New Mexico’s bill was supposed to be a slam dunk. But after New York, nothing on abortion is a sure thing—not anymore. In a country that saw a 17-point jump in the number of pro-lifers since January, it’s no wonder that state Democrats are taking a good hard look at their positions, especially on late-term abortion. Americans have changed—and it looks like smart politicians are changing with them.
No one was more surprised by Thursday night’s vote than Democratic Gov. (and abortion extremist) Michelle Lujan Grisham. After the House had sent the bill on with a 40-29 vote, the Democrats’ stranglehold on the Senate was supposed to mean that the New York-style H.B. 51 was a done deal. But despite the party’s 26-16 edge, the vote fell far from party lines.
In a stunning victory for pro-lifers, eight Democrats crossed over—killing a bill that would have legalized infanticide and given abortionists the right to destroy babies up to the moment of birth.
Grisham, who hadn’t counted on the intense lobbying from pastors and state conservatives, was astounded. “That … it was even a debate, much less a difficult vote for some senators, is inexplicable to me,” she told reporters.
By a 24-18 tally, Democratic state Sens. Pete Campos, Carlos Cisneros, Richard Martinez, George Muñoz, Gabriel Ramos, Clemente “Meme” Sanchez, John Arthur Smith, and Senate President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen proved what a complicated issue abortion is becoming—even in liberal states.
During an emotional debate, some Democrats struggled to come up with a reason why New Mexico should leave perfectly healthy babies on a hospital table to die.
Ramos of Silver City told his chamber, “This is one of the toughest decisions any of us will ever have to make.” But, he went on, “I stand unified against legislation that weakens the defense of life and threatens the dignity of the human being.” While others sometimes spoke through tears, the tension inside the Democratic caucus was obvious.
In one strained exchange, two Democrats squared off against each other. State Sen. Jerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque quoted St. Antoninus to justify why Catholics should feel free to vote for the bill. “The importance of individual choice is what the church has always taught,” he said.
Ramos demanded to know which Catholic Church he was talking about. “Mine does not approve of abortion,” Ramos said. Then, to his colleagues he said simply, “Vote your conscience.”
Thank goodness many did. Their courage dealt one of the most significant blows of the year to the extreme abortion camp. When she was asked, one dazed senator could only say, “We did expect more to be voting in favor—and it didn’t turn out that way.”
Deep blue states like Maryland and Virginia share her surprise. There, similar proposals have been shelved because of the intense divides on late-term abortion. Even in Illinois, whose governor is vying to be the “pro-abortion state in the union,” a New York-style measure stalled after four co-sponsors asked to be removed from the bill.
The landscape is shifting—and fast. In a country where outlawing third-trimester abortion is a 70 percent issue for pro-choicers, it would appear that Hill Democrats aren’t just outside the mainstream. They’re in no man’s land.
Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.
The post 8 New Mexico Democrats Join Republicans to Block Late-Term Abortion Bill appeared first on The Daily Signal.
“You did what?!” Parents across Santa Ana couldn’t believe it. In one house after another, the answer to “How was school today?” was nothing like they expected. Moms and dads listened in disbelief as their middle schoolers talked about going to an “LGBT Fair” that no one bothered to ask their permission for. There were even people in drag, their 11-year-olds said, giving makeup lessons—right there in school.
Townhall’s Kira Davis listened as one mom fumed about not knowing about the fair until after it happened. There wasn’t even an opportunity to opt out, she complained at last Tuesday’s school board meeting.
Unfortunately, that was just one of the infuriating examples the largely-Hispanic community used to explain how fed up it was with the state’s new sex ed law. But the problem is a lot bigger than the law, Davis explained. It’s how liberals are exploiting the Spanish-speaking communities to implement it.
In one of the more fiery exchanges of the night, a mom seethed that so many liberals were trying to marginalize California’s multi-ethnic communities. “How can a state that claims to be so much for the rights of immigrants and minorities then ignore our concerns on purpose? They are hypocrites!”
Although California’s law does order schools to offer the curriculum outline in both languages, Santa Ana hasn’t made the Spanish materials available to parents. Hardly an accident, Davis argues, since most of the communities like this one are “whole-heartedly opposed to LGBT-based sex-ed.”
One thing’s for sure: The more radical the social policy, the greater the opportunity for conservatives. Santa Ana’s meeting room was bursting with the latest evidence that Democrats have a huge problem on their hands, especially when it comes to abortion and sex ed.
What’s even more insulting, these parents pointed out, is how liberals are purposefully taking advantage of them—deceptively leaving families in the dark because they know “this particular community would absolutely not approve of the more graphic elements.” Not to mention, Davis goes on, “the unmonitored discussions” on gender and sexuality.
Like a lot of other California districts, these parents have reached their boiling point. Tuesday’s meeting was so jam-packed that even the overflow rooms could barely hold the families. Holding signs that read, “No SeXXEd!” moms and dads fended off the ACLU attorneys who’d been farmed out across the state to handle complaints. Later, parents were even more furious to find out that 4 of the 5 people who testified in favor of the curriculum didn’t even live in the district.
In between emotional testimonies, Davis was appalled at how condescending board members were, firing back hostile—and at times, demeaning—answers. “As an outside observer, I was terribly vexed by how dismissive and deceptive school authorities were to this particular group of parents. It was clear they did not believe immigrant Hispanic parents were engaged or informed enough to be welcomed into the process.”
“All these people were asking for was a say, a chance to be involved, to be heard and to be active participants in the education of their children. They were asking for respect and instead received nothing but contempt and disrespect from the very people they trust to care for the development of their students.” But, she warns, “If you think this is just another case of ‘whacky’ California paying the price for their ‘whacky’ voting habits, think again. This is coming to a state and a school district near you.”
Are you prepared for that day? Make sure you’ve read the Family Research Council’s “A Parent’s Guide to the Transgender Movement in Education”—and share it with your friends.
Originally published in Tony Perkins’ Washington Update, which is written with the aid of Family Research Council senior writers.
The post California Parents Outraged After Children in Middle School Attend LGBT Fair appeared first on The Daily Signal.
House Republican leaders are waiting to see whether their appeal to voters will convince Democrat colleagues to allow a vote on a bill requiring medical care for babies who survive an abortion procedure.
Pro-life lawmakers, led by the House’s top two Republicans, hope to force a vote on the legislation by using a procedure called a discharge petition.
Minority Whip Steve Scalise last week urged Americans to call their representative in the House to request that he or she sign the petition, which requires at least 218 signatures to proceed. Democrats hold 235 seats in the House, Republicans 197.
“I’m calling on every member of Congress to sign the discharge petition so that we can bring this bill to the floor, have this debate, so all the country can see this barbaric process of murdering babies when they’re alive is legal in many states,” Scalise, R-La., said Wednesday at a news conference also attended by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.
McCarthy, Scalise, and other Republicans demanded that Democrats bypass House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s authority to help set up a vote on the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.
Besides requiring proper medical care for abortion survivors, the legislation would make it a felony to harm a baby who survives an abortion procedure.
Pelosi, D-Calif., “doesn’t want to give those babies who were born alive the same legal protection that everybody else enjoys,” Scalise told reporters, but “we can still force a vote by getting 218 signatures.”
A Senate vote on similar legislation failed by a 44-53 vote Feb. 25, when all but three Democrats voted against the bill.
President Donald Trump commented on the bill’s defeat via Twitter at the time, saying: “Senate Democrats just voted against legislation to prevent the killing of newborn infant children. The Democrat position on abortion is now so extreme that they don’t mind executing babies after birth.”
Other House Republicans at the news conference were Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, chairman of the GOP conference; James Inhofe of Oklahoma; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; and Ben Cline of Virginia.
Also attending were pro-life activists Jill Stanek, Olivia Gans Turner, and Melissa Cifuentes.
Scalise and Inhofe co-authored a recent op-ed on the issue for Fox News, writing:
It should be common sense in a just and moral society. This bill requires medical practitioners—those who have sworn to ‘do no harm’—to exercise equal care to a baby who survives an abortion as any other child, and provides criminal penalties for anyone who intentionally kills or denies lifesaving care to a child who is born alive after an abortion.
While members of the Senate are on the record with a vote on this legislation, the Democrat leadership that controls the House of Representatives has blocked its consideration. They don’t want to have to vote on infanticide because they know the rest of the country doesn’t agree—77 percent of Americans support protections for abortion survivors and 62 percent oppose late-term abortion.
The post House Republicans Press Democrats to Allow Vote on Protecting Abortion Survivors appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Increasing taxes on investment is always a bad idea, and that’s exactly what a new bill in Congress aims to do. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Bill Pascrell Jr., R-N.J., want to increase taxes on investments that support businesses and jobs all across in America.
The Carried Interest Fairness Act of 2019 is simply the regurgitation of a talking point that has been around for more than a decade: Hedge fund billionaires are gaming the system to screw the little guy. This year, we can simply add it to the pile of proposals to further increase taxes on the “rich,” those who already pay the lion’s share of income taxes.
Closing the so-called carried interest loophole means increasing taxes on investment managers, real estate developers, and other investment partnerships.
The overheated rhetoric used by reformers claims the lower tax rate is “one of the most egregious loopholes in the federal tax code.” Like most things in tax policy, they dramatically overstate and oversimplify the issue.
Carried interest ultimately boils down to how the tax code defines labor income and investment income. The U.S. tax system taxes income from saving and investment twice: once when you earn it as wages, and a second time when your investments grow and you choose to save and invest these earnings. This system makes it more expensive to invest in the future instead of spending your money today, which reduces overall investment and economic growth.
Our tax code’s built-in bias against saving for the future is partially mitigated by having a lower tax rate on capital gains and dividends. The top rate on investment earnings is 20 percent in contrast to the top income tax rate of 37 percent. This is a pro-growth feature of our tax code, not a loophole.
Whether or not you think carried interest is different than a traditional capital gain ultimately comes down to what you think the difference is between wage and investment income—a blurry line that is only necessary in our poorly structured income tax regime.
Many investment managers are compensated with both a traditional wage and some incentive-based compensation based on the profits from their investments. The portion of the investment earnings shared with the manager is known as “carried interest” and helps make sure the person investing your money is incentivized to manage it as best she can.
Since this carried interest comes from investment earnings, it makes sense to tax it like all other investment income. This is what some refer to as the carried interest “loophole.”
In a report from 2007, then-Heritage Foundation economic policy director Stuart Butler described how new taxes on investment “would not only threaten the economy generally[,] but would also jeopardize a particularly important and crucial part of the entrepreneurial economy: capital-intensive firms that take the risk of investing in and restructuring underperforming enterprises and putting them onto a sound footing.”
For those looking for new tax revenue, it is important to remember that in the grand scheme of the U.S. tax code, carried interest is small potatoes. It would raise very little revenue with potentially large economic costs.
Ending more important and actual tax preferences, like the exclusion of interest on state and local bonds or the corporate subsidy for low-income housing, would represent constructive reforms to the tax code, while also meeting the goals of raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. The new revenue should be used to lower tax rates for everyone.
If proponents of treating carried interest as wages were serious about designing a fair system, labor costs associated with management services should be deductible to the investment partners, lowering their taxable income. Proposals to tax carried interest always ignore this crucial wage deduction, choosing only to focus on raising revenue.
By one account, if wage deductions were allowed, the proposal “would likely be a slight decline in total tax revenues.”
Haphazardly imposed new taxes on carried interest is a bad idea that will harm the economy and not raise much revenue. As is often the case, new ways to raise taxes on the rich come at the expense of all of us who rely on new investment for our jobs, higher wages, and greater economic opportunity.
The post Closing So-Called ‘Carried Interest Loophole’ Would Hurt the Economy appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Arthur Brooks published his newest book, “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt,” last week and visited The Daily Signal to share some real-life solutions to the practical problems facing America. Brooks is president of the American Enterprise Institute and host of “The Arthur Brooks Show.” You can listen to the interview on our podcast or read a lightly edited transcript below.
Rob Bluey: Tell us what you mean about the “culture of contempt.”
Arthur Brooks: Contempt is a funny word. It sounds like anger or something, but it’s different. I had this experience. It was interesting to me. As a president of a think tank, I do what presidents of think tanks do, which is not very much thinking in tanks. I’m mostly on the road giving speeches and raising funds to support our operations.
I was giving a talk some years ago in New Hampshire at a conservative event. People who are reading this might have been there, as a matter of fact. It was a slate of presidential candidates, one after the other, and somehow, this president of a think tank snuck in there on the schedule.
I got there a little early, and I was listening, and there were presidential candidates doing what they always do, which is basically going out to a sympathetic crowd and saying, “You’re right, and the other side is stupid and evil.” And so in the middle of my talk, I thought, “I don’t have to run for anything. I’m president of the AEI. I just have to do a good job.”
And I also realized that I have a moral obligation to try to make people better. So I said to the audience, “Look, you and I agree on foreign policy and on domestic policy and on economics. I mean, we’re all conservatives here. But I want you to remember the liberals who aren’t here, and I want you to remember that they’re not stupid and evil, they’re simply people who disagree with us, and we need to persuade them.” Because that’s really what our business is about is persuasion.
I didn’t get an applause line for that. But this lady afterward did because she said, “I think they’re stupid and evil.”
Look, I grew up in Seattle in a progressive family. My mother was a painter, and my father was a professor. I mean, what do you think their politics were in Seattle? And that lady was insulting my family. She didn’t mean to.
But I thought to myself, “That’s different than anger, and that’s a freight train coming down the tracks.” That was 2014.
Contempt takes its anger and mixes in disgust, and what’s really ripping our country apart is that we’re not persuading each other, we’re locking down into camps that are trying to shell each other. Unsuccessfully, by the way.
If we want, as conservatives, to really have a coalition that’s going to be successful in politics in America for a long time, we need to persuade a lot of people in the middle, and even on the left. And what we’re doing right now, treating others with contempt, treating them as if they’re utterly worthless, and them treating us in the same way is fundamentally unproductive.
And here’s the best part, Rob. I did a lot of research on this, and this is all in “Love Your Enemies.” It shows that if you treat other people with contempt, you become unhappy as a person.
So here’s the offer. Because this is not just a book of problems. This is a book of solutions, the how-to book on how to live a better life. If you want to persuade more people that the conservative cause is appropriate and correct, if you want to be happier, and you want to be more successful as a leader, do the stuff I say in the book. I pretty much guarantee it’s going to work. It worked for me.
Bluey: Your other books certainly have had a big influence on my life.
Brooks: Thank you, Rob.
Bluey: I hope that this one has an influence on those who right now are struggling with the situation we’re in. You call it the “outrage industrial complex.” We’re more polarized today than at any time since the Civil War. You’ve even said that some families have stopped talking to other family members because of politics.
Brooks: One in six—one in six Americans—have stopped talking, entirely, to a family member or a close friend because of political differences. That is insane.
