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The Totally, Utterly Irrefutable Case Against Socialism

Thu, 2019-07-11 15:46

When a dozen of conservatism’s best minds take on Socialism and expose it for the utopian fraud it is, attention must be paid.

In a brief foreword to a special issue of National Review, Editor-in-Chief Richard Lowry admitted that many conservatives thought socialism in America had been “vanquished” after the collapse of Soviet Communism 30 years ago. But as T. S. Eliot insisted, “There is no such thing as a Lost Cause because there is no such thing as a Gained Cause.”

The experts examine socialism in its many guises, beginning with Charles Cooke’s blunt assessment that socialism is not and never can be “democratic.”

Cooke, the editor of NationalReview.com, writes that voters should not be fooled by the left’s attempt at rebranding.

“There is no sense in which socialism can be made compatible with democracy as it is understood in the West.” At worst, says Cooke, “socialism eats democracy, and is swiftly transmuted into tyranny.” At best, socialism “stamps out individual agency, places civil society into a straitjacket of uniform size, and turns representative government into a chimera.”

Cooke’s description of socialism as tyrannical was confirmed by Ugo Okere, a socialist candidate for the Chicago City Council, who explained that “democratic socialism, to me, is about democratic control of every single facet of our life.”

That would mean, presumably, rewriting the first words of the Constitution to something like, “We the people of the United States in order to form a more democratically controlled Union … ”

What has Okere’s “democratic control” produced in the socialist “paradise” of Venezuela?

Ricardo Hausmann, the former chief economist of the Inter-American Development Bank, has written that “Venezuela’s economic catastrophe dwarfs any in the history of the U.S., Western Europe or the rest of Latin America.”

How catastrophic? Under Chavez-Maduro socialism, the child mortality rate has increased 140%. Ninety percent of Venezuelans now live in poverty. This year inflation will hit an unbelievable 10 million percent. (That is not a typographical error.) All this in a country with the world’s largest proven oil reserves—far greater than those of the United States.

Cooke concludes his essay with lessons learned from 6,000 years of civilization, including “never relinquish the right to free speech, the right to free conscience, the right to freedom of religion, the right to bear arms, or the right to a jury trial.”

Whatever you do, he warns, don’t be seduced by socialists bearing promises. But if you are seduced, “get out before it’s too late. You have nothing to lose but your chains.”

The distinguished author Joshua Muravchik, a fellow at the World Affairs Institute, takes a historical approach to the myths of socialism.

He writes that the initiator of Soviet terror, tyranny, and violence was its founding father, Vladimir Lenin, who exhorted his followers to exert “merciless mass terror against kulaks, priests, and White Guards; persons of doubtful standing should be locked up in concentration camps” (i.e., the Gulag).

To what end? Not just to accumulate political power, but in pursuit of a sacred mission—a socialist world.

When the farmers resisted collectivization, Lenin’s successor, Josef Stalin, engineered a famine in which at least 5 million and perhaps as many 10 million starved to death—the Holodomor.

If Stalin was “a tyrant of stupefying brutality,” writes Muravchik, he was outdone by Communist rulers Mao Zedong, whose Cultural Revolution resulted in at least one million deaths, and Pol Pot, who wiped out one-fourth of Cambodia’s population in his attempt to emulate Mao.

Why did they kill so many? Muravchik provides the answer: “It was their devotion to an ideal [socialism] that prompted them to slaughter millions of unresisting innocents.”

Economist Jeffrey Tucker begins with the damning comment: “Among the most conspicuous of socialism’s failings is its capacity to generate vast shortages of things essential for life.”

In Maoist China, he points out, there was no meat and no fat in which to cook anything. In Bolshevik Russia, there was never enough housing or food, not even loaves of bread.

What happened when Nikita Khrushchev took over as Soviet leader following Stalin’s death in 1953? He and his colleagues tried desperately to “cobble together” a system of planning that made sense without relying on “bourgeois” market forces.

They failed miserably. In Tucker’s words, Khrushchev “spent his last years as a discredited, dejected, and sad old man on a park bench.”

If you love deprivation, constriction, and general limits on material aspirations, says Tucker, plus a “tyrannical ruling class that oppresses everyone else, you will love what socialism can and does achieve.” Indeed, he concludes, “misery seems to be its only contribution to economic history.”

Socialists, says National Review correspondent Kevin Williamson, are guilty of a fatal conceit: They think they can develop a system so powerful that it can consider every variable in society and propose scientific answers “about how many acres of potatoes to plant, and when and where to plant them.”

But free-market economists Ludwig von Mises and F. A. Hayek (a Nobel Laureate) showed that “complete knowledge was not attainable on social, economic, or political questions.”

Therefore, says Williamson, the more intelligent and non-ideological governments have largely given up on central planning.

Even the Nordic social democracies, so dear to the self-styled socialists of the United States, “mostly have been divesting themselves of state enterprises.”

Reasonably successful state-run enterprises, such as the Swiss railroads, “have been converted into stock corporations or reformed in other market-oriented ways.”

The subtitle of Hayek’s last work “The Fatal Conceit” is “The Errors of Socialism.” Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., have failed to learn from those errors, says Williamson, asserting that “you cannot call yourself the party of science and the party of socialism too. You have to choose one or the other.”

Socialists flaunt their compassion, argues former National Review Editor-in-Chief John O’Sullivan, because it gives them an excuse to impose their will on others “unlawfully and even murderously.”

Modern socialists tend to disapprove of placing conditions on aid to the poor—“workfare”—viewing the receipt of aid as “an unqualified right.”

That sounds generous, says O’Sullivan, but it traps the poor “in long term dependency” and undermines what the scholar Shirley Letwin calls the “vigorous virtues” among their neighbors.

Before a single socialist regime had established itself, says O’Sullivan, 19th-century writers like Fyodor Dostoevsky, W. H. Matlock, and Rudyard Kipling saw “the horrors that lay concealed within socialism’s humanitarian promise.” Their examination of country after country refutes the fraying excuse that socialism has never been tried.

In the later stages of Soviet Communism, for example, a woman would sell herself for a pair of jeans; in Venezuela today, “people exchange family heirlooms for a little food.”

Although the French welfare state is often offered as a shining example of progressivism, Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry, a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, declares you must look at “actual France, not the fantasy France of progressive propaganda.”

He challenges the French elite who believe they have the right “to order society for the benefit of everyone.”

Given the results of their leadership—low growth, mass unemployment, social strife, and a general mood of pessimism—Gobry suggests that “they might want to rethink their idea of progress.”

BT (Before Thatcher), the Great Britain of the 1970s was generally described as “the sick man of Europe,” due to its prolonged experiments with statism and the pervasive stagnation they produced.

In 1960, according to historian Andrew Stuttaford, the U.K. boasted Europe’s most productive economy, but that was before the Labour Party came to power and nationalized almost every industry in sight.

The mid-1970s were hard on most Western economies, but the U.K. “appeared to be in a hell of its own,” says Stuttaford. Inflation shot up 300%. Gross domestic product fell, unemployment rose, the pound crumbled, industry buckled, “and some of Britain’s best and brightest headed for the exit.”

The winter of 1978 was characterized by grotesque images—the dead unburied, the sick untreated, the trash piling up in the streets.

Just months later, promising radical change, Margaret Thatcher walked into 10 Downing Street and proceeded to denationalize coal, steel, and utilities; bring down inflation; spur economic growth; and refuse to give into organized labor’s draconian demands.

Her message: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

Markets, not bureaucrats, are better for the environment, asserts Shawn Regan, a fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center, pointing out that Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union “were the most polluted and degraded places on earth.”

He quotes the economist Murray Feshbach and journalist Alfred Friendly Jr. as writing that when historians conduct an autopsy of Soviet Communism, “they may reach the verdict of death by ecocide.”

Closer to home, says Regan, the attempts of Cuban socialists to maximize production at all costs “has caused extensive air, soil, and water pollution.”

In Venezuela, socialist policies have contaminated drinking water supplies, fueled rampant deforestation, and caused frequent oil spills. The principal guilty party is the state-owned energy company.

Rarely, if ever, will Ocasio-Cortez and other sponsors of the Green New Deal concede the painful truth about socialism’s dismal environmental legacy.

Imagine a shoe store with just one brand of sneakers—now apply that to medical care. So begins journalist and health care expert Avik Roy, who explains the pluses and minuses of the British National Health Service, so beloved by Sanders and other American “democratic” socialists.

Because the British health system is funded entirely by taxes and is “free” to patients, there are no premiums, no co-pays, no deductibles.

How then does the system prevent excess consumption and control costs?

Roy says there are two principal ways: first, by controlling the fees that doctors, hospitals, drug companies, etc. receive; and second, by “aggressively restricting the … costly services that would otherwise blow up” the health care budget.

Notwithstanding Sanders’ contrary opinion, says Roy, “the NHS is no paradise.”

NHS doctors “routinely” conceal from patients information about new therapies the service does not pay for, so as not to “distress, upset or confuse them.”

Terminally ill patients are “incorrectly classified” as close to death to allow the withdrawal of expensive life support. Most NHS patients expect to wait five months for a hip operation or knee surgery, says Roy, but the actual waiting times are worse: 11 months for hips and 12 months for knees, compared with a wait of three to four weeks for such procedures in the United States.

NHS problems like limitations on access to care and dishonest statistics “will be familiar to those enrolled in America’s homegrown version of socialized medicine: the Veterans Health Administration.”

Understandably, writes Roy, American socialists are not calling for “VA care for all” but for “Medicare for All.”

Medicare features like subsidized premiums and unlimited access, says Roy, make the program popular with seniors who receive about $3 in benefits for every dollar they pay into Medicare. But the lack of controls has turned the program into an “oppressive fiscal burden.”

According to the trustees, the Medicare hospital trust fund will run out of money in 2026, less than a decade away. The ultimate price tag of Medicare for All is an incomprehensible $30 trillion.

The solution may be debatable (The Heritage Foundation, for example, favors block grants to the states and health savings accounts), but the answer is not “the Anglo-Canadian version of socialized medicine that tramples on individuals’ rights to seek the care and coverage that they want.”

The real reason why American socialists are 24/7 news, says Washington Examiner editor Timothy Carney, is the widespread “social and cultural poverty” in America.

The root cause of both Occupy Wall Street and Bernie 2016 was a “prevailing sense of alienation.” Young people, Carney says, “felt that they lost the ability to make a difference in the world.” They were a vacuum waiting to be filled.

