California’s ‘Sanctuary’ Laws Aren’t Pro-Immigrant—and Local Leaders Are Pushing Back

Illegal immigration along America’s Southwest border surged 230 percent in April compared to last year, according to a report issued by the Department of Homeland Security earlier this month. That statistic accompanied news that a caravan of about 2,000 migrants from Central America started arriving at a U.S. port of entry in southern California.

Together, these reports reveal the lack of an orderly and fair process to manage the escalating flow of both illegal immigrants and asylum-seekers to the United States. That flawed system creates both a humanitarian and a national security crisis at our border.

Yet America’s immigration challenge does not end at our doorstep. Because of “sanctuary city” jurisdictions—many recently emboldened by new State laws in California—law enforcement officers face dangerous obstacles to protecting our communities from the effects of a broken immigration system.

Under the guise of being pro-immigrant, these jurisdictions privilege a small group of criminals at the expense of the safety and well-being of American citizens, law enforcement, and law-abiding immigrants.

Here’s how it works. Sanctuary cities are State or local jurisdictions that refuse to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement, often by rejecting “detainer” requests from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or refusing to tell ICE when criminal aliens are scheduled for release. If a suspected illegal alien commits a crime, ICE will issue a detainer to request that the jurisdiction notify ICE prior to releasing the criminal, that the criminal be held for up to 48 hours after their planned release to allow for questioning and possible removal, and that the jurisdiction safely transfer custody to ICE.

State and local law enforcement agencies routinely detain suspects for violating Federal laws at the request of Federal authorities. When sanctuary cities refuse to comply with these requests, law enforcement officers must carry out immigration enforcement duties in workplaces, residences, and in the streets—far more dangerous environments to engage a criminal suspect.

In effect, these jurisdictions assert a special exemption from Federal law. The consequences of their decisions, of course, do not remain in their own backyards. They spill over into other communities across the country.

President Donald J. Trump and other Administration officials have recently highlighted a number of troubling examples:

  • Nery Estrada-Margos was arrested last year in California on charges of inflicting corporal injury to a spouse/cohabitant, only to be released just days later in defiance of Federal immigration authorities. He was arrested a couple of weeks later as a suspect in the murder of his girlfriend, Veronica Cabrera Ramirez.
  • In November 2016, San Francisco Police arrested Santos Lopez-Avila for possession of cocaine for sale and other charges. Lopez had been deported three times and had previous convictions relating to drug dealing. Last year, he was arrested again in San Francisco, whose authorities did not honor ICE’s request for a detainer. He remains at-large.
  • New York City Police arrested Kendel Felix, a citizen of St. Lucia and a national of the United Kingdom, on various criminal charges in 2012 and 2013. Despite an immigration detainer lodged by ICE, he was released in April 2013. He was convicted in September 2016 of a kidnapping/abduction resulting in death.
  • San Francisco Police arrested an illegal alien and alleged gang member more than 10 times between 2013 and 2017 for charges including rape, assault, and robbery. ICE requested to have the individual transferred to its custody multiple times. On each occasion, that request was denied.

“The State of California is sheltering dangerous criminals in a brazen and lawless attack on our Constitutional system of government,” President Trump said. “Every state in our Union is subject to the laws and Constitution of the United States.”

To that end, the Department of Justice has filed legal action against three California laws. These policies intentionally obstruct the enforcement of Federal immigration law, regulate private entities that seek to cooperate with Federal authorities, and impede consultation and communication between Federal and State officials. The laws both endanger State residents and introduce confusion for local law enforcement.

“We constantly have to second-guess ourselves,” Capt. Derrick Hesselein, commander of the Santa Rita Jail in California, told The Washington Post.

On May 16, President Trump met with local California officials at the White House to discuss their recent efforts to push back against California’s “sanctuary state” status. Many of these community leaders underscored that they are bound first and foremost to the U.S. Constitution, not California State law. Their goal is simple: protect their constituents.

“They’re releasing these criminals, not by their houses. They’re not releasing them by their houses. They’re releasing them by our houses,” San Jacinto Mayor Crystal Ruiz said. “Every day we’re getting more and more reports from the police department about how they can’t arrest these people.”

While the Administration is taking every step in its power to confront the danger of sanctuary cities, Attorney General Jeff Sessions once again called on Congress to pass real, lasting immigration reform.

“This is the year that we have to move Congress,” the Attorney General said, citing efforts to clear the hurdles that prevent law enforcement officers from doing their job. “This time, let’s not come up short.”

RELATED STUDY: MS-13 Resurgence: Immigration Enforcement Needed to Take Back Our Streets

RELATED ARTICLE: Donald Trump: We Need Merit-Based Immigration to Fill Jobs in Growing Economy

Our ‘Cold Civil War’ Over 2 Constitutions

The United States is more than politically polarized amid a “cold civil war” over the meaning of the Constitution, constitutional scholar Charles Kesler said Tuesday.

Kesler, editor of the Claremont Review of Books, spoke as part of a panel discussion on “The State of the Constitution” during the 2018 Bradley Symposium at The Heritage Foundation.

“Underlying this cold civil war is the fact that increasingly America is torn between two Constitutions,” said Kesler, also a senior fellow with the Claremont Institute and distinguished professor of government at Claremont McKenna College. “Where it ends up then is some form of crisis, a crisis of the two Constitutions, a crisis towards which we are approaching if not yet hurtling, but which has no very good end available to us.”

Kesler outlined five possible ways to resolve the cold civil war.

One is to change the subject. Another is to change minds through persuasion, until one side wins. A third is a “reinvigorated federalism” that allows blue states and red states to address issues differently and coexist with minimal interference from the U.S. government. The others are more undesirable: secession or war.

“It’s possible we could agree to disagree in separate countries,” Kesler said. “Although that would be extremely difficult because succession, as we know from our history, leads to the fifth and final possibility—war.”

He described one Constitution, the original 1787 document as amended, as steeped in natural rights and limited government. This one, he said, is also the “conservatives’ Constitution.”

The other one is the “living Constitution,” or what he called “the liberals’ Constitution.”

“The living Constitution implies that the other Constitution is a dead Constitution, or at least is on life support, and that it must be transformed, it must be infused with new meaning, new ends and to some degree new means and institutions, to be kept alive in order to be a vital part of our politics,” Kesler said.

President Woodrow Wilson was one of the first to use the term “living Constitution” to suggest it changes with the times, Kesler said.

“A formula for the old Constitution was it was unchanging precisely because it was designed to keep the times in tune with the Constitution,” Kesler said. “The new Constitution is designed to keep the Constitution in tune with the times as much as possible.”

The “cold civil war” erupted when conservatives fought back, he said:

The conservatives who began an epic campaign against the inevitable emergency of the living Constitution had in common the desire, the duty to oppose the gradual disappearance of limited government from American political life. When it became clear in the ’50s and especially in the ’60s that the surrender was off, the cold civil war was on.

A part of the expanding federal government not identified under the Constitution comes in the form of independent enforcement agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Election Commission, and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, among others, said Robert Alt, president of the Buckeye Institute, a conservative think tank based in Ohio.

