Category: Today’s News

Trump Kicked the Sluggish Economy Into High Gear

A look at Obama wants credit for faster growth, but compare Obama’s last 21 months to Trump’s first 21.

By Andy Puzder  November 26, 2018

Official portrait of Governor Jerome H. Powell. Mr. Powell took office on May 25, 2012, to fill an unexpired term ending January 31, 2014.
For more information, visit http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/powell.htm

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said last month that the U.S. is experiencing “a remarkably positive set of economic circumstances.” The superb numbers speak for themselves, but who gets the credit?

For eight years under President Obama, the growing burden of government suppressed the economic recovery that should have followed the recession of 2008-09. Mr. Obama nonetheless has claimed responsibility for today’s boom, asking Americans in September to “remember when this recovery started.” Yet it wasn’t until President Trump took office that the economy surged. His administration’s pro-business policies—cutting taxes, slashing regulations and encouraging energy production—released the pent-up dynamism of American capitalism. The result is a rising tide that is lifting boats across every class and region of the country.

The last recession officially ended in June 2009. During a typical recovery, the economy grows at a rate between 3% and 4%, and the Obama administration predicted such a surge in its 2010 midsession review. It never came. The “recovery” of those years often felt much like a recession. In the postrecession period under Mr. Obama, gross domestic product grew an average of 2.2%.

GDP growth staggered along at 1.5% in Mr. Obama’s final six full quarters in office. In contrast, growth doubled to 3% during Mr. Trump’s first six full quarters. And through three quarters of 2018, the economy has grown at a 3.3% clip and is on track to hit at least 3% for the full calendar year. That would make this year the first with 3% growth since 2005.

To get an even clearer picture, compare the contiguous periods of the Trump and Obama years. Accelerating growth is having an impact on the job market. By August of this year, Mr. Trump’s pro-business policies had driven job openings to their highest level since 2000, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started tracking the number. With business optimism on a two year streak of record highs, the increase in job openings over Mr. Trump’s first 21 months has averaged an impressive 75,000 a month. Over Mr. Obama’s last 21 months in office, the number of job openings increased an average of 900 a month. That’s less than 1/80th of Mr. Trump’s average.

Even more impressively, the current surge in job openings has occurred while a record number of people are already employed. During Mr. Obama’s last 21 months, the number of employed Americans increased an average of 157,000 a month. Under Mr. Trump, the increase has accelerated to 214,000 a month, a 36% improvement. The number of employed people in October hit 157 million—the highest ever.

This increase in job openings and people employed has created increased demand for workers. In March the number of job openings exceeded the number of people the BLS considers unemployed for the first time since the bureau began reporting the data. There have been more openings than job seekers every month since. By September, there were one million more job openings than unemployed people.

Today’s jobs also offer more hours than in the recent past. In Mr. Obama’s last 21 months the economy added an average of 148,000 full-time workers a month. Under Mr. Trump that number has risen to 218,000, a 47% improvement.

The combination of more full-time workers with higher wages and more overtime opportunities has pushed up weekly earnings. In Mr. Obama’s final 21 months, weekly earnings rose an average of $1.31 a month. Under Mr. Trump, weekly earnings have increased an average of $1.84 cents a month: a 40% improvement that’s come mostly since tax reform took effect in January. Over that period, weekly earnings have grown an average of $2.31 a month, a 76% increase over Mr. Obama’s last 21 months. Maybe those tax cuts weren’t Armageddon after all.

A broad cross section of the country has benefited from the strengthening economy. The unemployment rate declined 13% during Mr. Obama’s last 21 months, but from there it has dropped another 23% during Mr. Trump’s tenure. Today unemployment rests at 3.7%, near a 50-year low. Since the government began reporting the data, unemployment has never been as low as it is today for African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and people with only a high-school education. The rate for women is at a 65-year low, and for teenagers, a 50-year low.

Despite Mr. Obama’s attempts to take credit, this is a Trump economic boom. Unleashed by Mr. Trump’s policies and powered by the initiative of American workers, the U.S. economy is creating prosperity for every class and color of people. Sorry, Mr. Obama, but you didn’t build that.

Mr. Puzder is a former CEO of CKE Restaurants and author of “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It.”

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America Needs A History Lesson

This history lesson happened in Argentina, it could happen in the U.S.

The Democrat Party leaders of today are guilty of more than stupidity; they are enslaving future generations to poverty and misery. And they will be long gone when it all implodes. They will be dead and as cold as Juan Perón when the piper ultimately must be paid.

Growing up in 1940s , ’50s, and  ’60s, on Saturdays we always went to the movies matinee. I remember like it was yesterday, the news was  a big deal for me, it was always shown right after the cartoons and  before the main attraction. I can remember it always had a lot of news about what was going on in Argentina, the good and bad. I always thought  it was a beautiful country and it was so sad what was going on there. I would think about whether or not that could happen to America. Yes, it can. I see and read about the crap here  just as I saw in the news  clips at the movies about Argentina.

In the early 20th century, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world. While Great Britain’s maritime power and its far-flung empire had propelled it to a dominant position among the world’s industrialized nations, only the United States challenged Argentina for the position of the world’s second-most powerful economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Argentine Republic was established after independence from Spain in 1816. Democratic rule was often interrupted by military coups. The end of Juan Peron’s authoritarian rule in 1955 led to a series of right-wing military dictatorships, and left-wing and nationalist violence. Argentina returned to elected civilian rule in 1983 after seven years of vicious repression of suspected leftist guerrillas and other dissidents.

