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Podcast: House Conservatives Weigh in on the Wall, Shutdown, and National Emergencies

Fri, 2019-01-11 03:01

Does President Donald Trump have the authority to declare the situation at the border a national emergency? What should happen at the border? Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Mark Green of Tennessee, and Chip Roy of Texas join to share their views.

We also cover these stories:

  • Trump again suggested he might declare a “national emergency” if he can’t get a deal for the wall.
  • Trump announces that, due to the shutdown, he will cancel his trip to Davos, Switzerland, where he was slated to participate in the World Economic Forum.
  • In a speech in Cairo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made very clear America’s apology tour days are over.

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

The post Podcast: House Conservatives Weigh in on the Wall, Shutdown, and National Emergencies appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

These 2 Democrats Are Finally Standing Up to Anti-Christian Bigotry in Their Party

Thu, 2019-01-10 18:31

Democrats pride themselves on “diversity.”

With the new Congress, they’ve hailed two new Muslim House members, made accomodations for religious headwear on the House floor, and celebrated record numbers of minorities in their freshman class.

This penchant for diversity makes their growing blind spot all the more glaring. That blind spot is anti-Christian bigotry, seen in the hostile questions that Democratic senators have aimed at Trump nominees that inch dangerously close to a religious test for public office.

Until recently, only Republicans had cried foul.

Senators like James Lankford, R-Okla., and Mike Lee, R-Utah, came to the defense of Amy Coney Barrett in 2017, whose qualifications to sit on a U.S. appeals court were questioned on account of her “dogma.” One senator had the gall to ask her directly whether she considered herself “an orthodox Catholic.”

So it comes as genuine relief this week that a Democrat, finally, is saying enough is enough.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii published a searing op-ed on Tuesday chiding her Democratic colleagues in the Senate for questioning Brian C. Buescher, a Trump judicial nominee, over his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic civic organization.

Back in December, Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, used their questioning time to scrutinize the Knights’ “extreme positions” on same-sex marriage and abortion. (Shock: The Knights of Columbus oppose both, in accordance with the Catholic Church.)

Hirono asked, “If confirmed, do you intend to end your membership with this organization to avoid any appearance of bias?”

Harris pried: “Were you aware that the Knights of Columbus opposed a woman’s right to choose when you joined the organization?”

Buescher answered: “I do not recall if I was aware whether the Knights of Columbus had taken a position on the abortion issue when I joined at the age of 18.”

In her editorial for The Hill, Gabbard pulled no punches toward her colleagues for using a man’s Catholic faith and affiliations against him. She wrote:

While I oppose the nomination of Brian Buescher to the U.S. District Court in Nebraska, I stand strongly against those who are fomenting religious bigotry, citing as disqualifiers Buescher’s Catholicism and his affiliation with the Knights of Columbus. If Buescher is “unqualified” because of his Catholicism and affiliation with the Knights of Columbus, then President John F. Kennedy, and the “liberal lion of the Senate” Ted Kennedy would have been “unqualified” for the same reasons.

Gabbard was almost completely alone among progressives. Her side reacted furiously.

Tulsi Gabbard is accusing female senators of anti-Catholic bigotry for (rightly) questioning a judicial nominee's membership in an extreme right-wing anti-choice anti-LGBT all-male organization. Gabbard is not a progressive, she's a fraud. https://t.co/Be5uHYTxp2

— Jill Filipovic (@JillFilipovic) January 9, 2019

But she wasn’t completely alone. Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, one of the only pro-life Democrats left in the House, voiced his concern on the matter:

I would never, ever have expected that membership in the Knights of Columbus would be something that would be viewed with suspicion and maybe even worse. It’s terrible to see membership in the Knights of Columbus questioned like that, but at the core this gets back to the question of religious freedom, and it’s something that we have to continue to speak out about because we, our country, can’t afford to lose that freedom that we’re guaranteed in the First Amendment to the Constitution.

Senators who dismiss the Knights of Columbus as “extreme” show just how little they know about the organization. The Knights mostly focus on charity work for the poor, disabled, and orphaned, while raising money to educate underprivileged students who come from all religious affiliations.

They have also been working to aid persecuted Christians in the Middle East and all over the world.

The Knights of Columbus are, essentially, a Catholic version of the Rotary Club. And the depth of their giving is impressive to say the least.

The Federalist’s Helen Raleigh put it best: “The only thing extreme about [the Knights of Columbus] is their generosity.”

As we have noted before at The Daily Signal, religious tests for public office are clearly forbidden by the Constitution. Senate Democrats’ increasing hostility to nominees who hold deep Christian beliefs is a regression back to a sectarian sensibility we thought we had left behind.

In the 1920s, there was heightened tension between Catholic and Protestant Christians in America. Some, like the Ku Klux Klan, openly questioned whether Catholics could even be Americans—especially in light of the sharp increase of immigrants from Catholic countries.

The Klan painted the Knights of Columbus as a Catholic conspiracy to overthrow the Constitution and install the pope in its place. They also waged a campaign to abolish increasingly popular Columbus Day celebrations, which they considered another dastardly Catholic attempt to normalize their religious beliefs.

Democratic Sen. Robert Byrd was the last ex-klansman to serve in the Senate. But it appears some modern progressives have amnesia and are picking up the anti-Catholic torch yet again.

Certainly, a judicial nominee’s views and legal positions are relevant as to whether they are fit to serve, but attempting to disqualify them for the simple fact that they are affiliated with a specific religious group is corrosive.

The charge against the Knights of Columbus, and Buescher, seems to be that their true religion is Catholicism and not progressivism. That is a religious test in disguise—but they cannot be allowed to get by with it.

The Heritage Foundation’s Joel Griffith recently pointed out that anti-Semitism has gained a new foothold in the 116th Congress. So has anti-Catholicism. But it’s encouraging to see a brave two members of the Democratic Party finally pushing back. Let their tribe increase.

The post These 2 Democrats Are Finally Standing Up to Anti-Christian Bigotry in Their Party appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

What 3 Conservative Lawmakers Want Trump to Do on Wall, National Emergency

Thu, 2019-01-10 18:22

A conservative lawmaker says Congress should appropriate money for a barrier along the southern border so that President Donald Trump does not feel forced to declare a national emergency in order to secure funding for it.

“I think we should do [a border wall] legislatively. I think we should actually appropriate the dollars for a border security wall,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Thursday at Conversations with Conservatives, a monthly press Q&A hosted by conservative lawmakers and The Heritage Foundation. “But I do think it’s an emergency, and if the president declares that, then we’ll go from there.”

As the partial government shutdown reaches its 20th day Thursday, Trump has said he is ready to declare a national emergency if Democrats fail to allocate $5.7 billion for a barrier along the southern border.

“I think the best approach is legislatively, because if he goes the emergency route, I am convinced it’s going to wind up in court … and that just delays what we all know needs to get done,” Jordan said.

Rep. Mark Green, R-Tenn., who was sworn in to Congress Jan. 3, said Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency.

“There is some concern out there that we would be giving executive branch power if he did do some kind of a national emergency,” Green said. “That authority is already there, it’s in the act of ’76, so I just want the conservatives out there to know that.”

“In 1976, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, sponsored by Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.J. The legislation drew bipartisan support and President Gerald Ford, a Republican, signed it into law,” The Daily Signal’s Fred Lucas reported earlier this week, adding that, “The new law put a statutory framework in place allowing a president to declare a national emergency, with limitations. Mainly, Congress may terminate the emergency declaration if it has the votes to do so. Also, a president must renew the declaration of an emergency after 180 days.”

Jordan also stressed that there is a crisis at the border.

Pushing back against Democrats “manufactured crisis” rhetoric, Jordan said, “Anyone who has watched the whole caravan phenomenon over the last several months, how that’s unfolded, knows this is a crisis.”

