The Hypocrisy, and Unconstitutionality, of Affirmative Action Policies at Ivy League Universities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Diane Rufino, November 22, 2017

As most of you may know, I take education very seriously. It is directly linked to the absolute right (fundamental right) to the pursuit of happiness, including the right to develop one’s talents and skills, and also to the absolute right of an individual to work and provide for oneself and one’s family. Education is a competition; the entire process is a competition. A child competes, through grades, first for the opportunity to take honors or higher-level courses. And then a teen competes, through grades, for a class ranking which is critical for application for the better colleges and universities. And then the graduating high school student competes, through credentials, for a spot at the college or university of choice. The better the student has competed in education, better the school he or she can get into. The better the college the student graduates from, the better the job he or she will get (and hence, better salary). This is how life works; this is how it has always worked.  It is fair because there is reason expectation involved and often those who achieve the most in education are the ones who worked the hardest, invested the most energy, or sacrificed the most. It is fair because it is absolutely color-blind and neutral to a whole host of factors. The system is, simply-put, a merit-based system.

A 2009 Princeton Study of ALL Ivy League schools and other leading universities, however, is revealed that the system of admissions is anything but fair and neutral. It is 100% based on race, which is unconstitutional, and 100% based on racial stereotypes, which is, in this day and time, audacious and outrageous. The Princeton Study revealed that at Harvard, for example, Asian-Americans had to score 140 points higher on their SAT’s than whites, 270 points higher than Hispanics, and 450 points higher than African-Americans to have the same chance of being admitted.  The findings on “Admissions Preferences” above show a similar scheme of discrimination and disenfranchisement: When an African-American applies to a leading university, he/she has 240 points added to his/her SAT score. When a Hispanic student applies, he/she has 185 points added. And when an Asian-Americans apply, 50 points is SUBTRACTED from their scores.

If this scheme isn’t predicated on stereotypes, then I don’t know what is. Notice there are insulting stereotypes (invidious stereotypes), as with African-Americans, and there are complimentary ones, as with Asian-Americans, but both are wrong. I don’t know if we can say there is a stereotype yet regarding Hispanics. For the most part, the great influx of Hispanics into our country has been fairly recent and there may be a language barrier that is a legitimate factor to assume they cannot score as high as whites or Asians. But being a new arrival to the United States should not guarantee you a spot at a top university.

Race-based affirmative action is patently unfair. To give one group a benefit, another group suffers a detriment. A decision to affect a group of people based on race is racial at the least, racist most likely at its core, and patently unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment (or implied in the 5th Amendment Due Process Clause). A decision based on race is offensive, just as it is when it is based on gender, eye color, physical stature, or genetic predisposition to cancer. These decisions are based on characteristics that are immutable – characteristics that one is born with and hence cannot change. We hear the phrase: “You just have to make due with what you’ve got.” We all have to “make due with what we’ve got.”  As a one-time egg and a one-time sperm that by true happenstance came together, there was no putting a request in with the big guy upstairs for a particular set of characteristics. Our lives are the consequence of Biology (and yes, its many miraculous systems).

As I look at the results of the Princeton Study, and the attention it is now getting, I’m becoming increasingly angered at the term “White Privilege.” How does that work when Blacks and Hispanics are automatically given a hefty handicap on their SAT scores, thereby allowing them to “meet requirements” for a spot at a prestigious university when whites have to sink or swim on the exact score they earn. It sounds like the most important door they must walk through to start a career and find ultimate success in their lives is the door that most clearly dispels that myth. The ones pushing the “white privilege” narrative just happen to be the ones benefiting from the reverse discrimination scheme.  Not only is it an annoying display of hypocrisy but it shows just how ignorant they are of what is really going on in society.

A lawsuit filed in 2014 (Students for Fair Representation, Inc. v. Harvard) accused Harvard University of having a cap on the number of Asian students – the percentage of Asians in Harvard’s student body had remained about 16% to 19% for two decades, even though the Asian-American population had more than doubled (and become a larger percentage as a minority group). In 2016, the Asian-American Coalition for Education filed a complaint with the US Department of Education against Yale University, where the Asian student population had remained between 13% to 16% for twenty years, and against Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, Cornell, and Princeton. The AACE urged the DOE to investigate their admissions practices. Furthermore, the lawsuit cites the 2009 study by Princeton sociologists that concluded that while the average Asian-American applicant needed a much higher SAT score to be admitted (1460 SAT score), a white applicant with similar GPA and other qualifications only needed an SAT score of 1320, while Hispanic applicants only needed a score of 1190, and African-American applicant only needed a score of 1010.

For many years, Blacks and Hispanics have benefitted from affirmative action. Now it has come to light that in order to benefit these minority groups, another minority group, Asians, have been harmed. Herein lies a novel constitutional question for the Supreme Court.

In 2016, the Supreme Court handed down a decision regarding affirmative action in the case Fisher v. University of Texas. In that case, the same group, Students for Fair Representation, sued the University of Texas on behalf of a white applicant over its affirmative action admissions policies. The Supreme Court reversed a lower court’s ruling, opined that affirmative action (for its aim in creating diversity in education) is one of the many factors that the school can use in its admissions policy, but must be used carefully and should be re-evaluated yearly, and then remanded the case back to the lower court with instructions to apply the high standard of strict scrutiny to the school’s race-conscious policy. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy explained: “Using race in the admissions process is acceptable if the program is narrowly tailored for the goal of greater diversity.”  The Harvard case is different because it focuses on affirmative action’s negative impact on a minority group and not on an individual. In fact, as several legal experts have cited, Justice Samuel Alito Jr. in his dissenting opinion in the Fisher decision, expressly pointed out (and advised?) that that Texas plan discriminated against Asian-Americans, and therefore could be a future theme to be pursued by opponents of affirmative action.

