Wednesday, July 12, 2017
The THAAD System Successfully Tested -- and Other News from Illinois, CNN and the Swamp
THE REAL NEWS TODAY IS THAT THE THAAD SYSTEM WORKS AND SO DOES THETRUMP ADMINISTRATION. • • • THAAD SYSTEM SUCCESSFULLY TESTED. Fox News reported on Tuesday that the latest test was scheduled for June but, instead, comes a week after North Korea successfully test-launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile capable of hitting Alaska. THAAD is used to intercept short- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles, but it not intercontinental ballistic missiles. The US has a perfect record on THAAD test launches, hitting 14 out of 14 targets. The latest test of the THAAD weapon system was reported to have been launched from Hawaii and it knocked out a test missile launched in Alaska. Soldiers from the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade on Kodiak Island in Alaska conducted test missile launches using the same procedures they would use in an actual combat scenario, according to the US military. Soldiers operating the THAAD equipment were not aware of the actual target missles launch time. Missile Defense Agency Director Lieutenant General Sam Greaves told Fox : "I couldn't be more proud of the government and contractor team who executed this flight test today. This test further demonstrates the capabilities of the THAAD weapon system and its ability to intercept and destroy ballistic missile threats. THAAD continues to protect our citizens, deployed forces and allies from a real and growing threat." The latest THAAD demonstration follows a show of force when two US B-1 bombers flew to the Korean Peninsula from Guam to conduct a mock bombing run using dummy bombs on Saturday. The US aircraft were escorted by South Korean and later Japanese fighter jets. The US also launched short range surface-to-surface missiles from South Korea hours after the North Korean missile test on July 4. • When the THAAD system is operational in South Korea, there will be US coverage for any launch by North Korea of potentially dangerous missiles. • • • ILLINOIS IS STILL IN BUDGET TROUBLE. In other news, American Thinker reported on Monday that, despite the budget deal we discussed last week in our blog, Illinois finances are still in a death spiral. Rick Moran said that "after 15 Republicans joined Democrats in overriding Governor Bruce Rauner's veto of the state's first budget deal in 3 years, it was assumed by uninformed observers that the worst of the state's fiscal crisis was behind it. Nothing could be further from the truth." The deal, according to Moran, does not address the more than $15 billion in unpaid bills that have accrued over the last several years, nor did the budget deal attempt to correct the massive unfunded pension liability that "officially" stands at $130 billion -- one of the largest state pension liabiliites in the US. The state's bond rating could still fall to junk status but even if it doesn't, Illinois cannot beg, borrow, or steal enough cash to even begin to cover those unfunded pension obligations. Reuters says : "The $36 billion spending plan relies on a $5 billion tax increase that permanently hikes the flat personal income tax rate to 4.95%, up 32% from its prior 3.75% rate. To address the state's nearly $15 billion in unpaid bills, Illinois depends heavily on borrowing. The legislature approved $6 billion of 12-year bonds to raise money for repayments. But State Representative Greg Harris, the House Democrats' point person on the budget, has acknowledged there is only enough revenue to support half of that borrowing amount. Moran reports that "Illinois will also borrow up to $1.2 billion from various state accounts that have accumulated cash for specific purposes, while 'sweeping' cash from other accounts -- a government version of looking under couch cushions that is expected to yield $300 million....The state is talking about savings of a few hundred million dollars while the pension system needs tens of billions of dollars to return to fiscal health. There is an air of unreality surrounding the entire debate, as if moving a few decimal points around will address the problem. Politicians won't face the facts because the if they did, it would open a chasm beneath their feet that could only be filled by massively increasing taxes." • Since the prospect of borrowing to make up the pension deficit is not realistic, the only way the state can meet its constitutional obligation is by raising the state income tax to unprecedented levels. This is the ticking pension bomb that looms over everything the legislature does. And no one has any ideas of what to do about it, says Moran. • Few Democrats or Republicans in the state are talking out loud about a federal bailout, according to Moran : "They are still pretending that they can solve their fiscal problems without going hat in hand to Washington. But, if anything, the