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50 STATES AND DC, CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT

Did Votes By Noncitizens Cost Trump The 2016 Popular Vote? Sure Looks That Way

Election 2016: Late in 2016, we created a stir by suggesting that Donald Trump was likely right when he claimed that millions of noncitizens had illegally voted in the U.S. election. Now, a study by a New Jersey think tank provides new evidence that that’s what happened.

Last November, just weeks after his Electoral College win that gave him the presidency, then President-elect Donald Trump tweeted, “In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

The reaction was angry and swift, with the left accusing him of being an “internet troll” and of hatching a “Twitter-born conspiracy theory.”

At the time, we noted that a group called True The Vote, an online anti-voter-fraud website, had claimed that illegals had cast three million votes last year. The media and left-wing groups immediately portrayed True The Vote as a fringe group with little credibility.

The only problem is, a study in 2014 in the online Electoral Studies Journal made a quite similar claim: In the 2008 and 2010 elections, they said, as many as 2.8 million illegal noncitizen votes were cast, “enough to change meaningful election outcomes including Electoral College votes and congressional elections,” said the study, authored by Jesse T. Richman and Gushan A. Chattha, both of Old Dominion University, and David C. Earnest of George Mason University.

The bombshell was this: “Noncitizen votes likely gave Senate Democrats the pivotal 60th vote needed to overcome filibusters in order to pass health care reform and other Obama administration priorities in the 111th Congress.”

It got little coverage in the mainstream media, and what coverage it did get was almost entirely dismissive.

Now comes a new study by Just Facts, a libertarian/conservative think tank, that used data from a large Harvard/You.Gov study that every two years samples tens of thousands of voters, including some who admit they are noncitizens and thus can’t vote legally.

The findings are eye-opening. In 2008, as many as 5.7 million noncitizens voted in the election. In 2012, as many as 3.6 million voted, the study said.

In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there were 21.0 million adult noncitizens in the U.S., up from 19.4 million in 2008. It is therefore highly likely that millions of noncitizens cast votes in 2016. CONTINUE AT SITE

The Antithesis of Obstruction Trump did not obstruct a valid FBI investigation; he demanded the exposure of a false one. By Andrew C. McCarthy

The “collusion” narrative was a fraud, plain and simple. We know that now. Hopefully, it won’t take another six months to grasp a second plain and simple truth: Collusion’s successor, the “obstruction” narrative, is a perversion.

The Left loves narrative. The ever-expanding story manipulates time, space, and detail to fit a thematic framework. Political narrative has some surface appeal, but it is deeply flawed. It obscures plain and simple truth.

So let’s stick with the plain and simple: The essence of obstruction is to frustrate the search for truth. Its antithesis is to demand the exposure of fraud.

Donald Trump’s political enemies are trying to build an obstruction case on the antithesis of obstruction: the president’s insistence that the collusion fraud be exposed.

Over a period of weeks, Trump came to understand what was being done to him. His exasperation was evident in his every bull-in-a-china-shop turn. An ardently pro-law-enforcement candidate, he came to office believing the FBI was in the fraud-exposure business. He thus could not comprehend why then–FBI director James Comey would not assure the public of what Comey was privately assuring both the president and the public’s representatives in Congress, namely: The notion that the president was a suspect was false. Implicitly, the narrative that Trump had colluded with Putin to steal the election was false.

To be clear, the Russia investigation is not a fraud. The Trump collusion narrative is. Russia did try to interfere in our election, as it always does. And there were associates of Trump’s who had business with Russian interests. Nothing unusual about that either. No one had shadier business with Kremlin cronies than Bill and Hillary Clinton. The difference is that the Clintons did collude in the Russian regime’s acquisition of American uranium assets. There is no evidence that Trump colluded in Russia’s election meddling. To stoke suspicions to the contrary was fraudulent.

The president justifiably believed this cloud of suspicion was grievously harming his fledgling administration. Despite both the dearth of collusion evidence and Comey’s acknowledgment — in non-public Capitol Hill briefings — that Trump was not a suspect, congressional Democrats continued to peddle the collusion narrative. The narrative became the rationale for “The Resistance.”

After the flame-out of the “Electoral College has destroyed democracy” storyline, the Left moved on to “collusion” as the Original Sin that rendered Trump illegitimate. Thus, Democrats rationalized, it was imperative to deny cooperation with Trump on any matter of governance — the approval of executive officials needed to run the government, the confirmation of judges, the Obamacare collapse, tax reform, Syria, debt ceiling, Afghanistan, jihadist attacks in the U.S. and Europe. Anything. The point of the collusion narrative was to delegitimize Trump in the public mind; cooperating with him, treating him as the legitimate president of the United States, was out of the question.

