August 21, 2018

Naive Liberal Couple Murdered by ISIS

‘Evil is a make-believe concept’: US couple trumpets global goodness on bike trek. ISIS kills them.

Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan, both 29, quit their Washington, D.C., jobs a little over a year ago and embarked on a bicycle trip around the world. By April, their journey well underway, Austin wrote in the couple’s blog, Simply Cycling, that they were embracing something beyond a mere great adventure.

“You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” he wrote. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse.”

He continued:

I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.

 

Image source: YouTube screenshot

But in their very next blog entry, Austin described a driver in Spain trying to run him over amid a traffic jam.

It was a chilling portent of things to come.

Austin and Geoghegan were killed July 29 — just a few days into the second year of their journey — in what CBS News said was an ISIS-inspired attack as they rode through Tajikistan, which is predominantly Muslim and borders Afghanistan.

A car rammed into the couple and other bicycle tourists, after which five men exited the vehicle and attacked the group with knives, the network reported. Two others bicyclists — one from the Netherlands and one from Switzerland — also were killed.

The Islamic State initially claimed responsibility and then released a video showing the five purported attackers pledging allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, CBS News added. In the clip they sat before the ISIS flag and vowed to kill “disbelievers,” the New York Times said. Authorities told CBS News they tracked down the five suspects and killed four of them.

Image source: YouTube screenshot

A friend of the couple, Molly Scalise, told CBS News that Austin and Geoghegan were “such an example of an intentional and a principled life and had so much love to give.”

Embracing ‘vulnerability’

As for why bicycles were the chosen form of transportation for their globe-hopping trip, Austin noted the “vulnerability” they brought.

“With that vulnerability comes immense generosity: good folks who will recognize your helplessness and recognize that you need assistance in one form or another and offer it in spades,” he wrote, the Times said.

Austin, it appears, was driven by more than just putting his trust in others’ goodness. When he quit his job prior to the bike trip, Austin wrote that he’d “grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige. I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned. Too many thunderstorms went unwatched, too many gentle breezes unnoticed,” the paper reported.

He also was a vegan, built one of those tiny houses — 140 square feet — and lived a minimalist life, the Times said.

Jay Austin lounges in his tiny house he built — and dubbed “The Matchbox.” (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

In addition, he repeatedly opted for more paid leave as opposed to more money from his government job — and used his vacations for off-the-beaten-path travel, the paper said.

After Austin met Geoghegan — the pair were both graduates of Georgetown University, where she worked in the admissions office — his principles began rubbing off on her. She took up bicycling, too, and became a vegetarian. Then finally their trip was planned.

When Geoghegan’s friend Amanda Kerrigan found out about the trip, she told the Times she was concerned: “I said, ‘This is not the Lauren I know,’” Kerrigan recalled to the paper. “Jay changed the trajectory of Lauren’s life.”

That trajectory landed the pair in South Africa to begin their bicycle trip, CBS News said, and they headed north. Their blog describes the day-to-day struggles — harsh weather, rough terrain, tired and sometimes sick bodies — but also people helping them along the way.

More from the Times:

They continued north, crossing deserts where the sand was so deep they had to dismount and push their bikes. In Botswana, a concerned man stopped his car to offer them ice water as they pedaled in 95-degree heat.

They cycled on dirt paths, through dry riverbeds and on cracked asphalt, going days without a shower. In Morocco, a family offered the couple a room, and then sent them off the next morning with homemade bread.

Days turned to weeks, and then into months. Their bodies began to break. An ear infection landed Ms. Geoghegan in the emergency room in France. They both contracted pinkeye. They shouldered on through upset stomachs and sore throats.

It was winter by the time they reached Europe last December. Torrential rain soaked through their waterproof gloves. “Utterly hopeless, wet and cold,” they posted from Spain.

A few hours later, a couple in a white van stopped, handed them a towel and insisted on driving them to their house, where they dried their sopping clothes in the dryer.

Then came their final ride last month, in which a video purportedly showed the carload of attackers passing them, making a sharp U-turn, doubling back, and heading right for them, the Times said.

“There’s magic out there,” Austin wrote, the paper noted, “in this great big beautiful world.”

(H/T: Pluralist)

By Dave Urbanski

 

The Devil’s Bargain – when prosecutors suborn perjury to force false testimony against an innocent defendant

President Trump Praises Mormon Settlers on Pioneer Day

President Donald Trump issued a statement Tuesday sending his best wishes to those celebrating Pioneer Day in Utah.

The statement celebrates the efforts of Mormon settlers who settled in Utah in 1847 as well as others who “endured frontier hardships.”

“Melania and I send our best wishes to all those celebrating Pioneer Day.

On this day in 1847, Brigham Young and the first group of Latter-day Saint pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley to begin building a new home for their families.  Fleeing persecution, these families undertook a difficult journey spanning more than a thousand miles from Illinois to the Utah territory.  In the years that followed, nearly 70,000 men, women, and children charted similar paths across windswept plains and rugged mountains in search of religious freedom and a better way of life.

Our Nation honors the ingenuity, industry, and unwavering commitment to faith of all those who endured frontier hardships.  These pioneers worked tirelessly to transform the arid desert landscape into a blossoming new home where their families could live in peace and prosperity.  The legacy they helped build across the American West lives on through hundreds of cities and towns that continue to thrive in the 21st century.

Today, we remember the extraordinary pioneers who uprooted their lives and undertook an incredible leap of faith into the unknown.  Their stories and accomplishments are lasting reminders of the importance of religious freedom and the enduring strength and spirit of the American people.”

by

Mainstream Media Meltdown – Trump Derangement Syndrome

A raging epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome broke out among reporters covering the summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, as journalists gave the American president hellish reviews for his performance in Helsinki at a joint news conference.

No reporters knew what actually transpired in the main event of the day – the private meeting between the two presidents. So journalists put themselves in the position of critics, grading President Trump’s news conference performance.

The critics provided the most outlandish and hyperbolic reactions to Trump since election night 2016 – making the president sound like he was following in the footsteps of the despised Revolutionary War turncoat Benedict Arnold.

Yes, unbelievably, the newest charge against President Trump was treason.

Treason, by the way, is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “the offense of attempting by overt acts to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance or to kill or personally injure the sovereign or the sovereign’s family.”

So President Trump was trying to overthrow the government he leads or trying to kill or injure himself or his family?

USA Today reported in a front-page story: “Every nation has an infamous traitor. … And now, after a news conference Monday in Finland, the term is being used in relations to the 45th president of the United States. Donald Trump, master of the political insult, finds himself on the receiving end.”

The New York Daily News screamed “OPEN TREASON” on its cover page with a cartoon showing Trump holding Putin’s hand and holding a gun in his other hand and shooting Uncle Sam in the head. Really.

CNN host Fareed Zakaria wasn’t satisfied with “treason” as a descriptor. “I feel like treasonous is too weak a word, because the whole thing has taken on an air of such unreality,” he said.

Zakaria had lots of company: CNN analyst Max Boot, MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace, and, of course, former CIA Director John Brennan, who now works for NBC and MSNBC.

CNN presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said “the spirit of what Trump did is clearly treasonous,” and declared that the president “came off as being a puppet of Putin.”

MSNBC brought on presidential historian Jon Meacham and he agreed that, with the Russia connection, “the definition it meets is the first word of the impeachment article in the Constitution, which is, treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Even when news organizations weren’t talking treason, they were still hyperventilating about America going to hell in a presidential handbasket. Check out this video of highlights of anchors and commentators on MSNBC and CNN erupting with anti-Trump fury.

CNN was Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 level panicked, devoting 87 percent of its evening coverage (more than seven hours) across three nights to fire-and-brimstone reports designed to inflame its viewers.

The network’s team responded just as the boss wished. CNN anchor Anderson Cooper called the Trump news conference “perhaps one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president at a summit in front of a Russian leader certainly that I’ve ever seen.”

And CNN anchor Chris Cuomo – the son of one New York Democratic governor and the brother of another who may seek his party’s presidential nomination to run against President Trump – continued his longstanding feud with the president by claiming a Trump tweet bashing the media was an “admission that you hate your country.”

MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle let his anger take over. He called for a complete abandonment of the republic. “Rewrite the Constitution and have another president take over right now,” he told the audience, failing to explain just how that happens without a military overthrow of the government.

MSNBC legal expert Jill Wine-Banks piled on the outlandish historical comparisons, actually claiming Trump-Putin news conference “will live in infamy as much as the Pearl Harbor attack or Kristallnacht.” She added it was the same as “Cuban missile crisis in terms of an attack, or the 9/11 attack.”

Even ABC wanted a ride on the “Highway to Hell.” Anchor George Stephanopoulos, who used to work for President Bill Clinton before becoming a “newsman,” urged retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona to back his criticism of Russia “with action.” Stephanopoulos wanted the anti-Trump Flake to withhold his vote to support the president’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Judge Brett Kavanaugh. This no doubt thrilled Team Clinton.

“The View” co-host Joy Behar bedeviled Trump by comparing his actions to ignoring “when they bombed Pearl Harbor in World War II.” (She also said it “rises to the level of treason,” but that was hardly original at that point.)

The hellish outrage over the Helsinki news conference had its desired effect … for now. Newsweek posted a story on an opinion poll that declared: “According to a new Ipsos poll, 49 percent of Americans said Trump was “treasonous” during the summit and ensuing press conference, with only 27 percent disagreeing.”

2. Tomorrow Is Another Day: Even in a hot summer made hotter with fiery politics, things can always get worse. Remember, we are less than four months to the midterm elections. And when those finish, the presidential election heats up.

That also means the More Stupid Than Usual Season is upon us. (It’s like a leap season that only happens election years.) Despite several Democrats calling to “abolish ICE,” the broadcast networks weren’t interested when a vote on ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) took place.

None of the three – ABC, CBS and NBC — covered Democrats doing their best “Run away!” Monty Python impersonations. This, even though lefty Vox was critical of the fact that Democrats weren’t “ready to actually vote for an ‘Abolish ICE’ bill.”

Since it is political season, you’d think media outlets would send their A-listers to do the top stories. You’d be … completely wrong.

The New York Times assigned a massive, 8,700 word magazine piece on the left’s own Daddy Warbucks (Daddy Globalist Bucks?) George Soros to a guy who writes about tennis and wine. Author Michael Steinberger is also a blatant liberal partisan who voted for Hillary Clinton, freaked out election night when Trump won and called the president the “Orange Menace.”

CBS used some seasoning itself as host Gayle King (the Democratic donor) defended possible Democratic 2020 presidential nominee Joe Biden against President Trump’s criticism. She whined that Trump’s attacks were “nasty,” “condescending,” and “hurtful,” while downplaying one of the biggest gaffes in Biden’s career.

 

Dan Gainor is the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. He writes frequently about media for Fox News Opinion. He can also be contacted on Facebook and Twitter as dangainor.

Anthony Bourdain Slammed Hillary Clinton and ‘Gropey, Disgusting’ Bill Clinton in Newly Released Interview

In an interview, published more than a month after his death, Anthony Bourdain called former President Bill Clinton a “gropey, grabby disgusting” person and slammed the Clintons for how they handled the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

The celebrity chef and “Parts Unknown” host, who hanged himself in a French hotel in June, sat down with journalist Maria Bustillos from the magazine Popula before his death. The sit-down was published on Sunday.

Bourdain, one of the most outspoken supporters of the #MeToo movement, told the magazine it was shameful how the Clintons handled the scandal involving Lewinsky.

PHOTOS: Remembering Anthony Bourdain

“Bill Clinton, look, the bimbo eruptions—it was f—ing monstrous. That would not have flown today,” Bourdain said about the scandal. “[Bill Clinton is] a piece of s—. Entitled, rapey, gropey, grabby, disgusting, and the way that he — and she [Hillary] — destroyed these women and the way that everyone went along, and, and are blind to this!”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives with her husband former President Bill Clinton during inauguration ceremonies swearing in Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States on the West front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - HT1ED1K18ZBUA

Bourdain slammed the Clintons for how they handled the political sex scandal.  (Reuters)

The 61-year-old went on to say it was “unforgivable” the way the couple had shut down the accusers.

“The way they efficiently dismantled, destroyed, and shamelessly discredited these women for speaking their truth,” he said.

When asked if Clinton should have been kicked out of the office, Bourdain said no.

“I would look at this way. I would never under any circumstances vote for Bill Clinton today,” Bourdain told the magazine. “But I think impeaching the guy over Lewinsky was ridiculous. Particularly given today.”

Bourdain said it was “unforgivable” how the Clintons handled the scandal involving Monica Lewinsky and other accusers.  (Reuters)

He added, “It was the shaming, discrediting, undermining the women that made both of them unsuitable for any future endeavors. I don’t think they should’ve pulled him from office.”

HOLLYWOOD STARS DEFEND ASIA ARGENTO AFTER SHE’S BULLIED FOLLOWING ANTHONY BOURDAIN’S DEATH

Bourdain also said he was frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s reaction to the allegations against Harvey Weinstein, but when he tweeted as such, he said his words were twisted.

“I was really disappointed with the statement. But even by expressing that, the way that my comment was turned, very neatly—suddenly I wasn’t expressing disappointment in her statement; I was blaming her for Harvey Weinstein’s crimes. The way that turned very nicely was a good bit of artistry and deeply frightening to me and really, really…” he said.

When speaking about Weinstein, the celebrity chef detailed how he wants the film producer to die.

“My theory of how he goes is, uh, he’s brushing his teeth in a bathroom, he’s naked in his famous bathrobe, which is flapping open, he’s holding his cell phone in one hand because you never know who on the Weinstein board has betrayed him recently, and he’s brushing his teeth,” Bourdain said.

Bourdain added that he imagines Weinstein getting a “massive f—ing stroke,” before falling backwards into a bathtub.

“He finds himself, um, with his robe open feet sticking out of the tub, and in his last moments of consciousness as he scrolls through his contacts list trying to figure out who he can call, who will actually answer the phone,” the celebrity chef said.

“And he dies that way, knowing that no one will help him and that he is not looking his finest at time of death,” Bourdain said.

ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST AND CELEBRITY CHEF, CAUSE OF DEATH REVEALED

The TV host also spoke about his daughter Ariane, his relationship with girlfriend Asia Argento and how he would vote for Barack Obama despite finding him “very unconvincing in public.”

“Asia said this to me. Children create themselves independently of us. All you can do is show, like in my case, my daughter feels loved. She knows she’s loved. She has good self-esteem. Very important,” Bourdain said.

Chef Anthony Bourdain poses at the 2015 Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 12, 2015.

Anthony Bourdain often spoke out against Harvey Weinstein. He detailed how he envision how the fallen movie mogul will die.  (Reuters)

Bourdain was found unresponsive on June 8 in the bathroom of a luxury hotel in the small town of Kaysersberg. He was in France working on an upcoming episode of “Parts Unknown.”

 

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Trump Announces Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Pick

President Trump nominated appeals court judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court Monday night to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, ending a days-long guessing game that began the moment Kennedy announced his retirement on June 27.

In televised remarks from the East Room of the White House, the president praised what he called Kavanaugh’s “impeccable credentials, unsurpassed qualifications and a proven commitment to equal justice under the law.”

“There is no one in America more qualified for this position, and no one more deserving,” Trump said.

The four finalists – Kavanaugh and fellow appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett, Thomas Hardiman and Raymond Kethledge – were drawn from a list of 25 names vetted by conservative groups.

A clue to Kavanaugh’s nomination emerged hours before the announcement when the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a written opinion in which the judge sided with the majority. The D.C. court does not typically issue opinions on Mondays except in response to emergency petitions, suggesting that the case had to be disposed of before Kavanaugh was nominated for the high court.

Kavanaugh, a former law clerk to Kennedy in 1993, was elevated to the powerful federal appeals court in the District of Columbia by President George W. Bush, under whom he had served as a White House lawyer and staff secretary. Kavanaugh, 53, also won the confidence of key players in the Bush circle such as strategist Karl Rove.

This, however, had risked being something of a double-edged sword for Kavanaugh in the Trump era, raising concerns among some Trump supporters that he was too much of a D.C. insider and too closely associated with the Bush circle.

