Many on the left are calling for the nation to get rid of the Electoral College.
And it appears that many in the media support this notion.
Unfortunately, progressives and their media allies have waged a disinformation campaign to bury the intentions of the Founders, or distort the Founders’ views on an institution vital to the republic.
Detractors have absurdly connected the Electoral College to racism and slavery.
The creation of the Electoral College had nothing to do with slavery; it was never even mentioned as part of the slavery debate at the Constitutional Convention. There were many slave states with large populations and free states with small populations.
And it was the Electoral College that allowed Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, to become president with 39 percent of the national popular vote, a mere plurality.
Linking the Electoral College with slavery is a smear, pure and simple.
Of course, in attacking the Electoral College, CNN chose the path of sheer dishonesty by insinuating that James Madison, a man often referred to as the “Father of the Constitution,” called the institution “evil.”
The Electoral College has been debated since the days of James Madison, who called it "evil."
So could it actually be abolished? @JohnAvlon explores that in today’s #RealityCheck. https://t.co/lCGCfDTMSL pic.twitter.com/Z1Tct6bMQL
This is fake news.
Madison didn’t call the Electoral College evil, far from it. In fact, he wasn’t really talking about the Electoral College at all in this selectively twisted quote; he was talking about a contingency for elections not decided by a majority in the Electoral College.
The framers of the Constitution disagreed about much, but they had widespread agreement about the Electoral College and the methods of choosing our chief executive.
Alexander Hamilton, who worked with Madison on the Federalist Papers, wrote in Federalist 68 that if the Electoral College wasn’t perfect, it was at least excellent. He reflected the views of those at the convention, and wrote that it was the best way for a large and growing United States to choose presidents with a broad-based consensus from the whole country.
The debate over the merits of the Electoral College are worth having. The logic of the Founders for its creation was as sound in 1787 as it is today and serves as a powerful challenge to those who today want to turn america into a pure democracy.
The Founders, in their wisdom, crafted our system with democracy’s strengths and weaknesses in mind, and they formed a republic that has stood at the pinnacle of success in the modern world.
It’s particularly shameful for CNN and others in the media to promote outright distortions about an institution that has worked so effectively for over two centuries.
The post CNN Smears Electoral College, Lies About the Founders appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The Trump administration’s budget proposal for the U.S. Agency for Global Media for fiscal 2020 reflects indifference—if not disdain—for the agency whose self-proclaimed mission is to “inform, engage, and connect people around the world in support of freedom and democracy.”
The spending blueprint released on March 18 would reduce the budget for the agency, formerly known as the Broadcasting Board of Governors, from $808 million to $688 million, a 15 percent reduction.
At a time when information warfare from international rivals, such as Russia and China, is an increasing challenge, the leadership of the agency itself and President Donald Trump’s proposed budget cuts warrant intense scrutiny.
Among the unfortunate casualties of the proposed cuts are Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Georgian Service, Tatar-Bashkir Service, and North Caucasus Service.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty cuts take the semi-independent broadcasting entity from $124 million to about $86.8 million in 2020. Reductions will also hit their Balkans Service by eliminating operations in Montenegrin and Macedonian.
These may be small language services, but their function is critical, indeed central, to the mission of the U.S. government’s international broadcasting. Independent media are still in a developing stage in Georgia and the Balkans.
As for services aimed at the Caucasus, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty may be the only alternative to government media. Populations are starved for any independent, reliable news.
Blogging at Window on Eurasia, former Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty assistant director Paul Goble makes an important point:
“The Putins and the Kadyrovs of this world will certainly be delighted by the Trump administration’s proposal,” Goble writes, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his protege, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. “But no one in Washington (outside the Russian Embassy, of course) should be pleased. They should recognize how important such broadcasts are to reaffirming what the United States stands for and how important that is for our friends in these places.”
Nor is this the first time the U.S. government has blundered in the post-Soviet space.
The George W. Bush administration in 2007 announced plans to cut numerous Voice of America services to the former Soviet republics, including Georgia. That drew the protests of 11 former VOA directors and members of Congress. The following year, Russia invaded Georgia, and the U.S. Congress reversed the Bush administration’s proposed cuts.
The Trump budget proposal and the snail’s-pace efforts to replace the Obama-era leadership of the U.S. Agency for Global Media could well be rooted in a lack of respect for the agency and its work.
While the mission of informing the publics in countries without independent media is still an important aspect of U.S. foreign policy, the execution has been uneven, and the blatant anti-Trump bias among the leadership and journalists of the agency has undermined its credibility and effectiveness.
Nevertheless, Congress needs to take a close look at the administration’s budget proposal. There’s much at stake here, beyond the politics of Washington.
The post Budget Cuts Would Stifle US Broadcasting to Post-Soviet Regions appeared first on The Daily Signal.
President Donald Trump will name economist Stephen Moore, a visiting fellow at The Heritage Foundation and former Wall Street Journal economics writer, to the Federal Reserve Board to oversee the nation’s monetary policy.
“I will be nominating Mr. Moore for the Fed,” Trump told reporters Friday at the Palm Beach International Airport. “You know who I’m talking about. So he’s going to be great. He’s going to be great on the Fed.”
Moore, 59, later responded on Twitter:
During an interview Friday on Fox News Channel, Moore said, “I’m going to be the growth guy at the Fed.”
Fox’s Neil Cavuto asked him about past criticism of Federal Reserve policies.
“I was critical of the Fed’s last rate increase in December, and I think almost everyone agrees that was a big, big mistake. The dollar fell by several thousand points after that decision,” Moore said, adding:
I believe that the best Fed policy is keeping the price system stable. That’s why you have a currency. I always go back to first principles. Why do you have a currency? So that it retains value. It’s a medium of exchange, and the best way to achieve that is to keep prices stable. … I think the potential for the American economy is 3-4 percent growth for as far as the eye can see.
“I’m more worried about a deflation right now than an inflation,” Moore said.
In late 2018, Moore and economist Arthur Laffer released their book, “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy.”
Moore, Laffer, and Larry Kudlow, who Trump appointed as director of the National Economic Council, advised the Trump presidential campaign on economic policy.
Moore also helped draft the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a package of reforms that reduced individual and corporate tax rates while closing loopholes with the aim of spurring the economy.
Moore is a distinguished visiting fellow for the Project for Economic Growth at The Heritage Foundation. He had returned to the think tank as chief economist in 2014, after having served as the Grover M. Hermann fellow in budgetary affairs from 1984 to 1987.
“Congratulations to my colleague Steve Moore for his nomination to serve on the Federal Reserve Board,” Heritage President Kay Coles James said in a written statement. “President Trump should be applauded for tapping Steve to serve in this important role. Steve will steer America’s monetary policy to make a strong economy even stronger.”
Steve’s contributions to The Heritage Foundation in his two stints here are too many to count, and the economic policy he played such a large part in shaping during this administration has led to a historic economic boom that has benefitted every American. We encourage the Senate to move swiftly to confirm Steve, who will serve the American people well and faithfully.
Between his tenures at Heritage, Moore became known as a member of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board, writing about the economy and public policy.
In 1999, Moore co-founded the Club for Growth, which promotes lower taxes, deregulation, and the election of conservative candidates for public office. He next founded the Free Enterprise Fund before joining The Wall Street Journal.
“Steve is one of America’s leading experts on the economy, and I’ve been proud to co-author several op-eds with him, including one on Federal Reserve policy,” Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, a business group, said in a prepared statement, noting Moore has been a member of the organization’s board.
“We applaud President Trump for making an excellent nomination, one that will bring a much needed and valued perspective to the Federal Reserve Board,” Ortiz said.
The post Trump Taps Stephen Moore for Federal Reserve Board appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Special counsel Robert Mueller delivered a report Friday on his investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and allegations of collusion by the Trump campaign.
Attorney General William Barr, who took office Feb. 14, informed the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate Judiciary committees that he had received Mueller’s report.
“I am reviewing the report and anticipate that I may be in a position to advise you of the special counsel’s principal conclusions as soon as this weekend,” Barr wrote in a letter to the two Republicans and two Democrats.
Mueller will seek no more indictments as the 675-day probe has come to an end, Fox News and other news outlets reported.
During a confirmation hearing in January, Barr told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would release as many details as he thought appropriate after reading the Mueller report.
“I am going to make as much information available as I can, consistent with the rules and regulations that are part of the special counsel regulations,” Barr told senators.
Barr, tapped by President Donald Trump after he fired Jeff Sessions as attorney general, also said he would follow legal procedures on the release.
