It has been said that the Republicans and Democrats in Congress could look at the same clock and not agree on the time of day. The recent House Judiciary Committee hearing suggests that they might not even agree that it was a clock. From the questions and the comments of the Committee members, it was obvious that they exist in alternative political universes.
The chief witness was Deputy Assistant FBI Director Peter Strzok, author of the infamous text messages to Lisa Page, his co-worker and co-respondent, in which he assured her that Donald Trump would not be elected president because they could stop him.
That promise – or threat, if you prefer – was significant since Strzok was in a position to help the Hillary Clinton campaign and wound the Trump campaign. Whether he actually did so is the source of all the controversy. The Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded that the investigations were not corrupted by political biases, although he concluded that Strzok’s biases may have impacted his participation in the investigations and that former FBI Director James Comey had violated agency policies.
Strozk’s mission was to convince the Committee and the American public that, despite his deep hatred for Trump, he never let his feelings influence his work at the FBI. Strzok might have been more convincing had he not expressed his disdain for Trump in such a highly emotional manner. When giving his opinion of the president to the Committee, Strzok could not have verbally and visibly expressed more hatred if he had been channeling MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski or Lawrence O’Donnell.
If you were only to have listened to the Republicans on the Committee, you would have believed that Strzok was, in fact, guilty of heading off an indictment of Hillary Clinton. They referred to his text messages, his actions and the testimony of others to build a credible case. They noted that his expressed biases got him booted from the Mueller investigation team and demoted within the FBI.
If you only listened to the Democrats, you would believe that Strzok was a national hero, whose work at the FBI was a credit to himself and a great service to the nation. Other than high praise, the Democrats did not present much evidence in defense of Strzok. Rather they took advantage of the occasion – and the time allotted to them — to give political speeches delineating everything they dislike about the Trump administration. None of that had anything to do with the purpose of the hearings, of course.
What little decorum was evident at the hearings was often interrupted by heated exchanges between the opposing political forces – acting more like gladiators than legislators. While both sides were attempting to gain points in the verbal pugilism, it was mostly a draw – with both sides looking bad.
Based on the amount of repetition, the hearing should have been concluded in a couple hours. But, it dragged on … and on … and on … into the evening hours. In fact, it might have been more productive had it been held behind closed doors – especially considering the number of times Strzok would not answer a question “in this setting.”
Strzok, himself, presented three personas. At times, he was the lofty orator, giving Fourth of July renditions of the greatness of America, and the fine work of the men and women of the FBI. At other times, he took on the continence of a smug and smarmy jerk with a condescending smirk. And at other times, he was the angry and hateful Democrat – a member-in-good-standing of the #NeverTrump resistance movement. He did not come across as a very likeable person.
The elitist media will give the win to Strzok and the Democrats. That is pre-ordained. In reality, very little was accomplished by the hearings. There was not much information revealed that had not been reported in the media for weeks. It was akin to a bar fight in which no one comes out looking good.
There is a movement slowly spreading across social media that is not receiving sufficient attention in the major liberal media outlets. It is the #WalkAway movement. The reason this movement is not getting anywhere near the coverage of #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo or #MarchForOurLives is that #WalkAway is a movement in opposition to the liberal and media-favored Democratic Party. Basically, it is a movement of Democrats who are giving up their party because of its ever-expanding embrace of radical liberal and socialist policies – and the divisive tactics of the radical left that now controls the Party.
If you believe in stereotypes, you will be surprised to know that #WalkAway was started by Brandon Straka, a gay New York hairstylist whose avocation is using media to bridge dialogue between people of differing opinions. In the case of the Democratic Party, it turned out to be a bridge too far.
Barely a year ago, Straka was a a bit of a stereotype — that gay New York hairstylist who was a staunch Democrat and committed liberal. But he did not like what he saw. The tolerance and humaneness that he had associated with liberal philosophy had morphed into an oppressive hatred.
Straka has taken on his newly acquired political philosophy with all the zeal of a convert. He says:
“Once upon a time, I was a liberal. But liberalism has changed. I will no longer be a part of an ideology or political party that represents everything that contradicts my values of unity, equal opportunity, personal empowerment, passion and love. So, I’m walking away.”
