Florida Governor DeSantis Sanctions Airbnb for West Bank Policy

Airbnb, which lists more 45,000 Florida properties on its vacation rentals website, has lobbied hard to remove its “home-sharing” offerings from hotel/motel regulations and unshackle the state’s $31 billion short-term rental industry from local regulations.

Several bills, including last year’s Vacation Rental Act, gained momentum during the last two legislative sessions before falling short.

If Airbnb is to have any hope in 2019 of achieving its legislative goals in Florida, however, it must first deal with a new problem—the wrath of its new governor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis declared state of Florida employees will no longer be reimbursed for Airbnb stays while traveling and said further sanctions will be imposed if Airbnb doesn’t reverse its November decision to delist properties in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

DeSantis said Airbnb’s actions violate Florida law—House Bill 545, adopted last year—which imposes penalties, including divestment, on companies involved in the “Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement” against Israel.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Photo: Facebook.

“We have a moral obligation to oppose the Airbnb policy,” DeSantis said. “It does target Jews specifically. When you target Jews for disfavored treatment, that is the essence of anti-Semitism. In Florida, as long as I’m the governor, BDS will be D.O.A.”

DeSantis issued his comments during a press conference at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton.

He said the State Board of Administration will determine if Airbnb’s West Bank policy warrants further sanctions from the state.

The board—comprised of DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis—oversees investments of the state’s pension program.

Airbnb is a private company “but they are trying to be publicly-traded and they are trying to do an initial public offering,” DeSantis said. “That would not be good if you’re already on Florida’s hit list before you’ve even gotten off the ground.”

DeSantis also instructed Moody to determine if the policy violates the civil rights of any Floridian Jews who own property in the West Bank.

Other states will follow Florida’s lead, he said. “That will end up getting [Airbnb] where they need to be. But you know what they say, if you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”

Airbnb responded in a statement that it “unequivocally rejected” the “BDS movement” against Israel and that it has “worked with the Florida State Board of Administration on this matter” and will continue to do so.

Its decision to delist about 200 properties in “the settlements in the West Bank” is not unique to Israel, the company said.

“Airbnb has previously prevented hosts from accepting reservations in other lands with unique dynamics, including Crimea—where the decision impacted more than 4,000 listings,” according to the statement.

Earlier Tuesday, Airbnb reported short-term rentals offered through its digital platform drew 4.5 million guests to Florida and generated more than $810 million in rental income for hosts in 2018.

The company will release how much it will pay in state and local bed taxes in February. Last year, it remitted $33 million to the state and $12.7 million to counties it has tax collection contracts with, including $3.3 million to Miami-Dade, $1.9 million to Broward, $1.9 million to Pinellas, and $1.8 million to Orange counties.

Ten Florida counties saw at least 100,000 Airbnb guests and at least $22 million in Airbnb rental revenues in 2018, according to the company’s report.

The Vacation Rental Act—Senate Bill 1400 and House Bill 773—proposed removing short-term vacation rentals from hotel and motel regulations, and establishing a uniform inspection program conducted by the state’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR).

SB 1400 passed the Senate Regulated Industries Committee, but never made it out the chamber’s appropriations and community affairs committees for a floor vote. HB 773 also never made it out of committee. Similar 2017 bills shared the same fates.

As of Tuesday, a 2019 iteration of the Vacation Rental Act had not been filed.

Originally published by Watchdog.org

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John Haughey is a contributor to Watchdog.org. Twitter: @JFHaughey58.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images is republished with permission. The featured image is from Governor Ron DeSantis’ Facebook page.

Why Are Leftists Thrilled by Abortion?

Hillary Clinton and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced their satanic bill to allow abortions through all nine months up to birth. The intense jubilant faces of these two Democrats in the photo while launching their baby killing campaign was bone-chillingly evil. Clinton and Cuomo held their joined hands high in the air like an enthusiastic victorious battle-cry as they grinned ear to ear. Why were they so happy? Why were these leftist politicians barely able to contain their excitement over the thought of killing more babies?

During her presidential campaign, Hillary vowed to protect animals from cruelty and abuse. And yet, Hillary is elated over her bill to allow abortion doctors to deliver a nine-month-old baby except for the head; then shove scissors into its brain to kill it. This barbaric, shameful and evil procedure is called partial birth abortion

Hillary cosponsored the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to end the slaughter of horses for their meat. Meanwhile, Hillary passionately defends Planned Parenthood which kills babies for their meat; selling dead baby body parts – intact heads sell for premium prices. Planned Parenthood has made over $100 million selling aborted baby parts

Abortion zealots fear a conservative majority on the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade the unconstitutional law which made abortion legal. Here’s how abortion activist Sarah Silverman expressed the urgency of keeping constitutional judge Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court. “This is a position for life, y’all”. In her sad perverted thinking, Silverman infers that women will die if they cannot for whatever reason kill the horrible thing (baby) growing inside them even on the birth date

Eighty-five year old pro-abortion Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s health is failing. If she dies or retires, leftists fear Trump’s replacement will be a conservative. Panicked female abortion zealots are offering their body parts to keep Ginsberg alive. Abortion zealot Alyssa Milano offered her ribs, kidneys and a lung to Justice Ginsberg. Notice the intense passion to do whatever necessary to freely kill babies in the womb.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you…” (Jeremiah 1:5)

Alyssa Milano through The Fuzzy Pet Foundation compassionately rescued a dog in South Korea being raised for slaughter. It appears that Milano has zero compassion for innocent babies. She is insanely committed to murdering them before birth. Also, Milano has not complained about Planned Parenthood profiting from the sales of slaughtered baby body parts.

In 2018, abortion was the number one cause of death worldwide; over 41 million children killed before birth. Again I ask, why is this horrifying stat cause for leftists to celebrate?

In a landslide, Ireland voters repealed their anti-abortion laws. Many observers were uncomfortable with the eerie jubilation of thousands of women in the streets hugging while crying tears of sheer joy

Co-director of the abortion campaign, Orla O’Connor said, “This is a monumental day for women in Ireland. This is about women taking their rightful place in Irish society, finally.”

Another Irish women thrilled about killing babies said, “ It’s such a great victory for women, for men, for our future generation. It’s just – I’m so emotional.”

“And God blessed them. And God said to them, Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” (Genesis 1:28) Despite God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply”, many youths vow not to have children because leftists have convinced them that childbirth is extremely destructive to the environment. Leftists foolishly believe they are smarter than God.

Unquestionably, abortion is the holy sacrament of the demonic religion of liberalism. Shockingly, over 20 religious leaders gathered to bless the opening of a new Planned Parenthood abortion facility in Washington DC. President and CEO, Dr Laura Meyers said, “In almost every message to our staff, I talk about our doing sacred work.” https://bit.ly/2RsMSaj What is wrong with these people? How can they claim moral and spiritual high ground killing babies and selling their body parts?

Insanely, a majority of the religious leaders who blessed the new dead-baby-chop-shop are black. A disproportionate high number of aborted babies are blacks. Right thinking black ministers have been sounding the alarm for years how blacks are aborting themselves in extinction.

Leftists are in constant rebellion against God’s natural order. Leftist women act like pregnancy is God’s cursed disease as devastating as cancer and abortion is the life-saving cure.

Abortion zealots do not view abortion as a necessary evil. They are actually thrilled when a mother murders her baby. There is something strange and disturbingly evil about leftists having all the sympathy in the world for animals and not an ounce of sympathy (even disdain) for innocent unborn babies – jubilant when a mother kills her baby.

RELATED ARTICLES:

We Had an Abortion. It Wasn’t My Body, but It Was My Baby.

She Got Pregnant at 18 and Did Something That Today, Few Teens Do

Podcast: The Price Children Pay for the Sexual Revolution

Young Students Explain Why They’re Pro-Life

EDITORS NOTE: This column is republished with permission. The featured image is by the National Right to Life Committee.

JUDGES GONE ROGUE: Judge embraces ‘Lawfare’ to obstruct immigration law enforcement.

With increasing frequency judges have issued rulings that run contrary to the laws and commonsense.

Nowhere has this become a more serious issue than where immigration law enforcement is concerned.