“You would not like it if I made some pledge to the president of the United States that I was going to exercise my responsibilities in a particular way, and I’m not going to make a pledge to anyone on this committee.”
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., weighed in early on the news that Mueller had transmitted the report to Barr.
A.G. Barr has confirmed the completion of the Special Counsel investigation. We look forward to getting the full Mueller report and related materials. Transparency and the public interest demand nothing less. The need for public faith in the rule of law must be the priority. pic.twitter.com/QYA2xCR1QW— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) March 22, 2019
Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., also commented on Twitter.
I have always believed it was important that Mr. Mueller be allowed to do his job without interference, and that has been accomplished.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) March 22, 2019
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said no one at the White House has seen Mueller’s report. Trump left earlier Friday for his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
The next steps are up to Attorney General Barr, and we look forward to the process taking its course. The White House has not received or been briefed on the Special Counsel’s report.— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) March 22, 2019
Mueller has secured indictments against two dozen Russian operatives on charges of interfering in the U.S. election campaign.
The special counsel gained unrelated convictions on charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, for financial crimes. He also drew guilty pleas from others in the Trump campaign for crimes not directly related to Russia.
There were a total of five guilty pleas and 37 indictments.
Roger Stone, a Trump supporter, recently was indicted on charges of seeking stolen emails from WikiLeaks.
The House of Representatives, where Democrats regained the majority after the midterm elections, adopted a resolution March 14 that the Mueller report be made public. No one voted against it, though four Republicans voted present.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel after Sessions recused himself from the probe because he had a role in the Trump campaign.
The investigation at one point appeared to expand beyond potential collusion into possible obstruction of justice.
Trump consistently has called the special counsel’s investigation a “witch hunt” and said Democrats had concocted a “hoax.” He made the words “no collusion” a catchphrase.
“It’s interesting that a man gets appointed by a deputy [Rosenstein]; he writes a report,” Trump said Wednesday of Mueller. “You know—never figured that one out.”
“I had the greatest electoral victory—one of them—in the history of our country,” the president added. “Tremendous success. Tens of millions of voters, and now somebody is going to write a report who never got a vote. So we’ll see what the report says. Let’s see if it’s fair.”
By law, the special counsel’s report is a confidential document similar to other federal criminal matters until the Justice Department determines it should be made public.
Several Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, also of California, have alleged Trump campaign collusion with Moscow without direct evidence.
The post Mueller Delivers Report on Russia Probe to Attorney General appeared first on The Daily Signal.
KYIV, Ukraine—A task force of U.S. Air Force B-52 strategic bombers conducted air combat exercises Monday across Europe. That same day, Russia announced it had deployed supersonic, long-range Tu-22M3 bombers to Crimea, the Ukrainian territory that Russia invaded and seized in March 2014.
The parallel timing of the moves highlights how the ongoing war in Ukraine has rattled the relationship between U.S. and Russian military forces in Europe, spurring both camps to conduct exercises more frequently and deploy their forces closer to each other.
Mutual distrust is increasing—so is the danger of an accidental conflict, experts say.
“While a direct military conflict between Russia … and the U.S. and NATO is a very unlikely prospect, such deployments and exercises do increase the risk of miscalculations by both sides,” said Eugene Chausovsky, a geopolitical analyst who specializes in the former Soviet Union for the U.S.- based security think tank Stratfor.
U.S. Air Force personnel gather around a B-52 bomber upon landing at RAF Fairford, England, on March 14. (Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)
On March 14, a U.S. Air Force bomber task force comprising six B-52 Stratofortresses from the 2nd Bomb Wing at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, deployed to the United Kingdom’s RAF Fairford air base for exercises with allied militaries across Europe.
It’s the largest deployment of American bombers to Europe since the outbreak of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.
“The task force will operate … from the Arctic, all the way down to the Sahara Desert, demonstrating how the United States, with our allies and partners, can quickly amass at a time and place of our choosing to deter and defend against any possible aggression,” Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian, U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa deputy commander, said Tuesday during a press conference in the U.K.
The task force’s bombers conducted wide-ranging air combat exercises Monday over Estonia, Greece, and the Norwegian Sea. The European operation paralleled another deployment of B-52s in the Pacific Ocean to conduct training missions near Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
These kinds of air combat exercises familiarize aircrews with new regions and allow them to work out the kinks of operating alongside allied forces. The drills are also used as a way to deter potential adversaries like Russia by highlighting the long reach of U.S. airpower.
“This deployment of combat air power is a visual example of our commitment [to NATO allies],” Harrigian said. “U.S. and allied forces are on watch 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
‘A Clear Threat’
Monday also marked the fifth anniversary of Moscow’s annexation of Crimea. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited the Black Sea peninsula to celebrate the “Day of Crimea’s Reunification with Russia”—now an official holiday in Russia.
Back in Moscow, the Kremlin announced it had sent Tu-22M3 bombers and Iskander ballistic missiles to Crimea. According to statements by Kremlin lawmakers, the weapons deployments were a tit-for-tat response to a NATO missile defense system in Romania since 2015.
“While it’s hard to determine if the Russian deployment is a coincidence or a response to the B-52 deployment, the Tu-22 deployment to Crimea is troubling,” Peter Brookes, senior fellow for national security affairs at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.
“It affirms Moscow’s commitment to defending and holding Crimea, it’s a clear threat to the security of the Black Sea and to the NATO countries that border it, and sends a strong message to Washington about the role Russia wishes to play in the region,” Brookes said.
The Russian bomber deployment to Crimea also underscores the real-world importance of the U.S. bomber task force’s training exercises.
A Russian Su-27 Flanker on the tail of a U.S. B-52 bomber over the Baltic Sea in 2017. (Photo: Nolan Peterson/The Daily Signal)
“Russia’s recent announcement of a deployment of bombers has no impact on our mission; however, it does give emphasis to our priority to maintain ready and postured forces that are prepared to support combatant commander objectives,” Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Davina Petermann told The Daily Signal in an email.
“Bomber Task Force rotations underscore our ironclad commitment to our NATO allies and to promoting regional security,” Petermann said.
The U.S. B-52 task force in Europe conducted more training flights Wednesday over Poland and Lithuania, dropping inert munitions to simulate close air support missions, Air Force officials said.
That day, Russian news outlets reported that two Russian Su-27 fighters had “chased away” a B-52 in international airspace over the Baltic Sea.
However, Petermann described the event differently.
“Russia’s claim that they chased away our aircraft is completely false,” the U.S. Air Force spokeswoman said. “Our bomber had a very routine interaction with the Russian Su-27 and was able to complete its mission as scheduled.”
After Russia’s 2014 invasion of Crimea and subsequent land war in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, NATO began rotating military forces and holding exercises across Europe at levels unseen since the Cold War.
As part of that NATO response, the U.S. military’s presence across Europe has ramped up. So, too, has U.S. military support for Ukraine, including President Donald Trump’s decision to deliver Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Since 2014, Russia has deployed new weapons systems and held more military exercises across the European region. Russian warplanes now routinely buzz NATO aircraft and ships over the Baltic Sea and Black Sea, sometimes in “unsafe and unprofessional” ways, U.S. military officials say.
“Military exercises in close proximity to one another could lead to a crisis in the absence of professional airmanship or seamanship,” The Heritage Foundation’s Brookes said.
With Russian and NATO military forces now rubbing shoulders across Europe more often, chances have increased that a miscalculation by either side could spark a domino chain of retaliatory actions.
“Militaries undertake maneuvers in peacetime, making it important that potential adversaries do what is necessary to minimize misunderstandings and mistakes that could lead to miscalculation, escalation, and unintended consequences,” Brookes said.
The Air Force declined to comment on an inquiry by The Daily Signal as to what lines of communication exist between U.S. and Russian officials to limit the fallout of a potential mishap.
Designed to strike targets deep inside the Soviet Union, B-52s can carry nuclear weapons, as well as long-range weapons like cruise missiles.
Likewise, the Tu-22M3 is a Cold War-era bomber capable of carrying cruise missiles and nuclear weapons. The bomber has remained a staple of contemporary Russian military operations, including in Syria.
The B-52 Stratofortress is a Cold War-era bomber capable of carrying nuclear weapons and conducting long-range bombing sorties. (Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Tessa B. Corrick)
The Kremlin boasted that its Tu-22M3 bombers in Crimea could strike targets across Europe.
The Crimea-based bombers “are capable of destroying any target in Europe with their weapons,” Vladimir Shamanov, chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Defense, said Tuesday, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.