Alt said that Congress and the courts have been far too deferential to federal agencies that bring charges and adjudicate matters.

Congress is largely to blame for expanding executive power, said Christopher DeMuth, a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute.

“A lot of seizure of power in the Obama years, and we can find some in the Bush years as well, [was] simply going with the flow of congressional delegation of lawmaking power to the executive branch,” said DeMuth, a former president of the American Enterprise Institute. “They were wrong, but in a sense, they were understandable.”

In what might seem out of step with most commentary about President Donald Trump’s nontraditional presidency, DeMuth said Trump represents a “return to normalcy.”

“Every president and every regulatory agency in modern times sometimes oversteps the bounds of the authorities given to them by congressional statutory law,” DeMuth said, adding:

President Obama and his regulatory agencies made it an open and notorious practice, a matter of routine, something that affected the biggest decision of President Obama’s second term, so that many of us thought during his second term that we might be evolving—seriously—in the direction of a government by presidential decree.

The Trump administration has been a return to normalcy, at least [to] the situation before Obama or late Bush administration, and then some. Not only has the Trump administration withdrawn many of the Obama administration’s most brazen extrastatutory ventures such as the Clean Power Plan, but in two critical cases, President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals decree and his expenditure of billions of dollars for Obamacare cost-sharing expenditures without any congressional appropriation whatsoever, in these two cases, he has withdrawn them and sent them back to Congress.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLE: Podcast: As Seattle Passes Head Tax, Left’s Civil War on Full Display

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

Catholic Therapist Fired Because Of Her Religious Beliefs On Marriage, Lawsuit Filed

ANN ARBOR, MI – Kathleen Lorentzen, a Catholic and licensed clinical social worker was told by her supervisor that she had to be “a social worker first and a Catholic second,” and was fired because she refused to compromise the Catholic faith which teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman. Mrs. Lorentzen had an exemplary employment record of providing psychological counseling for over 20 years to a diverse group of patients. But despite her outstanding record, her former employer, HealthSource Saginaw (“HealthSource”), located in Michigan, terminated her.

The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national nonprofit public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, filed a federal lawsuit on Friday, May 11, against HealthSource on behalf of Mrs. Lorentzen for violation of civil rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as well as Michigan state law.

TMLC Senior Trial Counsel Tyler Brooks said,

“This case shows that people of faith are under assault in the workplace. The fact is, however, that Christians need not choose between their faith and their jobs. Despite what many would have us believe, discrimination against Christians is a civil rights violation that will subject employers to legal liability.”

The events that led to Mrs. Lorentzen’s termination began after she was referred a gay couple seeking marriage counseling, whom she saw on two occasions last summer. Though Mrs. Lorentzen has counseled many gay patients in her career, she felt that she could not see this couple any further for marriage counseling because doing so would violate her religious beliefs and practices regarding the sanctity of marriage as the union between one man and one woman.

Mrs. Lorentzen’s supervisor, though, became angry with her when she asked to refer the couple to another therapist, as was her right under Title VII. Federal civil rights law generally requires employers to reasonably accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs so long as doing so would not impose an undue hardship. In this case, the couple could have easily been referred to another therapist.

After this initial meeting, Mrs. Lorentzen was called into a second meeting with the same supervisor as well as HealthSource’s outpatient manager. In this meeting, Mrs. Lorentzen was aggressively interrogated about her faith and her work at HealthSource. At one point, one of the men dismissively referred to the teachings of the Catholic Church by saying, “They are just priests.”

Soon thereafter, Mrs. Lorentzen received a letter in the mail informing her that she was being terminated in 30 days. As described in the complaint, the decision to terminate Mrs. Lorentzen was based on her religion as well as her request for an accommodation under the law and her opposition to being discriminated against on the basis of her religion.

Click here to read the full complaint.

Supreme Court Rules for Federalism in Sports Betting Case

On Monday, the Supreme Court struck down a federal law that prevented states from legalizing sports betting in Murphy v. NCAA. The ruling struck a blow against federal overreach and restored to states the power to set their own policies related to gambling.

The court ruled 7-2, with Justice Stephen Breyer joining all but one part of the majority opinion. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented, joined by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and, in part, Breyer.

For the past half-century, most states have barred sports betting, and in 1992, Congress passed the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act, which makes it unlawful for states to “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize by law … a lottery, sweepstakes, or other betting, gambling, or wagering scheme based” on competitive sports.

In short, the law prevented states from passing new laws or repealing old ones, with the goal of keeping sports betting illegal in most states. The law grandfathered in four states (including Nevada) and also gave the state of New Jersey a one-year window to legalize sports betting.

New Jersey waited until 2011, when the voters passed a constitutional amendment authorizing the state Legislature to legalize sports betting in Atlantic City. When the Legislature passed such a law in 2012, the NCAA and professional sports leagues immediately challenged it, and a federal district court halted its implementation under the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act.

Then in 2014, the state tried another tactic. The Legislature passed a law repealing an earlier law that barred sports betting. Under the new law, betting would be allowed in Atlantic City for sporting events that did not take place in New Jersey or involve New Jersey collegiate teams.

The NCAA and professional sports leagues challenged the 2014 law—and that’s the subject of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Murphy v. NCAA.

The court agreed with New Jersey that the federal law violates the Constitution.

Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito explained that the 10th Amendment of the Constitution “with[e]ld from Congress the power to issue orders directly to the States.” Known as the anti-commandeering doctrine, this structural constitutional principle holds that Congress may not force states into the service of the federal government.

As the court explained in New York v. United States (1992), a case dealing with states’ disposal of radioactive waste, while Congress may incentivize states to pass certain laws, the Constitution does not allow Congress to override states’ sovereignty to regulate the private conduct of their own citizens.

Certainly, Congress can take a “carrot or stick” approach to encourage states to enact federal priorities. But Congress can’t force state governments to enact its preferred policies.

The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act violates this principle because, as Alito wrote, it “unequivocally dictates what a state legislature may and may not do.” Indeed, he asserted that a “more direct affront to state sovereignty is not easy to imagine.” Alito compared it to federal officers being placed in statehouses across the country “armed with the authority to stop legislators from voting on any offending proposals.”

He further explained:

The legislative powers granted to Congress are sizable but they are not unlimited. The Constitution confers on Congress not plenary legislative power but only certain enumerated powers. Therefore, all other legislative power is reserved for the States, as the Tenth Amendment confirms. And conspicuously absent from the list of powers given to Congress is the power to issue direct orders to the governments of the States.”

The court also rejected the claim that the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act pre-empted state law in this area. Alito quickly knocked down that argument, explaining that in order to pre-empt state law, a federal law must be based on “the exercise of a power conferred to Congress by the Constitution” and regulate private actors, not the states. The Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act fails on both accounts.

Alito concluded that Congress could regulate sports betting directly, but having chosen not to, “each state is free to act on its own.”

A dozen or so states were already considering legalizing sports betting, and this ruling gives them the green light. But it could also have an impact far beyond the sports world—in the legal battle between the Trump administration and sanctuary cities, and in conflicts between states and the federal government over legalizing marijuana.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Elizabeth Slattery

Elizabeth Slattery writes about the proper role of the courts, judicial nominations, and the Constitution as a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. She co-hosts SCOTUS101, a podcast about everything that’s happening at the Supreme Court. Twitter: .

