Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

White guilt gave us a mock politics based on the pretense of moral authority

original article: The Exhaustion of American Liberalism
March 5, 2017 by SHELBY STEELE

The recent flurry of marches, demonstrations and even riots, along with the Democratic Party’s spiteful reaction to the Trump presidency, exposes what modern liberalism has become: a politics shrouded in pathos. Unlike the civil-rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, when protesters wore their Sunday best and carried themselves with heroic dignity, today’s liberal marches are marked by incoherence and downright lunacy—hats designed to evoke sexual organs, poems that scream in anger yet have no point to make, and an hysterical anti-Americanism.

All this suggests lostness, the end of something rather than the beginning. What is ending?

America, since the ’60s, has lived through what might be called an age of white guilt. We may still be in this age, but the Trump election suggests an exhaustion with the idea of white guilt, and with the drama of culpability, innocence and correctness in which it mires us.

White guilt is not actual guilt. Surely most whites are not assailed in the night by feelings of responsibility for America’s historical mistreatment of minorities. Moreover, all the actual guilt in the world would never be enough to support the hegemonic power that the mere pretense of guilt has exercised in American life for the last half-century.

White guilt is not angst over injustices suffered by others; it is the terror of being stigmatized with America’s old bigotries—racism, sexism, homophobia and xenophobia. To be stigmatized as a fellow traveler with any of these bigotries is to be utterly stripped of moral authority and made into a pariah. The terror of this, of having “no name in the street” as the Bible puts it, pressures whites to act guiltily even when they feel no actual guilt. White guilt is a mock guilt, a pretense of real guilt, a shallow etiquette of empathy, pity and regret.

It is also the heart and soul of contemporary liberalism. This liberalism is the politics given to us by white guilt, and it shares white guilt’s central corruption. It is not real liberalism, in the classic sense. It is a mock liberalism. Freedom is not its raison d’être; moral authority is.

When America became stigmatized in the ’60s as racist, sexist and militaristic, it wanted moral authority above all else. Subsequently the American left reconstituted itself as the keeper of America’s moral legitimacy. (Conservatism, focused on freedom and wealth, had little moral clout.) From that followed today’s markers of white guilt—political correctness, identity politics, environmental orthodoxy, the diversity cult and so on.

This was the circumstance in which innocence of America’s bigotries and dissociation from the American past became a currency of hardcore political power. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, good liberals both, pursued power by offering their candidacies as opportunities for Americans to document their innocence of the nation’s past. “I had to vote for Obama,” a rock-ribbed Republican said to me. “I couldn’t tell my grandson that I didn’t vote for the first black president.”

For this man liberalism was a moral vaccine that immunized him against stigmatization. For Mr. Obama it was raw political power in the real world, enough to lift him—unknown and untested—into the presidency. But for Mrs. Clinton, liberalism was not enough. The white guilt that lifted Mr. Obama did not carry her into office—even though her opponent was soundly stigmatized as an iconic racist and sexist.

Perhaps the Obama presidency was the culmination of the age of white guilt, so that this guiltiness has entered its denouement. There are so many public moments now in which liberalism’s old weapon of stigmatization shoots blanks—Elizabeth Warren in the Senate reading a 30-year-old letter by Coretta Scott King, hoping to stop Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general. There it was with deadly predictability: a white liberal stealing moral authority from a black heroine in order to stigmatize a white male as racist. When Ms. Warren was finally told to sit, there was real mortification behind her glaring eyes.

This liberalism evolved within a society shamed by its past. But that shame has weakened now. Our new conservative president rolls his eyes when he is called a racist, and we all—liberal and conservative alike—know that he isn’t one. The jig is up. Bigotry exists, but it is far down on the list of problems that minorities now face. I grew up black in segregated America, where it was hard to find an open door. It’s harder now for young blacks to find a closed one.

This is the reality that made Ms. Warren’s attack on Mr. Sessions so tiresome. And it is what caused so many Democrats at President Trump’s address to Congress to look a little mortified, defiantly proud but dark with doubt. The sight of them was a profound moment in American political history.

Today’s liberalism is an anachronism. It has no understanding, really, of what poverty is and how it has to be overcome. It has no grip whatever on what American exceptionalism is and what it means at home and especially abroad. Instead it remains defined by an America of 1965—an America newly opening itself to its sins, an America of genuine goodwill, yet lacking in self-knowledge.

This liberalism came into being not as an ideology but as an identity. It offered Americans moral esteem against the specter of American shame. This made for a liberalism devoted to the idea of American shamefulness. Without an ugly America to loathe, there is no automatic esteem to receive. Thus liberalism’s unrelenting current of anti-Americanism.

Let’s stipulate that, given our history, this liberalism is understandable. But American liberalism never acknowledged that it was about white esteem rather than minority accomplishment. Four thousand shootings in Chicago last year, and the mayor announces that his will be a sanctuary city. This is moral esteem over reality; the self-congratulation of idealism. Liberalism is exhausted because it has become a corruption.

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Confusion between care and insurance guarantees costs will rise

original article: When Replacing ObamaCare, Remember Health Insurance Isn’t Health Care
March 7, 2017 by WILLIAM M BRIGGS

Big Louie whispers to you, “Say, Mac. The fix is in. The Redskins are throwing it to the Browns. It’s all set. Guaranteed.”

“No, kiddin’, Louie?”

“I’m tellin’ ya. Now listen. I want you to bet me the Skins win.”

Wha…? But you just told me ….”

