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Seattle Couple Fear $16 Minimum Wage Could Doom Their Subway Franchise

Fri, 2019-01-18 17:07

When Heidi Mann and her husband Karam took a leap of faith 15 years ago and purchased a Subway franchise in Seattle, they had no idea that one day their dreams could be shattered by the city’s required increases in the minimum wage.

Nine years later, the Manns bought a second Subway sandwich shop in Kirkland, Washington, a suburb east of Seattle.

But now their businesses are struggling as a direct result of the steady rise of the minimum wage in Seattle, now up to $16 an hour.  

The couple predict they will be forced to close their Seattle location by March 2020.

“Labor costs are too high, our profit margin is too tight, and there is no relief for small business owners like us,” Heidi Mann said.

Mann, 34, spoke Wednesday at a private event held by The Heritage Foundation and the Employment Policies Institute to examine firsthand effects that she and her husband, 38, experienced from government-mandated hikes in the minimum wage.

Heidi and Karam Mann in their Subway shop. (Photo courtesy of Heidi Mann)

The Manns’ Subway shop in Seattle is situated right on the edge of the city in a middle-class neighborhood, but is stuck in a high-wage market that includes major companies such as  Amazon.

The Seattle City Council passed legislation mandating that the minimum wage rise to $11 an hour in 2015, then $13 in 2016. For companies such as Subway with 500 employees or more, the minimum wage is now $16.

It has been a slow, painful process for Heidi and Karam Mann, their business plans, and their employees. They also have three children, ages 4, 6, and 15.

During the Heritage event, Heidi Mann said:

We started this business believing in the essential truth of the American dream. But our dreams of being our own boss, earning a living wage for our family, and helping others through meaningful employment is slowly becoming a pipe dream and less and less reality as each piece of legislation is passed.

As the minimum wage began to climb, the Manns faced tough decisions.

First, they were forced to cut expenses, which meant letting go four of seven employees at the Seattle shop. They had to raise prices, and sales fell. They cut store hours as a result of having fewer employees.

The Manns’ two remaining employees are ages 35 and 60, Heidi Mann said, because the couple has been forced to hire more experienced workers.

They can’t afford to hire and train entry-level high school and college students, something she lamented.

When she was 16, she worked at a Taco Bell in Federal Way, Washington, for a much lower minimum wage.

She worked her way up to management, learning important skills along the way such as customer service, handling money, and conflict resolution.

“Small business owners are what make America strong,” Mann said. “They are the heart of the economy and are a front line of defense, taking on the brunt of raising a solid workforce as employees navigate into careers and higher-paying positions.”

The post Seattle Couple Fear $16 Minimum Wage Could Doom Their Subway Franchise appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

UK’s Drone Debacle Has Lessons for the US

Fri, 2019-01-18 16:31

In the past three weeks, unauthorized drone flights temporarily shut down two of London’s largest airports, impacting tens of thousands of fliers.

The incidents starkly revealed how vulnerable critical infrastructure and other potential targets are to drone threats—not just in the United Kingdom, but here in the United States as well.

The interruptions at Gatwick and Heathrow airports sparked a review of the U.K.’s existing drone regulations, culminating in a large-scale government push to empower police and to develop the counter-drone technology needed to detect and disrupt unlawful drone conduct.

In the past year, the U.S. Congress has implemented similar measures through the Preventing Emerging Threats Act, but more remains to be done. Congress should follow the example of the U.K. on this issue by empowering state and local enforcement with the authority to protect their communities.

In a 66-page document, the U.K. outlined its plans to grant new powers to police to prevent drone misuse. Police will now have the ability to land, seize, and search drones, as well as the authority to request evidence in pursuit of suspicious activities. Police can also issue fines to those who violate regulations. Some of the proposed fineable offenses include flying a drone that weighs more than 250 grams without first completing an online drone pilot competency test, or failing to heed a law enforcement order to land a drone.

The Preventing Emerging Threats Act proposed similar steps, extending the right to track and seize unlawful drones to the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. 

Unlike in the U.K., however, state and local authorities in the U.S. remain severely constrained in their ability to police drone activity. Police can, depending upon state and local laws, use  unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) to monitor and record, as they did at the New Year’s Eve ball drop in New York City this year, but they cannot legally interdict and disable a drone that poses a threat to public safety—that’s a privilege limited to the federal government.

The U.K. government has also made strides working with manufacturers to develop technology to mitigate threats from reckless or malicious drone operators. One such technology is “geo-fencing,” a software-based solution that prevents drones from flying in certain restricted areas. Another is to require the installation of a tracking unit in each drone.

U.S. authorities are exploring similar avenues, including the Federal Aviation Administration’s ongoing efforts to develop a remote identification standard that would create, in effect, electronic license plates to permit the identification of drones and their operators.

While these are clearly necessary steps for the safe integration of drones into the airspace, it is unlikely that someone determined to commit a crime using a drone—like the as-yet-unidentified culprits who deliberately disrupted Gatwick airport—would comply with identification requirements or airspace restrictions. Hence, authorities need effective counter-drone equipment that can identify and interdict hostile drones.

At Gatwick and Heathrow, the U.K. relied on the military-grade Israeli-developed “Drone Dome” to counter the threats. Gatwick and Heathrow airports invested millions of pounds in similar technology. While that may effectively neutralize threats, it is hardly a long-term remedy. This equipment is expensive, and it is designed for a battlefield environment.

Deploying military equipment may prove to be a necessary short-term fix, but potentially dangerous complications can be expected when this is deployed in densely populated civilian areas like a major airport or football stadium. For example, signal-jammers designed to disrupt drone control signals may interfere with radio and cell-phone communications—and thus the Federal Communications Commission heavily regulates their use—while weapons designed to shoot down drones create falling debris and risk setting off explosives that hostile drones may be carrying.

While there is demand for counter-UAS technology, there is also an opportunity to begin to develop homogenous standards for their development and use, and to promote private investment in research and development of these systems.

With drone flights escalating in number, chief responsibility will fall on state and local law enforcement officers to mitigate unlawful conduct. History clearly demonstrates that in nearly every criminal or terrorist event, local police are the first to arrive on-scene to deal with an active threat or its immediate aftermath.

Under current law, however, these agencies have little authority to do their job. In fact, recent guidance from the FAA to law enforcement agencies specifically states that police are able merely to observe unsafe or unlawful drone conduct, and report it back to the FAA.

The odds of a timely response from federal regulators, much less one fast enough to deal with an immediate threat, are slim.

Heritage Foundation experts have recognized this shortcoming and proposed establishing a pilot program for various state and local law enforcement agencies to deputize officers to engage in counter-UAS activities under federal supervision. This program would extend counter-UAS competencies outside of the federal government while still allowing for federal supervision and the development of best practices for safe and reasonable counter-drone operations.

Ultimately, the situations at Gatwick and Heathrow highlight the pressing need to ensure that law enforcement agencies at all levels of government have the tools, training, and legal authority to engage in effective counter-drone defense. While both the U.S. and the U.K. have made significant strides to mend this issue, there is more work to be done on both sides of the Atlantic.

The post UK’s Drone Debacle Has Lessons for the US appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Disagreeing With Conventional Washington Wisdom Isn’t a Crime

Fri, 2019-01-18 15:19

The New York Times recently reported that President Donald Trump has, on a number of occasions, contemplated withdrawing from NATO. This is an important issue for public debate and, ultimately, for elections. There is, however, no constitutional amendment codifying a forever-alliance with select European nations.

So if Trump decided to try to pull out of the alliance–and to this point, he’s done nothing to move in that direction–it would be well within his purview. Even if Trump did so solely to placate Russia in hopes of building better relations with that nation, he’d be engaged in neither a high crime nor a misdemeanor.

