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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Friday, November 30, 2018

The G20 is Not an International Rotary Club

by Newt Gingrich: When you see pictures of smiling world leaders from the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, remember that the images do not depict reality.

The G20 summit is not a pleasant social gathering of nice people who all have the same values – or the same commitment to what we think of as civilization.

There will be a number of leaders in this meeting who have horrifying track records of breaking the rule of law, killing people, and routinely lying.

So, as you observe the grins, handshakes, and awestruck news coverage, don’t be fooled.

Countries that do follow the rule of law (such as Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Germany and India) will be meeting with countries with deep internal governance problems and countries with long histories of appalling violence and dishonesty.

Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico each have substantial problems with corruption. In addition, Mexico has had a large and growing problem of cartel violence, which threatens to shake the very fabric of its societal ability to govern itself. (More than 130 politicians and political operatives were assassinated in Mexico’s July 2018 elections, and cartel wars are killing hundreds of thousands more.)

At least with these three Latin American countries there is a pattern of trying to enforce the rule of law and a commitment to participating in a community of nations.

However, consider the countries that routinely defy our notions of common decency, the rule of law, and a minimum level of transparent honesty. In particular, look at Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Russia, and China.

This week, the liberal media attention will be on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is widely believed to have been directly or indirectly responsible for the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saudi Arabia is a very tough, family-run dictatorship, which still imprisons and executes people. As David Ignatius brilliantly reported, Crown Prince Salman has simultaneously implemented modernizing reforms and increased the level of violence and police state tactics.

However, the media should have a broader view of the dangerous and destructive leaders who will be at the G20.

Also in the room will be Russian President Vladimir Putin, who tried to kill fellow Russians by poisoning them in England. Putin will be coming to Argentina fresh from the Russian assault on the Ukrainian Navy and in the middle of an ongoing war in Eastern Ukraine which Russia has fomented, financed, and led.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is currently using the Khashoggi murder to embarrass his Saudi rivals. Of course, in 2017, the Erdoğan regime had more journalists in prison than any other country in the world, and he is running an increasingly repressive regime that seeks to undo the modernizing and secularizing reforms of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

President Xi Jinping of China proved his repressive nature has no sense of humor when he banned the new Winnie the Pooh movie because Pooh looks too much like Xi, and the Chinese people were making fun of him. Of course, banning Winnie the Pooh is a minor infringement compared to crushing the cultures and religious beliefs of the Tibetans and the Uighers. Nor does it touch Xi’s creation of a nationwide totalitarian scoring system to track and evaluate every single person in China. The Chinese approach to high tech dictatorship with facial recognition and massive data bases is increasingly admired by other autocratic leaders, and the Chinese will presently have a robust industry exporting tools of dictatorship (all of which will feed data back to a central Chinese repository giving Beijing more and more influence among the dictatorship nations).

It is useful to get these leaders together, but we should have no illusions about who they are and for what they stand.

The vision (maybe fantasy) of a “new world order” and the fantasy that an international community developing legal structures can replace sovereign nation states has to be replaced. Instead, we should have an honest conversation about how tough the world is and how ruthless some of its leaders are.

This is why the United States must emphasize our national security and economic interests – as well as caution about dealing with countries that are totally different from us and have competing ideas about what civilization should be.

As you watch the G20 coverage, remember who these leaders are and listen to see if reporters cover the summit as a genial Rotary Club meeting or the gathering of very tough, dangerous people that it is.
Newt Gingrich is a former Georgia Congressman and Speaker of the U.S. House. He co-authored and was the chief architect of the "Contract with America" and a major leader in the Republican victory in the 1994 congressional elections. He is noted speaker and writer. The above commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

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Cohen Craziness, What's Wrong, Happy Chanukah

Gary Bauer
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Cohen Craziness - The media were ecstatic yesterday when news broke that President Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen reached a plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

As part of the deal, Cohen was brought into a federal court and confessed to lying to Congress during his 2017 testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee.  As a result, Cohen is expected to receive a lighter sentence in exchange for helping Mueller get Trump.

Here's what you need to know:
  • Once again, this plea deal has nothing to do with the reason why Mueller's investigation exists.  Cohen's testimony to Congress was related to a Trump Tower construction project in Moscow.  Mueller is supposed to be determining whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives to influence the 2016 election.  Cohen's confession isn't about the campaign.  It's about a real estate deal that ultimately did not happen.
  • Lying to Congress is a very bad thing to do -- but apparently only if you are a Republican.  There are all kinds of people walking around Washington from the previous administration who repeatedly misled Congress and none of them have been brought to justice. Lois LernerJohn BrennanHillary ClintonEric HolderLoretta Lynch, and James Comey come to mind.  There is also evidence that Glenn Simpson, the head of Fusion GPS who was colluding with Russians, committed perjury, which is why he is refusing to testify again.
  • There is a Deep State and it wants to destroy Trump at any cost.  This is now the second time that Mueller and his team of Hillary Clinton lawyers have gone into court and attempted to embarrass the president as he was out of the country preparing for a major foreign policy event.  I don't believe in the tooth fairy.  And I don't believe this is a coincidence.  Donald Trump was elected to drain the swamp, and the swamp is fighting back.  (Read more here.)
The Mueller/Cohen "bombshell" appears to be a dud, as a few serious journalists have noted.  For example, Byron York points out that the plea deal completely ignores a key collusion allegation -- that Michael Cohen traveled to Prague to coordinate with the Russians.  Evidently, Robert Mueller couldn't prove that.

And during an interview yesterday with Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, CNN's Jake Tapper said:

"But once again I look at these documents and I don't see any evidence of conspiracy between members of the Trump team and the Russian government to interfere in the election."

We have heard that refrain time and again, even from famed Watergate reporter Bob Woodward, yet Mueller keeps marching on.

Democrat commentator and Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz brilliantly summed up the problem with the Mueller probe.  Speaking to Fox News, Dershowitz said:

"I think the weakness of Mueller's substantive findings are suggested by the fact that he has to resort to false statement prosecutions, which really shows that he didn't start with very much. . .

"These are not crimes that had been committed prior to his appointment, they're crimes that were committed as the result of his appointment. . .  In the end, I don't think Mueller's going to come up with very much . . . and that's pretty shocking."

In a later Fox interview with Sean Hannity, Dershowitz added:

"The problem is Mueller is straying away from his mandate to find crime, and he is now looking for political sin.  Building buildings in Moscow, using stolen material from [Julian] Assange — these are not crimes.  He has no authority to be a roving commissioner to find political sins.

"So far, I don't see any evidence of crimes, except for ones that he helped to facilitate by getting people to lie in front of his own investigators."

In short, Mueller is coming up empty handed on his mandate to investigate campaign collusion so he is setting a bunch of perjury traps to justify the continued existence of this ongoing witch hunt.

What's Wrong
Speaker Paul Ryan is on his way out, leaving Congress when this session ends.  I have worked with him many times over the years, and he is a good and decent man.