It has become fashionable for the radical left to bash our nation’s sovereignty, our borders and the notion of our immigration laws.  Of course the initial desire to open our border to “free trade” began with Conservatives and Libertarians who saw in our borders barriers to their wealth to be acquired by importing goods and workers from outside the United States.

The increasingly radicalized Democratic Party has come completely unhinged where immigration law enforcement is concerned, creating so-called “Sanctuary Cities” which openly boast that they will shield “immigrants” from immigration law enforcement.

Of course, as I have written in numerous articles, lawful immigrants and temporary (non-immigrant) alien visitors need no shielding from ICE no more than licensed motorists who operate their motor vehicles in compliance with motor vehicle laws need no shielding from police officers.

New York State’s Governor Cuomo has endorsed sanctuary polities for New York State and has referred to valiant ICE agents as “Thugs.”

Shielding illegal aliens from ICE undermines the efforts of the DHS to deter aliens from entering the United States illegally and deter aliens who are lawfully admitted from subsequently violating our immigration laws by overstaying their lawful period of admission, accepting illegal employment or otherwise violating their terms of their admission.

In point of fact, under the provisions of a federal law that is comprehended within the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S. Code § 1324, it is a felony to harbor or shield illegal aliens from detection.

While a growing number of cities and states have decided to adopt “sanctuary” polities, there are some cities that continue to cooperate with ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) through the 287(g) program whereby their law enforcement officers are trained by ICE to assist that division of the DHS with the vital mission of immigration law enforcement from within the interior of the United States.

Apparently a federal district judge, Catherine Blake, decided that the “solution” to local sheriffs and police officers assisting ICE in enforcing our nation’s immigration laws, was to order the stay of an illegal alien who had been ordered deported by an Immigration Judge so that the alien could pursue a lawsuit against the Sheriff and his deputies who would dare assist in the enforcement of our immigration laws.

On January 17, 2019 the Conservative Review published an extensive article about this lunacy,

Judge creates right for illegal alien to block deportation … so she can sue law enforcement that provides the infuriating details of the case.

The tactic of launching lawsuits to intimidate law enforcement officers from doing their jobs and local municipalities from enacting laws contrary to their agenda has been the tactic of the ACLU under the concept that they refer to as “Lawfare.”  This is similar to “warfare” but uses lawsuits in place of ammunition.

Here is an excerpt from the excellent article Conservative Review article:

Roxana Orellana Santos is an illegal alien from El Salvador who had no right to come to this country in 2005 and no right to remain in this country against the will of the people as expressed through long-standing statute. Pursuant to our laws, Santos was detained by Border Patrol when she broke into our country in Texas and then failed to appear for an immigration hearing. In 2007, an immigration judge issued an order to deport her.

A year into her fugitive life, Frederick cops informally questioned her outside a restaurant on October 7, 2008, after they thought she was running away from them. Upon receiving information from ICE through dispatch that she was here illegally, and then acting on an outstanding immigration warrant from ICE, Frederick sheriff’s deputies arrested Santos as part of their lawful cooperation with the federal government to help apprehend illegal aliens through the 287(g) program, under 8 U.S.C. § 1357(g). It’s part of a law that passed the Senate unanimously in 1996.

The report went on to note:


District Judge Catherine Blake

In a sane country, this would have been the end of the story. Santos should have been deported, pursuant to every statute on the books. But Santos, backed by an army of lawyers from the organization CASA de Maryland, sued the Frederick sheriff for what she felt was an illegal search and seizure and the county commissioners for agreeing to operate under 287(g). After endless motions while remained in the country, the district court rebuffed her claim in 2012, but the arch-liberal Fourth Circuit sided with her a year later. The court created a new right for illegals not to be apprehended by local law enforcement because of their immigration status. Last September, District Judge Catherine Blake ruled that Sheriff Jenkins could be held liable in a civil suit for the acts of his deputies. This allows Santos to proceed with a suit for civil damages. Her attorneys are seeking to milk this small county for $1 million in damages! None of us can sue her for sucking up our resources.

How many members of the law enforcement community will continue to enforce the laws when they know that they or their jurisdictions are never more than one decision away from a massive and debilitating lawsuit?

This is an outrageous example of extortion to coerce local jurisdiction to fall in line with the demands of the immigration anarchists.

There is a long standing question that asks, “Is the pen mightier than the sword.”

The answer to the question depends on who is wielding the pen.  We certainly witnessed tremendous damage done to our nation by the President Obama’s pen (and phone).  We are now witnessing the damage being done by judges who have decided that as Sylvester Stallone’s character, Judge Dredd intoned in the film by that name, “I am the law!”

The realm of immigration law enforcement now exists in a parallel universe where nothing that would exist anywhere else exists in this magical and treacherous kingdom.

It is a matter of routine that law enforcement agencies work in close cooperation to enforce broad spectrum of laws across the United States.  When police departments encounter a person who is wanted for crimes in other jurisdictions or, perhaps, by federal agencies, that they notify the agency that has lodged a warrant in the NCIS database.  In point of fact, a significant number of the FBI’s most wanted are initially arrested by local police.

Immigration law violations were treated similarly until recently with local police working closely with immigration law enforcement.

In the 1970’s as an INS agent, I was, involved in such case involving an arrest made by members of the NYPD Anti-Crime squad in Brooklyn.  Police officers had stopped a car that ran a red light.  The driver got out of the car and attacked the police officer who was at least twice the size of the belligerent motorist.  The cop knocked the assailant to the ground and a gun, a 9mm Browning fell out of his waistband.  Both men, who spoke with heavy West Indian accents were taken into custody. 

In those days I worked in close cooperation with the NYPD and particularly with several of the police precincts, especially the precinct where this occurred.  The sergeant who was in charge of that squad called me and asked if I could assist in figuring out who these two guys were.  For whatever reason, when the NYPD ran their fingerprints no relating record could be found. 

They both claimed to have been born in the U.S.  In fact, the driver told me had been born “down south in Chicago.”  This certainly called his claim of being a United States citizen into serious question.

I had developed a relationship with the DEA in NYC and although the INS lack the capability to electronically transmit fingerprints to the FBI in Washington, the DEA was able and willing to provide me with that capability.  I ran the prints and in the middle of the night I received an urgent call from FBI Headquarters, they wanted to know where the two individuals were, it turned out that they were about to be placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List” for their involvement in serious of deadly bank robberies where they were alleged to have shot and killed several people.

Incidentally, they were both were aliens- citizens of Trinidad and Tobago who had lied about their identities and citizenship.

My partner and I received letters of commendation from the NYPD/FBI Joint Bank Robbery Task Force for identifying these two fugitives enabling them to be taken into custody and prosecuted for their crimes.  Today, they are probably still in jail, where they can no longer pose a threat to anyone.

We also lodged detainers to have them taken into immigration custody if they are ever released from prison.

This is but a single example of just how successful such cooperative teamwork can be to protect our communities but could never happen today, especially in New York City.

For the globalists, the bodies of innocent victims are nothing more than “collateral damage” or, perhaps, “speed bumps” on the road to globalism and anarchy.

In all professions those who make bad decision are likely to pay a serious price.  Doctors who are guilty of malpractice can be sued, lose their licenses to practice medicine, and even be prosecuted.  Law enforcement officers face similar consequences when they act inappropriately.

Judges and politicians must be made similarly accountable.

RELATED ARTICLE:Poll: Latino Trump approval soars during border wall battle

EDITORS NOTE: This FrontPage Magazine column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Sebastian Pichler on Unsplash.

Cleveland: Suit against Catholic Charities in boy’s shocking death

A social worker, employed through a contract with Catholic Charities of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland was supposed to be checking on and protecting the nine children in the Rodriguez home, but instead she had cooked up a deal with the children’s mother to obtain the family’s food stamps.

catholic charities diocese of cleveland

In exchange she allegedly turned a blind eye to abuse and deplorable living conditions that resulted in the death of a five-year-old boy whose body was buried in the back yard.

The case became known to the police when someone called from PAKISTAN with a tip!  WTH!

