A closely divided Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration in its efforts to combat illegal immigration in a 5-4 ruling Tuesday.
In the majority opinion by Justice Samuel Alito that split along ideological lines, the high court held that federal immigration authorities can detain illegal immigrants released from prison or jail pending their deportation, even if it’s not immediately upon, or shortly after, their release.
Alito was joined in his ruling by fellow conservatives Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissented.
Breyer, writing for the court’s liberal bloc, warned that the “greater importance in the case lies in the power that the majority’s interpretation grants to the government.”
“It is a power to detain persons who committed a minor crime many years before. And it is a power to hold those persons, perhaps for many months, without any opportunity to obtain bail,” he wrote.
The court ruled on arguments in two separate class-action cases from green-card holders from California and Washington state.
Alito wrote that “neither the statute’s text, nor its structure” backed up the plaintiffs’ arguments that immigrants facing deportation should get a hearing before being detained, unless they were picked up immediately after a prison sentence.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented the immigrants, criticized Tuesday’s ruling.
“For two terms in a row now, the Supreme Court has endorsed the most extreme interpretation of immigration-detention statutes, allowing mass incarceration of people without any hearing, simply because they are defending themselves against a deportation charge,” Cecillia Wang, the ACLU’s deputy legal director, said in a statement. “We will continue to fight the gross overuse of detention in the immigration system.”
The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals had sided with the plaintiffs against the Trump administration, which appealed the ruling.
“Once again, the Supreme Court overturned a 9th Circuit’s decision that was completely outside the plain text of federal immigration law,” said Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation. “This provision ensures that dangerous criminals and dangerous terrorists won’t be let out into the streets of America.”
The post Supreme Court Sides With Trump, Overturning 9th Circuit on Illegal-Immigrant Detention appeared first on The Daily Signal.
After getting married, the decision to take on my husband’s last name was a difficult one.
In addition to the financial cost and social awkwardness of changing your identity, the process is so labor-intensive that there’s an app for that.
For $99, you can “change your name in minutes” on HitchSwitch, a concierge service that promises to “take the mystery, confusion, and stress out of changing your name.”
Sounds like a deal.
As a public writer, producer, and commentator who spent years building name recognition, the decision to change my last name felt even more complicated. Not only would I have to deal with the legal and social repercussions, but I’d have to worry about losing readers and followers, and confusing the TV hosts that I was just getting to know.
In sum, I feared I’d have to “start over.”
Plus, keeping my maiden name would afford me a level of legal protection should any stalkers arise.
But ultimately, I wanted nothing more than to be unified with my husband and future children under the same last name, and for me, that pro outweighed all the cons.
(Interestingly enough, feminists are now questioning why any woman would do this—as if keeping your father’s last name will bring down the patriarchy.)
Why are women still taking their husband’s name?— Rebecca Serle (@RebeccaASerle) March 15, 2019
In February, my husband and I took a belated two week honeymoon. Upon my return, I was ready. “This is it,” I thought. “Short-term pain for long-term gain.”
The one thing I thought I had going for me was that blue checkmark on Twitter. In the most superficial way, I thought, “This will show people that with my new last name, I’m still legit.”
With a bevy of social media accounts, bios, and more, I acted fast. Consistency, I thought, was key to avoiding confusion. I notified my IT department, all the organizations I work with, and swiftly changed my Twitter username. I was ecstatic to learn I could get @KelseyBolar without any weird characters. Things were going great.
Back from an amazing, Twitter-free honeymoon!
I’m also excited to share that I’m taking on my hubby’s last name…Kelsey Bolar! (Pronounced like “Polar” but with a “B”?)
So what’d I miss? pic.twitter.com/z0zvYVTpxD
Until shortly after making the announcement—there was no longer a blue checkmark next to my Twitter handle.
Caught up in a rush of fire and fury, my thumbs were ready to take to Twitter and accuse them of discriminating against me. How could a company that claims to be committed to “equality” punish women for taking on their husbands’ last names?
Given Twitter’s reputation among conservatives, I was confident I’d gin up enough outrage to publicly shame them into giving me the blue checkmark back. And, I’d be fighting for a greater good. “No one deserves to be punished for getting married!” I thought.
But as Ben Shapiro likes to say, “Facts don’t care about your feelings.” And the fact is, Twitter had a policy for changing your last name that I was completely unaware of.
I put my accusations on hold and decided to reach out to a contact at Twitter to explain the situation. In addition to detailing the mechanics, I shared the personal toll I feared my name change could have on my career, and how losing my (silly, superficial) status as a “public figure” on their platform was making it worse. In short, I took responsibility for failing to follow their policies, but explained it was unintentional.
My contact responded in kind, and assured me someone would look into it.
Out of the blue, less than two weeks later, my blue checkmark was back.
If Twitter had refused to reinstate it, the social media giant would have deserved every ounce of outrage I was prepared to launch. But instead, I resisted the temptation and thereby avoided making false, salacious accusations. Because of that, the situation was handled in a respectful manner.
This little scenario reminded me of a basic truth: Civil engagement must come before outrage. To be sure, some situations demand a fiery response, and not all situations get resolved like mine. But as a rule, we ought to engage with others in good faith rather than assuming the worst. You—and the culture we live in—will be better for it.
As for my new last name, it’s been weird getting used to being “Kelsey Bolar.” But already, it’s worth it. Why? Because there’s nothing like taking that final step to formally unite as husband and wife.
The post Twitter Removed My Blue Checkmark After I Took My Husband’s Last Name. Here’s How I Got It Back. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Associated Press reporter Seth Borenstein has made another attempt to convince the public of global warming, but his latest analysis has climate scientists once again refuting his claims.
On Tuesday, Borenstein cited AP analysis which found that hot temperature records in the U.S. were being broken twice as often as cold temperature records. He concluded that this is “a clear sign of human-caused climate change.”
The AP looked at 424 weather stations throughout the Lower 48 states that had consistent temperature records since 1920 and counted how many times daily hot temperature records were tied or broken and how many daily cold records were set. In a stable climate, the numbers should be roughly equal. Since 1999, the ratio has been two warm records set or broken for every cold one. In 16 of the last 20 years, there have been more daily high-temperature records than low.
He went on to cite various climate scientists:
The AP shared the data analysis with several climate and data scientists, who all said the conclusion was correct, consistent with scientific peer-reviewed literature and showed a clear sign of human-caused climate change. They pointed out that trends over decades are more robust than over single years.
The analysis stopped with data through 2018. However, the first two months of 2019 are showing twice as many cold records than hot ones.”
But the scientists he cited don’t speak for all climate scientists. Some, in fact, are dismissing his “clear sign” analysis.
Climatologist Dr. John Christy told me that Borenstein framed the data wrongly:
The occurrence of both record highs and record lows is declining. Record low events are simply declining more rapidly than record highs. The drop in record lows is associated with development around the weather stations which causes low temperatures to increase more than highs for a variety of reasons.
Most climate change activists cite the greenhouse gas theory—that man-made gases are causing changes to the Earth’s temperature. Christy noted that this theory predicts an increase in frequency of record-breaking temperatures. Yet the exact opposite is happening in the U.S.—the frequency of those temps is declining.
The cause? Christy says it’s likely “urbanization and natural variability.”
He added: “I’ve actually done this same analysis for the 682 [U.S. Historical Climatology Network] stations with at least 105 years of record since 1895. It is clear that the occurrence of both record high and record lows has declined since 1895, thanks to many records set from the 1920s to 1954.”
The AP … is spinning the story by only noting that record lows are fewer than highs now—but the real story is that in the U.S., both extremes are falling. This is consistent with the decline in number of days greater than 100 [degrees] F (or 105 F or 95 F, etc.). The differential decline in record temps is inconsistent with [greenhouse gas] theory, which predicts an increase in record highs and higher TMax in general.
Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. expressed skepticism of the AP analysis as well:
Without assessing the role of increased urbanization and other land use changes … changes in atmospheric aerosols overhead, microclimate around observing site, changes in heights of observations, and concurrent trends in surface air humidity, it is not robust to attribute any changes in extreme temperatures to just human added atmospheric CO2.
He added: “We have published on each of these subjects but work remains mostly ignored.”
Borenstein’s claims are also countered in the peer-review scientific literature. A 2018 analysis found that multiple recent studies and long-term data refuted claims that there had been an increase in heat waves. In addition, a 2013 paper published in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology found that U.S. extreme heat waves have decreased since the 1930s.
It’s also important to note that recent temperatures are not at all unusual, with 2018 continuing a several-year cooling trend. The media-hyped “hottest year” claims do not hold up to scrutiny. Princeton physicist Dr. Will Happer ridiculed such claims and explained that “alleged record warmings are tenths of a degree or less, comparable to the statistical error.”
