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The Public Policy

Racial Quota Punishment

By 11.19.14

If anyone still has any doubt about the utter cynicism of the Obama administration, a recent agreement between the federal government and the Minneapolis Public Schools should open their eyes.

Under the Obama administration, both the Department of Education and the Department of Justice have been leaning on public schools around the country to reduce what they call the “disproportionate” numbers of black male students who are punished for various offenses in schools.

Under an implicit threat of losing their federal subsidies, the Minneapolis Public Schools have agreed to reduce the disparity in punishment of black students by 25 percent by the end of this school year, and then by 50 percent, 75 percent and finally 100 percent in each of the following years. In other words, there are now racial quota limits for punishment in the Minneapolis schools.

If we stop and think — as old-fashioned as that may seem — there is not the slightest reason to expect black males to commit the same number of offenses as Asian females or any other set of students.

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A Further Perspective

California’s Object Lessons for Democrats

By 11.19.14

If Democrats wanted to know some of the reasons they got skunked in the recent elections they could learn a lot by looking at what’s going on in California. The state of California is a distillation of fundamental flaws that are “hollowing out” the Democratic Party.

The politicians, activists, and contributors holding sway in the Democratic Party are far out of step with average voters. A majority of voters either don’t want or don’t care about the favorite issues of the party elites — climate change, Obamacare, fracking, plastic bags, diversity, sugary soft drinks, GMOs, “corporate personhood,” amnesty, late-term abortions and the Washington Redskin’s nickname. Democrats for some reason put a lot of energy into proposals that very few people care about and will have no measurable impact.

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Special Report

Transparent Tyranny

By 11.19.14

Anxieties within the GOP over a possible government shutdown in the wake of Obama’s promise to push amnesty by unconstitutional executive order continue to grow. Those anxieties don’t show much confidence in the American voter.

The fear appears to be that voters will punish the GOP in two years for opposing Obama’s open tyranny. In other words, GOP leaders think the American people prefer unconstitutional government to a limited government shutdown aimed at stopping it. If that is true, American democracy is as degraded as Jonathan Gruber’s infamous remarks suggest.

In a healthy democracy, politicians wouldn’t even debate whether or not to fund an unconstitutional order. They would automatically defund it. That GOP leaders turn to pollsters and image consultants before deliberating on such a fundamental issue is already a bad sign. By saying in effect that they will lose their power if they defend the Constitution, they reveal the emptiness of that power.

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Political Hay

Don’t Let Lame Ducks Spend Your Money

By 11.19.14

On November 4, voters fired the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate, replacing it with a GOP majority that campaigned against Obamacare and big spending. But the Democrats who lost are still running the show. These lame ducks lack the moral authority to govern. They shouldn’t be allowed to do any more than the bare minimum to keep government operating until January, when the new Congress meets. Allowing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to ram through an omnibus spending bill for the coming year, or make other key decisions, would be like letting your ex-spouse keep using your checkbook. One of the first acts of the next Congress should be to outlaw lame duck sessions.

Lame duck sessions were unavoidable before jet planes. The framers of the U.S. Constitution provided 17 weeks for newly elected lawmakers to travel and take their seats on March 3. That was the 18th century.

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Letter From Paris

Racist, Moi?

By From the Sept/Oct 2014 issue

Israel’s summer offensive against Hamas in Gaza sparked the predictable pro-Palestinian demonstrations across Europe. Organized by groups ranging from pro-Arab associations to far-left fringe parties, they were for the most part peaceful, but the Continent’s centuries-old anti-Semitism resurfaced in countries like Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy. In Paris they turned particularly ugly and vicious, with hateful slogans and violent attacks on Jewish synagogues, businesses, and individuals. Aware that France is a racial tinderbox as home to both Europe’s largest Muslim population, some six million, and its biggest Jewish community, around 500,000, President François Hollande had vowed beforehand that “no anti-Semitic or racist act or word will be tolerated.” 