Like the United States, Argentina was blessed with abundant agriculture, vast swaths of rich farmland laced with navigable rivers, and an accessible port system.  Its level of industrialization was higher than many European countries; railroads, automobiles, and telephones were commonplace.

Known as “the father of the poor,” Hipolito Irigoyen was Argentina’s first president elected by its citizenry. He held the office twice, from 1916 to 1922, and from 1928 to 1930.He was active in social reforms for the poor and working class, including improving factory conditions, regulating work hours, and pushing for pensions. Hipólito Irigoyen had formed a party called The Radicals under the banner of “fundamental change” with an appeal to the middle class.He was driven out of office during his second term by military coup.

Among Irigoyen’s changes: mandatory pension insurance, mandatory health insurance, and support for low-income housing construction to stimulate the economy.  Put simply, the state assumed economic control of a vast swath of the country’s operations and began assessing new payroll taxes to fund its efforts.

Democrats Were Anti-Civil Rights

With an increasing flow of funds into these entitlement programs, the government’s payouts soon became overly generous.  Before long, its outlays surpassed the value of the taxpayers’ contributions.  Put simply, it quickly became under-funded, much like the United States’ Social Security and Medicare programs.

The death knell for the Argentine economy, however, came with the election of Juan Perón.  Perón had a fascist and corporatist upbringing; he and his charismatic wife, Eva, aimed their populist rhetoric at the nation’s rich.

 

 

Juan Domingo Peron (1895-1974) was an Argentine General and diplomat who was elected to serve as President of Argentina on three occasions (1946, 1951, and 1973). An extraordinarily skilled politician, he had millions of supporters even during his years of exile (1955-1973).

His policies were mostly populist and tended to favor the working classes, who embraced him and made him without question the most influential Argentine politician of the 20th Century. Eva “Evita” Duarte de Peron, his second wife, was an important factor in his success and influence. This targeted group “swiftly expanded to cover most of the propertied middle classes, who became an enemy to be defeated and humiliated.”

First Term, 1946-1951

Perón proved to be an able administrator during his first term. His goals were increased employment and economic growth, international sovereignty and social justice. He nationalized banks and railways, centralized the grain industry and raised worker wages. He put a time limit on daily hours worked and instituted a mandatory Sundays-off policy for most jobs. He paid off foreign debts and built many public works such as schools and hospitals. Internationally, he declared a “third way” between the Cold War powers and managed to have good diplomatic relations with both the United States and the Soviet Union.

Second Term, 1951-1955

Peron’s problems began in his second term. Evita passed away in 1952. The economy stagnated, and the working class began to lose faith in Peron. His opposition, mostly conservatives who disapproved of his economic and social policies, began to get bolder.

High taxes and economic mismanagement took their inevitable toll even after Perón had been driven from office.  However, his populist rhetoric and “contempt for economic realities” lived on.  Argentina’s federal government continued to spend far beyond its means.

After attempting to legalize prostitution and divorce, he was excommunicated. When he held a rally in protest, opponents in the military launched a coup which included the Argentine Air Force and Navy bombing the Plaza de Mayo during the protest, killing almost 400. On September 16, 1955, military leaders seized power in Cordoba and were able to drive Peron out on the 19th.

Socialism Spends What Capitalism Earns

 

 

Hyperinflation exploded in 1989, the final stage of a process characterized by “industrial protectionism, redistribution of income based on increased wages, and growing state intervention in the economy.

 

The Argentinian government’s practice of printing money to pay off its public debts had crushed the economy.  Inflation hit 3000%, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic.  Food riots were rampant; stores were looted; the country descended into chaos.

 

By 1994, Argentina’s public pensions — the equivalent of Social Security — had imploded.  The payroll tax had increased from 5% to 26%, but it was not enough.  In addition, Argentina had implemented a value-added tax (VAT), new income taxes, a personal tax on wealth, and additional revenues based upon the sale of public enterprises.  These crushed the private sector, further damaging the economy.

 

A government-controlled “privatization” effort to rescue seniors’ pensions was attempted.  However, by 2001, those funds had also been raided by the government, the monies replaced by Argentina’s defaulted government bonds.

 

By 2001 – Economic crisis. Argentina makes history with the largest ever sovereign debt default of more than $80bn (£42bn). Peronist government of President Nestor Kirchner restores stability.

The 2001 Argentine economic and financial crisis has many parallels with the problems that some European countries are facing to-day.
Prior to the crisis, Argentina was suffering a deep recession, large levels of debt, twin deficits in the fiscal and current accounts, and the country had an overvalued currency but devaluation was not an option .

By 2002 -Government fiscal irresponsibility… induced a national economic crisis as severe as America’s Great Depression.”

In 1902, Argentina was one of the world’s richest countries.  Little more than a hundred years later, it is poverty-stricken, struggling to meet its debt obligations amidst a drought.

Venezuela proves just how bad things can get when socialism is embraced.