Borenstein, the chief climate reporter for the Associated Press, has a long history of promoting dubious climate claims and essentially lobbying the public to “believe” that man-made climate change is a dire emergency and that government “solutions” are needed.
Americans who rely on the Associated Press for climate news and information are being misinformed. The AP is serving up nothing short of rank climate propaganda.
The post Media Touts ‘Clear Sign of Human-Caused Climate Change.’ Here Are the Facts. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized calls by some Democrats and liberals for packing the Supreme Court with more justices and endorsed changes to make social media “fair” to conservative voices.
Trump hosted a visit by Brazil’s new president, Jair Bolsonaro, to the White House, where they held a joint press conference in the Rose Garden.
Asked about proposals to increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court—advanced by a number of Democrats running for president, as well as former Attorney General Eric Holder—Trump said it was a strategy for a political party that can’t win elections.
“If they can’t catch up through the ballot box by winning an election, they want to to try doing that in a different way,” Trump told reporters. “We would have no interest in that whatsoever. That will never happen. It won’t happen. I guarantee you it won’t happen for six years.”
The Senate has confirmed two Trump nominees to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
In his opening remarks at the press conference, the Brazilian president sought to express how similar he is to the American president. Bolsonaro, who took office on Jan. 1 and will turn 64 on Thursday, has been called “the Trump of the Tropics.”
“May I say that Brazil and the U.S. stand side by side in their efforts to ensure liberty and respect for traditional family lifestyles with respect to God, against the gender ideology, and against politically correct attitudes and against fake news,” Bolsonaro said.
Later in the press conference, Trump picked up the “fake news” theme when addressing social media companies and their suspected censorship of conservatives.
“You look at the networks, you look at the news, you look at the newscasts. I call it fake news. I’m very proud to hear the [Brazilian] president call it fake news,” Trump said.
“But, you look at what’s happening with the networks, you look at what’s happening with different shows, and it’s hard to believe we win. But I’ll tell you what it really shows,” he continued. “The people are smart. The people get it. They’ll go through all of that—whatever it is they’re fed—and in the end, they pull the right lever. It’s a very, very dangerous situation.”
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced Monday he was suing Twitter and some Twitter users for $250 million, claiming the platform was “shadow-banning conservatives.”
“Shadow banning” is a term used for blocking a user’s content in a way that users wouldn’t know they are being blocked. This can come through making content less visible or less prominent.
Trump said he could support a law to hold social media companies liable for what shows up on their platforms.
“I have many, many millions of followers on Twitter, and it’s different than it used to be. Things are happening. Names are taken off. People aren’t getting through. You’ve heard the same complaints,” the president said. “It seems to be, if they’re conservatives, if they’re Republicans, in a certain group, there is discrimination and big discrimination.”
I see it absolutely on Twitter and Facebook, which also I see. But I really focus on the one platform. I guess we have almost 60 million [followers] on Twitter. Maybe if you add them all up, it’s way over 100 million people. I get to see firsthand what’s going on, and it’s not good.
We use the word “collusion” very loosely all the time. I’ll tell you there is collusion with respect to that, because something has to be going on when you get the back-office statements made by the executives at the various companies, and you see the level of—in many cases—hatred they have for a certain group of people that happen to be in power, that happen to have won the election.
You say that’s really unfair. So, something is happening with those groups of folks that [are] running Facebook and Google and Twitter, and I do think we have to get to the bottom of it. It’s collusive. It’s very fair to say we have to do something about it.
The post Trump Assails Left’s Court-Packing Scheme, Social Media Bias appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The Senate [last week] confirmed Neomi Rao to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She’s exactly the kind of impartial judge that we need across the judiciary. That makes 91 judges overall, and 36 to the federal appeals court, since President Donald Trump took office.
Whatever those numbers mean on their own, the fact is that Trump’s judicial nominees are being treated very differently than those of previous presidents.
Those 91 judges, for example, have received a total of 1,824 votes against their confirmation in 782 days. When Barack Obama was president, it took 2,123 days to rack up this many negative votes, and he had to appoint 282 judges to do it.
Trump’s 91 judges have received more negative confirmation votes than the 2,653 judges confirmed to the same courts during the entire 20th century combined.
Let’s look at this another way. Obama appointed 16 judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals during his first two years, when his own party controlled the Senate. Each of those nominees had a confirmation vote, and only two also had a separate vote to invoke cloture, or end debate.
With 41 Republicans in the Senate, that’s a total of 738 opportunities on the Senate floor for a Republican to vote for an Obama nominee. Republicans took 556 of those opportunities, or 75 percent.
Trump had appointed 16 judges to the U.S. Court of Appeals by May 2018, when his own party controlled the Senate. Each of those nominees had a confirmation, and all 16 also had a separate cloture vote.
With 48 Democrats in the Senate in 2017 and 49 in 2018, that’s a total of 1,544 opportunities for a Democrat to vote for a Trump nominee. Democrats took 259 of those opportunities, or 17 percent. Not even close.
You might think that, well, Obama’s nominees must have been more qualified than Trump’s. Not according to the American Bar Association. Nine of each president’s nominees received a unanimous well qualified rating, but five other Trump nominees received at least a majority well qualified rating, compared to just one Obama nominee.
Shifting from the votes that nominees receive to the votes that senators cast, the average Democrat has voted against 36 of the 91 judges Trump has appointed so far. This compares to the average Republican voting against six of the first 91 judges Obama appointed.
No matter how you slice or dice it, no matter what measure or standard you use, the judicial confirmation process today is radically different than it was just a few years ago.
Originally published by National Review.
The post Democrats Vote Against Trump’s Judicial Nominees Far More Than Republicans Did Against Obama’s appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is being pressured to embrace “gender identity” ideology at its annual meeting this week. If successful, the move could erase women from international law and economic development.
Gender identity refers to an individual’s perception of themselves as male, female, both, neither, or something in between. Historically, U.N. efforts to foster gender equality have focused on biological women. If this focus shifts to equality for all possible gender identities, women lose.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender activists and some Western nations are spearheading the U.N. bureaucracy’s reinterpretation of “sex” in treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. And although U.N. member-states have never voted to adopt these new definitions, U.N. entities that police compliance with human-rights treaties have added “sexual orientation” to the definition of “sex.”
They have also read “gender identity” into non-discrimination provisions. These actions are neither binding on member-states nor authoritative, but they do influence member-states’ domestic policies and affect their eligibility for development assistance.
At the Commission on the Status of Women, non-govermment organizations such as Outright International are calling for recognition of gender identity, arguing that they suffer from a “foreclosed definition of ‘women.’” For the first time, the U.N. LGBTI Core Group, of which the U.S. had been a member since the Obama administration, also made a similar statement.
Advancing the notion that gender is fluid is not a priority for women in non-Western countries. Unsurprisingly then, the LGBTI Core Group’s statement received a tepid reception from the global gathering.
Accusations of cultural imperialism have often been unfairly cast upon the universal human rights movement. But advancing a progressive ideology that conflicts with a scientific understanding of sex gives critics ammunition to attack the commission’s noble goals.
If the U.N. begins to treat biological men as if they are women because they perceive themselves to be women, then the discussion of women’s economic empowerment will turn into one about everyone’s economic empowerment.
That defeats the purpose of having separate discussions about women’s roles in the informal economy and as caregivers for children and the elderly, to say nothing of improving women’s access to credit, pensions, and unemployment benefits, a priority theme of the commission.
Legally recognizing gender identity also endangers women and girls.
In nations that recognize the concept of gender identity, male sexual predators have exploited the laws to gain access to private spaces. In England, this led to sexual assaults against women in prison, and in the U.S. against a 5-year-old girl in her school bathroom.
This is not to accuse those who identify as transgender of desiring to harm women. But giving men access to female-only spaces removes critical barriers designed to protect women.
The rights of those who identify as transgender must be protected like everyone else’s simply because they are human. But their legitimate claims to human rights are not based on their membership in any particular group, nor should they justify reducing the rights of women and girls.
Furthermore, transgender ideology perpetuates gender stereotypes that feminists have long fought against, such as what constitutes “women’s work” or what sports are appropriate for girls.
Sex is a biological fact, not a feeling. Women and girls around the world face discrimination and harm as a result of historical and cultural factors related to biological sex. Therefore, international law and economic development policy should continue to be based on this reality.
At the commission, the U.S. delegation should focus on advancing opportunities for biological women and girls, as they have rightly pledged to do. Women around the world still need to secure their legal and economic rights, to gain access to quality medical care and education, and to combat violence.
