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Red Sox Fred Lynn Dominated in 1975

By Daniel Sonnenshein

For the first time in Major League history, the same player won the Rookie of Year and MVP in the same season. The year was 1975. And the player was Fred Lynn. The graceful centerfielder batted .331 with 21 homers and 105 RBIs. He led the American in both doubles (47) and runs scored (103). Lynn also led the AL with a .967 OPS and .566 slugging percentage.

Paired with fellow rookie sensation Jim Rice, Lynn rocketed his Boston Redsox to the 1975 World Series. Although the Bosox ultimately lost the Fall Classic to the Cincinnati Reds, the team (largely because of Lynn) goes down as one of the most exciting in baseball history.

Other members of the 1975 Redsox include Hall of Famers OF/1B Carl Yastrzemski and catcher Carlton Fisk (Rice is also in the hall of Fame), Rick Burleson (SS), Rico Petrocelli (3B), Dwight Evans (RF), DH Cecil Cooper, Doug Griffin and Denny Doyle (2B), Bernie Carbo (OF), backup catchers Bob Montgomery and Tim Blackwell, backup 3B Bob Heise, backup OF Rick Miller, and utility man Juan Beniquez. The pitching staff included starters Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, Reggie Cleveland, and Rick Wise. Dick Drago, Roger Moret, Jim Burton, and Diego Segui were part of the bullpen.

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EPA SECURES AGREEMENT FOR $14 MILLION CLEANUP OF LEAD AND ARSENIC

By JORDAN WILIAMS

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a legal agreement with the Sherwin-Williams Company to clean up lead and arsenic contaminated soil and sediment at the Route 561 Dump site in Gibbsboro, N.J. The site is near a former paint manufacturing plant and was used as a paint waste dump so has lead and arsenic waste left from the prior dumb site. On this site there are businesses, a vacant lot, a creek, and wetlands and all are at risk due to the prior waste that was emitted onto it. Sherwin-Williams will pay an estimated $14 million to clean up the site, and pay the EPA’s expenses in overseeing the work.

“This agreement allows us to move forward on this much needed cleanup of contaminated soil and sediment and to protect the health of people who live and work in this community,” said Catherine McCabe, Acting EPA Regional Administrator. “Cleanup of the Route 561 Dump Site is being paid for by Sherwin-Williams, not the taxpayers, which is an important feature of EPA’s site cleanup program.”

EPA is requiring that deed notices be placed on the land to inform the public and limit their exposure to contaminated soil. The EPA will conduct a review every five years to ensure the effectiveness of the cleanup.

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WILL CONGRESS BUILD TRUMP’S WALL, OR WHAT?

By ROBERT ROMANO

Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has all but promised to block any continuing resolution due April 28 that includes funding for the southern border wall and $18 billion of offsetting budget cuts to pay for it proposed by President Donald Trump.

Speaking at a March 28 event organized by the National Council of La Raza, Schumer suggested, “Senate Democrats are prepared to fight this all the way.”

When asked if Senate Democrats would shut down the government over the wall, Schumer offered, “We hope our Republican colleagues work with us and not put it in.”

In short, Schumer is threatening to partially shut down the federal government in order to stop the wall.

And Senate Republicans seem more than willing to oblige Schumer. That same day, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) suggested at a Republican leadership press conference that“All of the committees, House and Senate leaderships, are working together to try to finalize the rest of the FY17 bill… My guess is that comes together better without the supplemental,” which Blunt said would be dealt with “at a later time.”

Just like that, one of Trump’s signature campaign promises is very much in jeopardy.

For, if the wall won’t be included in April funding because that might result in a government shutdown, then why would it be included in the Sept. 30 continuing resolution when the 2018 appropriations comes due?

Won’t Senate Republicans be frightened by the prospects of a government shutdown then, too?

And just what message does this send to Schumer? That he can strip out any provision of spending bills he wants just by playing the government shutdown card?

Just on Jan. 27, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that Congress would fund the wall, saying, “We intend to address the wall issue ourselves.”

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning called the seeming capitulation to Schumer on the wall “extraordinarily disappointing” in a statement.

