New National Test Scores Show Betsy DeVos Was Right About Public Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ recent interview with Lesley Stahl on “60 Minutes” caused quite a bit of backlash from critics.

As my colleague Jonathan Butcher has written, “60 Minutes” ignored many of the facts about the state of education in America. Response to the interview drew quite a bit of criticism of DeVos and her policy solutions.

Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments came when she suggested that the United States’ heavy federal investment in education has not yielded any results. Stahl hit back, asserting that school performance has been on the rise.

But the latest government data show otherwise. According to the recently released 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the nation’s “report card,” we now have more evidence that DeVos was correct.

In fact, recent scores show virtually no improvement over 2015 scores. Eighth-grade reading saw a single point improvement over 2015 scores (10 points is considered equivalent to a grade level), while all other categories saw no improvement.

These lackluster results come on the heels of declines on the 2015 assessment, suggesting the beginning of a trend in the wrong direction for academic outcomes.

Indeed, Stahl’s claim that the state of public schools has gotten better simply doesn’t hold up to the data. It fact, DeVos is entirely correct to point out that public school outcomes have not meaningfully improved, and that our nation’s heavy federal intervention in K-12 education has failed to help the problem.

As Heritage Foundation education fellow Lindsey Burke writes:

Forty-nine out of 50 states were stagnant on the 2017 report card, and achievement gaps persist. Historically, federal education spending has been appropriated to close gaps, yet this spending—more than $2 trillion in inflation-adjusted spending at the federal level alone since 1965—has utterly failed to achieve that goal.

Increasing federal intervention over the past half-century, and the resulting burden of complying with federal programs, rules, and regulations, have created a parasitic relationship with federal education programs and states, and is straining the time and resources of local schools.

Indeed, for decades, Washington has poured billions of dollars into the public education system under the assumption that more federal spending will close achievement caps and improve the academic outcomes of students. With mounting evidence that more federal spending is not the answer, it may be time to consider other policy approaches.

DeVos is correct to suggest school choice as a solution to lackluster school performance. Parents who cannot afford to send their child to a school that is the right fit deserve to have options. As DeVos told Stahl:

Any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children. Families that don’t have the power, that can’t decide, ‘I’m gonna move from this apartment in downtown whatever to the suburb where I think the school is gonna be better for my child.’ If they don’t have that choice, and they are assigned to that school, they are stuck there. I am fighting for the parents who don’t have those choices. We need all parents to have those choices.

In light of recent evidence from the nation’s report card, “60 Minutes” and other school choice critics should consider that DeVos was correct in her framing of problems facing the nation’s schools and is on the right track with possible solutions—namely, that empowering parents is the right approach to improving American education.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Mary Clare Amselem

Mary Clare Amselem is a policy analyst in education policy at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE:  Nation’s ‘Report Card’ Shows Federal Intervention Has Not Helped Students

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With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

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If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

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Gorsuch Defends the Rule of Law in Immigration Case

If you take anything away from Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion concurring with the Supreme Court’s so-called “liberal” bloc in an immigration case this week, it should be his continued faithfulness to the rule of law and the separation of powers.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the court’s opinion—joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and in part by Gorsuch—holding that part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines a “crime of violence” for purposes of removal proceedings, is unconstitutionally vague.

Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion expressing concerns about how vague laws can lead to the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.

Some media outlets and noted conservatives have suggested that Gorsuch’s opinion is surprising or misguided, ruling with the liberal justices and against the Trump administration. For example, a New York Post headline reads, “Gorsuch Sides With Liberal Justices in Supreme Court Immigration Vote.” And Mark Levin tweeted, “Gorsuch blows it, big time.”

Whatever you think of any immigration policies or other issues surrounding this case, one thing is clear: Gorsuch faithfully applied fundamental constitutional principles and upheld the rule of law.

In many ways, Gorsuch also carried on Justice Antonin Scalia’s legacy.

Consider what the law in this case required, and what Gorsuch wrote.

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, any alien who is convicted of an “aggravated felony” in the United States is subject to deportation, regardless of their ties to the country. Congress defined “aggravated felony” by a long list of specific offenses and offense types (at 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)), one of which is “a crime of violence” punishable by imprisonment for at least one year.

Congress defined “crime of violence” elsewhere, in 18 U. S. C. §16, in part by stating that it includes any felony “that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

Only that provision, known as the residual clause, was at issue in this case.

But in order to figure out which convictions trigger that residual clause, the court assesses the presence of “substantial risk” by looking not at the facts of the case, or the elements of the crime, but to “the ‘nature of the offense’ generally speaking,” and asks this: Does “‘the ordinary case’ of [this] offense pose[] the requisite risk”?

Immigration judges held that James Dimaya, a Philippine native and lawful permanent resident, is deportable because he was convicted—twice—of first-degree burglary under California law. The government sought to remove Dimaya after his second conviction, and immigration judges found that first-degree burglary counts as a “crime of violence” under federal law.

Dimaya appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the “residual clause” is unconstitutionally vague.

The 9th Circuit relied in part on Johnson v. United States, a 2015 opinion that the Supreme Court published while Dimaya’s appeal was pending.

In Johnson, the court struck down part of the definition of “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act on vagueness grounds.

That law increased the sentence of a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if he had three or more previous “violent felony” convictions, which includes any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the court in that case, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Scalia concluded that the residual clause left “grave uncertainty about how to estimate the risk posed by a crime,” and further “uncertainty about how much risk it takes for a crime to qualify as a violent felony.” Rather than make up those aspects of the law himself, Scalia chose instead to send Congress back to the drawing board.

For that, Scalia’s opinion advanced the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Gorsuch’s Concurring Opinion

In his concurring opinion this week in Dimaya, Gorsuch provided thorough reasoning for a narrow conclusion: that “to the extent it requires an ‘ordinary case’ analysis, the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act before us fails the fair notice test for the reasons Justice Scalia identified in Johnson.”

Gorsuch’s concern in Dimaya was, like Scalia’s in Johnson, a fundamentally conservative one: hostility to vague laws and arbitrary power.

Gorsuch wrote that “vague laws … can invite the exercise of arbitrary power … by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” Gorsuch explained:

[T]he Immigration and Nationality Act requires a judge to determine that the ordinary case of the alien’s crime of conviction involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used. But what does that mean? Just take the crime at issue in this case, California burglary, which applies to everyone from armed home intruders to door-to-door salesmen peddling shady products. How, on that vast spectrum, is anyone supposed to locate the ordinary case and say whether it includes a substantial risk of physical force? The truth is, no one knows.

Gorsuch gave the following examples of the confusion that results from the “ordinary case analysis”:

Does a conviction for witness tampering ordinarily involve a threat to the kneecaps or just the promise of a bribe? Does a conviction for kidnapping ordinarily involve throwing someone into a car trunk or a noncustodial parent picking up a child from daycare? These questions do not suggest obvious answers.

Because the statute “leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate,” Gorsuch wrote, “the Constitution demands more.”

And Gorsuch explained exactly why that is.

Looking to history, Gorsuch cited early American court cases and turned to the Federalist Papers for the principle that “[w]ithout an assurance that the laws supply fair notice, so much else of the Constitution risks becoming only a ‘parchment barrie[r]’ against arbitrary power.”