This is the latest news from Cleveland.com:

Estate of Cleveland boy found buried in back yard sues Catholic Charities

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The estate of a 5-year-old Cleveland boy whose body was found in late 2017 buried behind his mother’s house has filed a lawsuit against the social services arm of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland that employed the worker who was supposed to keep tabs on the family.

The survivorship of Jordan Rodriguez filed the wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court against Catholic Charities, its employee Nancy Caraballo, the boy’s mother Larissa Rodriguez and her boyfriend Christopher Rodriguez.

nancy caraballo
Nancy Caraballo

The suit accuses Catholic Charities and Caraballo of recklessness, negligence and failing to report abuse the boy suffered in the two years leading up to his death. The estate, administrated by Michelle Rodriguez, seeks to take the case before a jury.

“While we cannot at this time comment on what is alleged in the lawsuit, Catholic Charities protects and advocates for those who are most vulnerable,” the statement said. “All employees undergo thorough background checks and extensive training with regard to ethics and specifically their duties to report child abuse or neglect.”

Jordan’s body was discovered buried in the family’s backyard in December 2017, after Cleveland police received a call from Pakistan that said Christopher Rodriguez confessed to burying the child.

Investigators responding to the call found the home in deplorable condition, and it wasn’t long before they uncovered that Caraballo, a parent educator at an agency contracted with Catholic Charities who was assigned to the Rodriguez family, had been buying Larissa Rodriguez’s food stamps at discounted prices and lying in her reports of her visits.

Caraballo was supposed to conduct monthly home visits to check on Rodriguez’s children and living conditions and file a report each time. But investigators subpoenaed her cellphone records and compared text messages between Caraballo and Rodriguez to the reports and found that, on at least 12 occasions, Caraballo simply showed up to Rodriguez’s house to pick up the food stamp card. She filed false reports that said she inspected the home.

More here.

The case will make you sick!

In February Caraballo plead not guilty here.

Then here in April she was sentenced to 3 years for the food stamp fraud.

And, now get this, she reformed in jail and was out in six months, here.

As is usual there is no mention of the immigration status of either Caraballo or the Rodriquez duo.

But I am interested in why a call to police came from Pakistan. Were there Pakistani convenience store proprietors in on the food stamp fraud?

RELATED ARTICLES:

Tuberculosis in the Migrant and Refugee Population: Is Silence Deception?

Worcester “Man” Admits Guilt in Identity Theft Scheme at Crooked Convenience Store

Feds Recover $2.5 Billion from Health Care Industry Fraud in 2018

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Daiga Ellaby on Unsplash.

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

On January 8, two bills were introduced in Congress to impose so-called “universal” background checks. The bills, H.R. 8 and S. 42, are being misleadingly described as simply requiring background checks on all sales of firearms, but this is just a small part of what these overbroad pieces of legislation would do.

A vote on this gun control legislation could take place as early as the first weeks of February. Therefore, it is vital that gun owners immediately contact their members of Congress to urge them to oppose this legislation, and that gun owners encourage their freedom-minded family and friends to do the same.

Traps for Law-Abiding Gun Owners

Both bills would make it a crime, subject to certain exceptions, to simply hand a firearm to another person. Any time gun owners carry out this simple act, they would potentially be exposing themselves to criminal penalties. While the bills do create some exceptions, they are overly complicated and create many traps for unwary gun owners. Accidental violations of these complicated provisions are not excused under the proposed legislation.  

Keep Telling Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

Ask your Representative and Senators to oppose H.R.8 and S.42. Additionally, you may call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators using the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

TAKE ACTION TODAY

This legislation is not about public safety. These bills attack law-abiding gun owners by placing further burdens on gun ownership and use. For the anti-gun groups and politicians intent on criminalizing the private transfer of firearms, this legislation is just another step in their effort to extinguish America’s vibrant and legitimate gun culture.

Expanded Background Checks Don’t Work

Proponents of so-called “universal” background checks claim that this legislation is the “most important” thing that can be done to stop dangerous people from obtaining firearms. This is a lie. There is no evidence that expanded background checks are useful for this purpose.

Just last year, a study by anti-gun researchers confirmed that expanded background checks in California did not reduce gun homicides or gun suicides.

This finding is consistent with a review of past studies on expanded background checks by the RAND Corporation that found that “evidence of the effect of private-seller background checks on firearm homicides is inconclusive.”

In 2013, the Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice researched so-called “universal” background checks and determined that they would be not be effective without further harsh firearms restrictions and efforts to combat straw purchasing.

Criminals are not deterred by background checks. ATF has reported, “[t]he most frequent type of trafficking channel identified in ATF investigations is straw purchasing from federally licensed firearms dealers. Nearly 50 percent … .” A Chicago-area inmate explained this reality to researchers from the University of Chicago in relation to Illinois’s stringent firearm licensing regime for a 2015 study, stating, “All they need is one person who got a gun card in the ‘hood’ and everybody got one.”

A 2016 Department of Justice survey of “state and federal prisoners who had possessed a firearm during the offense for which they were serving” found that the most common source of prisoner firearms was “Off the street/underground market.” This was defined as “Illegal sources of firearms that include markets for stolen goods, middlemen for stolen goods, criminals or criminal enterprises, or individuals or groups involved in sales of illegal drugs.” Less than one percent had obtained their firearm from a gun show.

 The research confirms that anti-gun members of Congress aren’t interested in actually addressing violent crime; they’re just trying to deflect the blame on law-abiding gun owners. Please use this link to let your elected officials know that you won’t be blamed for the actions of violent criminals. Ask your Representative and Senators to oppose H.R.8 and S.42.  Additionally, you may call your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators using the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

EDITORS NOTE: This NRA-ILA column with images is republished with permission.

Podcast: A Former Planned Parenthood Employee Shares Why She Changed

Today is the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and we’re joined by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who had a change of heart and is now a pro-life advocate. Plus: Rachel del Guidice shares why she’s been attending the march for the past 13 years.

We also cover these stories:

  • A day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the president to delay his State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump delayed Pelosi’s trip overseas.
  • A measure pushed by House Republicans that would keep the government closed but would provide pay to affected government employees failed, with only six Democrats voting for it.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham re-introduced a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now

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Rachel del Guidice

Rachel del Guidice is a reporter for The Daily Signal. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Forge Leadership Network, and The Heritage Foundation’s Young Leaders Program. Send an email to Rachel. Twitter: @LRacheldG.

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Katrina Trinko is managing editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcast. She is also a member of USA Today’s Board of Contributors. Send an email to Katrina. Twitter: @KatrinaTrinko.

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Daniel Davis is the commentary editor of The Daily Signal and co-host of The Daily Signal podcastSend an email to Daniel. Twitter: @JDaniel_Davis.

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column with images and podcast is republished with permission. Photo: Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/Getty Images

The facts on Immigrant Crime Published in NJ Newspaper

And, not only that!  The Trentonian, via an opinion piece by David Neese, reminds its readers in blue New Jersey about statements from politicians past that should have earned them (at least) a wrist slap from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

bernie and barack
So where was the Southern Poverty Law Center when we needed them?

You have heard the comments repeatedly lately, but I will bet a buck most Dems outside of the DC beltway have no idea both Barack Obama and Bernie Sanders were so vocal in their demands for border security!

Maybe I’m too hard on the mainstream media! Sometimes they come through with the truth!

The Trentonian:

Provocation: Documented facts about ‘undocumented’

Using at least two words that are now verboten in proper Washington circles, writer Neese begins with a little provocation about the hypocrisy that is driving us nuts these days! (Emphasis is mine)

Surely it was a white supremacist — or at a minimum a xenophobic bigot — who brazenly uttered these words: “We simply can’t allow people to pour into the United States undetected, unchecked, circumventing the people who are waiting patiently, diligently, lawfully to become immigrants in the country.”

But, lo and behold, these were not the words of some slope-browed yahoo driving around in a pickup with a confederate decal on the rear window right by the gun rack.

These were the words of none other than Barack Obama, spoken in 2005.

Okay, but surely the following words, spoken in 2007, were the sentiments of a Klan rabble-rouser:

“I don’t know why we need millions of people to be coming into the country who will work for lower wages than America works and drive down wages even lower than they are now.”

Nope, not Klan words. Those were the words of Bernie Sanders, socialist tribune for the toiling proletariat.