Straka said he was growing tired of political correctness and identity politics. Still, in November of 2016, he voted for Hillary Clinton and said he was “devastated” by the election of Donald Trump. Straka’s political Road to Damascus occurred as he took in the media reports following the election. As much as he did not like Trump, he found the drumbeat of negative narratives to be dishonest – or a Trump may call it, fake news.
As a gay young man, Straka came to believe that the media and the Democratic Party were manipulating the “fears and concerns” of minority groups of all kinds. He accuses the left of creating a false sense of victimization in order to control the vote. According to Straka, the left has divided America into “victim and oppressors.”
While most of the major elitist media had ignored Straka, social media has not. His videos have gone viral and spurred others to take to YouTube to explain their own experience walking away from the Democratic Party and the political left.
This is the kind of movement that should terrify Democrats. It spreads across the nation at the grassroots. Even the overt efforts of the East Coast news culture to undermine the movement by intentional censorship cannot stop it.
How much Straka will influence the November election is yet to be seen, but it can be said that his #WalkAway movement may well be one of those proverbial “straws” that eventually break the back of the camel – or in this case the donkey.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the American workforce is on the rise.
Throughout the Obama years, the mainstream media deceptively propagated the narrative that unemployment was dropping. Although it’s great to see a low unemployment rate, this metric is actually an incomplete indicator. When the labor force participation goes down like it did during the Obama administration, the unemployment rate doesn’t reflect the millions who have given up looking for work and instead – just started to collect welfare. But it looks like the overall labor participation rate is starting to inch up, which means more people are rejoining the workforce.
Now, after years of stagnation, we’re finally seeing that change we can believe in.
The number of African Americans, in particular, looking for work has spiked by 62.2 percent in June. Four million African-Americans were either working or looking for work in the last month.
This development in rising workforce participation helped drive the unemployment rate down to 4.0% in June. Unemployment rates for African Americans and those who haven’t completed high school also rose in June,” writes The Wall Street Journal.
“You’re really seeing that particularly in this tight labor market, those workers who may have felt that they were missing out on the recovery are starting to see some traction,” said Martha Gimbel, Indeed Hiring Lab director of economic research to WSJ.
In many ways, Donald Trump’s restrictive immigration policy is helping the working class of America. By reducing the massive wave of cheap labor that comes illegally through the border, the American worker is once again able to negotiate with employers on an even playing field. The result has been a huge upturn in workforce participation.
Not to mention, African-Americans are now in their prime working years. The median age for non-Hispanic white workers was 43.5 in 2017 and 34.2 for blacks.
“You would expect the aging of the population to be weighing on white Americans more than it is on black Americans,” said Gimbel.
As employers struggle to find workers, less-educated Americans are getting hired in positions they may not have been hired for in the past.
“When employers run out of workers, that’s when people with the weakest bargaining positions get put in the driver’s seat and can negotiate for better pay and get themselves into roles,” said Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor chief economist to the WSJ.
The boom in the e-commerce sector has helped to contribute to the recent decrease in the unemployment rate for the less-educated.
The number of job openings was at a record high in May with 223,000 new jobs added. According to the latest Labor Department report, 213,000 jobs were added in June.
“One broader measure of underemployment, the U-6 rate that includes discouraged and part-time workers, edged up to 7.8% in June from 7.6% a month earlier. Labor force participation rates also remain well below pre-crisis levels, suggesting there’s still more room for people to enter the workforce,” writes the WSJ.
This is the recovery we were told was happening 8 years ago.
The latest Democrat campaign issue appears to be the abolition of the Immigration Control and Enforcement Agency (ICE). How this came about says a lot about the Democratic Party.
While it had been the talk in the back rooms of radical left politicians for some time, it first came to the surface – meaning the liberal media started to report on it – when the radical left-wing candidate for governor of New York, Cynthia Nixon (not related to the former president in any way, shape or form), first called for the crushing of ICE. (This issue is fraught with pun potential).
Nixon is taking on incumbent Governor Andrew Cuomo in the Democrat primary. With the rise of the radical left in the Democratic Party, and especially in New York, Cuomo cannot assume victory. His Party is traveling to the left at breakneck speed.