Alan Dershowitz, the famed Harvard law professor who successfully argued the Klaus von Bulow case before the Supreme Court and who was part of OJ Simpson’s “Dream Team” (defense team), echoed that same view following the Fisher decision. As he said: “The idea of discriminating against Asians in order to make room for other minorities doesn’t seem right as a matter of principle.”

Consider the case of Asian Jia, an Asian-American high school student from New Jersey who applied to 14 universities, including Harvard, Duke, Cornell, Dartmouth, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, Rutgers (his safety school), New York University, Georgetown, and the University of Pennsylvania. His SAT score was 2340 out of 2400, his GPA was 4.42 and he took 11 Advanced Placement (AP) courses. In addition to playing tennis, participating in the debate team and playing violin in the state orchestra, he did advocacy work for an Asian-American student group. He expected he had a pretty good shot at all the schools he applied to. However, he was rejected from Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania (my alma-mater). Learning about the affirmative action policies at these schools, including the statistics asserted in the lawsuit, has left Jia feeling jaded. “I felt that the whole concept of meritocracy — which America likes to say it exercises all the time — has been defeated in my mind,” he said.

Luckily, the US Justice Department is now getting involved.  It sent a letter to Harvard University, dated November 17, advising it to turn over a variety of records that it had requested in September, including applications for admission and evaluations of students, by race. If Harvard continues to stall or refused to turn its records over, the DOJ has threatened to file suit to obtain those records. The federal government also potentially has the ability to influence university admissions policies by withholding federal funds under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which forbids racial discrimination in programs that receive federal money.

Interestingly, the student group, Students for Fair Representation, a conservative-leaning nonprofit based in Virginia, has filed similar suits against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Texas at Austin, asserting that white students are at a disadvantage at those colleges because of their admissions policies.

Steve Kurtz of Fox News posed this important question: “Many Americans of all types have serious moral problems with programs that judge people by their race. It’s not only an undesirable way to go about things, it also creates perverse incentives. When groups that underperform are, in essence, rewarded, while groups that outperform are punished, how will things change for the better?”  [“Is Harvard Racist? If You’re Asian-American, Their Admissions Policies Just Might Be,” Oct. 13, 2017]

In a country so focused on the very letter of the term Equal Protection, it is amazing to find that we very rarely live up to that true promise.

 

References:

Maxim Lott, “Rejected Asian Students Sue Harvard Over Admissions That Favor Other Minorities,” FOX News, Nov. 18, 2014.  Referenced at:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/11/18/rejected-asian-students-sue-harvard-over-admissions-that-favor-other-minorities.html

Anemonia Hartocollis and Stephanie Saul, “Affirmative Action Battle Has a New Focus: Asian-Americans,” NY Times, Aug. 2, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/02/us/affirmative-action-battle-has-a-new-focus-asian-americans.html

Collin Binkley, “Feds Threaten to Sue Harvard to Obtain Admissions Records,” FOX News, Nov. 21, 2017.  Referenced at:  http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/11/21/feds-threaten-to-sue-harvard-to-obtain-admissions-records.html

 

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Where is the Mourning for the Victims of the NYC Terrorist Attack?

 

 

 

 

 

(photo by Andres Kudacki, AP)

 

 

by Diane Rufino, November 3, 2017

On Halloween Day, October 31, an Islamic jihadist, a heavily- bearded 29-year-old Uzbekistan demon drove a rented pickup truck down a crowded bike path near the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, targeting, striking, crushing, and killing eight cyclists and pedestrians and injuring twelve.  Of the eight victims, six were foreign tourists and two were American. The incident is the deadliest terror attack that New Yorkers have seen since 9/11.

It has been four days and we still haven’t spent time learning about the victims and the families who are suffering from a senseless terrorist attack and from the political malfeasance of our government. They deserve our attention; they deserve for us to know who they were and what kind of individuals they were and how much they were loved by others.

Those killed in the terrorist attack have been identified as:  Darren Drake, 32, of New Milford, N.J.; Nicholas Cleves, 23, of New York; Anne Laure Decadt, 31, of Belgium; and Hernán Diego Mendoza, Diego Enrique Angelini, Alejandro Damián Pagnucco, Ariel Erlij and Hernán Ferruchi, all from Argentina and all aged 48-49.

Darren Drake worked at the World Trade Center, just blocks away from the attack. His father described him as “The most innocent, delicate kid in the world.”  At the hospital where he learned of his son’s death and had the heartbreaking task of identifying him, commented: “You don’t know how hard it is to see someone you’ve loved with your whole heart for 33 years lying dead.”

At 23, Nicholas Cleves was the youngest victim and only New Yorker to die in the attack. He lived near the site of the attack in Manhattan’s trendy West Village and worked as a software developer. He had just started his first job out of school. As his friend, Bahji Chancey, described: “He was a really, really kind, not heartless, intelligent and curious person. We always had conversations about what he was studying at school.”  His high school issued its condolences: “He was the most decent, kindest, human being, and just the nicest person to have around. He was kind, caring, curious, interested, and a great friend. He always had a kind word when you would pass him in the hall, and the biggest smile, and always offered to help, no matter the situation.”