From Trump’s perspective, it was inconceivable that someone as sophisticated as Jim Comey could not see what was happening, how the cloud of suspicion enveloping Trump was damaging his administration. Over time, Comey’s explanations for why he needed to remain silent publicly made less and less sense to the president.

The rationale that it would ultimately serve Trump well if the FBI went about its business and cleared him in the normal course was a presumptuous elevation of the bureau’s work over the rest of the government’s. What, after all, is the normal course? The FBI had been investigating for months and months. Not only had it found no collusion; it had signed on (with the CIA and NSA) to an Obama-engineered report that not-so-subtly suggested a cui bono theory of Trump collusion in Putin’s machinations.

It wasn’t just the failure to dispel suspicions about Trump; the bureau appeared to be fueling them.

ROGER KIMBALL: POTEMKIN PROGRESSIVISM

It often has been observed that philosophy really got going when people started thinking seriously about the distinction between appearance, on the one hand, and reality, on the other. Plato is full of meditations on this theme, from the stick that appears bent when half submerged in a bowl of water to the texture and real significance of our experience of the everyday world.https://amgreatness.com/2017/06/22/potemkin-progressivism/

The moral is: things are not always as they seem.

Alas, it is one thing to enunciate that moral in the abstract, quite another to take account of its operation on the ground.

Grigory Potemkin famously exploited our habit of innocence about appearances when he deployed a series of fake villages along the banks of the Dnieper River. His aim was to soothe his erstwhile lover Catherine the Great with the illusion of general prosperity as she floated past the smart-looking façades. After she passed, the ensemble would be hastily disassembled, moved down river, and reassembled to greet the Empress anew.

There is a lot of Potemkin in the current ululations of the Left. Thousands upon thousands of unhappy females congregate on the Washington Mall to prance around in their vagina costumes and pussy hats while whining about Donald Trump.

Is the behavior of today’s Left just a façade, or is could it be indicative of something more substantive and troubling behind the door?

U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) jumps up and down on the floor of the House warning about Trump’s possible “collusion” with the Russians. The siege machines of the mainstream media wheel themselves into place to repeat, elaborate, fantasize about what Schiff and his anti-Trump colleagues dream about, hurling little spit balls of accusation and innuendo over the walls of the public’s incredulity.

Hollywood, the academy, the “arts community” join hands to chant their anti-Trump mantras, hoping for deliverance from the awful truth of the election of 2016. Their aim? A sartori, a nirvana in which no one had ever heard of Donald Trump but only the pants-suited deliverer of their dreams.

Everywhere there is talk of “resistance,” disruption, unrest, even impeachment. This, even though the thing being resisted is the result of a free, open democratic election and the call for impeachment is not in response to any evidence of a crime, much less a “high crime or misdemeanor” to propel such a proceeding.

And now we have Robert Mueller, bosom buddy of James Comey, as special counsel. Like Santa Claus, he is making his list and checking it twice, filling his sleigh with Obama and Clinton attack dogs, and preparing to make his round-the-town journey to distribute presents to every deserving boy and girl Democrat. He has his verdict. All he needs now is a tort, and that’s what those salivating Obama-and-Clinton terriers are for: digging, digging, digging. There has to be something, somewhere that they can pin on Trump!

Looked from the outside, you might think that the “progressive” Left were on the march, that they were a rising force, voice of the people, popular-sentiment-against-entrench-interests,” etc., etc.

That may be the appearance. The reality is that Republicans control the Presidency, the House, the Senate, 67 of the 98 partisan state legislative chambers in the nation, and 33 Governorships, their largest number since 1922.

Just the other day, we were treated to the most expensive House race in the nation’s history as money from Hollywood, Manhattan, and Martha’s Vineyard poured in to back Jon Ossoff, the great white hope to shatter the juggernaut of Republican victories. The Dems picked the one really soft-spot in Georgia (Trump had taken it by only 1 percent in 2016) and spent at least $23.6 million to defeat Karen Handel, a weakish candidate but a Republican and therefore a possible scalp. It was supposed to be a “referendum on Trump.” And maybe it was. But the referendum did not go the way the Democrats hoped it would and Handel offed Ossoff 52 percent to 48 percent. By my count, that makes the special election score since November 9: Republicans 5, Democrats 0.

So there are grounds for thinking that the hysteria on the Left is just so much infantile caterwauling: they did not get the all-day sucker they were promised so they are going to sit down in the middle of the floor and wail and wail and wail. Litigate, too, no doubt, but even that will be conducted in tantrum tones.

