have the right to intimidate and threaten other people with clubs and bats in their hands.

They do not have the right to enter public property and tear down statues and monuments with which they do not agree.

They do not have the right to take justice into their own hands no matter how abhorrent or obnoxious those that they oppose may be.



Alt left (Antifa) protestors
Credit: @FormerlyFormer


President Trump is taking an enormous amount of criticism for remarks he made in the aftermath of the violence and death of a protestor in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend.

There seem to be three main complaints about his actions.

  • He did not condemn the white supremacist group forcefully enough in his first statement.
  • He assigned blame to the extreme groups on both sides for what occurred.
  • He was reluctant to paint all of the alt right group protestors with a broad brush because he supposedly did not want to antagonize his "base".

If there is one thing we know about Donald Trump by now is that he is not the most artful speaker of the English language. He is also someone who does not hem and haw. He does not spend an eternity thinking through every word he utters before he speaks. He does not spend time with flourish and fine points. He tells it like he sees it. It is one of the reasons he got elected. Compare and contrast Donald Trump's speaking style with Barack Obama. Trump probably gets out twice as many words in a minute as Obama did. 

However, with all that being said, I have a hard time distinguishing any substantive difference in what Trump said related to Charlottesville compared to what Obama did regarding the Black Lives Matter protests that ended in so much violence.

Did Obama forcefully condemn BLM in any stronger terms than Trump did the white supremacists? If he did, I cannot find any evidence of it. 

Did Obama blame police actions for causing the BLM protests (effectively blaming "both sides") and excusing the street violence that resulted? Yes. 

Did Obama go out of his way to not antagonize the BLM movement and its leaders Yes. He actually invited some of the leaders to The White House.

The big difference in all of this is that Obama got a pass from the media and the political establishment on everything he did. Donald Trump has not. You could call it a double standard but that gets nowhere close to the dimensions of the animus towards Donald Trump.

It is easy to say that Trump should walk, talk and tweet more softly knowing this reality. I am not sure that it would make much difference. A substantial number of Americans (and almost all of the media) do not want Donald Trump as their President.

The irony is that Donald Trump could never have been elected President but for the eight years of Barack Obama.

He would not have been elected if the illegal and unlawful Occupy Wall Street protests had not occurred and were allowed to take over our public parks.

He would not have been elected if the Black Lives Matter movement had not fomented so much violence and hate on the streets and against law enforcement in this country.

He would not have been elected had Barack Obama not worked so hard to create division and dissension in so many areas of American life.

At their core, most Americans, like George Washington, want a government that does not take sides, does not excuse violence and which secures our lives, liberty and property. They observed what was happening over the last eight years and did not like the direction of our country. I know that Democrats and liberals do not believe that to be true. However, facts are facts. Look no further than the votes of the American people for President, the turnover of the Senate, House and what has occurred with state and local offices. How else do you explain it?

I wrote about the Occupy Wall Street protests after I visited Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan back in 2011 and warned about its implications. It was a first-hand look at an abuse of liberty for which the Obama administration and local authorities looked the other way.

From my tour around OWS it was difficult to see anything positive.  Many of the signs had vile language.  It was difficult to see any kind of coherent message.  Seeing it first hand, it is clear that the media has downplayed the degeneracy of this group. 
We have real problems in this country.  If these are the people who are going to lead us to greater promise we are in far deeper trouble than we are already.
What is most troubling is the free pass that has been given to this group.  They have taken over what is privately owned property (although it is available to the public) in blatant disregard of individual property rights.  They have shown little respect for the people who live and have businesses in the area.
Would these actions have been tolerated if this was an openly Communist group?  The Ku Klux Klan?  New Nazi Party?  The Tea Party?  I think not. 

Six years later and what do we have? White Supremacists and New Nazis who think they should have the same rights to protest, use vile language and seek media exposure in the way the Occupiers and BLM did. Of course, that has led to radical leftists believing they have that right to confront them. In these situations in doesn't take much for violence to ensue. We saw that in Charlottesville as we have elsewhere the last few years.


A counter-demonstrator uses a lighted spray can against a white nationalist protestor in Charlottesville
Credit: Steve Helber, The Boston Globe


When two sides are looking for a fight they will usually find it.

Trump was right to condemn both sides.

He should make it clear that those that incite, foment or take part in violence will be dealt with harshly--alt right, alt left or alt middle.

Trump should make it clear that he is motivated by only one thing---the oath he took to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America".  His responsibilities are well defined.




It is high time that we start insuring domestic tranquility and hold people to account who choose to abuse our liberty.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Things That Are True Even If Trump Believes Them

James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired last week for referring to Google in a memo as an "ideological echo chamber" could just as easily have been referring to The New York Times.

The Times has had a particularly bad time in coming to grips with the fact that Donald J. Trump is President of the United States.

The number of negative stories about Trump is only surpassed by the number of positive stories it published about Barack Obama while he was President.

To be fair, the New York Times has actually been slightly more positive than the three major tv networks. This is an analysis of positive/negative coverage during Trump's first 100 days by Harvard's Kennedy School.


Credit: Harvard Kennedy School
ShorensteinCenter.org


One of my favorite quotes from election night appeared in the op/ed pages of The New York Times by columnist and noted economist (?) Paul Krugman on the morning after the 2016 when he famously wrote the following.

It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. When might we expect them to recover?
Frankly, I find it hard to care much, even though this is my specialty. The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear.
Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.

This is a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average over the last year. That low point on the chart is when Krugman was writing that the markets would never recover.





Never is a long time. I don't like to cite stock market averages as scientific data. What goes up can go down. However, nine months later, Krugman could be said to have more than a little egg on his face.

Thomas Friedman is another New York Times columnist who resides within the "ideological echo chamber".  Friedman once said of Trump, "He doesn't behave as an adult, let alone President."