But during an interview yesterday with the Washington Post Ryan once again demonstrated what is wrong with the GOP establishment.  Referring to the election results in California, Ryan said this:

"California just defies logic to me. . . This election system they have, I can't begin to understand what ballot harvesting is. . .

"When you win the absentee ballots and you win the in-person vote, where I come from, you win the election.  I'm not saying there's anything nefarious about it, because I just don't know, but we believed we were up about six seats in California the night of the election, now I think we lost just about every single one of those."

What happened in California is outrageous!  There should be a federal investigation.  Ryan was right to bring it up and question the process.  But then he backed off.

Too many times, when it matters most, the GOP establishment losses its will to fight.

Just Two People
Did you see the big news?  Scientists recently completed a massive study of genetic "bar codes" and were shocked to discover that all human beings are descended from two people. They could have saved time and money by just reading Chapter 1 of Genesis.

Happy Chanukah
Carol and I extend our warmest wishes to all our Jewish friends and supporters. As an evangelical Christian, I have tremendous respect and admiration for the Jewish faith and the state of Israel.

As the celebration of the miracle of lights begins Sunday, I promise to continue to fight against the darkness of anti-Semitism and to work for the safety and security of America's friend and ally Israel.
Gary Bauer is a conservative family values advocate and serves as president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families

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Another Day, Another Op-Ed Claiming NRA Influence Is Over

by Tom Knighton: The midterm elections are over, which now leads to the analysis of those results. Talking heads (or writing heads, as the case may be) will pontificate endlessly over just what those numbers mean, as each side’s most die-hard partisans will take them as proof that their party is ultimately victorious.

For example, we have yet another op-ed that claims the results are proof that the National Rifle Association’s influence is waning.

The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. It’s the mantra of the National Rifle Association, and a certainty for those who would brook no incursion into Second Amendment rights and definitely no gun control measures, no matter how small or “sensible,” as they are often described by those who propose them.

When children were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, and federal legislation that would strengthen background checks went nowhere, gun control advocates despaired. If the murder of children failed to crack the gun lobby, what would?

But real-life events and political surprises indicate that the landscape might be changing. And the work of groups such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and other large and small organizations has made a difference.

Where once politicians were loath to cross the NRA because of the organization’s hefty purse and powerful get-out-the-vote success, candidates in unlikely places are showing that a nuanced position is not a deal breaker. Earlier this month, Democrat Lucy McBath, a onetime spokesperson for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, won a House seat in Georgia that Newt Gingrich once held, no doubt surprising some leaders in her own party. Though the district has been trending away from its once deep-red hue for a while, a well-financed race by Democrat Jon Ossoff last year that engendered enthusiasm could not achieve what McBath did with far less attention.

McBath, an African-American woman whose activism was motivated by the murder of her son, Jordan Davis, in 2012 by a white man angered by the volume of his music, expressed support for the Second Amendment as well as changes in gun laws, including closing background check loopholes. Her platform did not stop there, also featuring a variety of other issues of concern, including affordable health care and middle-class tax cuts. And McBath was not the only new member of Congress elected on a similar platform.
Look, McBath’s win is surprising. I said it wasn’t going to happen. I just couldn’t see a scenario where Handle would win and pointed out how Ossoff’s near-win was only because of a jungle primary where he was the only Democrat against a crowded field of Republicans, yet even in that he couldn’t get the 50 percent plus one needed to secure the win.

McBath did.

And while she wasn’t the only anti-gun candidate elected, it’s also important to remember that a whole bunch of anti-gun candidates lost. That includes Stacey Abrams in Georgia. The same state McBath ran in.

Throughout the entire op-ed, the author seizes on selected anti-NRA sentiments – a sentiment which has always been there, at least since the NRA stopped being willing to serve as a rubber stamp to anti-gunners desires – and uses them as evidence of something greater.

In other words, it’s a prime case of wishful thinking and little more.
Tom Knighton is a Navy veteran, a former newspaperman, a novelist, and a blogger at Bearing Arms. He lives with his family in Southwest Georgia.

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Is Open Borders The Biblical Stance?

. . . Thoughts on appropriate responses to the migrant Caravan.
by Danusha V. Goska: Imagine this: You are a parent, and a homeowner. Your home is modest. You worked ceaselessly, at a job full of frustrations, humiliations and disappointments, frittering away the best years of your life, to put your home together. You love the color scheme. You love the carpets. You love the couch, even though you may have bought it at the Salvation Army. You like your neighbors.

After years of walking on eggshells and negotiations, you've hammered out a modus vivendi with the folks next door and in back. You love your pets, with a walk schedule worked out where you take them to the park at the right times.

Your kid is chronically ill, and needs expensive medication daily. Because of some fluke in the insurance, you have to pay for those meds out of pocket.

One night unexpectedly, you hear a rasping noise. Someone is using a file to jimmy your lock and penetrate your home. You hear more voices. They're coming in. You’re now victim to a home invasion. You've heard about this in the news.

Gangs are breaking into homes. Stealing whatever drugs are on the premises, eating all the food, throwing trash around, disrupting lives.

Your child needs drugs every day. These home invaders may steal the drugs, leaving your kid without necessary medication.

You have a gun in your nightstand. Do you use it? Me?

This imaginary scenario helps me personally to understand why some can disagree so vehemently about borders.

On Sunday, November 25, 2018, US border agents used tear gas to hold back an on-rush of protesting asylum seekers from Central America. NPR called this event a Rorschach test. Some see the border guards as protecting the US and the rule of law, and using non-lethal methods to do so, while others view it differently.

On my Facebook (FB) page, one poster said that anyone who doesn't support open borders “has no conscience” and is “unaware of the Bible.” One FB friend accused me of being an "evil virus" because I don't support open borders. Another, an influential Catholic author, is accusing anyone who doesn't support open borders of being “satanic”. Another shared a popular meme declaring, "Real Christians would be waiting for the caravan with food, water, clothing, and offering any help needed."

I've been trying to talk to those calling me "satanic" and a "virus." I try to communicate the following….

Some of us see America as our home. We assess America as valuable. We realize how very much hard work went into creating the country we've been blessed with. America, the America we cherish, didn't just spring up overnight. America took long, hard work, and constant maintenance. We don't take America for granted. We realize that like any human creation, America could be destroyed by human hands. We are not xenophobes. We value immigrants who arrive legally, learn English, and respect and support American institutions before attempting to benefit from those institutions.We see a national border as a necessity. We support a porous border. We want people, commerce, and ideas to flow in and out. We support laws to regulate this flow. We appreciate border patrol as serving that regulation. We assess persons attempting to violate our laws, not as heroes, but as criminals, and we support border patrol doing whatever is necessary to enforce the very same laws we ourselves have had to adhere to when we crossed international borders.

We know that there are people in the world much worse off than we are. That's why we donate to charities and aid agencies active in poor countries. Our donations, a dollar here and a dollar there, contribute to the tens of billions of dollars Americans send to other countries every year, through both taxes and charitable donations.

At least one source claims that "Americans give around three percent of our collective income to charity – more than the citizens of any other country."

