Borrowed from a friend on Facebook:
On Thursday, USA Today posted an article about the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPV). That is the proposal working through the states that would essentially eliminate the Electoral College. The article points out that the Electoral College was put in place as a part of the system of checks and balances to make sure that small, less populated states would be represented in presidential elections.
The article notes:
Rural America produces almost all our country’s food, as well as raw materials like metals, cotton and timber. Energy, fossil fuels but also alternatives like wind and solar come mostly from rural areas. In other words, the material inputs of modern life flow out of rural communities and into cities.
This is fine, so long as the exchange is voluntary — rural people choose to sell their goods and services, receive a fair price, and have their freedom protected under law. But history shows that city dwellers have a nasty habit of taking advantage of their country cousins. Greeks enslaved whole masses of rural people, known as helots. Medieval Europe had feudalism. The Russians had their serfs.
Credit the American Founders with setting up a system of limited government with lots of checks and balances. The U.S. Senate makes sure all states are represented equally, even low-population rural states like Wyoming and Vermont. Limits on federal power, along with the Bill of Rights, are supposed to protect Americans from overreaching federal regulations. And the Electoral College makes it impossible for one population-dense region of the country to control the presidency.
The article notes that the reason Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election is 2016 is that she won California and some big cities, but failed to win votes in the center of the country.
The article observes:
And the system worked. The Electoral College requires more than just the most raw votes to win — it requires geographic balance. This helps to protect rural and small-town Americans.
The article notes that fourteen states have already passed NPV. The good news is that NPV only takes effect after it is joined by enough states to control 270 electoral votes (a majority of electoral votes). At the point the Electoral College becomes moot. If the NPV reaches 270 electoral votes, what is the point of voting in a presidential election if you live in a sparsely-populated state? We will be run by California, New York, and some major cities. None of the states or cities involved are particularly well-governed–some of them are on the verge of bankruptcy. Is this really a good idea?
The article concludes:
The idea that every vote should count equally is attractive. But a quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin famously reminds us that democracy can be “two wolves and a lamb voting on what’s for lunch.” (City dwellers who think that meat comes from the grocery store might not understand why this is such a big problem for the lamb.) And when you think about it, every check on government power, from the Electoral College to the Bill of Rights, is a restraint on the majority.
The Electoral College makes it even harder to win the presidency. It requires geographic balance and helps protect Americans who might otherwise have their voices ignored. All Americans should value constitutional protections, like the Electoral College, that remind us that the real purpose of government is to protect our individual rights.
The April/May issue of Imprimis (the publication of Hillsdale College) featured an article called “Sacred Duty: A Soldier’s Tour at Arlington National Cemetery.” The article was written by Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, an Army war veteran. Please follow the link above to read the entire article, but here are some highlights:
The Thursday before Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery is known as “Flags In.” The soldiers who place the flags belong to the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment, better known as The Old Guard. My turn at Flags In came in 2007, when I served with The Old Guard between my tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The Old Guard is literally the old guard, the oldest active-duty infantry regiment in the Army, dating back to 1784, three years older even than our Constitution. The regiment got its nickname in 1847 from Winfield Scott, the longest-serving general in American history. Scott gave the regiment the honor of leading the victory march into Mexico City, where he directed his staff to “take your hats off to The Old Guard of the Army.” Perhaps Scott felt an old kinship with the 3rd Infantry, because he had fought the British alongside them outside Niagara Falls during the War of 1812.
Among the few regiments to participate in both of the major campaigns of the Mexican War—Monterrey in 1846 and Mexico City in 1847—The Old Guard made history alongside American military legends. A young lieutenant later wrote that “the loss of the 3rd Infantry in commissioned officers was especially severe” in the brutal street-to-street fighting in Monterrey. That lieutenant’s name was Ulysses S. Grant.
The 3rd Infantry was part of the main effort again the next year at the Battle of Cerro Gordo, the last stand on the road to Mexico City by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna. The Mexicans had a numerically superior force on the high ground on both sides of the only passable road to the capital. But Santa Anna underestimated the Americans’ ingenuity and audacity. With a young captain of engineers blazing the path, the 3rd Infantry hacked through the jungle and crossed ravines to attack the Mexicans from their rear, finishing them off with a bayonet charge. That captain’s name was Robert E. Lee. And to this day, The Old Guard remains the only unit in the Army authorized to march with bayonets fixed to their rifles in honor of their forerunners’ bravery at Cerro Gordo.
The article goes on to explain how the land at Arlington became our National Cemetery:
George Washington’s adopted son—his wife Martha’s only surviving son—bought the land that became Arlington in 1778 to be closer to his mother and his stepfather at their beloved Mount Vernon. General Washington advised him on the purchase in correspondence from his winter camp at Valley Forge. But our national triumph three years later at Yorktown shattered the family’s dreams. Their son died of a fever contracted there, leaving behind a six-month-old son of his own. George and Martha raised the boy, who was named George Washington Parke Custis but was known as Wash. When Wash came of age and inherited the land, he initially christened it Mount Washington, in honor of his revered adoptive father. Though he later renamed it Arlington, Wash used the land as a kind of public memorial in his lifelong mission to honor the great man. From hosting celebrations on Washington’s Birthday to displaying artifacts and memorabilia to building the grand mansion still visible from the Lincoln Memorial today, Arlington got its start as a shrine to the father of our country.
A new resident arrived in 1831, when then-Lieutenant Robert E. Lee—himself the son of Washington’s trusted cavalry commander during the Revolutionary War—married Wash’s only surviving child, Mary. For 30 years, the Lees made Arlington their home and raised a family there between his military assignments. Because of his ties to Washington and his own military genius, Lee was offered command of a Union army as the Civil War started. But he declined on the spot. His long-time mentor—none other than the 3rd Infantry’s old commander, Winfield Scott, now the General-in-Chief of the Army—scolded him: “Lee, you have made the greatest mistake of your life, but I feared it would be so.” Resigning his commission, Lee left Arlington for Richmond, never to return. The United States Army occupied Arlington on May 24, 1861—and it has held the ground ever since.