And Gorsuch discussed exactly how vague laws might jeopardize other constitutional rights.

“Take the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause,” Gorsuch wrote, “and consider what would be left of that requirement if the alleged crime had no meaningful boundaries.”

Finally, Gorsuch observed precisely how vague criminal laws undermine the separation of powers.

Only Congress may enact law, but if Congress writes vague statutes, Gorsuch wrote, then it leaves judges, prosecutors, and police “free to ‘condem[n] all that [they] personally disapprove and for no better reason than [they] disapprove it.’”

Thus, to “keep the separate branches within their proper spheres,” Gorsuch wrote, is “the more important aspect” of the vagueness doctrine.

And that is the most important aspect of Gorsuch’s opinion in Dimaya.

To judge how individual justices vote in particular cases in relation to one another, without regard to the substance of their opinions, unjustifiably politicizes the judiciary.

Dimaya is interesting not because of how the justices voted in relation to one another, but because of how the justices—especially Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas—debated legal history and precedent, and did so respectfully.

Yes, the other conservative justices all dissented. Roberts dissented, joined by Thomas and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito, arguing that, unlike the law in Johnson, the statute at issue in this case was not vague.

Thomas also wrote a separate dissent, joined by Kennedy and Alito, challenging Gorsuch on the merits of the vagueness doctrine.

And yes, Gorsuch’s opinion is not what the government hoped for in this case.

The government had pointed to the executive’s “considerable constitutional authority” in immigration and foreign affairs but, as Gorsuch wrote, “to acknowledge that the president has broad authority to act in this general area supplies no justification for allowing judges to give content to an impermissibly vague law.”

Now, Congress can go back to the drawing board and draft a more precise law.

Gorsuch’s opinion has explained why that is a job for Congress, echoing his prior statements on the role of the judge: “to put aside their personal politics and preferences to decide cases and to follow the law and not try and make it.”

And by echoing Scalia’s opinion in Johnson, this case also illustrates how Gorsuch carries Scalia’s legacy.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John-Michael Seibler

John-Michael Seibler is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now. The featured image of Justice Neil Gorsuch is by Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/Newscom.

James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor

(In August 2016, I wrote an article entitled “James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor,” warning readers that the Comey fish was already rotting and that things were bound to get worse. Clearly, they just did. And it’s just as clear that the uncontrolled hysteria we are witnessing from Democrats has to do not with bogus accusations about Russia but about the criminal indictments coming down the pike for the people they’ve blindly defended for decades—that would be Bill & Hill Clinton—and possibly against even bigger fish! I’ve updated this article by abbreviating its length but also adding a few sentences. -JS))

I always thought that James Comey was a company man. As it happens, the company he headed is among the most influential, powerful and scary companies in the world—the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But still, a company guy. Whether working for a president on the moderate-to-conservative spectrum like G.W. Bush or for a far-left Alinsky acolyte like Barack Obama, makes absolutely no difference to this type of obedient—and also subservient—accommodator.

The red flag of skepticism should have gone up years ago to the American public when lavish praise was heaped on Comey by people who revile each other. While the spin insists that Comey is a lot of virtuous things—“straight-shooter,” “unbiased,” “fair-minded,” “non-partisan” “man of his word”—don’t be fooled. That’s Orwellian newspeak for someone who will do and say anything to keep his job, including, as Comey did in yet another Clinton fiasco case last summer, allow her to create out of whole cloth an “intent” criterion in federal law to let a clearly corrupt politician—that would be Hillary—off the hook, and, appropriate the job of the Attorney General in announcing what the outcome of the FBI’s investigation should be.

While citing Hillary’s “extreme negligence” in handling classified information, a virtual litany of illegal acts committed by the then-Secretary of State, and the fact that hostile foreign operatives may have accessed her email account, Comey said he would not refer criminal charges to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department. Hillary, he said, was “extremely careless” and “unsophisticated,” among other spitballs he hurled in her direction before completely letting her off the hook!

Comey’s friend and colleague, Andrew C. McCarthy, said that the FBI director’s decision is tantamount to sleight-of-hand trickery. “There is no way of getting around this,” McCarthy wrote. “Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation…in essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require.”

Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of AmericanThinker.com, wrapped the entire debacle up neatly, saying that “the director of the FBI offered 15 of the most puzzling minutes in the history of American law enforcement. James Comey spent the first 12 minutes or so laying out a devastating case dismantling Hillary Clinton’s email defense. Then, “in a whiplash-inducing change of narrative, he announced that `no reasonable prosecutor’ would bring the case he had just outlined, an assertion that was contradicted within hours by luminaries including former U.S. attorney (and NY City mayor) Rudy Giuliani and James Kallstrom, former head of the FBI’s New York office.”

Which begs the question: Why would Comey act contrary to the wisdom of virtually every legal scholar who has written or spoken about this case?

It is certainly not because he wasn’t taught by his upstanding parents the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral. One could make the case—and many have—that he is as close to a moral man as it gets in public life. According to his bio in Wikipedia, Comey, a lawyer, majored in religion at the College of William and Mary, and wrote his thesis about the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action.

THE LOOKING-THE-OTHER-WAY FACTOR

That’s what company guys do.

Affirming this unflattering opinion, Jerome Corsi, journalist and NY Times bestselling author, said that Comey has a long history of cases ending favorable to the Clintons.

In 2004, Corsi says, Comey was a deputy attorney general in the Justice Department when he “apparently limited the scope of the criminal investigation of Sandy Berger…[and Berger’s] removal and destruction of classified records from the National Archives. The documents were relevant to accusations that the Clinton administration was negligent in the build-up to the 9/11 terrorist attack.”

“Curiously,” Corsi continues, “Berger, Lynch and Cheryl Mills (Hillary’s longtime advisor and Chief of Staff during her years as Secretary of State) all worked as partners in the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson, which prepared tax returns for the Clintons and did patent work for a software firm that played a role in the private email server Hillary Clinton used when she was secretary of state.”

Corsi said that “various statements Comey made about Berger’s mishandling of classified documents bear comparison to his comments regarding Hillary Clinton’s email server” and that Berger, “a convicted thief of classified documents, had been advising Clinton while she served as secretary of state and had access to emails containing classified information.”

Yep… a company guy. As an editorial in The Wall St. Journal stated: “Three days after James Comey’s soliloquy absolving Hillary Clinton of criminal misuse of classified information, the big winner is—James Comey. He often poses as the deliverer of `hard truths,’ and the hard truth is that he has helped himself politically but not the cause of equal treatment under the law.”

Indeed, recommending that Hillary be indicted would have been bad for—ta da—James Comey! “Doing that, however,” the editorial goes on, “would have courted fury among Democrats and their media friends. And if Mrs. Clinton later won the election, Mr. Comey might have had to resign before his 10-year term expires in 2023. Otherwise he’d risk becoming persona non grata as Louis Freeh was under Bill Clinton.”

The entire, protracted, and fraudulent investigation seems now like a dog-and-pony show for the American public. Here, journalist Bill Still says that during Hillary’s interview with the FBI, not only was Comey not present, but it wasn’t recorded and she was not under oath!