I think that conclusion is mostly right. And I believe that Trump would be well advised to leave the Democrats in their bawl room, their boudoir (French for “room for pouting in”) while he gets on with the business of running, and improving, the country, which, by the way, he is doing very well.

Health Care’s Four Horsemen By Eileen F. Toplansky

Should the Senate Republican health care reform legislation pass, it will usher in another house of horrors just like Obama’s patently not affordable health care law.

In 2008, Drs. Mark Albanese, George Mejicano, and Larry Gruppen, concerned about “a looming shortage of physicians” wrote about the “four horsemen of the medical education apocalypse” which include

teaching patient shortages, teacher shortages, conflicting systems, and financial problems. Rapidly expanding class sizes and new medical schools are coming online as medical student access to teaching patients is becoming increasingly difficult because of the decreasing length and increasing intensity of hospital stays, concerns about patient safety, patients who are stressed for time, teaching physician shortages and needs for increasing productivity from those who remain [.] Further, medical education is facing reductions in funding from all sources, just as it is mounting its first major expansion in 40 years. The authors contend that medical education is on the verge of crisis and that little outside assistance is forthcoming.

Indeed, the GOP bill will bring us even closer to another crisis.

Should the Senate GOP “repeal” bill pass, it will result in as Matthew Vadum illustrates “tinkering around the edges of the Obamacare system but leav[ing] the fundamentals of the failing program in place.”

With only four courageous conservatives who have come out “against the language in the new draft bill” the American people must, yet again, rise up and demand a true repeal and replace bill. Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin are the only ones holding back the onslaught of what will eventually be a single-payer system in this country.

If Jonathan Gruber said that the Senate document is “no longer an Obamacare repeal bill [and] that’s good” that should be more than sufficient evidence that this bill is not going to help Americans. Gruber, dubbed the “Obamacare architect was caught on tape admitting that Obamacare doesn’t provide subsidies for federally-run insurance exchanges [.]” In another video “Gruber said that ‘the stupidity of the American voter’ made it important for him and Democrats to hide Obamacare’s true costs from the public. ‘That was really, really critical for the thing to pass,’ said Gruber. ‘But I’d rather have this law than not.’ In other words, the ends — imposing Obamacare upon the public — justified the means.”

Most Americans now understand that “Obamacare really is a huge redistribution of wealth from the young and healthy to the old and unhealthy” and Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review explains that “everything [in the Senate bill] is working within the confines of the most extreme socialist baseline from the Obama era.” Horowitz gets to the nub of the problem when he writes that to “avoid the endless semantics, lies, and perfidious distortions from GOP leadership on how they are ‘repealing’ Obamacare, let’s briefly describe the law.”

Is There Anything Grit Can’t Do? Angela Lee Duckworth, the psychologist who champions ‘passion and perseverance,’ explains the power of ‘noncognitive skills.’ By Kay S. Hymowitz

Angela Lee Duckworth has just returned from her 25th class reunion at Harvard. “People’s lives really do turn out differently,” she observes during an interview in a stylish boardroom. “And it certainly can’t be explained by how intelligent you remember them being when they were sitting next to you in organic chemistry class. Some of it is luck, some of it opportunity.” And some of it is “grit,” as Ms. Duckworth has told the world in articles, lectures and a 2016 bestselling book, “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.”

It’s no hyperbole to talk about the 47-year-old University of Pennsylvania professor in international terms. More than eight million people have watched her 2013 TED talk on grit. That same year she won the renowned MacArthur “Genius” grant. U.S. and foreign government officials, CEOs and ordinary helicopter parents, teachers of every stripe, world-class coaches and award-winning researchers line up outside her office to pick her brain about how to make their employees, students, children or competitive swimmers grittier.
She also runs a nonprofit, the Character Lab, with a staff of 12. Our interview took place immediately after the organization’s board meeting—hence the snazzy conference room. After 90 minutes of anecdotes, research citations and quotes—Aristotle, Nietzsche and, unexpectedly, US Weekly—my disarmingly laid-back but highly practiced interlocutor shows no signs of flagging.

So what is this thing called grit, and why should we believe it is a key to success? “I define grit as the tendency to pursue long-term goals with passion and persistence,” she explains, echoing her book’s subtitle. A close cousin of what personality psychologists call conscientiousness, grit deserves its own entry in the social-science lexicon, Ms. Duckworth insists: “Conscientiousness also includes self-control, orderliness, punctuality, responsibility.”