Initially, Nixon’s call for the elimination of ICE was largely received as more of the characteristic excess of the far left. But then along came 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated incumbent Congressman Joe Crowley, a key member of the House leadership, a close pal of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi – and likely heir to the top job should Pelosi retire.
Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign issues were what one would expect from a self-proclaimed socialist: free (meaning taxpayer paid) everything for everyone. Within Ocasio-Cortez’s litany of left-wing lunacy was the call to put ICE on … well … ice.
Suddenly, the issue went mainstream among Democrat candidates and leaders – at least on the left bank of the Party’s mainstream. New York’s Senator Kirsten Gillibrand took up the call, as did Mayor Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California — infamous for tipping off the crooks of pending ICE roundups. Several Democrat congressional candidates have made it a part of their platform.
As the #AbolishICE movement grew within the Democratic Party, it was not entirely welcomed by the more pragmatic liberal leadership. In an online commentary for New York Magazine, Margaret Hartman wrote:
“Other Democrats have warned that advocating a position as extreme as abolishing ICE entirely might be a gift to Republicans, as it supports their claims that Democrats don’t really want to enforce immigration laws.”
She is spot on. The opponents of abolishing ICE are pressing for unspecified reforms to release some political pressure from the far left. As may be expected, that middle ground is not being well received by the over-heated radical left. A split on this issue could be an existential threat to the future of the Democratic Party as a significant force in American Politics. If that sounds like an exaggeration, consider that the ONLY power they have at the national level is the filibuster in the Senate. That’s it. And they are the minority party in two-thirds of the states.
The only advantage they have is a very partisan press that serves like the title character’s contraption in “The Wizard of Oz” — making the Democratic Party sound and appear much more imposing and powerful than it really is.
I have never liked the term “fake news,” but it is hard to argue that the liberal media is not offering up false impressions and false narratives. On the issue of ICE, Samantha Vinograd, a CNN national security analyst, completely misrepresented a quote by President Trump.
Trump complimented the work of ICE for ridding America of “the worst criminal elements.” Vinograd claimed that Trump was referring to ALL immigrants as criminals – a total lie and a continuation of the false media narrative.
Last year ICE deported about 170,000 illegals. One has to wonder why the left was so silent and passive when President Obama deported more than 400,000 in a single year – and he said so with immense pride.
Contrary to the impression one might get from the anti-ICE rhetoric, they do not go around picking up every illegal alien and deporting them. They concentrate on the criminal class. You would think that Democrats would see that as a good thing, but their opposition to deportation does fit with their open borders philosophy. I know … they claim to want secure borders, but what they do – or do not do – is a lot more telling than what they say.
The campaign to abolish ICE is just another example of the left’s propensity for futility politics. ICE is not going to be disbanded. Most Americans approve of the work they are doing. They are fine men and women who risk their lives to keep us all safe – including those who want to send them to the unemployment line.
I would say that the campaign to ice ICE is on the rocks.
I did it.
I descended into the heart of liberal darkness, Berkeley, California and attended the Tenth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts & Responses.
As you may have guessed, I’m a climate change skeptic. And while this conference was interesting and gratifying for a number of reasons, it did not change my view as a climate change skeptic, but in fact, reinforced it.
My own presentation (for solving climate change while making a huge profit – i.e., the Republican way) was not widely attended, but the conversation was lively and I gained some allies.
Without further ado here are my stories:
As an engineer and formerly a developer of analytical systems for the CIA, my instinct is to follow information backward to its source. In several instances, I’ve followed the rabbit hole, examined data from important climate science claims and discovered gaping holes in their logic, making them misleading or just incorrect.
The conference had some of the same. The most blatant example presented at the conference was from Roberta Atzori from the University of California with a study of the Florida tourism industry. Since I am a long time resident of Florida, I took an interest.
Her method was to ask questions of tourists like (paraphrasing) “if the sun on the beach became too hot, would you stop traveling to Florida or would you vacation somewhere else?” and “if all of the beaches disappeared in Florida would you stop going there?” Needless to say, with those kinds of questions (look up “pre-suasion”) she got the results she desired, she did the math and claimed billions in damages due to Climate Change.