Then he gets to the numbers that no one should ignore:

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) puts out a report called “Criminal Alien Statistics.” The 2018 edition notes 208,800 criminal aliens in state and federal prisons, doing time for an assortment of felonies at a taxpayer cost of $1.4 billion annually.

That seems like a lot of offenders behind bars if immigrant crime is merely, as frequently asserted, a “dog-whistle” term the Know Nothings employ to incite resentment of brown people.

Looking at a sample of 197,000 criminal aliens, the GAO reports an average 10 criminal offenses per alien among this group. Ten!

For the period roughly 2011-2016, the GAO reports the following number of offenses by illegal aliens:

— Drugs: 761,200 state, 336,600 federal.

— Assaults: 397,000 state, 108,400 federal.

— Weapons: 124,709 state, 44,500 federal.

— Sex offenses: 120,300 state, 13,600 federal.

— Robberies: 54,700 state, 13,500 federal.

— Homicides: 50,300 state, 6,000 federal.

— Kidnappings: 18,600 state, 5,000 federal.

Go here to read it all.

Thank you Mr. Neese and The Trentonian.  (If you are wondering, I don’t know David Neese.)

question mark

Looking for something to do? Get Neese’s piece circulating on social media.  Not my post, but his original (here) and consider contacting The Trentonian to thank them for publishing it.

EDITORS NOTE: This Frauds, Crooks and Criminals column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by David von Diemar on Unsplash.

Governor DeSantis Appoints Robert Luck to the Florida Supreme Court

(Miami, FL) Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the appointment of Judge Robert Luck to the Florida Supreme Court.  Judge Luck currently sits on the Third District Court of Appeals (DCA) in Miami.  The Third DCA is the appeals court between the trial court and the state supreme court in South Florida.    

Judge Luck is being picked for an at-large seat and is the second of three appointments that Governor DeSantis will make to replace three of the most liberal justices who have termed out for mandatory retirement at age 70 on Tuesday, January 8, 2019.  Last week DeSantis also appointed Judge Barbara Lagoa to the Florida Supreme Court.  

Florida Family Policy Council President John Stemberger issued the following statement today regarding this appointment:

“Robert Luck is a brilliant jurist. To speak with, or listen to Judge Luck, is to realize you are in the presence of a truly unique and Scalia-like intellect.  Luck fully understands that the role of a judge is a limited one of restraint.  He has demonstrated over the years through his written decisions and public statements, that the job of a judge is to interpret law as it is written and not make law or engage in result-oriented decision making.  As an observant Jew, Luck is also grounded in ethical and moral principles that will surely guide and inform his service to the state of Florida.  Once again, Ron DeSantis has made a very solid appointment that will help to define his legacy as Governor for years to come.”

Regarding judicial philosophy Judge Robert Luck has stated the following:

“I understand how the judiciary — what Hamilton called our least dangerous branch — fits into our system of government… Having worked in each of the three branches, I understand the modest role of the judge in reviewing the laws enacted by the legislature, the actions taken by the executive, and the findings of the lower courts… I have conducted myself that way for the last five years, and I will continue to do so as long as I am permitted to serve.”

Personal and Professional Biography of Robert Luck:

Robert Luck currently sits on the Third District Court of Appeals and prior to that served on the Eleventh Judicial Circuit Court of Florida as a trial court judge. His district court nomination was made by Governor Rick Scott.  Born and raised in Miami-Dade County, Judge Luck would go on to graduate magna cum laude from the University of Florida Levin Law school and gain a prestigious clerkship with Chief Judge Edward Carnes of the 11th Circuit in Alabama. Judge Luck also has experience as Deputy Chief in the Major Crimes Section in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida. As a trial judge he tried seventy jury trials, as an appellate judge he has written over 70 decisions and has heard dozens of appeals from the county court and municipal agencies.  Robert Luck is part of the Miami Jewish Legal Society and currently lives in Miami-Dade County with his wife and two children.  The Luck family attends a Chabad synagogue in Miami.  Chabad is one of the largest observant and orthodox movements within Judaism worldwide. 

Judge Luck’s Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission (JNC) interview can be watched online here: https://thefloridachannel.org/videos/11-4-18-florida-supreme-court-judicial-nominating-commission-part-1/

Judge Luck’s 57 page JNC Application can be read here: https://www-media.floridabar.org/uploads/2018/10/Luck-Robert.pdf

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by the Florida Family Policy Council is republished with permission.

I’m A Senior Trump Official, And I Hope A Long Shutdown Smokes Out The Resistance

The Daily Caller is taking the rare step of publishing this anonymous op-ed at the request of the author, a senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us and whose career would be jeopardized by its disclosure. We believe publishing this essay anonymously is the only way to deliver an important perspective to our readers. We invite you to submit a question about the essay or our vetting process here.

As one of the senior officials working without a paycheck, a few words of advice for the president’s next move at shuttered government agencies: lock the doors, sell the furniture, and cut them down.

Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form.

The lapse in appropriations is more than a battle over a wall. It is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.

On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else. But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.

Why would they? We can’t fire them. They avoid attention, plan their weekend, schedule vacation, their second job, their next position — some do this in the same position for more than a decade.

They do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value. That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process. “Process is your friend” is what delusional civil servants tell themselves. Even senior officials must gain approval from every rank across their department, other agencies and work units for basic administrative chores.

Process is what we serve, process keeps us safe, process is our core value. It takes a lot of people to maintain the process. Process provides jobs. In fact, there are process experts and certified process managers who protect the process. Then there are the 5 percent with moxy (career managers). At any given time they can change, clarify or add to the process — even to distort or block policy counsel for the president.

Saboteurs peddling opinion as research, tasking their staff on pet projects or pitching wasteful grants to their friends. Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them. Until the shutdown.

Due to the lack of funding, many federal agencies are now operating more effectively from the top down on a fraction of their workforce, with only select essential personnel serving national security tasks. One might think this is how government should function, but bureaucracies operate from the bottom up — a collective of self-generated ideas. Ideas become initiatives, formalize into offices, they seek funds from Congress and become bureaus or sub-agencies, and maybe one day grow to be their own independent agency, like ours. The nature of a big administrative bureaucracy is to grow to serve itself. I watch it and fight it daily.

When the agency is full, employees held liable for poor performance respond with threats, lawsuits, complaints and process in at least a dozen offices, taking years of mounting paperwork with no fear of accountability, extending their careers, while no real work is done. Do we succumb to such extortion? Yes. We pay them settlements, we waive bad reviews, and we promote them.

Many government agencies have adopted the position that more complaints are good because it shows inclusion in, you guessed it, the process. When complaints come, it is cheaper to pay them off than to hold public servants accountable. The result: People accused of serious offenses are not charged, and self-proclaimed victims are paid by you, the American taxpayer.

The message to federal supervisors is clear. Maintain the status quo, or face allegations. Many federal employees truly believe that doing tasks more efficiently and cutting out waste, by closing troubled programs instead of expanding them, “is morally wrong,” as one cried to me.

I get it. These are their pets. It is tough to put them down and let go, and many resist. This phenomenon was best summed up by a colleague who said, “The goal in government is to do nothing. If you try to get things done, that’s when you will run into trouble.”

But President Trump can end this abuse. Senior officials can reprioritize during an extended shutdown, focus on valuable results and weed out the saboteurs. We do not want most employees to return, because we are working better without them. Sure, we empathize with families making tough financial decisions, like mine, and just like private citizens who have to find other work and bring competitive value every day, while paying more than a third of their salary in federal taxes.

President Trump has created more jobs in the private sector than the furloughed federal workforce. Now that we are shut down, not only are we identifying and eliminating much of the sabotage and waste, but we are finally working on the president’s agenda.

President Trump does not need Congress to address the border emergency, and yes, it is an emergency. Billions upon billions of hard-earned tax dollars are still being dumped into foreign aid programs every year that do nothing for America’s interest or national security. The president does not need congressional funding to deconstruct abusive agencies who work against his agenda. This is a chance to effect real change, and his leverage grows stronger every day the shutdown lasts.

