November 20, 2017

Liberals Set Feminism Back 50 Years in Weinstein Responses

Dem rep on Weinstein scandal: Women have ‘responsibility’ to watch their attire and behavior

A Democratic congresswoman suggested in a local TV interview that women bear a certain “responsibility” when it comes to sexual harassment, saying their attire and behavior can be “inviting.”

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas, later sought to clarify her comments and explained they came from an “old-school”perspective.

But in the original interview with NBC 5 on Wednesday, Johnson ‘went there’ when asked to respond to the scandal over disgraced Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. She said that she was “disappointed” in the man who supported many of her Democratic colleagues, but that women should be mindful how they appear.

“I grew up in a time when it was as much the woman’s responsibility as it was a man’s – how you were dressed, what your behavior was,” Johnson said. “I’m from the old school that you can have behaviors that appear inviting. It can be interpreted as such. That’s the responsibility, I think, of the female.”

Johnson, a 13-term congresswoman and former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, added that men have a “responsibility to be professional themselves.”

“I think we also need to start talking about the power that women have to control the situation. There’s law enforcement, you can refuse to cooperate with that kind of behavior,” Johnson said. “I think that many times, men get away with this because they are allowed to get away with it by the women.”

Johnson’s comments sparked a backlash Thursday on Twitter.

But when reached by Fox News for comment, Johnson later issued a detailed clarification, saying she does not “blame victims of sexual assault for the actions of their assailants.”

“Sexual assault and harassment has no place in our society. This is something I believe deeply. And at each turn of my professional life, I have made it my mission to fight for women’s rights. I do not blame victims of sexual assault for the actions of their assailants,” Johnson said. “I do acknowledge that my comments regarding behavior and attire come from an old school perspective that has shaped how some of us understand the issue, but that does not detract from the fact that criminals need to be held accountable for their actions.”

She continued, “I will never condone those who feel they can abuse the power of their positions to sexually assault and harass women, and I will always encourage victims to come forward so that we can hold these criminals accountable.”

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Fake News: Nearly Half Say Media Fabricates Stories about Trump

Now this is depressing.

We all know the media’s credibility has sunk to new depths. That’s been showing up in the polls for years, and has been exacerbated in the Trump era.

Now a Morning Consult/Politico survey out yesterday says that nearly half of voters—46 percent–believe major news organizations fabricate stories about Trump. Another 37 percent do not.

In short, the president’s constant “fake news” attacks are working.

But think about the impact of that finding. These people aren’t saying that news organizations are running unfair stories about Trump, or inaccurate stories about Trump. They’re saying the news outlets make stuff up about Trump.

There is, not surprisingly, a gargantuan partisan divide on this question. The Morning Consult poll (an online survey, which is less than ideal) says 20 percent of Democrats believe there are fabricated stories about Trump, while 65 percent disagree.

But 76 percent of Republicans say there are fabricated stories, while just 11 percent disagree. (Among independents, 44 percent say stories are fabricated.)

I have done a substantial amount of reporting over the years on fabricating and plagiarizing journalists. I exposed the made-up reporting of Jayson Blair at the New York Times and Jack Kelley at USA Today. Fraudulent journalism does happen. But it is extremely rare.

There’s a lot of unfair reporting out there. But those who think mainstream outlets routinely concoct stories about Trump are either registering their disapproval of the coverage or literally believe the stories are “fake” and “fiction,” as the president sometimes tweets.

By the way, in light of Trump suggesting scrutiny of TV licenses, the poll says 51 percent think the federal government shouldn’t have the power to revoke broadcast licenses of fabricating networks—not exactly a ringing endorsement.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center found that one in six news stories about Trump during his first 100 days include one of his tweets. One out of six. That’s extraordinary evidence of how the president uses 140-character messages to drive the news agenda.

But the reporting was hardly neutral. In examining more than 3,000 stories across 24 media outlets, Pew found that those with Trumpian tweets “were more likely than others to have an overall negative assessment of him or his administration.”

Some 54 percent of the stories that included a presidential tweet “had a negative assessment, 12 percentage points higher than stories that did not contain any of his tweets.” What’s more, “stories with at least one of the president’s tweets were more likely to include a direct refutation by the reporter of something the president or a member of his administration said–whether it was a refutation of the tweet itself, a statement related to the issue referenced in the tweet or another statement altogether in the story.”

Trump supporters would say this shows the media trying to knock down much of what the president says. Trump detractors would say this is fact-checking the president.

But whether it’s fair or unfair, it’s not fabricated.

Howard Kurtz is a Fox News analyst and the host of “MediaBuzz” (Sundays 11 a.m.). He is the author of five books and is based in Washington. Follow him at @HowardKurtz. Click here for more information on Howard Kurtz. 

Trump Blasts Comey, Obama DOJ: Explosive Hillary-Russia Uranium Report

President Trump declared on Twitter Wednesday that James Comey “totally protected Hillary Clinton,” after the FBI confirmed the former bureau boss drafted a statement on the private email case two months before it was over.

In a series of tweets, Trump also swiped at the Justice Department, seeming to suggest they review what he called an apparent “fix.”

“Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete,” Trump tweeted. “Many people not interviewed, including Hillary Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn’t do this –obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?”

He followed up: “As it has turned out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!”

GOWDY WANTS COMEY TO TESTIFY AGAIN

The flurry of tweets was in reference to the FBI releasing documents this week that prove Comey began drafting a statement regarding the Clinton email investigation months before he interviewed her and other key witnesses. The document release was titled “Drafts of Director Comeys July 5, 2016 Statement Regarding Email Server Investigation Part 01 of 01.”

The release bolstered critics’ claims that Comey was drafting an “exoneration statement” well before ending the case and recommending against criminal charges.

The contents of the newly released emails, however, were largely unclear as the majority of the document was redacted. The records, that are now public, show the email titled “Midyear Exam—UNCLASSIFIED” was sent by Comey on May 2, 2016 to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, General Counsel James Baker and James Rybicki, chief of staff and senior counselor.

Trump’s Wednesday challenge to the Justice Department regarding the matter was a throwback to his summer criticism of the nation’s top law enforcement official, Attorney General Jeff Sessions. While Trump had been at odds with one of his earliest supporters over the decision to recuse in the Russia probe, Trump in recent weeks has dialed down that criticism.

The existence of the Comey documents was first brought to light by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., after they reviewed transcripts with top Comey aides who alluded to the email’s existence.

The Judiciary Committee penned a letter on Aug. 30 to newly appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray noting their findings, saying that “it appears that in April or early May of 2016, Mr. Comey had already decided he would issue a statement exonerating Secretary Clinton. That was long before FBI agents finished their work.”

“The outcome of an investigation should not be prejudged while FBI agents are still hard at work trying to gather the facts,” the letter stated.

The existence of these documents raised questions over Comey’s June 2017 Senate testimony regarding his decision to go public with findings in the Clinton email investigation. Comey noted former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s involvement in the probe, including her controversial meeting with former President Bill Clinton days before his wife was interviewed.

Last week, the FBI said it uncovered 30 pages of documents related to that controversial 2016 tarmac meeting.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Walter E. Williams: Tax Reform Will Help Those Who Actually Pay The Taxes

Politicians exploit public ignorance. Few areas of public ignorance provide as many opportunities for political demagoguery as taxation.

Today some politicians argue that the rich must pay their fair share and label the proposed changes in tax law as tax cuts for the rich.

Let’s look at who pays what, with an eye toward attempting to answer this question: Are the rich paying their fair share?

According to the latest IRS data, the payment of income taxes is as follows.

The top 1 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted annual gross income of $480,930 or higher, pay about 39 percent of federal income taxes. That means about 892,000 Americans are stuck with paying 39 percent of all federal taxes.

The top 10 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income over $138,031, pay about 70.6 percent of federal income taxes.

