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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Trump Ends Infrastructure Talks With Schumer, Pelosi Over Demands Dems Cut 'PHONY' Probes

Trump demands end to ‘phony investigations’ in fiery Rose Garden statement

Pelosi Accuses President of CoverUp! Gets Thrown Out of WhiteHouse Meeting!!!
...tmiraldi

Trump ends infrastructure talks with Schumer, Pelosi over demands Dems cut 'phony' probes




Alex Pappas

President Trump on Wednesday demanded Democrats end what he called their "phony investigations" before he'll negotiate with them on issues like infrastructure, as he delivered a fiery statement from the Rose Garden after a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer was cut short.
The president had met for mere minutes with the two Democratic leaders in a session scheduled to discuss a possible bipartisan infrastructure package. But moments before that sit-down, Pelosi had accused Trump of having "engaged in a cover-up" regarding the Russia probe.
Trump suggested the comments, and the numerous investigations into him, prevented them from negotiating.
“You can't do it under these circumstances,” Trump said. “Get these phony investigations over with.”
The president said he wanted to pursue an infrastructure proposal, but "instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up."
Trump added: "I don't do cover-ups.”
One source told Fox News Trump walked into the Cabinet Room and immediately made his comments to the Democrats in the room. Then, as Pelosi began talking, Trump turned on his heel and walked back to the Oval Office.
Asked what happened during the meeting, a Senior House Dem source told Fox News: “Nothing good.”
Schumer, back at the Capitol, said Trump's decision to bolt the meeting and address the press in the Rose Garden was hardly spontaneous. Speaking alongside Pelosi in a separate session, he called it a "pre-planned excuse" -- citing the ready-made sign that Trump had at the podium.
“We are interested in doing infrastructure," Schumer said. "It's clear the president isn't. He is looking for every excuse.”
Pelosi appeared exasperated over the meeting, telling reporters, "He just took a pass. And it makes me wonder why he did that. In any event, I pray for the president of the United States. I pray for the United States of America.”
The flare up comes as top Democrats have steadily ramped up pressure on the Trump administration. On Tuesday, the Justice Department reached an agreement with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to turn over some documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, in a rare de-escalation. But it only came after Democrats issued a subpoena, one of many that congressional Democrats have approved for Trump-related investigations. They've also pursued a contempt citation against Attorney General Bill Barr and could do the same for former White House counsel Don McGahn.
In the Rose Garden, the president stood at a podium displaying a sign that said “no collusion, no obstruction.” He also lashed out at media for their coverage of the Russia probe.
“This whole thing was a takedown attempt at the president of the United States, and honestly you ought to be ashamed of yourselves for the way you reported so dishonestly,” he said.
Last month, Schumer and Pelosi said Trump had agreed to support a $2 trillion infrastructure spending package. But, at the time, they said no decisions on how to pay for the plan. The president – a real estate developer before he was elected president – has long sought to strike a big infrastructure deal, but has faced some resistance from conservatives in his party over concerns about the country’s rising debt.
But questions have remained over whether Pelosi and Schumer can strike deal with Trump on infrastructure, as congressional Democrats ramp up investigations of the president and subpoena members of his administration in the wake of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report.
Fox News' Judson Berger, John Roberts and Chad Pegram contributed to this report.

IQ Rates DROPPING In Many Developed Countries Doesn't Bode Well For Humanity

An intelligence crisis could undermine our problem-solving capacities and dim the prospects of the global economy.

Image: IQ rates are dropping and we're too stupid to figure out why.

