Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Providing In-State Tuition for Illegal Aliens: A Violation of Federal Law
Federal law prohibits state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State”—unless the same in-state rates are offered to all citizens of the United States. Today, 12 states are circumventing this federal law, and the legal arguments offered to justify such actions are untenable, no matter what other policy arguments are offered in their defense. Because at least one federal court of appeals has held that there is no private right of action under the specific statute in question—§ 505 of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996—the U.S. Department of Justice must enforce this statutory provision against states that have violated federal law. Yet even as it sues states like Arizona and Alabama for trying to assist the enforcement of federal immigration law, the U.S. government refuses to sue states that are incontrovertibly and brazenly violating an unambiguous federal immigration law. Such inaction is unacceptable: The President and the Attorney General have an obligation to enforce every provision of the United State’s comprehensive federal immigration regulations—including the federal law prohibiting state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State.”
In 1996, Congress passed—and President Bill Clinton signed into law—the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA).[i] Section 505, codified at 8 U.S.C. § 1623, prohibits state colleges and universities from providing in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens “on the basis of residence within the State” unless the same in-state rates are offered to all citizens of the United States.[ii] Today, 12 states[iii] allow individuals who are in the United States illegally to pay the same in-state tuition rates as legal residents of the states[iv]—without providing the same rates to others. By circumventing the requirements of § 1623 these states are violating federal law, and the legal arguments offered to justify such actions are untenable, no matter what other policy arguments are offered in their defense.
A Nation of Laws, Not of Men
The United States is a country of immigrants—men and women who sought opportunity and freedom in an exceptional new land. Americans take pride in their heritage and this country’s generous policies regarding legal immigration. Yet, as citizens of a sovereign nation, Americans retain the right to decide who can and cannot enter this country—and what terms immigrants and visitors must accept as a condition of residing in the United States. As mandated by the U.S. Constitution, Congress sets America’s immigration policy. State officials have considerable influence in Congress over the crafting of immigration laws, and they may take steps to help enforce federal law. However, state officials cannot act contrary to a congressional statute.
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/16/2019 7:23 AM by Bobbie Patray
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
Undocumented Student Tuition: Overview
Each session states debate whether to allow undocumented students to attend college at in-state tuition rates. With the faltering economy and limited skills-based jobs, improving college affordability is becoming a bigger priority. But not everyone is in agreement on who should have access to college.
Currently, at least 18 states have provisions allowing for in-state tuition rates for undocumented students. Sixteen states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah and Washington—extend in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through state legislation. Two states—Oklahoma and Rhode Island—allow in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through Board of Regents decisions. In 2013, the University of Hawaii's Board of Regents and the University of Michigan's Board of Regents adopted similar policies for undocumented students to access in-state tuition at those institutions. In April 2014, Virginia's attorney general started granting in-state tuition to those covered under the federal Defferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.
At least six states—California, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington—currently allow undocumented students to receive state financial aid.
Three states—Arizona, Georgia and Indiana—specifically prohibit in-state tuition rates for undocumented students, and two states—Alabama and South Carolina— prohibit undocumented students from enrolling at any public postsecondary institution.
Undocumented Student Tuition Background
Due to the landmark 1982 Plyler v. Doe U.S. Supreme Court decision, states are required to provide all students with K-12 public education, regardless of students' immigration status. Although the court did not declare education a fundamental right, it was determined that a "public education has a pivotal role in maintaining the fabric of our society and in sustaining our political and cultural heritage; the deprivation of education takes an inestimable toll on the social, economic, intellectual, and psychological well-being of the individual, and poses an obstacle to individual achievement."
The Supreme Court’s decision, however, does not apply to education beyond high school. In addition, Section 505 of the 1996 Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) states, “an alien who is not lawfully present in the United States shall not be eligible on the basis of residence within a State (or a political subdivision) for any postsecondary education benefit unless a citizen or national of the United States is eligible for such a benefit (in no less an amount, duration, and scope) without regard to whether the citizen or national is such a resident.”
Since 2001, 18 states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma*, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin—have passed legislation extending in-state tuition rates to undocumented students who meet specific requirements. Wisconsin revoked its law in 2011. In general, students must attend an in-state high school for a specified period (1-3 years), and graduate or receive their GED. Supporters of the legislation argue that the requirement to receive in-state tuition is based on high school attendance and graduation, not residency, and so it is not in conflict with IIRIRA. Opponents claim that the high school attendance and graduation requirement is a de-facto residency requirement. The debate over the legality of such laws was on display in California, where the state Supreme Court upheld the state’s tuition law by ruling that it does not violate federal law.
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/16/2019 7:21 AM by Bobbie Patray
Tuesday, 16 April 2019
No Right to College for Illegal Immigrants
The Eleventh Circuit confirms: Universities don’t have to accept unauthorized immigrants, including DACA beneficiaries, as students.
At a time when Americans believe immigration to be the most important issue facing the nation, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has ruled that Georgia’s state colleges and universities can’t be forced to admit illegal immigrants as students. And that includes aliens who qualified under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program implemented by former president Barack Obama in 2012.
In an opinion handed down earlier this month, a three-judge panel upheld the right of the Georgia Board of Regents, which runs the state-university system, to verify the “lawful presence” of applicants before granting them admission as students to the “more selective schools in the University System.” Selective schools are defined as any Georgia college or university that “did not admit all academically qualified applicants” in the “two most recent academic years.” That applies to at least three state colleges, including the Georgia Institute of Technology, one of the best-known engineering schools in the country.
This policy denies admission to aliens who received “deferred action” under the 2012 DACA memorandum issued by the Department of Homeland Security. That memo provided what amounted to a temporary administrative amnesty to aliens who entered the U.S. illegally before their 16th birthday and met certain other criteria. The government agreed to defer removing DACA beneficiaries from the country under the exercise of “prosecutorial discretion.” But as the court pointed out, the DACA memo specifically stated that DACA recipients “are not considered lawfully present in the United States.”
Despite that qualification, in Estrada v. Becker, three DACA recipients who were denied admission to Georgia colleges filed suit, alleging that the board’s policy is preempted by federal law and violates their right to “equal protection” under the 14th Amendment.
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/16/2019 7:17 AM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 15 April 2019
Byron York: Five arguments the Mueller report won't settle
by Byron York, April 14, 2019 09:23 PM
Attorney General William Barr has promised to release a redacted version of the Mueller report this week. It will of course consume the political conversation for days, but even now it is clear that, as much as the report might be talked about, it will not settle the main arguments that have raged about the Trump-Russia affair for more than two years. Here are five debates that won't be resolved, no matter how much of the report Barr makes public:
1. Collusion. On the face of it, Barr's summary of Mueller's conclusion could not be clearer: The evidence gathered by the special prosecutor does not show that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to fix the 2016 election. Barr included two brief quotes from the Mueller report on collusion: "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities" and "the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference." So on the question: Will Mueller show that collusion occurred? The answer seems a pretty straightforward no.