“If Democrats can get past this position they’ve taken, which is they’re more concerned about stopping the president than they are with helping the country, we can get to a solution and address the terrible things that are going on there,” he added.

“If not, I think we’re in this shutdown for a while.”

Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, also a freshman lawmaker, highlighted the past bipartisan backing for a wall.

“Congress has authorized the construction of a fence for the better part of over two decades, multiple times, with bipartisan support, including the support of [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer and [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, so it is important to note that we have spoken as a body …that it should be built, it has been appropriated in the past, we need more appropriation now,” Roy said.

Jordan remarked that “our side is holding strong,” but suggested there might be cracks on the Democrat side.

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Jan. 2 on CNN’s “New Day” that existing barriers need improvement.

“There are areas along the border where there are currently fences that are put up or barriers that are put up that need to be enhanced,” Jeffries said.

Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, also said, “There may be places where everybody will agree, ‘Yeah, a wall makes sense there,’” in an an appearance Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” But he added: “The problem is [Trump’s] styling this as the wall or nothing and we’re going to keep the government closed. That’s not the way we make policy in this country.”

Rep. Roy said Trump’s border requests were “perfectly appropriate and reasonable and common sense, exactly what the American people want.”

“He wants funding for a fence, a wall; he wants funding for immigration judges; he wants funding for the technology for our folks on the border to do what they need to do, and there’s money in there for humanitarian purposes, to make sure we’re taking care of people at the border,”

“What we are seeing, Roy added, “is a real tragedy that is totally avoidable if the leaders of this country do what the American people want.”

The post What 3 Conservative Lawmakers Want Trump to Do on Wall, National Emergency appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

During Trump Visit to Border, Families of Slain Officers Call for Border Wall

Thu, 2019-01-10 18:11

After his police officer brother, who had immigrated to the United States legally, was allegedly killed by an illegal immigrant, Reggie Singh says it’s time for the government to do whatever it takes to stop illegal immigration.

“The way he was killed, what my family’s going through right now, I do not want any other family, law enforcement person to go through,” Singh said Thursday in McAllen, Texas, during a roundtable discussion led by President Donald Trump.

Trump had spoken about the slaying of Newman, California, police officer Ronil Singh, 33, during his prime-time national television address Tuesday night.

The president was visiting the southern border Thursday amid a partial federal government shutdown over border security funding.

Pablo Virgen Mendoza, who had reportedly illegally crossed the border from Mexico into Arizona, was charged with fatally shooting Singh during a traffic stop in the early hours of Dec. 26.

“Whatever it takes to minimize, put a stop to it, my family really supports it,” the slain officer’s brother said. “At 33 years old, Ronil Singh was cremated. I had to pick him up. It breaks my heart, and no one should ever ever have to go through that.

“Looking at that 5-month-old baby, looking for his dad, no one should ever go through that,” he said.

Trump is in a budgetary standoff with congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall, which led to about 25 percent of the federal government shutting down on Dec. 22.

“Nobody talks about how unfair it is to the victims of these brutal killings,” the president said, surrounded at a table by Customs and Border Protection agents, families of victims of crimes committed by illegal immigrants, and Texas community and political leaders.

Marie Vega was proud of her son, Javier Vega Jr., when he became a Marine and later a Border Patrol agent. She never expected he would be killed while fishing in 2014 by an illegal immigrant.

“Every day, I was scared I would lose my son,” Vega said. “Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine my son dying at a family outing. It was supposed to be a peaceful, fun fishing afternoon, but it didn’t happen that way, because we had a criminal illegal alien that killed him.”

She also called for more border security, including the wall.

“No family should suffer the loss of a child,” Vega said at the event. “A parent should not have to bury a child. We need the wall.”

The president also discussed how a wall could stop human traffickers from entering the country.

“They drive, they just go where there’s no security, and you don’t even know the difference between Mexico and the United States,” Trump said. “They have women tied up, they have tape over their mouths, electrical tape … . They have three, four, five of them in vans and back seats of cars. They just drive right in. They don’t go through your ports of entry. They go right through.

“If we had a barrier of any kind, a powerful barrier, whether it’s steel or concrete, they wouldn’t even be able to make that turn. They wouldn’t even bother trying. We would stop it cold,” the president said.

However, during a White House meeting Wednesday, negotiations broke down when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she would not support funding for a wall, and Trump walked out of the meeting.

At Thursday’s event, Customs and Border Protection officials displayed contraband seized from illegal immigrants. Agents pointed to 117 kilograms of methamphetamines and 4 kilograms of heroin seized at a port of entry. Also on display were fire extinguishers used to attempt to conceal and import 100 grams of heroin and some meth.

The agents also demonstrated three Colt handguns, gold-plated and with diamonds, as well as an AK-47 and an AR-15 rifle. Another agent showed off $362,062 in seized cash.

Trump asserted that Democrats support “open borders” and think “crime doesn’t matter.” He also doesn’t understand why Democrats think the tragedies of victims of crimes by illegal immigrants are “manufactured.”

“They say this is a ‘manufactured’ crisis. That’s their new sound bite … every network has ‘manufactured crisis.’ But it’s not. What’s manufactured is the word ‘manufactured,’” he said.

The post During Trump Visit to Border, Families of Slain Officers Call for Border Wall appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

In Egypt Speech, Pompeo Repudiates Obama’s Mideast Policies

Thu, 2019-01-10 18:09

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted Thursday that the United States will not abandon its leadership role in the Middle East, and that it won’t apologize for global leadership, in a sharp repudiation of the policies of the Obama administration.

“America is a force for good in the Middle East,” Pompeo said in an address before Egyptian officials, foreign diplomats, and students at American University in Cairo. “We need to acknowledge that truth, because if we don’t, we make bad choices.”

“Remember: It was here, here in this very city, another American stood before you,” he said, referencing a 2009 speech by then-President Barack Obama.

“He told you that radical Islamist terrorism does not stem from ideology. He told you 9/11 led my country to abandon its ideals, particularly in the Middle East. He told you that the United States and the Muslim world needed ‘a new beginning.’ The results of these misjudgments have been dire,” Pompeo said in his speech, titled “A Force for Good: America’s Reinvigorated Role in the Middle East.”

The secretary delivered the remarks as the Trump administration is planning to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.

“Let me be clear: America will not retreat until the terror fight is over,” Pompeo said. “We will labor tirelessly alongside you to defeat ISIS, al Qaeda, and other jihadists that threaten our security and yours.

“President Trump has made the decision to bring our troops home from Syria. … Now is the time, but this isn’t a change of mission,” the secretary of state said. “We remain committed to the complete dismantling of ISIS—the ISIS threat—and the ongoing fight against radical Islamism in all of its forms.”

“But as President Trump has said, we’re looking to our partners to do more, and in this effort we will do so going forward together.”

He posed the question about what happens when the United States isn’t strong.

“For those who fret about the use of American power, remember this: America has always been, and always will be, a liberating force, not an occupying power,” Pompeo said.

“We’ve never dreamed of domination in the Middle East. Can you say the same about Iran? In World War II, American GIs helped free North Africa  from Nazi occupation,” he said. “Fifty years later, we assembled a coalition to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein. Would the Russians or Chinese come to your rescue in the same way, the way that we have?”

Pompeo said that the United States has learned from past mistakes—referencing that the Obama administration did nothing to hold Syrian dictator Bashar Assad accountable for his abuses.

“When Bashar Assad unleashed terror upon ordinary Syrians and barrel-bombed civilians with sarin gas, a true echo of Saddam Hussein’s gassing of the Kurdish people, we condemned his actions. But in our hesitation to wield power, we did nothing,” he said.

The secretary noted that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi joined President Donald Trump in denouncing the “twisted” ideology driving radical Islamic terrorism.

So today, what did we learn from all of this? We learned that when America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance.

The good news is this: The age of self-inflicted American shame is over, and so are the policies that produced so much needless suffering.