About 1.7 million Americans, less than 1 percent of our population, pay 70.6 percent of federal income taxes. Is that fair, or do you think they should pay more?

By the way, earning $500,000 a year doesn’t make one rich. It’s not even yacht money.

But the fairness question goes further. The bottom 50 percent of income earners, those having an adjusted gross income of $39,275 or less, pay 2.83 percent of federal income taxes.

Thirty-seven million tax filers have no tax obligation at all. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 45.5 percent of households will not pay federal income tax this year.

There’s a severe political problem of so many Americans not having any skin in the game. These Americans become natural constituencies for big-spending politicians. After all, if you don’t pay federal taxes, what do you care about big spending?

Also, if you don’t pay federal taxes, why should you be happy about a tax cut? What’s in it for you? In fact, you might see tax cuts as threatening your handout programs.

Our nation has a 38.91 percent tax on corporate earnings, the fourth-highest in the world. The House of Representatives has proposed that it be cut to 20 percent—some members of Congress call for a 15 percent rate.

The nation’s political hustlers object, saying corporations should pay their fair share of taxes. The fact of the matter—which even leftist economists understand, though they might not publicly admit it—is corporations do not pay taxes.

An important subject area in economics is called tax incidence. It holds that the entity upon whom a tax is levied does not necessarily bear its full burden. Some of it can be shifted to another party.

If a tax is levied on a corporation, it will have one of four responses or some combination thereof. It will raise the price of its product, lower dividends, cut salaries, or lay off workers. In each case, a flesh-and-blood person bears the tax burden.

The important point is that corporations are legal fictions and as such do not pay taxes. Corporations are merely tax collectors for the government.

Politicians love to trick people by suggesting that they will impose taxes not on them but on some other entity instead. We can personalize the trick by talking about property taxes.

Imagine that you are a homeowner and a politician tells you he is not going to tax you. Instead, he’s going to tax your property and land.

You would easily see the political chicanery. Land and property cannot and do not pay taxes. Again, only people pay taxes. The same principle applies to corporations.

There’s another side to taxes that goes completely unappreciated. According to a 2013 study by the Virginia-based Mercatus Center, Americans spend up to $378 billion annually in tax-related accounting costs, and in 2011, Americans spent more than 6 billion hours complying with the tax code.

Those hours are equivalent to the annual hours of a workforce of 3.4 million, or the number of people employed by four of the largest U.S. companies—Wal-Mart, IBM, McDonald’s, and Target—combined.

Along with tax cuts, tax simplification should be on the agenda.

Obama Judge Blocks Latest Trump Travel Ban

A federal judge in Hawaii has blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban – just hours before it was expected to go into effect across the United States.

Tuesday’s decision from U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu stops the administration’s third attempt to indefinitely ban entry into the country by most nationals of Libya, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, Chad and North Korea. The ban would also prevent some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

“Today’s dangerously flawed district court order undercuts the President’s efforts to keep the American people safe and enforce minimum security standards for entry into the United States,” the White House said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will vigorously defend the President’s lawful action.”

Watson, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama, found Trump’s executive order “suffers from precisely the same maladies as its predecessor.”

The judge said the new restrictions ignore a federal appeals court ruling that found Trump’s previous ban exceeds the scope of his authority. The latest version “plainly discriminates based on nationality in the manner that the 9th Circuit has found antithetical to … the founding principles of this nation,” Watson wrote.

The government has said the new policy was based on an objective assessment of each country’s security situation and willingness to share information with the U.S.

Hawaii argued in court documents that the updated ban is a continuation of Trump’s “promise to exclude Muslims from the United States” despite the addition of two non-majority Muslim countries.

Other courts are weighing challenges to the latest travel restrictions.

In Maryland, the American Civil Liberties Union and other groups are seeking to block the visa and entry restrictions in the president’s latest proclamation.

Washington state, Massachusetts, California, Oregon, New York and Maryland have challenged the policy before U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle, who struck down Trump’s initial ban in January.

That policy led to chaos and confusion at airports nationwide and triggered several lawsuits, including one from Hawaii.

When Trump revised the ban, state Attorney General Doug Chin changed the lawsuit to challenge that version. In March, Watson agreed with Hawaii that it amounted to discrimination based on nationality and religion.

A subsequent U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowed the administration to partially reinstate that 90-day ban on visitors from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees.

But it said the policy didn’t apply to refugees and travelers with a “bona fide relationship” with a person or entity in the U.S.

Hawaii then successfully challenged the federal government’s definition of which family members would be allowed into the country. Watson ordered the government not to enforce the ban on close relatives such as grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts.

The judge’s order Tuesday prevents acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from implementing the latest travel ban.

Watson said he would set an expedited hearing to determine whether the temporary restraining order should be extended.

FoxNews.com/The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Bowe Bergdahl Pleads Guilty to Desertion

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl pleaded guilty Monday to charges he endangered comrades by walking away from his post in Afghanistan in 2009 — the court case wrapping up just three years after a stunning Rose Garden spectacle in which former President Barack Obama, flanked by Bergdahl’s parents, triumphantly announced the soldier’s release from captivity.

Bergdahl was released in May 2014 after a highly-criticized deal in which five Taliban terrorists were set free. At the time, Obama administration officials said Bergdahl had “served with honor and distinction.”

The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. The Associated Press previously reported that he’s expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.

It’s not clear if Bergdahl, 31, has a deal with prosecutors to limit his punishment, or if he’s simply pleading guilty in hopes of leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.

Bergdahl’s lawyers are expected to reveal in court Monday whether there’s a plea agreement in place to cap his punishment, or if he’s pleading guilty without such a deal in what’s known colloquially as a “naked plea.” In either scenario, his punishment won’t be known until after the judge holds the sentencing hearing that’s expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl, who’s from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.

A naked plea would be a risky move, Eric Carpenter, an assistant law professor at Florida International University and a former Army defense attorney and prosecutor, told Task & Purpose.

“It can backfire,” Carpenter said. “If he doesn’t have a deal, they could go in there and enter this naked plea and come out with a life sentence.”

Guilty pleas would bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl’s disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.

Serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl are expected to play a role in his sentencing. While guilty pleas would allow him to avoid a trial, he’d still face a sentencing hearing in late October. Bergdahl’s five years of captivity by the Taliban and its allies also will likely play a role in what punishment he receives.

At one point during his captivity, Bergdahl converted to Islam, fraternized openly with his captors and declared himself a “mujahid,” or warrior for Islam, Fox News reported in 2014, citing secret documents prepared on the basis of a purported eyewitness account.

The reports indicate that Bergdahl’s relations with his Haqqani captors morphed over time, from periods of hostility, where he was treated very much like a hostage, to periods where, as one source told Fox News, “he became much more of an accepted fellow” than is popularly understood. He even reportedly was allowed to carry a gun at times.

The documents show that Bergdahl at one point escaped his captors for five days and was kept, upon his re-capture, in a metal cage, like an animal. In addition, the reports detail discussions of prisoner swaps and other attempts at a negotiated resolution to the case that appear to have commenced as early as the fall of 2009.

Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl, The Associated Press reported. Perhaps most significant was the judge’s decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn’t have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl.

The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump’s campaign-trail comments were “disturbing and disappointing” but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.

“We may as well go back to kangaroo courts and lynch mobs that got what they wanted,” Bergdahl said to a British filmmaker in 2016 when asked about trials, according to an interview obtained by ABC News. “The people who want to hang me, you’re never going to convince those people.”

Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was soon captured.

But the defense team has argued that Bergdahl can’t be held responsible for a long chain of events that included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches.

Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.

FoxNews.com/The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The Truth About Columbus

Is this the last time we can celebrate Columbus Day?

A wave of cities have decided to remove the holiday from the calendar and replace it with “Indigenous Peoples’ Day.”

