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Daily Digest

Jul. 16, 2015

THE FOUNDATION

“If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security.” —Samuel Adams, letter to James Warren, 1779

TOP RIGHT HOOKS

Forget Congress, Obama’s Taking the Iran Deal to the UN

It took years to get other nations on board with sanctions against Iran, and Barack Obama has done his best to undo all that work — for nothing in return. Meanwhile, Congress tried to insert itself into the process, but all it got was an empty political victory. Congress now needs a two-thirds majority to disapprove of Obama’s bad deal. But it might not even matter, as Obama could essentially skip Congress altogether. CNS News reports, “Despite a legal obligation to allow Congress to review the Iran nuclear agreement for 60 days, the Obama administration will press ahead with a U.N. Security Council resolution enshrining the deal, likely within days.” According to Secretary of State John Kerry, implementation of the agreement will begin “within 90 days of the UN Security Council endorsing the deal.” Obama has worked his deal, declared it’s awesome, threatened to veto any congressional measure of disapproval, and wants to get on with securing the UN’s seal of approval for his legacy-building enterprise. And yet he had the temerity to say, “I welcome a robust debate in Congress on this issue and I welcome scrutiny of the details of this agreement.” As long as he can ignore the debate, that is.

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Sanctuary Cities Shield Thousands of Felonious Illegal Immigrants

The recent murder of Kathryn Steinle by felon and serial-deportee Fransisco Sanchez in San Francisco elucidated a little-known policy that allows illegal aliens to skirt immigration enforcement measures. Cities like San Francisco that adopt such policies typically don’t necessarily seek out undocumented immigrants, but they also don’t enforce deportation, which yields the same result. And it’s a much bigger problem than we’re led to believe. Citing a 2014 government report provided under a Freedom of Information Act request, Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, drops this bombshell revelation: “State and local sanctuary policies caused the release of more than 8,000 criminal alien offenders sought by ICE for deportation in 276 jurisdictions around the country over an eight-month period [January 1, 2014, to August 31, 2014], according to ICE records obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies in a FOIA request. Sixty-three percent of the individuals freed by local authorities had prior criminal histories or were labeled a public safety concern at the time of their release. Nearly 1,900 of the released offenders subsequently were arrested for another crime within that eight-month period. ICE arrested approximately 750 of the recidivists, but just over 1,000 (60 percent) remained at large.” These 8,000 criminal aliens — and thousands more since then — were allowed back onto our streets because one party cares more about votes than security. Americans like Kathryn Steinle shouldn’t pay the ultimate price for Democrats’ vote-buying schemes.

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Is ‘Freddie Gray’ the Right Name for a Youth Center?

If black lives really matter — and they absolutely do — the black community should be making some different choices. Case in point from the Fox affiliate in Baltimore: “A new Baltimore youth center has been named in honor of Freddie Gray.” You’ll recall that Gray is the black man who was arrested and later died from a spinal injury he received while in a police van. As with the deaths of Michael Brown and, to a far lesser extent, Eric Garner, Gray’s death led to riots in Baltimore and charges against the arresting officers. So what will kids learn at the Freddie Gray Youth Empowerment Center? It will offer job and computer training along with year-round community programs and free meals. Those are honorable things, and we’re certainly glad to see the church community of Baltimore take the lead in helping kids. But Gray’s “martyrdom” as part of a leftist narrative of racist police doesn’t automatically make him a role model for Baltimore’s youth. We just pray these kids are able to free themselves from the all-too-typical inner city fate.

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Don’t Miss Alexander’s Column

Read Jade Helm 15 and the Conspiracy Theories, on Alex Jones and his reckless conspiratorial rhetoric about the Jade Helm military exercise.

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FEATURED RIGHT ANALYSIS

Obama’s Prison Reform: More Votes for Democrats

By Paul Albaugh

On the heels of commuting the sentences of 46 drug offenders on Monday, Barack Obama is pushing for sweeping reforms for the U.S prison system. During a speech before the NAACP on Tuesday, he outlined his three-pronged approach, stating that reform needs to happen “in the community, the courtroom and in the cell block.” And today he’ll become the first sitting president to visit a federal prison. The bad news is he won’t be staying there.

At the community level, Obama proposes diverting money saved through prison reform to education. If the money were to go to colleges, high schools or perhaps even middle schools, there might be some merit to his proposition. But he and the educrats in Washington want the money to be invested in pre-kindergarten, allegedly so crime can be stopped before it starts.

Last we checked, not many toddlers were thinking about using drugs, or committing other non-violent crimes. Humor aside, “Head Start,” the model for universal pre-k, has been shown to have virtually no benefit. Besides, is it really better to leave it up to the government rather than parents to teach their kids right and wrong? Certainly not, but Obama and his fellow progressives would like nothing more than to indoctrinate children at an even earlier age.

As for reforming prisons via the courtroom, Obama wants Congress to pass legislation this year that would lower long mandatory minimum sentences or get rid of them entirely. Additionally, he wants to invest in “prison alternatives, such as drug court programs and probation courts.” Reform in this area has the backing of many conservatives who believe that non-violent criminals such as drug users would be better off going through rehab programs than serving countless years in prison.

For reforming the cellblock, Obama wants to address the alleged overuse of solitary confinement, overcrowded prisons and gangs. According to The Hill, Obama also supports “banning a box on job applications for convicted felons and said those who have served time and paid their debts to society ‘should be able to vote.’” Ah, there it is — voting.

In other words, let’s make it illegal for businesses to not hire someone because they have checked a box indicating they are a felon. That might be discrimination. But let’s make it perfectly legal for that same person to be able to check the ballot box. Something of a double standard there, but what else can we expect from the minister of fairness? Just look at his track record of pushing policies that guarantee more votes for progressives.