Now comes the real new beginning. In just 24 months, actually less than two years, the United States under President Trump has reasserted its traditional role as a force for good in this region.

We’ve learned from our mistakes. We’ve rediscovered our voice. We’ve rebuilt our relationships. We’ve rejected false overtures from our enemies.

 

The post In Egypt Speech, Pompeo Repudiates Obama’s Mideast Policies appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

CNN Accidentally Proves Why Walls and Fences Work

Thu, 2019-01-10 17:56

In the span of less than 24 hours, CNN inadvertently helped President Donald Trump make his case for funds to build a new barrier at the southern border not once, but twice.

On Thursday, the network’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, posted a video showing viewers how an already-walled section of the border is “crisis-free.”

I found some steel slats down on the border. But I don’t see anything resembling a national emergency situation.. at least not in the McAllen TX area of the border where Trump will be today. pic.twitter.com/KRoLdszLUu

— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) January 10, 2019

In doing so, he showed how barriers act as a deterrent and facilitate safety and order along the border.

The night before, CNN’s Don Lemon helped a Democrat congressman from San Diego also (accidentally) make that case.

“I live along the border, about a little over 10 miles from the border. It’s San Diego. I mean, it’s basically paradise,” Rep. Juan Vargas, D-Calif., told Lemon. “It’s one of the safest places in the country. And the notion that we have a crisis there, a security crisis, is absolute nonsense.”

Vargas is right. San Diego is a thriving community with the lowest violent crime rates of any major city in the country, according to FBI data. Coupled with its year-round beautiful weather, most of us would be lucky to live in this part of the Golden State.

But San Diego wasn’t always this way, and the fact that it shares a border with Tijuana, the fifth-most dangerous city in the world, makes it an even more interesting case study to examine how walls and fences—when used strategically—work.

Directly south of San Diego are the Mexican cities of Tijuana and Tecate, which have a combined population of more than 4.5 million, according to the Department of Homeland Security. (Graphic: Google Maps)

In the 1980s, illegal border crossings plagued the San Diego sector of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The Border Patrol reached its breaking point in 1986, when agents caught more than 600,000 illegal border crossers. At the time, this accounted for approximately one-third of all apprehensions along the southern border.

Crime was also a serious problem. The San Diego Police Department logged more than 100,000 crimes committed in 1989.

In 1991, the government began construction of a 46-mile-long wall, now referred to as the “primary fence.”

This fence stands between 8 and 10 feet tall. It was tall enough to stop vehicle traffic, but could be easily breached by ladders and fence jumpers.

In 1997, officials began building what’s known as the “secondary fence,” which runs 13 miles long and stands at 14 to 18 feet tall. This was meant to stop the illegal flow of foot traffic.

Today, the San Diego sector accounts for only a small fraction of border apprehensions each year. According to the Department of Homeland Security, illegal crossings have decreased in the region by more than 90 percent since the walls and fences were built.

The San Diego sector went from a peak of over 600,000 illegal border crossers in 1986 to 26,290 in fiscal year 2015.

Crime rates also dropped, from 100,000 total crimes in 1989 to just under 34,000 last year.

Of course, it’s impossible to say how much of the decreased crime rates can be attributed to the addition of border walls and fences, as crime rates also dropped across the country. But given the dramatic decrease, it’s safe to conclude that walls and fences played a significant role.

“I have two daughters, I have a wife, you know, I come to D.C., I flew from San Diego today,” Vargas told Lemon on CNN. “I can tell you, they are safe. They are safe in San Diego, much safer than they would be here in D.C.”

Vargas is right. Crime rates are lower in San Diego than in Washington, D.C.

But would the congressman feel that way if there weren’t fences and a wall separating his daughters from a city that just had its most violent month in all its history?

Of course, Lemon didn’t bother to ask.

Today, the border between San Diego and Mexico is so safe and controlled that families and businesses have moved in where they’d never been before.

During a trip to San Diego in 2017, I visited a shopping center located directly on the U.S. side of the border. You can see the border wall from most of the stores. This shopping center didn’t exist until after lawmakers approved a wall, nor did many of the luxury houses surrounding it.

At the shopping center, I spoke with a Mexican citizen named Heriberto Beltran, who crossed through the pedestrian port of entry on his day off from work to shop.

“It took me like 15 minutes, so it’s not hard at all,” Beltran said. On a busier day it could take longer, he added, but the wall seemed like no big deal to him.

Why? Because San Diego has a big wall, but it also has massive gates.

Heriberto Beltran talks to The Daily Signal about traveling through the pedestrian border crossing from Tijuana to San Diego. (Photo: The Daily Signal)

“People are getting so obsessed with symbolism, rather than substance,” Brian Bilbray, a former Republican congressman from California, told me during my visit.

“San Diego has the largest land port of entry in the world,” Bilbray said. “We have the biggest gate. But we also have a high fence. They have a saying in Mexico: ‘Good fences make good neighbors.’”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., infamously called walls and fences “immoral.” Yet no one has bothered asking her what that means for San Diego—or why so many Democrats supported these efforts in the past.

If you visit San Diego, it’s difficult to imagine a fence or wall never being there at all.

Democrats know this. Vargas knows that because of walls and fences, his children are better off. But Democrats aren’t interested in talking about the truth. They’d rather stick it to Trump.

A border wall is not the silver bullet that will solve the nation’s illegal immigration problem. In fact, it’s only a small step. But the San Diego example suggests that if we take this small step, the country could benefit in more ways than one.

As Bilbray said, “The fence sends the very clear message to everybody before they even try to cross the border: ‘No, don’t come here the wrong way. If you want to come to America, come here through the gates.’”

Or, as Trump likes to call it, the “big, fat, beautiful open door.”

The post CNN Accidentally Proves Why Walls and Fences Work appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

US Must Take Action on Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis as Maduro ‘Wins’ Second Term

Thu, 2019-01-10 13:55

On Thursday, Nicolas Maduro will be sworn in for his second term as Venezuela’s president, but the election was anything but free and fair. Opposition politicians were imprisoned and/or barred from running. Meanwhile, his socialist party cronies controlled the entire electoral system.

Far from democracy, this is a criminal syndicate of government kleptocrats in action. And 20 years of their corrupt mismanagement has left the nation with the world’s biggest known oil reserves experiencing Latin America’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Oil is the backbone of the Venezuelan economy, bringing in nearly 98 percent of its export revenues. But those revenues have tanked because of corruption and mismanagement within the state-run industry. In 2012, Venezuela earned $106.7 billion from oil; last year, that number slumped to $20.9 billion.

The result is horrific: hyperinflation, food shortages and rampant hunger, scarce medical supplies, and soaring infant mortality rates.

More than 3 million Venezuelans, including half the nation’s doctors, have abandoned the country. It’s a staggering number, far exceeding the number of North Africans and the Middle Easterners who have sought refuge in Germany, France, and Sweden combined.

Most of those fleeing Venezuela have resettled elsewhere in Latin America, with Colombia bearing the brunt of the burden, receiving over 1.6 million Venezuelan migrants since 2015.

On a trip to Bogota last year, I met with Colombian government officials who painted a stark picture. They think that, on average, nearly 50,000 Venezuelans cross into Colombia daily. Not all stay; some make the journey simply to purchase goods unavailable back home.

But many are relying on the generosity of Colombia and international aid groups. The United Nations believes that, by the end of next year, the number of Venezuelan refugees will total 5.3 million.

Many of those fleeing the Maduro regime are destitute. But his inner circle has profited handsomely by plundering their country’s wealth and using their government positions for illegal activity.

Their network of corruption extends across the hemisphere, even into the U.S. When the U.S. Department of Treasury designated then-Vice President Tareck El Aissami as a narcotics trafficker, U.S. law enforcement was able to seize an estimated $500 million in narcotics-related assets like multimillion-dollar properties and a Gulfstream jet. (El Aissami is now minister of industries and national production.)