But that is not the end of it. Immediately upon the release of the Barr summary, some of the president's accusers began moving the goalposts. What Mueller really said was that the evidence did not establish beyond a reasonable doubt that there was no conspiracy or coordination. Maybe there will be evidence that shows collusion but does not meet that high legal standard. Or maybe Mueller said that the evidence did not establish that criminal collusion had taken place. Maybe there's some other sort of collusion that Mueller did find. And Mueller did not say, at least in the snippet of his report quoted by Barr, that there was no evidence whatsoever of conspiracy or coordination. So, maybe there is some evidence that shows some sort of collusion by some sort of standard that Trump's critics might adopt.
2. Obstruction. This is a guarantee: Some readers of the Mueller report will swear that it proves the president obstructed justice, while others will swear it proves he did not obstruct justice. Mueller himself has made sure that will happen by not making what Barr called a "traditional prosecutorial judgment" on the obstruction question. Why Mueller did that is not clear; perhaps it will be revealed when the report is released. Barr said Mueller "views as 'difficult issues' of law and fact concerning whether the president's actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction."
Then Barr included this from Mueller on obstruction: "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." That alone will be enough for Trump's adversaries to conclude that he obstructed justice: Look! Mueller specifically declined to exonerate Trump! On the other hand, less partisan types remain baffled by what Mueller meant. Not exonerate him? What prosecutor does that? When a prosecutor investigates someone for two years and in the end decides not to charge him with any crime, does the prosecutor then write an exoneration letter? That's not the way things usually work. On the other hand, Trump defenders will surely say that Mueller a) investigated Trump, and b) did not accuse him of any crime. That's as much of an exoneration as one gets in these investigations.
3. Impeachment. Some Democrats had hoped that the Mueller report would give them cover for impeaching the president. I was undecided, they might say, and then I saw the special counsel's overwhelming evidence against the president, and I knew it was my duty to impeach. Some of those Democrats also hoped that the Mueller report would serve as a road map to impeachment, in effect doing for Congress the work of discovering and organizing evidence against the president.
But it appears Mueller won't make it easy for Democrats. Of course, they can impeach the president for any reason they choose, if they have the votes in the House. But it seems unlikely the Mueller report will make impeachment an unavoidable conclusion for Democrats. In the end, it's more likely the Democrats who want to impeach Trump will want to impeach Trump after Mueller's report, and the Democrats who oppose impeachment will continue to oppose it.
4. Investigating the investigation. Many Republicans, long convinced that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia, have instead sought to uncover the events surrounding the decision by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the Trump campaign in 2016. It's been hard finding out what happened. Rep. Devin Nunes, when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, shook loose a lot of information, but much remains unknown to the public. Now, those Republicans are counting on an investigation by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz to reveal more. And they are hoping that President Trump will declassify documents that could shed new light on the matter. One place they are not looking for answers is the Mueller report.
5. Why a special counsel? Some Republicans question whether there was really a need for a special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia. First, they cite the fact that there was no underlying crime. There was no crime specified in Mueller's original scope memo, and Mueller could never establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. Second, they point to the circumstances of Mueller's appointment, when fired FBI director James Comey leaked confidential documents in order to set off an uproar that he hoped would result in the appointment of a special counsel. As it turned out, things went according to Comey's plan. But was a special counsel really necessary to investigate the crime that did not occur? Like so many others, don't look for that argument to be resolved by the Mueller report.
Posted on 04/15/2019 6:14 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 12 April 2019
Dems gave $27M to children of illegal immigrants – not vets
Democrats set aside $27 million in tuition assistance for the children of undocumented immigrants in the new state budget — but wouldn’t add hundreds of thousands of dollars to expand a similar program for kids of deceased and disabled veterans.
A bill that has twice passed the state Senate — but never made it through the Assembly — would have added funding to a program that provides free tuition, room and board at any SUNY or CUNY college to children, spouses and financial dependents of “fallen soldiers” who died, became severely disabled or were classified as missing in action while serving in the military after 1990.
Such a program already exists and serves 145 students at a cost of $2.7 million — but only for relatives and dependents of vets who served in combat zones.
The Assembly Higher Education Committee voted 15-11 against allocating more funds to the program as part of the state budget.
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/12/2019 8:19 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 12 April 2019
Mexican Cartel ‘Coyotes’ Threaten Texans 80 Miles Past Border, Says Victim
A resident of a Texas community located about 80 miles from the Mexican border says cartel-connected human smugglers threaten people who live around their paths. The “coyotes” utilize this area to force migrants on dangerous marches around the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint. Hundreds died in this area over the past several years, county officials say.
“Whoever tells you there is no danger out here and we don’t need the wall, they have no idea what they’re talking about,” a woman identified only as “Solia” told a KVEO reporter. “They don’t care as long as the businesses keep thriving in McAllen or Brownsville.”
The Encino resident says she can no longer go out of her home without a gun because of the treats from human smugglers. “Solia” says the border wall is “needed to protect U.S. citizens.”
For more than a decade, Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez and local Border Patrol agents assigned to the Falfurrias Station have dealt with smugglers marching their “human cargo” through the dangerous ranchlands surrounding the checkpoint.
“U.S. Border Patrol agents operate an immigration checkpoint in the middle of our county,” Sheriff Martinez told Breitbart News in a January interview. “You can’t drive from the county’s south side to the north side without going through this checkpoint. Consequently, human smugglers who have no regard for the health or safety of these migrants march them through very dangerous ranchlands in order to bypass the checkpoint.”
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/12/2019 8:18 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 12 April 2019
Illegal Aliens Incarcerated As Much As Five Times Rate of Legal Residents, Says New FAIR Study
Illegal aliens are incarcerated as much as five times the rate of legal residents – and on average three times the rate of legal residents – in states where they are most heavily concentrated, according to a new study published by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The study analyzes the most recent illegal alien incarceration data available from the federal government’s State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP), which reimburses states for a small portion of the costs of incarcerating criminal illegal aliens. The report looks at SCAAP payments to states with large illegal alien populations and compares it to the public records of state and local prisons. The states analyzed include: Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas and Washington which, together, comprise the majority – 65 percent – of the nation’s illegal alien population. Importantly, the report does not include illegal aliens who have been convicted of federal criminal charges and are serving time in a Federal Bureau of Prison facility.
“This study should put to rest, once and for all, the notion that illegal aliens commit crimes at a lower rate than legal residents,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. “By focusing on states with significant illegal alien populations and that consistently report to the SCAAP program, FAIR’s study refutes this erroneous claim,” he said. “Contrary to the popular myth, this analysis shows that when applied nationally, SCAAP data from key states suggest that illegal aliens are incarcerated at three times the rate of legal residents, on average.”
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/12/2019 8:16 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 12 April 2019
Trump in Texas: ‘Dangerous People Are Coming Here, and the Good People Are Dying’
Migrants coming across the southern border are dying in sizeable numbers, exploited by coyotes – “the worst scum in the world” – and hounded by criminal gangs who also pose a threat to ranchers in Texas, President Trump said during a visit to the state on Wednesday.