“When appropriators reveal their spending priorities for the second half of 2017, they will not have the threat of an Obama veto to explain away any aspect of the budget. Failure to fund for example the wall out of concern that it might offend Senate Democrats would be a slap in the face to voters who elected President Trump and gave Republicans majorities in both houses of Congress,” Manning declared.

Manning suggested that President Trump might veto spending bills that fail to build the wall: “Failure to include these priorities may back the new president into the uncomfortable position of having to veto GOP spending bills because they did not advance the administration’s agenda. If we continue on the same glide path as before on spending, we will be funding Obama’s priorities, not Trump’s.”

At the end of the day, it is Congressional Republicans who get to put legislation on the floor, not Schumer. Those bills might get filibustered and they might not.

But if the GOP never puts the wall on the floor, the reason it will not have been funded was because Republicans did not even try.

“They need to include the supplemental,” Manning said, concluding, “Build the wall.”

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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SENATE RULES BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO TRUMP AGENDA ON HEALTH CARE, TAXES

By ROBERT ROMANO

The Republican strategy on tax and health care reform was built on a house of cards that has now collapsed.

The problem was not Republican moderates or the conservative House Freedom Caucus per se — there did not appear to be the votes in the Senate either for the Obamacare makeover proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Instead the greatest obstacle the GOP and President Donald Trump face remains byzantine Senate rules on the filibuster, which require 60 votes to overcome, and on rules on budget reconciliation, with bills only requiring 51 votes to pass but with severe restrictions on what members perceive can be included.

Having failed to secure the votes needed to get the health care overhaul through the House, Republicans are now setting their sights on tax reform.

But as reported by the New York Times’ Alan Rappeport, what may be achieved on taxes under reconciliation may not be as expansive as previously intended.

Rappeport notes, “To make their changes to the tax code permanent, their plans cannot add to deficits over a period of 10 years. Eliminating the $1 trillion of Affordable Care Act taxes and the federal spending associated with that law would have made this easier. Because they failed, Republicans will struggle to reach their goal of cutting corporate tax rates without piling on debt.”

Reading between the lines, that means the health care overhaul was always a part of the tax package, designed to achieve more favorable budget scores for the tax bill when it came up next year on reconciliation.

Surely members were briefed by Republican leaders on this feature and threatened that rejecting the health care proposal would jeopardize tax reform.

But why were such choices even necessary?

Consider, repealing and replacing Obamacare was constrained by what could be considered a budgetary measure under reconciliation — which Republican leaders argued could not include the insurance regulations under the health care law — plus the deficit-neutral rules, and had to fit into the pre-determined framework of getting next year’s tax bill a better budget score.

It is little wonder then that the health care legislation underwhelmed in so many key areas, including its failure to create a national market for insurance by allowing purchases across state lines. It explains to a T why the health care bill was designed the way it was, and why it failed to garner majority support in the House.

And it tells the American people exactly what is necessary in order to get real health care and tax reforms from a free market perspective — or much of anything else done.

We don’t need conservatives in Congress to bow to whatever mutant legislation might be crafted under reconciliation rules, or for Republican leaders to work with Senate Democrats to produce bills that can overcome the filibuster — instead, Senate rules should just be changed.

It has been 100 years since the advent of Rule XXII of the Senate’s standing rules in 1917. In that time, Republicans have never had a filibuster-proof majority in the U.S. Senate, and if history holds, they never will.

This undemocratic feature of Senate rules means that even when Republicans win elections, as in 2016, they cannot ever pass their ideal legislation, disenfranchising voters year after year who demanded a more market-oriented approach to the hard issues facing the nation.

So perhaps it’s time to go nuclear and kill the filibuster once and for all.

Besides, Senate supermajorities have been the exclusive province of Democrats. The New Deal, Great Society, and the first two years of the Obama administration that brought the health care law, the so-called “stimulus,” and Dodd-Frank were all enacted after Democrats had won the White House, House, and a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

The Social Security Act was in enacted in 1935, right after Democrats had won 69 Senate seats — back then that was out of 96 possible seats, making a 72 percent majority, more than enough to reach a two-thirds vote then needed for cloture. The Democrats’ filibuster-proof Senate majority would last through 1942.