I, of course, as an interested party pointed out that in Florida we know how to re-sand beaches, and we do it often and enthusiastically (e.g., the Boca beach last fall after hurricane Irma). Beaches in Florida are not likely to disappear over the next 80 years no matter the weather change. And if Florida floods to 10 miles inland? We will install a new beach right there. I also pointed out that even the most pessimistic climate change projects only estimate about 4 degrees of change by 2100, not enough to roast our tourist population and force them away from the beach (nor interrupt the patterns of sun, beer, sun, beer, sun …).
Tell me you can’t guess what happened next.
She immediately called me the “D-word.” I had to be a climate change “denier” to challenge her work, so of course, the obvious move was ad hominem.
What she did not do was defend her scenarios (which would have been impossible anyway), which were the basis of the questions she was asking, and the response to which was the basis of her conclusions.
This kind of shoddy work is why I am a skeptic of climate science. Someone with zero knowledge of the practical side of her topic has submitted to the academic community a worthless, baseless calculation of cause-effect, that someone else will likely use to build another house of cards study. And in a room with 12-15 people, no one questioned it except me.
Dr. Max Platzer of the University of California Davis was an Apollo scientist back in the 1960’s. His presentation featured a fleet of boats that used wind power and an underwater generator in perpetual motion in the southern seas, to produce hydrogen fuel on a global scale. At first, this seemed to be very much in the science fiction realm. But to my great surprise and pleasure, Dr. Platzer, in true engineering form, proceeded to convince us layer by layer that his design was feasible and practical (albeit expensive!).
Dr. Platzer was perhaps the most inspiring speaker at the conference, his passion and appeal to implement an Apollo-like “moonshot” were compelling. He said at the advanced age of 85, his future was limited, but he was willing and indeed anxious to help future generations solve this problem. His passion was perhaps the closest phenomenon in this conference to breaking my own skepticism on climate change.
Matthew Moore of California State University positively ranted at the lack of coordination between the different levels of government, saying the government was a disorganized mess and was not preparing for the massive number of people that would certainly be displaced during global warming.
When he included Houston and Florida in his rant I took exception. Noting that I had just experienced Hurricane Irma, I told him that in our state, coordination between federal, state and local, was near perfect. We have some of the best emergency planners in the world who had the streets cleared, the public informed, and everyone in shelters who wanted to go (with designated shelters accepting pets). The Governor had toured the area and coordinated operations, and FEMA had pre-positioned supplies all over the state.
We didn’t have housing prepared for 300,000 people (per Moore’s lament) because our experts decided we would not need it (and we didn’t). Moore’s universal condemnation of FEMA and the emergency management strategy in America was offensive and, of course, wrong. Does he have a point that we need more emergency housing? I don’t know, I’m way too lazy and uninterested to re-do his work for him. But considering his lack of research and/or candor on his other statements, why would I believe anything else he said? And yet his presentation was accepted as scientific work.
At the conference dinner, I had a discussion with Alex Ellery from Carleton University, who was proposing a satellite-based solution for providing power to supplant electricity. This is not a new idea, its been around since at least the 1970’s when my high school debate team was focused on the energy shortage of the day. They were also the subject of Ben Bova’s “Powersat” from 2005.
His new idea, however, was fascinating.
Since it is very expensive to lift materials in space from earth, he was proposing that the power satellites be built on the moon using SELF REPLICATING ROBOTS! And using only materials from the moon’s surface. I was thinking, “Wow, forget the satellites, I want the robots.” And this is a serious engineer with a serious design. He is close to having the design ready, complete with neural network style computing power made from lunar materials rather than straight silicon. He still needs an additional $12 Million in funding to complete the research. Any takers? (If so, I want to be on the deployment team!).
One of the keynote speakers was Dr. Michel Gueldrey, from the University of Toulouse. I had had some brief conversations with him the day before and he is a thoughtful, intelligent and gracious man. However his presentation on “engaging climate skeptics” was disappointing and a bit insulting to American conservatives. His presentation featured such thoughts as “the superiority of Europe over America,” (hard to swallow from a Frenchman) a number of fringe books with insulting titles, and a presentation of methods to persuade skeptics that were worthy of any religion, political campaign, or fraternity rush chairman. In fact, I got a distinct feeling I could substitute “Disciples of Christ” for “Climate Change” in most of the slides and they would be equally functional. But frankly, this is what a conservative would expect at a climate change conference so I took it with a grain of salt. I do have faith that Dr. Gueldry will improve his content over time, but it was cringe-worthy in its current form.