“You don’t have a wall, it’s never going to end,” he told reporters in San Antonio. “Dangerous people are coming here, and the good people are dying.”
During a fundraising stop in the city he met privately with a group of local officials and ranchers, then invited the media in for an unscheduled briefing to hear stories of locals finding the bodies of migrants lying in the vast tracts of brush.
Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick, seated alongside Trump, said well over one thousand dead bodies had been documented over the past 5-7 years, and those were just the ones that had been found. And, he added, they include children, pregnant women, and older people.
“The coyotes take their last money, give them some water and a sandwich,” Trump said. “And they start walking – they have hundreds of miles to walk. And they leave them to die.”
Although in the Lone Star State for campaign events, Trump told reporters the issue was a humanitarian one.
“This has nothing to do with politics. This has nothing to do with campaigning, or my campaign. This is totally unexpected that I’d have you [reporters] in here. But these people said it better than anybody else could say it, because they have to live it.”
“And it’s dangerous. And it’s really, from a humane standpoint – a humanitarian standpoint, it’s horrible.”
Trump did also take swipes at the Democrats over immigration policy, and criticized federal judges who, he said, “will rule against us no matter what.”
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/12/2019 8:07 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 12 April 2019
Illegal Alien, Twice Deported, Raped And Killed Jogger In Sanctuary State
Governor Phil Murphy's transformation of New Jersey into a sanctuary state has left a trail of blood across its wounded communities. Support for illegal migration is a crime against humanity. But the same people crying fake tears on MSNBC or CNN over illegal aliens care nothing for the mounting death toll of their victims.
The man charged with raping and strangling a jogger in Jersey City’s Lincoln Park had already been deported twice, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.
Jorge Rios, who was identified by ICE officials as Jorge Alberto Rios-Doblado, is from Honduras and “has been removed from the country on two prior occasions, in 2003 and 2004,” according to ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operation (ICE-ERO) in Newark. ICE officials also said Rios initially entered the country illegally.
ICE-ERO said that it has placed a detainer on Rios following his arrest on Sunday on charges the 33-year-old kidnapped, raped and murdered Carolina Cano, 45, of Gautier Avenue in Jersey City, on March 24. The nanny’s body was found in the lake near the Casino in the Park building that day.
Cano is from Peru and worked as a nanny. A resident of the building where she lived off West Side Avenue said she had been in the United States for about two years. Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop has said that it appears Cano and Rios were strangers.
So we have an immigrant, the type of person the lefties claim to want to protect, being brutally murdered by an illegal alien, living under their protection in Phil Murphy's sanctuary state.
This isn't Trump being monstrously cruel to immigrants. This is the Democrats, who have become an illegal alien lobby, with blood on their hands. And with no plans except, Illegal Migration Now, Illegal Migration Tomorrow, Illegal Migration Forever.
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/12/2019 8:04 AM by Bobbie Patray
Thursday, 11 April 2019
Study: 1 in 4 College Freshmen Need Remedial Education
Recent high school graduates and their families overall paid an extra $3,000 for skills and content they should have learned in high school.
Annie Holmquist | April 6, 2016
In recent years, the expressed goal of the education system has been to ensure that every child is college- and career-ready. That goal has enjoyed a measure of success, particularly as college enrollment rates rose from 26% to 41% between 1980 and 2012.
But landing a spot in college doesn’t necessarily mean students are ready for college coursework, a fact highlighted by a new report from Education Reform Now. According to the report, a quarter of college freshmen need to enroll in remedial courses to catch up. The authors explain:
“Contrary to common belief, remedial education is a widespread phenomenon not at all confined to low-income students or community colleges. It affects a broad swath of students, including those from middle-, upper-middle, and high-income families, as well as a broad swath of colleges.”
Unfortunately for students, taking remedial courses in college is not only embarrassing and discouraging, it is also painful financially:
“With an average of two remedial classes taken per student, the half million recent high school graduates and their families overall paid an extra $3,000 for skills and content they should have learned in high school.”
Statistics from The Nation’s Report Card only underscore the truth of this statement:
- 62% of high school seniors aren’t proficient in reading.
- 73% of high school seniors aren’t proficient in writing.
- 74% of high school seniors aren’t proficient in math.
- 76% of high school seniors aren’t proficient in civics.
- 88% of high school seniors aren’t proficient in U.S. history.
With numbers like these, is it any wonder that students and families are having to waste extensive time and money trying to catch up to the college level?
Posted on 04/11/2019 8:43 PM by Bobbie Patray
Tuesday, 9 April 2019
I Grew Up in a Communist System. Here’s What Americans Don’t Understand About Freedom
Carmen Alexe | March 12, 2018
Individual freedom can only exist in the context of free-market capitalism. Personal freedom thrives in capitalism, declines in government-regulated economies, and vanishes in communism. Aside from better economic and legislative policies, what America needs is a more intense appreciation for individual freedom and capitalism.
I was born and raised in communist Romania during the Cold War, a country in which the government owned all the resources and means of production. The state controlled almost every aspect of our lives: our education, our job placement, the time of day we could have hot water, and what we were allowed to say.
Like the rest of the Eastern European countries, Romania was often referred to as a communist country. In school, we were taught it was a socialist country. Its name prior to the 1989 Revolution to overthrow the Ceausescu regime was the Socialist Republic of Romania.
From an economic standpoint, a petty fraction of property was still privately owned. In a communist system, all property is owned by the state. So if it wasn't a true communist economy, its heavy central planning and the application of a totalitarian control over the Romanian citizenry made this nation rightfully gain its title of a communist country.
Socialism Creates Shortages
Despite the fact that Romania was a country rich in resources, there were shortages everywhere. Food, electricity, water, and just about every one of life's necessities were in short supply. The apartment building in which we lived provided hot water for showers two hours in the morning and two hours at night. We had to be quick and on time so we didn't miss the opportunity.
Wrigley's chewing gum and Swiss chocolate were a rare delight for us. I remember how happy I was when I'd have a pack of foreign bubblegum or a bar of delicious milk chocolate. I'd usually save them for special occasions.
Fruity lip gloss, French perfume, and jeans were but a few of the popular items available only on the black market and with the right connections. God bless our black-market entrepreneurs! They made our lives better. They gave us the opportunity to buy things we very much desired, things we couldn't get from the government-owned retail stores which were either half-empty or full of products that were ugly and of poor quality.
The grocery stores were not any better. I get it, maybe we didn't need to be fashionable. But we needed to eat. So, the old Romanian adage "Conscience goes through the stomach" made a lot of sense.
During the late 1970s, life in Romania started to deteriorate even more. Meat was hardly a consumer staple for the average Romanian. Instead, our parents learned to become good at preparing the liver, the brain, the tongue, and other giblets that most people in the West would not even consider trying.
When milk, butter, eggs, and yogurt were temporarily available, my mom—like so many others of our neighbors—would wake up at 2:00 a.m. to go stand in line so she'd have the chance to get us these goodies. The store would open at 6:00 a.m., so if she wasn't early enough in line she'd miss the opportunity.
