Friday, June 7, 2019

Wreck the Electoral College, Destroy the Country - David Horowitz


by David Horowitz

The Founders' scheme to produce compromise between competing factions was never more needed than now when the country is divided in a way that it has not been seen since the Civil War.

While you were sleeping, the Democrats (abetted by some deviant Republicans) have been working on a plan that would destroy the diversity of the American political system and bring the nation to the brink of civil war. The plan is called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and tens of millions of dollars have already been spent over several decades trying to implement it. Fourteen blue states and the District of Columbia have already joined the Compact, which means they are 70% on the way to making their proposal the law of the land.

The Democrats’ plan is designed to eliminate the influence of the Electoral College in choosing the nation’s president, no doubt because while Hillary won the popular vote she failed win necessary votes in the Electoral College. Eliminating the influence of the Electoral College would end the diversity now embodied in the federal system with its division of powers between Washington and the fifty states. The fact that a party which presents itself as a defender of diversity should be leading the charge to eliminate the nation’s most powerful source of diversity should be all that is required to understand the threat their agenda poses to what has been the nation’s constitutional way of life for 232 years.

The Electoral College and the division of powers are features of the Constitution. But the National Popular Vote movement does not propose to amend the Constitution because it doesn’t have the votes to do that. Instead, in the name of “democracy,” it proposes to circumvent the Constitution and its requirement of large national majorities for amending what has been the fundamental law of the land. Think how Orwellian that is, and how concerning it should be for anyone believing the Founders created the most practical, realistic, democratic, diverse and successful polity the world has ever seen.


This is how the Democrats’ circumvention of the Constitution and its provision for an Electoral College would work. Instead of abolishing the College, which would require the support of two-thirds of the states, they are hoping to put together a coalition of states representing 270 electoral votes that would agree to award all their votes to whoever wins the national vote. In other words, if the popular vote is won by 10 votes, every state in the Compact would award 100% of their votes to that party, even if a majority of the voters in their state voted against them.
The bottom line (and goal) of this devious plan is to eliminate the influence of rural voters or “Middle America” and create an electoral lock for the large urban population centers, e.g., California and New York, which would then decide the direction of the country.

Currently the Electoral College forces candidates to campaign in states they might otherwise ignore, and thus forces them to compete for diverse constituencies, and therefore to compromise and moderate their positions. It was designed by the Founders to move the country to the center and to prevent an overzealous majority from tyrannizing the minority.

Consider the practical implications of this radical plan to remove an institution that has stabilized our political life for more than 200 years. The urban centers of America, which would become dominant under the plan, are also the centers of America’s crime problems and gun homicides, its intractable poverty, its failed public schools and political corruption. Do we really want to replicate for all America the failed welfare policies that have created a permanent underclass in cities like Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, and Baltimore?

Or consider California, a one-party state whose government has defied federal law and proclaimed itself a sanctuary for illegal migrants. What will be the consequences for an already deeply divided nation of having an open-borders policy imposed by leftist states led by California and New York on Middle American states who are already fiercely opposed to flooding the country with millions of illegal aliens whom no government agency has vetted? lf New York has legalized the killing of babies already born, how will that go down in states already banning abortions of babies with fetal heartbeats? All the blue states pushing this agenda are fans of the Green New Deal which focuses on a problem -- global warming -- that most of the country doesn’t consider urgent, calls for crushing new taxes to finance new social giveaways while programs like Medicare and Social Security are already on the brink of bankruptcy. Or consider the Green plan to remove 250 million gasoline-driven automobiles within ten years and replace them with electric cars. If an incredibly costly and unsettling confiscation scheme like this is imposed on the rest of the country, what can we reasonably expect as a reaction?

The Founders' scheme to produce compromise between competing factions and to put checks and balances on radical adventures was never more needed than now, when the country is divided in a way that it has not been seen since the Civil War. But apparently this is the perfect time for an out-of-touch and increasingly out-of-control Democratic Party to undermine the constitutional foundations of the nation, push a divisive agenda, and move the nation towards a one-party state.


David Horowitz is the author of the newly published book Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/06/wreck_the_electoral_college_destroy_the_country.html

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Charge of 'Cleaning Up' San Francisco - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield

How Gavin Newsom, Kamala Harris, Mohammed Nuru and other Democrats made San Fran so filthy.




San Francisco has the highest rents in the country. At an average of $3,690 for a one bedroom, it’s more expensive than New York City, Hong Kong, Paris and London. The median price of a single-family home is $1.6 million. The median price of a condo is $1.17 million. The cheapest home in the city is a 765-square-foot unlivable wooden shack with no bathroom built in 1906 which can be yours for only $350,000.

Despite that, the City by the Bay is drowning in its own filth. San Fran is covered in human waste.

There have been 118,352 cases of human waste on the streets of San Francisco since 2011. That's also when Mohammed Nuru (pictured above) took over as the head of the city's Department of Public Works.

The Nigerian immigrant who calls himself Mr. Clean has been promising to clean up San Francisco back to the Willie Brown days. Brown, the notoriously corrupt city boss, had picked Nuru as his point man, after some assistance on political campaigns, appointing him DPW deputy director in 2000.

Nuru had gotten his start with SLUG, a social justice community gardening organization. His degree was in landscape architecture and San Francisco’s problem was its unbelievably filthy streets.

But Mr. Clean was a protégé of Mayor Brown and complaints quickly rose from DPW employees about corruption, discrimination and intimidation. DPW employees complained that he filled DPW positions with his own political allies from SLUG, diverted street cleaning funds to SLUG, and used public employees to improve areas near his home. DPW people who complained about Mohammed were demoted or transferred. If you crossed Mr. Clean, the word was that he would ‘clean you out’.

