Trevor Noah Reveals Pro-Abortion Double Standard

by Alexandra DeSanctis

When news broke yesterday afternoon that tennis champion Serena Williams had been pregnant in January when she won the Australian Open, Trevor Noah’s commentary on the subject accidentally acknowledged the truth about unborn human life and exposed the hypocrisy of the left on abortion.

Here’s his tweet:

Noah’s reaction is just the latest example of a common progressive trope: treating unborn children as humans when they’re wanted by their mother, and insisting that they’re just “non-persons” or a “clump of cells” when their mother wishes they didn’t exist.

It’s easy to understand how Noah revealed his hand, despite his professed pro-choice sympathies. When the truth of human life is so straightforward, keeping up the pro-abortion charade is hard to do.

Venezuela Nationalizes GM Plant While Its People Are Starving

by Paul Crookston

Amid ongoing protests and a collapsing economy, Venezuela has nationalized the country’s General Motors plant. The move has drawn condemnation from GM, which has halted operations, and from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who has accused Nicolas Maduro’s government of “violating its own constitution.” One suspects that an appeal to legal principle will have little chance of moving Maduro.

The socialist dictator’s grip on power appears increasingly tenuous, and asset grabs such as this one will do little to reverse the fundamental dysfunction in the Venezuelan economy. Perhaps more important to his overall strategy will be the distribution of seized civilian arms to the government-loyal “militias” on which Maduro is relying on as the protests escalate. Even in one of the areas in which he is most popular, Maduro has faced protesters armed with rocks.

It does not look good on the ground. Those participating in the so-called “mother of all protests” have suffered waves of arrests and injuries — and at least two have been killed by government-aligned militias. At the everyday level, the people are languishing nationwide from shortages of everything from food to toilet paper. Seizing a car plant might put a dent in GM’s stock, but it will do little else besides.

Attorney General to Enforce the Law: Film at Eleven

by Peter Kirsanow

The United States has immigration laws. They were passed by Congress. Jeff Sessions went to Nogales, Ariz., last week and stated he will enforce those laws. All the right people are apoplectic.

After eight years of ideologically selective enforcement of immigration — and other — laws by Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, Sessions’s otherwise anodyne statement was bracing: If aliens unlawfully enter the country a second time and certain aggravating circumstances are present, they will be charged with a felony. Horrors.

The unremarkable statements of Jeff Sessions and President Trump over the last few months already have had an effect: Since December, illegal border crossings are down an estimated 72 percent, to the lowest level in nearly two decades. Combine that with tackling visa overstays, withholding certain federal funds from sanctuary cities, expanding E-verify, and addressing H-1B visa abuse, and we might just reclaim our sovereignty and the rule of law.

Colleges Teach Division, Not Our Common Humanity

by George Leef

One of the nastiest features of American higher education today is its incessant focus on division — how some groups enjoy “privilege” while others are “oppressed.” The mania over diversity is grounded in assigning individuals to various groups they supposedly represent, then harping on the fact that we don’t have mathematically equal representation. We find race-themed dorms and centers on campus where grievance-mongering simmers. And individuals who don’t want to play along are likely to be attacked as “traitors.”

In this Martin Center article, North Dakota State psychology professor Clay Routledge ruminates on how damaging this is and also on the lack of attention to our common humanity.

“The point,” Routledge writes, “is that people who on the surface appear very different from us actually have many underlying similarities. Indeed, psychologists have established that basic psychological needs as well as the structure of emotion and personality are universal.” But that message doesn’t help advance the leftist cause, which thrives on artificial division and conflict — which then gives campus or government authorities more to do.

This paragraph really nails the truth:

Instead of using diversity to promote a common humanity, they are using it to make students perpetually conscious of group membership. This increases the likelihood of ingroup bias. They are creating spaces, including residence halls, that are segregated by race or designated for the exclusive use of one particular group. This promotes distrust of and hostility toward members of different groups.

Exactly. The “progressives” who are always strutting their commitment to inclusion are (perhaps deliberately; perhaps not) bringing about distrust and exclusion. Theirs is a shameful and retrograde social movement.

Carter Page? Really?

by Rich Lowry

The New York Times has a story today on how a Carter Page visit to Moscow initiated the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign:

WASHINGTON — Ever since F.B.I. investigators discovered in 2013 that a Russian spy was trying to recruit an American businessman named Carter Page, the bureau maintained an occasional interest in Mr. Page. So when he became a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign last year and gave a Russia-friendly speech at a prestigious Moscow institute, it soon caught the bureau’s attention.