THE PERSUASION FACTOR

Let’s take another upstanding guy, the once-esteemed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, conservative John Roberts. Did I say “conservative”? Silly me. At midnight on Christmas Eve in 2009, the Democrats voted unanimously—without one Republican vote—for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, to inflict the proven-failure of socialized medicine on the American public.

When the constitutionality of the legislation was challenged up to the Supreme Court, a vote of 5-4 affirmed that the individual mandate was constitutional under Congress’s taxation powers. It was Roberts who tipped the balance, sending shockwaves of disbelief throughout the country—much like the reaction to Comey’s incomprehensible decision on Hillary.

At the time, there was talk of Roberts’ “caving” because “someone” had “reached” him and threatened to expose the fact that his two young children had been adopted illegally, a revelation that, if true, would have effectively forced him to resign in ignominy for lying under oath about the adoption. I have no idea if that allegation is true or not, but it made sense to me at the time, particularly because his decision made no sense.

I was also aware of the many allegations listed in websites like Clinton Body Count (and this one too), Bush Body Count, and Obama Body Count, which detail the many people who have gone missing, been killed, had “accidents,” or “committed suicide” under each president’s tenure, the implication being, of course, that each of these chief executives had a personal “hit” squad to, ahem, remove anyone who threatened their tenure in office, or, more seriously, could land them in prison. Oh, let’s not forget the Hillary list compiled by noted radio host Tami Jackson.

Around the time of Comey’s colossal whitewash of Hillary’s email scandal, the prominent former President of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe, died when a barbell dropped on his throat and crushed his larynx. Coincidentally, that very day he was scheduled to testify in a trial about “Chinagate” (of Bill Clinton fame) and, specifically, of the bribery charge against Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, and even more specifically of Hillary’s links to Seng.

I’ve followed the persuasion factor not only through “The Godfather” and other mafia-themed movies, but in real life watching Rudy Giuliani deal with and decimate the mob, first as Associate Attorney General under President Reagan and later as mayor of New York.

It’s really quite simple how the thug culture works, be it in the Mafia or in government: Find out what a person values and then home in on that vulnerability. Isn’t that how ObamaCare passed?

Here Perry Peterson, a retired auditor and tax accountant, documents the many backroom deals that persuaded various politicians to sign on, such as Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson, who was promised the “Cornhusker kickback” that would pay the full price of expanded Medicaid coverage in Nebraska forever, or Senator Mary L. Landrieu’s agreement to sell her vote in the “Louisiana Purchase” for $300,000,000.00 that would flood into her state through added benefits in the ObamaCare bill, on and on and on.

There’s more hardball persuasion, to be sure, like reminding the target that you know that his daughter just moved to an off-campus apartment, or that his wife would feel terrible learning about his girlfriend.

Mmmmm…what “persuasion” could possibly be employed on a rich, successful guy like Comey?

THE CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST FACTOR

Well whaddaya know? According to Investment Watchdog, “It seems that our beloved FBI Director was once a director and board member of HSBC, which is tightly connected to the Clinton Foundation…this is the same HSBC [Swiss bank] that was accused of laundering drug cartel money, was heavily involved in the LIBOR scandal, and who knows what else, and all while our esteemed FBI Director was part of the senior leadership.”

Writer Kim McLendon elaborates upon a report issued by one of the few major whistleblowers about the foundation, Wall St. analyst Charles Ortel, who exposed AIG as well as the massive discrepancies in General Electric’s finances in 2008. Ortel found more massive discrepancies “between what some of the major donors say they gave to the Clinton Foundation…and what the Clinton Foundation said they got from the donors and what they did with it.” The letter he sent to donors, charity regulators, and investigative journalists labeled the charity “the largest charity fraud ever attempted‚Äö that being the network of illegal activities worldwide, whose heart is the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.”

Ortel goes on to say: “The Clinton Foundation…has been part of an international charity fraud whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion measured from 1997 forward. Yet state, federal and foreign government authorities, that should be keenly aware of this massive set of criminal frauds, so far, move at a snail’s pace, perhaps waiting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reveal the scope of its work and the nature of any findings.”

Aha! “Perhaps” the powers-that-be are “waiting for the FBI” to investigate this international con game. And wouldn’t that be one James Comey? Is there indeed a conflict of interest that prevents the esteemed director from looking into this ostensibly criminal enterprise?

Writer Tim Brown says that just because Comey was a Director with HSBC “does not assume corruption.” But it’s notable, he adds, that according to The Guardian, the “Clinton foundation received up to $81 million from clients of controversial HSBC bank.”

In March, Judicial Watch documented the piles of money taken in by The Clinton Foundation, and reported: “Our lawsuit had previously forced the disclosure of documents that provided a road map for over 200 conflict-of-interest rulings that led to at least $48 million in speaking fees for the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

All of this and more led InfoWars reporter Kit Daniels to conclude, “Comey may be on the periphery of Clinton’s use of foreign policy to raise money for her foundation, but his position at HSBC may explain in part why she received kid glove treatment while others accused of similar crimes were prosecuted. His connection, however tenuous, should be reason enough to revisit the case and appoint a special prosecutor, as Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona has demanded.”

According to a report by Investors Research Dynamics, “in 2003, Comey became the deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice (DOJ). In 2005 he signed on to serve as general counsel and senior vice president at defense contractor Lockheed Martin. In 2010 he joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment fund, as its general counsel. On September 4, 2013, James B. Comey was sworn in as the seventh Director of the FBI. Talk about the revolving door in and out of government! A shill for the private defense industry and later a Wall Street investment firm, two of the groups that support Hillary’s ascent to the Throne.”

Meanwhile, last month, the IRS preempted the FBI by launching an investigation into what appears to be a full-blown, multi-tentacled criminal enterprise that spans the globe. Was this timed to let Comey slither away untarnished?

Is that why Comey failed to ask Hillary even one question about her Foundation and its seemingly nefarious Kremlin connections? About the indictments (as reported by Michael Sainato) of several of her super-delegates for corruption and ethics violations involving huge sums of money? Of her closest aides for funny money vis-a-vis the Clinton Foundation? About the 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state? About State Department favors for weapons manufacturers and foreign governments? How about how Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta bagged $35 million but failed to fully disclose this windfall, or about how Hillary showed remarkable disinterest in going after the murderous butchers of Boko Haram (as reported by Mindy Belz and J.C. Derrick in WORLD Magazine) because, allegedly, millions of dollars in donations were given to the Clinton Foundation by Nigerian billionaires with oil interests in northern Nigeria? On and on and on.

And is it not relevant that Comey’s brother, Peter Comey, works at the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation’s taxes?

Do any of these (and other) “dots” connect to Comey? Did he ever wonder if any of the 33-thousand emails that Hillary destroyed involved these explosive subjects? Is he just an incurious guy, or does his high position with HSBC and its oh-so-close Clinton Foundation connection make the conflict-of-interest suggestion too uncomfortably plausible?

THE STINKING FISH FACTOR

Whether it’s in industry or the military or sports or show business, if failure occurs, it’s always the top dog who is accountable. Not the assembly line worker or the buck private or the third baseman who calls the shots, but the one who occupies the ultimate seat of power. Look at what happened at the Democratic National Committee…the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Communications, and Chairwoman all resigned because of the hacking that proved the DNC to be both crooked and racist.