"Everybody was scared of Willie Brown," a former DPW maintenance manager who was forced out for resisting Mohammed Nuru's alleged abuses said. "Nobody wanted to do anything about it."

Nuru had been a Brown campaign volunteer before he even became a citizen. And had allegedly forced SLUG employees to campaign for the corrupt San Fran boss, telling them that their jobs depended on it.

Mohammed Nuru landed a top job at the DPW where he promised to "get rid of those white managers."

It was the first of an endless series of scandals involving the Nigerian community organizer who keeps promising to clean up a city that, like its DPW boss, only keeps getting dirtier every year.

By 2004, four years later, Mohammed Nuru had been banned from any further dealings with his old SLUG buddies after the social justice group was accused of pressuring workers to campaign and vote for Gavin Newsom in the city’s mayoral election. (Newsom has since become governor of California.)

SLUG employees were once again being told that they would lose their jobs if Newsom didn’t win.

The event at which SLUG employees, many of them homeless or ex-cons, were forced to cast absentee ballots had been sponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris. (Brown’s other protégé has since become Senator Harris and is running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.)

Kamala Harris' campaign manager admitted to being in contact with Mohammed Nuru during the election and SLUG workers filled up Harris events.

Harris and Newsom both claimed not to know anything and called for a full investigation. Like all the other Nuru investigations, this one led to absolutely no meaningful results.

Meanwhile San Francisco kept getting dirtier in both the literal and metaphorical senses.

Ed Lee, Nuru’s boss at the Department of Public Works, had done such a fantastic job that the Board of Supervisors appointed him to run the city after Newsom moved up the Democrat ladder that began in a San Francisco sewer and ended in Sacramento. Lee, like Nuru, had been something of a community organizer. Then the boss who, would later be on top during the purge of DPW personnel who objected to Nuru’s behavior had been implemented, had overseen a whistleblower program. And now, mayor.

Despite the scandals, Mayor Ed Lee appointed Mohammed Nuru to his old job as the Director of DPW.

“Mohammed Nuru is a dedicated public servant who has proven over the last decade to be one of the hardest working City employees keeping San Francisco clean, green and beautiful," Lee claimed.

Nuru had been at it since 2000. And nobody would describe San Francisco as clean.

Mayor Ed Lee appointed Mohammed Nuru to head DPW in 2011. That year there had been 5,547 "human waste incidents". By 2013, there were 8,793 human waste incidents.

A 58% increase.


Mr. Clean was hard at work on the job.

By 2016, the number of human waste incidents had tripled to 18,276.

And San Francisco’s Department of Public Works was the worst disaster of them all. Mohammed Nuru had begun his tenure with accusations of election scandals and discrimination against white DPW personnel. By 2009, he was being accused of discriminating against black women.

Nuru had allegedly told an African-American manager investigating discrimination complaints that she “needed to know her place and show proper respect".

Other employees were reportedly told, “You may want to stay away from her. You’d better watch being around her because Mohammed would not be happy with you.”

Then she was fired.

Taxpayers paid out $105,000 in a settlement, but Mohammed Nuru got a promotion.
Keeping Mohammed happy has been a bigger priority for San Fran Democrats than a clean city.

In 2018, there had been 28,084 human waste complaints in San Francisco. Annual human waste complaints had increased 400% since Mohammed ‘Mr. Clean’ Nuru had taken over at DPW.

Fortunately, DPW had a plan.

Between 2013 and 2018, human waste incidents had increased by over 200%. But DPW had paid a public relations firm $408,745 to produce reports claiming that San Francisco was spotless.

Even as the city was drowning in trash, the PR firm gave it the highest cleanliness marks ever.

Mohammed Nuru replied by conceding, "They might have sampled some of the nicer parts of the city."

Nuru has failed miserably at cleaning up San Francisco. The city is now much filthier than when he started by metrics other than those produced by a PR firm being paid to tell a story no one believes.

The Nigerian immigrant, with a degree in landscape architecture from Kansas State, and a job at a politically connected social justice non-profit, was never qualified to run an organization with a $312 million budget and over 1,600 employees. He’s been followed by scandals, election scandals, discrimination scandals, and abuse of power scandals, from the very beginning.

The street cleaning budget has doubled and the waste has quadrupled.

Willie Brown is in disgrace. Ed Lee is gone. Gavin Newsom is governor. Kamala Harris sits in the Senate.

"I will say there is more feces on the sidewalks than I've ever seen growing up here," San Francisco Mayor London Breed said.

So why hasn't she replaced Mohammed Nuru?

Breed, like Nuru and Harris, also got her start as a Brown protégé. And there is one more rumor.

“One lengthy, handwritten, anonymous letter, obviously from inside the agency, mentioned another more personal reason — ‘He dated London Breed’ (several other DPW sources also said they were aware of this, and one even hinted it may not be a thing of the past),” a letter column mentions.

Why is San Francisco filthy? It’s not the homeless. They just make it dirty. It’s the politicians who keep it dirty. Drug addicts may scatter needles on the street, but Democrats keep Mohammed Nuru on the job.


Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273918/mohammed-dirty-democrat-charge-cleaning-san-daniel-greenfield

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Elizabeth Warren’s “Economic Patriotism” Plan - Joseph Klein


by Joseph Klein

Unprecedented intrusion into America’s capitalist economy.





Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts is touting unprecedented government intrusion into America’s capitalist economy under the deceptive presidential campaign slogan she calls “economic patriotism.” She is trying to co-opt President Trump’s message to working class Americans built around economic populism, in which she condemns U.S. companies that ship jobs abroad and politicians who have negotiated bad trade agreements. However, Senator Warren’s model for fixing the problems she has identified is centralized government planning for promoting selected industrial sectors, not a free, robust marketplace unencumbered by burdensome taxes and regulations. Indeed, she wants more taxes and regulations. She referred approvingly to China’s Made in China 2025 plan, as well as plans developed by Germany and Japan, “that identify long-term goals for domestic production and put real money behind achieving them.” To achieve her goal to transform the American capitalist economy into something approaching China's model, Senator Warren has proposed the creation of a new government department that “will be responsible for creating a National Jobs Strategy (NJS) every four years, just as countries like Germany and China produce regular strategic plans…it will establish clear goals for American jobs and American industry that will guide how the Department of Economic Development prioritizes its investments and direct its programs.”

