It perplexes me why anyone would question the perfectly logical move by Israel to deny Reps. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., entry to the country.
Who invites guests whose motive is to destroy their host?
We certainly don’t do it in the USA. No one, elected official or not, is permitted entry into the USA whose agenda is the destruction of our country.
Both Tlaib and Omar are aggressive supporters of the BDS movement—boycott, divest, sanction—whose objective is economic strangulation of Israel. They are voices of unremitting hostility toward Israel’s existence.
Let’s get some perspective.
According to Tlaib, the boycott, divestment, sanctions movement is a freedom movement. She tweeted that she is “tired of folks discrediting a form of speech that is centered on equality and freedom.”
But Tlaib’s agenda is not freedom. It’s about eliminating Israel.
Freedom House is a nonpartisan organization in Washington, D.C., that issues an annual report ranking nations around the world according to freedom—measuring political rights and civil liberties in each country.
Freedom House ranks countries in three categories, “free,” “partly free,” and “not free.”
In the region that Freedom House calls Middle East and North Africa, there are 21 countries and territories, and only two are ranked free, Israel and Tunisia, with Israel receiving the highest total freedom score in the region.
The total population of the region is 420 million, and of the 420 million, 5% are free, including Israel’s tiny population of 8.9 million.
So freedom is the exception rather than the rule in the Middle East, and Israel is the shining light. Yet Israel is the only country in the region that seems to bother Tlaib and Omar.
Have we heard a word from them about the 95%—nearly 400 million—in the region who are not free? Of course not.
They do not lose sleep because there is not enough freedom in the world. They lose sleep because Israel exists.
Although the West Bank, where Tlaib’s grandmother lives, and Gaza are not sovereign countries, Freedom House identifies them as territories and includes them in its freedom rankings.
Both are ranked “not free” and have rock-bottom scores.
This is not because of Israel. Palestinians have autonomy in their internal affairs.
Why doesn’t Tlaib speak to the fact that where Palestinians do have control over their own affairs, they choose to live under a corrupt, un-free regime?
In 2005, Israel unilaterally pulled out of Gaza, and Palestinians assumed full control.
What did they do? Rather than starting to build, they announced, “Today Gaza, tomorrow Jerusalem,” and started firing rockets into Israel.
Meanwhile, as part of the operation, Israel uprooted 8,500 Israeli settlers who were living there. Despite protesting being evacuated from their homes, these Israelis accepted the fact, and some moved eastward into the desert, which, in short order, they irrigated and made bloom—characteristic of the history of Israel.
Within five years, they were exporting $50 million per year of organic vegetables.
According to the Pew Research Center, there are 49 Muslim-majority countries in the world. Two, per Freedom House, are free. But what bothers Tlaib and Omar is the world’s single Jewish country, Israel, which is free.
You would think they would admire and want to help others emulate the social and economic miracle that Israelis have created in their young country. Instead they spread hate and blame.
A former prime minister of Israel, Golda Meir, famously said, “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.”
This was true when she said it 62 years ago, and unfortunately, Tlaib and Omar continue this destructive legacy today.
Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump are right to marginalize these negative personalities who work so hard to push the world in the wrong direction.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
The post Israel Right to Shut Out the Hostile Voices of Tlaib and Omar appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Georgia unveiled the legal arguments it will use to defend its “heartbeat bill” against legal challenges Monday, telling an Atlanta federal court the state has a substantial interest in protecting life.
Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the fetal heartbeat bill, H.B. 481, May 7, which outlaws abortion after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. Critics argue a heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks and many women do not know they are pregnant at that stage.
A coalition of abortion rights groups led by the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective are challenging the law in federal court. It is seeking a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of H.B. 481, though the state believes that request is premature, since the law will not take effect in the near future.
“House Bill 481 bans abortion,” the plaintiffs wrote in court documents. “It does so in clear violation of Roe v. Wade and nearly a half century of Supreme Court precedent reaffirming Roe’s central holding. It is an affront to the dignity and health of Georgians.”
The plaintiffs argue any ban on abortion before fetal viability is unlawful, making H.B. 481 “plainly unconstitutional under binding precedent.” They note a federal judge in Kentucky barred enforcement of a similar heartbeat law in March.
Georgia’s law is also unconstitutionally vague, the plaintiffs say. The legislation amended the meaning of “natural person” in state law to include unborn fetuses at any stage of development. That change could create “uncertainty about what actions give rise to criminal and civil liability.”
Laws can be struck down for vagueness if they fail to give fair notice as to what is illegal, or if ambiguous standards create the possibility of arbitrary enforcement.
Elsewhere in their brief, the plaintiffs warned that poor people of color are especially vulnerable to the burdens the law imposes.
“H.B. 481 will be particularly devastating for Georgians with low incomes, Georgians of color, and rural Georgians, who are already least able to access medical care, and who have the fewest resources to navigate the law’s cruelties,” the plaintiffs wrote.
Lawyers for Georgia counter that the law is not a categorical ban on abortions after six weeks. Depending on the unique circumstances of a pregnancy and the instruments a physician uses, heartbeats may not be perceived until 12 weeks. What’s more, the law provides several exceptions.
Nor is it true that all pre-viability abortion bans are unconstitutional, the state says. For example, in 2007, the Supreme Court upheld a categorical ban on partial-birth abortions at any point in a pregnancy.
In that case, the court recognized the state’s interest in protecting the medical profession’s reputation by prohibiting grisly abortion procedures. Georgia says that same interest is in play here.
The Supreme Court has likewise recognized the state’s interest in promoting life, Georgia stresses, though the justices have offered “little guidance on the precise contours of that interest.”
“The act advances Georgia’s unique and substantial constitutional interest in protecting unborn human lives, in addition to its interests in protecting maternal health, encouraging childbirth, and safeguarding the integrity of the medical profession,” Georgia lawyers wrote in a filing opposing SisterSong’s motion for a preliminary injunction.
The bill will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020, and makes exceptions in cases of rape or incest, or if the health of the mother is at risk. A police report must first be filed in the case of rape or incest.
Georgia is not the first state to introduce restrictive abortion legislation of this kind. A number of states have introduced abortion legislation in 2019, including Alabama, Missouri, Louisiana, Texas, Ohio, and Kentucky. The flurry of legislation followed Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Some believe Kavanaugh’s confirmation gave the Supreme Court its first-ever Roe-skeptic majority.
Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed H.B. 314 into law on May 14, only a week after Georgia’s legislation passed. The Alabama law, which will take effect six months from the date of signing, is the most restrictive abortion law in the United States and is a near-total ban on abortions. The law makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest but would make an exception if the mother’s health was in serious danger.
The Georgia matter is pending before U.S. District Judge Steve Jones. The case is SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective v. Kemp in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
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 of our original content, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The post Georgia Unveils Legal Arguments for Protecting Fetal Heartbeat Law appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Actress Alyssa Milano revealed on her Monday podcast that she had two abortions in 1993, saying, “It was absolutely the right choice for me.”
The actress discussed her abortions on her podcast, “Sorry Not Sorry” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Milano said that she had both abortions in 1993 while in a relationship where she was “in love for the first time.”
“I knew I was not ready to be a parent,” Milano said, explaining that she was on birth control when she became pregnant and believed she had a career, future, and potential ahead of her.August 19, 2019
Milano said that she was raised Catholic and went after Catholicism as “a faith I was coming to realize empowered only men to make every single decision of what was allowed and what was not allowed.”
Milano obtained her first abortion in 1993 but became pregnant again a few months later and then obtained her second abortion. She said that this was the right decision for her, and that if she had not obtained these abortions her life would be lacking its “great joys.”
She also said that if she had not had these abortions she would not have her two children, her career, her platform, or her husband.
“Fifteen years after that first love had fizzled, my life would be completely lacking all its great joys,” she said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I would never had been free to be myself—and that’s what this fight is all about: freedom.”
“I refuse to let anyone else’s bulls— morality force me into a life of premarital celibacy,” Milano said.
“I refuse to live in the narrative that sexual pleasure is for men and that women exist to deliver that pleasure. Nobody will say that he was at fault for enjoying sex with me, but you can be damned sure that the men enacting these laws think less of me for deriving the same pleasure from him.”
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 of our original content, contact email@example.com.
The post Alyssa Milano Says Life Would Be ‘Lacking All Its Great Joys’ Without Her Abortions appeared first on The Daily Signal.
In a breakthrough for global advocacy of religious freedom, the United
Nations this year established Aug. 22 as the International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief.
The U.N.’s May 28 decision was a long-overdue global recognition that
violence against people based on their faith is a serious and growing
In support of its adoption, U.N. delegates cited the recent attacks against
Muslims in New Zealand, Christians in Sri Lanka, and Jews in San Diego, as well as the ongoing crises involving the Rohingya in Myanmar, and Yazidis and Christians in Iraq.
While we are blessed to enjoy high levels of religious freedom in the West,
that same freedom is not shared worldwide. In fact, roughly 80% of the world’s population lives in countries with significant restrictions on religious freedom.
Christians are bearing the brunt of these restrictions. According to an independent review for the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office and reports from Open Doors, an estimated 245 million Christians faced persecution in 2018. That’s an increase of 30 million from the previous year.
The U.N.’s recognition of persecution is important, but it is not enough.
Greater action is needed.
Unfortunately, the debate over the International Day resolution put on full
display the problems that allow religious persecution to persist.
During debate, the United States raised the plight of religious minorities
in China—particularly the Uighur Muslims and Christians, both of whom have faced increased persecution under President Xi Jinping.
Reports show that up to 1 million or more Uighurs have been held in large detention campus in western China. Meanwhile, “underground” churches like Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu have faced new pressure, with the senior pastor and multiple members being arrested in the past year.
Sam Brownback, the U.S. ambassador-at-large for religious freedom, has accused China of waging a “war with faith,” and a coalition of 22 countries, mostly from Europe, recently called on China to close its detention camps.