How’s Socialism Doing in Venezuela? …

How Socialism Ruined My Country

The Democrat Party’s populist plans for the U.S. cannot possibly work, because government bankrupts everything it touches.  History teaches us that Obama Care and unfunded entitlement programs will be utter, complete disasters.

The Socialist Democrat Party leaders of today are guilty of more than stupidity; they are enslaving future generations to poverty and misery.  And they will be long gone when it all implodes.  They will be as cold and dead as Juan Perón when the piper must ultimately be paid.

Democratic Socialism is Still Socialism

Today the Democratic Party are saying  we need to overhaul the DNC. The leaders are saying we are now in a populist era. The entire organization has to be reinvented from the ground up. The Democratic Party has become irrelevant to the lives of most people. It’s nothing but a giant fundraising machine. …The real struggle and the real question is: Will progressive populism prevail over authoritarian right-wing populism? One of the strongest and most powerful forces out there is a rejection of the status quo, a repudiation of politics as usual and a deep and profound distrust of elites, including the power structure of America. A new Democratic Party needs to lead on progressive populism.

So, as we begin, let us take inventory. We are a nation that has a government—not the other way around. And this makes us special among the nations of the Earth.

Looking at a speech from Ted Cruz

The idea that — the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon, which is that our rights don’t come from man. They come from God Almighty. And that the purpose of the Constitution, as Thomas Jefferson put it, is to serve as chains to bind the mischief of government.

The incredible opportunity of the American dream, what has enabled millions of people from all over the world to come to America with nothing and to achieve anything. And then the American exceptionalism that has made this nation a clarion voice for freedom in the world, a shining city on a hill.

The American dream doesn’t come from what government does, it comes from what its government can’t do. What’s great about America is what its people do, its government often just gets in the way.

Today, I think, we have not forgotten our beginnings. Instead of Americans having a shared vision for America, we now have become a divided nation. A nation full of individuals and of groups, each of which has their own vision for their own individual futures,  you bet your  ass it has not a thing to do with this nation, it’s all about them..

 Socialists Democrats in the House have already called for at least 50 inquiries, said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland, the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, the House’s chief government watchdog panel.

 Socialist Democrats Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and a handful of other politicians have called for wide-sweeping rapid change in the basic structure of the political, social, or economic system. They may be willing to resort to extreme methods, including the use of violence and revolution.

I have great faith in America and its people. This is a great country. If we live and work so as to enjoy the approval of a Divine Providence, we will endure as a nation. Without God’s help, we cannot long endure.

 

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San Francisco Treats Illegals, Tricks Citizens

California’s “motor voter” scheme may be sending one million illegals to the polls.

On Tuesday, San Francisco will become the largest city in the nation to allow noncitizens to vote, and the city has spent $310,000 on a “new registration system” specifically aimed at illegals. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the plan is the first in the state and follows Proposition N, a 2016 ballot measure allowing votes by noncitizens over the age of 18, reside in the city, and have children under age 19.

By the count of the Chronicle, only 49 noncitizens have signed up to vote on Tuesday, which works out to $6,326 for every illegal voter, but there’s more to the story. City officials are worried that voting could expose illegals to ICE, who might come looking and possibly deport somebody. So supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a backer of Proposition N, urged the city to spend $500,000 to warn the illegals.

Whatever San Francisco spends, their effort pales in comparison with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV’s 2015, “motor voter” law allowed the DMV automatically to register as voters those who get driver’s licenses. Secretary of State Alex Padilla claimed that protocols and “firewalls” would keep ineligibles from voting, but there was room for reasonable doubt.

After the 2016 election, Padilla refused to release any information to a federal probe of voter fraud, which he called a “false and debunked” claim. In 2015, on the other hand, Padilla told the Los Angeles Times, “at the latest, for the 2018 election cycle, I expect millions of new voters on the rolls in the state of California.” True to form, by March, 2018, the DMV had given licenses to more than one million illegals.

In September, the DMV announced 23,000 “erroneous” registrations, but it quickly emerged that from April to August, the DMV had registered 182,000 “new voters.” Some legislators pushed for an audit but that is being handled by the department of finance, under the control of governor Jerry Brown, who supports the state’s sanctuary legislation.

Californians could be forgiven for believing that the “erroneous” registrations are a dodge and that one million or more illegals will be going to the polls on Tuesday. That could tip the scales in several key races.

In June, Democrat Ammar Yasser Najjar changed his name to Ammar Joseph Campa-Najjar. He is the grandson of Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, of the 1972 Munich massacre, and seeking to unseat Rep. Duncan Hunter in San Diego. The Democrat’s father, Yasser al-Najjar, has served as a de-facto ambassador for the Palestinian Authority. His son Ammar worked for the reelection of POTUS 44 in 2012 and at this writing the race with Hunter is tight. Illegal votes could make the difference.

In Orange County, Democrat Gil Cisneros vies with Republican Young Kim for the seat of retiring Ed Royce. Navy veteran Cisneros won $266 million in the California lottery in 2010 and decided to go into politics. The lucky guy supports DACA and opposes President Trump’s immigration policies. Kim holds a slight edge but “new voters,” code for illegals, could tip the race.

Back in 1996, 642 illegals voted for Democrat Loretta Sanchez, who defeated Republican Robert Dornan by fewer than 1,000 votes. As a State Department investigation discovered, false-documented illegals have been voting in local, state, and federal elections for decades. Now San Francisco is up front about it and funding the illegal voters.