I’ve got big political differences with people. My politics are well known. I believe in free enterprise. I believe in American leadership. But look, if somebody doesn’t believe that the way I do, I don’t think that that person is a contemptible person, I just think they have incorrect ideas, and I have a zero percentage chance of actually persuading that person if I stop talking to them, and especially if I treat that person with hatred.
Bluey: So how does somebody love their enemies? And by the way, I love the title, “Love Your Enemies,” which comes from the Gospel of Luke.
Brooks: Or the Gospel of Matthew. In both, Jesus says to his followers, “Love your enemies. Do good to those who persecute you.” And it’s this incredibly subversive teaching. A lot of people who are listening to us have read the gospels, and they’ve tried to take them to heart. And yet all of us, we have trouble living that one.
Basically, the subversive truth behind that, love your enemies, is actually not that you should do something that’s impossible. It’s by treating somebody that you thought was your enemy not as your enemy by loving that person, you’re doing something that will destroy the illusion that that person was your enemy after all. And if you don’t get satisfaction, if you don’t change that person’s heart, at very least, you’ll change your own. That’s the subversive teaching of Jesus Christ in those passages.
When I read Lincoln’s first inaugural, “We are not enemies, but friends.” What he was saying, basically, was that I destroy the illusion of enemy status by treating people in that particular way.
A lot of people listening to us, almost everybody listening to us, I’m going to say are conservatives that want to persuade the rest of the country. Don’t ruin the opportunity to persuade other Americans by giving in to the desire, giving in to the itch of treating other people with contempt.
Contempt is kind of a metastatic phenomenon. It’s like cancer, basically. When you treat somebody with contempt, you make a permanent enemy. You just can’t go back from that. You have to be a master of yourself.
And why do we do that? Because they treat us with contempt. I got it. You go on Twitter, which is the contempt machine. You talk about politics maybe around the dining room table, Thanksgiving with Uncle Joe or whatever, and he disagrees with you. And the tendency is for people not separate us from our ideas and to say, “Since I disagree with your ideas and your ideas are contemptible, you’re a contemptible person.”
Well, they’re being manipulated by leaders on their own side in media and politics, and we answer in kind. And in a very strong way, we’re manipulated by leaders in media and politics and entertainment on campuses on our side, too. Break the cycle. Get the power. Be happier.
Bluey: I would hope so. As I said earlier, your books have really had a profound impact in terms of the way I think about communicating and working. “The Conservative Heart,” a book that you previously wrote, had a direct impact in terms of the work that we’re doing at The Daily Signal, for instance.
Brooks: I love The Daily Signal, and I love what you’ve done, Rob. You’re the brain behind The Daily Signal and this incredible success. A young guy. I mean, how old are you?
Bluey: Almost 40.
Brooks: Almost 40, but with that head of hair, I could be president of the United States. But that’s not my point. You’ve been a leader in conservative communications, and not just because you’re better at being a battering ram, kicking down somebody’s door and going, “Behold the gospel of conservativism.” You’ve made it winsome, and that’s what we need to do. We need to draw people to us. We will lose if we’re not magnetic.
And, by the way, my brothers and sisters on the political left, they have the same problem. They’re being brutalized, manipulated by people on their own side, just like conservative leaders are doing to the 93 percent of Americans who hate how divided we’ve become.
So listen to The Daily Signal. Listen to Rob Bluey. Listen to how we can become more magnetic. And more than anything else, don’t waste the opportunity to love your family members and your friends just because they disagree with you.
Bluey: I do have to say, though, you’ve pushed me to think differently, because I’m somebody who was always preaching civility and tolerance. But yet you say in the book those aren’t adequate solutions. Explain to our listeners why we need to think bigger than that.
Brooks: People are always asking for three things: civility, tolerance, and agreement. Right?
Brooks: And those are all terrible. Here’s the reason. I saw a guy wearing a shirt on a college campus that said, “We don’t need civility.” What he meant was, “We need to hate each other because the other side is so deplorable and so terrible,” and he was a radical. But that’s not what I mean at all. If I told you, Rob—because you’re a married man, right?
Bluey: I am, yes.
Brooks: What’s your wife’s name?
Brooks: If you came to me and said, “Melissa and I, we’re civil to each other.” I’d say, “Rob, you guys need counseling.” And if you asked me how things are going at the American Enterprise Institute, and I said, “My employees, my 280 beloved employees, they tolerate me,” you’d say, “You got a big morale problem.”
Those are low standards, actually, and America’s trying to settle for low standards. That’s not right. Now the wrong standard is agreement. This is a key thing. The Heritage Foundation and American Enterprise Institute are based on the fact that competition brings excellence.
It brings excellence in democratic politics. You don’t want one candidate in an election. That’s competition. In sports, in the economy, the free enterprise system has lifted billions out of poverty through competition. And in the competition of ideas, which is what’s really propelling progress in the world today, you can’t just have agreement, you’ve got to have disagreement.
So the point in my book is we don’t need to disagree less, we need to disagree better, and that comes from the back of remembering that we’re all brothers and sisters, and we need to persuade each other. And even if we have to not agree, that’s OK, too.
Bluey: That’s great. Thank you for that answer. You have what you’ve described as one of the must unusual relationships probably in Washington or throughout the world, and that’s your friendship with the Dalai Lama. The president of the American Enterprise Institute and the Dalai Lama. How has his thinking shaped your own and influenced this book, “Love Your Enemies“?
Brooks: The Dalai Lama is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He’s the world’s most famous Buddhist. And actually, if you read and believe some surveys, he’s the most respected religious figure in the world.
The Dalai Lama was exiled when he was 24 years old. He was thrown out of Tibet. He was the leader, spiritual and political leader, of Tibet, and the Chinese communists ruled through Tibet. Why? Because they did what dictators and tyrants do, is they kick out poor people, weak people, so they can grab the resources.
And Tibet contains a vast land mass with only 6 million people. It contains the headwaters of all the big Chinese rivers. The Chinese communists roll through, kick out the Tibetans. The Dalai Lama goes into exile. Poor, disappeared, forgotten, and over the next 60 years, becomes the world’s most respected religious figure.
How did he do it? The answer is when he was treated with contempt, he answered with love and warm-heartedness, and that’s what he has shared with me.
I’ve been working with the Dalai Lama for six-and-a-half years. We’ve written together in The New York Times, The Washington Post. We’re talking about a series of seminars for young people. I see him twice a year, and I have great love and respect for him.
I’m not a Buddhist. I’m a Christian, and my Christian faith is at the center of my life. But I have to say, the world’s most famous Buddhist has made me a better Christian, because he reminds me to love my enemies.
So I asked him this. I said—because you know, Rob, I feel contempt sometimes. I’m on the front lines of fighting these battles to bring free enterprise to the people who need it, the people who need the dignity and who need the opportunity. Poverty’s the thing I care about the most, and I know that the poverty-killer is capitalism. And I want to bring that.
I hear people who disagree with me who say that capitalism is stupid, and American leadership should go by the wayside. And I’m thinking, “No, no. If you love your brothers and sisters, we need this.” And sometimes I think they’re so wrong-headed that I treat them with disgust, and that makes permanent enemies.
And so I asked the Dalai Lama, “When I am treated with contempt and I feel contempt in return, what should I do?” And he’s very sage. He’s an 84-year-old Buddhist. And he says, “Two things. No. 1 is to expand the space between stimulus and response.” So that’s a fancy Buddhist sort of way of saying, “You feel something. Be the master of yourself. Wait to respond, and choose your response, as opposed to responding the way that you feel.”
Your mother was a Buddhist master, because she said, “Rob, count to 10 before you answer when you’re angry.” Right? She wasn’t a Buddhist master. It’s worldwide knowledge.
And then, what do you put in the slot after you’re treated with contempt on Twitter or around the Thanksgiving table or wherever? And the answer is, change somebody’s heart by changing your own.
Even if you don’t feel love, even if you don’t feel warm-hearted or kindness, you can choose to act that way, and in so doing, you’ll set your own heart on fire. Nobody’s ever said, “You know, I wish I had been a big jerk in that situation.”
People say, “Somebody treated me with hatred, and I answered with love,” and that would make your mother proud. That would make your children proud because they saw you do that. And it’ll set your heart on fire, and you have a fighting chance.
I’ve got stories all throughout “Love Your Enemies,” all throughout this book, of how people have done that by accident, in my own case, on purpose, and they’ve persuaded other people for the very first time.
Bluey: I love the story that you tell about when you were a professor at Syracuse University, and this gentleman from Texas wrote an angry, quite lengthy email to you.
I’ve had the same thing happen to me. And in fact, we publish, every Monday, letters to the editor on The Daily Signal. We publish people who think we’re doing a good job and people who take strong disagreements with us.
You’re absolutely correct. When you actually take the time to respond to somebody, and not in an angry or contemptuous way but actually have a thoughtful response, or just let them know that you’ve read their note, it does foster good will.
Brooks: Absolutely, absolutely. And it just makes you feel better, because you’re living up to your own moral standards. We’re all walking around talking about loving your enemies and treating other people with kindness and respect, and then we don’t do it.
You get a Twitter message from somebody that says you’re a moron, and then you say, “No, you’re a moron.” I mean like, come on, man. What you’ve done is you’ve foreclosed any opportunity to feel better, to be happier.
This book is only 10 percent problems. This book is 90 percent solutions. It’s a step-by-step approach to live a better, happier life, and to be more persuasive and to get more converts to your cause.
And here’s actually the amazing thing. When somebody treats you with contempt and you write back or you answer with warm-heartedness and love, no matter how you feel, the people who are watching the interaction, they all go your way. I didn’t know this until somebody taught me this and I tried it a bunch of times, and it’s absolutely true.
So when, in The Daily Signal, somebody says, “Dear moron,” and you answer, “Thank you for reading The Daily Signal,” the people who are watching say, “I like the guy who answered with love, not the guy who started the whole conversation with an insult and with hatred.” It’s an interesting thing.
When I look at these data that 90 percent of Americans hate how divided we’ve become as a country, that doesn’t mean they don’t have opinions. Most of the people, virtually all of the people listening to us and who are going to be reading the transcript of this conversation, they hate how divided we are as a country, but they have strong opinions. Most of them agree with you and me about conservative ideas.
Now, here’s the problem. We’re being kind of kicked around by the 7 percent who don’t hate how divided we’ve become as a country in media, in politics, in entertainment, on college campuses that are firing people up on right and left, by the way.
People say because the president of the United States is the president, they can look at his example, when he fires people up and says contemptuous things. But just because the Democrats don’t have the presidency doesn’t mean that their leaders are not doing the same thing. And people in the media—there are networks and hosts and people are getting rich and famous.
One of the things that I recommend in this book is a very tangible step of how you can communicate in very concrete ways. Five loving messages for everyone that’s critical. I’ve got a step-by-step approach, but I also give this suggestion that when you’re being manipulated by somebody on your own side, you’ve got to mute that person.
If you’re on Twitter, you’re going to think that we’re half an hour away from a civil war. If you get off Twitter for one week, or I don’t know, give it up for Lent, you’re going to think that America’s not so bad. Well, which is it? The answer is the latter. Go live in the 93 percent land of Americans who don’t hate each other.
Bluey: You had a fascinating conversation with Chuck Todd of NBC News. And you talk about this in greater detail, and social media’s impact, and the phases that we are in when it comes to things like Twitter.
I want to shift topics because last year, I was listening to your podcast when you told the story of Hawk Newsome, the leader of Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. And I was so inspired by your conversation with him and the fact that you were talking to this Black Lives Matter leader that I wrote to Hawk, and Hawk invited me to a cigar bar in the South Bronx, and I went.
I interviewed Hawk for this show, and we aired the segment in early February. I have to admit, I was a little out of my comfort zone when I showed up, but it was such a rewarding experience to talk to somebody and find out how much common ground we do have. How do we go about finding other people like Hawk and encourage more of this?
Brooks: America is an entrepreneurial country. We all have different stories. Some were scratching out potatoes in Ireland four generations ago. Some were running from a shtetl in Eastern Europe and some were brought to this country involuntarily.
We’ve got all different stories. What we all have in common is that we descend from ambitious riff raff, and that we’re entrepreneurial.
But the problem that we have in America today is we’ve forgotten what real entrepreneurship means. Entrepreneurship is not about startup capital and getting to IPO and companies. That’s fine. But that’s minor.
Real entrepreneurship is taking a risk with the enterprise of your life, and the way that you do that is by putting your capital at risk. It means Rob Bluey going to a cigar bar in the South Bronx and hanging out with a guy who’s 6-foot-6 who runs Black Lives Matter of Greater New York. That is heavy. That is such an entrepreneurial thing to do, and yet that’s what we’re not doing.
So what I want to encourage everybody to do is to figure out the way that they can be personal entrepreneurs, have a startup life starting today. And there are a bunch of different ways to do that.
We have people in their 20s reading this today. I have data that show that they’re about a third less likely to be in love than people were when they were my age, and the reason is because they’re fearful. The reason is that they’re afraid of personal exposure to risk and to be rejected. I’ve got the data. I know this is true.
And so if you want to be a personal entrepreneur, you’re not until you’re actually exposing your heart to getting crushed. And, by the way, the average entrepreneur has 3.8 bankruptcies before a successful startup. You need 3.8 ugly breakups before you have a successful relationship, but you can’t get there unless you go through that. That’s one example.
Example No. 2 is Rob Bluey with the guy who runs Black Lives Matter. Be the Rob Bluey who’s going to—and, by the way, I’ve met with Hawk, too, and I reached out to that guy when I read his story, and we’ve become friends, and after I leave AEI I’m going to go teach at Harvard, and I’m going to have him guest lecture for me at Harvard.
Bluey: That’s great.
Brooks: It’s a beautiful thing. This guy, you’re not going to agree with him. He’s not going to say, “Everything I hear in The Daily Signal is what I agree with.” But that’s not the point.
He’s got children. He’s got a life. He loves America, and he wants to be fully American, too. I’ve got to tell you, I disagree, for sure, with a lot of things that he thinks politically, but he’s expanded my consciousness, and I’ve expanded his.
And look, if you can’t go where you’re not invited and say things people don’t expect and blow people’s minds and come together in brotherhood, all you’re doing is locking down one side of the political debate, and we’re never going to come together. We’re going to be a country that’s 30 percent on one side, 30 percent on the other side, and the remaining 40 percent just hates everything that’s going on.
And right now I can tell you we’re not making progress in this country, we’re not moving legislation in this country, we don’t have happiness. We have rising levels of depression and anxiety and stress in this country because of our political situation, because we actually can’t come together.
So if you want to be happier, you want to persuade, you want to be more successful, be like Rob Bluey. Go across the aisle. Talk to people that you never thought you would and try to find the way that you’re both humans.