RELATED: Listen to “SCOTUS 101”: Elizabeth Slattery and Tiffany Bates bring you up to speed on their Supreme Court podcast.

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

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of the U.S. Supreme Court building is by Wil Etheredge/Getty Images

McCarthyism and Muellerism: Mockeries of American Justice

War makes strange bedfellows. The United States and Russia were allied against Nazi Germany in WWII until they weren’t. The alliance continued until it succeeded in defeating Nazi Germany and then the diametrically opposed economic and political ideologies of Russian communism and American capitalism reverted the countries to enmity again.

The convenient ideological “My enemy’s enemy is my friend” alliance collapsed and the Cold War between Russia and the United States began.

The Cold War lasted until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The Cold War was an ideological war between Marxist-Leninist Russia (collectivism) and the capitalist republic infrastructure of the United States. Today’s Culture War is also an ideological war – this time between the globalist (collectivist) initiative to internationalize the world under a New World Order and the capitalist republic infrastructure of a sovereign United States of America.

Joseph McCarthy was the US Senator from Wisconsin from 1947-1957 during the height of the Cold War when suspicions about the threat of Communism and its Marxist-Leninist goals were legitimate concerns. What began as an appropriate investigation of Communist infiltration into American government devolved into a lawless boundaryless witch hunt based on innuendo not facts.

McCarthy’s failure was that he stopped concerning himself with WHAT the person had actually done and began focusing on WHO that person was – his beliefs and associations. McCarthyism became synonymous with character assassination.

It was not illegal to be a Communist in America in the 1950s. It WAS illegal to foment the overthrow of the government. Communists who had infiltrated our government and actively sought to destroy our republic and replace American capitalism with Russian communism were enemies of the state.

Similarly, it is not illegal to be a globalist in America today but it IS illegal to foment the overthrow of the government. So, globalists who actively seek to destroy our republic and replace the US Constitution with internationalized one-world government are enemies of the state. Mueller’s investigation has yielded ZERO evidence of collusion with the Russians by President Donald Trump. It has, however, yielded shocking evidence of collusion with the Russians by Obama’s politicized FBI, CIA, and DOJ to illegally acquire FISA warrants to spy on President Trump.

Today’s Culture War has targeted President Donald J. Trump as the enemy of its globalist goal of internationalizing the world into a New World Order of one-world government ruled by its own elite. The leftist Democrat Party has entered into an alliance with globalists and Islamists whose shared goal is to destroy America from within.

Mueller’s “investigation” has abandoned all semblance of lawful propriety. It has devolved into the same sort of witch hunt lead by Joe McCarthy based on innuendo instead of facts that focuses on the WHO of behavior while ignoring the WHAT of behavior. The infrastructure of Muellerism is the same innuendo and character assassination McCarthyism utilized. Both bullying their prey with smear campaigns, unethical tactics, unfounded accusations repeated incessantly by the colluding mainstream media. This is how it works.

A definition of terms is essential:

  • NATIONALISM is not a dirty word no matter how hard the Left tries to associate nationalism with white supremacists and Nazism. American nationalism unapologetically seeks American sovereignty and independence. American nationalism like American citizenship is a source of pride and President Trump symbolizes the America-first movement of American nationalism.
  • GLOBALISM is not to be confused with global trade among sovereign nations. Globalism is the effort to internationalize the world under one-world government ruled by the globalist elite of course. Globalism is internationalized collectivism.
  • COLLECTIVISM is any system that values the group at the expense of the individuals who make up the group. Communism, socialism, and globalism are all collectivist structures that oppose the individualism intrinsic to the capitalist infrastructure of our Republic and its Constitution.

In the 1950s the Culture War was an ideological battle between American capitalism and Russian communism. Today’s Culture War is an ideological battle between American nationalism and international globalism. The traditional American two-party system of Republicans vs Democrats no longer describes two opposing American ideologies. The two-party system of today is more accurately described as Nationalism (American sovereignty) vs Globalism (internalized New World Order) regardless of party affiliation.

Joe McCarthy lived during a time of American nationalism that was threatened by external collectivism (communism) infiltrating the country. Robert Mueller lives in a time of American nationalism threatened by internal collectivism (globalism) existing within the country. The deliberate effort at character assassination of duly elected President Donald Trump by globalist Democrats and globalist Republicans to overthrow the country is a bipartisan ideological effort. Why?

War makes strange bedfellows. The strangest bedfellows in today’s Culture War is the alliance of the Left, the Globalists, and the Islamists. This threesome is in bed together with the shared short-term goal of destroying America but they have diametrically opposed long-term goals. So, just like the the collapse of the temporary alliance of the United States and Russia during WWII, the Leftist/Globalist/Islamist alliance will necessarily collapse if they are successful in their goal of overthrowing President Trump. What then?

The Leftists consider the Islamists useful idiots who will generate enough social chaos for the left to institute Martial Law and nationalize the police force and then socialize America. The Islamists consider the Leftists useful idiots in their campaign to infiltrate American politics and replace the Constitution with sharia law. The globalist elite consider both groups useful idiots who will together provide the social chaos necessary for citizens to willingly surrender their civil liberties for safety. That is the required tipping point for Globalist one-world government to become reality.

Here is the problem. The political will to power of the Leftists the Islamists and the globalist elite is a no holds barred contest. In McCarthy’s day when his goons threw shit against the wall to see what would stick it just smelled up the room and his victims were doomed. When Mueller’s goons threw shit against the wall there was DNA evidence in the fecal matter. The Mueller witch hunt left DNA traces of the CIA, FBI, Clapper, Brennan, Clinton, Comey, Rosenstein, Strzok, Paige, Lynch, Mueller himself, and of course the most foul of all – Barack Hussein Obama.

There has never been a more odious president in American history than Barack Hussein Obama who politicized and weaponized every government agency to use against his political enemies in the service of the Leftist/Islamist/Globalist alliance.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

Why Liberals Attack America

How Democrats Fundamentally Changed from the Party of JFK to the Party of BHO

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the Goudsmit Pundicity.

How State Government fanned the flames of Hawaii’s volcano disaster

Government fanned flames of volcano disaster

by Joe Kent, Grassroot Institute, May 9, 2018

As lava engulfs the homes of many unfortunate Hawaii Island residents, it’s important to remember that the state originally encouraged the building of homes in this dangerous area by offering lava insurance where no private company would.

In the 1990s, the town of  Kalapana was destroyed by lava, and soon afterward, private insurance companies, after suffering millions of dollars in losses, stopped insuring land in Lava Zones 1 and 2.

Lava Zones on Hawaii Island

In response to the absence of private insurance, the state Legislature  created the  Hawaii Property Insurance Association (HPIA), whose job is to provide coverage for homes in areas that private insurance won’t touch.</span

The law  requires private insurance companies to pool their money to subsidize the expense of offering insurance in high-risk lava zones.

HPIA describes itself as a nonprofit association, created to provide basic property insurance for persons unable to purchase homeowners coverage in the private market due to the ongoing volcanic eruption in Lava Zones 1 and 2 on the Island of Hawaii.

