Stewart Patrick of the Council on Foreign Relations didn’t much like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s sovereignist speech on Dec. 4, and he lets you know it.
In a rant titled “Tilting at Straw Men,” he faults Pompeo for being “disingenuous,” “selective and tendentious,” and “gratuitously” aggressive.
It all came in a blog at the Council on Foreign Relations’ site, and leaves one wondering if anyone edits these things. Some wizened old hand could have looked up from his green eyeshades and suggested, “Stewart, do calm down. Are you not just disagreeing with the man, and guilty of these charges yourself?”
There’s a legitimate disagreement over transnationalism. Pompeo’s view, shared by many of us, is that the push for global governance by such multilateral institutions as the European Union, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, et al., has gotten out of control and impinges on national sovereignty.
Patrick’s view—which he says is the one “sensible people do believe” [italics ours]—is that “multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems.”
What about Pompeo’s view? “Nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges,” asserts Patrick, who does not lack in conviction.
Well, in fact, many of us do agree with Pompeo, and have been writing for decades—well before Pompeo entered public service in Kansas—that institutions such as the EU constantly trample on the rights of sovereign nations, are therefore unaccountable, and thus impinge on individual liberties.
In the case of the EU, this is done through the push to harmonize taxes, labor, and welfare policies, and create a slew of regulatory agencies.
Such an approach accelerated with Jacques Delors’ introduction of a “social dimension” into the community when he was European Commission president in the 1980s, something British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher correctly derided as an attempt to introduce socialism “through the back Delors.”
The backlash against attempts by France and Germany to build a “federal European super-state” is a lot older than Patrick makes out.
Patrick himself “bizarrely” “mischaracterizes” (two other invectives he levels against Pompeo) the current standoff over Brexit.
To him, Pompeo blithely ignores “how disastrously Brexit is playing out.” Wouldn’t a more impartial observer not equally conclude that the difficulty over Britain’s withdrawal grimly reminds us how the EU is more like Alcatraz, impossible to break out of?
The (tired, old, and banal) cliche that an “interconnected world of complicated problems” requires the sharing of sovereignty, and therefore limitations on individual freedoms, suffers from the logical fallacy of begging the question, in which the premise assumes the truth of the conclusion.
How exactly is the world interconnected, and is it any more so than it was in, say, Roman times, or when Britain ruled the waves? Are our problems more complicated now than when Genghis Khan invaded half the known world?
In his valiant defense of the United Nations, Patrick was himself rather selective. He wisely ignored Pompeo’s dismissal of the smug “world body” as a place where “anti-Israel bias has been institutionalized” and where “regional powers collude to vote the likes of Cuba and Venezuela onto the Human Rights Council.”
What could Patrick say about that?
Instead, he rises to defend the so-called U.N. “peacekeeping missions,” chiding Pompeo for “ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities.”
Peacekeeping operations can be useful, but they also can have significant problems and flaws.
Pompeo is right. Some peacekeeping operations, like the one in Kashmir or the one in the Western Sahara, have existed for decades yet with little sign of resolving the conflicts.
Patrick also conveniently ignores that U.N. peacekeepers were themselves accused, less than a year ago, of committing hundreds of rapes, including of children? Even the U.N. itself said it lacked accountability.
Patrick so loves transnational governance that he even defends the Organization of American States, also the enablers of autocrats in the region until the recent arrival of Secretary-General Luis Almagro. Even then, the Organization of American States continues to interfere in the sovereignty of Latin Americans through the Inter-American Courts of Human Rights.
No, Patrick didn’t say it was efficient, just that it might have “helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15.”
Seriously? Might foot-dragging in the confirmation process in the Senate have anything to do with that?
Long before Pompeo and President Donald Trump arrived on the political scene, many, many have viewed the global governance of these institutions for what it is—an attempt to tie down the American Gulliver.
No interconnectedness accounts for that, and it is—what’s the word?—disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
The post Pompeo Is Right on Sovereignty. His Council on Foreign Relations Critic Is Wrong. appeared first on The Daily Signal.
On today’s show, we analyze November’s job gains and the historically low unemployment rate. Will it last? The Heritage Foundation’s Tim Doescher, who writes about the employment report each month for The Daily Signal, joins us with the highlights.
We also feature an interview with Ericka Andersen of the Independent Women’s Forum, who is author of the book “Leaving Cloud 9” and host of the new podcast “Worth Your Time.” Andersen recently received the 2018 Buckley Award from America’s Future Foundation for her work on the opioid crisis.
Also on today’s show:
- Your letters to the editor. Don’t forget, your letter could be featured on our show; write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202-608-6205.
- A touching story about former President George H.W. Bush and his Secret Service detail.
The Daily Signal podcast is available on the Ricochet Audio Network. You also can listen on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, or your favorite podcast app. All of our podcasts can be found at DailySignal.com/podcasts.
If you like what you hear, please leave a review or give us feedback. Enjoy the show!
Editor’s note: We begin selections from the mailbag this week with a letter that gets at why The Daily Signal exists. See for yourself. Be sure to write us at email@example.com.—Ken McIntyre
Dear Daily Signal: Thanks to The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation for presenting articles such as Rob Bluey’s podcast interview with Sebastian Gorka on the threats, both foreign and domestic, to our great country (“Sebastian Gorka on the Biggest Threat Facing America and What Trump Is Doing About It”).
I have supported and will continue to support The Heritage Foundation in its efforts to wield the most effective weapon against tyranny—a well-informed electorate through education and protection of basic freedoms of speech, expression, and the press.
My dad landed on Red Beach on the Pacific atoll of Iwo Jima as a 19-year-old Marine in February 1945. Though he was wounded twice and survived for 30 days of combat before being medically evacuated, he never talked about his experience until his later days, when he realized the importance of sharing.
One day as we sat in the yard swing trying to stay comfortable in the stifling heat of a west central Georgia summer, just out of the blue, he felt compelled to share something with his 25-year-old son that I will never forget. No, it wasn’t specifically about his combat experience. It was about modern-day warfare, the combat we find ourselves locked in today.
He said: “Son, the very freedoms I risked my life to defend will slowly disappear in your lifetime.” I had no clue why he said that and what he meant by what he said. He said it most emphatically and with a tone of regret.
My dad was not the type you questioned or asked to repeat things. Even though it completely went over my head, I did not dare ask him to explain. I am 70 now and we lost dad at 88 in 2013. Yet I still hear those fateful words. Now, 50 years later, I see very clearly what he was trying to warn me about as I was engaged to be married.
Though I now see clearly the motive of his warning, he left me the tools to resist, to persevere, to triumph over the tyranny that would steal freedom from my heritage: “Pray, work hard, work honest, never give up the fight, never give in to evil. Remember that truth and good will prevail in the end.”
Thanks, Dad.—Phillip Lee White, Warm Springs, Ga.
An interview with "Why We Fight" author @SebGorka on the biggest threats facing America, the dangers of socialism, and his first encounter with Trump. Listen: https://t.co/IDZkTAD4Gj via @GinnyMontalbano @DailySignal
— Rob Bluey (@RobertBluey) November 5, 2018
Dear Daily Signal: Sebastian Gorka, speaking with Rob Bluey on your podcast, is absolutely correct: China is plotting to take down the U.S. economy by replacing the dollar as the international currency of trade with its own.
As part of this, the Chinese are attempting to steal technology from others to accelerate their way to worldwide hegemony. Thank God we now have a president who loves this country and is unafraid to push back against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
However, we have an equally sinister enemy within this country—the radical left. They too seek to destroy the country so they can rebuild (transform) it to enable their tyrannical control.
The extreme hatred spouted by their leadership has driven their base insane and allowed them to be taken over by evil. Yes, evil. It is why they promote and engage in violent behavior without regard to the damage they cause to either people or property.