We recognize the concept of "limited good." We get it that scamming and milking the American system leaves less for everyone. There are poor, chronically ill, and homeless people in this country right now. I know because I am low-income, and I am chronically ill. I face many a steeple-chase in accessing adequate health care. The simple fact is that even in a rich country like the United States, resources are limited.

We recognize the need for triage. We calculate what we can do. We can't do everything, so we ration our resources and our time.

If Cause A gets the ten dollars we can spend in a week on charity, Cause B will get nothing. We can't change that anymore than we can change gravity.

Many of us are Jews and Christians, and our scripture tells us that we will never be able to solve every problem. "The poor you will always have with you," Jesus taught. Deuteronomy 15:11, in the Old Testament, teaches the same. In both cases, the verse is placed in the context of triage, of making choices as to how to handle resources. In the New Testament, we read that a follower has purchased expensive perfume to honor Jesus. One of Jesus' disciples protest. "Should we really be spending money on perfume when we could sell it and feed the poor?" Jesus condones the splurge. Yes, help the poor, he advises, but when it comes time to spend extra for a special occasion, do so. You will never eliminate poverty, even by devoting every penny to charity.

Deuteronomy tells us to take care of our poor relations and neighbors. And we do. But Deuteronomy reminds us that we will never end poverty. We can't. We do what we can.

The Bible, and real morality, teach that "charity begins at home." In 1 Timothy 5:4, Paul writes, "But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God."

This verse does not absolve believers from their duty to care for others outside the home. Jesus taught that even the Samaritan, that is, even the person most foreign to ourselves, is our neighbor. Rather, there is deep wisdom and insight into human psychology in this teaching. For humans, "the grass is always greener." The do-gooder dilettante will find it much easier to champion victims who are only images on a TV screen, and who demand only that we bash America in a Facebook post, in order to feel righteous.

If those bashing America now for her border policies were to rise from their comfortable perches in front of their ramparts from which they shoot salvos, that is, if they were to take a break from their keyboards, they would discover that real needy people, the bum on the street corner of their nearest slum are difficult. TV images don't smell bad. TV images don't try to pick your pocket. TV images don't return to drugs after you've invested time, money, and heartache in getting them clean. TV images don't make choices that sabotage their would-be saviors' best intentions. Yes. Charity begins at home. The person a truly caring person will focus on helping is nearby, and is difficult. If you can't help the person next to you, chances are you can't help the person behind that TV image.

I would love it if every open-borders supporter in this country now would take a day off from bashing America and Americans on Facebook and report to their local low-income area to devote their salvific efforts to American populations. I live in a low-income city. Mere feet away from where I sit, typing this document, there are men camped in a public park. It's 42 degrees Fahrenheit right now. Those men have nothing but ragged jackets between themselves and the cold. Many of them are alcoholics, drug addicts, and mentally ill. Many are African Americans, descendants of histories of injustice. Their tragic exposure and pathetic appearances are not the whole story. These men live mere feet away from a Salvation Army rescue facility. Why do they sleep in the park? Because the Salvation Army demands that before they receive three “hots and a cot”, the homeless men renounce drugs and weapons. They must also receive treatment for any mental illnesses. These men want their booze and their weapons more than they want an inside bed. They want to refuse treatment for their schizophrenia more than they want a warmth and nourishment. That's what it's like helping real people, rather than TV images. You face the impasses erected by real human beings' own bad choices.

Interestingly, many of my Facebook friends agitating for open borders don't live in neighborhoods anything like mine. When I google their hometowns, I find that they live in towns with above-average incomes, and below-average minority populations. If their photos are any guide, I can conclude that they live in comfortable suburban homes surrounded by large yards and colorful gardens.

Is it any wonder that they and I see America differently? I don't live in a rich enclave where illegal immigrants are the landscaper or the nanny. I and my neighbors don't have landscapers and we don't have nannies. We know how disruptive mass illegal immigration can be.

Over ten years ago, a local Democratic politician acknowledged to me that a much-needed, century-old hospital in my city would have to go under because it could no longer handle the burden of offering healthcare to immigrants. Why? Immigrants can claim that they have no income. They are often paid under the table. There is no record of their income. They send their salaries to their native countries, so they have no US bank accounts. Their health care tab shifts to the taxpayer. I witnessed such transactions first hand. I saw recent arrivals to the US claim to have no income and no assets and go out to the parking lot and enter brand new SUVs.

This financial drain is not the only price we pay for our flawed immigration system. In a 2007 article in City Journal, John Leo summarized then-recent research conclusions about the impact of diversity. Leo was summarizing the research of Robert Putnam, a superstar Harvard scholar, and reported that Putnam's "five-year study shows that immigration and ethnic diversity have a devastating short- and medium-term influence on the social capital, fabric of associations, trust, and neighborliness that create and sustain communities."

In my minority-majority city, I live the truth Putnam discovered. Inside the borders of this diverse city, people are ruder. They throw their garbage on the street rather than in a handy trash receptacle. They play music loudly. They get into fistfights. I have witnessed dozens, maybe over a hundred, street fistfights just from my own window: blacks against Hispanics, men against women, teens against men. In local stores, middleman minority Muslim shopkeepers hire Haitian strongmen to menace black and Hispanic shoppers.

When I cross the border, store security guards don't follow me. I am not asked to surrender my backpack before I shop. Bank personnel are courteous and eager to please and treat me less like a potential felon. Drivers follow basic traffic rules. All this happens the moment I cross the border. I am the same person. The only difference is where I am standing, inside a more diverse environment or inside a less diverse one.

There's another interesting occurrence every time I cross the border into my city. If I am given a ride, even by liberal friends, as soon as we cross the border into my city, I hear that loud, obtrusive CLICK. My driver, even among my most liberal friends, has just locked all the doors in the car.

George Borjas is himself an Hispanic immigrant. He was born in Cuba. He has shown through his research that poor, less well-educated Americans, including African Americans, suffer economically from immigration. If Jose will take that job for less than minimum wage, Joe, who must be paid on the books and be paid minimum wage, is screwed.

I think my Facebook friends who call us opponents of open borders "evil viruses" and "satanic" see America very differently. I think these people see America as guilty; as needing to be punished. As a big, fat, ATM machine that should be milked for all it has got, and then milked some more. I think they see America not as their home at all. Not as something that they worked on. Not as something that they hold dear. I think they see America as something outside themselves, just a big, bad bank whose vaults should be emptied out and then burned.

Team open borders calls us xenophobes, bigots, haters, Nazis, and accuse us of lacking compassion. They insist that they have a monopoly on compassion and Biblical values.

I always find it rather ironic when people who have more money than I do, and whose exercise of compassion is limited to insulting me on Facebook, accuse me of being a xenophobic bigot. My first job after receiving my BA was as a teacher in a tiny, remote village in an impoverished, war-torn African country. After that I taught in a small village in Asia. I lived for years without electricity or running water, and I risked deadly disease, a few of which I managed to contract and, luckily, survived.

