The World and Everything in It — November 11, 2019

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Can a state prosecute illegal immigrants who use stolen Social Security numbers to get a job? A straightforward question with no simple answer.

SCHMIDT: Respondents were convicted because they stole other people’s personal information with intent to defraud. But in respondents’ view, these state criminal laws that govern everybody else do not apply to them.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket. 

Also on the Monday Moneybeat: Alarm bells this summer warning of recession have stopped, and the major stock indexes are setting new records.

Plus the WORLD Radio History Book. Today, the story of a reporter who pioneered a new kind of journalism.

KROEGER: It was very much aimed at increasing circulation. But at the same time it was very much aimed at investigation, doing good, and changing society.

EICHER: And WORLD Editor in Chief Marvin Olasky on biblically objective journalism.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, November 11th. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now news. Here’s Kent Covington.

GOP submits witness requests in impeachment inquiry » As the House prepares for public testimony this week in the impeachment inquiry … Republicans have handed in the list of witnesses they’d like to grill. 

At top the top of that list … Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. Texas Congressman Will Hurd said he has plenty of questions. 

HURD: I’m curious to know how someone who doesn’t have any experience in Ukraine nor experience in a natural gas company becomes on the board of a natural gas company in Ukraine. 

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff … quickly rejected that request. He said the committee will not serve as a vehicle for—quote … “sham investigations into the Bidens or debunked conspiracies about 20-16 U-S election interference.”

Also on that list, as expected … the White House whistleblower who triggered in the impeachment inquiry. That’s a nonstarter with Democrats. California Congresswoman Jackie Speier told ABC’s This Week … 

SPEIER: The whistleblower has great risk associated with his life right now, and he also has the right under the law, under the whistleblower statute to have his whistleblower complaint filed and for him to be anonymous. 

Republicans argue it would not be illegal to unmask the whistleblower… and say the person’s motives should be publicly vetted. 

They also point to past remarks by the whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid. In 20-17, Zaid tweeted about the president saying—quote— “We will get rid of him, and this country is strong enough to survive even him and his supporters.” He also said—again, his words … a “coup has started. First of many steps,” and “impeachment will follow ultimately.” 

John Bolton reportedly inks multi-million dollar book deal » One name on the list of witnesses Democrats want to hear from … is former ambassador and former national security adviser John Bolton. New York Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney told Fox News … 

MALONEY: I’m not sure the president will want to hear from Ambassador Bolton, but we sure do. 

Bolton has thus far declined to testify voluntarily. But that doesn’t mean he has nothing to say. In a letter to lawmakers on Friday, Bolton’s attorney said his client “personal knowledge” of events that have “not yet been discussed in testimonies thus far.” 

Over the weekend the Associated Press reported Bolton has signed a $2-million-dollar book deal with Simon & Schuster. No word yet on the title or the release date. 

The hawkish Bolton left the White House in September after clashing with President Trump on a range of issues. 

The Javelin literary agency represented Bolton. Its other clients include former FBI Director James Comey … and an anonymous Trump administration official who wrote a book called A Warning, which hits shelves next week. 

Trump to release transcript of second Ukraine call » Meantime, President Trump said he plans to release a record of another phone call with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky.  

TRUMP: Now I’ll give you a second transcript, because I actually had two phone calls with the president of Ukraine. So you’ll read the second call, and you’ll tell me if you think there’s anything wrong with it. 

The transcript is of an April 12th phone call between the two leaders. The president said he’ll likely release that tomorrow. 

Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. 

Bolivian president resigns amid public, military pressure » Bolivian President Evo Morales announced his resignation on Sunday …

MORALES (spanish): [up for a few seconds, then under and slowly out]

That came after mounting pressure from both the public and the military. 

His re-election victory triggered weeks of fraud allegations and deadly protests.

Earlier in the day, the 60-year-old socialist leader offered to hold a new election. But a short time later, the country’s military chief went on national television and called him to step down.

Morales was the first member of Bolivia’s indigenous population to become president … and was in power for nearly 14 years. That was the longest term in the country’s history.

World War II epic tops weekend box office » 

SOUND (Midway trailer): [start under]

At the weekend box office, the World War II epic Midway soared into first place with a surprisingly strong opening.

SOUND (Midway trailer): The situation in the Pacific is far worse than reported. [up from 30 to 38.5 sec mark, then under and very slowly out]

Last week’s box office champ, Terminator: Dark Fate … was all but, well, terminated. It dropped to fifth place with $11 million dollars in its second weekend. That’s a troubling sign for a film that cost almost $200 million dollars to make. 