Today, after nearly five years of war, Ukrainian troops remain hunkered down in trenches and improvised forts along a 250-mile-long front line in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
There, Ukraine’s military continues to fight a static, trench war against a combined force of pro-Russian separatists, foreign mercenaries, and Russian regulars. So far, the war has killed more than 13,000 Ukrainians—about half of whom died after a February 2015 cease-fire went into effect.
The stalemate along the trench lines in eastern Ukraine has developed into a volatile status quo—in which Europe’s two-largest standing land armies, in terms of manpower, exchange daily fire.
Yet, the war in Ukraine is no longer confined to the trench lines of the Donbas.
On Nov. 25, Russian military forces attacked and captured three Ukrainian navy vessels transiting through the Kerch Strait on their way from the Black Sea to the Sea of Azov. Four months after the incident, Russia continues to hold Ukrainian sailors prisoner.
The naval confrontation and its fallout spurred fresh EU and U.S. sanctions against Russia in addition to ones already in place for the 2014 seizure of Crimea and the ongoing war in eastern Ukraine.
Citing the Kerch Strait incident, Trump canceled a scheduled meeting with Putin last year on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit in Argentina.
More broadly, the war in Ukraine has spurred countries across Eastern Europe to build up their military forces.
The three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are now among the most rapidly militarizing countries on earth in terms of defense spending increases. And Poland has dramatically increased its military spending, too, since 2014.
“Certainly tensions between Russia and the West are higher now than at any point since the end of the Cold War,” said Chausovsky, the Stratfor analyst, adding that the demise of Cold War-era arms control treaties increases the risk “for further military buildups and associated security challenges” in Europe.
In February, the U.S. suspended its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, claiming that Russia had been developing and deploying missiles in violation of the pact’s limits for years. Moscow denied any violations and announced it was likewise suspending participation in the Cold War treaty.
Still, with fewer weapons pointing in either direction today compared with during the Cold War era, the odds of an accidental conflict are lower, said Donald Stoker, a national security expert who is a former professor of strategy and policy at the U.S. Naval War College.
“There is always plenty of room for things to go wrong,” Stoker said. “But there were many more chances for accidents during the Cold War.”
Seven academic journals were recently hoaxed into publishing ridiculous studies on topics like “rape culture” and “queer performativity in dog parks.”
The editor of only one of the journals, Roberto Refinetti of Sexuality and Culture, agreed to talk to me about the hoax and whether academics learned anything from being duped.
The hoaxers had said their experiment showed that “making absurd and horrible ideas sufficiently politically fashionable can get them validated at the highest levels of academic grievance studies.”
Refinetti says the experiment proved nothing: “You’re deceiving people without much of a reason.”
I told him I thought the hoaxers had good reason.
“Their hoax woke us up to the fact that some academic journals publish nonsense,” I said.
The paper Refinetti’s journal accepted, called “Going in Through the Back Door,” claimed to show you can reduce “straight male homo-hysteria and transphobia through receptive, penetrative sex toy use.”
“It’s not your everyday article,” replied Refinetti in my new video about the hoax, but he says Sexuality and Culture “is a specialized journal that deals with sexuality and culture.”
Why publish this particular paper, which claims sex toys “will decrease transphobia and increase feminist values”?
“What is the problem with that?” asked Refinetti. “It is a statement that could be correct. It’s nothing really absurd or unusual.”
But if it only “could” be correct and it’s not unusual, why publish it?
“That’s an issue in publication. That’s the specialization. We’ve been doing that for maybe 100 years,” responds Refinetti.
Seems silly, I suggest.
“What is silly? Is the respiration mechanism in an ant not silly?” countered Refinetti.
“But that’s facts,” I tell him. “It breathes this way or that way. This is speculation.”
“Is it a speculation? If it were just a statement, a thesis not tested, we wouldn’t do anything with it,” replied Refinetti.
To help them decide what to publish, journals submit papers to “expert” reviewers. In the case of the bogus sex toy study, Refinetti’s reviewer wrote, “I’m just overwhelmed, which is a sign of a marvelous paper.”
I suggested to Refinetti that his reviewer was an idiot.
“They made up data that he or she wished he had! So he says, wow, these people did a study that I wanted to do, and they got the results that I thought should be there!” answered Refinetti, seeing no problem.
It would be more obvious that claims in hoax papers like that were silly if the academics wrote in plain English instead of pretentious and politically loaded language.
This is from the dog rape paper: “Inferring from the lessons relevant to human and dog interactions to suggest practical applications that disrupt hegemonic masculinities.”
“That’s one thing they like these days, disrupt masculinities. I don’t like that concept,” said Refinetti.
“Is there such a bias here that, instead of knowledge, we’re just putting political correctness?” he asked, basically rephrasing my question. “In some areas, that is the case, but that’s my feeling. I wouldn’t do anything until I can document it.”
Refinetti pointed out to me that many things society once considered ridiculous or unworthy of study are now accepted.
“Let’s question our assumptions. … When homosexuality was considered a mental illness, people pushed [back]. Psychiatrists got together and said, it’s a perfectly fine thing to choose, and not to call it mental illness. That’s the type of thing that a journal in sexuality and culture does: discuss.”
To discuss is good. But today, journals of this sort seem to be mostly advocacy disguised with obscure academic jargon. They’re filled with words such as bropropriating, otherization, performativity, androcentrism, matrix of domination, ableism, kyriarchy, intersectionality, etc.
The hoax article Refinetti accepted said, “Some feminists assert the dildo was an oppressive tool of the patriarchy.”
“Ah, the jargon,” he replied. “[But] it’s just describing that some women think that using the dildo is a man’s idea,” said Refinetti. “That is a correct statement.”
I assume it is.
But like so much of what today’s academics write, and what journals treat as neutral science, it reinforces only one side of the political spectrum.
The post My Debate With the Editor of a Duped Research Journal appeared first on The Daily Signal.
A Florida man entered a guilty plea Thursday after being accused of subjecting multiple high-profile Democrats and critics of President Donald Trump to pipe bomb scares in 2018.
Cesar Sayoc previously had pleaded not guilty, reported NBC News.
“I know that these actions were wrong and I’m sorry,” Sayoc, 57, said as he entered his new plea in front of a federal judge in Manhattan.
Sayoc could spend the rest of his life in prison after allegedly making more than a dozen improvised explosive devices from PVC pipes packed with explosive material and shards of glass. He was accused of sending the devices to national figures, including former Vice President Joe Biden and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The package scares occurred in October.
A federal grand jury charged Sayoc on a 30-count indictment in November. The charges include five counts of using a weapon of mass destruction, which carry a maximum penalty of life in prison, and five counts of interstate transportation of an explosive. Each of the latter counts could mean 20 years in prison.
Sayoc was living in a van “plastered with stickers praising Trump and attacking the media” when he was arrested in Florida, reported NBC News.
Besides Biden and Clinton, the intended recipients of the packages included:
- Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.
- Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
- Former President Barack Obama.
- Former CIA Director John Brennan.
- Billionaire hedge fund manager George Soros.
- Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
- Actor Robert De Niro.
- Former Attorney General Eric Holder.
- Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J.
- Billionaire activist Tom Steyer.
The office of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz , D-Fla., also received a package because it was used as a return address.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email email@example.com.
The unintended consequences of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s global warming crusade are hitting close to home—literally.
The utility Consolidated Edison put a moratorium on new natural gas hookups across parts of Westchester County, including Mount Kisco, site of the Democratic governor’s residence, according to The New York Times.
Con Edison’s decision is no surprise to energy experts critical of Cuomo’s blocking of major gas pipelines and banning of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in New York.
“Gov. Cuomo has been mandating the Green New Deal dream in New York, and now it’s turning into a nightmare for people forced to pay twice as much for oil heat instead of natural gas,” Daniel Kish, a distinguished senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research, a free market group, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Local officials and businesses worry that Con Edison’s decision will derail major development projects that rely on natural gas for heating. It also means homes looking to get off relatively expensive heating oil will have to wait.
“It’s just a question of how people are going to be able to heat their homes and cook their food with the energy that’s available right now,” Con Edison spokesman Michael Clendenin told the Times.
The natural gas moratorium was announced in January and went into effect March 15, sparking a rush to get applications for natural gas hookups filed before it was too late.
Cuomo banned fracking in 2014 after years of study and delay. Cuomo said the risks to New York’s groundwater and public health were too great, despite Pennsylvania moving ahead with extracting oil and gas from shale.