Some of us believe that Trump is misguided to consider exiting, but it’s become a matter of faith among many Democrats and never-Trumpers that the very act of disagreeing with their (often newly acquired) foreign policy positions is a crime against “democracy.”

As onetime U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, a hero to the resistance for the valiant act of being fired, tweeted, “If true: Trump should immediately and publicly state his apparent wish to withdraw from NATO so he can be promptly impeached, convicted, and removed from office.”

As it happens, The New York Times also recently reported that the FBI “began investigating whether (Trump) had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests” soon after he fired a subordinate, FBI Director James Comey.

In other words, as far as we now know, the nation’s top law enforcement agency purportedly launched a counterintelligence investigation in part–or maybe in whole–because it deemed Trump’s firing of its head unjustified and Trump’s positions too favorable toward Russia and thus a threat to national security.

For starters, the idea that the president should be embroiled in an investigation prompted by his foreign policy positions is both dangerous and arguably unconstitutional. We’ll soon know whether there was any genuine evidence to substantiate such a remarkable move.

If not, it would mean that the FBI engaged in an unprecedented attack on a duly elected president. It’s not the FBI’s job to set foreign policy.

After all, we have widely divergent ideas about what “American interests” look like. Which ones is the FBI going to treat as potentially criminal?

No one contemplated investigating or impeaching Barack Obama after he was caught on a hot mic assuring Russian President Vladimir Putin’s puppet that he was lying to the American electorate and would have “more flexibility” after the election to acquiesce to Russia’s demands on NATO missile defense in Europe.

If pliancy toward illiberal regimes is a red flag, the obsequiousness of Obama administration officials toward the Islamic regime in Iran should have sounded alarms at the FBI.

Moreover, in the real world, Trump has taken the same kind of impulsive and inconsistent positions on Russia as he’s taken on any number of issues. On the policy front, there’s an argument that he’s been at least as tough on Russia than the previous two administrations.

Voters knew these were his positions before they voted. Everyone understood that Trump would be flattering Putin–which isn’t exactly new for American presidents.

Everyone knew that Trump was skeptical about the usefulness of NATO. It was widely covered. During the presidential campaign, Trump went on a long rant about how antiquated and expensive the alliance had gotten: “NATO was set up at a different time,” Trump said. “NATO was set up when we were a richer country. We’re not a rich country anymore.”

We’re not a rich country anymore? We’re still the richest, by far. That certainly doesn’t mean that debating the usefulness and cost of NATO is an attack on “democracy”–a catchall for conventional bipartisan policies.

A 2018 Reuters poll, conducted after Trump got back from haranguing Europeans, found that 49 percent of American voters believed that the United States shouldn’t be required to defend NATO allies from attack if Europeans were not to contribute more to their defense.

Anyway, if the public is shocked about the prospect of backing out of NATO (and did I mention that I’m skeptical that we’re ever going to withdraw?), then voters can let their displeasure be known through elections, not by deputizing law enforcement agencies.

Of course, Congress–the same Congress that abdicated its responsibility on foreign policy long ago–can impeach and remove the president for any reasons it sees fit. But there should be two debates: one regarding the president’s positions and another about his disposition and the legality of his actions.

Yet Trump’s obsessed adversaries can’t help but conflate those things to create an all-encompassing, overwrought case that ends up making everything about one man. They have few ethical or constitutional qualms about enlisting every institution to undo the 2016 election.

And in the end, no one is really talking about NATO, right? Everyone’s just talking about Trump.


The post Disagreeing With Conventional Washington Wisdom Isn’t a Crime appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Why Privatizing Airport Security Is Good For American Taxpayers and Their Security

Fri, 2019-01-18 14:52

The flu season isn’t the only thing keeping some TSA agents out of work. As the partial government shutdown rolls on, TSA paychecks aren’t coming in, and more agents are calling in “sick” as a result.

On Monday, the Transportation Security Agency reported a nationwide absence rate of 6.8 percent. That’s far higher than the absence rate of 2.5 percent which was reported on the same day one year ago.

Noticeably, some airports are doing fine and still paying airport screeners despite the government shutdown. San Francisco International Airport, for example, is able to operate as normal because it is one of 22 airports in the U.S. that use private airport security, not TSA agents.

There are multiple reasons why reforming the TSA model would prove beneficial. A private model would allow for strengthened accountability, a decrease in operation costs, enhanced management of labor, and better focus on security threats and problems.

Privatizing aviation screenings would be beneficial for security. Private screening services can provide security that is at least as good as federal services, and at a cheaper rate. This is accomplished through the creation of incentive, competition, and accountability.

The core issue with the TSA model is the present conflict of interest created by self-regulation. Currently, TSA is operating as both the security regulator and security provider.

As Reason Foundation transportation expert Robert W. Poole, Jr., testified to Congress:

[The] TSA regulates itself. Arm’s-length regulation is a basic good-government principle; self-regulation is inherently problematic. First, no matter how dedicated TSA leaders and managers are, the natural tendency of any large organization is to defend itself against outside criticism and to make its image as positive as possible. And that raises questions about whether TSA is as rigorous about dealing with performance problems with its own workforce as it is with those that it regulates at arm’s length, such as airlines and airports.

The TSA model is quite uncommon worldwide. The more common models utilize the government as security regulator while a contractor or the airport itself provides security. This automatically push accountability and competition higher than the current U.S. model.

Here’s one example of how a private model would improve accountability.

In recent years, TSA has struggled to carry out its duties. That was made painfully clear by the results of the “red team” auditing test, where 67 of 70 weapons passed through TSA screeners.

If the “red team” test had been performed on a private contractor and yielded similar results, they would likely have been immediately fired and replaced by one of their competitors. But the TSA is not so easily replaced.

By looking to examples in Canada and Europe, we can observe how governments spend drastically less, yet still manage to meet international aviation standards. These countries show that privately-hired scanning teams can manage personnel far more efficiently than the government and still make a profit. They also cost significantly less—Canada spent about 40 percent less per capita on aviation security than the U.S. in 2014, for example.

Shifting the responsibility for frontline aviation screening into the private sector would also improve security by letting the TSA focus purely on oversight and regulation.  

The way forward for aviation security is through privatization. An easy way forward would be for policymakers to look to the Canadian model for private aviation security as one that the U.S. could easily learn from and adapt to meet U.S. needs.

Overall, this reform has the potential to save taxpayers money, increase their travel safety, and decrease their headaches at the airport.

The post Why Privatizing Airport Security Is Good For American Taxpayers and Their Security appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Pence Defends Wife Against Media Attacks Over Her Teaching at Christian School

Fri, 2019-01-18 14:03

Vice President Mike Pence defended his wife Karen Pence’s new job at a Christian private school Thursday, calling the ensuing backlash against Christian education “deeply offensive.”

Mike Pence made the impassioned defense of Christian education following public outcry over his wife’s announcement she will be teaching art at Immanuel Christian School in Springfield, Virginia.

Critics raged over the fact that the school requires employees to pledge they believe marriage is monogamous and heterosexual and they won’t engage in “homosexual or lesbian sexual activity” or adopt or promote “transgender identity,” in accordance with Christian doctrine.

The school also requires parents of students to sign an agreement that the school can deny admission to or remove a student whose behavior or lifestyle is “in opposition to the biblical lifestyle the school teaches.” Pence characterized the backlash as an attack on the freedom to pursue religious education and lauded the American tradition of Christian schools.

“My wife and I have been in the public eye for quite a while but I have to tell you, to see major news organizations attacking Christian education is deeply offensive,” Pence told EWTN. “We have a rich tradition in America of Christian education and, frankly, religious education broadly defined. We celebrate it. The freedom of religion is enshrined in the Constitution of the United States.”