That is why they say that the fish stinks from the head, or, in the DNC case, the hydra-headed monster. And the same is true in politics. Which may be the real reason why Comey punted, taking the coward’s way out in steadfastly refusing to do what both the law and morality demanded of him.

No matter how you look at Hillary’s email scandal, as well as the murders of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods in Benghazi—and for all we know, a dozen paths to the Clinton Foundation—they all led directly to the Oval Office and its former occupant, one Barack Obama. Reminds me of the cards in a Monopoly game: Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail, Do not Pass Go!

Legal scholar Henry Mark Holzer reminds us that,” Hillary was not under oath when she testified before Comey’s FBI investigators. Seems to get her off the hook, doesn’t it? But under 18 United States Code Section 1001, it is a five-year felony to lie to an FBI agent (and other government officials) about a material fact relevant to an investigation. The federal criminal dockets are loaded with convictions of people who beat the underlying charge only to be convicted of an 18 USC 1001 offense. If Hillary loses the election, keep an eye out for an Obama pardon, to choke off a retributive indictment by a Trump Department of Justice. There is a long road ahead for Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton before the statutes of limitations expire on her crimes.”

Whether or not it’s the stinking fish factor or something else that compelled James Comey to cave to the Obama Justice Department and the Clinton Machine will be for historians to determine. Personally, however, I can’t imagine a man of James Comey’s stature tolerating the fact that history will include obituaries of him that state in their opening paragraphs that he was the first Director of the FBI who took a fall—and now the second FBI Director in history to be fired!

A Modern Day Gideon: Is President Donald J. Trump a ‘mighty warrior’ who is delivering us from evil?

 Washington Times column titled “Evangelicals, under fire, still stand by Trump” wrote:

Evangelicals have been taking quite a hit in the media for standing by President Donald Trump.

But why should they?

Simply put: Putting those of faith in a box and expecting they only support the candidates who meet the moral codes and standards imposed by the media — the morally adrift media — means they’d never vote.

And very likely, that’s exactly where the media like to see those of faith — cowering in corners, afraid to be called hypocritical for daring to stand by a politico who’s been accused of impropriety.

But the campaign’s not working.

To this day, evangelicals are still supporting Trump. [Emphasis added]

The anti-Trump media is trying to drive a wedge between those of faith and President Trump. As we pointed out in our recent column “A Wedge: An Adversary’s Most Powerful Tool“:

Divisions are used to gain power over others. Many create a division when there is none. Division is used to start wars, oppress one group, pit one group against another group. Division is the most powerful tool ever created.

The way one begins to create divisiveness is to use a wedge.

We read about wedge issues every day via the media, in newspapers, on television, in our neighborhood and within families. Wedge issues are used in politics, business, by organizations and even between religions.

Chuck Swindoll in his overview of the Book of Judges notes:

The time of the judges brought about great apostasy in Israel. The nation underwent political and religious turmoil as the people tried to possess those parts of the land that had not yet been fully conquered. The tribes fought among themselves, as well, nearly wiping out the tribes of Manasseh (Judges 12) and Benjamin (20–21).

The pattern of behavior in the book of Judges is clear: the people rebelled through idolatry and disbelief, God brought judgment through foreign oppression, God raised up a deliverer—or judge, and the people repented and turned back to God. When the people fell back into sin, the cycle started over again. [Emphasis added]

The primary message of Judges is that God will not allow sin to go unpunished

President Trump may be the modern day Gideon who delivered the Israelites from evil. In Chapters 6-8 of Judges God sends a messenger, an angel, to Gideon. God’s message is:

11 The angel of the Lord came and sat down under the oak in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, where his son Gideon was threshing wheat in a wine press to keep it from the Midianites. 12 When the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon, he said, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” [Emphasis added]

On November 8, 2016 Evangelicals and Americans were looking for a mighty warrior. Did God deliver Trump, a flawed man like Gideon, to save America from “the people [who] rebelled through idolatry and disbelief?” Has Washington, D.C. turned it’s back on God? Has America experienced foreign oppression?

Has God raised up a deliverer, a judge, in the most unexpected of men, Donald J. Trump?

How else to you explain his miraculous win? How else do you explain the hateful arrows slung against him?

God gave Gideon a small army of 300 to defeat the enemies of Israel. Are Evangelicals his small army?

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The Problem of Identity Politics and Its Solution

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A Wedge: An Adversary’s Most Powerful Tool

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of President Donald Trump speaking at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Road To Majority conference in Washington, Thursday, June 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Mueller Investigates $150K Donation to Trump From Ukrainian Who Gave Clintons $13 Million

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation from a Ukrainian businessman to President Donald Trump’s charity in 2015, according to a new report.

The donation from steel magnate Victor Pinchuk pales in comparison to contributions he gave to the charity set up by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The billionaire has contributed $13 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2006 and had access to Hillary Clinton while she served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

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Mueller, who is not investigating the Clintons, is conducting a broad investigation of Trump, including the flow of foreign money into various Trump-controlled entities.

Mueller began investigating the Pinchuk donation after receiving documents in response to a subpoena issued to the Trump Organization—the real estate company Trump ran before entering politics.

In September 2015, Trump appeared via video link at a conference Pinchuk hosted in Kyiv. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, negotiated details of the event with Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, a former consultant for Bill Clinton, according to The New York Times.

Trump did not initially request payment for the appearance, but Cohen contacted Schoen at one point to request a $150,000 honorarium, the Times reported.

In a seemingly unrelated matter, the FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan office and residence Monday. The search reportedly was conducted for records related to Cohen’s payments to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic movie star who says she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006.

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation issued a statement to the Times, downplaying the donation to Trump. The charity reached out to Trump and other world leaders to “promote strengthened and enduring ties between Ukraine and the West,” it said.

Contact with Trump came at a time when “it was by no means assured that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016,” the foundation pointed out.

Pinchuk appears to have had a much closer relationship to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In June 2012, the billionaire attended a dinner at the Clintons’ residence. And through Schoen, Pinchuk lobbied the State Department in 2011 and 2013.

Documents filed with the Justice Department show Schoen and Pinchuk met on several occasions in 2012 with Melanne Verveer, a close Clinton associate who then served as an ambassador at large for global women’s issues.

Bill Clinton attended Pinchuk’s annual Yalta conference, The New York Times reported on Feb. 13, 2014. Pinchuk also attended the former president’s 65th birthday party in Los Angeles.

The FBI reportedly investigated the Clinton Foundation over its foreign donations. The status of that investigation is unclear.

COMMENTARY BY

Chuck Ross

Twitter: @ChuckRossDC

Chuck Ross is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Hillary Clinton delivering her concession speech after the presidential election as husband Bill Clinton applauds Nov. 9, 2016, in the New Yorker Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/UPI/Newscom). Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

I Questioned Mark Zuckerberg. What Concerns Me Most About Facebook’s Handling of Personal Data.

The history and growth of Facebook mirrors that of many of our technology giants.

Founded by Mark Zuckerberg in 2004, Facebook has exploded over the past 14 years. Facebook currently has 2.13 billion monthly active users across the world, more than 25,000 employees, and offices in 13 U.S. cities and various other countries.