As I have written before, the Democrats, the media elites and  political establishment do not fear President Trump because they believe he will truly make a mess of things. Their real fear is that he will succeed. Nothing would be more damaging to their egos, reputations and view of the world. You need to understand this to understand their true animus toward the man. You should also understand that all of their efforts to destroy Trump are not for you benefit...it is for theirs.

That is why I found it interesting what Tom Friedman wrote a couple of weeks ago in his New York Times column about Trump.

Of course, he started the column by attacking Trump. However, what I found interesting is that if you assumed that in the following passage, "He" was referring to Obama as President, the same would be equally true.

He seems not to have grown a whit in the job. He has surprised only on the downside — never once challenging his own base with new thinking or appearing to be remotely interested in being president of all the people, not just his base.

However, Friedman moves on from there and provides a warning to his liberal friends.

What strikes me most about Trump, though, is how easily he still could become more popular — fast — if he just behaved like a normal leader for a month..
With the Dow at 22,000 and unemployment at 4.3 percent, oh my God, this guy could actually become more popular outside his base without much effort. That’s scary. 

Friedman then goes on to explain how well Trump has connected on what he calls the "gut" issues with voters. As he puts it,

Some things are true even if Donald Trump believes them!

What are those things?

• We can’t take in every immigrant who wants to come here; we need, metaphorically speaking, a high wall that assures we Americans can control our border with a big gate that lets as many people in legally as we can effectively absorb as citizens.

• The Muslim world does have a problem with pluralism — gender pluralism, religious pluralism and intellectual pluralism — and suggesting that terrorism has nothing to do with that fact is na├»ve; countering violent extremism means constructively engaging with Muslim leaders on this issue.

• Americans want a president focused on growing the economic pie, not just redistributing it. We do have a trade problem with China, which has reformed and closed instead of reformed and opened. We have an even bigger problem with automation wiping out middle-skilled work and we need to generate more blue-collar jobs to anchor communities.

Political correctness on college campuses has run ridiculously riot. Americans want leaders to be comfortable expressing patriotism and love of country when globalization is erasing national identities. America is not perfect, but it is, more often than not, a force for good in the world.


Thomas Friedman seems to have finally figured out why Donald Trump was elected President.

However, it was just not Trump's so-called "base" that elected him. Trump garnered 63 million popular votes. That was more than any Republican presidential candidate in history. More than Reagan. More than either Bush. More than McCain. More than Romney. Yes, the number of voters has grown. However, that is still worth thinking about. The Left and the liberal media want you to believe that Trump voters are out of the mainstream. No, it is the mainstream media that it out of the mainstream.

Can we expect that Thomas Friedman will soon be on the Trump Train?

Or is he just hedging his bets?

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Quotas Over Quality?

Google was in the news last week for firing an employee who had posted a so-called "manifesto" on the company's intranet that took the company to task for its politically correct culture and the internal pressure to fill more positions in Google with women.

Of course, political correctness as defined by Google is inherently liberal and anti-conservative. Google also seems more interested in sentiments than in science based on the reaction to employee James Damore's views in his memo.


Damore titled his memo, "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber" and his major point was that Google's liberal political bias has led to the belief that all disparities in representation in job positions at Google are due to oppression. It therefore follows at Google that quotas are necessary to correct the oppression. Units and teams are pressured to add women and other minorities to staff tech jobs and managers are held accountable to the quotas.

Google is feeling pressure on the issue because of its workforce demographics. Their only answer seems to be to create quotas for women and other minorities.

Men are 69% of the workforce. Women are only 31%. 56% are White, 35% are Asian and only 4% are Hispanic and 2% Black.

Damore didn't even dare to address ethnicity issues in his memo.

However, he did question whether the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women are partially due to biological causes and that these differences may partially explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech jobs and at Google.

Google's closed-minded, liberal bias seems to have been confirmed by the firing of Damore.

On the other hand, Damore's description of the scientific disparities in the biological and brain differences between men and women has been confirmed in several analyses of the memo by PhD's in sexual neuroscience that I have read.

For example, consider the comments about the memo from Debra Soh, who holds a PhD in sexual neuroscience from New York University in an op-ed in The Globe and Mail.

Despite how it’s been portrayed, the memo was fair and factually accurate. Scientific studies have confirmed sex differences in the brain that lead to differences in our interests and behaviour.
As mentioned in the memo, gendered interests are predicted by exposure to prenatal testosterone – higher levels are associated with a preference for mechanically interesting things and occupations in adulthood. Lower levels are associated with a preference for people-oriented activities and occupations. This is why STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) fields tend to be dominated by men.

It is ironic that on this issue the ones who say we should embrace science are denying science.

Some intentionally deny the science because they are afraid it will be used to justify keeping women out of STEM. But sexism isn’t the result of knowing facts; it’s the result of what people choose to do with them.
This is exactly what the mob of outrage should be mobilizing for, instead of denying biological reality and being content to spend a weekend doxxing a man so that he would lose his job. At this point, as foreshadowed in Mr. Damore’s manifesto, we should be more concerned about viewpoint diversity than diversity revolving around gender.

I have written in these pages before of the need to get more American students interested in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines.

Why are 35% of Google employees Asian? They are much more likely to major in the STEM subjects.

Only 1 in 6 American students are majoring in the STEM subjects. On the other hand, 1 in 3 foreign students in American universities are majoring in STEM.

Women only comprise 16% of engineering majors in our universities. What are they more likely to major in? Anthropology, Archeology, Art History, Communications, Philosophy. Of course, Gender Studies is also on that list as I wrote about recently.