“You aren’t paying attention. What’s wrong with you, Mac? You want trouble? I said the Skins will lose and you will bet they’re going to win. Now gimme sixty bucks that says the Skins will win.”

“Hey! You don’t have to be so rough …”

“Say, these twenties are new! Considerate of you. Listen. Don’t be so glum. You’re contributing to a good cause: me.”

What Insurance Is

Any of this remind you, Dear Reader, of the insurance business? It shouldn’t. Yet the word insurance has undergone a strange metamorphosis, which is caused, as you won’t be surprised to learn, by government.

Insurance used to be a bet you would make that you hoped you wouldn’t win. You went to an insurer and made a bet that something bad would happen, say, you got cancer or your house would burn down. The insurer figured out how much it would cost to pay you to fix the bad thing. He then said, “Okay, gimme Y dollars, and if the bad thing happens, I pay you X.” If you didn’t like Y or X, you negotiated with the insurer until a pair of numbers were mutually agreeable — or you agreed to part ways.

But suppose you told the insurer, “I have cancer. It will cost X to treat. I want to bet with you that I get cancer. What’s the minimum Y I should pay you?”

The insurer would either laugh you out of his office, as he commiserated with you about the sad state of your health, or he would pick a Y greater than X. Why? Because it was guaranteed that the insurer would pay out X. Why would he ever take an amount less than X?

The Government “Fix”

Because government, that’s why. Because your cancer is a “pre-existing condition” and it was seen as cruel and heartless for the insurer not to lose money on your behalf. But government forced the insurer to lose money. Government enjoyed playing Robin Hood. Hood as in criminal, crook, confidence trickster (did you not know that? Big Louie knew).

However, because the entities that comprise government move in and out of insurers (and their banks), the government also took pity. Government knew insurers had to make up their forced deficits. So it mandated that citizens who did not want to make a bet with any insurer had to give the insurer money for bad things that would almost never happen. ObamaCare became Big Louie muscling twenty-somethings to insure themselves against Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to Supreme Court Justice Roberts, you being forced to fork over funds to a private entity was called a tax. (Same thing Big Louie calls it!) Thus, not only was the word insurance gutted of most of its actual meaning, so was tax. Orwell lives.

Of course, insurers assisted in their own demise. They, like everybody else, were happy to let folks conflate the incompatible terms health insurance and health care. Once people could no longer keep these separate in their minds, the end of insurance was guaranteed.

What Insurance Isn’t

Insurers blurred these distinctions by separating themselves from the purely betting side of business, by dealing with people’s employers and not people (a condition ensconced by further Government mandates), by paying doctors and hospitals and not people, and by writing blanket instead of specific contracts. It came to be seen as normal for a person to expect “insurance” to pay for their kid’s visit to the doctor for sniffles.

Having the sniffles is almost guaranteed; it is thus numerically no different than a pre-existing condition. Having an insurer pay out on these “sure bets” meant that an additional layer of bureaucracy had to be built to handle the paperwork and shuffle funds around. Insurers unwisely moved to make a profit on these sure bets, which caused them to be penurious when paying out on large claims. Doctors had to increase their staff to handle the busywork. Monies that would have gone to pay for “bettable” diseases had to be diverted to pay for aspirins and bandages. Every step along the way caused premiums to be driven higher.

Now no one understand’s the true cost of care. Worse, we’re at the point where the true meaning of insurance is under active attack. A recent article in Bloomberg complains that it would be better if insurers used data to calculate a person’s chance of this or that disease — which is exactly what insurers should do. The author of that article also frets that insurers might “once again [be] allowed to charge extra for pre-existing conditions, an idea currently being debated in Congress.” In other words, the author is worried that insurers might once again be allowed to do what insurers are supposed to do, and what they must do if insurance is to work.

When Congress scraps ObamaCare, they must not replace it with any scheme that confuses insurance and care. This confusion guarantees that costs will go up and the bureaucracy will grow.

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Democrats defend pathetic status quo in education in anti-choice fashion

original article: On Education, the Left Protects a Miserable Status Quo
March 1, 2017 by Walter E. Williams

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, “The president’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country.”

Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, “I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide.”

Those and many other criticisms of DeVos, the Department of Education secretary, could be dismissed as simply political posturing if we did not have an educational system that is mostly mediocre and is in advanced decay for most black students.

According to the Nation’s Report Card, only 37 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading in 2015, and just 25 percent were proficient in math.

For black students, achievement levels were a disgrace. Nationally, 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading, and 7 percent scored proficient in math. In some cities, such as Detroit, black academic proficiency is worse; among eighth-graders, only 4 percent were proficient in math, and only 7 percent were proficient in reading.

The nation’s high school graduation rate rose again in the 2014-2015 school year, reaching a record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time.

Educators see this as some kind of achievement and congratulate themselves. The tragedy is that high school graduation has little relevance to achievement.

In 2014-2015, graduation rates at District of Columbia Public Schools, just as they did nationally, climbed to an all-time high. At H.D. Woodson High School, 76 percent of students graduated on time; however, just 1 percent met math standards on national standardized tests linked to the Common Core academic standards. Just 4 percent met the reading standards.

The low black academic achievement is not restricted to high school graduates of D.C. schools. The average black high school graduate has the academic achievement level of a white seventh- or eighth-grader.

As such, it stands as unambiguous evidence that high schools confer diplomas attesting that students can read, write, and compute at a 12th-grade level when in fact they cannot. That means they have received fraudulent high school diplomas.