Modern American society “in which community is weaker and people are more alienated,” says Carney, has proven a fertile ground for socialism. The political reaction from socialists and their fellow travelers is “a demand for a bigger federal safety net.”

Carney reports, for example, that the People’s Policy Project, a socialist think tank, calls for a raft of federal programs, including 36 weeks of federally funded paid parental leave, federally funded child care, a federal benefit for stay-at-home mothers, and federally funded pre-K.

The conservative response, Carney argues, should be “community.” That is, an extended family, neighbors, parishes, shuls, civic associations, dinner clubs, swim clubs, and all the other communal variations.

Such institutions—Edmund Burke’s “little platoons”—help families stay together, mothers and fathers “stay sane,” and new parents “navigate the daunting path of parenthood.”

Carney warns that the less we’re connected to one another via community institutions, and the more isolated we are, the more we grasp for something big to protect us. “For young Americans that’s often the state.”

Socialism is not only or even principally an economic doctrine, concludes the British author Theodore Dalrymple, “it is a revolt against human nature.” It refuses to believe that man is a fallen creature and seeks to improve him “by making all equal one to another.”

The development of the New Man was and is the goal of all Communist tyrannies, beginning with the Soviet Union.

Notwithstanding the disastrous results when such futile dreams are taken seriously by ruthless men in power, Dalrymple says, there are those who will continue to dream of “a life so perfectly organized that everyone will be happy.”

National Review’s analysts believe that such dreams will inevitably become nightmares as they have in the 40 some nations that suffered under socialism.

The record of failure without exception is clear. It remains for conservatives to expose the impossible promises of the socialists, drawing on the conclusions of National Review’s experts:

  • Socialism is not compatible with the Constitution.
  • Socialism, the idea that millions killed for, is a mirage.
  • Socialism is very good at generating vast shortages of the essential things in life.
  • Socialism can never know enough to plan all our lives every day.
  • Socialism tries to make all of us equal to one another.
  • Socialism is very good at promising all the benefits we’ll never see.
  • Socialism in Great Britain had one outstanding success—Margaret Thatcher.
  • Socialism was responsible for making Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union the most polluted and degraded places on earth.
  • Socialized medicine as practiced in Great Britain and Canada is bad for people’s health.
  • American socialism is on the rise because of widespread social and cultural poverty in America.

What is to be done? It rests with you and me. We must get to work exposing socialism for the fraud and failure it is and taking back our culture and our country.

The post The Totally, Utterly Irrefutable Case Against Socialism appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

US-UK Relationship Will Be Just Fine Despite Leaked Cables

Thu, 2019-07-11 15:38

The resignation this week of the British ambassador to Washington has made headlines on both sides of the Atlantic.

Sir Kim Darroch resigned following the publication of leaked diplomatic cables that revealed he had been sharply critical of the Trump administration, calling it “inept” and “chaotic.” President Donald Trump condemned Darroch’s negative comments, prompting the British government to issue a defense of their representative in the United States.

The events of the last few days highlighted tensions which already existed between the Trump White House and Theresa May’s Downing Street, especially over the prime minister’s handling of Brexit negotiations with the European Union, which the U.S. president has described on several occasions as highly ineffective.

The diplomatic spat has prompted media commentators in both America and Europe, often in hysterical terms, to pronounce that the U.S.-U.K. partnership is dying and irreparably damaged. In the words of the Washington Post’s Dan Balz, the special relationship “is in tatters.”

Some have also suggested the leaks will have a chilling effect on other foreign diplomats in Washington, with ambassadors now too afraid to report back to their governments in a candid manner.

As is often the case with over-hyped media speculation, the reality will be very different.

The British government is conducting a widespread investigation into the leaks and will be taking steps to ensure this kind of incident doesn’t happen again, or at least will be far less likely. Other major U.S. allies will probably take similar steps. European Ambassadors to Washington, from Paris to Berlin, will no doubt continue to deliver frank assessments of U.S. policy back to their capitals.

The art of diplomacy will continue to be conducted as it has been for hundreds of years—with ambassadors to Washington sometimes giving unflattering assessments of U.S. administrations in communications back home.

As for the special relationship, which primarily revolves around defense, intelligence, and economic ties and has been in place for over 75 years, it isn’t going away.

The U.S.-U.K. alliance remains the most powerful and effective bilateral partnership in the modern era, and it’s about to get even stronger. On July 24, Great Britain will have a new prime minister, and according to the latest polls it’s highly likely to be Boris Johnson. The former foreign secretary and twice-elected mayor of London was born in New York and was, until very recently, a dual U.S. citizen.

If he becomes prime minister, Johnson will be one of the most pro-American leaders ever to take the reins of 10 Downing Street.

Johnson has already developed a strong rapport with Trump, and his new British administration that will work very closely with the U.S. government on a range of issues, from preventing the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran to standing up to the Russian bear.

And, unlike May, Johnson is an ardent Brexiteer who has pledged to deliver Brexit on October 31, with or without a deal with the EU.

With Johnson as prime minister, we can expect a U.S.-U.K. free trade deal to be in place by next year. The United States and Great Britain can look forward to a reinvigorated alliance when the new prime minister comes in.

The free world is a better and safer place when Britain and America stand shoulder to shoulder, and the sure arrival of Brexit later this year will further enhance the strong ties that already bind our two great nations, which share a common heritage, culture, language, and love for freedom.

The post US-UK Relationship Will Be Just Fine Despite Leaked Cables appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Here Are 6 Ways a New Report Devastates the $15 Minimum Wage

Thu, 2019-07-11 13:38

Just in time for next week’s likely House vote on a federal $15 minimum wage, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has come out with a caustic report on the consequences of the policy.

The report confirms what even liberal economists caution: A $15 minimum wage would “risk undesirable and unintended consequences” and lead to a survival-of-the-fittest labor market, where only the highest-skilled workers come out on top.  

Democrats are under the illusion that the government can force employers to artificially increase wages with no adverse consequences for American workers. But that’s like saying the government could double families’ mortgage and rent payments without any consequence.

Here are six ways this new report exposes the minimum wage proposal as bad policy.

1. It would be a job-killer.

The Congressional Budget Office report estimated that a $15 minimum wage would lead to 1.3 million lost jobs by the year 2025, with job losses rising over time due to compounding negative impacts.

The exact number of job losses are highly uncertain, but the report says losses would most likely range between zero and 3.7 million, with a not-insignificant chance that losses could exceed 3.7 million.

A 2011 Heritage Foundation estimate was even bleaker. It estimated a $15 minimum wage would lead to 7 million lost jobs.

Some groups have tried to minimize this part of the picture, focusing instead on the 17 million workers who currently earn below $15 that would receive an income boost. But this simply means that for every 13 workers who would get a wage boost, one worker would lose their job entirely.

Considering that a lost job can mean a family loses its home, not to mention a host of other long-term consequences, that doesn’t seem like a trade-off worth making.

2. It would create a survival-of-the-fittest labor market.

The report makes clear that a $15 minimum wage would disproportionately harm workers with the least education and experience and those with disabilities because these workers would be the first to be let go—or to never be hired in the first place.

Under a $15 minimum wage, only workers who can produce at least $35,000 of value per year would be employable. That’s a high hurdle for anyone who lacks experience, doesn’t have an advanced education, can’t speak English, or has a disability.

The impact on the most marginalized workers would only be compounded over time because failure to gain entry-level experience makes it harder to get job opportunities and advance down the road.

After all, minimum wage jobs often provide less-advantaged teenagers the opportunity to earn money to attend college or vocational training that they otherwise couldn’t afford.

In multiple instances, the report noted that the consequences of a $15 minimum wage would rise over time. This confirms what economists David Neumark and Olena Nizalova concluded in their study of long-run minimum wage effects:

Evidence suggests that as individuals reach their late 20s, they earn less the longer they were exposed to a higher minimum wage at younger ages, and the adverse longer-run effects are stronger for blacks.

3. It would expedite the pace of automation.

When workers become more expensive to employ, companies have a greater incentive to invest in machinery to eventually replace employees.

With a $15 minimum wage in addition to an Obamacare penalty for failing to provide workers with insurance, plus federally mandated taxes and benefits, the minimum cost of employing a full-time worker would exceed $38,000.

The Congressional Budget Office points out that some employers will respond to that higher cost by replacing low-income workers with machines.

This is already happening in counties like my own that have adopted a $15 minimum wage. My local McDonald’s recently installed four automated cashier machines to reduce the number of workers it needs.

4. It would drive up prices.

In the short run, a $15 minimum wage would reduce business incomes because employers would have to adjust and figure out how to respond to higher wage costs.

Inevitably, most employers affected by higher wages would raise their prices, which in turn would hurt all consumers. The Congressional Budget Office notes that “[o]ver time, as businesses increasingly pass their higher costs on to consumers, the losses in business income diminish and the losses in families’ real income grow.”

A 2017 Heritage Foundation report estimated that a $15 minimum wage would cause prices at fast food restaurants to rise between 24% and 38%.

5. It would shrink the economy, and shrink family incomes.

While many lower-wage workers would receive higher incomes from the $15 minimum wage, the job losses and reduced capital investment would lead to a smaller overall economy by 2025, with the size of the decline compounding over time.

A smaller economy would mean lower overall family incomes. As the report noted, a $15 minimum wage “would reduce total real (inflation-adjusted) family income in 2025 by $9 billion.”

6. It would drive up deficits, inflation, and interest rates.

Although not the focus of this particular report, the analysis did highlight the Congressional Budget Office’s previous findings of the impact of the $15 minimum wage on the federal budget.

In particular, the more recent report noted that a $15 minimum wage would increase the federal government’s costs for wages, goods, and services, which would lead to higher deficits—assuming lawmakers did not cut back on other spending.

Moreover, the report cautioned that “inflationary pressure created as a higher minimum wage was phased in could lead to higher interest rates, which could increase federal interest payments and have other budgetary effects.”

Everyone wants low-wage workers to have higher incomes and more opportunities. That’s why we already have over 90 welfare programs across the federal government, many of which were created with good intentions but are in desperate need of reform to remove barriers to helping recipients get work. 

One example is the earned income tax credit, which increases the $7.25 minimum wage to about $10 for workers with children. This credit encourages low-income individuals to work because it targets low-wage workers with children and doesn’t push others into poverty.

(This program too is in need of substantial reform, but was specifically designed to encourage those in poverty to work, as work is one of the most important pathways out of poverty).