After high school, Cleves enrolled in classes at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, where he majored in computer science and minored in physics. As a university student, Cleves studied Italian, worked as an IT assistant, and tutored students in astronomy.  Philip Glotzbach, the college’s president, said in a statement posted Wednesday on the college’s website: “An incident of terrorism that takes the lives of innocent people anywhere in the world touches each of us in our fundamental humanity. But the effect is more pronounced, and far more personal, when our community is directly linked to such a horrendous event.”

Anne Laure Decadt, who traveled to the US from Belgium, was married and a mom of two young sons – just three years old and three months old.

The 5 victims from Argentina were childhood friends and were visiting New York City in celebration of their 30th high school reunion. They had been planning the trip for years. As teenagers, they had bonded in the halls and classrooms of the Instituto Politécnico, a technical high school in Rosario, Argentina’s third largest city. They graduated from the school together in 1987, and on Saturday, October 28, eight of the former classmates gathered to fly to the United States to celebrate their milestone reunion. They were united in life and united in death.  Argentine President, Mauricio Macri, called the group “model citizens” and made clear that “there can be no place for gray areas in the fight against terrorism.”

My heart goes out to the people of New York City and to the families of those killed in cold blood by yet another Islamic terrorist.  As anyone knows who has lived or visited NYC, it is the truly the city that never sleeps. It never sleeps because its people are full of life and energy; they want to do things, see things, take part in things. It’s full of culture, entertainment, education, business, history, technology, architecture, excitement.  It’s the reason people all over the world travel to visit her. It is profoundly tragic and unacceptable that terrorists among us cannot and are not being flushed out and exiled. They are not Americans but enemies. It is unacceptable that radicalization and ideology-motivated violence upon one another is permitted in this country – a country that was once founded on Christian love, peaceful coexistence, unity, and service to one another.

In this Brave New World that America has become, the brave are ordinary citizens who take their lives in their own hand when they dare to venture out on our American streets, in our American cities, dare to take the subways or airplanes, or take part in celebrations and public holidays, or go to concerts or nightclubs. The brave are our first responders and our law enforcement.  This is not the country we want. We want the country we once enjoyed before these animals and barbarians came here to harm us.

To Senator Schumer, who’s ingenious mind thought to actively bring in individuals, without any merit-based assessment or background search, and all the other members of Congress who joined him…  You career politicians willingly put diversity before safety, and put politics before common sense. Your job is to keep the country safe and NOT to re-populate the United States and engineer our social fabric. This is what happens when self-important politicians re-define their roles and the role of the government in general.

Make no mistake, the evil perpetrator, the assassin of innocent Americans, Sayfullo Saipov, was plucked from Uzbekistan for no other reason than to represent a population from the Middle East that is under-represented here in the United States. This is called social engineering. Saipov became a legal US resident seven years ago, under Shumer’s program, the Diversity Lottery Program, that should have been repealed as terrorism began escalating in the Middle East towards the end of the 20th century (1990’s) and certainly in conjunction with the Patriot Act following 9/11. In their infinite wisdom, our legislators provided a beauty of a program that was able to bring potential and actual terrorists into our communities in the aftermath of the 9/11 NYC terrorist attack.

As the government knows, or should have known, Uzbekistan exports a high percent of terrorists, jihadists, and ISIS sympathizers and there is a good reason for it. First of all, Uzbekistan borders on Afghanistan, a hotbed of jihadist activity and radicalization. Second, although the temptation and the recruitment for radicalization is all-too present, the country has a long and notorious record of restricting the religious practices of its majority Muslim population. For example, all clerics are government vetted; all madrassas are government controlled and infiltrated by undercover informants, and until recently, children under 18 were banned from attending mosques.  Pilgrims to Mecca have to go through a rigorous government vetting process and are then accompanied on the journey by government minders. Uzbekistan’s post-Soviet ruler, Islam Karimov, who died last year, outlawed Islamist political parties and imprisoned and tortured dozens of religious activists. The government keeps a “black list” of people it has decided are religious extremists – including Islamic jihadists and ISIS-sympathizers. According to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, “Those on the list are barred from obtaining various jobs and travel, and must report regularly for police interrogations.” Until the country’s new president shortened the list back in August, it contained some 18,000 names.  [See Julia Ioffe’s article]  Yet Uzbekistan continued to be a country included in the government’s masterful “diversity program.”  The lack of concern for America’s safety is incomprehensible.

How bad of a monster is Saipov?  As he lay recovering in his comfortable hospital bed, supported in his medical treatment by the American taxpayers, he continued to profess that he was proud of what he had done. He even requested to display the Islamic State flag in his hospital room. He was motivated to carry out the ISIS-inspired attack (carried out to the T according to its “playbook”) after watching a video of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in which he questioned what Muslims in the United States were doing to respond to the killing of other members of their faith in Iraq.  I ask, which individuals are most likely to respond to recruitment such as that?  Christians? Protestants? Baptists? Jews?  The common sense answer is that it would be those from the very region pouring out such radicalized individuals, stemming from an interpretation of the religion of that region.