Its members are all licensed insurers that write property and casualty insurance in Hawaii, each required to be a member of the HPIA as a condition of their authority to transact business in the state. Together they participate in the writings, expenses, profits and losses of the HPIA, in proportion to their market share of property and casualty insurance written in Hawaii, according to the association.

It adds, “There is no public funding or taxpayers’ monies involved,” but certainly any losses incurred by the HPIA members are passed along to their broader base of Hawaii customers, resulting in an indirect tax.

In any case, ignoring the obvious risks of building homes in active lava zones, the  law stated that any person “who has been unable to obtain basic property insurance from a licensed insurer may apply to the association for coverage.”

This resulted in a boom in the housing market below the active Kilauea volcano.

By 2008, there were more than  2,400 HPIA policies in the area, providing more than $700 million worth of insurance statewide to the highest-risk lava zones on Hawaii Island. At the time, the  Honolulu-Advertiser said Leilani Estates resident Douglas Pase could not find any private company willing to insure the building of his house in the area:

“Pase called various insurance companies to price coverage and said HPIA was the only willing insurer he could find. That was critical because ‘without some way of insuring the house that we would build, building in Leilani would not be an option for us,’ he said. ‘Since no one else would cover it, that becomes really, really important.’”

In economic terms, this created a “moral hazard,” a term which economist Paul Krugman described as “any situation in which one person makes the decision about how much risk to take, while someone else bears the cost if things go badly.”

The moral hazard of this new insurance program gave a false sense of security to homebuilders in Leilani Estates, some of whom were  disappointed to find a gap in their coverage when HPIA issued a  moratorium on new insurance following another lava flow in 2014.

A Pahoa home burns down in a lava flow in 2014.

At the time, Pahoa homeowner Corinne Traylor in  testimony to the Legislature said that she and her husband could no longer refinance their house, and she couldn’t sell it either, “due to the sudden lack of insurance.”

Others said the moratorium was a “market failure” and urged the government to step in to help. Soon afterward, Gov. David Ige signed  Act 32 in 2015, which mandated that the HPIA lift its moratorium and provide lava insurance, further fanning the flames of the moral hazard.

Today, that hazard is very real for families watching their homes be engulfed by magma. What was seen as a “market failure” was really a warning sign to those building in Lava Zones 1 and 2.

If the state had stayed out of the situation, probably fewer families would have built in the area, and today there might be less housing destruction.

After this disaster is over, Hawaii leaders should get out of the way and let the insurance market’s natural price mechanisms work to provide the valuable, even humanitarian, information needed regarding the areas in Hawaii that are simply too dangerous to build in.

RELATED ARTICLE:

2008: Red Hot Lava Menaces Old-boy Scam

FBI Acknowledges Life-Saving Potential of Armed Citizens

“Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

Those are the final lines in the conclusion of the FBI’s Active Shooter Incidents in the United States in 2016 and 2017. The FBI defines an active shooter as one or more individuals actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a populated area. Gang and drug-related shootings are excluded. “The active aspect of the definition inherently implies that both law enforcement personnel and citizens have the potential to affect the outcome of the event based upon their responses to the situation.”

Ten active shooters were confronted by citizens. In four incidents, the responding citizens were unarmed; these heroes include school staff, the shooter’s girlfriend, and a man who intentionally struck the shooter with his car. Six shooters were confronted by armed citizens. Four shooters were stopped by lawfully armed citizens. One citizen was wounded as he confronted the shooter. “In one incident, a citizen possessing a valid firearms permit exchanged gunfire with the shooter, causing the shooter to flee to another scene and continue shooting.” Unsurprisingly, it seems that these criminal cowards preferred targets incapable of defending themselves.  “Armed and unarmed citizens engaged the shooter in 10 incidents. They safely and successfully ended the shootings in eight of those incidents. Their selfless actions likely saved many lives. The enhanced threat posed by active shooters and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold support the importance of preparation by law enforcement officers and citizens alike.”

Anti-gun politicians, celebrities, and organizations deride the idea that citizens can successfully defend themselves, their families, or those around them. They prefer that law-abiding gun owners be disarmed – a position they advocate from behind the safety of armed security. We’re fortunate to have real leaders who understand that Americans should be trusted to take responsibility for themselves, their families, and their communities, and that the quickest way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

The FBI’s latest report affirms that ability.

RELATED VIDEO: Violence of Lies.

6 More Judicial Nominees Advance in Trump Bid to Reshape Judiciary

President Donald Trump is completing a strong week, and is set to kick off a strong next week, in his push to reshape the federal courts, with Senate Republicans forcing votes on six more of his judicial nominees.

Despite the Democrat minority in the Senate using procedures to delay many confirmation votes, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, have prioritized pushing through appeals court judges, and 2017 was a record year for confirmations.

“This week, the Senate will consider another slate of extremely well-qualified nominees for seats on the federal bench,” McConnell said in a statement Monday. “A thoughtful, independent, and expert judiciary is a cornerstone of our constitutional order. It’s been the case since the very beginning.”

Moreover, six of the 16 of the Trump-nominated circuit court judges confirmed have replaced Democrat appointees, Axios reported.

That’s important because circuit courts are the final stop for a case before it reaches the Supreme Court. In cases the high court declines to hear, the circuit courts are the last word.

Several of the nominees to be voted on this week have has distinguished careers, including working for the White House or for one-time independent counsel Kenneth Starr in the 1990s. Others were federal prosecutors or lower court judges.

“The president is having a particularly significant impact on the 7th Circuit,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel for the Judicial Crisis Network, told The Daily Signal, referring to the Chicago-based federal appeals court. “He’ll almost have a Trump class of appointees on that court.”

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals hears cases arising in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin.

“Only one circuit, the 3rd Circuit, is shifting the balance of power” from a Democrat majority to a Republican majority, Severino said, referring to the Philadelphia-based appeals court, which handles cases from Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.

Still, Severino noted that other circuits are seeing considerable movement.

For example, the New York-based 2nd Circuit, currently with a 7-4 Democrat appointee advantage would move to a 7-6 Democrat edge if all of Trump’s nominees are confirmed, she said. The 2nd Circuit covers Connecticut and Vermont, as well as New York.

The famously liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, could go from a 16-6 Democrat advantage to a 16-13 Democrat edge if all of Trump’s nominees are confirmed, Severino said.

The 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over cases arising from not just California, but also Alaska, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Here are the six judicial nominees expected to be confirmed by the end of the week.

1. Bush White House Lawyer

Senate action is pending this week on Michael Y. Scudder to be a judge on the 7th Circuit Court in Chicago. Trump nominated him in February.

The vote on his nomination was scheduled to Monday.

Scudder has worked at the Washington-based law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP since 2009.

Scudder spent two years in the White House Counsel’s Office during the administration of President George W. Bush, serving as associate counsel and then as senior associate counsel to the president and legal adviser and general counsel to the National Security Council.

Before that, Scudder spent four years at the Justice Department, first as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and later as counsel to the deputy attorney general on a national security team.

A graduate of Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law,
he previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy.