 This is a problem I have been writing about since 2011 in these pages.
Since women have traditionally been less likely to select STEM studies this has also exacerbated the technical skills problem in higher education. More needs to be done to encourage girls in these fields...
Is Google willing to sacrifice quality for quotas?

Has that become the only answer in order to lift up the unrepresented?

Unfortunately, that seems to be the case all too often.

It is even be taken to surreal extremes in a school district in Virginia.

It recently sent a letter to parents stating that it was going to implement a new system by which advanced Honors and AP classes would not longer be determined solely on merit but by proportional representation. How is proportional representation defined in Winchester, Virginia?
40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% Mixed Race.

I wonder what Asian Americans are supposed to do in Winchester?

Why is this being done at this school?  This is a direct quote from the letter.

Winchester Public Schools, like many division across the country, continue to see outcomes that are disproportionate by race and social class. American demographic trends indicate that America will be an majority minority nation in the next 25 years. Therefore, the new work of American public schools is to develop systems to address disparate outcomes.

I thought the system that was supposed to be in place in public schools was to educate. Challenge students and lift them up. That is the way you address disparate outcomes. Is that done by giving everyone an A or deciding that the most advanced classes are awarded based on race or color?

By the way, after this story made headlines due to a parent in Winchester sharing the letter, the Superintendent of Schools for Winchester, VA denied that there was any plan for ethnic or race quotas for enrollment in advanced courses.

However, here is the exact wording in the letter as reported by The Winchester Star. (go to the bottom for the sub-heading "Equity Work"). You be the judge of the school's words.

Through our collective work, advanced classes such as AP and Honors will have proportional representation. Proportional representation is 40% White, 35% Hispanic, 12% African American, 10% mixed race.

We live in a very strange time.

Quotas over quality?

How does anyone become great that way?

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Medicaid Migraine

In 2013, before the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, there were 72 million people enrolled in the Medicaid program at some point during the year.

Let's put that number in context.

The population of the United States is currently 326 million.

That means almost one in four Americans were on Medicaid before it was expanded under Obamacare.

Compare that to other familiar social programs.

There are only 58 million people on Medicare.

There are only 41 million retired workers receiving Social Security old age benefits. 

That 72 million number before Obamacare took effect has now grown to 98 million in 2017---an increase of 36% in the number of enrollees.

By 2026, the CBO estimates it will be 110 million. That means roughly one out of three Americans will be on Medicaid at some point in time during the year. That would also represent an additional 38 million on Medicaid than before Obamacare expanded eligibility.

Keep this in mind when you hear the CBO state that 23 million would "lose coverage" by 2027 under any of the GOP bills to repeal and replace Obamacare. 



At the time that Obamacare was passed, the CBO projected that 71 million people would be on Medicaid at some point in 2017. Bear in mind, this assumed that all states would expand Medicaid eligibility. The actual number this year---98 million.  And we are supposed to believe the CBO projections on the effect of a repeal and replacement bill?

The sad truth is that Medicaid is eating a large hole into the federal budget as well as the budgets of many states.

Consider my home state of Ohio.

Medicaid payments accounted for 37.7% of all expenditures in the annual Ohio budget for the fiscal 2015 year (the most recent year for which comparisons with other states is available).

That is the highest proportion of all 50 states. These are the 5 states with the highest percentages of their budgets going to Medicaid. The average for all states is now 29%.




It does make you wonder what Governor John Kasich (a supposed fiscal conservative) was thinking when he circumvented the state legislature and expanded Medicaid in Ohio.


If you want to know why education, roads, libraries and law enforcement have trouble getting their fair share of state budget dollars today, look no further than increases in Medicaid spending.

Everything else suffers when one item in the budget expands from 9.8% to 37.7% of total state expenditures over 30 years.

Jason Hall in The National Review has an excellent background article on what the Obamacare expansion has done to Ohio and why hospitals around the country are lobbying so hard to keep the Medicaid expansion money flowing their way.

The total cost of Medicaid expansion in Ohio---$400 million every month of taxpayer dollars. That is almost $5 BILLION per year in added costs for just one state because of Obamacare.

Kasich projected that 447,000 would actually enroll at the time it was implemented back in 2014. The actual numbers---725,000.

Do you hear that giant sucking sound?

Those are your tax dollars going to pay those Medicaid bills.

All of it gives me a migraine and it should give you one as well.

It is unaffordable. It is unsustainable. It is untenable in the effects it is having on other state services.

Most of the attention about Obamacare repeal is on the individual mandate and exchanges. However, Medicaid is a far bigger problem looking to the future.

The current Medicaid framework must be replaced. It is a key piece of the prescription to fix our health care system.

How is it going to get done?

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Observations on Opioids

President Trump drew attention to the opioid crisis today in a briefing in response to a recent report from a Presidential Commission appointed by Trump that deems opioid addiction a "national emergency".

I wrote about the epidemic of drug deaths in the United States last year when I pointed out that the latest data had shown that the age-adjusted mortality rate had actually increased in 2015.




This was a total surprise in a country where medical advances have meant that mortality rates have been routinely dropping for years upon years.

Experts have blamed the massive increase in deaths from overdoses as the reason for the mortality rate increase.You get a sense of why this could occur by looking at this graphic depiction of the increase in drug overdose deaths by county across the United States between 2004 and 2014.





It has only gotten worse since 2014 when this graphic was produced.

A big reason for the increase in drug overdose deaths is due to opioids. I would guess that most people were not even familiar with the term 10 years ago. They might have heard of heroin but were less likely to consider some of the other varieties of opiates that involve prescription drugs ---morphine, OyxContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and fentanyl.



Credit: CDC
As you can see, drug overdose deaths involving opioids is nearly 10 per 100,000. This is 3 times the number in 2000.

During the Obama Administration we heard a lot about the need to control guns. We did not hear much about controlling drugs. This is despite the fact that overall deaths by guns was not increasing at anything close to the death from drugs. You would never have known it by listening to the President or watching the evening news.