The noncitizens will be allowed to vote only for school board members, but that limitation is  temporary. As school commissioner Shamann Walton told the Los Angeles Times, “Trump will not always be president,” and “hopefully we’ll have leaders who are inclusive and really believe that if you are a resident of this country, you should have the same rights as other people.”

Those “other people,” as it happens, are legitimate citizens and legal immigrants. As they might note, California gives illegals welfare, driver’s licenses, and in-state tuition. In college admissions California even prefers illegals over out-of-state American students, a violation of state law, the 1996 Proposition 209.

California’s sanctuary state law gives protection to violent criminal illegals such as racist Mexican Luis Bracamontes, who in 2014 gunned down police officers Danny Oliver and Michael Davis in Sacramento. In 2014 San Francisco released criminal illegal Garcia Zarate, or whatever his real name is, rather than hand him over to federal immigration authorities. In short order, the repeatedly deported Mexican national gunned down Kate Steinle on a San Francisco pier. Governor Jerry Brown was rather quiet about that.

In Mendota, near Fresno, the criminal illegals of MS-13 have imposed a reign of terror, hacking people to death, as ruling Democrats look the other way. That’s the way it is in California, where Democrats have made false-documented illegals a privileged, protected class. Those “other people” should not be surprised if more than a million illegals return the favor by showing up at the polls on Tuesday.

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Full Remarks Sen. Susan Collins

Made to Explain Why She’s a Yes on Kavanaugh

Sen. Susan Collins delivered these remarks on the Senate floor Oct. 5 to explain why she had decided to vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh. 

Mr. President, the five previous times that I have come to the floor to explain my vote on the nomination of a justice to the United States Supreme Court, I have begun my floor remarks explaining my decision with a recognition of the solemn nature and the importance of the occasion.

But today we have come to the conclusion of a confirmation process that has become so dysfunctional it looks more like a caricature of a gutter-level political campaign than a solemn occasion.

The president nominated Brett Kavanaugh on July 9th. Within moments of that announcement, special-interest groups raced to be the first to oppose him, including one organization that didn’t even bother to fill in the judge’s name on its pre-written press release—they simply wrote that they opposed “Donald Trump’s nomination of XX to the Supreme Court of the United States.”

A number of senators joined the race to announce their opposition, but they were beaten to the punch by one of our colleagues who actually announced opposition before the nominee’s identity was even known.

Since that time, we have seen special-interest groups whip their followers into a frenzy by spreading misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about Judge Kavanaugh’s judicial record.

Over-the-top rhetoric and distortions of his record and testimony at his first hearing produced short-lived headlines, which, although debunked hours later, continue to live on and be spread through social media. Interest groups have also spent an unprecedented amount of dark money opposing this nomination.

Our Supreme Court confirmation process has been in steady decline for more than 30 years.  One can only hope that the Kavanaugh nomination is where the process has finally hit rock bottom.

Against this backdrop, it is up to each individual senator to decide what the Constitution’s “advice and consent” duty means.

Informed by Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist 76, I have interpreted this to mean that the president has broad discretion to consider a nominee’s philosophy, whereas my duty as a senator is to focus on the nominee’s qualifications as long as that nominee’s philosophy is within the mainstream of judicial thought.

I have always opposed litmus tests for judicial nominees with respect to their personal views or politics, but I fully expect them to be able to put aside any and all personal preferences in deciding the cases that come before them.

I have never considered the president’s identity or party when evaluating Supreme Court nominations. As a result, I voted in favor of Justices [John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito, who were nominated by President [George W.] Bush; Justices [Sonia] Sotomayor and [Elena] Kagan, who were nominated by President [Barack] Obama; and Justice [Neil] Gorsuch, who was nominated by President Trump.

So I began my evaluation of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination by reviewing his 12-year record on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, including his more than 300 opinions and his many speeches and law review articles. Nineteen attorneys, including lawyers from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, briefed me many times each week and assisted me in evaluating the judge’s extensive record.

I met with Judge Kavanaugh for more than two hours in my office. I listened carefully to the testimony at the committee hearings. I spoke with people who knew him personally, such as Condoleezza Rice and many others. And I talked with Judge Kavanaugh a second time by phone for another hour to ask him very specific additional questions.

I have also met with thousands of my constituents, both advocates and many opponents, regarding Judge Kavanaugh.  One concern that I frequently heard was that Judge Kavanaugh would be likely to eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) vital protections for people with pre-existing conditions. I disagree with this contention.

In a dissent in Seven-Sky v. Holder, Judge Kavanaugh rejected a challenge to the ACA on narrow procedural grounds, preserving the law in full. Many experts have said his dissent informed Justice Roberts’ opinion upholding the ACA at the Supreme Court.

Furthermore, Judge Kavanaugh’s approach toward the doctrine of severability is narrow. When a part of a statute is challenged on constitutional grounds, he has argued for severing the invalid clause as surgically as possible while allowing the overall law to remain intact.

This was his approach in his dissent in a case that involved a challenge to the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (PPH v. CFPB). In his dissent, Judge Kavanaugh argued for “severing any problematic portions while leaving the remainder intact.”

Given the current challenges to the ACA, proponents, including myself, of protections for people with pre-existing conditions should want a justice who would take just this kind of approach.