Like its expanding user base, the data collected on Facebook users has also skyrocketed. It has moved on from schools, likes, and relationship statuses. Today, Facebook has access to dozens of data points, ranging from ads you’ve clicked on, events you’ve attended, and your location based on your mobile device.

It is no secret that Facebook makes money off this data through advertising revenue, although many seem confused by, or altogether unaware, of this fact. Facebook generated $40 billion in revenue in 2017, with about 98 percent coming from advertising across Facebook and Instagram.

Significant data collection is also occurring at Google, Twitter, Apple, and Amazon. An ever-expanding portfolio of products and services offered by these companies grant endless opportunities to collect increasing amounts of information on their customers.

As we get more free, or extremely low-cost, services, the trade-off for the American consumer is to provide more personal data.

The potential for further growth and innovation based on the collection of data is limitless. However, the potential for abuse is significant.

While the contours of the Cambridge Analytica situation are still coming to light, there was clearly a breach of consumer trust and a likely improper transfer of data. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a separate hearing exploring Cambridge and other data privacy issues.

More importantly though, these events have ignited a larger discussion on consumers’ expectations and the future of data privacy in our society. It has exposed that consumers may not fully understand or appreciate the extent to which their data is collected, protected, transferred, used, and misused.

Data has been used in advertising and political campaigns for decades. The amount and types of data obtained, however, has seen a dramatic change.

Campaigns, including those of Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, all used these increasing amounts of data to focus on micro-targeting and personalization over numerous social media platforms, especially Facebook.

In fact, Obama’s campaign developed an app utilizing the same Facebook feature as Cambridge Analytica to capture the information of not just the apps users, but millions of their friends. The digital director for Obama for America 2012 described the data-scraping app as something that would “wind up being the most groundbreaking piece of technology developed for this campaign.”

The effectiveness of these social media tactics can be debated, but their use over the past years across the political spectrum and their increased significance cannot.

Our policy toward data privacy and security must keep pace with these changes. Data privacy should be tethered to consumer needs and expectations.

At a minimum, consumers must have the transparency necessary to make informed decisions about whether to share their data and how it can be used. Consumers ought to have clear information, not opaque policies and complex click-through consent pages.

The tech industry has an obligation to respond to widespread and growing concerns over data privacy and security and to restore the public trust. The status quo no longer works.

Moreover, Congress must determine if and how we need to strengthen privacy standards to ensure transparency and understanding for the billions of consumers who utilize these products.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Sen. Chuck Grassley

Chuck Grassley is a Republican senator from Iowa and serves as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

VIDEO: Ted Cruz Grills Mark Zuckerberg Over Facebook’s Political Bias, Censorship

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spared over political bias and censorship during the Senate’s hearing Tuesday. Lawmakers questioned Zuckerberg about the social media company and its handling of user data. Cruz specifically asked if Facebook considers itself a neutral public forum. A full transcript of their exchange is below.

Cruz: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Zuckerberg, thank you for being here. Mr. Zuckerberg, does Facebook consider itself a neutral public forum?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, we consider ourselves to be a platform for all ideas.”

Cruz: “Let me ask the question again. Does Facebook consider itself to be a neutral public forum? And representatives of your company have given conflicting answers on this. Are you a First Amendment speaker expressing your views, or are you a neutral public forum allowing everyone to speak?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, here is how we think about this: I don’t believe that – there is certain content that clearly we do not allow. Right? Hate speech, terrorist content, nudity, anything that makes people feel unsafe in the community. From that perspective, that’s why we generally try to refer to what we do as a platform for all ideas.”

Cruz: “Because the time is constrained, it’s just a simple question. The predicate for Section 230 immunity under the CDA is that you are a neutral public forum. Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum, or are you engaged in political speech? Which is your right under the First Amendment.”

Zuckerberg: “Well, Senator, our goal is certainly not to engage in political speech. I’m not that familiar with the specific legal language of the law that you speak to, so I would need to follow up with you on that. I’m just trying to lay out how broadly I think about this.”

Cruz: “Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a great many Americans, who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook. In May of 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposefully and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck. In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day’ page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently, blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, ‘unsafe to the community.’ To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, let me say a few things about this. First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely Left leaning place. And this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”

Cruz: “So let me ask this question. Are you aware of any ad or page that has been taken down from Planned Parenthood?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I’m not. But let me just, can I finish?”

Cruz: “How about MoveOn.org?”

Zuckerberg: “Sorry?”

Cruz: “How about MoveOn.org?”

Zuckerberg: “I’m not specifically aware of those.”

Cruz: “How about any Democratic candidate for office?”

Zuckerberg: “I’m not specifically aware. I mean, I’m not sure.”

Cruz: “In your testimony, you say that you have 15,000 to 20,000 people working on security and content review. Do you know the political orientation of those 15,000 to 20,000 people engaged in content review?”

Zuckerberg: “No, Senator. We do not generally ask people about their political orientation when they’re joining the company.”

Cruz: “So as CEO, have you made hiring or firing decisions based on political positions or what candidates they supported?”

Zuckerberg: “No.”

Cruz: “Why was Palmer Luckey fired?”

Zuckerberg: “That is a specific personnel matter that seems like it would be inappropriate to speak to here.”

Cruz: “You made a specific representation that you didn’t make decisions based on political views. Is that accurate?”

Zuckerberg: “I can commit that it was not because of a political view.”

Cruz: “Do you know of the 15,000 to 20,000 people engaged in content review, how many, if any, have ever supported financially a Republican candidate for office?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I do not know that.”

Cruz: “Your testimony says, ‘It is not enough that we just connect people. We have to make sure those connections are positive.’ It says, ‘We have to make sure people aren’t using their voice to hurt people or spread misinformation. We have a responsibility not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.’ Mr. Zuckerberg, do you feel it’s your responsibility to assess users whether they are good and positive connections or ones those 15,000 to 20,000 people deem unacceptable or deplorable?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, you’re asking about me personally?”

Cruz: “Facebook.”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I think that there are a number of things that we would all agree are clearly bad. Foreign interference in our elections, terrorism, self-harm. Those are things…”

Cruz: “I’m talking about censorship.”

Zuckerberg: “Oh, well, I think that you would probably agree we should remove terrorist propaganda from the service. So that I agree, I think is clearly bad activity that we want to get down and we are generally proud of how well we do with that. Now, what I can say, and I do want to get this in before the end here, is that I am very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas. That is a very important, founding principle of what we do. We’re proud of the discourse and different ideas that people can share on the service, and that is something that as long as I’m running the company, I’m going to be committed to making sure is the case.”

Cruz: “Thank you.”

COMMENTARY BY

Video Team

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

To Whom It May Confirm: Groups Appeal to Senate on Pompeo

It would be difficult not to be impressed with a man who graduated at the top of his class at West Point, earned a degree from Harvard Law, built a successful business career, served his country — and Congress. Even the most relentless of Democrats would have a tough time poking holes in a résumé like that. But on Thursday, when Mike Pompeo sits before the Senate and defends his qualifications to be the next Secretary of State, liberals will still try.

Of course, the Democrats’ problem with Pompeo isn’t his credentials — it’s his convictions. From his early days in the House to his job at the CIA, Mike’s opponents know that he’s never been easily intimidated. When it comes to protecting America’s interests or the values he cares about, Pompeo — like the president — is fearless. He stands up for what’s right, regardless which way the political winds are blowing. And Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), for one, thinks that’s exactly what our nation needs. “…Director Pompeo is clear-eyed and hard-nosed about the threats we face, and he speaks in the direct, blunt manner of a man who has no time to waste when confronting those threats,” he said.