The National Labor Relations Act, establishing the National Labor Relations Board, was enacted in 1935.

The Medicare Act of 1965 passed after the 1964 election awarded Democrats with 68 Senate seats, plus the White House and House. This filibuster-proof majority would last only two years, however.

But, by 1975, Democrats again reclaimed such a majority, simply by changing the rules, from a two-thirds majority to a three-fifths majority to invoke cloture. And they held it in 1976, paving the way for Jimmy Carter to govern with a filibuster-proof majority. That yielded the Humphrey-Hawkins Full Employment Act of 1978, which, among other things, gave us the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate.

That would be the last filibuster-proof majority until 2008, when Democrats regained it after Republicans were wiped out amid the financial crisis. And not to mention Sen. Arlen Specter, who switched parties to get the Democrats to 60 votes through 2010. That yielded Dodd-Frank and Obamacare.

Republicans, conversely, have had to rely on government shutdowns, debt ceiling showdowns and budget reconciliation to get much of anything done legislatively, whether on taxes, defense spending or the like in the 1980s and the 2000s. Otherwise, legislation relied on Democrat participation.

In other words, almost every major legislative change, particularly on entitlements, in the past century has been with Democrats in the driver’s seat. When, exactly, will Republicans ever get an opportunity, under Senate rules, to even attempt an alternative?

The answer is never, unless those Senate rules are changed — right now. Republicans have an opportunity to govern now, not via budget reconciliation maneuvers, but by putting their best legislation forward, and passing it with a simple majority. If that means killing the filibuster once and for all, so be it.

Senate rules including the filibuster and budget reconciliation are not stopping big spending programs and the administrative state from taking root, it’s locking them in — and guaranteeing we will never get rid of them.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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LEADER OF VIOLENT ALBANIAN EXTORTION CREW TARGETING ASTORIA BUSINESS OWNERS SENTENCED

By JORDAN WILIAMS

On Friday, the leader of a violent Albanian Extortion Crew targeting Astoria business owners was sentenced to 57 years in prison. The defendant even went as far as conspiring with an active-duty New York City police officer in the extortion schemes. Redinel Dervishaj was sentenced before Judge Eric N. Vitaliano in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, New York to 57 years and one day of imprisonment for three counts of Hobbs Act extortion conspiracy, three counts of attempted Hobbs Act extortion, three counts of threatening physical violence in furtherance of an extortion plan, and three counts of brandishing a firearm in connection with these crimes of violence.

The sentence was announced by Bridget M. Rohde, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, William F. Sweeney, Jr., Assistant Director-in-Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York Field Office, and James P. O’Neill, Commissioner, New York City Police Department and the government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Organized Crime & Gangs Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Nadia Shihata and Patrick Hein are in charge of the prosecution.

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HOUSE SHOULD REVISE RYAN PLAN TO REPEAL OBAMACARE, KILL 30 PERCENT ‘CONTINUOUS COVERAGE’ PENALTY

By ROBERT ROMANO

“What I tell people at home is I think we can get 85 percent of this, for sure, repealed in reconciliation.”

That was then-U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), prior to his tenure as Speaker of the House of Representatives, on the Mark Levin Show national radio program on July 11, 2012, outlining House Republicans’ plan to repeal almost all of the health care law via the budget reconciliation process.

“All the Medicare policy, all the Medicaid funding, all the Obamacare exchange subsidies, that’s fiscal, that’s spending — taxing and spending.  All of that can go into reconciliation, which has always been our plan. It is our plan,” Ryan promised.

Make a promise, keep a promise, Speaker Ryan.

In 2015, House Republicans set the floor for what such a repeal would look like in H.R. 3762, legislation that included ending Medicaid expansion, premium subsidies, cost-sharing subsidies, the individual and employer mandates, reinsurance, risk corridors and risk-adjustment, and the taxes and spending from the health care law. But not the insurance regulations.