That trip last July was a catalyst for the F.B.I. investigation into connections between Russia and President Trump’s campaign, according to current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials.

I’m prepared to believe the worst of Page, but if he is at the center of this scandal, it is likely to be a nothing-burger. He was the very definition of a marginal player in the Trump campaign, and that probably over-states it. Per Business Insider, this is how Page has described to the Senate his role in the campaign, obviously trying to pump it up, none too impressively:

“For your information, I have frequently dined in Trump Grill, had lunch in Trump Café, had coffee meetings in the Starbucks at Trump Tower, attended events and spent many hours in campaign headquarters on the fifth floor last year,” Page wrote. “As a sister skyscraper in Manhattan, my office at the IBM Building (590 Madison Avenue) is literally connected to the Trump Tower building by an atrium.”

This is not to say there won’t be embarrassing revelations about the likes of Carter Page and (especially) Paul Manafort, but so far we haven’t seen anything even close to the goods.

Bilingualism Makes You Smarter — Or Not

by Jason Richwine

The progressive demonstration with the strange name “March for Science” is scheduled for this weekend. Although organizers call it “the first step of a global movement,” the march actually continues a long tradition of activists invoking science as a cover for positions that are fundamentally ideological. As Heather Wilhelm observed last week, “This March for Science does not appear to be largely about science, or about people who know a great deal about science, or even about people who want to know a great deal about science.”

How did we get to the point where science is a political buzzword for progressivism? Part of the problem is that scientists are people too, and they are subject to the same pressures and biases as anyone else in the public sphere. Perhaps for that reason, research has a tendency to offer “objective” support for ideas that have become politically fashionable.

I encountered an example recently while putting together an essay for The American Conservative on the spread of bilingualism. Whether to encourage immigrant families to retain their ancestral language is a value-laden question involving the larger ideological conflict between multiculturalism and assimilation. Bilingual advocates, however, offer a scientific argument for their position: It makes people smarter. As California’s new bilingual-education law states, “A large body of research has demonstrated the cognitive, economic, and long-term academic benefits of multilingualism and multiliteracy.” How convenient for multiculturalists!

As I detail in the essay, the claim that bilingualism improves cognitive function has fallen victim to the “replication crisis”:

In a profession that rewards novelty, academics and the journals that publish them often take even the slightest hint of a positive finding and run with it, downplaying or ignoring null results. Since researchers have become increasingly interested in large-scale replications in recent years, they have had trouble verifying some of the most well-known results in social psychology.

The alleged link between executive [cognitive] function and bilingualism is no exception. Writing in the academic journal Cortex in 2016, psychologist Kenneth Paap recalled how he and his colleagues initially “had strong expectations that we would replicate a strong advantage” for bilinguals on executive tasks. But they couldn’t. “Three studies, three additional tasks, and 273 participants later we reconsidered the hypothesis and . . . what changed our mind was simply the weight of the evidence.” Many psychologists are no longer convinced that bilingualism improves executive function at all. Given the state of the evidence, there is no clear case for encouraging bilingualism in the U.S. on cognitive grounds alone.

I did not have space to mention that “bilingualism makes people smarter” is itself a reversal in the literature. Before the 1960s, the opposite view predominated. “The general trend in the literature relating to the effect of bilingualism upon the measure of intelligence, has been toward the conclusion that bilinguists suffer from a language handicap,” according to a 1953 review paper [pdf]. So at a time when assimilation was the prevailing ideology among political elites, science told them bilingualism is bad for the mind. Later, when multiculturalism became the prevailing ideology among elites, science told them bilingualism is good for the mind. Which is the cause and which is the effect here?

Thank goodness for the replication crisis and the renewed interest in scientific transparency that has come along with it. If there were a March for Large-Scale Preregistered Replications, I would be on the front lines.

‘South Koreans Feel Cheated After U.S. Carrier Miscue’

by Rich Lowry

How does this happen? If the point of the saber-rattling in North Korea is to re-establish our credibility, mis-stating where a carrier is obviously doesn’t help.

‘A Trump Victory on the Border’

by Rich Lowry

In my Politico column today, I wrote about an under-appreciated success in the early-going for Trump:

In the first few months of this year, illegal border crossings have dropped precipitously, according to federal statistics and anecdotal evidence. It is an early proof of concept that, yes, it is possible to secure the border and a victory, even if a provisional and incomplete one, for President Trump’s enforcement agenda.