You might be interested to know that the death rate just from opioid overdoses is now almost equal to those from both motor vehicles and guns. However, these death rates are declining or holding steady while drugs overdose deaths have exploded.





For all drug overdoses, the death rate per 100,000 is 16.3. For males, the death rate is 20.8.


Credit: CDC

In other words, the average American is 60% more likely to die from a drug overdose this year than from either a gun or a motor vehicle accident.  

It is indeed a national emergency that has gotten scant media attention compared to guns or cars.

I have found it interesting that those arguing that Obamacare should not be repealed are pointing to the opioid crisis as a reason to leave the law alone. They point to the need for Medicaid to treat patients with addictions.

However, Sam Adolphsen of The National Review recently asked the interesting question as to whether the expansion of Medicaid was actually partly responsible for adding to the opioid crisis. 

Medicaid hasn’t proven to be the antidote for the opioid epidemic ravaging America, but it just might be adding more poison. Much opposition to the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare has coalesced around a dubious talking point that Medicaid expansion is the best way to fix the opioid crisis. 

What if the Medicaid expansion is actually responsible for expanding the opioid problem?

While Medicaid may in some cases provide additional treatment options for an addict who is willing to engage, it also provides a “free” plastic card loaded with unlimited government funds that often increases access to opioids.

Is it just a coincidence that the seven states with the highest drug-overdose death rates (West Virginia, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts were also among the 31 states that expanded Medicaid under Obamacare?

In addition, studies conducted by the CDC indicate that prescribing rates for those on Medicaid are twice as high as for those on private insurance. 

Have we actually fueled the opioid problem by providing people an easier path to these drugs through a prescription card?

Let's consider my home state of Ohio. Obamacare has been responsible for more than 700,000 adults being added to the Medicaid rolls since 2013. 

Between 2013 (the year before Medicaid expansion) and 2015, deaths from opioid overdoses in the state increased by 44%! This year the state of Ohio is currently on pace to have as many deaths from opioid overdoses as the entire nation did in 1990.

What would explain such a dramatic increase in just a couple of years?

The sad truth about opioid addiction today is that many are becoming addicted through regularly-prescribed prescriptions. Half of all deaths are due to overdoses of prescribed medications. Others get hooked on prescription opioids and gravitate to street heroin and other opiates.

It is just not young people who are succumbing to these drugs. It is affecting all ages. In fact, the highest rates of drug-induced deaths are for those age 55-64.





Over the years I have found that most liberal ideas are well meaning and well intentioned. Medicaid expansion is probably one of them.

In a theoretical laboratory these ideas make a lot of sense. I think that is why so many academics are liberal. The ideas make such great sense in the classroom or a textbook.  Unfortunately, in the real world these ideas must face reality. 

A reality where human beings make decisions based on incentives or disincentives relative to their own self-interest. A reality where unintended consequences often have much greater effects than the intended consequences. 

Are we seeing that effect in the opioid crisis?

Sunday, August 6, 2017

An English Lesson

President Trump teamed up with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR) and David Perdue (R-GA) this past week to propose revising the law with respect to who can legally immigrate to the United States of America.

The proposed legislation would move the United States to a "merit based" immigration system and away from the current system that is largely based on family ties.

First, a little context on immigration into the United States that you may not receive on the evening news.

  • Although the United States has less than 5% of the world's population, 20% of all international migrants reside in the United States.
  • 45 million immigrants currently live in the United States. This is 4 times as many who live in any other country in the world.
  • Approximately 1 million immigrants are granted legal permanent residency status in the United States per year. 10.7 million were granted permanent status over the last 10 ten years.

Most of the 1 million that receive "legal permanent residency status" (green cards) get it today because of family relationships. In addition, 50,000 are admitted per year in a Diversity Visa Lottery. 

For 2017, 19.3 million people from around the world applied for those coveted 50,000 spots. 156 million have applied over the last 10 years. This represents about half of the population of the United States today.

It should be apparent in looking at these numbers why the United States needs a strong and well-considered immigration policy. It also needs to be well-enforced. 


Credit: pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/03/24/applications-for-u-s-visa-lottery-more-than-doubled-since-2007/
  

Most of the 1 million immigrants who are accepted into the United States for legal permanent residency every year are low or unskilled workers. This has had the effect of depressing wages in the lower wage classes. All of this puts great pressure on our welfare systems.

The White House wants to establish a new legal immigration system that would favor immigrants who are educated, speak English and have high-paying job offers.

As President Trump explained it, new immigrants must be able to “financially support themselves and their families.”

The proposed legislation would continue to favor immediate family members of United States residents, including spouses and young children. However, it would end prioritization for extended family members and adult children of residents.

As you might expect, the liberal media immediately attacked the proposal as "racist"or "unfair". The most high profile attack was from CNN reporter Jim Acosta who seemed to be particularly upset with the proposal to favor those who speak English.

Acosta accosted (sorry, I couldn't resist using that word here) Trump aide Steven Miller in a briefing about the bill by reading a passage from a poem that is at the base of the Statute of Liberty.

“The Statue of Liberty says, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.’ It doesn’t say anything about speaking English, or being … a computer programmer. Aren’t you trying to change what it means to be an immigrant coming into this country if you’re telling them they have to speak English? Can't people learn how to speak English when they get here?”

It certainly is true that people can learn English when they get here. However, if they cannot speak English they are almost certainly going to be relegated to lower paying jobs in our economy. As a result, they are going to be at greater risk of being on welfare, food stamps or Medicaid. They are also going to depress wages of lower-educated Americans who will also be forced to be more reliant on welfare. It is basic economics.

