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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, April 05, 2019

Changing the Bureaucracy: Vice President Pence’s 5 Rules for Effective Government

V.P. Mike Pence
by Newt Gingrich: It is extraordinarily difficult to change bureaucracies and the bureaucrats who work in them. Again and again, we have seen presidents and congresses start out boldly, using big words to dramatically describe big ideas, only to have the ideas disappear in the impenetrable resistance of career bureaucrats. The dense thickets of regulations they have cultivated over the last 80 years make management and change virtually impossible.

The resistance of the bureaucracy is reinforced by the tenacious and pervasive lobbying and media campaigns executed by the defenders of the old order. I wrote in my book Breakout about “pioneers of the future and prison guards of the past.” Huge corporations and wealthy special interests who have been dominant and want to avoid change behave precisely like prison guards of the past. In virtually every sector of federal activity, there are companies and institutions that have lobbyists and apologists who oppose real change.

President Trump has run enough big businesses that he understands that real effort must be put into challenging the failed systems of the past. Translating the bold vision of President Trump into practical reality takes enormous effort and focus. In areas such as going to the Moon and defeating Huawei and the Chinese strategy to implement 5G globally, the old order will want to avoid change.

Vice President Pence has been a governor who had to implement practical changes despite the bureaucracy and the interest groups. In a recent speech to the National Space Council in Huntsville, he outlined a series of powerful principles for reforming the government.

Pence’s first principle is to establish a big goal and then stick to it. As he put it in his remarkably bold and direct challenge to NASA, “failure to achieve our goal to return an American astronaut to the Moon in the next five years is not an option.”

Pence’s second principle is to be prepared to reach outside the traditional bureaucracy to new entrepreneurial private companies, if necessary, to get the job done. The Vice President told the NASA-Boeing bureaucracy, “we’re not committed to any one contractor. If our current contractors can’t meet this objective, then we’ll find ones that will. If American industry can provide critical commercial services without government development, then we’ll buy them. And if commercial rockets are the only way to get American astronauts to the Moon in the next five years, then commercial rockets it will be.”

This principle could be immediately applied to change and streamline the rules bureaucrats are using to dole out work. One of the reasons the same stable of big companies always get government contracts is because they are the only ones with the knowledge and resources to navigate the web of red tape.

Imagine if we looked for new suppliers and new companies across the federal government to get faster, better, more efficient, and less costly solutions in health, learning, infrastructure – and every aspect of the federal government. Imagine if the Department of Defense was this aggressive in reaching beyond the old supplier base to new entrepreneurs. The achievements and savings would be stunning.

Vice President Pence’s third principle is a willingness to change the bureaucracy rather than abandon the goal. As I have written in a previous column, Pence recognizes that a new mindset must compensate for a lack of funding. In fact, I would argue that a new mindset is necessary, because more money poured into failing systems simply leads to more expensive failures (inner city schools are a tragic example that cheat children of a proper education while avoiding accountability). Pence said in Huntsville that “we will call on NASA not just to adopt new policies but to embrace a new mindset. That begins with setting bold goals and staying on schedule.”

The Vice President’s fourth principle is a determination to change the bureaucracy in fundamental ways. As he asserted at the National Space Council, “NASA must transform itself into a leaner, more accountable, and more agile organization. If NASA is not currently capable of landing American astronauts on the Moon in five years, we need to change the organization, not the mission.” This principle of transformation can be applied to essentially every aspect of the federal bureaucracy.

Given the work I have been doing on the challenge of 5G and the Chinese dominance through Huawei, I really appreciate Pence’s fifth principle, which is a sense of urgency to push through needed changes. As he warned: “What we need now is urgency… it’s not just competition against our adversaries; we’re also racing against our worst enemy: complacency.”

If we could defeat the telecom complacency and the bureaucratic inertia, we could regain the lead in the implementation of 5G. If we allow the arrogance of the big, old established systems and the stubbornness of the bureaucracy to prevail, we will presently have a Chinese internet and terrible consequences for our freedom.

Pence’s five principles should be applied throughout the federal government. They would be excellent principles for Congress to apply in doing oversight. And many governors and mayors could apply them to their levels of government.

At every level, American would be greatly improved.
Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) 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. This commentary was shared via Gingrich Productions.

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At Foley Gala, the Media Invites Disunity

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
by Tony Perkins: This country's been through some tough times, but if there's one thing we could always fall back on, it was that -- no matter how fiercely we disagreed -- we were always united where it counted: as Americans. But in a day and age when common ground is shrinking by the day, even our identity is being tested. We've watched consensus issues turn contentious almost overnight. We've seen values that always seemed to rise above the partisan tags turn factious. And suddenly, not even our biggest accomplishments as a nation are worth setting aside our differences and celebrating together.

As fractured as this country may be, most people never thought they'd see the day when we couldn't set aside politics long enough to cheer the return of our own. But in a nation as unraveled by animus as ours seems to be, even the triumphant return of American hostages is cause for backbiting and revenge. When the James C. Foley Foundation was choosing its honoree for this year's American Hostage Freedom Award, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a natural choice. After all, he and the president has brought home more prisoners in two years than any administration in modern history. In just a half-term, 20 people -- including 17 Americans -- are free because of this president and his team.

Whether it was Pastor Andrew Brunson (who I had the privilege of escorting home), Mormon missionaries, UCLA basketball players, or U.S. aid workers, the White House has made it clear: it will leave no American behind. Very honestly, Trump's success on the hostage front is everyone's success. And yet, the media just can't stand the idea of giving credit where credit is due. So, they played hardball. If the Foleys went through with the award, they threatened, the press -- including keynote speaker and CNN anchor Christiana Amanpour -- would boycott.

Just as suddenly as Pompeo's name appeared on the website for Tuesday's event, it was gone. In his place, the Foundation announced a new honoree: Obama-era diplomat Brett McGurk, whose administration released fewer hostages in eight years than President Trump has in two. And the current president managed it, Marc Thiessen reminds everyone, "without setting Taliban leaders loose from Guantanamo Bay, or sending wooden pallets stacked with euros, Swiss francs and other currencies to Iran on an unmarked cargo plane -- which only creates incentives for criminal regimes to seize Americans."

But, Thiessen fumed in the Washington Post, this is how ridiculous the "Trump Derangement Syndrome" has gotten. Even America's top diplomat is too radioactive for recognition. "I understand that there are people who deeply dislike Trump... But this president and his administration has made freeing Americans held abroad a top priority... and they have had unprecedented success in getting them released." It's "pathetic," he argued, that liberals can't even bring themselves to sit quietly and acknowledge the work that's been done.

In a gracious letter to the Foleys, Secretary Pompeo lamented that anyone would bully them into this position. "How sad is it that base politics and hatred have been allowed to creep into even this sphere of our national activity?" he wrote. "The safe recovery of Americans held hostage overseas should be beyond politics and must enjoy the support of all Americans. I regret that pressure of such a cynical and abominable nature was brought to bear on you and John." Regardless, he promised, "the ignoble conduct of those behind this sad deed will never diminish my commitment, or the commitment of the men and women I lead, to the safe recovery of all Americans unjustly held abroad."