That bill passed both houses of Congress and was vetoed by former President Barack Obama in early 2016. If it was good enough for Obama to veto, one might question why it was not good enough for President Donald Trump to sign in 2017.

Fast forward to today’s proposal to replace Obamacare, and it does not do all of these things.

While the bill does appear to end the individual and employer mandates, it replaces the individual mandate with a “continuous coverage” penalty that insurance companies can charge, something Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) had warned about.

Sen. Paul was correct as it turned out. As reported by Kaiser Health News, the “continuous coverage” penalty “increases premiums for people who buy insurance if they have gone 63 consecutive days without a policy during the past 12 months. Their premiums would rise by 30 percent and that surcharge would last for a year.”

So, the Republican plan to lower premiums, is to increase them?

Even if you had only lapsed coverage for, say, 64 days — one day more than the provision’s cutoff — you would owe the increased premiums for an entire year. Like the individual mandate, those who may be least able to afford health coverage, for example those who lose their jobs and are out of the health care market for a while, are the ones who are penalized for not keeping coverage. And unlike the individual mandate, there is no hardship exemption.

Does that make sense?

“The continuous coverage provision alone should be reason enough for Republicans to go back to the drawing board with this bill,” Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning said in a statement.

“Republicans promised to end the tyranny of the individual mandate but instead, House Speaker Paul Ryan has made it worse, by punishing those who lose their coverage because they lost their job or discontinued it because premiums got too high. This massive increase has a perverse effect of making it harder to get health insurance for those who drop for whatever reason, by hiking premiums of those who attempt to reenter the insurance market by 30 percent as a matter of law. This is unbelievably bad,” Manning explained.

“The House needs to stop what they are doing this instant and start over,” Manning exclaimed.

There are other problems. The bill doesn’t eliminate the additional federal funding for Medicaid expansion that was enacted in Obamacare.

Making matters worse, nobody apparently checked with the Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough, who has served since Feb. 2012, to see if the insurance regulations — ordering basic plans to cover more than they might otherwise — could be included in the budget reconciliation bill, according to Sen. Mike Lee speaking with the Washington Examiner’s Philip Klein.

“What I understood her to be saying is that there’s no reason why an Obamacare repeal bill necessarily could not have provisions repealing the health insurance regulations,” Lee said in the interview.

According to the story, “Lee also said that the parliamentarian told him it wasn’t until very recently, after the unveiling of the House bill, that any Republican even asked her about the possibility of repealing regulations with a simple majority.”

Consider that. The whole reason House Republicans have been told they could not address the insurance regulations is because the Senate budget rules would not allow it.

But did anyone ever check? MacDonough has been there for over five years now.

Perhaps Ryan’s plan to repeal 85 percent of Obamacare via reconciliation in 2012 was actually too low.

The legislation appears to replace exchange plan subsidies with a regime of tax credits — which will cost $70 billion a year once fully implemented according to the Congressional Budget Office — the exchanges themselves remain in place. The plan also subsidizes a national, catastrophic-only insurance plan.

Yet, if the plan had contemplated eliminating insurance regulations and, say, going across state lines to buy insurance, would anyone be talking about new federal subsidies for health insurance?

In other words, it would appear the entire new scheme of health insurance has been designed based on what Ryan thought he could get through on reconciliation. The plan tacitly acknowledges that costs will not be coming down, and so envisions subsidies via tax credits.

This is the problem. Because Ryan and Republican leaders are constraining themselves to what they think can be accomplished under Senate reconciliation budget rules, they are delivering a mutant national health care system. Just pass the bill you want, and if the Senate parliamentarian objects, overrule her, the same way they plan on overriding any filibuster on Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court.

Enough with the excuses. If Senate rules prevent good legislation from being proposed, then override those rules.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.

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MARK MEADOWS STANDS UP FOR FREEDOM AND AGAINST RYANCARE

By RICK MANNING

Remember the good old days when Republicans were against the nationalization of 1/6 of the nation’s economy through Obamacare.  Fortunately, Representative Mark Meadows and many others in the GOP Conference do as they seek to hold Speaker Ryan to the rhetorical standard that so many in House Leadership raised for the past six years.

