Three Things You Need to Know – February 20, 2018

Le Pen to Speak at CPAC

The European far-right is coming to CPAC. Just one hour after Mike Pence leaves the stage, Marion Le Pen, the 28 year old photogenic ‘It girl’ from France’s National Front, will address the conference. This encapsulates every reason why we are so frigging screwed. I’ll come back to that.

First, who is Marion Le Pen and the National Front? Marion is considered the “third Le Pen.” Her grandfather, Le Pen number one, founded the party primarily as an anti-communist movement. On the surface that may not sound too bad, but his platform was extreme nationalism, racism, and anti-semitism. If you’re just tuning in, I’m not describing the Nazis - well I guess I am - but this all about Grandpa Le Pen. He recently called Jews dying in Nazi gas chambers as a minor “detail of history,” and that France and Russia need to team up to defend the “white world.”

You can imagine how these views didn’t go over too well with most Frenchmen. Enter… Le Pen number two: Marine. Marine took it upon herself to polish up the party’s image and make them more mainstream. She tuned down the racist rhetoric, kept extreme nationalism, but turned the National Front away from free-market capitalism and towards Socialism. Hmm… extreme nationalism and socialism. National… Socialist? Marine even proposed abortions on tap with full public reimbursement.

If you’re just tuning in, again, I’m not describing the Nazis. This is FRANCE’S NATIONAL FRONT. Their poster girl, Marion (Le Pen number three), will actually be on stage this week speaking to conservatives. And she’s not like her watered down aunt Marine, she’s more akin to the O G… grandpa Le Pen.

I mentioned this before, but this is why we’re screwed. The right currently has three sides to it. Those that are drifting to the left, the conservative minority, and those drifting towards the far or alt-right. Now, look at the serious issues that people have been screaming for their government to address. Immigration? Silence from the left, silence from the mainstream right, silence from many conservatives. What about job loss in middle America? Silence all around.

It is absolutely ridiculous that the only people giving voice to real issues are people on the far left and far right. The deafening silence is driving movements like France’s National Front to become more mainstream. They’re beginning to co-opt into what used to be conservative only groups. Last year it was Milo, this year it’s Marion Le Pen, who’s next? Richard Spencer?

The trajectory we’re on is dangerous and out of control. The far and alt-right is actively trying to weasel its way into mainstream conservative circles. If we don’t put our foot down now, we’re in danger of losing it all.

There's a Reason 16-Year-Olds Can't Vote

Sixteen-year-olds should never be allowed to vote.

Yesterday, several on the Left decided to use the protests by teenagers in Florida and Washington, DC as an opportunity to promote the idea that 16-year-olds should be allowed to vote.

One law professor from the University of Kentucky tried to make a serious case in an article for CNN: “The real adults in the room are the youth from Parkland, Florida, who are speaking out about the need for meaningful gun control laws. They are proving that civic engagement among young people can make a difference. The ironic part? They can’t even vote yet.”

The protests from the devastated high school students of Parkland, Florida are an understandable, visceral reaction to the worst kind of tragedy. They need time and space to vent their grief and anger. The adult role right now should be to comfort and support them as they work through this trauma. Not exploit their tears for political gain.

What we’re seeing this week is a gut-level reaction from traumatized kids, not well-reasoned, “civic engagement.” America has a lot of smart teenagers, but it has even more who don’t know what “civic engagement” means, who their Senator is, or even how to do their own laundry.

Another law professor from Harvard said teens “have far better BS detectors” than adults, so we should give 16-year-olds the right to vote. These professors make it seem almost as if 16-year-old voting rights are being suppressed.

The voting age wasn’t lowered to 18 until the 26th Amendment passed in 1971. The logic then was that if you’re old enough to be drafted, you’re old enough to vote. So, is the criteria now that if you’re old enough to carry a placard you’re old enough to vote? Sorry, but at least in 1971 there was a logical reason for the age change. This one is just knee-jerk reaction.

Why is the Left suddenly so interested in allowing 16-year-olds to vote? Because they’re the perfect untapped voting bloc. Progressives love an emotionally-driven, peer-pressured voter who can be told what to believe rather than thinking through issues for themselves.

Teens and college kids typically lean to the Left until they get out in the real world, start making their own money, see how much of it is drained away in taxes, and finally realize Progressivism is the exact opposite of the freedom it promises.

Concealed Carry on Campus

Patrick was a sophomore at Columbine High School when Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris massacred their classmates.

He was one of the lucky ones. He walked away with his life that day.

He vowed to live a life of service after God granted him that blessing.

Patrick went on to join the Army and served a tour in Iraq. When he came home, he was elected to the Colorado State House of Representatives—where he has served his constituents since 2014.