The Bush connections also harmed him with Democrats at the time of his initial nomination, who delayed his confirmation. But despite the criticism, he wore his support for Bush on his sleeve. It remains to be seen if those ties will complicate his confirmation process now — both with Democrats and Trump’s base.

Trump, though, may have been swayed in part because of Kavanaugh’s record of being a reliable conservative on the court – and reining in dozens of administrative decisions of the Obama White House. There are some question marks for conservatives, particularly an ObamaCare ruling that signaled his implicit support of the law.

In a 2011 case, Kavanaugh acknowledged in his dissent that the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate provision” could fit “comfortably within Congress’ Taxing Clause power.” His detractors say that language helped provide the road map for the Supreme Court to uphold the mandate a year later.

However, supporters of Kavanaugh have pushed back against that argument. Justin Walker, a former Kavanaugh clerk, argued that the judge’s “hypothetical discussion” about the Taxing Clause has been misinterpreted and is actually “a road map to the conclusion reached by the dissenters—that the individual mandate is unconstitutional under the Taxing Clause.”

Further, it’s also unclear how Kavanaugh would rule on abortion, as he has never directly confronted the issue as a judge. Last year, Kavanaugh dissented from a decision allowing an illegal immigrant to receive an abortion, but pro-life conservatives have criticized him for not going far enough. Specifically, they have expressed concern about language where Kavanaugh wrote “the unlawful immigrant minor is assumed to have a right under precedent to an abortion.”

Despite potential conservative grumbling, the White House is gearing up for a combative confirmation process. The administration announced earlier Monday that former Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona would guide the nominee through the Senate confirmation process. Before retiring in 2013, Kyl was a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will be the first to consider the nomination. He now works for the Washington-based lobbying firm Covington & Burling. The White House hopes Kyl’s close ties to Senate Republicans will help smooth the path for Kavanaugh.

In addition, the conservative group Judicial Crisis Network will launch a $1.4 million ad buy in support of Kavanaugh, running advertisements in Alabama, Indiana, North Dakota, and West Virginia – states with Democratic senators on the fence about supporting Trump’s nominee.

A senior White House source told Fox News that five Democratic senators – Judiciary Committee ranking member Dianne Feinstein, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Doug Jones of Alabama, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia – were invited to attend the nomination announcement. All five declined.

Of the five, Donnelly, Heitkamp, and Manchin are up for re-election in November. All three voted to confirm Gorsuch last year. Jones, who was elected to the Senate in a December 2017 special election after Gorsuch was confirmed, is not up for re-election until 2020. He told CNN on Sunday that he was “not an automatic, knee-jerk no” on any of the potential nominees.

Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, both of whom have been seen as most likely to vote against a Trump nomination, also declined invitations to attend.

 

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Bill Mears, Chad Pergram, John Roberts, Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Top Senate Dem Tells Colleagues to Oppose Trump’s Supreme Court Pick, Suggests Sacrificing Senate Seats

Just one day before President Trump is set to announce his pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy in a primetime address from the White House, a top Democratic senator suggested that stopping the nominee is more important than the upcoming midterm elections.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., acknowledged that so-called red-state Democrats may be tempted to vote for Trump’s selection out of political necessity, but urged his colleagues Sunday to consider more than their political careers.

“Beyond the procedure, beyond the gamesmanship, it is a life-and-death important decision to be made by this court on so many issues,” the Senate minority whip said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“The men and women that I work with on the Democratic side really take this seriously,” he added, after host Chuck Todd raised the possibility that Democrats could lose their bid to retake the Senate by opposing the nominee. “They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election. It’s about what future the United States of America is going to chart.”

“They understand it’s an historic decision. It’s about more than the next election.”

– Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham called the situation a veritable “nightmare” for Democrats hanging onto their vulnerable seats in states that largely support Trump.

Those Democrats — including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, and Indiana’s Joe Donnelly — must choose between alienating their constituents, or trying to halt a conservative nominee who may ultimately prove unstoppable anyway because of the GOP’s slim Senate majority.

Only 50 votes are needed to confirm a justice, because Senate Republicans eliminated the filibuster for Supreme Court justices last year — widely seen as a retaliation for Democrats’ decision to get rid of the filibuster to ensure that President Barack Obama’s nominees were seated on the D.C. Circuit.

WATCH: SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM SAYS SCOTUS SITUATION A ‘NIGHTMARE’ FOR RED-STATE DEMOCRATS

Durbin charged that it was “totally inconsistent” for Republicans to press for a vote on Trump’s nominee after stalling the nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016. GOP Senate leaders refused to vote on Garland’s selection, saying it was inappropriate to consider a nomination during a presidential election year — a principle Durbin claimed must logically apply to midterm election cycles as well.

But Judiciary Committee member Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Sunday he would still be willing to meet with Trump’s nominee, even as he echoed Durbin’s complaints about Garland’s treatment.

After rampant speculation that has reached a fevered pitch, Trump is believed to have narrowed his shortlist to four candidates: federal judges Thomas Hardiman, Brett Kavanaugh, Raymond Kethledge and Amy Coney Barrett.

Graham called the hyper-partisan Supreme Court nomination process “dysfunctional,” but said Republicans should be happy with those four candidates.

“If you’re a conservative Republican, the four people named — particularly Thomas Hardiman, I’m glad he’s on the list — are all winners, and all Republicans should embrace these picks,” Graham told host Dana Perino.

Hardiman, a newer arrival on Trump’s shortlist, is a 3rd Circuit judge with blue-collar appeal who married into a prominent Democratic family. He was a front-runner for the Supreme Court seat that went to Neil Gorsuch last year, and was reportedly recommended to Trump by his sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, who served on the bench with him.

DID SEN. ORRIN HATCH JUST GIVE A BIG CLUE ABOUT TRUMP’S SCOTUS PICK?

Hardiman’s stock was rising as some conservatives have soured on Kavanaugh in recent days, saying he has too much baggage from his work related to the Ken Starr investigation that led to President Bill Clinton’s impeachment.

Kavanaugh has also taken criticism for writing an opinion on the D.C. Circuit that used an obscure jurisdictional argument to avoid ruling at all on the constitutionality of ObamaCare — a rationale ultimately rejected by the Supreme Court, which opted to take the case and uphold the law on other grounds.

But Leonard Leo, a top Federalist Society executive and key adviser to Trump on Supreme Court picks, on Sunday downplayed those concerns.

“Every potential nominee before announcement, every potential nominee before announcement, gets concerns expressed about them by people who might ultimately support them,” Leo said on ABC’s “This Week.”

“People aren’t always familiar with their records,” he added. “Sometimes people say things about one nominee because they favor another.”

In fact, Leo said, the lack of a lengthy paper trail can be a detriment on its own, even if it can lead to less complicated confirmation hearings.

“Well, I think that first of all with regard to Ray Kethledge and Tom Hardiman, they’re a little bit less known by conservatives,” he said. “And their records are a little bit lighter.”

Republicans have long expressed regret over President H.W. Bush’s nomination of David Souter to the court, and vowed to more carefully screen future nominees. Predicted to be a conservative justice, Souter instead turned out to be a reliably liberal vote.

The White House has reportedly prepared advance information packages on four potential nominees. Trump’s announcement of his ultimate pick is expected at 9 p.m. ET on Monday.

 

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

‘Their Party Has No Future’: Former Democrat Urges Liberals to ‘Walk Away’ From Democratic Party

The creator of a social media campaign urging liberals to detach themselves from the Democratic Party said that the future of the party is over.

Brandon Straka started the “#WalkAway Campaign,” which shares video stories of people who decide to dissociate themselves from liberalism.

According to the movement’s Facebook page, it’s meant to “encourage and support those on the left to walk away from the divisive tenets.”

Straka appeared on The Ingraham Angle Tuesday and said that negative rhetoric spoken by the left and intolerance it has shown has been a big reason as to why he’s walked away.

“What do these people stand for? What is there platform? All I can figure out so far is ‘We hate Trump’ and ‘We love illegal immigrants,'” Straka said.

Straka said that his campaign is proving that politicians like the self-proclaimed socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) are the reasons why people are leacing the Democratic party.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez gave Ocasio-Cortez high praise on Tuesday, dubbing her “the future of our party.”

“Their party has no future, it’s over,” Straka said in response.

