Monthly Archives: January 2018

Media Bias Worsens

Intentional misstatements are frequently rendered and repeated by many progressive elected officials, academics, pundits and entertainers. Mistakes and misdeeds attributable to left wing elected officials are effectively swept under the rug.

This is done with confidence that a media biased in favor of progressive ideology will neither disclose these errors, nor criticize the often intentional disregard for the truth. That effort is compounded by moves to forcibly silence those with opposing views.

Major scandals, such as IRS harassment of the Tea Party, the intimidation of those not believing in global warming, the sale of American uranium to the Russians, the decline of the middle class, the rise of anti-Semitism in progressive circles, the weakened U.S. military and others have been largely ignored, while artificial outrage over disproven, and never proven, incidents (Russian Dossier, Trump’s mental health, etc.) gain headlines.

The issue began to garner an even greater degree of note last year, when, as reported by Lifesite “Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai scolded Twitter…for censoring conservative users of its platform…’ The company has a viewpoint…and uses that viewpoint to discriminate…to say the least, the company appears to have a double standard when it comes to suspending or de-verifying conservative users’ accounts as opposed to those of liberal users…’ Free speech continues to be a significant concern as big tech and social media companies attempt to squelch speech for pro-life supporters, social conservatives, Christians, and other traditionally-minded parties.”

It is deeply concerning that many media outlets, organizations that should be stalwart defenders of the First Amendment, are actually pushing censorship. Breitbart notes that “Left-wing media is up in arms, demanding to know why the President of the United States has not been banned from Twitter. Op-eds in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Canada’s second-largest newspaper, the Globe and Mail, have all published op-eds and analyses over the past 24 hours, all tackling the same question of President Trump’s continued presence on the social media platform.”

Social media censorship of non-leftists is not accidental.  In 2016, writes Robby Soave in the New York Post, “Twitter…formed the Orwellian-named ‘Trust and Safety Council’ to propose changes to the company’s use policies… practically none of the 40 people chosen to be part of the council are all that concerned about free speech…”

Twitter’s example is not isolated on social media.

Cathy Young, writing in The Hill recently reported “…Canadian conservative activist Lauren Southern was slapped with a 30-day Facebook suspension over — ironically enough — a post complaining about Facebook censorship of conservatives. (The ban was later reversed and blamed on an error.)…Meanwhile, whatever one thinks of Breitbart News, its writers have made a pretty strong case that Twitter management tends to ignore serious harassment by left-wing posters toward conservatives — including a black Breitbart reporter being repeatedly attacked as a “coon” by rapper Talib Kweli and his followers…after Palmer Luckey, the multimillionaire co-founder of the Oculus Rift virtual reality company, was outed as the backer of a pro-Trump political organization, his girlfriend Nicole Edelmann (formerly Nikki Moxxi on Twitter) was also “exposed”  as a Trump supporter and soon deleted her Twitter account due to harassment. No one intervened, and the abuse directed at her was shrugged off by some progressive Twitter users. Left-wing provocateurs on Twitter certainly seem to fare better than their right-wing counterparts.”

In January, an example of on-air intolerance for opposing views could be observed in an exchange between CNN’s Jake Tapper and a White House senior adviser, Stephen Miller.  Miller, defending the Administration he works for, angered the CNN host in a discussion over the rather scurrilous comments made about the President’s mental health by refuting the wholly unsubstantiated comments, and pointing out the “the toxic environment that you’ve created here and CNN and cable news, which is a real crisis of legitimacy for your network.” (Observers old enough to recall the Reagan Administration remember how leftist media outlets frequently implied that he was suffering from a deteriorating mental condition, as well.) Tapper refused to allow the discussion to proceed, shutting it down by stating “…I think I’ve wasted enough of my viewers’ time. Thank you, Stephen.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow

Citizenry, and Freedom

–A guest editorial by U.S. Army Chaplain Don Zapsic, Jr., (ret.)–

The question of what it means to be a U.S. citizen is a seldom-deliberated topic in the public square. Most Americans become citizens thru no choice or effort of their own. They are simply born into it via the geographic location of their birthplace. Each American is initially assigned a group identity based upon race and gender with a host of other descriptors to follow throughout the course of a lifetime. It is a tribal process designed to divide, conquer, and control large segments of society life for unpatriotic purposes. Relatively few are properly equipped to defend, preserve and promote the institution of citizenship in terms of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Ironically, many politically-active Americans enjoy certain rights and privileges without promoting the very freedom that allows them to do so. Others simply fail to recognize the erosion of civil liberties in an age of distraction offering constant entertainment at the expense of lasting prosperity.

Freedom is a fairly relative concept depending upon what a person wants to do. Take Saudi Arabia for example. As a Muslim, I would have total freedom to practice my chosen religion. I am however a Christian and would be hard pressed to find one legal church in the Islamic kingdom. In case you’re wondering, there aren’t any. In a similar vein, exercising one’s right to be active in a political party is not always synonymous with promoting individual liberty. A “good” Democrat or Republican in this regard does not necessarily constitute being a constructive citizen. If adhering to, or promoting a certain political agenda that holds no regard for the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of others, then it is simply tyranny by another name. It is instructive to consider that pre-World War II Germany voted away their freedom under the umbrella of a democratically-held election in favor of Adolph Hitler.

Addressing the question of what it means to responsibly exercise the rights of citizenship in America exposes a pale sense of freedom among the culturally elite. So what if a baker doesn’t want to put a plastic figure of two grooms or two brides on top of a wedding cake? A constitutionally-informed citizenry doesn’t need a member of the legislative, judicial, or executive branch of government to contradict what common sense and human decency clearly dictate. This is more the fare of the disenfranchised trying to backdoor a cultural agenda on an otherwise-disposed majority. It isn’t really about tolerance and sensitivity at all. It is simply a case of following the money trail to the hand that rocks the cradle of an ever-expanding government all too-often unduly influenced by the highest bidder.

How one views his or her role in a decreasingly free society has a direct bearing on how well Americans will be represented by our elected and un-elected officials in the near and long-term future. It is not enough to merely vote in officeholders. American citizens collectively and at times individually must take action within their spheres of influence regardless of outcome. The mere act of exercising the duties of citizenship expands American know-how and strengthens resolve when better outcomes are to be had. Noble efforts may be clumsy at first, but with time and effort will further cultivate intentionality and skillful engagement. As a retired combat veteran, I am not as concerned with the known enemy across the water as the disengaged citizenry on the home front. I just wish that there was as much passion for contemplating what it means to be a U.S. citizen as there is regarding “who” is entitled to become one.

Martin Luther King’s Dream, Fulfilled?

This week, the U.S. commemorated the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King.  His dreams have been realized, as the detested practices of segregation and discrimination have been abolished at all levels of government. Yet while celebrating his memory, his victory, in our land now free of those terrible offenses for well over half a century, have not been equally recognized.

It remain almost taboo to state that MLK’s goals have been accomplished. Saying so, if one listens to many voices in media, academia, and politics, renders the speaker liable to charges of “racism.”

Doubtless, there are, within the hearts of some individuals or individual groups, disturbing pockets of hatred for those of a different religion, race, or ethnicity.  Examples can be found when people of various colors and creeds have been mistreated, and it is not just race that is affected. Consider that the anti-Semite Keith Ellison has risen to the level of vice-chair of the Democrat Party.  Consider the anti-Catholic aspects of Obamacare that mandated that religious orders such as the Little Sisters of the Poor commit acts that violated their conscience.

No legislation, no edict, no speech will ever eradicate the awful reality that bias thrives in the souls of some. And there are isolated occasions when a person so afflicted with that hatred may abuse their position to harm someone.  But when that occurs, the retribution, both from government and society at large, will be significant and determinative.

We are asked to believe, however, that singular misdeeds by errant individuals represent the whole of the nation and the nation’s government.  That is manifestly untrue.

Some self-proclaimed racial leaders supporting the current use of harsh and legally questionable tactics claim they are following in the footsteps of Dr. King. MLK certainly engaged in practices that some local officials claimed violated the law, or orders from relevant authorities.  But he had no choice.  Many of the acts he committed were against laws that were unjust and unconstitutional, enforced by those who sought to oppress freedom.

The allegation, by those that currently commit acts which violate the law in responses to their perceptions of acts of racial injustice, that they are following in the footsteps of Dr. King are false. Thanks in large part to MLK, racist laws are no longer in existence.

Some have used racial animosity as a weapon to enhance their own fortunes or their careers.   Consider the inflammatory Al Sharpton, who became infamous for falsely alleging that a New York police officer raped a black woman, and later went on to instigate a massacre centered around a fairly standard landlord-tenant dispute  in Harlem.

Writing in the American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein notes: “if you believe a word that Sharpton says then Martin Luther King, Jr. never accomplished a thing in his life because Sharpton would have you believe that Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown are the present day incarnation of Emmett Till [A 14 year old black youth who was lynched in 1955 because a white woman claimed he acted offensively.]Racism, like poverty, will always be with us, but the world in which Emmett Till lived is long, long gone. But to say we’ve moved beyond the Emmett Till means less money in Sharpton’s pocket. Sharpton should have been ostracized the moment he was convicted of libel for falsely accusing Steven Pagones for raping Tawana Brawley. Instead, he has his own TV show and is feted by President Obama….”

Disparaging comments made about America, so common in the modern Progressive circles, were not part of Dr. Kings’ lexicon. John Blake, who is black, writes in a CNN report: “King grounded his appeals for justice in the language of the Bible and the nation’s founding documents. In his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, King told his audience that his dream was ‘deeply rooted in the American dream.’ In others he urged Americans to ‘be true to what you said on paper,’ referring to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.”

Dr. King used morally just tactics to attack terrible wrongs that were not consistent with the promise of America.  In doing so, he strengthened the nation. He did so in a spirit of unity for all, in a spirit of love.  The calls to hatred and violence endorsed by some on the left today are in no way part of his legacy, his message, his hopes, or his great dream. As he stated on that great day at the Lincoln Memorial:

“We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protests to degenerate into physical violence… I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character…”

China, Unfair Trade, and North Korea

It is becoming increasingly evident that despite comments and UN votes to the contrary, China currently has no intention of taking effective steps to reduce its support for North Korea’s regime. The U.S. could take effective economic action to punish Beijing for its support of Pyongyang’s aggressive nuclear ambitions.  Those potential measures could also have benefits for U.S. workers and the American economy.

The White House recently noted that a peaceful solution to the North Korean nuclear challenge would remain elusive as long as Beijing continues to provide energy and other assistance to prop up Kim Jong-un’s government, in violation of international sanctions. In a tweet, President Trump stated that China had been caught “red handed,” a reference to images caught by U.S. reconnaissance satellites of Chinese ships providing oil to North Korean vessels.

China has signaled its disapproval of any military action against North Korea.   An attack against Pyongyang thus entails the risk of a much wider conflict. But the Beijing government has its vulnerabilities, particularly in its trade policy.

The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s 2017Report to Congressdisclosed that “The U.S. trade deficit in goods with China totaled $347 billion in 2016, the second-highest deficit on record…China’s foreign investment climate continues to deteriorate as government policy contributes to rising protectionism and unfair regulatory restrictions on U.S. companies operating in China.

The United States has the need, the justification, and the leverage to impose significant restrictions to Chinese imports in response to Beijing’s violation of international sanctions in support of  North Korea.  A disruption of China’s economy would be deeply disturbing to the increasingly centralized and authoritarian rule of President Xi’s government.

If the U.S., by restricting trade with China, caused substantive economic disruption within that nation, President Xi’s regime, not supported by any widespread democratic election, would endure significant criticism, particularly since it would be over an issue not particularly relevant to the Chinese people.

The Clinton Administration vigorously pursued greater openness to trade with China, and the results proved harmful both to the American economy as a whole and to U.S. manufacturing employment in particular.

Despite its unfair practices and its recent explosive growth, China’s economy faces troubled times ahead. Kimberly Amadeo, writing for The Balance reports: “China’s economic growth rate slowed to 6.6 percent in 2016, the lowest since 2009. It grew 6.9 percent in 2015, 7.3 percent in 2014, 7.7 percent in 2013, 7.8 percent in 2012 and 9.3 percent in 2011. Before that, China enjoyed 30 years of double-digit growth. Unfortunately, that was fed by government stimulus spending, business investment in capital goods, low-interest rates and state protection of strategic industries like banking. This success led to 5.5 percent inflation in 2011, a real estate asset bubble, growth in public debt and severe pollution. The government’s emphasis on job creation and exports left little for social welfare programs. That forced the Chinese population to save for their retirement, strangling domestic demand. Most of the growth occurred in the cities along China’s east coast. These urban areas attracted 250 million migrant workers. Chinese leaders must continue to create jobs for all these workers or face unrest. They remember Mao’s Revolution all too well. At the same time, they must provide more social services. That would allow workers to save less and spend more. Only an increase in domestic demand will enable China to become less reliant on exports.”

Imposing trade restrictions on China in an effort to induce Xi’s government to cease enabling North Korea’s nuclear weapons program would receive popular support within the United States while causing exceptional problems for the Beijing regime. Unless China quickly starts to take action against Kim Jong-un’s atomic weapons program, it is a strategy that is viable and justifiable on many levels.

Aid to Pakistan, and Other Policy Mistakes, Part 2

Some level of Washington’s outrage with Pakistan that led to the cutting of aid  may date back to 2016, when Abubakar Siddique, writing in Gandhara, reported that “Sartaj Aziz, Pakistan’s adviser for foreign affairs, admitted that “Islamabad is housing senior Taliban leaders and has influence over them,” despite the fact his government had previously “vehemently denied giving shelter to Taliban leaders after their hard-line regime crumbled in late 2001…Aziz  told participants at a Washington think tank event that Islamabad holds sway over the Afghan Taliban because the insurgent leaders and their families live in Pakistan and ‘get some medical facilities.’”

The Obama Administration may have set an example that induced Islamabad to deal with the Taliban as a legitimate political entity. In a 2014 American Enterprise Institute  study, Ahmad K. Majidar pointed out that “After taking office in January 2009, President Barack Obama argued that ‘there will also be no peace without reconciliation,’ and negotiation with the Taliban became the main political pillar of Washington’s strategy in Afghanistan.”

Majidyar pointed out that Pakistan sought to promote its influence over a future Afghanistan regime by enhancing its relationship with the Taliban, even assassinating and arresting Taliban leaders who held back channel talks with the Afghanistan government. “At present,” he wrote, “Taliban leaders… have no incentives to cut ties with the Pakistani military and risk death or marginalization. On the contrary, the Pakistani military and the Taliban, especially the Haqqani network, see their relationship as a strategic necessity. Unless the Pakistani military believes that the costs of supporting the Taliban are greater than the benefits, it is unlikely to take any significant action to dismantle terrorist sanctuaries on its soil or force the group to make peace with Kabul.”

The Obama Administration apparent dismissal of the concept of an American victory in the war against the Taliban may have also discouraged Pakistan. An American Interest article by Paul Miller, points out that “In contrast to his campaign rhetoric, Obama spent the rest of his presidency carefully avoiding saying that the United States aimed to ‘defeat’ the Taliban or ‘win’ the war. Rather like Lyndon Johnson 45 years earlier, the President escalated a war while simultaneously doubting whether it could be won…President Obama spent nearly his entire presidency talking about withdrawing from Afghanistan…the deadline emboldened the Taliban and undermined the surge.”

Obama’s negotiations with the Taliban was equally unsettling to the Kabul government. A 2012 Heritage Society study noted that “the lack of transparency surrounding current U.S. talks with the Taliban has raised concern among parts of Afghan civil society that the U.S. is straying from these parameters and is considering striking a closed-door deal with the Taliban in order to justify a rapid U.S. troop withdrawal, which would sacrifice the hard-won human rights and security gains made over the past decade. During its rule over Afghanistan in the late 1990s, the Taliban forbade girls and women from attending school, holding jobs, or leaving home without a male companion. The Taliban also conducted systematic human rights abuses against the ethnic minority Hazara community, including two civilian massacres that resulted in the murders of nearly 200 Hazaras in 2000 and 2001. The Taliban regularly carried out public executions and floggings at stadiums and banned television, music, and the Internet.  While the media has reported on sporadic contacts between the U.S. government and Taliban leaders over the past two years, the substance of the discussions and the process under which they are taking place have been shrouded in mystery…”

Cutting aid to Pakistan in response to its contacts with the Taliban was appropriate and overdue. But in doing so, the mistakes made by the Obama Administration which played at least some part in the thinking of the Islamabad government should not be overlooked nor forgotten.

Aid to Pakistan, and Other Policy Mistakes

The decision to cut aid to Pakistan was long overdue.

Legitimate questions had been raised in the past concerning U.S. financial assistance to Pakistan. The Islamabad government has continued to turn a blind eye towards terrorist activities within its borders that threatened American interests and the safety of the U.S. citizenry, both civilian and military.

American relations with Pakistan are extensive.The United States established diplomatic relations with Pakistan following the country’s creation in 1947, and included cooperation and assistance in areas ranging from education to energy to trade and investment. The United States is Pakistan’s largest export destination country. In FY 2016 (July 2015 – June 2016), Pakistan exported $3.7 billion to the United States in 2015 and imported $1.837 billion.  The United States has consistently been one of the top sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Pakistan, with cumulative U.S. FDI in Pakistan in calendar year 2015 at almost $400 million, including $38 million in new investment.

The State Department notes that “Attacks in 2014 on the Karachi airport and on an Army school in Peshawar had a catalytic effect across Pakistan and led to the adoption of a 20-point National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism, and invigorated efforts to eliminate safe-havens within Pakistan. The United States welcomed Pakistan’s pledge to deny any militant group safe haven or the use of Pakistani soil to launch terrorist attacks.”

Despite that, terrorist have operated in Pakistan, and the Islamabad government has been far less than diligent in responding to that challenge.  In response, the Trump Administration announced the suspension of $255 million in aid.  President Trump tweeted that “The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”

The Brookings Institute notes that “The Trump administration’s decision to suspend military aid to Pakistan is one of the most significant U.S. punitive actions against that nation since 2001. The United States has long been frustrated with Pakistan’s persistent acquiescence to safe havens for the Afghan Taliban and its vicious Haqqani branch in Pakistan (both of which benefit more from misgovernance in Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s aid helps a lot). Worse yet, Pakistan has provided direct military and intelligence aid to both groups, resulting in the deaths of U.S. soldiers, Afghan security personnel, and civilians, plus significant destabilization of Afghanistan.”

The Daily Signal emphasizes that “the anger and frustration expressed by the president is not only justified, it’s long overdue. Through its support to the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and their militant allies, Pakistan has for over a decade consistently and critically undermined the U.S.-led effort to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan. In efforts to persuade Islamabad to abandon this nefarious ‘double game,’ the U.S. government has deployed a constant stream of diplomatic and economic carrots—including $33 billion in aid and ‘reimbursements’ since 2002—but virtually no sticks. Predictably, each attempt has failed. It turns out it’s quite difficult to change a country’s cost-benefit calculation when you’re unwilling to impose any costs.”

The U.S. State Department explains that “we are suspending security assistance, security assistance only, to Pakistan at this time until the Pakistani Government takes decisive action against groups, including the Afghan Taliban and the Haqqani Network. We consider them to be destabilizing the region and also targeting U.S. personnel. The United States will suspend that kind of security assistance to Pakistan…The President announced his South Asia policy in August of 2017. You all remember that. He made it clear that no partnership can survive a country’s harboring of militants and terrorists who target U.S. service members and officials. It has been more than four months since the President’s speech, and despite a sustained high-level engagement by this administration with the Government of Pakistan, the Taliban and the Haqqani Network continue to find sanctuary inside Pakistan as they plot to destabilize Afghanistan and also attack U.S. and allied personnel…We have now worked closely with Pakistan against these groups. Now, just as we have made Pakistan’s enemies our own, we need Pakistan to deny safe haven to or lawfully detain those terrorists and militants who threaten U.S. interests. The United States stands ready to work with Pakistan in combatting all terrorists without distinction, and we hope to be able to renew and deepen our bilateral security relationship when Pakistan demonstrates its willingness to aggressively confront the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, and other terrorist and militant groups that operate from within its country…So we will not be delivering military equipment or transfer security-related funds to Pakistan unless it is required by law. I think that part answers your questions. There may be some exemptions that are made on a case-by-base basis if they’re determined to be critical to national security interests.”

The Report Concludes Tomorrow

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, CRIME, COST AND CALIFORNIA, Part 3

In  a December address, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reported that: “…violent crime is up in many places across the country.  Last week, the Department released its annual National Crime Victimization Survey.  It shows that the rate of Americans victimized by violent crime is up more than 13 percent… As Attorney General, I have ordered our prosecutors to renew their focus on immigration offenses—specifically where those criminals have a gang nexus, cartel, or violent crime offense… we must also recognize that transnational gangs like MS-13 have taken advantage of our porous Southern Border and previously lax immigration law enforcement…In recent years, our immigration system has been overwhelmed.  The caseload has tripled since fiscal 2009 and doubled since fiscal 2012.As the backlog of immigration cases grew out of control, the previous administration simply closed nearly 200,000 pending immigration court cases without a final decision in just five years—more than were closed in the previous 22 years combined.”

Supporters of sanctuary policies insist that their goal is to make their jurisdictions more welcoming to illegals.  That may well be the case, but what impact does that “welcome” have on legal residents?

David Benfiel, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle points out some nongovernmental impacts of California’s sheltering 2.3 million illegal immigrants:

  • Competition for affordable housing: 1.5 million Californians pay more than half their income for housing, a result of overcrowding.
  • More than 20 million tons of greenhouse gases are added each year by undocumented residents. California’s annual per-capita carbon dioxide production is 10 metric tons/per person.
  • Competition for low-wage jobs is increased. Middle-income employers can pay lower wages.
  • Allowing illegal immigrants to live and drive contributes to wasted time in traffic and greenhouse gas production.
  • English language learners in the classroom lower academic performance by diverting limited educational resources. California has almost 1.4 million English language learners,and has the highest student/teacher ratio of all the large states. California scores lower than average for the nation in reading, mathematics and science.

The impact on the state budget of harboring illegals is extraordinary. Spencer Morris, writing for the National Economics Editorial  notes that illegals costs California $30.29 billion a year—17.7 % of  the state budget. “…many of these costs are absorbed by local jurisdictions and the federal government, but the drain on the State of California remains significant.  As such, the question is no longer whether California ought to allow illegal immigration—it’s whether the State can afford it. Illegal immigration is expensive: two recent studies from the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the National Economics Editorial peg the annual cost of illegal immigration to America between $135 and $140 billion.  And of all the states, California bears the largest burden due to its sizable illegal population.”

The extreme measures adopted by California to protect illegals was highlighted in June, when, notes Jazmine Ulloa in the L.A. Times,  “California state lawmakers approved $45 million in a state budget plan to expand legal services for immigrants… With the additional money, providers will now also be able to help immigrants fighting deportation or removal proceedings.”

How are Californians reacting to the largesse of their state leaders on this and other matters, and to the resulting high taxes, overcrowded schools, increased crime, and escalating housing prices?  Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox discussed that in the Orange County Register: “In 2016, some 26,000 more people left the Bay Area than arrived. San Francisco net migration went from a high of 16,000 positive in 2013 to 12,000 negative three years later…Similar patterns have occurred across the state. [California’s outmigration] surged last year to nearly 110,000. Losses in the Los Angeles-Orange County area have gone from 42,000 in 2011 to 88,000 this year. San Diego… is now losing around 8,000 net migrants annually… Some so-called progressives hail these trends, as forcing what they seem to see as less desirable elements — that is, working- and middle-class people — out of the state… the largest group of outmigrants tends to be middle-aged people making between $100,000 and $200,000 annually… Indeed, since 2010, the Golden State has seen an overall net outflow of $36 billion from these migrants (and that counts only the first year of income). The biggest gainers from this exchange are where Californians are moving, to such places as Texas, Arizona and Nevada. That some California employers are joining them in the same places should be something of a two-minute warning for state officials…”

Aside from the issues of crime and cost, there are two fundamental questions that state or city elected officials who adopt sanctuary policies are obligated to answer. First, what constitutional authorization do they claim for nullifying or ignoring laws that are specifically and clearly the jurisdiction of the federal government? Second, if even a minority of their constituents object, what right do state and local officials have to use tax dollars to fund a cause that does not benefit, and has even been demonstrated to harm, those legally residing within their jurisdiction?

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, CRIME, COST AND CALIFORNIA, Part 2

The role of illegal immigration in crime has been well documented for a considerable period of time. In 2004, Heather MacDonald outlined the problem in City Journal: “Some of the most violent criminals at large today are illegal aliens. Yet in cities where the crime these aliens commit is highest, the police cannot use the most obvious tool to apprehend them: their immigration status. In Los Angeles, for example, dozens of members of a ruthless Salvadoran prison gang have sneaked back into town after having been deported for such crimes as murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and drug trafficking. Police officers know who they are and know that their mere presence in the country is a felony. Yet should a cop arrest an illegal gangbanger for felonious reentry, it is he who will be treated as a criminal, for violating the LAPD’s rule against enforcing immigration law. The LAPD’s ban on immigration enforcement mirrors bans in immigrant-saturated cities around the country, from New York and Chicago to San Diego, Austin, and Houston. These “sanctuary policies” generally prohibit city employees, including the cops, from reporting immigration violations to federal authorities. Such laws testify to the sheer political power of immigrant lobbies, a power so irresistible that police officials shrink from even mentioning the illegal-alien crime wave. “We can’t even talk about it,” says a frustrated LAPD captain. “People are afraid of a backlash from Hispanics.” Another LAPD commander in a predominantly Hispanic, gang-infested district sighs: “I would get a firestorm of criticism if I talked about [enforcing the immigration law against illegals].” Neither captain would speak for attribution.”

One year later, a General Accounting Office (GAO)  study confirmed Ms. MacDonald’s contentions.  The GAO studied illegals incarcerated in federal and state prisons and local jails. for our study population of 55,322 illegal aliens, we found that:

  • They were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.
  • They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses, averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses. About 45 percent of all offenses were drug or immigration offenses. About 15 percent were property-related offenses such as burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and property damage. About 12 percent were for violent offenses such as murder, robbery, assault, and sex-related crimes. The balance was for such other offenses as traffic violations, including driving under the influence; fraud—including forgery and counterfeiting; weapons violations; and obstruction of justice.
  • Eighty percent of all arrests occurred in three states—California, Texas, and Arizona. Specifically, about 58 percent of all arrests occurred in California, 14 percent in Texas, and 8 percent in Arizona.”

A recently released report by the Department of Homeland Security outlined the outsized role illegal aliens play in crime. “A total of 58,766 known or suspected aliens were in in DOJ [Department of Justice] custody at the end of FY 2017, including 39,455 persons in BOP [Bureau of Prisons] custody and 19,311 in USMS [Marshal Service] custody. Of this total, 37,557 people had been confirmed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to be aliens (i.e., non-citizens and non-nationals), while 21,209 foreign-born people were still under investigation by ICE to determine alienage. Among the 37,557 confirmed aliens, 35,334 people (94 percent) were unlawfully present. These numbers include a 92 percent unlawful rate among 24,476 confirmed aliens in BOP custody and a 97 percent unlawful rate among 13,081 confirmed aliens in USMS custody. This report does not include data on the foreign-born or alien populations in state prisons and local jails because state and local facilities do not routinely provide DHS or DOJ with comprehensive information about their inmates and detainees. This limitation is noteworthy because state and local facilities account for approximately 90 percent of the total U.S. incarcerated population.”

Altogether, one out of every five inmates in federal prisons are foreign born, and 90% of those are illegals.

The Report concludes tomorrow

ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, CRIME, COST AND CALIFORNIA

California’s government has declared itself a sanctuary state. The action raises a significant question: whose interests are Governor Brown and the state legislatures’ politicians truly working for?

Sanctuary policies produce two substantial results for the legal inhabitants of a jurisdiction. First, they increase costs, and second, they protect portions of the criminal population.

Despite the fiction disseminated by sanctuary policy supporters, there is no mass roundup of illegals that require the countermeasure of sanctuary protection.  Sanctuary policies primarily serve to protect criminals apprehended by local law enforcement agencies from being handed over to the federal government for deportation proceedings.

Jen Kerns, writing in The Hill notes that “Progressives in California over the last ten years have increasingly placed the so-called ‘rights’ of illegal immigrants over the public safety of its residents.”

A 2016  Center for Immigration Studies reported “Across the U.S., there are 340 cities, counties, and states that are considered ‘sanctuary cities.’ These jurisdictions protect criminal aliens from deportation by refusing to comply with ICE detainers or otherwise impede open communication and information exchanges between their employees or officers and federal immigration agents… This has resulted in the release by local authorities of approximately 1,000 criminal aliens per month… [The] Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reported to Congress that, between January 1 and September 30, 2014, local sanctuaries released 9,295 alien offenders that ICE was seeking to deport. More than 600 people were released at least twice…Out of these, 5,947 of the criminal aliens (62 percent) had significant prior criminal histories or other public safety concerns even before the arrest that led to a detainer. Fifty-eight percent of those with a prior history of concern had prior felony charges or convictions; 37 percent had serious prior misdemeanor charges, and 5 percent had multiple prior misdemeanors. An alarming number — 2,320 — of the total number of released offenders were subsequently arrested within the time period studied for new crimes after they were released by the sanctuaries…Of the 6,460 criminal aliens who were still at large during the time period studied, 3,802 (58 percent) had prior felonies or violent misdemeanors.”

The new California law directs the state Attorney General to establish policies that limit assistance with federal immigration authorities, repealing current statutes which require the police to notify federal authorities when an alien is arrested for a crime. The new California law directs the state Attorney General to establish policies that limit assistance with federal immigration authorities, repealing current statutes which require the police to notify federal authorities when an alien is arrested for a crime.

Nolan Rappaport  notes the new California law violates 8 U.S.C. 1373, which  mandates that “no person or agency may prohibit, or in any way restrict, a federal, state, or local government entity from doing any of the following with respect to information regarding the immigration status of any individual:  Sending such information to, or requesting or receiving such information from, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (ICE); Maintaining such information; or Exchanging such information with any other federal, state, or local government entity. In addition, Executive Order 13768, (see summary, below)  ‘Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,’ requires the attorney general and the DHS secretary, to the extent consistent with law, to ensure that jurisdictions which willfully refuse to comply with 8 U.S.C. 1373 do not receive specified types of federal grants.”

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Executive Order 13768: Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States

Interior enforcement of our Nation’s immigration laws is critically important to the national security and public safety of the United States. Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety. This is particularly so for aliens who engage in criminal conduct in the United States.

Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States. These jurisdictions have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.

Tens of thousands of removable aliens have been released into communities across the country, solely because their home countries refuse to accept their repatriation. Many of these aliens are criminals who have served time in our Federal, State, and local jails. The presence of such individuals in the United States, and the practices of foreign nations that refuse the repatriation of their nationals, are contrary to the national interest.

Although Federal immigration law provides a framework for Federal-State partnerships in enforcing our immigration laws to ensure the removal of aliens who have no right to be in the United States, the Federal Government has failed to discharge this basic sovereign responsibility. We cannot faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States if we exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The purpose of this order is to direct executive departments and agencies (agencies) to employ all lawful means to enforce the immigration laws of the United States.

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The Report continues tomorrow

Iran Protests Mark New Mideast Era

The significant demonstrations within Iran highlight the human rights shortcomings of former President Obama’s Mideast policy, which was centered around wooing Iran. Tragically, that strategy neither softened Tehran’s hatred of America, nor its intent to destroy U.S. allies in the region. Iran continues to support international terrorism and develop missiles capable of delivering nuclear or biological weapons of mass destruction.

The demonstrations appear to be widespread both geographically and in terms of popular support, even extending to the ruling Mullahs’ most significant regions of backing. Protests have occurred in cities such as Qom, which was the epicenter of the 1979 Islamist revolution and the base from which the current regime’s founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, destroyed Iran’s secular government in 1979.

The new perspective, openly critical of Iran’s leadership, brought about by the Trump Administration should not be overlooked in terms of its relevance to the confidence displayed by the Iranian protesters, who have been active in a half-dozen cities throughout the Islamist state.

The current U.S. State Department has been explicit in his comments about the Tehran regime for several months.  In December, the State Department noted that “Iran’s leaders have turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed, and chaos. As President Trump has said, the longest-suffering victims of Iran’s leaders are Iran’s own people. The United States strongly condemns the arrest of peaceful protesters. We urge all nations to publicly support the Iranian people and their demands for basic rights and an end to corruption.”

This was a follow-up to comments made by Secretary Tillerson to Congress last June, which, in a sharp departure from the Obama approach, noted: “The regime in Iran continues activities and interventions that destabilize the Middle East: support for the brutal Assad regime, funding militias and foreign fighters in Iraq and Yemen that 2 undermine legitimate governments, and arming terrorist organizations like Hezbollah, which threaten our ally Israel…” Tillerson also supported those within Iran seeking change:  ‘those elements inside of Iran…would lead to a peaceful transition of government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.’”

The Iran Project reports that Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi has criticized the Trump Administration’s description of the Tehran regime as a “terrorist nation.”

The Obama Administration essentially traded away support for Iranian reformers and turned a blind eye towards Iranian financing of terrorists in return for negotiations leading up to the eventual nuclear deal with Tehran, an agreement which has come under considerable criticism due to its failure to restrain that nation’s current missile program or its eventual atomic arms buildup. Rep. Robert Pittinger (R-NC), Vice Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Terrorism and Illicit Finance, and Chairman of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism, believes that Obama’s misguided agreement gives Iran a working path to continue developing nuclear weapons in just a few short years, while currently allowing Iran to continue development of long-range ballistic missiles that could reach anywhere in the world.”

Writing for the Jerusalem Post, Gil Hoffman reports that “Obama chose not to support the 2009 Iranian Green Protest Movement because he hoped to reach a deal with Iran on its nuclear weapons that he signed six years later, [Israel’s former ambassador to the U.S.] Deputy Minister Michael Oren … said…Obama’s failure to help Iranian protesters has been [criticized] …by Jewish Agency chairman and former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, who has called it the biggest failure to help human rights in modern history. … Oren notes that ‘The Obama administration’s lack of support for the Green Revolution was part of a pattern in which it did not hold Iran accountable for any provocation. It would seem it was part of a general approach that began in Obama’s first week in office in 2009 of wanting to reach a deal with Iran at pretty much any cost.’ Among the Iranian provocations ignored by the Obama administration, Oren listed the crackdown on the protesters, the kidnapping of Americans, having their missile boats provocatively approach American destroyers, trying to assassinate him and his Saudi counterpart in downtown Washington, the failure to follow through on a red line Obama imposed on Syrian dictator Bashar Assad using chemical weapons and Iranian-backed Hezbollah smuggling massive amounts of cocaine into the US.”

There is rising hope that real change could occur in Iran, bringing with it an entirely new dynamic in the Middle East.