There are many factors that affect education that educators cannot control. But they have total control over the issuance of a diploma.

Educators often complain that there’s not enough money. Census Bureau data show that as early as 2009-2010, Washington, D.C., spent $29,409 per pupil.

Starker proof that there’s little relationship between spending and academic proficiency is in the case of Detroit’s public schools. In 2009-2010, the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil. According to the Census Bureau, Detroit schools spent $12,801 per pupil. The Mackinac Center for Public Policy claims that Detroit actually spent $15,570 per pupil that year.

There’s not much payoff for education dollars. The National Institute for Literacy found that 47 percent of the city’s adults are “functionally illiterate.” The Nation’s Report Card reports that Detroit students score the lowest among the nation’s big-city schools, and Washington is not far behind.

I’d ask Schumer how it would be possible for DeVos to make education any worse than it is for many Americans. I’d suggest to Richmond that if the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan were the secretary of education and wanted to sabotage black academic achievement, he couldn’t find a better method for doing so than keeping our public school system as it is.

Many black politicians and educators would never have their own children attend the rotten, dangerous schools that are so much a part of our big cities. Many black parents, captured by these schools, would like to get their children out.

But that’s not in the interest of the education establishment, which wants a monopoly on education. Black politicians and academics are the establishment’s facilitators.

That explains their hostility to DeVos. She would like to give more parents a choice.

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Did the Obama admin discriminate for job positions based on race or religion?

original article: LEAKED: Obama Team Kept List of Muslims For Top Jobs, Excluded Non-Muslims
October 24, 2016 by Justin Caruso

The newest batch of John Podesta’s hacked emails released by Wikileaks shows Obama’s transition team kept lists of Muslim and Asian candidates for jobs in the administration.

According to an email chain from 2008, John Podesta received lists of exclusively Muslims and Asians to be considered for jobs in the Obama administration. The email chain revealed that in this process, Middle Eastern Christians were purposefully excluded, or set aside in a separate list, with an aide writing,

In the candidates for top jobs, I excluded those with some Arab American background but who are not Muslim (e.g., George Mitchell). Many Lebanese Americans, for example, are Christian. In the last list (of outside boards/commissions), most who are listed appear to be Muslim American, except that a handful (where noted) may be Arab American but of uncertain religion (esp. Christian).

Also notable, there was concern that some of the Muslims suggested would not survive media scrutiny, with one aide writing, “High-profile Muslim Americans tend to be the subject of a fair amount of blogger criticism, and so the individuals on this list would need to be ESPECIALLY carefully vetted.”

She continues, “I suspect some of the people I list would not survive such a vet — but I do personally know, at least in part, virtually all of the candidates in the 1st two categories (but I know very few of those listed for outside boards/commissions).”

Within the lists themselves, candidates were further broken down, with every candidate labeled by their nationality and sometimes race.

This follows a pattern of the Obama Administration using race and religion to determine hiring, with other leaked emails showing potential political appointees being labeled with an F for female, B for black, H for Hispanic, and M for Muslim.

Another Wikileaks release showed the Obama transition team keeping extensive lists of non-white candidates for administration posts.

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Violent behavior is condoned—as long as the politics are correct

original article: There Really is Climate of Violence on Campuses
February 13, 2017 by WILLIAM M BRIGGS

Time for our News Quiz! How many were arrested and punished in Berkeley among those who rioted, vandalized and violently beat a man with shovels, almost killing him, when the right-wing comedian Milo was to visit that campus?

Hint: The total was the same as the number of student militants menacingly brandishing automatic weapons who violently occupied Cornell’s Willard Straight Hall in 1969 in protest of Cornell’s “racist attitudes” and “irrelevant curriculum.”

Still not sure? Then here, at the risk of being too generous, is another hint. The number of violent actors arrested at Berkeley is the same as the number punished for their violent storming of the stage at the University of Wisconsin, Madison to prevent mild-mannered Ben Shapiro from speaking on the subject of decency, an event at which “Campus police watched but did nothing to stop the interruptions.” Violent students also blocked Shapiro from UCLA.

If you still don’t have it, the number you’re looking for is the usual count of those arrested, expelled or otherwise punished for their use of violence to further political causes at colleges and universities all across this fair country. It is a number fewer than the fingers on your right hand to the left of your thumb.

No more clues. Unless you find the answer too distasteful to admit, you have at least an inkling of this circular figure.

The Violent in Charge

Now that we have finished the first question, it is time for our … Political Science Quiz! Ready?

What do we call those people in a society who are licensed or allowed to use violence?

No hints this time. We call these the people in charge.

Since the violent are in charge, and since folks regularly use violence on college campuses as a means of politics — violence that just as regularly goes unpunished or is countenanced — we can therefore say that there is an officially approved climate of violence many campuses in the United States.

It really is this simple. Violent students (and professors) are in charge, have been in charge, and will continue to be in charge as long as they are allowed to use violence.

Violence in and around universities is so commonplace that its presence is thought natural and necessary. Pepper sprayings, calls for muscle, assaults of speakers calling for free speech (another Berkeley incident), a brawl and students rushing the stage, students occupying by force various campus offices.

These violent actions are not only in protest of freedom and traditional morality. Sometimes plain old-fashioned greed is the excuse. As when students violently burst into and occupied various buildings at University of California at Davis to whine that tuition should not increase.