It is not compassionate or empathetic or Christian or Biblical to urge desperate people to leave their homes and walk over a thousand miles to a border that will inevitably frustrate them. It isn't compassionate or empathetic or Christian or Biblical to rage against one's own nation and one's own neighbors as "diabolical" "evil viruses." In Leviticus, in the Old Testament, and in Jesus' words in the New Testament, we are commanded to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. To love our neighbors, we have to start with loving ourselves.

Opening the borders is not a loving thing to do, not to others, and not to ourselves. A rational border policy is about appropriate self-care. There's a reason parents must put on their own oxygen masks before they put on their child's. A parent who allows himself to suffocate is not going to be able to rescue his child. A nation that invites chaos by abandoning the most basic of security can do nothing for escapees from another chaos-torn country. We can help Honduras, and the world best when we maintain our own integrity.

I invite open-borders supporters to act on their publicly announced compassion. Catholic Relief Services and numerous other aid agencies are active in Honduras and welcome donations. There are many opportunities to volunteer in Honduras. Inevitably, successful Americans who have achieved the American dream will have the most to contribute to others. That basic fact should be enough to cause open borders supporters to rethink their policy.

When we have done well for ourselves, we are better able to do well for others.
Danusha Goska contributed ths article to FrontPage Mag and the author of Save Send Delete, Bieganski, and God through Binoculars.

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Black Education: What Makes Sense?

Dr Walter E. Williams
by Dr. Walter E. Williams: What do you think of the proposition that no black youngsters should be saved from educational rot until all can be saved? Black people cannot afford to accept such a proposition. Actions by the education establishment, black and white liberal politicians, and some civil rights organizations appear to support the proposition. Let’s look at it with the help of some data developed by my friend and colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell.

The Nation’s Report Card for 2017 showed the following reading scores for fourth-graders in New York state’s public schools: Thirty-two percent scored below basic, with 32 percent scoring basic, 27 percent scoring proficient and 9 percent scoring advanced. When it came to black fourth-graders in the state, 19 percent scored proficient, and 3 percent scored advanced.

Dr. Sowell compared 2016-17 scores on the New York state ELA test. Thirty percent of Brooklyn’s William Floyd elementary school third-graders scored well below proficient in English and language arts, but at a Success Academy charter school in the same building, only one did. At William Floyd, 36 percent were below proficient, with 24 percent being proficient and none being above proficient. By contrast, at Success Academy, only 17 percent of third-graders were below proficient, with 70 percent being proficient and 11 percent being above proficient. Among Success Academy’s fourth-graders, 51 percent and 43 percent, respectively, scored proficient and above proficient, while their William Floyd counterparts scored 23 percent and 6 percent, respectively, proficient and above proficient. It’s worthwhile stressing that William Floyd and this Success Academy location have the same address.

Similar high performance can be found in the Manhattan charter school KIPP Infinity Middle School among its sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders when compared with that of students at New Design Middle School, a public school at the same location. Liberals believe integration is a necessary condition for black academic excellence. Public charter schools such as those mentioned above belie that vision. Sowell points out that only 39 percent of students in all New York state schools who were recently tested scored at the “proficient” level in math, but 100 percent of the students at the Crown Heights Success Academy tested proficient. Blacks and Hispanics constitute 90 percent of the students in that Success Academy.

There’s little question that charter schools provide superior educational opportunities for black youngsters. In a story The New York Times ran about charter schools earlier this month, “With Democratic Wins, Charter Schools Face a Backlash in N.Y. and Other States,” John Liu, an incoming Democratic state senator from Queens, said New York City should “get rid of” large charter school networks. State Sen.-elect Julia Salazar, D-Brooklyn, said, “I’m not interested in privatizing our public schools.” The New York Times went on to say, “Over 100,000 students in hundreds of the city’s charter schools are doing well on state tests, and tens of thousands of children are on waiting lists for spots.”

One would think that black politicians and civil rights organizations would support charter schools. To the contrary, they want to saddle charter schools with procedures that make so many public schools a failure. For example, the NAACP demands that charter schools “cease expelling students that public schools have a duty to educate.” It wants charter schools to “cease to perpetuate de facto segregation of the highest performing children from those whose aspirations may be high but whose talents are not yet as obvious.” Most importantly, it wants charter schools to come under the control of teachers unions.

Charter schools have an advantage that some call “selection bias.” Because charter schools require parents to apply or enter lotteries for their children’s admission, they attract more students who have engaged parents and students who are higher-achieving and better behaved.

Many in the teaching establishment who are against parental alternatives want alternatives for themselves. In Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, 25 percent of public-school teachers send their children to private schools. In Philadelphia, 44 percent of teachers do so. In Cincinnati, it’s 41 percent. In Chicago, 39 percent do, and in Rochester, New York, it’s 38 percent. This demonstrates the dishonesty, hypocrisy and arrogance of the elite. Their position is, “One thing for thee and another for me.”
Walter Williams (@WE_Williams) is an American economist, social commentator, and author of over 150 publications. He has a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from the UCLA and B.A. in economics from California State University. He also holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Union University and Grove City College, Doctor of Laws from Washington and Jefferson College. He has served on the faculty of George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics, since 1980. Visit his website: and view a list of other articles and works.

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Is Putin the Provocateur in the Kerch Crisis?

Vladimir Putin
by Patrick Buchanan: On departure for the G-20 gathering in Buenos Aires, President Donald Trump canceled his planned weekend meeting with Vladimir Putin, citing as his reason the Russian military's seizure and holding of three Ukrainian ships and 24 sailors.

But was Putin really the provocateur in Sunday's naval clash outside Kerch Strait, the Black Sea gateway to the Sea of Azov?

Or was the provocateur Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko?

First, a bit of history.

In 2014, after the pro-Russian regime in Kiev was ousted in a coup, and a pro-NATO regime installed with U.S. backing, Putin detached and annexed Crimea, for centuries the homeport of Russia's Black Sea fleet.

With the return of Crimea, Russia now occupied both sides of Kerch Strait. And this year, Russia completed a 12-mile bridge over the strait and Putin drove the first truck across.

The Sea of Azov became a virtual Russian lake, access to which was controlled by Russia, just as access to the Black Sea is controlled by Turkey.

While the world refused to recognize the new reality, Russia began to impose rules for ships transiting the strait, including 48 hours notice to get permission.

Ukrainian vessels, including warships, would have to notify Russian authorities before passing beneath the Kerch Strait Bridge into the Sea of Azov to reach their major port of Mariupol.

Sunday, two Ukrainian artillery ships and a tug, which had sailed out of Odessa in western Ukraine, passed through what Russia now regards as its territorial waters off Crimea and the Kerch Peninsula. Destination: Mariupol.

The Ukrainian vessels refused to obey Russian directives to halt.

Russian warships fired at the Ukrainian vessels and rammed the tug. Three Ukrainian sailors were wounded, and 24 crew taken into custody.

Russia's refusal to release the sailors was given by President Trump as the reason for canceling his Putin meeting.

Moscow contends that Ukraine deliberately violated the new rules of transit that Kiev had previously observed, to create an incident.

For his part, Putin has sought to play the matter down, calling it a "border incident, nothing more."