Bluey: I want to ask, who are the heroes in your own life? Or maybe a better way to put it, who are the enemies that you love?
Brooks: I have met, since I’ve been working on this book, since 2014 when I first had that experience in New Hampshire, I have been meeting people constantly. I’ve been reaching out.
Here’s the funny thing that I do. So when I’m at an event, for example, a small enough event that I can talk to the individuals in the room—and I do 175 speeches a year, so I’m on the road all the time. When somebody has the courage to say, “I’m a left-winger,” that’s the person I’m going to bond with. That’s the person who’s going to get the bigger part of my attention, because that person just did something really really courageous, and I meet them all the time.
I’m all over the country, and so I’m meeting these people. The first thing that I’ll do is ask about what’s written on their hearts, not about what bums them out, not what makes them irritated about politics or what makes them enraged about President Trump. I want to know what’s written on their hearts, about their relationship with their children, what they want for their country.
And what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to point out that we have common moral foundations. We believe in compassion toward others. We believe in a fairer, better country that has more dignity for more people. And what we disagree on is the way to get it.
Once you basically say, “I love your heart, because I agree with you, and we both want the same fundamental moral things, now let’s talk about the things that we disagree on, because I think that my way to get at your objectives is better,” we’re efficient. People just will listen all day long. So I’ve done that.
You gave the example of the guy who runs Black Lives Matter, who, if we just went on our political affiliations, we would be told by politicians and the media that we are enemies, and if we just took that, we just accepted that, that would be the most conventional thing to do.
In the book, I’ve got this: A list of people that I’ve talked to and met and have greatly enriched my life. And I’ve got to say, I think I’ve actually got a lot more converts to the cause this way.
Bluey: As you’ve mentioned, you’re going to be stepping down as the president of the American Enterprise Institute to teach at Harvard. So I have to ask, given the polls that we’ve seen, what are you going to tell all of the Gen Zers who are coming to campus and embracing socialism as opposed to free enterprise?
Brooks: You know, I see those surveys all the time that show that people in iGen or Gen Z, whatever we want to call them, people who are after the millennials, that they have a high level of acceptance of socialist ideology as opposed to capitalism. I don’t like it, but I don’t worry about it nearly as much.
These are labels, and what we actually need are aspirational leaders that talk about the common moral foundations of what we’ve got. They’ll take off the banner of socialism as fast as they change their shirts. Young people are like that. That’s a good thing about young people, that’s not a bad thing.
In the same way, by the way, when people say that they’re really super entrepreneurial, you notice you go back about 10 years, and they were in love with the entrepreneurs in Northern California. They were all big libertarians. And now they don’t like a lot of the leaders in Northern California, because they think that that libertarianism was sort of selfish as far as they see it, and they were making products that hurt us, and they’re recognizing that they’re actually not happier.
So what we need to do is provide a model that says, “You can live a startup life. The enterprise of your life can be a beacon of hope for other people. Let’s work together to lift people up who have less power than we do. Let’s work in the margins of society.”
By the way, I have basically just gone through the tenets of the mission of The Heritage Foundation. Lifting people up from the margins of society, giving people opportunity, treating people with radically equal dignity, seeing the limitless potential inside every person.
There are zero scholars at The Heritage Foundation who don’t believe these things. So let’s talk in these terms. Let’s come together. Now I’ve got to be persuadable myself, I have to listen to other people’s point of view myself, and sometimes I’m going to to be grinding my teeth. But I can do that, and I’m dedicated to it.
I’ve got to tell you, in my prayers every day, I’m so thankful that I have an opportunity to go to arguably the greatest university in America to talk about these ideas. It’s a privilege.
Bluey: And we’re grateful that you’re going to be doing that. Finally, I want to ask, you’ve said that this is about more than the book, this is about creating a social movement. What is your hope and your goal when somebody reads the book?
Brooks: I’m a behavioral social scientist, and I study social movements a lot. And as an institutionalist, I mean, I run a big think tank in D.C., I tend to look for top-down solutions based on institutions. But that’s actually not how social movements start.
Social movements start because there’s a demand that comes up from the grassroots, and that demand comes because somebody treats another person in a different way and gets profound satisfaction from it. That’s what all social movements have in common.
So if you look at Martin Luther King, for example, people think that what it was was an institution where the Department of Justice started to crack down on racism and changing laws around voting. That’s a secondary effect. The civil rights movement was Martin Luther King suggesting that all people could be happier and live up to their own morals by treating another person in a different way. That’s what it was really all about.
I’m hoping that 100,000 people will read this book and share it and share the ideas and it will spread the idea that you can, starting today, start a movement, starting with your heart.
It doesn’t mean that a million people are going to do it because of you, but you can change your own heart and be happier and more successful by treating somebody else in a different way. Now, that sends a demand signal.
In a democratic capitalist country, we talk about leaders as if they were immaculately conceived, these great leaders who pop out of an egg someplace and then change America. That’s wrong. Most leaders in business and in politics and in media are actually followers. We’re the leaders, because we exert demand signals. We believe in capitalism, and Rob and Arthur are big fans of capitalism. That’s a good thing in democracy and capitalism.
A bunch of people want something because they say, “This is crummy, what we’ve got. We’re unhappy and we’re not succeeding, and so we demand something better.” And then a bunch of leaders say, “Oh man, there’s a parade going down the street. I got to get in front of it, because it needs a leader.” They’re followers.
So what I’m trying to do is to shape the parade by helping people to understand that each person in the parade can be happier and more successful by just going down a different street.
Bluey: Thank you for writing it. Again, the book is called “Love Your Enemies: How Decent People Can Save America From the Culture of Contempt.” Arthur, congrats on the book. Thank you for all the work that you do at the American Enterprise Institute. We appreciate your being on The Daily Signal Podcast.
Brooks: Thank you, Rob. Thanks to The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal. God bless America.
The post Want to Live a Better Life? You Can Start by Loving Your Enemies, Says Arthur Brooks appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Editor’s note: Our coverage of evidence of voter fraud continues to register with The Daily Signal’s audience, as you’ll see below. Don’t forget to write us at email@example.com.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Get ready for a whole lot of this type of fraud in future elections, as described in your report by Fred Lucas, only far more of it (“EXCLUSIVE: Audit Finds Signs of Fraud in New Mexico House Race”).
It is how the Democrat Party intends to achieve power. The self-serving, never-Trump Republicans are going right along with them, because they despise Trump even more than the Democrats do.
These Republicans would sell our country down the river to please a major donor. I have no doubt that they participated in the attempted coup d’etat against our president.
Republicans and Democrats need to do our job in helping Trump clean up our corrupt federal government.
We have precious few allies in Congress. This was amply demonstrated by that abhorrent bipartisan continuing resolution to keep our government open.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas
Election fraud exists; election results have been determined by fraud. The simple truth is that to any left-winger, the ends always justify the means. There is no honor in them.
We must do everything possible to ensure our elections are fair and honest. Failure to do so, resulting in a loss of confidence in our democratic process, can and will destroy this nation, which is what the left is pushing for.
Every American is an injured party in this case.—Wayne Peterkin
The disputed votes in New Mexico must be further investigated. If there are signs to indicate the New Mexico secretary of state hid this information, there are grounds for impeachment. All of Doña Ana County’s elections must be made null and void.— John Block
Photo identification has been upheld by the Supreme Court; there should be no questions.
Absentee voting should require a witness. The penalty for falsifying a vote should be some prison time and permanent loss of voting privileges.—Bennie SprouseFebruary 17, 2019
We need voter ID. And please stop with the excuse that many black Americans cannot afford a “free” ID.—Kim Watson
New Mexico has got to be the dirtiest state of them all. It is already ran like a socialist country. I lived there, and won’t ever go back.—Eva Dearing
If I had a million dollars, I would bet there was voter fraud in every state. Without it, Democrats would never have taken back the House.
And seeing how they refuse to fix it, it will be a thousand times worse in 2020 , now that Democrats can harvest votes.
But then, anytime the government does anything they always make things worse. I don’t wonder why the U.S. is getting so violent; government has taken everything away from us and replaced it with martial law.
Normal people don’t have a chance today; government caters to radical blacks and women, illegal immigrants, and perverts.—Richard Bagenstose
How you end this: Any campaign caught committing voter fraud will forfeit and the win will go to the opposition. End of story. Someone needs to put these Democrats on a short lease.—Geno Bouwens, Sparta, Mich.
Rather odd that those magic ballots that show up just at the nick of time always seems to help the Democrat candidate. Little wonder the left wants nothing to do with cleaning the voting process.
In way too many cases, fraud is committed and then those involved in committing the fraud stand back and laugh, saying what are you going to do about? The answer has been nothing but complain.
Being an absentee voter, I would be willing to do away with absentee ballots except for the military. I will find a way to cast my vote.—Edd Eaton
Voting has become corrupt in favor of Democrats who like to engage in fraud and vote harvesting. We must find a solution before 2020, or lose the country altogether.—Helga Miller
This is textbook electoral fraud given the long-standing Republican nature of this district. Things like this happen when you allow provisional balloting, don’t have strict voter ID laws, and don’t have strict oversight of all phases of the vote counting process.—Bert Chapman
Why not publish the names of all absentee voters in the local newspapers? Then encourage them to come forward if their identity has been stolen.
Or send out some teams to visit some of the supposed voters. I am sure many said they could not vote in person because they were homebound.— John Hames, Tennessee
Late votes, suddenly discovered votes, under-the-kitchen-sink votes, hidden-in-the-rafters votes. Always Democrat.—William JamesJanuary 31, 2019
Defending the Pledge of Allegiance
Dear Daily Signal: If you want to know what the left thinks about this country, as Jarrett Stepman writes about, go ask a millennial (“In Rejecting the Pledge of Allegiance, the Left Is Rejecting Nationhood”). All they’ve heard during school, especially college, is how terrible this nation was and is.
We have always been imperialist and colonialist, and we live on land we stole from natives. We are racists, bigots, rich fat cats, war mongers, sexists, and more.
Forget the part where we are why countless poor people around the world exited poverty. Forget how we saved Western Europe in World War I and saved the world in World War II.
Forget that our system is so well thought out that there is a constant correction of injustices. That we offer more to our poor than any other nation on earth, in terms of both tax dollars and charity.
That people risk their lives to come here and always have says it all.—Anthony Alafero
I sighed as I read this and, as a veteran who swore the oath to defend the republic and its citizens, I am sad.
While wanting to enjoy all the protections and the system that allowed these people to climb to the top of their professions, they work to destroy those very institutions and beliefs.
While no society is free of problems, they seem to dwell on using whatever they see as a problem to destroy the country that has given them the freedom to do as they please. Instead of fostering unity, they instead work to separate us.
The Pledge of Allegiance is meant to unify us. It is recognition of our common goals. Why would someone who has benefited from the Constitution and being here wish to destroy what has allowed them to do so?
Perhaps those who feel that it is so bad here should do like our ancestors did, and find and then go to the place that better reflects their beliefs. But then that might require them to actually live under what they want to subject the rest of us to, and lose the freedoms that allow them to speak and hate.—John Bayn
They are now accelerating the changes toward a socialistic tyranny, as more of their agenda gets passed.—Stephen Warren
The United States is not a Christian nation. Of course, it was built on Christian principles and the country prospered.
But eventually men would decide they want to be their own god or create a god more to one’s liking, and the God of the Bible is now considered outdated. A paper man spits at an eternal God. Everyone is trying to pound their little chest at God and convince Christians to follow them because they know better.
American life as we know it, as sad as it seems, will come to an end. This empire will fail, just like all the empires of the past, because of the sin of man. The nation may fall, but it will not take away the ability to worship Christ, no matter what happens in this country.
Pagans should beware, look at history, and see how the growth of Christianity gets stronger under adversity. Perhaps this is God’s way of turning a nation of lazy Christians into true believers and show that their faith is in God and not in man.—Ross LaFleur
The Pledge of Allegiance in its current form (aside from the phrase “under God,” added during the Red Scare of the ’50s) was officially adopted by Congress in 1942.
Somehow we managed to get along without it before then.—Edward Buatois
Stepman writes: “But the fact is that many of these public institutions are fostering neither critical thought nor a patriotic citizenry. Instead, they often give free rein to radicals who violate the First Amendment rights of others with little consequence, who shout down those who disagree with them and actively suppress debate.”
Sorry, but this is a false meme that is promoted by hatemongering right-wing media, and its poorly educated devotees gobble it up as if it were true. Sad.—John Levin, New York
It’s all right. Some citizens of the United States recite the Pledge of Allegiance with all of their heart and others are sojourners whose only commitment in life is to themselves.
You can identify the sojourners and liberals from their twisted, immoral philosophy. Unfortunately, the sojourners are like a short-term inconvenience to be tolerated.
They will eventually die off from their nonprolific behavior and demonic values. But, like all inconveniences, they can be irritants and distractions. Rational-minded conservatives must continue their civility and morality.—Jason Traxler
A couple years ago, some of these haters wanted to delete “one nation under God” from the pledge. Today, at events and meetings, these four words are the words said louder and more distinct then the rest.
Real Americans are making a statement. If this “institution policy” is put into effect, Americans must stand before the meeting starts and just start reciting the pledge even if it’s not on the printed agenda.—Marty Miller
This is what communists do best is to try to quiet the speaker. They did it at the U.N. for Cuba. They did in Lima, Peru, at the Summit of the Americas. They have done it everywhere.
Communists do not want the truth, they only want their political agenda. When the truth comes up, they try to overcome the speaker.
These communists are an unruly group of agitators that has vowed to create chaos.—Antonio Urbizu
The Top 5 Nutty New California Laws Some are merely obnoxious, others likely unconstitutional, but one thing is for sure—more such laws undoubtedly are on the way. https://t.co/h2LnimwkAz via @JarrettStepman @DailySignal— MaryfromMarin (@MaryfromMarin) February 4, 2019
Political Kookiness in California
Dear Daily Signal: I too was born and raised in California, and lived there from 1953 to 1998 (“The Top 5 Nutty New California Laws”). As much as I miss my family and friends there, Jarrett Stepman’s commentary reminds me that I am so glad to have left that socialist-run state.
My concern for California (and for the entire U.S., actually) is that slowly but surely our freedoms are being destroyed.
Take the case of charter schools. Why should private schools be forced to teach sex-ed classes? Sex-ed classes should be a choice made by parents. Parents should be given the freedom to raise their children as they wish. and the government should stay out of it.
And forcing companies to have a quota of women on their boards? Ridiculous. It’s a private business, and again, the government needs to stay out of it.
Companies should be allowed to hire “the best and the brightest” and the person who will fit best with their organization, and not have to settle for someone based on sex or race or whatever else.
Before you know it, California will dictate that companies must hire a quota of transgenders, gays, lesbians, and whatever else the LBGTQ activists come up with.—Bev Edwards
Not too bright, are you, Jarrett Stepman? You basically just made stuff up without looking for actual data .