The article explains how the government eventually obtained the land through a legal process:
Lee’s son inherited the family’s claim to their old farm. Himself a Confederate officer, his name nevertheless reflected the nation’s deep roots at Arlington: George Washington Custis Lee. Known as Custis, he petitioned Congress to no avail, then sued in federal court to evict the Army as trespassers. United States v. Lee worked its way over the years to the Supreme Court, which upheld the Lee family’s claim. Fortunately for the government, the nation, and the souls at rest in Arlington, Custis was magnanimous in victory, asking only for just compensation. In 1883, he deeded the land back to the government in return for $150,000. The Secretary of War who accepted the deed was Robert Todd Lincoln, the son of Abraham Lincoln. After that final act of reconciliation between the firstborn sons of the great president and his famed rebel antagonist, Arlington’s dead could rest in peace for eternity.
The article concludes:
No one summed up better what The Old Guard of Arlington means for our nation than Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey. He shared a story with me about taking a foreign military leader through Arlington to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Sergeant Major Dailey said, “I was explaining what The Old Guard does and he was looking out the window at all those headstones. After a long pause, still looking at the headstones, he said, ‘Now I know why your soldiers fight so hard. You take better care of your dead than we do our living.’”
It’s Memorial Day Weekend. Remember those who paid a high price for our freedom.
There was some genuine ugly in Congress this week. Unfortunately that is fairly common lately, but sometimes things are said that are really over the top. Yesterday The Daily Caller posted an article about a discussion Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez probably should not have gotten involved in.
The article reports:
Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defended a fellow Democrat who argued in a Wednesday hearing that the deaths of migrant children in U.S. custody were “intentional.”
“Yesterday, GOP moved to silence Lauren Underwood’s words bc she had the audacity to say the obvious: that stealing children away from their parents, trafficking, & caging them w/o end is intended to do harm,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “They tried to silence her; make her back down. She didn’t. Be proud.”
…Underwood, a Democrat representative from Illinois, had claimed a day earlier that Republicans, and specifically the Trump administration, had intentionally chosen a policy that they knew would result in harm or death to migrant children.
…What neither Ocasio-Cortez nor Underwood acknowledged was the fact that the family separation policy had been adopted in part to reduce the trafficking of children, and neither mentioned the hundreds of children who had been removed from adults who were not actually their parents or even relatives, some of whom had been “rented” in order to help a single adult gain entry to the U.S. more easily.
Just for the record, the policy was implemented during the Obama administration. If Congress is against the policy, it is their responsibility to change it–not to blame someone else for their inaction.
CBN News is reporting today that the “Control of Economic Activity (in) Occupied Territories” bill is making its way through the Irish government.
The article reports:
The proposed law would make it illegal for Irish citizens to buy goods and services from Israeli citizens in what they define as the occupied territories. That would make it illegal to buy an ice cream, a postcard or a bottle of water in the old city of Jerusalem.
…The bill is called the “Control of Economic Activity (in) Occupied Territories”. If convicted under the bill, an Irish citizen could be fined more than a quarter of a million dollars and spend up to five years in jail.
…Prof. Kontorovich says Irish leaders may be hesitant to pass the bill.
“One of the only reasons the law has not been passed yet is because the Irish government is properly worried about the consequences it’s going to have for Irish companies doing business in America and many of the large American companies doing business in Ireland like Apple. Because America has strict laws against boycotting Israel,” he explained.
This is simply BDS (Boycott, Divest, and Sanction) on steroids. First of all, there are no ‘occupied territories.’ That is a term invented by Arabs who still want to drive the Jews into the sea. Second of all, this is antisemitism pure and simple. America has laws against boycotting Israel because these boycotts are not morally justified. Israel is the only country in the Middle East that has freedom of religion–Jews, Muslims, and Christians are all free to worship in Israel. Also, a boycott of goods in these areas hurts the Arabs who work there more than it hurts the Israelis. Arabs commute from the Arab territories that have no commerce into Israel where commerce flourishes. When companies in the border areas of Israel close because of boycotts, the Arabs suffer.
Yesterday President Trump signed a memo allowing for the declassification of the background information on the investigation into Russian-collusion.
Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported the event this way:
From the White House comes this announcement:
Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.
The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.
Trump’s directive doesn’t mean that information will be declassified willy-nilly. The Attorney General is instructed to adhere to “long-established standards for handling classified information” — the same standards that those who made the initial classification decisions should have applied, but may not have in order to cover their tracks.
This is how the Associated Press reported the event:
The headline reads, “Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies.”
President Donald Trump on Thursday granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Trump directed the intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s probe. The directive marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to “investigate the investigators,” as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls for impeachment proceedings.
Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation. Such an action could create fresh tensions within the FBI and other intelligence agencies, which have historically resisted such demands.
Still think the media is not biased? The Associated Press accuses the President of trying to undermine the findings of Robert Mueller. It fails to mention that Robert Mueller didn’t find anything. Make no mistake–the media is looking for impeachment. They want Watergate all over again. Only this time the illegal spying was the work of the people they support. That is a hard pill to swallow and is going to get even harder as the evidence comes out.
What was done to the President, his campaign, and his transition team was illegal. It was a flagrant misuse of government agencies for political purposes. Unless we want to see this sort of illegal surveillance occur during every election cycle, those responsible have to be held accountable.
Sunlight is the best disinfectant.
John Walker Lindh was released from prison today. He served 17 years of his 20 year sentence and was released early for good behavior.
On March 22nd, Fox News posted an article reminding us of some of the circumstances of John Walker Lindh’s arrest:
In November 2001, U.S forces learned that an American – Lindh – was among the cluster of Taliban fighters left in limbo after their leader surrendered to the Northern Alliance in the northern Afghanistan province of Mazar-i-Sharif. Spann was first into the compound, serving as a prison, to interview Lindh, peppering him with questions about where he was from and what he was doing. But Lindh refused to respond.
“In those moments, when he chose to stay silent, he sealed his fate as a traitor to the United States,” Spann said. “At any point, he could have warned him that something was being planned.”
…According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Lindh – who is currently behind bars in Terra Haute, Indiana – will be discharged on May 23, several years in advance of his initial 20-year jail sentence. The initial charges leveled against the then 20-year-old Lindh in 2002 included one for murder conspiracy for the part he played in the killing of Americans, including Spann, in the prison rebellion.