Once you stripped away the bluster and impossibilities from Trump’s rhetoric on immigration during the campaign — there wasn’t going to be a wall along the entire border paid for by Mexico, nor were there going to be mass deportations and a Muslim ban — the irreducible core of his message was a commitment to crack down on illegal border crossings.

This is happening. It has been reported in the media, but it almost never makes it into the conversation about Trump’s first 100 days in office, despite the fact that it is one of his central agenda items.

If Trump had promised to almost immediately reduce illegal border crossings from Mexico to a 17-year low, it would have been dismissed as characteristic Trump bombast. But here we are. On the border, there is cause to be, if not tired of, at least encouraged by all the winning.

Shattered and the Irritating Consequences of Access Journalism

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

Shattered and the Irritating Consequences of Access Journalism

Post-election campaign books aren’t new. But Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, the new book by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes, stands out because the believable portrait it paints of dysfunctional, incompetent senior leadership of the Clinton campaign is so at odds with the narrative we were told from the media during 2016.

Sure, there were a lot of logical reasons for her to be the favorite in 2016: Democrats had just come off of two big wins in the previous two presidential races; she had the backing of the incumbent president; she had run before and her husband had won twice; she had the historical excitement of being the first woman nominee of a major party; the obvious flaws of the Republican nominee… 

There were also some that were assumed or told to us by the Democratic-friendly political media: Hillary Clinton had an experienced, well-organized campaign team that worked well together and focused on the big picture. She had learned from the Obama team and his victories about how to get out the vote. Her team knew how to collect and analyze data and accurately assess the state of the race and the electorate. They were raising more money and spending more money, and that was a significant advantage. They had oodles of campaign offices across all the key swing states, and would have a spectacular “ground game” where it mattered most. They were confident, and the reports from on the ground backed up the campaign’s expectations to win most or all of the contested swing states.

According to Shattered, none of those were true.

Why was the 2016 election result such a shock to so many people? Because the dominant narrative from most of the media was a delusion. Hillary was, if not exactly what the media wanted in every detail, the Democrat, and the majority of the media thinks of the Democrats as the smart good guys and the Republicans as the dumb bad guys. 

The narrative of the impending Clinton landslide was combination of Democrats’ wishful thinking, Clinton campaign spin, conventional wisdom, groupthink, and dismissal of contrary indicators.

 I bought into it too much myself, and I’m still kicking myself for it. Although every once in a while I expressed a little bit of doubt:

We’re about to learn just how much a candidate needs campaign offices in these swing states. When you see Hillary Clinton having 36 offices in Ohio and Trump only 16, or Hillary having 36 offices in Pennsylvania and Trump only having two, or Clinton having 34 offices in Florida and Trump having one… if the number of offices influences get-out-the-vote operations and total turnout, Trump should get blown out in those states. But right now the polls in those states look mixed-to-bad for Trump, but not abysmal. Emerson has them tied in Ohio and Clinton only up by 3 in Pennsylvania, and the last three polls in Florida have them within the margin of error.

Perhaps Trump doesn’t need to open many offices if the RNC ground game efforts will make up the slack.

In a year with such an unorthodox nominee, the lack of Trump campaign offices seems like a giant gamble. Maybe he’ll win by sheer force of personality, dominating the news coverage while conceding the commercial breaks. Maybe Trump’s instinct that data-driven get-out-the-vote efforts are “overrated” will be proven correct. But if Trump flops, and Republican turnout is below 2012, it will prove to be a painful lesson to the GOP and all future candidates that a campaign infrastructure really matters.

I should have listened to those nagging doubts more!

And as I wrote yesterday, this leaves me wondering if Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes kept their word to their sources… but ended up somewhat complicit in this inaccurate narrative that dominated the nation’s perception of the race. They agreed to hold all of the quotes, information and anecdotes from their on background conversations for the book, to be published long after Election Day. Clinton campaign staffers could vent and speak frankly about all of their serious problems hidden from the public eye, knowing that Allen and Parnes wouldn’t report it and the public wouldn’t know until after their decision had been made.

Except… this means a reporter for The Hill and a columnist for Roll Call knew that the media narrative was wrong, and didn’t tell anyone. Hillary Clinton’s campaign wasn’t a well-oiled machine, and in the closing weeks there were a lot of warnings and grim indicators in those key swing states. If you’re a Republican, you’re probably thankful that the Clintons and their inner circle were ignoring and dismissing these troubling data and anecdotes from key states, and that the Democrats were oblivious to the real state of the race. But as a citizen and consumer of news… wouldn’t you have liked to know then?