The thing is, there’s actually plenty of bipartisan support in Congress for prison reform. On the same day Obama spoke to the NAACP, a Senate panel discussed ways to overhaul the criminal system, and conservative senators like Mike Lee, Rand Paul and John Cornyn are leading the charge.

According to the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, which hosted the panel, there are currently 2.2 million people in U.S. prisons, which is a 500% increase over the last 30 years. In addition, more than 60% of those incarcerated for nonviolent crimes are black and Hispanic men.

This may seem like a disproportionate number. According to Obama it proves our justice system is “not as fair as it should be.” Are there people behind bars that perhaps shouldn’t be? Sure, from all ethnicities. Are there people behind bars that are serving sentences that don’t match the crime they committed? Sure, from all ethnicities. Yet Obama claims more blacks and Hispanics than whites in prison can be due only to racism.

There may be some cases where this is true. However, he fails to mention in his narrative that many imprisoned blacks and Hispanics come from high-crime cities. Many come from broken homes, grow up on urban poverty plantations run by Democrats and turn to drugs and other crimes, both violent and nonviolent, because that is what they know.

By the way, what message is Obama sending to those breaking the current laws, even nonviolently? That they have the hope of getting out of jail early? If he commuted the sentences of these 46 individuals on Monday because there were errors in their sentencing, or they had been mistreated by a prosecutor, then his use of the presidential power of clemency may be understood. But that wasn’t the case; it was simply another abuse of power.

As Paul Robinson of The Wall Street Journal notes:

“Using clemency to override existing policy on criminal sentences sets a dangerous precedent. Imagine a president who uses clemency to mitigate the sentences of nonviolent white-collar criminals like Bernie Madoff, or police officers who use deadly force in the line of duty, or for defendants in stand-your-ground cases, or for those who shoot abortion doctors as a claimed ‘act of conscience.’ Will each new president drop or revise the clemency criteria of his predecessor, and substitute his own? This would short-circuit the checks and balances of our constitutional separation of powers and give unrestricted lawmaking power to the president.”

Do our prisons need reform? Absolutely, but not for all the reasons Obama puts forth. Furthermore, it’s appalling that this president has the time to not only commute the sentences of 46 drug offenders but to personally write them letters, yet he can’t be bothered to even mention the name of Kathryn Steinle, who was murdered by a repeatedly deported illegal alien, much less spend a few minutes writing a letter of condolence to her family. Oh wait, he supports sanctuary cities, which allow illegal immigrants to go unchecked. And what about the American hostages in Iran who are still there following Obama’s terrible deal? Politics trumped reason. And that’s what worries us about his ideas for prison reform.

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Jonah Goldberg: “Shortly after the shooting in Charleston, S.C., the New America think tank chummed the waters with a tendentious study insinuating that [Dylann] Roof and his ilk represented the real terror threat. ‘Homegrown Extremists Tied to Deadlier Toll Than Jihadists in U.S. Since 9/11,’ proclaimed a New York Times headline. Forty-eight Americans, including the nine killed in Charleston, have been killed by non-Islamist ‘terrorists,’ compared with a mere 26 by avowed jihadists. The study is a methodological mess, starting with the fact that it starts the clock immediately after 9/11, ignoring the 3,000 killed on that day. It counts dubious attacks as right-wing terror and ignores the fact that the U.S. has foiled and deterred numerous Islamist terror plots in the past decade. If you catch a bunch of rattlesnakes in your backyard before they bite and kill someone in your family, is that proof there is no threat from snakes? It would be an improvement if the left could stick to either of its double standards. Personally, I think fellow Americans … deserve some of the nuance and understanding so many reserve for Islam extremism. But if you’re going to take your zero tolerance for symbols of 19th century slavery so seriously, maybe you should show the same myopic zealotry with regard to the forces who are enslaving people right now.”

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SHORT CUTS

Insight: “Make men large and strong and tyranny will bankrupt itself in making shackles for them.” —Rev. Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887)

Upright: “The government shouldn’t get in the way of innovation and progress; it should watch from the sidelines and be grateful that there are private actors who are willing to risk their own money and effort to produce the benefits government can never deliver.” —Veronique de Rugy

The purge continues: “Those guys need to go. They can be sand-blasted off, or somebody could carefully remove a slab of that and auction it off to the highest bidder.” —NAACP Atlanta branch President Richard Rose about the 90- by 190-foot carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis at Stone Mountain

Sickness: “What’s really horrific is women who are pregnant being forced to bear children against their will. That’s horrific.” —NYU professor Cristina Beltrán on the newest Planned Parenthood scandal

Demo-gogues: “I challenge those who are objecting to this [nuclear] agreement … to explain … why they’re right and people like Ernie Moniz, who is an MIT nuclear physicist and an expert in these issues, is wrong, why the rest of the world is wrong.” —Barack Obama

“Trust me”: “[I]f there is nuclear material [in Iran’s undeclared] site, high school physics will remind us that that leaves a trace. And so we’ll know that, in fact, there was a violation of the agreement.” —Barack Obama

Warnings: “We think [Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran] is not only a threat to [Israel]. We think this is a threat to [the U.S.] as well. Iran has killed more Americans than anyone other than al-Qaida. They’re going to get hundreds of billions of dollars to fuel their terror and military machine. … When Arabs and Israelis agree, it’s worth paying attention.” —Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Late-night humor: “The president of Iran prematurely announced the nuclear deal on Twitter … before it was official. Which isn’t that big a deal until you realize the guy who almost had nukes is known for accidentally hitting ‘Send.’” —Jimmy Fallon

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Managing Editor Nate Jackson

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