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The Smearing of Teens in MAGA Hats Shows Identity Politics’ Danger

Mon, 2019-01-21 19:21

Editor’s note: Obscene language is contained in a tweet in this article.

A-ha!

You could almost hear the collective glee of social justice warriors and identity politics aficionados this weekend when a video emerged that appeared to show a teenage white boy in a Make America Great Again red cap smirk disrespectfully as a Native American stood in front of him–beating a drum–at the Lincoln Memorial.

Finally, they had a piece of proof that supported their cherished narrative: that most Trump supporters were bigots and racists who backed the wall and other initiatives because of their racist views.

And they took no time before gleefully dancing on the reputational grave of these teens. Here’s CNN commentator Keith Boykin:

When are these people going to learn to stop vilifying the people of color whose suffering and oppression enabled their privilege? pic.twitter.com/sVkCXIfE89

— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) January 19, 2019

The Atlantic’s James Fallows compared the boys of Covington Catholic High School to those who protested desegregation, writing:

The crowd members’ names don’t matter, any more than the names of the crowd members you see in the photo below, from North Little Rock in the 1950s. The young men from Covington Catholic High School should know that they will be immortalized, the way the angry young white people you see below were: as a group, a movement, a problem, beyond their identities as individuals.

Activist Shaun King likewise made the issue about race:

I am so deeply grieved and angry by this as young kids in MAGA hats surrounded and mocked a beloved Native American elder yesterday.

When your power is centered in your whiteness, mocking others who are unlike you makes you feel strong.

But it’s weak. And despicable. pic.twitter.com/38FtzGtowL

— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 19, 2019

Buzzfeed writer Anne Helen Peterson labeled one student as part of the white patriarchy:

One theme of the conversations over the past 24 hours = how deeply familiar this look is. It's the look of white patriarchy, of course, but that familiarity — that banality — is part of what prompts the visceral reaction. This isn't spectacular. It's life in America. pic.twitter.com/TmziDwAjYA

— Anne Helen Petersen (@annehelen) January 21, 2019

And Kara Swisher, a tech journalist with over a million followers, tweeted this:

And to all you aggrieved folks who thought this Gillette ad was too much bad-men-shaming, after we just saw it come to life with those awful kids and their fetid smirking harassing that elderly man on the Mall: Go fuck yourselves. https://t.co/ab7zqIuWbL

— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) January 19, 2019

But now new evidence has emerged that has made the story considerably more complicated, no matter the wishes of some liberal activists to live in a world where white MAGA-hat-wearers are unquestionably evil.

Reason’s Robby Soave, who said he watched nearly two hours of footage before and after the incident, writes:

Far from engaging in racially motivated harassment, the group of mostly white, MAGA-hat-wearing male teenagers remained relatively calm and restrained despite being subjected to incessant racist, homophobic, and bigoted verbal abuse by members of the bizarre religious sect Black Hebrew Israelites, who were lurking nearby.

And that smirk on the teen’s face? Well that student, Nick Sandmann, has issued a statement, in which he states:

I was not intentionally making faces at the protestor. I did smile at one point because I wanted him to know that I was not going to become angry, intimidated, or be provoked into a larger confrontation. I am a faithful Christian and practicing Catholic, and I always try to live up to the ideals my faith teaches me–to remain respectful of others, and to take no action that would lead to conflict or violence.

In fact, reading Sandmann’s full statement, it becomes clear, if he is being honest, that he did nothing wrong.

While Nathan Phillips has told the media that he heard chants of “Build the wall” and “go back to the reservation,” I at least haven’t been able to find any video that backs up these assertions. (There is, however, a video in which you can clearly hear the Covington Catholic High school boys told to go back to Europe.) Sandmann denies that anyone he heard used racist language.

Some media outlets are reporting students did a “tomahawk chop” gesture; not being a sports person, this was the first I heard of it. Given that the students were doing school chants and apparently this is still done at some sports games, it seems a little extreme to assume this was intentional racism.

The footage the Fake News Media won’t show you.

The Covington Catholic Kids having racial slurs flung at them.

“You white people go back to Europe, this is not your land.”

Doesn’t fit with the media’s narrative so probably won’t be covered…
pic.twitter.com/ZKAhyalART

— Dan W (@SCadict) January 21, 2019

In good news, the media has widely reported Sandmann’s statement and the emergence of more video footage. Swisher has apologized, as did actress Jamie Lee Curtis.

I was a complete dolt to put up this and several other obnoxious tweets yesterday without waiting to see the whole video of the incident and I apologize to the kids from Kentucky unilaterally and also for using that clip to make another point about, of all things, a razor ad.

— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) January 21, 2019

There are two sides to every story. I made a snap judgment based on a photograph & I know better than to judge a book by its cover. I wasn’t there. I shouldn’t have commented. I’m glad there wasn’t violence. I hope theses two men can meet and find common ground as can WE ALL! pic.twitter.com/R20v9ot2Ey

— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) January 21, 2019

But not all were willing to back down and acknowledge the story was not black and white, and the rush to judgment of high school boys premature (a rush to judgment that unfortunately was no doubt fueled by the Covington diocese’s statement condemning the students).

The Atlantic’s Fallows wrote in an update to his article:

Whatever happened just before or after the three or four minutes most widely circulated on yesterday’s videos, those three or four minutes convey a reality that seems impossible to deny. For a sustained period, a large group of young men, who had chosen by their apparel to identify themselves with a political movement (and a movement whose leader uses “Pocahontas” as an epithet and recently made a “joking” reference to the massacre at Wounded Knee), act mockingly to a man their grandfathers’ age, who by his apparel and activities represents a racial-minority, indigenous-American group.

Any such encounter has an implicit edge of menace, intended or not, which everyone understands when younger, bigger, stronger males come close to older, smaller, weaker people. …

In other words, it is impossible to wear a Make America Great Again hat—a hat which shows solidarity with the president of the United States—without coming off as racist and menacing.

And it’s not just one pundit who seems to think that. A high-ranking House Democrat is suggesting the same:

Behold, ladies and gentlemen: The Chairman of the House Budget Committee. https://t.co/rCqgzbIwG4

— Kristin Tate (@KristinBTate) January 21, 2019

One of the worst parts of identity politics is the loss of individual justice. People become groups—and an individual’s own guilt or innocence beside the point.

By virtue of being white, male, and Trump supporters, Nick Sandmann and the other teens were smeared—for an incident that involved no physical aggression, and disputes over what was said.

Unfortunately, if our nation’s trend toward identity politics continues, this won’t be the last example of we see of such mob injustice.

The post The Smearing of Teens in MAGA Hats Shows Identity Politics’ Danger appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Full Story About the Kentucky Boys in MAGA Hats Emerges

Mon, 2019-01-21 11:30

We watched the original video of the young white Kentucky boys decked out in Make America Great Again gear mocking an old Native American man and, to say the least, we were disappointed.

The teens were in the nation’s capital for the March for Life.  The Native American man, 64-year-old Nathan Phillips, was on the mall for the Indigenous People’s March. The footage of their encounter, shot Friday, seemed to support the false narrative that President Donald Trump is a racist and by default anyone who supports him is a racist. The young Trump supporters were accused of being culturally insensitive at best and down right dirty racists at worst.

Less than 24 hours later, a host of live videos of the full incident emerged and make it clear that the grown-ups were the childish instigators and the teenagers were actually just being teenagers.  

The full story, if anyone on the left would care to report, is really rather simple.

The teenagers were told to wait for their bus and while doing so they began doing school chants. The most egregious thing that the boys may have done was chant, “Build the wall.” We have not seen footage of that, but it has been reported. They also may have done a “tomahawk chop” gesture and said “go back to the reservation.”

This large group of white boys from Kentucky standing on the national mall wearing MAGA hats chanting were not harming anyone. And yes, they were exercising their First Amendment rights.

But Lord help their silly selves.

These teenagers were ripe for the pickings of Indian elder Nathan Phillips and the Black Hebrew Israelites activists. In the full video, it is clear that Phillips and a small group of Black Hebrew Israelites activists approach the boys as they are chanting. It is the adults who begin hurling F-bombs and being the aggressors.

And in a statement, Nick Sandmann, the teen at the center of the crisis, disputes the narrative that has taken hold, saying, “I am mortified that so many people have come to believe something that did not happen — that students from my school were chanting or acting in a racist fashion toward African Americans or Native Americans.”

We believe that cell phones are slowly creating parity because now when a cop goes rogue and beats an innocent black man, or when a coffee shop barista calls the cops on innocent black men for just waiting on a friend, there is proof. We as black people can say, “Look! See! We’ve been saying this happens and here is proof!”

And we also believe that the cell phone footage should vindicate these young white boys. “Look! See! We’ve been saying this happens and here’s the proof!”

The mainstream media will deliberately paint false narratives if it makes Trump look bad, even if it means ruining the life of a young kid who did nothing but stand and not move when an old Native American man started chanting in front of him with a drum.

Come on, people. That was strange! What was the kid supposed to do?

Because of the narrative that has been painted, the teenager has been given national twitter hate from political figures like Elizabeth Warren, activists like Shaun King, and celebrities like Billy Crystal. Reza Aslan even tweeted, “Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s?” These are adults with hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers who have not issued an apology or deleted their tweets.

Omaha elder and Vietnam War veteran Nathan Phillips endured hateful taunts with dignity and strength, then urged us all to do better.

Listen to his words: https://t.co/ymHRxVA91K

— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) January 20, 2019

I am so deeply grieved and angry by this as young kids in MAGA hats surrounded and mocked a beloved Native American elder yesterday.

When your power is centered in your whiteness, mocking others who are unlike you makes you feel strong.

But it’s weak. And despicable. pic.twitter.com/38FtzGtowL

— Shaun King (@shaunking) January 19, 2019

the kids parents must be so proud https://t.co/2M5oQb23lb

— Billy Crystal (@BillyCrystal) January 20, 2019

Honest question. Have you ever seen a more punchable face than this kid’s? pic.twitter.com/jolQ7BZQPD

— Reza Aslan (@rezaaslan) January 20, 2019

We don’t expect the mainstream media to go full coverage on the correction. The egg on their faces would be too much for them to bear. But the grown-ups, particularly those with huge media platforms, should be actual grown-ups and apologize.

The post The Full Story About the Kentucky Boys in MAGA Hats Emerges appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Alveda King on Her Uncle MLK’s Forgotten Legacy

Mon, 2019-01-21 03:01

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a moment to reflect on the life of the civil rights leader whose nonviolent activism and Christian values made America a better place. The Daily Signal spoke to his niece, Alveda King, about her uncle’s enduring legacy and her plans for honoring him. Listen to the interview on our podcast or read a lightly edited transcript below.

Rob Bluey: As we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day, how has your uncle shaped our culture in America on issues like civil rights and your own life?

Alveda King: Martin Luther King Jr. was born 90 years ago in Atlanta, Georgia, as what was known as a Negro. And, of course, he grew up in a time when the South especially was segregated.

However, he was raised by parents—one whose grandparents were slaves and one whose grandparents were from Cork, Ireland. In that merit, they saw every human being as a person of worth and dignity, they raised all three of their children that way. One was my dad, Reverend A. D. King; my aunt, Christine King Farris; and Uncle M.L., Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. That was his worldview from birth and he left as a legacy that same worldview.