In 1982, the state sent their disciples to people's homes to do the census. Along with that, food rationing was implemented. For a family of four like us, our rationed quota was 1 kilogram of flour and 1 kilogram of sugar per month. That is, if they were available and if we were lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time when they were being distributed.
The one television channel our government provided for us often focused on programs related to crime and poverty in the western world. After all, people were poor and suffering because of capitalism, so we were told, so we needed socialism and communism to solve the inequalities of humanity.
Capitalism Advances Private Property
Considering the shortages created by the government-controlled economy of my birth country, I came to understand and appreciate capitalism, the one system that had the most dramatic effect in elevating human civilization.
The layman definition of capitalism is the economic system in which people and businesses engage in manufacturing, trading, and exchanging products and services without government interference. A free-market capitalist system works in a more efficient manner when not tampered with by government or central bank intervention in the credit markets, monetary policy, and interest rate fixing.
Private property and private property rights are at the core of capitalism. When in school, we learned that private property makes people greedy and is considered detrimental to society. Private property was associated with capitalism, the system that our textbooks claimed failed.
Allocation Of Resources
Romania was rich in natural resources, yet the difference between our standard of living and those from the West was quite dramatic. It was indicative of a flawed economic system that most countries in Eastern Europe adhered to during the Soviet Era. But one may ask why was there so much poverty when natural resources are so abundant?
Economics is the study of the allocation of scarce resources which have alternative uses. Efficiency is thus of primary concern when the goal is economic progress.
In a centrally-planned environment, the various government individuals who are assigned the task of planning the economy could not possibly know how to properly allocate the scarce resources of an entire nation, no matter how smart or educated they are. Shortages are one of the consequences of improper allocation of the scarce resources.
The free market, however, through the multiple spontaneous interactions of businesses and consumers, directs the allocation of resources via the amazing process of supply and demand. It is precisely due to the profit and loss events that economic efficiency is stimulated.
Free Markets Attract Capital
Due to its profit incentives, capitalism encourages innovation. Innovation leads to progress and an increase in the standard of living. But progress and the climate which offers humans a high standard of living cannot be created without the capital to transform and turn resources into the final products that give us the—relatively—cheap energy and food, smartphones, fitness gyms, and overall the life we currently afford. Capital moves in the direction of less regulation, less government intervention, and less taxation. In short, capital moves to where there's more economic freedom.
In contrast, communism, socialism, fascism, or just about any government-controlled system lacks the profit incentive. The people, who are the human resources, have no desire to engage in a business where the reward is not attainable (unless it's done in the black markets). They accept the state and its bureaucratic cronies to dictate their faith.
Capital is chased away due to the high risk associated with governments who engage in high levels of controlling their economies and, often, corruption. The overall standard of living is dramatically lower than in most capitalist places, and the poverty is higher. Consequently, the collectivist country falls into an economic and social trap from which it is hard to escape. Only capitalism can save a nation from the failure of its central economic planning.
Capitalism Helps Us Be Better Individuals
Similar to the old Soviet lifestyle, let's remember what the typical Venezuelan family of our times worries about on a daily basis. Food to put on the table and the safety of their children. They wake up in the morning wondering how many meals they can afford that day, where to get them from, and how to pay for them.
We, the lucky ones to live in a relatively free-market system, don't have these kinds of worries. We go to work, get leisure time to be on Facebook, watch TV, be with our families, read books, and enjoy a hobby or two. In short, we have the personal freedom to engage in and enjoy a variety of life events because of capitalism.
But there's another important motive to desire to live in a capitalist society. We are free to create and come up with all kinds of business ideas, no matter how crazy some might be. Because we don't have to worry about tomorrow, we have—or make—the time to read, explore, and innovate.
Capitalism makes it possible for us to challenge ourselves, to have goals, and to put forth the sweat to achieve them. It gives us the freedom to try new things and explore new opportunities. It gives us the chance to create more opportunities. It helps us build strong character because when we try, we also fail, and without failure, how do we know we've made mistakes? Without failure, how do we know we must make changes?
Individual Freedom Can Only Exist In The Context Of Free Markets
Before immigrating to the U.S., I had to go through a rigorous process. One of the events was the immigration interview with the American counselor who, among many other questions, asked why I escaped Romania and why I wanted to come to America. My short answer was freedom. Then he posed the interesting question: "If America was to go through a period of economic devastation with shortages similar to Romania, would you still feel the same way?" I didn't think too much about it, and I said, "Yes, of course, as long as I have freedom."
In retrospect, that was a dumb answer on my part. After several decades, I came to believe that the human condition of individual freedom can only exist in the context of free markets. Shortages are created by the intrusion of the state into the complex activity of the markets, whether it's price controls or poor allocation of resources.
When shortages are powerful and long enough to dramatically affect lives, people resort to revolt. Large revolts call for serious governmental actions including, but not limited to, eroding or completely eliminating individual rights (the right to free speech and to bear arms), the institution of a police state, and the enacting of a powerful state propaganda system. Capitalism is the path to the individual rights and liberty that build the solid foundation of a free society.
Is America A True Capitalist Economy?
The short answer is no. Most of the world refers to the American system as being a capitalist one. Based on my short definition of capitalism, it is obvious that it is not quite a pure one, and I wish to clarify that the U.S. is not a truly free-market capitalist system.
The economic policy of the 19th Century with limited regulations and minimal taxation attracted the needed capital to our country. The Industrial Revolution made spectacular advancements in human conditions due to the capital concentrated in the region. America lost its number one place due to legislating higher regulations, taxation, and protectionist policies.
But we are still enjoying some of the fruits today. Compared to many countries in the world, we still maintain stronger capitalist traits than most, however Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand, and a few other nations who lead the way in economic freedom have surpassed us (see the latest statistics).
What America Needs
Aside from better economic and legislative policies, what America needs is a more intense appreciation of individual freedom and capitalism. Such a crazy idea is not acquired through public schools or becoming a public servant. Young people don't need more years of schooling with more worthless college degrees and student loans in default. America needs more entrepreneurs and businessmen. It needs more people with drive and ambition, more self-starters, more innovators, more people who are willing to take chances.
It starts in our own backyard, in our home, in our small group, in our community. It starts with loving, involved, and dedicated parents who'd instill the values of personal responsibility and delayed gratification in their children. It continues with an education that entails both theory and hands-on practice in environments conducive to learning how to think independently and how to acquire life- and work-skills. It evolves into a purpose-driven life rich in learning and experiences. And this may be just the beginning of attaining the intellectual maturity to perceive the value that free markets and individual freedom afford most of us.
Carmen Alexe escaped Communist Romania during the Cold War. Her motive was individual freedom. She has close to 30 years in the lending industry, currently working as a Commercial Real Estate Consultant. She's been a real estate investor since 2001. She's also a passionate Salsa dancer. She's a free spirit doing research on and practicing how to live free in an unfree world. She shares her zeal for free markets, individual freedom, and personal responsibility by writing on her blog.
Posted on 04/09/2019 4:45 AM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 8 April 2019
Ohioans might vote to ditch Electoral College. Who's behind the effort? That's a mystery.