The one reason Straka was initially a Democrat was because he is gay.

“I think that if you’re a minority in America … there’s sort of this assumption that you are not wanted on the right,” he said.

He added that he believes the left takes minorities for granted and makes people feel that President Trump’s administration is looking to “hurt” them.

“If you’re a minority, you have a choice,” he said.

As seen on The Ingraham Angle

BREAKING: Justice Kennedy Retires from High Court, Giving President Trump Another Pick

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, giving President Trump a critical opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in what promises to be an epic confirmation fight.

The 81-year-old senior associate justice informed the White House in a letter of his intention to step down from the high court after 30 years, effective July 31. Rumors of another vacancy have reverberated across Washington in recent months, and it comes a year after Kennedy’s former law clerk Justice Neil Gorsuch, took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia.

Arguably the most powerful member of the Supreme Court, Kennedy’s moderate-conservative views often left him the “swing” — or deciding — vote in hot-button cases ranging from abortion to gay rights to political campaign spending.

A Supreme Court vacancy will likely become a key issue in a midterm congressional election year, when control of the Senate is at stake.

That body will consider Trump’s latest high court nominee, requiring only a simple majority for confirmation. GOP leaders changed the rules when Gorsuch was being considered, to get rid of the 60-vote procedural filibuster threshold.

But Democrats are expected to try and transform the court opening into a broader political referendum on Trump’s leadership, and the future of social issues like immigration, gun rights, and race.

Republicans, for their part, hope Kennedy’s replacement helps them in the November elections.

 

SCOTUS Rules for Workers, Against Union Bosses

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch tipped the scales on another landmark decision on Wednesday, joining the conservative majority for the 5-4 ruling against so-called “fair share” union fees.

It was the latest example of President Trump’s nominee delivering a win for the administration’s agenda and conservative causes, coming on the heels of the 5-4 ruling upholding Trump’s “travel ban.”

Fox & Trends with Carley Shimkus.

In the union case, Gorsuch’s impact was strikingly evident.

Justices split 4-4 on the issue in a similar case following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. After Gorsuch was confirmed to fill the seat, he played it close to the vest during arguments in February — offering no comments or questions from the bench during nearly 70 minutes of oral arguments.

But in the end, Gorsuch sided with a conservative majority ruling that state government workers cannot be forced to pay “fair share” fees to support collective bargaining and other union activities.

The decision, which dealt a blow to unions, said that a union’s contract negotiations over pay and benefits were inextricably linked with its broader political activities, and concluded workers had a limited constitutional right not to underwrite such “speech.”

The case specifically examined union fees paid by non-members.

“The procedure violates the First Amendment and cannot continue,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion. “Neither an agency fee nor any other payment to the union may be deducted from a nonmembers wages, nor may any other attempt be made to collect such a payment, unless the employee affirmatively consents to pay.”

The court now ends its session with Gorsuch’s impact on full display.

Gorsuch also sided with conservative justices this week to uphold Trump’s so-called travel ban — the first major high court decision on a Trump administration policy. The 5-4 ruling upheld selective travel restrictions for certain Muslim majority countries. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the order was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority” under federal law.

Liberal justices and advocates lamented the outcome of both the travel ban and union cases.

On the former, Justice Sonia Sotomayor suggested the policy remained discriminatory: “Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

Writing the dissent for the court’s four liberal members in the union case, Justice Elena Kagan said the majority succeeded in its “crusade” by “turning the First Amendment into a sword.”

But conservatives cheered.

After the travel ban decision, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign arm tweeted a photo of him and Gorsuch — a reminder that it was McConnell who stalled on former President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and later helped confirm Trump’s nominee last year.

McConnell and his staff have touted the Gorsuch confirmation as a major GOP win.

Gorsuch had kept observers guessing. In April, he sided against the Trump administration in a case involving government efforts to deport foreigners convicted of serious crimes in the U.S., aligning with the court’s four more liberal justices.

 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews. Fox News’ Bill Mears contributed to this report.

SCOTUS: President Wins Travel Ban

 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump’s controversial travel ban affecting several mostly Muslim countries, offering a limited endorsement of the president’s executive authority on immigration in one of the hardest-fought battles of this term.

The 5-4 ruling marks the first major high court decision on a Trump administration policy. It upholds the selective travel restrictions, which critics called a discriminatory “Muslim ban” but the administration argued was needed for security reasons.

At issue was whether the third and latest version of the administration’s policies affecting visitors from five majority Muslim nations – known as travel ban 3.0 – discriminates on the basis of nationality and religion, in the government’s issuance of immigrant visas.

Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the conservative majority opinion, wrote that the order was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority” under federal law.

“The sole prerequisite set forth in [federal law] is that the president find that the entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The president has undoubtedly fulfilled that requirement here,” he wrote.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was among the court’s four liberals that wrote a dissent.

“This repackaging does little to cleanse [the policy] of the appearance of discrimination that the president’s words have created,” she said. “Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

While the policy was upheld, the case was sent back to the lower courts, which were told to rely on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of executive authority.

It was the first significant legal test so far of Trump’s policies and power and could lead to a precedent-setting expansion on the limits of presidential power, especially within the immigration context.

Federal appeals courts in Virginia and California in recent months had ruled against the administration. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court last December concluded Trump’s proclamation, like the two previous executive orders, overstepped his powers to regulate the entry of aliens.

But the justices had allowed the current restrictions to be enforced at the Justice Department’s request, at least until the case was fully litigated.

The Trump administration also seemed to enjoy a favorable reception before the court during arguments in April.

Associate Justice Samuel Alito, during those April arguments, noted that of the 50 or so mostly Muslim majority countries, only five were on the current banned list, or about 8 percent of the population, he said.

The White House had framed the issue as a temporary move involving national security.

Sixteen state leaders led by Texas were among a number of coalitions backing the Trump administration. But Hawaii officials, who filed the appeal contesting all of the president’s orders, said the president’s policies violate the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom:

“Any reasonable observer who heard the president’s campaign promises, read his thinly justified orders banning overwhelmingly Muslim populations, and observed his administration’s persistent statements linking the two, would view the order and each of its precursors as the fulfillment of the president’s promise to prohibit Muslim immigration to the United States.”

A coalition of groups in opposition called the order blatant religious discrimination, since the countries involved have mostly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Chad was recently removed from the list after the administration said that country had beefed up its information-sharing.

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

The Asylum Crisis Is a Security Challenge, Not a Legal Problem

Our government’s first duty is to secure the border.

This weekend, Washington mourned the iconic Charles Krauthammer’s passing. It seemed a pause in the bedlam on the border, about which he would surely have had something wise to say. As someone who knew Dr. K mainly through his scintillating columns and television commentary, I suspect his thoughts on the refugee tide would be shorn of hubris about what Washington’s laws can accomplish.

The futility of dictating to the tide, rather than shoring up against it, was an occasional Krauthammer theme. He was wont to invoke an apocryphal tale about Canute the Great (see, e.g., here), who ruled a North Sea empire a millennium ago. In this, as in innumerable other ways, Charles was singular among commentators because he got the story right. His throne moved to the coastline, Canute audaciously orders the incoming tide to halt. But this is not a cautionary tale about the delusional arrogance of power. It is about humility: The king was showing his sycophantic courtiers that the law — in this instance, the writ of a purportedly omnipotent monarch — is limited, sometimes impotent, against such phenomena as the forces of nature.

The “rule of law” is not a magic wand. It is possible only in a community that has agreed to live under its provisions. Even within such a community, it must enforced by the power of the state. Law enforcement is manageable as long its resources are commensurate with the reasonably expected degree of law-breaking.

The situation is different when we are dealing with outsiders who seek entry into the community. By nature, that is more of a security challenge than a legal one. If the outsiders are not legally entitled to enter, or if their claim to such entitlement is dubious, the situation can masquerade as a legal problem only as long as it can be addressed by the resources the society has dedicated to enforcement. But what generally happens when a security challenge is handled as if it were a mere law-enforcement issue is that the bureaucracy gets overwhelmed and we find that enacting laws is no solution.