Yet during the U.N. debate, China denied that it was sending the Uighurs to
detention camps, instead calling them “vocational and educational training
centers” to combat extremism. China then attacked the U.S., noting that others at the U.N. had accused the U.S. of killing and oppressing Native Americans.
Meanwhile, 37 other countries—including Russia, North Korea, and
Pakistan—have defended China as a human rights defender and its actions as necessary for combating terrorism.
China was not the only country to deflect attention from the resolution’s
Iran criticized politicians in the United States for failing to promote
moderation, even while Tehran continues to arrest and imprison Christians,
Baha’is, and other religious minorities under its extreme interpretation of
It’s a sad fact that these sorts of tactics too often succeed at the U.N.
With no way to enforce religious freedom agreements, the U.N. has little
ability to change the behavior of countries that simply deny the abuse that is taking place.
This, combined with the U.N.’s strong bias against countries taking
individual action, makes it particularly difficult for coalitions to act
against religious persecution.
Thankfully, more countries and voices are pushing back against complacency on this issue. Brownback has led the way in promoting a more coordinated and effective response to violations of religious freedom, particularly in the creation of an annual Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom hosted at the State Department.
That push is having some real effect, especially in Asia.
Even while under the shadow of China, Taiwan has become a new epicenter for religious freedom advocacy in Asia. Earlier this year, President Tsai Ing-wen appointed Taiwan’s own ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, the first in the Indo-Pacific region.
Similar representatives have been established in Canada and a number of
European countries, as well as for the European Union.
These diplomats have become instrumental in bringing religious freedom to the forefront of international diplomacy. They have applied pressure to their own governments and foreign governments to not turn a blind eye to religious persecution—especially toward Christians, who are the victims of 80% of the religious persecution and discrimination in the world.
This international day against religious persecution and the appointment of
special ambassadors should be just the beginning of greater action.
Governments and civil society groups should use Aug. 22 to raise awareness
of religious persecution, to combat it, and to press other countries to reform
their legal systems and social structures to reduce such injustice.
Nothing less will honor the sacrifice of the victims of religious
Climate change activists from a group called Extinction Rebellion are threatening to fly drones over London’s Heathrow Airport with the goal of deliberately stopping all flights for a week.
If their efforts were to succeed, the group could shut down the United Kingdom’s busiest airport and upward of a million travelers could be affected.
There are many ways to describe Extinction Rebellion’s plan: “Criminal” and “radical” are terms that come to mind. But so, too, does the word “easy.”
Consumer drones are less expensive and more capable than ever, and these eco-activists claim to need only a few to sow transportation chaos.
Like it or not, Extinction Rebellion is probably right.
Last year, 1,000 flights were disrupted during the Christmas drone incident at the U.K.’s Gatwick Airport. Put simply, small drones can cause big problems, and that won’t change until law enforcement agencies have the specialized equipment and training they need to detect, assess, and safely interdict these aerial threats.
Unfortunately, most U.S. law enforcement agencies are not just woefully unprepared. They are actually legally barred from responding to dangerous drones.
That’s not to say that drones are inherently unsafe or should be unwelcome in American skies. Innovators and entrepreneurs have found many exciting and novel uses for them, particularly as drones have become increasingly capable and affordable.
These unmanned aerial vehicles have aided in disaster-relief missions, delivered urgently needed medical supplies, helped police track suspects and find missing persons, and have opened the skies to photographers. Amazon and Google, among others, are racing to widely deploy on-demand package delivery.
But criminals have gotten in on the action, too, and have used drones to fly drugs over the border, smuggle contraband into prisons, and even to surveil law enforcement activities.
Terrorists have used them as weapons in war zones, and in Venezuela, they were used in an assassination attempt against dictator Nicolas Maduro.
And then there are the blatantly reckless operators who fly their devices in restricted airspace near airports, sometimes coming within feet of airliners as they take off or land, or over crowds at sports stadiums.
As if these threats were not enough to spur action, we can now add “drone activism” to the mix.
Unfortunately, while the U.K. is moving closer to empowering law enforcement officials to deal with reckless and malicious drones, here in the U.S., those efforts are proceeding at a pace that can appropriately be called glacial.
Last year, Congress passed the Preventing Emerging Threats Act to authorize, for the first time, counter-drone law enforcement activities by agencies within the U.S. departments of Justice and Homeland Security.
That was an important step. Before that, no law enforcement agencies at any level of government had the legal authority to engage and stop a malicious or reckless drone that threatened the public.
But, while federal agencies now have limited counter-drone authority, no state or local agencies do—meaning, the first line of defense against threatening or disruptive drone activities are effectively barred from doing anything to safeguard the public.
There are, broadly, two reasons for this untenable situation.
First, the Federal Aviation Administration has interpreted the legal term “aircraft” to include drones, largely to grant itself the authority to regulate them. As a result, federal statutes that prohibit shooting down, say, a 747 now apply to children’s toys.
Second, an array of federal laws and regulations addressing wiretapping, computer hacking, and signal jamming block the use of technologies that provide alternatives to shooting drones down.
For instance, some counter-drone solutions afford defenders the chance to disrupt drone-control signals or hack and seize control of a noncompliant drone.
So, as the FAA made clear last year, the police can’t do much more than observe and report. That is clearly not the role our communities’ police officers are meant to—or ought to—play.
In June, Congress heard firsthand how legal barriers are adversely affecting public safety. At a hearing, senators were implored to empower nonfederal agencies to “take charge of their own safety,” as the head of the Massachusetts Port Authority put it.
To that end, Congress should lay the groundwork for nationwide counter-drone operations by mandating that the Department of Homeland Security initiate a pilot program to partner with select law enforcement agencies in cities and communities throughout the nation.
A pilot program would allow officers to be deputized to act under federal direction and existing legal authorities, which would begin the process of training and gaining proficiency in approved counter-drone equipment.
Such a program would generate data that would lead to better-informed procedures and rules of engagement and would expedite the broad rollout of counter-drone equipment.
Congress should also foster private-sector research and development in counter-drone technologies.
As drones evolve, the systems designed to defend against them must evolve, too. But the same laws that restrain the police also chill investment and block testing.
Congress could overcome this with legal exemptions for businesses and universities that would permit testing and encourage innovation.
It’s only a matter of time before America witnesses something akin to Extinction Rebellion’s brand of drone activism—or worse. The longer lawmakers delay action to empower law enforcement agencies, the greater the danger of being caught flat-footed when that day arrives.
The post UK Eco-Extremists Show Why US Needs a Counter-Drone Strategy appeared first on The Daily Signal.
For many parents, August is a month of both pride and tears. Pride because their teenager is taking that big educational step and tears because for many it’s the beginning of an empty nest. Yet, there’s a going-away-to-college question that far too few parents ask or even contemplate: What will my youngster learn in college?
The American Council of Trustees and Alumni provides some answers that turn out to be quite disturbing.
The organization evaluated every four-year public university as well as hundreds of private colleges and universities. That’s more than 1,100 institutions that enroll nearly 8 million students, more than two-thirds of all students enrolled in four-year liberal arts schools nationwide. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni’s findings were published in its report “What Will They Learn? 2018-19.”
It doesn’t look good.
The organization’s assigned grades tell some of the story. Just 23 (2%) of the over 1,100 colleges earn an A grade; 343 colleges (31%) earn a B grade; 347 (31%) get a C grade; 273 (24%) earn a D; and 134 (12%) colleges earn an F. If you’re thinking that your youngster will get a truly liberal arts education, you are sadly mistaken.
It turns out that less than half of the schools studied require courses in traditional literature, foreign language, U.S. government, or history and economics.
At some colleges, students can fulfill their humanities requirement with a course titled “Global X: Zombies!” A U.S. cultural pluralism requirement can be fulfilled with “The Economics of ‘Star Trek.'” And an arts and literature requirement can be fulfilled with either the “History of Comics” or “Game Design for Non-Majors.”
Colleges often do not live up to their own promises. In college mission statements, as well as their course catalogs, they frequently exalt the virtues of a “well-rounded” liberal arts education.
The reality is something different with only 68% of the schools the American Council of Trustees and Alumni surveyed requiring three or fewer of the seven core subjects. Their curricula poorly represent critical subjects such as U.S. history, economics, and foreign languages.
The list of schools that received the organization’s “A” grades includes Pepperdine and Baylor, known for their commitment to the liberal arts and academic excellence. But there are some lesser-known colleges such as Christopher Newport University, Colorado Christian University, Kennesaw State University, Bluefield College, and Regent University that deserve accolades.
The organization’s “F” list includes prestigious names such as University of California, Berkeley, Bowdoin, Hamilton, and Vassar colleges. Ivy League colleges received the group’s two “Bs,” four “Cs,” one “D,” and one “F.” These grades reflect significant overall curricular weaknesses.
For example, Yale doesn’t require college-level math courses; Harvard accepts an elementary-level foreign language study; and Brown has an “open curriculum,” which means students may take whatever classes they want, without strict requirements.
Even though some of the best-known colleges earn poor marks for their general education curricula, it doesn’t necessarily mean they do all things poorly. A student can get an excellent education at these schools if classes are chosen wisely.
There’s another college-related issue not given much voice and that’s how important is a college education in the first place. That’s an issue raised by a Market Watch article, “Half of young Americans say their degree is irrelevant to their work.”
Parents think a college education is necessary for success. Their youngsters think differently.
According to the TD Ameritrade study, 49% of young millennials said their degree was “very or somewhat unimportant” to their current job.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in an October 2018 report, found that many students are underemployed, filling jobs that can be done with a high school education. More than one-third of currently working college graduates are in jobs that do not require a degree, such as flight attendants, janitors, and salesmen.
The bottom line for parents and their youngsters is that spending four or more years in college and accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in debt is not the only road to a successful life.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
Months after New York passed an extreme abortion law, one bookstore owner and pastor decided he has had enough. On a visit to Texas, Jon Speed got a glimpse of a better life—and decided to go for it. Plus, we discuss the similar case of a California business owner who’s also leaving.
We also cover these stories:
- New York, Connecticut, and Vermont are suing the Trump administration over its immigration policies.