However, nine of the ten counts in the indictment were dropped and he ended up pleading guilty to disobeying an executive order outlawing support to the Taliban and for possessing a weapon in Afghanistan.
Evidently the prosecution at his trial feared that Mr. Lindh’s confession would be tossed out as evidence because it was obtained under questionable circumstances, so Mr. Lindh was charged with with only one crime–he was never charged with fighting with the Taliban. He should have been shipped to Guantanamo as an enemy combatant and left there, but as an American citizen, he had other options.
Now he has been released from jail with a lot of restrictions–the software on his internet devices will be monitored, he will be required to conduct his online communications in English, he will be required to undergo mental health counseling. He will also be forbidden from possessing or viewing extremist material, holding a passport, or leaving the United States.
I have very mixed emotions about his release. He served his time and exhibited good behavior, so I believe that he has to be released. However, I wonder what his future actions will be. Hopefully he will decide to live peacefully along with his fellow Americans. I am grateful that he will be carefully watched.
Yesterday The Independent Journal Review posted an article about vacancies on the Federal Election Commission and the consequences of those vacancies.
The article reports:
The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is facing a lawsuit for its inaction on a complaint filed against Hillary Clinton‘s campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The right-leaning Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed a lawsuit — obtained exclusively by IJR — on Wednesday morning in the hopes of getting a ruling that would force the FEC to address the complaint it filed on August 1, 2018.
Its original complaint with the FEC requested an investigation into Hillary for America — the official name of Clinton’s campaign — and the DNC for their role in obtaining and financing the anti-Donald Trump dossier penned by former British spy Christopher Steele.
By law, if the FEC does not rule on a filed complaint within 120 days, the party that filed the complaint has the authority to sue the commission. Almost 300 days have passed since the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed that original complaint, and nothing has happened.
The exact incident that caused the Foundation to sue is explained in the article:
The original FEC complaint alleged that Hillary for America and the DNC breached campaign finance law by issuing a false report with the intention of misleading the American people. The complaint notes that campaign expenditure forms show that the DNC and Hillary for American paid their mutual legal advisers at Perkins Coie, LLP for “legal services,” but the law firm turned around and paid Fusion GPS for the Steele dossier.
The Coolidge Reagan Foundation argues that Hillary for America and the DNC used Perkins Coie, LLP as a “strawman” organization to distance themselves from Fusion GPS and Steele and submitted a false FEC complaint in the process:
The FEC is composed of six members. Right now there are two vacant seats on the Commission. The seats on the Commission are supposed to be filled two at a time–one by the President and one by the highest ranking Senator from the opposite party. As of now, Senator Schumer has not submitted a name, so the President cannot proceed with a nominee. Since FEC rules require four votes in order to begin an investigation, unless there is a unanimous vote by the four current commissioners, nothing will happen.
The article further notes:
As IJR previously reported, the Coolidge Reagan Foundation also filed an FEC complaint against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her chief of staff, Saikat Chakrabarti, for their sketchy campaign funding operation and for failing to disclose payments to congresswoman’s boyfriend.
According to Backer, neither of those complaints have received a ruling from the FEC.
It’s a fairly safe bet that if an FEC complaint were filed against a Republican, Senator Schumer would very quickly come up with a name so that the investigation could move forward!
On Tuesday, YouTube posted a video of Hawaii Senator Mazie Hirono speaking at a pro-abortion rally in Washington, D.C. The Blaze posted some of her remarks.
The article reports:
Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono used her time in front of the crowd to fire up the protesters with a tale of school kids in Hawaii who are worried about their abortion rights and to brag about how she rallied those children.
“I just left 60 eighth-graders from a public school in Hawaii, and I told them I was coming to a rally in front of the Supreme Court, and they said, ‘Why?'” Hirono said. “I said it’s because we are — we have to fight for abortion rights, and they knew all about it.”
…”I asked the girls in that group of eighth graders: How many of you girls think that government should be telling us, women, when and if we want to have babies? Not a single one of them raised their hands,” she continued.
Getting kids to love abortion is apparently pretty popular with the protesters because they cheered wildly at this.
“And then, the boys who were there among the 60, I told them, you know, it’s kind of hard for a woman to get pregnant without you guys,” she said, and the crowd laughed. “They got it.”
Lots of gender assumptions and cis-hetero posturing there, but we’ll move on.
She said she asked the male students, “How many of you boys think that government should be telling girls and women when and if we’re going to have babies? And not a single one of them raised their hand,” again to great excitement from the gathered abortion enthusiasts.
First of all, most eighth graders respond to peer pressure. I would not call this a reliable poll. Second of all, it’s all in how you word the question. The government is not telling women when to have babies–the government is attempting to protect the lives of the unborn. The government is not telling women to engage in activities that might result in pregnancy–that is a choice women make.
It offends me that the Senator took it upon herself to talk to eighth graders about abortion. This is a subject that the children should discuss with their parents. There was no consideration given to children whose parents have raised them in religious settings where abortion is considered immoral. I think the Senator was totally out of line in talking to the eighth graders and then using them to promote something that is not universally supported.
The video is up at YouTube and included in the article at The Blaze. I chose not to post it here.
Hot Air posted an article yesterday stating that the New York State Senate is getting ready to rid the state of a group of major criminals–people who text while walking.
The article reports:
As in Hawaii and some municipalities in, of course, California, it would impose fines between $25 and $250 on people for texting, browsing online, emailing or playing games on their cellphone while in a crosswalk.
Because obviously New York has no crime anymore and no serious wrongdoing that hasn’t already been addressed by authoriuties, police or parking cops will have plenty of time to watch the hands of everyone using a crosswalk in a state with about 39 million hands.
Of course, on paper such a rule might make sense. But is it government’s role to fight crime or combat select individual’s lack of common sense? And what about the impact on YouTube where, a friend informs me, many people go for repeated guffaws watching cellphone users walk into light-poles and water fountains?
“If they’re going to get killed crossing the street not paying attention,” said Lyles Press, “that’s their fault. I don’t see why you need to legislate common sense.”