Rachel del Guidice:  Are there ways today that you think society and media or even others have misrepresented your uncles’ conviction on the civil rights issues?

King: Well, what has happened with my uncles’ legacy, they forget the spiritual aspect. And so as one who’s also a civil rights leader from the 20th century now to the 21st century—I was there and I marched and went to jail with those great leaders. I was a young lady, a teenage girl. However, I remember the prayer meetings, how often we came together and prayed. I remember that everything we did was founded on the Bible.

One of my favorite songs was: “Paul and Silas, were bound in jail. Had no money to pay their bail. Keep your eye on the prize. Hold on.” Of course, the prize was the love of God toward all people and the salvation of humanity.

I believe that we have not given full credence to the spiritual aspect of the message of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which includes sanctity of life, procreative marriage, a man and a woman marrying with a commitment, if God wills, to birth and raise children in a healthy manner. Taking care of the least of these.

The poor will always be with us, but they should never be mistreated or abused, and we should help the least of these and help all human beings. There are sins we know now and can call “crimes against humanity,” for instance: sex trafficking, abortion, mistreatment of the homeless, all these types of things. Of course, that would not have been what Martin Luther King Jr. would have wanted us to do to each other.

One of his famous quotes, “We must learn to live together as brothers,” and I’ll add, “as sisters—or perish together as fools.” He fully understood Acts 17:26: “Of one blood, God created the human race.” We’re not separate races and we’re designed to love each other.

Bluey: Thank you so much for sharing that story and perspective. I want to ask about your personal involvement because many people know that you’ve worked with your uncle and family and marched for civil rights, but fewer people might be familiar with how you became involved with the pro-life movement. Can you share about your journey and how your uncle’s beliefs have influenced your life?

King: During the 20th century, I was involved with what was called the “fair housing movement,” led by my dad, Rev. A. D. King, in concert with his brother, Martin Luther King Jr. I began to look at civil rights very closely with an understanding of how important it is to treat each other as brothers and sisters and human beings. I grew up with that philosophy.

Abortion was illegal during the lifetime of my uncle, so he would not have had a real platform against abortion. It was illegal, it was unthinkable. People were still doing that in secret somewhat.

However, in 1973, when Roe v. Wade became legal in America, then it became legal to destroy the life of the least of these. The baby in the womb had no attorney and no lawyer. It was very apparent that that was a civil right; however, that was couched and clothed in a fantasy that the baby in the womb was not a person. It was a blob of tissue, it was lump of flesh. It was OK to get an abortion because that’s not a person.

Right now, I’m executive producer of the new Roe v. Wade film that’s produced by Nick Loeb and Cathy Beckerman. Jon Voight also appears in the movie, as Nick does and I do. We are giving the real story about how that little baby in the womb was deprived of the right, deprived of a voice.

Even though, in the early days, around ’73, I still bought that story that it wasn’t a baby—I had two secret abortions and a miscarriage—in 1983 when I became born again, I realized that these were human beings, including my babies who are in heaven and I repented of all of my sins and I became a voice for life.

del Guidice: You mentioned being a voice for life. This past week on Friday, people from across the country came to the United States capital and to the mall and marched for life. How do you think this event has played a role in the pro-life movement?

King: I was invited to do the closing prayer at the March for Life. I’ve attended many of them since 2003, every year, and this year has been no exception. If you look back at the news accounts, you may not see the hundreds of thousands of people who were gathered there, but we were there, including young people.

Bluey: I want to ask about the state of race relations in America today. Rachel and I have the benefit of working for an inspiring leader in Kay Coles James here at The Heritage Foundation.

She shared with us her own experiences growing up in Richmond, Virginia, where she integrated as a young black woman in an all-white school and experienced incidents of racism, and I think we continue to have that today. What is your advice for overcoming some of those challenges and having a conversation where people might better be able to understand each other and the different perspectives that they might have growing up?

King: Kay and I served together as presidential appointees in the George W. Bush administration and tremendous foundations were laid during those days. Both of us having come from experiences of racism, but have also come to the reality through nurture and nature that we are one human race. Skin color does not denote or define who we are, and that’s the message that’s still very relevant today. Treating each other as human beings, having the ability to love each other, to listen to each other, to communicate with each other, and to resolve our differences nonviolently in a loving and, for me, a Christ-like manner.

That’s something that I do share with Heritage and Heritage has been such a wonderful research institution for me throughout the years. I’m very grateful for what Heritage brings not only to my table, but to the table in the world.

del Guidice: As the director of civil rights for the unborn at Priests for Life, what particular issues or trends in today’s American society do you think your uncle might be troubled by today and why?

King: I met Rev. Frank Pavone, the national director of Priests for Life, and he was reading a quote from one of my uncle’s Christmas sermons, and it basically says, “When we learn to value the human personality, we won’t hate anybody.”

The baby in the womb, all the way through the sick, the elderly, the poor, the young, the old—it doesn’t matter. We could be rich, poor, no matter what color our skin is, we are human beings, and that is the message.

With civil rights for the unborn—and that’s my department—I say a woman has a right to choose what she does with her body; the baby’s not her body. Where’s the lawyer for the baby? How can the dream survive if we murder the children? That’s the message that we continue to carry. We believe that people are now listening.

Bluey: How do you personally observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day? Are there any traditions that you and your family have in celebrating his life?

King: There’s a commemorative service at the Heritage Sanctuary of Ebenezer Baptist Church. I’ll join members of my family there for a day of service and loving others. I believe that if we continue to work together as human beings, one blood as in Acts 17:26, we will continue to overcome some of the obstacles that often try to beset us. We do keep pressing on toward the mark of our higher calling in Christ Jesus.

Del Guidice: Well, Dr. King, thank you so much for joining The Daily Signal today.

King:Thank you so much.

The post Alveda King on Her Uncle MLK’s Forgotten Legacy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Our Nation Is Not Yet Cleansed of Racism. Here’s What We Should Do.

Sun, 2019-01-20 17:44

Martin Luther King Jr. Day offers Americans time to reflect and measure our progress towards building a civil society.  An honest examination of history makes it clear that the law has not been able to cleanse our nation of racism.

The 15th Amendment has been in place for more than a century. The landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act has been on the books for over a half century.

Yet just this month, the U.S. House of Representatives felt compelled to pass a formal resolution that “once again rejects White nationalism and White supremacy as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”

While our founding document states that all men are created equal, clearly not all Americans have bought into that article of faith.

There is a limit to what laws can accomplish. While they instruct as to what we can and cannot do, laws are incapable of guiding our hearts to love our neighbor and our minds to process thoughtful and appropriate communication with our fellow man.

In December 1964, in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called the Civil Rights Act the beginning of “a second emancipation.” Forty-five years on, there’s still much emancipating to be done.

Throughout that period, conservative leaders have echoed Dr. King’s call to end racial insanity and the silent hate that continues to divides us. In response to incidents of bigotry and violence, President Ronald Reagan delivered a stern message to “those individuals who persist in such hateful behavior. “You are the ones who are out of step with our society,” he said. “You are the ones who willfully violate the meaning of the dream that is America. And this country, because of what it stands for, will not stand for your conduct.” 

In accepting the presidential nomination at the 1996 Republican National Convention Bob Dole said, “If there is anyone who has mistakenly attached themselves to our party in the belief that we’re not open to citizens of every race and religion, then let me remind you, tonight this hall belongs to the party of Lincoln and the exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of as I stand this ground without compromise.”

Four years later, George W. Bush said, “For our nation, there is no denying the truth that slavery is a blight on our history, and that racism, despite all the progress, still exists today.” He could, and doubtless would, say the same today.

Speaking against racism is important, but policies that actually improve the quality of life for marginalized communities can make a tremendous difference, too.

Conservative policies typically aim to “lift all boats,” but they have proved remarkably effective in helping the disadvantaged. The 1996 welfare reforms, for example, helped millions escape the dependency trap and pull themselves out of poverty.

Similarly, 2017’s pro-growth tax reforms, coupled with sensible deregulation, have helped drive unemployment among African-Americans and Latinos to all-time lows, while pushing wages higher—especially among low-income families.

Some have argued that the right to a decent education is the most pressing civil rights issue of the day. Here, again, the conservative-led school choice movement is making a dramatic improvement in the lives—and the futures—of families who have been marginalized for far too long.

At the end of the day, however, laws and policies can’t cleanse America of racism because they can’t change hearts. What can? One possible answer: more basic human interaction between people of different races.

I so welcome initiatives like “Solution Sundays,” a program launched by Sens. James Lankford, R- Okla., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., in the aftermath of the violent protests that wracked East St. Louis, Baltimore and other cities in 2015. At the time, activists and pundits seemed to be trying to force the nation to choose sides: either pro-police/anti-protester or pro-protester/anti-police.

Lankford and Scott felt there was a better way—to find common ground.

They discovered very few people they talked to had ever had someone of another race over for dinner. It was then, Scott told CNN, that he realized a huge part of the problem was the “personal disconnect” between races.  “It’s hard to hate what you know,” Scott noted.

“Solution Sundays” challenged fellow lawmakers—and their constituents—to “set aside lunch or dinner and just invite a family over of another race, and just sit down and have a meal together.”

Both senators report that this simple initiative has been tremendously successful in not just bringing together people of different races, but bringing them to a much greater understanding of each other. Scott even speaks of hearts being changed.

Making the effort to know those different from us is key to removing barriers between people. But talking about racism is not easy.

It is a topic fraught with emotion, and those emotions inevitably color the words we use, how we interpret them, and how we react to them. It’s tricky, because individuals interpret words according to their personal experiences and heritage. Often, this leaves people of different races “talking past each other”—or, worse, unintentionally “triggering” others—making little progress toward mutual understanding.

Healing communication becomes especially difficult when politics enter the picture and “scoring points” becomes more important than finding common ground and mutual understanding. It’s then that the discussion can harden, growing increasingly abrasive and divisive. 

Thankfully, most Americans—on both the Left and the Right—dearly want to end the ugly racism that still divides our country. The vote on that House resolution condemning white supremacy was 424-1. But laws and resolutions can’t change hearts. Changing hearts requires a personal commitment. In addition, we must be intentional about wanting to strengthen our relationships across racial lines.

It must start with us. And we must start now. 

The post Our Nation Is Not Yet Cleansed of Racism. Here’s What We Should Do. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

We Hear You: The President’s Border Standoff With Democrats

Sun, 2019-01-20 06:01

Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s audience tends to be passionate about standing behind the president in his showdown with congressional Democrats over securing the southern border. We begin this week’s mailbag with that  topic. Remember to write us at letters@dailysignal.com—Ken McIntyre

Dear Daily Signal: Perhaps the left should back down on the partial government shutdown fight over the border wall? They’re dead wrong and too stubborn to admit it (“From Oval Office, Trump Says Border Wall Would Make Nation ‘Safer Than Ever Before’”).

Federal employees will get paid, and it is no thanks to the Democrats that it will be later rather than as it should be. Who do they think they’re kidding?—Fay Butler

***

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader  Chuck Schumer, the two clowns in the rebuttal to President Trump’s speech, cried about government employees’ not being able to pay their bills or mortgages and feed their families.

What’s the commonsense policy my parents taught? Put one-third of each paycheck into the bank or savings for a rainy day.