California ranks in the lower third of states for teen pregnancies, while Bible Belt red states that avoid sex ed are the worst and have more than twice the rate of teen pregnancy.
California has the eighth-fewest deaths by guns of all states. Again, the worst states for gun deaths are Bible Belt red states, with three times the rate of gun deaths of California.—Bill Burlison
Mandating women on corporate boards is thoughtless. Because of our biological differences, women naturally will be underrepresented.
How much underrepresented? Let the women themselves determine their course. It is the only sensible way to go.
The fundamental problem to be resolved with corporate boards of directors is not man-woman balance. It is our failure to realize that a corporation’s existence is permitted by our government, and consequently, corporations exist only for everyone’s benefit. That is, corporations exist solely for our government to use for our purposes.
It is simply the corporate board’s duty to balance its requirements of its existence with this national responsibility.—Jerry Hewes
All very disgusting. The California Legislature is off the rails. And, unfortunately, I still live here, after being born and bred here. Leaving soon, I hope.—Amy Lacy
The only capital city more crazy than Albany, New York, is Sacramento, California.
The deal is, however, that all of the western half of California is nutty.—Bill Mayberry
Let us face it, a second civil war has started and California is in open rebellion to the founding principles and the Constitution and needs to be treated as such. Change my mind?—Mark Zanghetti
This is one of the results of having a one-party state. The influx to California of illegal voters, multivoters, and magic voters with their magic ballots has made it almost impossible for a Republican, much less a conservative, to have any chance in an election.
The Southern Californian who suddenly switched from strong Republican to liberal with magic ballots should wake anyone paying attention. Those illegal votes are showing up nationwide, and are why the left fights so hard against cleaning up voter rolls.
Step one in providing a little more trust in our system.—Edd EatonJanuary 29, 2019
The Trouble in Venezuela
Dear Daily Signal: Socialism fails under the premise that a powerful and all-knowing central government can redistribute the wealth to help out all the poor people, as the commentary on Venezuela by Anthony Kim and Ana Quintana suggests (“Today’s Venezuela: Where Socialism Meets Authoritarianism”).
Under human nature, this power always has led to the elimination of human rights and the migration of all the wealth to those in power.
Only fools continue to proselytize for socialism. Unfortunately, they are in great supply today.—Thomas R. Beckwith
Be care what you want, because you will get it. There was a day when socialism looked good to the people of Venezuela.—Harry Bluff
Those who hide their heads and claim it’s not our problem ignore the unreported fact that there is an unprecedented and formidable Russian, Cuban, Iranian, and Chinese military buildup in Venezuela.
The Cuban Missile Crisis pales by comparison to this clear and present danger, which has been active and in place for over a decade.
Added to that, the Venezuelan government has taken state-sponsored drug trafficking to stratospheric levels.—Thomas R. Beckwith
While we cannot condone all that Chavez and Maduro do, we can certainly learn to leave other countries alone. Why are we so worried about Venezuela? Perhaps it has something to do with the world’s largest oil reserves and corporate greed. Do we need someone in power there that bows to those interests?—John Childs
The Difference in How Socialism and Free Markets Work in the Real World: One more try at Marx’s idyll would seem not only immoral, but to dishonor the memories of those killed in the name of a man-made utopia. https://t.co/rlSXXA4HVi via @SebGorka @DailySignal #tcot #gop— IdaFlo – (@IdaFlo) February 2, 2019
Gorka on Socialism Versus Free Markets
Dear Daily Signal: I found Sebastian Gorka’s commentary article on socialism to be exceedingly well done (“The Difference in How Socialism and Free Markets Work in the Real World”). Everything in the article says “capitalism should be the economic system.”
There are, however, two things that Gorka did not discuss. First is the “Technopoly” reality that Neil Postman’s 1992 book of that title opened my eyes to. I would recommend reading it.
The second unmentioned situation is the ancient doctrine of “Total Depravity,” which is clearly presented in the Bible in Genesis 6. Mankind follows the second law of thermodynamics into total chaos.—John Jamison
Equal opportunity, protected by fair laws, is the optimum. We cannot change the fact that some people are raised by a dysfunctional welfare mother in an inner city, while another is raised in a loving, high-functioning, disciplined household.
Most will immediately associate that with money, but that is wrong. Plenty of kids come from rich but lousy parents, while Ben Carson and his brother were raised in inner-city Detroit by a loving and disciplined but low-income single mother.
Passing over thousands of white and Asians students who scored 1400-plus on the SAT to accept sub-1000 minorities is the very definition of unfair and unequal opportunity.
The problem that those pushing socialism today have with capitalism is that it allows some to succeed wildly while others fail miserably. What they don’t seem to understand is that is a free society, we are free to succeed or to fail. But since most succeed, enough wealth is created to care for those who are needy.
As long as our Pravda-like media are allowed to intentionally deceive the people, they will not understand that they are being fed political tripe. Look at health care. The left said that we needed Medicaid for the poor and the problem would be solved.
They got it. Then they whined that the near-poor needed it and all would be great. They got it, but then whined that the near-to-near poor should also qualify, and we did that.
Then Obama shows up, whining that poor people were dying in the streets. Wait, what about all of that Medicaid?
So they dug up millions more to cover, and said now all is good. That lasted a short time. And now, people are dying in the streets again, so we need a single-payer system for all? It’s a political hit job intended to be a big step toward socialism.
If we had a real media, the people would know that the Democrats are authoritarian-seeking frauds.—Anthony Alafero
The millennial generation is the stupidest generation in the history of mankind, and it’s not even close. That’s why 52 percent of them can support a socialist system that keeps failing.
It’s stunning how pathetic that generation is, and scary thinking about when they’ll eventually be running things–no doubt into the ground.—Peyton Lind
No doubt, President Obama escalated the surge on the left and the division in America. But it was the elitists who junked welfare state Germany, socialist Russia, and fascist Italy, declaring: “We have seen the future, and it works!”
That started the progressive movement in America praised by the nazis and fascists in Europe in the early 20th century.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, all of the hacks vote for more taxes and higher state worker salaries and pensions. Those who pay little or no taxes vote to raise taxes on those who do.
Another group votes religiously to keep and raise their entitlements, including food stamps, electronic benefit transfer cards, and college tuition. Out of the other remaining 60 percent, 30 percent just vote for compassion and 30 percent actually might vote for low taxes, smaller government, and more individual freedom.
Massachusetts is overwhelmingly Democrat, and the party there is financed largely by taxation.—Wayne Harmon
According to the Cato Institute’s Human Freedom Index, the U.S. ranks no better than 17th, with nearly every northern European country ahead of us as well as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, which is ranked No. 1.
Most would think of these countries as more socialist than the U.S. They may give that impression, but in fact they are more free market-driven than we are and they’re reaping the benefit.
And then there’s this: Engels, Marx’s co-developer, was by all measures a rich man. Yet he never implemented a single concept he developed for his own textile workers. Apparently not even Engels was dumb enough to walk his walk.—Paul Johnson
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could facilitate the movement of those desiring to be socialists to a socialist country?—Tom Colangelo
I thought that most of the world was already socialist, including the Democratic People’s Republic of California.
They have (or want) “free” health care, “free” higher education, and further restrictions on gun ownership. At least we still have places like Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and West Virginia.—Eliot W. Collins
I blame it on the education system.
“’The Communist Manifesto’ ranks among the three most frequently assigned text at American universities,” MarketWatch reported in 2016.
In schools, this work by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels is taught as more moral than capitalism. But no one talks about the 61.9 million who were killed in the Soviet Union between 1917 and 1987 by the Communist Party, or the 45 million who were killed in four years by China’s Mao Zedong.—Steve Miller
The current advocates of socialism are ignoring the first half of the phrase “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.”—Peter AsherFebruary 12, 2019
This and That
Dear Daily Signal: Unfortunately, we cannot “believe all women,” as Katrina Trinko notes in her commentary (“The End of ‘Believe All Women’”).
I know of a woman who lied, putting a man in jail even though she recanted her accusation. Women are not going to like what I’m saying next, but women need to get smarter and not allow themselves to be put in compromising circumstances.
That is, don’t go up to a man’s hotel room unless you are willing to accept the likely outcome. Don’t get falling down drunk so that your inhibitions are lowered to the point that going with a man to his hotel room sounds like fun.
This will not stop men from putting roofies in our drinks and committing rape or other situations of sexual assault. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about not losing self-control and putting ourselves in losing situations.
I’m also advocating that women speak up immediately when men take inappropriate actions against us, not wait until years later when they are in positions of power.
Would Virginia’s lieutenant governor have become lieutenant governor if this woman had accused him of sexual assault when it happened years ago?—Marion E. Daniels-Price
The commentary on Bible literacy by Daniel Davis doesn’t mention the importance of the Bible as an influence on virtually all literature prior to the 20th century (“How Bible Literacy Classes Could Help Heal Our Bitter Divisions”).
The Canadian literary scholar Northrop Frye taught a Bible course for decades at the University of Toronto precisely as an adjunct to teaching classic literature.—Dimitrios Otis
So what if the Chinese want to re-educate a few folks, as Nolan Peterson reports (“Why China Is Militarizing Its Himalayan Frontier”)?
Re-education (dumbing down) has been going on in the United States of America since President Franklin Roosevelt.—Harry Bluff
Regarding Ted Bromund’s commentary (“I Spoke With Gun Manufacturers From Across America. Their Optimism Is Waning”), the Second Amendment says “the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
There doesn’t seem to be much understanding of that very simple, clear, and straightforward verbiage.
Infringement is the normal process with politicians, and it isn’t just regarding the Second Amendment.—Steve Fowler
Sarah Sleem and Courtney Joyner helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”
The co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, a deep-pocketed, left-wing civil rights organization, was fired on Wednesday.
Morris Dees, a prominent lawyer who founded SPLC in 1971, was reportedly forced out due to workplace misconduct, though the organization didn’t specify what that misconduct was.
The Los Angeles Times reported: “A letter signed by about two dozen employees—and sent to management and the board of directors before news broke of Dees’ firing—said they were concerned that internal ‘allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it.’”
The sham group, Southern Poverty Law Center, amassed over $500 Million in cash (offshore accounts) but a front for uber-liberal political causes while smearing Christian conservatives. Its founder just fired–accused of…wait for it-racism. https://t.co/fu1lXDOFwO— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) March 14, 2019
Dees’ firing is an important development. Dees has been the face of the SPLC while it has transitioned from investigating genuine hate groups to casting a wide net that lumps in mainstream organizations like the Family Research Council, a social conservative organization, with the Ku Klux Klan.
Yet, despite serious issues with how SPLC defines hate groups, the organization is constantly cited by the media as an authority, during which time, Dees has been continually praised for his work.
One prominent journalist in the 1990s called Dees the, quote, “Mother Teresa of Montgomery.”
YouTube has used SPLC as a part of its trusted flagger program.
GuideStar, a nonprofit tracker, at one point used the SPLC hate group tracker, but dropped this later, citing its “commitment to objectivity.”
There is certainly a good reason to suspect, beyond Dees’ ousting, some of SPLC’s work as having a deeply partisan agenda rather than being committed to casting light on genuine hate groups.
Though it received little media attention, SPLC recently settled with and had to apologize to Maajid Nawaz, an anti-Islamist activist who was maligned by the organization as an anti-Muslim extremist.
Nawaz was not an anti-Muslim extremist, but in fact a Muslim who turned away from the radical Islamist views of his youth and now uses his organization, Quilliam, to fight extremism.
The bottom line is: shedding light on genuinely violent and extremist groups is a noble endeavor, but it’s inappropriate for the media to continually cite SPLC as an authoritative source on hate without acknowledging its progressive agenda and conflation of extremist groups with mainstream ones.
The 21st century is in danger of becoming an era of statue-smashing and historical erasure. Not since the iconoclasts of the Byzantine Empire or the epidemic of statue destruction during the French Revolution has the world seen anything like the current war on the past.
In 2001, the primeval Taliban blew up two ancient Buddha statues in Afghanistan on grounds that their very existence was sacrilegious to Islam.
In 2015, ISIS militants entered a museum in Mosul, Iraq, and destroyed ancient, pre-Islamic statues and idols. Their mute crime? These artifacts predated the prophet Muhammad.
The West prides itself in the idea that liberal societies would never descend into such nihilism.
In the last two years, there has been a rash of statue toppling throughout the American South, aimed at wiping out memorialization of Confederate heroes. The pretense is that the Civil War can only be regarded as tragic in terms of the present oppression of the descendants of Southern slaves–154 years after the extinction of the Confederate states.
There is also a renewed crusade to erase the memory of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Los Angeles removed a Columbus statue in November based on the premise that his 1492 discovery of the Americas began a disastrous genocide in the Western Hemisphere.
Last month, the Northern California town of Arcata did away with a statue of former President William McKinley because he supposedly pushed policies detrimental to Native Americans.
There have been some unfortunate lessons from such vendettas against the images and names of the past.
One, such attacks usually revealed a lack of confidence. The general insecurity of the present could supposedly be remedied by destroying mute statutes or the legacies of the dead, who could offer no rebuttal.
The subtext of most current name-changing and icon-toppling is that particular victimized groups blame their current plight on the past. They assume that by destroying long-dead supposed enemies, they will be liberated–or at least feel better in the present.
Yet knocking down images of Columbus will not change the fact that millions of indigenous people in Central America and Mexico are currently abandoning their ancestral homelands and emigrating northward to quite different landscapes that reflect European and American traditions and political, economic, and cultural values.
Two, opportunism, not logic, always seems to determine the targets of destruction.
This remains true today. If mass slaughter in the past offered a reason to obliterate remembrance of the guilty, then certainly sports teams should drop brand names such as “Aztecs.” Likewise, communities should topple statues honoring various Aztec gods, including the one in my own hometown: Selma, Calif.
After all, the Aztec Empire annually butchered thousands of innocent women and children captives on the altars of their hungry gods. The Aztecs were certainly far crueler conquerors, imperialists, and colonialists than was former President McKinley. Yet apparently the Aztecs, as indigenous peoples, earn a pass on the systematic mass murder of their enslaved indigenous subjects.
Stanford University has changed the name of two buildings and a mall that had been named for Father Junipero Serra, the heroic 18th century Spanish founder of the California missions. Serra was reputed to be unkind to the indigenous people whom he sought to convert to Christianity.
Stanford students and faculty could have found a much easier target in their war against the dead: the eponymous founder of their university, Leland Stanford himself. Stanford was a 19th century railroad robber baron who brutally imported and exploited Asian labor and was explicit in his low regard for non-white peoples.
Yet it is one thing to virtue-signal by renaming a building and quite another for progressive students to rebrand their university–and thereby lose the prestigious Stanford trademark that is seen as their gateway to career advancement.