- President Donald Trump tweets, “I don’t buy Rep. Tlaib’s tears. I have watched her violence, craziness and, most importantly, WORDS, for far too long.”
- A new report examines whether Facebook is biased against conservatives.
The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the show!
The post Podcast: Blue State Business Owners Are Packing Up appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The Trump administration is moving to close what it calls a “loophole” that has stymied enforcement of immigration laws, in a change that would allow detention of illegal-immigrant minors for longer than the current 20 days.
The Department of Homeland Security will seek to terminate the so-called Flores settlement agreement through executive action and replace it with a new policy that allows longer detention times in order to avoid either separating families or releasing illegal immigrants into the interior of the country.
That settlement created the loophole that results in families of illegal immigrants being released into the country after just 20 days.
The administration said the new rule “will ensure alien children are safe, secure, and well cared for while in custody.”
Family units and unaccompanied minors have been the largest segment of illegal immigrants over the past year.
President Donald Trump has asked Congress to take action on the matter. “To protect these children from abuse, and stop this illegal flow, we must close these loopholes. This is an urgent humanitarian necessity,” he said.
Court rulings have expanded the Flores agreement, which has complicated border-enforcement efforts. Still, the administration contends it’s fulfilling the purpose of the agreement, which is to ensure children in the government’s custody are treated with special concern.
The Flores settlement was first adjudicated in 1997, but was interpreted in 2015 to require the Department of Homeland Security to release from its custody all migrant children, even if they are with their parents.
The result is that when adults cross the border with a child, DHS is required to release the child within 20 days.
Since the parents broke the law by crossing the border illegally, the government seeks to detain and prosecute them after their asylum claims are completed. However, that usually takes more than 20 days. So, DHS has to release the children, leaving the government with the choice of detaining the parents or releasing them all.
In June 2018, with the end of a zero-tolerance policy, DHS shifted to simply releasing anyone accompanied by a child in order to comply with Flores v. Reno.
Under the rule change, some illegal-immigrant families may be detained longer than 20 days, but the administration asserts that apprehension, processing, care, custody, and release of juveniles will be done with higher standards.
James Carafano, vice president for national security and foreign policy for The Heritage Foundation, and Mike Howell, senior adviser for executive-branch relations at the think tank, support the Trump administration’s move.
In a joint statement, the two wrote:
For years, Congress failed to close a gaping loophole in the immigration system that has contributed significantly to the security and humanitarian crisis on our southern border.
The U.S. should not have to choose between enforcing our immigration laws and keeping families together.
Terminating the Flores settlement agreement will ensure that more illegal border crossers will be processed through the legal system instead of simply being released into the United States.
This will deter future smuggling operations and weaken the incentives to exploit children for the purpose of gaining access to the country.
The Flores Settlement Agreement, which was responsible for many family separations, was the result of the [9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’] judicial activism. The rule has been weaponized to create chaos and overload our immigration court system and detention facilities.
Abandoning Flores is a vital step in restoring the rule of law and moving toward an immigration system that once again works for all Americans.
Smugglers have used the loophole created by the settlement as a selling point for illegal immigrants who want to cross the border and be released into the interior of the country. In some cases, smugglers bring in “fake families,” or illegal immigrants bringing children who aren’t theirs for the sake of getting released, the White House contends.
More than 430,000 family-unit aliens have been apprehended at the southern border in fiscal 2019, which began last October. More family units were apprehended at the southern border in the past three months—184,000—than in all of fiscal 2018, according to the White House. In 2013, the number of families apprehended was just 14,855.
The post Trump Administration to Close Loophole Blocking Immigration Enforcement appeared first on The Daily Signal.
President Donald Trump and his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, began relitigating that contest on Twitter on Monday regarding the role that search results played in the election.
“Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!” Trump tweeted. “This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!”
Wow, Report Just Out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election! This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter! Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought! @JudicialWatch— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
Trump won the Electoral College by a decisive 304 to 227 tally, but Clinton won the popular vote by 2.8 million.
Trump didn’t specify, but appeared to be referencing a report from the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology that detailed Google search results from 2016 that was favorable to Clinton.
Clinton fired back in her own tweet.
“The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters,” Clinton tweeted. “For context, that’s about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted.”
The debunked study you’re referring to was based on 21 undecided voters. For context that’s about half the number of people associated with your campaign who have been indicted. https://t.co/0zHnWvGjSv— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 19, 2019
The study was conducted by researchers Robert Epstein, Samantha J. Shepherd, and Shu Zhang, all of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, and Ronald Robertson of Northeastern University.
Epstein, a former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, is a senior research psychologist at the research institute and the author of 15 books. He’s also a Democrat and was a supporter of Clinton.
The numbers, based on a sampling of 95 voters, used a formula based on Epstein’s research from 2015 published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on the effect of what he called the “search engine manipulation effect.”
Epstein himself replied on Twitter.
.@HillaryClinton, whom I have strongly supported for many years, told blatant lies about me today. As a result, I have been subjected to widespread condemnation by mainstream media. I'm going to fight this. Stay tuned tomorrow for my first-ever twitter storm. pic.twitter.com/CrPHMycVBu— Dr. Robert Epstein (@DrREpstein) August 20, 2019
For its part, Google rejected the charge of political bias.
“This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016,” a Google spokeswoman told The Daily Signal in an email response. “As we stated then, we have never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment. Our goal is to always provide people with access to high-quality, relevant information for their queries, without regard to political viewpoint.”
The Google email response linked to a report on the topic from 2016 published in the Russian media outlet Sputnik. The link was part of the comment, but it wasn’t clear whether the company was implying anything.
Here are four things to understand about Trump’s most recent claim and Clinton’s response to the 2016 election and Google.
1. The Facts on Trump’s Claims
Trump tweeted that between 2.6 million and 16 million votes were changed because of Google political bias.
Epstein, not a Trump supporter, rejected the president’s characterization.
“I have never claimed that Google deliberately manipulated the 2016 election, and the upper limit I put on a possible vote shift was 10.4 million, not 16 million,” Epstein told The Daily Signal.
In Epstein’s testimony before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee in July, he told the panel: “This system must be built to keep an eye on Big Tech in 2020, because if these companies all support the same candidate—and that’s likely, needless to say—they will be able to shift upwards of 15 million votes to that candidate with no one knowing and without leaving a paper trail.”
That said, regarding the 2016 election, Epstein said in his testimony that votes shifted by manipulation of search results likely far exceeded the 2.6 million estimate.
“The 2.6 million is a rock-bottom minimum. The range is between 2.6 [million] and 10.4 million votes, depending on how aggressive they were in using the techniques that I’ve been studying, such as the search engine manipulation effect, the search suggestion effect, the answer bot effect, and a number of others,” Epstein said. “They control these, and no one can counteract them. These are not competitive. These are tools that they have at their disposal exclusively.”
2. The Facts on Hillary’s Claims
Clinton’s tweet said the study was “based on 21 undecided voters.”
That’s partly true. Actually, the study was based on 95 voters, of which 21 were undecided.
The report on the findings explains: “The method was implemented in the spring of 2016 in anticipation of the November presidential election. Ninety-five people from 24 U.S. states (mean age 39.9) were recruited, 21 of whom identified themselves as ‘undecided.’”
“I’m told that she got that number from Google, and it makes no sense,” Epstein said. “The 2016 monitoring system allowed my team to successfully preserve 13,207 election-related search results, along with the 98,044 web pages to which the search results linked.”
Clinton also called the study “debunked,” but that would be a matter of opinion.
In an email to The Daily Signal, Epstein said he is still a “strong supporter of Hillary Clinton,” but he challenged her claim.
“I’m not aware that any credible authority has debunked either my 2016 election-monitoring project or, for that matter, my controlled studies on new sources of online influence,” Epstein said. “When Google’s CEO said, ‘We take issue with Epstein’s methodology’ at a congressional hearing in December 2018, that was hardly a debunking.”
A Washington Post piece on Monday noted the study wasn’t peer-reviewed, and said, “On its surface, it’s dubious, as is the methodology underlying it.”
Epstein said that also isn’t true.
“My methodology was subjected to peer review at two different scientific conferences before I published that article. But peer review is somewhat irrelevant here, because the monitoring project was not a scientific experiment; it was the development of system—the first-ever—for capturing what Googlers call (in a 2018 leak to the Wall Street Journal) ‘ephemeral experiences’—powerful, largely invisible new forms of internet influence that impact the thinking and behavior of more than 2 billion people every day, and that I have been studying since 2013,” Epstein said.
3. Google’s Political Leanings
The Wall Street Journal first reported on emails among Google employees who said they wanted to “tweak the company’s search-related functions” to lead viewers to sites that opposed the Trump administration’s travel ban involving several Middle Eastern countries.
“Schmidt in fact funded the Groundwork, a highly secretive tech company, the sole purpose of which was to put Clinton into office,” Epstein said. “And, of course, my 2016 election monitoring project showed significant pro-Clinton bias in Google search results for nearly six months leading up to the 2016 election.”
In a July op-ed for Fox News, Karan Bhatia, vice president of global government affairs and public policy at Google and a former George W. Bush administration employee, pushed back on accusations of bias:
Every day, our search engine handles billions of searches of hundreds of billions of webpages. To manage this volume, we rely on an algorithmic approach and implement rigorous user testing and evaluation before we make any changes to our algorithms.
These algorithms don’t detect political perspectives, much less use them in any way to determine how webpages are ranked. Objective third-party studies – including, most recently, a comprehensive year-long assessment of Google News results by The Economist – have found no evidence of ideological bias in either direction.
4. What the Report Says
“In the months leading up to Election Day, daily election-related searches automatically provided us with the first page of results from a total of 13,207 searches conducted using Google, Bing, and Yahoo through the Firefox browser, allowing us to preserve 98,044 election-related web pages,” said the final report, first released in March 2017.