In the years since, the Cuomo administration has blocked major natural gas pipeline projects. At the same time, however, natural gas was becoming an increasingly important part of New York’s electricity and heating mix.
Cuomo’s policies have made environmental activists happy, and he’s not done yet. The governor is in the midst of pushing his own “Green New Deal” plan to put more solar and wind power onto the grid.
Cuomo’s goal is 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. Current state law mandates 50 percent renewable electricity—hydropower, solar, and wind—by 2030. About 28 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewables, mostly hydroelectric dams.
However, most of New York’s electricity comes from natural gas and nuclear power. Also, millions of households rely on natural gas for heating during winter.
Pipelines are needed to get natural gas to customers, energy companies say, and there aren’t enough to reliably meet demand, especially during harsh winters.
Con Edison said Cuomo’s policies have chilled construction of new pipelines in the region. Two counties in Massachusetts also have had moratoriums on natural gas hookups since 2014 due to a lack of pipelines.
“The market changed,” Clendenin told the Times. “Investors were no longer willing to take the risk.”
The pipeline bottleneck in New York also put pressure on New England states that heavily rely on natural gas. Harsh winter conditions in recent years brought the region’s grid to the brink, including during the winter of 2017-2018.
“The Northeastern states are cutting their own throats, and their leaders are doing it with a green knife,” Kish said.
In response to Con Edison’s moratorium, New York state offered roughly $250 million in incentives to reduce energy use and install green energy heating equipment. Public utilities regulators are looking into Con Ed’s decision and could overturn the moratorium.
However, Cuomo’s office blamed Con Edison’s poor planning for the natural gas shortfall.
“The current issues these localities are facing are a result of poor planning by the utilities,” Cuomo spokesman Dani Lever told the Times. “Con Edison never even proposed new infrastructure or alternative solutions that would have adequately met increased demand for certain products prior to announcing its moratorium.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Consequences of Cuomo’s Climate Agenda Hit Close to Home. His Home. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant signed a “heartbeat bill” Thursday that will make abortion illegal in the state after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“I am very pro-life, always have been,” Bryant, a Republican, said after signing the legislation. “I think obviously we’ll have some legal challenges on it. We have legal challenges with every pro-life bill that we have ever passed. We anticipate that. We hope that it will get to the Supreme Court and they will uphold it.”
Women in Mississippi will no longer be able to have an abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy once the law takes effect July 1. Pro-choice group Center for Reproductive Rights called it “blatantly unconstitutional” and threatened to sue the state, Fox News reported.
“We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, ‘I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action,’” Bryant tweeted Wednesday in response to the group.
We will all answer to the good Lord one day. I will say in this instance, “I fought for the lives of innocent babies, even under threat of legal action.” https://t.co/4bHEmCqN74— Phil Bryant (@PhilBryantMS) March 20, 2019
If an abortion is performed after approximately six weeks, under the law, the physician responsible could have his or her medical license revoked.
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email email@example.com.
The post Mississippi Outlaws Abortions After Fetal Heartbeat Detected appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The San Antonio City Council has banned Chick-fil-A from San Antonio International Airport over “a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” as part of a new concession plan for the airport.
City Councilman Roberto Treviño made the motion Thursday to approve the Food, Beverage, and Retail Prime Concession Agreement with Paradies Lagardère for the airport on condition Chick-fil-A be excluded from the agreement. Treviño asserted Chick-fil-A has a “legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior” and that such a business has no place in the city’s airport.
“With this decision, the City Council reaffirmed the work our city has done to become a champion of equality and inclusion. San Antonio is a city full of compassion, and we do not have room in our public facilities for a business with a legacy of anti-LGBTQ behavior,” Treviño said, according to ABC News.
“Everyone has a place here, and everyone should feel welcome when they walk through our airport. I look forward to the announcement of a suitable replacement by Paradies,” he added.
Treviño’s motion came after a Wednesday ThinkProgress report that asserted Chick-fil-A donated $1.8 million in 2017 to the Salvation Army, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Paul Anderson Youth Home—charitable Christian ministries that ThinkProgress defined as discriminatory against LGBTQ individuals. Chick-fil-A cut ties with the Paul Anderson Youth Home as of June 2017.
Chick-fil-A said the City Council made no mention of its concerns before the motion, and that the restaurant would have liked to have had a dialogue with the council prior to the decision.
“This is the first we’ve heard of this. It’s disappointing. We would have liked to have had a dialogue with the city council before this decision was made. We agree with Councilmember Treviño that everyone is and should feel welcome at Chick-fil-A. We plan to reach out to the city council to gain a better understanding of this decision,” the company said in a statement.
The post Chick-Fil-A Banned From Airport Over ‘Anti-LGBTQ Behavior’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.
James Comey, former director of the FBI, claimed in an op-ed Thursday that he doesn’t care one way or the other whether special counsel Robert Mueller finds evidence that President Donald Trump conspired with Russia to influence the 2016 election or obstructed the FBI’s collusion probe.
But the claim, which Comey made in The New York Times, is at odds with his testimony about his actions shortly after being fired by Trump in May 2017.
Comey testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee in June 2017 that he leaked memos he wrote after conversations with Trump in order to force the appointment of a special counsel.
“I asked a friend of mine to share the content of a memo with the reporter. I didn’t do it myself for a variety of reasons, but I asked him to because I thought that might prompt the appointment of a special counsel,” Comey testified June 8, 2017.
Comey instructed his friend, Daniel Richman, to give the Times a memo he wrote about a conversation he had with Trump on Feb. 14, 2017. Comey claimed Trump asked him to shut down an investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Comey’s ploy worked, as Mueller was appointed special counsel May 17, 2017.
Though Comey clearly pushed for the special counsel’s probe, he now says he has no preference as to what Mueller will write in a report of the 22-month-long investigation.
“Even though I believe Mr. Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mr. Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal,” Comey wrote in his op-ed.
“I’m also not rooting for Mr. Mueller to ‘clear’ the president. I’m not rooting for anything at all, except that the special counsel be permitted to finish his work, charge whatever cases warrant charging, and report on his work.”
Comey, who oversaw the FBI’s collusion investigation for more than nine months until his firing, said that he has “no idea” whether Mueller will conclude that Trump knowingly colluded with Russia. He said he does not know whether Trump obstructed justice.
“I also don’t care,” he said.
“I care only that the work be done, well and completely. If it is, justice will have prevailed and core American values been protected at a time when so much of our national leadership has abandoned its commitment to truth and the rule of law.”
Comey also said in the op-ed he does not want to see Trump impeached. Instead, he said he hopes Trump is voted out of office in 2020.
The post Comey Says He Doesn’t Care What Russia Probe Uncovers on Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.
By the time you read this, Britain should have left the European Union. Or, perhaps, it’s still a member. Maybe there will be another referendum. This uncertainty reveals how divided Britons are about their future and place in Europe. It also tells us a lot about direct democracy, a form of governance Americans have always found appealing.
Direct democracy occurs when residents of a jurisdiction — a city, state, country — vote on policy rather than have elected representatives make these decisions for them. Thomas Jefferson believed such a “pure” democracy was best for the United States because it nurtured public virtue and would most efficiently project yeoman values into American life. James Madison warned majorities would exploit it to suppress dissenters and, as the driving force behind the Constitution and its ratification, his argument won the day.
So, we do not have direct democracy at the federal level, but states, counties, and cities do. It has always been a fixture of New England politics; residents still meet regularly to discuss their towns’ business and approve matters like budgets. During the Progressive Era that straddled the turn of the 20th century, many other states established procedures to permit the public to vote on changes to law and their constitution, some even allowed residents to place these proposals on the ballot rather than have legislators do it for them. North Carolina has a relatively limited form of direct democracy in that the public can only vote on changes to the constitution proposed by the legislature. We have done it quite a lot recently, however. You might recall the General Assembly presented us with six amendments in the election this past November.
Americans want direct democracy. Polls routinely show we deeply distrust elected officials. We also have greater confidence in state and local government than Washington and believe policymakers should faithfully reflect the will of majorities. Brexit, however, should give us pause.
Brexit is a kind of parable about direct democracy, because in June 2016 the British people voted to leave the EU in a referendum. Britain doesn’t have much direct democracy; there are only two modern precedents for the 2016 vote, a referendum on continued EU membership in 1975 and one on changing the electoral system in 2011.After its 2015 reelection, the governing Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron believed only the public could be charged with making such a momentous decision.
