Friday, May 31, 2019

Trump Has Become the Democrats’ Great White Whale

By VICTOR DAVIS HANSON | National Review

Even if the quest to destroy Trump eclipses all else, it seems not to matter to these modern Ahabs.

One way of envisioning the Democratic obsessions with Donald Trump is as an addiction. We have seen the initial impeachment efforts; the attempt to get him under the emoluments clause, the Logan Act, and the 25th Amendment; the Russian collusion hoax; the Mueller investigation; the demand for his tax returns; and the psychodramas involving Michael Avenatti, Michael Cohen, and Stormy Daniels. Relentless progressives have needed a new Get Trump fix about every two months.

More practically, their fixation also substitutes for a collective poverty of ideas. The Democratic Party has no plan to secure the borders other than to be against whatever Trump is for. They would not build a wall, deport illegal entrants, end sanctuary cities, fine employers, or do much of anything but allow almost anyone to enter the U.S.

The homeless crisis is reaching epidemic proportions in our cities, almost all of them run by progressive mayors and city councils. None have any workable plan to clean the sidewalks of needles and human excrement. None know what to do with the hundreds of thousands who have camped out in public spaces, endangering their own health and that of everyone around them due to drug addiction and inadequate sanitation and waste removal.

On abortion, the new Democratic position seems to be that the unborn can be aborted at any time the mother chooses, up to and including the moment of birth.

The Green New Deal has been endorsed by most of the current Democratic-primary candidates, even though they privately know its utopian fantasies would shut down the U.S. economy and destroy the present prosperity fueled by record energy production, deregulation, and tax reform and reduction.

Abroad, were Democrats for or against abrogating the Iran nuclear deal, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and prodding China to follow reciprocal trade rules? How do they propose to deal with North Korean nuclear-tipped missiles that seemed to suddenly appear as Barack Obama left office?

Have Democrats proposed canceling the new pipeline construction that Trump has fast-tracked? Would they scale way back on the natural-gas and oil production that has made America energy-independent and on the cusp of becoming the world’s greatest energy exporter?

Democrats have occasionally talked of implementing reparations for slavery, a wealth tax, and free college tuition, and of eliminating college debt, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Electoral College. Yet they have never spelled out exactly how they would enact such radical proposals that likely do not appeal to a majority of the population.

Would they reverse Trump tax cuts, stop hectoring NATO members to pay their promised defense contributions, restore NAFTA, or revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement?

For now, no one has much of an idea what Democratic candidates would actually do, much less how they would do it.

Instead, the fallback position is always that “Trump stole the 2016 election,” “the Mueller report did not really exonerate Trump of collusion and obstruction,” and “Trump must be impeached or somehow stopped from finishing his first term.”

When the Mueller report found no collusion and no indictable grounds for obstruction of the non-crime of collusion, for a moment, progressives suffered an identity crisis. The temporary paralysis was prompted by the terror that without a crusade to remove Trump, they might have to offer an alternative vision and agenda that would better appeal to 2020 voters.

The Democratic establishment has become something like novelist Herman Melville’s phobic Captain Ahab, who became fatally absorbed with chasing his nemesis, the albino whale Moby Dick. The great white whale once ate part of Ahab’s leg, and he demands revenge — even if such a never-ending neurosis leads to the destruction of his ship and crew.

Democrats can never forgive Trump for unexpectedly defeating supposed sure winner Hillary Clinton in 2016 and then systematically — and loudly — undoing the eight-year agenda of Obama.

So far, Trump seems to have escaped all of their efforts to spear and remove him before the 2020 election. Trump, like Moby Dick, seems a weird force of nature whose wounds from constant attacks only seem to make him more indestructible and his attackers even more obsessed with their prey.

Even if the quest to destroy Trump eclipses every other consideration and entails the destruction of the modern Democratic Party, it seems not to matter to these modern Ahabs.