Epstein told The Daily Signal in an email:
I measured bias on web pages by using crowd-sourcing (Amazon’s Mechanical Turk). Once I had average bias ratings for each web page, I could then compute bias in search results by looking at where in their search rankings Google, Bing, and Yahoo showed people search results linking to those web pages.
I found significant pro-Hillary bias on Google.com, but not on Bing or Yahoo, and the pro-Hillary bias was present in all  search positions on the first page of Google search results.
The bias I found was significant at the 0.001 level—meaning, roughly, that the odds that the bias was due to chance alone was less than one in 1,000.
That is a strong finding; having more field agents would have improved that finding only marginally, at best.
The research institute’s report said that between May and November 2016, “search results displayed in response to a wide range of election-related search terms were, on average, biased in Mrs. Clinton’s favor in all 10 search-result positions.”
The report asks, “Could the pro-Clinton bias in search results have shifted votes to Mrs. Clinton?”
The study’s answer:
A comprehensive study published in 2015 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that biased search rankings can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20% or more—up to 80% in some demographic groups.
Extrapolating from the mathematics introduced in this report, in articles published in February 2016 and thereafter, the lead author of the [Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences] study predicted that a pro-Clinton bias in Google’s search results would, over time, shift at least 2.6 million votes to Clinton.
She won the popular vote in the November election by 2,864,974 votes. Without the pro-Clinton bias in Google’s search results, her win margin in the popular vote might have been negligible.
During his Senate testimony, Epstein said, “I know the number of votes that shifted because I have conducted dozens of controlled experiments in the U.S. and other countries that measure precisely how opinions and votes shift when search results favor one candidate, cause, or company.”
Epstein made the comparison to the long-investigated Russian election meddling, with regard to impact.
“These effects are nothing like Russian-placed ads or fake news stories. Russian interference, although troubling and unacceptable, does not, in my opinion, shift many votes,” Epstein said in the testimony. “Ads and news stories are competitive and visible, like billboards. The kinds of ephemeral effects I am studying, however, are invisible and non-competitive.
“They are controlled entirely by big tech companies, and there is no way to counteract them,” he said.
The post 4 Things to Know About Trump’s New Voter Fraud Claim appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Is The New York Times a media outlet or an activist organization?
It appears that it’s leaning toward activism. A recent town hall meeting of Executive Editor Dean Baquet and Times staffers revealed a publication struggling to maintain any meaningful independence from its aggressively left-wing readership and staff.
The leaked transcript is well worth reading, as it demonstrates how far-left voices now dominate the direction of the Times and how closely the newspaper’s work aligns with the progressive political strategies of the moment.
If you care about journalism, or the First Amendt, READ the transcript. The Editor says (in effect) “for 2 yrs, we covered ‘Russia, Russia, Russia,’ facts be damned; now we’ll scream ‘racism, racism, racism’ for 18 mos, and the rest of the media follow us.” That’s not journalism. https://t.co/TPkpB0DjNj— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) August 18, 2019
The paper’s left-leaning readership, which includes many self-styled progressive politicians, earlier this month pushed the Times to change a Page One headline for a news story about President Donald Trump’s official remarks about the El Paso shooting.
The original headline read: “Trump Urges Unity Vs. Racism.”
Editors soon changed it to “Assailing Hate, but Not Guns” after the Times was inundated by criticism from readers and, according to reports, angry staff members.
Many critics were furious that the paper didn’t outright call Trump a “racist.”
Was there any meaningful pushback to this attempt to label the president a racist? No.
Instead, Baquet simply noted at the meeting that outright labeling the president a racist wasn’t the most effective tack, and that implying or demonstrating that he is a racist was more powerful.
On top of discussing headlines and wording in articles, Baquet addressed the Times’ coverage strategy going forward.
It appears that the newspaper was banking on the Trump-Russia collusion narrative to placate readers who are eager to see Trump removed from office.
The result of special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation, though, left the publication “a little tiny bit flat-footed,” Baquet said.
“Our readers who want Donald Trump to go away suddenly thought, ‘Holy s–t, Bob Mueller is not going to do it,’” the executive editor said. “And Donald Trump got a little emboldened politically, I think. Because, you know, for obvious reasons. And I think that the story changed. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about started to emerge like six or seven weeks ago.”
What’s the new narrative? Race and racial division, apparently.
In the transcript of the meeting, one anonymous Times staffer says: “I’m wondering to what extent you think that the fact of racism and white supremacy being sort of the foundation of this country should play into our reporting. Just because it feels to me like it should be a starting point, you know?”
The staffer continues:
Like these conversations about what is racist, what isn’t racist. I just feel like racism is in everything. It should be considered in our science reporting, in our culture reporting, in our national reporting. And so, to me, it’s less about the individual instances of racism, and sort of how we’re thinking about racism and white supremacy as the foundation of all of the systems in the country.
Baquet responds by saying that “race in the next year is going to be a huge part of the American story,” and that the Times would begin a project to address it.
The newspaper’s recently released “1619 Project,” based on the arrival of African slaves in the British colony of Virginia, is clearly a big part of focusing coverage of American politics on race. While the project could be an important historical look at the history of slavery in America, it instead announces its revisionist intent from the very beginning:
The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.
Despite denials from the project’s supporters, the ideological intent of the 1619 Project is clear and unfortunate, although predictable, given what is happening behind the scenes at the Times.
The @nytimes #1619Project is an obvious attempt to "reframe" America's past to fit the aims of a modern, left-wing political ideology. It's part of a longer-term process that I explain in my book, "The War on History," set for release on Oct. 1. https://t.co/BO3I0ffTUX— Jarrett Stepman (@JarrettStepman) August 19, 2019
The fact that The New York Times is a progressive paper with a left-wing slant is fine. A publication can have an editorial line and still do objective, fact-based reporting.
But we shouldn’t be deluded into thinking, especially after the leak of this transcript, that the Times doesn’t have an obvious ideological bias and that its editorial decisions are not being swayed by its increasingly far-left staff and readers.
This shift should have been an obvious development to Americans, but now it couldn’t be clearer.
David Marcus, writing at The Federalist, summed it up nicely. Marcus wrote:
I read The New York Times, I enjoy it, sometimes I do the crossword, but to the extent I ever did, I can no longer see it as a straight paper with limited bias. This transcript makes that blatantly obvious. So, by all means, read the Times. But make sure you go in with your eyes wide open.
The New York Times essentially is bowing to leftist demands and becoming an activist organization. It has abandoned even the pretense of being dedicated to covering important news and evenhandedly informing readers.
The post The New York Times Works for the Left, and Now Everyone Should Know It appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Facebook has a long way to go in reclaiming the trust of conservatives, according to an interim report on the social media giant’s liberal bias overseen by a former U.S. senator.
“Many conservatives lost trust in Facebook, believing it discriminated against them,” former Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., wrote in a Tuesday op-ed for The Wall Street Journal.
The same day, Kyl released the results of the report, begun in May 2018 at Facebook’s request, looking at whether the social media giant has displayed political bias against conservatives.
Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communications, called Kyl’s report the “first stage of an ongoing process.”
“This work is not an issue of personal political opinion. As at any large company, there is a diversity of political opinions at Facebook and plenty of people who would not describe themselves as conservatives,” Clegg said in a formal statement.
“My own long-held political views have been a subject of public record for years. But regardless of one’s own political views, this is about whether we apply our own policies fairly to all sides, and whether those policies begin with an understanding of how core groups of users express their beliefs.”
News reports surfaced in May 2016 that Facebook routinely held back or suppressed news with a conservative perspective.
A former Facebook employee, who has remained anonymous, said it was common practice for the site to suppress news and information of particular interest to conservatives.
“Depending on who was on shift, things would be blacklisted or trending,” the former news curator for Facebook said in a report published by Gizmodo. “I’d come on shift and I’d discover that CPAC or Mitt Romney or Glenn Beck or popular conservative topics wouldn’t be trending because either the curator didn’t recognize the news topic or it was like they had a bias against Ted Cruz.”
The new report was compiled by Kyl and a team at Covington & Burling LLP after they questioned more than 130 conservative politicians and leaders.
Conservatives, it says, were concerned that the platform’s algorithm changes worked against conservative content, frustrated that Facebook was not clear in what it designated to be clickbait and spam, and skeptical of how the site designated what it called “false news.”
Kyl’s report concluded that “some of the third-party fact-checkers utilized by Facebook at various times (e.g., Snopes, PolitiFact, Factcheck.org, the Associated Press)—which are certified by the Poynter Institute, an entity that owns PolitiFact—have skewed to the ideological left.”
The report also found that users took issue with Facebook’s “hate speech” function, saying that it had a “highly subjective nature of determining what constitutes ‘hate’—an assessment that may be subject to the biases of content reviewers.” It said the term hate speech “is itself controversial, insofar as it may incorrectly ascribe motive in many cases.”
Among other concerns was Facebook’s practice of flagging content it deems too conservative, which resulted in parts of the Bible, St. Augustine’s writings, and the Declaration of Independence being removed or made less prominent.
The Heritage Foundation hosted Kyl in June 2018 for a listening session with conservative groups about their concerns that Facebook shows political bias.
Two years earlier, former Sen. Jim DeMint, then president of The Heritage Foundation, and other conservative leaders met with Facebook co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss the platform’s apparent bias.
“I made it clear that Facebook has every right to be as biased as it wants to be as a private company, and conservatives have every right to look elsewhere for social platforms if they feel Facebook is silencing them,” DeMint, who left Heritage in May 2017, wrote in an op-ed at the time.
“But if Facebook promises its users an unbiased platform for the free exchange of ideas—all ideas—then it should keep that promise.”
Kyl’s report highlights several ways Facebook is trying to do just that, including (and quoting the report):
- Helping users understand why they see (or do not see) certain content in their News Feeds: Facebook introduced ‘Why am I seeing this post?’ to inform users on why they see certain content and to enable them to control more easily what they see from friends, Pages, and Groups. Facebook is also improving ‘Why am I seeing this ad?,’ which launched in 2014.