Lemonade

by Jay Nordlinger

This week, I have written a “California Journal” — but I have found myself quoting German poetry. Yesterday, it was a bit of Stefan George. Today, it’s a bit of Goethe: “Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn?” Yes, I do know a land where lemon trees bloom: Bel Air.

I discuss this in my fourth and final part today. And conservative kids on the Fullerton campus. And a disinvitation (of me!). And a little Bill Buckley. And more.

Krauthammer’s Take: Devastated Democratic Party Has Lost an ‘Ideological Center’

by NR Staff

Charles Krauthammer blamed former president Obama for the Democrats’ “identity crisis,” while he also said that they need a message or at least an ideological center:

The fact that the most popular politician, particularly among Democrats, is Bernie Sanders, who’ll be 78 in 2020, gives you an idea of the extent of the devastation Obama has left behind in the Democratic party. In his eight years he did okay in ‘08 and ’12, but they have lost, as you enumerated before, the House, the Senate, the presidency, two-thirds of the governorships, two-thirds of the statehouses. He has torched their entire minor-league system. AAA, AA, single-A — there’s nothing left, and that’s why the leadership is in their 70s. It’s the old progressive, Bernie Sanders, vacationing-in-the-Soviet-Union hard Left, which energizes a lot of students. I don’t think it’s going to carry the party anywhere. Ask yourself, what do they stand for? Higher minimum wage? Fine, but that’s not a program. I think what they have lost is kind of an ideological center. Remember, the real problem in the Clinton campaign was: What was her message? What does she believe? She had to farm it out to 20 people, and nobody had an answer. I don’t know what the party stands for other than it’s right now anti-Trump and it will thrive on that, but beyond that, there’s nothing on the positive side other than the hard Left, and that’s got no appeal beyond these university towns and some cities.

In Trinity Lutheran, One Question Exposed Missouri’s Historical Hostility to Religion

by David French

Earlier today friend and former colleague David Cortman argued Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comerthe most important case about recycled tires in American legal history. Here’s how I described the case in a piece last year:

Missouri — because it purports to love children and the environment — created a program that uses scrap rubber from old tires to resurface playgrounds to make them safer. The program is funded through a surcharge on new tires, rubber that would otherwise pack landfills is put to good use, and kids bounce when they fall. Everyone wins, right?

Well, not everyone. Missouri excludes religious organizations from the program. Christian kids at Christian schools don’t get to bounce. So when Trinity Lutheran Church submitted a request for rubberized flooring for a playground that is used not just by the children at its Early Learning Center but also — after-hours and on weekends — by children in the community, the state denied its application. It relied on the state’s expansive version of the odious Blaine amendment to give it license to discriminate.

To put it plainly, Missouri took the position that it had the right to create programs that have nothing at all to do with religion but then withhold the benefits of those programs from religious institutions solely because they are religious. The lower courts ruled against the church, with the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals noting that Missouri didn’t have to exclude the church from the program, but that it could if it wanted — in part because of the state’s “long history of maintaining a high wall between church and state.”

Justice Alito exposed the dangerous anti-religious animus behind the state’s position with a single question. Here’s Alito, questioning the state’s attorney:

JUSTICE ALITO: Well, Mr. Layton, you said you don’t want to — you don’t want to have a program that makes physical improvements to — to churches. And I just wanted to ask you about some Federal laws that are highlighted in the amicus brief filed by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations, and get your reaction whether a program like that would be permissible under the Missouri constitution. So one of them is a Federal nonprofit security grant program providing grants through the Department of Homeland Security to harden — harden nonprofit organization facilities that are deemed to be at high risk for terrorist attacks. So if you have a –a synagogue that is at high risk for an attack by an anti-Semitic group or a mosque that is considered to be at high risk for attack by an anti-Muslim group, would the Missouri constitution permit the erection of bollards like we have around the court here?

MR. LAYTON: The answer traditionally — and I’m not sure that I can speak for the current governor — of course, I was brought back to argue this case and instructed I could defend the prior position, but the answer traditionally would be no. State money could not be used to actually erect or — or operate or provide that kind of physical addition to a — to a church or synagogue.

