Guest Opinion Feed

Hillary Lies, Cops Die - Larry Elder

The fascinating thing about Hillary Clinton's lie that "African-Americans" are disproportionately killed by police is that she continues peddling it after the murders of three law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge, which followed the ambush killings of five officers in Dallas. In both cases, the murderers were black men apparently convinced that the cops were out to get black people and who, therefore, sought to exact revenge.

President Barack Obama, too, talks about the "disparity" that blacks, compared to whites, are more likely to be killed by the police. That Obama -- in lecturing about this so-called disparity -- gets away with ignoring the disproportionate rate at which blacks, especially young blacks, commit violent crime is truly astonishing.

Should blacks, at 13 percent of the population, comprise 13 percent of doctors, 13 percent of lawyers and 13 percent of NBA players? If not, does this mean there is a "disparity" that we must address as a society? According to economist John Lott, teenage black males, compared to teen white males, are nine times more likely to commit murder -- and the murder victim is almost always another young black man. What about that disparity, Mr. President?

It's also interesting to watch the reaction of those who believe Clinton and defend her position, even when they are confronted with the facts. Talk about -- pardon the pun -- shooting the messenger. When I told someone that, according to The Washington Post, of the 965 blacks killed by cops last year, less than 4 percent involved a white cop and unarmed black man, he sniffed, "Why should a cop kill anyone who is unarmed?" Well, take the case for Michael Brown, arguably the white police-black suspect encounter that launched the Black Lives Matter movement and its mantra, "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." Eyewitness testimony and physical evidence show that Brown charged the police officer and attempted to get the cop's gun. Unarmed does not mean non-threatening.

It's hard to believe that two Ivy League-educated lawyers, Obama and Clinton, do not understand things like statistics, ratios and how to properly interpret crime data to incorporate the rate at which crime is committed by young black men versus the rate at which crime is committed by young white men.

As Heather Mac Donald of the Manhattan Institute writes in The Wall Street Journal, "According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, blacks were charged with 62 percent of all robberies, 57 percent of murders and 45 percent of assaults in the 75 largest U.S. counties in 2009, though they made up roughly 15 percent of the population there."

This leads us to but one conclusion: Obama and Clinton are flat-out lying. The goal is obvious -- to retain that monolithic black vote, without which Democrats cannot win at the presidential level.

Obama cannot brag about -- and Clinton cannot run on -- his economic record for blacks. Under his watch, black poverty is up. Net worth is down. The "wealth gap" between blacks and whites is at a 25-year high. And as to the employment of black men, their "labor force participation rate" (the percentage of those 20 years of age and over who are either working or looking for work) hit its lowest rate in December 2013 -- well into Obama's second term and his economic "recovery." That low was the worst since 1972, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began keeping such records. And since December 2010, black men's employment rate every single month to date has seen lower numbers than any month under all other presidents dating back to 1972.

So, what to do? Change the subject, of course. Make the election about "social justice." Prattle on about what Clinton calls the "school-to-prison pipeline." Never mind that this drive to induce paranoia among blacks has real-world consequences. As mentioned, already it has helped inspire murderers to kill officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge. But it also causes police officers to be less proactive, fearing that they, too, will be accused of unfairly "profiling" blacks. Cops pull back. This police passivity means crime increases, the victims of which are disproportionately black, the very people Ms. Clinton claims to care so deeply about.

Lies get votes. But they also get people killed.


The Dumbest Idea - Thomas Sowell

Political crusades, bureaucratic empires and lucrative personal careers as grievance mongers have been built on the foundation of that assumption, which is almost never tested against any facts.

A recent article in the New York Times saw as a problem the fact that females are greatly under-represented among the highest rated chess players. Innumerable articles, TV stories and political outcries have been based on an "under-representation" of women in Silicon Valley, seen as a problem that needs to be solved.

Are there girls out there dying to play chess, who find the doors slammed shut in their faces? Are there women with Ph.D.s in computer science from M.I.T. and Cal Tech who get turned away when they apply for jobs in Silicon Valley?


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Clearing some misconceptions about felons & voting

Paul Pate officialDespite what you might have read or heard recently, felons are not permanently barred from voting in Iowa. There are a lot of misconceptions regarding this issue. I hope to clear up some of those.

After completing their sentence, felons can petition the Governor’s Office to have their voting privileges restored by filling out a simple 13-question form. It is not an arduous process. Out of those that correctly filled out the application, 100 percent had their privileges restored.

It is a shame most felons do not even try. I encourage those groups saying more felons should be allowed vote to step up and help felons go through the restoration process.