"The incident in the Black Sea was a provocation organized by the authorities and maybe the president himself. ... (Poroshenko's) rating is falling ... so he needed to do something."

Maxim Eristavi, a fellow at the Atlantic Council, seems to concur:

"Poroshenko wants to get a head start in his election campaign. He is playing the card of commander in chief, flying around in military uniform, trying to project that he is in control."

Our U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, however, accused Russia of "outlaw actions" against the Ukrainian vessels and "an arrogant act the international community will never accept."

Predictably, our interventionists decried Russian "aggression" and demanded we back up our Ukrainian "ally" and send military aid.

Why was Poroshenko's ordering of gunboats into the Sea of Azov, while ignoring rules Russia set down for passage, provocative?

Because Poroshenko, whose warships had previously transited the strait, had to know the risk that he was taking and that Russia might resist.

Why would he provoke the Russians?

Because, with his poll numbers sinking badly, Poroshenko realizes that unless he does something dramatic, his party stands little chance in next March's elections.

Immediately after the clash, Poroshenko imposed martial law in all provinces bordering Russia and the Black Sea, declared an invasion might be imminent, demanded new Western sanctions on Moscow, called on the U.S. to stand with him, and began visiting army units in battle fatigues.

Some Westerners want even more in the way of confronting Putin.

Adrian Karatnycky of the Atlantic Council urges us to build up U.S. naval forces in the Black Sea, send anti-aircraft and anti-ship missiles to Ukraine, ratchet up sanctions on Russia, threaten to expel her from the SWIFT system of international bank transactions, and pressure Europe to cancel the Russians' Nord Stream 2 and South Stream oil pipelines into Europe.

But there is a larger issue here.

Why is control of the Kerch Strait any of our business?

Why is this our quarrel, to the point that U.S. strategists want us to confront Russia over a Crimean Peninsula that houses the Livadia Palace that was the last summer residence of Czar Nicholas II?

If Ukraine had a right to break free of Russia in 1991, why do not Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk have the right to break free of Kiev?

Why are we letting ourselves be dragged into everyone's quarrels -- from who owns the islets in the South China Sea, to who owns the Senkaku and Southern Kurils; and from whether Transnistria had a right to secede from Moldova, to whether South Ossetia and Abkhazia had the right to break free of Georgia, when Georgia broke free of Russia?

Do the American people care a fig for these places? Are we really willing to risk war with Russia or China over who holds title to them?
Patrick Buchanan is currently a conservative columnist, political analyst, chairman of The American Cause foundation and an editor of The American Conservative. He has been a senior advisor to three Presidents, a two-time candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, and was the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He blogs at the Patrick J. Buchanan.

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Who's to Blame? Weak Leaders, Weak Institutions, Weak Voters?

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: In the wake of the off-year elections, conservative analyst Yuval Levin saw no winners. "It is the weakness of all sides, and the strength of none, that shapes this moment."

You can see what he means. Donald Trump hasn't gotten everything he wanted -- not even the wall! -- from the Republican House of Representatives. And on one issue or another, he'll probably get something from Rep. Nancy Pelosi's Democrats he couldn't get from outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan's Republicans.

Now maybe House Democrats will overplay their hand and help Trump win re-election in 2020. And maybe Democrats, faced with a crowded field of presidential candidates, will choose an unelectable nominee.

But even though Republicans gained Senate seats and are in good shape to confirm conservative judges, Trump is weakened. Republicans lost just about every House seat he carried in 2016 by 5 percent or less. And he got only 46 percent of the popular vote.

Do the math. Forty-six minus five is 41. No way a 41 percent candidate gets 270 electoral votes in a two-way race.

It doesn't have to be this way. CNN analyst Harry Enten points out that President Trump's job approval on the economy at this point is the second highest of recent presidents -- and his overall approval is the second lowest. The obvious advice: Behave in a more dignified manner.

But Trump is not alone among national leaders in behaving in a way that makes him weaker than he might be. It seems to be a common, though not quite universal, ailment.

Consider British Prime Minister Theresa May, who came to office after Brits voted in record numbers to leave the European Union. She has hopelessly bungled negotiations with the EU, refusing to prepare for a hard exit, which might have evoked concessions, and has ended up with an agreement that doesn't let Britain leave EU supervision without EU permission. Parliament looks set on voting this down, and the Conservative Party may be ready to vote May out.

Across the channel, French President Emanuel Macron has seen his job approval disappear amid demonstrations against his proposed gas tax increase. Americans whose European travel is confined to historic capitals don't realize that most European voters live in suburbs and exurbs and drive to malls and work -- sort of like the United States outside New York City.

Macron, who has beaten back challenges from unions in antiquated industries, evidently doesn't understand today's la France profonde , beyond the elite Paris precincts he's inhabited all his life.

Macron's term in office has nearly four years to run, while German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in power since 2005, has one foot out the door. She's resigned as head of her Christian Democratic Union party after recent electoral disasters, and she may not last long as the head of government.

Her reputation as a sensible moderate is already in shambles after two unforced blunders. One was the decision, after Japan's 2011 tsunami, to shut down Germany's nuclear power plants. Cloudy Germany, with intermittent wind and solar, has had to import dirty American coal, and its carbon emissions have risen while ours have fallen.

Merkel's major mistake, however, was her unilateral 2015 decision to allow -- and encourage -- some 1 million migrants, mostly male and Muslim, to surge into Germany. Hopes that they'd provide the skilled industrial manpower that Germany's low birth rates haven't have proven predictably unfulfilled, while the politically correct news media's attempts to conceal their crimes and violent attacks have, after initial success, failed.

If Donald Trump faces difficulties from defying establishment mores, May, Macron and Merkel face rejection for grovelingly accepting them.

Can others do better? New presidents are about to take office in the Western Hemisphere's third- and second-most populous nations, Mexico's Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico on Dec. 1 and Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro on Jan. 1. Both were considered political pariahs -- AMLO (as he is called) on the left, Bolsonaro on the right -- before they were elected earlier this year.

AMLO has proved constructive by encouraging outgoing President Enrique Pena Nieto to complete renegotiation with the U.S. and Canada of NAFTA, and Bolsonaro has made some impressive appointments. Both seem to be pleasing their own constituencies while appealing to the larger electorate.

That's not a feat Trump seems interested in attempting, or one that Europe's three M's have succeeded in maintaining. What's to blame: institutional failure, voter fecklessness or just leaders' personal weaknesses? Or some combination of all three?
Michael Barone is a Senior Political Analyst for the Washington Examiner and a Resident Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel and Washington Examiner contributor and co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. Shared by Rasmussen Reports.

Tags: Michael Barone, editorial, Rasmussen Reports, Who's to Blame? Weak Leaders, Weak Institutions, Weak Voters? To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

Drip Drip Drip . . .

. . . Mueller’s dubious investigation tactics are equivalent to applying extreme torture to get a confession.
Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony Branco

Tags: Editorial Cartoon, AF Branco, Drip, Robert Mueller, extreme torture, get a confession To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

The Cheese Stands “Unprotected”

by Paul Jacob, Contributing Author: Governments tempt us — with special privileges and advantages.

You know what also tempts us?


Cheese? Yes. In the Netherlands, cheese is a big deal, as Baylen Linnekin relates in “Cheese Fight Ends With Court Declaring Producers Can’t Copyright Taste,” over at Reason — where I go for all my cheese-related coverage. (Don’t you?)

The tale is about two cheese companies and the European Union’s “Directive 2001/29/EC,” which tries to reconcile copyrights among member states. Specifically, it involves the legal fight between “two Dutch herbed cream cheese spread makers,” as Mr. Linnekin relates, “Heksenkaas (‘witches’ cheese’) and Witte Wievenkaas (‘wise women’s cheese’).” The former sued the latter for infringing on “its copyright on the taste of Heksenkaas.”

The case went from a Dutch court to the European Court of Justice, where the Court (Grand Chamber) ruled against Heksenkaas. There can be no copyright on “taste.”

This is of no great significance, I suppose, but in a world where the government gets involved in everything, it’s worth noticing when the government resists its temptation to tempt us.

The rationale for non-involvement, in this case, was not a move against intellectual property as such, but against the idea of property involved in subjective taste. “The taste of a food product cannot,” the Court determined, “be pinned down with precision and objectivity. . . .”

Well, sure. But what was really going on here was one company not wanting competition from another company.

A temptation, for sure. But some temptations (like some cheeses?) must be resisted.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
Paul Jacob is author of Common Sense which provides daily commentary about the issues impacting America and about the citizens who are doing something about them. He is also President of the Liberty Initiative Fund (LIFe) as well as Citizens in Charge Foundation. Jacob is a contributing author on the News Service.

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Rep. Mike Rogers - November 2018 Porker of the Month

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Alabama)
Porker of the Month
November 2018
(Washington. D.C.) - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) named Representative Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) November 2018 Porker of the Month for being a leading proponent of a wasteful and duplicative sixth military branch called the Space Force.

On June 18, 2018, President Trump directed the Department of Defense (DOD) to begin the process of creating the Space Force, even after Congress rejected the plan on November 8, 2017. Undeterred, House Armed Services Subcommittee on Strategic Forces Chairman Mike Rogers announced his intention to introduce a stand-alone bill in 2019 to authorize the creation of the Space Force.

Among other problems with creating a new military branch, Rep. Rogers is ignoring the astronomical cost in dollars and bureaucracy. A September 14, 2018 Air Force memo estimated the cost of a Space Force to be $13 billion over five years, including an initial $3 billion to stand up the force. A sixth military branch would also create an entirely new and duplicative bureaucracy. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson stated that the Space Force would “make it more complex, add more boxes to the organization chart, and cost more money.” Secretary of Defense James Mattis also lobbied against a Space Force in July 2017, calling the formation of an additional branch “premature” as he sought to “reduce overhead” at DOD.
CAGW President Tom Schatz said, “The Space Force is another example of politicians pushing to create a new program instead of maintaining and improving an existing one. Several military officers and experts agree that this is a waste of the taxpayers’ money. The United States is capable of expanding our military presence into outer space while respecting the gravitational pull of fiscal responsibility.”

For leading the effort to create a costly Space Force, CAGW names Rep. Mike Rogers it’s November 2018 Porker of the Month.
Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. Porker of the Month is a dubious honor given to lawmakers, government officials, and political candidates who have shown a blatant disregard for the interests of taxpayers.

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Mueller Doesn’t Need Special Protection . . .

. . . He Needs oversight & Accountability!
Editorial Cartoon by AF Branco
by Robert Romano: Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) is gumming up the work on judicial nominations during the lame duck session before Christmas, promising to vote no on any judges nominated by President Donald Trump on the floor and to vote block any brought out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Flake is demanding action on legislation that would shield Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired by an Attorney General unless a three judge panel agrees, in effect unconstitutionally conferring executive powers to approve firings of executive branch officials on the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Why are those executive powers? Because the Special Counsel is appointed by the Attorney General or his designee, and are officers of the executive branch under Article II of the Constitution. He reports to, in this case, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

Courts have zero role under Article III of the Constitution to make staffing decisions for the executive branch. Zero. Judges and justices’ job is to say what the law is in cases of constitutionality. They can hear appeals. They can try cases. But they do not step in and conduct the oversight that is supposed to be handled by the heads of departments or the President himself.

A court is no position to determine what constitutes “misconduct, dereliction of duty, incapacity, conflict of interest, or other good cause…” as under the bill, which provides no definitions for what constitutes misconduct. But even if it did, it would not obviate the fact that the executive branch determines staffing of its own branch. Period.

Besides that, all executive powers under the Constitution are vested in the President under Article II. That includes the implied power to fire executive branch officials, even ones that have been confirmed by the Senate. That same legal authority extends to the heads of departments via statute, including the Justice Department, to remove executive officers for insubordination or misconduct.

The Special Counsel, which is in essence a political appointment when the Attorney General recuses himself, is not above the same oversight or accountability. And it would be foolish especially in this case to make such an exception.

There are now allegations that the Special Counsel is demanding false statements from witnesses. Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was coerced by Mueller into pleading guilty to lying to investigators when the investigators in the case never thought he was lying in the first place.

Paul Manafort, Jerome Corsi and other targets of the Mueller’s investigations and prosecutions have refused to, in their eyes, lie to courts to appease Mueller.

One-time Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos similarly pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about what his start date on the Trump campaign was, even though the questioning had to do with contacts he had that were supposedly Russian agents that now Papadopoulos is now spectacularly alleging were undercover Western intelligence operatives who set him up.

The entire investigation appears to have originated from a Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign paid for opposition research by Fusion GPS and former British spy Christopher Steele, which the FBI used as evidence to gather a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant. The origins of the dossier were hidden from the court.

The FBI and the Justice Department were getting bad information about the Trump campaign and colluding with Russia. For example, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who is now pleading guilty to making false statements to Congress, was said by Steele to be in Prague in the summer of 2016, allegedly meeting with Russian intelligence officers to clean up the Wikileaks mess. There’s only one problem. Cohen was never in Prague. He even showed his passport to Buzzfeed to prove it. And now Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis confirmed that Cohen had “never, ever” been to Prague. Finally, the new plea deal has nothing to with the Prague trip that never happened, it had to do with when Cohen says a potential real estate deal in Russia that never happened was being discussed.

Well, if Steele was wrong about Cohen being Prague, then Cohen couldn’t have been there colluding with Russian agents, either. Steele had accounts of conversations that Cohen supposedly had there, but not having been there, the conversations could not have happened either. It was a fabrication, calling into question Steele’s other claims about Manafort, Page and others as having conspired with Russia to hack the DNC and John Podesta emails and put them on Wikileaks.

None of the charges brought by Mueller against Trump campaign and administration officials and associates have actually made the case that they had anything to do with hacking the DNC or Podesta. Manafort was convicted on unrelated bank and tax charges. Page has not been charged with anything. There was no collusion as Steele alleged. That should have been the end of it.

