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Pence calls for Space Force to be established by 2020

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:45
Vice President Pence called Thursday for America to assert its dominance in space as he made a direct appeal to the Pentagon for a sixth military branch serving this purpose -- and revealed the Trump administration wants to create the “Space Force” by 2020.

DOJ slams 'sanctuary' Philadelphia for giving 'free pass' to child rapist

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:45
The Trump administration is taking aim at Philadelphia’s political leaders for a string of crimes committed by immigrants the city released in defiance of Immigration and Customs Enforcement requests.

Melania Trump's parents become US citizens

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 18:00
First lady Melania Trump’s parents officially became U.S. citizens on Thursday.

Trump says Chicago shootings are 'absolute and total disaster'

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:30
President Trump weighed in on the recent violence in Chicago on Thursday, labeling the bloodshed that’s left at least 11 people dead and 70 others injured an “absolute and total disaster.”

Georgia Democrat running for Congress is convicted of DUI, awaits sentencing

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 16:15
A Georgia Democrat running for Congress was arrested this week and now awaits sentencing after a jury convicted him over a drunken-driving incident from last year.

Kobach's lead over Colyer in Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary falls to 91 votes

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:45
The Kansas Republican gubernatorial primary is still too close to call, as Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s lead over Gov. Jeff Colyer has shrunk to only 91 votes, officials reported Thursday.

On scandals and elections in the era of Trump

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 15:03
How much of a difference does it make?

Top Dallas Democrat resigns in disgrace, admits taking more than $450G in lavish bribes

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 14:42
A Dallas official pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges after prosecutors said he earned more than $450,000 in kickbacks and bribes in exchange for official actions taken to benefit local business dealings.

Judge Ellis calls on Mueller team to 'really sharply focus' inquiries, as prosecutors ask witness about emoji

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 14:41
Just hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team and Judge T.S. Ellis came to something of a cease-fire in their courtroom war of words, Ellis was back to admonishing prosecutors for wasting time in front of jurors.

Ben Shapiro offers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez $10,000 to debate her democratic socialist beliefs

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 14:22
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro challenged Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to a debate, and is willing to $10,000 to her congressional campaign if she accepts.

Kansas City man told he couldn't vote while wearing a 'Make America Great Again' hat

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 14:05
A Kansas City, Missouri, voter was incorrectly told he couldn’t cast a ballot while wearing his Make America Great Again hat, a county election official has said.

Kavanaugh documents from Bush White House made public, as Dems complain of 'cherry-picking'

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 13:42
The first documents from Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's time in George W. Bush's White House were released Thursday as the Senate begins to review the judge's unusually lengthy public record for confirmation hearings this fall.

Mueller team files complaint against Manafort trial judge over latest reprimand

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 13:32
After days of being dressed down by the judge overseeing the Paul Manafort case, federal prosecutors sought Thursday to put their foot down -- filing a motion complaining that Judge T.S. Ellis III had unfairly admonished them in front of the jury.

Who is Sharice Davids, the Kansas congressional candidate who could make history?

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:55
With her congressional primary victory, Sharice Davids moved one step closer to making history; if she wins in November, she will be the first gay, Native American elected to Congress.

Nikki Haley blames Venezuelan crisis on leftist president: 'It's time for Maduro to go'

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 12:43
Maria Elena Lopez Gonzales left her home in Venezuela three months ago.

Nunes mocks furor over 'secret tape' comments as 'left-wing media spin'

Fox News (Politics) - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 11:57
A spokesman for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes fired back Thursday at reports playing up a "secret tape" revealing his warning to donors that a GOP majority in Congress may be necessary to protect President Trump.

Kids Are Safer When They're in Private Schools

Cato Recent Op Eds - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 09:19

Corey A. DeAngelis

Representatives from President Trump’s Federal Commission on School Safety just met in Cheyenne, Wyo., for their third public listening session aimed at reducing violence in schools. In these meetings, people have called for arming teachers with guns, hiring more counselors, putting more officers on campuses, and throwing more money at the issue. But none of these types of proposals address the root of the school safety problem.

A just-released study by Harvard University’s Dr. Dany Shakeel and I suggests that private school vouchers could be tickets to safer schools.

A just-released study by Harvard University’s Dr. Dany Shakeel and I suggests that private school vouchers could be tickets to safer schools.

We employ nationally representative data from the Schools and Staffing Survey for the most recently available (2011-12) school year. Using survey responses from school principals across the nation, we find that safety problems are less likely to occur at private schools than government schools. In fact, we find that private schools have a statistically significant advantage for each of the 13 discipline problems examined - even after controlling for factors such as school size, school type, enrollment, student-teacher ratio, percent of minority teachers, percent of minority students, and urbanicity.

And the safety benefits of private schooling are large.

