The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News.If true, that's a potential bombshell for her candidacy. I'm not sure if there would be evidence that would be enough to bring an indictment rather than just the appearance of sleazy and corrupt behavior. Her breaking the laws with her server might be more clear-cut than charging the Clintons with any actual quid pro quo of corruption. What does seem to be happening is that there are some within the investigation who are not happy with how it is progressing so they decided to leak to Fox News. We have no way of evaluating the reliability of such anonymous leaks. If she were facing a real competitor in the nomination fight, she would have to answer question after question about these allegations. Imagine if there were similar allegations against one of the GOP frontrunners. So she might skate for now, but the GOP won't be so tender with her reputation when the real race starts.
This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server.
"The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed," one source said....
The development follows press reports over the past year about the potential overlap of State Department and Clinton Foundation work, and questions over whether donors benefited from their contacts inside the administration.
The Clinton Foundation is a public charity, known as a 501(c)(3). It had grants and contributions in excess of $144 million in 2013, the most current available data.
Inside the FBI, pressure is growing to pursue the case.
One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.”
The FBI is particularly on edge in the wake of how the case of former CIA Director David Petraeus was handled.
One of the three sources said some FBI agents felt Petraeus was given a slap on the wrist for sharing highly classified information with his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell, as well as lying to FBI agents about his actions. Petraeus pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in March 2015 after a two-plus-year federal investigation in which Attorney General Eric Holder initially declined to prosecute.
In the Petraeus case, the exposure of classified information was assessed to be limited.
By contrast, in the Clinton case, the number of classified emails has risen to at least 1,340. A 2015 appeal by the State Department to challenge the “Top Secret” classification of at least two emails failed and, as Fox News first reported, is now considered a settled matter.
What is it with Donald Trump and his propensity to ramble on expressing respect for murderous dictators Now he's found something good to say about Kim Jong Un.
Republican primary front-runner Donald Trump says North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-un deserves “credit” for the cutthroat efficiency with which he disposes of his political foes.I'm not sure if his admiration for Kim Jong Un is as high as his respect for Vladimir Putin, but these are not remarks that I want to hear from any American president. What's next - his admiration for El Chapo's business acumen?
“If you look at North Korea, this guy, he’s like a maniac, OK?” Trump said at a rally in Ottumwa, Iowa, on Saturday.
“And you’ve got to give him credit: How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals and all of a sudden, you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?” he added.
“Even though it is a culture, and it’s a culture thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible.”
After North Korea’s government said it successfully tested a hydrogen bomb earlier this week, Trump called the authoritarian leader a “madman playing around with nukes” and a “total nut job.”
But he also insinuated that Kim had some admirable qualities.
“I mean, it’s amazing that a young guy would go over and take over,” Trump said Thursday on Fox News’ “On the Record.” “You know, you would have thought that these tough generals would have said no way this is gonna happen when the father died.
“So he’s gotta have something going for him, because he kept control, which is amazing for a young person to do,” he added.
And he gave some rambling reflections on how he doesn't like the NFL as much now that they have rules restricting head-on tackles. Somehow trying to protect players from head injuries is just another sign that the country has gone soft. I guess people like the idea of having a president weighing in with stream-of-conscious comments on every subject. I know that I can't stand that from Obama where he shows up in sports or arts awards broadcasts. I don't look forward to the next president's opinions intruding in what used to be non-political areas of my life. I was hoping to have a break from all that.
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Noah Rothman thinks it's time that Rubio start panicking.
And that Solomonic choice [between Trump and Cruz] is coming sooner than Rubio’s team would perhaps prefer. While they are banking that a few third and second place finishes in February can position their candidate well ahead of the March primaries, the damage that will be done to Rubio’s brand if he fails to win at least one of the February contests will be palpable.Rubio came to Raleigh this weekend and several of my students went to see him. When I asked them how it was, they all remarked the same thing - the crowd wasn't anywhere as large as it was for a Trump rally back in November and that Rubio was really playing to conservatives in the crowd. My students who went were mostly moderate and were open to Rubio, but felt disappointed in his conservative rhetoric. Things aren't hopeless for Rubio, but he needs the other more moderate candidates like Christie, Kasich, and Bush to drop out, but that doesn't look like it will happen.
For his composed unflappability, Rubio has been signaling that he hears the concerns of conservative voters and is adjusting his messaging in response.
A tea party senator who bucked the GOP and defeated a sitting governor to muscle his way into the Senate, Marco Rubio is as conservative as anyone in the field. The junior Florida senator doesn’t deserve the label “establishment,” but it’s one he’s been saddled with since his prospective nomination is an acceptable outcome for the party’s elected officials and donors. That says more about the evolution of the party than it does about Rubio, but primary races hinge on the narcissism of small differences. Rubio’s pathway to the nomination, while somewhat complicated, is not difficult to envision. If he cannot clear his lane, however, it will not be long into March before the party’s elites begin the process of coming to terms with Ted Cruz as the last viable Trump alternative.
Joshua Spivak writes for Reuters that Marco Rubio's path to the presidency might be based on winning delegates in blue states that the Republicans have no possibility of winning in the general election. He makes an interesting comparison to how William Howard Taft won the nomination from Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 by winning delegates from Southern states that the GOP would never have won in those days of a solid South.
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Victor Davis Hanson looks at the history of immigration to the United States and outlines four factors that made such integration a success.
One, immigrants came legally. Breaking the law was a lousy way to start American residency. How can an immigrant continue to respect and follow his adopted country’s legal system when his first act as an American resident is to mock federal law?Notice how different the immigration that we are seeing today violates those principles.
Two, immigration was blind and diverse. It did not favor one particular group over another. The more diverse the immigrant blocs, the less likely they were to form lasting separate communities. There were, of course, mass influxes of immigrants in the past, but they were quite diverse: gobs of Germans, hordes of Irish, masses of Italians and Sicilians, huge influxes of Poles and Jews, lots of Japanese and Chinese, large arrivals of Mexicans. But note how diverse and varied were the immigrants’ places of origin and how destined they were to bump into each other upon arrival. Each group was wary of the other trying to use immigration as a crass tool to boost their own political fortunes by bringing in more kin than their rivals.
Three, immigrants usually arrived in manageable numbers; mass arrivals were usually periodic and episodic, not continuous and institutionalized. Only that way could the melting pot absorb newcomers and avoid the tribalism and factionalism that had always plagued so many prior failed multi-ethnic national experiments abroad. To avoid the fate of Austria-Hungary or Yugoslavia, immigrants—geographically, politically, culturally—by needs were soon intermixed and intermingled.
Four, both hosts and immigrants insisted on rapid Americanization. Immigrants learned English, followed all the laws of their host, and assumed America was good without having to be perfect. Otherwise they would have stayed home.
Apparently, the behavior that we've seen of groups of young men attacking women has a name and such attacks have been spreading in Northern Africa.
Taharrush has so far been confined to the Arab world, but with the huge migrant influx last year, authorities are now concerned the Cologne attacks could be the first example in Europe.And now Swedish authorities is being accused of covering up a similar experience to what happened in Cologne.
The Federal Criminal Police (BKA) told Welt am Sonntag that they are looking at how some Arab countries deal with mass sexual assaults amid fears similar attacks could happen again at other large gatherings in the country.
“Such crimes, committed by groups of young men, are of particular concern to local police during large gatherings of people such as demonstrations,” a BKA spokesman said. “The attacks range from sexual harassment to rape.”
Many of the men arrested so far have been described as of North African origin. Online journal Jadaliyya writes that taharrush is a particular problem in one North African nation, Egypt:
“In Egypt, sexual harassment is widespread and touches the lives of the majority of women whether on the streets, in public transportation, or at the work place, the super market, or political protests,” the journal writes.
It adds that the word taharrush is a relatively new term, with sexual assault previously being known simply as mu’aksa, or ‘flirtation’.
Wearing a veil also seems to offer no protection for women, with Jadaliyya reporting that large groups of men attacked both veiled and unveiled women during holiday festivities following Ramadan in 2006.
The phenomenon came to worldwide attention in 2011, when CBS reporter Lara Logan was sexually assaulted by a crowd of up to 200 men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square while reporting on protests against President Hosni Mubarak.
Ms Logan said how her clothes were ripped off by a “baying mob” who went on to “rape her with their hands”. She said the crowd shouted “let’s take off her pants” after she became separated from her crew.
The number of cases from New Year's Eve in Cologne has risen to more than 500 and about 40% of them include sexual assault. So far they've detained 31 suspects and 18 of those men are asylum seekers.Shouldn't the men have been deported rather than simply ejected from the festival?
Swedish police faced allegations of a cover-up Monday for failing to inform the public of widespread sexual assaults against teenage girls at a music festival last summer.
Police hadn't mentioned the August incidents at the "We are Sthlm" festival until newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported on them this weekend following a string of sexual assaults and robberies on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Germany.
Stockholm police spokesman Varg Gyllander confirmed to The Associated Press on Monday there was "a large number" of sexual assaults during the five-day festival and that scores of suspects were detained....
Gyllander couldn't confirm the ethnicity of the alleged attackers in Stockholm but said "this involves young men who are not from Sweden."
Roger Ticoalu, who heads the city government's events department, told the AP that a "large part" of those detained were from Afghanistan, many carrying temporary ID-cards issued to asylum-seekers.
He said about 20 teenage girls filed complaints of sexual assault and that about 200 suspects were detained and ejected from the festival for sexual assault and other offenses. It wasn't immediately clear whether any of them were arrested and charged.
Dorothy Rabinowitz writes today about the almost reflexive response of liberal politicians, after an attack that is clearly committed by Muslims on behalf of their religion, to deny that the attacks had anything to do with the perpetrator's religion. We saw this last week when there was this unprovoked attack in Philadelphia on a policeman sitting in his car by a man who told police his reasons for the attack.
The wounded shooter, Commissioner Ross revealed, told police after his capture that he had mounted the attack in the name of Islam, that he believes that “the police defend laws that are contrary to Islam.” The man apparently wanted to talk only about his devotion to Islam.Democratic mayor Jim Kenney totally ignored what the police reported about the shooting.
Undaunted by anything he’d heard so far, Mayor Kenny then came to the microphone and declared: “In no way, shape or form does anybody in this room believe that Islam or the teaching of Islam” had anything to do with the attack. “This was a criminal with a stolen gun.”So it doesn't matter what the shooter himself said, the mayor knows better. We saw this response in Europe after those attacks on New Year's Eve to try to downplay the fact that the attackers were Muslim immigrants and refugees.
Mr. Kenny’s tone was fervent. Out of this event—involving a murderous assault on a police officer, and a heroic response by that officer—the mayor, awash in excitation, had divined what was, for him, the most important concern of this day. Namely, persuading citizens that this attack had nothing to do with allegiance to Islam.
It added to the surreal wonders of this scene that, immediately after the mayor’s pronouncement, the commander of the police department’s homicide unit calmly took the microphone. Capt. James Clark reported that the shooter (later identified as 30-year-old Edward Archer) had said, repeatedly, that he followed Allah, that he pledged allegiance to Islamic State and “That is the reason I did what I did.”
The current political piety dictating what is and is not permissible to say about terrorism and Muslims didn’t spring from nowhere. Nor did the compulsion to preach on the subject. The Philadelphia mayor’s bewitching half-minute lecture on Friday was only the most recent example. The sermonizing reflex—a quintessential element in Barack Obama’s notion of leadership—has by now taken on a life of its own. Who doesn’t know now to expect, in a speech by the president, or in some exchange of his with reporters, the glum rebuke, “That’s not who we are”?Michael Brendan Dougherty writes on the same topic about how European authorities have been loath to acknowledge the inconvenient truth that Muslim immigrants have brought such crimes to their communities, not just in Cologne, but across Germany and the rest of Europe.
On no subject has there been more sermonizing than on Muslims and terrorism and on what the real Islam is and is not—no surprise in an administration which has from its outset tended to the apparent view that the American nation is essentially composed of yahoos whose barely controlled instincts to riot require regular monitoring and checks by their enlightened betters.
All this notwithstanding the history that shows that, after the slaughter of 9/11 and through all the bloody assaults since that were committed against them by rampaging soldiers of Islam—Fort Hood, the Boston Marathon, San Bernardino—Americans have conducted themselves with exemplary courage and dignity. Neither the president nor other moral instructors who hasten forth after every terror attack to bring light unto the nation appear to have noticed.
The reluctance to publicize these events recalls the awful case in Rotherham, England, where a mafia-like gang of immigrants abused something like 1,400 children between 1997 and 2013. The abuse flourished under a cloud of self-congratulating silence because authorities did not want to contribute to stereotyping about Pakistanis living in Britain. One potential whistleblower was ordered to undergo sensitivity training after trying to draw attention to the abuse.The mayor of Cologne advised German women to adopt a "code of conduct" to avoid such attacks.
After news of the attacks began to leak out, Reker condescendingly advised German women to adopt a "code of conduct" in order to avoid sexual assault. She suggested that they "stick together in groups, don't get split up, even if you're in a party mood." Then she added "make sure yourself you don't look to be too close to people who are not known to you and to whom you don't have a trusting relationship." This is fine advice for a mother to give. But a mayor should be promising the restoration of safe streets.Denying reality doesn't make it so. The supposed reality-based community should realize that. I'm not saying that all Muslims are murderous or abusive beasts. I have a lot of affection and respect for my Muslim students. But that fact doesn't obfuscate the fact that there is a serious problem in the Islamic world and ignoring that fact doesn't help anyone deal with such what we've been facing around the world.
What's worse is that Reker's advice highlights that Cologne has temporarily lost one of the heretofore distinguishing features of Western civilization: the general sense of social trust and solidarity that allows women to venture freely and safely in central city districts. Her code of conduct sounded like a European concession to Sharia law: women must be modest and accompanied by trusted guardians, or else.
Reker backhandedly admitted that the assailants were North Africans and Arabs, likely of recent arrival, when she added, "We need to explain to people from other cultures that the jolly and frisky attitude during our Carnival is not a sign of sexual openness." The condescension runs in two directions. Germany's women are blamed for their own sexual assault, and the criminals are relieved of guilt. They merely suffer from a misunderstanding about how to party correctly, and that can be remedied if only Germans educated them. You see, it's the native's fault both ways.
And that's the attitude at the top as well. Germany this week finalized a deal with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to censor German "hate speech" about migrants and refugees on social media — though it's not clear at all where the line lies. Is a complaint about migrants enough to have your Facebook post taken down? Also, this week Merkel rejected a proposed cap of taking just 200,000 refugees in 2016.
The message to ordinary Germans is clear: You can't be allowed to say what you are thinking. And you probably shouldn't think it either.
And as Dougherty points out, the shameful response of Europe's elites is endangering their most treasured achievement - the European Union.
David Cameron has demanded a tough renegotiation of the E.U. as he promises a Britain referendum on an exit. A spiritual, if not political, secession is already happening in Eastern Europe. There is Orban's Hungary, Poland has thrown out every left of center politician from government, and there are very popular anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim demonstrations in that country. Even Slovakia's political leaders are saying what was unsayable in Europe: The refugees can't be integrated.
It is hard not to notice that the European Union is failing in the tasks for which it was founded. It was founded in the horror of the Holocaust. And now its policy on migration is creating societies that are deeply hostile to Jews. And Jews have responded by evacuating Europe.
The E.U. was was built in part to contain Germany's power in Europe, which has threatened the stability of the continent whenever and ever since that country was first united. Now the E.U. has become the political vehicle for the economic and political domination of Europe by Germany. Irish assets are underperforming? Germany will force Ireland to nationalize their debts to protect German banks from exposure. Greece wants to renegotiate its debt? No way. Merkel locuta est, causa finita est.
If Europe begins to unravel in 2016, the proximate cause will have been the events in Cologne around midnight on Jan. 1.
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President Obama's town hall PR gambit to garner support for his mini-actions on gun control backfired on him. He wasn't faced with Republicans whom he could just dismiss with contempt and mischaracterization of their positions. He faced ordinary citizens who just didn't buy into all of his premises about gun control. So he was confronted with arguments that anyone who has followed the gun control debate would know, but Obama didn't seem to have an answer for.
Taya Kyle, whom CNN's Anderson Cooper described as the widow of Chris Kyle, the former Navy SEAL who wrote "American Sniper," was first up. Unlike the National Rifle Association, which sensationalizes and exaggerates crime in the U.S., Kyle forthrightly acknowledged crime's long downward trend. Having acknowledged that crime is variable, however, and thus responsive to social conditions (even if we aren't sure which), she nonetheless concluded that gun violence is impervious to public policy.Obama didn't really have an answer to these questions. He might deny that he has any plan to take away people's guns, but he has also several times praised the Australian policy of gun-confiscation. Studies of Australia's policy have concluded that it didn't decrease homicides. Some argue that it did decrease gun-related suicides; however Mark Antonio Wright points out that non-gun-related suicides also declined in that period so it's not really clear that the buy-back policy was the cause of the decline. And there is no way that such a massive confiscation policy in America would involve hundreds of millions of guns compared to 650,000 in Australia.
"The thing is that the laws that we create don't stop these horrific things from happening, right?" she said. "And that's a very tough pill to swallow."
This is the first line of gun movement logic. Bad guys don't obey laws. So laws aimed at mitigating gun violence by bad guys are pointless. It's doubtful Kyle applies this reasoning to bank fraud or child abuse. But for some reason, it makes sense to her -- and millions of others -- when the topic is guns.
Later, an Arizona sheriff named Paul Babeu asked the same question in a different form: "And, how do we get those with mental illness, and criminals, that's the real problem here, how are we going to get them to follow the laws?"
The premise is that laws can't get criminals and the mentally ill to do anything. So why try? Hearing the question posed by a law-enforcement officer adds a degree of absurdity. But Obama had no good answer for it. If he intends to advance this discussion in his final year in office, he will need one.
Next came Kimberly Corban, whom Cooper introduced as a survivor of a brutal rape when she was a college student.I have been unspeakably victimized once already, and I refuse to let that happen again to myself or my kids. So why can't your administration see that these restrictions that you're putting to make it harder for me to own a gun, or harder for me to take that where I need to be is actually just making my kids and I less safe?This, too, is a familiar theme in gun land. Obama has proposed a modest, barely enforceable policy adjustment that has the potential to require a few more buyers to undergo background checks before they obtain a firearm. The purpose is to make it more difficult for felons, fugitives and the certified mentally ill to obtain a gun. In response, Corban asks, essentially, "Why are you taking my gun away?"
And an American mandatory gun-confiscation program — in addition to being unconstitutional — would be extraordinarily coercive, and perhaps even violent.And they shouldn't act shocked, shocked that anyone interprets their frequent references to Australia as a desire to confiscate the guns of America.
There is no other way around it: The mandatory confiscation of the American citizenry’s guns would involve tens of thousands of heavily armed federal agents going door-to-door to demand of millions of Americans that they surrender their guns.
That. Is. Not. Going. To. Happen.
If the president and gun-control activists want to keep saying “Australia” in response to every shooting in America, they should at least be honest about what exactly they are proposing.
Politico Magazine looks at Trump's brand. Their conclusion is that his campaign might be hurting his brand on all his businesses. Since his is a privately-owned company, we don't know if it is suffering financially as his professional brand is deteriorating.
In categories such as “prestigious,” “upper class” and “glamorous” the Trump name has plummeted among high-income consumers. Within the same group, it is also losing its connection with the terms “leader,” “dynamic” and “innovative”—quite a blow for a man who criticizes others for being “low energy” and considers himself an industry trailblazer. The brand has been a survey subject for BAV Consulting’s regular surveys for over a decade and has never before experienced such a precipitous drop in reputation. It’s the kind of change that usually follows a big corporate scandal, like a product recall or financial misconduct. But in Trump’s case it’s a man’s personality that is in play....His brand is built on his personality and image. If that declines, there might be a decline in people who want to spend money at his hotels, golf courses, and condominiums, or watch him on TV once the campaign is over.
Less visible, but no less important, are hits Trump has taken among his target consumer base: the luxury, or “aspirational” market of those making over $100,000 a year. The wealthiest respondents in the BAV survey—those with incomes over $150,000—judge Trump the harshest of any income bracket. In this group, as measured by BAV’s consumer opinion index, Trump’s reputation for being “obliging” and “upper class” has declined by more than 50 percent since the outset of the campaign, followed by “leader” (with a 41 percent decline) and “prestigious” (down by 39 percent). The next lower income level—households making between $100,000 and $150,000—wasn’t much kinder, with a 56 percent decline for “obliging,” a 45 percent decline in “prestigious” and a 38 percent drop for “upper class.”
Rich Lowry argues that the comparison of Ted Cruz to Barry Goldwater is not really appropriate. He prefers a comparison to Richard Nixon.
The better analogue for Cruz might be Richard Nixon, not in the crudely pejorative sense, but as another surpassingly shrewd and ambitious politician who lacked a personal touch but found a way to win nonetheless.
First, all the caveats. Obviously and most importantly, Cruz is not a paranoiac. He’s more ideological than Nixon. And he has none of Nixon’s insecurity, in fact the opposite. Nixon went to tiny Whittier College and resented the northeastern elite; Cruz went to Princeton and Harvard and could be a member of the northeastern elite in good standing if he wanted to be.
But Cruz is cut from roughly similar cloth. He wears his ambition on his sleeve and isn’t highly charismatic or relatable. In high school, he could’ve been voted most likely to be seen walking on the beach in his dress shoes. If Cruz wins the nomination, it’ll be on the strength of intelligence and willpower. He’ll have outworked, outsmarted, and outmaneuvered everyone else.
Certainly, Cruz isn’t ascending on the basis of warm feelings from his colleagues. Cruz portrays his unpopularity within the Senate as establishment distaste for him as a lonely man of principle. But it’s a genuine personal dislike.
Not that Cruz cares. In fact, a key to what he has been able to achieve is his apparent immunity to the reflexive desire to be liked by people around you, a weakness to which almost all of us fall prey. Cruz is free of the peer pressure that typically makes all senators, at some level, team players.
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Michael Warren travels along with the Hillary campaign and finds her rallies...boring. It's almost as if it's a feature, not a bug.
If Clinton's dullness isn't deliberate, it's certainly convenient, serving the campaign's desire to make as little news and noise as possible as she trudges through a mildly competitive primary season on her way to the nomination and the media stay focused on the much more entertaining Republican race. In fact, Clinton is running a conservative campaign, in strategy if not in politics. That explains why, in Davenport, she talks fondly of the good times of her husband's administration and promises to defend the gains made under Barack Obama. While Obama-era Democrats brashly boast that their chief policy achievement, the Affordable Care Act, is here to stay, Clinton strikes an almost reactionary chord.That's her pitch: she's the candidate of yesterday and that's a good thing.