2. Whitewater Prosecutor

As of Thursday, Amy J. St. Eve’s nomination to be a judge for the 7th Circuit in Chicago is still pending. Trump nominated her in February.

Her confirmation vote was also bumped to Monday, but she will bypass a cloture vote.

A Bush appointee to the bench confirmed by the Senate in 2002, St. Eve is currently a U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Before becoming a federal judge, she served as senior counsel for litigation at Abbott Laboratories after a stint as a federal prosecutor for the Northern District of Illinois.

St. Eve served for two years as an associate independent counsel for the Whitewater independent counsel’s investigation in Little Rock, Arkansas, where she helped oversee the successful prosecution of former Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal for fraud.

She is a graduate of Cornell Law School.

3. Chief Judge in Louisiana

The Senate voted 62-34 on Wednesday to confirm Kurt Engelhardt to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Trump nominated him in September to the court, which hears appeals arising from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Engelhardt, who has served as the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, was a 2001 appointee of Bush.

While serving as a federal judge, Engelhardt was a member of the Judicial Conference Committee on Federal-State Jurisdiction, first named to the panel by then-Chief Justice William Rehnquist in 2004 and reappointed for a second term by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2007.

He was also president of the New Orleans chapter of the Federal Bar Association from 2011 to 2012.

Before becoming a judge, he was in private practice first at the Metairie, Louisiana-based Hailey, McNamara, Hall, Larmann & Papale LLP. While in private practice, he served on the Louisiana Judiciary Commission, which adjudicates statewide ethics complaints against judges, and became chairman of the commission in 1998.

He is a graduate of Louisiana State University.

4. Federal Judge From New Mexico

The Senate voted Thursday to end debate over the nomination of Joel M. Carson III to be a judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. Trump nominated Carson in December to the court, whose jurisdiction encompasses Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.

His confirmation vote is scheduled for Tuesday.

Carson has served as a part-time magistrate judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico since 2015 and as a partner in the Roswell, New Mexico-based law firm of Carson Ryan LLC.

Carson previously served for five years as general counsel for Mack Energy Corp. Before that, he was in private practice for nine years with the firm Hinkle Shanor LLP with offices in Roswell, Santa Fe, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
He is a graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law.

5. Former Milwaukee Prosecutor

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Michael B. Brennan in a 49-46 party-line vote to be a judge on the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago. Trump nominated him to the bench in August.

The controversy was largely over the “blue slip” rule that gives home state senators effective vetoes. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., opposed the nomination.

Brennan is a partner in the Milwaukee law firm Gass Weber Mullins LLC, where he tries cases involving commercial and tort disputes. He also serves as a mediator and an arbitrator.

Before private practice, Brennan served nine years as a judge on the Milwaukee County Circuit Court. Before serving as a judge, he prosecuted cases as an assistant district attorney in Milwaukee County.

Brennan is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law.

6. State Justice Reformer

The Senate also moved to end debate on John B. Nalbandian to serve on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Trump nominated him in January to the court, which covers Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The Senate is expected to vote on Nalbandian’s nomination Tuesday.

Nalbandian is a partner in the litigation practice group of the Ohio-based Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP, where he has worked since 2000, specializing in appellate cases.

In 2010, the Senate confirmed him to serve as a board member of the State Justice Institute, a nonprofit organization established by the federal government to improve the administration of justice in state courts.

In 2007, then-Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher named him as a special justice to the Kentucky Supreme Court in a case where a sitting justice had to recuse.

He has also served on the Magistrate Judge Merit Selection Panel for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, as a board member of the Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development, and as a member of the Telecommunications Board of Northern Kentucky.

Nalbandian is also a board member of the Greater Cincinnati Minority Counsel Program and of the Asian Pacific Bar Association of Southwest Ohio.

He is a graduate the University of Virginia School of Law.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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.

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Tennessee Refugee Resettlement Decision Appealed — A Fight For State Sovereignty

ANN ARBOR, MI – Informed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts’ observation that, “The States are separate and independent sovereigns. Sometimes they have to act like it,” Tennessee has authorized the Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”) to appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit which challenged the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program. Although Tennessee officially withdrew from this federal program in 2007, the federal government continues, to this day, to commandeer state tax dollars to fund it.

The Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced today that it has filed an appeal of the federal district court decision which dismissed its case. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee General Assembly, and state legislators Terri Lynn Weaver and John Stevens, challenged the constitutionality of the federal refugee resettlement program as a violation of the principles of State sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment. The Notice of Appeal was filed this morning with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The appeal will be heard by a panel of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals For The Sixth Circuit.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, stated: “We are grateful to the designated representatives of the General Assembly, State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and William Lamberth and State Senator John Stevens, for authorizing us to continue this significant legal battle. This case involves critical constitutional issues regarding the appropriate balance between the powers of the federal government and the states. The district court decision dismissing this case conflicts with several U.S. Supreme Court opinions upholding State sovereignty against overreach by the federal government.”

TMLC’s original lawsuit, which sought to permanently ban the federal government from forcing Tennessee to fund the refugee resettlement program out of its own treasury, was filed in March 2017 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee. The lawsuit was authorized by Senate Joint Resolution 467, which passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming majorities. On March 19, 2018, a federal district court judge granted the Department of Justice motion to dismiss the case. State Representatives Terri Lynn Weaver and William Lamberth and State Senator John Stevens, as the designated representatives of the General Assembly, after consultation with the Thomas More Law Center lawyers, authorized an appeal of the decision. All the Law Center’s legal services are without charge.

Tennessee has a history of supporting the Tenth Amendment and State sovereignty.  In 2009, House Joint Resolution 108, which passed in the Senate 31-0 and in the House by 85-2, demanded that the federal government halt its practice of imposing mandates upon the states for purposes not enumerated by the U.S. Constitution.

As Tennessee’s own President Andrew Jackson declared in his March 4, 1837 Farewell Address: “[E]very friend of our free institutions should be always prepared to maintain unimpaired and in full vigor the rights and sovereignty of the States and to confine the action of the General Government strictly to the sphere of its appropriate duties.”

When Congress enacted the Refugee Resettlement Act of 1980, the explicit intent was to assure full federal reimbursement of the costs for each refugee resettled and participating in benefit programs provided by the states. Eventually, however, federal reimbursements to the states for these benefit programs were reduced and, by 1991, eliminated entirely.  The states thereby became responsible for the immense costs of the programs originally covered by the federal government.

Tennessee officially withdrew from participation in the refugee resettlement program in 2007. However, instead of honoring Tennessee’s decision to withdraw from the program, the federal government merely bypassed the State and appointed Catholic Charities of Tennessee, a private, non-governmental organization to administer the program. Catholic Charities receives revenue based upon the number of refugees it brings into the State.

Currently, Tennessee State revenues that could otherwise be used for State programs to help Tennesseans are appropriated by the federal government to support the federal refugee resettlement program. This arrangement displaces Tennessee’s constitutionally mandated funding prerogatives and appropriations process.

EDITORS NOTE: Copyright © 2018 Thomas More Law Center, All rights reserved.

VIDEO: The Fighting President

Finally, the USA has a President who has the courage to fight for what is right.

