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April 2018

The Surreal World of Teaching By Eileen F. Toplansky

College continues to get more interesting. One young man who missed 15 out of 28 days of school explains that he and “his ex-girlfriend just had a baby.” When asked who would take care of the baby, the boy (also a product of a single-mother household) said his mother and the girl’s mother needed to work this out. Although he admitted that his girlfriend had used birth control for two years, by the “third year, it didn’t seem that necessary.” While he was happy about the baby, the young man also explained that he wasn’t even sure the baby is his, so he was scheduled to have a DNA test soon.

Nothing like common sense, fidelity, and future planning!

But did you know that in the inverted world of education today, if a student has a baby, then more financial aid is available? Indeed! Consequently, students are being told by their college advisers that they should get pregnant. Even some of the students are appalled at this suggestion. But then there are those who proclaim that “the money comes from the government,” implying that it is not really problematic. Deliberately unschooled in how things actually work, and already the recipients of financial assistance, these students see government as the ultimate security blanket. There is no connection to the idea that government comprises taxpayers.

What a wonderful idea – to have a money tree somewhere pumping out financial aid ad infinitum!

Should we be surprised, given what has been documented in the booklet titled “Leftist Indoctrination in Our K-12 Public Schools” by Sara Dogan and Peter Collier? In Edina, Minnesota, the Highlands Elementary School students write poems that link “the anti-police and racially divisive Black Lives Matter movement with peace.” The principal reproduced Black Lives Matter’s own website, which states that its members “are committed to disrupting the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and villages.”

Then there is the book titled A is for Activist, which features “C is for Creative Counter to Corporate Vultures, E is for environmental justice, T is for Trans. X is for Malcolm. As in Malcolm X.” It is billed as an “ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives[.]”

In Ithaca, New York, the Beverly J. Martin Elementary School students sat through a presentation featuring Bassem Tamimi, who videos his own children sharing a message that “we [Palestinians] don’t like that Israel kill [sic] us, kill Gaza, kill Palestinian[.]” Actual facts be damned.

Guess Whose House Wasn’t Raided by the FBI By Daniel John Sobieski

If there was any doubt that Robert Mueller’s Ahab-like goal is the unseating of President Trump at all costs and by any means, it was erased by the thuggish FBI raid he orchestrated on the home and office of Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Can’t find any collusion between Trump and Russia? Hey, why not look for collusion between Cohen and professional whore and porn star Stormy Daniels? Was she paid to go away with campaign funds? Even so, that’s an FEC violation punishable by a fine and something that does not require a SWAT team.

It certainly does not compare with money funneled by Team Hillary and the DNC though a law firm to Fusion GPS and British foreign agent Christopher Steele to put together a fake dossier on Trump using Russian sources. But where were the raids on the offices of the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and Fusion GPS?

This is the FBI of Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and Peter Strzok, whose mission was to keep Hillary Clinton out of prison and Donald Trump out of the White House. They never raided the home and office of Cheryl Mills, did they? They never raided Hillary’s house or seized the acid-washed server, did they? But Michael Cohen is a threat to our democracy warranting brute force? Why wasn’t Michel Cohen offered the immunity deal given to Cheryl Mills and other Clinton cronies:

The FBI gave partial immunity to Hillary Clinton’s former State Department chief of staff Cheryl Mills and two other staffers during the investigation of Clinton’s private e-mail server, according to a member of Congress.

Sasse Grills Zuckerberg: If You’re Going to Police Hate Speech, Can You Define It? By Mairead McArdle

A Republican senator challenged Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook’s hate speech policies during his congressional testimony Tuesday, asking the Facebook boss if he could define it.

Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) said he worried about policies that are “less than First Amendment full-spirit embracing in my view.”

“I worry about a world where when you go from violent groups to hate speech in a hurry,” Sasse told Zuckerberg. “Facebook may decide it needs to police a whole bunch of speech that I think America may be better off not having policed by one company that has a really big and powerful platform.”