Christopher Columbus, the Italian explorer credited with discovering America, and his legacy are under attack figuratively and, increasingly, literally.

Several Columbus monuments have been attacked and vandalized around the country. The towering Columbus statue at Columbus Circle in New York City now needs 24-hour guards after Mayor Bill de Blasio put it on the list of a commission to review “offensive” memorials.

And according to Far Left Watch, a watchdog organization, Antifa and other left-wing groups plan to deface and attack Columbus statues across the country on Columbus Day.

It is unfortunate to see what was once a uniting figure—who represented American courage, optimism, and even immigrants—is suddenly in the cross hairs for destruction. We owe it to Columbus and ourselves to be more respectful of the man who made the existence of our country possible.

Once Revered, Now Maligned

A few historians and activists began to attack Columbus’ legacy in the late 20th century. They concocted a new narrative of Columbus as a rapacious pillager and a genocidal maniac.

Far-left historian Howard Zinn, in particular, had a huge impact on changing the minds of a generation of Americans about the Columbus legacy. Zinn not only maligned Columbus, but attacked the larger migration from the Old World to the new that he ushered in.

It wasn’t just Columbus who was a monster, according to Zinn, it was the driving ethos of the civilization that ultimately developed in the wake of his discovery: the United States.

“Behind the English invasion of North America,” Zinn wrote, “behind their massacre of Indians, their deception, their brutality, was that special powerful drive born in civilizations based on private profit.”

The truth is that Columbus set out for the New World thinking he would spread Christianity to regions where it didn’t exist. While Columbus, and certainly his Spanish benefactors, had an interest in the goods and gold he could return from what they thought would be Asia, the explorer’s primary motivation was religious.

“This conviction that God destined him to be an instrument for spreading the faith was far more potent than the desire to win glory, wealth, and worldly honors,” wrote historian Samuel Eliot Morison over a half-century ago.

In fact, as contemporary historian Carol Delaney noted, even the money Columbus sought was primarily dedicated to religious purposes. Delaney said in an interview with the Catholic fraternal organization the Knights of Columbus:

Everybody knows that Columbus was trying to find gold, but they don’t know what the gold was for: to fund a crusade to take Jerusalem back from the Muslims before the end of the world. A lot of people at the time thought that the apocalypse was coming because of all the signs: the plague, famine, earthquakes, and so forth. And it was believed that before the end, Jerusalem had to be back in Christian hands so that Christ could return in judgment.

Columbus critics don’t just stop at accusing him of greed. One of the biggest allegations against him is that he waged a genocidal war and engaged in acts of cruelty against indigenous people in the Americas.

But historians like Delaney have debunked these claims.

Rather than cruel, Columbus was mostly benign in his interaction with native populations. While deprivations did occur, Columbus was quick to punish those under his command who committed unjust acts against local populations.

“Columbus strictly told the crew not to do things like maraud, or rape, and instead to treat the native people with respect,” Delaney said. “There are many examples in his writings where he gave instructions to this effect. Most of the time when injustices occurred, Columbus wasn’t even there. There were terrible diseases that got communicated to the natives, but he can’t be blamed for that.”

Columbus certainly wasn’t a man without flaws or attitudes that would be unacceptable today.

But even as a man of an earlier age in which violence and cruelty were often the norm between different cultures and people, Columbus did not engage in the savage acts that have been pinned on him.

How Americans Once Viewed Columbus

For much of the 19th and 20th centuries, most Americans were taught about Columbus’ discovery of the New World in school.

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue … ” went a popular poem about the Italian explorer who flew under the Spanish flag. At one time, Americans marveled at what seemed like an unbelievably courageous voyage across unknown waters with the limited tools and maps of the 15th century.

It is difficult in the 21st century to imagine what Columbus faced as he crossed the Atlantic in search of what he thought was a route to Asia. The hardship and danger was immense. If things went awry, there would be nothing to save his little flotilla besides hope, prayer, and a little courage.

Most people, even in the 1490s, knew that the Earth was round. However, Columbus made a nevertheless history-altering discovery.

The world was a much bigger place than most had imagined, and though Columbus never personally realized the scope of his discovery, he opened up a new world that would one day become a forefront of human civilization.

This is the man and the history that earlier generations of Americans came to respect and admire.

Unfortunately, Zinn and others’ caricature of Columbus and American civilization has stuck and in an era in which radicals and activists search the country for problematic statues to destroy, Columbus is a prime target.

Ku Klux Klan Pushed Anti-Columbus Rhetoric

Much of the modern rhetoric about Columbus mirrors attacks lobbed at him in the 19th century by anti-Catholic and anti-Italian groups like the Ku Klux Klan.

In fact, Columbus Day became a nationally celebrated holiday following a mass lynching of Italians in New Orleans—the largest incident of lynching in American history.

In 1892—the 400th anniversary of the Columbus voyage—President Benjamin Harrison called for a national celebration of Columbus and his achievements. Americans patriotically celebrated Columbus and erected numerous statues in his honor as the country embraced him.

Though American appreciation of Columbus deepened, some groups weren’t pleased.

As the pro-Columbus website The Truth About Columbus points out, the Ku Klux Klan worked to stop Columbus Day celebrations, smash statues, and reverse his growing influence on American culture.

According to The Truth About Columbus, in the 1920s, the Klan “attempted to remove Columbus Day as a state holiday in Oregon,” burned a cross “to disturb a Columbus Day celebration in Pennsylvania,” and successfully “opposed the erection of a statue of Columbus in Richmond, Virginia, only to see the decision to reject the statue reversed.”

Attempts to quash Columbus failed, but they have re-emerged in our own time through the actions of far-left groups who want to see his legacy buried and diminished forever.

This would be a tragic loss for our generation and those of the future.

The bravery and boldness that Columbus displayed in his trek to America have been inherent in the American cultural DNA from the beginning.

We may never have the class, the taste, the sophistication of the Old World upper crust. But what we do have is a reverence for simple virtues of strength, boldness, and a willingness to push the envelope to secure for ourselves a better future than those who’ve come before.

We are a civilization that admires those who push the limits of the frontier, who don’t merely accept what is and want something more. The spirit that drove us west and in modernity, to the moon, is what we celebrate in men like Columbus.

President Ronald Reagan said it best in a Columbus Day tribute:

Columbus is justly admired as a brilliant navigator, a fearless man of action, a visionary who opened the eyes of an older world to an entirely new one. Above all, he personifies a view of the world that many see as quintessentially American: not merely optimistic, but scornful of the very notion of despair.

When we have lost these things, when we no longer have the capacity to celebrate men like Columbus, as imperfect as they sometimes were, we will have lost what has made us great, and distinct.

Anti-Gun Leah Libresco Discovers Gun Control Doesn’t Work

“I used to think gun control was the answer. My research told me otherwise.”

By Leah Libresco October 3, Washington Post

Leah Libresco is a statistician and former newswriter at FiveThirtyEight, a data journalism site. She is the author of “Arriving at Amen.”

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

Then, my colleagues and I at FiveThirtyEight spent three months analyzing all 33,000 lives ended by guns each year in the United States, and I wound up frustrated in a whole new way. We looked at what interventions might have saved those people, and the case for the policies I’d lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence. The best ideas left standing were narrowly tailored interventions to protect subtypes of potential victims, not broad attempts to limit the lethality of guns.

After a shooting in Las Vegas left at least 58 people dead and injured hundreds, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Oct. 2 said Congress’s failure to pass gun-control legislation amounts to an “unintentional endorsement” of mass shootings. (U.S. Senate)

I researched the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia and concluded that they didn’t prove much about what America’s policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths.

The story must be told.

When I looked at the other oft-praised policies, I found out that no gun owner walks into the store to buy an “assault weapon.” It’s an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos.

As for silencers — they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don’t make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer. Magazine limits were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless.

