JUDGE RAYMOND KETHLEDGE:

The search for Gorsuch 2.0 is underway at the White House. The best choice for the opening is Judge Raymond Kethledge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit. The 51-year-old judge from central casting — just like Neil M. Gorsuch — is not as well-known as front-runner U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh. But the longtime Michigan resident brings political upside to the process that Kavanaugh and several other contenders cannot.

The president sounds like a man who wants a second term, which means keeping his most high-profile and decisive campaign promises. During the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump pledged his Supreme Court nominees would be thoroughgoing “originalists” in the mold of Justice Antonin Scalia. So the first question is: Has the nominee ruled steadily in a fashion consistent with the original intent of the Constitution and its amendments and faithful to the statutes passed by the executive and legislative branches?

Kethledge’s record shows that in his case, the answer is a resounding “yes.” He has stood strongly with free exercise rights, siding for example with a church and its volunteers against the Labor Department’s bureaucrats, writing a separate concurrence to emphasize “The Department should tend to what is Caesar’s, and leave the rest alone.” He has an exemplary record on Second Amendment rights, concurring with his colleague Judge Jeffrey Sutton’s declaration of the right to bear arms as “fundamental” in a crucial en banc case on the amendment. Kethledge has also dissented in a Fifth Amendment takings case from the decision of his colleagues to punt back an aggrieved party to state court in a way he concluded indicated that the court had “lost our constitutional bearings” on property rights.

MS-13 is ‘taking over the school,’ one teen warned before she was killed.

The Washington Post previously assured everyone that publicly worrying about MS-13 was a racist dog whistle.

The old minivan appeared near the school on a Tuesday morning, its Illinois plates the only thing out of place in the blue-collar suburbs of central Long Island. But as backpack-toting teenagers passed by on their way to Brentwood High, the van’s doors suddenly swung open.

Out sprang members of the violent street gang MS-13, armed with baseball bats.

They attacked three 16-year-old students they suspected of being rivals before driving off. When police spotted the van in the same neighborhood the following afternoon and surrounded it at gunpoint, the MS-13 members were in the midst of trying to abduct a fourth.

“We were going to take him somewhere private and beat him to death,” said Miguel Rivera, 20, according to a Suffolk County indictment.

The Dec. 6 arrests of Rivera and four others thwarted what police say would have been the sixth murder of a Brentwood High School student by MS-13 in less than two years.

Why Americans Should Care About Mexico’s Presidential Election

If the polls are right (ed, they were), Mexico will elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador president on Sunday, July 1. He’s the founder of the left-wing Morena Party and a career politician. López Obrador ran for president unsuccessfully twice before, but this time polls show him as the front runner. The 64-year-old was elected mayor of Mexico City in 2000. Should he ascend to the presidency as predicted, his radical ideas will spell trouble for both Mexico and the U.S. for several reasons.

Mexico’s Hugo Chavez
López Obrador’s National Regeneration Movement party (Morena) openly wants to bring Bolivarian revolution in Mexico, despite the ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela. Key players of the party are enamored with Latin American dictators including Fidel Castro, Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

Although López Obrador tries to cast himself as a moderate, many of his critics see similarities between him and Hugo Chavez. Like Chavez, López Obrador is charismatic and promises to bring a “radical revolution” to Mexico. True to his left wing beliefs, his economic plan is all about taxing and spending. He calls for universal access to public colleges, raising the minimum wage and increasing spending for welfare.

Yes, he wants to raise taxes and possibly clamp down on corruption to pay for these government handouts. Rather than encouraging competition, he wants to reverse the energy reforms that ended state owned Pemex’s monopoly in the oil industry. He calls for an end to crude oil exports and instead, he wants to build more oil refineries to help Mexico achieve energy independence while guaranteeing employment of Pemex union workers. Rather than moving Mexico’s economy forward by encouraging free trade, he wants to take Mexico backward by incentivizing agriculture, so Mexico will be self-sufficient in food production. His nationalistic economic policy suggests he’s unwilling to compromise on the NAFTA negotiation with the U.S.