Ms. Duckworth has her own 10-question test called the Grit Scale. She asked West Point cadets to take the test; those who scored higher were likelier to make it through the notoriously grueling “Beast Barracks” training. She also tested salespeople at a time-share company, Chicago public-school students and National Spelling Bee competitors, among others. High grit scores had the same predictive power for all of them. Persistence driven by passionate interest, she concluded after testing the various likely alternatives, predicts achievement in ways that neither conscientiousness nor IQ nor talent does.

Ms. Duckworth came to her topic through a straightforward observation. “I left management consulting to teach at a school on the Lower East Side before it got hip,” she tells me. She then left New York and went on to a more affluent school in San Francisco. In the classroom, she noticed for the first time what she saw again at her Harvard reunion: The kids who seemed to have the greatest natural skill in, say, math, were often not the ones who aced the tests. Instead, the most dogged excelled. She wondered what makes resolute individuals tick—if that lightning could be bottled for the benefit of the less tenacious. CONTINUE AT SITE

Frustrated Dems say Obama botched Russia response By Katie Bo Williams

The Obama administration is under fresh scrutiny for its response to Russian meddling in the election after new details emerged this week about how the White House weighed its actions against the 2016 political environment.

Then-President Obama was too cautious in the months leading up to the election, frustrated Democratic lawmakers and strategists say.

“It was inadequate. I think they could have done a better job informing the American people of the extent of the attack,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee who co-chairs the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee.

And even after the election was over, they say, the penalties Obama levied were too mild to appropriately punish what by all accounts was an unprecedented attack on a U.S. election.

Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), another House Intelligence member, called the penalties “barely a slap on the wrist.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who supports tougher sanctions Russia, said in a statement Friday that the administration “abjectly failed to deter Russian aggression” and “failed to impose any meaningful costs on Russia.”

Some Republicans argue the Obama administration only started to take the Russia threat seriously after President Trump had won the election.

Trump has called the influence operation a “hoax” and dismissed the various inquiries into Russian interference in the election — which include looking for possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow — as a “witch hunt.”

“By the way, if Russia was working so hard on the 2016 Election, it all took place during the Obama Admin. Why didn’t they stop them?” Trump tweeted Thursday.

Senate announces probe of Loretta Lynch behavior in 2016 election By Stephen Dinan

The Senate Judiciary Committee has opened a probe into former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s efforts to shape the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, the committee’s chairman announced Friday.

In a letter to Ms. Lynch, the committee asks her to detail the depths of her involvement in the FBI’s investigation, including whether she ever assured Clinton confidantes that the probe wouldn’t “push too deeply into the matter.”

Fired FBI Director James B. Comey has said publicly that Ms. Lynch tried to shape the way he talked about the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s emails, and he also hinted at other behavior “which I cannot talk about yet” that made him worried about Ms. Lynch’s ability to make impartial decisions.

Mr. Comey said that was one reason why he took it upon himself to buck Justice Department tradition and reveal his findings about Mrs. Clinton last year.

The probe into Ms. Lynch comes as the Judiciary Committee is already looking at President Trump’s firing of Mr. Comey.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley, chairman of the committee, said the investigation is bipartisan. The letter to Ms. Lynch is signed by ranking Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein and also by Sens. Lindsey Graham and Sheldon Whitehouse, the chairman and ranking member of the key investigative subcommittee.

MARK STEYN: FIFTEEN LAWYERS IN SEARCH OF A CRIME

Further to my observations on Deep State dinner theatre, the “Russia investigation” show goes on, undeterred by the lack of any evidence of actual crime: The more obvious the absence of any crime to investigate, the bigger the investigation gets. As I’ve said before, in Hitchcockian terms, this is a thriller without a MacGuffin: instead, it’s one big MacNuffin – unless you count the “collusion” between government bureaucracies and the Hillary campaign in surveilling their political opposition before the election, or FBI honcho Jim Leaky leaking material to The New York Times to get his buddy Bob Mueller appointed as “Special Counsel”.

That last one worked – notwithstanding calls for a Special Counsel to investigate the Special Counsel over his ties to the FBI Director who wanted the Special Counsel. This is a very Washington creature-feature: the Blob feasts on nothing. So at the Deep State dinner theatre Mr Mueller is now casting an army of extras. With the usual money-no-object lavishness of the world’s premier five-star swamp, the Special Counsel has appointed, to date, 14 lawyers to his “investigation”, “with more still to come”. In a fascinating column, my old colleague Andrew McCarthy puts this prosecutorial football squad in perspective:

Andy was the lead counsel in the prosecution of the Blind Sheikh for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. It led to a nine-month trial of twelve defendants. The Government somehow managed to pull that off with three prosecutors plus an appellate lawyer.