There was a time, not too long ago, when our country knew how to set aside their differences when it mattered. When there was a basic respect for the office of our leaders. Now, suddenly, everything is reduced to political blood sport. "The return of hostages isn't partisan," Pompeo insisted. "It's not political. This is an American activity. We worked with Democrat members of Congress on this."

If our nation is going to survive this storm, then there have to be some shared experiences and triumphs that transcend politics. The media can hate President Trump, but they can never take away what he's done for our country. As for Mike Pompeo, he's a patriot, a veteran, and a man of principle who's earned America's respect. If the press wants to take out its grudge against the administration on him, let me be the first to warn them: they've picked the wrong fight.

For more, check out my latest column where I explain why Secretary Pompeo's faith is not a liability but an asset.
Tony Perkins (@tperkins) is President of the Family Research Council . This article was on Tony Perkin's Washington Update and written with the aid of FRC senior writers.

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Albert Camus: Unfashionable Anti-Totalitarian

Albert Camus
by Craig DeLancey: Today, it is not unusual to see Albert Camus celebrated as the debonair existentialist—the handsome hero of the French Resistance, a great novelist, and a fine philosopher. But this reputation was only recently acquired. For much of his life, and in the years since his untimely death in 1960 aged just 46, Camus was deeply unfashionable among France’s leading intellectuals. In many quarters, he remains so.

Camus came to widespread attention in 1942 with his publication of his novella The Stranger and a philosophical essay entitled “The Myth of Sisyphus.” The Stranger portrays a solitary passionless man wandering through a world without pattern or purpose. “The Myth of Sisyphus” grapples with the question, “Why not commit suicide?” Camus argued that we should not, but he finds little evidence of a justified purpose for human beings. If we cannot prove that some choices are better than others, he concludes, we can at least dedicate ourselves to the pursuit of experience. The austerity and boldness of these two works struck Camus’s contemporaries as remarkable and, within a short time, he became known as “the philosopher of the absurd,” and befriended France’s leading intellectual, Jean-Paul Sartre.

Camus did not take up arms in the struggle against the Nazi occupation, but during the war he was the editor of the underground newspaper of the Resistance, Combat. This job involved great personal risk and he would almost certainly have been imprisoned and shot, either by the Nazis or their French collaborators, had his role been uncovered. When the war ended, Camus gazed at the devastation of Europe and reflected. Over the subsequent years, his writing would change significantly as humanism and anti-totalitarianism became increasingly central to his thinking. His 1947 allegorical novel The Plague depicts not a solitary, alienated man, but a group of people struggling together against a plague in a small Algerian city. Here, human beings are willing to confront the absurdity of the universe, but they remain compassionate nonetheless, and strive to be kind and to care for each other. Then, in 1951, Camus published The Man in Revolt (later published in translation as The Rebel). Horrified by the crimes of Stalin and by the apologetics for his regime published by some of the Western Left’s most influential intellectuals, Camus sought to understand the justification of mass murder. It is a rich book, and not easily summarized, but two of Camus’s arguments proved particularly antagonizing to his peers.

First, Camus argued that commitment to a single, distant purpose endangers us all. The struggle for a perfect society in the future leads to as ruthless consequentialism that allows us to sacrifice countless people in the present. This fear is what led him to describe Marx as “the prophet of justice without mercy who lies, by mistake, in the unbeliever’s plot at Highgate Cemetery.” The faith of the Marxist in the promise of utopia, he observed, is every bit as powerful and irrational as that of the religious fanatic.

Second, Camus defended the proposition, explicitly denied by Marxists and Existentialists, that there exists a universal “human nature”—traits shared by all people, from which we can infer what is better or worse for all people and common ground upon which to form social bonds. Sartre, on the other hand, argued that we are the product of our choices and nothing more. Simone de Beauvoir summarized the Marxist view as her peers understood it: “There is no authentic human essence to be realized, no harmonious unity to be returned to, no unalienated humanity obscured by false mediations, no organized wholeness to be achieved. What we are and what we can become are open-ended projects to be constructed in the course of time.”

From his universalist humanism and skepticism about utopian ideologies, Camus developed an ethics in Man in Revolt that rejected revolution. Instead, Camus argued that moral progress arises from a rejection of injustice by people united in their recognition of that injustice. This kind of “revolt” is more restrained than the revolutionary impulse and shows mesure—it recognizes and respects human nature, attempts to improve things now, and accepts no limits on free speech and expression. When revolt is combined with the misguided belief that history has some unifying purpose and that human beings can be reshaped in the manner of wet clay, it declines into revolution. Revolution is unrestrained, it is démesure, and it leads inevitably to violence and cruelty.

Sartre and Beauvoir edited the leading French intellectual journal of their day, Les Temps Moderne, and they invited the activist and philosopher Francis Jeanson to review The Man in Revolt. The result was scathing. Jeanson’s article was mostly a series of ad hominem attacks which made no attempt to interpret Camus’s text charitably. Camus’s sins were clear: he had attacked Marxism, he had attacked revolution, and he had attacked the idea that human beings were infinitely malleable. For this, he was denounced as a counter-revolutionary.

Sartre then published an open letter addressed to Camus, that began, “Our friendship was not easy, but I will miss it.” Most of Sartre’s letter ignores the arguments in The Man in Revolt, and concentrates instead on itemizing Camus’s alleged personal failings, including the accusation that he was bourgeois. Camus did not respond to this criticism, because he did not see it as important. After all, it was the Marxists, not him, who believed that class determines what one may say. But it was a petty and laughable accusation even so: Sartre grew up in privilege, and he let other people manage his domestic matters all his life. Camus grew up in Algeria in poverty, where as a child he lived in a two-room apartment with his brother, uncle, grandmother, and deaf widowed mother who worked as a cleaning woman to support all of them.

Beauvoir’s attack on Camus was perhaps the most vicious of all. Her 1954 Goncourt Prize-winning novel The Mandarins is a fictionalized account of her life in post-war Paris, populated by characters closely based upon the intellectuals in her political and literary circles. A long section describing her alter-ego’s travels with an American lover is simply lifted by Beauvoir from her diary of her travels with the novelist Nelson Algren. But the novel contains one very important deviation from real life: the character based on Camus has an affair with a young and insipid Nazi sympathizer. To prevent this lover from being prosecuted for her treasonous beliefs and activities, he lies under oath in a court of law in order to have her released from prison.

It is hard to imagine a more craven and defamatory insult, directed at a man who had been active in the Resistance and by someone who was politically inactive during the Nazi occupation. It is an example of what we now call “swiftboating”: a political attack on a person’s strengths and virtues, combined with an assertion that those strengths and virtues are illusory or fraudulent. That Beauvoir’s shameful treatment of her former friend elicited no outrage is evidence of how unfashionable Camus has become. I have been unable to find a single critical mention of his mistreatment in the academic literature about Beauvoir’s novel.