Rebecca Friedrichs, one of the teachers bringing the case, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, heard yesterday at the Supreme Court to end the practice of forcing employees to pay union dues, explains why she has brought this case. She just doesn't agree with the policies that the teachers' union pursues and resents having to pay $1000 a year to support policies with which she disagrees.
I have been teaching for 28 years. During much of that time, I was a member of the union. But I gradually realized that my union and I don’t agree about what is best for our schools and for our children.As someone who has taught in public schools, I can well agree with her position.
One incident was particularly crystallizing. A few years ago, I was serving as a union board member when the district determined that it had to lay off several newer teachers. I knew these individuals well. I had been a personal mentor to three; another had been a student-teacher of mine.
All were making a big difference in our school — so I started talking to other teachers and proposed that we try to save as many jobs as possible by taking a 2% to 3% pay cut. Many teachers agreed and wanted to support these outstanding new teachers.
The union leadership refused to even consider the idea. Despite my opposition to the union’s approach, I was forced to support their agenda with my dues, and our district had fewer good teachers as a result.
These are the types of political decisions that unions make on an everyday basis. Their policies promoting teacher tenure, “last-in first out” hiring policies and protections that make it almost impossible to fire incompetent teachers are just a few of the controversial positions unions pursue through collective bargaining.
Dahlia Lithwick, a liberal who writes at Slate about the Supreme Court, bemoans, along with the liberal justices, the thought that five Supreme Court justices seem on the verge of dismantling a 40-year precedent of supporting collective bargaining by public service unions.
ustice Stephen Breyer cautions Carvin that this has been the labor rule for decades: “But it was 40 years ago. I mean, maybe Marbury v. Madison was wrong.” Breyer adds that overruling that precedent “would certainly affect the bar. It would certainly affect at least student fees at universities. It would require overruling a host of other cases … And you start overruling things, what happens to the country thinking of us as a kind of stability in a world that is tough because it changes a lot?”Did they have such concerns about overruling precedent when it came to overruling precedents on gay rights or capital punishment for crimes committed while a minor? No, then we heard about evolving standards. Liberals like Lithwick are scared because Anthony Kennedy's questions seem to make clear where he stands.
Insofar as anybody thought Kennedy’s vote was in doubt in Freidrichs (nobody did), he also establishes early and often that he sides completely with the objecting teachers: “Is it not true” he asks California’s Solicitor General Edward Dumont, “that many teachers strongly disagree with the union position on teacher tenure, on merit pay, on merit promotion, on classroom size? And that the union is basically making these teachers compelled riders for issues on which they strongly disagree?” Kennedy then reaches for the loftiness: “Many teachers think that they are devoted to the future of America, to the future of our young and that the union is equally devoted to that but that the union is absolutely wrong in some of its positions.”Liberals fear that, just like in Wisconsin, when teachers aren't coerced into paying dues, as they aren't in 27 of the states, union membership drops precipitously.
Liberals love to cite FDR as the model of presidential activism, but they ignore that he was strongly against public-employee unions. He wrote,
All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management. The very nature and purposes of Government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with Government employee organizations. The employer is the whole people, who speak by means of laws enacted by their representatives in Congress. Accordingly, administrative officials and employees alike are governed and guided, and in many instances restricted, by laws which establish policies, procedures, or rules in personnel matters.
Particularly, I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of Government employees. Upon employees in the Federal service rests the obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of Government activities. This obligation is paramount. Since their own services have to do with the functioning of the Government, a strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to prevent or obstruct the operations of Government until their demands are satisfied. Such action, looking toward the paralysis of Government by those who have sworn to support it, is unthinkable and intolerable. It is, therefore, with a feeling of gratification that I have noted in the constitution of the National Federation of Federal Employees the provision that "under no circumstances shall this Federation engage in or support strikes against the United States Government."