A couple of years before that, Andy was on the “Pizza Connection” Mafia case – a 17-month trial of 22 defendants. In that one, he was the junior member among five government lawyers, and many of his peers thought the size of the prosecution team was “excessive”.

But McCarthy’s column contains an even more sobering context for Bob and his Fantastic Fourteen:

Does it seem strange to anyone else that, by comparison, the president of the United States has managed to get—count ’em—three appointees confirmed to Justice Department positions in five months?

So in one month Mueller has managed to put five times as many people on the DoJ payroll as Trump has since January.

As has been noticed, no matter how many lawyers Mueller hires, he only seems to know bigtime Hillary donors. If he wraps the investigation up in time, the Special Counsel can change his title to Special Bundler for the Clinton 2020 campaign. But, even if they weren’t so ostentatiously partisan, the whole money-no-object profligacy sums up dysfunctional Washington at its most repulsive.

Politics: Are you tired of it too? M. Mobley, M.D.

Day in and day out, one cannot pick up a newspaper or tune-in to TV news without reading or hearing about the latest effort by Democrats to bring down our duly-elected 45th president, Donald Trump. The vitriol that accompanies their efforts shows a level of incivility I haven’t seen before in my eight decades of life.

It was well established by many writers, yours truly included, that on Election Day, November 8, 2016, voters would uncomfortably choose between two seriously flawed candidates for president – Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – and one of them would win.

Looking back at Ronald Reagan’s campaign against Jimmy Carter, a sitting president in his fourth year presiding over the government of a country in economic straits worsened by high inflation, Reagan asked the voting public, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” There was general agreement that folks weren’t any better off and Carter was limited to one term.

Once the 2016 GOP and Democratic Conventions were over and presidential campaigns begun in earnest, the Reagan question resurfaced, highlighting President Obama’s 8 years in office, during which he had been unable to turn around high unemployment and the wretched economy he had inherited, despite Democratic control of both Houses of Congress augmented by a filibuster-proof Senate during his first two years. He did manage to double our nation’s debt, however. Hillary Clinton, a flawed candidate to begin with, chose a flawed platform to run on, which amounted to four more years of the Obama administration.

While Hillary was in essence saying that our country’s stagnation was the “new normal,” Trump, also a flawed candidate but a successful business man not of the Washington elites, was vowing to “Make America Great Again” by increasing jobs, restoring the economy, and resurrecting the American way. It was a winning platform.

In the short time Trump has been in the White House, he has had moderate success making good on some of his campaign promises. In addition to improving the economy and gaining jobs, the Trump agenda is also aimed at restoring the vision of the Founding Fathers, guaranteeing individual freedom and rights under a non-intrusive government while requiring individual responsibility under government that is protective of rights and fiscally responsible. And that is what the Democrats are up in arms about.

Democrats seem to see our future being assured by greater government dependency, bigger government and America being more like Western Europe. Under both Democratic and Republican administrations our country has been on a slow slide down that slippery slope. The Trump agenda seeks to put on the brakes, and the electorate appears to agree with him if recent special Congressional elections to fill empty seats are a yardstick.

Justice Department Explores Court Challenges to ‘Sanctuary Cities’ Legal avenues would be aimed at forcing municipalities to aid Trump’s deportation effort By Laura Meckler

WASHINGTON—The Justice Department is quietly exploring new legal theories to take on so-called sanctuary cities in court, working to force them to aid the Trump administration’s aggressive deportation effort, people familiar with the discussion said.

Such a case, if filed, would significantly escalate the Trump administration’s pressure campaign against recalcitrant cities and counties.

The administration has already threatened to cut off federal funding to cities and counties that refuse to facilitate deportations, and it has sought to “shame” jurisdictions that don’t cooperate. If successful, the new court efforts would compel local authorities to assist federal immigration officers whether they want to or not.

Separately, on Friday the Justice Department filed papers in support of the state of Texas’ defense in federal court of one of the toughest anti-illegal immigration laws in the nation. The statute, which is set to take effect in September, prohibits Texas cities and police departments from limiting their cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Under that law, local Texas law-enforcement officials and sheriffs can face criminal penalties—including jail sentences—if they don’t comply with requests from federal authorities to detain suspected illegal immigrants until they can be transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody.

Many cities and counties in Texas and across the country have adopted policies of not honoring these requests, called detainers. Several Texas cities, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio and El Paso, challenged the law, saying it unconstitutionally infringes on the rights of local governments to police their own residents. CONTINUE AT SITE