Congress cannot enact a law that prevents Central American migrants from flooding the border. Or, one supposes, it can enact a thousand such laws and look on in Canute-like futility as the incursion continues. Passing laws is not a serious response to a security challenge, and an unserious response always emboldens the challenger. Outsiders can overwhelm a national border by armed force or, if the nation is not willing to defend its border, by sheer numbers. Either way, the challenge can be answered only by the deployment of physical barriers and armed force sufficient to deny the onslaught and discourage others from coming.

Only after the crisis is over, after the security threat is contained, can we establish a legal process backed by resources scaled to handle the number of outsiders realistically expected to petition for entry.

We are a litigious society, so our first impulse in any crisis is to hurl our laws at it. It rarely works. For one thing, our law is always a step behind new crises – which is part of what makes them crises.

In 1993, I was assigned to prosecute a jihadist cell that had bombed the World Trade Center and plotted to carry out similar attacks on other New York City landmarks. Our country had had little experience to that point with international terrorism as a sustained threat. That was fortunate, but it also meant our law was not prepared for it.

Congress eventually overhauled anti-terrorism law in 1996. The new laws (e.g., terrorism conspiracy, material support, offenses involving the construction and use of mass-destruction weapons) specifically targeted jihadist organizations as they operate in modern times. But in the interim, we had to prosecute with the laws we had (using a rarely invoked Civil War–era sedition statute that made it a crime to conspire to levy war against the U.S.). The strategy worked for purposes of our case, and the new laws were a significant legal advance.

Yet the ability to convict the occasional handful of enemy operatives did not change the nature of the threat. It was still a national-security challenge, not a law-enforcement problem. It would not be addressed effectively until a catastrophic event, 9/11, snapped us from our security slumbers. Only then were military and intelligence assets deployed to attack the threat at its source. Only then did we accept the limited support role that domestic law enforcement can play in meeting a foreign threat to national security — or at least most of us did.

In the matter of refugees’ flooding the border, our law is again behind the curve. As a society based on individual liberty, we subscribe to the precept that guilt is personal — we don’t convict a person for being a member of a suspect group. That is fine in the realm of domestic law enforcement. It does not transfer well to security against outsiders.

And sure enough, if you look at federal asylum law, it addresses the individual migrant, not a systemic incursion. It dwells on what a migrant must establish to qualify for relief, and on what conduct the government may rely to deny or withdraw asylum status in any specific case. It does not address what could happen if thousands of migrants simultaneously seek asylum, abetted by the Lawyer Left’s insistence that our asylum law entitles them to due process — even if this means that, as a practical matter, a high percentage of them will be released into the United States, they will never show up for their legal proceedings, and they will settle here illegally while Washington agitates to bring them “out of the shadows” and formally make them Democrats, er, I mean citizens.

We can have humanitarian sympathy for the plight of migrants fleeing dystopian societies while still recognizing that the United States government exists to protect the American people.

It has become a favorite progressive talking point that the number of migrants seeking entry has plummeted in the last 20 years — the 300,000 captured attempting illegal entry last year is a fraction of the over 1.6 million captured trying in 2000. This misses — or, rather, distorts — the point.

The demographics of the migrant population have drastically changed — no longer mainly Mexican men but large numbers of women and children from Central America (especially Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador). The latter are more difficult to turn away because of a law enacted in 2008 — called the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, though a better title would have been “The Law of Unintended Consequences.” The point, in any event, is that the number of migrants need not approach historic highs to prompt a crisis. It need only overwhelm the resources we have allocated to deal with asylum claims and the attendant complication of detaining family members while the claims are processed. This creates a security problem our law has not anticipated and is not fit to answer.

The current crisis is the fallout of a category error. We have a security problem that has been exacerbated by laws that, depending on your perspective, are either foolish or cynically designed to enable illegal immigration. The fact that bad laws make the security challenge worse does not mean that good laws would solve it. Better laws cannot transform a security challenge into a legal problem.

We can have humanitarian sympathy for the plight of migrants fleeing dystopian societies while still recognizing that the United States government exists to protect the American people. Our government should do as little harm as is practical under the circumstances. Its first duty, however, is to secure the border.

Michael Anton-Why do we Need More People in this Country, Anyway?

As Capitol Hill Republicans attempt for — what, the eighth? ninth? — time in the past two decades to jam through an amnesty that their voters have explicitly, loudly and repeatedly said they do not want, it’s worth asking a question that is rarely raised:

Does the United States — population 320 million and rising — need more people? If so, why?

To most ears, the question sounds blasphemous, which illustrates the rottenness of our immigration debate. Actually, “debate” is far too generous. One side has made sure that there is no debate. Good people want more immigration, and bad people object or raise questions. An inherently political issue has been effectively rendered religious, with the righteous on one side, sinners on the other.

The basic question remains. The pat answer over the past 20 years — “to do the jobs Americans just won’t do” — may seem to have some salience with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate. But that only further raises the question. After at least two decades of wage stagnation and even decline, now that we’ve finally reached the nirvana of full employment (and who knows how long it will last), why not take advantage of this tight labor market to raise wages across the board? Especially for the working and middle classes that got nowhere or even lost ground during the housing, finance and tech booms of recent years?

Just about everyone knows the answer: because the business community does not like tight labor markets and the concomitant necessity to raise wages. That’s bad for the bottom line. The solution? More workers! And so the Chamber of Commerce annex — a.k.a. Capitol Hill Republicans — dutifully attempt to do their donors’ bidding at the expense of their voters’ interests.

Critics of the Trump immigration policy that leads to separating families say it is “un-American.” They’re wrong.

Economists in league with big business got good at torturing data to “show” that immigration benefits the economy. But as demonstrated by Harvard University’s George Borjas, one of the nation’s leading economists on the topic, immigration is a net economic benefit to immigrants and to their employers. To workers already here, not so much.

No matter, because the Democrats are no longer the party of labor. Back when they were — in the prelapsarian Clinton years — they sought tight labor markets precisely for their efficacy in boosting lower-end wages. But today’s Democrats are the party of high class, high tech and high capital.

This glamour coalition is not big enough by itself to win elections. So the left has hoodwinked some (but, as the 2016 election shows, by no means all) low-income voters into thinking that their interests align with those of Wall Street and Silicon Valley oligarchs.

It’s clear what the oligarchs get out of an endless influx of cheap labor. What the Democratic Party gets is also clear: more voters, and with them the tantalizing possibility of turning the country as irreversibly blue as Democratic policies have already done to New York, California and many other states.

Democrats used to be coy about this. The 2002 blockbuster “The Emerging Democratic Majority,” by John B. Judis, presented demographic change as an inevitability, not a deliberate plot to rig elections. But now, for the first time facing real pushback from those whose interests more immigration does not serve, the left is more open in exhorting their side and demonizing the other. Hence this year’s “How Democracies Die,” by Steven Levitsky, states openly that immigration favors Democrats, so the more the better. It also construes any opposition as (of course) racist.

Another argument for more people is to point to falling birthrates among the native-born. In fact, the United States remains near the top of birthrates in the developed world. Regardless, consider that immigration not only lowers wages but also raises housing prices by increasing demand and stresses public schools by adding non-English-speaking students. And as such factors worsen, research suggests that people are putting off marriage — which reduces birthrates.

Related is the claim that more people are necessary to solve our looming entitlement crisis. This quickly falls apart once you think it through. In 1967, future Nobel laureate Paul Samuelson favorably compared Social Security to a Ponzi scheme, arguing that it will be sustainable because younger people will always outnumber retirees. But does anyone really believe the United States — or any country — is capable of sustaining population growth without end? Somehow, the United States needs to find a way to meet its fiscal commitments without stuffing the land beyond the bursting point.

So again: Why do we need more people? For the extra traffic congestion? More crowded classrooms? Longer emergency room and Transportation Security Administration lines? Higher greenhouse-gas emissions?

We know how more immigration benefits big business and the Democratic Party. No one has yet convincingly explained how it benefits the American people as a whole. That’s the foremost consideration that should drive our immigration debate, and that’s what should determine our immigration policy.

June 21 at 3:29 PM

Michael Anton is a lecturer and research fellow at Hillsdale College and a former national security official in the Trump administration.

Charles Krauthammer, Conservative Commentator and Pulitzer Prize Winner, Dead at 68

Charles Krauthammer, a longtime Fox News contributor, Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard-trained psychiatrist and best-selling author who came to be known as the dean of conservative commentators, has died. He was 68.