Several presentations were very well done, even if the link to global climate change was not firmly established in my own mind. Claire Brunel, from American University, had a very well constructed study of internal migration in Brazil (I know what your thinking, but yes, it was good!). In the same session, Justin Udie from De Montfort University talked about the effects of climate change on oil and gas equipment near the Niger Delta. Again, I’m not sure about the link to climate change but it was an impressive work of risk analysis on oil and gas equipment. It took quite a bit for me to not go into full nerd mode and dig in with questions.
Marlene Payva Almonte from the University of Liverpool attended several of the same sessions that I did, and her comments were always thoughtful and cogent. In her own session, she presented an insightful presentation on the relationship between climate change and human rights. I’m not sure I agree with her premise that the Paris Accords are a good thing, but it certainly pushed some buttons for my own research.
Sally Graves Machlis from the University of Idaho sought to increase understanding of climate change through art. I’m not sure I fully grasp the magnitude of her work, but I had fun in her workshop cutting paper brains from clip art, gluing them to the canvass and painting in the background in watercolors.
One last feature was a gentleman Greg Poole from Industrial Tests, Inc. A degreed engineer, but non-academic, I could feel that Mr. Pool was avoiding using the common engineering jargon to be better understood, a common practice of engineers when speaking to laymen.
He described the Earth as an electric motor with influence from the Sun, Moon and other planets. Do you think this is silly?
The electrical character of the Earth and the solar system have long been known, and it accounts for a great many important characteristics, like the magnetic poles and the magnetosphere. His framework is brilliant and all-encompassing (but according to Pool, not quite complete). He predicted response characteristics of the molten core that will keep experimental scientists busy for decades.
His engineering skills are first-rate, his analysis was spot on. This was perhaps the most important lecture of the conference, although I don’t expect anyone to realize it. Any analysis of our solar system or any solar system we discover in the future will be incomplete without it. And as for avoiding jargon, I did manage to ask a question that let him know I was an engineer, and he answered in full technical and engineering terms entirely unintelligible to the rest of the room.
Yes, a real engineer.
One has to ask just what world do our politicians and news media folks live in?
The news industry is largely a one-way communication. They report what they consider the most important events of the day and tell us how we should think about those events – the latter of which takes up the vast majority of the radio/television time and most of the column inches in the print media.
If I considered media to be an accurate reflection of our American culture and society, I would not like us very much. According to the politicians and the media that reports on them, we are a racist nation – hardly improved from the days of Democrat slavery and segregation. We are a nation that oppresses women into second-class citizenship. We have heartless immigration policies because we hate foreigners. We have no compassion for the poor, the infirm, the elderly and, at the other end of the life cycle, the children.
We are a warring nation that occupies foreign lands to steal their treasure – most often oil. Our desire to own guns makes us insensitive to mass killings, unwarranted police shootings and the safety of the unarmed. The character of the American masses is described as ignorant, hateful, immoral, cowardly, and prejudiced – a veritable basket of deplorables.
For the most part, however, that terrible place is mostly a fictional world – almost like a computer game in which we play out fantasy conflicts created by media programmers – or more accurately by editors and producers. It is a pretend world based on concocted narratives that supplant the larger reality.
But then there is the real world. The one we wake up to in the morning and travel throughout the day. For most of us, it is a bright sunny world with dozens – maybe hundreds – of interactions with real people in real time – people of diverse backgrounds, different income brackets, different careers, different ethnicity, gender, age and lifestyle.
In my case, it might be a stop for breakfast at a favorite Jewish deli where everyone is greeted like old friends. We pass people of all sizes, shapes and appearances as we walk down the street or through the mall. Some smile and nod. For lunch, it may be a black-owned rib joint where the sauce is hot and the conversation is cool. I may need to stop by the auto shop for a small repair or oil change performed by a couple of young Hispanics. If my son is with me, he will speak them in Spanish thanks to the Mexican lady who helped raise him as a second mother.