PREVIEW — @VP @mike_pence responds to critics of @SecondLady's new job. "The criticism of Christian education in America should stop." Tune in tonight for part one of my full interview with the Vice President on @EWTNNewsNightly at 7 PM EST on @EWTN. pic.twitter.com/YKEHyroswC

— Lauren Ashburn (@LaurenAshburn) January 17, 2019

Several progressive groups—including the NOH8 Campaign, the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project—targeted the second lady and the school over its faith-based policies. The Trevor Project even announced it plans to send 100 copies of a book depicting the Pences’ pet rabbit as homosexual to the school.

“The Constitution prohibits a religious test for holding public office, so we’ll let the critics roll off our back. But this criticism of Christian education in America should stop,” Pence added.

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

The post Pence Defends Wife Against Media Attacks Over Her Teaching at Christian School appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

A Federal Appeals Court Just Took a Big Swing at Planned Parenthood

Fri, 2019-01-18 12:15

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction forbidding Texas from stripping Planned Parenthood of Medicaid funds Thursday, while stridently criticizing the abortion provider for its rhetoric and medical practices.

“Planned Parenthood’s reprehensible conduct, captured in undercover videos, proves that it is not a ‘qualified’ provider under the Medicaid Act, so we are confident we will ultimately prevail,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement after Thursday’s ruling.

The case arose after a pro-life group called the Center for Medical Progress released videos purporting to show Planned Parenthood violating medical and ethical standards codified in federal law and state regulations. Texas terminated its Medicaid provider agreement with Planned Parenthood shortly thereafter, citing infractions documented in the videos.

In turn, Planned Parenthood asked a federal court to restore its Medicaid funding. Thursday’s ruling—which related to a jurisdictional issue in that case—is especially striking for its numerous rebukes of Planned Parenthood. Judge Edith Jones, a Ronald Reagan appointee, delivered the opinion.

Perhaps the most noteworthy of the decision’s reprimands is a graphic depiction of post-abortion fetal remains taken from a Center for Medical Progress video on the fourth page of the opinion. A small arm is visible in the picture. Texas cited the manner in which Planned Parenthood disposes of fetal remains as one reason for terminating its Medicaid eligibility.

In another instance, the decision all but accuses Planned Parenthood of breaking federal law banning partial-birth abortions. The ruling highlights a Center for Medical Progress video in which an administrator called Dr. Tram Nguyen said doctors at one facility could evacuate an intact fetus—thereby breaking federal law—provided they sign a form that they did not “intend” to do so. Such procedures allow researchers to recover organs like the thymus or the liver.

Later in the opinion, the panel chides Planned Parenthood for failing to address Nguyen’s comments in court filings.

“The plaintiffs’ briefing with regard to the substance of the discussions contained in the videos is curiously silent,” the decision reads.

Planned Parenthood has denied it intentionally alters abortion procedures for impermissible reasons.

The panel also dismissed Planned Parenthood’s claim that the Center for Medical Progress videos were “deceptively edited,” a soundbite that redounded across the press after the tapes first appeared.

“The record reflects that [the Texas Office of Inspector General] had submitted a report from a forensic firm concluding that the video was authentic and not deceptively edited,” a footnote in the decision reads. “And [Planned Parenthood] did not identify any particular omission or addition in the video footage.”

Finally the panel accused the judiciary of politicking on abortion cases. Ordinarily, providers like Planned Parenthood must challenge Medicaid termination decisions in an administrative forum and state court before seeking a federal court’s intervention. By allowing Planned Parenthood to skip directly to federal court—as the trial court did here—the 5th Circuit said judges are engaging in ideological favoritism.

“Had [Texas] terminated the Medicaid provider agreements of any other type of health care provider, the incongruity of allowing that provider to use patient litigation proxies to avoid administrative review and [reach] federal court would be obvious and unacceptable,” the ruling reads.

The decision comes as pro-life activists gather in Washington in advance of Friday’s March for Life.

The question before the 5th Circuit did not relate to abortion directly: After Texas disqualified Planned Parenthood from Medicaid eligibility, the abortion provider sued, claiming the federal Medicaid statute allowed it to do so. A federal district judge agreed, allowing the lawsuit to proceed. The 5th Circuit had to decide whether that decision was correct.

The federal appeals courts are divided over the answer to that question. Though the Supreme Court generally intervenes when the circuits disagree over the same question of law, the justices denied review in a related controversy from Kansas in December, drawing a vigorous dissent from Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch that accused the court of playing politics.

In that instance, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined with the court’s liberal bloc, effectively preserving a pro-Planned Parenthood decision in the lower court.

The 5th Circuit’s Thursday decision concluded that it is bound by precedent to find Planned Parenthood can proceed with its lawsuit in federal court under the Medicaid statute, though Jones wrote a concurrence to her own majority opinion urging the full 5th Circuit to revisit that question.

However, the 5th Circuit gave Texas a partial victory, finding the trial court assessed Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction under the wrong standard. The panel lifted the injunction, and ordered the lower court judge to reconsider Planned Parenthood’s request under a different standard that is more accommodating of Texas.

As such, the state has a much better chance of prevailing when the matter returns to the trial court for further proceedings.

Texas awards approximately $3.4 million to Planned Parenthood affiliates through Medicaid annually. The decision notes this is a “smidgen” of the revenue Planned Parenthood’s Texas affiliates generate each year, which runs over $57 million.

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

The post A Federal Appeals Court Just Took a Big Swing at Planned Parenthood appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

NewsGuard ‘Nutrition Label’ Ratings of News Sites Popular

Fri, 2019-01-18 12:00

In an era of what President Donald Trump and others have decried as “fake news,” an internet browser extension offers a possible solution for determining the credibility of the content of news websites and search engine results.

A new Gallup study, released Jan. 9, of news consumers’ views found support for the concept of access to the sort of information about those sites that NewsGuard aims to provide.

Among survey respondents using NewsGuard, Gallup found that 89 percent of users of social media sites and 83 percent overall want social media sites and search engines to incorporate NewsGuard’s ratings and reviews into their news feeds and search results.

The browser extension grades online news sources based on research and content analysis performed by what it calls “trained journalists” applying criteria “in an apolitical and fully transparent manner.”

News sources’ grades are based on how closely they hew to nine journalistic standards of credibility and transparency, which are displayed in what NewsGuard calls “nutrition labels” given to the sites.

The Gallup survey found that 90 percent of respondents who downloaded and used the free tool trusted the ratings more because they are done by “trained analysts with varied backgrounds.”

The browser extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari and used by respondents “displayed NewsGuard ratings and nutrition labels in social media such as Facebook and Twitter, in search results from Google and Bing, in news aggregators such as MSN and in products such as LinkedIn,” Gallup wrote.

The criteria for rating news websites include sourcing, transparency, and accurate information. Based on these and other factors, an organization will receive a “green” or “red” rating, depending on whether a website “is trying to get it right or instead has a hidden agenda or knowingly publishes falsehoods or propaganda,” according to NewsGuard.

Among NewsGuard’s verified and trusted news sources is The Daily Signal, which has received a “green” rating on all eight relevant criteria, and is described as a news outlet that “generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”

Ratings help readers distinguish which sources can be trusted and which can’t. The Gallup survey found that 63 percent of respondents “would be less likely to share news stories from red-rated websites,” and 56 percent “would be more likely to share news from green-rated websites.”

“We hoped when we launched NewsGuard that people would welcome access to more information about news websites,” said co-CEO Steven Brill, a lawyer and media entrepreneur who previously founded the American Lawyer magazine and the Court TV cable channel. “We are especially pleased to see the high level of trust respondents to the survey have in NewsGuard.”

The post NewsGuard ‘Nutrition Label’ Ratings of News Sites Popular appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Black Lives Only Matter If They Are Taken by Whites

Fri, 2019-01-18 11:27

Social media rang with righteous indignation over the senseless killing of Jazmine Barnes, who was shot and killed while riding in a car along with her mother and three sisters on a Texas highway on Dec. 30.