As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference. Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them. I couldn’t even answer my most desperate question: If I had a friend who had guns in his home and a history of suicide attempts, was there anything I could do that would help?

However, the next-largest set of gun deaths — 1 in 5 — were young men aged 15 to 34, killed in homicides. These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence. And the last notable group of similar deaths was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence. Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them.

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Instead, I found the most hope in more narrowly tailored interventions. Potential suicide victims, women menaced by their abusive partners and kids swept up in street vendettas are all in danger from guns, but they each require different protections.

Was the Las Vegas shooting the worst in U.S. history? It depends.

While the attack on the Las Vegas strip is the deadliest in modern American history, attacks in the 19th and 20th centuries had higher death tolls. Here are two deadly events in American history that you may not have heard about. (Victoria Walker/The Washington Post)

Older men, who make up the largest share of gun suicides, need better access to people who could care for them and get them help. Women endangered by specific men need to be prioritized by police, who can enforce restraining orders prohibiting these men from buying and owning guns. Younger men at risk of violence need to be identified before they take a life or lose theirs and to be connected to mentors who can help them de-escalate conflicts.

Even the most data-driven practices, such as New Orleans’ plan to identify gang members for intervention based on previous arrests and weapons seizures, wind up more personal than most policies floated. The young men at risk can be identified by an algorithm, but they have to be disarmed one by one, personally — not en masse as though they were all interchangeable. A reduction in gun deaths is most likely to come from finding smaller chances for victories and expanding those solutions as much as possible. We save lives by focusing on a range of tactics to protect the different kinds of potential victims and reforming potential killers, not from sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves.

Another Massacre – Is Gun Control the Answer?

Minutes after the Sunday night massacre on the Las Vegas strip we were hearing calls for legislation that will curtail citizens’ rights to keep and bear arms.

Is this reasonable? If we pass tighter gun control laws, will it solve the problem? Will it prevent a similar massacre in the future?

Unfortunately, no amount of legislation can prevent this type of cowardly attack on innocent victims. In the present case, the perpetrator passed rigorous background checks and took legal, single-shot rifles and modified them into automatic weapons, with the specific intent to wipe out as many concert goers as possible.

For those who don’t know this: The weapons used by the perpetrator (I will not immortalize his name by publishing it), were unlawful. Outlawed weapons. It is that simple. There are already laws in place preventing this very activity. As we can see, these laws entirely fail to prevent these attacks.

Here is the reality about guns. Most rifles are not “assault” weapons. Very few of these fully-automatic weapons are in existence, and they are simply not available to the general public. When I was a young university student, I worked my way through college working as a machinist. One job was with a fledgling Australian rifle manufacturer who had just set up a very small shop in my small American town–Kimber Rifles. Kimber is now a very respected brand, but it was barely known in the states at the time. As a machinist working for Kimber, I learned all about the working mechanics of rifles. One thing I learned was how simple it is to convert a semi-automatic rifle to a fully automatic weapon. It is a very simple modification. It is also a federal felony–and if you make that small modification, you will spend many years in a federal prison. It’s that simple.

If making the possession and use of automatic weapons unlawful fails to prevent this massacre, what law could possibly prevent it? The only possible way to legislate such a thing is to entirely eliminate the existence of all firearms.

Is eliminating all firearms doable? Even if we could, which we cannot, would it be a good idea? Why did our founders preserve our natural right to keep and bear arms in our Constitution?

Answer: because they KNEW that without this particular right enshrined and forever protected, all of the other rights enumerated in the Constitution would eventually be obliterated by overreaching government. The right to keep and bear arms is fundamentally the citizens’ protection from government. I would submit that any totalitarian government that has ever come to control and enslave its people, first disarmed them. Undisputed. So if you hear people talking about gun control, stop and realize who they are, and the natural conclusion of the path they espouse.

So if we cannot legislate away cowardly attacks on innocent citizens, what is the answer? I will tell you this–we live in a world where self-indulgence is fostered without limitation, and where violence is an everyday experience. The Great Society enclaves of the left–Detroit, Chicago, Oakland–these are killing zones. Minority citizens are murdering one another in droves. Thousands are victims of murderous violence, every year. Our society has devolved to a point where thousands of minority babies are culled in abortion clinics daily, and so many of those who survive the butcher’s knife are destined to fatherless homes, prison, and violent death. These are the problems that plague this nation.

Our crisis is one of Character, not gun control.

Until this nation reconsiders its move toward selfishness and self-indulgence, our natural instincts of community and protecting those around us will continue to decline. All of these maniacs who suddenly decide to end it all in a blaze of infamous glory are sick products of a sick society. We need to begin healing the sickness that is overtaking our people if we want to end the wanton violence that is becoming epidemic. That is the only possible answer.

James Thompson is a noted ghostwriter and political commentator.

MASSACRE ON THE STRIP: At least 50 killed, 406 hospitalized in Vegas attack; gunman ID’d

A gunman turned a Las Vegas concert into a killing field Sunday night from his perch on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, using at least 10 guns to rain down a steady stream of fire, murdering at least 50 people and injuring more than 400 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history.

The suspect, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, was identified as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, a resident of Mesquite, Nevada. Police initially sought a woman believed to be Paddock’s roommate, Marilou Danley, as a “person of interest.” Detectives later made contact with her, and “do not believe she is involved with the shooting on The Strip.”

Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said an “excess of 10 rifles” were found in the room, but did not immediately reveal a motive. Paddock had been in the hotel room since September 28, according to Lombardo.

Authorities said two on-duty Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers were injured during the shooting. One is in stable condition after surgery, and the other sustained minor injuries. Two off-duty police officers attending the concert were killed.

President Trump tweeted his condolences to the victims of the Las Vegas massacre, saying “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

The gunman, who fired down on the Route 91 Harvest Festival from a room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound just as police made entry to the room, according to LVMPD undersheriff Kevin McMahill.

Federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that Paddock “was known to local authorities” in Vegas, and multiple weapons were found in his hotel room.

At this time, federal officials do not see any connection to international terrorism and little is known about Paddock’s motivation, sources said.

The gunman’s brother, Eric Paddock, told reporters outside his Central Florida home early Monday “an asteroid just fell on us,” and said Stephen Paddock has no history of mental illness.

Paddock said his brother is “just a guy” and he “freaked,” and had retired to Vegas because he liked gambling.

The Department of Homeland Security said Monday morning that the department is “closely monitoring” and helping partners investigate the tragedy, but at this time has “no information to indicate a specific credible threat involving other public venues in the country.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 01:  People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after apparent gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. A gunman has opened fire on a music festival in Las Vegas, leaving at least 20 people dead and more than 100 injured. Police have confirmed that one suspect has been shot. The investigation is ongoing. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

People scramble for shelter at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival after gun fire was heard on October 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Stirp in Las Vegas Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

People assist a wounded woman at the Tropicana during an active shooter situation on the Las Vegas Stirp in Las Vegas Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017.  (Chase Stevens/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Sheriff Lombardo offering his full support, Department of Justice officials told Fox News.

Authorities first received calls about an active shooting at about 10:08 p.m. Country music star Jason Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival when the gunfire erupted.

Aldean was performing his last song of the night. Initially, those in attendance said they thought the sound was firecrackers. But as the shots continued, Aldean stopped singing and some concertgoers could be heard yelling to each other to get down.

One witness told KSVN that he heard “hundreds of shots.” The gunfire was rapid and reportedly confused with firecrackers.

“It sounded like a machine gun,” one vendor told Fox News. “It sounded like more than one machine gun.”

Authorities said law enforcement swarmed the hotel and killed the gunman in a room on the 32nd floor. Responding officers used an explosive device to force the door open into the room, law enforcement officials told Fox News.

Country singer Jake Owen, who performed before Aldean, told Fox News the gunfire was “non-stop.”