He is not the only Venezuelan official linked to narcotics trafficking. The first lady’s nephews are currently serving 18-year sentences in the U.S. for attempting to sell drugs to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

In 2008, Hugo Carvajal was also labeled a drug trafficker by the U.S. government. At the time, he was the director of Venezuela’s Military Intelligence Directorate. According to the Treasury Department, he protected drug shipments and provided weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, a Marxist Colombian terrorist group. He also provided Venezuelan government identification to Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia combatants.

The government’s support of regional and international terrorist groups is well documented. Venezuela’s former minister of interior and justice is accused of being the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s primary contact within the government, reportedly even trying to secure a $250 million Venezuelan government loan. In 2008, the U.S. accused Venezuela’s chief diplomat in Syria of fundraising and providing travel support to Hezbollah operatives.

The U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control has more than 100 of Maduro’s associates designated for drug trafficking, dozens of them current or former high-ranking government officials. The U.S. equivalent of these officials would be the heads of Homeland Security, FBI, and CIA. There are even six entities connected to Iranian financial and terrorist organizations.

Nearly 50 countries have challenged the results of Venezuela’s 2018 elections, but those challenges are blithely ignored by the regime. More is needed. The diplomatic rebukes should be followed by action.

Targeted sanctions, downgrading of diplomatic relations, and stronger efforts at targeting illicit government financial networks are commonsense policies other countries besides the U.S. should adopt. Undoing 20 years of damage must begin today.

Originally published by The Washington Times

The post US Must Take Action on Venezuela’s Humanitarian Crisis as Maduro ‘Wins’ Second Term appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Don’t Be Fooled: Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ Is Crammed With Socialist Goodies

Thu, 2019-01-10 13:54

An aide for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says Warren supports Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s, D-N.Y., “Green New Deal,” further elevating the status of the plan at the highest levels of the Democratic Party.

In expressing her support for the plan, Warren joins Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.

The Green New Deal has been hailed by Democrats and liberal pundits as one of the most important proposals to tackle global warming in decades, but don’t be fooled: Many supporters of the Green New Deal know it will do absolutely nothing to reduce global temperature or prevent future temperature rise—the primary purpose of the proposal, according to Ocasio-Cortez.

The real goal of the Green New Deal is to impose a series of radical, socialistic programs—policies that would dramatically increase the size and power of the federal government, cause immense harm to the U.S. economy, and run up the national debt by trillions of dollars.

In a proposed draft resolution to form a House committee to create legislation for the Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez provided important details for her plan.

One of the most important elements of the plan is a mandated transition away from fossil fuels in virtually all aspects of American life and the creation of a huge new renewable energy industry. Ocasio-Cortez proposes ending the use of fossil fuels in nearly every industry, including on farms and in all manufacturing, in just 10 years, from 2020 to 2030.

Additionally, all power in the United States would need to be produced using renewables, which have been proven on countless occasions to increase the cost of electricity.

Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t stop there, however.

In addition to forcing everyone to use renewable energy, thereby closing entire existing energy industries and taking away the jobs of tens of thousands of people, she also proposes “upgrading” every single home and business building in the country to make them more energy efficient, and for “comfort,” a policy that would likely cost trillions of dollars on its own.

Ocasio-Cortez says the Green New Deal would create a federal jobs guarantee that would “assure a living wage job to every person who wants one,” as well as a single-payer health care program that would put the federal government in charge of the entire health care industry—a plan the Mercatus Center says will cost at least $32 trillion in its first 10 years.

The Green New Deal would also form “basic income programs” and impose all sorts of new workplace requirements, including new “wage standards.”

Ocasio-Cortez wants the federal government to lead the charge in this effort, but she also says the legislation should “deeply involve national and local labor unions to take a leadership role in the process of job training and worker deployment.”

How would the government pay for these multiple trillion-dollar programs? By raising taxes and, most importantly, printing money.

According to the Green New Deal’s own “Frequently Asked Questions” section (in Ocasio-Cortez’s draft resolution):

Many will say, ‘Massive government investment! How in the world can we pay for this?’ The answer is: in the same ways that we paid for the 2008 bank bailout and extended quantitative easing programs, the same ways we paid for World War II and many other wars. The Federal Reserve can extend credit to power these projects and investments, new public banks can be created (as in WWII) to extend credit and a combination of various taxation tools (including taxes on carbon and other emissions and progressive wealth taxes) can be employed.

Ocasio-Cortez and other Green New Deal advocates say these proposals are necessary to stop human-caused global warming, but the truth is the Green New Deal would do absolutely nothing to avert future global temperature increases, even if we assume that humans’ carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of climate change and that moderately warmer temperatures would create more harm than good. (Both of these assumptions have been challenged by many highly prominent scientists and economists. For more, see the Heartland Institute’s “Climate Change Reconsidered” series.)

The reason the Green New Deal wouldn’t have the impact its supporters say it will is because the rest of the world is increasing its carbon dioxide emissions at a rate so high that whatever reductions occur in America would be more than offset by increases in other countries, especially China and India.

Ocasio-Cortez and others know the Green New Deal won’t stop climate change, but this plan isn’t really about global warming; it’s about creating massive new government programs that will increase the power of government and move the country closer than ever to socialism.

Those of us who support free markets and individual liberty must stop the Green New Deal, or else America as we know it will disappear entirely.

The post Don’t Be Fooled: Ocasio-Cortez’s ‘Green New Deal’ Is Crammed With Socialist Goodies appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

Planned Parenthood Admits Its Focus Is Abortion

Thu, 2019-01-10 13:41

Planned Parenthood’s new president has one thing going for her: she isn’t shying away from the truth. Now that Leana Wen’s taken over for Cecile Richards, she’s finally admitting what the rest of us knew all along. Planned Parenthood may talk about a lot of issues, but it only really cares about one—abortion.

After 12 years of lying low on its abortion business (“lying” being the operative word), Wen has a different strategy for Planned Parenthood. Telling it like it is.

After a BuzzFeed story suggested that the Chinese-American doctor wants her group to “focus on non-abortion healthcare,” Wen surprised everyone by saying exactly what Planned Parenthood’s real priority is. “Our core mission,” she tweeted, “is providing, protecting, and expanding access to abortion and reproductive health care. We will never back down from that fight,” she vowed. “It’s a fundamental human right, and women’s lives are at stake.”

Her tweet, which she followed up with even more militant defenses of abortion, blew more than a decade of subterfuge and hyperbole to bits. Planned Parenthood, who meticulously scrubbed any reference of abortion from its public statements under Richards, is finally making an admission that ought to cause elected officials across America to rethink its half-billion-dollar taxpayer investment.

The truth hasn’t exactly been good for business, the Washington Examiner’s Philip Wegmann points out about Planned Parenthood. To tamp down on the criticism that our government is sending money to America’s biggest abortion chain, Richards used to insist that the procedure only makes up “three percent” of its services—”as if,” Wegmann says, killing is okay as long as you only do it occasionally. Eventually, even outlets like Slate and The Washington Post rejected the statistic as meaningless and misleading.

For years, it has guarded the three percent figure jealously, and a complicit press has reprinted it uncritically. Its former president, Cecile Richards, repeated it during congressional testimony. Journalists at CNNPolitico, and the New York Times publish it without qualification. It’s repeated so often, it has become an ironclad lie. Unraveling the truth would be a disaster for Planned Parenthood. Congress might not write it as many taxpayer checks if the public learned that the largest abortion provider does, in fact, make its money by performing abortions—328,348 abortions a year, according to its latest annual report.

Maybe, others point out, Wen’s new strategy is her way of appealing to the new House majority. After all, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., already promised that hers would be a “pro-choice gavel.” But where Wen’s honesty may backfire is with voters, more than half of whom (55 percent) have no idea that the organization performs abortions—let alone that it’s America’s biggest supplier.