As Ryancare battle rages in House of Representatives, many are questioning why so many conservatives find the Speaker’s approach noxious.  Fortunately, the Texas Public Policy Forum has listed ten reasons why the Speaker’s health care bill falls short, not only of repealing Obamacare, but of refocusing our nation’s health care system toward patient care and away from worrying about insurance coverage.

But on Washington, D.C.’s political scoresheet, the real story is the willingness of House Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Mark Meadows (R-NC) to stand up and oppose what can only be described as a bad, bad bill. On Tuesday, Meadows was reportedly called out for his opposition to the bill by President Trump in a meeting of House Republicans on Capitol Hill. The President recognized that Rep. Meadows worked hard for his election in North Carolina, and (some say jokingly) warned him that he’d be coming after him on this vote.

Joking or not, the message was clear that in spite of all the hard work Representative Meadows and his wife Debbie did to elect the President in the critical Tarheel State, he was likely to face the President’s political wrath if he continued to lead opposition to the disastrous Ryan plan.  A plan that the Congressional Budget Office reports will result in continuing health insurance rate increases as it fails to deal with the underlying problems with national health care.

It takes a person of unusual character and integrity to stand against a President who you just recently helped elect, but Mark Meadows understands that restoring our health care system to a free market orientation is too important to play politics over.

The people of the 11th District of North Carolina owe their Congressman a great debt of gratitude for standing firm, as Mark Meadows is exhibiting the kind of courage that Americans expect but so rarely receive from their elective representatives.

To provide perspective on what is at stake, the Texas Public Policy Forum listed as the Top Ten Conservative Concerns with the American Health Care Act, also known as Ryancare.

  1. Doesn’t Improve Care. Obamacare expanded the federal bureaucracy at the expense of quality care. Tax dollars were taken from providers and used to pay administrators, consultants, lobbyists, insurers, and regulators. The House bill does nothing to change that dynamic.
  2. Raises Insurance Premiums. The Congressional Budget Office believes that the bill will raise insurance premiums by 15-20 percent on average in the next two years, with even higher spikes in some areas. Americans care most about lowering health costs and making coverage affordable—yet the bill falls short on that count, retaining all but one of Obamacare’s costly mandated benefits and insurance regulations.
  3. Doesn’t Repeal Obamacare. Lost in the question of whether or not the bill’s replacement provisions represent “Obamacare Lite” is the fact that the bill as currently drafted represents “Repeal Lite”—when compared not only to full repeal, but even to the 2015 reconciliation bill that passed both houses of Congress. The bill retains all but one of Obamacare’s benefit mandates, some of its taxes, and keeps Medicaid expansion to the able-bodied in perpetuity.
  4. Expands Obamacare. Rather than repealing all of the law, the House Republican bill instead expands Obamacare’s subsidy regime—extending it to millions of individuals off of insurance Exchanges for 2018 and 2019—and revises the subsidy regime for 2019. Some conservatives may question the need to “fix” Obamacare, when House Republicans’ legislation should revolve around repealing Obamacare.
  5. Creates New Entitlement. Beginning in 2020, the bill creates an entirely new entitlement—advanceable, refundable tax credits—replacing Obamacare’s form of subsidized health insurance with another.
  6. Fiscal Gimmicks? Under the bill, the transition from the Obamacare subsidy regime to the new system of tax credits, and a reformed Medicaid program, will take place beginning in January 2020—a presidential election year. If Congress or the Administration delay or abandon the transition due to political blowback, the cost of the House bill will soar.
  7. Permanent Bailout Fund for Insurers? While failing to repeal Obamacare’s risk corridors and reinsurance bailouts, the bill also creates a new “Patient and State Stability Fund,” designed to provide most of its $100 billion in grants to subsidize health insurers. Some conservatives may question whether this grant program will end in 2026 as scheduled under the bill, or whether health insurers instead will make claims on Washington for federal bailouts to the tune of billions of dollars annually.
  8. Federally Controlled, Not Patient-Centered. Notwithstanding some important structural changes to Medicaid that respect states, the House bill claims to be patient-centered but still denies a 60-year old the ability to opt out of paying for maternity benefits. Supporters of the House bill talk about giving more flexibility to states, but leave all the federal insurance mandates in place.
  9. Perpetuates Medicaid Expansion. The House Republican bill allows states to keep their Medicaid expansion to the able-bodied in perpetuity—a major change compared to the 2015 repeal bill. CBO concluded that many states will in fact keep their expansions, diverting funds from covering the most vulnerable to expand Medicaid to able-bodied adults. Moreover, the House bill maintains Obamacare’s enhanced Medicaid match for nearly three years, encouraging expansion states to sign up more able-bodied adults between now and January 2020 to receive additional federal funding.
  10. Inadequate Verification. By relying on Obamacare’s system of verifying eligibility for the new tax credit entitlement, the bill requires verification of citizenship but not identity—continuing Obamacare’s problems of fraudulent applicants obtaining subsidies. In addition, some conservatives may be concerned that even these inadequate verification provisions could be stripped due to procedural concerns in the Senate.