The gunman, who was identified as a white man, allegedly drove a red pickup truck and fired upon the Barnes family seemingly randomly and without any provocation. A picture quickly emerged of a racist murderer on the loose, hell-bent on killing innocent black children.

All of the usual alarms were triggered. New York Daily News writer Shaun King, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement, who was made famous in the aftermath of the Ferguson, Missouri, protests, rushed to tweet out accusations about the alleged suspect, a man named Robert Cantrell.

King, who has 1 million twitter followers, posted Cantrell’s mug shot and wrote, “We’ve had 20 people call or email us and say he is a racist, violent (expletive) and always has been. Just tell me everything you know.”

Tips began to pour in to King, who forwarded them to police. One of those tips ultimately led to the arrest of two suspects, both of whom turned out to be African-American males.

But in the days immediately preceding the arrests, Black Lives Matter activists quickly mobilized in Houston, holding rallies and vigils and decrying the racist slaying of an innocent girl.

Celebrities like former NBA All-Star player Shaquille O’Neill also got in on the act, promising to donate money to cover Jazmine’s funeral expenses.

Houston Texans’ star wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, promised to take the field in Jazmine’s honor, after tweeting, “When I see Jazmine Barnes’ face, I see my own daughter.” Hopkins, who is himself the father of a 5-year-old daughter, announced he’d be donating his entire game check to assist with funeral costs and support the reward fund for information leading the suspects’ capture.

Prominent Dallas civil rights attorney Lee Merritt also joined the case, primarily due to his belief (based on the initial description of the suspect) that the shooting was racially motivated.

“That’s why I was brought on,” Merritt told the Washington Post last week. “We want to emphasize the racial nature of the attack and that hate-crime charges are appropriate.”

Merritt’s statement begs the question, of course: Aren’t most murders, by definition, crimes of hatred?

When, on Monday, the new suspect was arrested and it appeared the motive was not race-related, the hoopla immediately died down. Gone was the righteous indignation on social media. No more celebrity attorneys announced they were interested in the case.

Sadly, this appeared to be just another case of black-on-black crime. Apparently, this was merely a case of two young black criminals who may have shot at the Barnes’ vehicle because they mistakenly identified the occupants–a mistake in judgment apparently fueled by drugs. Nothing to see here.

In a week, Jazmine Barnes’ case is likely to fade from public discourse. Hopefully, the tens of thousands of dollars pledged to the Barnes family by O’Neal, DeAndre Hopkins, and others will actually make it to their intended recipients. That remains to be seen.

Although you would not know it from the media coverage, Jazmine Barnes is not the first black child to die because of senseless gun violence this year. In fact, of the over 1,300 child deaths by gun violence in 2018, more than four in 10 deaths were black children. Black children are, in fact, 10 times more likely to die of gun violence than white children. Furthermore, in most gun homicides of black children, the assailant was also black.

Where, one wonders, is the outrage over the nearly 500 black children killed by guns last year? How many of those names have even made it to the national media? Is each of their lives less important because a black person took them?

It seems that in all too many cases, black lives don’t matter unless they are taken by a white person. We almost never hear about the thousands of senseless murders of blacks by blacks.

But when the suspected killer is a white person, well, of course, that’s news. All of a sudden, there is an outcry of support and care and concern and activism. The murder unfailingly makes the evening news. Prognosticators are ready on the draw with the usual platitudes and complaints and inferences about America’s worsening racial climate.

The troubling narrative that emerges from the grossly disproportionate treatment of the relatively isolated instances of violence deemed “racially motivated” versus the virtual sea of other crimes not deemed tainted by race begs the question: Is the only reason we even know about Jazmine Barnes because people believe she was killed by a white man?

And that question begs another question: When black children are being murdered in absolutely horrific proportions, mostly at the hands of other black people, do black lives actually matter to black people? Or do they only matter when someone white kills them?


The post Black Lives Only Matter If They Are Taken by Whites appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Liberals’ Real Problem Is That Christian Schools Exist at All

Fri, 2019-01-18 11:11

It was supposed to be a day celebrating religious freedom in America. Instead, liberals decided to show everyone just how much our First Freedom is at risk.

For Christians, who have tried to warn people that these past several years were about a lot more than marriage, the attacks on second lady Karen Pence certainly seem to prove their point.

Three years after Obergefell v. Hodges, all of the lies about “love” and “tolerance” have been eclipsed by the court cases, articles, and editorial demonizing people of faith.

What Americans see now is the truth: The left is coming for our freedom, and they have no intention of letting up.

Like former Vice President Joe Biden’s wife, Karen Pence spent years in the classroom. When Vice President Mike Pence was in Congress, she taught art at Immanuel Christian School in Virginia, and no one batted an eye.

Of course, that was back in the early 2000s, when the left’s charm offensive on same-sex marriage was still in full swing. We’ll be accommodating, they said. We just want to coexist, they said. Our relationships won’t affect you, they said.

A handful of years later, “affected” doesn’t begin to describe what happens to conservatives who think differently than the totalitarian left.

Of course, the Pences are not strangers to the other side’s viciousness. Every time the media is reminded about the family’s faith, they become hysterical all over again—a scene that played out this week when Karen announced she’d be volunteering at Immanuel Christian this spring.

“I am excited to be back in the classroom and doing what I love to do,” she said in a statement. “I have missed teaching art, and it’s great to return to the school where I taught art for 12 years.”

She can’t go back there, LGBT activists raged! They reject homosexuality! Yes, well, that’s what Orthodox Christian schools do. (Not to mention Jewish and Muslim ones, too.)

Would it have been headline news if Jill Biden taught at a Roman Catholic school? Probably not. Yet, the left and their media chums are hurling profanity at the Pences for something that, even five years ago, wouldn’t have been controversial.

Frankly, the only thing that would have been shocking is if Karen worked at a Christian school that didn’t act like a Christian school.

CNN’s Kate Bennett was just one of the talking heads who doesn’t get it. “So, lemme get this straight,” she tweeted, “the second lady of the United States has chosen to work at a school that openly discriminates against LGBT adults and children?”

“So, lemme get this straight,” Ben Shapiro fired back. “You’re a reporter, but you’ve never heard of religious people before? ‘BREAKING: Pence’s wife is working for a Christian school that requires that Christian students pledge to abide by Christian standards of sin that have not changed in 2,000 years.’”

To be honest, the left’s real problem isn’t that Mike Pence’s wife is working at an evangelical school—but that evangelical schools exist at all.

Since they do, the last thing liberals want is for anyone in public office to be associated with them. And despite what you’ve heard from the forces of intolerance, Immanuel Christian doesn’t “ban” anyone from the school.

What it does, Chad Greene points out, “is require a specific set of behavioral and religious belief standards equally applied to everyone.

“Many in the Christian world make a distinction regarding LGBT people that the left typically refuses to consider, between a person and his actions.”

As Christians, our behavior doesn’t define us; we define our behavior.

Immanuel is in the business of teaching Christianity. What would be the point of a religious school if it didn’t?

This “immediate, visceral reaction” shows just how far the left will go to shame people of faith into silence. Worse, it proves the day they told us was coming is finally here. Back in 2015, during the Obergefell arguments, President Barack Obama’s top lawyer, Donald Verrilli, pulled back the curtain on the left’s real goal in one surprisingly candid moment.

When Justice Samuel Alito pressed the solicitor general on whether same-sex marriage would give the government a weapon to threaten Christian schools, Verrilli seemed uncomfortable, but admitted, “It’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is—it is going to be an issue.”

We haven’t seen the left fully implement their plans, because they haven’t had the benefit of another radical president in the White House to build on the liberal legacy of Obama. But we don’t have to guess what they’ll do if they get one.