As if that isn’t bad enough, Saipov was on a Homeland Security watchlist but somehow he slipped through the cracks. How did that happen?  Even more, how often do we hear that happen?  We talk about a vetting policy when it comes to immigration, but we know that a policy, like our federal immigration laws, are merely words. It takes enforcement to give meaning to them. Without enforcement or even the competence to carry it out, the laws and policies are merely talking points.  It reminds me of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry schools a Rental Car agent:

Jerry:  I don’t understand. Do you have my reservation?

Rental Car Agent:  We have your reservation, we just ran out of cars.

Jerry:  But the reservation keeps the car here. That’s why you have the reservation.

Rental Car Agent:  I think I know why we have reservations.

Jerry:  I don’t think you do. You see, you know how to ‘take’ the reservation, you just don’t know how to ‘hold’ the reservation. And that’s really the most important part of the reservation: the holding. Anybody can just take them.

The most important part of an immigration program is its enforcement. Supremely delegated to the federal government, Americans expect its enforcement to be diligent, judicious, and efficient. Otherwise, amend the Constitution to leave the task to the individual states.

In light of the string of terrorist attacks here in the United States and the on-going recruitment and radicalization of Muslims by terrorist groups, and in light of the diversity-related disfunction that is dividing our communities and college campuses, eroding our First Amendment guarantee of Free Speech, inciting endless meritless protests and civic disruptions, and posing safety risks, is it so hard to institute a common-sense policy when it comes to immigration criteria:  In deciding who comes into the country, why don’t we look for individuals (no matter what their background is) who WANT to be Americans rather than look for individuals simply to BE Americans.

 

References:

Julia Ioffe, “Why Does Uzbekistan Export So Many Terrorists,” The Atlantic, November 1, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/11/uzbekistan-terrorism-new-york-sayfullo-saipov/544649/

Max Radwin, Anthony Faiola, Samantha Schmidt and Amy B Wang, “Old Friends from Argentina Reunited in New York; They Died Together in a Terrorist Attack,” The Washington Post, November 1, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/01/five-old-friends-from-argentina-reunited-in-new-york-they-died-together-in-a-terrorist-attack/?utm_term=.649373933dea

Renae Merle and Marwa Eltagouri, “New York software engineer killed in terrorist attack had a ‘rare capacity for emotional IQ’,” The Washington Post, November 2, 2017.  Referenced at:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/11/01/of-the-eight-killed-in-new-york-only-nicholas-cleves-called-it-home/?utm_term=.a67173a074c7

 

 

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Senator Bob Corker Unravels as He Realizes He Can’t Win Re-Election

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Diane Rufino (inspired by George Liberty), Nov. 2, 2017

You gotta love politicians and their hypocrisy.  Last week we were all treated to Sen. Bob Corker’s grade school antics. Unfortunately, things aren’t going so well for Corker (R-TN) right now with respect to his upcoming re-election; he apparently isn’t too popular. He blames his growing unpopularity on President Donald Trump and as children do in such situations, they lash out and say mean things. He said Trump is a liar, is unfit for the office, debases the country, and shouldn’t be trusted with the nation’s nuclear codes. Furthermore, he referred to the White House a Day Care Center.

The truth is that Corker asked President Trump to endorse him for re-election and said he couldn’t win without it, but Trump refused to do so.

Sen. Corker, there are a few things I would like to get off my chest.  Considering all that President Trump has accomplished and is trying to accomplish, and despite a total incapable and dysfunctional Congress (which has been for many decades now), perhaps you can answer the following questions for me and millions of other Americans:

What exactly has Congress done over the past few decades with consummate politicians like yourself to “take care of the people’s business” and to ensure the safety, well-being, and integrity of the nation?

(1)  Our debt has quadrupled since George W. Bush and many times over since Ronald Reagan. What has Congress done?  NOTHING. It continues to spend, spend, spend, and Oh, and then it finds more and more things to spend our citizens’ hard-earned tax dollars on.

(2)  Never before have so many enemy and hostile regimes benefitted by funding from our government (no meaningful or tangible strings attached) or our policies.

(3)  Our people are out of jobs, out of opportunities to move forward in their hopes of living the American Dream, are losing the jobs they have to immigrants who are flooding into the country illegally and without full accountability to the federal government who will work for less, are being subject to a dilution in their education because of the magnitude of Hispanic-speaking students and families overloading the public school system, are being forced to wait for healthcare services because of the new burden to the healthcare system, and are watching their once-safe communities being infiltrated with drugs and crime. What has Congress done about these enormous and unfair burdens on the average citizen? What has Congress done about the unfair re-distribution of their wealth, their tax dollars, and their services?  NOTHING.  Congress continues to turn its back on the immigration problem.  It continues to abdicate its most essential role as the supreme government entity over our nation’s homeland security and safety; immigration is required to be handled by Congress by the Constitution. Furthermore, as terrorists and criminals continue to bleed into our country through our open borders, they worry more about how it will affect “diversity” rather than safety.   ranks have swelled to highest ever. What has Congress done?  NOTHING.  It continues policies to put more and more people,

(4)  Welfare ranks have swelled to highest ever. What has Congress done?  NOTHING.  It continues policies to put more and more people on welfare and means-tested programs, including those pouring into the country illegally and those displaced by the violence in the Middle East. It continues policies NOT to encourage dependents to take responsibility for themselves and their families – for example, by getting an education, learning a skill or trade, preventing any further pregnancies – but rather to entrench the lifestyle as a permanent way of life. Rather than require a transition to self-dependence, Congress continues to make welfare a reasonable alternative to working by making it more comfortable to live in borderline poverty.