For example, as shown in the figure below, private schools are about 8 percentage points less likely to have physical conflicts among students and 12 percentage points less likely to have students using illegal drugs than government schools. Moreover, private schools are about 18 percentage points less likely to have gang activities at school and 28 percentage points less likely to have student possession of weapons than government schools.

But that’s not all. We also find that private schools are less likely to restrict student liberties than government schools. After controlling for student and school characteristics, we find that private schools are about 6 percentage points less likely to require students to pass through metal detectors each day, 20 percentage points less likely to search for drugs using random dog sniffs, and 7 percentage points less likely to require students to use clear backpacks. Obviously, the prison-like environment in government schools doesn’t create a healthy school culture, which could lead to less student learning and more discipline problems.

And this new study isn’t the only evidence suggesting that private school choice can lead to more safety for students in U.S. schools. As I pointed out at the second public listening session (in Lexington, Ky.) all four rigorous evaluations linking private school choice programs to student safety find large positive effects. For example, the most recent federal evaluation of the D.C. voucher program found that students that won the lottery to attend a private school were 35 percent more likely to report that they were in a very safe school than their peers in government schools.

The results of these studies are significant. But they shouldn’t surprise us all that much. Families care about the safety of their children more than anyone else. And private schools must cater to the needs of families if they wish to keep their doors open. On the other hand, government schools remain open whether they are safe or not. Unfortunately, simply throwing more resources at a broken system won’t fix anything. Hopefully the Federal Commission on School Safety will figure that out soon.

Corey DeAngelis is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is an education policy analyst at the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom and a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at the University of Arkansas.

Why America’s Allies Should Develop Nuclear Weapons

Cato Recent Op Eds - Thu, 08/09/2018 - 09:17

Doug Bandow

Germans are losing their trust in America’s security guarantees. Believing that U.S. troops would always defend Europe, Berlin has allowed its military outlays and capabilities to wither. German defense spending at present barely breaks 1 percent of GDP. With only slight overstatement, political scientist Christian Hacke recently said of the German military, “nothing flies, nothing floats, and nothing runs.”

For years, Washington officials have whined about Europe’s and especially Germany’s failure to take defense seriously. Yet the U.S. also continued to spend money and deploy troops to “reassure” its allies, giving them less incentive to do more.

Despite his tough rhetoric, in practice, President Donald Trump’s policy has proven to be more of the same. He criticized America’s defense commitments to Montenegro, yet allowed it to enter NATO. At the latest alliance summit, his subordinates advanced new subsidies for member states. This year the administration is putting another $6.5 billion into the European Deterrence Initiative, formerly called the European Reassurance Initiative.

Nevertheless, the president’s crude hostility and unpredictability have set him apart from his predecessors. Thus, many Germans and other Europeans worry that he might walk away from NATO.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been particularly vocal. Last year she defiantly responded to President Trump’s criticism by calling on Europeans to “take our fate into our own hands.” She remains committed to bumping her country’s military outlays up to 2 percent of GDP, despite opposition from her coalition partners.

Proliferation is a good thing if it means relieving some of America’s numerous security guarantees.

Other Germans want to do even more. For instance, shortly after Trump’s election, Roderich Kiesewetter, a member of the Bundestag and former German general staff officer, suggested creating a European military budget to expand the French and British nuclear arsenals. Berthold Kohler, publisher of the influential Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, urged direct German support.

Two weeks ago, the Welt am Sonntag ran an article by Christian Hacke that argued Germany was no longer under America’s nuclear umbrella and that “national defense on the basis of a nuclear deterrent must be given priority in light of new transatlantic uncertainties and potential confrontations.” Criticism of his idea was fierce — a former intelligence official denounced it as “reckless, foolish, and incendiary.”

U.S. commentators also dumped on Hacke’s proposal. Jim Townsend, a one-time deputy defense secretary, argued: “Trump notwithstanding, the U.S. nuclear guarantee is not going anywhere.” That, of course, is the conventional wisdom inside the Blob, as the Washington foreign policy establishment has been called, which also believes that America must forever defend Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; fix failed societies and sort out foreign civil wars everywhere; and underwrite every authoritarian regime that claims to oppose Washington’s enemy du jour.

But it isn’t just the Germans who are considering nuclear options. Jarsolaw Kaczynski, former Polish prime minister and dominant figure in Poland’s current government, has suggested developing a European nuclear arsenal to confront Russia.

The same question also has arisen in Asia. The Republic of Korea embarked on a nuclear program in the 1970s after President Park Chung-hee doubted the Nixon administration’s commitment to the ROK’s defense. Seoul later abandoned the effort under U.S. pressure, though in recent years the North’s nuclear advances have fed popular support for a South Korean bomb. A poll found two thirds of South Koreans in favor and some newspapers and politicians offered their support.