It’s all spelled out in the most recent Democratic National Platform. Religious freedom, as Americans have known it for 233 years, will not be safe in the hands of a movement that is surgically targeting people of faith.

When I talked to the vice president on “Washington Watch,” he didn’t mince words.

“Karen and I have been in and around public life for almost two decades, and so—to be honest—we’re used to the criticism, but the attacks on Christian education by the mainstream media have got to stop,” he said.

“We cherish the freedom of religion in this country. This administration stands four-square for the freedom of religion of people of all faiths. And to see the mainstream media criticize my wife because she’s choosing to return to the classroom of an elementary Christian school is wrong.”

There used to be a consensus in this country that religious liberty was for everyone. When the Religious Freedom Restoration Act came before Congress, only three members voted against it. Over time, some liberals tried to isolate faith—to churches, Christian schools, or family rooms.

You’ve heard me say before that the left’s hope is to quarantine religion within the four walls of the church. Now, it’s becoming clear: Even that won’t satisfy them.

“I have always had a problem with the idea that religion is something we must keep to ourselves,” Matt Walsh writes in the Daily Wire. “Indeed, the Christian faith requires exactly the opposite. But in the case of Karen Pence and her new employer, they are doing exactly what the left demanded.

“This school is merely trying to operate by biblical principles within its own walls and on its own property. It is a Christian school simply being a Christian school.

“It isn’t bothering anyone. It isn’t invading anyone’s home and lecturing them about their sexual behavior. It isn’t preventing anyone from working or living or enjoying their lives. It is just saying, very reasonably, very unobtrusively, ‘We are going to conduct ourselves according to Christian moral tradition. If you don’t want to accept that moral tradition, then by all means, go somewhere else.’

“This is exactly, precisely, the approach that the left for years endorsed and insisted upon. But suddenly it’s a problem. Suddenly, even Christianity behind closed doors, on private property, in a private school, is a target of outrage and scorn.

“It was a lie all along. They were never planning to stop outside the walls of our homes and our churches and our schools. That’s just what they said to lull us to sleep.

“Now the next phase begins.”

Originally published by Family Research Council’s Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.

The post Liberals’ Real Problem Is That Christian Schools Exist at All appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

We Will Never Surrender on Life

Fri, 2019-01-18 11:11

This week, millions of Americans mourn the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that forced legalized abortion on demand onto the 50 states and has led to the deaths of tens of millions of Americans.

But the hundreds of thousands marching for life in Washington, D.C., and hometowns across the nation also celebrate the great progress we have made since then, fighting to restore the God-given rights of all Americans, of every age.

Under Roe, 60 million precious lives—generations of sons and daughters—have been lost in the United States alone. For far too long, the tragic practice of abortion has not only denied the most basic rights of those in the womb, but has also left mothers suffering with tremendous loss and pain.

It has been used by governments to limit population growth, as seen in China’s infamous “one child policy.” It has been used to eliminate unwanted baby girls from societies where baby boys are prized. And now, nations like Iceland are proudly announcing the elimination of afflictions such as Down syndrome because they’ve aborted almost all the babies who were diagnosed.

Even while legal, the horrors of abortion were thrown into public view by the prolific serial killer Kermit Gosnell, whose sheer contempt for human life extended from the unborn, to infants, to their mothers themselves. A few years later, undercover videotapes revealing frank discussions of aborted body part sales shocked and outraged the nation.

But pro-life activists should be heartened by the growing list of victories achieved for unborn Americans in recent years.

From its first days in office, the Trump administration reinstated and expanded the Mexico City policy, which blocks federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that facilitate abortions. In the Senate, we’ve been able to confirm more and more of the administration’s constitutionalist judges who recognize the terrible jurisprudence behind Roe v. Wade.

We passed a law allowing states to deny Title X funding to Planned Parenthood, and saw the federal government finalize religious exemptions to prevent the Little Sisters of the Poor and private employers from being required to provide abortifacient drugs.

Last January, I introduced the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban late-term abortions that result in pain and suffering for an unborn child. After five months, an unborn child’s toes, eyelids, fingers, and eyelashes have formed. He or she has a heartbeat, and can feel pain.

While this bill was blocked by Senate Democrats, it reflects the growing body of evidence that unborn children can sense and suffer, and that the pro-life movement stands on the side of science.

There is still much work ahead of us. Thankfully, many legislators are stepping up in the 116th Congress and offering ways for our country to move beyond the horror of abortion, and I’m proud to be a co-sponsor for these vital initiatives.

A big one is the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which would prohibit the Department of Health and Human Services from providing federal family planning grants and other funds to entities that perform abortions—entities like Planned Parenthood.

I am also co-sponsoring the Protect Funding for Women’s Health Care Act, which redirects federal funding from abortion providers to better women’s health organizations that provide cervical and breast cancer screenings, diagnostic laboratory and radiology services, well-child care, prenatal and postnatal care, immunizations, and more.

The Interstate Abortion Notification Act amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime to knowingly transport a minor to another state to obtain an abortion without satisfying a parental involvement law in the minor’s resident state. Too many girls and young women have been victimized by abusers and human traffickers under the current system, and this policy would be a vast improvement for expecting mothers, children, and parents alike.

Finally, the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act would establish a government-wide statutory prohibition on taxpayer subsidies for abortion and abortion coverage. This legislation would also prohibit subsidies in the form of refundable, advanceable tax credits for abortion coverage, and would codify an annual renewed appropriations policy providing conscience protections.

I am proud to join all of these measures to protect human life from its first stages of development. I look forward to a time when every child—girl or boy, with special needs or special mind—has the opportunity to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Keep marching for them.

The post We Will Never Surrender on Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Best Way to Protect Air Travel From the Shutdown: Reduce Washington’s Role

Fri, 2019-01-18 11:04

With discussions for resolving the partial federal government shutdown seemingly at an impasse, some are concerned about the shutdown’s impact on two components of the air-travel system: air traffic control and airport security.

The best way to prevent negative impacts would be to reduce the federal role in both of these areas. Doing so would also bring additional benefits.

The Department of Transportation’s air-traffic control system and the Department of Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are both caught up in the shutdown due to spending bills for their respective departments not yet having been signed into law.

As a result, many travelers are facing longer security lines, and air-traffic control employees are voicing complaints about having to work without pay.

While most shutdown discussion revolves around casting blame and creative ways to prevent shutdowns from taking place, Americans should instead consider whether the federal government should be responsible for so many aspects of day-to-day life.

In the case of air-traffic control, Americans are shortchanged by a system that is bureaucratic and wildly out-of-date. This has meant higher costs and less functionality for airlines, which in turn leads to higher prices and more delays for passengers.

A positive example lies to the north. Canada’s air traffic control system, which covers a similarly large amount of territory, was turned over to a private nonprofit in 1996. The result has been lower costs and faster technological development.

If Canada could manage that transition two decades ago, surely America can do the same today.

In a similar vein, the TSA’s airport-screening work does not need to be performed by federal employees.

It’s understandable that changes were made in an attempt to increase airport security in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But private-sector screeners can handle the task of seeking to prevent weapons and explosives from being brought on-board airplanes just as well as unionized federal employees.

Private providers have better incentives and stronger accountability, making them preferable to government providers in most cases. Handing over some tasks to private providers would allow the TSA to focus on regulation and oversight, rather than implementation.

As with air traffic control, we can look to the positive experience that other nations have had in privatizing airport screening. In Canada, privatized screenings cost 15 percent less per passenger compared with those in the U.S.

The Heritage Foundation’s Blueprint for Balance estimates that privatization would produce $465 million in savings in 2019, with additional gains for passengers in the form of lower security fees.