As always, you can find WORLD’s reviews of current films — along with ratings and content information — at

MARY REICHARD, HOST: It’s Monday morning and we’re ready to get back to work for The World and Everything in It. Today is Veteran’s Day, November 11th, 2019. 

Thank you to our veterans for your service to our country.

I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. 

Well, the Supreme Court hears four oral arguments this week before taking a two-week break for Thanksgiving. We’ll use that time to get caught up on arguments heard so far this term.

Today, two cases. 

The first asks what seems to be a very simple question: Can states prosecute individuals in the United States illegally who use stolen Social Security numbers in order to get a job? 

It all turns on the paperwork.

REICHARD: And here are the facts. 

Local law enforcement in Kansas discovered three individuals to be using stolen Social Security numbers on the various forms you have to fill in to gain employment. 

Those forms are the federal W-4 withholding form, the state version of the form in Kansas, the K-4, as well as a federal I-9 form used to prove authorization to work in the United States. 

It’s the I-9 form that’s the crux of this case.

EICHER: I-9 falls under a federal law known as IRCA, I-R-C-A.  That stands for the Immigration Reform and Control Act.  It says any information on that form “may not be used for purposes other than for enforcement of” IRCA or certain other federal crimes. It specifically does not say the information can be used to prosecute state crimes, like identity theft.

REICHARD: The three individuals argue that prosecutors used I-9 information to convict them of identity theft. So, they argue, those convictions ought to be declared invalid.

The Kansas Supreme Court agreed and tossed out the convictions. But Kansas appealed that decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt laid out his case straight up.

SCHMIDT: Our laws apply in all settings, to all people, citizen and alien alike. Respondents were convicted because they stole other people’s personal information with intent to defraud. But in respondents’ view, these state criminal laws that govern everybody else do not apply to them.

In Schmidt’s brief on behalf of Kansas, he laid out how pervasive identity theft is. In 2017 alone, for example, identity thieves stole an average of more than $1,000 each from 15 million American consumers. The losses totaled more than $17 billion.

That can take the form of lost disability or retirement benefits, lost student loans, even lawsuits for back taxes on income the victim didn’t even earn. 

But lawyer for the immigrants, Paul Hughes, underscored the plain language of that federal law, IRCA, that forbids using information contained on an I-9 for state prosecutions.

And he pointed out the Supreme Court struck down parts of Arizona’s law seven years ago that targeted immigrants in the country without proper documentation. There, the majority justices decided that in immigration matters, federal law trumps state law. 

But Hughes ran into some trouble. Listen to Justice Samuel Alito. 

ALITO: This is not a situation like Arizona, where a state has criminalized something that is not criminal under federal law. It’s a case where the same conduct is criminal under federal law and, Kansas says, under Kansas law. So where’s the conflict?

The conflict, Hughes replied, is that Kansas is misrepresenting its own motives. What’s really going on, he said, is the state’s targeting and punishing of immigrants. 

But several justices pointed out that you can’t get a job without submitting the whole package: an I-9, plus a federal and a state withholding form. So who’s to say from which form the information to prosecute comes?

Schmidt, again for Kansas, argued that putting all those required employment papers together doesn’t magically transform everything, like a resume or background check, into part of the I-9 system.

SCHMIDT: It is nearly nonsensical to think that Congress on the one hand would have created a specific crime for W-4 fraud and yet precluded its application in situations in which the W-4 is most commonly submitted, together with the I-9.

Justice Elena Kagan worried about making the 2012 Arizona ruling meaningless. Wouldn’t a decision in favor of Kansas here eviscerate federal control over immigration? 

Schmidt had a ready answer.

SCHMIDT: We aren’t targeting folks because of their status. We are enforcing our employment, our—our identity theft laws, and we don’t want to give special exception to that to people because of their status.

Hughes, lawyer for the immigrants, tried to assure the justices that IRCA wouldn’t keep states from prosecuting identity fraud that results in a benefit like a drivers license or a credit card. It depends on the state’s theory of prosecution.

But that hair-splitting raised the ire of Justice Neil Gorusch as well as Justices Kavanaugh and Alito.

If the whole thing depends on that, it’d be easy to circumvent. Here’s an exchange between Hughes and Justice Gorsuch:

HUGHES: It was exclusively eligibility for employment that’s tethered to federal —

GORSUCH: So Kansas—will never make that mistake again, Mr. Hughes. And in every future case, they will say the benefit that the defendant is seeking is the opportunity to comply with our tax laws and our—our revenue laws. And—and that will be the end of that. So we are—we are deciding how many angels are dancing on the head of this pin? Is that what—is that what this case is about?