Our government will deal with China, but the rest of us are going to have to be the tip of the spear in the battle against leftist tyranny. Our primary weapon should be the power of the ballot to drive leftists and their cohorts in the Washington establishment, which does contain Republicans, out of power.
I found it amazing that Sen. Lindsey Graham came out of his shell after the death of Sen. John McCain and during the Brett Kavanaugh hearings taught the GOP what it means to have a spine.
I for one have been getting tired of all of the milquetoasts in the GOP who appear to fear their shadows. We desperately need a few good men and women to lead the battle.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas
China and other nations may pose problems for the U.S. from time to time, as will random acts of terrorism, but we can deal with these. The real threat to America will come from within, from our own people who want to “fundamentally transform America” into something it never was and was never meant to be.
The appeal of “free stuff” is a powerful attractant. It comes from some people who come from poor or low-income families who are envious of what others have.
It also comes from some people who have been given everything they needed and wanted who believe they are entitled to things they don’t earn and now face the prospect of having to earn the things they see other people have that they want. (Oh, the horror!)
Real life scares them, and frightened people will grab on to promises of salvation (socialism) like a drowning man will grasp at a straw.
This is the real “clear and present danger” to our republic and our way of life. Socialism doesn’t bring the equality of prosperity to everyone, only the equality of misery.—Drew Page
“They find 42 percent of millennials would like to live in a socialist or communist America.”
Well, let’s give them the opportunity to do so, in another country. Perhaps they could observe firsthand the way I did, through military service. This has got to be the result of our failed education system and its extreme liberal bias.—Herman Mueller
— FRC (@FRCdc) November 15, 2018
Standing Firm Amid the Blows of Gender Politics
God bless Isabella Chow for standing for righteousness, as Rachel del Guidice reports (“Why This California College Student Is Choosing to Stand Up for Her Beliefs on Gender”). If they kick you out of your seat as a senator, Isabella, consider yourself blessed.
You shouldn’t keep casting pearls before swine. They don’t know what to do with them.—Jim Dandi
The left officially has become the largest hate group in U.S. history. There is no debate on this.
The “left” comprises about 25 percent of the population, and all people who do not support their (often radical) views are harassed, intimidated, and excluded.
They have become the very hate groups that they claim to have always disdained. So now we will get to see what it felt like for the Jews in Germany and for blacks in the U.S., as they confronted hate. Progressives are the new Nazis and KKK.—Anthony Alafero
Isabella Chow is very brave. I thank her for taking a stand for Christianity. I am sure it has cost her a great deal. Her courage is inspiring.—Helen Hunt, Columbia, Miss.
I am always puzzled by the decision of Christian young people and their parents to attend liberal indoctrination centers posing as institutions of higher learning.
That their core beliefs and worldview will be viciously attacked is a given constantly, until they agree to surrender them and embrace the degradation of the mob. So many better alternatives for real learning will build up faith in God and equip one for a life of service to him.—Michael Waters
Isabella Chow, you are an inspiration! You hang in there, and I will be praying for you.—Tonya Acre Merrill
— The Daily Signal (@DailySignal) November 9, 2018
Calling Out the Progressive Agenda
Dear Daily Signal: It is amazing that most leftists cannot explain what socialistic and democratic forms of government are, as Jarrett Stepman’s commentary suggests, nor do they realize the long-term effects of those systems (“Progressives Want to Burn Down Any Institution That Doesn’t Favor Them at the Moment”).
In conjunction with that, leftists do not understand America’s constitutional republican form of government, why it was created, how it works, the protections it offers the entire populace, and how it enhances philanthropy while supporting capitalism.
However, like any organization, it can be corrupted—when those at the higher and highest levels of our government stop working for its citizenry (the foundational mandate of our Constitution), and instead work to support their personal motives. Religion and politics should be kept out of government.
The executive branch leads. The legislative branch creates laws. The judicial branch judges, according to the Constitution. Together they govern of, for, and by the will of the people—not vice versa.—Dan Dean
Jarrett Stepman, you are amazing. Your journalistic viewpoints are always spot on.
The left are idiots. Sorry to be so blunt, but it’s true. They are crybabies and brats who act out every time they don’t get their own way. Why anyone pays any attention to Joy Behar or Whoopi Goldberg at all is beyond my ability to comprehend.—Tonya Acre Merrill
Since this is not your America, lefties, then you are welcome to leave it. I prefer the old days of law and order, which your kind is attempting to change. Don’t like the rules? Please, go find yourselves a better place to be and leave my country alone!—Donald Leegh, Augusta, Ga.
The left is a treasonous movement. The Democrats became a treasonous organization when they fell under the sway of a movement that rejects our system of government, its laws, and its elections.
Now their treason is coming to a head. They are engaged in a struggle for power against the government. That’s not protest. It’s not activism. The old treason of the ’60s has come of age. A civil war has begun.
This is a primal conflict between a totalitarian system and a democratic system. Its outcome will determine whether we will be a free nation or a nation of slaves.—Wes Potts
The sign “This is not our America” is unfortunately correct. In that light, I think that they, and all other progressives, should leave. May I suggest Wakanda? Just go to Kenya and walk west. I’m sure you’ll find it.—John Palmer
Just move to a country where illegal immigrants come from, leftists. Or Venezuela is up and running; go there. Leave your citizenship behind. We don’t want you back.—Suzy Jules
What Veterans Say About Effort at Supreme Court to Remove Peace Cross War Memorial
”Will they begin chiseling the crosses and stars of David off gravestones in Arlington next?” Jake Hill, a decorated Marine, asks. #VeteransDay https://t.co/s6tE4Zge6h @DailySignal pic.twitter.com/HW7oRXFzgd
— † Crusader (@Wil_Johnson1) November 13, 2018
Defending the Peace Cross
Dear Daily Signal: Despite the words from residents who’ve joined the suit against the Peace Cross, as Troy Worden reports, the word “offensive” is not listed in the lawsuit at all (“What Veterans Say About Effort at Supreme Court to Remove Peace Cross War Memorial”).
The issue is maintenance and upkeep of a religious symbol on public property using taxpayer dollars in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This has nothing to do with rewriting history, forgetting the past, or dishonoring veterans.
The American Humanist Association has stated that they are in favor of a memorial to honor vets as long as it doesn’t involve religious imagery. Quoting veterans is disingenuous and particularly ironic when they invoke the First Amendment.
Next time quote lawyers and constitutional scholars, people who are qualified to discuss the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause therein, for that’s the main argument against this memorial.—James Webb
I’d like to point out to the Supreme Court a 1892 case known as Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States, which I learned about in the book “The Rebirth of America,” edited by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and published by the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation.
The court decided then that we were emphatically a Christian-based nation. Therefore, removing this 120-year-old cross monument in Bladensburg, Maryland, would be a destruction of our historical values.
The attorneys in defense of that World War I memorial would be wise to review this book, specifically the chapter titled “One Nation Under God.” It is full of quotes by Founding Fathers and others who envisioned a nation not run by religion, but one that held the Christian faith in deep respect.—Dail F. Melton, Braselton, Ga.
Public property is what it says; it belongs to the republic, to everyone. Monuments should not be threatened by the someones who just want to be noticed as crusaders for something they and a few others want to force on the majority.—Henry Vance, Waynesboro, Va.
Look at the courthouse where the Supreme Court makes its decisions. There is a lot of symbolism there for Christianity. We have forgotten why this country was founded as people come here to live, even with different value systems.
We as a culture need to remind children of their gift of living in this county. Please let us protect our culture so that we may maintain our freedoms and worship the Lord thy God.—Barbara A. Drabek, Fort Myers, Fla.
Nothing in our Constitution mentions God or the Bible or Jesus Christ.
There is only one clause in our Constitution that is similar to what is written in the Bible (Article IV, Section 2). Everything else in our Constitution is not at all like anything in the Bible, and some of it directly contradicts what is in the Bible.—Alan Turner
Even though atheists are an increasing percentage of the population, they shouldn’t be allowed to impose their views on the rest of us.