The most effective way to increase incomes and opportunities for all workers is a free market and strong economy. Over the past year—amid solid economic growth and record-low unemployment—the wages of the bottom 10% of workers increased at twice the rate of the top 10% of workers.

More pro-growth policies—like reducing regulatory burdens on small businesses and workers, free trade, and getting the government’s fiscal house in order—would provide widespread wage and job growth. The $15 minimum wage, despite its lofty promises, would only provide limited gains with significant job losses.

The post Here Are 6 Ways a New Report Devastates the $15 Minimum Wage appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Hungary’s Unique Approach to Helping Migrants

Thu, 2019-07-11 12:51

Two summers ago on a visit to Budapest, I asked the spokesman for the Hungarian government about the growing problem of migrants coming into Europe.

He told me Hungary doesn’t have a migrant problem because they don’t have welfare programs. So, he said, migrants continue their travels to other European countries that do.

That’s not the end of it, though. Hungary has created programs to help migrants stay in their own countries so they won’t feel the need to flee to Europe. It is a model the U.S. should consider adopting beyond dwindling and often misdirected foreign aid.

The government calls it “Hungary Helps Project.” It delivers aid directly to places affected by conflict, the driving force behind most migration.

The assistance does not go through corrupt governments, but to churches and charities more easily monitored, who presumably have good motives.

It seems far less expensive and more politically advantageous than the floodtide threatening the unity and character of European nations and increasingly the United States.

The government says in just two years the program has helped 35,000 people to stay home. These include persecuted Christians, who are often ignored by governments and the media.

In Nigeria, where thousands of persecuted Christians have been murdered, Hungary has provided 1 million euros ($1.2 million USD) to the Catholic Diocese of Maiduguri.

The money is being used to aid in the country’s educational and health infrastructure, which have been damaged by repeated attacks from the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram.

An additional 500,000 euros (about $560,000 USD) has gone to social rehabilitation programs administered by Christ in Nations, which helps refugees return to their homes ravaged by the extremist group.

It also supports agricultural efforts designed to improve the self-sufficiency of households, eliminate food shortages, and treat diseases.

In the misnamed Democratic Republic of the Congo (because it is neither democratic, nor a republic), Hungarian aid totaling 1 million euros has been targeted for an eye clinic run by the Brother Richard Foundation for the Sick.

An estimated 10,000 patients receive direct help, but because of the lack of good health care, the clinic’s practice extends to 8 million people.

Ethiopia is another African nation receiving Hungarian aid. In a spirit of ecumenism, not only Catholic services receive funds; so does the Ethiopian Evangelical Church.

The Mai-Aini refugee camp has been provided with 1.5 million euros (about $1.6 million USD) to offer shelter and basic services, including clean water, education, and support services for about 15,000 Eritrean refugees.

The Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Addis-Ababa has also received 500,000 euros in support.

Tristan Azbej is Hungary’s state secretary for the Aid of Persecuted Christians. In an article for the About Hungary website, he writes:

During the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, the Orban Government was widely criticized by international actors for taking a firm stance (against undocumented aliens). Among those voices, some said that Hungary was acting heartlessly. Our approach is simple: To provide an alternative to the exploitation of human traffickers and manipulation of pro-migration NGOs, we are doing everything in our capacity to enable those in need to stay in their homelands. In the words of Prime Minister Orban: ‘Trouble should not be brought here, but assistance must be taken to where it is needed.’ And that’s exactly what we endeavor to do.

The Western media and liberal politicians have denounced the prime minister as a far-right ideologue, but this program appears to be working. Most people might think it a more sensible approach to the wave of humanity flooding Europe and increasingly the U.S., burdening services and resources.

Again, it has the added benefit of saving money, which ought to interest everyone.

(c) 2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

The post Hungary’s Unique Approach to Helping Migrants appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Over Half of Hispanic Voters Support Citizenship Question on Census

Thu, 2019-07-11 11:43

A poll released earlier this month includes a finding that may surprise those who say adding the citizenship question to the 2020 census will result in minority communities not being properly counted.

Among the Hispanic registered voters polled in the survey sample for Harvard University’s latest national monthly public policy poll, 55% say they are in favor of adding a question about whether census respondent is a citizen to the 2020 census. 

Additionally, the poll, released by the Harvard’s Center for American Political Studies and the Harris Poll, found 67% of all registered U.S. voters say the census should include a citizenship question.

There were reports Thursday that President Donald Trump planned to announce an executive order to include a citizenship question on the census. Trump added to the speculation with a tweet:

The White House will be hosting a very big and very important Social Media Summit today. Would I have become President without Social Media? Yes (probably)! At its conclusion, we will all go to the beautiful Rose Garden for a News Conference on the Census and Citizenship.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 11, 2019

Mike Gonzalez, senior fellow at the Allison Center for Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal that this statistic on Hispanic voters in the poll isn’t shocking.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Gonzalez said. “When you look at what Americans of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central American, and so forth background, the things they want are very similar to the things all Americans want.” 

However, Gonzalez cautioned that the term “Hispanic” is very broad, and says little on its own:  

‘Hispanic’ is a pan-ethnic category that doesn’t explain much about who people are. You have people who are very conservative, like Mexan Americans from parts of Texas. They’re very conservative if you compare them to Puerto Ricans in the North East. It’s a statistic that is interesting, but doesn’t really tell you much in terms of who we’re talking about.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi derided talk of including a citizenship question in the 2020 census as “disgraceful,” and said the president wants to include the question in order to “make America white again,” according to a report in the Washington Examiner.

Gonzalez called this “ridiculous.”

“The left tries to bring race into everything,” he said. “We should ask Ms. Pelosi what she means by that. Does she equate citizenship with any race or ethnicity? It’s the opposite. Citizenship is colorblind. Citizenship is race blind. Citizenship is belonging in the United States no matter what your background is, or your pigmentation, the color of your skin. It’s about saying you’re a member of the polity, a member of this great nation.”

Organizations like the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice push the idea that Hispanics will be “undercounted” if a citizenship question is included, Gonzalez said. He says they fear Hispanic people living in the United States won’t want to respond to the census at all due to the existence of the citizenship query. 

This assumption, Gonzalez said, is actually much more racist than the U.S. wanting to validate the citizenship status of all its residents. “That includes how many assumptions about the nature of ‘Hispanic households’?” he asked.

Gonalez has said pointed to the irony of the census asking questions about race, ethnicity, and sex, yet a question about citizenship is considered by some as racist.

“We ask questions on a census we shouldn’t be asking, and yet the one colorblind identity question that we could ask–which is, ‘Are you a citizen or not?’–that’s racializing things?” he said.

In January, the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to hear a case on including the citizenship question in the 2020 census after a federal judge in New York ruled the Census Bureau could not include the question. The Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts, suggesting it might once again review the case if the Trump administration offered new reasons for wanting the census question. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “Unlike a typical case in which an agency may have both stated and unstated reasons for a decision, here the [Voting Rights Act] enforcement rationale—the sole stated reason—seems to have been contrived.”

The Voting Rights Act was passed in 1965 to protect the vote of racial minorities, including non-English speaking American citizens.

Attorney General William Barr announced on July 9 that the president would be pursuing avenues to legally include the citizenship question in the 2020 census. As of Tuesday afternoon, Barr has not specified what this legal avenue would look like, though AP reported a senior official said the president is expected to issue a memorandum to the Commerce Department, instructing the inclusion of the question.

Gonzalez said he thinks it’s “definitely possible” the question will be included in the end. 

“The reason Trump is popular is because he fights, and people get the sense that he fights,” Gonzalez said. “And he’s fighting this.”

The post Over Half of Hispanic Voters Support Citizenship Question on Census appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

America’s First Black Billionaire Says His Party Is ‘Too Far to the Left,’ Praises Trump Economy

Thu, 2019-07-11 11:30

An unexpected critic of the Democratic Party known as America’s first African American billionaire says the party is becoming too liberal, and shared his straightforward commendation for President Donald Trump’s economy.

“The party, in my opinion, for me personally, has moved too far to the left,” said Robert Johnson, founder of the cable network Black Entertainment Television and RLJ Companies, during a Tuesday interview with CNBC’s Hadley Gamble.

A self-proclaimed Democrat and centrist, Johnson, 73, went on to say, “And for that reason, I don’t have a particular candidate [I’m supporting] in the party at this time. I think at the end of the day, if a Democrat is going to beat Trump, then that person, he or she, will have to move to the center and you can’t wait too long to do that.”

“I think the economy is doing great, and it’s reaching populations that heretofore had very bad problems in terms of jobs and employment and the opportunities that come with employment … so African American unemployment is at its lowest level, ” Johnson said.

According to Forbes, Johnson became the first African American billionaire in the United States for selling Black Entertainment Television to Viacom in 2001 for $3 billion. Founded by Johnson in 1980 with a $15,000 loan, Black Entertainment Television reached an estimated 62.4 million homes. He served as president and CEO until 2005.

Johnson criticized the American political establishment in his CNBC interview as “very wicked and very mean,” but praised Trump for helping the African American community. 

“I give the president a lot of credit for moving the economy in a positive direction that’s benefiting a large amount of Americans,” he said. “I think the tax cuts clearly helped stimulate the economy. I think business people have more confidence in the way the economy is going.”

“Overall, if you look at the U.S. economy … you got to give the president an A+ for that,” he added.

When asked about Trump’s style being considered as divisive by many Americans, Johnson responded, “A lot of people are not going to like that style, but, when he says he’s going to try to do something economically, you have to give him credit for taking some specific steps to do that.”

“At the end of the day, the American people are looking for someone who can deliver economically and deliver on opportunities,” he added.

Johnson reportedly favored Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential race, but the media mogul met with Trump after his victory to discuss what he referred to as “business solutions to social problems,” and encouraged African Americans to give the new president “the benefit of the doubt.” 

Johnson has voiced criticisms of both former President Barack Obama andClinton in the past.

The post America’s First Black Billionaire Says His Party Is ‘Too Far to the Left,’ Praises Trump Economy appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Unintended Consequences of Student Loans

Thu, 2019-07-11 03:02

Every year, colleges raise tuition prices yet again. That’s helped create the student debt crisis, and it’s causing more young people to skip college altogether. But what’s the government’s role here? Is it making things worse? And if so, what’s the solution? Richard Vedder, author of
Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America” shares his thoughts. Read the interview, posted below, or listen on the podcast:

We also cover these stories:

  • Labor Secretary Alex Acosta defends his handling of Jeffrey Epstein plea deal.
  • An appeals court rules that President Donald Trump’s hotel isn’t violating the emoluments clause.
  • California is becoming the first state to offer Medicaid to young adult illegal immigrants.