Corsi appears to be accused of trying to find out when Wikileaks might be publishing some of that information, when the entire country was trying to figure out what Wikileaks might publish next—and in any event that’s not illegal. The plea deal that he was offered was just another false statements charge.

What is this, a memory quiz show, or a real investigation into espionage?

The point is that the investigation has gone far beyond its mandate. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should have reined it in long ago. But he didn’t. Now it falls on Acting Attorney General Whitaker and eventually the new permanent Attorney General to conduct oversight. Mueller is not a free agent.

This witch hunt far exceeds the crimes originally tasked to Mueller to investigate, which was the alleged hack and election interference by Russia. Evidence tying Trump directly to the hack have been sought but could not be found, and so the Special Counsel swept in and dug up unrelated allegations and crimes to justify continuing the investigation. That’s not justice, that should have been the work of the politically overseen Justice Department if anything.

Nobody elected Mueller. Yet some in Congress would make him an extraconstitutional officer whose job it is to take down this administration. That’s not his job. The American people make political decisions about who sits in the White House, not the Justice Department.

This is a runaway investigation. And the only effect the legislation that Flake is supporting would have is to ensure that it never ends.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.

Tags: Robert Romano, Americans For Limited Government, Robert Mueller, Doesn’t Need, Special Protection, Needs oversight, Accountability To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

On Immigration, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry Discover Their Inner Trump

by Larry Elder: If President Donald Trump were paid a dime every time critics call his anti-illegal immigration policy “racist,” he’d double his net worth. Never mind that at one time, President Bill Clinton, former Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid, former Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., all warned about the problems associated with illegal immigration.

Reid, for example, railed against birthright citizenship in 1993: “If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship.” Apart from America, the only other rich, industrial countries that allow birthright citizenship — automatically bestowed at birth — are Canada and Chile. Not a single European country permits this.

As to legal immigration, Trump, too, stands accused of racism for seeking to end “chain migration” and for arguing that legal immigrants must benefit America, rather than the other way around.

But recently, Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential rival, and former Secretary of State John Kerry argued that Europe should enact more restrictive immigration policies. “I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” said Clinton last week in an interview with The Guardian, referring to the hot-button issue of immigration among voters. “I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken by leaders like (Germany’s) Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part and must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue (to) provide refuge and support’ — because if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic.”

Eskinder Negash, the president of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, a migrant rights organization, told The New York Times that he “was kind of shocked” by Clinton’s statement. “If she’s simply saying you need to cut down on refugees coming to Europe to ask for asylum because they have a well-founded fear of persecution, just to appease some right-wing political leaders, it’s just not the right thing to do,” said Negash.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., called Clinton’s words a “deeply misguided and unfortunate comment from someone who must know better.” Former Clinton adviser Peter Daou tweeted: “Why is #HillaryClinton playing into the hands of right-wing haters? The problem isn’t the migrants, it’s the xenophobes. I try to avoid politics on #Thanksgiving but this is just wrong.” Rolling Stone’s Jamil Smith tweeted: “This is a sickening capitulation on her part. You don’t stop racism by giving in to racists.” New Yorker staff writer Osita Nwanevu tweeted: “Climate change, a crisis created by the developed world, is going to force poor people across the globe to move in order to survive. The approach Clinton is advocating will be a death sentence for millions and millions of people, and we should be clear about that.”

In response to the criticism, Clinton blamed Trump. “Trump has made it worse with cruel abuses at the border,” tweeted Clinton, “detaining children and separating them from their families. It’s one of the most shameful moments in our history.” But in her “clarification,” she still sounded like Trump. “In a recent interview,” Clinton tweeted, “I talked about how Europe must reject right-wing nationalism and authoritarianism, including by addressing migration with courage and compassion. … On both sides of the Atlantic, we need reform. Not open borders, but immigration laws enforced with fairness and respect for human rights. We can’t let fear or bias force us to give up the values that have made our democracies both great and good. … The EU needs a more comprehensive policy that builds societies that are both secure and welcoming.”

Kerry, speaking at a recent event in London one week before Clinton’s interview, also warned Europe about its immigration policy, which in the last few years has admitted millions of migrants, mostly from the Greater Middle East and Africa. Kerry warned: “Europe’s already crushed under this transformation that’s taken place because of immigration. Germany — Angela Merkel, weakened because of it. And other places impacted, Italy — significantly impacted its politics by immigration.”

Then there’s the Dalai Lama. Two years ago, before Trump became the Republican nominee for president, the Dalai Lama said, “There are too many (migrants) now. … Europe, for example, Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany. … From a moral point of view, too, I think that refugees should only be admitted temporarily.”

The criticism Clinton faced from the left over her practical, commonsensical analysis says a lot about where Democrats stand on immigration — legal and illegal. Much of the Democratic base ignores this issue, is indifferent about it or has done a cost-benefit analysis and believes that immigrants-turned-citizens-turned-mostly-Democrat-voters outweigh the financial, social or political price.
Larry Elder (@larryelder) is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host, an American lawyer, writer and radio and television personality who is also known as the "Sage From South Central." To find out more about Larry Elder. Visit his website at for list of other articles.

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Before Trump v. Roberts: 3 Biggest Clashes Between a President and a Chief Justice

by Fred Lucas: The jousting last week between President Donald Trump and U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts was hardly the first time presidents and chief justices have had notable disagreements.

The tit-for-tat ensued after Trump criticized a lower court federal judge in California who temporarily blocked the administration’s bid to revise asylum policies for would-be immigrants.

Trump referred to U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar, appointed by President Barack Obama in 2012, as an “Obama judge.” The president seemed to imply the judge wasn’t separating his personal political preferences from an honest interpretation of the law as written.

Roberts, in response to an inquiry from the Associated Press, subsequently asserted: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.”

Roberts was appointed to the high court by President George W. Bush.

Trump, not surprisingly, tweeted a rebuttal.
The Trump-Roberts dispute wasn’t the first time a president and chief justice have not seen eye to eye. Here are three major presidential feuds with chief justices.

1. Andrew Jackson vs. John Marshall
Lame-duck President John Adams named John Marshall to be chief justice after Adams lost his 1800 re-election bid, but before the inauguration of his successor, Thomas Jefferson, in 1801.

It was part of Adams’ move to leave a Federalist legacy on the high court before leaving office. Marshall, Adams’ secretary of state, would go on to be perhaps the most influential chief justice in history. Serving until 1835, Marshall remains to this day the longest-sitting chief justice in the court’s history.

Decades later, Marshall would be in a constitutional rivalry with President Andrew Jackson. Among Jackson’s best-known actions was vetoing the rechartering of the Bank of the United States. In 1819, years before Jackson was in the White House, Marshall ruled in the case of McCulloch v. Maryland, which favored a national bank.

After Jackson killed the bank with his 1832 veto, he found fault with Marshall’s 1819 opinion—asserting that the court should not be the final arbiter of what is constitutional.

Jackson wrote in his veto message:

It is as much the duty of the House of Representatives, of the Senate, and of the president to decide upon the constitutionality of any bill or resolution which may be presented to them for passage or approval as it is of the supreme judges when it may be brought before them for judicial decision.