The criticisms of Camus grew more heated as the insurgent war in Algeria intensified. Camus’s position on the war seemed impossibly naïve to Sartre and his followers. Camus hoped that some kind of peaceful solution would be possible, and that both the descendants of colonists and the various indigenous people of Algeria could continue to live together. He put his life at risk by visiting Algeria and attempting to foster talks between the two sides. When he organized a public discussion, he had to flee because extremists among the colons nearly rioted. The situation in Algeria soon grew too violent and divisive for Camus’s hopes for a peace to remain realistic. However, history would prove Sartre’s revolutionary romanticism to be even more reckless. Sartre publicly endorsed the work of Frantz Fanon, a psychologist from Martinique who also identified as an Existentialist, and he wrote a lengthy preface to Fanon’s most famous book, The Wretched of the Earth. Fanon lived in Algeria and promoted the necessity of violent revolution, which he believed would unite the people in an anti-colonial struggle. “Violence,” he wrote in The Wretched of the Earth, “is a cleansing force. It rids the colonized of their inferiority complex, of their passive and despairing attitude.” To realize their own freedom and create a new identity, the colonized must first kill the colonists. Afterwards, he predicted, the people would work together in peace to forge their new nation, because “nation building is facilitated by the existence of this mortar kneaded with blood and rage.” This is what Camus called “crimes of logic,” or the use of philosophy and sophistical theory to justify widespread killing.

But such arguments from Sartre and Fanon, it turned out, were considerably more titillating to the intelligentsia than Camus’s earnest pleas for moderation, peace, and solidarity. As a thinker, he now seemed to be out of step with the age. Many years later, Susan Sontag would describe Camus as a “literary husband,” boring but dependable, unlike “literary lovers,” who are exciting even if selfish and brutal. But, exciting as Sartre and Fanon may have been, history proved them wrong: killing Frenchmen and colons did not transform the Algerian people, nor did it unite them into a peaceful nation. Once the French withdrew, the violence just continued, only now it was turned inward.

The vitriolic attacks on Camus reached their crescendo after an angry Algerian student denounced him at a public talk, and Camus was misquoted—perhaps intentionally—by Le Monde as saying, “I will choose my mother over justice.” Sartre and Beauvoir and the intellectuals of their circle gloated that this confirmed Camus as a sentimental reactionary. But what Camus actually said was something like, “People are now planting bombs in the tramways of Algiers. My mother might be on one of those tramways. If that is justice, then I prefer my mother.” Camus recognized that indifference to individual human suffering is essential to all forms of political extremism, and his statement was nothing more scandalous than a rejection of the idea that terrorism is justice.

Some of the animosity Camus inspired—and the eagerness to misinterpret, misrepresent, and denounce him—was personal. But French intellectuals who sided with Sartre and Beauvoir often did so for theoretical reasons, and many continue to do so. France’s contemporary leftist group, the Invisible Committee, singled Camus out for denunciation as “that idiot” (ce con) in their widely read 2014 call for revolution, To Our Friends. Camus’s rejection of Marxism, and his doubts about the likely outcome of post-colonial revolutionary movements, were unpopular, principled, and lonely positions. The Left demanded allegiance to their belief that human nature could be reshaped through revolution, and that even the Stalinist enemies of their enemy remain their friends.

After Camus’s death in a car accident in 1960, French intellectual thought continued to follow the path laid by Sartre, Beauvoir, and the Marxists. Michel Foucault proved to be the most influential post-war French philosopher, and his dubious claim that knowledge is identical to power has calcified into dogma among many academics worldwide. Even some of the academics and activists who have not read Foucault have nevertheless internalized this belief through a kind of intellectual osmosis. Foucault was, of course, utterly dismissive of Camus, whom he derided as a “humanist.” Humanism, he believed, was contemptible because he held it somehow responsible for Stalinism. This may be a powerfully counterintuitive view, but postmodernists today continue to argue that science, humanism, and other claims to knowledge are the real causes of totalitarian crimes. Critical theorists like Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno would go on to argue that there is a direct path leading from the Enlightenment to Auschwitz. For Foucault and the postmodernists, all great abuses of power are identical to great abuses of “knowledge.” And so it must be our greatest claims to knowledge that are to blame for our greatest historical catastrophes.

This belief that knowledge is merely power is more general and profound than social constructionism. It means that all talk, all theory, all human interaction is a battle. And if speech is just an assertion of power, if all social interaction is a struggle between oppressors and the oppressed, then who should we allow to speak? Extreme skepticism about the existence of objective knowledge creates a void, which the postmodernists and the partisans of a politics of identity have since filled with a non-negotiable solidarity owed to those they identify as oppressed. Let us give voice to the weak, and affirm their “knowledge,” and silence the powerful, and deny that their “knowledge” is objective, and prioritize, at any cost, the maximization of diversity of participants and diversity of “knowledges.”

We still have much to learn from Camus. This may seem a surprising claim because the movements Camus opposed offered a universal and unifying project in Marxism, while much of our contemporary politics is committed to endless division. Postmodernism and the political philosophies derived from social constructionism, tell us that our increasingly narrowly defined groups determine our interests and our knowledge. But Camus’s appeal to our shared humanity—something that remains as unfashionable on the Left today as it was in his lifetime—is antithetical to these ideologies also. If Camus is correct, then a politics based on these ideologies must fail, since moral progress depends upon revolt, and just revolt begins with the recognition, and the assertion, of our shared human nature. As Camus put it, a just act of revolt “grounds its first value on the whole human race.” And so the rebel cries out, “I revolt—therefore we exist.” This is a cry not only against inequality, but also against division.
Craig DeLancey (@CraigDeLancey) is a writer and philosopher and contributed this article in the Quillette. H/T Intercollegiate Studies Institute which recommended this article.

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Why China’s Intellectual Property Theft Is a Concern for National Security

Riley Walters & Michael Maher: A wide-ranging series of cyberattacks by Chinese hackers has been uncovered by cybersecurity firm Accenture Security’s iDefense.

The hackers’ target, according to The Wall Street Journal? At least 27 universities located across the United States, Canada, and Southeast Asia.

The connection among most of the affected institutions is reportedly their involvement in research of military-use maritime technology. Some of the schools have been the recipients of Navy contracts, host research hubs, or employ faculty with maritime expertise.

In 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that the same Chinese hacker group, sometimes known as Temp.Periscope, has been a persistent threat with a history of breaching Navy contractors.

Temp.Periscope has been blamed for cyberattacks that have resulted in the compromise of sensitive material related to military technology, including plans to construct a new supersonic anti-ship missile to be deployed by American submarines.

The recent cyberattacks reportedly sought to exploit the relationship between academic institutions and the information-sharing that takes place among them.

Spear-phishing emails containing malware, a common method for cyber-intrusion and information collection, were sent to the targets. The emails were disguised as legitimate correspondence from another affected university.

These types of efforts are anything but novel at this point, and the danger they pose to American national security remains high.

A 2018 indictment by the Justice Department revealed the extent of intrusions by another group of Chinese hackers, whose attacks gained unauthorized access to more than 45 technology companies and U.S. government agencies, stealing hundreds of gigabytes of sensitive information.

This rampant theft of intellectual property is not without its economic costs. Previous estimates suggest that intellectual property theft, including by China, costs the United States billions every year in potential revenue lost, placing strains on U.S. companies and hampering innovation and growth.