Texting while walking is stupid–it takes a few seconds to stop walking and text what you need to text. However, I really think the New York State Senate has other more important issues it needs to address. In January of this year, The New York Post reported that more people are leaving New York than any other state. Shouldn’t the New York State Senate be thinking about laws that would make New York State a more attractive place to live? Shouldn’t they be thinking about ways to fight crime or end drug addiction or homelessness in their state? Darwin will take care of the people texting while walking, New York Senate, you might consider working toward making your state a better place to live.
Below is a video of Sean Hannity’s interview of John Solomon last night about the release of “Bucket 5” Documents. The video was posted today at a website called “The National Sentinel.” John Solomon has stated that the “Bucket 5” Documents will be released some time in the next week or ten days.
So what is significant about the “Bucket 5 Documents”?
The article reports:
Ace investigative columnist John Solomon told Fox News‘ Sean Hannity Tuesday night during his show that, according to Solomon’s sources, POTUS Donald Trump is expected to begin declassifying a series of documents exposing President Obama’s deep state “Spygate” plot to undermine his presidency.
In particular, Solomon noted, the president will begin with with the release of “Bucket 5” documents, otherwise known as exculpatory statements the FBI possessed about its targets before agents went to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to get warrants to spy on them.
Meanwhile, investigative reporter Sara A. Carter added that Bucket 5 also includes transcripts and tapes of former Trump advisers George Papadopoulos and Carter Page saying that there was no way the 2016 campaign was working with Russians — information that Obama’s FBI and Justice Department did not share with the FISA court.
Solomon noted that the release could begin within a week to 10 days. He also added that “this is the first time that we know for sure the FBi was in possession of a piece of intelligence from Christopher Steele [author of the infamous ‘Steele Dossier’ used to get a warrant to spy on Page] that had been debunked before they went to the FISA court.”
He added that the FBI wasn’t in the process of verifying it — they had already debunked it.
So why is this important? This is the root of the investigation into charges of a Trump-Russia conspiracy. If the root is rotten, then the FBI had no right to spy of the Trump campaign. If the FBI knew the root was rotten, they abused their power and violated the civil rights of several American citizens.
In Watergate, a second-rate burglary was exalted into a high crime and a President was impeached. In this case, government bureaucracies were used for political purposes, and no one has been held accountable. Because of stonewalling by the deep state, the investigation into the surveillance of President Trump’s campaign and transition team has taken forever. That is what those responsible are counting on. The hope is that if the investigation continues ad infinitum, the public will lose interest and no one will be held accountable. If that happens, we can expect to see more bad behavior on the part of the political left in the future.
Breitbart reported today that a student at Park City High School in Park City, Utah, has admitted to releasing pepper spray inside a lecture hall last month in an attempt to prevent the school’s Turning Point USA student group from hosting an event. The student said that he did not feel that the Turning Point USA event would be a safe thing to have at his school (so he made it unsafe by using pepper spray? Logic, anyone?).
The article reports:
“I didn’t feel as though [the TPUSA event] was a very safe thing for a lot of our students to really have in our school, so I decided I wanted to disrupt it,” said the student during his hearing in 3rd District Juvenile Court on Friday, elaborating on his reasons for releasing the dangerous chemicals inside the lecture hall.
…Judge Knight reportedly told the student that he had been shutting down speech because he did not agree with it, and suggested that he find less harmful means for protesting, if he chooses to do so again in the future.
The student, who had been facing 18 criminal charges, admitted in court to four class B misdemeanors, which included one count of criminal mischief, a third-degree felony, two counts of assault and one count of disrupting a meeting.
Judge Knight dismissed the remaining 14 charges and sentenced the student to 100 hours of community service.
Additionally, the student was ordered to write an essay about civility, write a letter of apology to the school’s resource officer who entered the school seeking to identify the substance, pay restitution to the school for clean-up costs, and pay the co-pay of the individual who was hospitalized as a result of the incident, according to The Park Record.
We need to start teaching our children about the First Amendment. Evidently they are not learning about it in school.
In January of this year, Forbes Magazine reported:
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently published their 2019 Annual Energy Outlook. Whenever your optimism on the prospects for U.S. energy infrastructure waivers, this will restore your confidence. The outlook for domestic energy production is bullish, and in many cases more so than a year ago.
For example, in their 2018 report, the EIA’s Reference Case projected that the U.S. would eventually become a net energy exporter. Now, thanks to stronger crude and liquids production, they expect that milestone to be reached next year.
We have reached that milestone. So what is the impact? Fist of all, we are free of the threat of an oil boycott by OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries). The oil embargo placed on the United States by OPEC in the early 1970’s rapidly increased gasoline prices and caused shortages at the gas pumps. We don’t want to do that again. Aside from the impact on average Americans, we need gas to fuel our military. However, being energy independent does not entirely free us from having to be nice to Arab countries that don’t like us. Because of an agreement made between Richard Nixon and Saudi Arabia, oil is traded in American dollars. This is one of the reasons American dollars still have value despite our large national debt. The Saudis have been responsible for seeing that oil continues to be traded in American dollars, so it is in our best interest to be nice to them. The Saudis are also moving toward a friendlier relationship to Israel because of fear of Iran. Being energy independent allows us to support the nation of Israel without fearing another oil embargo.
American energy independence also has a potential impact on our relations with Russia and Europe.
In July 2018, The Washington Post posted an article about Europe’s dependence on Russian oil.
The article notes:
Putin has proved through his actions that he views everything as a potential tool to gain an advantage economically, politically and militarily. One of his most powerful tools is Russia’s energy resources, and he has used Europe’s reliance on these resources to strengthen his position. Some European leaders have been all too willing to take the bait.
This was the point President Trump was making at a NATO summit this month. He caused a stir for speaking undiplomatically in a room of diplomats. He was also pointing out what everyone in the room already knew: Europe’s reliance on Russian natural gas undermines its security.
Trump also understands, as he demonstrated this week in his talks with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, that the United States can and should help solve this problem. By supplying our own natural gas reserves to Europe, the United States can loosen Putin’s economic grip on the region.
The article concludes:
By increasing exports of American natural gas, the United States can help our NATO allies escape Russian strong-arming. America is the world’s leading producer of clean, versatile natural gas. There are two export facilities in the United States. able to ship natural gas overseas — one in Maryland and one in Louisiana. Three more are due to be operational by the end of this year, and at least 20 additional projects are awaiting federal permits. We must speed up these approvals to give our allies alternatives to Russian gas.