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!

Daniel Davis: I’m joined now by Richard Vedder. He is senior fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the book “Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America.”

Mr. Vedder, thank you for joining us.

Richard Vedder: Delighted to be with you, Daniel.

Davis: So, lots of younger folks, in my generation and younger, are saddled with student debt and I want to ask you about that.

We often think of student federal aid as a good thing, something that helps us afford college, but you write in your book that government aid actually contributes to the problem. Can you explain that for us?

Vedder: Sure. When they started the student loan programs around 1970, and they grew very large in the late ’70s, an extension of the Student Loan Act provided this money.

When this happened, colleges said, “Aha! Kids are going to be able to afford college more than before, so we can be more aggressive in raising our fees.”

So colleges, starting in the late ’70s, started to raise their fees. They used to go up a little bit more than the inflation rate, maybe 1% more a year than the inflation rate. Now they started going up far faster, 3% or more faster than the inflation rate.

And if you compound that over 40 years, which is the amount of time that has passed since then, … kids are now paying about double the tuition fees they would’ve paid if that had not happened.

So the tuition fees in America have been pushed up by the student loan programs. I think Bill Bennett, who was secretary of education, wrote a op-ed in The New York Times, of all places, in 1987 where he made that point.

And a lot of people poo-pooed it and said, “Ah, that’s not true.” But the research from the New York Fed and the National Bureau of Economic Research has validated what Bill Bennett said.

Davis: Wow. So would you say government intervention really is the key driver, the main driver of tuition these days? We see tuition every year going up.

Vedder: It has been. Now, in fairness, in a lot of recent developments, tuition fees are starting to rise less rapidly and schools are desperate because enrollments have been falling.

Fees went up so much that college became prohibitively expensive for some people, particularly low-income people [who] saw these massive sticker prices and they just didn’t apply in some cases to college.

So the irony of it is we put in student loans to help mostly low-income people, supposedly, and the reality is the low-income people have been scared away from college more than the affluent, middle-income or upper-income people.

I call this the law of unintended consequences. Things turned out to be just the opposite of what the government intended.

Davis: Do you think there’s any hope of reversing that with federal policy?

Vedder: It’s going to be tough because our vested interests are always going to fight change. If we did things right, we would start reversing that and we can whittle away at it.

We can limit student loans, the number of years you could borrow, we could limit it to only undergraduate education and not expensive graduate education. We can cut out something called Plus loans, which are loans often made to parents of students.

We could also make the loans more on a commercial basis, that is you don’t get the money unless there’s some reasonable prospect that you’re going to graduate. You got to have a minimal academic status.

There are a lot of things we could do to improve the system, but we need to start doing those things.

Davis: I want to ask you also about the issue of free speech on campus, which is increasingly an issue that even the president has addressed.

Back in the ’60s, the sort of young, new left on campus were championing free speech. And speculate as to why, I mean, it certainly helped their voice. But now that they have a monopoly on the university, it seems that they’re more in favor of shutting it down.

Just historically, I’m curious about when this started. When did free speech really start getting shut down on campuses? Is this a recent phenomenon?

Vedder: You could argue that free speech has been closed down on campuses since the 15th, 16th century. Galileo wasn’t allowed to say what he wanted to say and faced the consequences. But when the Enlightenment came in the 18th century, the idea is that free speech is liberating. It improves the mind, it improves the economy, and so forth.

And we had the classical liberal revolution that is what made us what we are today as a nation and planet, really, a wealthy and prosperous place. All that started way back then and then we were getting rid of barriers to free speech, the ideas enhancing free speech.

… We had, in the 1950s, some restriction on free speech, but in what was called the McCarthy era, where Sen. [Joseph] McCarthy, who was … most people would say was a conservative Republican, but I don’t look at that in quite that way, he was fiercely anti-Communist. And we had loyalty oaths that some professors had to sign in order to have jobs as teaching and so on.

So we’ve had episodes in American history where government has interfered with the process of education to impose certain restrictions.

That’s coming back again, it’s not so much the government, it’s … well, in some sense, the government is enforcing it, I think, because diversity of ideas is not part of the agenda of the welfare state. And indeed, the agenda the welfare state seems almost to be the opposite.

We all have to think alike because there is a progressive way of thinking and that problem has grown, I think gradually, since the ’80s and the ’90s, but it is certainly reached a crescendo level in the last decade or so.

But again, if the federal government weren’t in the higher ed business at all, which essentially they weren’t before 1960 or ’65, I don’t think we would be having these problems. Or at least we wouldn’t have them at the level of severity that we do. Because colleges were competing for students without subsidies from the government.

There are consequences when you turn people off and a lot of these protests have turned people off.

Look at Evergreen State in the state of Washington where they went wild with protests and, at one time, were even telling certain students, white students, that they couldn’t go to campus. And what’s happened there, dramatic decline in enrollments and so forth.

I think the American people, by and large, have a different set of values with respect to these things than is prevailing in the collegiate communities.

Schools like Yale get away with murder in this regard because for one thing, they have huge endowments so no matter what they do, they’re insulated from the market. And we need to let market forces work more and the biggest single thing that would help that is for the government to get out of the higher education business.

Davis: Yeah. I saw a few years ago … the Mizzou controversy with the professor getting fired because she was involved in the physical confrontation. I mean, they saw a drop-off of students.

Vedder: Dramatic at Missouri. Several thousand, they’ve had to let go a number of faculty members and what not.

The irony of it is, a secondary effect is appropriations on the part of the state government from the university have fallen significantly because the legislators are fed up with this. And rightfully so, I might add, in this case.

So protesting is costly to universities, but they feel they have to allow [it] because they’re being intimidated by a small group of students. Sometimes not so small, sometimes medium-sized group of students on some of these campuses.

It’s time that we stand up to this and one way to do it is to threaten the removal of federal funds. President Trump intimated as much in his recent executive order.

Davis: Last question I just want to ask you. … Some members of Congress [are] talking about how … they’ve kind of been turned off by the way that universities have gone and are saying that college isn’t for everyone, it’s not as good as it’s cooked up to be, we need to consider trade schools, look at those.

I think a lot of conservatives are interested in that because it would break up the monopoly that, among other things, is indoctrinating a new generation of people.

So with that, with the college costs, and everything that goes into a four-year university, do you think it’s still worth it for young people to attend the four-year college?

Vedder: There are some people that benefit from a four-year college and will continue. There are things that colleges do that some people will benefit from.

Part of it is vocational, they’ll develop credentials that make them look good to law schools and look good to employers and so forth. And so there are some students, some people for whom this is true.

But there’s a large group of students for whom this is not true or who drop out or fail. Forty percent of the kids drop-out, another 40% graduate and they end up doing jobs like being a barista or working in a Walmart or a Home Depot or something like that. So the risk of going is rising. The risk of going to college.

So is it less risky to be trained to be a welder or a plumber? Yes. Even there you can fail, but if you fail, the consequences are not as great. You don’t have four years of schooling, you have less money involved.

Davis: You make a lot more money welding.

Vedder: And you make more money welding.

So I generally wish [for] government [to] get out of the education business. But if you’re going to be in the education business, I think it would be smart to turn some of our resources away from the traditional universities toward these kind of programs.

Vocational education, which, by the way, 50, 75 years ago, we did have a more vibrant vocational education program in America and we got away from that because we told everyone, “College is for all. You have to go to college.” That was very bad advice and we’re reaping the consequences of it now.

Davis: Well, the book is called “Restoring the Promise: Higher Education in America.” Richard Vedder, really appreciate your time.

Vedder: Thanks.

The post The Unintended Consequences of Student Loans appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Problematic Women: Trump v. Rapinoe

Thu, 2019-07-11 03:01

USA! The United States women’s national team won its second consecutive World Cup. However, there’s also controversy: team members declining a White House invitation and co-captain Megan Rapinoe bashing President Donald Trump. We’ll break down all the drama, as well as the equal pay debate.

Also on today’s podcast:

—Elisha Krauss of The Daily Wire joins us to talk about topics ranging from feminism to fashion to what it’s really like to work with the one and only Ben Shapiro.

—We address a New York Times article that went viral headlined, “Do Americans Really Need Air-Conditioning?,” and whether or not air-conditioning is sexist.

—We cover the latest “Little Mermaid” drama about a black Ariel and the trending #NotMyAriel on Twitter.

—Lastly, we crown our Problematic Woman of the Week … Tiny Jag! Tiny Jag is a biracial Detroit rapper who dropped out of a musical festival after that festival tried to charge white people twice as much per a ticket than minorities.

The post Problematic Women: Trump v. Rapinoe appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Acosta Defends Role in Epstein Plea Deal

Wed, 2019-07-10 18:22

Fending off calls for his resignation or firing, Labor Secretary Alex Acosta on Wednesday defended his role as a federal prosecutor in Florida more than a decade ago in what is widely viewed as a plea deal with billionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein that resulted in a lenient sentence. 

He said a federal trial would have been “a roll of the dice,” with no guarantee of a more severe punishment, and put most of the blame on the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s office.

“The goal here was straightforward: Put Epstein behind bars, ensure he registered as a sexual offender, provide victims with the means to seek restitution, and protect the public by putting them on notice that a sexual predator was in their midst,” Acosta said at a press conference Wednesday. 

Acosta was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida in 2008, when the plea agreement was reached. 

On Monday, federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York charged Epstein, 66, with the sex-trafficking of dozens of young girls, some as young as 14 years old.  

During Wednesday’s nearly hourlong press conference, Acosta dodged questions as to whether he would apologize to the victims for the handling of the case.

Rather, Acosta expressed sympathy for the victims and called for them to come forward. He defended the actions of federal career prosecutors in his office at the time, but he ridiculed the actions of state prosecutors who he said made an “absolutely awful” deal with Epstein that required federal intervention.  

“It was complicated by the fact that this matter started as a state investigation. A state grand jury brought a single, completely unacceptable charge,” he said. “A state official allowed Epstein to self-surrender. It is unusual for a federal prosecutor to intervene in a state matter.”

Acosta stressed that times have changed, expressing the view that it’s difficult to judge the circumstances and facts of a case from the past through today’s lens.  