Ohio could be the next state to jump on the popular vote bandwagon and abandon the country's method of choosing a president by counting states' electoral votes.
The "Presidential Election Popular Vote" amendment received initial approval from Attorney General Dave Yost on Monday.
The measure would require state lawmakers to join a number of states that pledge their Electoral College votes to the winner of the national popular vote. If enacted, it's possible Ohio's electoral votes would be cast for a candidate that didn't win the most votes in Ohio.
Fourteen states have signed on to the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, comprising 184 electoral votes. The presidential candidate that receives at least 270 Electoral College votes wins, so the agreement takes effect when states with 86 more votes sign on.
Who's behind the measure?
It's not clear who's pushing the initiative in Ohio. None of the petitioners' names were listed on the submission to the attorney general.
Columbus attorney Don McTigue, who submitted the proposed amendment, referred The Enquirer to Reed Hundt, CEO of Making Every Vote Count, a nonprofit that advocates electing the president through a national popular vote. Hundt, reached by phone Monday, said his group offered legal advice to the petitioners but he would not say who they were or answer any questions about the effort.
But emails obtained by The Enquirer through a public records request show five petitioners have been named to the amendment committee: James J. Bishop, Carole A. DePaola, Karen Sue Foley, and Daniel J. McKay of Columbus; and David P. Little of Cincinnati.
McKay is the Franklin County Democratic Party executive director. DePaola is the secretary of the Ohio Democratic Party Women's Caucus and was a 2016 elector for Hillary Clinton.
Little, a longtime Southwest Ohio political consultant, declined to comment when asked by The Enquirer who was organizing or paying for the effort.
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Posted on 04/08/2019 12:08 PM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 8 April 2019
Oregon poised to join national popular vote movement
A bill introduced to the Legislature on Monday would add Oregon to the list of states agreeing to the National Popular Vote Compact if lawmakers agree and voters endorse the decision in November 2018.
Legislators are likely to a pass the bill this year because the key lawmaker blocking the national popular vote proposal has offered his support, given that the question would be put before Oregon voters.
Senate President Peter Courtney has killed the national popular vote bill each of the four times it has reached his chamber from the Oregon House. The latest was in 2017.
That prompted a California-based group pushing the popular vote concept to declare war against Courtney, D-Salem, who faces re-election in November. The group has placed nearly $100,000 worth of television, mail, billboard and online ads in Courtney’s district painting him as out-of-touch.
Courtney said last year that he would allow the Senate to vote on a national popular vote bill only if Oregon voters would then have the final say. He reiterated that in a statement Monday to The Oregonian/OregonLive: "Changing the way Oregon’s electoral votes are cast is a decision that should be made by Oregon voters," the longtime senator said. "I’ve made it clear that I would support putting the issue on the ballot."
Monday’s bill, sponsored by the Senate Rules Committee, satisfies his demands.
John Koza, the founder of the national popular vote movement, said decisions on the Electoral College should rest only with legislators and not be put on the ballot.
"Oregon's existing winner-take-all law for awarding electoral votes was enacted by the legislature, as was every other state's law on awarding electoral votes," said Koza, who is funding the campaign against Courtney. He added, "Oregon's winner-take-all law should be changed in the same way it was originally enacted, namely by action of the Legislature."
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Posted on 04/08/2019 12:07 PM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 8 April 2019
New Mexico is 14th state to pledge its electoral votes to winner of popular vote
New Mexico is the latest state to join a compact pledging to devote its electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in future presidential elections if enough states sign on.
Democratic state Sen. Carlos Cisneros cosponsored the bill, which was signed by Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Wednesday. Cisneros said he hopes the elimination of the "archaic" Electoral College will give New Mexico more influence in national elections.
"Presidential candidates don't even bother to come into the state anymore because they really don't need to. They'll go after states that have a large number of delegate votes and exclude New Mexico," Cisneros said. "For us it is crucial that the election for president is predicated on popular vote rather than the traditional and historical way of doing that."
New Mexico is the 14th state to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, bringing it to 189 electoral votes. The states will not shift their vote allocations until their combined electoral votes equal 270, enough to decide a presidential election.
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Posted on 04/08/2019 12:05 PM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 8 April 2019
National Popular Vote Facing Court Ruling – Eventually
The move toward a “National Popular Vote,” under which all Electoral College votes from states participating in an interstate compact would go to the candidate with the most popular votes, is moving forward again this year.
Colorado’s new governor, Jared Polis, recently signed a bill adding Colorado to the minority of states pursuing the agenda. Two other states reportedly are considering such a move.
The late Phyllis Schlafly wrote several years ago about the plan.
“The NPV slogan ‘Every Vote Equal’ is dishonest because the NPV proposal is based on legalizing vote-stealing. For example, Texas or Louisiana could be forced to cast … votes for a candidate who won more votes in other states, such as New York,” she explained.
But there’s not likely to be a court challenge at the moment to the plan that would give the largest population centers control over presidential elections.
The Washington Free Beacon explains the plan cannot activated until states with a total of at least 270 Electoral College votes – enough to elect a president – are committed.
Constitutional and legal experts say that if the plan ever is implemented, a legal challenge could create uncertainty.
“Constitutional legal challenges often take years, leading forward-thinking opponents of the effort to ponder the earliest-possible moment to launch a legal challenge in order to avoid a Bush v. Gore-style emergency legal proceeding deciding the presidency,” the report said.
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Posted on 04/08/2019 12:03 PM by Bobbie Patray
Monday, 8 April 2019
Who’s Bankrolling the National Popular Vote Movement
by Fred Lucas
The nonprofit organization building a coalition of states that favor choosing the president by popular vote promotes itself as nonpartisan, but is financed by millions of dollars from left-leaning groups.
Some of the leaders of the movement are prominent Republicans, and most of the funding for the nonprofit, National Popular Vote Inc., has come from a wealthy Democrat and a billionaire independent.
However, many large, liberal organizations back the movement, according to the Capital Research Center, a conservative investigative think tank that monitors nonprofits. It gathered donor information on National Popular Vote Inc. using a commercial database.
The Jennifer and Jonathan Allan Soros Foundation, for example, gave $1 million to the nonprofit in 2011.
Jonathan Soros, 49, heads an investment firm and is the son of George Soros, a hedge fund manager known for financing left-leaning causes around the world. Although the Soros Foundation does not publicly list contact information, The Daily Signal sought comment through the George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations.
The Stephen M. Silberstein Foundation made donations totaling $1 million to National Popular Vote Inc. from 2008 to 2012, according to the most recent data. The Silberstein Foundation gave $350,000 in 2008, $250,000 in 2009, $250,000 in 2010, and $150,000 in 2012. The Daily Signal unsuccessfully sought comment from the Silberstein Foundation.
In 2015, an article in Inside Philanthropy reported: “Nearly every major progressive policy and advocacy group in the U.S. has received money from Silberstein in recent years.”