After the mess President Obama made of America’s reputation and its relationships, Mike would be the powerful presence this administration needs to get our diplomatic efforts back on track. In a letter to Senate leadership, a coalition of 49 groups talked about one of the most important facets of that work: reviving the department’s work on international religious liberty. “Mr. Pompeo,” the group writes to Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Chuck Schumer, “is a strong nominee who will make international religious freedom a foreign policy priority — a matter which is especially important given that we now know religious freedom, long protected for its own sake, is also intricately connected to the security and prosperity of nations themselves.” As we’ve said for years, the only path to long-term peace is making religious freedom a foreign policy priority. Mike Pompeo understands that.

If you ask most conservatives, one of the greatest tragedies of the Obama years was watching the president turn the State Department into the global headquarters of LGBT propaganda. With an army of 75,000 employees, he set out to convert “unenlightened” countries to his brand of cultural extremism. Now, more than a year into Donald Trump’s term, it’s no wonder that groups like GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign are up in arms about Pompeo’s nomination. They can’t stand the idea of ending these social distractions and returning the agency to its true purpose.

Unfortunately, Obama’s obsession with LGBT issues didn’t just come at the expense of America’s relationships or taxpayer dollars. It also cost the agency any real progress on religious liberty. And unlike Obama’s off-mission social engineering, protecting and promoting our First Freedom is a stated goal of Congress under the International Religious Freedom Act. Besides, the coalition reminds Senate leaders, “Promoting religious freedom is simply good foreign policy. Indeed, one of the pillars of our National Security Strategy, recognizing ‘the hope of every soul to live in freedom,” is to ‘advance American influence’ by ‘protect[ing] religious freedom and religious minorities.'” With Ambassador Sam Brownback in place and a secretary of State as committed Mike Pompeo, the millions of suffering men and women of faith around the world would finally get the help they need. Contact your senators and urge them to support Mike Pompeo’s nomination.

For more on how Mike Pompeo could transform the culture at the Department of State, click over to my new op-ed in Fox News.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC Action senior writers.


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State Department Needs Mike Pompeo

Haley’s Comment: Ambassador Takes China to Task

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FRC in the Spotlight…

Elections Have Consequences for the 2020 Census

By Jay O’ Callaghan

As former President Obama once told a group of House Republicans after his election, “Elections have consequences… and at the end of the day, I won. So, I think on that one I trump you.” That mainly describes the situation as the Census Bureau prepares the final list of questions for the 2020 census which must be sent to Congress for its approval.

The result has been the elimination of the Obama Census Bureau’s recommendations for two new complicated artificial questions for racial categories based on geography – Middle Eastern North African (MENA) and ethnicity – Hispanic-Latino, as well as a complex new sex question for those identifying themselves as LGBT persons.

The Trump administration, even, without a director at the helm of the Bureau, has proposed so far, a simpler more common sense set of questions similar to previous censuses with a few refinements. The Justice Department has proposed only one new major question for the main 2020 census form asking about citizenship. This question was recently approved by Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross.

Middle Eastern-North African (MENA) Region

The dilemma faced by those who are trying to improve what they believe is an Hispanic undercount (in the questions used for the last forty years) is described by Jomaira Salas Pujols, a sociology Ph.D. student at Rutgers University and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program fellow recently in the Huffington Post.

Since 1970 “the U.S. Census Bureau has had two questions about race and ethnicity on the main form which is filled out by everyone. The two-question format first asks respondents to identify if they are “Hispanic or Latino,” and then prompts them to select their race: “American Indian and Alaska Native,” “Asian,” “Black or African American,” “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander,” “White,” or “some other race.”

Pujols points out that “many scholars and other experts had hoped that in the 2020 census, the bureau would change the format to one question by eliminating the ethnicity category and making “Hispanic/Latino” a new racial category. The advantage of this change, experts argued, would be to decrease the number of Latinos who select “some other race,” therefore capturing more accurate data about Latinos as a group.”

Pujols concedes that “there are good reasons to keep the two-part format, especially if Latinos like my father (who is Black and Latino) can be convinced to answer the question in a way that rejects internalized anti-blackness, and reflects their experiences as black Latinos. Latino is not a race, it is an ethnicity. Ethnicity describes a person’s culture, language, heritage and geography. Race, on the other hand, is about how others see us.”

In response to the concerns of scholars like Pujols, the Bureau will ask those who chose the “Black” racial category on their census forms to submit more information about their origins in 2020. They will be asked to add if they are also African-American, Nigerian, Ethiopian, etc. According to NPR, “the Census Bureau has reportedly attempting to respond to calls for more detailed disaggregated data for our diverse American experiences”.

The new suggested format also links specific origins under other race choices. For example, under the “White” choice, they can choose sample ancestries such as German, Irish, English, Italian, Lebanese and Egyptian. This will permit better choices for those from Middle Eastern countries. Respondents will also be allowed to mark one or more choices.

Samer Khalaf, president of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, expressed concern that the MENA racial category was not adopted by the Bureau because it might reduce government funding as well as the political power of Arab Americans. The ancestry question will still be asked on the American Community Survey, which will provide similar data on Arab Americans as it has in the past. As indicated above, the “White” category will be changed to provide data on Americans from Middle Eastern countries.

“For example, the social service organisation is providing social care to the Arab-American community and [finds] it hard to find funding. [It has] no way of giving that government entity how many Arab Americans they will be servicing.” He is also pointed out that “every ten years, each state divides up which areas congressmen are going to represent. They look at racial numbers and ethnic numbers. By stating that Arabs are white and not distinct on their own, this causes great disparities in statistics”

Even Khalad admits that there was a split with some Arab Americans considering themselves white while others do not. “There is also the big question of whether we are an ethnicity or a race. I don’t consider myself from the white race even though my skin tone is light,” he said. “There is a consolation prize in that we can identify ourselves as ‘Egyptian’ or ‘Lebanese’ but this is still not going to be very accurate.” Also, some Arab Americans said they were worried about the MENA category because it could help the government surveil their community.

A recent controversy about an Asian Data Disaggregation bill in Massachusetts raises questions about whether Asian-Americans support dividing Americans into ethnic subgroups. The bill requires all state agencies and entities created by the state identify Asian-Americans, and only Asian-Americans, based on their national origin or ancestry.

The Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight voted on Feb. 7 to postpone consideration of the bill and instead “establish a special commission to study the feasibility and impact of directing state agencies to collect disaggregated demographic data for all ethnic and racial groups, as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau. The commission would submit its recommendations by December 31.”

George Shen, a naturalized American citizen from China and an associate partner at IBM in Cambridge, opposes the commission pointing out in an article in The Patriot-Ledger that “the state government’s attempt to divide ethnic groups based on national origin is counterproductive and even detrimental to the fight against deep-rooted racism. Our country has a shameful history of discrimination and xenophobia, from the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 to the Japanese American internment during World War II, and even today, the hidden Asian quota in many top American colleges and universities which reminds us of the Jewish quota in 1920s.”