There isn’t any point in continuing the examples. The reports of violent behavior and temper tantrums of campus denizens appear in the news as often as storm reports, ever since the 1960s. Everybody knows this to be true. Everybody expects it. And except for noting these incidents, as I am doing now, few do anything about them.

Don’t Call Them Snowflakes

The mistake is to label violent, fit-throwing students as they crowd into “safe spaces,” fill their diapers and demand to be changed, with being “snowflakes.” Those who do so, says Anthony Esolen in his new book Out of the Ashes, “are wrong in their diagnosis and inaccurate in their criticism.”

It is also something of a mistake to point at the students and laugh at them for being weaklings. The students hold the hammer, and they know it … in our world of inversions, power is granted to people who claim that they have no power and who resent the greatness of their own forebears. They do not seek “safety.” They seek to destroy. The strong man is bound and gagged, and the pistol is pointed at his head — the seat of reason itself.

On paper, at least, university presidents, deans and trustees are in charge. Almost none of these people, duly accepting their office and possessing the right to administer punishment and keep order, fulfill their duties to maintain order and keep the peace. Sometime these officials share the political goals of the violent on campus, and so excuse the violence.

But often those purportedly in charge do not want the grief associated with doing the right thing. If a president expelled a violent student, the national media would be against him, a large part of his faculty would be against him, the student body would be against him, even the trustees buckling under the weight of publicity would be against him. It is easier to look the other way or issue a non-binding We-Love-Tolerance-And-Repudiate-Violence missive.

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15 cases where the courts raped the law in 2016

original article: The top 15 court cases that wreaked havoc on America’s core values in 2016
January 1, 2017 by Daniel Horowitz

One of the breakthrough aspects of Conservative Review in 2016 was our increased focus on judicial tyranny up and down the federal judiciary. I was proud to accompany the release of my book, “Stolen Sovereignty,” with dozens of columns about the federal judiciary, demonstrating conclusively that its entire modern construction is irremediably broken.

Throughout the year, we explored specific cases from the Supreme Court and especially from lower federal courts showing how their entire conception of constitutional interpretation is irretrievably broken. What is regarded by settled law as a federal power, the courts give to the states; what is a state power they give to the Feds. What is an inalienable right enshrined into the Constitution, they read out of it; what is antithetical to our founding values or not discussed in the Constitution they enshrine as a fundamental right.

Moreover, we have concluded that the entire public perception of the role of the courts as the sole and final arbiter of constitutional questions is fundamentally at odds with every tenet of our founding values as a democratic republic. Congress has the full array of constitutional tools at its disposal to rein in runaway courts. Also, the legislative branch, along with the executive branch and the states, can use their powers to check and mitigate the damage incurred from bad court decisions as it relates to the actual execution of those decisions as national precedent for broad political and social issues.

I look forward to doubling down on the focus of judicial reform from a legal, constitutional, historical, philosophical, and practical perspective in the coming year. This is the year I hope that conservatives in politics will finally wake up and smell the stench of the judicial tyranny. With Republicans in complete control of the federal government and most state governments, we will only be playing defense in the courts. The legal Left will successfully place every political decision in the courts and will likely succeed in most cases. Although Trump can make a small dent in the mess by immediately filling some vacancies, we have shown how in the long run that strategy will never work to stem the entrenched and irremediable post-constitutional precedent already observed even by conservative judges, aside from the rare Clarence Thomas.

It is my hope that the coming judicial onslaught — from destroying state sovereignty and religious liberty laws to mandating rights for illegal aliens and codifying transgenderism — will serve as the inspiration for conservatives to finally restore the proper balance of power between Congress, the states, and the federal judiciary. Concurrently, with control of 33 state legislative chambers, hopefully this is the year when we finally gain critical momentum in the push for an Article V Convention of the States to reform the judiciary and the entire broken political structure from outside Washington, D.C.

To that end, I give you a partial year in review from our archives to look back at some of the craziest court decisions of the year:

1. A constitutional right to unsafe abortion clinics

In the landmark SCOTUS ruling of the year, Anthony Kennedy wrote a 5-3 opinion in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt asserting that states can’t require abortion clinics to meet the health standards for ambulatory surgical centers, or require doctors at the facilities to have admissions privileges at a hospital within 30 miles. The decision opened the door for lower courts to assail every common sense regulation states have implemented to prevent a repeat of Kermit Gosnell horror stories in abortion clinics. With this decision, the Court expanded the concocted right to an abortion to the right to an unregulated abortion clinic.

2. A license to discriminate … on behalf of the RIGHT people

While Anthony Kennedy and his ilk bastardize the Fourteenth Amendment and concoct phony rights that prevent states from defining marriage, enacting common sense abortion regulations, enforcing immigration law, and maintaining basic state powers over election laws, they allow states to actually discriminate on behalf of “minorities.” In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, Kennedy and the other liberals said that college affirmative action programs that blatantly discriminate against whites are constitutional as long as they are necessary to achieve “the educational benefits of diversity.” Thus, the one true violation of “Equal Protection” was blessed by the Court, even as they strike down our history and tradition based on false applications of the Fourteenth Amendment.

3. States can’t require photo ID at the polls

Every circuit court that has heard cases related to photo ID laws have “struck down” those common sense laws as violations of the Voting Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment. The most egregious was the Fourth Circuit ruling insinuating that black Americans are essentially incapable of obtaining photo ID, even when provided by the state of North Carolina for free. In addition, the Fourth Circuit mandated 17 days of early voting and all sorts of new constitutional rights, such as same-day registration, pre-registration of 16-year-olds, and out-of-precinct voting. Oh, and the court also said that North Carolina election maps were racist. The Supreme Court refused to stay the lower court decision, and only Justice Thomas would have overturned the ruling mandating that 16-year-olds be allowed to register to vote!