The president should add to his demands, including a vote on all of his political nominees in the Senate. Send the career appointees back. Many are in the 5 percent of saboteurs and resistance leaders.

A word of caution: To be a victory, this shutdown must be different than those of the past and should achieve lasting disruption with two major changes, or it will hurt the president.

The first thing we need out of this is better security, particularly at the southern border. Our founders envisioned a free market night watchman state, not the bungled bloated bureaucracy our government has become. But we have to keep the uniformed officers paid, which is an emergency. Ideally, continue a resolution to pay the essential employees only, if they are truly working on national security. Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid.

Secondly, we need savings for taxpayers. If this fight is merely rhetorical bickering with Nancy Pelosi, we all lose, especially the president. But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.

The president’s instincts are right. Most Americans will not miss non-essential government functions. A referendum to end government plunder must happen. Wasteful government agencies are fighting for relevance but they will lose. Now is the time to deliver historic change by cutting them down forever.

The author is a senior official in the Trump administration.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Remember When Obama And Clinton Shut Down Government For Their Own Pet Projects?

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EPA Employees Who Watched Porn, Harassed Women And Got Promoted

Trump’s Shutdown Differs Greatly From Obama’s

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column with images is republished with permission. The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Should We Regulate Big Tech?

The following is adapted from a panel presentation on October 12, 2018, in Kansas City, Missouri, at a Hillsdale College Free Market Forum, sponsored by the College’s Center for the Study of Monetary Systems and Free Enterprise.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the invention of the automobile liberated individuals from the yoke of distance. While people could travel before the invention and widespread use of the automobile, they were bound in their daily lives by the limited distance horses could cover. Railroads alleviated but did not eliminate those restrictions—movement was confined by the location of railroad tracks and by train schedules. It was only the automobile that gave individuals the freedom to move at their own leisure.

A century after the invention of the automobile, the invention of the smartphone triggered a similar revolution. And while history never repeats itself, sometimes it rhymes, and these rhymes can help us understand the present.

Before the smartphone, people were tethered to their landlines. In the 1990s, the proliferation of mobile phones and increased access to the Internet greatly expanded our freedom to communicate and our access to information. But it was the introduction of the smartphone in 2007, coupled with mobile communication and the Internet, that brought unprecedented access to information to the Western world and to a significant portion of the developing world.

We have at our fingertips today more advanced hardware and computing power than was used to send man to the moon, more information than is contained in the best library, and more power to communicate than any propaganda machine ever dreamed of possessing. The average individual, however, would not be able to take advantage of these hardware advances and computational powers without the proper applications. Companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon—what the press now calls “Big Tech”—enabled average people to use these powers to improve their lives.

But however much the automobile revolution improved lives, it also presented challenges that required regulatory responses —e.g., speed limits and traffic lights in response to lethal accidents and emission standards in response to air pollution. The Big Tech revolution poses challenges as well—including to free markets—and it is foolish to ignore them. While we no more want to go back to a world without smartphones than we do a world without cars, the question is whether we should manage this new technology so that it helps all of us and does not become just an end in itself.

From the outset, the car industry was fragmented. Roughly 3,000 companies were started in the United States with the intent to produce cars. Despite the fact that Henry Ford’s introduction of mass production with the Model T in 1908 significantly increased economies of scale, there were still 44 independent car companies in the U.S. at the outset of the Great Depression. Only after that did the number of U.S. car manufacturers drop to eight, and it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the Big Three (Chrysler, Ford, General Motors) emerged. By that time, however, foreign cars were on the rise. Even today, the market share of the top-selling car manufacturer in the U.S. is only 18 percent, of the largest two only 32 percent, and of the largest four only 54 percent.

What produced this fragmentation? One factor was geographical segmentation: high transportation costs favored local producers. Another was product differentiation: Henry Ford famously said that you can choose a Model T of any color as long as it is black; in reality, consumers preferred not only different colors but different models, reducing the economies of scale advantage.

The history of Big Tech is very different. Only ten years after the introduction of the iPhone, Apple’s market share as the largest smartphone seller in the U.S. is 38 percent, that of the largest two smartphone sellers 64 percent, and of the largest four 90 percent. When we look at the application markets, the picture is even starker. The market share of Google, the largest search engine in the U.S., is 86 percent, that of the largest two 93 percent, and of the largest four 99 percent. The market share of the largest social media platform in the U.S. is 60 percent, of the largest two 86 percent, and of the largest four 98 percent. To be fair, it is difficult to measure the market share of products that are free. But even if we look at a more substantive market, such as online advertising, Google and Facebook form a duopoly that commands more than 80 percent of market share.

With the tech sector, we are no longer dealing with a mainly tangible economy—an economy with tangible assets such as computers, machinery, and buildings. In the tech sector—as Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake explain in Capitalism without Capital—intangible assets like research and development, marketing, and software dominate. This is not an insignificant fact. As Haskel and Westlake point out, there are four main characteristics of an intangible economy that lead to higher market concentration and less competition: intangible assets are highly scalable, meaning that they can be used repeatedly with little additional investment; investments in intangible assets tend to be sunk, making their value difficult to recuperate; intangible assets are susceptible to spillover, meaning that other companies can benefit from using or mimicking them; and intangible assets, when combined, often produce valuable synergies.

Economists since Adam Smith have taught us that in a competitive economy, the pursuit of private interests leads to the best possible outcome for everybody. But notice the qualifier: for this arrangement to work, there must be competition. It should disturb us, then, that the founders of Google themselves admit that the history of searches they have amassed creates a gigantic barrier to new entrants.

Another aspect of the Big Tech revolution that sets it apart is the quantity and precision of amassed data it makes possible. Businesses have always accumulated data on their clients, but the amount and detail of data concentrated in the hands of Big Tech companies are beyond anything previously imagined. And its value increases rather than decreases with quantity: consumption patterns of individuals are more valuable if linked to their location, more valuable still if linked to their health information, and so on. Not only does this data concentration represent an insurmountable barrier for new entrants into the market, it also represents a threat to individual privacy and can even be a threat—as recent data mining and censorship scandals suggest—to the functioning of our democracy.

Google and Facebook know more about us than our spouses or closest friends—and sometimes even more than we know about ourselves. They can predict what we’re going to do, how we’re going to vote, and what products we’re going to buy. And they use the best minds in the world to manipulate our decisions in a way reminiscent of the movie The Truman Show.

But that is only one way of using (or misusing) the massive information gathered. Thirty years ago, during the debate over Robert Bork’s nomination to the Supreme Court, The Washington Post reported the titles of the videos he rented. During the recent confirmation hearings for Justice Kavanaugh, it was only because the alleged crimes took place before the diffusion of smartphones that phone companies were not able to disclose the geolocation of the nominee and his accusers during the early 1980s. We surely do not want the government tracking our every movement. Do we want Big Tech companies tracking us? Even worse, do we want to risk having these private monopolies grant information about us to the government in exchange for protection of their monopoly power?

Some say that market competition will naturally solve these problems, but there is plenty of evidence of distortion of competition in the tech sector. Not only on the market side—consider the recent European Union case against Google, charging Google with preferring its own shopping comparison tool to others—but on the social side as well. To take one example, Google unilaterally decided to de-rank payday lenders in their search results. De-ranking is a subtle form of censorship—a company de-ranked by Google is effectively condemned to irrelevancy. Regardless of what we think of payday loans, who is Google to decide that for us? And why would Google have done it? Could it have been because the Obama administration was initiating a campaign against payday lenders at the same time? It is not hard to imagine that Google cultivates the gratitude of politicians who have the power to regulate and legislate in ways that impact Google’s interest.

The Panglossian view that technology will solve the Big Tech problem because that is what has occurred in the past suffers from the fallacy of what Bertrand Russell called “the inductivist turkey.” When a turkey observes that his owner comes each morning to feed him, the turkey inductively infers that he will continue to be fed each morning—an inference that breaks down each year at Thanksgiving. Just because something happened in the past, does not mean it will happen in the future.