We have plenty of natural gas to meet Americans’ needs and increase our exports. Independent studies have found that prices will remain low even with significant gas exports. Now we just need to clear away the regulatory hurdles and show our European allies that U.S. natural gas is a wiser option than Russia’s.
When Putin looks at natural gas, he thinks of politics, he thinks of money and he thinks of power. It is in America’s national security interests to help our allies reduce their dependence on Russian energy. We need to make clear how important it is for their own security, as well.
Our NATO alliance is strong. Ending Europe’s dependence on Russian energy will make it even stronger.
An energy-independent America is good for America, good for Europe, and good for Israel.
Scott Johnson posted an article on Power Line Blog today about an incident at the Minneapolis campus of the University of Minnesota.
The article quotes Alpha News:
A mob of eight to 10 males wielding hammers descended upon bystanders at the East Bank Light Rail station on Friday night injuring several, according to recorded police dispatch audio.
The incident was apparently reported to 911 just before 10 p.m. on Friday according to the audio and other social media police scanner reports. A 9:48 p.m. Facebook post on 2nd Precinct Minneapolis Crime Watch page said that University of Minnesota (U of M) police were requesting assistance from Minneapolis police (MPD) and Metro Transit police for “a group of 8-10 males chasing people with hammers” and that some people were injured. A Facebook post a minute later on Minneapolis Scanner page said that the three police departments were responding to “multiple  calls” about “10-12 Somali teen males armed with hammers chasing people,” also with “several injuries reported.” Both Facebook pages regularly post summaries of police scanner audio.
A person who claimed on social media to have been at the station when the incident occurred said that the group of males had “hammers and bars,” and that they seemed to be “attacking anyone who looked like they had money or were white.” The witness, who said he isn’t white, said he didn’t want to “[take] on a bunch of dudes with blunt objects,” and that he “hurried an older white lady away” and they walked a few blocks to catch a bus.
On Wednesday there was an attempted robbery at the same location during which two U of M students were injured, according to a media report. It’s unknown whether these incidents are related.
The East Bank LRT station is part of the Green Line operated by Metro Transit and is located on the 500 block of Washington Avenue Southeast in the center of the University of Minnesota campus and across the street from the U of M police department. The stop is popular with students and people attending U of M sporting events.
We reached out to the U of M Police Department, the MPD and to Metro Transit police for comment on this incident and did not receive a response prior to publication.
Somehow the Minneapolis Star Tribune has failed to report this incident.
The article at Power Line Blog further comments:
According to the Pioneer Press, police stopped seven teenage boys: “Two males who were carrying metal pipes were identified through video surveillance and witness descriptions….Police issued them citations….Police cited two males for disorderly conduct and fleeing police on foot; one was also cited for giving police a fictitious name. A police report didn’t specify their exact ages, but indicated that one is 12 or 13 and the other is 14 or 15.”
The lack of descriptive information is troubling. The juvenile status of the perpetrators protects their identities from disclosure, but if the hammer-wielding teenagers remain at large, the rest of us would like to be on guard. I would advise avoidance of the University of Minnesota’s East Bank light rail station after dark.
I think I would like a better description of the teenagers.
Real Clear Investigations posted an article today that reveals an aspect of the surveillance on the Trump campaign, Trump transition team, and Trump presidency that has not really been talked about much. The article deals with the surveillance by people the FBI placed (or attempted to place) within the campaign. I would just like to mention that Richard Nixon was impeached for far less than what the government was doing during the 2016 election. We have no idea how high up the shenanigans went, but I suspect we will eventually find out. That may be the reason Attorney General Barr is being attacked so fiercely.
The article reports:
Baker (former FBI general counsel James Baker being interviewed by CNN host John Berman) then seemed to switch the question from whether spying occurred to its intent, saying: “There was no intention by myself or anybody else I’m aware of to intrude or do activities with respect to the campaign.” Then he continued his sentence with a clause that significantly modified even that claim. There was no intrusion of the Trump campaign, he said, done “in order to gather political intelligence to find out what the political strategies were.” The FBI was only interested in what the campaign was up to regarding Russia.
There’s a very big difference between saying “I didn’t spy” and saying “I didn’t spy for inappropriate reasons.” The former is a denial, the latter is all but an admission. Baker asserted there was no spying done to gather information on Trump’s campaign strategies. Which could very well mean there was spying, just not any for the narrow reason given.
After a while you learn that you just have to parse some people’s statements to determine what the meaning of ‘is’ is.
The article includes testimony Trisha Anderson gave last Aug. 31 to the House Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight:
Later in her testimony Anderson let slip another piece of information undermining claims that the FBI isn’t in the spy game. The shop where she worked at the bureau is in charge of giving legal guidance for FBI activities. She was asked about whether she or her fellow lawyers in the general counsel’s office were involved in decisions about when confidential human sources had to be let go. “I’m not aware of any such instances,” Anderson said. And then she elaborated perhaps longer than intended: “Our office might and actually routinely provided legal advice on uses, investigative uses of sources overseas, for example, on double-agent operations is a good example of a circumstance that might implicate legal considerations.”
“You mentioned double-agent operations,” said the Republican staff lawyer. “It sounds like your office might give legal advice when an issue arose from an actual operational issue?”
“Correct,” Anderson said.
So for all the denials that the FBI uses spies, the truth seems to be that the bureau not only runs secret agents, but double agents.
Given the difficulties of double agent operations, success with them should be a source of pride, not shame. As long, that is, as they are not done for political purposes.
The average person is truly at a disadvantage in trying to piece together exactly what went on during the 2016 presidential campaign. The media is very careful and very selective in what it reports. Our only hope is that when the investigations are done, those guilty of using the government for their own personal spying operations will be held accountable. I am also hoping that the results of all investigations into the investigators will be made public.
The New York Post reported yesterday that in a commencement speech at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, billionaire tech investor Robert F. Smith promised to pay off the student loans of the graduating class. Wow.
The article reports:
Billionaire tech investor Robert F. Smith stunned college graduates on Sunday as he gave their commencement speech — offering to pay their student debts despite it costing an estimated $40 million.