Mr. Acosta also does not seem to understand the rationale behind or the history of immigration that went on at Ellis Island where the Statue of Liberty stands. By the way, the immigration facility at Ellis Island was not opened until 1892. The Statue of Liberty had been installed there in 1886. Acosta seems to think the Statue was erected in respect of immigration.

It is nice poem but the fact is, as Michael Barone points out, "the most tired and poor seldom made it to the United States, because they lacked the money or the heartiness to afford or weather even steerage passage on a trans-Atlantic steamship."

Our immigration laws for most of our history have had strict requirements. Those with communicable disease have been barred as have those who were not literate or did not have a financial guarantor. Anarchists, polygamists and beggars have been ruled ineligible to immigrate into our country.  In fact, the immigration law of 1906 added a knowledge of English as a basic requirement for immigrants. What is being proposed is not new.

The bottom line for almost all of our history has been that immigrants had to be healthy and able to financially support themselves or they were turned away. You can see for yourself what the entrance requirements were in 1903 at Ellis Island here.

Why have an immigration policy at all? The only logical reason is to improve your country by importing human talent that will provide a benefit to the nation. This is the thinking that drove our immigration policy for most of our history. Immigrants with illness or who could not support themselves and their families were turned away. Often this was at Ellis Island after they had already faced an arduous journey here by ship. Those who were willing to work and contribute to our country were welcomed. Others were sent home. Why should it be any different today?

Acosta also does not seem to understand other things as well. He seems to think that speaking English is something that only people from Great Britain or Australia can handle.

“This whole notion … that they have to learn English before they get to the United States, are we just going to bring in people from Great Britain and Australia?” he said.

This is where Steven Miller put one of the best smackdowns of a reporter I have seen of late on Jim Acosta. I guess you could say that Miller accosted Acosta.

“I am shocked at your statement that you think that only people from Great Britain and Australia would know English,” Miller said. “It reveals your cosmopolitan bias to a shocking degree.”
“This is an amazing moment, this is an amazing moment. That you think only people from Great Britain and Australia would speak English is so insulting to millions of hard-working immigrants who do speak English from all over the world.”

Steven Miller knows of what he speaks. A little English lesson for you that Miller already knows.

All of this information is from The Language Blog, "Which Countries Have The Most English Speakers".

There are 840 million people who speak English in the world.

Just 268 million are in the United States. Just 225 million of those speak it as a first language. I found both of these numbers interesting because there are 326 million people in the United States.

That means that there are 58 million people in the United States that cannot speak English at all.

In addition, only 70% of the population of the United States uses English as a first language.

Here is a chart showing the countries with the most people who can speak English.


India has twice as many people who can speak English as in the UK.

There are more English speakers in India, Pakistan and the Phillipines than in the United States and UK, combined.

Notice that Australia and New Zealand do not even make the list for countries with the most English speakers.

Of course, speaking English and speaking it well are two different things. (In fact, the English probably do not think we Americans do a particularly good job with it.)

For most people outside of the U.S, U.K., Australia and New Zealand it is only a second language. The proficiency for others is not as polished as it would be as a native tongue.

The countries that have the highest proficiency in English are generally the Scandinavian countries. For example, 90% of those in The Netherlands speak English and their overall proficiency is rated high.

Is it unreasonable to consider the ability to speak English as a factor in our immigration policy?

You should also know that the ability to speak English is already a requirement to become a naturalized United States citizen.

Does it make sense to bring people to this country to be permanent residents who have not already shown a commitment to one of the core requirements for citizenship?

You have the facts.

Judge for yourself.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

All Bark, No Bite?

One of the major concerns about Donald Trump as President of the United States is that he would run roughshod over the rule of law.  He would be a bull in the proverbial china shop ordering this and that at his whim to get "his way."

The mainstream media is entirely invested in playing up this view of Trump.

However, six months into his term I can only come to two conclusions about Trump's use of power and neither is comforting to me as someone who voted for Trump.

Trump is either very reluctant to use his real power as President, or

The DC bureaucratic swamp is so deep and dangerous that no man (even Trump, who promised to drain the swamp) can take it on and survive.

Look no further than the campaign for President when Trump would appear at an event and spontaneously a chant from the crowd would begin with the cry "Lock her up. Lock her up. Lock her up."

Who is being investigated right now?  It is not Clinton, the Clinton Foundation or her mysterious disappearing government emails on a private server. It is the Trump campaign for colluding with the Russians. If I would have predicted this a year ago no one would have believed me. It is still unbelievable today if you really stop and think about it.

In the meantime, as organizations such as Judicial Watch attempt to find the truth behind Hillary Clinton's deleted emails, the Trump Administration Department of Justice and State Department appear no more willing to investigate Clinton than they did under Obama as reported by The Washington Examiner 

While Judicial Watch has aggressively pursued emails from Hillary Clinton through Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits for years now, the organization still believes it hasn't had much help from the new Justice Department now that it is under President Trump's command.
In March, Trump's State Department refused to change legal tactics that would have allowed the department to look for additional Clinton emails.
"What's surprising is the Trump administration is continuing the Obama administration's legal strategy to obstruct and defend Hillary Clinton's email practices," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said at the time.

Further evidence of the lack of any Trump power is the case of journalist Sharyl Attkinson who in 2013 discovered that her computer was compromised with unauthorized cyber-attack intrusions. A forensic analysis indicated that the IP addresses used in the attack were similar to what has been known to be used by U.S. government intelligence sources.

Attkinson filed a suit against the Department of Justice seeking explanations of why these IP addresses were found on her computer. The DOJ has been stalling and fighting Attkinson's efforts to get to the bottom of who (and why) someone hacked her computer for several years.

Her efforts have not produced any more success with the Trump DOJ than it did with Obama.