The liberal-leaning justices seemed more sympathetic to the unlawful immigrants, but most of the justices worried about thwarting state prosecutions for identity theft. 

It’s hard to guess an outcome on this one, but I’d guess a narrow ruling— or else even a DIG, dismissed as improvidently granted, because the facts here don’t lend themselves cleanly to a judicial solution.

This last case today is at its core an enormous bankruptcy proceeding. 

We’re talking about Puerto Rico. You might remember the headline news in the fall of 20-13. This from CNBC:

ANCHOR: …to assuage investors about concerns that have mounted about their $70 billion dollar debt load at this point..eventually maybe there’s as much as a 90 percent haircut when it comes to debt from Puerto Rico…

To deal with the crisis, Congress in 2016 authorized an Oversight Board to begin adjusting the debt, sort of like a bankruptcy case. 

But those board members aren’t accountable to anybody. And that’s the problem, according to challengers who don’t like the Oversight Board’s actions. Challengers include a hedge fund and a local union. 

The U-S Constitution in Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 (the Appointments Clause) empowers the President of the United States to nominate and appoint public officials, with the advice and consent of the Senate.

That didn’t happen here. So the Oversight Board can’t be legitimate, as far as the hedge fund and union are concerned. 

So the question for the court is how to characterize the Oversight Board: is it a federal agency whose members must be nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate? Or under the authority of Congress to administer U-S territories? 

Former U-S Solicitor General Ted Olson represented those opposed to the board and argues that the Oversight Board definitely violates the Constitution because it is a federal agency. 

Justice Samuel Alito was a tad suspicious of the motivations involved. He mentions Aurelius. That’s the hedge fund.

ALITO: Mr. Olson, are you and your client here just to defend the integrity of the Constitution, or would one be excessively cynical to think that something else is involved here involving money? And, if so, what is it? What did the Board do that hurt your client?

OLSON: Well, with… aside from the constitutional right to an officer—

ALITO: Well, I mean, are you—are you and Aurelius here just as—as amici to defend the Constitution, or do you have some kind of a concrete grievance?

ALITO: The process is not complete, Justice Alito. The process is ongoing. My client is being subjected to a process that is governed by officials that were appointed in violation of the separation of powers.

Lawyer for the Oversight Board, Donald Verrilli, underscored that Congress used its legitimate power over the territories to create the Oversight Board, with three-year terms for members to insulate them from political maneuvering.

VERRILLI: The Constitution’s text, structure, and history and this court’s precedence all make clear that the proper focus in answering that question is the nature of the authority the board exercises.

And he argued the nature of that authority is local, not federal. Congress directed the Oversight Board to act in the interests of Puerto Rico, and that is what it is doing. 

The Oversight Board appealed this case from a federal appeals court that declared board members are federal officers, and that requires confirmation by the Senate. But the appeals court pointed out an easy fix: get the Senate to confirm what is already a de facto, functioning board. 

But short of that, Verilli for the Oversight Board did a vocal fist pump in his rebuttal, asking the court to look at the nature of the Oversight Board’s authority as local and territorial.

VERRILLI: So really it needs to be our test.  Our test is one that’s faithful to the text, it’s faithful to the history, it rests on principle, it avoids threats to home rule, and it’s administrable…This is not a hard case. This is exclusively territorial authority…but what you can be sure of…is that they are going to fight ratification by the Board tooth and nail for years and years and do everything possible…to get a different Board that will  accomplish their objectives. So that’s what will happen if we go down that path. And I would strongly urge the court not to do that…

My guess is that will carry the day, and the Oversight Board will survive to resolve the biggest municipal bankruptcy in American history.

And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Coming next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: The stock market last week set a slew of new records: The Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index is on its longest weekly winning streak in two years, five weeks in a row, and along with the Nasdaq, set new record highs in three of the five trading days last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average set four new records, and all the indexes go into the new week on record highs.

The Dow is now more than 8-1/2 percent higher than it was back in August, after a frightening signal from the market for government bonds suggested a recession may be on the way.

About 30 years ago, economists identified a phenomenon known as a yield-curve inversion as a predictor of recession. The yield curve tracks the difference between yields on short-term government bonds and long-term government bonds. It’s normal for investors to demand a greater yield for longer-term debt. 

But when they don’t, when they’re demanding greater yields for short-term debt than for long-term, in general that indicates a lack of confidence in the long-term strength of the economy. And in particular, a prolonged and steep yield-curve inversion has been a reliable predictor of recessions.