Well, government employees, today is your rainy day. Just go and use your nest egg, cut back a little. You’ll survive.

Or maybe give Nancy a call, and she could lend you a few of her billions.—Marty Miller

***

One finds  “good neighbor” fences throughout Pelosi’s state of California.

How would the liberals in California feel if all of their 6-foot fences along their property lines were removed? Exposed?—Jason Traxler

***

The Democrats are trying again to do like they did with Reagan (“Trump to Address Nation on Border Security as Pence Says Democrats Won’t Negotiate”).

Open the government back up, they say, and then we will dangle the border fence at you. But it will be soon shoved aside, as we have work to do.

President Trump won’t let them, and now the whole shutdown is flat in the Democrats’ faces, with them not knowing what to do. Funny thing, Democrats have never had to deal with our president before.

All the other Republicans would have folded and gone home by now. Good for Donald Trump.

And both Schumer and Pelosi asked for money for a border wall a few years back.—Jeff Pearson

From Oval Office, Trump Says Border Wall Would Make Nation 'Safer Than Ever Before'

“Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences, and gates around their home?”

via ?@FredLucasWH? @DailySignal https://t.co/s87qC9uc1m

— Tim Gradous (@tgradous) January 9, 2019

Pelosi and Schumer are complete fools. They have in their hands a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and they are too flippin’ blind with Trump Derangement Syndrome to see it.

Trump wants a wall—a wall that, in the big picture, is innocuous. Dems want control of the political agenda for the nation.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has missed days at work for the first time in 25 years, and at 85 years old she might not make too many more. Give Trump his $5 billion wall in exchange for Ruth’s seat on the Supreme Court.

The Dems can continue to poo-poo the ineffectiveness of the wall and maintain their loathing position, Trump gets the wall, and the Supreme Court remains “balanced” with a leftist replacing a leftist.—Brian Ulmen

***

In the olden days when Parliament and the king were at loggerheads, the former had the slogan “Grievances before supply.”

That is, the king had to acknowledge the grievances of the people before Parliament would agree to give him the supply of money he needed to run the government. Trump should adopt the slogan.

Now, however, Trump would be demanding that Congress pass legislation to enforce his “grievances” before he will agree to sign authorizations that Democrats want for running the government.

The problem, of course, is that one Washington party wants unlimited illegal immigration to provide it with voters in the near future, while the other Washington party, in obedience to big business donors, wants unlimited illegal immigration to provide them with cheap labor.

Trump should make this last point day in and day out, pointing out how Obama’s dream of fundamentally transforming America severely limits the wages of poor blacks and Hispanics.—William Westchester

***

If Trump offers permanent residency to the 1.8 million people who’ve been living here since they were children under DACA, then the Democrats might listen.

As it is, all Trump has offered is to make it a fence instead of a wall, as if that’s a real concession (watch OMB Director Mick Mulvaney say exactly that on a recent “Meet the Press”), or $800 million in funding to “restore, in some form, Obama-era programs” that Trump also took away.

In any event, all this is backfiring on immigration hawks. Even they don’t believe that the wall is the most important way to stop illegal immigration, or even a terrorist threat. They know that most illegal immigration happens through our airports, not the southern border. That’s where we should be concentrating our effort and money.

And ironically, because of the shutdown, we’re not paying our TSA security at airports, and they are calling in “sick” in record numbers due to not being paid. That is endangering our national security.

The only reason the wall exists as an issue now at all is because Trump is and was famously unable to stay on script, and his campaign advisers wanted him to focus on immigration. So they figured, let’s tell this builder guy to talk about the wall; he loves talking about building stuff, and that way he’ll stay on immigration.

It worked. Way too well. Now it’s all Trump can think about, and he’s shut down the government over it.

Those same immigration hawks are worried that Trump will end up giving away something important to the Democrats (which they really don’t want him to do)  in order to get his wall (which they don’t consider a high priority).

If nothing else, if we’re going to talk about a southern border wall as a matter of national security, we also need a northern one.

Trump has identified terrorism as a key reason, but seven times as many terrorists have tried to cross the northern border as the southern border. It follows that we need a northern wall, but no one talks about that.

We’ll just have to see what happens next. This is what happens when you give the toddler a sparkler and tell him to go play in the fireworks factory.—Edward Buatois

Sorry to disappoint liberal media and Trump-hating Democrats, but his facts do check out on the crisis at the border. https://t.co/6WzH22bnNJ @dailysignal #BuildtheWall #WallsWork

— Jenny Beth Martin (@jennybethm) January 13, 2019

These federal government jobs pay double what most of us make, and come with an early retirement pension (“Fact-Checking 5 of Trump’s Claims in Border Speech”). I don’t see many of them walking away after a month or two.

Chuck Schumer says he will have an adult conversation after Trump approves the funds to keep the government open without the wall. Does anyone trust him?—Wayne Harmon

***

The “Dreamer” deal has been on the table for two years from Trump, and no bites from Democrats. Used to be you could rely on self-interest to make the deal, but the only interest Dems have these days is “Get Trump.”

Dems who are derelict in their duty should be impeached. Is a Convention of States the answer? Could we move the function of state representatives back to the states? Seems like their constituents would be benefited by this.—Susan Sargent

***

Can we find a way to boycott California until they send us a delegation to Congress that actually knows what their oath means, and will take it without conditions?—David Rumbaugh

.@JoeBiden called William Barr a “heck of an honorable guy” when he was George H.W. Bush's nominee for attorney general. https://t.co/av42R6cFII via @FredLucasWH @DailySignal

— CSM (@usacsmret) January 7, 2019

Democrats and Trump’s AG Nominee

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Fred Lucas’s report on President Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, how low the U.S. culture has fallen in just 28 years (“‘Heck of an Honorable Guy’: What Democrats Thought of Trump’s AG Nominee 28 Years Ago”)

As the Democrats and most liberals have been saying for decades: We cannot, we must not, go back to the ways we used to do things. We have to always be going forward from where we are now.

Every idea, thought, and position must be “going forward”—because conservatives and Republicans always try to take the nation back to the bad old days (of no abortions, or even slavery).

But that is always just a big lie to deceive the nation’s schoolchildren and all younger generations, because slavery and the later Jim Crow policies were from the history of the Democrat Party, especially the Southern Dixiecrats.

Under President Ulysses S. Grant, a Republican, the military was integrated. But Democrat Woodrow Wilson resegregated the military, and it remained that way until after 1952, when President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower, a Republican, reintegrated the military for the second time.

Most progressively educated children do not know any of that. And that is just the tip of the large iceberg of American historical knowledge that progressive education does not teach.

American historical ignorance has been carefully crafted over the years since World War II. It is the most expensive historical ignorance that liberal money can buy. That way, liberals and socialists can more easily deceive and lead future voters astray.

That is the reason the nation keeps sliding into the cultural wasteland of liberal leftism.—Herb Branch

***

With the way the Democrats switch gears on a regular basis then say they always thought that way, it is scarier than just flat-out telling the truth: that no matter who our president selects, they will be against him.

If the Dems pull a Kavanaugh caveat on William Barr, it will be proof they care nothing about their oaths of office, the American people, the Constitution, and the future of America in general, and that they are senile, evil, or just plain disruptors.

As long as they hold office, we are sunk. Get them out, build the wall (that one will frost their cookies), and leave our personal lives alone. Lawmakers need to do their jobs, which is protecting America. We need more protection from the left, socialists, and liberals than ever before.—Karin Callaway, Florida

***

Just more evidence that the elites hate Trump because he threatens to expose and dismantle their world of privilege, power, graft, and corruption. They are terrified of him, and their fear causes an irrational reaction.—Steve Fowler

***

The Constitution is pretty clear on what powers are granted to the three branches of the federal government and which are retained by the states and by the people.

Up until recently, federal law preempted state and local laws. Today, we have certain states defying federal laws with respect to immigration and drugs. This is absolutely something that needs to be set straight by the Supreme Court.

Further, powers of lower federal courts should be more clearly defined when it comes to determining the constitutionality of a presidential executive order.

Obama’s executive order creating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was unconstitutional. Trump issued an executive order rescinding Obama’s unconstitutional order, and guess which one the lower federal court upheld?

If you guessed the lower court upheld Trump’s order, you would be wrong. It chose instead to allow Obama’s unconstitutional order to stand.

Why shouldn’t a parent be allowed to kill his or her child at any point in the child’s life? It’s their kid, after all. Why should a state government, or any government, decide what should or should not be against the law?

What’s wrong with people deciding what is best? Just let citizens (and/or noncitizens, for that matter) decide what they want to do, regardless of what others think.

While that might close the issue for those who don’t like particular laws, I doubt it would close any debates.—Drew Page

***

Immigration law defines who will be allowed to live under the blanket law of the union. Persons in the 50 states are first citizens of their state. The Civil War created the idea that once a part of the union, the state cannot disclaim membership.

Today we have California and New York attempting to give citizenship to foreign persons with no permission of the federal government. Technically, that should bring action from the federal government. It ain’t going to happen.

Next we send in the military and take over the government, as was done after the Civil War. Utah wasn’t even a state, but the federal government took over the state-to-be because citizens there practiced plural marriage, which, in fact, wasn’t against any law.

The USA isn’t completely governed by the Constitution. However, most of the amendments have the weight of law.—Rex Whitmer

The new Congress is here. 4 debates to monitor. https://t.co/A2UiDdQLTS via @LRacheldG @DailySignal

— Steve Veling (@steveveling) January 3, 2019

The New Democrat-Led House

Dear Daily Signal: Republicans are the minority because of hidebound GOP leadership (“House’s Biggest GOP Caucus Now ‘Counterweight’ to Democrats, New Leader Says”).

The GOP in the House has gone along to get along for so long that they are part of the problem and not part of the solution. They failed to legislate like there was no tomorrow. Instead, they fiddled while Washington only got worse.—Rich Vail

 ***

I’ve been a voter for more than 50 years, never seen this BS, this much raw hate toward an individual politician like Trump “The New Congress Is Here. 4 Debates to Monitor.”).

Trump is seriously threatening the structure of the deep state, has all these Democrats running around like their hair is on fire, millions spent by a crew of Obama leftovers spending 24 hours a day trying to find “something” on him (nothing of course) for two years.

Yet at the same time, he  has accomplished more than any other president before him for the people of the USA—despite 100 percent Democrat opposition, 95 percent negative media, and most RINO Republicans sabotaging his actions.—Silas Longshot, Newman, Ga.

***

Congress should obey the Constitution, which states that the federal government should be paid for by taxes on the people—not by borrowing (“House Democratic Rules Package Could Mean More Spending, Higher Taxes”).

I believe that senators and representatives should be held to that method of financing, or else be discharged for failing to support the Constitution.—Henry Vance

***

The Democrats really do want a revolt, so like their commie brethren they can use the military to squash and enslave the people.

And to the naysayers, yes, it can happen here. And no, the military will not all rise up and defend we the people.