The theft of new technologies goes beyond the oft-reported economic concerns and presents a potentially larger national security issue.

The fact that many victims of these cyberattacks are upstream defense resources, such as contractors and universities, is concerning. It’s a reminder that China’s efforts to secure new technology are unbiased.

Because they are unlikely to have the same level of security infrastructure as that employed by some government installations, universities present a unique opportunity for malicious actors to gain access to new technical or industrial knowledge.

As such, universities can be low-hanging fruit for Chinese hackers.

Spending billions of dollars to develop and field new defense technologies, only to have their effectiveness compromised by a data breach, can be costly for developers and for taxpayers.

More importantly, it can endanger U.S. service members who rely on that technological advantage to accomplish their missions safely.

The United States must continue to take the dangers posed by cyberattacks and intellectual property theft seriously.

Encouraging U.S. companies and institutions to identify and secure vulnerabilities in their computer networks is an important step, but the U.S. must also develop and employ more direct deterrents against those actors that engage in cybertheft toward U.S. entities.

Strengthening U.S. defenses against cyberattacks can be a difficult task. Coordinating these efforts across a network of various institutions doesn’t make it any easier.

It remains clear, however, that China’s continuing theft of intellectual property creates economic and security risks that the U.S. cannot afford to leave unmitigated.
Riley Walters is a policy analyst in the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation. Michael Maher is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation. Article share via The Daily Signal.

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No Obamacare Repeal Until 2021 (At The Earliest)

. . . Congressional repeal of the Democrats’ health care fascism will have to wait.
by Matthew Vadum: Congressional Republicans have decided to resume their push to legislatively repeal and replace Obamacare only after the next election in November 2020, which means they will be able to campaign against the program over the coming 19 months.

This is, depending on your perspective, a brilliant move that guarantees the GOP recaptures the House of Representatives, or the umpteenth time the GOP has betrayed its conservative, Obamacare-hating base.

This delay has been engineered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) who, after President Donald Trump met with Senate Republicans last week to press for legislative repeal (excluding protections for patients with preexisting conditions), decided not to play ball. Trump had tweeted before that that he wanted “The Republican Party … [to] become ‘The Party of Healthcare!’”

McConnell told reporters he would not promote repeal while the Democrats controlled the House. RINO Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah oppose Trump’s repeal drive. Collins said Trump was making “a mistake.”

Democrats, of course, are fine with this, because they love the health care law that empowers bureaucrats and death panels while robbing patients of choices and setting the nation on the path to a full-blown takeover like the economically insane “Medicare for All” proposal. Democrat presidential hopefuls are tripping over each other in the rush to endorse Medicare for All even though it is utterly unsustainable.

Democrats also want to keep the issue of health care alive so they can run on it in 2020 and in every election until the end of time. These people claim that Democrats’ health care policies helped them regain the House – though they can’t seem to explain why their minority in the Senate shrunk in the same election last year.

Since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that created Obamacare was signed into law by Barack Hussein Obama on March 23, 2010, Republican lawmakers have tried to get rid of the abominable, un-American law scores of times without success. But they have still tried to spin away defeats as at least moral victories.

GOP careerists like to put lipstick on a pig by saying that the House “repealed” Obamacare 70-something times, by which they actually mean “voted to repeal,” as if that ended the matter. Every congressional repeal effort has ended in failure at the hands of the Senate or by presidential veto as happened in January 2016.

The mainstream media responded with a mixture of glee and horror when late last month Trump’s Department of Justice announced it supports getting rid of the Obamacare statute that nationalized a huge chunk of the nation’s economy.

But what the media has tended to leave out was the fact the Obamacare statute is already legally dead.

It was killed Dec. 14, 2018, when U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas held that in 2017 Congress effectively repealed the mandate that forced Americans to buy health insurance and, in the process, that body “sawed off the last leg it [i.e. Obamacare] stood on.”

“The court finds the individual mandate ‘is essential to’ and inseverable from ‘the other provisions of’” the Obamacare statute and is therefore unconstitutional, O’Connor wrote.

But unlike the aggressive leftist judges on the federal benches we are accustomed to, O’Connor agreed to stay enforcement on his commonsense ruling pending appeal.

At the time President Trump celebrated O’Connor’s decision with a Twitter post.

“As I predicted all along, Obamacare has been struck down as an UNCONSTITUTIONAL disaster! Now Congress must pass a STRONG law that provides GREAT healthcare and protects pre-existing conditions.”

After calling the ruling “Great news for America!” at that time Trump urged McConnell and then-incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to “get it done!”

The Hill newspaper reported March 25 that the Justice Department sent a letter to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals advising the court that its new position was that the Dec. 14 decision should remain intact while it goes through the appellate process. Previously it was the department’s position that only parts of the law should be struck down.

“The Department of Justice has determined that the district court’s judgment should be affirmed,” the agency said in the letter.

This was not a sudden flip-flop by a schizophrenic president as left-wing journalists depicted it. It reflected a dispassionate acknowledgement of reality. Barring some activist judges or Supreme Court justices overturning O’Connor’s ruling, Obamacare will remain unconstitutional.

But whatever happens in the courts, the issue won’t go away anytime soon.
Matthew Vadum, senior vice president at the investigative think tank Capital Research Center, an author at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's FrontPage Mag, an award-winning investigative reporter, and author of the book,Subversion Inc.: How Obama’s ACORN Red Shirts Are Still Terrorizing and Ripping Off American Taxpayers.

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Jobs Bounce Back, Selective Compassion, Chaos In The Courts, S.O.S., CUFI Washington Summit

More Info Below
by Gary Bauer, Contributing Author: Jobs Bounce Back
The economy created 196,000 new jobs in March, beating expectations and tamping down fears of a recession. The March report is a big improvement after February's disappointing numbers, which were also revised up.

Some economists got nervous about the state of the economy after February's weak showing, but it appears to have been a temporary blip. The unemployment rate also held steady at a historically low 3.8%.

Selective Compassion
As we are experiencing a massive surge in illegal immigration at our southern border, I want to revisit a critical element that is often overlooked in this debate. The media and many on the left speak of illegal immigration as a humanitarian issue or they couch it in terms of compassion.

But where is the left's compassion for taxpayers and for the innocent American victims of criminal illegal aliens?

Whenever President Trump talks about illegal immigration, he frequently says that open borders means more crime. Predictably, left-wing pundits accuse the president of being "xenophobic," even though he often praises legal immigration.

But the president is absolutely correct. Not every illegal immigrant coming across the border is looking for work and a better life.

According to government statistics, illegal aliens make up 21% of the federal prison population. The 730,000 criminal aliens in state and federal prisons were responsible for 7.5 million offenses. They committed:
  • 1 million drug crimes
  • 500,000 assaults
  • 133,800 sex offenses
  • 33,300 homicide-related offenses
  • 24,200 kidnappings and
  • 1,500 terrorism-related crimes.
It cost taxpayers $2.5 billion a year to incarcerate them. Texas bears the brunt of this burden. In the past eight years, it has incarcerated nearly 200,000 criminal aliens.