idea of a federal bailout of the state's finances is even more unrealistic than the idea they can borrow their way to solvency." • This leaves Illinois with the prospect of the biggest, messiest, most painful bankruptcy in US history. The politicians will play out the string, sats Moran, kicking the can down the road as far as they can to avoid facing the unthinkable, but this will only make things worse in the long run : "Eventually, they're going to run out of road." • Is Washington paying attention as it faces its own debt ceiling crisis? • • • THE VETERANS ADMINISTRATION PROMISE MADE BY TRUMP IS BEING KEPT. The slow process of dealing with bureaucratic corruption and lies is well underway. American Thinker's Clarice Feldman wrote on July 8 : "When he ran for President, Trump promised he’d clean up the Veterans Administration, a bureaucracy which was ill-serving America’s veterans. He’s keeping his word : The VA has removed 526 employees since January 20, according to the accountability report released on Friday. Agency officials have demoted another 27 employees and temporarily suspended an additional 194 employees for longer than two weeks. The list does not include the employees' names but shows their positions." VA Secretary Shulkin last Friday announced that he is requiring "approval by a senior official of any monetary settlement with an employee over the amount of $5,000. Any settlement above this amount will require the personal approval of the undersecretary, assistant secretary or equivalent senior-level official within the organization in which the dispute occurs." Shulkin highlighted the new disclosure policy as part of his efforts to change the "culture" at the VA. • Slate reported Tuesday that Trump has been praised by conservatives for the firing of hundreds of Veterans’ Affairs employees since he took office. The Daily Caller News Foundation reports : "548 Department of Veterans Affairs employees have been terminated since President Donald Trump took office, indicating that his campaign pledge to clean up 'probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States' by relentlessly putting his TV catchphrase 'you’re fired' into action was more than just empty rhetoric. Another 200 VA workers were suspended and 33 demoted, according to newly published data by the department as part of VA Secretary David Shulkin’s commitment to greater transparency. Those disciplined include 22 senior leaders, more than 70 nurses, 14 police officers, and 25 physicians." A headline at the Daily Wire called the news “good Trump,” while Conservative Tribune’s Martin Lioll called it one of Trump’s “most effective swamp drains” since the inauguration. SarahPalin.com posted this : “True to the campaign promise that President Trump made, negligent Veterans Affairs’ employees are finally being called to task.” • This is another positive step by President Trump that is being widely ignored by the mainstream media. • • • DEEP STATE LEAKERS. The Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel has reviewed the “leak crime wave” originating in the Deep State. Citing the report of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, she notes the seriousness and scope of these leaks : "The Trump leaks show the sweeping nature of this enterprise, coming as they have from 'US officials,' 'former US officials,' 'senior US officials,' 'intelligence officials,' 'national security officials,' 'Justice Department officials,' 'defense officials' and 'law-enforcement officials.' One story cited more than two dozen anonymous sources. Alarmingly, the titles, and the nature of the information disclosed, indicate that many leaks are coming directly from the US intelligence community." Along with Strassel's review of who the leakers are, American Thinker's Clarice Feldman has tallied what is being leaked : "The contents of wiretapped information. The names of individuals the US monitors, and where they are located. The communications channels used to monitor targets. Which agencies are monitoring. Intelligence intercepts. FBI interviews. Grand jury subpoenas. Secret surveillance-court details. Internal discussions. Military operations intelligence. The contents of the President’s calls with foreign leaders." • Feldman gives one example that produced seriously negative results : "One clear example is the May stories hyperventilating that Mr. Trump shared classified intelligence with the Russians. Subsequent leaks suggested Israel provided the intelligence, about Islamic State. This revelation caused a diplomatic incident, and reportedly a change in the way Israel shares with the US. Even former Obama CIA Director John Brennan called the leak 'appalling.' " • These leaks raise fundamental questions, says Feldman : "How many foreign allies are pulling back? How many will work with a US government that has disclosed military plans, weapons systems and cybersecurity tactics? What have our