To respond to their most pressing needs, the U.S. must protect women from being erased in international law through a radical redefinition of sex.
Originally published by The Washington Times.
After a two-week break, the Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument in several cases during its March sitting.
Among the issues the court will address are partisan gerrymandering (for a second year in a row), racial bias in jury selection, and whether courts should defer to administrative agencies in interpreting their regulations.
Rucho v. Common Cause
In Rucho v. Common Cause, a district court struck down North Carolina’s congressional map that the Republican-controlled legislature had drawn in 2016 as an unconstitutional political gerrymander.
Fifteen years ago, in Vieth v. Jubelirer, the Supreme Court held that challenges to partisan gerrymandering are not justiciable.
Writing for the court, Justice Antonin Scalia reasoned that federal courts lacked the authority to hear disputes raising political questions that are better left to the political branches.
But Justice Anthony Kennedy left the door ajar to future challenges, suggesting in a concurring opinion that perhaps courts could hear these types of suits if “judicially discernible and manageable standards” could be found.
Just last term in Gill v. Whitford, the Supreme Court once again was unpersuaded that any such standard exists and recognized that it may be impossible to take the politics out of drawing electoral district lines.
The North Carolina case was already pending when the Supreme Court heard Gill, so the legislators petitioned the Supreme Court for review. The case was sent back to the district court for reconsideration in light of Gill, which had required showing a district-specific injury.
Back at the district court, the three-judge panel ruled for the challengers again, basing its decision on a laundry list of theories and the creation of a “judicially manageable” three-prong test under the First Amendment.
Now before the Supreme Court, North Carolina legislators argue that this case is Gill all over again and that the challengers are trying “to vindicate generalized partisan preferences.”
They further point out that the Framers of the Constitution committed the “politically fraught task” of drawing up district lines to state legislatures (which are directly accountable to the people) with the supervision of Congress (another accountable branch of government)—and not to federal courts.
They urge the Supreme Court to rule that courts should not be involved in “making value-laden judgments about how much politics is too much in a process that will never be free of politics.”
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on March 26, along with a second partisan gerrymandering case out of Maryland, Lamone v. Benisek.
With any luck, the Supreme Court will make clear whether or not partisan gerrymandering claims are, in fact, justiciable—a question the justices ducked in Gill last term.
Flowers v. Mississippi
Before a criminal trial begins, the judge and lawyers will ask prospective jurors questions to determine if they should be selected for the jury.
The judge will strike prospective jurors who demonstrate they would have difficulty being impartial. The lawyers from both sides may exercise “peremptory strikes” to remove prospective jurors without an explanation.
In Batson v. Kentucky (1986), however, the Supreme Court ruled that peremptory strikes may not be based on race.
Curtis Flowers, who is African-American, has been tried six times for the 1996 murder of four people at a furniture store where he previously worked.
The Mississippi Supreme Court overturned his conviction and death sentence following several of those trials for prosecutorial misconduct. Throughout the six trials, the prosecutor, District Attorney Doug Evans, used peremptory strikes to remove the majority of African-Americans from the pool of prospective jurors.
At the sixth trial, Evans allowed one black juror to be selected and struck five other black prospective jurors. Flowers was then convicted and sentenced to death. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed Flowers’ conviction, finding that the district attorney offered race-neutral reasons for striking five out of six black prospective jurors.
At the U.S. Supreme Court, Flowers argues that his Sixth and 14th Amendment rights were violated when the prosecutor racially discriminated against five black prospective jurors. He maintains that the district attorney’s history of discrimination in jury selection should have been considered in this case.
The state of Mississippi argues that each peremptory strike had a race-neutral reason, such as one prospective juror having been sued by the furniture store and another indicating that her sons were friends with the defendant.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on March 20. However the Supreme Court rules, hopefully it will bring closure in a case that has loomed over the town of Winona, Mississippi, for 23 years.
Kisor v. Wilkie
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on the constitutional problems posed by the administrative state, our “fourth” branch of government.
Congress has delegated more and more of its lawmaking authority to unaccountable administrative agencies, which in turn often are insulated from direct supervision by the president.
As a result, administrative agencies issue regulations that touch on nearly every aspect of Americans’ daily lives, from highways to health care, with little accountability.
Compounding this problem, the Supreme Court has created doctrines instructing courts to defer to the reasonable interpretations of administrative agency officials in the face of ambiguous statutory text or regulations.
One of these agency-deference doctrines, known as Auer/Seminole Rock deference, is directly challenged in Kisor v. Wilkie.
James Kisor, a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam War and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, filed a claim for disability benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The VA denied his claim in 1983, and in June 2006, Kisor sought to have his claim reopened, identifying documents the VA did not consider when it initially reviewed his claim.
The VA granted his claim for benefits and, interpreting an agency regulation, determined that he was not eligible for those benefits to be made retroactive to 1983.
Kisor appealed to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, arguing that under his interpretation of the agency regulation, he was entitled to retroactive benefits. The court ruled for the agency based on its determination that while both sides offered reasonable interpretations, it was obligated to defer to the agency’s interpretation of its own regulation under the Auer/Seminole Rock doctrine.
At the Supreme Court, Kisor argues that it’s time to do away with Auer/Seminole Rock deference because it violates the separation of powers and provides an unfair advantage to one party (the government) in litigation.
The government acknowledges that this doctrine “raises serious concerns” and urges the Supreme Court to limit the doctrine so that courts only defer to an agency’s interpretation of its own regulation if it reflects the agency’s “fair, considered, and consistent judgment.”
A number of the justices—including Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh—have expressed concerns about Auer/Seminole Rock deference and another doctrine called Chevron deference. Thus, the day of reckoning for Auer/Seminole Rock deference may be coming soon.
The Supreme Court will hear oral argument on March 27.
These are a few of the important cases the Supreme Court will hear at the end of March. Later this spring, the justices will hear oral argument in more cases, including a challenge to the Trump administration’s decision to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census and a First Amendment challenge to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s denial of “scandalous” trademarks.
The justices should issue opinions in all of the cases this term by the end of June.
The post Supreme Court Is Back in Session. Here’s What’s on the Docket. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
A Catholic journalist in the United Kingdom faces legal trouble and potential jail time for “misgendering” a 25-year-old transgender woman.
Caroline Farrow, the journalist, said Monday that the mother of the transgender woman had reported her for the offense.
“Had a message from Guildford police tonight about my tweets following an appearance on [‘Good Morning Britain’] with Susie Green and Piers Morgan,” Farrow said in a tweet. “Susie Green has reported me for misgendering her daughter.”
Guildford is a town in Surrey, England, about 25 miles southwest of London. Morgan is one of the hosts of “Good Morning Britain,” a television show on the ITV network that originates from London.
Farrow, a broadcaster, media commentator, and public speaker who has appeared on BBC and Sky News, said that all she was told by police after she went on “Good Morning Britain” in September is that she “made some tweets misgendering Susie Green’s child and that I need to attend a taped interview.”
Here’s the GMB interview the police referred to. From what I understand this wasn’t illegal but some follow-up tweets were. https://t.co/suOELE7aSK— Caroline Farrow (@CF_Farrow) March 18, 2019
Green, the mother of the transgender woman, defended transgender rights during the “Good Morning Britain” episode.
“Trans girls are far more at risk of abuse, prejudice, and we know that from the statistics around self-harm and suicide,” Green said.
The Daily Signal sought comment from Farrow, but did not receive a response by publication time.
In a series of tweets, Farrow said she does not remember what she wrote on Twitter following the TV appearance more than five months ago, but that police said those tweets were illegal and they would arrest her if she did not appear for the taped interview.
“I don’t even remember said tweets,” Farrow said. “This was in September! But I really [did] not … give a flying toss. I have done nothing wrong, nothing illegal and will happily do jail time for my right to say that people cannot change sex.”
Under the U.K.’s Malicious Communications Act, a person may face up to two years in prison, a fine, or both if found guilty of “a message which is indecent or grossly offensive,” “a threat,” “information which is false and known or believed to be false by the sender,” or “any article or electronic communication which is, in whole or part, of an indecent or grossly offensive nature.”
Farrow cited her Catholic faith as the reason why she believes her perspective on gender has been taken as controversial.
“I have pointed out to the police that I am a Catholic journalist/commentator and it is my religious belief that a person cannot change sex,” Farrow said. “That we are in the middle of a national conversation about what it means to be male and what it means to be female.”
Farrow’s husband, Robin, is a Catholic priest who she says converted from Anglicanism after their marriage. They have five children.