- Providing additional explanations of News Feed rankings: Although Facebook has taken steps to provide additional clarity around its Community Standards and News Feed ranking, the company told us that it remains committed to providing additional transparency to help people and publishers better understand how content is ordered in personalized feeds.
- Making enforcement actions against Pages more transparent: Page managers can now see when Facebook removes content that violates the Community Standards and when Facebook reduces distribution of posts rated “false” by a third-party fact-checker.
- Sharing additional details about how the Community Standards evolve: Facebook released more information regarding how its policies are developed and debated, including by publishing notes from twice-monthly global meetings in which Facebook employees debate and discuss potential changes to the Community Standards.
Kyl and his team are expected to submit another report on Facebook within a few months.
In his op-ed, Kyl, a senior counsel at the law firm of Covington & Burling, said Facebook still has significant progress to make in regaining trust.
“As Facebook considers additional changes, we will continue to help it understand conservative perspectives,” Kyl wrote. “To live up to its vision as a platform for all ideas, I believe Facebook understands it must do all it can to regain the trust of conservative users.”
The post Conservatives ‘Lost Trust’ in Facebook, Independent Report Finds appeared first on The Daily Signal.
If someone asked you to describe the Green New Deal, what would you say?
According to Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., it’s a “bold idea” that would “create millions of good-paying jobs” and help “rebuild communities in rural America that have been devastated.”
Oh, you thought the Green New Deal was all about fighting climate change? Well, think again.
Turns out it’s a green-glossed Trojan horse designed to increase government control over the economy.
Just ask Saikat Chakrabarti, chief of staff to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the author of the deal. “The interesting thing about the Green New Deal is it wasn’t originally a climate thing at all,” Chakrabarti said. “We really think of it as a how-do-you-change-the-entire-economy thing.”
Just how much change would the Green New Deal bring to the economy? Put simply, it would bring it to its knees.
We know, because when we tried to use the Energy Information Administration’s National Energy Model to assess how the plan would affect the economy, the model crashed.
The Green New Deal is big on vision, but sparse on details. For example, it calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 60% below 2010 levels by 2030, with the ultimate goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. But it doesn’t say how to get there.
One thing is clear: to meet these goals, Washington would have to force all Americans to reduce their energy consumption and/or switch to “green” energy sources—and fast. And the only way to do that is to impose coercive taxes and regulations.
To assess the economic effects of such a scheme, we started by looking at a carbon tax—the most popular recommendation of those asking government to “nudge” us off of fossil fuels.
Using the Energy Information Administration’s model, we tested to see how high a carbon tax would have to go to meet the Green New Deal’s emission targets. We ratcheted the tax up to $300 per ton, which dropped emissions 58% below 2010 levels—but not until 2050.
That left us far short of reaching the deal’s targets, but when we tried to push the tax higher, the model crashed. Clearly, the Green New Deal’s emission targets are unrealistic. Yet the danger they pose to the economy are far too real.
Before the model’s lights went out, we found that a $300 per ton carbon tax and associated regulations would cost a family of four nearly $8,000 per year in income lost to higher energy costs, consumer prices, and foregone wages. The 20-year cost totals $165,000.
During that same 20-year period, the tax would siphon off an average of 1.1 million jobs per year and diminish gross domestic product by a total of more than $15 trillion.
That’s a hefty price to pay for getting barely halfway to the net-zero emissions goal. Is it worth it? After all, proponents of eliminating conventional fuels argue that the cost of climate change dwarfs the cost of climate policy.
However, in terms of “climate insurance,” eliminating greenhouse gas emissions doesn’t get you very far.
To see if this is true, we turned to another tool: the Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Induced Climate Change. Developed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, this model assesses how much increases and decreases in greenhouse gas trajectories will affect global temperatures and sea levels.
Running this model, we found that overhauling America’s economy—as envisioned in the Green New Deal—would abate global warming by approximately 0.2 degree Celsius by the year 2100. The reduction in sea-level rise would be less than 2 centimeters.
In other words, the Green New Deal offers minimal climate improvement at impossibly high prices.
Chakrabarti is spot on. The Green New Deal isn’t a “climate thing” at all. And it would certainly change the economy—for the worse.
Originally distributed by the Tribune Content Agency.
The post The Green New Deal: Less About Climate, More About Control appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Imagine a group of people who work to destroy Italy because, they claim, Italy’s origins are illegitimate. Imagine further that these people maintain that of all the countries in the world, only Italy is illegitimate. And then imagine that these people vigorously deny they are in any way anti-Italian. Would you believe them? Or would you dismiss their argument as not only dishonest but absurd?
Substitute “Israel” for “Italy” and “Jew” for “Italian” and you’ll understand the dishonesty and absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic.
But that is precisely what anti-Zionists say. They argue that the very existence of a Jewish state in the geographic area known as Palestine—there was never an independent country known as Palestine—is illegitimate. They do not believe any other country in the world is illegitimate, no matter how bloody its origins. And then they get offended when they’re accused of being anti-Semitic.
How can they make this argument?
First, they change the topic. They say it is unfair to charge those who merely “criticize” Israel with being anti-Semitic. But I don’t know anyone who does that. It’s a phony argument. Criticism of Israel is fine. Denying Israel’s right to exist is not. Anti-Zionism is not criticism of Israel. Anti-Zionism is opposition to Israel’s existence.
Zionism is the movement for the return of Jews to their ancient homeland, Israel. Over the past 3,000 years, there were two independent Jewish states located in what is called Israel. Both were destroyed by invaders, and no Arab or Muslim or any other independent country ever existed in that land, which was only named Palestine by the Romans in an attempt to remove all memory of the Jewish state they destroyed in the year A.D. 70.
Second, anti-Zionists claim they can’t be anti-Jewish because Zionism has nothing to do with Judaism. That, too, is equally false. It is the same as saying that Italy has nothing to do with being Italian. Judaism has always consisted of three components: God, Torah, and Israel. If Israel isn’t part of Judaism, neither is the Bible or God.
Third, anti-Zionists claim that Judaism is only a religion; therefore, Jews are only members of a religion, not a nation. But the Jews are called the “nation of Israel” repeatedly in the Bible. That is why there are irreligious, secular, and even atheist Jews—because Jews are not only a religion. There are no atheist Christians because Christianity is only a religion.
Fourth, the anti-Zionists claim that Israel is illegitimate because it is racist. This is the charge Israel- and America-haters make against two of the least racist societies in the world. In the case of Israel, it is fraudulent because:
- Half of Israel’s Jews are not white.
- Anyone, of any race or ethnicity, can become a Jew.
- One out of every 5 Israelis is not a Jew. And these Israeli citizens—mostly Arab Muslims—have the same rights as Jewish Israelis.
- Israel’s control of the West Bank has nothing to do with “race.” Israel does not control the West Bank because Palestinians are of another race but because Palestinians tried to destroy Israel in 1967, and they lost the war. The only reason Palestinians do not have their own state has nothing to do with race: They rejected offers to found their own state on five separate occasions since 1948. They have always rejected building a Palestinian state because they have always been more interested in destroying Israel.
Fifth, the anti-Zionists claim that Israel’s origins are illegitimate.
The fact that, of all the world’s 200-plus countries, the only country anti-Zionists declare illegitimate is also the only Jewish country is pretty much all you need to know about their motives.
Why, for example, don’t they make this claim about Pakistan? In 1947, nine months before the establishment of Israel, India was partitioned into a Muslim state—Pakistan—and a Hindu state—India.
Unlike Israel, Pakistan had never existed before.
Unlike Israel’s founding, which created about 700,000 Jewish refugees from Arab lands and 700,000 Arab refugees from what became Israel, the founding of Pakistan created about 7 million Muslim refugees from India and about 7 million Hindu refugees from Pakistan.
And while the highest estimate of Arab deaths in the fighting that took place when Israel announced its establishment is 10,000, the number of deaths as a result of Pakistan’s creation is around 1 million.
Given these facts, why is Israel’s legitimacy challenged while the legitimacy of Pakistan isn’t? There’s only one answer: Israel is the one Jewish state in the world. So, while there are 49 Muslim-majority countries and 22 Arab states, anti-Zionists reject the right of the one Jewish state—the size of New Jersey—to exist.
Of course, not all anti-Zionists hate all Jews. But as I wrote at the beginning, if you seek to destroy Italy, you don’t have to hate every Italian to be anti-Italian. If you seek to destroy the only Jewish state on Earth, you don’t have to hate every Jew to be an anti-Semite.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
The post Criticism of Israel Is Not Anti-Semitism; Anti-Zionism Is appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Democratic Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib blamed senior members of her party after she and Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar faced backlash for partnering with a terror-linked group for their cancelled trip to Israel.
Tlaib and Omar held a joint press conference on Monday to address the cancelled trip, which Israel barred the lawmakers from making on account of their support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.
Palestinian-based organization MIFTAH, which has terror ties and in the past promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, was partially sponsoring the trip. Tlaib dodged responsibility for the partnership when asked about MIFTAH at the press conference.
“We’re not the ones who chose the organization,” Tlaib added. “A U.S.-based sponsor organization chose it. But I think there were five members of Congress that actually went on a trip sponsored by the same organization.”
Five House Democrats attended a MIFTAH-sponsored trip to Israel in 2016: Luis Gutierrez of Illinois, Dan Kildee of Michigan, Hank Johnson of Georgia, Matt Cartwright of Pennsylvania, and Mark Pocan of Wisconsin. The five Democrats reportedly met with an alleged member of a Palestinian terrorist group during that trip.
Tlaib’s chief of staff did not return an email inquiring which members pointed Tlaib and Omar to MIFTAH.
National Review writer David French described Tlaib and Omar’s partnership with MIFTAH as a “national scandal,” noting that MIFTAH had re-published neo-Nazi content and “actually published blood libel, posting an article that accused ‘the Jews [of using] the blood of Christians in the Jewish Passover.’”
Tlaib and Omar also faced criticism for promoting work from an anti-Semitic cartoonist on Instagram in response to the trip’s cancellation.