The Founders knew how fragile what we have is. To paraphrase a great man, we are a single generation away from losing our liberty. Vigilance is the only hope.—Vance Robinson

***

Don’t know why Pelosi and Schumer will not say what they really want: Change the rules so that Pelosi and Schumer make and pass the laws and take the rest of Congress and the president out of it.—Rockne Hughes

3 Things to Watch in Trump's Shutdown Talks With Democrats 3 Things to Watch in Trump's Shutdown Talks With Democrats https://t.co/eEOP8KwQvx @DailySignal #AAG

— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) January 2, 2019

 

Dear Daily Signal: The Democrats remind me of the mob years, when if you owned a business and did not want it trashed, burned, or robbed or your family threatened, you were told to pay up or take the consequences (“3 Things to Watch in Trump’s Shutdown Talks With Democrats”).

If business owners had a slow month and did not have the required amount, then their legs were broken or a family member was beaten. And if it happened again, the mob shot the owner. Do what I say, or die.

Schumer and Pelosi sound just like the thugs of those days, except they are threatening the entire nation. If supporters of the Dems think they can escape the ravages of the gangs from the south, the horrible cost of “taking care of” illegal immigrants, they  are deaf, dumb, and blind.

At least back then we had the FBI, CIA, and Justice Department to fight them. But now they are in cahoots.

We have to get off our duffs and contact our representatives in Congress and tell them that we are onto their schemes. This will include Dems, independents, and Republicans. Because we the people certainly are not being represented.—Karin Callaway

***

There is a legal way and an illegal way to enter this country. All we ask is that they come in legally.

If you believe otherwise, leave your doors and windows open and allow anyone at any time to come into your home and do whatever they wish. In addition, you must pay for all their living and educational expenses.

That is what some people want American taxpayers to do.—Cheryl Detar

***

Think about how Trump must feel. He lived his life looking at situations where he had a goal in mind and directly marched through process, which allowed him to achieve the goal quickly and efficiently.

Schumer and Pelosi would have been subject to “you’re fired” after about two minutes if they worked for him. Trump’s head has to be spinning now that he actually sees how this country “works.”

I want to hear just one logical, fact-based reason why the Democrats want open borders. At least have the guts to tell the truth.—Ben Willard

***

Illegal aliens voted in Florida, but their votes were, in the end, not counted. Other votes of citizens were hidden, but were “found” and counted.

I wish all citizens could be issued a voter card that couldn’t be used by anyone other than the designated owner of the card.—Mary Brumley

***

Who stands against a physical barrier at the border? If a “physical barrier for physical security” where there is none has to be explained to Chuck Schumer, then he has already decided and will deliberately not understand, for his mind is already made up.

Nancy Pelosi’s interrupting of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s reporting of real-time statistics and parenthetical data at the White House meeting was a deliberate ploy to prevent the information form coming out. The White House should publish that statistical information for the public anyway (including on terrorists coming across the border).

The Democrats now have demonstrated for all to see that they care not about the physical security of this country, even when they supported it before.

Who is changing their minds for political purposes and ignoring reality for their own gain, to the detriment of national security and our safety?—Curtis Conway

***

Washington politicians should dispense with the drama of shutting down the federal government over the issue of payment for a wall at the southern border. There is a very simple way to finance such a project. 

Consider the process of civil forfeiture upon seizure of money, real property, and other assets from international drug cartels and American street gangs incident to their arrest. Let’s vest this money, and the money derived from the sale of these assets and properties, into a “dedicated fund” to pay for the wall.  

By this approach, two things might happen: The wall could be paid for by 2020. More importantly, Schumer, Pelosi, and Trump conceivably could just calm down and, for once, cease and desist with their usual mutually offered back-biting, hyperbolic invective initiatives.—Earl Beal, Terre Haute, Ind.

***

With the threat of a partial government shutdown and all the press on it, I am very disappointed that The Daily Signal is not writing more about the border wall, or walls.

You should be interviewing Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjin Nielsen or Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, about it.

McAleenan was very impressive and persuasive in the hearings with Congress. He spoke at length about the importance of the walls for parts of the border, in conjunction with technology and other resources.

Trump has compromised many times, and lowered the amount of funds he wants.

Members of Congress: McAleenan, a dedicated and expert professional, supports walls for parts of the border. He knows the problem well and what is best for America. Please give him what he needs to protect us from dangerous illegal immigrants.—Pat Ellis, Clinton, Miss.

***

I love The Daily Signal and plan to join The Heritage Foundation.

I am so for the wall. But I wish someone would do the math as to how many millions of dollars in drugs come over the border, how many precious souls die as a result each day, how many rapes, how many trafficked humans, and how many die in the desert just trying to get in.

Is America willing to struggle against $5 billion to start saving lives with a wall? How much does it cost to kill one American with drugs? I wish I could talk to my president. How precious are the lives that will be saved.—LaRena Davis, Oregon

***

Ask President Trump to use tariff money or other budget money if he has to, but to build the wall, please. If he has to shut down the government, he can lay off the people who process the phony refugees and illegal immigrants.

I wrote the president saying that one way to fund the wall is to call for volunteers to help work on it. The cost breakdowns are known and I’m sure a large part of it is labor. He also should start a wall fund so people can donate.—Robert Albanese

Weather Forecasters Warn of Impending Danger as US Climate Skeptics Upend UN Climate Summit https://t.co/3akdMUPMBL via @KevinMooneyDC @DailySignal Keep drinking the #kool-ad that is climate change

— TimeToRide (@bgoum) December 28, 2018

Dear Daily Signal: Regarding Kevin Mooney’s report from Poland on the U.N. conference on climate change, China and India are not controlled by Donald Trump or the U.S. government (“Weather Forecasters Warn of Impending Danger as U.S. Climate Skeptics Upend U.N. Climate Summit”). If the United Nations wants to clean up air pollution from coal burning, let them take it up with China and India.

Let China and India pick up the tab to reduce global warming, which the U.N. was hoping to lay on the USA. Let China and India pass cap-and-trade legislation in their own countries and have their citizens and businesses purchase “carbon credits” from the U.N. to pay for the privilege of burning coal.

The U.N. has been successful in playing past U.S. presidents for suckers. The U.N. sees the USA as a bottomless money bucket, a bunch of liberal suckers who can be shamed, or blackmailed, into paying for anything the U.N. deems to be important.

The USA has reduced pollution levels and cleaned up our air and water. Let India and China do the same. Those in France got a taste of what “global warming” was going to cost them personally, when their liberal “cool guy,” President Emmanuel Macron, decided to raise gasoline prices to $7 a gallon. The people in the yellow vests told Macron in no uncertain terms where he could stick his $7-a-gallon gas.

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. In this case, the “grease” is media attention. The politicians who want cap and trade don’t give a hoot in hell what it will cost average American taxpayers. They see cap and trade as a way to grab more power and enrich themselves. They have been able to convince their lemming followers that Armageddon is only a year away unless we empty our pockets and pay whatever is necessary to save the planet.

According to Al Gore, Florida should be completely under water by now, and all plant life should have shriveled in the fields. Gore has grown rich investing in “green energy” companies that have done well on the basis of government loans, before they went bankrupt. (Al knew when to get in and when to get out.) The media sees this issue as a way to make money from the controversy.

Let all those who really believe that the Earth is withering and will turn into a dust bowl within the next 12 months give up the use of fossil fuels, or energy generated from the use of fossil fuels, to heat, cool, and light their homes and operate their vehicles. Let them refuse to purchase goods and services created and transported to markets by vehicles powered by fossil fuels (ships, planes, trains, and trucks). It’s easy to be an “eco-warrior” when all you have to do is talk; talk is cheap.—Drew Page

***

“TV weather presenters are seen as a trusted source,” Mooney quotes Jill Peeters, a Belgian weather presenter, as saying.

They can’t even get the predictions right a day or two in advance. You aren’t a trusted source, you morons, you are a laughingstock.—Trevor Fortune

***

Nothing shows your sincere belief in anthropogenic global warming like flying a private plane to a conference to talk about how the little people can be taxed into reducing their carbon footprint. Except, maybe, doing it 24 times.—Anna Clare

***

If anyone bothered to research, they would find that the climate has been cooling worldwide for the past 10-plus years. Climate change is a cycle. Mankind has very little to do with it.

However, mankind should clean up its pollution, which is not climate change (aka global warming).  Once again, just like Al Gore in the past, more politicians are looking for another way to steal money.

Shortly after the latest “Chicken Little” climate change report was published, I saw on the news that one reason so many hundreds of scientists are persuaded that the sky is falling is that they are paid handsomely to do so.—Richard Orberson, Phoenix

***

The earth’s climate is constantly changing, and has done so for eons. There have been ice ages, or glacial eras, during which large portions of the planet were covered with ice. These ice ages were followed by warmer, interglacial eras.

While the glacial and interglacial eras each last tens of thousands of years, the Earth  also has had a very long history of periodic warming and cooling periods, each complete cycle lasting 1,000 to 1,500 years. The last complete cycle began with the Medieval Warm Period, lasting from about 900 AD to around 1350, followed by the Little Ice Age, lasting until about 1900.

The temperature cycles are the result of cycles of the sun’s heat output. A Solar Maximum produces warm periods on Earth and Solar Minimums result in cold periods. These cycles create the temperature cycles. The blips and dips in temperature are caused by shorter-term solar cycles.

The important thing to understand is that the cycles are affecting the amount of solar energy that reaches the Earth’s surface, which determines our planet’s temperature. Carbon dioxide and mankind have an insignificant effect on climate. The Earth’s atmosphere contains about 400 ppm of carbon dioxide and 10,000 ppm of water vapor, both of which are “greenhouse gases.”.

Why do activists target only  the smaller one? Probably because they can blame the rest of us for destroying the planet.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas

***

The fact is, Al Gore is the head of the newest cult of climate change and has no actual evidence that climate change isn’t a natural occurrence that’s been going on for thousands of years .

Now, like the Comet Hale-Bopp cult of the 1990s, they believe Gore and his high priests, who say the sky is falling. They believe these unfounded predictions with no scientific way to prove, test, or repeat the test to back up their cult belief. It’s so far in the future that pretty much most people today will be dead and the cult belief will live on.

But we also know that Gore said the poles would melt in 2014 and we’d all be under water. And the cultists give every excuse but the truth: Gore is a fraud just like all those who profess his false religion of climate change.—Bob Shoemaker

***

The impending danger is that climate change and its proponents will be exposed for the gigantic frauds they are.—Martina Vaslovik

***

On the bright side, 2018 was the first year on record with no violent tornadoes in the U.S. Leftists want to fight the benefits of global warming and have us all killed by violent storms.—Alan McIntire

***

The problem I have with Al Gore and the climate alarmism movement is that their theories and forecasts simply aren’t being realized. This has more to do with politics than it does with the weather.—Wes Potts

***

Climate change is a complex issue with numerous aspects. There is zero consensus on all of or even most of the aspects. While most agree that there is warming, that man plays a part, and this may lead to a negative outcome, beyond this there is little agreement.

Questions that are still unanswered are: How much has man added to the warming? Can we really reduce the warming when only half of the world is taking steps? Will a small improvement be worth the pain that those of modest means will suffer, as fuel prices soar?

Will the damage to economies, leading to more poverty and a lower standard of living, be worth the trade-off? And will the rapid increases in technology find solutions that render draconian change as fruitless?—Anthony Alafero

How Are We Doing?

Dear Daily Signal: I recently read and enjoyed my first edition of The Daily Signal.  I am a supporter of The Heritage Foundation, and have been for years.  It came as a surprise to me that The Daily Signal is part of Heritage, which is also a great reason to subscribe.