According to a recent World Values Survey, 4.4 percent of Americans self-identified as atheists. So why should this small segment of the population have a right to take away religious symbols, when 70 percent of the population claim to hold to some form of Christianity?—Wes Potts
— ???K.J. Pritchard ? (@KJPritchard4) November 16, 2018
Democrats’ King of Election Recounts
Dear Daily Signal: Having Democratic lawyer Marc Elias anywhere near the vote gathering and counting centers is akin to allowing the fox to live in the hen house (“6 Big Election Hits by Marc Elias, Democrats’ Recount King”).
Where is the Republican lawyer who knows how to fight bare-knuckle style? We must get in the gutter where the Democrats have always stolen elections, to keep Elias and similar slimeballs at bay.—Terry Dwyer
One illegal vote will disenfranchise a single legal vote. Disenfranchise! One of the favorite words of Democrats everywhere.
Here’s my take: Either Democrats are too stupid to know how to vote correctly or they’re too stupid to know how to properly take custody of ballots once they are posted or received. Which is it?
If you’re this stupid, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote. If you take a test and can’t color in the box properly, your answer doesn’t count. Neither should your vote.—David Lisk
It has become perfectly normal since the 1990s that elections are lost and then manipulated so a recount is necessary, so the winner (almost always a conservative) becomes the loser.
This year alone, within a week, election fraud or vote manipulation has been cited in very similar circumstances in Florida, Georgia, Arizona, and Illinois.
There are other potential cases, but the closeness of those races cannot merit the same scrutiny that these do.—Ken McDonald
Widespread voter fraud is a lie to inspire a fear-and-outrage narrative. How many have taken even one minute to consider what the logistics of pulling it off would be, let alone no one getting caught?
Certainly among individuals caught who’re facing real prison time, many would sing like a bird for a plea deal providing proof and hard evidence.
Any actual research shows it a lie. Even The Heritage Foundation’s own data show it to be a rare occurrence and usually committed through ignorance and the occasional idiots trying manipulate some local seat.—William Robert
One idea to eliminate a lot of these shenanigans is to separate the accounting for the ballots from the counting of the ballots.
After all ballots are received and accounted for, then and only then does the counting begin. Sure, it will delay the process for a few days, but I’d rather wait a couple of days. We’ve already endured a year or more of campaigning, what’s a few more days?
Once all parties agree that all the ballots are in, any recount will only count those ballots, not “found” ones.—Roger Zegers
If you’ve watched, researched, and compared as long as I have, you know the gangsters admitted they’ve always done what needed doing for the Democrat Party. They, and movie stars, mostly donated money to the Dems.
The immoral beat goes on and on. All things are seen and known … and have their consequences. Those in charge of voting need to follow the law, and our government needs to see that they do.—Bonnie McGuire
Fraud, deception, activist judges, political cowardice, and failures of law enforcement. It’s all pretty disgusting and does not bode well for our once-revered republic.—Steve Fowler
— Ed Feulner (@EdFeulner) November 9, 2018
The Origins of Birthright Citizenship
Dear Daily Signal: I would agree with Ed Feulner’s commentary on birthright citizenship that the intent of the authors of Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was clear in their minds and in their debates (“If Trump Ended Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order, He’d Be Enforcing Existing Law”).
Unfortunately, the language they used when they wrote the amendment does not clearly express their intentions. The Supreme Court came to that conclusion in 1898 in the case of U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark.
It doesn’t matter what Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan noted in the 19th century. It doesn’t matter what “constitutional scholar” Edward Erler said. There are lots of constitutional scholars, with lots of varying opinions.
It doesn’t matter what Matthew Spalding of Hillsdale College opined, and it does not matter what President Trump thinks, or what you or I think. It doesn’t matter what the Supreme Court justices thought in the decisions prior to that of 1898.
What does matter is the last high court decision on birthright citizenship (U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark). This decision set the precedent for determining that anyone, with a few limited exceptions, born on U.S. soil (or soil under the jurisdiction of the U.S.) is a citizen of the United States.
Was the language used in Section 1 of the 14th Amendment misinterpreted by the Supreme Court in its 6-2 decision? Possibly. Certainly the two dissenting justices thought so.
Lots of people—including current justices, former justices, constitutional scholars, and law professors—who believe that many of the court’s decisions were wrong due to “misinterpretation” of the written law.
As I see it, there are but two remedies:
1. Pass another amendment to the Constitution that more clearly defines “birthright citizenship,” and to whom it does and does not apply.
2. Let anyone born on U.S. soil who was denied birthright citizenship file suit in federal court and, if denied in court, file an appeal with the Supreme Court, which can render a decision.—Drew Page
We have to understand what that phrase—”subject to the jurisdiction of”—meant in 1868.—Kate Ratigan
I don’t believe it’s up to Congress to clarify this law. The Supreme Court should be the final say. And if the court determines that the president is right, it’s up to Congress to change it. President Trump is correct in enforcing the laws.—Wayne Mayer
— All American Girl (@AIIAmericanGirI) November 22, 2018
Learning About the First Thanksgiving
Dear Daily Signal: What is missing from your podcast discussion of the Mayflower Compact with historian Robert Tracy McKenzie is that the compact set up a commune in which all would give whatever they raised into communal storage, from which each person had an equal draw on the resources (“Podcast: The Surprising Story of the First Thanksgiving”).
As human nature would dictate, many did not work very hard because it offered no individual reward. Some worked little at all; why work if you are to be given everything you needed?
That caused the colony to fail in spite of help from the Indians. They nearly starved to death. William Bradford then originated a new compact that gave each family a plot of land that they could work on and keep the fruits of their labor.
This was basically a case of capitalism replacing socialism/communism. It stimulated trade within the colony and with the Indians. The colony thrived under the new system and had a major banquet to honor and thank God for delivering prosperity. That was the original Thanksgiving.—Randy Leyendecker, Kerrville, Texas
Early American history is absolutely grand. It’s relatively recent, so in many cases we can understand with some certainty who did what when.
Today I’m grateful to be born in the U.S. and to have attended school before major and negative revisions set in. Your podcast guest, historian Robert Tracy McKenzie, might be surprised that we nonelites were taught generally right along the lines of his interpretations.
Our dinner table was filled with historical discussions about major figures and events in American history: the black, the white, and the gray. Both parents enjoyed history and read endlessly in that context. We were taught not to apply today’s mindless cultural perspectives against yesterday’s occurrences.—Samuel Mazzuchelli
Not to be a stickler for details, but the first Thanksgiving was in 1619 at Berkeley, Virginia. Next year will be the 400th anniversary of that Thanksgiving—Greg Knapp
I’m not falling for this version of the first Thanksgiving for one second. Is Robert Tracy McKenzie such a genius that all of America’s historians for the past couple-plus centuries got it wrong until he came along?
This is utter hogwash and reflects the hubris of those in academia. To me, this version is just one more effort to rewrite American history, but coming from an institution that our side, and The Daily Signal, would trust.
My suspicions were highly raised when Dr. McKenzie enlightened us with his version of why the Pilgrims came.
Could any sensible person with a modicum of wisdom believe that such puddle-deep motivations as those proposed by Dr. McKenzie prompted a band of sober-minded and grounded Christians to embark on such an arduous, perilous journey, putting themselves and their children at risk? A boat full of 16th-century adrenaline junkies, whooping it up to the New World …
This is another attempt at rewriting our magnificent history by some young punk who thinks history began at his birth. I’ll have none of it.—Jane Blacksmith
This and That
Dear Daily Signal: I am a longtime reader. I greatly appreciate the quality journalism, reporting, and commentary that The Daily Signal provides.
However, I am writing to express grave concern regarding your practice of releasing the names of suspects in mass-casualty incidents, such as in the articles “11 Dead in Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting; Gunman Faces Hate Crime Charges” and “Multiple Men Were ‘Ready to Take a Bullet for Any Single One of Us,’ Says Woman Who Survived California Shooting.”