The media likes to talk about Planned Parenthood’s grassroots support. But, Gallup points out, it’s “not clear whether Americans have a favorable opinion of Planned Parenthood because of its role in the national abortion debate or in spite of it.” In the end, Wen’s admission may have done pro-lifers a favor. The more people who know what business Planned Parenthood is truly in, the better.

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

The post Planned Parenthood Admits Its Focus Is Abortion appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Frustrating Flip-Flopping of Politicians Over the Border Wall

Thu, 2019-01-10 13:40

Despite advance billing that President Donald Trump’s border wall speech would break news and contain new information, it was mostly familiar rhetoric: Criminals and drugs, rapists and murderers are coming to America and the wall is the only way to stop them.

The president named families who have lost loved ones at the hands of illegal immigrants. A case could be made, though, that American citizens are killing each other at higher rates during an average weekend in Chicago and other big cities than are killed by immigrants.

Whose facts to believe? There are plenty on both sides of the argument.

Raul Ortiz, the deputy chief of Border Patrol agents, says his agents are arresting up to 641 illegal immigrants every day. Other sources say arrests and border crossings have substantially declined in recent years.

What frustrates average Americans is the flip-flopping by politicians who were for a border wall and holding people who broke our laws accountable before they were against it.

These include Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Chuck Schumer, all of whom once championed stronger border security. When he was a senator from Illinois in 2006, Obama said:

Those who enter our country illegally and those who employ them disrespect the rule of law. And because we live in an age where terrorists are challenging our borders, we simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked. Americans are right to demand better border security and better enforcement of our immigration laws.

Those remarks are in line with what Trump is now saying.

The president tweeted a comment Clinton made as recently as 2015 to underscore his claim of hypocrisy by Democrats: “I voted, when I was a senator, to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in.”

The major media and their Democrat allies claim that the decline in the number of people crossing the southern border is proof that a wall or other barrier is not needed. But a case could be made—and the White House made it in a statement—that walls already in place are proof that barriers work.

Since San Diego built its wall in 1992, the statement notes, apprehensions of illegal aliens have declined by 92 percent; El Paso, Texas, erected a wall in 1993 and illegal border crossings dropped 72 percent the first year and 95 percent over 22 years; Tucson, Arizona, built its wall in 2000 and apprehensions dropped 90 percent over 15 years; the Yuma, Arizona, wall went up in 2005, contributing to a decline in crossings of 95 percent over nine years.

Yes, many went to other places where they could cross more easily, but that’s an argument for expanding the wall or constructing other barriers.

Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi challenged the president in a sleight-of-hand deal to re-open the part of government that is closed and then continue the debate about a wall. That reminds me of the “deal” offered to President George H.W. Bush by then-Speaker Jim Wright, D-Texas. Wright said Congress would cut spending if Bush would OK a tax increase. Bush was blamed for the tax hike, never got the spending cuts, and lost his re-election bid.

In the end it is going to be a battle of images. One image is of people trying to cross the border illegally, throwing rocks, a few engaging in criminal activity; the other image is of 800,000 suffering federal employees going without paychecks.

Which side will win is less important than what is best for America. If only more politicians cared about that higher goal.

(c) 2019 Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Categories: Public Policy

Democrat Senator Calls for Investigation Into Liberals’ Facebook Tricks During Senate Race

Thu, 2019-01-10 12:24

Democratic Alabama Sen. Doug Jones asked the Federal Election Commission Wednesday night to investigate a false flag operation that was designed to suppress conservative votes ahead of the midterm election.

Jones made his request less than a month after reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Daily Caller News Foundation fleshed out the extent of the misinformation campaign. Much of the troll job was based on the Russian-style bot attacks of 2016.

“Such deceptive tactics have no place in American politics and must be repudiated by those involved in our political system,” Jones wrote in a letter to Ellen Weintraub, a Democratic member of the commission. There is no indication that the former U.S. attorney was ever aware of the tactics.

Jones, who barely beat Republican opponent Roy Moore, requested “a thorough investigation” and said the commission should “impose the maximum penalties allowed” if the campaign violated campaign finance laws. Analysts believe allegations that Moore sexually assaulted an underage woman three decades ago likely affected the election more than the troll job.

Democratic operatives with ties to the Obama administration created a “Dry Alabama” Facebook page suggesting alcohol is evil and should be prohibited, according to media reports. The page included images of car wrecks and ruined families. Its contents were targeted at business conservatives who are skeptical of prohibition.

Two wealthy Virginia donors who wanted to defeat Moore funded the project, according to a person who worked on the project and who spoke on condition of anonymity. The Dry Alabama project was one of two $100,000 campaigns designed to destroy Moore’s 2017 special election campaign.

Democrats also created a mass disinformation campaign suggesting Moore was in league with Russia. The Russian bot campaign was funded by tech billionaire Reid Hoffman, who denies having any knowledge of the tactics.

Operatives with New Knowledge created thousands of Twitter accounts posing as Russian bots to boost the election year chances of Jones—the accounts began following Moore’s Twitter account in October 2017. The project created a slew of Facebook accounts as well, which were designed to troll conservatives into opposing Moore.

It’s unclear how much the tactics influenced voters. But the alcohol-related effort was seen widely, according to activist Matt Osborne, who helped orchestrate the plan. He told reporters that the posts received 4.6 million views of Facebook posts, and 97,000 engagements, such as “liking” posts.

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

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Categories: Public Policy

Media Misses: Peddling a ‘Manufactured Crisis’ Narrative

Thu, 2019-01-10 10:26

The mainstream media has done it again. If you watched President Trump’s Oval Office address to the nation, you might be wondering: “Is there a crisis at the southern border?” But if you tuned into the news media’s coverage, you were led to believe that it’s a “manufactured crisis.”

First, networks debated whether to carry the president’s formal prime-time address live, and now the mainstream media’s go-to talking point is that the Trump administration “manufactured” a crisis. Well, the United States does face a humanitarian and security crisis on our border with Mexico—regardless of whether the media wants to admit it.

An estimated 60,000 unaccompanied children crossed that border over the course of one year. Law enforcement seized 2,400 pounds of the deadly drug fentanyl in one year—that’s enough to kill millions of Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017 “more than 15,000 people died of drug overdoses involving heroin in the United States.” That’s about 288 deaths per week. Mexico is the primary source of heroin in the United States, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

So these are the facts, and unlike the mainstream media, we’ll let you decide what to do with them.  

To get the latest in outrageous media bias, be sure to follow us on Facebooksubscribe to our YouTube channel, and send your Media Misses to MediaMisses@dailysignal.com.

The post Media Misses: Peddling a ‘Manufactured Crisis’ Narrative appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

The Ironies of Illegal Immigration

Thu, 2019-01-10 03:01

Estimates suggest that there are 11 million to 13 million Mexican citizens currently living in the United States illegally. Millions more emigrated previously and are now U.S. citizens.

A recent poll revealed that one-third of Mexicans (34 percent) would like to emigrate to the United States. With Mexico having a population of about 130 million, that amounts to some 44 million would-be immigrants.

Such massive potential emigration into the United States makes no sense.

First, Mexico is a naturally rich country. It ranks 19th in the world in proven oil reserves and is currently the 12th-largest oil producer. Mexico certainly has significantly more natural advantages than do far wealthier per capita Singapore, Taiwan, or Chile.

Mexico also is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations and earns billions in foreign exchange from visitors. It enjoys a temperate climate, is rich in minerals, and has millions of acres of fertile farmland and a long coastline.

In addition to being strategically located as a bridge between North America and South America, Mexico has ports on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

It is not an overcrowded country: Mexico ranks in the lower half of the world in population density. Too many people and too little land are certainly not the reasons why millions of Mexicans either emigrate or wish to emigrate to the United States.

Second, popular progressive narratives in both Mexico and the United States cite America for all sorts of pathologies, past and present. The United States is often damned for prior colonialism and imperialism, as well as current racism and xenophobia.