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Politics

The Lois Lerner Curve

By From the Sept/Oct 2014 issue

Corrupt countries, where the rule of law is weak and political pilfering is common, are poor countries. Entrepreneurs and investors cannot safely start or finance businesses in states that don’t respect property rights and honor contracts, or that use the levers of the government to go after political opponents. And it’s not as though America doesn’t have a corruption problem. On Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the U.S. comes in at number 19, behind most of the rest of the First World.

For anyone following the Lois Lerner scandal, that’s not surprising. What should be surprising, perhaps, are her defenders. Lerner tampered with IRS nonprofit applications, and revealed them only when an Inspector General was about to report on them. Then the cover-up began. The IRS put out a story that blamed the shenanigans on low-level Cincinnati employees. We were told that the IRS hadn’t picked on conservative any more than liberal groups. All lies. Then Lerner pled the Fifth, and her emails mysteriously disappeared. 

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The Continuing Crisis

The Continuing Crisis

By From the Sept/Oct 2014 issue

He is eating pizza far from the White House. He is downing Starbucks, slurping ice cream, and munching on burgers across America. Yet he is infrequently in the executive mansion and when he is, he is apparently asleep. He rarely addresses affairs of state. Actually President Barack H. Obama has almost given up on statecraft and returned to doing what he does best, namely, campaigning. In that he is like another of America’s political prodigies, former President Bill Clinton. As a species they have been denoted as Chronic Campaigners, and whether in retirement or in full presidential plumage they shake hands, josh it up with the crowd, or simply raise money. They raise a lot of it, Mr. Clinton for his various charities, the president for the Democratic Party and very soon for the Barack H. Obama Presidential Library and Golf Club. Yet before he enters upon that particular fundraising drive there is August to contemplate with a swell fifteen-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard—fifteen days of glorious repose while our southern border is a chaos, Gaza is a heap, and Ukraine vacillates between civil war and war with Russia.

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About This Month

The Defiant Ones

By From the Sept/Oct 2014 issue

We thought we had some breaking news. Shortly after the calamitous November 4 elections, the Washington Post quoted a top aide as telling a key Washington-based leader, “I said you need to accept blame. You need to be accountable for your actions. You need to be responsible. And he said, ‘You know what, I understand those things, I want to do those things, and that’s what I’ll work on doing.’” 

Except, it turns out, the blame accepter wasn’t our nation’s president. He was the Washington Redskins’ beleaguered quarterback, Mr. RGIII. He takes a beating every Sunday of the sort our president experienced on Election Day. For the record, that’s two midterms in a row our man has failed. Once again we see why he has never released his college records.

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Special Report

Protestants Should Heed the Pope This Week

By 11.18.14

Pope Francis has offered counsel over the last week that culturally adrift Protestants and Evangelicals especially should heed the timeless truths regarding human life intrinsic to Christian faith and organic to nature itself, not based on Christian scripture exclusively but available to all creation.

Yesterday November 17, the Pope, at an interfaith convo at the Vatican on the family called “Humanum,” robustly affirmed the divinely created “complementarity” of male and female, the unchanging definition of natural marriage, the family as an “anthropological fact,” and the “right” of children to “grow up in a family with a father and mother.”

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Political Hay

Immigration Law: What Difference Does It Make to the Hispanic Voter, and Why?

By 11.18.14

According to an election eve poll conducted by Latino Decisions, immigration was the top issue for Latino voters in this election cycle.
— National Council of La Raza, Press Release, Thursday, November 6, 2014

What is the truth in this statement now that we know that so many Latinos eligible to vote stayed home? If it was their top issue, then President Obama’s early September announcement to delay any executive action on immigration until after the election, presented them with two alternatives: vote to retain a Democratic majority in the Senate and to obtain a Democratic majority in the House, or stay home to protest. The voter turnout would suggest that they chose the second. And, the day after the election, the President said he “heard” the two-thirds (of all voters, including Hispanic voters) who stayed home. Accordingly, he has spoken constantly since then about issuing an executive order on immigration.

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