“You couldn’t tell where it was coming from. It was loud and non-stop,” he said.

Some concertgoers stayed behind to offer help to those around them.

“Everybody I saw breathing, I helped,” a concertgoer told Fox News.

Police officers and medical personnel stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas. Multiple victims were being transported to hospitals after a shooting late Sunday at a music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Police officers stand at the scene of a shooting near the Mandalay Bay resort and casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, in Las Vegas.  (AP Photo/John Locher)

Kodiak Yazzie, 36, said the music stopped temporarily and started up again before another round of pops sent the performers ducking for cover and fleeing the stage.

“It was the craziest stuff I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Yazzie told the Associated Press. “You could hear that the noise was coming from west of us, from Mandalay Bay. You could see a flash- flash- flash- flash.”

As the 40,000 fans in the crowd began to flee, Yazzie took cover and said he saw flashes of light coming from the Mandalay Bay hotel tower high above.

Another concertgoer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the shots sounded like fireworks, and she hid in a sewer.

“It was a horror show,” Ivetta Saldana told the newspaper. “People were standing around, then they hit the floor.”

Retired FBI special agent and former national FBI spokesman John Iannarelli, who drove past the scene of the event just moments before the shooting took place, told Fox News the massacre was “obviously well-planned.”

Iannarelli added the gunman used “expensive guns and ammunition.”

Iannarelli noted that FBI and police are going to speak with every friend and relative, and are conducting forensic review of the suspect’s computers and phones.

The shooting at the sold-out Route 91 Harvest festival was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Forty-nine people were killed when a gunman opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016.

Sunday’s shooting came more than four months after a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, that killed 22 people. Almost 90 people were killed by gunmen inspired by Islamic State terror group at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris during a performance by Eagles of Death Metal in November 2015.

Fox News’  Adam Housley, Jake Gibson, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report

Tax Reform by the Numbers

Gary Cohn breaks down the details of Trump’s tax reform framework

Chief White House economic adviser Gary Cohn discussed details of the recently-announced Republican tax reform framework Sunday during an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Cohn, who serves as the director of the National Economic Council, explained the repatriation tax rate and how it will impact companies and the U.S. economy.

“They’re going to pay the rate if they have money overseas. That’s how we catch up from the ‘worldwide system’ to the ‘territorial system,’” Cohn told Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Currently, under the worldwide system companies are taxed 35 percent on all income, whether it is earned in the U.S. or overseas. Moving to a territorial system would then encourage some of the profits overseas—which could be as much as $3 trillion, according to Cohn—to return to the U.S.

“We will end up with a bifurcated rate,” he explained. “We will charge you one rate if you have liquid assets offshore. We will charge you a different rate if you’ve got bricks-and-mortar and you’ve turned those earnings into bricks-and-mortar or investments offshore. We will give you some period of time to pay it, but you will incur the tax liability the minute the tax referendum goes through.”

President Donald Trump pushed for a 15 percent corporate tax rate, though settled for 20 percent, still significantly lower than the present rate. Trump’s tax plan calls for reducing the number of tax brackets for individuals from seven to three.

“What people are forgetting is we really enlarged the zero rate. We doubled the zero rate so if you’re a family today, you now get the first $24,000 of your income at a zero rate. You then kick into the 12 percent rate, then you go to the 25 percent rate, then you go to the 35 percent rate,” Cohn said.

In addition to lessening the amount of tax brackets on the individual side, the tax plan would also eliminate the estate tax—also known as the “death tax”—which Cohn said has been most burdensome on farmers and small businesses.

“Death should not become a taxable event if you’re in a small business. Death should not become a taxable event if you’re a farmer. If you’re a farmer you should be able to pass it on to your families,” he said.

As for the timing of the GOP’s plan for a business and middle-class friendly tax overhaul, Cohn said it is now in the hands of tax writers in the House and Senate and hopes to have a bill done “in this calendar year.”

“To do that we’ve got to get out of the House relatively soon,” he said. “To get out of the House we’re going to have to have real details. This bill is going to be in markup hopefully in October.”

By FOXBusiness

Walter E.Williams: Not a Day Care

Our college-age population consists mostly of 18- to 30-year-olds, and likewise our armed forces. I wonder whether they shared common responses to the 2016 presidential election. Many college administrators provided students with therapy dogs, play dough, coloring books, bubbles, videos of frolicking kittens and puppies, and soft music. They even canceled classes and postponed exams so that their 18- to 30-year-old snowflakes could better cope with the election results. There are numerous internet photos and videos of these youngsters screaming and in outright grief and panic. Here’s my question: Were our military leaders as accommodating as college administrators? Did commanding officers of our aircraft carriers provide their young people with therapy dogs, play dough, crayons and coloring books, and soft music? Were sea training exercises canceled? Were similar accommodations ordered by commanders of our special forces, such as the Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and Delta Force?

I’m guessing and hoping that our military leaders, unlike many college administrators, have not lost their minds. That brings me to this column’s title: “Not a Day Care.” That’s the title of a new book written by Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. Piper reminds us that today’s law students are tomorrow’s lawyers and judges. Based on what they are taught, there’s no mystery why lawyers and judges seek to legislate from the bench. Students who want to rid college curricula of dead old white men such as Plato, Aristotle, Voltaire and Kant will be on tomorrow’s school boards or be professors. This doesn’t bode well for our nation’s future.

Many colleges have become hotbeds of what might be labeled as enlightened racism. Students at the University of California, Berkeley created “safe spaces” for people of color. Resident advisers at Scripps College posted two signs to educate students about “emotional labor,” one aimed at white students and one for “people of color and marginalized backgrounds.” University of Michigan students demanded a “designated space on central campus for Black students and students of color to organize and do social justice work.” That was after the university caved to student demands and spent $10 million to build a multicultural center.

In Chapter 6, Piper discusses an attack by a Muslim Somali student at Ohio State University. Fortunately, he was shot dead by police officers before he could add to his toll of 11 injured students. The Islamic State group praised him and called him one of its soldiers. The administration responded to the incident by inviting Nathan Lean, author of “The Islamophobia Industry: How the Right Manufactures Fear of Muslims,” to lecture about Islamophobia. A few days after the attack, protesters gathered on campus to read the names of people of color killed by police in the previous two months. The Muslim Somali student made the list, going from a terrorist to a victim virtually overnight. Piper asks whether it is possible to imagine President Franklin D. Roosevelt taking to the radio waves after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to announce a forum on diversity and prejudice.

Among the many other ugly things going on at our universities is the withering attack on free speech. Diversity is the highest goal of students and professors who openly detest those with whom they disagree. The content of a man’s character is no longer as important as the color of his skin or his sex or his political loyalties. This intolerance has won such respectability that even politicians have little shame expressing it. In 2014, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo basically told people who disagreed with him to leave the state. He said people who defend traditional marriage, are pro-life and are anti-gun control “have no place in the state of New York.” That’s progressive ideological fascism that ought to be put down by freedom-loving Americans.

Dr. Everett Piper’s “Not a Day Care” is a short but powerful book by a university president who is not afraid to maintain civility and common sense, traits all too rare among today’s university administrators.

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. To find out more about Walter E. Williams and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com

 

Weiner Put on Ice for 21 Months in Teen Sexting Case

Disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in prison, facing the most severe penalty yet in connection with the sexting scandal that drove the New York Democrat out of Congress, ruined his marriage and became a late issue in the 2016 presidential race.

U.S. District Judge Denise L. Cote issued the sentence in federal court in New York.

“This is a serious crime that deserves serious punishment,” Cote said in a statement.

The former lawmaker’s sexting habits entered criminal territory with his illicit contact with a 15-year-old girl. Weiner, 53, had pleaded guilty in May to sending sexually explicit texts to the girl across state lines. Weiner agreed not to appeal any sentence between 21 and 27 months in prison.