Cue the current mess. The proposal the British people approved was a simple one asking if the country should leave or remain in the EU and made no mention of an exit process. No one really debated the terms of Britain’s departure during the campaign. The result was very close, with 52 percent in favor of quitting.
This is the central problem with direct democracy. The public — by which we really mean majorities — sometimes has strong views on important matters, but these tend to be simplistic and incoherent. There is little understanding of how they might hang together in a program of policies. There is no grasp of what these policies will produce once applied to real-world conditions.
In complete contrast to the wording of the referendum, the Brexit process has generated a dizzying array of complicated decisions the government and parliament must make. The process of trying to leave the EU has had many unforeseen “knock-on” effects, regarding everything from the Irish border to the future of Britain’s trade policy. There is no mandate for any particular option.
Direct democracy can work if the public is asked to approve a negative action or stop something from happening. In May 2012, North Carolinians voted to prohibit same-sex marriage. The government’s responsibilities were then clear. Sometimes, a direction to act positively can also present a simple task to policymakers. The referendum to add a voter identification requirement to our state constitution implied specific instructions because the U.S. Supreme Court had greatly restricted the scope of constitutionally permissible action. The Republican General Assembly had also telegraphed intentions about what it would do if granted the authority. That in both cases courts intervened to reverse the public is a topic I’ll grumble about another day.
More often, though, a referendum only obfuscates. Brexit is as complex as most of the conceivable policy matters Americans could consider under direct democracy at the federal level. Imagine asking them directly about Social Security reform, trade policy with China, an income tax overhaul, or climate change. As the Brexit chaos demonstrates, executives and legislative majorities should formulate and implement complex policies on issues like these. The public’s role should be to give them the power to do so after an election campaign in which candidates thoroughly and straightforwardly debate core principles and the broad outlines of the course of action they intend to pursue.
Andy Taylor is a professor of political science at the School of International and Public Affairs at N.C. State University. He does not speak for the university.
The name Mike Lindell may not ring a bell, but if you watch Fox News, you’ve probably seen him. He’s the CEO of My Pillow. Daniel chatted with Mike at the Conservative Political Action Conference about his journey from drug addiction to freedom and faith—and also, his newfound political voice. Today we’ll share that interview. Plus: A new study finds that trigger warnings are pretty much useless.
We also cover these stories:
- President Donald Trump signs an executive order designed to promote free speech at colleges.
- Trump also signals support for Israeli sovereignty over the long-disputed Golan Heights territory, which lies between Israel and Syria.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders wants the U.S. to follow New Zealand, after the country enacted aggressive gun control in wake of the terrorism attack.
The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the show!
The United States isn’t a “democracy.” Though every American should have learned this fact in high school civics class, the smart set still like to ridicule people who point it out—such a cliche and all.
Today we see why the left has worked to convince Americans that majoritarianism is a profound moral good. And it’s not just that the political class is going through another silly debate about the suddenly inconvenient Electoral College. It’s that Democrats are increasingly comfortable attacking foundational ideas of American governance.
Most of the Founding Fathers believed that a diffuse democracy would weaken the ability of politicians to scaremonger and rely on emotional appeals to take power. Most of them believed that proportional voting would blunt the vagaries of the electorate and help ensure national stability. Democrats agree, which is why they want to scrap the system.
So much for protecting norms.
Democrats prefer a system in which politicians who promise the most free stuff to the largest number of people win. Because they can’t admit it, we have to wrestle with preposterous arguments in favor of overturning the Electoral College. The most absurd is the notion that in a direct democracy, every vote “counts.”
“My view is that every vote matters, and the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College—and every vote counts,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said this week. It looks as if most Democratic Party presidential hopefuls are following her lead.
Fact: We always “count” every vote, but “every vote” never counts.
It might come as a surprise to many Americans that their losing ballots don’t count in elections, which is why we disperse power in this country—to protect political and geographical minorities.
As anyone who’s looked at a history of electoral maps can see, the most closely fought-over states are always changing because the issues Americans care about are always changing. Today much of the divide is among urban, rural, and suburban areas, making the Electoral College even more vital.
“This is such a daft idea on its face,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes wrote, reacting to South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham’s contention that calls for eliminating the Electoral College are meant to snuff out the political voice of rural Americans. “Every American already lives in a state that has both cities and rural areas. During statewide races, politicians campaign all over!”
It’s correct that politicians in statewide races tend to campaign everywhere. It is also true that in the end, it is urban areas that predominately elect Democrats, not rural ones.
In direct national elections—with vast spaces to cover and limited time to campaign—candidates would be incentivized to rack up as many votes as they could in accessible urban areas with huge media markets. The Electoral College, imperfect as it is, forces candidates to moderate their views, create coalitions, and appeal to voters is disparate areas.
For example, we have the kind of system that might induce a Democratic presidential candidate to consider the voters of Wisconsin from her Brooklyn campaign headquarters.
Some people like to point out that the Electoral College couldn’t really be important, seeing as we’ve had only four elections in which it was in conflict with the “popular vote.” The opposite is true. The Electoral College isn’t about outcomes; it’s about process.
For instance, trying to delegitimize Donald Trump’s 2016 victory by pointing to Hillary Clinton’s “popular vote” victory is one of the most dishonest political arguments going—not merely because the “popular vote” is mythical and irrelevant but also because Trump ran a campaign focused on appealing to the Electoral College.
If Republican presidential candidates concentrated their efforts on the huge untapped reserve of GOP voters in big states, the “popular vote” in 2016 would have looked very different. The problem is that we’d always have two candidates vying for voters in New York and California.
“The idea that amending the Constitution—or simply proposing amendments—is somehow radical is a recent phenomenon and a silly one,” Ryan Lizza of Esquire recently argued. “The 2016 Republican platform called for five constitutional amendments (abortion, same-sex marriage, term limits, balanced-budget, education).”
What’s truly silly is treating proposed constitutional amendments as if they were equally consequential.
No, there’s nothing particularly radical about partisans proposing additions that reflect their positions (a balanced budget amendment or an equal rights amendment). None of the ones the GOP has proposed fundamentally challenges one of the core ideas of our governing process.
The idea of maintaining proportional voting and states’ rights and decentralized power is not the same as an amendment dealing with bookkeeping.
Now, it’s unlikely Democrats will be successful in their efforts to change the Constitution. The problem is that their core notions about governance are increasingly conflicting with the Constitution in a number of vital ways. This is merely one example of many.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
New York leaders are right to be upset that only seven black kids got into one of the most prestigious public schools in the city, Stuyvesant High, out of 895 spots. Something indeed ought to be done.
Unfortunately, officials such as Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., emphasize equality of outcome rather than deal with the root causes of the problem. So, they are unlikely to fix anything but instead will make the problem worse.
Test results have been equally dispiriting across New York City’s seven other selective schools, from Bronx Science to Brooklyn Latin. They show a persistent achievement gap in education across racial and ethnic lines.
The only way to gain admission to these schools is to do well in the Specialized High Schools Admissions Test (SHSAT), a rigorous test of student aptitude in math and English.
The charts below, provided by email by the New York City Department of Education, show the breakdown of eighth-graders who took the SHSAT this year and last, and those who got a first-round offer, broken down by racial and ethnic category.
One immediate observation—and something that needs to be repeated again and again—is that these categories are in many ways worthless.
“Asian” and “Latino” are panethnic umbrella groups that comprise countries of origin as varied as China, Korea, Cuba, Laos, Argentina, Mexico, and India—that is, places whose descendants in America have very different outcomes. The city’s Education Department does not seem to have such a breakdown.
Having said that, what jumps out is that “Asian” eighth-graders take the SHSAT in disproportionate numbers. They represent 15 percent of the New York City public school system population, according to the city’s numbers, and yet were 31 percent of the test-takers. Non-Hispanic white kids came next, 18 percent versus 15 percent of the population.
The number of “Latino” and black test-takers were smaller than their overall numbers. Around 24 percent of test-takers were “Latino,” around 15 percentage points lower than their overall number in public schools, whereas 20 percent of test-takers were black, six percentage points lower than their overall number.
From these city government numbers, we can extrapolate that the overwhelming majority, or 60 percent, of Hispanics were Puerto Rican or Dominican, another 23 percent Central American, and 14 percent Mexican, adding up to 95 percent. The other 5 percent “others” includes Cuban-Americans, Spaniards, and South Americans.
According to the Statistical Atlas, Chinese-Americans make up 48 percent of the city’s “Asian” population, far ahead of Indian-Americans at 19 percent and Korean-Americans at almost 8 percent. In other words, roughly three-quarters of this population is comprised of three groups with high cultural indicators.