“We’re not going to relitigate or redo the results of this election. This election was run under a set of rules,” Silberstein, a board member for National Popular Vote, said on liberal activist Ralph Nader’s podcast in late 2016, after Donald Trump’s election as president.
“It’s not useful to change the rules of the game after the game is over with so that you can get a different result,” he said. “If you really want to do something, change the rules now in time for the next election.”
Seeking a Compact Among States
Trump is the fifth president in American history to win the Electoral College and lose the popular vote. Although Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 304 to 227 votes in the Electoral College, Clinton rolled up about 2.9 million more votes in big states such as New York and California.
The nonprofit is lobbying states to adopt what is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact. The compact requires a member state to cast its electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote—regardless of which presidential candidate wins the state.
The interstate compact would snap into place only when the number of member states adds up to 270 electoral votes, the total required under the Electoral College to win the presidency. The initiative is about two-thirds of the way there.
“We could find no conservative institutional donors to the organization,” Scott Walter, president of the Capital Research Center, told The Daily Signal. “Did Charles Koch write a personal check? We don’t know. But we found 16 instances of grants from institutional donors, and none were conservative.”
American presidents never have been elected by a strictly popular vote across the nation. In presidential elections since 1804, under the 12th Amendment to the Constitution, voters actually vote for electors who are pledged to support their candidate in a later Electoral College vote.
Proponents contend this system ensures that every state, no matter how small, has a voice. Opponents, including many Democrat presidential candidates, contend that rural areas get disproportionate power under the Electoral College.
Colorado’s Democrat governor signed a bill making that state part of the compact, and the legislatures of New Mexico and Delaware recently sent similar bills to Democrat governors who said they would sign. That will set the movement at 189 electoral votes out of the 270.
Another major donor to the compact was the Sandler Foundation, which contributed $100,000 in 2010. The organization’s 2015 filing with the Internal Revenue Service shows it gave millions to liberal groups, including the Center for American Progress, the American Civil Liberties Union, EarthJustice California, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. The Sandler Foundation did not respond to inquiries from The Daily Signal for this story.
The Tides Foundation, a major funder of left-leaning causes, contributed $25,000 to the popular vote group in 2009. The organization has donated to the ACLU Foundation, the Center for American Progress, Media Matters for America, Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood, among other liberal groups.
The George Soros-backed Open Society Foundations has given millions to the Tides Foundation, according to the Capitol Research Center. The Tides Foundation did not respond to The Daily Signal for this story.
National Popular Vote’s 2015 filing with the IRS, the most recent publicly available, shows it had revenue of $2 million.
The bulk of the group’s budget doesn’t come from other organizations, said Saul Anuzis, former chairman of Michigan’s Republican Party and a longtime GOP operative who advised Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.
“As for the funding, two individuals have put up over 95 percent of all the money,” Anuzis, a national spokesman for the effort, told The Daily Signal. “A liberal progressive, John Koza, and a conservative, pro-life tax protester, Tom Golisano. My guess [is that] several hundred others have given to one of the organizations behind the effort.”
Koza, chairman of National Popular Vote Inc., is a California businessman who was an inventor of the scratch-off lottery ticket. He then marketed the idea to states—similar to what he’s doing with the popular vote compact.
Koza has been a donor to Democratic candidates in federal elections. Politico reported that Koza spent $14 million promoting the popular vote compact among states by 2014, and that he planned to budget $2 million per year from then on.
“John Koza regularly maxes out in donations to Democratic candidates, and he has not been an insignificant Democratic donor,” Capital Research Center’s Walter said. “He is on the record saying that the re-election of George W. Bush [in 2004] inspired him to start this.”
Koza contributed the maximum amount of money, $2,700, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn.; Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.; the re-election campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; the 2016 presidential campaign of former Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, a Democrat; and the 2016 presidential campaign of Democrat Hillary Clinton. He has written checks for tens of thousands to the Democratic National Committee and its fundraising arms for House and Senate races.
Golisano, who founded the payroll and benefits services company Paychex, has spent $10 million of his own money to promote the compact. Last year, however, Politico reported that Golisano had pulled back from the effort.
Golisano also is the founder of the New York Independence Party and a three-time unsuccessful candidate for governor.
His political contributions don’t entirely reflect a conservative viewpoint. He gave to the presidential campaigns of two Democrats, John Kerry and Dick Gephardt, in 2004, and to the Senate campaign of Charlie Crist, a Florida Republican who became an independent, in 2010.
“The National Popular Vote movement has never been a partisan movement. It is a bipartisan coalition of Republicans, Democrats, and independents who believe that every American voter should feel politically valued in every presidential election,” Anuzis said.
The former Michigan GOP leader noted that related legislation passed Republican-controlled legislative chambers in Arizona, Oklahoma, and New York. Of those states, only New York has joined the compact so far.
The president of National Popular Vote is Barry Fadem, a California election lawyer who like Koza also contributes to Democrat candidates in congressional and presidential races, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Fadem contributed to John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign and to the re-election of former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California, among others.
According to tax filings, the organization’s secretary is Chris Pearson, a Vermont state senator affiliated with the state’s Progressive Party. Pearson is the former director of presidential election reform for FairVote, a left-leaning voting rights and good government group. He was an aide to Sanders when the senator was in the House of Representatives.
As a specific kind of nonprofit under the tax code, National Popular Vote is allowed to lobby state lawmakers to join the interstate compact. Koza also established an educational nonprofit, the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, that is prohibited from direct lobbying. It had $550,504 in revenue, according to its 2016 IRS filing.
“National Popular Vote is indeed a 501(c)(4) and focused on advocacy efforts in the states,” said Patrick Rosenstiel, a spokesman for the organization, referring to the tax code. “IRPE is indeed a 501(c)(3) and 100 percent committed to education efforts surrounding the Electoral College, the current system, and potential Electoral College reforms.”
Rosenstiel, a Republican, is chairman of the Institute for Research on Presidential Elections, the educational nonprofit.
But the compact should be a tough sell as a bipartisan effort, particularly since it “is mostly funded by the left,” said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of The Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative.
The recent movement of three states toward the compact is worrisome for von Spakovsky.
“Legislators in those three states have displayed woeful ignorance about the good and rational reasons for having the Electoral College,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “Delaware and New Mexico are even more puzzling. These are small states most protected by the Electoral College. A national popular vote will give them less influence.”
The recent successes for the movement are likely to boost awareness and the potential for fundraising, Rosenstiel said.
“Recent success certainly drives awareness about both the substantial shortcomings of the current system and the state-based plan to address those shortcomings,” Rosenstiel told The Daily Signal. “Momentum certainly drives awareness and awareness always results in a steady uptick in political and financial support. We are grateful to all who contribute their voice, talents, and dollars to make this happen.”
The other states that joined the interstate compact earlier include Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, Rhode Island, Vermont, Hawaii, California, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The District of Columbia also signed up.
Although Trump won the presidency through the Electoral College while losing the popular vote to Clinton, he previously indicated he favored elections being decided by the popular vote.