Each time your editors allow these names to be included, they actively make the decision to contribute to the frenzy of media attention that draws other unstable individuals into committing these types of atrocities. While I expect nothing better from the mainstream media, The Daily Signal has demonstrated a commitment to a higher standard, and this practice seems a grave violation of that standard.
Perhaps there is a rationale in this decision that I am overlooking. If so, I’d appreciate an explanation.—Timothy de Laveaga, Philadelphia
Editor’s note: The Daily Signal’s policy generally is not to use a photo of the gunman or other perpetrator in such a crime, and to minimize use of his or her name in our coverage. We picked up both of the cited articles from The Daily Caller News Foundation, however, and our agreement with that organization doesn’t allow us to delete such facts.
I hope President Trump will open up the report on the Steele dossier by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. This would clear up a lot of material that seems to be always in question about how it was designed.—Adam Schwartz, Honesdale, Pa.
Why would businessman Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, not give that $1.8 billion to pay down the national debt instead of giving it to Johns Hopkins University? Or give it to the migrants to help them settle in Mexico. Start a fund for medical care. A college will support only the left’s agenda.—Windle White
Sarah Sleem and Troy Worden helped to compile this edition of “We Hear You.”
The post We Hear You: How to ‘Wield the Most Effective Weapon Against Tyranny’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Heather Nauert has her history right.
The Washington Post and other media outlets have launched a lame effort to undermine President Donald Trump’s new nominee for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
The best they could offer to ridicule Nauert, an undersecretary at the U.S. State Department, was a remark she made in June on U.S.-German relations. The Washington Post found it offensive that Nauert mentioned D-Day as one of the long list of milestones in our transatlantic relationship.
Apparently, the Post finds mentioning one of the great turning points in history as poor statecraft. That is dead wrong. Nations don’t build strong bonds of trust and confidence by burying the past and avoiding issues that don’t make for black and white bullet points.
In June 1944, the Nazi regime, an anathema to human liberty and decency, held a death grip on Europe. If Americans, Canadians, and British troops had not fought their way ashore who knows how long Hitler’s hideous shadow would have dimmed the light of European liberty.
There should never be a day in any conversation, any forum, any speech, where an American statesman feels it’s inappropriate to mention one of the greatest days in the campaign for human freedom.
Sure, the allies fought German troops on the beaches. So what? In the Army Staff College, in the War College, when I was stationed with NATO in Germany, I on occasion studied the campaigns of Normandy side-by-side with German military officers. No one was uncomfortable or insulted. It’s part of our common history.
Yes, it’s true the U.S. fought in Normandy driven by a single and unshakable animating idea: defeat Germany. Yes, America entered Germany as a conquerer and imposed a humiliating unconditional surrender. The U.S. then joined in the occupation Germany, but in a manner matched by few conquerers in America history. America helped Germany rebuild, recover, and find its path among the world’s nations.
In Nauert’s remarks she also mentioned the Marshall Plan, America’s post-war recovery effort that help Europe rebuild. Germany was a key partner in making the Marshall Plan a success—one of the true miracles of post-conflict reconstruction.
D-Day and Marshall Plan are the bookends that helped bring Germany back from the chaos of Nazism, famine, inhumanity and more. These events are intertwined. Nauert is more—not less—of statesman for mentioning them.
This shows the media may have no sense of history. Or it’s just another desperate cheap shot.
What’s clear is that Nauert is well qualified for the task of U.N. ambassador.
First and foremost, the U.N. ambassador is America’s global spokesperson. She has been on the job at Foggy Bottom for nearly two years. She knows the issues extremely well.
The United States has a clear and sharp agenda at the United Nations—holding organizations and programs accountable; protecting America’s sovereignty and interests; rallying in support just causes; and naming and shaming the worst human right’s abusers and threats to global stability.
Nauert is committed to that agenda. She will taking over a solid team. In short, she will pick up where Ambassador Nikki Haley left off. That’s an appointment and a promise Americans should look forward to.
The post Media Misses Mark on Heather Nauert’s D-Day Comment appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Even as anti-gas tax riots raged in France this week, naturalist David Attenborough warned a crowd at a United Nations climate change summit in Poland that “the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.”
U.N. General Assembly President Maria Espinosa told the media that “mankind” is “in danger of disappearing” if climate change is allowed to progress at its current rate.
Speakers, who flew in to swap doomsday stories, advocated radical changes to avoid this imminent environmental apocalypse. These days, “the point of no return” is almost always in view, yet always just out of reach.
Sorry, but by now, this rhetoric is familiar.
You can go back to 1970, when Harvard biologist George Wald, riding a wave of popular environmental panic during the decade, estimated, “Civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”
Or you can go back to 1977, when Barack Obama’s future science “czar,” John Holdren, co-authored a book with Paul R. Ehrlich predicting that global warming could lead to the deaths of 1 billion starving people by 2020. (The authors theorized, “Population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution.”)
Or you can go back to 2006, when Al Gore warned in his Oscar-winning documentary that sea levels would rise by 20 feet “in the near future.” The producers even offered chilling depictions of cities underwater. Gore was only off by 20 feet or so.
Anyway, South Beach is still with us.
The problem for alarmists is that warming is now here–allegedly the cause of an untold number of disasters, small and large–yet somehow humanity slogs onward, living longer, safer, richer lives. People internalize this reality, no matter what they tell pollsters.
At a big 2005 conference of concerned climate scientists and politicians in London, attendees warned that the world had as little as 10 years before it would reach “the point of no return on global warming.”
They warned that humans would soon be grappling with “widespread agricultural failure,” “major droughts,” “increased disease,” “the death of forests,” and the “switching-off of the North Atlantic Gulf Stream,” among many other terrible calamities.
Who knows? Maybe one day, humanity will be ravaged by new diseases because of a rise in temperature. Right now, though, we are on the cusp of eradicating such diseases as polio, measles, and syphilis.
There is new hope that all mosquito-borne diseases will be eradicated someday, that a cure for AIDS is within reach, and that a vaccine will be able to cut Alzheimer’s disease cases in half. Cancer survival rates have soared.
So perhaps in some far-flung era, humans will be toiling in a dystopian world of “widespread agricultural failure” as alarmists have been warning for many decades, but trends do not look promising for the Chicken Littles.
Since 2005, humans have seen a spike in the use of genetically modified crops, as well as advances in heat-resistant crops, leading to booming yields in agriculture. According to the U.N., there were 200 million fewer hungry people in 2015 than there were in 1990.
Although not so big as the massive spike in climate change hysterics since 2005, there also has been a spike in fossil fuel consumption among nations that are slowly embracing the most effective poverty-killing program ever invented by man.
And capitalism, even its worst iterations, runs best on cheap energy. This reality has produced a giant reduction in poverty, the extreme variety being cut in half around the world, according to the World Bank. The less poverty there is, the more cars we will see, and the less the U.S. and Europe can do about it.
Fortunately, Attenborough, Gore, and the 22,000 delegates attending the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change can’t begin to contemplate the staggering number of advancements in productivity and science that await humans.
Of course, simply because Malthusians have been completely wrong about human ingenuity and adaptability for more than 100 years doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong now.
On the other hand, at no point in history has a massive top-down social engineering project ever worked as intended. It’s worth noting, for example, that the 10 worst famines of the 20th century were caused not by the excesses of capitalism or by environmental disasters, but by collectivists trying to control human nature.
Trade-offs, ignored by doomsdayers since the beginning of history, are something people intuitively understand. That’s why the fearmongering hasn’t worked and probably never will.
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The post Climate Change Alarmism Is the World’s Leading Cause of Hot Gas appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Wouldn’t the world be more peaceful if affirming the dignity of every human being were enough to secure their liberties?
Unfortunately, events around the world testify to the fact that a statement of freedoms is not, in itself, a dependable assurance of civil liberties.