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family that have been in this country, we’re gonna put a little fuel in your bus,” Smith told the 400 graduating seniors at the all-male Morehouse College in Atlanta.
“This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”
The announcement was initially met with stunned looks — before the graduates broke into cheers and tears at the largest gift ever given to the historically black college.
This is brilliant. The students were graduating–they had completed their studies–they had not dropped out. Now the students were faced with serious debt that they had accumulated in order to pay for their college education. Now they are free to pursue whatever career they choose without having that debt hanging over their heads. Paying off these debts not only helps the students, it helps America by making sure those student loans were quickly paid off. Wow.
There was a time in the not-too-distant past when you could trust the running of the government to the people you elected and sent to Washington. They were paid to represent you; and as long as they didn’t wander too far off the main path, the system worked. Well, those days are gone. Legislation just passed in the House of Representatives has the potential to make you a criminal just for continuing on in the normalcy of your own private life.
Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article about some of the provisions of the Equality Act just passed by the House of Representatives. Among other things, women and girls would have to allow men claiming they were transitioning to women in their locker rooms and restrooms.
The article reports:
Far from merely expanding civil rights categories, it turns any recognition of the differences between the sexes or any preference for traditional sexual morality into actionable “hate,” creating fertile grounds for lawsuits.
“It is the most dangerous bill to freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion that has ever been proposed on a national level,” says Houston Baptist University Prof. Robert Gagnon, an expert in biblical sexual morality. “It will codify into law that you are a bigot, the moral equivalent of a racist, tantamount to being a member of the Klu Klux Klan, who must be shut out of society and, wherever possible, harassed and persecuted for your beliefs.”
In other words, it will criminalize Christianity, an ongoing process that got a big boost from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling on same-sex “marriage.”
This draconian bill passed by a vote of 236-173, with 8 Republicans joining 228 Democrats. Another 16 Republicans and 7 Democrats did not vote.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has actually endorsed it. When did destroying the moral order and paving the way for more lawsuits against businesses become part of the chamber’s mission? Pouring legal acid on a marriage-and-family-based culture will not lead to a more stable society of upwardly mobile consumers. America is only as prosperous as its families are strong.
The article concludes:
Unless we reassert the primacy of natural marriage and natural sexuality, “our battle will be a losing one,” Mr. Smirak writes. “Our churches will end up essentially illegal. Sooner or later.”
MassResistance, a parents-rights group, has compiled a list of likely outcomes. Here’s a tweaked version:
1. It will undermine the civil rights movement that black Americans fought for.
2. Churches will be sued or lose tax-exempt status if they don’t accept LGBTQ behaviors.
3. Schoolchildren will be forced to learn how to engage in destructive LGBTQ behaviors [in California, it begins in kindergarten].
4. Parents who oppose this will be charged with discrimination.
5. Private colleges will lose funding, grants and scholarships.
6. Public accommodations and small businesses will be forced to allow men into women’s bathrooms and vice versa.
7. Business owners will be forced to violate their freedom of conscience.
8. Hospitals, clinics and the armed forces will be forced to offer experimental and harmful transgender treatments — including surgeries.
9. Foster and adoption agencies will be forced to close, as has already happened to Catholic Charities in several liberal cities.
10. Men will displace women in sports events (already happening).
Scenarios like the following case would become common: A Texas father has been charged in a divorce proceeding with child abuse for not “affirming” his 6-year-old son as female. The mother renamed James as “Luna” and makes him wear dresses to school. The father says James is all boy when he visits him, and goes by “James.” The Equality Act would greatly enhance the mother’s insane quest to turn their son into a girl.
The mother also seeks to terminate the father’s visitations and to “require him to pay for the child’s visits to a transgender-affirming therapist and transgender medical alterations, which may include hormonal sterilization starting at age eight,” writes Walt Heyer, a former transsexual, in the Federalist.
Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, describes the pediatric community’s encouragement of sex change and hormones for children as “institutionalized child abuse.”
The Equality Act would federalize such abuse, and religious faith won’t be a shield. Judges will see to that.
The bill is far more dangerous than most people know. It’s about time they knew — and told everyone they can, especially lawmakers.
This bill is the death knell for the family-based society that is America. If your Representative voted for it, please vote him or her out of office.
The U.K. Mail reported yesterday that Rapid DNA testing reveals a THIRD of migrants faked family relationship with children to claim asylum during ICE pilot of the procedure in Texas.
The article reports:
ICE conducted the pilot for a few days earlier this month in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, finding about 30 per cent of those tested were not related to the children they claimed were their own, an official told the Washington Examiner.
The official said that these were not cases of step-fathers or adoptive parents.
‘Those were not the case. In these cases, they are misrepresented as family members,’ the official said.
…The official said that some migrants did refuse the test and admit that they were not related to the children they were with, when they learned their claim would be subjected to DNA proof.
ICE said the Department of Homeland Security would look at the results of the pilot to determine whether to roll out rapid DNA tests more broadly.
After President Donald Trump’s administration backpedaled on ‘family separation’ in the face of enormous backlash last summer, the number of family units arriving at the southern border has skyrocketed.
Current U.S. law and policy means that Central Americans who cross the border illegally with children can claim asylum and avoid any lengthy detention in most cases.
The Central Americans that have made the journey to the United States’ border are desperate, but we need to find a way to discourage them from making the journey in the first place. The initial step might be to revise our immigration laws to allow an orderly, less expensive way to enter the country legally. However, we can’t take in every economic migrant in the world. We need people coming here to help build the future of America–not simply to live off the largess of the American people. The influx of illegal immigrants is a drain on America in a number of ways. First of all, illegal aliens working under the table have a negative impact on the wages of low-skilled American workers. Second of all, illegal aliens are taking advantage of government welfare in America.–legally they are not permitted to, but many of them have found ways to get around the law. Thirdly, the children of illegal aliens are in our schools at our expense while their parents are not paying taxes and are sending money back to their home country–the parents are taking from Americans without contributing to the expense of educating their children. Finally, many illegals do not respect American laws–they broke the law in coming (or overstaying their legal stay) and feel no obligation to follow the rest of our laws.