Weiner openly wept in court on Monday as the judge announced the sentence. In addition to the prison term, he was sentenced to three years of supervised release, given a $10,000 fine, and required to forfeit his iPhone. Weiner must surrender on Nov. 6 to a yet-to-be determined prison facility.

Weiner read from a prepared statement for several minutes, describing himself as “an addict” and calling his crime “rock bottom.” He said he has a “disease,” but it is not an “excuse.”

The disgraced politician earlier had apologized in court to the teenage victim, blaming his own “destructive impulses.” Weiner also was forced to register as a sex offender.

“Anthony Weiner, a former Congressman and candidate for Mayor, asked a girl who he knew to be 15 years old to display her naked body and engage in sexually explicit behavior for him online. Justice demands that this type of conduct be prosecuted and punished with time in prison,” Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said in a statement Monday. “Today, Anthony Weiner received a just sentence that was appropriate for his crime.”

Weiner said last week that he was undergoing treatment and is profoundly sorry for subjecting the minor to what his lawyers call his “deep sickness.”

Weiner’s treatments include individual therapy once a week, group therapy once a week, and 12-step meetings four to five times a week.

“I have compulsively sought attention from women who contacted me on social media, and I engaged with many of them in both sexual and non-sexual conversation,” Weiner said in a prepared statement in May. “These destructive impulses brought great devastation to my family and friends, and destroyed my life’s dream of public service.”

Throughout the trial, defense lawyers had portrayed the girl as an aggressor, saying she wanted to generate material for a book and possibly influence the presidential election.

Weiner apologized to his now-estranged wife, longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and his family, after his admission of guilt. Abedin filed for divorce just hours after Weiner pleaded guilty in May.

The FBI began investigating Weiner in September 2016 after the 15-year-old girl in North Carolina told a tabloid news site that she and the former politician had exchanged lewd messages for several months, and accused him of asking her to undress on camera.

This relationship was hardly the first that caused public embarrassment for Weiner and his family. In 2011, Weiner resigned from Congress after an errant tweet exposed his sexting habits. He later ran for New York City mayor, but was unsuccessful.

But the criminal investigation into his relationship with the minor infamously intersected with the 2016 presidential election, when agents acquired Weiner’s electronic devices and uncovered a new batch of emails between Hillary Clinton and Abedin.

The discovery led the FBI to revisit the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while conducting official government business while secretary of state. Clinton has cited this as a factor in her 2016 presidential defeat, and most recently, recalled the series of events in her new book, “What Happened.”

Fox News’ Tamara Gitt and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Trump Issues Travel Restrictions on 8 Countries, Adding North Korea and Venezuela

President Trump on Sunday signed off on updated travel restrictions that would limit entry for people coming to the U.S. from eight countries, as the existing travel ban is set to expire.

The new travel restrictions, set to take effect Oct. 18, would slow or limit entry from citizens of North Korea, Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen. North Korea and Venezuela were not listed in the earlier ban.

Iraqi citizens do not face the same travel restrictions, but will “be subject to additional scrutiny to determine if they pose risks” to U.S. security, the White House said.

The new policy could complicate the Supreme Court’s review of the order. The high court is scheduled to hear arguments over its legality on October 10.

Officials stressed that valid visas would not be revoked as a result of the proclamation. The order also permits, but doesn’t guarantee, case-by-case waivers.

“As President, I must act to protect the security and interested of the United States and its people,” the proclamation states. He later tweeted, “Making America Safe is my number one priority. We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

The announcement comes the same day Trump’s temporary ban on visitors from six Muslim-majority countries is set to expire, 90 days after it went into effect.

The targeted countries are those that the Department of Homeland Security officials have said refuse to share information with the U.S., or haven’t taken necessary security precautions.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, in a statement released Sunday, said the new travel restrictions “will protect Americans and allow DHS to better keep terrorists and criminals from entering our country. The restrictions announced are tough and tailored, and they sent a message to foreign governments that they must work with us to enhance security.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement that Trump’s proclamation is the president “carrying out his duty to protect the Ameican people.”

Tillerson added: “The State Department will coordinate with other federal agencies to implement these measures in an orderly manner. We will continue to work closely with our allies and partners who share our commitment to national and global security.”

The travel restrictions are based on a new baseline developed by DHS that includes factors such as whether countries issue electronic passports with biometric information and share information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The U.S. then shared those benchmarks with every country in the world and gave them 50 days to comply.

The eight countries the restrictions target are those that refused or were unable to comply.

Following the terrorist attack in London last week, Trump tweeted: “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific-but stupidly, that would not be politically correct!”

Critics have accused Trump of overstepping his presidential authority and violating the Constitution’s protections against religious bias. During his campaign, Trump called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman, Shannon Bream, Kristin Brown, Rich Edson, Alexandra Rego and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Jimmy Kimmel Exposed as Schumer Shill

Jimmy Kimmel, left, attacked the Graham-Cassidy health bill using talking points from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office, a new report claims. (AP)

Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel got talking points from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. as he prepared a series of monologues attacking the latest Republican effort to repeal ObamaCare, according to a report published Friday.

The Daily Beast reported that Schumer’s office “provided technical guidance and info” about the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill, as well as “stats from various think tanks and experts” on the bill’s effects.

“Jimmy wanted to learn more about what was going on politically and policy-wise,” The Daily Beast quoted a source as saying, “[and] he wanted to fight this thing.”

The host of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” repeatedly attacked the bill and one of its co-authors, Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., over three episodes this week. At one point, Kimmel claimed that Cassidy had “lied to my face” when the senator appeared on the show to discuss health care.

Cassidy responded Thursday morning, telling “Fox & Friends” that “Jimmy doesn’t understand.”

“He’s only heard from those on the left who are doing their best to preserve ObamaCare,’ Cassidy went on. “He’s not heard from me, because we’ve not spoken.”

There was no immediate comment on the report from Schumer or Kimmel, who took to Twitter Friday afternoon to praise Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for announcing his opposition to the bill.

Kimmel catapulted himself to the forefront of the debate over public health in America this spring when he discussed his son’s heart condition in an emotional monologue.

McCain’s opposition deals a major blow to Republican hopes of passing the bill, which Senate leaders were hoping to bring to the Senate floor next week.

FoxNews.com

Ben Shapiro: If Republicans Don’t Make a Move, They Deserve to Lose

Politics is the art of shifting the playing field.

This is an art Republicans simply don’t understand. Perhaps it’s because they spend so much time attempting to stop the Democratic snowball from running downhill too quickly, but Republicans in power have an unfortunate tendency to conserve their political capital rather than invest it. That’s unfortunate because political capital doesn’t accrue when you save it; it degrades. Just as sticking your cash in a mattress is a bad strategy when it comes to investment, inaction in power is a bad strategy when it comes to politics.

Democrats understand that political capital must be used, not to pass popular legislation but to fundamentally change the nature of the political game itself. Democrats do not see Obamacare — a piece of legislation that cost them the House, the Senate and, eventually, the presidency — as a disaster area. They see it as an investment in a leftist future: By making Americans accustomed to the idea that the government is responsible for universal coverage, they understand that any future failures will be attributed to lack of government, not an excess of it. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, understood that in 2013 when he attempted to block Obamacare funding. He quite rightly explained that once Obamacare went into effect, it would be nearly impossible to dismantle it. That became obvious this year, just four years after its full implementation, when congressional Republicans obviously have no political will to get rid of Obamacare at all.

This is the difference between Republicans and Democrats: Democrats see their radical legislative moves as building blocks for the future. Republicans, afraid that their carefully crafted tower of electability will come crumbling down, make no radical legislative moves.

That basic formula is playing out yet again with regard to former President Obama’s executive amnesty. Obama implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, knowing full well that a Republican president could get rid of it with the stroke of a pen. But he also knew that Republicans would not want to be responsible for changing the status quo — they wouldn’t want to own the political consequences of allowing the deportation of DACA recipients.