4. Court nullifies North Carolina elections and calls for new off-year elections

After originally “striking down” North Carolina’s state elections maps — an area of law over which states fully control — a federal district court mandated new state legislative elections to be held in 2017, in contravention to the state’s constitution. Together with many other rulings this year throughout the country, federal courts have crowned themselves king over state elections. They have effectively empowered themselves to create new election maps and even new elections, invariably benefiting Democrats.

5. Racist court rules blacks too dumb to use regular ballots in Michigan

Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations! District judge Gershwin Drain ruled that there is a Fourteenth Amendment right for voters to have the option of checking a party-line box on the ballot that automatically renders every vote down-ballot for the same party. The judge opined that simple “office by office ballots” are likely to increase voter confusion and miscast ballots in black neighborhoods because they evidently, in his estimation, can’t ascertain the Democrat candidate running for individual offices. The Sixth Circuit upheld his ruling.

6. Ohio can’t purge dead voters from its voter registration

According to the Sixth Circuit, states can’t even clean their voters rolls after employing a painstaking process of verification. In a 2-1 decision, which included a Republican-appointee, the Sixth Circuit forced the Ohio secretary of state to reinstate “voting rights” to 465,000 dead voters who were removed from the rolls through the very process required by the motor voter law. By misinterpreting congressional statutes to prevent states from fighting voter fraud, the courts are essentially abolishing free and fair elections, the underpinnings of our federal representative democracy.

7. Non-citizens voting is de facto law of the land

If dead Americans can vote, why can’t live foreign nationals vote in our elections? That is the conclusion we must draw from two court decisions this year. Both the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals and the Tenth Circuit blocked states from requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration, even when the U.S. Election Assistance Commission explicitly gave them permission to do so. With thousands of non-citizens erroneously registering to vote through motor voter laws, the courts have now blocked the only practical way to prevent non-citizens from diluting the integrity of our elections.

8. Transgenderism is settled law

Earlier in the year, the Fourth Circuit ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment and Title IX of the federal education code forces states and school districts to allow boys into female private dressing rooms. More recently, the Sixth Circuit ruled that transgenderism being enshrined into civil rights is already “settled law.” Earlier in the year, a federal judge in Colorado urged the State Department to adopt “gender neutral” passports. Thus, the most immutable laws of nature are now being settled by the courts as the very opposite of their nature. This coming year, the Supreme Court will rule on one of these cases, Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, in what is likely to be Kennedy’s transgender equivalent of Obergefell.

9. States MUST fund Planned Parenthood

Almost every district and federal court that has heard cases filed by Planned Parenthood this year have ruled in the group’s favor, forcing states to fund them. Evidently, private abortion groups under criminal investigation for trafficking baby organs now have an inalienable right to taxpayer funds — out of reach of the state legislature to regulate. The Tenth Circuit ruled that Planned Parenthood has a First and Fourteenth Amendment right to taxpayer funding! Judge Michael R. Barrett, a Bush-appointed federal judge in Ohio, ruled that the state cannot cut off funding because the butcherhood “will suffer a continuing irreparable injury for which there is no adequate remedy at law.” This has now dissuaded weak governors like John Kasich from even signing pro-life legislation into law.

10. The Bill of Rights prohibits the Ten Commandment monument!

A GOP-appointed judge wrote an opinion for the Tenth Circuit completely rewriting the First Amendment, essentially declaring secularism the national religion. They gave standing to a group of pagan polytheists to sue against a privately funded replica of the Ten Commandments placed on the city hall lawn in Bloomfield, New Mexico. How did they demonstrate injury-in-fact to successfully obtain standing against the monument? With a straight face, the judge opined that the plaintiffs suffer “irreparable injury” because they have to pass by the monument while paying their water bill! Meanwhile, states and law enforcement can’t obtain standing to sue when their suffer security and economic problems as a result of Obama violating immigration laws.

11. States cannot protect religious liberty

While a private abortion organization evidently has the right to taxpayer funding — even if it is violating the conscience of half the taxpayers funding it — a private business does not have the right to merely mind its own business and run its organization according to its conscience.  In July, Judge Carlton Reeves blocked the Mississippi legislature from enforcing HB 1523, a law protecting private organizations from being forced to service the homosexual or transgender agenda when it interferes with their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.” The Fifth Circuit, including a GOP-appointed judge, refused to stay the district judge’s ruling. Thus, the most sacred rights of conscience and property are shredded by the same courts that create rights to taxpayer-funded abortions.

12. Stolen Sovereignty: Judge turns 6 states into sanctuaries

By now you are seeing the pattern of how the courts have denuded states of any long-held powers. Yet, when it comes to the one legitimate federal power — immigration enforcement — the courts are siding with sanctuary cities that thwart federal immigration officials. On September 30, Judge John Lee of the Northern District of Illinois codified sanctuary cities into law by ruling that localities in six states may not cooperate with federal authorities to detain illegal aliens unless ICE can somehow prove that each random individual is a known flight risk. This is part of a troubling trend of courts overturning settled law and granting illegal aliens standing to sue for avenues to remain in the country against the national will. If nothing is done to block such meddling in congressional power over immigration, the courts will likely thwart every effective immigration enforcement measures conservatives are encouraging Trump to implement.