None of these crimes should have happened. The only reason they did happen is because of the gross malfeasance of liberal politicians who refuse to secure the border.

President Trump wants a border wall to stop illegal immigration, drugs and crime. But Democrats are fighting him every step of the way. Democrats refused to adequately fund Trump's border wall, and every Democrat in Congress voted against his emergency declaration.

Meanwhile, progressive presidential candidates are all in on open borders. They are talking about tearing down what few border walls we currently have, granting a massive amnesty and decriminalizing illegal border crossings.

Trump is right when he says Democrats are the party of illegal immigration and crime.

Chaos In The Courts
Here's more evidence of the connection between illegal immigration and crime: There are 94 federal court districts in the country. The top five federal court districts with the greatest number of convicted defendants in 2018 are all along the U.S. southern border. They are:
  1. The Western District of Texas
  2. The Southern District of Texas
  3. The Southern District of California
  4. The District of Arizona, and
  5. The District of New Mexico.
To give you some sense of proportion, number six on the list was the Southern District of Florida. The District of New Mexico convicted nearly twice as many defendants as the Southern District of Florida.

This pattern has been consistent for the past 20 years. The border courts are overwhelmed.

A final point about the need for greater border security: There has been an explosion of violent crime in Mexico. The murder rate there is at its highest point in almost 30 years.

Much of this crime is taking place along the border. The murder rate in Tijuana, just south of San Diego, has tripled in the past two years. In Ciudad Juarez, just south of El Paso, the murder rate is up 75% so far this year. (And Beto O'Rourke wants to tear down the El Paso wall!)

Maybe it is just a coincidence that this surge of violence in Mexico is taking place with a surge of migrants and caravans toward our border. Then again, maybe not. We know drug cartels are exploiting the chaos at the border. We also know there are MS-13 gang members in the caravans.

Regardless, the numbers don't lie. We have a huge problem with criminal illegal aliens, and our border courts are overwhelmed. Again, President Trump is right -- open borders means more crime.

S.O.S. -- Stop Ocasio-Cortez's Socialism
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) announced yesterday that House Republicans were forming an Anti-Socialism Caucus to "defend individual liberty and free markets and highlight the dark history of socialism."

Clearly, the Anti-Socialism Caucus is desperately needed. With crazy ideas like the Green New Deal, guaranteed income, Medicare for All and 70% tax rates, a lot of members of Congress need a few lessons in basic economics.

Here's more good news: The Tea Party Patriots are gearing up to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2009 Tax Day Tea Parties with "Stop Socialism Choose Freedom" rallies around the country on April 15th.

I hope you will make every effort to attend one of these rallies or even consider hosting one of your own. For more information, visit

As Ronald Reagan said, freedom isn't guaranteed. We must fight for it. We must stop the left's socialism. We must defend our freedom!

CUFI Washington Summit
Join me in our nation's capital on July 8th and 9th for the Christians United for Israel Washington Summit. This year's Summit features an outstanding lineup of speakers, including:

IDF Major Elliot Chodoff
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
Pastor John Hagee
Holocaust Survivor Irving Roth
And many others.

Register now to lock in reduced rates!

I look forward to seeing you there!
Gary Bauer (@GaryLBauer)  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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Feinstein Wants NRA-Backing Senators To Sign On To Anti-Gun Bill

Democrat Dianne Feinstein
by Tom Knighton: Dianne Feinstein has made a good bit of her political life about gun control. It’s been a key issue for her during her entire tenure in Congress. For many of us, she’s the first name we think of when the subject of gun-grabbing politician comes up.

Which is why it’s mildly hilarious that she now wants to try and work with NRA-backing, pro-gun Senators to pass the Violence Against Women Act after the House passed it yesterday.

One senator is a longtime foe of the National Rifle Association. The other came to national attention with a campaign ad promising to “unload” on Obamacare while firing a handgun at a shooting range. But a popular law to prevent violence against women now rides on whether California Democrat Dianne Feinstein and Iowa Republican Joni Ernst can find common ground on gun rights and several other thorny social issues.

The Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, authorizes an array of grants for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, as well as programs to support victims. First passed in 1994, the most recent version of the law expired in February, although its programs are funded through the end of the fiscal year.

The Democrat-led House — with the support of 33 Republicans — voted Thursday to pass legislation to extend and update VAWA. But the legislation faces a tenuous path in the Republican-controlled Senate, thanks in large part to the National Rifle Association or NRA, the influential lobbying group for gun rights.

The group objects, in particular, to language in the bill that expands the category of people who can be barred from possessing a gun due to domestic violence or stalking convictions. One section, for example, seeks to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” to apply the ban not only to live in-partners and spouses, but also past or present “dating partners” convicted of misdemeanor domestic abuse.

The NRA argues the definitions are too broad and the legal bar is too low. Groups working against domestic violence say many crimes against women are pleaded down from a felony to a misdemeanor, which is why the bill sets the threshold at that lower category of crime.
Of course, those 33 Republicans need to be looked up and should have a very difficult time keeping their job come 2020, but that’s not important right now.

What is important is that Feinstein now wants the GOP-controlled Senate to back this bill. While 33 Republicans–probably from swing districts who don’t have a firm hold on their seat and are trying to virtue signal–did back the bill, the odds of finding that kind of Republican help in the Senate isn’t particularly strong. Feinstein needs that help to pass this anti-gun measure.

And make no mistake, it’s anti-gun. After all, why else play these kinds of games with it. As the NRA’s Jennifer Baker puts it:

“It’s a shame that Nancy Pelosi and anti-gun Democrats let the bill expire just to advance a political agenda,” NRA spokeswoman Jennifer Baker said. “We’re hopeful that the Senate is able to reauthorize a bill that doesn’t contain unnecessary gun control provisions.”The fact is, no one is OK with violence against women. I’m not OK with violence against anyone except in self-defense. But what House Democrats did was allow a popular bill to expire, knowing damn good and well that they intended to add a bunch of anti-gun provisions to it. They know the Senate won’t pass gun control on its own, so they’re saddling something they will support with anti-gun language.

This is little more than political bait-and-switch. To make matter worse, though, Democrats know it.

So Sen. Feinstein can look for all the help in the world, but with those anti-gun provisions in place, I hope she never finds it.
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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The Low Standards of Hate in the Sixth-Worst Airport in America

Rated the sixth worst airport in the USA.
by Daniel Greenfield: The San Antonio Airport was rated as the sixth worst airport in the country. So, the city fathers got together and decided to fix the airport by banning businesses that donate to the Salvation Army.

Or at least one business.

“San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior," San Antonio Councilman Roberto Trevino declared, after blocking Chick-fil-A from opening at the airport.

Does Chick-fil-A prohibit gay people from buying chicken? No, but they donate to the Salvation Army.

Local media and ThinkProgress claimed that the move was in response to a report by the leftist anti-religious site accusing Chick-fil-A of giving charitable donations to groups with “anti-LGBTQ records”.

What are those groups? The Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Salvation Army.

Specifically, the Chick-fil-A Foundation donated $1,653,416 to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and $150,000 to the Salvation Army. The FCA was denounced by ThinkProgress for its “sexual purity” policy. And what did the bell ringers of the Salvation Army trying to raise money for the poor do wrong?