If I stumble, the hands of strangers reach down to help me up – white hands, black hands, brown hands. Just a bunch of good people. I may drive a very liberal older woman to the grocery or drug store and will joke about our political differences. I might bring her to my favorite pizza parlor for a classic Chicago-style treat. If there are other Chicagoans in the eatery, we may very well end up in a conversation about the Windy City.
On Wednesday, I bowl with friends. As I look over the other lanes, I see people of all kinds bowling together. A black homeless fellow we befriended will stop by to watch. One of my bowling partners will bring him home for a meal, a shower and to have his clothes washed. Occasionally, she will buy him clothes, reading glasses or other needs. During the summer, we might find scores of young kids on a bowling outing — again of all backgrounds. They goof around, laugh a lot and make a lot of noise – but none of us adults are bothered.
My neighbors include blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Arabs and virtually every nationality you can name. And they are all quite neighborly. What is not remarkable – but rather common – are the number of people who will offer a helping hand without being asked. There is the lady down the way who drops off cake every now and then – and for no reason other than kindness.
No matter where I go within my community or even when I travel to other locations, 99.9 percent of the people I meet and interact with are friendly, often with a good sense of humor. Oh yeah, there are a few jerks out there, but they are few and far between.
This sort of day is not unusual in America. I suspect most Americans have similar experiences. It is the way we live. We are overwhelmingly good, kind and moral people who care about our families, our friends, our neighbors and even strangers when an opportunity presents itself. We tend to be more tolerant and respectful than intolerant and disrespectful. We do know or even recognize those terrible masses of Americans we hear about on the news. They are not us.
Sadly, I fear that our media outlets give a false impression of the United States to all those who live beyond our borders. Led by the concentration of negativism and conflict that appears on the nightly news, those folks in foreign lands come to believe in the fictional ugly America.
It would do us all a lot of good if we were to occasionally look away from the America on the television screen and look out the window. Yes, we have differences of opinion and can play them out according to the rules in the ugly America cyber game the media produces, or we can look at the real America and feel good about this nation – and about ourselves.
Late last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that government officials have to obtain a warrant in order to track an individual’s location data via cell phone records over an extended period of time.
“In the 5-4 ruling, the court said police generally need a court-approved warrant to get access to the data, setting a higher legal hurdle than previously existed under federal law. The court said obtaining such data without a warrant from wireless carriers, as police routinely do, amounts to an unreasonable search and seizure under the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment,” writes Newsmax.
In the case named Carpenter v. United States, the court ruled in Timothy Carpenter’s favor after he filed the suit after police connected him to several armed robberies at Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Ohio and Michigan. His location data was tracked by police for 127 days back in 2011.
Carpenter’s lawyers argued that the police violated the Fourth Amendment because they needed “probable cause” to get Carpenter’s digital records from third-party carriers, therefore should have gotten a warrant.
“We hold that an individual maintains a legitimate expectation of privacy in the record of his physical movements as captured through CSLI (cell-site location information),” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in the court’s ruling. “Although such (cell phone) records are generated for commercial purposes, that distinction does not negate Carpenter’s anticipation of privacy in his physical location.”
Roberts also pointed out that technology is both a blessing and a curse, along with playing a “pervasive and insistent part of daily life.”
“Virtually any activity on the phone generates, including incoming calls, texts, or e-mails and countless other data connections that a phone automatically makes when checking for news, weather, or social media updates,” said Roberts. “Here the progress of science has afforded law enforcement a powerful new tool to carry out its important responsibilities. This tool risks Government encroachment of the sort the Framers after consulting the lessons of history, drafted the Fourth Amendment to prevent.”
This is the latest case where the court has boost privacy rights in the digital realm, but government officials can still get access to real-time location information.
This is still a step in the right direction and a victory for privacy advocates.
“For 40 years, the assumption has been that individuals have no expectation of privacy in any information we voluntarily share with third parties — from phone records to bank statements to how and where we buy and sell goods,” said Steve Vladeck, a CNN Supreme Court analyst. “Even though today’s ruling argues that cell-site location data is unique, it’s easy to see how it will open the door to countless other contexts in which privacy advocates and criminal defendants will argue for similar privacy protections – and similar warrant requirements.”
