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Updated: 1 hour 34 min ago

Podcast: The Pro-Life Victories in the Midterm Elections

3 hours 36 min ago

There was a lot of good news for pro-lifers in the 2018 election results—and proof that talking about pro-life values is the way to win over, not lose, voters. Mallory Quigley, vice president of communications for the Susan B. Anthony List, joins us to discuss the group’s door-to-door efforts, and what they saw through contact with thousands of voters directly. Plus: Democrats are much more likely to think that Republicans are racist/bigoted/sexist than vice versa.

We also cover these stories:

  • President Donald Trump issued a statement about journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, saying, “Our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”
  • Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee are preparing to investigate Ivanka Trump’s use of a personal email account.
  • Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke suggested “radical environmental groups” were part of the problem regarding the massive fires that have been devastating the country.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

The post Podcast: The Pro-Life Victories in the Midterm Elections appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Fruits of College Indoctrination

3 hours 37 min ago

Much of today’s incivility and contempt for personal liberty has its roots on college campuses, and most of the uncivil and contemptuous are people with college backgrounds. Let’s look at a few highly publicized recent examples of incivility and attacks on free speech.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and his wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, were accosted and harassed by a deranged left-wing mob as they were leaving a dinner at Georgetown University. McConnell was harassed by protesters at Reagan National Airport, as well as at several venues in Kentucky.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his wife were harassed at a Washington, D.C., restaurant. Afterward, a group called Smash Racism DC wrote: “No—you can’t eat in peace—your politics are an attack on all of us. You’re [sic] votes are a death wish. Your votes are hate crimes.”

Other members of Congress—such as Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., and Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rand Paul, R-Ky.—have been physically attacked or harassed by leftists.

Most recent is the case of Fox News political commentator Tucker Carlson. A leftist group showed up at his house at night, damaging his front door and chanting, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night! Racist scumbag, leave town!”

Mayhem against people with different points of view is excused as just deserts for what is seen as hate speech. American Enterprise Institute scholar Charles Murray discovered this when he was shouted down at Middlebury College; the professor escorting him was sent to the hospital with injuries.

Students at the University of California, Berkeley, shut down a controversial speaker and caused riot damage estimated at $100,000. Protesters at both UCLA and Claremont McKenna College disrupted scheduled lectures by Manhattan Institute scholar Heather Mac Donald.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has discovered so-called bias response teams on hundreds of American college campuses. Bias response teams report to campus officials—and sometimes to law enforcement officers—speech that may cause “alarm, anger, or fear” or that might otherwise offend. Drawing pictures or cartoons that belittle people because of their beliefs or political affiliation can be reported as hate speech.

Universities expressly set their sights on prohibiting constitutionally protected speech. As FIRE reported in 2017, hundreds of universities nationwide now maintain Orwellian systems that ask students to report—often anonymously—their neighbors, friends, and professors for any instances of supposed biased speech and expression.

A recent Brookings Institution poll found that nearly half of college students believe that hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment. That’s nonsense; it is.

Fifty-one percent of college students think they have a right to shout down a speaker with whom they disagree. Nineteen percent of students think that it’s acceptable to use violence to prevent a speaker from speaking. Over 50 percent agree that colleges should prohibit speech and viewpoints that might offend certain people.

One should not be surprised at all if these visions are taught and held by many of their professors. Colleges once taught and promoted an understanding of Western culture. Today many professors and the college bureaucracy teach students that they are victims of Western culture and values.

Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Whoever would overthrow the Liberty of a Nation, must begin by subduing the Freeness of Speech.”

Much later, Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said, “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”

From the Nazis to Stalinists to Maoists, tyrants have always started out supporting free speech, just as American leftists did during the 1960s. Their support for free speech is easy to understand. Speech is vital for the realization of their goals of command, control, and confiscation. The right to say what they please is their tool for indoctrination, propagandizing, and proselytization.

Once the leftists gain control, as they have at many universities, free speech becomes a liability and must be suppressed. This is increasingly the case on university campuses.

Much of the off-campus incivility we see today is the fruit of what a college education has done to our youth.


The post The Fruits of College Indoctrination appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

In a Turkey Day ‘Recount,’ Trump Pardons Both Peas and Carrots

Tue, 2018-11-20 18:42

President Donald Trump has pardoned Peas, a 39-pound turkey that traveled all the way from South Dakota to be dubbed the 2018 National Thanksgiving Turkey.

Reporters, White House officials, and families gathered Tuesday in the White House Rose Garden to witness one of America’s most unusual traditions.

Americans this week were given the opportunity to vote on which turkey—Peas or buddy Carrots—should receive the formal presidential pardon, sparing him from becoming Thanksgiving dinner.

The nation chose Peas, but Trump pardoned both.

Trump drew laughter from the crowd when he put a political spin on the action.

“This was a fair election. Unfortunately, Carrots refused to concede and demanded a recount, and we are still fighting with Carrots. And I will tell you, we have come to a conclusion,”  the president said. “Carrots, I’m sorry to tell you: The result did not change.”

Trump added: “Even though Peas and Carrots have received a presidential pardon, I have warned them that House Democrats are likely to issue them both subpoenas.”

“All joking aside,” the president said, “this is a time for Americans to unite together in a spirit of love, understanding, unity, and joy, as one very proud American family.”

Peas and Carrots will live out their days at Virginia Tech’s “Gobbler’s Rest” in Blacksburg, Virginia, where they will be cared for by veterinarians at the school’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. 

The informal tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving is actually relatively new, but turkeys and other birds have been delivered to the White House for various purposes for many years.  

Presidents were gifted turkeys from friends and supporters beginning in the 1870s, according to White House history. President Harry Truman, contrary to popular myth, did not begin the turkey-pardoning tradition.

Truman became associated with poultry during the fall of 1947, when the government encouraged “poultry-less Thursdays” so that Americans would cut back on food waste following World War II.

Realizing that Thanksgiving and Christmas of 1947 and New Year’s Day 1948 were all to fall on Thursdays, poultry producers protested the president’s anti-turkey campaign by sending crates of live chickens to the White House.

Unfortunately for turkeys all over the country, the protests were effective, and Truman backed off his anti-poultry campaign.

In December of that year, the Poultry and Egg National Board and the National Turkey Federation gave Truman a turkey as a gift. For the next 20 years or so, presidents were presented with a turkey every holiday season. Occasionally, the president “pardoned” the bird as a goodwill gesture.

President Ronald Reagan was the first to consistently send the presented holiday turkey to a farm to live out its days, and was the first to use the term “pardon” in association with the birds.

NPR recounted the humorous bit of history in a recent article, explaining that in 1987, Reagan determined that a turkey named Charlie should live out its days at a local petting zoo.

Shortly after the lighthearted ceremony, a reporter asked Reagan whether he would pardon two of the individuals involved in the Iran-Contra scandal at that time—Oliver North and John Poindexter.

The president deflected the question by responding: “If they’d given me a different answer on Charlie and his future, I would have pardoned him.”

It was President George H.W. Bush who, in 1989, first formally pardoned the Thanksgiving turkey and made the ceremony an American tradition.

The post In a Turkey Day ‘Recount,’ Trump Pardons Both Peas and Carrots appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Left Tears Down Churchill, Ignores His Actual Record on Racism

Tue, 2018-11-20 18:20

There are many reasons I pity today’s younger generation of Americans.

Among them are:

–The unconscionable debt we are leaving them.

–The obliteration of male and female as separate and distinct categories–and the sexual confusion that is left in its wake.

–The emasculation of men and the de-feminization of women.

–The undermining of the value of marriage.

–The lack of God and religion in their lives–and the consequent search for meaning in the wrong places.

–The receiving of indoctrination, rather than education, in most schools from elementary through graduate.

–The inability to celebrate being American.

Tragically and ironically, each one of these was brought on by the very group many young people identify with: the left.

You can add the left’s tearing down of heroes to the list.