The most troubling numbers come at the bottom of the city Education Department chart, marked “percentage of testers who received an offer, by ethnicity.”
There we see that 29 percent of the “Asian” kids who took the test got into the selective schools, as did 27 percent of whites; but for “Latinos,” it was 4.8 percent and for blacks, 3.5 percent. That’s a proxy for who did well on the test.
Progressives want to emphasize the line above on the chart, called the distribution of offers, which shows that more than half of the incoming class at the eight selective schools will be “Asian” and almost 29 percent white, while “Hispanics” will be 6.6 percent and black students 4 percent.
Sure enough, Ocasio-Cortez quickly tweeted this out:
68% of all NYC public school students are Black or Latino.
To only have 7 Black students accepted into Stuyvesant (a *public* high school) tells us that this is a system failure.
Education inequity is a major factor in the racial wealth gap. This is what injustice looks like. https://t.co/89NKvXk4vg
As for de Blasio, he tried last year to scrap the SHSAT altogether, a proposal that went nowhere as other prominent New York leaders, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a liberal Democrat, distanced themselves from such a Stalinist approach.
Not that de Blasio is giving up. Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza, the mayor’s appointee, said in a prepared statement this week: “We’re also once again confronted by an unacceptable status quo at our specialized high schools. We need to eliminate the single test for specialized high school admissions now.”
That would accomplish only one thing, however—destroy the specialized school system that is not just the only bright spot in the city’s otherwise bleak school system, but one of the best in the country. It would do nothing to bring up the Latino and black kids.
The question then remains, how do we help these students?
We help them by really addressing what is holding them down, and sharing best practices. What makes people succeed? Well, many things: grit, perseverance, hard work, putting a premium on education, keeping families intact.
Reams of studies show that students with a mom and dad at home do best.
Those with the lowest out-of-wedlock birth rates, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are Asian-Americans.
Asian-Americans also have by far the lowest divorce rate, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
And unsurprisingly, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, Asian-American kids spend a lot more time doing homework than students in other categories.
None of this is to say that addressing these issues will be easy.
But leaders such as de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez could be using their bully pulpits to make this case. One black politician who had the courage to do so—though not often enough—was Barack Obama. Several months before being elected president in 2008, he famously said of absent black fathers:
They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools; and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.
Obama paid a price for his bluntness, and was criticized by those who insist that failing grades are due to “institutionalized oppression.” But leadership requires courage.
And de Blasio, Ocasio-Cortez and the others ought to support charter schools and other forms of school choice. Studies such as a recent one by Stanford University show strong “learning gains” by students in New York City charter schools compared with their peers in traditional public schools.
The study said: “When the findings were examined by demographic subgroups, they showed stronger growth for minorities and students in poverty.”
Regrettably, the mayor has waged an ideological crusade against charter schools, as our friends at the Manhattan Institute demonstrated in a report last year. Under his administration, the number of approvals for space requests for these popular schools has plummeted by 60 percent.
Progressive politicians such as de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez are the ones making the biggest noise about economic inequality and its racial component, yet are unable to do anything about what causes these problems.
Education is the all-important rung in the ladder of success in America. So long as the achievement gap persists, don’t expect inequality to go away.
The post Why Politicians on the Left Can’t Fix What Ails Public Schools in New York City appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The annual Economic Report of the President highlights the successes of tax reform and deregulation, while warning of the dangers of socialist proposals.
The report compiled by the White House Council of Economic Advisers and released Tuesday, also notes wages are rising, unemployment is at a nearly five-decade low, while focusing on what can historically unravel the growth.
The jobless rate stands now at 3.7 percent, while disposable income is up more than $2,200 from 2017 per average household, according to the report.
As of January, more than 70 percent of workers entering employment were previously out of the labor force. The labor-force participation rate reached 63.2 percent, its highest since 2013.
Trump discussed the report during a speech Wednesday in Lima, Ohio, where he accused the media of trying to downplay the economic gains by tinkering with the figures.
The report notes gross domestic product grew 3.1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2017 to the fourth quarter of 2018.
“We just came out with numbers—the ‘Economic Report of the President’: 3.1 percent GDP,” Trump told the Ohio crowd. “The first time in 14 years that we cracked 3, right? That’s pretty good, 3.1. The press tried to make it 2.9. I said, ‘It’s not 2.9.’
“What they did is, they took odd months. I said, ‘No, no, no. You go from January to December. You don’t take certain months and add them up.’ Because I said, ‘We’re going to break 3.’ And we did. We did 3.1. The ‘fake news’ tried to change it, but we caught them,” the president said.
The report notes that wages not only grew 3.4 percent in the past 12 months, the fastest rate since before 2009, but the increases are benefiting low-income earners the most. The bottom 10 percent of wage earners experienced the highest growth on record, while 5 million moved off food stamps.
“Income inequality is decreasing,” Adam Michel, senior fiscal-policy analyst for The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “Incomes for earners at the lower end of the scale are growing at a faster rate than those at the top. That’s the opposite of what happened under the Obama administration.”
The report credits tax cuts for capital expenditures rising by $300 billion from 2017. Also, business productivity grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent, nearly twice the rate of the expansion before the tax cuts, according to the report.
Democrats opposed to the tax cuts claimed that stock buybacks were evidence the tax cuts weren’t working and only benefited the wealthy.
The increased investment and productivity demonstrates that’s not the case, said Michel.
“Investors are taking the money from the stock buybacks and reinvesting it in innovative startups,” he explained. “The real story of the stock buybacks is moving investment into more productive capital that can raise wages.”
The economic report lays out the case against socialism, which some members of Congress and at least one Democratic presidential candidate have endorsed.
The report cites as examples the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba as failed experiments, showing that nationalizing industries cuts productivity by about 50 percent.
“Detailed policy proposals from self-declared ‘socialists’ are gaining support in Congress and are receiving significant public attention,” the report says, conceding that “[p]resent-day socialists do not want the dictatorship or state brutality that often coincided with the most extreme cases of socialism.
“However, peaceful democratic implementation of socialist policies does not eliminate the fundamental incentive and information problems created by high tax rates, large state organizations, and the centralized control of resources,” it added.
“Venezuela is a modern industrialized country that elected Hugo Chavez as its leader to implement socialist policies, and the result was less output in oil and other industries that were nationalized,” the report adds. “In other words, the lessons from socialized agriculture carry over to government takeovers of oil, health insurance, and other modern industries: They produce less, rather than more, even in today’s information age, where central planning is possibly easier.”
The post White House Report Hails Tax Cuts Spurring Economic Growth, Warns of Socialism’s Cost appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Polly Olson, a student at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, last year handed out homemade Valentine cards on her campus with Christian messages until college officials told her she was restricted to a “free-speech zone.”
On Thursday, Olson told her story at the White House before President Donald Trump’s signed an executive order aimed at protecting free speech on college campuses.
“My mother told me when she was home-schooling me that I would need to know what my First Amendment rights were, because someday they would be violated, and I would have to stand up for them,” Olson said, speaking at the East Room event. “I was told I was soliciting and disrupting the learning environment, and that it would not be tolerated, and that I would have to stop handing out valentines.”
Trump’s executive order, “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities,” directs federal agencies, including the departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Defense, to withhold money from colleges that censor student speech.
The executive order would affect at least $35.8 billion in research grant money doled out to universities and colleges each year, a senior administration official said. It would not affect federal student-aid programs.
“I’m just one of many students out there that universities and schools are trying to shut down, sweep it under the rug, and make them be quiet,” Olson said. “I’m not going to be quiet this time. I’m going to talk to anyone and everyone I can about our freedom of speech in this country. Without the freedom of speech, you don’t have America anymore.”
She later added, “Speak your differences. It’s OK … . Embrace the diversity that we have here. That’s what made America great.”
More than 100 students from 28 colleges attended the executive order signing event, the White House said.
“Under the policy I announced today, federal agencies will use their authority under various grant-making programs to ensure that public universities protect, cherish the First Amendment, the First Amendment rights of their students, or risk losing billions and billions of dollars in federal taxpayer dollars,” Trump said to applause.
Trump cited various cases of violations of free speech.
“Under the guise of speech codes, safe spaces, trigger warnings, these universities tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity, and shut down the voices of great young Americans, those here today,” Trump said. “Taxpayer dollars should not subsidize anti-First Amendment institutions, and that’s exactly what they are, anti-First Amendment.