“Reps. Tlaib and Omar absolutely shouldn’t have lifted up the work of a cartoonist who frequently promotes hate toward Israel, mocks the Holocaust and traffics in #antiSemitic tropes. Doing so legitimizes his bigotry,” Jonathan Greenblatt, a former Obama administration official who now heads the Anti-Defamation League, wrote on Twitter.
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 of our original content, contact email@example.com.
The post Rashida Tlaib Blames ‘Senior’ Democrats After Partnership With Terror-Linked Group Draws Backlash appeared first on The Daily Signal.
College campuses are known for radicalism—but more and more mainstream colleges are bending to identity politics and woke activism. Recently, Penny Nance, the president and CEO of Concerned Women for America, attended her son’s student orientation at Virginia Tech, where gender ideology was a dominant theme—pronouns and all. Read the interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:
We also cover these stories:
- Attorney General William Barr has removed the acting chief of the Bureau of Prisons in the wake of Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide.
- Planned Parenthood will not follow the new Title X regulations, and will no longer receive tens of millions of government funding.
- President Donald Trump is calling for a lawsuit against Google.
The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the show!
Kate Trinko: So joining us today in studio is Penny Nance. She is president and CEO of Concerned Women for America. Thanks for joining us.
Penny Nance: Thanks for having me. It’s always great to be here at The Heritage Foundation, The Daily Signal, these are my peeps for sure.
Trinko: We love having you.
So, you are also a mom and you recently went to freshman orientation at Virginia Tech where your son is going and you wrote about it for The Federalist. Tell us what you saw there.
Nance: Well, I should first lead by saying that this is my second child to go to college. My first kid went to Liberty University and it was a totally different experience, let me just say.
But I have a son who’s a math and science guy who wants to study engineering. We are from the great state of Virginia and my son is military bound and wants to be a member of the Corps of Cadets, and who wouldn’t? Because let me just tell you, it is fantastic. That’s where it gets real. Those people are unbelievable. It’s an unbelievable opportunity.
The Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech is 1 of 6 senior military academies. It is really fantastic. I can’t say enough good about the Corps of Cadets. My beef, though, is with the administration of Virginia Tech, but they’re not alone. I’m singling them out because I experienced it firsthand. This is happening all over the country. This was just my wake-up call.
So, I take my son to freshman orientation and my first tip-off should’ve been when at the beginning … and, by the way, I’m not a complete rube, I know that it’s not a Christian school and we’re not going to open in prayer, although I have heard of some, I think it was Auburn and some others have, but I didn’t expect that.
But let’s remember that this is a fine military institution in that they have a great military history. They have a memorial in the middle of their campus, their centerpiece is their drill field, and they have a memorial listing the cadets who have died, every cadet that’s died since World War I. So it’s very much a part of their DNA.
Trinko: That’s really nice that they do that.
Nance: It is, it’s awesome. And then other thing is it is, sadly, the site of the most deadly school shooting in the nation. So, what I would expect, if we’re going to take a moment to reflect on something or something important, it would have been one of those things. But no, no, that’s not what we reflected on.
We instead took a moment to recognize the two Indian tribes on whose lands we sat because we stole it, I guess. I don’t know. That was the inference. There’s been an op-ed since to remind me of the history, like, yeah, that’s it.
I’m like, OK, even if you think that, and maybe that’s true, I don’t know maybe that is true, but … if we have a moment to reflect on something serious in orientation, is that where we should go? I would think those other two issues would have been more timely and important and those weren’t dealt with at all.
Trinko: Not even once.
Nance: Not at all. So then you move into orientation and I understand you want it to be upbeat but it took this immediate turn left from the very beginning, from the first moments in which everyone stood up. And there was between, I lost track, 10 and 20 people that during those couple of hours stood up, introduced themselves, their name and their preferred pronoun, every single part.
At first parents were like, “OK, that’s surprising or whatever.” By the end it’s so heavy-handed that they’re looking at each other, rolling their eyes, they’re annoyed, they’re sighing. And as we’re leaving I’m hearing their remarks to each other like, “I cannot believe that just happened.”
… By the way, the parents and the kids are almost immediately separated. So later in the day they have the kids in groups of 10. And this didn’t happen in every group, it didn’t happen in my son’s group, but now I’m starting to get responses because of my piece. And more stories are coming out in which all the kids were asked to introduce themselves and, again, give their preferred pronoun.
So, most of the kids being 17-, 18-year-old kids are … coerced into it. Of course they’re going to submit because they’re new, and they don’t want to get singled out, and they don’t want to say the wrong thing.
But then you hear stories like one kid said, “Well, I prefer either ‘sir’ or ‘your highness.’ I’m really comfortable with either one.” In which the kids all burst into laughter because they get it. They understand that this is ridiculous and they understand also that there are people who truly and sincerely struggle with gender dysphoria and we want to love them and be kind to them.
We are pro-life. We think there’s intrinsic value in every human life at Concerned Women for America and we want to love and be kind. But at the same time, when you have this indoctrination that’s happening not just on the university level but in high school, middle school, starting even as young as elementary school, and at some point you’ve got to speak up and you’ve got to point out that we are asking an ideological question …
I forgot to mention that the kids, and I didn’t even know this until I got there, were asked while they were registered for orientation to submit to the school their preferred pronoun, and it wasn’t very obvious. We went back and looked. It wasn’t really obvious, but it ended up being printed on their lanyard, on their badge that hung around their necks. …
Trinko: The key question is did the “your highness” kid have it printed?
Nance: I don’t know.
Trinko: That would be great.
Nance: No, I don’t think you could do that. I think you had like a limited amount. Because there’s 60 genders, how are you going to …
Trinko: They think it stops at 60?
Nance: I don’t think that had all 60.
Trinko: That sounds really not open-minded to me.
Nance: That is exclusionary, actually, when you identify as “your highness,” what are you supposed to do? I don’t know. Or “princess,” I don’t know. I like that one.
But the issue is you have kids that are asked an ideological question and their response to me at Virginia Tech is, “Well, no one was forced.” I’m like, “No, nobody was threatened with violence, but you certainly coerced them.”
These are kids that aren’t prepared to have this conversation, nor should they be forced to have this conversation or coerced into this conversation.
This is a very private matter that they should be having with a health professional, with their parents, with their pastor, with a rabbi, with people that can actually help them, a counselor, help them sort through things without just immediately exposing something that’s very personal to the university. They have no right to ask the question.
Daniel Davis: You mentioned some of the parents were hemming and hawing like, “Oh, this is ridiculous.” Did they actually complain? Did the parents actually get forward and object to this?
Nance: They weren’t really given an opportunity because the questions throughout the day, the opportunity to ask questions, were only written note cards. Because I was ready. I was going to ask, raise my hand, and I guarantee you if I had there would have been a bunch of parents behind me saying, “Yeah, what was that about? I wasn’t comfortable with that. We’re Muslim or we’re Orthodox Jew and that is in direct contradiction to our faith.”
But no one was able to ask that question, certainly not publicly. Maybe there was a private one. …
Something I wanted to mention here is that we have put together an email address for parents to submit their stories either from Virginia Tech or around the country. We won’t provide your name unless you want us to, but we will provide your story. Because parents are experiencing this all over the nation and they’re deeply concerned about what’s happening. It’s email@example.com.
I mentioned that in The Federalist piece and I’ve had an onslaught of people sharing their stories and just deeply concerned about what’s happening.
Trinko: You mentioned that they separated the parents and the students almost right away at orientation, and you indicated that, I assume, in comparing notes with your son that it seemed like parents were maybe hearing one thing and students were hearing another. Could you detail that?
Nance: Well, and then there was a couple of issues, and I heard this actually before I got there. I was warned about this, that they get the heavy-handed diversity talk, which I kind of expected. This was just more than I expected.
Again, I knew I wasn’t sending my kid to a Christian school. I was very clear on what the differences are, that this is a public institution. They are the math and science school but they all lean left now and it’s not going to be the same. But even on the issues, in the world of #MeToo, the issues of alcohol, I think, there was sort of the parents were told basically that zero tolerance, and no underage drinking, and not being over-served.
And then the kids are given another story that like, “Well, you’re not going to get arrested for it.” To the point where one of the kids actually clarified, like, “Is this in line with the law?” And they were like, “Well … ”
Then, as the parents are sent off to bed—we were dismissed earlier in the evening and the kids go to late—they bring in someone from the diversity track to say, “Don’t make judgements about the gender or the sexual identity of the person that you’re talking to. School is a place to experience new things and you need to be open-minded.”
And we’re told as parents, “Your kid may come home different.” And that’s when parents were like, “What do you mean by that?”
We understand that, we believe that school is a place where you learn, where you learn from each other, where you have discussions about ideology, and about literature, and art, and science, and all the important things. And you do need to be open-minded, I don’t care where you’re at. You need to be to have a kind, civil conversation because you can learn from each other.
But it’s a different story when you have the school imposing, essentially, a speech code on what that’s going to look like.
I trust the kids enough that I think they would work it out amongst each other. We’ve raised our kids to be respectful and kind. And I truly believe that, at least the way I raised my children and everybody else that I know taught our kids to be kind and loving. And in a one-on-one basis, how you refer to each other, what you decide to say, I think, is a deeply personal decision that the school doesn’t need to enter into.
Now, I would back up and say no one should be harassed or bullied. Apparently, they don’t feel that same thing for conservatives who disagree with their policies, but we can all stand together and say, “Let’s be kind. Be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ has forgiven you.” That’s what Christians believe.
Davis: How did your son respond to this kind of language coercion?
Nance: My kid is pretty apolitical and, again, he’s a math and science guy. My daughter, on the other hand, is much more like me.
This is a kid that wants to study engineering. He doesn’t want to participate. He has his own opinion. It’s not going to impact him at all.
… And I got his permission before I shared the story. I would never do that without getting permission for my kids. Whenever I talk about them, and I think most parents who are in the public eye do that, hopefully, they should.
But the bigger issue is, as the taxpayer what are we paying for? And as a parent, are we literally paying the indoctrination of our kids?