Third, in the past there usually has been a cowardly element to historical erasure. Destruction was often done at night by roving vandals, or was sanctioned by extremist groups who bullied objectors.
So too in the present. Many Confederate statues were torn down or defaced at night. City councils voted to change names or remove icons after being bullied by small pressure groups and media hysteria. They rarely referred the issue to referenda.
Four, ignorance both accompanies and explains the arrogance of historical erasure, past and present.
Recently, vandals in North Carolina set fire to a statue of General Lee. But they got the wrong Lee. Their target was not a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, but a statue of World War II Maj. Gen. William C. Lee, who campaigned for the creation of a U.S. Army airborne division and helped plan the invasion of Normandy.
The past is not a melodrama but more often a tragedy. Destroying history will not make you feel good about the present. Studying and learning from it might.
(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.
How much is an elite education worth to you? How about $500,000—and a jail sentence?
That’s how much wealthy actresses, business leaders, and financiers have pawned off to bribe their children off to colleges like Stanford University, Yale University, and the University of California. According to The New York Times, actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimmo Gianulli have already been indicted for bribery of athletic recruiters and college counselors, with further arrests coming.
The bribery scheme to get privileged children into elite universities is causing parents and teachers across the country to fume with righteous indignation. But the revelations of corruption in the multibillion-dollar college-admissions industry is perhaps more indicative of how Americans’ views of college—especially among the elite—are shifting into dangerous territory.
More Americans no longer value college education for its ability to train their children with the skills needed to thrive in adult life. Instead, they obsess over college’s signaling value—the value of a school’s name and prestige.
One can see this trend amid the booming college-consulting industry, where consultants seek to do everything legally possible to get their client’s child into the best-name colleges. The number of professional college consultants among the nation’s elite has jumped from 2,000 to 5,000 in recent years. Nowadays, 26 percent of the students who got into the 70th percentile or higher on the SAT had some form of private college consulting help.
Economist Bryan Caplan puts this inversion of the goals of higher education more bluntly. Imagine if you could get a degree from Georgetown University without attending any classes. Now imagine you could take every class at Georgetown without getting a degree. Which option would you choose? Most likely, the one that signals value—the former.
The irony is that the signaling value of elite colleges is quite misplaced. According to a paper by mathematician Stacey Dale and economist Alan Krueger, if your child is smart enough to get into an elite college, but chose not to go, he or she will still end up making approximately the same as a similarly qualified applicant who did go to an elite college.
In fact, there is no difference in the earnings of similar-intelligence individuals who go or do not go to Ivy League schools. As usual, it’s the work ethic and intelligence of the student, not the name of the school, that determines long-term adult success.
But elite colleges would rather the parents not know this fact. This is because elite colleges stand to benefit from the misplaced worship of elite parents who prize name-brand schools. They can upcharge their tuition (now above $70,000 a year for Ivy League schools) without worrying about a drop in applications, because an elite education is worth a pretty penny to the status-conscious parents of the new elite.
With wealthy parents reliably filling the coffers, elite colleges can give less focus to ensuring a quality learning experience for their students. They focus instead on burnishing the surface-level characteristics that keep their names atop the Forbes and U.S. News lists—characteristics like selectivity and diversity. Hiring the best professors becomes secondary to keeping the admission rate below 10 percent and keeping up with the diversity-obsessed zeitgeist.
There is one way parents and students can begin to reverse this national mania for the signaling value of colleges: they can walk away.
What if, instead of spending millions on bribing athletic coaches to fake-recruit their sons and daughters to Stanford’s sailing team, parents devoted their resources to cultivating a love of learning in their children and to providing life lessons in work and moral uprightness? Maybe their children would have the intelligence and ambition, then, to get into Stanford.
Or maybe they wouldn’t get into Stanford. But in the end, that matters much, muchless than you think.
The post College Admissions Bribery Scandal Shows How Higher Ed Culture Has Descended Into Signaling appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a new plan to break up Big Tech companies.
The proposal entails appointing a bunch of regulators to undo mergers that her administration would deem anti-competitive. Warren’s plan would classify any company that runs a marketplace and makes more than $25 billion a year as a “platform utility” and prohibit them from selling their own products.
Considering the prevalent knee-jerk loathing of Big Tech and capitalism in general, it’s likely to be a popular idea. Many conservatives, angered at social media platforms, will also find the notion of breaking up these companies agreeable. But there are number of good economic and idealistic reasons to oppose Warren’s plan.
For starters, Warren’s plan would not only strip the incentive for big companies to invest in growth and innovation; it would inhibit small business innovation, as well.
It’s true that Big Tech frequently swallows enterprises to eliminate competition. Yet many times smaller tech firms don’t have access to capital that allows them to bring big ideas to fruition, or they simply can’t take the risk. Big corporations can do both.
I look forward to the day that market forces, rather than meddling politicians with aversions to the profit motive, smash Apple for good. But does anyone believe a gaggle of technocratic political appointees are going to do a better job of allocating investments?
“Twenty-five years ago,” Warren writes, “Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn’t exist. Now they are among the most valuable and well-known companies in the world. It’s a great story—but also one that highlights why the government must break up monopolies and promote competitive markets.”
The fact that Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn’t even exist 25 years ago tells us the exact opposite. It highlights how quickly innovative ideas can transform the marketplace in an era of relative deregulation. I’d tell you to ask the executives at Woolworth’s or Blockbuster—and soon AOL, MySpace, and Sears—but there aren’t any.
Apple or Amazon were early adapters of the market’s new realities. Now, some of their businesses are forced to compete with other giants like Walmart or Samsung. This has been beneficial for consumers.
Now, if Twitter and Facebook want to stay on top, they probably should stop antagonizing half of their marketplace. Then again, in 25 years, it’s quite likely that a bunch of new platforms will overtake both, no matter what they do.
That hasn’t stopped Warren from acting as if tech companies like Google are the new Standard Oil.
“I want a government that makes sure everybody—even the biggest and most powerful companies in America—plays by the rules,” Warren claims. This misleading turn of phrase has become standard on the left, which often acts as if companies are breaking the law or using “loopholes” when they fail to adhere to the imaginary regulations.
Tech companies aren’t breaking any rules by ignoring Warren’s fictitious strictures. We already have a place to adjudicate the usefulness of mergers, and it’s called the Justice Department. They already do a terrible job without any more help.
And if the Justice Department is susceptible to partisan pressure—Democrats are now arguing that President Donald Trump ordered it to block the Time Warner/AT&T merger—surely a second regulatory body based on capricious progressive concepts of the common good would likewise be ripe for abuse.
A number of voters, regrettably, seem to believe that increasing regulatory oversight helps alleviate the destructive relationship between government and business.
Yet, by giving politically motivated regulators expansive powers to dictate how and when companies can grow, Warren would not only imbue government with more power to pick winners and losers, she would further incentivize CEOs to placate government officials and politicians rather than do what’s best for their companies and consumers.
It would be a lot more productive if we left markets to compete and instead broke up government power.
“Curious why I think FB has too much power?” Warren recently asked on Twitter after Facebook took down some of her ads. “Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”
A person doesn’t need to be exceptionally perceptive to notice that Warren’s grievance regarding a “single censor” shutting down debate on social media is weakened by the fact that she went to a competing social media platform to perpetuate the debate.
Nor did it take much work to find out that virtually every major news site had thoroughly covered her plan to break up Big Tech.
Her own tweet debunks the notion that a sole social media site can dominate news coverage or a national debate. Taking Instagram away from Facebook would do nothing to induce the social media giant to embrace truly open debate.
However, forcing a private entity to run ads that call for its own destruction is an unambiguous attack on free expression.
In the end, Facebook contends that it removed Warren’s ads because they violated company rules against use of its corporate logo. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads,” the company explained.
That makes the tech giant a far more robust space for free expression than your average news channel. And as sure as state intervention into TV news “fairness” would backfire so, too, will opening the door to Big Tech intervention.
COPYRIGHT 2019 CREATORS.COM
The post Why Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Big Tech Would Be Bad for America appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Listen to our interview with The Heritage Foundation’s Robin Simcox in the podcast, or read the lightly edited transcript below.
Kate Trinko: I’m here with Robin Simcox, the Margaret Thatcher fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Robin focuses here on research, on terrorism, and national security. Thanks for joining us today, Robin.
Robin Simcox: Great to be with you.
Trinko: All right, so the media is currently reporting that 49 at least have died in this horrible shooting in New Zealand and another 20 are injured. Does that make this one of the highest death counts for this kind of act ever?
Simcox: Well, it’s a terrible act. It’s a large body count. It’s not the highest we’ve seen in the West in recent years, but of course in terms of an attack on a mosque and certainly an attack in New Zealand where acts or terrorism are exceedingly rare, it is a very significant and of course tragic incident.
Trinko: You mentioned that for New Zealand, this is unusual. Is this a new part of the world for this kind of action? Has New Zealand ever had a shooting comparable to this?
Simcox: No, it hasn’t. The perpetrator of the attack was actually Australian as well. There was a little more of a history in Australia with terrorism but New Zealand is very quiet in comparison.
It’s an extraordinarily disturbing development. I think sometimes we associate these acts of terrorism taking place in major cities so London, or New York, or Paris, and of course there’s been a lot of attacks that have taken place in those cities, but if you look at some of the white supremacist attacks that have taken place in recent years—obviously this attack in Christchurch—we had the attack in Pittsburgh; in Charleston, South Carolina with Dylann Roof; and of course in Oslo, with Anders Breivik in 2011.
It’s been in some of the locations that you wouldn’t necessarily expect, not major population hubs. I think sometimes these white supremacist attacks can take place in somewhat unexpected destinations.
Trinko: I know the facts are still coming out, we’re recording this on Friday afternoon but from what we know now, would you say that this is an act of terrorism that occurred?
Simcox: Yeah, absolutely. The gunman uploaded his manifesto, he provided a link to it online, which makes very clear reference to Muslims being invaders, as to them being a genocide of white people. It’s very clearly a political ideological statement that he’s putting out and these acts of violence are in an attempt to kind of further his political cause, which is the definition of terrorism.
Trinko: Have we ever seen this kind of level of violence at mosques before this kind of targeted shooting or other act of violence?
Simcox: Well, there’s been acts of violence against mosques. So in 2017, for example, there was a vehicular attack in London on the Finsbury Park mosque, which led to one person being killed.
I think the big difference here really is the scale. Obviously, 49 people killed as we speak on Friday afternoon with many more injured, and also I think the horror of it being livestreamed on Facebook is another additional component to this that we haven’t really seen too often in the past.
The footage is understandably not being shared around but this guy carried out the attack in that way because he wanted people to watch it and he wanted people to be inspired—as hard as that may be to believe—by the grotesque acts of violence, which he was perpetrating.
There’s a lot about this attack that has a unique feel to it and it’s a very dark day for New Zealand.
Trinko: Yeah. It’s so chilling to think that that footage exists. In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted, “While there is no specific or credible threat at this time, we are increasing our NYPD presence at mosques throughout the city out of an abundance of caution.” Do Muslims around the world have reason for concern now that there could be copycat attacks or further attacks as part of this?
Simcox: I think it’s understandable there is a level of precaution today of course, because there is that fear, as I mentioned, that this kind of attack will inspire copycats. Obviously, terrorism generally is an extraordinarily rare occurrence, thankfully. It seems to be getting more common these days than it used to be but it is still rare. There isn’t widespread hatred or fear of Muslims, I don’t believe that is the case in the West at all.
Of course, we have to be mindful and as the attack in New Zealand showed, there are these people who have a very sick, and evil, and twisted ideology where they view regular Muslims as their enemy, as people who have come to the West to eliminate the white race and to act accordingly with these dreadful acts of violence.
I think it’s understandable that in the wake of this attack, they’ve ramped up security around mosques. The threat level in New Zealand has been raised—all understandable responses but I still don’t believe that this is going to be, we must hope this isn’t the harbinger of something more frequent.
Trinko: OK, so as I said earlier, we’re still finding out a lot of the facts. However, The Wall Street Journal and other outlets are reporting that there appears to be reason to believe that the alleged shooter was motivated by white supremacist views. You mentioned briefly that we have seen some attacks along these lines before, does this sort of follow the usual pattern? Is it new? Do we need to be more concerned about white supremacy in light of these attacks?
Simcox: Well, there is something a little different about it. White supremacist attacks certainly is not a new phenomenon. There’s been an unfortunate amount of them in recent years especially.
I think what was slightly different about this is that he, more than any other extreme right-wing terrorists that I can remember, seems to be entirely immersed in this quite weird, twisted, dark corner of internet culture where his manifesto, along with the usual references to various kind of like white supremacist iconography, also refers to various memes to quite obscure references to kind of like internet culture that he is exposed to through 4chan, these kind of image posting boards where you can post anonymously.
The manifesto is also sarcastic at times or self-knowing. He refers to individuals as inspirations behind his attack who very clearly aren’t. It’s facetious almost at times, his manifesto, which is unusual but also a sign that the language makes sense in the context of the internet culture in which he’s operating, but it’s not a language that we’re terribly familiar with outside that specific kind of strange part of internet culture.
Trinko: Does it surprise you that this attack was carried out with guns? Over the years we’ve seen vehicle attacks, we’ve seen obviously planes in the case of 9/11, and of course some by guns.
Simcox: I think that the kind of attack that was being planned, firearms does make sense because he obviously wanted to, he wanted to livestream it so he wanted all the people that clicked on the Facebook link that he had attached to his post online, enabled people to watch him as he carried out this terrorist attack.
It’s almost like with the way it’s filmed, you’re watching a video game. To kind of create the impact he wanted, I’m not surprised that he chose firearms as opposed to knives or a vehicle or something like that because it gives that effect of it being like you’re watching someone in “Call of Duty” or one of these other PlayStation games. It also makes the video feel unreal in some ways but the use of firearms I think makes sense, not only for the lethality of the weapon, but also the way it enabled people to watch this attack take place.
Trinko: OK. Well, thank you for joining us, Robin.
Simcox: Thank you.
The post Facebook Streaming, Location Made New Zealand Attack Unusual Act of Terrorism appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted after the horrific attacks on two New Zealand mosques that led to at least 49 dead:
(“Thoughts and prayers” is reference to the NRA’s phrase used to deflect conversation away from policy change during tragedies. Not directed to PM Ardern, who I greatly admire.)— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) March 15, 2019
Of course, Ocasio-Cortez’s desire to end these kind of tragedies is understandable and laudable–although she and I would probably differ on the right ways to address this.
But, regardless of tragedies, prayer matters.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comment shows an understanding of prayer that sees it as about results achieved.
But prayer isn’t about results–it’s about a relationship with God. After all, in Christianity, one of the largest religious traditions, we believe that the Son of God died on a cross–hardly an escape from suffering.