Senator Warren is particularly intrigued with imposing the heavy hand of government on the energy sector. In her “Green Manufacturing Plan for America” she proposed creating a new National Institutes of Clean Energy and spending enormous amounts of taxpayers’ money on advancing the economy-wrecking Green New Deal.  The price tag she has in mind would be “$2 trillion over the next ten years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting,” to help “achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal.” Apparently, Senator Warren has forgotten about Solyndra, the solar company that went belly up after the Obama administration wasted hundreds of millions of dollars of federal dollars to keep it afloat. Obama’s misdirected green energy loan guarantee gravy train program was estimated as of November 2014 to cost taxpayers over $2.2 billion.

Senator Warren has embraced the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, which would shift U.S. electricity generation in the direction of renewable energy sources instead of reliance on fossil fuels. She and her fellow New Green Deal boosters do not seem concerned that, in addition to the immediate negative consequences for the economy, such a shift will expose the nation’s electric grid to more cyber attacks. According to a report by the Manhattan Institute, “the rush to make U.S. grids greener and smarter also increases their cyberphysical attack surface.” It recommends slowing and even halting in some cases “smart- and green-grid transformation that increases the attack surface until adequate cybersecurity features are available and incorporated.” It also recommends allocating “grid budgets to increase funding for security, resilience, and reliability, and require cybersecurity metrics as part of pre-deployment requirements for green and efficiency programs.”

Senator Warren is all for the financial sector spending more money to strengthen its cyber defenses. If Senator Warren is so enamored with centralized government planning to run the nation’s energy sector, she should make certain that her push for promoting green energy sources for electric power generation does not jeopardize the nation’s cybersecurity.

Senator Warren wants to use the considerable leverage of federal government procurement for social engineering purposes. For example, she demands that “all companies that receive federal contracts” guarantee employees “at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.”

In trying to burnish her progressive credentials to the Democrat leftist base, Senator Warren has espoused reparations for black Americans economically affected by slavery. “We must confront the dark history of slavery and government-sanctioned discrimination in this country that has had many consequences including undermining the ability of Black families to build wealth in America for generations,” she told Reuters. “Black families have had a much steeper hill to climb - and we need systemic, structural changes to address that.” Weren’t affirmative action and trillions of dollars spent on anti-poverty programs supposed to address such problems?

Reparations is an example of radical wealth redistribution policies favored by Senator Warren and other progressives. As David Horowitz asked rhetorically:
What rationale would require Vietnamese boat people, Russian refuseniks, Iranian refugees, and Armenian victims of the Turkish persecution, Jews, Mexicans Greeks, or Polish, Hungarian, Cambodian and Korean victims of Communism, to pay reparations to American blacks? How are the millions of refugees from tyranny and genocide who are now living in America going to receive these claims, moreover, except as demands for special treatment, an extravagant new handout that is only necessary because some blacks can't seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others -- many less privileged than themselves?
Elizabeth Warren denies that she is a socialist. However, as the saying goes, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. Senator Warren’s policies would radically transform America’s economy from one based on a free market model to one closer to China’s centralized government industrial planning model.


Joseph Klein is a Harvard-trained lawyer and the author of Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom and Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam.

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273941/elizabeth-warrens-economic-patriotism-plan-joseph-klein

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Pope Denounces 'Racist' European Election Winners - Humberto Fontova


by Humberto Fontova

But slobbers over Stalinist dictators.





Pope Francis warned against a rise of intolerance and racism as far-right nationalists and eurosceptic parties made historic gains in European elections…"The signs of meanness we see around us heighten our fear of 'the other', the unknown, the marginalised, the foreigner," he said in a message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.”

Pope won’t meet with Italy’s Salvini because of his position on migration — Two Italian publications reported that Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini “has attempted to secure a papal audience and been rebuffed each time…Salvini had been told ‘a meeting could not occur if Salvini continues in his tough position regarding migrants.” 

But perhaps my term “slobbers over” strikes some of my amigos as inappropriate? As unnecessarily hyperbolic? Perhaps even as sacrilegious?

Fair enough. Perhaps you have a point. Now please study Pope Francis’ face in these (undoctored) pics and film clips from his visits to Cuba—then decide for yourselves.

Just in case, here’s a couple more. And please pay close attention to the race of the (untried) firing squad victim as opposed to the race of the (Castro-directed) firing squad and its commander. And please remember that Pope Francis’ complaint against Matteo Salvini is his “racism.”  

Also note that Pope Francis denounces “meanness.” Do firing squad murders of thousands upon thousands of untried victims, many of them yelling love of the Pope’s church with their last breaths, qualify as “meanness?

“The defiant yells (“Viva Cristo Rey!”—“Viva Cuba Libre!”-“Abajo Comunismo!”) from the bound and staked martyrs “would make the walls of La Cabana prison tremble!” wrote eyewitness to the slaughter, Armando Valladares, who suffered 22 torture-filled years in Castro’s prisons and was later appointed by Ronald Reagan as U.S. ambassador to U.N Human Rights Commission.

Given their valiant defiance even during their last seconds alive, by mid 1961 the mere binding and blindfolding of Castro and Che Guevara’s young murder victims wasn’t enough. Pope Francis' gracious Cuban hosts then began ordering that the Catholic youths also be gagged. The shaken firing-squads demanded it. The yells were badly unnerving the trigger-pullers, you see.