And Obama was completely right. Republicans promised for years that they would get rid of Obama’s executive amnesty if given power. Finally, President Trump has pledged to get rid of it … in six months. And everyone knows that he is willing to trade away DACA enforcement for border-wall funding. The Democratic status quo will win out, one way or another.

Now, quickly: Name the last transformational conservative change Republicans have made — a change to the field of play; any change that would redound to the detriment of Democrats. It’s pretty tough. That’s despite Republican control of the legislature and the presidency from 2002 to 2006; that’s a longer period of unified control than Democrats had from 2008 to 2010.

Republicans have unified control of government once again. But they seem less willing to use it than ever, afraid that their tenuous control will dissipate.

That must end. If Republicans hope to set a foundation for future victory, they’ll need to do more than act as an impediment to bad Democratic ideas. They’ll need to take political risks in order to shift the playing field itself. If they don’t, they’ll lose quickly. And they’ll deserve to lose.

Ben Shapiro

Sheriff David Clarke Accepts Department of Homeland Security Post

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. will leave office next month to accept a federal appointment as an assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

He will work in the department’s Office of Partnership and Engagement as a liaison with state, local and tribal law enforcement and governments.

“I’m looking forward to joining that team,” Clarke said Thursday afternoon on the Vicki McKenna talk show on 1130 WISN Radio.

Clarke campaigned around the country for then-presidential candidate Donald Trump last year and has defended the first-term Republican president against critics in the early months of his administration.

The fourth-term sheriff will start the job in June.

But as is common with the sheriff, there was drama with the appointment. It appears that Clarke may have gotten ahead of the Trump administration in his interview.

In a tweet, the Department of Homeland Security said no announcement had been made on any appointment involving Clarke.

Also, the federal staffer being replaced by Clarke — Philip A. McNamara, assistant secretary for intergovernmental affairs — took to Twitter to complain about his successor.

Clarke previously had not indicated whether we planned to seek re-election.

He has come under widespread criticism locally for his inflammatory rhetoric and for spending so much time on the road as a Trump surrogate and while giving talks to conservative groups.

Clarke also has been criticized for his lack of public comments on his response to four deaths in the County Jail in 2016 or any administrative changes he might have made there.

His new federal job will not require Senate confirmation.

Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, who often crossed swords with the sheriff, said America deserves better than Clarke in this new post.

“For the country I love, the last thing America needs is another loud voice angrily and unproductively telling you who to blame and who not to trust,” Abele said in a statement.

In the new job, one of Clarke’s responsibilities would be to “take complaints of shortcomings in the Department of Homeland Security,” the sheriff said.

“They feel like they’re being ignored,” Clarke said of his counterparts in local law enforcement.

Clarke will work for Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired Marine general.

The department was created in the wake of 9/11. The department’s duties range from counter-terrorism to enforcing immigration laws.

Clarke said he had informed Gov. Scott Walker of his decision to take the federal post and expected to advise Walker on the appointment of a successor to complete his term.

Tom Evenson, spokesman for Walker, said his office had not yet received a formal resignation letter from Clarke. The search for a successor, Evenson said, won’t begin until Walker’s office receives that notice.

Once that happens, the governor will seek applications, a process that usually takes a couple of weeks, and then begin interviewing candidates. Applicants must live in Milwaukee County to be appointed to the post.

“The timeline for replacing a county sheriff varies with each case,” Evenson said.

Clarke’s successor will serve until the end of the current term in 2018.

Former Milwaukee Police Capt. Earnell Lucas, now a vice president of security with Major League Baseball, said Wednesday he would submit his name to Walker for appointment to the office.

“I have a deep and abiding commitment to this community, and the right experience in law enforcement and public safety to be the next Milwaukee County sheriff,” Lucas said.

Lucas has registered as a candidate for sheriff in 2018. He plans to run in the Democratic primary.

Milwaukee County Judge John Siefert said he also plans to run as a Democrat for sheriff next year. But, unlike Lucas, he will not seek an appointment from Walker.

“I assume the governor will insist that his appointee run as a Republican,” said Siefert, whose term ends in July. “I would not run as a Republican.”

Also being mentioned as a possible candidate is U.S. Marshal Kevin Carr, who served as Clarke’s top deputy for several years. He could not be reached for comment.

Clarke, a conservative who runs as a Democrat, has been elected four times.

He was first appointed sheriff in 2002 and won election to a full four-year term later that year.

He defeated challenger Chris Moews in the August 2014 Democratic primary to ensure re-election to a fourth term. No Republican challenged Clarke for the office that year, and he enjoyed conservative support.

Clarke told McKenna that he “would miss law enforcement” after a 38-year career.

He started as a patrol officer with the Milwaukee Police Department in 1978. Clarke was promoted to detective in 1989 and became lieutenant of detectives in 1992.

In 1996, Clake was promoted to police captain and named commander of the department’s 1st District. He became commanding officer of the department’s intelligence division in 1999.

By Don Behm

Mizzou Pays a Price for Appeasing the Left

Enrollment is down more than 2,000. The campus has had to take seven dormitories out of service.

Timothy Vaughn dutifully cheered the University of Missouri for a decade, sitting in the stands with his swag, two hot dogs and a Diet Coke. He estimates he attended between 60 and 85 athletic events every year—football and basketball games and even tennis matches and gymnastics meets. But after the infamous protests of fall 2015, Missouri lost this die-hard fan.

“I pledge from this day forward NOT TO contribute to the [Tiger Scholarship Fund], buy any tickets to any University of Missouri athletic event, to attend any athletic event (even if free), to give away all my MU clothes (nearly my entire wardrobe) after I have removed any logos associated with the University of Missouri, and any cards/helmets/ice buckets/flags with the University of Missouri logo on it,” Mr. Vaughn told administrators in an email four semesters ago.

He was not alone. Thousands of pages of emails I obtained through the Missouri Freedom of Information Act show that many alumni and other supporters were disgusted with administrators’ feeble response to the disruptions. Like Mr. Vaughn, many promised they’d stop attending athletic events. Others vowed they’d never send their children or grandchildren to the university. It now appears many of them have made good on those promises.

The commotion began in October 2015, when student activists claiming that “racism lives here” sent administrators a lengthy list of demands. Among them: The president of the University of Missouri system should resign after delivering a handwritten apology acknowledging his “white male privilege”; the curriculum should include “comprehensive racial awareness and inclusion” training; and 10% of the faculty and staff should be black.

Two weeks later, a student announced he was going on a hunger strike, and the football team refused to practice or play until the university met the demands. As protesters occupied the quad, administrators bent over backward to accommodate them, even providing a power strip so they could charge phones and a generator so they could camp in comfort. A communications instructor, Melissa Click, appeared on viral video calling for “muscle” to remove a student reporter from the quad. By Nov. 9, both the president and the chancellor of Mizzou, as the flagship Columbia campus is known, had resigned.

Donors, parents, alumni, sports fans and prospective students raged against the administration’s caving in. “At breakfast this morning, my wife and I agreed that MU is NOT a school we would even consider for our three children,” wrote Victor Wirtz, a 1978 alum, adding that the university “has devolved into the Berkeley of the Midwest.”

As classes begin this week, freshmen enrollment is down 35% since the protests, according to the latest numbers the university has publicly released. Mizzou is beginning the year with the smallest incoming class since 1999. Overall enrollment is down by more than 2,000 students, to 33,200. The campus has taken seven dormitories out of service.

The plummeting support has also cost jobs. In May, Mizzou announced it would lay off as many as 100 people and eliminate 300 more positions through retirement and attrition. Last year the university reduced its library staff and cut 50 cleaning and maintenance jobs.

