A Trump Skeptic’s Defense of the White House Policy Barring Cameras and Live Feed From Press Briefings

Media bigs and activist hots are in high dudgeon about the recent White House policy barring cameras from press briefings. “Freedom of the press!” they scream. “The people have a right to know!” they remonstrate.

Let’s consider this. All the nation’s self important scribes will be in the room. They all get to hear and report on every word the president says. Every syllable he utters will be under intense scrutiny, dissected into puree, distorted, baked in a liberal cake, and then served in fictionalized cupcakes to the public. In other words, business as usual.

The president is not escaping scrutiny by this policy. Rather, he is shifting the playing field on who gets to be star of the show. We live in uncharted times. Our threatened elites and their imperial media allies believe the president’s vulgarity plus their disgust and contempt equal impeachable offenses. The media has declared open war on the administration. Truth and facts are not important ordnance in their arsenal. They will manufacture any nonsense that can control the narrative for a news cycle, and then they will move on to the next piece of nonsense. They have swarmed like mosquitoes around his head from the shocking moment he was elected.

They will keep doing it even under the new policy. Then what difference does the exclusion of live feed and moving cameras make? Well, under those terms of engagement, the distorted reporting will have to focus on Trump’s answers. The Big Pens and Big Hairs who think they are part of the story won’t be afforded free air time to look like champions of the people lying their truth to power. Instead of making smug, righteous speeches on national TV, they will be relegated to composing and reporting to their national audience their distortions of what the president of the United States actually said.

Oh, the ignomy, suppression, and censorship. The media might have to fill the airtime with their assassinations of Trump without the satisfaction of all their pontificating being an equal part of the story.

I think this policy will marginally improve the reporting from the pack of hyenas.

Government Beggars, Bluffers, And Bullies, And The Truth About Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill Of Rights. Part 2 in a series.

This is the second in a series from the Tribe explaining why the Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a good thing for the state and the taxers’ shrill arguments against it are factually wrong. You can read Part 1 here, which shows that Colorado ranks just above the middle of states in per capita spending, 23rd, to be precise. Whatever else may be said about TABOR , it has not reduced Colorado’s budget to unreasonable levels. The state spends more on its residents than 27 other states.
Now, to dig into a few simple nuts and bolts.
Readers may recall that TABOR has two basic moving parts: Voters must be allowed to vote on all tax increases and all spending increases. Forbidding government from raising taxes without approval by the people is a simple enough concept. Limiting spending increases is a bit trickier. The basic formula is that TABOR locked into a base line the year following passage in 1992. It said government spending cannot increase faster than population growth plus inflation. Government can grow to match more citizens to serve and economic inflation, but revenues above the baseline have to returned as taxpayer refunds, unless government asks, and citizens vote, to allow government to keep and spend the money.
The basic idea is obvious. Government is big enough relative to its citizens and institutions and doesn’t need to grow proportionately larger in perpetuity. 
Today’s post is to show that the wailing over TABOR’s growth caps is disingenuous because it is factually wrong. The restraint has only partially worked and real spending continues to grow by hook or by crook or by trick. In some ways, TABOR has failed as a watchdog and proven little barrier to the ingenuity of government bureaucrats and their desire for ever greater pieces of the economic pie. TABOR certainly has acted as a brake on government growth, but government has found numerous ways to sidestep, circumvent, and simply violate its limits Real spending in Colorado has grown steadily since TABOR’s adoption in 1992.
The Colorado Legislative Council Office (a staffing and resource agency for the Colorado General Assembly) responded to an information request on the state budget from fiscal year 1993-94 to fiscal year 2015-2016. The results are revealing: Real (inflation adjusted) state spending per capita in 2016 was almost 40% higher than in 1993. For every dollar per capita the state spent in 1993, it spends a little more than $1.38 today.
The next post in the series will look at the ways the state has undermined and cheated on TABOR. For today, it’s important to think about the numbers’ implications. Not only has TABOR not made Colorado poorer than other states, it hasn’t prevented aggressive growth in state spending. Government is relatively 40% larger today than it was in 1993. Why? What deprivations did Colorado experience in the early 90s that suggest we needed a government almost half again as big? What improvements in public services and infrastructure have Coloradans received from a government they are paying 40% more for? 
Are schools 40% better than they were 25 years ago? Are human services 40% more effective or compassionate? Are roads 40% better or more extensive? These are critical questions. The advocates to gut TABOR and let government deeper into your pockets without your permission contend government is underfunded. That it needs more to do better or just to keep up. That TABOR threatens Colorado’s quality of life. They claim that TABOR has forced us to fund roads less, schools less, services less, higher education less. But why is that, when they have 40% more than they did at the starting point?
These claims are specious. Colorado state government has little to show for the effective 40% raise it has received since 1993, except sad stories and an endless banging tin cup for more, more, more. It’s time to start calling the taxers on their false narrative.