“Universities that want taxpayer dollars should promote free speech, not silence free speech,” he said.
Kaitlyn Mullen, a student at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, who was active in the conservative youth group Turning Point USA, and Ellen Wittman, a student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, who led her campus Students for Life chapter, also spoke about how college administrators sought to suppress student speech.
Pro-life students may face the most First Amendment violations from schools, said Kristen Hawkins, president of the Students for Life of America.
“Colleges and administrators always leaned left, and campuses were always hotbeds of liberalism,” Hawkins told The Daily Signal. “What’s changed today is the notion that some opinions are ‘dangerous.’ Words some people don’t like are called ‘harmful.’”
A Gallup poll last year found that 92 percent of college students thought that liberals could speak freely on campus, while only 69 percent of students thought conservatives could.
Trump’s order also requires the Department of Education to expand data available to student consumers for each college about earnings a student can expect from a degree program, debt, and student loan-default and repayment rates.
The senior administration official told reporters the order applies rules to research and other grants that already apply to Department of Education grants.
Universities and colleges will have to agree to the new free-speech rule before they will be eligible for federal grants.
Some academics dispute that there’s a problem at all. The American Association of University Professors issued a joint statement with other faculty and research groups opposing the executive order.
“President Trump’s pledge to issue an executive order that would deny federal research funds to colleges and universities that do not ‘support free speech’ is a dangerous solution to a largely nonexistent problem,” the professors association statement said.
“American colleges and universities are far from perfect, but with few exceptions they welcome a greater diversity of viewpoints and opinions than just about any other institution in society. Even if the current political environment poses significant problems for free speech, the view that the free exchange of ideas no longer occurs on campuses is grossly exaggerated,” it said.
The executive order isn’t far-reaching, and works within the confines of existing law, said Jonathan Butcher, senior education policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.
“There is always fear of federal overreach,” Butcher told The Daily Signal. “This order just says that agencies that award grants should consider free speech. So, it takes free speech seriously, but it stays within existing law.”
The post Trump’s Executive Order to Colleges: Protect Free Speech or Risk Billions in Federal Grants appeared first on The Daily Signal.
I have told the following to numerous audiences:
I’m hardly a Hollywood celebrity, but almost no day goes by that I am not stopped by a few strangers who want to shake my hand and say something. Needless to say, I rarely know the religious identity of the individual, but if the person tells me what college their child goes to, I assume the individual is a Jew.
When I relate this to Jewish audiences, it invariably evokes a great deal of laughter. Jewish audiences know how true, albeit slightly exaggerated, it is. As I always add, to more laughter, non-Jews don’t tend to tell strangers what college their child attends (which is why non-Jewish audiences don’t find the story nearly as funny).
The story is humorous, but it conveys a serious and troubling fact: Many American Jews define their worth by the college their child attends. In American Jewish life, there are no bragging rights equal to being able to say one’s child attends a prestigious college.
Thanks to the recent revelations about wealthy people–few of whom are Jews–paying large sums of money to bribe coaches and others to get their children into elite schools, it is now clear this perverse affliction is not limited to any ethnic or religious group.
Why would people do what they know to be immoral and illegal just to get their child into Yale–or, for that matter, the University of Southern California?
I am certain the biggest reason is bragging rights.
Apparently, many American parents define much of their worth as parents–and even as individuals–by what college their child attends.
If I am right, it betrays an extraordinary level of superficiality. That your child got into Yale tells us nothing about you either as a person or as a parent. In fact, it doesn’t tell us anything more about your child other than that he or she studied enough to get great grades and is adept at rowing or playing the oboe or some other extracurricular skill.
It tells us nothing about your child’s maturity, common sense, or decency, and most importantly, it tells us nothing about his or her character. In other words, it tells us nothing about any of the important things about a person.
Indeed, videos of Yale students screaming “f–k you” at a distinguished (and liberal) Yale professor over an email his wife sent defending “offensive” Halloween costumes–students who were then supported by hundreds of other Yale students (an episode even The Atlantic found repulsive)–leads one to assume that getting into Yale means nothing other than high grades or perhaps membership in the right minority.
And it tells us a great deal about the low moral and intellectual state of Yale University–which went on to honor one of the students who screamed epithets at the professor.
In a blind test of character, if I had to hire either a hundred students attending the University of Wyoming or a hundred students attending Yale (or any other prestigious university), I would choose the Wyoming students in a heartbeat. And if I had to choose a spouse for one of my children from among Wyoming or Yale students, I would likewise choose the former.
Why? Because they are less likely to think they are the creme de la creme of American society, they are more likely to be working while going to college, they are less likely to support students who curse professors, and they are less likely to think America is a crappy country.
There are, of course, fine young men and women at Yale, but their being fine has nothing to do with why they were admitted to Yale and is not fostered by Yale.
There is a second reason parents will do almost anything to have their child attend a prestigious college: money. They believe attending a prestigious school guarantees a far greater future income, and for those who equate a large income with meaning in life–or with happiness–this is determinative.
For those who have a different value system and those who link happiness with a happy family life, close friends, and a religious community (a particularly great contributor to happiness), that alleged extra money isn’t nearly as important.
Moreover, this widespread belief isn’t even true. As New York Times columnist Frank Bruni points out in his book “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be,” among American-born chief executives of the top 100 companies in the Fortune 500, only about 30 went to an Ivy League school or equally selective college.
And to the extent the belief that graduates of prestigious colleges will make more money is true, it is largely because young people who get into those colleges are driven to amass money, prestige, and/or power.
As Yale professor of computer science David Gelernter writes, “They go to Yale to become prominent, powerful, successful, and naturally (why not?) rich and famous.”
Such individuals will earn more than those who are less driven. But virtually any ambitious and capable individual in America will earn good money and if he or she leads a responsible life and saves money wisely, will retire with well more than a million dollars.
Tell your children from the day they understand language that you care far more about their character than about their grades or what college (if any) they go to. Only then will you have a child you can brag about.
But if this college admissions scandal is any indication, I wonder whether most American parents could actually say that to their children.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
The post Memo to Parents: True Success Isn’t Limited to Ivy League Grads appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, working-class union members have been the backbone of the Democratic Party. The left claimed to advocate workers’ rights and was seen, rightly or wrongly, as the party who fought for the little guy.
Well if it wasn’t clear before, it’s clear now—times have changed.
The election of Donald Trump to the presidency, aided by tens of thousands of Obama voters in states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, was the first sign of a political realignment.
Now, the “Green New Deal” is highlighting these cleavages in stark terms, with the nation’s largest union organization forcefully coming out against it.
Last week, the AFL-CIO sent a letter to the bill’s lead sponsors—Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.—expressing its opposition to the proposal on behalf of the 13 million workers the union represents.
“The Green New Deal resolution is far too short on specific solutions that speak to the jobs of our members and the critical sections of our economy. It is not rooted in an engineering-based approach and makes promises that are not achievable or realistic,” wrote the AFL-CIO’s energy committee.
“We will not accept proposals that could cause immediate harm to millions of our members and their families. We will not stand by and allow threats to our members’ jobs and their families’ standard of living go unanswered.”
The AFL-CIO is absolutely right. The $93 trillion Green New Deal would bankrupt this country while throwing millions of Americans out of work. Unemployment and deficits would skyrocket, and energy shortages would plague our electric grid. These socialist policies would wreak havoc on our freedom and way of life, as they have done throughout history.
Proponents of the Green New Deal argue that all of these jobs will be replaced by “green” energy jobs, but it is unreasonable to expect these magical “green” jobs to even come close to replacing the millions of quality jobs we have in the energy industry right now.
This letter will not soon be forgotten. It represents a major shot across the bow of the far left by the working class of the traditional left. It’s made even more significant by the fact that Ocasio-Cortez has made a concerted effort to woo the labor movement.
Included in the Green New Deal resolution is a pledge to create “high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages.” Ocasio-Cortez also called for “strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain.” In other words, she took great pains to pre-emptively appeal to labor unions.
But the AFL-CIO correctly realized that her pledge is nothing more than hollow words. You cannot throw millions of people out of work and expect new jobs to fall from the sky.
That the AFL-CIO would attack her signature policy proposal with such critical language signals just how deeply workers feel threatened by it. And it is more evidence that big labor’s influence on the left is waning.
Major Democratic figures are lining up behind the Green New Deal, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and billionaire Michael Bloomberg express unease about it. It’s clear where the left is moving—and who’s being left out.