She said on Twitter that her family has faced attacks because of her traditional view of gender.
“Meanwhile a group of people have terrified and harassed my family,” Farrow said. “Doxed my children, made violent and sexual threats, signed me up to porn accounts, did the same to my husband, threatened to visit here … ”
Greg Scott, media director at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Americans should take note of the incident.
“Americans shouldn’t be deceived into thinking that ‘it can’t happen here,’” Scott said. “Speech policing and the suppression of ideas disfavored by governments overseas are a grim picture of what’s to come in America if we ignore the looming threat.”
The same authoritarian worldview that has led to the potential arrest of a Catholic journalist in the U.K. is what underlies America’s state and local [sexual orientation and gender identity] laws and the so-called Equality Act, which was recently introduced in Congress. These laws and ordinances have been used as weapons to cleanse the public square of opposing opinions and punish people who resist demands to adopt government-mandated views of controversial social issues.
The post Police Question UK Journalist for ‘Misgendering’ a Transgender Woman appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The Internal Revenue Service has a rule allowing ministers to exclude the amount of a housing allowance from their taxable income.
In December, I wrote about a case in which an atheist group challenged that rule, claiming it’s an unconstitutional establishment of religion.
On March 15, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit disagreed and unanimously upheld the rule.
Since Congress imposed an income tax in 1913, the rules for what constitutes “income” have become increasingly complex.
What about when an employer provides housing or compensates an employee for its cost? In 1923, Congress enacted a statute excluding a church-provided parsonage from a minister’s taxable income and later extended that to housing allowances.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) prepared to challenge this rule by first giving its own co-presidents a housing allowance similar to what a minister might receive.
On their 2012 and 2013 income-tax returns, those individuals claimed refunds based on excluding that allowance from their taxable income. The IRS denied their refund claim because they are not ministers, and they sued.
A U.S. District Court in Wisconsin ruled in favor of FFRF, striking down the IRS rule.
Three 7th Circuit judges—Senior Judge William Bauer, appointed by President Gerald Ford; Senior Judge Daniel Manion, appointed by President Ronald Reagan; and Judge Michael Brennan, appointed by President Donald Trump—reviewed the district court’s decision. Brennan wrote the unanimous opinion.
Few areas of constitutional law are as confused as the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause cases. The court has used several different tests to determine whether a government action is an establishment of religion, enabling lower courts to pick and choose which one will produce a desired result.
In this case, the district court applied criteria from the Supreme Court’s 1971 decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, which requires that statutes or regulations have a “secular legislative purpose.” The court said that the “true purpose” of the IRS rule was to “provide aid for a group of religious persons.”
The 7th Circuit disagreed, noting that the IRS rule puts ministers on equal footing with secular employees who receive the very same benefit.
The IRS code has many provisions that cover different subsets of taxpayers. This one involves employees whose housing can be used for the benefit of their employer. That certainly includes ministers.
The court also said that this IRS rule actually avoids excessive government entanglement with religion, another criterion from the Lemon decision. It avoids, for example, intrusive inquiries about the particular activities of a church and its ministers or about which activities happen on which premises.
The court also reviewed the IRS rule under a more recent Supreme Court test. In Greece v. Galloway, the Supreme Court held that the Establishment Clause must be understood in light of “historical practices and understandings.”
Congress, the court acknowledged, “has enacted federal tax exemptions for religious organizations as far back as 1802” and today, “more than 2,600 federal and state tax laws provide religious exemptions.”
This long history, the court said, satisfies the historical significance test.
Just as the 7th Circuit had to use the right criteria or test to evaluate the district court’s decision, we must always use the right standard when evaluating a court decision.
That standard does not include whether we like the result. Courts must decide cases based on an impartial interpretation and application of the law, no matter which side wins or whose agenda might be advanced.
Brennan’s opinion is a straightforward, impartial application of the Supreme Court’s Establishment Clause precedents.
Those precedents admittedly can be confusing and even contradictory, but in this case, the 7th Circuit applied the right ones in the right way.
The post Appeals Court Upholds Housing Allowance Tax Exemption for Clergy appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Republican California Rep. Devin Nunes filed suit against Twitter and some Twitter users Monday for $250 million in compensatory damages, alleging the social media platform engaged in “shadow-banning conservatives.”
“Twitter created and developed the content at issue in this case by transforming false accusations of criminal conduct, imputed wrongdoing, dishonesty and lack of integrity into a publicly available commodity used by unscrupulous political operatives and their donor/clients as a weapon,” Nunes’ legal team wrote in the filing. “Twitter is ‘responsible’ for the development of offensive content on its platform because it in some way specifically encourages development of what is offensive about the content.”
The lawsuit alleges defamation, conspiracy, and negligence, reported Fox News. It also seeks an “injunction compelling Twitter to turn over the identities behind numerous accounts he says have harassed and defamed him,” according to Fox News.
The suit also names former Republican National Committee Online Communications Director Liz Mair. Nunes’ lawyers say her tweets “implied that Nunes colluded with prostitutes and cocaine addicts, that Nunes does cocaine, and that Nunes was involved in a ‘Russian money laundering front.’”
“To be fair, I think [The Fresno Bee] writing up your investment in a winery that allegedly used underage hookers to solicit investment—an allegation you’ve known about for years, during which you’ve stayed invested in it, I might add—did surprise you,” Mair tweeted at Nunes June 22, 2018.
Mair wrote on Twitter Monday after news of the suit broke that she is declining to comment but posted a link for donations to cover her legal fees.
Nunes filed the complaint in Virginia state court Monday and is also seeking $350,000 in punitive damages against Twitter and the specified users. He wrote that Twitter was “knowingly hosting and monetizing content that is clearly abusive, hateful and defamatory—providing both a voice and financial incentive to the defamers—thereby facilitating defamation on its platform.”
Nunes’ legal team also wrote that Twitter should not be exempt from defamation liability because the platform actively curates and bans content to the point that it should have liability like other organizations that can be guilty of defamation, reported Fox News.
Nunes’ filing linked Twitter’s actions to influencing the 2018 midterm elections in which Republicans lost the House of Representatives.
News of Nunes’ suit comes on the same day Twitter said it “mistakenly remove[d]” a tweet from The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis’ account Monday but denied employing “shadow banning” tactics against users.
Twitter representatives, including CEO Jack Dorsey, have been invited to Capitol Hill by lawmakers numerous times to testify on how their platforms deal with issues like terrorist propaganda and more.
Twitter declined to comment on the suit to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
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A New York University student who blamed Chelsea Clinton for the New Zealand mosque shootings apologized on Twitter Monday after resurfaced tweets showed she used inappropriate terms in the past.
Students at a vigil for Christchurch shooting victims in New York University confronted Chelsea Clinton and accused her of stoking Islamophobia through her recent remarks about Representative Ilhan Omar.https://t.co/75UysBtX2G pic.twitter.com/DpYwknf4bO— Circa (@Circa) March 16, 2019
“The 49 people died because of the rhetoric you put out there,” Dweik said in a video of the confrontation with Clinton.
Some of the now-deleted tweets reported by IsraellyCool used the word “faggot.”
Dweik apologized in a series of tweets, adding they were written when she was a high school sophomore.
“Six years ago I tweeted quotes my black friend said to me, not then recognizing that even typing out the words someone else had used was not my right,” Dweik wrote. “I understand the violent history of the n-word and apologize to everyone in the black community, especially those who feel hurt by this.”
for my black friends: please know i will always stand unequivocally behind u. six years ago i tweeted quotes my black friend said to me, not then recognizing that even typing out the words someone else had used was not my right. i understand the violent history of the n-word and—— sippin on dat (@vivafalastin) March 18, 2019
—apologize to everyone in the black community, especially those who feel hurt by this. please reach out to me if u want to talk. i will listen.— sippin on dat (@vivafalastin) March 18, 2019
Dweik continued in another tweet that she picked up the “f-word” from a “toxic individual,” but still supported gay rights.
“I did not then see the disconnect between using such language and supporting the gay community, but as soon as I did, that word was completely dropped from my vocabulary,” Dweik tweeted.
for my lgbtq+ friends: the f-word is something i picked up from a particularly toxic individual who was then in my life, who’s actually mentioned in the screenshots going around. this doesn’t excuse the use of the word but please know that even at that time i was outspoken about—— sippin on dat (@vivafalastin) March 18, 2019
—my support for gay rights, which has conveniently been left out by the trolls who scoured my twitters. i did not then see the disconnect between using such language and supporting the gay community, but as soon as i did, that word was completely dropped from my vocabulary.— sippin on dat (@vivafalastin) March 18, 2019
Dweik along with fellow NYU student Rose Asaf explained in a Buzzfeed op-ed that they confronted Clinton for “her false charge of anti-Semitism” against Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Omar accused pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) for buying pro-Israel support in a February tweet. Clinton responded in a tweet that all elected officials should be expected “to not traffic in anti-Semitism.”