The media reports criticizing Iowa’s process as “too burdensome” compared to other states are also inaccurate.  According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, eight states like Iowa require action by a governor or court to approve restoration. Many other states require a waiting period and verification process before voting privileges are restored.

I applaud the Iowa Supreme Court for their decision to uphold the Iowa Constitution regarding felons voting. The Constitution is clear: People convicted of an “infamous crime” lose their voting privileges. Infamous crimes have consistently equated to all felonies and the Supreme Court correctly ruled that nothing has changed that definition during the ensuing 159 years. If the court ruled differently, felons behind bars in Iowa would be able to vote.

I am not opposed to felons having their voting privileges restored. However, I believe they should show some effort toward becoming productive members of society before that happens.

Another misconception is that all of a felon’s fees and restitution must be paid before voting privileges can be restored. That is true in many states, but not in Iowa. If felons are up-to-date on their payment plan, their privileges will almost assuredly be restored. Again, 100 percent of those who have tried have succeeded.

Democracy is worth fighting for. It is worth requiring those who have committed infamous crimes to show they are on the path to rehabilitation.

I will continue to encourage all eligible Iowans to participate in the electoral process, and I encourage all felons that care about the process to take the simple steps of getting their privileges restored. If they do that, my office will gladly help them register to vote and encourage them to participate in Iowa’s elections.

Paul Pate
Iowa Secretary of State

Celebrating Our Rights!

By Jennifer L. Crull

One has to wonder what our Forefathers were up against in the year 1775.  Never in the course of history had a colony ever successfully broken ties with its Mother Country.  Everything was leading up to a point of explosion, with the citizens of the colonies being over taxed, no representation in Parliament, their homes entered without warrant, and British troops ruling every aspects of their lives.  While the first shot was fired in 1775, it took until June 7, 1776 for our Continental Congress to finally vote and approve the debate of American Independence.
While many delegates to the Continental Congress knew we would never reconcile with England, they were not eager to pursue the idea of independence. In order for the colonies to unite and display one vision for independence, a committee was formed to draft a declaration of independence for the American Colonies.  This declaration was submitted on June 28, 1776.  Finally, after many hours and days of debate, independence was voted on and approved on July 2, 1776 and then on July 4, 1776 our Declaration of Independence, as we know it, was approved and signed by every member present, except one.

Why have you just received this brief review of a history lesson that we all learned in our eighth grade history class?  One word comes to mind:  PATRIOTISM.  Webster’s dictionary defines patriotism as love of and devotion to one’s own country.  Our Forefathers did not secure every right we have today, but without their enormous accomplishments we would not have the rights we know today, such as the end of slavery, freedom of religion, and the right for women to vote.
As we like to complain about all that is wrong in our country, let’s remember all that is right and why we love this country.  Being able to complain about what we feel is wrong is a right our Forefathers gave to us.  We need to issue a challenge to each and every person in this country to remember their rights, respect their rights, and practice their rights.  As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently phrased it in the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are the rights Jefferson wanted for us.  We have gone to war and into conflict many times to defend these rights for ourselves and other countries.  Therefore as citizens we have a responsibility to our country to exercise these rights.  Voting and civic involvement are the two most important responsibilities.
Voting is a right that few people had as our country was developing, but now everyone over the age of 18 can vote.  Countries all over the world are still fighting today for a right that Americans take for granted and don’t usually exercise.  But that vote is your say in government, the same government our Forefathers wanted for this great nation.  For we have a “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”

Civic involvement is another important responsibility that many people shy away from, saying they are too busy or they don’t have the funds to donate.  Whether your town has 200 or 200,000 people, you need to be involved.  Civic involvement can take many forms such as running for office, serving on selected committees or boards, or just volunteering your time to a local organization.  Communities don’t thrive on a few over-involved people; it takes everyone.  Being involved from the local to the national level is one of the great things about our country.  The only requirement is the desire to be involved.
Please remember to celebrate our freedom, our independence, and our rights as citizens of the United States of America!