“Today, we know a lot more about how victim trauma impacts their testimony. And this, too, is important,” Acosta said.  “Our juries are more acceptive of contradictory statements, understanding that trauma-impacted memories work differently. And today, judges do not allow victim-shaming by defense attorneys.”

In 2008, Epstein reached a deal with federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida, run by Acosta at the time, that allowed the financier to avoid federal prosecution in a case involving multiple charges of sexual abuse, in exchange for pleading guilty in a Florida state court to charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and felony solicitation. 

He was placed on the sex-offender registry and served just 13 months in county jail, despite an agreement on an 18-month sentence. Epstein was allowed to leave the lockup daily for work-release, according to the Miami Herald. 

“The expectation was that it would be an 18-month sentence, and the expectation was that it would be served in jail. So, this work-release was complete B.S.,” Acosta said. “I’ve been on record as far back as 2011 saying it was not what was bargained for and was not what we expected. But, this was a state court plea. Because it was a state court plea, the terms of confinement were under the jurisdiction of the state of Florida.”  

Some of Epstein’s victims have come forward to say prosecutors didn’t listen to them.

“Epstein’s actions absolutely deserve a stiffer sentence,” Acosta said. “… If there are other states that can bring state charges, they should consider those as well. So, I absolutely welcome this New York prosecution.” 

He added that Epstein is “a bad man and needs to be put away.”

Meanwhile, Democrats in Congress have called for Acosta to resign as secretary of labor or be fired by the president. 

Reporters asked Acosta about his future at the Labor Department, amid reports and rumors that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney wants him out.  

“I keep reading articles about me and Mr. Mulvaney. He called me this morning to say, if asked, that our relationship is excellent, too, and that any articles to the contrary are in his words, ‘B.S.’”

Speaking in the Oval Office on Tuesday, Trump defended Acosta.

 “He has been a great, really great secretary of labor,” Trump said.  “The rest of it, we’ll have to look at. We’ll have to look at it very carefully. You’re talking about a long time ago. It was a decision made, I think, not by him, but by a lot of people.”

The secretary said his relationship with Trump is “outstanding,” but acknowledged it’s up to the president whether he remains in the Cabinet. 

“If at some point the president decides that I am not the best person to do this job, I respect that,” Acosta said. “That is his choice. I serve at the pleasure of the president.”

The post Acosta Defends Role in Epstein Plea Deal appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

How a Record-Breaking Economy Is Helping Those Who Need It Most

Wed, 2019-07-10 18:09

The U.S. economy is in the midst of the longest economic expansion in our history—more than 10 years of consecutive growth.

The climb out of the Great Recession has been prolonged and strengthened by pro-growth policies, such as tax cuts and deregulation.

Rolling back those reforms or burdening workers with new restrictions would present the biggest threats to continued prosperity for American workers.

The strong U.S. economy continues to offer new opportunities to people who have historically been left behind.

Average wages have grown above 3 percent for 10 straight months—twice as fast as inflation. And since the tax cuts of 2017, wage growth for the poorest 25% of workers has reached post-recession highs of 4.4 percent.

In the most recent data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, the highest-income workers’ wages are growing at a more modest rate, more than a percentage point lower than those of low-wage workers.

June’s unemployment rate remains close to its 50-year low at 3.7%, and the 224,000 jobs created last month is more than double the number needed to keep pace with population growth and demographic change.

For Americans who want a job, they are readily available. June’s employment numbers were particularly good for African-Americans, with the rate dropping to 6%, nearing the historic 2018 low of 5.9%. Women, Hispanics, and workers without a college degree are seeing similar trends.

Previously unemployed Hispanic and black working-age women are finding jobs faster than any other demographic group.

Washington politicians don’t have the ability to create jobs or long-run opportunity. When they try, they most often fail. However, as we are seeing today, when Washington takes even a small step back, businesses thrive, and the prosperity is shared with working Americans.

On the other hand, proposals such as a national $15-an-hour minimum wage could wipe out close to all the jobs gains over the past year, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

New spending priorities from the progressive left would leave lower-income Americans sending more than half of their earnings to the government to pay for expanded one-size-fits-all programs. That’s a reality that already exists for European taxpayers.

New taxes and wage mandates are not the only threat to America’s current economic revival. Washington’s current brazen unwillingness to constrain spending growth is already dragging down our economy’s potential.

In the first nine months of 2019, federal tax revenue increased by 3%, compared with last year, thanks to the larger economy. Over the same period, federal spending grew by 7%, and Congress is set to vote on bills to increase spending growth even more in the coming months.

President Donald Trump’s tariffs—which are taxes on American consumers and businesses—are also hampering our potential.

Last year’s 25% tariff on nearly all steel imports increased steel prices by as much as 40 percent in the following months. Americans who paid those higher prices had less to spend on, and save for, other priorities.

Our strong economy is a testament to the powers of good, pro-growth policy in areas where taxes have been cut and regulations rolled back. 

If taxes stay low, spending is constrained, and tariffs are eliminated, the economic revival happening across the United States can continue.

There are still millions of Americans who have not re-entered the workforce after being sidelined during the Great Recession. And while wages are growing and income inequality is falling, this should be only the beginning of the positive trend.

When Washington gets out of the way, American businesses and all the workers they employ thrive.

The post How a Record-Breaking Economy Is Helping Those Who Need It Most appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Amazon Just Banned My Dad’s Therapy Books, Caving to LGBT Activists

Wed, 2019-07-10 18:00

On Amazon, you can buy almost any book written throughout human history—from the Bible to Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf, or even a book glorifying pedophilia. 

As of last week, however, you cannot get any of Dr. Joseph Nicolosi Sr.’s books about leaving homosexuality—because Amazon just banned them all. 

From 1981 until his death in 2017, my father was the driving force behind reparative therapy. He invented, refined, and used this innovative counseling method to help thousands of men overcome the effects of sexual abuse and other deep-seated childhood traumas.

These men told my father that his scientifically sound practices helped re-orient their sexuality away from obsessions with pornography, and helped them reduce their unwanted same-sex attractions. 

The books Amazon banned are the continuation of my father’s legacy and of the changes that can take place through his methods. The books have hundreds of endorsements, from typical readers to past presidents of the American Psychological Association. In one comment, which Amazon has now “banned,” a man said the book “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality” saved his marriage.

Luckily for that man, he was able to find marital help before Amazon became the PC police. Today, he and many other families will now find fewer online resources than ever—not because science dictates their removal, but because LGBT ideology has shouted down sound science.

While Amazon is banning books—and restricting choice among those with unwanted same-sex attractions—some state governments are banning my father’s therapeutic practices. But it’s clear that no government official who is voting to restrict client choice actually knows what reparative therapy entails. And with Amazon banning his books, radical LGBT activists hope to prevent even more lawmakers from ever finding out the truth.

Contrary to what these activists and their allies at Amazon claim, my father never advocated so-called “conversion therapy.” Conversion therapy is broad, ill-defined, has no ethics code, no governing body, and is typically practiced by unlicensed individuals.My father had nothing to do with these or any similar practices, and as a therapist myself, I wholeheartedly condemn such a concept.

What my father did do was use his psychological training and his Judeo-Christian worldview to help men overcome traumas that they—and he—believed were leading them into a life that did not reflect the men they were truly designed by their creator to be. He counseled families who were struggling with accepting their children, and he always told them, “Love your child, whatever the outcome of therapy may be.”  

This week’s book ban by Amazon and radical LGBT activists reveals the blatant hypocrisy of today’s leaders of the LGBT movement: They celebrate exploration of every kind of sexuality they can imagine, unless that exploration happens to lead an individual toward a traditional, heterosexual lifestyle. That sort of exploration, of course, must be banned.

My hope is that there will be a large enough outcry from consumers that Amazon will rethink its decision. If it doesn’t, my dad’s books won’t be the last to get blacklisted.

The post Amazon Just Banned My Dad’s Therapy Books, Caving to LGBT Activists appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Epstein, Bean, and Buck: The Democratic Donors’ Sex-Creep Club

Wed, 2019-07-10 17:31

Well, well, well. “Follow the facts,” Democratic strategist Christine Pelosi now advises fellow liberals in the wake of billionaire and high-flying political financier Jeffrey Epstein’s child sex trafficking indictment this week.

Some of “our faves” could be implicated in the long-festering scandal, the Pelosi daughter warned, so it’s time to “let the chips fall where they may.”

Too bad Pelosi’s mommy hasn’t adopted that same attitude of accountability.

While serving as the highest-ranking elected woman in America for decades, San Fran Nan has chronically downplayed, whitewashed, or excused the sleazy habits and alleged sexual improprieties of a long parade of Democrat pervs—from former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to former New York Reps. Eric Massa and Anthony Weiner to former Oregon Rep. David Wu to former Michigan Rep. John Conyers and current presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Since the woke-ty woke Democrats are now gung-ho on undoing special treatment of wealthy liberal sex creeps, perhaps they will soon be revisiting the matter of two of their other “faves,” Oregon real estate mogul and deep-pocketed left-wing White House donor Terry Bean and West Hollywood Clinton pal Ed Buck.

Here, let me help.

Bean is the prominent gay rights activist who co-founded the influential Human Rights Campaign organization. He is also a veteran member of the board of the HRC Foundation, which disseminates Common Core-aligned “anti-bullying” material to children’s schools nationwide.

Like Epstein, Bean had a penchant for rubbing elbows and riding on planes with the powerful.

Upon doling out more than $500,000 for President Barack Obama and the Democrats in 2012, he was rewarded with a much-publicized exclusive Air Force One ride with Obama. His Flickr account boasted glitzy pics with Michelle Obama and Bill Clinton.

Like Epstein, Bean also had a thing for young minors. In 2014, a grand jury charged him with horrifying sexual abuse allegations involving multiple victims—including a 15-year-old boy.

After a sweeping investigation led by the Portland police department’s sex crime units and two county district attorney’s offices, authorities charged Bean with two felony counts of third-degree sodomy and one misdemeanor count of third-degree sex abuse.

His 20-something boyfriend, Kiah Lawson, was indicted on third-degree sodomy and third-degree sexual abuse.

Allegations of Bean’s lurid sexual trysts with young men, which Lawson says the Democratic donor secretly videotaped, first surfaced in the local Willamette Week newspaper five years ago.

Police say the pair enticed a 15-year-old boy to a hotel in Eugene, Oregon, after meeting him through the iPhone app Grindr, which helps men locate “local gay, bi and curious guys for dating.”

