Politics Undermine U.S. Courts, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government concludes its two-part look at how politics are undermining confidence in the impartiality of American courts.

 The Daily Signal characterizes the change in composition of the courts as a revolution that has been “comprehensive, dramatic, and under the radar…”

The Washington Times worries that our court system has become politicized. “The Obama administration flooded it with activist judges that ruled in favor of advancing liberalism, to the detriment of our national sovereignty. So it’s no surprise the courts would work to stop Mr. Trump’s agenda.” In 2003, that newspaper wrote: “One of the greatest contemporary threats to the survival of republican government arises from the courts. Increasingly, judges are behaving like black-robed autocrats, not simply ruling upon the law, but making law…outrageous cases…suggest our American system of separated powers, checks and balances, is seriously out of balance…The Framers limited the power of the courts just as they did the powers of the other two branches of government.”

In an excellent analysis in the Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro  notes that the logic behind the various 9th Circuit decisions could invalidate “virtually all immigration law…The Court also seems to establish a brand new interest not found in the Constitution—protecting the due process rights of illegal aliens, a right that doesn’t exist.”

Joseph Klein, in describing an initial 9th circuit travel ban ruling, commented in Front Page that  “… therein lies the heart of the matter.  This is not a ruling of law, it’s a statement of political opposition to the winner of the 2016 election, a piecemeal attempt to impose the personal views of Ninth Circuit judges over the lawful results of an election.”

How serious a threat is this? A 2003 Washington Times editorial: “One of the greatest contemporary threats to the survival of republican government arises from the courts. Increasingly, judges are behaving like black-robed autocrats, not simply ruling upon the law, but making law…outrageous cases…suggest our American system of separated powers, checks and balances, is seriously out of balance…The Framers limited the power of the courts just as they did the powers of the other two branches of government.”

Last year, as reported in the Weekly Standard, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s engaged in an outburst against Donald Trump that was roundly criticized by people of all political stripes. “Insofar as her comments suggested a clear bias about cases that could come before the Supreme Court, they were clearly a mistake and a departure from the norms of Court behavior…Justice Ginsburg later apologized…For a long time it has been clear that the four Democratic-appointed Supreme Court justices generally vote in lockstep on political issues of importance to the president. When there are public calls for bipartisanship on the Court, this is invariably code that one or more Republican-appointed judges should vote with their Democratic-appointed colleagues. And they often do, as in the case of Obamacare and college affirmative action. It never means the opposite.”

The Obama Administration’s diminishment of the objectivity of American Courts was blatant. A Stanford Law Review article describes it:

“Congress and the President [Obama] have belittled the Court. President Obama told the public at the 2010 State of the Union address that ‘the Supreme Court reversed a century of law’ with its Citizens United decision and suggested that the Court opposed honest elections. The ensuing image was even more damaging. With 48 million Americans watching, the camera panned to a cadre of expressionless Supreme Court Justices sitting in the front row…Politicization of the Court is dangerous because it primes the public for a power grab by the political branches. If the Court loses authority to check political power and make unpopular decisions, it cannot enforce the Constitution with the same effectiveness. Without enforcement of the Constitution, Congress is free to invade constitutional rights and exceed its lawful powers.”

Politics Undermine U.S. Courts

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government takes a two-part look at how politics are undermining confidence in the impartiality of American courts.

The recent action by 9th Circuit U.S. Judge Derrick Watson limiting President Trump’s travel ban has implications far more broad than that affecting a single executive order.

Tolerating a judge (from the Circuit which has more of its decisions overturned than any other area) who issued a ruling that conforms to his political preferences rather than legal precedent or statutory and constitutional law undermines the entire concept of an impartial legal system.

The lack of legal merit in Judge Watson’s decision is clear.

As noted in the Daily Caller regarding a prior 9th Circuit ruling on the travel ban “The power over immigration is exclusively reserved to the Congress, and its power is plenary, which means total, complete and unreviewable. Congress delegated certain powers to restrict immigration to the President by enacting 8 U.S.C. § 1182(f), which says that when the President (any president) ‘finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,’ he is authorized to ‘suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.’ Having granted this authority to the President, only Congress can revoke it and no federal court, not even the Supreme Court has the power to interfere in that presidential authority short of challenging the constitutional power of Congress to delegate certain of its plenary powers over immigration to the President. It is simply not within the power of any state to interfere with such a presidential decision, as immigration-control advocates found during Obama’s tenure in office. Obama did exactly the opposite, he ordered our Border Patrol officers NOT to deny entry to any aliens who illegally entered the United States, and when Arizona and other states challenged this policy in court on exactly the same sort of grounds of detrimental impacts to the people of Arizona caused by rampant and uncontrolled illegal immigration, Obama simply invoked the plenary federal power over immigration policy and did nothing to secure our borders.”