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better informed citizenry. 
Jennifer L. Crull, IT Specialist, Public Interest Institute, 600 North Jackson Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641-1328. Ph: 319-385-3462, Web site:  Contact her at

An illustration of "democratic socialism"

It's Time to Reform Our Immigration Policy

By John Hendrickson

It is clear that all sides of the American political spectrum agree that our national immigration policy is failing. Any attempt at immigration reform must focus on protecting and securing our borders, putting the interests of American workers first, reforming the visa process to prevent further overstays, and enforcing the current immigration laws. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) wrote that “the immigration debate can be reduced to three essential questions;”
•Is America a sovereign nation that has the right to control its borders and decide who comes to live and work here?
•Should American immigration laws serve the just interests of the country and its citizens?
•And do those citizens have the right to expect and demand that the laws passed by their elected representatives be enforced?1

Senator Sessions is taking the lead on a pro-American approach to immigration reform, and his Immigration Handbook for the New Republican Majority provides a solid policy blueprint to reform our broken immigration system. One area that needs to be reformed is not only securing more border enforcement guards and agents, but also giving them the tools to do their jobs effectively. President Barack Obama has not only gone around Congress with his executive amnesty, but also, as Senator Sessions argues, “Since entering office, [President Obama] has engaged in a sustained campaign to collapse immigration enforcement.”
To read Public Interest Institute’s INSTITUTE BRIEF, It's Time to Reform Our Immigration Policy, please click HERE.

A library and an illegal immigrant

Republicans must face consequences of supporting Trump

by Justin Arnold

Justin ArnoldUnfortunately the biggest issue in the 2016 GOP Primary hasn’t been foreign policy, the economy, immigration or taxes. Instead, it is unquestionably the fault line Donald Trump has created in the Republican Party and, more importantly, the conservative movement. After choking down the brutal irony of this coming when the country and party need optimism and unity, Iowa Republicans are now asking themselves some agonizing questions.

The introspective: Could I support Trump?

I’ll go first. Under no circumstances will I ever support this man. The only good thing to come of the nearly $2 billion worth of media coverage he has been given is that not too many words are required here to explain why. Anyone who has watched five minutes of this appalling charade — his supporters included — know exactly how one could conclude that Donald is uninformed, unfit and dangerous.

The very short list is that he is dishonest, is not a conservative, has no grasp of the issues, has no class, and has promised to commit war crimes. Additionally, I believe he will mobilize the largest anti-candidate vote in the history of American politics, leading to his decimation in November and threatening to sweep hundreds of conservative champions out of statehouses across the country. In my view, he is an electoral disaster who in beliefs, substance, style, decorum, and temperament simply does not represent me.

To uncommitted Republicans who may be feeling Faustian, I submit the word “represent” as the operative one. Our representative republic is rightly glorified for the fact that every American has the right to vocally support and vote for any candidate they choose. But, also embedded in our system is the rarely discussed inverse: that we are all then partially responsible for what and who results from it.

I respect both those who avidly support Donald Trump and those who would vote for him begrudgingly. The fact is though that all who choose to do so hold responsibility for the various calamities that may ensue — especially given the mass of evidence he has provided to predict it. These possibilities include a historic defeat in November, the gutting of the conservative movement nationwide, and a catastrophic presidency.

The present: What is to be done now?

As long as a mathematical chance exists to prevent this national nightmare, everything possible within the rules should be done to avoid it. Trump failing to amass 1,237 delegates would trigger a crucial phase and a chance for convention delegates to give voice to the large majority of primary voters who deeply oppose him. After the first ballot, they will be under immense pressure as they choose the nominee.

The fact is that delegates not casting ballots for Trump would be plainly within the rules, and that several scenarios, including casting ballots for the actual winner of the Iowa caucus, would be supremely justified. In the run-up to the convention, every respected Republican voice who opposes Trump, including those who had somehow managed to enjoy the warmth of detachment prior, will need to engage and lend delegates their moral support. Which leads us to this…

The future: What is the long-term impact?

Of course the saving grace is that this will pass. Soon this primary will end and eventually the general election will come and go — but this chapter will be far from over.

For several election cycles, where Republicans stood on Donald Trump will unquestionably be a major litmus test. In past elections the company line, “I will support the GOP nominee whoever it is” has been reasonable and safe. So much for that. Aside from those officially attached to the GOP at the state and county level who are under charter to support the nominee — and whose skills and talents helping down-ballot candidates will be needed more than ever — the topic will be unavoidable.

Fairly or not, in both Republican primaries and general elections, not standing against rhetoric and conduct so out of phase with our values and principles will be cast as a lack of judgement, a lack of courage, or both.

While some current office-holders have been asked and taken a position, the equally impactful long-term question all Iowa Republicans deserve to have answered is, “Where does the next generation stand?” Against a backdrop of our highest-ranking federal and state elected leaders (Grassley, Branstad) soon aging out of politics, there has long been an undercurrent of prominent Iowa Republican figures jockeying to inherent the mantle. While the media instantly provides us with news of who is or isn’t running whenever there’s a political opportunity, they should provide both Iowa voters and prospective candidates the service of getting them on record now.