Another assertion I have heard often is that Judge Kavanaugh cannot be trusted if a case involving alleged wrongdoing by the president were to come before the court. The basis for this argument seems to be twofold.

First, Judge Kavanaugh has written that he believes that Congress should enact legislation to protect presidents from criminal prosecution or civil liability while in office. Mr. President, I believe opponents miss the mark on this issue. The fact that Judge Kavanaugh offered this legislative proposal suggests that he believes that the president does not have such protection currently.

Second, there are some who argue that given the current special counsel investigation, President Trump should not even be allowed to nominate a justice. That argument ignores our recent history.

President [Bill] Clinton, in 1993, nominated Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg after the Whitewater investigation was already underway. And she was confirmed 96-3. The next year, just three months after independent counsel Robert Fiske was named to lead the Whitewater investigation, President Clinton nominated Justice [Stephen] Breyer. He was confirmed 87-9.

Supreme Court justices have not hesitated to rule against the presidents who have nominated them. Perhaps most notably in United States v. Nixon, three Nixon appointees who heard the case joined the unanimous opinion against him.

Judge Kavanaugh has been unequivocal in his belief that no president is above the law. He has stated that Marbury v. Madison, Youngstown Steel v. Sawyer, and United States v. Nixon are three of the four greatest Supreme Court cases in history. What do they have in common? Each of them is a case where the court served as a check on presidential power.

And I would note that the fourth case that Judge Kavanaugh has pointed to as the greatest in history was Brown v. Board of Education.

One Kavanaugh decision illustrates the point about the check on presidential power directly. He wrote the opinion in Hamdan v. United Statesa case that challenged the Bush administration’s military commission prosecution of an associate of Osama bin Laden.

This conviction was very important to the Bush administration, but Judge Kavanaugh, who had been appointed to the D.C. Circuit by President Bush and had worked in President Bush’s White House, ruled that the conviction was unlawful.

As he explained during the hearing, “We don’t make decisions based on who people are, or their policy preferences, or the moment. We base decisions on the law … ”

Others I met with have expressed concerns that Justice Kennedy’s retirement threatens the right of same-sex couples to marry. Yet, Judge Kavanaugh described the Obergefell decision, which legalized same-gender marriages, as an important landmark precedent.

He also cited Justice Kennedy’s recent Masterpiece Cakeshop opinion for the court’s majority, stating that: “The days of treating gay and lesbian Americans or gay and lesbian couples as second-class citizens who are inferior in dignity and worth are over in the Supreme Court.”

Others have suggested that the judge holds extreme views on birth control. In one case, Judge Kavanaugh incurred the disfavor of both sides of the political spectrum for seeking to ensure the availability of contraceptive services for women while minimizing the involvement of employers with religious objections.

Although his critics frequently overlook this point, Judge Kavanaugh’s dissent rejected arguments that the government did not have a compelling interest in facilitating access to contraception. In fact, he wrote that the Supreme Court precedent “strongly suggested” that there was a “compelling interest” in facilitating access to birth control.

There has also been considerable focus on the future of abortion rights based on the concern that Judge Kavanaugh would seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. Protecting this right is important to me.

To my knowledge, Judge Kavanaugh is the first Supreme Court nominee to express the view that precedent is not merely a practice and tradition, but rooted in Article III of our Constitution itself.

He believes that precedent “is not just a judicial policy … it is constitutionally dictated to pay attention and pay heed to rules of precedent.” In other words, precedent isn’t a goal or an aspiration; it is a constitutional tenet that has to be followed except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The judge further explained that precedent provides stability, predictability, reliance, and fairness. There are, of course, rare and extraordinary times where the Supreme Court would rightly overturn a precedent.

The most famous example was when the Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education overruled Plessy v. Ferguson, correcting a “grievously wrong” decision—to use the judge’s term—allowing racial inequality.

But someone who believes that the importance of precedent has been rooted in the Constitution would follow long-established precedent except in those rare circumstances where a decision is “grievously wrong” or “deeply inconsistent with the law.”  Those are Judge Kavanaugh’s phrases.

As Judge Kavanaugh asserted to me, a long-established precedent is not something to be trimmed, narrowed, discarded, or overlooked. Its roots in the Constitution give the concept of stare decisis greater weight such that precedent can’t be trimmed or narrowed simply because a judge might want to on a whim.

In short, his views on honoring precedent would preclude attempts to do by stealth that which one has committed not to do overtly.

Noting that Roe v. Wade was decided 45 years ago, and reaffirmed 19 years later in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, I asked Judge Kavanaugh whether the passage of time is relevant to following precedent. He said decisions become part of our legal framework with the passage of time and that honoring precedent is essential to maintaining public confidence.

Our discussion then turned to the right of privacy, on which the Supreme Court relied in Griswold v. Connecticut, a case that struck down a law banning the use and sale of contraceptives. Griswold established the legal foundation that led to Roe eight years later.

In describing Griswold as “settled law,” Judge Kavanaugh observed that it was the correct application of two famous cases from the 1920s, Meyer and Pierce, that are not seriously challenged by anyone today.

Finally, in his testimony, he noted repeatedly that Roe had been upheld by Planned Parenthood v. Casey, describing it as “precedent on precedent.” When I asked him would it be sufficient to overturn a long-established precedent if five current justices believed it was wrongly decided, he emphatically said “no.”