Shen adds that “it’s not surprising that since the bill was introduced, racial tensions, anxieties, angers and resentments have been running high in many communities. There were half a dozen protests and demonstrations held in the last six months by concerned constituents and an overwhelming number of emails and calls to their representatives. Quite contrary to the original goals … the bill created a deep division and animosities between different ethnic minority groups.”

He quoted President Theodore Roosevelt’s forgotten warning that, “the one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

Shen concluded that “we must stop subdividing and segregating people. With a common set of values, principles, beliefs, and ideals, and a culture which sets us apart from the rest of the world, we shall call ourselves Americans and focus on our shared destiny and shared citizenship. The Legislature must say no to the rise of identity politics, tribalism, favoritism based on race and ethnicity, to ‘a tangle of squabbling nationalities’ and to the divisive and harmful ethnic profiling based on national origin once and for all.”


ABOUT JAY O’CALLAGHAN

Jay O’Callaghan has worked extensively with issues involving the U.S. Census Bureau including serving as a professional staff member for the House Government Reform Census Subcommittee, as a senior legislative analyst for the Florida House of Representatives Redistricting Committee and for two U.S. House members. He is also a contributor to SFPPR News & Analysis, of the Conservative-Online-Journalism center at the Washington-based Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research.

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FBI Seizes Website Linked to Sex Trafficking — Owners Donated to Hillary and Pelosi

The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra in a column titled “FBI Seizes Website Linked To Sex Crimes; Owners Donated To Democrats” reports:

On Friday, the U.S. government seized Backpage.com as part of a law enforcement action by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies after the site came under intense legal scrutiny for allegations of facilitating sex trafficking and underage prostitution.

An FBI official said that there was “law enforcement activity” at the home of Michael Lacey, one of the website’s founders, at his home in Arizona, Reuters reported. The seizure banner on the website stated:

backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.

Other agencies participating in and supporting the enforcement action include the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the office of the California Attorney General, and the office of the Texas Attorney General.

[ … ]

The owners of the website have given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats in recent years, including a Super PAC backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the failed presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for governor in Arizona David Garcia, and the Arizona Democratic Party.

Read Saavedra’s full article here.

LAUNCHED: Letters from the Facebook Jail

A new Facebook page has been launched. It appeals to those who have been temporarily blocked from Facebook by its security team.

The page is titled “Letters from the Facebook Jail.

Letters From The Facebook Jail writes:

On April 16, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King wrote his Letter from Birmingham Jail, also known as the Letter from Birmingham City Jail and The Negro Is Your Brother. The letter defends the strategy of nonviolent resistance to racism.

This Community, founded 55-years later on April 16, 2018, is dedicated to the strategy of nonviolent resistance to censorship by social media. These Letters From The Facebook Jail will tell the stories that others will not tell.

As George Orwell wrote in his book 1984, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.“

Our mission is to contest the uncontested absurdities. We Call BS!

This new Facebook page was created as more and more users of Facebook began to realize that they were being blocked from posting on friends pages and even from commenting. The inspiration for Letters From The Facebook Jail came from the incident at YouTube. 

It now appears that the incident at YouTube was caused in part by Google blocking the account of Nasim Najafi Aghdam. Nasim entered the headquarters of YouTube. She then began shooting at staff before taking her own life.

Censorship can have deadly consequences.

Please visit and like Letters From The Facebook Jail.

Trump on pace to break record of lowest refugee resettlement numbers since 1980 law enacted

We have now reached the six month mark of the first full fiscal year of the Trump presidency and Trump could easily break the Bush record set in 2002 of 27,070 refugee admissions for one year. (See post here on the Bush record low years.)

At the six month mark, the Trump Administration operating well under a CEILING of 45,000 refugees, is at 10,548 admitted so far.

Assuming that rate continues for the next six months, Trump could be at 21,000 (give or take a few) for the year, handily smashing President Bush’s record.

Since the nine federal contractors*** are paid on a refugee per head basis for placing the refugees in your towns and cities, they surely are taking big hits to their budgets.

Here is a map from Wrapsnet of where those 10,548 have been placed. Wyoming is the only state in the nation that never signed up to ‘welcome’ refugees and for some unexplained reason, Hawaii gets very few even though the government there has said they welcome diversity!

map top

Screenshot (354)

Sorry numbers are not clearer. They aren’t very clear at the website itself.

Top ten resettlement states are in descending order: OH, TX, NY, WA, CA, PA, AZ, NC, GA, and MN.

Admissions by month for the last ten+ years (Wrapsnet):

wrapsnet by month

The top sending countries so far in FY18 are:

DR Congo (2,569)
Bhutan (1,925)
Burma (1,769)
Ukraine (1,176)
Eritrea (760)

Muslim numbers drastically reduced to 16% of total.

In recent years the Muslim refugees accounted for sometimes as close to half of all refugee admissions. As of April 1, of the 10,548 admitted, 1,725 are Muslims of one sect or another.  (Data maintained at Wrapsnet)

Significant numbers of Muslims are coming in the Burma and DR Congo flow.

Let the President know what you think!

Contact the President by clicking here.

*** The number in parenthesis is the percentage of the nine VOLAGs’ income paid by you (the taxpayer) to place the refugees, line them up with (low paying) jobs in food production and cleaning hotel rooms, and get them signed up for their services!  From most recent accounting, here.

As long as the nine contractors are paid largely by you via Congress and the US Treasury, and then act as community organizing/political agitators, there will never be serious reform of the UN/US Refugee Admissions Program.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

U.S. refugee contractor Miliband says EU countries must step up and take more refugees

UN: Israel to send its illegal aliens to Western countries (oops! cancel that)

Kentucky refugee numbers dip, drop, dwindle

German ‘model’ detention center is former US Army base

How President Trump’s Cool-Headed Response to Austin Bombings Helped Everyone

A marked difference in the Trump administration’s handling of the recent Austin, Texas, bombings was the refusal by federal law enforcement to leap to conclusions that would have driven a partisan, political agenda.

As we’ve seen in the past, the Fort Hood ambush was inaccurately labeled as workplace violence. The Orlando nightclub attack was first characterized as a hate crime.

In both instances, the knee-jerk label of these attacks led to divisive debate and provided distraction, drawing important resources toward these fictitious narratives and away from a quicker resolution.

Despite the push from members of the Congressional Black Caucus to prematurely label these bombings as “ideologically or racially motivated”without any factual basis to do so, thankfully, federal law enforcement instead took a deliberative “measure twice, cut once” approach to addressing the recent attacks in the Lone Star State.

As a former elected prosecutor who has prosecuted hundreds of cases in Texas, I understand the importance of having the facts and evidence drive the investigation, rather than starting from an assumed outcome and working backward to justify that theory.

Had the Austin serial bomber been arrested, instead of killed, this due diligence would have been key to obtaining a conviction.

In past deadly attacks, this rush by elected officials to politicize acts of violence have caused harm beyond the acts themselves. Blame is cast faster than the criminals are caught.

As we saw this month in Austin, discipline in message allowed law enforcement to focus on their jobs, rather than spending time addressing partisan rhetoric.

Members of Congress like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, who sought to turn this tragedy into a divisive issue should learn from President Donald Trump’s leadership, who remained silent and allowed law enforcement to do their jobs until the bomber was killed.