Bean wriggled out of prosecution by publicly dangling a $220,000 cash “compromise” with the alleged victim, who then suddenly refused to testify against him. A judge in the county where the politically influential Bean family reigned promptly dismissed the charges. Case closed? Not so fast.

In January, government investigators filed new charges against Bean and Lawson after the alleged underage victim, now an adult, revealed that he had been ripped off by his attorney, who reportedly never delivered Bean’s payoff. The criminal trial is scheduled to begin in August.

In May, a second alleged juvenile victim of Bean’s came forward with a civil lawsuit alleging the Democrat donor sexually abused him three times when he was 17. The state Democratic Party and several federal officials who have received donations from Bean have declined to return the money.

Then there’s Buck, another Democratic gay rights leader and moneyman whose West Hollywood den was the scene of not one, but two overdose deaths of black men he allegedly paid for sex and drugs.

An independent journalist/blogger, Jasmyne Cannick, who has investigated Buck’s sordid activities for several years, warned authorities that the influential campaign contributor was a “predator” who lured vulnerable minority men into his filthy orbit.

This week, the mother of one of the dead men alleged Buck violated federal human trafficking laws and “knowingly utilized interstate commerce” to entice the victim to California “for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts.”

Family members will mark the two-year anniversary of the death of one of the victims, Gemmel Moore, at the end of this month.

Buck has donated more than a half-million dollars to top California Democrats, including current Gov. Gavin Newsom, former Gov. Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.

That’s a lot of chips falling in the coffers of the party that claims to care most about sex assault and human trafficking victims.

Will House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “follow the facts,” like her daughter recommends, or continue to cover up?

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The post Epstein, Bean, and Buck: The Democratic Donors’ Sex-Creep Club appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

What Ross Perot Gave to America

Wed, 2019-07-10 17:29

Conditions in Iran were rapidly deteriorating in 1978. The shah had stepped down, the prime minister had no ability to stop the growing political and social upheaval, and the mullahs, led by the Ayatollah Khomenei, were aggressively moving to seize power.

Ross Perot’s company, Electronic Data Systems, was on the verge of fully completing a large contract for the Iranian government, arranged under Shah Pahlavi. But as the risks to employees grew, Perot decided to pull his people out of the worsening situation.

Before everyone could be evacuated in late December, however, two of his people were arrested and imprisoned.

Perot, always prioritizing the welfare of his people first, immediately sought the assistance of the U.S. government. When none appeared to be coming, he took action—an action typical of him, especially when lives were at stake.

A military man himself, and having worked closely with the military since graduating from the Naval Academy in 1953, he sought the assistance of a highly skilled Green Beret, Arthur Simons, and organized his own rescue mission composed of Electronic Data Systems employees—all of whom were former military men with combat experience. He even went in himself as an undercover member of the team.

Perot’s team was able to spur a popular uprising against the hated Ghosr prison in which his people were being held hostage, and then successfully rescue the men. After that, they took a risky two-day journey across Iran and over the border into the safety of neighboring Turkey.

It was classic Ross Perot—less a defining moment than a continuation of his commitment to doing what he knew to be right and needed to be done, in spite of obstacles that kept others from acting.

His lifetime commitment to supporting our men and women in uniform was marked by the same passion, focus, and care, and deeply rooted in his patriotism and love for America.

Over the course of his life, Perot always sought to raise public awareness of our military. He initiated or supported efforts to improve their quality of life, to highlight the critical role they play in securing our country and our people, and to see that their sacrifices were recognized in some way.

In 1970, he tried to send supplies and Christmas gifts to American POWs held by North Vietnam (though these were unsurprisingly rejected by the North Vietnamese).

He funded a parade for American POWs released by North Vietnam as that conflict came to a close, so that they could return to the U.S. recognized and appreciated.

He provided scholarships to the children of servicemen who were casualties of Operation Eagle Claw in 1980, the failed attempt to rescue American hostages held by the Iranian religious regime.

Perot also donated horses to New York City’s mounted police, and he personally funded armed protection for a group of narcotics agents who had received alarming death threats as a result of their work to safeguard Americans from the horrible criminality of drug gangs.

In addition, he established the Perot Foundation to fund medical research focused on the various illnesses contracted by American service members who served in Operation Desert Storm.

For these efforts and so many more, Perot was repeatedly recognized by numerous organizations that deeply appreciated his service to country, his fellow Americans, and especially our military. Among them: the Raoul Wallenberg Award, the Winston Churchill Award, the Patrick Henry and Eisenhower Awards, and the VA Secretary’s Award for his lifetime support of veterans and the military.

Perot was also made an honorary Green Beret by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School and received the Medal for Distinguished Public Service, the highest award given to civilians by the Department of Defense.

Yes, he was a wildly successful business pioneer, and arguably the most successful independent/third-party political figure in U.S. history.

He possessed the same keen ability to employ biting wit in commenting on America’s political and social condition that made Mark Twain a household name in his time.

But it was his humanity, his love for those who served their country, and his commitment to do what he could to support others that set him apart in such a special, memorable way.

Finally succumbing to cancer at age 89 after the same sort of tenacious fight—leavened with humor and perspective that characterized his life—he left us a remarkable example of what can be done in life if one has the courage, conviction, and clarity to see what needs to be done in the greatest and most just cause—serving others—and to take action to make a difference.

The post What Ross Perot Gave to America appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Opioid Epidemic and the Overcriminalization Impulse

Wed, 2019-07-10 17:25

During the first round of the recent Democratic primary debates, Sen. Cory Booker seemed at first to appreciate the dangers of overcriminalization.

“Our country has made so many mistakes by criminalizing things … . We know that this is not the way to deal with problems,” the New Jersey Democrat said June 26.

But then, in nearly the same breath, he called for a criminal law solution to the opioid problem.  

Booker is right that the government is addicted to making a crime out of every little thing.

The original federal criminal code had only about 30 crimes in it. Today, there are almost 5,000, but nobody knows exactly how many. Add in federal regulations that carry criminal penalties, and that number skyrockets to somewhere north of 300,000.

The Congressional Research Service, the Justice Department, and the American Bar Association have all tried and failed to count the federal criminal laws. 

The criminal laws cover not only things we all know are crimes—murder, treason, and robbery—but also things that no one would imagine are crimes. 

For instance, it’s a federal crime to shoot a Canadian goose from a sailboat if the sails are unfurled. It’s also a federal crime to annoy people by making an “unreasonably loud noise” in a national forest. And it’s a federal crime to let someone who does not work for the U.S. Postal Service drive your car around, delivering letters to people for money. 

The list goes on and on.

The problem that Booker referred to is commonly referred to as overcriminalization.

The federal government has criminalized all sorts of things that no reasonable person would even know are crimes. One lawyer who set about trying to determine the scope of the problem estimated that the average American commits three felonies a day without knowing it.

Why does the government do this? Some of these criminal laws reflect very successful lobbying efforts by special-interest groups. Others reflect executive agency overreach.

But many are written simply because members of Congress want to show that they are serious about dealing with various social problems. Far too often, Congress’ reaction to a national problem is to declare that all those involved are criminals.

During the debate, Booker and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, seemed to agree that pharmaceutical company executives should face criminal liability and imprisonment for their alleged connection to the opioid crisis.

For what would they be held liable? For manufacturing drugs that, when used properly, are useful? And what’s the end goal? To stop pharmaceutical companies from making opioids?

Prosecuting pharmaceutical companies for … something … is no remedy for opioid abuse. On that front, what we do need are grassroots community involvement, border security, and economic growth that brings hope and purpose to devastated communities.

But what we don’t need is a further unnecessary, unhelpful, and purely retributive expansion of the criminal law. 

The post The Opioid Epidemic and the Overcriminalization Impulse appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Congress’ Current Approach to Surprise Medical Billing Could Have Unintended Consequences

Wed, 2019-07-10 17:22

Congress is rushing legislation on “surprise medical bills” that is conceptually flawed, legally dubious, and which could have profound and far-reaching consequences for the private practice of medicine.

At issue are medical bills that consumers receive from providers who aren’t part of their health plan’s network.

For example, patients who schedule a procedure to be performed by a doctor covered by their health plan’s network at a facility also covered by their plan can receive a “surprise” bill from another physician, such as an anesthesiologist, who isn’t in the patient’s plan. A patient treated in an emergency room similarly may receive a “surprise” bill from a non-network physician.

These surprise bills make patients accountable for the difference between what the non-network physician bills them and the amount their insurer pays, a practice known as balance billing.

Patients who expected to pay in-network cost-sharing rates instead can be hit with medical bills totaling thousands of dollars that their insurance companies won’t help pay.

Congress wants to ban surprise bills for emergency care and for nonemergency care delivered in network facilities. It would do well, instead, to develop a fuller understanding of the problem before acting.

The bipartisan measures would compel physicians and others not in the patient’s network to accept an insurer’s median network payment rate when they provide care in an emergency department or at a network facility.

The legislation also would prohibit balance billing for emergency treatment and for care provided in network facilities.

In short, the federal government would bind doctors and hospitals to the terms of contracts they haven’t signed.

The measures Congress is considering would tilt the system in favor of insurers by compelling doctors and other providers to accept payment rates that the insurer was unsuccessful in negotiating with them. The government-imposed price is unlikely to match the market price.

This would create powerful incentives for insurers to reduce reimbursement of network providers and narrow their networks, knowing that those who refuse to sign contracts still would have to accept their median network rates.

The less an insurer pays providers with whom it has contracted, the less it will pay providers with whom it has not.

If Congress’ surprising billing “solutions” are enacted, litigation almost certainly will follow.

Hospitals and doctors can raise credible claims that the federal government is curbing their freedom to contract. And since the federal government requires hospitals to treat anyone who enters their emergency rooms, limiting their ability to collect fair compensation for government-mandated services lends added weight to their constitutional claims.

Should this mandate win enactment and withstand legal scrutiny, its implications could be far-reaching and long-lasting.

If enforcing contractual terms against noncontracting providers is viewed as a “patient protection” in these circumstances, Congress likely will seek to extend these “protections” to others.

An across-the-board ban on balance billing would be politically popular, cheered by insurers, employers, and consumers alike as an antidote to rising health care costs.

Such a sweeping federal encroachment would have deleterious effects.

Medicare has long limited balance billing, placing ceilings on what “nonparticipating” providers can charge seniors.