According to TP, the Salvation Army is an anti-gay hate group because it “at the time of the donations had a written policy of merely complying with local ‘relevant employment laws’” which “since changed to indicate a national policy of non-discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The standards for being an anti-gay hate group have really gotten low.

It’s 2019.

Two years ago, Chick-fil-A donated money to the Salvation Army, which had a policy of “complying with local ‘relevant employment laws’”, and must now be banned from the sixth-worst airport in America.

According to Councilman Roberto Trevino, San Antonio is a “city full of compassion” and therefore no company that donates money to the Salvation Army’s efforts to help the poor is allowed is the city.

Nothing says compassion like banning companies that give money to the Salvation Army.

In ancient times, there was a biblical city also starting with an ‘S’ whose city council so institutionalized cruelty to the poor that they terrorized any travelers who winged their way through their ‘airport’.

Today, it doesn’t have an airport. It does have a pillar of salt.

San Antonio’s crackdown is especially bizarre since the Salvation Army is a popular destination for corporate gifts. Major donors include American Airlines, Delta, FedEx and UPS all of whom, hopefully, operate in the sixth-worst airport in America. Does San Antonio Airport plan to ban Delta flights?

The Salvation Army has a major presence in San Antonio running shelters and helping seniors. It’s scheduled for an event with former First Lady Laura Bush in San Antonio in May. Just not at the airport.

But this story of politically correct cruelty to the poor and religious discrimination gets even worse.

“I want the first thing see is a San Antonio that is welcoming and that they not see … a symbol of hate,” Councilman Manny Pelaez ranted. “I don’t want a restaurant that isn’t available on Sunday either.”

The first thing that Christians will see in the sixth-worst airport in America is that they aren’t welcome.

Sunday was the official excuse that San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also gave for banning Chick-fil-A.

“There are many people in the community that are uncomfortable with Chick-fil-A,” Nirenberg rambled. “Have you ever tried to buy waffle fries on a Sunday? They’re closed! Fifteen percent of sales generated in the airport come on a Sunday.”

Chick-fil-A is anti-gay and should be banned. Also they don’t let me buy their waffle fries on Sunday.

The complaint that closing on Sundays will mean revenue losses is spurious. Chick-fil-A is the best-performing large fast food chain in the country. Its revenues across the country haven’t been hurt by closing on Sundays. There’s no reason to think that even in the sixth-worst airport in the country, its revenues will suffer by maintaining its religious values of setting “aside one day to rest and worship”.

Chick-fil-A opponents like Nirenberg and Pelaez seized on the ‘Sunday’ excuse because it sounded better than banning the eatery from the airport because it donated to the Salvation Army. But Chick-fil-A’s policy of closing on Sundays is a reflection of its founder’s Christian beliefs. San Antonio’s move is the equivalent of punishing an Orthodox Jew for closing on the Sabbath. And is completely illegal.

San Antonio’s council violated its own laws, the laws of Texas and the laws of the United States.

Councilman Roberto Trevino claimed that by engaging in religious discrimination, “the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion.”

Discrimination is the opposite of equality and inclusion. And now San Antonio is in trouble.

“The City of San Antonio’s decision to exclude a respected vendor based on the religious beliefs associated with that company and its owners is the opposite of tolerance,” Attorney General Paxton warned, opening an investigation into the city’s illegal discriminatory conduct.

The Trump administration's Department of Transportation has also been encouraged to take a look.

San Antonio’s discriminatory conduct exemplifies the brand of anti-Christian discrimination warned about by David Horowitz in his new book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America.

“Today, the free exercise of religion has ceased to be a guaranteed right in America. Instead, it has become a battlefield,” David Horowitz wrote.

It’s only fitting that San Antonio, the home of the Alamo, should once again be the battlefield of the war for America’s freedoms. And before coming after freedom, Trevino and the bosses came for the Alamo.

The last time, Roberto Trevino and San Antonio’s leadership had disgraced itself this thoroughly was during the campaign to vandalize the Alamo site and move the Cenotaph. Back then, Trevino had claimed that the goal was breaking down the divisions caused by the Alamo story.

“We can tell stories without making any one group of people feel like they’re villains,” Trevino had whined. “This is a complex story. Even our heroes are flawed, and I think it’s a time to show that humanity is complex.”

First, they came for the Alamo and then for the First Amendment.

Around that same time, Councilman Trevino’s office was accused by his former council aide of abusing taxpayer resources by assigning campaign activities during working hours. Our heroes may be flawed. But we do have villains. And they, like Trevino, are more than just flawed. They are evil. And hate good.

Punishing a popular eatery for donating to the poor isn’t the behavior of flawed people, but of villains. The villainous religious discrimination championed by Trevino, Nirenberg and Pelaez is un-American.

Councilman Roberto Trevino can’t be satisfied with vandalizing the Alamo and instead decided to also trash the First Amendment. San Antonio has enacted discrimination in the name of fighting discrimination. Chick-fil-A was not discriminating against anyone in San Antonio. Its crime was donating to religious organizations whose views about morality and decency, Trevino didn’t like. Or perhaps he hated their policy of helping the poor, providing shelter to families in need and offering disaster relief.

It’s hard to know.

In San Antonio, as in another ancient city starting with an ‘S’, cruelty is called compassion, intolerance is justified as inclusion, and banishing religious people is depicted as the conduct of a welcoming city.

When everything is this upside down, it’s hard to know just how upside-down San Antonio is.

To paraphrase Sinclair Lewis, when intolerance comes to America, it will be wrapped in inclusion and diversity. And it will land at the sixth-worst airport in America where the flights are always late, the seats smell like stale beer, and the only thing dirtier than the toilets are the agendas of the council members.
Daniel Greenfield (@Sultanknish) is Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an investigative journalist and writer focusing on radical Left and Islamic terrorism. His article was shared on his blog.

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4 Options Trump Has to Address Border Crisis

by James Carafano: Put yourself in the president’s shoes. He saw the border crisis building. He warned Congress. It did nothing. Now he has to do something.

Months ago, the administration alerted lawmakers that the number of people entering the country illegally and making unqualified asylum claims was skyrocketing. The only options were to stop them from crossing or let them in and release them while their bogus claims were being processed. The latter option, Congress was warned, could add another 1 million to the illegal population before the year was out.

It was, by any reasonable definition, a crisis.

The White House asked for resources to address it, but Congress didn’t deliver. This led to a government shutdown. Still, lawmakers refused to negotiate, insisting there was no crisis.

That assertion is no longer tenable. This week, even President Barack Obama’s former secretary of homeland security, Jeh Johnson, acknowledged “it’s a crisis.”

Leaders on both sides of the aisle should be in the Oval Office, working into the night until they hammer out a solution. That is not happening. Instead, the House leadership is considering a vote to criticize the administration.

With Congress whistling past the graveyard, what is the president to do? He must look for ways to address the overwhelming challenge with the tools at his disposal. He is already trying to build the wall, despite congressional obstructionism. But what else is possible, and how effective would those measures be?

Trump has floated four options.