                                                    IQ rates are falling across Western Europe, and experts are scratching their heads as to why.Chelsea Stahl / NBC News / Getty Images


Evan Horowitz

People are getting dumber. That's not a judgment; it's a global fact. In a host of leading nations, IQ scores have started to decline.
Though there are legitimate questions about the relationship between IQ and intelligence, and broad recognition that success depends as much on other virtues like gritIQ tests in usethroughout the world today really do seem to capture something meaningful and durable. Decades of research have shown that individual IQ scores predict things such as educational achievementand longevity. More broadly, the average IQ score of a country is linked to economic growth and scientific innovation.
Even children born to high-IQ parents are slipping down the IQ ladder.
So if IQ scores are really dropping, that could not only mean 15 more seasons of the Kardashians, but also the potential end of progress on all these other fronts, ultimately leading to fewer scientific breakthroughs, stagnant economies and a general dimming of our collective future.
As yet, the United States hasn’t hit this IQ wall — despite what you may be tempted to surmise from the current state of the political debate. But don’t rush to celebrate American exceptionalism: If IQs are dropping in other advanced countries but not here, maybe that means we’re not really an advanced country (too much poverty, too little social support).
Or — just as troubling — if we are keeping up with the Joneses (or Johanssons and Jacques) in terms of national development, that means we are likely to experience similarly plummeting IQs in the near future. At which point, the U.S. will face the same dangers of intellectual and economic stagnation.
If we want to prevent America from suffering this fate, we’d better figure out why IQs are dropping elsewhere. But it’s uncharted territory. Until recently, IQ scores only moved in one direction: up. And if you're thinking, "Isn't the test set up so that 100 is always the average IQ?," that's only true because researchers rescale the tests to correct for improving raw scores. (Also, congrats, that’s the kind of critical thinking we don’t want to lose!)
These raw scores have been rising on a variety of standard IQ tests for over half a century. That may sound odd if you think of IQ as largely hereditary. But current IQ tests are designed to measure core cognitive skills such as short-term memory, problem-solving speed and visual processing), and rising scores show that these cognitive capabilities can actually be sharpened by environmental factorssuch as higher-quality schools and more demanding workplaces.
For a while, rising IQ scores seemed like clear evidence of social progress, palpable proof that humanity was getting steadily smarter — and might even be able to boost brainpower indefinitely. Scholars called it the "Flynn effect," in homage to J.R. Flynn, the researcher who recognized its full sweep and import.
These days, however, Flynn himself concedes that "the IQ gains of the 20th century have faltered." A range of studies using a variety of well-established IQ tests and metrics have found declining scores across Scandinavia, Britain, Germany, France and Australia.
Details vary from study to study and from place to place given the available data. IQ shortfalls in Norway and Denmark appear in longstanding tests of military conscripts, whereas information about France is based on a smaller sample and a different test. But the broad pattern has become clearer: Beginning around the turn of the 21st century, many of the most economically advanced nations began experiencing some kind of decline in IQ.
One potential explanation was quasi-eugenic. As in the movie “Idiocracy,” it was suggested that average intelligence is being pulled down because lower-IQ families are having more children ("dysgenic fertility" is the technical term). Alternatively, widening immigration might be bringing less-intelligent newcomers to societies with otherwise higher IQs.
However, a 2018 study of Norway has punctured these theories by showing that IQs are dropping not just across societies but within families. In other words, the issue is not that educated Norwegians are increasingly outnumbered by lower-IQ immigrants or the children of less-educated citizens. Even children born to high-IQ parents are slipping down the IQ ladder.
Some environmental factor — or collection of factors — is causing a drop in the IQ scores of parents and their own children, and older kids and their younger siblings. One leading explanation is that the rise of lower-skill service jobs has made work less intellectually demanding, leaving IQs to atrophy as people flex their brains less.
One leading explanation is that the rise of lower-skill service jobs has made work less intellectually demanding, leaving IQs to atrophy as people flex their brains less.
There are also other possibilities, largely untested, such as global warming making food less nutritiousor information-age devices sapping our ability to focus.
Ultimately, it’d be nice to pin down the precise reason IQ scores are dropping before we’re too stupid to figure it out, especially as these scores really do seem connected to long-term productivity and economic success.
And while we might be able to compensate with skills besides intelligence, like determination or passion, in a world where IQ scores continue to fall — and where the drop expands to places like the United States — there’s also a bleaker scenario: a global intelligence crisis that undermines humanity's problem-solving capacity and leaves us ill-equipped to tackle the complex challenges posed by AI, global warming and developments we have yet to imagine.