Is the swamp really that deep and is Trump limited in his powers to merely complaining about his Administration's shortcomings on Twitter?

Has the bully pulpit become nothing more than a Twitter handle?




Speaking of Trump's tweets, here is another from this past weekend.




What is Trump saying here?

There are two issues in which Trump has a significant of amount power and leverage with Congress on Obamacare.

The Obama administration agreed to pay insurance companies subsidies ( without the authorization of Congess) to help cover Obamacare deductibles and co-pays for lower income subscribers. At least one federal court agreed with a House Republican lawsuit that the Obama administration had no authority to authorize funds for that purpose under the law or U.S. Constitution. The Trump administration has thus far not cut off the funding.  However, since it was done by executive authority, it can be undone by executive authority. Such an action would be another major blow to the entire failing Obamacare individual exchange structure. Costs would further rise on the exchanges without these subsidies.

The second issue is one that I written about previously in BeeLine (here and here) involving Congress ignoring the Obamacare law that the members specifically wrote for their own healthcare coverage.

As the Obamacare statute was being drafted, Congress did not want to open itself to criticism that it was not also subject to Obamacare, so a provision was inserted into the law that reads as follows:

The only health plans that the Federal Government may make available to Members of Congress and congressional staff with respect to their service as a Member of Congress or congressional staff shall be health plans that are — (I) created under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act); or (II) offered through an Exchange established under this Act (or an amendment made by this Act).

That is pretty clear and simple. Congress members and their staff should receive their healthcare through the Obamacare exchanges. The problem arises because the exchanges by law
do not have any procedures for handling premium contributions from large employers.Therefore, the implication is that those in the exchanges must pay the full cost of their health care cost coverage individually. Oops! 

When all of this dawned on our elected legislators they were in full panic mode as they realized that they would have to use the Obamacare healthcare exchanges to access their healthcare coverage as well as pay the full cost of the coverage (rather than the 75% subsidy they previously received as a government employee).  There was talk behind the scenes of a bipartisan effort to repeal this part of Obamacare until howls on both the right and left caused both John Boehner and Harry Reid to distance themselves from the idea.

In order to get around this, Congressional leaders went to the Federal Office of Personnel Management and got a ruling that Congress was a "small business" that allowed more than 12,000 congressional employees, their spouses and dependents to purchase health insurance from the District of Columbia's small business exchange.

An accommodative D.C. government allowed Congress to come into their small business exchange.

There was only one big problem with this. Under the Obamacare law a small business is defined as a business with less than 50 employees. 12,000 seems to be a little more than 50, don't you think?

Why was it so important for Congress to be defined as a small business and use the D.C. small business exchange?  That allowed it to provide the tax-free subsidy and to also continue to use a community rating for the employee rates rather than age specific rates. It was the only way to keep members of Congress and their staffs out of the individual Obamacare exchanges.

Therefore, the reality is that the Congress is really not following the law that they passed.

President Trump can change that with one strike of the pen. He can also stop the insurance company subsidies.

Once you have the undivided attention of Congress and the insurance companies you might have half a chance to get something done to repeal and replace Obamacare.

Right now it could be said that Trump's bark is much stronger than his bite.

President Trump has the power.

Is he prepared to use it?

Or is he really stuck in the swamp?

Tweeting does not get it done.

It is time to stop barking and time to start biting.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

A Very Bad Week

There are bad weeks...and then there are very bad weeks.

Anthony Scaramucci had a very bad week last week.

He might have had the worst week of anyone I have heard about this year.

I think there are a couple of lessons here for all of us.

First and foremost, I hope everyone will show some grace towards the man. Whatever you might think about him, take a step back and remember he is only a flawed human being like all of us.

Second, there should be a lesson in this for all of us to approach life with a good measure of humility and values to keep us grounded and not let ambition and animosity get the better of us.


Credit: Telegraph.co.uk


The week started out well for Scaramucci.

He was appointed by President Trump to be the White House Communications Director. A Wall Street investment banker and hedge fund manager by trade, Scaramucci did not have the background and training that would normally be considered necessary for such a high profile political position.

However, he had befriended Trump and been a vocal and effective defender of Trump during the campaign on various media outlets. This is despite the fact that he had initially been a big contributor to both the Scott Walker and Jeb Bush presidential campaigns.

Scaramucci had also had been a big RNC contributor in the past but had somehow gotten crosswise with Reince Priebus somewhere along the way.

Soon after his appointment Scaramucci launched into a "furious, foul-mouthed attack" on Priebus with New Yorker correspondent Ryan Lizza. In so doing, Scaramucci made it clear that he would work to make sure that Priebus would be forced out as White House Chief of Staff.

While all of this was going on, Scaramucci's wife of 3 years was filing for divorce. The New York Post reported that one of the reasons was Donald Trump. An earlier marriage to a college sweetheart had ended after 23 years that produced three children.

Anthony Scaramucci, the White House’s potty-mouthed new communications director, has been dumped by his beautiful blond wife because of his “naked political ambition,” multiple sources exclusively tell Page Six.
Deidre Ball, who worked as a vice president in investor relations for SkyBridge Capital, the firm he founded in 2005 and sold to ascend to the White House, has filed for divorce from “The Mooch” after three years of marriage after getting fed up with his ruthless quest to get close to President Trump, whom she despises.
One source told Page Six, “Deidre has left him and has filed for divorce. She liked the nice Wall Street life and their home on Long Island, not the insane world of D.C. She is tired of his naked ambition, which is so enormous that it left her at her wits’ end. She has left him even though they have two children together.”

Right on the heels of this announcement it was reported that Scaramucci's wife had given birth to a new baby boy. Unfortunately, Scaramucci was not present for the birth. He was traveling with President Trump to West Viginina while his wife was delivering the child in New York City. However, it does not seem that Mrs. Scaramucci had a strong interest in having the father of her child with her.