In 1945, while emerging from World War II, delegates from around the world gathered in San Francisco to found the United Nations. Three years later, the newly formed U.N. would provide the platform for the drafting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
This year marks seven decades since the document’s adoption.
Signed in the aftermath of totalitarian regimes wreaking havoc on their own citizens and around the world, with one voice, the signatories declared “Never again.” They would never again allow themselves to stand idly by while the rights, dignity, and lives of their fellow man were systematically stripped away.
Many consider the declaration to be the foundation of international human rights law. As a foundational document, it recognizes essential rights including the right to life, the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, and freedom of opinion and expression. It also recognizes the family as the “natural and fundamental group unit of society,” and that parents have a “prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.”
Sadly, in the 70 years since the declaration was adopted, many of these promises have gone unfulfilled—not just during times of war and turmoil, but in peacetime as well.
Among the most dramatic failures of governments to uphold the declaration is in the realm of parental rights. This is happening not just in far-off lands, but in the West. Some Western parents today are at the mercy of government-run agencies that can take away their children without a moment’s notice, all for raising them peacefully in accordance with their religious values.
This is what happened to Marius and Ruth Bodnariu of Norway, whose five young children were removed from their care without any warning or notice. A powerful government agency known as Barnevernet removed the children because authorities in the family’s community felt that the children were being “indoctrinated” by their parents’ faith convictions.
Thankfully, amid intense pressure from the international community, Barnevernet eventually returned the children to their home. But parents like Marius and Ruth should not have to live in fear simply for deciding how their children should be educated. The declaration recognizes that as a fundamental human right.
Or consider young Ruben, six years old and the only member of his family who can see. His mother and father have been blind since birth. He’s seen quite a bit already. His family lives in the Indian state of Madyha Pradesh, where the ground is as dry as the air.
His father was holding a worship meeting at their church a few months ago. An angry mob gathered in front of the church, screaming and chanting until they entered the church and assaulted the worshippers. Ruben’s father was badly beaten and then dragged to the police station, along with Ruben and his mother. There, the three of them were stripped and beaten repeatedly, then kept in jail for three days and nights before being released on bail.
Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. A growing group of violent extremists is seeking to purge India of all non-Hindu religions. India is among the countries with the highest social hostility against religious minorities.
According to the declaration and India’s own constitution, Ruben and his family should have the freedom to practice their Christian faith “in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”
Seven decades after its creation, the declaration still stands as an unprecedented global recognition of the universality of human rights. In an age in which those rights continue to be consistently ignored, abused, and distorted, the document is not only relevant, but crucial.
To re-focus attention on today’s threats to basic human rights, ADF International has launched a multi-national media campaign called “I’m Human, Right?” A key element of that campaign is the Geneva Statement, which any one can sign online. This statement urges the U.N. and its member states to recommit to the vision so clearly articulated and adopted 70 years ago.
Signing this statement will serve as a powerful reminder that people around the world are watching, and urging the U.N. to take a leading role in ensuring the protection of basic human rights in accord with the declaration.
Seventy years after the declaration was signed, it’s our turn to hold leaders accountable to these commitments—for the sake of our generation, and for those to follow.
The post Time to Restore Respect for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The nation has been in mourning this week after the passing of former President George H.W. Bush. But this didn’t stop the liberal media from making the funeral about 45 instead of 41.
On three separate occasions, The Washington Post published articles criticizing President Donald Trump’s behavior at the funeral. According to the Media Research Center, NBC spent over six minutes covering anti-Trump stories before moving on to funeral coverage. But what seems to have gotten the most attention is who shook whose hand. And CNN’s Chris Cuomo even called out his colleague Don Lemon for his hatred of Trump.
The post Media Misses: Reporters Make Bush’s Funeral About Trump appeared first on The Daily Signal.
William Barr is a former U.S. attorney general, an advocate of investigating Hillary Clinton, and a bagpipe player for 60 years.
President Donald Trump announced Friday that he would nominate Barr, 68, to serve again as attorney general.
He previously served in the position from November 1991 to January 1993 under President George H.W. Bush, who died last Friday and was laid to rest this week.
In confirming to reporters outside the White House that he would nominate Barr, Trump called the lawyer and former business leader “one of the most respected jurists in the country, [a] highly respected lawyer” and “a terrific man, a terrific person, a brilliant man.”
Already, some Democrats are criticizing Barr for comments he has made in media interviews and op-eds.
If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would succeed acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who took over after Trump fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“I did not know him until recently when I went through the process looking at people, and he was my first choice from Day One,” Trump said of Barr. “Respected by Republicans and respected by Democrats, he will be nominated for the United States attorney general.”
Here are six things to know about the president’s pick to run the Justice Department.
1. Senators Choose Sides
Barr’s first stop is the Senate Judiciary Committee, the scene of brass-knuckles partisanship this fall over the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Trump’s hope is that the Barr confirmation will not be nearly so fraught with partisan rancor.
The senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, didn’t come out with guns blazing, but indicated he had questions. Leahy tweeted:
I have known Bill Barr a long time. He has a long record in both the private sector and public service that needs to be thoroughly vetted by the Senate. This includes recent, troubling comments about investigations of keen interest to the President who is nominating him.
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) December 7, 2018
I look forward to discussing these issues and others at Mr. Barr’s hearing. I hope he will use the opportunity to unambiguously commit, should he be confirmed, to upholding the rule of law and protecting the Special Counsel’s investigation against any interference.
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) December 7, 2018
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., slated to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee in January, tweeted that he will do all he can to push through the nomination:
Mr. Barr is highly capable, highly respected and will provide new and much-needed leadership for the Department of Justice.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 7, 2018
Having previously served as AG under President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Barr is a known quantity, a man of the highest integrity and character, and has an impeccable reputation.
He will provide a strong and steady hand to the fine men and women at the Department of Justice.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 7, 2018
I will do everything in my power to push him through the Senate Judiciary Committee and onto the floor of the Senate for eventual confirmation as soon as possible.
Well done Mr. President.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) December 7, 2018
2. Confirmation and Praise from Joe Biden in 1991
Barr’s first run at a confirmation hearing was anything but controversial.
In 1989, the elder Bush named Barr as an assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Bush promoted him to deputy attorney general in 1990.
Like Whitaker, Barr also served as acting attorney general. Just days into that assignment, he impressed Bush with his handling of a hostage crisis at a federal prison in Talladega, Alabama, The Wall Street Journal reported in 1991.
More than 100 Cuban inmates who were awaiting deportation to Cuba took nine hostages. Barr ordered an FBI hostage rescue team to take control of the prison, resulting in the rescue of the hostages without any deaths.
After Bush nominated Barr for attorney general in 1991, the Judiciary Committee unanimously confirmed him, with the approval of then-Chairman Joe Biden, a Democrat from Delaware. (Biden, of course, would go on to become Barack Obama’s vice president in 2009.)
On one of the most contentious issues, Barr was asked about the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 that legalized abortion across the nation. Barr replied that he didn’t believe the right to an abortion was part of the Constitution.
Biden said he disagreed with Barr, but said it was “the first candid answer” he had heard on the topic.
“It’s astounding to me,” Biden said to Barr. “You should be complimented.”
Biden later said: “I know of no one on the Democratic side asking for a roll call vote [by the committee]. I see no need for one.”
The Senate confirmed Barr as attorney general by a voice vote in November 1991.
Barr is a strong choice by Trump and “eminently confirmable,” said John Malcolm, who was an assistant U.S. attorney working in Atlanta when Barr was deputy attorney general and attorney general.
“He is an excellent pick,” Malcolm, now director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal. “He is smart, independent, and knows the Department of Justice’s mission well.”
No one should expect this nomination to go as smoothly as the last time, Malcolm said.
“Very few Trump nominations get through without resistance,” Malcolm said. “The Democrats will want to extract promises from him that he will protect the Mueller investigation.”