The federal government attempts to do far too many things. Reducing the power of Washington would make the nation less dependent on politicians for the provision of services like air traffic control and airport security.

Given the current mess in Washington, the notion of relying on politicians less seems like a very good idea.

The post Best Way to Protect Air Travel From the Shutdown: Reduce Washington’s Role appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Podcast: A Former Planned Parenthood Employee Shares Why She Changed

Fri, 2019-01-18 03:01

Today is the March for Life in Washington, D.C., and we’re joined by Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood employee who had a change of heart and is now a pro-life advocate. Plus: Rachel del Guidice shares why she’s been attending the march for the past 13 years.

We also cover these stories:

  • A day after Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged the president to delay his State of the Union speech, President Donald Trump delayed Pelosi’s trip overseas.
  • A measure pushed by House Republicans that would keep the government closed but would provide pay to affected government employees failed, with only six Democrats voting for it.
  • Sen. Lindsey Graham re-introduced a bill that would ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

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

The post Podcast: A Former Planned Parenthood Employee Shares Why She Changed appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Pelosi’s Petulance Is Wearing Thin

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:48

We expected all sorts of fits and furies when Democrats took control of the House, but Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s unprecedented threat to disinvite President Donald Trump to the State of the Union sets the bar surprisingly low. 

And it makes Trump’s cancellation of her overseas trip all the more sweet.

On Wednesday, citing disingenuous security concerns, Pelosi sent the president the formal equivalent of a lunchtime high school bully’s “you can’t sit with us anymore.”

The irony of the speaker holding up government funding over border security while simultaneously decrying the lack of security for the speech was apparently lost on CNN, who praised Pelosi’s gambit as “a major power move.”

Pelosi fails to recognize that in a partial shutdown, essential services remain. Protecting the State of the Union is an essential function, and its execution would be unaffected by the partial lapse in appropriations funding.  

Soon after the ink from Pelosi’s letter was dry, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen corrected Pelosi by stating that “the Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Secret Service are fully prepared to support and secure the State of the Union.” 

Furthermore, Pelosi commands a Capitol Police force with a near half-billion dollar annual budget.  The Capitol Police would play the largest role in securing the event and are completely unaffected by the current lapse in appropriations funding. In fact, Pelosi’s security detail was able to seamlessly accompany her to Hawaii during her vacation in the early days of the shutdown.

In falsely citing—without evidence—security as the reason for the disinvitation, Pelosi failed to address what changed from when she initially invited the president two weeks ago, when the government was in the same funding predicament. 

Perhaps with the weakening of her position, and a reminder that Trump’s 2018 speech garnered almost 50 million viewers, she decided to do all she could to deny her political opponent the opportunity to continue to make the case for border security.

That may be why she changed her tune on Thursday, citing federal paychecks—not security per se—as her reason for potentially disinviting the president.

Regardless of the merits of her reasons, she does retain the authority to not host the president.  But withdrawing the invite would only reinforce public perceptions of Congress and its abysmal approval rating. 

The president can also give his address—which is constitutionally obligated—at another place of his choosing. Perhaps he should consider somewhere Democrats would want to go during this partial lapse in appropriations: like a nice beach in Puerto Rico.

The post Pelosi’s Petulance Is Wearing Thin appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

I’ve Been Going to the March for Life Since I Was 12. Here’s 3 Things I’ve Learned

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:35

I have been going to the March for Life since 2006, essentially for half my life. Looking back at the past 13 years I’ve attended, I’m in awe of how it has remained the most unifying event that I have ever been part of.

I went to my first March for Life as a middle school student who was somewhat of a nerd and news junkie. Media coverage I had seen from years past had me thinking I’d join a crowd of several hundred people marching to the Supreme Court to protest abortion.

I wasn’t quite prepared for the sea of people I saw that first year, and every year since, that covers the National Mall for the rally that precedes the event. It becomes a massive human wave that slowly spills down Constitution Avenue to the Supreme Court.

Here are three recurring themes I have found to be true each year since my first March for Life at age 12.

1. The Pro-Life Movement Is Young

Anyone who says the pro-life movement is antiquated or irrelevant needs to come to the March for Life. Young people, mostly high school and college students, make up the majority of those at the event.  Middle-aged adults are the minority.

When I first experienced the March for Life, I did expect the event to be like something I had never experienced before. But I was not prepared for how my first March For Life would open my eyes to the young, strong gathering of visionaries across the country that the pro-life movement is.

The beautiful thing is that after all these years, it hasn’t changed.

The march remains a gathering of hundreds of thousands of pro-life citizens from across the nation who are passionate about ending abortion, supporting moms who find themselves in crisis pregnancies, and building a society where abortion is unthinkable.

In 2017, The Washington Times highlighted a report that found that media outlets covered the Women’s March, with sponsors including the American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood, three times more than the March for Life.

It’s no wonder so many people have no clue as to the vibrancy and reach of the pro-life movement, because the media coverage does little to nothing to present a fair picture of the event.

2. A Victor, Rather Than Victim, Mentality

While society and groups such as Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March say abortion is a fundamental right for women, and that women must have access to abortion to be successful, the annual March for Life unites people who are working to build a society where no woman feels like she has to resort to an abortion because of a lack of support or resources.

Planned Parenthood and the Women’s March, to stick to those examples, resort to a “victim mentality.” Thus we have  signs pictured at the 2017 Women’s March that read “Girls just want to have fundamental rights.”

Spoiler alert: We as women actually do have fundamental rights. We just think it’s diminishing women and putting them in a box. To tell society that abortion is the key to success and equality is wrong.  

Women are so much stronger than that. I’ve witnessed it personally at past Marches for Life, where moms march with a child they had considered aborting.

I’ve also marched with a peer of my age whose mom, as an unmarried college student, chose life for her baby and subsequently placed her for adoption.

This peer now works for female public servants who believe in the dignity of life, and that women are strong and capable and do not have to resort to abortion to have success or opportunity.

3. A Truly Inclusive Movement

My first March for Life experience showed me how truly welcoming and inclusive the pro-life movement is.

Each year, the event attracts people from all walks of life, nationality, religion, and political persuasion to come together around the fact that life is precious and should be protected from conception to natural death, and that women deserve more than the “choice” of abortion.

The March for Life actually achieves what groups such as the Women’s March and other “gender equality” movements claim to advocate but fail to execute. Namely, the March for Life is all about embracing each and every person who wants to participate in marching for the rights of the unborn.

By contrast, the Women’s March in 2017 excluded pro-life women.  

Jessica Valenti, a Women’s March supporter and columnist at Medium, tweeted: “Horrified that the @womensmarch has partnered w/an anti-choice org. Plse reconsider–inclusivity is not about bolstering those who harm us.”

Valenti added that only certain things women do, such as  abortion, can qualify as feminism.

“We need to stop the myth that feminism is simply ‘anything a woman does.’ Feminism is a movement for justice–abortion access is central,” she said.

The March for Life embraces so much more than this narrow view of “women’s rights.”

It welcomes all nationalities, ethnicities, and religions, including Jews, unlike the Women’s March, whose founders have ties to Louis Farrakhan. The Nation of Islam leader led chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” in Iran.

In truth, the March for Life showed me back in 2006 not only what diversity really is, but also intersectionality–long before that word was added to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary in April 201, defined as “the complex, cumulative manner in which the effects of different forms of discrimination combine, overlap, or intersect.”    

It’s a movement of people who rise above the various  adversities and stations in life. Some participants have been discriminated against or sexually abused, but they fight for the dignity and value of each and every human life.

That’s what I’ve learned about the March for Life over the past 13 years.