“I would rather see it where you went with simple votes,” Trump said in a “60 Minutes” interview on CBS after he won the election. “You know, you get 100 million votes, and somebody else gets 90 million votes, and you win. There’s a reason for doing this, because it brings all states into play.”
Trump on ‘Brilliance’ of Electoral College
Trump last week said on Twitter that he had a change of heart.
Donald J. Trump✔@realDonaldTrump
Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon. The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win. With the Popular Vote, you go to....
“Campaigning for the Popular Vote is much easier & different than campaigning for the Electoral College. It’s like training for the 100 yard dash vs. a marathon,” Trump tweeted. “The brilliance of the Electoral College is that you must go to many States to win.”
Click here to read full article.
Posted on 04/08/2019 12:01 PM by Bobbie Patray
Saturday, 6 April 2019
Socialism will change America, and not for the better | Opinion Mark Green, Guest columnist Published 5:00 p.m. CT April 4, 2019
Mark Green, Guest columnistPublished 5:00 p.m. CT April 4, 2019
On a December night in 2003, as the emergency medicine physician assigned to an elite special operations team, I got the unbelievable opportunity to interview Saddam Hussein on the night of his capture.
Over the course of almost six hours of interviewing the reviled dictator, I was reminded of the old adage “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It’s hard to imagine what has to happen in a man’s heart to blacken it to the extent of Saddam Hussein’s. However, clearly a contributor was the lack of accountability, or as our founders put it, checks and balances. Without that system, freedom was only a dream in Saddam’s Iraq.
The idea that is America centers around that word: freedom. Our founding fathers understood that with freedom, citizens are released to innovate, create and expand prosperity greater than any other form of government. Influenced by the philosopher Montesquieu, our Founders built a government where power was dispersed as much as humanly possible. No one person could operate independently of the other.
Thus, we have three equal but separate branches of government. Perhaps more importantly, we have some power enumerated in the Constitution set aside for a federal government, with the remaining powers divested to the states. With the forthcoming freedom, Americans have created a prosperity unprecedented in human history.
However today, that freedom — and the system that ensures it — is under massive attack. Socialism is a system of government where power shifts from the people to a monolithic, centralized bureaucracy that promises to take care of its citizens equally. It is a system that ignores the diversity of the population and administers blanket, one-size-fits-all solutions to every problem in life.
Rather than self-organizing, socialism offers a direct and complete relationship between the individual and the federal government. And more consequentially, it concentrates power in the hands of a few elites.
The Left is openly supporting socialism. With Medicare for All, the federal government takes control of all health care away from the states. Power is concentrated, and freedom in the healthcare markets and freedom of choice are lost. The proposed Green New Deal seizes control of state and local government housing and building codes, and worse, a version of the plan even pays people unwilling to work a salary, gives them a home, free healthcare, and education.
You may want to take a vacation this year, but your freedom was lost in the form of a tax to pay someone else to sit at home. The vacation you worked hard for has to wait. Socialism is freedom lost.
In what she hopes will be her crowning achievement, Speaker Nancy Pelosi introduced House Resolution 1 on the day the 116th Congress gaveled into session.
Usually the majority party makes whatever bill is HR 1 their priority initiative. HR1 seizes control of state elections, telling states they essentially have to conduct their elections in the same fraudulent manner as California. So much for federalism, as states lose the freedom to run their own elections.
Some might argue that as power is shifted to Washington and further concentrated in Washington, benevolent leaders will provide better care for the American people. Assuming for the moment the current leaders truly are benevolent, history has shown us repeatedly that without the dispersed power, eventually someone comes along and you end up with tyranny. And the road that tyranny leads down is dire.
In modern day tyrannical regimes like Venezuela, we just saw its president block relief supplies from entering the country while protesters were shot.
Concentrating power into fewer and fewer hands leads to tyranny. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and it leads to total tyranny.
As it concentrates power into the hands of fewer and fewer people, it’s time we see socialism for what it is, a threat to the founding principles of this nation, a threat to freedom.
Mark Green represents Tennessee’s 7th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Posted on 04/06/2019 6:26 AM by Bobbie Patray
Friday, 5 April 2019
In Wisconsin, a Vote against Anti-Christian Bigotry
Wisconsin supreme-court candidate Brian Hagedorn was supposed to lose. He was running in a state that had just ousted Governor Scott Walker. A year ago, a liberal supreme-court candidate had won her race by almost twelve points. And to make matters worse, the media had labeled Hagedorn as a bigot, a Christian hater outside the Wisconsin mainstream. Business groups had abandoned him. One trade association had even demanded a return of its donation, claiming that his “issues” directly conflicted with the “values” of its members.
The headlines were brutal. On February 14, one in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Hagedorn had founded a Christian school that “allows bans on teachers, students, and parents in gay relationships.” In other words, his school — like thousands of other Christian schools — banned sexual activity outside of a marriage between a man and a woman. Its statement of faith included the entirely orthodox declaration that “Adam and Eve were made to complement each other in a one-flesh union that establishes the only normative pattern of sexual relations for men and women, such that marriage ultimately serves as a type of the union between Christ and his church.”
On February 20, another Journal Sentinal headline contended that Hagedorn had been paid $3,000 for “speeches to legal organization dubbed hate group.” The “hate group” was my former employer, the Alliance Defending Freedom. And who “dubbed” it hateful? The discredited and scandal-ridden Southern Poverty Law Center.
The Wisconsin Realtors Association revoked its endorsement. Other business groups sat out of the race. The narrative seemed set. Wisconsin was drifting back to blue, business groups capitulated to the cultural Left, and the conservative majority of the court would remain at 4–3, with another election set for next year, on the day of the Democratic primary.
But the narrative was set before the voters had their say. When business retreated, the grassroots advanced. “They picked up the slack,” as Wisconsin pro-life activist Colin O’Keefe told me. They “went nuclear,” in the words of another activist I talked to this morning. Yet another used more colorful language: “People were pissed.”
The attacks on Hagedorn’s faith crossed a red line. At issue was a single, vital question: “Can a Bible-believing Christian still hold office in the state of Wisconsin?”
But the outcome surprised even his supporters. There had been whispers of a pre-election poll that put Hagedorn within six points, but no one anticipated the twelve-point swing from 2018’s supreme-court race that would be needed for a victory. No one anticipated that, as of this moment, Hagedorn would be clinging to a half-point lead — a margin large enough that he’ll lose his race only if the inevitable recount reveals a serious error.
Wisconsin isn’t part of the Bible Belt. A 2014 survey of church attendance put it in the bottom half of American states. But one doesn’t have to be a practicing Christian to reject intolerance of people of faith. Even casual believers and secular Americans can recognize there is a world of difference between the kind of hate groups that the SPLC was originally formed to combat and organizations that simply uphold traditional Christian morality and defend religious freedom. They know enough Christians to understand that disagreement over sexual ethics isn’t motivated by malice but grounded in love.
There are also a great many Americans who instinctively understand that there is something unseemly about religious tests for public office — even if the federal constitutional prohibition doesn’t directly apply.