Keep the news and commentary coming, and may your circulation greatly increase. Maybe leftists with a brain will read The Daily Signal and see the other side of the story.—Edward F. Conley, Dennis Port, Mass.

***

Enough with the “my new book” people, who write an article for you to sell their book. Then you write an article to sell their book. Then someone else writes an article. Do you see this circle? 

Everyone has a new book about our president. Opinions are a dime a dozen. Please, enough.  Just get back to the real news and not a lot of pandering opinions.—Tonie Dalton, Ivanhoe, Va.

***

I love the job you’re doing with The Daily Signal. It is refreshing to read some opinions that align with mine. I have completely given up on the mainstream media. I won’t watch them anymore, unless it’s a non-news program.

They should quit calling themselves news organizations and instead call themselves opinion organizations. At times I really agree with the president that they are the “enemy of the people.”

It’s scary to think that there are people out there who can watch only the mainstream media due to location or money.—Dan Burgess, Caledonia, Mich.

***

You all are great. The daily insights you provide are not found anywhere else.—Charles T. Cleaver II, Dallas

Sarah Sleem and Joshua Nelson helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”

The post We Hear You: The President’s Border Standoff With Democrats appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Pelosi Shuns Trump Offer to Swap Amnesty for Wall

Sat, 2019-01-19 21:14

President Donald Trump offered to expand amnesty for certain young illegal immigrants in exchange for money to pay for a border barrier as a compromise to end the partial government shutdown.

“This is a commonsense compromise both parties should embrace,” Trump said Saturday in a nationally televised speech from the White House.

Democratic leaders have already said they would oppose the  Trump compromise, so the partial shutdown of 25 percent of the federal government will likely continue for a while.

“The radical left can never control our borders. I will never let it happen. Walls are not immoral,” the president continued during the speech. “In fact, they are the opposite of immoral, because they will save many lives and stop drugs from pouring into our country.”

During the remarks, Trump laid out a plan that would include the $5.7 billion he requested for construction of additional 230 miles of a steel border wall.

His offer to Democrats is three years of relief for recipients of the Obama-era Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals program and another three-year extension those for whom DACA protection is about to expire. DACA recipients are illegal immigrants brought to the United States by their parents.

Trump talked about the crimes, murder, drugs, and rape that result from illegal immigration, as well as the humanitarian crisis among migrants traveling to reach the United States.

“It’s got to end now. These are not talking points, these are the heartbreaking realities that are hurting innocent precious human beings every single day on both sides of the border,” Trump said.  “As a candidate for president, I promised I would fix this crisis, and I intend to keep that promise.”

Trump’s remarks come as another migrant caravan from Central America is moving toward the U.S. southern border. It also came moments after he spoke to an Oval Office naturalization ceremony that was held for legal immigrants that became citizens on Saturday.

Trump said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will bring the proposal up for a vote next week.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., issued a statement opposing the Trump proposal before the president delivered the speech. However, she said the House would vote on its own counter proposal in the next week that did not include a wall–or DACA–to reopen the government.

Trump framed the wall as a reasonable project.

“This is not a 2,000-mile concrete structure from sea to sea,” the president said. “These are steel barriers in high priority locations.”

Trump deserves credit for trying to security the border, but his proposed compromise is not the best way forward, said James Carafano, vice president for national security and foreign policy at The Heritage Foundation.

“Amnesty encourages further illegal immigration, incentivizes the tragedy of human trafficking, and undermines our citizens’ confidence in the rule of law,” Carafano said in a statement. “Amnesty should not be part of any border security deal, especially given that many who today oppose a wall have publicly supported and even voted for physical barriers in the recent past.”

Trump proposal also includes $800 million for humanitarian at the border, $805 million for drug detection technology to help secure our ports of entry, 2,750 new border agents and law enforcement professionals, and 75 new immigration judges to handle the backlog of almost 900,000 cases.

“It is unlikely that any one of these provisions alone would pass the House, and taken together, they are a non-starter,” Pelosi said in her statement. “For one thing, this proposal does not include the permanent solution for the Dreamers and TPS [Temporary Protected Status] recipients that our country needs and supports.”

Pelosi said Democrats support increasing the number of immigration judges and new technology to stop drugs and weapons from coming across the border.

“Next week, Democrats will pass a package of six bills agreed to by House and Senate negotiators and other legislation to re-open government so that we can fully negotiate on border security proposals.” Pelosi said.

The post Pelosi Shuns Trump Offer to Swap Amnesty for Wall appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Must Go to the Mat Over Liberal Judge’s Ruling On Census Question

Sat, 2019-01-19 19:06

A Manhattan district court judge earlier this week blocked the Trump administration from adding a question on citizenship to the 2020 census, and in doing so has sought to weaken executive power while strengthening the administrative state.

The Trump administration has one choice here: Overturn this judicial overreach through appeal.

The decision was biased and based on selective evidence. It needs to be overturned and corrected at once.

As Judge Jesse M. Furman of the Southern District of New York himself observed in his ruling, “Time is of the essence because the Census Bureau needs to finalize the 2020 questionnaire by June of this year.”

The administration must therefore seek a stay at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and if that fails go straight to the Supreme Court for an expedited review.

Shoddy Reasoning

Furman, an Obama appointee, bought into the plaintiffs’ arguments that the citizenship question would lead to an undercount of illegal residents—and Hispanics in general—despite the lack of evidence supporting that claim.

It is important to note something that seemed to not occur to the judge: The question the administration wants to add to the census does not ask if someone is in the country illegally. It simply asks if the individual is a citizen. 

It defies common sense for the judge to believe that a high percentage of aliens residing in this country illegally would fill out the census in the first place, while aliens who are here legally, never mind the country’s citizens no matter where they were born—would have no reason not to fill out the census form.

In his opinion, the judge selectively recitated the long history of a citizenship question on the census, which first occurred in 1820, but failed to mention that there is no evidence that it has led to an undercount on the American Community Survey, which is sent out by the Census Bureau every year. 

A citizenship question has been on the American Community Survey since its inception a decade ago, when it replaced what was known as the “long form,” which also contained a citizenship question.

As the judge himself observed, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s decision to add the citizenship question is “not inconsistent with the Constitution.” He also had to admit that the plaintiffs “did not carry their burden of proving that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was motivated by invidious discrimination and thus that he violated the equal protection component of the due process clause.”

That was one of three legal conclusions the judge reached.

Far-Left Plaintiffs

Another conclusion was that among the plaintiffs who had legal standing to bring the claims were so-called “NGO Plaintiffs” (from private advocacy organizations). The ruling said the NGOs will supposedly suffer “a loss of political power and funds, among other harms,” simply because a citizenship question is asked on the census.

That is an entirely speculative claim by the judge that does not meet the basic requirements of standing, since they have no right to government funding.

These NGO plaintiffs are comprised of four groups: the New York Immigration Coalition, CASA de Maryland, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee/ADC Research Institute, and Make the Road New York. They are mostly radical leftist organizations that partially live off the American taxpayer, receiving government grants sometimes dependent on census numbers.

That their supposed loss of federal grants and “political power” contributed to the ruling is part of a larger problem.

For example, the ruling held that among the loser of funds would be Planned Parenthood of New York City. The judge also quoted CASA’s chief of programs and services, George Escobar, as bemoaning the fact that, as a result of the citizenship question, CASA is having to divert “limited resources in an effort to encourage participation in the decennial census.” 

Since CASA is concerned to a large degree with protecting illegal aliens, a supposed “diversion” of their resources would actually benefit federal law enforcement and minimize CASA’s obstruction of federal immigration laws. There is little doubt that CASA must be using a lot of these “limited resources” to fight the elected administration.

Justice Department lawyers pointed out that these NGOs had not provided any analysis to show they would incur “any incremental increase in expenditures due to the citizenship question.”

Furman dismissed this argument, writing, “The court is unpersuaded by defendants’ objection to CASA’s lack of detail in accounting for the precise incremental increase in expenditures which, by definition, have not happened yet.”

Left unsaid, of course, is the fact that CASA is a very leftist organization that does not shy away from supporting Marxist governments in Latin America. It has received funding from Venezuela’s government-controlled oil company. It is itself run by a man who wrote for a Sandinista newspaper in Managua in the late 1980s while Nicaragua was run by that Marxist-Leninist Party.

Are these the groups that we want having access to public funds?

The court admitted that there is “no dispute that the Constitution, the Census Act, and the [Administrative Procedure Act] allow the secretary of commerce broad discretion over the design and administration of the decennial census.” But then, the judge strains to ignore that broad discretion to conclude that Ross violated the Administrative Procedure Act in adding the citizenship question.

Most blatantly, in the eyes of the judge, Ross “ignored, and violated, a statute that requires him, in circumstances like those here, to collect data through the acquisition and use of ‘administrative records’ instead of through ‘direct inquiries’ on a survey such as the census.” This despite the fact that there are no “administrative records” that accurately tally all of the noncitizens in the country, particularly those who are here illegally.

Additionally, Ross’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious”—a no-no under the Administrative Procedure Act—because he “failed to consider several important aspects of the problem; alternately ignored, cherry-picked, or badly misconstrued the evidence in the record before him; acted irrationally both in light of that evidence and his own stated decisional criteria; and failed to justify significant departures from past policies and practices—a veritable smorgasbord of classic, clear-cut APA violations.”

Actually, the judge seems to be more accurately describing his own behavior in this opinion.

Selective Reading of Evidence

It is here that the judge considered the evidence selectively, resulting in a decision that weakens the executive in favor of the administrative state and its NGO allies, both of which are constitutionally dubious.

The judge wrote that under the Administrative Procedure Act, before enacting any reforms, the executive branch must “consider all important aspects of a problem; study the relevant evidence and arrive at a decision rationally supported by that evidence; comply with all applicable procedures.”

Unfortunately, the Census Bureau has long been unduly influenced by a coterie of liberal outside groups inside its own National Advisory Committee on Race and Ethnicity, and other groups also known as the “stakeholders.” The judge’s demand is, therefore, a recipe for handing power to the administrative state—a problem he himself recognized in an offhand way by observing “some may deride requirements as ‘red tape.’”

As the judge himself recognized, there was “near uniform opposition to the addition of the citizenship question from stakeholders,” almost all of whom are also radical left-wing organizations with their own objectives that have nothing to do with the best interests of the public and the nation as a whole.

The judge’s claim that asking the citizenship question was not a rational decision is not supported by the evidence. This is particularly true of his cavalier dismissal of the Justice Department’s argument that such citizenship/noncitizenship data is necessary for effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. 

One of us, Hans von Spakovsky, worked at the Justice Department coordinating enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, and affirms that having accurate citizen population data is essential to fashioning remedies for violations of the law.

A Threat to Our Constitutional Order

Aside from questions of constitutionality—weighty enough in themselves—this issue goes to the heart of what the United States is. The founding documents give us strong hints.

The Constitution itself starts with “We The People of the United States,” suggesting from the start that we constitute one people, and uses the word “citizen” 27 times—as in when it safeguards “the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.”

The Declaration of Independence meanwhile states that governments “are instituted among Men” to secure the rights of the people who instituted it.