13. Driver’s licenses for illegal aliens

The Ninth Circuit codified Obama’s illegal executive amnesty by ruling that Arizona could not follow congressional immigration statutes and must instead grant driver’s licenses to those amnestied by Obama. The court ruled that illegals have a Fourteenth Amendment write to affirmative state benefits and that Arizona doesn’t even have a public interest other than “animus” to prohibit them from obtaining driver’s licenses, despite the rash of drunk driving incidents. Meanwhile, this same court refuses to recognize a true right for Americans, the Second Amendment. A few months later, a federal judge in Texas gave standing to illegal aliens to sue the state of Texas to grant their children birth certificates simply by showing Mexican ID cards, thereby stealing the birthright and sovereignty of American citizens.

14. SCOTUS opens door for retroactive release of thousands of violent criminals

The courts were responsible for the crime wave of the ‘70s. If nothing is done to stop them, they will spawn a new crime wave in the coming years. In Welch v. United States, with Justice Thomas as the lone dissenter, the Supreme Court retroactively invalidated a major statute which created a mandatory minimum 15-year sentence for those who had three prior convictions for a “violent felony.” Consequently, thousands of the worst criminals in federal prison are flooding liberal district courts with petitions to reopen their cases for potential early release.

15. Courts force pharmacies to carry every form of contraception

In a case where silence is deafening, the Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal from a family-owned grocery and pharmacy store in Washington state that was forced by the lower courts to stock their shelves with Plan B morning-after pills. Justice Alito wrote a scathing dissent noting that the high court’s refusal to overturn lower court tyranny was an ominous sign that there are now five justices on the court who won’t even recognize the most foundational of inalienable rights. Even if Scalia’s seat is filled with a rock star constitutionalist, Anthony Kennedy has jumped the shark on religious liberty.

Indeed, we have a judicial emergency to contend with in 2017!

abuse, bias, corruption, elitism, extremism, government, ideology, judiciary, justice, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

Filed under: abuse, bias, corruption, elitism, extremism, government, ideology, judiciary, justice, left wing, liberalism, nanny state, oppression, philosophy, political correctness, politics, progressive, public policy, relativism, unintended consequences

When the shoe is on the other foot in politics

original article: God Bless Harry Reid
February 2, 2017 by CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER

Senate Democrats have Reid to thank for being powerless to block Gorsuch’s nomination.

There are many people to thank for the coming accession of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Donald Trump for winning the election. Hillary Clinton for losing it. Mitch McConnell for holding open the High Court seat through 2016, resolute and immovable against furious (and hypocritical) opposition from Democrats and media. And, of course, Harry Reid.

God bless Harry Reid. It’s because of him that Gorsuch is guaranteed elevation to the Court. In 2013, as then–Senate majority leader, Reid blew up the joint. He abolished the filibuster for federal appointments both executive (such as cabinet) and judicial, for all district- and circuit-court judgeships (excluding only the Supreme Court). Thus unencumbered, the Democratic-controlled Senate packed the lower courts with Obama nominees.

Reid was warned that the day would come when Republicans would be in the majority and would exploit the new rules to equal and opposite effect. That day is here. The result is striking.

Trump’s cabinet appointments are essentially unstoppable because Republicans need only 51 votes and they have 52. They have no need to reach 60, the number required to overcome a filibuster. Democrats are powerless to stop anyone on their own.

And equally powerless to stop Gorsuch. But isn’t the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees still standing? Yes, but if the Democrats dare try it, everyone knows that Majority Leader McConnell will do exactly what Reid did and invoke the nuclear option — filibuster abolition — for the Supreme Court, too.

Reid never fully appreciated the magnitude of his crime against the Senate. As I wrote at the time, the offense was not abolishing the filibuster — you can argue that issue either way — but that he did it by simple majority. In a serious body, a serious rule change requires a serious supermajority. (Amending the U.S. Constitution, for example, requires two-thirds of both houses plus three-quarters of all the states.) Otherwise you have rendered the place lawless. If in any given session you can summon up the day’s majority to change the institution’s fundamental rules, there are no rules.

McConnell can at any moment finish Reid’s work by extending filibuster abolition to the Supreme Court. But he hasn’t. He has neither invoked the nuclear option nor even threatened to. And he’s been asked often enough. His simple and unwavering response is that Gorsuch will be confirmed. Translation: If necessary, he will drop the big one.

It’s obvious that he prefers not to. No one wants to again devalue and destabilize the Senate by changing a major norm by simple majority vote. But Reid set the precedent.

Note that the issue is not the filibuster itself. There’s nothing sacred about it. Its routine use is a modern development — with effects both contradictory and unpredictable. The need for 60 votes can contribute to moderation and compromise because to achieve a supermajority you need to get a buy-in from at least some of the opposition. On the other hand, in a hyper-partisan atmosphere (like today’s), a 60-vote threshold can ensure that everything gets stopped and nothing gets done.

Filibuster abolition is good for conservatives today. It will be good for liberals tomorrow when they have regained power. There’s no great principle at stake, though as a practical matter, in this era of widespread frustration with congressional gridlock, the new norm may be salutary.

What is not salutary is the Reid precedent of changing the old norm using something so transient and capricious as the majority of the day. As I argued in 2015, eventually the two parties will need to work out a permanent arrangement under which major rule changes will require a supermajority (say, of two-thirds) to ensure substantial bipartisan support.