Dweik and Asaf did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time for publication.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Washington, D.C., office was packed with protesters joined together Thursday for a “sit-in” against anti-Semitism in Congress.
“We have come today to your office to communicate our severe displeasure and wonderment over your refusal to specifically condemn the anti-Semitic remarks of Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar,” Rabia Kazan, president and founder of the Middle Eastern Women’s Coalition, said in a public statement at the protest.
Pelosi, D-Calif., appointed Omar to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Since her appointment, Omar has made multiple statements questioning U.S. support for and ties to Israel.
Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., was held up as an example in the alert for protest, organized by the Zionist Organization of America, the “oldest pro-Israel organization in the United States,” and the National Conference of Jewish Affairs.
In their call for the sit-in, they highlighted Engel’s outspoken rebuke of Omar’s “vile anti-Semitic slur,” which has “no place” on the committee. Engel was referring to Omar’s most recent statement in which she categorized support for Israel as equal to “allegiance to a foreign country.”
“Speaker Pelosi, you had a chance to stop anti-Semitism dead in its tracks; you did not,” Kazan continued. “You had a chance to shut down the burgeoning anti-Jewish and anti-Israel attitudes seeping into America’s House of Representatives, but you didn’t.”
Rabbi Aryeh Spero, a leading theologian, spokesman, and thinker in the conservative movement, attended the protest and voiced his disappointment with Congress’ failure to pass a resolution targeting anti-Semitism specifically.
“They did not pass a standalone resolution against anti-Semitism that was in their own house,” Spero said. “Instead they passed this watered-down thing about hate in general, but that’s not where the source of the sin was. It was in anti-Semitism from a congresswoman and they watered it down as if it had nothing to do with Judaism.”
The “standalone resolution” Spero mentions was a four-page resolution sponsored by Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., that called out anti-Semitism directly “as hateful expressions of intolerance that are contradictory to the values that define the people of the United States.”
Democrats deflected a vote on the proposal, and instead, “watered down” the resolution with language broadly condemning all forms of religious prejudice. The measure, which never named Omar, was passed by the House with a vote of 407-to-23. The 23 “nays” were all from Republican members.
“[Pelosi] couldn’t even get it the Democratic Party to back her up on a stand alone condemnation of anti-Semitism,” Spero added. “The black caucus said ‘no’; I guess they want to have somehow a monopoly on racism.”
The sit-in was met with some detractors. CodePink, a women-led, anti-war grassroots organization that opposes “U.S. support for the Israeli occupation of Palestine and repressive regimes,” showed up to counter the protest with signs that said “Standing with Muslims against Islamophobia and Racism” and “Stop Islamophobia.”
The post Nancy Pelosi Faces Sit-In for Inaction on Anti-Semitism appeared first on The Daily Signal.
When Montrose Library asked a drag queen to read to kids, it probably should have looked into his personal story first.
That’s when the Houston location would have discovered that Albert Garza wasn’t just indoctrinating children. He has a history of sexually abusing them.
It was a controversial idea to start with. But when library officials invited Garza to host their September event, they had no idea they were endangering kids.
That’s because, the library announced later, it never bothered to finish a background check. Fortunately for parents, Houston MassResistance did it for them. And what it found was shocking.
“We may not all agree that having adult entertainers is the right way to entertain young children or promote literacy and adversity and acceptance and inclusion,” the group’s Tracy Shannon told Todd Starnes. “But we can all agree that it’s inappropriate to have a sex offender entertaining children at the library.”
Officials at the Montrose Library issued a public apology for the incident and promised to be more careful.
We were made aware today that one participant for Drag Queen story time who read at the September 29, 2018, Drag Queen story time has a criminal background that should have prevented him from participating in the program.
We assure you that this participant will not be involved in any future [Houston Public Library] programs. In our review of our process and of this participant, we discovered that we failed to complete a background check as required by our own guidelines.
We deeply regret this oversight and the concern this may cause our customers. We realize this is a serious matter.
They tried to reassure parents that every program is “supervised by [Houston Public Library] staff” and that “no participant is ever left alone with children.” But that’s of little comfort to community members, who were stunned that anyone would be so lax about kids’ safety.
“If they had done their job and due diligence—if they had said, ‘Wait … maybe it’s not a good idea to have a sex offender who at 200 pounds and 5-foot-11 assaulted an 8-year-old boy,’” Shannon said.
Usually, the fact that a library is willing to host these drag queen events is horrifying enough.
Imagine finding out that the person it invited wasn’t even vetted. Or worse, a threat to kids.
Houston residents have already filed a lawsuit to stop taxpayer-funded drag events at Montrose, and a close call like this one only pours more gasoline on the fire.
We shouldn’t have to wait for a child to get hurt before we realize what a terrible idea these story times are. A local library is the last place parents should have to worry about an unhappy ending for kids.
Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.
The post Library Invited Drag Queen to Read to Kids. He Was a Sex Offender. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The Cut recently ran a piece by Jen Gann, an outspoken, pro-choice mother who details her journey through in vitro fertilization (IFV) and genetic testing as she aims to conceive a healthy child. Her first pregnancy resulted in a son with cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease, and what she considers a missed opportunity to abort him.
In 2017, Gann filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against her doctors for inadequate genetic testing that she claims would have likely determined her son had cystic fibrosis and would have then provided her the option to abort him.
I responded to her lawsuit two years ago, because this story is very personal to me. Not only because I believe life is the most valuable gift generously bestowed upon mankind, but because I also have a child living with cystic fibrosis.
It pained me, again, to see Jen reiterate in print her desire to end her sick child’s life.
Sadly, we see this far too often. The left pushes a false narrative when it comes to human dignity. Masked in the so-called desire to prevent a sick child from suffering, pro-choice activists actually devalue the sickest among us. Their drive to abort unhealthy babies sends the message that those who live with a medical condition are somehow less than or an unwanted burden.
All human beings, regardless of disease, illness, ailments, and deformities, have the right to life. They too, are fearfully and wonderfully made. Their value is in no way decreased because of their disease or any subsequent pain and suffering that disease brings.
Inaccurately, Gann’s piece focuses heavily on women’s empowerment and the amount of influence a woman holds in her ability to make a choice to end or continue a pregnancy.
The reality is that women don’t give life—God does. Yes, we have the biological ability to carry a child in the womb, provide it the nutrients needed to grow and the environment to thrive, as well as give birth. But we do not form a child in the womb, knit together its genetic make–up, or will it to live.
Furthermore, despite the feminist movement’s desire to vilify men, male DNA is also needed to produce a child. The fact that women carry a child does not make way for absolute female control.
I fully agree that women should be empowered, just like all humans should be encouraged and free to reach their upmost potential. But ending the life of another human is not empowerment—it is the highest form of oppression.
Terminating a child is devaluing its existence and saying it doesn’t share equal status with others who are currently living. No matter what reason is given for the abortion (choice, convenience, compassion, etc.), the act erases a human life and the lasting mark it would most certainly leave on others.
The abortion industry also claims to promote empowerment for women, but such “empowerment” is extremely exclusive, limited only to those women living outside the womb. The women growing in utero, on the other hand, are completely voiceless, powerless, and subjected only to the will of others, unable to defend themselves.
To no surprise, not once in the piece does Gann focus on the actual horrors of abortion, the pain it brings women and families, and the emotional toll it can take on a person. Instead, she glorifies it as a normal health care procedure and a thankful option she has if the “perfect” child isn’t conceived:
I had a child at home; if, when, this didn’t work, I would be fine. Besides, pre-implantation genetic testing isn’t perfect. If this embryo’s results were discovered to be inaccurate later on, I knew I’d terminate.
This rhetoric normalizes murder in an attempt to make others feel as though it’s natural and easy, when in reality that is not the case.
Our society has a major problem if we continue to sit by silently while abortion is used as a tool to erase the sickest and weakest among us. We must not follow the dark path of countries like Iceland and Demark, which have publically bragged about “eradicating” the Down’s syndrome gene through abortion.
Every single child, regardless of illness or disability, deserves access to the most basic and fundamental right of mankind, the right to life. And we should tirelessly fight to see that they do.