This is how the New York Post reported what transpired.

 “When James was born, he sent her a text saying, ‘Congratulations, I’ll pray for our child,’” said a source close to the situation.
Anthony’s associate said, “There was discussion between him, her and the divorce attorneys about Anthony going to the hospital and unfortunately … the delivery was sudden.”
Deidre’s anger with her husband was a factor.

Of course, Scaramucci ended his very bad week by being forced to resign his White House Communication Director position at the request of new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (*see end note below).

Ironically, Reince Priebus was forced out as Scaramucci predicted. However, his departure also laid the groundwork for Scaramucci to follow Priebus out the door. Kelly reportedly told Trump that Scaramucci had to go and Trump agreed.

It has been said that what goes around comes around. Perhaps that is true in the case of Anthony Scaramucci.

In any event, it was a very bad week for Anthony Scaramucci.

Let's sum it up.

He was fired from a position in The White House that he held for less than a week.

His wife filed for divorce.

He missed the birth of his son because of friction from that divorce proceeding and his job in Washington that he ended up losing anyway less than a week later.

There are many who probably think he got what he deserved.

I prefer not to judge but to learn when I see these types of things.

There really are some good lessons here for all us.

As for Anthony Scaramucci. He deserves some peace. He deserves some grace. He deserves some time to think about his life, his future and his family.

By any measure, he had a very bad week.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 *End Note about General John Kelly
I find it interesting that President Trump agreed with the recommendation to fire Scaramucci after hiring him a week earlier. It has been said that Trump is his own man and rarely defers to others in his decision making--especially on personnel issues.

Many do not know that Trump spent the entirety of high school years at New York Military Academy. He was accustomed to taking orders and was well schooled in military discipline. He graduated as one of the highest ranking cadets at the school. You can read more about Trump's years at New York Military Academy in this profile in Business Insider published in 2015.

Could it be that only a former General can instill some discipline in the operations of The White House and in President Trump?

Is there something in Trump that makes him fondly remember those high school years and makes him more willing to accept the advice and counsel of a General?

Many argue that Trump relies and defers too much on "the Generals". In this case, it might be exactly what he needs despite Kelly's lack of political and DC experience.


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Data Is Beautiful

Those that are regular readers of BeeLine know that I love data.

You would then have to know it was love at first sight when I came across the Twitter feed of @DataIsBeautiful.




@DataIsBeautiful provides a steady stream of beautiful data visualizations to provide you with better insights into almost everything you might (or might not) need to know.

For example, what time of day is President Trump most likely to tweet?



Trump gets his mind (and fingers) working early in the day. He must get motivated watching those early morning news shows.

How about the changing face of the most valuable brands in the world. Four out of the top five today are newcomers since 2006. Tech brands are in control. Notice as well that each of the top brands is an American company and this has been the case since 2006. My how Marlboro has fallen.




Over a century ago, Albert Thayer Mahan stated that "whoever rules the waves rules the world." If that is still the case, China is now challenging the United States in this chart showing "Major Military Wasrships 1970-2009".




Note how far Russia has fallen. The United States has also reduced its fleet by over half over that period. Great Britain's fleet has also been cut in half.

Concerns about nuclear energy? This chart says that fear is misplaced.




Do you want to stop annoying your fellow office mates? Avoid this office jargon.




We're on a journey here so don't quit reading yet.  No blue sky thinking ahead but I want to touch base and run a few more things up the flagpole with you from @DataIsBeautiful. Then again, if you don't like this data, now is the time to get off the bus.

This is the original source graph  of a link cited in @DataIsBeautiful on the Frequency of Dining Alone by age. Data is provided in this graph as the percent of meal spent alone in both 2003 and 2015. The original graph appeared on Pudding.cool

As you see, the general trend is that as we get older we tend to eat more meals alone. However, this trend is particularly pronounced as we age through the teen years until we get married. It then falls through the twenties (more people getting married at these ages) until we hit the mid 30's and it inexorably increases over time. Divorces and deaths clearly are a part of this equation from that point forward.






What I found interesting in this chart is the noticeable increase in the number of people eating alone in their early 20's in 2015 compared to 2003. This clearly seems to be a result of later marriages.

Speaking of divorces, this chart from FlowingData.com was linked by @DataIsBeautiful that shows divorce rates by occupation.

Who do you marry for the best chance to not be eating alone?

An actuary. Their divorce rate is less than half of the median divorce rate.


Who should you avoid marrying if you don't want to eat alone?

Bartenders and Gaming Managers. Of course, even if you don't get divorced marrying someone in these occupations means that you are probably going to eat a lot of dinners alone anyways considering their hours.

One other interesting chart on divorce rates from FlowingData.com looked at median salary rate for the various occupations vs. the divorce rate. As you might expect, tighter incomes puts more pressure on marriages.

This chart also confirms what many a mother has told her daughter over the years (and looking at recent medical school enrollment numbers , what father's should be telling their sons today) .

Marry a doctor! 

High incomes. Low divorces rates.


Data is beautiful!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Russia? What About The Pakistan Scandal?

Russia. Russia. Russia.

A day does not go by when we don't hear about Russia meddling in our election or the Trump campaign colluding with Russia to defeat Hillary.

This is despite the fact, even if it is proved that Russia did meddle or the Trump campaign did collude, there is no law against this or statute that prevents a candidate from "colluding" with a foreign state or anyone else in a political campaign.

Of course, there is a law against foreign nationals donating any money in connection with any election in the United States.

I will let you be the judge on whether Hillary Clinton violated this law in substance by soliciting contributions to the Clinton Foundation. Over 40% of top donors to the Foundation were based in foreign countries.