Why, then, would millions of people south of the border leave their own homeland and potentially risk their lives to encounter a strange culture and language, to live in such a purportedly inhospitable place, and to adopt an antithetical system based on supposedly toxic European and Protestant traditions?

The answers to these two paradoxes are as obvious as they are politically incorrect and therefore seldom voiced. Life in Mexico is relatively poor, dangerous, and often unfree. In contrast, the United States is rich, generous, and secure.

Mexico—unlike, say, Japan or Switzerland, which are far less naturally endowed and yet far wealthier—has never fully adopted Western paradigms of free-market economics, constitutionally protected free speech, due process, gender equity, private property rights, an autonomous press, government transparency, an independent judiciary, and religious diversity and tolerance.

To the degree that Mexico can make strides toward these goals, its population will stabilize and become more affluent—and also become less likely to emigrate.

More importantly, millions of Mexican citizens recognize (at least privately) that the United States is not the bogeyman of mostly elite critiques. Instead, it is one of the world’s rare multiracial, equal-opportunity societies. It is generous with its entitlements even to those who cross its border illegally, and far more meritocratic than most of the world’s highly tribal societies.

Maybe that is why millions of impoverished people from Mexico have left their homes in expectation that they will be treated far better as foreign, non-English speakers in a strange land than they will at home by their own government.

Indeed, if the U.S. treated immigrants in the fashion that Mexico does, then Mexican citizens would probably never emigrate to the U.S.

In sum, illegal immigration is both logical and nonsensical.

After all, the Mexican government is quick to fault the U.S., but it is rarely introspective. It does not explain publicly why its own citizens wish to flee the country where they were born—or why they are eager to enter a country that is so often ridiculed by the Mexican press and government.

Mexico apparently does not take care of its own citizens. But once they arrive inside the U.S., Mexico suddenly becomes an advocate for their welfare. No wonder: Mexican expatriates send back an estimated $30 billion a year in remittances.

Real and would-be emigrants themselves also act ironically.

On both sides of the border, they often fault the U.S. and demand that U.S. immigration law be suspended—but only in their case.

Emigrating Mexican citizens wave Mexican flags at the border as they try to enter America, while their counterparts inside the U.S. do the same when they protest being sent back home.

Apparently, no one in Mexico or in the U.S. ever wishes to admit that Mexican citizens really like the United States—apparently far more than they do their own homeland.

(C) 2019 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

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Categories: Public Policy

Podcast: What Woke Scientists Don’t Get About Masculinity

Thu, 2019-01-10 03:01

Traditional masculinity is “harmful”—but don’t take it from us. That’s the new verdict of the American Psychological Association. We discuss the association’s new guidelines on counseling for men and boys, as well as the ideological shift behind it. Plus: President Donald Trump’s policy in Syria seems to be in flux. Last month, he announced U.S. troops would be withdrawing, but now the timeline seems longer. Heritage Foundation Middle East expert Jim Phillips unpacks what Trump’s goals in Syria are, and how they can best be achieved. 


We also cover these stories:

  • Trump is visiting the border today.
  • Trump tweeted that the Federal Emergency Management Agency would stop sending money to California until the state improves its forest fire prevention practices.
  • Fifty-one percent of Democrats now call themselves liberals.
  • The first lady of California would like to be known as the “first partner.”

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

The post Podcast: What Woke Scientists Don’t Get About Masculinity appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

4 Things to Know About Trump’s Ability to Declare an Emergency to Build a Wall

Wed, 2019-01-09 18:55

During his prime-time Oval Office address Tuesday night, President Donald Trump left out any reference to declaring a national emergency as a way to build a physical barrier along the southern border. Instead, he focused on reaching a bipartisan deal with congressional Democrats to end the partial government shutdown over the issue.

However, by Wednesday, Trump talked about declaring a national emergency if he couldn’t reach any deal.

“I think we might work a deal, and if we don’t, I may go that route,” Trump told reporters. “I have the absolute right to do [a] national emergency if I want.”

When questioned, he added: “My threshold will be if I can’t make a deal with people that are unreasonable.”

During a White House meeting Wednesday, Trump asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., whether she would agree on funding a physical barrier along the southern border if he opened the government. Pelosi said no, and Trump walked out, Republican congressional leaders told reporters.

Declaring a national emergency isn’t rare or unprecedented. It is also subject to checks by Congress under a federal statute. A president typically makes such a declaration amid a natural disaster, public health threat, terrorist attack, or war.

The Trump administration contends the amount of drugs, the presence of criminal gangs, and the humanitarian situation at the southern border constitute a crisis or emergency.

Democrats contend the problems at the border do not constitute a crisis.

So, unlike a flood or a terror attack, a presidential declaration of a national emergency over the border situation would be a political question—which would be unusual.

Here’s four things to know about the process.

1. What Did Previous Presidents Do?

Presidents long have taken emergency actions to use the government to tackle an emergency without Congress, but it wasn’t until the 1970s that Congress passed a law to say not so fast.

President Abraham Lincoln took emergency actions without Congress during the Civil War, which few would dispute was an emergency.

President Woodrow Wilson was the first president to formally proclaim a national emergency. It happened on Feb. 5, 1917, during World War I, according to a 2007 report by the Congressional Research Service.

The goal was to limit the transfer of American ships to the possession of foreign individuals or entities. Wilson used executive authority to establish the United States Shipping Board to oversee water transportation. In March 1921, Congress terminated the board.

President Franklin Roosevelt took executive actions deemed an emergency during the Great Depression and World War II.

President George W. Bush notably declared a national emergency after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

In 2014, after the Russian invasion of Crimea in Ukraine, President Barack Obama signed an executive order declaring a national emergency as a means to freeze U.S. assets of any individual who asserted governmental power in Ukraine without the approval of the Ukraine government.

2. Where Does the Authority Come From?

During the 1970s, Congress became increasingly concerned about the power of the executive branch after the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.

In November 1973, the Senate Special Committee on the Termination of the National Emergency, chaired by Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho, asserted that emergency proclamations “give force to 470 provisions” of U.S. law.

The Senate report states:

These hundreds of statutes delegate to the President extraordinary powers, ordinarily exercised by the Congress, which affect the lives of American citizens in a host of all-encompassing manners. This vast range of powers, taken together, confer enough authority to rule the country without reference to normal Constitutional processes.

Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens.

In 1976, Congress passed the National Emergencies Act, sponsored by Rep. Peter Rodino, D-N.J. The legislation drew bipartisan support and President Gerald Ford, a Republican, signed it into law.

The new law put a statutory framework in place allowing a president to declare a national emergency, with limitations. Mainly, Congress may terminate the emergency declaration if it has the votes to do so. Also, a president must renew the declaration of an emergency after 180 days.

3. Where Do Conservatives Stand?

Several conservatives have weighed in during recent days about Trump’s possibly declaring a national emergency—pointing to the potential dangers of granting such authority to a president—any president.

Talk radio host and conservative writer Erick Erickson warned about what a future president from the left might do, tweeting:

If the President declares a national emergency and starts using eminent domain and reprogrammed dollars to build a wall, it is only a matter of time before a progressive President declares climate change a national emergency and uses eminent domain to shutter coal plants, etc.

— Erick Erickson (@EWErickson) January 8, 2019

Peter Wehner, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative legal group, criticized an unnamed conservative radio host—apparently Mark Levin, who has a large national audience. Wehner tweeted:

On talk radio tonight I heard a “constitutional conservative” argue Trump should declare a national emergency to do what he wants on the southern border. Remarkable. There’s no place they won’t go. Once again, can you imagine how the right would have reacted if Obama did this?

— Peter Wehner (@Peter_Wehner) January 8, 2019

Levin responded in a Facebook post republished by Conservative Review, where he is editor-in-chief.