For nearly two years, a team led by special counsel Robert Mueller has looked for evidence of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to secure Trump’s election as president in 2016.
3. Tenure as Attorney General
While serving as the nation’s 77th attorney general, Barr presided over significant events and investigations.
Andrew McCarthy, who was an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York when Barr was attorney general, had high praise. McCarthy tweeted:
I do not see how POTUS could have made a better choice than Bill Barr for AG. He is simply excellent – supremely qualified, confident, smart, steeped in the honorable traditions of DOJ, and an all around good guy. He can right the ship and navigate through the storms.
— Andy McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) December 7, 2018
According to his biography on the website of the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, where he works in private practice, as attorney general Barr “set significant new enforcement policies in a wide range of areas, including financial institutions, civil rights, and antitrust merger guidelines.”
The bio continues:
At the Department of Justice, [Barr] established innovative programs to combat violent crime and set significant new enforcement policies in a wide range of areas, including financial institutions, civil rights, and antitrust merger guidelines. He led the department’s response to the S&L crisis; oversaw the investigation of the Pan Am 103 bombing; directed the successful suppression of the Talladega prison uprising and hostage taking; and coordinated counter-terrorism activities during the first Gulf War.
4. Views on Independent Investigators
Barr hasn’t directly criticized Mueller’s investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. However, he has raised questions about Mueller’s vetting of prosecutorial staff.
Mainly, Barr has raised questions about why the staff includes so many donors to Democrat candidates, including Hillary Clinton.
“In my view, prosecutors who make political contributions are identifying fairly strongly with a political party,” Barr told The Washington Post for a story that ran in July 2017.
“I would have liked to see him have more balance on this group,” Barr said of Mueller.
Among the issues that Mueller is believed to be investigating is Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
Shortly after the FBI director’s dismissal, in a Washington Post op-ed with the headline “Former attorney general: Trump made the right call on Comey,” Barr wrote:
Comey is an extraordinarily gifted man who has contributed much during his many years of public service. Unfortunately, beginning in July, when he announced the outcome of the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, he crossed a line that is fundamental to the allocation of authority in the Justice Department.
Barr told journalist Bob Woodward, in an interview for the 1999 book “Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate,” that he considered removing Iran-Contra independent counsel Lawrence Walsh for “misconduct” in 1992.
He said he believed that Walsh was overtly political.
But, Barr told Woodward, he opted against removing Walsh.
5. The Clintons and Uranium One
Barr has said the Justice Department should investigate the Uranium One scandal, which involves both Bill and Hillary Clinton. He noted that he sees more evidence to warrant an investigation there compared with the suspicion of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“There is nothing inherently wrong about a president calling for an investigation,” Barr told The New York Times in November 2017, referring to Trump.
“Although an investigation shouldn’t be launched just because a president wants it, the ultimate question is whether the matter warrants investigation,” he said.
The Times reported: “Barr said he sees more basis for investigating the uranium deal than any supposed collusion between Mr. Trump and Russia.”
“To the extent it is not pursuing these matters,” Barr is quoted as saying about the Justice Department, “the department is abdicating its responsibility.”
The mining company Uranium One contributed $2.35 million to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton’s four-year tenure as secretary of state under Obama, The New York Times reported in 2015.
Figures associated with the company also paid $500,000 to former President Bill Clinton to speak in Moscow.
In a 2010 deal approved by a committee including Hillary Clinton and eight other members of Obama’s Cabinet, a Kremlin-connected entity obtained 20 percent of America’s uranium production by acquiring Canada-based Uranium One.
6. Bagpipes, the CIA, and More
Barr has been a bagpipe player since he was an 8-year-old boy, and he was a notable member of the City of Washington Pipe Band.
After leaving the Justice Department in 1993, Barr built a career in corporate law, serving as general counsel and executive vice president of Verizon Communications Inc. from 2000 to 2008.
He was general counsel for GTE Corp. from 1994 until 2000, helping to negotiate a merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic Corp. that produced Verizon Communications. He also argued before the U.S. Supreme Court and the European Commission.
After graduating from Columbia University, he went to work for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1973 to 1977. While at the CIA, he attended law school at George Washington University and was a clerk to Judge Malcolm Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
Barr also served President Ronald Reagan from 1982 to 1983 as a member of the White House’s domestic policy staff.
Barr and his wife, Christine, were married in 1973. Their daughter, Mary Daly, works in the deputy attorney general’s office as the Justice Department’s point person on the opioid drug crisis.
President Donald Trump’s nomination of Heather Nauert is an excellent choice to replace Nikki Haley as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, analysts say.
“Heather Nauert is capable, well-informed, and articulate,” Clifford May, founder and president of the Foundation for Defense Of Democracies, said in an email to The Daily Signal.
“She is intimately familiar with this administration’s foreign and national-security policies. Nikki Haley will be a hard act to follow, but there’s every reason to believe that Heather will manage the trick with grace and distinction,” he said.
Haley announced Oct. 9 that she would be stepping down from the U.N. post, but would serve in that capacity until the end of the year.
Nauert, 48, is currently the spokeswoman for the State Department, a post she has held since April 2017.
Before joining the State Department, Nauert worked for Fox News in New York as an anchor and correspondent, and previously worked as a network correspondent for ABC News.
Nauert received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Mount Vernon College for Women and a master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University.
In announcing her nomination on Twitter, Trump welcomed Nauert and thanked Haley for her service.
“I am pleased to announce that Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the United States Department of State, will be nominated to serve as United Nations ambassador,” Trump tweeted. “I want to congratulate Heather, and thank Ambassador Nikki Haley for her great service to our country!”
Sam Brownback, international ambassador at large for religious freedom at the State Department, said Nauert is well-suited for the job.
“Heather Nauert—a staunch defender of Israel and #religiousfreedom—is a great pick for U.N. ambassador,” Brownback tweeted. “She was a significant supporter of the Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom.”
Jim Carafano, vice president of the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation, said he is confident Nauert will keep the best interests of the U.S. in mind in her advocacy and leadership at the U.N.
“The U.S. agenda is strong—holding officials and organizations accountable; naming and shaming outrageous behavior; and protecting U.S. sovereignty and American interests. I expect that will continue under Nauert’s leadership,” Carafano said, adding:
Rather than walking away from international organizations like the U.N. and multilateral partnerships like NATO, through his policies and choices of leaders, like Heather, the president has worked hard to make them more effective and ready to deal with the world we face today.
Nile Gardiner, director of Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and previously a foreign-policy researcher for former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, said Nauert will fill her new position well.
“Heather Nauert has a very detailed understanding of U.S. foreign-policy issues, having spent the last year and a half as spokesperson for the State Department,” Gardiner said, adding,
I expect she will very ably continue the tremendous work that Ambassador Haley has carried out at the U.N. in a particularly important time for U.S. foreign policy.
The post Heather Nauert, Trump’s Pick to Succeed Haley at UN, Praised as ‘Capable,’ ‘Well-Informed’ appeared first on The Daily Signal.
The second annual Impact Awards, which honors “outstanding efforts of unsung warriors in numerous fields outside of government service,” recognized conservative leaders including radio host Mark Levin and Edwin Meese III, who served as the nation’s 75th attorney general.
“It was the greatest honor of my life to serve Attorney General Meese at the Department of Justice,” Levin, host of the nationally syndicated “Mark Levin Show”, said Wednesday upon receiving the “Outstanding Impact Award,” and congratulating Meese for receiving the “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
“I have done many things before and since, but never before have I worked with somebody who was so thoroughly decent, so thoroughly ethical, incredibly brilliant, who cares so deeply about his country, who served as well as any human being could President Ronald Reagan and I might add, George H.W. Bush,” Levin said.
