United States government

Trump-supporting QAnon seen as public security threat
United States government

Trump-supporting QAnon seen as public security threat

QAnon, a conspiracy theory group mentioned favorably by President Donald J. Trump and embraced by other Republican leaders, represents a public security threat, according to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Originally published August 23, 2020. In light of recent events, it seems the authors were prescient. (more…)
Proceed with the presidential transition
United States government

Proceed with the presidential transition

Further delay in starting the transition to the Biden administration harms Americans. Kansas Republican leaders, please get started. I sincerely hope that the Republican federal officeholders who represent me, or who will soon represent me and my state, recognize that the presidential election is over, that Joe Biden won, and they encourage and help with a peaceful and effective transition to the new presidential administration. While none of these leaders -- Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Jerry Moran, Representative Ron Estes, Representative Roger Marshall, Representative-elect Jake LaTurner, and Representative-elect Tracey Mann -- have the power to compel the transition to start, they can add their names to the small list of Republicans urging my president Donald J. Trump to get along wi...
Trump and Russia sanctions
United States government

Trump and Russia sanctions

President Donald J. Trump presents himself as tough on Russia, but he opposed and complained about almost all sanctions. This year, John Bolton published The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir. It covers his time as National Security Advisor for the Trump Administration, which was from April 9, 2018 to September 10, 2019. When the book was published, the editors of the conservative National Review questioned the timing of the book, but wrote: "Bolton is a longtime friend of this publication and we take his honesty as a given. Any credibility contest between him and Donald Trump is laughably lopsided." In this passage, Bolton lists sanctions imposed on Russia during the Trump Administration. But, he writes, "... almost all of them occasioned opposition, or at least extended gru...
Presidential approval
United States government

Presidential approval

Explore and compare the approval ratings of presidents in this interactive visualization. I've gathered presidential approval poll data and present it in an interactive visualization. I present data in a table and a timeline. Then, I present several views based on the poll date as the number of days from the start of each presidential term. To learn more about the data and access the interactive visualization, click here.
Border wall procedures criticized
United States government

Border wall procedures criticized

A government watchdog says the procedures for acquiring the southern border wall are inadequate, and the ability to maintain complete operational control is diminished. A report by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security finds that U.S. Customs and Border Protection found the procedures for procuring the southern border wall inadequate for the task. Specifically, the IG found that CBP did not attempt to identify "the most effective, appropriate, and affordable solutions to obtain operational control of the southern border as directed." Instead, the IG described the methods as "outdated." The report found other deficiencies and concluded: "the likelihood that CBP will be able to obtain and maintain complete operational control of the southern border with mi...
Trump-supporting QAnon seen as public security threat
United States government

Trump-supporting QAnon seen as public security threat

QAnon, a conspiracy theory group mentioned favorably by President Donald J. Trump and embraced by other Republican leaders, represents a public security threat, according to the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. President Donald J. Trump has mentioned favorably the conspiracy theory group QAnon. [1. Q During the pandemic, the QAnon movement has been — appears to be gaining a lot of followers. Can you talk about what you think about that and what you have to say to people who are following this movement right now? THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don’t know much about the movement, other than I understand they like me very much, which I appreciate, but I don’t know much about the movement. I have heard that it is gaining in popularity. And from what I hear, it’s — these are people th...
Relations with North Korea
United States government

Relations with North Korea

The Congressional Research Service has produced a summary and timeline of recent events pertaining to the United States and North Korea relationship. In May the Congressional Research Service published a timeline of events relating to the relationship between the United States and North Korea. The document is available here: North Korea: A Chronology of Events from 2016 to 2020. Here is a portion of the report's introduction, with footnote references removed: Since Kim and President Trump’s first summit in Singapore in June 2018, however, little progress has been made on denuclearization, despite two more Kim-Trump meetings (a February 2019 summit in Hanoi and a one-hour June 2019 meeting in Panmunjom). Since the June 2019 meeting, only one round of talks has been held and it did not pr...
Electoral College math
United States government

Electoral College math

In the Electoral College, residents of different states have widely varying influence. When thinking about the desirability of the Electoral College for electing a president, the arithmetic should be considered. I have performed a few calculations, gathering state populations and the number of Electoral College votes. Here are the two extremes: In Wyoming, there are 192,579 people for each Electoral College vote (577,737 / 3). In Texas, the number is 755,312. That's a difference of 3.92, which is a lot, I would say. For Kansas, the number is 485,251. The average value for a state (weighting all states equally) is 513,088, although the population of the country divided by 538 is 608,118. (I include the District of Columbia, as it has EC votes.) I present these calculations in an intera...
In Wichita, more tax increment financing
United States government