The post Pro-Choice Activist Vows To Abort Child If It Has Cystic Fibrosis. My Child Has That. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Are there really fewer homicides in countries with gun control? Are other countries besides the United States dealing with mass shooting? John Lott of the Crime Prevention Research Center joined The Daily Signal at the Conservative Political Action Conference to share the data about gun use the mainstream media isn’t highlighting. Read the transcript posted below or listen to the interview on the podcast. Plus: We cover how even Chelsea Clinton isn’t woke enough these days.
We also cover these stories:
- New Zealand looks likely to enact gun control measures in wake of the terrorist attack on two mosques.
- Meghan McCain is furious President Donald Trump is still criticizing her father, the late Sen. John McCain.
- Delaware’s House voted to make the state gives its Electoral College votes to the popular vote winner.
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: I’m Kate Trinko. We’re here with John Lott, who is with the Crime Prevention Research Center, and I understand there is a website where people can also check out your work?
John Lott: Yeah, CrimeResearch.org.
Trinko: House Democrats just passed another gun control bill. John, what should we think about this?
Lott: These are bills related to background checks. Everybody wants to stop criminals from getting guns. The problem with these rules is that … they do stop law-abiding citizens at a much higher rate than they stop criminals.
And they make it harder, and more costly, for law-abiding citizens to go and get guns. Also, a number of Americans are going to find themselves unintentionally breaking the law and becoming criminals.
So, you know, in Washington, D.C., where we’re at, it costs $125 to privately transfer a gun. Just to give you an example of one of the things that are there, let’s say your grandfather leaves you 10 guns. Well, you just don’t do one background check on the person … Instead, the way the law is written is you’d have to do a separate background check on each of the 10 guns that are there. So, it would be like $1,250 to do the background checks on the 10 guns.
You know, it’s just lots of little things like that that just make it clear that their goal isn’t to have the background checks, their goal is to make it costly for law-abiding people to go and have guns for self-defense. And it’s basically rules that would make it so that the poor, particularly minorities, are going to find it difficult to have guns to defend themselves and their families.
Trinko: You’ve done a lot of research over the years about the connection, or lack thereof, between guns and crimes, and overall violence. What are some of the statistics that people should really know about?
Lott: Police are extremely important in stopping crime, but the police can’t be there all the time. The police themselves understand that they virtually always arrive on the crime scene after the crime has occurred. And that raises a real question, what should people do when they’re having to confront a criminal by themselves?
And what you find is that by far the safest course of action for people to take is to have a gun. Women, for example, who behave passively, are about 2.4 times more likely to end up being seriously injured than a woman who has a gun to protect herself.
It’s particularly two groups of people who benefit the most from having a gun. It’s the people who are most likely victims of violent crime, that overwhelmingly tends to be poor blacks who live in high-crime urban areas, and also people who are relatively weaker physically, and that tends to be women and the elderly.
Presence of a gun represents a much bigger relative change in a woman’s ability to go and protect herself than it does for a man.
Trinko: School shootings have been one of the biggest issues when we’re discussing gun control. In Baltimore recently they got rid of armed guards, and they brought them back after another shooting in a school. Other districts are considering, or have implemented, arming teachers. How do you think schools should deal with this?
Lott: Well, we have 20 states that have schools that allow teachers to carry guns right now. So, a lot of the kind of hypothetical discussions that people have about arming teachers, we really don’t need to guess, we have a lot of information to see how it works out.
Look, I understand the desire to have armed guards, but armed guards have a virtually impossible task in stopping a mass public shooting.
If you have somebody in uniform, or somebody who’s at least readily identifiable as an armed guard, and they’re the only person that’s armed, if you’re going to have an attack, they’re going to be the first person killed. Because the killers will know that once they kill that person, they’ll essentially have free rein to go and attack others that are there.
So, the advantage of having teachers with concealed handguns is that the attackers don’t know who it is that they have to worry about.
… If you are still going to have armed guards, it makes their job much safer, because if they go and attack an armed guard, they reveal their position, and then they have to worry about somebody behind them or to the side, somebody who they don’t know, whether they’re armed or not might be able to go and stop them at that point.
It really takes away the strategic advantages that these killers currently posses in places where you only have an armed guard, or you have nobody that’s armed.
Trinko: Yeah, and of course we would really love if some of these shootings could be stopped right away. It’s so awful.
We hear a lot from the media about, “Oh, these other countries have gun control and everything’s peaceful and lovely, and gun violence is off the charts in the U.S.” Is this depiction of the international situation accurate?
Lott: No, it’s not even remotely accurate. We’ve done research on mass public shootings across the country, across the world, looking at the data from 1998 through 2015. The United States makes about 4.6 percent of the world population, but we make up only about 1.1 percent of the mass public shooters over that period of time. So, we’re way, way below the average that’s there.
You know, you have many countries in Europe that have rates of death for mass public shooting that’s much higher than the United States. Russia is about 50 percent higher than we are. You have France, and Norway, and Finland, and Switzerland are major countries … that have much higher rates.
And of course, you have other countries, like Serbia and others in Europe, too, that also have much higher rates than in the United States.
Many of those countries … like France has extremely strict gun control laws, even semiautomatic guns are essentially banned in the country there.
Usually what happens with international comparisons is people use firearm homicide data. The problem with firearm homicide data is about half the countries in the world don’t report that data, they just report total homicides. And the countries that tend not to report firearm homicides are overwhelmingly the high murder rate countries.
… If you look at all homicide rates, the United States is well below the average, well below the median. But if you look at firearm homicides, it looks like we’re much higher, but that’s only because the countries at the top are missing.
So, it’s just the fact that there’s a problem with the data, that the data’s not complete there, that makes us look relatively higher than it would be otherwise. And there’s even developed countries that have high homicide rates that don’t report firearm homicides.
Trinko: We see this issue being discussed a lot. You’ve obviously been an advocate on this issue for a long time. What’s your advice to someone who’s not an expert in this area when they’re discussing it with friends and family who may disagree? Like, how do you think they should pursue it?
Lott: I think you need to educate yourself a little bit. Our website at CrimeResearch.org has a lot of information like I’m talking about here.
But I think there are a few simple types of questions you can ask people. If they believe that guns, on net, cause problems, ask them to point to one country in the world that’s banned guns, either all guns or all handguns, and seen the murder rates stay the same or go down. I can’t find a country, or a place, where that’s happened.
You know, Americans are familiar with what happened in Chicago and Washington, D.C., after we had handgun bans. Now they’ll go and they say, … “You [can’t] expect it to work, because unless you ban guns every place in a country, people can still get them from Indiana, or Illinois, or Maryland, or Virginia.” Thing is, that doesn’t explain why [the murder rate] went up. It may explain why it didn’t go down as much as they were predicting it was going to go down.
You can look at island nations that have banned guns, and what you find, whether it be Jamaica, or the Republic of Ireland, or the U.K., their homicide rates went up significantly, sometimes six, sevenfold increases, after they banned guns.
And there’s a simple reason why that’s the case. And that is, when you pass any gun control law, you have to ask yourself, “Who’s most likely to obey it?”
… If I go and ban guns, it’s going to basically be the most law-abiding, good people who are going to turn them in, not the criminals. I mean, you may take some guns away from the criminals, but if you primarily disarm law-abiding citizens, you’re actually going to make it relatively easier for criminals to go and commit crimes.
And people may point to Australia or something, Australia didn’t ban guns. Their firearm homicide and firearm suicide rates were falling for 15 years prior to the buyback that they had in ’96 and ’97, and it continued falling afterward, but actually at a much slower rate than it was falling beforehand. So, if anything, it looks like it actually was detrimental to the decline that they were having in those types of rates up until the buyback.
And in addition, they didn’t ban guns in Australia. What they did was they bought them back. But people, after the buyback, were allowed to go and buy guns again. And by 2010, the gun ownership rate in Australia was significantly above where it was prior to the buyback. So, it doesn’t fit any of their stories.
Trinko: Interesting. You certainly hear the left bring up Australia a lot. Well, John Lott, thank you so much for joining us today.
Lott: Thanks very much. If people want to find more they can go to our website at CrimeResearch.org.
Last week in New Zealand, a self-avowed white supremacist targeted two mosques and streamed his bloody killing spree on social media.
There are at least three condemnations that should result from the massacre.
The first condemnation is for the act itself. The callous slaughter of people at prayer is part of an age that has devalued life, from unrestricted abortions to street shootings and other terrorist attacks.
That some of these assaults are motivated by twisted views of religion, or in this case, a white supremacist opposed to immigration, is all part of the same piece. Murder and hate should not be categorized.
The second condemnation goes to politicians and special-interest groups who blame President Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association, seeking to make political hay out of an action that had nothing to do with either.