Back in late August and early September, the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds dropped below the yield for two-year bonds. Since the summer, though, economic optimism has increased—lower interest rates, very low unemployment, and belief that the trade war is near an end—and that has flipped the yield curve back to normal. The gap between the two- and 10-year Treasury is now at its healthiest level since July.

REICHARD: About the trade war: President Trump late last week contradicted a statement by a Chinese official that suggested Washington and Beijing had agreed on a roll back of U.S. tariffs. 

This grew out of a preliminary agreement, so-called Phase 1, announced back on October 12th. Trump said he’s not yet agreed to a roll-back. 

Still, he held out the likelihood of a deal-signing summit to be held in Iowa or elsewhere in U.S. farm country.

EICHER: Mortgage lender Freddie Mac reported the average rate on a 30-year home loan stands at 3.69 percent. That’s more than a full percentage point lower than a year ago, when the average rate was near 5 percent. The lower cost of borrowing has driven up existing home sales in September 4 percent year on year, and new home sales up 16 percent year on year. Lower mortgage interest saves home-buyers close to $200 a month on a loan principal of about $250,000. 

And that is today’s Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Faith and sports can bring out the best in us, and on Friday, a remarkable moment went viral online. 

It happened during a high school football game in Texas, at Sherman High School. 

Sherman’s team captain Gage Smith grabbed the shoulder of opposing player and star running back Ty Jordan at the 40 yard line. Smith had learned Jordan’s mother was battling cancer and asked if he could pray for him. He told local TV station K-X-I-I:

SMITH: Just had a moment with him, praying over him, his mom and his family.

Smith’s aunt took a photo of the two kneeling together in prayer and shared it online. That picture now has hundreds of thousands of views. Here’s what Jordan said about it.

JORDAN: It means a lot, you know.  It just sends a message to a lot of people that words can help others. And taking some time out of your day to pray for others, speak for others, do little things. That’s what really counts.

Amen to that. It’s The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, November 11th. 

Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. 

Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book. One hundred ten years ago, a disastrous fire inside a mine in Illinois. Plus, a bold journalist who pioneered a new kind of reporting. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today in the late 19th century with journalist Elizabeth Cochrane, known by her pen name: Nellie Bly. She is remembered most for two daring stories. 

The first required convincing doctors she was insane. She gained admittance to the New York’s Women’s Lunatic Asylum … and spent 10 days inside the facility.

FITZPATRICK: This is actually a brilliant strategy. Because it allows the reporter to say: “I was there. I saw it with my own eyes. You can believe me.” 

Historian Ellen Fitzpatrick from a 19-97 American Experience documentary. 

Nellie Bly’s expose led to immediate reforms. It had the added effect of launching her career. Nellie Bly was one of the first of a new breed of investigative reporters—what became known as “stunt journalism.” Once she posed as an uneducated temporary worker. Another time, as an unwed mother trying to sell a baby, then writing about her experiences. Bly Biographer Brooke Kroeger. 

KROEGER: Used a million avenues like this that really were about social reform—which of course was such an important part of what was happening in the 1880s and 1890s. 

Nellie Bly’s most publicized stunt began on November 14th, 18-89. Wearing a cap and her signature checkered jacket, she boarded the Augusta Victoria steamship headed for South Hampton, England—her first stop in a bid to travel around the world. The stunt? To do so in less time than Phileas Fogg, the fictitious character from Around the World in Eighty Days. After reaching England she took a quick train to France to meet with Jules Verne before continuing on. 

Readers all across the country followed her progress in the New York World newspaper. She returned home on January 25th, 1890. Her trip lasted 72 days, six hours and 11 minutes—setting a new world record.    

While many other female stunt reporters sprang up at papers all across the country, Nellie Bly is credited as one of the first. Her success also paved the way for  women to become serious reporters and journalists.  

Next, we head to Cherry, Illinois, 20 years after Nellie Bly’s round-the-world trip.

SONG: CHERRY MINE SONG by KEITH CLARK [LYRIC] “On November 13, in 1909, there was an explosion in the Saint Paul mines…

When the Saint Paul Mine opened in North Central Illinois, it was promoted as one of the safest mines in the country because it used electric light. The mine featured three veins of coal, the deepest was about 500 feet below ground. The coal there was of the highest grade. 

In the fall of 19-09, the electrical system stopped working. While awaiting repairs, mine operators reverted to kerosene lanterns to light the tunnels. 