The only distinction that is valid in the eyes of government, then, is that between citizen and non-citizen. The first are the people who elect the government and whose rights government safeguards, and the second are the members of another polity.

The 2020 census will ask questions on race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, and age. Yet according to this Manhattan judge, it cannot ask the one question that should matter to a self-ruling republic that should be blind to color and sex.

The administration must wage a fierce fight to get this decision overturned. It may think it has its hands full with the government shutdown, but if it doesn’t fight here, there will be no end to the problems it will face.

The post Trump Must Go to the Mat Over Liberal Judge’s Ruling On Census Question appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

I Went to the Women’s March. Here Are 6 Things I Saw.

Sat, 2019-01-19 17:29

Some signs in this article contain adult language.

Thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., Saturday to participate in the third annual Women’s March.  

The organization hosting the March has faced criticism due to its founders’ ties to Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam who led chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in Iran.

The Democratic National Committee pulled its partnership from the Women’s March earlier this week.

I checked out the event for The Daily Signal, observing the march and talking with attendees.

During the march itself, attendees chanted “This is what democracy looks like,” and “Shame on you,” while marching past Trump International Hotel, as well as “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now!”

 Here are six things things I noticed:

1. A March For Women Being Made Into a Trump Protest  

I found it ironic that a march that describes itself as an event to advocate “women’s rights” included such a large amount of signs and memorabilia protesting President Donald Trump.

Rather than putting the focus on specific women’s issues, the yearly march looked like merely an anti-Trump protest.

2. Support for Women, Except Preborn Women

While the Women’s March says it is about “dismantling systems of oppression through nonviolent resistance and building inclusive structures,” there was a strong presence of pro-abortion advocates at the march.

There were also multiple women I spoke with at the march who said that they might not personally support abortion, but wouldn’t want to remove that “right” for other women.

3. Profanity and Obscene Language

On Friday, I attended the March for Life rally ahead of the 46th annual March for Life and did not encounter one sign with offensive or vulgar language.

The Women’s March was a different story, and like other “civil rights” and LGBT rights marches I’ve gone to or observed, it explicitly included signs, T-shirts, and other memorabilia using profanity and offensive language.

4. A Hatred for Conservative Politicians…  

I saw multiple signs with hateful messages to conservative lawmakers such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Rep. Jim Jordan, co-founder of the House Freedom Caucus, a coalition of conservative lawmakers in the House of Representatives.

 5. … And the Wall

Many marchers held signs protesting the barrier Trump wants to erect along the U.S.-Mexico border to improve homeland security and stop illegal border crossings.

The partial government shutdown has reached its 29th day Saturday due to the Trump administration and Democrats failing to come to an agreement over the $5.7 billion for a barrier along the southern border the president has requested.

6. The Idea That Effective “Feminism” Is Angry

Multiple signs at the Women’s March touted that idea that compelling and change-oriented “feminism” is angry, and that women must use terms like “vagenda” to further their cause.

The post I Went to the Women’s March. Here Are 6 Things I Saw. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The US Strikes Back Against Russia’s European Gas Empire

Sat, 2019-01-19 16:33

KYIV, Ukraine—With the Kremlin tightening its grip on the European energy market, the U.S. has hardened its opposition to a controversial Russian gas pipeline, which is currently under construction through the Baltic Sea to Germany.

For months, U.S. officials have said Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline is part of a broader Kremlin gambit to bypass Ukrainian transit pipelines, which have delivered the lion’s share of Russian natural gas exports to Europe for decades.

Yet, despite U.S. protests, construction hasn’t stopped, and the 750-mile-long pipeline is about one-third complete as of this article’s publication. The U.S., for its part, escalated its resistance to the project this month, when U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell sent letters to construction contractors working on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, warning of “a significant risk of sanctions” unless they abandoned the project.

“The problem with Nord Stream 2 is that it is not an economic project. It was developed for only one reason: to create an alternative route for transporting Russian gas on the way to Europe that does not pass through Ukraine,” Grenell said in an interview published in the German Rheinische Post newspaper on Jan. 15.

Russia’s gas giant, Gazprom, is the principal shareholder of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, with five European companies financing half of the construction cost. Allseas, a Swiss-based offshore pipeline and platform company, is the primary contractor building the pipeline.

The laying vessel Audacia of the offshore service provider Allseas lays pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea off the island of Rügen, Nov. 15, 2018. (Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)

Nord Stream 2 parallels the existing Nord Stream pipeline’s path from Russia under the Baltic Sea, making landfall near Greifswald, Germany. Nord Stream is the longest undersea pipeline in the world, capable of delivering 55 billion cubic meters of Russian gas annually to Germany. That gas can then be forwarded on to other European clients.

Nord Stream—which went operational in 2011—can deliver a little more than a quarter of Russia’s total gas exports to Europe. Once operational, Nord Stream 2 would double Nord Stream’s current annual capacity.

“The best possible end-goal for Russia with Nord Stream 2 is to create strategic dependency of Germany as a state, and of the German political establishment, on Russian energies, bypass Ukraine, and increase the importance of Russian interests in Berlin,” Jakub Janda, executive director of the Prague-based European Values think tank, told The Daily Signal.

TurkStream, another Gazprom pipeline under construction, also bypasses Ukraine, connecting Russia with Turkey under the Black Sea.

TurkStream comprises two pipeline strings, each of which will have the capacity to deliver 15.75 billion cubic meters annually. According to information on Gazprom’s website, the first string is meant to deliver gas only to Turkey, while the second string will directly deliver Russian gas to southeastern Europe.

Ukraine’s pro-Western revolution in 2014 set Russia on a crash-course effort to ditch its former Soviet ally as a gas transit partner. Gazprom announced plans for TurkStream in 2014 and Nord Stream 2 in 2015. The U.S. says Russia’s planned pipelines are strategic threats to Europe’s energy security, entrenching the EU’s reliance on Russian gas.

“If European gas supplies through Ukraine become redundant due to the launch of Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream, Kyiv will lose its importance in the field of security policy, which will increase the risk of intervention by Russia,” Grenell wrote in the letters to Nord Stream 2 contractors, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported.

For Kyiv, Nord Stream 2 is considered a looming economic catastrophe, just as Ukraine’s economy has begun to recover from five years of war and post-revolutionary upheavals.

“In Ukraine, the American position on strengthening the sanction regime towards Russia and, in particular, on the NS2, is highly appreciated,” said Mykhailo Gonchar, founder and president of Kyiv’s Center for Global Studies Strategy XXI.

“Against the background of the failure of the EU to stop Nord Stream 2, today only U.S. sanctions can stop it,” Gonchar told The Daily Signal.

Stranglehold

Ukraine has a contract with Gazprom for $3 billion in annual gas transit fees. That contract, however, is set to expire in 2020.

Gazprom has a standing contract to pay Ukraine for the transit of 110 billion cubic meters of gas annually. According to a ruling last year by the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, Gazprom has to pay for its contracted transit gas through the end of 2019, no matter how much of that amount actually travels through Ukraine.

Both Nord Stream 2 and the second, Europe-bound string of TurkStream are slated for completion by the end of 2019—just in time for Russia to have alternate gas routes to Europe in hand when it goes to renegotiate its gas transit contract with Kyiv.

The pipes for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline are prepared for welding using assembly line techniques on board the laying vessel Audacia, Nov. 15, 2018. After welding, they are laid at the bottom of the Baltic Sea. (Photo: Bernd Wüstneck/Picture Alliance/Getty Images)

Trilateral talks between Ukraine, the EU, and Russia are scheduled for Jan. 21 in Brussels to discuss the future of gas transit through Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has pledged that Russia will maintain gas transit through Ukraine in the amount of 14 to 15 billion cubic meters of gas annually. In that case, Ukraine’s pipelines, which have an overall capacity of 142 billion cubic meters per year,would be operating at roughly 10.5 percent of their capacity, according to International Energy Agency and Ukrainian government data.

“At such a loading level, the [Ukrainian gas transmission system] will generate losses and lose its functionality,” said Gonchar, president of Kyiv’s Center for Global Studies Strategy XXI.

The Ukrainian gas transmission system needs an annual flow rate of at least 50 billion cubic meters per year to break even financially, Gonchar said.

For her part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged last year that Ukraine would maintain its role as “an important transit country” after Nord Stream 2 is operational. Her words, however, did little to reassure Kyiv.

“I don’t believe those assurances. They are useless. Real guarantees need to be based not on math and not words,” said Mykola Bielieskov, deputy director of the Institute of World Policy, a Ukrainian think tank.

Ukraine stands to lose about $3 billion annually if Russian cancels it gas transit agreement. That annual loss represents a little more than 8 percent of Ukraine’s 2018 budget of $36.4 billion, and roughly 2.4 percent of its 2018 gross domestic product.

The German Perspective

Germany, for its part, received between 50 percent to 75 percent of its natural gas imports from Russia last year, according to Eurostat, the European Commission’s statistics organization. Russia also supplied about half of Germany’s oil imports.

Germany is the largest single buyer of Russian natural gas worldwide, accounting for 27.5 percent of Gazprom’s total exports in 2017. And in the first half of 2018, Gazprom’s gas exports to Germany increased by 12.2 percent over the same period in 2017, the company reported.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attend the welcoming ceremony before their meeting in Kyiv to discuss the Minsk peace accords’ standstill and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Nov. 1, 2018. (Photo: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images)

Yet, according to industry estimates, only 18 percent of the gas delivered through Nord Stream 2 would actually go to Germany, underscoring the fact that broader interests are at play, driving the controversial Russian project forward.

“[Nord Stream 2] has little to do with German energy, the gas will be sold all across Europe,” said Gustav Gressel, senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations. “It is the business interests of the German, French, and Dutch energy companies to sell the Russian gas. Nothing more.”

Some in Germany accused the U.S. ambassador of overstepping his authority with the sanctions warning.

“Questions of European energy policy should be decided in Europe, not in the United States,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday.

Yet, German support for Nord Stream 2 has not been uniform. Some, even within Merkel’s own political party, have previously questioned the wisdom of entrenching Germany’s reliance on Russian gas.

But some say the U.S. sanctions warning could backfire, hardening German resolve to see the project move forward.

“If the U.S. decides to go ahead with the sanctions, it can kill the [Nord Stream 2] project because the European companies will essentially have to choose between U.S. and Russia, but it would also create negative strategic backlash against the U.S. in Germany,” Janda, the European Values executive director, said.

Most experts agree that the threat of U.S. sanctions is an effective means to dissuade individual construction contractors by threatening their bottom lines. As for Germany’s political climate, however, the U.S. sanctions warning has “closed the German ranks in favor of Nord Stream,” Gressel told The Daily Signal.

The reason for this, Gressel says, is that the debate over Nord Stream feeds into a broader political narrative, espoused by some German politicians, that U.S. President Donald Trump has infringed on German sovereignty.

“The problem with sanctions is that [Trump] was trumpeting them,” Gressel said. “Trump has a history of attacking Germany and Merkel, so the establishment thought that ‘well, now this is another round.’”

Bad Habits

In 1998, 95 percent of Russian gas transit to Europe went through Ukrainian pipelines, according to Gazprom. By 2011, when the first Nord Stream pipeline went operational, the share of Russian gas transiting through Ukraine to Europe had dropped to 56 percent.