His death had been expected after he wrote a heartbreaking letter to colleagues, friends and viewers on June 8 that said in part “I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months. I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me…

“Recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned. There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

In recent years, Krauthammer was best known for his nightly appearance as a panelist on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier” and as a commentator on various Fox news shows.

Following the news of the death of his “good friend,” Baier posted on Twitter, “I am sure you will be owning the panel discussion in heaven as well. And we’ll make sure your wise words and thoughts – your legacy – will live on here.”

Brit Hume, senior political analyst on Fox News, also tweeted about the “terribly sad news.”

“The great Charles Krauthammer has died,” he said.

But Krauthammer was arguably a Renaissance man, achieving mastery in such disparate fields as psychiatry, speech-writing, print journalism and television. He won the Edwin Dunlop Prize for excellence in psychiatric research and clinical medicine. Journalism honors included the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary for his Washington Post columns in 1987 and the National Magazine Award for his work at The New Republic in 1984. His book, “Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics,” instantly became a New York Times bestseller, remaining in the number one slot for 10 weeks, and on the coveted list for nearly 40.

Krauthammer delivered his views in a mild-mannered yet steady and almost philosophical style, befitting his background in psychiatry and detailed analysis of human behavior. Borrowing from that background, Krauthammer said in 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, that the post-Cold War world had gone from bipolar to “unipolar,” with the United States as the sole superpower. He also coined the term “The Reagan Doctrine,” among others.

Krauthammer harbored no compunction about calling out those in power, whether they were Democrats or Republicans or conservatives.

During the Democratic National Convention, he assailed lack of substance in the build-up to nominating Hillary Clinton.

“As for the chaos abroad, the Democrats are in see-no-evil denial. The first night in Philadelphia, there were 61 speeches. Not one mentioned the Islamic State or even terrorism.”

“In this crazy election year, there are no straight-line projections,” he noted, adding presciently, “As Clinton leaves Philadelphia, her lifelong drive for the ultimate prize is perilously close to a coin flip.”

At the same time, Krauthammer was quick to express disagreement with President Donald Trump in no uncertain terms.

He denounced Trump’s handling of the violence that erupted at Charlottesville, Va. protests over the planned removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, saying that most Americans were “utterly revolted by right-wing white supremacist neo-Nazi groups.” Krauthammer said that Trump’s failure to strongly denounce the supremacist group, and to say that both sides in the protest shared blame, “was a moral disgrace.”

The man who wore many hats, figuratively, throughout his life — excelling at just about everything he tried, even when he was still a rookie — easily took himself in new directions when curiosity or instinct struck.

Krauthammer’s intellectual heft belied an ability to be candid and witty about his quirks.

“Everything I’ve gotten good at I quit the next day to go on to do something else,” he quipped in a 1984 interview with The Washington Post.

Krauthammer embraced a strong personal constitution that kept him determined and resilient, even in the face of extraordinary physical limitations.

He spent most of his life confined to a wheelchair, the result of a snap decision — when he was 22 years old and a first-year student at Harvard – to go for a quick swim with a friend before a planned game of tennis.

“We go for a swim, we take a few dives and I hit my head on the bottom of the pool,” he said in a Fox News special in 2013 that looked at his life. “The amazing thing is there was not even a cut on my head. It just hit at precisely the angle where all the force was transmitted to one spot…the cervical vertebrae which severed the spinal cord.”

Unable to move, and at a time when his studies happened to focus on the spinal cord, Krauthammer instantly knew the consequences of the accident would be severe.

“There were two books on the side of the pool when they picked up my effects,” he recalled. “One was ‘The Anatomy of the Spinal Cord’ and the other one [was] ‘Man’s Fate’ by Andre Malraux.”

A lifelong opponent of being stereotyped in any fashion, Krauthammer was not going to let being in a wheelchair define him.

“I don’t like when they make a big thing about it,” he told the Washington Post. “And the worst thing is when they tell me how courageous I am. That drives me to distraction.”

“That was the one thing that bothered me very early on,” Krauthammer said. “The first week, I thought, the terrible thing is that people are going to judge me now by a different standard. If I can just muddle through life, they’ll say it was a great achievement, given this.”

“I thought that would be the worst, that would be the greatest defeat in my life — if I allowed that. I decided if I could make people judge me by the old standard, that would be a triumph and that’s what I try to do. It seemed to me the only way to live.”

As soon as he could after the accident, Krauthammer forged ahead with his studies, finishing medical school and going on to do a three-year residency at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he wrote about a condition he called “secondary mania,” which gained wide acclaim.

Then Krauthammer realized his heart was not really in health care, and after going to Washington D.C. and making some connections, he ended up as a speech writer for Democrat Walter Mondale during Jimmy Carter’s re-election campaign.

Later, as a writer for The New Republic, Krauthammer, then a self-styled Democrat, exhibited the kind of willingness to criticize political leaders regardless of their party.

“I’m very unhappy with the Democratic foreign policy,” he told the Post.  “And I’m very unhappy with Republican domestic policy.”

“If I have to choose between Republican foreign policy and Democratic foreign policy I would choose the Republican. That’s not to say there’s a lot in it I don’t find wrong, but they have done certain good things in foreign policy.”

About a decade ago, Krauthammer joined Fox News, drawing praise from conservatives, moderates, and liberals for his thoughtful and meticulously framed remarks.

New York Times columnist David Brooks called him “the most important conservative columnist.”

When his book became a fixture on the New York Times bestseller list, Newsweek observed: “To those who are trying to make sense of the rise of the conservative movement, Krauthammer’s success is a triumph for temperate, smart conservatism.”

Krauthammer politely downplayed the accolades.

“I don’t know if I have influence,” he was quoted as saying in Michellbard.com. “I know there are people who read me and people who make decisions who read what I write and they may be affected…my role is to challenge them, but people don’t come up to me on the street and say ‘I used to be a liberal until I read you.’”

“My goal is to write something parents will clip and send to their kids in college.”

Charles Krauthammer was born in New York in 1950, and grew up in Montreal, steeped in the Jewish faith.

His father, Shulim Krauthammer, was Austro-Hungarian and his mother, Thea, was born in Belgium. His parents met in Cuba.

Before going to Harvard Medical School, Krauthammer attended McGill University, and Oxford, where he met his wife, Robyn.

They had a son, Daniel. Both his wife and son survive him.

Despite his busy professional life, Krauthammer enjoyed baseball and chess, and made his family a priority.

He often spoke of growing up in a happy, tight-knit family, and spoke proudly of his wife and son.

 

Elizabeth Llorente is Senior Reporter for FoxNews.com, and can be reached at Elizabeth.Llorente@Foxnews.com. Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Llorente.

Dems Stage Border Crisis Hoax – Again

Deplorable conditions of children separated from parents, USA TODAY Network Published 10:33 p.m. ET June 20, 2014

There is nothing new under the sun . . . of the US-Mexico border. Anyone who lives near the US-Mexico border well knows that the news of the past few days is nothing new–it was the same under the Obama Administration and the Bush Administration. Children are not with their parents–mostly because they arrived without their parents. A small percentage of the adults that accompany the children are questionable, so parentage is researched to ensure that they are really the children’s parents. Another small proportion of adults arriving with children to illegally enter the US are criminals, and like any American accused criminal, are separated from their children as they are processed.

Over the weekend we heard a recording of a little Latino child pleading “Daddy, daddy,” tugging at our heartstrings. We hear democrats denouncing the cruel practice of separating children from parents as a hideous, “Nazi” act. Indeed, if we listen to the democrats, and their propaganda wing, the US press, things have changed since the evil Donald Trump became president.

Of course, none of it is true. Not a single word. Nothing has changed at the border, except that it is not as entirely porous as it was under former administrations.

First, Ann Coulter has taken heat for saying that videos of children suffering are often staged. She is correct. We are often exposed to videos and audios of children suffering, and lied to that it is the direct result of the crisis-du-jour. What about an audio of a child crying “Daddy, daddy”? I don’t know, but how many border-crashing children call their fathers “Daddy”? I’ve been around many sweet little Latino children, calm and distressed, and those who hail from south of the border never call their fathers “Daddy.” They call them Papi, or Papá, or perhaps Papito. Never Daddy. So where did this audio come from of a distressed child calling out for Daddy? It could have been any day care center in America–seeing that millions of American children are separated from their American parents every day in this nation because the economic policies of the left for decades have forced both parents into the workforce just to make ends meet.