“In this case, involving building a border barrier of some kind, that is a uniquely federal governmental responsibility,” Levin wrote. “The president can use the law to undertake such a project, and it can be challenged in the courts or overturned by a joint resolution of Congress.”

Levin, a constitutional lawyer and best-selling author as well as popular talk radio host, was chief of staff to Attorney General Edwin Meese during the Reagan administration. Levin wrote of Trump:

He needs to make his case under the statute, which is an easy case—that securing the southern border is a national emergency, given the chaos there, the related consequences, and the refusal by the Democrats to address it in any meaningful way and their holding the rest of the government hostage.

The president can use the legitimate legal tools available to him to try to solve these problems. Unlike Obama, he is not legislating by creating, say, DACA [Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals], which is unconstitutional and violates separation of powers.

Congress set up this process. This isn’t a misuse of unconstitutional authority. It’s about statutory interpretation.

Andrew Napolitano, a former New York state judge who is a Fox News legal analyst, contended that using emergency powers to build the wall isn’t legal because only Congress may appropriate money.

“The Supreme Court said no when Harry Truman attempted to do that. There was a steel strike during the Korean War, [and] he asked the Congress to authorize him to seize the steel mills and operate them against the strikers’ wishes and produce steel for our troops who desperately needed it during the Korean War,” Napolitano said on Fox News.

“The Supreme Court said, ‘No, you can’t do that. Congress can do it. Congress can pay for the steel mills and operate them, but the president can’t do it on his own.”

Napolitano added: “Stated differently, the Supreme Court has made it very clear [that] even in times of emergency, the president of the United States of America cannot spend money unless it has been authorized by the Congress.”

4. Where Would the Money Come From?

Napolitano is correct that no president may appropriate money. The question is whether existing money that Congress appropriated for national defense is available, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that $13.3 billion in the Pentagon construction budget may be available—more than twice the $5.7 billion Trump is requesting from Congress for the wall.

The newspaper cites federal law stating that a declaration of war or national emergency allows the secretary of defense to “undertake military construction projects … that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces” by using money from the Pentagon construction budget.

The post 4 Things to Know About Trump’s Ability to Declare an Emergency to Build a Wall appeared first on The Daily Signal.

Categories: Public Policy

‘A Total Waste of Time’: Trump Walks Out of Wall Talks After Pelosi Again Refuses Funding

Wed, 2019-01-09 18:26

The day after his nationally televised address on the need for a border wall, President Donald Trump on Wednesday brought candy to a meeting at the White House with Democratic and Republican leaders of Congress to hash out a solution to the partial government shutdown.

But the meeting, held in the Situation Room, ended with Trump leaving the room, tweeting that it was “a total waste of time,” and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y, accusing him of having a “temper tantrum.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., accused Trump of being a “petulant president.”

Vice President Mike Pence and congressional Republicans offered a different perspective to reporters outside the White House.

“He left the room today because Speaker Pelosi said that even if he gave her what she wanted, she would never agree to the border-security priorities that we have on the table,” said Pence, who has been leading the negotiations to end the shutdown, which began on Dec. 22.

Trump is asking for $5.7 billion for a border wall and other border security measures, such as additional Customs and Border Patrol agents and more immigration judges. Democrats have called for funding the rest of government while negotiations continue over border security funding—which Trump proposed to do for 30 days.

“The president literally called the question: ‘If I opened up the government quickly, would you agree to border security and a wall?’” Pence said. “The speaker of the House said ‘no.’ At that point, the president thought there was no reason to keep talking at this meeting.”

However, Pence noted that in previous negotiations, the administration was willing to make trades.

“There will be no deal without the priorities the president has put on the table,” the vice president said. “But if you look at the proposal the president directed us to make this weekend after spending two days with senior staff, two meetings with leadership, it reflects Democratic priorities as well.”

The meeting with Pelosi; Schumer; House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md.; and Senate Minority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., marked the first time since Friday that Democratic leaders had gone to the White House. Over the weekend, senior Democratic congressional staffers met with Pence and Republicans.

Still, the sides seem further apart.

“It’s cold out here, and the temperature wasn’t much warmer inside the Situation Room,” Pelosi told reporters after the meeting.

Pelosi began talking about the 800,000 federal employees across 25 percent of the federal government that would not be paid.

“It’s so sad that, in a matter of hours or just a few days, many federal workers will not be receiving their paychecks and what that means in their lives is tragic,” the House speaker said. However, all federal employees will get back pay after the shutdown ends.

Schumer criticized Trump for leaving the room after Pelosi rejected his plea for funding for a border wall.

“We saw a temper tantrum because he couldn’t get his way, and he just walked out of the meeting,” the Senate minority leader said.

Other Republican lawmakers attended, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Senate Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D.; and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La.

Scalise said Trump has been willing to compromise and settle for less than his requested $5.7 billion for a physical barrier, but Democrats have made no counteroffer.

“Nancy Pelosi, last week, she said her only solution was to support a dollar,” the Louisiana lawmaker said of the speaker’s joking $1 offer for the wall on Jan. 3. “Now the American people who are watching this shutdown, the families that are going to be missing paychecks this week, it’s not fair to them to say you’re only willing to offer a dollar to solve this problem when you haven’t given any serious counteroffer.”

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Categories: Public Policy

The Problem Isn’t the Poor. It’s Young Men on Welfare Who Could Be Working.

Wed, 2019-01-09 17:53

Left-wing media stalwarts such as Newsweek, Huffington Post, and Salon launched a barrage of fake news after I appeared on “Fox and Friends” recently to discuss new Agriculture Department rules tightening work requirement on food stamps.

Unfortunately, the now all-too-common disinformation campaigns from the left, distorting or simply lying about what our president says or does, or what conservative commentators like me say, just simply hurts our nation.

The oxygen of freedom is information. When citizens get fake news instead, they become slaves to the agendas being pushed by politically motivated media machines.

The Huffington Post headline read, “‘Fox and Friends’ Guest Says People On Food Stamps Watch Porn Instead of Working.”

You can imagine the mail I got from those outraged by my supposedly heartless remarks about our nation’s less fortunate.

But I didn’t say what the left-wing media foghorns reported in their headlines. As result, not only were many misled, but also they weren’t informed about what I did say about two major problems confronting our nation.

One, there are great inefficiencies in our food stamp program, which, at $65 billion in federal spending annually, is one of our largest federal welfare programs. And two, the nation has a major problem of millions of able-bodied prime-age males who have dropped out of the workforce.

The proposed rules from the Agriculture Department would tighten down on the latitude states have in providing waivers for existing work requirements for receiving food stamps.

Is this aimed at clamping down on the less fortunate and the needy? Certainly not, and I explicitly said so in the “Fox and Friends” interview. Twice I said the “crisis is not the poor.” It’s about “able-bodied, non-working, mostly males.”

The Agriculture Department rule explicitly states that the target is “able-bodied adults without dependents between 18-49” and does not apply to the “elderly, disabled, or pregnant women.”

Estimates are that the total number that will be affected is 775,000. We’re talking about 2 percent of the 40 million people currently receiving food stamp benefits. With the average annual expenditure per person at $1,500, moving these able-bodied individuals into the workforce would save $1.2 billion in food stamp expenditures per year and add 775,000 productive citizens to the work force.

According to The Wall Street Journal, “Some seven to nine million food-stamp recipients capable of work report no income.”

American Enterprise Institute scholar Nicholas Eberstadt has written about our national crisis of prime working age, 25-55, non-working men.

The labor force participation rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics consists of those working or actively seeking work as a percentage of the population.

In 1965, as Eberstadt reports, the labor force participation rate of prime-age working males was 96.7 percent. Today, it is 89 percent. So almost 8 percent fewer men aged 25-55 are working or actively seeking work today compared with 1965.

Eberstadt calls this “an ever-growing army of jobless men no longer even looking for work—over 7 million between 25 and 55, the prime of working life.”