Think about that for a moment. A synagogue or a mosque under actual physical threat couldn’t traditionally receive state aid available to every other kind of nonprofit. That’s what Blaine amendments enable. That’s how extreme they are.

It’s also worth noting that liberal justices expressed skepticism about the state’s position as well. For example, here’s an interesting comment from Justice Kagan:

JUSTICE KAGAN: So, Mr. Layton, let’s say I — I accept that the State might have an interest in saying we just don’t want to be seen as giving money to one church and not another in these selective programs.

MR. LAYTON: And that’s the endorsement side. There’s also entanglement.

JUSTICE KENNEDY: Yes. I –

JUSTICE KAGAN: I — I think that that’s legitimate.

But here’s the thing. There’s a constitutional principle. It’s as strong as any constitutional principle that there is, that when we have a program of funding — and here we’re funding playground surfaces — that everybody is entitled to that funding, to — to that particular funding, whether or not they exercise a constitutional right; in other words, here, whether or not they are a religious institution doing religious things. As long as you’re using the money for playground services, you’re not disentitled from that program because you’re a religious institution doing religious things. And I would have thought that that’s a pretty strong principle in our constitutional law. And how is that the State says that that’s not violated here?

I hope and expect that Trinity Lutheran will win. I hope it’s a broad enough victory to fatally undermine Blaine amendments nationwide, but even chipping away is better than maintaining or strengthening a legal regime that empowers and sometimes even mandates anti-religious animus. 

What We Mean When We Talk about Media Bias: A Series

by Kevin D. Williamson

Nina Totenberg managed to report an extensive radio segment on NPR, and also to write 1,200 words, about the Missouri religious-school case currently before the Supreme Court — without ever actually managing to say what the case is in fact about.

At issue is a Missouri religious school that applied for a grant for the purpose of making safety improvements to its playground and was denied because state law categorically prohibits the making of grants to religious schools. Totenberg explained — ever so helpfully! — that the state constitution, along with those of many other states, contains ancient language explicitly prohibiting the granting of state funds to religious schools and other religious institutions.

Two words that did not appear in her report: “Blaine amendment.”

The original Blaine amendment was voted on in Congress in 1875. It failed, though just barely. It was not a secular-minded reform — it was an anti-Catholic measure.

Catholic immigration to the United States in the 19th century produced hysteria in some quarters, and more than a little resentment: In New York, a substantial share of public-education money was sent to the state’s parochial schools, on the theory that — crazy though it may sound! — that’s where most of the children were being educated. For years, New York’s Catholic schoolchildren were taught by habit-wearing nuns who gave them religious instruction — and much other instruction — with the expenses being picked up by the state. As the Catholic population grew, this became too much for certain bigots to bear.

Their cultural heirs are with us still. 

While the federal Blaine amendment failed, 38 states adopted a version of it. And anti-Catholicism is not new to the American public-education system: Our very first compulsory-education law, the Old Deluder Satan Act (we gave our laws awesome names back before everything became a strained acronym) of 1647, was adopted in reaction to anti-Catholic hysteria. The Massachusetts Puritans believed that if children were given compulsory education that would enable them to study the Scriptures, then they would be inoculated against any covert popery that might be going on in 17th-century Massachusetts. 

The question in Missouri is not really whether tax dollars may be spent in a way that benefits religious facilities — of course they can: We provide firefighters, police protection, sidewalks, etc., for the betterment and protection of church properties. The question is whether the anti-Catholic provisions of 38 states are in fact a violation of the U.S. Constitution. In Lawrence v. Texas, the Court held that statutes that were rooted in mere antipathy toward some unpopular group were invalid (no “rational basis”), and it nullified Texas’s (stupid and ugly) anti-sodomy statute. That seemed to me a candidate for Antonin Scalia’s “Stupid But Constitutional” stamp, and it is not obvious (to this non-expert, anyway) that Missouri’s dopey laws, ugly though they are, should be regarded any differently. If the people of Missouri wish to repeal their anti-Catholic laws, they have the means to do so.

But as a question of reporting: If a law were based in some prejudice other than anti-Catholic prejudice, do you think NPR would have omitted that fact? Would it have, in fact, gone far out of its way to omit that fact? I myself have a hard time believing that it would.

I do not object to a media outlet’s having a point of view, a bias, or a prejudice, as NPR obviously does.

I do object to subsidizing it.

(I also object to sloppy and incompetent journalism.)

The Supply-Side Dream Team Has a Message for Republicans: Don’t Make Tax Reform So Complicated

by Veronique de Rugy

Writing in the New York Times Wednesday morning, the dream team of supply-side economics — Larry Kudlow, Steve Moore, Steve Forbes, and Art Laffer — have a message for Congress and the president: Don’t make tax reform so complicated that you end up killing it.

They have a plan:

First, cut the federal corporate and small-business highest tax rate to 15 percent from 35 percent, which is now one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

Second, allow businesses to immediately deduct the full cost of their capital purchases. Full expensing of new factories, equipment and machinery will jump-start business investment, which since 2000 has grown at only one-third the rate recorded from 1950 to 2000.

Third, impose a low tax on the repatriation of foreign profits brought back to the United States. This could attract more than $2 trillion to these shores, raising billions for the Treasury while creating new jobs and adding to the United States’ gross domestic product. . . . 

Next, Republicans should abandon the so-called border-adjustable tax. A border tax is a poison pill for the tax plan: It divides the very business groups that the party needs to rally behind tax reform. Retailers like Walmart will never go along. A carbon tax would be even worse. The best way to bring jobs back to America is to simply lower tax rates now while rolling back anti-jobs regulations, such as rules that inhibit American energy production.

While they are all for it, they rightly explain that individual tax reform can wait until 2018. The priority should be on jobs and the economy. That’s why the corporate tax reform is the place to start. Not only is our system horribly punishing — but what most people fail to understand is that, depending on the study, anywhere between 18 and 60 percent of the corporate tax is actually shouldered by workers in the form of lower wages. It is a well-documented fact that “middle-class wages rise when business taxes fall,” the authors note.

Finally, let’s not forget that until recently there was actually a lot of support on the Democratic side for corporate tax reform. They suggest reactivating this support by jacking up infrastructure spending.

As part of this bill, we should create a fund dedicated to rebuilding America’s roads, highways, airports and pipelines, and modernizing the electric grid and broadband access — financed through the tax money raised from repatriation of foreign profits.

As much as possible, this bill should include private financing for projects like toll roads and energy drilling. We also favor “user pays” financing, such as toll roads, and we would oppose any Fannie Mae-type financing structure for projects that would put taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of billions in potential losses.

Using the repatriated revenue for infrastructure spending bothers me, but I can see how it would be a good move politically.

Interestingly, those who favor the Republican Tax Blueprint are already arguing that the problem with not doing it all now (which is not possible anyway) is that when Democrats are in power they may undo the smaller set of reforms. That is possible — yet I find this argument interesting because these are the same people who are willing to pay for all the big reforms in the Blueprint with a border-adjustment tax (BAT). That feature, as I have argued before, puts a structure in place that could allow large tax-rate increases, a move to a VAT, and possibly a move to a VAT with a return of the corporate tax like the Europeans have when the Democrats are in power. In other words, the worst that can happen under the Kudlow-Moore-Forbes-Laffer plan is a return to our current system — which is bad but isn’t as awful as what the BAT could devolve into.

Anyhow, the whole thing is here.

The DREAMer Who Wasn’t

by Rich Lowry

DHS is pushing back on the media coverage of Juan Manuel Montes, allegedly the first illegal immigrant protected by DACA to get deported under President Trump:

After a detailed records search, we determined that Juan Manuel MONTES-Bojorquez was approved for DACA starting in 2014 and had a DACA expiration date of Jan. 25, 2018. However, Mr. MONTES-Bojorquez lost his DACA status when he left the United States without advanced parole on an unknown date prior to his arrest by the U.S. Border Patrol on Feb. 19, 2017.  According to his interview with the Border Patrol, conducted in Spanish, he entered the United States on February 19, 2017, and he acknowledged that he understood the questions that he was being asked.  Departing the country without advanced parole terminates the protections MONTES-Bojorquez was granted under DACA.

The U.S. Border Patrol has no record of encountering Mr. MONTES-Bojorquez in the days before his detention and subsequent arrest for immigration violations on February 19, 2017.  There are no records or evidence to support MONTES-Bojorquez’s claim that he was detained or taken to the Calexico Port of Entry on February 18, 2017.  Prior to his arrest by the United States Border Patrol on February 19, 2017, MONTES-Bojorquez’s last documented encounter with any United States immigration law enforcement official was in August of 2010, where he was permitted to withdraw his application of admission in lieu of receiving an Expedited Removal.

During Mr. MONTES-Bojorquez’s detention and arrest by the United States Border Patrol on February 19, he admitted to agents that he had illegally entered the United States and was arrested.  He later admitted the same under oath.  All of the arrest documents from February 19, 2017, bear MONTES-Bojorquez’s signature.  During his arrest interview, he never mentioned that he had received DACA status.  However, even if MONTES-Bojorquez had informed agents of his DACA status, he had violated the conditions of his status by breaking continuous residency in the United States by leaving and then reentering the U.S. illegally.  MONTES-Bojorquez’s Employment Authorization Document is only for employment and is not valid for entry or admission into the United States. 

According to our records, Mr. MONTES-Bojorquez was repatriated to Mexico on February 20, 2017, shortly after 3:20 p.m.

Everything You Wanted to Know About ‘Unmasking’ But Were Afraid To Ask

by David French

This week’s edition of The Liberty Files — my new podcast — is out, and I’m pleased to host my friend and colleague Andrew McCarthy. There’s no better person to break down the surveillance aspects of the Trump/Russia controversy. In the pod, we answer the following questions:

What is the “deep state?” Is that even a fair term to use?

What is “unmasking?”

Was there anything unusual about Susan Rice’s alleged unmasking requests? Why would they be of any concern?

What was the Obama administration’s surveillance record? Had it abused its powers?

What are the implications for civil liberties? Does the controversy raise national security risks?

It’s a fascinating conversation because Andy knows this topic better than anyone. If you listen, I guarantee you’ll learn. I know I did. 

Listen to the podcast here

Fox Breaks Ties with Host Bill O’Reilly

by Austin Yack

Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, the “King of Cable News,” has been forced out of his prime-time show, “The O’Reilly Factor.”

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” 21st Century Fox said in a statement, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

O’Reilly began his career at Fox News in 1996, and for the past 15 consecutive years, “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the most-watched cable news show in the United States.

The departure comes just weeks after the New York Times published its findings from an investigation into sexual-harassment allegations made against the Fox News host. The newspaper found that O’Reilly and 21st Century Fox settled a lawsuit with five of O’Reilly’s accusers, and spent nearly $13 million in settlements. O’Reilly denies all of the allegations against him.

“Beginning Monday, April 24th, Tucker Carlson Tonight will take over the 8PM timeslot, Fox News said in a statement. The Factor will continue for the remainder of this week at 8PM with guest hosts Dana Perino tonight and Greg Gutfeld on Friday night.”

The Five will move into the 9PM timeslot starting Monday,” the release added.

The Editors: A Rainy Day in Georgia

by NR Staff

Check out the latest episode of The Editors, in which Rich Lowry, Reihan Salam, Ian Tuttle, and Charlie Cooke discuss the special election in Georgia, the drama with North Korea, and more!

New York, at the Bottom

by Kevin D. Williamson

I know, I know: Conservatives are supposed to hate New York and California.

I happen to like both places very much.

Which is why I hate seeing them at the bottom of the economic-outlook rankings

You know who comes out on top in this year’s “Rich States, Poor States”? 

Utah.

I think Megan McArdle might have some ideas about why that is. 

A Laughable Attack from Pro-BAT Lobbyists

by Veronique de Rugy

You know you are doing something right when lobbyists and interest groups are attacking you and when their main line of attack is that you are allegedly a paid shill for some corporate interest. Case in point: Lobbyists for Boeing, GE, and other big interest groups united under the American Made Coalition banner sent out yet another e-mail protesting my position on the border-adjustment tax.

This time around (there were others), the article that offended them is one I wrote with the Cato Institute’s Dan Mitchell in the Wall Street Journal. It’s worth noting that Dan Mitchell and I have a long track record of 1) fighting against destination-based taxes, which the border-adjustment tax is an example of, 2) fighting for tax competition, which would be undermined with a BAT, and 3) a very long track record of fighting for free-markets and against policies that would expand the government (whether they are being pushed by Democrats or Republicans). The coalition, on the other hand, is made up of actual lobbyists paid by special interests who think they will benefit from the measure, which makes their allegations of us being hired guns pretty laughable.

In our article, we debunk the claim that other countries’ VATs are creating an unlevel playing field and are unfair to U.S. companies. As I have written many times in the Corner, I am sure it makes for a great sound bite but it is simply not true. Other countries’ tax systems are not the problem. The United States is the cause of our problems because of our super-higher corporate tax rate and worldwide tax system. Yet, the lobbyists from this American Made coalition and others are eagerly pushing this line to make the case that we need to impose a 20 percent tax on imports and exempt all exports.