It is also simply not true that technology alone has been sufficient in the past. IBM’s dominance lasted “only” 30 years and Microsoft’s less than two decades. But neither company was dethroned without government intervention. IBM lost its primacy because the Department of Justice went after it on antitrust grounds for decades. Because of this pressure, it decided to outsource part of its computer manufacturing, which is what led to the PC revolution. Similarly, Google and Facebook are not part of Microsoft today because Microsoft was under antitrust scrutiny. As one of the lawyers in that case said, “The trial is the remedy.” So historical precedent actually supports the idea of subjecting Big Tech to antitrust scrutiny. While it is absolutely true that growth comes from technological innovation, it is wrong to think that letting Big Tech companies continue unhindered will necessarily lead to that innovation.

So what do I propose? As a skeptical economist—especially with regards to government intervention—I advocate what I call a lean approach. There should be no massive overhauls, which create uncertainty and pose a danger of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. I’m also not in favor of breaking up all of Big Tech, and especially not Google, because there are significant economies of scale in search algorithms. I would be much more in favor of splitting Instagram from Facebook, because there are no strong synergies between them and because it was a mistake for antitrust enforcers to allow Facebook to gain so much market power in the first place.

But my initial approach would be even more benign. We should try to promote competition. The reason we don’t see a conservative Facebook being developed is because people want to be where other people are, and it’s very costly in terms of time and effort for people to “multi-home”—to be on multiple social networks. Compare this, for example, with using both Lyft and Uber, which is convenient and efficient.

The same could be true with social media if users could post their content to an intermediary that disseminates it to all of their preferred social media sites. The intermediary could also collect and organize content from their friends and present it in one place. The reason this is not already happening is that federal law prevents it. Indeed, a company called Power Ventures made an application to do all this, but it was shut down by court order when Facebook sued it.

As a result of that lawsuit, it is a crime for a company—even with an individual’s permission—to obtain that individual’s data from Facebook. Here is a clear example of Facebook creating barriers to entry, and the elimination of those barriers would be pro-competition and pro-free market—not interventionist.

In the jargon, this is called “portability of the social graph,” and it’s no different than the portability of our cell phone numbers. Those of us who are a little older remember a time when we did not own our phone numbers—the telephone company did, and if we switched companies we lost our number. Why do we now think it is normal to own our phone number? Because the FCC forced phone companies to allow portability—another instance where regulation created more competition, not less, and reduced consumer prices.

We should begin with this kind of lean regulation in the tech sector to create more competition, which will lead in turn to more innovation and a better result for all of us.

COLUMN BY

Luigi Zingales
University of Chicago


Luigi Zingales

Luigi Zingales is the Robert C. McCormack Distinguished Service Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance and the Charles M. Harper Faculty Fellow at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, where he is also director of the Stigler Center. He graduated summa cum laude from Università Bocconi in Italy and received a Ph.D. in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A co-host of the podcast Capitalisn’t, he has published extensively in economics and financial journals and is the author of two books, including A Capitalism for the People: Recapturing the Lost Genius of American Prosperity.

EDITORS NOTE: This Imprimis column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Rami Al-zayat on Unsplash.

The Constitutionality of A Presidential State of Emergency

By KrisAnne Hall, JD

My inbox is being inundated with the question de jour: “If President Trump declares a ‘State of Emergency’ to build the wall on the border of Mexico, is that Constitutional?”

I am certain that is not the right question, or perhaps not the right way to ask it, but to ask it and answer it correctly, let’s briefly remind ourselves of America’s Constitutional structure and function.

The Constitution of the United States defines the powers for the three branches of federal government. Each of these branches are delegated specific enumerated powers that are not only limited and defined by the Constitution but also separate and distinct in their delegations. The branches of government do not share powers unless that specific cooperation is ascribed by the Constitution. For example, the power to create treaties (today referred to with the obfuscatory label — “deals”) is not an autonomous power belonging to the president but one that requires specific concurrence by the Senate.

Recall that the 10th Amendment declares that any power not delegated through the Constitution remains in the hands of the States. This is the opposite of Teddy Roosevelt’s “stewardship” doctrine that says the feds can do whatever they want as long as the Constitution doesn’t say they can’t. Federal Supremacists love this perspective. That was NOT the discussion or conclusion of the ratification debates. There are no unnamed powers floating in the ether waiting to be snatched up by the central government. Roosevelt’s Secretary of War William Taft rightly conveyed the framers’ positions, “a specific grant must be either in the Federal Constitution or in an act of Congress passed in pursuance thereof. There is no undefined residuum of power which (the federal government) can exercise because it seems…to be in the public interest…”

The specific delegations of power, as well as NON-delegations, were created thoughtfully, deliberately, with knowledge of history and human nature. The limitations of those powers involved considerable debate and study into past history and ancient governments.

Patrick Henry said in his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech: “I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided; and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past.” Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist #20: “Experience is the oracle of truth…”

However, it is not uncommon in the evolution of the American Republic to see the government AND the citizenry cast off the wisdom and experience enshrined in the founding documents to address some “urgent necessity.” Instead of taking the intentionally cumbersome path to do it right, Americans willingly run roughshod over Constitutional barriers because — “we have to get this done ,” or “there is no other way to do it!” These instances have slowly transmuted the Republic into the nearly limitless federal behemoth we know today.  We would be well-served to paste a banner over our televisions and computers reminding us of what William Pitt said in 1783:

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”

So when people ask questions like “Can the president do…?” “Can the House, Senate, or Supreme Court do…?” the first sources that must be consulted are the Constitution and the people who drafted it.  If the Constitution provides no authority for the activity, then the power does not Constitutionally reside in the hands the federal government. So more to the root of the question being asked, “Does the Constitution enumerate a power to the President to declare a state of emergency?” The short answer is No.S

Every state of emergency refers to the National Emergencies Acts as the source of its authority. So the real question is “Does the Constitution authorize Congress to alter (expand or contract) executive power by legislative act?”  The constitutional answer to this question is obviously No.  Congress cannot add powers that the Constitution has not delegated to the president nor can they take away powers that have been delegated.  For Congress to have the authority to add power to the executive branch, they would have to possess the authority to actually amend the Constitution by congressional act, which they do not.  Additionally, for Congress to delegate a power to the executive branch that has been constitutionally delegated to Congress, is a per se violation of the Constitution by crushing the principle of Separation of Powers.  James Madison, quoting political philosopher Montesquieu, was very direct with his words regarding separation of powers:

“There can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or body of magistrates…” Federalist #47

Spending, war, appropriations, national defense, and naturalization are all powers specifically delegated to Congress.  For Congress to abdicate its power to the executive branch is not only not authorized by the Constitution, it is necessarily forbidden by the principle of Separation of Powers to ensure the security of the Liberty of the people.

Shockingly, this debate over states of emergency has raged for decades and nobody seems to offer the obvious correct answer — if we want the President to have such powers we must amend the Constitution.

Yet if you consider how far we have strayed and how long we have been off the path, President Trump is doing nothing out of the ordinary, he is following a long history of extra-Constitutional (aka unconstitutional) action.  We have just accepted a broken government as the norm since at least 1861 when it comes to “national emergencies.”

If you tell a lie long enough, people believe it to be truth and the lie of expanded executive power has a long history.  I think this principle is even more powerful when that lie comes from someone you like, or applies to a situation you happen to agree with.  But that lie can only operate as truth with very dire consequences, the most obvious consequence would be that the lie operates as truth not only for the people you like but also the people you don’t like.

Some claim expansion of executive power began with the George Washington administration’s response to the whiskey rebellion. Yet in this instance, Congress authorized Washington to quell an “insurrection” which falls within the constitutional authority of both Congress and President. It was Congress that then began creating “stand-by laws” to give the President powers beyond the grant of the Constitution in time of “national emergency.” They should have proposed a Constitutional amendment, not passed a law. (Interestingly, Washington later pardoned everyone who was arrested during the rebellion, if they were not already acquitted.)

The first unilateral act of a president arose when Lincoln blockaded American ports and expanded military forces without Congress.  The Congress and the courts eventually went along and this became the confirmation and justification of the President’s emergency power.  Woodrow Wilson and FDR faced similar emergency power controversies and were not thwarted by Congress.  In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson started the “Presidential Proclamation” that triggered the availability of all so-called stand-by laws for these declarations of emergency.  The process came to a head when, after Truman proclaimed an emergency in response to Korean hostilities, the same order was used to wage war in Vietnam 22 years later. 