At the end of the day, I believe our prayers are good, areworth doing–even as we are speechless and silent in horror after attacks like the one in New Zealand.
So I’m reprinting here an essay I wrote in 2017 for The Daily Signal about the Sutherland shooting:
When I was growing up, my parents almost daily rounded up my four siblings and I for family prayer, the seven of us—albeit with differing degrees of attention—reciting out loud the Catholic prayers of the rosary, while meditating on different events in Jesus Christ’s life.
At the end of the rosary, after my dad had rattled off the oh, roughly 785 intentions he wanted the Lord to take some action on, it was the kids’ turn to announce to God what we’d like to see happen.
And so when one of my brothers was 2, he began to pray for a specific intention. At the time, he was a toddler who lost his mind and shrieked “Bu! Bu! BU!” (the “s” seemed to be beyond his ability to enunciate) every time we passed a school bus (and perhaps not coincidentally was very enthused about wearing the color yellow at all times).
My brother as a toddler. (Photo: The Trinko family)
When it was his turn, he took to asking quite ardently for a white car. He had spotted this glistening white model of a car at Toys R Us, one of those cars that kids could ride, and he evidently quite liked the thought of himself zipping through our backyard in this sporty car. Every night, he would pray with real fervor that he would get this white car.
After many, many, many days of praying for this white car (and not having it show up in his life), my brother approached my parents and inquired whether he would ever get this white car. My parents, who were supporting five children and saw Toys R Us kid-size cars as the kind of luxuries reserved for another class of people, gently informed him that no, he wouldn’t be getting the white car.
He, devastated, went on to inquire, I believe, whether he would get the white car in heaven and was told that yes, if he needed the white car to be happy, it would be there in heaven. But no, it would be not showing up in his life here at any point.
Welcome to life as a believer.
The terrible shooting at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, which left 26 dead (including eight members of one family, and an 18-month-old) has launched another round of incredulity about prayer from non-believers.
Actor Wil Wheaton tweeted at House Speaker Paul Ryan, “The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they’d still be alive, you worthless sack of s—.” (He later tweeted, “Hey, real and actual people of faith: I hear you. I apologise for insulting you, in my rage at Paul Ryan’s refusal to address gun violence.”)
The murdered victims were in a church. If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive, you worthless sack of shit. https://t.co/iGHxPrYrLN— Wil 'this account mocks fascists' Wheaton (@wilw) November 5, 2017
Wheaton wasn’t the only liberal rolling his eyes over prayers post-Texas: “Speaker Ryan, bluntly: shove your prayers up you’re ass AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE BESIDES PLATITUDES AND POWER GRABS,” tweeted good old Keith Olbermann. Liberal writer Lauren Duca, like Wheaton, took aim at Ryan, tweeting, “There were plenty of prayers in the church where 27 people were gunned down today. What we need is gun control, you spineless sack of s—.”
Speaker Ryan, bluntly: shove your prayers up your ass AND DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE BESIDES PLATITUDES AND POWER GRABS https://t.co/ZJkO0Pa5Vh— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) November 6, 2017
There were plenty of prayers in the church where 27 people were gunned down today. What we need is gun control, you spineless sack of shit. https://t.co/b07LXwjk0h
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) November 5, 2017
An MSNBC reporter, speaking to Paul Buford, a pastor of a church near where the shooting occurred, asked, “Anytime something like this happens in this country, we all feel so powerless. All we can really offer are thoughts and prayers. Are prayers enough?”
“I think, absolutely they are,” responded Buford, pastor of River Oaks Church. “It’s only our faith in God that’s going to get us through this.”
Of course, there’s no contradiction between praying and taking action. In this particular case, current laws already should have prevented the shooter, Devin Kelley, from obtaining a gun—and it certainly makes sense for Americans to demand the Air Force take action to ensure anyone else with a record like the shooter’s is entered in the correct databases so this doesn’t happen again.
But you can do that—and keep praying.
So if you’re slack-jawed with amazement that the massacre in Sutherland Springs hasn’t shaken people’s faith, hasn’t stopped them from praying, let me ‘splain.
For most people of faith, we don’t pray to God because we expect He’s the ultimate Santa Claus, or as my colleague Daniel Davis suggested in our podcast Monday, because we think He’s some dope genie who’s going to grant us everything we wish for.
As a person of faith, I’ve spent plenty of time silently praying and asking God why the heck He allowed one thing or another. I’ve watched a grandpa I dearly loved, and who I had fervently prayed would survive his heart problem, be lowered into a grave.
I’ve seen friends and families grapple with their own tragedies, and thinking of the Texas shooting, of all those people peacefully sitting in church and then being surrounded by the corpses of those who they loved, I’ve prayed—without understanding.
There is so, so, so much I don’t understand why God allows.
I’m hardly alone. While I’m mainly familiar with Christianity (and my own Catholic faith), there is no faith tradition that has expelled suffering. It’s part and parcel of the human condition, and for those of us who believe in a loving God, it is admittedly a hard thing to understand at times.
I think of Pope John Paul II, whose father, brother, and mother were all dead by the time he was 20, and who had to watch as his beloved Poland was taken over by Nazis, and then communists.
I think of the Catholic saint Gianna Molla, a doctor who died after she didn’t want to put her unborn baby at risk by having a certain medical treatment when she was pregnant (and whose death in 1962 left her four small children motherless).September 11, 2017
And I recall Mother Teresa, who lived a long life, but who—as was revealed after her death—spent decades in an acute spiritual darkness that was no doubt psychological torture.
St. Teresa of Avila, a feisty woman who started an order of nuns in Spain in the 1500s, once said, after falling into a mud puddle while traveling, “God, if this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few.”
It’s a sentiment that I’m sure many a person of faith could wryly relate to.
And yet, on Monday, when I went to mass and the priest asked us to spend a few silent moments in prayer for those hurt and killed in Texas, and for all those who harbored evil in their hearts and were tempted to do horrible things like this, I bowed my head and prayed.
At a mass this summer in London, a priest told a story that’s lingered with me. Once, the priest said, there was a king who went hunting, and in the process, injured one of his fingers. His doctor, who always attended him on hunts, did his best to save the finger, but it was to no avail: In the end, it had to be cut off to prevent infection from spreading.
The king was furious at the doctor, who had simply and casually said, “Good? Bad? Who knows?” regarding the loss of the king’s finger. So the king threw the doctor into a dungeon, and in response, the doctor said simply, “Good? Bad? Who knows?”
A little while later, the king was hunting again, and this time he was captured by some bandits or what not, who decided they would offer him as a human sacrifice to whatever gods they worshipped.
The bandits prepared the king to be killed, but then realized he had only nine fingers. They decided they needed to offer a “perfect” human sacrifice to their gods, and so they let the nine-fingered king go free.
When the king returned to his castle, he summoned the doctor, and told him that the loss of his finger had saved his life, and apologized to the doctor for throwing him in the dungeon.
But the doctor noted that if he had been out of the dungeon, he would have accompanied the king hunting, as was his habit—and as someone with 10 fingers, he would have been an acceptable human sacrifice.
The point, as I’m sure you get, is that our limited perspective sometimes makes things that will ultimately work for the greater good appear bad at the time.
And yet, of course, it is one thing to know that and an entirely different matter to feel it.
So when I pray after Texas, or after a personal tragedy, or after seeing another loved one be hurt, I don’t do so with an expectation that thisprayer will finally break the cycle of evil and suffering, that never again will I or someone I love be devastated by suffering.
Instead, I try to trust. I remember that Jesus Himself, on the eve of his crucifixion, prayed that “may this cup be taken from me”—and yet He went on to be crucified.
I pray for faith, and for trust, and for understanding and for, if there must be more suffering in my life, that I be able to bear it well—but with a swift caveat that please, God, maybe just don’t make me suffer.
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us,” saidJohn Paul II in 1995, speaking at the Orioles Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore. “There is no enemy that Christ has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not now bear with us.”
“And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life which will reach its fulfillment in the resurrection,” he added. “This is our faith. This is our witness before the world.”
Before God, I remember, too, that some prayers have been answered the way I wanted—that my mom’s heart condition was caught in time, and that she has made it through a series of surgeries; that I live in a time in which my rare eye condition can be treated, and I’m not blind as a bat; that so very many of my loved ones are doing well.
Prayer, at the end of the day, isn’t about trying to do that one simple trick to end human suffering. For me, it’s so often simply to be in the presence of God, to allow my own petty heart to be changed by being in His presence.My brother’s ordination to the priesthood in 2017. (Photo: The Trinko family.)
And my brother? Well, his prayer came true as well—in a way. When he was a teen, my parents bought a white Dodge Charger, and he got to zip around in it. And this May, 24 years after he prayed so hard for that white car, he was ordained a Catholic priest. (The photo above this article is from his ordination.)
The car he and another priest share today isn’t white, and it sure isn’t sporty, but he seems OK with it all.
So today, and tomorrow, and for many days after, I’m going to keep praying for the people in that church in Texas. I’ll pray for those who were gunned down, and for all their families and friends.
I’m going to pray for all those who are tempted to do evil, that they resist, and that we never again have a horrible mass shooting, whether in church or elsewhere. I’ll pray for the soul of the shooter, and for his loved ones. And sometimes I’ll just sit and ask: Why?
“The days ahead will be awful for the grieving community of Sutherland Springs,” wrote Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, in The Washington Post.
“But one thing is certain: Come Sunday, they will be gathered again, singing and praying and opening the Word. That church will bear witness to the truth that shaped them: Eternal life cannot be overcome by death.”
The Senate’s failure to consider President Donald Trump’s appointees is affecting more than just the federal judiciary.
That abdication of responsibility has now left one agency—the Merit Systems Protection Board—with no political appointees at all.
Few people outside of Washington, D.C., have even heard of the Merit Systems Protection Board, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t doing important work.
The three-member board is responsible for hearing appeals related to the firing and serious punishment of federal employees.
Yet, it was left totally vacant when the last remaining board member’s term expired at the end of February.
The board has been in bad shape for longer, though. Since January 2017, it had been down to one member—meaning it could not decide any appeals since two board members are needed to form a quorum. There are now nearly 2,000 appeals waiting in the queue to be heard.
Reaction to the Merit Systems Protection Board’s incapacity has been mixed. While the Washington Post warned of the “dire consequences” of “eliminating the guardian of our merit system,” some conservatives have questioned if the board is necessary at all.
Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste, writing recently in The Hill, argued that the Merit Systems Protection Board is “a significant hurdle to getting rid of bad federal employees” that we would be better off without.
Back in 2011, long before the current spate of vacancies, then-Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., wrote, “[While] defenders of the [Merit Systems Protection Board] will contend that there needs to be an independent, third-party adjudicatory system for federal employee appeals … the judicial system already serves that function.”
As I recently testified before Congress, while the board may seem like an unnecessary layer of insulation girding public-sector employees from accountability, letting it wither on the vine is a bad idea.
If the Merit Systems Protection Board ceased to be, the greatest beneficiary would be public-sector unions. Union members, after all, don’t need to go to the board to protest serious disciplinary action by their managers. They can go to arbitration, often accompanied by a union representative working on “official time” and thus paid for by taxpayer dollars.
Meanwhile, nonunion employees would be left to lawyer up (on their own dime) and go to court against the federal government. It would not take long for nonunionized federal employees to wonder whether union dues might be worth the expense after all.
Fully staffing the Merit Systems Protection Board will also allow the federal government to finally remove many federal employees from the civil service.
Though some see the board as a serious obstacle to firing federal employees, the agency affirms personnel decisions about 90 percent of the time. Thus, the vast majority of the federal employees waiting for their appeal to be heard—many of whom might be getting paid while they wait—will lose before the board once their appeals are finally heard.
Another reason to maintain the board, at least for the time being, is the mind-boggling complexity of the Civil Service Reform Act. That’s the statute that dictates how federal employees are hired and fired, paid and promoted, and that area of the law is long overdue for reform.
Until it is, however, maintaining a board of experts who know the system well makes sense.
As Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito put it in oral arguments during a recent Civil Service Reform Act case, “No ordinary lawyer could read these statutes and figure out what they are supposed to do.”
Alito went on to ask whether “somebody who takes pleasure out of pulling the wings off flies” had a hand in drafting the statute.
Today, judges do not need to grapple with the full complexity of the Civil Service Reform Act. Federal employees who appeal a Merit Systems Protection Board decision to the Federal Circuit do not get a trial de novo; that is, a trial from scratch wherein new evidence is introduced and weighed.
The Federal Circuit reviews the record from the board hearing to ensure the board followed the correct procedure and did not make any obvious errors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, from 2005 to 2015, the Federal Circuit upheld the board’s decisions 92 percent of the time.
If the Merit Systems Protection Board did not exist, federal judges would either need to become much more intimately familiar with the fine art of pulling the wings off flies—i.e., the Civil Service Reform Act—or give agencies accused of violating merit system principles the same degree of deference they give the board now.
If Alito is right, the latter is far more likely to occur than the former. With a greater measure of discretion, ideologically polarized agencies could purify their own ranks of dissenters or skew their hiring processes to usher in fellow believers.
Admitting the necessity of a functional Merit Systems Protection Board, given the current structure of our civil service system, should not be read as an endorsement of the status quo, however.
The board is an indispensable pillar of a badly outdated structure built 40 years ago and barely remodeled since. The entire architecture of the Civil Service Reform Act should be reimagined.
As a start, Congress should greatly simplify the administrative appeals process, creating a single forum for appeals of adverse agency actions.
That system existed prior to 1978 and the dissolution of the Civil Service Commission—and it worked well. A modern iteration of the commission could more expeditiously settle appeals and deliver justice for the appellant and the agency.
Splitting responsibility for appeals among several agencies does not guarantee more effective enforcement. The only thing it ensures is a less efficient process.
The post Creaky Merit Systems Protection Board Shows Why Civil Service Is Badly in Need of Reform appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Nicholas Sandmann and his parents have followed up their defamation lawsuit against The Washington Post with one filed Tuesday against CNN. Sandmann, you’ll recall, is one of the Covington Catholic High School students savaged by the left after attending this year’s March for Life in Washington.
The suit charges that CNN “has maintained a well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald Trump and established a history of impugning individuals perceived to be supporters of the president.” This is significant because his lawyers are alleging that CNN targeted Sandmann simply because he was “wearing a souvenir Make America Great Again cap.”
For seven days in January, says the lawsuit, CNN “brought down the full force of its corporate power, influence, and wealth on Nicholas by falsely attacking, vilifying, and bullying him despite the fact that he was a minor child.”
The lawsuit accuses CNN of at least four defamatory TV broadcasts and nine defamatory online articles falsely accusing Sandmann and his fellow students of “engaging in racist conduct by instigating a threatening confrontation with several African American men (‘the Black Hebrew Israelites’) and subsequently instigating a threatening confrontation with Native Americans who were in the midst of prayer.”