Following Ukraine’s pro-Western revolution in 2014, the amount of Russian gas transiting via Ukraine to Europe reduced from 83.9 billion cubic meters to 58.9 billion cubic meters—a 29 percent drop in one year.

In 2018, Gazprom used Ukrainian pipelines to deliver about 38 percent of its Europe-bound gas, Gonchar said, citing Ukrainian government data.

Russia and Ukraine have been in a de facto state of war since early 2014. Consequently, energy independence from Russia has become a cornerstone of Ukraine’s national security strategy. Ukraine weaned itself off of direct Russian gas purchases in 2015, favoring supplies from the EU, which mainly comprise rerouted Russian gas bought through EU proxies.

Last year, 86.8 billion cubic meters of gas passed through Ukrainian pipelines. Yet, of that number, 10.6 billion cubic meters were reverse flow Russian gas that Ukraine bought from the EU for its own domestic use.

So, the actual amount of Russian gas transiting through Ukraine to the EU in 2018 was 76.2 billion cubic meters—representing about 54 percent of the Ukrainian gas transmission system’s overall capacity.

During a period of peak Russian gas deliveries to Europe from late February to early March of 2018, two pipelines through Ukraine—ones with connections to Slovakia and Hungary—were operating at only half their capacity.

For Russian gas, “Ukraine is the only transit route with spare capacity in times of peak winter demand,” says the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies.

For its part, Nord Stream was operating at 97 percent capacity for all but 11 days in 2017, industry data shows. Similarly, a Russian pipeline to Europe through Belarus operated at 95 percent capacity for all but 22 days in 2017.

Failed Promises

In 2014, Russia invaded Crimea and began a military campaign in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. Consequently, Brussels pledged to cut the EU’s energy reliance on Russia.

Yet, in 2018, Russia remained the largest oil and gas supplier to the EU, according to Eurostat. And Russia’s grip on the European energy market is tightening. Eleven EU countries relied on Russia for more than 75 percent of their total national imports of natural gas in 2018, according to Eurostat data.

In Europe, natural gas demand is up, while natural gas production within the EU is on the decline. It’s a lucrative setup for Russia, which now supplies roughly 28 percent of the EU’s oil, and about 41 percent of the EU’s natural gas imports.

Across the board, Russia’s relative share of the EU’s energy imports has been on the rise since the end of 2016, despite the 2014 EU resolution to cut its energy reliance on Russia.

In 2017, Gazprom supplied a record total of 194.4 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries—an 8.4 percent increase from 2016, according to Gazprom data.

Through the end of November 2018, Gazprom’s year-to-year gas sales to the European Union increased by another 6.2 percent, the company reported.

Roughly 80 percent of Russia’s overall natural gas exports go to Europe, according to industry data. (Gazprom’s definition of Europe excludes countries that formerly comprised the Soviet Union.)

“At the end, it is a strategic political decision, which some of the Eastern European countries are slowly making, but also many individuals in the Western political establishment are now willing to take—they prefer the cheap prices over geopolitical security,” Janda said.

Knockout Punch

Besides the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream projects, Gazprom is also expanding its underground gas storage sites and gas transportation infrastructure across Europe, underscoring Russia’s tightening grip on the Continent’s overall energy market.

From 2006 to 2016, Gazprom’s gas storage capacity in Europe increased from 1.4 to 5.0 billion cubic meters, the company reports on its website. Those gas storage facilities are clustered in Germany, the Netherlands, and Austria.

Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller delivers a speech during a signing ceremony for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline agreement in Paris on April, 24, 2017. (Photo: Eric Piermont/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia has also invested in other ways to deliver gas to Europe. On Jan. 8, Putin was on hand to commemorate the opening of an offshore gas-receiving terminal in Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave—a territory nestled between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea.

The new gas-receiving terminal, built about 3 miles offshore, allows for 3.7 billion cubic meters of gas to be delivered to the Russian territory by sea annually. That gas can then be stored in underground storage reservoirs or forwarded on across Lithuania to Belarus via an existing pipeline.

“A sophisticated project of national importance is now completed. The Kaliningrad Region has been provided with a totally independent gas supply route,” Alexey Miller, CEO of Gazprom, reportedly said during the Jan. 8 event. “Gazprom has brought the region’s energy security to a fundamentally new level.”

Gazprom has plans to increase its gas storage capacity in Kaliningrad to 800 million cubic meters by 2025, the company says on its website.

As Russia builds up its European gas transportation infrastructure, some say that the Kremlin’s clout on the Continent is also on the rise. Russia’s gas sales to Europe are also “a tool to funnel money into political influence and intelligence operations,” said Gressel, of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“Gazprom is very untransparent, and a lot of money gets lost on the way. But wherever they are, pro-Russian politicians surprisingly start to flourish,” Gressel said.

The post The US Strikes Back Against Russia’s European Gas Empire appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Media Misses: Double Standard Revealed in Media Attack on Karen Pence’s Christianity

Sat, 2019-01-19 06:01

The media have complained for months that the president is unfair to them. They have even referred to him as the “divider in chief.” But what about the media’s divisive behavior to those Americans who identify as Christians?

The media sunk to a new low when they attacked second lady Karen Pence this week for her decision to teach art at a Christian school in Virginia.

CNN’s chief national correspondent John King even questioned whether or not Pence should receive taxpayer-funded security protection or government housing because she is working for a Christian school.

WOW: @JohnKingCNN just raised the question whether @SecondLady should be denied Secret Service protection, and even government housing, simply for being a Christian. pic.twitter.com/vzdQbaA8RR

— John Cooper (@thejcoop) January 18, 2019

The controversy surrounding Pence’s employment at Immanuel Christian School is absurd and worrying.

The employment application makes applicants sign a pledge not to engage in homosexual activity or violate the “unique roles of male and female.”

Keep in mind, this is not the only aspect of the Immanuel Christian School’s code of conduct, which sets strict guidelines for the staff to adhere to the teachings of the institution’s religious orientation.

This is a religious school that takes the dictates of Christianity seriously. Is it no longer acceptable for such a thing to exist? Is it no longer acceptable for people who hold public office to be committed Christians?

Former President Barack Obama once said—before being elected president—that he believed marriage was between a man and a woman in accordance with his Christian beliefs. Was he not fit to serve? Obama later said he “evolved” and moved away from his position, but what about those who have decided to stay committed to their views?

While the left has won many policy and legal battles over cultural issues, the attacks on Pence demonstrate that for them, tolerance is not enough. Simply holding views—or following lifestyles—that conflict with ever-evolving progressive dogma is deemed unacceptable.

Under this formula, the media aims to outright expunge serious Christians from public life. This follows the treatment of Christian judicial nominees who have been increasingly subjected to unconstitutional religious tests as a barrier to office. The media—in alignment with the Democrat Party—has simply deemed religious Americans enemies of the people.

The post Media Misses: Double Standard Revealed in Media Attack on Karen Pence’s Christianity appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Women’s March Is Melting Down, and It Makes Perfect Sense

Fri, 2019-01-18 22:43

Two years into the movement, the Women’s March is melting down.

Much of the media will blame its decay on the leaders’ unwillingness to denounce anti-Semitism, but that will only be part of the story. The other reason it will ultimately demise is because it was a fraud from the very start.

Despite its clever branding efforts, the Women’s March never represented women as a unified force. Instead, it represented radically liberal women who were upset with the results of the 2016 presidential election.

Man or woman, the march embodied a certain segment of the population that despised President Donald Trump. But instead of labeling themselves as such, its founders claimed to represent half the population.

Obviously, that wasn’t true.

“The Women’s March does not represent me because it does not represent all women,” Mykala Steadman, a senior at Brigham Young University in Idaho and an intern at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal.

“The Women’s March does not represent me because I believe in equal rights, not extra rights,” added Deana Bass Williams, a partner at Bass Public Affairs.

“The Women’s March doesn’t represent me because I do not vote with my anatomy, and I do not vote with my wheelchair. I vote with my head, guided by my heart,” said Melissa Ortiz, a visiting fellow with The Independent Women’s Forum who was born with a disability that left her bound to a wheelchair.

Not surprisingly, two years later the movement is falling apart. Hate, as it turns out, is not a sustainable force.

At a different pro-women’s march called the March for Life, men and women took to the streets of Washington, D.C. by the thousands. It was a beautiful celebration of the 46th year for the March for Life, which is an anniversary the Women’s March will never see.

That’s because instead of marching for hate, the March for Life marched for love. Love for the unborn, which is our most fundamental human right.  

Had the Women’s March been founded in love and known what it stood for instead of just what it was against, it would have stood a chance of surviving its most recent scandal with anti-Semitism. But being founded in hate and identity politics, this was enough to divide the movement and bring so much of it down.

The problems of anti-Semitism inside the Women’s March are deep and serious, and warrant every bit of backlash they’ve received. But when the march inevitably ceases to exist, its demise will be about so much more.

It will remind us that just because women are born with the same body parts doesn’t mean we think and believe the same thing. It will teach us that pretending to speak for a majority when you’re only a fringe minority is a dishonest, fraudulent strategy.

But most importantly, it will remind us that everyone reaps what they sow. For the Women’s March, that’s divisiveness, anger, and an incredible amount of hate.

I’ll be happy to see it go, because as women, we represent so much more.

The post The Women’s March Is Melting Down, and It Makes Perfect Sense appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Cartoon: Here Comes 2020

Fri, 2019-01-18 22:15

The post Cartoon: Here Comes 2020 appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Cartoon: The Wall of Common Sense

Fri, 2019-01-18 22:13
Categories: Public Policy

28 of the Best Signs From March for Life

Fri, 2019-01-18 19:17

Every year, thousands and thousands of pro-lifers come to Washington, D.C., brave the cold, and walk as witnesses in memory of the millions of lives lost in abortion and in hope that someday our country will no longer allow this injustice.

Many of those attending make their own signs to share their special message. Photographer Jeff Malet snapped photos for The Daily Signal during the March for Life this year, and here are some of my favorites.



The post 28 of the Best Signs From March for Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Tells Annual March for Life He Will Veto Pro-Abortion Legislation

Fri, 2019-01-18 18:47

In remarks delivered by video to the annual March for Life on Friday, President Donald Trump vowed to veto any legislation that doesn’t protect life.

“Today, I have signed a letter to Congress to make clear that if they send any legislation to my desk that weakens the protection of human life, I will issue a veto, and we have the support to uphold those vetoes,” Trump said.

Trump called every child “a sacred gift from God” and noted his administration’s pro-life policies, such as ending federal funding for abortions abroad.  

President Trump addresses the March for Life. (Photo: Jeff Malet for The Daily Signal.)

“We are supporting the loving choice of adoption and foster care, including through the support of faith-based adoption services,” the president said in his video message, to tens of thousands. “I am supporting the U.S. Senate’s effort to make permanent the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer funding for abortion in spending bills.”

Trump’s video remarks came after a live introduction to the outdoor audience at the National Mall in Washington by Vice President Mike Pence, who called Trump “the most pro-life president in American history.”

“We know in our heart of hearts that life is winning in America again,” the vice president told the cheering audience from the stage, where his wife, Karen, stood next to him.

“We gather here because we stand for life. We gather here because we stand for compassion,” Pence said. “We gather here because we believe as our Founders did that we are all—all of us, born and unborn—endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights, and first among these is the right to life.”

The vice president said the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide 46 years ago this month, turned its back on that right.  

“But, in that moment, a movement was born—a movement defined by compassion and love, a movement animated by faith and truth, and a movement that has been winning hearts and minds every day since,” Pence said.

The vice president spoke after an introduction from his wife, who he defended after the left attacked her this week because she returned to work as a part-time art teacher at a Christian school in Springfield, Va., which adheres to traditional Christian beliefs on sex and marriage.

“My wife is many things. She’s a mother. She’s an advocate for military families. She’s traveled across this country,” Pence told the crowd. “She’s even an art teacher at a Christian school, and I couldn’t be more proud of my wife, second lady Karen Pence.”

Karen Pence praised the crowd that traveled from across the country to the annual march to stand up for life.

“Thank you for your stories of courage. Thank you for your stories of regret and forgiveness and starting over,” the second lady said. “Thank you for your stories of hope. Thank you for stories of inspiration. Thank you for your stories of truth.”

The post Trump Tells Annual March for Life He Will Veto Pro-Abortion Legislation appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

World’s 2 Most Populous Countries Listed Among Most Dangerous for Christians

Fri, 2019-01-18 18:29

Among the world’s 50 most dangerous countries for Christians listed in a new report are China and India, the two most populous countries.

Now in its 27th year, Christian advocacy organization Open Doors’ “World Watch List” is an annual survey of religious liberty conditions for Christians around the world, measuring the degree of freedom a person has to practice their religious beliefs.

In remarks Thursday at The Heritage Foundation, David Curry, the president and CEO of Open Doors USA, cited the rise of authoritarianism and nationalism in India and China as reasons for the unapologetic persecution of Christians. China moved up on the list from No. 43 to No. 27, and India placed at No. 10, cracking the list’s top 10 for the first time.

The Chinese government, Curry explained, has imposed policies on churches that violate their privacy and sanctity. For example, facial recognition technology is required by the state to track church members. Zion church, one of the churches that refused to integrate the technology, was forced to close for not complying with the Chinese government’s standards.

Installing the facial recognition technology reportedly aids the government in identifying certain groups of people that are banned from attending church service, such as educators, civil servants, college students, doctors, medical professionals, or individuals younger than 18.

Since Chinese President Xi Jinping has wielded state power to restrict Christianity, worship for unregistered churches has also become increasingly risky. Curry noted the arrest of Pastor Wang Yi along with around 150 Christians because he wouldn’t allow the Communist Party to change his church’s dogma.

“We believe everyone has the right to choose their own faith,” Curry asserted.

India has also pushed an agenda to aggressively purge Christianity, Curry remarked. Curry said Hindu nationalism has contributed immensely to religious persecution. Non-Hindus are outcasts in their own country. Many are victims of violence, especially Hindus who have converted into Christianity.

Curry urged CEOs of giant American corporations who are natives of these countries to speak out against such tragedies if they want to be part of the international business community.

Helene Fisher, a global gender persecution specialist, also spoke at the briefing and explained that religious persecution can be “gender specific.”

“Gender-specific persecution is an effective means of religious persecution. One of the major issues regarding female Christian persecution is forced marriage,” Fisher said. “Christian women are targeted because they raise children to become Christian.”

Below is the complete list of countries that made Open Doors’ World Watch List:

  1. North Korea
  2. Afghanistan
  3. Somalia
  4. Libya
  5. Pakistan
  6. Sudan
  7. Eritrea
  8. Yemen
  9. Iran
  10. India
  11. Syria
  12. Nigeria
  13. Iraq
  14. Maldives
  15. Saudi Arabia
  16. Egypt
  17. Uzbekistan
  18. Myanmar
  19. Laos
  20. Vietnam
  21. Central African Republic
  22. Algeria
  23. Turkmenistan
  24. Mali
  25. Mauritania
  26. Turkey
  27. China
  28. Ethiopia
  29. Tajikistan
  30. Indonesia
  31. Jordan
  32. Nepal
  33. Bhutan
  34. Kazakhstan
  35. Morocco
  36. Brunei
  37. Tunisia
  38. Qatar
  39. Mexico
  40. Kenya
  41. Russian Federation
  42. Malaysia
  43. Kuwait
  44. Oman
  45. United Arab Emirates
  46. Sri Lanka
  47. Colombia
  48. Bangladesh
  49. Palestinian Territories
  50. Azerbaijan

The post World’s 2 Most Populous Countries Listed Among Most Dangerous for Christians appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

‘Our Country Decided to Erase’ Our Children, Says Ben Shapiro at March for Life

Fri, 2019-01-18 17:54

Among the tens of thousands assembled in Washington for the 46th annual March for Life was conservative pundit and headliner Ben Shapiro.

Shapiro’s speech started with highlighting the noteworthy American ideals of “life and liberty,” urging Americans to move forward by protecting such values for the unborn.

“America was founded on the promise of God-given rights. Chief among them was life and liberty,” Shapiro said. “While America has imperfectly fulfilled that promise, we always move forward for the perfection of that promise.”

“We built the country for our children,” Shapiro added. “We built our lives for our children. And then something happened. Our country decided to erase them.”

He addressed the science community who, according to Shapiro, perpetuates false narratives regarding the origins of life:

We dehumanized the most human, the most innocent among us. We lied to ourselves. And then we built walls around that lie. We lied about the science. We falsified anti-scientific arguments about the origin of life. We pretended that human beings were not actual human beings.

Shapiro highlighted what he called euphemisms used to mask the horrors of killing the unborn, such as “termination of pregnancy,” “choice,” and “abortion.”

Shapiro also referenced Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a darling of the left, and his past statements about pro-lifers not being in line with where we are as a society. Shapiro agreed with that sentiment, stating, “We do live in a time where the Democratic Party embraces abortion as a sacrament.”

Shapiro went on to emphasize how many in the Republican Party have failed to fulfill their promises to defund Planned Parenthood while given the power to do so.

“We live in a time where pro-life nations around the world are loosening their own restrictions on the killing of the unborn,” Shapiro said, defining the pro-life movement’s alleged misalignment with the rest of society as unequivocally good.

Lawmakers who spoke at the rally included Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; and Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill.

The post ‘Our Country Decided to Erase’ Our Children, Says Ben Shapiro at March for Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

I Went to the March for Life. Here Are 7 Things I Saw.

Fri, 2019-01-18 17:43

Tens of thousands of pro-life activists from across the country gathered Friday in Washington to speak out against abortion by participating in the 46th annual March for Life.  

A massive crowd–made up of many high school and college students but also families, older Americans, and clergy—gathered on the National Mall for the rally that preceded the event before making their way along Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court.

Notable conservative leaders and influencers who addressed attendees included Ben Shapiro, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show” and editor-in-chief of The Daily Wire.

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence put in a surprise appearance.

I checked out the event for The Daily Signal, observing and talking with participants during my 13th year attending the march. Here are seven things I noticed:

1. A Thankfulness for Lives Spared

Kate Meldrum from Greenville, Indiana, said she attended the march this year because she could have lost her sister to abortion.

“I am here today to march for the unborn,” Meldrum said. “And when I was younger, my little sister Iris was born, and she had some birth defects, and they told my parents it would be a good idea to abort her.”

“And now she is fine, and she is my favorite little sister. So that’s why I march today.”  

2. Reclaiming Pink for Pro-Life

It’s so secret that abortion rights groups such as Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March have tried to monopolize the color pink in their branding to advocate abortion on demand.

Nathan Berning, of Fort Wayne, Indiana, said he and friends were at the march to “take pink back” with their pink pro-life wristbands.

“That’s our campaign,” Berning said. “Let Them Live is the organization that we founded. Basically the whole mission is to take pink back and save lives from abortion.”

3. Young Women for Life

Susanna Edwards of Delta, Pennsylvania, dressed in a skirt made with baby onesies.

Edwards said she was marching “because I believe that all human lives have value and I believe that if we would stir up affection for the unborn, it would fuel us to protect them.”

4. An Absence of Profanity and Offensive Language

I’ve gone to or observed “civil rights” and LGBT rights marches that pointedly included signs, T-shirts, and other memorabilia using profanity and offensive language.

That was one thing I did not see at the March for Life.

In stark contrast, there were no signs using the f-word and the p-word.

5.  Advocating Pro-Life Rights as Civil Rights

Linda Lohberger, who traveled from Ohio, held a sign quoting civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr..

Lohberger said she attended the March for Life with her husband.

They are part of Save the Storks, a pro-life organization that works with pregnancy care centers and employs medical mobile units across the country to provide alternatives to abortion.

6. An Atmosphere of Joy, Not Hate   

One young man from Virginia who declined to give his name said the contrast he sees between the March for Life and other “civil rights” marches is stark.

“At the Women’s March and immigration protests, nobody is having fun and everybody is angry,” he said. “Here at the March for Life, everyone is happy and having a good time.”

7. Love for Moms and Babies

Oftentimes, the pro-life movement is characterized as advocating only for babies, without any care or concern for mothers.

At the March for Life, that characterization was shown to be clearly false.

“I love the value of life, and you hear so many stories about people not being able to get pregnant, or having to adopt,” said a woman who gave her name only as Amber.

“We always think of that as a second option,” she said, “but really, life is the first option, and preserving the life of everyone and every human being.”

The post I Went to the March for Life. Here Are 7 Things I Saw. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

‘We All Agree … Every Life Is Sacred’: Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Speaks at March for Life

Fri, 2019-01-18 17:42

Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers spoke at the rally preceding the 46th annual March for Life.

“We have all kinds of ideas on all kinds of different issues,” said Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill. “We don’t agree on everything. We have Republicans, independents, Democrats.”

“But we’re all here because we all agree on one thing: Every life is sacred and needs to be protected.”

Rep. Katrina Jackson, a Democrat state lawmaker from Louisiana, addressed the bipartisan efforts of pro-life legislation and said Louisiana was the top pro-life state in the country. When questioned about her pro-life position as a black female Democrat, Jackson said, she responds, “Because I am a Christian first.”

Throughout Jackson’s speech, she chanted “We fight” and the crowd finished the statement with “for life.”

Republicans who spoke included President Donald Trump, via video; Vice President Mike Pence; Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont.; and Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J.

Pence, who was joined by his wife Karen, urged the participants to “stand strong.”

“To all gathered here today: We urge you to stand strong,” Pence said. “Be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have. Be prepared to defend life. But do so with gentleness and respect.”

“They will attack you,” he added. “They will question your hearts to silence others. But don’t listen to them. Listen to the truth.”

Smith said, “The shocking number of unborn children killed in America is unconscionable: 2,500 each day, approximately 61 million dead babies since 1973—a death toll that equates with the entire population of Italy.”

He also sounded a warning note about House Democrats.

“The new Democratic majority in the House has made it clear that they wanted to eviscerate all pro-life protections, including the Hyde [Amendment banning] taxpayer funding {of] abortion, which has saved over 2 million lives since it’s been enacted,” Smith said.

Daines brought up his career experience when talking about his convictions.

“I’m the only chemical engineer in Congress,” Daines said. “The science is clear: Life begins at conception. And because of that, every life must be valued and every life must be protected.”

The post ‘We All Agree … Every Life Is Sacred’: Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Speaks at March for Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

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