RELATED ARTICLE: Is Robert Mueller Going to Investigate George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Andrew Jackson, Too?

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a painting by Jon McNaughton an established artist from Utah.

Attempted Assassination of Iranian Dissident in New York

If confirmed, this is the first time since 1981 that the Iranian regime has targeted a defector on U.S. soil.

Iranian dissident Mansoor Osanloo, the exiled former head of the bus driver’s union in Tehran, was savagely attacked on Tuesday, May 1, while traveling on a PATH train into New York City, and left for dead.

Multiple assailants sprayed him with a corrosive chemical, then clubbed him in the back of the neck with what appears to have been a tire iron. He lay in a coma for several days and required 17 stitches in his neck.

I spoke with Osanloo on Monday, not long after he awoke from a coma.

Mansoor Osanloo

“I don’t remember anything,” he said. “But you can see from the pictures that I was sprayed with some kind of a chemical weapon and smashed in the head.This was a terrorist attack.”

Photographs taken at the hospital show a horribly-disfugured Osanloo. The burns to his skin are reminiscent of mustard gas attacks.

Osanloo has been instrumental in planning mass protests across Iran in recent months, and is the most prominent Iranian labor leader, in Iran or in exile. He was traveling to the New York studio of Iran International Television for an interview at the invitation of broadcaster Askar Ramazanzadi.

It remains unclear who funds the new “exile” TV based in London. But it has attracted many former broadcasters from Voice of America, such as Mohammad Manzapour, who were forced to resign from VOA because of alleged ties to the Islamic State of Iran authorities.

“They knew what time I was supposed to go to their studio,” Osanloo told me. “They knew what route I had to take. And then their studio published lies about what happened, claiming it was a car accident.”

An initial report on the Telegram channel of Amadnews, a website that boasts of close ties to “dissidents” within the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps in Tehran, cited a U.S.-based “associate” who claimed that Oslanloo had been the victim of an “attempted assassination.”

That report appeared on May 2nd at 2:54 pm, before any public information had been released on the attack and while Osanloo himself was still in a coma. It begs the question of whether Ahmadnews had inside information from the attackers themselves.

Amadnews next claimed that its initial information of an assassination attempt had been “confirmed” by Iran International TV, the same channel that had invited Osanloo for the interview in New York. That report appeared at 5:09 PM.

Later, Ahmadnews cited the television as claiming that Osanloo had been injured in a car accident and had hit his head on the steering wheel.

That later Iran International TV report quoted Osanloo’s wife as saying he had been injured in a car accident.

“That is absurd,” Osanloo told me. “I don’t even drive. Everybody knows this. I always take public transit.”

The obvious chemical wounds Osanloo suffered attracted the attention of the FBI, who visited him in the New York hospital where he was taken after he was found by transit police.

“They took my clothes, my vomit, and my blood for testing in the FBI lab,” Osanloo told me.

The FBI had warned Osanloo prior to the attack that he was at risk in the United States from an attack by Iranian-regime agents. Once he was admitted to the hospital, they made sure his name was not entered into the hospital registry, so Iranian government agents couldn’t find him.

So far, the FBI has refrained from making any public statement. Osanloo was not robbed, nor was there any apparent motive for the attack other than a political assassination.

This apparent assassination attempt against a prominent Iranian dissident living in the United States, if confirmed, would be the first time the Iranian regime has targeted an Iranian dissident on U.S. soil since the July 22, 1981 assassination of Ali Akbar Tabatabai, a former press spokesman for the Iranian embassy in Washington, DC under the shah.

Tabatabai was killed by an American convert to Islam, David Belfield, who was associated with the Islamic Center in Potomac, Maryland, owned and controlled by the Alavi Foundation, an Iranian government entity whose assets have been forfeited to the U.S. government on money-laundering charges.

Until 1996, the Iranian regime regularly sent hit teams around the globe who killed more than 200 prominent dissidents in gangland-style killings. It wasn’t until the German government prosecuted the killers of Kurdish dissidents at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin that the Iranians called off their killers in Europe.

“This was an attack not on me, but on the United States,” Osanloo told me. “I am a green card holder, so I am an American first, then an Iranian. I am just like you.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

Trump Is Right: Gun Free Zones Make Schools More Deadly

In the wake of the shooting in Florida and now another in Maryland, President Trump has triggered a healthy debate about so-called “gun-free zones” in schools – schools which more and more appear to be anything but gun-free.

Trump argued after Parkland a gun-free zone “is like target practice” for school shooters such as the alleged Florida killer, Nikolas Cruz.

“They see that and that’s what they want,” he opined. “Gun-free zones are very dangerous. The bad guys love gun-free zones.”

The next day, Trump pointed out to a room full of Governors at the White House, “You have a gun-free zone, it’s like an invitation for these very sick people to go there.”

Critics pounced.

“He is just utterly missing the point of the law,” said a former staffer for then-Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wis., who led the charge on gun-free-school zones in 1990.

Leaving mass shootings entirely to one side, she said, communities confronted “the very serious danger posed by a variety of criminal actors around schools and involving guns.”

Let’s rewind.

On May 16, 1986, a shooting in Wyoming’s Cokeville Elementary School left two dead and a towering 74 injured.

Then, on January 17, 1989, another shooting at Cleveland Elementary School in Stockton, Calif. left six dead and 32 injured.

Around this time, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that 135,000 guns were brought to school each day.

An alarming one in five urban high school students reported having a gun fired at them at school, and a 1993 survey found 40% of students in central cities said they knew someone personally who had been killed or injured by gunfire.

Democrats’ response? Why, gun control, of course.

Sen. Kohl introduced the Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) in February, 1990. The measure was rolled into the Crime Control Act of 1990 and signed into law by President George H.W. Bush – granted, a Republican president – on November 29, 1990.

What happened?

First, between 1992 (note: not 1990 or 1991) and 2015, the percentage of students who reported carrying a weapon on school property during the previous 30 days decreased from 12% to 4%.

Second, GFSZA advocates argue students at least felt safer at school: “From 1995 (note: not 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, or 1994) to 2015, the percentage of students who reported being ‘afraid of attack or harm’ at school dropped substantially, from 12% to 3%.”

Third, the law’s cheerleaders argueCDC statistics show school-associated violent deaths dropped from 57 in the 1992-93 school year (note: neither 1990-1991 nor 1991-92) to 33 in 2009-10. However, the figure actually peaked in 2006-2007 at 63, and is up substantially since 2009-2010.

Fourth, another rah-rah data point: a 2017 report found the number of crimes against students has plummeted more than 80% since 1992 (note: not 1990 or 1991). Problem solved!

Unfortunately, while it’s true the crime victimization rate at school declined 82%, the rate away from school declined 88%.

Worse, the serious violent victimization rate at school declined only 50%, while the rate away from school plunged 91%.

So after the GFSZA, schools actually got safer more slowly than the rest of the community, which during the period was exiting the crack wave.

Regardless, none of these statistics compares the period before Bush signed the GFSZA to after it.

So I crunched the numbers on school shootings per year, number killed per year, and number wounded per year before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018).

Get ready.