So now, as the fine folks who hosted Pope Francis’ in Cuba yanked the young Catholic heroes from the cells, bent their arms back, and bound their hands, two more Communist guards came into play. One grabbed the struggling victim’s hair and jerked his head back, trying to steady him. The other taped his mouth shut.

Raul Castro and Che Guevara (whose visage formed the backdrop for Pope Francis mass in Cuba) were the most notorious executioners during the early years of the Cuban Revolution. The orders, of course, all issued from the late Fidel Castro, who Pope Francis went out of his way to visit and smilingly hob-nob with after the Mass, profusely thanking him for his efforts towards “world peace,” (I am NOT making this up!)

“I am not Christ or a philanthropist,” wrote Che Guevara in a letter to his mother. “I am all the contrary of a Christ--In fact, if Christ himself stood in my way, I, like Nietzsche, would not hesitate to squish him like a worm.”

"The facts and figures are irrefutable. No one will any longer be able to claim ignorance or uncertainty about the criminal nature of Communism," wrote the New York Times (no less!) about The Black Book of Communism. This “irrefutable” study on Communism’s crimes was edited by the head of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research, Stephane Courtois (not exactly an embittered dispossessed Cuban exile) and translated into English by Harvard University Press (not exactly a subsidiary of the John Birch Society.)

This impeccably high-brow scholarly study found that Castro and Guevara’s firing squads murdered between 15 and 17 thousand Cubans, the equivalent of almost half a million executions given the U.S. population. Some more perspective: the UN, (the same United Nations that proudly features Cuba on its Human Rights Council, by the way) charged former Serbian dictator Slodoban Milosevic with “genocide” for ordering 8000 executions.

And far from any of the repentance the Catholic Church supposedly requires for forgiveness, the Castro brothers have always doubled--and even tripled-down--on their gloating for those thousands of murders, historically denouncing the young victims as “CIA mercenaries!” and “terrorists!”

None of this has prevented the Castro regime from receiving the most papal visits recently of any Latin America nation, equaling the number of papal visits to Brazil, with a population of 200 million, 130 million of them declared Catholics. In contrast, Cuba has a population of 11 million, only a tiny fraction of which are practicing Catholics. Someone’s got some serious “‘splainin” to do for this Papal fetish of constantly visiting Stalinist Cuba and chumming around with her Stalinist rulers.


Humberto Fontova

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273919/pope-denounces-racist-european-election-winners-humberto-fontova

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Video: Jordan Peterson at Prager U Summit - Prager University


by Prager University


Confronting mortality, catastrophe and malevolence.




In this video, Jordan Peterson discusses good versus evil in confronting life, religion, and human nature during an emotional keynote address at the 2019 Prager U Summit in Santa Barbara, California. Don't miss it!




Prager University

Source: https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/273933/video-jordan-peterson-prager-u-summit-prager-university

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Defusing the Student Loan Debt Bomb - James V. Capua and William T. Alpert


by James V. Capua and William T. Alpert

Finding a way to help an emerging generation of Americans work free of their student loan debt will serve both them and the common good.

A recent Wall Street Journal analysis paints a grim picture of the situation facing millennials:
“American millennials are approaching middle age in worse financial shape than every living generation ahead of them, lagging behind baby boomers and Generation X despite a decade of economic growth and falling unemployment.
“Hobbled by the financial crisis and recession that struck as they began their working life, Americans born between 1981 and 1996 have failed to match every other generation of young adults born since the Great Depression. They have less wealth, less property, lower marriage rates and fewer children, according to new data that compare generations at similar ages.”
Even allowing for the inevitable exaggeration, not to say whining, about their condition, too many millennials seem mired in the dismal “new normal “of the Obama economy just as much of the rest of the country is leaving it behind. The seeming intractability of the problems facing them is driving many to embrace radically collectivist and redistributive policy models, if not ideology, in numbers that are downright shocking. Specifically, political discussion of a fix for millennial higher education student loan balances that surpass both credit card and auto loan debt remains strictly in the realm of the fanciful.

As many have observed, the responsibility for the college student loan debt bubble cannot be laid solely at the feet of students and parents. Colossal failures of nerve and betrayals of standards by individual institutions and the false promises and perverse incentives of government policy have also played their part in creating this mess. Many were tempted to gamble at the high-stakes college-for-all table, but the house always won.

Finding a way to help an emerging generation of Americans work free of their student loan debt will serve both them and the common good, as long as the proposed solution incorporates material participation by all the multiple authors of this tragedy. For our ideologically purist friends, an alternative to the kind of dangerous notions we are hearing from the left can actually buttress, rather than diminish, the ideas that sustain a representative republic committed to individual liberty, limited government, and economic freedom, not to mention providing a plausible electoral alternative that can help expand the MAGA coalition. Ostensible education acquired at ruinous cost taught many millennials the wrong lessons. A rational ameliorative policy that demands contributions from all of those implicated in the student debt mess, thoughtfully articulated, can do more than all the haranguing about the virtues of democratic capitalism in helping coax millennials from the socialist/redistributionist cliff edge where many now teeter precariously.

From a purely policy perspective, the key to resolving the student loan debt problem is putting aside the gauzy pieties and treating post-secondary expenditures on education and training strictly as an investment in the individual student’s “human capital,” which upon graduation they rent to firms for the term of their employment or otherwise put to use supporting themselves.

Viewed in economic terms, post-secondary education is still a surprisingly good investment. The current disillusionment notwithstanding, returns on post-secondary education have held up remarkably well in the last 20 years.
The returns are calculated by taking into account not only out-of- pocket costs, but also the opportunity costs of college. The charts below show that the costs of a baccalaureate degree are about the same in inflation-adjusted terms as they were in 1970, while those of an associate’s degree have actually declined.
During the Obama years, with so few opportunities for high school graduates to after commencement, the opportunity costs of post-secondary education were low enough to offset ever-more spectacular out-of-pocket costs in the return calculations above. In the real world, these depressing prospects helped fuel the higher education/government lending machine.