enemies learned? One March story divulged sensitive FBI data on US border vulnerabilities, in hopes of undercutting Mr. Trump’s travel order." • Of course, we have to ask just how truthful these leaks were, because President Trump and his national security staff said nothing of importance was given to the Russians. • In any case, President Trump has set in motion steps to stop the leaks. One effort that several national security officials outside the White House have spoken of a "strategic thinning of the ranks" -- limiting the number of people even given access to certain sensitive matters, so that if something leaks, the suspects are obvious. In some cases, the official added, information has been so “choked down” that if something comes out in the press, “it’s either a bogus leak” or, the official said, the relevant agency will know exactly where it came from. And, the official said, they had heard several non-security government organizations had started doing the same. • Winning the battle against the Deep State will take time and patience, but President Trump has started down the road to successfully putting the Deep State out of business. • • • ANOTHER CNN FAKE NEWS STORY. Throughout the week leading up to President Trump's first in-person meeting iwth Russian President Putin, CNN cited "anonymous administration sources" who speculated that Trump would not discuss election interference with Putin at all. CNN put up banners daily claiming : “Sources : Trump won’t bring up election with Putin,” “WH sources : Trump unlikely to talk meddling with Putin” and “Admin. official : Trump may not talk Russian hacking.” CNN anchors and guests discussed the implications behind Trump’s speculated "avoidance" of the topic. • Well, we all know what happened when Trump and Putin met. Trump asked several times whether Russia had interferred in the US presidential election. A Friday tweet from CNN said : “JUST IN: Trump began meeting with Putin by raising concerns on 2016 election meddling, Sec. of State [Rex] Tillerson says.” The screenshot CNN used with its tweet included a banner saying, “Tillerson : Trump pressed Putin on Russian meddling.” Tillerson said on Friday after the meeting in an audio press briefing that : “The two leaders agreed that this is a substantial hindrance on the ability of us to move Russian-US relationships forward and agreed to exchange further work regarding commitments of noninterference in the affairs of the United States and our democratic process, as well as those of other countries. So more work to be done in that regard.” Tillerson emphasized that Trump “pressed” Putin on the election interference “on more than one occasion” and raised “the concerns of the American people regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election.” • Once more, CNN had egg on its face. When it turned out that Trump actually did confront Putin over the election meddling during the course of their 2-hour meeting, CNN added one more embarrassment to the others it has accrued over the last few weeks. In June, CNN dismissed three of its employees after it had to retract a fraudulent story that linked Trump advisor Anthony Scaramucci to a Russian investment fund. When Trump tweeted a WWE gif of himself pummeling “CNN” to the ground on July 2, the network went to great investigative lengths to discover who the anonymous Reddit user was who created the gif in the first place and then to threaten him with exposure if he continued to say negative things about CNN. In its summary article published last week, CNN editors included this controversial line : “CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change.” • Blackmail and anti-First Amendment behavior now seems to be on the CNN "to do" list. • • • DEAR READERS, if we just cut through the Swamp Creatures' fake news and Trump-bashing headlines, we will find that the President and his White House staff and Cabinet are doing great work to keep Trump's campaign promises to the American people. The mainstream propagandist media and their Progressive Democrat political bosses want to hide these positive actions of President Trump -- there are hundreds of them --because it cuts against their fake news that Trump is incompetent and dangerous. Nothing could be less true, but the ProgDems and MSM never let truth get in the way of their agenda. Although it may sound trite, the old adage "Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you read" is sound advice in these treacherous times. The ProgDem Swamp leaders know they have nothing on President Trump -- they know they will never oust him through impeachment. But, if they can fool enough of the American people with their Stinking Swamp ies, they think they can win back Congress in 2018. Beware. Be Strong. Do Not Be Fooled. President Donald Trump is the one person in Washington real Americans can trust to do their work and save the Republic from the Swamp Creatures.