(5)  Wars….  Where is our country’s resolve?  Where is our strategy to win and then get the hell out?  We have invaded Iraq and deposed Saddam Hussein, we have helped to depose and assassinate Libya’s Muammar Quaddafi, we have acknowledged that Pakistan is the second largest sponsor of terrorism yet we have given them $19 billion since 9/11 (for reasons unknown; $1.8 billion last year), we have given Iran the green and our blessings to move forward on their nuclear weapons program, we have created the void in the Middle East by our softness on terrorism and our inaction that terrorists were able to capitalize on to establish the Islamic State (ISIS), and we are watching as Islamic violence is spreading all over the globe – in Africa, Europe, and Asia. What has Congress done?  It bowed to the policies of a Muslim president, Barack Obama, too conflicted in his own ideology to act effectively for the benefit of this country. It spent trillions of dollars, watched as American lives were lost in the Middle East, either to the fighting or to beheading, appeased our enemies whenever possible, refused to acknowledge terrorists for what they are (even refusing to use the word “terrorist”), allowed Obama to name Islamic leaders and organizations in positions to advise him and Homeland Security, and continued to SPEND without results.

(6)  You have continued to raise taxes on the Middle Class. When fellow Democrats passed an unconstitutional healthcare bill, the Affordable Healthcare Act (c’mon, we all know it was unconstitutional; the Supreme Court did too), coercing Americans against their will to do something for the government, you did NOTHING. The ACA became yet another tax on the Middle Class (thanks the Supreme Court and its legal hijinks to try to find a way to justify Congress’ huge power grab) and rather than take the Supreme Court’s illogical and tortured “opinion” to either re-draft the bill or to repeal it, you continued to allow it to be enforced on We the People. And we are helpless as rates continue to skyrocket year after year.  Year after year, you refused to address the growing American debt. You never cut spending in any attempt to stem the bleeding. A nation unable to control its spending or unable to pay its debt is not a strong nation. It is a vulnerable nation. Your Congress has had lower ratings consistently than the lowest rating of ANY POTUS since Reagan.  Wow, and that includes Jimmy Carter !

(7)  You voted 63 times (with other disingenuous Republicans) to repeal the Un-Affordable Care Act (ACA) when you all knew full-well that President Obama would use his veto power.  While conservatives and those hurting from the ACA were looking for you to serve them, you played typical beltway politics. You took every opportunity to look good while knowing that it was only a useless exercise; your votes could never translate into anything of substance. But when Trump told you straight on: “Look, I have the pen and I’m willing and ready to sign a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. Send it to me,” your true character came out.  You refused to do it. You refused to pass such a bill. (Yes, you voted for a partial repeal and for the “skinny repeal bill,” but not the repeal and replace bill Trump and Republican voters asked for). The reason you have lost confidence with your state’s constituency is because of this. You’ve lost credibility, trust, and integrity with them.

(8)  For the last 30 years, you have sat by and watched as jobs have left the country and have left families without an income. What did you do?  NOTHING.  You did nothing to protect the American worker.

You and Congressmen like you have presided over the worst three decades in our country’s history, from an economic and safety perspective. You have been utterly ineffective. In fact, it is Congress that is the Day Care Center. (or the Looney Bin). Unfortunately, Congress has been a striking example of kindergarten antics – romper room behavior, childish finger-pointing and name-calling, and dysfunctional conduct.

So, I ask you…  What have you done to deserve the endorsement of President Trump?

Donald Trump, like the great majority of Americans, finds this history of ineptness unacceptable and his decision to run was not motivated by the glorified tenure in government like you seem to want, but rather by the desire to switch direction, clean the government up of its mess, its self-interested actors, and its leeches, and to finally put it to work for the benefit of the American citizen.

Sen. Corker, President Trump may be all the things you claim…He may be the unpolished politician, he may often speak without censure, he may be one of those who has to get the last word in, and he may even misspell a word here and there, but unlike slick, self-interested politicians like yourself who speak with forked tongues, crafted language, and false promises, Trump is a breath of fresh air. You speak like an agent of the government while Trump speaks like an agent of the people.

You want to know how I know that your name-calling is merely an exercise in playground politics?  Since Donald Trump took office, you voted 86.3% with his policies, which is admirable and commendable. Obviously, you and he think alike and for the most part and want the same policies for the country. Yet because he could not promise that he would endorse you for re-election, an endorsement that you absolutely need, you chose to lash out and somehow undermine his standing with the American people. What a big, important guy you are. Senator Corker, maybe it was your disingenuous position with respect to Obamacare that planted the doubt in President Trump. Perhaps he knows that the opponent you would have faced will work with him where you couldn’t.

That’s politics.

This time it didn’t work in your favor, but you sure liked it when it did.

“There are moments in life where you don’t get a do-over, where the true nature of your character is revealed. You either step up to the plate or lose your chance forever. These moments shape a life. These moments earn you the right to say to yourself ‘at least I got the important stuff right.”   ― P. Dangelico, Wrecking Ball

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Federalism For Dummies

by Diane Rufino, Oct. 31, 2017

Federalism is the key design feature of our government system here in the United States, as established by the US Constitution, and therefore is something everyone should understand. I thought I’d try to make it easy and visual for people to understand.

Federalism is defined as a compound mode of government, with a general government (the central or ‘federal’ government) and regional governments (state governments) combined into a single political system. Each government is considered a separate and independent sovereign. A “sovereign” is defined as a group or body having the supreme authority to rule over the inhabitants within its borders and to make decisions concerning the jurisdiction’s safety and security. Another term, therefore, for federalism is “dual sovereignty.”