The balance billing restriction is a limitation on the right of doctors and patients to freely contract but one that at least is confined to a federal program. A doctor unhappy with those terms can refuse to see Medicare patients.

If Congress banned balance billing in the commercial insurance market, physicians couldn’t practice medicine without forfeiting their right to set rates for their services.

The federal government is a hyperkinetic regulator of health care, but it has stayed out of contract negotiations between private insurers and providers. Congress should not cross that boundary.

Patients rightly expect not to be financially penalized when they seek care in an emergency room or at a network facility. Congress rightly wants to address this problem, but the solutions it has so far contemplated are ill-conceived.

Providers and insurers, both of whom benefit from surprise bills, have advanced competing proposals that protect their respective interests.

Insurers want the government to compel non-network providers to accept network rates; providers want the government to force noncontracting parties into binding arbitration, which they believe will yield higher reimbursement.

Instead of choosing between flawed solutions advanced by those who profit from the problem, Congress should devise market-oriented proposals that preserve the freedom to contract.

Members should inquire more extensively into the nature, extent, and causes of the surprise billing problem.

Research suggests the practice is most common in emergency departments and occurs disproportionately in a relatively small number of hospitals, particularly those that have contracted with certain emergency department staffing agencies.

Gaining a better understanding of why this is happening might lead to a more carefully crafted policy response.

More broadly, Congress should move beyond its paternalistic attitude toward patients. It should tear down regulatory barriers that prevent consumers from wielding the same economic power in health care as they do in the rest of the economy.

The best way to protect patients is to let them protect themselves through greater transparency, more information, and more freedom and autonomy over their medical spending.

Patient empowerment is the best protection of all.

The post Congress’ Current Approach to Surprise Medical Billing Could Have Unintended Consequences appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Why These Defensive Uses of Firearms Should Disarm Second Amendment Skeptics

Wed, 2019-07-10 17:05

At a time when many high-profile politicians are comfortable proposing laws that impose serious burdens on the right to keep and bear arms, including the mass confiscation of commonly owned firearms, it’s important to remember that those same firearms are regularly used by average Americans to defend their life, liberty, and property.

While some gun control advocates claim the Second Amendment is a dangerous historical relic, even going so far as to call for its repeal, they often overlook the fact that firearms are significantly more likely to be used for self-defense than in criminal activity.

In fact, according to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost all national studies of defensive gun uses have found that firearms are used in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times every year in the United States.

Additionally, an independent analysis of the CDC’s own internal data on defensive gun uses indicates that firearms are used defensively about 1 million times a year, dwarfing the number of deaths and injuries attributable to their criminal use.

This year, we made a commitment to highlight just a few of the many defensive gun uses that occur every month. Just as in January, February, March, April, and May, June was full of instances of law-abiding citizens who relied on their Second Amendment rights to defend their inalienable rights.

  • June 2, Martinsville, Virginia: A man filling his tank at a gas station successfully defended himself against two would-be robbers armed with handguns. The victim was unharmed, but one of the assailants, who exchanged gunfire with the victim, was shot and injured.
  • June 4, Sun City Center, Florida: A man suspected of committing multiple carjackings was fatally shot by an armed business manager with a concealed-carry permit while the man was attempting to break into the manager’s store. The suspected carjacker-turned-burglar was also armed, despite an extensive criminal history disqualifying him from lawful firearm possession.
  • June 5, Bakersfield, California: A woman defended her home and her children by retrieving her handgun and shooting a man using a hammer to break into her home. The injured man was later charged with several crimes, including carrying a concealed weapon, but neither the woman nor her kids were harmed.
  • June 6, Cincinnati: A woman shot her ex-boyfriend after he “kicked out the A/C unit and tried to break through the front window” of her home. According to police, the mother of five children—who were also home at the time of the incident—had a restraining order against the man. While speaking about the case, Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Deters made it clear just how important it was for this mother to be armed: “It is hard to imagine what might have happened to her or her children if she had not been able to protect herself and her family.”
  • June 7, Chicago: A Good Samaritan with a concealed-carry permit intervened when two gunmen opened fire near him, drawing his own firearm and striking both assailants. The Good Samaritan, who was not injured in the exchange, was sitting in a nearby vehicle when the two assailants opened fire at an unknown fourth party, who was injured but survived.
  • June 14, Winston, Missouri: Several civilians, one of whom was legally carrying a firearm, came to the defense of a wounded female police officer after the restrained inmate she was transporting seized her service weapon, shot her, and commandeered the vehicle. The civilians witnessed the attack and followed the police vehicle until it came to a stop, where the armed civilian held the inmate at gunpoint while the other men pulled him out of the car. One witness later recounted, “If the Good Samaritan hadn’t threatened to use deadly force, the situation could have ended very differently [for the police officer].”
  • June 15, Highland Home, Alabama: A woman’s boyfriend came to her defense by shooting an attacker who stabbed her. The woman required almost 100 stitches because of the stabbing, but survived. Her boyfriend was unharmed.
  • June 18, Detroit: A father was spending quality time with his family outside when he heard noises coming from his home. When he went inside, he was confronted by a man with a shotgun. Fortunately, the father was armed with his own gun and was able to fatally shoot the intruder before anyone else was harmed.
  • June 19, Warren, Michigan: A man’s stepmother, who was armed and had a concealed-carry permit, came to his defense after he fled from four masked men who attempted to rob him. The stepmother fired a warning shot, causing the assailants to return fire before quickly driving away. All four would-be robbers were later arrested.
  • June 25, Harris County, Texas: An intruder’s plan to burglarize a home was foiled when the homeowner fatally shot him. The homeowner was cleaning her house when she heard someone smash through her back window. She grabbed her firearm and at first attempted to hide from the burglar in a bedroom closet. When the burglar opened the closet, the woman ended the invasion with a single shot—fortunately, before the burglar could use his own firearm against her.
  • June 27, North Port, Florida: A woman’s boyfriend came to her defense when a man with a loaded handgun attempted to rob her while she withdrew money from an ATM. The boyfriend shot the would-be robber, who was seriously injured, but survived. Both the robbery suspect and his alleged getaway driver were arrested and now face felony charges.

Although advocates of stricter gun control laws commonly claim that such laws are appropriate because defensive uses of firearms are rare compared with criminal uses, Americans like those cited regularly use firearms to defend the life, liberty, and property of themselves, their families, and even complete strangers.

Often, as evidenced above, they do so against criminals who remain quite capable of accessing firearms themselves, despite laws prohibiting it.

America’s tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners—everyday men and women, who just want to go about their lives in peace—are not better protected by laws that impose substantial burdens on their abilities to defend themselves against the criminals who don’t (and never will) abide by those laws in the first place.

They are better protected when we recognize that well-armed, law-abiding citizens are the first—and sometimes the only—meaningful line of defense for their own inalienable rights.

The post Why These Defensive Uses of Firearms Should Disarm Second Amendment Skeptics appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Misrepresenting Themselves at the Border

Wed, 2019-07-10 16:50

It’s not just the number of individuals crossing our southwest border illegally that’s surging; it’s the number of families. But many of those “families” turn out not to be families at all, but frauds trying to exploit loopholes in federal immigration laws that allow families to avoid detention and deportation back to their native countries.

In May, the Border Patrol intercepted more than 144,000 illegal aliens. That was the largest monthly total in more than a dozen years.

From Oct. 1, 2018, through May 31, 2019, the Border Patrol apprehended almost 600,000 illegal aliens, of which family units and unaccompanied minors represented 66%, also a significant increase.

Why has there been such an increase in family units?

According to testimony by officials of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on June 26 before a Senate committee, it is because aliens know that, when it comes to families, “DHS must, pursuant to a court order, release them quickly—generally within 20 days—and that they will be allowed to stay in the U.S. indefinitely while awaiting protracted immigration court proceedings.”

In other words, crossing with a child “is a near guarantee of a speedy release and an indefinite stay in the United States.”

As the DHS officials told the Senate, “these families are not concerned with being caught by the Border Patrol—they are actually turning themselves in, knowing that they will be processed and released with a court date years in the future.”

This is due to the fact that human smugglers are “exploiting these loopholes to encourage more migration” by telling aliens “that anyone who arrives with a child will not be deported.”

Almost all of these smugglers work for the dangerous and brutal Mexican drug cartels and often beat, assault, rob, and rape the individuals they are smuggling across the border.

As one would expect, many of these aliens never show up for their scheduled immigration hearings because they know they have no legal right to be in the country. They just disappear into the anonymity of the heartland after they are processed and released by the Border Patrol.

Since being part of a family is a “Get Out of Detention Free” card, it should come as no surprise that a lot of fraud is apparently going on.

Gregory Nevano, the assistant director of DHS’ Homeland Security Investigations program, recently told a House committee that in just a two-month period, they identified 316 fake family units when they detected fraudulent documents being used by the aliens.

DHS also initiated a pilot DNA testing program in El Paso and McAllen, Texas, that ran from May 6 to May 10, 2019. DHS tested 84 family units during those four days—16 turned out to be fake families. In other words, almost 20% of these supposed families were frauds.

Mr. Nevano also related that Border Patrol agents said other “families” who were not selected for testing “voluntarily came forward and admitted they were part of a fraudulent family, as they heard/witnessed that DNA testing was being conducted.”

In fact, DHS has evidence that aliens and human smugglers are “renting” (and even buying) children to get into the country.

DHS caught a 51-year-old Honduran who admitted that the infant child he initially claimed was his son was actually purchased from the birth mother for the equivalent of $84.

DHS mounted an operation called “Noble Guardian” that identified alien adults who entered the country with accompanying children as “alleged family units, and then the children subsequently departed” the U.S. on commercial airlines back to their native countries.

DHS believes the children are “being used and recycled” for the “purpose of defrauding the United States.”

We really are facing an unsustainable and unprecedented crisis on the border. And the loopholes in our immigration system—which Congress refuses to fix—are being exploited in a way that is not only dangerous to our security, but for those aliens who, as a DHS official told Congress, “put their lives in the hands of smugglers and make the dangerous trek north to the southwest border.”

This article was originally published in The Washington Times.

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Categories: Public Policy

Top Psychologists Group Member Advocates ‘Nonjudgmental Posture’ to Nonmonogamy

Wed, 2019-07-10 14:28

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, the American Psychological Association decides this: Monogamy is the new bigotry.

That’s right. According to the supposed “mental health experts,” open marriages are the tolerant approach to intimacy. And they’ve launched a task force to prove it to the world.