“Can you define hate speech?” he asked.

Zuckerberg said it would be hard to pin down a specific definition, and mentioned speech “calling for violence” as something Facebook does not tolerate.

“I’m worried about the psychological categories around speech,” Sasse interjected. “We see this happening on college campuses all across the country. It’s dangerous.”

Zuckerberg said he did not think pro-life speech would fit any of Facebook’s definitions for hate speech, adding that he “generally agrees” with Sasse’s point.

Reinforcing Our National Guard At The Border The steps that must be taken to really stop illegal entries. Michael Cutler

President Trump’s decision to send National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border to provide support to the U.S. Border Patrol is not unprecedented. Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also sent unarmed National Guard troops to the southern border.

While the administration has yet to fully explain how the troops will assist the beleaguered Border Patrol agents, it is to be presumed that the National Guard personnel will also be unarmed and not directly involved in the interdiction and apprehension of aliens attempting to enter the United States surreptitiously without inspection.

Of course anything that can be done to free up Border Patrol agents from activities that distract them from their primary mission of securing the border are welcome, but we must understand that these national guard troops will not, by themselves, seal that problematic border.

Once again attention has been drawn, virtually exclusively, to the need to secure the southern border of the United States. Make no mistake, that border must be secured, however, the need to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States has always been ignored. We will consider interior enforcement shortly.

The justification for President Trump’s decision to deploy those National Guard troops was reported in an April 8, 2018 ABC News report, Trump adviser cites ‘alarming’ 200 percent increase in attempted US-Mexico border crossings.

Stormy Weather for Campaign-Finance Laws Hush money looks like a personal expense. Treating it as a political one would create a bad precedent. By Bradley A. Smith

When you stretch the law to “get” a political opponent, it’s rarely possible to return the law to its original shape. Which brings us to Stormy Daniels.

Shortly before the 2016 election, one of President Trump’s lawyers, Michael Cohen, arranged a $130,000 payment to the porn star in return for silence about a 2006 affair she claimed to have had with Mr. Trump. (Both the president and Mr. Cohen have denied the affair; Mr. Trump has said he did not know of the payment to Ms. Daniels until this February.)

Not satisfied with an old-fashioned sex scandal—perhaps because the president seems impervious to that—some want to turn this into a violation of campaign-finance law. Trevor Potter, a former member of the Federal Election Commission told “60 Minutes” the payment was “a $130,000 in-kind contribution by Cohen to the Trump campaign, which is about $126,500 above what he’s allowed to give.” The FBI raided Mr. Cohen’s office, home and hotel room Monday. They reportedly seized records related to the payment and are investigating possible violations of campaign-finance laws.

But let’s remember a basic principle of such laws: Not everything that might benefit a candidate is a campaign expense.

Campaign-finance law aims to prevent corruption. For this reason, the FEC has a longstanding ban on “personal use” of campaign funds. Such use would give campaign contributions a material value beyond helping to elect the candidate—the essence of a bribe.

FEC regulations explain that the campaign cannot pay expenses that would exist “irrespective” of the campaign, even if it might help win election. At the same time, obligations that would not exist “but for” the campaign must be paid from campaign funds.

If paying hush money is a campaign expense, a candidate would be required to make that payment with campaign funds. How ironic, given that using campaign funds as hush money was one of the articles of impeachment in the Watergate scandal, which gave rise to modern campaign-finance law. CONTINUE AT SITE

Bolton Faces a Dangerous World He joins the chaotic Trump team amid the greatest uncertainty since Truman’s era. By Walter Russell Mead

Welcome to the White House, Mr. Bolton. Not since the 1940s has a national security adviser faced an array of challenges this urgent, this numerous and this perplexing.