He notes that one defining characteristic of these millions of men who have dropped out of the workforce is an absence of family. They are either not married or if they have children, they don’t live with them.

What are these work dropouts doing?

They spend 800 more hours per year watching TV and movies than unemployed men, 1,200 more hours than working men, and 1,400 more hours than working women. Thirty-one percent admit to illegal drug use, compared with 8 percent of working men.

We have a huge problem that carries a great moral and economic cost to the nation.

But all this doesn’t interest the left-wing media. They’d rather just broadcast that I said the poor are “watching porn.”

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Categories: Public Policy

Scientists Making War On ‘Traditional Masculinity’ Are Political Hacks

Wed, 2019-01-09 17:52

This week, the American Psychological Association proved once again that it is a political body rather than a scientific one.

This isn’t the first time a major mental health organization has favored politics over science—in 2013, the American Psychiatric Association famously reclassified “gender identity disorder” in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, calling it “gender dysphoria” and then explaining that living with the delusion that you are a member of the opposite sex is not actually a mental disorder at all.

That ruling was based on zero scientific evidence—much like the original DSM-5 classification of pedophilia as a “sexual orientation” before it was renamed “pedophilic disorder” under public pressure.

The latest example of the American Psychological Association’s political hackery concerns the topic of “traditional masculinity.”

In the American Psychological Association journal, it announced that it had released new guidelines to “help psychologists work with men and boys.” Those guidelines suggest that “40 years of research” show that “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.”

The American Psychological Association explains that “traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful. Men socialized in this way are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors.”

Never mind that traditional masculinity—a masculinity geared toward channeling masculine instincts of building and protecting, rather than tearing down—built Western civilization and protected it from the brutalities of other civilizational forces. Never mind that traditional masculinity protected femininity and elevated women to equal status in public policy.

Traditional masculinity is actually just men sitting around and eating burgers while grunting at one another about football, all the while crying on the inside because they have been prohibited by society from showing their feelings.

And it’s worse than that.

According to the American Psychological Association, traditional masculinity bumps up “against issues of race, class, and sexuality,” maximizing both interior and exterior conflict.

Dr. Ryon McDermott, a psychologist from the University of South Alabama who helped draft the new American Psychological Association guidelines, suggested that gender is “no longer just this male-female binary.” Rather, gender is a mere social construct that can be destroyed without consequence.

Here’s the American Psychological Association making the extraordinarily dishonest statement that gender differences aren’t biological at all, in contravention of all known social science research: “Indeed, when researchers strip away stereotypes and expectations, there isn’t much difference in the basic behaviors of men and women.”

Destroy masculinity in order to destroy discrimination and depression. Feminize men, and indoctrinate boys.

In order to reach this conclusion, the American Psychological Association has to define traditional masculinity in the narrowest, most negative terms possible—and then other those who disagree as part of the patriarchy. But as a political body, the American Psychological Association has little problem doing this.

All of this is not only nonsense; it’s wildly counterproductive nonsense.

Buried beneath the reams of nonsense in the American Psychological Association report is this rather telling gem: “It’s also important to encourage pro-social aspects of masculinity. … In certain circumstances, traits like stoicism and self-sacrifice can be absolutely crucial.”

But we must never suggest that such traits ought to be included as part of a “traditional masculinity,” because that would make some people feel excluded.

Here’s the truth: Men are looking for meaning in a world that tells them they are perpetuators of discrimination and rape culture; that they are beneficiaries of an overarching, nasty patriarchy; that they are, at best, disposable partners to women, rather than protectors of them. Giving men purpose requires us to give them purpose as men, not merely as genderless beings.

There’s a lot to be said for the idea that our culture has ignored the necessity for men to become gentlemen. But that’s a result of a left-wing culture that denigrates men, not a traditional masculinity built on the idea that men were born to defend, protect, and build.

One thing is certainly true, though: The American Psychological Association has destroyed itself on the shoals of politics. And there’s no reason for honest-thinking people to take its anti-scientific pronouncements seriously simply because it masquerades as scientists while ignoring facts in favor of political correctness.

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Categories: Public Policy

Students Caught Stunned on Video After Hearing Democrats’ Past Pro-Wall Remarks

Wed, 2019-01-09 17:51

Campus Reform asked American University students their thoughts on President Donald Trump’s statements on immigration and building the wall in midst of the partial government shutdown. The only catch was that the quotes were actually said by Democratic politicians.

Students were given the following quotes:

“We simply cannot allow people to pour into the United States undetected, undocumented, and unchecked,” former President Barack Obama said in 2005.

“I voted numerous times … to spend money to build a barrier to try to prevent illegal immigrants from coming in. And I do think you have to control your borders,” 2016 presidential nominee for the Democratic Party Hillary Clinton said in 2008.

“Illegal immigration is wrong, plain and simple. Until the American people are convinced we will stop future flows of illegal immigration, we will make no progress,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in 2009.

Many described the statements as “divisive,” “hateful,” and “dehumanizing.”

Reactions were different when finding out the statements were made by Democrats with some speechless and shocked.

“That’s a very good surprise, by the way,” one student said. “If this were a Trump quote, I believe it would be maybe a lot less calculated.”

“They [Obama, Clinton, Schumer] wouldn’t say that,” another student said. “Their demeanor, the way they come off is like, I don’t even know what to say.”

The government went into a partial shutdown on Dec. 22, 2018, after Democrats and Republicans could not reach an agreement on funding for Trump’s proposed wall at the U.S.-Mexico border to discourage illegal immigration.

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Categories: Public Policy

Pennsylvania High School Students Demand Repeal of Campus ‘Bible Ban’

Wed, 2019-01-09 17:18

Students at Cumberland County High School are fighting against what they say is the local Pennsylvania school district’s unconstitutional ban on distributing Bibles on campus.

The students allege that David Harris, the high school’s principal, told members of the Christians in Action Student Club that they were not allowed to pass out Bibles to their friends during lunchtime and that if they wanted to pass out Bibles after the school day, they would have to get approval from the school administration.

The students then asked Jeremy Samek, Independence Law Center senior counsel, to help them challenge Mechanicsburg Area School District’s “Bible ban” and appeal to administrators to lift it.

“For some reason they believe that in order to avoid an establishment clause violation, they mistakenly believe they need to treat religion like it’s toxic, and they need to eliminate it from public school wherever they find it,” Samek said, according to PennLive. “When you start doing that, you move from protecting the establishment clause to violating the free speech right of students.”

The school district had until Monday to respond to a letter from the law center requesting that the administration allow the students to distribute Bibles on campus. The school district said Friday that it was aware of the letter and would investigate the students’ claims.

“MASD respects the rights of students to express themselves and distribute materials. MASD also recognizes that exercise of that right must be limited by the District’s responsibility to maintain an orderly school environment and to protect the rights of all members of the school community,” the school district told FOX43.

“Accordingly, students do have the right to distribution of non-school materials prior to the start of the school day and after the end of the school day if they develop a plan for time, place, and manner of distribution that is reviewed and approved by the administration. We plan to investigate the claims set forth in this letter and work with the students in accordance with the law and our local policy,” the district added.

The school board is scheduled to meet Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time.

The challenge to the district’s Bible ban is only the latest dispute between students and local school administrators over Christian Scripture. Harris prohibited students from putting up flyers advertising their club in November because the flyers contained Bible verses, according to Samek. Harris reportedly told students they would be allowed to post the flyers if they removed the verses.

“The students research this and went back to the principal and said, ‘We think you are wrong. This is our freedom of speech,’” Samek said.

The school administration relented on the flyers once the law center argued against their prohibition, pointing out that U.S. Supreme Court case precedent shows that students maintain their First Amendment rights on campus, so long as they don’t distribute materials considered obscene or that incite violence.

“The Bible is not one of them,” Samek said.

This article was originally published Jan. 8.

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

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Categories: Public Policy

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