How quickly Americans forget. Pick any June 19 in the past several years, and Google search “children border Mexico.” You will quickly see that two years ago, three years ago, four years ago, etc., the same problem existed. Here’s an article by Hannah Fraser-Chanpong, CBS News, June 19, 2014, 4:08 AM, titled Surge in unaccompanied immigrant children pushes Texas border patrol to its limits>> The article reads exactly like most of the articles we have read and seen broadcast over the past few days–children separated from parents, held in horrible conditions, overcrowding, garbage strewn about, and they are “among the more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors apprehended at the southernmost border of the U.S. this year, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The agency estimates that number will grow to 90,000 by the end of September.” Then, like now, most of the children being held were actually sent to the US border by their absent parents, who paid Coyotes to deliver them to border agents on the hope of getting them in.

In a similar article, dated June 19, 2014 9:13PM ET, Aljazeera, US, Mexico discuss influx of immigrant children>>, the same situation and the horrific conditions are decried, and the article concludes with a rather harsh statement from the President of the United States: “Obama repeated his position that arriving migrants would not be eligible for legalization under proposed immigration reform legislation or deferred action for childhood (DACA) rules.”

Damn, that’s harsh Obama.

They should be sent back. – Hillary Clinton

Here’s my favorite article of June 19, 2014, IndyStar, Published 1:44 p.m. ET, Hillary Clinton on border kids: Send them back>>. “We have to send a clear message. Just because your child gets across the border, that doesn’t mean the child gets to stay. So we don’t want to send a message that is contrary to our laws or will encourage more children to make that dangerous journey.” Hillary Clinton. “After an audience member lambasted President Barack Obama as the nation’s ‘deporter in chief,’ Amanpour asked the former secretary of state what she would do about the thousands of children who have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. Some 90,000 unaccompanied minors are expected to be apprehended this year. ‘Should they be sent back?’ Amanpour asked. Before Clinton said flatly that ‘they should be sent back.'”

Seeing that all of the circumstances of June 19, 2018 are precisely the same as they were June 19, 2014, what has changed? Just one thing. Donald Trump is the president, and Obama is not. The democrats and press are ginning up a crisis that doesn’t exist. It’s a hoax. It’s a nonexistent crisis, created in the name of “The Children,” as are most leftist crises–you can get people to pay attention to a stupid idea if you wrap it up in a colorful, teary, heart-tugging “the Children” wrapper.

The president is right–we must seal our southern border, and put a gate in it that will allow deserving foreigners to enter legally. Until we do, we will be barraged with lawlessness and exploitation along the border, and everyone will suffer–as they always do when the democrats lie to prop up a leftist political ploy.

 

James Thompson is a political commentator and professional ghostwriter.

Kimberley Strassel: Insubordination and Bias at FBI

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 500-page report covers plenty, but it can be distilled to two words he uses to describe the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the 2016 election: insubordination and bias. Two terms that are chilling in connection with such a powerful agency.

That won’t be the message from Democrats and most of the press, who will focus on a few episodes they will claim cost Hillary Clinton an election. Watch for them to blame former FBI Director James Comey, whom the report faults for “a serious error of judgment,” for having “concealed information” from superiors, and for “violation of or disregard for” departmental and bureau policies.

True, the report is damning about the man who lectures Americans on “higher loyalty.” It describes how an “insubordinate” Mr. Comey was, as early as April 2016, considering how to cut his Justice Department bosses from a public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton. He hid this scheme for fear “they would instruct him not to do it”—and therefore was able to “avoid supervision.” He then “violated long-standing Department practice and protocol” by using his July 5 press conference for “criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.” In October, he made public that the FBI had reopened the investigation, even though the Justice Department recommended he not do so. Mr. Comey went rogue, and President Trump had plenty of justification in firing him in May 2017.

Yet it is the report’s findings on the wider culture of the FBI and Justice Department that are most alarming. The report depicts agencies that operate outside the rules to which they hold everybody else, and that showed extraordinary bias while investigating two presidential candidates.

Keep reading Kimberley Strassel’s column in the Wall Street Journal.>>

Kimberley Strassel writes the Potomac Watch column for the Wall Street Journal where she is a member of the editorial board. Her latest book is “The Intimidation Game: How the Left Is Silencing Free Speech” (Twelve, 2016).  Follow her on Twitter @KimStrassel.

DOJ IG Report Released on FBI’s Handling of Clinton Email Case; Comey Found ‘Insubordinate’

The Justice Department’s internal watchdog released its much anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. The report marks the culmination of an 18-month review.

Click here to read the full report: READ FULL REPORT

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

 

FBI Agent Strzok Texted ‘We’ll Stop’ Trump from Becoming President

FBI agent Peter Strzok texted a fellow bureau official in August 2016 that “we’ll stop” Donald Trump from becoming president, the Justice Department inspector general reportedly reveals in his highly anticipated report on the Hillary Clinton email case.

The Washington Post reported that Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report includes an August 2016 text message exchange between Strzok and then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page about Trump’s chance of being elected president.

“[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Page texted Strzok.

“No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it,” Strzok responded.

Horowitz’s review months ago revealed other anti-Trump texts between the two officials, who were romantically involved. The “stop” Trump text goes further, and is likely to fuel claims from the White House that the bureau was working against him.

Republican lawmakers pounced on the new text.

Strzok's text refers to inter-agency meeting.

“In Louisiana, we call that bias, we don’t call that objective,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said on Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime” on Thursday.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in a statement the report shows “an alarming and destructive level of animus displayed by top officials at the FBI.”

“Peter Strzok’s manifest bias trending toward animus casts a pall on this investigation…His bias impacted his decision making and he assigned to himself the role of stopping the Trump campaign or ending a Trump Presidency,” Gowdy said. “This is not the FBI I know.”

But Bloomberg News, which also reported the new Strzok message, said Horowitz’s report says investigators “did not find documentary or testimonial evidence [in the Clinton case] that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”

For more than a year, Horowitz has been reviewing the FBI and DOJ’s actions related to its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

The report is not expected to address the DOJ and FBI’s actions taken in the Trump-Russia investigation, or relitigate the Clinton case itself. But it will mark the most definitive accounting of the email probe to date, looking at — among other things — whether “certain underlying investigative decisions were based on improper considerations.”

The report is set to be released later Thursday. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was seen arriving at the White House, where he was expected to brief Trump on its findings.

The inspector general’s review months ago uncovered a trove of anti-Trump texts from Strzok, who famously called Trump an “idiot” and texted about an “insurance policy” against a Trump presidency.

Strzok was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division. Page has since left the bureau.

A congressional source told Fox News that Page’s text about Trump “not ever going to become president” was produced to Congress, but Strzok’s response that “we’ll stop it” was not.

According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department’s watchdog also faults former FBI Director James Comey for breaking with established protocol in his handling of the Clinton email investigation, but it says his decisions before the 2016 elections were not driven by political bias, according to a person familiar with the findings.

The report from the inspector general also criticizes Comey for not keeping his superiors at the Justice Department, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, properly informed about his handling of the investigation, said the person, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the report is not yet public.

Fox News / The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Kim Jong Un to Start Denuclearization ‘Virtually Immediately’

President Trump, on the heels of his historic summit with Kim Jong Un, told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he believes the North Korean leader will begin to work toward dismantling his country’s nuclear program “virtually immediately.”

The president left Singapore after the two leaders signed a document stating Pyongyang would work toward “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

In an interview with Fox News, Trump said the process is “really moving rapidly.”

“I just think that we are now we are going to start the process of denuclearization of North Korea, and I believe that he’s going back and will start it virtually immediately – and he’s already indicated that and you look at what he’s done,” Trump said.

Chairman of the DPRK Kim Jong Un, left, meets with President Trump, right, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa Island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. (AP)

The historic agreement came after the two leaders held several meetings throughout the day. Trump was asked by a reporter if Kim agreed to denuclearize and he said, “We are starting that process very quickly.”