Interestingly, in their e-mail they make zero mention of this, even though it was the main point of our article. So of course, being the optimist that I am, I am hoping that it means they have given up on using this misleading argument!

Instead, they complain about a paragraph in our article that argues that currencies are unlikely to fully and rapidly adjust. They write:

And while de Rugy and co-author Daniel Mitchell have to reach all the way back to 2005 to find a study that supports their position, more recent work done by the Department of Treasury and others makes clear that when other countries have incorporated border adjustments into their tax codes, the currency markets worked to protect consumers:

  • The Office of Tax Analysis asserts in a January 2017 report that border adjustment does not have trade effects because after-tax prices on domestic goods have risen relative to foreign prices as anticipated.
  • An April 2017 report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics drew a similar conclusion, asserting countries implementing border-adjusted consumption taxes experienced a rise in real exchange rates.

Leaving aside the fact that there is much more than one article raising questions about the likelihood of a full and rapid currency adjustment, it’s pretty interesting that they should mention the two articles above to make their case to the contrary. For instance, the Peterson Institute article looks at examples of adjustments after the implementation of a VAT and finds that currency will ultimately adjust but that it may take up to three years, which I wouldn’t call an “immediate adjustment.” I would add that such an amount of transition time could be lethal for some companies.

The Peterson study also notes that the VAT study findings do require some serious caveats if you want to apply it to the House Republican Tax Blueprint. First, border-adjusting the corporate income tax “differs in important ways” from implementing a VAT. This in turn may have important consequences in terms of how and how much adjustments happen. Second, the “United is special” and such an adjustment “might disrupt the global financial system given the dollar’s dominant role in finance.” Third, the dominance may mean a failure to adjust fully and a need for prices to go up. They write:

Alternatively, the special role of the dollar could mean that the nominal exchange rate responds only partially to trade pressures, especially if other countries resist the corresponding depreciation of their currencies. Limits on dollar appreciation would force the adjustment to come through US prices and wages instead. It would take time for prices and wages to reach a new equilibrium, because wages are set in advance through contracts, and the Federal Reserve may not accommodate the full shift.

Fourth, and this is a biggie, the House proposal requires a large 25 percent adjustment of our currency to avoid disruption after the introduction of the 20 percent BAT. As the authors, Caroline Freund and Joseph E. Gagnon, note, “Whether adjustment eventually comes through a 25 percent dollar appreciation or a 25 percent increase in US wages and prices or some combination of the two, these adjustments are large, and much larger than the events studied in this paper, and hence more likely to be disruptive.”

In other words, I don’t think this study makes a strong case for their position. I could go on and on but I am happy to settle for this: There is a great deal of uncertainty around the issue and asserting that we know for sure that the adjustment will be big enough and immediate lacks real humility. Currency traders and strategists — whose jobs and pay are based on observing and predicting the changes in a $5.1 trillion-per-day currency market — say the following:

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the market who believes it will result in the greenback strengthening 25 percent, as the plan suggests.

Part of the reason has to do with what they see as a misinterpretation of the underlying theory when applied to the real world. But just as important is the fundamental failure of politicians to appreciate how unpredictable the vast, foreign-exchange market can be, especially when global economic drivers collide and trillions of dollars change hands every day.

“The FX market is the most difficult thing to forecast, and to build an inter-generational tax reform based on the assumption of what the FX market will do is a laughable notion,” David Woo, the head of global rates and FX strategy at Bank of America, said in a Bloomberg TV interview.

I could also add that being such a cheerleader for large adjustment ignores that they alone are likely to cause unpleasant major distortions.

Finally, once again the lobbyists are unhappy that Mitchell and I ignore the rest of the Republican tax plan to focus on the BAT. But that point doesn’t hold water. Sure, we like the rest of the plan a lot. Sure we believe that it would be great to implement it without a BAT. Sure, we know that the rest of the plan would trigger economic growth. But agreeing to a BAT because the rest of the plan is great is like saying that it is always a good idea to buy an awesome house in a bad neighborhood. It’s not — and most people will decide to pass on the awesome house to get their second- or third-favorite house rather than live in that neighborhood. The same is true here. We would love the plan without the BAT. But with it, it’s not a risk worth taking, especially considering that there are other things that can be done — better neighborhoods and second-best houses if you will.