Congress, led by Senator Church, launched an investigation. One of numerous Congressional studies in 1973 showed that the Congress had already passed over 470 statutes granting the President “EXTRAORDINARY POWERS” during time of emergency.  In an attempt to restrain and proceduralize the use of emergency powers, perhaps restrain the monster they allowed to grow, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act on in September of 1976.

In light of the fact that Congress is not authorized through Congressional act to expand delegated authority, consider these two points from two constitutional delegates:

“There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void.  No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid.” Federalist #78 — Alexander Hamilton

“…the power of the Constitution predominates.  Any thing (sic), therefore, that shall be enacted by Congress contrary thereto, will not have the force of law.” James Wilson, Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention 1787

The Constitution, as well, is not silent on this issue.  Article 6 clause 2 codifies the principles laid down by the above drafters of the Constitution when it says:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; …shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.”

Every law must be made, every federal action must be taken, “in pursuance” to the Constitution.  If that act is not specifically authorized by the Constitution, then the “Judges in every State” are NOT bound thereby.  What that means is the “National Emergencies Act,” “War Powers Act,” 8 US 1182- empowering the president to determine the admissibility of aliens, and many, many others are all unconstitutional delegations of power by Congress to the president.  Which makes them, by the terms of the Constitution AND the drafters of that document, null and void.

So the question is NOT: “If the President declares a national emergency and builds the wall, is that Constitutional?” That’s an easy question to answer, No. The question is “Will we keep pretending to live in a Constitutional Republic, while making it up as we go along?”  Other than electing a Congress that actually cares for the security, safety and integrity of the nation, there are two simple options: Amend the Constitution and have the states give the president this authority or stop pretending, get rid of the Constitution and go back to a monarchy.

ABOUT KRISANNE HALL, JD

KrisAnne Hall is a former biochemist, Russian linguist for the US Army, and former prosecutor for the State of Florida. KrisAnne also practiced First Amendment Law for a prominent Florida non-profit Law firm. KrisAnne now travels the country teaching the foundational principles of Liberty and our Constitutional Republic. KrisAnne is the author of 6 books on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, she also has an internationally popular radio and television show and her books and classes have been featured on C-SPAN TV. KrisAnne can be found at www.KrisAnneHall.com.

RELATED ARTICLE: Trump Has a Strong Legal Argument That He Can Declare National Emergency at Border

EDITORS NOTE: This column from The Revolutionary Act is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Anthony Garand on Unsplash.

Background Checks: No Impact on Criminals

We have seen a generation of gun-grabbers rise and fall. The new generation of gun-grabbers are pushing for the same tired and baseless policies that won’t so much as inconvenience criminals. We understand the emotional response to violence and the desire to “do something.”

But that “something” has to be the right thing, a policy that will be effective on the target population and is backed by sound evidence. To design a policy that will stop criminals from getting guns, the first step should be to find out where criminals get guns.

Fortunately, the Bureau of Justice Statistics within the Office of Justice Programs at the Department of Justice just this week released a report that provides this very information. The report is the “Source and Use of Firearms Involved in Crimes: Survey of Prison Inmates, 2016” and its findings are quite clear.   

More than one in five prisoners in state or federal prisons (20.8%) possessed or used a firearm during their crime; 18.4% had or used a handgun.

A plurality – 43.2% – got their guns off the street or on the underground market which does not include gun shows, flea markets, or private sales. The underground market only includes “markets for stolen goods, middlemen for stolen goods, criminals or criminal enterprises, or individuals or groups involved in sales of illegal drugs.”

About ten percent (10.1%) acquired the gun from a retail source. This includes 8.2% whom acquired it from a licensed dealer at a retail source. Just under 7% bought the firearm under their own name and then at least 6.7% underwent a background check; we say “at least” because some number of prisoners are unaware if a check was conducted. The remaining 3.3% includes people who may not be aware they were submitted to a check because, for many people, the check is completed instantly. As you know, federal law requires firearms dealers to conduct background checks.

A quarter (25.3%) of prisoners acquired the firearm they had at the time of their crime from an individual; 14.5% of these bought, traded, borrowed, or rented the gun from a family member or friend. The other 10.8% were given the firearm as a gift or it was purchased for the prisoner.

That sounds like it likely includes straw purchases, which are a federal crime.

Theft was not uncommon, at 6.4%, though not as common as anti-gun organizations would have you believe.

The remaining 17.4% cited some other source; 6.9% found it at the scene of the crime or it was the victim’s, 4.6% say the gun was brought by someone else, and 5.9% from “other” sources. This last category is a catch-all, including sources that are different from all of the other sources listed in the report. It is important to note that none of the types of “other” sources had enough responses to warrant their own category.

In other words, there weren’t enough prisoners saying they bought a gun online or from a stranger to categorize these straw-man arguments into categories. Some quick, back of the envelope math shows that just under 5,200 prisoners surveyed reported having a gun during their criminal offense.

How would so-called universal background checks impact any of these categories?

First, you have to rule out the retail purchases because most already underwent a background check. You would also have to concede that those who obtained the firearm from a family member or friend wouldn’t be affected, because of the exemptions in so-called universal background checks laws for family members and… well, come on. If someone is going to give a known criminal a gun, then they’re not going to change their minds because of a law. It’s already a crime to knowingly give a gun to a prohibited person.

Sellers on the underground market aren’t going to start running background checks because they are, themselves, criminals. Burglars won’t stop burgling to get a background check run on the firearms they’re stealing.

Criminals who somehow manage find a gun at the scene of the crime through no action of their own wouldn’t be affected by a background check.

So, please, tell us: which source of firearms for criminals will dry up under so-called universal background checks?

Unless drug dealers and purveyors of stolen goods set up shop with clipboards, log books, and internet access to run background checks, criminals will still have a source of illegal guns.

Oh, and don’t forget that universal background checks don’t work.

Tell Your Members of Congress to Oppose “Universal” Background Check Bills

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by NRA-ILA is republished with permission.

The Irony of Refusing to Swear in on the Bible

Last week, the first openly bisexual senator was sworn in…and she refused to be sworn in on the Holy Bible, as is customary. She instead opted for a law book with the Arizona Constitution and the U.S. Constitution, because, she says, of her “love for the Constitution.”

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has a first name that ironically means, in Latin, “Follower of Christ.” In addition to being openly bisexual, she is also listed, according to the Pew Research Center for Religion and Public Life, as the “only member of the Senate who does not identify as a member of a religion.”

Why do we have this system of swearing in public officials in the first place? And swearing in on the Bible? And saying, “So help me, God.”—which, by the way she did (indirectly, at least)?  Who cares about such “antiquated” customs?  Do these symbols matter? Well, Senator Sinema has a role in our government, thanks in part to the Bible for the creation of that government.

I wrote a whole book about how the Bible played a pivotal role in the founding of America. And the more I study the subject, the more convinced I become of it.

Historically, taking oaths is a way to seal one’s commitment —but to do it with God as a witness. Just as marital vows are oaths before God.

George Washington noted in his Farewell Address (1796) that if we undermine religion (in his day, he was speaking to a largely Christian audience), we undermine oaths and fidelity.

Said Washington,

“Let it simply be asked: Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice?”

If there is no God to Whom we shall give an account, we can do whatever we want.

When George Washington was sworn in as our first president under the Constitution, he used the Holy Bible. After being sworn in with his hand on the Bible, Washington even bent down and kissed the holy book. Dr. D. James Kennedy once remarked of that action: “Why, that’s enough to give the ACLU apoplexy!”

I’ve seen documentary footage where President Truman, our 33rd president, also deferentially kissed the Holy Bible as he was being sworn in.

But some people today don’t even want to be sworn in on the holy book. Meanwhile, some recent Muslim elected officials expressed an interest in swearing in on Thomas Jefferson’s copy of the Qur’an—but, as Bill Federer points out, the reason Jefferson got a copy of the Muslim holy book was to try and figure out why Muslims were, without provocation, attacking U.S. ships in the Mediterranean and elsewhere. Early 19th century jihad ultimately led to our Marines being sent “to the shores of Tripoli” to get Islamic attackers to stop stealing our men on the sea and selling them into slavery. 