The post I’ve Been Going to the March for Life Since I Was 12. Here’s 3 Things I’ve Learned appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

New Missile Defense Review Is a Well-Considered Response to a Changing Global Threat Landscape

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:25

Amid reports that Russia is developing new cruise and ballistic missiles—including one that violates the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty—and assessments that North Korea now has a missile that can reach the United States, President Donald Trump visited the Pentagon on Thursday to release a report on America’s preparedness to combat global missile threats, the 2019 Missile Defense Review.

The Missile Defense Review is the culmination of the Defense Department’s year-and-a-half-long assessment of the current global offensive missile threat, along with the United States’ recommended missile defense strategy and guidance for associated weapons programs.   

In summary, the Missile Defense Review is a strong and insightful response to the growing missile threat facing the United States and our interests. 

The review, while painting a sobering picture of the advancing capabilities of our adversaries, also lays out a thoughtful path to maintaining U.S. security.

The previous Missile Defense Review was released in 2010. There’s a great deal of continuity between the 2010 and 2019 reviews, including several recommendations that have been updated and carried forward.   

While there’s a thread of continuity between the two reviews, there’s also change.

The global offensive missile threat landscape has vastly changed since 2010. Iran and North Korea have remained adversaries of the United States, albeit increasing in capability, but Russia and China now pose a vastly greater threat than they did in 2010.

As the review notes, not only are all of these nations rapidly improving their current weapons systems, they are also adding new systems to their arsenals. Of still greater concern, our potential adversaries are working hard to seamlessly integrate those weapon systems into their strategic and tactical military operations.

With regard to regional engagement, this Missile Defense Review underscores the need to make missile defense system solutions “tailored” and adaptable to the existing local and regional defense frameworks and geography.

In terms of the United States’ allies, the Missile Defense Review encourages increased cooperation, integration, and interoperability with allies. While the review places slightly more emphasis on increased contributions from allies, it also streamlines the process through which allies can obtain U.S. defense systems and aid more easily.  

The Missile Defense Review proposes deploying more Patriot, THAAD, and Aegis missile defense systems in certain strategic areas, as well as having mobile or relocatable defense systems for flexible crisis response.

In response to this changing threat landscape, the review reclassifies China and Russia as explicit threats to the homeland and recommends the appropriate strategic changes.

Unlike the 2010 review, which advised dialogue with China and increased cooperation with Russia, the 2019 review takes a much more clear-eyed view of these countries.

To protect the homeland, the Missile Defense Review  proposes increasing the quality and quantity of missile interceptors in Alaska, developing new kill vehicles for those interceptors, adding new missile detection sensors to the Pacific Ocean, and studying a new interceptor site in the continental U.S.

The review also suggests investments in new capabilities, such as sensors and lasers, improvements to the U.S. early warning system, and conducting the first test of a Standard Missile-3 IIA against an intercontinental ballistic missile in 2020.

Although the Missile Defense Review accurately describes the increase in threats from Russia and China, it only recommends using nuclear deterrence to counter their ICBMs. That’s disappointing. 

Providing missile defense capabilities to counter a limited Russian or Chinese ICBM strike, particularly an accidental or unauthorized launch, would provide the president additional flexibility and options.

Additionally, space-based interceptors, thought by many to have the potential to provide more effective missile defenses, are not given much attention in the review.

Given the heightened global offensive missile threat landscape, on balance, the Missile Defense Review is an appropriate response. This review sufficiently addresses the increased offensive missile threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran by recommending wise investments and improvements to the current force.

While retaining the sensible ideas from the previous review, the 2019 review updates and makes prudent adjustments to the strategy, such as increased interoperability with allies, increased numbers of systems, and “tailored” mobile regional solutions that attempt to integrate local defense mechanisms and geography.

This Missile Defense Review is a strong complement to the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review and National Defense Strategy, and the nation would be wise to follow its recommendations.

The post New Missile Defense Review Is a Well-Considered Response to a Changing Global Threat Landscape appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Left’s Extremism Will Continue to Drive Support for Trump

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:06

What are Donald Trump’s chances for re-election in 2020?

If history is any guide, pretty good.

In early 1994, Bill Clinton’s approval rating after two years in office hovered around a dismal 40 percent. The first midterm elections of the Clinton presidency were an utter disaster.

A new generation of younger, more conservative Republicans led by firebrand Newt Gingrich and his “Contract with America” gave Republicans a majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. Republicans also picked up eight Senate seats in 1994 to take majority control of both houses of Congress.

It was no wonder that Republicans thought the 1996 presidential election would be a Republican shoo-in. But Republicans nominated 73-year-old Senate leader Bob Dole, a sober but otherwise uninspired Washington fixture.

By September of 1996, “comeback kid” Clinton had a Gallup approval rating of 60 percent. Dole was crushed in an Electoral College landslide.

Barack Obama was given a similarly dismal prognosis after the 2010 midterms, when Democrats lost 63 House seats and six Senate seats. Republicans regained majority control of the House, though Democrats clung to a narrow majority in the Senate. At the time, Obama had an approval rating in the mid-40s.

Republicans once again figured Obama would be a one-term president. Yet they nominated a Dole-like candidate in the 2012 election. Republican nominee Mitt Romney had little appeal to Republicans’ conservative base and was easily caricatured by the left as an out-of-touch elite.

By late 2012, Obama’s approval rating was consistently at or above 50 percent, and he wound up easily beating Romney.

What is the significance of these rebound stories for Trump, who had a better first midterm result than either Clinton or Obama and similarly low approval ratings?

People, not polls, elect presidents.

Presidents run for re-election against real opponents, not public perceptions. For all the media hype, voters often pick the lesser of two evils, not their ideals of a perfect candidate.

We have no idea what the economy or the world abroad will be like in 2020. And no one knows what the country will think of the newly Democrat-controlled Congress in two years.

The public has been hearing a lot from radical new House representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. Their pledges to deliver “Medicare for All,” to phase out fossil fuels and to abolish the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service are occasionally delivered with snark. Tlaib recently used profanity to punctuate her desire to see Trump impeached.

But much of the public supports Trump’s agenda of deregulation, increased oil and gas production, getting tough with China on trade, and stopping illegal immigration.

What if the Democrats impeach Trump, even knowing that a Republican Senate would never convict him?

When Republicans did that to Clinton, his approval rating went up. Some Republican senators even joined the Democrats in the effort to acquit Clinton. As a reward for the drawn-out drama around the impeachment, Republicans lost seats in both the 1998 and 2000 House elections.

We still don’t have any idea whom the Democrats will nominate to run against Trump. Will they go the 1996 or 2012 Republican route with a predictable has-been such as Joe Biden, who will turn 78 shortly after the 2020 election?

Well-known candidates from the Senate such as Walter Mondale in 1984, Dole in 1996, John Kerry in 2004, John McCain in 2008, and Hillary Clinton in 2016 have a poor track record in recent presidential elections. They are usually nominated only by process of elimination and the calling in of political chits rather than due to grassroots zeal.

Democrats can continue their hard-left drift and nominate socialist Bernie Sanders, or they can try again to elect the first female president, either Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren, both of whom represent the far left.

But going to extremes did not work well in 1972, when leftist Democratic Sen. George McGovern was crushed by incumbent Richard Nixon. The Republicans learned that lesson earlier when they nominated Sen. Barry Goldwater in 1964 and were wiped out.

Whether or not they like Trump, millions of voters still think the president is all that stands between them and socialism, radical cultural transformation, and social chaos.

Many would prefer Trump’s sometimes-over-the-top tweets and hard bark to the circus they saw at the Brett Kavanaugh nomination hearings, the rantings of Ocasio-Cortez, or the endless attempts to remove Trump from office.

What usually ensure one-term presidencies are unpopular wars (Lyndon Johnson) or tough economic times (Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush).

If Trump avoids both, perhaps a majority of voters will see him as political chemotherapy—occasionally nausea-inducing but still necessary and largely effective—to stop a toxic and metastasizing political cancer.