Getting Trump is all they live for — and all they have left.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Robert Mueller’s Parting Shot

By The Editorial Board | The Wall Street Journal

Special Counsel Robert Mueller speaks to the media about the results of the Russia investigation at the Justice Department in Washington, D.C., May 29. PHOTO: JIM LO SCALZO/EPA-EFE/SHUTTERSTOCK

The special counsel gives House Democrats an impeachment nod.

Robert Mueller is an honorable man, as Marc Antony might have put it. And in his public statement Wednesday we saw a special counsel who went out of his way not to absolve Donald Trump and may have put his thumb on the scale toward impeachment.

Mr. Mueller offered no new facts about his probe at a press appearance in which he read a statement and took no questions. The event was mainly intended to deflect bipartisan requests that he testify on Capitol Hill about his 448-page report on Russia and the Trump campaign. He may have succeeded in that deflection, but not without taking revenge on the President who has criticized his probe.

The special counsel said the Russians he indicted for interfering in the 2016 election are innocent until proven guilty. About Mr. Trump he said only that “there was insufficient evidence to charge a broader conspiracy” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Yet as his report shows beyond doubt, there is no evidence of a conspiracy, broad or narrow. His report recounts a series of contacts between individual Russians and Trump officials that were of no great consequence and are connected by nothing more than coincidence. Mr. Mueller should have said this clearly on Wednesday.

Regarding obstruction of justice, Mr. Mueller suggested that the reason his office reached no prosecutorial decision is because Justice Department rules don’t allow the indictment of a President while in office. “Charging the president with a crime was, therefore, not an option we could consider,” he said Wednesday.

He thus left it hanging for everyone else to infer whether he would have indicted Mr. Trump if he were not a sitting President. And he left Attorney General William Barr to take responsibility for reaching the prosecutorial judgment that Mr. Mueller refused to make. Mr. Mueller added to this sneaky anti-Trump implication by noting that “the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting President of wrong doing.” What else could he mean but Congress and impeachment?

Yet Mr. Mueller’s analysis of the obstruction evidence in his own report makes clear that no investigation was obstructed. Not the FBI’s counterintelligence probe, and not his own. No witnesses were interfered with, and Mr. Mueller was allowed over two years to issue nearly 500 search-and-seizure warrants and interview anyone he wanted, including anyone in the White House.

Mr. Trump sometimes showed his exasperation, and bad judgment, in suggesting to more than one adviser that Mr. Mueller be fired, but no one acted on it. The special counsel probe rolled on without interference. Yet on Wednesday Mr. Mueller would only say that “if we had had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.” Since when do prosecutors make it their job to pronounce whether someone they investigate is exonerated? Their job is to indict, or not, and if not then keep quiet.

Mr. Mueller finished his statement with an ode to “the attorneys, the FBI agents, and analysts, the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner.” These individuals, he said, “were of the highest integrity.”

Does that include Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who is being investigated for lying to investigators? Does he mean Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI paramours whose antipathy for Donald Trump is obvious from their text messages? Mr. Strzok was part of Mr. Mueller’s investigating team until those texts were discovered.

Does Mr. Mueller also mean the FBI officials who used the politically motivated, and since discredited, Steele dossier to persuade a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to issue a warrant to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page? Mr. Mueller didn’t appear to want to investigate that part of the Russia story. Was that behavior of “the highest integrity”?

Mr. Mueller would have better served the country and his own reputation if he had simply done what he claimed he wants to do and let his report speak for itself. Instead he has weighed in for the Democrats who want to impeach the President, though he doesn’t have to be politically accountable as he skips town. This is the core problem with special counsels who think they answer only to themselves.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn’t as fortunate. The media and backbench pressure will now build on her to open an impeachment inquiry to charge Donald Trump with obstructing an investigation that wasn’t obstructed into a conspiracy that didn’t exist. Unlike the honorable Mr. Mueller, House Democrats will be accountable at the ballot box in 2020.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller breaks silence on Russia probe, says charging Trump with a crime was ‘not an option'

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, in his only public remarks since being appointed to lead the Russia investigation, said his team did not have the "option" to charge President Trump with a crime because of longstanding Justice Department policy, while indicating he does not plan to testify before Congress about the probe.

Mueller, speaking from the Justice Department Wednesday morning, announced the closing of his office and detailed the findings of the Russia investigation, underscoring the contention in his report that there “was not sufficient evidence to charge a conspiracy” over whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the 2016 presidential election.

But Mueller did not mince words on his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice.

“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said that,” Mueller said. “We did not determine whether the president did commit a crime.”

Mueller explained longstanding Justice Department policy, which states that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime.

“Charging the president with a crime was not an option we could consider,” Mueller explained, adding that “it would be unfair to accuse someone of a crime when there could be no court resolution of the charge.”

"The Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse the president of wrongdoing," Mueller said Wednesday, echoing his report which states that Congress "may apply obstruction laws to the President's corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law."

“We concluded that we would not reach a determination one way or the other about whether the president committed a crime,” Mueller added. “That is the office’s final position.”

Minutes after he finished delivering his remarks, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., issued a statement vowing that Congress would probe allegations against the president.

“Given that Special Counsel Robert Mueller was unable to pursue criminal charges against the President, it falls to Congress to respond to the crimes, lies and other wrongdoing of President Trump—and we will do so,” Nadler said in a statement. “No one, not even the President of the United States, is above the law.”

Nadler’s panel, which is already leading several Trump-focused investigations, would be the official congressional committee to lead any potential impeachment proceedings.

But Trump maintained his innocence, and tweeted: "Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! thank you."

Mueller also explained Wednesday that the special counsel’s office was officially closed and that he would be resigning from the Justice Department as special counsel to return to private life.

“I am speaking out today because our investigation is complete," Mueller said. "The attorney general has made the report on our investigation largely public. We are formally closing the special counsel's office. And as well, I'm resigning from the Department of Justice to return to private life.”

Mueller was appointed by former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on May 17, 2017. During his remarks, Mueller outlined the scope of his nearly two-year investigation.

"The appointment order directed the office to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.  This included investigating any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign," he explained and added that the order also "authorized us to investigate actions that could obstruct the investigation.  We conducted that investigation and we kept the office of the Acting Attorney General apprised of the progress of our work."

Meanwhile, Mueller defended Attorney General Bill Barr and his handling of the report.

“We conducted an independent criminal investigation and reported the results to the attorney general,” Mueller explained. “The attorney general then concluded that it was appropriate to provide our report to Congress and the American people.”

Mueller said that he requested that only “portions of the report be released,” but that Barr “preferred to make the entire report public all at once,” –a move Mueller said he and the special counsel team “appreciate.”

“I do not question the attorney general’s good faith in that decision,” Mueller said.

Barr has come under intense scrutiny over his handling of the report. The House Judiciary Committee, earlier this month, voted to hold him in contempt after he failed to comply with a subpoena to turn over an unredacted version of the Mueller report and its underlying documents and evidence to the committee. The president, then, asserted executive privilege in a bid to protect those files from release.

Multiple sources familiar with the situation told Fox News that Attorney General Bill Barr was aware of Mueller's plans to deliver a statement Wednesday. One source told Fox News that Barr has also been made aware of the contents of Mueller's statement. The attorney general, though, was not at the Justice Department for Mueller's appearance, and was, instead, traveling to Alaska to meet with law enforcement officials.

Mueller's appearance came amid mounting pressure for him to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in a public setting as part of that panel’s oversight investigation of the probe and the Trump administration.

Mueller, in what appeared to be an effort to tamp down demands for him to appear before congressional committees on Capitol Hill, said Wednesday that he does not plan to speak in public again.

“I hope and expect this to be the only time I will speak to you in this matter,” Mueller said. “No one has told me whether I can or should testify or speak further about this matter.”

“There has been discussion about any appearance before Congress,” he continued. “Any testimony from this office would not go beyond our report. It contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made. We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself.”

Last month, Mueller’s report, with redactions covering sources and methods, and grand jury material, was released to the public and to Congress. The special counsel found no evidence of collusion between the Russians and members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

Mueller was also leading an inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice, outlining 10 instances that could have been perceived as obstruction. Mueller did not, however, come to a conclusion on that matter.

Attorney General Bill Barr, in March, upon reviewing Mueller’s report, said in his four-page summary that the special counsel’s investigation did not find evidence sufficient to charge the president with an obstruction of justice offense.

Fox News' Kristin Brown, Jake Gibson, Brian Flood, and Blake Burman contributed to this report. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Marine Corps veteran wins WBO junior lightweight world title on Memorial Day

By Ben Krimmel

Jamel “Semper Fi” Herring had time to let out just one "Oorah!" during his post-fight interview before the jubilation had to momentarily stop. That's because Herring's friends, family, and several exuberant U.S. Marines who joined the celebration had broken the ring. 

In front of a sold-out crowd at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee, Fla. on May 25, with many active and reserve Marines in attendance, Herring, a former Marine, scored a stunning upset of Japan's Masayuki Ito to become the WBO junior lightweight champion. With the unanimous decision win (118-110, 118-110, and 116-112) he improved to 20-2 in his professional career.

"I always believed I could win a world title," Herring said. "This is a dream come true, and to do this on Memorial Day weekend makes it even sweeter.”

After Herring enlisted in the Marines in October 2003, he served two tours of duty during Operation Iraqi Freedom with his first tour in Fallujah and his second in Al Taqaddum. Herring was stationed in Camp Lejeune and earned the rank of Sergeant during his nine years of service.

Herring, who grew up in the small Long Island town of Coram, NY, was 15 on Sept. 11, 2001. The impact of that event contributed to his decision to serve.

“I had friends who had relatives that were in those buildings, so it impacted me hard,” Herring told “I knew I wanted to do something with my life, so then I decided to join the Marines.”

During his time in the Corps, Herring trained with the All Marine Corps boxing team, won the Armed Forces tournament in 2011 and earned a spot to compete at the 2012 London Olympics. He became the first active duty U.S. Marine to qualify for the U.S. boxing team since 1992.

Herring's Memorial Day weekend win came after years of sacrifice, struggles, and tragedy.

He started drinking heavily and having mood swings. Eventually, his family assisted him in seeking help. "I was actually afraid," Herring told ESPN. "I didn't know how I would be looked at."

Herring was diagnosed with PTSD. There was no overnight cure for him, but months of work with doctors and counselors at the VA. "I'm actually now getting to where I want to be at, where I dreamed," Herring told ESPN before the fight.

Saturday night, was the culmination: World Champion.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Memorial Day Tribute: The Angel Flight

From Beverly Perlson, The Band of Mothers and Jim Diehl, Gathering Of Eagles 

He Gave It All

We hope Americans tell their children about the brave and selfless American Warriors who Gave It All. 

The future recipients of America's freedom must know and understand that we live free because of Great Americans Who Gave It All.

We Must Never Forget Them and We Should Never Take Their Sacrifice For Granted.

To All Our Gold Star Families, we promise to hold your Hero in our hearts forever.  We Are Grateful.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

I Didn’t Earn Slavery Reparations, and I Don’t Want Them

By Burgess Owens |    The Wall Street Journal

The Underground Railroad Aids with a Runaway Slave” by John Davies. 

My ancestor Silas Burgess came to America in chains. But even he was able to live the American Dream.

 My great-great-grandfather Silas Burgess came to America shackled in the belly of a slave ship. He was sold on an auction block in Charleston, S.C., to the Burgess Plantation. Orphaned by age 8, he was fortunately surrounded by elder slaves who, though physically chained, mentally envisioned themselves as free men. They escaped, taking young Silas with them, making their way to West Texas via the southern route of the Underground Railroad. Silas became a risk-taking entrepreneur and the owner of 102 acres of farmland, which he cultivated and paid off within two years. I proudly carry the name of my first American ancestor—who, like millions of others drawn or brought to our country, struggled past overwhelming obstacles to live the American Dream.

Silas founded the first black church and first black elementary school in his town. He was a proud Republican, a devout Christian, the patriarch of a large family, and a pillar of his community. He was proud and industrious and taught his children to be the same.
Now, because of him, a bunch of Democratic presidential hopefuls want to give me money. Never mind that like Silas, I am an entrepreneur who has lived the American dream—having received a world-class education, built businesses, raised a remarkable family and, unlike most white Americans, earned a Super Bowl ring. Because of work I’ve never done, stripes I’ve never had, under a whip I’ll never know, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Elizabeth Warren and others want to give me free stuff. Never mind that it will be taken from others, who also dreamed, worked and sacrificed to earn it.
I wonder what great-great-grandpa Silas would think.
At the core of the reparation movement is a divisive and demeaning view of both races. It grants to the white race a wicked superiority, treating them as an oppressive people too powerful for black Americans to overcome. It brands blacks as hapless victims devoid of the ability, which every other culture possesses, to assimilate and progress. Neither label is earned.
The reparations movement conveniently forgets the 150 years of legal, social and economic progress attained by millions of American minorities. It also minimizes the sacrifice that hundreds of thousands of white Americans and a Republican president made laying down their lives to eradicate slavery. I think grandpa Silas would believe that this historical loss of life alone is payment in full. Every proud, contributing and thankful generation of black Americans since would think the same.
The reparation movement also reinforces a spiritual view of racial relationships that is antithetical to America’s Judeo-Christian foundation. It defies the ideals of forgiveness and second chances and scorns individual accountability. Proponents of reparations act as though black Americans are incapable of carrying their own burdens, while white Americans must bear the sins of those who came before.
The idea of reparations demeans America’s founding ideals. A culturally Marxist idea promoted by socialists, reparations denies the promise granted by an omnipotent God that we are truly equal and that regardless of race we are capable of overcoming obstacles and past injustices. By indoctrinating others into this cynical ideology, an elitist class of progressives exploits past differences and ensures that they will divide us in the future.

It is their divisive message that marks the black race as forever broken, as a people whose healing comes only through the guilt, pity, profits and benevolence of the white race. This perception is playing out on our nation’s college campuses, where young white Americans claim privilege due to their skin color and young black Americans, with no apparent shame, accept this demeaning of their own color as truth.
As they repeat this mantra, they seem unaware that this perception was also shared by the 1960s Southern white supremacists of my youth. They have accepted the theory that skin color alone is capable of making one race superior to the other—that through an irremovable white advantage, with no additional effort, values, personal initiative, honesty or education, white Americans will succeed, while black Americans will fail. At its very core this represents the condescending evil of racism.
It certainly does not represent black America’s potential. Despite the Great Society programs that introduced all sorts of perverse, dependency-inducing, and antifamily incentives into the black community some 50 years ago, 40% of black households today live the middle-class American Dream according to the most recent census data, making between $35,000 and $99,999. Many rank among our nation’s most powerful and prestigious. There are tens of thousands of black Americans among our nation’s top 1% of income earners.
The journeys of these Americans to wealth and prominence vary, like those of their white counterparts, but many benefited from having ancestors who embraced the opportunities their country provided and who left behind a legacy of proud, productive, patriotic and successful families. Why should these people be given a handout? Grandpa Silas never believed anyone owed him success. Why should I believe white Americans owe me anything?
Socialist historians have for generations hidden the contributions and success of the black community in America. This has cost us our pride in our past, taken our appreciation for the present, and left us with a lack of vision for our future. The message from our past great black generations is simple: Character cannot be bought and will never allow itself to be diminished by bribery.
Grandpa Silas’s life expectancy was 36. Mine is almost 76. According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, by living past 65, my life expectancy may be longer than whites of the same age. Which I guess is good, if reparations advocates are going to make me spend grandpa’s money.
Mr. Owens was a Super Bowl champion with the Oakland Raiders. He is the author of “Liberalism or How to Turn Good Men into Whiners, Weenies and Wimps.”