In Wichita, more tax increment financing

The Wichita city council will consider expanding an existing TIF, or tax increment financing district. Tomorrow the Wichita City Council will consider expanding the boundaries of an existing tax increment financing district in downtown Wichita. [1. City of Wichita City Council Agenda for October 8, 2019. Agenda Item No. V-1, Public Hearings Considering an Expansion of the Union Station Tax Increment Financing District and Considering a Development Agreement for the Union Station Project Area 3 Plan (District I)] According to city documents for this agenda item, Expanding the District would allow the Developer to capture the additional increment generated by the increased value of the Ice House building for pay-as-you-go reimbursement of eligible TIF expenses within the TIF district. The...
The overcriminalization in the charges against Michael O’Donnell
United States government

The overcriminalization in the charges against Michael O’Donnell

The indictment against Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell smells of overcriminalization. Former Wichita City Council Member, former Kansas Senator, and present Sedgwick County Commissioner Michael O'Donnell has been charged with a series of serious crimes -- serious, at least, in the potential penalties he faces. First, I know Michael O'Donnell, and although I have been critical of some of his votes in the Kansas Senate and many while a member of the Sedgwick County Commission, I still consider him a friend, and I hope he considers me the same. I have worked on some of his campaigns, sometimes as a volunteer, and sometimes for pay. In the indictment, counts one through five accuse O'Donnell of wire fraud, because five campaign finance reports filed with the Kansas Government...
Judge Melgren defends Constitutional protections
United States government

Judge Melgren defends Constitutional protections

By Karl Peterjohn While it has become increasingly common for members of the U.S. Supreme Court to make news by public comments, particularly during their summer recess, Wichita Pachyderm Club members had the opportunity for Kansas federal district Judge Eric F. Melgren to quote from his judicial colleagues in a way of defending the Constitution's concept of the separation of powers. Judge Melgren cited various appellate court rulings, particularly as they related to the largely little known Chevron decision, that damages that constitutional protection at his July 21 speech in Wichita. Judge Melgren, a former member of this club before his selection as the U.S. attorney for Kansas that was followed by his 2008 elevation to a federal district court post, began by discussing this governmen...
Debate: The National Debt
United States government

Debate: The National Debt

This is an audio recording of a debate on the theme “Should the U.S. implement austerity measures due to the national debt?” The event was sponsored by Up To Us, a nationwide campus competition in which students create thought-provoking, fun campaigns to raise awareness about a critical issue affecting their future — the long-term national debt. This event took place at Emporia State University on February 15, 2016. Participants were Bob Weeks of Voice for Liberty at wichitaliberty.org and Professor Max Skidmore of University of Missouri, Kansas City. Michael Smith of ESU was the faculty coordinator, and Rob Catlett of ESU was the moderator. Partners in Up To Us include: Peter G. Peterson Foundation. The Peter G. Peterson Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to ...
Congressman Mike Pompeo update
United States government

Congressman Mike Pompeo update

Congressman Mike Pompeo, fourth district of Kansas, offered his perspective on recent happenings in Europe, the Middle East and Washington, D.C., at a luncheon gathering of the Wichita Pachyderm Club November 20, 2015. View below, or click here to view in high definition at YouTube. Videography by Paul Soutar.
United States government

Release the secret Iran deals

For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear agreement President Obama has reached with Iran. Yet the president expects Congress to cast this vote without the administration’s fully disclosing the contents of the deal to the American people, write Representative Mike Pompeo and Senator Tom Cotton. Release the Secret Iran Deals By Tom Cotton and Mike Pompeo As printed in the Wall Street Journal For those of us who are elected officials, few votes will be more consequential than whether to approve or disapprove the nuclear agreement President Obama has reached with Iran. Yet the president expects Congress to cast this vote without the administration’s fully disclosing the contents of the deal to t...
Pompeo: Disclose complete Iran nuclear deal
United States government

Pompeo: Disclose complete Iran nuclear deal

U.S. Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican who represents the Kansas fourth district and Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton recently traveled to Vienna to meet with officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). They have revealed the existence of two side deals between Iran and IDEA that are important and relevant to the deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and promoted by President Barack Obama. According to a Pompeo spokesperson, the existence of these side deals was not a secret, having been mentioned in an IDEA press release from July 14. But the content of the agreements is secret, and their significance unknown. Following, two press releases from July 21 and 22 from Pompeo's office. July 21, 2015 Pompeo, Cotton Urge Disclosure of Complete Iran Nuclear ...
Huelskamp, Pompeo at top of Club for Growth scorecard
United States government

Huelskamp, Pompeo at top of Club for Growth scorecard

Kansans Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo are among the eight U.S. House Members who scored 100 percent for 2014 on Club for Growth's scorecard. Club for Growth describes itself as "a national network of over 100,000 pro-growth, limited government Americans who share in the belief that prosperity and opportunity come from economic freedom." On the scorecard for 2014, released today, Kansas Representatives Tim Huelskamp and Mike Pompeo voted with the Club for Growth's preferred position one hundred percent of the time. So did six other members of the House of Representatives. Kansans Lynn Jenkins and Kevin Yoder were tied at rank 73, with scores of 77. On the club's Senate scorecard for 2014, Pat Roberts was ranked at number 11 with a score of 90, far above his lifetime score of 76...
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