No wonder Mexican business people regard López Obrador as the most dangerous man in Mexico. They are deeply concerned his economic policy will weaken the Peso, reduce foreign investment, crash the middle class, ruin the economy and force many Mexicans into poverty as happened in Venezuela. Investors are already running away from Mexico stocks as he widens his lead in the polls. CNBC reports that Mexico’s benchmark stock index fell close to 8 percent in May, the biggest one-month decline since February 2009.

Man accused of planning July 4 terrorist attack in Cleveland

Wonder what his ‘motivation’ was.

Authorities say the suspect talked about hitting targets like St. John’s Cathedral and giving remote control cars packed with explosives to the children of military members.

The FBI said Demetrius Nathaniel Pitts — aka Abdur Raheem Rafeeq — was taken into custody Sunday around 10 a.m. on accusations of attempting to provide material support to a foreign terrorist organization.

“He talked about wanting to target people watching fireworks over downtown Cleveland,” United States Attorney Justin Herdman said.

On this day in 1776 (July 4th was when the Declaration was signed), the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain.

Venezuela’s inflation hits more than 40,000% as everyone dumps its currency ‘like a hot potato.’

When Venezuela began its “experiment” with socialism, oil was $17 per barrel. Now it’s around $80, yet the country is broke.

Zimbabwe 2, the movie.

Economists point out that Maduro runs the unorthodox policies they say have pushed the country into economic crisis. The socialist leader has repeatedly refused international aid to Venezuela.

“It’s internal,” Hanke said. “Government spending continues to accelerate and the sources of revenue start drying up.”

The government has defaulted on a majority of their outstanding bonds, which economists estimate add up to about $60 billion. Foreign exchange reserves have fallen by about $2.5 billion in the last three months, according to analysis by Capital Economics.

As state-run oil industry PDVSA falls apart, economists say a rise in global oil prices is adding to the pain. Brent crude oil is up more than 64% this year. And as President Donald Trump cracks down on Iran via zero-tolerance oil sanctions, the international benchmark has rallied more than 8% this week.

Production at PDVSA — which accounts for 95% of export earnings in the country and a quarter of gross domestic product — was cut in half from January 2016 to January 2018, according to the US Energy Information Administration. And as the crisis deepens, operations are continuing to wane.

Bill Gates, UNESCO, Common Core and Failing Government Schools

We have been reporting the failure of America’s government schools who now follow UNESCO’s worldwide Common Core. You read that right: Common Core is a UNESCO program, and is supported by Microsoft.

As a result, American government schools are failing our students. Fifty percent of American graduates cannot read, write and do simple math. Bill Gates admitted its failure. More money is his answer. We all know that the only thing that will affect change is a return of the curricula back to traditional education, WHICH WAS A HUGE SUCCESS…

Common Core forces a child to think in a box with little hope for a future not in line with the predetermined government goal. Common Core is based on the premise that people are stupid and the “smart academics know best”.

To rise against their desired response often causes a child to be bullied or act out just to make their ideas known. Drugs, massive piercing, drinking, murder, terrorism, suicide are often the result of feeling hopeless.

Common Core manipulates emotion and eliminates individualism, forcing a child into groupthink, not innovation and creation. Emotion become dominant with no logic reason balance. A person can only think of one thought at a time. By forcing overuse of right brain function (emotion) the left brain (logic and reason) become dormant from lack of use. Today, aside from being functionally illiterate, too many people are motivated by a trigger that unleashes unbridled emotion too often resulting in violence or suicide.

Continuing to do the same thing over and over, expecting different results, is insane, as we have heard over and over. Common Core, Whole Word Reading, Eureka Math, Evolution all assist in diminishing the capacity of America’s future. Yet we ignore the facts and continue to push this horrid programs filled with errors, omissions and bias.

Have we learned nothing from years of failing grades?

Atlantic Council Explains Why We Need to be Propagandized for Our Own Good

I sometimes try to get establishment loyalists to explain to me exactly why we’re all meant to be terrified of this “Russian propaganda” thing they keep carrying on about. What is the threat, specifically? That it makes the public less willing to go to war with Russia and its allies? That it makes us less trusting of lying, torturing, coup-staging intelligence agencies? Does accidentally catching a glimpse of that green RT logo turn you to stone like Medusa, or melt your face like in Raiders of the Lost Ark?