The post The Left’s Extremism Will Continue to Drive Support for Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

What ‘Trumponomics’ Is All About

Thu, 2019-01-17 17:03

President Ronald Reagan was a winner who believed in the boundless potential of America.

Sound familiar? It’s one of the reasons President Donald Trump is succeeding despite the relentless criticism. He “has a finger on the pulse of millions and millions and millions of Americans.” He beat 17 other candidates to get elected and then outsmarted Congress and his own advisers to get a much better tax bill.

Learn how Trump gets what he wants on this episode of “The Bill Walton Show” with guest Steve Moore.

>>> Purchase Steve Moore’s book “Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive Our Economy

The post What ‘Trumponomics’ Is All About appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Trump Cancels Pelosi Travel to Push More Shutdown Talks

Thu, 2019-01-17 16:02

President Donald Trump took action to keep House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., in Washington just minutes before she was set to leave for Europe and the Middle East on a military flight.

“Dear Madame Speaker: Due to the shutdown, I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed,” Trump wrote Thursday. “We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the shutdown is over.”

This comes one day after Pelosi said Trump should postpone his State of the Union address until the partial government shutdown is over. The speaker has the formal authority to invite the president to address a joint session of Congress.

The Trump letter on Thursday to Pelosi continues:

In light of the 800,000 great American workers not receiving pay, I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is totally appropriate.

I also feel that, during this period, it would be better if you were in Washington negotiating with me and joining the strong border security movement to end the shutdown. Obviously, if you would like to make your journey by flying commercial, that would certainly be your prerogative.

I look forward to seeing you soon and even more forward to watching our open and dangerous southern border finally receive the attention, funding and security it so desperately deserves!

A congressional delegation, not just Pelosi, was scheduled to take the flight set to leave at 3 p.m. Thursday. The letter was sent shortly before 2:30.

“We want to keep her in Washington,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “If she leaves, she guarantees that the second round of paychecks to 800,000 federal workers won’t go out. The deadline to make that deal is midnight on Tuesday.”

Although the Defense Department is not among agencies affected by the shutdown, the president has authority over the entire federal fleet. Members of Congress were reportedly waiting on a bus to board the plane when the letter was sent.

A senior White House official told reporters that as soon as the president learned Pelosi was with the congressional delegation leaving the United States, he took immediate action.

The White House notified the Pentagon ahead of the president’s letter.

The post Trump Cancels Pelosi Travel to Push More Shutdown Talks appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Child Sex Offender Nabbed Crossing the Border With Migrant Caravan Families

Thu, 2019-01-17 15:02

Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents were able to apprehend a previously deported child sex offender who tried re-entering the country with a group of other foreign nationals.

A CBP camera operator on Jan. 11 discovered 24 individuals illegally crossing into the United States near the San Luis, Arizona, Port of Entry. The caravan, which was made up mostly of Central American family units, immediately surrendered when confronted by agents.

Among the group was Marcos Velasquez-Taperio, a 37-year-old Guatemalan national who was convicted of aggravated indecent liberties with a minor in Ford County, Kansas, in 2009. After serving 32 months in prison, Velasquez-Taperio was deported to his home country. Customs and Border Patrol, which reported the arrest Wednesday, said Velasquez-Taperio will now be prosecuted for re-entry after deportation.

News of the arrest immediately followed the apprehension of Wilfredo Perez-Aguilar, another sex offender from Guatemala. Perez-Aguilar, who was caught Monday trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in Southern California, was convicted in 2005 of sexual abuse and rape of a minor under the age of 12 in Kentucky.

“I am proud of our Border Patrol agents for making this arrest,” the chief patrol agent of the El Centro Sector in California, Gloria Chavez, said in a Tuesday statement. “Deported sexual predators seeking to illegally enter the U.S. will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

News of the arrests come as the U.S. federal government remains in partial shutdown over immigration enforcement.

President Donald Trump has demanded a budget that includes funding for a wall on the country’s southern border. However, most congressional Democrats remain fiercely opposed to the concept of a massive wall, suggesting it to be immoral and a waste of taxpayer money. The standoff has resulted in what is the longest government shutdown in history, with no apparent compromise on the horizon.

“We’re not going back until the Democrats do what they know they have to do,” Trump said during a Tuesday conference call. “Stay together — we’re going to win.”

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The post Child Sex Offender Nabbed Crossing the Border With Migrant Caravan Families appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Senate Adopts Resolution Saying Judicial Nominees Can Be in Knights of Columbus

Thu, 2019-01-17 13:55

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska introduced a Senate resolution Wednesday providing that it is unconstitutional to disqualify a nominee from public office based on their membership in the Knights of Columbus.

The resolution, which The Daily Caller News Foundation obtained in advance of its introduction, comes after Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii and Kamala Harris of California pressed a judicial nominee to the federal trial court in Nebraska about his affiliation with the Knights, a Catholic mutual benefit society with almost 2 million members worldwide.

Sasse’s resolution was adopted without opposition just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, following a floor speech in which the senator extolled the importance of religious liberty.

“There are many people on the left who act like every political fight is going to bring about heaven or hell on earth—and so there are a lot of folks for whom politics is a religion,” Sasse told The Daily Caller News Foundation after the resolution was adopted. “I think America at its best has affirmed the dignity of every individual and their right to free speech, free press, and freedom of worship.”

Resolutions of the sort Sasse put forward are generally offered to support noncontroversial propositions and are adopted by the unanimous consent of the chamber. “Unanimous consent” means that the Senate endorses the resolution without a vote.

As such, Sasse’s resolution was tactically shrewd: passage effectively amounts to a rebuke of Harris and Hirono. Adverse political consequences could have followed had Democrats opposed it.

A Marist poll sponsored by the Knights of Columbus released Wednesday found that 85 percent of respondents—including 90 percent of Democrats—said religion should not be a factor when assessing someone’s fitness to serve in the federal government.

“It is the sense of the Senate that disqualifying a nominee to federal office on the basis of membership in the Knights of Columbus violates the Constitution of the United States,” the resolution reads.

Article VI of the Constitution forbids the imposition of a religious test on prospective officeholders.

Harris is expected to declare her bid for president in the near future. The senator has embarked on something of a soft launch in recent days, featuring a Jan. 10 appearance on “The Late Show” that left little doubt as to her intentions.

The controversy over the Knights of Columbus emerged in December when Harris and Hirono asked a federal judicial nominee named Brian Buescher about his affiliation with the group in a series of written questions, which followed his Nov. 28 confirmation hearing.

The senators cast the Knights as an “all-male society” that takes “extreme” positions on social questions like abortion and gay marriage. Hirono proposed that Buescher resign his membership in the group to avoid the appearance of bias.

In response, Buescher said the Knights “do not have the authority to take personal political positions on behalf of all of its approximately 2 million members.”

Hirono’s office has dismissed criticism of her inquiries as “far-right wing manipulation of straightforward questions.”

Sasse drew an explicit parallel between the Buescher nomination and that of Judge Amy Coney Barrett who was questioned about how her religious convictions would bear on the discharge of her judicial duties, in view of Barrett’s scholarly writings on that subject as a student at Notre Dame Law School. Those questions were roundly condemned by Christian leaders.

Like Buescher, Barrett is a Catholic. She was confirmed to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October 2017.

“Brian Buescher’s experience with the Knights of Columbus is very similar to what you heard for Amy Barrett,” Sasse told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “I think there is a pattern here and I think we need to shine a big spotlight on it and make sure folks can’t get away with this nonsense.”

Buescher is an attorney in the Omaha offices of Kutak Rock LLP, where he leads the agribusiness litigation practice. His nomination to the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska is pending.

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The post Senate Adopts Resolution Saying Judicial Nominees Can Be in Knights of Columbus appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy