Three Things You Need to Know – March 1, 2018

Due Process Takes Too Long?

If you’re a fan of both President Trump and the second amendment, you might be feeling like the victim of a cheating spouse this morning. Used, manipulated, betrayed… I’m sure the NRA feels the same way you do. Yesterday, the president sat down with Congressional Democrats and Republicans to discuss ideas on how to prevent more mass shootings. Let’s see, how do I describe what proceeded? IT WAS A NIGHTMARE.

Trump took such an extreme hard left turn against the Second, Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments that it would have made President Obama look like Calvin Coolidge. This is an actual quote from the meeting: “Take the guns first, go through due process second.”

The president then proceeded to dump on the NRA AND shoot down the idea of national concealed carry reciprocity. If you’re a gun owner, or if you’re just a fan of the constitution, this was the absolute worst thing you would expect a US president to say. You probably expected it coming out of the mouth of Obama, but he would have NEVER even dreamed of saying this in a public forum. You know why? Because every single person in the conservative media, AND every Republican Congressman would have called for his impeachment.

Some people are already making excuses for what the president said. They’re saying things like “yeah but he was talking about the mentally ill!” Remember when we all went went to bat for the President when liberal headlines started saying things like this: “Trump Just Made It Easier For Mentally Ill People To Buy Guns.”

What they were referring to was an Obama era regulation mandating that people receiving disability payments from Social Security, and receiving assistance to manage their benefits, would have to be reported to the federal gun background check system. It locked out tens of thousands of elderly people from buying guns, not based off of their mental capacity but on the basis of being classified by the government in a certain way. Now, I don’t think that was the original intention, but you can see how handling the issue of, who is mental ill and who isn’t, is a very slippery slope.

Mike Pence was absolutely right. We HAVE to figure this issue out, but eliminating due process and neutering the constitution is not the way to do it. Forget, just for a second, that this is about guns. Replace guns with literally any other issue and read back the words “Take action first, go through due process second.” That right there is how tyranny is born.

The good news is that Trump has said strange things in the past, like wanting a clean DACA bill, but it never materialized. So either Trump is pulling off some extreme master negotiating strategy combining The Art of War with his own book The Art of The Deal, OR he was just giving the Democrats in the room what they wanted to hear. Either way, we probably won’t see anything come from this. Due process can’t be waved, and the second amendment isn’t going anywhere. Everyone should be calling the President out on this today. Support him when he’s right, but call him out when he’s wrong. Yesterday, he was very very wrong.

Trump vs. Sessions Part II

President Trump is criticizing Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, again.

Yesterday, Trump wrote a memo – sorry, make that a Tweet – calling it “DISGRACEFUL!” that Sessions is using the Justice Department’s Inspector General to investigate the “potentially massive FISA abuse” in the Russia investigation.

Trump apparently did not like that Justice Department lawyers were not used for the probe instead. The Inspector General is looking into whether FISA standards were abused when the FBI first started investigating Trump campaign associates and their possible ties to Russia. The Nunes memo alleges that the FBI misled the FISA court to obtain a warrant to monitor Carter Page.

Referring to the Inspector General, Trump wrote, “Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy?”

Later, House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy released his own statement defending the Inspector General. Gowdy says he has, “complete confidence in him and hope he is given the time, the resources and the independence to complete his work.”

Trump has taken issue with Jeff Sessions on and off almost the whole time he’s been in office. Rumors that Sessions will be fired seem to surface at least once a month. Usually, Sessions just keeps his mouth shut and absorbs the blow. But not this time. He issued a statement saying:

“We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this Department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary. As long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution.”

You can hear a little irritation in there, like maybe Sessions is finally getting tired of the abuse.

Ever since Sessions recused himself from heading the Russia-collusion investigation, he has been Trump’s punching bag. It’s strange, because Sessions has been a staunch Trump supporter from the very beginning. It’s also weird because Sessions has even offered to resign before, but Trump hasn’t taken him up on it. Yet.

At this point in the marathon Russia investigation, what President Trump thinks he stands to gain by tweeting criticism of Sessions and the Inspector General is anyone’s guess. Regardless, it’s not helpful.

The White House Is All out of Hope

She was never a “Washington” girl.

She didn’t even care for politics.

And yet, she was one of the most powerful people in DC.

Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications director, was one of the longest-serving advisers and arguably Trump’s most trusted aide.

She often had the challenging job of talking him down from an angry tweet, redirecting his attention elsewhere.

She corralled the press department to get on message, even when they were at odds with each other—which was all the time.

And many of the staff viewed her as a protector against Trump’s outbursts…like a child shielding her little brother from her father’s wrath.

But yesterday, Hicks appeared to have enough.

She told the President that she was resigning.

Her resignation came a day after she testified for eight hours before the House Intelligence Committee. She told the panel that in her job, she had “occasionally” been required to tell “white lies” but had never lied about anything connected to the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Her revelation to the panel is not shocking. And I don’t think it was the impetus for her leaving the White House.

She’s a 29 former model who wanted to work in fashion.

I doubt she ever had aspirations of becoming the communications director.

By all accounts it sounded like she took the job in stride, but it just didn’t seem like it was her dream to be there.

The limelight and scrutiny of the House Intelligence Committee and her relationship with Rob Porter made public, appears to have pushed her to end something she really never wanted to start.

When she leaves the White House in a couple weeks, she is going to escape relatively unscathed. She did a good job and didn’t stay to see her reputation get dragged through the dirt like so many before her.

Trump has stated that Hicks is very smart many times.

I believe he is telling the truth.

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This article provided courtesy of TheBlaze.

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.