Saturday, May 25, 2019

BREAKING: Trump Approves Declassification of Documents Related to 2016 Election Spying

By Katie Pavlich |

Source: AP Photo/Files

Late Thursday evening, President Trump granted Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to declassify information relevant to the investigation into how spying on the Trump campaign started in 2016.

"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 White House released in a statement Thursday evening. "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."

The declassification of documents applies to the Department of State, Treasury, Defense, Energy, Homeland Security, CIA and the Director of National Intelligence.


 Donald J. Trump

“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....
....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.”


The White House also released the following memo. Bolding is mine. 


May 23, 2019

SUBJECT:    Agency Cooperation with Attorney General's Review of Intelligence Activities Relating to the 2016 Presidential Campaigns

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby direct the following:

Section 1.  Agency Cooperation.   The Attorney General is currently conducting a review of intelligence activities relating to the campaigns in the 2016 Presidential election and certain related matters.  The heads of elements of the intelligence community, as defined in 50 U.S.C. 3003(4), and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.

Sec. 2.  Declassification and Downgrading.   With respect to any matter classified under Executive Order 13526 of December 29, 2009 (Classified National Security Information), the Attorney General may, by applying the standard set forth in either section 3.1(a) or section 3.1(d) of Executive Order 13526, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence that relates to the Attorney General's review referred to in section 1 of this memorandum.  Before exercising this authority, the Attorney General should, to the extent he deems it practicable, consult with the head of the originating intelligence community element or department.  This authority is not delegable and applies notwithstanding any other authorization or limitation set forth in Executive Order 13526.

Sec. 3.  General Provisions.   (a)  Nothing in this memorandum shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)   the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)  the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  The authority in this memorandum shall terminate upon a vacancy in the office of Attorney General, unless expressly extended by the President.

(d)  This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

(e)  The Attorney General is authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.



Based on the memo, Barr will still have some restrictions surrounding what he can declassify after conversations with the named agencies in order to protect sources, methods and to comply with the law.

Friday, May 24, 2019

BREAKING: Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May Resigns!

By Ben Glaze | The Mirror

PM's tears as she announces she'll quit on June 7.

After almost three years of gridlock, Theresa May has named her resignation date and plunged the nation into a chaotic Tory leadership race.

Theresa May fought back tears as she announced her resignation date today after nearly three years of Brexit gridlock.

In a dramatic and emotional speech, the PM said she would quit her job on June 7 - after a UK State Visit by Donald Trump and D-Day commemorations are safely over.

Her exit will trigger a Tory leadership contest that gets under way next week. The rules are here while the frontrunners are led by Boris Johnson - who could steer Brexit in a dramatically harder direction.

The mutiny came after Theresa May unveiled a new compromise Brexit plan, including a possible second referendum, in a last-gasp bid to get Brexit through Parliament.

Mrs May met Graham Brady, the chairman of the Tories' backbench 1922 Committee, this morning before announcing she will resign in two weeks.

Kevin Maguire: Don't cry for me, cruel Theresa

Daily Mirror Associate Editor Kevin Maguire says Britons shouldn’t weep for teary Theresa May.

He writes: “Don’t cry for cruel Theresa when it’s her victims who deserve our tears.

“The cracking voice was as much, or perhaps more, for the collapse of her disastrous Premiership as the country she professes to love.

“May’s record shows little affection for the millions whose lives she made worse.”

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sanders Chooses Teachers Unions Over Black Voters

By Jason L. Riley | The Wall Street Journal

The candidate calls for a moratorium on charter schools. It’s bad politics and even worse policy.

Senator Bernie Sanders pitched his plan to roll back Charter schools at a town-hall in South Carolina on May 18, 2019. His proposed cuts in Charter school funding would be redistributed to struggling public schools.