Does anyone realistically believe that the Clinton's would have raised 1% of what they did for the Foundation but for her Presidential candidacy and her role as Secretary of State?

Look no further than the fact that contributions to the Clinton Foundation dried up immediately after Clinton lost the election last November. It also ceased operating the Clinton Global Initiative, the most high profile activity of the Foundation and laid off 22 employees, right after the election.

Should Clinton have become President you can be assured that she would have been beholden to many, many, many, many multiples of foreign influence compared to anything involving Donald Trump.

How much reporting do you see on all of this?

Similarly, how much reporting in the mainstream media have you seen about the curious case of Imran Awan?




Imran Awan was an IT professional who worked for DNC Chairwoman  and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and a number of other Democratic congressmen. Since 2004, he was paid more than $2 million as an IT support staffer working for Democrats on the Hill. His wife, Alvi, was paid more than $1.3 million since 2007 in a role supporting her husband. Other family members of Awan were also reportedly being paid by the House Democrats to help with IT issues in their offices. All of these family members came here from Pakistan.

I started following the curious case of Awan back in February when it was reported that Awan and his compatriots were under criminal investigation for stealing computer equipment from 20 member offices and also accessing House IT systems without the knowledge of lawmakers.

Do you see any potential problems with a Pakistani Muslim family having access to all of the emails and other computer files of members of Congress? This even extended to Awan having access to Debbie Wasserman Scultz's computer password. If you are paying attention that means that Awan had the means to access all of the Democrat National Committee emails that ended up on WikiLeaks. Was it really the Russians?

In addition, consider the Congressional responsibilities of the various Democrats that the Awan family were supporting from an IT perspective.

The five. . .employees worked for at least three members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues, information and documents, including those related to the war with radical Islamic terrorism.
Jamal Awan handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.
Imran Awan handled IT for Rep. Gregory Meeks, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee where he is the Ranking Member on the Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, and Emerging Threats.
Imran Awan also worked for Rep. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat and one of two Muslims in the House of Representatives, and Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Both are members of the intelligence committee.

In another curious development, Wasserman Schultz threatened the Capital Police investigators to return her stolen equipment or to "expect consequences" in the middle of the investigation.




Despite the fact that her equipment had allegedly been stolen by Imran Awan and family prior to February, when the investigation was first disclosed, Wasserman Schultz inexplicably kept him on the payroll until just this week when Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport attempting to flee to Pakistan. He is charged with bank fraud for allegedly lying about a housing equity loan to pilfer $165,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union. The money did not end up in a house but in a wire transfer to Pakistan. Only now is Awan of the Wasserman Schultz House payroll account.

Considering the continuing payments to Awan even after he was under investigation, don't you have to at least consider that Debbie Wasserman Schultz was being blackmailed in some way?

That is what other IT support personnel on the Hill believe according to The Daily Caller.

Sources on the Hill speculated that the brothers were blackmailing members of Congress with secrets captured from emails. "Members of Congress have displayed an inexplicable and intense loyalty towards the suspects," technology aides told The Daily Caller.
The baffled aides wonder if the suspects are blackmailing representatives based on the contents of their emails and files, to which they had full access.
“I don’t know what they have, but they have something on someone. It’s been months at this point” with no arrests, said Pat Sowers, who has managed IT for several House offices for 12 years. “Something is rotten in Denmark.”

In the meantime, his wife and 3 children abruptly left the country for Pakistan several months ago and Awan seems to have been planning to join them beyond the reach of U.S. justice.

In addition, despite the healthy salaries that Awan and his family earned working for the House Democrats, one member of the family filed for bankruptcy in 2012.

What is even more curious is that when Awan has visited Pakistan in the past he has received VIP treatment including a VIP police escort because of his connection to the U.S. Congress. His wife is also reportedly under "government protection" in Pakistan since she returned to her family.

All of this leads to some interesting questions of exactly what is going on here.

The most obvious is uttered by Scott Johnson at Powerline.

Something is happening here. One can only infer that some serious breach of security involving a spy ring seeking to misappropriate confidential and classified information is involved.

Indeed.

I was happy to see that the FBI arrested Awan as he was about ready to get on a plane to Pakistan. However, why did they not detain his wife before she left?  She was questioned and allowed to leave despite the fact that she was carrying over $12,000 in cash and had most of their personal property with her. And why did it take from February to now to make an arrest?

It also does not give me much comfort that a major tip in the case came from a retired Marine officer who rented the house that Awan owned as the Daily Caller News Foundation's Investigative Group reported.

Shortly after the criminal probe was revealed in February, Imran abruptly moved out of his longtime home on Hawkshead Drive in Lorton, Va., and listed it for rent on a website that connects landlords with military families.
One of the new tenants — a Marine Corps veteran married to a female Navy Officer — said he found “wireless routers, hard drives that look like they tried to destroy, laptops, [and] a lot of brand new expensive toner.”
The tenants called the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and, not long after, FBI agents arrived together with the Capitol Police to interview them and confiscate the equipment. The Marine spoke on condition of anonymity because of concerns for his wife’s naval career, saying she doesn’t want to be associated with a national security incident.
“It was in the garage. They recycled cabinets and lined them along the walls. They left in a huge hurry,” the Marine said. “It looks like government-issued equipment. We turned that stuff over.”

Considering the facts in this case, don't you think one of the first things that should have been done is obtain a search warrant of Awan's house? After all, he has been under investigation for stolen government computer equipment for at least six months.

There is one other curious thing about all of this.

Imran Awan's attorney just happens to be a long-time associate and aide of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

What is he saying about the investigation and arrest of his client?

He states that Awan's arrest is “clearly a right-wing media-driven prosecution by a United States Attorney’s Office that wants to prosecute people for working while Muslim.”

Meanwhile the mainstream media only wants to talk about Russia.

What about Pakistan?