Good potential returns or not, expenditures on education are a risky investment in the human capital of one fallible individual. A single student is always subject to the hazards and distracting temptations of college life, as one notoriously put it recently, all that “experience of game days, [and] partying” -- in addition to the vagaries of the labor market. While median returns to college education remain high, the variation in these returns is wide as millennials entering the labor market in the last decade have learned.

We propose using the federal income tax system to facilitate student loan repayment by the twin victims of both Hope and Change economic malpractice and a form of governmental/post-secondary institution collusion that enticed many students and their families into making bad bets. The U.S. Treasury initially would assume all the student loan debt and repay the original lenders for the balances of those who graduated from any post-secondary institution between 2007 and 2020. So far, this is what left-progressive plans propose, though most cover various classes of future students as well. But we introduce a critical second element that assigns for the student and alma mater a division of responsibility to repay taxpayers for the loan payoffs. The graduate would reimburse a portion to the U.S. Treasury, while the alma mater paid the remainder, the latter’s contribution determined by the graduate’s income. The graduate and the institution thus would share the risk that the student’s investment in his/her human capital at that institution was a good one.

In our baseline example, that of the median four-year college graduate’s annual income on graduation of about $40,100, the graduate and the alma mater would each pay 50% of the outstanding debt. The graduate, subject to a federal marginal tax rate of 22%, would have a fixed amount added to each year’s tax liability to pay off his or her portion of the amount advanced by the Treasury.

For purposes of illustration, we assume a median undergraduate student debt of $30,000.00 (the actual median is currently $28,000.00). If the final policy’s terms were to call for sharing the risks of the median student’s debt equally between graduate and alma mater, the graduate’s share of the debt can be paid off in 20 years at 6% without any adjustment being necessary in his or her marginal tax rate. If the graduate’s income grows in later periods, he or she can increase payments, lessening the payoff period. Likewise, if it chooses to do so, the alma mater can shorten the payoff period by accelerating payments.

If a graduate’s income on leaving school is above the median level, the proportion of the repayment liability would be adjusted upward based on an established sliding scale, and likewise, if taxable income is below the median, reduced. The alma mater would thus be rewarded for producing high-income graduates because these would assume more than the baseline 50% of the debt liability, while lower-income graduates would pay lower fractions, with the educational institution assuming a larger share.

The approach we have outlined lifts the immediate burden of student debt from younger Americans, enhancing their opportunity to pursue productive lives and careers, while repaying lenders in a manner that reduces the moral hazard inherent in the kinds of paid-off free rides being proposed by some presidential candidates. The adjustments in attitude it suggests for both institutions and future students would be a not insignificant side benefit.

The $1.5 trillion student-loan bomb required many hands to construct. Defusing it safely must also be a collective effort. The policy response to the student loan mess thus far has only singled out for-profit institutions for government action. And yet, reflection on the charges leveled against them like exploiting federal subsidies, lack of accountability, and poor outcomes, as well as the fixes proposed like “gainful employment” rules, suggests casting the much wider policy net we have proposed.

William T. Alpert is Emeritus Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Connecticut. He and Mr. Capua are principals of Fides Philanthropic Management and Advisory Services, LLC. Both were fortunate enough to have earned their doctorates at a time when merit-based higher-education assistance was readily available.

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/06/defusing_the_student_loan_debt_bomb.html

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A rattled Nasrallah drops the pretenses - Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira


by Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira

In response to what he perceives as an imminent American threat, the terrorist leader says it is Hezbollah's prerogative to upgrade and even manufacture precision missiles in Lebanon.

The recent intensification of Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah’s threats against the United States and Israel, for example in his Quds Day statement on May 31, reflects genuine fear on Hezbollah’s part. Hezbollah perceives recent statements made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield to the Lebanese leadership as an imminent threat.

According to a credible report in the London-based Al Hayat newspaper on June 2, 2019, Lebanese President Michel Aoun, Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri were warned by the United States that it would not ignore intelligence information, pictures, and maps of Hezbollah’s precision-missile sites, and that the United States would not be able to restrain Israel from acting against them.

Nasrallah responded belligerently. He denied that there were any precision-missile factories in Lebanon, but asserted that building such facilities was Hezbollah’s prerogative. In the same breath, Nasrallah again threatened to use long-range precision missiles capable of hitting strategic targets in Israel. This is not the first time Nasrallah has denied plain facts; for Nasrallah, truth is not the sole option.

A commentary posted on Hezbollah’s official Al Ahed website proclaimed that Israel cannot ignore Nasrallah’s messages, including his words about the precision missiles in Hezbollah’s hands and about the United States’ “failure” to foment a domestic debate on the subject in Lebanon and to portray the missiles as the main factor behind Lebanon’s instability.

The post said that, instead of adopting a policy of ambiguity on the missile issue, Nasrallah had unequivocally affirmed Hezbollah’s right to maintain any capabilities to confront the Israeli threat, including long-range precision missiles capable of hitting any target in Israel.

The commentary also made clear that Hezbollah rejects the attempt to use the talks with the United States on demarcating Lebanon’s land and maritime borders with Israel to convey threats on the missile issue. It said that whether or not there are precision-missile factories in Lebanon is not the United States’ business and that Hezbollah has the right to manufacture whatever weaponry it wants.

“If the Americans want to keep this file open, we have the full capacity to manufacture and to get manufacturing machines, and we will set up factories to manufacture precision rockets in Lebanon,” Nasrallah said.