This came to mind this past month, when world-famous astronaut Scott Kelly, who spent a year on board the International Space Station, among other space-related achievements, tweeted the following message in commenting on the deep divisions in American politics: “One of the greatest leaders of modern times, Sir Winston Churchill, said, ‘In victory, magnanimity.’ I guess those days are over.”

He was then widely attacked on social media–for quoting former British Prime Minister Churchill and deeming him a great leader. According to the trolls, Kelly is now in league with the hateful, racist Winston Churchill.

As I repeatedly point out, if you do not understand the left is a wholly destructive force whose primary mission is to tear down the leading institutions and individuals of the Western world, you do not understand the left.

Thus, to many–perhaps most–young Americans, the Founding Fathers of America were not the giants you and I believe them to be. They were rich, racist, misogynistic white men.

Now it is Churchill’s turn to be torn down. It means nothing to the left that he led the world in fighting the greatest racist of all time, Adolf Hitler, and the greatest racist ideology of all time, Nazism.

All that matters is that he made some race-based comments about English cultural (not racial) superiority and that he was allegedly complicit in the Bengal famine of 1943 in which between 1.5 and 3 million Indians died.

With regard to the latter, Churchill’s left-wing detractors claim Churchill said the famine was the Indians’ fault for “breeding like rabbits.”

But this is overwhelmingly, if not entirely, left-wing smear. Regarding Churchill’s attitude toward Indians “breeding like rabbits,” Andrew Roberts writes in his just-published 1,000-page authoritative biography of Churchill:

Churchill had previously long instanced the astonishing population growth in India in the first four decades of the twentieth century as a mark of the success of the Empire and in November 1942 he was still boasting to the Spanish Ambassador, the Duke of Alba, “Since the English occupation of India the native population has increased by a hundred million. Since the American War of Independence, the Red Indian population has practically died out.”

As regards Churchill’s racism, Roberts writes of Churchill as early as 1900:

Churchill had no sympathy for the aggressive white supremacism of the Afrikaner, from which his own paternalistic instincts were entirely different. He wrote of a future South African society in which “Black is to be proclaimed the same as white … to be constituted his legal equal, to be armed with political rights,” a prospect that infuriated Afrikaners no less than would be “a tigress robbed of her cubs.”

And as regards the Bengal famine, Churchill’s official biographer, the late Sir Martin Gilbert, whom I personally knew to be among the most honest writers I ever met, said:

Churchill was not responsible for the Bengal Famine. I have been searching for evidence for years: none has turned up. The 1944 Document volume of the official biography (Hillsdale College Press) will resolve this issue finally.

But none of this matters to the left. As I wrote previously, those on the left regard themselves as Ubermenschen, superior to all those who lived before them and all those who differ with them today.

But the worst part of the Scott Kelly story is the astronaut’s immediate reaction to the negative tweets:

Did not mean to offend by quoting Churchill. My apologies. I will go and educate myself further on his atrocities, racist views which I do not support.

In Kelly’s view, Winston Churchill went from “one of the greatest leaders of modern times” to a man whose “atrocities and racist views” he will further educate himself on.

You know why? Because in America today, the greatest fear is fear of the left. Apparently, the left is even scarier than outer space.


The post The Left Tears Down Churchill, Ignores His Actual Record on Racism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Hollywood’s One-Sided Narrative on ‘Conversion Therapy’

Tue, 2018-11-20 17:26

Hollywood is presenting only one side of the debate over counseling for those who experience unwanted same-sex attraction, and it is seeking to silence those who can offer help to the struggling.

Recent films like “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” and “Boy Erased”—both based on true stories—tell the stories of individuals who had negative or even abusive experiences in these kinds of therapies. Activist groups like the Human Rights Campaign and GLAAD are pushing these films to argue for so-called “conversion therapy bans” for minors and for adults.

However, these kinds of laws fail to take into account important concerns about individual freedom—particularly the freedom of patients to have access to all available information that can help them.

Absent from Hollywood’s portrayal of these therapies are the stories of people who actively sought out counseling and had positive experiences.

Take Ken Williams. He bravely shared his story with the California state Legislature earlier this year when the state considered an expansive bill that banned “sexual orientation change efforts,” with expansive and often unclear implications for freedom of speech.

Williams was attracted to men for most of his life, but wanted to change. So he found a therapist and a support group who helped him to pursue that.

“Some of us experienced the change we were looking for in that group, but not everyone did,” he shared. “Despite years of homosexual identity and behavior, my sexual desires did change. I am no longer sexually attracted to men,” he said.

Williams soon met a girl he was attracted to, and they married in 2006.

“Not everyone who finds themselves with same-sex desires [wants] to pursue that,” he said. “So I am trying to understand why people would want to take away the rights of my [group], which is people finding themselves with desires they would like to see changed.”

The California bill would have defined sexual orientation change efforts as “any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex.”

Such broad terminology that includes not only attractions, but actions, has drastic implications for individual freedom.

Such counseling bans completely dismiss the needs of individuals who genuinely desire to pursue counseling, sometimes because of inner conflicts. It also limits the speech of counselors or ministries that support individuals in their personal choice not to act on these desires.

This bill, and others like it, would have granted state government the power to punish counselors or religious leaders acting as licensed counselors who counsel patients who do not wish to act upon their same-sex attraction for legitimate personal reasons—for example, someone who wants to live by their religion’s teachings on sexuality or to remain faithful to their spouse and children.

Ultimately, the representative who introduced this bill into the California Legislature pulled it due to its overly broad language and sweeping implications.

But this will unlikely be the last time state lawmakers consider an outright ban on counseling that they do not consider sufficiently LGBT-affirming.

Fifteen states plus D.C. already have such counseling bans for youth in place, and activists are using these latest films to call for even more bans.

No one is in favor of allowing any kind of abuse to masquerade as “therapy.” But counseling bans are the wrong tool for addressing actual cases of abuse. Silencing speech only limits the options of people who wish to live consistent with what they believe about sexuality.

Banning one side’s speech is not the solution. Unfortunately, the incomplete narrative offered by Hollywood only buttresses these efforts.

We should take into account the legitimate needs of those who wish to pursue therapy that supports their lifestyle choices, even if they don’t conform to the latest cultural trends.

Only then will our public policy simultaneously protect and respect the freedom of everyone.

The post Hollywood’s One-Sided Narrative on ‘Conversion Therapy’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Amazon, Brags About Keeping Walmart Out

Tue, 2018-11-20 17:26

As New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio rolls out the red carpet for half of Amazon’s new “HQ2” in Long Island City, he’s doubling down on his efforts to block another big company from getting a bite of the Big Apple: Walmart.

“Walmart does not belong in New York City,” de Blasio declared on a Friday radio segment while defending the city’s generous tax breaks for HQ2.

“I was actively involved in the effort to keep Walmart out of New York City, [and] I would, this very day, re-engage that effort if Walmart made any effort to come back in. We have all worked together to keep them out, and we have succeeded in keeping them out,” he said.

For Amazon, de Blasio is doing the exact opposite. Rather than blocking the tech giant from the streets of New York, he’s incentivizing it to come in.

In justifying that decision, de Blasio explained that with Walmart, “we were dealing with there was the actual stores.” But “Amazon,” he said, “is part of the American economy.” (As if Walmart is not? Surely, that’s news to the 1.5 million Americans that Walmart employs.) De Blasio continued:

Whatever you like or dislike about Amazon, Walmart is an entirely different universe in terms of the systematic efforts that they have undertaken to not only undermine labor, small business, the environment, American workers, and obviously, the politics of [Walmart’s owners] the Walton family to add to it.

The Walton family was traditionally known for donating to Republican candidates. But more recently, members of the family have backed the Clintons.

Perhaps it should come as no surprise that de Blasio thinks a person’s political views are fair grounds for keeping their business from New York City. He did, after all, encourage a boycott against Chick-fil-A because of the owner’s religious beliefs. But this is nonsense. City officials have no business banning companies from entering their city based on religion or politics.