ACLU attorney Nathan Freed Wessler expressed similar sentiments and said the case was “a groundbreaking victory for Americans’ privacy rights in the digital age.”
“The Supreme Court has given privacy law an update that it has badly needed for many years, finally bringing it in line with the realities of modern life,” said Wessler.
Author’s note: We still have a long way to go, but this case will likely inspire more rulings that protect individual’s privacy rights and personal data.
Editor’s note: Our privacy rights are the key to all of the rights guaranteed under the Constitution. Are we ever going to reverse this trend?
A majority of voters blame the parents of children who are separated at the border for the current illegal immigration crisis — not the federal government, according to a new survey.
The results give an interesting look into how people feel about who is ultimately responsible for the immigration debacle, which is now playing out on television screens around the world.
When families are arrested and separated after attempting to enter the United States illegally, 54 percent of likely U.S. voters say the parents are more to blame for breaking the law. Just 35 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government is more to blame for enforcing the law. Another 11 percent say they are not sure.
These are the findings of a new Rasmussen Report survey conducted by phone and online interviews from June 19 – 20. Yesterday, President Trump signed an executive order to stop the policy of separating families of those caught entering the U.S. illegally along the U.S.–Mexico border.
Further analysis of the survey shows that 82 percent of Republicans and 56 percent of voters not affiliated with either major political party feel the parents are more to blame for breaking the law. But 60 percent of Democrats say the government is more to blame for enforcing the law.
The survey also queried participants about how aggressively the Trump Administration was enforcing the rule to separate children from parents. Once again, the results showed partisan divisions, with 75 percent of Democrats saying the Trump administration is too aggressive. Only 23 percent of Republicans and 46 percent of unaffiliated voters felt the administration was too aggressive.
The Trump Administration this week announced plans to use a 1977 emergency law to block Chinese investment in US tech and to limit tech exports to China.
More specifically, the proposal blocks companies with at least one-quarter Chinese ownership from purchasing US firms involved in “industrially significant technology” and seeks to limit the export of certain technologies to China.
The two-pronged approach is specifically designed to stop China from accomplishing its “Made in China 2025” initiative to become globally dominant in 10 areas of technology by the year 2025.
“The President has made clear his desire to protect American technology,” says Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross. “All possibilities that would better protect American technology, including potential changes to export controls, are under review.”
While the block on Chinese investment isn’t expected to have a huge effect on American businesses, some industries worry the new export controls could harm their businesses by preventing them from taking advantage of their technological edge. Others worry that declaring a national economic emergency will have a negative effect on the stock market and on US companies operating in China.
The proposal, which is still subject to change, would apply only to new deals and would not seek to undo existing ones. The Administration also said US industries would have the opportunity to comment on the proposal before it takes effect.
“There is opportunity for the administration to arrive at a formula for policy that addresses national-security risks in a targeted way and not put a blanket on activities that our companies are involved in every single day,” says Josh Kallmer of the Information Technology Industry Council, adding that he expects several companies to comment on the proposal.
The twin measures against China are among a series of economic actions Trump has justified by claiming a national security threat.
The steel and aluminum tariffs were imposed under the Trade Expansion Act of 1962.
The new restrictions on China will be enacted under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act of 1977 – an emergency law which gives the president certain powers in the case of an “unusual and extraordinary threat” – that threat in this case being China’s spying and theft of intellectual property.
Opponents have criticized Trump for using the security threat rationale to accomplish his trade objectives.
“The administration is saying, ‘if we declare everything a national security issue we can do whatever we want,’” argues China expert Derek Scissors. “It’s a misuse of executive power.”
The new restrictions on China follow threats by Trump to impose tariffs on up to $450 billion of Chinese goods. A 25% tariff on $34 billion of Chinese imports is scheduled to go into effect on July 6th.
Thanks to increased federal scrutiny of foreign deals, Chinese investment in the US has already dropped more than 90% compared to this time last year. And Congress is also considering a separate proposal that would further increase the scrutiny of foreign business deals to determine the risk that “critical technology” will be transferred to other countries.
Editor’s note: This IS a threat and Trump is negotiating fiercely. No other president seems to have ever had the guts to go toe to toe with not only China, but Europe and our other trading partners who have been taking advantage of our good will.