Now, we all risk our kids leaving the nest and coming back differently. OK, that’s fair. They’re going to do that, it’s going to be different. They have to decide for themselves. There has to be an inculcation of their own faith, of their own belief system. It is healthy and it is right.
But again, you do not need the institution that your kid’s involved in coming down with a heavy hand in imposing a system of beliefs coercing, bullying them into subjection of those beliefs. That’s a different story.
Trinko: It’s interesting because in your piece in The Federalist, you used the term, I believe it was “educational refugees,” and I found that interesting because just as you said, I think, especially conservative men who want to study math and science and conservative women who want to it is harder.
A lot of these smaller conservative colleges, I’m a liberal arts major, they’re great for that. They don’t have a …
Nance: Or public policy or …
Trinko: Right. So many fields. But they don’t tend to have the hard sciences, the STEM, and I know that that’s been a problem that’s been discussed in my circles for years.
Anyway, I just was wondering, was this the problem for your son and for other conservatives that they couldn’t find a conservative place … ?
Nance: Well, there’s a couple things. One is, again, I love Liberty University. They’re starting a new school of engineering and building this beautiful building. They’re going to very quickly catch up. But if you’re in the state of Virginia, and every state has their own institution, their math and science school, for right now, that’s where he wanted to attend. And, of course, it’s a military tradition.
As upset as I am about the administration, I can’t say enough good about the Corps of Cadets. It is timeless and it is essential, and they are making men and women leaders out of these kids that are walking in and they are going to be the military leaders of our nation. They are going to be the very top tier of our military and God bless them because we need them.
I think there’s a lot of history, and character building, and just important lessons that are going to be passed on and I am so excited about that piece of it. But that’s almost like a school within the school.
The president of Virginia Tech, and I don’t think this is odd but I think that parents need to be aware of who’s heading up their institution, the president of Virginia Tech is a Berkeley grad from San Francisco who was voted in under the Terry McAuliffe governorship. Elections have consequences.
Davis: … You actually requested a meeting with him, I understand.
Nance: I did.
Davis: Did he respond? Did you get anyone at Virginia’s administration?
Nance: Yeah. This is the other thing. The two things they’ve said in response is, one, that no one was forced. And I said, “Well no threat of violence, but they were coerced.” And the other thing is they said that they reached out to me.
The truth is that I reached out to the president of the university twice and the regent. And the president’s office didn’t even respond at all. I got an innocuous email back from the regent’s office and then a low-level employee offered to let me speak with the diversity dean.
Trinko: Which is telling that they even have a diversity dean.
Nance: Yeah, which we looked it up and we’re like, “Well, that’s not going to be helpful.” But regardless, I shouldn’t have to. I run the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization and I am a parent. But let’s just put all that aside. I had a sincere question. I wanted to understand his thinking, what was going on, and he couldn’t be bothered.
So, after reaching out and really trying, I wasn’t going to be patted on the head and dismissed so I took it public. I wonder, if we’d had that conversation, if maybe some of this could have been saved, but we’ll never know because he refused to have that conversation with me and I don’t think pawning me off on his lower level staff was going to be helpful.
Trinko: What do you think the big picture answer is here? I’m sure that if Virginia Tech is doing it, there are other universities doing preferred pronouns now. How do you think parents and students can fight back?
Nance: I mentioned in the article really three things. First, as I mentioned earlier, share a story with … firstname.lastname@example.org. So, we have your stories. We can continue to advocate for you.
The second thing is, contact your state legislature, your state legislators, contact them because most of the government money comes through the state, although, there are federal dollars, but this is really who holds the purse strings for much of these institutions.
Of course, there’s private fundraising and all of that, but this is important. One sentence in an appropriations bill, a prohibition on the use of our money in this way, and it’d be over. So, in Virginia, we’re looking at how to lean into that message for this assembly and also the Senate.
The third thing is to reach out and make your voice heard to the administration of your school, whatever that is. Whether it’s the school board on a local county level or whether it’s the president’s office for a university. There is power in speaking up. There is power in speaking truth to power.
We’re afraid, and I have to tell you it is scary, you don’t want your kid, and this is what parents face, they don’t want their kid to be punished, they don’t want them to be bullied, they’re afraid.
But I would say we really only have two choices. This is a freight train coming down the tracks and either we blow up the tracks now or we just get out of the way and let it go. And then we do have to basically become refugees to these other schools or just seed our children over to the left.
We either speak up or we let it go, we lose it. We’re at this moment where we have to speak up, meet it head-on, or it’s too late. And we’re almost there. We’re right there on the tipping point for public education. So, I would say, really, those are your choices.
Trinko: What has the response online been? Have activists attacked you? Have there been threats to name your son and involve him even though you’re the one who wrote this?
Nance: Of course, of course. Because the university has not been helpful at all in this matter. Yes, my son has been threatened online. Of course, I’m called every name you could possibly think of, and I expect that.
His likeness was doxed, his picture was put out there, and direct threats were made against him. And it’s just overwhelming. I can’t even tell you how that feels, but I, again, come back to the idea that we are called to tell the truth.
And if I am paralyzed by fear, then literally nobody else can speak with all the resources I have, with all the women activists around me, with the legal resources that we have. If I can’t speak up, then no parent can speak up. …
Even when I dropped my son off I had a woman recognize me and come up and say, “Are you Penny Nance?” And I said, “Yes.” And she said with a wavering, “Thank you for writing what you did. I didn’t know how to say what I was feeling but I was able to forward your piece over to the president’s office.”
So, this is why they’re mad. This is why they’re pushing back, because now they’ve been exposed and I’m not the only one to say the emperor has no clothes. I’m not the only one to notice the emperor has no clothes, I was just the first one to say it. And others now are saying, “She’s right, she’s right. I can’t pretend anymore.”
Davis: There are so many others who are thinking it and not acting on it. So, if they can be enabled to stand up, you don’t know what kind of impact you’ll have.
Nance: And you are embolden, right? You’re emboldened when other people say something and you’re like, “Yes, that’s right.” But it is uncomfortable to be the first one to say it.
And I shouldn’t say that because that’s really not even true. There has been women fighting all over this country more on the local level, more dealing with middle school issues and elementary school issues. We’re seeing lawsuits start to happen over bathroom use, and locker room use, and teachers being fired against speech codes coming down.
But this is a First Amendment issue. This is about freedom of speech and freedom of religion. So, I wasn’t fully aware because I had been fortunate enough to have my kids in this little cloistered environment of Christian school and suddenly it’s like the blinders came off. I see what’s happening.
On a different venue, someone was telling me that Franklin Graham has suggested that parents in New Jersey who have mandatory education on these issues for their kids—I think all the way down perhaps to elementary school, I’m not sure about that—but has suggested that Christian parents might need to either homeschool or put their kids in Christian school.
And I said, “Hey, I love Franklin Graham and I have been so blessed by that, but it’s not that simple.” A lot of parents can’t do that. … For instance, one of my friends has a son with significant learning issues and I don’t know a single Christian school that would be equipped to teach him. They don’t have the resources. So, that’s not a simple answer.
I think that what’s more helpful is the taxpayers to bind together and say, “This is not a good use of our money. Let’s teach core arithmetic. Let’s teach the math and sciences. We want more women in math and science. Let’s help them get there in STEM. Let’s pour more resources into that. Let’s help our kids learn and be ready and be prepared for the workforce, whatever that is.”
Trinko: Given the test scores, it appears that maybe spending less time on social justice and more on the three hours would help America’s kids a lot. But thank you so much for coming on, Penny Nance, again, of Concerned Women for America. Another reminder that there is no doubt that the left uses education to get kids.
The post Preferred Pronouns and More: What a Mom Saw at Her Son’s College Orientation appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Planned Parenthood is making good on its threat to choose abortion over Title X funds.
Title X is a federal program that focuses on providing family planning and related preventive services to low-income Americans at little or no cost.
Last week, Planned Parenthood announced that rather than comply with the Trump administration’s new regulations relating to Title X’s federal family planning program, the abortion giant would stop participating in the program altogether unless the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals stepped in to block the regulations.
The court did no such thing, and now Planned Parenthood will no longer participate in the program.
So, what’s the turn-off for Planned Parenthood?
This spring, the Trump administration finalized a rule that updated the regulations that govern Title X. The text of the statute specifies that “[n]one of the funds appropriated under this title shall be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”
Specifically, the Trump administration’s rule removes a requirement that Title X projects must refer for abortion and instead explicitly prohibits abortion referrals.
The rule permits nondirective pregnancy counseling, which can include nondirective counseling on abortion. But unlike earlier regulations, such counseling is permitted rather than required. These changes will allow additional organizations who object to abortion to still apply for Title X grants.
The rule also establishes that program participants must maintain both financial and physical separation between Title X activities and non-Title X activities. In other words, organizations like Planned Parenthood can’t conduct Title X activity in one room while performing non-Title X-related abortions in another room down the hall.
The rule also protects women and children by requiring compliance with state reporting laws regarding human trafficking, coercive sexual activity, child abuse, rape, incest, and other crimes.
A similar rule was enacted by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 and was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1991.
From the moment the regulations were initially proposed, Planned Parenthood and its pro-abortion allies have emphatically opposed the provisions to enforce the statutory requirement to separate abortion from family planning services, and challenged the regulations in court.
In the face of judicial defeat, Planned Parenthood will forgo approximately $60 million in annual Title X funds.
To be clear, Title X grant recipients—including Planned Parenthood—do not have a right to federal funding and are welcome to decline to participate in Title X if they are unwilling to comply with the program’s regulations.
Planned Parenthood has determined that its commitment to abortion outweighs its desire to participate in the program. That’s a call it can afford to make: The abortion giant reported $245 million in excess revenue and more than $630 million in private contributions in its most recent annual report.
But this won’t change things for women benefiting from other health centers. When Planned Parenthood pulls out of the program, other health centers that far outnumber Planned Parenthood facilities will continue offering women comprehensive and high-quality care.