Hezbollah has decided that, in the case of a military escalation between the United States and Iran, it will act against Israel. Hezbollah’s response could fall along a spectrum of possibilities, from activating the Shiite militias in Syria against Israeli targets on the Golan Heights to activating Hezbollah cells against Israel on the Golan border, while, if there is an American attack in Iran itself, Hezbollah will respond with missile fire at Israel.

Iran cannot transport weapons, so it builds them in Lebanon

Iran and Hezbollah have taken a strategic decision to build infrastructure in Lebanon for upgrading precision missiles. At the basis of this decision stands Israel’s determination to attack whatever construction of such infrastructure occurs in Syria, and to attack whatever components are discovered making the move from Syria to Lebanon. Apparently, Hezbollah assumes Israel will not operate freely against such facilities in Lebanon.

It is worth emphasizing that there are no economic or financial constraints on this strategic decision stemming from the economic sanctions against Iran and Hezbollah. Numerous reports have appeared on Iran’s and Hezbollah’s economic plight, including a drastic reduction in Iranian aid to Hezbollah and substantial cuts that affect its military and social activity. Regarding Hezbollah, however, these reports appear to be greatly exaggerated. As Tony Badran, a highly regarded and experienced analyst, rightly points out:

“Hezbollah is not bankrupt. Have Iranian funds to the group been affected by sanctions on Tehran? The answer is most likely yes, but that misses the key point. The more critical question is: Has Hezbollah’s ability to continue to run its operations, both military and non-military, been substantially curtailed at this point in the maximum pressure campaign? There is no convincing evidence to suggest that anything like that is happening.”

This article is reprinted from JNS.org.


Brig. Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira

Source: https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/a-rattled-nasrallah-drops-the-pretenses/

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Turkey's "Second Invasion" of Cyprus: Illegal Drilling in Eastern Mediterranean - Uzay Bulut


by Uzay Bulut

For Mr. Erdogan's plans to succeed, Cyprus needs to be eliminated." — Harris Samaras, an expert on the Cypriot EEZ and chairman of the international investment banking firm Pytheas.

  • "Although Turkey has been violating Cyprus's sovereignty since 1974, the current highly volatile internal political and economic situation in Turkey has made the Turkish government get even more aggressive in the eastern Mediterranean.... For Mr. Erdogan's plans to succeed, Cyprus needs to be eliminated." — Harris Samaras, an expert on the Cypriot EEZ and chairman of the international investment banking firm Pytheas.
  • "Mr. Erdogan is aware that it will be impossible for Turkey to achieve its goals of regional hegemony if US interests in particular, but also French ones, develop a firm foothold in Cyprus. This is his biggest fear." — Harris Samaras.
  • "The East Med Pipeline, then -- which has been started with the blessing of the US -- is of the utmost importance. At the last trilateral meeting of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present and supported the project. If it goes ahead, it will be a major slap in the face for Turkey's energy plans." — Harris Samaras.
  • "Concrete steps should be taken to stop Turkish violations against Cyprus's EEZ. Sanctions should be imposed at the level of the European Council to the persons and companies responsible for the drilling. All pre-accession funds to Turkey should be blocked, and Turkish access to loans by the European Investment Bank should be eliminated. Additional options, if Turkey escalates the situation further, are imposing sanctions on Turkey's banking sector and freezing the accession process altogether. The US also needs to lift the irrational arms embargo it imposed on the Republic of Cyprus in 1987, and help it to rearm and modernize its ability to defend itself, while keeping the UN peace keeping mission (UNFICYP) intact." — Theodoros Tsakiris, assistant professor of energy policy and geopolitics at the University of Nicosia.

According to Harris Samaras, an expert on the Cypriot EEZ and chairman of the international investment banking firm Pytheas, "The East Med Pipeline... is of the utmost importance. At the last trilateral meeting of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present and supported the project." Pictured: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets in Jerusalem with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, on March 20, 2019. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)

Turkey's latest provocation against the Republic of Cyprus -- drilling for gas in the Cypriot Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the eastern Mediterranean -- has elicited harsh reactions from the international community.

Likening Turkey's encroachment to "a second invasion," Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said that the action constitutes a "violation of international law;" his Foreign Ministry submitted a map delineating its EEZ boundaries with Turkey to the United Nations. In addition, Cypriot Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said that his government is seeking an international arrest warrant for the crew of "Fatih," the drilling vessel that Ankara dispatched to Cypriot waters.

EU High Representative and Vice President, Federica Mogherini promptly issued a statement "urgently call[ing] on Turkey to show restraint, respect the sovereign rights of Cyprus in its exclusive economic zone and refrain from any such illegal action to which the European Union will respond appropriately and in full solidarity with Cyprus."