On November 13th, one of the boys loaded the elevator with hay to feed the more than 50 mules that lived underground. Cherry Mine Disaster Museum Curator DeAnn Pozzi continues the story:

PIZZOLI: He put the hay in the wagon, went down in the elevator. When it got down there he just shoved that cart of hay. He turned around and went back upstairs. But what he shoved it under was a burning lantern with the oil dripping out of it… 

Soon the hay was smoldering and eventually started a raging fire. The flames trapped nearly 300 men below ground. Many died in the fire, burned beyond physical recognition. DeAnn Pozzi says loved ones had to identify the victims in other ways:

PIZZOLI: These were the watches. The women knew each watch their husband had…they had to go by the buttons on their shirts, and the hems on the shirts they were wearing…

One group of miners found a pocket of good air and buried themselves in. About 24 hours after the fire broke out, one of the men took out a pencil and wrote a letter to his wife:

Dear Erminia and Son: 

My last hour has struck and never will leave this grave. I have nothing more to say, only that to educate my dear child the best you can, and when he grows you may tell him that he had an honest father. 

Hoping to see you again. But must say goodbye, forever.

He and 20 others remained in their hole for more than a week without food or clean water. On the eighth day they decided to try to find a way out and came across a rescue party.

Two-hundred-sixty-two men and boys died in the Cherry Mine Disaster. The tragedy led to many new safety regulations to prevent similar disasters. The financial support extended to the widows and families became a model for future workmen compensation programs.

SONG: THE CHERRY MINE by BEN BEDFORD [LYRIC] “Ooh, swing that pick axe boys. Sink that shovel in the rock of Northern Illinois. Ooh, hear an echo soft, in the earth below, and the hopeful sky above. Ooh, hear an echo soft.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book. I’m Paul Butler.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, November 11th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. It’s a common question we receive here at WORLD and it boils down to this: how can we claim to be doing objective journalism when we root our objectivity in the Bible? WORLD’s editor-in-chief Marvin Olasky has an answer.

MARVIN OLASKY, EDITOR IN CHIEF: At the top of page 2 of every issue of WORLD is our mission statement: “Biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.” 

But wait. Isn’t an “objective” perspective one without a strong opinion? One that is neutral? 

That’s how some people use the word objectivity, but WORLD holds a traditional understanding of it. Objectivity connects to reality: Reporters who accurately describe reality are objective despite being opinionated: if they are well-grounded and well-informed. 

Back to page 2 of the magazine. The statement about “Biblically objective journalism” sits under a quotation from Psalm 24. “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and those who dwell therein.” 

This means God made everything and everyone. He knows every atom in the universe—and in us. The builder of my house in Austin, Texas, left me the blueprints. The Builder of our world left us the Bible. 

When we want to know the objective nature of our world, we study God’s blueprint in Genesis chapters 1 and 2. Then we see how sin enters the world in Genesis 3. That’s where the plot thickens.

Let me give you an example of how this sense of biblical objectivity informs our reporting. Many secular scientists assume neo-Darwinian theory reflects reality. Deviations from it are merely faith-based opinion. 

WORLD disagrees. In September I visited Jim Tour, a Rice University professor. He’s one of the world’s most-published chemists. So I asked him about macro-evolution—the idea that one kind of creature can turn into another. 

Let’s be clear. We’re not talking about a beak getting longer or shorter, or a moth getting lighter or darker: that’s micro-evolution. We’re talking about a process that requires many complex changes all at the same time: macro-evolution.

Given the prevailing orthodoxy at Rice and many other universities, it takes guts for Professor Tour to say what he told me: macro-evolution is quote “impossible to fathom chemically.” He tells Darwinian biologists, “Show me the chemistry.” None has been able to do so. 

Tour says macro-evolutionists have not shown how the requisite molecules—those lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates— occurred in the states and quantities necessary for life to begin. They have not shown how the necessary DNA and RNA codes emerged. 

Tour’s depiction of Darwinian biologists reminds me of the academic solution to getting out of a pit with tall, sleek walls impossible to climb: “assume a ladder.” 

If we assume that life just emerged, without showing how that could work chemically, we are substituting faith in evolution for Biblical objectivity.

The Bible doesn’t tell us in detail everything about the world, but it lays out the big picture. God created the world and it was good. Then comes the original sin and years of misery—until the turning point we celebrate next month at Christmas.  

If you want to understand more about Biblical objectivity, you might enjoy a new book of mine: The title is Reforming Journalism. The Saturday Series on World’s website, at has published excerpts from chapters 3 and 4.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Marvin Olasky.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Tomorrow: Businesses are changing the way they support employees after a death in the family. We’ll tell you how.

And, Christian doctors and nurses say they’re having to choose between their faith and their jobs. A recent court ruling has made the problem worse.

That and more tomorrow.

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

First Timothy warns that the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.

Go now in grace and peace.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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