There are conflicting schools of thought as to whether even such a grand bargain could not itself be overturned by some future Congress — by simple majority led by the next Harry Reid. Nonetheless, even a problematic entente is better than the free-for-all that governs today.

The operative word, however, is “eventually.” Such an agreement is for the future. Not yet, not today. Republicans are no fools. They are not about to forfeit the advantage bequeathed to them by Harry Reid’s shortsighted willfulness. They will zealously retain the nuclear option for Supreme Court nominees through the current Republican tenure of Congress and the presidency.

After which, they should be ready to parlay and press the reset button. But only then. As the young Augustine famously beseeched the Lord, “Give me chastity and continency, only not yet.”

congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

Filed under: congress, constitution, Democrats, government, ideology, legislature, politics, Republicans, unintended consequences

Does Pelosi think it’s okay to use religion as a guide for public policy?

original article: Pelosi: Democrats Do ‘the Lord’s Work,’ Republicans ‘Dishonor God’
January 24, 2017 by TYLER O’NEIL

In yet another example of moral narcissism and the liberal inability to understand conservative positions on faith, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi declared that her party, the Democratic Party, does the will of God while Republicans dishonor their Creator.

Of Republicans, the Democrat congresswoman from California declared, “They pray in church on Sunday and they prey on people the rest of the week. And while we’re doing the Lord’s work, ministering to the needs of God’s creation, they are ignoring those needs which is to dishonor the God who made them.”

Perhaps emboldened by Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change, Pelosi thus equated the climate alarmism and draconian regulations pushed by her party with a godly care for the environment. In doing so, she failed to understand that there are good reasons to doubt the “scientific consensus” on man-made global warming. She also failed to note that God’s care for “the least of these” can justify cutting regulations, which will unleash economic growth which helps the poor as well as the rich.

This is why Pelosi’s declaration that Republicans “prey on people” was important. By falsely equating free market policies with the kind of crony capitalism that leads to monopoly, Democrats argue that the Republican agenda enables the rich to harm the poor.

read full article

christian, culture, Democrats, ethics, government, hypocrisy, ideology, liberalism, politics, public policy, religion

Filed under: christian, culture, Democrats, ethics, government, hypocrisy, ideology, liberalism, politics, public policy, religion

If voter fraud isn’t real, please explain this

original article: Voter Fraud Is Real. Here’s The Proof
October 13, 2016 by John Gibbs

Data suggests millions of voter registrations are fraudulent or invalid. That’s enough to tip an election, easily.

This week, liberals have been repeating their frequent claim that voter fraud doesn’t exist. A recent Salon article argues that “voter fraud just isn’t a problem in Pennsylvania,” despite evidence to the contrary. Another article argues that voter fraud is entirely in the imagination of those who use voter ID laws to deny minorities the right to vote.

Yet as the election approaches, more and more cases of voter fraud are beginning to surface. In Colorado, multiple instances were found of dead people attempting to vote. Stunningly, “a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.” In Virginia, it was found that nearly 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.

In Texas, authorities are investigating criminals who are using the technique of “vote harvesting” to illegally procure votes for their candidates. “Harvesting” is the practice of illegally obtaining the signatures of valid voters in order to vote in their name without their consent for the candidate(s) the criminal supports.

These are just some instances of voter fraud we know about. It would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud. Indeed according to a Pew Charitable Trust report from February 2012, one in eight voter registrations are “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” Since there are 146 million Americans registered to vote, this translates to a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books. Further, “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” Numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud.

Don’t Let Data Contradict My Narrative

Yet in spite of all this, a report by the Brennan Center at New York University claims voter fraud is a myth. It argues that North Carolina, which passed comprehensive measures to prevent voter fraud, “failed to identify even a single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” However, this faulty reasoning does not point to the lack of in-person voter fraud, but rather to lack of enforcement mechanisms to identify and prosecute in-person voter fraud.

The science of criminal justice tells us that many crimes go unreported, and the more “victimless” the crime, the more this happens. The fact is, a person attempting to commit voter fraud is very unlikely to be caught, which increases the incentive to commit the crime.

The National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) is a sophisticated, comprehensive effort to catalog “the number and types of crimes not reported to law enforcement authorities.” However, it tends to deal mostly in violent crimes. As complex as the NCVS is, gathering accurate data for unreported victimless crimes such as voter fraud is even harder, since 1) outside of the criminal, no one may know a crime has taken place, and 2) there is no direct victim to report the crime in the first place. Yet we are expected to believe that, unlike violent crime, voter fraud is limited only to the cases that are actually reported and prosecuted? This is a senseless position.

Further, the Brennan Center report argues that because prosecutor Kris Kobach’s review of 84 million votes cast in 22 states found only 14 instances of fraud referred for prosecution (which amounts to a 0.00000017 percent fraud rate), voter fraud is so statistically small that it’s a non-issue. Let’s follow this logic. Does the fact that 109 people were cited for jaywalking in Seattle in 2009 mean that only 109 people jaywalked in Seattle that year? Does the fact that 103,733 people were cited for driving without a seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015 mean that only that many people were driving without seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015?

Absolutely not. This can be proven easily because in 2014, the previous year, only 29,470 people were cited. The disparity is largely due to increased enforcement efforts in 2015. In other words, increasing enforcement of the crime revealed a much larger number of people committing the crime.

The exact same is true for voter fraud. We have no reason to believe that the low number of prosecutions means only that exact amount of voter fraud is happening. Rather, it could mean a lack of enforcement is failing to reveal the bulk of the violations that are occurring. Thus, as with many types of crimes, especially victimless crimes, the real number of cases is likely significantly higher than the number reported.