Government Beggars, Bluffers, and Bullies, and the Truth about Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights.

They fib about everything. In their endless campaign to get their hands deeper into Coloradans’ pockets, all the government pleaders, the non-profit advocates, the squinting analysts, and the sniffing journalists agree on their biggest enemy. The main target, the bête noir, the great white whale, public sector enemy number one is the Colorado Taxpayers Bill of Rights, the TABOR Amendment.
The taxing crew is forever trying to convince the skeptical public that TABOR, adopted by voters in 1992, has changed Colorado from a bountiful land of milk and honey into a North American colony of Somalia. This post is the first in a Tribe series that will explain why that charge is bogus and the taxers know it’s bogus.
The Moaners’ Litany:
First lets review a few of the descriptions of TABOR from the taxers.
The Denver Post is more measured than most when it says TABOR is “inefficient and ultimately hurtful to our growing state. [snip] TABOR’s powerful check on government spending in reality has been a padlock on the purse-strings. [snip] We are convinced Colorado needs more revenue to fund the quality of life we’ve all come to expect from this great state.”
The Colorado Fiscal Institute laments that TABOR saddles the state with “antiquated tax policy” that produces “painful results.”
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities warns that TABOR is a “formula for decline” that causes “essentially a permanent revenue shortage” that “slowly starves the services on which state residents rely”
And, of course, to protect the children, the National Education Association weighs in to condemn TABOR as
“a proven failure” that is “destroying public services in Colorado.”
Simple Proof They are All Dissembling:
So, are the critics right? Is Colorado withering on the vine? Does state government lack the resources to provide quality modern services? Does its budget put it in the company the bottom 10% or 5% of states? Or closer to the level of a developing nation?
Not at all, any of that. The basic budget fact is that Colorado has about as much money for its population as any other state. Less than some, more than others, and above the national average.
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation (no libertarian outfit) analyzed the budgets of all 50 states, including general funds, federal funds, and other state funds. The study reports Colorado at $6,320, ranks 23rd in per capita spending, right in the pack and a little above the middle.
It’s a very interesting list, and poses questions about some of the high and low placers. But, importantly, here are a few of the states that spend less per capita than Colorado: 26. Maine–$5,811; 28. Pennsylvania–$5,746; 31. Virginia–$$5,623; 32. Ohio–$$5,609; 33. Washington–$5,598; 34. Michigan$5,364;
As it turns out, California, at $6,420 lands just three spots above our Rocky Mountain home. And if government spending more money is the key to better living, why are so many Californians coming to Colorado? The US average, incidentally, is $5,777, landing between 27 Nebraska and 28 Pennsylvania. Colorado spends 9% more than the national average on each of its residents
The takeaway from these figures is that money, like all resources is finite. We all would like more. Your kid’s baseball team holds fundraisers because it needs more. Your school PTA does too. And the Girl Scouts. Every person, family, institution, and government would like and could use more money.
But, next time of one of Colorado’s public money hungry sob sisters tells you that TABOR is tightening his/her corset, don’t give in to guilt. Don’t let them off the hook without demanding better information. Smile and ask, why are you such a poor budgeter? Why do you need 9% more than Virginia for decent schools? Why do you need 9% more than Washington for decent roads? Why do you need 8% more than Kansas to provide health and human services?
The answers should be enlightening.
To be continued…

A Tribe Exclusive: Who’s Winning, The Trump Rebels or the Deep State Empire?