Cameron Joseph at Talking Points Memo described Hagedorn’s tentative victory as an “ominous sign for Democrats who see the state as perhaps the most important on the presidential map in 2020.” I’d call it a promising sign for conservatives who often feel outmanned and outgunned as they push back against efforts to banish orthodox Christianity from public office and fight against efforts to tarnish their faith in the public square.
Progressives have enjoyed great success in persuading mainstream-media outlets to cover basic Christian free exercise — such as Karen Pence teaching at a Christian school — as scandalous bigotry. They’ve enjoyed great success in enlisting business and industry in the effort to condemn Christian orthodoxy and isolate cultural conservatism. Even now the state of Georgia faces a potential Hollywood boycott if it passes a “heartbeat bill” banning abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected. But here again the media and business elite had locked in a cultural conventional wisdom that voters rejected.
American politics will only grow more toxic if activists continue to be intolerant in the name of tolerance. Christianity isn’t incompatible with public service, and it is to Wisconsin’s credit that its citizens rejected a reprehensible religious test.
DAVID FRENCH — David French is a senior writer for National Review, a senior fellow at the National Review Institute, and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. @davidafrench
Posted on 04/05/2019 6:27 AM by Bobbie Patray
Thursday, 4 April 2019
Iran responsible for deaths of 608 American troops in Iraq
by Jerry Dunleavy
| April 03, 2019 10:17 AM
The U.S. military has revealed it believes Iran has helped kill 608 U.S. troops in Iraq since 2003, according to newly revealed and formerly-classified numbers.
"In Iraq, I can announce today, based on declassified U.S. military reports, that Iran is responsible for the deaths of at least 608 American service members," Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, said during a State Department briefing Tuesday.
“This accounts for 17 percent of all deaths of U.S. personnel in Iraq from 2003 to 2011. This death toll is in addition to the many thousands of Iraqis killed by the IRGC’s proxies.” Since 2003, more than 4,400 U.S. service members have been killed in Iraq.
This number has been a matter of debate for years, shrouded in secrecy by the Pentagon with the previous estimate put at about 500. Scores of American personnel were killed by highly lethal bombs, known as explosively formed projectiles, or EFPs, that Iran manufactured and supplied to Shiite militias across the border in Iraq. Many EFPs were powerful enough to destroy U.S. Humvees and even breach tank hulls.
In July 2015, during the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation hearing for Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford, now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., pressed him on this. “You have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you know how many soldiers and Marines underneath your command were killed by Iranian activities?” Cotton asked.
“Senator, I know the total number of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines that were killed by Iranian activities, and the number has been recently reported as about 500," Dunford replied. "We were not always able to attribute the casualties that we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity, even though we did not necessarily have the forensics to support that.”
Cotton replied: “So about 500 confirmed, but many more suspected killed in action and even more wounded in action."
In August 2015, at a hearing with then-Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, pushed the Pentagon to make the numbers public. “I understand that the Joint Personnel Recovery Agency has a classified list of roughly 500 American soldiers … I would ask, Secretary Carter … that the Defense Department release that list to every member of this committee, declassify that list and release it directly to the service members' families who were murdered by [Iranian] General Soleimani," Cruz said.
Qasem Soleimani, 62, is a major general in the IRGC. Since 1998, he has been commander of its Quds Force, a division primarily responsible for overseas military and clandestine operations.
U.S. Central Command spokeswoman Maj. Genieve David echoed the estimate of 500 Americans killed in September 2015. “It is important to understand that the CENTCOM statistics on EFP [explosively formed penetrator] detonations are a subset of all the Iranian activities estimated to have killed approximately 500 U.S. troops in Iraq during OIF [Operation Iraqi Freedom]," David said.
The newly declassified number provided by the State Department, holding Iran responsible for the deaths of 608 U.S. service members in Iraq, is more than one hundred deaths higher than the previous estimate.
During Tuesday’s State Department press briefing, Hook also gave an update on the U.S. government’s ramped-up efforts to confront the Iranian regime. “Since taking office, the administration has designated over 970 Iranian entities and individuals. The sanctions announced last week against front companies supporting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran’s ministry of defense were the 26th round of American sanctions," Hook said. "Our sanctions have targeted a range of threats, especially Iran’s support of terrorism, missile proliferation, its nuclear program, human rights abuses, and others.”
Hook said the U.S. had placed sanctions against more than 70 financial institutions linked to Iran, targeted the oil shipping networks that Iran was illicitly using to fund its ally Assad and its proxy Hezbollah, and visited over 50 different countries to warn against doing business in Iran.
Hook also condemned Iran’s involvement in conflicts in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon, stating that “the effects of Iran’s meddling had been felt most sharply by the region’s innocent civilians.”
Hook said nearly a year after the U.S. withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, also known as the Iran Deal, the actions that the Trump administration has taken since then have helped contain Iran’s activities, including its ability to fund terrorism and to prop up its allies and proxies in the region.
“As we have done from the start, we will continue to call on all nations to join us in restoring the basic demands on Iran to behave like a peaceful nation. This includes ending its pursuit of nuclear weapons, stop testing and proliferating ballistic missiles, stop sponsoring terrorist proxies, and halt the arbitrary detention of dual citizens,” Hook said
Posted on 04/04/2019 5:23 PM by Bobbie Patray
Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Feminist Testifies Against the ‘Equality Act’
April 2, 2019 7:09 PM
On Tuesday Julia Beck testified against the Equality Act (H.R. 5) before the House Judiciary Committee. Beck is a lesbian who was booted out of the Baltimore LGBT Commission for describing a male transgender rapist as a male and saying that men can’t be lesbians.
Advocates of the Equality Act characterize it as anti-discrimination for LGBT people and a much-needed extension of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Nearly 300 Democrats (and a few Republicans) support the bill. It is scheduled for hearings later this spring, and a vote this summer. It will likely pass the House, if not yet the Senate.
In her testimony, Beck said the law would mean that,
male rapists will go to women’s prisons and likely assault female inmates as has already happened in the U.K.; female survivors of rape will be unable to contest male presence in women’s shelters; men will dominate women’s sports — girls who would have taken first place will be denied scholastic opportunity; women who use male pronouns to talk about men may be arrested, fined, and banned from social media platforms; girls will stay home from school when they have their periods to avoid harassment by boys in mixed-space toilets; girls and women will no longer have a right to ask for female medical staff or intimate care providers, including elderly or disabled women who are at serious risk of sexual abuse; female security officers will no longer have the right to refuse to perform pat-downs or intimate searches of males who say they’re female and women undergoing security checks will no longer have the right to refuse having those security checks being performed by men claiming a feminine identity.
She pointed out that “everything I just listed is already happening, and it’s only going to get worse if gender identity is recognized in federal law.” And added, “I urge my fellow Democrats to wake up. Please acknowledge biological reality.”
In an earlier interview, Beck told Tucker Carlson on Fox News, “I believe in the truth. I believe that people should have these conversations and say things that matter without fear of punishment.”
Today she stood up for beliefs that countless people hold.
Posted on 04/03/2019 5:10 AM by Bobbie Patray