Moreover, de Blasio appears confused about what Amazon and Walmart do—in many ways, the two companies are quite alike. Both make purchasing goods easier and more accessible by lowering costs for consumers, and in the process, create millions of jobs for working Americans.

Sadly, much of their success comes at the expense of small businesses, which is an unfortunate consequence of the free market. The good news is, our economy has proven it can adapt.

Where Amazon and Walmart differ is in their business models. The former, almost entirely online, relies on shipping goods, while the latter mostly relies on old-fashioned brick-and-mortar storefronts.

Yes, Walmart wants to open storefronts in New York City and Amazon is building new headquarters. But ultimately, both Walmart and Amazon put small businesses out of work. (If anything, Amazon is a bigger threat to small businesses given its size and growth potential.)

In keeping Walmart out of New York City, but incentivizing Amazon to come in, de Blasio is engaging in crony capitalism. Worse, he is putting ideological politics over adding thousands of jobs that would directly benefit New York’s economy. Jobs he apparently thinks New Yorkers are too good for.

And as an aside, does de Blasio really think all those Amazon cardboard shipping boxes are good for the environment?

If New York’s mayor is concerned about protecting small businesses, he should have thought twice before rubber-stamping Amazon’s new HQ2 through billion-dollar tax credits and other incentives that local mom-and-pop shops don’t get.

De Blasio also should have thought twice before demonizing President Donald Trump’s tax-cut plan, which attempted to extend similar benefits he gave Amazon to all businesses across America. (Perhaps, without the helipad.)

A bite of the Big Apple should be for anyone’s taking. Instead of picking winners and losers, de Blasio should get out of the way.

The post NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Rolls Out the Red Carpet for Amazon, Brags About Keeping Walmart Out appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

A Judge Will Likely Rule Against Obamacare. Here’s What Should Happen Next.

Tue, 2018-11-20 17:16

A federal judge is expected to rule soon on whether Obamacare’s individual mandate is constitutional without a tax penalty to enforce it, and if it is not, whether the rest of Obamacare’s provisions (including its insurance regulations) are no longer operative.

If the judge rules against Obamacare, as many predict, brace yourself for a tsunami of hysteria. Washington’s chattering class will proclaim that the apocalypse is fast upon us, with millions of Americans with chronic illnesses at risk of losing their insurance coverage.

But the ruling would do nothing of the sort, even if the Supreme Court were to uphold it. In the near term, it most likely will have no effect at all.

What it would do, however, is give states new space to create policies that benefit their own residents—the sick, the healthy, and the poor. For that reason, Congress should resist the urge to act in haste.

A Case Years in the Making

This case, Texas v. Azar, arises from a series of Washington blunders.

Democrats clumsily crafted the Obamacare statute. Republicans bungled its repeal. And on two occasions, Chief Justice John Roberts employed “somersaults of statutory interpretation,” as the late Justice Antonin Scalia dubbed them, to save Obamacare. Yet these decisions made further legal challenges to the law virtually inevitable.

At the heart of the Texas v. Azar case is the so-called individual mandate—the requirement that all Americans have health insurance. Six years ago, Roberts held that Congress has no constitutional authority to impose such a requirement. But he sustained the mandate because it levied a tax on the uninsured. In his convoluted reasoning, Congress cannot require you to buy insurance, but it can tax you for not buying it.

Last December, congressional Republicans left the mandate on the books, but reduced the tax penalty to $0. Plaintiffs in Texas v. Azar argue that a tax of $0 is no tax at all. Citing Roberts’ reasoning, they assert that the mandate without the tax is unconstitutional.

They further argue that if the mandate falls, the rest of Obamacare must fall with it. Once again they cite Roberts, who looked beyond the law’s “plain meaning” to its “context and structure” which, he said, inextricably bound the individual mandate to the law’s regulations and subsidies.

Under Roberts’ reasoning, plaintiffs argue, the courts must strike the individual mandate and the law’s subsidies, regulations and Medicaid expansion along with it.

Trump administration lawyers agree that the individual mandate is unconstitutional. They also agree that the pre-existing condition regulations can’t be severed from the mandate, something the Obama administration also asserted. But Justice Department lawyers also argue, however, that the court should leave the subsidies and Medicaid expansion in place.

Whatever the judge decides, his ruling likely will have no immediate effect on the federal regulations. It may be years before the Supreme Court issues a ruling, although it could act much more quickly.

But even if the high court were to strike down the federal rules, states would retain the authority to regulate health insurance.

Nearly every state—not the federal government—currently enforces the Obamacare insurance regulations. The Obamacare statute gives the federal government power to enforce those rules in states that have chosen not to do so. Texas v. Azar could strike down the federal government’s regulations, but it would leave intact the authority of states to regulate insurance.

States have taken a variety of approaches to enforcing Obamacare’s requirements. Some state legislatures have simply written them into state law. Those state laws are beyond the reach of federal judges. Other states have incorporated federal statutes by reference. For example, some state laws require insurers to meet community rating requirements “established by the ACA.” Still others apply these regulations through administrative actions.

If the Supreme Court were to invalidate the federal regulations, it’s possible that enforcement in these states may be vulnerable to legal challenge.

What States Can Do

States needn’t wait for the Supreme Court to rule or Congress to legislate. They can act now. Every state goes into their legislative sessions next year.

Governors and legislatures in many states may favor writing the federal statute into their state codes. As the recent elections showed, these regulations are politically potent. Conservative lawmakers who once denounced the pre-existing condition regulations in the name of freedom embraced them in the hope of re-election. Few candidates promised voters they would repeal those regulations.

But states would also be free to explore other ideas ways to protect people who have pre-existing conditions without pricing health insurance out of the reach of those who don’t. States could pursue innovative regulatory approaches to improve their insurance markets, approaches that would take effect were the Supreme Court to strike down the federal regulations.

Sadly, Congress will likely lapse into apoplexy if a federal judge finds the pre-existing condition laws unconstitutional, even though the ruling would have no immediate effect. Republicans will hastily draft bills to restore those regulations and Democrats will engage in legislative extortion, claiming that GOP proposals don’t go far enough or, as one commercial posited, could be deadly to people with pre-existing conditions.

A different approach is needed. Instead of racing to legislate in reaction to a decision whose practical effects might be years away, Congress should press pause.

Obamacare is the product of bipartisan malpractice. Both parties now own it. With control of the House and Senate divided and culpability broadly shared, lawmakers should take a clear-eyed look at what went wrong.

An honest inquiry into Obamacare’s failure would lead to two conclusions: 1) Washington created this mess, and 2) Washington cannot clean it up.

States can. Congress should support their efforts to repair federally-inflicted damage to their private markets. The Health Care Choices Proposal, the product of state and Washington-based think tanks, grassroots organizations and conservative analysts, outlines what such federal legislation should look like.

This proposal would replace the Obamacare entitlements with grants to states. States would use the grants to establish consumer-centered programs that make health insurance affordable regardless of income or medical condition. They would be required to devote more public resources to meeting the medical needs of those with chronic illness and give low-income people direct control over their public subsidies.

Texas v. Azar likely will incite another episode of Washington hysteria and irrationality. It also will give states the chance to divert health care policy from its calamitous course.

Congress should proceed deliberately and let states lead the way.

The post A Judge Will Likely Rule Against Obamacare. Here’s What Should Happen Next. appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Rips 9th Circuit, Next Stop for Asylum Case, as ‘Disgrace’

Tue, 2018-11-20 17:11

The Trump administration will defend its policy on asylum after a federal judge temporarily halted it as thousands of migrants in a “caravan” wait to enter the United States at Tijuana, Mexico.

Speaking to reporters late Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump said he was upset the case has to be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. One of the most liberal appeals courts in the country, its judges have ruled against other administration policies.

“It’s a disgrace what happens in the 9th Circuit,” Trump said. “We will win this case in the Supreme Court.”

Trump said he would file a “a major complaint” about the 9th Circuit, but didn’t specify to whom he would complain, or what type of complaint it would be.

“Every case gets filed in the 9th Circuit,” the president said. “We get beaten, and then we end up having to go to the Supreme Court. Like the travel ban that we won. The 9th Circuit, we are going to have to look at that.”

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar of the Northern District of California in San Francisco issued the temporary restraining order against the administration’s asylum rules, which required those illegally crossing the southern border to register at a legal port of entry. Tigar is an appointee of President Barack Obama.

Tigar’s order is effective immediately, but lasts only until Dec. 19, when a new hearing for a longer injunction will occur.

Trump also vented his frustration about Tigar.

“This was an Obama judge, and I’ll tell you what, this is not going to happen anymore,” Trump vowed. “It means an automatic loss, no matter what you do. … People should not be allowed to immediately run to this very friendly circuit and file their case.”

However, as a legal matter, the judge is correct, said David Inserra, a policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation who specializes in homeland security.

“While the Trump administration rightly recognizes that U.S. borders must be protected and that loopholes and poorly laws are contributing to illegal immigration at the U.S. border, ultimately it is Congress that needs to fix this mess,” Inserra told The Daily Signal.

“Only congressional action to fix loopholes—such as the Flores settlement, the well-meaning Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act, and weak asylum laws—can solve the chaos at our southern border and [it] should be the No. 1 priority in the lame-duck period,” he said.

The 1997 Flores settlement established a policy covering minors who crossed the border unaccompanied by adults. It determined that the federal government would release those minors from custody to parents, relatives, or other caretakers after no more than 20 days, or, alternatively, determine the “least restrictive” setting for the child.

The district judge’s ruling almost certainly will be overturned when it reaches the Supreme Court, said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Mehlman cited the Supreme Court ruling upholding the Trump administration’s policy of “extreme vetting” for travelers to the U.S. from terrorism-prone countries, most of them with Muslim majorities.

Some called the policy a “travel ban,” and critics called it a “Muslim ban.”

“The Supreme Court has already determined the president has authority to decide who enters the country in the travel ban case,” Mehlman told The Daily Signal. “This is just a way for the other side to run out the clock. You can always find an activist judge.”

The judge’s ruling is “absurd,” asserted a joint statement Tuesday from Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman and Justice Department spokesman Steven Stafford.

“Congress has given the president broad authority to limit or even stop the entry of aliens into this country,” they said, adding:

Further, asylum is a discretionary benefit given by the executive branch only when legal conditions are met and a favorable exercise of discretion is warranted. It is lawful and appropriate that this discretionary benefit not be given to those who violate a lawful and tailored presidential proclamation aimed at controlling immigration in the national interest.

We look forward to continuing to defend the executive branch’s legitimate and well-reasoned exercise of its authority to address the crisis at our southern border.

The American Civil Liberties Union led the lawsuit on behalf of the migrants crossing Mexico from Central America, claiming Trump’s Nov. 9 order violated the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. That law states that a foreigner arriving in the United States may seek asylum regardless of whether he or she is authorized to be in the country.

“The rule barring asylum for immigrants who enter the country outside a port of entry irreconcilably conflicts with the INA and the expressed intent of Congress,” Tigar wrote, referring to that law. “Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden.”

The post Trump Rips 9th Circuit, Next Stop for Asylum Case, as ‘Disgrace’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

5 Reasons to Go See ‘Instant Family’

Tue, 2018-11-20 16:08

I walked out of the theater surprised after viewing the new movie “Instant Family,” starring silver-screen heavyweights Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne as foster parents.  It was not what I expected.

The film features Wahlberg as Pete and Byrne as Ellie, an upper-middle-class married couple who decide on a whim to foster three children—Lita, Juan, and Lizzy—played by Julianna Gamiz, Gustavo Quiroz, and Isabela Moner.

As someone who has volunteered with multiple adoption and foster advocacy organizations over the years, I have learned a lot about the challenges of bringing foster children into one’s home.

Movies that feature foster care and adoption storylines often miss the opportunity to highlight the whole picture. Because “Instant Family” was directed by Sean Anders, an adoptive father of three, the film offers a unique level of honesty.

I found the film refreshing in five distinct ways:

 1. The comedy will surprise you.

Since I am naturally drawn to stories about adoption, I expected “Instant Family to make me cry, but I ended up laughing throughout much of the film.  

One of my favorite scenes was one we have all witnessed, and many of us have had the humbling pleasure of experiencing firsthand. Parents Ellie and Pete are at the store with their three foster children when the youngest, Lita, demands to have a certain Barbie doll. Ellie says “no” and all hell ensues, with store employees and shoppers gawking in disgust.

Life with kids, whether they are your biological or adopted children, is often messy and complicated. The film showcases the importance of finding humor in the craziness to gain perspective or make it through.

2. It’s brutally honest.

Forget the sweet tale of Little Orphan Annie. All three children in “Instant Family” have major challenges and hurts they are working through.

Much of the plot focuses on the oldest child, Lizzy, a 15-year-old who has spent much of her life raising her two younger siblings while her mom was strung out on methamphetamine or in prison. Lizzy is tough and does what many foster children do when they see love coming their way—push it as far away as they can because the thought of love has only let them down.

Ellie and Pete reach a breaking point as foster parents early on. After all the warm sentiments of “rescuing” three orphaned children evaporate, they admit to each other that they have made a mistake.

Of course, this is not the end of the story, but it is an uncomfortable yet human admission. I applaud Anders for recognizing the internal struggle some foster and adoptive parents face.

3. It debunks foster care myths.

“Instant Family” tackles misconceptions that so many people believe when considering becoming a foster parent.

—You have to be really special to foster a child. Not everyone is meant to foster or adopt a child, but you do not have to be superhuman to love a child in need of a home. Ordinary people with problems of their own serve as successful foster or adoptive parents.

—Older kids are too far gone. This is my favorite myth that “Instant Family” demolishes. Yes, older children tend to come with more challenges, but the challenge is worth it.

—A “cosmic connection” occurs when you meet your foster child. Building a relationship with a child takes a lot of effort and time. As the film illustrates, there likely won’t be a magical spark that instantly binds you together.

4. It celebrates marriage.

It can be difficult to find a contemporary movie in the mainstream that paints marriage in a positive light. “Instant Family not only honors marriage, but puts some of its most beautiful qualities on display.

Pete and Ellie survive the chaos of bringing three children into their home because they are willing to do it together. They learn to work as a team, not allowing their kids, parents, or work break down their relationship.

5. We can all relate.

Regardless of whether you want children, “Instant Family” is a relatable story.

The movie puts much of life’s dirty laundry on the line—from the wounds of abandonment and abuse to the challenges of dealing with critical extended family members.

At some point in our lives, we all find ourselves doing something we feel unqualified to do. “Instant Family” reminds its audience to savor those special moments when we choose to step back, laugh, and remember that it is OK to find ourselves in over our heads sometimes.

If you plan to see “Instant Family,” keep in mind that it is rated PG-13 and may not be appropriate for children. The movie includes language that may be offensive to some, sexual references, and other mature content.

The post 5 Reasons to Go See ‘Instant Family’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Ivanka Trump’s Personal Email Use Could Be a Gift to Democrats Looking to Investigate White House

Tue, 2018-11-20 13:38

Ivanka Trump used a private email account in 2017 to conduct official government business, according to a White House review. The news gives incoming House Democrats another potential opening for congressional oversight hearings.

The first daughter’s email use included exchanges with Cabinet secretaries, among other forms of correspondence, The New York Times reported Monday night, citing sources who’ve seen the emails. The story also places more pressure on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to cave into Democratic members who are intent on wrapping the White House in probes.

The Washington Post initially reported on the scope of Trump’s email use, noting Monday that there were several related to government business, but hundreds of others related to schedules. Her email usage also rehashes reports from 2016 concerning Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was the secretary of state.

Abbe Lowell, a lawyer for Trump, did not respond to The New York Times’ request for comment but a spokesman for the lawyer confirmed again that Trump had used personal email for a time before she transitioned into government.

“To address misinformation being peddled about Ms. Trump’s personal email, she did not create a private server in her house or office, there was never classified information transmitted, the account was never transferred or housed at Trump Organization, no emails were ever deleted and the emails have been retained in the official account in conformity with records preservation laws and rules,” the spokesman, Peter Mirijanian, said in a statement.

Democrats, meanwhile, are pushing back against a concerted effort to elect Pelosi as the next House speaker—one of the major bugaboos among many in her caucus is the California Democrat’s willingness to subpoena the Trump administration.

Sixteen Democrats—12 incumbent representatives, three incoming House freshmen, and one candidate who has not yet won his seat—signed a letter opposing Pelosi’s campaign. They claim the party needs a new direction.

The Monday letter puts a substantial crimp in Pelosi’s plan. She needs 218 votes among lawmakers present and voting to be elected speaker in January. House Democrats won 233 seats, meaning she can only afford to lose 15 votes. Any reports riling up the progressive members of the Democratic Party will only exert more pressure on Pelosi to issue a tsunami of probes against President Donald Trump.

Incoming House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff told “Axios on HBO” on Nov. 13 that every committee will focus on investigating the Trump administration and providing oversight to a variety of issues that Democrats believe could be damning to Republicans. Schiff will take over for current House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, as Republicans lost majority in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The post Ivanka Trump’s Personal Email Use Could Be a Gift to Democrats Looking to Investigate White House appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Schumer Calls for Probe on Whitaker’s Ties to Trump

Tue, 2018-11-20 13:07

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called for a probe into Matthew Whitaker’s ties to President Donald Trump in a Tuesday letter to Michael Horowitz, the inspector general of the Department of Justice.

“I am particularly concerned about whether Mr. Whitaker may have shared with the White House, or could share in his new role, confidential grand jury or investigative information from the Special Counsel investigation or any criminal investigation,” Schumer wrote in the letter addressed to Horowitz.

This comes as three Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee filed a lawsuit Monday to block acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker from the position, asking a judge to deem it unconstitutional.

Schumer also said, “Unauthorized disclosure of information—especially to a target or subject in the investigation—may implement criminal contempt of court, obstruction of justice, or the Department of Justice’s long-standing policy regarding contacts with the White House related to criminal investigations or cases.”

The letter comes as Trump appointed Whitaker to temporarily take over as attorney general after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to resign from the position.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The post Schumer Calls for Probe on Whitaker’s Ties to Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Judge Stops Trump Asylum Ban as Migrant Caravan Nears

Tue, 2018-11-20 12:33

A federal judge in California issued a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration’s new asylum rules early Tuesday morning.

U.S. District Court Judge Jon Tigar said that Congress extended asylum eligibility to all comers, and the president may not impose contrary terms.

“Whatever the scope of the president’s authority, he may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden,” Tigar’s decision reads. Tigar is an Obama appointee to the federal trial court in San Francisco.

President Donald Trump issued an order on Nov. 9 denying asylum for all foreign nationals who enter the country illegally for a 90-day period. The American Civil Liberties Union challenged the proclamation in court, arguing it violates the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

Federal law provides that “any alien who is physically present in the United States or who arrives in the United States (whether or not at a designated port of arrival and including an alien who is brought to the United States after having been interdicted in international or United States waters), irrespective of such alien’s status, may apply for asylum in accordance” with applicable statutes.

That language is consistent with treaty obligations under the 1967 U.N. Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, to which the U.S. is a party.

Taken together, Tigar said that the refugee treaty and the plain language of the law indicate that Congress never meant to deny asylum claims from illegal aliens.

“Considering the text and structure of the statute, as well as the interpretive guide of the U.N. Protocol, reveals Congress’s unambiguous intent,” Tigar wrote. “The failure to comply with entry requirements such as arriving at a designated port of entry should bear little, if any, weight in the asylum process.”

The decision may be appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Trump administration argued that illegal aliens may retain the right to apply for asylum, but the government may use their unlawful entry as the basis for denying the request. Tigar acknowledged that the manner of arrival may play some role in assessing asylum pleas, but added that the administration’s position rendered federal law “a dead letter.” The government elsewhere argued that many asylum applications are meritless.

The temporary restraining order will remain in effect until Dec. 19. The overnight order followed arguments in the dispute just 12 hours prior.

“This ban is illegal, will put people’s lives in danger, and raises the alarm about President Trump’s disregard for separation of powers,” ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt said after Tuesday’s decision. “There is no justifiable reason to flatly deny people the right to apply for asylum, and we cannot send them back to danger based on the manner of their entry. Congress has been clear on this point for decades.”

The ruling comes as several thousand Central American caravan migrants coalesced in Tijuana, Mexico, immediately adjacent to the U.S. border. Homeland security officials shut down the San Ysidro port of entry near San Diego Monday, fearing a border rush was imminent.

Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

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Categories: Public Policy

How This Criminal Justice Reform Bill Could Make Our Neighborhoods Safer

Tue, 2018-11-20 10:38

Do you want the federal inmates released in your neighborhood to be better people, or the same, or possibly worse, than when they entered prison?

That’s the key question to ask yourself as you weigh the First Step Act, a bill would attempt to reduce the currently high rates at which federal inmates reoffend after they are released from prison.

The bill would require the Department of Justice to determine, using a validated risk assessment tool, to determine whether each federal inmate poses a minimal, low, medium, or high risk of recidivating upon release. Each inmate would also undergo a “needs assessment” to determine what, if any, factors—such as a substance abuse or mental health issue, or a lack of education or job skills—contributed to his criminal behavior but might be meaningfully addressed while he is incarcerated.

The First Step Act, which passed the House of Representatives 360-59 earlier this year, may be coming to the Senate floor by the end of the month. The conservative stalwarts on the Senate Judiciary Committee–Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, and Mike Lee of Utah–are the lead sponsors, and President Donald Trump has said that he wants to sign the bill this year.

But facing off against the president are Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and John Kennedy of Louisiana. Cotton has gone so far as to suggest the bill is “soft on crime”—although that’s not the case, as former federal prosecutors John Malcolm, who is Vice President of Heritage’s Institute for Constitutional Government, and Brett Tolman, also former Senate Judiciary committee legal counsel, in an August Daily Signal op-ed:

At a recent White House roundtable discussion, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, a former deputy sheriff, said he has seen “the worst of the worst” and “put a lot of people in jail,” yet since adopting similar reforms in his state, “crime is down 6 percent,” there are 3,000 fewer inmates, and the state has “saved $40 million since 2014.”

Ultimately, opponents of the First Step Act seem to sidestep the fundamental question–given that we will have released inmates, do we want them to be better or worse than when they were convicted?

There are a myriad of questions that the bill’s opponents would rather you consider: Have we had sufficient debate on this legislation? They would say no, but that isn’t the case. In 2015 and in 2018, the Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings on the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act—a bill that was a more expansive version of the First Step Act.

These are certainly not new issues.

While some changes have been made from earlier debates and discussions, there is certainly enough time to consider all of them. Most, if not all, have been in response to input from law enforcement officials, whom the bill’s authors have been working with closely over the last several years.

The bill’s opponents want to ask if you’re comfortable with the “early release” of prisoners, but, in fact, there is no “early release,” at least not the way the bill’s opponents explain it. There are “earned time” credits, but those simply change where someone serves their time, not the actual amount of time itself. And while there are additional “good time” credits, those are done to restore Congress’ original intention when passing a past law.

The bill would require the Bureau of Prisons to match inmates to programs that are designed and tested to address those factors, allowing minimum- and low-risk inmates who successfully participate in and complete those programs to earn time credits that they could cash in toward the end of their sentence to serve some final portion sentence under some form of community confinement. But the bill would exclude inmates who are convicted of many serious offenses—mostly violent crimes, terrorism-related offenses, and child exploitation crimes—from taking advantage of these incentives.

Significantly, these incentives would not reduce anyone’s sentence.

And, to be clear, there is a significant difference between “earned time” and “good time” credits, and they shouldn’t be seen as at all the same thing.  As Heritage Foundation senior legal research fellow Paul J. Larkin Jr. has explained, good-time statutes are “a longstanding prison management tool” that  “help a warden and guards maintain discipline by offering an inmate the carrot of a limited amount of credit toward an early release in return for ‘good behavior.’”

In 2015, John Malcom, vice president of The Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Constitutional Government, wrote in written testimony before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that earned time credit “should be distinguished from good time credit,” because it is awarded for “completing programs or engaging in other productive activities designed to improve the skill sets of inmates, making it less likely that they will recidivate upon release.”

Under the First Step Act, “earned time” credits would be available only to inmates who consistently demonstrate that they pose a minimum or low risk to public safety, not those who pose a high risk of recidivating.  And earned time credits merely allow such individuals to spend part of their sentences in halfway houses, home confinement, or supervised release. Their sentence is not shortened in any way, and inmates who violate any condition of community confinement can be returned to prison.

The bulk of the First Step Act revolves around “earned time” credits, which are earned from prisoners engaging in and completing evidence-based programming that is geared toward addressing whatever underlying issues may have contributed to the offender committing the crime in the first place, be it a lack of job skills or education, mental illness, or a substance abuse issue. No one gets a shorter sentence under those provisions, and no prisoners determined to be high risk will receive the benefits of earned time credit.

Changes to the “good time” credit system are limited and merely meant to reflect what Congress originally intended when it passed the law creating them. The statute states explicitly that good time credit should be 54 days per year, but the Bureau of Prisons, utilizing a bizarre interpretation of that law, provides the possibility of earning only 47 days of good time credit per year.

Currently, the federal government lags behind what most states do when it comes to good time and earned time credit. The state criminal justice systems are where the overwhelming majority of violent felons are prosecuted. And inmates can earn up to 50 percent of their sentence between good time and earned time credits in states such as Arkansas.

Finally, while still avoiding the main question, Cotton and others will ask if you would support a bill opposed by law enforcement. While reasonable law enforcement professionals may disagree about the merits of this bill—and all of them deserve our respect and gratitude—there are many among their ranks who support the First Step Act, including the Fraternal Order of Police, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National District Attorneys Association, and National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives.

Another supporter is former sheriff Rep. John Rutherford, R- Fla., who has explained that the First Step Act “is not about being soft on crime. This is actually about reducing crime.”  Rutherford said that the end of a prison sentence too often means sending someone “who might be the most incorrigible, disruptive inmate” right back into a crime-ridden community, “and we wonder why these individuals failed and went back to a life of crime.”

“This First Step Act recognizes the importance of following up an arrest with good correctional programming and attempts to change behavior before sending them back to the community,” Rutherford said. “Failing to have a therapeutic model within your correctional facilities” means “setting these individuals up for failure.”

As the Senate debates on how to proceed with the First Step Act, the focus should remain on the key question: Do you want offenders—no matter their crime—to leave prison better or worse than when they entered?

The post How This Criminal Justice Reform Bill Could Make Our Neighborhoods Safer appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Podcast: The White House vs. CNN’s Acosta

Tue, 2018-11-20 03:01

President Barack Obama was no fan of Fox News—and he didn’t hide that fact. And there’s no requirement for the White House to call on every reporter with press credentials. But is it a good idea for the White House to fight with CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta? And how should the White House respond when reporters act in an arguably out-of-line way? The Daily Signal’s Editor-in-Chief Rob Bluey and White House correspondent Fred Lucas join to discuss. Plus: The White House Correspondents’ Dinner will break with tradition next year and feature a historian instead of a comedian.

We also cover these stories:

  • Fifteen House Democrats have signed a letter opposing Nancy Pelosi as House speaker.
  • Three Democratic senators are suing the administration over President Donald Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general.
  • Brenda Snipes, the Broward County election supervisor who has been under fire during the Florida recounts, has announced her resignation.

The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunesSoundCloudGoogle Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at letters@dailysignal.com. Enjoy the show!

The post Podcast: The White House vs. CNN’s Acosta appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Florida Fiasco Ends

Tue, 2018-11-20 03:01

After two recounts—one by machine, the other by hand—after a concession speech by Andrew Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, which was withdrawn and then re-delivered; after hordes of lawyers descended on the state to argue that “every vote should be counted,” including mail-in ballots with faulty signatures that were rejected the first time around, it’s finally over.

The results are roughly what they were on election night two weeks ago. Ron DeSantis will be Florida’s new Republican governor and Rick Scott will be the state’s new Republican senator. Incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson finally conceded on Sunday.

This gives Republicans, with the exception of the commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services seat, a clean sweep of statewide offices for the first time since the 19th century. It is a rare bright spot for the GOP in an election season that saw Republicans lose their House majority and, depending on the outcome of a runoff next month in Mississippi, pick up just one or two Senate seats.

Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections in heavily Democratic Broward County, who came under fire for the way she and her office handled the recount process, resigned just hours after the final votes were counted. “Although I have enjoyed this work tremendously over these many election cycles … ,” she wrote in her resignation letter, “I am ready to pass the torch.”

Last week during the hand recount, Snipes said that 2,040 ballots had been “misfiled,” but she was sure they were somewhere in the building. Videos purporting to show ballots being mishandled and placed in unsecured locations fueled conspiracy theories.

Snipes, who is African-American, had earlier responded to the criticism of her performance by suggesting racism had a part to play. Since she is also female, she might have included “sexism” and received a two-fer from the politically correct establishment.

Once, patriotism was the last refuge of scoundrels seeking to defray allegations of wrongdoing. Now it’s racism. Snipes’ actions (or inactions), would be outrageous no matter the color or gender of the person at the top.

Race became an issue in the Georgia governor’s race as well when Stacey Abrams, the first black woman nominated by a major American political party for the position of governor, refused to concede defeat to GOP candidate Brian Kemp.

Abrams claimed the vote in Georgia had been suppressed because some voting machines didn’t work, many voters were stripped from the rolls and denied the right to vote, and polling places had been moved, closed down, or woefully understaffed, resulting in long lines and long waits, many of these issues occurring in predominately African-American and Democratic districts.

While acknowledging that Georgia law will not change the outcome, Abrams is filing a federal lawsuit because of what she says was “the gross mismanagement of this election and to protect future elections from unconstitutional actions.”

Given the specificity of her allegations, she may have a point.

In Mississippi, a runoff next month between Democrat Mike Espy and Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith has been soured by what appeared to some as an insensitive racial remark. As The Washington Post reported, Hyde-Smith praised a supporter by speaking ” … of her willingness to sit in the front row of a public hanging if he invited her—words that, in the South, evoked images of lynchings. She has struggled to grapple with the fallout, baffling members of her party and causing even faithful Republicans to consider voting for [Espy] … .”

Back in Florida there are familiar recriminations about the dysfunctional voting process. How does this happen in the 21st century when most state legislators and the U.S. House of Representatives use electronic methods to immediately register their votes? The U.S. Senate still conducts voice votes, but there are only 100 senators.

After the 2000 presidential election where recounts in Florida delayed certification for more than a month, there were promises of reform, but each election since has had minor and sometimes major problems.

Now that Snipes has resigned, her replacement should be someone whose integrity and nonpartisanship is beyond question. That person should be in place long before the 2020 presidential election, which is likely to be contentious enough without the prospect of more recounts.

(c) 2018 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Categories: Public Policy

In Saying the ‘American Dream’ Is Alive in China, New York Times Shows Their Misunderstanding of Our Nation

Mon, 2018-11-19 20:17

Most Americans are innately offended by authoritarian regimes. But not The New York Times—the newspaper of record, once again, has painted a glorified picture of a communist dictatorship.

The latest example is a series of interactive articles that praise and celebrate the rise of China. One piece was actually titled, “The American Dream is Alive. In China.”

The series extols China’s growth in wealth over the last few decades—but amid the ajulation, something was noticeably missing. The Washington Free Beacon’s Matthew Continetti hit the nail on the head.

The word 'freedom' does not appear in this article. https://t.co/x1nEkcaUdn

— Matthew Continetti (@continetti) November 19, 2018

Continetti also noted that China’s young adults can’t even read about how wonderful they are doing because Internet censors in the authoritarian regime block information coming from American sources.

Freedom of speech and access to information are just some of the few cornerstone freedoms that are highly restricted under the Chinese regime.

A dystopian “social credit” system is on the way in China that will monitor everything their subjects do—with rewards for “good” behavior and penalties for “bad” behavior. This opens up a new potential for control over public life that was hardly imaginable in even the most repressive tyrannies of the past.

And China is not just creating this Orwellian system for its own people—they are trying to export it elsewhere.

Of course, “bad” behavior includes any speech or activity seen as critical toward the government. The economic prosperity that the Times article celebrates only comes through the good graces of the regime.

The dream begins and ends with the state.

>>> The New York Times Continues Its Tradition of Whitewashing Communism

This exclusion and repression includes entire groups of people whose only crime is having the “wrong” ideas.

BBC reported in October how millions of Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang province have been placed in massive re-education camps—a modern Gulag Archipelago.

Olivia Enos, an Asian Studies Center research associate within the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, wrote in July:

Chinese government authorities long have persecuted the more than 11 million Uighurs in the region, collectivizing them, bulldozing their residences, requiring them to submit to invasive DNA and biometric tests, and now forcing them to live with Chinese officials in their homes.

This is hardly something Americans should rush to embrace. Instead, it should lead us to reassess the notion that there was some kind of “end of history” when the Soviet Union collapsed.

The end of the Cold War was certainly a triumph for free people everywhere and clear evidence that capitalism is superior to communism.

However, the fall of the USSR—as great a victory as that was—did not end the recurring conflict between freedom and tyranny, or guarantee the universal embrace of representative government and preservation of God-given rights.

It may have even made us less alert to encroaching despotism.

The New York Times piece missed a key aspect of the American Dream: that it is not just about the accumulation of wealth. Our prosperity is the byproduct of a system of order and liberty, provided by the Constitution, which protects the cornerstone freedoms that we hold dear: the freedom of religion, the freedom to associate and protest government and unjust laws, the freedom to protect and defend oneself and one’s community.

Fostering these rights, among many others, are what have made America a beacon of light to the world.

A rich man who must fear practicing religion under threat of imprisonment, who may arbitrarily be placed in a reeducation camp because of his religious or political views, and who does not even have power over the most fundamental decision of bringing life into this world, is not a free man—and hardly living the “American dream.”

He is a man living under the very kind of arbitrary government that the Founding Fathers rebelled against, that anti-slavery advocates like Abraham Lincoln worked to end, and what generations of Americans opposed in the 20th century following the rise of fascism and communism.

The unique system that developed in the United States was built around concepts of consent, on the idea that the state is not the bearer of all “truths,” and that we are born free and equal with inalienable rights that must not be infringed.

While America has not always lived up to these ideals, they are worthy and timeless goals that make America not just a great, but a good country.

Our challenge in the 21st century is the same as in previous centuries. We have a choice to make: Do we still hold on to the timeless truths of our founding, or have we lost faith in the ideas that led us to become the most powerful and prosperous country on earth in a historical blink of an eye?

Perhaps many today—including distinguished journalists for The New York Times—forget how some Americans in a previous era looked longingly at authoritarian governments with envy and saw them as a glorious road to the future.

The potential for arbitrary governments to lord power over their citizens presents a far deeper threat to liberty than “fake news,” or the apparent chaos that comes through the freedom of speech and association.

As the playwright Joseph Addison wrote in “Cato: A Tragedy,” one of George Washington’s favorite plays:

A day, an hour, of virtuous liberty

Is worth a whole eternity in bondage.

This is the seed of the American Dream, of a people who—despite the material reward of life under British rule—refused to accept the chains of autocracy in exchange for temporary comfort.

As the liberal newspaper of record wistfully depicts a nation that values material prosperity over genuine freedom, Americans would be wise to be cautious.

Instead of glorifying autocracy, we should reexamine the traits that have made us not just powerful and fantastically wealthy, but exceptional—a place where the common man and woman can make their way without violating the dictates of their conscience, without pleading with the state for scraps beneath the table of all-powerful authorities.

The post In Saying the ‘American Dream’ Is Alive in China, New York Times Shows Their Misunderstanding of Our Nation appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

3 Senate Democrats Sue to Stop Acting AG Whitaker From Serving

Mon, 2018-11-19 18:54

Accusing President Donald Trump of taking “dictatorial” action and “evading accountability,” three Senate Democrats are asking a federal court to prevent his acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, from serving in that capacity.

The three Democrats, who all serve on the Senate Judiciary Committee, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia claiming the the president’s appointment of Whitaker was unconstitutional, as the Senate didn’t have its advise-and-consent say in the matter.

.@SenBlumenthal, @SenWhitehouse, and I just filed suit to challenge @realDonaldTrump‘s unconstitutional appointment of Matthew Whitaker as Acting Attorney General. Donald Trump cannot subvert the Constitution to protect himself and evade accountability.

— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) November 19, 2018

The three senators are Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii.

The lawsuit comes days after the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel determined that Whitaker’s appointment was completely legal and constitutional, responding to earlier objections. It cited historical precedent for the interim appointment.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned one day after the midterm elections, at the request of Trump. Trump named Whitaker, then Sessions’ chief of staff, to replace him on an interim basis.

Democrats immediately criticized the choice, citing comments Whitaker made as a CNN pundit, before joining the Justice Department in the fall of 2017, critical of the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and Russians.

Prior to joining the Justice Department last year, Whitaker—a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa—was the executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT), a watchdog group known for targeting both Democratic and Republican politicians.

On Friday, the House Ethics Committee sanctioned Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, based on a complaint that Whitaker filed on behalf of FACT in 2015.

“Installing Matthew Whitaker so flagrantly defies constitutional law that any viewer of ‘Schoolhouse Rock’ would recognize it,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Americans prize a system of checks and balances, which President Trump’s dictatorial appointment betrays.”

Blumenthal was referring the long-running animated musical series of short educational films and videos on ABC TV for children on civics and other subjects. “How a Bill Becomes a Law” is one of the series’ best-known episodes.

“President Trump is denying senators our constitutional obligation and opportunity to do our job: scrutinizing the nomination of our nation’s top law enforcement official,” Blumenthal added.

However, Steven Engel, assistant attorney general and head of the Office of Legal Counsel, on Nov. 14 wrote a 20-page opinion asserting that the Whitaker appointment was entirely legal based on “Supreme Court precedent, by acts of Congress passed in three different centuries and by countless examples of executive practice.”

Engel’s opinion noted that a non-Senate-confirmed acting attorney general was installed in 1866, and that Congress first authorized the president to appoint non-Senate-confirmed officials even earlier than that, in 1792.

“In that year, Congress authorized the president to ensure the government’s uninterrupted work by designating persons to perform temporarily the work of vacant offices,” Engel wrote.

The opinion stated that in at least 160 instances since 1860, officials not confirmed by the Senate have temporarily performed the duties of officials in significant positions within the State Department, Treasury Department, and Interior Department.

“Mr. Whitaker’s designation is no more constitutionally problematic than countless similar presidential orders dating back over 200 years,” the opinion said.

The state of Maryland also filed a lawsuit to keep Whitaker from serving in the role.

Democratic senators filing the lawsuit raised alarms.

“The stakes are too high to allow the president to install an unconfirmed lackey to lead the Department of Justice—a lackey whose stated purpose, apparently, is undermining a major investigation into the president,” Whitehouse said in a statement about the Senate Democrats’ lawsuit. “Unless the courts intercede, this troubling move creates a plain road map for persistent and deliberate evasion by the executive branch of the Senate’s constitutionally mandated advice and consent.”

Hirono said, “Trump cannot subvert the Constitution.”