The opinion of the judges has no more authority over Congress than the opinion of Congress has over the judges, and on that point the president is independent of both. The authority of the Supreme Court must not, therefore, be permitted to control the Congress or the Executive when acting in their legislative capacities, but to have only such influence as the force of their reasoning may deserve.
Jackson and Marshall would later also clash on a much larger issue after the court’s 1832 ruling in the case of Worcester v. Georgia. The Marshall court determined in a 5-1 ruling that the states are bound by federal treaties with Indian tribes. That included the Cherokee tribe, which resisted removal from Georgia.

“The Cherokee nation, then, is a distinct community occupying its own territory in which the laws of Georgia can have no force,” Marshall wrote in the majority opinion. “The whole intercourse between the United States and this nation, is, by our Constitution and laws, vested in the government of the United States.”

Undeterred, Jackson sent federal troops to force the Cherokee removal to migrate to present-day Oklahoma. Of the 15,000 Cherokees to make the forced journey, 4,000 died in what came to be known as “the Trail of Tears.”

Jackson was reported to have said, “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” However, the quote is apocryphal—and widely thought to be what is now called “fake news.”

Historians have noted the actual comment to a political ally was more nuanced, “The decision of the Supreme Court has fell [stillborn] … and they find that it cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate.”

When Marshall died in 1835, Jackson honored the late jurist, clarifying that their clashes were on political and constitutional grounds, and not personal.

“I sometimes dissented from the constitutional expositions of John Marshall. I have always set a high value upon the good he has done for his country,” Jackson said. “The judicial opinions of John Marshall were expressed with the energy [and clarity], which were peculiar to his strong mind, and give him a rank among the greatest men of his age.”

2. Abraham Lincoln vs. Roger Taney
President Abraham Lincoln did not shy away from criticizing Chief Justice Roger Taney, who succeeded Marshall, when Taney ruled against the president’s Civil War actions.

As a Senate candidate from Illinois in 1858, Lincoln often railed against the Taney opinion in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case. The 7-2 majority opinion written by Taney largely nationalized slavery, and determined that Congress couldn’t prevent its spread in the territories.

Lincoln lost the Senate race, but was elected president two years later in 1860. On March 4, 1861, Taney administered the oath of office to the new president.

In his inaugural address, Lincoln didn’t mention Taney by name, but clearly targeted his majority opinion. Lincoln made a similar point about the Dred Scott decision that Jackson had made about Marshall’s national bank ruling; namely, that the court shouldn’t be the final arbiter on national policy.

Lincoln said:

The candid citizen must confess that if the policy of the government upon vital questions affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made in ordinary litigation between parties in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.Despite Southern sympathies, Taney was an avid unionist during the nullification crisis—when states, chiefly South Carolina, sought to ignore certain federal laws. Jackson named Taney, who had previously served as attorney general and Treasury secretary, to the high court first as an associate justice, then to replace Marshall.

During the Civil War, when Congress was out of session, Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus, but only between Philadelphia and Washington, granting the military the authority to arrest and imprison suspected traitors without formal charges or due process.

In those days, justices would also hear circuit court cases. Taney heard the case of a Maryland man, John Merryman, who sued over his arrest. Taney ruled that under Article I, Section IX of the Constitution, only Congress could suspend the writ.

“The clause in the Constitution which authorizes the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus is in the ninth section of the first article,” Taney ruled. “This article is devoted to the legislative department of the United States, and has not the slightest reference to the executive department.”

There were unverified claims by Lincoln critics that the president signed an arrest warrant for the chief justice, but the administration never made the arrest.

Taney continued, “I can see no ground whatever for supposing that the president in any emergency or in any state of things can authorize the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, or arrest a citizen except in aid of the judicial power.”

Lincoln took no action on Taney’s ruling, but addressed Congress about the need for suspending the writ in the midst of the national crisis. Congress authorized the suspension.

In making his case to Congress, Lincoln said the government has used the suspension “sparingly” and rhetorically asked, “Are all the laws but one to go unexecuted, and the government itself go to pieces lest that one be violated?”

Lincoln later took other extraordinary wartime measures. Chief among those was a blockade of Southern ports when Congress was out of session.

That made it to the Supreme Court, where Taney was on the losing end of a 5-4 decision upholding the constitutionality of Lincoln’s blockade.

In what might sound odd to many observers today concerned about judicial overreach, Taney wrote a friend in 1863 expressing concern about whether the Supreme Court would “ever again be restored to the authority and rank which the Constitution intended to confer upon it.”

3. Franklin D. Roosevelt vs. Charles Evans Hughes
President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes were both former New York governors, but the Democratic president and 1916 Republican presidential nominee would clash about their very different views on what the Constitution allowed Congress to do in regulating the economy.

President Herbert Hoover, who lost the 1932 election to Roosevelt, named Hughes as chief justice in 1930 to replace Chief Justice William Howard Taft, a former president.

With sizable Democratic majorities in Congress and many Republicans concurring with the popular president’s agenda, Roosevelt saw the Supreme Court and Hughes as the biggest roadblock to New Deal legislation. Roosevelt derided the high court for striking down New Deal measures as unconstitutional.

The high court, in a unanimous ruling, invalidated the National Industrial Recovery Act in 1935. Hughes wrote the opinion for the court, asserting Congress gave too much power to the president, and exceeded its power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Hughes court next struck down the Agricultural Adjustment Act in a 6-3 ruling, determining that authority to regulate agricultural production resided in the states.

A frustrated Roosevelt tried to push the Judicial Procedures Reform Bill through Congress in 1937, thinking he would have the public behind him after winning a 1936 re-election landslide.

But he misread his political capital. The plan was more commonly known as a “court-packing scheme,” one in which Roosevelt would have added a new justice for every jurist over the age of 70.

Hughes wrote a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee asserting the court was operating efficiently as it was. He also reached out to senators behind the scenes to assert it was a threat to an independent judiciary.

Even the Democratic majority in Congress wouldn’t accept what seemed like a power grab. Sen. Josiah Bailey, D-N.C., said the Supreme Court and the Constitution were threatened by the proposal.

“To weaken either is to weaken the foundations of our republic. To destroy either is to destroy the republic,” Bailey warned.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 8 to send the court-expansion bill to the floor with a recommendation that senators reject it, asserting, “The bill is an invasion of judicial power such as has never before been attempted in this country.”

However, it wasn’t entirely a loss for Roosevelt.

During the several weeks of Senate deliberation, the high court backed off, and many Democrats thought the pressure caused enough justices to flip-flop and decide in favor of other New Deal measures, such as the National Labor Relations Act and the Social Security Act.

Roosevelt supporters dubbed it “the switch in time that saved nine.” To this day, the Supreme Court comprises nine justices.

“We obtained 98 percent of all the objectives intended by the court plan,” the president said.
Fred Lucas (@FredLucasWH) is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal

Tags: Fred Lucas, The Daily Signal, Before Trump v. Roberts, 3 Biggest Clashes, Between a President and a Chief Justice To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!

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