North Korea’s new pacific course has reduced the perceived necessity of a nuclear arsenal and leftish President Moon Jae-in last fall declared, “We will not develop or possess nuclear weapons.” However, the future remains uncertain. Indeed, few Korea analysts believe Pyongyang will ever fully disarm, and President Trump has shown disdain for America’s defense commitment to South Korea.

Even more controversial is the case of Japan. The idea of possessing nuclear weapons remains anathema to much of the Japanese population, but they also remain sheltered beneath America’s nuclear umbrella. Despite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s attempt to tie himself to President Trump, an increasingly burdened America may tire of protecting its wealthiest ally.

So far the proliferation door is “ajar, even if no one is leading the way through it,” observed Llewelyn Hughes of GR Japan. The idea of a Japanese nuke was studied (and rejected) by military and civilian policymakers as far back as the 1960s. During the conservative nationalist Abe’s earlier stint as prime minister a decade ago, he appeared to offer indirect support for a Japanese nuclear weapon, though nothing came of that gambit. In April 2016, Abe observed that the Japanese Constitution does not preclude the country from possessing and using nuclear bombs, which reaffirmed a position going back to Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi in 1957. The same reasoning allows Tokyo to field a “Self-Defense Force” despite the constitution’s Article Nine, which holds that “land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained.”

Most U.S. policymakers dismiss the idea of friendly proliferation in Asia, though analyst Ira Straus has proposed a nuclear loan by Washington to Japan and the ROK. Ultimately, however, there is no reason for the U.S. to remain entangled in those nations’ defense. Both are nuclear capable and could develop their own weapons if they desired. America should consider shifting — permanently, not temporarily — nuclear as well as conventional defense responsibilities onto its freeloading allies.

Uncle Sam has been profligate with his nuclear umbrellas. The 28 other NATO members — including Montenegro, President Trump’s bête noire — each received one. So did Japan and South Korea. Australia and Taiwan could also be seen as protected. Certainly Israel would be had it not developed its own arsenal. Perhaps Saudi Arabia would get one if Iran developed a bomb. Ukraine probably thought it had one after yielding its leftover Soviet nukes.

The presumption is that America’s commitments are costless since they will never be called in. Washington deters the bad guys while preventing the spread of nuclear weapons. Whatever risk might exist, believes the Blob, it’s vastly exceeded by the dangers of proliferation. Under such assumptions, no wonder non-proliferation is one of foreign policy’s great sacred cows.

The problem with our promises to use nukes on behalf of other nations is that doing so costs nothing only so long as deterrence holds. And history is full of conflicts in which conventional alliances failed to prevent war. World Wars I and II are prime examples.

A nuclear guarantee that failed at deterrence would force either military action likely to result in destruction on the American homeland or humiliating retreat and a consequent loss of credibility and honor. What U.S. cities should be held hostage for Berlin, Taipei, Podgorica, Tokyo, Warsaw, and Canberra? Only an interest most compelling could justify taking such a risk. Yet Washington has opened its nuclear umbrellas casually, even thoughtlessly, without much regard for the consequences.

In fact, most of America’s nuclear guarantees are leftovers, tied to antiquated alliances created during a different time. But for those commitments, the U.S. would not be a nuclear target of so many opposing regimes. Through its alliances, Washington has needlessly turned itself into an adversary of nuclear-armed powers.

Hence last year’s bizarre nuclear scare involving North Korea. No serious analyst believed the DPRK planned to start a nuclear war with America. Nothing suggested that any one of the three Kims who ruled the North were suicidal. Yet in the event of a conventional war, Pyongyang could still be tempted to either strike out in desperation or threaten attacks on civilian targets to halt an allied advance. With South Korea well able to defend itself, Washington is risking nuclear attack for no good reason.

The dangers are exacerbated by the potential impact of nuclear guarantees on allied behavior, which can encourage intransigence and even recklessness. Conventional commitments are dangerous enough. In the early 2000s, Taiwan’s independence-minded Chen Shui-bian government appeared to provoke Beijing in the belief that the U.S. would deal with any consequences. In 2008, Georgia’s Mikheil Saakashvili triggered a disastrous conflict with Russia, bombarding Moscow’s troops in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia, apparently expecting Washington to enter any war on his government’s side.

While friendly proliferation could create instability and encourage competing arms build-ups, it would also be the most effective way to constrain China without forcing the U.S. into a military confrontation over primarily allied interests with what will be soon a great power, perhaps eventually even a superpower. Enabling more nuclear states would be unfortunate, but it still might be the best among bad options.

If nothing else, Americans should debate Washington’s multiple nuclear guarantees. Recipient nations increasingly recognize that the nuclear umbrella offers an imperfect defense at best. And the U.S. government’s nuclear commitments create enormous, disproportionate costs and risks for Americans. When the issue is nuclear war, without question America must come first.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

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