In the picture above, taken on Halloween, the silver bowls represent two equal sovereigns – each with supreme authority over the tasks and responsibilities delegated to it. The candy represents those tasks and responsibilities. The bowl on the left represents the federal government, with only a few tasks and responsibilities. These are expressly delegated and enumerated in Articles I – III in the Constitution. The bowl on the right is the state government, which retains the vast reserve of governmental powers. The tasks and responsibilities reserved to the states are so numerous that they could not be listed or enumerated, and instead are lumped together as “reserved powers” in the Tenth Amendment.

The Tenth Amendment reads: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

So next time you think that the federal government has unlimited power, two things will help put things into perspective for you – the picture of the two bowls of Halloween candy and the simple words of the Tenth Amendment.

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NULLIFICATION (in 500 words)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

by Diane Rufino, Oct. 30, 2017

Imagine Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 presidential election and enough democrats won so that she enjoys a friendly Congress. And imagine she made good on a campaign promise and had a comprehensive federal gun control law enacted to essentially deprive ordinary Americans of their right to own and bear firearms. The law would clearly be unconstitutional. The Bill of Rights prevents the Congress from enacting laws that burden the second amendment guarantee.

Would the American people be doomed to be oppressed in their rights by the law?  In theory, an unconstitutional law should never have any force of law in a free society. But how do we prevent its enforcement?

That is where Nullification and Interposition come in.

Thomas Jefferson articulated the doctrine of Nullification and called it the “Rightful Remedy” to oppose unconstitutional action by the federal government. And James Madison explained that Nullification, together with Interposition, is the duty of every state in such an event. These remedies stem from the federal nature of our government system – the division of power between the states and the federal government and the understanding and duty of each sovereign to jealously and judiciously guard its sphere of power. Sovereign v. Sovereign; Titan v. Titan.  Nullification is the act of a state acknowledging that an act of the federal government is an abuse of the power delegated to it under the Constitution. To be clear, an act of government that exceeds delegated authority is automatically null and void. And therefore has no force of law and technically cannot be enforced. But who is going to tell the government that it can’t enforce its laws? The federal courts – the third, unbounded branch of the very federal government that forever seeks to enlarge its powers? That is where the states come in. After all, when the government assumes powers it was not delegated, it naturally usurps them from the states and from the people themselves. Interposition is the inherent right of a state to take whatever action necessary to prevent the enforcement of an unconstitutional law or policy (or court decision) on its citizens. Such may take the form of state laws preventing the enforcement, disbarment of judges who uphold the law, or the arrest of any official who attempts to enforce the law.

Although Jefferson and Madison are credited with these doctrines of nullification and interposition, the doctrines have been known for generations before their time; they are implied in the very nature of “law” and “enforcement.” That is why, despite the objections of states’ rights opponents, the doctrines of nullification and interposition supersede the Constitution and are indeed rightful remedies.

Without these rights, according to our founding fathers, the states (and the people) “would be under the dominion, absolute and unlimited, of whosoever might exercise this right of judgment for them.” In other words, it is the most powerful remedy to prevent government tyranny on people who have recognized inherent and civil rights.

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Ben Shapiro and UC-Berkeley Stand Up for Free Speech

BEN SHAPIRO - at UC Berkeley

by Diane Rufino, September 22, 2017

Ben Shapiro and UC-Berkeley took on the enemies of Free Speech and America is grateful !!

When conservative Ben Shapiro spoke at Berkeley in 2016, there was little fanfare. What changed in one year?  Could it be that Donald Trump hadn’t been elected at that time, and in fact, even the thought of him as a serious candidate was laughable. In February, mere weeks after Trump took office (and after the inappropriately- named “Women’s March,” which was clearly a vehement anti-Trump rally, on any and all issues that folks had or have with him), 150 masked individuals, likely some from the group Antifa, descended upon the Berkeley campus ahead of a scheduled Milo Yiannopoulos appearance, causing mayhem and destruction that left six people injured and damage in the six figures. Milo had to be cancelled. At a pro-Donald Trump march in March, 7 people were injured and 10 arrested.  And just last month, about 100 black-clad and masked anarchists (Antifa) circumvented police barricades and attacked at least five people from what was a peaceful protest.

But last week, on September 14, Berkeley college Republicans were finally successful in having Shapiro speak on campus. It cost at least $600,000 for security (half paid by the university), which included over 500 police, it witnessed the usual protesters, and resulted in a few arrests. But all in all, the event was a success. Now, there was a restriction on the event…. the school would only allow the college Republicans to fill the auditorium to half capacity – unlike the restriction on other (liberal) speakers. Perhaps it was a safety precaution?  Hmmm. Anyway, we learned that Freedom isn’t free, and in fact, the cost is not cheap at all.  But no matter the cost, no matter the inconvenience, no matter the vile words and insults, no matter what the threats are, and no matter what the consequences are, Speech must remain free and  available to open ears. Freedom of thought and speech are the cornerstones of our free society and without them, all others are meaningless and without a secure foundation.