In the period after enactment of the Gun-Free School Zones Act, school shootings more than doubled from 2.7 per year to 6.9 per year, an increase of 155% from the period before enactment.

Those wounded in school shootings nearly doubled from 8.8 to 13.9 per year, an increase of 58%.

And killings in school shootings nearly tripled, from 2.7 per year to 7.9 per year, an increase of 192%.

Figure 1: Number of school shootings per year, number killed in schools per year, and number wounded in schools per year before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018). Data source: http://triblive.com/news/education/safety/13313060-74/heres-a-list-of-every-school-shooting-over-the-past-50-years.

A closer look at the data bears out that the number of school shootings has increased over time, and generally accelerated after the GFSZA was signed into law in 1990. That said, there is an exception that may prove the rule: The Supreme Court declared the GFSZA law unconstitutional in United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995). Only later did then-Attorney General Janet Reno for Bill Clinton propose changes that conformed it to the Constitution. Those changes were signed into law in 1996, but doubts remained at least until 2000 about the measure’s ability to withstand a court challenge. During that period, school shootings declined, then rose again afterwards.

Figure 2: Number of School Shootings By Year, 1968-2018. Data source: http://triblive.com/news/education/safety/13313060-74/heres-a-list-of-every-school-shooting-over-the-past-50-years.

*Note: 2018 figure only through February 14, 2018.

An obvious question this raises is whether homicide rates increased more generally at the same pace and with the same timing. Does the spike in school shootings just track a spike in killings?

The answer? No. The homicide rate actually dropped steeply in this period. The crack wave was ending, sending murder rates back to levels not seen since the early 1960s.

Figure 3: U.S. Homicide Rates, 1885-2010. Source: http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2013/12/foghorn/guns-violence-united-states-numbers/

More specifically, the firearm-related deaths for youths ages 15-19 in particular followed an almost identical pattern, spiking from 1970 to the early 1990s, then plunging back to prior levels – nearly the opposite of the school shooting pattern.

Figure 4: Firearm-Related Death Rate Among Youth Ages 15-19, 1970-2014. Source: https://www.childtrends.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/70_tablescharts.xlsx.

Thus the increase in number and lethality of school shootings can be explained neither by homicide rates in general nor firearm-related death rates among youth.

Another counter-argument would be that mass shootings have increased more generally over that period, which is true. Is the increase in school shootings before and after the US declared them off limits to law-abiding gun owners merely an artifact of an increase in mass shootings more generally?

The answer again is no.

Now, according to data compiled by the far-left Mother Jones, it’s true the percentage of those wounded in mass shootings who were shot in schools was cut in half after the Gun-Free School Zones Act passed, from 32% of mass shooting injuries between 1982 and 1990 to 14% from 1991 to today.

Also, this drop took place despite the percentage of mass shootings that took place in schools growing from 11% to 17% of all mass shootings at the same time.

But the apparently positive change appears to be because schools shootings became so much more lethal. The percentage of mass shooting fatalities that took place in schools tripled, from 7% before the Gun-Free School Zones Act to 21% afterwards.

So: Half as many injuries in schools among mass shootings, but only because three times as many died in a greater number of mass shootings there.

Figure 5: Percentage of mass shooting injuries, attacks, and fatalities that took place in schools before the GFSZA (1968-1990) and after it was put in place (1991-2018). Data source: https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/12/mass-shootings-mother-jones-full-data/.

This is a problem.

It is true that the largest spikes in school shootings followed far on the heels of the GFSZA’s enactment.

To explain that, Second Amendment opponents might point to the expiration of the assault weapons ban in 2004.

In response, Second Amendment supporters might point instead to the bonkers Obama Administration’s Promotion of Random Offenses and Misdemeanors by Insane Students Escaping justice (PROMISE) program which paid schools to persuade law enforcement agencies to let youth get away with criminal activity, especially if they were “of color,” which may (or may notexplain why the Broward County Sheriff’s office deliberately ignored what they admit was 23 and may have been 45 warnings of Cruz’ criminal insanity.

Regardless, the numbers bear out the horrific impression to which Trump is giving voice: After America declared schools gun free zones, school shootings increased and became more deadly.

By these measures at least, Trump is right, and his critics are wrong.

RELATED ARTICLE: Student Journalist Digs Up Bombshell that Exposes Broward County Officials in Parkland Shooting

DACA Ruling: Judicial Travesty Obstructs Presidential Authority

Fed. Judge Bates’ ruling ignores facts and national security.

The April 24, 2018 headline of the New York Times articleU.S. Must Keep DACA and Accept New Applications, Federal Judge Rules summed up Judge John D. Bates’ outrageous decision to force the Trump administration to continue the DACA program created by the Obama administration.

The judge has given the Trump administration 90 days to substantiate President Trump 90 days to justify his claim that DACA is illegal.

Judge Bates’ ruling ignores the indisputable fact that DACA was created by Obama’s Executive Order and not by legislation.  Judge Bates apparently believes that Exeuctive Orders must extend beyond the administration of the president who issued those Executive Orders, even when the new president disagrees with them.  Bates’ ruling obstructs President Trump’s ability to implement his policies.

In order to understand the issue we must begin by considering the origins of DACA, an acronym for Deferred Action – Childhood Arrival.

First of all, the action that is being deferred by DACA is the required departure of illegal aliens from the United States.

Prior to the Obama administration’s claim of exercising “prosecutorial discretion” to justify the creation of DACA, immigration authorities did use the notion of “deferred action” for humanitarian purposes in a case-by-case basis, to provide nonimmigrant aliens, that is to say aliens who had been admitted into the United States for a temporary period of time, with permission to remain in the United States beyond their authorized periods of admission.

If, for example, a family member of an alien visitor in the United States had fallen seriously ill or became seriously injured, nonimmigrant family members would be allowed to remain in the United States for a finite additional period of time, to tend to their stricken family member.

As an INS special agent I was, on occasion, tasked with interviewing medical professionals to verify the medical condition of such individuals to make certain that fraud was not being perpetrated.  Generally doctors were required to provide periodic documentation that reported on the medical status of the ill or injured family member.

Once the situation was resolved, hopefully with that family member making a sufficient recovery, the alien beneficiaries of that temporary deferred action were required to depart from the United States.

Obama however, exploited this humanitarian program, that was supposed to be used in a limited case-by-case basis, to achieve a political goal by enabling potentially millions of illegal aliens to remain in the United States as quasi-lawful immigrants for an initial two year period, even though there is no provision in the immigration laws for this action.

Under current immigration law, the U.S. generously, provides approximately one million aliens are granted lawful immigrant status for a number of circumstances that do not begin as a reward for violating our immigration laws.  That number of new immigrants surpasses the number of immigrants admitted by all of the countries on earth, combined.

On June 15, 2012 President Obama delivered a statement from the White House Rose Garden in which he announced his plans to create DACA via an Exeuctive Order.  His statement made it clear that DACA was an end-run, around the legislative process, to provide illegal aliens with immigration benefits contained in the DREAM Act, which failed to pass in the Congress.