Levin, who worked in President Ronald Reagan’s administration, is partnering with Glenn Beck to combine The Blaze and CRTV “to create a conservative-media entity dubbed Blaze Media, which they say will reach 165 million people via television, digital platforms and social media,” according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The Impact Awards are hosted by United in Purpose, a conservative policy education organization, and Ginni Thomas, a conservative movement leader and wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
In announcing Meese’s “Lifetime Achievement Award,” Ginni Thomas said that the country’s 75th attorney general is a legend of conservatism.
“He is literally our keeper of the Ronald Reagan flame of conservatism,” Thomas said. “Choosing not to join a lobbying firm, or seek the now normal moneyed interest following senior government service, Ed Meese instead went to The Heritage Foundation in 1988 to be an asset to the entire center-right mainstream movement.”
Meese served from 1985–1988 as attorney general in the Reagan administration and then jointed The Heritage Foundation in 1988 as the organization’s inaugural Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow. He worked as chairman of Heritage’s Center for Legal and Judicial Studies from its founding in 2001 until 2013.
“I am grateful to God for all of the opportunities and the blessings I have received, and the greatest blessing that I have received is my wife Ursula who has been my partner, my friend, and my encourager for whatever I have had to do,” Meese said after thanking Thomas for the recognition.
He also thanked Ed Feulner, founder and former president of The Heritage Foundation, for Feulner’s influence on his life:
For me personally, he has been the leader, the mentor in many ways, the person that I look to, and certainly what he has done for me to have me at The Heritage Foundation to be a companion and a coworker and to have the opportunities there, I am eternally grateful to you, thank you.
Heritage Foundation’s Bridgett Wagner, vice president for policy promotion, was also one of the ten awardees recognized at the 2018 Impact Awards.
“With 37 years at Heritage, she has absorbed ideas, prepared briefings, learned the issues, analyzed the people and the players who are making policy,” Thomas said, adding:
In her new role, Bridgett leads the outreach and leadership development teams focused on advancing our principles and policies among allies, public audiences, interns and young professionals. If you know Bridgett, she is not exactly the kind of person that looks for the spotlight. Instead, Bridgett Wagner is our connective tissue, she is an idea generator…
Other leaders in the conservative movement recognized with Impact Awards included Brent Bozell of the Media Research Center; Sara Carter, a Fox News contributor; Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, a retired United States Navy admiral; and Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer and conservative activist.
Candace Owens of Turning Point USA, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and Peter Wood of National Association of Scholars were also recognized with Impact Awards.
The post Impact Awards Honors Mark Levin, Ed Meese, and Other Conservatives appeared first on The Daily Signal.
Amid this holiday season of reflection, I’m thinking about America’s future.
A new poll from Gallup serves up some sobering data regarding how young Americans feel about their country.
Gallup asked the question, “Do you think the U.S. has a unique character that makes it the greatest country in the world, or don’t you think so?”
Eighty percent said “yes,” America is the greatest country in 2010, and 78 percent said “yes” in 2018.
However, among 18- to 34-year-olds, 80 percent said yes in 2010, but this dropped by 18 percentage points in 2018 to 62 percent.
It’s troubling to think that now 4 out of 10 young Americans do not see their nation as exceptional and the greatest in the world.
Maybe there is a sense creeping into our youth that America is no longer the land of opportunity that it once was.
In a 2017 Pew Research Global Attitudes and Trends survey, only 37 percent of Americans said they believed so when asked, “When children today grow up, will they be better off financially than their parents?”
This compared with 82 percent in China (in 2016), 69 percent in Chile, and 50 percent in Israel.
According to recent data from the Brookings Institution, just 50 percent of those born in 1984 earn more than their parents, compared with 61 percent of those born in 1970 and 79 percent of those born in 1950.
But if America’s youth are losing a sense that this is a land of dreams, this sentiment doesn’t seem to be shared by the million immigrants who arrive in the U.S. every year.
According to a new study by the National Foundation for American Policy, 55 percent of privately held startup companies in the U.S. now worth more than a billion dollars were started by immigrants from 25 different countries.
The study reports that the collective value of these firms founded by immigrants is $248 billion and each company employs an average of 1,200 people.
Most of these immigrant entrepreneurs came to the U.S. to study as international students and chose to stay and become citizens. However, some arrived as refugees and were sponsored by family members.
This all tells me that America is still a land of dreams and opportunity. Are there things wrong with this country? Certainly. But there still is plenty that is right.
Those who choose to uproot from nations all over the world to come here and start their lives anew are interested in what is right, not what is wrong.
I like this quote from former TV personality Art Linkletter, who observed, “Things turn out the best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
There’s an important point here. Success is not just about one’s circumstances, but also what is happening inside of each individual–one’s character.
The holidays are a good time to think about this.
I suggest two things. First, let’s look at what is right about America. And second, let every American ask themselves if they truly believe they are the best they can be, and if not, why not?
Let’s each take personal responsibility to make ourselves and our country as great as possible and stop thinking that it’s others and circumstances that block our path.
I think the nation would soar, even with the things that are wrong, if all Americans got out of bed each morning with the sense that what happens to them is not because of anything but what they themselves choose to do.
And, if at the same time, we related to ourselves and everyone else as created in the image of God.
We all would discover how much power each of us has and we all would discover how great America is, because it is free.
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BEAVER FALLS, Pa.–Mike Mikus speculates there are a fairly decent number of voters around here who have voted over the past 20 years in turn for Ron Klink, Melissa Hart, Jason Altmire, Mark Critz, Keith Rothfus, and Conor Lamb.
That is, they’ve swung their congressional vote from Democratic to Republican to Democratic, and then Democratic to Republican and now back to Democrat.
“While it is not like an overwhelming majority, but I bet you about 15-20 percent of the voters that at one point have voted for each one of those winners of that seat,” said Mikus, a Pittsburgh-based Democratic strategist who worked for two of the eventual winners, Altmire and Critz, who would eventually lose the seats to Republicans.
Between the time Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009 and the time Donald Trump took the oath in 2017, Democrats lost nearly 1,000 congressional, state House and Senate seats. They also lost the majorities in the state legislatures, governors’ offices, and statewide elected offices.
Two years into the Trump presidency, Democrats swung nearly 380–about one-third–of those state House and Senate seats back intJacolyn Bastascho their column. They also flipped seven governors’ seats and 40 congressional House seats, additionally regaining several of the statewide elected offices.
What does this tell us? And how will Washington, D.C., interpret these results?
In 2006, when the Democrats took the House and scored wins up and down the ballot, the party seemed to mistakenly read that as a sign that America really liked them.
Four years, billions in bailouts, and an Obamacare later, Republicans erased the Democrats’ House wins and demolished the Democrats in governors’ and state legislative seat races. Republicans, in their folly, thought: Well, America must really like us now.
Eight years later, we swung again as Democrats wiped out the House Republicans’ majority with fairly moderate candidates who ran on not voting for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the House.
And Democrats are tempted to think: Oh look, America likes us again!
But does the coast-heavy Democratic leadership know anything about the districts outside of their ZIP codes of the Beltway, California, New York, and Chicago?
American voters, in particular independent voters who deliver these swing votes, keep sending Washington a message. And Washington keeps misreading that message.
It tells us in part that these rapid and large swings show a disconnected middle that distrusts both parties and has no allegiance.
But the magnitude and frequency of these swings tell us something more important: Nothing seems to be working. Voters keep telling politicians to follow through on their promise of a broad shared prosperity and an end to the culture wars. But politicians hear: Let’s get the band back together and put on an ideological road show.
Curt Nichols, political science professor at Baylor University in Texas, cautions that these swings aren’t really waves in the way we think of a wave. In fact, he says very few elections, perhaps one in every 30 years or so, are so “wave-like” in that they wipe out the previous political order.
“Rather, most elections occur within the boundaries of the status quo. They, therefore, simply represent the electorate’s attempt to swing politics back to equilibrium after events or actions drive them akilter,” he said.
This reinforces the notion that each party gets it wrong when they think voters have come back home to them when they win.