“Well, it makes us lose trust in our institutions,” is the most common reply.

Okay. So? Where’s the threat there? We know for a fact that we’ve been lied to by those institutions. Iraq isn’t just something we imagined. We should be skeptical of claims made by western governments, intelligence agencies and mass media. How specifically is that skepticism dangerous?…

NRA Challenges Andrew Cuomo in Court

The National Rifle Association of America has filed a lawsuit against the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and DFSSuperintendent Maria T. Vullo alleging violations of the Association’s First Amendment rights.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of New York, contends that Cuomo, Vullo and the DFS engaged in a “campaign of selective prosecution, backroom exhortations and public threats” designed to coerce banks and insurance companies to withhold services from the NRA.

The lawsuit states: “As a direct result of this coercion, multiple firms have succumbed to defendants’ demands and entered into consent orders with DFS that compel them to terminate longstanding, beneficial business relationships with the NRA both in New York and elsewhere. Tellingly, several provisions in the orders bear no relation to any ostensible regulatory infraction. Instead, the orders prohibit lawful commercial speech for no reason other than that it carries the NRA brand.”

Mexican Cartels Fill the Void in a Post-FARC Colombia

Interesting if true. I’ll defer to Paul’s more local knowledge on whether or not this is accurate.

There is increasing evidence that Mexican organized crime, in particular its drug cartels, has moved into the void left behind in the post-FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) underworld in Colombia.  This development has critical implications for American foreign policy and that of its allies, as well as the global war on drugs.

When the ceasefire between the Colombian government and the FARC rebels went into effect in July 2015, it ended over fifty years of FARC’s violent hold on the country.  With control of over 60% of the Colombian drug trade, their demobilization left a vacuum initially filled by the Gulf Clan, whose roots lie in Pablo Escobar’s empire.  But as the Colombian government has shifted its attention to cracking down on this group, numerous regional paramilitary and guerrilla groups, including dissident factions of ex-FARC, have enhanced their presence.  These groups are engaged in ongoing conflicts between and among themselves, which has impacted the quality and quantity of cocaine and disrupted the supply chain.

With their ability to traffic cocaine into the United States significantly impaired, Mexican cartels – principally the Sinaloa cartel – have begun to exert some control over the market.

No Substitute for Total Victory

“Ascribing good motives to our friends across the aisle is a fool’s errand.”

As the Left continues to spiral out of control — foaming, spitting, frothing in rage — it’s time to state the obvious: that in the battle for the soul of America, there can be only one winner. Either we retain as much as possible of the country-as-founded, including its national character, or we watch it “fundamentally transformed” into a “social democracy” of the kind envisioned by the adherents of Critical Theory, and brought to us courtesy of the Frankfurt School‘s ideological seizure of academe. Although some might wish otherwise, there is no middle ground, no accommodation, no splitting the difference.

Our opponents on the Left understand this perfectly well. Their motto, for decades, has been “there is only the fight,” which also happens to have been the title of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s senior thesis at Wellesley. They’ve made it very clear all along that they’re in this for the long haul. Conservatives like to think that history, tradition, logic, and morality will win out in the end, and that our opponents will eventually see the error of their ways, if not the light. But as history shows, that’s simply not true.

The Left won’t stop unless it is stopped. Which means that, for us, total victory in the defense of Western civilization and the American ideal is the only option.

Fighting Free Speech at the New York Times:

More problematic than his op-ed was an article by Adam Liptak – which ran, note well, as a news story, not an opinion piece – that the increasingly senile Gray Lady published on July 1. The headline, “How Conservatives Weaponized the First Amendment” (on the front page of the Times‘s website, it read “How Free Speech Is Being Used as a Weapon by Conservatives”; in the print edition, it was “How Free Speech Was Weaponized By Conservatives”), drew on a June 25 comment by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan. When the Court, on First Amendment grounds, struck down a California law forcing pro-life “crisis pregnancy centers” to post information on their premises about where to get an abortion, Kagan complained in her dissent that conservatives were “weaponizing the First Amendment.”