Moreover, CNN asserted that Sandmann and his fellow students displayed a “racis[t] mob mentality” and “looked like they were going to lynch” the Black Hebrew Israelites who were merely “preaching about the Bible nearby” because “they didn’t like the color of their skin” and “their religious views.”
The lawsuit also claims that CNN falsely accused Sandmann and his classmates of surrounding Native American activist Nathan Phillips, creating “a really dangerous situation” that caused Phillips to “fear for his safety and the safety of those with him” as the teenagers “harassed and taunted” him.
Full-length videos of the scene showed that none of this was true. In fact, as the lawsuit points out, it was the Black Hebrew Israelites who “bullied, attacked, and confronted” the students with racist and homophobic slurs and threats of violence.
The videos also show that it was Phillips who forced his way into the student group and then “proceeded to target” Sandmann, not the other way around.
The lawsuit says CNN defamed Sandmann because it “elevated false, heinous accusations of racist conduct” against him “from social media to its worldwide news platform without adhering to well-established journalist standards and ethics, including its failure to take the required steps to ensure accuracy, fairness, completeness, fact-checking, neutrality, and heightened sensitivity when dealing with a minor.”
Sandmann’s lawyers call CNN’s coverage “agenda-driven fiction” that “created an extremely dangerous situation by knowingly triggering the outrage of its audience and unleashing that outrage” on Sandmann and his classmates with “patently false accusations.” They even cite CNN political analyst Bakari Sellers as “openly” calling for “physical violence on Twitter.”
Moreover, the suit notes that, as of the date of filing, CNN has never “issued a formal retraction, correction or an apology” for its false coverage.
The lawsuit asks for $75 million in compensatory damages and $200 million in punitive damages to “deter CNN from ever again engaging in false, reckless, malicious, and agenda-driven attacks against children in violation of well-recognized journalist standards and ethics.”
The complaint is almost 60 pages long and describes in great detail the disparities between CNN’s reporting and what actually happened on Jan. 18 in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And that is the key to winning a successful defamation suit—showing false factual claims as opposed to expressions of opinion, no matter how unfair or unjustified.
When compared to the mistakes The Washington Post made, Sandmann seems to have an even stronger case against CNN, which seemed to go all out to vilify Sandmann.
Since Sandmann would not be considered a “public figure” under applicable Supreme Court precedent, he doesn’t have to prove that CNN knew the statements were false, just that they were false. Sandmann’s lawyers make a strong case, though, that CNN acted with “actual malice” and that the network’s behavior was so “outrageous and willful” and such a violation of basic journalistic standards that punitive damages should be awarded.
Interestingly, one of the lawyers representing Sandmann is Lin Wood, the same lawyer who represented Richard Jewell. Jewell was the security guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics who was wrongly accused by CNN and other media companies of bombing the city’s Olympic Park. When CNN was sued for defamation, it agreed to pay Jewell an undisclosed amount. That settlement came shortly after NBC agreed to pay Jewell a reported half-million dollars.
Pursuing one media giant after another as Sandmann and his family are doing is the very same strategy that Wood followed in the Jewell Olympic bombing case. CNN may lawyer up and spend a great deal of time and money fighting this case. On the other hand, it may decide to quickly settle, just as it did after defaming Jewell.
The post Why Covington Teen Could Win His Lawsuit Against CNN appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Democratic politicians are encouraging thousands of children to skip school to demand politicians do something about global warming, including passing the Green New Deal.
“[S]tudents are fighting like their world depends on it,” former Vice President Al Gore said in a tweet extolling Haven Coleman, a 12-year-old listed as the U.S. climate strike’s co-founder and co-director.
“I stand with all students striking here in Atlanta and across world today,” Gore tweeted Friday as thousands of students skipped school to protest climate change.
Led by the inspiring @GretaThunberg and @ClimateReality leader @havenruthie in the U.S, students are fighting like their world depends on it. I stand with all students striking here in Atlanta and across world today. #YouthClimateStrike #FridaysForFuture— Al Gore (@algore) March 15, 2019
Student strikes were inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, who began ditching school in August to sit in protest outside the Swedish parliament. Thunberg told the United Nations in December that “civilization is being sacrificed” by adults who were “stealing” their children’s futures by not immediately shedding fossil fuels.
Tens of thousands of students have since skipped school to demand politicians immediately address global warming. U.S. strikers are demanding Congress pass the Green New Deal resolution introduced by New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Backed by well-funded environmental groups, youth strikers are protesting “for the Green New Deal, for a fair and just transition to a 100% renewable economy, and for ending the creation of additional fossil fuel infrastructure,” according to the Youth Climate Strike website.
The kids say “inaction has left us with just 11 years to change the trajectory of the worst effects of climate change.” That deadline is based on the misleading media hype surrounding a U.N. report released in October.
Ocasio-Cortez, activists, and politicians have claimed humanity has less than 12 years to cut emissions and avert catastrophic global warming—a message they only amplified as students took to the streets Friday.
California Rep. Ro Khanna said lawmakers should listen to the teenagers and children striking. Khanna, a supporter of the Green New Deal resolution, called on Congress to immediately address global warming.
“I am so energized to see young people across this country taking action on climate change,” Khanna tweeted Thursday night. “Our job as lawmakers is to listen to them.”
“If we don’t act, they will have to deal with the fallout from climate disaster,” the Democrat tweeted.
I am so energized to see young people across this country taking action on climate change.
Our job as lawmakers is to listen to them.
If we don’t act, they will have to deal with the fallout from climate disaster.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also extolled Coleman and the other leaders of the “Youth Climate Strike” movement in the U.S., which includes Isra Hirsi, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar’s 16-year-old daughter.
Three amazing young women—Isra Hirsi, age 16; Haven Coleman, age 12; and Alexandria Villaseño, age 13—have organized youth climate strikes around the country tomorrow. Their demand: a livable future for their generation.
Find a strike and spread the word: https://t.co/AXx41ldvsR pic.twitter.com/i5FVRrGh5u
Omar, a Democrat, will march with climate strikers in Washington, D.C., Friday. Omar is also a Green New Deal supporter.
I’m answering that demand Secretary, and will be standing with them at tomorrow’s march! I hope our country and congress will answer their demand as well. https://t.co/Qqtkrw6W2D— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 14, 2019
However, Democratic leadership and party moderates have tried to distance themselves from the Green New Deal, which calls for a massive expansion of government control over the economy.
Republicans, on the other hand, want the resolution debated publicly and are confident it can be used against Democrats in the 2020 elections. Some Republicans have called the Green New Deal a grab bag of “socialist” policy demands.
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The post Democrats Encourage Kids to Ditch School and Join the ‘Climate Strike’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Police said they are evacuating and searching a “location of interest” in Dunedin, New Zealand, after shootings at two mosques Friday in Christchurch, which is hours away from Dunedin.
“This is a location of interest in relation to the serious firearms incident in Christchurch today,” police said, according to CNN. “Evacuations of properties in the immediate area have taken place as a precaution.”
“It is clear that this is one of New Zealand’s darkest days,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.
“My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!”
My warmest sympathy and best wishes goes out to the people of New Zealand after the horrible massacre in the Mosques. 49 innocent people have so senselessly died, with so many more seriously injured. The U.S. stands by New Zealand for anything we can do. God bless all!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 15, 2019
Four people had been detained in relation to the shootings, according to a USA Today report Friday, but other reports mention three people. A 28-year-old Australian man calling himself Brenton Tarrant connected himself to the shootings after posting a manifesto on his childhood, his fear of white genocide, and his desire to send a message that “nowhere in the world is safe,” reported The Guardian.
“I chose firearms for the affect it would have on social discourse, the extra media coverage they would provide and the effect it could have on the politics of United States and thereby the political situation of the world,” the manifesto states, according to The Guardian.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed an Australian man had been arrested in New Zealand.
New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush asked mosques to close and locals to stay indoors after the shootings.
“Let’s not presume the danger is gone,” he said, according to USA Today.
Muslims make up roughly 1 percent of the New Zealand population, according to 2013 census figures, reported NBC News. The country has 57 mosques and other Muslim centers, according to the Federation of Islamic Associations.
“Muslims have been in New Zealand for over 100 years. Nothing like that has ever happened,” said Mustafa Farouk, president of the Federation of Islamic Associations, according to NBC News.
New Zealand’s Muslim population has risen nearly 30 percent since 2006 to 46,149, reported NBC News.
The effects of the shootings are being felt thousands of miles away. The Los Angeles Police Department is stepping up patrols around mosques, the department said Friday, according to ABC 7.
The shootings are believed to be the first massacres in houses of worship in New Zealand’s history, reported NBC News.
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The post New Zealand Mosque Shootings Take at Least 49 Lives appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Evidence continues to mount that the U.S. Agency for Global Media is in profound need of new leadership.
Scandal after scandal has arisen from poor management. Disdain for President Donald Trump and his administration at times has led producers and reporters to engage in total unprofessionalism.
The newest outrage comes from the Voice of America’s Spanish-language website “El Mundo al Dia,” which on its March 5 edition went way over the line.
As the announcer promoted a story about Trump’s policy on Venezuela, the sound of a snorting pig was played in the background to accompany a photo of the president.
The VOA’s performance was worthy of “Saturday Night Live” on one of its unfunny nights. One can only wonder who the genius responsible for it was, and why no producer thought to veto it.
It was certainly not what U.S. taxpayers should expect from the government-funded media they pay for.
Regrettably, it was in no way an isolated incident at the Voice of America, where the president and first lady have been lampooned by staff before, both publicly and on the Facebook pages of employees.
The latest posting was removed from the website of “El Mundo al Dia” following a complaint filed by the House Foreign Relations Committee after it was exposed by a Spanish-language broadcaster.
The VOA is part of the $680 million U.S. broadcasting complex now known as the U.S. Agency for Global Media, formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
Now more than two years into the Trump administration, the agency is still run by Obama-era executives, who are determined to preserve their influence and power—and it shows.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee needs to expedite the confirmation of Trump’s nominee for the position of chief executive officer, documentary filmmaker Michael Pack.
There’s simply no excuse for the inattention to improving the quality of this important foreign-policy tool.
Pack’s nomination lapsed with the end of the 115th Congress under pressure from opposition from Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (who has since left office). It had to be resubmitted by the administration in January.
The world stage is replete with communications-related challenges to U.S. foreign policy. The U.S. government has the tools to engage such challenges with the right leadership. Instead, it seems, the administration itself has become the target of hostile programming.
The post Swipe at Trump Shows Need to Clean House at VOA’s Parent Agency appeared first on The Daily Signal.
What are the economic effects of tariffs?
That question has been studied in detail dating back to Adam Smith’s “The Wealth of Nations” in 1776, and a general consensus was long ago agreed to among economists.
Tariffs decrease the health, happiness, and fortunes of those engaging in trade by:
- Steering trade towards inefficient producers.
- Encouraging the covert smuggling of goods.
- Rewarding political lobbies rather than productivity and creating vested special-interest groups that depend on government favors for profitability.
- Creating dead-weight losses as consumer costs typically far outweigh any gains to protected producers.
- Harming domestic producers by provoking retaliatory tariffs from other nations.
- Increasing production costs of domestic producers that use imports in their production processes.
As these effects work their way through the economy, the result is reduced employment, slower growth, and a decline in dynamism and innovation.
Economists with the International Monetary Fund and the University of California at Berkley have quantified the macroeconomic damage caused by tariffs in a recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper.
Their findings include:
- Statistically significant declines in domestic output and productivity occur when tariffs are increased.
- More unemployment and higher inequality occur.
- Raising tariffs in advanced economies during economic expansions is particularly harmful.
- Tariff increases are more damaging than tariff reductions are beneficial.
- The much-ballyhooed trade balance is barely affected by tariffs.
The Reciprocal Trade Act would inflict the kind of economic and real-life damage that generations of economists have been warning us about since at least Adam Smith’s time in 1776—which was a very good year for economic theory and, of course, also a very good year for America.
The post The Long History of the Economic Costs of Higher Tariffs appeared first on The Daily Signal.
‘I Perfectly Understand Why This Kills People’: Former Transgender Jamie Shupe Details How Process Affected Him
Following up on his viral essay in The Daily Signal, former transgender and nonbinary person Jamie Shupe joins us on the podcast to share more details about his journey, how the mainstream media lost interest once he went back to being a man, and why he thinks it hurts men and women to promote transgenderism. Read the interview, posted below, or listen to the interview on the podcast.
We also cover these stories:
- Almost all House members voted for a resolution asking the Justice Department to release the report by special counsel Robert Mueller.
- The Supreme Court of Connecticut issued a ruling that could pave the way for lawsuits against the company that manufactured the gun used in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre.
- There’s now more millionaires in the United States than there are people in Sweden or Portugal.
The Daily Signal podcast is available on Ricochet, iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play, or Stitcher. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts. If you like what you hear, please leave a review. You can also leave us a message at 202-608-6205 or write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy the show!
Daniel Davis: We’re joined now over Skype by a man named Jamie Shupe. He’s the author of a recent Daily Signal op-ed that tells the story of his journey into transgenderism to nonbinary, and eventually back to male. Jamie, thanks so much for being on the podcast.
Jamie Shupe: Thank you for having me.
Davis: So Jamie, you came into public view back in 2015 when you wrote in The New York Times about your decision to be a transgender woman. Since then, you switched to nonbinary, you became the first American ever to receive nonbinary legal status. And then finally this year you reclaimed your birth sex of male. Before we get into questions, I just want to thank you for being so open and vulnerable to write the piece.
Shupe: Yeah, I have really did put myself out there. I mean, the worst possible thing in the world is to admit your mental illnesses, and to admit the sexual issues that I have.
Davis: Well, we do appreciate it. So our first question here is pretty basic. What inclined you toward transgenderism? What made you think that despite your body, deep down inside, that you were a woman?
Shupe: I’m guilty of conflating sex stereotypes with thinking that I was a female. I’ve always had this internal view of myself as being super feminine, which is highly distorted because the rest of the world has never seen that. That should’ve been a red flag. It’s one of the gender dysphoria traits that’s listed in the [“Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders”].
But again, because there was so many failures in my therapy, nobody ever confronted me with that, nobody ever explained it. I thought things like wearing women’s clothing and having these psychological traits of being a female of made me a female, and it doesn’t.
Katrina Trinko: So you mention in your op-ed that you think you actually have a certain condition, that I’m not going to try to pronounce, but could you explain that condition to us, and why you think you actually had that?
Shupe: I’m assuming we’re talking about Dr. Ray Blanchard’s a diagnosis of autogynephilia.
Trinko: Yes, what you said.