Every year since he was elected, Patrick has introduced legislation to remove restrictions on concealed carry in schools.

In the wake of the Stoneman Douglas shooting and the renewed call for gun control, Patrick is pushing his legislation just as hard.

Under current Colorado law, anyone who has a concealed carry permit "may bring firearms onto school property, but must keep them locked inside their vehicles."

Patrick doesn’t think that law goes far enough.

His act would allow every law-abiding citizen who holds a concealed carry permit the right to defend themselves and others at all times.

Patrick argues that “Time and time again we point to the one common theme with mass shootings, they occur in gun-free zones. As a former Columbine student who was a sophomore during the shootings on April 20, 1999, I will do everything in my power to prevent Colorado families from enduring the hardships my classmates and I faced that day.”

Now, people will argue that more guns equal more violence, but they forget that the vast majority of guns are in the hands of responsible and good people.

The reality is that we are bringing nothing to a gunfight with evil every day.

Let’s give ourselves, and our children, a chance with an equal contender.

MORE 3 THINGS

This compromise is an abomination

Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Three decades ago, "The Art of the Deal" made Donald Trump a household name. A lot has happened since then. But you can trace many of Trump's actions back to that book.

Art of the Deal:

In the end, you're measured not by how much you undertake but by what you finally accomplish.

People laughed when he announced that he was running for President. And I mean that literally. Remember the 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner when Obama roasted Trump, viciously, mocking the very idea that Trump could ever be President. Now, he's President.

You can't con people, at least not for long. You can create excitement, you can do wonderful promotion and get all kinds of press, and you can throw in a little hyperbole. But if you don't deliver the goods, people will eventually catch on.

This empire-building is a mark of Trump.

RELATED: 'Arrogant fool' Jim Acosta exposed MSM's dishonest border agenda — again.

The most recent example is the border wall. Yesterday, congress reached a compromise on funding for the border wall. Weeks of tense back-and-forth built up to that moment. At times, it seemed like neither side would budge. Trump stuck to his guns, the government shut down, Trump refused to budge, then, miraculously, the lights came back on again. The result was a compromise. Or at least that's how it appeared.

But really, Trump got what he wanted -- exactly what he wanted. He used the techniques he wrote about in The Art of the Deal:

My style of deal-making is quite simple and straightforward. I aim very high, and then I just keep pushing and pushing and pushing to get what I'm after.

From the start, he demanded $5.7 billion for construction of a border wall. It was a months' long tug-of-war that eventually resulted in yesterday's legislation, which would dedicate $1.4 billion. It would appear that that was what he was after all along. Moments before the vote, he did some last-minute pushing. A national emergency declaration, and suddenly the number is $8 billion.

Art of the Deal:

People think I'm a gambler. I've never gambled in my life. To me, a gambler is someone who plays slot machines. I prefer to own slot machines. It's a very good business being the house.

In a rare show of bipartisanship, Senate passed the legislation 83-16, and the House followed with 300-128. Today, Trump will sign the bill.

It's not even fair to call that a deal, really. A deal is what happens when you go to a car dealership, fully ready to buy a car, and the salesman says the right things. What Trump did is more like a car dealer selling an entire row of cars to someone who doesn't even have a licence. When Trump started, Democrats wouldn't even consider a wall, let alone pay for it.

Art of the Deal:

The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people's fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That's why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It's an innocent form of exaggeration—and a very effective form of promotion.

He started the wall on a chant, "Build the wall!" until he got what he wanted. He maneuvered like Don Draper, selling people something that they didn't even know they wanted, and convincing them that it is exactly what they've always needed.

As the nation soaks in the victory of the recent passing of the historic First Step Act, there are Congressmen who haven't stopped working to solve additional problems with the criminal justice system. Because while the Act was impactful, leading to the well-deserved early release of many incarcerated individuals, it didn't go far enough. That's why four Congressmen have joined forces to reintroduce the Justice Safety Valve Act—legislation that would grant judges judicial discretion when determining appropriate sentencing.

There's a real need for this legislation since it's no secret that lawmakers don't always get it right. They may pass laws with good intentions, but unintended consequences often prevail. For example, there was a time when the nation believed the best way to penalize lawbreakers was to be tough on crime, leading to sweeping mandatory minimum sentencing laws implemented both nationally and statewide.

RELATED: If Trump can support criminal justice reform, so can everyone else

Only in recent years have governments learned that these sentences aren't good policy for the defendant or even the public. Mandatory minimum sentences are often overly harsh, don't act as a public deterrent for crime, and are extremely costly to taxpayers. These laws tie judges' hands, preventing them from using their knowledge and understanding of the law to make case relevant decisions.