In response to the 9th Circuit Court judge’s decision, Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated on media outlets that “I got to tell you it is a point worth making that single sitting district judge out of 600, 700 district judges can issue an order stopping a presidential executive order that … is fully constitutional designed to protect the United States of America from terrorist attack….I really am amazed that a judge … can issue an order that stops the President of the United States from what appears to be clearly his statutory and Constitutional power.”

Lawnewz described the appropriate criticism, by five respected jurists, of a prior 9th Circuit Court decision. They pointed out the deep legal problems with travel-ban related actions of the 9th Circuit, including “its a-historicity, it’s abdication of precedent, and its usurpation of Constitutionally delegated Presidential rights…claiming a consular officer must be deferred to more than the President of the United States; claiming first amendment rights exist for foreigners when the Supreme Court twice ruled otherwise; the claim that people here could claim a constitutional right for someone else to travel here, a decision specifically rejected by the Supreme Court just a year ago…They go on to identify other ‘obvious’ errors. [the decision]…’never once mentioned’ the most important statutory authority: section 1182(f) of title 8…[as well as failing to refer to] the important Presidential power over immigration that all courts, Congress, and the Constitution expressly and explicitly gave him in all of its prior precedents.”

Stream.org  points out that  “…the politicization of the courts was one of the most profound actions of the Obama Administration.” The publication emphasized that “Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) gloated in 2014, ‘one of the most profound changes this Congress made was filling the bench’ with Obama’s appointments of federal judges. He went on: ‘This will affect America for a generation, long after the internecine battles on legislative issues are forgotten…Obama got 329 federal judges appointed to the circuit and district courts, all lifetime appointments.”

The Report concludes tomorrow.

Political Investigations and their Purpose

When Vladimir Putin seeks to eliminate a political rival, he has them assassinated. China’s President Xi has his dissidents tossed into hard labor prison camps.  North Korea’s Kim Jung-un has been known to have those he disagrees with literally blown apart, sometimes using artillery.

That’s not the American way, however. When an outspoken group or individual runs afoul of leadership in the United States, insiders use the machinery of the federal government, and abuse taxpayer-funded agencies and departments, to engage in financial and legal harassment to fight them.

There is a great deal of frustration with the fact that outsiders have challenged Washington’s political hierarchy. The opposition of the Tea Party was met with stiff resistance by the Obama Administration, which violated numerous legal and ethical standards when it employed the Internal Revenue Service to prevent those involved from fully organizing. The American Center for Law and Justice  notes that “As a tidal wave of grassroots activism began to roar throughout the country, the Obama Administration attempted to quell this activism by everyday Americans by beginning to develop an unconstitutional and illegal system of targeting and abuse.  The Administration’s IRS began pulling some tax-exempt applications out of the normal screening process for additional scrutiny (including the issuance of onerous demand letters for additional information) of organizations seeking tax-exemption whose names included the terms ‘Tea Party,’ ‘Patriots,’ ‘9/12,’ or other conservative-sounding names, such as ‘We the People’ or ‘Take Back the Country.”

There are significant examples of attempted federal intimidation outside of the Internal Revenue Service. Harassment of centrists and conservative think tanks were a significant strategy of the Obama administration. Attorney General Loretta Lynch “referred to the FBI” the proposal to criminalize any disagreement with Obama’s environmental policies.

 Jonathon Hauenschild, writing in The Hill reported that during the Obama Administration “Efforts to curtail online political speech were not limited to one federal commission or agency. Rules proposed by The [Federal Communications Commission] FCC, Federal Election Commission, [FEC] and considered by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) all threatened online political speech. In the Open Internet Order of 2015, the FCC proposed something called the ‘general conduct standard’ or the ‘Internet conduct standard.’ The former chair of the FEC repeatedly called for federal regulation of online political speech and nearly persuaded the FEC to sanction Fox News for merely sponsoring a primary presidential debate.”

Tom Basile, in a 2014 Forbes article  reported that “government has grown so large, so complex, so involved in virtually every aspect of their lives, that it is now being used as a weapon by a small segment of the ruling political class. The weaponization of government is happening and it’s time Americans took notice…Those tactics reduce every Americans’ personal and economic freedom. There is a dangerous arrogance of power among …President Obama and senior-level Democrats that should concern every American.”

Sara Carter, in a Circa expose, found that during the Obama Administration “The National Security Agency…routinely violated American privacy protections…and failed to disclose the extent of the problems until the final days before Donald Trump was elected president last fall, according to once top-secret documents that chronicle some of the most serious constitutional abuses to date by the U.S. intelligence community. More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal…”

This surveillance had little to do with national security and everything to do with spying on political opponents.

The current use of a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who has now empaneled a grand jury, to investigate the Trump campaign—despite a distinct lack of any evidence of a crime being committed, or, indeed, even a discussion of what federal law or regulation may have been broken, fits neatly into this pattern. It is a clear continuation of the harassment by political insiders of those, like the Tea Party, who seek to challenge the monopoly of political professionals.