The DREAM Act is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act.  It is more than a bit confounding that under the guise of “Political Correctness” actually an exercise of Orwellian Newspeak, the term “alien” has been expunged from discussions about immigration.  That term has come to be referred to as “hate speech” by immigration anarchists

Yet  that word is included in the acronym “DREAM” and illegal aliens who participate in this wrong-headed program have come to be known as “DREAMERS.”

Hypocrisy is alive and well in the immigration debate.

Furthermore, the claim that the “DREAMERS” were all children when they were brought to the United States and hence too young to have control over their circumstances, is yet another artifice and one repeated by the media every time this issue is discussed.

In reality, aliens were eligible to apply to participate in Obama’s program if they had not yet attained the age of 32 when they filed their applications and claimed that they entered the United States prior to their 16 birthdays.

With so many applications and so few resources, there were virtually no interviews and no field investigations to verify the claims made in the applications that, thus far, have been filed by nearly 800,000 illegal aliens.

This creates an open invitation to fraud.

Imagine, for example, how effective law enforcement would be in stopping speeders if police officers had no radar units and could only issue a speeding tickets if drivers admitted to exceeding the speed limit.  This is, in essence, how these DACA applications were processed and continue to be processed under Judge Bates’ ruling.

Today, six years after Mr. Obama’s DACA program was created, aliens as old as 37 years of age could apply for DACA- provided that they claim to have entered the United States before they turned 16.

An alien who lies on that application would be committing a serious crime, immigration fraud. However, given the scarce resources, if Judge Bates gets his way, unknown millions of illegal aliens could easily game this program.

Adult illegal aliens who have not yet entered the United States could easily falsely claim to have been present in the United States for decades, justifiably confident that their fraudulent claims would not only go undetected but rewarded.

What could possibly go wrong?

The answer that that question can be found in my article, Immigration Fraud: Lies That Kill wherein I quoted from the official report “9/11 and  Terrorist Travel:

Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.

[ … ]

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

Obama falsely claimed that “Congress had failed to act,” blithely ignoring that when Congress votes down legislation it is, indeed, acting- just in this instance, not the way he wanted Congress to act.

On June 17, 2012, Fox News published my Op-Ed, Obama Invokes Prosecutorial Discretion to Circumvent Constitution and Congress, in which I stated that, given all of the facts, what Obama had referred to as “Prosecutorial Discretion” should, actually, be referred to as “Prosecutorial Deception.”

Prosecutorial discretion is often used by government and law enforcement agencies to not squander limited resources but to use them most effectively, not unlike the concept of a medical triage whereby in an instance of mass casualties, the most seriously injured are treated before those with relatively minor wounds.

In creating DACA, the Obama administration did not simply ignore illegal aliens not deemed essential to arrest, but created an expensive program that required that limited resources were diverted to provide huge numbers of illegal aliens with lawful status without legal authority.

This disingenuous, supposed justification for creating DACA caused me to describe Obama’s claims as an example of “Prosecutorial Deception” in my Fox News commentary.

Furthermore, the Obama administration’s use of the term “Deferred Action” was clearly another artifice.  DACA was not intended to postpone the eventual departure of the huge number of illegal aliens who were dealing with personal emergencies, but rather serve as a stop-gap measure to enable them to remain in the U.S. until, Obama had hoped, Congress would pass legislation that would permanently legalize their immigration status by creating a massive amnesty program.

This, in and of itself, runs contrary to the principles that underly the concept of “Deferred Action.”

News coverage about DACA has failed to report on that which I have noted in my commentary, but has become a conduit for the dissemination of propaganda and the disingenuous claims made by the Obama administration, parading those falsehoods as supposed facts.

Mainstream media coverage and discussions about DACA have ignored how the Obama administration perverted the discretionary authority inherent in deferred action, for humanitarian purposes, to create a de facto temporary amnesty program, conferring lawful immigrant status on nearly 800,000 illegal aliens, who may not even be children but actually middled-aged.

By denying President Trump the right to terminate DACA, Judge Bates apparently seeks to legitimize Obama’s DACA Executive Order, treating it as law, when in reality DACA co-opted Congress’ unique legislative authority.

America is a nation of laws, not Executive Orders.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine.

Muller Appointment Letter & Transcript of Manafort Trial Testimony Leaked on Twitter

There have been multiple reports about U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III and his concerns about how the Office of the Special Council is using the trial of  American lobbyist, political consultant and lawyer Paul John Manafort Jr. as a political weapon.  One of the documents that Judge Ellis III demanded was the letter appointing Robert Mueller as a Special Council. The un-redacted appointment letter of Robert S. Mueller II and the testimony of the exchange between Judge Ellis III (The Court) and Mr. Dreeben, the Special Council’s prosecutor, have been leaked and posted on Twitter.

Here they are for review.

Special Council Appointment letter.

Note that the scope of the investigation is limited to, “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” Here is what 28 C.F.R. § 600.4(a) reads:

§ 600.4 Jurisdiction.

(a) Original jurisdiction. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall be established by the Attorney General. The Special Counsel will be provided with a specific factual statement of the matter to be investigated. The jurisdiction of a Special Counsel shall also include the authority to investigate and prosecute federal crimes committed in the course of, and with intent to interfere with, the Special Counsel’s investigation, such as perjury, obstruction of justice, destruction of evidence, and intimidation of witnesses; and to conduct appeals arising out of the matter being investigated and/or prosecuted.

Transcript of U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III and the prosecutor. 

The following transcript was posted on Twitter by Techno Fog who stated, “I got my hands on the May 4 transcript from the USA v. Manafort hearing in front of Judge Ellis. (Thanks to a close friend.)”

RELATED ARTICLE: Federal judge accuses Mueller’s team of ‘lying,’ trying to target Trump: ‘C’mon man!’

EDITORS NOTE: The red boxes were added by Techno Fog.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence Make History in Dallas

For the first time in the organization’s history, a sitting president and vice president both addressed NRA members at the 147th Annual Meetings in Dallas on Friday during the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum.  This makes the second year in a row that President Trump’s visit is one for the history books.   Last year, he became the first sitting president to attend the Annual Meetings in more than three decades when he spoke at the 2017 Leadership Forum in Atlanta.  The last president to attend the NRA Annual Meetings was Ronald Reagan in 1983.

And just as he did last year, President Trump promised to the cheering, capacity crowd that he will protect the firearms freedom of law-abiding Americans and that recent efforts to restrict the Second Amendment will be staunchly opposed by his administration.  Vice President Pence echoed the president’s sentiments, noting to the crowd that both he and President Trump will stand strong against any attempts to undermine our freedom.

In addition to the president and vice president, the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum featured speakers from across the country, including elected officials, first responders, veterans, NRA leaders, and freedom-loving Americans from all walks of life:

Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President, NRA 

Chris Cox, Executive Director, NRA-ILA

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) 

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)

Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX)

Gov. Pete Ricketts (R-NE)

U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC) 

Dana Loesch, NRA Spokesperson

Mark “Oz” Geist, Former Marine, Author of “13 Hours”

Mark Robinson, Second Amendment Activist, Greensboro, NC.

Diamond & Silk, Social Media Commentators

Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union

Charlie Kirk, Founder, Turning Point USA and Kyle Kashuv, Student, Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School, Parkland, FL