Meet the New Democratic Socialists, Same as the Old Democratic Socialists!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shocked the political world earlier this week by defeating New York’s 14th Congressional district’s long time incumbent, Rep. Joe Crowley. Many speculate that this win is a message to the Democratic Establishment that the base of the party is moving decidedly more towards “Democratic socialism.” The only problem is that it seems nobody can get any specific answers on what this new “Democratic Socialism” actually is and how it differs from plain, run of the mill, failed socialism. Not even liberals can decide.

“There’s a huge difference between socialism and democratic socialism. Democratic socialism, and really what that boils down to me, is the basic belief that I believe in a moral and wealthy America and in a moral and modern America no person should be to poor to live in this country…That’s what I believe,” Ocasio-Cortez opined to Meghan McCain and the other hosts onABCs’s “The View.”

Not to digress, but virtually every political party in this country says that they do not believe people should be poor in America. It would be a pretty bad platform plank to advocate for poverty. In short, the difference between right leaning and left leaning parties is the degree to which the free market, charity, and religious organizations alleviate poverty and to what extent government plays a role in this effort. Still, Ocasio-Cortez’s answer did not address the fundamental question that McCain asked her.

Again, McCain inquired if she believes that the Democratic Socialists are the future of the party. Ocasio-Cortez gave another answer short on specifics.

“I think the future of the party is working class. And I think that what I represent, and Sen. Sanders and Sen. Warren, there’s a lot of working class champions. And I do think that’s the future of the party.”

But, less than 48 hours after that exchange happened, Ocasio-Cotez’s comrades from the New York Democratic Socialists of America provided some answers to what exactly they believe.

Viral ‘Walk Away’ Videos Highlight Growing Movement of Democrats Leaving the Party

Some 5 million people on Facebook and YouTube have seen the video by now. A very handsome gay man, who you just assume is about to scold you on progressive talking points, instead says this:

“Once upon a time, I was a liberal. Well, to be honest, less than a year ago, I was still a liberal.

“I reject a system which allows an ambitious, misinformed and dogmatic mob to suppress free speech, create false narratives, and apathetically steamroll over the truth.”

And then this devastating line—the Rosa Parks moment of the video:

“I reject hate.”

If Democratic strategists were still able to watch the rest of the video without suffering a nervous breakdown, they’d see that it quickly got worse.

“These are the reasons why I became a liberal. And these are the same reasons why I am now walking away.”

Fallout: University of Missouri struggles with $50 million shortfall, reduced enrollment after racial protests.

“College students who decided not to attend University of Missouri said that the environment created by the protests, as well as high costs and unfavorable funding options, caused them to turn to other schools.”

Said one student: “Students were afraid to walk on campus because of the threat of shootings on yikyak [a now-defunct anonymous messaging app]. I walked through marches at least once a week and many of those people didn’t even know why they were protesting beyond wanting equal treatment which I remember them saying they wanted a special curve just for black students.”

Liberal Law Professors Want To Pack The Supreme Court After Trump Replaces Kennedy.

First, some legal scholars, are calling on Democrats to commit to “pack the Court” by adding new seats to the Court as soon as Democrats recapture the presidency and Congress—and filling those seats with extra Democratic-appointed justices. These calls preceded Kennedys’ retirement (they began shortly after President Trump was inaugurated, as Josh Blackman observed at the time). But they seem to be taking on new urgency now: Fordham’s Jed Shugerman, for example, announced on Twitter that if President Trump succeeds in appointing a replacement for Kennedy, then the next Democratic president and Congress should add six(!) new seats to the Supreme Court in 2021. (And abolish the filibuster for legislation, if it’s necessary to get the six bonus seats.) Ian Samuel, a Harvard Law fellow, staked out a similar position immediately upon Kennedy’s retirement.

It’s hard to think of a better way to galvanize Trump-skeptical Republicans for the 2020 vote than to preemptively announce a Democratic court-packing agenda for 2021. If law professors hadn’t started vowing that the next Democratic president would “pack the court,” then a pro-MAGA Super PAC would have made it up.