So if you believe, as he does, that 2008 was one of those rare status-quo-shifting (i.e. true wave) electoral contests, then everything that has happened since then makes sense in terms of seeking a return to equilibrium.
“In today’s Age of Obama, politics has shifted so that the new center of the Democratic Party (its natural equilibrium) is in a space that is both friendlier to the interests of new economy billionaires and those with progressive values than was true during the Reagan Revolution Era,” he said.
“The new Democratic status quo thus leans to support Silicon Valley type cutthroat capitalism and #MeToo identity politics,” Nichols explained.
When Democrats stray from this center toward the extreme, as they did shortly after Obama was elected, and in the wake of nominating Hillary Clinton, the electorate pushes back.
“Then, you get the Republican electoral victories of 2010 and 2016, which were not–strictly speaking–wave elections,” he said.
When the GOP strays too far away from its own new center, which is more mildly populist than the past (in terms of championing Main Street economics and traditional values), the electorate again attempts to return the country to its equilibrium. Hence, the outcome of the recent midterm election.
“While embracing a quasi-socialist agenda may fire up the imagination of left-wing activists and historically challenged youth alike, it is far from the center of today’s status quo and will backfire for Democrats at the ballot box,” warned Nichols.
And looking ahead?
“Whatever happens in 2020, it is probably going to be best not to think of the outcome in terms of a wave election but, rather, an attempt to return to equilibrium,” said Nichols.
The quicker politicians figure out that this is both the game and the winning strategy, the sooner American politics will become more stable and perhaps a tad bit less shrill.
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The current farm bill process is eerily similar to what happened with Obamacare.
In 2010, then Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.,infamously uttered, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”
A recent statement by the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., regarding the farm bill brings back bad memories.
As reported by Agri-Pulse: “Peterson acknowledged that the other negotiators didn’t want to talk about details of the bill until closer to the final votes. ‘There’s concern on some of the members’ part that when people find out what’s in the bill it will start unraveling,’ he said.”
The farm bill is already expected to be a disaster, from failing to strengthen work requirements in the food stamp program to failing to make even minor reforms to the out-of-control farm subsidy system (and actually making subsidies worse).
Now we learn there are unknown provisions in the legislation that are so bad that some bill supporters want to hide them from public view for as long as possible.
Legislators, especially conservative legislators, had every reason to vote against the farm bill before. This should be one of the many final nails in the bill’s coffin.
Think about how bad the bill must be in light of what already has been reported about the bill. For example, we already know about, based on reports, the following absurdities in the bill:
The bill would protect farmers when commodity prices increase, not just decrease. The existing Price Loss Coverage program (one of the major subsidy programs) pays farmers when commodity prices fall below a price fixed in law (known as a reference price). The bill reportedly will make it possible for these reference prices to increase when prices increase, thereby ensuring farmers could continue to get taxpayer-funded subsidies.
The bill expands payments to non-farmers. One of the most egregious aspects of the current farm subsidy system is its payments to individuals who by any reasonable definition are not farmers.
Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa,has pointed out:
Setting sound, enforceable payment limits for subsidies is a straightforward way to close loopholes that allow some farmers to exploit the system. They do this by using non-farming family members – or “managers” – to qualify for additional subsidies, paid by taxpayers. This practice is dishonest and ties up funds that could help young farmers get started in farming.
What does the bill do? It makes this problem even worse by making it possible for “non-farming” cousins, nephews, and nieces to receive subsidies.
The bill completely ignores the massive cost overruns of the two new major subsidy programs, which are greater than 70 percent more expensive than what was projected. Congress created two major new subsidy programs last farm bill, namely the Price Loss Coverage and the Agricultural Risk Coverage programs. When the last farm bill was passed, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the costs of these programs would be about $18 billion over their first five years.
Based on the latest data, the costs are about $31 billion, or an astonishing $13 billion more than was expected. This new farm bill doesn’t even bother to address this major hit to taxpayers.
The bill would ensure some producers couldn’t lose money “unless they really try.” The subsidy programs are, in general, less about risk and more about ensuring that agricultural producers can meet revenue targets.
However, Rep. Peterson highlighted a change that would take the usual anti-market approach to a new level. As reported by Agri-Pulse, “Smaller scale dairy producers will be among the biggest beneficiaries, he [Peterson] told reporters this week in Minnesota. ‘You will not be able to lose money unless you really try,’ Peterson says.”
That’s a great business model we all would like: a business where there’s all gain and no pain.
Congress shouldn’t be trying to rush an egregious farm bill through the legislative process, especially one in which we may not even know all the bad policy in the bill until after Congress passes it.
Instead, Congress should pass a one-year extension of existing law. This may not be ideal, but it ensures that bad policy isn’t locked in for five years, and gives Congress time to thoughtfully consider the farm bill next year.
The post The New Farm Bill Is So Bad That Supporters Don’t Want Its Details Released appeared first on The Daily Signal.
After months of explosive growth, the U.S. economy simmered to a somewhat slower pace of growth in the month of November.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the economy added 155,000 jobs in November, well below expert predictions, while at the same time maintaining a 50-year low unemployment rate of 3.7 percent, and steady wage growth.
We continued to see gains in crucial sectors like manufacturing (27,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (25,000 jobs), professional and business services (+32,000 jobs), and health care (+32,000 jobs).
Unemployment showed little change in November for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (12.0 percent), whites (3.4 percent), Asians (2.7 percent), and a near record-low for Hispanics (4.5 percent). African-American unemployment also remains at the record low (5.9 percent), and unemployment for workers with a high school degree but no college is at its lowest point in 18 years.
With over 7 million open jobs in America, employers are now more willing to raise wages and benefits, with average hourly earnings for all employees having risen by 6 cents in the last month to $27.35, and rising 81 cents (or 3.1 percent) over the whole year. This is the second month in a row where wages have grown by 3 percent from 12 months prior.
But more needs to be done to ensure that sustainable growth continues and we don’t continue to underperform expert predictions.
Many are concerned that President Donald Trump’s tariffs will lead to a loss of jobs and economic growth. According to a recent study, if all of Trump’s proposed tariffs are implemented, the U.S. will lose nearly 300,000 jobs, and long-run gross domestic product will fall by 0.38 percent.
While the jobs report hasn’t shown a consistent trend of losses in the sectors impacted by tariffs, history shows that anytime tariffs are implemented, jobs are lost and growth is stifled. Tariffs are a tax on businesses and consumers, and when we tax more of something, we get less of it—including jobs.
Instead of using tax increases as a negotiating tactic, let’s spend our energy tackling out-of-control spending in Washington that places the burden on future job creators. Let’s continue to cut red tape that holds businesses back.
Business owners around the country deserve the credit for pushing through the uncertainty emanating from Wall Street and Washington. Washington should do its part and help them by totally abandoning the job-killing tariffs.
The five counties with the highest median income are all suburbs of the nation’s capital, according to numbers released by the United States Census Bureau Thursday.
The rankings are a result of a five-year study called the 2013-2017 American Community Survey and measured over 40 features, including housing, demographics, as well as health insurance rates and education levels.
According to the study’s findings, the Washington, D.C., area seems to promote some of the healthiest counties in the country. The Census Bureau found that Loudoun County, Fairfax County, Howard County, Falls Church City, and Arlington County—all in Virginia—are the top five counties with the wealthiest households, as measured by median income.
“The American Community Survey provides detailed profiles of communities nationwide. The ACS is an ongoing survey that offers vital information on a yearly basis about our nation and its people,” Victoria Velkoff, associate director for demographic programs, said in a press release. “It’s our country’s largest source of small area estimates for socio-economic and demographic characteristics. Information from the survey generates data that help determine how more than $675 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.”
The study also found that from 2013 to 2017, median household income increased in 16.6 percent of all the counties included in the analysis, while it decreased in 7.1 percent of counties, when compared to estimates from 2008 to 2012.
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The post Census: Wealthiest Counties All Surround Washington appeared first on The Daily Signal.