That the shooter mentioned the president as “a symbol of white supremacy” does not make him one. Critics will use anything in an attempt to discredit and weaken Trump’s appeal before next year’s election. Shame on them.
The gunman, whose name shall not be mentioned here, posted a 74-page “manifesto” and details of his evil intent 24 hours before the slaughter. While more will be learned as the investigation continues, a third condemnation may eventually fall on those politicians and media people who were sent the manifesto.
Did they not take it seriously, or was there too little time to respond?
Did no one see it? If someone did, why didn’t they call police?
If they did call, why did the police not pay him a visit?
Social media is often quick to take down “inappropriate” postings. How did the gunman manage to escape censors for a heinous act far worse than offensive speech?
Press reports say the shooter had also planned a terror attack on Muslims last December. Did no one hear about that? If they did, why weren’t police contacted? Again, if they were, why didn’t they visit the man’s home?
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised to strengthen her country’s gun laws. Would stronger laws have deterred a man intent on mass murder?
The police mainly determine who is qualified to own a gun. The New York Times reported: “While New Zealand’s laws governing the purchase of semiautomatic rifles are more restrictive than those in the United States, the country is much freer with firearms than Australia is, allowing most guns to be purchased without requiring them to be tracked.”
The prime minister can start there.
Investigators will find how the shooter, who is a gun club member, obtained his weapons and whether he was licensed to possess them.
Meanwhile, houses of worship are finding it necessary to employ armed guards, which is a judgment on our increasingly anti-life culture. More guards will likely be hired in the aftermath of the mosque shootings.
New Zealand is the popular location for film companies. Perhaps the most famous film series produced there is “Lord of the Rings,” based on the books by J.R.R. Tolkien. In “The Fellowship of the Ring,” there is this quote:
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement.
The shooter dealt death in his judgment.
New Zealand no longer imposes capital punishment. If ever there was a person who deserves the death penalty it is this shooter, and not just because it might deter others.
More importantly, capital punishment imposed on this monster would exact justice for those innocent people who were killed or wounded and for their families.
(c) 2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
The post New Zealand Massacre Part of an Age That Has Devalued Life appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Nineteen times House Democrats have blocked a vote on a bill that would protect babies who survive an abortion.
“It is a shocking reality that the majority party in the people’s House refuses to allow a vote to protect the lives of newborn babies,” Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., chairman of the Republican Study Committee, said in a statement.
This bill simply affords infants born alive during a failed abortion attempt the same care any other newborn would receive. I cannot comprehend how any person could justify standing in the way of these children and the lifesaving care of a physician—but that is the position of today’s Democratic party.
On Thursday, House Democrats yet again blocked a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which would require medical professionals to give the same medical care to a baby who survives an abortion as they would to any other baby of the same age, and to take the baby to a hospital.
Today I asked for unanimous consent for the House to consider the Born Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
For the 19th time, House Democrats rejected our call to save children born alive. pic.twitter.com/Hu8BB0MzRO
If an abortionist intentionally kills the child who was born alive, he or she would face fines or up to five years in jail, according to a press release from House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.
Monica Burke, a research assistant in the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation, says the issue shouldn’t be political.
“Providing babies who survive an abortion with proper medical care should not be controversial,” Burke said. “Current law is insufficient to protect these infants. Current law does not stipulate that doctors must provide care for these children, which means that children can be left to die without legal consequences. Taking measures to protect innocent, vulnerable babies with bills like the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would be a step in the right direction.”
Republicans have been calling for unanimous consent on the born-alive legislation as they attempt to keep the issue publicly alive while they gather signatures for the discharge petition.
The discharge petition strategy, which is rarely successful, requires gathering at least 218 signatures from House members to oblige the chamber’s Democratic leadership to bring the bill to the floor for debate and a vote.
Discharge petitions may be considered on the second and fourth Mondays of the month when the House is in session.
Republicans currently hold 197 seats compared with Democrats’ 235 seats, meaning Republicans would have to acquire 21 signatures from Democrats to force a floor vote.
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The left really wants to give kids the right to vote.
This idea is so popular on the left that a majority of House Democrats voted in favor of lowering the voting age to 16.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., endorsed the idea as well.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “I myself have always been for lowering the voting age to 16…I think it’s really important to capture kids when they’re in high school” pic.twitter.com/Enxr0kPJ3v— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) March 14, 2019
Why would Pelosi and others on the left want to give high school children–hardly known for deep wisdom and sound judgment–a vote?
A new poll perhaps demonstrates why.
The Harris Poll, released exclusively by Axios, shows that roughly half of young Americans say they would prefer living in a socialist country.
It also reveals that many young Americans think the government should provide free health care, education, and medicine, among many other things.
This is very much in line with a poll released in late 2017 by the Victims of Communism Memorial Fund that found similar support for communism among young people, along with widespread ignorance about what communism is.
Most of those surveyed couldn’t define communism or socialism. Many believed, for instance, that President George W. Bush killed more people than Joseph Stalin, the ruthless Soviet dictator whose regime murdered tens of millions.
The fact is, socialism attracts widespread support from millennials and members of Generation Z who at the same time are ignorant about socialism.
It’s no wonder that left-wing groups are desperately trying to find ways to get children to vote or be used as useful tools for their agenda, which now appears to include outright socialism.
While young people embrace at least the word “socialism” in disproportionately high numbers, Americans as a whole find the term toxic, as far as who they’d be willing to vote for.
According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, just 25 percent of respondents found “socialist” to be a desirable trait for a presidential candidate. It was among the least-liked traits in the entire poll.
Perhaps America’s older cohorts simply have a better understanding of what socialism is, having lived through the Cold War and faced the existential crisis of the Soviet threat to our country.
Young people, born after the fall of the Berlin Wall, have less of a real world example to draw on in relation to the evil that socialism creates for a society that adopts it in total.
It’s clear that in the debate over socialism, education is where we have failed. A generation or generations of young Americans are falling under the impression that socialism, whatever they think it is, will bring more prosperity.
History, of course, demonstrates the opposite.
The reason America is so prosperous, and why it remains a place where so many people around the globe aspire to live, is because it rejected these ruthlessly collectivist doctrines.
Our nation held tightly to the ideas of the rule of law, private property, and the Constitution, all of which do far more for the common citizen than the doctrines of socialism, which puts absolute power in the hands of a few.
Yet, our education system is failing to transmit those basic ideas to upcoming generations, a failure that this country desperately needs to change if we are to remain a free country.
In a recent survey of how Americans perform on a basic citizenship test, most failed and young people fared by far the worst.
This ties back into the the current debate over voting age.
It’s a good thing that young people participate in politics, develop an instinct for informed citizenship, and take the future of the country seriously.
However, we shouldn’t fetishize youth as itself an advantage, especially when it comes with such a disturbing lack of understanding about history and civics.
The left has a sort of Rousseauian concept of young people as being free from the shackling norms of civilization, as being capable of drawing from wisdom unclouded by the built-up prejudices of experience.
But the demands of citizenship are not fulfilled by mere youthful energy. It requires an education in civics, an understanding of our institutions, a certain independence of thought and action.
At the same time progressives demand the lowering of the voting age, we increasingly infantilize young Americans, who are not really seen as “adults” until the age of 26, long after most graduate college.
From smoking to gun ownership, progressives are stripping the rights and life choices of young adults.
Meanwhile, they demand that we put increasing power in the hands of 16-year-olds to determine our leaders and laws.
This has things entirely backward.
Noah Rothman said it best in Commentary magazine:
At a time when society seems inclined to indulge young people’s desire to languish in an extended twilight childhood, it’s revealing that voting is the only adult responsibility for which Democrats think children are prepared. When it comes to just about any other condition of maturity, Democrats seem to think the proper course is the exact opposite.
So lowering the voting age is both reckless in its ethos to put voting power in the hands of people who are not ready for responsible citizenship, yet also is reduced to a mere palliative.
“Democracy” is expanded as liberty recedes, making democratic participation worth little little more than a pat on the back.
While this may seem fine for generations raised in the milieu of the “self-esteem” movement, it’s hardly a recipe to strengthen the republic or produce better leaders.
Further lowering the voting age–which at 18 is already quite low–degrades the positives of democracy in America and turns it into the sad caricature of mob rule that the Founders feared.
Let us do more to create responsible adults and citizens rather than perpetually apply “democracy” in places where it is unwarranted.
The post Young People’s Embrace of Socialism Shows Why We Shouldn’t Lower the Voting Age appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Monday that he cannot support the Democrats’ “gender equality” legislation as pushed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“I strongly support equality for all people and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind,” Manchin said in a formal statement. “No one should be afraid of losing their job or losing their housing because of their sexual orientation.”