The Democrats were quite successful in abusing and violating their own internal party procedures to prevent an outsider, Bernie Sanders, from gaining their 2016 presidential nomination, an act which has not received the judicial scrutiny it deserves.  The GOP leadership held a more open process, allowing outsider Trump to win. His campaign capitalized on the growing unease of the American electorate that the political game was increasingly rigged and Constitutional rights were being trampled, to insure the election of insiders.

Without the support of GOP insiders, and facing the anguish of a Democrat Party that has virtually been driven from power on the federal and most state levels, Trump is exceedingly vulnerable. The goal of the political insiders—to hobble his administration—is achieved not by the potential results of the Mueller inquisition, but by the very fact that it exists, and that it hampers the agenda he campaigned on.

There is another non-legal reason for the hysteria and hyperbole surrounding the as-yet unsubstantiated allegations about the Trump Campaign. There can be little doubt that numerous Constitutional violations occurred during the Obama Administration.  There are also serious legal questions about Hillary Clinton’s obvious violation of the law and endangerment of American national security in her personal profit from the sale of uranium to the Russians, as well as her felonious mismanagement of classified emails. But Obama and Clinton are ultimate insiders—they don’t get investigated or punished for their misdeeds. The Mueller investigation effectively distracts the public from those offenses, and gives the media an excuse to ignore them.

After all, during the past eight years, we have learned that political investigations are aimed at outsiders who have the temerity to challenge the insiders.

Data Review Discredits Global Warming, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government concludes its examination of  the latest scientific and political developments regarding the theory of man-made global warming.

The response by advocates of the man-made global warming theory to the recent findings by Dr. Wallace, Dr. D’Aleo and Dr. Idso, which discredit the data behind it, and similar reports and studies, has been unscientific.

Stephen Kruiser, writing for IJR notes: “If the climate alarmists weren’t still so politically powerful and represented in Congress by their devoted cult members, it would almost be easy to pity them. Why? Because they’re so spectacularly wrong about so many things…noted climate scientist [and global warming theory advocate] Hans von Storch … had some interesting things to say about the climate prediction models so revered by the alarmists. “If things continue as they have been, in five years, at the latest, we will need to acknowledge that something is fundamentally wrong with our climate models. A 20-year pause in global warming does not occur in a single modeled scenario. But even today, we are finding it very difficult to reconcile actual temperature trends with our expectations…There are two conceivable explanations — and neither is very pleasant for us. The first possibility is that less global warming is occurring than expected because greenhouse gases, especially CO2, have less of an effect than we have assumed. This wouldn’t mean that there is no man-made greenhouse effect, but simply that our effect on climate events is not as great as we have believed. The other possibility is that, in our simulations, we have underestimated how much the climate fluctuates owing to natural causes.”

Wounded pride and professional reputations aside, why do some many of those who vehemently advocated the global warming theory continue to push the increasingly discredited idea?

A number of those who have examined that question believe that there is a massive profit motive involved. Nick Allen, writing for the Telegraph, reports that Al Gore has increased his wealth fifty times over through global-warming business profits. In 2009, Allen reported that Gore was on course to become a “global warming billionaire…He has made significant investments in environmentally friendly projects like carbon trading markets, solar power, biofuels, electric vehicles, sustainable fish farming and waterless lavatories. At a [2009] hearing … on clean energy legislation, Mr Gore was challenged by Republican congresswoman, Marsha Blackburn, over his investments.”

An Investors.com article pointed out that “The terrible truth for Gore is that there is no planetary emergency. Not one of the dire predictions he and the rest of the alarmist community made has come to pass.”

A Newsmax study estimated that approximately $22 billion dollars are spent each year on anti-global warming projects.

In addition to the profit motive, much of the “remedies” to the alleged global warming crisis dovetail perfectly with left-wing proposals that have never found acceptance with the American electorate.

Writing in Real Clear Politics, George Will states: “Global warming is socialism by the back door. The whole point of global warming is that it’s a rationalization for progressives to do what progressives want to do, which is concentrate more and more power in Washington, more and more Washington power in the executive branch, more and more executive branch power in independent czars and agencies to micromanage the lives of the American people — our shower heads, our toilets, our bathtubs, our garden hoses. Everything becomes involved in the exigencies of rescuing the planet….
global warming is a religion in the sense that it’s a series of propositions that can’t be refuted. It’s very ironic that the global warming alarmists say, ‘We are the real defenders of science,’ and then they adopt the absolute reverse of the scientific attitude, which is openness to evidence. You cannot refute what they say.”

As the New York Analysis of Policy & Government reported earlier, It is increasingly apparent that the allegation of global warming is being used to ram a series of unpopular governmental and economic policies down the throats of Americans, and in the process, enriching some of the Left’s political leaders.

Data Review Discredits Global Warming

The New York Analysis of Policy & Government examines the latest scientific studies on the data behind the theory of man-made global warming.

Some political beliefs are based more on blind faith than facts. When this occurs, it is difficult to dissuade their adherents that they have been misled.

There is increasing evidence that the theory of man-made climate warming is wrong, or at the least, deeply exaggerated. Further, it is now evident that the principal proponents of the concept have pushed the idea using incomplete, altered, and in some instances wholly false data, for purposes having little to do with environmental concerns.

The revelations that key studies from both government agencies and academic institution were falsified and/or misstated did virtually nothing to reduce support for extreme environmental measures based on those reports.  Common sense questions, such as why Earth’s temperature was warmer in the 10th Century AD, as well as in the era of the Roman Empire, have been ignored.  The thousands of scientists who have expressed significant doubt about global warming were completely ignored by those claiming the idea was “settled science.”  Students have been taught to unquestionably believe in global warming. Some Washington politicians expressed a desire to criminally prosecute those disagreeing with the theory, and a number of state attorneys general have harassed think tanks that question the concept.

In 2016, An unprecedented legal attack, in utter violation of the First Amendment, was launched against the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)  for committing the “offense” of disagreeing with  extremists on the issue of climate change. The move was in line with the anti-free speech action of U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch who “referred to the FBI”  consideration of whether to prosecute those who dare to question the claims of environmental extremists.

A reckoning may be at hand, as serious scientists pursue the truth, and investigative journalists reveal the ulterior motives of the global warming hucksters.

A new report by Dr. James P. Wallace III, Dr. Joseph S. D’Aleo, and  Dr. Craig D. Idso questions the validity of key pro-global warming data, including that provided by NOAA, NASA and the Hadley CRU Global Average Surface Temperature Data, as well as The Validity of the EPA’s CO2 Endangerment Finding. The findings of those agencies essentially rely on the same flawed data.

The study concludes that “The conclusive findings of this research are that the three GAST data sets are not a valid representation of reality. In fact, the magnitude of their historical data adjustments, that removed their cyclical temperature patterns, are totally inconsistent with published and credible U.S. and other temperature data. Thus, it is impossible to conclude from the three published GAST data sets that recent years have been the warmest ever –despite current claims of record setting warming. Finally, since GAST data set validity is a necessary condition for EPA’s GHG/CO2 Endangerment Finding, it too is invalidated by these research findings.”

A number of distinguished specialist have already reviewed the study and agree with it, including: Dr. Alan Carlin, Retired Senior Analyst and manager, US Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC.; Dr. Harold H. Doiron Retired VP-Engineering Analysis and Test Division, InDyne, Inc. Ex-NASA JSC, Aerospace Consultant;  Dr. Theodore R. Eck Ph.D., Economics, Michigan State University; Dr. Richard A. Keen, Instructor Emeritus of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, University of Colorado Ph.D., ; Dr. Anthony R. Lupo IPCC Expert Reviewer Professor, Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri Ph.D., ; and Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen Ph.D., Physics, M.I.T. B.S.; Dr. George T. Wolff Former Chair EPA’s Clean Air Advisory Committee.

The news should not come as a great surprise, considering how the idea of man-made global warming became widely accepted, as described by the Heartland Foundation:

“Then came the 1995 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. It brought dramatic change in the public’s acceptance of global warming. The report had two parts: one was the long text of the research by scientists; the other, the ‘Summary For Public Officials’—which is the only part most people ever read—was written by persons who received political appointments. They were not politicians but public servants who were taking orders from the governments that signed the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.The Summary was supposed to be based on the research—but it was written before the research was done. And the research was then ‘adjusted’ to fit the summary, rather than the other way around. Here is a description of the process by climatologist Vincent Gray, Ph.D., who is the only person to have been involved in all the publications of the IPCC since its inception.

‘In the 1980s a group of rogue scientists…suggested that the public and governments would accept [global warming if it was described as] a ‘settled’ opinion of a sufficiently large group of scientists. They invented a new pseudo-scientific model of the climate which ignored the scientific understanding of the climate built up by generations of meteorologists. It claimed that climate is controlled by human–related emissions of carbon dioxide and other minor greenhouse gases.

‘They persuaded the World Meteorological Association and their own United Nations Environment Programme to set up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to gather together scientific material to support this project in preparation for the Rio Earth Summit in 1991 which launched the deception….

‘The IPCC has now issued five major Reports. These have been amazingly successful in persuading governments all over the world that they can prevent what is alleged to control ‘global warming’ by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other minor greenhouse gases. The main mechanism for ensuring uniformity of thought is applied by the presence in all of the IPCC Reports of a “Summary for Policymakers” at the beginning. This is really a Summary BY Policymakers, because it is dictated, line by line by the government representatives who control the IPCC to a group of reliable ‘Drafting Authors.’

‘The Chapters of each Report are arranged in such a way as to promote the idea of climate change caused by greenhouse gas increases. Actual climate observations are either obscured, or ‘smoothed,’ ‘filtered’, ‘linearized’, ‘interpolated’, with ‘outliers’ eliminated, in order to try and find ‘trends’ which can be fitted into the mold decided for them.”

‘When the final version of the 1995 IPCC Report did not agree with the Summary, Ben Santer, whom the IPCC had appointed as the lead author of the report, was given the task of altering the full report to coincide with the Summary. After the printed report appeared in May 1996, the scientific reviewers were shocked to discover that major changes had been made after they had signed off on the science chapter’s contents.”

The Report concludes on Monday

The Unaddressed Concerns of Americans, Part 2

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government concludes its examination of the challenges facing every day Americans.

A CNN Report illustrates troubling middle-class statistics from the years 1995—2013. Income remained virtually unchanged in real dollars, while basic costs such as housing rose 13%, tuition skyrocketed 61%, and gas leaped 94%. Investopedia outlines a twenty year comparison between 1994-2014: “Many people feel that, even with full-time work, they simply don’t have the income necessary to live the lives they want. Even when it comes to just the basic essentials such as food, rent, car payments, or tuition fees, it can often seem that a dollar today just doesn’t buy what it should. As it happens, this isn’t just economic paranoia. In fact, the prices for daily goods have increased considerably since 1994, above and beyond what can be accounted for by inflation, giving the dollar much less buying power than it had just 20 years ago.

For seniors, the Obama years were exceptionally difficult. In 2016, the New York Analysis of Policy and Government reported “Since the regular program of Cost of Living increases began in 1975, (prior to that increases were provided by legislation) there has never been a period when such adjustments were lower than they have been under President Obama’s term. Not once had there been a year in which there was no increase at all. Since 2009, two consecutive years, 2009 and 2010, provided no adjustments, and there was also no adjustment in 2015.  Before 2009, the average annual increase was 4.4%; during the Obama presidency, it was 1.7%.”

                                             COLLAPSE OF EDUCATION

America’s educational system is collapsing. As Marc Tucker has written in Education Week,  “the United States, having led the world in educational attainment for more than a century… has, since the 1970s, made no gains at all in either attainment or quality, while close to 30 other countries, some of them abjectly poor in the 1970s, have managed to outperform us on both quality and quantity of education, many by a country mile.  Even more damning, we appear to have lowered our standards for our college students to the standards we used to demand of our high school students and, at the same time, to have more or less destroyed what was once a first-class vocational and technical education system.”

It should be noted that this decline came despite exceedingly generous funding for education, and outrageously high tuition in many colleges.

HEALTH CARE DETERIORATION

The quality of primary health care has deteriorated.  Americans fondly remember the era when they had family physicians who would actually take the time to talk to them. In 2011, Dr. John Geyman  wrote: the continued deterioration of primary care…threatens to break up the very foundation of U.S. health care. Underreported and widely misunderstood, the continued decline of primary care results in uncontrollable inflation of health care costs, decreased access to necessary care, increasing fragmentation and depersonalization of care, and unacceptable quality and outcomes of care. As health care costs spiral out of sight and consume an ever-increasing part of the country’s GDP, this trend, unless reversed, can destabilize and eventually bankrupt our health care system, and perhaps even our country.” The situation Dr. Geyman described has only grown worse, as depersonalization under Obamacare has increased. Among the reasons cited by Dr. Linda Girgis in 2016: “Insurance companies want to quantify patients’ medical condition to determine reimbursements. This is simply a cost-cutting strategy by third parties. The ACA (Affordable Care Act) changed patients into consumers. Patients should control what happens to their own health. But being defined the same as a customer shopping at the local Wal-Mart takes the real person out of the patient…”

These basic concerns of every day Americans, in their finances, safety, education, and health care should be addressed with practicality and outside Washington’s incessant partisanship.

 

The Unaddressed Concerns of Americans

The New York Analysis of Policy and Government examines the challenges facing every day Americans.

Like a marriage heading for divorce, there is a great deal of screaming, and very little actual discussion, in the struggle to improve the everyday life of Americans.

Far too often, the fear of baseless and misleading allegations by a biased media hinders a meaningful dialogue about the very personal issues facing the U.S. population, and inhibits necessary reform. Despite the 24-hour news cycle and endless rhetoric from politicians, core matters remain inadequately examined.

Each election cycle, the two parties promise to address the concerns of “regular Americans.” They promptly abandon that pledge soon after their members take office. Each party does more to play to their power brokers than to respond to the wishes and beliefs of the general population.

Beltway insiders discuss boutique issues and procedural abstractions, concentrating instead on partisan back-biting. Meanwhile, the increasingly dire needs of regular Americans remain ignored.

Here are some key concerns:

TAXES AND SPENDING

An absurd tax system crushes families and small businesses. The Brookings Institute  has noted that “In most Americans’ minds, the annual tax-filing ritual raises two questions: Why is it so complicated? And, what’s the point of all these incomprehensible rules and exceptions?… Not only is our tax system too complicated; it’s also outdated.” A Republican study  notes that “America’s tax code in 2016 imposes burdensome paperwork and compliance costs, delivers special interest subsidies and crony capitalism, penalizes savings and investment, and encourages businesses to move overseas. it is administered by a broken tax collection agency that continues to fail the American people.”

Adding insult to injury, despite the highest corporate taxes among industrialized nations and outrageous deficit spending, the nation’s needs in defense, infrastructure, and other vital areas are not being met.

That failure includes ending poverty. Heritage notes that “In his January 1964 State of the Union address, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed, ‘This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.’ In the 50 years since that time, U.S. taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion on anti-poverty programs. Adjusted for inflation, this spending (which does not include Social Security or Medicare) is three times the cost of all U.S. military wars since the American Revolution. Yet progress against poverty, as measured by the U.S. Census Bureau, has been minimal, and in terms of President Johnson’s main goal of reducing the ‘causes’ rather than the mere ‘consequences’ of poverty, the War on Poverty has failed completely. In fact, a significant portion of the population is now less capable of self-sufficiency than it was when the War on Poverty began.”

PUBLIC SAFETY

 Safety is a major inadequately addressed concern. After falling dramatically for many years, The FBI  reports a 3.9 percent increase in the estimated number of violent crimes. The problem is centered on large cities.  According to a 538  study, “data from individual police departments indicates that murder rose in most of the country’s biggest cities in 2016, in some cases dramatically… The big cities experienced roughly a 11.3 percent increase in murder in 2016… the figures suggest that big cities have seen murder rise by more than a quarter in just two years, likely the biggest two-year increase since 1989 to 1991.”

DESCENT OF THE MIDDLE CLASS

Middle-class Americans have grown tired of the continuous claims during the past eight years that the economy was improving. A 2016 Pew study found “The American middle class is losing ground in metropolitan areas across the country, affecting communities from Boston to Seattle and from Dallas to Milwaukee. From 2000 to 2014 the share of adults living in middle-income households fell in 203 of the 229 U.S. metropolitan areas examined in a new Pew Research Center analysis of government data. The decrease in the middle-class share was often substantial, measuring 6 percentage points or more in 53 metropolitan areas, compared with a 4-point drop nationally…The shrinking of the middle class at the national level, to the point where it may no longer be the economic majority in the U.S., was documented in an earlier analysis by the Pew Research Center. The changes at the metropolitan level…demonstrate that the national trend is the result of widespread declines in localities all around the country.”

The Report concludes tomorrow.

Lax Border Enforcement let MS-13 Grow

Americans generally agree that legal immigration is beneficial to the nation, but remain divided as to how tightly illegal immigration should be dealt with. An important part of that discussion is a candid discussion of what the dangers of illegal immigration are. Increasingly, attention is being paid to the rise of violent crime by the MS-13 crime organization.

According to Lifezette,  The Justice Dept. says the cost of incarcerating non-citizens in federal prisons exceeds $1.2 billion. Brendan Kirby reports that “Nearly a quarter of the inmates in federal prisons were born outside the United States.”

Crime from illegals costs far more than the expenses of incarceration. A DEA report notes that  “Mexican transnational criminal organizations (TCOs) pose the greatest criminal drug threat to the United States; no other group is currently positioned to challenge them. These Mexican poly-drug organizations traffic heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine, and marijuana throughout the United States, using established transportation routes and distribution networks. They control drug trafficking across the Southwest Border and are moving to expand their share, particularly in the heroin and methamphetamine markets.”

In June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Chief of Carla Provost  testified  before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the international MS-13 criminal organization, and its connection to illegal immigration.

Following lax enforcement of the U.S. border and the influx of illegal immigrants during the Obama Administration, substantial action became necessary. Provost stated that “…One of the biggest challenges we face are [transnational criminal organizations] TCOs such as the international criminal organization known as Mara Salvatrucha 13, more commonly known as MS-13. While MS-13 has had a presence in the United States and been a regional threat for many years, it has proliferated both throughout the United States and the region more recently, as our partners at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice have reported. CBP has faced many challenges in recent years, including large-scale flows of foreign nationals from Central America and Mexico. MS-13 took full advantage of these flows of foreign nationals into the United States by hiding in these populations to enter our country. As a result, American citizens have died, and domestic law enforcement across the nation has had to deal with the burden of MS-13 violence and drug-dealing on American streets on a daily basis.

“As a result of the Executive Orders issued by the President [Trump]…we are seeing a historic shift in illegal crossings along the Southwest border. Since January 2017, the number of illegal aliens we have apprehended on the Southwest border has drastically decreased, indicating a significant decrease in the number of aliens attempting to illegally enter the country. The number of illegal aliens apprehended in March 2017 was 30 percent lower than February apprehensions and 64 percent lower than the same time last year. This decline also extends to unaccompanied alien children (UAC).”

President Trump blames the rise of MS-13’s strength within the United States on his predecessor. “The weak illegal immigration policies of the Obama Admin. allowed bad MS 13 gangs to form in cities across U.S. We are removing them fast!”

There appears to be substance behind the President’s allegation. Fox News  reported in May that “At least 16 self-proclaimed MS-13 gang members were transferred out of federal custody and into community placement centers across the country during the border surge in unaccompanied children from Central America in 2014, according to a new letter from the Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs…In 2014, the Obama Administration declared a humanitarian crisis after tens of thousands of immigrants flooded across the United States border. The dramatic increase in immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras overwhelmed border authorities at the time. Fox News has now learned that more than a dozen teenage gang members were captured during the surge. According to Johnson’s letter and documents obtained by Fox News, the gang members “freely admitted” that they were “active MS-13 gang members” and marked bathrooms inside a placement center in Nogales, Arizona with MS-13 associated graffiti…These documents appear to show that the federal government knowingly moved self-identified gang members from Nogales, Arizona to placement centers in communities across the country. As you know, it is common for UACs (unaccompanied children) to be released from their placement center while awaiting a court date. It is unclear from these July 2014 documents whether any of these self-identified UAC gang members were released…”

The White House further emphasized that sanctuary city policies were creating safe havens for MS-13. The Washington Times reported that “The Trump administration…put sanctuary cities front and center in its battle to take down the ruthless MS-13 street gang, saying the efforts to shield illegal immigrants was providing safe haven for violent criminals…’Cooperation is critical. It is often state and local law enforcement not ICE that first come into contact with transnational criminal organizations,’ Thomas Homan, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told reporters at the White House.” Attorney General Sessions has emphasized the fight against MS-13.

The Daily Caller  quotes Attorney General Sessions:  “Because of an open border and years of lax immigration enforcement, MS-13 has been sending both recruiters and members to regenerate gangs that previously had been decimated, and smuggling members across the border as unaccompanied minors … They are not content to simply ruin the lives of adults—MS-13 recruits in our high schools, our middle schools, and even our elementary schools.

Robert K. Hur, the principal associate deputy attorney general, said Mr. Sessions had made the takedown of MS-13 a priority and had taken new steps to crack down on sanctuary cities to advance the fight.

The Washington Times  quoted Senator Ron Johnson,  (R-Wisconsin) chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, who has stated that

“The Obama administration knowingly let in at least 16 admitted MS-13 gang members who arrived at the U.S. as illegal immigrant teenagers in 2014…CBP apprehended them, knew they were MS-13 gang members, and they processed and disbursed them into our communities…”

The criminals entered the U.S. during the Obama Administration as “unaccompanied alien children.” According to Johnson, the media image of these minors was incorrect.  They were older teenagers, and predominately male. The gang members were part of the surge of UAC, or “unaccompanied alien children,” as the government labels them, who overwhelmed the Obama administration in 2014, leaving Homeland Security struggling to staunch the flow from Central America. Officials at the time said the children should be treated as refugees fleeing horrific conditions back home — though security analysts said the children were prime recruiting territory for gangs already in the U.S.

Mr. Johnson said the image of UAC as little children is misleading. Out of nearly 200,000 UAC apprehended between from 2012 to 2016, 68 percent were ages 15, 16 or 17 — meaning older teens. The majority were also male, making them targets for gang recruiting.

Erasing American History

Earlier this summer, Americans celebrated Independence Day.  If current educational trends continue, few of the current generation in American schools may understand the significance of the date.

The lack of knowledge in U.S. History has become so dire that even once-popular tourist sites based on America’s heritage are becoming imperiled. In an open letter issued in June, Mitchel B. Reiss, President of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, (a major site offering a recreated colonial-era village) sadly noted that “For a variety of reasons – [including] less American history being taught in schools, changing times and tastes that cause us to attract half the visitors we did 30 years ago – the Foundation loses significant amounts of money every year.”

Earlier this year, the New York Post’s Karol Markowicz  wrote that  “Don’t know much about history . . .,’ goes the famous song. It’s an apt motto for the Common Core’s elementary school curriculum…A 2012 story in Perspectives on History magazine by University of North Carolina professor Bruce Van Sledright found that 88 percent of elementary school teachers considered teaching history a low priority… Van Sledright also found that teachers just didn’t know enough history to teach it. He wrote there was some ‘holiday curriculum as history instruction,’ but that was it.”

Last year, a Blaze report noted, George Washington University decided that even history majors did not have to take any courses in American History.

In 2015, ABC’s KSFY affiliate reported that “the South Dakota Board of Education approved new guidelines that do not require high schools to teach U.S. history.”

A Nations Report Card  study found that only 18% of eighth grade students are proficient in U.S. history.  Similarly, a worrisome 2014 survey of 1,416 adults recently conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy  Center  found that:

  • While little more than a third of respondents (36 percent) could name all three branches of the U.S. government, just as many (35 percent) could not name a single one;
  • Just over a quarter of Americans (27 percent) know it takes a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto; and
  • One in five Americans (21 percent) incorrectly thinks that a 5-4 Supreme Court decision is sent back to Congress for reconsideration.

Also in 2014, Capitol Times.com quotes a statement by Arizona state legislator Steve Montenegro, a Republican, that “Civics and Social Studies and History are being boxed out of the classroom.”  He notes that “96% of a sample group of high schoolers in Arizona and Oklahoma failed to pass a basic test on citizenship issues.”

In a commentary, William J. Dodwell provides his analysis for the growing exclusion of U.S. history:

“Academia has long been a bastion of the political left…The origin of the malaise derives from the ideological and administrative politicization of public education.  Liberal elected officials and like-minded school administrators embrace identity politics and other forms of political correctness that alter academic content and teaching modalities.  At the college level, professors also promote the progressive agenda… In the primary and secondary schools, teachers might not be as ideologically motivated but are controlled by their left-leaning administrative authorities, that is, superintendents and principals… The radical departure from traditional curricula and academic standards linked to the institution of political correctness in the schools and colleges raises serious questions as to educational purpose. Has the left deliberately diluted education in its self-interest… Education authorities have curtailed or eliminated the teaching of civics and American history such that many children do not even know who George Washington was.  Daniel Henninger writes in The Wall Street Journal, June 11, 2015, about the College Board’s revision of the Advance Placement examination for U.S. history.  The changes recast the subject in a framework of ‘different contexts of U.S. history, with special attention given to the formation of gender, class, racial and ethnic identities…”

America’s heritage and national character are being removed by the nation’s educational hierarchy. It is a challenge to the very existence of the character of the nation.  It is a crisis of extraordinary importance, and must be remedied without delay. Parents must review the curriculum in the schools their children attend, and force changes where needed.

Russia, China, North Korea, Iran: The Combined Threat

Several deeply disturbing international military actions were reported recently involving Iran, North Korea, China and Russia. It would be a serious mistake to consider these events in isolation, for they are, together, pieces of a coordinated threat that places the United States and its allies in increasing jeopardy.

The launch of a powerful Iranian rocket, swiftly followed by another North Korean ICBM test, while Russia and China engaged in an extraordinary joint naval maneuver in the Baltic Sea sent a clear warning to the west. The actions headlined both the military prowess of each of the four nations involved, as well as the coordination and intercooperation of this “Axis of Evil.”

According to the U.S. State Department “With its latest launch of a Simorgh space launch vehicle on 27 July, Iran has again demonstrated activity inconsistent with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231. We condemn this action. This resolution calls upon Iran to not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such technology like this launch. Space launch vehicles use technologies that are closely related to those of ballistic missiles development, in particular to those of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. This step follows missile launches into Syria on 18 June and the test of a medium range ballistic missile on 4 July. Iran’s program to develop ballistic missiles continues to be inconsistent with UNSCR 2231 and has a destabilizing impact in the region. We call on Iran not to conduct any further ballistic missile launches and related activities. We are writing to the UN Secretary General with our concerns. The governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom are discussing these issues bilaterally with Iran and are raising their concerns.”

Iran’s rocket launch was swiftly followed by a North Korean ICBM launch. The State Department  issued a similar statement: “The United States strongly condemns North Korea’s launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile, the second this month, in blatant violation of multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that reflect the will of the international community. All nations should take a strong public stance against North Korea, by maintaining and strengthening UN sanctions to ensure North Korea will face consequences for its relentless pursuit of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them. As the principal economic enablers of North Korea’s nuclear weapon and ballistic missile development program, China and Russia bear unique and special responsibility for this growing threat to regional and global stability.”

China and Russia were apparently not content to just “bear responsibility” for their client states. While those missile and rocket tests were underway, Beijing and Moscow engaged in a joint naval exercise in the Baltic Sea. The U.S. Naval Institute (USNI)  notes that the maneuver “is raising eyebrows in northern Europe, NATO headquarters and Washington.” The German publication DW http://www.dw.com/en/about-dw/profile/s-30688 writes “China and Russia are signaling to NATO that they are willing to cooperate militarily and deepen diplomatic ties with joint naval maneuvers currently taking place in the Baltic Sea…”

The Chinese official organ People’s Daily described the joint operation: “The drill aims to develop China’s and Russia’s comprehensive strategic partnership, deepen friendly and pragmatic cooperation between the two armed forces…[the exercise is] the farthest from China for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy…‘an embodiment of confidence and power.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping added an exclamation point to China’s newly aggressive stance, including its alliance with Russia and its continued backing of North Korea, during a military parade held concurrently with its naval maneuvers in Europe in which his armed forces paraded its advance weaponry.  President Xi instructed his armed services to be an “elite force.”

According to Douglas Schoen and Melik Kaylan, authors of a study on the Moscow-Beijing alliance, the most formidable crisis facing the United States is the “unprecedented partnership developing between Russia and China…From their support for rogue regimes such as those in Iran, North Korea and Syria to their military and nuclear buildups…Moscow and Beijing are playing the game for keeps.”

There has been little discussion in the media about the interrelationship of these actions.  The inadequate analysis of the unified threat against the U.S. and its allies is a troubling reminder of the failure of many news outlets—and, inexcusably, many politicians–to comprehend the nature of the clear and present danger that is rapidly escalating.