1. Close the border. It would be a dramatic action, but it would not stop the flood of illegal immigrants. They aren’t crossing at the border crossings. And even if the border is officially closed, once they enter the country, their asylum claims will have to be processed all the same.

On the other hand, the threat to close the border sends an unmistakable message to Mexico. Sure, it would be economically disruptive, but so is another 1 million illegal immigrants. While closing the border would hurt the U.S. economically, it would hurt Mexico a lot more. The closure threat clearly translates in Mexico City as “do more.”

Trump has gotten Mexico to step up its cooperation in the past, and that may be part of the impetus for talking up closure now. Without knowing exactly what the administration would do and for how long, it might be best to reserve judgment. Everyone, including the president, knows that closing the border is not the final answer. For now, let’s just let the president play poker with Mexico.

2. Cut aid to Central America. As my colleague Ana Quintana wrote, “Foreign aid should never amount to philanthropic handouts or aimless feel-good programs.” Washington shouldn’t be funding anything that’s not working.

Some experts claim that cutting aid would cut the programs that help stem illegal immigration. Well, if that’s their purpose, these programs are clearly failing. The number of people coming out of Central America is growing, not shrinking.

That said, it does not appear that the administration has made a final decision on what it will do. Here is the best advice. We must improve cooperation with our Central American partners.

And we must make sure that 1) all foreign assistance is strategically allocated to support U.S. foreign policy and national security objectives and 2) it is efficacious. Foreign assistance programs that are not working should be cut. And if new programs are needed, we should start them.

3. Appoint a border czar. Normally, I don’t like czars. Obama appointed a border czar (Alan Bersin), and it solved nothing. For this administration, however, it might make sense. The next two years in Washington are shaping up to be a continuous running battle between the president and his congressional opposition. Having a general to manage the political fight while government officials focus on the day job of securing the border and enforcing the law might just work.

4. Enforce the law. White House officials have hinted that they are getting ready to unleash a raft of measures to go after illegal immigrants. Without knowing what they are, it is hard to say if they are the right ones. In principle, however, this makes perfect sense.

The administration ought to be doing everything possible to lawfully reduce the illegal population. Further, enforcement with teeth adds to the effective deterrent against future illegal immigration.

Let’s face it, our southern border is a hot mess. At least the administration is trying to do something about it. The alternative is amnesty and open borders. The better option is to keep doing what can be done until Congress comes to its senses and properly funds border security, closes the loopholes in the immigration system, and supports the administration in enforcing the law.
James Carafano (@JJCarafano) is a leading expert in national security and foreign policy challenges, is The Heritage Foundation’s vice president for foreign and defense policy studies, E. W. Richardson fellow, and director of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies.

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American Express . . .

. . . Illegal immigrants, understanding the loopholes in our laws, are now using children as a way to get into the United States.

Editorial Cartoon by AF "Tony" Branco"

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Hiring Speeds Up - U.S. Economy Adds 196,000 Jobs in March

by Jeffry Bartash: The numbers: The U.S. created 196,000 new jobs last month after a swoon in February, an encouraging gain that hints growth in the economy is ready for a revival.

Hiring increased in most major segments of the economy, most notably health care and white-collar firms. The flush of new jobs kept the unemployment rate near a 50-year low of 3.8%, the Labor Department said.

The rebound in hiring might temper unease about the economy after a rocky start in 2019. Although a spate of large companies have announced layoffs recently, most firms are still looking to hire. One of their chronic complaints: A shortage of skilled labor.

The increase exceeded the 179,000 forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch.
What happened: Health-care providers led the way again, adding 49,000 jobs. The industry has boosted hiring by almost 400,000 in the past year.

Professional and technical firms hired 34,000 workers, restaurants increased staff by 27,000 and construction companies took on 16,000 new workers. A month earlier, builders cut employment by the most in a year and a half during a spell of severe cold and heavy snowfall.

Pockets of weakness were found in manufacturing and retail. Manufacturers trimmed 6,000 jobs after barely any gain in February. And retailers eliminated 12,000 jobs.

The amount of money the average worker earns rose 4 cents to $27.70 an hour last month.

The increase in pay in the past 12 months slowed to 3.2% from 3.4%. Still, wages are rising near the fastest pace in a decade. Most economists think yearly pay will soon move closer to the 4% mark, underscoring just how tight the labor market is.

The increase in jobs in February was revised up to 33,000 from 20,000. January job gains were little changed at 312,000.

The U.S. added an average of 180,000 jobs in the first three months of 2019 — a solid if somewhat slower pace compared to the tail end of last year.

Big picture: The boomerang in hiring in March should ease lingering worries about the economy after a sluggish start to the beginning of the year.

The U.S. is growing more slowly, it’s clear, and the companies aren’t hiring as rapidly. Yet wages are rising while layoffs and unemployment remain near the lowest levels in a half century.

The combination of stable growth and inflation is expected to keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates anytime soon.

What are they saying?: “Markets can breathe a sigh of relief as the employment data show that the economy continues to expand, reducing recession fears,” economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients.

“The labor market is certainly strong enough to keep the economy moving forward, but it isn’t generating the sort of inflationary pressure that would push the Fed off of its patient stance,” said senior economist Eric Winograd of the investment-research firm AllianceBernstein.

Big picture: The boomerang in hiring in March should ease lingering worries about the economy after a sluggish start to the beginning of the year.

The U.S. is growing more slowly, it’s clear, and the companies aren’t hiring as rapidly. Yet wages are rising while layoffs and unemployment remain near the lowest levels in a half century.

The combination of stable growth and inflation is expected to keep the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates anytime soon.

What are they saying?: “Markets can breathe a sigh of relief as the employment data show that the economy continues to expand, reducing recession fears,” economists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch told clients.

“The labor market is certainly strong enough to keep the economy moving forward, but it isn’t generating the sort of inflationary pressure that would push the Fed off of its patient stance,” said senior economist Eric Winograd of the investment-research firm AllianceBernstein.
Jeffry Bartash (@jbartash) is a reporter for Market Watch

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Will Black Voters Keep Democrats From Going Too Far to the Left?

Michael Barone
by Michael Barone: Which of the two dozen or so Democratic presidential candidates is going to carry black voters next year? The answer to that question is likely to be identical to the answer to the question "Which candidate is going to be the Democratic nominee, and maybe the president?"

For years, black Americans have cast about 1 out of 4 votes in Democratic primaries. In 2016, they cast 71% of Democratic primary votes in Mississippi, 61% in South Carolina, 54% in Alabama, 51% in Georgia, 46% in Maryland, 32% in North Carolina and Tennessee, and 20 to 28% in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Virginia, New York, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

Near-unanimous black support helped nominate and elect the last three Democratic presidents -- Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. It's near-unanimous because black voters have tended to vote solidly for one candidate over another in the primaries, even against alternatives with serious claims on their support.

Such solidarity in voting makes sense for people identifying as part of a distinct group suffering discrimination. For years, political reporters have listened as black preachers, avoiding outright endorsements, called for "unity." Their congregations understood what they meant.