We do need to make it easier for people to come to American legally, but we also need to bring people here who want to assimilate and to work to make America a better place for all of us.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions about the whole Russian collusion thing. I suspect the truth will gradually come out over the next two or three months, but I wonder if the dyed-in-the-wool Trump haters will believe the truth when it does come out. Meanwhile, there are some very interesting hints of things to come that periodically show up.
The Gateway Pundit posted an article today about some comments made by Trey Gowdy this morning on “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo. There is a video in the article, but here are the relevant quotes:
Trey Gowdy: There’s a lot of serious questions that need to be asked. When did the Russian probe begin? When did it become hopelessly co-mingled with the Trump campaign? What was the factual predicate? Where are the transcripts, if any exist between the informants and the telephone calls to George Papadopoulos? Why the defensive briefing so inadequate of President Trump? Why didn’t they do a follow-up defensive briefing? That doesn’t even get to the whole FISA abuse in the fall. That’s just the spring and summer of 2016. There’s lots of questions and I hope Bill Barr finds someone who is skilled enough to answer them…
Maria Bartiromo: I’m really glad you brought that up. The FBI’s conversations with George Papadopoulos. Because when the FBI agent sends in informants to someone they’re looking at, typically those conversations are recorded, right? Those people are wired.
Trey Gowdy: Yeah, if the bureau is going to sends in an informant the informant is going to be wired. If the bureau is monitoring telephone calls there’s going to be a transcript of that. Some of us are fortunate enough to know those transcripts exist. But they haven’t been made public. And I think one in particular has the potential to actually persuade people… There is some information in these transcripts that has the potential to be a game changer if it’s ever made public… If you have exculpatory evidence that was not shown to the court, that ain’t good. I’ve seen it. Johnny (Ratcliffe) has seen it. I’d love for your viewers to see it.
…Trey Gowdy: We can call it a dossier. It sounds official. It’s really something the National Enquirer would blush if they printed it. So we know it was used four times by the United States government. What we’re trying to figure out is if it was used a fifth time in the intelligence assessment and you’ve got Brennan and Clapper and Comey, all three who know full well whether or not it was used in the intelligence assessment, but they’re giving you different versions. So there is information that exists in December of 2016 and I hope anyone who has access to it, Senator Burr, Devin (Nunes), whoever is open minded, go look at that and I think it will help you understand whether or not that dossier, that unverified hearsay, was used five times or just four times by the United States government. It’s pretty bad if it was used four times. It’s REALLY BAD if it was used five times!
So what can we expect? More attacks on Attorney General Barr, attacks on John Durham, and almost manic attempts to remove President Trump from office will occur in an attempt to prevent the truth from getting out. If the truth is about to come out, look for a major distraction–an indictment of someone that can be somehow connected to President Trump or some such other distraction. The people involved in the misuse of government agencies during the Obama administration are going to play hard ball. The only way to prevent this abuse from happening in the future is to play hard ball back. It is going to get ugly, but if justice prevails, it will be fun to watch.
CBS News is breathlessly reporting today that Congress Justin Amash is the first Republican Congressman to call for the impeachment of President Trump. Wow. That’s really amazing. Well, maybe not. Let’s take a look at Congressman Amash and some of his financial interests. Congressman Amash represents Michigan’s Third District.
Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse reported:
Michigan Republican Congressman Justin Amash made headlines Saturday by declaring on Twitter that President Trump deserved impeachment. The media was quick to promote his position and advance an anti-Trump narrative. However, a review of Amash’s financial interests quickly reveals a very personal business motive. His family tool business is heavily invested in Chinese manufacturing.
In his 2017 financial disclosure forms (pdf here), Representative Amash reports income of between $100,000 to $1,000,000/yr. for his ownership stake in Michigan Industrial Tools. Michigan Industrial Tools is the parent company, manufacturing in China, that produces Tekton Tools, Justin Amash’s Michigan family business.
…It is demonstrably a fact (as above) that “Michigan Industrial Tools” operates as a manufacturer in China, and the product they produced is Tekton Tools which is Amash’s family company (as admitted in the interview).
Obviously President Trump’s tariff and trade position against China is adverse to the financial interests of Justin Amash.
So Congressman Amash’s motives might not be entirely pure. China has had a trade war going on with America for many years. They have manipulated their currency to give themselves and unfair advantage and the have stolen intellectual property. It is wonderful that we finally have a President who is willing to stand up against these unfair trade practices. Unfortunately those Americans who have benefited because of these unfair trade practices are not going to meet the attempts to level the playing field with enthusiasm.
It is truly sad when a Congressman puts his own personal financial interests above the interests of the people he is supposed to be serving. The answer to Congressman Amash’s financial problem is not the removal of President Trump–it is a change in the trading practices of China to create a more equitable balance of trade.
From my friends at Power Line Blog:
Yesterday Breitbart reported that Attorney General William Barr is checking on intelligence records prior to July 2016 to make sure that American citizens were not illegally spied upon. This is guaranteed to get very interesting.
In September 2017, Fox News reported:
Samantha Power, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016 – and even sought information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration, multiple sources close to the matter told Fox News.
Two sources, who were not authorized to speak on the record, said the requests to identify Americans whose names surfaced in foreign intelligence reporting, known as unmasking, exceeded 260 last year. One source indicated this occurred in the final days of the Obama White House.
…During congressional testimony since the unmasking controversy began, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers has explained that unmasking is handled by the intelligence community in an independent review.
“We [the NSA] apply two criteria in response to their request: number one, you must make the request in writing. Number two, the request must be made on the basis of your official duties, not the fact that you just find this report really interesting and you’re just curious,” he said in June. “It has to tie to your job and finally, I said two but there’s a third criteria, and is the basis of the request must be that you need this identity to understand the intelligence you’re reading.”
Previous U.N. ambassadors have made unmasking requests, but Fox News was told they number in the low double digits.
This is old news, but the unmasking was probably illegal. Look for relentless attacks by the political left on Attorney General Barr as he begins to reveal the misuse of government agencies that went on during the Obama administration.
On Thursday, Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released an email revealing that Nellie Ohr, wife of former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, informed him that she was deleting emails sent from Bruce Ohr’s DOJ email account.
