Three Things You Need to Know – February 27, 2018

Ther Is Something Rotten in the County of Broward

There’s something rotten in Broward County.

The actions of the sheriff and his deputies that arrived at the Stoneman shooting is becoming even more convoluted.

Last night, Laura Ingraham reported that she had a source who revealed why the officers didn’t initially enter the high school.

To lose precious seconds because of a lack of body cameras is outrageous. We didn’t have body cameras five years ago. What would the officers have done then?

Scot Peterson, the deputy who stayed behind a concrete stairwell during the rampage, also defended his actions yesterday. He issued a statement through his lawyer claiming he “heard gunshots but believed those gunshots were originating from outside of the buildings on the school campus. The Sheriff’s office trains its officers that in the event of outdoor gunfire one is to seek cover and assess the situation in order to communicate what one observes with other law…Allegations that Mr. Peterson was a coward and that his performance, under the circumstances, failed to meet the standards of police officers are patently untrue.”

Maybe Peterson is telling the truth. It’s quite possible he complied with all his training.

But if this is the case, it seems like strict adherence to the rules and regulations cost people their lives.

When does making sure a body camera is operational more important than saving a life?

When does making sure you are in compliance with an outdoor gunfire situation more important than tracking down a mass murderer?

Look, we weren’t there that day. We don’t know what really happened. These could all be feeble attempts to cover the Broward County Sheriff Department’s actions. They could be telling the truth. We’ll never really know.

Right now, we are desperately searching for someone to blame for the Stoneman tragedy—when we already have that person in jail. Let’s remember to not be too judgmental as we continue our search for the truth of what happened that day.

Supreme Court Refuses to Hear DACA Case

Yesterday, the Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s appeal to quickly end the DACA program.

The White House made the unusual request of the Supreme Court after two lower-court judges issued injunctions last month, blocking President Trump from ending DACA.

In case you need a quick refresher on DACA, former President Obama created the program in 2012 – outside the legislative process – through an Executive Order. It’s a program that allows illegal immigrants, who came to the U.S. before they turned sixteen, to apply for a permit that keeps them from getting deported and allows them to work. Around 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” applied for this DACA permit.

Obama claimed this program was not a path to citizenship, just a temporary measure to help out these young immigrants until Congress got its act together to pass permanent immigration legislation. He did a lot of Executive Ordering like that.

I know this is a shock, but Congress never passed anything. So, Dreamers were allowed to renew their two-year permits for an additional two years.

President Trump inherited a gigantic DACA mess from Obama. Trump is continually blamed for being anti-immigrant, but the Left forgets a key part of the narrative here, that several states were threatening to sue the government over DACA. Facing that pressure, Trump announced last September that the program would end in six months. That deadline is next week.

In the meantime, if your DACA permit was set to expire before the March 5 deadline, you were given one month to apply for renewal. Those who did so, got two more years of permit protection. But a Federal District Judge in Northern California blocked the plan to end DACA, ruling that the Trump administration must keep accepting renewal applications past March 5th.

The Trump Administration then asked the Supreme Court to step in to allow DACA to end on the original deadline. The Court did not issue any opinion on the matter, it just refused to deal with it right now. That means absolutely nothing about DACA has changed. The legal battle will roll on in the lower courts, and the DACA program will continue as it has since Obama decreed it in 2012.

Of course, Congress could step in at any time and actually pass some kind of immigration reform legislation. And hell could also freeze over.

The Dueling FISA Memos

We finally got the next piece of the FISA gate puzzle. Democrats finally released their rebuttal memo on Saturday. It turned out, pretty much, exactly as expected. It’s becoming painfully obvious why these over hyped and air quoted “bomb shells” are being released over the weekends. By and large, they’re not telling us jack squat. Pundits and analysts on both the left and right receive the reports on Friday or Saturday, each side declares it the ultimate coup de grace, and by Monday or Tuesday the general lack of anything substantial causes the story to fizzle out.

To recap, the Republican memo alleged that the FBI and DOJ abused surveillance powers by lying - by omission - to the FISA court. The memo claimed that the FISA warrant justification was based purely off of information in the infamous Steele Dossier, but the fact that the Dossier was paid for by Democrats was kept hidden.

Now, here’s the problem with the Republican memo. We know there MUST have been corroborating info, besides the Steele Dossier, that the FBI and DoJ used to justify a FISA warrant. Don’t get me wrong, using the Steele Dossier and concealing who funded it from the FISA court is bad, but there’s no way the court would grant a warrant based purely off the Dossier and a Yahoo news article. That sounds funny, but that’s actually what the Republican memo suggests.

I said immediately after reading the first memo that, in order to get the full picture, we needed to see the Democrats response. We finally got it over the weekend. The Democrat memo says, basically, exactly what we figured it would. They DID acknowledge that the Steele Dossier was used, but they downplay its importance and point to additional sources of information. If you’re curious what that additional information is, good luck trying to decipher it. It’s easy to find in the 10 page report. Just flip through the pages and look for the big black redacted bars.

So basically, the Republican memo talks up the importance of the Steele Dossier in the FISA request, but downplays additional sourcing. The Democrat memo DOWNPLAYS the importance of the Dossier, but TALKS UP the additional sourcing. And around the partisan circle we go.

So, what questions should we now be asking? After both memo’s, the only thing we know for sure was that YES, the Steele Dossier was used in SOME capacity. The question now is, what effort did the FBI make to verify Steele’s sources? That right there would tell us whether the Bureau and DoJ acted in good faith OR if they abused their power. I got a feeling it’s probably a little of both. We really won’t get the full picture until the actual FISA application is released… if it ever does.

Until then, take two aspirin. This is going to be long and painful.

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.