“We want the court to make clear that the Senate must confirm Matthew Whitaker’s appointment as acting attorney general; otherwise, this temporary appointment violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause,” Hirono said in a statement. “Without exception for President Trump’s allies, principal officers who report directly to the president must be subject to a hearing and confirmed by the Senate.”

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Categories: Public Policy

‘A Little Bit of Hope’: Volunteers Help Rebuild Homes, Lives After Hurricane

Mon, 2018-11-19 17:37

SOCASTEE, South Carolina—Carol Nash had lost her husband just months before Hurricane Florence hit, flooding and wrecking her home of 25 years.

“I think we’re going to show her a little bit of hope as she rebuilds this house,” Howard Carter, a Samaritan’s Purse volunteer leader from Tennessee, told The Daily Signal in an interview at Nash’s storm-ravaged house in Myrtle Beach.

“This is her home,” Carter said. “It’s where she wants to stay. And so we can help save her money by doing all the demolition so a contractor can come in, and all he has to do is start putting the pieces back together.”

Nash’s husband died in May. Hurricane Florence made landfall in South Carolina on Sept. 14, forcing over 1 million people in the Carolinas to evacuate, claiming the lives of at least 51 people, and damaging nearly 700,000 properties.

Carol Nash, left, with Howard Carter, who led a team of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers in gutting and treating Nash’s flooded home. (Photo: The Daily Signal).

While those such as Nash who were hit hard by the storm have fallen out of the news cycle, Samaritan’s Purse has continued to serve residents in and around Socastee, which is about 8 miles outside Myrtle Beach.

The nondenominational Christian aid organization gives spiritual and physical support to victims of natural disasters around the world.

Staff and volunteers for Samaritan’s Purse help the residents begin to rebuild, a process that for some could take years. And they do it without government funds.

Showing Love

When The Daily Signal visited, Nash’s unsalvageable belongings—including tables, chairs and other furniture; blankets and other linens; and keepsakes—were piled at the curb.

Although nearly everything Nash has known has been washed away, Carter said, the most important thing he and his team of volunteers could do is show her love and give her hope.

“This is like a second major life event for her in a short period of time,” he said, “and we just wanted her to feel comfortable with the work we’re doing. And more importantly, [with] the reason we’re doing the work that we’re doing, and that’s to show her the love of Christ.”

Lorenzo Torres, a program manager with Samaritan’s Purse who is from West Jefferson, North Carolina, told The Daily Signal in an interview that the organization had multiple teams “mucking out” flooded homes in the Socastee community. The process  consists of removing the wet, moldy contents of a house such as flooring, cabinets, insulation, and wall material.

Torres, 42, said his interest in Samaritan’s Purse was sparked in 2013, when he saw footage of tornadoes that devastated Morgue, Oklahoma, on television one day after he returned from classes.

“My heart really broke when I heard there were schools impacted, and [I] just wanted to do something,” Torres said. “I found out that Samaritan’s Purse does disaster relief. I signed up to volunteer with them for two weeks.”

Torres said he volunteered off and on for about three years before joining the staff of Samaritan’s Purse.

“One thing that Samaritan’s Purse does is we try to salvage personal belongings for the homeowner,” Torres said. “That’s where the difference comes. We’re making that personal connection with the homeowner. We’re also offering spiritual aid and just letting them know that they’re not by themselves, and God loves them. He hasn’t forgotten them.”

‘They’re Broken’

Torres said the relief operation in Socastee consisted of three staff members on-site and 65 volunteers in the field. As a whole, Samaritan’s Purse has a national pool of about 20,000 volunteers that it can deploy to various relief missions.

Kaitlyn Lahm, the organization’s media relations manager, said that so far in 2018 Samaritan’s Purse has “responded to 17 disasters in 12 states, including tornadoes in Iowa, flooding in Texas and Hawaii, a wildfire in California, and hurricanes in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.”

“Samaritan’s Purse has not received any government grant funding for domestic disaster responses or projects,” Lahm told The Daily Signal.

Torres said it is encouraging to see how Socastee residents responded to the work of the organization’s volunteers and staff.

“When we arrive to our job site, our homeowners, they’re broken. They’re sad. And some of them feel homeless,” Torres said, adding:

As our team starts working on our house, and as the day goes on, you start seeing progress. The homeowners start seeing that same progress, and you start seeing them going from hopelessness to some hope, and then, as the day progresses [and] as we wrap up the job, they are usually in a place where they are joyful. They are happy and relieved. They’re just excited that they can start seeing our home being put back together.

Torres said his team helped some residents whose homes have been flooded out multiple times in the past several years, given that Hurricane Matthew devastated the region in October 2016.

“A lot of people have put a lot of time and energy and finances into rebuilding their home from Hurricane Matthew,” he said.

Some were “just moving back into” their homes when “Hurricane Florence comes and wipes out their homes again,” he said. “It’s just really sad and heartbreaking.”

‘People of the Lord’

Angie Davis is one of those whose home was flooded by both Matthew and Florence.

“Samaritan’s Purse helped me [during] both rounds of getting my home gutted out and sprayed and everything,” Davis said.

Originally from southeastern Ohio, Davis has lived in South Carolina for six years. She said Florence took its toll on her home.

“It was, of course, devastation, devastation,” Davis said, adding:

I mean, you come and everything you worked so hard to do and had and purchased … it was all ruined. I don’t know, in my heart, I guess I truly need to say both times I was comforted by the Lord and prayers. And through that, it’s got me through so much, keeps my spirits high, and the whole bit. Just working and others, other people, people of the Lord, just keeps me inspired, keeps me inspired.

Socastee resident John Fulknier, 70, was able to escape with his wife and two dogs.

“We didn’t have time to get anything else,” Fulknier said.

John Fulknier, 70, of Socastee escaped Hurricane Florence with his wife and two dogs. (Photo: The Daily Signal)

He first heard about Samaritan’s Purse through a neighbor.

“They’re just a great bunch of people and hard workers and [they] walked around here yesterday with a smile on their face,” Fulknier said. “I was a mess, but they were OK.”

Fulknier, whose wife of 17 years is handicapped, said Samaritan’s Purse has been particularly helpful because neither of them is physically able to gut and clean their residence.

“I can’t be moving heavy furniture and stuff like that,” Fulknier said. “And in fact I tried to help, they shooshed me out of the house.”

Experiencing Hope

Fulknier, a military veteran, said that Hurricane Florence was the second-worst event of his life.

“Other than losing my daughter at 26 years old, this is the hardest I’ve ever gone through,” Fulknier said, adding:

Everything else I’ve been able to handle. This just came up so quickly and I had no time to prepare. And one day the ground’s dry and the next day there’s 5 feet of water back here, and my house is ruined.

Carter, who led efforts to gut Nash’s home, said Jesus Christ’s love is what motivates Samaritan’s Purse teams.

“The whole reason we do this is to show the love of Christ,” Carter said.

Carter said that part of the beauty of the organization’s disaster-relief responses is the unselfish attitude of the volunteers who assist the teams.

Once a team finishes working on a resident’s house, Torres said, the team presents a Bible that is signed by the volunteers and inscribed with personal notes.

“They usually break down in tears and they’re so thankful,” Torres said of the homeowners. “Our volunteers get to experience the hope that our homeowners [are] receiving, and that’s what really helps them carry on to the next job site and continuing to do all the hard work that we do.”

Carter said the beauty of the relief missions is the self-giving attitude and generosity of the volunteers, whether they are Christians or not.

“People come here on their own volition,” Carter said, adding:

Some people are believers when you work with them, some aren’t. A fair number become believers after we leave because they want to know why people come and cheerfully work and get dirty and muddy. They’re working in a house that’s funky, wet, moldy. But they do it and they do it all day long and without grumbling, without complaining. They just come to work and show that love of Christ that’s in them.

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Categories: Public Policy

Cartoon: Illegal Means Illegal

Mon, 2018-11-19 17:07

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Categories: Public Policy