Black voters had little use for Bernie Sanders when he sought the presidency in 2016. In the South Carolina primary, exit polls showed him winning only 14% of the black vote, while 86% went to Hillary Clinton. The Vermont socialist knows he must up his game with this constituency to have any chance of winning the 2020 Democratic nomination, but his recent attack on school choice may wind up costing him minority support.

Mr. Sanders called Saturday for more regulations on existing charter schools and a moratorium on federal funding for new ones. “The proliferation of charter schools has disproportionately affected communities of color,” said the senator. That’s true, but the effect has been positive, which is why black support for more education options is so strong.

In a poll released earlier this month by Democrats for Education Reform, 58% of black Democratic primary voters expressed a favorable view of charter schools, while 31% opposed them. Among Hispanics, the breakdown was similar—52% to 30%. But among white Democratic primary voters, only 26% supported charters, while 62% viewed them unfavorably. A racial divide also surfaces when people are asked about school vouchers. “African American (56%) and Hispanic (62%) respondents are considerably more supportive of vouchers for low-income families than are whites (35%),” according to a recent Education Next survey.

In Florida’s closely contested governor’s race last year, the Democratic candidate, Andrew Gillum, campaigned on closing charters and ending a tax-credit program that allows underprivileged kids to attend private schools. He lost to Republican Ron DeSantis, who supported school choice. According to William Mattox of the James Madison Institute, a state think tank, it was the backing of tens of thousands of black school-choice supportersthat helped put Mr. DeSantis over the top.

Donald Trump and Barack Obama don’t agree on much, but both men understand that traditional public schools aren’t cutting it for millions of low-income children. Both of Mr. Obama’s education secretaries, Arne Duncan and John King, were vocal proponents of charter schools. And Mr. Trump could not have tapped a stronger school-choice advocate than the current secretary of education, Betsy DeVos.

Mr. Sanders’s claim notwithstanding, it is the traditional public school system, not the alternatives, that disproportionately hurts minority students. Why should black parents be expected to pledge undying loyalty to an education model that has been failing their children for generations? Black and brown kids are assigned to the most violent schools with the least effective teachers and staff, while the unions and their political allies repeatedly call for—and receive—more funding and little accountability.

Mr. Sanders will find support for his attack on school choice from civil-rights groups who take money from teachers’ unions, but he shouldn’t mistake NAACP support for black support. Many black families are convinced that school choice is the solution, not the problem. Which is why there are tens of thousands of minority children languishing on charter school wait lists in cities across the country.

Repeated studies have demonstrated that charter schools are closing racial gaps in academic achievement. Whether the measure is test scores, graduation rates or college readiness, charter students consistently outperform their peers in traditional public schools. Charter high schools make up only 10% of the country’s 26,000 public high schools. But according to the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, charters comprise three of the top 10 public high schools in the country, and 23 of the top 100. Low-income charter-school graduates complete college at two to four times the national average for their peers.

This debate over K-12 education reform ought to inform the one over college admissions, and if Bernie Sanders and the other 387 Democrats running for president wanted to be really bold, they’d connect those dots for voters.

To the extent that successful elementary- and secondary-school models are permitted to expand, there is less reason for college administrators to use racial preferences or “adversity” ratings. Socioeconomic determinism is a dubious notion. Low-income black charter-school students in major cities outscore children from wealthy white suburbs on standardized tests.

Economically disadvantaged Asian students outperform middle-class black kids. If family income matters so much in determining the education prospects of a child, why were fabulously wealthy families caught lying and cheating their way into the University of Southern California?

Race-based affirmative action in higher education has resulted in fewer black graduates and more racial tension than we would have had otherwise. Using “adversity” as a proxy for race is unlikely to improve the situation because holding people to lower standards for whatever reason doesn’t help them advance. The time is long overdue to end these policies, not tinker with them. Allowing successful charter schools to expand is a good first step.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Facebook Singled Out Candace Owens for Scrutiny, Potential Ban, Internal Document Indicates

BY PETR SVAB | The Epoch Times

Facebook has encouraged some of its employees to probe the background of conservative commentator Candace Owens for anything that could give the social media giant grounds to kick her off its platforms, an internal Facebook document described and partially leaked to Breitbart indicates.