The Insurgent-Tribe-Cherokee-Mormon Network is pleased to offer this report:
Some people admire and support Donald Trump as a successful, strong leader. Some fear and oppose him as an avaricious adolescent. This correspondent has made clear that the president is not my cup of orange tea. But, based on anonymous sources inside my head, I can report this:
The President could be sitting in the Mar-a-Lago Juice Bar imitating a fresh squeezed cup of pulp-free morning sunshine. But, so far the fruits of his labors include the following:
Rex Tillerson presides over a State Department that is willing to put American interests first, lead from the front, or watch from the side if it is not an America priority. He is a tough negotiator who aims to lift American stature and security, not to sit on a barstool in the recently bombed capitol of France swaying with a maudlin celebrity crooning about friendship to the bereaved, or to be a modern day Ethenberg of the Middle East doing nuclear favors for Iran.
James Mattis heads the Department of Defense like a smart, mad dog. He wants to stand guard, keep our enemies at bay, and kill terrorists. He’s abandoned the prior team’s project of converting America’s military into a kind of Progressive Transformation Corps with guns.

The finest nominee to the high court in a generation now sits at work in black robes bearing the title Justice Gorsuch.

Jeff Sessions, with merits and flaws, unquestionably is turning the Department of Justice back to the mission of enforcing federal law evenly, rather than acting as the high budget consigliere and hit man for the president.
At the Department of Energy, Rick Perry wants to support and get out of the way of energy production, growing jobs and fueling the economy. He’s not trying to choke it off in hopes that rainbows and unicorns can make up the gap.
Betsy DeVos at the Department of Education is tasked with identifying regulations that are putting the federal boot heavily on the K-12 school house. She’s working to give charter and non-traditional schools a fair shake. She’s seeking out and disbanding the sleeper cells of leftists embedded in the department who try to pull puppet strings from Washington without following statutes or even bothering to publicly pass regulations.
Ben Carson heads Housing and Urban Development with a world class mind, a story of rise from humble circumstances to world class success, a soft voice, and a savvy about the dirty kind of political infighting he’s certain to face.
Scott Pruit aims to restore the EPA to an agency that enforces the law justly and with due process, rather than making it up, expanding its empire, and choking people and companies out of the rightful use of their land based on bureaucratic whim.
These are just a few of my favorite things. This is also a huge challenge to the way Washington has done business for decades. Tremendous challenge. It’s a great, great challenge. It’s one of the greatest challenges ever.
It explains why the permanent bureaucratic elite is fighting back like a cornered dog. Manufacturing stories. Making noise. Getting some headlines. And when there’s nothing there, moving on to the next fabrication.This vast left wing conspiracy includes the permanent bureaucracy and the national media. They are relentless in preserving their power and privilege.
The night of the election there was fraud and tampering in three key states. Recount! Recount! Except there wasn’t, unless you count the excessive votes in Detroit precincts.
Before the electoral college confirmation, there was a huge groundswell of national electors who would abandon Trump and vote for someone else. Except there wasn’t.
Then it was Russians! Russians! Except there was no claim they actually accessed the voting machines, just that releasing the DNC’s dirty laundry was not nice. No claim the emails were forged or inaccurate. Just embarrassed that the truth about dirty Democratic politics came out.
Just when the Russian story was losing steam, anonymous intelligence officials breathed new life into it. The spooks are investigating whether Trump colluded with Russia! Suddenly “collusion” became the new it word. Except they weren’t. FBI told Trump three times, and told congressional leaders as well, that Trump was not being investigated for collusion. The investigation targeted two Trump campaign aids for unreported lobbying efforts for Russian.
Except, Comey would not tell the public that story. He slyly danced and weaved and left tantalizing hints that the president of the United States might have consorted with a foreign enemy in to win the presidency. The Intelligence arm of the deep state kept dripping out stories about “contacts” and “communications” as if this were scandalous stuff. But no one, after all the high tech surveillance, ever alleged a single illegal, sinister, or questionable plan, word, or action.
They—anonymous sources and panting national reporters–knowingly kept a false story alive in the public mind, for one purpose: All to create controversy, to distract, hinder, and block the new administration.
No wonder Trump got sick of Comey’s game and fired him. And so now we’re on to obstruction, obstruction, obstruction! After that it will probably be something about the well done steak or maybe an event of flatulence. Even if they can’t impeach him, maybe they can paralyze him.

Not a Civil War! Just Some Righteous Leftie Speech!