Even at this late date, Congress can still repeal Obamacare and respect the people, the Constitution and the states by defeating this version of Ryancare on the floor, and moving ahead with legislation that at the least mirrors the 2015 repeal language that passed Congress, and replace Obamacare with a system that returns power to the states, restores health care choices to the people and allows health care markets to determine products being offered to meet the needs of consumers.

Should, as this author hopes, Ryancare fail this week, it does not signal the end of the process, but a new beginning where consensus can be created around solutions that the GOP has long espoused. This is the way legislation is supposed to work. For all the doomsayers, they need to wake up from their swampy haze, and remember their promises when they campaigned against Obamacare. A pathway to a good health care bill is available, but House Leadership needs to re-read their campaign brochures and take it.

Thank goodness for people like Mark Meadows, who is reminding them of what it means to be a free market, limited government Republican.

The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.

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SMARTERSAFER URGES CONGRESS TO REJECT PROPOSED WHITE HOUSE CUTS TO DISASTER ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

By LILY WILSON

On Thursday, SmarterSafer, a national coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates, urged Congress to oppose the Trump Administration’s proposed spending cuts to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which would undermine the nation’s ability to prepare for and recover from destructive natural disasters. SmarterSafer recently released a proposal that outlines how Congress should improve mitigation efforts and comprehensively reform the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires in September.

“Cutting funds that protect Americans from increasingly severe and often fatal storms is a penny wise and pound foolish strategy that will only put lives, property and taxpayer dollars at risk. Studies show that every dollar FEMA invests in hazard mitigation saves $4 in disaster costs, so lawmakers should reject this shortsighted proposal and invest in measures that minimize damage before a storm takes place. As Congress begins the long budget process and works to reauthorize a key federal disaster policy— the National Flood Insurance Program— we look forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to improve mitigation strategies that ready the country for future severe storms.”

SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition that is made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety. The coalition believes that the Federal government has a role in encouraging and helping homeowners to undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard their homes against natural disasters.  At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers.

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POLITICALLY CORRECT COURT RULING AGAINST TRUMP TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS REVEALS JUDICIAL TYRANNY

By ROBERT ROMANO

Under the ridiculous ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of the District of Hawaii, temporary travel restrictions on immigration — grants of power to the president enacted by Congress decades ago — from any Muslim-majority countries somehow violate the First Amendment.

But only if the restrictions are issued by President Donald Trump.

Citing “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus driving the promulgation of the Executive Order,” including Trump campaign statements purported to be discriminatory of Islam, the court found special First Amendment rights to immigrate to the U.S. to Muslims throughout the world who neither live here nor have any protections under the Constitution.

But not for Jews, Christians, Hindus or anyone else, apparently, because Trump had not promised announce to block immigration from Israel, Europe or India on the campaign trail. Presumably, Trump could restrict immigration from any country that is not predominantly Muslim, since there were no statements from the Trump campaign in 2016 about doing so.

And, under the ruling, any other president besides Trump might be able to exercise these same powers against predominantly Muslim countries, delegated to the president under the 1952 immigration statute.