One of the key points about America’s heritage that is often overlooked is that the Biblical concept of covenant gave rise ultimately to our two key founding documents, the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.

They are written agreements, under God, signed by the participants. More importantly, our founding documents are the culmination of about a hundred or so compacts and frames of government created by the Puritans and other Christians, using a Biblical covenant as the model.

I once interviewed Dr. Donald S. Lutz of the University of Houston, who has been studying constitutions for decades. He told our viewers, “Without a belief in the Bible, we would not have the Declaration of Independence or the U.S. Constitution as we have it.” 

In his book, The Origins of American Constitutionalism, Lutz notes:

“The American constitutional tradition derives in much of its form and content from the Judeo-Christian tradition as interpreted by the radical Protestant sects to which belonged so many of the original European settlers in British North America.”

For example, the first fully developed Constitution on American soil was the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut (1639), which declares the purpose of the colony is “the liberty and purity of the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” This Constitution was inspired by a sermon based on Deuteronomy 1:13 and 1:15, where Moses essentially implements “the consent of the governed” around 1400 B.C. This is just one example of hundreds of how the Scriptures helped pave the way to create the United States.

No wonder the U. S. Supreme Court declared in 1892, when it reviewed all the evidence:

“These and many others which might be noticed, add a volume of unofficial declarations to the mass of organic utterances that this is a Christian nation.” 

Senator Sinema might not like that. But the very authority she has been given comes courtesy of those who sacrificed so much to create this nation in the first place, with the help of God and His holy Word.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Kiwihug on Unsplash.

Is your Neighborhood Pharmacist a Crook?

Some are, but maybe not your local friendly, helpful health professional!

sessions and weed
You can bet the drug industry and the Medicare fraudsters were happy to see Sessions out as Attorney General

A little over six months ago, then Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a major federal crackdown on doctors, pharmacists and other health providers for fueling the opioid crisis and using your Medicare and Medicaid dollars to line their pockets.

Here is a bit of one story about Sessions’ announcement.

From State News  June 28, 2018:

Federal agencies on Thursday announced charges in what Attorney General Jeff Sessions called “the largest health care fraud takedown in American history,” an investigation into over $2 billion in alleged fraud by doctors, pharmacists, and nurses.

Many of the allegations centered on illegitimate opioid prescriptions. The Justice Department charged 162 defendants, including 76 doctors, for their roles dispensing opioids and narcotics, the result of investigations spanning 30 state Medicaid programs and numerous enforcement agencies.

[….]

“Some of our most trusted medical officials, professionals, look at their patients, vulnerable people suffering from addiction, and they see dollar signs,” Sessions said.

The alleged fraud and false billings collectively accounted for 13 million illegal opioid dosages, the Justice Department said, and also included 23 pharmacists and 19 nurses.

The Department of Health and Human Services also announced that since July 2017, it has excluded over 2,700 individuals and 587 providers from Medicare and Medicaid “for conduct related to opioid diversion and abuse” — including 67 doctors, 402 nurses, and 40 pharmacy services.

More here.

Here are a couple of more recent cases of Pharmacy fraud

Don’t miss my post from last week about Pharmacist Haytham “Tom” Fakih in Dearborn, Michigan.

Florida Fraudster

From a Justice Department Press release in December, here.

The owner of a Miami, Florida-area pharmacy who caused Medicare to pay more than $8.4 million over a six-year period for prescription drugs that were never provided to beneficiaries was sentenced today to 87 months in prison.

[….]

Antonio Perez Jr., 48, of Miami Beach, Florida, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Federico A. Moreno of the Southern District of Florida, who also ordered Perez to pay $8,415,824 in restitution and to forfeit the same amount. Perez was ordered to forfeit four Miami-area properties worth approximately $700,000 and multiple bank accounts totaling over $250,000. Perez previously pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud.

[….]

During the course of the scheme, Medicare paid Valles Pharmacy Discount over $32 million, of which at least $8.4 million was for prescription drugs that Valles Pharmacy never purchased and never provided to Medicare beneficiaries, Perez admitted.

ahktmar-pharmacy
The owner of Akhtamar Pharmacy will be sentenced in February.

California case

Also in December a federal jury found Pharmacist Tamar Tatarian, 39, of Pasadena, California guilty of a Medicare fraud scheme after she billed Medicare $1.3 million for drugs she never purchased or distributed.

You will be interested to see that she was one of those caught in Sessions’ big sweep earlier this year.

Tatarian, the owner of Akhtamar Pharmacy, will be sentenced next month.

Secret decoder ring at work!  Tatarian must be Armenian. See the Legend of Akhtamar.  My reference to Secret decoder ring comes from Ann Coulter’s ‘Adios America’ where she rightly points out that readers of news stories about crooks and criminals must search for clues about where the alleged perp might come from and how he/she got in to the country.

Exception!  See yesterday’s post about the Russians ripping off Washington staters! There the reporter actually says where those arrested were from.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images by Frauds, Crooks and Criminals is republished with permission. The featured photo is by rawpixel on Unsplash.

Fake News Field Day in Story about Texas Shooting

Sometimes our criminals at Fraud, Crooks and Criminals will be Americans like the man who allegedly killed little Jazmine Barnes in a drive-by shooting ten days ago.

barnes case white guy
This is the man the New York Times and CNN were already lynching!

The black child was killed by a black thug, but the New York TimesCNN and all the rest had already lynched a “white man with blue eyes” whose likeness had been sent out around the world after other children in the car where Jazmine died told authorities this is what the shooter looked like.

I’ve told some of you previously that I watch CNN the first thing in the morning so that I can get a feel for where they are steering the Leftwing segment of America on any given day.

Oh boy, here they go I thought when that drawing went out and the race hucksters headed to Houston.

CNN actually led one segment of their morning news with the shooting “hate crime” story, even before they launched in to their daily hate fest against the President.

eric black jr
Eric Black Jr arrested in killing of black child

That was until two days ago when, oopsy! turns out the man arrested in the case looks like this.

A second black man has been arrested.

And, guess what! No updates during my early a.m. review of CNN today.

But it wasn’t just CNN, the New York Times had gone on a ‘it has to be a hate crime’ frenzy.

Here is just one segment of a New York Times story (before the arrest of the black thug):

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office believes the gunman fired at random into the car in which Jazmine was riding with her mother and three sisters, a 6-year-old and two teenagers. A bullet struck Jazmine in the head, her mother said.

The police said Wednesday that they still had not identified the gunman. But the case has drawn the attention of national civil rights activists and fueled speculation that the shooting was racially motivated. The gunman is white, the police said, and Jazmine was black.  [Note how the reporter phrases that, I doubt the police said the gunman is white!—ed]

[….]

In another effort to garner the public’s help, Mr. Merritt [family attorney] and Shaun King, a prominent racial justice activist and a columnist at The Intercept, have offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to the gunman’s arrest.

Maybe the New York Times has apologized, but I don’t see it.

Even in a story where the NYT has to admit the truth, they keep ginning up the “hate crime” meme by quoting Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, here:

“Do not be afraid to call this what it seems to be — a hate crime,” Representative Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, told hundreds of people at a rally last week near the site of the killing.

Now, this is the story they are pushing widely. It is about how the poor family got confused.

Meanwhile, speaking of poor families, the family of the white man who may have witnessed the shooting is getting bullied and threatened.  This is from local ABC news:

Family of man wrongfully accused by activist Shaun King in Jazmine Barnes’ shooting speaks out

Will the NYT and CNN follow-up and report that news?  I’m not holding my breath!

Maybe the “white man with blue eyes” should sue the whole bunch of them!

I haven’t done this story (“Justice for Jazmine”) justice. Some feature writer should go through the media coverage of the case and expose in exquisite detail how the frauds in the Leftwing media spin the news.

You know they couldn’t wait to blame this on Donald Trump’s America!

New category at Frauds and Crooks: Media fraud!

Would someone keep an eye on this case and see if major media outlets ever mention it again after this week?

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images from Frauds, Crooks and Criminals is republished with permission. The featured photo is by rawpixel on Unsplash.