The document is a spreadsheet on “Policy Review” of what the company calls “hate agents.” It was created in early April and was related to prominent figures recently banned from the platform, a Facebook spokesperson said. Owens was listed on the document under the note, “Extra Credit (We should look into these after we’re done with the above designation analysis).” The spokesperson believed Owens hadn’t yet been investigated.

Owens, who is black, came out as a conservative in a July 2017 YouTube videoand has since become one of the most popular conservative speakers in America. She’s argued that liberal policies have hurt black communities, such as by weakening family structure through welfare incentives, undercutting black workers through supporting illegal immigration, and suppressing black birthrates through promoting abortion.

Her Facebook account was suspended on May 17 for seven days after she posted a picture of her Twitter post that listed the disparity between poverty rates among blacks and whites in the United States, as well as the high father absence rate in black households. She blamed liberal policies.

“Black America must wake up to the great liberal hoax,” she wrote. “White supremacy is not a threat. Liberal supremacy is.”

A Facebook spokesperson said the account was suspended by mistake and restored later that day. The suspension was unrelated to the internal document, the spokesperson said.

Ideology, Affiliations

The document indicated that Facebook employees were to look into what Owens is “known for,” including her “ideology, actions, major news, etc.”

They were also supposed to list “Affiliated Hate Entities” of Owens. The spokesperson didn’t respond to questions on what Facebook considers a “Hate Entity,” what constitutes an affiliation, and how can users avoid such affiliations.

The spokesperson also didn’t respond to questions on why Owens was singled out for such scrutiny and why was it relevant for Facebook to determine Owens’s ideology.

“To the brave employee who leaked this— thank you,” Owens responded in a May 18 tweet. “To lawyers that follow me— is this legal? I am taking this very seriously.”

Facebook maintains that it doesn’t look at people’s political views when deciding whom to ban, but its Community Standards are, to a degree, a partisan manifesto. The standards heavily focus on suppressing “hate speech,” even though Americans are divided sharply along political lines on what does and doesn’t constitute “hateful” speech, a 2017 Cato survey (pdf) showed.

Hate Speech

While in the United States, most of what Facebook labels as “hate speech” would be lawful to utter publicly because of First Amendment protections, some European countries have laws against “hate speech,” forcing Facebook to take such content offline. Facebook could theoretically make such content only available to users in locales where it’s lawful, but the company has apparently subscribed to the “hate speech” doctrine, tripling its content policing force to some 30,000.

The document with Owens’s name was posted into an internal discussion group set up by former Facebook senior engineer Brian Amerige, who left the company due to disagreements over content policing.

“I’m glad to see the group continues to be used to raise awareness inside the company about Facebook’s slippery slope of a content policy,” he said via the Facebook Messenger app. “In a very sad way, it’s comically predictable to see people listed as ‘extra credit’ to watch and investigate. Evolution into the ‘thought police’ is the inevitable result of their dangerous and ineffective approach to promoting the truth.”

The core issue Amerige hit an impasse on with Facebook executives was their insistence on suppressing “hate speech,” which Amerige deemed misguided.

“Hate speech can’t be defined consistently and it can’t be implemented reliably, so it ends up being a series of one-off ‘pragmatic’ decisions,” he previously said. “I think it’s a serious strategic misstep for a company whose product’s primary value is as a tool for free expression.”

Facebook not only acknowledged that it can’t draw a clear line between what is and isn’t “hate speech,” but that it also keeps a portion of its rules secret.

A Facebook spokesperson previously told The Epoch Times that users are partially kept in the dark to prevent them from circumventing the rules, but didn’t respond when asked why the company doesn’t spell out its policies in full and add a rule against rule circumvention.