There’s only one problem. That is not what the law says, which is a broad grant of power to the president. Not certain presidents based upon a judicially ascertained motive determined by what might have been said on the campaign trail.

Under 8 U.S.C. 1182(f), enacted in 1952, “Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

In other words, the law is blind to motive. It does not matter why Trump wants the travel restrictions, just that he finds certain immigrant entries would be “detrimental to the interests of the United States.” It is a subjective determination, a political question with which the executive has discretion.

Discretion is the key component there. Congress has authorized the president to close down the entire border if he feels it is necessary. It does not matter why. The court has overstepped its bounds.

Americans for Limited Government President in a statement noted the absurdity of the ruling, saying, “If it would be constitutional if issued by former President Obama, then it must then be constitutional under President Trump. The rule of law means equal application of the law and by the judge’s own words, that is not what we have here.”

The judge even acknowledged that “the Executive Order does not facially discriminate for or against any particular religion, or for or against religion versus non-religion.” But never mind what the order actually said. Or that other presidents could issue the order under Judge Watson’s precedent.

And never mind the fact that the government had narrowly tailored the order to apply to just six countries, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, thought to be of higher risk of exporting terrorism — leaving the vast majority of Muslim-majority countries unaffected by the order.

Not finding any evidence of any actual religious discrimination in Trump’s order, the court decided to invent some out of whole cloth, ruling against the order the court wished Trump had issued so that it could overturn it, relying on statements from the president on the 2016 campaign trail to somehow deduce a discriminatory motive by President Trump.

Which, by the way, even if Trump had issued an order barring new non-citizen Muslim entry into the U.S., as he had proposed on the campaign trail, it still would not have violated the Constitution or the statute, because those constitutional protections do not extend overseas.

As Manning concluded in his statement, “It is now clear that federal courts do not intend to hold the acts of President Trump to the same standards as other presidents past or future, instead imposing a separate body of law simply for his administration. In essence, by denying the powers of the president to Trump, the courts are attempting to render their verdict on the outcome of the 2016 election, an intolerable abuse by the judicial branch that Congress must now rein in.”

That is, the exercise of executive power in the conduct of foreign relations — in this case in the area of immigration — under the Constitution and as authorized by Congress, has absolutely zero recourse in courts of law. And it is time Congress said so, by limiting the jurisdiction of federal courts not to examine travel restrictions or any other executive functions where the rights of foreigners who have never set foot on U.S. soil are being invoked.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government. 

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AL QAEDA OPERATIVE CONVICTED OF MULTIPLE TERRORISM OFFENSES TARGETING AMERICANS OVERSEAS

By JORDAN WILIAMS

On March 16, a jury returned its verdict convicting al Qaeda operative Ibrahim Suleiman Adnan Adam Harun, of multiple terrorism offenses including conspiracy to murder American military personnel in Afghanistan and conspiracy to bomb the U.S. embassy in Nigeria. Harun traveled to Afghanistan in the weeks before Sept. 11, 2001 where he joined al Qaeda, trained at al Qaeda training camps and participated in attacks on U.S. and Coalition troops in Afghanistan, as well as also received training in explosives from an al Qaeda weapons expert and traveled from Pakistan to Nigeria intending to attack U.S. government facilities there.

“Harun is an al Qaeda operative who targeted U.S. personnel and diplomatic facilities across two continents. The evidence presented at trial established that the defendant and other jihadists attacked a U.S. military patrol in Afghanistan, resulting in the death of two American soldiers and the serious injury of others. Today’s guilty verdict ensures that the defendant will be held accountable for his acts of terrorism,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord. “I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors whose hard work and dedication made this result possible.”

Harun has a long history with al Qaeda, and has carried out numerous terrorist attacks along with other members of the organization. It was not until 2012 that Harun was indicted in the U.S to face the charges pending in the Eastern District of New York. The guilty verdict was announced Thursday morning by Acting Assistant Attorney General Mary B. McCord for National Security, Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde for the Eastern District of New York, Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney, Jr. of the FBI’s New York Field Office and Commissioner James P. O’Neill of the NYPD.

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