Blacks have voted 85% or more Democratic in every presidential election since 1964; as well as in primaries for Jimmy Carter over Ted Kennedy in 1980; for Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988; for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in 2008; and for Clinton over Bernie Sanders in 2016.

If the impulse toward solidarity prevails again in 2020, it's not clear who will benefit. Joe Biden, after eight years as the faithful vice president to the nation's first black president, leads among black voters in current polls. But will he run?

The two candidates with African ancestry, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, have background atypical of descendants of antebellum American slaves. Harris' father is from Jamaica, and Booker grew up in an affluent black suburb in New Jersey. But then Barack Obama's background was even more atypical: How many Americans grew up in Indonesia?

Plus, there are signs that black voters may not be behaving as monolithically as they used to. Exit polls in the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries showed them favoring Clinton pretty unanimously in the South, giving Sanders only 6 to 19% in former Confederate states. But in New York, Pennsylvania, five Great Lakes states and Missouri, Sanders got between 26 and 32%; he carried three of them and came within 2 points of carrying two more.

Chicago's mayoral election is another example of waning black solidarity. Although Tuesday's runoff was a contest between two black women, neither had carried the city's 19 predominantly black wards in the nine-candidate Feb. 26 initial primary. Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot's electoral base was whites in upscale Lakefront wards, and her appeal was not connected to race but a lack of entanglement with corruption-tinged insiders.

Interestingly, even on race-related issues, white college graduates, not blacks, are now the most liberal segment of the Democratic electorate. As New York Times blogger Thomas Edsall notes, more white liberals (79%) than blacks (60%) believe that racial discrimination is the main reason many blacks can't get ahead. Fully 32% of blacks say blacks who don't are mostly responsible for that.

Black voters are generally more religious than whites, and much more than white liberals; they cast the deciding votes against same-sex marriage in California in 2008 and opposed it in North Carolina in 2012, changing their minds only after then-President Barack Obama endorsed it a day later. Indeed, blacks make up a large share of the diminishing number of Democratic primary voters labeling themselves as moderate or conservative.

Black Democrats seem less likely than white college-graduate liberals to support, and to identify as litmus tests, positions unpopular with most general election voters, like open-border immigration, ninth-month abortions and the Green New Deal. Perhaps they will prevent "woke" white college graduates -- and a press almost entirely made up of this demographic -- from pulling the Party too far to the left to defeat a Republican incumbent whose job approval seems stuck around 45%.

Or perhaps not. The Democratic Party, from its Jacksonian foundation in 1832, has always been a coalition of out-groups, of people not considered typical Americans. At their best, they're a triumphant majority. At their worst, they're a disorderly rabble. Which will they be in 2020? Black voters will have a big say in that.
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 co-author of The Almanac of American Politics Shared by Rasmussen Reports.

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2020: Socialist America or Trump’s America?

by Patrick Buchanan: And that would then happen if the Democrats simply held the House, added three Senate seats and defeated Trump in 2020?

In the new Democratic Party, where women and people of color are to lead, and the white men are to stand back, the presidential field has begun to sort itself out somewhat problematically.

According to a Real Clear Politics average of five polls between mid-March and April 1, four white men — Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, “Beto” O’Rourke and Pete Buttigieg — have corralled 62 percent of all Democratic voters.

The three white women running — Senators Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kirsten Gillibrand — have, together, a piddling 8 percent.

The lone Hispanic candidate, Julian Castro, is at 1 percent.

African American candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker fare better, with Harris at 10 and Booker at 3.

Who has raised the most money from the most contributors?

Sanders is first with $18 million; Harris is next with $12 million; Beto is third with $9 million in 18 days; and “Mayor Pete” is fourth with $7 million.

Warren, Klobuchar and Gillibrand have yet to file reports.

But the big takeaway from recent weeks is the sudden stunning vulnerability of the front-runner. Seven women have come forward to berate Biden for unwanted and offensive touching and crowding. Joe is on the defensive. Some in the #MeToo movement want him gone.

He is also being slammed for decisions across his 36-year Senate career — opposing busing for integration, deserting Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas hearings, supporting a racially discriminatory crime bill, voting to authorize George W. Bush to take us into war in Iraq.

And unkindest cut of all: Barack Obama’s stony silence about Joe’s candidacy.

The most compelling case for the 76-year-old ex-vice president is that he can win back Trump’s white working-class voters, and return Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania to the Democratic fold.

Thus a major drop in Biden’s polls could be terminal to his candidacy.

If Biden can’t guarantee a victory over Trump, why go with Joe?

Yet, if he fades away as a candidate, as he has done twice before, who emerges as front-runner? The 77-year-old Socialist Bernie Sanders. If Joe fades, Bernie and the comrades will have removed the last large roadblock to a socialist takeover of the national Democratic Party.

And what would then happen if the Democrats simply held the House, added three Senate seats and defeated Trump in 2020?

An all-out effort to abolish the Electoral College that is integral to the historic compromise that created our federal Union. Puerto Rico and D.C. would become states, giving Democrats four more Senators and making America a bilingual nation.

A drive would be on to give 16-year-olds and convicted felons the right to vote in federal elections, freezing Republicans out of power forever. A packing of the Supreme Court would begin by raising by six the number of justices and elevating liberal activists to the new seats.

On the southern border, where 100,000 illegal migrants were apprehended in March, Trump’s wall would come down, all peoples fleeing repression in Central America would be welcomed into the U.S., sanctuary cities would become the norm, and ICE would be abolished.

Open borders would be a reality, along with amnesty for the 12 million-20 million people here illegally, with a path to citizenship for all.

It is impossible to see how the U.S. border would ever be secured.

The Green New Deal would be enacted. Medicare for all. Free tuition for college students. Millennial college debts paid off by the government. Free pre-K schooling and day care. Guaranteed jobs for all. A guaranteed living wage. Repeal of the Reagan and Trump tax cuts. A re-raising of the corporate rate and a return of the top rate for individuals to 70 percent. New wealth taxes on the rich.

With climate change seen as an existential planetary peril, fossil fuel-powered energy plants — coal, oil, natural gas — would be phased out and a new national reliance on solar and wind begun.

There would be reparations for slavery. Abortion on demand right up to birth for all women. Marijuana would be legalized. Harris has urged that prostitution, sex work, be legalized.

How would the Green New Deal be paid for?

Under “modern monetary theory,” currency is a public monopoly for the government, and unemployment is evidence that the monopoly is choking off the needed supply. So print the money necessary to get to rising wages, full employment and a booming economy.

To achieve Bernie Sanders’ Socialist America, the filibuster would have to be abolished, easily done, and the Constitution altered, requiring the support of three-fourths of the states, not so easy.

Yet, as of today, the unannounced front-runner Joe Biden, who is taking fire from many quarters, appears to be the last man standing between Sanders Socialism and the Democratic nomination.

Should Joe falter and fall, Trump would be the nation’s last line of defense against the coming of a Socialist America. For never-Trump conservatives, the day of reckoning may be just ahead.
Patrick Buchanan (@PatrickBuchanan) 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 adviser 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.

Tags: Patrick Buchanan, conservative, commentary, 2020, Socialist America, Trump’s America 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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