According to the APA’s official description of this initiative, “Finding love and/or sexual intimacy is a central part of most people’s life experience. However, the ability to engage in desired intimacy without social and medical stigmatization is not a liberty for all.”

People who practice “consensual non-monogamy,” as the APA calls it, are unduly “marginalized,” and it’s time, the APA argues, to promote “awareness and inclusivity” for people who practice “polyamory, open relationships, swinging, relationship anarchy and other types of ethical, non-monogamous relationships.”

Well, the APA may call these open relationships “ethical,” but the American people sure don’t.

In Gallup’s latest survey on moral acceptability, it’s hard to find a behavior more universally frowned upon than adultery or polygamy. Only 9% of the country agrees with the APA that fidelity is somehow narrow-minded or passé. The multiple-spouse relationship has mildly more support at 18%.

Still, the head of the task force writes, “I’m concerned about the lack of support this community is receiving.”

Too many clients who are in consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships, have to educate their therapists. Too many of them discontinue therapy because their therapist judged them, didn’t know enough about CNM to be helpful, or worse, makes actively stigmatizing comments … .

It’s time, he insists, “to examine our biases and take a non-judgmental posture toward clients engaged in consensual non-monogamy—just as we would with LGBTQ clients.”

The Family Research Council’s Cathy Ruse, who–like most—thinks the APA has long been off the rails for some time, can’t believe the organization is fighting to give swingers “protected legal status.” And they’re supposed to be the psychologically healthy ones.

Keep in mind, she points out, “the American Psychological Association is a professional guild. When it makes a controversial decision, like this one, that decision is not made by a vote of its 100,000+ members (which include ‘educators’ and ‘students,’ according to Wikipedia). No, it is made by small numbers of powerful activists, who have sought out places of influence, like task forces.”

And how will the APA fight for the liberty of sexual anarchists against “social and medical stigmatization?” she asks. With a measly budget of just over $100 million.

Just as it’s tried to tear down the social norms for transgenderism and other sexual proclivities, it’ll start in the usual place—soft targets, like children.

“How long will it take American public schools to incorporate swinging into their sex ed?” she wonders. As long as it took them to stigmatize abstinence and promote sexual anarchy in its place? If so, we won’t have to wait long.

Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.

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Categories: Public Policy

Megan Rapinoe Has No Good Reason to Skip Potential White House Visit

Wed, 2019-07-10 13:41

The U.S. women are the world soccer champions. They are the hard-fought victors of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having defeated the Netherlands 2-0 in the final last weekend. 

Unfortunately, their outstanding performance has been overshadowed by an ongoing feud between Megan Rapinoe, the team’s co-captain, and President Donald Trump, leader of the free world.

The dust-up began when a months-old video of Rapinoe resurfaced. In the video, Rapinoe was asked if she was excited about possibly being invited to the White House to celebrate a World Cup championship. Rapinoe responded bluntly that she would not go “to the f—ing White House.”

Then, on Tuesday, appearing on CNN with Anderson Cooper, Rapinoe doubled down on her response and spoke for the whole team, saying, “I would not go and every teammate that I’ve talked to explicitly about it would not go.” 

She suggested that appearing at the White House could mean the team being “co-opted or corrupted by this administration,” and that “there’s so many other people that I would rather talk to, and have meaningful conversations that could really affect change in Washington, than going to the White House.”

That same day, she accepted an invitation from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to visit Congress.

No matter what your thoughts are on Rapinoe, the right to protest and speak critically of one’s elected officials is Rapinoe’s First Amendment right. It’s a right many citizens across the globe do not enjoy, and it should be protected vigilantly here.  

She also has the right to refuse an invitation to the White House from the commander-in-chief. Whether that’s reasonable is an entirely different matter. We believe she’s mistaken.

Skipping out on White House invitations is not a new phenomenon exclusive to the Trump White House.

Matt Birk, a Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman and passionate pro-lifer, and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, a Tea Partier, both skipped out on President Barack Obama’s invitation to the White House. Similarly, Michael Jordan skipped an invitation from President George H. W. Bush in 1991 and instead opted to spend time with family in North Carolina.  

Whether it’s Rapinoe refusing to meet with Trump, or past superstar athletes taking a pass, we fully support their right to protest. But our question for any athletes who snub such a coveted invitation is, what exactly are you upset about?

We, like Birk, are also passionate pro-lifers, but if given the opportunity to visit Obama’s White House, we would gladly have accepted it and honored the office.

Rapinoe’s problem seems to go further than the president himself, though. When she refuses to put her hand over her heart during the United States national anthem, one wonders if she has a problem with America writ large.

Is she just upset that Trump is the president? Or is she upset at the massive strides women have made in America in recent generations?

In her CNN interview, Rapinoe said, “Maybe America is great for a few people right now, but it’s not great for enough Americans in this world.” Yet the facts paint the exact opposite picture. What we have in America is growing prosperity for every demographic, particularly women.

Since January of 2018, more than 2.8 million U.S. jobs have been created, and of those, over 1.6 million have gone to women—a whopping 58%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Moreover, unemployment among women is now at its lowest rate in 65 years, meaning women are being economically empowered across the entire country. 

This is incredible news for our nation, yet Rapinoe doesn’t seem to be celebrating it.

In fact, lately she has criticized the apparent pay gap between the U.S. men’s and women’s soccer teams. Why, she asks, does the women’s team make less than the men? 

The answer is much more complicated than she has made it out to be, but it certainly doesn’t boil down to simple discrimination. Market factors play a huge role in determining players’ pay—if the men’s team brings in more money in sponsorships, for instance, that will bump up their pay relative to the women’s team. Unique collective bargaining agreements also make a difference.

So she disagrees with conservatives about the so-called pay gap. Still, what does any of that have to do with Trump? Why not simply celebrate a hard-won victory at the White House?

Rapinoe is a great American champion representing an amazing country on the world stage. Yet her obtuse refusal to go near the White House makes us wonder if she is accurately representing America. While some of her ardent followers may also refuse to visit the White House, countless other Americans would snatch that invitation up in a heartbeat—and be honored to attend.

The post Megan Rapinoe Has No Good Reason to Skip Potential White House Visit appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

New Book Offers Vision for ‘American Restoration’ Beginning at Home

Wed, 2019-07-10 11:31

In an age of moral outrage and endless Twitter war, a more refreshing and hopeful vision of America’s future is a rare and welcome blessing.

A new book, “American Restoration: How Faith, Family, and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation,” by Timothy Goeglein and Craig Osten is just such a blessing, and it comes at an opportune time, having just celebrated our nation’s founding.

A History Channel TV series—also coincidentally called “American Restoration”—tells stories of antique-restoration experts from across the country “as they not only restore pieces of America’s history, but create new and awe-inspiring works from vintage items.”

In much the same way as these antique hunters apply their craft to uncover the underlying beauty of pieces from our cultural past, Goeglein and Osten reintroduce readers to the treasures—some all but buried—of self-governance, civil society, and personal virtue that our Founders left us, presenting these treasures in their original brilliance with a bright finish for tomorrow’s retelling.  

While the authors don’t completely avoid “back in the good old days” sentimentality, they do openly acknowledge and lament the sins of our country’s history, many that linger still today.

This balance allows two deeply patriotic men, who rightly see our country as a force for good, to urge readers to look ahead, rather than behind, and to re-embrace the ideas that have sustained history’s longest-surviving experiment in liberty without being shackled to a sanitized retelling of our past.

Each succinct chapter offers a panoramic flyover of some of the crucial cultural, political, and spiritual issues facing our country.

Most of the warnings are familiar—about dwindling respect for religious freedom, free speech, and the sanctity of life, along with a crumbling education system and an unraveling of America’s Judeo-Christian consensus—but are foundational in understanding what problems the authors mean to help us solve and how.

The strength that sets “American Restoration” apart from other offerings in the genre is its simple and practical advice. Instead of a garment-rending rehearsal of all that ails us, the authors instead elegantly and accessibly identify big problems and guide the reader to “own” their part in the American restoration.

>>> Listen to or read Timothy Goeglein’s interview with The Daily Signal

Recalling former House Speaker Thomas “Tip” O’Neill’s famous maxim that “all politics are local,” the authors insist that all politics are really, really local.

While they do believe that massive structural, spiritual, and cultural change is needed, Goeglein and Osten appeal to the reader to start from the inside, to inculcate virtue and character in the home with one’s own family, to love and fellowship with one’s neighbors, and to perform acts of service and mercy in one’s community.

Instead of a revolution that razes existing institutions from the top down, the authors envision a restoration that raises future generations to make change for good from the bottom up.

The authors offer numerous examples of Americans who have transformed their esteem for our republic into actions intended to “keep it”—some quietly in their communities in small ways and some at great personal and professional risk on the national stage.

The authors themselves take some risks, as their proposed remedies are truly countercultural.

They warn that radical individualism and demands for the customization of everything will not create a nation of contented citizens who have gotten exactly what they want. They argue that this continued trend fosters greater division and feeds contempt for those outside the “tribe.”

To say in a most narcissistic age that self-fulfillment is not the ultimate end, but rather a toxic pursuit, may be a new and dangerous idea for generation brought up on the idea that their every thirst must be slaked—and now.

Goeglein and Osten urge readers to look inside themselves not to inquire of their appetites, but to subordinate them in favor of seeking good for their neighbors. We should restore virtue. We should even raise our boys to be gentlemen.

“Virtuous people are those who have learned to put the needs of others above their own, while moderating their behavior in a manner that keeps them from making poor moral choices that would not only negatively impact them, but would impact society as a whole,” they write.

Virtuous people, the authors say, are the key to inaugurating the restoration of community, cohered by the “little platoons” represented by strong families.

And this is where the authors say that Christians should play a leading role.

Regular attendees of biblically orthodox churches have not abandoned the model of family life that nurtures virtue. Additionally, churches represent some of the last remaining strong community-centric institutions. So, churches and their members have a special responsibility to reintroduce these blessings to a hurting world that desperately needs such a witness.

In the final analysis, “American Restoration” is so hopeful because the authors’ “it starts with you” advice for cumulative cultural change at the most local level is so doable.

And if enough Americans in their homes, churches, communities, and civic organizations make it their mission to reignite the spirit that made our nation that “shining city on the hill,” Goeglein and Osten are optimistic that we will indeed see an American restoration.

The post New Book Offers Vision for ‘American Restoration’ Beginning at Home appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

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