How to Effectively Target Voter Fraud

So now that we know voter fraud is a serious issue, what are some solutions to this problem? States like Michigan have Poll Challenger programs, where observers from both parties may be present at voter check-in tables at precincts. They check each voter’s ID against a database of registered voters for that precinct to ensure the person attempting to vote is actually legally qualified to vote in that precinct. If there’s a discrepancy, the poll challenger may officially challenge the ballot. Other states should implement similar programs.

States should sponsor initiatives to remove dead voters and correct the registrations of people registered in multiple states (make them choose just one state). Since many local jurisdictions are reluctant to clean their voter rolls, federal or state oversight with teeth may be necessary.

Further, voter ID laws, such as the one implemented by North Carolina, but (wrongly) struck down by three liberal judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit— one appointed by Bill Clinton and the other two appointed by President Obama—are needed to ensure there’s no cheating with votes. States should continue to press the issue regardless of recent setbacks by liberal activist judges.

Finally, some have claimed that strong voter ID laws are racist, because they disproportionately impact minorities and would prevent minorities from voting. As a black person, I’m naturally interested in this claim. Thankfully, it turns out to be false. The Heritage Foundation has shown that black voter turnout actually increased after North Carolina passed its voter ID law.

Not only was the claimed negative outcome false, but the reasoning was faulty as well. The fact that the law disproportionately impacts minorities does not mean that it is discriminatory. It means, unfortunately, that fewer minorities are in compliance with common-sense safeguards to protect the integrity of our elections (i.e., having a driver’s license or photo ID).

To mitigate this concern, states can offer a service that will take people without valid ID to their local government office to apply for proper ID, free of charge. Users could schedule the pickup with their smartphone or a phone call. That way there will be as few barriers as possible to those who want to vote and are capable of obtaining a valid ID, but cannot due to transportation concerns (a reason often given by those who claim voter ID laws hurt minorities).

So let us not believe false claims that voter fraud doesn’t exist. It’s real, and we must work to stop it, while making sure those who are eligible to vote but without proper ID are accommodated fairly.


When voter fraud doesn’t count as fraud (because the perpetrators say so)

corruption, cover up, criminal, elections, ethics, fraud, ideology, pandering, political correctness, politics, scandal, voter fraud

Filed under: corruption, cover up, criminal, elections, ethics, fraud, ideology, pandering, political correctness, politics, scandal, voter fraud

Billion$ spent to fix failing schools; fail

original article: Obama administration spent billions to fix failing schools, and it didn’t work
January 19, 2017 by Emma Brown

One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.

Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.

The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.

“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”

The School Improvement Grants program has been around since the administration of President George W. Bush, but it received an enormous boost under Obama. The administration funneled $7 billion into the program between 2010 and 2015 — far exceeding the $4 billion it spent on Race to the Top grants.

The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures: replacing the principal and at least half the teachers, converting into a charter school, closing altogether, or undergoing a “transformation,” including hiring a new principal and adopting new instructional strategies, new teacher evaluations and a longer school day.

The Education Department did not track how the money was spent, other than to note which of the four strategies schools chose.

Arne Duncan, Obama’s education secretary from 2009 to 2016, said his aim was to turn around 1,000 schools every year for five years. “We could really move the needle, lift the bottom and change the lives of tens of millions of underserved children,” Duncan said in 2009.

Duncan often said that the administration’s school-improvement efforts did not get the attention they deserved, overshadowed by more-controversial efforts to encourage states to adopt new standards and teacher evaluations tied to tests.

The school turnaround effort, he told The Washington Post days before he left office in 2016, was arguably the administration’s “biggest bet.”

He and other administration officials sought to highlight individual schools that made dramatic improvements after receiving the money. But the new study released this week shows that, as a large-scale effort, School Improvement Grants failed.

Just a tiny fraction of schools chose the most dramatic measures, according to the new study. Three percent became charter schools, and 1 percent closed. Half the schools chose transformation, arguably the least intrusive option available to them.

“This outcome reminds us that turning around our lowest-performing schools is some of the hardest, most complex work in education and that we don’t yet have solid evidence on effective, replicable, comprehensive school improvement strategies,” said Dorie Nolt, an Education Department spokeswoman.

Nolt emphasized that the study focused on schools that received School Improvement Grants money between 2010 and 2013. The administration awarded a total of $3.5 billion to those schools, most of it stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. “Since then,” she said, “the program has evolved toward greater flexibility in the selection of school improvement models and the use of evidence-based interventions.”

“Here in Massachusetts, it actually took several years to see real improvement in some areas,” Duncan said at the time. “Scores were flat or even down in some subjects and grades for a while. Many people questioned whether the state should hit the brakes on change. But you had the courage to stick with it, and the results are clear to all.”

Smarick said he had never seen such a huge investment produce zero results.

That could end up being a gift, he said, from Duncan to Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary and is a prominent proponent of taxpayer-supported vouchers for private and religious schools.

Results from the School Improvement Grants have shored up previous research showing that pouring money into dysfunctional schools and systems does not work, Smarick said: “I can imagine Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump saying this is exactly why kids need school choice.”

bailout, bureaucracy, crisis, education, funding, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, spending, study, unintended consequences

Filed under: bailout, bureaucracy, crisis, education, funding, government, nanny state, politics, public policy, reform, spending, study, unintended consequences

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