For those that don’t want to hear any views other than their own, there are options…  there is cotton for your ears, earplugs, safe-spaces, institutions, libraries (where you can read Hillary’s latest book or Mein Kampf or The Communist Manifesto), or even your own legs and cars. – to take you anywhere else other than where the so-called “offensive speech” is being delivered.  Deny yourself the freedoms that hundreds of years of brave activists sought to protect if you so choose, but keep away from OUR freedom.  We’ve seen what a nation would look like if we should loose our freedom to speak freely, for we’ve seen YOU, and we know that we could nor will never tolerate it.

Thank you Ben Shapiro for your voice, thank you UC-Berkeley college Republicans for not giving up on your mission to bring conservative views to your school, and thank-you UC-Berkeley for your commitment to Free Speech.

[The following is reproduced from PJmedia.com: Tyler O’Neill, “Ben Shapiro Stormed Congress and Blew the Left’s Argument Against Free Speech to Smithereens”]

On July 27, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro testified about free speech on college campuses before the U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In less than five minutes, he dissected and destroyed the Left’s argument against free speech.

“Free speech is under assault because of a three-step argument made by advocates and justifiers of violence,” Shapiro declared in his opening remarks. “The first step is they say that the validity or invalidity of an argument can be judged solely by the ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identity of the person making the argument.”

This “intersectionality” argument — that society structurally oppresses people of ethnic, sexual, racial, or cultural identities and therefore only those who have been oppressed can speak about certain issues — is the ground of the “microaggression” culture stifling speech on campuses, the Daily Wire editor argued.

“The second step is they claim that those who say otherwise are engaged in what they call verbal violence,” Sharipo added. “The final step is that they conclude that physical violence is sometimes justified in order to stop such verbal abuse.”

In order to understand how college campuses shut down speech — often but not always conservative speech — Americans must understand the philosophy of “intersectionality.” Shapiro argued that this philosophy dominates college campuses and “a large segment of today’s Democratic Party.”

Intersectionality “suggests that straight white Americans are inherently the beneficiaries of white privilege and therefore cannot speak on certain policies, since they have not experienced what it’s like to be black or hispanic or gay or transgender or a woman.”

This philosophy, Shapiro declared, “ranks the value of a view not based on the logic or merit of the view but on the level of victimization in American society experienced by the person espousing the view.” An LGBT black woman is automatically considered more correct than a straight white male, before any speech exits either of their mouths.

“The next step is obvious: If a straight white male, or anyone else who ranks lower on the victimhood scale, says something contrary to the viewpoint of the higher ranking intersectionality identity, that person has engaged in a microaggression,” the editor declared.

He quoted NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, who defined microaggressions as “small actions or word choices that seem on their face to have no malicious intent but that are thought of as a kind of violence nonetheless.” Here’s the key — “You don’t actually have to say anything insulting to microaggress. Somebody merely needs to take offense.” In other words, an offended person who fits the “oppressed” identities of intersectionality has the power to dub any speech from someone “less oppressed” a “microaggression.” This word means not merely an insult. As Shapiro noted, “Microaggressions are the equivalent of physical violence.”

To watch Ben Shapiro’s remarks at UC-Berkeley, go to:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae4VZTVEFC4

 

References:

Tyler O’Neill, “Ben Shapiro Stormed Congress and Blew the Left’s Argument Against Free Speech to Smithereens,” PJ Media, July 27, 2017.

Ben Shapiro Speaks at UC-Berkeley (Full Speech), September 14, 2017:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ae4VZTVEFC4

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JUDICIAL ACTIVISM: The Obstruction of Construction

JEFFERSON - versus Hamilton

by  Diane Rufino, September 21, 2017

In Honor of the 230th Anniversary of the US Constitution, and also to help promote Brion McClanahan’s latest book, HOW ALEXANDER HAMILTON SCREWED UP AMERICA, I wanted to post this important History Lesson —

The history surrounding the first Bank Bill (to charter a national bank), proposed to President Washington by his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton shows us exactly why the Federal Judiciary has become the greatest usurper of powers belonging to the States and to the People. It is an important lesson on constitutional interpretation.

Why is it important that we pay close attention to constitutional interpretation?  Because when the courts don’t bother to consult the proper original documents and commentary as authority on the meaning and intent of the provisions of the Constitution, and/or when they make the decision to disregard that history and that critical information (any student of contract laws knows the strict laws of construction that guide a contract’s interpretation), then any opinion in contradiction to that history and such commentary necessarily means that the judiciary has assumed power for the federal government that it was not intended to have. And where do those additional powers come from?  From the original depositories of government power, the People and then the States.

HISTORY –

In 1788, the US Constitution was adopted by the requisite number of states and hence, the government it created would go into effect. Later that year, elections were held, George Washington was elected our first president (and men like James Madison elected to the first US Congress), and the following year, 1789, the Union’s new government was assembled and inaugurated. One of the first decisions of the first Congress was to fund the debts that the individual states incurred in fighting the Revolutionary War. The question, of course, was how would it do that. Washington’s Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton, long holding true to a belief that a large, powerful national government of centralized functions is the proper form of government for the new Union (although he conceded to the federal form that the majority of delegates at the Philadelphia Convention voted for), urged that Congress should charter a National Bank, after the British model. He took his suggestion to Washington and agreeing with Hamilton, a Bank Bill was introduced in Congress. But powerful state and government leaders, including Thomas Jefferson, Washington’s Secretary of State, James Madison, Congressman from Virginia, and several state leaders, particularly from Virginia, objected, characterizing such a bank as being “repugnant to the Constitution,” and assuming powers not expressly delegated to Congress in Article I. Washington then asked both Hamilton and Jefferson to provide him with memoranda outlining their arguments regarding the creation of such a National Bank.