The post Planned Parenthood Sided With Abortion Over Title X Funds. Here’s What It Means. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
In the freest nation in the world, our system of government and our very liberty depend on free and fair elections. Whether they’re selecting a mayor or the president of the United States, every American must be able to trust the process, or the democratic system itself breaks down.
When someone commits voter fraud, the process is no longer fair, everyone’s vote gets diluted, and in some cases, election results are changed.
Contrary to the claims of many on the left, voter fraud is a very real problem. As the Supreme Court noted when it upheld Indiana’s voter ID law, flagrant examples of voter fraud have been documented throughout this nation’s history.
The National Commission on Federal Election Reform has said that in many close elections, fraud can absolutely change the outcome. Cases of local elections getting overturned because of fraud have occurred in New Jersey, Indiana, and other states.
Although hundreds of people have been convicted in recent years, voter fraud often goes undetected. And even when it’s discovered, overburdened prosecutors rarely prioritize these cases.
Fraudsters can steal votes and change election outcomes in several ways, including: voting in someone else’s name, registering in multiple locations to vote multiple times in the same election, voting even though they’re not eligible because they’re felons or noncitizens, or paying or intimidating people to vote for certain candidates.
Unfortunately, many on the left are attempting to make election fraud easier by fighting laws that require an ID to vote. They’ve pushed to get noncitizens and jailed inmates to vote. And they’ve sued states that have tried to purge their voter rolls of people registered in multiple states.
How can we fix the problem?
Since states control much of the electoral process, they must pass laws requiring government-issued IDs to vote. That ensures people aren’t stealing others’ identities and their right to vote.
States should join voter registration crosscheck programs to identify voters registered in multiple places. One crosscheck program has identified hundreds of thousands of potential duplicate registrations across 30 states as well as evidence of illegal double voting.
States should also compare voter rolls with government records to identify convicted felons and noncitizens who should be removed from the rolls. And the federal government should cooperate with these efforts and make Department of Homeland Security and other databases available to state officials.
Preserving this great experiment that is America depends on having free and fair elections where all Americans can trust the process and the results.
Something as critical as election integrity can’t be left to a simple honor system. One of the most important roles of government is to safeguard the electoral process and ensure that every voter’s right to cast a ballot is protected. That not only protects our right to vote; that’s how we protect the future of our very republic.
In an opinion issued on Aug. 5, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals struck a small but valuable blow against prosecutorial overreach and the problem of overcriminalization.
By now, overcriminalization—the overuse and abuse of criminal laws to address every societal concern and punish every mistake—is a familiar problem.
There are hundreds of thousands of federal crimes, creating a minefield of criminal liability that Americans unknowingly walk through every day.
The federal criminal code and the hundreds of thousands of criminal statutes contained in federal regulations criminalize things such as making an annoying noise in a national park, allowing a horse to exceed a “slow walk” when people nearby are on foot, and using a surfboard on a beach designated for swimming.
No less serious than the problem of criminalizing all sorts of innocent behavior is the problem posed by overzealous prosecutors who stretch the law to obtain as many criminal convictions as possible.
As The Heritage Foundation’s Paul Larkin writes, overzealous prosecutors “might not acknowledge or even recognize instances of overcriminalization, and even if they did, they might not highlight them, because doing so would embarrass the attorney general and individual U.S. attorneys who had the authority to prevent any such prosecutions.”
In the 6th Circuit case, prosecutors charged the defendants with bank fraud, even though they didn’t commit bank fraud. The defendants did commit mortgage fraud, but the government didn’t prosecute them for that.
In fact, for reasons unknown, the prosecutors ignored that crime for five years until the statute of limitations expired.
Then, realizing that their delay cost them a mortgage-fraud conviction, the prosecutors searched the criminal code for some law that might let them prosecute the defendants anyway. They settled on bank fraud, even though the defendants’ crime didn’t fit the bill.
But the court refused to expand the law because the bank-fraud statute “is as straightforward as they come” and plainly did not cover mortgage fraud. It ordered that the defendants be acquitted.
That was the right outcome.
You might counter, “The defendants were guilty of something. Surely they should go to jail, regardless of the prosecutors’ mistake.” But that flips due process on its head, allowing the government to lock people up whenever—and for whatever—it wants.
Prosecutors already have tremendous power, and the fewer tethers it has, the more unjust its use becomes.
Consider the case of Eddie Leroy Anderson and his son.
Prosecutors charged them with federal felonies for looking for arrowheads on federal land. Although they found no arrowheads, prosecutors argued that the mere act of looking for them was an attempt to violate an obscure law that the father and son didn’t know existed.
Facing felony convictions and prison terms, Anderson and his son pleaded guilty to lesser charges.
In another case, prosecutors charged a fisherman with destruction of “tangible objects” in violation of a law designed to prevent financial companies from destroying records of fraudulent activities.
The Supreme Court reversed the fisherman’s conviction and held that although fish are, strictly speaking, tangible objects, prosecuting the fisherman for throwing fish back into the sea was an impermissible expansion of a law designed to target financial crimes.
In each of these cases, prosecutors zealously sought a conviction, but never stopped to ask if they were doing justice.
The 6th Circuit deserves praise for overturning the convictions of Amir Babak Banyan and Bryan Puckett in Tennessee.
In so doing, the court reminded the prosecutors that liberty is best protected by interpreting criminal statutes narrowly and putting the burden squarely on the government to apply the right laws to the right crimes.
Prosecutors would do well to remember U.S. Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland’s admonition in a 1935 ruling that although a prosecutor “may strike hard blows, he is not at liberty to strike foul ones.”
The post Appeals Court Ruling Slaps Down Prosecutorial Overreach appeared first on The Daily Signal.
New York City Police Commissioner James O’Neill announced Monday the New York City Police Department fired Daniel Pantaleo five years after his role in Eric Garner’s death.
The commissioner announced the police officer’s termination at a Monday press conference in New York City.
“There are absolutely no victors here today,” O’Neill said. “Today is a day of reckoning but can also be a day of reconciliation.”
Pantaleo, 34, was put on desk duty after being accused of using a chokehold when arresting 43-year-old Garner in 2014.
Garner reportedly died after saying, “I can’t breathe,” 11 times as Pantaleo performed a chokehold on him, which is a tactic the New York Police Department does not allow, according to CNN.
Video footage reveals a motionless Garner lying on the ground after Pantaleo performed the chokehold, and police said Garner had a heart attack and died on the way to a nearby hospital. Garner’s death was ruled a homicide.
“It was an extremely difficult decision,” O’Neill said Monday, adding that some police officers might be angered by the decision. “I’ve been a cop for a long time. If I was still a cop, I’d probably be mad at me.”
“But as police commissioner, I have to think about the city, and I have to think about the rules and [regulations] of the NYPD and make sure people follow them,” O’Neill added.
Pantaleo’s lawyer Stuart London had argued firing Pantaleo would be unjust and that Pantaleo had not violated police procedures.
“He acted the way he was taught to act,” London said, according to The Washington Post. “If you call this reckless assault then almost any arrest would be reckless assault.”
The New York Police Benevolent Association decried the decision in a statement, saying, “Police Commissioner O’Neill has made his choice: He has chosen politics and his own self-interest over the police officers he claims to lead.”
“He has chosen to cringe in fear of the anti-police extremists rather than standing up for New Yorkers who want a functioning police department with cops who are empowered to protect them and their families,” the statement continued.
The post 5 Years After Eric Garner’s Death, New York Police Department Fires Daniel Pantaleo appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Attorney General William Barr replaced acting Bureau of Prisons Director Hugh Hurwitz Monday, days after Jeffrey Epstein died in federal custody.
“I have asked Mr. Hurwitz to return to his responsibilities as assistant director of [Bureau of Prisons’] reentry services division, where he will work closely with me in overseeing the implementation of one of the Department’s highest priorities, the First Step Act,” Barr said in a statement.
Barr replaced Hurwitz with former Bureau of Prisons Director Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who served as bureau director from 1992 to 2003. Monday’s appointment is the second time Barr has selected Sawyer to lead the Bureau of Prisons—he was attorney general when she was selected for the post in the waning days of the first Bush administration. Thomas Kane will serve as Sawyer’s deputy.
“Under Dr. Hawk Sawyer’s previous tenure at the bureau, she led the agency with excellence, innovation, and efficiency, receiving numerous awards for her outstanding leadership,” Barr said. “I am confident Dr. Hawk Sawyer and Dr. Kane will lead [Bureau of Prisons] with the competence, skill, and resourcefulness they have embodied throughout their government careers.”
Congressional lawmakers in both parties have pressed the Justice Department to investigate the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death and hold negligent parties accountable. GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska sent Barr a particularly blistering letter on Aug. 10, warning the attorney general that “heads must roll” within the department.
“The Department of Justice failed, and today Jeffrey Epstein’s co-conspirators think they might have just gotten one last sweetheart deal,” he wrote. “Every single person in the Justice Department—from your Main Justice headquarters staff all the way to the night-shift jailer—knew that this man was a suicide risk, and that his dark secrets couldn’t be allowed to die with him.”
Barr has been similarly severe in his public assessments of the situation, saying he was angry and appalled with prison officials at the Metropolitan Correctional Center, a federal facility in New York City where Epstein was incarcerated while awaiting trial for the sex trafficking of minors in New York and Florida.
“Let me assure you that this case will continue on against anyone who was complicit with Epstein. Any co-conspirators should not rest easy,” the attorney general said during remarks to the Fraternal Order of Police in New Orleans on Aug. 12.
A federal judge unsealed records from a lawsuit against Epstein implicating prominent political figures in Epstein’s alleged predations, including Prince Andrew of the United Kingdom, Democratic powerbroker Bill Richardson, and former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who was nearly appointed to the Supreme Court.
The New York City medical examiner conducted an autopsy that concluded Epstein committed suicide.
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 of our original content, please contact email@example.com.
The post William Barr Replaces Bureau of Prisons Chief After Jeffrey Epstein’s Death appeared first on The Daily Signal.