Opponents frequently cite then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to nominate only judges who would overturn Roe. The Republican platform for all presidential campaigns has included this pledge since at least 1980.

During this time, Republican presidents have appointed Justices O’Connor, Souter, and Kennedy to the Supreme Court. These are the very three justices—Republican president appointed justices—who authored the Casey decision, which reaffirmed Roe.

Furthermore, pro-choice groups vigorously opposed each of these justices’ nominations.  Incredibly, they even circulated buttons with the slogan “Stop Souter Or Women Will Die!”  Just two years later, Justice Souter co-authored the Casey opinion, reaffirming a woman’s right to choose. Suffice it to say, prominent advocacy organizations have been wrong.

These same interest groups have speculated that Judge Kavanaugh was selected to do the bidding of conservative ideologues, despite his record of judicial independence.

I asked the judge point blank whether he had made any commitments or pledges to anyone at the White House, to the Federalist Society, or to any outside group on how he would decide cases. He unequivocally assured me he had not.

Judge Kavanaugh has received rave reviews for his 12-year track record as a judge, including for his judicial temperament. The American Bar Association (ABA) gave him its highest possible rating. Its Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary conducted an extraordinarily thorough assessment, soliciting input from almost 500 people, including his judicial colleagues.

The ABA concluded that “his integrity, judicial temperament, and professional competence met the highest standard.”

Lisa Blatt, who has argued more cases before the Supreme Court than any other woman in history, testified: “By any objective measure, Judge Kavanaugh is clearly qualified to serve on the Supreme Court. … His opinions are invariably thoughtful and fair … ”

Ms. Blatt, who clerked for and is an ardent admirer of Justice Ginsburg, and who is, in her own words, “an unapologetic defender of a woman’s right to choose,” said that Judge Kavanaugh “fit[s] in the mainstream of legal thought.”

She also observed that “Judge Kavanaugh is remarkably committed to promoting women in the legal profession.”

That Judge Kavanaugh is more of a centrist than some of his critics maintain is reflected in the fact that he and Chief Judge Merrick Garland voted the same way in 93 percent of the cases that they heard together. Indeed, Chief Judge Garland joined in more than 96 percent of the majority opinions authored by Judge Kavanaugh, dissenting only once.

Despite all this, after weeks of reviewing Judge Kavanaugh’s record and listening to 32 hours of his testimony, the Senate’s advice and consent role was thrown into a tailspin following the allegations of sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford. The confirmation process now involves evaluating whether or not Judge Kavanaugh committed sexual assault, and lied about it to the Judiciary Committee.

Some argue that because this is a lifetime appointment to our highest court, the public interest requires that doubts be resolved against the nominee. Others see the public interest as embodied in our long-established tradition of affording to those accused of misconduct a presumption of innocence. In cases in which the facts are unclear, they would argue that the question should be resolved in favor of the nominee.

Mr. President, I understand both viewpoints. This debate is complicated further by the fact that the Senate confirmation process is not a trial. But certain fundamental legal principles—about due process, the presumption of innocence, and fairness—do bear on my thinking, and I cannot abandon them.

In evaluating any given claim of misconduct, we will be ill served in the long run if we abandon the presumption of innocence and fairness, tempting though it may be. We must always remember that it is when passions are most inflamed that fairness is most in jeopardy.

The presumption of innocence is relevant to the advice and consent function when an accusation departs from a nominee’s otherwise exemplary record. I worry that departing from this presumption could lead to a lack of public faith in the judiciary and would be hugely damaging to the confirmation process moving forward.

Some of the allegations levied against Judge Kavanaugh illustrate why the presumption of innocence is so important. I am thinking in particular not of the allegations raised by professor Ford, but of the allegation that, when he was a teenager, Judge Kavanaugh drugged multiple girls and used their weakened state to facilitate gang rape.

This outlandish allegation was put forth without any credible supporting evidence and simply parroted public statements of others. That such an allegation can find its way into the Supreme Court confirmation process is a stark reminder about why the presumption of innocence is so ingrained in our American consciousness.

Mr. President, I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life.

Nevertheless, the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred; none of the individuals professor Ford says were at the party has any recollection at all of that night.

Judge Kavanaugh forcefully denied the allegations under penalty of perjury. Mark Judge denied under penalty of felony that he had witnessed an assault.  P.J. Smyth, another person allegedly at the party, denied that he was there under penalty of felony.

Professor Ford’s life-long friend Leland Keyser indicated that, under penalty of felony, she does not remember that party. And Ms. Keyser went further. She indicated that not only does she not remember a night like that, but also that she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh.

In addition to the lack of corroborating evidence, we also learned some facts that raised more questions. For instance, since these allegations have become public, professor Ford testified that not a single person has contacted her to say, “I was at the party that night.”

Furthermore, the professor testified that although she does not remember how she got home that evening, she knew that, because of the distance, she would have needed a ride—yet not a single person has come forward to say that they were the one that drove her home or were in the car with her that night.

And professor Ford also indicated that even though she left that small gathering of six or so people abruptly and without saying goodbye and distraught, none of them called her the next day—or ever—to ask why she left, is she OK. Not even her closest friend, Ms. Keyser.