Shupe: Yeah, we’re talking about autogynephilia. That was part of me going back to my birth sex. Because this is this thing that’s been in the back of my head for years now as a transgender woman, and even while I was nonbinary—and it was locked away in this trunk, and I was refusing to face it.
Well, I mean, here back in January of 2019, I went ahead and I broke out the articles from Blanchard. And I was just like, “Oh my God. This is true. This is who I am.”
What it means is, I’m sexually attracted to the idea of myself as a woman. Even when I have sex with men, all I picture is me being a woman in my head. And that’s the motivation for the sex. I’m not attracted to the man’s body whatsoever, like a gay male is, it’s just strictly a sexual paraphilia. And it’s the worst thing in the world to have to admit about yourself. But it’s completely true.
Davis: So Jamie, in your piece, you talked about some of the painful roots of this in your childhood. You talked about abuse and how that factored into your mindset. That’s also something we’ve seen among a lot of other people who become transgender. Tell us about that.
Shupe: The childhood sexual abuse really messed me up. So I grew up in Maryland suburbs, one of those white picket fence things. And football [involved an activity called] … smear the queer. And it was really painful to be getting sexually molested by my male uncle, and then going out with the neighborhood kids and playing smear the queer.
I just had this tremendous guilt about it. “Oh my God. Do they know I’m the queer?” And I felt damaged.
And at one point I even used it as a mental crutch to tell myself that I believed I was a female because of the sexual abuse. I would say, “OK, well, he targeted me because I was really a female.”
Which that isn’t true. He was a pedophile. He was attracted to little boys. Yeah.
Trinko: So there aren’t really words for how sad that is that that happened to you. And thank you for sharing that. I would just wonder, what would you say? I mean, horribly, this does happen at children. And how do you think we as a society … I mean, you’re not happy with where your path ended or went. How do we help kids who experienced this, and adults who experience this in a real way?
Shupe: Well, we have to start talking about it. And better yet, we even have to start protecting the young boys and males.
Shupe: One of the things I’ve done is I have a WordPress site. It’s called Bathroom Incidents. It’s absolutely mind-blowing the number of little boys that get molested in bathrooms, in public bathrooms. People always think automatically that it’s females. Like I said, if you read this WordPress site of mine, it’s like, oh my God, you would not believe the scale of the horror.
Yeah. It’s that bad.
Something too that happened to me that was very influential, so this is a pretty bad day going on the Veterans Administration. On the West Coast, they actually prescribed [me] … synthetic marijuana, and I was in the Medical Marijuana Program.
So then when the estrogen ejections put me in the psych ward on the East Coast, one of the conditions of letting me out of the psych ward was I had to go to a drug rehab. And so I went, it was down in Florida. Basically the days in the drug rehab were spent just unpacking our issues.
I was in a group with a whole bunch of men. And one day I started talking about my sexual abuse. And when I did, almost every single hand in the room went up, that they had been molested as children. That’s how bad this is.
Davis: Wow. Yeah. You mentioned the VA. I should mention also, you’re a veteran, spent 18 years in the army. So when you sought out help from the VA for this mental illness, you were going to … you wanted to transition to a woman. But did they know about your past abuse, and did you encounter any caution or resistance at all?
Shupe: No. Sadly the resistance was zero. It’s just like I wrote in the op-ed, they’ve been conditioned where if somebody shows up and says, “OK, I’m a female, I think I’m a female,” they automatically bless off on that. Even the psychological exams they gave me, which there was three very thorough ones that lasted for hours.
Basically, they spent a lot of time picking apart my childhood. They ignored most of my military traumas. And they didn’t even really talk about gender dysphoria, even though they would write things like “Patient meets criteria for gender dysphoria” in the final reports. I mean, it was a really sad situation.
Trinko: So when you started transitioning, what was it like for you? Did you start feeling mentally healthier? Did you feel better? What was that experience like?
Shupe: That was … I was promised that this would help me. Even the informed consent document in my VA medical records states that you will get better mental health from taking hormones.
It was just the opposite.
I steadily deteriorated. They had to keep me on psych drugs. Like I said, I was in the Medical Marijuana Program in Oregon. I stayed doped up all the time.
Yeah, I mean it, this did not help me at all. It destabilized my mental health, because I was living in a false reality. I was fighting my body. I was fighting society. I perfectly understand why this kills people and why there’s such high suicide rate.
Society gets the blame. It’s not society. It’s the program itself that’s killing us.
Trinko: Yeah. Could you actually expand on that a little bit? Because often the thing that we hear is that if you don’t allow people to transition, they will commit suicide. But it sounds like you’re arguing that the transition itself can make you suicidal.
Shupe: Yes, it does. Because that’s an interesting question. Let’s do the chicken and the egg thing. Does the gender dysphoria really come before? Or does it come [when] you’ve convinced somebody that you’re the opposite sex? My argument is that it comes afterward. That’s exactly what happened in my case.
I’ll give you an example. Once I diagnosed myself as being a female, and people affirmed me as a female, OK, so I’m looking at myself and I’m going, “Oh my God, I’m in a male body.” And you set out on this crash course to turn yourself into a female. And it’s impossible.
In the military we call that setting yourself up for failure. Like I said, it’s literally impossible to change your sex and you’ll die trying.
Davis: So on that, Jamie, you eventually decided to switch to nonbinary. How did that idea come about? And what’s the backstory there?
Shupe: By late 2015, I was really realizing that my sex change was a failure. I didn’t know how to get myself out of that mess. Here I was, I’d been in the New York Times telling everybody I was a transwoman—I was cheerleading the cause.
It had wrecked the relationship with my family. None of my family ever did accept this. And I don’t blame them in hindsight. Yeah, so I needed to … OK, so how the hell am I going to get myself out of out of being a female?
And then I started encountering people who identified as gender queer. And seeing the nonbinary on the internet. And I had a noble intention with this at first. Because you do have the suicide factor. And it certainly crossed my mind about, “OK, should I just go ahead and just commit suicide and get it over with?”
And I figured, OK, so maybe if I make this nonbinary thing legal, that it would give people a landing zone. Because I desperately needed one.
And another component of it was, OK, it’s totally not believable that anybody who is in a male body can actually be a female. I mean, that’s just hogwash. I don’t know why the doctors tell people that. The absolute best case scenario of this would be that you have a disorder of sexual development.
If gender identity was real, and I don’t believe it is, then I would have that as a female side. And then of course I would have my male biology. And those two things could theoretically make somebody intersex and give them a disorder of sexual development. And those are the kinds of mind games I was playing with myself. And that’s how this whole thing came about.
Trinko: You’d also mentioned in the op-ed that you felt you weren’t able to, for lack of a better term, pass as a woman during that stage. Do you think if you had been able to … I mean, it does seem sometimes with medical intervention at certain stages, that is possible. If you had socially been accepted as a woman, do you think you still would have switched to nonbinary?
Shupe: There’s actually something else we should talk about on that. This goes back to the VA again. Prior to making the decision to go to court, I asked the doctor, and it’s the same one who wrote to sex change letter to nonbinary. I asked to be genetically tested.
And I told myself, “OK, if this genetic testing comes back and says you’re a male, then I’m going to go ahead and go and get back to being male.” Well, the doctor refuses to do the testing. And she actually told me that the knowledge would harm me. So I mean, that was a tremendous failure in my care. So I went ahead with the court case.
But to answer your question, one of the things I’ve seen, or some of the things I’ve seen, I’ve met some incredibly pretty transsexuals, and they’re still miserable. Because they know they’re not females, females know they’re not females, and it’s a very hollow experience.
Davis: What kind of reception did you get when you became nonbinary? It was covered that you were the first person in America to get that legal status. Tell us about that.
Shupe: That was going from being an absolute nobody. I mean, sure I was in The New York Times. But I mean, outside of the trans community, people didn’t really know about that. But to go from being a nobody to being on the world stage like that, it was unbelievable.
And it actually made it very difficult for me to return to my birth sex because I spent my time thinking, “OK, what is there? Seven or eight billion humans on the planet. And how many of them ever get to do something that’s the first time ever to happen in the United States?” Yeah. I mean, so I had to destroy that.
Trinko: So eventually you decide to return to being a man again. And you write in the op-ed, “My sex change to nonbinary was a medical and scientific fraud.” Explain why you decided to switch back.
Shupe: I have struggled the entire time with, “Oh my God, I’m leading people’s children into this.” That bothered me more than anything.
Because part of creating the nonbinary thing too was to hopefully give people a space where they didn’t feel like they had the need to change their bodies. But yet the transgender activist folks were basically still wanting to medicalize nonbinary as well. So that turned out to be a failure on my expectations.
Davis: I’m curious, Jamie, if you’ve heard back from The New York Times or any of those other outlets that celebrated your initial coming out?
Shupe: No. It’s kind of shocking. Yeah, I’ve really gotten a lesson in how the media works. I mean, virtually the entire left has been silent, nobody wants to tell the truth about really what happened with my court victory.
Trinko: I’m assuming that you must have interacted a lot with members of the LGBT community during these years. And what is the message you would like them to hear from you?
Shupe: They need to stop what they’re doing. There isn’t going to be a gay or lesbian community with what the transgenderism is doing. Because they’re essentially making everybody straight.
Even worse than that, I mean, they are medicalizing sex stereotypes. This has become a world where if you believe you’re feminine that they turn you into a female. If you believe you’re masculine, they turn you into a male. And they fix your sexual orientation in the process. That’s a pretty horrible thing when you break it down like that.
Davis: You wrote in the piece that … and this is one of the more powerful lines, I thought, you said, “I should have been stopped. But out-of-control transgender activism had made the nurse practitioner too scared to say no.”
Now in that quote, you were talking about the one nurse who did have caution about your transition. And you said you talked about how you fired her after that. But that really pointed to something in the medical community, the culture in the medical community. What changes would you like to see within the medical profession?
Shupe: It’s deeper than the medical profession. Because what the LGBT advocates are doing is they’re passing all these very rigid conversion therapy laws. And they’re making it literally impossible for anybody to question the motivations about why people were doing these gender changes. So that has to start there as well. Yeah, I mean, basically the doctors and the clinicians, their hands are tied because they literally get fired for asking the right questions.
Trinko: So you’ve been incredibly open about your challenges with mental health, and how they played a role in this. How do you think the medical community should handle gender dysphoria when a patient comes forward with it? What do you wish someone had said to you at the time? I don’t want to ask you to reveal something too private, but is there a treatment now that you’re doing that’s working for you?
Shupe: I think the medical community needs to stop lying to people. These are essentially quick theories that have come out of some basement of academia. I mean, it’s unfathomable that a doctor can go to medical school and learn about the body, and learn all this. Spend years, and years, and years getting this education.
And then have the nerve to sit down in front of somebody and believe that they could be born in the wrong body. There’s something really horrible wrong with that. I don’t have words for it.
Davis: Well, what advice would you have for someone who thinks they might be transgender? Or to someone who has a friend or a loved one who thinks they’re transgender?
Shupe: Transgender is an adjective. It’s not a noun. It doesn’t really exist. This whole gender identity thing is a fraud. It’s legal fiction. And people have to start realizing that.
It might be a big fad right now, but people are making changes to their bodies that you can’t walk back. I am so incredibly lucky that I did this at a late age. I didn’t lose my job because of it. I don’t know how, but I didn’t lose my marriage because of it. I have a child, which I’m very thankful for.
People are just destroying their lives, believing that these gender transitions are real. And then they end up having some pretty ugly senior years when it all falls apart.
Trinko: So, as you probably know, your article for The Daily Signal went viral. And there’s been a lot of comments online and in social media. And some of the more mean ones have said you switched to female, you switched to nonbinary, now you’re switching to male, clearly you’re going to switch again in a few years. What’s your response to that?
Shupe: Part of my education of learning about myself, it affected me pretty profoundly when that doctor, the psychiatrist at the VA said, “I think you have borderline personality disorder.”
So I went home and opened up Google, and punched that in. And sure enough, one of the traits of borderline personality disorder is you have a constantly shifting sense of identity. So that’s taught me a lot. And I think that’s going to help me never make this mistake again.
Davis: Well, Jamie, it obviously, it takes a lot more than we can fathom for you to write the piece and come on the podcast. Thank you so much for speaking out and for taking time.
Trinko: We really appreciate your courage.
Shupe: Yes. I cannot say enough about how much I’m grateful to The Heritage Foundation and The Daily Signal for this. So thank all of you as well.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he is committed to processing judges in the 116th Congress, as well as working to reform immigration and forcing a vote on late-term abortion.
“So I’m committed to processing as many highly qualified conservative judges at the district circuit level as possible,” Graham said Thursday at an event at The Heritage Foundation titled “Republican Judiciary Committee Priorities for the 116th Congress.”
“We’re off to a very good start,” the South Carolina senator added.
He said the Democrats using the nuclear option in 2013 and departing with precedent to confirm judicial nominees with 51 votes instead of 60 has changed the way the Senate does business.
“I work with Democrats, try to accommodate their needs where I can—bottom line is they changed the rules with circuit court [nominees] back in 2013,” Graham said.
Graham also called for a “broader package” on immigration.
“If you get to America as a family, you bring a child, you are never going to leave,” Graham said. “Two percent of the unaccompanied children wind up going back to their home country. If we don’t change these things then you can build walls to the sky—[it’s] not going to work.”
“So we’ve got to change the law. That means probably negotiating a little broader package.”
The South Carolina lawmaker said he believes that illegal immigration would stop if America enforced its immigration law.
“If word ever got out that if you get here, you’re going right back, they would stop,” Graham said. “Having said that, you need a barrier.”
Graham also said he has heard “compelling testimony” that approximately thousands of young people are trafficked into the U.S. for sex exploitation and that these young people are trafficked across non-ports of entry since law enforcement officials stationed at ports of entry are trained to recognize suspicious behavior.
“Human trafficking experts said if you had real barriers the chance of smuggling children into the country for sexual exploitation goes way down,” Graham said. “So we’ll be working on that.”
The Senate voted 59-41 Thursday to reject President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration he announced on Feb. 15 in order to unlock funding for his promised barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump hinted that he would veto the Senate’s rejection.
VETO!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 14, 2019
Graham also said he thinks the Senate should take a vote on late-term abortion.
“We’re one of seven countries that allow abortion on demand in the fifth month, 20 weeks,” Graham said. I want to have a hearing and a vote. I want to get out of the club. You’re in it with North Korea and Iran—very seldom is it good to be in a club with them about anything.”
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee who joined Graham at the Heritage event, said one of his goals is to continue to build on the success of criminal justice reform in the First Step Act, which Trump signed into law in December.
“I believe that the conservative message is absolutely the best message for people but not only from a financial standpoint but also from a moral and what is right standpoint, Collins said of criminal justice reform, adding that he wants the House to “continue looking at reasonable ways to deal with sentencing reforms and also the mandatory minimum issue that we have in this country.”
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