Trump said at a press conference that he will be ending joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea.

He also said Kim agreed to destroy a “major” missile testing site, but did not offer specific details.

The joint declaration states that the U.S. has committed to providing “security guarantees” to Pyongyang.

Whether the unpredictable North Korean leader will follow through remains unclear, but Trump sounded optimistic as he left the summit. He told “Hannity” the two of them “got along from the beginning” and Kim understood the need to dismantle his nuclear program.

“His country has to be de-nuked and he understood that, he fully understood that, he didn’t fight it,” Trump said.

The summit, which almost didn’t happen, represented a remarkable turnaround from the tension between Washington and Pyongyang last summer when Trump and Kim exchanged a war of words, with the American president warning the dictator of “fire and fury.”

Trump told Fox News, though, that “without the rhetoric we wouldn’t have been here.”

“So I think the rhetoric, I hated to do it, sometimes I felt foolish doing it, but we had no choice,” he said.

As for what happens next, Trump insisted, “I think he’s gone back to get this done. He wants to get it done.”

During a gaggle later in the day with reporters on Air Force One, Trump said he trusts Kim but the U.S. would have to “check” to ensure denuclearization occurs.

“We’re going to have to check him. And we will check him, we’ll check him very strongly. But he has a plan total and complete,” Trump said. “He’s got a total plan. It will get done.”

When asked whether he had any concerns about Kim, the president insisted Kim “wants to get it done.”

He added: “And we should all want that to happen.”

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

Prof Steven Hayward – Climate Change Has Run Its Course

Its descent into social-justice identity politics is the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality.

Climate change is over. No, I’m not saying the climate will not change in the future, or that human influence on the climate is negligible. I mean simply that climate change is no longer a pre-eminent policy issue. All that remains is boilerplate rhetoric from the political class, frivolous nuisance lawsuits, and bureaucratic mandates on behalf of special-interest renewable-energy rent seekers.

Judged by deeds rather than words, most national governments are backing away from forced-marched decarbonization. You can date the arc of climate change as a policy priority from 1988, when highly publicized congressional hearings first elevated the issue, to 2018. President Trump’s ostentatious withdrawal from the Paris Agreement merely ratified a trend long becoming evident.

A good indicator of why climate change as an issue is over can be found early in the text of the Paris Agreement. The “nonbinding” pact declares that climate action must include concern for “gender equality, empowerment of women, and intergenerational equity” as well as “the importance for some of the concept of ‘climate justice.’ ” Another is Sarah Myhre’s address at the most recent meeting of the American Geophysical Union, in which she proclaimed that climate change cannot fully be addressed without also grappling with the misogyny and social injustice that have perpetuated the problem for decades.

The descent of climate change into the abyss of social-justice identity politics represents the last gasp of a cause that has lost its vitality. Climate alarm is like a car alarm—a blaring noise people are tuning out.

This outcome was predictable. Political scientist Anthony Downs described the downward trajectory of many political movements in an article for the Public Interest, “Up and Down With Ecology: The ‘Issue-Attention Cycle,’ ” published in 1972, long before the climate-change campaign began. Observing the movements that had arisen to address issues like crime, poverty and even the U.S.-Soviet space race, Mr. Downs discerned a five-stage cycle through which political issues pass regularly.

The first stage involves groups of experts and activists calling attention to a public problem, which leads quickly to the second stage, wherein the alarmed media and political class discover the issue. The second stage typically includes a large amount of euphoric enthusiasm—you might call it the “dopamine” stage—as activists conceive the issue in terms of global peril and salvation. This tendency explains the fanaticism with which divinity-school dropouts Al Gore and Jerry Brown have warned of climate change.

Then comes the third stage: the hinge. As Mr. Downs explains, there soon comes “a gradually spreading realization that the cost of ‘solving’ the problem is very high indeed.” That’s where we’ve been since the United Nations’ traveling climate circus committed itself to the fanatical mission of massive near-term reductions in fossil fuel consumption, codified in unrealistic proposals like the Kyoto Protocol. This third stage, Mr. Downs continues, “becomes almost imperceptibly transformed into the fourth stage: a gradual decline in the intensity of public interest in the problem.”

While opinion surveys find that roughly half of Americans regard climate change as a problem, the issue has never achieved high salience among the public, despite the drumbeat of alarm from the climate campaign. Americans have consistently ranked climate change the 19th or 20th of 20 leading issues on the annual Pew Research Center poll, while Gallup’s yearly survey of environmental issues typically ranks climate change far behind air and water pollution.

“In the final stage,” Mr. Downs concludes, “an issue that has been replaced at the center of public concern moves into a prolonged limbo—a twilight realm of lesser attention or spasmodic recurrences of interest.” Mr. Downs predicted correctly that environmental issues would suffer this decline, because solving such issues involves painful trade-offs that committed climate activists would rather not make.

A case in point is climate campaigners’ push for clean energy, whereas they write off nuclear power because it doesn’t fit their green utopian vision. A new study of climate-related philanthropy by Matthew Nisbet found that of the $556.7 million green-leaning foundations spent from 2011-15, “not a single grant supported work on promoting or reducing the cost of nuclear energy.” The major emphasis of green giving was “devoted to mobilizing public opinion and to opposing the fossil fuel industry.”

Scientists who are genuinely worried about the potential for catastrophic climate change ought to be the most outraged at how the left politicized the issue and how the international policy community narrowed the range of acceptable responses. Treating climate change as a planet-scale problem that could be solved only by an international regulatory scheme transformed the issue into a political creed for committed believers. Causes that live by politics, die by politics.

 

Steven F. Hayward is a senior resident scholar at the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Charles Krauthammer Reveals He Has Only Weeks to Live

Charles Krauthammer, the beloved and brilliant Fox News Channel personality who gave up a pioneering career in psychiatry to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning political analyst, on Friday revealed the heartbreaking news that he is in the final stages of a losing battle with cancer.

The 68-year-old’s incisive takes on politics of the day have been missing from Fox News Channel’s “Special Report” for nearly a year as he battled an abdominal tumor and subsequent complications, but colleagues and viewers alike had held out hope that he would return to the evening show he helped establish as must-viewing. But in an eloquent, yet unblinking letter to co-workers, friends and Fox News Channel viewers, Krauthammer disclosed that he has just weeks to live.

“I have been uncharacteristically silent these past ten months,” the letter began. “I had thought that silence would soon be coming to an end, but I’m afraid I must tell you now that fate has decided on a different course for me.”

This is the final verdict. My fight is over.

Krauthammer, who graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1975 despite a first-year diving accident that left him a quadriplegic, explained that he had a malignant tumor removed from his abdomen last August. Although a series of setbacks left him in the hospital in the ensuing months, he believed until recently that he was on the road to recovery.

“However, recent tests have revealed that the cancer has returned,” Krauthammer wrote. “There was no sign of it as recently as a month ago, which means it is aggressive and spreading rapidly. My doctors tell me their best estimate is that I have only a few weeks left to live. This is the final verdict. My fight is over.”

Fox News viewers will undoubtedly miss Krauthammer’s formidable intellect and ability to analyze politics and politicians with a cerebral wit and keen charm. As the dean of “The Fox News All Stars,” the panel of pundits who break down headlines and events nightly on Fox News Channel’s top-rated “Special Report,” Krauthammer could be counted on to make viewers think, question and even chuckle.

Krauthammer was on his way to greatness in the medical field when he veered first into policy, and then into journalism. After medical school, he became chief psychiatry resident at Massachusetts General Hospital, where he studied depression and published ground-breaking findings in top medical journals. But in 1978, he took a job in the Carter administration directing planning in psychiatric research and later served as a speech writer for Vice President Walter Mondale.

It was in the nation’s capital that Krauthammer trained his mind and talents on political analysis and began penning columns for The New Republic, Time magazine and finally the Washington Post. In 1985, he won journalism’s top prize for his weekly political commentary. In his sobering farewell, Krauthammer said he is “grateful to have played a small role in the conversations that have helped guide this extraordinary nation’s destiny.”

“I leave this life with no regrets,” Krauthammer wrote. “It was a wonderful life – full and complete with the great loves and great endeavors that make it worth living. I am sad to leave, but I leave with the knowledge that I lived the life that I intended.”