Mr. President, the Constitution does not provide guidance as to how we are supposed to evaluate these competing claims. It leaves that decision up to each senator. This is not a criminal trial, and I do not believe that claims such as these need to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, fairness would dictate that the claims at least should meet a threshold of “more likely than not” as our standard.

The facts presented do not mean that professor Ford was not sexually assaulted that night—or at some other time—but they do lead me to conclude that the allegations fail to meet the “more likely than not” standard. Therefore, I do not believe that these charges can fairly prevent Judge Kavanaugh from serving on the court.

Let me emphasize that my approach to this question should not be misconstrued as suggesting that unwanted sexual contact of any nature is not a serious problem in this country. To the contrary, if any good at all has come from this ugly confirmation process, it has been to create an awareness that we have underestimated the pervasiveness of this terrible problem.

I have been alarmed and disturbed, however, by some who have suggested that unless Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination is rejected, the Senate is somehow condoning sexual assault. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Every person—man or woman—who makes a charge of sexual assault deserves to be heard and treated with respect. The #MeToo movement is real. It matters. It is needed. And it is long overdue.

We know that rape and sexual assault are less likely to be reported to the police than other forms of assault. On average, an estimated 211,000 rapes and sexual assaults go unreported every year. We must listen to survivors, and every day we must seek to stop the criminal behavior that has hurt so many. We owe this to ourselves, our children, and generations to come.

Since the hearing, I have listened to many survivors of sexual assault. Many were total strangers who told me their heart-wrenching stories for the first time in their lives. Some were friends I have known for decades, yet with the exception of one woman who had confided in me years ago, I had no idea that they had been the victims of sexual attacks.

I am grateful for their courage and their willingness to come forward, and I hope that in heightening public awareness, they have also lightened the burden that they have been quietly bearing for so many years. To them, I pledge to do all that I can to ensure that their daughters and granddaughters never share their experiences.

Over the past few weeks, I have been emphatic that the Senate has an obligation to investigate and evaluate the serious allegations of sexual assault. I called for and supported the additional hearing to hear from both professor Ford and Judge Kavanaugh. I also pushed for and supported the FBI supplemental background investigation. This was the right thing to do.

Christine Ford never sought the spotlight. She indicated that she was terrified to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and she has shunned attention since then. She seemed completely unaware of Chairman Grassley’s offer to allow her to testify confidentially in California.

Watching her, Mr. President, I could not help but feel that some people who wanted to engineer the defeat of this nomination cared little, if at all, for her well-being.

Professor Ford testified that a very limited number of people had access to her letter. Yet that letter found its way into the public domain. She testified that she never gave permission for that very private letter to be released. And yet, here we are. We are in the middle of a fight that she never sought, arguing about claims that she wanted to raise confidentially.

One theory I have heard espoused repeatedly is that our colleague, Senator Feinstein, leaked professor Ford’s letter at the 11th hour to derail this process. I want to state this very clearly: I know Sen. Dianne Feinstein extremely well, and I believe that she would never do that. I knew that to be the case before she even stated it at the hearing. She is a person of integrity, and I stand by her.

I have also heard some argue that the chairman of the committee somehow treated professor Ford unfairly. Nothing could be further from the truth. Chairman Grassley, along with his excellent staff, treated professor Ford with compassion and respect throughout the entire process. And that is the way the senator from Iowa has conducted himself throughout a lifetime dedicated to public service.

But the fact remains, Mr. President, that someone leaked this letter against professor Ford’s express wishes. I suspect, regrettably, that we will never know for certain who did it.

To that leaker, who I hope is listening now, let me say that what you did was unconscionable. You have taken a survivor who was not only entitled to your respect, but who also trusted you to protect her, and you have sacrificed her well-being in a misguided attempt to win whatever political crusade you think you are fighting.

My only hope is that your callous act has turned this process into such a dysfunctional circus that it will cause the Senate—and indeed all Americans—to reconsider how we evaluate Supreme Court nominees. If that happens, then the appalling lack of compassion you afforded professor Ford will at least have some unintended positive consequences.

Mr. President, the politically charged atmosphere surrounding this nomination had reached a fever pitch even before these allegations were known, and it has been challenging even then to separate fact from fiction.

We live in a time of such great disunity, as the bitter fight over this nomination both in the Senate and among the public clearly demonstrates. It is not merely a case of different groups having different opinions. It is a case of people bearing extreme ill will toward those who disagree with them.

In our intense focus on our differences, we have forgotten the common values that bind us together as Americans. When some of our best minds are seeking to develop ever more sophisticated algorithms designed to link us to websites that only reinforce and cater to our views, we can only expect our differences to intensify.

This would have alarmed the drafters of our Constitution, who were acutely aware that different values and interests could prevent Americans from becoming and remaining a single people. Indeed, of the six objectives they invoked in the preamble to the Constitution, the one that they put first was the formation of “a more perfect Union.”

Their vision of “a more perfect Union” does not exist today, and if anything, we appear to be moving farther away from it. It is particularly worrisome that the Supreme Court, the institution that most Americans see as the principal guardian of our shared constitutional heritage, is viewed as part of the problem through a political lens.

Mr. President, we’ve heard a lot of charges and countercharges about Judge Kavanaugh. But as those who have known him best have attested, he has been an exemplary public servant, judge, teacher, coach, husband, and father.