The recent bombings were not only personal to me as a legal expert, but as a Texan who was only 1,200 feet away from the Sunday explosion.

As I kissed the forehead of my sleeping 8-year-old son that evening, the fourth bomb went off. Occurring in our historically peaceful, central Austin neighborhood, the deep boom resembled large fireworks exploding in the distance. With only a few minutes passing, the sounds of sirens and dogs barking filled the ears.

Overnight and into the next day was surreal. While police helicopters circled overhead, we read the stream of neighborhood social media posts about the explosion—most speculative and contradictory. At dawn, a quarter of the neighborhood was cordoned off as a crime scene.

My neighbors inside the area were ordered to stay indoors as dozens of law enforcement meticulously walked the area in the daylight looking for shrapnel and clues. Meanwhile, residents turned over home security footage.

Even in this aftermath, Austin law enforcement and the FBI resisted the pressure to rush to conclusions. When the first two Austin victims were identified as African-American, the media jumped to the assumption that these bombings were aimed at targeting prominent black families. But the Caucasian victims of the fourth attack dispelled this myth before it could become the narrative.

The fifth and sixth bombs delivered to FedEx appear even more indiscriminate than first believed. But again, the federal response remained measured.

In seeking to hold accountable and bring to justice those responsible for terror attacks and murders, we cannot forget one of the lessons from the Atlanta Olympics.

On July 27, 1996, an explosion ripped through Centennial Olympic Park, killing one and injuring over 100 people. Richard Jewell, a man who saved many more lives when he found another bomb, was later considered a suspect undergoing “trial by media” with great toll to his personal and professional life.

Jewell’s case is considered an example of the very real damage that can be done by assumptions based on unreliable or incomplete information.

This administration has led well amid this tragedy, and federal law enforcement has wisely heeded these critical lessons from the past. Law enforcement was candid when they did not have all the answers.

This, and the refusal by those involved to rush to judgment, was key for the public to trust this process and show patience. Now that the killer is dead, one of the lessons from this tragedy is how the thoroughness and deliberate speed of this administration’s response aided to bring those responsible swiftly to justice.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Robert Henneke

Robert Henneke is a former elected prosecutor who served as assistant attorney general of Texas. Twitter: .

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo by Alex Edelman/UPI/Newscom.

U.S. Energy Facts

The U.S. Energy Information Administration provides these U.S. Energy Facts:

Americans use many types of energy

Petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy, and nuclear electric power are primary energy sources. Electricity is a secondary energy source that is generated from primary energy sources.

Energy sources are measured in different physical units: liquid fuels in barrels or gallons, natural gas in cubic feet, coal in short tons, and electricity in kilowatts and kilowatthours. In the United States, British thermal units (Btu), a measure of heat energy, is commonly used for comparing different types of energy to each other. In 2016, total U.S. primary energy consumption was about 97.4 quadrillion (1015, or one thousand trillion) Btu.

In 2016, the shares of total primary energy consumption for the five energy-consuming sectors were:

    • Electric power—39%
    • Transportation—29%
    • Industrial—22%
    • Residential—6%
    • Commercial—4%

The electric power sector generates most of the electricity in the United States, and the other four sectors consume most of that electricity.

The pattern of fuel use varies widely by sector. For example, petroleum provides about 92% of the energy used for transportation, but only 1% of the energy used to generate electricity.

Domestic energy production is equal to about 91% of U.S. energy consumption

In 2016, energy produced in the United States was equal to about 83.9 quadrillion Btu, which was equal to about 86% of U.S. energy consumption. The difference between production and consumption was mainly in net imports of petroleum.

The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—accounted for most of the nation’s energy production in 2016:

The mix of U.S. energy production changes

The three major fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have dominated the U.S. energy mix for more than 100 years. Several recent changes in U.S. energy production have occurred:

    • Coal production peaked in 2008 and trended down through 2016. Coal production in 2016 was about the same as production was in 1977. The primary reason for the general decline in coal production in recent years is the decrease in coal consumption for electricity generation.
    • Natural gas production in 2016 was the second largest amount after the record high production in 2015. More efficient and cost-effective drilling and production techniques have resulted in increased production of natural gas from shale formations.
    • Crude oil production generally decreased each year between 1970 and 2008. In 2009, the trend reversed and production began to rise. More cost-effective drilling and production technologies helped to boost production, especially in Texas and North Dakota. In 2016, crude oil production was lower than production in 2015, mainly because of lower global crude oil prices.
    • Natural gas plant liquids (NGPL) are hydrocarbon gas liquids that are extracted from natural gas before the natural gas is put into pipelines for transmission to consumers. NGPL production has increased alongside increases in natural gas production. In 2016, NGPL production reached a record high.
    • Total renewable energy production and consumption both reached record highs of about 10 quadrillion Btu in 2016. Hydroelectric power production in 2016 was about 12% below the 50-year average, but increases in energy production from wind and solar helped to increase the overall energy production from renewable sources. Energy production from wind and solar were at record highs in 2016.

‘I Stand with Laura Ingraham’ Global Twitter Campaign Launched

The Tea Party Patriots Citizens Fund has launched a global Twitter campaign to support Laura Ingraham. In an email the Tea Party Patriots write:

The left is at it again, using bullying tactics to silence their opposition. This time they are attacking Laura Ingraham’s sponsors for her show on Fox News, The Ingraham Angle. Media Matters created a list of advertisers and several left-wing activists are urging their followers to tweet them and pressure them to stop advertising on Ingraham’s show. This is a petty and disgraceful thing for the left to do, but we cannot remain silent.

We have created a list of advertisers as well and we need to send them a message loud and clear that we are conservative Americans, we have a point of view, and we’re tired of the left using bullying tactics to try to silence the programming that we watch or the viewpoints that we hold. We are consumers too and we’re watching which advertisers rollover to the squeaky wheel of the left and will remember when it comes time to make purchasing decisions.

We have made it easy for you to engage on Twitter. Simply visit our website for a list of advertisers to tweet. As longer as you’re logged into your twitter account, all you have to do is click the link to tweet and then click the button to send the tweet. It’s quick and easy and will go a long way to sending a message to corporations that they should think twice before they single out conservatives!

Click here to send your email to encourage companies that stopped advertising on the Ingraham Angle to return to her show.

If you have a Twitter Account You May Fight Back Against the Left’s Bullying Tactics

For each business, you will be tweeting two two messages to them. Here are are samples of what these tweets will look like:

Sample Tweet #1

.@business Notice to all corp ad depts/agencies: I’m a conservative American, I have a point of view, I’m sick/tired of corps being bullied into pulling sponsorships/ads from programming that I watch by ppl who disagree with me. @ingrahamangle #conservativeconsumer

Sample Tweet #2

.@business I’m a consumer too. I don’t jump on Twitter to bully companies when they advertise on prog that I disagree with, but I do remember those that rollover to the squeaky wheel. That weighs into where I decide to spend my money. @ingrahamangle#conservativeconsumer

RELATED ARTICLE: Fox News Stands by Laura Ingraham, Slams ‘Agenda-Driven Intimidation Efforts’

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Conservative talk-radio host Laura Ingraham is a Washington Post photo by Marvin Joseph.