Because legislation surrounding criminal law is often very touchy and difficult to change (especially on the federal level, where bills can take multiple years to pass) mandatory minimum sentences are far from being done away with—despite the data-driven discoveries of their downfalls. But in order to solve the problems inherent within all of the different laws imposing sentencing lengths, Congress needs to pass the Justice Safety Valve Act now. Ensuring its passing would allow judges to use discretion while sentencing, rather than forcing them to continue issuing indiscriminate sentences no matter the unique facts of the case.

Rather than take years to go back and try to fix every single mandatory minimum law that has been federally passed, moving this single piece of legislation forward is the best way to ensure judges can apply their judgment in every appropriate case.

When someone is facing numerous charges from a single incident, mandatory minimum sentencing laws stack atop one another, resulting in an extremely lengthy sentence that may not be just. Such high sentences may even be violations of an individual's eighth amendment rights, what with the imposition of cruel and unusual punishment. It's exactly what happened with Weldon Angelos.

In Salt Lake City in 2002, Weldon sold half a pound of marijuana to federal agents on two separate occasions. Unbeknownst to Weldon, the police had targeted him because they suspected he was a part of a gang and trafficking operation. They were oh-so-wrong. Weldon had never sold marijuana before and only did this time because he was pressured by the agents to find marijuana for them. He figured a couple lowkey sales could help out his family's financial situation. But Weldon was caught and sentenced to a mandatory 55 years in prison. This massive sentence is clearly unjust for a first time, non-violent crime, and even the Judge, Paul Cassell, agreed. Judge Cassell did everything he could to reduce the sentence, but, due to federal law, it wasn't much.

The nation is facing an over-criminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties.

In cases like Weldon's, a safety valve for discretionary power is much needed. Judges need the ability to issue sentences below the mandatory minimums, depending on mitigating factors such as mental health, provocation, or physical illness. That's what this new bill would allow for. Critics may argue that this gives judges too much power, but under the bill, judges must first make a finding on why it's necessary to sentence below the mandatory minimum. Then, they must write a clear statement explaining their decision.

Judges are unlikely to risk their careers to allow dangerous criminals an early release. If something happens after an offender is released early, the political pressure is back on the judge who issued the shorter sentence—and no one wants that kind of negative attention. In order to avoid risky situations like this, they'd use their discretion very cautiously, upholding the oath they took to promote justice in every case.

The nation is facing an overcriminalization problem that costs taxpayers millions and amounts to the foolish eradication of individual liberties. Mandatory minimums have exacerbated this problem, and it's time for that to stop. Congresswomen and men have the opportunity to help solve this looming problem by passing the Justice Safety Valve Act to untie the hands of judges and restore justice in individual sentences.

Molly Davis is a policy analyst at Libertas Institute, a free market think tank in Utah. She's a writer for Young Voices, and her work has previously appeared in The Hill, TownHall.com, and The Washington Examiner.

New gadget for couples in 'the mood' lets a button do the talking

Photo by Matt Nelson on Unsplash

Just in time for Valentine's Day, there's a new romantic gadget for couples that is sure to make sparks fly. For those with their minds in the gutter, I'm not talking about those kinds of gadgets. I'm talking about a brilliant new device for the home called "LoveSync."

This is real — it's a simple pair of buttons for busy, modern couples who have plenty of time for social media and Netflix, but can't quite squeeze in time to talk about their... uh... special relationship.

Here's how it works. Each partner has their own individual LoveSync button. Whenever the mood strikes one partner, all they have to do is press their own button. That sets their button aglow for a certain period of time. If, during that time window, their partner also presses their own button, then both buttons light up in a swirling green pattern to signal that love has "synced"...and it's go time.

According to the makers of LoveSync, this device will "Take the Luck out of Getting Lucky." It brings a whole new meaning to "pushing each other's buttons." It's an ideal gift to tell your significant other "I care," without actually having to care, or talk about icky things like feelings.

If you find your significant other is already on the couch binge-watching The Bachelor, no problem! You can conveniently slink back to your button and hold it in for four seconds to cancel the desire. No harm, no foul! Live to fight another day.

Have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children.

No word yet on whether LoveSync can also order wine, light candles or play Barry White. Maybe that's in the works for LoveSync 2.0.

Of course, LoveSync does have some pitfalls. Cats and toddlers love a good button. That'll be a fun conversation — "Honey, who keeps canceling my mood submissions?" And have fun explaining those buttons to inquiring children. "Yeah, kids, that button just controls the lawn sprinklers. No big deal."

If you've been dialing it in for years on Valentine's Day with flowers and those crappy boxes of chocolate, now you can literally dial it in. With a button.

Good luck with that.