They trash cars, break windows, light fires, loot stores.
They obstruct, assault, and hustle speakers off of college campuses.
They attack with deadly weapons pro-administration demonstrators or mace them in the face.
They block roads and insist it is their “free speech” right to detain citizens trying to go about their life.
They occupy the streets and shout “F**k the cops!”
They stab police horses in the neck.
They foam about the mouth about the violent overthrow of the government.
And now, they’ve started shooting. Their vultures are landing with claws. But, Nancy Pelosi is shocked, outraged, and offended that anyone thinks Democrats’ rhetoric might be a contributing factor to the mayhem.
Well, let’s see… [the rest of this post is not my composition, but a popular and mostly factual copy/paste going around social media.]
“This is an ugly list. It deserves to be seen following this morning’s dedicated shooting of “republicans.” All of the people in the list below need to be aware of the possible consequences of their actions. These people in the list reach out to MILLIONS of people and influence them. Thank you to Luciane Sergipe (I stole it) for originally posting it.
1) Tim Kaine asked for blood on the streets.
2) Loretta Lynch wanted bloodshed and violence against republicans.
3) Obama asked for his supporters to rise up.
4) CNN announced who would take over the government if all elected republicans were KILLED during Trump’s inauguration.
5) A NY play shows the killing of Trump.
6) Snoop Dog kills Trump in a video.
7) Kathy Griffin decapitates Trump in a photoshoot
8) Madonna – “I’ve thought a lot about blowing up the White House.”
9) Robert De Niro: “I’d Like to Punch Him (Trump) in the Face”.
10) Avengers director Joss Whedon: “I Want a Rhino to F*ck Paul Ryan to Death”.
11) The creater of the Wire, David Simon: “Pick Up a G*ddamn Brick” if Trump Fires Robert Mueller.
12) The Wrestler actor, Mickey Rourke Threatens to Beat Trump with Baseball Bat: “He Can Suck My F*cking D*ck”.
13) Actress Lea DeLaria Threatens to ‘Take Out’ Republicans and Independents with Baseball Bat after Trump Win.
14) Rapper YG Threatens Trump with “F*ck Donald Trump” Song.
15) Marilyn Manson Kills ‘Trump’ in Music Video.
16) Rapper Everlast Warns Trump: “I Will Punch You in Your F*cking Face”.
17) Larry Wilmore Jokes About Suffocating Trump with ‘Pillow They Used to Kill Scalia’.
18) Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Puts Stephen Miller’s Head on a Spike.
19) Sarah Silverman Suggests Military Could Help Overthrow Trump.
20) Kathy Griffin promised to beat up Baron Trump…
21) JUAN Thompson threatened to blow up a JCC.
22) The Portland killer Jeremy Christian, a Bernie Voter, killed two.
Bad apples or a rotten tree?”

Amid the Horror Shines Humanity.

Yesterday’s bloodshed reminds us that the ugliest deeds can sometimes reveal the best in other people. At the top of that list, of course are Capitol Police Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey, who selflessly and courageously engaged the gunman and prevented what all witnesses say would have been a massacre. They are heroes.
But I’m thinking too of moments of humanity and decency that we too rarely see in partisan politics. The tender image of players for the Democrats’ baseball team huddled together in prayer for their injured friends and colleagues may become an iconic symbol for remembering our common bonds.
Kenneth Grubbs, a friend who serves as Communications Director for Rep. Dana Rohrabacher R-CA, posted an article from The Hill about the moment and observed: “The partisan hostility so often portrayed in the media is not what it seems.” This prompted me to second guess Ken a little:
“You’re there and I’m not, so you would know better. But, I’m not sure that’s accurate. I think there is real enmity and willful treachery, but a traumatic event like this can briefly shake people into remembering their common humanity.”

Ken’s calm answer finished the exchange: “There is enmity. There is treachery. There is also camaraderie and bonhomie. Those virtues get far less coverage.”


Last night on the PBS News Hour, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa. made much the same point, discussing their solid and fond friendship across their political differences. Anchor Judy Woodruff seemed uncertain and asked about the partisan hostility that seems so prominent. Doyle responded that there are a lot of members of Congress who get along, but they aren’t the ones the media is as interested in talking to. The media likes to interview the ones who are throwing swords at each other.

That may be a fair generalization or not. But yesterday’s events remind us of the humanity that can and should unite us. It would be nice to see more of that.


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