Despite the turbulent, bitter fight surrounding his nomination, my fervent hope is that Brett Kavanaugh will work to lessen the divisions in the Supreme Court so that we have far fewer 5-4 decisions and so that public confidence in our Judiciary and our highest court is restored.

Mr. President, I will vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh.

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The Kavanaugh setup becomes clear

By Patricia McCarthy

With each passing day and with each bit of information that seeps out about Christine Blasey Ford, it is clearer and clearer that what the Democrats have done to Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been a setup from the outset.

Most of us are relatively naïve, ready to believe what our news outlets put forth.  We have open minds and were ready and willing to listen to Ford’s testimony and consider for ourselves if it was believable.  It was not.  Her testimony was obviously scripted, practiced, massaged, and fabricated out of whole cloth.

Ford may have seemed like a victim, not of Kavanaugh, but perhaps of her Democrat operatives.  Over the past days, however, what is nearer to the truth is that she was and is part of a faction of anti-Trump activists bent upon destroying Kavanaugh in order to deny Trump another nominee to the Supreme Court.

They have badly misjudged the wisdom and sentiment of the American people.  These Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are so deluded by their belief in their own intellectual superiority that they felt comfortable publicly, derisively attacking a man with a reputation finer than any of those who sat in judgment.  This was like Salieri sitting in judgment over the music of Mozart – preposterous.

At first, those of us paying attention were anxious to hear Ford’s story.  The bits of news that preceded her appearance before the Judiciary Committee were titillating.  Was it possible that this man, Brett Kavanaugh, with a thirty-years-plus record of impeccable judicial service to his country, had a dark side?  Then we heard Blasey Ford “testify.”  How anyone who listened to her practiced, phony childish act could believe that this was not calculated is a mystery.  She was obviously scripted, coached, and performing.

Perhaps she did not expect to have to appear before the committee.  She and her handlers may have assumed that the taint of her accusation would bring about his withdrawal from the nomination or that Trump would withdraw it.  Guess they have not been paying attention to how Trump operates or who Kavanaugh is.  They guessed wrong.

Given the numerous falsehoods of the FBI and DOJ we now are aware of – the “two front doors” lie, the fear of flying lie, the claustrophobia lie, her polygraph lies – what seems credible now is that this was a manufactured, orchestrated setup at the outset.  They used Mark Judge’s book as a template and contrived a tall tale.

Trump nominated Kavanaugh, and the left shifted into overdrive; he would be defeated by any means necessary.  Schumer said as much twenty minutes after Trump announced his nomination.  From that moment on, they would dig down deep into the reservoir of radicals willing to go to the mattresses.  Schumer likely began the plan with Feinstein.  They knew that Katz and Bromwich would come aboard.  Blasey Ford most likely volunteered her services.  Ford’s lifetime friend, retired FBI agent Monica McLean, may have been on board to help write that ridiculous letter that ended up in Feinstein’s hands.  Schooled, allegedly, in psychology, hypnosis, and all the attending versions of mind manipulation, Ford probably felt confident she could pull off the charade; she would use her baby voice to appear fragile and vulnerable.  But she did not pull it off.  There is a mighty chorus of Americans who pay attention to these issues and events.  They were not fooled.

The “narrative” of her alleged groping was vague enough to provoke doubt but wholly without corroboration.  That the persons involved in this farce thought she would be convincing without a shred of evidence is comical.  They really do think all of us outside their bubble of leftist groupthink are imbeciles.  They actually thought we would all fall for Ford’s absurd performance.  Sure, the dupes on the left loved every moment of it.  They don’t need evidence or witnesses.  They believe survivors.  Survivors of what?  Nothing.

Ford now looks like a liar and a fraud.  There is most likely a real journalist out there right now who will dig deep and write the book about this travesty a few radical leftists perpetrated on all of us.  It was all a lie.

These people feel so entitled to force their agenda upon all of us that they have lost all moral sense.  They will lie, cheat, and steal to win in the end.  That is exactly what they did.  They lied, cheated, and stole Brett Kavanaugh’s reputation, his life’s work, his love of teaching and coaching girls’ basketball.  They did it without a moment’s thought for what it meant to him or to those of us out here in this great nation.

What we saw at that hearing Thursday last week was an abomination.  It was Kafkaesque, the shameful, purposeful attempted destruction of a fine man without a kernel of evidence.  And they knew what they were doing.  Our left today is monstrous.  Leftists learned well from the Clintons’ politics of personal destruction.  It has always worked before; why not now?  Not now because of Trump.  He fights back.  And Kavanaugh stands tall.

*******************************

Feinstein is a menace, as are Schumer, Blumenthal, Harris, Booker, Whitehouse, and Klobuchar.  They need to be voted out of office; they do not seem to have this nation’s best interests at heart.  That should be clear to everyone by now.  It is but for those hordes of paid-by-Soros protesters [that were] haranguing Republicans to vote against Kavanaugh.

If there were ever in the last forty-one years, since they kept Robert Bork off the Court, a man who should be confirmed as a justice, it is this man, Kavanaugh.  Anyone the left is this viscerally frightened of belongs on the Court.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are indeed at a crossroads.

[..] Conservative mortals, join the mighty chorus. [..]vote Republican on November 6.

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