Kavanaugh and Gorsuch DEFY Dem Predictions with INDEPENDENT Streak

Gorsuch, Kavanaugh show independent streaks despite dire Dem rubber-stamp predictions



 Lukas Mikelionis

Democrats’ warnings that Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would solidify an unwavering conservative majority on the bench so far have not come to pass, with the two Trump-nominated justices crossing over to side with liberal colleagues on numerous occasions since joining the court.


The confirmations of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh were met with fierce resistance amid concerns that they would tilt the Supreme Court for decades, perhaps even laying the groundwork to overturn Roe v. Wade. While that question remains unresolved as conservative states try to bring the abortion debate back before the high court, a range of other recent decisions indicate the two newest justices are ruling on a case-by-case basis, analysts say.
"The defining characteristic of both Justice Gorsuch and Justice Kavanaugh is that they have a very solid judicial philosophy. It’s not a political approach to the cases where you say what the outcome of this case is going to be and now find a judicial and legal rationale," Carrie Severino, with the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, told Fox News.
"It starts with the law, and it starts with how we interpret this law and using the same type of interpretive techniques regardless of what the real world political results may be, but having a consistent legal approach," she continued. "That doesn’t always lead to results that one might characterize as liberal or conservative."
Gorsuch sided Monday with the liberal wing of the Supreme Court, giving a narrow majority in support of a Native American man convicted for hunting in a national forest. Kavanaugh opposed the ruling.
A week earlier, Kavanaugh sided with liberals in a 5-4 decision that he wrote, ruling that Apple could be sued by iPhone owners over high prices in their App Store. Gorsuch opposed the ruling.
In March, the two found themselves in disagreement multiple times. Kavanaugh joined liberal justices in a ruling that delayed the execution of a cop killer amid claims that religious freedom would be violated if the death-row inmate's Buddhist spiritual adviser wasn’t present during his final moments.
Gorsuch then joined liberals in ruling that the Yakama Nation doesn’t have to pay a Washington state fuel tax, while Kavanaugh dissented.
Gorsuch then joined Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas in dissent in a case brought by two Navy veterans who had been exposed to asbestos. But writing the court’s opinion, Kavanaugh said that the makers of pumps, turbines and blowers that required asbestos insulation to operate properly should have warned about the health dangers of asbestos exposure.
With these rulings, both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh have appeared to show more independence than the so-called liberal bloc of the Supreme Court. "If you look at the liberals on the Supreme Court, they are much more consistent in voting patterns with each other than conservatives," Severino said.
"If you look at the liberals on the Supreme Court, they are much more consistent in voting patterns with each other than conservatives."
— Judicial Crisis Network's Carrie Severino
“I think there’s less consensus than maybe was expected between the conservatives; the liberals seem to still be voting very heavily together,” Adam Feldman, a Supreme Court expert who runs the blog Empirical SCOTUS, told Fox News.
“When we look at the voting blocs, liberals voted together about 92 percent of the time. When you look at any of the iteration of the conservatives, at maximum they are voting together 75 percent of the times.”
The impartiality of Gorsuch and Kavanaugh, though, was called into question by Democrats during their confirmation battles.
"The Trump Administration has shown unprecedented disregard for the rule of law and the role of an independent judiciary, making the need for judicial independence greater than ever. Judge Gorsuch’s record, however, is of loyal fidelity to conservative, Republican causes," a statement from Senate Democrats read, adding that his judicial record "provides no confidence that he would stand up to President Trump or any other conservative President’s agenda when it crosses the legal line."
"Judge Gorsuch’s record, however, is of loyal fidelity to conservative, Republican causes ... [his judicial record] provides no confidence that he would stand up to President Trump or any other conservative President’s agenda when it crosses the legal line."
— Senate Democrats
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein labeled Gorsuch an “extremist” beholden to big business who “has consistently sided with employers and corporate interests," and went “out of his way to apply his own view of the law” and engage in “selective activism.”
Kavanaugh’s independence was called into question to a severe degree after he slammed the way the Democrats handled sexual misconduct allegations that surfaced during the confirmation process.
“This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even-handedness one would see in a judge,” Feinstein said. “This was someone who was aggressive and belligerent. I have never seen someone who wants to be elevated to the highest court in our country behave in that manner.”
“This was not someone who reflected an impartial temperament or the fairness and even handedness one would see in a judge.”
— Sen. Dianne Feinstein
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called Kavanaugh an “extreme partisan” chosen by Trump and conservatives to overturn abortion laws in America. “He gave one of the bitterest, most partisan testimonies ever presented by a nominee.”
At the time, the nominees vowed to be impartial.
“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant or policy,” Kavanaugh wrote in the Wall Street Journal following a fiery hearing amid accusations of sexual misconduct from decades ago.
“A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no political party, litigant or policy.”
— Brett Kavanaugh
“Over the past 12 years, I have ruled sometimes for the prosecution and sometimes for criminal defendants, sometimes for workers and sometimes for businesses, sometimes for environmentalists and sometimes for coal miners,” he continued. “In each case, I have followed the law. I do not decide cases based on personal or policy preferences. I am not a pro-plaintiff or pro-defendant judge. I am not a pro-prosecution or pro-defense judge. I am a pro-law judge.”
Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano said Monday that he was shocked by Kavanaugh’s vote regarding Apple, saying “I did not see this coming.”
“All the indications about Brett Kavanaugh were that he was a monolithic conservative that wouldn’t even listen to the other side,” he said during an appearance on “America's Newsroom,” though noting that Kavanaugh always insisted he was “not a monolithic anything” and stressed he will listen to the facts and then decide how to rule.
“Today, he and the four liberal members of the court radically expanded the rights of plaintiffs to bring class actions,” Napolitano added.
Gorsuch, similarly, vowed to be impartial when asked during his confirmation hearing about Roe v. Wade, the 1973 ruling that affirmed a woman’s right to have an abortion under the U.S. Constitution.
Sen. Lindsey Graham asked Gorsuch whether Trump ever asked him to overturn the landmark abortion ruling in his interview with the president, to which Gorsuch replied, “No … I would have walked out the door. That's not what judges do.”
Gorsuch even went on to take a swipe at Trump during one of the hearings, saying criticisms against federal judges are troubling.
“When someone criticizes the honesty, the integrity, or the motives of a federal judge, I find that disheartening, I find that demoralizing,” said Gorsuch.
Yet following the passage of pro-life laws across the U.S., particularly in Alabama, that restricted or banned abortions after six weeks or earlier, progressive groups and Democrats are warning that should the cases reach the Supreme Court, both Trump-appointed justices will side with the right on the issue.
Kavanaugh told the Senate during the confirmation process that he views the high court’s abortion precedents as settled law, a sentiment that helped win a critical confirmation vote from Republican Sen. Susan Collins.
In December, Kavanaugh voted to decline to review two lower-court decisions that banned Louisiana and Kansas from cutting Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid funding, a move that many pro-lifers saw an example of Kavanaugh not being a judge who would rule against abortion.
Gorsuch, meanwhile, was confirmed to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, a conservative judge who was skeptical of Roe v. Wade and suggested the abortion issue should be left to the states for them to independently decide.
Yet even as Gorsuch replaced an openly conservative justice, he hasn’t made comments that would indicate he’s angling to effectively overturn Roe v. Wade.
During confirmation hearings, Gorsuch issued a judicial defense of the abortion ruling, saying it set the precedent and he accepts that it’s “the law of the land.”
“Once a case is settled, that adds to the determinacy of law,” he said. “What was once a hotly contested issue is no longer a hotly contested issue. We move forward.”