Mizzou’s 2016 football season drew almost 13,000 fewer attendees than in 2015, local media reported. During basketball games, one-third of the seats in the Mizzou Arena sat empty.

The university says its teams’ losing streaks have driven away fans, state budget cuts have strained its finances, and competition from other nearby universities has contributed to its lowered enrollment. But the protests were the truly catastrophic factor, compounding the other difficulties. Administrators saw it coming during the crisis, when they fretted in emails about “a PR nightmare” and “the middle of the road people we’re losing.” The past three semesters have validated their worst fears.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to Mizzou. Private institutions like Yale and Middlebury aren’t covered by public-records laws, so they can conceal the backlash. But when public universities have released emails after giving in to campus radicals, they have consistently shown administrators face the same public outrage.

Virginia Tech received numerous phone calls and more than 100 angry emails last year after it disinvited Jason Riley, a columnist for this newspaper, from speaking on campus. “While we can respond to the people who write to us, we cannot dispel the negative impression created by the media against the president, the university, the dean and the college and the department,” one administrator woefully told his colleagues.

Virginia Tech administrators also noted that news of the debacle reached millions on Twitter, where the reactions were “overwhelmingly negative toward the university and higher education in general.” Once again, a frustrated public vowed to yank support.

Universities have consistently underestimated the power of a furious public. At the same time, they’ve overestimated the power of student activists, who have only as much influence as administrators give them. Far from avoiding controversy, administrators who respond to campus radicals with cowardice and capitulation should expect to pay a steep price for years.

6 Important Facts About Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Pardon

Liberals went nuts when President Trump recently granted 85-year old Sheriff Joe Arpaio a pardon. Many of those on the left thumbed their nose at the Constitution for 8 years, while Barack Obama committed one of the most unconstitutional acts ever by a president, when he forced Americans to buy insurance. Suddenly, they were all of a sudden concerned about the possibility that President Trump may not have adhered to our Constitution when he pardoned America’s toughest Sheriff on illegal immigration.

Attorney Dario Navarro was one of several leftists who were all of a sudden concerned about the “constitutionality” of President Trump’s actions.

Even the New York Times, who helped to sell Barack Obama’s horrific Obamacare plan is concerned about Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s pardon.

On July 25, 2016, “America’s Sheriff” Joe Arpaio was found guilty of misdemeanor criminal contempt without the benefit of a jury of his peers.

Here are a 6 interesting facts that Breitbart News laid out, regarding the Sheriff Joe Arpaio case, that every American crying “foul” over President Trump’s pardon yesterday needs to know:

The US District judge who tried the case against Sheriff Arpaio was a Bill Clinton appointee.

1. The guilty ruling, by Bill Clinton-appointed U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton, is the latest chapter of a nearly decade-long saga of legal proceedings against Sheriff Joe initiated by leftist groups opposed to his aggressive policing of illegal aliens.

The charges against 85 year old Arpaio stem from a civil rights suit demanding he cease “racial profiling” in his Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office’s immigration enforcement operations. After a federal judge issued an order demanding certain practices, Arpaio was charged with contempt for continuing to try to enforce the law as he saw fit.

The misdemeanor charge was a ploy to prevent Sheriff Arpaio from having a jury trial.

2. Because Arpaio was charged only with a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum of six-months in jail, the U.S. Constitution does not guarantee him a right to trial by a jury of his peers. Arpaio and his attorneys repeatedly petitioned for a jury, only to be denied by Judge Bolton in March and again in May. Sources familiar with the proceedings have told Breitbart News the decision to charge only the misdemeanor was likely a ploy by federal prosecutors to avoid a jury trial in the community where Arpaio served as sheriff for more than 20 years

According to the NCPD President, the DOJ had no evidence to make their case against Sheriff Arpaio.

3. National Center for Police Defense (NCPD) President James Fotis, who was present in the courtroom, was highly skeptical a Phoenix jury could have ever found Arpaio guilty. He told Breitbart News:

I sat through three days of testimony and it was clear from the beginning that the DOJ had no evidence to make their case. In fact, all of the DOJ’s witnesses made it clear that Judge Snow’s order was unclear and ambiguous. There is no way a jury would have determined that the Sheriff willfully and intentionally violated the judge’s order.

“Judge Bolton’s ruling has caused me to lose my faith in the court system and the federal judicial system,” Fotis added in a NCPD press release.

Over 40,000 signatures were gathered on a petition by current and former law enforcement officers in support of Sheriff Joe Arpaio who they claimed spent his entire career upholding and defending the Constitution.

4. Fotis was hardly the first or only commentator to question the impartiality of Arpaio’s prosecution. In June, his group managed to assemble over 40,000 signatures from current and former law enforcement officers in support of Arpaio, delivering them to the Department of Justice in Washington, DC. “After devoting 56-years of his life to upholding and defending the Constitution, Sheriff Arpaio deserves our nation’s eternal gratitude — not jail time,” those petitions read.

The Judge in the case should have recused himself, but refused to do so.

5. The initial racial profiling suit that eventually led to this conviction also took on political dimensions and its conduct was criticized. The judge in that case, G. Murray Snow, ignored calls to recuse himself based on the fact his brother-in-law is a partner at Covington & Burling, the firm representing those suing Arpaio and the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office.

President Obama spent much of his 8 years in office trying to find a way to take down America’s toughest Sheriff on illegal immigrants, who also headed up an independent investigation into the alleged fake birth certificate that would prove Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

6. The decision to criminally prosecute Arpaio was taken while the DOJ was run by Attorney General Loretta Lynch. It would be highly unusual for new leadership to intervene and drop an ongoing prosecution, and no such step was taken, despite the aforementioned petitions.

 

Sheriff Joe Arpaio Wins Presidential Pardon

President Trump granted a pardon to Joe Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., on Friday.

Arpaio, 85, was recently found guilty of criminal contempt for defying a judge’s order to stop traffic patrols that allegedly targeted immigrants.

He had been charged with misdemeanor contempt of court for allegedly willfully defying a judge’s order in 2011 and prolonging his patrols for another 17 months.

Arpaio acknowledged extending the patrols, but insisted it wasn’t intentional, blaming one of his former attorneys for not properly explaining the importance of the court order and brushing off the conviction as a “petty crime.”

He was expected to be sentenced on Oct. 5 and faced up to six months in jail if convicted.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now 85 years old, and after more than 50 years of admirable service to our Nation, he is worthy candidate for a Presidential pardon,” the White House said in a statement.

Known for his controversial takes on many issues, including his “birther” campaign against former President Barack Obama and for housing inmates in desert tent camps, Arpaio is best known for his approach to battling illegal immigration. In 2009 he claimed to have arrested 30,000 illegal immigrants since starting his efforts in 2005.

At a rally in Phoenix, on Tuesday, the president asked supporters in the crowd if Arpaio was “convicted for doing his job?”

The crowd cheered.

“He should have had a jury, but I’ll make a prediction: He’ll be just fine,” Trump said. “But I won’t do it tonight, because I don’t want to cause any controversy.”

“We’ll see what happens,” Arpaio said amid discussion of the pardon.

“[I]t doesn’t matter because I’m still going to support him as long as he is the president of the United States because that’s the way I am,” Arpaio said. “I don’t desert for political reasons. I’ll stick with him.”

During the presidential campaign, Arpaio showered Trump with support. Trump, meanwhile, has invoked Arpaio’s name in his calls for tougher immigration enforcement and used some of the same immigration rhetoric and advocated for tactics that made the former Arizona lawman a national name a decade earlier.

Arpaio appeared for Trump at rallies in Iowa, Nevada and Arizona, including a huge gathering in the affluent Phoenix suburb where the sheriff lives. Arpaio also gave a speech at the Republican National Convention in which he said Trump would prevent immigrants from sneaking into the country.

FoxNews.com / The Associated Press contributed to this report.