The Equality Act, introduced March 13 and expected to be voted on this session, would add sexual orientation and gender identity to characteristics protected from discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“After speaking with local education officials in West Virginia,” Manchin said, “I am not convinced that the Equality Act as written provides sufficient guidance to the local officials who will be responsible for implementing it, particularly with respect to students transitioning between genders in public schools.”
The sexual orientation and gender identity legislation would make hospitals and doctors vulnerable to litigation “if they don’t follow the medical recommendations of the transgender movement,” as Emilie Kao, director of The Heritage Foundation’s DeVos Center for Religion & Civil Society, put it in a recent op-ed.
According to an explainer from Heritage, the legislation would force workers “to conform to new sexual norms or else lose their businesses and jobs” and medical professionals to facilitate procedures that violate their conscience rights.
If passed, the bill also would hurt women by “dismantling sex-specific facilities, sports, and other female-only spaces,” the think tank’s explainer said, and also compromise the work of charities and volunteers.
Manchin said he hasn’t given up on the legislation, but can’t support the current version.
“I will continue working with the sponsors of the bill to build broad bipartisan support and find a viable path forward for these critical protections so that I can vote in support of this bill,” Manchin said.
In a statement emailed to The Daily Signal, Kao said the legislation would be counterproductive to equal rights:
The Equality Act would enable the federal government to seize the authority of local communities and parents to decide what is best for their children. This bill would allow biological males to compete against girls in sports and would open up sex-specific facilities like locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers to members of the opposite sex.
The post Senate Democrat Says He Can’t Support Equality Act in Current Form appeared first on The Daily Signal.
President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 spending blueprint would cut the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s budget by 16 percent, but HUD Secretary Ben Carson says he supports the savings.
Carson, who has pushed many reforms on federal housing policies, shared with The Daily Signal his plans for making housing more affordable in the United States and lifting more Americans out of poverty.
Here are three agenda items the HUD secretary says he is working on during 2019:
1. Work Requirements for Rental Assistance
The Trump administration’s proposed work requirements for welfare programs would help revamp a public housing system that has trapped many Americans in poverty for generations, Carson said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“Right now, one of the things that has been very apparent to me as I’ve traveled around the country, and go to public housing sites, and meet people who have been there for 20, 30, 40, 50 years, who have intergenerational habitation there,” Carson said. “There’s really no effort being made to provide them a mechanism to get out of there and to become self-sufficient.”
Under Trump’s budget proposal for HUD, able-bodied adults getting rental assistance would be required to work at least 20 hours per week or attend job training or education classes. The requirement doesn’t include the elderly or disabled.
“Our new rental proposals are helping to move people in the direction of self-sufficiency by helping to do things like assessing their incomes every three years, instead of every one year, so that you are not immediately deemed [ineligible] as soon as you start making more money, or bring an income-producing person into your environment,” Carson said.
Trump’s 2020 spending plan includes a 16 percent cut to the HUD budget approved last year, but Carson noted it’s a 7 percent increase from what last year’s administration budget proposed for his department.
“We’ve been extremely careful to make sure that none of the people who were assisted in housing were affected by the budget,” Carson said. “So, there is enough to make sure that all those people are taken care of. What we’re really distinguishing between are needs and wants.”
Carson said that criticism that HUD was raising rents on the poor is “garbage.”
“What we’re talking about is raising the minimum rent from $25 to $50 [a month],” Carson said. “These are people who are paying very, very little and are work-able people. We’re not talking about elderly. We’re not talking about disabled. We’re talking about people who are perfectly capable of doing things, but have—for one reason or another—decided they would rather not.”
2. Private Sector Help to Rehabilitate Public Housing
Under Carson, a public-private partnership program to get private funds to renovate dilapidated public housing structures has reached more than 100,000 units and drew $5.8 billion in private investment.
Carson said that HUD has accelerated the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, begun in the Obama administration, because it has been a good deal for taxpayers while increasing affordable housing for the needy.
“There were a lot of public housing facilities that were deteriorating because the government’s old way of doing things was to come in and build this big, multifamily thing with no support around it, and disappear and go off to the next project, while it immediately started deteriorating,” Carson said.
“As a result of that, the capital needs of these places just continued to increase to the point where we were looking at $26 billion of deferred maintenance.”
The Government Accountability Office released a report in February 2018 that said HUD should do a better job of tracking the system and tenants.
“Without a comprehensive review of household information and procedures for fully monitoring all resident safeguards, HUD cannot fully assess the effects of [the Rental Assistance Demonstration program] on residents,” the report said.
According to HUD, about 210,000 people moved into improved units, and if residents need to temporarily move during the construction period, they are entitled to protections under both the Uniform Relocation Act and the Rental Assistance Demonstration program’s relocation rules. The department has worked to address the GAO concerns by updating data gathering to avoid risks, and monitoring residents rights and safeguards.
Before the program was in place, about 15,000 units were demolished or otherwise removed from the public housing listings per year, according to HUD. The rehabilitation of buildings often includes construction to mitigate health hazards, such as lead paint, and to make the buildings accessible to those with disabilities.
Carson said it would have taken the federal government 46 years to generate the near $6 billion in private capital renovating the units, noting that the program created 108.,000 jobs.
The original cap on capital investment was for no more than 255,000 units, later raised to 455,000 units. The Trump administration’s budget proposal is asking to remove the cap entirely, so as not to limit any private investment.
“A fiscal hawk, if they were a smart fiscal hawk, would say ‘Wow, we are getting a lot of bang for our buck here by leveraging the public funding with private funding, and we’re getting a lot more done than we have in the past,’” Carson said.
Without necessarily endorsing the Rental Assistance Demonstration program, Joel Griffith, research fellow for financial regulation at The Heritage Foundation, said he saw severe problems with government-owned housing.
“Public housing projects became notorious for concentrated poverty, dilapidated conditions, and high crime throughout the last quarter of the 20th century,” Griffith told The Daily Signal, adding:
Cabrini-Green Homes in Chicago’s Northside drew national attention—before being demolished beginning in 1995—became emblematic of this government failure. Safe, affordable housing need not be synonymous with slums and violence.
The success of hundreds of thousands of pleasant—privately owned—middle class neighborhoods across the nation bears testament to this. The RAD program promises a transition—albeit only a partial one—away from the worst ills of government-owned public housing.
3. Deregulating a Path to Affordable Housing
Carson has been talking to local government leaders about scaling back land-use regulations that drive up housing costs. He said HUD has been looking at tying federal grants to local governments with deregulation.
That includes zoning regulation, rent control, and environmental rules.
“In terms of what we’re talking about, regulatory and zoning restrictions for single-family homes, you’re adding 25 [percent to] 27 percent to the cost,” Carson said. “So, that’s huge. For multifamily, you’re talking 32.1 percent on average; in a quarter of cases, up to 42 percent. So, you’re talking huge numbers here.”
Carson referred to Fort Worth, Texas, as a city that has been receptive to changing zoning laws and other regulations to make housing more affordable.
After speaking to mayors of both parties, he said, he found bipartisan consensus in local governments to ease regulations.
“A lot of local municipalities, knowing that we are moving in that direction, have already started to look at the regulatory burden and started working on it,” Carson said. “I think everybody understands it’s a problem. Just, in many cases, it hasn’t risen to the top of the list of things that need to be done.”
“So, we are just encouraging people to elevate [deregulation] in importance, because affordable housing affects a large number of people in our country,” he said.
The HUD chief said 8.3 million families pay 50 percent or more of their income for housing, or live in substandard housing, or both.
This is a problem that Heritage’s Griffith said he is glad to see HUD acknowledge.
“It’s promising that those at HUD recognize the onerous regulations at the local level contribute to higher housing prices,” Griffith said. “While we recognize the federal role in local regulations is limited constitutionally–and it should be–the federal government should not incentivize these policies.”
Carson said some zoning regulations were spawned by a “not-in-my-backyard” attitude called “NIMBY-ism.”
“A lot of the regulations exist because people want to maintain the character of their neighborhood—NIMBY-ism,” Carson said. “But NIMBY-ism is based on misconceptions that the government is going to come in and build something like they did in the ’60s or the ’70s, with no support and no forethought.”
“Of course, we don’t do that anymore. Now, it’s all public-private partnerships,” he said. “We look at the character of the neighborhood. We make it fit in. We don’t take a multifamily building and stick it in the middle of an established block.”
“We’re not going to do those kind of things.”
The post Ben Carson’s 3 Ambitious Agenda Items for Reforming Public Housing appeared first on The Daily Signal.