The union’s 13 million members are a vital grassroots asset for the left. In previous years, locking down this support would have been near the top of any Democrat’s priority list. Democrats still need their support. The question is whether they care enough about retaining that support to pull back from Ocasio-Cortez’s climate extremism.
If they choose the path of the Green New Deal, they will likely be rudely awakened to find that their once-reliable base has left them behind for a president who speaks to their needs.
Time will tell if major Democratic figures buckle on their support of the Green New Deal, but one thing is clear—we are living in fluid, ever-changing political times.
When the American Conservative Union presented its latest Ronald Reagan Award, the honor didn’t go to a seasoned activist, pundit, or politico.
It went to a recent college graduate with less than a year in the workforce under her belt.
Kassy Dillon’s walk to the ballroom stage March 1 to accept the award during the annual Conservative Political Action Conference was a milestone on a journey that began for her about three years ago.
In April 2016, while a 19-year-old sophomore at Mount Holyoke College, a notoriously liberal women’s college in Massachusetts, Dillon was reporting and writing on liberal bias for Campus Reform.
It was in the midst of one of the most divisive election cycles in recent history. But Dillon was about to become one of the more recognizable figures on issues faced by conservative students on their college campuses.
During an event at the University of Massachusetts, in what would become known as the “trigglypuff” incident, Dillon shot a video of a student from Hampshire College who began screaming at the speaker, Christina Hoff Sommers, a frequent critic of modern feminism.
Dillon’s video went viral after its publication by Campus Reform on various social media platforms, and landed her on a segment of “Varney & Co.” on the Fox Business Channel to discuss the incident.
It was only seven months removed from the infamous University of Missouri protests that ousted the university’s president over perceived “systematic racism,” a protest that brought major media attention to the issue of campus free speech and intolerance of conservative views.
Although Dillon had made a name for herself as a reporter, she also had a desire to write opinion pieces but had no connections with major media outlets that would publish her writing.
This desire inspired her to found Lone Conservative, a blog dedicated to providing conservative students across the country with a platform to voice their opinions and a community of support in a campus climate that largely has ostracized their viewpoints.
“I wanted to give college students a place to voice their views,” Dillon said in a phone interview with The Daily Signal.
A College Student’s National Review
After a meager start in May 2016, Lone Conservative, or “LoCo,” perhaps can be described as a college student’s National Review.
By last summer, it had ballooned into a presence on social media that boasted 686 published articles from 257 conservative students and recent graduates from 44 states, nearly 27,000 Twitter followers, and growing traction on Facebook and Instagram.
But while Lone Conservative may be the brainchild of Dillon’s desire to write opinion articles, she didn’t even write the first article. In fact, it wasn’t until August 2016, nearly three full months after the site launched, that a post bearing Dillon’s byline was published.
That detail perhaps best highlights Lone Conservative’s mission, which Dillon says was never about her.
She told The Daily Signal that the site is not a reflection of her own views, a constant criticism levied against her on social media.
“I publish pieces that I disagree with all the time,” Dillon said. “It’s not supposed to be a reflection of me, I really want Lone Conservative to be about the students.”
This was a sentiment echoed by the site’s former vice president, Alec Sears, who said it was “the first place to provide an open forum for college students, run by college students.”
“I don’t think [conservative] college students get to share their ideas necessarily all the time, due to hostile environments,” Sears, 21, said. “Lone Conservative provides a space for that.”
And run by college students it is. Lone Conservative features every bit of a governing structure as an established publication. It has an editor-in-chief, a managing editor, even a social media director.
Sears, a native of Dayton, Ohio, joined Lone Conservative in August 2016, while it was still a fledgling publication struggling to grow its audience but a place to get started in politics.
“It’s really helped shape my political identity and where I sit on issues,” Sears said, adding that working for the site inspired him to leave his studies at Wright State University and work in politics without finishing his degree. He also became an intern at NewsBusters, the Media Research Center project that tracks liberal media bias.
A Family and a Bet
The best part of Lone Conservative’s work for Dillon isn’t the output on social media or the published articles. It is the community that the platform has provided for its many contributors.
After a major crowd-sourced fundraising campaign—in which Dillon, a New England Patriots fan, promised to wear a Philadelphia Eagles jersey during the Super Bowl if the goal was accomplished—Lone Conservative last year was able to bring student contributors to the annual Conservative Political Action Conference just outside Washington.
The GoFundMe campaign raised $6,000, and Dillon made good on the promise.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but if we hit our goal tonight, I’ll wear an Eagles jersey during the Super Bowl. https://t.co/LAoUDdWm4q
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) January 28, 2018
Wearing an Eagles jersey in New England is more controversial than a MAGA hat, by far.
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) February 2, 2018
I hate myself pic.twitter.com/ryAZGW9Xna
— Kassy Dillon (@KassyDillon) February 2, 2018
The event was around Dillon’s birthday, and some of the contributors who made the trip to the nation’s capital presented her with a binder containing photos of Dillon and her contributors as a birthday present.
“I cried when I got that binder,” Dillon said. “We really are a family.”
The sense of that family environment was echoed by several contributors who shared what working for Dillon and Lone Conservative meant to them.
Lou Scataglia, a junior at Waynesburg University, applied to be a contributor in November 2017. He says that while he hasn’t been writing for very long, he’s been able to “establish close friendships and strong working relationships.”
“I’ve never met anyone [in person] involved with Lone Conservative, but I feel so incredibly close to these people,” Scataglia said in an email to The Daily Signal. “Lone Conservative is the premier organization for young conservatives to get involved with and has, in a short time, changed my life for the better.”
The site’s communications director, Robert Sasso, a junior at Bentley University, said: “Lone Conservative has offered me the opportunity to grow in politics and network with fellow young conservatives throughout the nation.”
One of the most striking stories came from managing editor Amanda Kemp, a senior at the University of North Georgia who is a lesbian.
“Lone Conservative has changed my life because I can be an openly gay conservative and constantly feel respected and loved regardless of any differences in lifestyle opinions,” Kemp said in an email.
“There is not a single contributor in Lone Conservative who has ever given me a hard time for my sexuality,” she said. “The more traditional and religious contributors never question me, hate me, or ignore me.”
Kemp added that Lone Conservative “helped me grow as a person,” and she realized that “following the same ideas as other young politically minded people is wrong.”
“I have been able to form my own opinions and frequently share them within LoCo and nobody attacks me for them,” she said. “We might disagree, but everyone is respectful.”
The Next Generation
While the site initially accepted only college students, in the past year it began accepting content from high schoolers, who Dillon notes face some of the same challenges that college students face for their beliefs. Recent graduates also provide some content.
To ensure that those high schoolers develop the skills needed to succeed in today’s political environment, Dillon and the Lone Conservative team instituted a mentorship system that pairs a high school contributor with a college student.
One of those contributors, Clay Robinson, a student at Hilmar High School in Hilmar, California, published his first story with Lone Conservative in February, titled “Don’t Trust Everything You Learn in History Class.”
In an email to The Daily Signal, Robinson said he was “euphoric” upon its publication, and that he since has “met so many people and made many new connections.”
Another high school contributor, Ella McRoberts, from Peters Township High School, said she began writing for the site in March after Lone Conservative’s Twitter account published a tweet looking for high schoolers willing to write about student walkouts at their schools following the shooting in Parkland, Florida. (McRoberts did not participate in her school’s walkout.)
“Ever since then I’ve been a contributor,” McRoberts said in an email. “I [feel] like I belong here, like a group of people support me through thick and thin. What Kassy [Dillon] has created is something that could change lives for the better, and it has to me.”
McRoberts called Dillon “one of the most hardworking, passionate, kind-hearted people I have ever met,” and thanked her for “creating something that has benefited dozens, maybe hundreds of people” who want to express their views.
While serving as a starting point, Lone Conservative has enabled student writers to be published at many other outlets, including the Washington Examiner and National Review, and continues to provide a platform for the next generation of conservative writers and thinkers.
The Lone Conservative family has reached a productivity level that enables Dillon to step away from the day-to-day operations of the site.
Dillon, now 23, graduated in May from Mt. Holyoke, where fellow students booed her as she accepted her diploma in international relations and Middle Eastern studies. She became a staff writer for The Daily Wire, a news site run by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.
But Dillon maintains an active role with the outlet she built from scratch and grew alongside her own public persona.
“We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for Kassy and the platform she has,” Sears said. “But people are hearing about LoCo [now] without ever hearing about Kassy.”
The post How a College Student’s Initiative Built a Community for Conservative Voices Nationwide appeared first on The Daily Signal.