(The Following section, as noted, is taken, in its entirety, from Kevin Gutzman’s book THOMAS JEFFERSON – REVOLUTIONARY (St. Martin’s Press, NY, 2017):

Jefferson began by describing the Bank Bill’s provisions, saying that he understood the underlying principle of the Constitution to be that “all powers not delegated to the United States, by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States or to the people.” (here is quoted the Tenth Amendment, which at the time lay before the state legislatures for their ratification).  Power to pass the bill had not been delegated to the United States, he insisted. It did not fall under the power to tax for the purpose of paying debts because the bill neither paid debts nor taxed. It did not fall under the power to borrow money because the bill neither borrowed nor ensured that there would be borrowing. It did not fall under the Commerce Clause for it did not regulate commerce. Jefferson understood ‘regulating commerce’ to mean “prescribing regulations for buying and selling,” which the Bank Bill did not do. If it did that, he continued, the bill “would be void” due to its equal effects on internal and external commerce of the states. “For the power given to Congress by the Constitution,” Jefferson continues, “does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say of the commerce between citizen and citizen), which remain exclusively with its own legislature, but to its external commerce only; that is to say, its commerce with another State or with foreign nations or with the Indian tribes.”  No other enumerated power (Article I, Section 8) gave Congress ground for passing this bill either, he concluded.

Besides the enumerated powers, the General Welfare Clause and the Necessary and Proper Clause had also been invoked by the bill’s proponents. Jefferson disposed of those clauses deftly as well. First, the General Welfare Clause said that Congress had power “to lay taxes for the purpose of providing for the General Welfare (emphasis Jefferson’s). The reference to the general welfare, he insisted, was bound to the power to tax. It did not create a separate power “to do any act they please which might be for the good of the Union, which Jefferson thought the preceding and following enumerations of powers rendered entirely obvious. To read the General Welfare Clause any other way would make the enumerations “completely useless. It would reduce the whole instrument to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress to do whatever would be good for the United States, and as they would be the sole judges of the good or evil, it would also be a power to do whatever evil they please.”

Jefferson, the skilled lawyer that he was, noted that one of the most basic rules of construction (contract law) cut strongly in favor of his argument. That rule states that “where a phrase will bear either of two meanings, to give it that which will allow some meaning to the other parts of the instrument, and not that which would render all the others useless.” Besides that, the Philadelphia Convention had considered and expressly rejected a proposal to empower Congress to create corporations. The rejection, he noted, was based partly on the fact that with such a power, Congress would be able to create a bank.

As for the Necessary and Proper Clause, Jefferson noted that it said that the Congress could “make all laws necessary and proper for carrying into execution the enumerated powers. But they can all be carried into execution without a bank. A bank therefore is not necessary and consequently, not authorized by this phrase (emphasis Jefferson’s).”  The Bank Bill’s proponents had argued for the great convenience of having a bank, which might aid in exercising powers enumerated in the Constitution, but Jefferson would have none of the idea that “necessary” could be twisted to mean “convenient.”

Jefferson concluded his memorandum with a brief statement on the president’s veto power, which he called “the shield provided by the Constitution to protect against the invasions of the legislature: (1) The right of the Executive. (2) Of the Judiciary. (3) Of the States and State legislatures.”  To his mind, the Bank Bill presented “the case of a right remaining exclusively with the States” – that of chartering a corporation. Congress’ attempt to take this right to itself violated the Constitution and Washington should veto the bill.

Washington did not agree. Instead, perhaps on the basis of Hamilton’s argument that Congress could adopt whatever kind of legislation it judged helpful in supervising the national economy, he signed the Bank Bill.   [Gutzman, Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary, pp. 40-42]

THE IMPACT –

When a subsequent Bank Bill was challenged by the state of Maryland, in McCulloch v. Maryland (1819), Chief Justice John Marshall would revisit the arguments submitted to President Washington and as expected, he would side with Hamilton. Hamilton’s position, after all, would give the federal government a broad pen with which to write legislation, in contrast to the limits imposed on it by the very wording of the Constitution and the listing of the only powers that the States had delegated to the federal government. McCulloch was another in a series of cases written by Marshall usurping powers from other depositories and concentrating them in the federal government. The Supreme Court, a branch of the very federal government that it presides over, has consistently used its powers not to interpret the Constitution and offer opinions to other branches, but rather to secure a monopoly over the scope and intent of the government’s powers.

Marshall’s opinion in McCulloch gave Congress power that the States intentionally tried to prevent; he read a meaning and intent in the Constitution, in Article I, that was expressly rejected by the States when they debated and then signed the document on September 17, 1787. Marshall’s reading of Article I, in particular the “Necessary and Proper” Clause, gave Congress power “to which no practical limit can be assigned,” as James Madison put it.

With McCulloch, the Supreme Court committed a grave injustice to the system established by our founding fathers and our founding states. Marshall’s opinion directly contradicted an essential element of the states’ understating of the Constitution when they ratified it, and that understanding was that the Constitution created a federal government of express and limited powers so that the residuary of government power would remain reserved to the states and hence the sovereignty they long cherished would not be overly diminished by organizing into a Union.

And the history of judicial activism continued and still does ….

 

Reference:  Kevin Gutzman, Thomas Jefferson – Revolutionary, St. Martin’s Press, NY (2017).

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