Five distinct threats will compete for John Bolton’s attention as he settles into Henry Kissinger’s old digs: First, North Korea’s drive toward nuclear weapons that threaten the U.S. has reached a critical juncture. Second, China’s militarization of the South China Sea coincides with a crisis in U.S.-China trade relations. Third, Russia’s efforts to disrupt the Western alliance system and re-establish itself as a major power in the Middle East have progressed to the point that not even Donald Trump can ignore them. Fourth, Iran’s push to consolidate its gains in Syria and Lebanon has alarmed and provoked Israel and its once-hostile Arab neighbors. Fifth, Islamist terrorism continues to lurk in the shadows, threatening to emerge at any moment and force Western governments to respond.

As the White House considers these threats, its options are constrained. Seventeen years of indecisive war has left a polarized American public weary of global engagement. The midterm elections may yield a “blue wave” that forces the president into a defensive crouch to fend off investigations and perhaps even impeachment by a Democratic Congress. The press is deeply hostile to the Trump administration and unwilling to grant it the benefit of the doubt in foreign policy. Traditional alliances are strained: Europe and Asia worry that an “America First” administration is less valuable and reliable as a partner; Turkey, meanwhile, flirts with a revisionist confederation with Russia and Iran. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Michael Cohen Raid The Mueller probe now stretches to include the Stormy Daniels payment.

The FBI raid Monday on lawyer Michael Cohen raises the political and legal stakes in the vast prosecutorial investigation into Donald J. Trump. The probe into allegations of Trump campaign collusion with Russia has careened into a dive into the dumpster of a payoff to a porn actress to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. This is the way of special prosecutors, and Washington now seems headed toward a fight-to-the-end between the President and his enemies.

The press is reporting that Mr. Cohen is being investigated for possible bank fraud and campaign-finance violations in connection to his $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels (née Stephanie Clifford ) in October 2016. Mr. Cohen said he made the payment as a personal favor for his friend and client, Mr. Trump.

But if the payment was intended to silence the actress to help Mr. Trump win the election, then it could be considered a campaign contribution that exceeded the donation limit in 2016. As Bradley Smith notes nearby, proving such a crime would be difficult, and former Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards was acquitted in a similar case. But these days in politics anything can be criminalized.

The raid is especially notable, and troubling, for piercing the attorney-client relationship between Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump. That is a serious step legally, and it typically requires significant evidence to justify. It would also require the approval at senior levels of the Justice Department. The warrant came at the request of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan on a referral from special counsel Robert Mueller, who could use whatever information the raid generates.

“Firewalls” and “Taint Teams” Do Not Protect Fourth and Sixth Amendment Rights by Alan M. Dershowitz

The Fourth and Sixth Amendments prohibit government officials from in any way intruding on the privacy of lawyer/client confidential rights of citizens.

The very fact that this material is seen or read by a government official constitutes a core violation. It would be the same if the government surreptitiously recorded a confession of a penitent to a priest, or a description of symptoms by a patient to a doctor, or a discussion of their sex life between a husband and wife.

The recourses for intrusions on the Fourth and Sixth Amendments are multifold: the victim of the intrusion can sue for damages; he or she can exclude it from use by the government in criminal or civil cases; or the victim can demand the material back. But none of these remedies undo the harm to privacy and confidentiality done to the citizen by the government’s intrusion into his private and confidential affairs.

Many TV pundits are telling viewers not to worry about the government’s intrusion into possible lawyer/client privileged communications between President Trump and his lawyer, since prosecutors will not get to see or use any privileged material. This is because prosecutors and FBI agents create firewalls and taint teams to preclude privileged information from being used against the client in a criminal case. But that analysis completely misses the point and ignores the distinction between the Fifth Amendment on the one hand, and the Fourth and Sixth Amendments on the other.

The Fifth Amendment is an exclusionary rule. By its terms, it prevents material obtained in violation of the privilege of self-incrimination from being used to incriminate a defendant – that is to convict him of a crime. But the Fourth and Sixth Amendments provide far broader protections: they prohibit government officials from in any way intruding on the privacy of lawyer/client confidential rights of citizens. In other words, if the government improperly seizes private or privileged material, the violation has already occurred, even if the government never uses the material from the person from whom it was seized.