The U.S. State Department also urged Turkey to halt the drilling.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry lashed out with a statement of its own:
"[T]he attempts of the third parties to act as an international court in determining maritime boundaries is unacceptable. In this context, the statement of the US calling Turkey by expressing that "there exists Greek Cypriot claims over the area" is neither constructive nor compatible with international law, given the fact that there is no valid maritime delimitation agreement in the region."
In a recent interview with the Gatestone Institute, Harris Samaras, an expert on the Cypriot EEZ and chairman of the international investment banking firm Pytheas, explained:
"Although Turkey has been violating Cyprus's sovereignty since 1974, the current highly volatile internal political and economic situation in Turkey has made the Turkish government get even more aggressive in the eastern Mediterranean. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AKP party have to save face by sustaining the dogma of supranationalism that granted him and his party power.
"Another factor that triggered Turkey here was the confirmation of commercial hydrocarbons within Cyprus' EEZ and the announced interest of oil and gas conglomerates, such as ExxonMobil, ENI and Total to continue their activities. Last year, ENI was obstructed by Turkey's gunboats from continuing operations. But ExxonMobil was not. Why? Because it was accompanied by the US Navy, so Turkey could not do anything.
"Meanwhile, the natural gas discoveries by ExxonMobil have demonstrated that Cyprus could eventually establish a liquefaction plant to serve Cypriot and regional deposits. This would almost automatically transform Cyprus into a regional hydrocarbon hub, and at the same time reduce Turkey's energy importance, plans and investments.
"Politically, the biggest regional threat to Turkey's targeting of Cyprus is Israel. The strongest energy link for Israel is Cyprus, a democratic, EU member state. So, for Mr. Erdogan's plans to succeed, Cyprus needs to be eliminated. Moreover, Egypt is a significant regional force with the Zhor natural gas fields in its arsenal. Despite past differences, Israeli and Egyptian relationships have improved.
"Mr. Erdogan is aware that it will be impossible for Turkey to achieve its goals of regional hegemony if US interests in particular, but also French ones, develop a firm foothold in Cyprus. This is his biggest fear.
"In addition, Turkey's relationship with Russia has strengthened in recent years. If Turkey ends up installing Russian S-400s, Mr. Erdogan knows that his geopolitical span and influence will be in many ways limited, as they will come into direct conflict with US and Israeli interests. 'Neutralizing' Cyprus, the weakest link in the equation, in many ways disarms Israel's regional geopolitical effectiveness.
"The East Med Pipeline, then -- which has been started with the blessing of the US -- is of the utmost importance. At the last trilateral meeting of Israel, Cyprus and Greece, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was present and supported the project. If it goes ahead, it will be a major slap in the face for Turkey's energy plans."
Theodoros Tsakiris, assistant professor of energy policy and geopolitics at the University of Nicosia, told Gatestone:
"Turkey started targeting the Cyprus' EEZ in 2011, when it signed a demarcation agreement of its continental shelf with the Turkish occupied area of Cyprus that only Turkey recognizes as an independent state -- the so-called 'Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus' (TRNC). Not only are the Turkish activities in Cyprus's EEZ illegal, but the Turkish ships are also causing serious difficulties for Cypriot and international companies operating in the area. In February 2018, for example, the Turkish navy blocked the attempted drilling of the Italian oil company ENI in the demarcated Cypriot EEZ. Meanwhile, more Turkish drilling ships may be on their way.
"Concrete steps should be taken to stop Turkish violations against Cyprus's EEZ. Sanctions should be imposed at the level of the European Council to the persons and companies responsible for the drilling. All pre-accession funds to Turkey should be blocked, and Turkish access to loans by the European Investment Bank should be eliminated. Additional options, if Turkey escalates the situation further, are imposing sanctions on Turkey's banking sector and freezing the accession process altogether. The US also needs to lift the irrational arms embargo it imposed on the Republic of Cyprus in 1987, and help it to rearm and modernize its ability to defend itself, while keeping the UN peace keeping mission (UNFICYP) intact."


Uzay Bulut, a Turkish journalist, is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Gatestone Institute.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14256/cyprus-turkey-illegal-drilling

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The Transatlantic Relationship on the 75th Anniversary of D-Day - Con Coughlin


by Con Coughlin

What the free world needs is a strong NATO to defend democracy against autocratic regimes like China and Russia, not one that is distracted by unnecessary internal squabbles, lest the transatlantic alliance one day cease to exist.

  • US officials were shocked when Angela Merkel said she had no intention of meeting the target [of minimum defence spending of 2 percent of GDP] by 2024, but that Germany might be able to reach it by 2030. Given the closeness of Germany's relationship with Russia, particularly over the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline which will supply Berlin's energy needs for decades to come, this attitude suggests Germany is more interested in its relations with Russia than sustaining the NATO alliance.
  • For a president who is already critical of the Europeans' failure to pay for defending their continent, this cavalier attitude can hardly be deemed constructive.
  • What the free world needs is a strong NATO to defend democracy against autocratic regimes like China and Russia, not one that is distracted by unnecessary internal squabbles, lest the transatlantic alliance one day cease to exist.

US President Donald Trump's attendance at this week's commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in northern France comes at a time when the future of the transatlantic relationship between the US and Europe is under unprecedented strain. (Image source: Jack Hill - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

US President Donald Trump's attendance at this week's commemorations to mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in northern France comes at a time when the future of the transatlantic relationship between the US and Europe is under unprecedented strain.

The Normandy landings, which began on June 6 and resulted in Allied forces achieving the remarkable feat of delivering 156,000 troops on to the shores of northern France, unquestionably represents the high water mark of the transatlantic relationship.

Not only did it ultimately result in the defeat of Nazi Germany and end the reign of terror it had instituted over much of Europe. It also led to the formation of the close alliance between the Western democracies of the free world in the existential battle with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

And yet, despite the significant victories the alliance achieved against these two significant foes, serious concerns are now being raised as to whether the alliance has the resilience to meet future challenges, from the emergence of China to the destabilizing policies of rogue states like Russia and Iran.

It is not just the personal dislike many Europeans claim to have for Mr Trump himself that threatens the future well-being of the relationship, although the childish antics of anti-Trump protesters in Britain this week, where the president is on a three-day state visit, hardly help the cause of transatlantic cooperation.

While the British government literally rolled out the red carpet for the 45th US President, with Mr Trump receiving a warm welcome from the Queen at Buckingham Palace, the magnificent pomp and ceremony of the royal occasion will have been somewhat undermined by the appearance of the "Trump baby" balloon in the skies over London.

If the balloon's re-appearance -- it made its debut during Mr Trump's brief visit to London last year -- signifies the deep dislike many left-wing politicians, such as Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn have for Mr Trump, there are other, more worrying trends, that raise questions about whether the alliance can survive in years to come.