From: Nellie Ohr
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2016 12:49 PM
To: Ohr, Bruce (ODAG)
Subject: Re: Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016
Thanks! I’m deleting these emails now
The full email exchange is between Bruce Ohr, Lisa Holtyn, Nellie Ohr, and Stefan Bress, a first secretary at the German Embassy, and is part of 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Judicial Watch obtained the records through a March 2018 Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond a December 2017 request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00490)).
Nellie Ohr’s email has the same subject line as an email exchange with the subject line “Analyst Russian Organized Crime – April 2016” in which Bress initiates a discussion with Bruce Ohr and his top aide, Lisa Holtyn, proffering some “Russian analysts” to discuss a variety of topics with Ohr, Holtyn, and other DOJ officials. Among those topics to be discussed is “Impact of Russian influence operations in Europe (‘PsyOps/InfoWar’).”
Holtyn responds with, “I haven’t had a chance to confer with Bruce yet, but would certainly love to meet with the ‘A Team’!” Bruce Ohr then says, “That time works for me as well.” Bress then provides the personal details/passport numbers of the German analysts who will be meeting with Holtyn and Ohr. Holtyn tells Bress that the Ohr’s would like to host the German delegation for dinner and notes that Joe Wheatley and Ivana Nizich (a husband/wife team of DOJ Organized Crime prosecutors and friends of the Ohr’s) would join them as well.
Until he was demoted for his connection to the anti-Trump dossier, Bruce Ohr was a top official at DOJ. A House Intelligence Committee memo released by Chairman Devin Nunes said that Nellie Ohr was “employed by Fusion GPS to assist in the cultivation of opposition research on Trump” and that Bruce Ohr passed the results of that research, which was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Hillary Clinton campaign, to the FBI. The “salacious and unverified” Dossier was used to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrant to spy on Carter Page.
These documents are part of Nellie Ohr’s and the DOJ’s communications about Russia. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) recently wrote up a criminal referral concerning her testimony before Congress that she had no knowledge of what was going on during the Russia investigation at DOJ.
“This email is disturbing and suggests documents relevant to the improper targeting of President Trump were destroyed,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
This production of documents also revealed that Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.
Americans just spent upwards of $30 million and two years investigating Russian collusion and obstruction of said investigation. Why weren’t deleted emails from key players in the investigation looked at?
The investigation into the investigators has something in common with many Clinton scandals. Although the Clintons are only tangentially involved in this scandal, it bears one of their trademarks–keep the scandal in the news until people are sick of it. At that point, reveal the truth. The public will be so bored with the basic scandal that they won’t even notice or process the truth. I hope I am wrong about this–people involved in the abuse of government power need to go to jail, but I am afraid that by the time the truth comes out, no one will care.
The mainstream media hates the phrase ‘fake news,’ but the problem is that it often applies to what they report. Even if the news is not fake, it can be distorted in a way that leaves a totally false impression. Yesterday Breitbart reported one such example.
CNN’s Jim Acosta tweeted the following:
As Breitbart News’ John Binder reported, foreign nationals seeking asylum in the U.S. evade immediate deportation after claiming credible fear in 88 percent of cases, according to the Department of Justice. Yet, only 50 percent of the foreign nationals who evade immediate deportation by claiming credible fear end up filing for asylum status following there released into the country.
That is a direct quote from the article. The editor missed the fact the last few words should read, “following their release into the country.”
The tweet by Jim Acosta leaves you with a very unfavorable opinion of President Trump and his view on immigration. I strongly suspect that is by design. This is the kind of poison the mainstream media has spewed against President Trump for the last two-plus years. My question is this–if it turns out that the Russia investigation was in fact a failed coup (which I believe it was), are Americans going to be willing to face the truth after hearing two-plus years of hate speech and misreporting against President Trump.
David Coleman has been the President of the College Board since 2012. David Coleman was one of the people responsible for developing the Common Core standards. He has now brought his total misconceptions of what works in education to the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), long used as an indication of a student’s ability and possible clue to how well they would do in college.
Yesterday The New York Times posted an article that reported the following:
The College Board, the company that administers the SAT exam taken by about two million students a year, will for the first time assess students not just on their math and verbal skills, but also on their educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, entering a fraught battle over the fairness of high-stakes testing.
The company announced on Thursday that it will include a new rating, which is widely being referred to as an “adversity score,” of between 1 and 100 on students’ test results. An average score is 50, and higher numbers mean more disadvantage. The score will be calculated using 15 factors, including the relative quality of the student’s high school and the crime rate and poverty level of the student’s neighborhood.
The rating will not affect students’ test scores, and will be reported only to college admissions officials as part of a larger package of data on each test taker.
The new measurement brings the College Board squarely into the raging national debate over fairness and merit in college admissions, one fueled by enduring court clashes on affirmative action, a federal investigation into a sprawling admissions cheating ring and a booming college preparatory industry that promises results to those who can pay.
Below is a picture of what constitutes the adversity score:
It’s kept a secret. “Trust us,” in effect, they say. There is no appeal possible. And as a black box whose inner workings are secret, it becomes an ideal vehicle for engineering the racial results admissions offices desire.
It is easily gamed – fake addresses, even possible income manipulation (by claiming a lot of depreciation, for instance, the way that Donald Trump reported negative income in the 1980s)
And it provides perverse incentives, rewarding victim status, not achievement. Parents who start out with no advantages and work hard to provide a better life for their kids will now be handicapping them if they have high incomes and live in nice neighborhoods with good schools.
Obviously if you are a middle class parent living with the father of your children in a respectable neighborhood, the answer would be to divorce your spouse and move to Detroit. That is obscene.
It might also be a good idea to consider the consequences of this new program–how will children who do not have good SAT scores but have great adversity scores do in college? What will be the drop out rate? Will they understand the classes they are taking? The way to achieve diversity in colleges is to change the culture in communities where the work ethic has been lost. There are many first-generation Chinese children living in New York City in poverty that are gaining admission to the top schools in the city because their parents have taught them to work hard in school. Rather than risk putting students in college that are academically unprepared for what they are going to face, shouldn’t we simply encourage a cultural change in poor communities that rewards hard work in school. It can make a difference–Ben Carson is a shining example of a child growing up poor with a single parent who lacked education that taught her children the value of education. Let’s lift people up instead of making excuses for them because of where they grew up.