Though the question of whether to support Trump in a general election is extremely difficult, answering it includes a simple two-step process of yes/no questions. Step 1: Does he represent me and what I stand for? Step 2: Do I believe he will be a good and respectable president? Do I trust him to be commander in chief and have the power to issue unlimited executive orders? If he wins the presidency, am I comfortable with him representing Republicans and the conservative movement until 2024?

The fact that hundreds of thousands of right-leaning Iowans can’t in good conscience answer “yes” to all is devastating.

Given that most have been fighting for these principles for years, if not decades, it is especially gut-wrenching for Iowa conservatives, activists and Republican leaders — many of whom I respect and consider friends — to be pushed by Trump towards the unthinkable proposition of denouncing the Republican nominee for president.

However, the larger reality is stubborn. While it is one thing to stake temporary but uncomfortable ground on either side of this political fault line, actually being at fault for what may come is far worse.

Justin Arnold of Ankeny has worked for and managed several Republican campaigns in Iowa, last serving as Marco Rubio’s Iowa political director and Minnesota state director. Contact:

A Conservative Pro-American Plan for Immigration Reform

Immigration policy is one of the major issues that is shaping not only the presidential election, but also national politics as a whole. Immigration is a defining issue and how immigration reform is handled will have a tremendous impact on the nation. As Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and Representative Dave Brat (R-VA) recently wrote: “Immigration affects every aspect of our constituents’ lives. It affects their jobs, wages, schools, hospitals, neighborhood crime, social stability, and community living standards.” Immigration is also a serious national security concern, especially with the current debate over allowing refugees from Syria who might be terrorists into the country and not having enough security along our borders. As Senator Sessions and Representative Brat explained:
“Yet our reckless refugee programs, lax green card and visa policies, utter failure to enforce rampant visa overstays, along with our wide open southern border, puts the U.S. at grave and needless risk. There are dozens of terrorists identified or apprehended in recent years whose presence in the United States stems exclusively from immigration policy…”

A conservative and pro-American approach to immigration reform would include policies to place the interests of American citizens first by securing the border, holding businesses accountable for hiring illegal immigrants, enforcing visa and green card rules, placing a moratorium on immigration, and not allowing refugees into the country. Europe provides an example of the failure of not only multiculturalism, but also uncontrolled immigration.
It is projected that immigration levels, unless changed, will continue to increase at dramatic levels. “Over the next five decades, Pew Research projects immigration will add another 103 million to the U.S. population…That would mean 100 straight years of uninterrupted record-breaking immigration growth,” note Senator Sessions and Representative Brat. Policymakers should consider implementing an immigration policy modeled off the immigration laws passed during the 1920s. The impact of reduced immigration was a benefit to the nation both economically and in assimilating immigrants into American culture and traditions. Senator Sessions and Representative Brat argue that:

“After the numerically-smaller 1880-1920 immigration wave, immigration was reduced for half a century. There was no net increase in the immigrant population over a fifty-year period — in fact, the foreign-born population declined substantially between 1920 and 1970. During this mid-century period of low-immigration, wages surged, incomes soared, the melting pot churned, and crucially millions of immigrant workers were now able to climb out of the tenements and into the middle class.”
Americans, especially those in the middle-class, are struggling in our economy, which is driven by slow economic growth and stagnant wages. The impact is described by Senator Sessions and Representative Brat: “Today, after five decades of record immigration, a record number of Americans are not working. The share of men in their prime working years who do not have jobs has tripled since the late 1960s…Median household incomes today are $4,000 less than they were fifteen years ago.” The immigration debate often focuses only on the jobs “most Americans will not do,” but the loss of high skilled jobs is often forgotten.

It is vital that an immigration policy be implemented that will not only protect American sovereignty, borders, the rule of law, and American workers, but also emphasize assimilation. Policymakers should reject the open borders ideology that has dominated policy and replace it with an America-first immigration and trade policy.
This was a successful policy during the 1920s as President Calvin Coolidge stated in his Inaugural Address in 1925: “Under the helpful influences of restrictive immigration and a protective tariff, employment is plentiful, the rate of pay is high, and wage earners are in a state of contentment seldom before seen.”

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better informed citizenry. 
John Hendrickson, Research Analyst, Public Interest Institute, 600 North Jackson Street, Mount Pleasant, IA 52641-1328. Ph: 319-385-3462, Web site:  Contact him at