Foremost among these remains the refusal of a number of European countries, such as Germany, to pay their fair share towards the cost of maintaining NATO, the military alliance whose origins date back to the close cooperation forged between the Allies during World War II.

Even though European leaders, at the 2014 NATO summit in Cardiff, pledged to meet NATO's minimum defence spending requirement of 2 percent of GDP by 2024, the Trump administration is becoming increasingly frustrated by the failure of a number of European leaders to fulfil their obligations.

For example, at a recent meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Washington, US officials were shocked when Mrs Merkel said she had no intention of meeting the target by 2024, but that Germany might be able to reach it by 2030.

Given the closeness of Germany's relationship with Russia, particularly over the construction of the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which will supply Berlin's energy needs for decades to come, this attitude suggests Germany is more interested in its relations with Russia than sustaining the NATO alliance.

For a president who is already critical of the Europeans' failure to pay for defending their continent, this cavalier attitude can hardly be deemed constructive.

Iran is another issue where the Europeans' insistence of going their own way over the 2015 nuclear deal has caused unnecessary friction with Washington. As signatories to the deal that former President Barack Obama helped to negotiate with the ayatollahs in 2015, Britain, France and Germany continue to insist that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remains the best means of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

To that end they have encouraged European firms to continue trading with Tehran even if, by so doing, they run the risk of being penalised by the US.

The divergence of opinion between Europe and the US over Iran is likely to deepen further if Washington fulfils its promise to present the UN this week with clear evidence that Iran was involved in recent acts of terrorism in the Gulf, including planting four explosive devices on oil tankers anchored in the Gulf.

If, as seems increasingly likely, it can be proven that Iran was responsible for the recent escalation in tensions in the Gulf region, then Europe's insistence on trying to save the nuclear deal will be even harder to justify.

And the longer such differences of opinion exist between the US and Europe on key policy areas, whether it is NATO funding or Iran's nuclear programme, the greater the tensions within the transatlantic alliance are likely to be. Therefore, in order to prevent irrepairable damage to this vital relationship, this approach is short-sighted on the part of the Europeans. What the free world needs is a strong NATO to defend democracy against autocratic regimes like China and Russia, not one that is distracted by unnecessary internal squabbles, lest the transatlantic alliance one day cease to exist.

Con Coughlin is the Telegraph's defence and foreign affairs editor.

Source: https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/14346/nato-relationship

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Thursday, June 6, 2019

Looks like Christopher Steele has cut a deal and will turn state's evidence on Russia Hoax prosecutions - Thomas Lifson


by Thomas Lifson

I have all along believed that part of President Trump's mission in the U.K. was winning over British support for fully outing the role of its intelligence services in the Russia Hoax.

I don't think it is a coincidence that just as President Trump is in the U.K., we suddenly learn that "dossier" author Christopher Steele has agreed to be questioned by U.S. authorities. Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller reports:
Former British spy Christopher Steele has agreed to meet in London with U.S. officials regarding the dossier, The Times of London is reporting.
A source close to Steele told the newspaper he plans to meet with American authorities within the next several weeks, but only about his interactions with the FBI and only with the approval of the British government.
Steele's decision is an apparent about-face from his reported refusal to meet with U.S. investigators regarding his infamous report.
Reuters reported in May that Steele was unwilling to meet with a federal prosecutor who Attorney General William Barr tapped to lead an investigation into the origins of the Russia probe. And Politico reported on April 17 that Steele was refusing to meet with the Justice Department's office of the inspector general, which is looking into the FBI's use of the dossier to obtain surveillance warrants against Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser.
I have all along believed that part of President Trump's mission in the U.K. was winning over British support for fully outing the role of its intelligence services in the Russia Hoax. He would have to guarantee that the overall relationship will remain sound even if highly embarrassing facts come to light. While speaking with outgoing P.M. May was necessary, she will soon be replaced. I do not discount the importance of his 90-minute private conversation with Queen Elizabeth. The next P.M. cannot take office without going to her for permission, and in that conversation she is fully capable of laying out her expectations that this affair be made public to the extent that President Trump demands. The serene continuation of the Special Relationship with the U.S. is precisely the sort of institutional matter of utmost importance that a British monarch has a legitimate and important voice on.

YouTube screen grab (cropped).

Steele must have learned that the offer to speak with U.S. authorities was one he couldn't refuse. Her Majesty's government would not support any efforts to resist extradition if he were to refuse cooperation and be indicted. They might even provide documentation that would lead to his conviction.

Joe DiGenova sees that this is really big news:
Attorney General William Barr's investigators are hot on the trail of former FBI Director James Comey, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and others who played a role in concocting the conspiracy to take down our duly elected president.
If investigators conclude that Comey, Clapper and others engaged in a criminal conspiracy — as seems increasingly likely — then Christopher Steele could easily be named as a co-defendant, which would trigger an extradition request that Britain would almost certainly honor.
Steele obviously doesn't want that to happen, which is probably why he declined a previous request for cooperation from U.S. Attorney John Durham, one of Barr's top investigators looking into the FISA warrants scandal.
We don't yet know which investigators will be interviewing Steele in the coming weeks, but it's a pretty safe bet that they've offered him some form of immunity in exchange for his candor. That should terrify the Democrats who enlisted him in their attempts to execute a Deep State coup against Trump.
If Steele spills the beans on his former handlers, the resulting prosecutions of former high-level federal officials would make Watergate seem trivial by comparison.
In addition to Comey, Clapper and Brennan, it's entirely possible that Steele's testimony will yield new insights that could eventually help to implicate even higher-ranking officials in the Obama administration.
Watch, as on Hannity last night, Joe says walls are beginning to close in:




Thomas Lifson

Source: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/06/looks_like_christopher_steele_has_cut_a_deal_and_will_turn_states_evidence_on_russia_hoax_prosecutions_.html

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